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Family of missing backpacker Theo Hayez are confident a hat found in bushland near Byron Bay belongs to him, & more in News in 5.

– With AAP.

1. Family of missing backpacker Theo Hayez are confident a hat found in bushland near Byron Bay belongs to him.

The family of Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez is confident a hat found in bushland in Byron Bay belongs to him.

Volunteers searching for Hayez discovered a distinctive grey Puma hat more than five weeks after he vanished on a night out on May 31.

Police are yet to release the results of DNA tests on the cap, but a Facebook post on the Looking for Theo Hayez Facebook page on Saturday confirmed the family strongly believed it was Theo’s.

“Over the past months, many of you have been wondering about the results of the DNA testing of the hat found in bushland off Tallows Beach on July 7th,” the post read.

“Although no DNA results have been released publicly and may not be for some time, the family is certain that it is Théo’s hat.

“The hat found was the exact same model and colour (grey, not black), shows the same wear and tear on the brim, and the position precisely matches one of his last known GPS locations.”

Police announced last month Hayez’s disappearance had been referred to the NSW coroner

His family celebrated his 19th birthday on September 29, without knowing what happened to him.

Theo has not been seen since May 31, when he left Byron Bay’s Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub. His phone last ‘pinged’ near Cape Byron Lighthouse on June 1.

He was reported missing on June 6 when he failed to check out of his hostel, leaving his belongings and passport still in his room.

2. Police to be paid “hundreds of thousands” in overtime over climate change protests.

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Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent on overtime for police officers who worked during week-long climate change protests in Melbourne.

Victoria Police Commander Tim Hansen said on Sunday the force was still totalling the cost of the Extinction Rebellion protests in the city, but overtime was already high.

“The overtime budget is in the hundreds of thousands already… 16,000 patrol hours have been deployed,” he told reporters on Sunday, adding that 111 people had been arrested.

“It has had a huge impact on our resourcing out in the regions and out in the suburbs.”

Commander Hansen slammed the organisers for keeping police in the dark about their movements during the “spring rebellion”, which meant officers had to be taken off other duties.

The commander ruled out making the protesters pay for the costs incurred during their activities, as that would only be applicable if there is a “level of commerciality”.

“This is clearly a public community protest in public space. We are resourced and financed to deploy in those circumstances,” he said.

The Extinction Rebellion movement held protests from Monday to Sunday including marches and other protests aimed at blocking traffic across the country.

Among its requests, the movement called on governments to “tell the truth” about climate change by declaring a climate and ecological emergency.

3. New Zealand are triumphant over Australia in netball cup opener.

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Australia have blown a five-goal lead to lose 53-52 to the Silver Ferns in the first Test of netball’s Constellation Cup in Christchurch.

A dominant third quarter on Sunday put the Diamonds ahead 44-39 but a series of errors quickly evaporated their advantage.

The match was the first between the teams since July’s World Cup final in England where the Silver Ferns upset the Diamonds 52-51.

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said it was frustrating to watch her team’s lack of attention to detail in the crunch moments.

“I think we went away from some areas of our game plan that we had made a commitment to do.

“And got a little bit sucked in to the environment that was going on around us and that will be a learning, particularly for the new players, that they can’t let that distract them,” Alexander said.

The final quarter steadily worsened for Australia, who also lost goal shooter Caitlin Bassett. She left the court in discomfort and was replaced by Caitlin Thwaites.

Bassett was one of Australia’s best, shooting 26/30 before leaving the game.

The four-Test series will move to Auckland on Wednesday and Alexander said her captain would be “cherry ripe” for game two.

The Diamonds found themselves down 26-25 at halftime after a poor opening half in which they were unable to capitalise on turnover ball.

Australia, who hold the Constellation Cup, were particularly wasteful in the attacking third as their connections from the mid-court to the shooting circle were rusty.

Alexander brought Laura Scherian on for her Test debut late in the second quarter and she was more efficient when feeding the shooting circle.

“She’s just reminded us about how accurate she is with her feeding and the work that she does. She’s enormous in there. It was terrific to see her out there,” Alexander said.

But that fluidity went out of the Diamonds’ attack in the final quarter and the Silver Ferns regained the lead with seven minutes to go and never gave it back.

After Auckland, the series heads to Australia for Tests in Sydney and Perth.

4. Food charities in South Australia can’t meet growing demand.

Nearly 8000 South Australians are going hungry each month, as a new report reveals the number of people seeking food handouts has grown by 15 per cent this year.

More than 130,000 people in SA are seeking food relief each month, compared with 117,260 people last year.

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Of those people, it has been revealed that more than 7876 people are unable to be fed by charities.

The report, released by Foodbank SA, confirmed the “very sad fact” that food demand could not be met in the state, chief executive Greg Pattinson said.

“Despite our best efforts, we still can’t get to the parts of the state that really need our help, either due to the high cost of transport, logistics or that we just can’t get enough food…” he said.

The report also found that women are 50 per cent more likely to go hungry than men.

Mr Pattinson said the state government needs to do more to address the problem.

“There shouldn’t be more than 7000 South Australians every month worrying about where they are going to get their next meal,” he said.

Foodbank runs five food hubs across SA, as well as a mobile food van for remote communities.

The Foodbank Hunger Report surveys 2,000 charities from around the country.

5. Medicinal cannabis expands for kids in Victoria.

A Victorian teenager who spent the past seven years battling up to 50 epileptic seizures a day hasn’t had any episodes since taking medical cannabis.

Madison Williamson, 15, has been taking medical cannabis as part of her treatment for epilepsy for the past 10 months and hasn’t had a seizure since, her mum says.

“Over the years the seizures changed. She ended up having cluster seizure where they could be up to 50 a day,” Amanda told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.

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“Within two months, I realised that there were no boxes ticked for seizures. There’s been nothing since to this day. Everything has changed.”

Madison has become the poster girl for the state government’s decision to expand its scheme for children with intractable epilepsy to use medical cannabis from 60 to 90.

“We are going to expand the program to 90 children so that more children have the same opportunities to fully participate in society, to see a reduction in their seizures,” Health Minister Jenny Mikakos announced, adding it would cost $3.7 million annually.

Ten children will be immediately added to the scheme, with the extra 20 young people to start on the scheme next year.

Canadian pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol is used in the scheme.

Royal Children’s Hospital paediatric neurologist Jeremy Freeman said many patients, aged from infants to 18, benefited from using the product with their other medication.

“For the patients that have a good response, the change is pretty dramatic and fairly quick,” he said.

“About half the patients we’ve treated have had significant reduction in their seizures and two-thirds of those are major reduction (less than half the normal amount of seizures), about a third of those have had about a minor reduction.”

The hospital has about 30 children on its waitlist for the scheme, which has also been rolled out at Monash Health and the Austin Hospital.

Ms Mikakos wants the federal government to add the medication it to the PBS.

The federal government last month announced $3 million for clinical trials looking at how cannabis can be used to help treat cancer pain and other side effects.

Opposition leader Michael O’Brien said more work needed to be done to find out if it is as effective as it can be before it goes on the PBS.

“(But) if it is going to be effective in helping young people get through very difficult medical problems, I wouldn’t have a problem with it being added to the PBS,” he said.

Victoria was the first state in Australia to legalise access to medicinal cannabis for patients in exceptional circumstances in 2016.


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