Canberra Girls Grammar School buys waterfront sites for $1.78 million

Canberra Girls Grammar School has bought two waterfront development sites in Yarralumla Bay for $1.78 million.

The Land Development Agency auctioned the two blocks of land next to the YMCA Sailing Club on Wednesday.

Both blocks, each about 680 square metres, are covered by the National Capital Authority’s Yarralumla Bay Recreation Hub Master Plan.

The plan sets a tight framework for the development of the bay, and limits uses to those related to aquatic recreation and tourism.

It does not allow for any accommodation to be built.

The permitted use of the two blocks of land sold on Wednesday is for an aquatic recreation facility and an ancillary restaurant.

Canberra Girls Grammar School purchased Block 15 Section 17 for $860,000 and Block 16 Section 17 for $920,000.

Jones Lang LaSalle ACT’s Greg Lyons said it was the first time land at Yarralumla Bay had been sold in a public sales process, with most sites directly granted or sold in the past.

He said it was unlikely more sites would be offered for sale.

“We’re told there’s not going to be more land released down there,” Mr Lyons said.

There were six registered bidders for the blocks.

Mr Lyons said some interested parties had been existing site owners looking to upgrade their facilities.

Canberra Girls Grammar School principal Anne Coutts said the purchase was an exciting phase in the school’s development.

She said it would not only add to the school’s current world-class facilities but would also build on educational offerings and enhance curriculum development and co-curricular opportunities.

The school will adhere to the National Capital Authority’s Yarralumla Bay plan and consult with the community over the sites’ development.

JLL ACT managing director Andrew Balzanelli described the sale as the final jigsaw in the puzzle for the development of Yarralumla Bay, and said it was a good result for the community.

Hunter to become mega-region under health care reforms

The Hunter is destined to become a mega-region under health reforms to be rolled out next year.THE Hunter will become a mega-region taking in most of the New England and Central Coast regions when the Federal Government’s primary health care reforms are rolled out next year.

The new geographical boundaries, announced by Health Minister Peter Dutton on Wednesday, will transform the 61 regions currently serviced by Medicare Locals into 30 Primary Health Networks.

In NSW, 17 regions will become nine.

At stake are services including the GP Access After-Hours Service, which provides advice and treatment after-hours, diverting less urgent patients away from emergency departments.

Mr Dutton said the government will release an ‘Invitation to Apply’ process later this year to select Primary Health Network operators.

Hunter Medicare Local has indicated it is keen to continue running services and will participate in that tender process.

Dr Trent Watson, Hunter Medicare Local chairman, welcomed the announcement saying the new larger boundary had been anticipated.

“We appreciate that the larger size of the network may create some logistical challenges but we are very confident that the consolidation of financial and administrative functions will provide efficiencies that can be used to fund the type of innovative programs that our organisation has built its reputation on, Dr Watson said.”

‘‘Programs such as GP Access After Hours, Aged Care Emergency and Connecting Care are currently reducing unnecessary hospitalisations and improving health outcomes and we look forward to continuing the delivery of these programs and the development of new initiatives as a partner in the new Primary Health Network covering our region.”

The new mega-region reaches from Taree in the North to Gosford in the south, and west to Tamworth and Qurinidi.

The health minister said the new primary health networks will aim to drive efficiencies and better direct health funding to the delivery of frontline health care services.

“Primary Health Networks will deliver better health outcomes for Australians over time by improving the links between local health services and hospital care, and through the better targeting of available funding on effective health programmes,” Mr Dutton said.

Naked truth about a titillating show

Dating is awkward when you are both naked.Imagine you were a television network executive, and an eager-beaver producer came to you with a pitch for a new series. ”So,” he says, ”we get a bunch of naked people …” And you stop him right there, because you are already rummaging through your safe for bags of money to hurl at his face.

I imagine this is how Dating Naked (Eleven, 8.30pm) came to exist. For those unfamiliar with the premise, and who find that title a little too cryptic, the show is about people dating naked. And … yep, that’s it. The participants are people who are unlucky in love, people who have tried everything to find that special someone. Well, everything except allowing cameras to film them going to an island and hanging out with strangers without any clothes on.

As a concept, it’s novel and fresh and has one big thing going for it, and that is, and I can’t stress this enough: they’re all naked. Oh sure, the rude bits are blurred, but it remains an exciting development in the field of looking at nude people on TV. On Thursday’s episode, the first date is between statuesque blonde Taryn and weedy Aussie Steven, who are as comfortable in each other’s company as you’d expect two people who have never met and are being forced to eye off each other’s wobbliest districts to be. To make matters worse, Steven is a self-described ”nice guy”, ”nice” in this case apparently meaning ”incapable of speaking for 10 seconds without making a joke about genitalia”.

Things don’t get any better – or they get much much better, depending on your proclivities – when Steven goes on his second date with southern belle Ashley, on an ATV: not a vehicle especially suited to minimising jiggle. Frankly, one is not baffled about why Steven is single, although it is puzzling why he thought he’d be in with a better chance if he was naked. Meanwhile, Taryn is being photographed on the beach by a towering bearded Israeli, whose habit of standing with crotch thrust forward is not putting her at ease. It’s a compelling insight into the dating rituals of the modern nude young person. I’m not saying it’s the greatest show ever, but I am saying that everyone is naked, so it’s close enough.

Disappointingly, the contestants on Survivor (GO! 9.30pm) are not naked, unless their swimmers fall down during a challenge, which is always a possibility. There’s not an awful lot of dating going on in this ”Blood vs Water” season but there is lots of potential for the destruction of families. The venerable reality giant has always been more about naked greed and betrayal than titillation, and it’s not stopping now.

Success surprise for sharp shooter

Newcastle Hunter guard Freya Roebuck.NEWCASTLE Hunters sharp-shooter Freya Roebuck is happy to keep juggling basketball with her medical studies for as long as she can.

The 20-year-old, 169-centimetre guard led University of Newcastle to victory at the Australian Uni Games in Sydney this month and was named in the all-tournament merit team.

Playing alongside Hunters teammates Jill Morgan, Kelsey Moss and Cassie Pentney, Roebuck top-scored in Newcastle’s 61-30 victory over Griffith University in the division two final to cap a perfect 10-0 record for the tournament.

‘‘I’m pretty sure they picked seven girls from division one and only three from division two, so I was really flattered to be recognised when we were playing division two,’’ Roebuck said.

‘‘Because I’d been between the end of the Hunters and the start of Uni Games, I’d been working on my fitness and back-to-basics core stuff rather than fine-tuning my basketball, so I wasn’t surprised that I was a bit rusty at the start of the week.

‘‘We didn’t do a lot of team training either, with people being busy towards the end of the semester and stuff, but towards the end of the week I got on a roll and in the grand final when it mattered I guess I stepped up and surprised myself a little bit.’’

Newcastle coach Rohan Stevenson said Roebuck benefited from the extra defensive attention opponents directed towards Morgan.

‘‘They double-teamed Jill in the post and that made life easier for the shooters, and Freya made her shots,’’ Stevenson said.

The University of Newcastle men’s team were silver medallists, going down 66-65 to Victoria University in the final. Power forward Tye McGann, who plays in the Waratah Basketball League for Central Coast Crusaders, was named in the all-tournament team.

‘‘For Newcastle to be competing for the first time in 12 years and getting those results, a gold and a silver medal and two players named in the all-tournament teams, it shows that we punched above our weight and caught some of the bigger schools off guard.’’

Originally from Bathurst, Roebuck has just completed her first season with the Hunters. She played for the Waratah championship and Youth League teams, and hopes to be selected for both again next year.

‘‘Having that year of experience under my belt will be good,’’ she said.

‘‘Our team really gelled well this year, and we probably got on even better off the court than we did on the court, so hopefully we can build on that for next year.’’

Roebuck is in the second year of a three-year biomedical science degree and plans to study postgraduate medicine in Sydney.

Her father, former Wallabies fullback Marty Roebuck, is studying the same course in Sydney and she said they often swapped notes.

Marty is no stranger to Newcastle after captaining the now-defunct Wildfires in the NSW club rugby union competition in the mid-1990s.

‘‘I’ve learnt a lot from him, and a lot of it is relevant to what I’m doing,’’ she said.

‘‘He was a physio for 20-odd years after he finished up with his rugby, then in 2012 he decided to go back to uni.’’

She would prefer to stay and play in Newcastle beyond the end of next year but was sure her studies would take her to Sydney, where she hoped to continue playing in the WBL.

‘‘Studying medicine will be really intense, so I’ll probably have to decide between basketball and that, but when it comes down to it, if I’m going to be in Sydney doing medicine I can always hook up with a club down there and see how I go from there.’’

She said it would be great if she could go further in basketball, but is happy playing at this level for the moment.

Public service workers’ compensation reforms are ‘harsh and unjust’, say Labor

Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor.Public service news: full coverage

Federal government reforms to public service workers’ compensation are “harsh, unjust” and “gratuitously mean”, according to the federal opposition.

Labor says changes planned by the Coalition would leave 160,000 public servants and hundreds of thousands of other workers with less cover than the rest of the Australian workforce.

Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor says changes to federal workplace insurer Comcare directly risk the health and safety of Australian workers and leave injured employees without access to compensation or medical benefits.

But Employment Minister Eric Abetz shot back on Wednesday, accusing Mr O’Connor of being content to let “rorts” against the system continue.

Before it lost office, Labor pledged to reform the Comcare in a bid to control its spiralling costs and the Coalition has continued the push since winning government.

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Senator Abetz has legislation before Parliament that will make it easier for private sector companies to join the Comcare scheme and put a stop to compo pay-outs to workers injured while on breaks from their jobs.

It will also block claims for employees seriously hurt or killed while engaging in serious misconduct or who voluntarily assume “abnormal risk”.

The Canberra Times revealed in September that a second tranche of reforms is also in development which would address some of the most controversial aspects of public service workers’ compo: payouts for psychological injuries, compensation for life, and taxpayer-funded access to dubious therapies.

But Mr O’Connor told a union workplace safety conference in Melbourne that Senator Abetz’s reforms were “a series of exclusions from compensation that will make Comcare an outlier in Australia for the harsh and unjust way that it would treat injured and deceased workers”.

Mr O’Connor said the abnormal risk clause would hurt police officers or medical workers who put their health or even their lives on the line to protect the public.

“There is no protection for vulnerable workers who are asked or directed to do dangerous tasks by their co-workers – the young worker or older worker afraid of losing their job,” the Labor frontbencher said.

“There is no protection for police, for nurses for workers who respond throughout the day and are exposed to risk, but must perform tasks to ensure the health, safety and well-being of others.”

Provisions banning compensation pay-outs for workers hurt while on an “ordinary recess”,  or a break from their work, bring the scheme back to the days of WorkChoices, Mr O’Connor told the ACTU conference.

“In 2007, under John Howard’s WorkChoices regime, recess claims were removed from the scheme,” he said.

“In 2011, Labor reinstated the protection to return equity to Comcare and to provide coverage to injured workers under Comcare on a similar footing as provided to the vast majority of the Australian work force.

“Another provision in the Bill that underlines what this Government stands for is the removal of protection and compensation in cases of ‘death or serious and permanent impairment’ if ‘wilful misconduct’ is alleged.

“This is perhaps the most gratuitously mean proposal in the Bill, because the Government acknowledge at best negligible savings from this measure in its Regulation Impact Statement.

“There are no individuals or organisations that we know of that have called for this change.”

Senator Abetz rejected Mr O’Connor’s position, and said his reforms would bring Comcare into line with the schemes that cover most Australian workers.

“These reforms will help bring the Commonwealth workers compensation scheme into line with the rules under State schemes and will remove loopholes that can be rorted when injuries occur that are not the responsibility of the employer,” the minister said.

“Mr O’Connor should be upfront and admit that he would rather see such rorts continue to exist at taxpayers’ expense and that he opposes common sense reforms to the system that will help keep it affordable.”

Bresciano desperate to fix weaknesses as Cup looms

Ange Postecoglou, Head Coach Socceroos has a word with his players in a water break during the international friendly match between Qatar and Australia at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

DOHA: Veteran midfielder Mark Bresciano bluntly admits something is not right with the Socceroos and drastic improvement is needed before the Asian Cup.

Bresciano admitted Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Qatar in Doha was an unacceptable result for a side with ambitions of winning the continental trophy on home soil in January.

While the 34-year-old said he and his teammates believed in the way they wanted to play under Ange Postecoglou, he was worried time was running out.

‘‘Personally, I think a big improvement [is needed],’’ Bresciano said.

‘‘Something’s not right, and we’ve got to fix it because it [the Asian Cup] is getting close. If we’re going to have any chance of winning it, games like tonight we shouldn’t be losing.’’

The Socceroos beat 96th-ranked Qatar easily three times in 2008, and Bresciano played in two of the victories.

He said while Middle Eastern teams were improving all the time, Tuesday’s result was also a reflection of the Socceroos’ transition.

‘‘We’re going through this transition with the young boys coming in, and maybe the standard has dropped a little bit,’’ he said. ‘‘But we know that and we’re working on that and we’ve got to become the best we can be before January.’’

Skipper Mile Jedinak said it was ‘‘bitterly disappointing’’ to lose a match he felt Australia dominated.

‘‘I think the performance itself, there was a lot of positives, but we’ve got to start cutting out those bits in our game where we’re giving away goals,’’ Jedinak said.

‘‘We’ve got a lot of work to do, but the confidence, it’s still going to be there. We believe in the way we’re going to play, and hopefully we’ll rectify that [against Japan] in November.’’

Socceroos greats appealed for calm, urging supporters to keep the faith in Postecoglou.

Former Socceroos captains Paul Wade and John Kosmina want the loss to Qatar to be kept in perspective.

While the defeat prompted Mark Bosnich to say he was almost panicking about the national side, Wade and Kosmina were less perturbed.

‘‘I’m not freaking out going, ‘Oh no, we have gone from taking on the best in the world to getting beat by Qatar,’’’ Wade said on Wednesday.

‘‘I’m not going to go slashing any wrists. I have changed my tune because normally I would have given it to them.

‘‘But I can totally understand the changes Ange Postecoglou is trying to make with the players that he has, who are trying to adapt to that.

‘‘It is very well structured and it takes a little bit of time.

‘‘I have utmost confidence in what Ange is trying to do and what the players will deliver here in Australia in the Asian Cup.’’

Kosmina also remained bullish about Australia’s prospects for the Asian Cup on home soil in January but said the Socceroos needed to be more ruthless in the back half and more cunning in attack.

‘‘It’s still a work in progress, and I can see where Ange is coming from,’’ Kosmina said.

‘‘But it gets back to the same thing I said after the World Cup: we’re not clever enough in the front third of the pitch. And it’s as simple as that.

‘‘We get good field position, so to speak, and don’t make the most of it.

‘‘We’re not even building pressure on the opposition by creating chances and getting into good areas where we have got them on the back foot.’’

Postecoglou’s game plan was sound, but queries remained whether he had the players to implement it, Kosmina said.

‘‘I like the way he is trying to get the team to play. But sometimes you have got to look at the type of players you have got and say, ‘Are they actually capable of playing that way?’

‘‘I’m not being disrespectful, but you have got Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano, they are not the sort of blokes that are going to press at 100 miles an hour because their bodies simply can’t do it.’’

Kosmina and Wade stressed the friendly status of the Qatar fixture and Australia’s scoreless draw with United Arab Emirates four days ago.

But Bosnich said the Socceroos clearly struggled in both encounters.

‘‘Not far from panic,’’ Bosnich said on Fox Sports when asked how he felt about the performances. AAP

Public servants demand Ebola isolation units be set up in Canberra

Public service news: full coverage

Public servants want isolation units set up in Canberra to quarantine government officials returning from Ebola-stricken regions of Africa.

The demand comes as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed its top doctor had visited Australian diplomatic posts in African nations hit by the epidemic to “discuss key issues arising from the outbreak.”

The departmental staffers accuse their bosses of “dereliction of duty and failing to show respect to employees and the Australian public” by not being upfront about plans to cope if an Australian official contracts the disease.

Workplace delegates have suggested luxury apartments at Canberra’s upmarket Kingston Foreshore be rented to keep officials returning from Ebola hotspots in isolation until they are confirmed as all-clear of the infection.

Leaked internal documents show growing disquiet among the department’s public servants and union delegates are now demanding that departmental bosses brief staff on contingency and emergency plans in the face of the outbreak.

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The latest Ebola epidemic is the worst outbreak of the deadly disease on record and has killed more than 4000 people, mostly in the west African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

There have been several cases of infection among western aid workers, medics and missionaries.

One of the department’s Community and Public Sector Union delegates, Christopher Lang, has demanded the department’s bosses level with staff about what they are doing to mitigate the threat.

Mr Lang said public servants engaged in aid work in Africa, as well as diplomatic activities,  brought them into the Ebola danger zone.

“At a minimum, management must share with employees its contingency arrangements to mitigate adverse impacts of Ebola risk.”

The union delegate said management was failing its duty of care to the department’s employees if it maintained its silence.

“Silence on this front indicates dereliction of duty and failing to show respect to employees and the Australian public in neglecting to fulfil its obligation to take action to protect employees.”

Mr Lang cited the case of  German UN doctor from the disease.

“The significance of this event is that the UN health care worker died despite being under the ‘best of’ German care,” Mr Lang wrote.

“The response from management is a non-response in terms of the risks colleagues face daily in travel and work in the country.”

There is also concern about contact by Australian expatriates with local workers at diplomatic installations in Africa and worries that the disease might be spread by the system of cleaning toilets at the department’s Canberra buildings.

Senior department executive Arthur Spyrou said: “I can advise that the department is working directly with posts in the region to address the issues arising from the outbreak.

“The senior departmental doctor has also visited relevant posts to discuss key issues arising from the outbreak. “This work is ongoing.”

Lee family portraits capture Lake Burley Griffin scene over 50 years

25 years ago: Dan Lee with his daughters Julie Anne and Margaret at Regatta Point in 1988. Photo: Supplied 50 years ago: Dan Lee with his daughters Julie Anne and Margaret in 1963. Photo: Supplied

Just last year: Dan Lee with daughters Julie Anne and Margaret in 2013. Photo: Supplied

Dan Lee watched his two daughters grow from curly-haired little girls to young women in the time Canberra’s famous lake went from a trickle of water to a large expanse.

The changes have been captured in three precious family portraits of the trio, each snapped by Mr Lee’s wife Nancye, over 50 years.

They have made a point of posing for the same photograph every 25 years to document their changing faces and also the transformation of Lake Burley Griffin.

Mr Lee and his daughters Julie Anne Johnston and Margaret Gosper were first snapped at Regatta Point on Canberra’s northside in 1963, months before the lake filled in.

“I just find that first photo quite astonishing, you can actually see the river winding through there,” Mr Lee said.

It was the girls’ first real experience of the capital after Mr Lee came to Canberra to work for what was then the Department of Customs and Excise the previous year.

His pregnant wife and the two girls remained at the family’s home in Sydney’s southern suburbs, with Mr Lee travelling back each weekend, until they moved into a Reid house in 1964.

The couple, who also had three sons, built their house in Lyons in 1968 and apart from a year working in Canada and three years in Brisbane, they have lived there ever since.

“This has been our home,” Mr Lee said.

The girls attended Catholic schools in Canberra and by the time they set about recreating the image in 1988 both were married and worked in the public service.

“We knew that first photo was there and we knew it was taken in August so went at the end of July or early August to get the photo 25 years later,” Mr Lee said.

“There was a lot more water in the lake.”

By the time the 50th anniversary of the first shot rolled around in 2013, Mr Lee was about to celebrate his 80th birthday.

In the background, the National Museum had replaced the old Royal Canberra Hospital on the New Acton Peninsula.

Mr Lee often felt a bit nostalgic when he looked at them and observed the changes.

“That’s one of the reasons we go back, it brings back memories.”

“It is interesting to see how you looked – I used to have a bit more hair.”

He made a point of wearing the same jumper he donned in 1988 when he posed for the most recent shot.

He still had the item of clothing and joked he hadn’t ruled out wearing it if he got the opportunity to pose for another photo.

“I’m looking forward to the 75th anniversary, I’ll only be 106,” he said.

Mr Lee said the lake had been “a tremendous thing for Canberra and a great amenity”.

The Block’s Brad and Lara buy Maryville Tavern

The Block winners Lara and Brad on Wednesday with business partner Michael Deer have bought the Maryville Tavern and are now renovating it. Photo by PHIL HEARNE ONE of Newcastle’s beloved but lesser-known pubs is set for renovation, with The Block winners Brad and Lara Cranfield confirming they’ve bought the Maryville Tavern.

The couple took over the kitchen last month and completed the pub’s purchase this week. They declined to disclose the sum, though Australian Property Monitors said the previous owner bought it in 2005 for about $2.6 million.

Mr Cranfield said he and Mrs Cranfield were now co-owners with his cousin Michael Deer, and would try to preserve the pub’s tucked-away urban feel.

‘‘We’ll try and appeal to everyone,’’ he said.

‘‘I think there’s a lot of youngish people like Lara and myself who’d like to go out for a meal and a beer.’’

Mr Deer is a former licensee of The Dockyard at Honeysuckle, and Mr Cranfield said his parents had managed pubs since he was a kid.

A block from the Islington cycle path and flanked by a warehouse, the tavern is regarded locally as a hidden gem. It currently has an old-fashioned horseshoe bar and a restaurant out back.

Mr Cranfield said the bar would stay but could be refurbished to ‘‘create atmosphere’’. The beer garden, presently a paved courtyard, may be fitted out with more plants.

The couple, who married in February, are living at and renovating their house in East Maitland and will commute to work on the tavern. Mr Cranfield said taking on another renovation had been ‘‘a learning curve’’, but hoped the house would be finished by Christmas.

Brad and Lara won the NBN reality show in 2012, making $506,000 on their house at auction.

Active video games won’t fix couch potato kids, new research shows

Active video games do not make children fitter or more physically active, new research shows.

Replacing traditional sedentary games with active ones or banning video games makes little difference to how physically active children are across the day, according to research presented at Sports Medicine Australia’s be active 2014 conference in Canberra on Thursday.

“At  the moment, the current technologies aren’t really engaging enough for kids to enjoy playing them so much that they would rather play the active game rather than the sedentary game,” Professor Leon Straker from Curtin University’s School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science said.

“The idea is right but the technology just isn’t good enough for kids to be really enthralled with the active games like they are with some of the sedentary games.”

Professor Straker said lab studies had found active video games did increase physical activity levels, but field studies revealed children simply weren’t interested in playing them in the “real world”.

“(In the laboratory study), they certainly were using more muscles, more movement and burning more calories when playing the active games when compared to ‘press button’ games,” he said.

The field study found children tended to do just five or six minutes more physical activity a day when they had no access to electronic games or used active video games.

Professor Straker said 56 children took part in the study where they spent two months with access to active video games at home, two months with traditional “sedentary” games at home and then the same amount of time with no games.

He said parents reported finding it easier to replace traditional video games with active games than banning video games in the home altogether.

“Electronic games are really important for a lot of children in their lives and we need to find ways of managing that so children still have enjoyable childhoods and play but don’t be so sedentary that it is harming their mental and physical health,” Professor Straker said.

He said physical activity which increased heart rate and breathing had really important mental and physical health benefits for children.

“If we can get active video games to be engaging that can be a really good way for children to get some of their physical activity each day,” he said.

Professor Straker said traditional forms of physical activity were still the best way of getting children moving and he believed parents should limit how much time their children spent in front of screens.

“I don’t want (active video games) to replace them running around outside or some of the time that they normally spend sitting around watching TV,” he said.

“The press button video games need to be seen in the same category as watching TV.”

Australian guidelines suggest school age children should not have more than two hours of screen time a day.

“Electronic games is part of watching tv, watching YouTube, spending time on social media on their computer, all of that sitting down in front of a screen.

“Parents should be talking to their children, setting up rules about what’s acceptable in terms of the amount of time on all the screens, including electronic games.”