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”.
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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The code was initially devised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission at the request of Treasury following a year long inquiry, and is designed to force the internet giants to pay publishers for news content.
Tech giants have fiercely opposed the draft version of the code, with Facebook declaring that it would be forced to ban news in Australia if it became law, and Google threatening to quit Australia altogether.
The search advertising giant is expected to reiterate its concerns about the code in a blog post tomorrow, but that it is also prepared to make concessions.
The draft version would give digital platforms three months to strike deals to pay news organisations for their content before they would be forced to enter a binding “final offer” negotiation process. In the “final offer” process, an arbitrator would select one of the negotiating parties’ proposals – whichever it deems more reasonable.
It also requires Google and Facebook to provide data to media companies and advance notice of changes to their algorithms. The tech giants have objected to these requirements as unfair and unworkable. The internet giants have also argued that the draft code does not take into account the value of the referral traffic they send publishers.
If a final version of the code is agreed following the final, confidential consultations with Treasury, the code could reach parliament in the last two sitting weeks of the year. Treasury was approached for comment.
The chief medical officer says Victoria is on a “downslope” of coronavirus cases as the state recorded 216 new infections overnight, the lowest daily figure in a month.
Professor Brett Sutton said Wednesdays were typically “spike days” for Victoria, but 216 new cases was a “good sign” that trend had been bucked.
“We are trending down and that is a very good sign,” he said.
“We‘re going in the right direction. Numbers will never fall fast enough for me. Community transmission is also trending down as we expect.”
Prof Sutton said cases were also stabilising in aged care and ICU.
“To be on a downslope is a very good sign – Victoria is doing well with a very challenging situation. This is very different from the first wave – we’ve had complex outbreaks in aged care, disability and other complex workplaces.”
Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters all 12 deaths in the past 24 hours were linked to aged care.
Three men in their 70s, four women and one man in their 80s and three women and one man in their 90s died.
The state’s death toll is now at 363.
There are 2050 active cases in Victorian aged-care facilities, with 3337 infections in homes since January 1.
There are 675 Victorians in hospital and 45 in intensive care, while 1065 active cases have been detected in healthcare workers.
There has been an increase of 82 mystery cases overnight, taking that total to 3751.
Every NRL season since the dawn of Bellamy, we have posed the same question: What will stop the Melbourne Storm?
What would prompt the decline of a team that has, since coach Craig Bellamy’s appointment in 2003, played finals in all but their 2010 walk-of-shame season and contested nine of the past 15 grand finals?
So we shrugged our shoulders and figured the only thing that would stop the Storm would be some kind of plague or pestilence.
Yet after consecutive backs-to-the-walls victories over last season’s grand finalists the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders, it is apparent the dislocation and distraction caused by COVID-19 are not causing this dynasty to crumble.
“Bloody Melbourne Storm” is not just an indignant expression for some fans of rival NRL clubs. It is a way of life.
Even after those 17 years of sustained excellence, the penny hasn’t dropped for those who wilfully ignore the blindingly obvious — the Storm’s success is a triumph of impeccable preparation.
Not that even the Storm was fully prepared for COVID-19.
Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy recalls conversations with club doctor Jason Chan in January as news of the pandemic broke.
“It’s not like we knew what was going to happen,” Donaghy said.
Donaghy said the Storm hierarchy only had a “heightened sense of awareness” about the pandemic in early March. This prompted the club to charter flights for their first two matches in Sydney before the NRL had suggested the precaution.
Donaghy and outgoing Storm chairman Bart Campbell also took a case for pausing the competition to the NRL, arguing that “stopping and resetting” was the best way to go, while other clubs wanted to plough on.
If there is a cornerstone of the Storm’s enduring success, it is the merciless preseason regime Bellamy inflicts on his players. So there was obvious concern this advantage would be lost with players responsible for their own fitness for almost six weeks.
The Storm’s high performance manager, Lachlan Penfold, is well-regarded for his work with the Brisbane Lions, Sydney Roosters and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. His message was for players to be “ready to play at any point”.
When the team returned for a familiarisation day at AAMI Park in early May, Donaghy was impressed by the appearance of what he calls the “higher-risk players”.
“The guys who put on weight when they just look at food were in great shape,” Donaghy said.
Having kept in close contact with the Victorian Government, the Storm’s next piece of informed intuition was that an alternate training venue would be needed so that they could return to full-contact training at the same time as Sydney and Queensland-based clubs.
“We put that one in the first-world-problems bucket,” Donaghy said.
Within days, restrictions on contact training in Victoria were eased and the Storm returned to AAMI Park, where they hoped to play and train as happily ever after as you can in “unprecedented times”.
However, even as the first four matches after the Project Apollo “relaunch date” were played in relative normality despite the absence of fans, Donaghy said the club had already learned an important lesson.
“If you think you’re in control, don’t get too comfortable,” he said.
“Use the time to pause and consider the steps required to get you to the next space.”
‘Hope for the best and plan for the worst’
Consequently, the still-growing number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria in comparison with other states prompted Donaghy and his staff to initiate a teleconference with the NRL and its pandemic experts.
“There were only 11 new cases (in Victoria) that day. But after our discussions (with the NRL) you could see the way it was going. Borders were closing and we didn’t want to leave ourselves exposed.”
Players were told to pack their bags for a two or three-week stay. With the club subsequently diverted to their new home at the Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast, they have not been home since.
There are 55 players and staff and about 60 family members in camp. Given the vast majority of the Storm players hail from much warmer locations than Melbourne, the Queensland sunshine has been uplifting, even as further logistical problems such as schooling children emerge.
Donaghy said the club remained hopeful of returning to Melbourne before the end of the season. But the players are well aware they could be in Queensland until late October if they go deep into the finals, as now seems likely.
“Hope for the best and plan for the worst is the way we’ve approached things,” Donaghy said.
The victories over the Roosters and Raiders were not perfectly executed. But they have been galvanising for a team now relying more than ever on an already close-knit club family.
“I think there is a lot of heart in this team and a lot of fight,” Bellamy said after the Raiders match.
“I don’t think we’re playing that good a footy with the ball but certainly our defence is really gritty and they are willing to work hard and for each other.”
The Storm will play three of its next four matches at their new home, Sunshine Coast Stadium. The 6,000 tickets for Friday evening’s fixture against the Gold Coast Titans are almost sold out, even though the quarantined club cannot stage promotional appearances.
In Melbourne, the Storm has had record TV viewing and social media engagement — even beyond the two weeks when it was the only game in town because the AFL had not yet restarted.
Donaghy does not pretend the Storm has seen every twist and turn that was coming. But, typically, lemons are being turned into lemonade.
“We think this will make us a better club,” he said.
Meanwhile, the rest of the competition puts a line through plague and pestilence and continues to wonder what will end the purple reign.
A 2020 football season for the Limestone Coast will go ahead, with six teams signing up to play in a combined “super” league.
The 11-week season will begin on Saturday, July 18
The Limestone Coast Regional Football Council has deemed the venture viable, with crowds permitted and canteen functions able to resume
Chair Trevor Smart said it was a big turnaround from several months ago
Mundulla, Kybybolite, Kalangadoo, East Gambier, North Gambier and South Gambier have committed senior and reserve teams for the combined competition.
The Limestone Coast Football League formed after the recent cancellation of the Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara, Mid South Eastern and Western Border football leagues.
Games will start on Saturday, July 18 and run for 11 weeks, with a three-week finals period.
The Limestone Coast Regional Football Council said it was a viable option for clubs now coronavirus restrictions had eased in South Australia.
Chair Trevor Smart said it was a big turnaround from several months ago.
“Probably only three or four weeks ago, none of it seemed possible,” he said.
Mr Smart said easing restrictions had changed that.
“[It’s] a good opportunity for all the clubs, and a good opportunity for the region as well,” Mr Smart said.
Mr Smart said there was plenty of positive feedback to spark a 2020 season.
“I think there’s a lot of excitement and interest in how the season will play out with teams represented across all three leagues, including last year’s three premiers,” he said.
“We’ve received some real positive feedback from clubs and the general public as well.
“Regional football and all sports are a huge part of our social fabric, so [people are looking forward to] just being able to get out there and interact with each other, catch up… just have a good chat and watch the football.”
US President Donald Trump has constantly referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus”, with many criticising the terms as racist.
The emergence of this sign comes after China’s state media claimed Australia is ramping up spying efforts against Beijing as diplomatic ties come under heavy pressure.
The Chinese Communist Party-run Global Times tabloid accused Australia of waging an intensifying espionage offensive through sending spies to China.
It also claimed Australia is instigating defections, spying on Chinese students and feeding “fake news” to the media to hype up theories about Chinese spying.
The story, which is based on an anonymous source from a Chinese law-enforcement agency, said Australia tried to install wire taps in the Chinese embassy in Canberra.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison avoided addressing the issue directly when asked about it.
“I wouldn’t be relying on Chinese state media for your sources for questions,” he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
The Global Times published photos of “spying materials” including a compass, a USB flash drive, a notebook, a mask, gloves and a map of Shanghai, said to have been seized from arrested Australian agents.
The state-owned newspaper warned Chinese agencies would take a harder line on Australian espionage operations.