Te’o waits for the phone call he thought would never come

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As former Queensland State of Origin star Ben Te’o waits for the phone call on Thursday which will reportedly confirm his shock selection in Warren Gatland’s 40-man British and Irish Lions squad to tour New Zealand, he would be well advised to reflect on just how fast his star has risen since switching codes in the wake of winning the 2014 NRL Premiership with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
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After a successful league career with the Wests Tigers, Brisbane Broncos and then Souths, seven Origin appearances and a Rugby League World Cup cameo for Samoa, the Auckland-born star opted to head to Irish province Leinster to try his hand at rugby a little under three years ago.

Now at English Premiership strugglers Worcester, the centre has made eight appearances in the white jersey of Eddie Jones’ England, albeit only chalking up a solitary start – in an untidy victory over Italy which was mired by the home side’s legal, yet controversial no-ruck tactics.

Having qualified for the national side via his English mother, Te’o earned a deserved reputation as an aptly named impact player, coming off the bench with marked success as Jones’s side retained their Six Nations title.

However, it is not a label that sits comfortably with the 30-year-old Lion-in-waiting: “It’s not something I like doing,” he told England’s Times newspaper.

“I’ve never liked not starting a game. When you’re in a training camp with England, it’s such an intense environment and you put a lot into the training. Then it comes to game day and you only get 20 minutes …”

“You don’t want to say, ‘I’m an impact player.’ I’d never want to say that” he added.

He may be typecast, but it is this reputation which will see the rookie picked ahead of eminent centres including compatriot Jonathan Joseph, Ireland’s Jared Payne and Garry Ringrose, Scotland’s Huw Jones and Wales’ Scott Williams.

“You play whatever role you’re given,” he said. “But you can start to be seen as a certain type. You play for 20 minutes and feel like you’ve got so much more to give.”

Previously, Te’o had spoken cooly on the subject of the Lions, suggesting that not even he believed his career would lead him to the storied shirt so late in his career – and so soon after his switch: “I know the significance of the Lions but I can’t say I grew up wanting to be a British Lion,” he told the Times.

The subject of a fierce tug-of-war between Ireland, England and , Te’o eventually opted to swap Leinster for Worcester and throw his hat into the ring for a shot under Jones – and the gamble has paid off handsomely.

“I’d had meetings with [ head coach] Michael Cheika, and going back there was a possibility,” he said. “Eddie said he could only pick players who play in the Premiership but, if I came over here and played good rugby, he’d have a look at me. I just chose what felt right.”

The popular centre says he was inspired to widen his horizons after watching his former Broncos teammate – and one-time flatmate Israel Folau – swap league for AFL, and then rugby.

“However successful people say Israel was in AFL, in his head he was successful,” Te’o said. “He gave it a go and the most important thing was that he learnt a lot about himself along the way. You’ve got to challenge yourself sometimes and I wanted to do that.”

When Te’o answers the call on Thursday, he will join the ranks of such luminaries as Jack ‘Iron Man’ Matthews, Mike Gibson, Jeremy Guscott, Jamie Roberts and Brian O’Driscoll.

Perhaps more importantly, he will achieve what many thought 2014 Premiership-winning teammate Sam Burgess might, and rubber-stamp a successful conversion to the code. Big shout out to this bloke, when I first thought about going to Rugby Union he was the first guy to tell me I could make it. Told me it wasn’t too late to learn, that I had the talent, just to back myself. And two and a bit years later we are playing a test match against each other.A post shared by Ben Te’o (@ben.teo) on Dec 6, 2016 at 10:25pm PST

ADVERTISING FEATURE: City fires up for visitor

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SAILING INTO TOWN: HMAS Newcastle and her crew will play a pivotal role in Anzac Day centenary celebrations this year.GUIDED missile frigate HMAS Newcastle will fire a seven-gun salute tomorrow afternoon as she sails for the last time into her namesake port.
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Fort Scratchley will welcome the ship with a salute from its No.2 Mk.7 gun before the HMAS Newcastle replies with a salvo from its ceremonial deck gun.

The arrival marks the start of a busy few days of activities for the ship’s captain and crew.

From 10am Monday, the vessel’s full complement of 184 servicemen and women will take part in a Freedom of Entry march through the city.

The march will start at Perkins Street before proceeding along Hunter Street, turning onto Darby Street and then onto King Street before ending at Civic Park.

HMAS Newcastle commanding officer Commander Mark Sirois said the march was “a fitting honour” for the crew and city prior to the ship’s decommissioning.

“Newcastle is our home port and our namesake city, and the Freedom of Entry is an old tradition that creates an even greater bond,” he said.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, who will inspect the crew and preside over the march, said HMAS Newcastle and her crew had maintained close ties with Newcastle since her launch in 1992.

“HMAS Newcastle personnel have regularly taken part in Anzac Day marches and other military ceremonies in the city and they have welcomed thousands of Novocastrians for open days during the ship’s many visits. But equally important is their ongoing charity work with local organisations in need.”

The ship’s crew will be among an estimated 800 current and former servicemen and women and their families taking part in the city’s main Anzac Day march through Newcastle to Civic Park.

Also during the visit, a troop of 100 Scouts from the Hunter and Manning regions will be given an exclusive tour of the vessel.

HMAS Newcastle has been deployed on various military and peace-keeping roles throughout the Pacific and Persian Gulf areas and will continue on operational taskings and exercises throughout 2018 prior to her decommissioning in 2019.

NHRU: Wells heads list of internationals leading the way for Newcastle University

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STAR ATTRACTION: New Zealand fly-half Dan Wells is one of six overseas recruits at University. The 26-year-old Northland sevens star plans to make Newcastle his permanent home. Picture: James GardinerDAN Wells was in need of a change. New town. New rugby environment.
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A Kiwi, he had just represented Northland at the national sevens championships –the platform from which the New Zealand squad for the IRB world sevens circuit is selected.

There was talk of a place in the Northland ITM Cup program but Wells had heard that line before.

He looked at an opportunity in Ireland before Newcastle University entered the equation.

Wells is one of sixinternationals recruited by the Students through the support of the McCloy Group.

The 26-year-old didn’t just pack a bag and jump on a plane.He and partner, Steph Haynes, sold their house in Whangarei, where he was a builder, and relocated stock, lock and barrelto Newcastle.

“It was a bit of a gamble,” Wells said. “We have fallen in love with Newcastle. It is easy to get around andthe beaches are beautiful. We plan to settle down here.”

Apart from Wells, hooker Luke Harwood (Wales), No.8 Jack Cooke (Ireland), centresFausto Carpini (Argentina) and Nelson Gomes (France) and halfback Gianluca Naldi (Italy) are foreigners.

Gomes scored a try and Wells (conversion) and Naldi(penalty) also scoredin the Students’ 20-16 win over Nelson Bay.

“You can see that everyone has skill, but we all have different styles and techniques,” Wells said.“It is taking time for us to gel. By about round three we should be close.”

Wells has played mainly at 12 or 15 in recent seasons but has been handed the job of running the team at fly-half.

“We have a few boys whose English is not that great and they want someone to control the game,” he said. The video clips they saw of me weremainly playing fullback. I enjoy kicking but counter attacking is my strength.Uni have a few boys who can play 15 and they really want me to settle in as a number 10.”

Wells was born in Gisborne and went to noted Auckland rugby academy,Manurewa High School, where he played in the first XV aged 15.He represented Northern Region Maori colts (under-20s) and was picked up by Northland.

Younger brothers Henare, 24, and Dallas, 22, are talented rugby league players. They grew up on the Gold Coast with their fatherand attended Keebra Park High School. Henare played under-20s at the Sydney Roosters and was at the Warriors last year. Dallas played under-20s at Cronulla.

“Theyhave done well in league, but I can still handle them,” he laughed.

Next for the Students are Lake Macquarie.

“I’m used toto playing physical teams back home,” he said.“Club rugby here is pretty strong. From what I’m told wehave a lot more experience this year whichgives the young boys confidence.”

Airbnb users left hanging for answers by NSW Government

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Airbnb watchers were left hanging on Wednesday when long-anticipated proposals for new legislation on short-term holiday lets were put on hold by the NSW government.
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Instead of making their position on short-term letting clear, the government stepped back from a parliamentary report and its recommendations that would have allowed a massive increase in short-term holiday letting in apartment blocks.

The government was due to provide a detailed response to the report from an 18-month parliamentary inquiry into holiday letting, including proposed regulations for Airbnb-style hosts.

Instead they posted a broad-stroke response that gave unqualified support to only three of its 12 recommendations and announced that “an options paper with approaches to implement a whole of government framework will be released for consultation.”

They gave qualified support to the other nine recommendations handed down by the inquiry.

Industry insiders say the holiday letting landscape has changed so quickly that the original report was out of date almost before it had started.

Now in what many apartment residents will see as at least a partial victory, the government has effectively questioned the main proposal to make holiday lets “complying developments”, which would have removed the legal basis on which apartment blocks currently pass bylaws excluding short-stay or holiday rentals.

The inquiry into holiday letting legislation – chaired by Nationals MP Mark Coure – was launched almost two years ago, prompted by Airbnb hosts being threatened with $1 million-plus local council fines for running unauthorised businesses in their homes.

However, since then Airbnb has grown exponentially in and recently announced that Sydney is among its top five cities in the world, in terms of usage.

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As a result, Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean have called for more consultation with key stakeholders to get a more up-to-date picture.

“The inquiry recommendations make sense, but the regulation of short-term letting needs broader engagement with the industry and the community to establish a model that enables it to continue to flourish and innovate whilst ensuring the amenity and safety of users and the wider community are protected,” Mr Roberts said.

“It’s sensible to take time on a complex issue like this, which is why we are releasing an options paper next month.”

“We don’t want a holiday accommodation market that’s so over-regulated it puts people off coming here but the rights of residents who live near these properties must be considered too,” says Mr Kean.

“While short-term holiday letting, if properly managed and respected by all parties, can be a boost to the local economy, the need to protect people’s rights to the quiet enjoyment of their own homes is equally important.”

Both critics and supporters of the Coure Report recommendations welcomed the government’s decision to consult more broadly with stakeholders.

Airbnb, which has over 40,000 listings across NSW with hosts earning an average of $4400 each year, welcomed the NSW government’s decision to look more closely at the issue.

“We appreciate that these things take time and that it’s important to get the balance right,” Airbnb country manager Sam McDonagh said.

“We’re confident that Premier [Gladys] Berejiklian and the NSW government will join the state governments in Tasmania and South to embrace home sharing, and introduce fair regulations that allow more people in NSW to share their extra space.”

Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, 70 per cent of whose constituents live in apartments, sees the call for further discussion as an indication that the government is listening to the concerns of strata communities.

“It’s clear from the many constituents and various stakeholders who have engaged with both the government and myself, that further consultation is needed to ensure strata communities are empowered to make decisions for their buildings, while also acknowledging the role accommodation providers like Airbnb can play in a global city,” he told Domain.

“In parliament the Minister [Matt Kean] has demonstrated his respect for strata communities and stressed the importance of protecting people’s rights to the quiet enjoyment of their own homes.”

Leading strata lawyer Stephen Goddard, spokesman for the apartment owners lobby group Owners Corporation Network and its campaign Our Strata Community Our Choice welcomed the more considered approach.

“We look forward to a more detailed consultation on how to manage short-term letting in apartment buildings,” he told Domain. “Apartment owners deserve the right to decide if short-term rentals are permitted within our strata communities and if so on what basis it is permitted.”

The hotel industry, facing increased competition from online letting agencies like Airbnb, was also glad to be given the chance to restate its concerns.

“TAA looks forward to further consultation with government to ensure a resolution is reached that ensures the sustainability of the commercial accommodation sector which currently injects $2.3 billion directly into the economy,” says Carol Giuseppi, CEO of Tourism Accommodation .

However there is concern in the holiday rental industry that the government might move too far in the other direction, especially with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

“Short term rental accommodation is a key driver of tourism in rural and regional NSW,” said Jordan Condo, Director of Corporate Affairs for online holiday letting agency Stayz. “Stayz remains steadfastly opposed to any measures that restrict short-term rental options outside of metropolitan Sydney.”

Stayz and the Tourist Association of shocked observers recently when they issued a joint statement calling for curbs on holiday letting of residential homes in city areas.

The statement called on the government to introduce “restrictions on short-term rentals in residential buildings in metropolitan areas in order to mitigate the effects that such rentals have on housing affordability and accessibility.”

The Project launches campaign to ban plastic bags in three states

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Channel Ten’s The Project has launched an ambitious campaign with Clean Up to ban plastic bags in New South Wales, Victoria and Western .
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In an editorial on the show on Wednesday night, written by host Waleed Aly and The Project’s managing editor Tom Whitty, state premiers were urged to have the courage to ban the bags to save the environment.

Aly, a Fairfax Media columnist, challenged NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Victorian Premer Daniel Andrews, and WA Premier Mark McGowan to step up.

“A Senate Inquiry into marine plastic pollution from last year recommended the federal government support the states to ban plastic bags,” Aly said.

“Unless we give them a push, nothing will change, and you and I will keep using plastic bags. But we can change this. You can change this. So now’s the time to be heard.”

Clean Up , a national not-for-profit organisation that organises the annual Clean Up Day, has endorsed the push.

If the states agree, there will effectively be nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags – South , Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT have already banned them, while Queensland plans to ban them from next year.

Viewers have been urged to sign a Change苏州模特佳丽招聘 petition to show their support for a ban, as well as writing to each state premier. The petition attracted almost 6000 signatures in half an hour.

A similar petition calling for plastic bags to be banned in NSW, launched in February, attracted more than 15,000 signatures.

Aly said each plastic bag is used for an average of 12 minutes – then up to 6 billion each year are thrown into landfill across , where they will take hundreds of years to break down.

Terrie-Ann Johnson, managing director of Clean Up , said people don’t really think about the environmental impact of plastic bags.

“It’s really frustrating because these things are having an enormous impact on the environment. They’re killing our precious wildlife. We don’t need plastic bags,” she told The Project.

???”Let’s put aside landfill for a minute and think about the 80 million plastic bags that end up in our litter stream. Think about the poor animal in the marine environment that chokes or it starves because it’s got a gutful of non-nutritious material. It’s a horrible, horrible death.

“Internationally, is really lagging behind the rest of the world.”

China, Taiwan, France, Italy, The Netherlands and Kenya are among other countries which have already banned plastic bags.

Federal environment minister Josh Frydenberg told The Project he supported all states introducing a ban, while supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths said they would comply with such a ban.

Aly urged viewers to sign the petition, tweet the premiers, and “email them, call them, hit them up on their Facebook pages”.

“Show them that there’s plenty of political goodwill in having the courage to ban the bag,” Aly said.

“And we’ll all wait and see who will lead the way. NSW, Victoria or WA? Who’s going to ban the bag first?”

Meet the 48 millionaires who pay no income tax

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Forty-eight of ‘s highest earners paid no income tax in 2014-15, not even the Medicare levy, according to an analysis of Tax Office data that lends weight to calls for legislated minimum tax payments.
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Each of the 48 earned more than $1 million before deductions, an average of $2.46 million each.

All were able to drive their taxable incomes down below the $18,200 tax-free threshold. Thirty-four reported taxable incomes of zero, while 12 reported combined losses of $13.9 million.

Extraordinarily, the biggest deduction claimed by 19 of the 48 was “cost of managing tax affairs”, averaging about $1.07 million each.

On the face of it, the figures suggest these people spent almost half of their reported incomes managing their tax affairs, a proportion so high as to raise suspicions that their actual incomes were higher.

The Tax Office defines “cost of managing tax affairs” as including the cost of preparing and lodging tax returns, the fees paid to recognised tax advisers, the cost of court appeals and interest charges imposed in relation to tax disputes.

Bizarrely, a handful of the highest earners who escaped the Medicare levy were forced to pay the Medicare levy surcharge. The surcharge is meant to be charged on top of the levy for high earners who don’t have private health insurance, but a budget change in 2008 applied to a broader measure of income than the levy itself.

The levy itself applies only to taxable income, which 579 people earning more than $250,000 managed to cut to less than the tax-free threshold.

Ten claimed a combined $28.5 million for gifts or donations to charities and political parties, equating to $2.8 million each. Two claimed deductions for uniforms or clothing, amounting to $353 each. One claimed a deduction for work-related travel of $863. Two claimed deductions for personal car use averaging $5300 each.

Only eight of the 48 were negatively geared, claiming combined rental losses of $1.54 million.

Most earned their income from businesses, farming or capital gains Several carried forward losses.

The number of million-dollar earners escaping tax has come down in recent years, suggesting some success on the part of the Tax Office, which promised to closely scrutinise high earners with large deductions. At the turn of the decade, 70 million-dollar earners paid no tax. By 2013-14 the number had fallen to 56.

But the continued presence of millionaires who escape the Medicare levy while spending more than $1 million each on their tax affairs has sparked renewed calls for a “Buffett rule” in , under which all high earners would be required to pay a certain proportion of their gross income in tax and the Medicare levy whatever their deductions.

The rule is named after billionaire American investor Warren Buffett, who in 2011 said it was wrong that he should pay less tax, as a proportion of income, than his secretary.

That year then president Barack Obama proposed a minimum tax on the 0.3 per cent of Americans making more than $1 million a year. They would still have been able to claim legitimate expenses as deductions, but they wouldn’t be able to reduce their tax payments below 35 per cent of their pre-deduction income.

In the idea has been taken up by the Greens, who went to the 2016 election promising a minimum tax rate of 35 per cent on the 1 per cent of ns earning more than $300,000 a year.

Greens Treasury spokesman Peter Whish-Wilson was outraged when shown the Tax Office data.

“Currently we have a system where the government is heavying Centrelink recipients for false debts of a few thousand dollars while a wealthy few are getting away with claiming a million dollars each in tax deductions for paying their accountant to exploit gaps in the tax laws,” he said.

“The Greens took a Buffett rule to the last election, and we will take it to the next. Labor grassroots members want their party to do the same, but it inexplicably has ruled it out.

“If Scott Morrison wants to raise revenue to address budget shortfalls then surely there would be no more popular way of doing it than closing these ridiculous loopholes.”

The Treasurer was unavailable for comment.

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Public housing debacle: 10-year wait list despite numerous empty homes advocates claim

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File photo: iStockThirty public housing homes in the Bega Valley sit empty at the same time NSW government figures show no public housing is available in Merimbula for at least 10 years.
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Thatis the claim of the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast, who believe acentralised maintenance service for public housing isthe issue’smajor contributor.

Now an increasing number of concerned voices are calling for maintenance to be carried out by a local contractor so the homes can be used by Bega Valley families in need.

Any maintenance work required for public housing is organised via a centralised contract in Nowra. Prior to a new tenant taking over, public housing properties must be checked, but if any maintenance is needed, however simple, someone must come from Nowra.

The local Social Justice Advocates (SJA) have been working at the coalface ofrehousing the homeless and those in need.

Mick Brosnan of the SJA said while there were 30 homes unavailable in Bega Valley, there were“well over 1000” homes sitting empty in the state.He placed the blame on a planning decision to centralise maintenance.

Mr Brosnan said the Social Justice Advocates hadcontacted Member for BegaAndrew Constance and have suggested that local maintenance contractors are used to speed up the work needed on public housing homes.

However, there appears little hope of public housing becoming available particularly in Merimbula where according to the Department of Housing’s own figures there is a wait of more than 10 years for any type of property.

The same figures show that residents could wait more than 10 years for a one or three-bedroom propertyin Eden and between two and five years for two or four-bedroom properties.

The department figures show residents of “Bega Valley”(separate from figures for Merimbula or Eden) havea wait of between five and 10 years for one and two-bedroom properties, more than 10 years for a three-bedroom property, but for those looking for a four-bedroom home the wait is two to five years.

In the last couple of years the homeless situation has become so bad in the Bega Valley the SJA purchased caravans, which they use for those finding themselves with nowhere to live. SJA said the crisis shelter at Merimbula’s St Clement’s Church is constantly in use.

“In the last three and a half years we have provided between 500 and 600 nights of accommodation. Our vans are constantly full,” Gavin Bell of the SJAsaid.

The Social Justice Advocates will be presenting their findings to Bega Valley Shire Council prior to the next meeting on April 26 and will be calling on council to partner with them to push for a new maintenance arrangement for existing government housing.

“We also want to unlock Crown Land to get people off the streets and into homes,” Mr Bell said, adding the SJJA would buy cabins to put on any land made available.

The group is looking for practical support for the establishment of a micro housing scheme.

Council is being urged to make representations to Pru Goward, Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Social Housing.

“Councillors have asked BVSC to write to the minister and ask for the situation to be rectified,” council’s director community, relations and leisure Anthony Basford said.

His comments followed a question by councillorRussell Fitzpatrick at the last meeting, who asked if council could assist in ensuring maintenance of social housing was transferred to a local provider – either a not-for-profit or non-government agency – to ensure housing repairs were made to properties to make them available for tenants.

A Department of Family and Community Servicesspokeswoman said that the department worksquickly to ensure a prompt turnaround when properties become vacant.

“Like the private sector, FACS is required to inspect vacant dwellings and ensure they are clean, safe and in a habitable standard in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act before they can be relet. LAHC will undertake any necessary repairs to restore to a standard ready for an incoming tenant. There are currently 13 properties undergoing works before they can be relet in the Bega Valley Shire LGA.

“On any given day there are approximately 1,100 of the 117,000 FACS public housing properties across the state where vacant work is being undertaken.

“FACS contracts maintenance for social housing to the private sector across NSW. Lake Maintenance is responsible for maintenance in the Bega Valley area.

“Tenants are encouraged to report maintenance issues directly to the call centre on telephone 1800 422 322, 24 hours, seven days,” the spokeswoman said.

Social housing is also available through theSapphire Coast Tenancy Scheme, which is based at the Bega Valley Regional Learning Centre, Merimbula.

The scheme is a non-profit community housing organisation that became incorporated in January 1987 with a voluntary board. It has worked tosecureaffordable and appropriate housing for people on low to moderate incomes that have inequitable access to housing options.

The scheme is not controlled by Housing NSW and now has 107 properties, many of which are allocated for specialist need groups or managed on behalf of other not-for-profit organisations in the area.

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Why the maker of Nurofen should have been penalised $54 million more

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When Nurofen-maker Reckitt Benckiser was found guilty of misleading consumers about its painkillers last year, the news was bittersweet.
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How was a $1.7 million penalty adequate for a pharmaceutical giant enjoying $15 billion in sales a year?

Under legislative changes proposed in the n Consumer Law Review: Final Report, released on Wednesday, maximum financial penalties would be increased from $1.1 million to at least $10 million per breach.

In this scenario, Reckitt Benckiser, which made misleading claims about “targeted” pain relief, would have been hit with a $60 million penalty.

“The report is terrific news; we’ve been pushing for greater penalties because they have to be of a size that will have an impact and not simply be seen as a cost of doing business,” said n Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims.

“We were able to increase the Nurofen penalty to $6 million, but I think the public would have wanted a penalty closer to $60 million.”

In its report, Consumer Affairs New Zealand (CAANZ) proposed 18 further legislative changes, which would lead to stronger consumer rights, wipe hazardous products from shelves, and force online sellers to provide accurate prices.

The group, consisting of consumer policy officials, said businesses should ensure products are safe before selling them, as required in countries such as Canada and Singapore.

Some business have argued that this requirement will push up costs, but the report said it will increase their awareness of their responsibility towards providing safe products.

Had this proposal been in place when it took Woolworths to court over knowingly selling unsafe products – such as a fryer with loose handles and a drain cleaner with a faulty safety lid – the ACCC would have had an easy case on its hands.

“This proposal would change that landscape as it would make it illegal to have sold those unsafe goods in the first place,” said Mr Sims. “These are big changes.”

The report also said that it should be easier for consumers to obtain a refund for a faulty product.

It said if a product fails to meet the consumer guarantees within a short specified period of time, the consumer should be able to get a refund or an exchange without needing to prove a “major failure”.

Also, it said the law should be changed so that multiple “non-major” failures were equal to a “major failure”, therefore giving a consumer the right to choose a refund, exchange or opt for a repair.

“If you buy a car and by the time you get it down the street the transmission fails, you’d be entitled to a refund or a replacement without having to show anything else,” said Mr Sims.

“I think these changes plus what we already have are more than what lemon laws can do.”

The report also said that online sellers, including airlines, should be required to show a headline price that includes all extra fees and charges, in a bid to stop consumers being lured by cheap prices, only to be surprised later.

In regards to financial penalties, the report said this should be aligned with competition law. The maximum penalty could be $10 million per contravention, or three times the value of the benefit the company unlawfully gained, or 10 per cent of the annual turnover during the preceding 12 months.

Consumer Affairs Ministers will vote on the proposals in August. If they are supported, the changes will need to be passed by Parliament.

Federal Small Business Minister Michael McCormack said he will soon discuss each proposal.

“While the feedback indicates improvements may be necessary in some areas, evidence from people who use the law every day is that it is working well,” he said.

The Labor opposition said increased maximum penalties was one of its election promises, and it was urgently needed.

“Following on from last week’s Productivity Commission report into the n consumer protection regime, there is a clear agenda for reform in the national interest,” said shadow consumer affairs minister Tim Hammond.

“So far we have just seen the Government dither and do nothing. It’s time for meaningful reform.” Savvy Consumer – Interact with us on FacebookLatest consumer affairs news

Memorial for Lindt Cafe siege victims in limbo

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Almost 2?? years after the Lindt Cafe siege, the promised permanent memorial to victims is in limbo, with its exact location impacted by coming major infrastructure works in Martin Place for the new Sydney Metro station and the government still refusing to announce an installation date.
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A spokesman for the Premier’s department could not even guarantee the memorial would be built before the new station, which is set to be operational in seven years.

In the days that followed the December 2014 siege that claimed the lives of lawyer Katrina Dawson and cafe manager Tori Johnson, grieving Sydneysiders laid an impromptu memorial of flowers that filled a block of Martin Place.

Former premier Mike Baird promised survivors and families of victims in January 2015 a permanent memorial would be installed before the first anniversary of the siege by gunman Man Haron Monis.

“The outpouring of grief that was symbolised by a sea of flowers in Martin Place, and that moved hearts around the world, was the beginning of our recovery process,” Mr Baird said in a statement announcing the memorial plans.

“The unveiling of a permanent memorial, on or before the first anniversary of the siege, will be another significant step in that process, and will guarantee that the memory of Tori and Katrina lives forever in the heart of Sydney.”

But a year later, in December 2015, Mr Baird announced only the design of the permanent memorial, by n architect Richard Johnson, which would feature 400 flowers in lit boxes inlaid into the granite pavement in a “scattered starburst pattern”.

Now, 16 months later, a spokesman from the Premier’s department says “design work on the Martin Place memorial is progressing”.

“The location of the memorial will take into consideration planned infrastructure projects at Martin Place, including Sydney Metro, and any existing services underground.

“The department will continue to speak with the families of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson regarding the next phase of the memorial design. The focus remains on creating a lasting memorial that will honour the memories of Tori and Katrina.”

He would not give a date for its installation but said the memorial should be in place before the new station, which is due to be operational by 2024, “subject to final planning approvals and endorsement by all key stakeholders”.

A spokeswoman for the City of Sydney said responsibility lay with the government. The memorial “is being managed by the Department of Premier and Cabinet,” she said. “We are providing support to the state government with the development of the project.”

The families of Ms Dawson and Mr Johnson could not be reached for comment.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley was critical of the delay and uncertainty around the project.

“Surely with all the resources of government, the Premier can tell us when and where the memorial will be installed,” he said.

Construction of the Martin Place station for the new Sydney Metro rail line will involve the demolition of buildings between Castlereagh and Elizabeth Streets, and the creation of new underground connections to the existing Martin Place train station.

Macquarie Group wants to build two new commercial towers above the new station, a proposal that has proceeded to the third and final stage of the same unsolicited approvals process that delivered James Packer’s Barangaroo casino to the city.

The coroner is expected to hand down his findings from the inquest into the deaths of Ms Dawson and Mr Johnson within weeks.

Kendall Jenner struggled to cope with Caitlyn’s gender transition

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Kendall Jenner – the self-described “tomboy” model sister of the Kardashian’s and star of that Pepsi commercial – has spoken about how she struggled dealing with her father’s gender transition.
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Jenner is the eldest daughter of Kris Jenner and Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner, who transitioned in 2015.

In a new interview with Harper’s Bazaar to plug her Estee Lauder contract, the 21-year-old opens up about discovering “clues” regarding her father’s identity which initially led her to think Caitlyn was having an affair.

“It was like an investigation for a really long time… We would find little things and think, ‘This isn’t normal.’ For a minute, we were like, ‘OK, is he cheating?’ And then we’d say, ‘I don’t think so’,” she said.

Kendall said she already “kind of knew” before Caitlyn came out as transgender in April 2015.

“When she told us, and told us that it was going to be a real thing, it was an emotional couple of months,” she says. “And if I would talk about it, I would cry, just because you’re mourning someone??? losing someone. The person is still there, of course, but physically you’re losing someone. It was my dad who I grew up with my whole life and who raised me.

“It’s an adjustment, for sure. But honestly, you start to realise that this person is still alive. This person is still here. They are still a blessing. They are still awesome. I realised that I should just be thankful that I still have my dad. It starts to just become normal. You’re just like, ‘Okay, cool’.”

The two still have a close relationship and share a bond of cars and adventure sports. Caitlyn, with the help of former late night TV star and vintage car enthusiast Jay Leno, recently advised Kendall on her latest purchase – a 1956 Corvette.

Like a chapter from a “How To Be The One Percent” manual she discusses how she nearly refused to buy the vehicle that took dealers four weeks to locate.

“F—! I don’t like the colour,” Kendall remembers thinking of the robin’s-egg-blue car when one of Leno’s car experts found it after a month-long search. “So she figured she’d get it and just have it painted,” the feature reads.

No more video game antics, now City must be ruthless, says Cahill

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It’s been called the most bizarre match in the A-League’s 12-year history, and Socceroos veteran Tim Cahill isn’t arguing.
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The Melbourne City marquee man described last weekend’s 5-4 defeat to Perth Glory as being like a video game and the strangest match he has been involved in.

Cahill likened the topsy-turvy contest to a FIFA game with his children.

“The game was a mess. I don’t think I have played in a game like it ever,” he said. “It seemed it was like a game of FIFA [where] you go all-out attack [as] Real Madrid when you are two down against my kids, and I lose 4-2 or win 5-3.”

He smiled when reminded about Glory keeper Liam Reddy’s amazing run in the dying moments when he came out of his goal and began dribbling past City opponents.

“It was like when you press that button in the middle of FIFA and the goalkeeper just goes on a ‘worldy’. It was an amazing game to play in and to be on there but that’s the way the game was meant to be, purely because they [Glory] could do whatever they wanted because they were on a hiding to nothing.

“If they won by four goals they would have got a home final. The circumstances of the game meant that they had to come all out, meant that they could attack …”

City must, of course, tighten up defensively, but Cahill would be surprised if Perth adopted similar gung-ho tactics when they face each other again in Sunday’s elimination final in Melbourne.

“It’s having the mentality to go out here and just be ruthless. This week we have no choice but to be ruthless. Do you actually think they are going to play like that again? Having to win away from home, it will be very interesting.”

He is not, of course, above indulging in mind games, and his claim that City are the underdogs for this game is a little disingenuous, along with the insistence that he has been underestimated all his life.

That was certainly the case when he was a teenage n hopeful heading to London to play for Millwall, but certainly not any more.

Nevertheless, he is sticking to his guns as he limbers up for his first A-League finals series.

“I have been written off my whole life … I wasn’t supposed to play in the last World Cup, I wasn’t supposed to play in the Asian Cup, or I wasn’t supposed to do well in the A-League either because I am too old, I am 37. But I like it like this.

“In all the big games this year I have shown up … and that’s pretty much what’s happened throughout my career,” he says, pronouncing himself reasonably happy with his first City campaign.

“I have played 20 games, scored 13 goals, won an FFA Cup, we are in the play-offs. I will judge at the end of this [finals series], because there is still so much to play for.

“It’s good to be the underdog for once in the finals and not be expected to win this weekend or even in the grand final.”

Patinack Farm parcels to be sold as individual properties

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ON OFFER: Nathan Tinkler’s old horse breeding operation, Patinack Farm, is expected to be broken up and sold off as six individual lots. It is being sold on behalf of liquidators. Parcels of Patinack Farm appear set to be broken up and sold off as individual properties, as the former horse breeding empire of Nathan Tinkler is dismantled.
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The land at Sandy Hollow has been offered for sale in various forms over the last few years and is now on the marketthroughMacCallum Inglis at Scone.

It is being sold on behalf of liquidators Messrs Cussen and Mansfield.

“We are offering it in a different form,” agent Michael Burke said.“We are disaggregatingit along the original property boundaries to offer it six ways or as a whole. But the likelihood is that we will have a number of different owners and a number of different uses.”

Mr Burke said the obvious use for the land wascattle or horse breeding, but a large irrigation license meant it would also be suited to agriculture and horticulture.

“There’s no doubt that country can rear good horses for performance in the sales ring or the track,” he said, adding that its track record predated it being rebranded Patinack Farm when it was purchased by Tinkler.

Expressions of interest will close on May 4.

SHIFTING FOCUSFearthe light rail constructionwill causemajor headaches in the city is propelling interest in middle-ring suburbs, commercial agents say.

Raine and Horne Commercial will auction two warehouses onBroadmeadow Road inBroadmeadow on May 11. Co-Principal Steve Dick said they were attracting interest from businesses that would traditionally be based in the CBD.

“The disruption caused by the light rail construction is creating interest in offices around Hamilton, Broadmeadow and Lambton. These businesses would have once only looked at the CBD,” Mr Dick said.

CARDIFF LISTINGColliers International says a speculative developmentin the Cardiff Industrial Estate is a positive sign for the health of the local economy.

Eight new pre-cast concrete units are for sale at 3 Edge Street, ranging in size from 133 square metres to 154 square metres.

It’s expected the development will be complete by October this year.

Cardiff industrial units

ADVERTISING FEATURE: Toast your support to RSL

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CHEERS: Various establishments around Newcastle will be selling 14-18 Legends Brew on Anzac Day, the proceeds of which will support Newcastle RSL.
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Grand Ridge Brewery has created a new beer that will be on sale at various Newcastle establishments during Anzac Day celebrations, raising desperately needed funds for Newcastle RSL.

SUPPORT: The Clarendon Hotel will be an informal gathering place for serving personnel on Anzac Day and will entertain crew of HMAS Newcastle.

The 14-18 Legends Brew –named in honour of the years 1914-18 in which the Digger legend was born – is a 3.5% “thirst-quenching lager …brewed specifically for the n palate. Crisp, refreshing and surprisingly full bodied”.

“The beer has been made in a style that our Diggers would have enjoyed prior to leaving on their ‘great adventure’and has been created in support of their memories and the sacrifice they made,” Grand Ridge Brewery spokesperson Jason Sommers said.

GRAND PLAN: Grand Ridge Brewery, based in Gippsland, has Newcastle RSL to brew a beer in honour of Anzac Day.

The beer will be available in 50 litre kegs, and Grand Ridge will donate anamount of each keg sold to the Anzac Day Committees/RSL Sub Branches in Newcastle.

“We were looking for a fun, fund-raising idea to support Newcastle RSL,” Jason explained. “I met with representatives.

“They liked our beers and the fact Grand Ridge is the oldest craft brewery in , family owned, using all natural materials.

“We committed to develop this beer which is only available in Newcastle this year –100 kegs. If it goes well, we’ll look at expanding the idea next, and in that way we’ll be doing our bit to support the great work the RSL does each year to put on the Anzac Day celebrations.”

Shaun Raymond, licensee of the Clarendon Hotel, is proud to be playing a role in Anzac Day celebrations.

“We will have the 14-18 Legends Brew available from Saturday onwards,” he said.

“We’re putting on entertainment for the crew of the HMAS Newcastle on the Saturday night.

“We’ll be open from 6.30am Anzac Day with a buffet breakfast available until about 11.30am.

“We’ll also have a limited lunch menu available, and the United Mineworkers PipeBand will play for an hour from around 1pm.”

It will be a big day for the United Mineworkers Pipe Band based at Kurri.

They will perform at the Wallsend Dawn Service at 5am, then the parade down Hunter Street from 9.15am, then off to the Lighting of the Miners Lamp at Neath Hotel at 10.30am, before heading back to the Clarendon.

“It’s a big day for us but one we enjoy every much,” band spokesperson Simon Adam said.

“It’s pretty laid back by the time we get to the Clarendon.

“That’ll be the informal final gathering place for all the serving personnel in town and we’ll just be doing our bit to entertain them.”

14-18 Legends Brew will be available at Newcastle Diggers, The Clarendon Hotel, Stag and Hunter Hotel, Lucky Hotel,Fire Station Hotel, The Old Victoria, Lowlands Bowling Club, Albion Hotel and Mary Ellen Hotel.

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