Payback blamed as Joyce dumps minister

Vote on the Marriage Amendment Bill at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 7 December 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and acting Minister of State Senator Mathias Cormann during a press conference on same sex marriage at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 8 August 2017. Fedpol. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester is set to be dumped in Malcolm Turnbull’s reshuffle, with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce instrumental in the decision to axe the well-regarded cabinet minister.

Mr Joyce is now expected to take over the portfolio of his Nationals’ colleague, and there are suggestions he will keep the Water portfolio but surrender Agriculture.

Rookie Queensland Nationals MP David Littleproud is favourite to take Mr Chester’s cabinet post, in a meteoric rise from the backbench just 18 months after he entered Parliament.

The promotion of Mr Littleproud, who was one of just four MPs to vote against same-sex marriage and called for a division on the issue, would give the Queensland Nationals a second cabinet post, at the expense of Victoria.

It is not clear if Mr Littleproud or Nationals deputy leader, Bridget McKenzie, will pick up the Agriculture portfolio but both will enter cabinet.

Another of Mr Joyce’s political opponents in the Nationals’ party room, Queensland junior minister Keith Pitt, has also been dumped as assistant minister for Trade and Tourism.

The expected decisions to dump Mr Chester and Mr Pitt were a surprise to some in the Nationals party room, and interpreted by several MPs as political payback by the Deputy Prime Minister; both men backed in senator Bridget McKenzie in the recent contest for Nationals deputy leader, rather than Mr Joyce’s pick of senator Matt Canavan.

Demands for Queensland to have a second Nationals’ cabinet minister also played a part in the decision to dump Mr Chester; there are four Nationals MPs from Victoria in Parliament, and eight Nationals-aligned MPs in the Queensland LNP.

Mr Turnbull is also expected to announce Liberals Dan Tehan and Paul Fletcher will move into cabinet later on Tuesday, but it is understood that former cabinet minister Sussan Ley may now miss out on a return.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter will replace George Brandis as Attorney-General, and Senator Brandis will head to London in January to be high commissioner.

Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Arthur Sinodinos – who is battling cancer – is also expected to step down when the reshuffle is announced.

NSW MPs Craig Laundy and Angus Taylor and Queenslanders John McVeigh and Stuart Robert and Karen Andrews are all considered possible promotion candidates for other junior ministry vacancies that will be created.

The other cabinet minister said to be in the running for the job of Attorney-General was Employment Minister Michaelia Cash; however, she has been damaged by the recent resignation of a staffer, who tipped off media about a raid on union offices, and accusations she initially misled Parliament over the matter.

Mr Porter’s expected promotion from Social Services to Attorney-General – he is a former treasurer and attorney-general in the Western Australian Parliament – will trigger further changes to the cabinet, and the outer ministry.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton will also be sworn in to the new super portfolio of Home Affairs, which includes Immigration, the Australian Border Force the Australian Federal Police and spy agency ASIO – the last of which was previously in the Attorney-General’s portfolio.

The Prime Minister will also need to fill the outer ministry of Special Minister of State, which was recently vacated by now-Senate president Scott Ryan.

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First criminal charges in NewSat scandal

Adrian Ballintine, the flamboyant founder of failed Australian satellite company NewSat, has been named in a Melbourne court as a “co-accused” after his former tax adviser and business partner was charged as part of a long-running probe by the nation’s corporate watchdog, ASIC.
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Jason Cullen, who provided tax advice to NewSat and was a shareholder and finance chief of Mr Ballintine’s luxury yacht business, has been charged with two counts of creating false invoices in relation to payments worth $275,000.

A Commonwealth prosecutor told the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday that Mr Ballintine was a co-accused in Mr Cullen’s matter. However, it emerged later in the day that charges are still to be served on Mr Ballintine and Fairfax Media understands he may face different charges.

Once a darling of the ASX, NewSat collapsed in 2015 and wiped out $200 million of investor money. Its international financial backers, the US government’s ExIm bank, was owed $280 million and Europe’s COFACE $108 million.

NewSat was hoping to launch Australia’s first privately owned, non-government satellite. It also owned satellite tele-portals which received highly classified US and Australian military communications and were later penetrated by Chinese hackers.

NewSat’s collapse came after Fairfax Media published a series of reports detailing serious alleged governance breaches and conflicts of interest at the company, including controversial payments made to Mr Ballintine’s Gold Coast Cresta Motor Yachts business.

Mr Ballintine, NewSat’s managing director as well as founder, and several other company executives and consultants enjoyed an extravagant jet-setting lifestyle as they travelled the world seeking investor support and contracts.

The firm also had high-level political and diplomatic support, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2012 suggesting the “pretty capable” NewSat could provide satellite services for the NBN Co. Mr Turnbull was shadow communications minister when he made the comment.

Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke was also enlisted as a consultant by NewSat and awarded a generous share package and a healthy monthly retainer. There is no suggestion Mr Hawke was involved in any wrong-doing in relation to NewSat.

A sensational leaked boardroom video captured the increasingly dysfunctional climate at NewSat as it began to run into financial problems. It showed NewSat’s then chairman, Melbourne businessman Richard Green, and then independent director, former Australia Post deputy chairman, Brendan Fleiter, in a heated disagreement which threatened to become physical over the financial management of the company.

Mr Cullen was in court on Tuesday as the charges were filed. He will appear again in March.

Mr Ballintine, a former Richmond Football Club director, and other senior former NewSat executives, are also facing legal action on another front with receivers from McGrathNicol earlier this year filing a damages claim in the Federal Court seeking $270 million.

The McGrathNicol action alleges Mr Ballintine and Mr Green breached their directors’ duties on several occasions.

Fairfax Media’s reports on NewSat revealed how some of the company’s directors, executives and consultants were also deeply involved with Mr Ballintine’s yacht business either as part-owners or senior managers.

In 2014, Mr Ballintine was awarded a bonus of $1.2 million in addition to his $1 million salary and share options worth $1.15 million when they were vested.

It also emerged that Mr Ballintine used his own NewSat shares as collateral for a private loan despite the company being placed in a trading blackout.

NewSat’s former independent directors, Mr Fleiter, former St Kilda Football Club president Andrew Plympton and Mark Fishwick, became so concerned about the company’s expenditure that they hired former BHP vice president Brendan Rudd to investigate.

Mr Rudd’s conclusion was damning: “I have never seen nor heard of more appalling corporate behaviour than at NewSat”.

Mr Ballintine in 2015 rejected many of Mr Rudd’s criticisms in an interview with leading finance commentator Alan Kohler.

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The Buzz

PICTURE PERFECT: William Crighton will return to the Tamworth Regional Art Gallery on January 25. Picture: Paul DearHIGH PRAISE The last time William Crighton performed at the Tamworth Regional Art Gallery inJanuary, the late greatmusic journalist Iain Shedden rated the performance within his “all-time top-10.”
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“Once in a lifetime a gig surpasses all expectations, slapping you in the face with its grace, majestic singing, the quality of the material,” Shedden wrote. Crighton returnsto the venue on January 25 forthe Tamworth Country Music Festival, this time joined by award-winningAboriginal artistGawurra.

KERBSIDE STOMPAnother Newcastle musicianamong the local contingent heading up the New England Highway for the Tamworth Country Music Festival will be James Bennett. The country troubadourwill perform at The Pub and The Welders Dog (January 22) and The Southgate Inn (January 23) plus at a series of busking shows in Peel Street from January 21 to 26.

HATS OFFLet’s give amassive round of applause to Kim Churchill and the Grand Junction (Junkyard)Hotel forhelping out six-year-old leukaemia-sufferer Kane Ransom. On November 22 it was discovered Kane hadrelapsed after being in remission for18 months. Tentickets to Churchill’s January 11 show at the Junkyard and a $600 bar tab were auctioned off on Thursdayto assist with Kane’s medical expenses.

HAPPY DAYS The summer party vibes will be pumping at Mayfield’s Stag and Hunter Hotel on January 5 when Sydney’s The Kava Kings drop by.The Kava Kings recentlybegan work on their third album with producer and Eskimo Joe guitaristJoel Quartermain and are expected to previewseveral new tracks at The Stag.

Public pools worth $2.8b in health benefits, so why are some under threat?

Photograph shows Blue Mountains residents opposed to the planned closure of Katoomba swimming pool. From left to right , David Tobin of Lawson, Lyndell Fairleigh of Blackheath, Margot McKay of Katoomba, John Tognolini of Katoomba and Kirsty McKenzie of Katoomba. Plus general images of children swimming. Photographs by Dean Sewell. Taken Monday 18th December 2017.John Tognolini’s father, Vic, taught his sons the importance of swimming from an early age, encouraging them to complete 10 laps each of freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke every day.
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“My dad was a World War II veteran and he actually swum out during the evacuation of Crete with two blokes tied to him on a rope,” Mr Tognolini said. “They got to a small boat and got taken up by a British warship.”

Mr Tognolini passed on a passion for swimming to his daughter Rachael, who was three years old when she first splashed about in the outdoor pools at Katoomba Sports and Aquatic Centre.

But Mr Tognolini, who at the age of 59 swims up to four times a week, fears some children may be denied the opportunity to learn to swim under a proposal by the Blue Mountains City Council to close some of its aquatic facilities.

“All the outdoor pools are well loved and valued by the community as beautiful, peaceful outdoor neighbourhood spaces where they can bring their families to both relax and exercise,” Mr Tognolini said.

The council’s draftOpen Space and Recreation Strategic Plan, which is on public exhibition until January 15, proposes the closure of some swimming pools at the Katoomba, Lawson and Blackheath aquatic facilities.

A council spokeswoman said the Blue Mountains had more public swimming pools than many other councils, with aquatic facilities also at Springwood and Glenbrook.

She said the pools were ageing and did not meet modern standards.

“It is proposed that we maximise the use of pools in good condition and retire assets in an aged condition,” she said.

“This approach would retain the five swim centres, however offer less individual pools in each location. It also looks at creating additional indoor facilities, extending the pool season, heating pools, as well as creating other water play spaces like splash pads.”

But Mr Tognolini, a high school teacher and spokesman for the Save Katoomba Pool group, said: “Increasing the distance and cost travelling to affordable resources amplifies economic and social inequality. Unnecessary burden will be placed on those who can afford it least.”

Kirsty McKenzie, a member of the Katoomba RSL Swimming Club, said the closure of the outdoor 50-metre pool in Katoomba threatened the viability of the club.

David Tobin, the president of the Lawson Amateur Swimming Club, said the smaller swimming pools threatened with closure were vital for helping non-swimmers to overcome a fear of the water.

“Of particular concern to me is the impact the proposed closures will have on teaching kids how to swim – both formal swimming instruction and also on giving kids an opportunity to familiarise with the water in shallower depths before they take to the big pool,” he said.

The council’s proposal to close some of its aquatic facilities comes as a report by the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia found that a single visit to a public pool leads to health benefits worth nearly $27 per person.

The Economic Benefits of Australia’s Public Aquatic Facilities also found that public swimming pools produce $2.8 billion in health benefits each year in addition to their value as places of recreation, community and aquatic education.

Almost 40 per cent of Australians classed as “physically inactive”, meaning they do less than 60 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.

But the report suggests an extra visit to a public swimming pool each week would shift most “inactive” Australians to “low activity”, cutting their risk of lifestyle-related disease by 16 per cent and saving more than $4500 per person in the form of better health, reduced medical costs and improved work attendance each year.

“We knew going in, that swimming was a great way of keeping active, but we were shocked to find out just how effective even a single weekly swimming pool visit can be in cutting the costs of physical inactivity,” said the report’s author Dr Paul Barnsley.

“Now we need to make sure that everyone is in a position to take advantage of those benefits – if we don’t find the money for pools we’ll end up paying for it via the health system.”

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Revitalisation plans must attract business

Premier Gladys Berejiklian answering questions at the Wickham Interchange on Tuesday.IT’S an unwritten law of politics in regional areas that no leader worth their salt turns up without having a funding announcement of some sort to make.
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After all, it’s not that often that premiers find their way into tiger country, and so they usually try to make it worth their while.

With Premier Gladys Berejiklian in town, Tuesday did turn out to be jackpot day for the Hunter,with the Newcastle Knights securing $10 million to go towards their rugby league centre of excellence to be built at Broadmeadow.

But the funny thing was, it wasn’t the premier who announced it. That job was left to Sport Minister Stuart Ayres, with the$10 million doled out to the Knights being the biggest amount received by the five clubs who shared in the spoils.Unofficially, the Newcastle Herald was told that the centre of excellence details weren’t finalised until mid-afternoon, making it too late for the premier to unveil the Knights’ good fortune. We realise there is controversy over sports funding at the moment, thanks to the government’s $2.5-billion stadium building plan, but it seems something of a missedopportunity for the premier to come all the way to Newcastle on the day her government is giving $10 million to the Knights, and to notsay anything about it either at her interchange press conference or at the lunch.

Regardless, however, sports fans will thank the government for its vote of support in the Knights, as will the club itself.

As it happens, the premier did have one funding announcement to make, but it was not until she had departed Newcastle for Williamtown that we learned about it: a $50,000 extension of the “STEMship” pre-employment program –STEM being science, technology, engineering and maths –that was launched in the Hunter in August 2016. Ms Berejiklian said the funding would ensureensure “a continued pipeline of skilled workers” for the defence industry.

Of course the the Herald acknowledges that the Coalition state government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in Newcastle at the moment. On that, Ms Berejiklian says she “couldn’t be more pleased” with the revitalisation plans, which meant that “businesses are champing at the bit to have their offices to set up space here”.

And that, in the end, will be the test. Apartment blocks are one thing, but the inner cityneedsto be a central business district, and not justa central residential district, if Newcastleis to properly thrive.

ISSUE: 38,679.

How Star Wars is changing things for Boxing Day movies

Go early and beat the rush.
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The Australian tradition of Boxing Day as the biggest cinema-going day of the year is shifting ground as the summer’s big movies are either released or given extensive preview screenings before Christmas.

For the third year in a row, the reignited Star Wars franchise has delivered a new movie two weeks before Christmas. And as with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, The Last Jedi is virtually guaranteed to be the biggest movie of the holidays.

Blockbusters have opened in mid-December before – Titanic and Avatar among them – but all the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, plus such Hollywood hits as Frozen and Meet the Fockers, were all held back until Boxing Day.

The industry thinking was that once all the presents had been unwrapped, the festive tables cleared and the celebrations were winding down, Australians were ready to head to the cinema.

After all, anticipation for a new Peter Jackson movie or Disney animation had been building for months. And for many of us, Boxing Day is still the first chance to relax into the holidays.

The movies are also an outing with family or friends. An excuse to get away from the dining table and the wreckage of the lounge room. Sometimes an escape from a stressful family situation. And it can be a holiday treat by splashing out on a premium session such as Hoyts’ Luxe or Gold Class at Event and Village.

But Disney’s acquisition of movie brands – Marvel, Pixar, LucasFilm and now 20th Century Fox – is changing the game.

While many of us are struggling to wrap up work, studies and shopping, turning a new Star Wars movie into an event before Christmas means the studio avoids competing against the traditional Disney or Pixar animated family movie out on Boxing Day.

This year Pixar’s Coco is expected to be one of the hits of the holidays.

In art-house cinemas, distributors have taken the tip, too. While the French comedy Just to Be Sure is nominally a Boxing Day release, it is getting two full weekends of advance screenings before it opens.

Publicity and what the industry calls “word of mouth” build up awareness of a film, which helps it find a place among the crowded line-up of new releases.

And it is certainly crowded this year.

With Christmas on Monday, the action comedy Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is getting preview screenings on the weekend.

And two other movies that are sure to be popular, the family sequel Paddington 2 and the Oscar-contending American drama The Florida Project, open five days before Boxing Day to beat the rush.

With all the intense competition in entertainment, including the rise of streaming services, the cinema industry is having to be strategic to counter declining ticket sales.

They worked out years ago that premium screenings, including giant screen and 3D sessions, encourage us to spend more each cinema visit.

While the top standard ticket has nudged up to $23 in some multiplexes, other cinemas are discounting prices to attract viewers.

The general manager of entertainment at Event Cinemas, Luke Mackey, thinks the line-up of films will make it “a pretty good Christmas” for cinemas.

But he recognises it has become even more important for films to become “events” to attract an audience.

“People are looking for something special,” Mackey says. “Something unique – making something special and giving people an additional reason to come out is going to become increasingly important.”

Even if it is an exceptional Christmas for ticket sales, annual box office is still expected to be down by 3 to 4 per cent on last year’s record $1.259 billion.

Early this month, it was down 6 per cent on the corresponding period last year, reflecting that Hollywood has delivered some disappointing blockbusters this year, including Transformers: The Last Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Mummy, Baywatch, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Monster Trucks and Justice League.

But with the exception of Beauty and the Beast, even the hits have taken less than would have been expected two years ago.

The managing director of Sony Pictures Australia, Stephen Basil-Jones, believes this shows the impact of streaming services.

“The quality and number of great programs has really signalled that they’re a force to be reckoned with,” he says. “Particularly in the drama area for adults, you have to have something compelling and cinema-worthy to take them on. It’s a new challenge for our industry to compete against.”

While Basil-Jones concedes July to September was “pretty grim”, he is optimistic about the Boxing Day line-up, especially for Jumanji.

“I think it’s going to be terrific,” he says. “There’s a film for everyone.”

Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

Director: With a background in visual effects and commercials, Australian Michael Gracey is making his film directing debut.

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron.

The story: After losing his job, P. T. Barnum brings together performers of all descriptions to create the famous Barnum & Bailey circus.

Rating and length: PG, 105 minutes.

Who it’s for: Fans of Our Hugh, musicals and colourful entertainment.

Buzz: A feelgood musical that is a Hugh Jackman passion project, with music by La La Land’s Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

COCO

Director: Lee Unkrich, whose strong track record includes Finding Nemo and Toy Story 2 and 3, with screenwriter-storyboard artist Adrian Molina

Stars: Voices of Benjamin Bratt, Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garc??a Bernal

The story: A 12-year-old Mexican boy’s quest to play guitar like his hero, despite his family’s long-time opposition, sees him trapped in the land of the dead.

Rating and timing: PG, 105 minutes

Who it’s for: Fans of Pixar movies

Buzz: The studio has delivered yet again with a vibrant comic celebration of Mexican culture.

Kristen Wiig plays Audrey Safranek, Matt Damon plays Paul Safranek, Maribeth Monroe plays Carol Johnson and Jason Sudeikis plays Dave Johnson in Downsizing from Paramount Pictures.

DOWNSIZING

Director: Alexander Payne of Sideways, The Descendants and Nebraska fame.

Stars: Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau.

Rating and timing: M, 135 minutes.

The story: After scientists discover how to shrink people as a solution to over-population, a couple abandon their stressed lives in Omaha to move into a tiny community.

Who it’s for: Fans of adult dramas and Payne’s films.

Buzz: It’s a thought-provoking parable about a modern-day Lilliput.

BREATHE

Director: Andy Serkis, Gollum himself, who is making his film directing debut.

Stars: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Tom Hollander, Hugh Bonneville.

The story: Based on the real-life parents of producer Jonathan Cavendish, a love story about adventurous couple who have rich inspiring lives despite a polio diagnosis.

Rating and timing: M, 118 minutes.

Who it’s for: Fans of romance and inspirational greeting cards.

Buzz: Very British, very sentimental.

Kevin Hart (Franklin “Moose” Finbar), Karen Gillan (Ruby Roundhouse) Jack Black (Professor Shelly Oberon) and Dwayne Johnson (Dr. Smolder Bravestone) star in Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

Director: Jake Kasdan, best known for the Cameron Diaz comedies Bad Teacher and Sex Tape.

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas.

The story: In an action-fantasy sequel to 1995’s Jumanji, four teenagers discover an old video-game-console and get sucked into a jungle with adult avatars.

Rating and length: PG, 119 minutes.

Who it’s for: Fans of action comedies, the Rock and Jack Black.

Buzz: It’s had a mixed reception by critics, with The Hollywood Reporter calling it “an enjoyable modernisation” of the Jumanji children’s book and Variety dismissing it as “trash”.

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Director: Luca Guadagnino, the Italian director of I Am Love and A Bigger Splash

Stars: Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet

The story: A romantic coming-of-age drama – adapted from a novel by Andre Aciman – about a 17-year-old boy’s first love with an American student who stays with his family in Italy in 1983.

Rating and length: M, 132 minutes.

Who it’s for: Fans of love stories, affecting dramas and LGBTI films.

Buzz: The acclaim has included numerous top 10 lists of the year’s best films and three Golden Globe nominations – for best motion picture drama and the acting of its two stars.

JUST TO BE SURE

Director: Carine Tardieu, the French director best known for The Dandelions.

Stars: Francois Damiens, Cecile de France, Guy Marchand, Andre Wilms.

The story: Sharp French comedy about lonely 45-year-old bomb disposal expert, a widower who has to deal with a pregnant daughter while searching for his own biological father.

Rating and timing: M, 100 minutes.

Who it’s for: Fans of French films and intelligent comic tales.

Buzz: Well-acted charmer about the complications of families.

DOCTOR WHO: TWICE UPON A TIME

Director: Rachel Talalay who has moved into TV – including the Dr Who series – since the films Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and Tank Girl.

Stars: Peter Capaldi, Jodie Whittaker, David Bradley.

The story: This Christmas special is the last appearance of Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor – he joins the First Dr on an adventure involving aliens stealing victims from frozen time – before the arrival of Whittaker as number 13.

Rating and timing: M, 103 minutes including two shorts.

Who it’s for: Hardcore Doctor Who fans given it’s also on TV.

Buzz: One British review called it “a surprisingly slight tale”, beefed up by special features celebrating Capaldi’s time as the Dr and Steven Moffat’s as showrunner and lead writer.

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BHP to stay a member of the Minerals Council – at least for now

BHP will remain a member of the Minerals Council of Australia – at least for now – but has reached a “preliminary view” that it intends to leave the World Coal Association, a move described by one observer as “a seismic shift”.
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The world’s biggest miner also revealed it would consider its “future membership” of the US Chamber of Commerce, after identifying four “material differences” between itself and the group on climate and energy policies.

BHP’s review of its membership of industry associations that it said hold an active position on climate and energy policy was released on Tuesday, with BHP acknowledging it receives a “high level of benefit” from its membership of the MCA, the mining industry lobby group. But BHP has been concerned that the MCA’s position on climate and energy policy did not align with its own.

BHP also revealed publicly for the first time how much it contributes to the MCA, with the “Big Australian” paying a subscription fee of $1.86 million in 2016, equal to 17 per cent of the lobby group’s subscription revenue.

BHP said it had identified two material differences between itself and the MCA on climate and energy policy, signalling its ongoing membership of the MCA would depend on how the council responded to its concerns on these two points. The miner set a timeframe for the MCA to modify its advocacy or policy activity of no longer than a year.

“BHP will formally communicate the identified material differences to the board of the MCA, request that the MCA refrain from policy activity or advocacy in these areas, maintain a register of material differences, and will review its membership of the MCA if it has not refrained from such policy activity or advocacy within a reasonable period (being not more than 12 months),” BHP said.

BHP expressed concern over stances adopted by the MCA, saying that the MCA had “at times argued that energy policy should prioritise reliability and affordability over ‘other policy goals’. When discussing emissions reduction in the energy sector, the MCA has highlighted the costs associated with meeting Australia’s international commitments at the expense of addressing the importance of reducing emissions.”

BHP said it believed that “climate policy and energy policy are inextricably linked, and that energy reliability, energy affordability and emissions reduction should be considered on an integrated basis”.

It also expressed concern that the MCA had called for policy changes that were “technology specific and interventionist in relation to High Efficiency Low Emissions (HELE) coal”.

But BHP said its view was that “energy markets should be both fuel and technology neutral, and should not artificially favour one type of technology over another”.

BHP’s chief external affairs officer, Geoff Healy, said industry associations were important for developing policy and technical standards, sharing best practice and bringing together technical expertise and experience.

“This review makes clear the principles for our ongoing participation in industry bodies. While we won’t always agree with our industry associations, we will continue to call out material differences where they exist and we will take action where necessary,” Mr Healy said.

On its World Coal Association membership, the BHP report said that the WCA had “supported abandoning the proposed Australian Clean Energy Target”, and that there was a “narrower” benefit to BHP in being a member. BHP will make a final decision on this membership by the end of March 2018.

In response to the BHP report an MCA spokesman said: “BHP has been a valued member of the Minerals Council for many years, and we look forward to that relationship continuing in the future.”

Executive director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, Brynn O’Brien, said she welcomed BHP’s review of positions taken by the MCA, US Chamber of Commerce and the World Coal Association. The ACCR recently called on BHP to reconsider its membership of the MCA.

“BHP’s decision to cut ties with the world’s peak coal lobby, the World Coal Association is a seismic shift in the world of anti-climate lobbying,” she said.

“This is a message that even organisations like BHP, with large coal assets, do not value aggressive anti-climate lobbying,” she said.

“However, BHP’s equivocation in relation to membership of the MCA, in giving the MCA another 12 months to change its tune on coal, points to the highly-charged environment in which climate policy is made in Australia,” she said.

BHP acknowledged that industry associations were an “important forum for debate”, but added that having a range of members could make it difficult for a group to reach a consensus view on issues.

“We believe that in areas where no broad industry consensus exists, associations should generally refrain from advocacy in those areas, with individual members being best placed to outline their views independently,” BHP said.

BHP said it accepted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) assessment of climate change science, which it said found that warming of the climate is unequivocal and that the influence of humans is clear.

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Mayfield, Medowie lead container deposit scheme

The ‘Return and Earn’ scheme has been popular in Newcastle. Picture: Daniel MunozMAYFIELD and Medowie have been the Hunter’s most popular collection points in the state’s fledgling container deposit scheme, data shows.
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Two weeks after the program began on December 1,theHeraldcan reveal Hunter residents have returned over 490,000 containers across the region’s set of reverse vending machines (RVM).

Mayfield and Medowie have proved to be the most utilised, each havingover 150,000 containers deposited through their RVMs.

A total of over fivemillion containers were collected across NSW in the first two weeks.

Are you wondering which containers are eligible and which containers aren’t? Our video below is a quick-stop guide, but full guidelines can be located on our website: https://t.co/VkkiZ5VIs1#ReturnAndEarn#DoingMyBit ♻️ pic.twitter南京夜网/gQiH7SdXYi

— Return and Earn (@NSWGovCDS) December 14, 2017

The scheme’s rollout has been widely criticisedbythe Opposition, with many areas of the state unable to access collection points.

Reverse vending machines are in place nearWoolworths stores inMayfield, Jesmond, Mount Hutton, Medowie, Salamander Bay and Singleton.

Read more:Mayfield reverse vending machine one of state’s first

Over-the-counter collection points are also operatingin Tenambit, Morisset andMcDougalls Hill, but have restrictions in operating hours and volumes that can be returned.

State Member for WallsendSonia Hornery MPcriticisedthe government over itsfailure to deliver the promised 800 RVMs at over 500 collection points across the state, believing more needed to be established in the Hunter.

“All 80,000 Wallsend residents now have only one site where they can go and get a refund on their bottles and cans,” Ms Hornery said.

“This is totally unfair to local residents, businesses and their staff across Wallsend.”

Read more: Recycling Scheme Pays Out

An EPA spokesperson said Hunter residents had “participated enthusiastically” in the new scheme and suggested their had been minimal issues for the scheme’s operator in the Hunter thus far.

“[Scheme operators] TOMRA Cleanaway are electronically notified immediately when a reverse vending machine is full, or requires technical assistance, and dispatch technicians as required,” the EPA spokesperson said.

“They continueto roll out new collection points across the state.

“New locations are added to the map on梧桐夜网returnandearn.org419论坛as soon as they are finalised.”

A-League: Jets sign young gun but his arrival delayed by ‘nothing’tournament

DONE DEAL: Teenage whiz kid Riley McGree (centre) will join the Jets on-loan from Club Brugge for the remainder of the A-League campaign. Picture: AAP ImagesNEWCASTLE have secured midfiedler Riley McGree on loan from ClubBrugge but the teenage whiz kid will not play for his new club until late January because ofcommitments with the Australian under-23’s in a tournament that Jets coach Ernie Merrick believes serves no purpose.
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Asreported by The Herald on Monday, McGree will join the Jets for the remainder of their A-League campaign as an injury replacement for Jake Adelson.

The 19-year-old returned to Adelaide from Belgium on Monday and will be in Newcastle next week for testing.

However, he and new teammate Nick Cowburn will head to China on January 3 with the Australianside to contest the under-23 Asian Football Confederation Championships.

The Jets duo are among 15 A-League players in the squad. Joe Champness, Ivan Vujica and Lachlan Jackson are on standby.

The final of the tournament, which is being held outside a FIFA international window, is on January 27. If Australia progress to the top four, the players will miss five A-League games.

The tournament is not a part of the qualifying cycle for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Merrick questioned its value.

“For me it is a tournament that means nothing,” Merrick said. “I coached a Hong Kong side at this tournament and it is a very average tournament. It doesn’t seem sensible to take players away for as much as five A-League games. To me it would have made more sense to take good quality players who are on the fringes of the first team, but not getting a game. They would have benefited andwe would have benefited.

“If it was a qualifying tournamentor crucial to preparing for the next Olympics, I would understand, this is neither.”

Australian under-23 coach Ante Milicic, who did not select more than three players from any club,said the tournament would provide experience at a significant international competition.

Merrick disagreed.

“It is time we respected FIFA windows and it’s time we respected A-League clubs, given the amount of money the owners are investing,” he said. “Weare continually being compromised by tournaments that aren’t that worthwhile.”

Merrick is looking forward to McGree’s contribution to the second-placed Jets when he returns from China.

“Riley is an exciting young player who will offer a lot to our side,” Merrick said. “He likes to getforward, he can play wide but he can also play in a holding role – he gives us plentyof options.What I particularly like about him is that he is very good one-on-one in tight areas in the middle of the ground.”

“He’s at one of the biggest clubs in the Belgian First Division and I think just beingaround that sort of environment after his last season (in the A-League) will only be ofbenefit.”

The Pacific Jewel cruise ship departs Newcastle

The Pacific Jewel cruise ship departs Newcastle Photo: Max Mason-Hubers
Nanjing Night Net

Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

Photo: Gillian Cahill

Photo: Deb Regan

Photo: Joanne Nunn

Photo: Shelley Fellows

Photo: Heidi Bush Massie

Photo: Cheryl May

Photo: Grant Cooper

Photo: Heidi Bush Massie

Photo: Kylie Willis

Photo: Katrina Hesketh

Photo: Mike Wilkins

Photo: Renee Conway

Photo: Rachele Holliday

Photo: Shelley Fellows

DECEMBER: P&O Pacific Jewel cruise ship docked at Carrington in Newcastle harbour. It arrived this morning and will depart this evening. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

DECEMBER: P&O Pacific Jewel cruise ship docked at Carrington in Newcastle harbour. It arrived this morning and will depart this evening. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

DECEMBER: P&O Pacific Jewel cruise ship docked at Carrington in Newcastle harbour. It arrived this morning and will depart this evening. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

DECEMBER: P&O Pacific Jewel cruise ship docked at Carrington in Newcastle harbour. It arrived this morning and will depart this evening. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Ruth and David Johnson of Redhead watch cruise ship The World arrive in Newcastle. Picture by Peter Stoop

Radiance of the Seas in Newcastle on January 14 2015. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Shortland ferry passes Rhapsody of the Seas in Newcastle on February 18 2015. Picture by Phil Hearne

Celebrity Solstice entering the port of Newcastle on March 9 2014: Picture by Darren Pateman

Celebrity Solstice visiting Newcastle in March 2014. Picture by Darren Pateman

The view from inside Celebrity Solstice, which was the biggest cruise ship to visit Newcastle when it arrived in March 2014. Picture by Simone De Peak

The Celebrity Solstice’s main dining hall. Picture by Simone De Peak

Staff water the Lawn Club atop Celebrity Solstice in March 2014. Picture by Simone De Peak

An adults-only solarium aboard the Celebrity Solstice. Picture by Simone De Peak

Onlookers farewell Celebrity Solstice as it leaves Newcastle on March 9 2014. Picture by Eddie O’Reilly

Coal ship Ocean Dragon enters Newcastle harbour, where Radiance of the Seas (top left) is docked on January 14 2015. Picture by Peter Stoop

Celebrity Solstice in Newcastle harbour on its second visit to the city on March 13 2015. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Pacific Sun docked in Carrington in February 2012. Picture by Darren Pateman

Spirit of Adventure leaves Newcastle in December 2011. Picture by Phil Hearne

Spirit of Adventure off Nobbys in December 2011. Picture by Phil Hearne

Pacific Sun leaving Newcastle on October 28 2010. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Arcadia Vale’s Tony Armstrong and Tighes Hill’s Sharon Oakley watch Crystal Serenity coast out of Newcastle in February 2012. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Dawn Princess passes Stockton on March 7 2010. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Lani and Sasha Holz and Gabrielle and Amelie Bourke, all of Merewether, farewell the Seven Seas Mariner on March 27 2009. Picture by Natalie Grono

Onlookers at a cafe outside the cruise terminal on September 8 2010. Picture by Stuart Quinn.

Sun Princess leaves Nobbys on October 18 2009. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

The Pacific Sun off Nobbys in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

Silver Shadow in Port Stephens in 2006. Picture by Kitty Hill

Pacific Sun at Dyke Point shortly before dawn on September 8 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

Kurri Kurri’s Ji Forbes, 7, fishes as the cruise ship Millennium departs in 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Silver Whisper laves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Darren Pateman

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

The Pacific Sun leaves Newcastle harbour on September 8 2010. Picture: Stuart Quinn

Pacific Star passes Nobbys on November 27 2007. Picture by David Wicks

Millennium leaves Newcastle harbour in January 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Sun Princess, as seen from Carrington on October 18 2009. Picture by Kitty Hill

Millennium leaves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

Onlookers watch The World arrive in Newcastle harbour. Picture by Peter Stoop

Cruise ship Mercury arrives. Picture by David Wicks

Pacific Star visits Newcastle in 2007. Picture by David Wicks

Cruise ship The World enters Newcastle on September 13 2006. Picture by David Wicks

The World’s captain Daj Saevic on the bridge as The World visits Newcastle in March 2003. Picture by Peter Stoop

Volendam in Newcastle harbour in March 2010. Picture by Anita Jones

The Silver Whisper leaves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Darren Pateman

Silver Shadow in Newcastle harbour on February 19 2004. Picture by Ryan Osland

Rhapsody of the Seas in February 2013. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Pacific Sun sneaks into Newcastle Harbour at dawn in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

The Pacific Sun arrives in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

The Radiance of the Seas leaves Newcastle in October 2013. Picture by Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookThe Pacific Jewel arriving in Newcastle on Tuesday morning #cruisepic.twitter南京夜网/HwkBtt0VpH

— Newcastle Herald (@newcastleherald) December 19, 2017CRUISING INTO NEWCASTLEIn recent years, the Hunter has established itselfas a regular stop for floating palaces.

Newcastle has become the doorway to the Hunter for travellers arriving by sea –but less than a decade ago, ships were lingering in Port Stephens rather than berthing in Newcastle itself.

The Celebrity Solstice’s first visit in 2014 was one for the ages,as the Herald reported at the time.

Then lord mayor Jeff McCloy donned his robes to welcome passengers into the region as onlookers flocked to the harbour’s edge.

‘‘It was bloody amazing,’’ Mr McCloy said at the time.

‘‘I couldn’t believe the amount of locals along the foreshore who came out to welcome the ship in, and I couldn’t believe the reception we got from the passengers.

‘‘I think I posed for about 300 photos with [passengers]. They were really delighted with the reception we gave them.

“I met people from all over the world who said they never got that sort of reception in Brisbane or in Sydney.’’

The warm welcome worked –Celebrity Solstice returned to the Hunter.

​What are your best memories of cruise ships in the Hunter?