Premier trumpets benefits of electricity selloff

NETWORK prices within household electricity bills have fallen in Victoria and South Australia since their assets were privatised but increased by more than 100per cent in NSW and Queensland, where they remain in public hands, an Ernst & Young analysis says.
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The government is claiming the report on network services torpedoes the ‘‘scare campaign’’ mounted by Labor and unions that higher power prices would flow from privatisation of the ‘‘poles and wires’’, ahead of Coalition MPs convening today to debate the adoption of a sale policy.

The report, commissioned by NSW Treasury in late February, when Mike Baird was still Treasurer, compared the four states and found while electricity retail prices in each had increased, network costs were the major driver of the rises in NSW and Queensland, unlike in Victoria and South Australia, where other factors were at play.

In NSW, network prices, a major component of overall bills, rose an average 122per cent from 1996-97 to 2012-13, and by 140per cent in Queensland.

In Victoria, which privatised its networks in 1995-1996, network prices fell 18per cent to 2013.

In South Australia, which privatised in 1999-2000, there was a 17 per cent reduction from 1998-99 to 2010-11.

In NSW, where the ‘‘gold plating’’ of infrastructure has been criticised, retail prices increased by $136 per megawatt hour, with 67per cent of the rise coming from network prices.

In Victoria, retail prices increased by $61 but network prices fell.

However, the discrepancies, the report said, could be due to various factors, including that NSW and Queensland had ‘‘invested particularly heavily’’ in their networks while businesses in Victoria ‘‘are approaching a stage in their life cycle which may require substantial further investment’’.

The report also briefly considered network performance, noting service levels in South Australia and Victoria had ‘‘generally improved’’ despite concerns that privatisation leads to less reliable services.

The report also compared management of operating costs and capital expenditure, finding government-owned networks overspent compared to their allowances, while the ‘‘opposite is true’’ for those privately owned.

Premier Mike Baird said he was ‘‘not in the business of implementing policies that increase electricity bills for NSW families’’.

‘‘The scare campaign being unleashed by Labor and the unions simply isn’t backed up by facts – network prices have been more than 100per cent higher for NSW’s publicly owned system than in the privately owned Victorian or South Australian networks.’’

But Lake Macquarie independent MP Greg Piper, who called in April for a referendum on the full privatisation, said it would be ‘‘disingenuous’’ for the government to say it would seek a mandate ‘‘knowing they are going to win’’ the next election.

‘‘It’s a nonsense to say they will take this to an election and say they will seek a mandate because they will lose seats at the next election,’’ he said.

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Alleged sex offenders still in defence forces, Four Corners investigation reports

Alleged perpetrators of rape and sexual assault at the Australian Defence Force Academy over the past 20 years are still serving military officers or working for the department, an ABC Four Corners investigation has revealed.
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The ABC program spoke to a former cadet they called “Jane”, who said she was raped while at ADFA. She chose to stay with the army after the assault and has watched her attacker move up the ranks, even as she continues to confront her fears.

“To walk around the corner and literally bump into him again, was awful. I didn’t know how to react. I felt frightened, I felt powerless. He was standing right behind me to collect his meal.

“And that was awful, to know what he had done and to still have him standing there, laughing and joking with his mates and knowing that he’s still part of the organisation that I’m in,” she told Four Corners.

Jane’s assault was not an isolated incident, the program said. In many cases the department had promoted officers-in-training despite having serious accusations levelled against them.

After the “Skype incident” in 2011 – when an ADFA cadet filmed his sexual encounter with another cadet and shared it on Skype – then defence minister Stephen Smith announced an external review of sexual and other abuse in the Department of Defence.

The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce established in response to that and several other reviews has amassed more than 2,400 complaints and has paid out nearly $28 million in compensation.

But Four Corners reported the department was still unsure of how to deal with alleged attackers.

Taskforce chairman Len Roberts-Smith told ABC reporter Michael Brissenden that he believed the problem was bigger than has so far been acknowledged.

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Silk Road accused Peter Nash claims he was bashed in Arthur Gorrie prison

Protest at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre in Wacol. Photo: Seven NewsAccused drug cartel go-between Peter Nash has now joined other prisoners who claim they were bashed by riot police during a May 5 protest at Wacol’s Arthur Gorrie prison after protest against smoking bans.
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Mr Nash was a prisoner in protective custody at the prison on May 5 where he was waiting for extradition to the United States to face money laundering and drug charges linked to the online site, Silk Road.

Silk Road was an online anonymous drug supply network that began in 2011 and was taken off line in 2013. Mr Nash is accused by US authorities of being one of the online moderators of Silk Road.

On Saturday, Fairfax Media reported details from an unsigned four-page report into the alleged bashings of prisoners at Wacol’s Arthur Gorrie Remand and Reception Centre on May 5.

That report describes the riot squad guards’ alleged actions against 36 prisoners in Protective Custody Unit B3 at the Arthur Gorrie Correction Centre on Ipswich Road, Wacol west of Brisbane.

Those allegations prompted Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie to order the Corrective Services Department to investigate the complaint that prisoners were handcuffed and bashed inside the cells.

Now Mr Nash – who before being charged by US authorities worked as a Wacol prison psychologist – outlined the second account of the bashing allegations to his lawyer, Karl Brandon.

Mr Nash also wrote to Arthur Gorrie’s Remand and Reception Centre’s general manager Tony Ittensohn on May 7 but asked Mr Brandon not to forward his allegations until he was in the United States.

Mr Nash was extradited last week.

In his handwritten letter, Mr Nash alleged bashings began when riot squad officer moved through the Protective Custody Unit after the rooftop protest against smoking bans.

He said they came into his cell.

“I soon had around five screws giving me a good working over, punching me in the head, kicking and punching me in the ribs,” he writes.

Mr Nash wrote he was handcuffed and taken to a holding cell with other prisoners who were “also seemingly picked on at random and beaten the shit out of.”

Arthur Gorrie’s Remand and Reception Centre’s media spokesman Ken Davis initially described the bashing allegations as “pure bullshit.”

However he said GEO would investigate when a second set of allegations emerged, which again centred on the time after the smoking ban on May 5.

“But we’re still saying nothing happened,” he said.

Mr Nash’s Brisbane-based lawyer Karl Brandon said Mr Nash received “severe bruising to his ribs” and “two black eyes”.

“He did not go to the hospital [for] medical treatment, because he feared reprisals. And I think, most of them in his position, did the same thing,” he said.

Mr Brandon said Mr Nash was not protesting against the smoking ban.

“Definitely not.  He was one of the people in B-Block in protection at the time,” he said.

“And there was quite a few of them in that block who were assaulted.”

Mr Brandon said five days later a witness noticed his black eyes and the bruising around his ribs.

Nash waived his rights to appeal against his extradition in a Brisbane court on March 19.

Mr Brandon – who is not representing Mr Nash over the assault allegations – said he wanted a full investigation into what happened at Arthur Gorrie Remand Centre on May 5 and 6.

“It would be great if the Queensland Government did do an investigation, but given their track record with being honest and forthright with the way they do things, I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing happened at all.”

Mr Bleijie announced an investigation on Friday.

Mr Brandon said a call to seize video footage inside Arthur Gorrie on May 5 and 6 – from Queensland Council for Civil Liberties vice president Terry O’Gorman – would not reveal bashings inside cells.

“In the cells themselves there is no video,” he said.

“They are not stupid.

“But there is probably activity outside the cells, but that won’t be anything of real value.”

Mr Brandon said the letter to him about the alleged assaults was written several weeks before Mr Nash was extradited.

“He is happy to have his name used now, now that he is no longer in the jurisdiction.  I think he was just fearful of reprisals,” he said.

Mr Nash is accused of being paid between US$50,000 to US$75,000 a year by Silk Road to respond to customer service inquiries and resolve disputes between buyers and vendors.

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Warriors must follow winning path to secure a finals berth

DEVONPORT heads into tonight’s penultimate round of NWBU matches believing it must win both remaining games to secure a finals spot, Warriors coach Scott Russell says.
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A logjam on the women’s ladder sees six teams still with a chance to play in post- season action, in one of the closest finishes to a season in recent memory.

There are a number of possible outcomes for the final four depending on the results of the last two matches, but Russell said his team just needed to take care of business at its end.

That starts tonight when the fifth-placed Warriors (11-8) host Penguin (12-7).

“We just have to win both,” Russell said.

“Last week [against Wynyard] we were not too bad, but we have to be good all night.”

Since the season-ending injury to the Warriors’ import player Emma Langford, the team has battled on admirably despite being undersized.

“To the girls’ credit, for a team of locals we have done very well and having no height has been a bit of a double whammy,” Russell said.

“We have done ourselves proud and on our night, we could push any team.”

Devonport’s Emma Russell will likely be given the defensive task of containing Penguin’s Lauren Mansfield, who poured in 35 points last week against Ulverstone.

Devonport’s Emma Russell will have the job of defending in-form Penguin player Lauren Mansfield in tonight’s game. Picture: Jason Hollister.

In tonight’s other matches, Burnie must beat Latrobe to keep its slim hopes of playing finals, Ulverstone will start favourite against Smithton and Wynyard has a must-win game at Somerset.

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Pupil principal for a day

THANKS to a proactive pupil, St Brigid’s will look into allocating more time to specialist subjects.
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As a part of student principal for the day, grade 6 pupil, Danah Collins surveyed the pupils at school to find out what they think the school could improve on.

“I wanted to do something that would affect the education [as student principal],” Danah said.

“Lots of people were interested in longer specialist classes such as PE, music and cooking.”

St Brigid’s Primary School principal Annette McCulloch said she was impressed her pupils opted for realistic suggestions.

Danah Collins, grade 6, leads pupils in a fire drill as student principal for the day at St Brigid’s Primary School.

“We will follow this and Danah will present her results and have a discussion about this at a meeting [this week],” Mrs McCulloch said.

“For Danah to come up with this idea and ask the children and do the form herself, that is fantastic leadership.”

Student principal day has proven to have great ideas come out of it, with last year’s student principal suggesting free time on an iPad, with a milkshake made by a teacher as a reward to students who represent the school’s values of respect, learning and safety.

“I’ve learnt lots of things from Danah including the importance of listening to other students and giving the students a say,” Mrs McCulloch said.

“Because they have so much to offer and sometimes we don’t listen to their perspective, yet what they have to offer is so relevant.

“I might meet the grade 5 and 6s more and talk to them about school and learning,” Mrs McCulloch said.

This is the second year St Brigid’s Primary School participated in the student principal day and this year it formed an application process, whereby grade 6 students would apply for the position anonymously.

“[In Danah’s application] she spoke of inclusiveness, it wasn’t just about her interests, it was about the children as a whole,” Mrs McCulloch said.

Danah’s reasons for applying for the position of student principal were because it was an opportunity to develop and practise leadership skills.

“I think it’s an important skill to have in life, most jobs need leadership skills – whether it’s one person or a group,” Danah said.

Danah conducted a fire drill, participated in morning duty, worked on the newsletter, addressed the students at line-up and a number of other principal activities.

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Range of art on display

THERE is something for everyone to enjoy at the North West Arts Circle group exhibition at the Devonport Regional Gallery.
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The exhibition was officially opened on Friday and will only run for two weeks.

Jack Russells painted by Dianne Beveridge will beexhibited at the Devonport Regional Art Gallery.

Devonport Regional Gallery director Ellie Ray said there are more than 50 works in the show.

“They are predominantly watercolours, oils and there is some sculpture work,” she said.

“One emerging artist has included printed textile, they are actually long shawls and the medium is called arashi shibon.”

The work submitted to the exhibition is varied in content, from landscapes and seascapes to portraiture.

“We’ve also got a nice collection of animal portraits this year,” Ms Ray said.

The collection of works are also vying for a share in more then $1000 worth of prizes.

The exhibition will be judged by the head of painting at TasTAFE Fred Fullerton.

The major award is $500 and there will be two highly commended awards of $250 each, all donated by the Rotary Club of Ulverstone West.

There will also be an emerging artist award, people’s choice and a viewers prize, all donated by the North West Arts Circle.

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Hairdressers help out

CANCER is such a huge part of our lives these days.
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It doesn’t discriminate on age, gender or lifestyle and you could pretty much say everyone knows someone that has been affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly.

Carolyn McLennan, of Carolyn McLennan Hairdressing, said through the salon herself and her staff hear about their client’s cancer journeys, from the shock of a diagnosis and through the treatment process.

“In recent months it has really hit home with one of our own being affected by breast cancer.

“We have seen firsthand the impact that it takes, not only on the person diagnosed but their family and friends,” Mrs McLennan said.

Carolyn McLennan hairdressing employees (from left) Gillian Minehan, Kelsie Sheehan, Carolyn McLennan (withChino the dog) and Jodie Garwood are ‘‘Giving Cancer the Boot’’ with their fund-raising campaign.

“Although their support is essential, it can also help to speak with someone slightly distanced from the situation.

“At the time of Gillian’s procedure, there was an article in the paper about McGrath Ski Breast Care Nurse, Tracey Beattie.

“Gillian contacted Tracey who, through her medical training, was extremely knowledgeable about what Gillian was experiencing and explained it all in layman terms, providing support through the journey when she needed it the most.

“Tracey gave Gillian some level of control and understanding when she was perhaps at her lowest and least in control.

“While we are extremely fortunate to have Tracey’s services, she is just one person with a huge area of responsibility, especially given the high incidence of breast cancer on the North-West Coast.

“At the salon we wanted to not only raise awareness of Tracey’s support service to others with breast cancer but also show our support to her personally.

“We have therefore made June `Give Cancer the Boot’ month and decorated our shop front in vibrant pink.

“We are also wearing colourful gumboots for the month as well.

“We invite anyone to come in and donate funds which will be passed on directly to Tracey to assist her in continuing her wonderful work,” Mrs McLennan said.

Anybody diagnosed with breast cancer and seeking support are able to contact McGrath Ski Breast Care Nurse Tracey Beattie by phoning 0417 376 841 or 6430 6684 or email [email protected] .tas.gov.au

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Franklin clear to take on Power

SYDNEY Swans star Lance Franklin has been cleared to face ladder-leader Port Adelaide in Saturday’s AFL blockbuster after the AFL match review panel deemed his high bump didn’t warrant further action.
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Lance Franklin catches the ball during a Sydney Swans training session at the SCG on June 4. Picture: Getty Images.

The Swans were sweating on the availability of Franklin following his high contact on Gold Coast Suns youngster Clay Cameron on Sunday.

Yesterday, the Swans learned that the 27-year-old would be free to line up against the Power at the SCG.

“A free kick downfield was paid at the time for the high contact and it was the view of the panel that the high contact in the bump was below the force required to constitute a reportable offence,” said an AFL statement.

“No further action was required.”

The Swans will now turn their attention to another of their star forward recruits, Kurt Tippett, as he races the clock to overcome a knee injury.

The key forward will today have scans on his left knee after being subbed off in the 35-point win over the Suns.

Medical staff have cleared Tippett of any structural damage, but how serious the injury is remains to be seen.

“Hopefully it’s all good and he’ll be right to go. If he isn’t, I guess we’ll have to deal with it during the week,” midfielder Josh Kennedy said after his side’s recovery session at Bondi Beach yesterday.

“He was pretty positive, he thought that he’d be right.

“I guess that’s all we can go off at the moment and just hope we can get the best results possible from the scans.”

Kennedy was confident third-placed Sydney had the depth to cover Tippett.

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Naitanui shrugs off critics ahead of milestone

WEST Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui is 100 per cent certain his best footy is ahead of him, and says he won’t let the unrelenting criticism throw him off his game.
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West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui is 100 per cent certain his best footy is ahead of him, and says he won’t let the unrelenting criticism throw him off his game. Picture: Getty Images.

Naitanui will reach his 100-game milestone on Saturday when he lines up for the Eagles in their crunch clash with Gold Coast at Patersons Stadium.

The 24-year-old has polarised opinions since making his debut in 2009.

For some, Naitanui’s abilities and unrivalled athleticism make him one of the game’s most valuable players.

For others, the 201-centimetre ruckman is an over-hyped hulk who still struggles to read the game.

AFL greats Matthew Lloyd, Brad Hardie, Tony Shaw and Garry Lyon have been particularly critical of Naitanui this year.

But after finally shaking off the effects of a lingering groin issue, Naitanui has regained his mojo in recent weeks, and is confident his resurgence will continue to gain momentum over the coming years.

“I don’t really pay too much attention to it,” Naitanui said of the criticism.

“I know what I need to do internally and what we need to do on the field. Outside distractions aren’t a big thing in my life.

“I’m quite happy to say my best footy is ahead of me.”

The Eagles took a gamble late last month when they re-signed Naitanui on a five-year deal believed to be worth in the vicinity of $4 million.

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Sanderson still has eyes on final

ADELAIDE coach Brenton Sanderson must be tearing his hair out.
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Crows coach Brenton Sandersons speaks to his team during the round five AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Adelaide Oval in April. Picture: Getty Images.

Silly mistakes and inconsistency have cost the Crows dearly this year, putting their finals hopes on a knife edge heading into Saturday night’s crunch AFL clash with North Melbourne at Adelaide Oval.

The Crows slumped to 10th on the table following Sunday’s 40-point loss to Fremantle in Perth.

The 12.18 (90) to 7.8 (50) scoreline would have been even uglier had Fremantle been more accurate in front of goals.

Sanderson admits his team’s inconsistency is costing them dearly, while kicking efficiency is another worry on his plate.

“We made some really silly mistakes by foot (against Fremantle),” Sanderson said.

“We had 57 per cent kicking efficiency. It has been an issue for us.”

Adelaide (5-6) are now two wins and percentage adrift of the top eight but Sanderson isn’t giving up hope of leading his team into the finals.

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Morabito in mix for recall to Dockers

FREMANTLE coach Ross Lyon isn’t one for footy romance – and that suits Anthony Morabito just fine.
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Anthony Morabito, Zac Clarke and Nathan Fyfe, of Fremantle Football Club, look on during game one of the NBL Grand Final series between the Perth Wildcats and the Adelaide 36ers. Morabito’s chances of earning a dream AFL recall for Saturday’s clash with Richmond at the MCG have been boosted by team-mate Michael Johnson’s knee injury. Picture: Getty Images.

Michael Johnson’s knee injury has boosted Morabito’s chances of earning a dream AFL recall for Saturday’s clash with Richmond at the MCG.

Johnson is set to miss between two to four weeks after injuring the medial ligament in his right knee during Sunday’s 40-point win over Adelaide.

Should the Dockers opt to replace Johnson with another key defender, then Alex Silvagni is their man.

But coach Ross Lyon has hinted he may go down a slightly different path, thrusting Morabito’s name into the selection mix.

Morabito has not featured for the Dockers since his standout rookie campaign of 2010, when he made a name for himself as a hard- running wingman.

Three subsequent knee reconstructions threatened to derail Morabito’s AFL career, but he is on the verge of a senior recall following a string of impressive performances in the WAFL.

In eight appearances this season, Morabito has averaged 21 possessions and a goal per game for the struggling Peel Thunder.

Last week was Morabito’s finest performance, with the 22-year-old tallying 28 possessions and three goals to thrust his name into the selection mix.

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Hardwick claims he has solution

COACH Damien Hardwick knows what he needs to do to improve AFL struggler Richmond after a dramatic and confidence- draining loss to North Melbourne.
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Tigers coach Damien Hardwick stands with his players before the round 11 AFL match between Essendon and Richmond at teh MCG. Picture: Getty Images.

The Tigers were ferocious first-half competitors, streaking to a 35-point lead over the fancied Kangaroos.

But after the main break, Richmond conceded eight goals in 16 mad third- quarter minutes.

“When the game was there to be won, they stood up, we didn’t,” Hardwick said.

As North Melbourne fans were emboldened with every third-term goal, Richmond’s supporters seemed to shrink further back in their chairs.

Hardwick considered what message he might send them after their miserable fade- out.

“Just to know that we’re working our backsides off as a coaching staff and playing staff,” he said.

“We know where we’re going wrong, we’ve just got to rectify it and fix it.”

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Watson missing for two months

JOBE Watson will miss at least two months of the AFL season after scans revealed a worse-than-expected injury for the Essendon captain.
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Essendon’s Jobe Watson leads the team out for the round eight AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Bombers at The Gabba on May 10. Picture: Getty Images.

Watson will have surgery today to heal a torn tendon in his hip, ruling him out for 8-10 weeks.

The innocuous-looking injury occurred in the final quarter of Essendon’s 15-point win over GWS Giants on Saturday.

With just 11 matches left in the season, Watson may have played his last game of football this year.

Despite now entering a race to be fit before season’s end – and any finals the Bombers might make – he told the club’s website he would not be rushing back.

“I think the timeframe is a bit irrelevant because I just want to make sure that the injury heals properly and make sure it is right,” he said.

“It would be great to come back and if the team is playing finals then it would be wonderful to be part of it.”

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