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Parramatta auto alley gets new life as $225m mixed precinct

Monday, 30 July, 2018

Parramatta is throwing down the gauntlet to the rest of Sydney after the green light was given to a $225 million mixed-use project to revamp the rundown former Auto Alley in Church Street.
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It is part of the $876 million South Quarter development by the Dyldam??? group which will add to the $6 billion-plus transformation of the Parramatta CBD.

Developer Dyldam bought the former Heartland Holden car yard site from the Turner family for $150 million in 2015 and the City West Joint Regional Planning Panel Parramatta approved the masterplan in 2016, with the development expected to coincide with the widening of Church Street, featuring new cycle lanes and tree planting.

It will be the amalgamation of three separate sites, 57, 63 and 83 Church Street to create the new southern gateway to Parramatta, comprising five residential and commercial buildings, featuring an international branded hotel and community park with artworks.

Designed by architects Allen Jack + Cottier, Turner and Oculus, the development is expected to activate the southern side of Parramatta City, an area often overlooked as the construction boom takes place in the centre of the city. There are 15 cranes on Parramatta’s skyline, according to the latest Rider Levett Bucknall??? crane index, compared to 13 in the commercial sector of central Sydney.

GPT recently unveiled a $230 million office tower. Charter Hall, Walker Corporation and the Scentre??? Group are also developing new towers in the area for tenants including KPMG, Western Sydney University and government departments.

In the latest office market report from the Property Council of Australia, for the first six months of 2017, there was a zero vacancy rate for A Grade office space in Parramatta and that the total vacancy rate for office space was 4.3 per cent. This compares to the 5.9 per cent vacancy rate in the Sydney CBD.

Fayad Fayad, chief operating officer of Dyldam, said there is strong interest from commercial tenants in the private and public sector “as we have state of the art office accommodation, a range of bars and restaurants, as well as retailers, including fresh grocers”.

“We expect to soon announce a major hotel chain will manage the hotel on site, located a short walk from the major transport links of Parramatta”, Mr Fayad said.

Given the demand for office space, Dyldam and GPT are building the properties without having locked in an anchor tenant.

According to Savills, to date the NSW government has pre-committed to more than 87,000 sq m of space with more than 5800 department jobs expected to move from the CBD. Pre-committing to 4 Parramatta Square, being developed by Walker Corporation, are the Department of Planning and Environment, the Office of Environment and Heritage, the Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. The move is set to occur in the first half of 2019.

Other commitments include the Department of Education at the Dexus development at 105 Phillip Street, for 25,500 sq m of A-grade office space, which is expected be delivered early next year.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Curious mix at Maitland

Monday, 30 July, 2018

HIGH-IMPACT: See Fiona Foley’s photographs at Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
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MAITLAND Regional Art Gallery has at the moment six individual exhibitions, not including the long-running gift collection of Lionel Lindsay’s prints.

The current exhibitions all extend into October, apart from Derek Kreckler’s innovative photomedia finishing on Sunday.

Kreckler is formidably original, with a body of curious work extending back many years. In Maitland a wall-filling augmented video threatens to dump us in the surf, if not drown us. A blind Ned Kelly struggles through the scrub, with a witnessing kangaroo.

A family’s discarded newspapers are pulped and moulded into bricks for an imposing ziggurat in an elegy for lost trees.

Cyclists are filmed negotiating a tricky course. Refrigerators dangle from trees.

Clearly there are myriad issues, histories, techniques, jokes and intellectual inquiry.

Also downstairs is a corridor of high-impact photographs by indigenous artist Fiona Foley, who took this series of costumed Afro-American fellow students while on a residency in New York. Their pointed hoods are black, but they certainly reference the Ku Klux Klan. Their garments are made from bright African cloth. Their glittering eyes confront us uncomfortably. In the present context it is hard to see this powerful band not only as ironic comment on racism, but also invoking the terrorism nightmare. A splendid addition to the Maitland collection.

Upstairs Anne-Maree Hunter demonstrates that printmaking can expand in many dimensions. For years her classic etchings and lithographs have appeared in galleries and exhibitions. Here she stretches her range into sculptural projects, with inventively augmented old books, intricately folded new ones, updated songlines and miniature modelled landforms, (including Uluru), housed in precious jewellery boxes.

An overarching presence is the map, global or celestial, but also including Gregory’s Sydney street directory. There are maps as arbitrary patterning, editorial statement and built up in three dimensions. There are travel diaries and fashion statements, all meticulously fabricated.

In the adjoining room is a musical offering constructed by Sylvia Ray of resonant female body parts moulded in clay. There are many breasts, kneecaps, violin-shaped backs, lips, fingers, hands and pregnant bellies, all equipped with drumsticks to assault them with. The sounds are melodious and attractive, but does this apparently playful violence against women’s bodies challenge our feminist sensibilities? Perhaps we should be invited to jangle some male dangles?

Also at Maitland are two exhibitions keeping faith with the gallery’s commitment to its community. Works mainly on paper have been selected from high schools up into the Hunter Valley to reveal the diversity and power of classroom-based artmaking.

We anticipate vigorous originality from younger children, so it is good to see seriously creative artmaking from often-reticent teenagers. A congregation of small basic clay figures captures the uncanny power of the gaze just as the warehouse of similar figures, famously amassed by British superstar Antony Gormley, transfixed us several years ago at a Biennial.

In the upstairs corridor are watercolours and mixed media by Maitland artists Gaye Shields and Julie Hosking celebrating local scenes and simple pleasures.

REFINED MUSINGSTHE distinction between sewing and drawing is increasingly porous. Margaret Adams is one of many artists who use textile techniques for linear artmaking. Her exhibition at Timeless Textiles until September 10 demonstrates that she also has a refined feeling for texture in many small works evoking memories and musings.

Both Timeless Textiles and the Lock-Up next door have significant exhibitions scheduled for the coming months, with Timeless Textiles showing artists from New Zealand and the United States as well as a solo show in November for Judy Hooworth, a local textile artist with a distinguished international presence.

All these shows were programmed long before the nodule of galleries at the beach end of Hunter Street came to realise how close they would be to the Super Cars.

The main entrance to the racetrack will be directly outside their doors. Access and parking problems are already having a serious impact on visitor numbers.

The galleries will be closed on the race weekend. However, Anne Kempton is determined to continue both her exhibitions plus the regular workshops with Newcastle’s dedicated textile enthusiasts who will surely find ways and means of reaching the gallery.

‘Can’t be destroyed’: Heritage listing for caves puts a stopper in dam proposal

Monday, 30 July, 2018

The spectacular Cliefden Caves in central west NSW have been granted state heritage listing, almost certainly sparing them from a dam proposed for the region.
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The caves, located on private land about 60 kilometres south-west of Bathurst, are known for their Ordovician-era fossils dating back about 460 million years, said Graham Quint, director of advocacy for the NSW division of the National Trust of Australia. The listing covers about 1550 hectares.

Wednesday’s formal gazetting of the karst cave network on the state’s register means it has “the highest level of protection you can have in NSW – it can’t be destroyed”, Mr Quint said.

“The caves contain fossils which are recognised not only in NSW but internationally,” Gabrielle Upton, the environment minister, said. “It’s great to be able to acknowledge the caves’ significance with NSW heritage status.”

The Coalition government has been examining options for a dam in the area, with one proposed for the Cranky Rock area over the Belubula River nearby.

A spokesman for WaterNSW said it was “currently evaluating potential solutions aimed at improving water security in that region of central west NSW”.

“The environment and the significance of the caves have always been important considerations in any analysis of potential water security infrastructure options,” he said.

“It’s just a really silly area to build a dam,” Mr Quint said. “No one knows where the limestone ends up – so it’s probably not a good place to put [one].”

According to the government, the network includes more than 100 recorded caves, almost as many karst features, a rare thermal spring, and is home to 15 confirmed species of microbats.

“The fossils include the world’s oldest known in-situ brachiopod shell beds, some of the earliest-known rugose corals in the geological record, and [in the overlying Malongulli Formation] one of the most diverse deep-water sponge faunas ever recorded,” the Office of Environment and Heritage states. “Many genera and species of fossils are unique to the area.”

Harry Burkitt, secretary of the Save Cliefden Caves Association, described the listing on the NSW Heritage Register as “fantastic news” that would protect the natural treasure for future generations.”The community has been pushing for a heritage listing on the caves since the nomination was made by the National Trust in 2014, and we congratulate the minister and Heritage Council on their decision,” he said.

Nationals Party members in the region are likely to be less happy, after its state conference in May called for more dam construction in the state.

“Without dams, and conserving water, we have no future,” the Blayney Chronicle reported Max Swift of the Nationals party’s Forbes branch as saying in May. “So for God’s sake get on with it. Who cares about ‘this frog’ or ‘that bat’ and all this sort of rubbish that goes on.”

According to the National Trust, George Evans was the first European to find the caves in 1815, just two years after the first Blue Mountains crossings by colonial explorers.

A well-preserved skeleton of an aboriginal man, who apparently died by falling into a cave, has been dated at more than 7000 years old.

The networks also served as a hideout for bushrangers, including Ben Hall, who raided the Cliefden property in 1863.

“According to the locals at the time, Hall used these caves as a refuge from pursuing police, and knew one so well that ‘he ducked into it and emerged on the other side of the river, leaving the pursuing constables far behind!,'” the National Trust said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Cooper refutes Cheika’s suggestion he is no longer enjoying rugby

Thursday, 12 September, 2019

Quade Cooper has taken his Wallabies axing squarely on the chin but remains perplexed by suggestions from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika that he was no longer enjoying his rugby.
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The Reds No.10 will return to the field on Saturday for the first time since he was left out of Cheika’s squad for The Rugby Championship. He will suit up for Brisbane City in the NRC against the Fijian Drua at Ballymore, with the Pacific nation on debut in the competition.

After being a fixture for the Wallabies as a starter and from the bench for the best part of the past decade, Cooper was the most glaring omission as Cheika assembled his Rugby Championship squad.

He explained his reasoning to Cooper on the phone before saying he wanted to see more exuberance on the field for the Reds from the No.10 in a difficult and frustrating Super Rugby season.

“One of the big things for him is to look like he’s enjoying his footy and getting out there and really being a competitor for that 10 jersey. We’ve had a talk about the reasons,” Cheika said.

“A lot of that is trying to get him back into a space where he can be that player that’s going to get us around the park and do the stuff we want him to do.”

Cooper and Cheika have a good relationship but Cooper was surprised to learn of the suggestion he was falling out of love with the game. He said he remained motivated to play well for the Reds and Wallabies and would give his all throughout the NRC.

“I mean, it’s not unfair … everyone is entitled to their opinion. So if that’s how it looked to him, then I have to respect that. That’s his view and his opinion,” Cooper said.

“But I was definitely enjoying my football. There was times throughout the year where it was definitely frustrating, we weren’t winning the games we should have won or weren’t playing to our potential. That’s rugby.

“There were games where we exceeded our potential, like against the [Southern] Kings here in Brisbane.”

It was a trying season for the Reds, who won just four games. Cooper said he wasn’t going to act like that was an acceptable result and acted accordingly when the results went the wrong way.

“If you have respect for yourself, the team, the fans … everyone … if you put on a performance you aren’t happy with, you’re not going to be running around high-fiving and carrying on,” Cooper said.

“I was definitely having fun. The thing that was a massive goal for me and boost to my confidence was playing in every game I was picked to play in and being able to play in every minute and be relatively injury free.

“You cop knocks and bruises. But that was a massive boost to get through the season with no surgery, no MRIs that were any real worry. I was having a good time and happy to be back at the Reds.”

Cooper said his confidence hadn’t been dented when given the news of his non-selection. He has tried to give it a positive spin, saying he was feeling physically fitter and stronger than he had in years and was looking forward to a rare pre-season with Queensland.

“I know how rugby goes and how teams are selected. In terms of a shot to my confidence, not at all. I look to this as a way to train, get strong and healthy. When you have been playing for the national side for eight to 10 years, you never really get a pre-season. The only time I get a pre-season is when I’ve been injured.

“To be fully fit and healthy, I feel like it’s a great thing for me. If anything, it will be great for my confidence. Some of the stuff I’ve been doing in the gym, I haven’t been that strong since I did my ACL.

“I feel like I’m physically and mentally in a great place and ready to push the boundaries off the field in terms of my ability.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

APRA ramps up pressure on super fund laggards

Thursday, 12 September, 2019

The financial regulator is demanding meetings with the boards of superannuation funds that are failing to deliver “quality” outcomes for members, raising pressure on poorly performing funds to lift their game or merge with a rival.
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The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority deputy chairman Helen Rowell has written to fund boards, telling them APRA has identified a group of funds whose performance is not up to scratch.

In the letter, she says APRA sifted through data on how funds are performing against a range of criteria including returns, costs to members, insurance costs and changes in member numbers.

The assessment revealed there was a group of underperforming registrable superannuation entities (RSEs) and APRA had doubts about whether they had adequate plans in place to improve.

“APRA’s ongoing supervision has identified some RSE licensees that appear not to be consistently delivering quality member outcomes,” Ms Rowell wrote.

The regulator was questioning whether these funds were “appropriately positioned for future effectiveness and sustainability in an increasingly competitive industry environment”, she said.

In a move that raises the pressure significantly, Ms Rowell said APRA would request meetings with boards of the poorly performing funds and force them to develop strategies to address their weaknesses.

“These RSE licensees will be required to develop a robust and implementable strategy to address identified weaknesses within a reasonably short period and to engage more regularly with APRA to monitor the implementation of that strategy,” the letter says.

Ms Rowell wrote that if it was clear a fund could not operate in the best interests of its members, it should transfer members’ money to a more suitable product or another fund.

The analysis included no-frills MySuper funds and other types of funds regulated by APRA in the $2.3 trillion superannuation sector.

APRA did not name the funds or say how many were in its sights.

However, at a Senate estimates hearing in May, Ms Rowell said it had identified a target group of 20 to 25 MySuper funds and a similar number of other funds operating outside MySuper.

Ms Rowell told the committee that within this target group of funds, there was a higher proportion of for-profit retail funds and products, but there were also not-for-profit funds.

APRA’s letter suggests it will pay particular attention to funds in the bottom quartile for returns along with the highest fees; funds with declining membership numbers; and those with persistent negative cash flows.

Ms Rowell has been pushing for more super funds to deliver better results for members for years, previously expressing surprise there had not been more merger activity.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Why Father’s Day means so much to Knights rookie Tyrone Amey

Thursday, 12 September, 2019

START: Tyrone Amey
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PETER Amey will receive the best Father’s Day present of his life on Sunday when his son Tyrone makes his NRL debut for the Knights against Cronulla at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Tyrone, a 21-year-oldprop, has been named on the bench in what he hopes will be a tonic for his ailing dad.

Tyrone revealed that Peter has been battling lymphatic cancer for almost 12 months and has “been too crook to come to some games”.

But Amey senior, who played reserve grade for Manly in his younger days,has declared himself a certain starter on Sunday, along with a host of other family members and friends, as Tyronegoes head to head with Cronulla superstars like Paul Gallen, Andrew Fifita and Luke Lewis.

“It’s been tough and you never expect these sort of things to happen to the people close to you,’’ Amey told the Newcastle Herald.

“It definitely hurts and everyone has their own way of dealing with it. It’s been a tough road for him and I’m just glad he can be there on Sunday to see my debut.

“He’s been my biggest motivator.

“All the hard work he’s done for meover the years, all the training sessions he’s driven me to, it’s great to be able to pay him back like this.

“It’s Old Boys day, Fathers’ Day and I’ll have 50 or 60 family and friends coming along, so I can’t wait.”

TheSouth Lakes Roosters junior, who has represented the Knights sinceunder-16s, has helped Newcastle reach the NSW Cup play-offs but admitted he was “shocked” to receive a top-grade call-up. He has been juggling football commitments this season with full-time work as a diesel mechanic atHogans Heavy Haulage, in Rutherford, commuting daily from his home at Wadalba on the Central Coast.

“It’s a lot of travelling, but I love the club and this is what I want to do,’’ he said.

He hopes a strong showing on Sunday might be enough to clinch a contract for next season and beyond.

Dungog’s perfect storm

Thursday, 12 September, 2019

Response: State Emergency Service Assistant Commissioner Mark Morrow speaking after the inquest at Newcastle Courthouse on Thursday afternoon.Shortcomingsin emergency volunteer training, lackof information in flood plans and inaccurateweather warningsare notto blame for three deaths during the 2015 superstorm, a court has heard.
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A sudden cloud burst that spewed 166.8mm of rain at Dungogwithin two hourswas an anomaly and“unforeseeable”.

Those were the key arguments put to Deputy State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan by her counsel assisting, Mark Cahill, during his closing remarks at the inquest into the deaths of Colin Webb, Robin Macdonald and Brian Wilson.

Mr Cahill recommended thatMs O’Sullivan findMr Webb, 79, Ms Macdonald, 68, and Mr Wilson, 72, drowned in rapidly-rising floodwater between 6.30am and 7am on April 21.

He said Mr Webb, Mr Wilson and Ms Macdonald–who spent20 years as a State Emergency Service volunteer–were valued members of the Dungog community.

The inquest finished on Thursday, aday earlier than expected,after four days of evidence fromSES members, Bureau of Meteorology experts and heroes from the communityabout the unpredictability and severity of the disaster.

Mr Cahill described a perfect storm of events in the hours before the cloud burst hit Dungog.

Thisincluded fire crews and police being called to an emergency at Stroud, the“relative inexperience” of the Dungog SES unit controller, the availability of only five volunteers for field duty, the unknown flood risk of Myall Creek and the“entirely unpredictable rainfall event” that was about to lash the town.

Colin Webb, Robin Macdonald and Brian Wilson died during the superstorm that hit Dungog on April 21, 2015. An inquest into their deaths began at Newcastle Courthouse on August 29, 2015.

“Whilst undoubtedly there were holes in systems, it’s highly unlikely that any holes in systems caused the deaths of those who passed away,” Mr Cahillsaid.

“The cloud burst was an anomaly…that delivered an entirely unprecedented and unpredictable level of rainfall–it was a one in 1000 year event.There was no warning, but under the circumstances that is entirely understandable.

“It was both reasonable and appropriate that [Dungog SES unit controller Matthew Too] didn’t identify a weather anomaly.”

Mr Cahillsaid it was“difficult to see how a safe evacuation could have been performed”.

“Walls of water were rushing down the streets,” he said.

Counsel assisting Deputy State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan, Mark Cahill. Picture: Simone De Peak

Mr Cahill recommendedthe SES, BoM and Dungog Shire Councilform aworking group to develop an automated flood warning system for the town.

Outside court, SES Assistant Commissioner Mark Morrow said the service had taken action to improvesince the superstorm.

“The one point I do want to make is that it’s very important for communities to understand the value and nature of volunteering,” he said.

“We can’t assist communities to deal with these sorts of disasters and emergencies without the assistance of people in the community.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Andrew Wheatley, the officer in charge of theinvestigation, said there were“many heroic efforts” during the superstorm.

“If the investigations into this tragedy can be used to improve awareness and preparedness for organisations and any community during flash flooding then I would say it’s a positive outcome,” he said.

Ms O’Sullivan will deliver her findingson September 29.

Creek triggers missing from flood plan

Alison Court, the unit complex where Colin Webb died, in the days after the 2015 superstorm.

Dungog’s new flood plan doesn’t outline the flash floodtrigger points for the creek that caused a major inundationduring the 2015 superstorm, a court has heard.

But the State Emergency Service says it will work with Dungog Shire Council to update the plan, which went on public exhibition earlier this year.SES Hunter Region controller Stephen Hart gave evidence on the fourth day of the inquest into the deaths of Colin Webb, 79, Robin Macdonald, 68, and Brian Wilson, 72, at Newcastle courthouse on Thursday.

The trio died during aflood on the morning of April 21.

The court heard that the flash flood started at 5.05am after Myall Creek backed up.

The Williams River did not peak until after the flash flood.But the court heard that the new Dungog flood plan principally dealtwithriver flooding.

The planmakesseveral references to Myall Creek and points out that itcan flood independently of the Williams River.

However, the court heard the plan doesn’t include information about the creek’s trigger points–the causes behind flooding of the creek.

Mr Hart said the SES was preparing a flash flood action card for the Myall Creek and would work with council to update the 2017 flood plan.

The court also heard evidence from Singleton unit controller Simon Merrick on the fourth morning of the inquest.Mr Merrick assisted the Dungog unit during amajor rain event in January, 2016.

The court heard how he played a mentoring role for Dungog controller Matthew Too in managing the response to rising river levels during that period.

When asked whether he believed the main risk of flash flooding in Dungog came from Myall Creek, Mr Merrick replied:“yes”.


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Tony Butterfield: One last chance to shine

Thursday, 12 September, 2019

And so we arrive at thebusiness end of proceedings and it’s all happening. After 184 battles across 25 rounds, there are just eightmore games in theNRL’s regular season.
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But it would be a mistake for any team to take the foot off the pedal.Unlike last week’s rare blowouts! Everyone is playing forsomething –you can’t lose your last game of the year.

The reality, however, is eight multi-million dollar campaigns are all butover, with nearly 250 professional players booting off into the sunset come Monday, weary, dejected, knocked about, but for those unbowed and fiercely ambitious, determinedto do better next year.

UNSUNG HERO: Leo Dynevor played a crucial role in Newcastle’s 1997 premiership, even though he did not feature in the grand final.

The Storm seem to be a certainty to win Saturday night and, in so doing, will notch20 season wins and 44 competition points. Arare milestone attainedonly twice previously in the professional era (1995-2017), both by the Victorian-based franchise.

Likewise,the Knights. Short of a miracle, they remain certaintiesto take the (not-so)honorariumof last past the post, threeyears running.The miracleneededto avoid the dreaded “Daniel Boone”shapes like this: the Knights belt the reigningbut inconsistent premiersby something close to 24 points (not impossible).

Next,theywait fourhours for the result in the Tigersv Warriors matchwhere, fortuitously, theWarriorsrun amok andtramplethe home team.Two chances I hear you say. Even runaway convict William Buckleygot lucky in the end.

Part of themagicneeded to get the miracle may arrive in the form of theannual gathering of the clan. Old Boys day is an almost spiritualcoming-together of blokes who built the club and nowwatchon, older, slower, greyer, but no less passionate about its fortunes. In that atmosphere, run-on players can expect high scrutiny and expectation from their forebears,who,fortheirpart, understand recent club history andremain as patient as they arerealistic.

We’ll alsocelebrate20 years since the Knights won the comp.Ah, the ’90s. They were the days.BHP was closing after nearly 80 years in the city, Diana, Princess of Wales,died in a Paris street, Tiger Woods wonhis first major,the first of the Harry Potter novels was launched,and Bill Clinton was, somehow, still inthe Whitehouse.

Closer to home, the Knights had a young crew developing alongside some tried-and-trueprofessionals.All part of the plan adaptedby coachMalcolm Reilly to take advantage of the strong skill and player base he’dinheritedfrom David Waite, Alan Bell and Allan McMahon.

Into the mix he addedhis own flair and discipline witha few notableassistantscapable of keeping the place upbeat,hungryand fresh. In particular, thequality of the physical and mental programsimplemented in the ’96 off season and throughout ’97 –overseen by Svengali, former sprinter and people whisperer Bruce Gulliver – wereahead of their time.

Buce would pull you out of sessions to send you home if he felt youwere a little flat.Anditworked. High intensity followed by intense rest helped us becomefast andfit with few injuries, using a miserly 26 players across 26 games.

This gave team personnel a consistent look that aided performance, with eightplayers posting more than 20 games for the season (against threein 1996).

The end result being the team whoran out for round oneagainst the Dragons was close to the same, except for the inclusion of Andrew Johns, whoplayed in the big one nearly sevenmonths later. Nice one Bruiser.

CoachReilly had spotted a young Queenslandhalfback carving up for the London Broncos in the UK in late 1996, and made a note that he’d be a great “Plan B”for the eighth Immortal.

By way ofCherbourg,Leo Dynevor turned up for ’97 pre-season and impressed from the outset. A hard trainer and supremely fit, he wasa real terrier in the mould of Geoff Toovey or Tom Raudonikis – he wasgiftedwith speed, thecourageof a lion and the cheek of an African elephant.

He was signed as a back-up, butas coach Reilly prophesied,Joey broke his ankle in a trial at Coffs Harbour and the season immediatelyhung by a thread. That’s when the call went out to Super Leo, whoturned upwith little fanfare a couple days laterat training.

Come season’s end, I was floored he wasn’t named the Dally M halfback of the year.Indeed, in his only season with the club, Leo interrupted Joey Johns’ run of highest points scorer, which had been otherwise consecutive from 1994 to 2006.

In the context of the season, he played19 gamesat half backin a free-range styleI’venot seensincein our game. One of our best every week. Going into the finalsupon Johns’s return,he continued to deputise for Joeywhen injured, only to be left from the team list when thegrand finalsidewas named. A shattering moment for a guy who had turned our fortunes and effectively got us to the big dance.

We all felt for Leo, afiercelyloyal team player and popular member of the squad. A proud Aboriginal andTorres StraitIslander, he took it all inhisstride and wished us all the best. I still remember looking at him from the official dais and thinking he deserves to be up hereas much as any of us.

To his eternaldistinction, bench forward andteam player to his bootstraps, Stephen Crowe, quietly cornered Leo once back in the SFS dressing room.“Leo, you deserve this more than I. Iwant you to have it,” he said, handing over his precious premiership ring.

With those few words and that one gesture, Crowey summed upfor all of usthe kind of club wehad created. A camaraderie and internal purpose that helpedsteal more than one close game from the jaws of defeat on thatlongjourney for respect and community celebration.

So, look out for Leo on Sunday and give him a special cheer.

He’ll beflying down from Mackay, wherehe works in Aboriginal health these days.Still playing occasionally in the local A grade, he’s a fair bet to bring his boots just in case.Why not, it’s worked before!

Early days but a poor start for new player

Thursday, 15 August, 2019

THE promises were big andthe hype came right from the top.
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When NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance announced in 2015 that Newcastle’s transport services would be privatised, in an Australia-first trial to have one company deliver all transport services, he said it was about “building tomorrow’s Newcastle: a new approach to transport”.

When Mr Constance and Premier Mike Baird in December, 2016 said Keolis Downer was the successful tenderer for the Newcastle Transport contract, they promised “massive service improvements for Newcastle commuters”.

“Newcastle Transport will guarantee better and more frequent public transport options, giving Novocastrians the world-class transport they deserve,” Mr Baird said.

He resigned as Premier one month later.

The French-Australian joint venture firm Keolis Downer took over in late June, and the reality of a privatised Newcastle Transport service has fallen well short of the hype.

Even worse, the company had barely turned a key in the ignition of its first privatised bus service before it was embroiled in the worst kind of controversy–the underpayment of possibly 70 staff for amounts of reportedly up to $600.

The dust had barely settled on that issue before there was criticism on a second front –the cancellation of possibly 170 services in the first six weeks of the contract.

Now a new controversy has erupted, on an old theme. At least a dozen bus drivers were underpaid on Wednesday night, including some by more than $500. This wasdespite Keolis Downer early last month saying employee pay was a “priority” issue.

There was no hype from Andrew Constance at the news, just a grim warning to the company.

“Keolis Downer needs to fix this. And fix it quick,” Mr Constance said.

It is only early days for the company, but it is concerning that with so much hype and build-up, Keolis Downer doesn’t seem to have hit the ground running to show the nay-sayers that privatisation on the one provider model can deliver better services. It picked the worst issue possible –employee pay –to drop the ball.

The NSW Government copped flak in 2012 when it privatised Sydney ferry servicesbutthe government has savedabout $100 million and services have improved. Keolis Downer needs to live up to the hype.

Issue: 38,586.

‘Most prejudiced’: Chinese react to US ambassador rumours

Thursday, 15 August, 2019

Beijing: Admiral Harry Harris has been described in China as the “most prejudiced” US military chief since World War II, following reports he could be appointed ambassador to Australia.
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Chinese military analysts said sending Admiral Harris, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, to Australia was an attempt by the US to pull Australia back into full support of the American Asia Pacific strategy, and get tougher on China.

The Global Times newspaper quoted Zhang Junshe, researcher with China Naval Research Institute, as saying Admiral Harris was “the most prejudiced and Cold War-minded chief of all US pacific commanders since WWII”.

Admiral Harris has publicly opposed China’s “increasing assertiveness” in the South China Sea, where he has been a proponent of freedom of navigation patrols by US vessels to challenge China’s territorial claims. Australia had declined invitations to join the US patrols.

Mr Zhang said the US Navy’s seventh fleet, under Admiral Harris’s command, has seen “continuous accidents”.

Shanghai-based The Paper said Admiral Harris had previously called for the US to increase its missile capacity against the People’s Liberation Army.

It comes as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, called for China to go beyond United Nations Security Council sanctions and cut off oil supplies to North Korea.

His comments came despite a fierce response from China’s Foreign Ministry a day earlier to US allies calling on China to “do more”.

China’s spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused countries calling for China to increase pressure on North Korea of “pointing fingers while stabbing in your back”.

On Sydney radio, Mr Turnbull said China should go further than its agreement to ban trade in iron ore, coal, seafood and new investment with North Korea, and cut off its oil pipeline.

“If you cut off their access to energy, their regime would struggle to survive. I think that is what China needs to do,” Mr Turnbull said.

It is believed the US, Japan and Britain will push for new UN sanctions on oil.

Chinese analysts have said Beijing would only cut the oil supply to sanction a North Korean nuclear test, which is Beijing’s red line.

China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua said on Thursday “its not a computer game. It’s a real situation, it directly bears on the people of the peninsula”.

After North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday, the US renewed pressure on China to go further than the $US1.5billion ($1.9billion) in trade sanctions set to be imposed on North Korea from next week.

China’s Foreign Ministry snapped back, accusing the countries calling for China to exert more pressure of selectively implementing UN Security Council resolutions, by over-emphasising sanctions while overlooking peace talks.

“We have seen some with their own axe to grind, some pointing fingers while stabbing in your back, and some muddying the water to seek profits, or even risking getting burnt to gain what they want. They are the loudest when it comes to sanctions, but nowhere to be found when it comes to making efforts to promote peace talks,” she said.

???China was angered by the US recently imposing unilateral sanctions on Chinese and Russian companies caught dealing with North Korea.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Pay dispute not to blame for loss: Warner

Thursday, 15 August, 2019

Dhaka: David Warner has rejected a suggestion Australia’s historic Test loss to Bangladesh can be attributed to a suboptimal preparation for the tour because of the prolonged pay dispute.
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While the Australian vice-captain made a fighting 112 in the second innings at the Shere Bangla Stadium – a knock he described as his best ever – it was to no avail as the tourists collapsed to lose by 20 runs to Test cricket’s ninth-ranked nation.

The defeat comes just weeks after Australia’s cricketers settled their longstanding impasse with Cricket Australia over a new memorandum of understanding, in which the Australian Cricketers’ Association successfully fought to retain a revenue-share model.

The negotiations between CA and the ACA took 10 months and dragged on past the June 30 deadline, meaning Australia’s cricketers were out of work for a month, leading to the cancellation of an Australia A tour to South Africa. The Bangladesh tour, and even the upcoming Ashes series, had also been in doubt. A resolution was reached in time for Australia’s players to take part in a pre-series camp in Darwin with the aim of getting players acclimatised for the conditions in the subcontinent.

Warner was arguably the most outspoken of Australia’s senior players during the pay dispute, having raised the prospect of an Ashes boycott in an explosive interview with Fairfax Media in May.

But speaking after the first Test, Warner shut down talk the MOU situation had affected the team’s performance. “I don’t think at all that the MOU stuff had anything to do with preparations or our mindset,” Warner said.

“We had a great time up in Darwin. The facilities are fantastic and they are exceptional hosts for us to come over.”

The ACA declined to comment about the team’s performance when contacted on Thursday.

Warner’s ton was his first Test century overseas since 2014, and his first in the subcontinent. It also came after he passed 50 just once during the four-Test series in India earlier this year. Given the context of the game and his record in the conditions, Warner agreed that he hadn’t played a better innings. “I would have to say, yeah. In a fourth innings in the subcontinent on a turning wicket,” he said.

“There are a lot of mental things that go through your head. You have got to overcome those. And with the conditions as well you have got to be fast on your feet and that’s why I spoke about energy in my legs. That’s the key to getting down the wicket, lunging forward and lunging back and not getting caught in between. There were a few times when I did get caught in between, but I managed to negate any dismissal.”

Warner said he had tinkered with his game plan for Asian condition “a lot” in recent years, and that he had struggled with self-doubt during last year’s tour of Sri Lanka, but that he had now found “rhythm” and would look to come down the wicket more. “I think that probably hit me in Sri Lanka. I just felt sometimes there I was just getting beaten all the time on the inside,” he said. “I was always getting lbw or if it was a little bit wider I would play it a little bit instead of playing the line. As anyone says, it takes time to get used to these conditions and hopefully my time has come now. That took probably longer than I expected, but I’ve got to keep taking the same mindset and playing each ball on its merit and using my feet with confidence.”

Warner added that there was plenty of “grit and determination” in Australia’s touring party, backing the underperforming members of the squad to turn their fortunes around. In particular Warner gave his support to Usman Khawaja, whose return to the Test XI yielded scores of just one and one. “For him, it has been a bit of a lay-off period for him. It is almost like he has to go back to working harder on the basic stuff because he has been out of that period for a long time,” Warner said.

“But he has worked so hard in the nets in Darwin. And he has done everything he possibly can to get back here. And it might take him this game to realise what it takes to actually start your innings, for one, and then move on with it. But, he had his game plan.”

Khawaja’s position in the team has already been called into question, with back-up batsman Hilton Cartwright an option to replace him for the second Test in Chittagong which begins on Monday. Bangladesh have named an unchanged squad for the Test.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Carpenter’s timber talents on show in clever Casey home

Thursday, 15 August, 2019

It’s no surprise that this beautifully crafted house in Casey is a carpenter’s own home; the attention to detail and the warm timber details throughout offer a point of difference and conceal hidden storage compartments.
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Jackson and Amber Roberts built the home and have lived here for six years. They welcomed their first child, Archer, 18 months ago and have another baby on the way.

Jackson describes it as “the perfect block”, with a north-facing view of the reserve.

“Getting that winter sun and the view was our main concern,” Jackson says. “When you sit in the lounge, the dining room or the alfresco area you can see out across the reserve.”

The galley kitchen features a walk-in pantry, while striking timber work above the island bench conceals plenty of extra storage space.

It overlooks the open-plan living area with polished hardwood floors and a seamless flow to the deck, which is Jackson’s favourite part of the home.

“It’s now sheltered and covered in an ornamental grape vine. The maple trees are now big and developed; it’s just a nice place to be.”

The deck is sheltered and covered in an ornamental grape vine. Photo: Supplied

The lower level also provides a peaceful retreat with an infrared sauna, lush green wall and timber features.

As a carpenter, Jackson is in need of a new project – a knockdown-rebuild in O’Connor – but he says the family-friendly street will be hard to leave behind.

“Every single house is young families – lots of people in their 20s and 30s with two kids under 10,” he says.

“On the weekend you’ll see 20 kids playing outside on the street, which you don’t see very often these days.”



PRICE GUIDE: $670,000+ EER: 4.5

AGENT: Christopher Dixon, McGrath Estate Agents Dickson, 0414 819 377 or 0417 407 249

AUCTION: Saturday, September 9, at 10.30am, on site

INSPECT: Saturday, 1.30pm-2pm

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Protect yourself in a frenzied property market

Thursday, 15 August, 2019

If auction bidding goes too high, keep your hand down. Photo: Michele MossopWhen a market is in trouble, people get scared and sell their shares or make a run on the bank. And when a market is hot, everyone wants to own the asset.
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But when things get really hot, you have fear and greed together – the desire for the asset and the fear of being the one who doesn’t own the asset.

It’s a frenzy and it’s happening right now in some parts of the real estate market.

Unfortunately, when emotions take over, the quality of decision-making can deteriorate. And when that happens, people become vulnerable to manipulative, high-pressure sales techniques.

This shows itself in property buyers paying too much and borrowing too much. It also manifests in seminars and sales events where you’re shown how easily you can join the frenzy ??? so long as you sign up right now.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself in a frenzied property market:

Understand your limits: Privately owned real estate is worth more in Australia than the share market. Yet it’s basically run by keen amateurs like you. Start by understanding the limits of your knowledge.

Don’t rush: A frenzy suits salespeople because they can appeal to greed and the fear. Don’t go for it. If an auction goes over your budget, keep your hand down. If you’re asked to sign something at an event, demand a cooling-off period. It’s your money – take control.

Declaration: If someone gives you advice, ask who is paying for it. If it’s unclear, there might be another agenda, that is not your agenda.

Hang up: Beware of cold calls. A property purchase should be part of your financial plan, over at least 10 years, not a reaction to a phone call.

Upside down: The deal you’re offered looks good. Now, examine the worst case scenario – you must always understand how much you can lose. This is your responsibility, no one else’s.

Research: Inform yourself before buying property. Sources such as the ABS and property research companies can help you cross-check claims about property values, forecast growth and rental returns. Talk to local real estate agents, conveyancers and property management companies – understand the area.

It’s a business: If someone markets an investment property, you must understand its business case: total costs, total returns, property market history etc. You can’t apply the emotions you have about a family home, to a property you rent out.

Qualifications: Who is selling to you? Are they members of a real estate institute? Are they licensed to provide credit and if they’re advising you, do they have an Australian Financial Services Licence? You can check at the ASIC website.

Marathon: Building wealth is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no safe way to get rich quick; slow and steady wins and property has always been a 10-year proposition.

Advice: If there are gaps in your knowledge, admit it and find an adviser with expertise, who you trust. Good advice is always a good investment.

And remember the golden rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Mark Bouris is executive chairman of Yellow Brick Road.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.