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Hunter man exposes medical negligence cover ups

Out-of-court settlements for medical negligence have been likened to bribery. “It’s not compensation, it’s hush-up money,” a Hunter man alleged. I know a Hunter man whose wife died of melanoma. The man alleged that her doctor repeatedly failed to diagnose the skin cancer. Eventually the doctor recognised it, but it was too late.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, believes the law is slanted to protect negligent doctors from being exposed in public.

“This means other patients of these doctors aren’t warned.And there’s no publicly-available record of their incompetence,” he said.

He alleged doctors use the legal system as a means of avoiding proper scrutiny of negligent practices. He said the system enabled negligent doctors to continue practicing and avoid remedial training to rectify their shortcomings.

The system, he said, allowed doctors and the organisations that represent them to close ranks and protect their financial interests and reputation. He further alleged that this amounted to an “abuse of power”.

If a victim manages to take civil action, the matter can be settled out of court and kept confidential. Victims are often made to sign non-disclosure agreements and threatened with losing their compensation if they speak publicly about the case.

The man likened these out-of-court settlements to bribery, saying they were used to hide negligence.

“It’s not compensation, it’s hush-up money,” he said.

He compared this to child-abuse scandals in the church.

“The medical profession has acted reprehensibly. They have gone to great lengths, just like the churches before them, to protect reputations at the expense of those they are supposedly there to protect.”

Legal and cultural reform was needed for doctors to accept that medical negligence must be dealt with and “not swept under the carpet”, he said.

He added that the system must become more open and transparent.

A senior lawyer who handles medical negligence cases in NSW said cases rarely went to trial. Trials were very expensive.

She said it was “100 per cent accurate”that cases were settled out of court and kept confidential, with no publicly available record of the negligence that occurred.

In NSW, medical negligence is governed by the Civil Liability Act, she said.

This means victims need to demonstrate that there was a breach of duty of care, or the care was unreasonable.

“The only way you can do that is by getting an expert report from another doctor to say the care was unreasonable,” the senior lawyer said.

She said it can be difficult to get doctors to criticise other doctors.

“It’s not an easy area of law. It is quite hard to get one doctor to say another doctor breached their duty of care.”

This is exactly what happened to the Hunter man in question.

He said the system allowed doctors to protect each other from criticism and punishment.

“They don’t want to throw their colleagues and friends under a bus,” he said.

Doctors who do agree to write a report confirming a colleague’s negligence were then vulnerable to being ostracised, bullied and victimised.

Furthermore, he alleged that doctors use the Health Care Complaints Commission system to attack each other.

Matters like this are presently being discussed in a Senate inquiry into medical complaints in Australia.


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Neighbours reportedly clinches series-saving new deal

The AgeNews19/08/2010picture by Justin McManus.Neighbours is 25yrs old this year.Cast on the set are L-R, Kym Valentine (Libby Kennedy), Margot Robbie (Donna Freedman), Stefan Dennis (Paul Robinson), Alan Flectcher (Karl Kennedy) and Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy). Photo: Justin McManusAussie soap Neighbours has reportedly clinched a new United Kingdom broadcasting deal, temporarily securing its shaky future.

The rumoured deal, forged between production company Fremantle Media and the show’s British network Channel 5, will see the long-running series air in the UK for another four years.

While Fremantle Media declined to confirm or comment on the reported deal, the news will be welcome relief to the show’s bosses, who recently noted the importance of “overseas interest” to its future security.

“Every Australian drama needs substantial overseas interest to be financially viable, either through pre-sale or distribution… [Neighbours] still has a substantial and dedicated viewership,” a producer told Ten News last month.

Reports of the show’s potential axing in the UK – where it’s aired for 31 years – had fuelled passionate defences from fans over recent weeks.

A petition begging Channel 5 not to axe the series raked in almost 23,000 signatures, while singer Adele – who visited the show’s Ramsay Street set during her recent Australian tour – ranted about her love for the soap during a gig in New Zealand, calling the situation “very bad”.

Star Alan Fletcher (Dr Karl Kennedy) also downplayed discussion of the series’ demise, citing the recent popular storyline between Toadie and resurrected Dee Bliss as one of the show’s “most successful”.

According to reports, Channel 5’s new owners Viacom were behind the floundering renegotiations, with one source saying the American company did not understand the “cultural importance of the show”, despite the fact it’s launched international careers for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce and Margot Robbie.

The soap, currently in its 33rd season, was locally shunted to Ten’s multi-channel Eleven in 2011.

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TPG savaged in $1b sell-off after mobile network plans revealed

TPG shareholders have delivered a brutal verdict on its almost $1.3 billion splurge buying up 4G mobile spectrum to build a new mobile network wiping one-fifth from the company’s share price in a single day.

The broadband internet and mobile provider last week agreed to pay $1.26 billion for a chunk of the nation’s 4G mobile spectrum and revealed it would spend another $600 million building a mobile network to rival those operated by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

TPG entered a trading halt last Wednesday, prior to the announcement, and detailed a $400 million share entitlement offer to fund construction of the new network.

Upon returning to trade on Tuesday morning, TPG shares plunged immediately. From a close of $6.54 per share before it entered the trading halt, TPG shares had dived to $5.42 by midday Tuesday – a drop of 17.8 per cent – before closing at $5.50. Over one billion dollars was wiped from TPG’s market value, falling from $5.54 billion to $4.42 billion.

TPG shares hit an all-time high of $12.60 in July last year.

The company said on Tuesday it had completed the institutional offer, raising $81.5 million in addition to $238 million tipped in by chief executive David Teoh and other major shareholder investment house Washington H. Soul Pattinson.

“We are very pleased with the strong support that our institutional shareholders and new investors have shown for the offer and for our mobile strategy, which we are tremendously excited about,” Mr Teoh said in a statement.

TPG launched the retail component of its entitlement offer on Tuesday at $5.25 per new share. iFrameResize({enablePublicMethods : true, heightCalculationMethod : “lowestElement”,resizedCallback : function(messageData){}, checkOrigin: false},”#pez_iframeA”);

Telstra also fell another 3.8 per cent to $4 on Tuesday, after dropping to their lowest level in five years last week on fears TPG revealed it would bring new competition to the market. The nation’s largest telco’s shares have fallen over 12 per cent since last Tuesday.

Deutsche Bank said the $1.2 billion price tag TPG paid for the spectrum it will use for its network was “well ahead of our expectations” and that it would be difficult for TPG to maintain a net present value from the investment.

Other obstacles to TPG being successful in its own network included “the potential risks of greater difficulty in bundling mobile and broadband services, lack of physical store fronts and operational execution given the company is undertaking many initiatives concurrently,” Deutsche Bank analyst Craig Wong-Pan said in a note to clients.

UBS said it thought TPG could succeed as a fourth player in the market but might have to launch a price war, which would crunching industry earnings, in order to grow market share.

The net impact of raising equity and building the network would hit earnings per share by about 40 per cent in 2019, and would break even by 2020, UBS told clients.

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Netball in political turmoil, after board chair dumped

Netball Australia is in political turmoil, with board chair Anne-Marie Corboy standing down after less than a year in the post and then ousted as a director at a special general meeting called by the member organisations last week.

The annual general meeting will be held in Canberra on Friday, at which three board vacancies – including, now, Corboy’s – will be filled from among five candidates. Netball Queensland in particular, under president Jane Seawright, and Netball New South Wales are believed to be leading the push for more power to be returned to the state associations.

But others hold grave concerns about the potential loss of board independence and business acumen, fearing the decision-making process will be hijacked by more parochial interests. “Basically, the sport will go back 30 years,” said one senior figure.

It is believed the Australian Sports Commission is closely monitoring the situation from a governance standpoint, while the Australian Netball Players’ Association strongly condemned the decision to remove Corboy, who succeeded the long-serving Noeleen Dix last year.

“The players are really frustrated and annoyed that our sport can’t keep moving forward,” said ANPA director Bianca Chatfield after a teleconference on Tuesday involving representatives from the eight clubs. “The past players have fought for where we are and the current players just can’t believe that there’s a threat that we could go backwards.

“We need those independent directors to be able to move our sport forward and we all know that there’s a real threat from other sports at the moment. Netball has always led the way, and the players are just really frustrated that we have to get involved in this political drama all the time, from those that seem to be bitter and twisted about what’s happened.”

Unrest has festered since last year’s decision to launch a new eight-team Super Netball league in 2017 to replace the trans-Tasman ANZ Championship. The process was delayed while commercial agreements were finalised with the likes of major sponsor Suncorp and broadcast partners Channel Nine and Telstra.

Highly contentious, too, was the decision to grant the three new licences to football-aligned clubs Collingwood, Sunshine Coast Lightning (Melbourne Storm) and the Giants, owned by NNSW but aligned with GWS. Having raided the talent of the five existing teams, run by the member associations, all three new franchises are in the top four with six rounds remaining in the inaugural Super Netball season.

Former Australian captain Kathryn Harby-Williams, who has the strong backing of the players, and Cheryl McCormack, are the two current directors up for re-election, with Marcia Ella, Susan Comerford and Jan Magaccis the challengers.

Corboy, a highly-respected financial services executive, was unavailable for comment, but it is believed the member associations were critical of her communication skills and leadership style. Several attempts at mediation by Netball Australia were apparently rebuffed by the member organisations.

Netball Victoria said in a statement to Fairfax Media that it was “the strong desire” of the state bodies to work in the sport’s best interests, and that a collective view had been formed that it would be beneficial to change in the make-up of the Netball Australia board.

“Creating change such this is challenging when there are divergent views – naturally this has been difficult for all parties,” it said. “As a result of this view, Anne-Marie Corboy is no longer a member of the NA board.

“NA board members are voted on and off the board dependant on the skills needed to deliver on the strategic agenda for whole of sport. There are a number of high calibre candidates standing for election or re-election at the NA AGM, including current directors. We are committed to working collectively with Netball Australia to achieve our strategic agendas and look forward to working constructively together into the future.

“The whole of sport focus for the future, now that Suncorp Super Netball is established, is to ensure that we continue to grow, and the development within community netball.”

Netball Australia chief executive Marne Fechner praised Corboy’s contribution while defending the member associations’ right under the sport’s constitution to force last week’s special general meeting and remove the former chair from the board.

“From a governance point of view, from the members’ perspective, there was a need for change,” Fechner said. “These things can happen in sport; netball’s not the only sport it’s happened to. It’s unfortunate, but we’ve got to get on with the business at hand. My sense is that everyone’s committed to moving on from this.”

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Esperance shark attack victim identified as Laeticia Brouwer

The 17-year-old surfer who died after being mauled by a shark near the WA town of Esperance on Monday has been identified as Laeticia Brouwer.

The teenager, along with her sister and father, were keen surfers from Singleton, near Mandurah south of Perth.

The family were in Esperance for the Easter long weekend when Laeticia was attacked, with police confirming her identity on Tuesday.

Laeticia was believed to have been unconscious when she was pulled from the water around 4pm local time at Kelp Beds – approximately three kilometres east of Wylie Bay.

She was seriously mauled on one of her legs, leading to massive blood loss, while surfing with her father.

Her mother and two sisters were reportedly watching on from the beach as she was attacked by the shark.

A family spokesman, on Tuesday morning, was emotional as he read a statement to media in Esperance.

“We are terribly heartbroken and saddened by this tragic accident,” he said.

“We take comfort in the fact that Laeticia died doing something that she loved – the ocean was her and her family’s passion.

“Surfing was something that she treasured doing with her dad and sisters.

“Laeticia will be greatly missed by her family, friends and everyone that knew her.”

Her parents’ Facebook page showed photos of ‘Teesh’ – as she was affectionately known – and her sister surfing at a number of beaches with their father.

She also played netball at a local Mandurah club.

A spokesman at the Esperance police station said the attack occurred while Laeticia and her father were surfing “not a long way off-shore” where waves were breaking.

“He obviously tried everything he could to help his daughter but sadly he wasn’t able to save her…he brought her to shore,” he said.

“She seemed like quite a competent surfer.”

Esperance Police, St John Ambulance, Esperance Marine Rescue and the State Emergency Service rushed to the scene where they treated Laeticia on the beach.

Esperance Express reporter Caitlyn Rintoul, who was one of the first on the scene, said a woman was being hugged by a paramedic as the girl was given CPR.

“Our local paramedic was giving her CPR and calling on bystanders to come over and lift her onto the next stretcher,” she said.

#BREAKING: A 17-year-old girl has died from her injuries, after a shark attack at Kelp Beds in Wylie Bay. #[email protected]南京夜网/kVXn9s8Aq6

— Caitlyn Rintoul (@caitlynrintoul) April 17, 2017

Laeticia was then taken to Esperance Hospital in a critical condition, where she died shortly after.

Wylie Bay Beach has been closed by local authorities until further notice.

Water police have urged people to avoid the water in the Wylie Bay area for at least the next 48 hours.

Fisheries minister Dave Kelly said the government would not be deploying drum lines to catch the shark.

“Obviously yesterday’s incident is a tragedy, to have a young woman lose her life in those circumstances is very sad. Our thoughts this morning are with her family and friends,” he said.

“There’s fisheries vessels doing patrols, there’s also staff patrolling the beaches and the beach will remain closed until fisheries and the local authorities review that it’s safe to open.

“There haven’t been drum lines deployed this morning. We made it clear in opposition that we don’t see the merit in automatically deploying drum lines because they don’t actually make our beaches any safer.”

Kelp Beds, also known as “Kelpies”, is a popular surf break in a remote area also used for camping and four-wheel driving.

It is just east of Wylie Bay, where Sean Pollard was attacked by two great white sharks in October 2014. The Bunbury man lost his left arm and right hand in the attack.

Last year there were two fatal shark attacks in WA.

In May Ben Gerring, 29, died following an attack at Falcon Beach, near Mandurah, while a month later 60-year-old Doreen Collyer died after a great white attack in Mindarie, just north of Perth.

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Bangkok to cease being finest street food destination

Bangkok: No visit to Thailand is complete without eating at street stalls. Papaya salads, braised duck, steaming noodles and grilled whole fish are among exciting and bewildering choices.

Ever tried giem ee, the hand rolled noodles doused in long-simmering chicken broth and topped with peanuts, julienned green beans and chicken wings braised overnight?

Now authorities have ordered the clearance of food stalls across the capital Bangkok by the end of the year.

“The street vendors have seized the pavement space for too long and we already provide them with space to sell food and other products legally in the market, so there will be no let-up in this operation,” said Wanlop Suwandee, chief advisor to Bangkok’s governor. “Every street vendor will have to move out.”

Authorities announced the crackdown a month after CNN named Bangkok the finest street food destination in the world, for the second year running.

Mr Wanlop told reporters he was grateful for CNN’s praise but insisted the priority for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, which controls 50 districts, is safety and cleanliness.

The ban will anger Thais and foreigners who prop on small plastic chairs from before dawn to late at night at tens of thousands of food stalls on pavements and narrow streets across the city.

The wealthy, middle class and poor sit elbow-to-elbow eating with well worn chopsticks and bent spoons, paying the equivalent of just a few dollars.

In the Khao San Road tourist precinct alone there are 200 street stalls, for decades popular with tourists.

Authorities began cracking down on stalls selling everything from pirated DVDs and clothes to Viagra after the country’s military seized power in a 2014 coup.

Since then, deck chairs have been banned on many beaches with varying degrees of success across the country. Then when vendors began making sand beds for tourists on Phuket, authorities ordered them levelled.

Authorities have also imposed bans on street begging although as soon as they are rounded up, beggars return.

Inexplicably, however, there have been no crackdowns on motor bike riders dangerously weaving through pedestrians on pavements.

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High hopes for US earnings season

Analysts and fund managers expect the upcoming US quarterly earnings season to be the strongest in some years, but with US equities already trading at highly elevated levels, few expect the strong results to translate into higher sharemarket growth.

Expectations for the US earnings season are high. Analysts at Goldman Sachs’ expect blended earnings-per-share growth of 9.2 per cent this earnings season – the strongest since the fourth quarter of 2011.

Of early reporting companies whose quarter ended at the end of February, 74 per cent have beaten earnings-per-share forecasts, according to Bank of America.

Financial firms – which benefit from the Fed’s lifting of interest rates – are expected to do particularly well. Citi and JP Morgan, who reported last week, both handily beat analysts expectations, while Wells Fargo’s shares slid after revenue narrowly missed consensus expectations.

Meanwhile, industrials and companies aligned with the energy market are expected to profit from a rise in the oil price.

Much of the higher growth has already been priced in, Wingate Asset Management chief investment officer Chad Padowitz said, adding that makes it likely that higher profits won’t translate to sharemarket growth.

The S&P500, which contains the largest and most influential companies on the world’s most important stockmarket, has enjoyed a charmed run of late, rising 8.5 per cent since the November election of US President Donald Trump.

Of major markets, US stocks are the most highly valued in the world, trading at earnings multiples of around 17.6 per cent of 2018 forward earnings, according to JP Morgan Asset Management. That compares to 15.1 times earnings in Europe and 13.9 times earnings in Japan. Economic growth

Most analysts and fund managers do not place the strong sharemarket performance solely at the feet of the US President. The US economy has greatly improved in the past year, and this has fed through to the stock market.

While President Trump was elected on expectations of undertaking economic stimulus, few of his plans have yet been implemented. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin said in an interview with the Financial Times on Monday that getting tax cuts through by August is “not realistic at this point”.

This hasn’t dampened expectations of strong corporate earnings growth. But there are potential pitfalls for investors.

“If anything, the risk is that, with current valuations, it doesn’t take much to bring it down a bit if things aren’t as positive as people hope,” Mr Padowitz said.

The interesting thing to watch, he added, will be how the earnings season will answer the growing divergence between “soft” and “hard” US economic data.

“A lot of the ‘hard’ economic data – the actual numbers on what’s happened – is less positive than the soft data, which is things like consumer surveys, confidence surveys and the like. The gap’s quite wide. This earnings season might be a time when companies re-base expectations in line with the hard data, bringing optimism back a little bit.

“The forward forecasts will be very relevant to whether things pick up and grow from here. The data’s been very mixed.”

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Maitland Magpies defend washout call as Coalfields Derby tensions intensify

RD 7: Saturday: Edgeworth v Hamilton (6pm), Maitland v Valentine (7.30pm). Sunday: Charlestown v Jaffas, Weston v Jets Youth. Tuesday: Adamstown v Magic.Maitland football manager MickMirisch has defended the club’s decision not acceptWeston’s approach to potentiallyhost last Friday’s match, which was eventually washed out in the latest episode of the farcical situation at Cooks Square Park.

Drainage problems at the ground and untimely showers have led to all of Maitland’s home games being washed out as the NPL approaches round seven.

Bears coach Steve Piggott, who parted ways with Maitland last season, was critical of the Magpies’ decision not toswap fixtures and play Friday’s game at Weston Park. He was also disappointed no attempt was made to movethe game to a later date over the long weekend.

“I just don’t think they wanted to play, and did they explore all other avenues?” Piggott said.

Mirisch said he spoke to Weston president Rod Henderson at lunchtime Wednesday about the possible switch but, after consultation with his committee, responded later that they would “give it a go ourselves”. He said Henderson indicated then that Weston would not have their ground ready anyway because of the recent sowing of rye grass.

Mirisch also hit back at social media comments that the club didn’t want to play because it was theirfourth game in nine days or key players might be out. He said his players and the club wanted the game on.

“We’ve probably lost $10,000 over the three washouts, which we will never get back because those games are now midweek and you get smaller gate and canteen takings,” he said. “There’s no benefit from doing it.”

He said moving the game to theweekend wouldn’t have been allowed because of referee unavailability.

Maitland president Ray Watkins took to the club’s Facebook page to defend their handling of the washouts ….

Public Announcement


To Maitland Football Club Members and Supporters,

It is unfortunate that I find it necessary to write this notice, but I do so in the interest of supporting the credibility, of not just our Football Club, but also the many fine people that work so hard to further the best interests of the club.

Today, it was necessary for us to again announce that Cooks Square Park is unfit for match play, and in fact, is closed. Today was scheduled our annual derby game against the Weston Bears – a fixture much anticipated throughout the region.

The committee has been bombarded by both social media and personal contacts from ill-informed persons from both inside and outside the club, making incorrect comments and accusations about our motives for the ground being closed.

So can I take this opportunity to bring some credible facts into the public forum?

Cooks Square Park is owned and controlled by Maitland Council, and whilst we have exclusive access to it, we are accountable to them, for its care. There have been instances where, we have played, and they have considered that the ground was not fit for use, and we have incurred fines and limited access to its maintenance.

The amount of rain that has fallen in Maitland during March and April, has been unprecedented. At the start of that period the park was quite dry, but the volume has absolutely saturated the surface and subsurface. Consequently, the park has been very slow to recover. There was a meeting earlier this week at the park, attended by representatives from Maitland City Council, NNSWF and MFC, to discuss what options are possible to improve the drainage. It is believed that since the surround of the field was concreted, it may be having a negative impact on the drainage process. It was also noted that there is an under surface drain in place, that may not be effective. The representative from the council has committed to follow up on these issues to see if they can provide an easy solution.

Paul Osland, apart from filling other roles for the club is groundsman at Cooks. Paul has 50 years’ experience with the ground, and over the last couple of years has been on duty almost every day. Paul was at the ground yesterday, when council were mowing. The ground had been closed all week, and this was the first opportunity to mow. During the middle part of the day, and during mowing, the ground was hit by 2 major downpours. In the view of the council worker, there was no way the ground would recover by today, and in fact such was the surface water that Paul’s ‘ride on’ got bogged on the ground. The inclination was to call the games off last night, but in the interests of trying to give every opportunity to play, a final decision was held over until this morning. Comments made on Facebook, saying that because ‘Cooks Square is on a hill it would have good drainage’, are just beyond belief in their degree of ignorance, and similarly those making the claim, “that there had been no rain in Maitland for days”.

I note also that other NPL grounds today are closed for play, as is our NEWFM neighbour Thornton’s home games postponed.

We are a Football club, we are here to play football. Every time we make a decision to postpone a game, we inherit a tremendous amount of extra work, in communicating and reorganising. When games are transferred, or rescheduled to night games, the club loses a substantial amount of revenue. As a committee there is no logical and factual reason that motivates us to not play a game, yet through the ‘uninformed and deliberately trouble making minority’ the club and its people are unfairly branded.

Everyone hopes that the rainy season is behind us now, and we can move forward in a positive attitude, of enjoying the highs and lows of playing football, which is what true fans of the game look forward to.

Yours in Sport

Ray Watkins



[email protected]南京夜网南京桑拿

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Hamilton Olympic coach asks for lift in intensity against Maitland Magpies

CAUGHT OUT: Hamilton goalkeeper Danny Ireland in full flight last season. Ireland will be keen to make amends against Maitland on Wednesday night for an uncharacteristic error last weekend. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

EVERYONE remembers a goalkeeping howler, especially when it comes from Danny Ireland.

So rarely has the Hamilton keeper made costly errors in the Northern NSW National Premier Leaguethat a fumbled corner kick in the second minute against Charlestown on Saturday night has stood out for many in round six.

The mistake gave Charlestown the lead, and another Josh Maguire corner, in the 57thminute, beat Hamilton’s defence at the near post to give the Blues a 2-1 victory at Darling Street Oval.

The result left Olympic on six points from four games ahead of Wednesday’s 6.30pm catch-up clash at Maitland, who have seven points from three matches. It shapes as a crucial early test for Hamilton, who are three points outside the top four and take on two-time defending champions Edgeworth on Saturday night.

While the blunders at cornersproved decisive last Saturday night, Hamilton coach Michael Bolch was more concerned with the missed chances in attackand the intensity of his side.

“It’s a bad thing for keepers, they make one mistake and that’s all people remember,” Bolch said.

“We missed three one-on-ones and Goody [Kane Goodchild] had a runaway one-on-one at the end of the game, and it all just comes back to keeper mistakes.

“We really just got outenthused on Saturday night.They wanted it more than us. It turned into a battle and they won all the individual battles and all the second-phase ball.

“There were two poor goals from us from corners but we created enough to get something out of the game.”

Bolch believed the league was tighter than previous years and every team were dangerous.

“It just shows with the comp this year, it is a lot closer,” he said. “Jaffas were beaten by Phoenix and had a draw with Weston, Magic got beat by Azzurri and Lakes. They are not results you expect, as such, so it just shows if you don’t turn up on the day ready to go, you get beaten.”

Maitland football manager Mick Mirisch said Ryan Clarke (hamstring) remained the Magpies’ only injury problem.Bolch had no new injuries inhis squad.

“They were a good side last year,” Bolch said of the Magpies.“We didn’t beat them once last year and they made the semis, and they’ve added to that with [Andrew] Pawiak, [Shane] Cansdell-Sherriff and [Josh] Dutton-Black. They’ve improved their squad in my book and they are a force to be reckoned with.”

** The draw forround three of the NNSWSouthern Pool of the FFA Cup, which features all 10 NPL clubs, seven from the second tier and five interdistrict teams,will be done on Wednesday.​

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The $300b industry without an ombudsman

Australia should establish a Retail Ombudsman to “freely, quickly and fairly” resolve disputes between “ordinary Australians” and retailers, the Consumer Action Law Centre says.

The centre provides legal advice and financial counselling for disadvantaged people.

Acting CEO Denise Boyd said an external dispute resolution scheme for disputes over goods and services bought instore or online in Australia would give people “certainty and justice in their consumer interactions and build trust in our retail markets.”

“Although consumers have legal protections in the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) such as consumer guarantees to a refund, replacement or repair when there is a problem with a purchased good or service, if the trader refuses to assist to resolve the dispute it is very difficult for the consumer to obtain justice,” Ms Boyd said in the centre’s pre-budget submission to Treasury.

Australians spend about $300 billion a year with retailers. Retail is the country’s biggest private sector employer, accounting for about 10 per cent of the workforce, according to Bureau of Statistics figures.

Ms Boyd said polling indicated 60 per cent of Australian would use a retail ombudsman if available.

She also noted that more than 20,000 shoppers complained to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about consumer guarantees in 2016, despite the ACCC being unable to take action on their behalf.

“There is a significant gap in ordinary Australians’ ability to seek justice in these cases because it is likely to involve complex, lengthy and quite possibly expensive legal action in courts or tribunals,” Ms Boyd said.

She said the scheme should be modelled on a scheme in the UK, where retailers choose to join, pay a fee depending on their size, and are able to apply to become vetted as a ‘trustworthy trader.’

The ombudsman would tackle disputes only after a person had tried to resolve it with the retailer directly. It would first try to reach an agreement between the parties; if an agreement couldn’t be reached, the ombudsman would make a binding ruling. Cut corporate tax rates and penalty rates, retail body says

But industry bodies, in their submissions to Treasury ahead of next month’s federal budget, make no mention of a retail ombudsman.

The Australian Retailers Association said the government should cut corporate tax rates, and “allow more flexible workplace laws and support penalty rate changes”.

“Investment levels are floundering despite low interest rates,” the ARA said. “Businesses need incentives and certainty to grow and employ more workers, which in turn, will support wage growth.”

Another industry body, the Retail Council, said while it recognised the need for budget repair, the Abbott government’s controversial first budget in 2014 “had a negative impact on consumer confidence.”

“From a retail perspective it is critical that the federal budget does not further crimp household incomes, especially for low income earners,” the council said.

“Low wages growth is a positive from an inflation perspective but is a potential drag on consumption spending and consumer confidence which are both key metrics for the retail sector.”

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