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‘Oppose mine lease’ appeal

THE RuralAction Group (RAG) is calling for locals to join it and 31 residents fromPreston Road Settlement, Collieburn and Cardifftownships in opposing Premier Coal’s mining lease application M12/46.
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Thenext Warden’s Court hearing on the application will be in Collie on October 4,on the same day as the next Bauxite Resources Ltd hearing.

The Premierlease is less than two kilometres west of Cardiff,about one kilometre south-east of Preston Road Settlement and has a southern boundarynext to Hoddell Road.

It isnot on land currently covered by a state agreement. The application is forsubsurface rights only, which do not required the same amount of public noticeas surface licences.

“Premier’splanned development could have an appalling impact on residents in these threecommunities and surrounding land owners,” RAG secretaryKathy Millersaid this week.

Objectionslodged with the court refer to adverse effects on lifestyle, financial loss andenvironmental issues such as noise, dust, contamination of domestic rain waterand loss of ground water, she said.

RAG hasobjected on all these grounds.

“Westrongly believe mining must not be geared for the profit of big business atthe expense of individual residents or communities”, Ms Miller said, addingthat the group was not against mining per se.

PremierCoal had suggested development of the lease could be more than a decade away, butit also recently said that horizontal extraction of the coal seams could bedone via the adjacent Pit 6.

“Shouldthis occur, pit 6 would need to be developed prior to mining M12/46,” Ms Millersaid. “The void for Pit 6 will extend northwards and eastwards all the way to McAlinden Road andconsume a number of private properties and homes in the process.

“Someof these families were relocated to these properties by Premier in the late1990s to make way for their current mine.”

RAGbelieved it was “immoral and shameful” of Premier to now seek a mining leasethat, when developed, will again forcibly relocate families who have investedhugely in developing their properties after assurances that no mining wouldoccur in the area for the next 30 to 40 years”, Ms Miller said.

“IfM12/46 approval is given and development takes place, it could have anappalling impact on residents in these three communities and surrounding landowners.”

z Locals who could beaffected and would like to be represented by RAG’s M12/46 objection can write to RAG at PO Box 51, Collie WA 6225 [email protected]南京夜网


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Australian soldiers die in Afghanistan

Australian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in what is reported to have been an attack by someone wearing an Afghan security uniform, a ‘‘green on blue” attack.
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Defence has confirmed that a number of Australians were killed. It is understood they were with the NATO-led force in southern Oruzgan province.

The Defence confirmation follows reports that three International Security Assistance Force members were killed by a person wearing an Afghan National Army.

In its statement, Defence said: ”Defence can confirm that Australian Defence Force personnel have been killed in Afghanistan.

”Defence is currently in the process of informing the next of kin of the ADF personnel involved.

”Defence requests you respect the highly sensitive nature of this notification process.

”The acting Chief of the Defence Force will make a statement once this process is complete.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is in the Cook Islands for the Pacific Islands Forum, is expected to give a media conference later today. She has cancelled her afternoon appointments at the forum.

About 1550 ADF troops are deployed in the province as part of the International Security Assistance Force.

ISAF said an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against ISAF members in southern Afghanistan, killing three.

There has recently been a rise in ‘‘green on blue” attacks in Afghanistan. Two US soldiers were killed earlier this week.

Retired major general Jim Molan told the ABC yesterday that such attacks could increase as international forces prepared to withdraw by 2014.

‘‘The probability of them increasing is high,” he said.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the news of the deaths was a “terrible, terrible tragedy.”

“This is a black day for our military forces,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

Mr Abbott said his thoughts and prayers were with those who had been killed, their families and comrades.

He added it would not be appropriate to comment more specifically before acting chief of the Defence Force Air Marshal Binskin spoke.

Up until today Australia had lost 33 soldiers in Afghanistan since February 2002. Most recently, Sergeant Blaine Flower Diddams, of the Special Air Service Regiment, was killed during a small arms engagement with insurgents in July.

According to ISAF, this year more than 30 insider attacks have killed 45 coalition troops, making up about 14 per cent of the overall death toll in the war for 2012.

The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, US General John Allen, said last week the causes of the surge in insider attacks were varied, and that Taliban infiltration accounted for about a quarter of the incidents.

A Pentagon assessment last year found serious tensions between the coalition forces and their Afghan counterparts, with relations plagued by cultural clashes and deep mistrust.

Last year four Australian soldiers were killed by Afghan troops in two attacks.

In October, three Australian soldiers were killed by an Afghan Army sergeant when he turned a machine gun on them during a parade. The Afghan soldier was immediately shot dead.

In another incident in November, an Afghan soldier shot and wounded three Australians. He escaped and remains on the run.

In May last year, army cook Andrew Jones was shot dead by a rogue Afghan soldier at a patrol base.

Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare told reporters in Sydney today that he was not yet able to comment on the latest attack.

“There are certain protocols in place that need to be followed and fully implemented over the next few hours,” Mr Clare said.

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Maffra women finish on top

MAFFRA was too strong for Orbost, winning 5-1 to also claim the East Gippsland women’s hockey minor premiership.
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Emily Mogridge scored a hat-trick for Maffra with Sharon Mogridge and Kate Steinman scoring one each. Stephanie Coote scored for Orbost.

The Sale Swans forfeited to the Sale Cygnets, who finished second on the ladder.

Nagle defeated Wellington 7-0 with goals from Fiona Morrison (three), Mikayla Blackshaw (two) Rebecca Jonkers and Annalise Allen.

Swan Reach defeated Bairnsdale 6-0. Goals were scored by Shana Snell (two), Katie Tong (two), Stephanie Nichols and Rebecca Corben.

SALE will head into the men’s finals after drawing 2-2 at home to minor premier Nagle.

Daniel Monaghan and Jason Slattery scored for Sale, while Nagle’s goals came from Ren Crunden-Smith and Connor MacLean.

Orbost defeated Maffra 5-1 with goals from Brendan Coulton (two), Craig Martin (two) and Jason Lovell. Maffra’s goal scorer was Adam Cairns.

Swan Reach ended Bairnsdale’s premiership defence with a 3-0 win. Damian Snell scored two goals and Simon Murrell one.

THE finals begin on Saturday with the semi-finals to be played at the WORLD ground in Bairnsdale from 9am. The women’s matches begin at 1pm with the men’s from 2.30pm.

All four teams remaining in the men’s competition are capable of winning on the day and all very keen to advance to the next round.

Nagle and Orbost will meet in the major semi-final. Both are in good form with Orbost having been the big improvers over the second half of the season.

Swan Reach and Sale will play in the knock-out minor semi-final.

In the women’s, Maffra will play the Sale Cygnets in the major semi-final. The Cygnets won their last encounter, proving Maffra can be beaten, setting the stage for a good game tomorrow.

Nagle and Swan Reach will meet in the minor semi.

In the under 18s, Nagle and Bairnsdale will play in the major semi-final and Swan Reach and Orbost meet in the minor semi.

Nagle and Swan Reach will play the under 15 major semi, while Bairnsdale and Maffra play off in the minor semi.

In the under 13s, the major semi-final will be between Nagle and Swan Reach, while Bairnsdale and Orbost will play in the minor semi-final.

For more scores, and ladders, read Friday’s Gippsland Times.

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More highway work pledged

COALCLIFF plant hire contractor Brad Hansen knows howdangerous the Coalfields Highway can be.
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His friend, Clayton Davidson, was 16-years-old when he diedin a car accident close to the Wellington Weir turn-off in 2002.

Mr Hansen spoke about the highway’s dangers on Tuesdaymorning with Opposition Leader Mark McGowan and Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray.

The discussion occurred as Mr McGowan announced that roadswould be a major beneficiary from the Royalties for Regions program under aState Labor Government.

He had chosen Coalfields Highway to highlight his point thatmore money from the program needed to be spent on regional roads.

“There are numerous roads throughout WA that are in need ofmajor upgrades or sealing,” Mr McGowan said.

About $20 million had been spent on the Coalfields Highway but more needed to bedone. “People are dying on this road,”he said.

Mr Hansen said that while the Coalfields Highway had been improvedcloser to Collie, the road needed to be widened further out.

“It’s close to the trees, and there’s not much room forerror,” Mr Hansen said.

Mr Murray said he had been supporting legislation tostraighten the highway. Legislation was needed because changes to the highwaywould go through national park property.

Mr Murray said the legislation was not being taken seriouslyenough in parliament. “It should havebeen in ages ago,” he said.

Mr McGowan said that his party’s policies for the Royaltiesfor Regions program focused on making life better for families in regionalcommunities.

“In addition to cost of living pressures, many countrycommunities continue to suffer from poor roads, inadequate water supplies, lackof medical facilities and declining educational opportunities,” Mr McGowansaid.

Another Labor policy was to increasing the annual value ofthe pension fuel card to $550.

Mr McGowan also planned to extend the value of the fuel cardso that pensioners could buy gas bottles instead of just petrol.

Many pensioners did not have their own cars and couldprobably use the card more effectively for gas bottles, Mr McGowan said.

Mr Murray said the plan was a “very good idea” and would bemuch appreciated in Collie’s winter weather.

“It can be very expensive for pensioners to keep their housewarm,” Mr Murray said.

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Maffra now boasts a 24- hour ambulance station

MAFFRA’S ambulance service has become a 24-hour multi-officer station after receiving six new paramedics since the second half of last year.
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The change is part of the State Government’s $151 million commitment to boost Ambulance Victoria services during the next five years.

Maffra ambulance service acting team manager Sandra Tozer says the boost to ambulance services in Maffra should reduce response times.

The government last week announced plans to deploy 143 new ambulance staff across Victoria.

This includes 113 new paramedics, 95 of which have been allocated to ambulance stations in rural Victoria, and 30 patient transport officers.

Maffra ambulance service acting team manager Sandra Tozer said the changes should improve services in the region, reducing response times in the immediate area.

She said the addition of six new staff would mean “24 hours a day you will get a two-person response paramedic”.

Before the rollout only one was available.

Three ambulances operate out of the Maffra depot, their normal 24-hour response vehicle, a special Complex Patient Ambulance Vehicle, referred to as a CPAV, and a ‘city sprinter’ ambulance with four-wheel drive capability.

The CPAV is the depot’s pride and joy, according to Ms Trozer.

While it is stationed at Maffra permanently, it has been used to respond to patients in Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance and Traralgon.

According to Ms Tozer, the CPAV can carry heavier loads and handle more complex patients and the equipment that travels with them than other ambulances.

She said the four-wheel drive allowed paramedics to get to remote areas, making it useful in regional districts.

While the addition of new staff will increase response time, Ms Tozer said that there were always going to be instances where there was a 20 minute, or 30 minute response.

This was because of the large area the service had to cover and whether a team was already on response elsewhere.

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.

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Shock $4.8m super bill

WELLINGTON Shire Council has been hit with a $4.8 million unfunded superannuation bill.
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The council has been required to make the $4.8 million top-up payment to the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund, defined benefit plan.

In an effort to reduce its future superannuation burden, council has joined a local government push for legislative reform.

Shire mayor Peter Cleary said council had been informed that a payment would be required; but had received little warning of its magnitude.

“It would be fair to say that the size of this most recent top-up payment has caught the entire local government sector by surprise,” he said.

While the Local Government Defined Benefit Scheme was closed to new members in 1993, current State and Federal laws require the scheme to hold enough funds to meet the retirement benefits owed to members now and in the future.

Cr Cleary said that state and federal superannuation schemes carried an exemption from such onerous funding liabilities.

“Wellington Shire Council believes that it is unreasonable to expect local government to meet a higher funding requirement,” he said.

“Local government receives just over 3.5 per cent of all rates and tax revenue, the State Government receives 16.4 per cent and the Federal Government a considerable 80.1 per cent.

“Clearly the expectation that we provide more funding than our state and federal counterparts from a comparatively smaller funding bucket is unrealistic as a long term proposition,” Cr Cleary said.

“The legacy of the defined benefits plan creates a volatile system which translates into long term financial challenges for all councils.

“For large rural shires it is particularly difficult as we balance the demands of a large ageing asset base, the community’s desire for new infrastructure with an aspiration for lower rates.”

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.

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A dramatic day that he will never forget

OBERON’S seniorConstable Adrian Graham has been in the NSW Police Force for a decade, butWednesday’s dramatic rescueis something he could never have contemplated.
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However, his role in helping rescue a trapped toddler from an upturned vehicle in the Macquarie River shows the dedication and commitment of the force’s serving officers.

Playing down talk of being a hero after being pictured on the front page of yesterday’s Western Advocate, the local detective told how he was making some routine inquiries in the CBD when things turned to mayhem.

“The police radio came on and said a car had gone off the bridge at Ego and that people were trapped inside,” he said.

“We were the first police on the scene and there were two people in the river next to the upturned vehicle. We learned that there could be a couple of children trapped inside it.

“It turned out they were the driver of the vehicle and apasser by who was there at the time. People were on the bank of the river frantic at what was happening while the people in the river were calling for a knife to get the child out as it was stuck by the arm.

“I managed to get a pocket knife from a farmer who was there burning willows and waded out to the vehicle and handed it to the boy’s father.

“It seemed like forever, but it took about five minutes before he was freed. The water was really cold and it was really starting to get uncomfortable out there.”

Sen Const Graham, 39, said when he heard the young fella let out a few whimpers there was a feeling of great relief.

“Thank goodness, he was still alive,” he said. “While all that was going on two other colleagues (Sen Const Kelly Gregori and Sen Const Nathan Snow-Jones) arrived and they both came into the water.

“I’d been yelling at them to get rescue and more help. I remember they’d grabbed some sort of a tarp because we thought it could help shield the water a bit. I don’t really remember exactly.

“It was all a blur. We all just reacted the best we could.”

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Sen Const Graham said that when the toddler was finally out of the vehicle the bystander who came to help carried him to the bank and into the waiting arms of the paramedics.

“He wasn’t letting go of that kiddie for anything,” he said.

“Knowing what we do today, that bloke is a true hero. I will certainly be recommending that he deserves some form of recognition.”

CALMER WATERS: Senior Constable Adrian Graham back at the Macquarie River near Eglinton yesterday. Photo: BRIAN WOOD 082312bwadrian1082312bwadrian1

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Eagles play wounded Parrots

MAFFRA can set-up a third “Battle of the Birds” this season with victory over Leongatha in tomorrow’s Gippsland League football qualifying final.
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Victory over Traralgon last weekend afforded the Eagles the luxury of the double chance during the finals. Defeat the Parrots tomorrow at Morwell and the Eagles will meet minor premier Sale in the second semi-final.

The Eagles were superb in the second half against Traralgon, showing superior skill, fitness and ability to adjust to the cross breeze at the Maffra Recreation Rerserve. The Eagles punished the Maroons’ early inaccuracy in front of goal to win by 41 points.

Maffra’s defence was a key to the victory, weathering the early storm against Traralgon’s potent forward line, which failed to fire. Tomorrow it will face Jake Best and Dwayne Holt, who will be keen to return to form after disappointing showings against Sale on Saturday night.

The Parrots put in a shocker against Sale, failing to kick a goal, with the evening conditions and a miserly Magpies’ defence not helping their cause.

The Parrots won both meetings against Maffra this year, ending a run of 22 losses to the Eagles. The Parrots were too strong at Maffra, but the Eagles pushed them at home in round 13.

Leongatha’s back line could be tested by the in-form Daniel Bedggood and Adrian Burgiel, who is finding touch after a long lay-off through injury.

The Parrots’ midfield will need to stop Hayden Burgiel, Ben Coleman, Gary Jones and Kel Porter from getting the ball forward.

LATROBE Valley rivals Traralgon and Morwell will meet in the elimination final at Traralgon on Sunday.

Both teams head into the clash off losses.

The Tigers were, with the exception of Sale, the competition’s form side during the middle of the year, winning seven matches, losing one and drawing another between rounds six and 14 to see it push for a top three spot, but since then have won just one of their past four games.

For three quarters against Drouin, the Tigers didn’t have any fit players on the bench with key position players Daniel Hutchinson (corked thigh) and Shane Ryan (back injury) not returning to the field to protect them for this weekend.

Players such as Adam Bailey and Mannon Johnston are likely to miss.

The Tigers perhaps should have won as they played possession football for the final minute with them ahead on the scoreboard, trouble was the scoreboard was incorrect with the Hawks winning by three points.

Traralgon was seemingly set for another top three finish, after winning five of six matches before its heavy loss at Maffra had the Maroons coaching staff heading back to the drawing board.

The Maroons wasted opportunities early to get away from the Eagles, before the home side found the right gear and overran the Maroons. Traralgon was missing the drive of Danny Campbell, whose season was ended by a four-match penalty arising from the Maroon’s win over Morwell.

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.

Gippsland League finals draw:

Qualifying finals, Saturday at Morwell:

Football, seniors: Leongatha v Maffra, 2.20pm; reserves: Sale v Maffra, 12.30pm; under 18s: Traralgon v Warragul, 10.45am; under 16s: Sale v Maffra, 9am.

Netball, A grade: Drouin v Traralgon, 2.15pm; B grade: Traralgon v Drouin, 1pm; C grade: Morwell v Leongatha, noon; under 17s: Sale v Maffra, 11am; under 15s: Sale v Wonthaggi, 10am; under 13s: Sale v Wonthaggi, 9am.

Elimination finals, Sunday at Traralgon:

Football, seniors: Traralgon v Morwell, 2.20pm; reserves: Wonthaggi v Morwell, 12.30pm; under 18s: Wonthaggi v Sale, 10.45am; under 16s: Bairnsdale v Drouin, 9am.

Netball, A grade: Wonthaggi v Sale, 2.15pm; B grade: Morwell v Maffra, 1pm; C grade: Bairnsdale v Drouin, noon; under 17s: Bairnsdale v Wonthaggi, 11am; under 15s: Maffra v Drouin, 10am; under 13s: Bairnsdale v Maffra, 9am.

Maffra will meet Leongatha in the Gippsland League qualifying final tomorrow.

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Blues, Roos set for classic contest

ROSEDALE and Heyfield will tomorrow square off in the North Gippsland football second semi-final at Glengarry with the winner advancing to the grand final.
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There could be mixed emotions for Rosedale coach Damien Birss, who is a four-time premiership player with Heyfield.

Kangaroos president John Tyquin said while he was a huge part of the club, come tomorrow Birss would not be “a Heyfield person”.

“He becomes the enemy until after the contest,” Tyquin said.

The Blues have been at the forefront of the competition all season, finishing one game clear of nearest rival Sale City, with Heyfield a further game behind.

In round 10, the Blues ended Heyfield’s five-game winning streak with a blistering 80-point victory. While there was plenty of hype and hope surrounding that contest, it failed to live up to all expectations with Rosedale on song from the opening bounce.

Having also won their round one clash by 20 goals, the Blues have had the wood over the Kangaroos this year.

Tyquin wasn’t worried by past results, but was confident the young side had further matured throughout the season.

“The young guys have grown and matured as the year has gone on, with such a very young group you don’t know what you are going to get each week,” he said.

“We played Rosedale on both occasions relatively early on in the season, some nine weeks have passed and the side have further developed.”

Speaking on behalf of coach Adrian Cox, the man at the helm of the club was realistic of the enormity of the challenge.

FOR the first time in three seasons, two-time reigning premier Sale City finds itself having to navigate a different path if it’s to claim the premiership again.

Before they can look too far ahead, the Bulldogs will this Sunday need to halt Cowwarr, who has won its past seven games, including a five-point thriller in the elimination final against Glengarry.

The Saints have won nine of their past 10 matches, having accounted for fellow finalists Rosedale, Heyfield and Sale City during the second half of the season.

Saints Coach Cory Bannister would be fully aware past results would mean little ahead of the first semi-final at Churchill.

His opposite number at the Bulldogs, Nick Hider, was disappointed with his side’s qualifying final loss to Heyfield.

“We were beaten in a fair few areas of the game, that we pride ourselves on,” he said.

“We couldn’t hold on in the last quarter when they got a run on, the game was on the line and they wanted it more which was disappointing.

“It is going to be tough from here, we have to get over Cowwarr. We cant look too far ahead just taking it one week at a time.”

Hider said his side needed to get back to basics on the training track this week if it was to counteract the Saints.

“We have to improve in several areas. Our attack on the contested footy is one of those areas, when the ball is in dispute we need to get our hands dirty and get in there,” he said.

“It’s really the fundamentals that we need to improve in – back to basics, our run and carry of the ball. We need to use our skills, stick our tackles and get our hands on the footy first.

“Our genuine ball winners are not in form, they haven’t been for weeks. As a club we need to stand up when our backs are against the wall.”

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.

NGFNL finals draw:

Second semi-finals, Saturday at Glengarry:

Football, seniors: Rosedale v Heyfield, 2.15pm; reserves: Heyfield v Sale City, noon; thirds: Sale City v TTU, 9.45am.

Netball, A grade: Rosedale v Churchill, 2.15pm; B grade: Rosedale v TTU, 1pm; C grade: Gormandale v Woodside, 11.45am; D grade: Glengarry v Rosedale, 10.30am; under 17s: TTU v Glengarry, 9.30am.

First semi-finals, Sunday at Churchill:

Football, seniors: Sale City v Cowwarr, 2.15pm; reserves: Rosedale v Churchill, noon; thirds: Woodside v Churchill, 9.45am.

Netball, A grade: TTU V Glengarry, 2.15pm; B grade: Gormandale v Glengarry, 1pm; C grade: Sale City v Rosedale, 11.45am; D grade: TTU v Gormandale, 10.30am; under 17s: Heyfield v Sale City, 9.30am.

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Abbott’s compo call for Hunter’s Bali victims

OPPOSITION leader Tony Abbott has appealed to the federal government to make payments for Australian terrorism victims retrospective to provide support to survivors of the Bali bombings.
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Newcastle lawyer Paul Anicich, who along with his wife was seriously injured in the 2005 Bali bombing, joined Mr Abbott at a press conference this morning.

Mr Abbott said he had again written to the Prime Minister urging that the government extend retrospectively a scheme that provides payments of up to $75,000 to survivors and next of kin of any Australians killed in overseas terrorism attacks.

He said that would provide support to victims ‘‘of Bali in 2002, the victims of Bali in 2005, the Australian victims of the World Trade Centre atrocity, the London bombings, the two Jakarta bombings have not received any compensation over and above the medical expenses that were dealt with at the time’’.

‘‘I think it would be a mean-spirited nation that would refuse this kind of modest assistance to the Australian victims of terrorism or their next of kin,’’ Mr Abbott said.

‘‘If it’s right and proper, as I believe it is, for the victims of domestic crime to be assisted in this way I think it’s right and proper for the victims of overseas terrorism to be assisted in this way.’’

He said he hoped the government would act ahead of the 10th anniversary in October of the 2002 Bali bombings.

If not, he would pursue the matter in parliament when it resumes next month.

Mr Abbott had worked with Mr Anicich to lobby for the payments, and introduced a private members bill in 2009.

The government subsequently amended laws to enable payments but said it was not appropriate to make the bill retrospective and criticised the former Howard government for not acting at the time of the bombings.

Three of those killed in the 2005 Bali bombing – Jennifer Williamson, Fiona Zwolinski and Colin Zwolinski – were from the Hunter.

‘‘I happened to be in Bali with my family on holiday at the time of the 2005 bombing and spent a fair bit of time on that terrible day with Paul’s wife Peny and the other Australian victims before they were airlifted out later that evening,’’ Mr Abbott said.

Mr Anicich said ‘‘I thought immediately of the children of the people who were with me and were killed who I thought could just get a little kick along in life if this scheme was approved’’.

‘‘I only think of them and think every day this must be on their minds when they awake that they’re the victims of this tragedy. It must be so tough on them.’’

Tony Abbott.