Thursday, March 11, 2010

More "stimulus" waste

Its been raining hot water heaters in some places

A FOOTBALL team was granted 17 new hot water systems and knocked back an offer of even more, sparking debate about reckless federal spending. Tiny Koondrook Barham Football Club on the Murray River, Victoria, now has almost one hot water system for every player in the team.

President Rod Barrington said the club knocked even back more units. "They wanted us to take more," he said. Other clubs were given so many hot water units they couldn't pay the power bills.

As the Rudd Government struggles with the roof insulation scandal, the Herald Sun can reveal shocking waste of taxpayer money on unwanted hot water units. Koondrook Barham is the worst example. Its dressing shed, which has only four showers, now features a bank of taxpayer-funded, 315-litre hot water systems. "It got round a lot of clubs these units were available and the contractors approached us," Mr Barrington said. "I think we wound up paying $20 per unit."

As Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet tried to restore confidence in the insulation program, his department scrambled to explain the latest abuse of the handouts. Mr Combet's spokesman said the hot water rebate was only available for households, and could not explain how sporting clubs had benefited.

But Koondrook-Barham isn't the only club to be lumped with hot water units. Catani football ground, in Gippsland, said it was given 12 units for its six showers but has turned them off because they were too expensive to run. Catani recreation reserve president Mick Marson said electricity bills doubled.

"We thought, 'Geez this is more than too many', but we were told to have 12 so we took 12," he said. "The Government likes handing money out. They just didn't do any research about where it is going. It is taxpayers that pay for it."

At least five other clubs in the Central Murray League and the Ellinbank and District League were given new hot water systems. Ellinbank Football Club was given 12 units but was operating on six after the rest were stolen.

The Federal Government last night admitted it had become aware that some installers had been fitting multiple heat pump hot water systems, above the capacity needed by the user. A spokeswoman said it had introduced regulations in September 2009 to prevent oversized heat pumps being installed.


Another election promise broken

THE Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, now seems unlikely to meet another big election pledge - to introduce a national dental scheme. The scheme was to have delivered a million services to Australians in urgent need of treatment.

The Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, has blamed the Coalition for "blocking" the necessary legislation in the Senate. But sources have told the Herald that the government and opposition came close to agreement for an expanded scheme. Negotiations stalled over a relatively minor issue concerning measures to curb rorting. The opposition health spokesman, Peter Dutton, said the government "did not want to accept even relatively minor changes … It was politically convenient for the government to say this measure was being blocked".

The stand-off over the dental scheme has centred on the government's refusal to introduce its program until the opposition agreed to axe an increasingly popular Medicare dental scheme which funds up to $4250 in dental treatment for patients who have an associated chronic medical condition. More than 400,000 patients have received treatments under the Medicare dental scheme, which has been most popular in NSW - with about 250,000 recipients - and is gaining in popularity in Victoria where about 100,000 have benefited.

However, the Medicare dental scheme, introduced by the previous government, has been associated with allegations of rorting and Medicare is investigating claims involving about 50 dentists who may have undertaken and been paid for work not eligible for the Medicare payment.

Labor's more modest scheme, which would have cost less than half the $700 million so far paid out for the Medicare program, would have reached more people but would not have provided the treatment many would need, the Association for the Promotion of Oral Health has said. The talks aimed at a compromise foundered over the opposition's bid to ease the government proposal for a clamp on high-end dental services.


Education Dept. gives bullying bureaucrat a free ride

A PRIMARY school principal in Brisbane's southeast is under investigation for bullying, after Education Queensland appointed him despite him being shifted from two other schools following similar complaints. Teachers passed a no-confidence motion against a principal in the Redlands area at the beginning of the school term, which was soon after his deputy walked out.

Education Queensland has confirmed an investigation is underway.

The principal was also disciplined after an incident in a previous school where he allegedly raised his hand to strike a female staff member. Following his removal, The Courier-Mail understands he was placed in head office at Education Queensland before he was sent to the Redlands school, where he's remained for at least six years.

It comes only days after Premier Anna Bligh backed a national Say No to Bullying day, but yesterday Education Minister Geoff Wilson refused to comment on the department's decision to appoint a principal with a history of bullying. "Staffing issues at individual schools are dealt with by the Department of Education and Training," he said in a statement. "I expect them to investigate all cases thoroughly and to adhere to all processes and protocols when doing so."

Education Queensland did not respond to concerns the department was aware of the principal's record when they appointed him at his current school. 'The department can only act if a formal complaint is made. Staff are encouraged to contact their executive director to do so," Human Resources assistant director Craig Allen said. "The performance management process is in place to ensure all staff are treated justly and fairly in the workplace." Mr Allen said bullying was not tolerated.

The Courier-Mail believes the schools' executive director Paula Anderson has been contacted about the matter. The investigation started yesterday.


Do-gooder laws protect young bullies

THE mother of a 12-year-old boy bashed at a police-run disco is demanding new laws to ensure young bullies pay for their actions. Lynette Bishop has issued a direct challenge to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, saying laws are needed to protect children suffering at the hands of bullies. She said her son was scared and angry after being beaten by a group of young boys at a blue-light disco on the Sunshine Coast on Friday night.

She said she intends to press charges but police had warned her that the case has little chance of making it to court. "We're going to go ahead and try and lay charges," Ms Bishop told the ABC. "But at the end of the day, as we've been advised by police, they're not really going to be able to do anything because Queensland legislation is such that every attempt must be made by the police to avoid laying charges on a minor." Even if the case made it to court, Ms Bishop said, police had advised that the likely outcome would be a warning for those involved.

She said there had been too many cases of extreme bullying and the Government must act. "I am as sad as I am mad about what is not being done by our politicians. "There's nothing in place now, despite what Anna Bligh said on the news last night that there are strict guidelines and policies in place - that's absolute rubbish. "I can't even get a restraining order out against these boys to protect my own son because they are too young."

Laws were needed to "re-empower" police, teachers and parents, she said. "I issue a challenge to her to come back to me within a three-month period as to what she's doing to change the legislation and exactly what legislation she (Ms Bligh) thinks is in place to protect our young."

Ms Bishop said her son was fearful, given that one of his assailants attended his school. "My son was strangled to the point where is throat was so swollen afterwards that we were concerned about his ability to breathe. "He's better physically, the bruises are fading, the swelling is going down, but emotionally he's a scared little boy and he's angry."


Punchy Polynesians may be expelled from school

Nudgee is a Catholic school and Brisbane Catholic schools often have a substantial Polynesian enrolment, mostly from Samoa, I believe. They are very big (in more ways than one) in school sports

TWO members of Nudgee College's first XV rugby team are facing expulsion over their role in an alleged punch-up after last week's GPS swimming carnival at Chandler. The two senior students have been ``suspended pending an enrolment review" after questioning about the incident involving a rival school.

A Brisbane Boys' College student was knocked unconscious when he was allegedly king hit by a Nudgee student. The boy had been stooping to help a school mate who had been struck in the chest, as they walked to the bus following the carnival - which Nudgee won.

The BBC students have claimed the attack was completely unprovoked but the Nudgee students have told their school they were being racially abused.

BBC headmaster Graeme McDonald has said it was more a case of interschool rivalry getting out of hand. The schools did not report the incident to police and the boy who was severely concussed as a result of the punch, is recovering satisfactorily.


More punchy Polynesians

The girlfriend of a wheelchair-bound Canadian tourist who was allegedly attacked by two teenagers at a train station in Sydney's west last night says she is disgusted by the assault. Kristin Sharrock, of Mosman, said the 35-year-old victim - who is undergoing surgery for head wounds today - had ‘‘been through a lot in his life and he doesn’t deserve what’s happened’’.

Ms Sharrock said she was called at midnight by police and told what had happened. ‘‘I was disgusted. I can’t believe someone would attack anybody, let alone someone in a wheelchair.’’

The 35-year-old man, who lives in Mosman, was on the platform at Mount Druitt train station when the teenagers approached him, police said. They "verbally intimidated" him, so he tried to leave by a lift at the station, police said. But one of the youths allegedly punched him in the face, knocking him out of his wheelchair. The teenagers then allegedly stomped on him, hitting him on the head and body with metal bars - one from the wheelchair, police said. They then tried to take his wheelchair and belongings.

Police allege the pair left but returned a few times to batter the victim with the metal bars again before running from the station. A NSW Ambulance spokesman said emergency services were called to the station about 11.15pm. The victim was taken to Westmead Hospital in a serious condition about 11.45pm.

Mount Druitt Local Area Commander Superintendent Wayne Cox told reporters this morning that the attack had taken between three and five minutes and had been captured on security video as well as being witnessed by a train station employee. He described the attack as ‘‘a calculated assault’’. ‘‘It’s one of the most serious attacks I’ve seen,’’ Superintendent Cox said....

A 16-year-old youth was charged with robbery and assault offences today and is due to face Parramatta Children's Court. Police are still looking for the second alleged attacker, who they say is aged between 12 and 15 and of Pacific Islander appearance.


1 comment:

Paul said...

"The BBC students have claimed the attack was completely unprovoked but the Nudgee students have told their school they were being racially abused".

Yes, the Race defence. The latest last refuge of the scoundrel.