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  • No response from minister over query about charges

    2018 - 10.21

    Laurie Pengelly from Tamworth writes about Peel Valley bulk water charges.
    Nanjing Night Net

    THE Peel Valley’s irrigation industry employs many people.

    Tamworth residents pay State Water a lot more for their water than the residents of Dubbo, Wagga and Albury.

    Following the Nats’ media release in early July 2014 titled “Driving down water prices in the Peel Valley”, and with no sign of prices decreasing, let alone being driven down, on October 1, 2014, I wrote the following letter to Nationals Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson:

    Dear Kevin,

    Confidence in the Peel’s irrigation industry and associated businesses is at an all-time low. Irrigators have no available water determination (AWD) from Chaffey Dam, coupled with by far and away the highest bulk water charges levied by State Water.

    No one who did their homework would invest in an irrigation business in the Peel Valley under these circumstances.

    Whilst the AWD depends on rainfall, which is in the hands of God in all valleys, the excessive prices that water users in the Peel, including Tamworth Regional Council, pay for the water is in the hands of the NSW Coalition government.

    The irrigation industry of the Peel Valley would be grateful if you could confirm your recent media release and associated correspondence by issuing a public statement without caveat to the people of the Peel Valley that, as a result of your initiative, State Water will charge no more than $37 million for water commencing in the 2016-17 water year.

    Mr Anderson’s response:

    Thank you for your correspondence. I have made representation on your behalf to the Minister for Land and Water the Hon Kevin Humphries.

    I will be in touch with you as soon as I receive a reply.

    Copies of this correspondence should be available in Mr Anderson’s electoral office.

    Humphries’ response after five months: none. Anderson’s follow-up: none. Have the Nationals earned your vote? I don’t think so.

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

    Knives are out and gleaming

    2018 - 10.21

    IF WE’VE seen gritty and aggressive campaigns before, then you’d have to think Tamworth would be inured and used to another election battle.
    Nanjing Night Net

    But, while we never believed the third-round bout between Kevin Anderson and Peter Draper would be anything but feisty and hard fought, perhaps we hoped the personal pillorying of political opponents might have been lost in the history of the Windsor wars and the previous state bouts. Not to be. The knives are not just out but shining bright. The extraordinary attacks that go to the heart of personality and character have been loosed just lately.

    The last two days will surely see an increase in the fight. And we’re just not talking about the political personalities themselves.

    Some extraordinary slights have been slung by others about this 2015 state election.

    Not least by those on the sidelines, those wearing the mantle of management of business and community leadership.

    The gloves are off, it seems, when it comes to certain mining issues and the long-fought battle by environmentalists and anti-mining advocates and protesters.

    Coal seam gas might elicit plenty of hot air over its place in our world, but the no-holds-barred retaliation by people like Whitehaven CEO Paul Flynn in our pages today against ecologist Phil Spark is just one. Like a Russian tank running over a peasant, Mr Flynn has taken no prisoners in his literary attack.

    Character assassination? Maybe. Tempered? Not at all. Inconsiderate and hasty? Maybe.

    And it will harden some opinion. It might not win him winnable friends. It can be construed as bullying and belligerent.

    And that might well be how many see the political stance taken by Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray.

    Cr Murray has angered many by what is seen to be his public backing – as the figurehead of the council and the council community – in campaigning for the incumbent Nationals MP, and with little disguise of it being personal and individual.

    Cr Murray was elected as a self-confessed independent candidate when he first stood for TRC. While the council’s conservative Nationals-heavy political weight is no secret to anyone, it is the branding of his stand, so openly, so wrapped in the mayoral robes, that grates with many. Readers and website comments have been overwhelmingly negative.

    The tenor of other letters and opinion pieces is in tune with this. There’s a take-no-prisoners attitude by many. The battle will be decided on Saturday night, but old friendships and collegial relationships might be the big losers.

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

    Cr Murray’s TV ad is deeply offensive

    2018 - 10.21

    AFTER viewing a recent local television advertisement which portrays the mayor of Tamworth, with council building in the background, coming out in public support of a particular candidate in the upcoming election, I am deeply offended that even our local representatives are willing to try to exert influence over our voting decisions.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Is this ad telling us that we, as the good taxpayers of Tamworth, should follow the council’s public endorsement of a certain candidate, as this is in the best interests of the Tamworth community? Is this ad telling us that this is the preferred person/party with whom the Tamworth council wishes to work after Saturday’s election?

    Does this therefore imply that if said candidate doesn’t win this Saturday, therefore having to step down as the local member, that our local council, which publicly supports said candidate, should also then step down, allowing a new council that is willing to work with whomever is elected to come into being to represent the people of Tamworth? Hmm, questions, questions. What a joke our democratic system has become in this country, when at every opportunity and from every angle we are told what to believe by those who hold the power.

    Do they honestly believe we are all that dumb that we can’t see what they are really up to? As individuals, we need to stop accepting blindly the propaganda that those in positions of power want us to believe and to see what they are spouting for what it really is.

    Jayne O’Hara


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

    Volatile, controversial lead-up to election

    2018 - 10.21

    MY FINAL thoughts on the 2015 state election.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Perhaps we could say this has been the most volatile and controversial election in our history.

    I see mining, poles and wires, the future of TAFE, education in general and health issues as occupying centre stage.

    All extractive industries are under very intensive scrutiny, none more so than on the Liverpool Plains. This is a no-no of monumental proportions.

    No matter what it costs, it must be stopped, and the plains established as a no-go mining area.

    The Chinese owners would surely know that an extraction of 30 million tonnes of coal on the Yangtze or Si Kiang would not be countenanced by the Chinese government. Why then should locals be happy?

    Our four candidates of all persuasions have agreed in principle that it is highly undesirable, but vary in their intensity.

    While Kevin is against the proposal, he’s jammed between a rock and a hard place, as his Sydney colleagues have approved it.

    Both Labor and Greens are vocal in their opposition.

    We are thankful that Tony Windsor had sufficient acuity to shift final decisions to the federal sphere, allowing Barnaby to get more time.

    However, as Nationals, both of these gentlemen will need to roar like lions and not squeak like mice, to ensure this abomination is put to rest forever.

    I rather agree with Peter Draper travelling a more middle-of-the-road path when he says “mining and agriculture can co-exist”.

    I was born, educated and grew up pre-war on the Tingha tin fields. Tingha is in a granite belt, and the effect of mining did not intrude on the black soils of Inverell.

    Extraction industries are short-term and can bring huge benefits, but seldom for more than 50 years.

    Employment opportunities are short also. Extraction is required to advance economies, but it can only co-exist in the right place at the right time and be strictly controlled in Australia’s interest.

    It would be helpful to voters if candidates could indicate how long it would take for the current income from the poles and wires to equate to the sale price.

    Finally, I suggest it is time for all candidates to express their contributions to education, and particularly TAFE, in terms of people, rather than bricks and mortar,and place increased moneyaccordingly.

    Gordon Clive Barnes


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

    Business burglaries increasing

    2018 - 10.21

    BUSINESS burglaries in Launceston remain on the rise, causing a major headache for the city’s commerce.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Since July there have been 291 business burglaries in the North compared with 169 in the same time last year – a 71 per cent spike.

    The increase has prompted Northern CIB Detective Inspector John King to write to the Launceston Chamber of Commerce to address the problem.

    Inspector King told The Examiner that the increase could be related to a number of factors, including socio-economic and health issues.

    The rise in business burglaries, as well as house and car break-ins, comes after years of sustained reductions.

    As part of the Northern district’s crime management plan, offenders are asked to fill out questionnaires about the burglaries.

    Unsurprisingly, a desire for cash followed by electrical items – that can be quickly sold for money to buy drugs – appear to be the main motivations.

    “So we’re urging businesses to question whether they need to keep cash on the premises and, if so, making sure there’s appropriate security,” Inspector King said.

    Launceston Chamber of Commerce executive officer Maree Tetlow said the burglaries were a drain for her members.

    “It’s quite distressing for businesses,” she said.

    Ms Tetlow said shoplifting was also a major concern for stores.

    “Unfortunately when you have got high unemployment it can cause these types of outcomes and I think, as a community, we all need to participate to improve the situation,” she said.

    Antisocial behaviour in the CBD has also raised its head again.

    Store owners along Brisbane Street say the problem is getting worse and children as young as eight are involved.

    Several of the traders blamed the bus stop outside Target for its role in attracting many people to a small space.

    One operator proposed splitting the bus stop into several locations.

    “When the average person can’t go about their daily routine without feeling intimidated, there’s something very wrong,” she said.

    “Something’s got to give, and it can’t be letting them get away with everything they want to do.”

    Tasmania Police will meet with businesses to discuss the issue at a forum next week.

    Metro said it had not received any reports of antisocial behaviour at the bus stop but urged people to report it.

    [email protected]南京夜网.au

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

    Top 10 ways to survive in a big city

    2018 - 09.22

    Where do you even start in a big city? Photo: iStock Where do you even start in a big city? Photo: iStock
    Nanjing Night Net

    Where do you even start in a big city? Photo: iStock

    Where do you even start in a big city? Photo: iStock

    It can be daunting at first. Saying you’re visiting a megalopolis like Mexico City, or Moscow, or Tokyo. Where do you even start?

    How do you survive in a city with a population the size of Australia’s? How do you know where to stay, or what to do, or how to get around? How do you fit everything in?

    It doesn’t have to be that scary, however. There are a few tricks of the trade that will have you living like a local in the megalopolis of your choice in no time.

    Stay local

    There’s no point attempting to see an entire city in just a short stay. The best idea is to choose a neighbourhood you think you’ll like, where there’s plenty to see, and get to know it like a local. Stay in an apartment from a website like Airbnb; become a regular at a café; soak up life on the streets and see all of the sights in your own little part of town. You can take excursions to other areas of the city, but for the most part it’s best to find yourself a smaller circle to move in and reduce the time you’ll waste getting from place to place.

    Use a guidebook

    Not for everything. It’s not the Bible. But if you want to orientate yourself in a new town, to find the must-see attractions and figure out the best neighbourhood to stay in, then the basic information a guidebook can provide will be invaluable. Use it for research before you go, and ditch it once you begin wandering the streets.

    Plan your stay…

    In a huge city, time is of the essence. You don’t want to waste too much of your holiday deciding where to go next and how you should get there. If you’re travelling to a big city, do your research beforehand and figure out the places you want to visit, and what order you’re going to visit them in. This will cut down excess time battling public transport, and minimise the risk of missing out on the good stuff.

    …But don’t over-plan

    The great thing about the true megalopolises of the world is that they’re unpredictable – things just happen. Festivals pop up; cool bars appear; shops catch your eye; strangers invite you to do things. You don’t want to have your visit so strictly planned that you can’t embrace any or all of these things.

    Embrace public transport

    The metro system or the bus network or even the rickshaws might seem a little daunting at first, but if you want to get around the city in the most efficient (and cheapest) way, public transport is your friend. You might wind up in the wrong place every now and again, but that’s all part of the experience.

    Avoid rush hour

    You don’t have a job, so there’s no need to battle the crowds in the early morning and late afternoon. If you plan your stay right you can do most of your commuting in the middle of the day or late at night, when there are fewer people to deal with. During the rush hours you can be safely inside a museum, or at a restaurant, or just relaxing in a park.

    Get lost

    The idea of being lost in a big city might seem frightening, but really, this is the only way to discover what’s really out there. Ditch the guidebook, fold up the map, and just wander. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover. (NB: In certain cities, it’s best not to do this at night.)

    Go it alone

    Maybe you’re uncomfortable with going to bars or restaurants or even concerts on your own back home. But this is the big city – a big foreign city. It’s time to embrace the anonymity and get out there on your own. Eat at a table for one. Drink at a bar by yourself. Go to a club and dance like nobody’s watching – because the truth is, they probably aren’t.

    Get those elbows out

    Here it is: a huge crowd of people in Mumbai, or Sao Paulo, or Hanoi. They’re all trying to do what you’re trying to do. They’re ordering food, or getting on a train, or lining up at a bar. It’s intimidating, but the only thing to do is watch the way they behave, and do the same thing. Is everyone pushing in line? Do the same. Is everyone yelling their orders out? Do the same. You’ll feel like a local in no time.

    Get out of town

    Ask around – where do the locals go when the city is driving them crazy? It’s probably only a short train ride to get to somewhere completely different in the surrounding countryside, somewhere you can relax for a day away from the hustle and bustle of city life and see another side to your adopted home.

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

    Federal Court may find overseas-sourced offshore workers illegal

    2018 - 09.22

    Senator Michaelia Cash. Photo: Alex EllinghausenHundreds of overseas sourced workers in Australia’s booming off-shore oil and gas sector could be plunged into illegal status from Thursday when the Federal Court is due to rule on the application of law governing their employment.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The case could have major implications for the offshore slice of the $200 billion sector which, according to the government, accounts for some $28 billion of economic activity.

    And it could also set new limits on the power of ministers to make rules outside of parliament.

    An action brought on appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court by the industrially aggressive Maritime Union of Australia and the Australian Maritime Officers Union, has argued a Ministerial Determination used by the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Minister, Michaelia Cash, last year granting work rights to the employees is unlawful.

    The determination, which followed one day after the Senate rejected proposed government regulations, was used to make it easier for oil and gas projects to attract and hire overseas labour.

    The unions had opposed the widespread use of overseas labour in the offshore sector and secured support from the former Labor government to require employers to prove they had made all reasonable efforts to find Australian employees first.

    If successful, the union appeal could see more than 400 employees currently engaged in laying undersea pipes and in the building and maintenance of other structures, who are not Australian citizens, forced to down tools.

    As a contingency plan, the government is understood to be considering another temporary legal instrument to give the employees protection and allow them to remain insured.

    The legal dispute has become a crucial test of the powers of the executive to make rules which, in effect, run counter to the intent of the legislature.

    The unions say the Abbott government failed in its attempt to repeal Labor legislation roping in workers employed at sea and beyond the migration zone, and so has tried to achieve the same result by use of ministerial determination.

    While the MUA hopes to regain the full protection of Australian employment law for all employees engaged in the sector, not everyone in the broader labour movement is happy with the action.

    A spokesman for Senator Cash said the Federal Court had already validated government actions once.

    “On 15 September 2014, the Federal Court upheld the validity of the Determination used by Minister Cash to provide certainty to the offshore oil and gas industry,” he said.

    “Contrary to the efforts of the MUA, the Coalition government will protect this vital industry – a $200 billion sector which generates $28 billion in revenue and supports thousands of Australian jobs.

    “The MUA’s ongoing industrial relations tantrum at the sector employing a small number of highly specialised foreign workers ironically ignores the fact that these specialists help create jobs for Australians.

    “We await the judgment of the Full Federal Court tomorrow morning.”

    The government believes the offshore component of the oil and gas sector is vital to the national interest and that the union action threatens future investment.

    Studies have shown that in addition to the 2500 jobs in the offshore sector, another 10,000 are supported across the economy.

    For the entire oil and gas sector, those numbers are considerably greater with some $200 billion already invested helping to underpin up to 100,000 jobs, according to work by the firm Deloitte Access Economics.

    A successful appeal could see the matter referred to the High Court, this time by the government.

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

    Police arrest 61-year-old employee of multinational company in Macquarie Park for corruption

    2018 - 09.22

    61-year-old arrested for receiving corrupt commissions and money laundering Photo: NSW PolicePolice have arrested an employee of a prominent multinational company based in Macquarie Park for allegedly receiving corrupt commissions and laundering the money.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The company alerted the police last year alleging the 61-year-old employee, who was managing its $30 million vehicle fleet, was receiving commissions from a vehicle supplier for leasing its cars.

    The police alleged the employee had set up a bank account in July 2013 to receive the commissions and that the vehicle supplier made four deposits worth $504,900 into the bank account in June 2014 and February 2015.

    Fraud and Cybercrime Squad detectives arrested the man at the company’s Macquarie Park offices at midday on Wednesday.

    The Adelaide man was charged at Ryde Police Station and granted conditional bail. He will appear at Burwood Local Court on April 14.

    Police also searched the company’s offices and seized numerous documents. They are investigating if there were more payments made dating back several years.

    Police said they expect to make further arrests related to the matter.

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

    Child sex abuse survivors angry at Federal Government’s opposition to redress scheme

    2018 - 09.22

    The Federal Government’s opposition to a national redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse was an attempt to avoid paying compensation to victims and is akin to telling them “we don’t want you to recover”, abuse victims have told the Royal Commission.
    Nanjing Night Net

    “I think that what the government is saying to survivors is that they would prefer [them] to suffer in silence …” abuse victims advocate Nicky Davis told the Royal Commission into child sex abuse on Wednesday

    “They don’t want us to reveal their shortcomings, to make them face their financial responsibilities and that’s just not acceptable.”

    Ms Davis was one of a number of abuse survivors who expressed their anger at a Federal Government submission to the Commission as it examined the question of how to assist and compensate those who had experienced child sexual abuse.

    In a blunt two-page submission, the Australian Government solicitor said a national scheme would be too complex and require too much time and resources to establish.

    It rejected proposals that the government co-ordinate the scheme and provide financial compensation to abuse survivors if the institution responsible was unable to pay.

    “Institutions must accept the legal, financial and moral responsibility for failing to protect children,” the submission stated.

    “Such recommendations would send a clear message to those institutions that they have no choice, for the future, but to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of those children entrusted to their care.”

    It also rejected the proposal for counselling and support services for abuse victims, stating that existing services provided support for anyone who needed it.

    The chair of the Commission, Justice Peter McClellan expressed disappointment that a scheme which was “overwhelmingly supported by survivor advocacy and support groups and many institutions as being the most likely to ensure a just, fair and consistent outcome for all victims where they may have suffered abuse, is not presently supported by the Commonwealth”.

    All of the survivor support advocates who addressed the commission on Wednesday, and many of the institutional witnesses, indicated that they continued to support a national redress scheme.

    A number argued that abuse survivors should only be required to demonstrate that their stories were “plausible” in order to be eligible for compensation.

    Others asserted that any apology to survivors provided under the scheme needed to acknowledge that institutions and not just individuals were responsible for child sexual abuse.

    In a similar vein, the Coalition of Aboriginal Services said that any redress scheme needed to acknowledge not only the abuse inflicted on Aboriginal children but the fact that they were unjustly removed from their communities in the first place because they were indigenous.

    Maurice Ryan from the Northern Territory Stolen Generations Corporation said this racist policy of removal was still taking place.

    “I can tell you exactly what’s going to happen to the 600 children who are in custody today,” Mr Ryan said.

    “Some will be abused … they will lose their culture, they will lose their identity, they will lose their language, their law, their customs their family.”

    The hearing continues.

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

    Langer urges better pitches for shield finals after Vics win by drawing

    2018 - 09.22

    WA coach Langer’s main gripe was the pitch that overwhelmingly favoured batting.HOBART: Key figures on either side of this season’s Sheffield Shield final, Victoria veteran David Hussey and Western Australia Justin Langer, have expressed different gripes at the way the domestic first-class season concluded, with the Bushrangers holding on for a draw to secure the title.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Hussey’s 37 not-out from 169 deliveries was pivotal in the Bushrangers comfortably surviving for 95 overs on the fifth day at Blundstone Arena. He and captain Matthew Wade (9 not out from 99 balls), who after the match proudly demonstrated a new tattoo depicting the late Phillip Hughes, batted for the last 30 overs of the final day in their total of 4-158.

    While Hussey was delighted to be part of his fourth title-winning team he said he had been more satisfied with the victory in 2009-10 because it involved winning the final, rather than drawing it to claim the shield.

    “I really enjoyed the Queensland win at the MCG [in 2009-10] . . . that was the ultimate because you actually won the game. Fighting out for a hard-fought draw is equally as good, but you want to win the game,” he said.

    “I’ve got a foot in both camps. I don’t understand why it’s a five-day game when we play four-day cricket. I [also] don’t understand why you just have to draw the game to win the shield. I truly believe you have to play the game to win the game and sadly if you get a draw because you finish on top you get to hold it up. Maybe a bit of tinkering needs to be done.”

    WA coach Langer’s main gripe was the pitch that overwhelmingly favoured batting, to the extent that only six wickets fell in the last day and a half of the match.

    “It was really disappointing. We’ve had it two years in a row now,” said Langer, in reference to the 2013-14 final against NSW in Canberra that also ended in a draw.

    “Whilst I’m sure Victoria will have a different opinion, I love the game of cricket – I have since I was a little kid – but watching cricket like that over five days it’s not great cricket . . . when you arrive and basically know it’s going to be almost impossible to get 20 wickets to win the game on a one-day [type] wicket in a neutral venue it’s pretty disappointing. That might sound like sour grapes but that’s just me being as honest as I can be.

    “When we got here there wasn’t a blade of grass on it. When it’s such a one-sided contest, whether it’s throughout the season or the showcase game of the season, for me that’s very disappointing.

    “Cricket Australia are hell-bent on, and made a big deal of it a couple of years ago, playing cricket on really good cricket wickets, and for the majority of domestic cricket we’ve been seeing that. It’s a shame when you play the shield final [it changes].

    “We would never play Test cricket on these kind of wickets so if we’re trying to create a nursery to help guys turn into really good Test cricketers, in my view these wickets, and the one last year at Manuka [Oval in Canberra], are too one-sided. It doesn’t happen throughout the season, and in my opinion it shouldn’t happen in the shield final either. Yes, that team that finishes on top should have an advantage but if they’re the best team in the competition they should win on good wickets, rather than [the type of] wickets we’ve just played on.”

    Langer’s admission of how difficult it was to take wickets seemed in contrast with the team’s decision to bat on at the start of day five, when they already had a lead of 280, because his bowlers would otherwise have had eight more overs at the Bushrangers if they declared overnight. The coach defended the strategy.

    “There were two sides of it. One, we felt that if we got a few more runs then Victoria would just have to go defensive all day, and [two] we were expecting the wicket to deteriorate a lot more and perhaps spin. We saw a couple kept a little bit low but it was so slow that it made it almost impossible to get those wickets,” he said.

    “It was a grind in the first innings . . . and yesterday, even though we batted very positively, we saw it was very hard to get six wickets in the last two days.

    “The wicket didn’t deteriorate like we were expecting it to.”

    Langer hailed his players for their “magnificent” season, in which the teams he coached on the Matador Cup and Big Bash League and were all ahead in the shield final.

    His biggest praise was for captain Adam Voges, whose season average of 104.46 from 11 matches was the highest in history from someone who played at least eight matches in a shield season. The coach urged national selectors to give the 35-year-old a maiden Test call-up in this coming winter.

    “I said to Rod [Marsh, chief selector] and Darren [Lehmann, coach], before they picked Joe Burns [to debut on Boxing Day], that if anyone deserved to get selected he did. He’s just got back-to-back hundreds in a shield game,” Langer said of his captain, who scored a superb 107 in the first innings of the shield final.

    “He’s got 1300-odd shield runs this year, he’s a fantastic person, he’s done well in international cricket before. He’s had a great year, and someone like Chris Rogers has shown that age should be a barrier. Chris Rogers has had a good really good international career now and helped Australia’s success over the past few years coming in late.

    “I think Adam Voges has to get selected for if not the West Indies then the Ashes tour. No-one deserves it more. Not only has he had a great year this year he’s had two great years, and he’s the captain of a very successful team. You like to have leaders in any team, don’t you? And he’s a great leader.”

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