Morrison silent on open border benchmark

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to reveal the benchmark for international borders to reopen, or provide comment on whether states could go it alone.

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More than $200,000 raised at 2021 Stars of the Border Dance for Cancer | The Border Mail

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Former North Albury footballer Mark Hilton has won the judges’ choice award in the Stars of the Border Dance for Cancer fundraiser event on Friday night, which raised more than $200,000. In total, the 12 Border personalities competing in the charity event and their dance teacher partners raised $238,000 to be put towards cancer prevention and patient treatment. Border Star and Corowa-Rutherglen A grade netball coach Georgie Bruce said it was an “outstanding amount” considering the financial strain many members of the community were under due to the pandemic. “We know that everyone did it really tough,” she said. “There were lots of people out of work and financially strained, but the generosity that I, as an individual, have experienced and the support that I’ve experienced, was overwhelming. “It just reiterates in your mind that we’re so lucky in this country.” IN OTHER NEWS: Ms Bruce said it was an amazing event that everybody, including many volunteers, worked hard to pull off. “It’s a fantastic production event that’s put on and it takes an enormous effort,” she said. “They’re just amazing people. “We’ll look back at this and think that was the best thing we ever did and for a great cause.” Ms Bruce said the intense training schedules and learning a new skill had been challenging for some stars, but she was glad that after weeks of late night rehearsals the effort had paid off. “You think ‘oh my god, this is so hard to do this’,” she said. “But this is nothing in the grand scheme of things when you reflect on what a cancer patient must be going through.” Karen Crook won the people’s choice award with her partner Glen Strauss and the largest fundraising award went to Bart Furst, partnered by Elly Bligh. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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Lockhart Ambulance Station to get refurbished under RAIR program | The Border Mail

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RIVERINA paramedics will soon be surrounded by a fresh workspace with a refurbishment project planned for the Lockhart Ambulance Station. The NSW Government’s $232 million Rural Ambulance Infrastructure Reconfiguration program will see the small town’s station upgraded with alterations and additions to staff amenities, plant room improvements, and an internal and external upgrade such as new carpets and repainting. IN OTHER NEWS: Health Minister Brad Hazzard said work is expected to commence later this year following a competitive tender process. “Our paramedics need the best possible workplace to provide emergency medical care, and the infrastructure improvements will make a real difference to their working environment,” he said. The refurbishment follows previous investments of more than half a billion dollars in the Wagga region, including a new ambulance station in Wagga, $50 million for the Tumut Hospital Redevelopment, the $250 million Griffith Hospital redevelopment, $431 million for the Wagga Health Service Redevelopment and $30 million for a new multistorey car park project at Wagga Base Hospital. The RAIR program is the single largest investment in regional NSW Ambulance’s 126-year history, with 24 new or upgraded ambulance stations already delivered or under construction as part of the $132 million Stage One program. A further $100 million worth of ambulance assets are set to be delivered across regional and rural NSW under Stage Two.


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Beechworth man was three times the legal blood alcohol limit | The Border Mail

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A magistrate has slammed a Beechworth man for hitting the highway with three passengers after downing 10 cans of beer. “He’s acted like a complete idiot,” Miranda Moody told defence lawyer Mitchell Irwin. Harley Matthews had placed the other men “at great risk, not to mention himself,” Ms Moody said, on convicting him for having a high-range prescribed concentration of alcohol. IN OTHER NEWS: Matthews, 25, of Wells Road, pleaded guilty in Albury Local Court this week. He was caught by police at Narooma on the far south coast, where he had been attending birthday celebrations. He told police he had no choice but to be behind the wheel. MORE COURT STORIES “I was only driving because one of my mates was driving but he drove off the road, so I took over,” Matthews said. Ms Moody said Matthews had a blood alcohol reading of 0.163, “which is well and truly in the mid-range.” “Neither the offender nor his mates should have been anywhere near a vehicle given their level of intoxication,” she said. The court was told how police saw a grey Toyota Hilux heading south on the Princes Highway on December 27 just after midnight. He came under notice because he appeared to be speeding. At one point he did a U-turn then turned into a service station. “The accused stepped from the driver’s side of the vehicle and was immediately unsteady and clumsy on approaching police.” Matthews, who had been drinking for 10 hours, was placed on a 12-month community corrections order, lost his licence for six months and was fined $1000.


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Why Australia didn’t wear helmets in 1989 series, Steve Waugh, Road to the Ashes Podcast, Allan Border, video

History shows Australia’s batsmen feast on England’s attack and Terry Alderman had David Gower’s men at sixes and sevens with the moving ball.

But beyond the statistics that ultimately led to Allan Border’s touring side of 1989 becoming the first Australian side to win the Ashes in England since 1964 was a mentality of invincibility.

It would seem reckless beyond imagination were any of Tim Paine’s men to walk out against Jofra Archer without a helmet and face the new ball later this year when Australia attempts to retain the Ashes.

Steve Smith, considered by some as the best since Don Bradman, played like cricket’s greatest batsman of all time in his return to Test cricket on the 2019 tour, but was still felled by Archer’s rising deliveries. Thankfully, he was wearing a helmet.

Yet, that’s exactly the attitude Border’s men approached the 1989 Ashes series with despite being written off by everyone.

In Fox Sports’ Road to the Ashes podcast, former captain Steve Waugh, who enjoyed a breakout campaign during the six-Test series, revealed Australia’s top-six made a collective decision not to wear helmets as often as possible when batting.

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A young Ambrose – Jofra key to Ashes win | 00:58

The death-defying decision was made to put a stake in the ground that Border’s men wouldn’t take a backwards step in the crucial series.

“It mightn’t have been mentioned, but the top six players didn’t wear helmets on that tour,” Waugh revealed on the Road to the Ashes.

“That was a bit of a collective decision by the batsmen to say: ‘hang on, we’re up for this contest, we don’t need a helmet, we’re going to take the English attack on.’

“I look back and it was a pretty brave and bold move and something that maybe has been overlooked. But that was mentality we took in that we were going to take England on.”

The Road To The Ashes is available to watch on FOXTEL, on Fox Cricket (channel 501) and Fox Sports 503. Stream on Kayo and listen on both Apple and Spotify.

‘WE’VE MISSED OUT’: Aussie legend’s brutal captaincy truth for Paine

On the back of maiden centuries to Mark Taylor (111) and Waugh (177*) as well as Alderman’s 5-44 on the final day of the first Test at Leeds, Australia took a surprising one-nil series lead.

“The first Test match was a bit of a fluke really,” Waugh says.

“We were used to losing a lot, so we were happy to draw the Test match, so Allan batted on until just before lunch on the fifth day before we declared, so that was a sign that, firstly, we didn’t want to lose the Test match but, secondly, it was a bit of a bonus if we were going to take some wickets.

“I think we got one before lunch and Merv (Hughes) bowled really well and Terry Alderman and Geoff Lawson, and all of a sudden it started to happen in the middle session and we had this incredible unexpected win against the odds and that gave us enormous belief that we could actually beat England, we could compete and we could do things we didn’t really believe we could do.

“So the first one was by accident and once we got our nose in front, we really started to believe.”

Lack of Tests could keep Aussies fresh | 00:42

Australia ultimately won the series 4-0.

Waugh made 506 runs at 126.5, Taylor scored an incredible 839 runs at 83.9, while Border and Dean Jones were also prolific.

Alderman, the cunning swing bowler, took 41 wickets at 17.36 to be awarded player of the series and was well supported by Lawson who took 29 wickets at 27.27.

Opening up on the tour, Waugh said his time in County Cricket for Somerset laid the foundations for his unbelievable winter.

“Without doubt. That was probably the defining moment of my career being at Somerset and being exposed to world class bowlers,” Waugh said.

“I came up against bowlers like Malcolm Marshall and Courtney Walsh and I’ll never forget coming up against Sylvester Clarke for the first time at The Oval – that was probably the most terrifying experience of my life.

“It was probably the best hundred I ever scored in first-class cricket. I got 111 not out and I remember him bowling 30 overs and not having a fieldsman in front of square on either side. He was lethal. The Somerset boys talked about him all week that he was going to hit everyone in the head and he didn’t let anybody down. I think he got three Somerset boys in the head and he was incredible.

“But for me to have that responsibility of being the overseas player and to overcome these great bowlers, I knew next time I went back to England for the Ashes I felt comfortable on the pitches, I felt comfortable with the crowds, I loved being in England and it was something that got me excited to play.”

Australia was greeted home by a ticker-tape parade through the streets of Sydney.

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Israeli forces mass at Gaza border as violence with Palestinian armed groups intensifies

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for restraint between Israel and Palestinian militants after days of air strikes and rocket attacks.

Israeli security forces massed at Gaza’s border on Thursday and Palestinian militants pounded Israel with rockets in intense hostilities that have caused international concern. 

Days of violence between Jewish Israelis and the country’s Arab minority worsened overnight, with synagogues attacked and fighting breaking out on the streets of some communities.

With concern growing the violence that flared on Monday could spiral out of control, the United States is sending an envoy, Hady Amr, to the region. But efforts to end the worst hostilities in years appear so far to have made no progress.

In renewed air strikes on Gaza, Israel struck a six-storey residential building in Gaza City that it said belonged to Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Palestinian enclave.

A view during an Israeli strike on Al-Shorouq tower in Gaza City, 12 May 2021 (issued 13 May 2021).

At least 83 people have been killed in Gaza since violence escalated on Monday, medics said, further straining hospitals already under heavy pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are facing Israel and COVID-19. We are in between two enemies,” said Asad Karam, 20, a construction worker, standing beside a road damaged during the air strikes. An electricity pole had collapsed by the road, with its wires severed.

In the latest Palestinian rocket attacks, one rocket crashed into a building near Tel Aviv, injuring five Israelis, police said. Sirens blared in cities across southern Israel, sending thousands running for shelters.

Seven people have been killed in Israel, its military said.

“All of Israel is under attack. It’s a very scary situation to be in,” said Margo Aronovic, a 26-year-old student, in Tel Aviv.

Israel has prepared combat troops along the Gaza border and was in “various stages of preparing ground operations”, a military spokesman said. 

Health authorities in Gaza said they were investigating the deaths of several people overnight who they said may have inhaled poisonous gas. Samples were being examined and they had yet to draw any final conclusions, they said.

Meanwhile, calls are growing internationally for a de-escalation of violence in the region.

US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that Israel has a right to defend itself, but after speaking with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he hopes clashes with Palestinians will end quickly.

“I had a conversation with Bibi Netanyahu not too long ago,” Mr Biden told reporters.

“My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory.”

A British minister has urged Israel and Hamas to “take a step back” from the escalation.

Scott Morrison urges ‘restraint’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was important the conflict did not play out in Australia. 

“Of course we are all very concerned about what is happening there,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.

“We have been urging restraint from all parties involved there to not take any unilateral action on those very stressful and tense situations we are finding there.

“But those things should not be played out here in Australia.”

Mr Morrison restated the government’s policy of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians and described Australia as an agent for peace.

He urged Australians with ties to the conflict to act with tolerance and respect.

“By all means, people can have concerns and views, and there is a tolerance for that, but at the same time we do not want to import the troubles of other parts of the world into this country.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to “continue acting to strike at the military capabilities of Hamas” and other Gaza groups. Hamas is regarded as a terrorist group by the United States and Israel.

 The wreck of a large apartment complex by ongoing Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, in Beit Lahia, Gaza on 13 May, 2021.

The wreck of a large apartment complex by ongoing Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, in Beit Lahia, Gaza on 13 May, 2021.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces killed a senior Hamas commander and bombed several buildings, including high-rises and a bank, which Israel said was linked to the faction’s activities.

Hamas signalled defiance, with its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, saying: “The confrontation with the enemy is open-ended.”

Israel launched its offensive after Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Turkey, whose hosting of Hamas leaders in Istanbul in recent years has contributed to a falling out with Israel, called on Muslim countries to show a united and clear stance over the violence.

In the fighting inside Israel, where some in the 21 per cent Arab minority have mounted violent pro-Palestinian protests, attacks by Jews on Arabs passing by in ethnically mixed areas have worsened.

One person was in a critical condition after being shot by Arabs in the Arab-Jewish town of Lod, where authorities imposed a curfew, police said. 

Over 150 arrests were made overnight in Lod and Arab towns in northern Israel, police said. 

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called for an end to “this madness”.

“We are endangered by rockets that are being launched at our citizens and streets, and we are busying ourselves with a senseless civil war among ourselves,” said the president, whose role is largely ceremonial.

A number of foreign carriers have cancelled flights to Israel because of the unrest.

The fatalities in Israel include a soldier killed while patrolling the Gaza border and six civilians, including two children and an Indian worker, medical authorities said.

Gaza’s health ministry said 17 of the people killed in the enclave were children and seven were women. The Israeli military said some 400 of 1,600 rockets fired by Gaza factions had fallen short, potentially causing some Palestinian civilian casualties.

The conflict has led to the freezing of talks by Mr Netanyahu’s opponents on forming a governing coalition to unseat him after Israel’s inconclusive 23 March election.

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Stars of the Border have raised over $150,000 for Cancer Council NSW | The Border Mail

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Stars of the Border makes its triumphant return tomorrow night and organisers say it’ll be bigger than ever, already raising $150,000. Brianna Carracher of Cancer Council NSW said this doubles their initial target. “The fundraising has been going incredibly well, our original target of $70,000 has already been knocked out of the park,” she said. The stars will be delivering something for everyone, with performances ranging from dirty dancing, to burlesque and even a Harry Potter-Disney themed dance. One of the stars of the show is The Border Mail’s own Jodie Bruton, who will be channeling her inner Billy Elliot. IN OTHER NEWS: Ms Carracher said the stars are chomping at the bit to perform, especially given last year’s COVID induced cancellation. “Some of our stars we’ve had lined up since the beginning of 2020 and we had to cancel, so it’s even more anticipated than before, some people have fundraised for over 16 months,” she said. “They’ve all worked so hard all year, so we’re just so excited to be able to give them the event they’ve worked for. “It has been a rollercoaster but I think it makes it even more special to be able to bring the event to the community again.” Ms Carracher said that after last year with the bushfires, border closures and COVID that everyone involved was excited to bring an event back to the Border. “We’re so happy to be able to do Stars of the Border this year and it really is going to be bigger and better this year, we can’t wait for the community to see what we’ve got up our sleeves,” she said. Last year was difficult for Cancer Council NSW, especially given that COVID didn’t stop the demand for their services. “This means the world to us, COVID was a really dire time for Cancer Council NSW, we lost millions of dollars last year,” she said. “It’s so important for us to raise these funds to continue the work that we’re doing.” Despite needing to have reduced numbers due to COVID restrictions over 450 people are expected at tonight’s show. Luckily enough however, the show will be livestreamed so that nobody needs to miss out.



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Lavington killer Adam Azzi had shank, drugs, after jail attack | The Border Mail

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A violent offender responsible for the death of a Lavington man won’t serve any more jail time despite being caught with a prison shank and drugs following an attack on an inmate. Adam Jay Azzi was just two days away from being sentenced for manslaughter when he punched the victim at Junee jail and kneed him on the ground. The 47-year-old drug addict had been transferred from Bathurst jail to a holding cell in Junee prison on March 4 last year. He was with three other criminals in a holding cell and had a conversation with the 35-year-old victim, Daniel Carter. The Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday heard the pair moved to the back of the cell to continue talking. “The offender punched the victim to the right side of the face with a closed right fist and continued to punch the victim to the head and face using both hands multiple times until the victim fell to the ground,” the prosecution said. “Whilst the victim was on the ground, the offender kneed the victim twice to the head and continued to punch the victim to the head and face.” Carter was kicked twice in the face before prison officers broke up the fight. Azzi was placed in a different holding cell. He was belligerent and made multiple threats to the corrections officers, who noticed he had something in his buttocks. “The offender initially volunteered to remove the item from his buttocks, however when given the opportunity attempted to push the item further into his anal region,” the court heard. Officers tried to secure Azzi with wrist locks and put him against a wall, at which point blue plastic was noticed in his hair. His hair was cut and a 14 centimetre prison shiv was found. It took Azzi about an hour to comply with the officer’s requests, and 16 Suboxone strips were located. Just two days later, Azzi was sentenced to at least eight years and three months in jail for the stabbing death of Lloyd Kennedy in Lavington on November 6, 2016. He had been tried on a charge of murder, but was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. The 47-year-old will be eligible for parole on February 6, 2025. Azzi faced three charges before magistrate Rodney Brender on Wednesday for the prison attack. Mr Brender imposed a conviction with no penalty, including no jail time.


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Australians react to prediction that border will stay shut until mid-2022

Australians stranded apart from their loved ones have reacted with despair to the news, contained in the federal budget papers, that our international border is likely to remain shut until mid-2022.

And the hard-hit tourism and higher education sectors have warned they will struggle to survive for another year without travel resuming.

The budget’s economic forecasts rely on an optimistic assumption that the whole Australian population will be vaccinated by the end of 2021. Even if that does happen, however, the border is expected to stay closed for another six months.

“Inbound and outbound international travel is expected to remain low through to mid-2022, after which gradual recovery in international tourism is assumed to occur,” the budget documents say.

RELATED: Shock border reveal hidden in the budget

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was asked about that prediction during his appearance on the ABC’s 7.30 program last night.

“With respect to international borders, it’s quite a conservative, cautious assumption that international borders will gradually reopen from the middle of next year,” he said.

The issue also came up during his brief interview on 3AW radio.

“We’re being pretty cautious and conservative in saying the assumption is that the border will gradually reopen from mid next year,” Mr Frydenberg told host Brooke Corte.

“The confusion around the international border opening or remaining closed, it’s crippling industries like tourism and education. So is the international border going to open by the middle of next year?” she asked, pushing for some certainty.

“Well it’s not a policy decision, it’s an assumption,” said the Treasurer.

“When you’re making budgets, you make assumptions which then feed into the economic forecasts. Our policy decision around the borders will be determined by the medical advice, and you can’t say that this far out from that point in time.

“I don’t think anyone really knows until we get closer to that time.”

The prospect of the international border staying closed for another year is tough for the thousands of Australians stranded overseas, though the budget does include $176 million for repatriation flights and increased consular services.

It’s also hard to swallow for Australians who have been unable to see their loved ones since the pandemic began.

RELATED: The federal budget’s biggest losers revealed

There are economic consequences as well, particularly for the tourism and education sectors.

Catriona Jackson, chief executive of Universities Australia, said the sector “cannot sustain” its losses with the border remaining shut. Universities have suffered from the lack of international students.

“Governments across all jurisdictions need to come together with universities to develop a robust plan for the safe return of international students. The plan would mean the safe quarantine of students from low-risk countries,” she said.

“The sector took a $1.8 billion revenue hit last year. Universities Australia estimates another $2 billion will be lost this year, against 2019 actual operating revenue.

“With borders shut until mid-2022, the picture for universities will get worse, with significant flow-on effects for the nation’s research capacity and jobs, inside and outside universities.

“Australia’s university sector cannot sustain these losses without serious damage to national productivity and the country’s knowledge base.”

The budget does include plans to allow a small number of international students back into the country with special quarantine arrangements.

It also lays out $1.2 billion to aid the tourism sector by subsidising the cost of domestic airfares and helping airlines to retain flight ready crews and aircraft, among other things.

Industry insiders say that won’t be enough.

And the government is introducing a Global Talent visa and a Temporary Activity visa to allow “highly skilled individuals” to enter the country.

“Australia’s effective management of COVID-19 makes us an even more attractive place for the best and brightest from around the world,” Mr Frydenberg said last night.

“To take advantage of this, we are streamlining visas to target highly skilled individuals when circumstances allow.”

“This is a budget that leaves the tourism industry high and dry with nowhere to go,” said Margy Osmond, chief executive of the Tourism and Transport Forum.

She added that many tourism-based businesses would have “no option but to send up the white flag and surrender”.

Innes Willox, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, said businesses need the border to be open “sooner rather than later”.

“It’s impacting them in a range of ways. They’re finding it difficult to get staff into the country. They’re having difficulty to get people in to repair and replace equipment. They’re just finding it difficult to move around,” he said.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce said it was “vital” for the government to begin a “staged reopening as soon as possible”.

“Businesses need certainty,” said the chamber’s tourism chair John Hart.

“The sector hinges on a firm commitment to international restart, from generating demand to accessing skills.”

While Mr Hart welcomed several budget measures, including the funding being provided to Tourism Australia, he said the support would “fall short without a plan to open Australia”.

The opposition is blaming the situation on a delayed vaccine rollout and the continued lack of federal quarantine facilities.

“International borders not reopening until mid-2022. Did I miss the part of the budget where the government was going to build quarantine facilities to manage international arrivals, or where they were going to speed up the vaccine delivery?” said Senator Nita Green.

Speaking to Channel 9 last night, Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers blamed the Prime Minister for the slow vaccine rollout.

“What about keeping the borders closed until the middle of next year? That seems extraordinary. Would you do that differently?” asked interviewer Chris Uhlmann.

“Well it all comes back to the vaccinations and to quarantine, the things that Scott Morrison refuses to take responsibility for,” said Mr Chalmers.

“The budget tonight had some weasel words about when that might be possible, to reopen. But it all comes back to the vaccinations.

“You can’t have a first-rate economic recovery with a third-rate vaccine rollout, but that’s what the Prime Minister has given us.”

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Cr Henk van de Ven estimates up to 40 illegal U-turns being performed daily near his Albury business | The Border Mail

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A long held push for No U-turn signage at the Wilson-Young street intersection in central Albury has reared its head again with one councillor prepared to hand over his own CCTV footage to build the case for the signage to be installed. Cr Henk van de Ven, operates a business at the intersection, said there was up to 40 illegal U-turns performed daily and there was no need for council staff to do more counts in a bid to justify the No U-Turn signage to Transport for NSW. Cr John Stuchbery, in his role of local traffic committee chairman, said the recent opening of Harris Farms on Young Street had led to more illegal U-turns. “I can inform Cr Stuchbery with a great deal of certainty that the number of U-turns at that intersection has been pretty constant over the last 10 years and been no increase since Harris Farms opened,” Cr van de Ven said. “If police or Traffic for NSW wish to avail themselves of my CCTV footage they will be able to work out on a daily basis how many people do U-turns. “It is approximately 35 to 40 per day and nobody seems to want to do anything about it. “The most annoying part is when turning left into Young Street from Wilson Street and someone is doing a U-turn, they actually toot you because you are not giving them right of way.” IN OTHER NEWS Cr Stuchbery didn’t hold high hopes Transport for NSW would agree to signage. “I’m not confident Transport for NSW is going to do anything either sensible or in any reasonable timeframe,” he said. “They are more or less flatly refusing to put up a no U-turn sign (at the Wilson-Young street intersection) because it will create some sort of precedent.” The debate took place at council this week. Meanwhile, a 10km/h speed limit is coming for the Monument Hill surrounds in a move that also rankled Cr van de Ven. He said 10km/h was “barely walking pace” and the step being pushed by Transport for NSW was not enforceable. “I’m just wondering what the point is,” he said. “Have police been involved in this decision making process and have they indicated it is possible to enforce the 10km/h limit?” But, Cr Graham Docksey, who is also the Albury RSL sub branch president, supported the speed limit introduction. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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