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  • admin 16:26 on 14/05/2019  

    Caltex oil spill at Botany Bay caused by the recent heavy rains. Photo: Recreational Fishing Alliance The pollution has been described as a ‘sheen’ rather than a ‘spill’. Photo: Recreational Fishing Alliance
    Nanjing Night Net

    Fish and birdlife in Botany Bay have been “devastated” by an oil spill from the Caltex Kurnell Refinery with the pollution washing up on the shore of a nearby national park, a local fishing group claims.

    Caltex, though, said the pollution was caused by heavy rain triggering an overflow from containment areas. The spill was a small one and was quickly contained by crews from the Sydney Ports Corporation, the company said.

    Stan Konstantas, president of the South Sydney Amateur Fishing Association and a local resident, said local anglers had started calling the Environment Protection Authority after 3pm after a slick began spreading across the bay. Clean-up vessels took hours to arrive, he said.

    “I’ve never seen a slick like that in the bay and I’ve been here for close to 40 years”, Mr Konstantas said. “I saw birds going through it, fish going through it.”

    Mr Konstantas said the area is home to kelp beds and sea grass, breeding grounds for a range of species. “It will have a devastating effect on the area,” he said. “I picked up a handful of sand and there was oil dripping through my hands.”

    A spokeswoman from Caltex said the spill resulted only in “a really light sheen” on the surface of the water. A “huge downpour” had caused a drain to overflow, dispersing “a small amount of water containing oil” into Botany Bay, she said.

    “This morning, Caltex, along with Sydney Ports Corporation, have inspected both the north and south side of Botany Bay by boat, and also by foot along the beach front,” Caltex said in a statement. “No odour or sheen was detected and all appears to now be clear.”

    The Environment Protection Authority said it had staff on site on Tuesday to investigate and also described the pollution as a “sheen” rather than a spill.

    “Stormwater from the site and from many other sources resulted in an oil sheen on the Bay.

    “Bunding and stormwater treatment are key requirements which are built to a storm capacity,” said the EPA’s director of its metropolitan branch, Giselle Howard.

    “Given the extreme weather conditions it is likely to be this capacity that has been exceeded but EPA will investigate this aspect once the incident is complete.”

    Sydney Ports strongly denied that there had been any impact on fish and wildlife.

    Malcolm Poole, chairman of the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW, said he has asked the fisheries arm of the NSW Department of Primary Industries to assess the impact on the area’s marine ecosystems.

    Joe Garufi, another member of the South Sydney Amateur Fishing Association and a local resident, said a plume had stretched from the Kurnell oil wharf almost to beyond the heads before authorities responded.

    “Then it was just four boats in total just running around on top of each other trying to disperse it,” Mr Garufi said. “No agent, no solvent, they just let it sit.”

    “We were watching fish rolling on their bellies,” he said.

    Another fisherman, Chris Anagnostou, said: “A simple shout-out to the recreational fishing community would have had 20 to 30 boats ready to help deploy a containment boom within hours. Why on earth would they not use every resource possible to contain the spill?”

    “I understand accidents happen but a fail-safe procedure for such an occurrence should have been in place.”

    with Peter Hannam

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Continue reading Botany oil spill hits wildlife, local anglers say
  • admin 16:26 on 14/05/2019  

    Labor will team up with the Greens to force a Senate inquiry on the health costs incurred by patients, as the Abbott government considers introducing a fee to visit the doctor.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Greens senator Richard di Natale will give notice on Tuesday that he will move for a wide-ranging inquiry that will look a trends in out-of-pocket health costs, the role of private health insurance and the effect of co-payments on health outcomes.

    A vote will be held on the motion on Wednesday. It is likely to pass with the support of Labor.

    An analysis in January by the health research organisation Commonwealth Fund found out-of-pocket costs for Australian patients were higher than all other countries surveyed, other than the US and Switzerland, and double those of France and Britain.

    More than 80 per cent of GP visits were bulk-billed in 2012-13. However, almost 6 per cent of people report deferring seeing the doctor because of cost, while more than 8 per cent said they had deferred purchasing medicines.

    “There are Australians who are not able to access healthcare because it’s becoming too expensive,” Senator di Natale said.

    Senator di Natale said proposals to charge fees for visits to the doctor, or to allow private insurers to cover GP services, would make the situation worse.

    “It’s important that before we make radical changes, that we’ve got all the facts on the table,” he said.

    “There’s never been a more important time to look at the issue.”

    Health Minister Peter Dutton has declared the current rate of growth in health spending is unsustainable and has suggested well-off Australians should be prepared to make a greater contribution to the costs of their healthcare.

    “One important job of the Abbott government is to grow the opportunity for Australians to contribute to their own health care needs,” Mr Dutton told a private hospitals conference in Brisbane on Monday.

    Mr Dutton has not ruled out adopting a proposal by a former advisor to Tony Abbott, Terry Barnes, for a $6 fee to visit the GP.

    In a submission to the government’s Commission of Audit on behalf of the Australian Centre for Health Research, Mr Barnes predicted his plan would save $750 million over four years by reducing avoidable demand for GP services.

    Mr Dutton has also signalled he is open to allowing private health insurers to pay for GP services, a change critics say would widen inequality.

    Mr Dutton said on Monday such a change could strengthen Medicare rather than undermining it, by freeing up time that doctors could spend treating uninsured patients. But Mr Dutton said the government would not support any changes that would result in higher premiums.

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    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Continue reading Senate inquiry to investigate high out-of-pocket health costs
  • admin 16:26 on 14/05/2019  

    Residents of the Boonara Road house in Bondi tried to stop the clean up. Photo: Danielle SmithA house in Bondi surrounded by piles of foul-smelling rubbish will be cleaned up again on Monday morning after the Supreme Court dismissed the latest appeal by the Bobolas family to stop Waverley Council bringing in trucks and skip bins.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Boonara Road house is covered in garbage and refuse including plastic containers, filled garbage bins, plastic creates, metals, food containers and wrappers, tins and jars, household furniture, cushions, foam, cardboard, papers, rags, bottles, construction materials including bricks, tiles and timber, books, live and dead vegetation and disused electrical items collected by Mary Bobolas and her daughters Elena and Liana.

    Waverley Council says the rubbish and pooling water is likely to harbour rats and insects and could cause a serious health threat to the women and their neighbours.

    The Council has regularly removed tonnes of waste from the freestanding Californian bungalow, where the women have lived since the 1970s, but each time it re-accumulates.

    During a hearing in the Land and Environment Court earlier this month, a senior council officer said the waste and rubbish has increased significantly over time and it was the worst he has seen it since 2006.

    On March 4 the court ordered that the council enter the property between March 17 and 21 and remove all waste on the property outside the house.

    On March 14 the Bobolas’ obtained a last minute stay against the orders and the council was forced to go to the Supreme Court on March 17.

    Representing themselves, the women submitted a handwritten application with 79 individual grounds of appeal, which included the claim that in setting a date for the council clean up, they were not given time to clean up themselves, and that the judge was biased.

    They asked not only for the orders allowing the clean up to be overturned but a property protection order.

    They submitted when the council executed a clean up in 2004, “massive” or “extensive” damage was caused to the house and Mary Bobolas claimed the council had exacerbated her physiological problems by removing items from the property and because of “taunts” from contractors.

    Elena Bobolas told Justice Julie Ward that if the council carries out the work it will worsen her mother’s psychiatric problems whereas the family could remove the items themselves within one to two months.

    But Justice Ward said the women have had “ample time” to do so and “there is nothing to give me real confidence” that they would clean up the property properly.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Continue reading Court orders clean up of Bondi house
  • admin 16:26 on 14/05/2019  

    Back in blue and gold: Chris Sandow is set for a shock NRL recall against the Panthers this weekend. Photo: Anthony JohnsonChris Sandow will make a shock return to first grade for Parramatta in this weekend’s clash with Penrith.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Fairfax Media can reveal the enigmatic halfback will play his first NRL game of the season after strong performances for feeder side Wentworthville in the NSW Cup. He will replace Luke Kelly in the No.7 jersey.

    Sandow has spent almost as much time playing for the Magpies as he has with the Eels after signing a lucrative deal worth $550,000 per season. However, he has struggled to find the consistency which made him a superstar at South Sydney. It is understood the Cherbourg product has dealt with his much-publicised off-field issues and will officially get the call up when coach Brad Arthur names his team on Tuesday afternoon.

    Kelly was given first crack at the halfback spot alongside new halves partner Corey Norman, who made the switch from Brisbane in the off-season. However, it is hoped Sandow’s spark could be the difference after a narrow loss to Manly at Brookvale Oval. Sandow has the advantage of being a noted goalkicker, with a series of missed attempts from Joseph Paulo against the Sea Eagles proving decisive.

    Sandow remains contracted to the blue and golds until the end of next season and it was feared he would remain languishing in the NSW Cup for that period. However, he has impressed the coaching staff with his attitude on and off the field and will get another opportunity to reignite his NRL career.

    The Eels are desperate for a win in their local derby with the Panthers at Pirtek Stadium to remain in touch with the top sides.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Continue reading Chris Sandow earns Eels recall
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