Australia’s best-travelled residents revealed

The Australian suburb with the most well-travelled residents has been revealed in a new report.
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According to new data from Flight Centre, residents from the affluent suburb of North Sydney – postcode 2060 –are the most travelled Australians in the country –they have the highest number of bookingsand spend the most money while they’re travelling.

Indonesia is one of the most popular destinations for Australians. Photo: Getty Images

The most popular destination for North Sydney residents is Britain, followed by stopover favourite Singapore and then Italy.

Other well-travelled postcodes include Werribee (3030) in Victoria, Brisbane City (4000), Caloundra in Queensland (4551), Rouse Hill in NSW (2155) and Wangara in WA (6065).

When it comes to states and territories, Northern Territorians are the most travelled residents of Australia.

According to the Flight Centre report, Northern Territorians each travel an average of 537.52 kilometres per person to reach their holiday destination.

People living in Australia’s Capital Territory were the second most travelled, clocking up 525.65 kilometres per capita.

The report also found that Victorians travel more than New South Welshman, and Tasmanians travelled the least amount of anyone.

The Turner Report, named after the Flight Centre’s SEO Graham “Skroo” Turner, taps into the company’s database of customers, which is then used to explore Australian travel trends.

Information obtained from the report feeds into adedicated online website that allows you to search for travel information based on postcodes.

CalledPostcodes and Postcards: Australians on the Move in the Golden Age of Travel, you can find, for example, the top five locations people who live in Fitzroy, Victoria, travelled to (the US and Papua New Guinea were the top two), if they’re travelling in a group or independently, and how much they are spending.

The report also gives other insights into travellers, such as which age group travels the most (25-29) and the most popular time of year to travel (December).

The average Australian traveller is reportedly a 47-year-old male who travels for 15 days.

Australia’s most well-travelled suburbsNorth Sydney, NSWCampbelltown, NSWWangara, WARouse Hill, NSWWerribee, VICCranbourne, VICLiverpool, NSWSuccess, WAGosford, NSWMandurah, WAAustralia’s biggest spenders on travel

$1m reward over 2004 baby’s death

MILLION DOLLAR REWARD: 11-month-old Dylan Robert James Lindsay pictured with family members before he died in 2004. (Published with permission of his sister.)A $1 MILLION reward has been announced in a bid to solve the case of the death of 11-month-old Dylan Robert James Lindsay in Port Lincoln in 2004.
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Dylan Lindsay was found dead at a property in Ellen Streeton Sunday, March 28, 2004.

Investigators saidhe was found with visible abdominal injuries after a serious assault.

Someone attempted to disguise his injuries by using a texta to cover the bruising and marks.

Dylan’s death is being reviewed by investigators from the Major Crime Investigation Branch as part of Operation Persist.

The long-running cold case operation uses a range of strategies, including rewards, targeting prison inmates for information, detailed reviews of the evidence, new technology and seeking assistance from members of the public to resolve outstanding murder and missing persons cases.

New rewards were announced by the state government on Sunday in connection with 10 unsolved cases,including the investigationinto the deathof Dylan Lindsay 13 years ago.

“This is a heinous crime and somebody should be held responsible for taking the life of this child in a severe assault,” Detective Brevet Sergeant Mathew Bengelsaid.

“We did a lot of work with the texta pens we found in the house – fingerprints and DNA testing and so forth.

“We certainly believe we have identified the texta usedbut we’re unable to determine who drew on him.

“It certainly appeared that it was designed to hide the bruising on the lower and upper abdomen.”

Along with his older sister, Dylan had been left in the care of friends at the Ellen Street property by their mother who was struggling with drug and alcohol issues at the time.

Police said there were three other children at the house that night and varying reports of the movements of adults and children, with at least one report of loud yelling by a man in the area of the property early on Sunday morning.

“About 8am one of the adults approached the other and said ‘there’s something wrong with Dylan’ – they then run to neighbours because they don’t have a phone, and seek assistance.” Detective Brevet Sergeant Bengel said.

Two people were arrested in May 2004 in connection with Dylan’s deathbut the case was later dropped for lack of evidence.

Officer in charge of Major Crime Detective Superintendent Des Braywelcomed the reward.

“We know that a range of factors can influence someone’s decision to speak out about an unsolved crime and the passage of time does not diminish the grief of families connected with these cases,” he said.

“We have had success with this operation which is revisiting some of the state’s toughest cold cases and we hope that the offer of these rewards may be another reason for someone to examine their conscience and consider coming forward with vital information.”

Anyone with information about thecaseis asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report it online here.

Major privatisations deliver $4.5 billion NSW budget surplus

Privatisations have supercharged NSW finances, with Treasurer Dominic Perrottet set to announce an expected surplus of $4.5 billion for 2016-17when he delivers his first budget today.
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The surplus is $500 million higher than forecast in the December half yearly review, which predicted a 2016-17 surplus of $4 billion, thanks to $488.9 million in stamp duty from the partial privatisation of electricity “poles and wires” company Ausgrid.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet will today announce that the state’s net debt is the lowest in Australia. Photo: Janie Barrett

Since then the 99-year lease of 50.4 per cent of electricity distributor Endeavour Energy and to a lesser extent the 35-year lease of the Land and Property Information service have delivered stamp duty receipts worth more than $700 million.

Mr Perrottet will announce that NSW is on track to become the first state with a net worth of a quarter of a trillion dollars.

He will also say that net debt is the best result since records began in 1996-97 and the lowest in Australia.

“This budget realises the rewards of our poles and wires reforms and invests them back into our local communities with record investments in social infrastructure,” Mr Perrottet said.

This meant the government was “delivering exactly what we promised we would”.

“Our strong financial and economic management means we can meet the needs of today while building for the future,” he said.

On Monday, the government announced the budget will feature an extra$2.2 billion for 123 new and upgraded schoolsover the next five years to address a surge in enrolments.

It has also pledged $632 million for an upgrade to Campbelltown Hospital, $500 million for an upgrade of Tweed Hospital and $550 million to upgrade Nepean Hospital.

The budget will also contain $244 million for theArt Gallery of NSW’s Sydney Modern expansion, $40 billion in planning money for the F6, M9 and M12 motorways and $123 million to revitalise neighbourhoods along Parramatta Road.

The result also comes amid a surge in stamp duty receipts from property transfers in the booming Sydney property market.

With a nod to this, the budget will contain measures to improve housing affordability – an issue Premier Gladys Berejiklian pledged to make a priority upon taking the job in January.

From July 1, first home buyers of existing and new properties costing up to $650,000 will be exempt from paying stamp duty from July 1 – up from $550,000 and adding existing homes to the scheme.

Buyers of first homes worth between $650,000 and $800,000 will receive stamp duty discounts – up from between $550,000 and $650,000 and again reintroducing existing homes to the scheme.

To help fund the changes, the stamp duty surcharge for foreign investors will be doubled to 8 per cent and the land tax surcharge lifted from 0.75 per cent to 2 per cent.

Mr Perrottet will say in his speech to Parliament that the budget is “our growth contract with the people of NSW – that while we will grow bigger, we will also grow better, with the services and infrastructure we need”.

But on Monday shadow treasurer Ryan Park predicted that the budget would be “a little bit like the Liberal Party itself: big on promises, very small on reality”.

He described the stamp duty reforms as “too little, too late”.

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Polaris recalls 13,000 youth quad bikes containing asbestos-laden parts

The Polaris Outlaw 50 is being recalled after it was found to have asbestos-laden parts. Photo: PolarisA nationwide recall of 13,000 off-road vehicles is to be launched by car manufacturer Polaris Industries, after an investigation revealed asbestos-laden parts in at least 12 models.
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The recall of certain Polaris youth quad bikes, sold in Australia and New Zealand, was prompted by recent testing in the US, which identified asbestos in brake pads, brake shoes, gaskets and washers in some models.

“Polaris is recalling certain youth all-terrain vehicles [ATVs]and associated service parts in Australia and select other countries because we believe they contain asbestos, which is banned in these jurisdictions,” Polaris country manager Alan Collins said.

“Polaris has been working and continues to work collaboratively with the appropriate authorities in each jurisdiction, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, to quickly develop the appropriate remedy for these vehicles.”

About 13,000 Polaris quad bikes are believed to have been supplied in Australia since 2001.

Models affected by the recall include the Scrambler 50, Predator 50, Outlaw 50 and the Ace 150 produced between 2001 to 2017.

Use or importation of asbestos has been prohibited in Australia since 2004, although the ACCC understands Polaris only recently became aware of the presence of asbestos in some of its quad bikes.

“Fortunately, the advice we have currently received indicates that the presence of asbestos in the quad bike parts is unlikely to present a safety risk while riding the quad bike,” ACCC acting chairwomanDelia Rickard said.

“Nonetheless we are treating this issue extremely seriously and working closely with Polaris to gather all relevant information that enables a fast, efficient remediation of any bikes that contain these parts.”

Ms Rickard said any asbestos was more likely to present a safety risk to owners who conducted their own mechanical work, and to professionals who repair and service quad bikes.

Mr Collins said third-party expert testing had concluded that riding the affected quad bikes “does not result in asbestos exposure to the rider, and third-party expert review has concluded that servicing gaskets found in the affected vehicles does not pose a threat to health”.

Other countries, including the US and Canada – which do not have similar bans on asbestos – have not been affected by the recall.

In 2015, the ACCC issued a recall on asbestos-laden counterfeit brake pads designed to fit Toyota Hilux utes and Hiace vans, after it was discovered they were being sold illegally in Australia.

Before that – in 2012 – almost 25,000 Great Wall and Chery Chinese cars were recalled by Ateco Automotive when asbestos was found in the engine and exhaust gaskets.

Chief executive officer of the Motor Traders’ Association of Australia Richard Dudley said it was concerning to hear of yet another asbestos-related recall.

“Polaris vehicles predominantly end up in regional and rural Australia land holdings on farms. Obviously after the initial warranty period, farmers are quite adept at maintaining their own machinery and tend to do so. So that is of significant concern,” he said.

“The secondary issue that concerns us is the need to tighten importation rules … this highlights an issue we’ve had about government proposals to allow for the personal importation of vehicles that are not destined for the Australian market.”

The ACCC will trigger the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) Imported Materials with Asbestos Working Group Rapid Response Protocol.

Triggering the protocol ensures all relevant agencies work together to implement a whole-of-government response.

Consumers who own a recalled Polaris quad bike are encouraged to contact their nearest authorised Polaris dealer to arrange the safe replacement of affected parts.

Affected Polaris models:

Scrambler 50Predator 50,Outlaw 50Scrambler 90Predator 90Outlaw 90Outlaw 110Sportsman 90Sportsman 110Phoenix 200Sawtooth 200Ace 150 produced between 2001 to 2017Customers with concerns should contactPolaris directly. The formal recall notice with further information will published as soon as it is available onwww.productsafety.gov.au

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Germany too good for Socceroos in Russia, winning 3-2

Like the surprise local concert before a rock band’s world tour, the Confederations Cup is rarely remembered.
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It’s a chance for FIFA to test the infrastructure, the local organisers to run through security and logistics, teams to sample tactics, personnel and most importantly, learn valuable lessons before the World Cupa year later.

The question is, what will Ange Postecoglou take from Russia 2017? Thus far, the Socceroos’ coach has shown a complete unwillingness to waver from his all-out attacking ethos.

His dogmatic adherence to his philosophy is commendable when it works, but becomes frustrating when it falls flat andAustralia’s 3-2 group stage loss to Germanywas another case of the latter.

After spruiking his ambition to win the Confederations Cup, his pre-tournament statements drifted further into the realm of lofty ambition as Australia’s defeat raised more questions over the direction of the squad. A spirited fightback and two fortuitous goals made for more respectable reading than their performance deserved as the scoreboard masked a pedestrian performance for the Socceroos.

For the most part, Australia looked defensively frail, remained largely rudderless in attack and disjointed throughout the spine. In their last friendly, the Socceroos’ lasted just 12 seconds before conceding against Brazil. A week later, they kept a second-string Germany scoreless for only five minutes as elementary defending gave Lars Stindl a chance to open their account, and critics of Postecoglou’s new 3-2-4-1 formation a chance to sharpen their pitchforks.

Attacking brightspot: Tommy Rogic shoots for goal for the Socceroos against Germany. Photo: Getty Images

In its fifth deployment, Australia’s tactics showed no ease of letting-up from the defensive problems it has presented. Germany ran riot down the unguarded flanks and roamed free inside the box. It made for uncomfortable viewing as the Socceroosambitiously tried to beat the world champions with a high press and attacking system, one Postecoglou admits didn’t work.

“There’s no question [Australia] is a team full of character and courage. We’re trying to play a certain way against the very best and it’s not easy to do,” Postecoglou said. “In terms of a result it’s a loss and the loss falls on me. It’s my responsibility.”

A firebrand of attacking football, Postecoglou’s determination to play fast, risky, aggressive football stems from his faith in Australian players’ ability to match it with the best. But he can only work with what he’s got and in expecting players whose employers are Huddersfield, Bristol City, Celtic, Jiangsu Suningand QPR to outplay regular starters of Schalke, PSG, Bayer Leverkusen, Roma and Arsenal, a system proudly boasted as ambitious is at risk of being remembered as naive. In its deployment against the world champions, it failed to leave an impression.

The Germans were far more concerned by their erroneous goalkeeper Bernd Leno than any problems caused by Australia’s playmakers. The headlines of national sports newspaper,Kicker, praised the new-look German side, while labelling the Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper a “loser” after his role in conceding goals from Tom Rogic and Tomi Juric.

If Australia are trying to make a statement, they need to first learn exactly where they sit in world football. Some of the most successful nations don’t go out to prove a point in every match, they balance ideologies with pragmatism.

While Postecoglou seems on a steadfast mission to purge Australian football of every last remnant of the Pim Verbeek years, others show how football doesn’t have to be a definitive choice between “Tiki-Taka” or “Catenaccio”. The lack of a middle ground between two polarising ideologies is becoming a sore point of frustration for the Australian public.

While there is no shame in losing to the world champions in a competitive game, there is cause for concern in expecting to outplay them with such an aggressive, attacking style.

Australia’s latest defeat was a further drift away from the balance and character that provided so much hope for the national team after the 2015 Asian Cup.

By contrast, the Confederations Cup carries little significance beyond its conclusion. It’s why Germany arewithin their right to field an inexperienced team to Russia and Postecoglou free to trial his renewed attacking system.

He will likely stick with it for the last two group games against Cameroon and Chile, but the true success of the tournament won’t just be determined by progress to the next stage, but whether he can discover the flexibility required to make his mark at a World Cup.

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Bushfires kill dozens in Portugal

Bushfires kill dozens in Portugal TweetFacebookThe Courier reporter Caleb Cluff was holidaying when the bushfires tore through the towns and has cited the huge eucalypt plantations in the area as another factor in the Australian-style inferno that caught authorities unexpected.
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LISTEN TO HIS INTERVIEW HERE

Locals and experts alike talk of an unholy combination of extremely hot weather, an unusually dry year and ferocious winds that created a sort of hurricane of fire. Many of those who died burnt in their cars as they fled.

“I believe in witches, I believe in anything now,” said one man who had briefly fled from his village over the weekend.

The deaths, the most in memory caused by forest fires in Portugal, have shown shortcomings in communication systems to evacuate people from villages.

“It’s still hard to identify what failed, but it’s a bit of everything,” said Xavier Viegas, an expert on forest fires in Portugal.

“Obviously, certain things that should have been done had not been done – especially in terms of communicating with the population, telling them about the danger levels, areas to be avoided.”

Other countries prone to forest fires have systems in place to warn people of danger. Australia, for example, revised its warning system after fires killed 173 people in 2009, and now uses text messages and emergency broadcasts to warn people.

“There’s an urgent need to organise that kind of alerting,” Viegas said. “Here, at best, someone from the parish council would go knocking on doors telling people to leave.”

Some locals blame the fires on the gradual replacement of pine and oak forests by highly combustible eucalyptus, which has been grown in this region by the paper and pulp industry. Others say the fires flared up so quickly because landowners hadn’t obeyed the law and cleared their plots of undergrowth.

The most intense fires broke out on Saturday, but huge blazes still raged on Monday. The blazes may not die out until cooler weather arrives, possibly by the end of the week. More than 1000 firemen are still working to put out the flames .

With AAP

Woman tied up in terrifying armed robbery

A woman was tied up with duct tape and forced to open gaming machines by two armed robbers at Abermain Bowling Club on Monday night. Picture: MARINA NEIL A woman was tied up with duct tape and forced to open gaming machines by two armed robbers at Abermain Bowling Club on Monday night.
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An armed offender smashed the front door of the club with a sledgehammer about 10.30pm.

The bandits forced the female employeeto the ground and tied her wrists and ankles with tape.

One of the offenders was armed with the sledgehammer and the other had what was believed to be a rifle.

The robbers went into the main bar, accessed a safe and emptied the contents.

They then took the tape off the woman and walked her to the gaming area. The female was forced to open the ATM, eBetmachine and pokies.

The offenders again restrained the womanand attached her to the leg of a table. Theyfled the scene with a large amount of cash about 10.39pm.

After the bandits left, thewoman managed to reach into her pocket to grab her mobile phone to call police.

The two people of interest were spotted at the scene in a white Nissan Pulsar, which police saidwas later found burnt out in Bathurst Street.

Abermain Bowling Club secretary-manager Cathy Flegg said the woman was “very shaken up” by the incident.

Police want to speak to two men who may be able to assist inquiries.

The first man is described as being of Caucasian appearance and of thin build.

The second man is described as being of Caucasian appearance and of medium build.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

A woman was tied up with duct tape and forced to open gaming machines by two armed robbers at Abermain Bowling Club on Monday night. Picture: MARINA NEIL

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Dogs brutally killed and fed to tourists in Bali, ABC report claims

Australian tourists are unwittingly being fed dog meat in Bali, with more than 70 restaurants serving it, an explosive ABC report claims.
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Evidence provided to the ABC’s 7:30 report claims the dogs are brutally caught and then butchered not far from the beaches on Western Australia’s favourite holiday island.

Some of the animals are poisoned, posing a risk to human health, a leading toxicologist told the program.

Dog meat is being sold at the beaches in Bali, the ABC’s 7:30 program reports. Photo: Animals Australia

Whilst eating dog meat is not illegal in Bali, killing animals cruelly or eating meat contaminated with poison is against the law, Animals Australia’s campaign director Lyn White said.

“The dog-meat trade breaches animal cruelty laws and food safety laws. That is a statement of fact,” she told the ABC.

In an investigation led by Animals Australia, 7.30 obtained evidence that dogs are being bludgeoned, strangled or poisoned for human consumption.

“Dog meat is essentially filtering into the tourist food chain,” Ms White said.

Behind 66 Beach in Seminyak a street vendor admits he’s selling dog, but this is not what he tells his tourist customers.

It’s not just being sold on the beach, specialty restaurants sell dog meat as well.

“Tourists will walk down a street, they’ll see a street store selling satay but what they are not realising is the letters RW on the store mean it is dog meat being served,” Ms White said.

An undercover Animal Australia investigator – identified as Luke by the ABC 7:30 report – infiltrated the Bali dog trade, saying despite being trained to watch cruel scenes, nothing had prepared him for the brutal catching of dogs in Bali villages.

“I focussed on my camera work but it was gut-wrenching to hear these dogs … screaming and wailing in terror and sorrow,” he said.

The report interviews a Balinese villager who admits to killing thousands of dogs over three decades, while another man, from Denpasar, rides through back streets on his scooter, shooting dogs with a gun.

Other animals are killed using cyanide bait, a method which was a severe health risk for people according to Doctor Andrew Dawson, director of the New South Wales Poisons Information Centre.

“Because you are going to be exposed to a very toxic poison,” Dr Dawson said.

“Firstly, cyanide is not going to be destroyed by cooking. So there will be cyanide throughout the dog’s body.

“The actual risk depends upon how much poison is in the dog meat.”

The clinical toxicologist said concentrations of cyanide in the flesh of the dog commonly used in a satay stick could result in minor symptoms such as “feeling nauseated, diarrhoea, aches in the muscles and shortness of breath”.

But there are people in Bali fighting to end the cruel industry.

Influential Hindu spiritual leader Gusti Ngurah Harta told the ABC he was shocked to hear people were eating dog meat.

“It means they forgot their elders’ teaching,” he said. “We are not allowed to eat dog meat in Bali. This is upsetting,” he said.

The Bali Animal Welfare Association is working to protect the island’s dogs said the organisation was currently looking after about 150 dogs but??? had documented 70 restaurants serving dog in Bali.

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Hunter Morning NewsTuesday, June 20, 2017

INSTA: @stevebgeorge Good morning folks! #villagelife #HunterValley #winecountryMorning Hunter
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It is budget day for the NSW Government! Excited?

Privatisations have supercharged NSW finances, with Treasurer Dominic Perrottet set to announce an expected surplus of $4.5 billion for 2016-17when he delivers his first budget on Tuesday. Visit our website during the day for updates on the budget, as it is handed down about midday.

WEATHER:Partly cloudy. Morning fog. High (70%) chance of light showers about the Lower Hunter, slight (30%) chance elsewhere. Light winds. Daytime maximum temperatures between 15 and 19.

► Nearlythree years ago, Sayle Kenneth Newson demanded to know the truth about what happened to his then girlfriend,Lake Macquarie woman Carly McBride.

He would offer $10,000 cash as a reward. He would maintain a Facebook page that encouraged tip-offs from the community. And he would speak candidly to the media about how the couple’slives were just “taking off”.

On Monday, police alleged Mr Newson knew the truth all along: that he had killed Ms McBride. Read the full report.

Carly McBride murder: boyfriend Sayle Newson in custody with second arrest still to come

► Thefirst section of the first stage of the Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange, at Glendale, will be officially opened to traffic this Friday at 10am. Take a look.

►Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison has called onthe state government to contribute moremoney to upgradeTesters Hollow, takinginto account the cost of theApril 2015 super storm. Read on.

Aitchison wants more dough for Testers Hollow

►With a flair for floristry and an ability to create beautiful bouquets, Lili Robinson is highly regarded and admired for her work at WOW flowers.

And now her reputation as a talented florist is quickly spreading throughout the Hunter, having been named the 2017 Floristry Trainee of the Year at the Hunter Regional Apprenticeship and Traineeship Advisory Committee (HRATA) Awards for her efforts during her Certificate III in Floristry. Read on.

IN HER ELEMENT: Lili working at WOW Flowers.

► NSWMLC and the Greens spokeswoman for koalas Dawn Walker met with residents at the Mambo Wanda Wetlands and Tomaree Headland on Sunday.

The fragmentation of the Mambo Wanda Wetlands was of particular concern to Ms Walker. More here.

PLEASED: NSW MLC Dawn Walker said her visit to Port Stephens on Sunday was productive

State of the nationNeed anational newssnapshot first thing – well, we have you covered.

Regional news

►Albury: A rare albino wallaby and her joeyhas been spotted out and about near the Border.Parks Victoria rangerJohn McDonald said the wallaby had been living in the same region for five years.Read on.

► Tamworth:TWO Tamworth schools are set to benefit from a multi-million-dollar cash windfall to be announced in Tuesday’s state budget.

The Leadercan reveal Tamworth Public School and Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School will receive funding for extensive upgrades including new classrooms and learning centres.Read on.

FUNDING: Farrer’s Latrell Allan, Austin Scrivener, Jai Gilmore, Patrick Hickey, Fletcher Shearman and Jack Dawson are looking forward to the new buildings. Photo: Peter Hardin

► Mount Isa:The office of Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove has released a Facebook videoof his visit to the Cloncurry Show on the weekend.

The video features some aerial shots of Cloncurry and surrounds plus highlights from his speech formally opening the pavilion on Saturday. More here.

SPECIAL GUEST: The Governor-General and his wife get a tour of the Cloncurry Showgrounds with Mayor Greg Campbell. Photo: Samantha Walton.

► South Australia:A man has died after a quad bike crash at Wompinie near the New South Wales border.

Just before 11pm on Sunday, June 18, police were called to a private road on Wompinie Station near Cockburnafter a 37-year-old man from the station had crashed while riding the bike. More here.

National news

► Port Macquarie engineer and surfer Dale Carr has a joke about how he got bitten on the “fart gun”.

But there was nothing very funny about his experience one August afternoon in 2015, when he was attacked by a 2.7 metre shark, about 150 metres from the shore at Lighthouse Beach.Read on.

►Australians fear foreigners and robots, the governor of the Reserve Bank says, creating the “real crisis” in the economy of record low real wage growth through increased competition.

Speaking at the Crawford Australian Leadership forum in Canberra on Monday, Philip Lowe also took aim at the ongoing gridlock of the Australian political system, blaming it for lost opportunities and stifling economic growth. Full report here.

National weather radar:Faces of Australia:Mitch Oxborrow A-GAME: Former Jets and Glory midfielder Mitch Oxborrow hopes to play his way back to the A-League via a strong season with Broadmeadow Magic. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

MITCH Oxborrow was the first at a sodden Magic Park for a recovery session on Monday night.

The 22-year-old had a smile on his face and a spring in his step. It wascompletecontrast to the midfielder’s final training session atPerth Glory in May. Read on.

‘Enough is enough’

‘Enough is enough’ Kevin Gray is speaking out after he and his fiancée, Ashleigh Hutchins, were followed and photographed while out shopping at the weekend. Picture: DARREN HOWE
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Kevin Gray is speaking out after he and his fiancée were followed and photographed while out shopping at the weekend. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Kevin Gray is speaking out after he and his fiancée, Ashleigh Hutchins, were followed and photographed while out shopping at the weekend. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Powerlifter Kevin Gray holds the world record in the 59 kilogram class after squatting 240 kilograms in April. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Powerlifter Kevin Gray holds the world record in the 59 kilogram class after squatting 240 kilograms in April. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Powerlifter Kevin Gray holds the world record in the 59 kilogram class after squatting 240 kilograms in April. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Powerlifter Kevin Gray holds the world record in the 59 kilogram class after squatting 240 kilograms in April. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Powerlifter Kevin Gray holds the world record in the 59 kilogram class after squatting 240 kilograms in April. Picture: DARREN HOWE

TweetFacebookKevin Gray is no stranger to adversity.

Weighing in at 55 kilograms, the champion Bendigo powerlifter can squat almost five times his own body weight and smashedthe 227.5 kilogramworld record in April.

But despite the respect he commands in the sporting world, the 122 centimetre tall strongmansays he is frequently subjected to obnoxious, harassing behaviour from ignorant gawkers.

And when two men followed Mr Gray and his fiancée, Ashleigh Hutchins,through the supermarket at the weekend, openly snapping pictures on their phones as if the couple were a “circus act”, the weight of their ignorance became too much to bear.

RELATED:Bendigo powerlifter Kevin Gray smashes world record

“He had his phone up as I looked behind me and and I heard a click and so obviously he’s taken a photo of me so I thought ‘enough is enough’, so I walked around the aisle and met them head on,” he said.

“They were laughing to one another obviously about that and so I walked up to them and said ‘You guys find it pretty funny, taking photos of other people so I’m going to take photos of you’.

“They were gobsmacked really that I stood up to them.”

Mr Gray saidhe experiencedsimilar incidents “at least two or three times a week” but seeing the men target his fiancée as well was the last strawand he took to social media to call out theirbehaviour in the hope of sparing others the same treatment.

“It doesn’t really bring me down but when it involves someone I care about that’s a whole different story and I don’t want that to happen to my children one day,” he said.

It has since emerged the men were members of a gridiron team, in Bendigo for the weekend’s game against the Dragons, and their club, the Northern Raiders, issued an apology on Sunday.

“Our club has prided itself on being a diverse and inclusive club and we are deeply embarrassed by the actions of these two individuals,” it reads.

“We would like to apologise to the members of [the] public who were affected by this. We have issued apologies directly to the people involved from the Northern Raiders Gridiron Club. The players involved have also issued apologies. We have taken action internally and a discipline hearing will be convened this week.”

But Mr Gray said while representatives of the club had contacted him to apologise, he still had not heard directly from the players involved.

“All I got was a screen shot of a message that was sent to him from the guy that actually did it,” he said.

“I would have rathered havea message from the actual guys that actually did it, this third-party business is a bit of a cop out I feel.”

Mr Gray said the response to his Facebook post had been largely positive and he hoped the incident would help raise awareness about respecting people who are different.

“Basically think twice before you act and thinkhow youractions are going to affect other people before you go through with something,” he said.

“The last thing I think of if I see someone different is to pull out my phone, it’s [about] respecting other people’s space.”

The Northern Raiders Gridiron Club was contacted for comment.

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