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This BGCN edition is our last for the semester. We’ll be back in 172 with more exciting stories and photos.

5 Apr

How the lockout laws are affecting Queensland

3 Apr
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Bouncers at the Sin City nightclub showing their displeasure regarding a proposed 1am lockout. Picture: Eliza Reilly

By Eliza Reilly, Bond University Journalism Student

Nine months from the rollout of the Queensland Government’s liquor laws, the Gold Coast community has experienced a reduction in wages and sales but only a minimal decrease in crime and violence levels.

The ‘Tackling Alcohol Fuelled Violence Amendment’ was officially enacted on July 1 last year, stopping clubs from serving shots after midnight and all alcohol after 2am, or 3am in the state’s 15 safe precincts.

The plan to roll out a statewide 1am lockout in February of this year was abandoned only a month earlier due to the lack of success provided by already existing measures.

Clubs are now able to apply for six late night trading permits throughout the year to counter the decreased serving hours, down from 12 permits in the initial trial period.

Secretary of lobby group Our Nightlife Queensland Nick Braban says he would be worried if the 1am lockout proposal resurfaced, should a Labor government be re-elected, despite the community strongly voicing that a lockout is not the solution.

“Economic modelling we have done based on the 1am lockout coming in proved to be the most damaging aspect of the policy from an economic perspective,” he said.

“What we have seen though in the existing reduction in hours is a decrease in pay for employees within these districts of an average of $80 per week based on the reduced hours that they work.

“We have also had a reduction of sales of 12% in these entertainment districts which covers everything from bar sales through to cover charges and ticketed events.”

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the coast’s celebrated night life forms a critical part of the over-all economy, which is largely sustained by the more than 13 million visitors annually.

“The city is known as a fun-going, let-your-hair-down destination but with that comes a responsibility on the individual [to not engage in violence], just like anywhere in the world,” he said.

“The night economy employs thousands so the challenge is to get the balance right.”

Member for Surfers Paradise John-Paul Langbroek said he doesn’t agree with Labor’s one size fits all approach that was going to penalise many for the sins of a few as six months on, the laws have had a minimal impact on levels of violence in the entertainment districts.

“After their trial, it turned out there hadn’t been less admissions to hospital and so they [Labor Government] confected the excuse and said that because the trial wasn’t showing any reduction that a 1am lockout wasn’t going to make a difference,” he said.

Mr Braban said despite the levels of hospital admissions staying the same, a six-month evaluation report showed a slight downturn in crime levels.

“Historically we have seen a continued decline in crime for over a decade and the aim of this policy was to accelerate that trend but it’s going to be hard to accelerate that trend when the levels of crime are already relatively low,” he said.

Mr Braban said despite his lobby group’s challenging the laws, extensive interaction with the State government occurred which has led to some positive outcomes.

“There are a lot of facets we still disagree on but there have been some positive interactions in respect to particular parts of the policy,” he said.

However, despite this positive interaction, the laws have resulted in dissatisfaction and backlash from both patrons and businesses.

“Many venues have opposed the laws and they have told me so,” Mayor Tate said.

The legislation alarmingly fails to address other factors that may lead to violence, Mr Langbroek said.

“A parliamentary committee looked at the recommendations of the laws and it found that they weren’t considering drugs that were affecting people’s behaviour rather than just alcohol,” he said.

“They were blaming the venues for the actions of these people who went out and acted aggressively whereas in reality people need to assume personal responsibility.”

Additionally, a loophole in the initial trial period allowed clubs to communicate with each other and coordinate applications for late night permits to keep entertainment districts alive.

“It just shows that the Labor government brought in these laws and have had resulting problems because it was unworkable legislation,” Mr Langbroek said.

Red Frogs look after Queensland’s youth

3 Apr
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Fans of the Red Frogs enjoy a night out in Surfers Paradise. Picture: Emily Bradfield

By Emily Bradfield, Bond University Journalism Student

Red Frogs Australia has grown from a bag of Allen’s Red Frogs from the corner store to 20 tonnes of the popular sweet nationwide in their 20 years of operation.

What started as a group of church friends looking after a small group of Schoolies has grown to a global network safeguarding young adults, educating teenagers and providing help at university parties.

The Red Frogs began in 1997 when Founder and CEO Andy Gourley was declined entrance to a Surfers Paradise hotel to help a group of teenagers he was mentoring.

Gourley, a Pastor at Citipointe Church, refused to let this stop him, approaching the hotel manager the following day offering help to look after the 400 Schoolies in the hotel for free.

Providing Allen’s Red Frogs as a peace offering, the group, originally called ‘hotel chaplaincy’, gained access to the hotel parties and were fondly nicknamed the ‘Red Frogs’ by the Schoolies.

Since then the Red Frogs have become national heroes working to improve the drinking culture in young people.

Communications and Marketing Manager of Red Frogs Australia Bek Dukes said young people are becoming more responsible in recent years when it comes to decision making involving alcohol.

“Last year at Schoolies it was the healthiest year that we have seen in the 20 years we’ve been doing this,” she said.

“We’ve seen a change over the last 20 years in the way that young people approach party lifestyle and see value and worth in themselves, and it’s great.

“It’s really rewarding to see the positivity and the healthy culture that’s starting to happen as well as an increase in the way that they’re looking after each other and making better lifestyle and party choices.”

Miss Dukes said the education programs run by Red Frogs in the lead up to Schoolies and even in younger years are a contributing factor to this change.

Last year the Red Frogs gave 469 presentations at schools, teaching a total of 59, 772 students the value of partying safe, along with other valuable lessons.

While Schoolies is the poster child, it is no longer the Red Frogs’ biggest program, instead it acts as an introduction to university, Miss Dukes said.

Last year, the Red Frogs helped at 17 University of Queensland parties, providing hydration stations and free fairy bread and donuts.

First year University of Queensland student Laura Moody said the Red Frogs also run a medical tent, helping her at an O-week party this year.

“The Red Frogs helped me wash out my eye as well as looking out for my general safety after the fluid of a glow stick was flicked in it when I was dancing,” she said.

“They are personally important to me not only due to the role they play in community but how they have had an impact on the safety of many teens, including myself and many close friends.

“They provide a safety net making events more enjoyable, knowing if troubles were to arise there are responsible people there to help you.”

Miss Dukes said while they have seen a trend in young people making better decisions and looking after each other, there is always a need for a sober friend.

“There’s still that need for us to be there to make sure that we’re safeguarding a generation,” she said.

“We feel like no one else is going to be there to make sure these young people are getting home safe and making the right decisions that they won’t regret or impact their future.

“If we’re not there doing it then who will?”

Miss Dukes said Red Frogs Australia rely on their long-term sponsors, as well as the proceeds they receive from hosting their annual Gala Dinner for funding

“Our funding has increased, however so has our reach – so it is definitely relative and we always need more support to keep up with the demand and resourcing our crew to the best that we can,” she said.

Long-term sponsors of Red Frogs include Penny Skateboards, Optus and Cricket Australia.

Miss Dukes said an upcoming fund-raiser is the Annual Gala Dinner on June 13, with tickets available from http://www.redfrogstickets.com.au/

“It’s going to be a great night of celebrating 20 years and we’re also releasing our special documentary showcasing the journey of what the last 20 years has been for us,” she said.

Texting and driving poses serious threats to drivers

3 Apr
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Next Up Performance worker Kris Bass posing to be on his phone behind the wheel. Picture: Amanda Doyle

By Amanda Doyle, Bond University Journalism Student

Palm Beach Police Officer Douglas Hunter said Australians who use their mobile phones behind the wheel of a moving car multiply their risk of a serious crash by four times.

That includes both hitting someone and also being hit.

In Queensland, if a driver’s mobile phone is in their hand while driving, regardless if they are stopped, drivers can be fined $365 and lose three demerit points.

Officer Hunter warned Australians of the seriousness of being distracted on the road,

“It only takes being distracted for two seconds to veer into another lane, make risky decisions, or have slow reaction times,” he said.

“The phone related car incidents I see the most of are rear end crashes at low speeds, however I also see many write offs at significantly high speeds.

“Drivers tend not to admit that they were distracted at the time of a crash for many obvious reasons, however it is usually quite apparent that they were not focused on the road.”

The most recent Queensland Government survey polled 3000 drivers in 2014 and found approximately 76% of Queenslanders admit to using their mobile phone illegally whilst driving.

Next Up Performance worker Kris Vass is aware of the dangers of texting and driving as he often does repairs on cars that are subject to this kind of damage.

“I see it all the time, often the damage is minor from these kind of incidents but some cars can be quite damaged,” Mr Vass said.

Some rear-end crashes can be harmless, however some drivers aren’t so lucky.

University of Queensland Biomedical Science student Lisa Clarke was stopped at a traffic light when a driver ran into the rear end of her car causing her to suffer whiplash.

“The driver behind me was checking his social media and did not see the red light, he must’ve been going at least 50 kilometres per hour,” Ms Clarke said.

“Along with suffering whiplash, my car was also significantly damaged.

“Using your phone while driving is illegal for a reason, it’s just a selfish thing to do.”

Officer Hunter recommended a cradle for the phone to be installed in the centre of the dashboard so drivers can make hands-free phone calls and also use their phones for navigation.

Pre-loved fashion markets offer shopping alternative

3 Apr
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Stall holders at the Her Wardrobe fashion market. Picture: Yasmin Bonnell

By Yasmin Bonnell, Bond University Journalism Student

Her Wardrobe held its latest fashion market last week at the Gold Coast Auditorium, providing customers with inexpensive second hand fashion and giving women a way to gain income through selling their clothes.

Event Assistant Aleisha Powell said the market allows women to buy and sell pre-loved fashion and promotes sustainability.

“The event was created to provide women an alternative option to gain income, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to promote sustainable fashion consumption and to extend the life cycle of our clothes,” she said.

Shoppers pay an entrance fee of $2 to sift through closets of pre-loved clothing.

Residents pay $99 for a two-person stall to sell their own clothes.

Customer Caitlin Salter said the cheap prices and different clothing attracted her to the event.

“It’s a great opportunity to find different types of clothing that no one else has,” she said.

“The cheap prices are also an enticing factor because I’m just out of high school and don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes.

“I could go somewhere like Pacific Fair and shop at all the chain stores but I’d rather come here and pick up some unique pieces for good prices.”

With 14,418 followers, the Her Wardrobe Facebook page reaches a large audience.

Ms Powell said the market is held monthly on the Gold Coast and Mount Gravatt.

“We also hold another market on the Sunshine Coast,” she said.

“Our community of shoppers and sellers is definitely growing.

“Our events always sell out and we have hundreds of shoppers at each event.”

Young Artists Going Back in Time

3 Apr
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The ‘Bumpy Angels’ cast rehearsing. Picture: Alexandra Bernard

By Alexandra Bernard, Bond University Journalism Student

The ‘Bumpy Angels’ are about to give audiences a trip back to a hidden part of history, in an Australian home for young pregnant women in the 1950s.

Director of the Angels’ Youth Theatre Project, Catarina Hebbard, said it was a story, written by Sue Rider, that needed to be told.

“Unwed mothers were given no choice, which is heartbreaking,” Ms Hebbard said.

“It was almost a stolen generation.”

Ms Hebbard said the main aim of the production is to show a strong idea of truth behind the story.

“The project aims to tell a story that is incredibly layered and relevant and to show a wedge of life that we may have forgotten,” she said.

“I aim to give a voice to the mothers, as well as entertain the audience as the play is heavy in some places, while light in others.”

Ms Hebbard says it has been challenging for the actresses.

“It was a very different society,” she said.

“It is a foreign era and also a foreign body [pregnant], but the girls have been giving it their best shot and rehearsals have been going very well.”

The cast of 10 have been working hard, with four rehearsals a week.

Olivia Bourne, 18, plays Madonna, who she said is a fiery young Italian woman, protective of her culture, but is trying to fit into her Australian life.

“It has been quite challenging to portray my character as she is from a completely different cultural background and tapping into how she felt pregnant in a new country,” she said.

Ms Bourne said she drew on past experiences to help her, having been on a six-week exchange to Italy.

“I have since reflected on my travels and the people I met, in particular the way they spoke English with their thick Italian accent and their physicalising when they spoke,” she said.

Ms Bourne finished high school last year and ‘Bumpy Angels’ is her first project out of school.

“I am incredibly lucky to have been given this opportunity as a recent graduate and the project has been incredible to work on… with so many talented actresses and a creative team that is so supportive,” she said.

Nicola Barrett, 17, having been in numerous musicals, said she was excited by the prospect of something different.

“I had never heard of anything like it and knew that being a part of it would be a truly amazing experience,” Ms Barrett said.

Ms Hebbard was first approached to take on the project by Vicki Buenen, producer at the Gold Coast Arts Centre.

“’Bumpy Angels’ appealed to me because it is a quality piece of Australian theatre with interesting storylines,” she said.

Ms Buenen originally wanted the playwright Ms Rider to direct, but due to scheduling clashes, the pair decided on Ms Hebbard.

“Cat is Brisbane based and has a long list of professional credits to her name, which is the criteria for a Youth Theatre Project,” she said.

“The director must be of a high standard and be practising extensively and professionally, as this is how the Arts Centre chooses to invest in young artists, by exposing them to professionals who will stretch and develop their emerging skills.”

Ms Hebbard said she agreed this was an important part of the project.

“My vision for this project is to achieve a level of exposure for young artists,” she said.

Friends of the Gold Coast Arts member Rebecca Paranthoiene, said they acknowledge the importance of this, having donated through fundraising, hosting workshops for emerging artists and providing a gift fund.

“We support youth programs that will advance and inspire imagination and creativity,” she said.

‘Bumpy Angels’ marks the seventh Youth Theatre Project produced by the Arts Centre and will be held in The Space on April 5,6,7 and 8.

The Gold Coast opts for organic

3 Apr

 

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Organic Farmer, Ross Sigley is always smiling on Sunday mornings at the Miami Organic Farmers’ Market. Picture: Robyn Fairbairn

By Robyn Fairbairn, Bond University Journalism Student

Gold Coast residents are following a national trend to put health first by choosing organic when it comes to buying their groceries, whether they shop at the weekly farmers’ markets or the major supermarkets

A study by Market Analyst Company IBISWorld said Australia’s organic industry is growing at an exponential rate, and valued it at $919 million.

The IBISWorld study predicts the value of the organic industry could be $1.2 billion by 2022 and the link of global demand for organic produce is rising due to increasing health concerns about food.

The organic farming industry provides a variety of products including meats, fruit, vegetables, eggs and dairy products, which are produced through a set of ecologically oriented practices.

Whereas conventional farmers typically use chemical fertilisers to promote plant growth, organic farmers use manure, compost, or other natural fertilisers.

The Miami Organic Farmers’ Market is one of 16 popular farmers’ markets on the Gold Coast and attracts locals every Sunday from 6am to 11.30am.

Farmer for Pocket Park Produce located in Byron Shire, Ross Sigley is new to the Miami  market and at his stall sells everything from corn to free range eggs and spicy ginger root.

“People just want safe, clean and fresh food, which they can get here,” he said.

Mr Sigley said people go to markets to get to know the farmers but mainly because they know they can trust the produce.

“In our day and age, the number of cases of cancer is rising rapidly and people are concerned about their health and that is why they are buying certified organic,” he said.

Mr Sigley said it is hard for people to trust the big monopoly supermarkets as their products are full of chemicals and even their ‘fresh’ vegetable are sprayed with pesticides.

He said the markets are great value for money.

“Our most expensive product would be our turban garlic that we sell at $40 per kilogram but if you were to buy this at bigger supermarkets you would be paying between  $50 to $60 per kilogram,” Mr Sigley said.

He said the markets benefit farmers because they are able to sell their fresh produce at retail price instead of the normally lower wholesale price.

“These markets allow farmers to cut out the middleman, enabling us to grow and sell the products ourselves,” he said.

Young mother and loyal Miami Farmers’ Market customer Nina Sheeran has been going to the Miami market every Sunday for the past two years.

Mrs Sheeran said being a mum has changed her perspective on food and health.

“I go to the markets because I feel safe with what I am feeding my daughter,” Mrs Sheeran said.

“The friendly atmosphere is just a bonus.

“I buy all my groceries from the markets and only what I don’t get at the market I will buy from Woolworths or Coles.”

On ground Produce Manager at Woolworths in Robina Town Centre, Jon Reed said Woolworths has had an exclusive organic range for the past three years.

Mr Reed rolled his eyes when asked if costumers could trust big supermarkets ‘fresh’ produce.

He said their organic section receives deliveries daily from their distributor in Brisbane that sources produce from the local famers.

“Big supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles are so large that that we would never get away with selling non-fresh food,” Mr Reed said.

“Since the push for organics we now have three sections dedicated to just organics in our store and one is located at the very front of our store,” he said.

“There is definitely a push for organic foods and more customers come seeking them.”

He said their organic range is more expensive than their non-organic certified produce but that people are willing to pay a little more for their own peace of mind.

He said local organic markets are great initiatives and help contribute to the awareness of organic produce but do not pose a threat to the larger supermarkets, which will always be more accessible.

Customer Service worker at Woolworths, Sarina Skelton said she sees young mothers with children and elderly people come in every day seeking the organic range.

Mrs Skelton said these people have been advised by their health practitioners to avoid processed or genetically modified foods for various health conditions.

“At the end of the day we are what we eat, and more and more customers are choosing our organic range because they want to take responsibility over their life,” she said.

Mrs Skelton, who grew up on a farm in Victoria,  said she is well aware that the non-organic produce sold in big supermarkets has been sprayed with pesticides and various chemicals but the organic range is trustworthy.

“Big supermarkets now offer chemical-free produce that has been screened to be certified organic,” she said.

“I myself always buy from the organic sections.”

Survey shows support for offshore Cruise Ship Terminal at The Spit

3 Apr
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Terminal location has been a contentious issue. Picture: Sophie Wallace

By Sophie Wallace, Bond University Journalism Student 

A bare majority of Gold Coast residents favour the plan for a $70 million offshore cruise ship terminal at The Spit.

It has been prompted by ongoing interest in the Gold Coast as a profitable cruise ship terminal destination.

A survey of 32 Gold Coast locals showed 50% of people were in favour of the development, 37% against and 12% undecided.

Half of the respondents agreed the crew ship terminal would boost tourism for the Gold Coast economy.

Broadbeach travel agent Daniel Newberry said he is already getting numerous enquiries from tourists who want to holiday on the Gold Coast with the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

“The cruise ship terminal is a great idea, if it goes ahead finally the Gold Coast will be in competition with cities such as Sydney and Melbourne,” Mr Newberry said.

“It means travellers would spend more time and money on the Gold Coast which will challenge shopping centres, businesses and hotels to improve themselves.”

Quoted in Business News Australia Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate estimated the terminal would attract an extra 140,000 visitors a year and bring up to $30 million into the local economy.
One survey respondent said that landing at the Gold Coast would impress visitors and bring in tourist dollars.

Main beach local Nick Lowe said he believes the cruise ship terminal is a good idea and would give tourists more options to visit the Gold Coast.

“The road at Main Beach heading towards The Spit definitely needs expanding, but if they are willing to put in the effort and dollars it will be a success,” Mr Lowe said.

Survey responses also showed locals are worried about the environmental destruction, harm to wildlife and loss of public open space.

Mr Lowe said the people who are trying to protect The Spit need to remember that it was man made in the first place.

“Everyone is saying that the cruise ship terminal will impact the environment but the argument is irrelevant because humans built The Spit,” he said.

Alice Leonard, Gold Coast resident of 25 years, said she worries the cruise ship terminal could disrupt the peace and quiet on the Gold Coast.

“It’s exciting to see the Gold Coast growing but I cannot help thinking about the increase in traffic, loss of parkland and noise disturbance,” Miss Leonard said.

“People are getting caught up in the idea of a cruise ship terminal and need to step back and realise the negative effects it will have on our home.”

Together or apart, BFFs soar to modelling success

3 Apr
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Saskia Jenkins and Isabelle Mathers celebrating each others modelling shoots. Picture: Christie Perrin

By Christie Perrin, Bond University Journalism Student

Gold Coast 18-year-old best friends Saskia Jenkins and Isabelle Mathers started chasing their modelling dreams together, but have now soared to success on their own.

Together the pair have more than 90, 000 Instagram followers and have been the faces of many Australian brands including; Princess Polly, Dissh, Beginning Boutique, City Beach and Peony Swimwear.

Miss Jenkins and Miss Mathers became friends at Aquinas High School.

Both girls began to realise their modelling potential when they started gaining Instagram followers from posting photos of themselves.

“I started to post a large amount of photos on my Instagram and slowly started gaining more and more followers,” Miss Jenkins said.

“Then after a while companies started getting in touch with me asking me about promoting their products on my account to gain more exposure.”

At 15, Ms Mathers also began getting scouted off Instagram by brands and labels asking her to do photo shoots.

The two best friends began modelling work together but then moved on to different agencies.

“Saskia and I use to do shoots together before we joined our agencies but because we are both different looks with different agencies it is hard to get noticed now together,” Miss Mathers said.

Miss Jenkins is with Dallys Models in Brisbane and Miss Mathers signed with Que Models in Mermaid Beach.

Despite being with different agencies, the girls support each other throughout their modelling professions and celebrate each other’s successes.

“Isabelle has done work for pretty much every clothing company that our age or youth in Australia uses on the internet,” Miss Jenkins said.

“It is amazing what she has achieved in such a small amount of time and I am excited to see everything she will achieve in the future.”

Miss Mathers also is proud of Miss Jenkins’ success.

“I love that my best friend can do exactly what I’m doing and when Sas gets jobs and does a big shoot it’s nothing but excitement from me,” Miss Mathers said.

“I am always super proud of her.”

Modelling has become a full-time job.

Miss Mathers works up to 35 hours some weeks.

“Other weeks I only work 12-15 hours, it’s good because even though it’s a full time job, you get days off and cruisy weeks along the way,” Miss Mathers said.

“In saying that, it’s still not an easy job and a lot of people overlook modelling as a bludge or a nothing job but it is so much more than that.

“It’s hard not to get defensive when people say the usual ‘all you do is stand in front of a camera and pose’.”

Miss Jenkins said despite their busy lives they still find time to hang out with each other.

“We usually just get food or go to the beach but always are trying to stay entertained,” she said.

“We’ve done random stuff like ice skating, putt putt or gone to Movie World.

“Or we like to just stay home all day and binge watch tv shows, there’s really no in between.”

Follow Saskia Jenkins and Isabelle Mathers on Instagram: @saskiateje and @isabellemathersx

Quiksilver and Roxy Pro

3 Apr
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Surfer competing in the final heat. Picture: Amelia Chapman.

By Amelia Chapman, Bond University Journalism Student

Volunteering at the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro gave one high school student a chance to meet six-time World Surf League champion Stephanie Gilmore, her surf idol.

Bella Davis, A student from Palm Beach Currumbin High School, was one of the volunteers at the week-long event in Coolangatta.

“As Stephanie was walking back up the beach I got the chance to say hi and get a photo with her,” she said.

The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro kicked off at the start of this month with volunteers and world surf champions flooding the streets of Coolangatta.

“I got to miss school which was great, but seriously the experience was so rewarding,” Ms Davis said.

“Not only did I get to meet so many of my favourite surfers, but I can also use this volunteer work for future work experience.”

As well as meeting her idols, Ms Davis had to get up at 5am every morning.

“It was early, but I loved every minute of it,” she said.

Darrell Peters, one of the event organisers, said the volunteers this year had been extraordinary.

“We’ve had around 100 unpaid volunteers that have helped out this year,” he said.

The volunteer work included helping setting up tents, water running, working the merchandise shops and clearing the beaches..

“We always appreciate the help from volunteers, and you can guarantee it is a fun and rewarding experience,” Mr Peters said.

 

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