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Comments Off on WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

Worleyparsons said it had received a “confidential, highly conditional” proposal for all its shares in November. Photo: James AlcockShares in WorleyParsons surged to a two-year high after a Dubai-based consulting group emerged with a 13.35 per cent holding and confirmed it had made an indicative bid for the engineering contractor last year but was knocked back.
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WorleyParsons confirmed on Tuesday it had received a “confidential, highly conditional indicative proposal” on November 14 from Dar Al-Handasah Consultants Shair and Partners (Dar Group) to buy all its shares for $11.80 each.

But after reviewing the proposed scheme of arrangement with its advisors, the board came to the view that it materially undervalued the company and wasn’t in the best interests of shareholders.

“The proposal was highly conditional in relation to financing, due diligence, process, regulatory and other conditions, which created significant execution risk and uncertainty for the company,” WorleyParsons said in a statement.

“The board’s view on value took into account the quality and global platform of the WorleyParsons business, the current low point in oil industry activity, the historical trajectory of previous cyclical recoveries, the cost reduction program that had not yet been fully reflected in earnings and the low operating risk profile of thr WorleyParsons business.”

Dar Group, a privately owned global network of architecture and engineering firms, said its exposure to WorleyParsons comprised of physical shares of 8.61 per cent and a cash-settled equity swap exposure of 4.74 per cent.

WorleyParsons’ shares closed 31.97 per cent higher at $10.65 on Tuesday.

It had bought the stake with a “long-term strategic perspective” and looked forward to being a “supportive shareholder”.

There had been no further discussions between Dar Group and WorleyParsons since the latter rebuffed its proposal in November and Dar Group had “no present intention of initiating discussions with WorleyParsons [over] a change of control transaction”. ​

The company last week posted a $2.4 million interim net loss – its first ever – due to declining sales, restructuring charges and late-paying government clients, sending its shares on their biggest decline in nine months.

Revenue fell to $2.7 billion from $4.2 billion, a result chief executive Andrew Wood said was “in line with market conditions and comparable with our peers in our market sectors”. It said the full impact of cost reductions and improving market conditions were not reflected in current earnings.

‘s mining contractors have been hit by a downturn in the prices of iron ore and other major commodities which has seen major resources firms curb spending.

with Reuters

Comments Off on State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

A VISITING British planning expert and the state’s chief planner have both described Newcastle as a place on the verge of great things at a planning workshop at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday.
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London-based Professor Greg Clark and NSW chief planner Gary White spoke at length about the opportunities and challenges facing Newcastle and the broader Hunter Region at the workshop, hosted by Department of Planning and Environment deputy secretary Brendan Nelson and attended by about 80 people.

On his first visitto Newcastle, Professor Clark said he was surprised by what he’d seen, compared withwhat he’d heard beforehand.

“I thought I was coming to see a city in decline, full of challenges, but when you look at all of the things that are happening right now, it’s already full of opportunities,” Professor Clark said.

Brendan Nelson, NSW Planning and Environment

Mr White, who took the top planning job in NSW after a long career in local government in Queensland, said Newcastle was in effect the opposite of Canberra. Whereas Canberra had been “planned to death, Newcastle had no metropolitan plan”.

Both men talked about a need to develop long-term plans that could be broken down into phases, and which took notice of change as it happened.

Mr White said planners had done quite well until about 10 years ago in managing cycles of change, but the big “structural disruptions” caused by digital technology were creating “change on a scale we have never seen before”.

IMPRESSED: British planning expert Greg Clark and NSW chief planner Gary White extolling Newcastle’s virtues at a workshop on the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday.

Both men said the old method of planning, where industry, residential, health, education and retail were each concentrated in their own zones was no longer working.

There were limits to what planning could achieve but a Greater Newcastle Metropolitan plan –together with a single regional voice to backit – was a necessary first step in promoting the region to governments and employers, as well as potential residents and visitors.

The workshop heardProfessor Clark would return to Newcastle later in the year as work on the metropolitan plan continued.

Asked about better rail links to Sydney, he said there was a risk they might initially suck jobs out of Newcastlebut the benefits would eventually work in both directions.

Light rail and theCBD university campus meantNewcastle was already on the path to renewal.

Comments Off on Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

WAIT OVER: Rocky Jerkic at Steel City Boxing in Hamilton North. Picture: Michael Parris n champion Rocky Jerkic will end a long and frustrating wait when he fights for the vacant Commonwealth super-welterweight title in Melbourne on Friday night.
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The Newcastle-trained boxer from Brisbane will have the chance to “open doors” to bigger fights if he overcomes unbeaten Victorian Anthony Buttigieg at The Melbourne Pavilion.

The 28-year-old mandatory challenger won a purse bid last year to host a Commonwealth title bout againstLiam Williams, but the Welshman relinquished his belt instead of travelling to .

Jerkic has a 15-0 record, including 12 knockouts, and scored a celebrated comeback win over Shannon King to win the national title in late 2015.

He has struggled to find willing opponents in since then, but trainer Rob Fogarty said a win on Friday would help establish him in the international arena.

“I don’t think Williams wanted to take the risk on an undefeated kid,” the Steel City Boxing trainer said on Tuesday before flying to Melbourne with his charge.

“No one else in wants to fight him.

“We’ve put the challenge out to Mundine, everyone, and they’ve all knocked it back.

“At least Buttigieg, you’ve got to give him props for stepping up.

“I know for a fact he’s primed, ready to go.

“This is the first guy in well over 12 months who has even put his hand up to fight Rocky.”

Fogarty said he had watched Jarrett Hurd score a ninth-round technical knockout of fellow American Tony Harrison to win the IBF super-welterweight world title last weekend at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, and said Jerkic was “definitely on a par” with both fighters.

He said Jerkic would challenge Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation champion Yutaka Oishi if he beat Buttigieg.

“Without a doubt this is the biggest fight of Rocky’s career. This will open some doors for him,” he said.

“Within 30 days we’ll know if we fight the guy in Japan or we can bring it back here.

“After that, that should put him in the top 15 in the world in the WBC.”

Buttigieg, at 171cm, is giving away 12cm in height to Jerkicbut has won all 12 of his fights, three by knockout.

He has won four of those fights by split decision, but Fogarty said Buttigieg had taken two months off work to prepare for the 12-round fight.

“He’s short, nuggety, got a walk-up style. Good defensively,” Fogarty said. “I’ve watched plenty of tape on this kid. He is strong.”

Comments Off on Pay fight could mean series-by-series contracts for cricketers

Pay fight could mean series-by-series contracts for cricketers

Pay fight could mean series-by-series contracts for cricketers

ACA president Greg Dyer is going into bat for ‘s leading cricketers. Photo: Karen Steains’s top cricketers may have to contemplate signing temporary series-by-series contracts should they decide to spurn a new revenue model Cricket remains determined to introduce.
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Cricket and the n Cricketers Association remain at loggerheads during discussions over an updated memorandum of understanding, with the players still frustrated by CA’s refusal to hand over figures detailing the sport’s revenue platforms.

It’s understood CA is set to officially table their MOU offer within weeks, meaning the elite players will need to take a firm stand on whether they really do oppose their Sheffield Shield brethren being locked out of a proposed new revenue sharing model.

As it stands, the international players remain opposed to CA’s plan to have only CA-contracted players share in the percentage revenue model used since 1998. But what is dangling before them is the lucrative opportunity, according to CA’s initial submission, to “earn a higher share of financial returns instead of a lower share of revenue, as they earn in the current MOU”.

The average international retainer this season was $703,000, but skipper Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc pocket more than $2 million when their heightened retainers, tour and match fees and prizemoney are included.

The current MOU expires on June 30, just weeks after the revamped Champions Trophy is held in England.

‘s next series after that is the yet-to-be confirmed tour of Bangladesh from early August, where two Tests and three one-day internationals have been slated, pending safety and security clearance.

Should that tour be given the go ahead, one player source raised the question whether players would be prepared to boycott the trip should a pay offer be unacceptable. Such a move would hurt CA in terms of broadcast rights.

The Southern Stars could also have a major decision to make, given a World Cup in England will be held in July.

Another option would be for CA and the ACA to at least have an in-principle agreement on the fundamental planks of the new MOU, although this time the core plank – the set percentage model for players of all levels – is what is at stake.

In an opinion piece published by Fairfax Media on Tuesday, ACA president Greg Dyer wrote that all players were unified in ensuring domestic male players be included in the revenue-sharing model.

He said a new philosophy had emerged at CA: “A new language of ‘control’ in which increasingly the players seem to be regarded as cost centres or not generating enough return on investment.

“To view Sheffield Shield cricket and the players who play it, the traditional powerhouse of n cricket, in this manner is particularly grating.”

CA did not wish to respond publicly to Dyer’s comments. In its initial submission, CA said state men’s retainers have grown by more than 50 per cent in the past four years, averaging $234,000 this season.

“Maintaining a revenue share model that provides additional income beyond domestic men’s payments would compromise resource allocation to other areas of n cricket,” CA said.

Under CA’s plan, state-based players would be paid from a lump sum, with any major increase to be “driven” by Big Bash League payments.

CA will also need to deliver a satisfactory deal for women, with Dyer adamant they be included in a revenue-sharing model. CA says the pay and benefits for the Southern Stars players would “significantly increase” under its plan but has so far excluded them from sharing in a percentage model.

Comments Off on George Christensen will miss his whip now he’s quitting as Nationals whip

George Christensen will miss his whip now he’s quitting as Nationals whip

George Christensen will miss his whip now he’s quitting as Nationals whip

George Christensen pictured for Good Weekend. Photo: Andrew MearesGeorge has been loose in the top paddock for a while now.
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Free-range, you might call him.

That he’s been the very fellow, however, whose job was to round up oddballs just like him and give them a touch of the lash unless they fall into line apparently didn’t occur to anyone in The Nationals as peculiar.

Well, it wouldn’t, would it? Barnaby Joyce, after all, is the actual leader of The Nationals.

George Christensen is a bit special, of course.

No one else in Parliament, surely, wears a giant full-colour tattoo of the Madonna and Child on his giant upper arm (he got it at a place called Mad Monk Tattoo, no relation to an Abbott).

It seems unlikely anyone else on the backbench who once wanted to become a Catholic priest has converted to the Antiochian Orthodox Church because the Catholics aren’t conservative enough, either. But there it is.

You’d imagine George is going to miss his whip now that he’s quitting as whip.

You read that right.

He fairly rejoiced in carrying around an actual stockwhip during his period as whip of The Nationals, the job that required him to exert on his colleagues the sort of discipline that he would never impose upon himself.

When he posed with his whip for a profile by Matthew Knott in Fairfax Media’s Good Weekend late last year, the picture very nearly broke the internet.

Comedian Magda Szubanski tweeted that “I know what my next film role is! I will play George Christensen in bio-pic of his life as a closet S&M lesbian.” George chose that as his favourite response to the photo. True story.

This then, is the man who stands between Malcolm Turnbull holding government by a sliver and finding himself astride a hung Parliament.

Yes, indeed. The bloke with the Mad Monk Tattoo of the Madonna and Child and the stockwhip could bring down a government if he hoofed it out of the Queensland Liberal National Party and stood as an independent, like his fellow Trumpist Cory Bernardi, or worse, joined Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, which often seems to be his natural home.

But he says he’s going nowhere, and so does Barnaby.

You’d have to believe them.

George, if he quit this nervy-as-a-horse government, could never hope to gain more attention or be granted such wild privilege elsewhere.

He might behave as if he’s loose in the top paddock, but he’s perfectly content out there on the free range, even without a whip.

Comments Off on ‘I feel sorry for her’: China Post boss Ahmed Fahour slams Pauline Hanson over religion innuendo

‘I feel sorry for her’: China Post boss Ahmed Fahour slams Pauline Hanson over religion innuendo

‘I feel sorry for her’: China Post boss Ahmed Fahour slams Pauline Hanson over religion innuendo

Ahmed Fahour outgoing MD and CEO of Post appears before Senate estimates. Photo: Andrew MearesOutgoing Post managing director Ahmed Fahour has lashed out at One Nation leader Pauline Hanson for her “ill-informed” and “hurtful” comments about his Islamic faith at his final appearance before Senate estimates hearings.
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Mr Fahour and Post chairman John Stanhope fielded many questions on Tuesday about Mr Fahour’s controversial $5.6 million salary and why Post tried to keep it secret.

Senator Hanson was one of the loudest critics of Mr Fahour’s salary and reacted gleefully to his announcement last week that he would resign, saying the news was “fantastic”.

“I’m still on the floor of Parliament, you’re unemployed, let’s hope you’re not going to get in the queues for employment,” she said in a Facebook message.

Ms Hanson later said: “I do have a problem with his religion if he’s actually a fundamentalist and follows the Koran to the letter, which I think denigrates women.”

Under questioning from Greens leader Richard Di Natale, Mr Fahour said Senator Hanson’s comments were “ill-informed” and that his faith was a private matter.

“I felt really sad for the Senator that she would descend to that level of commentary,” he said.

Mr Fahour, who was born in Lebanon, said her comments were “quite hurtful” to his wife and four children.

“We came here legitimately, we assimilated, and we love being in this country,” he said.

“I love this country so much.

“I feel sorry for Senator Hanson that she feels the need to say those things about someone whose 100 per cent objective is to do the right thing for the country . . . It’s with a very heavy heart I hear those comments and think how sad it is.”

Mr Fahour contrasted Senator Hanson with the other “honorable, decent and caring” senators from all parties who had questioned him over the years at Senate hearings.

Neither Ms Hanson nor any other One Nation senators have attended Tuesday’s hearings to ask questions of Mr Fahour.

When announcing his resignation last week, Mr Fahour took a swipe at Senator Hanson by saying Post was a considerably more complex business to run than a fish and chip shop.

Mr Stanhope admitted it was a mistake for Post not to disclose Mr Fahour’s salary for 2015 and 2016 – even though new rules implemented by the government allowed the company to keep it secret.

Post has now published a detailed breakdown of its executive pay on its website.

Mr Stanhope defended Mr Fahour’s salary although he acknowledged it was now “inconsistent with community expectations”.

“We need our salary packages to be commercially competitive to attract and retain talented people in a competitive, executive talent market,” he said.

Mr Stanhope said Post faced a “dilemma” because the salary of its chief executive will now be set by the independent Remuneration Tribunal.

Only time will tell if the salary is set at a high enough level to attract the talent the company needs, he said.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said he was not aware of Mr Fahour’s salary until it was revealed earlier this month, though he did know Mr Fahour was “well remunerated”.

Mr Stanhope said Malcolm Turnbull had raised concerns about Mr Fahour’s salary early in his tenure as communications minister and that he had explained why he felt the remuneration was appropriate.

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Comments Off on Man arrested on terror offences after raids in NSW town

Man arrested on terror offences after raids in NSW town

Man arrested on terror offences after raids in NSW town

The property in Young, NSW, being searched by the n Federal Police on Tuesday. Photo: Rebecca Hewson An AFP van at a property in Young where a man was arrested over foreign incursion offences. Photo: n Federal Police
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Police at the Young property. Photo: Nine News

Michael Keenan, Malcolm Turnbull and AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin address the media. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Turnbull said the arrest highlights the need for vigilance. Photo: Andrew Meares

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the alleged offence was “fairly sophisticated and well-planned”. Photo: Andrew Meares

Mr Zahab appears at Young court. Photo: Nine News

The extended family of an electrician who allegedly wanted to help the Islamic State with missile detection technology was already on the police radar for funding an arms racket linked to the terrorist group.

Haisem Zahab was arrested on Tuesday at his property in Young in NSW’s south-west, for allegedly attempting to research and design a laser warning device and missiles for IS over the internet.

The 42-year-old had been under investigation for 18 months as part of the n Federal Police’s Operation Marksburg.

The operation, focusing on the extended Zahab family, involved seizing $530,000 from the sale of a Condell Park home last year split into several accounts and travel debit cards belonging to four family members.

The home owner and Mr Zahab’s cousin, Hicham Zahab, didn’t fight the AFP’s proceeds of crime proceedings as he had fled to Syria with his wife, son and daughter-in-law. He is wanted by the Kuwaiti government for his suspected involvement in the Islamic State arms smuggling cell.

The AFP allege the money from the sale was going to be used to fund an Islamic State arms racket.

About half of the money from the sale was seized with the rest believed to have already been sent to the Middle East.

In its latest annual report, the AFP said Operation Marksburg was an investigation “into a family based in New South Wales that was suspected of travelling to Syria to become members of, and provide support to, Islamic State”

“At the start of the investigation it was identified that family members had access to a significant amount of funds in an n bank account and were suspected of using international travel cards and a computer consulting company based in the Middle East to remit funds out of for the use and benefit of Islamic State in Syria,” the report stated.

“These funds were acquired from the sale of their former family residence located in Sydney.”

Mr Zahab did not apply for bail when he appeared before Young Local Court on Tuesday afternoon and it was formally refused. He will face court in Parramatta on March 8.

He is charged with serious foreign incursion offences which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said Mr Zahab allegedly used the internet to research and design a laser warning device to help warn against incoming missiles used by coalition forces in Syria and Iraq.

“We will also allege that he has been researching, designing and modelling systems to assist ISIL’s efforts to develop their own long-range guided missile capabilities,” he said.

Mr Colvin said the alleged advice given by the “technically-trained” man was “fairly sophisticated and well-planned”.

“We will be alleging that the material that he was intending to provide to ISIL, the research he was doing, was credible,” he said.

Dozens of officers descended on his semi-rural property in Cherry Vale Place early on Tuesday morning to execute search warrants before he was arrested. It is alleged Mr Zahab acted alone and no further arrests are expected.

Some officers were seen to use metal detectors to search the ground at his home. Others dug into the ground with picks while a NSW Police officer from the dog squad stood nearby.

The electrician divided his time between Young and Sydney, where it is understood he had a business in the past that designed and installed solar panels.

Business records show the 42-year-old was the director of a company called Switch2Green, which was based in the Sydney suburb of Yagoona before it was de-registered in 2013.

Mr Zahab then registered another business, Oz Survival Gear, in November 2013. It sells knives, multi-tools and flashlights online from his home in Young. The AFP has arrested a man in NSW in relation to alleged terrorism offences. More details soon. #[email protected]— Michael Keenan MP (@MichaelKeenanMP) February 28, 2017

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the arrest of Mr Zahab highlighted a need for ns to remain vigilant.

“This highlights that terrorism, support for terrorist groups and Islamist extremism is not limited to our major cities,” he told a briefing at Parliament House in Canberra.

“This is yet another example of the excellent work the men and women of the n Federal Police and all our security agencies are doing in identifying and disrupting alleged assistance to ISIL.” with The Young Witness

Comments Off on Tempting weight for world champion sprinter Chautauqua

Tempting weight for world champion sprinter Chautauqua

Tempting weight for world champion sprinter Chautauqua

Dwayne Dunn aboard Chautauqua. Photo: Vince Caligiuri/Getty ImagesThe Racing Victoria handicapping department have given outstanding sprinter Chautauqua a weight in Saturday week’s $1.25 million Newmarket Handicap that could well help reignite the horse’s profile as the world’s finest sprinter.
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If connections choose to start Chautauqua in ‘s most revered sprinting handicap event, with his weight of 58 kilograms, it would be the grey’s third attempt at winning the 1200m group 1 sprint.

A decision on the sprinter’s future will be determined in the next 24 hours as the stable are also weighing up their options which include a start in Saturday’s group 1 Canterbury Stakes at weight-for-age at Randwick.

Managing part-owner Rupert Legh said that he expected a final decision some time on Tuesday after they digest the handicapper’s allotment of 58kg to Chautauqua.

Lee said that he felt the 58kg the horse was given was “fair” as it was the same weight the horse carried into third place last year, but admitted that they were tempted at a Canterbury Stakes start.

It would mean that if Chautauqua was to miss the Newmarket Handicap, he could possibly be pitted against the all-conquering Winx in the George Ryder Stakes in three weeks’ time.

A Newmarket victory has eluded Chautauqua who has run second and third in past races and would become only the fourth horse in the past 50 years to win the race carrying 58kg.

If Chautauqua can lump 58kg to victory in the group 1 sprint he joins the likes of Hay List, Black Caviar and Shaftesbury Avenue who are the only three horses in Newmarket history to win with such an impost.

Lightning Stakes winner Terravista will carry 56.5kg in the race but if Chautauqua does go to Sydney all weights will be raised 0.5kg as the Newmarket scale demands a minimum 57kg top weight.

One of the unlucky gallopers in the Lightning Stakes, Spieth, will carry 55kg, a 1.5kg advantage over Terravista from the Lightning Stakes.

RVL handicapper David Hagen maintained that Chautauqua had earned its place at the top of the weights considering his amazing wins on the Hong Kong Chairman’s Sprint, the TJ Smith Stakes and the 2016 Lightning Stakes.

“Chautauqua’s 2016 ranking as the world’s best sprinter naturally earns him his place at the top of the weights in a race that looks to be highly competitive with nine individual group 1 winners among the entries,” Hagen said.

“His (Chautauqua’s) record at the 1200m trip is just exceptional having won four group 1 races at the distance and he has never missed a place in eight starts down the Flemington straight. A repeat of any of his three group 1 wins last year would see him be the horse to beat again with a top weight of 58kg.”

And last year’s Newmarket Handicap winner The Quarterback will go into the race fresh after missing a start in the Lightning Stakes last month.

The Quarterback trialled convincingly on Monday at Cranbourne with the sprinter’s barrier certificate being renewed after he became cast in the stalls minutes prior to the Lightning Stakes.

The Quarterback will have to become the first horse since 1917 to win one of ‘s most famous sprint races first up from a spell.

Top line three-year-old Flying Artie, Extreme Choice and Star Turn make up an extremely smart group of young sprinters that could emulate Brazen Beau’s victory in 2015.

While Craig Williams will ride Star Turn it is expected that world-class jockey Joao Moreira will be in Melbourne to take the mount on Flying Artie.

“Three-year-old’s boast an imposing record in the Newmarket Handicap, having won nine of the last 20 editions of the race and this year’s crop looks to be up to the benchmark of recent years,” Hagen said.

Comments Off on OpinionSwimming proposal a winner for Belmont

OpinionSwimming proposal a winner for Belmont

OpinionSwimming proposal a winner for Belmont

KICKING ALONG: The proposed reconstruction of a lake swimming area at Belmont has created considerable interest.Swimming is a survival skill.
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Swimming in Lake Macquarie, similar to swimming in the ocean is a significantly different experience and skill to swimming in the closed environment of a public pool.

Lake Macquarie City Council is considering the installation of a new finger jetty and an enclosed swimming area with eco shark barrier netting in Belmont.

This issue has been kicked along for many years and I want to see people enjoying a swim in the natural environment with peace of mind in Belmont.

Belmont does not have any public pools, with the nearest council owned and operated pools located in Swansea and Charlestown.

If this infrastructure project is successful, it might provide an opportunity to redirect some funding from public pools towards other similar facilities around Lake Macquarie in the future.

It is important to note the significant costs of building, refurbishing and maintaining public pools, as opposed to providing infrastructure that leverages all that is great about the natural environment like this initiative.

By delivering this type of community infrastructure, it provides swimmers with a unique experience that we as a council have not offered in many decades.

There will be no barriers to entry in terms of swimming fees.

The facility will be easily accessible to people from all walks of life through sufficient access to public transport, with numerous bus stops located in Belmont within close proximity to the foreshore.

Advancements in technology will be utilised by providing eco shark barrier netting, which will ensure that there is no damage to the environment.

By providing this crucial infrastructure, swimmers can enjoy the largest salt-water lake in .

This infrastructure enhances all that is great about the natural environment and encourages swimming with peace of mind.

I envisage that Lake Macquarie Council City Council councillors will accept the recommendation by staff in relation to a swimming facility in Belmont.

This includes a new finger jetty and an enclosed netted swimming area (including the eco shark barrier).

Having served on council only for the past five months, I am incredibly proud to be standing with the Mayor, Kay Fraser, and delivering this core infrastructure together with our councillors.

This is a significant new policy direction that Lake Macquarie City Council is taking and, if patronage is high and the facility is well utilised, it could act as a catalyst to provide similar swimming facilities at other locations in Lake Macquarie in the future.

I look forward to donning my bathers in Belmont and I hope that the community will get behind this initiative and make this unique swimming facility part of the fabric of our area.

Some in our community contend that this facility doesn’t go far enough.

They argue that we need to build the ‘Taj Mahal’ of facilities in order for people to start swimming in the lake.

I say to them, put on your bathers once this unique swimming facility is built and together let’s ensure that patronage is high and it is as popular as we all hope it will be.

Together we will deliver this infrastructure to Belmont and make the area everything that it can be.

Adam Shultz, is a councillor on Lake Macquarie City Council (east ward)

Comments Off on Man arrested on terror offences after AFP counter-terror operation in Young, NSW

Man arrested on terror offences after AFP counter-terror operation in Young, NSW

Man arrested on terror offences after AFP counter-terror operation in Young, NSW

One man has been arrested in an n Federal Policecounter-terror operation in the NSW town of Young.
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Haisem Zahab, 42, fromCherry Vale Road,Young, has been arrested and charged with a number of offences relating to terrorism.

Mr Zahab did not apply for bail when he appeared before Young Local Court on Tuesday afternoon, and it was formally refused by magistrate Peter Dare.

Mr Zahab will be held in custody before appearingin the Paramatta Local Court on Wednesday, March 8, via audio-visual link.

Mr Zahab has been charged with giving and receiving goods andservices to promote commission of section 119.1 offence between 12am on December 1, 2014 and and February28, 2017 at Young.

He was also charged with intentionallyperforming services for a body, being Islamic State with the research, design, and modelling of a long-range missile and a guidance system for the missile with the intention of supporting or promoting the commission of an offence against section 119.1 of the criminal code and for the research and design of a laser warning receiving with theintention of supporting or promoting the commission of an offence against section 119.1 of the criminal code.

Magistrate Peter Dare said these charges could carry life sentences.

The Commonwealth prosecutor Ms L Thompson would not confirm if the appearance via audio-visual linkwas for security reasons, only saying it was the instructions she had been given.


— Bec Hewson (@bec_hewson) February 28, 2017

It is alleged the man, a 42-year-old n-born electrician, attempted to research and design a laser warning device and missiles for Islamic State.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said: “With these offences, we will allege that he has utilised the internet to perform services for ISIL, activities in the Syria and Iraq conflict, from in the following ways.

“Firstly, by researching and designing a laser warning device to help warn against incoming guided munitions used by coalition forces in Syria and Iraq. And secondly, we will also allege that he has been researching, designing and modelling systems to assist ISIL’s efforts to develop their own long-range guided missile capabilities.”

Mr Colvin said the alleged advice provided by the “technically-trained” manwas “fairly sophisticated and well-planned”.

“We will be alleging that the material that he was intending to provide to ISIL, the research he was doing, was credible,” he said.

Dozens of officers descended on a semi-rural property in Cherry Vale Placeearly on Tuesday morning and began a search.

Some were seen to use metal detectors to search the ground, while NSW Police officers from the dog squad stood nearby.

Mr Colvin said it is believed the man acted alone. No further arrests are expected.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the arrest highlighted a need for ns to remain vigilant.

“This highlights thatterrorism, support for terrorist groups, and Islamist extremism is not limited to our major cities,” he told a briefing at Parliament House in Canberra.

“This is yet another example of the excellent work the men and women of the n Federal Police and all our security agencies are doing in identifying and disrupting alleged assistance to ISIL.”

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said Tuesday’s raid, carried out by NSW Police in conjunction with the AFP, came after a year and a half of investigation.

“The arrest today is the result of an 18-month-long operation and it reminds us that whether you are in a capital city planning an attack on home soil or whether you are in a small country town, trying to assist the terrorist state in the Middle East, you will get caught,” he said.

More to come

Comments Off on It’s a first for Paddy

It’s a first for Paddy

It’s a first for Paddy

Carry on Jake (Jackson Murphy) returns to scale after an easy Armidale win. Picture by Bradley PhotographersGlen Innes trainer Paddy Cunningham will have his first ever runner in the Country Championships at Scone on Sunday.
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The likeable Cunningham will be travelling nearly eight hours return trip with his charge Carry on Jake who is entered for the $150,000 *H&NWRA Country Championships Qualifier (1400m).

“I did have Hula Girl entered for a Country Championships race previously but she was an emergency and didn’t get a run,” Cunningham said. “I’m hoping this bloke gets into the field.”

Cunningham has had Carry on Jake for 13 starts after the galloper did his early racing in Queensland, but has done well with the five-year-old winning three races and being placed twice.

The gelding won two races at Armidale (1900m) during November, the latter by a widening eight lengths after leading the entire journey. Carry on Jake then led but was grabbed late when third (half a length) to Jimmy Hoffa at Grafton (2200m).

Cunningham has had this race in mind since, giving him an 11-week break before starting Carry on Jake at Grafton in a much shorter 1100m race on February 20.

“We bought him to try and win the Guyra Cup (run at Armidale this Saturday) but then realised he was still eligible for the Country Championships, so we thought we’d have a crack at it with $120,000 more prizemoney.

“He was a funny horse when we first got him but as we increased his distances the better he became. He has now got more confidence and has turned into a pretty fair galloper. He blitzed them when he won at Armidale that day.”

Carry on Jake was well back and wide yet caught the eye when he came from last for fourth (beaten a length) to Rothbury starting a $26 chance.

“He has improved since that run and no doubt the step up to 1400m will also be up his alley.”

Tamworth trainer Lesley Jeffriess will rely on Lonely Orphan in the Qualifier. The mare raced with distinction in three city runs at Rosehill Gardens between October and December.

A winner of four races from 17 starts, Lonely Orphan has not been seen since finishing a close second at Armidale (1900m) on December 19.

Scone Race Club was delighted to receive 28 nominations for the Country Championships Qualifier.

*H&NWRA: Hunter & North West Racing Association

This preview of The Championships is brought to you by Racing NSW. Mark Brassel writes for Racing NSW Magazine, racingnsw苏州夜总会招聘.au and thechampionships苏州夜总会招聘.au

Comments Off on EDITORIAL: Newcastle’s future depends on proper planning, say international experts.

EDITORIAL: Newcastle’s future depends on proper planning, say international experts.

EDITORIAL: Newcastle’s future depends on proper planning, say international experts.

AT a presentation by the University of Newcastle on Monday night, economist Antoine van Agtmael and journalist Fred Bakker – authors of The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation –explained how the city could bestfind its “technological niche” for the future.
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The next morning, at a Department of Planning and Environmentworkshop at Fort Scratchley, NSWchief plannerGary Whiteand London-based cities specialistGreg Clarkwere equally enthusiastic about the opportunities opening up for Newcastle and the broader Hunter Region.

On his first visit to Newcastle, Professor Clark was pleasantly surprised by the amount of progress already under way in the rebuilding of the regional economy. Based on what he heard, he had come to Newcastle expecting some sort of “rustbelt” destination. Instead, as he told his audience, manyof the building blocks of a successfully rejuvenated, post-industrial city were already in place, or on the way there.

This bodes well for the future, but as Professor Clark made clear, there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to decision-making in regional cities.

As this week’s visitors –and others before them –have made abundantly clear, the globalised nature of life in the 21stcentury meansthat Newcastle is one of many cities taking part –consciously or not –in an international struggle to attract people, capital, companies and institutions.

Key to success in this struggle –according to the futurists and planners –is the ability to present a unified voice to the outside world when it comes to telling the decision-makers, the keepers to the treasury keys, what it is we want. Newcastle has long had a reputation for fractious politics, for having an unnecessary number of representative bodies, all claiming to speak for the region:and all guilty, to some degree or other, of failing to co-operate with each other. According to Professor Clark, decision-makers in successful emerging cities have found ways to put aside their internal differences, and to co-operatein ways that benefitthe broader community, and not just their individual bits of it.

The question is, can we do this here? It might be a cliche, but Newcastle has natural assets that cities around the world would kill for. Are we ready to capitalise on them, to work together, and to take that next step?

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Comments Off on TheatreDraculaKen Longworth

TheatreDraculaKen Longworth

TheatreDraculaKen Longworth

STIRRING: Experience the shake & stir treatment of Dracula at the Civic Theatre on March 17. WHEN Brisbane theatre company shake & stir staged a new adaptation of Bram Stoker’s vampire novel Dracula in 2015 many audience members went online saying they’d had “a bloody good time”.
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While that was intended as a joking response to the show, it also reflected the enthusiasm this Dracula produced among those who saw it. The season quickly sold out.

shake & stir is remounting the show for a seven-month tour that will take it to 44 venues throughout , including Newcastle’s Civic Theatre on March 17.

The company, which specialises in developing stage works from demanding stories, previously brought acclaimed versions of George Orwell’s novels Animal Farm and 1984 to the Civic, with those watching riveted by the onstage action.

The story was adapted by two of the actors, Nick Skubij and Nelle Lee. Skubij plays Count Dracula, a Transylvanian autocrat who buys properties in London and journeys to there in search of new blood. Lee is Mina, a London teacher and the fiancée of Jonathan Harker (Tim Dashwood), a young lawyer who goes to Transylvania to discuss the management of the properties and finds himself as being more than just a guest at dinner. Harker barely escapes with his life.

The other characters include Mina’s friend, Lucy (Ashlee Lollback), who is stalked by Dracula, and John Seward (Ross Balbuziente), a doctor and one of Lucy’s suitors. David Whitney has won praise for the two very different people he plays: Abraham Van Helsing, a doctor, lawyer and professor who joins Seward, one of his former students, in hunting for vampires, and Renfield, a mentally disturbed patient of Seward whose behaviour includes eating insects he captures and who comes under the influence of Dracula. Renfield’s habits contribute dark humour to the story.

Bram Stoker’s novel was written in 1897 and Dracula’s director, Michael Futcher, has retained the late 19th century setting, with the actors wearing the era’s elegant garb and a much-praised set showing how swiftly a performance can move from one venue to another.

And, as Tim Dashwood noted in an interview, the idea of vampires is not common knowledge in this story. “So when peoples’ blood is seemingly sucked, and they are pale and have bite marks on their neck, our characters look to natural causes,” he said. “Part of the play is convincing them that there are darker things in the realms of man.”

Dracula has performances at the Civic Theatre on Friday, March 17, at 11am and 8pm. Tickets: $48, concession $42, subscriber $38, youth (15-21) $30, family (two adults, two children $140. Bookings: 4929 1977.