THE Casey Contemporary Artists’ Showcase has returned to Casey’s Civic Centre Art Space. Now in its third year, a variety of local art is on displ... Read More »
POLICE are still investigating the circumstances surrounding an explosion in Skye in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Emergency services were called to a reserve bordered by Sanoma Drive, Danube Close and Santa Clara Mews, just before 6am on Saturday 29 August after witnesses heard a large bang believed to be the detonation of an explosive.
An arson chemist also attended the scene and is investigating the incident.
Frankston Crime Investigation Unit detectives are appealing for anyone with information about the explosion to come forward.
Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or make a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.
A DRUNKEN Berwick driver has been jailed for almost three years after his out-of-control car crashed, seriously injuring two passengers.
Matthew Burt, 33, was recently sentenced to three years imprisonment on two charges of negligently causing serious injury to two men as he drove drunk through a roadworks area at more than twice the speed limit in Cranbourne.
Burt had begun drinking with the two male victims approximately 12 hours before the crash, which took place after 2am on Sunday 28 October.
He and a female associate met with the men at Langwarrin Hotel around lunchtime, drinking until 4pm before driving back to the woman’s home where they continued to drink alcohol.
At about 2am, Burt and the men, then aged 34 and 32, left the woman’s home.
The court heard the men remembered thinking “they were going too fast” as Burt sped, eventually crashing his car into water-filled safety barriers set up in a roadworks area on Berwick-Cranbourne Road.
Witnesses reported smelling alcohol on Burt who appeared “confused and dazed” as he staggered around the crashed car.
Crash investigators estimated Burt was travelling between 126-130 km/h in a 60 km/h zone at the time of the crash, sending the safety barriers flying approximately 67 metres from the construction zone.
A blood alcohol sample gave a reading of .144 – almost three times the legal limit.
One of the men was transferred from the scene with life-threatening injuries requiring surgical intervention and rehabilitation.
The court heard the man had been unable to return to work due to ongoing neurological damage caused by the collision.
The other victim sustained less serious injuries, but continues to live with pain in his knees, left foot and depression.
Judge Sue Pullen said Burt had a “very troubling driving history”, having faced courts on a number of occasions for repeat drink driving offences.
Burt was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 months.
He was disqualified from getting a motor licence for the next three years.
CASEY Councillor Rafal Kaplon has lodged a bullying complaint with the Councillor Conduct Panel as allegations have emerged fellow councillor Sam Aziz referred to him as a “parasitic mosquito”.
Narre Warren North MP Luke Donnellan in parliament on 20 August slammed Cr Aziz’s alleged comments, reportedly made in an email sent to councillors and executives.
“Recently Cr Rafal Kaplon, who is from the gay community, was referred to by Sam Aziz as a ‘parasitic mosquito who thrives by spreading blood-borne viruses between otherwise healthy people’,” Mr Donnellan told the parliament.
“They are totally and utterly inappropriate comments from a councillor in the State of Victoria.”
Cr Aziz hit back at Mr Donnellan, saying the Minister for Roads had taken his comments out of context.
“He’s made it look like I’m criticising Cr Kaplon for his sexual orientation – people’s sexual orientation is none of my business – but what is my business is the performance and professionalism of a councillor,” he said.
Cr Aziz said he had recently expressed concerns about “gross misconduct in relation to actions Cr Kaplon has taken” in regards to council matters, but he would not elaborate as it was under investigation.
Casey CEO Mike Tyler said the City of Casey worked to ensure a safe work environment.
The Councillor Code of Conduct governs the agreed standard of councillor behaviour required for the ethical and professional performance of duties under the Local Government Act 1989.
In the event of a dispute under either, there are avenues available for resolution which are conducted confidentially.
Casey mayor Mick Morland said Cr Rafal Kaplon had confirmed that he had not discussed these processes with Luke Donnellan, and that Cr Kaplon considered that the CEO had taken appropriate action.
Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins on Wednesday announced the State Government would soon introduce a new local government Bill which would clarify expectations of councillors and provide tougher standards against councillors doing the wrong thing.
A GREATER Dandenong councillor has likened random visa checks by Australian Border Force officers to tactics of the Stasi and Nazi regimes.
Cr Peter Brown, in response to the “appalling” joint Operation Fortitude by the ABF and Victoria Police that was cancelled in Melbourne’s CBD last weekend, asked in a statement: “Do we really want ‘black shirts’ standing outside our Civic Centre checking visas?”
Cr Brown said the operation was designed to “make people look on their neighbours with suspicion, exactly what the Stasi and Nazi informers encouraged in their time”.
“Since when in Australia has our freedom to walk the streets been contingent upon having proof of citizenship?
“This is what Italian fascists did before World War II, what the execrable Nazis did to identify, label and eliminate Jews, what the Stasi did after (World War II) to ensure that only communists were free to walk the streets of (East) Germany.”
Cr Brown said such checks would racially profile people of non-Anglo Saxon appearance.
“This is not why my father fought the Germans in the Middle East in (World War II) ….
“He fought for the freedom to walk our streets the way we do today and killed those who stood in the way of that freedom.”
In his notice of motion, Cr Brown will call for the Municipal Association of Victoria to adopt a “statewide policy of opposition” to ABF random visa checks.
On 28 August, Operation Fortitude was cancelled after protestors objected at the scene of a scheduled press conference and launch at Flinders Street station.
In an ABF statement, its Victoria and Tasmania regional commander Don Smith was quoted: “ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with.
“You need to be aware of the conditions of your visa; if you commit visa fraud you should know it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught out.”
Later that day, ABF commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said the force’s role in the operation was “misunderstood”.
He said the ABF was to play a “secondary but supporting assist” in the police’s operation to create a “safe city environment”.
“The Australian Border Force will stand by to receive the referrals from the Victorian Police where there are any immigration compliance issues to be enforced or dealt with.
“There was never any intent for the Australian Border Force to proactively go out and seek immigration breaches out in Melbourne city.”
Police Minister Wade Noonan, in a statement on 28 August, said the operation was cancelled due to its “unfortunate and innappropriate characterisation” by the ABF.
THE THREE teenagers reported missing near the Upper Yarra Reservoir have been found.
Victoria Police announced just after 10am on Sunday, 30 August that the trio were located after emergency services searched through the night and into the morning.
“They appear well but have been transported to Maroondah Hospital for observation,” a Victoria Police spokesperson wrote in a Facebook update.
Two 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old wandered off from a group of about 20 teenagers yesterday in the Yarra Ranges National Park, near the Upper Yarra Reservoir at about 2pm on Saturday, 29 August.
Police and emergency services were notified of their disappearance at 5.45pm last night, and have been searching for the trio through the night.
Victoria Police released a statement and said that police helicopters and the Search and Rescue Squad would assist emergency services with the search today.
More as it comes.
THE Education Expo is on at Rose City, and Waddle and Saddle is on in Killarney over the weekend and as a result there will be road closures.
It will be the only time this year that Condamine River Road in Killarney will be specially closed for the event, on Sunday August 30 between 7am and 3pm.
The Education Expo will be on at Rose City on Saturday 29 August, from 9am-2pm next to Bi-Lo. The event is hosted by the Wheatvale State School and provides an opportunity to see what local schools have to offer.
Town, country, public, private and independent schools will all be covered.
For the Waddle and Saddle on Sunday, people of the Southern Downs can either walk, cycle or ride the 14 crossings of the Cambanoora Gorge, Killarney.
There will be a pre-ride briefing at 7.45am followed by start times of 8am for cyclists, 8.15am for horse riders and 8.30am for walkers. This will be followed by regular briefings and controlled starts until 9.30am. No dogs will be allowed and registrations are closed for the event.
The event is organised by the Killarney Show and Rodeo Society.