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August 29, 2018

Brisbane, Australia Magistrates Court charges two cotton farmers for $31m fraud

Brisbane, Australia Magistrates Court charges two cotton farmers for $31m fraud

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

On Tuesday, two officers of cotton farming conglomerate Norman Farming in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for alleged fraud of the government. Queensland Police alleged over the past seven years the farmers submitted fraudulent claims to receive funding from Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources, resulting in an approximately AUD20M dishonest personal financial gain. The Court laid charges and released the defendants on bail.

According to the results of the investigation by Police, the two men allegedly falsified documents, including invoices, misrepresenting work from contractors as earthwork supposedly in aid of improving water irrigation efficiency. The two allegedly presented farming-related work on their property on six projects as aimed at improving the efficiency of water irrigation at their property near Goondiwindi.

Police arrested the chief executive officer (CEO) of the conglomerate, 43-year-old John Norman, and the conglomerate’s chief financial officer, 53-year-old Stephen Evans. They appeared in Court represented by their lawyers. In the Court they were charged, Norman with six and Evans with four counts of aggravated fraud, Norman with six and Evans with four counts of fraudulently producing or using a false record. Police opposed bail, however the Magistrate released the two on bail conditionally, requiring they surrender their passports.

According to reports by Australian Broadcasting Corporation and The Guardian, neighbours of Norman Farming had complained to the authorities about Norman Farming’s work resulting in excessive removal of floodwater from the McIntyre river, leading to reduced availability of water for the farmers downstream.

Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy provided the funding as a part of its Healthy Head Waters scheme. Detective Inspector Mick Dowie said the Department did not have the authority of police to compel provision of documents, leading to difficulty with verifying the invoices which the two submitted in their application.

Dowie said the investigation took over a year to complete, including analysis of accounting reports.



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May 30, 2016

Australian Opposition Leader pledges to save Great Barrier Reef

Australian Opposition Leader pledges to save Great Barrier Reef

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Monday, May 30, 2016

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Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten, speaking in Cairns yesterday has pledged an A$500 million fund towards research and programs to help protect Australia’s environmental icon The Great Barrier Reef.

File photo of The Great Barrier Reef.
Image: Jorge Láscar.

Recent surveys indicated coral bleaching has killed more than a third of coral in the Great Barrier Reef’s north and central regions. “All of this is at risk if serious action is not taken to protect it. The Great Barrier Reef is an environmental treasure Australia holds on trust for the world,” said Mr. Shorten.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies performed the surveys. Bleaching is associated with higher-than-average water temperatures resulting from El Niño events, affected by climate change.

ARC said bleaching had affected all but seven percent of the reef. This bleaching event is the third of its kind with notable occurrences in 1998 and 2002. This event in particular has had the biggest impact on the reef so far.

Two weeks ago, James Cook University scientists said the government would have to commit A$10 billion over the next decade or the reef would be incurable in half that time.

$500 million has been promised towards the investment in research and protection of the reef by Mr Shorten over four years.



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Australian Opposition Leader pledges to save The Great Barrier Reef

Australian Opposition Leader pledges to save The Great Barrier Reef

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten, speaking in Cairns today has pledged a $500 million fund towards research and environmental programs to help protect Australia’s environmental icon.

File photo of The Great Barrier Reef QLD, Australia
Image: Jorge Láscar.

Mr Shorten said that the reef was in peril after recent underwater surveys revealed that more than one-third of coral reefs in central and northern regions of The Great Barrier Reef have died as a result of coral bleaching.

“All of this is at risk if serious action is not taken to protect it. The Great Barrier Reef is an environmental treasure Australia holds on trust for the world,” said Mr Shorten.

The surveys were carried out by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, who revealed the bleaching was associated with higher than average water temperatures as a result of El Nino events and is under pressure from climate change.

Initial reports conducted by the ARC claimed that only 7 percent of coral reefs had been left untouched by bleaching. This bleaching event is the third of its kind with notable occurrences in 1998 and 2002. This event it particular has had the biggest impact on the reef so far.

Two weeks ago, James Cook scientists warned that Australia’s environmental icon would be incurable within the next 5 years unless the government commits to spending $10 billion over the next decade.

Mr Shorten is expected to deliver a detailed description of the planning and allocation of funds dedicated towards protecting the reef on Monday.



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May 25, 2016

Australian dairy farmers protest new loan plans

Australian dairy farmers protest new loan plans

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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Thousands rallied around Australia today to protest new loan plans set to provide financial assistance to struggling dairy farmers.

The $578 million relief package was announced today by Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce, and is the government’s response to recent milk price cuts. The loan plan would see low-interest rates on concessional loans of up to $1 million, but farmers claim a review of the entire industry is needed.

Farmer Power, the Victorian group responsible for protests in Melbourne, say dairy farmers are already at the end of their line of credit and cannot afford to take out any more loans. Instead they are calling on the government to secure milk prices by introducing a 50-cent levy on all fresh milk sold in Australia.

Queensland and South Australian rally groups also took to their respective Parliament Houses to call attention to the high rate of suicide among farmers, and ask retailers to end what they’ve labelled the ‘milk price war’. The government allocated $1.5 million in assistance on 20 May, which includes counselling services for dairy farmers experiencing mental health concerns as a result of the price cuts.



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April 25, 2016

University defeat Toads in 2016 Sunshine Coast Rugby Union round 4

University defeat Toads in 2016 Sunshine Coast Rugby Union round 4

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Monday, April 25, 2016

University scored the last try of the match to win by one point.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

Post full time conversion attempt. The shot didn’t have any bearing on the result of the match.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

April 23, 2015
15:16
(UTC+10)
University 25
Toads 24
University of the Sunshine Coast
Sippy Downs, Queensland
Australia

Reigning Sunshine Coast rugby premiers University gained their first win of the 2016 season on Saturday, defeating the Nambour Toads 25–24 at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Sippy Downs, Queensland, Australia.

The hosts took three minutes to score the match’s opening try, scoring another eleven minutes later. Nambour conceded a penalty goal at the 18 minute mark of the half. They scored a converted try eleven minutes later to take a score of 15–7 in University’s favour to the break.

The lead would change hands four times in the second half. Nambour scored two tries in the first nineteen minutes to take a two point lead. University hit back two minutes after the second try to retake the lead. 20–17 in their favour. Nine minutes from full time they scored their fourth try of the afternoon. They converted it to take 24–20 lead.

University scored right on full time to take the win.



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April 20, 2016

Charges against Sally Faulkner and 60 Minutes news crew dropped in Lebanon abduction case

Charges against Sally Faulkner and 60 Minutes news crew dropped in Lebanon abduction case

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner and the crew of Australian current affairs program 60 Minutes are free to leave Lebanon after kidnapping charges against them were today dropped.

Faulkner reportedly made a deal to secure her release, accepting her estranged husband Ali el-Amine’s custody of her two children. This comes after she allegedly hired professionals to abduct the children in Beirut on April 7 while in the care of their Lebanese grandmother.

While personal charges against Australian journalist Tara Brown, her three crew members and Faulkner have been dropped, they still face criminal charges in Lebanon of kidnapping and being members of a criminal gang. If the state chooses to pursue these charges, it could require the accused to return to answer them.

Channel Nine Middle East correspondent Tom Steinfort said that Nine’s lawyers have confirmed bail has been paid for the TV crew, and that they will fly to Australia from Beirut tonight.

The deal between El-Amine and Channel Nine resulted in a significant financial settlement, Fairfax Media reports.

El-Amine is still pursuing charges carrying a maximum 20-year sentence against the crew of Child Abduction Recovery International (CARI) who allegedly conducted the operation.

Adam Whittington of CARI, along with several others involved in the alleged kidnapping, remained in custody. Their lawyers claimed positive developments in the case, saying “everyone will take advantage of the deal.”

In remarks on Monday to News Corp Australia, Whittington said he has receipts for A$115,000 paid directly by the Nine Network to fund the operation.

According to Steinfort, in dropping charges against the 60 Minutes crew, El-Amine told Judge Rami Abdullah the reporters were ‘just doing their job’, and later joked to Steinfort about his relationship with Channel Nine.



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April 16, 2016

Lebanon child abduction charges against mother may be dropped in exchange for custody

Lebanon child abduction charges against mother may be dropped in exchange for custody

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Crime and law
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Sally Faulkner, who allegedly hired professionals to snatch her children from Beirut last week, was offered kidnapping charges to be dropped if she relinquishes custody of her children, according to reports yesterday. This is on the condition she will have full access rights, but must never take the children back to Australia.

The children’s father and Faulkner’s estranged husband, Ali el-Amien, took the children to Lebanon on holiday in 2014 and never returned them to their Brisbane home. Faulkner was granted sole custody of the children, Lahela and Noah, by the Family Court of Australia in December of last year. Faulkner’s lawyer, Ghassan Moghabghab, said Lebanese religious authorities had granted the father full custody.

In remarks to Australian news service ABC News, Moghabghab said money supplied by the Australian current affairs program 60 Minutes was paid to Child Abduction Recovery International, who conducted the abduction last week.

Mr Moghabghab has declined to make further statements, saying it may influence legal negotiations. The Nine Network has also refused to comment on allegations of giving A$115,000 to Faulkner either as payment for rights to the story or to fund the abduction.

The 60 Minutes news crew was remanded in custody beside Faulkner on Wednesday. They face potential jail time of up to 20 years. The crew’s charges include kidnapping, physical assault, withholding information and forming an association to commit a crime against a person. The case has been adjourned until Monday. Judge Rami Abdullah says there is “no chance” of the charges being dropped against the 60 Minutes crew.

According to Child Recovery Australia, less than half of Australian children abducted by a parent are returned through legal means. Lebanon isn’t party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia is making every effort to support the crew and Faulkner, but the legal jurisdiction of Lebanon has to be respected.



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September 3, 2015

Dedicated domestic violence court opens on Australian Gold Coast

Dedicated domestic violence court opens on Australian Gold Coast

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

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Queensland, Australia on Tuesday opened a specialist court dedicated to dealing with domestic violence cases. The Southport Court on the Gold Coast is to undergo a six-month trial, after which domestic violence courts may be opened across the rest of the state. The court’s motto is “timeliness, access and resolution”; it aims to see domestic violence cases lodged and heard on the same day.

Magistrate Colin Strofield, 57, highlighted the need for domestic violence cases to be heard as soon as possible: “If you are in fear of domestic violence or being subjected to domestic violence why should you need to wait one minute longer than you need to?”

Police statistics indicate domestic violence cases in Queensland have risen from 3349 in 2010, to 4683 in 2014; Magistrate Strofield is hopeful the dedicated court will help these figures decline by getting more people to act against domestic violence.

According to Strofield, Southport court gets more domestic violence applications than any other court in Queensland.


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July 25, 2015

University defeat Toads in 2015 Sunshine Coast Rugby Union round 17

University defeat Toads in 2015 Sunshine Coast Rugby Union round 17

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 25, 2015
16:00 (UTC+10)
Toads 17
University 45
Victory Park, Woombye
Australia

University’s first try.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

In Queensland‘s Sunshine Coast Rugby Union, University defeated Toads 45 points to 17 at Woombye, Australia this afternoon. They opened the scoring after 18 minutes with an unconverted try.

Toads scored their first points three minutes later but would not score again until the nine minute mark of the second half. By this point University had scored three more tries — two of which were converted — and two penalty goals.

University ran in two tries to one after this to wrap up the 28 point win. Caloundra defeated Maroochydore by 7 points in the other A Grade game.



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Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
  • USC Rugby. “Full time in A Grade” — Facebook, July 25, 2015
  • Sunshine Coast Rugby Union. “A Grade” — Facebook, July 25, 2015
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September 14, 2014

Noosa win 2014 Sunshine Coast Rugby Union premiership

Noosa win 2014 Sunshine Coast Rugby Union premiership

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 13, 2014
Noosa 10
University 9
Sunshine Coast Stadium
Bokarina, Queensland
Australia
Attendance: 2000 approx.
Referee: Gavin Hawkins

Noosa are Sunshine Coast Rugby Union premiers in 2014. They defeated University 10–9 yesterday in the Grand Final at Sunshine Coast Stadium in Bokarina, Australia.

Last time they met
In 2014 — Major Semi Final
Noosa 13 defeated University 0

In a grand final — 2011
University 12 defeated Noosa 9

Noosa got to the premiership decider after finishing on top of the standings and winning the Major Semi Final at Sunshine Beach. University finished second, lost the Major Semi Final to Noosa and defeated Toads at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

The two teams last met in a grand final in 2011. University were victorious 12–9.

Grammar v Brothers.JPG Grammar played Brothers in the Under15/16 Grand Final – the only game of the day not featuring a Noosa team.
Image: Patrick Gillett.

Noosa enter the playing arena.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

University enter the playing arena.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

SCRU 2014 Grand Final kick off.JPG University kicked proceedings off.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Uni penalty goal 2014-09-13.JPG Daniel Nethenry kicked all of University’s penalty goals in the first half
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Mel Volker 2014-09-13 16.10.43.JPG Touch judge Mel Volker during the game.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Steve Ryan 2014-09-13 17.34.25.JPG Touch judge Steve Ryan during the game.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Grand Final Crowd 2014-09-13 17.01.05.jpg The Grand Final crowd.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Noosa player injured 2014-09-13 17.25.43.jpg Noosa player injured during the game.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
Noosa premiers 2014-09-13 18.00.51.jpg Noosa are SCRU premiers in 2014 after Davi Harold scored a penalty goal and converted a Keith Strajnar try.
Image: Patrick Gillett.
SCRU Grand Final final score 2014-09-13 18.02.29.jpg SCRU Grand Final final score on the scoreboard.
Video: Patrick Gillett.

Noosa are once again to have their name engraved on the premiership trophy. File video from August 2013
Video: Patrick Gillett.



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