06/29/18

Dragons serve Golden Googars with their first taste of defeat

DEFENDING Barwon-Darling Water Cup premiers Walgett toppled the previously undefeated Brewarrina 28-26 in the senior match-of-the-round last weekend while Enngonia surged up the table with two weekend wins in a critical round of rugby league.
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The Dragons prevailed in a two-point thriller against the Golden Googars at Geoff New Ovals, Brewarrina on Sunday.

Perennial leading pointscorer Willie Wright was at his best again, the five-eighth scoring a try and booting four decisive goals in the Dragons’ victory.

He was well supported by hard-working lock Richard Dennis in a solid team performance.

Brewarrina had a host of good performers including play makers Charlie McHughes, Duane Gordon, Jack Simpson and Edward Simpson in what is a versatile all-round side.

The Googars boast five players that have scored five tries or more during 2014, and the points were shared around again in a match that boasted 10 individual try-scorers.

Sunday’s result means the minor premiership comes down to this weekend’s final round.

Walgett hosts Collarenebri on Saturday while Brewarrina travels to Bourke to play the Warriors on Sunday.

However top spot and a home major semi-final may not be the best omen for either Brewarrina or Walgett when the two sides clash again in the major semi-final in a fortnight’s time as both have scored away wins against each other during the regular season.

The power plays of the weekend came from the Enngonia who moved rapidly up the ladder with a pair of victories against Goodooga (30-0 on forfeit) and Collarenebri (46-38).

With confirmation the Outlaws and Bourke both received one point for an abandoned round six game, it meant Enngonia picked up five competition points in the last week.

Now on 10 points, Enngonia will collect two points for the round 10 bye.

Victory against Goodooga on Sunday in a deferred match from round two could hand the Outlaws third place on the ladder and a home minor semi-final.

Enngonia made the massive trek to Collarenebri on Sunday (July 20) and did enough to hold out a tired Bulldogs outfit in a high-scoring match.

The Bulldogs were backing up from a 30-4 loss to Bourke on Saturday at Collarenebri.

The Outlaws were also meant to double up but had fresh legs after Goodooga forfeited Saturday’s clash scheduled for Enngonia Sportsground.

On Sunday, Enngonia’s Reuben Barker (three tries and two goals) and Jeremy Edwards (two tries and two goals) had big says in the outcome against the Bulldogs while another youngster in Lochlan Peters (two tries) shone for Collarenebri.

The Outlaws also benefitted from second-rower Samual Shillingsworth’s bustling surges forward.

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

06/29/18

Asbestos report sparks action in Donnybrook

A report highlighting 120 WA schools containing asbestos has sparked action to ensure the safety of schools and students at Donnybrook District High School.A REPORT highlighting 120 WA schools containing asbestos has sparked action to ensure the safety of schools and students at Donnybrook District High School.
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The 2013 Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Audit highlighted 35 of those schools as having asbestos back in 2010. The report was released recently under freedom of information.

“The Barnett Government has failed to keep up with maintenance at our schools and some of these health risks have been known since 2010,” Labor spokesman for the South West Mick Murray said.

Donnybrook District High School was listed in the report as being at the highest risk level. However, this referred to one particular site and not the whole school.

Donnybrook District High School Principal Peter Fitzgerald said as he understood the issue, and he had not been advised to the contrary, the asbestos was in a situation where it was stable and not a risk. It was also in one area of the school and not throughout.

“Where there is risk, we act to the extent that we are enabled to act. I am not enabled to act to remove asbestos. That is managed through other agencies who act on behalf of the department,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“The professionals who do the assessment have deemed it to be safe. The requirement is for us to do nothing; at some future time they may remove it, that’s not a school decision, that’s a decision of the department’s agents.

“My understanding is that it is not a risk in its current state to the health or to the integrity and safety of everyone here.”

Mr Fitzgerald met on Thursday July 24 with a representative of the BMW, an arm of the Department of Treasury and Finance, who are responsible for managing all government buildings.

“He inspected a section of screening at Bentley Street which has attracted a high risk rating and is recommending that action be taken to remove the asbestos product in the screens and that these be replaced with a colourbond type product,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“Once this is approved, and I expect this will happen quickly, then he will put in place a plan to remove the asbestos product.

“This process is done in accordance with industry protocols which involve appropriate notifications, the employment of licensed specialists and adherence to laws relating to disposal. The work itself will happen at a time outside school hours, probably over a weekend.”

Education Minister Peter Collier assured parents statewide following the release of the report that the state government was taking every precaution with children’s health in managing asbestos in schools.

Mr Collier said the Western Australian Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances had advised that exposure to asbestos cement material in WA public schools represented very little risk to health.

“Environmental health experts advise that undisturbed asbestos poses an extremely low risk to health, and where it is located in areas that are unlikely to be disturbed, there is no urgent need to remove it,” Mr Collier said.

“That said, the state government has an ongoing program of asbestos removal in schools where it presents a possible risk, and last financial year we spent approximately $2million on associated repairs and maintenance.”

Further, he said all asbestos roofing on Western Australian schools had long since been removed and replaced.

Mr Collier said the thorough Building Condition Assessment reports carried out at every school provided a clear picture of where asbestos was located, and identified those spots where there could be a greater chance of the material being disturbed.

“Out of nearly 800 schools, there were only 14 schools where inspectors found one or two spots in the school where the risk rating was 1, meaning the asbestos is probably weathered and has a higher chance of being disturbed and exposed,” he said.

“Let me stress, this does not mean the whole school is at high risk.

“In those cases, the Department of Education acts quickly and assesses the best way to minimise any hazard.

“That may involve removing the asbestos altogether, which is done under controlled conditions and when no students or staff are present, or it may involve other work such as cutting off a tree branch that is brushing up against an asbestos panel, or sealing and enclosing the asbestos.

“Schools are in regular contact with the department if they have any health and safety concerns about their facilities, and experts can be dispatched quickly to assess the issue and fix it if necessary.”

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06/29/18

NSW Governor Dame Marie Bashir opens new school gym

Bashir house students Mikayla Lilli, Katelin Koprivec and Alexia Mihalopoulos meet Dame Marie Bashir at the opening. Picture: GREG TOTMANNSW Governor Dame Marie Bashir was humbled to be invited to open the new buildings at St Mary Star of the Sea College in her role as patron of house Bashir at the school.
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At an opening ceremony on Thursday morning, Dame Marie told the crowd of students and special guests how touched she was to take part in the celebrations.

She later told the Mercury she felt “humble” that many of the young women, including Bashir house captain Alexia Mihalopoulos, considered her a role model.

“I feel very humble about that,” she said.

“It’s an absolutely indescribable honour because it’s about young people, which are the joy of my life, and it’s about education, which as Nelson Mandela said is the most powerful weapon of all.

“Of course educated young women in Australia, for centuries virtually, have helped build the nation.

“They’ve gone into every field and we see them now going into things like aeronautical engineering, extraordinary things because of their courage and the encouragement of a good society.”

Dame Marie said she was pleased to see the continued work of The Sisters of the Good Samaritan, who founded the college.

Bishop Peter Ingham was on hand to bless the $11 million facilities, which include a new gymnasium, sports science area, cafeteria and learning spaces.

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08/16/19

Socceroos World Cup squad: new faces

In: Mark Milligan made the cut. Photo: Anthony JohnsonSocceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has named two uncapped players in his extended 30-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup by including 21-year-old defender Bailey Wright and German-based winger Ben Halloran in the preliminary team that will travel to Brazil.
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The duo are among a rejuvenated Australia squad that has an unprecedented blend of youth, experience and domestic based players with 11 currently playing in the A-League.

“The majority of them have strong seasons this year and I guess for a lot of them, hopefully, they have similar fire in their belly to myself in wanting to prove themselves,” Postecoglou told a news conference in Sydney.

“I had some specific criteria – form, fitness and an eye for the future – and I think this squad reflects that.”

Wright, who plays centre back for English League One club Preston North End has been included at the expense of injured defender Trent Sainsbury who was ruled out due to ongoing problems with his knee.

Fortuna Dusseldorf winger Ben Halloran has had a strong finish to the Bundesliga II season with a goal for every third game he features in.

Potential Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak has been declared fit to play in Brazil despite suffering a groin injury on the final day of the English Premier League while playing for Crystal Palace.

Josh Kennedy, the scorer of the vital goal that sealed Australia’s passage to Brazil has been selected for the first time under Ange Postecoglou and will have to prove himself during the 10 day camp in Gosford beginning Thursday, May 15.

Australia will play South Africa in a friendly in Sydney on May 26 before departing for Brazil two days later. The final 23-man squad will be announced on June 2.

Preliminary World Cup Squad

Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Mitch Langerak, Eugene Galekovic and Mark Birighitti.

Defenders: Josh Brillante, Jason Davidson, Ivan Franjic, Curtis Good, Ryan McGowan, Matthew Spiranovic, Alex Wilkinson, Luke WIlkshire, Bailey Wright.

Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic, Mark Bresciano, Ben Halloran, James Holland, Mile Jedinak, Massimo Luongo, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan, Tommy Oar, Tom Rogic, Adam Sarota, James Troisi, Dario Vidosic

Forwards: Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy, Matthew Leckie, Adam Taggart.

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08/16/19

Batfleck begins: First glimpse of Ben Affleck as Batman

Director Zack Snyder posted a sneak peek of Ben Affleck as Batman. If you look closely you can just make out Ben Affleck’s chiselled jawline in the first glimpse of the Hollywood A-list actor-director as he steps into the bat suit.
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‘‘Batfleck’’ appears in a photo posted by director Zack Snyder on Twitter in an early image from the Batman-Superman film which will be released in May 2016.

Costume designer Michael Wilkinson, who is Australian and worked on Man of Steel and American Hustle (the latter for which he was nominated for an Oscar), also posted a close-up of the suit in the image. The sinewy outline of the costume is evident, but thankfully there’s no return to the ‘‘bat nipples’’ which marred George Clooney’s time as Batman.

While fans may dispute whether Affleck is the right person to take on the brooding superhero, the evidence here from this sneak peak is that he will feature in a dark, moody production as he becomes the fifth actor to play Batman since its big-screen revival in 1989.

The photo is the first image to emerge from the Batman-Superman film which will be released in May 2016. The as-yet untitled film co-stars Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Jeremy Irons as Batman’s faithful butler Alfred.

Fans reacted with outrage last August when the 41-year-old star of Good Will Hunting and Argo was cast as Batman, claiming he would not be able to carry off the deep, tormented, nature of the character. However, this early glimpse shows Snyder is ramping up the gloom for this particular Batman outing. At the very least, it will give chance for fans to debate the new-look costume and batmobile.

Previous incarnations of Batman, since it was revived in 1989 with a Tim Burton-Joel Schumacher production, have been played by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Christian Bale.

I shot this with my @Leica_Camera M Monochrom. #Batman#Batmobile#Gothamhttp://t.co/WPHKLxgBLMpic.twitter南京夜网/p5DEf6fLzJ — ZackSnyder (@ZackSnyder) May 13, 2014  This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

08/16/19

Missing flight MH370: No one knows what happened to plane, says Malaysian PM Najib Razak

Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak says nobody knows what happened on board MH370 or precisely where the plane is more than two months after it disappeared.
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Revealing that a Malaysian police investigation has not uncovered the cause of the plane diverting thousands of kilometres from its flight path, Mr Najib admitted that his country “didn’t get everything right” in the first few days after the disappearance but said there are important lessons for the global aviation industry.

Police in Kuala Lumpur have not released any significant findings from their criminal investigation.

“The disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flight on March 8 has been one of the most extraordinary events ever to befall Malaysia – and one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries,” Mr Najib said.

Mr Najib said one of the most astonishing things about the tragedy is the revelation that an airliner the size of a Boeing 777 could vanish, almost without trace.

“In an age of smartphones and mobile internet, real-time tracking of commercial airplanes is long overdue,” he said.

Mr Najib, writing in the Wall Street Journal, urged the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which has been meeting in Montreal, to act on a Malaysian recommendation to implement real-time tracking of aircraft.

He said the communication systems on aircraft such as transponders and the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting Systems (ACARS) should be changed so they cannot be disabled mid-air.

Mr Najib said the systems on board the missing plane “were disabled. MH370 went dark.”

He said that policy makers need to reconsider the capabilities of airliners’ black box recording devices.

“At the moment, the location pingers – which are activated if a plane crashes – last for only 30 days. This should be increased to at least 90 days, as the European Union has proposed,” he said.

Mr Najib said it was “wholly inadequate” that today’s black boxes only record the last two hours of cockpit conversations, meaning the important minutes and hours after the plane vanished will not be available.

“Given that a standard i-phone can record 24 hours of audio, surely the black box should have sufficient memory to record cockpit conversations for the full duration of any flight,” he said.

Mr Najib also said that airliners’ emergency locator transmitters – which emit a distress signal when the plane is in trouble – could be improved.

“Currently they don’t work very well under water and their mandated battery life is just 24 hours.”

Mr Najib said the aviation industry failed to implement changes after Air France flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 and the changes need to be made to help reassure the travelling public and reduce the chances of such a drawn-out disaster reoccurring.

He said experts have identified that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean, discounting dozens of other theories and reported sightings.

“Yet, despite the efforts of the world’s brightest minds and best militaries, the search area remains huge,” he said.

“Finding the plane will be neither quick nor easy.”

Mr Najib said without physical evidence or a clear explanation for what happened, people’s attentions turned to the authorities – and Malaysia has borne the brunt of the criticism.

But he said in the passage of time he believes Malaysia will be credited for doing its best under near-impossible circumstances that involved overcoming diplomatic and military sensitivities to bring together 26 countries to conduct one of the world’s largest peacetime operations.

“But we didn’t get everything right. In the first few days after the plane disappeared we were so focused on trying to find the plane we did not prioritize our communications,” he said.

“Also, it took air-traffic controllers four hours to launch the search-and-rescue operation.”

But Mr Najib said the plane vanished at a moment between the air-traffic controls of Malaysia and Vietnam, causing maximum confusion.

“Nevertheless, the response time should and will be investigated,” he said.

Mr Najib said none of this could have altered MH370’s fate.

“Instead of heading to Beijing, the plane made a sharp turn across Peninsula Malaysia, traveled north up the Straits of Malacca, made a u-turn over the coast of Sumatra and ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” he said.

“Little wonder the words commonly used to describe MH370 include ‘bizarre’ and ‘unprecedented’.”

Mr Najib said the lack of definite proof – such as wreckage from the plane – has made the disappearance more difficult to bear for the families of those on board.

“I pledge that Malaysia will keep searching for the plane as long as it takes,” he said.

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08/16/19

ANZ customers left in the lurch as goMoney app goes down

ANZ customers were unable to access their funds using the bank’s smartphone apps because of “technical issues” on Wednesday morning.
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On the iOS and Android ANZ goMoney apps, which have more than 1 million users, some customers received a message saying “service has been interrupted” when they attempted to submit their PIN. Others were told that, on their first login attempt, it was the “Incorrect passcode. Last try.”

The bank confirmed the outage via social media, where irate customers were venting their frustrations.

“Morning, we’re aware that some customers are currently experiencing issues with our goMoney app,” the bank wrote on its Facebook page. “Our tech team is looking into this and we’ll update as soon as we know more … Very sorry for any inconvenience.”

It gave no indication of when the app would be available again.

ANZ said earlier this month that its goMoney app has 1.1 million active users, and has handled $78 billion in transactions since it launched in August 2010.

The bank’s social media team was diligently responding to individual Facebook posts and tweets, and said customers could still access their funds via internet and mobile banking.

However, when one Facebook user had difficulties logging on via internet banking, ANZ suggested they use a browser other than Google Chrome.

The website Aussie Outages, which tracks social media reports, detected hundreds of reports this morning from about 5am.

It follows a recent outage at the Commonwealth Bank, when a system outage – including EFTPOS, telephone and internet banking, and apps such as Kaching – meant customers across the country could not access their funds.

Update 5pm: The bank has advised the apps are working again.

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08/16/19

Distressed sales at low level

There is further evidence that the commercial property sector is on an upwards trajectory as the number of distressed properties advertised for sale across national newspapers are at the lowest level for many years.
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The LandMark White Forced Sales Monitor says only 43 distressed properties were advertised in the March quarter this year, the lowest number of the series so far. The corresponding quarter last year had 62 distressed sale advertisements.

The series has covered ads run in metropolitan newspapers since its inception in 2011.

The fall in the amount of receivers appointed to sell land, offices and shops, is due to the relaxing of strict guidelines from banks and financiers, higher demand for the space from residential developers and a rise in the use of empty shops by internet groups, looking to expand out of the garage or spare room in to bricks and mortar.

Already, companies are scouring suburbs to open shops with lockers as a collection point for goods bought over the internet.

Australia Post is looking to convert older post offices that in the past few surveys were listed by receivers as forced sales.

Since the beginning of last year, the total number of properties advertised in the national press has fallen. However, this has been outpaced by the fall in the number of distressed listings which has resulted in the distressed ratio steadily falling from 22 per cent to 14 per cent in the past 12 months.

The majority of the listings remain outside major metropolitan areas and are primarily zoned industrial. But that is changing as this land is now being snapped up by housing developers.

The survey says that in Victoria, the distressed ratio fell slightly from 12 per cent in the December quarter 2013 to 11 per cent in the March quarter 2014. In the year-to-date, Victoria averaged an annual distressed ratio of 10 per cent compared to the previous year’s average of 17 per cent.

In NSW, the distressed ratio rose from 10 per cent in last year’s December quarter to 13 per cent in the March quarter this year. Overall, the year-to-date distressed ratio was 14 per cent compared to the previous year’s average of 20 per cent

Robert Wilson, the managing director of LMW, said nationally, the total number of commercial properties/development sites being advertised in the national press continued to fall, the year to date total down 21 per cent compared to the previous year.

Distressed sales are more likely to be advertised in the national press than general listings as receivers and mortgagees seek to maximise exposure to relevant markets. However, receiver sales have fallen as only 19 per cent of listings were distressed assets in the year to date compared to 28 per cent in the previous year.

Research manager at LMW Max Gran said although one in five commercial properties advertised in the national press was receiver sales, trends show that this number was falling.

”Our view is that their effect on the market is diminishing and will continue to do so in the absence of any economic shocks or a major increase in the cost of borrowing,” Mr Gran said.

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

07/17/19

Back in the game

An early level in the Danger Rabbit game.Gaming, long dismissed as a pointless, potentially perilous diversion for sexually frustrated teenage boys, has crossed into the mainstream. Having long ago surpassed the revenues generated by the film or music industries, it now seems set to take another quantum leap due to the mass penetration of mobile devices and the rise of “gamification”.
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More on that momentarily, but first a little history. Since the gaming industry began with Pong in 1972, it has worked much like the old Hollywood studio system, with a handful of well-resourced companies, called “producers”, investing large amounts over long periods of time to produce elaborate games for consoles, be it Pac-Man for Atari or Grand Theft Auto for PlayStation.

But the public embrace of smartphones and tablet computers has precipitated something akin to the break-up of the Hollywood studio system. A small team, or even an individual, can now quickly and cheaply create a game (think Angry Birds) to be played on a mobile or iPad as opposed to an expensive console such as a Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox or Nintendo Wii.

If that wasn’t already blue sky aplenty, just as what might be labelled the “leisure gaming” market is approaching saturation (93 per cent of Australian households now have a game-playing device), gamification has promised to get several potentially larger revenue streams gushing.

Gamification involves making, say, learning activities or work tasks resemble a video game, with the student or employee who “plays” them incentivised through getting (virtual) rewards. It’s early days, but unimaginable wealth awaits the gamifier who works out a way to make workers more productive or students more receptive.

“After the GFC hit, almost all of the local studios collapsed and a lot of highly skilled individuals started to make their own games,” says Nahele Allan-Moon, the 19-year-old founder of the MoSoGa gaming studio.

“That’s resulted in a thriving indie scene, particularly in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. As with most industries, a small number of huge companies pocket most of the money, but there are also pools of cash there for smaller operators targeting niches.”

Phil Mason, 42, chief executive of Bubble Gum Interactive, echoes Allan-Moon: “The growth of online and mobile broke down the barriers, allowing anyone to create and publish games. In the four years since I started Bubble Gum, I’ve been doing exactly that, attracting $3 million in capital and employing around a dozen staff in the process.

“We’ve had a lot of success making kid’s games that work on a freemium model, whereby gamers can play for free but increase their engagement in the game through various in-app purchases.”

The gaming entrepreneurs Fairfax spoke to painted a relatively rosy picture, insisting they hadn’t had much trouble gaining access to skilled and passionate staff or capital.

When it came to government policy, all they wanted was for broadband to be rolled out as quickly as possible (just like albums and films, the trend is now for games to be downloaded rather than purchased in-store) and possibly for more generosity to be shown to those seeking early-stage capital.

“The government provides grants to games developers through Screen Australia but it could be doing more,” says Lloyd Perry, 33, a game producer at Flow Spark Studios. “The Finnish government invested €65 million ($95 million) over six years in its domestic games producers and ended up with an industry that now generates €900 million a year, 90 per cent of which is from exports.”

Unfortunately, neither the government nor any other institution can help local game-makers repeatedly capture lightning in a bottle, which, as in other creative industries, is the foundation of long-term profitability.

“A successful gaming company is built on successful games,” says Adrian Vergara, 18, the creative director of Reach Game Studios. “The issue that everyone in the industry faces is that there is no sure-fire formula for producing a commercially successful game. Most of them disappear without trace, even when really talented people produce what is, objectively, a really great game.”

But while the odds are stacked against them in a world where hundreds of new apps go on sale each day, our gaming entrepreneurs are cautiously optimistic that they will win the lottery in the not-too-distant future.

Perry’s releasing Danger Rabbit, “a Mario-style platformer with a twist” on May 18; Mason’s launching Cake Bake Blitz, a puzzle game with a Facebook social connect in June; Vergara should have Apathy, a sci-fi game, finalised by late 2014, and Allan-Moon has “some internal projects in the pipeline” that he is working on alongside jobs for external clients. If any of those games resonate with the public, their owners can expect to be LOLing all the way to the bank.

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07/17/19

ATO braces for more work, less money

Public service news: full coverageFederal budget 2014: full coverageWhere the Public Service axe will fall
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In a stinging “slap in the face for Canberra” 600 Commonwealth public servants will be relocated to the Central Coast, half of whom will come from the already embattled Australian Tax Office.

It comes as ATO bosses warn the tax office faces more work collecting Treasurer Joe Hockey’s new taxes, with fewer workers to carry the load.

Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan says the ATO’s workforce should brace for years of job loss pain following Tuesday’s budget. Unions say hundreds or even thousands of tax officials will be forced from their jobs around the country as the ATO cuts another 2100 workers in the next seven months and the tax collection agency will be plunged into “turmoil”.

The federal government will open a new building on the Central Coast to boost jobs in the region dominated by Liberal MPs, even though the nation’s capital could already be hit with 6500 or more job cuts in three years as the bureaucracy loses 16,500 positions nationally.

Accounting, information technology, professional services and legal roles could be some of the job descriptions to relocate.

Not all the 600 jobs will come out of Canberra, according to a spokesman from Treasurer Joe Hockey’s office, who said the ratio “has not been determined yet”, but others expect Canberrans will make up the vast majority.

The spokesman also said it was not yet known which other departments would relocate staff to the Central Coast.

Canberra MP Gai Brodtmann said the decision was a slap in the face for Canberra, which went against the vision of the national capital being the home of public servants – a vision consolidated by the Liberal party half a century ago.

“Today, we learn that it is also moving hundreds of public service jobs out of Canberra,” she said.

“Sir Robert Menzies said we must ‘build up Canberra as a capital in the eyes and minds of the Australian people.’ It was he who moved public servants from Melbourne and Sydney to Canberra.

“What the Abbott Government has done to Canberra in the last 24 hours is a betrayal of Menzies’ vision and a betrayal of his profound understanding that public servants make an invaluable contribution to the economy and society.”

ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja said the decision by his party would still allow all workers to choose if they wanted to relocate.

“Whilst I will always fight to keep jobs in Canberra, I have been assured that it will not be a substantial number that come from Canberra,” Senator Seselja said.

“It is important that we keep the heart of the public service in Canberra, as our city is experienced and skilled in the area of public administration and serves the government with expertise.”

An ATO spokesman said the tax office would take the lead in the relocation project, which would take a number of years to complete.

Robertson MP Lucy Wicks said the building would be built in Gosford, adding “we want this to happen as soon as possible”.

“These 600 jobs will drive even more activity to local cafes, local restaurants and local businesses,” she said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott first flagged his intention to relocate bureaucrats while campaigning in August last year.

His comments sparked fears across the public service about which departments or agencies would be targeted to help boost regional economies.

Meanwhile, in an email bulletin sent to all staff on Tuesday evening, Mr Jordan told workers 2100 jobs would have to be culled by October 31.

“This is in addition to the expected 900 exits from natural attrition and redundancies in 2013-14 and will take to 3000 the number of staff exits from the ATO since July 2013,” the commissioner wrote.

Mr Jordan told his workforce that the temporary budget repair levy, the scrapping of some tax offsets and tax concessions, fuel duty indexation, the deferral of superannuation guarantee increases and changes to super contributions would all add up to extra work for the tax office.

“In most instances the cost of implementation will be absorbed by the ATO,” the commissioner said.

Mr Jordan warned the sackings would not end this year, with more job cuts contained in the budget’s plan for the four-year forward estimates period.

“The budget papers signal further reductions in the out years,” he wrote.

“The changes to funding and staffing are significant and will require us to reassess all of our business to find where we can make savings and reductions.”

Australian Services Union organiser Jeff Lapidos said the Tax Office would not be able to manage the job losses without forced redundancies.

“A 2100 reduction in staffing will require compulsory redundancies,” the union official said. “The budget does not appear to provide any additional money to the ATO to pay for these redundancies.

“Turmoil is about to strike the ATO.”

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07/17/19

Antarctic program slashed in budget

Australia’s Antarctic program has been cut in the budget. Photo: SuppliedAustralia’s strategic interests in Antarctica are threatened by cuts in the federal budget, the Greens have warned, at a time of growing international spending on the frozen continent.
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The Abbott government has slashed the Environment Department’s Australian Antarctic program by 15 per cent to $157 million, and by 26 per cent in later years.

Despite the program cuts, the government delivered on election commitments to maintain Australia’s polar connections, headlined by air link spending, and moves to acquire a new icebreaker.

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said the budget cuts jeopardised Australia’s Antarctic strategic interests.

“When presence and science means everything in the Antarctic Treaty, these budget cuts put our sovereignty at risk,” Senator Whish-Wilson said.

They comes as China builds new stations in the Australian Antarctic Territory and the New Zealand claim, while Korea opens a new base and Italy plans for an expanded air operation.

Widespread pre-budget concern over cuts in staff to the science and logistics-focused Australian Antarctic Division were met on Tuesday night with a promise to maintain average staffing levels at 403.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Greg Hunt said: “The AAD will be required to find efficiencies.”

But the spokesman added: “While the Australian Antarctic Division’s funding has decreased, significant investments are being made elsewhere to support the work of AAD and Antarctic research.”

The government met an election commitment to a $24-million Antarctic Gateway Partnership over the next three years between the AAD, University of Tasmania and CSIRO.

The air link from Hobart to the Antarctic gained a guaranteed $11 million per year, and an election promise has been met to provide $38 million for the expansion of Hobart airport to make it useable by large long-haul aircraft, including Antarctic traffic.

The government will also request tenders for an icebreaker, expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, to replace the ageing Aurora Australis.

Former AAD director Tony Press is preparing a 20-year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan for the government.

The departmental budget paper pushed out the plan’s delivery from July to “later in 2014”.

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07/17/19

Canberra Capitals sign Adelaide WNBL star Stephanie Talbot

The Canberra Capitals have pulled off a major recruiting coup by signing WNBA-bound Adelaide Lightning youngster Stephanie Talbot for next season.
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And Australian Opals forward Abby Bishop will decide within two weeks whether she returns to the WNBL club, or plays in Europe as Canberra looks to nail down the league’s most imposing front court.

Former WNBL rookie of the year Talbot, taken at pick 33 by Phoenix Mercury in last month’s WNBA draft, has been training in Canberra over the off-season as part of Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence Program at the AIS.

The small forward is believed to be the first player to officially sign with the Capitals for the 2014-15 season, with a number expected to follow suit shortly.

Bishop is keen to stay and superstar Opals centre Lauren Jackson is already pencilled in as Canberra coach Carrie Graf works to build a roster capable of a playoff return after a three-year absence.

Jackson revealed last week she is yet to officially re-sign, but said it isn’t a cause for concern and she has committed to a Capitals return for the next two seasons.

The 33-year-old terminated talks with Canberra about playing for them last season after they failed to meet a contract deadline imposed by her management.

The delay in finalising the Capitals’ mooted partnership with University of Canberra has put several player contracts in limbo.

“They’ve got to do up a new contract but I’m not worried, everything will get sorted,” Jackson said.

“My contract hasn’t been done so I’d imagine no one’s been done, or talked about.

“We need to get a team together. The teams I’ve been successful in at Canberra have had great players, it hasn’t just been me.

“I’m not concerned, I know Graffy’s on the hunt.”

Talbot, 19, co-captained Australia’s under-19 team to bronze at last year’s world championships, and was named on the tournament’s All Star Five team.

She is regarded as a star of the future, and in March was named in an Opals long squad of 33 for the FIBA World Championships in Turkey later this year.

Her signing will help offset the loss of Canberra-born centre Alex Bunton, who signed with Adelaide last week.

Bishop has just returned from a short stint with Hungarian side PEAC Pecs and her sister’s eight-month-old daughter she has taken custody of, Zala, will have a major bearing on her decision.

The London Olympian is contracted with Canberra for 2015-16, but Bunton’s departure means the Capitals have stepped up moves to sign her for next season.

“I met with Graffy [Capitals coach Carrie Graf] a couple of days ago and I want to stay here, it’s just a matter of if something worth my while comes up in Europe or not,” she said.

“If not I’ll be a Cap again, in about two weeks I should know.

“I’d love to stay in Canberra and that’s my first preference. I want to do what’s best for Zala and if that’s Europe well it is, if not I’ll be here.

“I got back on Friday and since then Zala’s been struggling with jetlag. It’s not easy travelling and changing places with a baby.”

Bishop said the prospect of playing alongside Jackson and Talbot, who she played a season alongide at Adelaide, is ”enticing”.

“I think Steph’s got amazing potential, she’s got lots of talent and you’ll see her develop even more under a coach like Graffy,” Bishop said.

“The team Graffy’s half put together so far, I’d love to play in a team which looks great on paper and could be even better on court.”

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

06/16/19

Three Jets named in Socceroos World Cup squad

Three Jets named in Socceroos World Cup squad Happy days for Jets, Adam Taggart, Josh Brillante and James Birighitti. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL
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Adam Taggart. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Taggart in action previously for the Socceroos. Picture: Getty

Mark Birighitti. Picture: Getty Images

Mark Birighitti. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Josh Brillante. Pic by Max Mason-Hubers MMH.

TweetFacebookTHREE Newcastle Jets players have been named in the 30-man Socceroos World Cup squad with Adam Taggart, Josh Brilliante and Mark Birighitti winning selection.

Adam Taggart is the best placed to secure a birth in the final 23-man squad, given his outstanding form this A-League season, with the striker taking out the Young Player of the Year award, along with the Golden Boot, scoring 16 goals and setting a new club record in the process.

The 20-year-old has played four times for the Socceroos, all of his caps coming in the East Asian Cup competition, where then manager Holger Osieck opted for a squad of locally based players.

Mark Birighitti is a surprise, considering he was dropped by the Newcastle Jets for the final few games of the season after suffering indifferent form and travelling to Germany for a trial with Bayer Leverkusen.

Birighitti is one of four keepers named in the squad, alongside Mat Ryan, Mitchell Langerak and Eugene Galekovic.

The keeper has also previously played for the Socceroos, having made his debut in the East Asian Cup against China.

Josh Brilliante’s selection caps of a huge year for the 21-year-old, with the young Jet taking out the clubsPlayer of the Year award, winning plaudits forhis versatility, which may yet secure him a place on the plane to Brazil.

Former Newcastle JetJames Holland also secured selection, after a strong season in Austria.

The biggest bolter is defender Bailey Wright.

Wright is based in the English second divisionwith Preston North End and has previously represented Australia at U17 level.

The 23-year-old may not take his place in the Socceroos camp, with his club side currently involved in the playoffs for promotion to the Championship.

The Socceroos will assemble in Gosford for a training camp, before moving to Sydney to prepare for a friendly withSouth Africaon May 26.

Preston tackle Rotherham in the playoff semi-final this week and victory will ensure Wright plays no part in this weeks camp, nor the farewell friendly with South Africa.

Ange Postecoglou will name a squad of 23 which he will take to Brazil, with seven players to be cut from the list announced on Wednesday.

SQUAD –

Mark Birighitti

Oliver Bozanic

Marc Bresciano

Josh Brillante

Tim Cahill

Jason Davidson

Ivan Franjic

Eugene Galekovic

Curtis Good

Ben Halloran

James Holland

Mile Jedinak

Josh Kennedy

Mitchell Langerak

Matthew Leckie

Massimo Luongo

Ryan McGowan

Matt McKay

Mark Milligan

Tommy Oar

Tom Rogic

Mat Ryan

Adam Sarota

Matthew Spiranovic

Adam Taggart

James Troisi

Dario Vidosic

Alex Wilkinson

Luke Wilkshire

Bailey Wright