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McAlpine tops CYMS’ poll

BUMPER YEAR: Fullback Ben McAlpine was named CYMS’ best and fairest after a typically strong season directing the green and golds from the back. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0522sgleague27Orange CYMS fullback Ben McAlpine rounded out another bumper Group 10 premier league season by being honoured as his club’s premier leaguebest and fairest –again –at last weekend’s gala presentation dinner.
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McAlpine last won the top grade’s top prize in 2013, a year in which he also claimed the club’s most valuable player gong.

The former Group 10 and Group 9 player of the year was monumental at the back for the green and golds and ended as CYMS’leading try-scorer in premier league with14 too.

Naturally, being the side’s goal-kicker, he was the leading point-scorer as well with 196.

In fact, by Group 10’s statistics he kicked all but two of CYMS’ goals this year. Those two were slotted by centre Brock McGarity.

“Ben did have another good year, he was very deserving of that award,” CYMS president Dave Penny said.

“It was a very successful evening, and everyone who won awards was very deserving.

“It was a great way to finish off the season. I don’t like saying it’s a good or bad year, to me there’s either good or fantastic years.

MR RELIABLE: Barnstorming prop Simon Osborne won the award for CYMS’ most consistent player, alongside Jayden Fahey. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0522sgleague22

“A fantastic year would’ve been winning the competition, so with a few minor premierships and the club championship this was definitely another good one.

“We just weren’t good enough on [grand final day] socongratulations to Mudgee and Bathurst Panthers.”

McAlpine also claimed the premier league players’ player awardin a three-way tie with Mitch Davis –who has just signed with CYMS for another two season –and crowd favourite Larsen Marabe.

Ryan Griffin picked up the most improved award, while James Muller was given Mick Sullivan’s coach’s award.

In reserve grade Adam Stanford was named best and fairest while Sam Sweeting and Matt Morris shared players’ player, Ben Penny picked up most improved and Andrew Hopkins won the coach’s award.

Mitch Leonard was CYMS’ best and fairest in under-18s and Jack Bastick won players’ player, Lindsay Thurgate was named most improved and Jayden Fahey was given the coach’s award.

In league tag Bec Ford was best and fairest, Cheynoah Merchant won players’ player, Emily Piper was most improved and Tracee Livingstone won the coach’s award.

CharliKing was presented the clubperson of the year gong.

“She does so much work in the canteen and off the field, without being asked,” Penny said.

Cam Jones picked up the much-coveted COBRA (CYMS Old Boys Recognition Award) while Stanford won The Desi, named after club legend Des Knight and presented to someone who shows passion, loyalty and commitment.

Toby Westcott was named CYMS’ most valuable player, alongside Craig Piper, and also won the junior clubperson of the year. Todd Murphy, expectedly, claimed rookie of the year honours while Simon Osborne and Jayden Fahey shared the most consistent award.

Ken Law won the Des Morrisey president’s award and the league tag team was presented the coach’s award.

MAN CHILD: Todd Murphy was superb in his first season out of under-18s, he won CYMS’ rookie of the year as a result. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0522sgleague28

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Gotthard Base Tunnel: World’s longest passenger tunnel opens in December

It is the world’s longest, deepest traffic tunnel and when it opens officially in December, passenger trains will speed through its 57.1 kilometre length at up to 250km/h, 2.3 kilometres under the Swiss Alps.
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Anyone with an unhealthy interest in tunnels will already know that the new Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) in Switzerland actually “opened” on June 1 this year, when the construction company handed over the completed tunnel to the Swiss railway system, ahead of schedule and in a lavish inauguration ceremony that included topless angels, milk floats and 600 actors, two of whom simulated sex while dressed as ibex.

It seems a shame to have missed out on that, but the next best thing was to take advantage of the interim train trips which stop halfway and allow you to get out and walk around the exhibition that’s been mounted in an adjacent service tunnel.

It’s a privilege that only 42,000 people will have claimed when the tunnel finally slots into the regular Swiss train timetable on December 11 and trains will no longer stop unless in an emergency. Some 160,000 Swiss citizens entered a lottery to be one of the 1000 people on the first train to go through the tunnel. Whether regular commuters will still get a sudden blast of the William Tell overture when entering the GBT is anybody’s guess.

The tunnel – actually separate twin tunnels going north and south – was started in 1999 after a referendum in which 64 per cent of the population voted in favour of what was to become Switzerland’s largest ever construction project. It links Erstfeld in the north with Bodio in the south and will cut passenger train times from Zurich to the southern Ticino canton to about 90 minutes.

During the 17-year construction, 28 million tonnes of rock were excavated, four million cubic metres of concrete were poured in, nine of the 1800-strong workforce died in accidents and the final cost topped out at $15 billion.

About 75 per cent of the work was done by a 10-metre diameter tunnel-boring machine, with the other 25 per cent achieved through drilling and blasting. The final breakthrough of the boring machine was shown live on Swiss television.

Before the opening of the first train tunnel through the Alps in 1882 – at the time an astonishing 15 kilometres long – traders from the Romans onwards had to trudge across the Alps via the Gotthard Pass. It was a tough, cold, painstaking business and the route was impassable during winter.

The new tunnel, said Swiss president Simeon Bavier in 1882, was: “A triumph of art and science, a monument to work and diligence. The barrier which divided nations has fallen, the Swiss Alps have been breached. Countries have moved closer to each other, the world market is open.”

Given that the latest tunnel will increase both passenger and heavy freight traffic between northern and southern Europe you’ve got to say that, 134 years later, Bavier is still right on the money.

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The writer travelled as a guest of Switzerland Tourism. 梧桐夜网myswitzerland南京夜网

See also: On board Europe’s newest high-speed train

See also: 10 things you need to know about train travel in Europe

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Chelsea Macfarlane rides double at Queanbeyan

Chelsea Macfarlane took out the Ritchie Bensley Handicap (1000m) on board Meet Miss Dolly at Queanbeyan on Monday. Photo: Rohan ThomsonChelsea Macfarlane topped the honours at the Queanbeyan Race Club on Monday with wins aboard Meet Miss Dolly and Siandra.
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Macfarlane, 20, has only been racing for a little more than a year but said her development was “moving along quite quickly”.

“I’ll see where I end up. Whether I start looking to head into town and progress that way we’ll see,” she said.

Macfarlane’s win in the last, a benchmark 55 over 900 metres, atop Darren Bailey’s Siandra ($4 favourite) was no surprise, but steering home the rank outsider Meet Miss Dolly ($25.80) in the class 1 Ritchie Bensley Handicap (1000m) was.

“Siandra is one of the better horses we’ve got in at the moment, we’re thinking about sending her in to the city races [Sydney],” said Macfarlane.

Macfarlane said Joe Cleary’s stable altered Meet Miss Dolly’s preparation to try and help her perform.

“She’s been working really well and we’ve been trying a few different things with her and she flew today. We didn’t gallop her as hard as we normally would, so that must have helped.”

The win by a short half-head over Brockton Punch, with Belleedie a further three-quarter lengths back in third, even shocked trainer Cleary.

“A bit of a surprise, to be honest,” he said.

“She’s had picnic form coming into today but she’s had a nice base into today’s race meeting. It’s a tad unexpected but we’ll take it.

“She was nearly out the gate before her last start and we’ve persevered for another run, so she gets a reprieve.”

Cleary said Macfarlane had earned the right to demand more rides.

“I’m very happy for young Chelsea. She rides in all the trackwork, she’s a great kid and she’s been working really hard,” Cleary said.

Meet Miss Dolly was Cleary’s only winner at his home track.

Terry Guymer’s short-priced favourite Only In Red ($1.50) won its maiden over 1460m.

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AFL grand final 2016: Time running out for Aliir Aliir to prove fitness for Sydney Swans

Wednesday is shaping as D-day for Sydney defender Aliir Aliir but even if the youngster misses out on the grand final it may not be enough to give veteran Ted Richards a fairytale finish to his career.
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The Swans’ injured trio of Aliir, Jarrad McVeigh and Callum Mills did not join the main group at training on Monday as planned, which means they have only the club’s main session on Wednesday to prove their fitness.

McVeigh and Mills did what was asked of them on Sunday and took part in handball drills on Monday, as did Aliir, though he did not break into a trot with his knee injury. McVeigh, with 286 games under his belt, is likely to have the most say on his fate but Mills and Aliir will need favourable medical assessments to play.

“He’s [McVeigh] an experienced player, when you’re talking about the younger players compared to the experienced players, the experienced players have got a bit more to draw upon as far as experiences in the bank as to what they can play with and what they can’t,” coach John Longmire said.

“But you know once the ball bounces the adrenaline takes over and you get through. It’s one of those things you need to be able to assess and work out yourself with the help and guidance of coaches who have had experience in it and your medical staff.”

Aliir’s knee injury will affect his ability to change direction and evade tacklers, which has been a feature in the young backman’s game.

“It’s not as bad as it could have been, after the game we were a bit concerned,” Longmire said. “From that perspective it’s good but he’s got a bit to do this week. We’ll see how the week pans out.”

Richards lost his place in the team to Aliir but he will not have drawn much comfort from Longmire’s response when asked if he was a genuine chance for a recall.

“He’s been training, he’s fit, it just depends on what we need,” Longmire said.

Richards was later carried off the track by reserves pair Callum Sinclair and Toby Nankervis, to the cheers of the hundreds of Swans fans at training, but later warned against reading too much into the gesture.

“A few guys going for the record for most chairing someone off. Got chaired off after yoga yesterday,” Richards wrote on Twitter.

Of the fit Swans, Harry Marsh has the most reason to be nervous if McVeigh and Mills get over the line.   This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net. Continue reading

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NRL: Canberra Raiders close in on re-signing Jordan Rapana and Edrick Lee

The Canberra Raiders are moving to lock in one of the NRL’s hottest wingers as coach Ricky Stuart looks to keep his current team together until at least 2018.
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Both Jordan Rapana and Edrick Lee are off contract at the end of 2017, but Raiders recruitment manager Peter Mulholland was looking to extend the pair for at least another season.

With back-up hooker Kurt Baptiste on the cusp of re-signing with the club for another two years as well, it would mean almost the entire 17 that ran out against the Melbourne Storm in the preliminary final on Saturday will be with the Green Machine for at least another two seasons.

Mulholland said it was promising signs for the Raiders, who were “12 months ahead” of where they thought they would be at the start of this year.

Their charge to this year’s prelim has been rewarded with five players – Josh Papalii, Shannon Boyd, Joey Leilua, Jarrod Croker and Junior Paulo – added to Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos train-on squad on Monday

Rapana has been brilliant this season and he looks set to make his international debut for New Zealand after he set a new try-scoring record for the Green Machine this year.

His mark of 23 is the highest number of tries in a season in Raiders history, beating the previous best of 22 shared between Noa Nadruku, Brett Mullins and Jason Croker.

“We certainly won’t be moving [Rapana and Lee] on, we’ve already started talks with their managers,” Mulholland said.

“We’ve got a very stable squad until the end of ’18. I’d say that’s what Rick wants to work on.

“He’s done a marvellous job to assemble the squad and we’re probably 12 months ahead of where we thought we might be.

“Full credit to the players, but I think full credit to Ricky for what he’s done with them.”

They’re still waiting to find out if half Sam Williams will accept the deal they’ve offered him.

Williams slotted in seamlessly when either of the Raiders’ first-choice halves pairing of Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer were out injured.

He was named the NSW Cup player of the year as he helped guide the Raiders-affiliated Mounties to the grand final.

“If he decides to leave that’s great, it’ll be for greener pastures for him, but his contract offer is on the table for as long as he wants,” Mulholland said.

“I don’t want to make a rushed decision on it, and [chief executive Don Furner] and Ricky totally agree that it’s there for as long as Sam wants it and that’s out of respect to him, so we’ll see what happens.”

Mulholland expected the versatile Jordan Turner to arrive from England in November – if he doesn’t make the English Four Nations squad.

The 27-year-old can play in the centres, second row or at five-eighth and boosts the Raiders’ depth even further.

“He’s a squad player that will give us enormous depth and a lot of experience with over 200 Super League games,” Mulholland said.

“He’s an able replacement for someone like Brenko Lee, he’s an able replacement for Sam Williams [if he goes], he’s a support player for our edge back row.

“He’s like the other two Englishmen – he’s got a point to prove.”

Canberra have bolstered their front row stocks in signing Canterbury front-rower and Cook Islands international Makahesi Makatoa on a full-time contract, while under-20s prop Daniel Dole will remain with the club.

Back-up fullback Zac Santo has also accepted a one-year deal for next season.

Mounties second-rower Scott Sorensen will also join the full-time squad, while the club has opted to hold on to Mounties centre Brent Naden.

Other under-20s graduates Zeik Foster (halfback), Thomas Cronan (fullback), and Connor Cheeseman (lock) will “do some work with [the NRL squad] full-time and they’ll go back up to Mounties”.

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Cameron Munster and Valentine Holmes at odds over State of Origin blame game

Rival: Valentine Holmes passes the ball to a teammate during a Cronulla Sharks training session at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Monday. Photo: Brendon ThorneA pre-season night out in Brisbane that cost eight Queenslanders a chance to play Origin in 2016 has divided two of the NRL’s young superstars, who will square off in Sunday’s decider.
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Melbourne Storm fullback Cameron Munster hasn’t forgotten how he was hung out to dry and made the “scapegoat” for the indiscretions of several Queenslanders during this year’s Emerging Maroons camp.

While he didn’t want to make it public, Fairfax Media understands there was plenty of finger-pointing at Cronulla winger Valentine Holmes, who allegedly dobbed Munster into Queensland officials for missing curfew.

When asked about their relationship, the Storm No.1 hesitated when describing him as a friend, but made no secret of the fact “we’ll be going out there to take each other’s heads off” when they square off in Sunday’s NRL grand final.

Holmes was fined for causing a public nuisance and obstructing police at a taxi rank in Brisbane in January, with Munster, who says he wasn’t with Holmes at the time, later sanctioned for missing curfew.

Fairfax Media has been told that the Melbourne fullback was disappointed to be named and privately blamed the Sharks winger, with another six players consequently banned from playing Origin in 2016 by the QRL for missing curfew.

While Munster didn’t point the finger at Holmes when he expressed his frustrations over being made the “scapegoat”, he admitted he was disappointed with the way it played out.

“I was more disappointed in the fact that I was the only one getting thrown in the media,” Munster told Fairfax Media.

“I was a bit of a scapegoat, but I can’t whinge about it too much … I went out for late curfew. Val [Holmes] wasn’t with me at the time. Unfortunately he got caught and then unfortunately we all got caught. It was a silly decision that I made, but it’s made me a lot smarter and a lot more driven for success.”

Disrespectful – that was the word used by Cameron Smith when he summoned Munster into the club’s boardroom to discuss his pre-season behaviour.

“He just said, ‘Munster, can I have a chat?’ and I knew straight away what it was about,” Munster said.

Smith wasn’t impressed that his club teammate had tarnished the reputation of the Maroons when he decided to break curfew.

“Cam is the Australian captain and the Queensland captain,” Munster said.

“He sat me down in the boardroom and chatted to me about how disappointed he was that I disrespected Queensland. I knew at the time when he was talking to me – he didn’t yell at me – but just his voice and what he was saying really got through to me and I knew that I stuffed up.

“He had a bit of a chat to some of the Queensland boys and mentioned how hard the Queensland boys had worked to get that respect in the group and built the legacy for the Maroons. The way that us young boys disrespected it was unacceptable. I really thought about it and I knew I stuffed up.”

Munster was one of eight Maroons – a group that included Holmes, Brisbane trio Ben Hunt, Anthony Milford and Jarrod Wallace, Roosters prop Dylan Napa, Penrith’s Chris Grevsmuhl and Canberra’s Edrick Lee – banned from playing Origin this year.

While Munster’s indiscretion triggered the need for Smith to sit down with his teammate, the Melbourne hooker went into the meeting with his Storm and Queensland hat on, reiterating his expectations for those who play under him.

“It’s never easy conversations to have with teammates, but that’s just what we’re about at this club and obviously at Queensland also,” Smith said.

“It’s about honesty and protecting what players have built over a long period of time. It was a little bit to do with Queensland – that chat I had with him. But it was also about the person I do see in him and the way I like to see players in my team behave. I thought it was the wrong thing what he did that time and I let him know about it.

“The good thing about him is he put his hand up and knew he had done the wrong thing. He took it really well. He was disappointed with himself with what happened. He’s only a young guy and from time to time you make mistakes. It was just the wrong decision at the time. He took the feedback really well and has had a wonderful year so far.”   This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net. Continue reading

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Cronulla Sharks set to offer long-term deals to Jack Bird and Valentine Holmes

Confident: Jack Bird made his Origin debut in 2016. Photo: Matt Roberts Hungry Shark: Valentine Holmes wants to break club legend David Peachey’s try-scoring record. Photo: Getty Images
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Cronulla chief executive Lyall Gorman has issued a hands-off warning to suitors of their hottest prospects in Jack Bird and Valentine Holmes, claiming the star duo will not be driven solely by money when signing their next deals.

The Sharks will waste no time in trying to lock down two of the NRL’s brightest young stars, with Holmes and Bird, both 21, expected to be asked to the negotiating table within days of the club’s historic grand final appearance on Sunday.

They are off contract at the end of next year and despite the uncertainty about the salary cap when the new broadcast rights deal begins in 2018, Gorman and coach Shane Flanagan have stressed discussions will take place with their lethal right-edge pair within days of the clash against the Storm.

Flanagan has told the club to halt all negotiations during the past fortnight – notwithstanding the club inking skipper Paul Gallen to a one-year deal for 2017 which was considered a fait accompli – to allow his squad to concentrate on winning the Sharks’ maiden premiership.

But Gorman stressed the re-signings of Bird and Holmes on long-term deals were a priority, hence the club’s desire to start the ball rolling in the shadows of the grand final.

“Their commitment is very clear – they both want to stay here,” Gorman said. “They’re great boys, they’ve got a great future and we’ll be doing everything we can to work with them to secure their long-term future at the club.

“Money won’t be their only driver. They’re in a happy club where they’re growing and there’s a holistic approach. We’ve got a mantra here that we develop footballers and grow people.

“How do we help grow their career for the next 10 or 15 years? We need to secure their whole life plan, not just their next five or 10 years in footy.”

Holmes, who can break David Peachey’s long-standing club record of 19 tries in a single season if he can touch down against the Storm, has been courted by several NRL rivals as well as sounded out about a code switch to rugby union.

But he has just invested in an apartment in Sharks’ development adjacent to Southern Cross Group Stadium and is being groomed as the club’s long-term No.1.

Bird debuted at State of Origin level for NSW this year and mulled a switch back to his junior club St George Illawarra before signing an extension at the end of last year.

He is expected to revert to five-eighth in the long term, the position where he won the Dally M Rookie of the Year from during a sensational 2015 season.

“We’ve got a no clouds principle in our club – we need clear heads,” Gorman said. “We’ve got a plan in place and we’re not going to disrupt them with negotiations or anything this week.

“Post grand final and post the week after hopefully there’s a few hangovers for a few days and we’ll be fully supportive of those. We’ll sit down and have a chat to them then. We know they’re both incredibly content at the club.

“You see where Val is in terms of try-scoring, you see where Jack is in terms of State of Origin … we both know they want to be long-term part of our plans.”

Off-contract forward Sam Tagataese is another whose future has been delayed with Flanagan’s single-minded premiership focus.

The prop has been an integral part of the Sharks’ premiership assault and is vying for selection in Flanagan’s grand final side after missing close to two months with a shoulder injury.   This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net. Continue reading

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NRL chief Todd Greenberg supports Kieran Foran return but ‘only under right conditions’

NRL chief Todd Greenberg wants Kieran Foran to be back playing league again – but the chances of him being registered in time to take up a contract with New Zealand Warriors are remote.
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The Manly premiership winner and former Parramatta captain hopes to re-start his career with the Warriors next season after signing a one-year contract.

However, a clause in the deal with the Auckland-based club, which is believed to require Foran to be cleared by the NRL’s integrity unit by December, is almost certain to scupper those plans.

Warriors chief Jim Doyle is lobbying the NRL to green-light the 26-year-old’s return before that deadline but Fairfax Media has learnt that is next to no chance of happening.

Greenberg said on Monday he was keen to have Foran back in the game but “only under the right conditions”.

“I’m like everyone else. I want to see Kieran Foran back playing rugby league,” Greenberg said. “But we have to ensure that we understand fully the issues that he’s dealing with and our integrity unit will do that over the coming months.

“We need to be very careful on how we do that and it needs to be done appropriately so I’m not going to provide a running commentary throughout it. I’m a supporter of him playing football again but only under the right conditions.”

The NRL would need to be satisfied about the merits of Foran’s registration on a range of issues from his mental state to his links with controversial punter Eddie Hayson, who he continues to associate with.

The spectre of the NSW police strike force into claims of match-fixing in the game is also a factor.

If Foran’s re-entry to the code is not ratified before the period set out in his Warriors contract, the deal would be rendered null and void.

Foran told Fairfax Media last week that he and his godfather Don Mackinnon, an Auckland lawyer, had made contact with the NRL integrity unit six weeks ago in an effort to get advice on what conditions he would have to meet to resume his career in the competition, vowing that he would cut ties with Hayson if and when told he had to.

He has strongly denied any involvement in match-fixing and on Sunday night took to social media to again reinforce his claims of innocence and hit out at the media for “prying into my personal life”.

“I want to assure you, I have done nothing wrong,” he posted on Instagram. “I took a break from the game because I felt I wasn’t in the head space to uphold my commitments as a contracted footballer.

“I have been very open about my struggle with health issues and asked for time to concentrate on rebuilding my life. Every day I wake up with a positive outlook, but then I read my name in the headlines. This makes it very difficult to move forward with a positive mindset.

“All I have done, is gotten sick, admitted publicly to it and taken time out for myself. I just ask that I am given the time I need to heal in peace.”   This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net. Continue reading

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Criminals could face charges for texting under proposed laws

Criminals who text each other could be caught under the Queensland Government’s proposed organised crime laws. Photo: Glen Hunt GTHCriminals who text each other could be “consorting” and committing an offence under the Palaszczuk Government’s reforms to organised crime laws.
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A public briefing was held on Monday afternoon as the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee considers the Serious and Organised Crime Legislation Amendment Bill 2016.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the new legislation meant officers did not have to head to pubs and racecourses to enforce the consorting law.

“So if A is meeting with B and C because they’re texting them, that’s a meeting,” Mr Stewart said.

“As long as it fits within the legislation, that can form the trigger to perform the first warning.”

The anti-association laws under which Queensland presently operates ban designated gang members and their associates from gathering in groups of three or more, regardless of whether they are facing charges, have convictions, or are wearing their gang insignia or colours.

Under the proposed bill it would be an offence to habitually consort with at least two recognised offenders, whether together or separately, and with at least one occasion happening after receiving an official warning.

Habitually consorting would include meeting with a recognised offender at least twice, but would not apply to a child.

Mr Stewart said if person A met person B and C – and if B and C had criminal records relevant to the legislation – an officer could officially warn the group.

“So if A again meets with B and C, that’s when the actual offence can occur,” he said.

“A does not need to have any criminal history. He simply consorts with two people who do have the appropriate levels of criminal history.”

There could also be “pre-emptive” consorting warnings. And Carolyn McAnally, from the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, said there could be retrospective consorting warnings, based on police viewing CCTV.

LNP member for Coomera Michael Crandon questioned whether person A could meet with B and C, and then B and D and E.

“He could keep on meeting all day every day with B but as long as one of the others – C, D, E or F… doesn’t come for a second occasion, there’s no offences?”

Ms McAnally said: “A can meet with B, A can meet with C, D and E. A is required to meet one further time with B, C or D, but not with them all together.”

Mr Stewart described the amendments as taking inspiration from some of the best legislation around Australia.

“I think it provides the appropriate balance that will protect the community from organised criminals (and) it will help protect our officers in their work,” he said.

The reforms would ban Queensland bikies from wearing their club colours anywhere in public, not just in pubs and clubs, as under the existing Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Act introduced by the former Newman government.

LNP member for Currumbin questioned whether innocent motorbike riders could be pulled over under the new laws.

But Mr Stewart said there had not been any complaints in the past two years from innocent bike riders, and commended the professional conduct of police officers.

“I would take you back a couple of years when that was a concern of many of the recreational motorcyclists,” he said.

“I have not seen one complaint in the last two years, an official complaint.

“It was a perception, it was a myth.”

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Time for the insurance industry to step up

Once again our region has been inundated with flood waters and once again, many average families and businesses will be left to fend for themselves.
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Such events are as unpredictable as they are devastating.

After a decade of drought, our region was first touched by flood waters in 2010 and then again in 2012, significant rainfall and catchments full to the brim led to widespreaddamage from one end of the Riverina to the other.

For some residents it was years before insurance companies settled claims.

Insurers are undoubtedly there to make money for shareholders –to balance the risk versus the cost of a policy.But, like banks, they also hold a social and community responsibility to be both fair and reasonable when it comes to dealing with clients.

The 2010 rain events came after a decade of dry weather when most businesses and homeowners had no claim on their insurance companies.

During this time, many paid their premiums dutifully and without quibble.

Yet, when it came time for the consumer to lean on the insurer after the 2010 and 2012 floods, a large number of them sought a way to avoid or at least defer payment.

It was a disturbing and distressing example of how some companies are driven not by the need to provide a service for their customers, but to achieve a bottom line outcome for shareholders –most of whom are far removed from the incident upon which the claims are being made.

Rocketing premiums have only highlighted the responsibility of insurers to meet their obligations when they become due.

No one wants to become the victim of a natural disaster –that is the last thing people would want.

But when it does happen we should equally expect prompt and effective action from our insurers to remedy what can be a distressing situation.

There shouldbe no delays, nor debate about the ‘small print” –but that’s exactly what we have seen in thepast.

Hopefully the current events we are facing in the region will not be subject to such indecision and those that deserve compensation are dealt with quickly and appropriately.

If that were not to happen, surely the time has come for our governments to regulate the industry to ensure that people get exactly what they are paying for –and quickly.

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