Dom Calabria owner of Aussie’s Cafe at Parliament House. Photo: Andrew MearesParliamentary bean counters have proposed hiking the lease of a popular coffee shop after negotiations with the owner stalled.
Described by the Department of Parliamentary Services secretary Rob Stefanic as “an institution”, the rent for Aussies Cafe at parliament is due to rise from $87,000 a year to $150,000.
Speaking at estimates on Monday, Mr Stefanic denied reports the owner Dom Calabria had been told to ditch the name Aussies.
He also fended questions the department runs a competitive operation and should not have access to Mr Calabria’s financials.
“The reason the amount is so significant is that the proprietor of Aussies has refused to share his turnover information,” Mr Stefanic said.
“In doing so, it became very hard for the valuer to make an assessment of the true, fair market value of the rent.
“The independent valuer had to make an estimate based on a complex formula to establish a licence fee value. He had to make an estimate of the turnover that Aussies achieves in a year.”
The formula included comparisons with the Coffee Club in Civic, with allowance made for non-sitting days.
This drew the ire of Liberal senator Eric Abetz who said: “So the worse he runs the show, the less the parliament or the taxpayer would get. The better he runs the show, the more you want to fleece him. Is that the idea? If his figures were very bad and he were running at a loss, would you be paying him to be there?”
Mr Stefanic said Mr Calabria could challenge the assumptions and the valuation, based on his turnover value, and the proposed licence fee would be adjusted accordingly.
He said the lease and key performance indicators were open for negotiation.
“If he is concerned with any elements of that, it is subject to negotiation and he has been given ample opportunity to do that,” Mr Stefanic said.
“There is no take it or leave it here. He can discuss it with us. He has made no attempt other than, very apparently, making representations to senators and also to the media.”
Senator Abetz questioned if the department was in competition with Aussies and suggested a conflict in officials seeking Mr Calabria’s turnover.
The Financial Review reported earlier this week the Small Business Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, was examining the matter.
“While they’re not bound to do so, I call on all government departments to lead by example and ensure their contractual agreements with small businesses aren’t at odds with legislation outlawing unfair ‘take it or leave it’ contract terms,” she said.
“The reason the government set up the ombudsman’s office is to act on behalf of small businesses who become involved in exactly these sorts of situations.”
Mr Stefanic assured the committee there would be no repercussions for Mr Calabria from the coffee stoush being made public, despite the publicity being “less than desirable”.
Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan told the inquiry that multinational oil and gas companies were a particularly high-risk category. Photo: Christopher Pearce The ATO has another audit underway relating to a $35 billion loan for the Gorgon gas project. Photo: Supplied
An appeal against a multimillion dollar tax bill owed by multinational oil giant Chevron is taking place, and will have global implications for the way tax paid by large companies is assessed.
Chevron recently lost a landmark profit-shifting case in the Federal Court that left it with a tax bill of about $300 million.
Monday marked the first day of hearings of Chevron’s appeal to the Full Federal Court.
The ATO has been fiercely battling Chevron in court over unpaid taxes between 2004 and 2008.
In October the ATO won its case, arguing Chevron used a series of loans and related-party payments worth billions of dollars to slash its tax bill by about $300 million.
The decision was a big win for the ATO, which has spent about $10 million on legal costs to date.
The tax and business community are closely watching what happens with Chevron’s appeal.
“This court case is of major significance in and internationally,” said International Transport Workers Federation senior researcher Jason Ward. The union, which represents workers on the offshore LNG projects of WA, has been a vocal critic of Chevron.
“Chevron has been using related party loans – sending profits to low-tax jurisdictions such as Delaware – to reduce the tax that they pay in ,” Mr Ward said.
He said people around the world were also watching this case closely as it would impact what other multinationals are doing in low-tax jurisdictions.
The case is unravelling as the ATO has another audit underway relating to a $35 billion loan that Chevron has used in relation to the Gorgon gas project.
“The implications on the current loan, not subject to this case, are huge,” Mr Ward said. “Upwards of $15 billion in tax revenue in by Chevron’s own admission.”
The long-running Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance will resume hearings this year, with a special focus on oil and gas companies. The inquiry has broadened the scope of the hearings to include the complex structures that such companies use.
At earlier hearings held in November 2015, Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan and one of his lieutenants told the inquiry that multinational oil and gas companies were a particularly high-risk category and that the use of so-called marketing hubs, which allow sales and profits of n resources to be booked overseas, were an “emerging concern” for the ATO.
Chevron is one of several multinationals facing a showdown with the tax man. The ATO in December confirmed that apart from Chevron, Crown and BHP Billiton are among seven large companies that have been hit with tax bills amounting to $2 billion.
But that revenue could take time to flow through, if at all. While in recent years most companies have opted to settle with the ATO, the agency is expecting some other companies will head to court.
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CHAMBER DEBATE: A file photo of the Port Stephens Council chambers, 2014.Queuing upon polling day could become a chore of the past if Port Stephens councillor John Nell has his way.
Cr Nell said Port Stephens resident clearly don’t like to turn out at polling booths for council elections as it is, if recent trends are any indication.
“The amount of pre-polling is increasing 10 per cent at every election,” he claimed.
“You don’t even need an excuse anymore as to why you can’t vote on the day.”
The matter was expected to ignite heated debate in the council chambers on Tuesday night.
The mayor, Cr Bruce MacKenzie, heeded Cr Nell’s call to bring it to council for discussion if nothing more.
The mayoral minute askedcouncillors to support a resolution to write the Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton for permission to conductthe September 9 polls bypostal voting exclusively.
This would require a special exemption on the minister’s behalf since such matters must usually be resolved 18 months out from an election.
Cr Nell noted the council had not had that opportunity since the election date has only just been announced.
“If this [request] was approved no one would need to turn up at a polling booth on September 9,” he said.
The measure has its supporters and detractors.
Cr Peter Kafer said postal votes tended to support the incumbents.
“I’ve spoken to people in [state] parliament and they’re saying it usually favours the incumbents and people with deep pockets who are able to get their name out there,” he said.
“I’m an incumbent andI’m seeking reelection, so Ishould be for it but it’s not fair for others who want to represent their community.”
Cr Nell disagreed.
“You can make arguments for and against most things,” he said.
For him, there was one clear advantage for independents.
“It’s a hell of a job for any candidate to man the pre-poll centres for two weeks,” he said.
“Really, it’s no longer pre-polling, it’s a furphy, it’s just two weeks of polling.”
Cr MacKenzie said it was “really Nell’s idea”.
“People get really worked up on election day…it even gets physical. It’s a civil war sometimes with people handing out how to vote cards,” Cr MacKenzie said.
Fresh faces: Portia Graham, Jake Rexter and Holly Blackham chose to stay in Newcastle for the affordability and lifestyle, while Harry Webster moved for the university’s reputation and the beach. Picture: Jonathan CarrollFOR Holly Blackham,the magnitude of her first day at university – and the start ofthe rest of her life – only hit over theweekend.
“I thought ‘Why did I do this?’,” Holly, 18,said.
“I was so nervous I thought ‘I should have waited a year’, I did not want to go. But once I got here today it was all goodand I’mfine now– it’s the start of meeting new people and starting a new chapter.”
Holly is one of thousands of students who have chosen to start their undergraduate degree at the University of Newcastle.
She is studying pharmacy to combine her interest in science and the body with a long-held desire to work in a medical setting.
Holly was joined in her “surprisingly fun” maths lecture by her friend from Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College Portia Graham, 17, who is studying environmental science and management.
“It wasgood but eye opening–I know I have to work hard and I’m open to that,” she said of the lecture.
Portia is already considering a masters degree in marine biology and combining further study with research.
“I’ve always been passionate about the environment,” she said.“The way we’re treating the planet we’re going to need some environmental scientists to figure out some issues.”
Portia’s joined a number of mostly sporting clubs includingscuba diving, tae kwon do, water polo, rugby and snow sports.
“Social life at university is what it’s all about,” she said.“School now feels like a long time ago. I was ready for a change and university is what I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
Harry Webster, 19, moved from Dubbo into the university’s Evatt House –originally known as the ‘country kid’s college’ –to study architecture and plans to join the rugby team. “I’ve always liked design and being creative,” he said. “I’m pretty excited about starting and all the doors that are opening.
“I’d been to Newcastle a few times before with family and friends and found it to be a nice city with some pretty rural connections. It’s exciting that it’s diversifying what it’s known for.”
Jake Rexter, 18, is studying for a double degree in communication and law.
“I’ve always been interested in journalism, reading and writing and want to be a writer when I finish,” he said. “I enjoyed Legal Studies at school and while I don’t think I want to be a lawyer, I think it’s good for general education and really interesting.” He said his first lecture was “like eating sand it was so dry” but he was already feeling “more liberated”.
“It’s freedom –there’s so much more happening and the energy burns so much brighter than it did at school.
“I’m not going in with any expectations other than to have a good time and meet lots of new people.”
Merewether surfer Jackson Baker will take up a wildcard into the Central Coast Pro at Avoca from March 8 after a frustrating round-one exit at the n Open at Manly on Tuesday.
NEXT STOP: Jackson Baker competing in round one at Surfest’s 6000-point World Surf League qualifying series contest last week at Merewether. Picture: Marina Neil
Baker led his four-man heat early with scores of 6.17 and 5.6 but was thenthird needing a 7.18 to progress with just over four minutes left.He put together a ride of four turns and thought he had done enough but a 6.5 lefthim third on 12.67 behind Brazilian Marcos Correa (13.67) and Kiwi Billy Stairmand (13.34).
“I thought that wave I got near the end when I needed a seven, I thought I 100 per cent had the score. I wouldn’t have claimed it if Ididn’t,” Baker said. “I guess that’s how it goes sometimes.I think they pulled my score down a bit because my last turn wasn’t super big, but I thought I already had the job done out the back.”
On Wednesday, fellow Merewether surfer Philippa Anderson will start her campaign against Brazilian star Silvana Lima,Kobie Enright andTanika Hoffman in the women’s round three.
Clubmate Ryan Callinan was set for a tough start in round two of the men’sevent on Thursday against Brazilian Michael Rodrigues, Hawaiian Koa Smith and n Jacob Willcox.
Baker’s loss followed around-two defeat at home in Surfest, another 6000-point qualifying series event, last week.
He said it wasfrustrating not to progress at Manly after a strong heat where he felt he madeno mistakes.
Baker was set to bypass the 1000-point Avoca contest to join Merewether at the Kirra Teams event but said he would now accept a wildcard in the hunt for QS points.
He hoped a change to “a more relaxed approach” and a “nothing to lose” attitude at Avoca would help change his fortunes.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: Andrew Goldman in goals for Charlestown against Weston in 2013. Picture: Peter StoopWESTON boss Steve Piggott may call on 39-year-old goalkeeping coach Andrew Goldman to play the opening Northern NSW National Premier League rounds after a fruitless search for a senior gloveman.
The Bears are preparing for the inaugural Heritage Cup this Friday, Saturday and Sunday before their season-opener against Lake Macquarie at Weston Park on Sunday, March 12.
Piggott has returned to Weston, the club who sacked him after their 2014 grand final loss, to take over from Trevor Morris following the Bears’ horror 2016 season which featured just one win.
However, goalkeeper Benn Kelly, who left Maitland during Piggott’s tenure there last year, has switched from Weston to Lake Macquarie.Piggott hoped to have Tim Pratt on board again but he has withdrawn because of work commitments.The coach said he had three young keepers who were not ready for first grade.
“We’ve been looking in Sydney, the Central Coast and further afieldbut nothing’s come to fruition yet,” Piggott said.“We may have to register Andrew Goldman, the goalkeeping coach, and start with him for a couple of weeks until we sort something out.But we’ve still got one iron in the fire and we’ll have to see how it pans out.”
While the Bears have gained the likes of Brock Oakley (Maitland) andJamie Byrnes (Lambton Jaffas), Zac Sneddon has linked with Valentine, where his father, Steve, is technical director.Hejoins Nathan Morris, Garry McDermott and Robbie Turnbull as losses for the Bears. Hopes of recruiting American forward Reed McKenna have also ended. Piggott was still looking to sign more young players but was “not panicking”.
GONE: Zac Sneddon, right, playing for Weston in 2014. The utility has made a late switch to Valentine for the 2017 season. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
“We’re young and inexperienced and we’ll take a few beatings and bounce back, and if we’re somewhere mid-table then I’ll be happy,” he said.“I’m happy where we are. There’s no relegation but you never want to finish at the back end, sothey are all hungry to prove themselves.”
In a strange twist to the Heritage Cup, Piggott is coach of two teams taking part. The tournamentfeatures seven first- or second-tier clubs, including Weston, whoare more than a century old. The eighth club are interdistrictside Maryland Fletcher, who are coached part-time by Piggott and representing the region’s first club, Minmi Rangers.
Weston play Cessnock City (Friday, 7.45pm), Wallsend (11am, Saturday) and Edgeworth (4pm, Saturday) in Pool A at Jack McLaughlan Oval. Adamstown, West Wallsend, Maryland Fletcher and Lake Macquarie are in Pool B at Adamstown Oval, where the decider between the pool winners will be held on Sunday at 10am.
Of the Heritage Cup, which consists of 60-minute games, Piggott said: “I like the concept but I think it should have been two or three weeks ago.
“That’s the only problem I’ve got. A week out, generally you don’t take a game or you just try to work on things you need to.
“I’ll use these games to work on some things but it’s not ideal when you are using 21 players in a weekend.
“We’re trying not to have any injuries, first and foremost, but I’ll give them all a chance to show a bit again andone final fitness test.
“I’ve used the pre-season as mainly fitness and conditioning. We’ve played better sides and they’ve all beaten us, but there’s no problems with that.
“We’ll play Edgeworth in one of the games and that will be a good yardstick for us becausewe played them five weeks ago and they beat us.
“You do your best on the day and see what comes out of it.”
POPULAR: Boxing Day sales at Charlestown Square and Westfield Kotara (pictured) have been allowed since 2015. Picture: Marina NeilLAKE Macquarie councillors have taken a stand against Boxing Day trade, voting this week tooppose shops openingon the public holiday.
Councillors voted nine to threein favour ofaplan –in its current form, largely symbolic –by Cr John Gilbertto“refer a notice of motion” to the Local Government NSW annual conference in December “to have Boxing Day retail trading ceased”.
It was a compromise of Cr Gilbert’s original proposal, that Lake Macquarie council “writes to every council in NSW” about lobbyingthe state governmentto end Boxing Day trade.
Cr Gilbert, of the Lake Mac Independents group, said the winat Monday’scouncil meetingwas a“first rung” in his plan to wind back Boxing Day rostering that is“smacking people everywhere”.
“At home I’ve got five teenage kids, and it just grabbed me that over Christmas they all seemed to be out working their tails off,” Cr Gilbert said.
“Once we drive this into Local Government NSW, we’re going to find out pretty quickly where the other councilsstand.”
OPPOSED: Lake Macquarie councillor John Gilbert. Picture: Marina Neil
Centres such as Westfield Kotara andCharlestown Square have openedon Boxing Daysince2015,whenthe government liftedrestrictions limitingtrade to tourist precincts and city centres.
Lake Macquarie can’treimpose those restrictions, but Cr Gilbert said enough councilsopposingBoxing Day tradewould “build momentum” to pressure state and federal legislators.
Liberal councillors voted against the Boxing Day motion, andCr Jason Pauling slammed the majority ofcouncillors for endorsing it.
“We haven’t consulted with the community at all. We haven’t spoken to anyone, let alone the thousands of people who went through Charlestown Square on Boxing Day,” Cr Pauling said.
“Council just woke up one day and decided we’re against Boxing Day trade.”
Without saying how many shoppers came to Charlestown Square last Boxing Day,a figure thought to be in the tens of thousands,general managerDwight Hodgetts said the centre“traded strongly”and set a new recordfor visitorsoverthe Christmas period.
“Shoppers in the Hunter Region have embraced the opportunity to shop at Charlestown Square on Boxing Day. It has also become a significant trading day for retailers,” Mr Hodgetts said.
“In 2016, the majority of stores were open…giving shoppers in the Hunter region the same opportunities to shop the sales as those in Sydney.”
You don’t have to actually work for Rupert Murdoch to make a fortune. Just ask News Corp’s exiting chief financial officer, Bedi Singh.
He will make $US10 million ($13 million) over the next three years from drawing his base salary and bonuses despite walking out the door for the last time this Wednesday.
Maybe people should have paid a little more attention when the media group announced last week that Singh will be “departing” with so little notice “to pursue new opportunities”.
These are terms used all too often when executives are being swept out the door. Not that Murdoch was sparing in his kind words for Singh.
“I asked Bedi to come back in 2012 to help get the new News Corp up and running, and he’s done a great job doing just that,” said Rupert.
And Murdoch does have a reputation for rewarding his loyal lieutenants. Rebekah Brooks’s pay-off from News Corp may have exceeded £16 million ($26 million) after she was forced to resign in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.
On Tuesday, News Corp announced that it will enter into a “separation agreement” with Singh “pursuant to which Mr Singh’s employment with the company was terminated without cause”.
He will continue to receive his $US1.3 million base salary, and $US2 million in bonuses, for each of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 financial years “payable at the conclusion of the relevant period.”
That does not include stock performance units, which unlike his bonus, appear to be “at risk” and hence, actually subject to the financial performance of News Corp.
He will also receive $US495,000 payable in instalments over the next three years in lieu of his participation in the company retirement scheme, and a modest monthly consulting fee of $US12,500 for a minimum of six months.
News Corp’s n number cruncher, Susan Panuccio, will be replacing Singh, with a base salary of $US1.1 million, and annual bonus of up to $US1.1 million which kicks in for the 2018 financial year.
For the record, News Corp reported a $US219 million loss for the December quarter – thanks largely to $US537 million of writedowns on its n assets.
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IN CONTROL: Tye Angland onboard Generalissimo, trained by Garry White, cruises home to an effortless win at Hawkesbury. Image by Bradley Photographers Hawkesbury trainer Garry White is confident of producing his first ever runner in the $400,000 Provincial Championships Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 1.
But first, his promising young galloper Generalissimo must qualify in Thursday’s $150,000 heat of the Provincial series.
By running in the first three, Generalissimo will gain his ticket to the ‘big dance’ and give White his first representative in the race.
Generalissimo has started on eight occasions for three wins and a placing with over $80,000 in prizemoney. Last start he was third to Man From Uncle and Guard of Honour in the Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
White said Generalissimo jumped from barrier one which was a disadvantage: “We drew the fence when no-one wanted to be there as the going on the rails was not as good as two or three out and there was a bit of kick back. Under the circumstances it was a big run.
“He is a serious horse,” White said. “He doesn’t have an instant turn of foot but once he hits top speed he can maintain it for between 500m and 600m. Most other horses can sprint for only 250m to 300m.”
Generalissimo will be having his first attempt over 1400m but White believes the gelding will encounter few problems with the step up in journey.
“I trained many of the family and they are out and out sprinters but this bloke was strong at the line last start (1200m),” White said.
“I’ve always had in the back of my mind that he would be best up to 1400m and even 1600m and Tye agrees.”
Tye Angland has ridden the horse in five of his eight outings (for two wins) and will again partner Generalissimo on Thursday.
“He’s well weighted on 56 kilos for a class three horse with a benchmark of 75,” White observed.
Generalissimo was beaten at Hawkesbury when making his debut but has since won all three starts at the course.
“We have always believed he would be pretty good and he ran an excellent race in his first Stakes event when fifth (Guard of Honour) in the Heritage Stakes at Royal Randwick.
“He recorded the best sectional times in the race. Craig Williams rode him and gave us a great report after the race and said we have a very smart galloper.”
With the course likely to be rain-affected on raceday, White said Generalissimo won’t have any trouble with the going: “He is very fit and is adept in all going.
“I remember he bolted in with a barrier trial here before his debut and it was a bog track.”
White has also entered Every Chance in the Provincial Championships but is leaning to the Class 1 Handicap (1400m) on the same day.
Every Chance has won one of his seven starts, having broken through at Hawkesbury (1300m) two starts back: “He was a short-priced favourite when he won and did the job well.”
Last start Every Chance finished third to Hessdalen there over 1400m on February 21: “He had 12 days between runs and I didn’t do much with him so he may have just needed the run. He had quite a blow afterwards.
“He loves the sting out of the ground with his Hawkesbury win two starts back and his previous second at Royal Randwick both on soft going.”
This preview of the Championshipsis 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
BIG CHANCE: De La Hoya heading to the barriers in town – the chestnut is one of the prime candidates for the Country Championships Qualifier at Scone this weekend. Image by Bradley Photographers Tamworth trainer Mark Mason believes the cards are finally starting to fall the right way for his in-form galloper De La Hoya as he tackles Sunday’s $150,000 Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Scone.
De La Hoya is highly promising and naturally, is named after the former champion boxer Oscar De La Hoya, a gold medal Olympian and winner of 39 of his 45 career fights.
The horse, De La Hoya, had seven months off after an aborted campaign between March and May last year when he had three unplaced runs. This followed his previous campaign where he won two of his only three appearances with the other run being a nose defeat at Scone.
“It was just one of those preparations that nothing went right for him,” Mason recalled. “He kept drawing bad barriers (gate 10 twice and 11) and everything that could go wrong did.
“We pulled up stumps and sent him for a winter spell where he spent time in a paddock at Leon Cummins’s property in Barraba (75 minutes’ drive from Tamworth),” he said.
Cummins, a stock and station agent, is one of Mason’s main owners and doubles as president of Barraba Jockey Club for the past 22 years.
“I think the break did him the world of good. He was a little immature and needed time.”
De La Hoya has been a revelation this campaign, finishing second at Gunnedah (1000m) when first-up for 31 weeks before stringing together impressive back-to-back victories at Tamworth over 1000m and 1200m.
Last time out De La Hoya sizzled home with Robert Thompson aboard to defeat three-time winner Dan Roy by just under a length carrying the steadier of 59.5kg.
“My only query is the 1400m but Robert (Thompson) seems to think he’ll run the distance without a problem,” Mason said.
Mason will also be represented in Sunday’s Qualifier by seven-year-old Strictly Concert, a Sydney winner, and racing for the first time since last October.
The trainer had to tread a fine line with the horse due to eligibility rules: “He is close to being ineligible with 19 starts (maximum 20) so we’ve trialled him twice.
“He’s good when fresh and has won twice when first-up,” Mason said. “He has a very good finish and is strong on the line having won in the city over 1550m, so the 1400m will present no problems.”
Strictly Concert’s first trial at Tamworth over 1000m had to be seen to be believed. The gelding was giving the leader (Akeelah) a huge start coming to the bend and was still four lengths off the lead at the 200m before unwinding a big run to score.
He then ran sixth (of eight) in a Scone barrier trial (900m) but Mason said to overlook that effort: “It was a rainy day and he got well back in the field; they ran the last 600m in 32.67 seconds so he was never going to pick them up. We were still happy with his performance.”
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