Man hit by car in Carrum Downs


Officers from Somerville Highway Patrol are investigating following a collision in Carrum Downs this morning.

Investigators have been told a 49-year-old man was standing on the Frankston Dandenong Road attempting to flag cars down about 12.50am.

A red Holden Commodore wagon travelling north on Frankston Dandenong Road, struck the pedestrian when he stepped out in front of the vehicle.

The pedestrian sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital.

The driver of the vehicle, an 18-year-old Dandenong North man, stopped and assisted at the scene.

The investigation is ongoing and police are appealing to anyone who may have seen the man on the road prior to the collision or who has dashcam footage, to contact Crime Stoppers on 18000 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

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Melbourne house prices hit record increase with median surpassing $1M as rental market plummets


Melbourne has recorded one of its largest quarterly house price increase, with new data revealing the median has surpassed the $1 million mark.

On Friday, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria released its quarterly March report, which shows metropolitan Melbourne has recorded its highest quarterly increase for houses since December 2009.

The median value of a house in metro Melbourne is now $1,004,500, which is a jump of 8.8 per cent from the previous quarter.

Houses in middle Melbourne are also at a record median of $1,148,500 and in regional Victoria they are at $510,500.

It is the first time regional Victorian houses have surpassed a $500,000 median price.

“Sellers and buyers didn’t waste any time getting active in the market,” REIV President Leah Calnan said in a statement.

“House prices have been boosted by incentives for First Home Buyers, mortgage repayment holidays, and low interest rates.”

“High demand across the state has also been fuelled by an increase in activity following Victoria’s lockdowns which saw thousands of auctions cancelled.”

But while property prices are at an all time high, an inner suburban exodus means Melbourne will soon have the cheapest rental properties of any capital city in the country.

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Victorian building industry takes $370 million hit from international student crisis


Victoria’s building industry took a $370 million hit last year as the COVID-19 crisis locked international students out of Australia, causing cash-strapped universities to stop building, and apartment projects to stall.

The Property Council of Australia said the knock-on effects from the absence of overseas students had cost the state’s economy more than $1 billion and kept 13,000 Victorians out of work.

Raymond Mah of DKO Architects says the student accommodation building business has dried up.Credit:Jason South

The Master Builders Association of Victoria has added its voice to calls from business, the education sector and local government for the state and Commonwealth to find a way to get Victoria’s $13 billion international education trade moving again, saying its absence is hurting the economy.

Monash University cut $100 million from its capital works program in 2020 across its four campuses, and private developers across the city walked away from the previously lucrative business of building student accommodation.

Data published this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show how some of those decisions hit the construction industry, with the value of building commencements in the private education sector falling from more than $466 million in the first three months of 2020, to about $94 million in the last three months of the year, a plunge of nearly 80 per cent.

The Property Council’s Victorian executive director, Danni Hunter, said it was vital to the property industry and the entire state economy that governments came up with a plan to “fast-track the return of international students, and for putting Melbourne’s education sector back on the map.”

“This will have positive flow-on effects for the Victorian economy, and will help drive a property-led economic recovery,” Ms Hunter said.

But the state and federal governments cannot agree on the best way to get international students back into the country, with Victoria wanting to make space for a limited number of them within the existing arrivals cap, while Canberra wants caps increased to accommodate students.

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Van driver hit and killed by own vehicle when truck crashed into it in Smithfield


A truck driver is facing charges over a deadly crash involving a van and another car in Sydney’s west.
Last night emergency services were called to the scene of a crash at the intersection of Cumberland Highway and Sturt Street in Smithfield about 8.30pm.

Police have been told the driver of the van was standing in front of his vehicle which was broken down by the side of the road.

A truck driver is facing charges after a van driver was hit and killed by his own vehicle in Sydney's west last night.
A truck driver is facing charges after a van driver was hit and killed by his own vehicle in Sydney’s west last night. (9News)

A truck then struck the van, which then hit its driver who sustained critical injuries.

The 32-year-old man died at the scene.

A passenger inside the van, a 19-year-old man, was treated by paramedics before being taken to Westmead Hospital in a stable condition.

The truck also allegedly hit another car during the crash, but the male driver of the car and his two passengers were uninjured.

The truck allegedly hit the van, which crushed the driver, and also hit another car in the deadly crash.
The truck allegedly hit the van, which crushed the driver, and also hit another car in the deadly crash. (9News)

The 42-year-old truck driver was uninjured in the crash.

He was taken to Westmead Hospital for mandatory testing and in the early hours of this morning he was arrested at Granville Police Station.

The truck driver was charged with dangerous driving occasioning death and negligent driving occasioning death.

He was refused bail to appear before Fairfield Local Court today.

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Cops hit roadblock probing alleged overnight stabbing



POLICE are struggling to investigate an alleged violent dispute which resulted in a man being stabbed and a teen suffering a head injury because those involved have been “uncooperative”.

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Tasmanians reflect on a year of living and working since COVID hit


When Andy Bading took his seat on a plane for the final leg of a journey home after a family holiday in Vanuatu, he didn’t know he would be touching down in a state about to be changed dramatically by coronavirus.

Mr Bading and his wife, Mel, learned from media reports that his seat had been close to a man who, on March 2, 2020, became the first person to test positive to COVID-19 in Tasmania.

“We freaked out, obviously. We have a child who has immunodeficiency disorders and things like that, so first concern was that,” Mr Bading said.

“But the biggest concern was public health didn’t contact us, we had to contact them, and they didn’t know what to tell us. It was very confusing.”

Mr Bading self-isolated at home, but quickly developed a high temperature and drove to the Launceston General Hospital to be tested for COVID-19.

“They instantly isolated me and they put me in a room and they wore the whole dark suit and everything like that with the signs on the door.”

Testing revealed Mr Bading had not contracted COVID-19, but instead had swine flu.

When he recovered he returned home to Hadspen and transitioned to working from home as harsh coronavirus restrictions were introduced around the state.

While the harshest restrictions have since been lifted, Mr Bading said life in Tasmania has yet to return to pre-COVID normality.

“Obviously you don’t shake people’s hands or give them a cuddle,” he said.

“The other main difference is no travel. And we’re looking forward to doing that again, because we love cruises.”

Andy and Mel Bading enjoyed their last overseas holiday for a year before flying back to Launceston.(

Supplied: Andy Bading

)

“I wanted to protect everybody”

The Launceston General Hospital’s head of infectious diseases, Katie Flanagan, was driving her daughter to a rowing competition when she got a phone call telling her there was a likely COVID case at the hospital.

The roadside phone call began 12 months of intense work to ready the hospital to safely treat patients with the virus.

Professor Flanagan’s team was in charged of managing the first case, a man who had flown from Iran to Launceston, via Malaysia and Melbourne.

“At that point we had absolutely nothing set up in the hospital in terms of how we would manage a large number of COVID patients coming through,” she said.

Professor Katie Flanagan sitting in her chair.
Professor Katie Flanagan led the Launceston General Hospital’s response to treating Tasmania’s first COVID patient.(

ABC News: Chook Brooks

)

“What it did was kick us into action,” Professor Flanagan said.

Professor Flanagan oversaw the creation of a COVID-19 ward and an escalation plan at the hospital.

“My close colleagues and staff, we had this terrible fear because you could see what was happening in certain countries around the world where hospitals became overwhelmed, and we had to prepare for that scenario,” she said.

“I wanted to protect everybody as well as I could.”

Cleaner planned to isolate in garage

Hospital cleaner Jason Beck had been keeping up to date with international media reports about COVID-19 and wasn’t surprised when it appeared in Tasmania.

Two members of Mr Beck’s family have pre-existing medical conditions.

Fearing he might be exposed to COVID-19 at work, he bought his own PPE and a supply of N-95 masks.

“Because two people would be at risk here, and I work at the hospital in high volume areas, with critical patients, I thought that was the best way to approach it, because I obviously don’t want to make anyone sick,” Mr Beck said.

He and his family decided if the situation worsened, Mr Beck could live in the garage under their house.

“I had a workshop and downstairs area where I could go and be isolated down there,” he said.

A year after Tasmania’s first COVID case, Mr Beck was excited about the rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

“Now there’s light at the end of the tunnel, I think, and before the vaccine you just didn’t know what was going to happen, you couldn’t plan anything,” he said.

But he said the community was still wary of future coronavirus outbreaks.

“With health things, it’s usually two weeks later everyone forgets and we go back to normal life. I really feel that is not the case this time,” he said.

Launceston resident in the area under his house where he planned to self-isolate.
Launceston resident Jason Beck in the area under his house where he planned to self-isolate if he contracted COVID-19.(

ABC News: Laura Beavis

)

“People had that fear going on”

After Tasmania’s first COVID case, work at the Launceston General Hospital changed dramatically for registered nurse Stephanie Lee.

Within months she was caring for COVID patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

She and her colleagues also began to worry about a change in the way community members reacted to seeing health care workers in scrubs outside of the hospital.

“Being a nurse we’d always been the most trusted profession and all of a sudden people were seeing us and sort of had that fear going on,” Ms Lee said.

Stephanie Lee standing on the lawn.
Nurse Stephanie Lee said she and her colleagues were worried when their work scrubs attracted negative attention outside the hospital.(

ABC News: Laura Beavis

)

Ms Lee and other nurses stopped wearing their uniform to and from work.

Ms Lee believes some parts of her life and work changed by COVID will remain that way.

“I think there’s some things that won’t ever go back to the way that they were,” she said.

Community support kept shops and cafes afloat

A year after Tasmania’s first case of COVID-19, Daniel Alps’s supermarket and cafe is still doing things differently than 12 months ago.

“Before COVID we never used to do deliveries or any of those types of things — our business model changed,” Mr Alps said.

He said adapting to changing coronavirus rules by temporarily switching to takeaway-only service and extending commercial kitchen-level hygiene practices to the entire cafe had been challenging, but support from local customers remained strong throughout.

Daniel Alps in his cafe.
Daniel Alps closed the seated area of his cafe and switched to takeaway service as coronavirus restrictions were introduced.(

ABC News: Laura Beavis

)

Homewares retailer Lindi McMahon watched from her shut shop as foot traffic in Launceston’s city centre quickly dwindled under Tasmania’s initial lockdown.

“We basically had our website, so we were selling online. We were lucky that we already had that in place,” Ms McMahon said.

“We did local deliveries as well. So we would take things to people’s homes, so that they could still shop with us.”

After 12 months of living with COVID, Ms McMahon said Tasmanians had altered their shopping habits.

“I think the fact that people can’t travel internationally and things now, we find that there’s more people shopping locally, which in way has been a bonus for local businesses,” she said.

Homeware retailer Lindi McMahon in the store.
Homeware retailer Lindi McMahon focused on online sales when coronavirus restrictions closed her store.(

ABC News: Laura Beavis

)

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Sydney News: COVID-19 restrictions on public transport to ease, rental prices hit record high


COVID-19 restrictions will be eased on public transport from next Monday as the government continues to encourage more people to return to the office.

Capacity will jump to 75 per cent in Sydney, all caps will be lifted on regional public transport.and people will no longer have to allocate spare seats between themselves and others.

In December last year, capacity was lifted to 55 per cent on trains, 45 per cent on buses, 51 per cent on ferries and 25 per cent on light rail.

Last month, face masks became no longer mandatory on public transport and are now only recommended.

Sydney’s housing rental prices hit record highs in the March quarter along with most other capital cities.

In Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Sutherland, outer south-west, outer west and Blue Mountains regions, rental prices are still rising along with demand.

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Panthers hit back at ‘arrogance’ with hilarious try celebration


The Penrith Panthers have responded to accusations of arrogance during the week with a polite handshake after Matt Burton scored in the first half.

The Broncos were taking it to the unbeaten Panthers and led 6-4 until Burton crossed on an overlap in the 25th minute.

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After dropping a sneak peek of the reaction on Instagram, Burton got up and politely shook hands with winger Brian To’o and five eighth Jerome Luai.

It comes after the Panthers were slammed for their “cockiness” and “arrogance” during their round five win over the Raiders.

In last week’s clash, a brief scuffle erupted after Panthers winger Charlie Staines crossed in the corner for Penrith’s fourth try, before a fired-up Stephen Crichton grabbed opponent Joseph Tapine as he waited on the sideline to re-enter the match, which sparked the melee.

Crichton was subsequently charged with contrary conduct by the NRL judiciary and was fined $1300 with an early guilty plea.

The Raiders were fined $10,000 after a trainer got involved.

So the Panthers’ young guns have gone the other way, with the muted celebrations.

Social media was quick to react to the scene as the Panthers made a mockery of the criticism.

But after going down 12-10 down to the Broncos at the break, Fox League commentator Warren Smith pondered if the subdued try celebrations could explain the shock scoreline.

“The Panthers, very circumspect with their try celebrations tonight, whether that’s sucked a little bit of the energy out of them,” he said.

It comes after The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Crawley called out the Panthers players on NRL 360 for lacking “class and respect”, citing Friday’s incident as an example.

“There was a cockiness and an arrogance, and against the Raiders on the weekend, I thought it spilt over and it crossed the line of what’s acceptable,” Crawley said on Tuesday evening.”

It’s a label Panthers coach Ivan Cleary didn’t want a bar of, and said Penrith’s youngsters are just reacting to what they’re copping on the field.

“Our team is young. I don’t think people see the niggle that comes from the opposition towards our team,” Cleary said.

“We’ve been reasonably successful and what comes with that is we get a little bit of niggle toward our boys, especially because we are young.

“I guess at the moment our boys are combating that however they can.

“I’m always on the lookout to make sure we’re behaving the right way … I’m not too worried.”

Then again, the Broncos have ambushed the Panthers, taking a 12-10 lead to the halftime break.

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Byron Bay local businesses hit out at Netflix reality influencer show


Byron Bay’s most sought-after local business have been knocking back approaches to be featured in a salacious Netflix reality series about Instagram influencers, as a petition to block its production nears 4000 signatures.

Last week, streaming giant Netflix announced it had teamed up with Eureka productions to create a reality series Byron Baes, that would explore “fights, flings and heartbreak” among social media influencers who are based in the idyllic town on the NSW far north coast.

The series had brought on Emma Lamb, a highly accomplished reality producer who has previously worked on Married At First Sight and The Real Housewives Of Sydney.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that an influencer in possession of a good follower count must be in want of a beach backdrop (for the ’gram).
“And there’s no better backdrop – or magnet for influencers – than Byron Bay, the perfect setting for our next Australian Netflix Original,” ANZ stated in a release about the show.

It’s a red-hot concept that would likely draw huge ratings.

But the show’s premise has gone down in flames with Byron Bay locals, with a petition titled “Boycott Byron Baes Netflix Series by Refusing to Grant Filming Permits” reaching 3900 signatures on Thursday.

The petition’s creator, Tess Hall, said the concept would grossly misrepresent Byron Bay and its values.

“We don’t want to be an Instagrammers’ paradise,” Ms Hall told NCA NewsWire.

“When it comes to Byron Bay, what we have seen about the show would shine a light on the town which doesn’t reflect our values and who we are as a community.

“The fallout for Byron Bay is we become even more renowned as a hotspot for influencers; people who have a massive following who come to these hot spots and create a desire for their followers to visit.

“But that traffic has the potential to cause significant environmental impacts without any real valuable or meaningful injection to the region.”

The petition states Byron Bay “is a community experiencing significant challenges driven by influencer culture and rapidly shifting demographics of residents.”

It aims for “relevant statutory authorities to refuse to grant the production filming permits for any and all local and state government land, roads, parks, and waterways proposed for use during filming of the series. “

It is understood Byron Bay’s top five most popular local businesses on Instagram have steadfastly declined approaches to be featured in the series – despite the potential for considerable surges in trade due to the Netflix exposure.

“Being members of the community, their gut reaction is this show isn‘t the tone and approach they want,” Ms Hall said.

“These business could gain by being included in the series but are vocally and actively choosing not to.”

Rumoured cast members include model and influencer Jess Vander Leahy and Love Island contestant Elias Chigros.

Ms Hall, a filmmaker herself, welcomed Byron Bay and the far north coast becoming a TV and film production destination, but in the right context.

“I’m a filmmaker; I’m all for the Northern Rivers and broader region becoming a production hub,” she said.

“Anything that brings large scale production and jobs to the region is great

“But ‘brand Byron’ has become so big and has been exploited. When I saw the series idea, I decided enough is enough.”



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Officer seriously injured when hit by trail bike – Maitland – 16 News


A police officer has been injured when he was struck by a trail bike during a pursuit in the Hunter this evening.

Officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District had initiated a pursuit of the trail bike rider shortly before 7pm (Wednesday 14 April 2021), on the New England Highway at Maitland.

The officer was on foot when he was struck by the trail bike and has suffered serious leg fractures, as well as suspected arm, head, pelvic and spinal injuries.

The male constable has been airlifted to John Hunter Hospital where his condition is reported to be serious but stable.

The trail bike rider – a man believed to be aged in his 20s – has been arrested and taken to John Hunter Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He remains there under police guard.

Officers attached to the Crash Investigation Unit (CIU) are now inquiring into circumstances surrounding this incident.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

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