Monthly Archives: November 2018

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Concern over higher fees

Concerned: Students Ross Sedra 21, Jess Epstein 20, and Mallee Lambert 22, chose to study medicine to help others. They said the funding changes won’t affect them, but could be a “barrier” to enrolling. Picture: Marina NeilUNIVERSITY of Newcastle students believe the government should have consulted more widely over its higher education reforms, which willlift student fees by 7.5 per cent and require HECS loans to be repaid sooner.

Third year medicine students Ross Sedra, 21, Jess Epstein, 20 and Mallee Lambert, 22, said most of their peers did not know about the government’s proposals for the sector, announced on Monday night, which was “disappointing” considering they would be footing the bill into the future.

Third year medicine student Mallee said uni funding changes could deter future enrolments @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/qghONNpFw5

— Helen Gregory (@HGregory_Herald) May 2, 2017

Education Minister Simon Birmingham’schanges, if legislated,includestaggered fee increases from next year that will see the cost of a degree increase by 7.5 per cent by 2021.

The HECS repayment threshold will be lowered from $55,874 to $42,000 from 2018.

Students will start paying oneper cent of their income and repayment rates will rise in line with income.

“My main concern is how they can just slice $13,000 off the repayment threshold –what’s going to stop them going further in the future?” Mr Sedra said.

“Students struggle for so long that it would be nice to be able to get on top of it all for a while and then start deductions, rather than almost as soon as we leave uni.”

Mr Lambert said many students who chose not to pursue careers in their study areas may find themselves reaching the $42,000 threshold working full time in a cafe or an unrelated job.

He said this could hamper their ability or willingness to studyanother degree.

Mr Lambert studied two years of biomedical science before enrolling in medicine and will face a HECS bill of more than $70,000, while Mr Sedra and Ms Epstein will pay more than $50,000.

They said a 7.5 per cent fee increase –equal to an extra $3750 –was not small change.

“It really depends on the student’s individual circumstances, their family and their socio economic status, everyone will be affected in different ways,” Ms Epstein said.

“But both changes will create disparity between people accessing uni and those who won’t go to uni because they’ll see all these numbers and think they can’t afford it.”

Vice Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen said she“can’t support an increased burden on students” but said UON had support programs and education was still a worthwhileinvestment.

She said students would benefit fromthe continuation of the Higher Education Partnership and Participation Programto help the disadvantaged, as well asnew arrangements for sub-bachelor and enabling courses.

She said UON meeting theproposed 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend in 2018 and 2019, designed to save the budget $2.8 billion over four years, would be “challenging” and could include staff cuts.

Newcastle University Students’ Association president Michael Labone told the Herald on Monday efficiency dividends would not work “for universities trying to grow”.

“Further cuts put the trajectory of UON back five to 10 years,” he said.

“Lowering the HECS threshold is also pretty scary –we already have a casualised workforce and really high youth unemployment. It takes away the incentive forpeople to pick up extra work if they’re not seeing any extra money or career progression.”

Valentine leading the lake’s charge

COMMANDING: Andrew Poole’s waterfront mansion at Valentine. The listing for sale of Andrew Poole’s waterfront mansion at Valentine has set tongues wagging around eastern Lake Macquarie.

The palatial home of the prominent businessman had been expected to set a new record for the suburb when it was listed by One Agency Eastlakes in April.

However whencontacted byDomain,agent Rod Conry said the homehad been pulled offthe market.He declined to give anyfurther comment.

According to Australian Property Monitors records, Mr Poole has owned the lavish homesince 2006. If features four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a lap pool and a gymnasium.

Ithad been expected to fetch a sum in the vicinity of $4 million.

That would have smashed the current suburb record, set in recent weeks with the sale of a property on Valentine’s millionaires’ row at 55 Dilkera Avenue.

There were unconfirmed reports thathome sold off-market for $3.5 million. When contacted, agent Mark Longworth of Dowling Eastlakessaid he was bound by confidentiality from giving the exact sale price.

However he confirmed the home sold for between $3 and $4 million.

Mr Longworth said it was“absolutely” possible to break the $4 million barrier east of the lake.

“I can remember selling waterfronts around here for $350,000 and a million seemed impossible then.”

A third waterfrontproperty at 49 Dilkera Avenue is currently on the market for between $2.3 and $2.5 million.It has been listed throughJoshua O’Doherty of LJ Hooker Belmont.

Mr O’Doherty and Mr Longworth agreed the interest was mostlyfrom locals rather thanSydneysiders.

“Northern migration is a real thing but the reason they’re cashing out of the Sydney market is they want to spend half themoney and increase their lifestyle,” Mr O’Doherty said.

He said the Sydneybuyers willing to spend the biggest dollars were also being “grabbed” by the inner city Newcastle market.

“The local people appreciate the value of the water and the waterfronts,” Mr Longworth added. “Sydney people come up and look and they think I’ve hit a country town, I’ll be able to steal it and they get a shock.”

Agent’s Cooks Hill terrace listed for $1.9m after a stylish makeover Valentine leading the lake’s charge TweetFacebookSoque record RECORD: One of the Soque apartments has sold for $907,750, smashing the old record for the complex. It’s expected the result will set a precedent for future sales.

One of the Soque apartments has sold for $907,750, smashing the former record for the old woolshed complex in Islington.

Agent Joel Soldado of PRDnationwide sold the three-bedroom apartment to buyers relocating back to Newcastle.The previous record was $720,000 for a five-bedroom property.

“We had six or seven people competing over it,” Mr Soldadosaid.

Reserve Bank leaves cash rate on hold

The Reserve Bank has left its cashrateon hold at 1.5 per centafter inflationmoved up to the central bank’s target level of 2-3 per centfor the first time since 2014.

Official rates have remained unchanged since August last year.

Despite the effect an interest rate rise would have on cooling the housing market, the move to leave interest rates unchangedwas unanimously predicted by economists, with few expecting a rate hike before mid-2018.

In astatement released after the meeting on Tuesday, the bank signalledit wasclosely watchingdevelopments in the Australian housing market while also deliveringa balanced assessmentof the local and global economy.

The RBA highlighted a weaker labour market with theunemployment rate movinga little higher over recent months despiteemployment growth being alittle stronger.

It also pointed to stronger than expected global conditions despite continuing medium-term risks from China.

“The improvement in the global economy has contributed to higher commodity prices, which are providing a significant boost to Australia’s national income,” RBA governorPhilip Lowe said.

Housing affordability remained a central concern of the bank’s deliberations although it said “the recently announced supervisory measures should help address the risks associated with high and rising levels of indebtedness”.

CoreLogic’shead of research, Tim Lawless, said housing would have been “front and centre of the conversation” during the central bank’s meeting.

“Capital city dwelling values have increased by almost 10 per centsince the latest round of rate cuts in May and August last year, led by gains of around 13 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.

“With household debt levels at record highs, and the large majority of this debt related to housing, higher mortgage rates have the potential to take some heat out of the market, particularly from the investor segment.A housing market slowdown would relieve one of the key concerns the RBA has relating to financial stability.”

Dr Loweis set to give a “household debt, housing prices and resilience” speech on Thursday as the debate over solving the affordability crisis continues.

The shadow RBA board at Australian National University’s Centre for AppliedMacroeconomicAnalysis said the big unknown wasnext week’s federal budget.

“It will likely include a housing package, yet big reforms such as changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions are off the table,” Timo Henckel said.

“The government’s announcement to fast-track last year’s $50 billion infrastructure plan will generate a sizeable fiscal stimulus.”

The Australian dollar was steady at US75.40¢.

The US Federal Reserve is alsoexpected to keep interest rates on hold at 1 per centafter figuresshowed theUS economy grew at its slowest pace in three years in the first three monthsof 2017.

UFO spotted over the Hunter

UFO spotted over the Hunter A close-up of the UFO captured by Halo Galli

UFO captured by Halo Galli

Picture: Mitchell Broadstock

TweetFacebookWhat you saidDee Bradley – “They are around over Ashtonfield.. I’ve seen twoon separate occasions… and first one moved up and down slowly and went diagonally.”

Daniel Faulkner –“My kids and wife were letting off Chinese lanterns at Thornton and do so a bit. The wind was sending them extremely high and towards Raymond Terrace. It’s quite possible being sighted in Tarro until it burnt out and disappeared. Itis probably a logical explanation.”

Jess Mills –“The International Space Station flew over on Friday afternoon (I watched it myself) perhaps it was that?”

Rebecca Evans –“I saw something very similar on Saturday morning while on Industrial Drive. However, it looked more like a slow moving comet.”

Craig Lindeman – “It’s superman getting sick of being mistaken for birds and planes. He’s a man with feelings and wants recognition!”

Hunter mysteriesThe Black Panther Is the black panther a marsupial cat?

Black panther sightings in NSW have been happening for decades.

More than 500 accounts had been logged across NSW in more recent times in areas including the western fringes from the Hunter to Sydney.

American soldiers were said to have brought panthers and pumas to Australia as mascots in World War II. Also, American goldminers brought big cats to NSW in the 1850s. And big cats were reportedly available on the black market years ago for $5000. Read on.

Yowie sightings Bigfoot: Rex Gilroy found a suspected yowie footprint at Barrington Tops.

Rex Gilroy and his wife Heatherdo research on yowies, which were said to be bigfoot-type creatures that livedin the Australian wilderness.

Their story beginswhen Heather catchesa glimpse of “a dark shape moving about in the roadside shrubbery just ahead of the car”.

“I had that eerie feeling that I was being observed by unseen eyes in the dense forest growth,” Rex wrote.

“Later I discovered hominin feet impressions, indistinct and embedded in grass amid the shrubbery on the slope above the road where Heather had seen the mysterious dark shape. I had no doubt that she had spotted a yowie.” Read on.

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

Amnesty gets bombs away

IF you are a coal miner or farmer –or related to one –now might be the right time to clean out the old sheds.

A six-month amnesty was formally announced on Tuesdayamid concerns that an unknown amount of old and dangerous explosives have made their way into residential properties.

The Commercial Explosives Amnesty, which ends in September, includes old fireworks and gelignite sticks as well as commercial explosives.

“In recent years we have had an increased number of requests for the destruction of commercial explosives which have been found in the community,’’ counter terrorism and special tactics commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch, said.

“In some cases explosives were found in deceased estates or discovered in police operations and there was a need for members of the public to surrender these explosives in a safe and legal manner.

“The amnesty is a way of encouraging community members to contact police for the disposal of explosives in their possession or held on their residential properties.”

“Those in the community we are targeting, as part of the amnesty, may be committing offences by possessing such explosives.

“Apart from being illegal, the explosives can be dangerous as they become older and more unstable.”

Those who have the explosives are urged not to move them but contact police and allow them to decide what to do.

Chief Superintendent John Stapleton, also of the counter terrorism and special tactics command, said the Hunter was one region on the radar for the amnesty.

“People can end up storing all sorts of things in their sheds,’’ Mr Stapleton said.

“They may have been involved in miningand, particularly in the rural areas, some old cockies used to blow up old tree stumps and build fences with these types of things.

“If you find them, don’t move them, let us know and we willtake it from there.’’

The amnesty runs until September 14.