Heavy industry the winner under new carbon trading proposal

A government proposal to allow international carbon credit trading has buoyed the Australian manufacturing industry, but may have little impact on cutting energy sector emissions.
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The manufacturing, smelting and energy sectors – some of the highest carbon-emitting industries in Australia – could look overseas to buy carbon credits to reduce their comparative emission levels without investing in higher-priced domestic carbon credits or lower-emissions technology under a proposal in the Turnbull government’s latest climate change policy review.

The Australian Industry Group has thrown its weight behind the proposal, saying it is a major advance for industrial emissions reductions policy.

“Ai Group has been arguing the merits of allowing international credits for several years,” its chief executive, Innes Willox, said.

Calling it a victory for common sense over ideology, Mr Willox said: “There is simply no reason to waste efforts on higher-cost domestic abatement options when credible, high-quality and less expensive alternatives are available abroad.”

The Australian Aluminium Council also supported the proposal for international credit trading.

“A tonne of CO??? is a tonne of CO???. It’s a global issue,” the council’s executive director, Miles Prosser, said.

He said this provided another emissions reduction option, which, combined with operational efficiency and low emissions technology, allowed for greater choice in slashing carbon dioxide output.

“We support the flexibility of going internationally for permits to reduce emissions at the lowest cost.” Power and policy

International credit trading could also support the government’s national energy guarantee (NEG), but damage future renewables investment.

“It could help energy retailers meet the emissions standards under the NEG, as it may be cheaper for them to buy these credits rather than supplement their energy mix with new wind or solar,” an industry source said.

One Australian energy retailer believed these credits weren’t needed for the electricity industry.

“While there’s a role for them in trade-exposed industries, in terms of energy we have the means and technology to reduce emissions by replacing coal with gas and renewables,” an energy insider said.

“It sends the wrong investment signals, if you want to encourage investment then international credits are the wrong way to go about it.”

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said the proposal supported the NEG as a process for energy reliability.

“Our perspective is that these permits can be used as a balancing mechanism,” Mr Warren said.

He said it would be a short-term response, and there remained the need for the replacement of old energy generation.

“We’re struggling to see how you can rebuild the grid without evolving the assets and then buy permits for 50 years. They can help, but they shouldn’t be the cure.”

Concerns have also been raised over their ability to actually play a role in reducing wholesale emissions.

“Given that the rules are still being negotiated for the use of international units, we’d be concerned about the efficacy of their use to meet our Paris Agreement commitments,” Market Forces analyst Daniel Gocher said.

“We’d prefer the government focused on the domestic market, particularly reducing land clearing. Permits can also act to delay more meaningful action, particularly in the electricity sector.”

Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said it would have no impact on the NEG, which operates through existing energy market mechanisms and there are “no subsidies or certificates involved in this guarantee and in this sense it does not involve a price or tax on carbon”. Australia’s credit industry

The policy may also be a double-edged sword for Australian carbon abatement companies, as it widens their potential reach beyond Australia’s smaller domestic market, but could also drive them out of business as buyers look overseas for cheaper credits.

“Pollution is going up, we won’t meet even our paltry Paris targets and the government’s only plan is to make things worse by allowing companies to buy dodgy permits from pig farms in China instead of cutting Australia’s emissions,” Greens climate change and energy spokesman Adam Bandt said.

Carbon Farmers of Australia director Louisa Kiely said the review was a mixed bag, which might put the fledgling carbon credit industry at risk.

“International prices for carbon credits are very cheap, and they may or may not be as rigorously verified as they are in Australia,” Ms Kiely said.

“The threat is that these cheaper credits could damage Australia’s highly-monitored and verified industry, and there’s the risk the market may be flooded with these cheaper carbon credits,” she said.

However, she noted there was also the potential for Australian companies to export their more-verified credits.

The policy would also impact indigenous groups that run native land management carbon businesses, such as those facilitated by the Kimberley Land Council.

Since 2014, four North Kimberley native title groups have run carbon farming operations, generating almost half a million Australian Carbon Credit Units through traditional land management and maintenance, providing these carbon offsets to companies such as Qantas.

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Banks overhaul code of conduct in bid to rebuild trust

Banks have vowed to make it easier for customers to cancel their credit cards, they will stop charging statement fees, and borrowers will be alerted when their interest-free period is about to end, as part of a new code of conduct.
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The Australian Bankers’ Association will on Wednesday unveil a swag of changes intended to put a greater focus on ethical behaviour in an industry that has copped a backlash from government.

Changes in the code include a commitment to allow customers to close a credit card online, rather than needing to do so in a branch or over the phone.

Banks also say they will waive or refund “statement fees” for customers without access to electronic statements, and remind customers when a credit card’s interest-free period is about to end.

With more parents acting as guarantors to help their children enter the housing market, the code also includes changes targeted at people guaranteeing the loans of others.

It says guarantors who have not received legal advice must have a three-day waiting period before signing up. Guarantors will also be informed if the borrower is struggling financially, it says.

Banks decided to revamp the code last year as political pressure on the industry started to mount following a series of scandals.

“Banks are committed to change and the new code is stronger, broader and written in simple to understand language,” ABA chief executive Anna Bligh said.

“It has been completely rewritten to better meet community expectations and service the needs of customers.”

The code includes an already-announced commitment by banks to no longer have tellers selling “add-on insurance” with credit cards, which is intended to cover consumers if they get sick or lose their job. The corporate regulator has said such insurance is problematic, and many customers end up being ineligible when they attempt to make a claim.

In a sign of the finance sector’s problems with add-on insurance, it was announced on Tuesday that Swann Insurance had refunded $39 million in premiums to 67,960 customers. The refunds covered six types of add-on insurance sold by Swann, owned by Insurance Australia Group.

Separately, the federal government has this year cracked down on the banks’ credit card businesses, including new restrictions on how banks can determine customers’ credit limits. Banks are also being banned from making unsolicited credit card offers to customers.

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Smith and Australians in line for $1 million Ashes bonus

Steve Smith’s Ashes-winning Australian team will collect a bonus of nearly $1 million if they can complete a 5-0 whitewash of England in the final two matches of the Test series in Melbourne and Sydney.
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The Australians left Perth on Tuesday glowing after reaching an unassailable 3-0 lead with a comprehensive victory in the third Test, regaining the title they surrendered on their tour of England in 2015.

The result automatically triggered a $432,000 series-win bonus and the members of the squad stand to pocket further financial reward for winning back possession of the urn.

There is an additional pool of $438,000 available to the Australians for match-win bonuses in the Ashes. They have already secured a majority of that by winning three out of the five matches but can grab the lot if they complete victories in the Boxing Day Test and in the first week of January at the SCG.

The bonuses were thrashed out during the long and bitterly fought pay negotiation between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association that was resolved in August.

Under the terms of the new five-year memorandum of understanding, the players retained their guaranteed share of the game’s revenue, which is at its greatest during a home Ashes summer, and also won a new incentive scheme that offered lucrative reward for major series victories.

The richest of the bonuses under the new structure are available against opposition countries ranked in the top four on the International Cricket Council Test rankings, as England were entering this series. And with match-win bonuses built in on top of players’ retainers and match payments, the five-Test Ashes series provides an even greater opportunity to cash in.

The pending windfall provides more motivation for Smith’s side to clean-sweep the tourists in the final two matches.

They will be feeling driven towards repeating the feat of Michael Clarke’s team in 2013-14, with only Smith, David Warner and Nathan Lyon having experienced that famous whitewash.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann said the team would not be taking its foot off the pedal, but could now approach the rest of the series free from much of the pressure that built in the lead-up to the summer.

“It’s a lot more relaxed, which is a good thing,” Lehmann said. “Ashes cricket is high pressure, everybody is nervous every ball, every session.

“It’s been that way for 15 days so far, so they can go and express themselves a little bit more. We’ll be playing the same brand of cricket but obviously with less pressure on us. It will be interesting to see how we respond to that. Boxing Day and SCG are fantastic Test matches to be a part of.”

The Australians will head to Melbourne after two days’ break, aiming for a 5-0 result but not taking it for granted. Lehmann said Joe Root’s tourists had been closer to the hosts than the final margins – the latest an innings and 41-run defeat – suggested.

“It was extremely satisfying for the lads … they’ve worked so hard over the last few months to get the prep right, the way we played,” Lehmann said.

“The planning came together, so all credit to the players and the support staff were fantastic. The work behind the scenes was great. I’ve loved the way we have gone about it in all three Tests.

“It was a lot closer than what the scores relate to. Certainly in Brisbane they had the upper hand at certain stages, but the captain was brilliant there. Obviously the bowlers were great in the second innings to get the job done.

“Adelaide was close and this one – albeit by an innings – it was still close, it come down to magnificent bowling from our quicks on the last day.”

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Award-winning Australian homes you can rent for the holidays

You may be surprised to discover that many of Australia’s most recognised and awarded homes are available to rent for short-term holidays.
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While you might not be able to afford the hefty mortgage repayments on some of these iconic homes, that’s no excuse for not bedding down in them for a few days. Magney House at Bingie

Homes such as Glenn Murcutt’s landmark Magney House at Bingie, on the NSW south coast, is one example.

Bordered on three sides by Eurobodalla National Park, this deceptively simple home cemented the Pritzker Prize winner’s reputation as the creator of a uniquely Australian “tin sheds” style of architecture.

Arguably one of the most influential Australian homes of the 20th century, Magney House received the nation’s highest residential design honour, the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture, in 1985. Cape Schanck House

Cape Schanck House on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula was created by Paul Morgan Architects. The home is surrounded by a forest of tea trees and features an internal water tank to keep the interior cool in summer. It also won the Robin Boyd Award, in 2007. Related: The humble Beachcomber is Australia’s most iconic homeRelated: Most impressive beach houses around AustraliaRelated: Australia’s best holiday homes revealed in Stayz awardsThe Seidler House

Designed by the great modernist architect Harry Seidler, The Seidler House (previously known as The Berman House) is like a wave of concrete breaking dramatically over a cliff. The views are stupendous, over the Wingecarribee River towards Joadja, Mittagong and Bowral in the Southern Highlands.

Winner of the Blacket Award for regional architecture in 2001. Staying at Toumbaal House

Toumbaal House, winner of the 2003 RAIA Wilkinson Award for Outstanding Residential Architecture, has been featured in almost every major design magazine around the world. For a design geek like myself, it’s absolute heaven. My English wife just can’t wait to get inside and have a cup of tea.

???This was one of the first homes by architect Fergus Scott and it came to typify his response to climate, landscape and shelter. In awarding him the Wilkinson, the jury said: “The Toumbaal House is not so much a ‘home’ but an idea of a ‘camping place’.”

It’s not like any camping we’ve ever done, but we take their point. One of the home’s most distinctive features is its fully exposed central courtyard and hearth, dividing the living quarters from the bedrooms. The house also has a series of sliding skins – glass, insect screen and solid hardwood – that can be opened and closed as the weather demands.

Set on 80 hectares and completely surrounded by the largest coastal National Park in NSW (Yuraygir NP), it feels a lot more remote than it actually is.

One BBC documentary on the house referred to its location as “The Outback”. It isn’t. In fact, it’s only about a five-minute drive to the north coast holiday hamlet of Brooms Head and a twenty-minute drive to the much larger river township of Maclean.

And the judges are correct – staying in the house is a little like camping, in that you never feel out of touch with the natural environment. My city-raised kids experienced many firsts. Seeing the Milky Way in all its celestial glory, going on a nocturnal “critter walk” looking for pythons (we didn’t find any) and steering the car along the private landing strip.

During the cool of the evening, we close the house down, and sit out by the hearth toasting marshmallows over the fire. In bed at night, we slide into dreams to the sounds of the Earth; the lime-green tree frogs, the wind whispering through casuarinas and the distant roar of the ocean.

“Can we live here?” asks my five-year-old. You can’t get a better recommendation that that.

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Football year in review: Kerr star act for Australia

Story of the Year: Sam Kerr and the Matildas rise to the top
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Who else would it be? Samantha Kerr had a year that most athletes could only dream of – she became the first woman to score four goals in a match in the US National Women’s Soccer League, was crowned player of the month twice, named in the team of the month four times (in a six-month competition, no less) was awarded the league’s Most Valuable Player award at season’s end, and finished as the competition’s top scorer comfortably.

Since returning to the W-League with Perth Glory, she’s averaging more than a goal per game in the early stages of that competition – and these were just her club level achievements.

For Australia, she bagged a staggering 11 goals in the calendar year, including four in the Tournament of Nations, as the Matildas beat three of the world’s best teams; USA, Japan and Brazil consecutively to win the tournament. After that, they breezed past Brazil and China twice each in friendlies on home soil, including a 3-2 win over Brazil in front of a record crowd in Newcastle.

Inexplicably, Kerr wasn’t among the three finalists for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, a decision that was rightly hammered by football fans around the globe. She was, however, honoured as Asia’s best player and included in the IFFHS World Team of the Year.

A combination of success and star power means that the Matildas now arguably sit as the most universally loved national team the country has to offer – and are a big chance to win both the Asian Cup next year, and the World Cup in 2019. The Winners: Sydney FC

Graham Arnold’s men completed the greatest season ever recorded in the A-League, shattering records left and right. Whatever your feelings towards Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar side of 2010-11, the Sky Blues eclipsed them in both goals scored and conceded per game, and grabbed more wins and more points despite the season being three games shorter.

Magic moment: Sydney FC players celebrate after winning the grand final. Photo: AAP

Sydney went on to win the Grand Final against Melbourne Victory in a penalty shootout, with the league’s best player, Milo?? Ninkovi??, slotting the winning spot kick. The first half of the 2017-18 season has been just as kind to them, as they sit at the top of the ladder and lifted the FFA Cup trophy after beating Adelaide United in the final in November.

The Losers: USA, Italy and the Netherlands

Three World Cup stalwarts won’t be heading to Russia next year, having failed in qualification – the American failure was particularly embarrassing, not only due to the quality of opposition in the CONCACAF region, but because broadcaster Fox Sports shelled out $400 million for exclusive rights to broadcast the tournament, only for the USA to lose their last game against Trinidad & Tobago, and fall all the way to fifth in their group.

Italy’s loss to Sweden in the play-off round meant that they would not be at football’s showpiece event for the first time in 60 years, and also robbed legendary keeper Gianluigi Buffon of becoming the first player to go to six World Cups.

Year to forget: Dick Advocaat gestures with Netherland’s Ryan Babel during a World Cup qualifying match between the Netherlands and Sweden. Photo: Peter DejongQuote of the Year: Dick Advocaat

As mentioned above, the Netherlands failed to qualify for the World Cup, being pipped to second in their group by Sweden, who then beat Italy in the play-offs. The Swedes only finished ahead of the Dutch due to goal difference, and the two teams were slated to play each other in the final game of the group stage, with Advocaat’s men needing a hefty win to swing that for and against.

But first, Sweden had their penultimate game against Luxembourg, and a win by a large margin would squash any remote hopes for the Netherlands to overturn the difference. “What if Sweden win 8-0 or something like that?” A reporter asked the Dutch coach.

“They won’t win 8-0, what a stupid question that is,” Advocaat said. “8-0? Well, no I don’t believe that.”

Sweden, of course, won 8-0 – and lost that final game to the Dutch by two, advancing to the play-off round with a goal difference of +17 to Sweden’s +9. Social media moment: Aaron Mooy, the young Huddersfield fan, and the ??5 note

After Huddersfield Town’s stunning win over Premier League heavyweights Manchester United, it was a touching moment between their Aussie midfield maestro and a five-year-old boy that stole the show. Adam Bhana, a young Terriers fan, found a ??5 note at the game, and wrote a letter to the club offering it to Mooy, who scored the opening goal in the victory. Pure class from young Adam pic.twitter南京夜网/KVSpfJlZrm??? Sean Jarvis (@SeanMJarvis) October 24, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Ablett will play midfield, not as permanent forward: Scott

Geelong did not recruit Gary Ablett to just play forward and expect him to play a significant role in the midfield in 2018.
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The champion veteran will turn 34 early in the season but Geelong coach Chris Scott has dismissed suggestions the Cats would use him as a permanent forward next season.

“We didn’t bring him in to be a forward,” Scott said.

“We brought him in to be a midfielder, [but] with an open mind as well. We need to see how he plays.”

Scott was confident surgery had reduced the risk of Ablett dislocating his shoulder and his hamstring issues were manageable as the dual Brownlow medallist enters his 17th season.

“He didn’t come to us and say ‘Look, I am almost cooked here. Can you just hide me in the forward pocket for a couple of years and I will snag you 30 goals a year?’ ” Scott said.

“He has an aspiration to help the team as much as possible and we all believe that is in the midfield first.”

Ablett was traded back to the Cats after a seven-year stint with Gold Coast at the end of the season to play alongside star midfielders Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield and chase his third premiership in Geelong colours.

The Cats have a plethora of players Scott describes as midfielders who can play forward including Dangerfield, who kicked 45 goals in 2017, Nakia Cockatoo, Selwood, Mitch Duncan and Ablett.

Scott said Ablett’s competitiveness on the training track was already proving valuable as he pushed the Cats’ emerging midfielders to improve.

He also indicated that competition for spots inside the Cats’ forward line will be hot with Tom Hawkins remaining a focal point inside 50.

Geelong will look to players who can apply forward pressure to play in front of goals and are hopeful Lincoln McCarthy and Cory Gregson will return free of injury alongside recruit Stewart Crameri and forwards such as Brandan Parfitt, Dan Menzel, James Parsons and Cockatoo to fight for spots.

Scott said what clubs assessed when it came to forwards had changed.

“It’s not tall or small. It’s mobile or immobile,” Scott said.

Scott confirmed that Cats’ veteran Harry Taylor will play as a permanent defender in 2018 after kicking 22 goals playing mainly as a forward in 2017.

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Barnaby Joyce denies cabinet axings were ‘payback’

Clockwise from top left: ‘Winners’ of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet reshuffle, John McVeigh, Michael Keenan, Michaelia Cash, Craig Laundy, Christian Porter, Bridget McKenzie, Barnaby Joyce, Dan Tehan, Mathias Cormann, Damian Drum, Kelly O’Dwyer, Peter Dutton, Melissa Price and David Littleproud. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday 19 December 2017. FedpolDeputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has denied “payback” motivated his cabinet decisions as the infighting in the Nationals continues to overshadow Malcolm Turnbull’s ministerial reset.
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Tuesday’s reshuffle saw five people appointed to the 23-member cabinet, including rookie Queensland federal MPs David Littleproud??? and John McVeigh???, in a move designed to woo voters in the key battleground state.

But the rapid promotion of Mr Littleproud and Mr McVeigh, who were both elected for the first time just 18 months ago, came at the expense of the now-former infrastructure minister Darren Chester and assistant minister for trade Keith Pitt.

The ministerial rearrangement has infuriated some Nationals MPs, who accused Mr Joyce of taking revenge on Mr Chester for supporting Bridget McKenzie in her successful bid to become the Nationals deputy leader.

Mr Joyce did back-to-back television interviews on Wednesday morning in an attempt to explain Mr Chester’s demotion.

“There is no payback, there is no payback in trying to get geographic representation right,” Mr Joyce told Sky News.

Mr Joyce maintained selection for cabinet was made on the grounds of age and geographical representation.

“I think we’ve got an incredible talent pool. In any process, there is going to be people who are rightly upset. We have an immense pool of people who have the capacity to be cabinet ministers, without a shadow of a doubt. And I’m very proud of that in the National Party. And we have a cabinet group now that has people in their 30s, in their early 40s, late 40s, I’m 50 and Nigel [Scullion] is in his 60s,” Mr Joyce told ABC television.

“And if you’re saying in any reshuffle, through the history of the Australian Parliament, there are going to be people who are upset, that’s hardly a remarkable statement.”

Mr Turnbull’s reshuffle was overshadowed by the dumping of Mr Chester and the reasons behind it.

Some MPs were convinced it was because Mr Chester, who had attracted no criticism for his performance as minister, supported Senator McKenzie’s leadership bid while others said it was because they were both from Victoria and the Nationals’ vote in Victoria did not entitle it to two cabinet positions.

Senator McKenzie was entitled to her cabinet position when she became deputy leader.

A gracious Mr Chester said being dumped was “character building” and that he had had several conversations with the Prime Minister and Mr Joyce before the reshuffle was announced.

“Barnaby Joyce offered me an assistant minister role as they call them these days. I chose to reflect on that overnight and advised both the PM and the Deputy PM I didn’t intend to take that offer,” he said on Tuesday.

Mr Joyce’s cabinet picks have turned what was supposed to be a routine ministerial reshuffle into a political headache for Mr Turnbull.

It caps off a year in which Mr Joyce had to fight a byelection after the High Court ruled him ineligible to sit in Parliament, and outspoken backbenchers such as George Christensen and Barry O’Sullivan forced Mr Turnbull’s hand on a banking royal commission.

Mr Joyce, however, denied there was a discipline problem in the Nationals, saying the junior Coalition partner had been doing “an excellent job”.

“When you talk about ill-discipline, because we got a banking royal commission up, it’s something our constituents want. I’m quite happy we got a banking royal commission up. It shows we have the capacity to listen to our constituency, as we should, and deliver for them, as we did. And, you know, that’s a good outcome,” he said.

The new ministry will be sworn in by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, on Wednesday morning. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframeTT’);

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Whips, Black Roses feature on T20 draw

CATCH: Newcastle district cricket chairman Paul Marjoribanks and Newcastle mayor Nuatali Nelmes. Picture: Marina NeilWhips, Waratahs and Black Roses will officially bepart of the Newcastle cricketlandscape fromnext month.
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Belmont, Waratah-Mayfield and Cardiff-Boolaroo will adopt those respectivenicknames for the recently launched NCC Big Bash.

Traditional district club identities will be replaced by logos and emblems throughout the five-round T20 tournament, which doesn’t include premiership points.

Others like Lions (Merewether), Rosellas (Wests), Sabres (City), Magpies (Charlestown), Pumas (Hamilton-Wickham), Tigers (Wallsend), Sea Dragons (University), Kookaburras (Toronto) and Seagulls (Stockton-Raymond Terrace) are better established.

Whips, Waratahs and Black Roses may have previously been used more internally than externally.

On field the Magpies and theBlack Roses kick start proceedings in a midweek twilight fixture (5pm) at No.1 Sportsground on Tuesday, January 9. Sunday double headers follow across eight venues on February 4 and 11. Semis and the final are scheduled for February 18.

R9: Waratah 180 v Uni 5-151; Magpies 8-340 v Tigers; Cardiff 0-18 v Toronto 7(dec)-385; Wests 297 v City 5-46; Lions 5-190 v Hamwicks 84; Stockton 1-26 v Belmont 262.

* STILL on T20 and Sydney defeated Penrith to claim their second NSW Premier Cup after Sunday night’s final at the SCG.

Sydney club’slight-hearted Twitter post comparedtheTigers’ success to that of 2017 AFL champions Richmond.

A big year for Tigers… the small matter of Richmond winning the @AFL… and the much bigger deal of @SYDCricketClub winning the @KingsgroveSport T20 Cup. https://t.co/ImcHtsIYhh

— Premier Cricket – NSW (@PremCricketNSW) December 17, 2017

* NEWCASTLE recorded its first win of the NSW Country Colts Championships at Tamworth on Wednesday courtesy of a century to captain Josh Claridge (112).

Western weren’t able to reel in Newcastle (9-265), who had already lost toIllawarra and finalists Riverina the previous two days.

Caps fit for Foster in bid for national crown

RUN: Stockton-Raymond Terrace off-spinner Nick Foster, in action earlier this season, will represent the Bush Blues for a fifth straight time at the Australian Country Championships next month. Picture: Marina NeilNick Foster has worn the Stockton coloursfor the best part of two decades.
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He’s been amongthe Newcastle representative squad for around a dozen campaigns.

And now the the 34-year-old off-spinner’sabout to receive hisfifth straight Bush Blues’ cap for NSW Country selection.

He knows he’s on a roll and wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Of course [it’s special]. There are plenty of people who would like to do it [play for NSW Country], but they don’t get the chance,” Foster said.

“I’ve just been fortunate enough to be given an opportunity and it’s beena great experience.”

During that periodFoster, who lives on the city’s northern peninsula, has travelled to Woolongong, Mount Gambier, Bendigo and Canberra for the Australian Country Championships.

This time around the venue is Geraldton, meaning a trek across the Nullarbor next month in pursuit of some sought-after national silverware.

One that Foster has yet to claim.

“I came in the year after they last won it, so I might even be the jinx,” he said.

“We did win the one-day part last year but we went terrible in the T20s, so it would be good to get the overall job done.”

Foster said the 2017-2018 group, includingNewcastle state-title teammatesNathan Price and Joe Price, would be much better equipped to deal with the changed tournament format in edition number two.

Two-dayers have been scrapped from the competition structure with now a mix of one-day and T20 fixtures on the draw.

“We didn’t really deal with it that well last year,” Foster said.

“Hopefully we are better equipped this time around and I think a fair chunk of the side now have experience in the Sydney T20 competition as well.Having guys like Nathan Price back really adds a level of calmness we probably didn’t have before.”

It comes after Foster helped steer Newcastle to a third NSW Country Championship crown since 2013-2014, featuring the final against Central Coast at Bowral’s Bradman Oval last month.

“We’ve had a little period over the last seven or eight years that has been pretty successful,” he said.

“Both at country level and holding our own in the Sydney T20 competition.”

Closer to home and thissummer has been a bit tougher, with the Seagulls again struggling near the bottom of the ladder.

But Foster is up for the challenge and a week after bowling 40 overs from one end he made his highest first grade score staving off an outright loss, falling one short of a maiden century.

Avoid mistakes with care

HELPING HAND: Sue Mann Nursing and Community Care has more than 30 years of experience helping improve the quality of life of the elderly, from the Hunter, to the Central Coast and Upper Sydney.Have you or your parents been thinking about hiring a Home Care Provider to give you a little extra help and freedom? Have you been thinking about taking advantage of the government packages that are available?
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Sue Mann Nursing and Community Care has compiled a list of the biggest mistakes people make, and what to look for to help ensure you choose an excellent provider who can fulfill your needs and help improve your life.

Mistake 1 Choosing a provider that doesn’t have decades of experienceRecent years have seen many, less experienced In-home Aged Care service providers pop up. Be sure to choose one with many years of experience. A provider that can give you the confidence and care you need.

Mistake2 Choosing a provider that doesn’t offer a full range of services and careMany providers are just too small to offer a full range of services, meaning you won’t have access to all the services that you require. As the largest provider in the region, Sue Mann offers a specialist approach and comprehensive range of services including clinical care, allied health, dementia, and more.

Mistake 3 Choosing a provider that doesn’t give you flexibility of choiceIt’s important that your provider can give you the flexibility you need, without the headaches or red tape. Sue Mann offers the full range of government-subsidised programs, providing flexibility to transition as your care needs changes.

Mistake 4 Choosing a provider that doesn’t understand your needsIn-home Care is about you and improving your life. Sue Mann focuses on your story, your needs and what makes you happy to support you living at home amongst family, friends and your local community.

Mistake 5Choosing a provider that doesn’t help simplify the process for youThe In-home Aged Care system can be a little hard to navigate. It’s important that someone really takes the time to sit with you and explain how it all works so that you can get the best service and the most value from your package.

These tips will help you avoid the biggest mistakes people make when choosing a home care provider and help you find one that will best suit you.

For further help with In-home Aged Care Services and learning how you (or your parents) can remain independent in your (or their) own home for longer, while receiving the care they need, call Sue Mann Nursing and Community Care on 1300 241 300.

Up 1226%: ASX’s best stock is one you’ve never heard of

Technology isn’t big on the Australian sharemarket, but it has provided investors with a stock that has soared 1,226 per cent this year.
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Big Un, which uses its software to make promotional videos for restaurants, salons and other small businesses at lower costs, is the top performer this year among the almost 700 companies in Australia whose shares fetch at least $1 apiece.

A penny stock until June, Sydney-based Big Un is trading at more than $3 per share and is worth about $450 million.

It’s hard to pinpoint what changed Big Un’s fortunes, but it’s been raising sales projections regularly.

This month brought another revision, with the company forecasting revenue of at least $22 million for the December quarter, a 10 per cent increase from expectations in November.

“We have perfected our business model and hit traction,” said Big Un Chairman Hugh Massie, who signalled his bullishness when he bought $488,750 of shares at market price late last month. “Small businesses want video at a low cost and we are able to provide that through our combination of technology platform and operation structure.”

Big Un’s software helps reduce production costs by as much as 80 per cent, Moelis & Co. estimates, to a few thousand dollars for a short video. The company said it had 4,900 paying subscribers as of September, who on average each contributed $7,500 to quarterly revenue.

Founded by Executive Director Brandon Evertz in 2013 when he was just 19, Big Un listed on the local stock exchange a year later via a reverse takeover of former mining company Republic Gold.

The shares traded at less than 50 cents for the next 2 1/2 years before shooting up. They have retreated 39 per cent from their peak in November. The sell-off prompted the company to say its disclosures were up to date, but it didn’t give a reason for the decline.

Some investors have avoided the stock, saying Big Un doesn’t yet have a proven track record.

“Big Un is performing great, but most of its clients are young clients,” said Guy Carson, chief investment officer at Quick Brown Fox Asset Management. “We need to see retention rates before we know the growth is sustainable.”

Carson prefers Gentrack Group, which makes software for utilities companies and whose shares have climbed 81 per cent this year. About 32 per cent of his $20 million portfolio is invested in technology stocks.

Technology represents less than 2 per cent of the nation’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index – in contrast to Wall Street’s S&P 500, which it dominates representing about 24 per cent of the index.

Big Un has said it plans to add videos of consumers reviewing businesses in the future. That would mean competing with the likes of TripAdvisor and Yelp, according to Moelis’s Keiran Hoare, the only analyst covering the company in data tracked by Bloomberg.

He recommends buying the shares, which he expects to reach $5.58 in a year. That would be a gain of another 83 per cent from its closing price on Tuesday.

Bloomberg

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

The 12 travel trends that need to die in 2018

Mostly, travel is great. It’s a highly enjoyable pursuit, a never-ending highlight reel of places and experiences and people.
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Sometimes though, it’s also kind of annoying. There are trends within the travel industry that tend to bug you after a while, that you really wish would just disappear like England’s Ashes dreams, that would vanish and never be seen again.

So as 2017 makes its way over the horizon, and we usher in the potential greatness of another 12 months on this beautiful planet, it’s worth pausing to consider the most annoying travel trends that are out there, and making a group pledge to get rid of them. Begpacking

Backpackers in south-east Asia seeking money. Photo: @ImSoloTraveller/Twitter

This insane practice of travellers begging for spare change in developing countries, leaning on the kindness of strangers in order to make their way around the world, has to stop. If you have the money and the luxury of time to travel from a first-world country to a developing nation, then you also have ability to spend a bit longer at home saving enough to pay for the whole thing yourself. Leave the charity to people who actually deserve it.

See also: ‘Begpackers’ – backpackers begging for money: it’s a disgraceSelfie culture

Selfies: make it stop. Photo: Shutterstock

What you do on your holidays is really up to you – until, that is, it starts bugging everyone else. Who hasn’t stood around at a viewpoint or monument or anything else of interest on their travels and waited interminably as a never-ending queue of wannabe social media stars spends a lifetime lining up the perfect pouty selfie? And we haven’t even begun talking about the sticks???

See also: Taking selfies: The most offensive travel invention?Crowding the baggage carousel

It’s not that hard to make some room. Photo: Shutterstock

I’m not actually sure if you can call this a trend, given travellers have probably been doing it ever since the first bag ever whirred around a carousel. Still, it bears mentioning. The entire luggage collection process would work a lot better if everyone just took a step back from the carousel and moved forward when they spied their bag. Is that so hard to get your head around? Drones

Drones: Even worse than selfies. Photographer: Bloomberg

I’m a little torn here, because drone photos are pretty cool. However, when you’re relaxing at a campsite, or on the beach, or anywhere really that’s natural and peaceful and beautiful, and your world is suddenly invaded by the whining of some moron’s drone as it zips past over and over again, you have every reason to hate these things. White saviours

Yes, their intentions are good. However, white travellers who visit developing countries and think they’re going to “save” the locals, who post photos of themselves posing with poor people, who perpetuate the stereotype that those in developing countries are hopeless, and those from the West can rescue them despite having no actual skills or experience in sustainable, long-term development strategies, are actually doing more harm than good. Just ask Ed Sheeran or Tom Hardy. Charging for Wi-Fi

It’s an annoying quirk of the accommodation industry that every $10-a-night hostel invariably gives away Wi-Fi access for free, and yet some $400-a-night five-star resorts still think they can get away with charging for internet. Sometimes $20 or $30 a night. And often these places are in Australia. Wi-Fi might once have seemed like a luxury, but these days it should just be a given. Tiger tourism

Photo: Shutterstock

This mostly seems to have stopped now, fortunately. However, it’s not just photo ops with drugged-up tigers that are the problem. Any tourism experience that involves animals – elephant sanctuaries, zoos, even national parks in some countries – should really be scrutinised closely before you commit to a visit. There are plenty of dodgy operators out there who don’t actually have the animals’ best interests at heart. Saying you’ve “done” somewhere

Argh! You haven’t “done” anywhere! You haven’t “done” Asia. You haven’t “done” Europe. No one has! Not even the people who live there. You could go back to the same continent, the same country, the same city over and over again for the rest of your life and still find new things, meet new people, and have new experiences. Nowhere, and nothing, is ever “done”.

See also: Climbing Uluru – how is this still a thing?Tourists behaving badly

Here’s the rub, travellers. There are a lot of us out there. Many more than there ever have been. And the industry is only going to grow. If we want this thing to be a success, if we want to keep visiting popular cities and staying in apartments in the trendy suburbs and eating at local cafes and drinking at local bars and sharing in other people’s lives for just a few days at a time, we have to behave ourselves. We have to treat other cities and other countries as our own. We have to be kind; we have to be respectful. If we do that, we all get to travel safely and happily for a lot longer.

See also: 10 things travellers probably shouldn’t be doingComplaining about all of the tourists

If you’re in a place that’s filled with tourists … Surprise, you’re one of them. Slum tourism

A slum area in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photo: AP

At their best, tours of slums and favelas and shantytowns will be run by residents, and will provide an accurate and respectful snapshot of local life to travellers who will be able to learn from the experience and contribute a little cash to the community. At their worst, however – and their most frequent – these tours are pure poverty porn, like visiting some sort of zoo where you take photos of all the poor people and then leave, having contributed nothing. Do your research thoroughly before you get involved in something like this. Staring at your phone while walking

To be fair, this isn’t just travellers. It’s commuters and pedestrians in all forms, around the world. People walk while staring at their phones. They’re playing games on there. They’re reading books. They’re flicking through music. They’re also really slow walkers, and they bump into other people constantly. Stop. Looking. At. Your. Phone.

What do you think are the travel trends that deserve to die in 2018? Are there any from this list that you think should live on?

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See also: Australia – have we become a nation of idiots?

See also: Why do Australians behave so badly overseas?

Revealed: minister failed to release gambling harm report despite advice

Former NSW deputy premier Troy Grant was advised in May last year to make public “as soon as possible” a landmark gambling harm report that recommends banning a controversial poker machine feature that was the subject of a Federal Court battle involving billionaire James Packer’s casino company Crown.
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But the NSW government sat on the report until October this year – almost two years after it was delivered – despite inquiries from its lead author, University of Sydney gambling researcher Professor Alex Blaszczynski, who “expressed frustration” at the delay.

The revelations are contained in emails and briefing notes released to Fairfax Media under government information access laws.

In October Gaming Minister Paul Toole finally released the report by the University of Sydney gambling treatment clinic, commissioned in 2013 at a cost of $263,000 and handed to the government in December 2015.

Among its recommendations is banning a controversial feature of poker machines known as “losses disguised as wins”, blamed by experts for fuelling addiction.

Losses disguised refers to when celebratory music and graphics are played when a player wins an amount, despite it being less than what was gambled.

The government sat on the report as Crown and poker machine manufacturer Aristocrat fought a Federal Court case in which it is alleged the feature is “misleading and deceptive”.

Crown and Aristocrat are defending allegations by a former poker machine addict, Shonica Guy, that a machine called Dolphin Treasure – 38 of which are installed at Crown’s Melbourne casino – is misleading, deceptive and in breach of consumer law. The parties are awaiting a verdict.

A May 2016 briefing note for Mr Grant, who at the time was deputy premier and gaming minister, recommends that he approve release of the report. It says the report “should be published as soon as possible to ensure that it is still current when it is released”.

“The research provides new and important information about the harms related to gambling products,” it says.

“This will be valuable to all gambling stakeholders in Australia. It will ensure that any new initiatives are informed by the latest evidence.”

An October 21 email from a senior Liquor and Gaming NSW official says the report and its recommendation were “sent to the deputy premier on 31 May, 2016, with a recommendation to release the report. However, the deputy premier has not yet advised on the release of the report.”

It notes the Herald had questioned the delay and that Professor Blaszczynski had “expressed frustration” and raised “concerns” including “the lack of updates or rationale provided by the government to date as to the significant delays in releasing this research report”.

An October 31 email between bureaucrats shows an adviser in Mr Grant’s office had flagged the report would be released but was “awaiting necessary authorisations”.

A response on November 3 states: “FYI – I have been informed today that Dr Blaszczynski has inquired with Leanne Perry in my unit as to who he can speak to in order to arrange a meeting with the deputy premier to discuss this issue.”

Mr Grant, who is Police Minister, was dumped as Nationals leader and deputy premier in a reshuffle in late November and replaced as gaming minister by Mr Toole in January this year.

A spokesman for Mr Toole said the report “made a number of legislative, regulatory and policy recommendations which needed be to clarified and further considered by Liquor & Gaming NSW”.

“It was important the government gave due regard to these issues as part of an extensive process of evaluation,” he said.

“There was also a need to draft a formal government response document and for both the report and response document to be considered by cabinet. Once this had all occurred, the report was released without delay.”

The government has said a ban on losses disguised as wins will be considered as part of a broader review of prohibited features on poker machines in NSW, with the timeframe yet to be determined.

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