Keolis Downer given Newcastle transport contract by Baird government

FRENCH CONNECTION: Premier Mike Baird announcing the 10 year contract with Keolis Downer to operate Newcastle’s transport system. Picture: Simone De Peak

FERRIES will run every 15 minutes instead of 25, light rail services will run every seven-and-a-half minutes instead of 10, and Newcastle’s bus network will be overhauled to include “night owl” and “on demand” services.

That’s the pitch to Novocastrians from the Baird government, whichannounced on Monday that the Hunter’stransport system wouldbe privatised andrun by French firm Keolis Downer.

The 10-year contract will see Keolis Downer form a new company –Newcastle Transport – to take over the city’sbus andferry operations in July next year,and its future light rail service when it begins in 2019.

“We said we would only proceed with this [transport deal]if there was a better service outcome for Newcastle,” Premier MikeBairdsaid on Monday.

“We have taken a bid that delivers enhanced services, more bus services, more light rail services and more ferry services.”

Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the contract was “historic”, and would “cast aside” the traditional transport timetable.

“We’re going to see the development of a new network that will meet the needs of the people of Newcastle, which hasn’t always been the case,” he said.

“We’re going to see more frequent ferry services …more frequent light rail services [and] a better bus network.

The government has long been displeased with Newcastle’s falling public transport patronage, which in turn places more pressure on traffic and parking in the city.

“I think anyone who comes into Newcastle everyday would see a lot of empty buses running around the streets,” he said.

“What that says to me is there is a need for patronage to get back up to where it should be and Keolis Downer are going to deliver that.”

Mr Constance said the new privatised network would be “more dynamic”, and include “on demand services”.

“The current network is not working for the people of Newcastle [and]very pleasingly what we’re going to see is the casting away of the old timetable and the delivery of a new timetable that is more dynamic, more off-peak services, a night owl service, and also on demand services,” he said.

The deal includes a five-year employment guarantee for the city’s transport workers, and was “cautiously welcomed” by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union’s NSW Secretary Chris Preston.

“It’s a great step forward for Newcastle transport workers who can now finally put a face to their future employer, and will soon get some clarity about future work conditions,” he said.

“Whilst it’s business as usual for the public transport workers of Newcastle, the RTBU will be in contact with the new operator at the very first available date, to continue to advocate on their behalf throughout this transition.”

Keolis Downer chief executive Campbell Mason said the contractwould deliver “more reliable” transport that would help “breathe new life” into the city.

“Newcastle is undergoing a major transformation,” he said.

“The investment in light rail will breathe new life into the CBD and a more reliable and efficient public transport system will create a network that is attractive to new users.”

But in the wake of reports that the cost to the NSW government of paying a private consortium to operate Sydney’s new light-rail line for 15 years has blownout to almost $938 million has prompted Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp to again call for the government to release the business plan for the Newcastle Light Rail project.

“I have been calling on the government to release this case since last year,” he said.

“I have requested this information under the GIPA Act as well as through the Information and Privacy Commissioner but the government continues to evade this request.

The big question is what is this government hiding? There seems to be a lot of secrecy around this business case. The government is treating Newcastle like fools.”

How to manage your kids’ safety and spending on their new online devices

It’s possible to let kids enjoy phones and game consoles without giving them unfettered access to its capabilities and online stores.Smartphones and video game consoles can be great devices for kids to learn and play with, but their internet-connected nature can make it difficult for parents to keep control over their use. From accessing inappropriate content to using the device too much to racking up huge unexpected bills, unsupervised use of these devices can cause serious issues.

Luckily, most modern devices have a range of options for parents to monitor or limit how their kids’ use their internet-connected devices, so if your child is getting a new phone or game console for Christmas this year, here’s what you need to know. Game consoles

On both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, parents should sign in and create an account for themselves first, and then make one for their kids (this is called a child account on Xbox, or a sub account on PlayStation). Though the systems work a little differently depending on which console you get, each allows the parent to decide what classification level is appropriate for each child, regulate their spending and limit their online activities.

As the holiday season approaches, Xbox Australia’s Jeremy Hinton says it’s important for parents to be prepared to walk through game console rules with kids from the moment the machine is unwrapped.

“There are a lot of consoles and devices that will be sitting under Christmas trees right now to be opened on Christmas day”, Hinton says. “And of course the kids will want to jump right in, but there really are a number of features that we think benefit the family considerably if they’re done right at that first stage”.

When you set up a child’s account, the console will ask you to set appropriate rules and restrictions, so going through this process with the kids present can set ground rules from the get go.

On most platforms, content such as games, movies and apps are classified using a mix of official Australian Classification Board ratings and those determined by an independent body. On Xbox, all content is rated by the ACB. Regardless of the platform, each child’s account can be set to an appropriate level, from G to R.

“What we really want is for parents to have a level of confidence”, Hinton says, “that you’re child’s not accidentally going to wander into some content that might not be appropriate for them”.

On Xbox and PlayStation, parents can grant a temporary exception to these rules by inputting their passcode, for example if the child tries to watch a movie rated higher than what the parental controls allow, but the parent is present and says it’s ok. For this reason, it’s important to have a strong password or code associated with the parent’s account.

Parents can also set an allowance that lets their children buy games or spend money on in-game transactions without giving them unlimited access to the family credit card. Furthermore, they can choose to restrict access to websites through the console, and decide how children can interact with friends or strangers online.

Xbox One also offers a ‘screen time’ feature that can let parents determine when and for how long the console can be played. Phones and tablets

If your child is getting their own iPhone, iPad or Android device, it’s a good idea to set them up with their own Apple ID or Google account so you can keep their digital life and yours separate. Thankfully, you can do this without letting them loose to do whatever they want with their new device.

For Apple families, you’ll need to use your own device to turn on Family Sharing for your own account, and then you can add the Apple ID of any family members to be part of your group. Children under 13 can’t make their own Apple ID, so you’ll have to do it for them.

If you’d prefer certain aspects of the device to be off-limits entirely, for example Safari or the App Store, you can do this on your child’s device by accessing ‘Restrictions’ in the general settings. This is also how you can restrict the device’s use of location services or access to adult-rated apps, music, movies and websites.

When your kids’ accounts are connected to yours with Family Sharing, they will get access to any iTunes and App store purchases you make. If you’d like to give them the autonomy to buy their own things, you can activate ‘Ask to Buy’, which sends a request directly to your phone when a child would like to use your credit card to buy something.

The process is much the same for Android families, with parental controls that limit apps, music and movies by classification on the device itself (you’ll find it in the ‘settings’ of any Google Play branded app).

Android devices don’t usually come with the ability to block certain aspects of the phone entirely, or limit the kinds of websites you can access, although there are many parental control apps you can use to do this.

Anyone over 13 can sign up for a Google account, and if you add your kids to your Family Library group you can allow them to use your money for purchases by entering your PIN on their device.

With the holiday season fast approaching, check out our tech Christmas gift guides:Under $1000$1000 plus

Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks livestreamed to 1 billion people on Facebook and YouTube

Billions of Facebook and YouTube users will be able to watch Sydney’s New Years Eve firework celebrations live from their mobile phones. Photo: Janie Barrett Crowds at Barangaroo park for last years New Year’s Eve fireworks display. Photo: Brook Mitchell

A billion Facebook and YouTube users will be able to watch Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations live on their mobile phones for the first time this year.

The Welcome to Country ceremony, kids’ 9pm fireworks and midnight fireworks will all be live streamed on Facebook and YouTube and the City of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve website.

The City of Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that organisers would be “breaking new ground” this year by streaming the “world’s most famous firework show” to an estimated audience of one billion people.

“By making the most of digital technology only available this year, we can put Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show in the palm of people’s hands around the world – right as it happens,” Cr Moore said.

Earlier this year, the “Songlines” visual artwork, which was projected onto the Sydney Opera House during the Vivid festival, was livestreamed on Facebook and was shared eight million times.

The director of the Welcome to Country ceremony, Rhoda Roberts, said the livestream of the fireworks could easily pass 10 million shares and that audiences will have a “pleasant surprise” during the Welcome to Country ceremony.

“Welcome to Country shows we are a continuously living culture … we are continuing an ancient tradition of protocol but we are doing it in a very relevant manner,” Ms Roberts said.

It has taken 15 months of planning and preparation for this year’s firework displays which will use seven tonnes of fireworks to create more than 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects accompanied by a digital light show.

The 9pm kids’ fireworks will begin with a green and gold umbrella which was inspired by the “Aussie Spirit” at this year’s Olympic Games.

Sydney’s New Year’s Eve is the biggest public event in Australia with up to a million people lining the Harbour last year with similar numbers expected this year.

In addition to broadcasting the ceremony on social media, ABC will have a pop-up digital radio station with audio descriptions of the fireworks for people with impaired vision. Sydney’s New Year’s Eve schedule:

6pm Pre-show entertainment featuring an aerial acrobatic display and tug boat water display.

8.38pm Welcome to Country ceremony with the theme “Walking on Country”.

9pm Family fireworks display.

9.15pm Harbour of Light parade featuring ships decorated with ropelights.

Midnight Fireworks display.

Labor promises ICAC heads same protection from ‘political interference’ as judges

Megan Latham resigned as ICAC commissioner after the agency was restructured. Photo: Brook MitchellFuture heads of the NSW corruption watchdog would be given the same protections against removal from office as judges under a Labor plan to safeguard the independence of the agency.

The head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Megan Latham, announced last month she would not apply for a new position after her role was axed by an Act of Parliament restructuring the agency.

The restructure has been slammed by Labor as a Baird government “ruse” to remove Ms Latham.

She came under fire over the ICAC’s inquiry into Liberal Party fundraising and its failed bid to investigate Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen, SC.

But Premier Mike Baird has insisted the changes strengthen the agency and Ms Latham could have applied for the new chief commissioner position or one of two part-time commissioner roles.

In an early bid for election in 2019, Opposition Leader Luke Foley said a government led by him would insert a new section in the NSW constitution giving ICAC commissioners the same protections against political interference as judges.

“We need a robust and independent ICAC that can keep Macquarie Street and politicians honest; one that can fight corruption without fear of retribution,” Mr Foley said.

“Mike Baird’s sacking of the current commissioner has sent a warning shot to all corruption fighters in NSW – investigate the ruling party at your peril.”

The NSW constitution provides that a judge can only be removed from office by the governor after a vote by the majority of both houses of Parliament. The only grounds for removal are “proved misbehaviour or incapacity”.

Parliament must first receive a recommendation from the Judicial Commission, the independent statutory watchdog overseeing the judiciary.

Existing provisions of the ICAC Act – which were bypassed in Ms Latham’s case – provide that a commissioner may be removed by the governor following a vote by both houses of Parliament.

It does not specify any grounds for removal, but the procedure in the ICAC Act may have afforded a measure of protection to Ms Latham had it been followed.

Provisions in the constitution applying to judges do not prevent judicial offices from being abolished, as occurred in the ICAC restructure.

However, the constitution provides that a judge who held an abolished office is entitled “to be appointed to and to hold another judicial office in the same court or in a court of equivalent or higher status”.

This right remains in place for the period during which the judge was entitled to hold the abolished office.

Ms Latham will return to her former role as a Supreme Court judge next year.

Labor said it would also give the chief commissioner of the ICAC veto rights over the appointment of the two part-time commissioners.

Domain rejects News Corp’s porn site advertising claim as REA’s share price tumbles

Domain Photo: suppliedFairfax Media has hit back at a false report that Domain Group has taken advertising on porn sites, describing the story as “bile” and a reflection of News Corp Australia’s “seemingly endless appetite for gutter dwelling”.

The claim, published on Monday in the media section of The Australian, as well as Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Melbourne’s Herald Sun, comes as Domain Group challenges rival REA Group as the country’s number one property advertising site.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia owns 61.6 per cent of REA Group.

The rise of Domain has seen REA Group’s share price plunge. From a peak of $65.77 in July this year, the company’s share price had dropped to just $45.50 by November. That wiped more than $1.6 billion from the value of News Corp’s holding in REA Group.

REA Group remains on the list of most shorted stocks on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood said the story was “wrong” and Domain had taken out no advertising on porn sites.

“We told The Australian it was wrong,” Mr Hywood said. “We note they printed our quote. But they still had no hesitation in running the yarn. We generally ignore it. Not today.”

A spokesman for Fairfax Media said screen shots provided to Fairfax Media “appeared to be links from a porn site to Commercial Real Estate”, Fairfax Media’s commercial property site, which is part of Domain Group.

“We did not authorise any advertising, re-targeting or redirections and believe it is a malicious scam/bot,” Brad Hatch, director of communications for Fairfax Media, said.

Commercial Real Estate is challenging REA as the number one commercial property site in the country.

“Commercial Real Estate has been the focus of significant investment over the past 18 months,” Melina Cruickshank, chief editorial and marketing officer for Domain Group, said. “To suggest we are inflating metrics via bots or cheap traffic sites is ridiculous.”

Mr Hatch said Fairfax Media had undertaken a review on Monday morning.

“Our technical partners have confirmed that no advertising from us has been placed on porn or illegal sites. We have this morning asked News Corp’s lawyers to provide us with any and all information they have on this matter so our technical people and independent advisers can more fully investigate the matter.”

Mr Hatch said Fairfax Media would notify authorities of the findings and Fairfax would “fully co-operate with any inquiries that may be launched in relation to this matter”.

Mr Hatch added: “News Corp has never had any shame about using their media platforms for attacks on competitors. They dress up their bile as news and bore the rest of the industry with their seemingly endless appetite for gutter dwelling.”

Fairfax Media buys online marketing through a company called Pais Media, which has worked with the Domain team for three years.

Pais Media’s director Josh Smith said the Domain contract had strict clauses that state that certain type of advertising categories are off limits.

“Gambling and adult sites are one of many categories that are excluded from the channels we manage for Commercial Real Estate,” Mr Smith said.

“I can state that Domain has never purchased advertising through these channels.”

John Hastings and Jon Holland likely to miss Big Bash League with injuries

Allrounder John Hastings is likely to miss the Melbourne Stars’ Big Bash League campaign, and probably the rest of the summer, with the Stars “fearing the worst” following his knee injury in Victoria’s Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania last week.

Hastings isn’t the only Victorian with injury concerns, with the Adelaide Strikers expecting spinner Jon Holland to be unavailable for the competition because of an ankle issue, which is not however expected to render him unavailable for the upcoming Test tour of India.

Holland – who made his Test debut earlier this year in Sri Lanka – is enjoying a fruitful summer for Victoria. He is equal second on the Shield wicket-takers list with 27 scalps. However it’s believed he has been plagued by a niggling ankle injury, and will be absent for four to five weeks.

That puts him in doubt for the whole BBL but means he remains in the frame to tour India, where Australia will need depth in their spin stocks behind Nathan Lyon.

That they will likely be without Holland is a blow to Adelaide, who have already lost star spinner Adil Rashid to international duties with England. The pair’s absence could however open the door for young left-arm spinner Tom Andrews.

Hastings, 31, had only recently returned from a finger injury, but was hurt again in the thriller against the Tigers. He slipped while bowling, injuring his knee, and was later taken to hospital.

Hastings took no further part in the match, and it’s understood he was due to see his specialist on Monday.

Stars coach Stephen Fleming said he was expecting to be without Hastings for the BBL. “We won’t see much of him, if at all. If news is better than that great, but we fear for the worst. We’re looking at probably not having him for the Big Bash,” Fleming told Fairfax Media.

“We’ll just wait for confirmation of that, and fingers crossed it’s not the case. I think it was patella tendon. It didn’t look good and it hasn’t been good for the last few days.”

The veteran fast-medium had worked his way back into Australia’s ODI team over the past 15 months, taking 29 wickets in 18 ODI appearances – second in the world behind Australian leg-spinner and Stars teammate Adam Zampa. He was overlooked for the recent series against New Zealand, weeks after breaking his finger at Victorian training in Sydney in October.

Fleming said the absence of Hastings would likely mean greater opportunities at the Stars for Ben Hilfenhaus and Evan Gulbis, both of whom are in NZ playing in that country’s domestic competition.

The Stars are otherwise relatively fit heading into their practice matches against the Sydney Thunder in Albury on Tuesday, although all-rounder James Faulkner pulled up sore following ODI duties against the Black Caps.

Former England captain Kevin Pietersen will miss the Stars’ first game against Hobart on Boxing Day as he spends time with his family at home, however should be available for the remainder of the tournament.

The Stars will also be without Peter Handscomb for the early part of the tournament due to his Test commitments, while Glenn Maxwell, Faulkner and Zampa are likely to miss the back half of the event because of ODI duties.

Dairy industry meetings to gather feedback on crisis assistance

THE Victorian dairy sector is being urged to vent concerns about the grass-roots roll-out of the federal government’s industry assistance package unveiled earlier this year in response to the farm-gate pricing crisis.

Victorian Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie is overseeing four roundtable meetings in various regional locations this week in her home state, to gather critical feedback with the backing of federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Dairy farmers are being asked to express their views on how the Coalition government’s $579 million dairy assistance package is being managed to support those impacted by a sudden reduction in farm-gate milk prices.

The issue flared up in April this year, and became controversial during the federal election campaign, when the government was in care-taker mode, after Murray Goulburn and Fonterra slashed milk price returns to producers without warning.

The first meeting hosted by Senator McKenzie was held today at Tangambalanga in north-eastern Victoria with another one to follow tomorrow at Congupna in the Goulburn Valley region.

Another forum will be held on Thursday at Morwell in the Latrobe Valley in eastern Victoria and another the following day at Camperdown in southwestern Victoria.

Senator McKenzie said the industry roundtable meetings were “further evidence of the Coalition government’s commitment to support Australia’s dairy farmers”.

She said $45.5m in Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans had been approved for Victorian dairy farmers with 378 of them currently receiving the Farm Household Allowance – an increase of 263 since May 2 this year.

“Under the Coalition government more than $567m in concessional loans have been approved to 1072 farm businesses Australia wide and more than 6750 farmers have been granted Farm Household Allowance, including 1907 in Victoria,” she said.

“The Coalition is getting assistance out the door and it is hitting the ground to help farmers in need.

“By comparison, there was no support for dairy farmers under the former Labor government when, in 2009, milk prices were actually lower than they are today.

“Under Labor only eight concessional loans were approved and only 367 farming families were receiving a support payment when the Coalition came to office in September 2013.

“I am keen to hear from as many farmers, farming groups and those in the industry as possible in the local region as possible to get wide-ranging views on the level of assistance to farming families and how effective the current system is in delivering it.”

In a Facebook message with Senator McKenzie, Mr Joyce said he wanted to make sure government worked with industry and there were “strong connections to the issues and strong connections to the results”.

“We’ve been through some tough times, especially in Victoria; we’re starting to make our way back (but) we’ve got a long way to go,” he said.

The federal government’s dairy assistance package was handed down in late May and included $2m in funding to implement a new milk pricing index to increase transparency for producers.

It also contained $900,000 for nine additional Rural Financial Counsellors in Victoria, Tasmania, SA and NSW.

The assistance package was fine-tuned after Mr Joyce visited north-east Victoria and other regions conducting face to face meetings with dairy farmers and industry representatives, to gauge their feedback on potential support measures.

Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has accused the Turnbull government of being slow to respond and take action, in response to the dairy crisis.

Victorian dairy industry roundtables this week

Monday 10.30am at Tangambalanga Community Centre

Tuesday 10.30am at Congupna Community Centre

Thursday 10.30am at Morwell Bowling Club

Friday 10.30am at Camperdown Football Netball Club

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Pork research tackles major farm hurdles

POSITIVE YEAR: Pork CRC Chairman Dennis Mutton said the past year had been one of considerable achievement for the pig industry.

RESEARCH undertaken through theCooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Porkhas improved the eating quality of Australian pork and demonstrated how effluent can be successfully converted into useable biogas.

This is according to Pork CRC chief executive officerRoger Campbell, who was a guest speaker at the organisation’s annual general meeting held in Melbourne recently.

Dr Campbell said other research undertaken by the Pork CRChad shown how grains and other ingredients could be more efficiently used through processing and near-infrared spectroscopytechnologies.

He said producers werealso given industry tools to better understand and control common diseases.

The Pork CRC completed its fifth year of an eight-year agreement with the federal government and participants on June 30.

Chairman Dennis Mutton and DrCampbell agreed the2015-16 financial year had been oneof considerable achievement, with significant outcomes across Pork CRC’s four programs and positive plans and projects in place as it transitions towards 2019-20 and the start-up of the Australasian Pork Research Institute Ltd.

Mr Mutton said Pork CRC’s four program areas, which centred on sow and piglet management, herd health, growing consumption of pork and delivering through a carbon conscious industry, had continued to generate innovative solutions that delivered sustainability and profitability to Australia’s pork industry from producer to public.

“The calibre of Pork CRC’s program research partners continues to be outstanding and, in particular, I acknowledge the support of our participants, a number of whom have continued to show their commitment to the cause of quality research and developmentby signing up as foundation members of APRIL,” he said.

Dr Campbell said in the past year, participants and researchers had made further progress in understanding and enhancing sow and piglet welfare.

“With almost 80 per cent of Australian producers having transitioned to group housing of gestating sows, sow confinement has been reduced by about 80pc,” he said.

“We should all be proud of this achievement, which has contributed to the term high integrity Australian pork becoming a marketable reality and differentiation of our product continuing to be reflected in improved demand and price.

“While margins in 2015-16 were above the previous year and higher than for most other global pork industries, Pork CRC will continue to further differentiate Australian pork.”

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Bowling alley’s revolution

UPGRADE: Orange Tenpin Bowling’s Aldo Belmonte said planned upgrades would be Australian first.

Change is coming to Orange Tenpin Bowl, with a fresh lick of paint already on the walls, owner Aldo Belmonte is promising residents “won’t recognise it”. “A step will be removed and the floor will be raised to allow better access for people with disabilities,” Mr Belmonte said. As well as a new floor, the alley will be outfitted with new furniture and a new mechanical system. Mr Belmonte said the new equipment would be an Australian first with action replays and a new lighting system to be installed. Work won’t begin until competitions have finished, with four lanes to be upgraded at a time.

Ready to learn Skillset’s Skills4Trade graduates, Jack Taprell, Matthew Britt, Kyle Orringe, Joshua Trail, Lachlan McHatton, Christopher Radburn, Jake Griffiths and Zachary Hoolahan. Absent: Slash Merritt, Clayton Collins and Henry Welsh. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Eleven Orange apprentices have graduate from Skillset’s Skills4Trade program. The apprentices have finished their TAFE training and have begun placements with local businesses. The Skills4Trade program is supported by the state and federal governments with the aim to support young people’s transition into work. Another Skills4Trade program will begin in February, with an information session to be held on Wednesday, December 14, from 3pm to 4pm and on January 18. Participants are encouraged to register by calling Sarah Turner on 0428 292 869.

Orange Garden to close NEW BEGINNING: Ann Fuller said the Orange Garden on Lords would close on December 15. Photo: DECLAN RURENGA

The Orange Garden on Lords will close for the final time at 5pm on Thursday, December 15. Owner Ann Fuller she had had a marvelous time for seven years. “I’ve had great support from the community for the past seven years, I had wonderful customers and absolutely fantastic staff and a great experience,” Mrs Fuller said. Everything that customers can see in the shop is for sale, “I’m open to all offers,” Mrs Fuller said. The business originally started as The Complete Garden.

Perfect fit for new ownersFitness Perfection has new owners, with Kim and Nick Gray taking over from Paul Davidson. Mr Gray said the gym was one of the longest running in the Central West. “We wanted to keep the business going, it has massive potential,” he said. Mr Gray said he was bringing a fresh approach. “Changes will be for the better and from member’s feedback,” he said. He said he wanted to focus on the Health and Fitness Club aspect of the gym and potentially expand its services for members.

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Calls for new prevention strategies

AT RISK: There have been calls to reinvigorate approaches to youth suicide prevention as figures show rates are at a 10-year high.SUICIDE rates among young people aged 15 to 24 have reached a 10-year high,a report has found,prompting calls for new and more targeted prevention strategies.

In its youth suicide prevention report, youth mental health organisationOrygen saida youth-specificplan should supportthe existing national suicide prevention strategy.

“Suicide risk looks different amongst young people and their support needs differ from adults,” Orygen head of suicide prevention research Dr Jo Robinson said.

Lifeline Central Victoria and Mallee chief executive officer Leo Schultz supported the call for the introduction of a youth-specific prevention plan.

He said local solutions to local problems were ideal, but these should be underpinned by a consistent national framework.

Ben Keath, engagement officer at youth mental health service headspace in Bendigo, said young people often expressed concern about the cost of seeking help, and with so many being time-poor, made their mental health a lower priority in their lives.

He said the way young people accessed information also differed from older people andheadspace’s online and phone services werepopular methods of seeking assistance, largely because they were easily accessible.

Online technology was identified in Orygen’sreport as atoolthat should be better harnessed to reach out to youth, andthe provision of adequate resources for such services was labelleda priority.

Mr Keath added that approaches should engageyoung people through such settings as schools and sporting clubs.

This echoed the report, which identified schools and tertiary education institutions aseffective settings for delivering prevention activities.

Orygen also said headspace should have national coverage and be expanded to be able to service young people with more complex needs.

Mr Schultz said there needed to be more research to develop evidence-based strategies,and these needed to be publicised when identified to ensure people knew how to seek help.

If you are in urgent need of help, callLifelineon 13 11 14 or theSuicide Call Back Serviceon 1300 659 467; for more information or assistance,call headspace on 1800 650 890.

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