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Stateline (NSW) -

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(generated from captions) Tonight's top stories again.

It's been revealed the parents of Shellay Ward had been under

investigation by DoCS for 14

years before the little girl

allegedly starved to death. The

dominate by talk of interest election campaign has been

rates and

rates and a warning from the National Australia Bank that

rates could go up again before

Christmas, regardless of what

the Reserve Bank does. And

family friends and colleagues

have paid tribute to Federal

independent MP Peter Andren at

his fawneral in Orange today.

That is ABC News for this

Friday. Stay with us now for

Stateline with Dempster tem and

for the latest headlines 24

hours a day, don't

hours a day, don't forget ABC

News online. Goodnight.

Closed Captions by CSI

standing over interest rates.

Risk, reputational risks

personally to Morris Iemma and collectively to the department

of family services over child

deaths was a galvanising force

this week. Kevin Greene

announced a commission of

inquiry into DoCS to be headed

by former police Royal

Commissioner James Wood QC.

Earlier this weir, the Morris

independent inquiry Iemma Government announced an

independent inquiry to be

conduct by a still to be named

academ ic into the operations

of online betting exchanges in

NSW. This followed revelations

last week that Premier Iemma

had dined with gaming mogul

James Packer and their mutual

fixer mates Peter Barron and

Graham Richardson to discuss Mr

Packer's bet fare so risk management was all the go this

week. The break

week. The break a news issue,

the capacity of DoCS to assess

and manage the risk of too

children following some

distressing deaths rchlth let's

start with DoCS. I am appalled

this child died in those

circumstances and it is clear

that there are concerns with

the department's handling of

that case. Known to DoCS.

That's the bureaucratic expression to describe a child

considered to be at risk and

notify through the phone hot

line and other agency reporting

s methods to the department of

community services. Today Dr

Neil Shepherd, director general

of DoCS for 5.5, stood by his

Minister Kevin Greene as the

Minister announced former justice James Wood would head a

commission of inquiry into

DoCS. Mr Wood has agreed to

DoCS. Mr Wood has agreed to

head the commission and I'll be

having further talks with him

over the coming days regarding

the precise legal form he needs

the commiltion to take. The

commission will look at issues

such as how we fill the case

worker positions, how we can

cut red tape and get our case

workers out from behind desks

and into the field, how we can

provide better help to kids we

their think need to be removed from

their home and how we provide

better support to our field

staff. The death of 7-year-old

Shellay Ward allegedly from

starvation at her Hawk's Nest

home on Saturday has provoked a

flood of information to the

media from DoCS staff and Maryborough neighbours who

accuse DoCS on having failed to

intervene after persistent notifications. Shellay Ward was

known to DoCS but had only

known to DoCS but had only

recently moved from Sydney to

Hawk's Nest with her family.

The director general refused to

give details of his

department's handling of

Shellay Ward's case. I would

like to give you more

information. In the vast

majority of these cases, if I

could give you more

information, it would show very

clearly that this karment department is not implemented

in any way, shape or form in

what has ultimately happened

what has ultimately happened to

the child. The problem that I

have is that when I have

prepared material of that kind,

I have a very clear and firm

advice from the Crown solicitor

that I should not provide that

information and I am not going

to go beyond that, because if I

did, if I did, you would come

or back to me in six months time

or whatever and crucify me for

having jeopardised the

prosecution of the person who

was the perpetrator of the

injuries, the damage or the

death of the child. There are

three inquiries into Shellay

Ward's death but at this stage

the Wood Commission has not

been asked specifically to

investigate this particular

death, just DoCS systems. There

are 100 to

are 100 to 120 deaths each year

of children 'Known to DoCS', in

spite of Dr Shepherd's 5-year

reform strategy and a massive

increase in resources and staff

and out of home care places for

at-risk children. The number

of children 'Known to DoCS',

who have died, have remained

relatively static, however the

they pool of children from which

they are drawn has increase by

over 50%. inquiries are also

under way into the circumstances surrounding had

death of 2-year-old Dean

Shillingsworth, the boy's body

stuffed into a suitcase, was

found floating in a duck pond

last month. This child was also

'Known to DoCS'. Since 2003,

440 children 'Known to DoCS'

neglect have died in circumstances of

neglect or abuse. In his latest

annual report to parliament,

the ombudsman found that one of

DoCS's biggest challenges was

dealing with the children of

parents engaged in substance,

drug and alcohol abuse. The

pattern of child deaths

reviewed since 2005 has raidsed

the ombudsman's concern about

DoCS risk management assessment

and rapabilities in saving

and rapabilities in saving

children clearly at risk in

this category. The rescue of

children at risk seems

desperate and urgent but yet

another inquiry has eight long

months to report what everyone

now knows - DoCS isn't making

any impact on the rate of child

deaths in this State. On how

many occasions and on what

dates have you or your staff

had discussions with Peter

Barron and orp Graham

Richardson about the

introduction of Internet

betting exchanges into NSW I

answered this last week and I

refer to you to my answer of

last week. With what many

consider to be a display of

contempt for the Westminster

conventions of parliament,

Morris Iemma refused to provide details in

details in answer to a factual

question seek the dates and

times of his 2005 dinner with

James Packer, Graham Richardson

and Peter Barron. No

comment. With his election

promise there would be no Brian

Burke-like lobbying sunangons

surrounding his Government

resonating, the Premier announced

announced Betfair would be

subject to an independent

inquiry into wagering. All

vested interest s and anti-gambling submissions will

be posted on the inquiry

website. Mr Speaker, let me

say this, if it doesn't stack

up, no, it won't go ahead. But

what this - and don't bet on it

that it will. On Thursday,

under parliamentary

under parliamentary privilege,

Opposition Leader Barry

oferrule alleged the Premier of

NSW had displayed a personal

interest in wagering policy.

Mr Speaker, two years ago it

was orange grove, now it's

wagering. Until 2000 5, this

State led the nation in arguing

against the entry of betting

exchanges and corporate book

makers but when Morris Iemma

became Premier it changed. We

dropped our opposition to

pooling totes with states that

allow betting exchanges to

operate, stopped legislation

proposing a ban on betting

exchanges going to Cabinet,

raced fieled legislation

announce by the Premier, pass

by the Premier has nefrk been

proclaimed. All these changes made without announcement

before the State election

before the State election

campaign. Immediately after

that election, the Premier

intervened again in a targeted

way to a support betting

exchanges, ipick ed up the

phone to the Minister of gaming

and racing and told him to get

on with it. When the Minister

wlu Perisher Blue the whistle,

it was revealed Peter Barron

and Graham Richardson had been involved, something that's

helps explain why someone who's

normally so disengaged from the

process of Government in this

State was taking close and targeted interest in this

field. Mr Speaker, Mr Iemma has

refused to answer questions on

this whole affair. He and his

mates continue the chorus "No

comment." He's refused to

detail in this place his

involvement and that of his

staff and friends. The Premier

has rejected suggestions he has

a conflict of interest in

granting private access to his

granting private access to his

mates to discuss Bet Fair. Some

Local Government mayors and

councilors have complained to

Stateline if they don't declare

a conflict of interest when

looking at develop said from

their friend, the ICAC ICAC

would come down on them. In the

name of Brian Burke, please declare any

declare any conflict of

interest, Mr Premier.

Rapidically decaying Local

Government infrastructure,

roads, bridges, stormwater

drains, kerbing and channelling

and buildings is a critical

problem, according to the

former secretary secretary of

Treasury, former head of the

council on the cost and quality

of Government and chair of

council into Government

council into Government

finances. A third of the 152

councils in NSW have been

assessed as financially un

sustainable. Professor Alan

says now is the time for

councils to be brutally honest

with their rate payards to

confront this enormous problem.

The financial unsustainibility

of State Governments should be

a federal election issue, with the back

the back log estimated to be

$15 billion nation' wide. This

is part of the Local Government

inquiry, we recommend a package

of measures costing $900

million a year to fix this brB.

First of all, we think in NSW

of course $5 billion needs to

be raised in borrowings to fix

this back log and then councils

have to increase rates, fees

have to increase rates, fees

and charges or get money from

the State or Federal Government

to close the gap of $500

million a year of underspending

on capital works and pay for

the interest bill on the

borrowings. At the time, we

suggest that of the package of

900 million, the State should

come to the party with 100

million, the Federal Government

with 100 million and the rest

should be found by

should be found by councils

themselves. The State has not

come to the party. There's a

federal election three weeks

away. One would hope the Labor

Party or Liberal or National

Parties might come to the

party. This morning bebefore

coming here, I thought I'd

check their policies. In the

case of the Coalition, when I

looked up infrastructure

funding and Local Government

funding, at the local level, a

little sign came up, "No

documents available." The Labor

Party had four documents, only

one was relevant, a speech

attack the Federal Government

for not doing enough in the

last budget but not promising

to do anything. Local

Government infrastructure. It's

been put in the too-hard bask.

By all three tiers of

Government. And you've got only

14 days to go to get your submission in to

submission in to the

independent pricing and

regulatory triz bunl's review

of State taxation. Own one day,

December 14, has been set down

for public hearings. Land tax

reform advocate, solicitor

David Singer has discovered the

office of State revenue has

been gouging NSW's commercial

and residential property owners

over the last three years. We found

found $535 million has been

collected in excess of budget

for the last three years in.

2004/2005, the amount was 198

million. In 2005/6, it was 84

million. Last year it was 253

million. And this was after two

inquiries have been held into

finding out what's wrong with the system. So

the system. So what if wealthy

property owners have to pay

some more land tax, you mamight

say. The problem is the land

tax costs are passed

immediately and directly on to

tenants and are now distort ing

the property market, adding to

the pain of rapidly increasing

rents and are inflationary.

We're asking to introduce a new system

system of taxation which will

be more broad-based, be

equitable and get the Government the money they want

to raise, which they assert in

the budget and not a cent more.

It would spread the land tax

load among a larger percentage

of the 2 million, 300,000 properties in

properties in NSW. I part is to

be put to its biggest test. It

has to report by March next

year. This week, the 2007 federal election campaign has

beenhon by the ghosts of 2004,

interest rates and Mark Latham.

Political editor bris bris bris

reports. -- Michael Brissenden.

Just 14 sthreepz go

Just 14 sthreepz go and it's

hats on for the start of the

final fortnight of campaigning.

Some seem to be taking things

too far. Yesterday, aroundau

about 100,000 people wore

these. If you've got hair like

mine, you probably should cover

it up. (All scream) From silly

hats to shopping centres, at a

superficial level, the recipe

for election campaigns rarely

for election campaigns rarely

changes much. You look so

young. I again. Whatever you

mutt put in the mix, no two

kasks are the same and there's

always surprise ingredients and

the odd bad egg along the way.

You mentioned Mr Latham I

don't normally do that. I've

brokethen drought. Yes, he's

back. Hardly unexpected. Mark Latham's intervention had to come eventually

come eventually and as usual

it's vintage vitriol. In a

piece penned for the

'Australian Financial Review',

Mr Latham calls this the

Seinfeld election, a show about

nothing. Behind the scenes, he

says the Labor faithful are

reassuring each other once

Labor's in power it will be far

Labor's in power it will be far

more progressive than it's

letting on. Mark Latham's

hatred for the current Labor

leader and most of the Labor

Party is well known but the

return of the recluse has been

enthusiastically embrace by the

Government. I thought he just

confirmed everything that Peter

Garrett had said. Peter Garrett

had said, "We'll change it all

when we get in." And Mark

Latham says we all expect, we

all hope it will be a lot

all hope it will be a lot more

- he uses the word progressive,

I use the word radical - a lot

more radical if the Labor Party

gets in want. I haven't read

the article. I have a copy of

it here. I thought you would.

I have been reading about SA

today and I don't intend to

revisit the past. Being attack by Mark

by Mark Latham probably won't

do too much damage to Kevin

Rudd's chances. It has been a

week of the ghosts of 2004.

How are you, mate? Well.

Plenty argue Mark Latham was

his biggest liability but the

Government threw everything at

him back then, regardless, in a

campaign laced with finely spun

claims about keeping interest

rates low. This week's interest

rate rise saw the 2004

rate rise saw the 2004 campaign

return to haunt John Howard.

I'm sorry about that and I

regret the additional burden

that will be put upon them as a

result. When I said it -Y was

sorry they occurred, I don't

think I used the word apology.

I think there is a

difference Was it an apology

or not? It hardly seems to

matter. The fact is the Prime Minister's rhetorical

Minister's rhetorical

dissembling has itself become a

story and kept a dominant theme

for three days. This morning it

was the topic of choice on

radio and a big focus in Prime

Minister's interviews. Do you

take responsibility for

interest rates? I certainly

take responsibility for the

strong economy So you take

responsibility for six interest

rates increases? I take

responsibility for the strengths of

strengths of the economy and

the extent to which that has

contributed to movement. Of

course I do. You've also taken

some pleasure in low interest

rates, therefore you have to take some pain in high interest

rates. The people will take a

judgment about the

apportionment of pain and blame. That is classic John

Howard, taking the credit when

there is good economic news,

avoiding responsibility when there's bad

there's bad economic news. I

find that sdament remarkable

because if Mr Howard is out

there saying he's prepared to

take the credit for economic

growth numbers, but explicitly

reiect all responsibility for

what happens when it comes to

interest rates, that underlines

a Prime Minister who is now

desperate, saying anything and doing anything in order to secure the next

secure the next election. We

certainly haven't heard the

last of interest rates in this

campaign but the Government is

stillworking hard to turn the

rise to its advantage. The

argument is this focuses the

voters' minds on the economy

and the risk a Labor Government

would pose. Today, there were

reports in 'The Australian'

newspaper that the car industry

had written to the Government,

calling for a freeze on tariff

cuts and expressing their

concern about the impact of

more militant unions under a

more militant unions under a

Labor Government. The Treasurer

pounced. It should strike a

chill into all Australians

because business is now start

to worry about union militancy

under a Rudd Labor Government.

It's something that's creating

a lot of uncertainty in the car

industry. But the car industry

says the story's wrong. There

was no such letter and nor have there been any industry discussions with the

discussions with the Government

on industrial relations

matters, as today's paper

reported. Still, as the Prime

Minister said this week, in

campaigns, voters shouldn't

look at every utterance, only

at the aggregate impression of

the whole campaign. 2004 is

playing out heavily in the 2007

campaign and in just two weeks'

time, we'll know what the

aggregate impression of this one really

one really is. There are some

secret gardens in the National

Parks of NSW, secret gardens of

wild orchids. Craig Allen found

some of them and took an orchid

expert to have a look.

In a world struggling under

development pressures, it's

rare to find real wilderness

that seems untouch by mankind,

but take the effort and a few

of these places can be found,

nestled in hidden valleys of the National Parks that stretch

from Sydney to the Victorian

border. Some of these places

are biological hot spots,

are biological hot spots, the

diversity of plants and animals

here is simply amazing. In

particular, these places offer

an insight into the unusual and

fragile world of one of our

most sought-after flowers, the

orchid. To show us more,

Stateline is bringing in the

big guns. I'm actually a

big guns. I'm actually a

research scientist at the Australian Botanic Gardens and

my main job, and has been for

30 years, is studying orchids,

studying their biology, their

classification, looking at the

propagation of them. Mark

Clements has made orchids his

life. He's personally

discovered some 300 species and

has even had a few named after

him by fellow collectors. A top scientist

scientist in his field, Mark

Clements has studied every

Australian species and there

are 1300 of them and many more

types besides, on his travels

around Asia and the Pacific. As

we'll discover, orchids aren't

just tropical plants from

steamy jungles. It's often a

shock to people to realise only

about two hours drive from

Canberra itself you can

Canberra itself you can find

areas where there are epiphytes

and this is a magnificent

example of a pristine area

really that has a number of

epiphytes in it. As they've

been here for thousands of years. In sheltered National

Park forests, it's still common

to find this epiphyte or

tree-growing orchid, the tongue

or thumb nail orchid, which at

this time of year puts on a

flashy display of wispy white

flowers. It prfrs humid spots

above creeks on trees or

rocks. What have we got here?

This is a mature plant and

growing on a rock and with its

thumbnail-like leaves, very thick

thick and fleshy. The flowers

are amazing, almost like little

insects. Yeah. They're very

feathery-like. They're

pollinated by little tiny

native bees, little black bee.

They actually smell a little

bit of honey-like smell about

them so they're quite

attractive to them. Other

species are less conspicuous

but equally interesting, like the dagger

the dagger orchid. Most of the

time you'll have to crane your

necks to pick this one out,

hanging as it does from the

upper branchs of the forest and

just occasionally down lower.

Then there are severeral

species with their white or

green flowers. In their

diversity, these plants have

one thing in common - a very

fragile existence. Looking at

this tangle of roots here, this tangle of roots here, it

shows how precarious orchids

have it. Yeah, it certainly

does. This is the tangle orchid

and it is really aptly named.

Tends to start on a twig can

then fall down and reattach

itself to another plant. They

are very susceptible to change.

That's one of the things That's one of the things we're

concerned about in terms of

climate change, how it might

affect the pollinators and

orchids themselves. Some orchid

species are very dependent on

fires but not every year, they

need them every 15, 20 years or

even up to 50-year cycles, so

if we have frequent firing, for

instance, that can affects

their reproduction, they eventually get wiped eventually get wiped

out. People the world over love

orchids so much, some species

have been pushed to the brink

of extinction by illegal

collecting from the wild. It

happens here too, even though

there are laws meant to stop.

It it's an unwritten law

though, that orchid spotters

don't disclose their favourite

spots, and for good reason.

God, look at it. It

fantastic. Quite an impressive fantastic. Quite an impressive

cliff. Yeah. Have a look at

that. This is rarity though,

isn't it? This is pretty

unusual? It is. Because from a commercial point of view,

someone could strip that out

really easily and they obviously don't know about it.

Some of these plants will be

over 100 years old. Still in

the regions, here's Sharon

O'Neill with some short stories O'Neill with some short stories

from beyond the big smoke. On

the far south coast, Montague

Island is celebrating. It's a

finalist in the State tourism

awards. Last year the island

won the ecotourism section of

the awards. A Cabonne Shire

councillor wants to find out just how much rate just how much rate payers'

money it's spending in a legal

battle ova waste processing

plant at Molong. The proposed

plant would take waste from

Orange. The mayor says the

proceedings are becoming quite

dear. At Port Macquarie, the

council has agreed in principal

to an alcohol ban on the

streets of the CBD. streets of the CBD. There will

be a consultation period with

the community before the idea

goes further. There is hope a alcohol-free zone could be

established boofr before the

Christmas holiday period. North

coast surf life savers headed

inland to try to ensure holiday

ing youngsters don't drown.

It's called the bush to beach program. They

program. They went to Casino to

touch inland students how to

survive at the beach.

Beach-goers who live over 50 km from the coast are

over-represented in drowning

statistics. Gundagai's Dog on

the Tuckerbox turns 75 in a

week or so and the entire town

has started celebrating.

There's an exhibition of 200

items of memorabilia dating

back to

back to 1932. It's a festival

of kitsch, including Dog on the

Tuckerbox stubby holders, key

rings, even a Royal Doulton tea

set. That's Stateline. Kerry

O'Brien will be back with the

snOrm on Monday. Bye-bye.

Closed Captions by CSI

There will be in the order of

better than 200 additional

police. The large taverns

which have dominated the

industry for decades. Now the

State's drinkers will be able

to shout in smaller rooms. It's not a case It's not a case of beer or

wine. There's room for both.

Afternoon all. As I've said,

you're frustrated yroomer

Hi, I'm Andy Muirhead, and welcome to Collectors.

Tonight, we show you a king of collecting, we take you to the heart of Japan, and it's deep into the jungle in search of crazy critters.

THEME MUSIC Hello, my friends. How are you? Hi, Adam, well. Very good. Now, Niccole, we start with something right up your street. Oh, yes. The beauty and simplicity of Japanese fabrics. I love seeing that character, and the stories that are in the fabric, in the textiles. So that's the sort of direction that my own collection probably goes. It's 30 years since he left the building, but in Newcastle, Elvis lives on. (Sings) # I do, do, do... # Elvis, to me, was someone with style, charisma,

a fantastic entertainer, and a very human being. # Well that's all right # That's all right... # And I'm going to take you back to France