Sydney import Josh Childress capable of leading Kings towards NBL crown

An NBL import needs to have two things – the ability to drastically improve his team and box office appeal. Sydney Kings forward Josh Childress has both.
杭州桑拿按摩

Judging by his NBL debut, Childress has the attributes to improve Sydney’s chances of making the finals, perhaps even challenge for the crown, while also dragging casual fans back to the Kingdome.

He was a class above everyone else on the court in the 86-83 home win over Wollongong last Saturday night.

Childress filled up the box score, finishing the game with 26 points, eight rebounds, three steals, three assists and two blocks. More importantly, he made his teammates better, something last season’s NBA recruit, Sam Young, didn’t always do even though his own stats were usually impressive.

The former Atlanta and Phoenix veteran unselfishly did not appear to be trying to dominate but he controlled proceedings often simply with his presence. The Hawks defenders always knew where he was and their focus on Childress led to a few easy buckets for his fellow forward, Tom Garlepp, who was Sydney’s next highest scorer with 20 on 8/11 shooting.

Due in no small part to the interest created by Childress’ debut, a crowd of 6928 created a rousing atmosphere at the Entertainment Centre. They’ll all be back this season and if the wins keep coming, they’ll be joined by many more from Sydney’s unfailingly fickle sports fan base.

Encouragingly for Kings fans, it was the kind of match they would have lost last year. Repeatedly. In fact they lost all four clashes with their NSW rivals in 2013-14, usually out-hustled and out-muscled by Hawks players proudly wearing a chip on their shoulders against their higher-profile counterparts up the freeway.

Was this just a flash in the pan, yet another false dawn for frustrated Kings fans? Or was this the opening step in the storied franchise’s return to the playoffs after last season’s pathetic fade-out to a disappointing 12-16 record and sixth place.

Granted, it’s only a small sample size but these Kings look to be made of sterner stuff.

Garlepp has continued his rapid improvement from last season, new centre Angus Brandt overcame a shaky start to show he will be a presence in the paint and shooting guard Ben Madgen played his role effectively – now that he doesn’t have to handle the ball as much, he can start hitting his outside shot more regularly like he did two seasons ago when he made the All-NBL first team..

Sydney’s only sour note on opening night was the performance of their other import, point guard Kendrick Perry.

The word from the Kings camp was that Perry was extremely nervous in his NBL debut going up against the more-experience former league MVP in Gary Ervin. Perry got into early foul trouble and never found his groove with only four points on 2/9 shooting in less than 20 minutes on court. However, he did feed some nice passes into Childress, who found the bottom of the net with seven of his 11 field goal attempts.

If Perry can strike up a good combination with his fellow American so Childress doesn’t have to continually create his own shot, he will probably average more than the 26 points he dished up for his opening match in the Australian ranks.

In another good sign for the NBL’s bid to regrow the game, there was an air of unpredictability over the first round of the NBL season. Last year there was an inevitability about Perth winning the title from early in the season. It was just one loss but the Wildcats’ heavy defeat in their fortress-like home gym at the hands of the New Zealand Breakers was a good sign for the competition overall even if the 12,000 plus fans in red shirts went home with faces to match.

And nobody predicted a coach would head for the exit after the first weekend with Chris Anstey sensationally parting ways with Melbourne United after their drubbing at the hands of surprise competition leaders Cairns.

It’s never easy to predict how the Kings will fare week to week, let alone for an entire season, but the early signs were promising that Childress can be the catalyst for this team to become a legitimate title contender.

Taking it to the poll … 

The first Double Dribble poll of the new season asked who will win the NBL title  and it resulted in Perth as the clear favourite from the 1500-plus votes with Sydney, the Breakers and Melbourne the best of the rest.

Court told Daniel Fing used baseball bat in attack on female acquaintance

A 2006 file photo of Daniel Fing.A DRUG-fuelled sleepover ended badly for a female acquaintance of Daniel Fing who says she was beaten about the head with a baseball bat by Mr Fing when she tried to leave.
杭州桑拿按摩

The 28-year-old, Tugba Zuban, has told police she was involved in a fractured, intimate relationship with Mr Fing which revolved around the purchase and use of heroin.

She had a boyfriend at the time but she nonetheless sometimes slept with Mr Fing who was living in Belmont North at the time, in October of 2012.

According to her statement to police, tendered in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday as part of the brief of evidence, Ms Zuban, 28, said she woke up and felt sick on October 22 and announced to Mr Fing she was leaving.

As she got up to leave she allegedly felt a blow to the back of her head and she turned to see Mr Fing holding a steel baseball bat with two hands. Ms Zuban said she screamed, then he swung and hit her in the forehead.

He then swung the bat a third time, hitting her in her right arm.

Mr Fing’s mother came to her aid but she did not go to hospital straight away, she said.

When she did attend Belmont Hospital a couple of days later, requiring stitches, she said she had fallen down some stairs. It was not until five days later when she decided that Mr Fing did not show any remorse that she reported the incident to police, she said.

Mr Fing, 30, was committed to face trial in the Newcastle District Court and has not entered a plea to the charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He remains in custody until his next appearance via video link in the local court on a separate charge.

Medibank Private boss George Savvides says people paying too much for a range of surgeries

Medibank Private chief executive George Savvides says ”Australia cannot afford to let healthcare costs get out of control”. Photo: Mal Fairclough Medibank Private chief executive George Savvides says ”Australia cannot afford to let healthcare costs get out of control”. Photo: Mal Fairclough
杭州桑拿按摩

Medibank Private chief executive George Savvides says ”Australia cannot afford to let healthcare costs get out of control”. Photo: Mal Fairclough

Medibank Private chief executive George Savvides says ”Australia cannot afford to let healthcare costs get out of control”. Photo: Mal Fairclough

Medibank Private managing director George Savvides has said Australians overpay for common surgeries such as hip replacements and caesarean sections, as the health insurer ramps up its campaign to put a lid on private hospital costs before its $4 billion-plus float.

Across the $19 billion health insurance industry the cost of medical claims is rising faster than revenue from membership premiums. As the government-owned insurer approaches its December initial public offering, Mr Savvides has made no secret of his goal to rein in the amount it pays to private hospitals for care.

Medibank’s ability to put the squeeze on hospitals as a way to boost future earnings is expected to be a key selling point in the insurer’s prospectus, which is due to be lodged with the corporate regulator early next week.

Mr Savvides will meet potential investors next week before travelling overseas in the coming weeks to promote the float, which banks have said could reap between $4.1 billion and $5.7 billion

He also gave a presentation about the sale to staff in Sydney on Wednesday, but declined to provide further comment about the process. The float’s pre-registration closed on Wednesday.

Mr Savvides told a conference that “Australia cannot afford to let healthcare costs get out of control”.

“We’re seeing [customers] who are saying to us … ‘I’m finding it hard either to afford the constancy of health insurance premium increases, year on year, and also I’m tempted to downgrade my cover’,” he said.

Medical claims account for about 87 per cent of Medibank’s $5.6 billion in annual premium revenue.

The insurer, which has a market share of about 30 per cent, has recently begun promoting new “quality and affordability criteria” in contract negotiations with hospitals. Mr Savvides has previously said Medibank does not need to contract with all of the country’s private hospitals.

He told the Australian Healthcare Summit that the insurer’s move from just “paying bills” to having a greater say in where and how its members are treated has riled some in the medical industry. “That’s raised a few eyebrows,” he said.

Mr Savvides pointed to 2013 data from the International Federation of Health Plans, which show the average costs for a range of surgeries. He said he was “worried” that on some measures Australia is in line with the US, which spends 18 per cent of gross domestic product on healthcare, compared to Australia’s 10 per cent.

“There are some things we don’t really want to do well against in terms of US comparatives,” he said.

A hip replacement in Australia was $US26,297 ($30,116), compared to $US26,489 in the US, but just $US19,011 in New Zealand and $US19,722 in the Netherlands, according to the data.

Caesarean sections, which account for about a third of births locally, cost $US10,263. In the US the same procedure cost $US15,240, compared to $US5492 in the Netherlands.

Mr Savvides said Australia performed much better on the cost of a day in hospital, which was $US1308 last year, compared to $US2491 in New Zealand and $US4293 in the US.

But the rising claims costs faced by insurers is not just a function of hospitals charging more, which the providers argue is underpinned by the rising cost of labour and medical supplies.

The jump is also due to an increase in the utilisation of healthcare. Mr Savvides said some of that care could be avoided by having a better functioning healthcare system. Medibank is running a trial in Victoria to better manage the care of chronically ill patients.

Across the industry, patients often described as “frequent flyers” are responsible for a large proportion of an insurer’s outgoing costs. About 2.2 per cent of its 3.8 million members account for 35 per cent of hospital and medical expenditure and 70 per cent of this group have a chronic disease.

Correction: This article has been corrected to remove a reference to Mr Savvides meeting potential investors this week.

Exclusion zone for Newcastle harbour

CLIMATE WARRIORS: Adrianne Kassman, of Papua New Guinea, George Nacewa, of Fiji, and Milar Loeak, of the Marshall Islands, will be joining the protest. Picture: Dean OslandA 100-METRE security zone will be enforced around ships in Newcastle harbour during a planned blockade of the port on Friday.
Shanghai night field

The 30 Pacific Climate Warriors who plan to block the world’s largest coal port have been warned they face fines of up to $5000 for breaching the restricted zone.

The warriors have travelled from 12 countries to participate in the protest against plans to increase coal and gas exports.

“It’s important for us as people from the Marshall Islands to take action because our islands mean everything to us,’’ Marshall Islands representative and daughter of the country’s president, Milan Loeak, said. “Who else will stand up and fight for our people and our islands and culture? When will we be assured that we can continue to live without continuously fearing for the future and that of our children, grandchildren and our islands?”

The warriors visited Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek project site on Monday. They will lead the protest in traditional indigenous canoes, five of which have been brought to Australia for the event.

They are expected to be followed by a flotilla of kayaks and canoes.

The Port of Newcastle has advised that the restricted zone will extend 100metres in all directions from the ship at and below the water level. A port spokeswoman said vessel scheduling for the port would continue, based on safety parameters approved by the Port of NSW harbourmaster.

‘‘Port of Newcastle is liaising with NSW Police, which will maintain waterside exclusion zones around vessels for safety,’’ she said. ‘‘Port of Newcastle respects the right of lawful peaceful protest, but requests that community members comply with directions from the police to ensure the safety of everyone on the water and within the port, ’’ the spokeswoman added.

Picture: Ryan Osland

A 100-metre security zone will be enforced around ships in Newcastle harbour during a planned blockade of the port on Friday.

The 30 Pacific Climate Warriors who plan to block the port have been warned they face fines of up to $5000 for breaching the restricted zone.

The Port of Newcastle has advised that the restricted zone will extend 100 metres in all directions from the ship at and below the water level.

The warriors have travelled from 12 countries to participate in the protest against plans to increase coal and gas exports.

“It’s important for us as people from the Marshall Islands to take action because our islands mean everything to us,’’ Marshall Islands representative and daughter of the country’s president Milañ Loeak said.

“Who else will stand up and fight for our people and our islands and culture? When will we be assured that we can continue to live without continuously fearing for the future and that of our children, grandchildren and our islands?”

The warriors visited Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek project site on Monday.

Caitlin Forrest dies after fall at Murray Bridge Gold Cup

Jockey Caitlin Forrest died overnight after a four-horse fall at the Murray Bridge Gold Cup. Photo: FacebookJOCKEY Caitlin Forrest died overnight after a four-horse fall at the Murray Bridge Racecourse.
Shanghai night field

The 19-year-old crashed to the turf and was collected by the pack of horses behind her when riding in the race before the Murray Bridge Gold Cup.

Forrest was semi-conscious and responsive when airlifted to hospital, but her condition deteriorated and she died from her injuries

Her boyfriend, Scott Westover, paid tribute to the former Strathalbyn High School studenton Facebook.

“Today has been the worst day of my life. I lost the love of my lifeCaitlin Forrest,” his post read.”I know there will be an angel up there watching me everyday and riding with me.

“I love you so much my beautiful girl and I’ll never forget the best three years of my life I had with you.”

Caitlin Forrest died overnight after a fall at the Murray Bridge Gold Cup on Wednesday.

JOCKEY Justin Potter has spoken about the race fall at Murray Bridge that left two of his competitors, apprentice Caitlin Forrest and Libby Hopwood, in hospital.

“I jumped out from a wide gate and ended up getting a forward-ish position, one out and one back from the leaders,” he said.

“Just before we straightened I saw the horse in front of me go, I lost sight of it, the jockey at the last minute I lost sight of her, then there were two horses against my horse’s chest.There was no time to do anything except go straight over the top.”

His mount, Ethbaal, was driven into the running rail and he was thrown from his saddle but suffered no worse damage than a sore thumb.

“I hit the ground andknew the field was still behind me so I knew I had to get out of the way,” he said.”The ambulance came over to check on me (but I pointed them on).”

Race stewards held a private meeting with the remaining jockeys shortly before 6pm.

They subsequently announced the race meet would continue and the feature race, the Gold Cup, would still be held at a time yet to be determined.

That race had been scheduled to go at 4.43pm.

“That’s the nature of the sport, how things can go wrong in a matter of minutes,” Mr Potter said.

Great Lakes police search resumes for lost fisherman William Lam at Tuncurry

Fisherman’s body found at Tuncurry Divers have been called in after a man went missing at Tuncurry. Pic: Great Lakes Advocate
Shanghai night field

Divers have been called in after a man went missing at Tuncurry. Pic: Great Lakes Advocate

Divers have been called in after a man went missing at Tuncurry. Pic: Great Lakes Advocate

Divers have been called in after a man went missing at Tuncurry. Pic: Great Lakes Advocate

Divers have been called in after a man went missing at Tuncurry. Pic: Great Lakes Advocate

Detective Acting Inspector Natalie Stephens will address the media this morning about the search operation. Photo by Shane Chalker Photography.

TweetFacebookPOLICE have found the body of a fisherman missing at Tuncurry in the second day of searching.

William Lam, 32, gotinto difficulty when he entered the water at Wallis Lakes to retrieve his child’s shoe just before 2pm on Wednesday.

Emergency services were alerted when the Berala man failed to surface.

His body was found near Regatta Island just after midday.

A report will be prepared for the Coroner.

Police earlier in the day said they believed Mr Lam, who was not a strong swimmer, had “most likely drowned.

“Wecan’t sugar coat this, the conditions were bad yesterday,” Great Lakes Local Area Command Inspector Charne Musgrove said on Thursday.

Police divers were called into the area shortly before 10am Thursday to scour the lake.

“There were a few witnesses who saw Mr Lam in the water but theweather yesterday (Wednesday) was too atrocious to get a boat in,” Inspector Musgrove said.

“The witnesses grabbed the son once they saw the father in the water andcalled police. The little boy was then taken back to Forster Police Station and is ok.”

The search for a missing man at Tuncurry has entered its second day. Pic: Great Lakes Advocate

Mr Lam, whowas in the Great Lakes area with his wife and two children, waslast seen by witnesses near a yellowbuoy just out from theTuncurry boat rampbefore a strong current pulled him under the water.

Dubbo MP elected unopposed to lead NationalsPHOTOS

Dubbo MP elected unopposed to lead Nationals | PHOTOS Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL
Shanghai night field

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant is in the running to assume leadership of the National Party. Photo: DAILY LIBERAL

TweetFacebook9.30am:Nationals MPs met for half an hour in Parliament House on Thursday morning to elect Mr Grant, a former police inspector who is the member for Dubbo.

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli remains deputy leader of the Nationals.

In a statement, Mr Grant said that to be elected Nationals leader was an “extraordinary honour”.

He said he felt “humbled” by the decision of his colleagues and would “work my backside off” in the role.

Mr Grant, a relatively inexperienced politician who was elected to the NSW Parliament only in 2011, said he held dear the principles of “honesty, integrity and hard work” and intended to pursue those in the job.

9.15am: Former policeman Troy Grant has been anointed Deputy Premier of NSW.

Mr Grant, 44, who has been a minister for six months, was on Thursday elected unopposed by his Nationals colleagues a leader of the party, Nationals Whip John Williams said.

EARLIER: Dubbo MP Troy Grant was remaining tight-lipped about his political future as reports suggested he could succeed Andrew Stoner as leader of the National Party and the deputy Premier of NSW this morning.

Mr Stoner announced yesterday that he would retirement from parliament at the upcoming election and made the decision to step down as party leader immediately, which has triggered a leadership ballot.

It is understood Mr Grant, who is the Minister for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing and Minister for the Arts, will contest the leadership against Education Minister Adrian Piccoli with some predicting that Mr Grant was the favourite.

Mr Grant was available for comment on Wednesday afternoon because of parliamentary duties but in a one-line statement he neither confirmed or denied that he would run.

“My focus is on representing the interests of the people of Dubbo to the best of my ability and work hard as a Minister in the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government,” he said.

If he is elected, it would cap a meteoric rise for the former policeman, who is still in his first term in politics.

He ousted Independent Dawn Fardell at the 2011 election and was promoted to Cabinet earlier this year, being given the portfolios of Gaming, Racing and the Arts.

There are 19 Nationals MPs in the NSW and a further seven members in the Legislative Council but they look set to lose a lot of experience next March, with veterans George Souris and Don Page also choosing to retire after losing portfolios in the April Cabinet reshuffle.

Source:Daily Liberal, Dubbo

need2know: Wild ride ahead

Taking their queue from overseas markets, local investors should prepare themselves for a day of volatility.
Shanghai night field

What you need2know:

• SPI futures down 31 pts at 5190

• AUD at 88.10 US cents

• In late trade, S&P 500 -1%, Dow -1.2%, Nasdaq -0.4%

• In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 -3.6%, FTSE -2.8%, CAC -3.6%, DAX -2.9%

• Spot gold up $US7.70 to $US1240.53 an ounce

• Brent oil down $US1.58 to $US83.46 per barrel

What’s on today

Ten Network Holdings full-year results; Australia employment data, Reserve Bank of Australia assistant governor Guy Debell panel participation at Thomson Reuters FX Benchmark event, Sydney; US industrial production, Philadelphia Fed index, unemployment; FOMC Charles Plosser speaks.

Stocks to watch

At one point overnight, SPI futures were down as much as 80 points.

Morningstar raised News Corp from “hold” to “accumulate” with a fair value uncertainty pegged at “high”.

RBC Capital Markets has an “outperform” recommendation on Rio Tinto. It notes that third quarter attributable iron ore production of 60.4mt was a record, “but 6 per cent below our 64.1mt forecast”, though in line with consensus.

Global insurers are lining up for National Australia Bank’s life insurance division, despite the fact there’s no formal process under way, according to The Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk column.

Currencies

The $A traded in a wide range overnight, according to Bloomberg data; it slid to a low of 86.76 US cents before rallying to as high as 88.12 US cents in late New York trading.

The US dollar hit a three-week low against the euro and a more than one-month low against the yen after weak US economic data led to a rethink on the timing of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last down 0.83 per cent at 85.106.

Commodities

Brent and US crude futures fell, a day after posting their biggest daily drop in years, with more production, less demand and deflation expectations weighing heavily. US crude closed below the $US82 a barrel mark.

Bank of America has lowered its 2015 forecast for Brent to $US98 a barrel from $US108, and its outlook for WTI to $US90 from $US96. Brent still has “strong support” at $US85 a barrel because OPEC will probably trim the supply surplus, while WTI may fall to $US75 as new pipelines bring additional supply to the US storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma, the bank said in a report.

Gold continues to struggle for direction. Bullion overnight rose to less than $US1 below key resistance at $US1250 an ounce before sharply paring gains. “Gold is vulnerable to more selloffs after it failed to hold earlier flight-to-safety gains,” said Eli Tesfaye, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago. “With the IMF cutting its global growth forecast last week, inflation is not a key concern right now.”

United States

US stocks were down more than 1 per cent in late trading as economic data added to worries over the health of the world economy and concern increased about the spread of Ebola. But each of the three major indexes were well off their lows of the session. The S&P 500 had been down more than 3 per cent earlier in the day.

The pace and depth of the selloff have taken many investors by surprise, while others had been anticipating a pullback. “It’s normal and it’s long overdue – markets can’t grind higher for that long without some sort of get-back here,” said Scott Armiger, portfolio manager at Christiana Trust in Greenville, Delaware.

Europe

A sell-off in European stocks accelerated on Wednesday with a key index suffering its biggest one-day slide in nearly three years, as investors slashed exposure to risky assets such as equities on mounting worries about global growth.

Greek equities were among the biggest losers as Athens’s benchmark ATG index succumbed to a second day of selling pressure and sank 6.3 per cent. Traders cited political uncertainty and a spike in Greek 10-year bond yields, which rose above 7.6 per cent.

What happened yesterday

The Australian sharemarket extended its recovery to a second day running on Wednesday, as Telstra Corp and the banks took over from the miners in leading the rebound and upbeat corporate news helped to lift spirits.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 38.2 points, or 0.7 per cent to 5245.6, extending the previous session’s strong gains.

Fairfax front pagesOctober 16, 2014

Fairfax front pages | October 16, 2014 The Border Mail, Albury, Victoria
Shanghai night field

Bendigo Advertiser, Victoria

The Courier, Ballarat, Victoria

The Standard, Warrnambool, Victoria

The Daily Advertiser, Wagga, NSW

Central Western Daily, Orange, NSW

Southern Cross, Junee, NSW

The Rural, Riverina, NSW

The Advocate, Burnie, Tasmania

The Maitland Mercury, NSW

Western Advocate, Bathurst, NSW

Boorowa News, NSW

Western Times, Bathurst, NSW

Crookwell Gazette, NSW

The Canberra Times, ACT

Cooma-Monaro Express, Cooma, NSW

Mandurah Mail, WA

Daily Liberal, Dubbo, NSW

Magnet, Eden, NSW

Whyalla News, SA

Eurobadalla Independent, NSW

Forbes Advocate, NSW

Hawkesbury Courier, Richmond, NSW

Highlands Post, NSW

Blayney Chronicle, NSW

The Examiner, Launceston, Tasmania

Lithgow Mercury, NSW

The Ridge News, Lightning Ridge, NSW

Moree Champion, NSW

Midstate Observer, QLD

The Weekly Post, Goulburn, NSW

Oberon Review, NSW

The Scone Advocate, NSW

Stock & Land, Victoria

Summit Sun, Jindabyne, NSW

The Northern Daily Leader, Tamworth, NSW

Tasmanian Farmer, Tasmania

Cotton & Grains Outlook

Ag Trader

Central Midlands & Coastal Advocate, WA

Collie Mail, WA

Guardian News, Nambucca, NSW

The Guyra Argus, NSW

Wauchope Gazette, NSW

The Islander, Kangaroo Island, South Australia

The Maitland & Lower Hunter Star

The Manning and Great Lakes Extra, NSW

The Murray Valley Standard, SA

North Queensland Register, QLD

The North West Star, Mount Isa, QLD

Port Lincoln Times, SA

The Recorder, Port Pirie, SA

Roxby Downs Sun, SA

The Naracoorte Herald, SA

The Times, Victor Harbor, SA

The Wagin Argus, WA

Walcha News, NSW

West Coast Sentinel, Port Augusta, SA

The Moyne Gazette, Port Fairy, Victoria

TweetFacebook

Dogs tip nearly $1m towards Giant deal

Tom Boyd of the Giants celebrates a goalThe Western Bulldogs’ decision to pay close to a million dollars of Ryan Griffen’s contract to play with the Giants for the next four years, as well as offering up their first round draft pick were critical in the GWS backflip in agreeing to trade Tom Boyd.
Shanghai night field

The Bulldogs had initially insisted on only a straight swap of their captain for Boyd but the decision to significantly increase the trade offer by adding their first draft pick – No.6 – and contribute a major part of Griffen’s contract was a game changer for the Giants who were also under AFL pressure to bring in seasoned players to quickly become more competitive.

Sources said the Giants were not finished trading and were positioning for further activity on the last day of trades, ahead of Thursday’s 2pm deadline.

Boyd, who has played nine AFL games after being taken at No.1 in last year’s national draft, has been offered a seven-year deal by the Bulldogs worth more than $6 million. In reality it is a six-year deal worth $1 million a year, which starts from 2016, as players in their first two seasons are on AFL-mandated contracts with standard payments based on number of games and where they are picked in the draft.

Boyd, who recently turned 19, will be on the mandated contract terms next year – which, if he played every game would enable him to earn about $200,000 – but then it is understood his contract will jump to slightly more than $1 million a year for the next six seasons.

Text messages from the promising young forward, while on a surfing holiday in Indonesia to his coach Leon Cameron and chief executive David Matthews, helped create the shift in the Giants’ mindset over their refusal to trade the young player.

The Dogs bold decision to throw everything at Boyd came out of a meeting at the home of Bulldogs president Peter Gordon attended by chief executive Simon Garlick and Boyd’s manager Liam Pickering on Tuesday night. It is understood it was at that meeting the Dogs agreed to add pick six to the offer of their captain Griffen and raised the idea of contributing to the cost of Griffen’s contract. There were direct negotiations on Wednesday between Garlick and Matthews to finalise the trade.

The Boyd camp had been strong in insisting that he would only go to the Bulldogs next year once his initial two-year contract was up and therefore sought to disabuse the Giants of the idea that they would be able to auction him to all 10 Victorian clubs next year for a better deal.

Once the Bulldogs offer was substantially improved to add pick six to Griffen, and the contribution to the midfielder’s contract, it was doubtful they would receive a better trade deal.

Furthermore, even the Giants felt other clubs would be unlikely to offer a financial deal of the length and scale of the Bulldogs’ offer for Boyd next year and so there was a risk of losing him for nothing through the pre-season draft.

The Boyd-Griffen deal capped the most dramatic day of action in the history of the draft and trading system in which not only was last year’s No.1 draft pick traded for a club captain, but three high-profile contracted players – two of them former All-Australians – whom their clubs had said would not be traded, were all traded, and a mega five-club, six-player deal was finally struck, while several other trades were also done.

On a hectic day, the complex deal involving Dayne Beams becoming a Lion, Levi Greenwood, Jack Crisp and Travis Varcoe becoming Pies, Mitch Clark a Cat, Heritier Lumumba a Demon and a clutch of draft picks changing hands, was finally completed.

Soon after that, Geelong moved pick 21 – which they had received the previous day from Brisbane for Allen Christensen – to the Saints for Rhys Stanley.

Carlton also completed its deal to move their draft pick seven to GWS for pick 19, Kristian Jaksch and Mark Whiley.

Gold Coast is offering picks 47 and 49 to Hawthorn for midfielder Mitch Hallahan, who wants to join the Suns. Hawthorn has asked for the club’s second round selection, 29.

Carlton is interested in delisted Sydney player Matthew Dick, who could be signed as a delisted free agent from November 1.

The outlier to all of this action was Essendon and Port Adelaide who went to mediation talks on Wednesday to try to break the deadlock in negotiations for Paddy Ryder to move to Port Adelaide, but to no avail. That negotiation shapes as the critical last-day deal to be done Thursday.

Australians remain top as richest in the world

Another day, another stellar global comparison for Australia.
Shanghai night field

The Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report has ranked us No.1 for median adult wealth, like last year and the year before that. What’s more, the report predicts Australia will keep top spot on that measure until at least the end of this decade.

But when it comes to average wealth, we’re ranked No.2 behind Switzerland. So which is better – a higher median or a higher average?

A good illustration of the difference between the median and the average is what happens whenever the super-rich Bill Gates arrives at a crowded bar – the average wealth of the crowd soars but the median stays pretty much the same – that is the wealth of the middle person if you lined up everyone in the bar from richest to poorest.

That makes the median the best figure for comparing the wealth of regular people in different countries, because the number is not skewed by the very rich.

The difference between a country’s median and average wealth is a rough indicator of how wealth is distributed across the population. The narrower the gap, the more evenly wealth is spread.

In the US, a country with a relatively high level of inequality, the median adult wealth of $US53,352 ($61,000) was just 15 per cent of the average of $US347,845. But that gap was much narrower in Australia, where the median adult wealth ($US225,337) was 52 per cent of the average ($US430,777).

Australia’s No.1 ranking for median adult wealth follows a No.2 ranking, behind Norway, on a more meaningful measure – the United Nations Human Development Index, which rates countries according to health, education and income.

But the latest World Happiness Report, published by the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranked Australia 10th.

Fire which broke out at the Barangaroo construction site in Sydney in March spread quickly while workers lunched

The Barangaroo fire caused traffic chaos and forced thousands to evacuate. Photo: Rob Homer The Barangaroo fire caused traffic chaos and forced thousands to evacuate. Photo: Rob Homer
Shanghai night field

The Barangaroo fire caused traffic chaos and forced thousands to evacuate. Photo: Rob Homer

The Barangaroo fire caused traffic chaos and forced thousands to evacuate. Photo: Rob Homer

The Barangaroo inferno that brought Sydney to a standstill in March spreadunusually quickly while workers were at lunch, fuelled by highly flammable material probably ignited by heat or sparks, official reports reveal.

The documents show just how close an 86-metre-tall crane and huge concrete slabs came to collapse, as flames licked at the crane’s base and temperatures at the fire floor reached 1100 degrees.

The findings raise questions over work practices at the site before the fire, which caused traffic chaos, forced thousands of people to be evacuated and blanketed central Sydney in a cloud of smoke.

The March 12 fire at Tower 3 at Barangaroo South involved the ground floor and two basement levels.

A Fire and Rescue NSW investigation synopsis, obtained by Fairfax Media,suggests three possible ignition sources: heat produced by welding work, a spark produced by an angle grinder or freshly cut hot metal.

The report by an unnamed senior firefighter, issued about three weeks after the blaze, said the area where the fire began”consisted of several combustible materials”. In particular, it noted a “highly flammable” polyurethane filler that poses a “severe fire hazard when exposed to heat or flame”.

“It is my opinion that carrying out hot work [involving significant heat or sparks] in proximity to the volume and configuration of combustible material at the point of origin has resulted in an accidental fire,” the report said.

According to a timeline, workers operating on a steel column broke for lunch at 1.50pm, and a contractor raised the alarm five minutes later.

During the fire two-metre flames and smoke burst from vents around the base of the crane, which could have led to a “rapid collapse … it may twist and buckle and come down”, the report said.

Supports encasing recently poured concrete had been destroyed and “concern is whether [the concrete] can continue to support itself”.

A witness had reported smelling methane gas on the morning of the fire. The report said while the presence of gas may have contributed to the blaze, the area was well ventilated and there was no report of a leaking gas main on the day.

A separate internal report of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority said the rapid spread of the fire was “very unusual in construction” and was partly fuelled by the “chimney effect” of small openings in the structure above large, open basement areas.

A Fire and Rescue NSW spokeswoman said the possible sources of the fire have been referred to police and Workcover NSW.

Workcover NSW said it is still investigating the fire, including what work activities may have contributed and what controls should have been in place.

A Lend Lease spokeswoman did not answer questions about how the fire had affected the project’s deadline or on the insurance excess paid, saying it would be “inappropriate” to comment until investigations were complete.

She pointed to the company’s full-year results released in August, which put the post-tax financial impact of the fire at $6.2 million.

Major parties stand to reap millions from taxpayers under proposed donations laws

New laws proposed by NSW Premier Mike Baird have been hit with criticism. The major political parties stand to reap millions of dollars from taxpayers to fund their campaigns at the next NSW election under proposed laws announced by Premier Mike Baird, an outcome being criticised by a leading academic as “extraordinary”.
Shanghai night field

Mr Baird has responded to revelations at the Independent Commission Against Corruption of rorting of donations laws before the last state election by unveiling a new funding system to be in place for the March 2015 poll.

The Liberal, National and Labor parties will be be eligible for taxpayer funding of up to $4 per vote they receive in the Legislative Assembly and up to $3 per vote received in the upper house, the Legislative Council.

They will only be reimbursed for what they spend on an election. But they may spend – and therefore be reimbursed – up to $9.3 million each.

They also will be allowed to accept private political donations but their overall spending must stay within a $9.3 million cap.

In addition, up to a further $100,000 spent in each lower house seat may be reclaimed from taxpayers, effectively creating a second $9.3 million spending cap across the 93 electorates.

Anne Twomey, professor of constitutional law at the University of Sydney, says that as a result of the new scheme the major parties stand to be handed millions of dollars extra by NSW taxpayers.

Professor Twomey has calculated the money parties would be eligible to be reimbursed based on the 2007 state election (she deemed the 2011 election as atypical of the votes received by each party due to the Coalition landslide).

Based on first preference votes received in 2007 Labor and Country Labor could together claim up to $10.6 million in taxpayer funding under the new system. The Liberal and National parties could claim $9.7 million.

This means both parties would have their election campaigns fully funded by the taxpayer, instead of only about 75 per cent of their expenditure under the current system.

The new rules would allow all parties to bill the taxpayer for extras such as travel and market research. If it exceeded the first $9.3 million cap, this spending could potentially be reimbursed by distributing it across electorates under the separate $9.3 million spending cap.

Professor Twomey also noted that the total number of voters grows each election, meaning the new system naturally increases the potential pot of money that can be reclaimed by parties from the taxpayer.

“It’s extraordinary that after such a great deal of debate as to whether full public funding of elections is acceptable the Baird government has introduced full public funding by stealth without justifying its decision to do so,” she said.

“Does the public really want to spend many, many more millions of dollars on political parties when there are other priorities like schools, hospitals, roads?

“It may be the public thinks those millions could be spent on something more worthwhile than making life easier for political parties.”

The bill passed the lower house on Wednesday but debate in the upper house has been deferred until next week.

This followed concerns raised by the Greens and Christian Democratic Party that failing to get a candidate elected in the lower house would lead to their potential taxpayer funding being significantly reduced.