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7.30 Report -

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(generated from captions) Before we go, a brief recap of

of our top stories tonight -

the flood emergency has moved

to southern Queensland as heavy

rain continues to fall. The

town of Chinchilla is bracing

for its worst flood in a Central West of New South Wales

have been inundated again. The

town of Eugowra has been split

in two by floodwaters for the

fourth time in a month. And

that's ABC News. Stay with us for the '7:30 Report' next.

Enjoy your evening. Goodnight.

Closed Captions by CSI.

Tonight on the 7.30 Report -

a walk on the wild side. That

backpackers is the seediest

place in Melbourne. It used to

be known as pedo palace. The city tour opening people's eyes to the plight of homeless youth. You'd never want your

children to go through that.

You really want. It would be

heartbreaking. And - the Australian backpacker recycling unwanted

bikes in Africa. This is easily bikes in Africa.

the best thing I have ever done

in my life. All my family and

friends thought I was a crackpot. This Program Is Captioned


Welcome to the program. I'm

Tracey Bowden. Those stories shortly, but first, to the

floods wreaking havoc this

holiday season. Rain holiday season. Rain continues to lash the Sunshine State with

the inland town of Chinchilla bracing for the worst bracing for the worst flooding

in half a century. At least a

dozen homes and the local

residents are working around hospital have been

the clock to protect property.

The big wet is also hitting

parts of New South Wales. In

particular the central west and

the far north. While the

is forecast to ease in

Queensland by the new year,ed

intoing is expected to continue

into next week.

Linton Brimblecombe has been growing wheat and vegetables growing

for 20 years in the Lockyer

Valley west of Brisbane. He's

of ups and seen more than his fair share

But today he can't believe his

bad luck. After enduring years

of dry season, one of Queensland's biggest ever

deluges is destroying his crops. We've crops. We've just had 10 years

of drought and now we're going

into this extreme wet period.

We just can't get the mix right

for some reason. Now, the

his family fourth generation farmer and

his family will be forced to

again weigh up their future. We'll

future. We'll have to talk to

our bank and make them aware of

our current

most farmers in the same plit

as myself. I think there will

come a point where the

individual farmer will find it

hard to get through this hard to get through this situation. Linton Brimblecombe

is just one of many thousands

of Queenslanders affected by

the massive rain and floods

sweeping the State. Elsewhere,

towns have been cut off, homes

flooded, cars stuck in

floodwater, and communities in

some low-lying areas evacuated. residents in the small town of

Theodore in central Queensland

were moved to higher ground. The

The heaviest weather has been

around the central and north

coast. With up to 400 mm or

almost half a metre of rain

falling in a week around

Ingham, Townsville, Mackay,

Rockhampton and Bundaberg. The

rain then moved inland to

central and southern parts of

Queensland, including mining

areas around Emerald and down

to Theodore, Chinchilla and Dalby. The Weather issued flood warnings for 15

rivers and waterways across the

State. It's quite an excessive

amount of rainfall. There are some places

in only one year. Dave Grant

says the heavy rainfall is drif

driven by the strongest La Nina

weather pattern to affect

Australia in more than 30

years. There is cycles between

the el Nino and La Nina patterns. People talk about patterns. People talk about the

last big La Ninas through 197

through the 1900s and also the late 18 00s. The La Nina brings higher ocean temperatures which

leads to rainfall. The rainfall

stranded motorists heading home

or heading away for Christmas

and it has residents in the

southern inland town of

Chinchilla bracing for the

town's worst floods in half a

century. The Darling Downs is

in a week. underwater for the second time

eligible for disaster relief,

with damage to roads and

bridges alone estimated at more

than $600 million.

on crops and livestock, tourism

and mining is also expected to run into hundreds of millions

of dollars. There have been

thousands of power outages and

the weather is also stretching

emergency services to their

limits. If travel is not

required, particularly in some

of these more heavily flooded

areas need to reassess and

particularly be prepared to are

stranded. We've seen many people, hundreds of people last week or so stranded.

People need to be prepared for

that and stay tuned to their

radio and television bulletins.

When the waters are rising

we've been able to get to communities, been able to get

people out of harm's way.

Unfortunately, we've had seem

who have taken significant

risks, particularly when driving. Police have begun

charging people who recklessly charging people who

drive into floodwaters. And the

Acting Premier Paul Lucas hey

appealed to people not to take

Rix In the last two days our swift water rescue team rescued 20 people. They're 20

people who could've lost their lives as a result of activity

that could end and make your

Christmas period an absolute

and total tragedy. In the week they rescued 50. We've had

five water and flood related

deaths in the last month. So nothing, nothing should be taken for granted. Brisbane

hasn't escaped the wet with dams supplying the region

filling beyond capacity.

Authorities are now opening the

floodgates to release water.

It's less than three years

since the drought reduced Brisbane's main dam

Government capacity. And the Queensland

Government has invested

billions of dollars in now

unused water infrastructure. Meanwhile like many other Meanwhile

farmers watching the rain come

down across Queensland, there's

little Linton Brimblecombe and

his family can do but wait and

hope. I think we've got to keep

faith. If you're a Christian person you keep your faith that

there is hope in the future. I

think that's a very important thing. Annie Guest with that report. Most feature historic sites, grand architecture or natural

wonders, but in a bid to help

the homeless, one organisation

is offering a walk showcasing

city squats and shelters, the guidance of young people who've lived on the streets.

Run by one of Victoria's largest welfare groups the

tours are offered to politicians, philanthropists, business leaders business leaders and

schoolchildren in an effort to

empower homeless youth and

advocate for better support

services. Natasha Johnson


On a bleak Melbourne

evening, city workers are in a

hurry to head home. But tonight, an estimated

Australians don't have one to

go to. And until recently, that

was the reality for 24-year-old

Russell Kelly, and 20-year-old Jerry Martin. Tonight they're

lead bag homeless walking tour for --

leading a homeless walking tour

for a group of business people,

telling a sad story of each

finding themselves on the after a traumatic falling-out

with family. I felt nothing. I

was like the forgotten ones. I

had a goal all I wanted to do

was make it to my 21st

birthday. What kind of goal was

that? Fear. And loneliness as

well. Of not knowing what is

gonna happen tomorrow and your'

gonna be tomorrow, where you're

gonna stay. They point out the

places where homeless youth

sleep when they can't find a

bed. Camping under bridges or

riding trains to the and collecting massive fines

because they can't afford a

ticket. I myself, 3,500 dollars

in just over 16 months. Just

from public transport. They

say boarding houses and cheap

backpackers are often not

safe. That backpackers itself

is the seediest place in

Melbourne. It used to be known

as pedo palace. Or there are

squats in derelict buildings

like this old in the roof everywhere, and it

would like during a day like

today it was known to just -

the whole place would just fill

with water and it would leak

down the stairs. The worst one

was an old abandoned service station. That was filthy,

dirty, it stunk. Did you feel

there was a real sense of

community within the

squat? Yeah. It became quite a

family thing. And everyone just

looked out for everyone and

tours are run by Melbourne City Mission which operates a unique wrap-around service for

homeless youth called

Frontyard. How old are you ,

mate? I'm 17. Cool. It has nine

services, including Centrelink,

housing, employment, health and

even a hairdresser under one

roof. And frequently sees young people in terrible

condition. There was a condition. There was a young

guy that used to come to

Frontyard all the time. He had

the same pair of socks on for

nine weeks so we actually ended

up having to take Health Service to get his socks peeled off his feet because

they were kind of roted to the

bottom of his feet. He's 21. To

me, fundamentally these are things that young people should

never have to experience. A group of young people including

Russell Kelly came up with the

idea of tours for politicians, business leaders and

schoolchildren as a way of educating and advocating for

more funding and services. Frontyard says it selects clients who are well way out of homelessness, providing support, a small

payment and training to ensure

the tours are not exploitative

or intrusive. Having opportunity to expose part of

their lives to the people who

make decisions affecting their

future was a very powerful way

that they could have their

voice. They had an incredible sense of self-confidence, sense of self-confidence, the connection that they that people are interested in their

lives. Two years ago, Melbourne's Lord Mayor went on

a one-on-one tour with Russell

Kelly. They made an unexpected connection which endures

today. I was walking along Collins Street. I seen him on

his mobile texting, I've gone

good morning Mr Doyle. He went

to look up and do I could tell this was the general politician's oh hello! (Laughs) He realised it

was me. Oh Russell! He nearly

dropped the phone and shook the

hand. I'd love a tea, actually.0 I'm right thanks mate. Since Mayor has taken a keen interest

in Russell's pros res and

they've met several times to

discuss what more the discuss what more the council

can do for the homeless. For me

the big thing that Russell taught me was that although he

talked to me about stable accommodation, he really talked

more about sort of a pathway

out of homelessness. But made

it more immediate and more personal

personal to me. This wasn't

some academic exercise or some

public policy decision. This was about a real bloke and a

real story, a real face. And so

that really had an impact me. I just remember feeling so positive afterwards, like that

I had actually got something

across. For me it's all about

I've got someone high up who

believes in me. believes in me. He has faith in

me and potential. See you later

Robert. Frontyard homes the tours challenge misconceptions.

Why can't you just get yourself

out of the situation you're

in? It's all a catch-22 in a

way. I mean, to get a job you

need an address. Stable

accommodation. stable accommodation, you accommodation. But to get

a form of good income. I

think one of the biggest misconceptions about youth

homelessness is that because

they're young, they can go back home. A lot of the times, relationships and family

breakdown mean that young

people can't go home. Home

isn't a stable place. Have a

good night. It's been a

privilege actually. You just don't

don't know this is going on, do

we? Living our daily lives, we don't realise how many homeless

people there are or the extent of the problem. Opening

people's eyes often translates into action. Caroline's engineering company

significant pro bono work for

Melbourne City Mission since

her staff were shocked by her staff were shocked by an earlier tour. I mean you'd

never want your children to go

through that. You just really wouldn't. It would be

heartbreaking. I've yet to see

see somebody finish the tour

without ... um ... without

being compelled to open their

wallet and try to offer young people money on the spot. So absolutely translates into very tangible effects.

Russell Kelly, Gerri Martin

and daughter Taylor now have

stable accommodation. They've

returned to study and are are reconnecting with their

families. They still have a way

to go but they have a future

that's much brighter than the

past. Look, we have I guess a

lot of joy in our life. This is

our little family. As long as

we can support each we can support each other,

mainly mentally , then I think

we can get through pretty much anything. Because what have we've already experienced. Natasha Natasha Johnson with that

report from Melbourne. Across Australia, regional communities

face challenges such as a lack of

of work opportunities and the population drift to urban

centres. One glaring example is

Flinders Island in Bass Strait,

one of the most remote spots in the country. Its population is

at its lowest in 50 years. Locals were hoping the

installation of the

their saviour. But they've now

found it won't be coming their

way. Undeterred the islanders

aren't giving up and have

outlined their vision for a sustainable future. Martin Cuddihy reports from Flinders


There's a remote corner of Flinders Island where only a handful of locals

handful of locals venture.

After work they make a 40

minute trek for the waves

breaking at the mouth of the North East up here as much as I can when

work lets me. But I tend to

surf a couple of times a week

which is bonus of the job, I

guess. Apart from surfing

Flinders Island is best known

for its premium beef and milk

fed lamb which are highly

sought after in the country's top restaurants. The Deputy

Mayor Mick Grimshaw moved here

from western Victoria after

visiting the island on a

holiday and believes it's

Australia's last Eden. It's a great

community. It really does go

back to Victoria 30 years ago,

where people help each other,

farmers help farmers. And it's

a generous egalitarian place to

live. But this close-knit

farming community is face the

same problems as regional

centres across the country.

Farms have expanded and fewer

workers are needed to run workers are needed to run them.

The population has dwindled

over time. From more than 1,200

residents 30 years ago, 800

remain. Job-wise, it's a bit

hard. What we really need is for people for people to come here and

perhaps be able to work off

island while spending most of

the time here and for that we'd

really love the NBN to reach

us, but it's not likely to do that. Locals would like to see

the National Broadband Network

rolled out here. They believe

it would allow people to live on

on the island, and run

interstate businesses using interstate businesses using superfast Internet. But

Flinders Island won't be

getting the NBN because the

population is under 1,000. The

council's general manager Raoul

Harper believes it's a missed opportunity. It's just disheartening in some respects

to see so much money being

thrown at a project such as

that, and yet communities like

ours are slipping through the cracks. There's further challenges that are challenges that are hitched to isolation. Fuel is as much as 30%

30% more expensive and

groceries have to be shipped

in. But there are those who do

want to live and work here.

Most of them are former

residents who regularly return

for events like the annual

Flinders Island agricultural


One of the visitors is Sam.

He grew up here and would love

to be the island's

communications technician. The

only problem is, they've

already got one. Would you

really like to be back

home? Yeah, I would. I've just been away for four years now.

But once I get back, it'd be

island to get some work under good. Just need to leave the

my belt. It's a similar story for many his age. The local

council wants to position the

island as one of the most

sustainable communities in the country. country. And import green jobs. The first item on the hit list

is the power station. It's

owned by one of the country's leading renewable energy

businesses, but 12 million litres of diesel are burnt

every year just to keep the lights on. It's more

unbelievable, really, that the green push around the nation

doesn't come to place like

this, like here, that have so much renewable resource.

One of those resources is

wind. There are two privately

owned turbines here already,

but they're more than 15 years

old and can't cope with much

more than a sea breeze. Typical

of many locals, Mick Grimshaw

has a few hats to wear. As well

as Deputy Mayor sh he's a

farmer and head of the local tourism association. He

believes wind farms are vital

for Flinders Island, even

though seven years ago, he was fighting against them in Victoria. I would've thought

you'd come to an island, make the while island and the

microcosm of Tasmania as a

whole, make it sustainable, and

you've got a template to go to

the State system. There's only so much small communities

can do without funding from

other areas. With only 80

children across 10 years of schooling, education is facing

the same challenges as the

broader community. As you get

small enough numbers, even in

sport, you can't play a team

sport. It's hard to do group work. Cooperative learning. And also, the probably is the interaction

with other people. We don't get

to see a lot of students from

other schools and that causes difficulty in socialisation skills. Just difficulty in developing

like its Bass Strait cousin King Island and many other

regional communities, locals

are pinning their hopes on

tourism. At the moment half the

visitors come from Tasmania but

numbers from right around there's a push to double those

Australia. Because we've got so

much to offer here, to be able to go to beaches where no-one's

a lot of other places. And been is not really available in

while some aspects of technology might technology might be passing

over this community, there's an

allure here that's hard to deny.

deny. Because, as has always

been the case, Flinders Island

is a place known for its

isolation and its beauty. The

pristine coast, uncomplicated life. One of the great things

about Flinders Island is it is

remote. And the beauty of the

place really does rely on that. Martin there from Flinders Island. Every

Every year in Australia, more

bikes are sold than cars. Yet

many of the two wheelers end up

in the back shed gathering dust

and cobwebs. Realising that

this is a large wasted

resource, Australian backpacker

Michael Linke began shipping

unwanted bikes to Africa. His project has

string of bike shops in

Namibia, one of the most sparsely populated countries in

the world. Africa correspondent Andrew Geoghegan reports Namibia.

This is easily the best thing

I have ever done in my life. I

think all my family and friends

thought I was a crack pot when I set off to Namibia and said

I'm starting a non-profit

organisation. We're going to distribute bicycles. Namibia's unforgiving 700 kilometre drive through

arrived in landscape, Michael Linke has

arrived in the remote town of

Uphou near the an goalan border. He is visiting a little

project he set up that's fast

becoming a major Namibian


The town's first bike shop

is a converted shipping

container, a gift from

Australia. Last year the

in container was sitting on a dock

friends arranged to have dozens

of donated bikes packed up and shipped off to the other side

of the world. I saw these

bikes. It was a bit of an

emotional thing for me. I knew that the bikes had been

collected and packed into the contain

contain er from my home suburb

in Melbourne. Several years ago, Michael

Linke was backpacking around

Europe, working as a bicycle

mechanic, looking for a new adventure,

idea that would change not only

his life but the lives of many

Africans. One day I was walking

around the streets of Hamburg

where I was at the time. I saw

an old bike chained to a lamp

post. I saw dozens of these

kinds of bikes everywhere I

went in the world. Seeing that

bicycle there abandoned and

unused and a potentially useful

resource, I thought, well,

there's got to be a better

queues for this bicycle somewhere in the world. With

the help of the global

organisation Bicycles fop kick-started Namibia's Bike

Empowerment Network. It now has

25 shops that are all

self-funded. We don't think that just giving

works. And that's been our

experience. I mean I know

because we've done it. It doesn't create the kind of

mechanisms of ownership that

you need to make a program

sustainable. It also doesn't do

anything for the local

economy. You people only make 4,000 profit you're not happy. (Laughs) The shops are generating enough income for the resupply of their own

bikes. They're buying new spare

bikes from their own wholesale

ers. We've created a business

network rather than a one-off project. The shops have also

created desperately needed

jobs. More than half the

population here sun employed

and remote towns like this one

most people live in poverty. It's helping

poverty. It's helping me. I

built my own house. I send my

mother money. I also some of

the money I give it to my

children, to buy their clothes

and also their food. So before

working at the bike shop, did

you have any other kind of

work? I was working ... This

man couldn't afford to support

his family before he became a

bike mechanic. How much do you

earn with the bike shop? 900.

Has it made a difference to

your life

different. In a country where

most people get around on foot, word has

word has spread quickly about

the bike shops. I'd be

exaggerateing to say bicycle is revolutionising

transport in Namibia. However,

it is starting to get towns

like this one moving. Very few

people here can afford a car.

Yet a bike is both affordable

and liberating. There's no bus

coming through the village. Not

even private vehicles in the villages. So a bicycle becomes a vital

link to the outside world for a

lot of these isolated villages.

Health workers can now remote communities more Health workers can now access

remote communities more quickly

organisation, they had a and frequently. This particular

network of 700 home-based care

volunteers and these people

were all walking long

distances, some of them up to

30 kilometres, just to visit a

client who was living with client who was living with HIV

or AIDS. And trying to provide

them with basic palliative sometimes if you want to visit

some clients, it's very

difficult because you have to

walk there and the place is

far. But now, I have the bike it's very quick. Red Cross worker Blaudina Petlus has

become a vital link between

civilisation and one of the

world's most isolated cultures.

The Himba people have shunned the modern world, but in recent

years their health has suffered

as they succumb to diseases

such as AIDS. Blaudina people and offers advice. Getting information about the

disease to these people is

important, and that's a strong

component of what these

volunteers do. Realising the

the value of a basic means of

transport, Michael Linke used

his ingenuity to come up with a bicycle ambulance. I'm

convinced a lot of lives have

been saved through the bicycle

around 100 ambulances out in

the field.

The Australian expat has no shortage of helpers, and he's

actively encouraged street kids

to get involved. Weld a frame around the outside. Yeah.

Hey sweetie! Hey, hey,

hey. Hello. Hey sweetheart. Helping Michael

Linke drive his bicycle

revolution is his Brazilian

wife Clarice. One of the really

inspiring things that's happened since Namibia is that we've connected

with a lot of people around the

world who've wanted to support our work. At the end of the

year, they'll make 26 bike

shops in the country. What's your ultimate goal? The ultimate

ultimate goal? Every African's

riding a bicycle. (Laughs)

What a fantastic project. Andrew Geoghegan reporting

there from Namibia. And that's

the program for tonight. We

will be back at Closed Captions by CSI Aaahhhh... Huh! Huh! Huh! Jimmy Barnes is famous for living like he sings - at full throttle. It's made him, at 54, an Australian rock legend. But it was a lifestyle that came at huge personal cost. He drank a lot, he did a lot of drugs. It is a miracle that he, you know, isn't dead in the ground. You know, he was out of control, which is hard to see, I think, anyone that you care about, to be out of control. Let alone your parent. Yeah, that'll do. If I hadn't have changed when I did, you know, I certainly would've been dead within six months. The ups and downs of Jimmy's life defy all logic but it's a great love story that's ultimately saved his life. If anything's kept this family together, you'd have to sort of say it was Jane. Alright, let's go. (Cheering and applause) ? I'm standing on the outside looking in... ? Jimmy Barnes has always been known as one of the biggest ratbags in Australian rock'n'roll. He was the lead singer of the legendary band Cold Chisel. Jimmy came from the rough and tumble slums of Glasgow. When he was five years old, his family set sail for a better life in Australia. And my mum thought it was a great idea if we went and started afresh, started a new life in a new country. So we were ten-pound tourists, basically. We got on a boat and moved to sunny South Australia. Their new home in the migrant township of Elizabeth wasn't exactly what they'd hoped for. Soon after arriving, Jimmy's parents separated. For a short time, the children were left in the care of their alcoholic father before reuniting with their mother. It was a tough time but it made the academically bright Jimmy determined to succeed. Like, I was, you know, captain of the soccer team, I was a top A-student, I was dux of the school. But he was also a rebellious teenager with a passion for girls and rock'n'roll. ? Shipping steel, shipping steel. ? Meanwhile, a young Thai girl, whose life would soon collide with Jimmy's, was growing up in a totally different world. Jane's home was a comfortable compound in Bangkok surrounded by a large extended family. My mother is one of 26 children.