Local News - Victoria

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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Local News - Victoria

Melbourne launches the Arts Centre theatre complex

Suddenly, the scenery flew up to the roof, and the magnificent stage at the State moved backwards and locked itself in place to create a vast emptiness. And then the ceiling above our seats opened, and glitter fell all over the theatre. People began to laugh and chatter.

And then the fire doors of the stage opened, revealing an even larger space, and more than 1000 people danced in, led by a band. Well. We knew by now that here was a fair-dinkum party, not just drinks and speeches. But who one earth were those people on stage? Where had they come from? They were all done up to the nines, as we were, the audience.

We learned later that we were looking at the audiences from the other theatres in the complex, the Playbox and the Studio, where the programs had finished 10 minutes earlier than ours. They had been told what to do, which was simple enough: they just had to congregate out of sight on the State’s stage and dance into view when someone gave a signal.

So what we were looking at now was Australia’s biggest dancefloor. The waiters with champagne began to circulate. So now we had Australia’s biggest bar.

Strike me pink – I hope I’ve got all this in the right sequence – steps then appeared leading to the stage, and the 2000 of us who so far were only spectators were invited to go up and dance.


And do you know that enormous scissor-lift contraption backstage that carries semi-trailer loads of props? This got into the act too. It came up from Sturt Street carrying what someone told me was the Channel 9 dance band. This is absolutely plausible. The entire Coldstream Guards could get on that lift if they wanted to.

Well. What can we say? The champagne flowed and we danced the night away, those of us who could find the room.

Did I mention that at some point early in this festivity, three people made speeches? Good ones, too, from Ken Meyer, chairman of the Arts Centre Trust, Race Mathews, Minister for the Arts, and John Cain, the Premier.

This must have been a tremendous occasion for Ken Meyer, who joined the Arts Centre building committee (before the trust existed) 28 years ago. Twenty-eight years! A whole generation ago. And here, in a crowded theatre was the culmination of his time and effort.

As he looked at the stage, did the though cross his mind that it is one metre below the water level of the Yarra? Probably not. This was just one of the many engineering feats that the building committee, the architects and the engineers accomplished. They were given a terrible building site, the base of which was ooze. Remember the 1200 steel pipes they drove into the bedrock 25 metres further down?

Another person I felt happy for was George Fairfax, the trust’s general manager, who has been with the Arts Centre in different capacities for 15 years. My God, what a lot he’s seen, and what a lot of setbacks he’s overcome. But the public only sees him as urbane and smiling.


He was a distinguished actor, you know. Did it cross his mind last night that this was the only place for an actor to be, this site that drips with the history of entertainment in Melbourne. It was to here, in the 1870s, that travelling circuses came. It was here that Melbourne had the permanent circuses, Fitzgeralds and Wirths, and then a jazz pavilion, a dance hall, and a roller skating rink.

What an arresting coincidence it is that Roy Grounds, aged 16, once played the part of a Boy Scout in a 1922 production at a theatre opposite the stage door of the Melbourne Concert Hall which (along with the other buildings) he later designed.

Was that Sir Henry Bolte I saw in the crowd? My goodness, it looked like him, and there cannot, surely, be two Sir Henrys. Bravo, Sir Henry, it was you who really got this act on the road. There’d been an awful lot of talk between 1942 and 1955, but not much action until you began running the State. And then the Arts Centre took off like a rocket.

Ah! John Truscott! What interiors you gave us. Did you ever stop working on these magnificent buildings? Remember when you couldn’t get enough money out of the trust or the Government or somebody, and you looked at the paltry amount available and went ahead anyway, cutting your cloth to suit your purse, but cutting it in a way that nobody else could have done? I remember once you told me you were thinking of the future generations who would use these buildings. They will applaud.

It is true that you wore out 41 pairs of shoes working on the project? Jim McPherson says so, and he’s as reliable as the sunrise. Jim McPherson. What a tremendous job he’s done as a publicist. He has sold the Arts Centre to the world.

Excuse me. I just saw a couple in love. The man looked like the illustrious Sir Sidney Nolan, and the woman looked like his wife, the former Mary Boyd who is exquisite tonight (isn’t she always?).

Sir Sidney, having seemingly quelled whatever tensions existed over the fact that the Arts Centre didn’t hang his desert painting last Friday, is having the time of his life. Sir Sidney’s name will be linked to the Arts Centre for as long as it stands, if only because he once scrawled five or six words on a piece of paper and thus handed to it, absolutely free, his famous ‘Paradise Gardens’, consisting of 1620 paintings depicting the evolution of Australian flowers.


Sir Sid says he’s thinking now about another epic, 1600 paintings of Australian villains, who will include no Irish.

Nelli Shkolnikova, the violinist, was there last night, with bells on. I don’t mean bells that go ding-dong-ding, but bells that go dingalingaling and hey-nonny-no, if that’s the sort of thing one can say about this distinguished Russian woman. Having defected from Europe, she found happiness in Melbourne as the Arts Centre’s first artist-in-residence, and there isn’t a student at the Melbourne College of the Arts who doesn’t love her.

Daryl McFall was keeping his same modest profile last night. He doesn’t get in the news much, but his is unquestionably a great hero of the Arts Centre’s development. He is the project architect, the man who inherited Sir Roy Ground’s cloak. It is McFall, the partner in charge at Suendermann, Douglas McFall Pty Ltd, who led the people who solved the problems that sometimes seemed insuperable.

Ah well. I don’t think we’ll see a party again such as last night’s. We’ve had a few parties at the Arts Centre during its development, but last night’s was the pinnacle. We were not celebrating just the official opening of the theatres, we were celebrating the whole beautiful thing. Last night we were saying: “Here we are! We’ve finished it! It has taken 42 years and cost $225 million – and look, we have finished.”

God bless all those people with sore heads today. It was worth it, wasn’t it?

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Australian News

Australia Post launches biggest recruitment drive ever

Australia Post is on its biggest recruitment drive in its 210-year history ahead of what is set to be a massive Christmas season for the company.

More than 4000 people will be hired across the country to help deliver what Australia Post believes will be a record number of parcels.

Of the new jobs, 2900 are casual delivery roles across the country, about 300 are fixed-term full-time and part-time customer contact centre roles in Brisbane and regional areas of South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland, and around 900 more will work in other areas of the business, including the post office network.

The roles are expected to go quick, with more than 23,000 applications for Christmas casual positions being received last year, and more than 50,000 applications for casual roles created in response to an increase in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive general manager people and culture Sue Davies said the recruitment would be a very welcome boost to the Australia Post workforce, which has been stretched thin as more people work from home and lockdown measures continue in some parts of the country.

“A lot has been expected of our people this year, and I’m so proud of the way our team has adapted and dealt with the challenges they’ve faced to keep delivering for Australia across our entire network,” she said.

“In managing all the necessary COVID-safe requirements, including a reduced workforce in our Melbourne facilities during the recent stage 4 restrictions, our people have gone over and above to provide critical services for businesses and their customers and delivered for over 8.1 million households who have shopped online between March and August alone.”

Ms Davies said this was a “record-breaking recruitment drive” for the company in response to “what we expect to be a Christmas unlike any we’ve had before in Australia Post’s history”.

“In a year that has been incredibly challenging and impacted people in many ways, we are delighted to be inviting people to join us this Christmas as we deliver across the country,” she said.

To see the full list of vacancies available at Australia Post, click here.

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Australian News

SParms launches new athletic face mask range for summer

Australians “crying out” for lightweight masks as the warmer months dawn is prompting one leading sportswear company to start a “mass rollout” of a specially-designed “athletic” face covering.

Queensland-based company SParms started designing V1 face masks at the start of the pandemic in March, which was a hit in America before Australia.

Director Mimi Lee said it was picked up by about 200 Ladies Professional Golf Association golfers in the US.

“They’re in the middle of their summer now so I just reached out to them and asked for feedback on the masks and how we can design them to suit the warmer weather more and just got an amazing response,” she said.

She said a new design of their face masks was tailored to athletes, with the covering more “breathable” in summer.

“It’s lightweight and moisture-wicking, with a four-way stretch combined with a motion 3D pattern for maximum comfort and performance,” Ms Lee said.

“It’s designed for breathability – It’s not a surgical mask.

“We’re not claiming that it’s superior to surgical masks, but it’s very sophisticated.

“When we selected the fabrics and layers it was very considered which ones were safe to breathe in, which also had enough layering to kill and prevent germs.”

Ms Lee said she had never received such a response in her 10 years of business after launching the range of masks.

She said the company’s Gold Coast warehouse was manufacturing about 100,000 units of the PPE per week.

“I’ve got pharmacists calling me and hounding me for these face masks – we’ve produced so, so many in the last two months,” she said.

“I think Australians are really starting to catch on that face masks are here to stay for the summer and we’re seeing that in the response.”

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Australian News

China launches anti-dumping investigation into Australian wines

China has launched an anti-dumping investigation into Australian wine exports in a massive blow for the industry.

The move effectively accuses Australia of flooding China with cheap wine in an effort to skew the market.

Australia’s largest wine exporter, Treasury Wine Estates, was brought to a trading halt on Tuesday as its share price tumbled 19 per cent.

It’s the latest blow in an apparent trade war between China and Australia.

In a statement, Treasury Wine Estates said it would co-operate with “any requests that we receive for information from Chinese or Australian authorities”.

The winemaker said it had “a long and respectful relationship with China over many years” through its team, partners, customers and consumers.

“As an importer of high-quality premium Australian wine including brands such as Penfolds, TWE remains committed to China as a priority market and will continue to invest in its Chinese business and its relationships with customers and consumers,” it said.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced the anti-dumping investigation of Australian wine exports in China on Tuesday.

It is the second blow in a matter of months for Australian exporters, after China announced it would slap tariffs on Australian barley.

Treasury Wine Estates last week said volumes sold in the Chinese market had risen 40 per cent in June compared to the previous corresponding month.

Relations between Canberra and Beijing soured this year when Australia pushed for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic.

China implemented a series of seemingly retaliatory policies including urging its citizens not to travel to Australia.

Earlier this year Trade Minister Simon Birmingham demanded an explanation after reports China was preparing a “hit list” of Aussie exports to punish Australian farmers.

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Local News - Victoria

Alleged Tinder rapist launches Supreme Court bid for bail

Police allege the first rape occurred in 2018 after a 19-year-old woman matched with the man on Tinder.

On October 25, 2018, Mr Taylor met the woman for dinner in Drouin before driving her to an isolated area where a sexual assault allegedly occurred.

Then, in early 2020 an 18-year-old woman matched with Mr Taylor on the same dating app.

On March 24, she invited Mr Taylor to a house party she was hosting with friends at a campus share house in Burwood.

Police allege while at the house, Mr Taylor followed the woman into her bedroom and sexually assaulted her.

On both occasions, the victims reported being choked and unable to breathe, as well as being forced onto their stomachs.

In applying for bail, Mr Tiawana argued it was Mr Taylor’s first time in custody and it was unlikely a trial would take place until the second half of 2022.

He said the 25-year-old had been essentially kept in “solitary confinement” due to COVID-19 restrictions, labelling the experience “harsh”.

“It’s been a difficult and harrowing experience,” Mr Tiawana said.

The accused man’s mother Rosemary Taylor told the court her son had been studying a double degree in computer science at RMIT and working at call centres and a Southbank restaurant before being arrested by police.

She said she was aware of the allegations against him but said Mr Taylor would be welcome back in the family home if released on bail.

“He’s always been very respectful, loving, caring. He is welcome home,” she said.

Crown prosecutor Brett Sonnet argued Mr Taylor was an unacceptable risk to the public if released, the 25-year-old telling police he’d been in contact with “hundreds” of women on the dating app Tinder at the time of his arrest.

Mr Sonnet said similarities in the two matters were “remarkable” with the second victim allegedly choked in and out of consciousness before crawling into a fetal position and attempting to go to sleep.

Police previously revealed the women had told investigators the man’s dating profile said he was a computer science student and stated “feds and narcs swipe left”.

Sex crime squad police arrested Mr Taylor at his mother’s home in March and again in July where he was charged with four courts of rape and four counts of assault and remanded in custody.

Justice Paul Coghlan will hand down his decision on Wednesday.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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Maccas launches flagship sustainable store in Melton

Maccas has already announced plans to phase out plastic cutlery.

Pre-COVID price

An owner-occupier in the IT hardware sector has splashed out $10 million on a major office-warehouse in Maribyrnong.

2-4 Mephan Street.

2-4 Mephan Street.Credit:

The deal for 2-4 Mephan Street was struck at the pre-Covid asking price, which indicates that some types of property are proving themselves more useful in the new era.

CBRE agents Bryce Pane and Harry Kalaitzis negotiated the transaction with Glyn Bosisto and Tom Davis from Bosisto Commercial.

Mr Bosisto said: “The rapidly changing retail environment under Covid-19 is accelerating the transition of many major online retailers towards large centralised click-and-collect bricks and mortar platforms in favour of the traditional retail model.”

The 8364 sq m office is on a 14,900 sq m site that was previously occupied by foam fabricating business RMAX on a lease that ends this month.

“This competitive sale campaign highlights that, despite the pandemic, there is strong demand from industrial owner occupiers and developers for prime infill assets on significant land holdings,” Mr Pane said.

Don Camillo’s

One of the city’s oldest cafes, Don Camillo’s, has quietly closed down during the pandemic lockdown and is now for sale.

The Lanteri family established Don Camillo’s in 1955 with a new-fangled espresso machine.

The Lanteri family established Don Camillo’s in 1955 with a new-fangled espresso machine.Credit:Italian Historical Society

The Lanteri family established Don Camillo’s in 1955, living upstairs and serving up pasta and coffee from one of those new-fangled espresso machines.

It recently underwent a $200,000 upgrade with expectations that the business operator, martial arts maven Sam Greco, would exercise his ten year option. But Covid restrictions appear to have delivered a death knell.

While the cafe at 215 Victoria Street cafe lost some of its old world charm in the make-over, it still has its terrazzo floor.

Killen Thomas agent John Camilleri is handling the sale of the 200 sq m building and is expecting more than $1.8 million.

Rocco’s hold on

Meanwhile, the Bufalo family which has owned and operated Rocco’s Hand Made Shoes in Malvern, for more than 40 years, has withdrawn the property from sale.

At the last minute, the family decided to hold on to the property.

At the last minute, the family decided to hold on to the property.Credit:

Barry Plant Commercial agents Benjamin Klein and Dean Sirianni originally had the 278 sq m shop slated for auction on July 17, quoting between $1.35-1.4 million.

The auction was then converted to an expressions of interest campaign. Six bids of around $1.5 million were received, Mr Klein said.

But at the last minute, the family decided to hold on to the property at 41-43 Station Street, which they have owned since 1986. Selling was too big a wrench for Rocco Bufalo.

Monolith sells

Monolith Developments is selling off a 2512 sq m site in Wantirna South opposite Knox Shopping Centre.

The former drive through restaurant at 500 Burwood Highway forms the front of a larger 5568 sq m site Monolith bought for more than $11 million in 2017.

The Chinese capital-backed developer has almost completed a town house project at the rear of the site.

JLL agents MingXuan Li and Steve Kelly are handling expressions of interest in the property which has a permit for an eight-storey mixed use project.

The property is expected to fetch more than $6.8 million. The campaign closes on August 13.

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Australian News

Commonwealth Bank launches new initiative to provide victims support, resources

One in four Australians have experienced some form of financial abuse and this is expected to worsen as the pandemic continues.

A YouGov survey of more than 10,000 Australians on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank found 26 per cent of adults had suffered some form of monetary abuse while another 12 per cent know someone who has been a victim of it.

Financial Counselling Australia’s chief executive officer Fiona Guthrie said family violence rates were “skyrocketing” during the lockdown and it often resulted in financial problems among couples.

“It harms people so the first step is to recognise it and depending on the situation you need to think about how you are going to get control over your own financial situation,” she said.

“Sometimes people have to set up secret bank accounts.”

The research found of those who had experienced financial abuse the most common behaviours included:

• 61 per cent said the perpetrator used all their partner’s wages for household expenses while spending their own money on themselves.

• 56 per cent said assets were hidden.

• 55 per cent said the perpetrator took complete control of their partner’s finances.

• 55 per cent said the perpetrator refused to contribute to the household expenses.

Ms Guthrie said fewer people had sought free financial help during the pandemic because millions of Australians had increased Jobseeker allowances and were able to access their superannuation early.

“We worry it’s the calm before the storm,” she said.

The Commonwealth Bank has announced it is increasing its support for those suffering financial abuse caused by domestic and family violence, launching its “Next Chapter” program to offer services, support, resources and research.

The bank’s chief executive officer Matt Comyn said financial abuse was a common problem and more help needed to be available.

“It’s a hidden epidemic in our country that has directly affected one in four Australian adults and we want to change that,” he said.


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They are rolling out a new partnership with charitable organisation Good Shepherd to provide free access to people suffering family violence no matter who they bank with.

This includes direct financial assistance, safe banking and referrals to family violence counsellors and experts.

CBA expects to support more than 125,000 customers in vulnerable circumstances over the next five years.

If you are experiencing domestic or family violence call 1800 RESPECT.



• Being left responsible for joint loans following a relationship breakdown.

• Poor credit history.

• Limited opportunity to get employment.

• Lack of funds to cover household expenses.

• Homelessness.

• Prospect of long-term financial hardship.

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Australian News

Melbourne launches new COVID-19 test amid fears of second wave

A new world-first coronavirus test will be rolled out across Melbourne’s priority suburbs amid fears a second wave of the virus will hit the state.

The saliva test, developed by scientists at Victoria’s Doherty Institute, will replace the traditional nasal swab, with an army of health crews going door-to-door with the new testing equipment today.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced last week Keilor Downs, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Maidstone, Hallam and Broadmeadows were known hot spots.

Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham completed the top 10 list.

Royal Melbourne Hospital department of clinical microbiology Professor Deborah Williamson said the new test was a non-invasive alternative to COVID-19 testing.

“This novel diagnostic approach has been trialled in our laboratory and in labs around the world, and our work suggests this approach may be an alternative to swab testing in some settings,” she said.

“The Doherty Institute public health laboratories are pleased to work with the Victorian Government and other laboratories to assess the feasibility, acceptability and scalability of saliva testing in the community.”

Melburnians living outside the city’s hot spots can expect to receive traditional nasal swabs when being tested for coronavirus.

It follows the State Government’s stern warning yesterday suburban lockdowns were on the table as experts analyse new COVID-19 data later today.

Victoria recorded 49 new cases yesterday, an increase of eight on Saturday’s figures and the highest daily total since April 2.

Four of the new cases were linked to known outbreaks, with the source of infection still under investigation in the remaining 45.

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Heritier Lumumba launches scathing attack on Collingwood Magpies over racism

Collingwood premiership star Heritier Lumumba has launched a tirade against his former club, accusing the Magpies of punishing him for daring to stand up against slurs from teammates.

In a dramatic escalation of the rift between Collingwood and the 33-year-old All-Australian, Lumumba dismissed claims from the club that they were trying to “reach out” to him, saying he had no intention of meeting officials at this stage.

Earlier this week Lumumba penned a strongly worded letter to his former teammates, saying the club had to be held accountable for the “unacceptable” way racism was handled during his career.

Coach Nathan Buckley admitted last night he was uncomfortable that Lumumba felt belittled and diminished during his career.

But Lumumba has hit back, in a scathing series of messages on social media.

“Interesting that Collingwood is now shifting its narrative to claim that they are trying to ‘reach out’ to me,” he tweeted.

“Let me very clear: I have no intention of sitting down with anyone until they publicly acknowledge some fundamental facts.

“Why a public acknowledgement? Because I have been discredited publicly. I don’t want a private handshake.

“I want justice for how I was treated. That includes correcting public denials about my account of the racism & isolation I faced.

“How can Nathan Buckley claim he ‘didn’t hear’ the ‘chimp’ nickname? I sat through a torturous, 8-hour, 1-on-1 mediation with him, where I had to explain to him why I was affected? How can I take him on his word now? He is yet to correct the record?”

Lumumba said the club needs to take responsibility for not having processes in place to prevent racism.

“Collingwood needs to acknowledge the following: They did not have the cultural competence and organisational literacy to deal with a real culture of racism at the club, of which I was a victim for a number of years,” he wrote.

“Following Eddie McGuire’s racist comments about Adam Goodes, I was barred from speaking to him. When I took to social media to voice my disappointment, I was punished and isolated within the club.

“I was excluded from leadership meetings and suddenly dropped from the leadership group without a reasonable explanation. I was ultimately forced out of the club. In my final meeting, I was told it was because I had ‘thrown the president under the bus.'”

The defender played 199 games for Collingwood before leaving at the end of the 2014 season.

He says the club had a vendetta against him because of the colour of his skin.

“I was punished as a black man for daring to stand up for myself against slurs from my own teammates. I was punished for being upset that my club president had associated an Indigenous champion of the game with an ape as a joke on radio,” he continued.

“Collingwood is making statements about their ‘growth.’ But this has dragged out over 6 years because they have refused to take the step of acknowledging that my account of my experience was true. Growth means accountability. Reconciliation without accountability is not possible.”

Club president Eddie McGuire has said he wants to offer Lumumba life-membership of the Magpies, pledging to continue reaching out to the 33-year-old.

But Lumumba doesn’t appear inclined to take the olive branch.

“Only 2 nights ago, Eddie McGuire made a comment effectively implying that I was somehow ‘involved’ in the culture that gave me a racist nickname. Can I really believe that he’s acting in good faith?” he asked.

“I don’t have a team of lawyers, or PR and media people managing this for me. All I have is my truth, and I will not compromise it.”

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