Road safety in focus for electorate | Goulburn Post


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The Goulburn electorate will receive funds for vital road safety works as round four of the Safer Roads Program begins to roll out. Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said the investment being made through the Safer Roads Program was saving lives on our roads. READ ALSO: STILL ON: Fire and Rescue NSW open day in Goulburn to go ahead Locally, the fourth round of the Safer Roads Program will deliver funds to: “Projects like these make a huge difference to locals and help ensure everyone who travels on our roads makes it home safely at the end of the day,” Mrs Tuckerman said. READ ALSO: Applications open for the $100m Stronger Country Communities across regional NSW “The NSW Government is committed to reducing the road toll and it is estimated the program will prevent the loss of more than 1500 lives and serious injuries on our roads over 15 years. Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said this latest round of the program built on the Federal and NSW Government’s commitment in March to deliver hundreds of projects designed to reduce road trauma and save lives. “Both governments have a shared goal of no deaths or serious injuries on our roads, because no one should have to hear the devastating news that a loved one has lost their life in a crash,” Mr Toole said. READ ALSO: ‘Alarming potential’: Man who brought knives into Yass Court House jailed “We know how important good roads are in the bush – projects like these are ensuring every trip is a safer one and building on our vision for a safer, stronger regional NSW.” Statewide round four of the Safer Roads Program will deliver: Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.

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St Kilda apartment building evacuated over safety fears


A bayside apartment building in Melbourne has been evacuated over safety fears due to combustible cladding.

The Port Phillip Council municipal building surveyor has ordered residents of a St Kilda apartment building with combustible cladding concerns and other fire safety matters to leave within two weeks, Mayor Louise Crawford said in a statement.

The council has not identified the building, other than to the affected owners and residents, due to a state government practice because of arson and terrorism fears.

“The building cannot be lived in after the next fortnight until fire safety concerns have been addressed,” Councillor Crawford said.

“The emergency order follows a recommendation by the independent advisory reference panel to council’s MBS.”

The building was identified by the Victorian Building Authority as part of an audit of buildings across the state to identify compliance and fire safety risks.

“They assessed the building as having an unreasonable fire risk to the occupants and public, due to the way it was constructed and the presence of combustible cladding,” Cr Crawford said.

“The occupancy permit for this development was issued in the early 2000s by a private building surveyor and not council.”

The building’s owner’s corporation has been advised to engage a fire safety warden onsite from 10pm to 7am every day for the next two weeks to provide time for the occupants to evacuate.

“After that, residents cannot live in the building,” Cr Crawford said.

“This is the first time an order for an evacuation of this kind has been issued in our (council) and our hearts go out to the owners and residents at this distressing time.”

She said the council would do what it could to assist residents needing support.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne in February banned the use of flammable aluminium composite panels and rendered expanded polystyrene as external wall cladding on all future multistorey developments in Victoria.

More than 3200 properties have been inspected over the past three years as part of Victoria’s statewide cladding audit.

The audit was prompted following the Lacrosse apartments fire in Docklands and London’s Grenfell Tower tragedy that claimed the lives of 72 people.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

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Unique water safety program saving lives by teaching children with autism how to swim


Some children with autism have a fascination with water, a tendency to wander and little or no sense of danger, putting them much more at risk of drowning.

But a unique swimming program in Canberra — with a counterintuitive structure — has dived deep into the issue to turn the tragic tide.

Renee Zwikielberg has two children with autism — William, 9, and Sophie, 7 — and said she came frighteningly close to the tragedy of losing a child to drowning.

“We went on holiday about 18 months ago and William nearly drowned,” she said.

Ms Zwikielberg said they had tried many different types of swimming classes over the years from group settings to one-on-one lessons with instructors trained in teaching people with autism.

But she said it was not until William was enrolled in WaterAbilities at Black Mountain School that he made progress.

“At first, he didn’t even want to get in the water,” she said.

“He was afraid … and had a lot of anxiety about drowning given that it almost happened twice.”

William now has a better understanding of water safety and enjoys swimming lessons.(

ABC News: Andrew Kennedy

)

But William has since thrived in the lessons, learning strokes, safety and how to enjoy the water.

And that’s also given Ms Zwikielberg confidence that her son would be safe around water.

“It’s really changed my life. I can’t stress that enough,” she said.

Strengthening exercises key to swimming success

The program’s unique composition involves spending as much time outside of the pool as in it.

The unconventional strategy has used land-based exercises that strengthen muscles and movements used for swimming well before participants try to thrash against the water.

Young girl swimming under water
Sophie had fallen behind in mainstream swimming lessons but now has greater strength to float and swim.(

ABC News: Andrew Kennedy

)

Those strength-building exercises have been especially valuable for William’s little sister Sophie.

“Even at five, [Sophie] was what you would consider a floppy baby, but now her strength and her muscle tone has increased,” Ms Zwikielberg said.

Child swimming with woman
Flynn is happy to put his head under the water after taking part in the WaterAbilities program with his mother Ele.(

ABC News: Andrew Kennedy

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Ele Fogarty has seen a similarly remarkable transformation in her son Flynn.

The five-year-old happily and safely dived underwater for the first time last week after a sensory condition had meant he previously became distressed if water — even from a shower — washed over his head.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Ms Fogarty said.

“And he actually decided he’s going to do showers. They’re only small things but they’re massive.”

Drowning leading cause of death in children with autism

Carol Jennings co-founded the “holistic” pilot and said it was intentionally very different to mainstream swim schools.

“The whole team are allied health workers, so we draw on occupational therapy, exercise physiology, physiotherapy and early education, in addition to being swim school qualified,” Ms Jennings said.

According to Royal Life Saving Australia, children with autism are 160 per cent more likely to drown than those without.

And drowning is the leading cause of death for children with autism.

Woman smiling
Cherry Bailey says there is a great need for a program like WaterAbilities.(

ABC News: Tahlia Roy

)

The ACT Government spent $15,000 on the trial, which was also supported by Royal Life Saving ACT.

Royal Life Saving ACT general manager Cherry Bailey said the disability community had been crying out for a solution like WaterAbilities.

“The demand was obvious and really important,” she said.

“We want these children to be experiencing the same types of program opportunities as children without autism.

“[The program] has provided really special connections for families and children in the water and provided focus points needed in terms of fundamental movement, development in the water and readiness to learn … water safety skills.”

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Apple AirTags suspended by Officeworks due to child safety concerns


Officeworks has paused the sale of Apple’s new AirTags just two weeks after they were released due to concerns children could easily remove the button cell battery.

In late April, Apple unveiled its own version of Tile technology, a device that uses Bluetooth to track personal belongings to your smartphone.

However, reports surfaced online of customers being told at Officeworks stores that the AirTag was temporarily unavailable, while the company also removed the product from its website.

“Eventually someone came downstairs from the office and explained that the AirTags have been recalled due to safety concerns of how easily the button-cell battery can be removed by a child,” a user posted on Reddit.

Officeworks confirmed the product suspension.

“The Apple AirTag range will temporarily be unavailable from purchase from Officeworks,” a spokesman told NCA NewsWire in a statement.

“The product will not be stocked by Officeworks until further guidance is provided from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Officeworks continues to work with Apple to address any safety concerns.”

Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) urged all commercial retailers to suspend and report product they thought could have dangerous button cell battery components.

“The ACCC is aware of reports raising concerns about the accessibility of button batteries in the Apple AirTag product,” an ACCC statement read.

“If a supplier finds a product they supply is unsafe, the ACCC expects the supplier to conduct a voluntary recall to advise consumers of the risk, address the safety issue, or remove the product from the market.

“If a supplier becomes aware of a serious injury, illness or death caused by a product they supply, the supplier must make a mandatory injury report through the Product Safety Australia website.”

AirTags are sleek and come in a leather casing, costing $45 each or four for $149.

They can be attached to keys, backpacks, luggage and other objects as you would a Tile.

The product uses an iPhone’s camera, accelerometer and gyroscope, along with visual and haptic feedback, to help locate the device.

They can be monitored in the Find My app.

In December 2020, the Federal Government announced new mandatory safety and information standards for button batteries and products that contain them.

There are requirements for secure battery compartments, child resistant packaging and warnings and information.

The standards include an 18-month transition period and will come into force on 22 July 2022, but are not mandatory now.

However the ACCC has urged manufacturers to comply with the standards before the deadline.

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Safety fears at Greater Shepparton ‘super school’ flare up, but local MP says problems ‘aren’t new’


The Greater Shepparton College is again being hit with allegations of an unsafe culture for students and staff.

The latest claims about the “super school” were aired by a Victorian media outlet that quoted concerned parents, intimidated students, and teachers who said they felt “unsafe” and were “working in fear”.

But the Independent member for Shepparton, Suzanna Sheed, said the problems were “not new”.

“We’ve never talked about education in the community the way we have the last few years,” Ms Sheed said.

“At every level it’s shown the lack of resourcing, the lack of attention that this community had, because we’ve got a range of private schools and when they expel a kid they go to the state school system.”

Ms Sheed said the school had to deal with a “huge” range of students, many of whom had “very traumatic early life experiences”.

“If you’re going to deal with these kids in school, you’ve got to provide the resources and the support that’s needed,” she said.

The MP said it was her understanding that not all experiences at the school had been negative.

“I can tell you that I talk to many parents and so many of them will say to me, ‘What what I’m seeing on Facebook, with all these groups in Shepparton being negative about it, what I’m seeing in the newspapers, bears no resemblance to my child’s lived experience in these schools’,” she said.

Ms Sheed said there was no stopping the campus merger and that she hoped the culture would change next year when it was completed.

The school is operating across three sites while the new campus is being built on the former Shepparton High School site.

Construction is expected to be completed by 2022.

Shepparton father Tim has removed his son from the school after an incident last month involving an imitation firearm at one of the Greater Shepparton Secondary College campuses.

His son told his parents the fake gun was pointed at him while he was at school.

Victoria Police confirmed that the McGuire Campus had been placed into lockdown following the incident and that two boys, aged 13 and 14, were issued cautions.

“My wife and I learnt of the incident after work — we got a phone call just after we knocked off work,” Tim said.

“We just tried to come to terms with what was happening.

“When I got home my son was more traumatised by the events of what was happening rather than the imitation gun.”

Tim said his son was interviewed and offered counselling by police without his or his wife’s knowledge.

His son has since started at a new school.

The region’s education choice advocacy group has described the reports as “shocking”.

Greater Shepparton Voice 4 Choice Public Education founder Robyn Boschetti said she disagreed with Ms Sheed’s comments that the latest concerns were “not new.”

“These are more violent incidents,” she said.

“To hear these stories of these kids is so heartbreaking, for [Education Minister] James Merlino and Suzanna Sheed to not listen and not speak to parents is disgusting, really.”

Ms Boschetti said there was a lack of leadership “from the ground up”.

She said to pick up “2,500-odd kids, mix them all around – which is basically what they’ve done – and put them all down in different schools and say, ‘There you go, kids, go and play nice’,” was not a strong plan.

“We need to be able to drop our kids off at the school gate and feel like we have left them in a safe environment,” she said.

“Not sitting there worrying when the phone call is going to come that your child is seriously injured.”

Ms Boschetti said she did not agree that the ongoing issues would be resolved once the new school was completed.

“It is only escalating, putting 3,000 kids together on one spot — I can’t see it getting any better,” she said.

“We need to have our schools returned.

The Liberal state member for Northern Victoria, Wendy Lovell, said the latest allegations were disturbing and accused the Victorian Government and the school of “failing to listen”.

“They’ve really had a tin ear since the beginning with parents who’ve been raising concerns about the violence and other issues in the school,” she said.

“They keep sending home messages saying, ‘This isn’t in line with the culture and inclusion and other things that we are building in this school’.

She said the issues stemmed back to the lack of community consultation when the idea of the super school model was raised.

“This model was imposed on our community,” Ms Lovell said.

“There were concerns being raised right from the beginning, but it wasn’t until after the last state election when the government actually announced the transition plan that parents really [understood] how bad this would be.”

Ms Lovell conceded that a return to the old model was unrealistic, but said families needed options.

“This school is being built and it will form part of the secondary education offer in Greater Shepparton,” she said.

“In Melbourne where they’ve done these schools, if a child can’t attend, they can get on a public bus and travel five or 10 minutes to the next public secondary school.”

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Researchers map safety experiences of women, gender-diverse people




Researchers from Monash University have teamed up with 20 city and regional councils around Victoria to map the safety experiences of women and gender-diverse people in public spaces. Jessica Longbottom reports.

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Council staff inspect headstones at Lanarkshire cemetery for safety


Headstones at Westburn Cemetery in Cambuslang are currently being inspected by council staff.

South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) has a duty of care to provide a safe environment for both visitors and staff.

Westburn is the latest plot to be inspected as part of checks being carried out at all 55 cemeteries across the area.

Around 25,000 headstones have been checked so far.

Fully-trained operatives carry out the checks, and where a headstone is found to be unsafe, lair owners are contacted in writing and a sign attached to the headstone advising issues with its stability.

If the headstone shows significant movement and is deemed unsafe, it is immediately secured by use of wooden posts and banding.


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Advice is then given that the lair owner should contact the memorial mason who erected the headstone to look at the possibility of making a suitable repair.

The council’s head of facilities, waste and grounds services, Alistair McKinnon, told Lanarkshire Live : “We do not have the right or the responsibility to make repairs to headstones.

“However, should the lair holder not make contact within the designated timescale, we will lay the headstone flat or ‘trench in’ the headstone to ensure safety.

“We acknowledge that in some cases families may be attending the lair without full knowledge of the process and we would apologise in advance for any distress caused.”

Information will be posted on the notice boards at the entrance to each cemetery when inspections are taking place.

Should you wish to discuss any matter arising please contact Bereavement Services by calling 0303 123 1016.



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COVID-19 safety breach potentially exposes Perth hospital staff to virus

COVID-19 safety breach potentially exposes Perth hospital staff to virus



COVID-19 safety breach potentially exposes Perth hospital staff to virus

Three staff members at the Royal Perth Hospital may have been exposed to coronavirus after a safety breach involving a service lift used by a COVID-19 patient.

It has been revealed the lift, used by a ship captain who was treated at the hospital last week, wasn’t properly cordoned off, exposing the staff to the potentially deadly virus.

Yesterday morning he was moved to the hospital’s intensive care unit through the service lift.

A review of hospital CCTV has now revealed three staff members who were not wearing any personal protective equipment unknowingly used that same lift within 15 minutes of the transfer.

WA Health has stressed the risk of transmission is very low, stating two of the staff members were fully vaccinated while the third has had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As a precaution, the three staff members have been placed in self-isolation.

A review will now be undertaken into the hospital’s procedures.

The ship’s captain remains in the hospital in a dedicated isolation ward.

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Reserve Road upgrade set to significantly improve safety


Works are
underway on a major upgrade of Reserve Road, in Charlemont.

The upgrade includes include pavement
reconstruction, stabilisation, shoulder widening and drainage upgrades.

The City is delivering the works with funding from the
federal government Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program.

The
$500,000 upgrade will greatly improve safety and cater to increased traffic on
Reserve Road, between Barwarre Road and Barwon Heads Road.

Drainage
upgrade works are already complete, and the next stage of works involving
shoulder removal, reinstatement and widening will begin on Monday 19 April.

The works
will require a temporary road closure for up to six days. Traffic management
will be in place including signage with detours to assist in movement around
the area. Emergency access will be provided, along with local access only.

The third
stage of works, which includes the pavement reconstruction, are scheduled to
commence in the first week of May and is likely to require temporary road
closures.

Councillor Anthony Aitken, Chair of the City Works, Parks
and Gardens portfolio acknowledged that while the temporary road closure was an
inconvenience, the works would deliver a much-needed upgrade to Reserve Road.

These works will deliver important safety improvements for
drivers, cyclists and pedestrians on Reserve Road, where there has been an increase
in traffic in recent years.

This project is of one of nine infrastructure projects in
Greater Geelong that received support through the Federal Government’s first
round of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure fund.

We are grateful for the support from the federal government
for these vital projects, and I am excited to see the Reserve Road upgrade now
underway.

Users of this road will be thrilled with the completed
works, making for a safer and more convenient commute.

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Advocates say national Women’s Safety Summit will be ‘talk-fest’ unless it speaks to survivors of domestic violence


Late on Wednesday, Federal Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston announced the summit would be held in July and would focus on developing the next stage of a 12-year National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.

“It’s very focused around women’s safety, and making sure that we have the best possible information base to be able to inform the next plan,” Senator Ruston said yesterday.

She said an online survey will allow members of the public to have their say on the next stage of the plan. 

But Hearts of Purple chief executive Michelle Beattie said without the voices and experiences of domestic violence survivors front and centre at the summit, it will be yet another “talk-fest” that would be “all for show”.

“We’re sick and tired of our government sitting around talking about it. It needs to stop, there needs to be action,” Ms Beattie said.

“How about talking to the victims and survivors of domestic violence?

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