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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”.
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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.

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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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Dear Tracy: A letter on baby weight loss, from realistic mums everywhere

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August 8, 2018 by admin

The pressure for new mums to lose their baby weight is in the spotlight again, with celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson saying women use pregnancy as “an excuse to let their bodies go”.
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Anderson, who’s credited with sculpting the post-pregnancy bodies of Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow, got back to her pre-baby weight just six weeks after giving birth. In the September issue of Dujour magazine, she argued that while the “journey of getting back to your best level of performance physically is very hard” it’s also an “incredibly empowering place to be”.

I can already hear you shouting at the screen in indignation. So I thought I’d write a response to Tracy, on behalf of those of us who didn’t lose our baby weight in six weeks.

Hey Tracy,

Firstly, good for you! You look amazing, as does J-Lo and Gwyneth, so kudos to all of you. I’d love to look like you guys at any time in my life, let alone six weeks after having a baby.

But here’s the thing: we all know that to look like you ladies do, it takes WORK. Hours of sweating, pain and effort. And you know what? Most of us just aren’t that into putting ourselves through that, because we just had a baby! And we want to hang out with those babies. Feed them, hold them, get to know them, and try to figure out what the hell we’re doing. Many of us waited a long time to get these babies, longed for them for years, and went through trials to get them. So now they’re here we kind of want to soak them up for a bit.

We also find that on some days, just getting out of our pyjamas – let alone out of the house – is tough. We’re tired, we’re not sleeping much, and, quite frankly, when we do have a moment to ourselves we’d rather eat cake than go to the gym.

Look, your dedication to fitness is impressive, and your intention to encourage new mums to be healthy is fair enough. But when most of us read your words and look at your body we don’t feel inspired – we just feel bad. Bad that we don’t look like you do, that we’re not motivated to go to the gym in the little time we have, and that people will judge us for “letting ourselves go”.

We don’t want to feel bad. We want to celebrate the amazing achievement of having a baby. We want to feel like superheroes. To be applauded and praised because a baby came out of our body. Not inferior because those bodies don’t look like they used to.

Being fit and looking good is your job; it’s what you’re paid to do, your passion, and clearly what you’re good at. We have passions, jobs and things we’re good at too, but you don’t see us in magazines proclaiming that everyone should do what we do. I wrote a musical in the weeks after I had my second baby. I would write when she was asleep, and sometimes in the middle of the night when I was feeding her. I wrote in every moment I had spare, just like you work out. It made me happy, it stimulated and inspired me. So should I do interviews suggesting all new mums write a musical, because it’ll empower them? Um, no, because the mums who weren’t into writing musicals before they had babies probably aren’t going to be into afterwards. It’s unlikely to be a helpful suggestion.

Some people are saving lives in the months after they have babies. There are mums coming up with scientific discoveries, teaching, nursing and representing people in a court of law. Do we compare ourselves to them and feel inferior because we’re not doing what they are? Are they in magazines proclaiming how “empowering” their life choices are post-baby, and encouraging us to do the same?

Of course not. That would be silly.

But here’s the thing. Sometimes we forget that comparing ourselves to people like you is equally silly. We let your toned post-baby body make us feel inferior, instead of realising that the vast majority of us didn’t look like you before we had kids, so it’s unlikely we will afterwards. We forget that we don’t have the time or the money to dedicate our lives to looking like you and Gwyneth, and that even if we did we’d probably want to spend it on something less exhausting and more fun.

You are right – we shouldn’t lose ourselves when we become mums. We should allow ourselves a bit of time to eat cake and not leave the house, but also stay healthy. For our children and ourselves, our mental and our physical confidence. We should go for walks, eat vegies, drink water and do our pelvic floor exercises. We know that. We don’t need to see you in a bikini to remind us of it.

So from now on when we see a picture of you, instead of feeling bad about ourselves, we’re going to try to remember that we’re just different. We have different lives, passions, skills, priorities and body shapes, and we don’t need to aspire to be like you any more than we need to aspire to be like the mum who is saving lives. We know we’re doing the best we can, focusing on being good mums and doing the things that make us happy. And that is what is empowering.

Kind regards,Mums who haven’t lost their baby weight xx

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Why Demetriou should be ARL’s target

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August 8, 2018 by admin

Andrew Demetriou Andrew Demetriou
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If the ARL Commission is so intent on hiring an AFL man as its chief executive, maybe it should wait until its leader, Andrew Demetriou, becomes available.

Rugby league needs a dictator and Demetriou has proven he can control AFL clubs, their Players’ Association and extract superior deals from stadiums and broadcasters.

The ARLC is pursuing his deputy, Gillon McLachlan, who shares many of Demetriou’s traits but not his “take no prisoners” approach.

While McLachlan is being portrayed as a polo playing son of one of South Australia’s most patrician families, the real question is: could he stand up to Nick Politis and Phil Gould?

Both are entitled to their strong views.

Politis, as the longest serving club chairman, has probably poured about $30m of his private wealth into the Roosters over his near 40 years in control at Bondi Junction.

ARLC directors lauded his business negotiating skills during his term on the NRL Partnership Committee.

Gould has demonstrated his great love for the game by turning his back on the rich rewards and comparably relaxed life of the media to return to his first club, Penrith, and basically fix it.

Indications are he has met most of his objectives inside a year: resurrected their junior representative teams, rid the Panthers of some of ther bloated contracts to create salary cap space and even rationalised the number of licensed clubs they control.

If he returns to a full time job in the media, as expected, he is will join his close friend, Politis, in maintaining a vigilant watch over the ARLC chief executive.

If it is McLachlan, good luck!

Indications are Politis has already sought a meeting with him.

McLachlan must also deal with an empowered QRL which has half the commissioners either living in or supporting Queensland, setting up potential conflict with Sydney NRL clubs and the NSWRL.

There is evidence the net cast by the ARLC’s executive search team, Spencer Stuart, has not been very wide.

The ARU boss, John O’Neill, did not receive a phone call.

This is not surprising, given he has signalled his retirement and John Mumm, the boss of Spencer Stuart, sits on the ARU board.

Nor has Ian Robson, chief executive of AFL club Essendon and formerly with Hawthorn, been approached.

Robson is one of the guesses as the mysterious “third candidate”, with Racing NSW boss, Peter V’Landys, named as the second choice behind McLachlan.

Nor has Brian Cook been head-hunted.

Cook is the chief executive of Geelong, a man widely credited with eradicating the Cats’ $7m debt, turning the club into a premiership force and winning grants for the redevelopment of their stadium.

Cook was the AFL Commission’s preferred choice as executive commissioner when Demetriou, then the AFLPA boss, won the job.

The AFL’s then chairman, the late Ron Evans, lobbied hard for Demetriou and was supported by the ACTU’s Bill Kelty, who wanted a union man.

Demetriou’s pay rose with his achievements to reach $2.2m a year, something which caused the NRL’s then chief executive, David Gallop, much grief.

Gallop was receiving $750,000 when he left the ARLC and could not win another cent from chairman John Grant.

Now, it appears, the ARLC is willing to pay McLachlan twice the money it paid Gallop.

Clearly, Gallop was not wanted but surely McLachlan must be causing the ARLC some concern over his reservations about accepting the post.

If he does not give a yes this week, my guess is the ARLC will wait until a better candidate appears and work with its compliant acting chief executive, Shane Mattiske.

This will suit the commission’s reform agenda and its need to be seen as relevant, even making rulings on the run.

They have referred shoulder charges direct to the judiciary, increasing the seriousness of the offence without considering the pressure it places on referees.

If a defensive player makes contact front-on with his shoulder but doesn’t use his arms, is it a shoulder charge?

It certainly doesn’t constitute a classic one in terms of intent, but if the shoulder makes contact with the head, then it must be deemed dangerous.

Referees, along with policing double markers, the wrestle, the strip and the 10 metres, must now cope with attacking players screaming “shoulder charge” every time a player hits the ball carrier high with his shoulder, whether he uses his arms or not.

It’s a question which will perplex McLachlan who comes from a code where even a bump is illegal.

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Frankston Primary ‘let down over cash’: MP

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July 9, 2018 by admin

Funds needed: Frankston Primary School principal Morry Rubinstein, left, takes James Merlino and Lee Tarlamis on a tour of the school. Picture: Gary SissonsWHAT DO YOU THINK? SCROLL TO BELOW THIS STORY TO POST A COMMENT.
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THE state government is letting down the pupils at Frankston Primary School by refusing to honour a funding commitment made by the former Labor government, says Opposition education spokesman James Merlino.

Mr Merlino and South-Eastern Metropolitan Region MP Lee Tarlamis said that while the school’s teaching staff provided top rate education to their students, they were doing it in outdated facilities.

In the 2010 election campaign, Labor pledged that it would fund a $500,000 refurbishment of the school’s two-storey building – a promise that the two Labor MPs say the Coalition government should honour.

“Modern teaching methods, including using information computer technology during lessons, are more difficult when the classroom is from another era,” Mr Merlino said.

Eduction Minister Martin Dixon said while the government was committed to upgrading schools it had to responsiily balance and prioritise the needs of more than 1500 government schools.

“If the principal of Frankston Primary School believes the school has urgent maintenance or safety issues requiring rectification works which exceed the school’s available funds, he should contact the education department’s southern metropolitan regional office to have the matter investigated.”


Suburban fashion on the cutting edge

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July 9, 2018 by admin

FASHION designer April Marie Hewat is used to the startled looks and snide comments from insiders when she says she lives and works in Cranbourne.
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But with her company, April Marie Swimwear, clearly going places, the mother of three can afford to be relaxed about her suburban address and background.

Cleo magazine recently featured her tiger swimsuit – modelled by Jennifer Hawkins – and next month she will present her collection at Fashion Aid 2012, one of Melbourne’s most popular charity fund-raisers.

Early in her career, she used Sydney models, high-profile fashion photographers and tropical locations. It cost a fortune and always left her disappointed.

Now that her confidence has grown, Ms Hewat prefers local locations – the Peninsula Hot Springs, for example, or Cranbourne swimming pool – and a local creative team: Carrum Downs photographer Rebecca Le Souef and Langwarrin model Monique Wardley.

“We make a good team. Bec understands what I’m after and I’m much happier with the results. Everyone who sees the portfolio is blown away by the photos,” Ms Hewat said.

“I don’t have anything against male photographers but they want the photos to look like something out of People magazine and my swimwear is much classier than that.”

Her interest in fashion began when she was growing up on a farm in Carrum Downs. “I was lying awake one night at 3am wondering how I could make swimwear different. I ran into my dad and said ‘I know – we’ll print Australian postcards onto lycra’.”

Later, she switched to images of plants and animals, the most distinctive being her tiger bikini. She took a risk, put an ad in Vogue and sales went through the roof. In 2009, she launched the label at Fashion Week in Sydney.

“I knew nothing about the rag trade when I started – I made a lot of costly mistakes. Everyone loved what I was doing but they didn’t think I could achieve it.”

Ms Hewat does all the swimwear and fabric design, co-ordinates the manufacture and does the marketing.

She would probably sew them too if she could. Her husband, Paul, does the bookwork and her father is her biggest backer.

She likes working with other mothers because they understand what it’s like.

“I have a beautiful home office but there are times when my kids are running around. With other mums, I don’t have to be embarrassed if there’s a toy or a biscuit on the floor.

“There’s a benefit to being in the suburbs because you can be true to who you want to be.”

Home style: Rebecca Le Souef, Monique Wardley and April Marie Hewat (with Alarah, 9 months) are a formidable fashion team. Monique is modelling the famous tiger swimsuit. Picture: Ted Kloszynski


Kananook Primary gets a health boost

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July 9, 2018 by admin

KANANOOK Primary School has won a $46,000 makeover as the Victorian winner of the Let’s Live Better – Run Around Australia campaign.
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The initiative was held by Colonial First State Global Asset Management shopping centres, in partnership with the Children’s Food Education Foundation.

Children were encouraged to include fresh food in their diets and exercise regularly. Families shopping at Bayside shopping centre earned one point for the primary school with every dollar spent. Double points were awarded for fresh food purchases.

The prize included a canteen makeover by Thermomix, $15,000 cash, $15,000 worth of sport and educational equipment and a food education seminar for pupils and their families.

Parent Nickie Fidge, who co-ordinated the school’s entry effort, said the two Thermomix appliances would come in handy for healthy cooking lessons by budding chefs.

Pupils in grades 5 and 6 hoped to use the versatile appliances, which chop and cook, to make fruit sorbets and soups with some of the produce from the school’s vegie patch and sell their healthy culinary creations to other pupils at the students representative council canteen.

“We also plan to use the Thermomixes in our school’s Kid’s Kitchen to help in preparing the healthy snacks and meals that all children in the school are involved in.

“They will speed up many of the cooking processes and allow us to cook a wider range of foods,” Ms Fidge said.

Healthy competition: Kananook Primary School grade 5 pupils Bhavik and Daniqua get ready to try one of the Thermomix appliances.Picture: Gary Sissons


Amazing Race winners are simply … amazing

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July 9, 2018 by admin

TWO police officers are coming down off an adrenaline high after winning the latest season of the reality television series The Amazing Race Australia.
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After eight months of keeping the win a secret, including from immediate family members, the pair are happy to finally be able to talk about it.

Andrew Thoday, 35, of Langwarrin, and close friend Shane Haw, 44, of Bentleigh East, said it had been difficult keeping quiet about their success. “If the police van had been bugged it would have been all out,” Thoday said.

The pair, who have worked together for seven years, are closer than ever after completing the race. “We both respect each other and when the other one tells you to pull your head in, you do it,” Haw said.

They may have been fated to take out the race after opening a fortune cookie that read: “You are going to win a contest.”

They both agree the race was one of the hardest things they have ever done. “Nothing has wrecked us as much as the race did,” Thoday said. “It was incredibly challenging, both physically and mentally.”

Although their winnings – $250,000 split evenly between them – weren’t enough for them to put their feet up and stop working, they said it was a nice bonus.

Thoday said he would put the winnings towards paying off the mortgage, educating his children and buying a new car for his wife.

Their experience in Canada, which included axe throwing and ice waterfall climbing, was a highlight for the pair.

“That was the most action-packed leg of the race. We gained a lot of confidence from our success in Canada and it was at that point we thought we were actually a chance of winning it,” Haw said.

“Even without the cabbage [winnings] you would still be satisfied. We got a taste of the world. If there is an ‘all stars’ race we’d do it tomorrow.”

Big win: Shane Haw and Andrew Thoday at the finish line of The Amazing Race Australia on Fraser Island.


Casey crime stats: Family violence rates jump

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July 9, 2018 by admin

FAMILY violence continues to be Casey’s main crime problem with police investigating more than 1000 family assaults in the 12 months to June 31.
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The latest police statistics, released today, show Casey police handled 1055 family assault cases, 36 per cent more than in the previous 12 months.

The head of the Casey police area, Inspector Wayne Viney, said family violence remained a significant problem.

‘‘We are actively targeting known recidivist offenders of family violence and make no apologies if these offenders are removed from their own homes and either relocated or remanded in custody. An assault is an assault, whether it’s in the home or in the street.’’

He said the entire community had a role to play in reducing family violence.

‘‘If we work together as a community and demonstrate this behaviour won’t be tolerated we can start to reduce the number of people being assaulted in their own homes.’’

The number of non-family assaults was little changed at 1045. There were eight homicides, up from seven a year earlier.

Police were also concerned by a 33 per cent increase in the number of robberies, up from 117 to 156.

Residential burglaries jumped from 893 to 1076 but other burglaries fell from 495 to 433. The number of aggravated burglaries — where a resident was home — rose 80 per cent from 47 to 85.

Drug offences in Casey increased more than 80 per cent, up from 394 to 719. Of these, 509 related to possessing and using drugs while 210 related to cultivating, manufacturing and trafficking drugs.

Rapes were little changed at 68 while other sexual offences fell 25 per cent to 201.

Theft of vehicles fell 24 per cent from 782 to 593 and thefts from vehicles fell 12 per cent from 1674 to 1475.

Six people were killed on Casey roads in the 12 months to March 31, 2012, down from nine in the previous year. Injuries were also down, from 732 to 720.