One in five boys in year 3 have an emotional or behavioural problem, according to new research. Photo: Virginia StarOne in five boys in year 3 have an emotional or behavioural problem that sees them lag a year behind their peers in reading and numeracy, according to research that stresses the mental health of young people needs to be a focus in primary schools.
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The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute study looked at common emotional and behavioural problems and academic performance in more than 1000 eight and nine-year-old children.

The research found about one in five boys and one in seven girls had at least borderline emotional and behavioural problems.

Boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties – 20 per cent of the sample- were 12 months behind their peers in both reading and numeracy, based on data from NAPLAN tests.

The study’s lead author, Lisa Mundy, said it was unlikely increasing academic pressure was causing emotional and behavioural problems, which were more common in secondary school.

“A more likely explanation is that mental health and behavioural problems are directly contributing to poor academic performance, possibly through reduced attention to school work or school absence,” Dr Mundy said.

“Children with emotional and behavioural problems are at high risk for academic failure. This risk is evident in mid-primary school.”

Previous research showed that children with behaviour problems tended to struggle at school but this was the first study to show that boys with emotional problems were also falling behind in their learning, according to the authors.

For girls with emotional and behavioural difficulties, the results were more modest but peer problems were associated with lower numeracy scores for girls.

“Our findings that emotional and behavioral problems are associated with poorer academic performance after only three full years of school carry further significant implications for school policies,” the report, published in the Journal of School Health, said. “Social and emotional skills are increasingly seen as important for educational achievement.

“Taking steps to prevent the onset of emotional and behavioral problems in children and responding effectively to those with visible problems are likely to bring multiple further benefits, including educational, for children in primary school.”

The study said the major focus of many mental health initiatives in school had been with adolescents in secondary school.

“The current study suggests we will need to begin these efforts earlier to optimise education achievement, reduce rates of later mental disorder and ultimately improve the quality of life of many children,” the report said.

Senior author George Patton said the mid-primary school years were a time when emotional and behavioural problems commonly emerged and these were often the precursor to health problems in adolescence and adulthood.

Professor Patton said it was increasingly clear that students would not reach their academic potential unless schools also promoted the social and emotional development of students.

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Vodafone is entering the fixed-line market for the first time with a range of NBN products, as the government corrals industry and regulators together to try and improve customer experiences on the national broadband network.
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General manager of broadband at Vodafone, Matthew Lobb, said the company will gradually connect into all of NBN Co’s points of interconnect in coming years. Initially its product will only be available in the east coast cities of Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Geelong, Newcastle and Wollongong.

“Customers want simple and straightforward plans that are relevant to their use of technology,” Mr Lobb said.

“As a first for a major telecommunication company, we’ll be providing bonus mobile data rather than insisting customers receive an outdated, plain old fixed telephony service”.

Vodafone says it will test the speeds available on a customer’s line within the first two weeks to ensure higher speeds are possible. And it will not actively market the lowest speed tier of 12 megabits per second (Mbps), for which it charges at least $70 per month on a two-year contract.

All the plans will have unlimited data and range in price from $80 to $110.

Vodafone will drive customers to its product by inviting “thousands” of customers who sign up early and offering three months free broadband if they help test-drive the new fixed service.

Vodafone will buy directly from NBN Co and has already announced plans to re-sell to Kogan so it too can offer NBN services.

“Over the past year Vodafone has listened to what many Australians who have connected to the old DSL services or the NBN have had to say about their experience,” Mr Lobb said.

“People are feeling frustrated with the connection process, underwhelmed by the products and information they were provided when they signed up, and are confused about the speed options on offer.”

Vodafone has already announced it will provide customers with a modem that defaults to its 4G mobile network if NBN’s fixed service is delayed or broken.

Meanwhile the Communications Minister Mitch Fifield is trying to find ways to reduce customer complaints about the government-owned network, which nearly every household will be forced onto in coming years.

Senator Fifield hosted a forum on Tuesday between major telcos and industry peak bodies, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

His office released a statement saying “the industry has committed to tackling the key migration issues for consumers including confusing information, handballing customer complaints, lead times for connections and rescheduled appointments.”

On Monday the ACCC released new industry advertising guidelines cracking down on excessive speed claims and forcing telcos to provide average speed data to consumers. The government has also asked the ACMA to use its information gathering powers to find out how widespread problems NBN connection problems are.

“Internet retailers, NBN and Government will continue to work together over the coming months to make more changes that will ensure the processes for switching to the NBN better cater to consumers’ needs,” the Minister’s office stated.

The forum will report back within three months.

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If you’ve already dropped a small fortune on architectural plans for a new house, it might be tempting to try to score some mates rates off that friend of a friend who’s a builder to save a few dollars. But beware: it could cost you in the long run.
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Architects and builders agree, it’s probably for the best to work with your architect’s preferred builder, or vice versa.

Brisbane architectural builder Rob Gray of Graya Constructions said it also made for a better finished product, as well as saving money and time.

“All the high-end builders are highly passionate about they do and love what they do and they want to get the detail right every time,” Mr Gray said.

His team recently completed a home in Plunkett Street, Paddington, which he said came out almost exactly like the architectural renders. Mr Gray attributed the success, in part, to the relationship he had with the architect.

Award-winning architect Tim Stewart said he often recommended going with a specific builder to his clients.

“It inevitably makes the process smoother because we can understand the way they like to do things and we can detail it to the way they like to do things from the start,” he said. “We work on the same page from the beginning.”

So how does that save you money? Architectural builders are some of the most expensive in the market, right? Related: Landmark Ipswich home to go under the hammerRelated: Some of Canberra’s best sustainably designed homesRelated: Aussies on verge of mortgage crisis

Not necessarily, according to David Moses of Sydney construction company Horizon, who said working with an architectural builder offered clients a more realistic appraisal of the cost of bringing an architect’s plans to life.

“A lot of people make the mistake of not finding out whether their design aligns with their expectations of the timeframe or cost,” Mr Moses said.

Attempting to find another builder who can do it cheaper can result in disappointment, award-winning architecture firm, MCK Architects said.

MCK principal Steve Koolloos said managing a client’s expectations was an important part of the design process. “We are increasingly engaging with both prospective client and builder, as early in the process as possible, so no one ends up being disappointed,” he said.

Getting your mate to build the plans may look cheaper to begin with, but Mr Gray said it often meant the builder who ended up with the project wouldn’t be fully aware of the what the build would require and the client’s expectations.

“There’s a lot of hidden traps in an architect’s plans and if they don’t have that relationship, it will be a bit harder,” he said.

Mr Gray argued there would be some unintended consequences if you decided to change the plans to save some cash, too.

“If an architect designs a set of plans and you go and grab those plans and give them to an average builder and change a few things because it’ll be cheaper and easier to build, it might say in their contract they can remove their name from the project and you also can’t talk to the person who designed your house.”

“It can be fully at the cost of the homeowner if they’ve taken that path.

“You waive that portion of the service and you lose the value of saying that that architect drew up your house.”

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25 Hedges Avenue, Mermaid BeachGetting into beachfront real estate on the Gold Coast just got harder.
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This very original 1970s beach house may look like your average suburban home but this week it changed hands for an eye-watering $6.5 million.

Proving it’s anything but ordinary, 25 Hedges Avenue, Mermaid Beach was snapped up by a mystery buyer in an off-market deal brokered by Michael Kollosche of Kollosche Prestige Agents.

While the house may not look $6.5 million, it’s all about the location – set on Mermaid Beach’s Millionaire’s Row, it happens to be positioned on a stretch of beachfront that is quickly becoming priced out of most people’s reach, including cashed-up Sydney and Melbourne buyers.

But if you think 15 metres of absolute beach frontage on a 607-square-metre block is expensive now, $6.5 million is going to look cheap in no time, Mr Kollosche says.

“There’s still a lot of forward growth in these assets,” he says. “People will be looking back on these prices in two years time saying that these prices were such good value.

“The Mermaid Beach market is very tightly held and so property prices are performing stronger and stronger, month on month,” Mr Kollosche says.

Earlier this year, 25 Hedges Avenue made headlines when a local buyer pulled out of a contract, forfeiting their $100,000 deposit in the process. Related: Chinese buyers on Gold Coast spreeRelated: What’s behind the Gold Coast boomRelated: Nearly $7 million profit in two years

They then went 600 metres up the street and bought a vacant block at 127 Hedges Avenue for $6.3 million instead.

A new buyer came forward not long after, despite the property having been taken off the market, quickly making an offer and the deal settled this week.

Not surprisingly, the new owners plan to demolish the two-level brick house to make way for a brand new multimillion-dollar beach mansion, which they will eventually make their principal place of residence.

Land on the beachfront is at a premium, even more so than existing houses, Mr Kollosche says.

David Henderson, one of the owners of 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente, recently reduced the price of his sprawling beachfront mansion at 187-191 Hedges Avenue to $16,995,000.

It was previously listed at nearly $20 million and so far hasn’t found a buyer, however Mr Kollosche believes properties like this, which cost Henderson $13.65 million for the land alone, will be worth $30 million in the near future.

“Smart buyers will move in on properties like that because it represents excellent value,” he says. “The number of buyers does narrow as you go up in price but it’s worth waiting.”

Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson says the Gold Coast has now surged ahead of Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

“It’s clearly out on its own ??? We’ve got the Gold Coast up around about 8 per cent on a year-on-year basis at the moment, while Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast are about 4 to 5 per cent,” he says.

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Then prime minister Gough Whitlam at Trades Hall, Sydney in 1974 with future prime minister Bob Hawke. Whitlam brought economists into his administration, while the advice of experts guided economic policy during Hawke’s leadership in the 1980s. Photo: Rick StevensAustralia has just assumed the mantle of the longest unbroken period of economic growth in modern world economic history. And New Zealand is doing even better when it comes to keeping the budget in the black. You might say that each performance is the result of successful economic policies, but what of the influence of university economists?
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Most Australians, despite having a healthy appetite for economic news and living in a country where economic policy has a strong influence on nation-building, take a rather dim view of academic economists. Earlier the Australian historian WK Hancock once remarked that “the Australians have always assumed that economic problems are simple, and have resented those classifications and rewards which suggest that some men have a higher class of intelligence than those of the majority.” In that light Hancock observed that “Australians have always disliked scientific economics (still more) scientific economists.” In his book Australian Hopes and Fears (1958) Colin Clark, who had been isolated by the local economic profession for his iconoclastic views, quoted a comment by French geographer Andre Siegfried that “A mystery broods over this continent; and it will not be the economists who will resolve it for us.” Nearly sixty years on, Australian economists have solved that mystery.

Australian politics became more enlightened when prime ministers and treasurers, from Whitlam’s time onward, began to place academic economists within their private offices. In Whitlam’s case his administration was replete with academic economists. One of them, ANU economist Fred Gruen, infamously advised for the 25 per cent tariff cut of 1973 as an anti-inflationary measure. Another ANU economist Sir John Crawford drew up the blueprint for what would become the Industries Assistance Commission, now known as the Productivity Commission. Such was the number of university economists recruited by the Whitlam government that one university economist joked that there could be a study on “The economic consequences of economists”. In the 1980s the ANU again offered academic wisdom with Ross Garnaut and Peter Drysdale offering strong leads on promoting engagement with Asia. Bruce Chapman designed a viable way of funding universities and opening up pathways for more young people. Bob Gregory told Australians about how mineral resource booms would stretch, distort but ultimately benefit the economy.

Across the ditch in New Zealand, academic economics was not so penetrative. Prime Minister Robert Muldoon exerted a formidable presence on the economic landscape until 1984. He had little time for economists and dismissed economic theory with his remark “We can do without the disruption of academic theories which, because they are non-specific, seem to make sense until they are applied specifically to the real world.” In another instance, he spoke of having “no intention of letting efficient industries go to the wall for the sake of a theory.” He was emphatic that homespun, do-it-yourself-economics was best and felt that economics was little else than common sense. Big mistake! Muldoon was to leave the economy in a shattered condition, worse than he had inherited and forcing the need for radical restructuring.

We are now living through an era in which expertise is increasingly mistrusted. The outcome of last year’s Brexit referendum and the recent US presidential election convinced many observers that popular sentiment is superior to expert opinion. During the debate on Brexit one Tory politician, Michael Gove, urging the Leave case, declared “People in this country have had enough of experts???saying they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.” It now appears though that the experts are being proved right with the Governor of the Bank of England saying Britain is heading for “a lost decade”. Sometimes democratic rights and economic illiteracy make things worse. In Australia, too, we now tend to shun university economists as out of touch know-alls. Yet, apart from the Whitlam and Hawke years there have been occasions in Australasian history, especially during the Depression of the 1930s and during the war years, when the recommendations of academic economists have made significant contributions to national prosperity. We should not forget the role of the long-time Governor of the Reserve Bank, Nugget Coombs, who led the crusade for an international Keynesianism which would make things easier for dependent, primary produce exporting countries like Australia.

In the postwar period both Australia and New Zealand rigorously censored what people could read and watch right up until the early 1970s. And it could be said that another form of censorship applied to the adoption of international economic doctrine and practice. Both countries, especially New Zealand, had import licensing from 1938 till the 1980s. Such was the inward-looking nature of both the Australian and New Zealand economies that they missed the post-war trade boom because of their protectionism.

It was in the 1960s that the first stirrings of a new economic model took hold in the tea-rooms of Australian university economics departments; that is to move their economics from a cost plus price structure to a flexi-one, from a closed economy to an open economy. It was a movement long in the making. At a conference on economic growth in 1962, Clark told his Australian colleagues how he felt sorry for them for having to teach “the current of popular protectionist sentiment” saying they had “avoided the unpleasant task of having to educate public opinion out of its prejudices.” He prophesied – correctly – that with all this neglect, Australian economists “are going to have to work extremely hard, and face a good deal of unpopularity, to catch up with their duty of educating public opinion.” This Australian economists did, but it took some doing. Max Corden of the ANU and a gathering of economists from Monash University spearheaded that campaign. Of course, some argue that it was not economic ideas that brings about change but the power of events. Possibly true, but as Keynes reminded us, it is ideas that rule in the long run. It is ideas that live on long after their originator has expired.

Alex Millmow is an associate professor at Federation Business School. His latest book A History of Australasian Economic Thought has just been published by Routledge.

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Robbie Farah’s future is again at the crossroads after South Sydney began shopping the veteran hooker with a year still remaining on his contract.
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Just a year after his tumultuous exit from Wests Tigers, Farah now finds himself on the outer at Redfern. The 33-year-old signed a two-year deal with Souths after his much-publicised fallout with then-Tigers coach Jason Taylor, but hasn’t been able to recapture his best form at the Rabbitohs.

Farah is one of the highest-paid players in the NRL, although his transfer hasn’t yet hit Souths in the hip pocket. In order to make his arrival possible, the Tigers paid $750,000 of his $950,000 contract for this season. However, there won’t be any subsidy next season and Souths are questioning his value going forward. While there are likely to be denials at Rabbitohs headquarters, several clubs have told Fairfax Media they have been approached about the prospect of taking Farah for next season.

Rabbitohs co-owner Russell Crowe personally involved himself in the pitch to Farah to ensure he made the transition. However, his presence hasn’t been able to help lift South Sydney back into the finals, with the club sitting 11th ahead of Saturday’s clash with minor premiers Melbourne. After having a mortgage on the NSW No.9 jersey for the best part of a decade, he was overlooked this year, with Laurie Daley settling on Nathan Peats after injury cruelled Peter Wallace’s Origin comeback hopes.

Farah has been sharing the hooking duties with Damien Cook for Souths, with coach Michael Maguire alternating between the two in his starting side. Maguire has preferred Cook as the run-on rake in the past four matches, with the club winning the past three.

It remains to be seen whether Farah will be prepared to move on. He has shown he is prepared to dig his heels in when he wasn’t wanted at the Tigers, even when he was threatened with – and ultimately dropped to – reserve grade. Souths are hoping the current situation won’t become as ugly and protracted as that at the joint-venture outfit as they attempt to refresh a roster that has missed the finals for two straight years.

English clubs expressed interest in Farah during his final months at the Tigers and the Super League remains a viable option. However, NRL clubs will likely baulk at his asking price, even if the Rabbitohs pay some of his freight.

Despite Farah’s acrimonious departure from Wests Tigers, he could yet return to the club as he has an arrangement to take up an ambassadorial role once his playing career ends.

Farah was one of the players at the unveiling of Lebanon’s strip for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup at a press call at Zahli restaurant on Tuesday. but declined to take questions on anything other than Lebanon’s preparations for the tournament.

NRL players have contemplated boycotting the World Cup if their pay dispute isn’t resolved, but Farah is hopeful a resolution will be reached.

“I want to be involved in a World Cup, so hopefully it doesn’t get to a boycott, I’m looking forward to representing Lebanon,” Farah said. “I don’t think it will get to that, hopefully it doesn’t. I know both parties are working to a resolution and from all reports they are pretty close.

“If it does come to that, we’ll assess our options but hopefully it doesn’t.

“We are united, the RLPA is doing the best for us as a playing group and we’re doing our best to support them. We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.”

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Christchurch: Israel Folau has described the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup capitulation on Saturday as “quite shocking” and put his hand up for a number of bad defensive reads, despite being one of Australia’s best in attack.
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In one of the most extraordinary halves of rugby seen on Australian shores, the Wallabies had few answers in defence to a rampaging All Blacks attacking outfit, who took a 40-6 lead into half-time.

Despite notching four unanswered tries in the last half-hour of play, the damage was irreparable for the Wallabies, who now have less than a week to turn things around before another showdown with world rugby’s premier side.

“It was quite shocking,” Folau told Fairfax Media. “It was frustrating to see the scoreline like that in the first half.

“Despite the scoreline going into half-time, I still felt like there was not much difference. It was really close, which is quite funny. The second half was a lot better. I thought we started off the game really well and had a few collapses defensively. We’ve had a review of the game and we’ll look to work on those things yesterday, today and through the rest of the week.”

Folau was caught out of position during the All Blacks’ second try, giving 20-year-old Rieko Ioane too much space on New Zealand’s left edge before he ran around and scored.

The Wallabies fullback has accepted responsibility for the miss but, to his credit, he scored a five-pointer himself in the 69th minute and set up a Tevita Kuridrani try with a clever offload while on the ground.

“Myself, I’ll put my hand up for a couple of mistakes and errors defensively,” Folau said. “[There were] a couple of poor reads and simple one-on-one tackles. We’ve identified that as a team and we’ll work as a team and try and fix that.

“There’s areas across the whole line we know we need to work on as quick as we can going into the game.”

Arguably the most recognisable and adored man in Australian rugby at the moment, Folau has implored fans to stick by the team through one of their toughest periods in recent memory.

“The effort throughout the training week and going out there on the paddock, it’s always there,” Folau said. “The result doesn’t show that, but for us players it’s hurting us as well.

“We just hope they [supporters] can stick around and continue to support us. It’s a big thing as a team to get that support from the public and fans and to keep pushing us through, especially for this challenging time.”

There is significant pressure on the Wallabies to give a better account of themselves in Dunedin on Saturday.

At the same time, the All Blacks are bitterly disappointed they conceded four tries in the second half, in a series of uncharacteristic concentration lapses.

No doubt the men in black will be seeking an 80-minute performance, but Folau has stressed the Wallabies need not be too tense heading into a game in which they are trying to save the Bledisloe Cup.

“We’ve got to start well but not take on that kind of pressure that is unnecessary,” Folau said. “If we can go out there relaxed and ready to play and knowing our roles, it’ll make our jobs easier. We’ll learn from that and continue to work on our game.

“Our mentality going out from the start of the game has to be the same.”

Folau said he relished the chance to again start alongside Wallabies No.12 Kurtley Beale, who after a slow introduction found his feet in the second half.

“I enjoyed playing with Kurtley and it’s great to see him back out there in the gold jersey,” Folau said. “I’ve been playing with him for a couple of years now and I feel really comfortable knowing the way he plays and what his role is for the team.

“We try and find opportunities in the game and just feed off each other. It’s something we try and work on during the week, so we’ll continue to do that.”

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‘Wandin Valley Hospital’ for sale Scenes from A Country Practice, featuring the Wandin Valley Hospital.
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Dr Terence Elliott (Shane Porteous) and matron Marta Kurtesz (Helen Scott) outside Wandin Valley Hospital.

The house now.

Nurse Judy Loveday (Wendy Strehlow) looks after her cousin Jo Loveday (Josephine Mitchell) who has contracted typhoid.

Dr. Terence Elliott (Shane Porteous) weds Director of Nursing Rosemary Prior (Maureen Edwards) n a 1987 episode.

Brendan Jones (Shane Withington) and Dr Simon Bowen (Grant Dodwell) in Wandin Valley Hospital.

Jo (Josephine Mitchell) and Shirley (Lorrae Desmond) protest over proposed closure of Wandin Valley Hospital in 1987.

Life without Molly begins for character Brendan Jones in this 1985 episode.

TweetFacebook Wandin Valley Hospital on the marketClare House at Oakville, better known as Wandin Valley Hospital in TV show A Country Practice, is up for auction next month.

The agents said it was only the eighth time in almost two centuries it has been on the market.

The house was a location shoot for the long-running Channel 7 series A Country Practice, from1981-1993, which at its height was said to have been watched by half Australia’s population.

Several buildings around Pitt Town including the Bird in Hand were used in filming, Molly’s house was at Maraylya, Windsor High was the local high school and the Country Practice clinicwas in North Street, Windsor.

Last year what was the Wandin Valley police station in Johnston Street, Pitt Town was sold too.

When the house sold a decade ago, it had been owned bythe O’Briens for nearly 30 years.

Gazette journalist Shannon Tonkin talked to Ron and Trish O’Brien at the time. Theysaid a man appeared on their doorstep in 1981 and said he was doing a story about nursing in the bush.

“In less than six weeks, we had film crews here,” Mrs O’Brien said.

“They only ever took footage of the outside of our house, but we had our fair share of actors and actresses on the property.They’d be here all day filming for hours, and when you saw it on TV there’d only be five or six seconds of our house, but it was great to see it on the screen.”

Mrs O’Brien said many visitors wanted to see ‘inside the Wandin Valley Hospital’.

“Contrary to popular belief, it never was a hospital, it’s always been a home, but we’d have plenty of people knocking at the door asking to see inside,” she said.

The actor who played the show’s character Brendan Jones, Shane Withington, came to Thompson Square in Windsor in December last year to support CAWB’s fight against the new Windsor Bridge plans.

Clare House was built of convict brick on Andrew Thompson’s estateafter whom Thompson Square is named, around 1828.

Now on one hectare of land, it also has a dressage arena and new stables with wash bay and kitchen and bathroom facilities. It’s listed with Hamish Rogers.

It will be auctionedon site at 11am onSaturday,September 30,unless sold before.

Hawkesbury Gazette

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Senator Eric AbetzTasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz says the high level of drug dependency in Burnie makes it an ideal site for a radical newdrug-testing program.
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The federal government from January wants to drug-test up to 5000 new welfare recipients and impose sanctions on those who return positive results.

The two-year trial is planned tostart in south-west Sydney and two other sites,yet to be decided upon.

Labor and the Greens have expressed opposition to the trials which means that the government will need to lobby crossbench senators hard.

An initial positive test means that a welfare recipient will have 80 per cent of their payment placed on a cashless welfare card for two years.

Another failed test would result in a referral for medical treatment.

Senator Abetz saidhe would write to Social Services Minister Christian Porter to see if the program could be rolled out in Tasmanian once the first trial was underway.

“There’s no sense of social justice, any sense of fairness or equity, in allowing people with drug problems to sit on welfare and not seek to help them off drugs and into work,” he said.

“Clearly there are a number of drug dependency issues in the North-West of Tasmania and I believe a pilot site would benefit the community to see if this programme can help Tasmanians come off drugs and find employment.

“Taxpayers want welfare to be a safety net and not a hammock.”

Bass Labor MHR Ross Hart said labelling certain groups as drug users did nothing to solve the underlying problems associated with poor levels of employment or high levels of substance abuse.

“We need to address the causes and not the symptoms,” he said.

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie said if welfare recipients and workers in the private sector had to be tested, so did politicians.

“These politicians are kidding themselves if they’re saying that drug problems begin and end in Western Sydney,” she said.

“If politicians are going to ask members of the public to be drug tested, it’s fair for the public to ask for politicians to submit to the same treatment.

“What’s there to hide?

“Shouldn’t the public have the same confidence in their elected representatives?”

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At a time when the NRL is desperate for every dollar it can get its hands on to keep clubs and stakeholders happy, how does the Rugby League Players Association’s threat to boycott the Dally M Medal ceremony punish the governing body?
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Fairfax Media understands the NRL has budgeted $500,000 for the awards night at the Star on September 27, but they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank should the RLPA follow through with its mooted boycott.

What better way to stick it up Todd Greenberg and co than saving them the half-million they were planning on forking out for the players to celebrate their achievements over the season.

Who would this action actually punish? The 1000 fans from all clubs that have been invited to attend the night of nights?

Cameron Smith, the president of the players’ association, who is expected to be crowned the runaway winner of the award?

The game’s broadcaster, Fox Sports, whose $1 billion contribution to the sport over the next five years is the main reason why the players stand to receive a 52 per cent increase in pay by 2022?

The wives and girlfriends of the players, sponsors and corporate partners, who will miss out on attending the game’s night of nights?

The RLPA has done a fantastic job in negotiating the offer now on the table from the NRL. But nonsense about boycotting the Dally M, the captain’s call during the finals and World Cup just doesn’t reflect well on the players.

The sad part for the RLPA is there are people inside League Central who find the Dally M threat beneficial to their cause. The NRL is aware there is a chance the players pull the pin and are waiting before making arrangements, such as entertainment, that would leave them out of pocket.

Remember, the NRL recently had a $30 million loan application rejected and is still trying to work out how it is going to fund the clubs because of a cash flow issue. We’re tipping the $500,000 they never budgeted on would come in handy.

New dawn for Lolohea

Wests Tigers five-eighth Tuimoala Lolohea has admitted he “drowned his sorrows” in alcohol during his final months at the Warriors as a way to deal with frustrations over a lack of opportunity across the ditch.

Lolohea, who will shift to fullback next season to accommodate the arrival of Josh Reynolds at five-eighth, has shown glimpses of brilliance as he finds his feet at the Tigers.

The 22-year-old, who has shed six kilograms since linking with Ivan Cleary and the Wests Tigers mid season, has revealed the level of unhappiness during his last days at the Warriors where he was forced to play on the wing in NSW Cup. “I got to a point where I felt that just wasn’t me,” Lolohea said.

New dawn: Lolohea says he turned to alcohol at the Warriors, but hasn’t had to rely on it since joining the Tigers. Photo: Melissa Adams

“I had enough of playing on the wing. I never played on the wing growing up but they chucked me on the wing and first grade and had to stay there. I got the opportunity here to get more involved here and I feel like I’m playing some good footy.

“I was overweight. I was unhappy. I was struggling. Playing reserve grade on the wing probably didn’t help. I was off it a little bit. I’ve lost six kilograms since coming here and each week I’m feeling better on the field. In the first month at the Tigers I was struggling and my weight had a lot to do with it.”

He admitted he turned to alcohol to help him deal with the emotional rollercoaster while at the Warriors, but hasn’t had to rely on it since joining the Tigers.

“I was going through some pretty tough times back home. All the alcohol … all the little stuff it got to me,” Lolohea said. “I was drowning my sorrows in it to be honest. But I’ve been pretty good over here. The things I used to do back home, I don’t do over here. I’m fully focused on my footy here.”

Fittler’s challenge

We all know Brad Fittler lives life differently to most. So if you drive past him in the streets and hear some Arabic music blaring from his car, don’t be alarmed. The Lebanon coach has taken it upon himself to learn the national anthem of the team he will be coaching at this year’s rugby league world cup.

Not satisfied with learning the anthem himself, he’s ordered all his players, including Robbie Farah, Michael Lichaa, Tim Mannah and Mitchell Moses, to learn the anthem by the time the world cup rolls around at the end of October. “He’s told me he’s listening to the Lebanon national anthem in his car and learning that, so on game day he’s ready to go,” Lebanon assistant coach Luke Burt said. “I’m struggling, but he’s told me I have to learn it as well. I’ll keep working on it.”

Hopes pinned on Wallace

Peter Wallace is one tough player. Not that he needs to prove that after playing through the pain of a ruptured testicle during a State of Origin game. He had a pin inserted into his hand to repair a knuckle injury a week ago and his coach is expecting him to play this weekend against the Dragons in a match that will make or break Penrith’s top four hopes. “He’ll almost certainly play,” Anthony Griffin said. “He’s just one of those tough competitors. He’s very resilient. He’s got full strength back in his hand and as far as he is concerned he’s playing.”

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