Redland community rallies to find missing dog belonging to Alexandra Hills couple killed by car

Redland community members were out in force searching for a dog belonging to a couple who were fatally struck by a car while walking their pets at Alexandra Hills, in Redland City east of Brisbane on Tuesday.

Katherine Leadbetter, who was pregnant, and her partner, Matthew Field were killed by a car Tuesday evening.

A 17-year-old male has been remanded in custody by the Children’s Court after being charged with two counts of murder.

The teenager is accused of being “adversely affected by an intoxicating substance” when driving the alleged stolen vehicle.

Katherine Leadbetter and Matthew Field were killed when they were hit by a car in Alexandra Hills, east of Brisbane, in an alleged hit and run on Tuesday.(Supplied)

The search for one of the couple’s dogs Frankie, who ran away after the crash, began on Tuesday night when it was discovered she had Addison’s disease and required medication twice daily.

Alexandra Hills resident Kelly Gilbert did not hesitate to join the search and brought her nine-year-old Labrador x kelpie named Hermonie or “Hermy” along to help.

“I couldn’t bear to think of this poor dog, after what it had witnessed, being stuck out there in the bushlands, alone, scared and possibly quite injured,” Ms Gilbert told ABC Radio Brisbane.

“I’d just thought I’d get out there and give it a go and hope that I could find her.

She said she saw the Facebook page that had been created for Find Frankie and that she hadn’t been found.

“I never expected in a million years to be able to find her given she had been missing for such a long period of time.”

A man carries a large dog over his shoulder and out of bushland.
Community members found Frankie deep in bushland.(Supplied: DK Dabs)

Ms Gilbert said she decided to search off the walking tracks that had already been scoured by community members overnight and that morning.

“I headed down towards McDonald Road where I knew there was some water and thought that maybe she was tired, she was exhausted, it was quite a hot day today so she might be near a source of water.

“I took my girl with me [Hermy], for no other reason than she’s got a reasonably good nose and she absolutely loves dogs.

“I thought if I let her off-lead, we might be able to track Frankie down.”

Ms Gilbert said she, Hermy and some others searching kept following the water source, trekking through water, mud and bushland.

“I couldn’t believe it to be honest.”

“I had to call over the girl that I was searching with, who knew the family, just to make sure I’d actually found the right dog.”

Ms Gilbert said if she had stuck to the walking tracks, Frankie would never have been found.

A black dog with white patches on its front.
Hermy helped sniff out and lead rescuers to Frankie.(Supplied: Maddy Plume)

Searching day and night

Redland City councillor Rowanne McKenzie was among the community, police and pets out searching.

“Some members were out until the early hours of the morning trying to find her,” Cr McKenzie said.

“It was a really heart-warming response to what has been a tragic accident.

“The family was just overwhelmingly grateful for the community support and that the community rallied together to find Frankie.

“The community, not knowing who those people were, just wanted to do something to help this family and the friends of the couple.”

Cr McKenzie said it was her understanding that the vet had waved the fees for Frankie.

A GoFundMe account was created to pay for Frankie’s vet frees and has already raised more than $3,000 on Wednesday.

Community ‘devasted’, ‘angry’

Police allege the teenager had stolen a 4WD about an hour before the crash from a home in nearby Cleveland.

He then allegedly deliberately collided with a car at the corner of Vienna and Finucane Roads before speeding away, Assistant Commissioner for the Brisbane region Brian Codd said.

Fifteen minutes later, it is alleged he returned to the same intersection, ran a red light, crashed into an oncoming truck and then rolled onto Ms Leadbetter, 31, and Mr Field, 37.

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Footage shows the 4WD allegedly colliding with another car before the fatal crash in Alexandra Hills.

Cr McKenzie said the community was devasted and angry at what had happened to the couple.

“They are angry at the system that allowed this alleged offender to be out on bail and steal and car and now three people’s lives have been lost,” Cr McKenzie said.

“It could have been any one of us that was out taking our dogs for a walk and been senselessly killed.

Ms Gilbert said she walked that corner all the time.

“I would just hope that if something happened to me while I was out walking my dogs, that the community would go out looking for one of them,” Ms Gilbert said.

“It’s not any consolation for the family. It’s not going to bring the young couple back but at least they were able to reunite their dogs again.”

Ms Gilbert wrote on the Find Frankie Facebook page: “I can confirm Hermy will be getting a steak for dinner tonight”.

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Citizen of the Year asks new arrivals to ‘create community’

The Byron Shire Citizen of the Year 2021, Zenith Virago, has called new residents to the shire to ‘create community’ and volunteer in local organisations.

“There are so many people working so hard to make Byron the best and heartiest place it can be,” she said.

“We’ve had a strong community in the past and until now, and it would be my hope that, with this new influx of people, that they start to build community, be involved an volunteer.

“It would be great if they could donate their time and some of their wealth to the causes that need it.

“I’m sure many organisations would welcome them to come and support, and become community.”

Ms Virago said it is important those who want to volunteer find organisations and community services that are close to their hearts.

“For me, two of the most important things are women’s issues, particularly women that are impacted by domestic violence and abuse, young women that are affected by sexual abuse and rape in our community, which is very common and under reported,” she said.

“It would also be great for people to come and support the LGBTIQ communities, they are dear to me, and that’s what I’ve put my energy into.


Zenith Virago was awarded Byron Shire Citizen of the Year 2021.

“People need to start thinking bigger than themselves and their families, because if they don’t step up to fill up those volunteer places, a lot of those services won’t survive, because we are getting old and we need younger people to step up and claim those roles.”

The community activist, deathwalker and marriage celebrant said local business play a pivotal role on the future of community organisations.

“I’ve begged for thousands of raffle prizes over the years,” she said.

“There are many people who cannot get involved but are happy to donate good, services or money to some of those causes.

“If someone comes to your business begging for the Women’s Information Centre or the Youth Activity Centre, donate what you can.”

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A community designing their own future


One of the fundamental conditions for effective democracy is that the people who have to live with the outcome of decisions should be the people making them. Usually we delegate the decision-making role to elected representatives, but sometimes they are not up to the task, or decide the issue is too thorny. As reported previously in the Alice Springs News, this opens the way for “mini publics” to step up as a way for community to have a part in the decision making.

The Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy (CAPaD) sees mini publics, known also as citizen juries or citizen assemblies, as one method that allows community input to the decision making process. They have been used extensively, for instance in Ireland to resolve the issue of abortion law reform and in France to recommend climate change policy. In East Belgium a standing community assembly recommends to the government what issues the people want action on in the coming year. The OECD has identified that minipublics are one of the ways of the future for strengthening democracy, looking at over 200 international examples.

The usefulness of citizen participation is that it:

  • enables government to take decisions on difficult and contentious issues,
  • brings about better policy and better acceptance of decisions by the community,
  • provides economies of scale,
  • improves practice for government and the community through collective learning,
  • can increase trust in government,
  • provides more opportunities to build capacity in citizens, and
  • can build social capital by creating trust among the citizenry.

In the ACT, CAPaD observed the citizen juries that the ACT government ran in 2017 and 2018 and with ACTCOSS came up with a set of criteria that would indicate how a successful public deliberative process would work. We have published our reflection on how effective we think that process had been.

In brief, we think that this exercise confirms that:

  • a diverse range of people can address complex issues and deliberate in the public interest, regardless of educational standards, socio-economic status and political interest.
  • Citizens valued the experience, learned about the complexity of policy making, gained depth from the diversity of the group and felt satisfaction through contributing to the community.
  • The quality and independence of design and facilitation were major contributors to trust in the process.
  • While citizens can make a useful contribution to policy decisions, deliberative processes are not a panacea; they are complex democratic tools which can be used well or badly.

Further, in line with international experience, it is important that these tools are not used politically to justify an already made decision and that there is a fair dinkum commitment by government to either carry out the people’s decision or publicly explain why they did not.

The power of using these participatory and deliberative methods in Alice Springs is that it opens the way to a whole range of sectors from the community to come together to listen, discuss, consider and recommend to council what they collectively think needs to be done for themselves.

Starting with less complex issues, for instance shared use of Albrecht Oval, may help build confidence in the community and the Town Council about how the process works. More complex issues, such as what to do about young people after dark, can come later.

The framing question is important. In regards to youth, for example, it should not about a youth curfew, yes or no, or stopping property crime, but helping multiple sections of the town come up with a way to manage an issue that helps everyone.

Finally, it is important that the use of mini publics in Alice Springs be monitored and evaluated so that residents can learn from each one and build capacity to use them to better effect in future.

Image at top: At present community involvement tends to be sporadic and on single issues, such as this meeting of local residents and possible future users about Newland Park. Photo from our archive.

Peter Tait is the convener of the CAPaD. He has been a General Practitioner for 36 years, 30 in Aboriginal health in Central Australia. He was the 2007 RACGP GP of the Year and Public Health Association Australian Sidney Sax Medalist in 2017. He achieved a Masters of Climate Change at ANU in 2010. He is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the ANU Medical School.

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Clara Tuck Meng Soo was awarded an OAM in 2016 for her work with the LGBT community

Clara Tuck Meng Soo was awarded an OAM in 2016 for her work with the LGBT community.

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Five-day 3G, 4G outage in remote community caused by rodents sparks calls for tailored services

A prolonged phone and internet outage at one of South Australia’s most remote Aboriginal communities was likely caused by rodents and has prompted a call for fresh approaches to telecommunications in the bush.

Telstra services went down at Pukatja on January 15 and meant people could not make phone calls nor use EFTPOS and ATM machines.

The outage meant people were unable to buy goods and fuel with bank cards and were unable to withdraw cash.

Services were restored on January 20.

Pukatja is an Aboriginal community on the APY Lands in far north South Australia, 1,400 kilometres north of Adelaide.

Sarah Ken and her husband Joel had to travel 40 minutes to nearby Fregon to speak with the ABC during the outage and said it was making life even harder.

“Living here and being remote is already very challenging. The services are already limited,” she said.

“You expect people to respond very quickly in the city, but out here you can’t have those same expectations.”

Joel and Sarah Ken with their daughter, Kaylah, were without mobile connectivity for five days.(Supplied: Sarah Ken)

Mr Ken, who is from Pukatja, said local people, Anangu, usually only buy food to meet daily needs.

“The way that it affects us more than people in the city is that people don’t really have the ability to store food,” he said.

“Anangu people buy food on the day and eat it on the day, and to be unable to do that is the main way it affects Anangu people.”

Rodents eating lines

Telstra apologised for the inconvenience caused by the outage, which affected both 3G and 4G services, but not NBN satellite services.

A Telstra logo on the side of a building through some trees.
Telstra has apologised for the inconvenience caused by the prolonged outage.(ABC News: Chris Gillette)

A company spokesperson said the outage was likely due to rodents eating away at transmission lines.

Chris Cusack, general manager of NBN Local, said more than 20 per cent of premises at Pukatja are connected to the NBN.

Mr Cusack said NBN recently met with representatives from the APY Lands about installing a Sky Muster Plus connection.

“Participation in the project is being considered for the Pukatja community,” he said.

“NBN also plans to visit the area in the coming months to host engagement and educational sessions.”

Needs-based approach

The Pukatja outage prompted fresh calls from a rural telecommunications advocacy group for a tailored approach to services in the bush.

Kristy Sparrow from Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR) said services need to be specifically tailored for each community.

“Each community in all of the states and territories around Australia are so very different,” she said.

A group of people look at a satellite as it's being built.
Sky Muster satellites aim to deliver broadband internet services to hundreds of thousands of remote Australians.(Supplied: NBN)

“It could be a high tourist area. If you’re looking at somewhere like Mallacoota in Victoria, it’s only a population 1,000, but in tourist season it grows to 9,000.

“The connectivity options available to that particular community when they’ve got 1,000 people aren’t going to suit where there’s 9,000.”

Ms Sparrow said Aboriginal communities also need special consideration.

“Staff working at local schools and health centres in those communities might be able to access another type of connection that suits their needs.”

Ms Sparrow said people in remote areas could not rely on just one form of phone or internet connection.

“Some of those outages are outside the carriers’ control, so it’s always a wise move for those communities to have a backup connection,” she said.

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Singapore reports 1 community case among 15 new COVID-19 infections

SINGAPORE: One community case was among the 15 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Friday (Jan 22), said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The remaining 14 cases were imported infections and no new infections were reported in foreign workers’ dormitories.

The sole community case was a 26-year-old Malaysian who is linked to the BS Industrial & Construction Supply cluster, which has now grown to eight infections. 

The woman, known as Case 59522, works as a sales personnel at the company at 34 Kallang Place and is a co-worker of Case 59429, a 39-year-old Singapore permanent resident who is also a sales personnel. 

The woman was quarantined on Jan 18 when Case 59429 was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection. She was tested for COVID-19 on Jan 20 even though she was asymptomatic.

Her test came back positive the next day, and she was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). Her serology test result has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection.

MOH said the overall number of new cases in the community has increased from two cases in the week before to 21 cases in the past week.

The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from two cases in the week before to five cases in the past week. 

READ: Cap of 8 visitors per day in each household from Jan 26 as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures

Among the 191 confirmed cases reported from Jan 16 to Jan 22, a total of 106 cases have tested positive for their serology tests while 35 have tested negative. The remaining 50 serology test results are pending.

The health ministry also added several new locations to its list of places visited by COVID-19 cases in the community during their infectious period. The places include popular shopping and dining destinations such as VivoCity, Paya Lebar Square, Golden Mile Complex and Sim Lim Square. 


Two Singaporeans and one permanent resident who returned from Malaysia, Mauritius and Myanmar are among the 14 imported cases reported on Friday.

There was also a dependant’s pass holder who travelled from France and four work pass holders who arrived from France, India and the United Kingdom.

Three are work permit holders who arrived from India and Indonesia, of whom one is a foreign domestic worker. 

There was a short-term visit pass holder who arrived from India to visit her family member who is a permanent resident. 

READ: Rules on visiting and tossing yusheng: 7 things to note this Chinese New Year amid COVID-19

The remaining two cases are special pass holders who are sea crew members. One case arrived onboard a vessel from China and was swabbed upon arrival. He was isolated until his result came back positive for COVID-19 infection, and subsequently taken to the hospital. 

The other special pass holder arrived onboard a vessel from Timor Leste, and did not disembark. He was swabbed onboard the vessel, and taken to the hospital when his test came back positive for the coronavirus.

Of the 14 imported cases, MOH said 13 had already been placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore and were tested during this period.

The remaining imported case, a work pass holder who works as a cabin crew member at Singapore Airlines, had travelled to the UK for work between Jan 12 and Jan 13.

READ: Stallholders, shop owners and food delivery workers in Chinatown to undergo COVID-19 testing ahead of Chinese New Year

The 29-year-old woman, known as Case 59529, returned to Singapore on Jan 14. The Indian national was tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and her test came back negative on the same day.

She subsequently developed a fever on Jan 17 and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic. On Jan 20, she developed loss of smell and was tested for COVID-19 the next day. 

Her result came back positive for COVID-19 infection on Jan 22. MOH said that she had mostly stayed at home from Jan 14 until she was taken to the hospital on Jan 22.


Twenty-four more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore’s total recoveries to 58,983.

There are 41 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and one is in the intensive care unit. Another 197 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.

As of Friday, Singapore has reported a total of 59,250 COVID-19 cases and 29 fatalities.


Households will only be able to receive a maximum of eight visitors per day from Jan 26 given the recent rise in community COVID-19 cases and the possible risk of transmission during the Chinese New Year period. 

People should also limit themselves to visiting no more than two households per day as much as possible, Minister for Education Lawrence Wong announced on Friday. 

Currently, up to eight visitors are allowed in each household at any one time, with no limit on the number of homes they can visit.

READ: COVID-19 vaccination centre at Woodlands Galaxy CC starts with jabs for frontline workers

Those who choose to dine out must avoid talking loudly during their meal. This means the Chinese New Year tradition of “lohei” should be conducted without any verbalisation of the usual auspicious phrases, said Mr Wong during a COVID-19 multi-ministry task force press conference. 

Face masks must also be worn during the tossing of yusheng, in line with the current rules on wearing a mask when diners are not eating or drinking, and there should also not be any intermingling across tables.

READ: ‘Many things could have been done better’ – COVID-19 task force chiefs on the lessons from the past year of the pandemic

READ: Learn lessons from COVID-19, invest in technology to prepare for ‘Disease X’: DPM Heng

“We only need to recall what happened last year when we indeed saw a spike in cases after Chinese New Year, and we had many clusters linked to Chinese New Year gatherings. 

“This was last year, we don’t want a repeat of that happening. And that’s why we are making a pre-emptive move now to tighten some of our measures,” added Mr Wong. 

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AFL Community Ambassadors – Multicultural Program registrations now open!

Registrations have now opened for the 2021 AFL community ambassador program!

The AFL Community Ambassador program was established in 2013, with the aim to engage Multicultural Communities through a network of dedicated volunteers while using Australian Rules Football as a vehicle of engagement and inclusion. 

The role of an AFL Community Ambassador has grown and expanded over a journey. Through strong partnerships with the AFL and its affiliated State bodies, Ambassadors have supported initiatives that have seen our game become more welcoming, accessible and inclusive for all Australians. 
Through the AFL Community Ambassador program, Ambassadors have undertaken the following roles and responsibilities:

  1. Promotions of Football in Multicultural Communities
  2. Providing Cultural education and advice
  3. Assisting local Community Football clubs 
  4. Activating key Multicultural festivals and AFL match day experiences
  5. Involved in Coaching and Umpiring pathways 

The AFL Community Ambassador program is open to anyone over the age of 18 and must have a valid Volunteer Working with Children check (or be willing to obtain one).

Registrations are now open. To register and become an AFL Community Ambassador, click here.

More information is available at

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Hawks need community support to stay alive despite record start to the NBL season

If the Hawks can go from no basketballs for their players to the top of the NBL ladder in six months, imagine what the franchise can do with the Illawarra community’s support.

The remarkable rise of the Hawks has been the story of the season so far, with the foundation club and last year’s bottom-placed side starting their 2021 campaign with three straight wins.

The team’s success has prompted coach Brian Goorjian to passionately call for “Illawarra” to be reinstated in the franchise’s name.

Goorjian made his feelings clear on the campaign for the Hawks to reclaim the club’s original name after his team’s win over Brisbane on Thursday night.

“We want to come back, we want them to fill that stadium and we want to hear ‘Illawarra, Illawarra’,” Goorjian said.

“I‘ve been around Chuck Harmison, Greg Hubbard, Glen Saville, Mat Campbell and these guys have earned that right. They’re Illawarra, we’re Illawarra. It’s time.”

Hawks president and co-owner Dorry Kordahi couldn’t agree with Goorjian more, but he stressed the club needed more community support to reclaim the Illawarra name.

The club could have folded back in May when it went into voluntary administration after it was revealed it hadn’t turned a profit in four years.

Thankfully, the NBL stepped in and helped to find new owners, but the job isn’t done from a long-term security perspective according to Kordahi.

“We should be Illawarra without a doubt, but we need you to get out and support your team,” Kordahi said.

“We have lifted the bar in what we are doing on and off the court, including bringing in the best coach in the country in Goorj.

“Now it’s on the community to buy their tickets, memberships, and corporate support their team so we can get the Illawarra name back.

“We have more good news coming soon regarding corporate, which is great.”

NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger stressed the league’s stance on reinstating the “Illawarra” name hadn’t changed, placing the emphasis back on the Wollongong community.

“As the new owners have also indicated, the club needs to build a long-term and sustainable future,” Loeliger said.

“They have set a bold membership target as part of their ‘Illawarra Proud’ campaign and are working closely with the local business community to get behind the foundation club.

“We fully support their efforts and encourage everyone across the Illawarra region to support the Hawks.

“We will continue to monitor the club’s progress and work closely with the Hawks ownership to ensure their long-term viability and success.”

Kordahi has been buoyed by the Hawks’ remarkable start to the NBL season, especially when you consider where the rebuild started, just weeks after the club had been placed into voluntary administration for the second time since 1979.

“We started in June with players having to bring their own ball to training because we didn’t have any,” Kordahi revealed.

“I had to call the NBL to send me some basketballs because we didn’t have any.

“That is the start of what we had – absolutely nothing – and now look what we’ve built in six months.”

Like everyone in the Wollongong region, Kordahi desperately wants to see the Illawarra name return, but he also knows the club requires more than just a name change to secure its long-term future.

He points out that the corporate reality of running a successful club means there are multiple standards that must be upheld, on and off the court.

“So even if we get this name back, we are not saved,” he said.

“This is an ongoing moving target.

“If we are still lingering around 3000 members in a few years time, then we won’t be here because we are not here to lose $3 million a year.

“So, the fans need to support their team.”

The Hawks made a huge step in the right direction on Friday when the club welcomed Multi Civil & Rail (MCR) back on-board as a major partner for the NBL 2020-21 season.

Multi Civil & Rail will take pride of place on the back of the new-look Hawks playing strip.

MCR is owned by former Hawks boss Tory Lavalle, who previously bid for the franchise prior to Kordahi signing on.

Kordahi believes Lavalle’s commitment is further proof of the franchise’s united front.

“I’ve been working closely with Tory for the last couple of months for him to come back as a sponsor,” he said.

“This highlights that there isn’t any angst between Tory or myself – we are in this together to drive our community engagement.

“But we also need the community to get out and support their team – that is vital for our long-term success.”

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City deliver on promise to community by investing millions in Priority Projects – 16 News

Novocastrians are encouraged to ‘go out and enjoy their city by grabbing it with both hands’ in the tagline for City of Newcastle’s latest Priority Projects campaign.

The campaign features four Priority Projects initiatives including City Centre Revitalisation, Blackbutt Reserve, Cycleways, and Coastal Revitalisation projects.

Priority Projects in 2021 have been identified as a result of extensive community consultation and the significant investment will benefit residents, businesses and visitors to Newcastle.

Building on the success of previous campaigns, the 2021 campaign features engaging videos that place the audience in amongst the action by using a first-person point of view.

The campaign features a 30-second television commercial (TVC) running until 31 January 2021, an overarching video for social media and website, and four project specific videos. Each of the project videos can be found on City of Newcastle’s Priority Projects webpage or via the following:

Footpath decals have also been placed in strategic locations within each Priority Projects area with a QR code linking back to the TVC. To find out more, visit City of Newcastle’s Priority Projects webpage.

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Victoria reports another day of no community transmission

Four new infections of coronavirus were detected among international travellers in hotel quarantine.

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