Canberra e-bike library set to grow due to demand | The Canberra Times


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Additional bikes are set to be added to Canberra’s electric-bike library, as demand for the service grows. The initiative, which allows Canberrans to loan an electric bike for two weeks to test them out before buying one, has encouraged more than 40 people use the service since it was set up mid last year. However, the waiting list for people to hire the electric bikes has expanded to more than 200 people. See-Change, the organisation that runs the library, said it was looking to add extra vehicles to the fleet to help clear the waiting list, as well as potentially shortening the loan time from 14 to 10 days. Executive officer Brook Clinton said more people were looking to see how electric bikes would fit into their lives and daily routine. “The waiting list has expanded as more people have heard about it,” Ms Clinton said. “The bike fleet at the moment is small, but we’re hoping to see the pilot extended and allow for more people to try out the bikes.” The pilot program was initially slated to run until June this year. Ms Clinton said the cost of electric bikes, with basic models starting at around $5000, had been a deterrent for many wanting to buy one of the vehicles, and that the library was helping people to make up their minds on a potential purchase. “There are some standard e-bikes that people can try or there’s other models that are more suited to carrying children or other passengers, and others that are accessible for older people,” Ms Clinton said. Paris Lord was one of the Canberrans who loaned one of the electric bikes from the library in December last year. While the Hawker resident already had a small electric bike for his own use, he was in the market for a larger cargo e-bike, which could take more weight and more passengers. “It was a lot weirder to ride at first because they’re much longer than a standard bike,” he said. “The main thing was that it was so much fun. I hoped initially that it would also be able to carry my greyhound in it … but it could also carry supplies from Bunnings and bags of groceries. “There are alternatives to using a car and the electric-bike library was a way to try to find that alternative.” Christopher Budd had also loaned a bike from the library for the fortnight back in October. He said he had been considering getting a new bike, but was not sure about the cost of an electric model. “It basically became the second family car,” Mr Budd said. “We had it for two weeks but it only took two days to make a decision to buy one.” In recent weeks, the bike library had been running single sessions for people to try the e-bikes in order to help clear some of the waiting list. While many had taken to trying the bikes for a short period of time, Mr Budd said the two-week trial the library gave to people was a way to really test its use. “When you test out a bike from a bike store for just an hour, it’s not really the same,” he said. For faster access to the latest Canberra news, download The Canberra Times app for iOS and Android.

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Australia Day/Invasion Day 2021 events guide for Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin


One of the most polarising dates on the Australian calendar is back, though this year the coronavirus pandemic could mean fewer crowds at events around the country.

January 26 marks Australia Day or Invasion Day, typically seen as a celebration of the nation or a day of sorrow for the colonisation of an ancient culture.

For many First Nations people, it is a day to mourn the past and galvanise the community to address ongoing systemic racial injustice.

For others, it’s a chance to spend time with family and friends at the beach or around barbeques.

However you plan to spend the day, these are some of the big events in the capital cities.

Melbourne

There’ll be no Australia Day parade in Melbourne this year due to fears of another coronavirus outbreak.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews cancelled the event and has urged residents to follow health advice to avoid gathering in large numbers.

Thousands of people lined the street for Melbourne’s annual Australia Day parade on January 26, 2022.(Supplied: Channel Seven)

Smaller events are happening around the city, starting early with a 5:00am start for the Invasion Day Dawn Service at King’s Domain Resting Place.

The Victorian NAIDOC Committee has requested that people register in advance to comply with coronavirus restrictions.

Later, an Invasion Day rally will be held on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne from 10:30am.

The organisers, the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, say they have a COVID safety plan in place with marshals to control attendees.

Elsewhere, the Share the Spirit Festival returns to Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens on January 26, bringing together artists, musicians and dancers to celebrate Aboriginal music and culture.

Australian of the Year, legendary singer Archie Roach, will be performing at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Gates will open for the free event at 12:00pm.

Archie Roach sings into a microphone
Archie Roach was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2020.(Supplied: ARIAs)

Sydney

Events in Sydney will be smaller than in previous years due to limits on crowd sizes amid the pandemic.

Those up early can catch the raising of the Australian and Aboriginal flags on Sydney Harbour Bridge at 5:15am.

Circular Quay will be much quieter than usual. There will be no Ferrython, Harbour Parade or Tall Ships race this year due to the pandemic, although the annual Oz Day 10km Wheelchair Race starts at 9:00am at The Rocks.

Brydi Saul digs deep to keep going in a wheelchair race.
Brydi Saul in action at the Oz Day 10K wheelchair race on January 26, 2020.(Supplied: Karen Watson)

Other annual events will be broadcast live, including the Lord Mayor’s Citizenship Ceremony at the Opera House and fireworks over the harbour.

One of the biggest Invasion Day events is a planned march through the city starting at 9:00am at Djarrbarrgalli, or Sydney’s Domain.

Organisers say the demonstration is calling for “Australia Day” to be abolished and for “sovereignty, not constitutional recognition”.

The New South Wales Government has restricted protest gatherings to 500 people under current COVID-19 regulations.

But rally organiser and Gumbaynggirr, Bundjalung and Dunghutti woman Elizabeth Jarrett said the community needed to “come together and fight back”, even if that breached health directives.

“Unlike COVID, the virus of colonial racism that came to these lands in 1788 cannot be defeated by self-isolation or quarantine,” she said.

A man holds a sign that says 'Always was.. Always will be Aboriginal Land.'
A protest sign at Hyde Park as part of last year’s Invasion Day march.(Getty: Don Arnold)

Perth

Perth would usually play host to the nation’s largest Australia Day fireworks display, but local coronavirus restrictions mean this year’s Skyworks won’t go ahead.

In its place, the City of Perth has planned a five-day festival, which includes a water projection show that tells the stories of the Whadjuk Nyoongar people. There’ll also be markets and live music performances.

The city has also planned a children’s carnival, motocross and BMX displays, and skydivers twirling through the sky with Australian flags, all in Langley Park.

In the Supreme Court Gardens, the annual Birak Concert will feature Aboriginal entertainment, food trucks and other activities.

An Invasion Day rally will be held in Forrest Place from 1:00pm, before the space transforms into the City of Perth’s food markets from 4:30pm.

The City of Fremantle, which made headlines when it attempted to move its Australia Day citizenship ceremonies to January 28 in 2016, will hold its One Day in Fremantle event today.

It will feature a smoking ceremony at Bathers Beach from 8:00am, before a community barbecue at the nearby Kidogo Arthouse.

Fireworks on the Swan River viewed from the South Perth foreshore.
Fireworks on the Swan River viewed from the South Perth foreshore. Date unknown.(Supplied: Unsplash/Sebastian Davenport-Handley)

Brisbane

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will kick off the Australia Day celebrations at a flag raising ceremony in Townsville at the Jezzine Barracks.

In less formal celebrations, Mackay locals will enjoy the unveiling of the Big Thongs while Sunshine Coast residents head to a beach parade at Buderim.

The traditional Australia Day egg-tossing championships will take place at Yeppoon along with the Capricornian Beach Games and the Bare Bottom Boat Regatta.

An Invasion Day rally and march will be held in Brisbane as well as Survival Day celebrations in Cairns.

A giant Aboriginal flag is carried by members of a large crowd as they walk across a bridge as part of a protest.
Last year crowds carried a huge flag at the Brisbane Invasion Day protest.(ABC News: Julie Hornsey)

Adelaide

South Australia is used to hosting more than 40,000 people in Adelaide’s Elder Park for Australia Day celebrations — but the day will look a little different this year.

The biggest events will be two free concerts featuring Birds of Tokyo and the Australian Girls Choir at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

Tickets will be limited to 5,000 at separate two-and-a-half-hour shows.

Tickets for a Smoking Ceremony at Botanic Park at 8:00am have already been exhausted, but people will be able to attend the Adelaide Central Market for free cooking demonstrations and an art installation.

On the Fleurieu Peninsula, the Victor Harbor council will host a free barbecue and citizenship ceremony at Soldiers Memorial Garden from 8:00am.

Australia Day Council of SA CEO Jan Chorley said that was one of dozens of events being planned at local council level across the state.

“There’s a jam-packed program comprising 85 events put on across 64 councils,” Ms Chorley said.

Ms Chorley said the theme of “reflect, respect, celebrate” was particularly relevant this year, with emergency and first responders to be singled out for praise.

She said no councils had scrapped events because of a push to change the date, but said there was strong focus on ensuring events were inclusive.

“First Nations people have been integral in shaping the events that are taking place across the city of Adelaide,” Ms Chorley said.

“There’s a very strong understanding and commitment to making a day of meaning for all.”

Australia Day awards ceremony in Canberra
For some, Australia Day is a time to celebrate the nation and spend time with family and friends.(ABC News: 666 ABC Canberra, David Flannery)

Hobart

Australia Day in Tasmania will be more subdued this year.

In the state’s north, dozens of small planes from around the country are expected to fly into The Vale, at the foot of Mount Roland near Claude Road for a charity fundraiser and barbeque.

On Tasmania’s west coast, the 123rd Mount Lyall Strahan picnic will be going ahead, with up to 1,000 people permitted to attend in line with the state’s coronavirus gathering restrictions.

Several councils around the state are also hosting Australia Day awards and citizenship ceremonies, along with smaller community celebrations.

Two Invasion Day rallies have also been planned in Tasmania, with one protest to be held on Parliament House lawns in Hobart, and another in Devonport in the state’s north-west. Both rallies begin at midday.

Protesters in an Invasion Day rally in Hobart.
Last year, large crowds turned out in Hobart for the Invasion Day protest.(ABC News: Katri Uibu)

Darwin

The Territory’s largest running event, the annual Oz Run, is on again and is expected to attract up to 4,000 people.

Energetic locals can walk or run along the waterfront, or just turn up for the sausage sizzle.

Participants are encouraged to dress up.

A group of people in Darwin adorn Australia flag hats as they prepare to participate in the annual fun run
Runners are encouraged to have fun and dress up for the the Territory’s largest running event.(ABC News: Jacqueline Breen)

For those who prefer their action to be wheel-based, the annual Ute Run kicks off at 9:30am at Hidden Valley Race Track before winding through the northern suburbs streets and concluding at Noonamah.

The city’s largest Invasion Day/Survival Day event will be held at Civic Park at 10:00am, on Larrakia (Saltwater) country.

Canberra

Australia Day events remain significantly pared back in the capital despite having no new infections for several weeks.

The main community event is The Great Aussie Picnic at the edge of Lake Burley Griffin where Daryl Braithwaite, among others, will perform.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the “re-imagined” Australia Day event “will ensure Canberrans have a COVID-safe acknowledgement of Australia Day”.

Each year Canberra also hosts the major citizenship event.

Twenty-five new Australians will be welcomed at Rond Terrace, in view of Parliament House.

A Survival Day march from the city to the lawns of Parliament has also been planned.

People waving Australia flags in Canberra to watch Australian citizenship ceremonies.
Citizenship ceremonies will go ahead on January 26, but on a smaller scale.(ABC New:)

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Canberra RaIders coach offers to spar Josh Papalii ahead of fight


“I have always had it in my contract if I want to fight I can. [Raiders chief executive] Donnie [Furner] has always known I’ve been keen to jump in the ring to see how I go. I just couldn’t ever get it done.”

Papalii will jump in the ring on February 12 against former prop Ben Hannant, and the Townsville charity fight night has proven a blessing for the Raiders.

The game’s best front-rower has already shed five kilograms, courtesy of early morning road runs and evening sparring sessions in his garage with good friend Steve Babic.

He looked a picture of health when he reported for day one of pre-season training during the week after an extended break following another brilliant individual 2020 campaign.

Papalii is down to 117kg, a far cry from the 126kg he ballooned out to after the 2017 World Cup with Samoa.

Josh Papalii ended a brilliant individual year with an Origin series win.Credit:Getty

If Stuart loved the look of a slimmer Papalii, he would have been even happier when he heard about Hannant being his front-rower’s opponent.

Hannant, a father of eight, whose boxing credentials extend to a one-off school-yard scrap when he was in Year 9, only took the fight after Melbourne man mountain Nelson Asofa-Solomona failed to sign on. Brisbane’s Matt Lodge, Gold Coast’s Jarrod Wallace and even one-time Raiders teammate Joey Leilua were all tossed up as possible opponents for Papalii.

Having to go three rounds with Leilua would have been comical, said Papalii, “because I would have laughed the whole time”.

There was no way Papalii was about to dismiss Hannant, especially given he is also an unknown in the ring. The pair played in the same Prime Minister’s XIII team in 2013.

“It will be an even fight,” Papalii said. “People might see it otherwise, but just because my cousin can box [professional heavyweight Alex Leapai] doesn’t mean I can.”

Stuart was reluctant to comment on Papalii’s boxing ability, but happy to declare him the “best front-rower in the game”.

“‘Papa’ is the best prop in the game and, if he isn’t, name me a better one?” Stuart said.

“People think I’m biased towards my players – I probably am – but, in my mind, he is the best front-rower in the game.”

Papalii helped Queensland cause a boilover in last year’s Origin series, then spent time with his family and worked on his golf handicap, which is now down to 12. The famous mullet has remained and will so all year because of a bet with teammate Corey Harawira-Naera.

“I have a deal with Corey that we need to keep it for two years and the first person to cut his hair will need to be shave it down to the skin the next haircut,″⁣ said Papalii, whose wager has been going eight months.

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Canberra doctor hands back OAM in protest against Margaret Court’s Australia Day honour



The fallout from Margaret Court’s controversial Australia Day honour has continued with a Canberra doctor handing back her own award in protest.

Clara Tuck Meng Soo says the decision to award Australia’s highest honour to the controversial tennis great promotes discrimination.

Court’s appointment as Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in this year’s Australia Day Honours List leaked on Friday before the official unveiling.

The 78-year-old Pentecostal minister has come under fire in recent years for her public disparaging of same-sex relationships and transgender people.

Dr Soo received an Order of Australia Medal in 2016 for her work as a medical practitioner with the LGBTIQ+ community and people with HIV.

A statement issued by Just Equal on Saturday identified her as one of the first GPs to undergo gender transition in Australia.

“I have spent a significant amount of my working life working with and advocating for disadvantaged communities in Australia,” Dr Soo said in the statement.

“I may also add that I have spent most of my adult life as a gay man before my gender transition to a woman in 2018.

“I therefore have both professional experience as well as lived experience of the communities that Mrs Margaret Court makes these derogatory and hurtful remarks about.”

Just Equal spokesperson Ivan Hinton-Teoh urged the Council of the Order of Australia to reconsider its decision.

He said there would be “many distinguished Australians” reconsidering their association with the awards system in light of the honour.

In an interview with AAP this week, Court – the winner of an unparalleled 24 grand slam singles titles – described the honour as a great privilege.

“All my life I’ve had those views and I was just saying what the Bible says,” she said.

“I should always be able to say my views biblically, being a pastor and helping people with marriages and family. And I’ll never change those views.

“I have nothing against people – I love the people. We have them come into our community services, all kinds – whether they’re gay, transgender, whatever they are.

“We never turn a person away and I think it’s been tried to be made out that I’m somebody that I’m not really. And I think that is very sad.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said compilation of the Honours List was an independent process.

Federal Labor has questioned why Court was given the top honour when she had already been recognised for her sporting prowess with an Order of Australia Medal.

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Former Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe to resign from politics in March



Liberal MLA Alistair Coe, who served as ACT opposition leader until his election loss last year, has announced he will resign from politics in March.

Mr Coe has been a member for Yerrabi since being elected in 2008 at the age of just 24.

In a statement, Mr Coe said he would resign in time for his casual vacancy to be filled before the ACT Legislative Assembly sits for the first time in 2021.

“In the weeks since the 2020 election, I’ve had the opportunity to contemplate my future. I am proud of what I have achieved and my commitment to the ACT over the past 12 years,” Mr Coe said.

“Whilst I am not sure what the future has in store for me, my passion for Canberra and the Liberals remains strong.”

Mr Coe has been quiet since ceding the leadership of the Canberra Liberals to Elizabeth Lee after his election defeat in October last year.

But he said his energy has faded after so long serving in opposition.

“I really have given it everything I’ve got. To be a politician requires a huge amount of commitment, a huge amount of passion,” Mr Coe said.

“It’s like being in the cockpit of a plane – you’re there, you can see the controls, but you can’t touch them. That is frustrating.”

Mr Coe developed a reputation over his political career as a conservative in the shape of former party leader Zed Seselja, and briefly gained national attention as the only federal, state or territory party leader to oppose legalising same-sex marriage during the postal survey.

He was also regarded as a fierce scrutineer in committees, grilling politicians and agency heads with a deep knowledge of the bureaucracy.

He said one of his proudest achievements had been helping to expose several questionable land deals.

Party leaders pay tribute

In a statement, now-Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee said he had been a “great friend” to multicultural and faith communities in Canberra.

“It has been my pleasure to work with Alistair,” Ms Lee said.

“Canberra is richer for his service to our great city.”

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said his absence would be noticed in the chamber.

“Politics is tough. I respect Mr Coe’s decision to resign from the Assembly and wish he and his family all the best for the future,” Mr Barr said.

ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said as the longest-serving member in the Assembly, Mr Coe had shown a dedication to the Canberra community.

“While we often disagreed heartily about issues, Alistair represented his beliefs and his constituency in a genuine and heartfelt manner,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Having worked with Alistair on a number of committees and pieces of legislation over the years, I have always appreciated both his attention to detail and a willingness to find a way through contested discussions — something important in politics when you are trying to get the best outcomes for the community.”

Mr Coe’s departure from his seat in Yerrabi will trigger a countback of votes, and the next in line is his fellow Liberal Party member James Milligan, who lost his seat at the election.

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ACT SES volunteer says mental health focus needed after nightmarish fire, hail events | The Canberra Times


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One year on, the impact of Australia’s recent bushfires remains a terrifying memory for the nation. While many watched in horror at the news or worried for relatives and friends in threatened areas, ACT’s SES volunteers, like Tammy Bennett, worked for months supporting critical services. It’s an effort the volunteer, who’s put on the uniform for eight consecutive years, feels proud to be apart of. “When it rains, everyone runs inside to get out of the rain, and the SES runs out,” Ms Bennett said. The first few months of the devastating bushfire season meant Ms Bennett drove firetrucks from the territory to northern parts of New South Wales to help support fatigued firefighters early on. But only a few months later in January 2020, the danger had landed on their very own door step. On a hot afternoon on January 22, a grassfire began burning out of control in the Pialligo Redwood Forest, threatening the ACT’s Emergency Services Agency headquarters just down the road. While it was a concern for the Fairbairn office, Ms Bennett admitted, the team simply treated it like any other fire and added it to the list. “When the Beard fire ignited, I was actually working here in [the ESA] headquarters in the incident room … and teams just went into action straight away – there was no fear,” Ms Bennett said. “It was like when you get an email, and you have to deal with another email on top of the 10 emails that you’ve got, so [the response team] just changed their tactics, made their plans and dealt with it.” But it was another freak weather event that stretched the volunteer force even further – Canberra’s monstrous hail storm. The event only lasted around 15 minutes on January 20 but the damage it had wrought on the nation’s capital was enormous, resulting in 2500 call outs to the emergency service. “We had fires on one side [of the incident room], and we had hail damage and everything happening on the other side and it just escalated,” Ms Bennett said. “Once again, we activated volunteers and they had been working hard over the fire season so they were quite exhausted … but they all jumped up and they just got about their business.” READ MORE: It took around two weeks to clear the 2500 jobs the storm had added to the team’s workload but Ms Bennett said it was their professionalism that got it all over and done with. “We’ve never experienced something like this before and it did open our eyes,” Ms Bennett said. “It’s all about what team you’ve got working behind the scenes.” It was an intense time for many and Ms Bennett, who had to face many of the events head on, admitted it could take a toll on her mental health. “Some events are quite gruelling, quite hard, fatiguing,” Ms Bennett said. “[I just] step away, take a breath, and then come back into it and get a whole new perspective, as long as you can take that time.” It’s part of the reason why she agreed to support a new initiative aimed at helping first responders cope with the impact their work has on their mental health. It’s called Peak Fortem and Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday it would become available for free to all first responders and their families in the country to encourage mental fitness. Ms Bennett said she hoped the program would encourage those like her to recognise the signs and to work on strategies to reduce their impact. “You don’t actually know that you might need help until it might be too late,” Ms Bennett said. “It’s not something that’s brought to your attention straight away and to start to stop and think and take that breath and go, ‘you know what? I might need to talk to someone or I might need to sit back’. “I think as a first responder in the heightened emergency situations that we do deal with, looking after your mental health [is important]. If you’re not right, how can you help someone else?” The program is one step in the process. Ms Bennett said it was important having a support network at home once the job’s over but having a supportive and understanding workplace was just as crucial. “Remembering that family connection is very important – making sure you step away and take that time to regroup with your immediate family,” Ms Bennett said. “But as you join the service, you start to have another family in the service too.”

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Would-be Canberra car salesman wins $46k after tribunal finds he was discriminated against over road rage offences


A Canberra man has successfully sued the ACT Government for more than $46,000 after he was refused a car sales licence because of two prior road rage convictions.

Last week the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) found the ACT Commissioner for Fair Trading had discriminated against the man when they rejected his application for a motor vehicles sales licence in 2018.

The would-be car salesman successfully argued two “irrelevant” criminal convictions were used as basis to reject his application, which he said led to financial and emotional distress.

Road rage incidents

ACAT heard the man had applied for the licence in 2018, but two separate criminal convictions for property damage and assault showed up during a police record check.

The tribunal heard first offence took place in 2016 when the man hurled a small sledgehammer through the front windscreen of another driver’s vehicle during a road rage incident.

The second conviction was from an incident two months later where the man spat in another driver’s face during a dispute, resulting in a good behaviour bond.

The man said he had been “blinded by ego” at the time of the road rage incidents.(Unsplash)

ACAT heard Access Canberra staff asked the man for a personal statement to explain the offending.

The man told government staff in an email that he suffered from a permanent back injury and had suffered a deterioration in his mental and physical health in the lead up to the incidents.

“As I reflect on the events and how I handled them, my only option at the time was to hang on to what I could as I embarked through this storm.”

‘Blinded by ego’

The man also claimed he had been “blinded by ego and pride” and had since addressed his behaviour.

“I am no longer the invincible young brave man I used to be,” he told Access Canberra staff.

“But the hardest battle for me has been to not allow the negative notions of the subsequent criminal records imposed on me to affect me mentally.

ACAT heard after discovering the man’s criminal record, the Commissioner for Fair Trading refused the man’s application due to the seriousness and “nature” of his previous offending.

Senior ACAT Member Heidi Robinson found that amounted to discrimination, and awarded the man $46,766 in damages.

“The intention of the amendments to the Discrimination Act are clear: a person’s criminal conviction should not ‘hound’ them for their whole life, keep them out of employment, or cause them to be subject to discrimination,” she wrote in her decision.

The government was also warned not to reject any of the man’s future applications based on his criminal convictions.

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Parliamentarians in COVID-19 affected areas require exemption to travel to Canberra | The Canberra Times


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MPs and senators from COVID-19 affected areas in Sydney must apply for a formal exemption to travel to the ACT. The next sitting week begins on February 2, but while the situation may change before then Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said the ACT government is currently processing exemption applications for several parliamentarians. “We do have a formal exemption process and there are a list of professions including care workers, parliamentarians, construction industry and a whole lot of essential services and we assess that on a case by case basis,” Dr Coleman said. She said exemption applications would be assessed on factors including if travel to the ACT was necessary for applicants to conduct their work. From 3pm today travel restrictions between the ACT and the Northern Beaches will be removed allowing quarantine-free travel. However, people from 10 local government areas in western and southwestern Sydney are still required to quarantine for 14 days if they travel to Canberra. Those areas are:

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Canberra defender Angus Baker to train with Essendon Bombers


The Bombers have multiple list vacancies, which they could fill during the pre-season supplemental selection period, ending on March 9, or alternatively wait until the mid-season rookie draft.

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The Dons already had a spot free following last year’s drafts, while the retirement of Irishman Ross McQuillan left them with another spot to fill. The Bombers also have the option of creating another vacancy by placing Irving Mosquito on their inactive list. Mosquito suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the 2020 campaign, which should sideline the small forward for much of 2021 as well.

Essendon have had success previously from the mid-season draft, with midfielder Will Snelling becoming a senior regular since being plucked in the middle of 2019.

Baker’s manager Kif Chowdhury of Centimeter Perfect confirmed Baker had attracted interest from multiple AFL clubs.

“A number of clubs have expressed an interest in Angus over the last couple of years,” Chowdhury said.

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“He was obviously very unlucky to miss out at the draft in 2019. Last year he decided to stay in Canberra to finish his tertiary studies, before COVID-19 ended the NEAFL season. He still managed to win the AFL Canberra league best and fairest playing for the Eastlake Demons. He’s only 22 years old with plenty to offer to an AFL club, we’re hopeful he’ll get an opportunity to showcase his talent in the near future”.

A host of players are training with AFL clubs this summer in a bid to win spot on an AFL list for 2021. These include ex-Melbourne defender Oscar McDonald, who is training with Carlton, former North Melbourne forward Mason Wood, trying his luck with St Kilda, and Kobe Farmer – the son of former star Jeff Farmer – who is training with the Demons, one of his father’s old clubs.

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Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey set to take legal action against the AFL in bid to play for Ainslie in Canberra


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“There are certain questions that need to be answered before anyone would go through any sort of process,” Mouncey said.

Her questions relate to the transparency of the process, how the information and data will be used and who might sit on the AFL gender diversity policy committee which is to be used to resolve disputes under the policy.

Mouncey told The Age on Saturday she made her intention to take legal action public after receiving what she considered an unsatisfactory response from the league on Friday afternoon, with the legal action to be submitted in Canberra if a resolution is not reached.

Under the policy transgender athletes can make applications to play in the elite competitions including AFLW and state league competitions for the AFL’s Gender Diversity Committee to consider.

The AFL outlined in October’s policy that the committee considering applications would be drawn from representatives with skills in women’s football operations; inclusion and social policy; risk; legal; medicine and mental health; and anti-doping rules.

If an application is rejected it remains confidential unless the applicant makes the decision public and applicants can have decisions reviewed within seven days if a cause for review is proved.

Under the AFL’s gender diversity policy applicants need to fulfil three criteria to be declared eligible to play in elite competitions.

The three requirements are:

1. Testosterone levels to have been at or below five nmol/L for at least two years prior.
2. If that threshold is met, trans women and non-binary people may nominate for the AFLW draft or apply to play in other elite competitions by providing information regarding their height, weight, bench press, 20-metre sprint, vertical jump, GPS data and two-kilometre time trial.
3. If the application is approved, the player is required to maintain their total testosterone levels below five nmol/L, and may be required to undergo periodic testing.

The League can also assess safety issues that may be relevant.

Mouncey said if the matters she raised were addressed she would be prepared to submit an application although she questioned why information such as bench press, 20m sprints and vertical jumps were necessary to inform decisions.

She claimed the AFL’s approach has been legalistic rather than appearing open to a resolution.

“I’m happy to mediate with them, I am happy to talk through them what the issues are. I am happy to go through the process but they have never done it in good faith,” Mouncey said.

The AFL was contacted for comment. AFL Canberra’s first-grade women’s competition is due to start in May.

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