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Community forum on ageing well
Community forum on ageing well

15 July 2024, 9:00 PM

Following his June forum on health services, Finniss MP David Basham will host a free community forum on preparing to age well on Tuesday 30 July.Author and aged care advocate Gail Miller will be the keynote speaker and she will host a Q and A session.She says her passion is working with families to achieve the best possible aged care outcomes so that choice and quality of life remain paramount.“My presentation will unpack easy ways to solve the aged care puzzle, explain aged care and help you start to find the best solutions whether it is for yourself, relative or friend.”There will also be presentations, interactive displays and assistance from local services including Services Australia, My Aged Care, ARAS and Connect Care.Mr Basham says he has heard the pain of many constituents who are finding it challenging and overwhelming to navigate the Aged Care system and support services.  “I am proud to be able to bring together for one morning, a range of organisations that want to provide information, showcase their services and answer questions.“This Forum will inspire people to take proactive steps to age gracefully with support in this beautiful part of South Australia.“It can be challenging to know where to get help and how aged care services work – this forum will start the conversation, provide suggestions and resources to the community and inform me about the key issues of concern for constituents.”According to the Rural Support Service Planning and Population Health Team by 2036 the 80+ age group is expected to more than double, while the region’s population will increase by 8 per cent. The forum will be held at the Encounter Bay Football Club from 10am to 12noon and will include morning tea and a showbag.Those who want to attend to register by Thursday 25 July by calling 8552 2152 or by email. For more information visit the website. The next forum is planned for August and will be run in conjunction with SAPOL.  

Extended deadline: Best of Wine Tourism Awards 2025
Extended deadline: Best of Wine Tourism Awards 2025

15 July 2024, 2:45 AM

The prestigious Best of Wine Tourism Awards 2025 are now open for applications, and all wineries and wine-related businesses within the Fleurieu Peninsula tare eligible. The extended deadline for submissions is Wednesday, 17 July 2024, at 5 pm. This is a chance to shine on both a national and global stage, showcasing the excellence and innovation that define the region.Eligibility and Award DetailsWineries or wine-related businesses can enter one category only. While winners from 2024 are not eligible to re-enter the same category this year, there are plenty of opportunities to highlight different aspects of a business. The awards celebrate the dedication and creativity within the wine industry across seven distinct categories:AccommodationArchitecture and LandscapeArt and CultureCulinary ExperiencesInnovative Wine Tourism ExperiencesWine Tourism ServicesThis year the awards will continue to emphasise sustainability, recognising the importance of sustainable practices in grape growing, production, packaging, and tourism. An independent panel of esteemed wine experts—Helen Edwards AM, Tony Love, and Nick Ryan—will judge the entries. All shortlisted entries across six categories will be considered for the Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices award. This special award honors businesses that have integrated environmental, economic, and social sustainability innovations into their tourism offerings.Winning the South Australian category can propel your business onto the international stage, competing for the Global Best Of Wine Tourism Award, offering valuable global exposure.Entering the awards offers numerous benefits, including enhancing a reputation for excellence and innovation in wine tourism. It also provides an opportunity for introspection, helping businesses understand and appreciate their impact on the industry. Award winners will receive:A certificate and trophy presented at the SA Wine Industry Dinner on Thursday 19 September, with two tickets to attend.Significant media exposure, including international coverage.Opportunities to showcase at premium wine and food events such as CheeseFest and National Wine Centre events, which may involve masterclasses, interviews, wine tasting, and other activities.A marketing toolkit and support, including a special award logo for websites and email signature, to help leverage the win and promote the business.Networking opportunities with industry leaders and peers.Celebrating Last Year's Local WinnersCongratulations to Yangarra Estate in McLaren Vale for winning the Architecture and Landscape category and to Gemtree Wines, also in McLaren Vale, for securing the Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices award. Their successes have set a high standard and serve as inspiration for others in the region.Don’t miss this chance to highlight the unique qualities of your winery or wine-related business. Apply now and join the ranks of excellence in the Best of Wine Tourism Awards 2025.Find out more

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Meet the RSPCA Pets of the week: Millie & Manuel
Meet the RSPCA Pets of the week: Millie & Manuel

14 July 2024, 3:08 AM

This week, RSPCA South Australia introduces two special animals in search of their forever homes at the O’Halloran Hill animal care campus.Milly: The Endearing Pirate LadyMeet Milly, with animal ID 182290, a beautiful dog currently residing at RSPCA South Australia’s O’Halloran Hill animal care campus. Milly has earned the affectionate nickname "pirate lady" due to her unique one-eyed appearance. However, she’s ready to trade her pirate life for a life of comfort and luxury.Milly is a hospice dog, which means she requires a special family who will provide love and care during her final stages of life. The shelter staff can provide more details about what this involves. Despite her condition, Milly’s endearing personality shines through, and she’s known to steal the hearts of everyone she meets. To learn more about Milly or to meet her, visit her profile here.Manuel: The Adorable SmoocherIntroducing Manuel, with animal ID 189052, a handsome young cat who arrived at the O’Halloran Hill campus two months ago as a stray. Manuel is an affectionate and cuddly boy who loves to shower his humans with love. His easy-going nature makes him a perfect fit for any home.Manuel’s love language includes pats and snacks, so if you want to win his heart quickly, you know the secret. He would thrive in a happy home where he can explore his surroundings and engage in fun activities. Manuel is open to sharing his home with another furry friend, but a slow introduction is recommended to ensure a smooth transition. To learn more about Manuel or to meet him, visit his profile here.Both Milly and Manuel are looking for loving homes where they can share their unique personalities and bring joy to their new families. If you’re interested in adopting, please visit the RSPCA South Australia’s animal care campus at O’Halloran Hill.Visit the RSPCA South Australia’s animal care campus at O’Halloran Hill and add a new companion to your life – it's a decision you won’t regret.The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) South Australia is the state’s oldest and largest animal welfare charity, dedicated to giving animals a second chance at a happy life.

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Tips for a whale of a time this winter
Tips for a whale of a time this winter

13 July 2024, 8:00 PM

The winter months signal more than just cooler weather for the Fleurieu Peninsula – they herald the arrival of whales migrating along the coastline. Make the most of whale watching season The ideal time to witness these gentle giants is between May and October, with peak season from June to September. During these months, both southern right whales and humpback whales grace the south coast as part of their annual migration from the icy waters of the sub-Antarctic. Marine biologist Dr Ali Bloomfield, of Fleurieu Marine Education, says the Fleurieu Peninsula offers prime land-based whale-watching spots, including The Bluff in Victor Harbor, Nakurami Kondoli (the whale lookout at Encounter Bay), Basham Beach at Middleton, and Frenchman's Lookout in Port Elliot. Before setting off on a whale-watching adventure, Ali suggests checking the Encounter Whales Facebook page for up-to-date sighting information. Pack warm clothing, sunglasses, binoculars if you have them, and a thermos of your favourite hot drink. Most importantly, she says, be patient – whale watching requires time and perseverance.Photo: South Australian Tourism Commission. Encounter Bay: a critical nursery Encounter Bay is a vital sanctuary for endangered southern right whales, serving as a breeding and nursery ground. Mothers and calves often spend up to four months in these waters, and the bay witnesses an average of three births each year, making it critical for the species' survival. The Encounter Bay Right Whale Study (EBRWS) spearheads conservation efforts in the area through a citizen science program. It focuses on photo-identification, data collection for national assessments, behavioural studies, and movement tracking. This research is invaluable for refining conservation strategies. Dr Claire Charlton, a marine biologist with EBRWS, says that each year they eagerly anticipate the return of favourite whales to the Encounter Bay nursery. “Many mothers, including Anu, Shamrock, and Chapeau, could potentially visit this season, based on their 3–5-year birth cycles,” she says. “Teresa, a veteran mother first recorded in 2006, is also a hopeful returnee. And let's not forget our beloved males, like Milky Way, Latte, Augustus, and Captain Hook, who always bring a smile to our faces.” “Numerous other females have birthed calves here, and with more photos, we could identify even more individuals,” Claire says. EBRWS encourages anyone with good quality photos of whales to share their images and contribute to this important research effort. Learn, explore, and protect Whale watching offers a unique opportunity to learn about and appreciate these magnificent creatures. However, it also serves as a reminder of the threats they face, Ali says. “We want people to appreciate them, as they were hunted to near extinction and they still face threats from humans: entanglement, boat strikes, disturbance, and climate change.” Ali warns that if we don’t take action to conserve whales they might not be around forever. “Southern right whales are an endangered species and last year we didn’t have any resident nursing mothers, which was heartbreaking. We all hope we see some mothers return to our waters to birth and nurse their calves this year.” To deepen your understanding of whales, visit the South Australian Whale Centre in Victor Harbor, offering interactive exhibits, educational programs, and the latest sighting information. Fleurieu Marine Education provides guided tours of the centre and walking tours focused on Victor Harbor's whaling history.There’s no doubt about it – the Fleurieu really is the place to be this winter for a whale of a time!Photo: South Australian Tourism Commission.

Jumping in the deep end: swimming champion Vicki Murphy
Jumping in the deep end: swimming champion Vicki Murphy

13 July 2024, 3:00 AM

As the water glided over her body at the 1958 National Swimming Championships, Resthaven Port Elliot resident Vicki Murphy knew she had hit her stride—or stroke, as it were.“It’s a lovely feeling when it all goes right,” Vicki reminisces. “You can feel the water sliding past your body, and everything else just fades away.”Swimming under her maiden name, Page, Vicki won two bronze medals at the event. She earned one for the 220-yard breaststroke and another as part of the 440-yard medley relay team. She was only 14 years old.“The year before, I traveled to Tasmania for my first nationals,” Vicki recalls. “I went with my mother, who was the team manager at the time. Dawn Fraser, the Australian Freestyle Champion swimmer, and I stayed in the same room, becoming friends as well as swimming teammates. She always said the only thing she couldn’t beat me at was breaststroke.”Growing up in the South Australian suburb of Henley Beach, Vicki and her family lived just a few streets away from the beach.“As a kid, I loved swimming,” Vicki says. “My brother, Tony, was very involved with the Henley Surf Lifesaving Club up to the state level, and my mum let me go down to the beach with him. "When I was about nine years old, I came home with a certificate for the 25-yard freestyle. She asked me where it had come from, and I had to confess that I had been jumping the fence and joining in the swimming lessons at the Henley Beach open-air saltwater swimming pool, where water was pumped in from the ocean. "There was really nothing else for it; she enrolled me properly, and I started training there legitimately.”Vicki began competing in more events, experimenting with different strokes, and building her abilities. She started working with a coach, Harry Gallagher, and soon was training six or seven days a week. Slowly, she began to specialise in breaststroke.“We always swam in cold water,” Vicki says. “Whether at Henley Beach or the City Baths. I remember at the City Baths, a couple of the boys would often misbehave, and their punishment was to scrub the sides of the Henley pool to get it clean before the summer opening.”Vicki also remembers the canteen at the City Baths, operated by the Red Cross.“We used to buy Bush Biscuits from there,” she says. “If we were lucky, they might have butter spread on them, but either way, they were always good for filling up after a big swim.”By the time Vicki was 14, she traveled to Townsville to train with the 'Golden Dolphins' for three months. This team was training and preparing for the next Olympics, Rome 1960.“It took us eight hours to fly to Townsville,” Vicki says. “There were six to eight of us all staying in one house. There was no washing machine, so we all had to wash our clothes in the bath. We would walk up and down on our clothes and then rinse!”Vicki continued to swim well, winning a bronze medal for the 440-yard individual medley, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.“A different breaststroke swimmer was chosen for the team, I had the discipline, but I lacked the killer instinct.”Vicki’s family were all involved with swimming in one way or another.“My mum, while working full-time, became the first female registrar of swimming in South Australia, as well as team manager for the SA state teams. She is a life member of Swimming SA,” Vicki says.Vicki met her future husband, Fred, on Anzac Day at the Norwood Town Hall. During their courtship, Fred was attending plumbing trade school while Vicki was taking a cooking class.“We used to finish at the same time, and Fred would drive me home,” Vicki recalls.The couple married in 1965, and a few years later, Vicki became pregnant.“We went to the doctor, and during the check-up, he said something didn’t look quite right. He arranged an X-ray, and sure enough, we were pregnant with twins,” Vicki says.A girl and a boy, Andrea and Jason, were born in 1968. As the children grew up, Vicki continued to work in the swimming industry, teaching children, adults, and those with disabilities. Her daughter Andrea also worked with her from the age of around 14.“Mum was an amazing contributor to the public and private swimming industry in South Australia over many years,” Andrea says. “It was beautiful to watch her swim.”“Her passion for the water came about not only because she loved swimming herself, but she wanted to instill in every person the skill of swimming. She was way ahead of her time, and she was a force to be reckoned with, particularly when it came to equal rights and opportunities within the industry.”Vicki continued to swim in the Australian Masters Games, and on a daily basis, she could be found swimming across Horseshoe Bay at Port Elliot.Sadly, in August 2006, Vicki suffered a stroke. Some seven months later, in March 2007, she was well enough to leave the hospital.“I’ve lost the use of one arm and leg, but at home, I could use my quad walking stick to get around the veranda three times. I was doing okay.”In 2018, Vicki moved into Resthaven Port Elliot, knowing that she would benefit from the care and social interactions. Fred, now aged 85, visits her every day, apart from when he’s on the golf course.A little while ago, Vicki had a special guest at Resthaven.“Dawn was in South Australia for the Australian Swimming titles, and she and another swimming teammate, gold medallist Margaret Gibson, who won a gold medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, came to see me,” Vicki says. “I probably should have told some other people she was coming. There were a few people afterward who came up to me and said, ‘She looked familiar!’”

Parked car crashes on the rise
Parked car crashes on the rise

12 July 2024, 9:41 PM

Having your vehicle hit while parked is the most common reason for making a car insurance claim, accounting for more than 10,000 claims every year, according to new data from RAA Insurance.It has revealed the top 10 most common reasons for making a car insurance claim, with ‘damaged while parked’ topping the list at 18 per cent of all motor claims. It was followed by hit fixed object (17 per cent), windscreen damage (16 per cent) and rear end collision (12 per cent).This is supported by anecdotal evidence on Fleurieu local Facebook groups, with regular callouts for witnesses to hit and run vehicle damage, especially in shopping centre car parks.Victor Central in Victor Harbor is a particular hotspot, with smaller parking spaces and tighter turns since its redevelopment several years ago and a rise in use of SUVs.Head of Claims at RAA Insurance Jess Lyons says RAA receives more than a thousand car insurance claims every week.“In the 2022-23 financial year we paid out more than $250 million in car insurance claims,” she says.“Having your vehicle hit while parked is unfortunate and often out of your control – so you probably don’t want to be footing the repair bill yourself.“In this instance, we always recommend getting the details of the driver who hit you if you can, so your insurer can help you investigate potentially having your excess waived if you weren’t at fault.“If you’re the one who hits a parked car, you must stop and provide your details or report the incident to the police.“We also receive a lot of claims for damaged windscreens, which can be a real safety hazard, so we recommend getting these repaired as soon as possible.”

School Holiday Fishing Report
School Holiday Fishing Report

12 July 2024, 10:34 AM

The July school holidays have arrived with a blast of cold northeasterly winds, bringing rain to the far north of our state and chills to fishers on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Whether you're on a local jetty, in a tinny, or at the beach, there's plenty of action to be found these school holidays!Hot Spots and Tips:Jetties: Pt Noarlunga, Normanville, Rapid Bay, and The Bluff are buzzing with tommies, big squid, and salmon up to 1 kg. Squid are particularly aggressive in the last hour of daylight, while tommies are best early in the morning. Use a good berley trail and light gear for the best tommy catch—these fish are plump and full of flesh!Boats: Anglers from Sellicks, Carrickalinga, Lady Bay, Wirrina, and Cape Jervis are finding it tough with discoloured waters slowing down the bite. However, big boat crews are chasing tuna, snapper, red nannys, and kingfish at the Sanders Bank and off Tunk and Newland Head.Shore Fishing: For those casting from the shore, head to Morgan's, Fisheries, Waits, and Parson's. Work the gutters and target high tides for a better chance at catching salmon.Local Waters: Encounter Bay and Victor Harbor are good spots when the weather permits. Boat crews are finding KG whiting, squid, and garfish around Yilki Bay and West Island grounds.River Fishing: The Goolwa river mouth and Scab Channel are holding mullet and the occasional soapie mulloway. There's also mulloway along the Coorong at The Granites.Key Tips:Squid Fishing: Best during the last hour of daylight.Tommy Ruffs: Early morning is prime time with a berley trail and light gear.Salmon: Work the gutters and target high tides for the best results.Stay warm, stay safe, and happy fishing!

Four OMCG men arrested
Four OMCG men arrested

12 July 2024, 6:47 AM

Four men have been arrested earlier this week following investigations undertaken by Serious and Organised Crime Branch.On Wednesday 19 June, police will allege that two men entered a licensed café at Noarlunga Centre wearing clothing identifying themselves as members of the Comanchero Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMCG).Following an investigation, a 46-year-old man from Christies Beach and a 27-year-old Noarlunga Downs man were arrested and charged with wearing a prohibited item in a licensed premises.The 46-year-old Christies Beach man was refused police bail and is due to appear in Adelaide Magistrates Court today (Friday 12 July).The Noarlunga Downs man was granted police bail and will appear in Christies Beach Magistrates Court on 15 August.It will be further alleged that on Saturday 22 June, three men who are known members of the Comanchero OMCG were together in a public place at Glenelg.A 38-year-old Aldinga Beach man, a 36-year-old man and a 46-year-old man both from Christies Beach, were arrested and charged with being participants of a criminal organisation present in a public place with two other participants of a criminal organisation.The 36-year-old and the 38-year old men were granted police bail and will appear in Adelaide Magistrates Court on 1 October.The 46-year-old man has been refused bail and is due to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court today.​As a result of searches conducted in metropolitan Adelaide this week, a motorcycle and car were seized and will be subject of confiscation proceedings.Detective Chief Inspector David Huddy, Officer in Charge of Crime Gangs Task Force states, “South Australia Police are committed to policing criminal gangs, including OMCG’s, to ensure the community is safe.The arrests and seizures send a message to those involved with criminal gangs, such as Comanchero Outlaw Motorcycle Group, that SA Police are committed to investigating their unlawful activities and holding them to account when offences are detected.The community are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers if they have any information about the activities of criminal gangs and their members or associates.”You can anonymously provide information to Crime Stoppers online at https://crimestopperssa.com.au or free call 1800 333 000.CO2400026729CO2400026733

Surf Life Saving SA honours Ronald Harwood
Surf Life Saving SA honours Ronald Harwood

12 July 2024, 3:00 AM

In a heartwarming recognition of dedication and service, Surf Life Saving South Australia (SA) proudly awarded four Life Memberships at the 2024 Awards of Excellence evening in June. Among the esteemed recipients was Ronald Harwood from Christies Beach Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), celebrating an impressive 56-year membership journey that began in 1967.Ron Harwood's association with Surf Life Saving has seen him contribute significantly across several clubs, including Semaphore, South Port, North Haven, Henley, Somerton, and most notably, Christies Beach. His unwavering commitment and passion for the sport have left an indelible mark on the community.Excelling in Surf Sports, Ron has distinguished himself as a Surf Boat Sweep, nurturing talent and guiding multiple clubs to success. His coaching and sweep development have been pivotal, and his efforts have seen him represent South Australia and Surf Life Saving Australia on numerous occasions. A highlight of Ron's illustrious coaching career was winning Gold in the 2017 Reserve Women’s ASRL and 120yrs Open Women’s races. He has also claimed over 20 SA State Championship medals as the sweep of several Junior, Open, and Masters male and female crews between 1970 and 2023.Beyond his sporting achievements, Ron has been recognised with 38 awards, including a 15 Year Patrol Service Award and a 25 Year Long Service Award. His contributions at the state level are equally impressive, having held several important administrative positions, including state council member, board member, chairperson, and club president.One of Ron's most significant contributions was his instrumental role in the rebuild of the Christies Beach Surf Life Saving Club. His tireless efforts laid the foundations for the Mid Coast Surf Life Saving Clubs Group, which has been crucial for the development, stability, and financial benefit of the five surf clubs within the City of Onkaparinga.Ron Harwood's life membership is a testament to his dedication, leadership, and passion for Surf Life Saving. His legacy will continue to inspire future generations, and his contributions will be remembered and celebrated for years to come.Ronald Harwood - Christies Beach SLSC Photo: https://www.surflifesavingsa.com.au/

Call for Minister for older Australians
Call for Minister for older Australians

11 July 2024, 8:55 PM

Independent MP for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has formally moved a Private Members Motion calling on the government to establish a portfolio for older Australians. The post would be similar to the Minister for Youth, the Minister for Women, and Minister for Multicultural Affairs. Currently, Health Minister Mark Butler also serves as Minister for Aged Care.The number of people aged over 65 years in Australia is anticipated to grow from 4.31 million in 2021 to 6.66 million by 2041, according to Ms Sharkie.The number of those aged over 85 years is expected to grow by 140 per cent from 534,000 to 1.28 million over the same timeframe.Ms Sharkie met last year with Prime Minister Albanese, the Independent MP for Kennedy, Bob Katter and Mr Ross Glossop, Chair of the National Seniors Australia Board, to ask that the growing impacts and contributions of older people and issues affecting them be managed in a strategic, holistic and inclusive way, by a new Minister for Older Australians. “We have good data on the experiences of our older Australians now, and the shape of our population in years to come. It's what we do now with that knowledge, to plan for the future, which will be vital," Ms Sharkie says."Many of my constituents in Mayo and other older Australians report experiencing age discrimination, elder abuse, financial stress and homelessness. Reports of elder abuse are growing, employment age discrimination is reported by one in five of those aged over 65 years, and those pensioners who would like to work face barriers such as inaccessible Services Australia online and telephone systems.""Creation of a portfolio and Minister for Senior Australians would enable older people to better engage with the policy-makers on a wide range of matters, not limited to aged care. “It is also an opportunity to reframe the narrative, beyond a view of older generations as a burden to be cared for, to rather recognise them as the builders of our nation and among our greatest assets."

If Meta bans news in Australia, what will happen?
If Meta bans news in Australia, what will happen?

11 July 2024, 3:00 AM

If Meta bans news in Australia, what will happen? Canada’s experience is telling.The ongoing news ban in Canada has had several key effects. First, the removal of direct links to news articles meant a collapse in user visits to news sites. Those who once occasionally clicked on a news link in their feed can no longer do so.This has especially affected regional and local news sites, for whom Facebook is often a key source of audience traffic. At a time when regional and rural areas of both Canada and Australia are already in danger of turning into “news deserts”, this is particularly concerning.News outlets and audiences have worked around the bans to some extent. They’ve found circumvention techniques, such as posting article content without links, or article screenshots.But such tricks can never fully replace the audience attention that has been lost. They also don’t help news outlets generate revenue for their content (as website traffic does through ads).Instead, the main replacement for news coverage on Facebook has been political discussion that doesn’t directly reference or link to the news it draws on. This disconnection also opens the door for the circulation of well-meaning misinformation or deliberate disinformation.Ultimately, the users of Meta’s platforms who suffer the most are those who are least interested in the news and who believe “news will find them”.Highly invested news consumers will always find the news somewhere else. Those who see news only when people in their networks share articles will miss out, and may not even notice what they’re missing.News is already hard to find on social mediaSocial media users are on these platforms for many other purposes than to follow the news. Most Australians don’t actually care much for news in the first place.According to this year’s Digital News Report Australia, 68% of Australians actively avoid the news, and 41% suffer from news fatigue. After years of wall-to-wall reporting about pandemic, ecological, domestic violence, financial and military crises, this is hardly surprising.Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code was conceived with a flawed assumption that social media play a central role as a conduit to news content, and that Facebook wouldn’t follow through on its threats to ban news.But Facebook’s parent company Meta did exactly that, and shows no signs of changing that approach. Indeed, even where it doesn’t actively ban news content altogether, it is now substantially reducing news visibility in the feeds of its users.This is because news has long tended to be more trouble for Meta than it’s worth. Not only is news a minute subset of all Facebook content, but it also generates an out-sized amount of unhappiness and controversy that requires costly moderation.Meta also knows that reducing the visibility of news on its platforms doesn’t substantially impact on user experience. By its own calculations, only some 3% of the posts Facebook users see in their feeds contain links of any kind.This can’t be independently verified without greater data access for independent researchers than the company currently provides, but certainly aligns with the everyday experience of ordinary Facebook users. Even of these 3% of posts, only a fraction link to news sources, let alone Australian news sources.Our own analysis during the brief Australian news ban in February 2021 showed only a very minor impact on the posting and engagement patterns on Australian Facebook pages. Many users may not even have noticed news was suddenly missing from their feeds.What can Australia do now?In 2021, the news ban was temporarily resolved by Meta agreeing to voluntarily make some payments to a select few Australian news organisations.In exchange, the then Morrison government elected to not “designate” Meta under the bargaining code, meaning the provisions didn’t apply to Meta’s platforms. These agreements are now coming to an end and Meta has already stated it has no interest in renewing them.This gives the Albanese government the choice between applying the code to Meta after all, or allowing the agreements to expire without consequence. The latter would effectively kill off the News Media Bargaining Code as a meaningful piece of legislation.Formally “designating” Meta to make it pay news publishers is likely to backfire. Meta is building an obvious argument here: if its platforms carry only a limited amount of Australian news content, why should it be forced to share revenue with Australian news publishers?Both in the court of public opinion and in any legal proceedings it may pursue, such an argument is likely to prove highly persuasive.A smarter solution to support local newsAustralian news media need financial support, but the bargaining code was always severely flawed legislation. It should be abandoned at the earliest opportunity.There is a better way for the Albanese government to tackle the real issue at stake: media revenue.Right now, most Australian news media outlets are struggling to survive. Since news media moved online, audiences now expect news for free and most readers are not willing to pay. That leaves many publications without a sustainable business model and in need of public subsidy.But we don’t usually provide subsidies by forcing profitable companies to negotiate directly with unprofitable ones, like the News Media Bargaining Code does. An alternative model is needed.One option could be to use the corporate tax generated from digital platforms to support public-interest journalism by Australian media organisations. This would mean taxing the platforms’ revenues appropriately and fairly in the name of Australian citizens and in the national interest.However, this would also require a stronger quality framework for what constitutes public-interest journalism. The latest round of journalism lay-offs in Australia shows we are rapidly running out of alternatives if we want to sustain quality, diverse Australian news content into the future.Axel BrunsProfessor, Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of TechnologyThis article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

Councils take back aquatic centre
Councils take back aquatic centre

10 July 2024, 8:30 PM

The body charged with overseeing the Fleurieu Aquatic Centre will hand oversight back to Alexandrina Council and the City of Victor Harbor.The Fleurieu Regional Aquatic Centre (FRAC) Authority was established in 2015 as a joint subsidiary of the two councils to deliver and manage the multi-million-dollar facility.Elected members of both councils have been questioning the increasing costs of running the  aquatic centre and last year the Authority instigated a comprehensive review of the facility’s governance structure.It identified an opportunity to realise significant efficiencies by handing oversight to the constituent councils without impacting day-to-day operations.FRAC Authority chair Steve Mathewson says with the much-loved community facility in its eighth year of operation, the timing was right to look at the governance structure.“There is no denying the Fleurieu Aquatic Centre is a valuable community asset. “Since opening to the community in 2017, the aquatic centre has welcomed well over a million visitors to the facility and provided South Coast communities with social value in the order of $3.2 million in 2022/23.” “The Authority Board is extremely proud to have been integral to the facility’s development, and we hand back oversight to the constituent councils knowing they will continue building on the strong foundation we have built.”Alexandrina Council Chief Executive Officer Nigel Morris says that after considering a range of options, the constituent councils resolved to continue operations of the Fleurieu Aquatic Centre under a Joint Venture Agreement.“Now the heavy lifting has been done by the Authority in getting the facility established, the councils are in a position to take on an oversight role. “This will see efficiencies achieved through the reduction in extensive legislative resource requirements, and thus enable the councils and management provider, YMCA, to focus directly on running the well-utilised facility.“A Joint Venture Agreement to manage the Aquatic Centre will appropriately draw on the skills and resources that already exist within our councils to continue to oversee the facility.”City of Victor Harbor Chief Executive Officer Victoria MacKirdy says the changes will not make any difference to day-to-day users of the facility.“There will be no disruption to services at the Aquatic Centre. YMCA will continue to deliver all services and programs as per usual.“Alexandrina Council and the City of Victor Harbor have always benefited from a strong collaborative relationship. “The winding up of the subsidiary and commencement of a Joint Venture Agreement shows our continuing efforts to work in the best interests of our neighbouring communities.”The council chiefs jointly acknowledged the board members and executive staff who have served the Fleurieu Regional Aquatic Centre Authority since 2015 and played an important role in shaping the success of the aquatic centre.“The regional subsidiary has served the needs of member councils and the community well, and we would like to thank members of the FRACA Board, Audit and Risk Committee and Executive Officers for their service and commitment over this time.”As per standard processes to wind up a subsidiary, a request was submitted to the Minister for Local Government and was subsequently approved.The winding up will take effect following the publication of formal notice by the Minister for Local Government. This is expected to occur in August 2024.

Nature Positive Bills update
Nature Positive Bills update

10 July 2024, 3:00 AM

The federal government is moving forward with its underwhelming Nature Positive Bills, ignoring widely supported amendments proposed in the House of Representatives late June, according to BirdLife Australia, the nation’s leading bird conservation organisation, which warns that these bills will not stop Australia’s extinction crisis.“The laws meant to protect threatened species in Australia are failing, with one in six Australian birds at risk of extinction,” says BirdLife Australia CEO Kate Millar. “The Albanese Government has a chance to fix these broken laws and protect Australian birds and nature from further destruction. Instead, they’re rejecting constructive amendments and pushing ahead with weak reforms that won’t make a real difference.”The bill to create Environment Information Australia (EIA), a federal agency to monitor Australia's environmental state, needs a clearer definition of what 'nature positive' means. Meanwhile, the bill to establish a federal Environment Protection Agency (EPA) requires enhancements to ensure the EPA's political independence, according to BirdLife Australia.“These bills should not pass the Senate without significant amendments. We urge the Government to negotiate with crossbench senators to ensure the EPA and EIA will effectively protect nature,” Kate Millar says.“BirdLife Australia, as a science-based conservation organisation, welcomes the creation of the EIA to improve environmental data management, monitoring, and evaluation. Reliable, accurate, and accessible data must be at the heart of environmental protection and decision-making.” Ms Millar says the EIA bill should be amended to ensure the definition of 'nature positive' aligns with Australia’s global commitments to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 and achieve a full recovery by 2050. “We are also concerned that the current proposal will not allow Australia to track the recovery of individual threatened species or understand whether their outlook is improving.”A Senate inquiry into the bills has been announced, set to report back by 8 August, providing an important opportunity for the community to contribute its views on the current reforms.The Fleurieu Peninsula, home to unique and vulnerable bird species, is directly impacted by these national policies. Local conservationists and residents alike should be aware that without robust and effective legislation, efforts to protect the peninsula’s rich biodiversity could fall short.More information about Birdlife Australia.

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