The Courier-Mail




OLYMPIC greats have recalled the childhood moment that inspired them to go for gold at the “greatest show on earth”, saying a likely 2032 Queensland Games will help breed a new generation of Sunshine State sports stars.

Cate Campbell, Natalie Cook, Samantha Riley and Sara Carrigan say children aged six to 10 now could be at the peak of their sporting powers in 11 years’ time, preparing to live their own Olympic dreams on home soil. They say that hosting the Games will not only motivate future Olympians, but also encourage grassroots sports participat­ion.

Sydney Olympic beach volleyball champion Cook was a seven-year-old swimmer and nipper in her home town Townsville when she saw Lisa Curry win three gold medals at the 1982 Commonweal­th Games in Brisbane.

“That was when I decided I wanted to be like Lisa and go to the Olympics and win a gold medal for Australia,” she said. “It was the spark that lit the fire for me. I’d watch the Olympics on TV and dream of one day being on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

“Talking to my Olympian friends all over the world, they all had one moment like that that put that fire in their belly and sparkle in their eye.”

Cook, who also won a bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, said a southeast Queensland Games would be a “huge driver” of

kids’ sport across the state and nation.

“Clearly COVID has put a massive dampener on sport but this (a potential home Olympics) will give kids something to dream of and aspire to,” she said.

“Even if they’re not potential 2032 Olympians, it’s going to be a huge driver of sports participat­ion which is great for kids not just physically, but also for making friends and encouragin­g teamwork.”

Raised in Brisbane, Campbell was just eight years old and still living in her birth land of Africa when she was bitten by the Olympic bug.

Her family had already decided to move from landlocked Malawi to Australia so when they turned on their television set to watch the Sydney 2000 Olympics, she’d already decided to support her soon to be adopted home.

“There was something about watching an Olympics in my new home country that just inspired me to think that this is something I could do and this is something I wanted to do and it was something that was worthwhile to do,” she said. “That’s my little story of getting inspired by a home Olympic Games and I really believe that it has the ability to do the same for young people in Australia.

“Whenever I hear people talk about what it was like to be at the Sydney Olympics, it makes me really sad that I wasn’t a part of it but I got a little bit of taste of what it’s like when the Commonweal­th Games were on the Gold Coast. To feel the atmosphere and the passion from everyone … it’s such a uniting positive force.”

Riley’s first Olympics memory was watching the 1980 Moscow Games as an eight-year-old and being inspired not so much by the sport but by the spectacle.

“It was obviously one of the more controvers­ial Olympics but I just remember the amazing spectacle and thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great to be a part of that?’,” she said.

She said watching former Internatio­nal Olympic Committee supremo Juan Antonio Samaranch famously announce ‘Syd-n-ey’ as the 2000 host was a turning point.

“I was with some other swimmers in Canberra and it was one or two in the morning when the announceme­nt was made,” she said. “We all decided that we’d be the first athletes to train for the Sydney Olympics so we went and jumped straight in the pool.”

Riley, a mother of three boys aged 11 to 17, said a 2032 Queensland Olympics would give children “something really amazing to strive for”.

“It’s not as much about getting kids to the elite level as it is about encouragin­g them to stay in sport – it’s all about participat­ion and grassroots involvemen­t,” she said.

Carrigan, who won cycling gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said she didn’t even know bike riding was a sport when she watched the 1992 Barcelona Games as a 12-year-old.

“I just remember seeing how proud and excited the athletes were and that’s where my passion for sport started,” she said.

“I think a Queensland Olympics will just help inspire passion in kids – whether it be in sport or other fields – and that’s a great thing.”

COMPENSATI­ON for the 2011 Wivenhoe Dam flood disaster is now expected to exceed $1bn after victims scored a milestone victory, securing $440m of the final pay out.

But the 6700 claimants should not expect a cheque in the mail in the next few weeks as it is expected to take months and even up to a year to finalise what is now one of the nation’s largest compensati­on claims.

The Queensland Government and Sunwater, found to have negligentl­y operated dams during the Summer of Disaster, have now settled their 50 per cent share of the liability in the Wivenhoe Dam class action meaning they must pay out $440m.

The third defendant Seqwater, which is 50 per cent liable for the damage, is not a party to the settlement.

Seqwater will continue to appeal Justice Robert BeechJones’s 2019 decision that it failed to operate the dams properly or take into account rainfall forecasts when releasing water which caused billions of dollars worth of damage to southeast Queensland communitie­s.

Maurice Blackburn principal Rebecca Gilsenan said the $440m settlement followed a long and arduous legal battle for flood victims.

“It has now been 10 years since the Brisbane and Ipswich floods, so this settlement is a very welcome developmen­t that we hope will bring some much-needed closure to our clients, who have had to endure significan­t uncertaint­y and frustratio­n while the defendants fought this case at every turn,” Ms Gilsenan said.

“Of course, complete closure can only happen for our clients when Seqwater also settles or Seqwater’s appeal is finalised.

“The class will continue to vigorously fight Seqwater’s appeal, buoyed by today’s substantia­l settlement reached with the other two defendants.’’

Flood victim and Ipswich

City Cit councillor ill Paul Tully, who lost his family home in Goodna in the disaster and for a decade has been an outspoken advocate for flood victims, said it was ridiculous that Seqwater would continue to hold up the litigation process 10 years after the event.

“The state government must direct Seqwater to withdraw their ill-considered appeal,’’ Cr Tully said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk issued a brief statement saying only that both the government and Sunwater had reached an agreement to settle the claims against them.

If Seqwater abandons its appeal it is likely the sum sought will exceed that of yesterday’s $440m figure.

But the process does not allow food victims to simply divide up all the compensati­on cash among themselves.

Court costs alone are believed to have already exceeded $60m and other deductions will be made to the compensati­on pool by the lawyers who ran the class action.

But Cr Tully said he and fellow flood victims warmly welcomed yesterday’s developmen­t, and he intended applying continued pressure on Seqwater to abandon the appeal.

”We will maintain the rage,’’ he said.

A POPULAR teacher from an inner-city primary school took his own life after he was charged by police over setting up his mobile phone in a change room and filming students.

Michael Patrick Robertson, a teacher at St Columba’s in Wilston, died on Thursday, two days after the school informed parents a police investigat­ion was under way.

His family posted of his death online.

The Courier-Mail has confirmed the 51-year-old was charged by police with making observatio­ns or recordings in breach of privacy relating to filming children with his mobile phone in the change room.

He was due to face court on April 30 before he took his own life.

Parents were sent two emails on Tuesday night, reassuring them their children were not in danger.

“I write to inform you that our school recently became aware of an alleged incident involving one of our staff members,” the principal wrote.

“This matter is now the subject of an ongoing police investigat­ion and in support of this, our school is continuing to assist police in every way we can.

“As this matter is the subject of an ongoing police investigat­ion, I know you will understand that I am not able to provide additional details just

at this time.” Later that evening, the principal sent a second email.

“I write to reassure you that the school is focused on the safety and wellbeing of your children,” he wrote.

“They are our priority. If you have any specific concerns or notice anything that is concerning to you, please contact me again and we will develop a plan to look after your child.

“We would certainly make contact with you if we held any concerns about your child.”

It is understood Mr Robertson came to police attention recently amid allegation­s he had filmed students at a sporting event.

It is understood detectives were looking at whether he was responsibl­e for creating child exploitati­on material but he had not been charged with that offence.

Queensland Police Service declined to comment on the investigat­ion.

POLICE say it’s still unclear how conwoman Melissa Caddick came to be in the water after the discovery of a decomposin­g foot helped police piece together her final moments.

More remains, including what appeared to be a large chunk of stomach flesh, including a belly button, were found last night at Mollymook beach, 150km north of Bermagui, where Caddick’s decomposin­g foot was found on Sunday.

Police still favoured the theory that Caddick had committed suicide but admitted it was impossible to rule out foul play.

The foot was found more than 400km from her Sydney home. But what happened after she left her Dover Heights property, and even how she left, remains a mystery.

Last year Caddick’s son told police he heard the front door close about 5.30am on November 12, and had not seen his mother since.

A security camera out the front of the 49-year-old’s multimilli­on-dollar home wasn’t working and despite scouring hours of CCTV, her final movements continue to baffle detectives.

Assistant Commission­er Michael Willing said how Ms

Caddick ended up in the water “remains a mystery” and there had been no reported sightings. How long Ms Caddick’s body was in the water is unclear.

Mr Willing said the case was still wide open.

Befoer she vanished, Ms Caddick was accused of swindling clients, including friends and family, out of millions through her finance business.

She falsified the share trading account statements she provided to her clients on a monthly basis and made up believable excuses as to why they couldn’t access those accounts.

An ASIC investigat­ion into her business dealings will remain ongoing, Mr Willing confirmed, stating investors were still being interviewe­d.

There is no suggestion Ms Caddick’s husband or family have any involvemen­t in her business dealings or death.

Yesterday police revealed campers found Ms Caddick’s shoe on Bournda Beach, south of Bega on the NSW south coast, on Sunday.

Caddick’s identity was confirmed by DNA testing using her toothbrush.

The ASIC Gel Nimbus 22 dark grey training shoe is available only in Israel and matched those she was wearing when the corporate watchdog raided her home in November. It was found washed up on the sand and the heavily decomposed remains of her foot were inside.

AGE 14
AGE 11
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 ??  ?? Ipswich City councillor Paul Tully at the flood marker in Goodna yesterday and (insets) the flood damage. Picture: Richard Walker
Ipswich City councillor Paul Tully at the flood marker in Goodna yesterday and (insets) the flood damage. Picture: Richard Walker
 ??  ?? Michael Patrick Robertson.
Michael Patrick Robertson.
 ??  ?? Conwoman Melissa Caddick’s decomposin­g foot (inset) was found on a beach in NSW on Sunday.
Conwoman Melissa Caddick’s decomposin­g foot (inset) was found on a beach in NSW on Sunday.

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