‘Two-up’ policing policy must be workable

Wangaratta Superintendent Paul O’Halloran wants a workable solution.
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A POLICY that bans Victorian police officers from working alone is straining resources in the North East.

Victoria Police is this week expected to announce changes to the policy, which forces most officers to work “two-up”.

The measures were announced earlier this month in light of increased security risks and concerns officers may be targeted and attacked.

The policy means police are being moved between stations, and police in smaller communities are forced to cover a wider area.

Many local officers have welcomed the added safety of the working two-up, but there are concerns about the effect the changes are having on response times.

Police Association secretary Ron Iddles recently told members via a newsletter there were some issues with the policy.

“Understandably, the changes have generated much discussion among our members,” he said.

“Like any change, teething problems always occur.

“Our discussions with Victoria Police have been productive (and) we expect that a revised policy will be released to members in the near future.”

Wangaratta Superintendent Paul O’Halloran said plans put in place needed to be “workable”.

“It needs to balance officer safety with community service,” he said.

Superintendent O’Halloran said there were challenges.

“But they cannot come at the expense of operation safety for members,” he said.

“I would welcome increased police numbers, but that’s really a matter for the government and Victoria Police executive command to consider.

“If there’s an expectation of two-up patrols across the force, then that’s something that the government and executive command may need to look at.”

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EDITORIAL: Stories need to be heard so city can find a way forward

As the hearings for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse roll on, more horrific details will emerge about what happened in our city and the stories will become harder to hear.
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While Ballarat is not alone in what occurred, the city is set to hear some of the terrible details first and the impact that will have on many in our community should not be underplayed.

What is important is that Ballarat as a community faces up to what happened all those years ago, because as hard as it may be for many of us to read and listen to those stories, it pales in com-

parison to what the survivors will go through over the next few weeks.

And we need to listen to those survivors so we can understand what they went through.

A tough day for #Ballarat. If you need help, call @beyondblue | 1300 22 4636 Or @LifelineAust | 13 11 14 or CASA Ballarat 1800 806 292

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True to her word, Doris turns 106

Reunited with Border Mail journalist Olivia Lambert. Picture: JOHN RUSSELLWHEN she turned 105, Doris Macken finished her interview with The Border Mail by saying “see you next year”.
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Yesterday, her 106th birthday, the Albury resident stayed true to her word, greeting the same reporter for her latest milestone.

As that journalist I couldn’t believe how she had managed to keep her biological clock ticking.

Miss Macken’s lips were still polished with lipstick, her neck adorned with pearls and her spirit still that of someone half her age.

“I’m pleased to see you — well not really,” she said yesterday.

“You don’t want your photo taken when you’re 106.”

Doris Macken yesterday celebrated her 106th birthday with her great niece Louise Hobson and niece Lesley McClintock.

In the past year Miss Macken has moved into the new Albury and District Nursing Home on Logan Road, but not much else has changed — except for her love of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

At her 105th birthday, Miss Macken said he was her favourite out of the 25 prime ministers she has lived to see but she began to question that affection after he awarded a knighthood to Prince Philip.

I had hoped, that in the past 12 months Miss Macken might have figured out the secret to her longevity.

But just as she told me last year, she said “if I knew I’d patent it”.

Miss Macken surprises many with her age, her 82-year-old niece Lesley McClintock has even been mistaken as her sister.

“I don’t know if I’m getting older or if she’s getting younger,” Ms McClintock said.

Miss Macken is close to take the record for the oldest woman to live in Albury — it is held by Daisy Gill who died just short of her 108th birthday in 2012.

Miss Macken did not promise to see The Border Mail next year.

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Knuckledusters were ‘in case I get attacked’

NORTH Albury man Connor Eyers has twice been the victim of assaults and had knuckledusters in his possession for his protection.
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But a court heard police officers found the silver metal knuckledusters along with a pipe used for smoking ice when they searched Eyers at Lavington last month.

He had attracted police attention by being involved in the theft of a motorbike from a residence in Tulla Street, North Albury.

Eyers went there with other unknown men about 8.30am on April 28.

They went to a back shed through an unlocked side gate and took a 125cc thumpster motorcycle.

It was wheeled down the driveway and the handle bars were loosened to get the bike in the back seat of a Commodore.

Eyers removed the side guard.

But police were notified of the theft and stopped the car in Shirleen Crescent at Lavington.

Eyers, 19, of Tarakan Avenue, pleaded guilty in Albury Local Court yesterday to charges of stealing property, possessing a prohibited weapon and possessing equipment for administering a prohibited drug.

Solicitor Mark Cronin said Eyers was a passenger in the car and simply tagged along with the others.

Mr Cronin said Eyers is unsure whether others involved in the theft have been charged with the motorcycle theft.

“That has been recovered. Thankfully there was no damage to it,” Mr Cronin said.

Eyers was put on two-year bonds and fined $300 on the other two charges.

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Cow has drivers in a spin

A STRAY cow has caused havoc on the Hume Highway, with five vehicles driving into the animal.
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Three cars and two trucks hit the Hereford cow near the Broken River bridge at Benalla about 7.30pm on Monday.

Police are amazed no one was injured in the incident, with three cars towed from the scene and the undercarriage of one of the trucks damaged.

“One of the truck drivers couldn’t believe it,” Sergeant Jeffrey Kyne said.

“One of the cars hit the cow while travelling beside the truck, became airborne, landed squarely and the driver managed to bring it to a stop without any further incident.

“All the vehicles have clipped the cow and run over it.

“Everyone has been extremely lucky.”

Sgt Kyne said it was hard to see the animal at night, especially when high-beam lights were not in use.

A lack of feed in paddocks was causing animals to wander, he said.

“There is more feed available for animals and wildlife on the edge of the freeway than in paddocks,” Sgt Kyne said.

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Indi not ignored by the Coalition

NATALIE Kotsios may not have lived in the region for long but that is no excuse for not doing her homework.
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She should have done a five minute basic search into her own newspaper’s files before claiming that the $12 million in the recent budget allocated to Indi “is the likes of which this electorate has rarely seen” (The Border Mail, May 16).

The reason the Coalition is giving $10million for the Wodonga CBD is because the railway line has been removed from central Wodonga — thanks to $45million previously obtained by Sophie Mirabella. And what about the more than $350million to finally fix the Hume bypass after more than 30 years of delay?

Or more than $300million allocated by the Coalition to upgrade of the local Thales explosives and propellant factory? Or the $23million package for local tobacco growers?

Or the tens of millions of dollars in grants to local manufacturers like Bruck textiles to keep jobs in Indi?

The facts speak for themselves.

Coalition governments have not and do not ignore Indi.



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Carnival comes to stop

Brooke Purtell controls the ball for the Riverina team in the NSW CHS titles at the Albury Hockey Centre before the deluge. Pictures: PETER MERKESTEYN
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Riverina’s Jessie Nixon in action against Sydney South West yesterday.

LIGHTNING and hail forced an early end to the opening day of the NSW combined high school hockey tournament in Albury yesterday.

Riverina, with 10 of its 14 player squad based on the Border, was a goal down to Western with 12 minutes to go in the first half when the Albury Hockey Centre found itself in the middle of the afternoon deluge.

Competition organiser and Albury High teacher Erin McNair said it was simply too dangerous to continue.

“We had lightning, hail and torrential rain,” she said.

“I can’t remember a game being abandoned at the hockey centre, but there was no option.

“The girls will resume tomorrow afternoon with the clock set to where they were and trailing by a goal.”

Earlier in the day the team, including Spitfire Brooke Purtell, had gone down 5-1 to Sydney South West.

In all 10 regions are represented at the carnival — a CHS squad to be chosen to play against the Catholic and Independent schools at a latter date.

“We are a pretty young group and we’ll probably struggle against the better sides which on past form are the two teams we play on day one,” McNair said.

“But hopefully the weather improves and we are able to get through the rest of the carnival.”

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Retail hub a boost for Ettamogah

A SUPERMARKET, medical centre and shops could be on the way under a plan for the Ettamogah village.
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Ettamogah Pub owner Leigh O’Brien is behind the development, which is now being promoted by Albury real estate agency First National Bonnici and Associates.

Sales representative Lexley Sewell said the new retail hub was “a great sign for the area”.

“And it’s backed by Albury Council, including at a community meeting held at Table Top a couple of weeks ago,” she said

Mrs Sewell said there were also options for several other retail outlets.

The agency has “in-principle agreements” for the addition of a pharmacy and a medical centre.

It has begun talks with a boutique supermarket chain, a hairdresser, a lolly shop “and a couple of other retail outlets”.

“Planning and environment director Michael Keys from the council told everybody that they were very excited about, that they were happy to back the development,” Mrs Sewell said.

“He said there was a pharmacist and a medical clinic already set to go in there.

“There will be much more added later, but right now they will go into that front section that used to be the tavern.

“Later on it will be extended up further and there will be a lot more shops.”

Mrs Sewell said a lot of what was expected to go into the village centre was in the planning stage.

“But Leigh is aiming at the end of this year,” she said.

“He hasn’t got it set in stone as there’s obviously got to be some readjustments to the critical building.

“As soon as that’s done they will be able to go in.

“We’re just aiming at that timeframe at the moment.”

Mrs Sewell said she would like to hear from anyone interested in either moving an existing business or setting up a new one at the village.

“You could have a business such as a cafe,” she said.

“There’s so much happening out there in terms of residential development, with quite a few lifestyle lots including ones we’ve got next door.

“It all promotes the village concept.”

The agency is seeking people to lease the retail outlets, or buy one of the adjacent nine residential blocks.

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Guilty plea on sex count

A WODONGA man yesterday admitted that he had sex with an underage teenager after grooming girls on Facebook.
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Steven James Hyatt pleaded guilty in the Wodonga Magistrates Court.

That now paves the way for his sentencing, which is likely to start on Friday.

Hyatt has been in custody for several months and once again appeared by video link.

The latest development follows extensive consultation between his barrister, Diana Price, and the prosecution.

A week ago, Ms Price said the likelihood of Hyatt making a plea on the charges, contained in two briefs of evidence, was in the range of “90-95per cent”.

Hyatt had been charged with four counts of sexual penetration with a person aged under 16.

After he was arrested and charged, Hyatt was given bail in Wodonga last November with strict bail conditions.

These included a ban on him using a phone with internet capacity, on him operating a Facebook account and from using social media.

Hyatt was banned also from having contact with girls under 16 and was required to submit his phone for police inspection.

At the time, magistrate John O’Callaghan expressed concern that Hyatt would “groom and be predatory to young woman on social media” and that the charges were “at the very upper end of seriousness”.

But Hyatt then went on the run from police, leading to an appeal for information to track him down.

After his eventual arrest he was also charged with breaching the conditions imposed with his bail.

Last Thursday, another unrelated matter was also adjourned — until June 2 — to allow time for the legal resolution being pursued in relation to the sexual offences.

Sentencing submissions will be taken in the County Court in Wodonga on Friday.

Hyatt did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody.

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Cat back for a crack at Yack

Cat Canteri
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A MELBOURNE musician will be returning to one of her favourite venues in Yackandandah for a live performance of her debut solo album.

The Star Hotel will host Cat Canteri, who will fill the venue with her ’70s rock, blues and outlaw country inspired music from 8pm on Friday of next week.

Her free show makes up one of five stops on her tour promoting her album When We Were Young.

Canteri is well known as the singer-songwriter and drummer with alt-country group The Stillsons.

Visiting for the fourth time, she said her music is well received in the North East.

“I’ve played a lot at Beechworth, Yackandandah and Bright and I always love coming to Indigo Shire, everyone loves the music,” Canteri said.

“When you tour a lot, there is nothing like a family owned pub, a community pub.

“It’s always a very different vibe when the person who owns it lives there and is part of the community.

“There are a few of those places around Australia I try to play at because it is always really great.

“They are such great supporters of live music.”

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