Category Archives: 南京夜网

WestConnex: why it shows the disconnect between the government and us

M4 Westconnex Concord tunnel breakthrough. Premier Gladys Berejiklian in attendance. Pic Nick Moir 27 july 2017For the past month Sydneysiders have been subjected to a $2 million advertising campaign singing the praises of the under-construction $16.8 billion WestConnex tollway.
Nanjing Night Net

It’s a cheerful, animated affair that follows the progress of a little red hatchback along the 33-kilometre route to the sounds of laughing children, singing birds and cyclists happily dinging their bells as they ride through pristine city parks.

“WestConnex is the missing piece of the puzzle that will bring Sydney closer together,” the upbeat voice over explains.

“There’s a lot to it, but it’s part of a larger plan designed with people in mind,” it concludes.

As a piece of government propaganda, it’s a fair effort.

The same cannot be said about the effort this week of Dennis Cliche, the chief executive of the Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC), which is building the roadway.

Cliche, with the swagger that comes from a $717,000 annual pay packet (with bonuses driving it to $1 million), stood before an audience of infrastructure executives on Monday to deliver a project update.

He declared it was “exciting” that a toll had been reintroduced to the widened M4 section of the motorway and dismissed concerns about the health effects of exhaust stacks, declaring he’d be happy to live beneath one.

Cliche was brazen, yet it can be argued he was doing his job by spruiking the project so the government gets the best sale price for the 51 per cent of SMC being offered to the private sector next year.

But it was also an example of the huge disconnect between the government and its bureaucracy and the community – a gap usually driven by the pursuit of piles of cash tied to hitting contract deadlines.

We’ve seen a similar attitude in play with the many hundreds of homes and businesses being compulsory acquired to make way for WestConnex and the Sydney Metro rail project.

In case after case, Roads and Maritime Services and Transport for NSW have been exposed as displaying callous disregard for the circumstances distressed home and business owners find themselves in through no fault of their own.

Even the CBD light rail is a public relations disaster zone, due to the huge impact its ongoing construction is having on local businesses.

If a key role of ministers is to curb the excesses of the bureaucracy to protect the interests of the community, the strong impression given is that either this is not happening or – worse – they are happy with the way things are being handled.

The problem for the government is that the focus on this is sucking much of the goodwill from its flagship infrastructure projects – the very projects on which it has gambled its political future.

There’s no sign of the complaints easing less than 18 months out from the next state election in March 2019.

Within the government there has been some grumbling about the sudden exit of the man who kicked off much of this infrastructure frenzy, former premier Mike Baird.

The complaint is that having sold billions of dollars worth of electricity assets to bankroll the transport program, Baird has bolted just as the backlash is building, taking his silky smooth political skills with him.

So while Premier Gladys Berejiklian can boast about the government’s impressive transport building program, she and her ministers are also left to manage the fallout.

Labor is already making much of that; despite almost seven years in power the government has yet to complete a flagship transport project.

The light rail is due to begin operating in “early 2019” and stage one of the metro is due to open later that year.

So with the economy powering ahead and the budget in surplus, Berejiklian’s primary challenge at the election was always going to be convincing the electorate to allow the Coalition to finish the job it has started.

Since she took the job in January, Berejiklian has emphasised her government’s willingness to listen as evidenced by the back down on forced council amalgamations and the problematic fire services levy.

No amount of costly advertising is going to convince the electorate that she means what she says.

Berejiklian would do better to ensure that her ministers, and through them the transport agencies, get the message.

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

If Ablett makes Geelong a better team, the Cats win

Gary Ablett back at Geelong. 9th November 2017. Photo by Jason SouthFamily, combined with the romance of a return to his old stomping ground, were good enough reasons for Gary Ablett to become a Cat again.
Nanjing Night Net

But a premiership will remove any doubt about whether the move is wise or not from the Cats’ perspective.

The 302-game veteran joins Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan and the up-and- coming Nakia Cockatoo on the first tier of talent on the Cats’ list.

It’s a frightening combination for opposition midfielders to contemplate with Dangerfield, Ablett and Cockatoo all damaging one-on-one players when thrown forward Dusty Martin-style as well.

This should give Cats coach Chris Scott the range of options forward of centre he craves, but mere talent won’t be enough to move them from contenders to premiers.

While Dangerfield has proven himself to be a champion in either role, kicking 45 goals in 2017 and proving the difference when he played as full-forward in the semi-final against the Sydney Swans and round 17 against Hawthorn, Ablett is assumed to be capable of being that type of player.

Ablett has only once kicked more than 40 goals in a season, back in 2010, his final year at Geelong, when he kicked 44 majors playing as a midfielder.

That was mainly because his work has been required in the engine room, where he carried rising Suns through the initial phase of their careers but it’s sobering to remember he has kicked just 28 goals in his past three seasons.

However, imagining him as a goalkicker doesn’t require the left side of the brain to be overworked.

Still, assumptions are dangerous, particularly in an era when talent counts for less than complete buy-in to the game-plan from the entire list.

So, getting the forward line to do as much defending as attacking appears, as it has been for much of Scott’s time at Geelong, the coach’s biggest challenge.

Ablett, Tom Hawkins and Dan Menzel are not known for their defensive pressure so the Cats will need them to lift in that area as well as ensuring Lincoln McCarthy, Cory Gregson, Brandan Parfitt and Cockatoo are fit and available to tackle the problem.

The Harry Taylor as a forward experiment can end now with key defender Tom Lonergan retiring so Hawkins can play solo in a similar vein to Jack Riewoldt at Richmond this season.

Hawkins has been a great player but he turns 30 in July so he needs to get fit and perform to keep the emerging Wylie Buzza at bay.

Ablett’s presence will also have a flow-on effect in the midfield with Scott Selwood and Sam Menegola best placed as defensive midfielders.

Cam Guthrie, who was given No.29 when Ablett left, might play midfield as well despite playing his best football in defence, as brother Zac, Zach Tuohy, Tom Stewart, Jed Bews Jackson Thurlow and Jake Kolodjashnij make the backline as crowded as the 5.04pm from Flinders Street.

In reality, a move to the Gold Coast might have been a good option for one of those youngsters but no Cat could be convinced to leave Geelong as part of the Ablett trade, a mindset Suns’ coach Stuart Dew will need to change in 2018.

Duncan’s importance as a line-breaker will increase with the departure of Steve Motlop to Port Adelaide and the Cats must either recruit someone to fill that void or train one of their midfielders up.

All that analysis presumes Ablett can maintain the unbelievable standard he once set beyond the age of 34.

If anyone can the champion can, but he has played just 34 games in the past three seasons with the Suns, dominating when fit and available but too often sidelined due to injury.

Ablett says he can play every game in 2018 but so does every footballer when the Spring Carnival is on the back page.

The Cats will need to manage the veteran wisely so he is at his best whenever needed most but they will also need him to play regularly so he can gel quickly with his new teammates, with only five former Cats remaining from 2010.

That’s the type of quandary his presence creates. But as a relatively cheap buy, in both trade and financial terms, for a team that has lost its past two preliminary finals, the risk is worthwhile.

And Ablett is a different person to the one who left the club in 2010 as the game’s undisputed king. He is more team-oriented, more mature and more aware of what he can and needs to offer to his teammates.

The biggest challenge for Ablett, Dangerfield and Selwood from now on is not performing well as individuals but being the type of characters that can support their less gifted teammates to be the best they can be in whatever role they are asked to play.

After all Ablett has six club best and fairests, nine All-Australians, two flags, two Brownlow medals and is a five-time winner of the AFLPA MVP.

He has nothing left to prove as an individual except this: can he be part of a Cats side that becomes known once again as a great team, rather than a side full of great individuals.

If Ablett can make Geelong a better team in 2018, it will be one of his greatest individual performances.

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

Deutsche Bank maps climate change risks for investors

Climate change will wreak economic havoc, greatly reducing nations’ GDPs.Deutsche Bank has developed a tool to forecast where its investments across the globe may be impacted by natural disasters brought on by climate change.
Nanjing Night Net

Although tools have existed in the insurance industry to model the impact of climate change, this is the first time this sort of data has been systematically applied to investments.

Deutsche Asset Management created the map with climate change intelligence firm Four Twenty Seven, covering more than one million individual locations in order to see how changes to climate will threaten its investment portfolios. The group currently has about ???711 billion ($1.06 trillion) under management.

Economic modelling estimates that if carbon emissions aren’t reduced throughout this century, per capita GDP will decrease by 23 per cent from what it otherwise would be.

“The effects of climate change will be ubiquitous but uneven, ranging from those that disrupt daily life, such as damaged or flooded infrastructure, to more gradual impacts like declines in labour productivity and widespread threats to global welfare through decreased crop yields,” Four Twenty Seven stated.

Deutsche Bank said the development of this tool meant that exposure to catastrophic events for individual companies can now be calculated.

“It tackles physical risk head-on, giving credible insight into the vulnerability of corporate production and retail sites to climate change. Factors such as sea level rise, droughts, flooding and cyclones pose an immediate and measurable threat to investment portfolios,” Deutsche Bank Asset Management said.

These issues have already been seen in Australia, where heatwaves have caused spikes in power prices, directly impacting business operating costs.

Energy price shocks are the number one concern for Australian businesses, according to a global survey.

The World Economic Forum Global Risks 2018 report, published by Zurich Insurance Group and Marsh and McLennan companies, surveyed more than 12,400 executives from 136 countries, and put energy pricing as the leading concern for businesses operating in Australia within the next 10 years.

Australia was the only country to rank energy costs as its major concern, and the only other nation apart from Canada to include adapting to climate change within its top five risks.

Climate change will wreak economic havoc, greatly reducing nations’ GDPs. Illustration: Marshall Burke, Solomon M. Hsiang & Edward Miguel, Nature 527

Deutsche Asset Management calculates the impact of climate change by categorising an investment’s location, its activity and business sensitivity to climate hazards. It then applies Four Twenty Seven’s climate science models to provide asset-level risk assessments by calculating the potential disruption to operations, supply chain and logistics, and market risks.

It can also provide climate risk modelling at a country level.

“The data can be analysed, for example, to look at how rising sea levels could affect coastal and offshore oil and gas infrastructure, how floods could disrupt supply chains, or whether extreme heat affects labour productivity in the agricultural and construction sectors,” Deutsche Bank Asset Management said.

Early research has pinpointed Asia as highly vulnerable, stating that 80 per cent of people occupying the most ‘at risk’ climate zones globally reside in Asia, with 145 million people in China alone living on land threatened by rising seas.

“The availability of this new data on physical climate risk is a major step forward to addressing a serious and growing risk for investors,” said Nicolas Moreau, head of Deutsche Asset Management.

“Climate risk is now centre stage, however, we believe the investment industry needs to champion the disclosure of annual and once-in-a-lifetime climate risks by companies. We have a duty to understand what more hurricanes or heatwaves mean for valuations and investment returns,” he said.

According to Four Twenty Seven, the next step for this modelling will be the development of corporate resilience indicators, which “constitute the next frontier to gain a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of all facets of company vulnerability to climate change”.

The release of the project comes as nations meet to address climate change and carbon emissions at the COP23 climate conference in Bonn, Germany.

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

OpinionFilm documents CFS battle

SILENT NO MORE: Jennifer Brea began a video diary on her iPhone to document her battle with chronic fatigue syndrome. It became the film documentary, Unrest.
Nanjing Night Net

THERE’S amarvellous opportunity on Saturday to see an inspiring and eye-opening film made by a young aspiring academic struck down by chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) sometimes called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

I am so pleased to have been able to help bringthis film to Newcastle because, for the manyfamilies who have a loved one suddenly incapacitated by an unknown illness, it will offer some solace andwisdom.I am pleased also to have the opportunity to summarise where the science is up to in understanding such illnesses.

Jennifer Brea is a Harvard PhD student soon to be engaged when she is struck down by a mysterious fever that leaves her bedridden. She becomes progressively more ill, eventually losing the ability even to sit in a wheelchair, but doctors tell her it’s “all in her head”.Unable to convey the seriousness and depth of her symptoms to her doctor, Jennifer begins a video diary on her iPhone that eventually becomes the feature documentary film Unrest.

Once Jennifer is diagnosed with ME/CFS, she and new husband Omar are left to grapple with how to live in the face of a lifelong illness. Refusing to accept the limitations of life in bed, Jennifer goes on an inspiring virtual global voyage where she finds a hidden community of millions who have disappeared from their own lives, confined to their homes by ME. These patients use the internet, Skype and Facebook to support each other.

Many ME patients have experienced uncertainty, confusion and even disbelief from the medical community and society as a whole. After all, it is easy to ignore a disease when patients are too sick to leave their homes. In Unrest, Jennifer shares her pain and the most intimate moments of her life in order to offer hope and visibility to those who suffer alone in dark, silent rooms.At its core, Unrest is a love story. Though Jennifer and Omar may have to accept that they will never live the life they dreamed of, together they find resilience, strength, and meaning in their community and each other.

Our research on CFS, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, TMJ syndrome, dyslexia and autism some 20 years ago at the University of Newcastle has shown that, in each of these conditions, there is a disturbance of the amino acid profile in the urine that is indicative of a chronic catabolic state.Such a catabolic state is consistently seen in the muscle wasting we experience when we have an infection, traumatic physical injury or significant burns.More recent research from the US showed that CFS has the metabolic signature characteristic of a highly concerted response to environmental stress.Former colleagues in Melbourne have recently reported support for the chronic catabolic concept by their work on inflammatory markers.

CFS is a multisystem disease that causes long-term pain and disability. It is difficult to diagnose because of its diverse symptoms and the lack of a diagnostic laboratory test. It is very difficult to obtain funds in Australia for CFS research. Recently, the US announced $7million for research into this disease. Targeted areas cover the search for microbial agents, such as viruses and bacteria, which may play a role in the disease, andhow genetics, the immune system, and metabolism interact in ME/CFS.

The public are invited to the seminar and film, Room CT202 of the Callaghan Campus of the University of Newcastle at 5pm on Saturday, November 11.

Professor TimRoberts is the director of theTom Farrell Institute for the Environment

Anthony William Clough has pleaded guilty over dodgy coal mine deal

FRAUD: Anthony Clough celebrating the 2007 Melbourne Cup at Newcastle Paceway. Picture: Kitty Hill
Nanjing Night Net

A NEWCASTLE man who used fraudulent documents to try to get a major private equity firm to invest millions into a coal mine that wasn’t approved for explorationis also awaiting sentence in Queensland on other fraud matters, according to court documents.

For the best part of the last 10 years, Anthony William Clough, 47, has avoided being punished for his crimes by moving back and forth between NSW and Queensland.

Clough, who remains on strict conditional bail, which includes a requirementthat he wear a GPS monitoring bracelet,was due to face a trial in Newcastle District Court this week.

But on the eve of the trial, Clough pleaded guiltyto a charge of using a false instrument with intent greater than $15,000, while a number of other offences will be taken into account when he is sentenced in June next year.

The offences occurred in early 2008, when Cloughformedthe company Atlas Coal Enterprises Pty Ltd.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Clough lodged a number of coal exploration permit applications with the Queensland Department of Mines and Energy (DME)for a parcel of land in the Bowen Basin in central Queensland.

But while the applications were still under consideration, Clough gave a presentation to private equity firmThe Sentient Group in Sydney, asking for the company to invest in the project.

Clough sought a staged investment over a number of years, starting at $10 million and reaching $390 million, according to the agreed statement of facts.

But before any money could change hands, discrepancies in the documentation Clough provided were discovered and the matter was referred to police.

But Clough had left for Queensland where in 2011 Newland Resources made a complaint that he had stolen more than $190,000 from them while he was employed asmanaging director.

The matter dragged through the courts for years, until Clough failed to appear at his sentencing in February last year.He had come back to NSW, where he was arrested and charged with the 2008 coal mine fraud matters.

How personal finance is changing in the US

I am writing this in Los Angeles where I’ve been attending the premiere of the film Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy, which explains Napoleon Hill’s famous success principles, and features cameo appearances by people such as me whose lives have been transformed after reading the book Think and Grow Rich.
Nanjing Night Net

The launch of the film was timed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of Hill’s book, which was released in 1937. It has since sold over 100 million copies and is still widely regarded as the best personal success book ever written. Film distribution is currently being negotiated, but I expect it will be available in Australia in the new year.

In Australia, we tend to get the impression that the United States is a dangerous country amid a sea of troubles, but the reality is different: this is the world’s biggest economy and it is booming. The freeways of Los Angeles are busier than ever, the restaurants and shopping malls are packed, and everywhere we went felt extremely safe.

We were surprised by the virtual invisibility of President Donald Trump. Anybody who has arrived at Los Angeles International Airport will remember the huge photo of the President of the day that usually welcomes all arrivals. Currently there is just a huge empty space where the photo normally hangs. Why? Nobody could offer an explanation.

When I tried to discuss politics with friends from both sides of politics nobody really wanted to talk much. The Republicans reckon Trump is doing a reasonable job despite being under constant attack from a hostile media, and the Democrats are taking the “I told you so” line. Most Americans I encountered were far more interested in football and baseball. We were surprised by all the bumper stickers supporting Bernie Sanders for President in 2020.

Two big changes are the growing dominance of cashless transactions and Uber. Apart from needing a few dollars in cash to tip hotel staff, I got by with my 28 Degrees MasterCard, which is still giving the best exchange rates. The Americans will accept a card for any amount – none of those ridiculous minimum amounts that some businesses foist on us in Australia.

Uber cars are everywhere, and the fares are so cheap they have become the most practical form of transport in most cities. But to use Uber you need a mobile phone connected to the internet, which can be a problem for travellers. Luckily, Telstra have come to the party in spades. Their international travel pass costs just $10 a day and includes all phone calls and text messages. Data of 100 megabytes is also included, but if you exceed that amount $10 buys you an additional 500 megabytes, which is good for 30 days. And, on days when you don’t use your phone no fees are charged. Believe me, it’s a comforting feeling to have a fully operational phone 24/7 and to know it’s only costing $10 a day.

Tips are a fact of life in America, where the basic hourly rate is less than $10, and two weeks’ annual holidays are the norm. But as the years pass, the standard tip has gone from 15 per cent to 20 per cent, with some places even adding another 4 per cent for health insurance. It does make dining out expensive, but American portions are so huge a couple can eat reasonably cheaply by ordering courses to share. The restaurants have no problem with this, and you will not go away hungry.

The US dollar strengthened as the days passed, making our spending more expensive, but I took solace in the knowledge that 30 per cent of my superannuation is invested in international managed funds heavily exposed to the US dollar. It was the perfect hedge.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions. Email: [email protected]南京夜网419论坛

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

Three budget-friendly ways to revive the look of your kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in the home, which means it’s especially prone to wear and tear. And walking into a kitchen that feels grimy, dated or dull can be particularly uninspiring when you want to cook or entertain.
Nanjing Night Net

“[Kitchens] are highly functional spaces that need to work well for all tasks,” says interior stylist Emma Blomfeld. “If your kitchen is badly designed, it will affect the way you use the space and impact you daily.”

But not everyone has the time, money or inclination to devote to a full renovation. So here are three quick and easy ways to spruce up the look of your kitchen without breaking the bank. Re-jig the joinery

Cabinets, drawers and other storage spaces take up so much real estate in the average kitchen that they are some of the first things people consider when itching for a change. Quick cosmetic fixes, such repainting your cabinets, can go a long way toward brightening up the look of a dingy kitchen.

“If the cabinetry is in good condition, spraying it a new, fresh colour will change the look of the room immediately,” says Blomfield.

Even if you are happy with the colour of your cabinets, a new coat of paint can lift the grubby-looking fingerprint stains and scratches that usually come with years of use.

If you are considering a colour change, stick to the basics, says interior designer Therese Carrodus, of Full of Grace Interiors. Related: What a kitchen renovation actually costsRelated: The most common kitchen renovation questionsRelated: Is the kitchen the most important room?

“A simple, sophisticated kitchen will always look lovely in a neutral tone, so making the cabinetry white or light grey will keep things soft and clean.”

Switching out the cabinet handles can also be an easy fix. Carrodus recommends contemporary shapes with tactile finishes that hide finger marks, such as round beaten copper knobs or a slimline pull handle in aged brass.

New paint colours and handles may not be enough to revive cheap or old cabinet door fronts, but that doesn’t mean you have to shell out for new cabinets. Architect and renovator Amelia Lee, of Undercover Architect, suggests replacing only the cupboard fronts and drawers.

“It can be quite cost effective for you to pay a joiner to make up the door fronts and get them pre-drilled with a suitable hinge points based on how your cabinetry is arranged,” Lee says.

If you like the look of your tableware, glasses or small appliances, consider removing your cabinet doors all together. Open shelving can help make a sterile room feel more casual, welcoming and homey.

Before and after of a project by DIY specialist Natasha Dickins of Little Red Industries.Make a splash with a splashback

A splashback’s main purpose is to protect your walls from mess and splatter, but it’s often the unsung hero of the kitchen remodel.

“We kind of underestimate how a new splashback can dramatically change the look and feel of your kitchen,” says Lee.

Splashbacks come in a seemingly endless array of styles, from temporary acrylic wallpaper to elaborate mosaic tile. It’s also relatively affordable and easy to change, so a splashback is one of the best ways to showcase your personal taste.

“Joinery and benchtops can be very permanent choices. But with a splashback, people will often go for something that’s a bit more on trend,” Lee says. “It is something you can have a bit of fun with, or choose something that’s a bit bolder.”

A splashback can also help you connect the kitchen to the overall style of your home, says Carrodus.

“Selecting a marble splashback looks beautiful and will make the kitchen feel instantly more luxe, so it really depends on the look you’re going for,” she says. “I personally love coloured handmade ceramic tiles with texture to add interest to an otherwise crisp-clean looking kitchen.” Upgrade your appliances

It may not be the most exciting or creative way to update a space, but new appliances will add instant appeal to your kitchen, especially if you want to spend time cooking in it.

Lee says renovators on a budget can be drawn to the idea of painting or refurbishing the cabinets, when new appliances would have a bigger impact on their day-to-day experience in the kitchen.

“If you enjoy cooking and you’ve got a crappy oven and cooktop, new appliances will actually change how you feel in the kitchen.” This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hunter pallet business at mercy of timber shortage

Tough times: Hunter Valley Pallets owners Tina and Simon Henriques with their daughter, and acting general manager, Daniela Matheson. Picture: Jonathan CarrollA shock timber shortage has threatened to ruin afamily business that’s been in the Hunter for two decades.
Nanjing Night Net

Hunter Valley Pallets acting general manager Daniela Matheson said the Cameron Park business’supply of timber plummeted by about 75 per cent overnight last month and hasn’t picked up again.

It’s left the enterprise, which employs 20people andmakes pallets mainly for locally-based manufacturing and mining companies, on the brink of collapse.

“It came out of nowhere –there was no heads-up, nothing,” Ms Matheson said.

“Immediately, we freaked out. Secondly, we had to look around at what we could get on the market.

“Plywood was the one thing we could get plenty of –the cost of plywood pretty well tripled our customers’ current product and there was so much wastage.”

Ms Matheson said the business had the contacts, customers and staff numbersto grow, but the inability to source the basic material to make their product hadcreated uncertainty for their client base.

The business has already lost one of its major contracts, worth $1.2 million, in recent weeks. So Ms Matheson and her parents, business owners Simon and Tina Henriques, held talks on Thursday in an attemptto find a solution before the problem causesirreparable damage.

They met with Vacy hemp farmer Bob Doyle, to discuss the possibility of using his product to make their pallets, as well as Australian Industry Group regional manager Adrian Price and Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon –who is also the federal shadowminister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

“In Australiawe are rightfully more aware of the need for sustainable practices, so we’re not harvesting native forests like we used to do and we’re relying more and more heavily on plantation,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“Plantation has a very long cycle –between 15 and 30 years –so you need a long-term strategy from the federal government and we just don’t have one. We need to get some security of supply of traditional products but we also need to diversify and I think using hemp is a fantastic idea.”

Rebels coach will play Hodge at No.10 if it benefits Australian rugby

CARDIFF: New Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels says he was suitably impressed by Reece Hodge’s first start at No.10 for the Wallabies and has made it clear he is happy for the youngster to play there next Super Rugby season if it benefits Australian rugby.
Nanjing Night Net

Before last weekend’s match, Hodge had played all 10 Wallabies Tests this year on the wing – half from the bench and half in the starting XV.

Bernard Foley’s late withdrawal due to illness presented Hodge with an opportunity to take on the role of chief playmaker and he did it with absolute aplomb as the Wallabies crushed Japan 63-30.

Although Hodge will move back to the wing this Saturday against Wales, one man who has been watching with interest is Wessels.

The former Western Force coach is putting the pieces of the puzzle together for his back-line next year, a group that contains the likes of Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Marika Koroibete and Jack Maddocks.

Wessels has been in regular dialogue with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika about what to do with Hodge, a player many believe could one day fill Foley’s shoes.

Rather than adopting a “let’s do things my way” approach, Wessels is more concerned about what is best for Australian rugby when it comes to discussing the number on Hodge’s back.

“It’s about deciding whether playing No.10 is best for Reece, best for us as a team and what is best for Australian rugby,” Wessels told Fairfax Media. “I’m very clear that we feel a responsibility to help the Wallabies achieve some of their goals and we know that if the Wallabies are going well, it has a knock-on effect for everybody in Australian rugby.

“To Cheik’s credit, I don’t think he’s dictating that to anybody. Cheik will probably be open to whatever we want to do but I value his opinion.

“I’ve had a couple of discussions with Reece and he’s really impressed me. He’s got a lot of appealing qualities. He’s got speed and played Test rugby in the outside backs. You’d say he’s got a lot of the things that could make him a really high-quality 10.

“The best thing of all is just how calm he is. It’s a big ask to have your first game in a long game at 10 and then do that at Test level. He just looked really calm and took it all on board.”

Wessels has also heaped praise on another Rebels young gun in Jack Maddocks.

The 20-year-old has been taken on the spring tour as a development player after catching Cheika’s eye in his debut Super Rugby season.

“I look at a guy there who I think could potentially play an important role at a World Cup,” Wessels said. “There’s a huge amount to do there between where he is now and where he is going to end up but I’m looking forward to working with him.”

The return of Force back-rower Ben McCalman and the rise of Matt Philip, who made his Test debut last week, have given Wessels immense satisfaction.

“I said to Cheik before the [Japan] game that I thought Ben was really going to blow it away,” Wessels said. “He came out and he was absolutely steaming. Ben’s a pretty special athlete. He showed what he was capable of.

“And you can’t be more proud of a guy like Matt and what he’s achieved. If I think to a year ago when he arrived in Perth, would he be a Wallaby? To be honest, I didn’t think so. I can tell you over the last couple of months I started to think that he could definitely be a Wallaby.”

On the topic of Adam Coleman potentially moving to Melbourne, as has been widely speculated, Wessels, who mentored the Wallabies second-rower at the Force, confirmed he was still a chance of joining the Rebels next season.

“We’re continuing to talk to him at this stage,” Wessels said. “Everybody in Australian rugby recognises that we’d like to keep Adam. I have a good relationship with Adzy and I enjoy working with him. Ultimately it really is the player’s decision.”

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

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.

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.