Two men taken to hospital after car accident at Kirkconnell

Two men were taken to hospital aftera single motor vehicle accident at Kirkconnell this morning.
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Around 7:40am the menwere in a car crash on the Great Western Highway at Sunny Corner Road.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, the men were already outside of the vehicle.

The two men, both in their thirties were transported to Bathurst Base Hospital in a stable condition.

Two men were involved in a single vehicle accident on the Great Western Highway at Sunny Corner Road this morning. Photo: ANDREW MICALLEF, WIDE AREA COMMUNICATIONS

Two men were involved in a single vehicle accident on the Great Western Highway at Sunny Corner Road this morning. Photo: ANDREW MICALLEF, WIDE AREA COMMUNICATIONS

Two men were involved in a single vehicle accident on the Great Western Highway at Sunny Corner Road this morning. Photo: ANDREW MICALLEF, WIDE AREA COMMUNICATIONS

Read the full story in tomorrow’s Western Advocate.

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Praise for the friendly people at Clunes Library

Catherine Hill does an awesome job of running the Clunes Library. On the way to our library, my 10-year-old son said; “The library is like another home.”
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Catherine is always very friendly and has helped to create an atmosphere for all children where they can feel safe to go, to enjoy all it’s wonderful resources and to be with their friends.

The lovely volunteers (CWA) also help greatly with this as well. A very big, warm thank you to Catherine and her volunteers for making the Clunes Library a great community space for all ages; indeed for my children and I, it is the hub of the town.

Kym Green

Clunes

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Online survey has highlighted concerns

This letter is in response to Ian MacBean’s (March13) regarding concerns of rate equity and “fair go” for the Trentham ratepayers.
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I believe the exposure from the Hepburn Council online “Our Say” has highlighted concerns of ratepayers across the shire and not so much a sympathy vote for the Trentham community.

Many small rural communities are struggling with rising bureaucracy and infrastructure costs which puts pressure to regularly raise resident rates.

A report this month by the Victorian Auditor-General has been scathing of rating practices of local government and called for regular strategy reviews and better communication with ratepayers on decision making. The report conveys that there is a lack of clarity, detail and direction. The differential rate system is being applied with broad interpretation and the farming sector is actively seeking a farm rate review.

I maintain that Trentham woes are symptomatic of a broad spectrum of unease over local government tax collection practices and the flow on of how these monies are then redistributed as services rendered to local residents.

On a seperate topic, “Vote for Rate Equity”, posted more than a week after Ian MacBean’s topic, was also voted in the top 10 most popular on “Our Say”. This topic concerns ratepayers with property affected by water authorities and planning policy which prohibits building a dwelling or sheds thus devaluing their landholding.

Council CIV rate valuations are underpinned by valuations reflecting the ability to have a dwelling. They believe council has been collecting rates based on the higher valuations. If they are refused a permit then rates should be significantly reduced. There are property owners who have invested many, many thousands of dollars only to be devastated by the current circumstances.

Read the online “Our Say” comments of Landowners expressing frustration that the denial of the right to build and the right to use their land effectively devalues their property significantly and council still tax at the higher rate.

Unfortunately I believe this topic will likely stay in the high 10. Why? Because if the Trentham community or other affected landholders benefit by a rate review, rather than keeping the dollars rolling in for the shire management, someone else has to pay more.

Ian Esmore

Daylesford

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Injuries deplete the front row

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 22: Jacob Miller of the Tigers kicks during the round three NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Parramatta Eels at Leichhardt Oval on March 22, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)WESTS Tigers fans are used to pain inflicted from injuries to their stars.
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But instead of the halves combination being disrupted as in past years, this season it seems it’s wingers and front rowers who are lining up at Andrew Leeds’ door to rehabilitate their injuries.

Keith Galloway is out for three months and Matt Groat is still a few weeks away from full fitness which is hurting the front row stocks.

Youngster Jack Buchanan has been surprisingly outstanding and Aaron Woods has been, well, Aaron Woods — reliable, hard working and effective.

But with the lack of front row stocks, they will form the youngest front row combination in the competition, with equally young replacement players on the bench.

Now the excitement machine Marika Koroibete who I focused on in my column last week could be out for a few weeks with a foot injury after hobbling off against the Eels, weakening the wing supply.

Matt Utai has been injured but could be back this week or Menangle’s James Tedesco could get the shot many fans have been waiting for — albeit on the wing and not in his custom fullback spot.

Fortunately, the halves have been unscathed so far and Jacob Miller has shown why so many people have been waiting for him to mature from a young talent into a first grader.

Mature he looks.

He has a great kicking game, football brain and when he takes the line on he looks a bit like a young Allan Langer, stepping and ducking and sprinting past defenders.

And Benji Marshall is showing glimpses of why he is regarded up there with the best in the game.

The Tigers sit in eighth spot with two wins from three starts — a great effort considering the adversity of adapting to a new coach, a death in the club and the injuries that have occurred.

The next few weeks will be a massive test, starting with Manly on Thursday.

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Eagles enjoy decisive derby win in Group 6

CAMPBELLTOWN Eagles started the 2013 season where they left off last year — with another victory to maintain their undefeated status.
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The Eagles defeated Campbelltown City Kangaroos 30-10 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday in the Group 6 first grade rugby league season opener.

It took only four minutes for the Eagles to score their first try of the season.

Great defensive play from both teams followed, ensuring it would be a close game.

Leading 12-6 at the break, the Eagles started to gather momentum and capitalised when Kangaroos’ captain-coach Drew Dalton was sent to the sin-bin for dissent and piled on more points to secure victory.

Eagles coach Richard Barnes said he was not surprised by the tough game in the opening round.

“We bombed a few tries near the line with some high-risk plays that just didn’t come off,” Barnes said.

“That was a bit frustrating but I’m happy with the result and their overall effort. It blew out some of the cobwebs and we will improve on this effort.”

Barnes named Fred Tevega and Jarryd Eggleton as the best players for the Eagles.

Eagles tries went to Ben Baker, Fillipo Sauvao, Craig Moustakas, Tenisio Ahovelo, Fred Tevega and Sean Connor. Chris Williamson and Anthony Dalton scored for the Kangaroos.

■In other games:

First grade: Oakdale 60 defeated The Oaks 12, Mittagong 34 d Moss Vale 16, Picton 16 d Thirlmere/Tahmoor 12, Narellan 30 d Camden 24.

Reserve grade: Campbelltown Eagles 54 d Campbelltown Kangaroos 20, Mittagong 56 d Moss Vale 10, Camden 20 d Narellan 16, Oakdale 50 d The Oaks 12, Picton 20 d Thirlmere/Tahmoor 6.

U18: Campbelltown Eagles 28 d Campbelltown Kangaroos 26, Narellan Jets 46 d The Oaks Tigers 6, Picton 28 d Thirlmere/Tahmoor 16, Mittagong 34 d Moss Vale 16.

First grade teams will have a break over Easter and will resume on April 7.

Fixtures: Oakdale host Picton at Sid Sharpe Memorial Oval, Narellan against Mittagong at Narellan Sportsground, Campbelltown City Kangaroos host Moss Vale at Fullwood Reserve, Camden at against The Oaks at Kirkham Park and Thirlmere/Tahmoor host Campbelltown Eagles at Thirlmere Sportsground.

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Tiger Talk: Injuries depleting the front row

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 22: Matthew Ryan of the Eels and Marika Koroibete of the Tigers engage in a altercation during the round three NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Parramatta Eels at Leichhardt Oval on March 22, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images) SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 22: Jacob Miller of the Tigers kicks during the round three NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Parramatta Eels at Leichhardt Oval on March 22, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
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WESTS Tigers fans are used to pain inflicted from injuries to their stars.

But instead of the halves combination being disrupted as in past years, this season it seems it’s wingers and front rowers who are lining up at Andrew Leeds’ door to rehabilitate their injuries.

Keith Galloway is out for three months and Matt Groat is still a few weeks away from full fitness which is hurting the front row stocks.

Youngster Jack Buchanan has been surprisingly outstanding and Aaron Woods has been, well, Aaron Woods — reliable, hard working and effective.

But with the lack of front row stocks, they will form the youngest front row combination in the competition, with equally young replacement players on the bench.

Now the excitement machine Marika Koroibete who I focused on in my column last week could be out for a few weeks with a foot injury after hobbling off against the Eels, weakening the wing supply.

Matt Utai has been injured but could be back this week or Menangle’s James Tedesco could get the shot many fans have been waiting for — albeit on the wing and not in his custom fullback spot.

Fortunately, the halves have been unscathed so far and Jacob Miller has shown why so many people have been waiting for him to mature from a young talent into a first grader.

Mature he looks.

He has a great kicking game, football brain and when he takes the line on he looks a bit like a young Allan Langer, stepping and ducking and sprinting past defenders.

And Benji Marshall is showing glimpses of why he is regarded up there with the best in the game.

The Tigers sit in eighth spot with two wins from three starts — a great effort considering the adversity of adapting to a new coach, a death in the club and the injuries that have occurred.

The next few weeks will be a massive test, starting with Manly on Thursday.

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Campbelltown Tigers crowd a let-down

Talking points: Our front page last week.THE two main reasons given to the Advertiser from Campbelltonians on why only 9715 people were at the Wests Tigers v Penrith Panthers match on a sunny Sunday afternoon were: ticket prices were too expensive and they had a lack of connection with the club.
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The Wests Tigers say they will take all comments on board and work on ways to get the masses to better support the local club.

“Wests Tigers fans didn’t respond to that game like we’d hoped and it’s good for us to understand the obstacles people faced in getting to the game,” chief executive Stephen Humphreys told the Advertiser yesterday.

“We take the feedback very seriously and thank the people who took their time to do it.

“For us it’s about recognising it was a poor crowd and learn some lessons about why.”

Humphreys wanted to emphasise any poor crowd was a whole club problem, not a blight on south-west Sydney supporters or inner-west supporters.

“There were a lot of Macarthur fans at Leichhardt on Friday night — I spoke to a lot of them,” Humphreys said.

“It’s a Wests Tigers issue, it’s not about a region of fans or who you previously supported [before the merger].

“It’s not about pointing the finger at one district or another.”

As for ticket prices, he said families might not have known about the family fun day packages available, with family tickets costing only $50 for the game.

“We take that on board and will look at addressing getting our information out to more people,” he said. “We did have radio, print and digital media advertising for that game.”

The Advertiser Facebook page and website got more than 100 comments from locals giving their views.

Humphreys said the re-signing of Robbie Farah sets up the club for a strong future on and off the field.

“He carries the responsibilities associated with captaining the club really well and his re-signing was a tonic for the club,” he said.

“He was superb for us on Friday and his contract is thoroughly deserved.”

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Police beat: Shooting leads to arrest

A MAN wanted over a shooting in Airds last November has been charged with firearms offences and refused bail.
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The arrested man, 36, allegedly fired several shots during an incident in Rawdon Place which saw two other men receive medical treatment for shotgun pellet wounds.

He was arrested on Sunday and charged with discharging a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and using a firearm in a manner likely to injure persons or property.

Car on footpath

A motorist is facing several charges following a car chase through Campbelltown streets on Friday.

The chase ended at the intersection of Bradbury Avenue and the Moore Oxley Bypass when the motorist and his passenger got stuck in traffic and fled the Volkswagen Golf on foot.

The alleged driver was arrested a short time later in a nearby house. He was charged with Skye’s law (police pursuit), possessing a prohibited drug, trespass, and revocation of parole.

His passenger is still at large.

Seen on CCTV

Macquarie Fields police want to speak to a woman allegedly seen on CCTV footage using a stolen card at an ATM in Glenquarie Shopping Centre about 12.15pm on Friday, February 1. The woman, who was wearing a floral top, got cash out of the centre’s ATM at 12.15pm on February 1.

CCTV images are on the Macquarie Fields local area command Facebook page.

If you have information contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Macquarie Fields police on 9605 0499.

Drugs found

A man, 49, and a woman, 43, have been charged with drug possession after police searched their house in Martha Way, Ambarvale, last Tuesday.

Both will appear in Campbelltown Local Court on April 17.

Shoplifters targeted

Eight people were dealt with by Campbelltown police on Thursday as part of a shoplifting operation at Campbelltown Mall.

One person was issued with a court attendance notice, three issued with criminal infringement notices and four were given youth cautions under the Young Offenders Act.

Vehicle searched

An Airds man, 33, will face a goods in custody charge following a police search of his vehicle last week.

The man was arrested while at a service station on Appin Road, Campbelltown.

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Long waiting times ‘fuel hospital violence’

A VIOLENT outburst at Werribee Mercy Hospital, in which a man punched and threatened to kill nurses and a security guard, has added to calls for the government to protect frontline workers.
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Mercy Health says there are up to six violent episodes at the Werribee emergency ward every week, most involving patients with drug or mental health problems and anger over lengthy waiting times.

In November, paramedics took a Werribee man, 19, to the hospital after police followed a trail of blood to parkland near his house where they found him self-harming.

Werribee Magistrates Court last Wednesday heard that the man became angry and aggr-essive when nurses would not give him anti-depressants, and began making threats to kill a hospital security guard.

He left the hospital but soon returned, yelling more threats at nurses, and assaulted a security guard who tackled him to the ground.

Magistrate John Bentley ordered the man be assessed for a community corrections order mandating mental health treatment.

A nurse told the Weekly aggressive behaviour, ranging from low-level abuse to serious assaults, was commonplace at Werribee Mercy. The nurse, who did not want to be named, said waiting times regularly fuelled violence.

“People have yelled and screamed at me when I’ve been working in triage, displaying really aggressive behaviour,” she said.

Incidents of ongoing violence and abuse at Victorian hospitals have prompted renewed calls for the state government to honour a pre-election promise to create a specific offence for assaulting emergency ward staff.

Australian Nursing Federation state secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said it was disappointing the government hadn’t released details of the new legislation and demanded the government detail how it will spend a promised $5.8 million to implement 18 recommendations of a state inquiry, including training for medical staff and security guards on violence prevention and a public awareness campaign.

Health Minister David Davis said an advisory committee of medical experts, hospital management, security staff and police would be set up to guide the rollout of the recommendations.

Mercy Health chief operating officer John Fogarty said the hospital supported measures to put trained guards in wards, but did not want them to be armed with guns.

Russell’s ‘Swan song’ as court Registrar

THIRTY years after being posted to Gunnedah for a ‘two-year stay’ Russell Swanson is calling ‘time’ on a career in the town he now calls home.
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During his three decades as Local Court Registrar, Russell has seen changes sweep through the court system, from simple things such as the replacement of the manual “clunker” typewriters and carbon paper, lugging around the voluminous births, deaths and marriage registers and being made acutely aware (on a regular basis) of not making too many STD (straight through dial) calls and photocopies, to the rise of the computer.

“I suppose it is like any government department or industry, much has changed over the past 30 years especially with the introduction of technology – computers, the internet and everything that involves,” said Russell.

Russell began his career with the Department in Singleton in October, 1980. He returned to his hometown of Wollongong for two years before applying for Gunnedah and Manilla, a posting he planned for two to three years before heading back to the coast.

He came to Gunnedah as a Grade 3 clerk under the watchful eye of Clerk of Petty Sessions, Michael Hinchey.

Gunnedah was quickly to become home for Russell, wife Jeanette and daughters, Anna and Elizabeth.

“We gradually fell in love with the place and after a couple of years Jeanette also worked on a temporary basis for the Department. Michael Hinchey was a great mentor, he had forgotten more about the law than most thought they knew and he was a wonderful character.”

When Mick, as he was known, retired in 1996, Russell took over the top job.

“Over the years there has been many changes with of course the rise of the computer, being the most profound.

“We now have JusticeLink which encompasses the entire State and that has made the job so much easier.

“There is also a welcome reduction in agency work – such as registering and supplying births, deaths and marriage forms and many other tasks that have been simplified by technology. This has not always been welcome and is a mixed blessing as I would have actually preferred to have kept some of them.

“The Clerk of Petty Sessions (CPS) was once looked upon as the font of all knowledge but now there are so many other departments and avenues for people to obtain assistance and advice.”

Russell said he loved his job because he was always intrigued by the law and the way the system worked, particularly the criminal and civil jurisdictions.

Over the years he has seen other changes, such as the growth of apprehended violence orders (AVO) – a way of confronting domestic and personal violence issues.

“There has been a remarkable increase in the number of AVOs coming through the system which is disappointing in one way but it does provide an avenue for people to obtain protection when there has been violence or a real fear of violence,” Russell added.

Russell also laments the removal of District Court sittings from the smaller towns such as Gunnedah.

“There was a real buzz and excitement when the District Court sat every month. The barristers would come to town and there was a certain amount of pomp and ceremony.

“It was a different atmosphere and of course it was good for the town’s economy with so many people staying at motels and spending their money.”

Travel, golf and volunteer work now loom large on Russell and Jeanette’s plans in retirement.

“Anna lives in London so we hope to visit and I would like to play more golf as well as do some volunteer work. I hope I have helped the community during my time.”

FINAL day. Registrar of Gunnedah Local Court Russell Swanson retired last Thursday after 30 years in the job.

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Domestic violence: Fractured lives, guilty secrets

It became second nature — each morning as Pamela McConchie travelled to work, she would get ready to put on her ‘mask’.
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For more than a decade, slipping on that cool, calm exterior was just part of her daily routine. As the owner of a recruitment company and professional businesswoman, she knew this mask — the competent and savvy one — had to stay on all day.

But when she returned home each night, the mask would come off revealing the woman underneath — someone scared, bracing herself for what could happen when she walked through that door.

Moving on: Domestic violence survivor Pamela McConchie kept her violent relationship hidden from everyone, including her friends and family. Picture: Rob Carew

She knew that at any time, her partner may hit her. And during the bad times, he did.

“There’s an incredible amount of shame knowing that you’re a professional person and you’re caught up in this sort of relationship,” Ms McConchie says.

“So I kept it hidden. For the whole time I kept it hidden. I knew it was wrong but didn’t know how to change it.”

Up until five years ago, when she finally mustered the courage to leave the relationship, the Ringwood East mother was one of the many family violence victims in the eastern and south-eastern suburbs.

The most recent figures from Victoria Police show the number of reported incidents has risen dramatically in the past few years — up 43.6 per cent.

In Monash, the number of reported cases has increased from 592 in 2009-10 to 924 in 2011-12. In Knox, the increase is similar, from 904 in 2009-10 to 1379 for the same period.

For those working in the field — such as women’s support groups and police — the numbers show that new approaches to investigating the crime, and raising awareness of the issue are working. Victims are more willing to report cases to police or use the support services available to get out.

Ms McConchie was with her partner for 13 years. The relationship became violent “very early on”.

After each time he hit her, a screaming voice inside her would insist she leave. But Ms McConchie, like most other women caught up in similar situations, found it incredibly difficult to leave the man she fell in love with.

Eventually in 2009 after several attempts, she left the relationship for good, but not before there was much emotional damage to both her and her daughter, now 14.

Ms McConchie credits the help of her immediate family and then support groups, which she had avoided for years, as the reason why she could finally leave.

She now works as a media advocate for Women’s Health East and regularly speaks about her experience to encourage other women to speak up about their problems.

She believes the number of incidents is rising primarily because victims are more willing to report an abusive partner. “It’s become more open, that’s my opinion. There are advocates out there talking about it whereas before there was no one.”

Dandenong Police family violence liaison officer Sergeant Gary Gladwell says the spike in figures is down to a combination of factors.

“We’re enforcing the reporting of family violence incidents more, and people are more prepared to report matters to the police as a result of better education programs out there.”

The Dandenong police run a dedicated recidivist family violence unit, which launched as a pilot program in April last year. The unit can receive more than 100 call-outs a month — and many of those might be to the same address.

Sergeant Gladwell says the Dandenong unit, and similar ones in Casey and Knox, have proved invaluable, but it was now down to the public to ensure intimate partner violence is eradicated.

“We’re pretty much at the limit of what we can do. We need the co-operation of female victims; it’s very hard to prosecute without their help.”

He says it is not uncommon for a woman to be beaten by her partner, call the police and then back down at the final hurdle.

There is a growing base of research on why men hit the person closest to them in the first place. While unemployment, work stress, upbringing and substance abuse are all cited as contributing factors, research overwhelmingly shows that gender inequality and power imbalances are the prime reason.

A 2009 report from the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and Children found that domestic violence stemmed from “an ongoing pattern of behaviour aimed at controlling one’s partner through fear”.

Ms McConchie’s own attempts to reach into the male psyche lead her to suspect sexism is a big part of it.

“I don’t know, from the male’s point of view. I don’t know why they hit the female in their life but they won’t go out and hit the workmate or their mates or anyone,” she says.

“They have the anger, but they don’t actually lash out at others. They only lash out at us. And I don’t know why that is.”

The children who witness violent acts within their home can also be severely affected.

Ms McConchie says her daughter changed from a grade-A, affable student to a quiet and reserved person who took 80 days off school last year and spent much of her time alone.

She has no doubt this was because of the violence she witnessed and the fear that her mother may leave.

“It breaks my heart to know that I have inadvertently done this to her and I am doing everything to put into place a solution for her.”

She says her daughter still loves her father dearly but the violence and uncertainty of the past has changed her. “She is still the same beautiful child she was but there is a sadness for, and total disconnect from, everything around her. She is lonely and keeps herself hidden.”

Pakenham mother Lisa Fothergill, a foster carer who looks after children who’ve witnessed severe domestic violence, says it is easy to tell the children who come from this sort of background. “Some of the boys have been disrespectful to me as a woman and called me names that most likely they’ve heard their mother been called,” she says.

“I’ve found that the girls are also quite jumpy. For example, if you touch their hair they coil back and get worried very quickly.”

The after-effects of domestic violence range from child to child.

“Some are completely traumatised from the past and have nightmares, while others become completely desensitised to it. I see these kids watching TV and when something [violent] happens and you expect them to say ‘woah’, they just sit there.”

If you are experiencing family violence, contact:

■ Eastern Domestic Violence Service: 9259 4200

■ Men’s Referral Service: 1800 065 973 or 9428 2899

■ Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service: 1800 015 188 or 9322 3555

■ In an emergency, call Triple-O.

FAMILY VIOLENCE

THE FIGURES

Number of reported incidents by local government area

2009-10

Cardinia: 608

Casey: 2264

Dandenong: 1459

Knox: 904

Maroondah: 539

Monash: 592

Yarra Ranges: 675

2011-12

Cardinia: 984

Casey: 3172

Dandenong: 1845

Knox: 1379

Maroondah: 722

Monash: 924

Yarra Ranges: 1068

Source: Victoria Police

Dentist’s tax evasion leads to $1.2m debt

A BORONIA dentist has accumulated more than $1.2 million in debt in what the Australian Tax Office has described as one of the worst cases of tax evasion ever uncovered.
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Dr Thomas Balfoort failed to fill in a tax return for 15 years from 1998 and was ordered to pay more than $600,000 in back taxes and the same amount in penalties to the ATO.

But after he was ordered to file his late returns, the 69-year-old dentist repeatedly failed to meet deadlines set for them and was fined several times.

ATO barrister Alf Micaleff said Balfoort’s tax evasion was “one of the worst I have seen”.

“He has not paid direct tax for 15 years. That’s $40,000 a year that he hasn’t paid one cent of,” Mr Micaleff told Ringwood Magistrates Court.

Appearing last week, Balfoort was fined a further $12,000 and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service for failing to comply with another court order last year.

Balfoort eventually filed the missing tax returns late last year, which cost him $25,000 in accounting fees.

His lawyer, Glenys Jardine, said everything went “horribly wrong” for Balfoort in 1998 when a property development deal went sour.

“The cost of that was bankruptcy and he lost his marriage,” she said. “It was extremely traumatic.”

She said Balfoort currently had no assets and rented his practice and his Boronia home. Balfoort was discharged from bankruptcy in 2005.

Magistrate Max Cashmore questioned whether Balfoort had distributed assets elsewhere.

“You have got to have earned a lot of money to have that [tax] liability. It’s got to have gone somewhere,” Mr Cashmore said.

Mr Micaleff said people earning an income in Australia were duty-bound to lodge the correct paperwork. The Australian people were the real victims of Balfoort’s tax evasion.

Mr Micaleff said that despite the unlikelihood of the total debt ever being paid, jailing Balfoort would not recoup any of the money. “He is very lucky that I am not requesting he is marched out that door [to the holding room].”

In sentencing, Mr Cashmore said he took into account Balfoort’s guilty pleas. . “It’s a very sorry situation.”

Balfoort must complete his community service within 12 months.

New name, same store

GLOUCESTER Retravision will cease to be from next week.
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When the store opens for business following the Easter long weekend next Tuesday it will be as Gloucester Leading Appliances.

The move comes after huge upheavals in Retravision in the past 12 months which saw the company wind up.

It left many of the hundreds of Retravision stores on the east coast without any place to go and dozens closed as a result including local stores at Armidale, Forster and Laurieton.

For Wendy White and her son Stewart Carruthers, closure of the Gloucester store was never an option. Wendy bought the store in May 1987.

“At the end of the day did we shut our doors and go fishing, or did we say ‘hell, this has taken up a lot of time in our lives, we’re not going to give up now’?” Wendy said.

So she and Stewart spent six months establishing direct accounts with all their suppliers in a bid to remain operational.

“But we still needed a buying group. Suppliers do their deals with a buying group – not you (individual stores).”

Enter Leading Appliances.

“They let us vote for our name, colours and logo and they let us be more independent. It will allow us to sell the items we want to sell and we think the people of Gloucester want,” Mrs White said.

She said, while the name was changing, little else would.

Dedication to customer service and providing the best item for the best possible price would remain the core objective of the business.

“I think people would miss it if we were not here,” Ms White said.

“We would like to think people will continue supporting us and we will do our level best to look after them.

“All we ask is that they give us a chance. Don’t assume we can’t compete on price. Give us a chance to match, beat or reluctantly admit defeat.”

Leading Appliances operates more than 70 stores in rural and regional areas.

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