Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
7.30 Report -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

(generated from captions) And that's ABC News. with us now for the '7:30 Report' and in an hour we will have an train crash in have an update on the Victorian

have died. For now, goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI

CC

Welcome to the program.

searching Rescue workers are still

searching for survivors tonight

from one of the country's worst

rail disasters. 10 people are

confirmed dead, doesons injured

after a semitrailer crashed

into a passenger train at a level crossing in north-west

Victoria. The death toll is

expected to rise with a number

of people still trapped in the

wreckage and the Victorian

Premier Steve Bracks has

arrived for a briefing at the

crash site near Kerang. The

police major accident unit is crash site near Kerang. The

also there as is the State

coroner. And joining me now is

local SES unit controller Shane

Learson who was on the scene

within minutes of the

accident. As I understand it,

you were there within 10

minutes of the actual

collision, what was the sight

that met your yies, how

difficult was it as a

difficult was it as a

rescue? Yeah, look, they're

right rkts 10 minutes we were

here. We arrived on scene to a

horrific sight. A semihad

collided with the side of the

train, of course tearing the

number two carriage clean open.

The train had travelled down

the tracks quite a way so it

made it very hard for us to get our equipment to the

our equipment to the carriages.

A lot of it had to be carried

in by hand and four-wheel drive

due to the muddy conditions

we've got up here at this

stage. On approaching the

actual carriages, again, very horrific, ambulance officers

were on scene in the carriage.

We liaised with those, of

course, and we were able to

gain access and

gain access and create access

to a lot of the casualties that

were caught amongst the seats

and the wreckage and extricate

a couple and then assisted with

those who weren't trapped. So

how many - how many were able

to walk clear, how many did you

have to actually cut out? The

walking casualties I couldn't say for sure.

say for sure. A lot were

already out of the carriages

when we arrived. We extricated

two casualties who were stuck

in amongst the seating using

our cutters to remove the seats

and then there was another

number of casualties which we

were able to just lift out of

their seats on to stretchers and assist ambows

and assist ambows to get them

to the ambulances and

helicopters that were here on

scene. There the conditions are

you going to be able to work

through the night because we do

understand some are still

trapped? Yeah, I believe so.

There are people still trapped,

of course, deceased. We leave

that the police are going to

continue with a lot of their the investigations through part of

the night. It does look at this

stage we possibly will be stood

down until early hours of the

morning and for a lot better

light for us. As you can see

behind me the wreckage is

there. We've got lights

lighting up at this stage but

it is very difficult to work

under those circumstance with

the due settling down, things

become sipry and very hard to

guys comes manage. Just safety for our

guys comes first, of course,

and I think, you know, at sun

rise we will probably get in

there and do what we've got to

do. Shane, I understand there

were no boom gates at this

crossing but is it correct that

although there's a bit of a

bend leading to the crossing it

should be a clear view from the

road to the rail and vice verse

a? Yes, you're right, there's

no boom gates on this, being a

major highway to

major highway to our northern

towns, but it is signposted and

lights and bells were working

on the day, I believe. And

yeah, the road is fairly clear

and you know, I can't comment

any further on what may have

caused it. Does the crossing

have any previous history? It

years does. We had a bad one 10 or 11

years ago. A car was waiting

for the train and a truck again

actually hit the back of the

car sending it across the

tracks in front of the train.

The train was not involved but

we ended up with one deceased

on that one also. Shane, look,

I understand it's a very

difficult time but thanks very

much for joining us tonight,

thank you. No worries, thank

you. Shane Leerson from the thank you. No worries, thank

Victorian SES. The intense

debate about the need for a

faster broadband network for

Australia took a significant

turn today with news that the

Federal Government is set to go

to the election without having

secured a broadband deal with

Telstra or its main rival, the

Government is Optus-led G9 consortium. The

Government is instead poised to establish an independent panel

of broadband experts both to

overcome hostilities between

the national telco Telstra and

the consumer watchdog the ACCC

and in a bid to pre-empt

Labor's proposal for an open

tender for the multibillion dollar broadband network which has won some support in the

industry. The latest move

suggests considerable loss of

Minister face for Communications

Minister Helen Coonan who had

been moving towards a closed door deal with Telstra to try

to regain the initiative from

Kevin Rudd who took the

Government by surprise with his

new broadband network proposal

four months ago. But contrary

to what has been widely

reported, it also represents a

considerable victory for the

chairman of the ACCC Graeme

Samuel who first called for

such a diplomatic solution and

who has remained defiant in the face of a

face of a torrid personal

attack by Telstra. Greg Hoy

reports.

Whenever I get the

opportunity, I will just listen

to my favourite operas and

thoroughly just become immerse

s in them. It's a great source

of personal relaxation and in a sense of personal

entertainment. Soothing the

strain of office. The

strain of office. The ACCC has

a dagger at the throat of

productivity in this economy

and nobody is doing anything

about it yet. As the soap opera

over who should build a new

national broadband network has

intensified, for months now the

nation's top regulator ACCC

chairman Graeme Samuel has been

under a sustained attack from

the regulation recalcitrant

the regulation recalcitrant

Telstra. What we're asking the

Government to do is to rein in

a rogue regulator or put in

another way, we're asking

elected leaders to take pack control over public

policy. These are personal

attacks, they're spin doctoring, they're rhetoric,

all of which is totally

irrelevant to our performing

our role under the act and our role

role is to look after the welfare of Australian

consumers. And the Government

appeared to be taking Telstra's

side. I don't think I'd call it

circumventing the ACCC. I think

I would more characterise it as

accommodating the kind of

adjustments that might be

needed to enable a new very

risky bill that's going to cost

in therder of $4 billion and if

the current regulatory regime can't

can't yield that outcome, well

then I would look at what might

be required. Under pressure, as

the independent umpire in the

middle of big business

interests, he's not about to

win a popularity contest,

particularly in the emotional

debate over Australia's much

needed information super

highway. Heated debate over

what consumers and other telcos should be

should be charged for delivery

of a laser speed, fibre optic,

multibillion dollar multimedia telecommunications network to

replace Telstra's outdated

copper telephone grid. Telstra

says it's the only one who can

replace the grid because its

copper nexts to Australian

homes will still be required to connect the new

connect the new optic fibre

network being proposed even by

its major rival for the

construction contract - the

Optus-led G9 consortium. But

Graeme Samuel disagrees. All

that we've said to Telstra and

to G9 and frankly to anyone

else that wants to role out a

network of that nature is put your proposals before the

independent umpire, before the

independent umpire, before the

ACCC. But to date Telstra has

refused, instead stepping up

its attack, campaigning against

the ACC deciding what will be a

fair price for consumers and

Telstra's competitors. We have

given the prices to the

Government and that's who we're

negotiating with. If the ACCC

wants to know - wants to know

the prices, they will know them

as soon as the

as soon as the Government

agrees to the plan. Knowing

full well the Minister was keen

to still the march on Labor and

stitch up a deal before heading

to the polls. The ultimate

framework for it will probably

be sorted out well before the

election. But not anymore. Just

when Telstra's attack tactics

seemed to be succeeding, the

7:30 rort has been reliably told Telstra went too far

told Telstra went too far in

the eyes of the Government.. Bs

on this program it was this comment it appears that tilted

the tables and invoked the

wrath of the Prime Minister and

the Federal Treasurer. When

Labor talks about broadband,

they talk about jobs, growth,

economic development, urban

rural paradi, export,

productivity growth, all the

things that are important when

things that are important when

the regulator talking about broadband, they talk about

regulations. Well I don't think

I've ever seen a company in

Australia engage in the kind of

attacks that Telstra is

currently engaging in upon an

independent statutory

regulator. And I would say to

Telstra this attack, and it's

quite a personal attack,

quite a personal attack, is

absolutely unprecedented. So

the prospect of a closed door

deal with Telstra before the

election has been shelved. Instead, the Government will

adopt a consill la toir

proposal. The ACCC has long

suggested. An open tender

process as consistent with

Labor's policy, though for a

less extensive broadband network than Labor had

network than Labor had propose

add. Mr Howard has indicated

for the first time today, three

months before an election that

he might be interested in doing

something about broadband. The

rogue regulator is happy,

Telstra will not get its own

way. With its having regained a

seat at the negotiating table,

Telstra may just have to start

be nice to him. When Graeme

Samuel talks about the national broadband plan,

broadband plan, he talks about

regulations. And he wants to

take regulations for a plain

old telephone service and apply

them to a world of pretty amazing new stuff. Be

transparent, tell the public

what it is you're planning to

do and let the public

scrutinise not only your plans

and proposals but also

scrutinise the way we deal with

them. The public will make up its own

its own mind Mr Whether we're

rogue regulators or we're doing

what we endeavour to do which

is look after the interests of

Australian consumer. Over the

next couple of months a senior

tele communication s specialist

with the ACCC will join an

independent panel of experts to

English guidelines for a

competitive tender. They will

then issue a report to the

Government which after due

consideration will then

initiate a tender

initiate a tender process,

which itself would take a

further three months or so to

complete. This is far from the

blow to Graeme Samuel and the

ACCC that's been widely

reported. The ACCC has more

experience in relation to this

than any other regulator and

it's been dealing with Telstra

it's been dealing with Telstra

a long time. In fact the ACCC's

been dealing with these

interconnect and access issues

ever since competition was

allowed in Australia. But it

has to happen. High speed

broadband are the art r of the

future economy and the business

of government is to make sure

those arteries are laid out and

after 11 long years they

haven't been. So the upshot is

that the Federal Government will not

will not be going to the

election with a broadband deal

bedded down as some would have

wished. The future of telecommunications in Australia

will remain in limbo at least

until after the election. The Treasurer Peter Costello did

indicate today that one

difference between the Government's proposal, what

it's considering, and Labor's

propotion is that under the

propotion is that under the Government no public funds

would be required towards the

roll out. Greg Hoy with nah

report. There are few tougher

responsibilities than that of

carer for a disabled loved one.

It's a responsibility Wayne

Stevens knows well caring for

his disabled wife and their two

daughters and one that gave him

a unique insight in his former

joout job with a recruitment

agency for the disabled. But when

when Mr Stevens sought to

reduce his working hours

because of his carer's role ,

he says he was forced out of

his job. So he sought to test

the Government's Work Choices

legislation by taking his case

to the Australian industrial relations Commission and that's

when things started to get

interesting. Catherine, I need

the script, if he's not going

to do it then I'll have

to do it then I'll have to go

to someone else. I've got one

left and I need them.No,

because he told me it would be

a simple matter of going to my

GP. Well I'm telling you what

he needs to do. Is he going to

write me the script or

not? This is not an unusual

evening at the Steven's nam

family home. Shaun a Stevens suffers from sell

suffers from sell bral palcy

and her health has deteriorated

a lot since a car accident 7

years ago. I just told you I'm

sick and I don't want to be

going out and he's not going to

write it unless he cease -

can't he trust what I'm

saying? This night she's on the

phone to her local doctor's

clinic trying to get a script

renewed for medication she

carer and family relies on. Her husband is her

carer and family bread

winner. I flit in and out of

hospital all the time and Wayne

quite often has to be the sole

parent plus come and visit me

in hospital as well and it's

just amazing that he gets done

what he gets done. I was getting home at six o'clock at night and the kids were in

care, my wife was in hospital

and by the time I picked them

up, got home, did the usual stuff, making tea, getting them

stuff, making tea, getting them

in the bath, they didn't have

much of a day either. For the

past few years she has spent

months at a time having major

surgery in hospital. Her family

made the move from country

Victoria to outer Melbourne to

be closer to medical treatment.

Wayne Stevens had a house specially designed and built to

meet his wife's needs. I need

to be in this house otherwise

accommodation and we've I'd have to go to special

accommodation and we've looked

into that and if I was to go

into special accommodation my

children would not be able to

come with me and that would

break my heart. Meeting

mortgage payments for the house means everything to this

family. Throughout his wife's

health battles, Wayne Stevens

was working fall-time for a government-funded employment

agency that helps the disabled

find jobs. He'd held the same

position for 12 years.

position for 12 years. But in

2005, he felt he needed to

shorten his working hours by a

few hours each day to deal with

his wife's medical appointments

and care for their two daughters. What was the

response when you asked for these shorter working

hours? They basically said it's

going to be too difficult, it's

going to be - what would your

colleagues think of getting preferential treatment which I

thought I found that appalling

because I thought some of these people, they've all worked in

people, they've all worked in

the disability field, they know

our circumstances. I just think

they were a dis ability

should have been more aware of employment agency and they

the issues that face the

disabled and carers. By now the

employment agency had been

taken over by new management Interact Australia. Wayne Stevens decided to lodge a complain about his treatment

with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in late

Opportunity Commission in late

2005. And the Commission found

in his favour. Interact

Australia agreed to grant

waichb Wayne Stevens the hours he wanted under an Australian

workplace agreement. But things

went downhill from that

point. When Wayne first came to

us he was in a pretty

distressed state. He came to us for assistance in representation during meetings

with his employer because they

with his employer because they

were querying his work

performance. They were saying

his work performance wasn't up

to scratch. They've got figures, I had a look and they're all over the place. Wayne Stevens sought

assistance from DEAC, a legal

aid service for the disabled

after claiming management were

imposing higher performance

targets on him than his

full-time colleagues. I think

it was to set myself up for a

fall so they can say he's

fall so they can say he's not

meeting his targets. He was

very skilled in his job, very

good in his job but after he -

the complaint was made of

discrimination, he then started having difficulties at

work. Despite having received

glowing performance appraisals

for years. Wayne Stevens

suddenly found himself issued

with warnings that he had to

lift his game. A final warning

loomed just before last

loomed just before last

Christmas, so he quit. There

was no way I was going to keep

going. I was under pressure,

trying to meet the targets

knowing full well I couldn't,

leading up to Christmas and

knowing if I'm out of a job

over Christmas we could lose

our house. Wayne Stevens got

another job with a State-run

program for young disabled

adults. He was on less pay and

longer hours, and anger

simmered over his treatment

from his previous employer. He decided to mount

decided to mount mount a case in the Industrial Relations

Commission testing a new clause

in the Federal Government's

Work Choices legislation that

puts the onus of proof on the

employee to show they've been

forced to resign. Looking at

affidavits to 2 in the morning,

all that sort of stuff is not

something nah you think of lightly. Then why put yourself

through it? Because I believe

that it needs to be done and it

needs - I need to take

needs - I need to take a stand

and doi not want employers to

treat employees like this. A

preliminary hearing was held at the Industrial Relations Commission last month but a

shock was in store. Lawyers

representing Wayne Stevens old

employer Interact Australia

sought what's known as security

for costs. It's a long-standing

provision to stop veck tious

provision to stop veck tious

cases but it's seldom used.

They want add downpayment of

$12,000 in trust if the case

proceeded. How can you get

justice when you have to put

money forward for a case which

hasn't been heard and to me it

was felt like we had to put up

bail because maybe we could

leave town without paying. We

don't have it because borrowed

the maximum to build this

in house, we don't have, um, money

in reserve. It appears to be a

tactic to prevent him from

having an opportunity to have

his say. Since midlast week,

Interact Australia has ignored

our repeated requests for a

response. Leading employer

groups contacted by the 7:30

Report didn't wand to comment.

The Minister for Workplace

Relations Joe Hockey issued a statement saying:

The Industrial Relations

Commission is yet to give a

ruling on the $12,000 sought

but in legal circles, this is

considered very much a test

case for other employees. The

Work Choices clause on forced

resignations has never been

before a full bnch of the IRC.

argument If Wayne Stevens loses the

argument over costs, it could

act as a deterrent for workers

with similar complaints. It

will mean that most likely that

our client will be unable to

continue and therefore this is

a question of law that will be

unanswered until somebody has

got enough money to go

ahead. The next hearing is

scheduled for July 5. Money is

still tight for Wayne Stevens,

State funding to the program he was working on has been

was working on has been cut and

he's out of a job in four

weeks. A very late in the day

today Wayne Stevens former

employer Interact Australia

contacted the 7:30 Report

saying the board had only just

be become aware of the matter.

The preliminary hearing was

three weeks ago. Interact now

says it's instructing its

lawyers to withdraw the

application for the payment of

security of costs. A

security of costs. A spokesman

said while it's clear there's a

difference of opinion about the

circumstance of Wayne Stevens'

departure, Interact Australia

doesn't want to frustrate or

prevent a former employee from

pursuing any claim in the IRC.

Now to Tasmania where the

deadline has passed for the

public to have its final say on

the controversial pulp mill development proposed by

development proposed by timber

giant Gunns Limited. The

company says it needs a verdict from both State and federal

governments by tend of August

and if documents revealed in

the Federal Court last week are

any guide, Gunns is confident

of getting the green light. It's already locked in

contracts to start building in September. But widespread

concerns remain that the

company has not adequately

addressed the issue of air and

marine pollution. The fishing

marine pollution. The fishing

industry fears effluent from

the mill could taint its catch

worth almost $500,000 each

year.

I've been fishing for about

40 years. Scallop fishing since

1970. John Hammond wants his

son to take over the helm of the family boat and business

yet he fears there may soon be

no future for

no future for professional

fishermen working off

Tasmania's north coast. They're

worried about the possible

environmental impact of

Australia's biggest ever pulp

mill proposed for northern Tasmania. What we're looking at

as a fishing industry is that

the Government is going to

licence these people with the

mill to pollute. Lit be a

licence to pollute. Gunns

Limited $1.7 billion project is

being hailed by the Tasmanian

being hailed by the Tasmanian

Government as the State's

economic savour with the pross

speckt of more than 1,600

ongoing jobs. To communities

that depend upon our forest

industry, this pulp mill is

their future. It takes them

into a world of value adding. Does anyone care about democracy or due process? Despite years of company and government

assurances, there remains deep community uncertainty about the

community uncertainty about the

mill's proten shl impacts on

air quality and what millions

of litres of effluent bumped

into Bass Strait every bay may

do to marine life. The perception thing is everything for Tasmania's clean green

image. If our image is

tarnished anywhere, whether it

be scallops, shark, whatever,

it will spill over to the beef

industry, it will spill over

everywhere. Tasmania's got pollution, how could Tasmania have

have pollution? Gunns

originally proposed a totally

chlorine free mill. It then

switched to what it says is a

state of the art downstreaming

initiative to convert wood

chips to pulp via a chlorine

dioxide bleaching process. Both

State and federal governments

wanted it aid sessed by an

independent planning body the RPDC but

RPDC but impatient for a

verdict, Gunns quit the process

four months ago. That prompted

new laws from the Tasmanian

parliament for a fast track

assessment by Scandinavian

consumentants Swayco Pick. The

Premier promising it will be rigorous. There's ample

opportunity here for Tasmania's

professional fishers an their

organisations to continue to

raise views and make sure

they're considered to their raise views and make sure

satisfaction. The lack of real

response, you know, to a lot of

these questions with some of

the questions being fobbed off,

you know, it's a bit like mother giving you cod liver

oil, take this it's good for

you. The Federal Government is

conducting its own assessment

despite a challenge in the

Federal Court by the Wilderness

Society. Affidavits from the

in case reveal without approvals

in place, Gunns has struck an

agreement with construction

firms to start building the

mill on 1 September. Each day

of the delay beyond this,

claims the company, would cost

it more than $1 million a day.

Such confidence without the

green light from authorities

warrants further investigation,

says Tasmanian Greens MP Kim

Booth. The fact that they've

done that indicates that they

have either got a secret nod or

have either got a secret nod or

a wink or they're very poorly

managed corporation that has

taken a huge risk with its

shareholders' funds by simply

presume ing that they will be

able to build it. Do you have

any concerns that it makes it

look like the Government has

already made a decision when

Gunns does something like thasmt The Government can't

make a decision, the parliament

makes the decision. Parliament

is waiting for the report from the Government

the Government appointed

consultant those too deep I

will workered about air and pollution. Like other members

of the Tasmanian fishing

industry, John Hammond and

Stuart Richy fear scallops and

fish stocks would be tainted

from chemical effluent

discharged by a giant pipeline three kilometres off

outlet and they're shore. Where the arrow is the

outlet and they're 200 metres

away from where we expect the

outlet to be is last year where

we caught scallops. So this

for everything in that thing is going to be a disaster

area. Absolutely. It will have

no impact in terms of emissions

both in the water and in the

air on the environment around

us. Modelling done by Gunns

consumentants claims pollution

science won't pose any problems but the

science has not been fully peer

reviewed. Gunns are using a

completely new process which

actually in the process create

aslot of chlorine gas and

collusion. We have no idea what

the actual emissions will be

until the mill starts. Curtain

University's Professor Andrew

Wadsley a Petro chemical

consultant spent four weeks examining Gunns'

examining Gunns' data. He believes dioxin levels could be

up to 1,400 times greater than

the company suggests, rendering

sea food too toxic to eat. The

calculation or the impact of

dioxin in the sendment and fish

were fundmently flawed because

they used the wrong equations. Dioxins would latch

on to the carbons in the

As sendment and start building up.

As more effluent is pumped into

Bass Strait, dioxins in the sendment would reach sach

ration level and event chully

the consen Africa in the water

column and sendment would be in

equul lib yum. This is a matter

that they're looking at. Sway

ko pick are the experts in this

field. They have far more

expertise in this area

expertise in this area than

Professor Wadsley does. A Gunns spokesman says chairman John

Gay was not available to be

interviewed about the mounting

concern over potential marine

pollution. The company stands

by its own consultants,

dismissing Professor Wadsley's

re search as scare

mongering. I'm not scare

monger, I'm just doing the sums.

sums. I have a PhD in math

mattic, I've been 30 years in

the petroleum industry. I try

and tell the truth when it

comes out and if there's a

problem in the arithmetic let

Gunns sort it out. The company

will have its chance to respond to such concerns before the

entire matter is referred to

the Federal Government which

has jurisdiction over

threatened and migratory

species an marine pollution.

The Tasmanian parliament is

expecting to vote on the

expecting to vote on the mill

before spring. It will not

impact upon other industries.

It will actually have great

enhancement for other

industries like our tourism industry. The timber industry

may be relying on the project

for its future yet fishermen

are yet to be convinced it

won't damage theirs. Unless

something's done in a

regulation side of it, this

thing's got potential to cost

us hundreds of jobs an

us hundreds of jobs an hundreds

of millions of dollars damage.

There's not enough trees here

to fix the bloody mess they're

going to make. That's the

program for tonight. We'll be

back at the same time tomorrow.

But for now. Goodnight. Closed

Captions by CSI

This program is not subtitled

Can you, er, get rid of...? He's sung with Joan Sutherland. KIM GYNGELL, NARRATOR:

No, no, no, no, no! Impossible, madame! to make that hat? How many ostriches did they kill And I had a very special walk.

Off we go. (Laughs) Oh, click the heels. on the moonlight... # (All sing) # Don't blame it his toughest challenge - Now he's set himself a most unlikely choir. (Sings untunefully) Whoo! You know, it's like inviting a whole load of people to a party,

but you don't know who you've invited or who's gonna turn up. If you're homeless, in the grip of drugs, struggling with mental health problems

or disadvantaged in some way, you are welcome.

There are no auditions.

I'm wrecked. (Laughs wearily) Like I said, they really keep me honest. (All sing) # Hallelujah... # The Choir of Hard Knocks have made a CD they have every right to be proud of. Jonathon has been able to breathe a sign of relief. (Sings) # Hallelu-u-u-u-jah... # That's fantastic, mate. Yeah.

You tell him what you said. Well, I said it's kind of like a mix somewhere in kind of like the Tom Waits, the Nick Cave. (Laughs) You're in pretty good company, Simon. Yeah, that's right. (Laughs)

But now they have 4,000 CDs sitting in a box, and the question is, are there 4,000 buyers out there? Gonna give you five CDs. Yeah. You sell 'em, you bring the money back to RecLink for the choir.