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First-home buyers provide silver lining as investors retreat

Investor mortgage lending has seen its biggest drop in two years, according to September housing finance data, as investors head for the hills following continued pressure from Australia’s regulator and falling house prices in Sydney.
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First-home buyers provide the silver lining in the Bureau of Statistics figures, with the group seeing an opportunity amid the shifting market dynamics and generous stamp duty concessions in NSW and Victoria.

Mortgage lending to investors slumped 6.2 per cent in September, compared with the previous month, while lending to owner-occupiers dropped 2.1 per cent, according to Thursday’s ABS release. The monthly total of new mortgage commitments fell to $32.5 billion from $33.7 billion in August.

Not helping investor sentiment is news Sydney house prices have begun falling and Melbourne growth is easing.

But first-home buyers continue to pin their ears back and wade in as the departure of investor interest provides more room to move.

The number of first-home buyer mortgage commitments as a percentage of total owner occupiers edged 0.2 per cent higher to 17.4 per cent in September – a 4.5 year high.

And the first-home buyer segment has been busily sniffing out bargains, the data show, as they aim to remain below stamp duty concession cut-offs.

The average loan size for first-home buyers during the period fell $6200 to $315,200, while the average loan size for all owner-occupied housing commitments rose $2100 to $371,700.

“A window has opened up,” AMP Capital chief economist and head of investment Shane Oliver told Domain.

“NSW and Victoria have both introduced more attractive stamp duty concessions for first-home buyers ??? that’s the big factor. At the same time, there are fewer investors out there, which has made more room for the first-home buyers.”

The increase in first-home buyer activity doesn’t come without a warning, according to Dr Oliver.

“There’s always the danger these first-home buyers are getting in at the top – just when the investors are nicking off. The first-home buyers could come in and end up holding the parcel, so to speak. But if they’re picking up cheaper properties, at the lower end of the market, it probably offsets that risk a little bit.”

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s move to tighten investor and interest-only lending rules in March of this year appear to be biting, colliding with easing property prices to present a double-whammy for multiple-property owners.

“APRA’s macroprudential policy, aimed at investors and interest-only loans in particular, appears to be having the desired effect of taking some investor demand out of the market,” ANZ economist Daniel Gradwell said.

“While household debt is still growing faster than income, developments such as this allow the regulator and RBA to be patient.”

Tuesday’s Reserve Bank meeting saw the board keep the official cash rate on hold at 1.5 per cent for a 14th-straight month, with hopes of a cooling property market pinned to the regulator and eyes on weak consumer sentiment.

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

Chronic fatigue syndrome documentary UNREST to screen in NewcastleWATCH THE TRAILER

UNREST: Jennifer Brea directed a Sundance award-winning documentary about her search for answers while battling chronic fatigue syndrome. The film will screen at the University of Newcastle on November 11.WAYNE Andrews says he is alive, but not living, and the harder he pushes himself, the worse the payback.
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The 52-year-old Hunter man hasbattledchronic fatigue syndrome since he was 29.

It had “disintegrated” his first marriage, and left him unable to be the parent he wanted to be.

“It is a very isolating illness,” he said.

“I used to be an extremely fit man, I used to surf every week, bush walk, play tennis, and I can’t do anything now that I used to enjoy. It really is as though I’m stuck in solitary confinement now.”

About 104,000people in Australia suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, a neuroimmune condition marked by symptoms such as “unrelenting exhaustion,” muscle pain, brain function and digestive problems.

Mr Andrews hoped a screening of theSundance award-winning documentary, UNREST, at Newcastle University on Saturday would raise awareness of the debilitating and misunderstood condition.

Local chronic fatigue syndrome researcher, Professor Tim Roberts, will speak about the condition and host a Q&A session at the screening at 5pm on November 11.

The film follows the story of Jennifer Brea, a 28-year-old PhD studentat Harvard who ismonths away from getting married when she gets a mysterious fever that leaves her bedridden, and looking for answers.

Disbelieved by doctors, she turns the camera on herself to find there are millions of people worldwide who are confined to their homes and bedrooms by myalgic encephalomyelitis – commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

“It effects every cell in your entire body,” Mr Andrews said.

“GPs aren’t taught much about this illness, and the really arrogant ones will say this disease doesn’t exist, but that’s because they have no answers.

“When you run out of energy, it’s like your battery has just gone completely flat and you just can’t function.

“There is nothing that I usedto enjoy in my former life that I can do now.”

He would like to see the federal government sink some money into the under-researched illness.

“It’s hard to enjoy yourself when you arealways having to hold back,” he said.

Tomi Juric’s training regime to cope with the Honduras climate

Every day after training during the weeks before he travelled to Honduras, Tomi Juric did something he hated. After every gruelling training session at the foot of the Swiss mountains where the temperature was just a few degrees above freezing, the Socceroos’ striker would sit in a sauna.
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For 15 minutes at a time, he would force his body to cope with the hot, humid air while his muscles were on the verge of cramping after tiring sessions with his club, Luzern. As he describes it, stints in the sauna were the best way he could prepare for lasting 90 minutes in the tropical climate of San Pedro Sula.

With Robbie Kruse injured and sent straight to Australia and Tim Cahill still in doubt for the first leg, there’s a strong chance Juric will have to last the entire game in one of the more challenging climates for any footballer, let alone one coming from a late European autumn.

While his teammates were getting changed, Juric stayed in the sauna to help himself adjust as quick as possible for a match that will be played just below 30 degrees and with 82 per cent humidity.

“I’ve been prepping for it as well, doing a lot of heat adjusting in the sauna. It’s just that little bit for that 1 per cent maybe,” he said. “If it helps, it helps, we know it’s going to be humid here. The most important thing is we know what to expect regarding the conditions. We’ll be as prepared as possible for it.”

The 26-year-old wasn’t just content on earning a place in the squad for Honduras, nor a starting position in the first 11, but being able to play at his absolute best in taxing conditions. It’s why he continued to lie in a sauna in Honduras, using the facilities at their training ground at Estadio Morazan.

“I just sit in there after training. I try to get a good 10, 15 minutes in. I’m not a big fan of the sauna, I do it because it will help a little bit and just to get the feel of the heat,” Juric said.

“It’s cold in Switzerland now. If I just came in here it would be a bit of a shock to the system. It’s just to keep it on level terms.”

The heat and humidity may have required major adjustment for Juric but he has no concern for the hostile environment inside the Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula. Honduras’ home fans are some of the most passionate in Latin America and the infamous stadium an intimidating cauldron, and that’s exactly what Juric wants.

“I quite enjoy that, these hostile environments. I like playing in these sort of games,” he said. “I did it with the Wanderers where we travelled to some pretty hostile environments.

“When we played in Guangzhou against Evergrande it was one of the big ones in regards of the occasion and what was on the line for them and their fans. I quite enjoy it. I think that will bring the best out of a lot of us.”

That was the least of Juric’s worries upon landing in Honduras to find out his luggage didn’t arrive, meaning he had to train in his running shoes during his first session with the Socceroos.

It wasn’t until Wednesday when Juric could resume full training with his boots after his bag arrived late on Tuesday night.

“I lost my bag – or they lost my bag. It got in last night which is good. I can join into training today which will be good, I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “Today will be back to normal [my bag arrived] last night, nothing’s missing, so it’s good.”

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

Former Rooster Connor Watson has trained with the Newcastle Knights for the first time

HAVING A BALL: New signing Connor Watson shows safe hands on his first day of training with the Newcastle Knights. Picture: Marina NeilDURING his formative years, Connor Watson spent his pocket money buying every Newcastle Knights jersey. Now he is going to be paid handsomely to wear one.
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After his first training session with Newcastle, the former Sydney Roosters utility back admitted there was something special about realising a childhood ambition.

“The day I started supporting them was the day of the 2001 grand final, when they won,” he recalled. “We were going down on the train and all my family were going for Parramatta and I said, no …I’m going for the Knights, and theyended up winning.

“So I’ve grown up with all the jerseys and everything, so it’s been really cool.

“I’ve always dreamed, since I was a kid, of playing for the Knights. To get the opportunity will be really awesome.”

The 21-year-old dynamo, who has appeared in 38 top-grade games for the Roosters over the past two seasons and was player of the tournament at the 2017 Auckland Nines, has signed a four-year deal with Newcastle.

“There’s a lot of things make up your decision when you sign for a club,” he said.

“There’s all those external things. But for me, it was about where I would be able to take the next step for my career and play my best footy.”

While a host of other big names rejected offers from the three-time wooden spooners, the Central Coast junior welcomed the challenge of helping the Knights to rebuild.

“I’m really excited, to be honest,” he said. “Obviously the Roosters are a great club, always very successful and you’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, they always sign the best players.

“But I think the Knights are really doing some great things here …Icould have stayed at the Roosters and kept playing off the bench, and not playing so many minutes, but for me the biggest thing was about the opportunity here and that’s why I’ve come here.”

Still recovering from a recent tonsillectomy, Watson is virtually certain to start next season asNewcastle’s five-eighth, leaving Brock Lamb and Trent Hodkinson competing for the No.7 jersey.

“There’s no guarantees in rugby league but I’ve just got to train my best and hopefully that’s where I’m playing in round one,” Watsonsaid.

With fellow ex-Roosters Shaun Kenny-Dowall andAidan Guerra also at Newcastle, Watsonsaid he would welcome another former teammate, Mitchell Pearce, if the disgruntled halfback was to seek a release.

“It’d be good,” he said.

“He’s a world-class player, Pearcey. He’s played 12 years of first grade, nearly 250 games, won a comp, played Origin. He’d be an awesome acquisition.”

THE HERALD’S OPINION: The Store facing the wrecking ball

BY approving its own plan to redevelop The Store site as a bus interchange to service the adjacent Newcastle Interchange, Transport for NSW has kicked off the next stage ofthe city’s public transport overhaul.
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Despite Revitalising Newcastle program director Michael Cassel’s assertion that The Store “doesn’t really stand out as a great piece of architecture”, it has been a Hunter Street landmark for generations, and its survival –even as a facade –would have provided a link between the old and new structures.

But as aReview of Environmental Factors for the bus interchange made clear when put on public display in July, practical considerations rendered its retention unfeasible.As well as real concerns about the condition and stability of The Store, the preferred option for buses turning in and out of the interchange involves an upgraded intersection at Denison Street and Hunter Street, with dual turning lanes requiring “partial removal of The Store facade”.

The multi-level car park facing Stewart Avenue will also come down for the interchange, although plans show the clockwisebus loop at the heart of the design turning back before it reaches the concrete car park, leaving that part of the site available for ground-up future development. Also, the bus loop itself is set well to the rear of the site, leaving most of The Store footprint for similarly ground-up redevelopment.

Indeed, the planning documents state that one of the reasons the loop was configured the way it is was to provide “the opportunity to build over the proposal”.

With zoning approval for 90 metres of height –the city’s tallest –the site provides ample opportunity for a residential tower, or towers, of some consequence. Revitalising Newcastle has already taken the site to the market, and an announcement of a successful proponent is expected early next year.

With two large residential blocks north of the interchange –including the Doma Group’s Bishopsgate – now well under way, there certainly seems to be ample demand for west end apartments.

But first of all, The Store site has to work properly as a bus interchange. Even with apartment towers,the state government’s purchase of the site will only be a positive if the bus interchange –replacing the one at Newcastle station – providesthe “improved customer experience” that Transport for NSW is promising.

ISSUE: 38,645.

Honduran hell? Sounds like a picnic compared to Montevideo

Honduran horror show? Sinister goings-on in San Pedro Sula? Dirty tricks in Central America?
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That doesn’t seem to be the way things are in Honduras, where, according to reports from Fairfax correspondent Dominic Bossi, the reception from the locals has been warm and friendly despite the fact that the Socceroos have been locking themselves away in their hotel to the extent that the local press has nicknamed them “hermits”.

There are places, however, where the locals are intent on intimidation, countries where soccer is more than a sport, cities where the game inflames passions.

The World Cup stokes those fires more than anything else – as those Socceroos who were involved in two tumultuous ties with Uruguay in 2001 and 2005 know all too well.

I was one of a handful of journalists who travelled to Montevideo to cover the second leg of the intercontinental play-off in November 2001.

Australia had won the first leg at a packed MCG 1-0 through a Kevin Muscat penalty, but the Uruguayans were exultant on the flight home.

The Australians managed to get seats in business class on the same flight, but several of the Uruguay players were in economy, including a handful sitting next to me. It was obvious they felt they had done the hard part of the job, and would finish the Socceroos off in Montevideo.

The arrivals hall at Carrasco Airport proved just how much thought and planning had gone into unsettling the Australians.

When the players disembarked it was anticipated that there would be delays with the luggage and perhaps at passport control. That’s just how things often happen when such matches of moment are on the line, and not just in Latin America. I have seen awkward situations in the Middle East and Africa too.

What was not anticipated was the “welcoming committee” from the Uruguayans.

A large group of so-called fans turned up to provide a hot reception as the players waited for their luggage.

In reality, as was widely reported, they were thugs and heavies hired by well-heeled locals with financial and business interests in soccer, interests that would have been enhanced had Uruguay qualified for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.

So desperate were they for Uruguay to make it past Australia that the rent-a-crowd resorted to spitting, shouting and scuffling to plant seeds of doubt in the players’ minds as they arrived defending a slender lead.

Of course the media made much of the story and it quickly escalated, almost becoming a diplomatic incident as the Australian personnel at the embassy in Buenos Aires (a short flight across the River Plate in Argentina) were alerted.

The players were taken aback, and it is impossible to think that they were not somehow affected, although the fact that they were hurried away into virtual incarceration in their hotel, emerging only for training sessions, probably did not help their mental state.

I wrote at the time that they were prisoners in a gilded cage, surrounded by gun-toting guards who afforded round the clock protection.

I, for one, would have felt cooped up and frustrated, as I am sure they did.

Was there any danger? It’s hard to imagine they would have been attacked, but it’s quite possible they would have been subjected to insults had they ventured far out of the hotel.

In contrast to the hostile reception for the Socceroos, I found the Uruguayans to be charming and friendly people, helpful to a fault. I spoke no Spanish, but managed, with the assistance of locals, to take a bus to Punta Del Este on the coast to watch a Uruguay training session with few problems. Still, I wasn’t wearing a Socceroos tracksuit.

The stakes are so high, some fans will do anything for their team – whether that is assembling bands and drumming loudly outside the team hotel late at night to stop them sleeping, or something more disturbing.

There are stories – not from Montevideo, it must be said – where in some places officials arrange for escorts to be sent up to player rooms, uninvited, to see if they can be tempted to tire themselves out the night before the game to give the hosts an advantage.

It’s unlikely that happens nowadays, but the story is told often enough to suggest it happened a few times in the past, at least with other teams.

The Hondurans will have to go some way to create a similarly intimidating atmosphere to that which the Socceroos faced in the Estadio Centenario in 2001.

The game kicked off at 4pm. I got to the old venue – built for the 1930 World Cup, which Uruguay hosted and won – around midday and the place was already filling steadily, most fans wearing the sky blue shirt of Los Celestes.

There were sound systems at either end of the ground, salsa music blaring, and a party atmosphere as the crowd built. By kick-off time the place was a sea of sky blue with any Australian fans in the ground barely visible.

The Uruguayans were, on that occasion, right to be confident. They had left their best striker, Dario Silva, behind in Montevideo to rest rather than expose him to the exertions of an arduous return trip to Melbourne.

He was said to be injured, but that was just a smokescreen. Silva equalised early in the first half to make the score 1-1 on aggregate, and the Socceroos were up against it from that point on.

Eventually their resistance crumbled when Richard Morales scored with 20 minutes to go, adding a third in stoppage time to seal a 3-0 win (a scoreline that did flatter the hosts). Australia had poured forward to get the goal that would have made it 2-2 on aggregate and put the Socceroos through on the away goals rule, leaving themselves vulnerable to a late counter attack.

Four years later Australia, older and wiser, faced the same challenge again.

This time, under Guus Hiddink, the team flew into Buenos Aires and stayed in five-star luxury hotel in the Argentine capital, where they were not under anything like the same scrutiny.

The atmosphere was freer and easier – even if I and a few colleagues found it difficult to get a taxi driver to go out to the San Lorenzo club’s training area unless we paid him to wait for the session to be over. Too dangerous to drive around alone in this area, he tried to explain.

And this time there was the added bonus of Diego Maradona.

At the time the team arrived, the Summit of the Americas (think of it as something akin to an Apec conference) was taking place at Mar Del Plata. George Bush was American president, and he was not the most popular figure given the US’ fractious relationships with countries in South America.

There were street demonstrations, effigies of Bush being burnt, loud, chanting marches and on the platform Maradona, taking centre stage.

Soccer and politics, soccer and business, soccer and life. Everything is closely intertwined when World Cup spots are on the line, and Honduras will be no different.

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

City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDAS) nominations revealed

Celebrate success: Finalists James Tolhurst, CONDA artistic director Rachelle Schmidt Adnum and finalists Dan Wilson and Amy Wilde. Picture: Jonathan CarrollMUSICALSLes MiserablesandMary Poppinshave been named major players in the upcoming City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDAS), where each hasreceived 11nominations.
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Judges Shane Bransdon, Michael Cooper, Michelle Gosper, Carl Gregory and Ken Longworth said 25 Lower Hunter theatre companies and staging groups were represented among the 39 shows selected for 126 nominations.

IMPRESSIVE: Rachel Parish, Chris Maxfield and Stephanie Priest in Metropolitan Players Les Miserables

Overall, 63 shows were entered for consideration across the 22 award categories.

Musicals were stand out performers, with eight different shows in line for the Best Musical Production CONDA, including two stagings of Rent that each collected five nominations.

The 39thannualCONDA Awards will be held at Wests New Lambtonon December 2.

The night will include the presentation of the CONDA Inc Award for Outstanding Achievement and Contribution to Theatre.

Tickets:Wests, 4935 1200, orproticket南京夜网419论坛

CONDA Nominations, 2017Best Dramatic Production

The Crucible, Lindsay Street Players, in association with Young People’s Theatre

The Diary of Anne Frank, Maitland Repertory Theatre

Grace, Knock and Run Theatre

Picnic, Newcastle Theatre Company

Best Musical Production

Blood Brothers, Newcastle Theatre Company

Don Giovanni, Opera Hunter

Heathers: The Musical, WEA Hunter Academy of Creative Arts

Les Miserables, Metropolitan Players

Mary Poppins, St Philip’s Christian College

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Young People’s Theatre

Rent, Hunter Drama

Rent, Pantseat Performing Arts

Best Special Theatrical Event

Mapping the Lake, Tantrum Youth Arts, in partnership with Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery

Micro Theatre Festival 2017, Micro Theatre Pty Ltd

Star Struck – Shine On, Public Schools New South Wales

Best New Play or Musical Written for a Newcastle Company

Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight?, by Riley McLean (Eclectic Productions)

Festive Spirit, by Sally Davies (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Home, created by the ensemble: Sara Barlow, Thomas Lonsdale, Roger Ly, Meghan Mills, Meg O’Hara, Taylor Reece, Stephanie Rochet-Cuevas, Alexandra Rose, Rosie Scanlan, Clare Todorovitch, Phoebe Turnbull. (Tantrum Youth Arts, in collaboration with PACT)

Mrs Monacelli’s Christmastime Spectacular, by Theo Rule (The Grainery Theatre)

Post, by Jerry Bowden and Ann Croger (Upstage Theatre, in partnership with The Lock-Up)

Excellence by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama or Comedy

Lindsay Carr, Inherit the Wind (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Mitchell Cox, The Crucible (Lindsay Street Players, in association with Young People’s Theatre)

Derek Fisher, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Mathew Lee, Grace (Knock&Run Theatre)

Kris McCord, Picnic (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Richard Murray, Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Jerry Ray, The Age of Consent (Two Tall Theatre)

Ian Robinson, The Diary of Anne Frank (Maitland Repertory Theatre)

Excellence by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama or Comedy

Katy Carruthers, Inherit the Wind (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Janet Gillam, Neighbourhood Watch (Stooged Theatre)

Samantha Lambert, Grace (Knock&Run Theatre)

Sally Smith, Picnic (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Amy Wilde, The Age of Consent (Two Tall Theatre)

Excellence by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Liam Bird, Rent (Pantseat Performing Arts)

Chris Maxfield, Les Miserables (Metropolitan Players)

Conagh Punch, Heathers: The Musical (WEA Hunter Academy of Creative Arts)

Jarrod Sansom, Chicago: The Musical (Theatre on Brunker and Novocastrian Players)

Alex Sefton, Don Giovanni (Opera Hunter)

Marty Worrall, Rent (Hunter Drama)

Excellence by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Renee Berger, Daddy-O, Don’t You Dare: Channeling Peggy Lee (David Baker and The Royal Exchange)

Jacquelyn King, Blood Brothers (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Konstanze Koedam, Heathers: The Musical (WEA Hunter Academy of Creative Arts)

Konstanze Koedam, Rent (Pantseat Performing Arts)

Excellence by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Tristan Entwhistle, Don Giovanni (Opera Hunter)

David Geise, Rent (Hunter Drama)

Chris Henderson, The Diary of Anne Frank (Maitland Repertory Theatre)

Michael Nolan, The Vicar of Dibley (DAPA)

Simon Redhead, Les Miserables (Metropolitan Players)

Excellence by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Katy Carruthers, Bed (Pencil Case Productions)

Katy Carruthers, Picnic (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Alison Cox, Picnic (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Karen Lantry, Post (Upstage Theatre, in partnership with The Lock-Up)

Stephanie Priest, Les Miserables (Metropolitan Players)

Maddie Richards, Blood Brothers (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Stephanie Rochet-Cuevas, Home ((Tantrum Youth Arts, in collaboration with PACT)

Marissa Saroca, Rent (Hunter Drama)

Excellence by a Male Actor Under 18

Mikali Anagnostis, Mary Poppins (St Philip’s Christian College)

Declan Dowling, Catch Me If You Can (Hunter School of the Performing Arts)

Ned Keogh, The Hoarders Next Door (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office)

Oliver MacFadyen, Bed (Pencil Case Productions)

Hamish Pickering, Mary Poppins (St Philip’s Christian College)

Nicholas Thoroughgood, One Man, Two Guvnors (Hunter School of the Performing Arts)

Excellence by a Female Actor Under 18

Phoebe Bayliss, Mary Poppins (St Philip’s Christian College)

Alexandra Jensen, The Crucible (Lindsay Street Players, in association with Young People’s Theatre)

Rose Lancaster, The Hoarders Next Door (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office)

Abbey Matt, The Diary of Anne Frank (Maitland Repertory Theatre)

Maxine Mueller, Picnic (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Zoe Walker, Heathers: The Musical (WEA Hunter Academy of Creative Arts)

Jordan Warner, The Crucible (Lindsay Street Players, in association with Young People’s Theatre)

Caitlin Weld, Mary Poppins (St Philip’s Christian College)

Best Ensemble Acting

All in the Timing, Stooged Theatre

Festive Spirit, Newcastle Theatre Company

The Golden Antelope, Footlice Theatre Company

Les Miserables, Metropolitan Players

Love and Information, Stooged Theatre

Mary Poppins, St Philip’s Christian College

Picnic, Newcastle Theatre Company

Seussical KIDS, Hunter Drama

Excellence by a Director (Drama or Comedy)

Julie Black, Picnic (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Janie Gibson, Home (Tantrum Youth Arts, in collaboration with PACT)

Merilyn Hey, The Golden Antelope (Footlice Theatre Company)

Richard Murray, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Guil Noronha and Lesley Coombes, The Diary of Anne Frank (Maitland Repertory Theatre)

Nicholas Thoroughgood, The Crucible (Lindsay Street Players, in association with Young People’s Theatre)

Amy Wilde, Dropped (Two Tall Theatre)

John Wood, Grace (Knock&Run Theatre)

Excellence by a Director (Musical)

Julie Black, Les Miserables (Metropolitan Players)

Lia Bundy, Heathers: The Musical (WEA Hunter Academy of Creative Arts)

Cassie Hamilton and Riley McLean, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Young People’s Theatre)

Riley McLean, Rent (Pantseat Performing Arts)

Adelle Richards, Blood Brothers (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Robert Stuart, Mary Poppins (St Philip’s Christian College)

Excellence by a Musical Director or Vocal Director

Lindy Connett, Mary Poppins (St Philip’s Christian College)

Brent Hanson, Rent (Pantseat Performing Arts)

Susan Hart, Don Giovanni (Opera Hunter)

Greg Paterson, Les Miserables (Metropolitan Players)

Bruce Rowlett, Catch Me If You Can (Hunter School of the Performing Arts)

Daniel Wilson, Rent (Hunter Drama)

Daniel Wilson, Star Struck – Shine On (Public Schools New South Wales)

Excellence by a Choreographer

Eva-Marie Irwin and Natalie Baker, Mary Poppins (St Philip’s Christian College)

Timothy Shaw, Singin’ in the Rain (Hunter Drama)

Excellence in Costume Design

Leilani Boughton, Peter Pan (Maitland Repertory Theatre)

Jen Ellicott, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Bev Fewins, Les Miserables (Metropolitan Players)

Dianne Garred, Mary Poppins (St Philip’s Christian College)

Melanie Hunt, Seussical KIDS (Hunter Drama)

Coralie Lewis and Amanda Buck, Don Giovanni (Opera Hunter)

Chelsea Willis and Michelle Horswood, Cats: Abridged (Young People’s Theatre)

Excellence in Hair, Make-up and Wigs

Rochelle Carpenter, Seussical KIDS (Hunter Drama)

George Francis, Les Miserables (Metropolitan Players)

Claire Thomas, Cats: Abridged (Young People’s Theatre)

Excellence in Set and Props Design

Graeme Black and Donna Nipperess, Les Miserables (Metropolitan Players)

Leilani Boughton, Jane Johns and Helen Hopcroft, Peter Pan (Maitland Repertory Theatre)

Matthew Lockyer, Picnic (Newcastle Theatre Company)

Guil Noronha, The Diary of Anne Frank (Maitland Repertory Theatre)

Lucy Shepherd, Home (Tantrum Youth Arts, in collaboration with PACT)

Nicholas Thoroughgood and Amy Hill, The Crucible (Lindsay Street Players, in association with Young People’s Theatre)

Two Tall Ensemble, Dropped (Two Tall Theatre)

Excellence in Lighting and Audio Visual Design

Scott Allan, Post (Upstage Theatre, in partnership with The Lock-Up)

Lyndon Buckley, Mary Poppins (St Philip’s Christian College)

Jacob Harwood, Les Miserables (Metropolitan Players)

Guil Noronha, Vic Thompson and Lesley Coombes, The Diary of Anne Frank (Maitland Repertory Theatre)

Alex Waye, The Crucible (Lindsay Street Players, in association with Young People’s Theatre)

Excellence in Sound Design

Heath Anderson and Scott Eveleigh, Love and Information (Stooged Theatre)

Huw Jones, Home (Tantrum Youth Arts, in collaboration with PACT)

John Wood, Grace (Knock&Run Theatre)

Authorities prepare to forcibly remove Manus detainees

Refugees and asylum seekers protesting inside the now-closed regional processing facility on Manus Island, which they refuse to leave.Almost 600 men still holed up in the Manus Island detention centre are bracing for confrontation after being given two days to relocate to new accommodation and Papua New Guinean authorities warning them “force may be used” if they do not leave voluntarily.
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A notice issued at the now-decommissioned centre on Thursday said the facility was returning to PNG defence force control and declared the detainees had no legal justification to stay following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday they should move to the new “transit centres”.

“If necessary, force may be used to relocate those who refuse to move voluntarily for your own sake,” the notice from PNG’s Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority said.

“Demolition of fences will commence today and your security and safety here is not guaranteed…This land will revert to [defence force control] and if you still remain here after demolition of the fences, you will be deemed to be unlawfully on a military base and will face eviction or arrest and prosecution.”

Human rights advocates warned a confrontation would put lives at risk and called for services to be restored at the detention centre.

“Any use of force in this highly charged environment is likely to lead to serious injury or loss of life,” Amnesty International’s Pacific researcher Kate Scheutze, who recently visited the island, said.

“There is a clear, alternative course of action. Services must be restored until a safe and dignified solution to the situation is agreed, one that respect the rights of the refugees.”

The notice from the PNG government said a health inspector had examined the site on Monday and was concerned about the health effects on the men of living among “overflowing sewerage, heaps of rubbish, no clean running water, no electricity and no food”.

“He has instructed that this place be evacuated immediately,” the notice said, emphasising “it is NOT our desire to see anyone of you get evicted by force”.

The men have been refusing to leave the facility since its closure on October 31. The stand-off has been labelled an “unfolding humanitarian emergency” by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A dispute over the standard of new facilities has persisted. While the Australian and PNG governments insist they are ready for an influx of 600 people, refugee advocates and UN refugee agency UNHCR have disputed this.

The protesting men – the vast majority of whom have refugee status – have cited fears for their safety closer to the island’s main town of Lorengau, and their desperation for permanent resettlement in a third country.

Iranian refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani told Fairfax Media the use of force was “completely unacceptable”.

“We are not doing anything wrong, we are only resisting peacefully. We are asking again for freedom in a safe third country,” he said from inside the centre.

Lawyers representing Boochani have lodged an appeal with the PNG Supreme Court against its rejection this week of an application to restore operations at the compound.

Australian barrister Greg Barns, advising the legal team, said the court’s decision was made using inadequate information about the standard of the new facilities and failed to acknowledge Boochani’s “very real” fear of violence if moved to Lorengau.

Mr Barns also said the PNG government’s threats “show a complete contempt for the rule of law and amount to a very serious interference with the justice process” as the court considers an appeal.

On Thursday, Manus detainees were told all basic services were up and running at the new facilities and “security is available at both locations to ensure your safety is guaranteed” with a “regular police presence”.

UNHCR spokeswoman Catherine Stubberfield said on Wednesday that substantive parts of the new accommodation were “still not ready” and Elaine Pearson, Australia director of Human Rights Watch, said detainees had been “repeatedly robbed and assaulted” in Lorengau.

Two of the facilities have been established for those who have been granted refugee status, while the third is for the approximately 200 men who have not.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill insisted on Wednesday that the original centre would not be reopened and said the government had to intervene for the wellbeing of detainees.

“Those involved in disruption have been identified and appropriate means will be used to apprehend individuals who are causing unnecessary anxiety and violence,” Mr O’Neill said in a statement.

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton also insisted the Turnbull government “won’t be backing down”. The notice issued to Manus detainees today. Two days to leave voluntarily or “force may be used”. Warns fences are being demolished today. #Manuspic.twitter南京夜网/Ln0IMRqyin??? Fergus Hunter (@fergushunter) November 9, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hemmes expands pub empire with $70m shopping spree

Pic of the Royal Hotel in Bondi.28th September 2006 SMH NEWS Royal Hotel/Bondi Photograph by Dallas Kilponen/dak. The Royal Hotel Bondi at 283 Bondi Rd, Bondi Beach, on 9 November 2017. Justin Hemmes has just bought the hotel. Photo: Jessica Hromas
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The Royal Hotel Bondi at 283 Bondi Rd, Bondi Beach, on 9 November 2017. Justin Hemmes has just bought the hotel. Photo: Jessica Hromas

The Royal Hotel Bondi at 283 Bondi Rd, Bondi Beach, on 9 November 2017. Justin Hemmes has just bought the hotel. Photo: Jessica Hromas

The Royal Hotel Bondi at 283 Bondi Rd, Bondi Beach, on 9 November 2017. Justin Hemmes has just bought the hotel. Photo: Jessica Hromas

Pub tsar Justin Hemmes has cemented his position as the largest single owner of popular Sydney pubs, splurging more than $70 million on the purchase of three major hotels over the past three months.

Having snapped up Bondi’s Royal Hotel on Wednesday, the string of purchases gives Mr Hemmes’ Merivale Group an almost unassailable lead in the sector, ahead of restaurateurs such as celebrity chef Matt Moran’s Solotel group and established pub owners such as the Laundy family.

Since August, Mr Hemmes has bought the Collaroy Hotel on Sydney’s northern beaches for about $21 million, the Vic on the Park in Marrickville for about $23 million and now the Royal Hotel for more than $30 million.

Contacted by Fairfax Media on Thursday, Merivale confirmed the deals, without giving financials. It said it expects to receive the keys for the Bondi hotel next July, with plans for the venue to be “announced in due course”.

The latest acquisitions will add to Mr Hemmes’ stable that includes the Tennyson Hotel in Mascot, which he bought last December for $37.5 million, and the Newport Arms, which he bought in 2015 for $46 million and re-opened in 2016 after a significant revamp.

Overall, Merivale operates 65 hospitality venues including such as the Ivy and the Establishment Bar in the Sydney CBD and the popular Coogee Pavilion in the eastern suburbs.

As he bought the Vic on the Park in October, Mr Hemmes said he was in the market for further acquisitions with a “self-imposed mandate” to grow the Merivale business “both deliberately and responsibly”.

The sale of the Royal Hotel was managed by JLL national director John Musca, who also handled the Coogee Beach Palace, Hotel Bondi, Golden Sheaf Hotel, Royal Oak Double Bay and Clovelly Hotel transactions.

“The hotel market is witnessing its third significant phase of consolidation last experienced a decade ago, in particular with a return of capital support for food and beverage operations nationally”, Mr Musca said.

“It’s a privilege being entrusted with the sale of the generational held eastern suburbs icons, and this is particularly special given the owners are such genuine people and Merivale so community oriented.

“I can’t remember ever selling a hotel that attracted this level of interest, not surprising given Bondi’s burgeoning global status, the area’s gentrification and the hotel’s manifest repositioning potential.”

The Royal Hotel on Bondi Road was established in 1904 and hosted the first meeting of the Bondi Lifesaving Club three years later. It has been run over the past four decades by the family of local publican Geoff Moulding, which decided to sell it after having received several offers.

Mr Musca said the pub was “ripe for a renovation”, with three levels including 20 guest rooms with 80 backpacker beds, a first-floor four-room office and lounges and a beer garden. Hectic year

Mr Hemmes’ latest shopping spree tops off a busy year in the pub sector, which has seen more than $600 million worth of assets change hands since the start of 2017.

The deals have been bolstered, in part, by the sell-down of John Singleton and Geoff Dixon’s Australia Pub Fund.

Andrew Jolliffe, the Asia Pacific director of Ray White Hotels, who advised on the sale of the Vic on the Park to Mr Hemmes, said the deals involving significant A-grade freehold hospitality assets on Australia’s eastern seaboard continue.

Mr Jolliffe also sold the Republic Hotel opposite the Australian Stock Exchange, in Bridge Street, Sydney for about $35 million.

The four-level pub on the corner of Pitt and Bridge streets was acquired by an Asian-based international property fund in a sale and lease-back deal with the Ryans, a Sydney pub owner family.

In September, the Melbourne-based Impact Investment Group paid $70 million for Byron Bay’s Beach Hotel.

CBRE Hotels’ Daniel Dragicevich and Wayne Bunz represented Impact Investment Group in the off-market deal, which was struck with owner Max Twigg who paid $44 million for the hotel in 2007 following the sale of his waste management business.

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

Hunter couple Alicia and Daniel Edge’s app Compeat Nutrition is chosen in the Icon Accelerator program

Goals: “If we can value add for dieticians and our clients, we’ll have achieved our company goals,” says Alicia Edge, with husband Daniel. Your start-up Compeat Nutrition has just been named as part of the cohort in the Icon Accelerator program, run by Slingshot and the University of Newcastle. How did you and your husband Daniel think of the app?
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Before moving back to the Hunter in 2015, we were in Canberra while I worked at the Australian Institute of Sport as a sports dietitian. As we started a family, we faced the question of how I could continue to work in my specialised field, without needing to be located within an elite sporting hub. Our solution was to design an online platform that enabled me to service individuals of all competition levels without any geographical restriction. In these past 18 months, our idea has evolved with a vision of empowering our individual clients, and to provide a solution that reshapes the dietetic industry and promotes the value of our profession.

What precisely does the Compeat app offer?

Through a continuous and agile servicing approach, our app offers a mechanism to empower the active individual to achieve sustainable lifestyle changes, as well as meeting their nutrition-focused health and performance goals. The platform has also enhanced the value, efficiency and capability of the Accredited Dietitian utilising the app.

Who is your target client?

The everyday athlete. From parents, cross-fitters, fun runners, or the elite athlete. We are big believers in the notion that everyone can gain significant benefits in their professional, personal and active lives by eating like an athlete.

What skills do you and your husband bring to the start-up?

I am an advanced sports dietitian and accredited practicing dietitian; my husband is an engineer with a business management and leadership background. We both also come from sporting backgrounds, competing at a national and international level.

You left your job at the AIS to be in the Hunter. Was Compeat designed to assist athletes you once worked with in Canberra, or with a view to simply offer it to those athletes with a need for your help?

Our original goal was to share our knowledge with all individuals, no matter their competition level. However, we have now realised that the tool we have created has great potential in servicing athletes within a decentralised model – such as the AIS.

What convinced you there was a need for the app?

The dietetic industry is competing against a saturation of food advice, particularly via social media. We recognised a need to reinvent delivery of nutrition to the individual while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our services. If we can add value for both dieticians and our clients, we will have fulfilled our company’s goals.

How much has your business model changed since you first thought of the concept?

A lot! In the last 18 months I think we have been through four or five iterations. We are continually aiming to challenge what we do daily with the goal of being better tomorrow than what we were today. We are just your average young family, so taking each crazy day as it comes is an essential to our sanity!

How interactive is the app?

This is one of the things that makes us so much different. Our model focuses on agility and continuous support enabling the athlete to have almost immediate contact with their accredited dietitian through their user profile. Our app can be used for dietitian feedback, check-ins and questions, while also being extremely agile for immediate change. For example, historically an injured athlete would see a dietitian as an afterthought and often only after weight gain or performance loss. With our app, we can now instantaneously adjust nutrition recommendations and manage supplementation to ensure optimal body composition and recovery strategies are achieved from the start.

How is the app tracking?

We are currently at version two which has expanded on the core functionality to incorporate the client empowerment journey. We still have work to do but we have exciting things ready for release early in the new year – opening up our services to a wider range of active individual with greater flexibility.

What have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome to date?

For me it has been to break away from the norm and literally put almost everything we own into the idea. I don’t do well with change, but I am lucky to have my hubby who challenges us to defy the norm and do things differently. Possibly one of the things that makes us such a good team.

Alicia Edge

What is in the pipeline?

We have some exciting things coming in 2018. We are also about to embark on finalising the user side of the app around the dietitian interface.

What are you hoping to gain in Icon Accelerator?

To learn as much as we can and draw on the amazing knowledge and expertise that Slingshot provides through the accelerator, to cement our model and paint a clear path for Compeat Nutrition.