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Swan Valley winemakers have vowed to boycott the coming Spring in the Valley festival, saying the two-day event has become too unruly and overcrowded.

Little River Winery and John Kosovich Wines said they would have nothing to do with the popular festival when it was staged on October 10 and 11 because it was a “debauch”. Other wineries said they would hold their own separate events to coincide with its running.

It comes as the Swan Valley Tourism Council, which organises the event, confirmed it would introduce a $5 entry fee for the first time in the festival’s history. The fee will apply to all people attending the event, with 40 per cent of proceeds to go to Ticketmaster and the rest to the council. With as many as 70,000 people expected to attend, the fee could net the council $200,000. Swan Valley Tourism Council executive officer Geraldine Riggir said patrons would need to show their tickets at all participating venues.

The cost of the ticket will not entitle patrons to entry into all venues, with many set to charge their own admission prices. Ms Riggir said the council’s $5 fee would help cover the cost of staging the event, while it would also allow organisers to better manage crowds. She defended the festival in the face of criticism from some Swan Valley businesses, arguing it was the best way of showcasing local products to a broad market.

“It’s not a terrible festival, it’s a fantastic festival,” she said. “It’s just a small element of it that is a problem. All the valley is trying to do is showcase the region and what it has to offer.”

Upper Reach Winery owner Laura Pearse said she would sell a limited number of tickets privately to ensure crowd numbers were kept under control. She backed the festival as a going concern, saying it was predominantly a “lovely day out”. But Little River Winery owner Jan de Tastes said she would close her winery in protest because she no longer felt the festival represented the best interests of producers in the valley.

“If it was a quality festival you could be proud of it but at the moment you’ve got the drunkenness taking over to such as degree that the whole thing is a debauch,” she said.

Mrs de Tastes threatened to sue the council and event sponsors if anything happened to her winery during the event.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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WA’s only confirmed case of swine flu has been cleared after a week in quarantine, Ten News has reported, while the nation’s swine flu tally has passed 400.

The  man, who tested positive last week after going to hospital with mild flu symptoms, was in home quarantine with his wife and their eight children.

Australia’s Eastern States has been particularly hard-hit by the flu and Victoria has recorded a massive surge in cases, most of them children.
 
By this afternoon the number of confirmed cases in the State had risen to 306, a rise of 94 in 24 hours.

Most of the new cases in Victoria also involved young people aged five to 18, prompting a twelfth Victorian school to be closed today.
 
According to Federal Health Department figures, there were 64 confirmed cases in NSW, 18 in Queensland, six in South Australia, four in the ACT, and one each in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
 
However, Queensland Health officials say the State now has 22 confirmed cases, the latest being teenage girls.
 
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the Government was assessing whether to elevate the nation’s response to the disease from the contain to the sustain phase.
 
Victoria is already preparing to move into the sustain phase, under which quarantining is limited to those who share a home with a confirmed swine flu patient.
In the contain phase, anyone who has had contact with a swine flu patient is quarantined voluntarily and given antiviral drugs for a week.
 
The nation’s chief medical officer, Professor Jim Bishop, said the advice to people with flu-like symptoms may change as swine flu evolved.
 
At present, people who come down with flu-like symptoms, especially if they have recently travelled to an affected country, are being advised to seek medical advice.
 
Professor Bishop said in the future, fit and healthy people may be told to stay at home and only those in at-risk groups, including those with seek medical advice and asthma, will be advised to visit their GP.
 
“A lot of people that have these sorts of symptoms of course will, as this thing progresses, stay at home and not necessarily seek medical advice if in their own case it is a at-risk groups— and that we expect to see more of,” he said.
 
“As we move along in this marathon race, what we will need to do is obviously identify those people that we’re concerned about.
 
“If there is large numbers involved, we want to make sure the system is looking after people we most want to look after.”
 
The swine flu-affected ship Pacific Dawn docked in Sydney this morning after NSW Health authorities gave it the all-clear.
 

The P&O ship was forced to cut short its trip to the Barrier Reef last week when three crew tested positive for the virus.
 
A senior NSW Health doctor and 25 nurses boarded the ship in Brisbane on Saturday, testing all 2500 people on board during the two-day voyage to Sydney.
 
While disappointed the cruise didn’t go to plan, passengers said they still enjoyed the journey.
 
David Geers, from Brisbane, joked it was the perfect place to be quarantined for seven days.

 “If you had to be quarantined somewhere I couldn’t have thought of a better place … because we got fed, the drinks tasted the same and the staff were fantastic,” he told reporters at Darling Harbour.
 
More than 15,000 people in 53 countries have tested positive to swine flu, with deaths totalling 99.

Source www.thewest.com.au

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