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We’re not bogans: Wagga ‘oozing with culture’

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August 8, 2018 by admin

A sign of sophistication.Wagga’s cultural identity has been thrust into the spotlight after a Canberra commentator, who admits to knowing nothing about the city, branded residents “a rather conservative, unsophisticated flock”.
Nanjing Night Net

Columnist Ian Warden used the analogy “we’re living in a kind of Wagga” to describe the disappointment he felt after the Canberra Symphony Orchestra released its concert program for 2013, which he says is conservative and “rather depressing”.

“Lots of the selected works are the sorts of things you’d find on one of those four-CD sets of Classical Greatest Hits for Bogans, for people who don’t know much about classical music but who know what they like,” Mr Warden wrote.

Later, Mr Warden admitted he knew nothing about Wagga when questioned about his comparison. Wagga City Council tourism manager Sally Nolan suggested Mr Warden “make a trip to Wagga to see the vibe that surrounds us”.

On the eve of the Jazz Festival, Ms Nolan said ‘unsophisticated’ is not a how she would describe the culture and attitude of the city.

“I look at what Wagga was like 10 to 15 years ago and the city has grown and matured, more than anything else people are very proud of it,” Ms Nolan said.

With the five new shows set down at the Civic Theatre, seven exhibitions due to arrive at the city’s galleries and a host of markets and community events in coming weeks, Ms Nolan said the city is “oozing with culture”.

“Visitors to the gallery and museums are quite high,” she said.

Reflecting on his column, Mr Warden said his readers would be familiar with the tongue-in-cheek comparisons to depict the difference between country and city.

The Daily Advertiser

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Qantas tech operations flying along

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August 8, 2018 by admin

Qantas’ decision to split its international and domestic operations sent shockwaves around the airline in July, but one team was already preparing for the job of splitting IT systems.
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The restructure complicated an already nuanced technology operation whose tentacles touch every part of the airline – from freight to frequent flyers. It was also a catalyst for improvement as it exposed weaknesses in outsourcing, enabled the relocation of IT people to where they were needed most and, ultimately, saved $30 million.

It all began when the airline looked to outsource parts of the project, exposing gaps and weaknesses in the technology operations.

”We had many sources of truth and this old state created complexities,” said Qantas IT financial controller Larry Morrissey.

”We had multiple sources of data, which led to lots of reconciliation, and also lack of consistency in what we were reporting to the business.”

So the airline made an early decision to install a project management application in October 2011 that would provide visibility of all legacy systems as well as help with the difficult task of prioritising projects along domestic and international lines, explained Qantas chief information officer Paul Jones.

The CA Clarity PPM system would also ”liberate” the knowledge locked away in spreadsheets and silos.

”By having this single source of truth it allowed us to have a look at the entire portfolio and relating that to which projects make sense in an international and domestic sense,” Jones said.

Qantas now more accurately aligns IT spending with commercial goals, according to Jones, because the project management application centrally stores technology project information such as where it is installed, phases of implementation, and upcoming projects.

”That means it’s easier to take a portfolio view across the entire airline rather than everyone having their own pots of technology,” he said.

The new system also gives visibility to the distributed technology operations where seven outsourcers – IBM, Fujitsu, Telstra, Optus, TCS, Satyam and Amadeus – manage 80 per cent of the carrier’s technology systems and support.

The remaining 20 per cent is provided in-house where, from August 1, IT staff were relocated inside the various divisions – from catering, freight, engineering, international, domestic and loyalty – assembled into mini businesses, each with its own chief executive.

”The airline is very complicated so you need IT people with the customers,” Jones said. ”Every sub-part of the airline [needs] tech people working day-by-day.”

He said five technology strategies added value to the airline: IT staff located within divisions, technology modernisation programs, single project view, employee engagement and IT cost reduction.

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The forecast is for no paper with an uncertain outlook

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August 8, 2018 by admin

Behind this pile of predictions is a paperless office.NBN Co predicts the country’s new high-speed broadband network will transform the economy by sprouting paperless offices across the country. But, for the immediate future at least, paper is here to stay.
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Real estate agency Dougmal Harcourts, on the New South Wales south coast, is counting on becoming a paperless office on the back of its early national broadband network (NBN) adoption. It recently invested in iPads and remotely hosted storage applications, and shifted its offices out of the Kiama CBD – so staff can work from anywhere.

It had previously accumulated 20 filing cabinets of documents to satisfy its licence obligations as it needs to keep records of every transaction for five years.

”The possibility of being able to hold all that data in a safe and secure place with cloud backup is one of the things the NBN enhances,” said Sue Spence, the realtor’s managing director. ”It’s not our main consideration but it’s certainly one of several that led us down this path.”

NBN Co says its high-speed broadband fibre can now support multiple telephone lines, which will allow small businesses to provide more reliable services.

”Ours is still definitely a face-to-face industry but more and more we can run services online that traditionally a real estate agent is doing face-to-face,” Spence said.

But it is the iPad, not the NBN, that is hastening print’s decline, according to Kyocera managing director David Finn.

”Before the iPad erupted onto the scene, the industry pundits were saying the paperless office or reduction will occur in 20 years’ time,” said Finn, whose company continues to sell printing machines. ”Who knows how much that is going to accelerate?”

Increased viewing quality on the iPad and other mobile devices meant people were definitely printing less, he said, but businesses would use paper for at least the next 15 years.

”[NBN Co] has this vision that everyone will be connected, but there will still be people with more devices at home just to receive information and print documents.”

The paperless toilet will arrive before the fully digital office, he predicted. ”The paperless office is a myth.”

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


Word on the street

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June 10, 2019 by admin

‘Forget the word ‘street’,” says collector Andrew King. ”It’s simply contemporary art. If Sidney Nolan was in his prime today, I bet he’d be painting on the streets.”
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King was interviewed in the July edition of Leonard, a monthly publication issued by the Leonard Joel auction house in Melbourne.

Auction houses are becoming interested in street art because examples of this style are starting to appear on the secondary market and selling for prices that would have been unthinkable even five years ago.

”In my opinion, art by street artists is the next big art movement, no doubt about it,” King says. ”Most people just haven’t recognised it yet.”

Leonard Joel was the first to hold a mainstream sale of street art when the Andy Mac Collection appeared on May 6. Mac has been collecting this style over the past two decades.

Bestseller was Freeze Muthasticka, a giant collaboration done on 72 panels at the 2004 Big Day Out festival. The work was so big (30 metres long) it had to be divided into three lots. The first two of these sold for $28,000 (hammer price) each. No doubt this is a record.

The growing interest in this style has resulted in some of the more prominent artists creating work in ”collectable” formats. These are the works now being bought on the secondary market by a new generation of art collectors.

Another major collection was sold by Lawsons in Sydney last month.

It was a litmus test for managing director Martin Farrah. This is new territory for him.

”I’m a bit of a brown-furniture man myself,” he laughs. ”I guess I shouldn’t have worn my tweed jacket that day.”

Regardless, he achieved a reasonable 60 per cent sale rate and discovered that the main buyers, bidding online, were from Melbourne. This is the street-art capital. Although the main buyer was in his 50s, most of those on the floor were thirtysomethings looking for something cool to stick on the walls of their inner-west apartments. This is a cheap way to gain a foothold into the fine-art market.

Or was. Prices have doubled or tripled over the past three or four years.

One of Lawsons’ best results was $4000 for a work by the Die Laughing Collective. Another, which is called Murdochracy, sold for $3200. It was one of the few works to have a provenance. Done on nine panels, it was first exhibited at the Melbourne Stencil Festival in 2005 and again in Sydney in 2006, where it was displayed in front of Newscorp’s headquarters.

It’s unlikely Rupert was the buyer.

Finding out what work has investment potential is pretty much a mystery, particularly as most artists prefer to work under code names such as Ghostpatrol and Ha-Ha.

Ha-Ha, aka Regan Tamanui, was certainly hot back in May. One of his Ned Kelly 2003 prints sold for a $1100 hammer price at Leonard Joel, way above estimates of $250 to $350. Many street artists who decorate walls and railway carriages are disdainful of those who exhibit commercially. Others, such as British artist Banksy, have successfully made the transition.

He was perhaps the first to show that what he once did freely on walls – including the laneways in Melbourne in 2003 – now has considerable commercial value.

In February 2007, one of Banksy’s portable works sold for £100,000 through Sotheby’s in London. Another fetched £288,000 through Bonhams in London the following month. For collectors, this is an opportunity to acquire one of the most exciting forms of contemporary art.

There’s also the possibility that what you buy today could do a Banksy and increase tenfold in value overnight.

The head of art at Leonard Joel, John Albrecht, is cautiously optimistic about this emerging scene. He is now planning to hold an annual street-art auction in Melbourne and is also evaluating a couple of prospective collections at the moment.

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


Traders continue to roll the dice

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June 10, 2019 by admin

Blind bet … ill-informed CFD investors could find themselves out of pocket.The Australian market in contracts for difference, or CFDs, continues to grow, despite official concerns that even experienced investors don’t fully grasp the risks involved in using these instruments.
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According to the latest Investment Trends Australia CFD Report, an estimated 44,000 Australians traded CFDs in the 12 months to May 30, up from 41,000 a year earlier. The 7 per cent increase was up from 5 per cent growth in the 12 months before. ”Against a backdrop of challenging economic conditions, the market has shown resilience,” says Pawel Rokicki, a senior analyst at Investment Trends.

However, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) continues to pay close attention to CFD trading, a year after taking official steps to tighten the rules for providers of over-the-counter (OTC) CFDs.

Last year, the regulator found that most investors didn’t understand how CFDs worked, with many believing they’re buying the underlying security – a share or currency, say – when in fact they’re buying a derivative instrument.

The CFDs allow investors to take a bet on changes in the prices of assets such as equities, share indices, commodities and foreign exchange, using borrowed money to multiply their exposure.

”[They] have been compared with gambling, but CFDs are far more risky than having a punt at the TAB,” the chairman of ASIC, Greg Medcraft, wrote last year. ”Because CFDs are a full-recourse leveraged investment, you can end up owing much more than your initial investment or margin.”

ASIC research also found investors didn’t receive enough information to make informed decisions.

The study showed that some CFD investors traded even though their circumstances suggested they shouldn’t. ASIC estimated about 15 per cent of CFD traders had 50 per cent to 100 per cent of their portfolio in CFDs.

In response, ASIC is taking action in several areas: requiring better disclosure for retail investors; raising the bar on the financial strength of CFD issuers; and trying to keep a lid on advertising claims.

Since March, ASIC has required that CFD issuers meet new disclosure benchmarks. It says all issuers have complied. ”Later this year we’ll conduct targeted, risk-based reviews of the quality of these disclosures,” an ASIC spokeswoman says.

In addition, ASIC has issued a regulatory guide stepping up the financial requirements for issuers, saying the bar needs to be higher ”to ensure licensees have adequate financial resources to properly oversee and manage the operational risks inherent in the OTC derivatives market”.

Two CFD providers have collapsed in recent times. When it failed last year, the New York-based broking house MF Global was the third-largest player in the local CFD market. Sonray, one of the first brokers to advise on CFDs in Australia, was placed in liquidation in October 2010 and its chief executive jailed a year later after a $46 million shortfall was uncovered.

ASIC is also monitoring advertising of CFD products ”to ensure the marketing does not give a misleading impression of the risks or potential rewards of CFD trading,” the spokeswoman says.

Trading questions

ASIC suggests you ask these questions before trading CFDs:

■ What is the financial position of the issuer?

■ What is the issuer’s policy on the use of client money?

■ How does the issuer determine the prices of CFDs it offers?

■ Can the issuer change the price after you’ve placed your order?

■ When processing CFD trades, does the issuer enter into a corresponding position in the market for the underlying asset?

■ If there’s little or no trading going on in the underlying market for an asset, can you still trade CFDs over that asset?

See moneysmart.gov.au/investing/complex-investments/contracts-for-difference.

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


Pension labyrinth

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June 10, 2019 by admin

Are you ready? … planning ahead will ensure you get the most out of retirement. Illustration: Warren HackshallThe first question everybody asks on facing retirement is, ”how much do I need?”
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There is no simple answer, because the amount depends on a range of variables that include how long you will live, your health, the performance of your portfolio and the rate of inflation.

A general rule of thumb is 12 to 15 times your annual expected expenditure, but the numbers are further complicated because your eligibility for Centrelink benefits increases as your assets reduce.

For instance, a home-owner couple with $950,000 of assessable assets may qualify for a pension of $123.50 a fortnight.

However, if those assets were run down to $600,000, the pension would rise to $648.50 a fortnight.

At the very least it’s important to be up to speed on the rules, benefits and strategies available to you.

ACCESS RULES

Unless you find it necessary to access your super under the hardship provisions, it is locked up until your preservation age.

This is 55 for people born before July 1, 1960, and then rises in steps until it becomes 60 for people born on or after July 1, 1964.

However, even if 55 is your preservation age, you cannot access your funds before 65 unless you trigger a condition of release.

Between the ages of 55 and 60 you need to satisfy the trustee of your fund that you intend to retire permanently and intend never to be gainfully employed for 10 hours or more each week. This does not forever prohibit you from going back to work, because after a reasonable absence from your job you are entitled to have a change of heart and resume employment.

Once you reach 60, you can trigger a condition of release by resigning from a job – it need not be your main job.

At 65 you are free to access your super and can even contribute for the next 10 years if you satisfy the work test.

If you are a part-time worker you must be gainfully employed for at least 10 hours, and less than 30 hours in the week you make the contribution.

TRANSITION TO RETIREMENT

There is a clever strategy that enables people aged 55 and over to access their super prior to their preservation age even if they are working, called transition to retirement.

It was introduced to enable people to reduce their working hours yet stay in the workforce (although there is no need to reduce your working hours to take advantage of it).

It’s simply a matter of increasing your salary-sacrificed contributions to super to the maximum, and then compensating for the decrease in take-home pay by drawing a pension.

Take an employee on $100,000 a year whose employer contributes $9000 in compulsory super.

It is well short of the $25,000 the employee can contribute as a concessional contribution.

Suppose the employee reduces their income to $84,000 by salary sacrificing an additional $16,000 a year to super.

Yes, their take-home pay would reduce by $10,080 but the net contribution to super would be $13,600 after deduction of the 15 per cent entry tax, leaving them $3520 better off.

CENTRELINK AND AGE PENSION

Money in super isn’t counted by Centrelink until the pensionable age is reached. This is 65 for men born before July 1, 1952, and 64½ for women born between July 1, 1947 and December 31, 1948. Where couples have a big age difference they should take advice, otherwise valuable Centrelink benefits could be lost.

Take a husband, 65, and a wife, 58, with assessable assets of $650,000.

Let’s say the wife retires and receives a super payout of $450,000 and starts an account-based pension to enjoy the tax benefits.

As a consequence of this, the husband would immediately lose his Centrelink benefits because her super is now counted.

Had she left the money in the accumulation phase, he could have continued to enjoy a part-age pension.

When assessing eligibility for the age pension, the super balance is assessed under the asset test, while for income-test purposes the income from the fund is based on a formula that takes into account the life expectancy of the superannuant.

Take a couple aged 66 and 65 who have their own home, $25,000 in lifestyle assets such as furniture and car, as well as his super of $300,000, which is now in the account-based pension phase. His life expectancy is 17.76.

The exempt amount for Centrelink income-test purposes is found by dividing his super account balance by his life expectancy.

In this example it is $16,892.

As a result, the first $16,892 of his account-based pension income is not assessed for the income test.

The minimum amount that is currently required to be drawn from his super fund is just $11,250 a year, which means he could draw even more than the required minimum without being affected under the income test.

Anybody who believes they are eligible for the age pension should take advice well before they reach pensionable age.

In some circumstances, it may be appropriate to gift assets to family members or a charity in order to maximise Centrelink benefits, as Centrelink only assesses assets that have been disposed of within five years of applying for the pension.

There is no gift duty in Australia, but the decision to give substantial assets to family members should not be taken lightly, as they can be lost for good if the family members who receive them suffer financial problems such as a relationship breakdown or bankruptcy.

As a general rule it is better to help your children when they are younger as long as they are responsible, rather than make them wait until the parents are 90 and the children are 60, when they should not need it. Each case must be decided on its merits.

STARTING AN INCOME STREAM

Every investment strategy has advantages and disadvantages.

The benefit of starting an income stream is that you move to a tax-free environment, but the price is the requirement to draw an increasing percentage as years pass.

The benefit of staying in the accumulation phase is that you are not required to withdraw any money – the disadvantage is the 15 per cent tax on earnings.

Most Australians will have insufficient funds outside super for them to justify staying in the accumulation phase.

But those with large income-producing assets such as property and shares are better off leaving their super in the accumulation stage if their income from sources outside super exceeds $18,200 a year – the point where the 19 per cent tax rate cuts in.

TAKE IT ALL OUT?

The slump in assets caused by the global financial crisis has led to a flood of questions asking whether it’s better to take the money out of super and ”put it in the bank”.

Super is not an asset class like cash, property or shares, but merely a vehicle that lets you hold assets in a low- or zero-tax area. It is also one of the few assets you can own that is not available to creditors if you find yourself in financial strife.

If you only had a small amount in super, say $200,000, there is little point in staying there and incurring the fees that go with super because you would still remain in the tax-free area, even if the money was withdrawn and invested in personal names.

Advice should always be taken before withdrawing funds from super, as it could cause a loss of Centrelink benefits if you are assessed under the income test and drawing an income stream.

If money is withdrawn to pay off debts such as a home loan, there are no adverse consequences for Centrelink benefits because the money is being retained in the household.

Money spent on personal items such as travel and home renovations do not affect eligibility.

Assets such as a car, caravan or furniture will be assessed under the asset test at market value.

There is no limit on the amount that can be withdrawn from super once you reach the preservation age and have satisfied a condition of release.

Tax treatment of super: how the rules work

Pre-tax contributions to super lose a 15 per cent entry tax; after-tax contributions incur no entry tax. The fund pays 15 per cent tax on its earnings but once an income stream starts, the earnings are tax-free.

Most members’ accounts will have both taxable and a non-taxable components. There is no tax on that portion of the withdrawal that comes from the non-taxable component, but between age 55 and 60 there is a tax of 16.5 per cent (including the Medicare levy) on the taxable component that exceeds $175,000.

Once age 60 is reached, all withdrawals are tax-free.

On death, the taxable component incurs a 16.5 per cent tax if left to a non-dependent child. A spouse is always regarded as a dependant.

Therefore, a person age 60 or over, drawing an account-based pension, is living in a money paradise – the fund itself is tax-free and, at the same time, they are drawing a tax-free income from it.

Anybody drawing an account-based pension (also called allocated pension) has to draw a minimum amount each year (see above) – there is no maximum.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance.

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


It’s a trust issue

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June 10, 2019 by admin

Search and recover … misplaced trust deeds can prove costly. Illustration: Karl HilzingerThe strategy: To find out whether there’s a potential problem with my family trust.
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Is that likely? At last count, there were more than 600,000 family trusts in Australia, many of which were set up 20 or 30 years ago. So when was the last time you looked at the trust deed? Do you even know where it is?

A partner with Hall & Wilcox, Emma Woolley, says a growing number of people are looking to review or modernise their trust deeds and are discovering they don’t know where they are. The family may not have retained the original documents, or they may have been left with an adviser such as an accountant or lawyer that the family moved on from years ago, or they may have been damaged at some time.

Even worse, she says, some clients are seeing advisers to have their trusts reviewed, only to find they have matured and no longer exist. This can have significant tax and legal consequences and, ideally, you’d like time to plan for them, but if you don’t know when the trust matures it could be too late.

Why do I need the trust deed? Woolley says family trusts are much less flexible than companies, or even self-managed super funds. The trust deed is the document that sets out what the trustee can do and how the trust should be managed. She says the Bamford court decision of 2010 emphasised the importance of the trust deed in determining how income from the trust could be distributed. Prior to that decision, she says, people assumed all trusts were the same, but they’re not.

The Bamford decision centred around streaming of trust income – paying different types of income to different beneficiaries – and caused many families and their advisers to go back to their trust deeds to find out exactly what they said. But if you don’t have the trust deed, you can’t read it. And if you can’t read it, you can’t find out whether it needs to be updated.

”Some trusts have limitations or require a particular person’s consent to any changes,” she says. ”There’s a real risk that if you don’t know that, any changes you do make might not be effective.”

Woolley says she is also expecting a ”tidal wave” of litigation when trusts mature and family members, who have been tied together by the trust, fall out.

So what should I do? A good start, even if you don’t think the deed needs any changes, would be to track down the trust deed and ensure it is in a safe place. She says even if it doesn’t need any changes now, it may once the government review of how trusts are taxed is completed.

If you can’t find the original deed, Woolley says there is a risk the Tax Office might not believe it existed. In most cases, she says, clients are able to find enough documentation to give comfort that the trust exists. You may be able to find a copy of the original deed or some other form of evidence.

She says in one case, two brothers had established identical trusts at the same time with the same accountant. One brother had later moved his business (and trust deed) to a new accountant and lost track of the trust but had enough evidence to show his lost deed was identical to his brother’s.

If you have no evidence, she says, you can go through the court system to try to establish confirmation of a deed, but this is expensive and potentially risky.

Is it worth having a trust? Woolley says they are still useful vehicles for estate and succession planning, and for protecting an individual’s assets. But they have their own challenges and are ruled by the trust deed. So it’s a document to be taken care of.

Twitter: @sampsonsmh

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


Koschitzke commits to Saints

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May 9, 2019 by admin

ST KILDA veteran Justin Koschitzke will remain at St Kilda for at least another season.
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Koschitzke, 30 this month, is an unrestricted free agent and could have joined the club of his choice.

But his manager James Pitcher, of Strategic Management Solutions, told The Age the ruckman-forward would remain with the Saints.

“He will remain at St Kilda for at least another year,” Pitcher said.

“I will finalise the paper work hopefully next week.

“I will catch up with the Saints and knock it over. He will be staying a Saint.”

Koschitzke played 19 matches this season but was dropped for last weekend’s final round against Carlton.

He needs only five more matches to reach the 200 milestone.

Earlier, Saints coach Scott Watters said Koschitzke was a required player.

“He offers really good leadership,” Watters said on SEN.

“We’ve got some young key forwards – Rhys Stanley and Jay Lever – who are coming through, and the work that ‘Kosi’ has done behind the scenes with Rhys this year … he won’t get a lot of plaudits for that from the outside, but internally he’s done a great job.

“He’s in a challenge for his spot going forward, as is Adam Schneider, who had some injuries this year.

“But they’re quality players, and it needs to be a challenging environment.

“So I would expect ‘Kosi’ to back up with a really strong pre-season and challenge for a spot.”

Watters said her also expects Brendon Goddard, also off contract, to remain at the club.

“He has been offered a strong and reasonable offer. Ultimately he must make a choice. He is a passionate Saints person with leadership ambitions,” he said.

However, it’s understood Goddard, a restricted free agent, is unhappy with the offer the Saints have made.

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Talk’s cheap, says Buckley

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May 9, 2019 by admin

DEFIANT Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley refuses to spend this week defending his team’s recent form in the face of ”condescension” from the media, and will instead set out to prove the doubters wrong by upstaging Hawthorn in Friday night’s qualifying final.
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It was Buckley himself who fuelled talk of the Pies going into the MCG blockbuster as significant underdogs, saying after his team’s final-round win against Essendon that this weekend’s challenge against the Hawks was looming as a David-versus-Goliath battle.

But the extent to which Collingwood has been questioned has not been lost on Buckley, either.

”We are very bullish about our prospects, unlike the wider community, so we are looking forward to it,” Buckley said. ”Quite frankly, there’s a bit of condescension going on around Collingwood, around our players, around our coaches, around our club in general. We don’t mind being in that position.

”There are a lot of questions about our form, and rightly there should be, about our personnel, about our game plan, about the way we play. ”We can talk until we are blue in the face about it, but it matters little. All that matters is what we do on Friday night.”

Buckley was also quick to shoot down suggestions that Dale Thomas was carrying an injury – raised after he did not train with the main group yesterday – with the coach declaring his midfield star would definitely play against the Hawks.

The Pies are $3.60 to beat Hawthorn ($1.30).

The fact Chris Dawes was dropped last round and that fellow forward Travis Cloke has endured conjecture about his contract status all season has only added fuel to the fire for critics.

Captain Nick Maxwell admitted yesterday that some players had been looking forward to the challenge of finals for a long time.

”A lot of our group has been around for three or four years now playing finals, and quite often players who play finals regularly start to expect it and just think that it is going to happen all the time,” he said. ”And I think at times our players have thought that. Even last year, going through different parts of the season, they were sort of looking forward to finals already.

”Once you know you are close to [finals], players start thinking … and we are no different. And, at times, that means you are not focused on what you should be doing right here and now. So our players are definitely ready to go Friday night.”

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Hunter Region must have a unified voice

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May 9, 2019 by admin

THE Hunter is one unique region that is part of an integrated national network of regions that need our successes just as we need theirs.
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There have been enough wish-lists and stand-alone plans. Now there must be a unified voice spelling out how infrastructure and planning are significant to the region regardless of local boundaries. This is the message that Regional Development Australia Hunter is sending to the NSW and federal governments. It is a message that local government can help advance.

And the good part is that both state and federal governments tell us that this is what they want and expect to hear if we are to win the support and funding for major infrastructure in our region.

Quite rightly there are a number of groups with planning obligations for much of our land use, our local infrastructure and our social structures. While they recognise that the specific interests of their constituents and responsibilities can appear to fly in the face of regional needs, the result has been that confused messages reach funding decision makers. No more confusion!

In our paper, Urban Planning for the Hunter’s Future, being launched at today’s CEDA (Committee of Economic Development of Australia) conference in Newcastle, we present a number of recommendations to take the Hunter forward with great success.

RDA Hunter maintains that while this is a region of unique qualities and makes a unique contribution to the prosperity of the nation, it does not stand alone. It is an integrated region whose connectivity to metropolitan Sydney and surrounding regions is the key to ensuring that sustainable and productive growth occurs across the region to the benefit of the state, the nation and local communities.

Major decisions by governments on infrastructure planning and investment over the next 12 to 18 months will have a significant impact on the future lifestyles, employment options and well-being of people living in the region. Therefore RDA Hunter recommends that regional planning agencies adopt a collaborative approach to address government urban policy and consider the regional relationships.

It is vital to get the balance right between population, land use and housing supply; for employment and economically and socially significant infrastructure; and delivery of services.

The Upper Hunter Strategic Regional Land Use Plan and the revised Lower Hunter Regional Strategy must be brought together to present a single and interconnected Hunter Regional Strategy.

Future regional planning efforts must have regard to the planning hierarchy in the national planning criteria for Australia’s cities, and provide appropriate levels of detail for near, medium and long-term plans and projects.

As Australia’s seventh largest urban area, the Hunter Region must have a plan for the future.

The importance of retaining sectoral diversity, linking infrastructure to promote economic development and improving our connectivity with markets beyond our boundaries is crucial for the region’s prosperity.

A plan for the future of our urban area is even more important when it is understood that all major infrastructure funding decisions will be based on having a plan.

A metropolitan/urban plan for the Hunter is critical for the region’s future. Effectively connecting populations, ideas, goods, freight and communities is essential to be able to best leverage much-needed infrastructure.

Regional-scale planning documents must contain significantly greater detail about future infrastructure and its relationship to land use to allow public and private sector co-ordination of investment over time.

We are confident these messages will be heard by Australian governments, which are demonstrating a renewed interest in cities including major regional cities.

While at a local level we have a number of cities defined by local government boundaries, the whole Lower Hunter region is regarded as a city in terms of the Australian government’s planning criteria for Australia’s major cities.

The purpose of this approach, and one well understood in this region, is to ensure cities are globally competitive, productive, sustainable, liveable, socially inclusive and well placed to meet future challenges and growth.

The Hunter intends to be a vital part of this new era.

This work to develop an integrated plan will overcome the enormous cost and disadvantage to the region of too many overlapping but unrelated regional plans and assist in positioning the Hunter nationally and internationally as one of Australia’s most sustainable, productive and significant economies.

VISION: A balance must be struck between population and infrastructure. Picture: Dean Osland


Maitland firmly on foodies’ map

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May 9, 2019 by admin

Nestled between Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, Maitland is increasingly making its mark on the foodie map. Its first wine bar has opened in recent weeks, adding to the bursting stable of dining and drinking options in the city.
Nanjing Night Net

There is the old: The Old George and Dragon in East Maitland has operated on a site that has fed hungry travellers since the early 1830s.

Then there’s the new: Fox Bar opened in recent weeks and is said to be the city’s first small bar.

That’s not to mention the new eatery and function centre to open in October in High Street’s Mansfield House under the direction of 305 Restaurant and Le Fleuve Brasserie’s Dan Kibble and Christine Harrison.

Fox Bar was opened a few weeks ago after well-known hospitality stalwart Will Creedon (of Rustica and many other ventures), Jennifer Nichols, owner of The Old George and Dragon, and designer Stephen Troy teamed up.

At 274 High Street, Maitland, the joint venture fills a gap in the Maitland entertainment scene. The building is owned by interior designer Troy, and has been granted a licence to operate as a small bar.

The front bar has been decorated in an eclectic mix of furniture, while there are cosy nooks that invite friends to get together, as well as an outside courtyard area perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon or meeting place for a work lunch.

The bar specialises in boutique and craft beers, has a wine list focusing on Hunter Valley wines and a boutique spirit offering.

Fox Bar head chef is the enthusiastic Miami Bragg, while the executive chef is industry stalwart Gavin Forman (of The Old George and Dragon).

The hearty menu is available for lunch and dinner, and ploughman’s and cheese platters are available all day.

It includes Creedon’s pick of the menu, the lamb shank pie, which is a hearty lamb shank and winter vegetable casserole served with a flaky crust. It comes in a serve for one ($19) or two ($35).

Creedon told GT he’d had his eye on Maitland for ‘‘quite some time’’.

‘‘I’ve had the very strong feeling in the last two years that Maitland is a great centre and it services a lot of people very well, but it doesn’t necessarily service those who look for the finer things,’’ Creedon explained.

‘‘When I say look for the finer things in design, look for the finer things in garden, the finer things in beverage – be it wine, beer or spirits – and the finer things in food.’’

He said while Maitland looked after young people ‘‘really, really well’’ there was the opportunity for someone to offer something ‘‘a little bit different, a little bit deeper, hence I think the opportunity of … creating a little bar called Fox Bar was a natural thing.

‘‘Maitland over the last year and a half has had a smattering of really good restaurants and eateries open … if you think about Maitland, there’s a little bit of a revolution happening,’’ Creedon said. ‘‘It’s really good to see. I suppose Fox Bar in a way is another part in that process, another stage in that revolution.’’

Creedon said the name was a nod to Maitland’s affinity with the natural environment and agriculture. He admitted to a few nervous moments for the team behind the venture, but said already the Maitland community had embraced the concept.

‘‘People recognise we’re in need of support,’’ he said. ‘‘In the first few weeks of operation there’s no question people have given their support with their marching feet – it’s wonderful to see and they realise it’s for them and it will only be for them as long as they keep coming.’’

Nichols agrees Maitland is making its mark on the map to become a destination for eating and drinking, alongside nearby Morpeth.

‘‘For a long time we haven’t been seen as a dining destination but I think we’re all trying really hard to make that happen,’’ she said. ‘‘We’re all listening to what the public are saying in terms of wanting more experiences and we’re hoping that we’re giving it to them; we’d just really love the public to embrace it.’’

Though Nichols now splits her time between Fox Bar and The Old George and Dragon, she said the fine-dining establishment would continue to serve customers for dinner Wednesday to Saturday.

“While The Old George and Dragon will continue to delight customers with a fine-dining experience, Fox Bar is a more casual format,’’ Nichols said. “We have been offering lunch on a Friday at The George, but due to its long history as a special occasion restaurant, the lunchtime option was pretty hit and miss.

‘‘When the opportunity came up to be part of Fox Bar, it was the perfect complement to what we do at The Old George.”

Fox Bar is open from 11.30am to late Tuesday to Saturday and 11.30am to 6pm Sunday. For more information visit foxbar南京夜网.au.

Also keep an eye on the Mansfield House site at 315 High Street, Maitland, in the coming months.

305 Restaurant and Le Fleuve Brasserie’s Dan Kibble and Christine Harrison have teamed up with Chris and Tom Richards to transform and restore the beautiful heritage building.

Kibble told GT the former bank building would be relaunched in October to include a fine-dining restaurant similar to 305, a function and wedding centre, as well as an oyster bar, upscale wine bar, daytime al fresco dining and more. There are also plans to add a four-star boutique hotel next year.

305 Restaurant will shift to the new site under the name epique, Mansfield House (meaning surpassing the usual or ordinary), and Le Fleuve Brasserie will remain open as is.

Bronte Richards will be at the helm of the wedding and function centre as event and function co-ordinator of Mansfield House Events.

‘‘The building is absolutely stunning,’’ Kibble told GT. ‘‘For us it is a really great opportunity … It’s a really big project for central Maitland, we’re really, really excited about it.

‘‘For Maitland it’s amazing, you don’t see people doing things like this very often and a lot of the time they don’t have a lot of chance at success either.

‘‘This has just been a well thought-out project and the people behind it like myself and Chris and Tom have put a lot of time and effort in to make sure it’s going to be something positive.

‘‘To be sitting right on High Street, the potential is absolutely amazing for promoting Maitland and all the positive things about this area.

‘‘That’s what is fantastic about this, you see the Maitland Mall and all these terrace buildings that have been sitting there for five years … and over the next couple of years hopefully we’ll see an evolution.’’

In the meantime, before epique, Mansfield House, throws open its doors, you can visit 305 Restaurant and Le Fleuve Brasserie.

305 Restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday.

Le Fleuve Brasserie, which offers casual dining with more than 100 wines on the list, is open daily from 11am.

Will Creedon, Miami Bragg and Gavin Forman outside Fox Bar.

Chris, Bronte and Tom Richards, with Dan Kibble and Christine Harrison in the front room of Mansfield House.


Chefs to battle it out in Food Fight

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May 9, 2019 by admin

The knives are out and being sharpened for a battle which will pit the Hunter’s best chefs against their Sydney counterparts.
Nanjing Night Net

Hunter Chefs & Co, a not-for-profit organisation, will host the third annual Food Fight on Monday at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.

In the Hunter corner will be team captain Jamie Ryan, of Caves Beachside Hotel, Tim Montgomery, of Bacchus, Emerson Rodriguez, of Emerson’s at Pokolbin, and Troy Rhoades-Brown, of Muse.

“I’m looking forward to tasting what the Sydney boys will bring to the table. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got and we expect to create a serious buzz for the region on the day,” Ryan said.

The Sydney team taking on the Hunter Region is Matt Kemp, formerly of Balzac, Warren Turnbull, of Assiette, Colin Fassnidge, of Four in Hand, and leading Sydney culinary personality Justin North, who will complete the group.

The chefs will compete by creating a delectable meal using fresh Hunter region ingredients such as lamb and pork shoulder, spanner crab and calamari.

The 250 luncheon guests will be able to view the kitchen battle via a live video feed as their food is being prepared. Peter Everett, of Ready Steady Cook fame, will MC the event and the winning team will be judged by attendees on the day.

Funds raised by the event will go to the Brett Graham Scholarship, which gives an apprentice chef the opportunity to be flown to London to work alongside highly acclaimed chef Brett Graham at his renowned restaurant The Ledbury, in Notting Hill.

Tickets are $90 for Hunter Chefs & Co members and $130 for other guests. Locally brewed beer and premium Hunter Valley wine will be provided.

Book by emailing [email protected]南京夜网.au or go to hunterchefs南京夜网.au for more.

Caves Beachside Hotel chef Jamie Ryan.


Why doesn’t Sydney have a subway network?

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April 10, 2019 by admin

One of Sydney’s underground tunnels, dug by convicts.Sydney’s transport plan long on hopeAnalysis: little change
Nanjing Night Net

Why doesn’t Sydney have a subway system like London or New York? According to transport experts, the city doesn’t need one. While Sydney has a tightly packed central area, it’s much less dense in its suburban areas than, say, New York or Paris, they say.

“In terms of the origin and destination profile of Sydney, it’s fairly low density,” said Professor David Hensher, the director of the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Sydney.

“Although the Bradfield plan from years ago clearly suggested a more expansive underground network than we currently have, there are good reasons why it didn’t continue. Clearly, if money was no object, we would have done it.”

*Read more about the Bradfield Plan, which was first mooted in 1916.

So what could work for Sydney? A more integrated network that connects origins and destinations, with rail services in higher density areas and buses servicing lower density areas, the experts told the Herald.

A better public transport system would also have to be coupled with changing the behaviour of Sydneysiders.

“It’s all very well to build lots of public transport, but I don’t think that’s going to be enough – in terms of costs – to make a difference on congestion. All the while, the car remains a fairly attractive mode of transport,” Professor Hensher said.

“Despite the concern about traffic congestion being bad in Sydney, many people say it’s not bad enough for me to get out of my car … People will complain because it’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s not bad enough to make a difference.”

Professor Hensher said it would take only 6 per cent of car users (85 per cent of trips in Sydney are by car) to make a switch away from driving during peak hours to make a difference to congestion levels.

“If we price the use of the car in the peak where the congestion’s bad, they’d switch to the off-peak rather than use public transport, because they can do that.”

Professor Hensher is one such commuter. He works from home from 7am to 9.15am to avoid the peak and then drives to work after that.

“It’s much more enjoyable and it’s much more productive. Lots more people could do it. They don’t even bother to think they could do it,” he said.

Another way of reducing congestion in Sydney’s city centre was to minimise car parks in office buildings and tax car spaces, Sydney transport expert Dick Day said. The City of Sydney council already restricts parking, but more could be done, he said.

“The thing that dissuades people from using cars in the end is often congestion. London is a good example and Hong Kong’s the same.

“Having said that, once you get out into suburbs where the industrial areas are … a lot of people have to use cars because the places that they work at are not readily accessible by public transport and never will be.”

Further reading:The Bradfield Plan

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