Good morning Ballarat and happy Monday, here are today's news headlines:
Critical injuries after head-on crash
Three people were hospitalised after a head-on crash in Mannibidar yesterday. Read more.
Fiskville replacement finally secured
Land for a new Ballan-based fire training site has been secured more than two years after the toxic Fiskville CFA facility was shut down. Read more.
Special Mother's Day arrivals
A baby boom had three Ballarat families celebrate Mother’s Day with the arrival of newborns on Sunday. Read more.
New Ballarat laws coming for derelict building owners
Derelict and rundown buildings are set for a shake-up when Ballarat City Council considers new laws to enforce responsible ownership of empty properties. Read more.
Boom gate damage leads to train delays
A car crashed into a boom gate at a Dunnstown level crossing, causing the gate to fall onto the track and leading to service delays. Read more.
Mostly sunny and a top of 15 degrees.
State of the nation
Need a national news snapshot first thing – well, we have you covered.
► NEWCASTLE, NSW: So light it can be attached with velcro, so sensitive it can pick up moonlight and faster to produce than any other form of renewable energy. Welcome to the future of solar power – and it’s being pioneered right here in our own backyard.
► BALLARAT, VIC: Thousands of random images capturing fragments of life highlight one clergy abuse survivor’s pathway to healing and understanding his world. Peter Blenkiron’s photographic exhibition, consisting of images taken through the lens of his smartphone during more than a decade, resonated deeply with Archibald Prize finalist Daniel Butterworth. When the acclaimed artist viewed Mr Blenkiron’s photo essay in 2016, he immediately felt an onslaught of emotion.
► ILLAWARRA, NSW: It wasn’t a coincidence Illawarra’s federal and state MP’s chose to meet outside Warrawong High School to vent their frustration at the so-called Gonski 2.0 plan. Armed with Freedom of Information (FoI) statistics revealing the region’s public schools will cop a $54.3 million cut over the next two years, the Labor politicians on Friday wowed to fight ‘’tooth and nail’ to make sure Malcolm Turnbull honoured the original Gonski funding agreement.
► MANDURAH, WA: The fate of an iconic Mandurah tourism park left abandoned for years may be known soon. Part of the former Castle Fun Park site, on the corner of Old Coast Road and Leisure Way in Halls Head, has gone on the market, zoned for residential development.
► BATHURST, NSW: Chicken broth and stock – Bathurst residents have had a few choice words to describe what is coming out of their water taps lately. Residents across Bathurst have complained about discoloured water, while others said their water smelt like chemicals.
► WARRNAMBOOL, VIC: The deaths of 10 out of 11 endangered hooded plover chicks born along a beach popular with racehorse trainers over the past season has angered a local environmental group.
► HUNTER, NSW: The public-private partnership is “a failed model” for hospitals in NSW and the Lower Hunter needs to ensure its new facility is kept in public hands, Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison says.
► Kate Neville has spent much of her life worrying about severe food allergies, but the worrying eased a little after she grew out of egg and milk allergies at the age of 12. Peanut, cashew and pistachio allergies persist, but for Ms Neville, the ability to enjoy eggs and milk has opened up a world of opportunities. Nearly two-thirds of children will outgrow their food allergy by their fourth birthday, but Australian food allergy rates are still some of the highest in the world, new research shows..
► Prominent underworld figure Toby Mitchell will spend another six months behind bars, but Fairfax Media is prevented from revealing the reasons for his new sentence. The ex-Bandidos enforcer was just weeks from completing a 20-month term for drug and weapon offences when the additional term was imposed.
► Voters have given a big tick of approval to four key measures unveiled in Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison's second budget, according to a Fairfax-Ipsos poll. The four measures tested with voters were a tax increase for Australia's five largest banks, a 0.5 per cent rise in the Medicare levy linked to funding the National Disability Insurance Scheme, an $18.6 billion, 10-year increase in school funding and a boost to infrastructure spending funded by a larger national debt.
► Two refugees under Australia's care in Nauru are desperately seeking medical evacuations to Australia to escape a health regime that a government-contracted doctor on the island has admitted is "broken". The men, respectively suffering debilitating headaches and a severe anal fistula, have been unable to secure medical transfers and are being told their fate is in the hands of the government of Nauru.
National weather radar
► North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Sunday that flew 700 kilometres, South Korea's military said. Australia immediately condemned the launch as "reckless and provocative" and said it would fuel regional and global instability.
► Two days before starting a hunger strike alongside over 1000 Palestinian prisoners, Marwan Barghouti was in good spirits. "Marwan would go out for small runs in the jail every morning with other prisoners and he was at his best physically and mentally before going on hunger strike," his lawyer and longtime friend Elias Sabbagh told Fairfax Media. The strike, called by Barghouti to protest the conditions in which Palestinians are held and the use of administrative detention by Israeli military courts in the occupied territories, is now entering its fourth week.
► So ferocious is the commentary on Donald Trump's sacking of FBI director James Comey – the sacking itself, as much as its ham-fisted spinning by punch-drunk Trump aides – that the underlying reasons for so much gnashing of teeth are lost. Think about this: the FBI is supposed to be at arm's length from the political process, so that it can get on with its job free from political interference. But in this case the politician at the centre of one of the agency's most sensitive investigations has unilaterally sacked the man who was overseeing a supposedly independent investigation.
On this day
1940: On this day 76 years ago, Richard and Maurice McDonald opened a barbecue restaurant in California. Now, McDonald’s is an internationally recognised fast food chain that serves about 68 million customers daily. It is the world’s second-largest private employer, behind Walmart. But not all Maccas are created equally – watch as Americans try Aussie McDonald’s for the first time here:
Faces of Australia: Holly Conroy
FOR one of Wagga’s most open transgender women, finding her place in the world has been a life-long struggle.
Formerly known as David, Holly Conroy revealed her true self to family and friends in a shock Facebook post, in early 2016.
While the revelation was the first time some of those closest to Holly had heard the news she said she had felt “trapped” in her body since she was just 12 years old.
It was a long journey for Ms Conroy, who attempted to come out more than 10 years ago, after spending her childhood secretly cutting off her denim shorts into a skirt.
“I expected to lose friends but now that I’ve come out I actually have more,” Ms Conroy said. Read more.