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  • admin 16:13 on 02/18/2019  

    Former Disney star Bella Thorne has opened up about being sexually abused as a child.
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    The 20-year-old, who starred on the Disney Channel’s Shake It Up from 2010 to 2013, told her story in an Instagram post using the “#TimesUp” hashtag on Monday.

    Bella Thorne arrives at the Teen Choice Awards at the Galen Center on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, in Los Angeles. Photo: Jordan Strauss

    “I was sexually abused and physically growing up from the day I can remember till I was 14… when I finally had the courage to lock my door at night and sit by it. All damn night,” Thorne wrote, not naming her alleged abuser. “Waiting for someone to take advantage of my life again. Over and over I waited for it to stop and finally it did.”

    The actress added that “some of us aren’t as lucky to get out alive”.

    “Please today stand up for every soul Mistreated [sic],” she wrote.

    Thorne continued her story on Twitter, writing, “I never knew what was right or wrong growing up. I didn’t know the person sneaking into my bed room at night was a bad person.”

    Raised by a single mother in Florida, Thorne has spoken about pursuing acting as a child and moving with her mother to Los Angeles to support her family.

    In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar last year, the actress – who came out as bisexual in August – said she made a conscious effort to be open and honest with her younger fans on social media, after years of altering her public image to fit the Disney star mould.

    “When I was younger I thought about killing myself; it’s very normal in a way that, if you’re upset with who you are and how your life is going, you could think these things,” she said. “I want people to know that it’s okay to talk about it. And the more I do it, the more my fans will do it with each other, and with other people in their life.”

    Fairfax Media

    Continue reading Disney star reveals child sexual abuse
  • admin 16:13 on 02/18/2019  

    n building approvals are “back with a vengeance”, with official data striking its third-highest level on record in November, marking a 15-month high.
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    But the latest figures from the n Bureau of Statistics show the charge is being led solely by Victoria, which recorded a stunning 37.9 per cent gain in the month, compared with a 2.3 per cent fall in NSW.

    The Victorian figures pulled the national approvals data higher, with the construction of new homes nationally rising a seasonally adjusted 11.7 per cent in November to 21,055, strongly outperforming market expectations of a 1 per cent decline and eclipsing the previous month’s 0.9 per cent gain.

    Meanwhile, in the year to November, building approvals gained 17.1 per cent, the ABS reported in Tuesday’s release.

    Approvals for private sector houses were down 2 per cent in the month, and the “other dwellings” category, which includes apartment blocks and townhouses, was 30.6 per cent higher.

    “After a faltering about nine or 12 months ago, building approvals have come back with a vengeance,” Market Economics chief economist Stephen Koukoulas told Domain.

    Assuming the approvals turn into construction, the news will boost economic growth and employment figures, according to Mr Koukoulas, and so will be taken as welcome news by the Reserve Bank or .

    A spike in supply could also lead to dwelling price weakness.

    “[The jump in building approvals] is good news in terms of adding to GDP, and for those hoping for as moderation in home prices it’s probably going to be good news because we’ll likely have a lift in supply coming though.”

    Melbourne had powerful growth, with 14,858 dwellings approved in just two months, which might usually be taken as a warning of a looming oversupply, but roaring population growth seems to quieten those concerns. Something weird in the latest building approvals data. Either a typo or Melbourne has gone mad. #auseconpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/jNiI2WTXDM??? Jason Murphy (@jasemurphy) January 9, 2018In the space of TWO months, Melbourne approved: 14,858 dwellings (including 9754 units & townhouses) Airport train would be good…#ausbizpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/hCFNteCJVf??? Pete Wargent (@PeteWargent) January 9, 201821,055 dwelling approvals in November highest number since Aug-16, 3rd highest number of monthly approvals on record #ausbiz??? Cameron Kusher (@cmkusher) January 9, 2018

    Continue reading Building approvals ‘back with a vengeance’
  • admin 16:13 on 02/18/2019  

    PRESSURE: Hunter Water has defended a decision not to inform the public of the findings of a confidential 2012 risk assessment, which examined the threat from toxic firefighting contamination to the Tomago Sandbeds. Potential contamination of the city’s drinking water supply by firefighting chemicals posed a “high risk” to public health and Hunter Water’s reputation – even with intervention to address the problem –a confidential report warned in July, 2012.
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    -2012 Hunter Water risk assessmentNewcastle Herald under freedom of information legislation.

    It raised “significant” concerns about per- and poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS) in the drinking water catchment, and was written two months after Defence alerted Hunter Water to the riskfrom decades of use of toxic firefighting foam on the Williamtown RAAF base.

    Read more: Government moves toward $39 million PFOS ban

    “The chemicals are known to be highly soluble, are difficult to remove, have long half-lives and are carcinogenic to humans,” the risk assessment stated.

    Hunter Water backed away from the term carcinogenic when contacted for comment, saying it did not have a “detailed understanding” of the chemicals at the time it prepared the report.

    “Hunter Water defers to the relevant health authorities for advice on risks associated with PFAS chemicals and does not endorse the choice of words in the 2012 risk report,” a spokesperson said.

    The spokesperson defended Hunter Water’s decision not to inform the public of the findings in 2012, stressing that at the same time, it had sampled all pumping stations in the Tomago Sandbeds and had not had a single detect.

    A later decision to embargo “at risk” bores meant there wereno adverse impacts to the health of customers, he said.

    “At the time the assessment was undertaken, and as is currently the case, drinking water supplied by Hunter Water is safe for consumption,” he said.

    “This is confirmed by routine monitoring for PFAS at all water treatment plants and at 65 sampling locations across Hunter Water’s drinking water network.”

    The risk assessment, prepared by a team of Hunter Water staff, examined the dangers posed by a number of contaminants in the catchment, including aluminium, arsenic, manganese, iron, heavy metals, fire retardants (PFAS), hydrocarbons, radiology, bacteria, viruses and parasites.

    Read more: PFOS ban welcomed but residents say it is long overdue

    For each contaminant, the risk to “public reputation” and “public health” was classified as insignificant, low, medium, high or extreme.

    The report dealt with the inherent risk, which generally represents a worst case scenario with no controls in place, and residual risk, the level of danger after controls are implemented.

    PFAS posed the greatest threat tothe catchment, with a high risk –both inherent and residual – to public health.

    The inherent risk to public reputation was extreme, with a high residual risk.

    “Previous firefighting training activities on RAAF land is the cause of the highest level of risk within the Tomago Catchment; however fire retardants may have been used elsewhere within the catchment by the Rural Fire Service,” the report said.

    It recommended that Hunter Water seek information on where the chemicals may have been used within the catchment, introduce routine monitoring for the chemicals in raw and treated water, develop a memorandum of understanding with the Rural Fire Service and liaise with the RAAF base over the problem.

    It was also recommended bores adjacent to RAAF land were not operated until modelling of the contamination flow was available and that “at risk” bores were not runsimultaneously.

    Manganese and hydrocarbons both posed a medium risk to public reputation, while all other contaminants were classed as low risk.

    A review, which took place in late 2013, saw the residual PFAS risks downgraded to medium for both reputation and long term health effects on customers.

    The review recommended Hunter Water contribute to the design of a RAAF plan to limit the risk of contamination to pumping station 7, and “consider the need to abandon” italtogether.

    Read more: The Herald’s complete investigation into contamination at Williamtown

    A formal embargowasplaced on pumping stations 7 and 9 the following year. A thirdpumping station, number5, was isolated after it was included in the Environment Protection Authority’s maps of the red zone.

    “This embargo will not be lifted until a safe resolution can be met,” the Hunter Water spokesperson said.

    The main pumping station of concern is number nine, to the east of the RAAF base. The chemical perfluoroctane sulfonate (PFOS) was detected in it at .03 micrograms per litre in 2009 and then at .17 micrograms per litre in 2015.

    The second reading was more than double ’s safe limit for drinking water (.07 micrograms per litre), however the station has not been used for water supply since 2009 because of “favourable weather conditions and high dam storage levels”.

    Pumping station 7, immediately north of the runway, has not had a positive detect. HoweverDefence has found high levels of contaminationin “proximity” to it.

    “[The pumping station] presented a risk due to this close proximity to RAAF infrastructure and the potential for extended operation … to affect groundwater gradients in its immediate proximity,” the spokesperson said.

    Since 2012, there have been a number of trace detects at other bores within the sandbeds, but all below health guideline levels.

    “[There is] therefore no additional health risk to Hunter Water customers beyond that expected in all drinking water supplies.”

    Continue reading 2012 risk assessment on Tomago Sandbeds warned of ‘high risk’ to health and reputation from PFAS
  • admin 16:13 on 02/18/2019  

    Public servants witnessing corruption in their agencies have nearly doubled compared to three years ago as the number of bureaucrats reporting cronyism and nepotism grew in a new survey.
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    The latest public service commission State of the Service report found 5 per cent of surveyed government staff said they had seen corrupt behaviour,a figure that has steadily risen since an initial survey in 2013-14 that found 2.6 per cent had witnessed it in their workplaces.

    Agencies are investigating more public servants for behaving dishonestly than five years ago, as 333 came under scrutiny in code of conduct probes that found 287 had acted inappropriately.

    The number of government staff investigated for not upholding APS values has also grown, and those found to have breached this part of the code have more than quadrupled from 84 in 2013-14 to 403 last year.

    More public servants say they have witnessed corruption in their agency. Photo: Shutterstock

    Fewer staff faced questioning for failing to avoid or disclose a conflict of interest, while those investigated for making improper use of inside information dropped and the number of public servants found in breach was steady at 64.

    The n Public Service Commission said its findings showed government employees believed their workplaces upheld values of ethical behaviour and accountability.

    “This suggests there is a strong culture of ethical behaviour in the APS,” the report said.

    Of those saying they had seen corruption, 64 per cent reported cronyism in their agency, while nepotism (26 per cent) was another common complaint among public servants.

    More than a fifth had witnessed ‘green-lighting’, when colleagues made official decisions that improperly favoured a person or company, or disadvantaged another.

    ranked 13th in Transparency International’s index of perceived public sector corruption in 2016, down from ninth in 2013, as its score slipped slightly to 79 from 81 in that period. In 2012, the country scored 85.

    A report released last month, led by one of the nation’s most respected former public servants Terry Moran, found most ns wanted a federal anti-corruption commission.

    The n Public Service gave itself a clean bill of health last July, saying it did not want or need a new federal corruption-busting commission.

    Transparency International told a parliamentary inquiry last year that the present anti-corruption efforts in the federal sphere were fragmented and full of gaps, saying there could be no serious case put forward against the establishment of a broad-based federal agency focused on the problem.

    Continue reading More public servants are seeing corruption: APS survey
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