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Mother launches court action over fallen sign on Tullamarine Freeway


CPB Contractors, which was responsible for the construction and installation of signage on the Tullamarine Freeway, is also accused of repeated negligence, including failing to adequately design, construct and install the signage, according to the writ.

Ms Lettieri suffered head and spinal injuries along with post-traumatic stress disorder from the crash, which she described at the time as “like a roller door slamming shut in front of me”.

Nella Lettieri's car was crushed by a falling road sign.

Nella Lettieri’s car was crushed by a falling road sign.Credit:Nine News

The Transport Accident Commission had recently issued Ms Lettieri with a serious injury certificate, according to her lawyer, John Karantzis from Carbone Lawyers.

“Our client continues to suffer from severe physical and psychological injuries as a result of this incident and we intend to hold those responsible for these injuries to account,” Mr Karantzis said.

The incident prompted an investigation by CPB Contractors, which is part of the multinational CIMIC Group, formerly known as Leighton Holdings.

The review found the sign collapsed because of a “progressive fatigue crack” due to the omission of a stiffener plate during the fabrication process.

CPB Contractors declined to comment on the legal proceedings when contacted by The Sunday Age on Thursday.

A Department of Transport spokeswoman said it had conducted a thorough audit of similar signs and was confident the Tullamarine Freeway accident was an isolated incident.

“As this matter is now the subject of legal proceedings, we are unable to comment further,” the spokeswoman said.

Major Projects Victoria program director David Clements said it had undertaken an extensive review and site inspection of all overhead and roadside assets built by CPB Contractors as part of the CityLink Tulla Widening Project.

“These inspections did not identify any ongoing public safety concerns and we remain committed to working with government and industry to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Mr Clements said.

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Sunday scorcher as holidaymakers flee the fallen ‘ring of steel’


The morning will be partly cloudy, with the hottest weather set to arrive in the afternoon. The temperature is expected to peak at 5pm.

Melburnians will swelter through a hot night on Sunday before a cool change sweeps through on Monday morning, and the temperature drops to 19 degrees. There’s also a chance that a storm might arrive on Sunday night.

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The hot weather will arrive after a much milder Saturday, when the temperature is set to hit 20 degrees in Melbourne.

Saturday marks the start of the first weekend since the “ring of steel” was lifted, with many Melburnians set to visit regional Victoria to take advantage of the warm weather and reunite with friends and family.

But the Premier is urging those embarking on weekend getaways to be COVID-safe. This includes wearing a mask, practising social distancing and following the rules around socialising.

“Go and enjoy regional Victoria, go and spend in regional Victoria, but you’ve got to do it in a safe way,” Mr Andrews said.

“I don’t want this weekend to be one of only a few weekends where people have that freedom, I want it to be part of that COVID-normal.”

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Families of fallen officers killed in Eastern Freeway tragedy gather at fundraising relay run


The idea spread quickly as more and more officers jumped on board and on Sunday, after a final relay run in the autumn sun, First Constable Peak and dozens of others were able to present a cheque for $374,193.41 to Victoria Police Legacy.

The final group in the relay run down St Kilda Road on Sunday afternoon.

The final group in the relay run down St Kilda Road on Sunday afternoon. Credit:Darrian Traynor

The money will go to the families of Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney, who were killed on the side of the busy Melbourne freeway.

In emotional scenes at Melbourne’s Police Memorial on Sunday afternoon, Senior Constable King’s partner, Sharron Mackenzie, and three sons, Constable Prestney’s parents, Andrew and Belinda, and Constable Humpris’ partner, Todd Robinson, came together to remember their loved ones.

Family members of the police officers who were killed in the collision attended the final leg of the relay run.

Family members of the police officers who were killed in the collision attended the final leg of the relay run. Credit:Darrian Traynor

“It’s an honour to have them here today,” First Constable Peak told The Age. “I can’t imagine how difficult this would be [for them].”

Police members started their relay run at 8am at the Police Academy in Glen Waverley, holding four bright blue batons engraved with the names of the four officers.

They then passed the police stations where the four members worked during their careers.

First Constable Peak hugs a family member at the finish line.

First Constable Peak hugs a family member at the finish line.Credit:Darrian Traynor

At 11.20am, they stopped by the side of the Eastern Freeway and a minute’s silence was held opposite the spot where crash occurred.

“We created a platform for people who wanted to grieve and needed a way to channel their grief. And the community that has been created has been really heart-warming,” said First Constable Peak.

The four blue batons were inscribed with the names of the fallen officers.

The four blue batons were inscribed with the names of the fallen officers. Credit:Darrian Traynor

“I didn’t think what I did would be this big.”

The chief executive officer of Victoria Police Legacy, Lex de Man, said he had never seen this much donated to the remembrance fund.

“It tells me the support from the public for the families, and the public want to say, ‘we are with you’, and also for what Victoria Police does in general,” he said.

A minute's silence in held at the site of the crash.

A minute’s silence in held at the site of the crash. Credit:Darrian Traynor

“[Today has] been emotional, very humbling to receive such an amount of money and for some of the families who have been able to come along, to see the appreciation on their faces.”

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Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt said he was exceptionally proud of his members, who had naturally come together to support each other.

“[First Constable Peak] is in her 20s and it just goes to show that the measure of a police officer is not in their years of service, it’s in the character,” he said.

Mr Gatt said he was supportive of creating a permanent memorial at the site of the crash on the Eastern Freeway, given it was a loss of “such significant scale”.

“It’s touched Victoria in a way that would make having a memorial in the vicinity of that location not only special, but fitting.”

Truck driver Mohinder Singh, 47, has been charged with culpable driving causing death over the crash and will face court again in October.

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How schools will help students who have fallen behind


“Things like literacy are present in every subject; if you fall behind, it has a compounding effect on your other studies.”

The study showed the lost learning would exacerbate existing inequities, as disadvantaged Australian students are already approximately 37 weeks behind in numeracy and 35 weeks in reading, compared to the typical student.

However, Mr Joseph said a concerted effort from schools could rectify the problem.

“I think the key advice, especially since there’s no NAPLAN this year, is that it’s important students are assessed to see if they’ve fallen behind and once they’ve been identified they need some intensive intervention to ensure they catch up to their peers.

“If the focus comes in on core numeracy and literacy that would be best utilisation of resources.”

A statement from the Victorian Education Department said it was “focused on supporting our most vulnerable students to engage in learning”.

“In designing learning from home arrangements, we took immediate steps to minimise the impact of remote learning by enabling vulnerable students to attend on-site, and by prioritising disadvantaged students in the roll-out of digital devices and internet connections.

“Schools can use their existing equity funding to provide additional supports to disadvantaged learners.”

Meagan Cook, principal at Boronia K-12 College, said her staff would assess students upon their return to the classroom.

“I think like most schools when the kids will return we’ll check where they are at and then we’ll move them forward,” she said.

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The University of Melbourne’s Professor Janet Clinton was commissioned by the federal government to research the effects of remote learning on students. She says a nuanced approach to catching up is important.

“For every child going back there’s going to have to be a recovery period,” she said.

“If you go too hard, you’ve lost them.

“Social and emotional learning is going to be critical; some kids will be anxious and some won’t and that’s not about disadvantage.”

Professor Clinton said teachers would always help their students.

“We’ve got to trust teachers.

“They are on the front line of this and they are going to help with recovery.”

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Family of fallen police officer Kevin King mourns loss of ‘big softie’


Kevin King with his partner Sharron Mackenzie.

Kevin King with his partner Sharron Mackenzie.

“He loved going to work, it was his home away from home … [his colleagues] were his mates, part of his family.”

Senior Constable King’s family have described him as a “caring, considerate, gentle and kind-hearted person” and a “big softie who would do anything for absolutely anyone”.

“He’d always be there. That was who Kevin was and so much more,” they said.

Senior Constable King was a lifelong Tigers fan, a passion which he passed on to his sons, who he loved to get outside and kick a footy with.

Kevin King was stationed with the Nunawading Highway Patrol

Kevin King was stationed with the Nunawading Highway Patrol

He was also passionate about sport and fitness, working for a time as a personal trainer, his family said.

“He loved music, particularly his guitar. He’d be strumming on the guitar at every opportunity; he’d often go outside with his coffee and the guitar in the sunshine,” his family said.

“We gifted Kevin a long-awaited guitar amplifier for his 50th birthday in February this year to keep feeding that passion, despite the fear that our family room would turn into a music studio!”

He loved cooking and good food – particularly Italian – and his specialties were his pasta dishes and minestrone soup.

His partner, Sharron, said there was a lot her boys would miss about their dad.

“Not least going to the football with him, kicking the footy, or just joking with him and listening to his slightly daggy dad jokes,” she said.

“Kevin was from a very close-knit family and this is such a devastating shock for all of us. Our hearts are so broken.

“From the perspective of being Kevin’s partner, my heart is in pieces; I’m totally devastated. My beautiful man, my life, my rock and my only love for 35 years is gone and life will never be the same,” she said.

New recruits Constable Josh Prestney and Constable Glen Humphris were killed alongside their senior colleagues Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and Senior Constable King.

New recruits Constable Josh Prestney and Constable Glen Humphris were killed alongside their senior colleagues Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and Senior Constable Kevin King. All four officers were killed in the horror Eastern Freeway crash.

New recruits Constable Josh Prestney and Constable Glen Humphris were killed alongside their senior colleagues Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and Senior Constable Kevin King. All four officers were killed in the horror Eastern Freeway crash.

Senior Constable King’s family thanked Victoria Police and the wider community for their overwhelming support.

“We feel great empathy for the families and friends of Joshua, Glen and Lynette who are going through this with us,” they said.

The officers were in the emergency lane of the Eastern Freeway, preparing to impound a black Porsche, when a semi-trailer ploughed into them about 5.40pm on Wednesday.

If you or anyone you know needs support call Lifeline 131 114, or beyondblue 1300 224 636.

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Melbourne landmarks lit in blue to honour fallen police


Some of Melbourne’s best known landmarks and venues were lit up in blue on Thursday night as a tribute to the four police officers killed on the Eastern Freeway.

Flinders Street Station is turned blue.

Flinders Street Station is turned blue.Credit:AAP

Flinders Street Station, the State parliament building in Spring Street, Federation Square, AAMI Park, Rod Laver Arena the National Gallery of Victoria, the Arts Centre, the MCG and the Melbourne Town Hall were among the buildings lit up as a mark of respect for the officers.

Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and new recruits Constable Josh Prestney and Constable Glen Humphris died when they were hit by a truck in the emergency lane of the Eastern Freeway near Burke Road.

New recruits Constable Josh Prestney and Constable Glen Humphris were killed alongside their senior colleagues Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and Senior Constable Kevin King. All four officers were killed in the horror Eastern Freeway crash.

New recruits Constable Josh Prestney and Constable Glen Humphris were killed alongside their senior colleagues Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and Senior Constable Kevin King. All four officers were killed in the horror Eastern Freeway crash.



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