Canberra Now: Queanbeyan's revamp; and the bureaucrats calling in sick
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Canberra Now: Queanbeyan's revamp; and the bureaucrats calling in sick

Good morning Canberra!

After the thunderstorms passing through the ACT played havoc yesterday, there should be a return to less severe weather. Rain is forecast along with a top of 30 degrees, and there's the chance of thunderstorms. But the weather bureau says storms won't be as harsh as Tuesday's.

Let's go to today's headlines.

Queanbeyan's revamp to 'repatriate' jobs from ACT

The Royal Barber Shop owner David Tutalo, who says Queanbeyan's town centre would benefit from a greater variety of shops, including more cafes and restaurants with outdoor dining.

The Royal Barber Shop owner David Tutalo, who says Queanbeyan's town centre would benefit from a greater variety of shops, including more cafes and restaurants with outdoor dining.Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

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Canberra may have some tougher competition from across the border for workers and retail spending soon.

A business case prepared for Queanbeyan council says the ACT could face the challenge as a result of a planned transformation of the NSW town's central business district.

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council's plans for a $164 million rejuvenation of the city's heart is underpinned in part by a desire to "repatriate" local workers and spending which "leak" into the ACT, according to a business case for the project.

Dan Jervis-Bardy brings you this story.

Cough cough... the bureaucrats calling in sick

The rate of unscheduled absences in the public service has remained stable over the past two years.

The rate of unscheduled absences in the public service has remained stable over the past two years.Credit:Shutterstock

Either these departments have more illnesses tearing through the office or, you know, they've got people putting it on. Chucking sickies.

We can't really tell from the data, but figures show staff at the Department of Human Services took more sick days than any other public service agency in 2017-18, while the National Archives of Australia had the highest overall rate of unscheduled absences.

According to data released by the Australian Public Service Commission, the rate of unscheduled absences, which includes sick leave, carers leave and miscellaneous leave, has levelled out after rising to its peak in 2014-15.

Sally Whyte and Markus Mannheim teamed up to put together this story.

How to forecast the deadly change

Associate professor at UNSW Canberra Jason Sharples is researching how a controllable bushfire turns into a firestorm.

Associate professor at UNSW Canberra Jason Sharples is researching how a controllable bushfire turns into a firestorm. Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

It's one of nature's terrible mysteries. How does a controllable bushfire suddenly morph into a vicious firestorm?

New research prompted by the Canberra fires of 2003 is now helping firefighters predict the sudden change and save lives.

What was unpredictable and deadly is now much easier to foresee, after a team from the University of New South Wales in Canberra studied combinations of terrain and types of fire plus atmospheric conditions to help firefighters spot the conditions where a fire suddenly turns savage.

Steve Evans delves into the findings here.

$145-million development for Pavilion Hotel site

An artist's impression of a proposed develop on the site of the Pavilion Hotel.

An artist's impression of a proposed develop on the site of the Pavilion Hotel.

The Pavilion Hotel on Northbourne Avenue could soon be no more. Kappelle Projects has applied to demolish and replace it with 394 apartments across four buildings.

The $145-million development would include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, over the road from the light rail stop being built at Macarthur Avenue, according to a development application under the name of Robert Batkovic of Kappelle Projects and the unit plan on the site.

Four buildings up to nine storeys are planned to replace the hotel in two stages, which would see the round building at the south of the site replaced first before the main hotel building is demolished.

Jasper Lindell with this report.

The MVP favourite determined to play finals in Canberra

Canberra's Kelsey Griffin will almost certainly win the WNBL MVP this season.

Canberra's Kelsey Griffin will almost certainly win the WNBL MVP this season. Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The Canberra Capitals are top of the ladder following six straight wins but there's a challenge ahead. With only three regular season games left, they won't play at home again unless it's finals.

Capitals star Kelsey Griffin says they must clinch home-court advantage for finals and it could be secured by taking down reigning champions Townsville Fire on Friday.

Griffin is favourite to be the WNBL's most valuable player. She says her focus is trained on delivering Canberra its first title in nine years.

Eamonn Tiernan spoke to Griffin about the run to the finals.

Today's cartoon

The Canberra Times editorial cartoon for Wednesday, January 9, 2019. 

The Canberra Times editorial cartoon for Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Credit:David Pope

Today's weather

Doug Dingwall is a reporter for The Canberra Times covering the public service and politics.

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