Stroke report in spotlight

A Hunter based stroke expert has labelled a taxpayer-funded report as “not worth the paper it is written on”, due to what he described asflaws in the methodology used to calculate its findings.
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Acting director of John Hunter Hospital’s Acute Stroke Service, Conjoint Professor Chris Levi, has slammed a section of the Bureau of Health Information report published last month as “misleading”, after it said the hospital had “higher than expected” mortality rates for ischaemic stroke.

Professor Levi said the report didn’t take into account the severity of stroke, which he said was the dominant factor in determining a patient’s outcome.

“We’re receiving information from the Ministry [of Health] that is not accurate and it’s misleading the public, the media and the Minister [Brad Hazzard],” he said.

“There’s both national and international evidence to indicate it’s not best practice method –it’s really an inferior approach that runs a significant risk of error.

It’s not worth the piece of paper it’s written on, it’s a total waste of time and it’s just not credible.”

He said the report also didn’t take into account the ambulance bypass protocol, which means the region’s severe acute stroke patients go straight to John Hunter Hospital.

Professor Levi’s comments coincide with research published in theMedical Journal of Australia on May 1, which found “the models with the best fit for standardising mortality were those that included adjustment for stroke severity”.

It found hospitalperformance rankings could move dramatically –including from 21stout of 28 hospitals to sixth –when strokeseverity is taken into account.

Professor Levi said he commissioned Monash University researchers last year – in preparation for the release of the BHI report – to analyse the hospital’sstroke mortality rates with the inclusion of stroke severity.

“It demonstrates John Hunter is not an outlier at all, it’s actually an inlier and sits within the acceptable boundaries, in fact it’s pretty close to average.”

The BHI report used as its principal indicator a ratio that adjustedfor patient factors including age, sex and other illnesses.

BHI chief executive Dr Jean-Frederic Levesque said he remained“confident in the findings” and stood by the methodology.

“The BHI has investigated adjusting for stroke severity in 30-day mortality models, however, the analyses done using currently available information did not show a significant impact on results,” he said.

“There’salso mixed evidence about the impact of adjusting for severity. In addition, hospitals may vary in their ability to assess how severe a patient’s stroke is.

“BHI has conducted many analyses to identify if certain hospital results may be influenced by bypass systems and did not find different results.”

Home makeover for terminally ill mum

Home makeover for terminally ill mum AMAZED: Karin Reynolds and daughter Matilda explore Matilda’s made-over room.
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GRATEFUL: Karin Reynolds hugs Karen Stackman after seeing the new-look home for the first time.

BEFORE: Ms Reynolds sitting in her home before the renovations. Picture: Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookTerminally ill mum Karin Reynolds sees her newly made over home for the first time @MaitlandMercurypic.twitter南京夜网/YrxH67jvat

— Sage Swinton (@sageswinton) April 30, 2017Karin Reynolds sees her daughter Matilda’s new look room for the first time @MaitlandMercurypic.twitter南京夜网/Z7ekL0EzJq

— Sage Swinton (@sageswinton) April 30, 2017Friends transform homeIt wasan emotional monthfor the Metford community members who spearheaded the renovation of a terminally ill mother’shome.

Fairfax Mediareported in April that Karin Reynolds, who has terminal cancer and lives in public housing with her children, wanted to leave behind a clean, safe home for her family to live in when she passes.

Ms Reynold’s friendsKaren Stackman and Belinda Fitzpatrick began assembling volunteers, donations and lobbying the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) to get on board.

And they succeeded –the department agreed to provide afull kitchen upgrade, tile repairs in the kitchen and bathroomand other minor repairs.

In addition they provided temporary accommodation for the family while works were carried out.

For more than three weeks a core group of volunteers worked tirelessly with the help of local businesses to transform the run-down property.

“We’ve laid flooring in the girl’s room, had blinds installed in every room, had the floor stripped and sealed…painted every room,” Ms Stackman said.

On Friday it all came together when the Reynolds family returned home.

“It feels magnificent,” Ms Stackman said.“It has been harder than we thought, but we got there.

“We’re very proud.”

Ms Stackman said each of the volunteers had dealt with their own personal and family issues over the past month, compounding the challenge, but there was one thing that kept them slogging through the work.

“The kids and Karin –[the kids]need somewhere to spend their final times with their mum,” Ms Stackman said.

Ms Stackman said the team’s mood was lifted when they heard FACS wasrevamping the kitchen.

“We weren’t expecting that, it was great they jumped on board to help out,” she said.

“Extraordinary. Without their help this wouldn’t have happened.”

Ms Stackman thanked the numerous local businesses and tradespeople who donated equipment, skills and material –from doors to paint –to the project.

Maitland Mercury

Group home care concerns

CLOSING: One of the buildings at the Stockton Centre, a large residential facility for people with disability that the NSW government has committed to closing by 2018.THE state government has ordered a review of clinical care needs at a Stockton disability group home after the death of one resident and the hospitalisation of another.
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The Minister for Disability Services, Ray Williams, said he was saddened bythe death at the group home and he offered his condolences to the family.

“My department has notified the NSW Ombudsman of the death and has provided full and unrestricted access to relevant records relating to reviewable deaths to allow him to investigate,” Mr Williams said.

“To address the hospitalisation of another client, my department is also undertaking a review of clinical care needs at that group home.”

As the Newcastle Herald reported last week, the two female residents had recently moved from the Stockton Centre, which the state government is moving to close, to a group home, run at this stage by the government, in suburban Stockton.

Asked about fears about the level of care in the group home,Mr Williams said:“I am advised two of the staff members that work at the group home hold registered nursing qualifications.

“All group home operators are required to comply with the NSW Disability Service Standards and implement a quality management system. I am proud that this government strengthened existing safeguards in 2014 by introducing the Disability Inclusion Act.”

But the NSW opposition and some disability advocates are gravely concerned about the situation at Stockton, with Port Stephens MP Kate Washington sayingthe government had been warned it was risking people’s lives in closing Stockton.

Ms Washington, opposition disability spokesperson Sophie Cotsis and Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp are pushing Mr Williams to take action after giving his office a letter of concern from the Stockton Centre Welfare Association, written by a former chief executive of the centre, Lorraine Yudaeff.

Lettter from Stockton Centre Welfare Association In her March 25 letter,Ms Yudaeff lists nine areas where “reality” falls far short of the government’s “commitment”.

She says having one organisation in charge of general care, another in charge of housing and a third in charge of specialist medical care constitutes “a veritable avalanche of problems”.

Stockton had in-house medical services but Ms Yudaeff said “it appears that already overburdened GPs … are extremely reluctant “to take group home residents as patients, meaningthese extremely vulnerable people” will be dependent on the general hospital system.

How The Herald broke the story: Hunter disability group home death to be investigated Ms Yudaeff questioned the level of care in the group homes, and said the loss of staff from Stockton was causing problems “as predicted”, including significant nurse shortages.

Rachel Jarry admits concussions are ‘worrying’

Canberra Capitals forward Rachel Jarry admits the lack of knowledge about the long-term effects of concussion is “worrying” as she prepares to spend a month on the sidelines.
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Jarry will miss the next four weeks of the WNBL season with a concussion in a major blow to the Capitals’ hopes of reviving their season.

It’s Jarry’s second concussion battle in the past fortnight and the latest in a string of head injuries that have cruelled her career, but she isn’t too stressed about any long-term effects.

It means the Capitals will be without the Australian Opals star for a crucial stretch as they fight to save their season, beginning with a clash against Perth on Saturday night.

Jarry’s absence opens the door for Chevannah Paalvast and Eziyoda Magbegor to play more minutes, while Jordan Hooper could play a different role against the Lynx.

Jarry is spending the week with her family in Melbourne as she recovers from the concussion suffered against the Sydney Flames, which is not related the one she had last month.

“As much as we think we know a bit more about it all, we don’t really know that much,” Jarry said.

“A lot of the studies done, especially on NFL players, are really skewed towards the athletes that do have symptoms.

“They don’t do any studies on athletes that don’t have symptoms later in their life at all so it’s unknown and that’s what the worrying thing is.

“Playing basketball, you don’t lead with your head and get hit in every game like you do in a full contact sport so I’m not too concerned.

“I just think it’s about making sure I’m symptom-free anytime I get concussed. That’s just the best we can do for now but I don’t have any long-term effects so that’s good news.”

The WNBL uses the Basketball Australia concussion policy and competition boss Sally Phillips is working with the players’ association to develop clearer guidelines.

Jarry won’t change her hard-nosed approach when she returns to the court, adamant it’s her tenacious mentality that turned her into an Olympian.

“I’ve been going in hard my whole life, ever since I was a kid and I first stepped onto the court. I don’t think I could change that,” Jarry said.

“What separates me from other players is how hard I do play so I wouldn’t like to change that. I just hopefully don’t get too many more knocks on the head. It’s a hard thing to change how you play.”

Capitals coach Paul Goriss says it won’t take much to adjust to life without Jarry on the court having been through it last week.

Goriss was also left to sweat on the fitness of captain Natalie Hurst, who only returned to training on Thursday having battled a middle ear infection during the week.

“It’s obviously disappointing for us and disappointing for her to be ruled out over the next four weeks so we’ve just got to plug along with who we’ve got and just make some key adjustments to that,” Goriss said.

“She’s had quite a few so this is a precaution obviously after having one and having another concussion within a week.

“The doctors have said four weeks off so she’ll just do some light training and light fitness work so we’ll keep monitoring her situation.”

Instead of travelling to Perth Jarry will be racing the clock to be fit for the Capitals’ return to Canberra – which won’t come until December 7 against the Sydney Flames.

A month-long stretch on the road means the 25-year-old’s absence could not have come at a worse time for the Capitals as they fight to snap a seven-game losing streak.

WNBL ROUND SIX

Saturday: Perth Lynx v Canberra Capitals at Bendat Basketball Centre, 6.30pm.

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

Business feature: Hudson Homes

AWARD WINNING: Hudson Homes has won the NSW HIA Display Home of the Year for the last two years. Pictured is this year’s winner – Viridian at Elara Estate. POWER PACKED: Hudson Homes is offering new customers a free smart solar package that will help people save money and live more sustainably.
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ADVERTISING FEATUREDanny Assabgy, CEO of Hudson Homes, firmly believes that building a home is something to celebrate.

VISION: Rob Borg, General Manager and Danny Assabgy, CEO, have shared a clear philosophy in driving Hudson Homes and keeping the building process transparent.

He stands by his mantra of providing customers with a delightful and rewarding experience, which trickles down to the entire team and their processes. So much so, in fact that the company is, it says, offering a level of transparency to the building process that has never been seen before.

“The whole philosophy of Hudson Homes is to provide our customers with a seamless process that is clear, communicative and simple. No hidden surprises, no extra costs, just an upfront agreement that is adhered to on time and on budget,” he explains.

The basis for the home building company is to provide a service that begins with the buyer’s perspective in mind.

By providing a three-tiered system of home packages, first home buyers, established homeowners and those looking for the ultimate in luxury living are all catered for. Customers simply select the package that fits with their expectations and budget.

This advertising feature is sponsored by the following business. Click the link to learn more:

Hudson HomesUnlike other providers, Hudson Homes promises that everything is included from the start, meaning no surprises with expensive site costs. Additionally, they are also currently offering a complete solar system that uses smart monitoring software to save you more money on your ongoing bills.​

“We don’t generally offer promotions or deals to draw buyers in, we simply make sure that everything you want in a home is included at the time you engage us,” Mr Assabgy said.

“Leading up to Christmas, I wanted to offer an extra bonus for our customers. Our team sat around the table and struggled over the fact that we already include all the necessities in our homes. The majority of builders have air-conditioning, for example, as a upgrade, or an add-on or promotion, whereas it’s already included in our package as standard. The same goes for stone benchtop, al fresco areas, floor covering etc. That’s when we came up with adding on a free smart solar package to every new Hudson Home.”

This practice of transparency is extended throughout all aspects of the company and is the lynchpin to a new online platform for customers, soon to be rolled out by Hudson Homes.

The customer portal will enable customers to login and literally access their building file, view the build in situ, see photos and get a clear picture of how the site is progressing. It’s yet another way Hudson Homes are evolving their service and staying true to the company’s values.

This customer-focused builder has experienced exponential growth over the past four years and won the HIA Display Home of the Year award for the last two years running.

Danny Assabgy, CEO

The Murdochs have a $31 billion reason to break up Fox

What does the fox say? I’m still not sure. But I do know what Fox sees: a lot of money hiding, to the tune of $US25 billion ($31 billion).
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Earlier this week came shocking news that the Murdoch media magnates had discussed selling a majority of 21st Century Fox’s assets to Walt Disney — yes, to the owner of ABC News and the increasingly politicised ESPN, of all places. The talks didn’t include Fox News, though, and a deal is said to be off the table … well, for now at least.

Considering just how immediately lucrative the move would be for the Murdochs and minority investors of Fox, I doubt this is the last we hear of it.

An exhaustive sum-of-the-parts estimation by Wells Fargo analysts, led by Marci Ryvicker, implies that Fox may be able to unlock around $US25 billion of value by breaking itself up and selling off certain pieces — whether the company on the acquiring end is Disney or someone else. Something to gain

21st Century Fox may be worth $US76 billion — roughly 50 per cent more than the conglomerate’s current $US51 billion market value — if the Murdochs sell off their less treasured businesses. Beyond news and sports, Fox doesn’t have much scale on its own, and its other cable channels are in a ratings slump. FX’s ratings are down 14 per cent this year through September, while National Geographic Channel has fared worse, plunging 25 per cent.

That didn’t stop the company from reporting another period of solid earnings on Wednesday. Fox Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch also defended the company’s structure without commenting on the takeover speculation.

The success of Fox News helped drive an 11 per cent increase in the fees that its cable-programming division earns from pay-TV providers. But Fox News and sports programming are the core, and the other stuff may be worth more to another company.

Assuming, as Wells Fargo suggests, that Fox News and the sports programming are worth nearly $US60 billion, then shareholders are currently getting the rest of Fox’s assets for free or at the very least, on the cheap. X-Men on the cheap

The assets that 21st Century Fox could divest are worth about $US36 billion — that’s 70 per cent of the company’s current market value, implying investors have been getting some stuff for free.While Fox’s movie studio has churned out hits such as “Deadpool,” it’s also had its share of box-office flops like “Fantastic Four.” Overall, the film business is a lumpy one and may be dragging down the company’s valuation.

The division’s operating income before depreciation and amortisation slid 18 per cent last quarter. Wells Fargo assigns the film business a multiple of 12 times Ebitda, versus 15 for Fox News.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has a knack for getting the most out of movie-studio acquisitions, having revitalised the “Star Wars” franchise and built on Pixar’s and Marvel’s successes.

Fox needs to scale up or exploit its rivals’ need to bulk up themselves. The first no longer seems an option: The company’s only viable takeover candidate was Time Warner, owner of HBO and Warner Bros. studios, but it rejected Fox’s advances and struck a deal with AT&T instead (although that’s turned into its own saga).

It makes sense for Fox to focus on doing what it does best. And what precisely that is may be informed by your political viewpoints, but let’s just call it making money off of news and sports content. We can all agree it certainly does that.

The Murdochs see where the future is heading and need to look to where they can prosper.

Then there’s of course the question, if they do sell off billions of dollars worth of assets, what would they do with the money?

Bloomberg???

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‘Greed trumps nature’: Leaked report points to big offset savings for developers

Photographs shows the clear felling of the Leard Forest and construction of Whitehavens’ ?? Maules Creek coal mine near Boggabri. Greenpeace activists opposed to the mines’ construction have an established tree sit in place to stop the felling of the endangered forest and?? are surrounded by?? mine security and police rescue units.Photographs by Dean Sewell. S.M.H. News.Taken Sunday 1st June 2014.?? das140601.001.001.send.jpg Coal festival -?? Mining trucks at Glencore??????s Mount Owen complex between Muswellbrook and Singleton.10 Thiess Mt Owen extension.
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NSW’s new biodiversity offsets scheme is likely to save developers such as coal miners millions of dollars, according to a leaked report commissioned by the Berejiklian government.

A cost benefit analysis by the Centre For International Economics, a copy of which was obtained by Fairfax Media, found Glencore’s Mt Owen coal mine extension in the Hunter Valley would have reaped huge savings if the project had been assessed under the new methodology.

Using two methods to gauge the mine expansion’s offset costs, the reforms to the scheme both show savings of “approximately $80 million” compared with existing compensation tally for “disturbing” an extra 485 hectares of native vegetation, the report found.

Similarly, the Dubbo Zirconia Project, a $1 billion venture due to “disturb” 815 hectares, would save the developers about $12.89 million because fewer offset credits would be needed.

The government’s overhaul of native vegetation laws this year has raised concerns by environment groups that land clearing on private land has become easier.

The leaked report notes that almost 1000 flora and fauna species are at risk of extinction in NSW, with more than half the state’s mammal species (including the yellow-footed rock-wallaby) and about a third of native birds (such as the flame robin) are threatened.

Miners wouldn’t be the only winners from changes, with the report estimating developers of the M5 motorway in Sydney would have saved between $300,000 to $500,000 compared with the old formula, the report found. Faster approval

Aside from the lower costs, the report notes the scheme will accelerate projects even if suitable offsets for vegetation destruction can’t be found: “The option for developers to pay into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund (rather than finding their own offsets) could therefore potentially reduce delays.”

“Greed trumps nature again under this government,” said Kate Smolski, chief executive of the NSW Nature Conservation Council, in response to the report’s release.

“The offsets package pushes endangered wildlife closer to extinction while handing mining companies and developers millions of dollars in savings.”

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton did not dispute the report’s findings but said the outcome of the new biodiversity assessment method will be different for different developments.

“The biodiversity assessment method is scientifically rigorous and meets a no net-loss standard,” Ms Upton said.

The assessment did identify case studies where offset costs would have been higher, such as the Emerald Hills project to rezone rural land near Camden for 1200 new homes. Those costs would have risen $1 million to $1.8 million, it said.

Still, the report said it was “difficult to accurately estimate the impacts at a statewide level”. ‘Deeply distressing’

Penny Sharpe, Labor’s environment spokeswoman, said there was mounting evidence that offsets are “leading to poor environmental outcomes” while allowing developers to save large sums of money.

“Labor believes there is a place for biodiversity offsetting, but only when underpinned by science and a commitment to improve or maintain environmental outcomes,” Ms Sharpe said. “This is what is sadly lacking under the current system.”

Mehreen Faruqi, the Greens environment spokeswoman, said it was “deeply distressing to see Gladys Berejiklian and her government knowingly trash the environment for their mates in mining and property development”.

“It’s pretty clear that the only rationale for the biodiversity offsets policy was to roll out the red carpet for developers, not to protect the natural environment.” Dr Faruqi said.

“It is a policy dreamt up by mining lobbyists, which is why the community, environmentalists, scientists and ecologists are all up in arms about this terrible policy.”

A spokesman for Glencore said its Mt Owen has used the offsets methodology applicable at the time of the project’s approval.

“The credits and offsetting costs shown in the [report] are clearly part of a hypothetical exercise using the Mt Owen project to test the new State biodiversity methodology,” the spokesman said.

“As such, they do not in any way represent actual biodiversity offsetting outcomes for the Mt Owen extension project or savings to Glencore.”

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Stuck in the jam

CONSERVE YOUR ENERGY: The sweet sweet science of jam making raises many burning questions for the unwary.SIMON WALKER: That’s Life archive
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It’s easy to forget we’re governed by seasons, and even easier to lose sight of what we’re supposed to make during those seasons. Or rather how.

Take jam for example. Nan used to be so good at making it when the various fruits came into season.But unlike Nan, the jam-making skill didn’t pass on when she did, leaving later generations prey to suggestionsany fool can do it.

Fast forward tolast Saturday,wewalked into a veritable fruit-nado at the local grocer.

Trays of not only strawberrys 16 punnets strong, but blueberries similarly laden, clearly in season and being sold for a song. So we loaded up, high on economies of scale, low onwhat we were going to do with the tonnage when we got home.

We talk a good cottage industry but the realities of village life soon became apparent.

Firstthere was a lot of shuffling in the fridge to make room for the bulk berries in order to stave off the mass decomposition we figured was coming as surely as the realisation we didn’t have enought room in the fridge. Soserious was the shuffling, the beer got booted out.

To justify this drastic action, there was then a lot of re-calculating about how much money we’d save by buying in bulk, because that made us feel better than the idea most of the berries might end in the compost bin if we didn’t act quick.

Cue the move into preserving mode: first our dignity, then the berries –into bags inthe freezer; into coolies, whatever they are; and finally into jams –ye olde, tricky, artform.The only thing driving me on at that stage wasthe promise that we could stonker ourselves on strawberry leftover daiquiris (or warm beer) at the end.

Nan was never too much into daiquiris but she once killed a six-foot carpet snake with an axe, and she sure could jam. And on face value, jammin’ sounds so easy – boil bulk fruit, add horrendous amount of sugar, bask in river cottage delight. Or insulin shock, whatever hits first.

The reality in our case was heaving strawberry swill leading toheated debate over the cooktop about whyjam doesn’t set as reliably as Jamie, or Nigella, or Nan insist, but rather splatters like molten lava onto any exposed parts of your body. Timeless questions were asked about pectin, thermometers, preserving sugar and what constitutes cheating when it comes to making jam.The answer being, nothing, if it makes your jam set.

There was drama over bunson and burning and how when you combine the two with jam you get toffee on the bottom of your saucepan. Or rather the metallic taste of burnt sugar, which is not like mulberry at all, as one party in the literal heat of stirring battle tried to suggest, having urged we burn past the point of no return when the thermometer wouldn’t push up to the magic 105 degree celcius mark, where apparently the jam fairy does its setting magic.

The end result was four jars of intensely sweet slop. Not jam as such, but potentially a very handy base for strawberry dacquiris. Not a bad thing to stew on as we move out of the jam season, and into the cricket.

Santos shares sink 4% on lower sales outlook

Investors wiped almost 4 per cent from Santos’ share price on Thursday morning as it laid out its 2018 strategy.
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While production levels are forecast to remain stable, the energy company predicted a significant fall in sales volume for the year ahead.

The announcement saw its share price sink from a 2017 high of $4.78 to a daily low of $4.57. It was trading at $4.625 at 11.20am.

The company has kept to previously stated 2017 forecasts, expecting production levels to hit the upper end of 58 to 60 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) and sales of 79 to 82 mmboe.

Chief financial officer Anthony Neilsen forecast production to remain steady for the next decade at between 55 and 60 mmboe.

However, sales volumes are expected to fall next year to between 72 and 78 mmboe, “primarily due to lower forecast third-party gas sales volumes and lower non-core asset volumes,” Santos said in a statement.

Santos has pushed the operational price at which it breaks even down this year to $32 a barrel.

The company has expanded its core asset focus to now include the Narrabri coal seam gas project in NSW, beyond the existing pillars of its Gladstone liquefied natural gas project (GLNG); PNG LNG; northern Australia, which includes its Barrosa, Petrel-Tern and Crown Lasseter gas development projects; and additional projects in Queensland’s Cooper Basin.

“This core portfolio is positioned to provide stable base production for the next decade and positive free cash flow in an oil price range of $US35 to $US40 a barrel, pre-major growth opportunities,” Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher said.

GLNG hitting full-load installed capacity of 6 million tonnes a year by the end of 2019 has been pointed to as a key factor for Santos, which could offset natural declines of some of its assets.

Citibank analysts believe the company’s future market direction depends on its continued strong performance and sales volumes at this project.

“Share price performance is to a large degree hinged on cash-flow generation (GLNG cash flow outlook); an orderly ramp-up of Roma to nameplate capacity should de-risk long-term production,” Citi analysts said.

Santos is also looking to open two potential projects in the Northern Territory, at McArthur and Amadeus.

Santos’ executive vice president for marketing and trading, Phil Byrne, called Amadeus exploration a “basin opener”.

The company also plans to expand drilling within the Cooper Basin alongside Beach Energy to grow production, and provide increased levels of gas supply for the domestic market.

“The Cooper Basin is one of the world’s super basins,” Santos executive vice president, onshore upstream developments, Brett Woods said.

Santos has already committed to supplying 30 petajoules of domestic gas for 2018 and 2019.

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Five tips to achieve early retirement

Your super is available from age 60. But what if you wanted to retire earlier?
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Perhaps you dream of leaving the normal full-time paid work force at age 40 and working as a fishing guide six months of the year in Northern Australia. Or helping your daughter care for your grandkids. Maybe you want to become an independent film maker.

Early retirement does not mean retiring from life. Rather it’s escaping the captivity of the workforce and spending your time as you wish.

I’ve come up with five things you could do to gain the financial autonomy needed to retire early. 1. Understand your livings costs

Is all of your spending really necessary? For you to be in a position to quit your job, you need to know how much money you require to live. Is it $30,000 per year or $80,000 per year? Here’s some overly simplistic maths for you, just to illustrate:

If you wanted to build up a portfolio of investments that would generate $30,000 per year for you to live off, rising with inflation, and with a high level of confidence that it won’t run out in your life time, you would need investments worth approximately $750,000.

If instead you needed $40,000 per year, that would rise to around $1million. So to have just an extra $10,000 per year, you need to save an extra $250,000.

To flip that, if you could reduce your living expenses by $10,000, the amount you need to save to retire early is reduced by $250,000. How much sooner could you escape your current employment captivity? 2. Save

It’s one of the simplest financial rules around yet one so many of us struggle with it – you must spend less than you earn.

Know how much you have coming in, after tax. Check that against your expenses. What is the surplus? Now put this to work. This is cash flow management.

Savings could involve extra payments on your home loan, or building up cash to invest. 3. Invest

First you save, but then what to do with those savings? Sure you could leave it in the bank, but with minimal interest, and tax on that interest too, you’re going to have to do a lot of heavy lifting to get yourself to the point of financial autonomy and early retirement. There are all sorts of considerations here around investment time frame, the use of debt, and diversification, and so it is really important that you seek out professional impartial advice.

But a key concept to grasp is that risk and reward are always linked. You can take no risk and leave your money in the bank. But if you had the capacity to save $2000 a month and you wanted to build up $500,000 in savings to become financially independent that would take you about 21 years.

If instead you invested in a share portfolio that earned 7 per cent a year on average, it would take less than 14 years to reach the same goal. So you are achieving your goal to retire early seven years sooner by taking some risk. Or to flip it, if you want to take no risk, the price you pay is seven years of your life. 4. Minimise or avoid debt

To clarify straight up, not all debt is bad. Most of us could never buy a house in Australia without borrowing. And because any gains made on the increase in value of your home are tax free, usually borrowing to buy a home is a financially wise thing to do if that’s affordable for you. Similarly sometimes debt to help fund good quality investments can make sense.

But the debt to avoid is debt to fund consumption. Credit card debt to buy clothes or a holiday. A loan for a new car when maybe something a few years old would have done.

As touched on earlier, if you are to retire early, you need to get your expenses down and your savings up. Loan repayments push against this objective. 5. Downsize or tree change

I know of several people who have achieved financial autonomy by selling their inner-city home and moving to a rural area or just a smaller home.

In some cases such a move resulted in them becoming debt free, which reduced their living costs and granted them considerably more freedom.

As the NBN rolls out, there should be more and more scope for people to work outside of the big cities. When self-driving cars arrive, longer distance travel may be less of an issue too.

Mortgage repayments or rent tend to take up a large part of people’s budgets. As already mentioned, the lower you can get your living costs, the easier it will be for you to retire early.

As a final thought, consider what you will be doing in your early retirement. Is there any chance that what you want to spend your time doing could earn you some money?

As shown earlier, $10,000 of income needs something like $250,000 of investments to produce it on a sustainable long term basis. So if you can earn $10,000 in your early retirement, that’s $250,000 you don’t need to save. Early retirement could be that bit earlier!

Paul Benson is a licensed financial planner and creator of the podcast Financial Autonomy. [email protected]南京夜网

This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this article.

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

Citibank to refund $4.3m to customers

Citibank will repay more than $3.3 million to about 39,500 current and former customers for failing to refund them when they closed a credit card account with an outstanding balance.
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The refunds relate to Citibank, Virgin Money, Bank of Queensland, Suncorp and Card Services-branded credit cards and Citibank Ready Credit loan customers. Citibank is the credit provider for these products.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said in a statement the errors had occurred when some accounts were closed as far back as 1994.

Citibank will contact affected customers by November 30. They will receive a refund of the credit balance with interest via a bank cheque or direct credit into their account.

“Customers should be confident that when they close an account, they are refunded any outstanding balance,” ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said on Thursday.

ASIC said Citibank reported the issue to the regulator and co-operated to fix it.

Separately, Citibank will refund $1 million to another 4000 customers after misleading them about its responsibilities to investigate unauthorised transactions on their accounts.

ASIC said Citibank had refused customers’ requests to investigate unauthorised transactions because it claimed the requests were made outside a time period permitted by Visa and MasterCard.

“Citibank incorrectly stated that because the request was made outside the timeframe specified by Visa and MasterCard, it was not required to assess the claim, and that the customer’s only options were to approach the merchant or a fair trading agency,” ASIC said.

“The letter would likely have misled customers about their protections under the ePayments Code.”

The ePayments Code provides protections to consumers for unauthorised transactions.

A Citibank spokeswoman said the bank had strengthened its systems to ensure the errors did not occur again.

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Batting at three won’t harm Maxwell’s Test hopes: Handscomb

Victorian skipper Peter Handscomb does not believe batting Glenn Maxwell at No.3 for the Bushrangers will hamper his chances of hanging onto his spot in Australia’s middle order for the upcoming Ashes series.
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Maxwell hit twin half-centuries coming in at first drop against South Australia in a timely return to form after only making seven and 20 against Queensland in Victoria’s Sheffield Shield opener last month.

Debate has been raging over who will assume the No.6 spot in the Australian line-up for the first Test against England starting November 23 at the Gabba, and it is sure to intensify with another full round of Shield matches commencing on Monday.

Hilton Cartwright, Moises Henriques and bolter Jake Lehmann have all been thrown up as possible contenders for the spot, but if it was up to Handscomb, Maxwell would win the race.

“If he can make runs at three, he can make runs at six so that’s not an issue in terms of if he’s in the Ashes,” Handscomb told RSN radio on Thursday.

“It was more just a team balance with the squad we’ve got.”

Handscomb, who has made a dream start to his Test career with an average of 53.07 in his first 10 matches, said he didn’t need to give Maxwell a pep talk in a bid to solidify his spot in the national side.

“Each individual has their own game plans and I’m not going to tell them how to bat because if they try and change too much from what they know, they’re not going to score and that’s pointless for us,” Handscomb said.

“With ‘Maxi’, we just said, ‘mate, just bat. Go out there and enjoy it’. He always makes runs when he comes back to Victoria in the long form, he’s got a great average for us with the red ball so we weren’t too worried and we’ve given him his opportunity at the top and he’s taken it this game which is awesome.”

Meanwhile, Handscomb believes playing against Bangladesh in oppressive conditions on Australia’s recent tour of the subcontinent has served as the perfect preparation for his first Ashes series.

The 26-year-old lost 4.5kg while batting during the second Test in Chittagong as he crafted a crucial knock of 82 in just over three hours in the first innings.

“It does help knowing that I’ve done that, more just mentally. I didn’t carry on. If it gets hot at the Gabba or if it gets hot in Perth, I can just say, ‘well, it’s not like Bangladesh’. So hopefully I carry on pretty well,” he said.

“Being able to play in different conditions is awesome. You find out things about your game, certain weaknesses or strengths that you have in those conditions and then you know that if you come back to Australia and you see similar conditions, you’ve had the toughest of it so hopefully you can come back and do it in Australia.” iFrameResize({checkOrigin:false},’#ashes-squad-selector-2017′);var frame = document.getElementById(“ashes-squad-selector-2017”);

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Neil Erikson, convicted of Bendigo mock beheading video, calls Sam Dastyari ‘monkey’, ‘terrorist’

Neil Erikson. Picture: EDDIE JIMA man who ambushed federal senator Sam Dastyari in a pub last night, calling him a “terrorist” and a “monkey”, was also one of those responsible for a mock beheading on the steps of aBendigo council building.
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Mr Dastyari was attending a promotional event for his book,One Halal of a Story, when a group of at least three men confronted him.

The men, who follow the senator through the venue for four minutes,identify themselves as belonging to a group called Patriots Blue. A video of the stunt was later posted to the group’s Facebook page.

“Why don’t you go back to Iran, you terrorist?” one of the figures asked, targetting Mr Dastyari’s cultural background.

The senator then labelled the men racists and told them they were embarrassing themselves, to which they replied:”What race is Islam? We are the real Australians. Look at this terrorist.”

Read more: Celebrating our diversity

Labor MP Tim Watts is shown defending his colleague in the video, asking the abusers, “What race is dickhead?”

Speaking to radio station3AW on Thursday morning, Neil Erikson admitting he was one of the men responsible for the stunt.

He was also one of three far-right activists convicted and fined for inciting contempt, revulsion or ridicule of Muslims in a video depicting a mock beheading at Bendigo council headquarters.

“We were trying to put him on show,” Mr Erikson told broadcaster Neil Mitchell.

He called Mr Dastyari a “sook”, and denied using xenophobic slurs before accusing the senator himself of using racist language.

“He called me a redneck, which is actually a racist slur,” he said.

The man was unrepentant, saying he was likely to target other politicians in the same way.

Mr Dastyari also spoke to the radio station this morning, admitting he was frightened and offended by the men’s behaviour.

Read more: Learning to defuse racism

He was considering legal action against the group.

“I cop a lot abuse, I cop a lot of hate, I probably cop more than other people do because I am a little outspoken,” Mr Dastyari said.

“This is where politics is heading in this country.”

The Patriot Blue stunt follows their storming ofa Moreland council meeting last month, carrying a fake coffin painted with the Australianflagandcalling councillors “traitors”.

The council previously voted to no longer celebrate Australia Day.

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