Landlord loan boom starting to cool

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Putting the brake on loans to property investors seems to be working. Photo: James DaviesIt’s taken a long time, but attempts to put the brakes on bank lending to property investors are finally showing some results.

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One of the key reasons house prices in Melbourne and Sydney have surged so much in recent times is the strong growth in borrowing by property investors.

The value of housing investor loans has been growing at its quickest pace since the global financial crisis, pumping more money into bricks and mortar, and helping to inflate prices.

Now, however, things appear to be slowing.

Recent figures show the value of new loans being approved for housing investment is growing at the slowest pace in five months, while the total pool of all outstanding investor loans is expanding more slowly.

If this slowdown in borrowing by landlords continues, experts say it could take some of the heat out of the parts of the market most popular with investors.

More than other buyers, it is investors who have propelled the housing markets of Sydney and Melbourne into the stratosphere these past few years.

In NSW, investors made up a whopping 62 per cent of the loan approvals in June, while in Victoria their share was also above 50 per cent.

That’s far above the long-term average of about 40 per cent nationally, and the trend is one reason why authorities have been warning about the dangers of “speculative demand” in the housing market.

It was so concerning that the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority in December last year told banks to slow their loan growth to 10 per cent a year or face financial penalties.

About 10 months later, there are signs the loan boom is slowing. The value of all investor loans is still shooting up at 10.8 per cent a year, but this compares with more than 11 per cent in June, and most analysts reckon the growth rate will slow further.

This is occurring after banks jacked up interest rates for investors, and introduced tighter credit policies.

RP Data’s Cameron Kusher says a slowdown in lending to property investors could give people competing with investors – such as first-home buyers – an opportunity.

“If you slow down that segment that’s so active, then you might start to see the rate of capital growth in the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets start to slow as well,” he says.

In particular, Kusher says less demand from investors should dampen demand for apartments in outer suburbs, which tend to attract more investor buyers.

“I think you’ll still see prices and values rising, but it just might slow them down a little bit,” he says.

The impact probably won’t be “dramatic”, he stresses, as there is still strong demand from owner-occupiers.

But when Sydney prices are up 17.6 per cent in the last year and Melbourne prices are up 10.6 per cent, most analysts agree growth cannot continue at such a pace.


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Dallas Cowboys leapfrog Real Madrid as the most valuable sports franchise in the world

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Owner, president, and general manager of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones’ will not be able to wipe the smile off his face after Sunday night’s comeback victory and it won’t be disappearing anytime soon now that Forbes magazine, in its annual NFL team valuations, estimated the franchise is now worth $4 billion.

That not only makes the Cowboys the most valuable franchise in the league for the ninth consecutive year, but the most valuable franchise in the world for the first time since 2007, overtaking La Liga giants Real Madrid who were above the Cowboys only in July of this year.

The Spanish club now shadow the Cowboys at $3.26 billion according to the new figures.

Jones bought the team for what was thought to be a huge $140 million in 1989 marking the first time anybody had ever paid more than $100 million for a sports team, however any thought at the time that the American businessman overpaid for a team that went 3-13 the year before, has since been erased, several-fold.

The average NFL team is now worth nearly $2 billion, a 38% increase from last year and the highest since Forbes began tracking NFL team values 18 years ago.

In the 18th edition of their annual review, Forbes credited an impressive marketing strategy in America. The record value in large part is due to the league’s broadcasting deals, which total $4.4 billion as well as making an NFL record $620 million of revenue just last season.

Although the Cowboys have not reached the Super Bowl for 19 years, the revenue from their 90,000-seater stadium, hold the keys to the Cowboys’ financial success the past year.

The Patriots and New York Yankees are tied for third at $3.2 billion, with FC Barcelona rounding out the top five at $3.16 billion

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When big is better: what the winning AFL finals teams have in common

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West Coast forward Josh Kennedy caused plenty of headaches for the Hawks in their qualifying final. Photo: Getty IamgesFollow the Age Sport on TwitterVote: The Best Grand Final

What do Fremantle, West Coast, Adelaide and North Melbourne have in common?

Of course there is the obvious – they all won in the first week of finals – but let’s dig a little deeper.

They all have big key forwards who dominated last week’s games? Maybe.

Taylor Walker was “Carey-like” in putting the Western Bulldogs away, Josh Kennedy caused all the headaches for Hawthorn in the second and third quarters on Friday night and Jarrad Waite got off the chain against Richmond on Sunday.

Although you could hardly say that Matthew Pavlich – 16 disposals, five marks, no goals – was the difference between winning and losing against Sydney, despite some critical contests he won in the last quarter.

So maybe it was the small forwards that set these four clubs a part?

Brownlow medallist Gerard Healy certainly thought so.

“For the last 12 months I have been listening to the importance of the power forwards, ‘you can’t win finals without a power forward’, they say. And yet on the weekend, it was the little fellas that got the job done,” Healy said on Fox Footy’s On The Couch program.

He makes a good point. Eddie Betts was so good on Saturday night that he left some only half-kidding that he delivered on his $500,000 annual salary in one night, but there was also a couple of crucial plays that featured Charlie Cameron, like that game-clinching goal setup by Walker late, and that clutch snap in third quarter.

Michael Walters (three goals, 21 disposals) and Hayden Ballantyne (three goals, 16 disposals) carried the Dockers forward line on their small shoulders by combining for six of the team’s 10 goals, and injected emotion into the game with their fiery celebrations.

And what more can you say about Brent Harvey’s 31 disposals, two goals, seven clearances and two goal assists – the last being a veteran gather and hand off in traffic to Lindsay Thomas for the goal that sealed the deal in the last quarter.

West Coast also got a lift from Josh Hill bobbing with some pivotal intercepts and three goals, while Mark LeCras and Jamie Cripps also added two, but they mostly came after Kennedy did his game-breaking business earlier on.

No, it is not the small forwards or the big forwards that provide the common key dominator for these four clubs looking ahead to the rest of this finals series.

Nor is it standout midfielders or dominate key defenders.

It is the ruckmen. The Big Four, you could call them.

Nic Naitanui, Todd Goldstein, Aaron Sandilands and Sam Jacobs are the four best ruckmen in the competition (apologies to Stefan Martin) and they loom large over what will happen in the next three weeks.

All four big men clearly won the hit-outs in their games over the weekend, and their overall performances were a factor (in some cases bigger than others) that generally went over-looked as to why all their teams survived the finals pressure.

Naitanui set the scene on Friday night.

The high-leaping Eagle had 40 hit-outs and five clearances, opposite Ben McEvoy and David Hale, as West Coast won the statistic 59-46.

Granted, the Hawks won the clearances 50-40, and (surprisingly) the centre bounces 15-8, but many of those were hacked from congestion rather than being clean takeaways and, in many cases, the Eagles won first possession from the taps but fumbled or were run off the ball.

Regardless, Naitanui’s overall influence on the match was undeniable.

“He did it again, and it’s the No.1 issue for sides coming up against West Coast,” said Garry Lyon on Footy Classified on Monday night, in reference to Naitanui’s effort against the Hawks and unique skill set.

Sandilands (43 hit-outs, 17 disposals) continued where Naitanui left off on the same ground the following day, monstering Mike Pyke as the Dockers won the hit-outs 60-27 and the clearance battle (always pivotal against the Swans) 42-28.

Goldstein could yet win the Brownlow Medal, and showed on Sunday that he is also a finals performer by clearly beating Ivan Maric – he had 46 hit-outs to Maric’s 19 – to the point where, not only did North win the clearances, but part of the fall-out from the elimination final loss was experts saying the Tigers need another ruckman to either replace or support Maric.

Jacobs’ season probably ranks behind the other three and so to did the advantage he was able to assert over opponent Will Minson on Saturday night.

The Crows won the hit-outs 42-35, but were smashed in the clearances. Jacobs’ only narrowly won the ruck duel overall, and it took until the final minutes for the Crows to land the winning blow against the Dogs.

That might be instructive or coincidental of where the Crows also sit in the bigger picture, depending on how highly you measure the value of ruckmen.

Adelaide are probably the least likely to advance past the second week, given Hawthorn – stung by a rare finals loss – at the MCG is shaping as a tougher challenge than the injury-ravaged Swans for North Melbourne.

One thing is certain. As this season has turned into the home stretch, more and more commentators are starting to respect how important it is to have a high-quality ruckman.

And going forward, there is battle between two of those key figures running parallel to the premiership war.

It’s Goldstein versus Sandilands, despite the fact they might never match-up against each other unless their clubs make the grand final.

Both players over the weekend passed the 33-year-old record for hit-outs in one season set by former North champion Gary Dempsey – which stood at 952 taps in 24 games at an average of 39.7.

Sandilands, who entered the finals on 915 hit-outs, broke the mark first during the qualifying final win over the Swans – moving to 958 for the year – only to have Goldstein eclipse that record a day later by upping the ante to 983 hit-outs.

The 25-tap lead Goldstein has over the Giant Docker means Sandilands would have to play one more game than the big Roo during the finals to overtake him.

Goldstein has the chance to surge further ahead this week in the semi-final against the Swans, while Sandilands waits for the preliminary final, but North could also be eliminated, leaving Sandilands in a race against himself.

Jacobs’ 816 hit-outs this season also puts him at No.8 on the all-time list for most taps in a season, and he could jump as high as 5th if he were to record 45 hit-outs or more against the Hawks in Friday night’s semi-final.  Hit-outs Win% To Advantage Score Involvements Todd Goldstein 1st4th1st1stAaron Sandilands 2nd1st2nd4thNic Naitanui 6th2nd6th2ndSam Jacobs 5th11th3rd5th

  Hit-outs            Win%   To Advantage  Score Involvements

Todd Goldstein             1st                    4th                    1st                    1st

Aaron Sandilands         2nd                    1st                    2nd                    4th

Nic Naitanui                 6th                    2nd                  6th                    2nd

Sam Jacobs                  5th                    11th                 3rd                    5th


          Hit-outs            Games              Year    

1. Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne)          983                  22                    2015

2. Aaron Sandilands (Fremantle)                  958                  22                    2015   

3. Gary Dempsey (North Melbourne)             952                  24                    1982

4. Aaron Sandilands (Fremantle)                   890                  23                    2014

5. Will Minson (Western Bulldogs)                 838                  22                    2013

6. Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne)             838                  24                    2014

7. Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne)             822                  22                    2013

8. Sam Jacobs (Adelaide)                              816                  22                    2015

9. Simon Madden (Essendon)                           812                  26                    1983

10. Gary Dempsey (North Melbourne)              797                  23                    1983

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Western Bulldogs season review for 2015

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Position: 8th (14-9)

Last season: 14th (7-15)

Players used: 40

What went right

The change of coach. It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to win over their detractors following a summer of discontent with rookie coach Luke Beveridge transforming the struggling Dogs from also-rans with potential to one of the most exciting sides to watch. The Bulldogs surged to their first finals appearance since 2010 on the back of Beveridge’s breakneck attacking game plan which brought about the undoing of top-six sides West Coast, Sydney, North Melbourne and Adelaide as well as Richmond. A vibrant forward line, a backline that provided devastating rebound and a midfield that thrived on contested ball and benefited from blistering outside run were key to their climb up the ladder. While the resurgence was largely youth-driven, the faith shown in maligned veterans Matthew Boyd, Liam Picken and Tory Dickson was also a masterstroke as all three enjoyed a new lease of life under Beveridge.

What went wrong

For a period it looked like everything was going wrong! Their captain Ryan Griffen walked out on them, their coach Brendan McCartney was sacked, their CEO Simon Garlick resigned, star veterans Adam Cooney and Shaun Higgins joined Essendon and North Melbourne respectively and to top it all off their reigning best-and-fairest Tom Liberatore suffered a season-ending knee injury before round one. However, the Dogs recovered from all of those setbacks to defy the odds and make it to the first week of the finals. And while their high-octane fast-paced style of play took them to great heights this year, it ultimately backfired in the Second Elimination Final when they took Adelaide on in a shoot-out and came up short. The Dogs lived by the sword in 2015 and certainly died by the sword as well.

Shining lights

Where do you start? Luke Dahlhaus, Liam Picken, Robert Murphy, Mitch Wallis, Jason Johannisen, Easton Wood, Jake Stringer, Tory Dickson, Lachie Hunter, Jarrad Grant, Koby Stevens (before he got injured), Shane Biggs and Lin Jong all had career-best years in 2015. So let’s just focus on the All-Australian nominees: Boyd, Dahlhaus, Murphy, Stringer and Wood. Boyd, Murphy and Wood formed part of an undersized but surprisingly reliable defensive unit while Dahlhaus and Stringer wreaked havoc in the midfield and up forward respectively.

What’s required to improve in 2016

Seven-million-dollar man Tom Boyd has had his year to adjust at Whitten Oval and next season is the time to start delivering. The Dogs have invested a lot in the former Giant and for him to finish the season in the VFL while a mature-age former country footballer in Jack Redpath was holding his own at senior level wasn’t an ideal situation for the 20-year-old. The ruck department also has to be addressed. While they made do without for most of the season, they got found out when it mattered. So they need to decide if Will Minson is the man going forward or if it’s time to look elsewhere. Also, of the top-eight teams, only North Melbourne had a worse defence than the Bulldogs so a slight tightening up in that department will be required too.

The headline we didn’t expect

Beveridge’s Bulldogs Barking All The Way To The Finals

Grade: B. Not too many had the Bulldogs in their top eight pre-season. They went on to take the footy world by storm and become arguably the story of 2015.

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Uber users bombard parliament with support, on eve of bill introduction

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Checking the Uber app. Photo: Dominic LorrimerUber users have bombarded the government and opposition with support for the service, as a bill is introduced into the state’s parliament which could spell the end of the ride-sharing service in Queensland.

Katter Party MPs Rob Katter and Shane Knuth plan on introducing a bill this week which, if passed, would see Uber drivers docked demerit points if caught driving passengers using the service.

A first offence would see drivers penalised three demerit points, with a subsequent offence costing six points. A third offence would see drivers lose their licence.

The Taxi Council of Queensland has strongly urged Labor and the LNP to support the bill, while Uber has said it was yet to be consulted by the Katter MPs.

But utilising the best defense is a good offense rule – Uber began encouraging its customers to email the Premier, the Deputy Premier and the Opposition in support of the service late last week, organising for a stock email supporting Uber to be sent to all three offices at the touch of a smartphone.

It is understood more than 3000 emails have been received since late last week.

The Taxi Council has also gone on the attack, launching several advertising campaigns questioning the safety of the service, as it continues to lobby the government for regulatory parity.

Shadow Transport Minister Scott Emerson, who oversaw a cease and desist order for Uber while in government, which has resulted in more than $1.7 million in fines in 12 months for the service, said the LNP “welcomed innovation in the delivery of services for Queenslanders”, but said the safety of passengers “must be paramount”.

“While we have not been briefed on the details of the Katter Party’s bill, stringent regulations should be in place to ensure passengers are provided safe and reliable transport,” he said.

“To ensure the safety of passengers, all participants in the market should comply with the standards and regulations in place.

“The LNP has also expressed its willingness to work with the Palaszczuk Labor Government to ensure all issues, including new operators, are properly considered and addressed as part of the Queensland Taxi Strategy due to expire at the end of the year.

“We continue to receive correspondence from Queenslanders regarding Uber.”

A spokeswoman for Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, who has the job of finalising Queensland’s new taxi strategy, said it was “not unusual for our office to receive regular correspondence by members of the public in relation to many different issues, including issues relating to Uber” and that talks regarding the strategy were ongoing.

“The Palaszczuk government committed at the election to working with all industry participants to ensure that laws are upheld, competition is fair and that the needs of customers are put first,” she said.

“The Deputy Premier has met with the Taxi Council and has met with Uber to discuss the current state of the industry.

“The current Queensland Government Taxi Strategic Plan expires in 2015 and we are open to a broader discussion with the industry about whether the existing regulatory framework is appropriate.

“In the meantime we are taking action to enforce existing laws.

“The important thing is that everybody is playing by the same set of rules so that competition is fair and we are putting customers first.”

The Katter bill is expected to go to a parliamentary committee for review before reaching the floor for debate. It would need one of the major parties to support it, along with either Peter Wellington or Billy Gordon for the legislation to pass.

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Tara Brown murder: Ex-partner Lionel Patea to face court on Wednesday

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Lionel Patea and Tara Brown in 2013. Photo: FacebookThe man accused fatally bashing Gold Coast woman Tara Brown moments after allegedly running her off the road is set to face court on Wednesday.

Police brought forward the court date for Lionel Patea, who was originally due to face the Southport Magistrates Court on October 28.

Mr Patea, Ms Brown’s former partner, has been declared fit to face the court after he was hospitalised following Ms Brown’s alleged attack on September 8.

Shortly after the alleged attack on a Molendinar street, Mr Patea presented to the Coomera Police Station with what was believed to be self-inflicted stab wounds.

Ms Brown, 24, died in hospital from severe injuries the following night.

Mr Patea, also 24, faces charges of murder, breaching a domestic violence order, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and attempted unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

Police allege the former Bandido used his Jeep to ram Ms Brown’s car down an embankment and into a house on Macquarie Avenue, Molendinar, before he used a piece of metal to attack her.

They then allege he stole a council worker’s ute and fled the scene.

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Traffic congestion to rise as boom gates come down earlier on Frankston line

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Motorists will be forced to wait longer at train level crossings on bayside lines. Photo: Patrick ScalaMotorists in Melbourne’s bayside suburbs will spend more time waiting at level crossings as Metro increases the down time at dozens of railway boom gates.

Boom gates will lower as much as 15 seconds earlier each time a train approaches a level crossing on the Frankston, Werribee and Williamstown lines from this month, in preparation for the arrival of eight new X’Trapolis trains later this year.

The trains have faster acceleration than other trains operating in Melbourne, and Metro has made the change to avoid the risk of a road-rail smash.

In all, 46 level crossings and 33 pedestrian crossings will have their wait times extended.

The safety-related change will increase traffic congestion in many of Melbourne’s southern and western suburbs.

In the most extreme cases on the Frankston line, boom gates will drop for an extra 9½ minutes all up in the two-hour morning peak between 7am and 9am. There are 38 Metro services in that period.

Metro said level crossing times needed to be adjusted to fit in with the X’Trapolis train fleet’s “different acceleration and braking characteristics”.

“The crossing timing is specific for each level crossing and needs to be assessed individually, but generally boom gates will go down between one and 15 seconds earlier,” Metro spokeswoman Pauline O’Connor said.

“The reason for this is to ensure the safe operation of the level crossing for road, pedestrian and rail users.”

The change will be felt hardest on the Frankston line, which has 29 level crossings. Eleven are on the Andrews government’s list of 50 to be abolished in the next seven years.

Twenty of those crossings are in the city of Kingston, which stretches from Moorabbin to Carrum, and eight are set to go, although none are yet on the government’s list of 20 to go in this term.

Kingston mayor Geoff Gledhill said that with no level crossings in the municipality locked in for removal yet, he feared congestion was set to worsen before it improves.

“At this point I’m disappointed that we haven’t managed to secure one yet and I can tell you it hasn’t been through a lack of lobbying,” Cr Gledhill said.

He said level crossings at Cheltenham and Mentone stations already created “appalling congestion” during school opening and closing times.

The X’Trapolis trains are about to be introduced to the Frankston and Werribee/Williamstown lines as part of the former Napthine government’s $115 million bayside rail improvement project, which is in its final stages.

The first new train started running on the Frankston line in October last year, weeks before the state election and well before necessary engineering changes were made.

The train’s acceleration was throttled for safety’s sake and the Coalition was accused of introducing it prematurely as an election stunt.

In April, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union made a failed bid through the Fair Work Commission to force the train off the line, citing safety concerns.

Boom gate times have been progressively lengthened over recent weekends, most recently at five level crossings on the Altona loop.

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How do you end family homelessness? Try rent subsidy, experts say

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Rachael Newton, who was homeless for two years. Photo: Eddie Jim Rachael Newton, who was homeless, with her son Thomas Martin. Photo: Eddie Jim

When Rachael Newton finally left her toxic, 15-year relationship, a bag of clothes in one hand, she had to trudge nearly 40 kilometres along country roads to catch the train to Bendigo.

You might have thought this was the low point, but it got much worse.

At her journey’s end Rachael – who has three children now aged 22, 17 and 14 – couldn’t find anywhere to live.

Private landlords rejected her because she had no rental history (for 15 years she had shared a mortgage with her ex), and no job (she had worked in the family business).

The only option was an expensive room ($200 a week) in emergency housing for men and women. It was chaotic, noisy and frightening; a halfway house for people leaving prison and those abusing alcohol and drugs.

After a woman was raped and a man beaten, Rachael decided her then 12-year-old daughter would be safer living with her father.

We’re often told the answer to family homelessness is affordable housing. But what does this actually mean?

Rachael Newton, who was homeless for two years, with her son Thomas Martin. Photo: Eddie Jim

New US-based research has followed more than 2000 homeless families to determine the best way to solve the problem.

It found a “permanent housing subsidy”, which combined help to find housing with an ongoing rent subsidy (at 30 per cent), cut subsequent emergency shelter use by half.

This approach had other social benefits too: it halved the rate of family violence and subsequent emergency shelter usage compared with the business-as-usual approach of an extended stay in a shelter.

And the cost? Researchers were expecting that a permanent housing subsidy would be expensive, says lead researcher Professor Marybeth Shin, from Vanderbilt University, who is in Melbourne this week to lead a conference on housing run by the Council to Homeless Persons.

But when the costs of extra support services that families relied on to cope with their time in emergency housing, the costs were the same over the 20 months of the study.

“Homelessness, at least among families, is largely a housing affordability problem. There are lots of ways to reduce the gap between what poor families can pay and the cost of housing,” says Professor Shin.

The research shows the answer to homelessness lies in increasing affordable housing, says Council to Homeless Persons policy manager Sarah Toohey.

“If you’re looking at the effectiveness of the reduction of homelessness, and increased wellbeing in the families, they were so much higher in this single intervention,”

For decades Victorian public housing properties have been in decline and affordable private rental is increasingly rare.

The state’s latest figures showing the public housing waiting list hit 34,500 in the June quarter of this year.

But there are other ways to make housing more affordable to those who desperately needs it.

These include specialised real estate agents helping vulnerable people secure tenancies, rental subsidies, or encouraging landlords to consider different tenants (sometimes with financial incentives).

Rachael moved from the emergency hostel into share housing, then spent four months in a motel ($480 a week).

Eventually, two years ago, she found a townhouse in Kew with help from Homeground Real Estate, Australia’s only not-for-profit real estate agency.

The agency covered the cost of Rachael’s bond and first month of rent. She has full-time cleaning work and pays the rent of $300 a week herself.

“It gives you back your independence, your sense of self-worth,” says Rachael.

“The government want to shine more light on domestic violence and irradiate it, (but) unless these forms of housing are available, it’s not going to happen. For a lot of women it’s too hard.”

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Mother’s desperate triple-0 call: ‘I’ve had my baby early; it’s 26 weeks’

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Colleen Constante and her newborn son Lucas. Photo: Radio 3AWColleen Constante is on her bathroom floor, cradling her newborn son.

She is hysterical, barely able to breathe.

But she manages to call triple-0.

“I’ve had my baby early … but I don’t have anyone here,” she tells the operator.

Ms Constante had gone into labour at nearly 26 weeks – 14 weeks earlier than the normal 40-week gestation.

“The baby is breathing, is that right?” the operator asks.

“Yes, making noise,” Ms Constante replies.

Over the next seven minutes, with an ambulance en route, the operator talks calmly to Ms Constante.

“You’re doing really well Colleen, it must be a really scary thing for you to happen. We’ve got help on the way,” the operator says.

The recording of Ms Constante’s distressing call for help has been released to mark “Thank a Paramedic Day”.

Newborn Lucas was crying when paramedics arrived at the Constante’s home, but he stopped breathing soon after. The paramedics performed CPR, before racing him and Ms Constante to hospital.

Today Lucas is a thriving 18-month-old toddler.

Ms Constante said Lucas would not have survived without the actions of the paramedics and the calmness of the triple-0 dispatcher in the first seven minutes of his life.

“They never know what they’re going to get, they’re trained for everything,” Ms Constante told radio station 3AW on Tuesday.

“Hearing the stress in my voice, her main aim was to keep me calm and I think she did that really well.”

Ms Constante said it was hard to articulate the depth of her appreciation for the people who saved her son.

“There are only so many ways you can say thank-you,” she said.

Victorians can participate in the state’s inaugural Thank a Paramedic Day by sharing stories, photos and messages on Ambulance Victoria’s Facebook page, via Twitter (@ambulance_vic), or on Instagram (@ambulance_victoria) using the hash tag #ThanksAmbos.

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Centre supports brain cancer fundraiser

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A Kurri Early Childhood Centre fundraiser brought a well-known face back to town to accept the cheque for funds raised.

MEANINGFUL CAUSE: Back, Kurri Early Childhood Centre educator Gillian Low (holding Mac) hands over the fundraising cheque to Mark Hughes, and at front, Lucy, Aubrey, Henry, Audrey and Zavier.

The centre held a Beanies for Brain Cancer fundraiser for the Mark Hughes Foundation in August, and Hughes himself dropped in last Tuesday to pick up the cheque.

Children from babies up to pre-school wore their beanies and helped to raise $258.50 just from gold coin donations during the week of August 17 to 21.

With a strong connection to Kurri, Hughes said it is great for the foundation to receive the home-grown backing.

“It’s fantastic support coming from my local town,” he said.

“There are a lot of worthwhile foundations out there and for them to pick our foundation to support was fantastic.

“I always love to visit Kurri.”

Educator Gillian Lowe loves football and the Newcastle Knights and thought it was a meaningful cause to get behind.

The centre also lost a little girl to cancer, and the fundraiser was a way of remembering her.

This is the first time the centre has been involved in Beanies for Brain Cancer and they plan to make it an ongoing event.

Hughes thanked all of the children and families for getting involved, and reminds people to keep an eye out for the fundraiser as it will be back again next year.

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