Committed to early learning nationwide

PROGRESSIVE AND INCLUSIVE: Staff and children at Gateshead Goodstart engage in early learning activities.Goodstart Early Learning is Australia’s largest early learning provider, with 643 centres Australia wide.
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The not–for–profit social enterprise exists purely to improve the lives of Australia’s children and their families, with all surplus funds reinvested for the benefit of the children.

There are 10 Goodstart centres in the Newcastle region, located in Broadmeadow,Cameron Park, Cessnock, Gateshead, Glendale, New Lambton, Rutherford, Thornton,Anna Bay andNelson Bay.

“At any Goodstart Centre there is a focus on contemporary, inclusive and progressive play-based learning through an ‘attachment lens’,” Mandy Portlock, director of Nelson Bay Goodstart said.

“By attachment, I mean that we ensure all children are treated with dignity and have a strong bond with key adult educators, working together in small, tight-knit groups to reach the best possible learning outcomes.

“When childrenleave Goodstart, yes they can read their names and identify letters, they have had access to many early literacy opportunities, but they will also be armed with the skills to persevere, take on challenges, and realise they are part of a bigger picture world.”

Goodstart invests millions every year in the development, training and qualifications of their educators and the ongoing improvement of the centre environments and equipment.

“Goodstart provides professional development opportunities for staff and educators,” Mandy said.

“There’s fabulous access to technology likesmartboards in the rooms and robots that we use for programming, while the training is modern with a strong focus on infant psychology and learning.”

Each Goodstart centre aims to become the heart of an inclusive and supportive local community and welcomes every child regardless of their background or the challenges they may face, to help them reach their full potential.

Goodstart Nelson Bay, for example, works closely with other centres and schools in the Tomaree Transition to School Network.

“We believe relationships with families are just as important as those with the children,” Mandy said. “It leads to the best outcome for childrenand families. Goodstart provides its educators time to establish and maintain those relationships.”

Many of the Newcastle centres engage with their local Community Centres to provide external playgroups.

These playgroups give children who are not yet enrolled at Goodstart Early Learning exposure to early earning programs offered by qualified professionals.

“Families are welcome to come along to playgroup once a week. This is an excellent networking opportunity for families, builds community connectedness and supports our priorities of inclusion and partnership,” Mandy said.

“It’s part of our equity-of-access approach based on Goodstart’s guiding principle that all children are entitled to the best possible start in life regardless of their background.”

Goodstart staffwork closely with local Aboriginal groups to ensure culture is embedded and connection to country is established.

“The work is based around reconciliation, liaising with local land councils, attending meetings and smoking ceremonies and making ties in order to honour our first Australians,” Mandy said.

”Children do acknowledgment of country each morning, and we embedculture through everyday practices right down to planning gardens and going on excursions to get connection to country and understand what that country means to traditional custodians.”

Goodstart partners with local universities, colleges and schools to provide career pathways for indigenous students.

“Students can attend acentre one day a week in a structured and supported environment and get a feel for what it’s like to work at Goodstart,” Mandy said. “It’s all about increasing long-termengagement with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce in orderto make reconciliation authentic.”

Goodstart staff and children regularly visit aged care facilities to provide inter-generational experiences

“It’s about working with children to build empathy and respect, and it’s a great outcome for both the children and the residents,” Mandy said.

“Nelson Bay has a large ‘transient’ community made up of ‘Sea Changers’ and Defence families, and often there’s not so much family support. By doing these visits we provide everyone with a chance for inter-generational experience.”

Goodstart Nelson Bay staff and children participate regularly in community events, like the Human Whale project each year.

“It’s a way to strengthen ties and be a presence in the community.”

To book a tour at your local centre, call 1800 222 543 or visitgoodstart.org419论坛.

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Connection to carer is key

FOCUS: Staff at Lambton Early Learning Centre create a safe and comfortable, home-away-from home environment where everyone is valued and treated with respect.
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Alicia Ferris is a qualified teacher and mother of four who understands what it’s like being a full-time working mum looking for childcare.

OUTSIDE IN: The award-winning layout of Lambton Early Learning Centre provides numerous spaces for age-appropriate play and education.

In many ways it’s why she established Lambton Early Learning Centre.

“Leaving your child with strangers and making sure they receive the highest level of care can be daunting,” Alicia said. “Finding a childcare centre near work is another challenge.”

When the old Salvation Army Church on Pearson Street in Lambton came up for sale a decade ago, Alicia and builder husband Josh saw the potential immediately.

“Childcare needsto be in the right location – this was close to John Hunter Hospital and Newcastle University, where people needed childcare,” Alicia said.

“As a building it had to be inspiring: a place that was great to work in, with great flow. The old church fit the bill perfectly.”

The pair renovated the historic building, winning a swag of awards along the way.

“We kept the bulk of building, but altered the layout and floor plan to bring the outside in and vice versa,” Alicia said.

“We created rooms for each age group, from babies through to five year olds, and made sure that all rooms had direct access to the outside so children could play in a safe environment.

“We used a lot of glass to promote vision inside and out and we made sure that the place feltlike a home away from home.”

Today Lambton Early Learning Centre is a fully-accredited, long-day, childcare centre with 21 staff providing individualised pre-school curriculum culminating in a school readiness program with high educator ratios right in the heart of suburban Newcastle,

Open 7.30am to 5.30pm each day, bar three weeks over Christmas, Lambton Early Learning Centre relies primarily on word of mouth to promote itself – no website or signs required.

But with enrolments for next year looming, and an extension recently completed, Alicia finds herself in a unique position.

“With our recently completed extension, we can offer a few new spots,” Alicia said.

“I want to let people who are looking for that connection with their carer to know that Lambton Early Learning might be the environment that’s right for their child.”

Connection is critical for the 130 families currently enrolled and thousands Alicia has dealt with over the last decade.

“As a parent, I know what a juggle it is and that your major concern is you’ve got a carer you can trust.

“I know what it’s like to sit in the car and cry that first day you drop them off, and I tell my parents it will be OK, that the things they learn will be amazing, and that we have that connection.

“Hearing from my families that they don’t worry about their child when they are in my care is my greatest reward.”

Staff retention has been central to establishing that connection.

“I recognise the great contribution educators make and work tirelessly to retain staff,” Alicia said. “Most of our staff have been here 10 years. They’re qualified, valued and amazing.”

Alicia’s passion for childcare is palpable.

“The relationships you have with a family can last for many years from one sibling to the next. This relationship that I develop with families is key to providing excellent childcare and is what brings me the most joy.”

To inquire about enrolments, ring Lambton Early Learning Centre on 02 4952 6568 or [email protected]南京夜网419论坛.

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‘There’s no cure’: Distressing diagnosis for one in five women

Lucy Ogden-Doyle was only 14 when she learnt she may develop fertility problems. It was distressing news for someone who went to see her GP about irregular periods.
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Her doctor said she might have a hormonal condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and she should drop five kilograms – despite then being 52 kilograms and 172 centimetres tall – to “pre-empt” weight gain, a symptom.

Tessa Copp, a PhD student at University of Sydney, is the lead author of the BMJ article on the definition of polycystic ovary syndrome. Photo: Supplied – CareFlight Facebook page

“It was quite a dramatic thing to tell someone so young that they may be infertile and to lose weight, which would have made me underweight,” Ms Ogden-Doyle, now 24, said.

“Two years later I had tests and I do have PCOS but I’m not showing the symptoms like excess hair or extra weight so, while it has been a negative experience, right now I’m not letting it affect me.”

The arts student is among one in five women diagnosed with PCOS, a deeply stigmatising condition. The figure is based on eight separate studies across six countries including Australia and China.

PCOS, which occurs when a woman’s ovaries or adrenal glands produce more male hormones than normal, is the most commonly diagnosed endocrine disorder in reproductive aged women.

In an opinion article in the latest British Medical Journal, Australian researchers argue that an expanded definition had inadvertently led to overdiagnosis, and therefore too much treatment and even harm.

The widening of the definition (to include the sonographic presence of polycystic ovaries) in 2003 led to a dramatic increase in cases, from 5 to 21 per cent.

Lead author Tessa Copp, a PhD student at Sydney University, said many women were being “given a lifelong disease label” in their teenage years when symptoms such as acne and irregular periods overlapped with signs of puberty.

She referred to three studies that found the prevalence of PCOS by age decreased rapidly after 25, suggesting the symptoms may be transitory for some women.

“A lot of my friends had it and were feeling quite dissatisfied because there’s no cure, nothing you can do, except to undergo treatments that focus on alleviating symptoms,” she said.

“Some cases are severe and they will benefit from the label, but women with milder symptoms may experience harm from the overdiagnosis and overtreatment.”

The authors said women diagnosed with PCOS had higher levels of depression, anxiety, poorer self-esteem, negative body image, disordered eating and decreased sexual satisfaction.

They said it was unclear whether these impacts were due to the condition, its symptoms, or from the psychological effect of being labelled a PCOS sufferer.

“It’s associated with infertility, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, so it labels women as abnormal but the consequences are not the same for everyone,” Ms Copp said.

The authors argue that, given the uncertainties, the risk of psychological harm and the impacts of applying a one-size-fits-all diagnostic criteria to a wide-ranging set of symptoms, it was important for doctors not to rush diagnosing women.

“We need better understanding and research to characterise the benefits and harms of diagnosis and treatment for women with both severe and milder symptoms,” Ms Copp said.

“Instead of diagnosing women in adolescence, note they’re at risk, follow up with them over time and use treatments that target the symptoms.” Call to action

The article comes as influential health groups, including the Consumers Health Forum and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, launch a call to action to address overdiagnosis in general and “the problem of too much medicine”.

In an initial statement via a Wiser Healthcare collaboration, they said there was an urgent need to develop a national action plan.

“Expanding disease definitions and lowering diagnostic thresholds are recognised as one driver of the problem, and the processes for changing definitions require meaningful reform,” it said.

Dr Ray Moynihan, from Bond University and a Wiser Healthcare member, said the problem of too much medicine was driven by many factors, including the best of intentions.

“PCOS appears to be a strong example of the problem of expanding disease definitions or lowering diagnostic thresholds that are potentially labelling too many people,” he said.

PCOS is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, high blood pressure and poorer psychological wellbeing.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Lend an ear to discussion

LISTEN UP: Held in the last full week of August each year (20th to the 26th in 2017), Hearing Awareness Week is designed to raise awareness of hearing loss and highlight the needs of Australians who are deaf or hearing impaired.Hearing Awareness Week, which this year runs fromAugust 20-26,is an initiative of the Deafness Forum of Australia designed to raise awareness of hearing loss and highlight the needs of Australians who are deaf or hearing impaired.
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During Hearing Awareness Week, hearing specialists are looking to drive awareness and discussion around hearing education, problem identification and treatment – and the link between hearing loss and other health conditions.

With local clinics in Newcastle and Kotara, as well as in Maitland and Nelson Bay, bloom™hearing specialists are committed to providing the Newcastle and wider Hunter Valley region with high quality and convenient client service and expertise.

“People ignoring that they have a problem with hearing loss and doing nothing about it is the most common barrier,” audiometrist at the bloom™ clinic in Newcastle Adam Price said.

“Some people wait up to seven years before really doing something about it – and that’s far too long to miss out on hearing. Only one out of every five people that probably should wear a hearing aid device actually does.”

Family members, work colleagues and friends are often more aware of someone’s hearing loss than the person themselves.

So it’s important for all of us to talk about hearing loss, but equally to listen, learn and act if there is a concern.”

Hearing loss not only impacts on communication, it affects quality of life and can contribute to or be the cause of stress, withdrawal or depression.

“I would encourage everyone in the community to get a hearing health assessment check and be proactive in looking after your hearing and identifying any hearing loss you may have sooner,” Adam said.

Adam and his counterpart at the Kotara clinic, Matt Williams, love what they do and the communities they work within.

“I’s a great place, full of great people and we’re so happy to help many locals experience better quality hearing,” Matt said.

Throughout August as part of their support of Hearing Awareness Week in late August, bloom™ hearing specialists are running a competition to win a $10,000 dream holiday.

Simply purchase any hearing aid during the month of August for your chance to win one of 13 prizes, including the $10,000 dream holiday first prize.

Plus, if you bring your significant other along to the appointment, you’ll get a bonus entry into the draw.

Please ask in clinic or see online at 梧桐夜网bloomhearing南京夜网419论坛/dreamholiday for full terms and conditions.

The Newcastle bloom™ clinic is located at 122-132 Hunter Street; the Kotara clinic is at 78 Park Avenue.

To book your free appointment call 1800 257 511.

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As Derek Barrett was murdering his niece, he was interrupted by a key in the front door

Michelle Leng seen in CCTV footage in Pitt Street earlier on the day in April 2016 that she was detained by her uncle, later to be murdered. Photo: NSW PoliceAbout midway through the desecration of his 25-year-old niece, Derek Barrett was interrupted by the twist of a key in the door.
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His stepdaughter had arrived home.

A day earlier Barrett, 27, had detained Mengmei Leng, who had been living with the family since she moved from China the previous year, bound her naked with her hands behind her back and strapped her mouth with duct tape, police allege.

He photographed her genitalia while she was still alive and killed her with a stab wound to the throat.

Barrett pleaded guilty to the murder of Ms Leng, also known as Michelle Leng, in Burwood Local Court on Wednesday, and to taking photographs of her while bound and naked.

It is not known how far Barrett had advanced in the process of murdering his niece when his adult stepdaughter entered the unit on the afternoon of April 22, 2012, but the two cousins did not clap eyes on one another.

The stepdaughter was home for a little over three hours, during which she told police Barrett remained in the bathroom with the shower running the entire time, apart from one quick trip to the bedroom.

She knocked on the door at one stage to ask for some shampoo and he opened the door a crack to pass it out, warning her that she should use the other bathroom because that one smelled.

Two days later a couple spotted the body of Ms Leng floating face up in the water off Snapper Point on the Central Coast.

Barrett was caught on CCTV footage entering the Munmorah State Conservation area that includes Snapper Point on the morning that Ms Leng’s body was found, and he is alleged to have wrapped it in black plastic and thrown it over the cliff.

Investigators who examined the body after it was winched from the water found stab wounds to the torso and a large laceration at the back of her head.

Ms Leng had been living with her aunt, cousin and Barrett while she completed her studies at the University of Technology, Sydney, and police have alleged it was not the first indication that he was sexually interested in her.

He had allegedly walked into her bedroom unannounced on several occasions, had confessed to his wife that he wanted to have a sexual relationship with his niece, and filmed her in the bathroom without her knowledge.

He has also been charged with filming his stepdaughter for sexual gratification.

He has pleaded guilty to filming another person’s private parts without consent for sexual gratification, committing acts of indecency towards Ms Leng and his stepdaughter, detaining Ms Leng without consent for sexual gratification and murder.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Telstra drags ASX south

Heavy selling Telstra pulled the ASX into the red on Thursday, as investors bunkered down and focused on a raft of company results.
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Telecommunications was easily the worst performing sector while a pickup in base metals prices and iron ore provided support for the miners.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index and the broader All Ordinaries Index each fell 0.3 per cent to 5779.2 points and 5827.2 points respectively.

Telstra stock slumped to a five-year low after management decided to cut dividends from 31 cents to 22 cents and takes the company away from its current practice of paying out almost all underlying profit to shareholders. The stock closed down 10.6 per cent to $3.87, its biggest one-day slide in more than eight years.

“The size of Telstra’s losses has had the biggest impact ont he market but there’s plenty of individual news to keep investors busy,” said James Gerrish, senior client adviser at Shaw & Partners.

“There isn’t a broadbased market theme.”

There was widespread selling in the big four banks; ANZ Bank was off 0.7 per cent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia slipped 0.8 per cent, National Australia Bank fell 0.4 per cent and Westpac closed down 0.5 per cent.

The resource giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both bumped up 1 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively, following strong gains in metals prices and a 6 per cent rally in Chinese iron ore futures on Thursday.

In other equities news, Cochlear shares enjoyed their best trading day in 18 months after the pioneering hearing implant maker boosted its final dividend by 17 per cent. Investors sent the stock rocketing up 7.2 per cent.

There was lots of movement around Treasury Wine Estates; investors initially sent the stock tumbling 3 per cent in early trade after the company missed guidance, but then there was a change of heart and the share price ended up climbing 3 per cent higher at the close.

QBE shares tumbled 7.1 per cent after the insurer posted a 30 per cent increase in net profit to $US345 million ($435 million), despite poor performance in its emerging market business.

Investors scooped profits from Bubs Australia, sending the stock 7.6 per cent. The share price is up over 120 per cent in the last month. Stock Watch: Godfreys Group

Shares in Godfreys Group rocketed 10.4 per cent higher to 79.5?? on Thursday, as long-suffering shareholders were relieved the vacuum cleaner chain might return to profit growth in FY 2019. The company’s full year results showed that revenue fell 2.9 per cent to $174.1 million with comparable store sales stabilising at -7 per cent. Underlying EBITDA came in at $14.1 million, down 9.8 per cent and underlying NPAT was $5.9 million and earnings per share was 14.5 cents. The company said underlying EBITDA is expected to be flat in FY 2018. Based on today’s result, Godfrey’s shares are changing hands at just 6x underlying earnings. Market movers

Jobs data

The unemployment rate fell to 5.6 per cent in July, from 5.7 per cent, as 27,900 new jobs were created. This figure is approximately double the number of new jobs in June and more than the 20,000 tipped by economists. However, the new employment opportunities were mostly part-time, as the economy added 48,200 part time jobs, while losing 20,300 full-time ones, ending the surge in full-time jobs seen over the past month. The participation rate edged up to 65.1 per cent, from 65.0 per cent in June.

Fed minutes

Minutes form the latest US Federal Reserve meeting showed policymakers were ready to roll out a plan to shrink its balance sheet but were increasingly wary about weak inflation and some called for a halt to interest rate hikes until it was clear the trend was transitory, according to the minutes. “Maybe they’re a little more malleable in their views than a lot of people thought,” said Nathan Thooft, head of asset allocation at Manulife Asset Management. “Risk assets are OK with it because they don’t want a shock to the upside on yields.”

Zinc

Zinc scaled 10-year highs amid a shortage of ore as contracts were lifted by supply constraints and faster global economic growth. Zinc soared by its daily limit to 25,975 yuan a tonne on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, rising 5 per cent to its best mark since October 2007. In London, prices advanced as much as 0.8 per cent to $US3,145 a tonne, a level not seen in almost 10 years. The rally was spurred by data showing China’s daily production in July contracting to the lowest level in three years.

Valuations

There’s no doubt that US stock valuations are stretched by historical standards, the $1 trillion question is will that spark a plunge in share prices anytime soon. John Higgins, chief markets economist at Capital Economics says ‘no’, pointing to still ultra-low interest rates. “The bears argue that the stock market is overvalued because the equity yield (of 5.6 per cent) is low by the standards of the past,” Higgins says. “In our opinion, the equilibrium level of the equity yield now is probably about 4.5 per cent, which is equivalent to a price/earnings ratio of 22.2.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Theatre review: The Game’s Afoot

The Game’s AfootTheatre on Brunker, at St Stephen’s Hall, AdamstownEnds September 2PLAYWRIGHT Ken Ludwig’s send-up of Sherlock Holmes’ detective stories and the writer-actor William Gillette who starred on stage as Holmes for 30 years gets lively treatment in this production.
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Gillette is initially seen being shot in an arm by an unseen assailant while taking his bows on the final night of the New York season of his Holmes play. And at a subsequent Christmas Eve gathering at Gillette’s elegant mansion one of the guests is murdered, with the actor donning his Sherlock Holmes garb to lead an investigation and being far more efficient than the police detective who arrives to investigate the crime.

One shock follows another, with Gillette (Andrew Trigg) and his long-time fellow actor friend Felix Geisel (Drew Pittman, who also directs), making amusingly effective use of the secret doors and technical equipment in the building, with Chris Bird’s elaborate living room set, decorated with swords and other weapons, having watchers in awe. A fierce storm that repeatedly turns out the lights also adds to the intrigue.

The staging, though, maintains a dark humour in the most glittering moments, with surprises being revealed about the other partygoers. Gillette’s fussy and demanding mother, Martha (Rosemary Dartnell), is annoyed that they won’t just have Christmas together. Felix, while he’s assisting Gillette in trying to hide a body, reveals a frustration that he’s never had leading roles, and is the subject of sharp comments by actress wife Madge (Amanda Woolford). A pair of newly wed young performers (Aaron Churchill and Sandra Aldred) have their own startling secrets. Officious theatre columnist Daria Chase (Katie Wright), who has been critical in print of all the actors, is shown to also be a psychic when she conducts a séance aimed at discovering who shot Gillette. And the inept female police inspector (Georgia Woolford) spends much of the time bemoaning the fact that she never became an actress.

ON THE HOLMES FRONT: Sandy Aldred, David Owens, Andrew Trigg, Amanda Woolford, Katie Wright, Rosemary Dartnell.

The story is set in the mid-1930s, and the elegant costumes from that era, especially that worn by the columnist, add at times to the amusement. Writer Ken Ludwig keeps the surprises coming, with a shock revelation in the closing moments having the audience laughing uproariously.

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Wests’ takeover bid delayed temporarily

BRIAN McGuigan is continuing to represent the Knights as club chairman after a delay in the transitional handover to the Wests Group.
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MEETING: Brian McGuigan

After Wests members endorsed the proposed takeover, an interim joint-ownership process was supposed to kick off on Wednesday this week, by which the Knights would be overseen by Wests Group chief executive Phil Gardner and the NRL’s chief financial officer, Tony Crawford.

But Gardner told the Herald this week that lawyers had not finished drafting up paperwork and the transition will not take place “until next week, at the earliest”.

The two parties will then engage in a due-diligence process that, barring any unforeseen obstacles, will culminate in Wests assuming full ownership on November 1. In the meantime, it is business as usual for the incumbent Knights board and administration, so McGuigan represented the club at a meeting of NRL chairmen on Thursday to discuss next season’s salary cap.

Knights chief executive Matt Gidley attended a similar meeting for NRL CEOs, at which clubs settled on a salary cap of $9.4 million for 2018.

That figure is halfway between the $9.6 million requested by cash-strapped clubs earlier this week, and the $9.2 million sought by those with room to move in their budgets. It includes a base cap of $9.2 million for each club’s top 30 players, plus an optional $200,000 allowance for veteran players and development.

The proposed cap is a significant increase on this year’s base of $7.1 million, which covers the top 25 players in each squad.

Gidley said the compromise was a common-sense outcome and was hopeful the figure would be accepted next week by the players’ union, the Rugby League Professionals Association.

“All the clubs are pretty united, so now the NRL willtake the proposal to the RLPA on Monday,” Gidley said.

“So there will be an increase in the cap for next season and there’s still some flexibility for clubs to manage their cap.’’

The Knights were among a number of clubs who would have been contentwith a $9.2 million. Newcastle still have significant funds available and hope to make a number of signings between now and next season.

Other clubs such as Canterbury and Canberra, who hadbeen hoping for a cap of closer to $10 million, will reportedly have to cull contracted players to comply with next season’s figure.

Gidley said the extra $200,000 proposed “may have some small benefits” for clubs struggling to stay within the cap, but the Knights were still hopeful quality players would become available.

“If there are clubs that are seriously over the cap, they’re obviously going to have to take some drastic steps to become compliant,’’ he said.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said: “This is an important step but we are still in negotiations with the RLPA.Getting the clubs to agree on a package is very important for the game and especially the players.”

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Tony Butterfield: Knights should target Vunivalu

FLYING FIJIAN: Melbourne Suliasi Vunivalu launches himself at the Roosters’ defenders last weekend. Picture courtesy of FoxSportsI’Ma little over talking about the Storm in this column. But as I’ve correctly acknowledged inrecent times, they are the team to beat.
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As if their roster is not already blessed with a galaxyof stars, what about the ability and presence of their Fijian winger, Suliasi Vunivalu?

A tryscoringphenomenon with 41 tries from 41 NRL games. “Gasnier-like”, was how one old timer put it.

Big enough to play in the middle, fast enough to run professionally and likely adaptable toboth rugby union and AFL.

Given his temperament I suspect he wouldn’t be out of place in the boxingor wrestling rings either. Expect him to be a real handful against the Knights’outside backsunless someone can put him off his game.

A straightforward assignment back in the bad ol’days, it presents a far more nuanced approach in the modern era.

And I reckon it’s histemperament that can bring him undone. Sure there’s a risk someone gets thrown into the secondrow of the grandstand for histrouble.

But against that, I don’t think the extremely capableyoung man has been tested mentally. I’ve seen glimpses of him losing it from time to time,only for his wiser comrades to step in. Methinkshe might float like a butterfly and sting likea bee, but even the greatest have their off days. Let’s make it on Saturday.

SOMEreaders last week questioned my judgement asserting the Knights were on a roll.

Granted, I drew a longish bow then. But after winning their third in a row, it cannot be denied. Albeit one punters might comfortably assume will come to a shuddering halt by 4:30pm on Saturday.

Andwhile that may be the case, Knights fans will take comfort that their boys will attempt to go down swinging in these final three games.

As to final placings on the table, a season or two back the Knights did enough to deny the Tigers a run to the play-offs.

This year returning the favour, the Tigers staged a masterful comeback last week against the Sea Eagles, all-but anchoringthe Knights to the bottom of the table for season 2017.

Any hopes of extricating themselveswill require a titanic effort with at least two wins from three to guarantee avoidance. Highly unlikely. Of course that’s what makes life interesting –the faint hope that the good guys will prevail against the odds. It all starts at 3pm on Saturday. Give ’em heaps!

AFTER talking with a couple of old-fella referees at a junior game recently, I was dismayed to hear of a chronic shortage of qualified referees in the local league comp.

With all the banter and occasional bile directed towards the one with the whistle and his touch associates, it should probably come as little surprise that kids aren’t knocking each other out of the way to pursue the career path. Problem is, without a referee, there is no game.

To cover for the shortage, normal standards are slipping as fellas in their 60s and 70s bravely shuffle the length and breadth of the valley filling in, while sometimes 14-year-old kids are forced to officiate in under-17 fixtures. Not ideal, and if little else, it impacts on safety. But there appears little choice.

Rather than seeing this as a transient irritant, I see it as a problem of significant proportions that can only be overcome by increasing participation. The corollary being, if a turnaround is possible, the culture of a small minority of abusive, if otherwise respectable individuals has to back off. Personally, I’d hate to see one of my young blokes constantly abused and intimidated while participating in a game he loves. A sure way to run referee aspirants outof town. Then we’ll have nothing.

Thankfully, with this week’s junior games entering the final fortnight, there are plenty of referees to go around, one game per division. One hopes spectators take it for what it is –a game.

In the meantime, the governing league bodies need to come up with a plan. We won’t know what we’ve lost until they’re gone.

I COULDN’Tmention Suliasi Vunivalu without remarking on his similarity to dual world-champion hurdler, Sally Pearson, my outstanding performer of last week.

Vunavalu’s moment of madness has been done to death, while Pearson was outstanding on the London track.

A fitting salute only a week after the passing of the pioneering Betty Cuthbert, Sally’s back story is at the edge of human performance and ingenuity. Fighting back injurya few weeks off her 31st birthday, sheshowed the world what you can do if you work hard enough.

Making the effort even more remarkable, shemapped and committed to her own training program, set to peak on August 13, 2017. She knew her body, her mind, her injury history and her age. She knew when she needed a break and, most importantly knew what she needed to do to be the best.

The real greatness lay in executing her plan to perfection.

I REMEMBER I was in fourth class when the King of rock and roll passed.

Forty years have passed and I know exactly where I was in the old Bennett Road school playground. Shattered. As you do, I pulled out the tunes on Wednesday to reminisce.

Reflecting on the messy high-stakes goings-on between the NRL, the players and the clubs, I thought:“What would Elvis say if he were here?”

(You’ll need a Southern US accent here): “Well, thank you very much for asking, ya hunka, hunka burnin love. You see sir, progress is stalled because suspicious minds dominate.

“No trust, sir. I say, to break the self-interest deadlock, these devils in disguise need to leave their egos and agendas at the stage door and all have themselves one helluva clambake.

“Then, get on with it. The value of time as bargaining leverage is not yet exhausted but one hopes, in the interests of the game, the finals, and apparently, some awards night, it’s now or never. So, don’t be cruel to the fans. Thank you very much.”

I’m a fan – so sue me!

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Sea Eagles turn to world game to turn season around

Of all the things Trent Barrett could have done in a bid to get Manly’s season back on track, taking the Steeden away from his players appeared the least likely.
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There was no point spraying them, as the coach had already done that after they blew a 20-6 half-time lead to the lowly Wests Tigers. A flogging would also be pointless given the intensity he’d applied to his troops at training over the past month.

So rather than just oversee another ballwork or torture session, Barrett gathered his men, split them into two groups and dropped a soccer ball at their feet.

“We played 13 verses 13 soccer, it was good,” centre Dylan Walker said.

“We’ve been training really hard the last month or so, working really hard on our defence.

“For us, it lightened the mood up at training the last couple of days.

“[Barrett] has cracked the whip out the last month, we’ve been training hard and the boys have had to knuckle down.

“Baz being an ex-player, he knows what we’re feeling and what we’ve gone through, that a couple of boys have been sore.

“He’s given us a down day, to lighten up and bring the joy back to training. That’s very important, you don’t want to be dreading coming to training.

“I have a good time here, it’s like going to school with your best mates. Everyone enjoys each other’s company and yesterday was good.

“It was a step in the right direction getting the enjoyment back, especially at this time of the season.”

Daly Cherry-Evans had other commitments and didn’t get a chance to take part when his teammates applied their skills to the “world game”. However, the skipper noticed a marked difference in attitude when the squad reconvened at Narrabeen on Thursday.

“I walked in today and there was a spring in a lot of people’s steps and a smile on a lot of people’s faces,” Cherry-Evans said.

“The different training takes your mind of rugby league, which is great, but also being here and enjoying each other’s company is pretty important.

“[Barrett] is good at understanding where people’s heads are at. That was a difficult loss but he understood how it happened, why it happened and how it can be fixed. Obviously yesterday was a great day for us to enjoy each other’s company and play a few games. Today we’ll get down to business.”

In the business of soccer, there were a couple of standouts. Tom Trbojevic proved himself adept at yet another sports, while winger Matt Wright described himself as “more of a slide tackler”.

“Tommy Turbo went alright but I think I took the 3-2-1 [points],” Walker quipped.

“It’s a bit of a gee-up, we were running around all over the shop and a few of the boys had more energy than others.

“It was good fun. I know a couple of the boys love their FIFA on PlayStation.

“Everyone thought they were Lionel Messi and Ronaldo.”

The change may be just what the players need. The Sea Eagles have lost three of their past four games, leaving them in a position to either shoot for the top four or miss the finals altogether, depending on their finish to the season.

They take on a Canterbury side that never really recovered from the 34-0 drubbing the Sea Eagles gave them earlier in the year. More recently, Bulldogs players have been unnerved by the constant speculation over who will make way as part of the club’s salary cap squeeze.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Tending to nation’s heart

Making a change: Master of Architecture students Lily Freeman and Annie Murphy, who said some designs for government provided housing didn’t take into account “the complexity of family units”. Picture: Simone De PeakUNIVERSITY of Newcastle architecture students have been inspired to use their skills on humanitarian projects, after theyhelped design improved housing and facilities for Aboriginal communities in Alice Springs.
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Tending to nation’s heart Making a change: Master of Architecture students Lily Freeman and Annie Murphy, who said some designs for government provided housing didn’t take into account “the complexity of family units”. Picture: Simone De Peak

University of Newcastle students in Alice Springs.

University of Newcastle students in Alice Springs.

University of Newcastle students in Alice Springs.

TweetFacebookStudents Lily Freeman and Annie Murphy and peers studying the Essential Infrastructures elective have recently returned from a fortnight working with Tangentyere Council, therepresentative organisation for 17 town camp housing associations, and its associated architecture practice.

“It’s an incredibly emotional experience going to Alice Springs,” Ms Freeman said.

“I’d almost forgotten what it was like to go back [after a year away].

“You definitely feel like you’ve been thrown in the deep end because there’s so much you don’t understand. It’s about acknowledging you don’t know everything and that’s okay, but going in with your eyes open ready to listen and learn.

“Even when things feel desperate, you’ve got to turn up and know that’s the best you can do.”

Ms Freeman worked in a group to redesign a hall in an industrial area, which she said was used mostly by children aged under 12 for after school and holiday activities, but was not appealing for teenagers who roamed the streets at night.

She said her group used five concepts–a sense of belonging;self expression;the right to facilities free from racial prejudice and used for education and self development;safety and security; andgathering spaces–to inform their design for thefacility, which could be used as anafter-hours drop in centre.

The studentsproposed the interior could be made more flexible by removing some walls, adding some collapsible walls, moving items in storage elsewhereto create a music room and building a computer lab.

Outside, they suggested creating a private area for reflection, introducing curved seating and native plants and building a paved area for skateboarding.

The council plans to use the students’ designs as part of applications for funding.

“These are real people whose lives could be affected by what we do –that’s better than anything else you could possibly do,” Ms Freemansaid.

Ms Murphy helped to work on Room to Breathe, which is focused on additions and alterations to houses to relieve overcrowding and associated demands on hardware.

She said she spoke to residents accommodating up to 23 people in a three bedroom house,who were torn between helping relatives who couldn’t afford to travel back to more remote townships or who were staying away from their homes as part of a mourning period– and maintaining control over their privacy and security.

Her group wrote a questionnaire to determine residents requirements and designed four options – including an attachable bathroom and shower and an attachable disabled bedroom and bathroom.

Their work will also be used in applications for funding.

Head of Discipline (Architecture) Chris Tucker said working with Aboriginal people was a “unique opportunity”.

“This is a confronting environment for all involved, but something as a nation we all need to confront,” he said.

“Having worked with the students over the intensive two weeks we were in Alice Springs, I’m so proud to have been involved with them.

“Respectful and engaged with the people we met, they worked long hours to give something of themselves to the challenging projects we were involved with.”

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‘Error of judgment’ before shooting

THE partner of a man who was shot and killed by police at Ettalong in 2015 after he rushedat them with knives had “tragically foreshadowed” his intent to be shot only minutes before it happened, a coroner has found.
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Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame on Thursday recommended that the circumstances of the death of a man known as MC, onMarch 1, 2015 be used as a training guide to highlight the risks when someone intends to use police to commit self-harm.

“MC’s death was self-inflicted in the sense that he engaged in a deliberate and conscious course of conduct with the intent of ending his own life,” Ms Grahame found.

The most senior of three officers, Senior Constable Rhys Kirk, committed an error of judgment when he put little value on MC’s partner’s warning that he planned to make a scene so that police would shoot him, Ms Grahame found.

Constable Kirk did not pass on the warning to two junior officers “because he simply failed to understand its importance”.

“As a result, the two more junior officers did not turn their minds to the possibility that MC might try to provoke a lethal response from police. They were missing an important piece of information, as they approached a dangerous and difficult situation,” Ms Grahame found.

One of the officers shot MC after he burst out of the front door at close range without warning, holding two knives. Ms Grahame said it was clear the officer only discharged the gun because he believed his life was in immediate danger.

He was “in a very vulnerable position, effectively hemmed in on three sides by the fence, wall and rubbish bins”.

Once MC charged the officer had “no chance to use conflict resolution skills or negotiate”.

The inquest heard MC had suffered serious mental health issues for many years. Only minutes before his death he rang his mother, who he hadn’t spoken to for three years, and said when police came to the door “I’m going to attack them, and they’re going to shoot me, dead”.

In the minutes before his death he said to police: “Why didn’t you shoot me in the head?” and “I want to die”.

“In my view there is great merit in developing targeted training so that police will be more aware of the possibility that a distressed person may be acting to provoke a lethal response. Any warnings received with regard to this particular kind of threat need to be taken extremely seriously,” Ms Grahame found.

Lifeline: 13 11 14.

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‘We were living in a state of innocence’: Murder of schoolgirl rocked small town

020412…SundayTimes…GTidypic…PClack story…Captains Flat cafe owner, Christine Simpson in front of a painting of her 9 year old daughter Ebony Simpson, painted by partner, Gunther Deix.
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Tragedy struck Bargo 25 years ago when nine-year-old Ebony Simpson was abducted and killed on her way home from school.

The crime rocked the small town in Sydney’s south-west to its core.

On August 19, 1992, Ebony got off her school bus and began to walk home.

Her mother, Christine Simpson, who usually met Ebony at the bus stop was busy.

Ms Simpson asked Ebony’s older brother to meet Ebony after he got off his bus. But his bus was late.

On the walk home, with her house in sight, Ebony approached a car that appeared to be broken down.

The car’s owner, Andrew Peter Garforth, grabbed her and threw her in the boot.

He drove to a remote dam. Once there, Garforth bound Ebony with wire, raped her and then threw her into the dam with her pink backpack full of rocks.

Former Wollondilly councillor and Bargo resident Ray Law clearly remembers how the heinous crime affected the small community.

“The whole town was devastated and we were in a state of disbelief at the time,” Mr Law said.

“When we heard word that Ebony was missing, no one in our little village could have imagined what evil had been perpetrated.

“We were living in a state of innocence. We thought ‘that does not happen in Bargo’.”

Mr Law said hundreds of locals throughout Macarthur joined the search party.

“At some point everyone was out looking for her,” he said. “We looked in the bush around our house. The Rural Fire Service and Special Air Service came out to search.”

Garforth joined in the search to find Ebony. On August 21, police turn their attention to Garforth who stunned them with his casual manner and graphic description of events as he confessed to the crimes.

Mr Law said the crime changed the way parents in the community treated their children.

“Our two boys, aged eight and 10, went to school at Yanderra Public School and they had been at my wife and I to let them ride their bikes to school rather than us driving them,” he said.

“Any chance of that evaporated when we realised such evil existed.

“We all became very protective of our children. We wouldn’t let our kids out of our sight.”

Mr Law said the “heinousness of the crime sent shock waves through the community”.

“When we were first told how she was found, it was all everyone was talking about,” he said.

“We just hoped that whoever did it was ‘not one of us’, we hoped he wasn’t local.”

Garforth had moved to the area a few months before from Western Australia with his de facto wife and two children.

Mr Law recalls people standing outside Picton Court House, where Garforth was being held, with signs calling for his execution.

“People felt so much emotion, shock, anger and horror,” he said. “People reacted in the only way they knew how to voice their own pain.

“During Garforth’s trial everybody had their own opinion on capital punishment. There is no doubt people were calling for him to be executed.”

Garforth is serving a life sentence without parole at Goulburn jail.

Garforth unsuccessfully appealed his sentence to the High Court in 1994.

His prisoner status was downgraded from A2 to B in July, a decision immediately reversed by Corrective Services Minister David Elliott.

Wollondilly Advertiser

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