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Labor mess is Hockey's chalice

Written By doni donian on Selasa, 17 Desember 2013 | 23.09

New commissioner a critic

New commissioner a critic

THE Abbott Government has moved to reform the Australian Human Rights Commission by putting in charge a critic of the body.

I quit Instagram. Why you should too

I quit Instagram. Why you should too

WHEN Bronwyn O'Brien realised Instagram fed "greed, discontentment and a complete misconception of what is important in life," she deleted it. This is what happened next.


23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More

Students join elite group of top achievers

Geelong College student Annabelle Shannon scored 99.4 in this year's VCE. Picture: Leanne Churchill Source: HeraldSun

AN ELITE group of 650 students has achieved at least one perfect study score in this year's VCE.

The stunning showing comes as more than 14,500 students join the ranks of top scorers.

They include a set of identical twins who got the same tertiary entrance rank.

>> SEARCH NOW: SEE WHO'S MADE THE LIST OF TOP ACHIEVERS - SEARCH BY SCHOOL, SUBJECT OR STUDENT

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority figures show 718 perfect study scores of 50 were awarded to 656 students statewide.

A total 19.2 per cent or 14,636 students achieved a study score of 40 or more to earn the title of top scorer.

Girls were most likely to star.

>> MORE: VCE RESULTS MAKE OR BREAK DREAMS

>> READ: TEEN'S YEAR FROM HELL ENDS IN TRIUMPH

>> MORE: WAIT FINALLY OVER FOR THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS

RMIT University Annette Gough said achieving such a result took consistently good performance not only in exams but earlier school-assessed tasks.

"It's certainly an achievement,'' she said.

"It takes a concerted effort over the whole year."

A passion for the subject was also important.

"You can be quite bloody minded about it but you do much better in a subject if you are interested in that subject rather than just having to do it,'' Prof Gough said.

Woodleigh students Tully and Oscar Hiscock are identical twins and received identical scores of 99.65 in their VCE results. Picture: Susan Windmiller Source: News Limited

English attracted the most students with study scores of 40 or more with 3240 achieving the feat.

There were 2318 in Further Mathematics and 1264 in Mathematical Methods (CAS).

Identical twins Oscar and Tully Hiscock - who both scored a tertiary admission rank of 99.65 and were named duxes of Woodleigh School - are among this year's VCE elite.

Both scored 40 or over in all subjects.

>> SEARCH NOW: SEE WHO'S MADE THE LIST OF TOP ACHIEVERS - SEARCH BY SCHOOL, SUBJECT OR STUDENT

Oscar, the eldest of the 18-year-olds by just 14 minutes, said their equal ATAR was especially remarkable because he and his brother studied several different subjects.

"We were pretty much on par with all of our subjects but we never thought it would actually happen,'' he said.

Tully initially double-checked to make sure he wasn't sent his brother's ranking by mistake.

"When I went to see Oscar I was probably more surprised that we both got the same than how high the score actually was,'' he said.

"It was a nice way to end the year.

"We weren't trying to beat each other in any way, we were just trying to help each other through it.

"And it definitely has paid off."

Woodleigh principal Jonathan Walter said the mirror twins typified the Langwarrin South school's focus on developing well-rounded citizens.

They made an effort to take a break from study with a surf and also performed volunteer work.

"For us it really shows that by having a balanced approach you can still do well without being hothoused and just having that singular focus,'' Mr Walter said.


23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More

Fifty books kids will love to read

Guaranteed to engage, enchant and enthral ... fifty books that children and teenagers should read. Source: NewsComAu

THE joys of reading are best discovered at a young age and most adults have memories of a much-loved book that transported them to another world.

From classics and adventure books to modern day tales of magic and mayhem, here are 50 books that are guaranteed to engage, enchant and enthral children and teenagers.

Fostering a love of reading is one of the most important things parents can do for their children.

LET US KNOW BELOW IF WE MISSED YOUR FAVOURITES


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Our Ashes series report cards

AUSTRALIA has dominated the Ashes series right from the start, and no one can argue that the hosts don't deserve their 3-0 lead.

Third Test report card: Australia's best

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limit of 5* FREE ARTICLES.

*Subject to change


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Gangland stripper charged in murder

Police chase a four wheel drive onto a bike path in Brunswick West and arrested two people after the suspects crossed Moonee Ponds creek trying to escape Source: Supplied

A WOMAN whose past lovers include Alphonse Gangitano and missing standover man George Templeton has been charged with involvement in her ex-husband's murder.

Robyn Lindholm, a former stripper, has been charged over her alleged role in the death of former partner Wayne Amey.

As police searched for Mr Amey's body in bush north of Melbourne, Ms Lindholm was charged with accessory to murder after facing and out-of-sessions court hearing.

She had earlier been questioned at Moonee Ponds police station.

Lindholm's alleged accomplice was also charged as an accessory to Mr Amey's murder.

Victoria Police spokeswoman Creina O'Grady said Torsten Trabert, 44, was also charged with intentionally causing serious injury.

The Preston man was remanded in custody to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court at a later date.

Ms Lindholm was arrested last Friday with 54-year-old Torsten Trabert after a police pursuit which ended at Brunswick.

Mr Torsten is still being questioned by detectives over the Amey case.

A search is underway for Mr Amey's body near Bendigo after his son, Pat, found blood at his father's Hawthorn apartment last Wednesday.

Police are still hunting John Anthony Ryan, 36, who is on the run and suspected of being involved in Mr Amey's disappearance.

Robyn Lindholm, former fiancee of George Templeton. Picture: Jon Hargest

Ms Lindholm and Torsten Trabert, 54, were arrested after a police pursuit last Friday.

Ms Lindholm has been charged with being an accessory to Mr Amey's murder.

It has emerged Ms Lindholm was Mr Amey's ex-girlfriend and they were squabbling over a property owned by the pair in Bittern on Western Port Bay now on the market for $1.1 million.

Mr Templeton was implicated along with prime suspect Nick Kitsoukilias of killing exotic dancer Shari Davison in Footscray, who worked with Lindholm, whose body has never been found.

Kitsoukilias would also vanish.

Alphonse Gangitano pictured in 1996.

Ms Lindholm has denied any involvement in Mr Templeton's disappearance.

She claimed she was out with a friend when Mr Templeton, also known as George Teazis, vanished.

But she said she had received a text message from Mr Templeton at 2.40am the day he disappeared - the last he would send.

Amour, a former Rebel bikie, would later become the de facto of Suzanne Kane and went on to kill Des ``Tuppence'' Moran in 2010 on behalf of Judy Moran.

A police search crew hopes to find Mr Amey's body, saying they believe it is wedged between two boulders at the bottom of a crevasse at Mount Korong, in the State's north.

George Templeton with Robyn Lindholm. Picture: Jon Hargest

A man is helping police locate the remains as part of an extensive search there today.

Homicide squad detective Ron Iddles said early information suggested the Mr Amey's body had been dumped there after the alleged killers drove to country Victoria to dispose of his remains.

"We are confident Wayne Amey's body is here," Det Iddles said.

"We know the vehicle was here on Thursday between 9 and 12.

"Again we had (reports of) the vehicle in Inglewood about midday and at that point there was two men and a female in the vehicle.''

This Hilux is believed to belong to Mr Amey.

He said a strike team including homicide squad detectives, a dog squad and the air wing was focusing on the top of the mountain.

"We know the body is between two large boulders at the bottom of a crevasse."

The hunt continues for a third suspect, John Anthony Ryan. Police have warned he could be armed and dangerous.

A close friend of Mr Amey, who did not wish to be named, said he had been arguing with his ex-girlfriend over money since breaking up two years ago.

George Tannous, owner of family run Romeo's in Toorak, said Mr Amey ate at his restaurant five times a week for the past 15 years.

Romeo restaurant in Toorak Rd Toorak where Wayne Amey was last seen.

"He came in each night between 9.30 and 10.30pm after he finished work at his gym, always dressed in shorts and a singlet," he said.

"He was just your normal, regular bloke, a good guy. I would say he was a friend," he added.

Mr Tannous said Mr Amey regularly played hockey and was a generous man.

"He told all my staff they could use his gym for free - that was typical of him and his generous nature."

Mr Amey lived alone since splitting from his girlfriend two years ago.

Apartment in Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, believed to be where Mr Amey lived.

"He told me some stories about her but that's not important right now.

"We're just devastated. He was a good man," Mr Tannous added.

- with Aaron Langmaid and Jonno Nash

Police continue to search for John Anthony Ryan.

The police search at Mount Korong.


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The nation's blackest spot revealed

A car crash in Springvale Road, Glen Waverley. Source: News Limited

SPRINGVALE Rd in Glen Waverley is the nation's worst accident hot spot and scatterbrained shoppers are being blamed.

The road has taken the crown two years in a row - nationally and in Victoria - with Plenty Rd, Bundoora coming in second place.

The results released today follow an analysis of nearly 250,000 insurance claims with about three accidents per day happening on Victoria's top- five crash black spots that included Springvale Rd, Springvale, Bell St, Preston and Doncaster Rd, Doncaster.

The AAMI Crash Index shows almost half of drivers blame others for the prangs, while 28 per cent admit they were distracted and 23 per cent admit carelessness.

AAMI corporate affairs manager Reuben Aitchison said Victoria's road black spots had a combination of high- speed zones, large traffic volume and there was "stop-start" traffic because of several sets of traffic lights and intersections.

He said that the top-five crash sites had shopping centres or strips running along the accident-prone roadways.

"If you are coming out of a shopping centre, your mind is on what you just bought or what you are going to do next," Mr Aitchison said. "It's not on immediate surrounds and that's where people seem to have problems - they misjudge distance and time or don't see a vehicle coming."

Almost 3730 drivers were surveyed about their accident history and revealed:

A QUARTER of motorists had an accident in the past five years and 71 per cent admitted it was avoidable;

MEN were the worst offenders (32 per cent) compared with one in four women;

IMPATIENCE was a contributing factor in 12 per cent of crashes;

CRASHES from speeding halved from 11 to 6 per cent;

THURSDAY and Friday were the most common days for crashes, while Sundays recorded the lowest number; and

FATIGUE-linked accidents dropped from 10 per cent to 6 per cent.

Mr Aitchison said it was "disappointing" that one third of accidents were happening because of driver inattention.

aleks.devic@news.com.au


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Puneet could run but not hide

The mother of an Indian man who fled Australia after killing a teenager in a hit and run defended her son.

IN HIS years on the run in India, Puneet Puneet was constantly looking over his shoulder.

He regularly Googled his own name on the internet for updates on the manhunt for him.

He moved house regularly, deleted his social media accounts, and quit one job in panic 24 hours after learning police had raided his parents' house.

In order to see his family, he sneaked around like the fugitive criminal he was, using a fake name and organising meetings at out-of-the-way places far from his parents' home.

He had his freedom for over four years. But it came at a price.

Puneet Puneet arrives under police escort at the Judicial Court Complex in Rajpura. Source: News Limited

Almost as soon as he set foot back on Indian soil, Puneet knew he had made a mistake by using his friend's passport to flee Australia.

He flew out on a one-way ticket on June 12, 2009, leaving behind the cool of a Melbourne winter and his identity as Puneet. He travelled under the name of his friend, Sukcharanjit "Sam" Singh, and took a new name when he arrived in Delhi, sweltering in midsummer temperatures of over 40C.

The heat was immediately on Puneet, with the police back in Melbourne aware he'd failed to answer his bail at Williamstown police station.

"I knew it was a mistake," he told the Herald Sun from inside Patiala Central Jail, a northern city prison where he spent two weeks after his arrest on November 29. "After getting in touch with my family I knew it was a mistake."

Puneet deleted his Facebook account and stayed in Delhi for about six weeks. It seems sure his wealthy family continued to support their only son.

"Everyone was scared and no one knew what to do," he said. "I was confused. I was waiting for it to cool down."

The next month, Puneet moved to Noida, a satellite city 20km southeast of Delhi. He used a fake name and found work.

"I started my first job as a telecaller in one of the local BPOs in Noida," he said.

BPOs - "business process outsourcing", better known as call centres - are the lifeblood of Noida. The city's name comes from the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, which administers it. Western companies have for years used India's cheap labour to cut costs in such work.

Puneet's excellent command of English gave him the chance to work as a telemarketer. It is not impossible that he was calling back to Australia, annoying householders with a cold-call for sales or marketing purposes.

Puneet settled into Noida's Sector 63, a dusty, soulless call-centre HQ built 10 years ago. A few small stores selling samosas, tea and packets of coffee and sugar operate on the footpaths, but otherwise Noida's streets offer little to keep the workers there after their shifts end.

On Friday nights, the predominantly young workers have a couple of after-work choices. They can go for takeaway food at Haldirams Market, a string of fast-food outlets set along a dusty parking lot, where small children beg for money and food.

Or, if they have a bit more money, they could catch an auto-rickshaw, India's famous green and gold three-wheeled motorbikes, and head across a few suburbs to the Shipra Mall, four gleaming storeys of modern shops and cafes.

Here, Puneet could have joined the other young workers and families who gather here on Friday nights, drinking coffee and chatting as the latest hits from Miley Cyrus and One Direction boom out from the speakers lining the walls.

Outside the mall, the incessant honking of car, bus and truck horns speak of the chaotic traffic, and a yellow smog hangs heavy in the air as women with babies on their hips wind through the gridlocked traffic and beg for a few rupees for food.

A police officer outside Delhi's infamous Tihar Prison, where Puneet Puneet is being held. Source: News Limited

Inside, the Lavazza coffee signs, the Samsonite luggage shop, and the Van Heusen shirts in the window, make it look just like the malls Puneet frequented in Melbourne before he ran away.

Until his name hit the headlines, Puneet was just another kid growing up in India during the economic boom of the 1990s. He was born on January 7, 1989, in Chandigarh, a prosperous city of 300,000 in the northern state of Punjab, near the border with Pakistan.

His mother Geeta Rani and his father Naresh Kumar Rawal doted on their only son, and gave him every opportunity to make the best of his life. Both his parents worked, giving the family a good income.

Puneet, who neighbours say was bright student at school, was sent to Australia, an opportunity out of reach of most Indian families.

He settled in Melbourne, supposedly studying hospitality, but mainly working as a door-to-door salesman selling phone plans. He had a flat in suburban Newport, a car, plenty of money and became known among his Indian friends as the go-to guy to get Optus phones for everyone. He was 19, and having the time of his life.

But Puneet blew it.

After a heavy night drinking with his friends, the learner driver got behind the wheel of his car.

Driving erratically and dangerously, he snubbed the 60km/h speed limit on City Road in Southbank sped at up to 148km an hour. He had three times the legal amount of alcohol in his blood. As a learner driver, he should have blown 0.

Predictably, he crashed.

Tragically, into two young mates standing outside the Mantra Hotel. Dean Hofstee, 19, died at the scene. Clancy Coker, 20, survived but was critically injured.

Puneet was arrested and charged, and admitted his guilt. But while waiting for his pre-sentence hearing, he fled, buying a ticket in Singh's name, and flying home.

He hoped to lose himself amongst the 1.2 billion in the world's second most populous country.

Once again, the pampered son had avoided responsibility, failing to confront the pain and grief he had caused the Hofstee and Coker families.

"My family tried their best to make me a good man," he conceded from jail.

"I let them down. My life is going to be miserable and it is not just I who will suffer but my parents will suffer as I am their lone son."

Puneet's job lasted just four months. Then, Punjab Police raided his parents' home in Panchkula, near Chandigarh. They didn't find a direct link to Puneet, but he got word of the raid and panicked, quitting his job 24 hours later and moving house.

"I got scared and thought 'it hasn't settled down, the police will trace me'. It was better for me to go and hide," he said.

The Indian fugitive hit-run driver who killed a student in Melbourne five years ago says he feels sorry.

The next year or so was spent trying to stay under the radar. He moved constantly, shifting addresses between Noida, and Gurgaon, a wealthy manufacturing city about 30km southwest of Delhi.

It is unclear if he worked again, and he refuses to say how he survived. It can be assumed his

family funded him, and organised a rental property for him in Noida.

By 2010, Puneet began to think that maybe he had pulled off the great escape.

He had met a girl from Rajpura, in the north, and told her what had happened in Melbourne.

"I told her this thing and I told her the circumstances and that this guy died and she understood it and we dated," he said.

He said he felt "a bit relaxed" at this point and by 2012 thought he should consider marriage. The girl agreed, and became his fiancée.

He confirmed he had spent time with his family at rendezvous in "different places" - but never at his parents' house.

But then, on one of his frequent self-Googles, he discovered that on August 7, 2012, Victoria Police had announced a reward for $100,000 for information leading to his arrest and return to Australia.

Puneet's family home. Source: News Limited

Believing the reward meant there was a bounty on his head, he was once again plunged into panic and despair.

"I thought anyone would be crazy not to kill me to get the bounty," he said.

A second raid on his family home by Punjab Police made it clear to Puneet that the Australian and Indian police were not going to give up.

And on November 29 this year, his fears were realised when he was betrayed by someone very close to him.

Police were tipped off on where to find him, and at a secret meeting with his family in the city of Panipat, he was captured after four years and five months on the run.

He went straight into custody, never returning to his Noida rental. The great escape was over.

Puneet's real name is Puneet Kumar Rawal. Indian officials, his lawyer and Puneet's family are baffled as to why Victoria Police charged him under the name Puneet Puneet. He told the court in Delhi that his name was "only Puneet".

The documents lodged in the Patalia House Court in Delhi last week to start his extradition proceedings refer to him as F.C Puneet.

It stands for "fugitive criminal".

The pampered son with the world at his feet is now chained by the wrists and detained with 12,000 other inmates at Delhi's notorious Tihar Jail.

No longer a fugitive, but still a criminal, and one who is about to face the consequences of his actions for the first time in his life.

TIMELINE

October 1, 2008: A drunk Puneet Puneet hits two Gold Coast university students with his V8 Holden Commodore as they leave the Mantra Hotel on City Rd, Southbank, about 12.50am, killing Dean Hofstee, 19, and seriously injuring Clancy Coker, 20.

February 4, 2009: Puneet pleads guilty to culpable driving causing Mr Hofstee's death and negligent driving causing serious injuries to Mr Coker.

June 12, 2009: Puneet flees Australia travelling under name of Sukcharanjit Singh.

August 20, 2009: County Court judge issues a warrant for Puneet's arrest.

March 24, 2011: Sukhcharanjit Singh jailed for a minimum of 18 months for helping Puneet flee.

November 30, 2013: Puneet arrested in India.


23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More

Leaders and stars praise Ashes victory

Australia has regained the Ashes, wrapping up the series 3-0 with a decisive 150-run victory over England in Perth.

AUSTRALIA'S cricketing heroes - including Mitchell Johnson who led the charge - have been feted for bringing the Ashes home on what quickly turned into a national day of celebration.

>>READ: AUSTRALIA REGAINS THE ASHES

>>FIVE MOMENTS THAT SWUNG THE ASHES

>> CAN THE AUSSIES JOIN THE WHITEWASH GREATS?

The congratulations started from the top, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott hailing the efforts of skipper Michael Clarke, the man who holds perhaps the second-most important job in Australia.

Mr Abbott said Clarke's team completed an "emphatic Ashes series victory" in Perth.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has congratulated our Aussie cricketers. Source: News Limited

"The Ashes hold a special place in Australia's sporting history and today, Australian sports fans have had an early Christmas present," Mr Abbott said.

"The Australian team should be proud of their extraordinary success."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten tweeted his congrats to our Aussie cricketers. Source: News Limited

"I also congratulate the team's coaches, support staff and the players' families because their success on the field is due in large part to the support they receive off the field."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also joined in the spirit of celebration, tweeting that it was "great to see the urn returned ... they've done us proud".

Aussie cricket greats revelled in the return of the urn, with Shane Warne tweeting a photo of the famous prize and saying "This is yours now !! You little beauty".

One of Warnie's Instagram pictures. Source: Instagram

Glenn McGrath, who perennially tips Australia to win the Ashes in a whitewash, said the comprehensive win meant a 5-0 series result was "a big possibility".

Celebrities also shared their joy on Twitter, including comedian Andy Lee, who said he felt un-Australian because he missed the final wicket, even though he was on a Qantas plane drinking a beer with Hugh Jackman.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said Australia "thoroughly deserved victory" because they were the "better team by a country mile".

Outspoken British broadcaster Piers Morgan was frustrated in his praise: "Australia have been as ferocious and determined as we've been weak, gutless & embarrassing."


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Where Hockey can save $667B debt

This week business and economics stalwart Terry McCrann looks at the finer details of the Abbott government's budget forecast with a deficit for at least the next four years.

Facing brutal cuts to make bring the budget back into the black ... Treasurer Joe Hockey addressing the National Press Club on the Midyear Economic and Fiscal Outlook in Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith Source: News Limited

EVERYTHING but raising the GST is on the table as the Coalition aims to tame its $667 billion debt bomb.

As Treasurer Joe Hockey launched a scathing attack on the previous Labor government for leaving a budget mess, a rollcall of potential and actual spending cuts emerged.

Mr Hockey unveiled the Midyear Economic and Fiscal Outlook in Canberra which showed that if left unchecked Labor's spending and policies would have resulted in a debt bomb of $667 billion in 2022-23.

JESSICA IRVINE: BUDGET DEFICIT MEANS PAIN FOR EVERYONE

He said it would not be politically easy but that hard decisions would need to be made in coming months about what programs and government spending needed to be reined in.

"All options are on the table," Mr Hockey said while ruling out changes to the GST.

"No government has ever achieved prosperity by simply raising taxes," he said.

WHERE SHOULD SAVINGS BE MADE? COMMENT BELOW

Among the speculated cuts on the government's hit list include a paring back of Labor's National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The new deficit forecasts ... Treasurer Joe Hockey ponders the pre-election forecasts and today's reality. Source: DailyTelegraph

NDIS LAUNCH COSTS UNDER-ESTIMATED

WE WILL DELIVER NDIS: ABBOTT GOVERNMENT

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann yesterday said the government was looking to make the scheme more efficient, flagging future potential cuts.

"We want to make it more efficient," Senator Cormann said.

"We are having discussions about that."

His comments follow those of Tony Abbott who said following a meeting of COAG last week that the spending on the NDIS could he modified.

"We are all absolutely committed to the implementation of the NDIS … but we have got to implement it in a way which is fair and a way which is sustainable," Mr Abbott said.

The latest fiscal update shows budget deficits of more than $120 billion over the next four years.

The Coalition's flagship $5.5 billion-a-year paid parental leave scheme could also never see the light of day with the program stated as "not been finalised" in yesterday's MYEFO.

The scheme, which pays parents six months at their full salary, was one of Mr Abbott's signature policies going into the election campaign. However it has come under fierce criticism for being too generous.

"The PPL is something that needs to be looked at to help find savings," Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Peter Anderson said.

The axe fell on several programs yesterday with education and environmental schemes some of the biggest losers.

A total of $998 million from Labor's Trade Training Centres and $450 million from after school care assistance was slashed.

A community infrastructure program worth $528 million was also cut to help pay for an extra $1.2 billion for schools funding announced by Christopher Pyne earlier this month.

"This is a lose, lose situation for school communities across Australia," Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos said.

"Vital national funding for trade training and before and after school care is being taken away so money can be given to the WA, NT and QLD governments that they don't even have to spend in education."

A total of $4.3 billion in savings was flagged yesterday through the abolishment of businesses and energy market compensation programs which were given to medium and large businesses impacted by the carbon tax.

In health, $265 million in hospital revamps was shelved. This included $100 million for the redevelopment of the Westmead Hospital in Sydney, $49 million for palliative care in Tasmania, $22 million for upgrades to St George Hospital in Sydney and $10m for the redevelopment of the Children's Medical Research Institute.

A total of $111.4 million in cuts were been made to the Humanitarian Programme, providing health support to refugees and other humanitarian entrants and $43.1 million is set to be redirected from the Legal Policy Reform and Advocacy funding, mostly benefiting indigenous Australians.

Treasurer Joe Hockey has blamed Labor for the state of the budget ahead of the MYEFO.


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Airport parking battle takes flight

Written By doni donian on Selasa, 01 Oktober 2013 | 23.09

Multi-level car park at Melbourne Airport. Source: HeraldSun

MELBOURNE Airport off-site parking operators say they will be squeezed out by a new seven-storey 2600-space car park, construction of which will begin within days.

And tensions between the airport and the off-site operators is heating up over an increase in the charge for shuttle bus access.

The Herald Sun understands several operators have complained to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about the charge, which kicked in yesterday and which they say will be passed on to travellers.

Previously, buses that ferry passengers from nearby car parks to the terminals could drop off travellers at the arrivals area free of charge and were charged $3.65 per bus for collecting passengers from the downstairs arrivals area.

Airport management recently moved all bus arrivals and departures to the downstairs forecourt in a bid to ease congestion.

Airport parking at Tullamarine Source: HeraldSun

Now buses with up to 12 seats are charged $2.30 every time they enter the forecourt.

The charges will increase to $3 in July and to $3.50 in July 2015, the same year the new airport car park is expected to open.

The airport made $114.7 million from parking last year, thanks to charges that are among the world's highest.

One off-site parking operator, who didn't want to be named, said they didn't believe the increase in charges was justified.

"We are not quite sure what that increase will mean but there will be an increase (for customers). They are forcing us to force our prices up by passing on access fees we can't afford."

But the airport said the changes were made after consultation with bus operators and the implementation was delayed so they could accommodate the "marginal" cost increase.

A new carpark is to be constructed at Melbourne Airport. Source: Supplied

Airport spokesman Anna Gillett said numberplate recognition had replaced an honour system and ad hoc approach.

"Melbourne Airport has been keen to ensure that the pricing structure and terms and conditions for ground transport operators are clear, readily accessible and equitable," Ms Gillett said.

"It was recognised that in implementing the system, some operators who had not been paying the required fees would initially experience an increased charge."

ACCC spokesman Meg Macfarlan said it didn't comment on complaints it may or may not be investigating.

Builder Leighton has won the contract to build the car park, which will cater for cars, the Skybus, public buses and taxis.

amelia.harris@news.com.au


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