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


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

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China accuses the US of ‘coercive diplomacy’ after trade remarks in support of Australia



China has accused the United States of “coercive diplomacy” following comments by Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the US will stand by Australia in the face of economic coercion by Beijing. 

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying accused the US of imposing economic sanctions and strong-arming other countries over trade issues to achieve its “strategic goals”. 

Hua said China’s telecommunications and other high-tech industries are now falling victim to US “economic coercion,” an apparent reference to firms including Huawei and ZTE that have faced US restrictions.

“Coercive diplomacy is a specialty of the United States, which has provided the world with classic textbooks and cases of coercive diplomacy through its policies and actions,” Hua said at a daily briefing on Friday.

“There are now a growing number of people in the United States who are calling for strengthened dialogue and cooperation with China and urging the two countries to work toward each other to improve relations. They believe that a healthy, stable and sustained US-China relationship is in the interest of the people of both countries,” she added.

Like the United States and China, Australia and China are in the midst of several major disputes as Beijing seeks to apply pressure over commerce and influence.

In a Thursday meeting, Mr Blinken told Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne the United States and Australia are bound together by deeply held shared values that no other nation, including China, can uproot.

Both said that presenting a united front toward China is key and called for a more thorough and complete investigation into the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic that emerged in China in 2019.

China-Australia relations have plunged to a multi-decade low, with Beijing blocking imports of Australian coal, wheat and other goods over the past year.

But it has failed to force Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government to offer concessions.

Australia decided in April to cancel two deals signed by Victoria with China’s multibillion-dollar “Belt and Road” construction initiative.

Beijing warned then it might respond, which it did by suspending the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, accusing Australia of abusing “so-called national security reasons to severely restrict and suppress economic and cultural cooperation projects.”



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Volunteers help Jim seek refuge from MS in the Southern Ocean nearly every day.



This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

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Half Melbourne suburbs tipped to have $1m median house price in next 12 months


No. 20 Merbein Street is on the market in Pascoe Vale – one of the suburbs tipped to hit a median of more than $1m.


Half of all Melbourne suburbs will soon cost homebuyers more than $1 million for a typical house in the rising market.

More than 40 per cent of suburbs across the city are currently at a median house price of more than $1m, and new data suggests it won’t be long before it reaches 50 per cent, according to realestate.com.au.

A whopping 18 new suburbs are tipped to hit a $1m dollar house price median for the first time within the next 12 months.

RELATED: Melbourne real estate: new million-dollar suburbs unveiled

Melbourne real estate: how far can post-lockdown boom go?

Every Melbourne suburb’s house and unit median sale price: City hits $1m for first time

No. 12 Byron Street, Ringwood, is up for sale with $900,000-$990,000 price hopes.


Interest in sea-change pads like 16 Summerfield Drive, Mornington, has surged since the pandemic.


It comes after the Herald Sun revealed Melbourne’s median house sale price had skyrocketed past $1m in the March quarter.

Rapid growth in the post-lockdown property rush is predicted to push Diamond Creek (18 per cent increase), Hurstbridge (20 per cent), Dingley Village (11 per cent) and Ringwood (11 per cent) to reach a median of more than $1m.

But houses in Rye are forecast to have the biggest increase, with the dwelling type jumping a massive 29 per cent to an expected $1,147,971 median.

The data – which used the growth in median pricing across the past 12 months to project future increases – also showed expected hefty price boosts for coastal homes in Mornington, Chelsea, Dromana, and Frankston South.

No. 207 Melbourne Road, Rye is on the market with a $960,000-$1.05m price guide.


Good Friday Colour

Buyers have flocked to the Mornington Peninsula for its coastal lifestyle.


Realestate.com.au economist Anne Flannery said the list demonstrated how buyers were broadening their search for lifestyle properties further away from the CBD.

“(A lot of the suburbs) are in the outer areas, but they are very well serviced by public transport and most have a train station,” Ms Flannery said.

“So it’s not just looking to move further out, buyers still want to have access to transport and amenities (without) being too far from family and friends.”

She said the impacts of lockdown and the ability to work remotely had generated additional activity in the tree and sea-change markets.

No. 11 Vista Rise, Maribyrnong, is set for auction with an asking price of $780,000-$850,000.


The data revealed interest in Maribyrnong and Keilor was likely to continue, as they soared to a predicted $1,005,055 and $1,021,984 respectively.

“Before the pandemic hit, (the northwestern corridor) was actually already a growth corridor – there has been good population growth there,” Ms Flannery noted.

Wakelin Property Advisory director Jarrod McCabe said the growing number of Melbourne suburbs with a $1m median wasn’t particularly surprising.

“Given there’s a large number of suburbs in Melbourne, it was bound to happen with the overall median for Melbourne getting higher and higher,” Mr McCabe said.

He said the rising pricing was a concern for buyers hoping to break into the market, but noted “access to money has never been cheaper” with record-low interest rates.

More luxury pads like 72 Old Diamond Creek Road, Diamond Creek, are also turning heads.


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PREDICTED NEW $1M MEDIAN SUBURBS

Suburb, median house price, forecast median, growth

Diamond Creek: $882,000 – $1,037,232 – 18%

Mornington: $955,000 – $1,065,450 – 12%

Chelsea: $884,750 – $1,029,977 – 16%

Hurstbridge: $850,000 – $1,021,201 – 20%

Keilor: $937,500 – $1,021,984 – 9%

Dingley Village: $960,000 – $1,064,818 – 11%

Dromana: $850,000 – $1,010,490 – 19%

Macleod: $962,500 – $1,029,340 – 7%

Heatherton – $999,999 – $1,035,195 – 4%

Rye: $890,000 – $1,147,971 – 29%

Frankston South – $915,000 – $1,014,818 – 11%

Pascoe Vale: $950,000 – $1,043,353 – 10%

Maribyrnong: $997,499 – $1,005,055 – 1%

Ringwood – $920,000 – $1,019,759 – 11%

Wantirna: $975,000 – $1,067,818

Heathmont – $950,000 – $1,023,388 – 8%

Croydon Hills: $945,000 – $1,055,585 – 12%

Clarinda: $912,500 – $1,003,200 – 10%

Data: realestate.com.au.

Note: Based on the growth rate over the last 12 months, suburbs must have had a minimum requirement of 10 house sales.

READ MORE: Jack Viney adds Hawthorn home to more than $4m property sell off

Diamond Creek Mexican and Moroccan mansion for sale

Al-Taqwa College: Islamic school collects $58m in Truganina land deal

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‘Unbelievable’: Victoria still doesn’t have an ‘operative QR code tracking system’



Even after Victoria’s multiple waves of COVID-19, the state still doesn’t have a “proper operative QR code tracking system,” says former Victorian

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


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

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Interactive: The budget assumes Australia will be vaccinated by the end of 2021. Can it be done?



Scroll down to see the interactive. 

This week’s federal budget included the assumption that by the end of 2021, all Australian adults would be able to access a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The government’s use of the word assumption is intentional; it has avoided setting a new timeline for the vaccine rollout, and, as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Tuesday, betting on anything in the middle of a pandemic is “difficult business”.

But budget estimates have to be based on something, and in the middle of a pandemic, perhaps the most important factor in getting the economy back on track is population-wide vaccination. So the government has cautiously planned for a population-wide vaccination program to be in place by the end of the year.

Asked whether this meant Australians could expect to receive both doses by then, Mr Frydenberg said it was the assumption that all Australians who want the vaccine could get both doses by that date.

But on Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison appeared to wind back those comments, stressing that the assumption in the budget was not government policy.

“That is not a policy statement, nor is it a policy commitment of the government … it is a Treasury assumption that has been put in place,” Mr Morrison said during Question Time.

“It is a treasury assumption that has been put in place and it makes no reference, I note, to second doses. It only refers to doses.”

So what does the data say? Drag the end date below to see how many weekly doses Australia needs to be administering to reach its target.

Based on the speed of the rollout so far, it appears unlikely that all Australians will have received their first – let alone second – jab by the end of this year. 

At the current rate, the data suggests population-wide vaccination is more likely to happen in January 2023 – quite a bit later than the government has bargained for. 

Of course, the rollout is likely to speed up as mass vaccination hubs are opened across the country, supply issues are resolved, and Moderna doses become available. But whether that will be enough to get the rollout back on track with the government’s earlier timeline – which has since been scrapped – remains to be seen.

As it stands, more than one million doses would have to be administered each week from now on to hit the 40 million dose target by January 2022. 

People under 18 will not be vaccinated unless advice changes. 

For the government’s part, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham told ABC on Wednesday he was hopeful the assumption would come to pass if “everything goes according to plan”.

“There’s no secret there have been two particular setbacks in the vaccine delivery,” he said, referring to delayed shipments from Europe and safety concerns around the AstraZeneca vaccine for under-50s.

“But the plan is for vaccines available for all Australians by the end of the year”. 



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Ambulance ramping at Dandenong Hospital




Victorian ambulance officers supplied this video they say shows ambulance ramping in Dandenong this week.

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Weakening police force requirements to meet gender targets is ‘insane’


Sky News host Paul Murray says “the idea the police force is weakened” by lowering the standards for people who are physically or mentally not up to the job, in a role that is “tougher than ever, is insane”.

A report revealed Queensland’s Police Force unfairly hired women, including those who were unable to meet requirements, over men who passed in order to meet its gender targets.

“We’re not talking about something where tokenism counts. If there are women who can qualify and pass all the standards then great, enjoy life in policing. It’s a tough one, but we’ve got your back,” he said.

“Nothing of course from the Queensland government today who cheered all this in when it was all so fashionable a couple of years ago.”

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Sign in and mask up – this is not over by a long shot


You wouldn’t know it, catching many trams, that wearing a mask is still mandatory on public transport in Victoria. On trains, it seems most people are still making the effort when they’re not carrying a coffee or chatting on the phone. As for the requirement on the COVIDSafe website that we carry a mask at all times outside the home, we can perhaps assume that is mostly honoured in the breach these days.

Masks are still compulsory on public transport.Credit:iStock

The current COVID restrictions, which were “further relaxed” on April 9, are designed to “balance getting Victorians back to doing the things they love while keeping in place measures to protect all that Victorians have worked so hard for”. For the state, this is a balancing act between education in the form of public messaging and enforcement. Get it right and we should ensure a reasonable level of long-term compliance; get it wrong and we risk resistance and revolt.

Over the course of the pandemic, the government has sometimes got it wrong. Some of the enforcement of COVID-19 regulations last year, such as police arresting and handcuffing pregnant Ballarat mother Zoe Buhler in her pyjamas for posting anti-lockdown sentiments on Facebook, seemed absurdly heavy-handed and added fuel to the conspiracy theorists’ protests.

By and large, though, Premier Daniel Andrews’ stubborn insistence on fronting a daily COVID press conference (his record was 120 days straight), helped reinforce the importance of restrictions, and the Victorian community accepted them and made the effort to comply.

But towards the end of 2020 as restrictions were gradually eased, they also became more complicated. How many square metres per person? How many visitors to my home? What’s the rule this week? Do I really need to sign in? How? As the fear of catching the coronavirus ebbed, so did interest in this fine detail. Mr Andrews’ disappearance from the public stage following his accident in March has also probably been a contributing factor in restriction fatigue setting in.

Now, anybody who’s eaten out in recent weeks knows how “voluntary” it has become to sign in. A survey released by the state government recently found only 41 per cent of visitors to hospitality venues checked in every time. At shopping centres it’s sometimes hard to even see the check-in, and the coverage of the Services Vic app is patchy at best.

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But as Melbourne slacks off, Professor James McCaw, an epidemiologist whose team has advised the national cabinet since the start of the pandemic, said on Saturday that the risk of a disastrous outbreak in Australia was now at its highest level since the pandemic began and it was “just a matter of time” before a case or cluster defeated contact tracers. We should expect “incursions” about once a month, he said.

Then another live case appeared. Once again our contact tracers are busy joining the dots. The relaxed restrictions and our increasingly unconcerned attitude towards them is making this task more difficult. The restaurant where the man dined, for example, did not appear to be effectively enforcing QR code check-ins, according to Jeroen Weimar, Victoria’s COVID-19 response commander. The man also caught a train full of football fans. Were they all wearing masks?

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