Archive for March, 2019

Tasmania could become first state to blow up the pokies

Prime Minister Julia Gillard talks with Independent Mp Andrew Wilkie at the conclusion of question time at Parliament House Canberra on Tuesday 10 May 2011. Photo by Andrew Meares / Fairfax SPECIAL 000000Tasmania would become the first state to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs in a major strike against the gambling industry announced by the state Labor opposition.
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It comes as a report from the left-leaning Institute reveals is home to a stunning 76 per cent of the world’s poker machines in pubs, clubs and non-casino venues.

Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White said she would seize a “once in a generation” opportunity to ban pokies outside casinos if Labor wins next year’s election in that state.

It follows a parliamentary inquiry that showed $110 million was lost to the 2375 electronic gaming machines inside pubs and clubs across Tasmania last financial year.

“That is $110 million that’s not being spent in those communities,” Ms White said.

The move to ban the machines within five years represents a significant blow to the gaming industry, which is largely tolerated by the major parties.

Former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard squibbed on a deal with anti-pokies crusader Andrew Wilkie to introduce mandatory pre-commitment on gaming machines, and also refused calls for a $1 bet limit.

is home to about 200,000 poker machines – more per person than any country except a handful of gambling meccas – and ns lost $12 billion to the machines in 2015-16. Half of those losses were in the pokies-addicted state of NSW, whose government takes in close to $1.5 billion in taxation from poker machines each year.

Western is the only state in which pokies never proliferated, having been limited to Perth’s Burswood Casino since the 1970s. Excepting WA, Tasmania has the lowest per capita pokies losses of any state, according to the n Gambling Statistics database.

Ms White said the machines nonetheless had a “devastating affect on people and their families”, with seven additional people impacted for every person hit by a gambling addiction.

“There is absolutely no doubt this is a health issue,” she said. “This is the right thing to do for the health of our community.”

Under Labor’s plan, pubs would be assisted with a $55 million support package to wean them off the pokies. Casinos would be allowed to retain the machines.

Pokies in Tasmania are operated under the monopoly control of the Federal Group, which Fairfax Media has contacted for comment.

Mr Wilkie, who represents the Tasmanian seat of Denison, said Labor’s policy was “a win for those who have been tirelessly campaigning for meaningful poker machine reform”, and called on Liberal Premier Will Hodgman’s government to follow suit.

Bill Browne, co-author of the Institute report released on Wednesday, said was a “global anomaly” when it came to poker machines – even when taking casinos into account.

” has 0.3 per cent of the world’s population but 6 per cent of its conventional gaming machines and 18 per cent of its poker machines,” he said.

The report drew on data from the World Count of Gaming Machines survey commissioned by the Gaming Technologies Association, which only counts known, legal gaming machines. Not all such machines are counted as poker machines.

In a policy document, Tasmanian Labor indicated it would look to increase the tax on poker machine revenue at casinos to maintain the $4.5 million budgeted for anti-problem gambling causes.



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Bec Acopio will launch her book I Did Not Give Them My Consent at Lifeline Hunter

Newcastle sexual assault victim finds freedom Speaking Out: Bec Acopio has written a book about being a sexual assault survivor. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.
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Maryland’s Bec Acopio. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison is shadow minister for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Bec Acopio.

Bec Acopio.

TweetFacebookSexual assault survivor Bec Acopio has urged other victims to never give up hope.

Ms Acopio, of Maryland, will on Friday launch her book, titledI Did Not Give Them My Consent,at Lifeline Hunter at Islington.

The Newcastle Herald first reported Ms Acopio’s story in August, in which she revealed that shewas allegedly sexually assaulted by three men in separate incidents in Lake Macquarie more than 20 years ago.

After the story was published in the Herald, Ms Acopio said “I am free”.

The launch of her book is another step in her journey towards healing.

“It’s abig relief for me,” Ms Acopio said, of her book.

“I’m trying to get others to speak out. They don’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed or be silenced anymore.”

She moved to from the Philippines in 1989. She believes her Filipino background and “being an Asian girl” were factors in the sex crimes allegedly perpetrated against her.

Since her story in the Herald, she received positive and negative feedback from Newcastle’s Filipino community.

“Some said ‘good on you for speaking up, it’s courageous’. Other negative people said ‘why did you do that for’.”

She stood by her right to tell her story publicly and live her life her way, having suffered extreme depression, severe anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal thoughtsfor more than20 years.

“I do not care what negative or judgemental peoplesay about me,” she said.

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison revealed in theHeraldin May that she was a sexual assault victim.

Her story prompted Ms Acopio to come forward.

Ms Aitchison, who is shadow minister for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault, will help launch Ms Acopio’s book.

“It’s good to have an authentic voice, particularly someonefrom a migrant communitywhere there can bebig taboos about speaking out,” Ms Aitchison said.

She said Ms Acopio had an “extraordinary kind of courage”.

“It just goes to show that breaking the silence actually works, not just for you but for the next person. It makes it easier for them to tell their story.”

Lifeline regional managerRob Sams saidMsAcopio’s book is about heartache and pain, but alsohope.

“Reading Bec’s book, I was impressed by the way she sought help. Through the support of many in our local community, including Lifeline, she found hope for a future free of fear and anxiety,” Mr Sams said.

The book will befor sale at the launch andfrom Booktopia and Amazon.

The NSW Rape Crisis line is 1800 424 017 andLifeline is on 13 11 14.

Kids Helpline is on 1800 551 800 and MensLine is on 1300 789 978.



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Baby quokka Cinnamon hops to life at Chinan Reptile Park

Meet Cinnamon the baby quokka BABY: Cinnamon the quokka has taken her first steps at the n Reptile Park. Photo: n Reptile Park
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BABY: Cinnamon the quokka has taken her first steps at the n Reptile Park. Photo: n Reptile Park

BABY: Cinnamon the quokka has taken her first steps at the n Reptile Park. Photo: n Reptile Park

BABY: Cinnamon the quokka has taken her first steps at the n Reptile Park. Photo: n Reptile Park

HAPPY: Quokka Coco, Cinnamon’s mum. Picture: The n Reptile Park

HAPPY: There is a quokka baby on the way. Picture: The n Reptile Park

HAPPY: Quokka baby on the way. Picture: The n Reptile Park

BABY: Cinnamon the quokka has taken her first steps at the n Reptile Park. Photo: n Reptile Park

BABY: Cinnamon the quokka has taken her first steps at the n Reptile Park. Photo: n Reptile Park

TweetFacebook Quokka lifeThe first baby quokka to be born at the n Reptile Park has taken her first hops just in time for the Christmas school holidays.

Keepers at the Central Coast park first met Cinnamon when they checked Coco’s pouch in early August to see a tiny joey clinging onto mum’s teat. It was only this week that she took her first ‘steps’ and Cinnamon has quickly become one of the most popular animals at the sanctuary.

The tiny joey, known for its rounded fluffy ears and big smile, will now play an important role in the conservation breeding program to ensure the protection of quokkas.

The zoo keepers were delighted to find Cinnamon’s parents Coco and Basil getting very comfortable together in March, after just one year at the park.

The status of the species continues to be listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, while n mammals have the worst extinction rate in the world.

“The quokka’s notoriety worldwide is important as quokkas have reduced in great numbers in southwestern due to feral animals like foxes and cats,” the park’s general Manager Tim Faulkner said in a statement.

Thanks to their large and cheeky grins often pictured in selfies, the n mammal has been lovingly dubbed the happiest animal in the world.

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Trainer Alan Scorse and Magicalease prove tough team to beat on comeback trail

TOUGH TEAM: Magicalease and popular Newcastle horseman Alan Scorse on Thursday at the trainer’s Adamstown stable. Magicalease was a $10 chance with TAB Fixed Odds for Saturday. Picture: Marina NeilNewcastle trainer Alan “Groovy” Scorse has a new lease of life on his road backfrom cancer, and a fellowfighter from his stable is proving the perfect tonic.
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Magicalease, a four-year-old gelding, has three consecutive wins after15 months out of racing with a career-threatening tendon injury. He takes his comeback to Randwick on Saturday in a benchmark 84 handicap (1600 metres).

ALAN SCORSEMagicalease beats home Spring Creek Star to record a third consecutive win in Race 6 at #Newcastle. pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/uW05qG0Opv

— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) December 3, 2017

“We’re very happy with him and, touch wood, his legs are holding up. We just continue on.

“It’s a big step up for him but he needs to be on a big track and he needs a mile, so here we are.

“He drops five kilos at the weights, so that will help him taking on the stronger horses but he’s got the ability to handle that classand that’s where he’ll end up. Whether he’s ready for them straight away, we don’t know.

“We’ve got to take on a stronger grade at some point, so we may as well do it while he’s going well.”

Magicalease is coming off a fighting, photo-finish win over Spring Creek Star at Newcastle on December 3. He beat the same horse narrowly three weeks earlier at the track but carted two extra kilograms the second time around.

“Robert said he’ll never win by a long way, he just does enough to win and that’s it,” Scorse said.

“It was hisbest win so far.He was up in weight and he toughed it out. He wasoff the bita long way outand Robert said he’s looking for the 1600.”

I think it helps him racing at the provincials. He’s probably a city horse class and speed wise but being able to race here

seven starts, four starts, 15 months, like starting over again and he’s still learning about racing



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Three men arrested in police operation at Centennial Park

Three men will face court on Thursday after a dramatic arrest at Centennial Park where two loaded semi-automatic weapons and around $650,000 were seized by police.
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A large police presence descended on the park for the planned operation just before 1pm on Wednesday, with live aerial vision showing police searching a vehicle in the middle of the road.

Police had been following the men throughout the day and chose Centennial Park for the arrest because it was the “earliest opportunity and safest location”.

A 27-year-old Constitution Hill man, a 34-year-old Crows Nest man, and a 39-year-old man from The Ponds were taken to Waverley Police Station on Wednesday. Each of the men were charged with two counts of possessing an unauthorised pistol, possessing ammunition without holding a licence, knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime and participating in a criminal group.

They were refused bail to appear at Waverley Local Court on Thursday.

“We received information about these three gentlemen which caused us to arrest those people today,” Detective Acting Superintendent Damien Beaufils said.

“Again, they were armed with firearms and it was fairly important that we arrest them today.”

Photos posted to social media showed what appeared to be bullet holes in the front windscreen of a white van. But police have confirmed no shots were fired during the arrests.

Detective Superintendent Beaufils said the noise heard by park users came from a tactical device known as a non-lethal projectile, which was used to “subdue the men”.

He said police had no suspicions about where the men were going, rather they received information that they were in possession of firearms, “and so the decision was made to arrest them and seize the firearms”.

Both guns seized in the operation were semi-automatic; a Beretta and a Smith & Wesson.

The arrests, part of Strike Force Mangowa, are connected to “an ongoing investigation by the State Crime Command organised crime squad”.

Police said that the operation was not related to counter-terrorism.

Aerial footage shot by Seven News showed police searching a white four-wheel-drive with its doors flung open parked in the middle of Grand Drive. Officers could be seen photographing objects on the ground.

The footage shows police seizing several items, which were examined on the side of the road.

According to the ABC, witnesses saw police officers wearing balaclavas searching a vehicle, while others reported hearing loud bangs.

The operation occurred about 100 metres from the park’s main cafe.

Centennial Park is bordered by several affluent suburbs and is a popular park for exercising and sporting events. /**/



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