Dajarra health focus

ALTERNATIVE transport solutions could be in store as part of improved health services for the North West community of Dajarra.
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The Dajarra community will meet key health stakeholders twice a year, after a health forum was hosted by the North West Hospital and Health Service earlier this month.

North West Hospital and Health Service chief executive Sue Belsham praised the Dajarra community and key stakeholders after their meeting at Jimberella Hall in Dajarra.

“The Dajarra health forum was a fantastic example of constructive and open discussion with our communities,” Mrs Belsham said.

“We had a roundtable discussion and received insightful feedback from all attendees.

“For example, we circulated a breakdown of local patient travel use and expenditure.

‘‘During our discussions, a possible alternative transport solution was put forward that we will definitely explore.

“The topics discussed were broad, but clearly community driven. We covered electronic records, Primary Health Networks, Royal Flying Doctor Service schedules, telehealth services, patient travel support and how to inform the North West HHS Strategic Plan.

“We also provided data on baseline health statistics and trends specific to Dajarra and alerted the community to upcoming changes to our services.

“Whilst the North West HHS is geographically large, diverse and sometimes challenging to get out and about, our board and executive are committed to personally staying in touch with our communities, patients and staff.’’ Mrs Belsham said.

Representatives from the Cloncurry Shire Council, Phosphate Hill, Queensland Police Service, Royal Flying Doctor Service and Central and North West Queensland Medicare Local had also travelled to Dajarra to take part in the health forum with local residents.

Cloncurry Shire Council brought valuable local governance expertise to the health forum discussions.

Council chief executive David Neeves said: “Council is committed to advocating for the development of health services in our shire.

‘‘As custodians of our communities, we understand the importance of good health services for the ongoing wellbeing of our community.”

The Dajarra community met with key North West Hospital and Health staff earlier this month.

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CCTV solution: MP calls for urgent funding following spate of crime in The LeveePOLL

CCTV THE ANSWER: Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon.A spate of break-ins and thefts in central Maitland has prompted renewed calls for CCTV cameras to be installed in the CBD.
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Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon says the federal government should give Maitland City Council funding to install security cameras in the Levee precinct.

Thieves stole $25,000 worth of tools from construction workers between 3.30pm on March 21 and 5.30am, March 23.

The tools had been secured in a High Street office.

The Mercury reported last week that six Maitland CBD businesses had been broken into and robbed in the past two months.

These included five beauty outlets and an op shop.

“With the spate of break-ins and theft that has taken place in and around The Levee and CBD within the past two months, it’s now time for Mr [Tony] Abbott to restore the funding based on a need, not onpolitical partisanship,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“I won’t rest until Maitland and Singleton councils’ funding is restored.”

The previous Labor government earmarked $186,340 for Maitland City Council in 2013 as part of the National Crime Prevention Program.

The money was to be used to buy and install CCTV cameras in Central Maitland’s shopping strip and Rutherford’s retail precinct.

But Labor did not ­deliver the funding before it lost government to the Coalition.

The Abbott government replaced Labor’s initiative with the $50 million Safer Streets Program.

Maitland missed out on its application for the first round of funding last September.

Port Stephens council installed six CCTV cameras in Raymond Terrace CBD, in the vicinity of William Street, in 2011.

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures show that the number of assaults and robberies on roads, streets and footpaths in Raymond Terrace dropped for two consecutive years after the cameras were installed.

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Regatta really oarsome

IT has been many years since Spinifex State College could hold its annual Canoe Regatta because of drought conditions in Mount Isa.
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But with Lake Moondarra flourishing after rainfall this year, it was all systems go for the students and teachers on Sunday.

Teams of six raced around buoys with three laps in total covered by the paddlers in a fun-filled relay-style event to build camaraderie and mateship within the students and staff from the junior and senior campus.

The North West Canoe Club members helped out by patrolling the water for safety as more than 60 paddlers got among the action.

TeacherKristen Curd, who organised the day, said she was impressed to see the students from both campuses interacting and rivalling staff teams on the water.

It is one of a few opportunities for the students to come together as one from both campuses.

There was only one capsize on the day, by a team of teachers – a moment which was enjoyed by the students.

Race placings were:

1: Brian Silayo, Oliver Desvaux, Khrystal Santos, Jessie Pitkin, Kody Donnelly and Danica Crebbin

2: Anthony Bulgarelli, Korey Trott, Quiana Busch, Warren King, Callum Barr and Caleb Pigliafiori

3: Kira Macleod, Rosie Yalinatoba, Hingaia Hahipene, Jessica Griffin and Nivedita Chetty


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WNBL review recommends move to winter, shorter season in league shake-up

TV coverage for the WNBL could be more problematic in the already cluttered winter season. Photo: Matt Bedford Since 1999 the WNBL season has begun in October, avoiding a clash with the NRL, AFL and Super Rugby. Photo: Matt Bedford
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Canberra Capitals coach Carrie Graf insists the Women’s National Basketball League can co-exist with football codes if Basketball Australia presses forward with plans to return to winter.

She also called upon  the league to make introducing a minimum player wage a priority and believes plans to cap player payments could hurt team’s chances of attracting big names like Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor.

The WNBL is in line for the biggest shake-up in its history with playing the league from April to July and shortening the season the biggest changes under consideration.

Basketball Australia released the findings of the Australian Sports Commission’s WNBL review, which contains 53 recommendations to be assessed by a working party of representatives from clubs, the WNBL Commission and players.

While most recommendations won’t be implemented in time for next season, the main points include: Shortening the season to the teams playing each other twice, or 14-16 games depending on if the financially struggling Adelaide Lightning competes;Teams to play only one game every round;Finals in July including a three-game finals series, with the semi finals to possibly be played on a home and away aggregate basis;Maximum player payments per team capped at 40% of team revenues an up to a total of $200,000, with a marquee player excluded from the cap;More double headers with NBL games;The WNBL Commission to be disbanded and operation of the league handed back to Basketball Australia. 

Since 1999 the WNBL season has begun in October, avoiding a clash with the NRL, AFL and Super Rugby.

But Graf said the issue is just one aspect of a more detailed debate which must take place before returning to winter.

“You have to look at everything, people’s obvious thoughts are we’d struggle in some markets to get media coverage [in winter],” Graf said.

“I’d like to think we’d get the same coverage [in Canberra] we do, even in football season.

“Clashing with the WNBA wouldn’t be an issue for us as only the top echelon of players go there, but we wouldn’t be competing with Europe where the big money is to keep our players here.

“There’s 10 or 12 big factors which would come under the debate of whether we go from summer to winter.

“It would take time to implement if it was seen as the way forward, but I think it’s worthy of long, lengthy discussion.”

The report has recommended capping player payments, presumably because Lighting’s future in doubt and the folding of Logan after the 2013-14 season.

Graf said it’s important to ensure the stability of clubs, but could hurt the chances of luring big name talent to play alongside a marquee player.

“Those governance things are in there to help clubs maintain stability but you should have that focus anyway, you don’t spend what you don’t have,” Graf said.

“Laying something over the top that restricts some of our world class athletes to play in the WNBL, I think that hurts the league mostly.

“Look at the impact those players [Jackson and Taylor] have on the profile of the league, why would we want to put something in place which prevents it?

“In this instance Cappie Pondexter and Penny probably couldn’t have played [together at Dandenong], making an assumption on what they earn.

“Logan didn’t go bust because they had two players on big salaries. In fact the teams who have done that, ourselves and Dandenong, are healthy financially and have been around a long time.”

Graf said bridging the huge gap in player payments from the top to bottom should be the priority.

“We still have our squad members on hardly anything. We need to raise the bottom end so we can progress things, and not put a limit on the top until it becomes an issue,” she said.

“Talking about restricting player salaries is inappropriate if we don’t first talk about minimum salary. A lot of players still get maybe a gym membership, and 500 dollars.”

Graf said the introduction of a three-game grand final series to bring it in line with overseas leagues was long overdue and could be implemented immediately.

She said it would showcase the league and give it bargaining power with broadcasters after the ABC scrapped its TV coverage after 35 years.

“It’s beyond time to have a best of three finals series,” she said.

“Everyone that’s hosted finals for many years had huge huge crowds, it looks great on TV and is the best product.”

Former NBL player Paul Maley has also been appointed general manager WNBL and Competitions, and will begin in late April.

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Axed Test batsman Joe Burns tipped to benefit from tour of India with Australia A

The batsman axed from Australia’s Test team for the tours of the West Indies and England, Joe Burns, has been urged to look at his selection for the overlapping Australia A tour of India as a chance to make himself a more rounded batsman.
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Burns, 25, was chosen ahead of Adam Voges to play in the last two Tests of the Australian summer. He averaged 36.5 across his four innings against India and finished the Sheffield Shield season with 793 runs at 52.87. That was not enough to preserve his position, with Voges finishing the season with a mighty 1358 runs at 104.46.

Chief selector Rod Marsh defended the decision to prefer the 35-year-old Voges, and said it could ultimately benefit Burns, who could be a contender to move to opener, the position he fills with Queensland, in the Test team once Chris Rogers departed.

“It’s worked out quite nicely for Joe in a lot of ways, in as much as he’ll be going to India, where he’s never played cricket. He’ll have two four-day matches and five one-day matches in India and I reckon that will be very, very good for his overall development as a batsman,” Marsh said on Tuesday.

Usman Khawaja’s comeback to cricket after a knee injury that ruined most of his season will be complemented by captaining the Australia A squad that also features Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell.

Queensland’s Khawaja has been appointed captain for both the four-day and one-day portions of the tour ahead of Sheffield Shield-winning captain Matthew Wade of Victoria, who was trumped by NSW’s Peter Nevill for the role of understudy wicketkeeper for the Test tours of the West Indies and England.

” Nev [Nevill] . . . he’s bashing the door down,” Marsh explained. “Matthew Wade had a very good season as well. I don’t know what you can read into the fact we picked Wade in the A team – that’s up to you to read something into it if you want to.”

Cummins’ bid to return to Test cricket will take another step with his selection in the July tour. The 21-year-old has only played two first-class matches since his dazzling Test debut in 2011, both in mid-2013 in an Australia A tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The squad does not include James Pattinson, who suffered hamstring injuries in each of his last two shield matches of the season, nor all-rounder James Faulkner. Maxwell has only been chosen in the four-day squad, having clearly proven his limited-over credentials at international level.

Cummins and NSW teammate Gurinder Sandhu are the only pacemen chosen for both the four-day and one-day matches.

Tasmania’s Andrew Fekete earned selection for the red-ball squad by finishing second in the shield wicket tally in the just-completed summer with 37 wickets at an average of 24.11.

NSW’s Sean Abbott and Western Australia’s Nathan Coulter-Nile will replace Fekete for the one-day matches.

Left-arm finger-spinner Ashton Agar will feature in the whole series. NSW’s Stephen O’Keefe will join him for the four-day matches, with leg-spinners Cameron Boyce of Queensland and Adam Zampa of South Australia to feature in the one-dayers.

Besides Khawaja, Burns and wicketkeeper Wade, Victoria’s Peter Handscomb and SA’s Travis Head are the batsmen to feature in both squads.

Cameron Bancroft (WA), Marcus Stoinis (Victoria) and Nic Maddinson (NSW) are in the four-day squad, with Chris Lynn (Queensland) and Callum Ferguson (SA) chosen in the one-day squad.

AUSTRALIA A FOUR-DAY SQUAD FOR INDIA TOUR: Usman Khawaja (Qld – c), Matthew Wade (Vic – vc), Ashton Agar (WA), Cameron Bancroft (WA), Joe Burns (Qld), Pat Cummins (NSW), Andrew Fekete (Tas), Peter Handscomb (Vic), Travis Head (SA), Nic Maddinson (NSW), Glenn Maxwell (Vic), Stephen O’Keefe (NSW), Gurinder Sandhu (NSW), Marcus Stoinis (Vic).

AUSTRALIA A ONE-DAY SQUAD FOR INDIA TOUR: Usman Khawaja (Qld – c), Matthew Wade (Vic – vc), Sean Abbott (NSW), Ashton Agar (WA), Cameron Boyce (Qld), Joe Burns (Qld), Nathan Coulter-Nile (WA), Pat Cummins (NSW), Callum Ferguson (SA), Peter Handscomb (Vic), Travis Head (SA), Chris Lynn (Qld), Gurinder Sandhu (NSW), Adam Zampa (SA).

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Adam Voges selected for tours of West Indies and England

WA captain Adam Voges. Photo: Dean Osland Evergreen cricketer Adam Voges has been selected in the upcoming Test tours of the West Indies and England at the ripe old age of 35.
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If the Western Australian cricket captain gets a call up for a Test cap, he will be second-oldest batsmen to make his debut, behind Arthur Richardson who was 36 in 1924.

The right-hand batsmen had a standout Sheffield Shield season scoring 1358 runs at an average of 104.46.

Voges told Radio 6PR on Tuesday morning he was “very excited” about being selected in the touring sides.

“I found out yesterday,” he said.

“I got a call from Rod Marsh [Chairman of selectors]…he told me to keep it under my hat for the last 24-hours, but I probably haven’t done a good job of that.”

Voges said he never gave up hope of getting a call up for the national team.

“My last two seasons in particular have been really good in terms of the runs I scored,” he said.

“And with the selection panel now, I know that if you do score runs you can be rewarded.

“For me it was always a case of scoring as many runs as I could for WA and if it happened that was great. So the hope was always there.”

Voges said he initially didn’t answer the phone on Monday, when Marsh called.

“I rang him back pretty quickly,” he said.

“He said ‘your last two seasons have been really good and you’ve been getting better and better and you deserve that spot and just keep getting better and good luck with the opportunity’.”

Voges wasn’t fazed he could be of the oldest batsmen to have ever debut for Australia if he wins a baggy green during the winter tours.

“That’s probably a record I don’t necessarily want, but that’s OK, I’ll take it,” he said.

“I’m just excited to be on the tour.”

Voges will be joined on tour by three other Western Australians: Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Johnson. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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Jacqui Lambie to start her own party

Tasmanian independent Senator Jacqui LambieTasmanian independent Senator Jacqui Lambie intends to start a political party.
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Public notices appeared in Tasmanian newspapers this morning declaring Senator Lambie had applied to register the Jacqui Lambie Network, based out of Burnie.

Senator Lambie was elected with the Palmer United Party, but split to become independent last year after a public fallout with leader Clive Palmer.

A spokesman for Senator Lambie said the move would allow her to run a group Senate ticket at the next federal election.

Through a media release, Senator Lambie has outlined some of the key goals of the Jacqui Lambie Network.

”While there’s a big job in front of the political network I will lead and promote–there will be a number of core beliefs that will bring supporters of the JacquiLambieNetwork together,” Senator Lambie said.

The core beliefs include:”JLN will always have a special interest in all matters associated with veterans, serving members of the Australian Defence force and their families.””JLN is opposed to Sharia Law being imposed in Australia either formally or informally and will promote a policy of undivided loyalty to the Australian Constitution and people.””JLN will support the proper regulation of Halal and other food certification systems.””JLN supports dedicated indigenous seats being established for Australian Parliaments.””JLN supports the introduction of a carbon tax – only after our major trading partners introduce a similar tax on their coal-fired power stations.”He said the party could also run candidates at the next Tasmanian election, due in 2018.

Under Australian electoral laws, people can lodge an objection to the party’s registration before the end of April.

Tasmanian independent Senator Jacqui Lambie intends to start a political party.

Girl distraught as missing pet dog ‘Flower’ turns up cooked on roadside food stall

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A photo purportedly showing a Vietnamese girl in tears beside her pet dog, which had been slaughtered, roasted and put out for sale at a street-food stall, has gone viral on social media and raised ethical questions about the trade in dog-meat.

The People’s Daily, a Chinese newspaper, reported on Saturday that the little girl’s dog had wandered off a few days earlier, and when she stumbled across the pet at a local dog-meat stand, cries of “That’s Flower!” could be heard.

The newspaper said Taiwanese ETTV Television Network had reported that the photo was taken in the countryside in north Vietnam, but the time, exact place and girl’s identity could not be confirmed.

The photo, showing the distraught girl crouching down with one hand on the deceased dog’s back, has captured the hearts of people around the world.  Five-year-old girl finds her missing pet dog… being sold ready-cooked at Vietnamese stall http://t.co/zZDY49mkLgpic.twitter南京夜网/dqGyQJAFAa — Compassion 4 Animals (@AmyRoseKathryn) March 30, 2015

@[email protected][email protected] I watched the video attached to it- I genuinely cried — b (@_BethLineham) March 30, 2015

The photo has provoked discussion around the issue of the dog-meat trade in south-east Asia.

In 2013, The Guardian looked at the black market smuggling of dogs into Vietnam for consumption, reporting that the meat was a highly sought-after product, eaten at special occasions and believed to cure a host of medical conditions.

It said that high demand, particularly in north Vietnam, was fuelling the theft of pet and stray dogs, but activists concerned about animal welfare and the potential transmission of infectious diseases through dog-meat were fighting back.

Fairfax Media

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Robin Williams banned use of image for 25 years after his death

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The incomparable talent of Robin Williams will remain a sorely missed presence in feature films in years to come, but it appears his image or name won’t appear in advertising or even referenced in future works in a unique legal move which bans his appearance until 2039.

As the family of Robin Williams continues to battle over the late actor’s estate, it has emerged that Williams had restricted any use of his image for 25 years after his death.

In a move which would nix any use of Williams in advertising or in any future movies through digital insertion or even by name, it appears to be a pioneering measure to protect his estate against future tax liabilities, says The Hollywood Reporter.

In the innovative legal step, Williams had transferred all rights to his identity to a nonprofit organisation in the event of his death. All ownership rights to Williams’ “name, voice, signature, photograph, likeness and right of privacy/publicity” come under the charitable Windfall Foundation and cannot be used until August 2039.

The Hollywood Reporter suggests it was a move to avoid problems such as that facing Michael Jackson’s estate, which apparently owes more than $US500 million ($653 million) in taxes and $US200 million in penalties due to taxes from publicity rights.

Details emerged following court proceedings on Monday in San Francisco, where a legal document outlining the Robin Williams Trust and establishment of the Windfall Foundation featured as one of the exhibits.

Signed on January 31, 2012, the Robin Williams Trust laid out the above set-up as well as provisions for his family and other beneficiaries.

Williams’ widow Susan Schneider Williams and his three children Zelda, Zachary and Cody are currently battling it out in court over the actor’s personal effects.

The children are arguing against Susan Williams’ claim that items from the couple’s home in Tiburon, San Francisco Bay, are excluded from the objects to go to Williams’ children.

Susan Williams’ lawyer told the court on Monday that she wanted to keep wedding presents, the tuxedo that he wore at their wedding and photographs from his 60th birthday.

The two parties have agreed to attempt to resolve the case out of court before April 10, says E! Online. 

Robin Williams committed suicide on August 11, 2014, aged 63.Williams’ will:


For help or information visit beyondblue.org.au, call Lifeline on 131 114.

Follow Entertainment on Twitter 

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David Beckham spoofs underwear ads in appearance on James Corden

David Beckham and James Corden in their spoof advertisement for “D&J Briefs”. Photo: YouTube David Beckham and James Corden in their spoof advertisement for “D&J Briefs”. Photo: YouTube
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David Beckham and James Corden in their spoof advertisement for “D&J Briefs”. Photo: YouTube

David Beckham and James Corden in their spoof advertisement for “D&J Briefs”. Photo: YouTube





“… Sexually aroused.”

David Beckham has starred in a spoof of his own underwear advertisements during an appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden on Monday.

The retired footballer, whose semi-clad body has advertised the briefs of brands including Armani and H&M, joined with comedian James Corden to create a video campaign for their spoof line of underwear, D&J briefs.

The advertisement, shot in the black-and-white style of Beckham’s Armani ads, features the pair both in their knickers, rattling off nonsensical lines about male self-confidence.

“Beauty is skin-deep, it’s underneath that counts,” Beckham says.

Throughout the piece the men are shown in a series of bizarre artistic poses, with Corden at one stage jumping across the set and performing the worm.


The Beckham clan have decided to spend the Easter school holidays stateside this year.

The 39-year-old former England captain visited Miami, where he is currently part of a group bidding to start a new soccer team for the American competition.

His sons Brooklyn, 16, Romeo, 12, and Cruz, 10, also had official duties to fulfill. The three brothers attended the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday in what is believed to be their first red carpet appearance without their famous parents.

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iiNet blames Telstra for slow Netflix connection speeds

Slow internet connection speeds have been blamed on Telstra’s use of copper, something that will be alleviated when the network is upgraded to fibre optic connections. Photo: Glenn HuntiiNet has blamed Australia’s biggest telecommunications company, Telstra, for the slower internet connection speeds that have hit some of its customers since the arrival of Netflix.
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The US video streaming giant launched its Australian service last week and proved to be a hit with iiNet customers, accounting for 15 per cent of its total consumer traffic.

But several customers vented their frustration on social media and to Fairfax Media, saying the surge in demand Netflix hasslowed their internet connection speeds.

iiNet has signed an unmetered deal with Netflix, meaning time spent viewing the US streaming giant isn’t included in monthly data allowances.

“Uggggh Internet has been unusable the last few days. Yay for unmetered Netflix @iiNet but also thanks for the congestion,” one consumer wrote on Twitter.

“Might this explain why my iiNet ADSL speeds seem to have slowed in the last week or so?,” another told Fairfax Media. “That is, there is a bunch of new streamers online, and they are clogging the system up?”

Another wrote: “the start of Netflix has also shown up the poor state of our current internet infrastructure. Almost immediately Netflix came on line, my evening business grade service slowed down so other stuff I was streaming … began having buffering issues and slowing load up.”

But iiNet chief executive David Buckingham pointed to what he called “mass service disruptions” on Telstra’s copper network as the reason some customers suffered slower connection speeds.

“We are having countless mass service disruptions on the Telstra copper network right now, so it might be people caught up in those who are commenting,” Mr Buckingham said.

“Any technical issue would quite easily affect Netflix streaming, just like any other video download.”

Mass service disruptions (MSDs) have a variety of triggers, such as severe weather. But a Telstra spokesman said it was difficult to determine whether a MSD had slowed the internet connection speeds for some of iiNet’s customers.

“There are many factors which affect network performance, including distance from the exchange, a customer’s equipment and software, and the number of people using a connection,” the spokesman said.

But he acknowledged the network had experienced “higher-than-usual fault rates” during summer.

“In line with the multiple extreme weather events across Australia this summer, including cyclones, high rainfall and bushfires in different parts of the country, we have been experiencing higher-than-usual fault rates.  However, last month, we still achieved an average service availability of 99.69 per cent for voice services on the copper network and a fault free rate of 98 per cent.”

The spokesman defended the company’s copper network, saying it could service the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have subscribed to video streaming services, such as Netflix, Presto and Stan this year.

“Most Telstra customers should be able to stream high definition video, with typical download speeds up to 8Mbps for ADSL and up to 20Mbps for ADSL2+,” he said.

“Five years ago hardly any video traffic was carried over Telstra’s fixed network. Now it accounts for 30 per cent of our overall fixed network traffic.

“Each month there is more than 27.5 petabytes of video traffic carried over our fixed network. That’s equivalent to watching more than 13 million hours of high definition videos each month.”

Ovum analyst David Kennedy said video streaming was unlikely to hinder internet connection speeds.

“I’m not actually anticipating a lot of problems because the telcos have seen this coming, years off,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Basically every exchange has fibre connected to it. They can carry gigantic amounts of traffic.

“All that’s required to upgrade that capacity is to upgrade the electronics and in a lot of cases that can actually be done by software.”

Foxtel, which is half-owned by Telstra, launched a streaming joint venture – Presto Entertainment – with Seven West Media in January. The telecommunications company has an unmetering deal with Presto.

Mike Sneesby, chief executive of Stan – a partnership between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media, owner of BusinessDay and The Australian Financial Review – said Australians had embraced video streaming.

He said Stan, which also launched in January, has more than 100,000 customers and is streaming more than 1 million hours of content a month.

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NRL: Knights’ Rochow to put surgery on back-burner

Robbie Rochow will delay back surgery, with spasms keeping him out of last weekend’s clash with the Panthers. Pic: Jonathan CarrollKNIGHTS coach Rick Stone said back-rower Robbie Rochow will delay backsurgery and instead treat a bulging disc with a cortisone injection,with a view to returning in two weeks.
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Rochow suffered back spasms while warming up before Newcastle’s gameagainst Penrith at Hunter Stadium last Saturday and missed their 26-14victory over the Panthers.

The 24-year-old Country Origin representative was expected to undergosurgery this week to have the swollen disc shaved, which would haveruled him out for six to eight weeks.

But Stone said Rochow saw a specialist on Monday and has decided totreat the injury conservatively with a cortisone injection andphysiotherapy.

If that treatment is successful, Rochow could miss only one or twogames, Stone said.

“Robbie has seen a specialist and his back may be not quite as bad aswhat we thought,” Stone said.

“We’re going to try to manage him over the next couple of weeks andsee if we can get some more games out of him possibly for the rest ofthe year rather than having surgery, but we’ll assess that as we goalong in the next few weeks.”

Stone indicated former Cowboys back-rower Tariq Sims, who will makehis Knights debut after serving the last four games of a five-matchsuspension, would replace Rochow in the pack for the game against theDragons at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.

The coach said winger James McManus, who missed the victory over thePanthers due to an eye infection, would return against the Dragons.

The Knights are the NRL’s outright leaders after opening the seasonwith four straight wins.

James Packer sells Perisher ski resort to US company Vail Resorts

The acquisition includes the resort areas of Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega. Photo: Supplied Perisher’s Freedom Pass will now include entry to a range of Vail-owned skifields in the US.
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US-based Vail Resorts has bought Australia’s Perisher ski resort for $176.6 million from James Packer subsidiary, Murray Publishers and Transfield Corporate.

The deal includes the resort areas of Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega. Also included are the ski school, lodging, food and beverage and retail/rental and transportation operations.

The resort is on a lease till 2048 with a 20-year option to review.

Under the deal, Perisher’s Freedom Pass, which goes up for sale this week at $749, will now include access to Vail resorts with unlimited skiing at a range of US ski fields – including Breckenridge in Colorado, Park City and Canyons in Utah and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the California and Nevada – subject to traditional holiday restrictions.

The deal, which was announced to the New York Stock Exchange this morning, is expected to be finalised in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, subject to approval by the New South Wales Government.

In a statement, Vail Resorts chief Rob Katz said the company was looking forward to moving into the Australian market.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the guests and employees of Perisher, Australia’s largest and most iconic resort, into the Vail Resorts family and deepen ties with one of our most important international markets,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

More to come 


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