Monthly Archives: June 2019

  • NRL: Cronulla Sharks slide past Wests Tigersphotos


    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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  • NRL: Wounded Canterbury Bulldogs maul Canberra Raidersphotos


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


    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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  • How the internet hijacked a story about stolen gold


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


    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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