For God’s sake. Could someone please tone down Neil Mitchell? Mitchell spent yesterday trying to flood the crime scene at Kinglake with traumatised, sleep-deprived and emotionally-charged bushfire fire victims. He broadcast that people were able to breach police lines by driving cross country and then allowed a local to specify a route via a strawberry plantation to do just that. He then spent much of this morning trying to humiliate emergency services for not being able to answer all of the calls on saturday. You only have to look at the front pages of Saturday morning’s papers to see how unforeseen this disaster was. Presumably emergency services should have known the scale of this disaster in advance. He keeps running a promo for his show with a stentorian voice reverberating that Mitchell “takes you to the middle of the bushfire crisis”. Perhaps someone could let him know that there is a professional and qualified crisis management team in place and, despite his best intentions, there is no need for him to hijack their function. Just let them do their f**king job Neil and get people to donate money.

Those who had flight delays through Sydney over the last few days may be interested to know that lack of ATC staff caused this. Those airline departure boards in the terminal blame “Air Traffic Delays.” These could be easily avoided. Air Traffic flow during periods of poor weather can be increased by use of parallel runway approaches called PRM. We have this technology at Sydney. ATC contributors to aviation website Pprune state that PRM has not been used for months due to lack of staff to man the consoles. That is, we have the technology to speed up the traffic flow into Sydney but Airserves Australia ignore it due to staff shortages. We are truly a third world country in this regard.

It needs to be noted that under an unfair policy introduced by Alexander Downer any victims of the bushfires whose Australian passports are lost to the fires will be fined from $50 up to $350 to have them replaced. A policy that was designed to penalise victims of crime or misfortune for the loss of their passport. The Federal Government MUST act to rescind this policy which is in breach of International Human Rights obligations.

The new tanks from the US are too heavy to go over the bridges in the Northern Territory. Also the new trains purchased for Victoria are a little wider than allows for high speed through most stations.

You really have to wonder who is vetting Fairfax’s Western Australian watoday.com.au website. Sitting in the list of stories on their TV-Radio Entertainment page is a story titled “The difference his journey will make”, about ABC Melbourne’s Jon Faine — who is not heard on ABC Western Australia and would not be of any interest to WA readers at all. Clearly much of The Age‘s content just goes straight through to WAtoday without anyone ever checking it for relevance.

GE Money may not be passing on the latest 1% RBA Rate reduction, instead opting to use this as an opportunity to prompt clients to refinance their home loans. Supporting this is that they may be waiving the collection of “Early Repayment Fees” on these clients wishing to refinance…

Crikey: Crikey has been advised that yesterday’s tip concerning Family Court Chief Justice Diana Bryant was incorrect.

Peter Fray

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