Month: January 2019

One dead after glider ‘fell out of the sky’ on Queensland border



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An experienced Victorian glider pilot with 20 years experience has died after his glider spiralled to the ground this afternoon and crashed south of Goondiwindi, just over the New South Wales border.

Steve Scott, a reporting officerat Goondiwindi Airport, said he had spoken to a pilot who witnessed the crash and had said the glider “just looked like it fell out of the sky”.

“They said it just looked like (the glider) fell out of the sky, it wasn’tlanding or taking off,” he said.

Chris Thorpe, the lead investigator from the Gliding Federation of , said the glider with the male pilot, was seen spiralling out of control towards the ground about 1.20pm.

Emergency services on the scene.

The Jonker JS-1 glider spiralled and crashed on arural property near Boggabillajust over the border in northern New South Wales, just south of Goodniwindi Airport, Mr Thorpe said.

“The glider was observed to spiral towards the ground and it has hit the ground and the occupant – the pilot – was deceased,” he said on Monday afternoon.

“We don’t know the reason for that, but we are working closely with the New South Wales police force,” he said.

He said the glider crashed near Boggabilla and police and ambulance crews had recently arrived.

Mr Thorpe said the glider began to spiral about six minutes into the flight.

The experienced pilot was competing in the Club and Sports Class of the National Gliding Championships which are being held at Goondiwindi’s Airport.

“There are competitors from all over and the pilot who has sadly died was from Victoria,” Mr Thorpe said.

“He was a friend, but I can’t tell you his name at the minute because I’m unsure if his wife has been advised just yet,” he said.

“I’ve known him for about 30 years. He was a very experienced glider pilot and had been flying in competitions for at least the past two decades.

“We are very close in the gliding community, so all our thoughts are with family and friends.”

“We will all be supporting each other this time.”

Mr Thorpe said it was simply too early to speculate how the crash occurred.

“It will be at least two months before we know if it was a medical issue. We don’t know if it was an issue with his aircraft.

“Right now we just don’t know.”

Mr Thorpe said investigators will look at the height that the glider began to spiral.

“It might be that he just could not recover it in time,” he said.

Mr Thorpe said a detailed investigation of the glider would begin immediately while medical records were checked.

Police also investigate fatal glider accidents.

The 37th National Gliding Championship is being held at Goondiwindi Airport. It started on Sunday and is scheduled to run until October 19.

The latest fatality comes less than three weeks after instructor Jeremy Thompson, 62, and student Norbert Gross, 60, died when their glider crashed into a paddock about two-and-a-half hours north of Goondiwindi.

Paramedics were called to the Cunningham Highway at Goondiwindi about 1.30pm on Monday, but the pilot died at the scene.

– with Toby Crockford, Tony Moore and AAP

After 10 days without a clue, coroner may be left to rule on Elisa Curry’s fate



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A woman vanishes in a small coastal town. A hardened detective devotes himself to the case. Police immediately begin to sift through her belongings, and carefully examine the word of those who saw her last.

On the ground, search and rescue crews, coupled with dozens of volunteers, spend 10 days searching; crawling through dense bush, scouring clifftops and diving into waterways.

Missing mum Elisa Curry. Photo: Supplied

But Elisa Curry is still missing.

Victoria Police Inspector Peter Seel, who’s been leading the search, fears that ultimately, it may fall upon a coroner to determine the truth about her fate.

“We haven’t arrived to any conclusion as to what may have happened. We are looking at all aspects, from suicide to accident to all the possibilities,” Inspector Seel told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

“But ultimately, if Elisa is not found, it will be up to a coroner to decide what they think occurred.”

The search so far has yielded no sign of the mother of three who was last seen at the family holiday home in Aireys Inlet, near the Great Ocean Road, on grand final night on September 30.

“The longer it goes on, the less likely it is for you to give the family an answer,” Inspector Seel said.

“It is distressing for her husband, her father, her brother, her children, her friends. And it is disappointing that we can’t give them an answer.”

The 43-year-old marathon runner watched the big game with a female friend who left the house a little while after it ended.

Two neighbours also visited her on Saturday night, the husband and wife both left and the wife later came back and saw Ms Curry get into bed.

When her family returned home on Sunday morning after going to the MCG for the grand final, they found Ms Curry, the family dog and her mobile phone missing.

The black Labrador was later found roaming nearby streets.

On the weekend, after the initial intensive seven-day hunt was scaled down, police set up an information caravan outside the Aireys Inlet general store with the hope of finding some fresh leads.

So far, detectives have spoken to more than 150 members of the public but there has been no “breakthrough” clue.

“Detectives are following up all the information we have received from the caravan, and are in constant contact with Elisa’s family,” Inspector Seel said.

“We are still going through all the information – some [tips] have corroborated what we already knew and some have been reassessed by detectives.”

Clues about Ms Curry’s state of mind in the hours before she vanished were also being examined by police.

On grand final night, Ms Curry had been discussing a “personal” matter with a female friend.

“I’m not going to comment on her personal life,” Inspector Seel said, declining to elaborate further on this aspect of the search.

On Sunday, depending on the weather, divers will be sent out and the search will continue.

There are also plans for bush and recuse crews to assist in looking through an area detectives want to double-check based on information they received from the information caravan.

The search for Ms Curry has been coastal and inland. The bush in the area is incredibly dense – making it difficult for search crews to move quickly and be confident Ms Curry is not in the areas that have been covered.

“You can be five to 10 metres off the bush track and the bush is so thick that you wouldn’t be able see it,” said Inspector Seel.

“It’s very very thick. And even with the helicopter … because of the foliage of the trees it is difficult to see down as well,” he said.

Ten days of searching have proved fruitless. Photo: Jason South

He said support from the community had been overwhelming – noting that on each day of the search in the first week there had been about 30 volunteers who turned up to help look for Ms Curry.

Inspector Seel said that if new information was received, detectives may recommence the search.

Tasmanian Labor MPs call for Human Services and Tax Office jobs relocations



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photo Neil Richardson 6/7/16 Bill Shorten in Launceston to congratulate Ross Hart for winning Bass . News. 25th March 2015. MHR Gai Brodtmann wearing a Parliament House insipired dress.The Canberra TimesPhoto Jamila Toderas

Tasmania’s federal Labor MPs have called on the Turnbull government to relocate more Tax Office and Human Services Department jobs to the state, but only after consultation with existing public service employees.

In a submission to an inquiry considering plans for government decentralisation, opposition MPs Ross Hart, Justine Keay, Julie Collins and Brian Mitchell said the Human Services Department should increase its presence in Tasmania and the ATO could broaden its workload in the north-west city of Burnie.

The group – which includes representatives of the marginal seats of Bass, Braddon and Lyons – said a boost in jobs in Burnie would require additional office space in the central business district and help improve the local unemployment rate.

Currently about 2.3 per cent of federal public service jobs are based in Tasmania, lower than every jurisdiction except for the Northern Territory at 1.4 per cent.

About 57,500 public service jobs are based in Canberra, 37.9 per cent of the entire federal workforce.

The MPs told the committee relocation of federal agencies from Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne might be welcome in Tasmania but would not effective redress the loss of hundreds of jobs from Human Services, the ATO, CSIRO and the n Antarctic Division since the Coalition’s election in 2013.

“Instead the government would be better to focus the continuing diversification of the regional economic and employment base in Tasmania,” they said.

“Tasmania’s economy is unsurprisingly very dependent on the public sector.

“Compared with other states, Tasmania is heavily reliant on GST revenue due to a lower capacity to raise revenue, necessarily higher demand for government services and the greater cost of delivering those services.

“No change should be made until there has been full and proper consultation with employees and their representatives,” the group said.

Canberra MP Gai Brodtmann used a submission to lash Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and the government over the forced relocation of the n Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, and to call for future forced relocation to be completed after cost-benefit analyses which are made public.

She said the government should commit to open and transparent public consultation processes and only relocate government agencies based on a demonstrated net benefit to the nation.

“The Turnbull government’s thought bubble policy is the beginning of one of the saddest chapters in n government history or a pathetic attempt to cloak the disaster of the APVMA relocation in a broader “policy”,” Ms Brodtmann told the committee.

The Victorian city of Wangaratta has told the inquiry it could host the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Civic and business leaders in the Victorian goldfields city of Ballarat said “full complements” of staff should be allocated to existing federal government offices, including Centrelink, Medicare and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Cabinet is expected to consider business cases for forced relocations before the end of the year.

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A-League: Jets want home ground rocking for visit by Perth



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PRIZED RECRUIT: Venezuelan international Ronny Vargas will be make his home debut for the Jets against Perth on Sunday. Picture: Marina NeilBUOYED by a spectacular start to the A-League season, theNewcastle Jets are on track to attract their biggest opening home crowd in five years and possibly ever.

Lawrie McKinna

Five days out from the clash against Perth Glory at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday, more than 12,000 tickets have beeneither purchased through memberships or taken up in agive-away promotion.

The figure has surpassed the 9,145 attendance for the first home game last season and they are on course to push the 14,868 fans on hand for the opening game of the 2012-13 campaign, when former Liverpool and England striker Emile Heskey was the club’smarquee player.

“We want McDonald Jones Stadiumrocking on Sunday,” Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said.“There is a lot of interest in the teamafter the win over the Mariners.Let’s get people there, lets create a great atmosphere and make it difficult for opposition teams to play.”

The Jets have released another allocation offree tickets, which are available on-line through Ticketsmaster, after 3800were snapped up by Monday. The promotion, which closes Friday,involves a $4.35 handling fee.

“The idea of thecampaign is to get as many people as possible to the first home game,” McKinna said.“Let them enjoy the experience and hopefully they will take out memberships. It costs the club money to give tickets away but we want to engage as many people as possible.”

The Jets’biggest opening night home crowd was 16,022 for the visit by arch rivals Central Coast in round one ofthe 2008-09 season. That match was a replay of the previous year’s grand final in which the Jets triumphed.

More than 2500 Jets members made the trip south to Gosford for the5-1 demolition of the Mariners last Saturday.

McKinna said hehad never experienced a buzz like when the “Newcastle” chanterupted as the Jets players walked over to thank the fansat full-time.

“It was brilliant andsent shivers down my spine,” McKinna said.“Myself and Ernie [Merrick] want tothank the 2500 fans, who travelled down to the Central Coast and out-sung the home fans.”

The four-goal win -the biggest in an F3 derby -left the Jetsperched ontop of the table after round onefor the first time in eight years.

Roy O’Donovan scored a hat-trick and fellow new boys Dimi Petratos and Joe Champness also hit the target.

The triumph was the catalyst for a spike in membership sales, with 400 purchased since Saturday night, taking the total to just under 8000.

Perth went down 2-1 to Western Sydney Wanderers in their first game but boast Johnny Warren Medalist Diego Castro, prolific strikers Andy Keogh and Adam Taggartand new importXavi Torres.

“Hopefullypeoplewho have been sitting and waiting to see how the team goes jump on board,” McKinna said. “Sunday is Ronny Vargas’ first home game.Come and support the boys.We are confidentitwill be a season the fans can be proud of.”

Jets coach Ernie Merrick is unlikely to make any changes for Sunday.

The Jets split their results against the Glory last season. They had a rare 2-1 win in Perth in round 10, drew 2-all at home in round 15, before a 3-2 loss three weeks later in the west.

Taggart, Castro and Keogh supplied all by one of the Glory’s goals.

Forget the doom and gloom headlines: here is some good news



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If bad news comes in threes, we’re due for some good news given the headlines of choice over the past week. Let’s try: the n stock market is actually doing quite nicely.

In short order, we’ve been told (again) that is running out of luck and “we’ll all be rooned” by one of the usual perma-bears – a story very nicely skewered by Crikey’s Bernard Keane.

Then there was a regurgitation of the standard housing disaster effort but both of those were topped (or bottomed) by a theory that our stock market was somehow broken while the rest of the world was surging ahead on sunlit plains extended.

Two graphs from the Reserve Bank will suffice to destroy the latter headline. The first shows the ASX basically travelling in line with the global index. Yes, the American market is clearly outperforming us and the rest of the world. I’ll come back to that.

The second graph shows what the story ignored – we’re much richer from dividends than the world average, let along the dividend-shy Americans.

Add the extra couple of hundred points in dividend yields, never mind franking credits, and the ASX is very comfortably beating the rest of the world.

Our love of dividends is why the simple All Ordinaries Index, or S&P ASX 200, doesn’t tell the true story about the n market. For that, you have to go to the accumulation version, the index that adds the value of dividends – although it still ignores the benefits of franking credits.

Go to the S&P 200 Accumulation Index and you’ll see our market is actually running around a record high.

The trick the knockers use to compare our market is to ignore our dividends and compare the previous boom-time peak with the present. Do that with the Accumulation index on a first-of-the-month basis and we’ve gone from 42,623.8 on October 1, 2007 to 56,137.99 ten years later – a rise of 32 per cent.

Not exactly the “going backwards” of the give-me-your-money-to-invest-overseas mob, is it?

But that’s also misleading. The peak of the last cycle was an unnatural time, a bit of a nonsense the way such peaks are. It would be an extremely rare individual who only invested everything at that peak.

More likely for any investor with half a brain is that they steadily add money as the market rises and falls. Let’s take, say, a 12-year range to factor in that bit of irrational exuberance as well as the subsequent GFC panic. On October 1, 2005, a dozen years ago, the Accumulation index was on 25,942.8. It’s risen by 116 per cent.

Not so shabby, is it?

The bigger thing though is that the n market doesn’t have to be all things to all investors. Yes, it is overweight banks and miners – but the US is overweight a handful of big tech stocks.

It is the reasonable thing for investors to diversify their holdings across asset types and geographies. That’s what we do.

There is no need to talk down the n market in the process.