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Man whose partner was found dead in Brisbane was planning to propose on Valentine's Day, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. Man whose partner was found dead in Brisbane was planning to propose on Valentine’s Day.


The partner of a woman found dead in Karawatha in Brisbane’s South said he was planning to propose to her on Valentine’s Day this week.

Megan Kirley’s body was discovered on a rural property about 3.00am on Saturday after reports of a shooting.

Her partner Pieter Pickering, 43, made the triple-0 phone call and was assisting police but was released without charge on Sunday.

He told 9News he is “absolutely broken” by the 40-year-old’s death.

On Sunday he posted on social media that he was lost and his whole world was destroyed.

“R.I.P Megan Kirley. The greatest woman this world was ever graced with,” he wrote.

“Somebody help me my megs is gone [and I’m] so alone, so lost my whole world is destroyed.”

He told 9News he was planning to propose to Kirley on Valentine’s Day.

“I had bought a ring… And we were in agreeance we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together,” he said.

Neighbours reported hearing two gunshots early on Saturday morning and the property remained a crime scene on Sunday.

2. PM warns we should brace for horror stories as Royal Commission into aged care begins today.

The failures of Adelaide’s Oakden nursing home, which in part sparked the royal commission into Australia’s aged care system, will be front and centre when hearings open in Adelaide.

One of the Oakden whistleblowers, Barbara Spriggs, whose husband Bob was overmedicated and mistreated at the home leading up to his death, is expected to be the first to give evidence on Monday.

Ms Spriggs will be asked to relate her family’s direct experience with Oakden and with the wider aged care system.

Her son Clive is listed to follow her in the witness box before the commission hears from a series of advocacy and medical groups.

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One of those, Aged and Community Services Australia, says the investigation will shine a light on many complex challenges and issues within the system that have long gone undiscussed.

Chief executive Patricia Sparrow says it’s been hard for many people to talk about ageing.

“But that’s what we need to do as a nation if we are going to improve the system and make it sustainable into the future,” she said.

“The royal commission will be important in going right back to the beginning and examining what kind of system we need and how to make that possible.”

The inquiry’s initial focus will be on how aged care has been operated, monitored and regulated and how that may change under the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

The commission will also consider the changing demographics of the Australian population and the implications this has for the system.

Advocacy and medical groups will detail the current state of the aged care system along with the clinical issues affecting elderly people and general challenges in meeting clinical needs.

3. Epilepsy Australia calls for schools and teachers to receive training in supporting students with epilepsy.

Launceston mum Georgina Schilg used to worry that teachers would mistake her daughter’s epileptic seizures for her not listening.

But not anymore.

Ms Schilg knows that 10-year-old Sophie’s teachers are able to recognise her daughter’s symptoms and call her, or an ambulance, if needed.

Sophie doesn’t always go unconscious when she has a seizure but does turn pale, struggles to speak, becomes unsteady on her feet and her eyes can roll back.

“I was always hoping they would pick up on the fact that she was having seizures,” Ms Schilg said.

“Now staff have a much better understanding of what to look for and they felt more confident in dealing with Sophie.”

It’s all because the mum picked up the phone and asked Epilepsy Australia about what help she could get at the school.

The organisation helped introduce the Epilepsy Smart School program which educates teachers about epilepsy and seizures and how to react, take notes and create a safe environment.

Despite nearly one in 200 students having epilepsy in Australia, less than five per cent of schools and teachers received any epilepsy-specific training.

Ms Schilg wants to see more being done to help families like hers.

“These kids have so many challenges with epilepsy and it can impact their whole life,” she said.

“For staff to have a better understanding, it’s so much nicer for the kids.”

Currently only 475 schools across the country meet requirements to create a safe and supportive educational environment for students with epilepsy, according to Epilepsy Australia.

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“It is imperative schools taken an individualised approach to meet each student’s needs,” the organisation’s president Wendy Groot said.

“First aid training is not enough – beyond seizures and daily medication, teachers need to understand the psychological, social and cognitive impact epilepsy can have and adapt their teaching methods accordingly.”

Since 2017 the organisation has expanded the program so all Australian schools are eligible to become recognised as an Epilepsy Smart School.

4. World-first program to help people with Down syndrome find meaningful work launched in Victoria.

A world-first training program to educate young people with Down syndrome and help them to find meaningful employment has been launched by a Melbourne charity.

Thirteen students, aged 22 to 35, will take part in the work-readiness pilot Impact21, which guarantees paid employment at one of five partner companies including JB Hi-Fi and DuluxGroup.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg met with students at the launch of the 12-month program on Sunday, lauding its vision of respect and equal opportunity.

“Our community’s health is not necessarily about equality of outcomes. It’s about equality of opportunities,” he said at Torrens University.

“Every person with Down syndrome deserves to have an opportunity to have employment, and meaningful employment.

Impact21 is an initiative of not-for-profit e.motion21, which provides dance and fitness programs for children and young adults with Down syndrome.

The organisation was founded by Cate Sayers after she was unable to find a dance class to meet the learning needs of her daughter Alexandra, who has Down syndrome.

“I believe that every child deserves the opportunity to learn and the opportunity to reach their potential,” Ms Sayers said.

She said the program will not only help the lives of the 13 students but also their colleagues at the partner companies.

“This will be transformational for every person in those workplaces,” Ms Sayers said.

“And just think of what these wonderful students will be able to do for Australia in the future.”

Ms Sayers said many children with Down syndrome “thrive” at school but very few are able to continue with education beyond it.

“Most disappointingly less than five per cent of young adults with Down syndrome are in meaningful employment,” she said.

She said this contributes to Australia being in the bottom third of OECD countries in terms of employment for people with disabilities.

If the 12-month pilot is successful, Impact21 will be rolled out to 2020 and expanded to include people with intellectual disabilities more broadly.

Classes will be held in specialised work spaces at Torrens University in Melbourne’s CBD.

6. Help Qld flood victims, insurers told.

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Both sides of politics in Queensland are taking insurers to task to make sure they don’t leave Townsville flood victims behind.

Media reports insurers are turning away residents and businesses affected when a year’s rainfall dropped in just days led Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington to call them out.

“I will be asking the Insurance Council of Australia and also insurance companies to meet me in Townsville on Friday morning to see directly the devastation,” Ms Trad said on Sunday.

“And also to get an understanding of where we can go to make that Townsville people and people in the north west aren’t being left behind.”

Ms Frecklington made similar remarks, and also called on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to pressure the insurance sector.

Mould has set into damaged homes as forecasters predict a heatwave will strike the same area this week.

The Insurance Council says it will hold forums in coming weeks to help guide policyholders through the claims process.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan said he had held talks with Ms Trad about the ICA’s catastrophe declaration, insurance claims and flood cover.

“I have explained that flood insurance cover is readily available to all householders and businesses in Townsville,” he said.

“Customers who decided against purchasing flood cover, or chose to opt out, should still lodge a claim through their insurer or insurance broker.”

Rural properties remain underwater and graziers continue to search for and feed their surviving cattle.

The financial hit to individual farmers and the industry more broadly may not be known for weeks.

As of 10am on Sunday, insurers had received 13,560 claims, with losses estimated at $165 million.

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