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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.
Nanjing Night Net

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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Women’s fashion chain Ojay goes under

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November 10, 2018 by admin

In another blow to Australia’s already shaky fashion retail sector, women’s fashion chain Ojay has reportedly collapsed with David Coyne and Gideon Rathner of firm Lowe Lippmann appointed as administrators.
Nanjing Night Net

Only one day after figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed overall retail sales fell 0.8 per cent in July, the worst monthly result in more than two years, it is reported that Ojay has added its name to the string of recently failed retail businesses as shoppers continue to rein in their spending habits.

Over the last 18 months the sector has been hit with a wave of high-profile retail collapses, especially in fashion, including Frat House, Brown Sugar, Grab Jeans, Bettina Liano, Satch Clothing, Ed Harry and Fletcher Jones. But fashion retailers have not been the only ones to struggle, with retailers such as bookshops Borders and Angus & Robertson and confectionary company Darrell Lea.

Ojay was founded in 1976 and has 22 stores spread across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia as well as being sold in David Jones.

It is unclear at this stage the depth of Ojay’s financial troubles. The future of its stores and the jobs of more than 100 employees remain uncertain. It is believed that Ojay embarked on a massive promotion and discount strategy this year to drum up sales but the push has not helped.

Mr Coyne and Mr Rathner from Lowe Lippmann were unavailable for comment.

Ojay’s Facebook site has no mention of the store’s demise, with its last entry on August 31 celebrating the fashion style of Australian actor Asher Keddie.

“We’ve been admiring the stunning Asher Keddie who is reminding us that suits aren’t only for work days.”

The chain’s Twitter account has not been active since August 30.

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NAB ‘warned’ of toxic investments

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November 10, 2018 by admin

The banking regulator repeatedly warned the NAB that its treatment of a bundle of toxic subprime investments was inadequate, a court has heard.
Nanjing Night Net

As the global financial crisis hit in 2008, NAB was forced to write down the value of the parcel of collateralised debt obligations twice in the space of three months, taking a $1 billion hit to its bottom line.

An affidavit tendered to the Victorian Supreme Court this morning in a class action brought by NAB shareholders shows that APRA raised concerns about NAB’s treatment of the CDOs in January 2008.

NAB took first a write-down of $181 million against the CDOs in May that year, followed by a second provision of $830 million in July 2008 that sent its share price plummeting.

The affidavit, sworn by solicitor Andrew Watson of Maurice Blackburn, which is acting for the shareholders, includes extensive excerpts from internal bank emails about its dealings with the regulator.

In February 2008, APRA told NAB it had “failed in our basic credit credit analysis” of the CDOs, according to an email sent to bank staff by group chief risk officer Michael Hamar.

At a meeting with the bank, APRA officer Graham Johnson said the NAB had also been “almost totally reliant on ratings and on managers’ reports”, Mr Hamar said.

“He does not believe there has been adequate fundamental analysis on the underlying individual securities.”

The chief executive officer of wholesale banking division nabCapital, John Hooper, told staff there had been four discussions with APRA about the CDOs, also known as “conduits”, in the space of one week in early February.

“From these meetings it was clear that APRA felt we had been slow on recognising provisions against conduit assets,” Mr Hooper said in an email to other nabCapital staff.

During a teleconference later that month Mr Johnson told NAB its credit files on the CDOs “appear to lack extensive evidence of independent validation or review” by the bank, instead relying on information provided by credit ratings agencies and the group that arranged the deal.

And in March Mr Johnson sent an email to nabCapital executive Geoff Cullen setting out APRA’s “primary areas of interest/concern in relation to the conduit exposures”.

He again complained about NAB’s reliance on third parties, including ratings agencies, to assess the creditworthiness of the CDOs, and raised concerns ratings had not been adjusted quickly enough as the market turned.

APRA this morning asked the court to set aside a subpoena forcing it to produce records of its dealings with NAB over the CDOs, saying secrecy provisions in the APRA Act made it a crime to do so.

“You cannot answer the subpoena without the commission of an offence,” counsel for APRA Richard Niall, SC, told the court.

However, counsel for the shareholders, Michael Lee, SC, said APRA could authorise its staff to release the information.

“The notion my learned friend has advanced that APRA is somehow a locked box, a black box… is just wrong,” he told the court.

Justice Tony Pagone has yet to decide whether the subpoena should be set aside.

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


Bargain drops are winners by a nose

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November 10, 2018 by admin

RALPH KYTE-POWELL
Nanjing Night Net

TWO hundred dollars to spend on wine. What would most of us aim to get out of our 200 smackers? Weird and wonderful wines, perhaps made from semi-dried strogolone grapes grown at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, aged in old horse troughs by a one-eyed Neapolitan astrologer? Not likely. Wines to show off to our tossy friends? Why bother? Wines that tell a story about a hot young winemaking star? Hardly. What most people want are bargains, and plenty of ’em.

Even people who buy Penfolds Grange or French burgundy are allergic to paying top dollar for their plonk. So I set out to spend my $200 on bargains. I scouted various retailers to put a dozen wines together that I reckon over-deliver in quality without crippling the budget.

At the full recommended retail price, these wines are great value; most were on special at the time of writing, making them a steal.

Buying by the dozen or half dozen can sometimes knock a few more dollars off, so it’s worth asking. My budget allows me to buy four each of these bottles:

Mike Press Adelaide Hills Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2011

Single-vineyard cool-climate chardonnay never came so inexpensive. This is an elegant, subtle, unoaked wine with refined melony varietal personality, good texture and a long, fine finish. Lovely unfussed drinking. $11 at City Wine Shop, city.

McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2011

This Hunter Valley wine has it all: historic pedigree, classical regional style, drinkability in youth, amazing ageworthiness – and all at a bargain price. Lemony and bracing now with the promise of toasty complexity in the years ahead. $12.99 (usually $18) at Dan Murphy’s.

Tahbilk Marsanne 2011

Forgive the repetition, but this Nagambie Lakes white wine has it all too: pedigree, classical style, drinkability, ageworthiness, low price. Floral, honeyed, citrusy, light yet intense. Spring-like and pure, it will be rich and complex with time. $12.99 (usually $18.65) at Boccaccio Cellars, Balwyn.

Dopff au Moulin Riesling 2010

Right at the exotic end of the riesling spectrum, Dopff from France’s Alsace region is an exclusive import of Dan Murphy’s. Expect to pay $25-plus for similar wines from other producers. Lush, rich, slightly fruit-sweet, dry finishing, with a luxurious feel far beyond its price tag. $13.60 at Dan Murphy’s.

De Bortoli Windy Peak Pinot Noir 2011

A remarkable transformation has taken place in Australian pinot noir in the past decade or so. Once, any pinot worth the name cost plenty, and cheaper versions were a waste of space. Not any more. Windy Peak delivers some of the lyrical magic that makes this mysterious red grape so addictive. $11.99, or $9.99 by the dozen (usually $14), at Nillumbik Cellars, Diamond Creek.

JENI PORT

HOW much wine can you buy for $200? Clearly, a lot; more than a dozen – and possibly two dozen – bottles. But are you after quantity or quality? These kinds of wines aren’t necessarily bargains, just cheap. A bargain is a wine that you have some experience of at a price that’s less than what you usually pay. You have to know what you are buying first, so taste the wine or buy a bottle and taste it and only then go back for the dozen. That’s buying wisely.

Get to know your wine source. Wine clubs support their members with not only good prices but aged releases and one-offs. Supermarkets slash prices because of the quantities they buy, but they are increasingly bringing in their own brands with little or no wine-drinking history. Be aware. Some, such as Dan Murphy’s, buy and age well-known brands in excellent storage conditions.

Keep in mind, provenance can be vitally important.

Independent retailers pride themselves on wines from smaller producers, but bargains can still be found. Don’t make assumptions.

Finally, seeking out a good price should not come at the cost of loyalty. I am still buying and enjoying wines from the same producers I was buying from 10 or 20 years ago. I have been watching their prices, the change of vintages, etc. My appreciation of those wines remains because I can see the continuation of quality at a fair price.

I don’t tend to chop and change, constantly chasing down bargain prices. Is it a fair price for the quality or not? A wine drinker builds an in-built bargain-meter of their own over time. Here’s how I would spend it wisely on wines to drink right now: 

Penfolds Reserve Bin 2005 Aged Release Riesling

Penfolds once considered Eden Valley riesling as a possible ”White Grange” (chardonnay eventually got the gig) and it’s easy to see why in this fabulous aged release available under Dan Murphy’s excellent cellar-release program. $32.99 at Dan Murphy’s.

All Saints Estate Family Reserve Marsanne 2010

All Saints is kicking big goals with its sophisticated interpretation of this underrated Rhone Valley grape. Pretty jasmine scent, spring flowers with signature honeysuckle to the fore, balanced acidity. $30 from allsaintswine南京夜网.au. Also at Prince Wine Store, Burwood Cellars and Barrique Wine Store, Healesville.

Le Sorelle di Suavia Soave

A little charmer, Le Sorelle brings a touch of summer to a cold winter’s day with its bright fruit intensity. Italian soave is never loud and this wine, with crisp apple, stone-fruit and a touch of almond, is terrific.$14.99 at Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice Liquor, which import it direct. 

Pleno Tempranillo 2010

Here’s your tapas – or pizza – wine. Strong, solid fruit, rounded easy approachability all for less than $20 a bottle. A no-fuss style with plenty of black-cherry spice, this tempranillo hails from Navarra, Spain. Love the generous middle palate. $16.50 at Blackhearts & Sparrows, Armadale Cellars and the importer, Randall’s, Geelong.

Campbells 2010: The Sixties Block

The list of ingredients is long and mixed – shiraz, tempranillo, graciano, tinta cao, souzao, carignan – but together they rock. Made in small quantities, distribution is mainly limited to cellar door or wine club customers. $28 at Cellarbrations, Elwood and Majestic Cellars, Mount Eliza.

Dowie Doole G&T Garnacha/Tempranillo 2011

Super-friendly red from McLaren Vale with a Spanish kick; the grapes are the star here: generous, juicy black and red fruits, discreet tannins, oak not for the sake of it. $25 from the Dowie Doole website (dowiedoole南京夜网); a discount can apply.

Clarence Plains JV Pinot Noir 2011

You want a wine ”bargain” to shed the dollars, right? Online retailer The Pinot Shop does just that with the Clarence Plains 2011 Tassie pinot, dropping the price from $25.50 to $23 a bottle. Off young vines, it’s boisterous in redcurrant, cherry fruit. Tasty and pleasing. $23 (usually $25.50) at www.pinotshop南京夜网 

Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2011, 375ml

Got to have a sweetie in your $200 wine basket and this consistent performer from the Clare Valley is always top value. Recently took out the trophy for top Aussie sweet riesling at the 2012 International Wine Challenge, no doubt aided by a little botrytis – a first for the style – to add complexity. $30 from the online cellar door at mounthorrocks南京夜网

CATHY GOWDIE

NOT everyone has a sexy independent bottle shop at the end of the street. In regional Victoria, the local pub or supermarket selection may be as good as it gets.

For me, getting to a big booze barn with a wider range means a 30-kilometre round trip. Because I come from a winemaking family, it also means feeling like a Presbyterian aunt on an illicit visit to the pokies: it’s fun and cheap, but I know some of those discounts come from putting the pinch on producers.

Still, the deals are hard to go past.

On the upside, I live in a winegrowing area. The best wines from top-rated wineries often come at special-occasion prices. But many such wineries, in my region and others, offer “second labels”.

These are like cheaper rooms at luxury hotels: no personal butler, but there’s the aesthetic and attention to detail you’d expect at higher prices. Plus, cellar doors let you try before you buy.

Here’s how I spent $200 locally on a weekday afternoon. 

McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2011

A perennial class act from the Hunter, widely available and known for cellaring beautifully. Opened now, it smells of fresh straw and has a racy, lemony finish. $16.99 at Ritchies IGA, Dromana. 

Taylors Estate Chardonnay 2010

From South Australia’s Clare region, another wine you can find almost anywhere: nicely balanced mainstream chardonnay if you’re after a traditional Aussie style with peachy flavours and simple oak. $15.99 (special) at Ritchies IGA, Dromana.

Pewsey Vale Riesling 2011

Pristine, floral, citrusy – I’d pay $20 or more for this lovely wine from South Australia’s Eden region. At $15, I grab two. $15 (special), 1st Choice, Mornington.

Houghton White Classic 2011

The label is vague about varieties and region, simply saying “Western Australia”, but I’m reassured by a silver medal from a decent wine show. Aromatic with a whiff of passionfruit; some sweetness on the finish makes it best drunk pretty cold. Google suggests the blend might include chenin blanc, chardonnay, verdelho, riesling and semillon. $9 at 1st Choice. 

Dal Zotto Pucino Prosecco

Junior sibling to this King Valley winery’s flagship prosecco, the Pucino is crisp and zesty with a hint of apple; a lively, inviting aperitif. $22, 1st Choice. 

Cattier Brut Premier Cru

Fine-beaded and smelling of vanilla french toast, this champagne has been known to beat bigger names in blind tastings. Sold through retailers owned by the Coles group. $40 at 1st Choice. 

Yabby Lake Red Claw Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot noir is the Mornington Peninsula’s star variety, notoriously fiddly to grow. Plus, it likes time maturing in expensive French oak barrels. Yabby Lake’s entry-level version is plummy and mouth-filling. For the same price Red Claw chardonnay 2010 is clean, elegant and complex, with discreet oak. $22.50 at Yabby Lake, Tuerong. 

Quealy Balnarring Vineyard Chardonnay 2010

Chardonnay is another variety this region does well: this is unoaked, in a fresh, modern style, creamy and textured, but with a clean finish. $20 at Quealy Wines, Balnarring. 

Montalto – Pennon Hill Melange Blanc 2010

Single-variety wines are in vogue and single-vineyard wines often priced at a premium, so blends of different grapes from different locations sometimes come cheaper. This “melange” of peninsula-grown pinot gris, riesling and muscat tastes minerally and floral, almost Italian – a reminder that clever blending can make good drinking. $23 at Montalto, Red Hill South.

Buying smart

■ Join a winery mailing list or wine club. Some offer a rewards scheme (eg, All Saints Estate), or maybe great bin ends or experimental, small-batch wines not commercially available.

■ If you are buying wines online, check delivery costs; they do vary. Many offer free delivery with a dozen bottles or more ordered.

■ Attend winemaker dinners or tastings in-store. Often wine bought on the day or night will come with a discount.

■ Don’t buy on impulse. If you can, try before you buy, especially when buying by the half dozen or more.

■ The more expensive wines don’t necessarily offer the better value. Don’t get seduced by hype. Are you buying to impress or to enjoy?

■ If you have a Costco membership, don’t forget to check out the wine section, where some of Melbourne’s better wine discounts can be found, especially champagne.

■ Look to wines imported direct by retailers, thus avoiding the middleman. Savings can be between 25 per cent and 40 per cent.

■ The big supermarket chains buy some bigger production wines in quantities that bring extra value to the $25 and less price point.

■ Check out companies that offer wine en primeur – buy now, pick up on release.

■ Follow Epicure’s wine coverage to keep in touch with retailers taking a slasher to their prices.

 

Cathy Gowdie is co-owner of a Mornington Peninsula vineyard.

Price guides listed here were correct at time of writing but might vary.

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


Public transport: you have to love it

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November 10, 2018 by admin

The stares are a dead giveaway. Not many Westerners get on this bus. Probably with good reason, too.
Nanjing Night Net

Seven or eight sets of eyes widen sharply and lock themselves upon us as we lug our bags up the grimy stairs and start looking for a place to perch for the next few hours. Among the staring eyes are plenty of places to sit on the plastic-covered benches of varying colours.

“Sit!” the driver shrieks. “Anywhere!” He’s shrieking to make himself heard above the Bollywood music booming from the dodgy old stereo perched on his dashboard.

At least there’s plenty of space. It’s a big bus with not many people aboard, so we sling our packs onto sticky velour, take the seats next to them and settle in among the staring eyes and the smell of motor oil and the sound of Bollywood.

It’s hard to know how long we’ll be sitting here. Officially, the journey from Chennai to Mamallapuram takes three hours, but time is elastic in this place, dependent as it is on traffic and mechanics and good fortune and the whim of the thousands of gods who are in charge.

One of those gods, Ganesha, sits on the dashboard next to the stereo, so at least we can assume he’s on our side. There’s a crack in the windscreen in front of him but no one seems concerned. It’s also about 40 degrees in here, so it’s a relief when the driver lets out the brake and eases us on to one of Chennai’s teeming streets, and the sticky air flows through the open windows.

Public transport: you have to love it. You can’t seriously say you’ve experienced a place until you’ve sampled the public transport. It’s like a diorama of the city it services, a visitor’s introduction to real life. Japan is the bullet train. London is a red double-decker bus. New York is the subway.

You can have some memorable experiences on public transport. And for some reason it seems that the more scungy the vessel, the more interesting the experience. Trains in Switzerland are boring. Rusty buses filled with chickens in Ghana are awesome.

This bus, the one that’s making achingly slow progress through Chennai, is a riot. It started the journey basically empty but in the past half-hour has become more and more crowded, to the point where my backpack has gone from occupying its own slice of colourful velour to occupying my lap. The seven or eight sets of staring eyes have become about 50 sets of staring eyes.

Outside is just as crazy. There’s a temple in the dead centre of a busy road. You know it’s a temple because there’s a street sign in front of it bearing a huge exclamation mark and the word “Temple”. Handy. The bus swerves around it, Bollywood still blasting, and almost crashes into a cow. It’s not amused.

There’s a tap on my back. I look around and into one of those sets of staring eyes. “Excuse me,” the guy sitting behind me says. “What is your country?”

That’s a standard question around here. “Australia.”

“Oh,” he beams. “Ricky Ponting.”

That’s a standard reaction around here. “Yep.”

He looks around to the guy sitting next to him and nods, pointing at me. “Ricky Ponting.”

It’s been at least two hours and we’re still making our way through the knotted streets of Chennai, seemingly no closer to Mamallapuram, the small town south of Tamil Nadu’s capital. The crowd around me ebbs and flows, a non-stop parade of all walks of Indian life boarding and leaving our rattling old bus.

Eventually, we grind to a halt and I look at the driver. “Mamallapuram?” He just shakes his head and jumps onto the street.

The guy behind me taps me on the shoulder again. “It is a breakdown. You should get off now.”

And so we all pile off our old clunker, taking shade in a small storefront while about a million Indians crowd around the engine and speculate. Time, once again, is elastic. We could be here for hours under the corrugated-iron roof waiting for our bus to fire back into life.

Soon the crowd around the engine dissipates and huge sacks of vegetables are unloaded from the roof. Passengers start looking for another bus to flag down. The legendary Indian patience is waning.

The Ricky Ponting fan strolls over to our perch, jabbing a finger at the busy highway.

“It’s time to get another bus. Come on, I can help you.”

And he does. Pretty soon another creaky old bus has pulled up next to us, sacks of vegetables are loaded onto the roof and everyone scrambles aboard looking to claim a seat on the colourful, plastic-covered benches.

There’s more Bollywood music blaring from the stereo and more staring eyes. Not many Westerners get on this bus. Probably with good reason, too.

[email protected]南京夜网

Have you ever had any memorable public transport experiences while travelling? Post a comment and share your stories below.

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


Transport plan long on hope, light on detail

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November 10, 2018 by admin

Four new motorways Second harbour rail crossingLong Term Transport Plan
Nanjing Night Net

Four new motorways through Sydney and a second rail crossing for Sydney Harbour are the centrepiece projects in the O’Farrell government’s draft transport master plan, released this morning.

But the plan does not specify starting times for any of the projects, some of which have been mooted for decades, and fails to detail how they will be paid for.

The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, and the Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, will discuss the draft transport master plan at a press conference after midday, which will be streamed live on smh南京夜网.au.

The draft plan, already available at this website, precedes a final transport masterplan to be released in November. 

But the draft, which runs to 370 pages and has been in development for more than a year, offers little detail on when desperately needed projects will start and how they will be built and paid for.

It breaks initiatives into short term (up to five years), medium term (five-10 years) and longer term (10-20 years).

The four motorway projects it endorses are the M5 East freeway expansion, the M4 extension featuring a tunnel under the inner west, the F6 to the Sutherland Shire, and the F3 to M2 link in northern Sydney.

A second harbour rail crossing would be a “long-term” initiative.

It would follow the completion of the North West Rail Link to Rouse Hill.

The plan also discusses light rail through Sydney’s CBD and into the eastern Suburbs, but does not commit to it.

And as for how projects will be funded, the plan advocates “efficient public sector operating models”, “smarter project procurement”, “consideration of the benefits of more efficient road user charges” for trucks and motorway users, unspecified “value capture” from major transport investments, and “identifying future funding opportunities by working with NSW Treasury.”

More to come

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


Super markets

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October 10, 2018 by admin

KATIE Falkiner, a North Melbourne resident and lover of good food, is dreaming up her perfect neighbourhood grocery shop. The City Grocer, when and if it is realised, will be stocked full of quality, local produce. Fruit and vegetables will be seasonal – not necessarily organic but as fresh and local as possible. Customers will know where it’s been grown.
Nanjing Night Net

There will be artisan dairy and bread offerings, and meat from specialist producers such as Warialda beef. The staff will be attentive and knowledgable. The aisles will be generously proportioned and tactics to entice impulse buying will be kept to a minimum. There will be a noticeboard for feedback and the shop will open late into the night.

Falkiner and her business partners, three long-time friends, are so confident the City Grocer is everything North Melbourne has been missing, they’re planning to ditch their careers to turn it into a reality. All they need is the right retail space. They had better find one quick.

Across Melbourne and in Victoria’s regional centres, successful grocery shops of the type Falkiner and pals envisage are popping up. As a sector of the community becomes increasingly interested in the path their food travels to the table, and as the consequences of Australia’s supermarket duopoly come under the spotlight, a new band of small-scale grocers and producers are combining forces.

In Elwood’s bustling Ormond Road shopping strip, Leon Mugavin is renovating. His five-year-old business, the Leaf Store, is thriving. His customer base and sales are up 15 per cent over the past year. Coles and Woolworths might want to take a leaf out of Mugavin’s book. Bursting at the seams, he is knocking out a wall, maximising his retail space for a bigger range of produce and pantry lines. A stunning floral counter is being booted to new premises up the road; the area formerly occupied by blossoms will accommodate fourth and fifth registers.

Many of the Leaf Store’s lines are also sold at monthly farmers’ markets. There are green apples from Wandin and organic red Otway potatoes from Warrnambool. Customers also have access to quality produce from boutique Victorian wholesalers, such as olive oil from Chapman Hill, olives and pulses from Mount Zero in the Western District, and dairy products from Schulz Organic Farms, The Butter Factory in Myrtleford and 180 Acres – to name just a few. In the bread section there is an abundance of loaves from Dench and Irrewarra Sourdough, and several gluten-free lines. ”We don’t call [the Leaf Store] a farmers’ market,” Mugavin says. ”But we are a bit like a seven-day-a-week farmers’ market.”

Mugavin had 15 years’ experience wholesaling fruit and vegetables before he opened Leaf in 2007. ”It was way back in 1997 that I read an article in a newspaper about the future of food retailing and it talked about stores like this, and that planted the seed,” he says.

At Mount Evelyn in the Yarra Valley, Angela Gioffre has opened one of Victoria’s newest independent grocers, spurred by the success of her fruit and vegetable delivery service, Organic Empire. She didn’t just buy the shop building; she bought the farm – 2½ acres of land out the back has been certified organic and soon Gioffre will begin growing vegetables such as Tuscan cabbage and white eggplants.

The Organic Empire Food Store opened in mid-August. The closest supermarket is a small IGA a five-minute drive up the road. Gioffre opens the store only three days a week but business has been booming. ”I can’t believe it,” she says. ”We’ve had people come from all over Melbourne. We don’t advertise, but we have a big email list and I presume it’s through that.”

But some others entering this niche retail space have little or no experience in groceries. In Ascot Vale, Paul Hateley and Hamish Gadsby have developed their business, the Happy Apple, over five years. Hateley says the long-time friends decided to open an ”old-style, village grocer” after returning to Australia from Britain. He worked in senior roles for multinationals Danone and Coca-Cola, and Gadsby had been working for adidas. While living in Clapham in London, Hateley developed a love for the small, independent grocers that specialised in gourmet products. Like the Leaf Store, the Happy Apple started as a typical greengrocer but has since expanded its offering.

Perusing the shelves and refrigerators at the Union Road store is a joy. In the freezer are pies, made from the Happy Apple’s fruit at the cooking school up the road. Boutique Victorian brands compete for shelf space, ensuring customers stumble, with regularity, upon new producers. Doodles Creek mayonnaise? Bullfrog Gully eggs? In the cheese cabinet, next to offerings from growing brands Meredith Dairy and Yarra Valley Dairy, is Locheilan farmhouse cheese, which hails from Wunghnu, a dot on the map near Shepparton.

Agrifood consultant David McKinna says the boutique producers are defying the gloom that shrouds much of the local food-processing sector. He defines ”boutique” as companies with an annual turnover of less than $20 million. ”You also define them by the specialness or niche nature of their product,” McKinna says. ”Invariably, they start out as passionate foodies producing products at home and then grow into successful businesses.” He points to Locheilan cheese as an example. ”They were a small dairy farm that were too small to make money, so they started making cheese and selling it through farmers’ markets; now they’re moving into providores and independent supermarkets.”

But McKinna says retailers who are making money from boutique products are unlikely to ever worry ”the big boys” because higher prices cut out a swath of Australian shoppers, with 80 cents in every grocery dollar currently spent at Coles and Woolworths.

Bronwynne Calvert, who owns Irrewarra Sourdough with her husband John, isn’t waiting for the big supermarket chains to knock on her door. Irrewarra hand-shapes 17,000 sourdough loaves each week, up from about 5000 loaves in 2005. Demand already outstrips supply and the family had to open a second factory late last year. Bronwynne says quality would suffer if the company tried to expand much more: ”We would probably have to mechanise.” She is also reluctant to relinquish control of distribution and pricing.

Irrewarra Sourdough is stocked in small grocery stores, providores and markets and, increasingly, in independent supermarkets in better-off areas where, Calvert says, people ”can afford to care about the quality of ingredients in their food”.

Supermarkets such as McCoppins in Clifton Hill and the Renaissance IGAs in Hawthorn are some of Irrewarra’s bigger retailers. Irrewarra has recently begun supplying the Yarraville FoodWorks on Anderson Street. Owner Marc Heine is rebranding the supermarket the Village Store. He is typical of a growing number of independent supermarket proprietors trying to differentiate themselves from the big two by offering in-demand boutique products while trying to remain price competitive on everyday items.

Demand is so strong for some boutique products that producers exercise near-complete control over distribution. Soon after Mugavin set up the Leaf Store, he had to beg the Calverts to supply him with their sourdough. Bronwynne says there are risks in supplying a new retailer. ”We look at the range of products they are selling. We look at things like whether they have enough car parking space.” Most importantly, they make sure they share common values with the proprietor. ”We decided to supply Leon because he was so passionate and knowledgable about food. And he harassed us.”

Mugavin points to another example of the strength of the artisan food market. ”During the $1 milk wars between Coles and Woolies, our sales of organic milk went up.”

The Leaf Store stocks unhomogenised milk from Schulz Organic Farms in Timboon, among others. It retails for about $3 a litre. Owner Simon Schulz says his business grew 120 per cent between 2010-11 and 2011-12. ”The recent issue about permeate has added another string to our bow.” He does not feel he’s competing with the $1-a-litre milk suppliers, or for those who buy it. ”It’s an entirely different product.”

There are signs that Coles and Woolworths are taking note of the strength of the boutique market. McKinna says the Thomas Dux stores are Woolworths’ testing ground for gourmet products. In June, Coles announced plans to sell more ”hidden local gems” in some of its stores. But whether these are genuine attempts to expand product range and support local producers is a moot point to small grocers doing well. And they’re not averse to stealing some ideas themselves. The Happy Apple has recently introduced a loyalty-card program and an online shopping option for customers.

In Castlemaine in central Victoria, married couple Eva Bodno and Matt Williams are unconcerned about rumours (hearsay, according to one local councillor) that Coles and Woolworths have both bought land on the outskirts of the growing town.

Until now, their four-year-old business Green Goes the Grocer has faced supermarket competition only from IGA. Specialising in local and organic produce, they are doing so well they’ve had to triple the size of their coolroom and take on more staff, and recently they spent $2500 on a shipping container for extra storage space at the back of the store.

Bodno estimates turnover has quadrupled since their first year of operation. ”I don’t think our customers are the type of people who shop in supermarkets,” she says. As if to make the point, a woman and her daughter enter Bodno’s store, apparently for the first time, and exclaim at the price of her sweetcorn (two heads for $6). Williams shrugs as the woman and her daughter leave; $3 a sweetcorn is simply the price of buying organic produce at a time of year when Queensland supplies have been affected by flooding. Bodno and Williams’ regular customers are willing to pay $3 and they have more and more regulars.

”At first we knew everyone’s names,” Williams says. ”But now we can’t keep track.”

Local championsThe Leaf Store, 111 Ormond Road, Elwood. 9531 6542.

What we love The Leaf Store’s efforts, through in-store newsletters and social networking, to acquaint customers with local producers and under-loved fruit and veg. The current star of the store’s ”Campaign Ugly” is celeriac. Sign up to the store’s Facebook page or Twitter for recipes. Online store coming soon. Open seven days.

Foodie find Honey from JC + MK Dawson (Kyneton), and Myrtleford Butter.

Happy Apple185 Union Road, Ascot Vale. 9370 8426.

What we love Like Leaf, the owners source quality fresh fruit and vegetables (and tell you where it’s from) and a good range of boutique Victorian breads, dairy, meat, preserves, condiments and pantry lines. New online store allows customers to shop from home. Open seven days. thehappyapple南京夜网.au/store

Foodie find Doodles Creek mayonnaise (Bowral).

Green Goes the Grocer, 29a Templeton Street, Castlemaine. 5470 5511.

What we love Focus on organic produce but owners also champion a local low-food-miles project. Two logos are used in store to identify produce: one for food produced within Mount Alexander Shire and one for food produced further afield but within 160 kilometres of the Castlemaine post office. Open Monday-Saturday.

Foodie find Taranaki Farm eggs from grass-fed, pasture-raised chooks.

Organic Empire Food Store138 Monbulk Road, Mount Evelyn. 9737 6977. Open Mon, Thurs, Sat, 10am-2pm.

What we love Owner Angela Gioffre is taking the ”farmer-direct” slogan literally. Soon locals will be able to pop into her store for vegetables picked that day from her organic farm out the back. Gioffre has plans to stock local game meat soon.

Foodie find Mock Red Hill Apple Cider Vinegar.

Also see …

■ Radical Grocery Store, 6 Wilson Avenue, Brunswick. 9077 5512 Specialises in vegan, organic and Fair Trade food.

■Maldon 50K Local, 63 Main Street, Maldon. 0402 711 082. As the name suggests, nearly all products sold here are grown within 50 kilometres of Maldon.

■Geelong Fresh Foods, 171 Pakington Street, West Geelong. 5221 6004. Quality fruit and vegetables are the main emphasis, but there’s a great deli and a good range of local food, including fresh La Madre and Zeally Bay bread.

■Bendigo Wholefoods, 314 Lyttleton Terrace, Bendigo. 5443 9492. Organic and local foods with a nod to global ingredients. Suppliers include Glenloth Free-range Poultry (Wycheproof), Buloke Park Olives and Holy Goat Cheese.

■ Village Store, 6 Anderson Street, Yarraville. 9687 8375. Stocks a range of artisan bread, Jonesy’s Dairy Fresh Milk and Angus Pure grass-fed beef (Bordertown).

■Cardamone Gourmet, 143 Station Street, Fairfield. 9481 0586. Known for its amazing deli (house-made antipasti and meats), fridges with local and imported cheeses and the in-house Marisa’s Kitchen, which whips up take-home meals and offers catering.

■A. Bongiovanni & Son, 176-178 Victoria Street, Seddon. 9689 8669. Good range of Victorian dairy and meat offerings, including Wurrook Superfine Prime Merino Meat from Victoria’s western plains.

■Aussie Farmers Food Warehouse, 391 Settlement Road, Thomastown. 9466 4477. Owned by a collective of Goulburn Valley farmers selling fruit and vegetables direct.

■LaManna Direct, 10 English Street, Essendon Fields. 9026 9205. A ”new kind of supermarket” with 100 per cent Australian fruit and veg.

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


Property’s pot of gold

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October 10, 2018 by admin

Spring buyers were out in force at the start of yesterday’s auction season, with some properties fetching much higher than expected prices.
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The auction clearance rate was an impressive 63.9per cent, with results in last night for 228 of the 334auctions.

“It was the highest number of auctions for 10 weeks,” the senior economist of Australian Property Monitors, Dr Andrew Wilson, said. “With two weeks above 60 per cent, the results confirm the growing momentum in the Sydney housingmarket.”

Among the happy vendors were Adam and Amelie Cornelius, who sold their renovated three-bedroom cottage in Newington Road, Marrickville, for $1,030,000.

“We were hoping for mid-9s and it really exceeded what we were expecting,” Ms Cornelius said.

About 60 people packed into the small backyard, with 12 registered bidders. As the planes roared overhead, six bidders were active. In the end, a young family nabbed the double-fronted freestanding home on 290square metres.

Belle Property Newtown agent Joseph Tropiano said there was a shortage of quality homes for sale. “So those who have got into the market early are going to get some good results,” he said.

APM says there have been 14 sales above $1million in Marrickville in the past year, but this is the only one without off-street parking.

The vendors, who are moving to Perth, have spent about $80,000 on improvements since buying the property for $830,000 in 2009.

A Lane Cove home sold for $182,500 over reserve. “It’s awesome and I’m so excited,” the selling agent, Soraya Wheatley, of LJ Hooker Lane Cove said. There had been 13 registrations, 10 active bidders and 123 groups through.

In the east, investors paid $910,000 for an old two-bedroom fibro on a 620-square metre block at 15 Brisbane Street, Chifley, and plan to rent it out for $750 a week before knocking it down and building a duplex. “There were seven registered parties, but six bidders,” Natalie Zulian of Ellison Zulian Property said.

“We had 78 groups through the door, 13 contract holders and some very happy vendors.”

Scan Sydney Tower to see an interview with the happy vendors.

Domain Pages 57-62

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New season puts a spring in Perth’s property market despite shortfall

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October 10, 2018 by admin

While there is movement in Perth’s property market, this spring is starting with a shortfall in properties listed for sale.Perth’s property market is running low on homes to sell as it heads into the traditionally busy spring period, putting price rises on the horizon.
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Warmer weather and the end of the football season has historically seen a flurry of people wanting to sell or buy property and after three years of a sluggish market Perth real estate agents are predicting this will be the best spring for some time.

“When the sun’s out, the flowers are out [and] people decide around spring time ‘let’s make a move’ [in the property market],” Professionals Real Estate WA chief executive David Hobbs said.

“In winter people hibernate, they ride out the cold and wet. It really is a good time for real estate agents [in spring].”

Activity increased by one-third during spring, Mr Hobbs said.

“Sales will be up dramatically, there’s no doubt that there is real movement in the market now,” he said.

“We’re seeing records in a couple of our offices.”

Australia Property Monitors senior economist Andrew Wilson said while last spring was flat due to an “affordability hangover” the next few months would be the best in several years.

However, unlike last year, this spring is starting with a shortfall in properties listed for sale.

There were only 10,700 properties – including houses, units and land – for sale as of yesterday, according to the Real Estate Institute of WA.

About 12,000 is considered to represent a healthy market.

Listings were at 17,000 only 12 months ago and reached a peak of more than 18,000 in May 2010.

Ray White WA chief executive Mark Whiteman said the city was at risk of not having enough stock as more buyers become interested.

“We’re listing at least as many properties as we’re selling,” he said.

A survey of Perth real estate agents revealed suburbs likely to have the most activity this spring are those along transport corridors, near train stations, in the inner city and a few kilometres from the coast.

Homes priced in the lower to mid price range also would be more popular as buyers remained cautious at the top end of the market.

“[The market] is still very price driven and price sensitive,” Realmark Real Estate principal John Percudani said.

“There’s strong investor activity in the apartment sector, in particular in the CBD and inner city.

“I think you’re going to see a lot more activity in areas such as Pearsall, Kingsley and Padbury in the north. They’re areas that provide very good value for money.

“South of the river, Willetton and adjacent suburbs are still very attractive.”

Mr Percudani said buyers were facing living cost pressures and were now enquiring about costs beyond the property purchase.

“People are very focused now on the cost of living, so proximity to community facilities, transport … rates and utilities … have been a big focus in terms of overall affordability of the home.

“What type of heating and cooling is in that home? Has it got an expensive pool to heat? Does it have a lot of garden or is it economical?

“All those running costs of the home are of high consideration, particularly in the medium [price] point of the market.”

Mr Percudani said cost of living also was influencing buyers to favour inner city areas over outer suburbs.

Harcourts chief executive officer Stuart Cox said coastal suburbs typically did well during spring but this year suburbs set back a few kilometres would fare better because they were close enough to the beach without costing a fortune.

Cockburn Central, with the new Fiona Stanley Hospital, shopping centre and apartment complexes, also was very active.

Mr Whiteman added Belmont, Rivervale, Mt Lawley and North Perth to the list of suburbs expected to have a busy property season this spring.

Mandurah and Rockingham also would pick up, he said.

While competition among buyers for the few properties on sale threatens to push up prices, the industry is not expecting any significant rises for the next six months.

“We may start to see, as sales move up … the median price range will rise [but] that’s only because we’re starting to see a few more sales in the top end,” Mr Whiteman said.

Dr Wilson said spring often encouraged buyers at higher price points, which drove up the city’s median price, causing a statistical anomaly.

“[Perth property prices] rose 1.7 per cent in the first six months of this year and we’d expect that to continue and that sort of momentum to build on through the remaining of this year,” he said.

“This will probably be the best spring market for the last few years.”Comment at WAtodayFollow WAtoday on Twitter

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Love’s labour found

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October 10, 2018 by admin

Any biographer who labours on a book for 13 or 14 years should be pitied rather than praised, says Jeffrey Meyers, an American literary scholar and author of 50 books, including 22 biographies.
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“It’s just inefficient,” he says. “They become resentful. I’ve reviewed a lot of biographies and you can tell when the author feels his life has been eaten up by his subject.”

Professor Meyers, who lives in Berkeley, California, is so efficient that he researches his subjects for six months, then writes three pages a day until he finishes a 400-page biography in three or four months.

Meyers is in Australia to give the Seymour Biography Lecture. His intriguing subject is the discovery of secret lovers while researching the biographies of Joseph Conrad, Wyndham Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Robert Frost.

The poet Frost, for example, was widowed in his early 60s in 1938 and was considered an old man whose sexual and emotional life was over.

“But I’d seen Frost read when I was a student and he was in his 70s and still a vigorous man,” Meyers says. “When I wrote the book [published in 1996] I was about 60 and I asked myself, am I willing to give up my sexual life? I assumed he had a sexual life and so I asked, with whom?”

Meyers learned Frost had a 25-year affair with his married secretary and wrote many of his love poems for her. He tracked down the woman’s daughter, who as a girl had watched her father drive his car while Frost sat with his arm around her mother in the back seat.

“When I went to her house she said, ‘I’ve been waiting all my life for you to come’. She didn’t want to tell the story but she was willing to relieve herself of the secret she had kept all her life.”

Some of his best research, Meyers says, was for Inherited Risk, a double biography of the Australian-born actor Errol Flynn and his son Sean, a war photographer who disappeared in Cambodia in 1970.

He traced a path to a Cambodian woman who was researching missing journalists and learned that Sean Flynn had been beheaded in a Vietcong prison camp.

Most recently he published a biography of the filmmaker John Huston and a collection of letters the English novelist Iris Murdoch wrote to him over 20 years.

He puts his productivity down to experience, enthusiasm, organisation and his wife’s editing.

“We have very interesting intellectual arguments when I think one way and she thinks another,” he says. “I’m very pleased with what I write and she says, ‘It’s a piece of crap, throw it out and start again’.”

Jeffrey Meyers will lecture on The Search for Five Women at the National Library on September 13 and the State Library of NSW on September 20.

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Ellyse Perry joins Sydney FC

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October 10, 2018 by admin

ELLYSE Perry’s quest to simultaneously continue her football and cricket careers will continue for at least another year with the dual-international joining W-League side Sydney FC.
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Perry was effectively given an ultimatum by Canberra United coach Jitka Klimkova at the end of last season’s championship-winning campaign, saying she would have to commit exclusively to football if she wanted to stay with the club.

That alone was a cause of contention in both the football and cricket communities – both of whom remain largely supportive of her unique efforts – but Canberra insisted it was a matter of lifting the professionalism and commitment of their players.

However, Perry, who represented the Matildas at last year’s World Cup, was not short of interest from across the league and in the end linked up, as expected, with her home-town club.

“My family is here, I study at Sydney University and my cricket is based in Sydney,” Perry told The Women’s Game website. “It was difficult to constantly commute three hours there and then three hours back for games and training and I was missing training sessions for both sports.”

In an interview with the Herald in May, Perry said she held no grudges against Canberra.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be involved with Canberra United for the last three W-League seasons but there’s some changes at the club and the coach, Jitka Klimkova, has some different ideas about how the team needs to be run,” she said at the time. “I fully respect her philosophy, it’s certainly her prerogative to change, but … I’ll have to start looking for a new club.”

The fallout at the time was considerable, especially in football, where identities such as former Socceroo Francis Awaritefe decried Canberra’s move as “stunningly stupid” and a “spectacular own goal by Canberra United and football in general”.

Perry will start training with her new teammates this Saturday in preparation for the new W-League season.

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