Archive for February, 2019

Barnaby Joyce says shutting down the live export industry will hurt our trade with the Middle East.Nearly all sheep involved in live exports arrive at their destination in the same, if not better condition as when they left, former agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce says.

Labor has renewed discussion over the divisive issue after its plan to bring back an independent watchdog to oversee the live export regulator was debated in federal parliament on Monday.

“Ninety-nine-point-seven cent of sheep that go to live export go off the ship in a better or same condition,” Mr Joyce told the lower house.

Shutting down the industry wasn’t the answer to solving issues, he added.

Labor MP Meryl Swanson questioned Mr Joyce’s statistic, but said the treatment of the remaining animals had troubled many ns.

She had received thousands of emails on the issue, she said.

“We have to treat those animals with respect, and I think that’s why we’ve seen such a heartfelt response from ns.”

Labor appointed an interim independent inspector-general in 2013 but lost government before the position could be cemented.

Opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon introduced a private member’s bill in June to reinstate the role, in response to scandals in the sector sparked by video footage showing sheep dying in horrific conditions onboard a Middle-East bound ship.

Mr Joyce fears shutting down the live export industry would hurt ‘s relationship with the Middle East.

“They might have a parochial approach to how they trade with us, or whether they do at all,” he said.

The coalition government has stalled legislation for tough new penalties for dodgy exporters, after Labor tacked on an amendment which would shut the industry down over five years.

Nationals MP Michelle Landry urged Labor to back improvements to the industry, rather than trying to shut it down entirely.

The hunt is on for survivors after Hurricane Michael levelled buildings in the Florida Panhandle.Dozens of people are missing in Florida Panhandle communities reduced to ruins by Hurricane Michael as rescuers said they expected the death toll to rise and survivors grappled with power outages and shortages of food and water.

Already at least 18 deaths in four states have been blamed on the hurricane as rescue crews using cadaver dogs and heavy equipment searched through collapsed homes in small towns such as Mexico Beach and Panama City for more victims on Sunday.

So far one person has been confirmed killed in Mexico Beach, which took a direct hit from the massive storm, but rescuers have been hobbled by blocked roads and huge piles of rubble from searching much of the town.

“If we lose only one life, to me that’s going to be a miracle,” Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey told local media.

Cathey said more than 250 residents had stayed behind when Michael came ashore on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, one of the most powerful storms to make landfall in the continental United States since records have been kept.

The mayor told ABC News that 46 people out of the town of some 1000 remained missing or unaccounted for as of Sunday.

Search and rescue volunteers have already located hundreds of people initially reported missing last week across the Panhandle.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who toured the devastated areas by helicopter with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, said the top priority remained search and rescue efforts.

Scott said crews were also distributing food, water and fuel to residents who have faced long lines for supplies.

More than 1700 search and rescue workers were deployed, Scott’s office said, including seven swift-water rescue teams and nearly 300 ambulances.

In Panama City, one of the hardest-hit communities, Fire Chief Alex Baird said search and rescue teams were now in “recovery mode” after largely giving up hope of finding any more survivors.

Electricity and telephone service were being slowly restored, but it could be weeks before power is restored to the state’s most damaged areas.

Two Florida prisons housing a total of nearly 3000 inmates were evacuated and closed at least temporarily after suffering structural damage from Michael, the Florida Department of Corrections said.

The department said no staff or inmates were injured during the storm and all had access to sufficient food and water.

President Donald Trump is expected to visit both Florida and Georgia early this week to inspect the damage, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump.

The White House said late on Saturday the president was fully committed to helping state and local agencies with the recovery.

End of an era: Courtney Lawrence and Amelia Lewis said they have mixed feelings about finishing 13 years of schooling. Picture: Marina NeilHUNTER students are feeling “surprisingly calm” ahead of the Higher School Certificate written exams starting on Thursday, saying they are hoping the papers are similar to thetrial tests.

The region’s students account for5815 of the 76,732 across NSWenrolled in one or more HSC coursesthis year.

The first written exam is English Paper 1.

Hunter Valley Grammar’s Courtney Lawrence,17, and Amelia Lewis,18, said they have been studying – mostly using past papers – for an average of about four hours each day.

They’ve been balancing study with exercise, socialisingand relaxing.

Related:Hunter students sprint to finish after Personal Development, Health and Physical Education examRelated:Hunter Higher School Certificate students say maths exam adds upRelated:Hunter students relegate content heavy exam paper to ancient historyRelated:Hunter students praised HSC English Paper 2 as “fair and kind to us”Related:Hunter Higher School Certificate students share verdict on English Paper 1Related:Higher School Certificate students urged to keep calm and try their best​“We just have to remember everyone is struggling at the same time,” Amelia said.

“The HSC is supposed to be the same as trials. If we can do the trials we can get through the HSC.”

“Our trials were packed into seven days and we’d only finished the content the week before, but this time my exams are spread across the entire four weeks,” Courtney said.

“The HSC is a big deal, but it’s not the biggest thing I’ll ever have to deal with. We’ve done so many practice papers we’re used to it.”

Courtney has been treating recent weeks like a regularschool day, by waking up at a normal time, going to the gym, studying at the library, seeing friends, doing more study and then watching a movie before bed.

Ameliasaid she usually slept in but wrote at least one practice essay each day for either English or Legal Studies and sent them to her teachers for feedback, as well as answered some short answer maths and Legal Studies questions.

She said she hadn’t been declining invitations to socialise, especially in the evenings.

“You’ve got to base your studies around past papers – knowing the answer is not good enough, you need to formulate it in a way the marker wants it.”

It’s been a busy final year for both girls.

As well as completing a diploma in speech and drama outside of school and working, Courtney said she has had a series of illnesses that were only recently diagnosed as Irlen Syndrome, nerve damage, low blood pressure that induces non epileptic seizures andreactive hyperglycemia.

“I needed to look after myself and couldn’t be stressed with all that going on.

“But having the HSC as a goal has been keeping me going. If someone says I can’t do something I do it 20 times better.”

Amelia has juggled basketball, netball, volleyball, cross country, rowing, rugby and athletics.

The girls are alsolooking beyond the HSC to their formal,on November 15.

Courtney will then travel to South West Rocks and Amelia to the Gold Coast.

Courtney wants topursue nursing, dietetics or pharmacy and work for a few years, before studyingmedicine.

Amelia wants to study law.

Head of School for the School of Creative Industries Paul Egglestone.UNIVERSITY of Newcastle creative industries students will come together to exhibit their final works in a first-of-its-kind week-long festival in the city to be calledFestival X.

The festival will includeshort film screenings, concerts, pop up music ensembles and incorporate the annual Newcastle International Animation Festival, showcasing some of the world’s best bite-sized animations.

Festival X director and School of Creative Industries lecturerDr Simon Weavingsaid the festival would offer the community, business and industry a chance to engage with creative industries education.

“Festival X is a really exciting manifestation of the creative industries at the University of Newcastle. It’s a chance for the community to see what’s at the cutting edge of creative technology, to talk to the creative practitioners of the future, and to wander between diverse experiences in the heart of the beautiful city of Newcastle,” Dr Weaving said.

“It’s a great opportunity for those considering a career in the creative industries to see and understand where a degree in this field might take them.”

“We’re incredibly proud of our talented students and above all, this is a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase years of dedication to their craft to their family and friends.”

Festival X will also include a commercial thread calledRicochet Songs, with Triple J host and artist Kristy Lee Peters, also known as KLP, bringing a group of female artists, producers and songwriters together.

Dr Weaving said the inclusion of a commercial thread was hopefully a sign of much more to come.

“We’ve been working hard under our Baraya record label, launched earlier this year, to form mutually beneficial industry partnerships,” he said.

“Hosting KLP’s Ricochet songwriting workshop in Newcastle as part of Festival X is one fantastic outcome of building those partnerships and we’re hoping to have more to announce soon.”

The festival includes both free and ticketed events and will be held from November 7 to 11.

It includes a November 9 range of pop up musical ensembles from regional folk to gypsy jazz, starting 5pm.

Lachie Neale, Dylan Shiel and Dayne Beams are among the AFL stars who remain in limbo after a quiet day of AFL trading, but Tom Liberatore’s future is with the Western Bulldogs.

Sam Lloyd’s switch from Richmond to the Dogs for pick No.64 was the only official paperwork lodged on Monday with the AFL.

After 117 games in seven seasons, Liberatore appeared on shaky ground at Whitten Oval after he was allowed to asses his options in free agency without a contract offer from the club.

The 2016 premiership player, with just one game this season after undergoing a second knee reconstruction, remains in Luke Beveridge’s plans.

“We won’t be trading him and Tom has indicated to us that he wants to remain at the Western Bulldogs,” list manager Sam Power told AFL Trade Radio.

“With all that information and the dialogue between the two parties, we’re really confident that a deal will get done … it’s only a matter of time.”

Power also confirmed his club’s interest in bringing in Taylor Duryea from Hawthorn and, that after missing out on Port Adelaide’s Chad Wingard, the Dogs would most likely take pick No.7 to the draft.

Contracted full back Marcus Adams remains intent on a fresh start with Brisbane but Power says that it will “have to be a really compelling offer … for us to consider it”.

The Lions could be in a position to improve their offer for Adams if they allow the contracted Beams to return to Collingwood.

Beams’ manager Paul Connors moved to clarify his client’s situation on Monday after reports emerged he was desperate to return to the club he played 110 games for, including the 2010 grand-final win over St Kilda.

“It would have to be really good (compensation) to Brisbane (for it to happen), but we’re not requesting a trade,” Connors told Trade Radio.

“We haven’t requested a trade … we will look at it if it suits both parties and it’s been done maturely.

“If Collingwood think that it’s worthwhile and that he’d be a good fit for them, then they’re going to need to come to the party.”

Nathan Buckley’s side had a win over the weekend when Tom Langdon turned down offers from Fremantle and Sydney to re-commit to the club.

With the trade period set to close on Wednesday at 8.30pm, there is still plenty of work to be done on some big trades that are holding up other transactions.

Shiel’s switch from GWS to Essendon is at an impasse, with the Giants demanding an improved offer for the contracted star.

Other key deals that remain unfinalised include Neale’s move from Fremantle to Brisbane, Jesse Hogan’s on again, off again jump from Melbourne to the Dockers, Chad Wingard’s trade from Port Adelaide to Hawthorn, Tom Scully’s potential switch from GWS to Hawthorn and Rory Lobb’s shift from the Giants to the Dockers.