Dec
12
  • Jeff McCloy says he still has ‘unfinished business’ on Newcastle City Council

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    WOULD HE RUN AGAIN: Former lord mayor Jeff McCloy says that he’s asked if he’d run for mayor ‘almost every day’, and while it might be unlikely, he hasn’t ruled out a return. Picture: Cole BennettsWOULD Jeff McCloy ever return to local politics?
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    Well, the answer’s complicated.

    Mr McCloy, the larger-than-life personality who dramatically won, and then lost, the city’s lord mayoralty between 2012 and 2014, has remained a highly visible figure in Newcastle’s political scene since he resigned in the heat ofthe Independent Commission Against Corruption’s inquiry into political donations made before the 2011 state election.

    From interventions about the controversial light rail route, to challenging the ICAC in the High Court of , Mr McCloy has lost none of his famously forthright nature.

    But since the conclusion of ICAC’sOperation Spicer investigation, which found Mr McCloy“acted with the intention”of evading laws about thedisclosure of political donations and the ban on donations from property developers, the question being asked in some circles is:would he ever run again?

    The man himselfsays that he’s onlyan outside chance of putting his hand up in September,but don’t rule him outcompletely.

    “Look when I walk down the street in Newcastle or I’m in the company of certain people, or really just anywhere in the community I almost get asked every day,” Mr McCloy told theNewcastle Herald.

    “It’s difficult. I don’t think so, but it’s still this thought that crosses my mind every now and again because there is just so much unfinished business.

    “I’ll leave it there, for now, I think.”

    Watch this space, then.

    If he was ever tempted back onto the public stage though, the well-resourced independent who managed to match the Labor machine at the 2012 electionwould pose a formidable challenge to the established parties.

    The Liberal Party is still undecided about who their candidate might be, and the city’s current Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, has weathered a tough few months of negative publicity over her council expenses.

    Mr McCloy declined to offer a commentary on the council’s direction since his resignation –saying he would “keep those thoughts private” –but did offer what appeared to be aveiled swipe at Cr Nelmes, saying that he “ran into staff from time to time” but that it was “best not to repeat things”.

    Mr McCloy resigned in 2014 after he admitted to giving donations to three Liberal Party candidates who became MPs in the lead up to the 2012 election, famously telling the inquiry that at times he felt “like a walking ATM”.

    Mr McCloy has previouslytried to overturn the ban on developers donating to politicians in the High Court, and unsuccessfully challenged the ICAC’s conduct in the Supreme Court.

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Dec
12
  • OpinionThe Post Office: our crumbling monument to inertia

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    OUTDOOR PERCH: Even the pigeons are fed up with the city’s ‘imploding urinal’.G’DAY whingers.
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    It’s early May and the cold winds of change are blowing through the future jewel-in-the-Asia-Pacific. Gav the NBN weatherman said last Wednesday that it is time to pull out the door sausage and cover up the cracks. I typed “door sausage” straight into the Google machine. I now await the imminent arrival ofA Current Affair and the NSW police.

    I wish the cold winds of change would blow on the Newcastle Post Office. The government’s parliamentary secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald has provided a $150 000 heritage grant that will go towards “stabilising” the building. Will the gift from NSW taxpayers be repaid if and when its owners – the Awabakal Land Council – manage to flog it off? This whole caper looks more and more like torturous demolition by neglect. A landmark building is now little more than a gaping sore – an imploding urinal that stands as a crumbling monument to inertia, very bad decisions and ongoing buck passing.

    The ALC was put into administration last October after investigations into its governance and financial administration revealed significant problems. ALC boss at the time Richard Green was talking up big overseas investors backing post office redevelopment. Sounded promising. Nothing eventuated.

    Information about the type and scope of allegations against anyone in the ALC have not been revealed nor discussed openly by the government, the opposition or the ALC. It’s certain there was plenty of internal bickering – but that’s par for the course for many organisations – from footy clubs to the UN.Attempts to get a copy of the investigator’s report – under NSW Freedom of Information laws – to then Minister Leslie Williams that resulted in the appointment of an administrator to run the ALC have been refused. Attempts to get a copy of the ALC’s response to the allegations were also refused. The NSW agency responsible, the Department of Education, argued that it is not in the public interest for either report to be made public. An appeal to the Information Commissioner against the agency’s decision to not release the documents resulted in the Commissioner making “no recommendation”.

    One of the reasons given for the refusal to release the reports is that matters relating to alleged fraud, corruption, mismanagement or misappropriation at the ALC may be potentially investigated by the NSW police, ICAC and/or the NSW Ombudsman. Release of the documents could have a prejudicial effect on investigation. Fair enough, but once a decision is made to either charge or not charge persons, that reason for not releasing the documents will dissipate. Prudent document redaction can sort out defamation potentialities if no charges are laid. Remove the door sausage.

    There is no obligation for the ALC to answer inquiries from the media and they have long chosen to engage with the media on their own terms. Media calls and inquiries go unanswered and unreturned. That is their right. Equally, there is no obligation for the media to act as an ALC cheer squad and cover their “announcements” that are self-congratulatory or promise pie-in-the-sky schemes.But given the future of the city’s most iconic building lies chiefly with the ALC, surely the people of Newcastle have some right to know if, when and what sort of shenanigans may have been going on in that organisation.

    Should we hold our collective breath or back the post office’s bulldozing? It’s been 15 bloody years and there’s no end in sight.

    Cold winds indeed.

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Dec
12
  • Robert Dillon: Sporting Declaration

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    UNCERTAINTY: Newcastle Knights skipper Trent Hodkinson is set to play in reserve grade this weekend after being dropped by coach Nathan Brown. Picture: Getty Images AFTER Newcastle’s round-one loss to the Titans on the Gold Coast last season, Sporting Declaration stopped at Jupiters Casino for a beer and a bite to eat.
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    Pretty much the first person I bumped into was Tyrone Roberts, who was out with his new scrumbase partner, Ashley Taylor.

    I’m not sure if they were having a gamblebut what can be said without doubt, with the benefit of hindsight, is the Titans have backed a winner, albeit by default.

    Roberts and Taylor might never have paired up at the Gold Coast, other than for exceptional circumstances.

    In 2015, Gold Coast thought they had signed Daly Cherry-Evans, only for the former Test half to renege on the deal at the 11thhour to re-sign with Manly.

    In the meantime, the Titans lost five-eighth Aidan Sezer, who agreed to join Canberra.

    That left Gold Coast with one half for 2016, rookie Kane Elgey, and as the season progressed, alternative options were few and far between.

    In August they took a punt on 20-year-old Taylor, who was yet to play an NRL game for Brisbane. A week or so later they signed Roberts, whose two-year-deal was partially subsidised by a $200,000 payout from Newcastle.

    The reason Roberts was available was because, even though he had a year to run on his contract, the Knights had recruited Canterbury and NSW Origin halfback Trent Hodkinson to replace him.

    At the time, signing Hodkinson appeared a wise strategic move. But less than halfway into his three-season deal, the club captain is facing an uncertain future after being dumped to reserve grade by coach Nathan Brown.

    Rewind two years and the Knights could surely never have imagined such a scenario unfolding.

    Hodkinson was considered the best halfback in the state and a player capable of alleviating the pressure building onKnights coach Rick Stone.

    Stone’s halves that season were to be Roberts and Jarrod Mullen, but the latter broke a bone in his foot in round 10 and did not play again that season.

    In his absence, Roberts struggled with the responsibility of taking over as primary playmaker. As the losses mounted, Newcastle reached the conclusion that they needed a more consistent andreliable No.7.

    The two on the market were James Maloney and Hodkinson. Maloney eventually switched from the Roosters to Cronulla, helping them win a premiership in his first season.

    Hodkinson joined the Knights, collecting a wooden spoon straight up.

    The planthat he would form a complementary partnership with Mullen remains sadly unfulfilled.

    In theory theyappeared ideally matched.

    Hodkinson is a right-foot kicker, Mullen left-footed. Hodkinson is an organiser, Mullen’s strength was his running game.

    The Knights were happy to invest more than $3 million in the pair over three years, believing they would provide the stability and organisation around which they could build a successful team.

    If only.

    As it panned out, Hodkinson and Mullenplayed only 14 games together, for one win.

    Stone did not even get to coach his star recruit. He was sacked before Hodkinson hadarrived.

    After an injury-plagued 2016, Mullen tested positive to a banned steroid and is now awaiting a suspension that is expected to end his career.

    And whether Hodkinson appears again in Newcastle’s top team is a matter of conjecture.

    The master plan Newcastle officials hatched two years ago has unravalled spectacularly. Yet to suggest that they should have shown more foresight seems, to me, a tad harsh.

    On reflection, it always seemed strange that Canterbury –a club famed for its solidarity –had not foughtharder to retain their NSW Origin halfback.

    Yet the notion that he arrived in Newcastle with a bung knee, which has since worsened, is not evidenced by his career record.

    In the three seasons before he joined the Knights, Hodkinson played in 20, 25 and 19 games for the Bulldogs –the latter cut short by a dislocated wrist –and six Origins.

    Before he was dropped last week, he had played in 30 of a possible 31 games for Newcastle –more than any of his teammates.

    That does not suggest a player who is a lame duck.

    Moreover, if his on-field performances have come under scrutiny, perhaps it could be noted that in the six seasons before he joined Newcastle, only once did Hodkinson’s teams not make the finals.

    It’s a far tougher proposition playing for –statistically at least –the worst team ofthe NRL era.

    All of which must remind Roberts that being off-loaded by Newcastle was the luckiest break of his career.

    He hasplayed in 29 of the Titans’33games since the start of last season, including the qualifying-final loss to Brisbane.

    This season he’s shown his versatility by playing in the halves, off the bench, hooker and fullback.

    The 25-year-old is heading into the best years of his career, and the Titans are reportedly keen to re-sign him.

    If he had his time over, I doubt he would change a thing. Somehow it’s hard to imagine the Knights expressing similar sentiments.

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Jun
13
  • NRL: Cronulla Sharks slide past Wests Tigersphotos

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    Sharks slide past Tigers | photos TweetFacebookThe Aaron Woods boo boys again howled at one of Leichhardt’s favourite sons as the Bulldog-in-waiting – taunted with a banner on the very hill he adores – later limped off to inadvertent cheers and is in serious doubt to feature for the Kangaroos on Friday night.
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    The Tigers’ one-time poster boy trudged up the tunnel with a groin complaint after having his leg wrenched in an awkward first-half tackle, his exit ironically coming to the backdrop of roars as Kevin Naiqama simultaneously dashed over for the Tigers’ first try.

    The Cronulla Sharks have continued their undefeated away run this season with a 22-16 win over the Wests Tigers, though there was early controversy over a disallowed try.

    Woods was described as “a dog” in a sign unfurled on the Wayne Pearce Hill, Parramatta-bound Mitchell Moses described as “slimy” in another and Luke Brooks “a local hero” in a drama-charged loss against Cronulla on Saturday night.

    But the controversy again centred on the Tigers’ skipper Woods – jeered when introduced to the crowd during the warm-up – before he was pinged for a minor infringement on Paul Gallen in the lead-up to a possible James Tedesco try moments before exiting with injury.

    Roosters-bound Tedesco himself wasn’t immune to a spell at the Tigers’ spiritual home, failing to return in the second half after a head injury assessment at half-time.

    It was a glimpse of what the future will be like for the Tigers without their two highest profile stars, Woods expected to confirm he has officially put pen to paper with the Bulldogs in an interview to be aired on Fox League on Sunday afternoon.

    Woods’ potential withdrawal from the Kangaroos side for the Test against New Zealand has given Mal Meninga a mini front-row crisis, given Canberra’s Shannon Boyd – called into the squad for the banned Josh Papalii – was injured in the Raiders’ loss to the Bulldogs earlier on Saturday evening.

    But coach Ivan Cleary would be heartened by the Tigers’ resolve. His under-manned team played with their hearts – if not their heads – in a manic second half which was only settled when Cronulla No.7 Chad Townsend produced a moment of magic with 11 minutes remaining.

    “We had a lot of very brave boys out there tonight playing injured,” Cleary said. “Once we lost a few troops we were under the pump with interchange. There were some really positive signs there [but] unfortunately all that effort and not two points out of it.”

    The normally clinical Sharks again wandered in and out of the game after blasting to an early eight-point lead before Townsend chipped and regathered to put the Sharks ahead for good.

    “That’s what good halves do,” Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan said. “He backed himself and it was a smart play.

    “It’s 50-50 for me. I’m not happy with our performance but I’m happy we got the two points. Good footy teams win ugly now and then.”

    Opportunistic Tigers marketers were quick to erect a minibus out the front of Leichhardt with fans encouraged to pose for photos next to a cardboard image of Cleary, who famously told his “big four” they were either on the bus or not when replacing the sacked Jason Taylor.

    Little did Cleary bargain on having a few extra passengers than he hoped for.

    Tony Williams, himself having taken a back seat since arriving at the Sharks from Canterbury, would have done well to ask Brooks and Moses Suli for tickets please as he burst straight through the Tigers’ future to open his Cronulla account and quickly wipe away Moses’ early penalty goal.

    And the Sharks thought they might have found a couple of other passengers on the other fringe when Sosaia Feki crashed over.

    But after two controversial incidents involving Woods, the Tigers responded, thanks to Kevin Naiqama and found the lead when Suli made amends to crash over.

    Moses’ second-half penalty goal stretched their half-time lead to six points, but Cleary would have been fuming when the Tigers stood motionless as a James Maloney bomb rained down into Wade Graham’s waiting hands for Valentine Holmes to level the scores. And for that lapse they were made to pay by Townsend.

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Jun
13
  • NRL: Wounded Canterbury Bulldogs maul Canberra Raidersphotos

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    Wounded Bulldogs maul Raiders | photos TweetFacebookDeparting Bulldog Josh Reynolds is facing a lengthy stint on the sidelines in his final season at Canterbury, after suffering a potentially serious hamstring injury in Saturday’s gutsy 16-10 victory over the Canberra Raiders.
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    The inspirational five-eighth, who will leave the club at the end of the season to join the Wests Tigers for four seasons, came from the field late in the first half clutching at the back of his right leg.

    He joined captain James Graham on the sideline, who had been ruled out of the game after failing a head injury assessment stemming from a concussion suffered in the 14th minute.

    Yet Canterbury rallied in a courageous second 40 minutes, overturning a six-point deficit to notch a fifth win of the season, leapfrogging Canberra into the top eight in the process.

    Coach Des Hasler will likely learn Reynolds’ fate by the end of the weekend.

    “For Josh to leave the field it would’ve had to be pretty serious,” Hasler said.

    “That’ll be assessed by the docs though, it’ll be somewhere between a grade one and a grade three.

    “Both sides were fairly wounded, it was a pretty tough game. Obviously we lost a couple early.

    “I was really proud of the way the boys stepped up, none more so than this man beside me [Aiden Tolman] who played 80 minutes. He was inspirational for the boys.”

    The win caps an emotional week for the club after learning Reynolds had opted to join the Tigers – squeezed out of Belmore in order to make room for Aaron Woods who will go the other way, and potentially Warrior Kieran Foran who has been linked strongly with a move to be reunited with Hasler.

    Tolman said losing Reynolds was a massive disappointment for the club.

    “James Graham summed it up throughout the week, he’s a passionate player, he’s an inspirational player,” Tolman said.

    “He’s Canterbury-Bankstown born and bred. It is going to be disappointing him leaving next year, what better way to send him out if we keep performing like that every week.

    “Players move on in this competition year to year. He’s going to be a big loss for us but that’s 2018.

    “All we can control now is moving forward in this season. What better way to perform than for him.”

    Reynolds had started the game strongly, showing all of the competitiveness and determination Tigers fans can look forward to next season.

    He spun the ball out left just five minutes in to help set up the first of Adam Elliott’s two tries, then made a big play in defence moments later, cutting down a rampaging Josh Papalii 10 metres out from Canterbury’s line.

    Papalii had his own point to prove here. Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga this week cut him from his team to play New Zealand next Friday in Canberra, after Papalii pleaded guilty to a drink-driving charge.

    The Raiders are still deliberating over whether or not to slam Papalii with a club-imposed suspension, and the 24-year-old may yet miss the Newcastle clash in two weeks.

    Meninga would’ve been watching closely to see how well Shannon Boyd fared, Papalii’s initial replacement in the Kangaroos side.

    But Boyd suffered a lower leg injury in the first half and could well be forced to join Papalii in the stands.

    “He’s [Boyd] hurt the back of his lower leg, I don’t know, I’ll have to talk to the doctor – hopefully it doesn’t [rule him out of the Test] for Shannon’s sake,” Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said.

    “They played better than us and that first part of the second half they had a lot of footy, we had to defend a lot, but that happens in a lot of footy games.

    “You’ve got to be able to control it. We didn’t unfortunately. We were too frantic and panicked a bit, they defended very well and out-toughed us.

    “We’re losing the tight ones at the moment. It’s frustrating.

    “We have high expectations on our footy and I think that’s why you get really let down and disappointed because you have high expectations and when you don’t reach those expectations it’s disappointing. But we’ll turn it around.”

    All three of Canterbury’s tries came down their left edge – Elliott’s double and a determined Josh Morris effort which drew him equal second on the all-time ANZ Stadium try scorers list, alongside Bulldogs legend Hazem El Masri.

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Jun
13
  • Wagga cul-de-sac could be deprived of phone and internet services for three months

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    A WAGGA cul-de-sac could be deprived of phone and internet servicesfor three months afteranother “blunder”by theNational Broadband Network(NBN).
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    Dave Wall is furious at the lack of communication he is receiving from NBN.

    Copper wires deliveringhigh-speed broadband to properties on Quambi Place, Mount Austin have been severed by builders, creating a headache fortechnicians.

    Residentsclaim the infrastructure was installed just centimetres below the ground, making it a “matter of time” before something went wrong.

    Dave Wall is furious at the lack of communication he is receiving from NBN in regards to the repair.

    Mr Wall,who works from home and relies on his high-speed network to make ends meet, claims NBN staffhave constantly contradicted one another during the ordeal.

    He has been forced to hot-spot from his phone for nine days, and was recently told he and his neighbours may face a 12 week wait for internet.

    “It just takes so long to get any proper answers from NBN or get them to do anything at all,” he said.

    “One technician told us it would be a matter of days and the next one said it could take up to three months.

    “The procedure for trying to get any assistance whatsoever through NBN is just abysmal.”

    Mr Wall said he has called NBN three times and they are yet to confirm that the issue has been logged.

    “When we had Telstra looking after the infrastructure it was always fixed timely,” he said.

    The failure is just one in a series of reported NBN shortcomings, driving frustrated residents to breaking point.

    Wagga’s Aydan Heron was also left without a phone or internet connection for almost 11 weeks, despite making multiple complaints.

    Mr Heron claims NBN technicians no-showed an appointment to carry out repairs on damaged copper wiresafter he took a day off work to let them inside the property.

    “The missed appointments are probably the most frustrating thing,” Mr Heron said.

    “You take time off work to be home and you wait for them to come and then they’re a no-show.”

    ANBNspokeswoman said those with problems should call their service provider.

    “This is important because there can often be issues affecting a service that is outside of the network, like equipment, software and how each service provider designs a network,” she said.

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Jun
13
  • How the internet hijacked a story about stolen gold

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    RELATED COVERAGEI saw him before he stole my gold: Webster Street homeownerIt started off as a straight-forward story about stolen gold – then the internet intervened and steered it in a whole new direction.
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    The story of $70,000 in gold bullion being stolen from a home in Ballarat’s Webster Streetwas already enough to draw headlines across .

    After all, here we had a home in Ballarat’s most exclusive street being targetedin broad daylight.

    The thief hit the jackpot when they foundpure gold concealed not in a safe, but a standard household cabinet.

    But it was when the owner of the gold bars revealed her sketch of the thief that the internet took control.

    Dr Rosemary Draper with her sketch of the thief.

    No longer was this story about the gold that was stolen, it had become about the sketch of the thief.

    Dr Rosemary Draper is a psychiatrist by trade.But judging by the sketch alone, an artist she is not.

    And didn’t the internet realise it.

    Within minutes of the sketch hitting The Courier Facebook page, users took it upon themselves to poke a bit of fun at the sketch.

    How the internet hijacked a story about stolen gold TweetFacebookThe Courier, it is impossible to post any story about a crime without a Facebook user posting a photo of the sketch with a caption along the lines of “I saw this bloke lurking at the scene?”

    One man has even taken it upon himself to have the sketch printed on a t-shirt and sold on the popular Ballarat Buy, Swap and Sell page.

    Such was the popularity of the t-shirts they have sold out and the designer plans on donating the money to charity.

    Police say they are still hunting the offender and anybody with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the Crime Stoppers webpage.

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Jun
13
  • Gas tax review confirms nation faces decade wait for revenue from global giants

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    Decade wait for gas revenue Shell’s Prelude venture. Photo: Supplied
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    Treasurer Scott Morrison has insisted ns are not being shortchanged by the PRRT. Photo: Cameron Spencer

    The Gorgon Gas Project in Western . Photo: Supplied

    TweetFacebookMultinational gas companies will soon sell an annual $50 billion worth of n liquefied natural gas to foreign markets, but the nation will have to wait more than a decade for any revenue boost and some projects will never pay a cent in tax for the resources they extract.

    A report prepared for the Turnbull government into the petroleum resource rent tax has confirmed fears, first revealed by Fairfax Media in 2015, that revenue from offshore gas will continue to flatline until at least 2027.

    The federal government is going to make sure energy giants pay their share of tax with Treasurer Scott Morrison announcing a Parliamentary inquiry. (Vision courtesy ABC News 24)

    Despite that, Treasurer Scott Morrison insisted on Friday that ns were not being shortchanged, but said the government would consider some changes to the system.

    The review of the PRRT by former treasury official Mike Callaghan has acknowledged there are systemic problems and recommended changes to toughen the system for new LNG projects.

    But, in a clear victory for the $200 billion industry, he shied away from urging any major changes for projects already past the investment stage, including Chevron’s giant Gorgon and Wheatstone ventures and Shell’s Prelude project.

    Shell’s Prelude venture. Photo: Supplied

    The Callaghan report was released amid the political wrangling over east coast gas supply and on the same day the Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance grilled LNG bosses in Perth.

    Chevron chief executive Nigel Hearne outlined for the first time when the combined $80 billion Gorgon and Wheatstone projects would start paying company tax and PRRT, claiming there was an “incorrect perception” in the public that the company would not pay its fair share.

    Chevron predicts it will start paying the petroleum resource rent tax some time between 2029 and 2035, he said, and would eventually contribute between $60 billion and $140 billion over a 50-year project lifespan.

    The company – which has paid no company tax for five of the past seven years – would become a top-five taxpayer by the middle of the next decade, he said

    “Don’t judge us by the first few years of the boom; judge us by the life cycle of the project,” he said.

    Mr Callaghan’s report – which recommends the Treasury take months to engage in a “considered, comprehensive and consultative process” over changes – has provided Treasurer Scott Morrison the political cover to retreat from prior signals the government would present a PRRT fix in the May budget.

    When he announced the Callaghan review in November, Mr Morrison said of the PRRT “we think it is a problem”, and set the time frame to allow for budget measures.

    Treasurer Scott Morrison has insisted ns are not being shortchanged by the PRRT. Photo: Cameron Spencer

    But on Friday he said any changes would be considered “outside the current budget”.

    “The report finds the decline in PRRT revenue does not, in itself, indicate the n community is being shortchanged in receiving an equitable return from the development of its resources,” Mr Morrison said.

    The petroleum industry mounted a fierce lobbying effort against changes to the PRRT.

    A month after the review was announced, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s then deputy chief-of-staff, Brad Burke, was hired by Shell, one of the companies that met Mr Callaghan and government ministers.

    Former resources minister Ian Macfarlane, who now heads the Queensland Resources Council, met Mr Callaghan, as did Craig Emerson who helped design the PRRT with economist Ross Garnaut for the Hawke Labor government.

    The PRRT is based on capturing “super profits”, something that concerns tax transparency campaigners because of the ease with which multinational resource companies can move money between jurisdictions.

    Last week, Chevron lost a Federal Court appeal in a profit-shifting case brought against it by the n Tax Office. The court found the company avoided paying $300 million in tax in via steep interest payments on a $2.5 billion inter-company loan made from the low-tax jurisdiction of Delaware in the United States.

    In his 180-page report, Mr Callaghan found the PRRT, which had been designed with oil extraction in mind, worked differently for LNG, which requires larger investments and “much longer periods before they become cash positive”.

    The Gorgon Gas Project in Western . Photo: Supplied

    The “uplift rates” applied to exploration and capital costs – which are carried forward and grow by up to 15 per cent a year – allow companies to write off their investments against positive cash flow when a project starts producing.

    The industry holds a stockpile of $238 billion in tax credits, which some academics believe will shield major companies from paying any PRRT for decades.

    Mr Callaghan confirmed this, saying: “High uplift rates for deductions, combined with periods of subdued oil prices, may mean that deductions compound over the life of a project such that the project may never pay PRRT.”

    Modelling for the review found the sector would pay just $12 billion in PRRT by 2027. In that period, sales to such markets as Japan, South Korea and China could conservatively top $400 billion.

    But Mr Callaghan found much more PRRT would be paid between 2027 and 2050, up to $105 billion in total, or $3.2 billion a year.

    By comparison, Qatar, which is currently the world’s biggest LNG exporter, is forecast to take $26.6 billion through its flat, volume-based royalty in 2021, when it will sell the same amount of LNG as .

    Mr Callaghan did not recommend implementing a royalty as companies had invested under the PRRT system.

    “Any significant increase in the tax on existing petroleum projects may substantially increase perceptions of the fiscal risk associated with investments in and may deter future investment,” he said.

    “Fiscal certainty is an important factor influencing a country’s investment attractiveness.”

    Mr Callaghan split his recommendations in two, saying Treasury should rein in uplift rates applied to new projects, and the outcome could be “substantial changes to the PRRT regime”.

    But for current projects he recommended a list of smaller changes, such as streamlining paperwork with the ATO.

    The Tax Justice Network, which has spearheaded research into the PRRT, said the changes would make it easier for companies to claim deductions and transfer credits between projects.

    “It appears reducing paperwork for multinational corporations has been prioritised over protecting the n community and our shared interest in these resources,” Tax Justice spokesman Jason Ward said.

    “This report and the response from the Treasurer will only increase community concern over the integrity of the PRRT and represents a significant missed opportunity.”

    Mr Callaghan is expected to be called to front the Senate inquiry looking at PRRT.

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May
13
  • One Nation under fresh scrutiny over possible electoral breaches

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    Pauline Hanson poses in front of the One Nation plane during her “Fed Up” tour. Photo: Onenation苏州夜总会招聘.auLabor has referred Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to Queensland authorities amid claims the party has breached electoral rules.
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    ALP senator Murray Watt has asked the Queensland Electoral Commission to investigate a report that One Nation secretly switched legal structures last year and now risks being deregistered as a party.

    The report inThe Saturday Paperclaimed One Nation’s operating structure was changed in November last year from that of an unincorporated association to an incorporated association. The report said the change was made to shift legal liability away from senior party officers.

    The report goes on to allege Senator Hanson, the party’s registered officer, failed to notify the QEC or One Nation members as required under electoral laws. It also says that under this new structure the party’s constitution does not comply with the requirements of a registered political party.

    Labor senator Murray Watt has referred One Nation to the Queensland Electoral Commission. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    Senator Watt says the episode was consistent with One Nation’s bid to centralise power to a small number of party officers in Queensland.

    In a letter to Queensland Electoral Commissioner Walter van der Merwe, Senator Watt says if the allegations are true they may amount to grounds for the cancellation of the party’s registration in Queensland.

    “If these series of allegations are correct they suggest a pattern of behaviour by Senator Hanson and PHON’s senior officials and a belief that they do not need to comply with n laws, in a manner expected of all other political parties,” Senator Watt said in his letter.

    “I ask you to investigate these serious allegations concerning PHON’s registration, and take any required action to ensure compliance with the Electoral Act.”

    A spokesman for Ms Hanson said: “At this time the party is making no comment.”

    This is the third matter recently referred to authorities.

    It has been previously alleged that the party has been collecting GST without proper n Tax Office approval. There are also claims the party failed to properly declare the donation of a light plane used by Ms Hanson.

    In an episode of the ABC’sFour Cornerslast month former One Nation treasurer Ian Nelson claimed he urged Senator Hanson and her high-profile chief of staff James Ashby to disclose the donation but was overruled.

    Mr Nelson, who has since fallen out with Senator Hanson, alleged Melbourne property developer Bill McNee transferred funds to buy the plane to Mr Ashby and that it was insured in his name. Ms Hanson used the Jabiru plane – decorated with party logos – to campaign for last year’s election.

    However Mr Ashby says his company bought the plane and he was happy for the AEC to investigate the matter.

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May
13
  • Illegal brothel complaints spike after NSW government blocks sex industry reform

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    Complaints about the spread of illegal brothels have jumped by more than a third in Sydney since recommendations to improve industry regulations were blocked by the NSW government last year.
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    Fairfax Media can reveal that since a proposed licensing system and specialist police unit were rejected in May 2016, the City of Sydney has witnessed a 37 per cent increase in reports from disgruntled businesses and members of the public, triggering 80 separate investigations that can take up to two years to complete. One of those involves an alleged illegal sex establishment located less than 100 metres from St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney’s CBD.

    The head of the NSW Police Sex Crimes Squad recently warned a NSW Parliamentary inquiry into human trafficking that exploited overseas workers were slipping through the cracks because there was now no way to identify – or stop – underground brothels.

    “The industry should be regulated and if someone wants to operate as a prostitute they should be licensed,” Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett told the hearing.

    When asked if she thought it would “limit human trafficking of young women into “, she replied: “I do, because … in order to get a licence you know they have had to provide their passport, all their details.”

    Former premier Mike Baird established a brothel inquiry in 2015 after an extensive Fairfax Media investigation showed that councils had become powerless to prevent illegal parlours opening anywhere, including alongside schools, learning centres and within residential buildings.

    Hundreds of those businesses were found masquerading as remedial massage centres – with some even offering medicare rebates on sexual services. But when councils, such as Hornsby, invested more than $60,000 trying to individually close them through the courts – they failed on legal technicalities. In the words of Local Government NSW president Keith Rhoades: “We have the ridiculous state of affairs in which councils are forced to waste ratepayers’ money hiring private investigators to go undercover and actually buy sex from prostitutes to obtain the necessary proof to launch a prosecution.”

    Among those to give evidence at the inquiry was former deputy police commissioner Nick Kaldas, who spoke of Asian sex workers on student and tourist visas being drawn into a life of virtual slavery. The committee recommended a new standalone police unit to work alongside councils, with greater powers to enter premises and monitor illegal activity. However, the Baird government declined to rubber stamp those changes, arguing it would recriminalise prostitution and put the health of sex workers at risk.

    The decision sparked celebrations among sex industry groups who had pointed out that police had previously been stripped of such powers and the industry decriminalised, in the mid-’90s, because of widespread corruption.

    But a year on, statistics demonstrate that councils such as the City of Sydney are having to dedicate even more resources trying to curb the spread of illegal operators. Superintendent Howlett placed the issue firmly back on the agenda by advising the current human trafficking committee that, until the industry was licensed, Asian sex workers would continue to suffer, off the grid, in underground parlours.

    Last month she told the hearing about victims who had journeyed to knowing they were to work as prostitutes and pay off a certain amount of money. However, on arrival, the conditions changed, their debts tripled and their passports were taken.

    “The hurdle for us is that the ladies who come here will all be on student visas. The industry is not regulated in any way, shape or form. We do not have the powers to go in and check.”

    Superintendent Howlett acknowledged there remains “a lot of angst” surrounding the introduction of greater police powers over the sex industry. “I realise what happened in the past. I do not necessarily agree it would happen in the future,” she said of the brothel-related police corruption uncovered at the Wood Royal Commission two decades ago.

    “It is not a criminal offence to be a prostitute in NSW. A lot of girls [sex workers] who are n citizens use the outreach services, get the appropriate health checks and so on. My concern is there are probably a lot of girls who are coming into this country … and do not know what their rights are.”

    Do you know more? [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

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May
13
  • Cross training comes in various forms and has many health benefits

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    I have never been much of a gardener. To be honest, I have never seen the appeal.
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    But until recently, when I spentfive hours on the end of a mattockas we overhauled our backyard, I never really appreciated the physical and mental benefits garden work provided.

    I was less than 10 minutes into my slog when I realised this could be exactly the cross training I needed as I prepared for some upcoming long runs I have signed up for in an attempt to be Fit at 40 this year.

    Cross training is basically challenging your body and firing up muscles that may not be specifically targeted when you run, for example.

    This could be cycling, swimming, hitting the gym for a fitness class and there are many benefits, including adding a new challenge to training, breaking up the monotony of the same training sessions if you are starting to feel a bit stale, as well as improving muscle balance and possible injury prevention.

    So, as I wielded the mattock and repeatedly sunk it deep into the soil, I could feelvarious parts of my body getting a good workout.

    It did not take long before I could feel my whole core working hard. First it was my abdomen, back and hips. Then my hamstrings started to burn and the muscles of my shoulders were firing.

    Then when I picked up the shears for some hand hedging, my whole arms felt the impact.

    I felt invigorated as well as a touch worried about the severe case of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, also sometimes referred to as second-day soreness which generally has you walking pretty gingerly) I knew I was destined for.

    It wasn’t just the muscular benefit I knew I was getting, I also felt a strong sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, and an improved mindset.

    There was something good about being outside in the fresh air while also achieving a household task that the whole family can essentially take part in.

    INCIDENTAL EXERCISE: Mowing the lawn can achieve much more than keeping your lawn in order. It gets the heart rate up and uses plenty of muscles. Picture: Andy Zakeli

    It can be of benefit to all ages. The kidswere helping lift things out of the way and moving clippings around the yard to various piles.

    MANUAL WORK: Staying active does not have to mean running kilometres on end or lifting heavy weights at the gym.

    I found a great article atwww.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/, on the health benefits of having an “edible garden”.

    It said, “Research shows that gardening is a healthy activity” and went on to list many benefits, including:“Enjoyment– from the physical activity; exercise– physical activity improves your endurance, strength, mobility and flexibility” and “relaxation– helps you relax and reduce stress levels”.

    It also suggested things like having a warm-up before you start so you don’t hurt yourself. Treat it like a fitness session and ensure your muscles are warm and ready to work.

    Drinking plenty of water and bending at the knees when lifting were also good tips. Gardeningcan involve a lot of bending overand, if not done properly, can cause strain on different parts of your body.

    Not everyone likes running, or is able to run, but there are other ways to be active that are good for your mind and body.

    Getting the right posture

    I have enlisted the help of Wickham physiotherapist Felicity Dan, ofThe Physio&Pilates Co (www.thephysioandpilatesco苏州夜总会招聘),for some exercise tips for runners ahead of the Winery Running Festivalon July 16.

    Herfirst tip is“Finding your running posture”:

    Stand with your feet directly under your hips with yourweight evenly distributed. Push your feetinto the ground and spread the ground apart.Hold for threeseconds, then relax. Keep your hips level, draw your shoulder blades down and back and lengthen through the back of your neck. This is good forabdomen, hipand knee muscles and forimproving power and efficiency in your run.

    Upcoming fitness events

    Run With a Story, May 7, Fernleigh Track:Raisingmoney for community members in need of assistance. 5km, 10km, 15km, 30km, 45km or 60km. Find out more atplanetfitness苏州夜总会招聘.au/run-with-a-story/.

    Memory Walk & Jog, May 21, Tulkaba Park in Teralba:Raisingfunds and awareness for dementia and offering6.5km or 3km options.www.memorywalk苏州夜总会招聘.au/.

    Raffertys Coastal Run, July 8, Lake Macquarie:An 11km, 22km or 35km trail run along the stunning coastline of historic Catherine Hill Bay and the Munmorah State Conservation Area. raffertyscoastalrun苏州夜总会招聘.au.

    Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of thre. [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au.

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May
13
  • NNSW NPL: Valentine pip Jets Youth to jump to top of table and Eagles win with stunning strikesvideo

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    VALENTINE coach Darren Sills knew hisside had made big strides in the openingrounds of the the Northern NSW National Premier League, but there was one element missing.
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    JUST AHEAD: Valentine’s Josh Murray, a former Newcastle Jets Youth player, wins a header over Kieran Hayes on Saturday in their round eight NPL 1-0 victory at Cahill Oval. Picture: Marina Neil

    That box has now been ticked after Valentine recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Jets Youth team at Cahill Oval on Saturday.

    The victory, Valentine’s fifth, movedthem to 15 points and the ladder lead before Sunday’s games.

    WORK HORSE: Matt Paul battles Jackson Frendo for possession on Saturday. His first-half strike was enough to secure Valentine a 1-0 win over the Newcastle Jets Youth team at Cahill Oval. Picture: Marina Neil

    “Good teams are able to grind out a result,” Sills said. “I said to the boys in the sheds after the game we must be a good team because we went all right today.”

    A Matt Paul goal in the 40thminute was the difference against a Jets outfit that gave as good as they got.

    “I seriously don’t know why the Jets are at the bottom,” Sills said. “They have a lot of good engines in them and their system is quite good.We were very happy to get away with the result.”

    Paul was again among Valentine’s best and Sills said his goal typified what he meant to the team.

    “Matty Paul was outside the box calling for the ball,” Sills said. “Scott McGinley slipped a ball to Alex Tserepas out wide. Matt Paul made a late run to the far post and tapped in a cross.I can’t believe he got there. His engines are amazing.”

    The win was Valentine’s fourth straight and a confidence boost heading into a testing fortnight against Hamilton Olympic (home)and Edgeworth (away).

    “The main thing for us is that we have won four in a rowand had three clean sheets in a row,” Sills said. “That is what we pride ourselves on. Last year we conceded so many goals (43), and we are working really hard to turn that around.

    “The next two weeks will be a big test but they are the games you want to play. It doesn’t take much to get the boys up for that. Playing them off the back of four wins in a row has to help.”

    Edgeworth beat Charlestown 2-0 on Saturday night thanks to cracking long-range strikes from Kieran Sanders and Brody Taylor at Jack McLaughlan Oval.

    Sanders’swerving, dipping strike from outside the box gave the Eagles the lead in the 36thminute and Taylor hit his own highlight-reel shot in the 63rd.

    The win, which followed a 1-0 midweek victory over the Jets Youth, lifted Edgeworth to 12 points from seven games.

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May
13
  • Newcastle Rugby League: Wests spoil Kurri Kurri’s 300 party but coach Matt Lantry wants more

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    CRUNCH: Callan Richardson crossed for a try in Wests 36-6 win over Kurri Kurri on Saturday. WESTERN Suburbs spoiled the party for Kurri Kurri prop Mick Campton on Saturday and made it consecutive wins to open the Newcastle Rugby League season.
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    But coach Matt Lantry insists the Rosellas will need to improve on the 36-6 win over the Bulldogs at Kurri on Saturday to compete with the competition heavyweights.

    Wests led 6-0 at half-time and 12-6 midway through the second half before breaking the game open.

    Lantry, who is in his first season at Harker Oval, was highly critical of the error rate in the opening 40 minutes.

    “We made nine errors in the first half and completed at 55 per cent,” Lantry said. “We addressed thatand came out and played some good footy in the second half.”

    The Rosellas host Lakes on Sunday at Harker Oval.

    “We are well off the pace with where we need to be with the footy,” Lantry said.

    “I’m comfortable with where we are at defensively. But if we turn up with that attitude with the footy and complete at that rate, Lakes will make us pay.”

    A Wests victory was not how Campton hadhoped to mark his 300th game.

    At Peacock Field, Macquarie coach Adam Bettridge admitted the Scorpions got out of jail after fullback Mitch Manson scored a converted try late to snatch a 28-26 win over a plucky Maitland.

    “We didn’t deserve to win,” Bettridge said. “They were the better side and it wasgood to get out of jail.

    “After Mitch scored, they had three sets on out line and we managed to hold them out, which was the positive from it.

    “Anyone who takes Maitland lightly will get their pants pulled down. They are a good side. It was a gutsy win and a win we needed leading into the state cup.”

    At Cessnock Sportsground, Souths five-eighth Ryan Glanville scored a hat-trick to help steer the Lions to a 28-8 triumph over the Goannas.

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