Former homeless man Chris Carlyon started earning $2k a week through being an Uber driver


A man who used to be homeless has found a way to make thousands of dollars driving around in a luxury performance car.

Chris Carlyon, 47, has been working as an Uber driver for about 18 months, happily couriering passengers in his Chrysler 300c SRT.

The man, who once lived as an “upper class homeless man” in a van at Hillarys Dog Beach over 2014-15, said he could earn about $500 over a 10-12 hour shift on the weekend.

However, he said that amount had decreased since the pandemic hit.

He used to make up to $2000 from Friday to Sunday pre-COVID.

“After the lockdown, people were hesitant to come out … but I call Uber ‘the gravy train’ because you can make a comfortable income and life for yourself just by driving,” Mr Carlyon told NCA NewsWire.

He became homeless after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following a “violent assault” in 2010.

Mr Carlyon explained the condition developed after he was hit in the face, shattering his cheek bone into more than a dozen pieces.

“After the assault, if you had raised your hand — and didn’t matter (who it was) — I’d cower to the ground like a puppy so people and friends of mine took advantage of that.

“If they’d ask for something and were told ’no’ they’d become threatening in nature … standing over me.

“I’ve been around my fair share of bad people in my life and people you know just want to use you for what they can get out of you and then throw you to the kerb.”

After being homeless for about 18 months, he began working as a chauffeur for a local company and later started his own business called ACE Charter Vehicles while caring for his now 78-year-old father.

He later joined Uber and found it was a great way to “fill in time”.

“Meeting people is always the best thing.

“By talking to someone, you learn from them and they learn from you and that’s what actually makes you smart in the world.

“Doing Uber, I have never met a bad person yet and I’ve done nearly 3000 rides.”

Mr Carlyon has ambitions to purchase a Dodge Charger Hellcat — which will need to come from the US — and use it under the ride-share service.

“It will be the first one in WA and the first in the nation to be used for Uber,” he said.

“I want to be very different to other drivers so that way, when people hop in my car, like the Chrysler, they’re hopping in a car that they don’t expect to come and get them.

“That way they get a unique trip (and) they enjoy the ride even more … (sitting) in a car they’re not used to seeing.”

But Mr Carlyon said he was again facing eviction, along with his father Graham whom he lives with, as the landlords of his Balcatta home recently sold the property.

He said it was tough sourcing Perth rental properties because demand significantly outweighed supply.

“The problem is people are coming home to WA from other states or from overseas and … there are about 150 people who look at one house.

“What makes it worse is that some people have quite a bit of money and offer double the rent.”



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Boy injures himself at Delacombe store


Kmart has been urged to fast-track a rollout of safety improvements after a Victorian boy bumped into a clothing rack hook causing serious injuries months after the retail giant promised to fix the dangerous hazard.

Kirsty Colbert was shopping with her four-year-old son Alexander at Kmart’s Delacombe store last Tuesday when the incident happened.

“We were walking along through the main aisle and Alex was holding my hand when he looked back to look at a pair of slippers and one of the clothing rack hooks had hooked onto his face,” she told NCA NewsWire.

“It scraped along his cheek and went back into his ear.”

After lodging a complaint with Kmart’s head office Ms Colbert said she had noticed rounded plastic covers had been installed onto the ends of the clothing racks at the same store this week.

“They’re right up at eye-level so it’s not something young children would see until they’re right up close to it – but by then it’s too late,” she said.

“It has to be addressed – they’re sharp and dangerous.”

Ms Colbert said her son was left with a mild ear infection after sustaining a trauma pressure tear behind the ear drum as a result of Tuesday’s incident.

“That could have been his eye,” she said.

“I remember running my finger over the hook that he had bumped into and thought it was a bit too sharp, no wonder it had pierced his skin.

“Other children are going to get hurt – the hooks shouldn’t be left there knowing the damage they cause, and this was in one of the store’s main shopping aisles, not just down some side aisle.”

Kmart had promised to rollout the safety improvements last year following multiple reports of children being injured by the hooks.

In December a spokesman said that they would be putting plastic covers on all apparel arm hooks.

“Trials have shown these to significantly reduce the risk of injury or laceration if someone accidentally hits the apparel arm,” the spokesman said.

The change was announced after six-year-old Cecilia Chan collided with a hook while shopping with family at Chatswood Kmart in January 2020.

The hook, which was pointing upwards, pierced the little girl’s eye socket when she lost her balance and fell onto a metal clothes rack.

She needed surgery to heal the wound.

Kmart vowed then to install new safety measures by 2021.

Kmart was contacted for comment about the latest incident but did not respond by deadline.

anthony.piovesan@news.com.au



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Former homeless man’s Uber ambition


A man who used to be homeless has found a way to make thousands of dollars driving around in a luxury performance car.

Chris Carlyon, 47, has been working as an Uber driver for about 18 months, happily couriering passengers in his Chrysler 300c SRT.

The man, who once lived as an “upper class homeless man” in a van at Hillarys Dog Beach over 2014-15, said he could earn about $500 over a 10-12 hour shift on the weekend.

However, he said that amount had decreased since the pandemic hit.

He used to make up to $2000 from Friday to Sunday pre-COVID.

“After the lockdown, people were hesitant to come out … but I call Uber ‘the gravy train’ because you can make a comfortable income and life for yourself just by driving,” Mr Carlyon told NCA NewsWire.

He became homeless after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following a “violent assault” in 2010.

Mr Carlyon explained the condition developed after he was hit in the face, shattering his cheek bone into more than a dozen pieces.

“After the assault, if you had raised your hand — and didn’t matter (who it was) — I’d cower to the ground like a puppy so people and friends of mine took advantage of that.

“If they’d ask for something and were told ’no’ they’d become threatening in nature … standing over me.

“I’ve been around my fair share of bad people in my life and people you know just want to use you for what they can get out of you and then throw you to the kerb.”

After being homeless for about 18 months, he began working as a chauffeur for a local company and later started his own business called ACE Charter Vehicles while caring for his now 78-year-old father.

He later joined Uber and found it was a great way to “fill in time”.

“Meeting people is always the best thing.

“By talking to someone, you learn from them and they learn from you and that’s what actually makes you smart in the world.

“Doing Uber, I have never met a bad person yet and I’ve done nearly 3000 rides.”

Mr Carlyon has ambitions to purchase a Dodge Charger Hellcat — which will need to come from the US — and use it under the ride-share service.

“It will be the first one in WA and the first in the nation to be used for Uber,” he said.

“I want to be very different to other drivers so that way, when people hop in my car, like the Chrysler, they’re hopping in a car that they don’t expect to come and get them.

“That way they get a unique trip (and) they enjoy the ride even more … (sitting) in a car they’re not used to seeing.”

But Mr Carlyon said he was again facing eviction, along with his father Graham whom he lives with, as the landlords of his Balcatta home recently sold the property.

He said it was tough sourcing Perth rental properties because demand significantly outweighed supply.

“The problem is people are coming home to WA from other states or from overseas and … there are about 150 people who look at one house.

“What makes it worse is that some people have quite a bit of money and offer double the rent.”



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Remains found at Mollymook Beach identified as missing Ingleburn man


Human remains found on the NSW south coast belong to a missing Ingleburn man, police say.

It comes a day after NSW Police ruled out the remains found at a beach at Mollymook late on Friday belonged to alleged fraudster Melissa Caddick.

On Wednesday, the force said the remains had been determined to belong to a man reported missing from Sydney last month.

The 37-year-old man was last seen at an ATM in Kiama about 1.30pm on Monday, after he caught a train from Ingleburn.

Officers from Campbelltown City Police Area Command commenced inquiries to locate the man and will continue to lead investigations into the his final movements.

His death is not being treated as suspicious.

Police were called to the Mollymook Beach about 6.30pm on Friday, after a member of the public located human remains.

It came hours after police told the public about discovering Ms Caddick’s badly decomposed foot in an Asics running shoe at Bournda Beach the previous Sunday.

After campers found Ms Caddick’s shoe on February 21 police confirmed the foot inside belonged to her by comparing DNA from her toothbrush.

Mystery of what happened to Ms Caddick continues, with police not ruling out foul play or that she might have taken her own life.



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neo-Nazi activity rise amid COVID-19 pandemic


Displaying hateful Nazi symbols such as the swastika could be outlawed in Victoria after a parliamentary committee recommended making it a crime.

The committee, made up of three Labor MPs, two Liberals and two independents, said there had been an increase in public displays of Nazi symbolism and a rise in racially motivated incidents during the coronavirus pandemic.

It followed warnings from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation that neo-Nazis were emerging as one of Australia‘s most challenging security threats, with the agency directing up to 40 per cent of its counter-surveillance at far-right extremist activities in 2020.

“The committee believes it is important to send a clear message to the community that Nazi symbolism is not acceptable in any form and has wide-ranging, negative societal impacts,” the report read.

It recommended the Victorian government establish a criminal offence which prohibited the display of symbols of Nazi ideology, including the swastika.

“This would allow Victoria Police to immediately remove Nazi symbols that are on deliberate display to vilify targeted communities,” the report said.

It cited an incident in January 2020 where the government was unable to stop a family from flying a Nazi flag above their home in the small town of Beulah.

In 2019 the government was also powerless in stopping a neo-Nazi music festival from taking place.

Committee chair Natalie Suleyman said efforts to protect minority groups in the past needed to ramp up.

“It is essential for the Victorian government to implement legislative reform and to also develop complementary prevention-based strategies to reduce and eliminate vilification in Victoria,” she said.

Opposition police spokesman David Southwick said there had been other examples of neo-Nazis intimidating minority groups in Geelong, the Grampians, Cranbourne and Kyabram.

“After a long battle we are one step closer to seeing a ban on the Nazi swastika, a universal symbol of hate which has no place in our proudly multicultural state of Victoria,” he said.

“Every Victorian deserves to go about their daily lives free from the spectre of fear, intolerance or hate and the time to ban the swastika is now.”

Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday indicated the government would support action against to outlaw the use of Nazi symbols.

“There‘s no place for those views, there’s no place for those symbols, there’s no place for those attitudes and conduct in a modern Victoria,” he said.



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Lowy Institute report reveals racism, discrimination against Chinese Australians


Almost one in five Chinese Australians have been physically threatened or attacked in the past year because of their heritage, a new survey reveals.

Almost a third had also been called offensive names, according to a Lowy Institute report released on Wednesday.

Four out of 10 survey respondents also reported having being discriminated against because of their cultural background.

The Being Chinese In Australia report surveyed 1040 Chinese Australians in November last year to better understand their life in Australia, relationship with China and thoughts on foreign influence and interference.

Most respondents (66 per cent) said the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the incidents of racism, while more than half (52 per cent) blamed the state of Australia-China relations.

National Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan said the survey findings were alarming.

“Neither the COVID-19 pandemic nor Australia’s relationship with China should be a reason or excuse for anyone to racially abuse and discriminate,” Mr Tan said.

“This is unacceptable and harmful to Chinese Australians and to our social cohesion and communal well being. We must put a stop to it.”

Mr Tan said the survey echoed the findings of similar recent reports and revealed a need for racism in the community to be urgently addressed.

“While this report’s findings are shocking, they are not altogether surprising,” he said.

“Several other recent reports have told us the same thing – that racism targeting Chinese Australians and other culturally diverse groups is prevalent in our community.

“It underscores the need for urgent leadership to counter racism.”

Mr Tan called for a national anti-racism framework to address and combat racism.

The survey found almost half of all Chinese Australians migrated to Australia in the past decade, and most personally felt accepted in Australian society in daily life.

Most Chinese-Australians lived in urban areas, with the largest populations living in Sydney and Melbourne.

Chinese-Australians were also highly educated compared with Australians overall, with almost half holding a bachelor’s degree.



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La Nina result in wettest summer in four years


The impact of La Nina on the nation’s warmer months has been revealed, with Australia splashing through its wettest summer in four years.

The weather bureau announced on Wednesday the summer of 2020-21 brought above average rainfall nationwide and was the wettest since 2016-17.

The La Nina summer also resulted in the third-wettest December since national records began in 1900.

NSW experienced the highest falls above average overall at 29 per cent and its wettest summer since 2011-12.

Most regions, except the far southwest, received above average rainfall, while the mean temperature was also the coolest since 2011-12.

“Greater Sydney temperatures were below average, and rainfall was slightly above average,” the bureau said.

The ACT also had its coolest summer since 2011–12, with temperatures below average and rainfall near average.

The weather bureau said southeast Queensland was the exception and remained dry, with he Burnett district and areas from Capricornia to Wide Bay the only regions to experience below average summer rainfall.

Overall Queensland experienced its wettest summer since 2011-12, with rainfall 8 per cent above the 1961-1990 average.

“So far, this severe weather season (November to April) has seen five tropical cyclones in the Australian region, with one – Tropical Cyclone Imogen – making landfall in the Queensland Gulf Country,” the bureau said.

“There have also been several significant tropical lows that brought heavy rain and some flooding to parts of northern Australia.”

Victoria experienced falls of 14 per cent above average, while it was the state’s coldest summer since 2004-05 for night-time minimum temperatures at 0.18C above the 1961-1990 average.

Most of Western Australia had above average rainfall, and it was particularly wet in the north Gascoyne region and the east of the state.

South Australia had its wettest summer overall since 2016–17 at 14 per cent above the 1961-1990 average, while it was also the coolest summer since 2001-02 for daytime temperatures at 0.48C below the average.

Tasmania was wetter than average across the north of the state but drier than average in parts of the south, while overall it was the wettest summer since 2010-11 at 19 per cent above average.

The Northern Territory also recorded its highest rainfall since 2016-17, which was well above the long-term average.

Senior climatologist Felicity Gamble said models suggested La Nina was likely to break down during autumn with a return to neutral conditions by winter.

“The rainfall signal starts to weaken in April, consistent with the expected decay of La Nina,” she said.

jack.paynter@news.com.au



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Russian COVID-19 variant detected in Brisbane, Qld


Dozens of returned travellers have been ordered to stay in hotel quarantine in Brisbane for an additional five days after two people tested positive to a new Russian variant of COVID-19.

Queensland Health said two passengers on Qatar Airways flight QR898, which arrived from Doha into Brisbane on February 17 with 74 people on board, had tested positive to COVID-19 late into their 14-day hotel quarantine period.

Further testing has revealed the travellers have variant B. 1.1.317.

While Queensland Health does not consider this a variant of concern, little is known about the new strain.

All passengers and crew members were due to be released on Wednesday, but will need to remain in hotel quarantine until March 8 and undertake additional testing.

A Queensland Health spokesperson said they apologised to the 74 travellers who have been inconvenienced, but “these measures are necessary to protect Queenslanders.”

“This new variant has meant we’ve had to extend the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for another five days and organise additional testing for 74 travellers who may have been exposed to this new variant,” the spokesperson said.

“As of March 2, the B. 1.1.317 variant has been confirmed in two overseas arrivals on flight QR898. Genomic testing is underway for a third traveller who tested positive to COVID-19 and was linked to this flight and remains in quarantine.

“Flight QR898 continued into New Zealand … We are liaising with New Zealand authorities regarding a fourth person linked to this flight that has since tested positive.”



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Cruise industry pleads for COVID- safe plan approval


The cruise industry is pleading with the Australian and state governments to sign off on their COVID-safe plan to allow them to be ready sail again in Australia as the rest of the world takes to the seas.

The cruise industry has been dealing with both levels of government for six months and has submitted extensive COVID-safe plans with an aim for intrastate sailings.

Their proposal comes as Royal Caribbean announced it would resume sailing in Israel in May having already been traversing the waters off Singapore and Taiwan for several months.

The federal government’s announcement to ban international travel until mid-June caught the industry off guard, says Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasian spokesman Joel Katz.

Mr Katz said the industry had submitted detailed COVID-safe plans, which are already in practice across the world, that would allow Queenslanders, for instance, to safely tour the waters off the coast of the Sunshine State.

“We are naturally disappointed that the government has extended the ban without finalising a pathway for the return of cruising given the work that has taken place over many months, “ Mr Katz said.

“We were hopeful that by this time we would have had the steps towards a phased resumption finalised.

“With no community transmission in Australia, it does open up the opportunity for domestic cruising which does not impact the international borders.”

He said domestic cruising would not only provide local tourism-related jobs but be a boon for local farmers as the industry purchases Australian-grown produce.

“The ships based in Australia do their purchasing here … the meat and fruit and veg industry, so we need lead times because they are also keen to know the timelines to be able to meet the demand,” he said.

Since July last year, when the world was in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, almost 350,000 passengers have travelled on more than 400 sailings aboard 25 ocean-going cruise line ships, Mr Katz said.

That alone proves the cruise industry can be trusted to implement COVID-safe protocols and pave the way for Australian sailings to reopen sooner rather than later, he said.

“These successful sailings, combined with the growing confidence expressed by governments and experts in health and sciences, are clear indications that a responsible resumption of cruising is possible,” Mr Katz said.

“We have developed comprehensive protocols to show how crews can safely be brought back into Australia through the quarantine process.”

Overseas cruise liners are operating at 50 per cent capacity, with no casino, buffets nor spas open.

Other measures include reserved isolation cabins, social distancing for arrivals and departures, and extensive COVID testing for crew members in the lead-up to, and just before, a cruise.

Passengers must also return a negative test result before boarding.

All these measures would be implemented in Australia, and Mr Katz said passengers could sail with confidence despite the fallout from the Ruby Princess fiasco.

“Certainly the feedback from various agencies is that the industry protocols are comprehensive and they have acknowledged the amount of work the industry has done,” he said.

About 2700 passengers were allowed to disembark from the Ruby Princess on March 19, with many testing positive for the virus after having used public transport or commercial flights to return home.

All-up, more than 660 cases and 28 deaths were linked to the ship.

Health Minister Greg Hunt made specific reference to the cruise industry on Tuesday when he extended the international travel ban a further three months until June 17.

“The Australian government continues to work closely with the cruise industry to develop a framework for the staged resumption of cruise ships in a manner that is proportionate to the public health risk,” he said.

Mr Katz said if the government could just sign off on their COVID-safe plan then cruise lines could be ready to sail as soon as the international travel ban was lifted.

However, until that time, they remain in limbo as ships sit idle in international waters.

“We continue to advocate for domestic cruises … and we would like to be further along in this process,” he said.

More than 35,000 guests have sailed more than 26 sailings on their Singapore and Taiwan cruises with no positive COVID cases says Royal Caribbean International (Australia/NZ) managing director Gavin Smith.

He said their first ship was scheduled to arrive in Sydney on October 16 and they would need three months lead time to prepare for the cruise.

“We estimate that preparing and positioning a cruise ship to begin cruise operations in Australia is a complex undertaking and will take 60-90 days after receiving permission to return to service,” Mr Smith said.

While some protocols, like advanced HVAC filtration systems, will be here to stay, we’ll refine others based on needs specific to Australia.”



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South Australia: Abortion decriminalised in Senate


South Australia has become the last state to decriminalise abortion after parliament gave historic reforms the final tick of approval on Tuesday.

The Termination of Pregnancy Bill cleared the upper house this week for a second time – removing abortion from the criminal code and allowing termination after 22 weeks and six days.

The bill, which originated in the Senate, was subject to days of debate in the lower house last month.

It eventually passed but had significant opposition from several MPs who did not agree with the late-term provisions.

Several amendments had to be made to the reforms, including tighter provisions for late-term abortions and an explicit ban on gender selection terminations.

Human Rights Law Centre associate legal director Monique Hurley said it was a “massive win”.

“Abortion will no longer be a criminal offence in South Australia. This is a massive win for reproductive rights and the rights of all people to choose what happens to their own body,” Ms Hurley said.

“Access to a safe, legal abortion is a critical healthcare right.

“We are grateful to countless people who have been fighting for this long overdue reform, which will see abortion finally treated as the healthcare matter it is.

“We pay particular tribute to the South Australian Abortion Action Coalition for their tireless advocacy efforts.”

Ms Hurley said the reform had been a long time coming.

“While it is disappointing that a handful of politicians held people’s health to ransom by forcing some harmful and unnecessary amendments in the lower house, the decriminalisation is a historic moment that we should all be proud of,” she said.

The SA Abortion Action Coalition co-convener Barbara Baird said she was “relieved” the laws had passed.

“Medical professionals can now bring compassion to the delivery of abortion care without the threat of the law,” she said.

“This is especially significant for patients in rural and remote South Australia who have long waited for the removal of legal barriers to accessing the same abortion care as those living in Adelaide.”



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