Newcastle Next:Blade and nacelle runners on the banks of the Hunter

Newcastle Next: Archive and entries
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2019The first ice free arctic summer occurs (and becomes an annual event thereafter). Massive climate protests occur worldwide.

2020Second global financial crisis coincides with major famine in Africa and record oil prices. A freak storm washes three coal ships onto Newcastle beaches, tears part of the roof off hunter stadium, and washes a fourth ship off its moorings and into Tourle street bridge.

2022Five years since its founding conference, the Left-Green Coalition (a coalition of Greens, disaffected Left Labor members and Socialists) wins the federal election in Australia and starts to carry out its mandate of nationalising coal mines and coal fired power stations and phasing them out, and invests heavily in rapid rollout of wind and solar.

Construction of a large new state of the art wind turbine manufacturing plant commences at the old BHP site, with components to be manufactured in Singleton. Wind turbines from the plant and feeder factories, which will eventually employ over 8000 people, will supply approximately half of the total wind turbines for the repowering of the Australian grid.

2023military coup temporarily dismisses federal government but massive peaceful protests in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne successfully forces coup leaders to surrender.

2024Australia holds a referendum to become a republic and adopt a new constitution. Among the new changes is the corporation appropriation enabling bill which allows citizens to rank the ‘worst corporate citizens’ using an online league system and vote for ‘league leaders’ to be taken into public ownership during elections.

2025first shipload of state of the art 12MW wind turbines leaves Newcastle headed to Manila.

2027A massively stepped up program of reafforestation commences with one billion trees to be planted Australia wide over the next three decades as part of an international carbon drawdown initiative. Areas zoned for reforestation are treated with sewage soaked biochar made from crop wastes during and after plantings, adding carbon to the soil. Newcastle based researchers help refine this process.

2028Newcastle is now a major supplier of wind turbines to the Asia pacific region, with Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and various pacific island nations signing build, connect and service (BCS)agreements with the Eureka’s future co-op.

2030last coal shipment leaves Newcastle.

2041massive crop failure due to severe heatwaves and flooding creates major food shortages in Asia, India, Africa the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The refugee and climate disaster response coalition (RCDRC) is created and Newcastle becomes a base for regional relief efforts.

2042contracts are signed for the ageing fleet of Newcastle made and built wind turbines servicing 30% of the national grid to be returned to base, rebuilt, fitted with upgraded blades and returned to service.

2051Major regional conflict breaks out between India and Pakistan. Decades of flooding as the Himalaya shed ice mass have given way to severe droughts, and like in other parts of the world the water shortages have spurred conflict. The entire Newcastle RCDRC fleet of 20 ships (including 10 reconfigured break bulk coal ships) is dispatched to a massive international RCDRC mission in a neutral zone in between Gujarat and Karachi and helps establish desalination plants, solar and wind remote power supply, medicinal herb rations, biodigester sewage treatment and gas combo units, tents, and greenhouses.

2058Contracts are signed between the Eureka’s future cooperative and the federal government to have Novocastrian designed and built sixth generation wind turbines replace the remainder of the old 2030’s era turbines. The new units, which are rated at 40MW, feature patented Eureka’s future maglev rotors designed and commercialised by the CSIRO energy centre and come fitted with giant pressurised blades.

2080Eight million people die after massive floods in Bangladesh. There are now one hundred million refugees in the East India / Bangladesh region alone and over one billion worldwide.

Floods in Bangladesh in 2080.

2099The Lass O’Gowrie reopens on New Years eve after being closed for 30 years due to the floods, and christens the newly built floating back deck area with live holosonic quark sound-light performances. Sea levels are 1.8 metres higher than late pre-anthropocene levels.

2114There has been a net reduction in co2 for three consecutive years (the previous record was two years in a row back in 2088-89) and the temperature has remained stable at 2.8 degrees above pre industrial levels for a decade.

However the future remains extremely uncertain. Scientists are concerned by a growing ‘dead zone’ in the central pacific ocean. Eureka’s future continues building cutting edge turbines and deploying them to replace previous generation turbines, as well as servicing older models.

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Five players in fight for lead

IT’S a bottleneck at the top of leaderboard in the The Advocate -Boag’s-Dowling McCarthy Tyres player of the year award after seven rounds.
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FIRST VOTES: Penguin’s Randall Hardy was best afield against East Devonport. Picture: Katrina Docking.

Five players are within two votes of one another, but Wynyard ball-magnet Zane Murphy still occupies top spot despite not catching the eye of observers on the weekend.

Nipping at his heels is four-time reigning champion Josh Holland, of Latrobe.

“Dutchy” is just one vote behind Murphy after his best-afield effort in the Demons’ 37-point win against Smithton.

He was the catalyst in Latrobe’s midfield that ran riot in a dominant nine-goal-to-two third quarter.

Teammate Rodney Coghlan is a further vote back, along with Cats ruckman Sam Douglas and Ulverstone’s Simon Vanderfeen, who polled three votes in a losing side.

Penguin’s Randall Hardy earned his first votes for the season in a best-on-ground performance in the Blues’ thumping win over East Devonport.

Given the 117-point difference on the scoreboard, Penguin players understandably swept the votes, with James King and Jason Radford being awarded the minor honours.

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Hafey joined Tigers after Coaster said no

THE journey to Tom Hafey becoming a Richmond legend has links to Burnie.
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Speaking after Hafey’s passing on Monday night following a brave battle with cancer, ex-Tiger Ray Stokes yesterday revealed the process that led to Hafey’s appointment as Leg 1coach in the club’s golden era, where it won premierships in 1967, 1969 and 1973-74.

Richmond faced a coaching dilemma in 1965 when incumbent Len Smith suffered a heart attack.

The club appointed Jack Titus to serve as a stand-in until a replacement could be found.

Leg 2Stokes, who played 93 games for Richmond between 1946-51, said it was at that time club powerbroker Graeme Richmond flew down to the Coast and spoke to him at his car yard at South Burnie.

Stokes had returned to the North-West to captain-coach Burnie during the mid-1950s, leading the Leg 3Tigers to the NWFU premiership in 1954.

“He came over to see me and said he wanted a footballer who was mad on physical fitness to coach the side,” Stokes said.

“He reckoned that was the only way that Richmond was going to improve their game.

“He was interviewing Leg 4Tommy at the same time and I said `well you can count me out because I’m not going back to Victoria because I’ve settled back down in Tassie and have given up coaching’.

“To which Graeme responded: `Well if you’re not interested in it then I’m going up to get Tommy because he’s physically fit Leg 5himself and the [Shepparton] sides he’s won [the premierships in country Victoria] with are too and that’s what we want at Richmond’.

“I might not have got the job anyway, but that’s how he came to coaching Richmond and they never looked back.”

The pair formed a special friendship over the years with their alignment to Richmond.

Stokes said Hafey would often fly down to the Coast for football business and he would always call in and see him.

“I had a fair bit to do with him and I’d often go along with him to these different events,” Stokes said.

“He was a great old mate of mine he was, there’s no doubt about that.”

Stokes said the reason “T-shirt Tommy” had so much success as a coach was because he was an inspirational leader.

He made the Tigers the fittest team in the competition and his charges would say they played for Hafey more than they did the jumper.

“He was a great fanatic on fitness,” Stokes said.

“That’s how he got Richmond to the top straight away. He got them on a physical fitness program which the club had never had before.

“He used to run every morning and swim every morning, and he got the players to do the same and that’s how they came to winning so many premierships – they used to run over sides.

“But he was a great speaker too and he knew football back jlto front.”

Stokes said Hafey would be remembered as a quality individual who got the most out of life.

Hafey is survived by wife Maureen and his daughters Rhonda, Karen and Jo.

GREAT MATES: Richmond legend Tom Hafey (right) shares footy stories with former Tiger and Burnie Football Club stalwart Ray Stokes (left) during his visit to the North-West Richmond Supporters Group. Hafey died on Monday.

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The populist PM is gone, meet Abbott the ideologue

Illustration: Andrew Dyson hockey-abbott
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Federal budget 2014: Full coverageFederal budget 2014: Interactive data explorerFederal budget 2014: Where will your tax dollars go?

Joe Hockey says this budget is not the last word in fixing the nation’s finances but the first. And that first word is “surprise”.

It’s a brave beginning for the Prime Minister who had promised to run a government of “no surprises and no excuses”.

It’s a surprise on three levels. First, because Tony Abbott has broken so many of the vows he swore to keep.

No new taxes, no increased taxes, no cuts to education, no cuts to health … these are promises discarded. This is as easy a job for Bill Shorten as any opposition leader has ever had.

It’s a surprise on a second level because, while Abbott was a cheap populist in opposition, he now reveals himself to be a purposeful prime minister.

He’s not looking for popularity but respect. His budget is a bold political bet that people will not punish him for breaking promises but reward him for being tough and responsible.

The budget inflicts pain on most of the population, young and old: young people lose any right to unemployment benefits for a minimum of six months, uni students will pay more for degrees, pensions will be less generous, two million families will lose part or all of their family payments, the free visit to the doctor is history for almost all, motorists will pay more for petrol, high income earners will pay a new 2 per cent tax levy.

A great outcry will rise up across the land. Some of this will vindicate Hockey’s argument that people have come to feel entitled to government benefits. But actually cutting into them is a politically dangerous way to prove a point.

The budget’s a surprise on a third level because it exposes Abbott as a more ideological conservative

prime minister than even his mentor, John Howard.

Abbott once described himself as Howard’s political “love child.” But Howard was the sugar daddy of the family payments system. He was the arch exponent of middle-class welfare in pursuit of the votes of the “Howard battlers”.

Abbott now cuts into the Howard edifice by about $6 billion over

five years.

Howard never attempted the deregulation of the university sector. Abbott has.

Howard never attempted to impose a “price signal” – otherwise known as a co-payment – on the routine visit to the GP. Abbott has.

Howard’s treasurer, Peter Costello, once called Abbott more a DLP man than a member of the Liberal mainstream. It was a reference to the fact that Abbott spent some of his formative years incubating in the company of BA Santamaria’s now-defunct Democratic Labor Party.

But Abbott now proves Costello wrong. Abbott and Hockey are forging a small-government, pro-market country, distinctly at odds with the DLP agenda.

Overall, the budget marks Abbott as serious about achieving an overarching promise: to stop the debt.

The budget’s declared aim is to cut the federal deficit from $49.9 billion this financial year to $29.8 billion next and to achieve a near-balanced budget – a $2.8 billion deficit – in the fourth year.

If so, he will have pursued the national interest of better finances over the political interest of greater popularity.

But, in truth, he’s making a virtue of a necessity. Abbott is not popular; he has never been popular as prime minister. He is, according to the Nielsen poll, the first unpopular leader to take the prime ministership in 40 years.

He has concluded he cannot expect to win popularity by spending more money. But he can hope to win grudging respect by being tough with the national finances.

He and his treasurer are making much of the equality of sacrifice in the budget; people across every income bracket are taking some pain.

But the truth is that, in this budget, the poor will make a permanent sacrifice, while the rich make only a temporary one. The 2 per cent tax levy on people earning over $180,000 expires after three years. The cuts to welfare and pensions will endure.

So while the budget does put Australia on track to better national finances, it also sets the country on a path to greater inequality. Hockey will regret the moment he was snapped puffing a cigar.

This is the angle that Labor, the Greens and, probably, Clive Palmer’s United Party will seize on to try to block key measures in the Senate. The $7 Medicare co-payment, for instance, will be hard fought there.

The budget does achieve the big economic task that it needs to accomplish. The boom in mining investment is in the process of tapering off by a big 4 per cent of gross domestic product in the few years to come.

The economy needs a new source of growth to replace this. The Hockey budget switches some money from recurrent spending to pay for new infrastructure, and roads in particular.

And it does it at a moderate pace. The cut in spending in the budget’s first year is sizeable but not savage. At about the equivalent of 0.8 per cent of GDP, it will not do any appreciable harm to growth in the short term.

Abbott has revealed his true prime ministerial character in this budget. And it’s entirely different from his character as opposition leader. The populist is gone and the tough ideologue has arrived.

A prime minister’s first budget is his best chance to impose tough decisions on Australia; Abbott has not missed.

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An indexation trick without an asterisk

Federal budget 2014: Full coverageFederal budget 2014: Interactive data explorerFederal budget 2014: Where will your tax dollars go?
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Honest Joe has delivered a stunning first instalment. It’s stunning because he has harnessed the power of compound indexation to restrain spending by more and more as each year goes by. It’s the first instalment because his second, due within two years, will deal with tax.

Until now, pension and disability payments have climbed twice a year in order to keep pace with wages.

From 2017 (a date chosen to keep an election promise about no pension changes in the first term), they will climb more slowly in line with the consumer price index.

The CPI typically climbs 2.5 per cent a year. Wages have typically climbed 3.5 per cent. The difference will create an ever-widening gap in living standards, allowing the government to save an ever-increasing pile of money.

He couldn’t try the same trick with family tax benefits because they are already linked to the CPI. Instead, he’ll freeze them for two years.

And he’ll make it harder to get nearly every benefit going. This matters when it comes to government spending because benefits (so called transfer payments) make up the bulk of government spending. It’s easy to talk about the cost of government, but the cost of running the government is small compared with the cost of the funds handed out.

The savings won’t be great to start with, all the more so because the changes to the pension will be delayed. That’s why there will be a temporary budget repair levy to fill the gap. It will end in July 2017, when the changes to the pension start.

What harnessing the power of compound indexation gives Hockey is a way to predict ever-greater savings right out to the end of the 10-year projection period. It’s an honest version of the so-called ”magic asterisk” trick used by his predecessor, Wayne Swan. Swan said there would be ever greater savings year by year because the government would cut spending as a proportion of gross domestic product year by year. It was a tautology rather than a plan. Treasury officials in the budget lock-up gave the impression they were glad to be free of magic asterisks and have in their place honestly-described measures that actually would cut spending.

In the budget papers, they say the projections ”do not assume a cap on real spending growth to achieve budget surpluses”. Instead, they are built on an identifiable cut in payments growth as a result of measures actually announced.

If pensioners and other recipients of benefits are smart, they will worry. Left long enough without one-off adjustments, the pension would eventually shrink to a tiny proportion of the average wage. But the first of what will probably be a series of one-off adjustments can be put off for years, until beyond the budget’s 10-year time horizon. When it happens, pensioners will have to justify their demands for a catch-up increase. Until then, their benefits will climb by no more than inflation and they are likely to be happy enough because at least they will be getting what appear to be twice-yearly increases.

The result, far more credible than any of the previous governments’ forecasts, is an end to the budget deficit in 2018-19 and then a steady climb to a substantial surplus of 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2024-25, or 1.5 per cent if, as is more likely, some of the proceeds of bracket creep are returned in tax cuts.

It would be going too far to say the savings are locked in. They depend on one incredibly important assumption – no recession for the next 10 years.

Australia has already stretched it out to 22 years. An extra 10 years would mean 33, a record achieved by no other country apart from post-war Japan.

Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson told a gathering of economists last month that if it were to happen, Australia could be extraordinarily proud, before adding: ”It is not, however, something on which I would want to rely.”

Two-thirds of Honest Joe’s budget savings relate to payments; only one third to revenue. That’s to be expected in a budget that concentrates on spending rather than tax. A tax review will be announced before the end of the year and if its recommended measures are anything like as dramatic as the ones Hockey is imposing on spending, high-income users of the superannuation system and others enjoying tax breaks are going to find that second tough budget unsettling.

And not just high earners.

Hockey is doing to the states what he is doing to pensioners.

From July 2017, their hospitals will be funded in accordance with Labor’s generous National Health Reform Agreement, but by a formula built on the consumer price index and population growth. It will hit the states badly, given what is happening to medical costs.

What will they do? He explained to journalists in the budget lock-up that they have options. Lifting the rate of the goods and services tax is one of them. It would be up to the states, he pointed out. But it would be their problem.

By 2017, his tax inquiry will have made its report. It will doubtless argue the case for a higher and broader GST, as has every other inquiry that has been allowed to examine the question. (The Henry tax review wasn’t allowed to examine the question.) Then it will be up to the states. Hockey might be prepared to help them. He is certainly prepared to starve them of hospital funds in order to concentrate their minds.

Hockey has not delivered a horror budget. It inflicts pain only gradually, and openly. It will help get the budget back into balance. And there is more to come.

Twitter: @1petermartin

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Australian Tax Office the biggest loser as public service staff cut in budget

Federal budget 2014: full coveragePublic service news: full coverage
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The federal bureaucracy is poised for its greatest loss of staff since the early years of the Howard government.

However, the Abbott government’s first budget will hit the public service more softly than the Coalition’s rhetoric had suggested, and its staffing cuts are less harsh than those tipped in its mid-year budget review in December.

Civilian government agencies will shed 7336 full-time-equivalent jobs over the coming year, offset by the recruitment of an extra 2744 military personnel.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Public Service Minister Eric Abetz said the cuts would continue in later years, and they expected the public service to shed about 16,500 jobs by July 2017. In opposition, the Coalition had pledged to cut only 12,000 jobs over two years.

”Around 14,500 of these reductions are the result of Labor’s secret, unfunded, across-the-board cuts, which they initiated just before the last election,” the ministers said.

A month before the 2013 election, the Rudd government revealed plans for deep spending cuts across the public service, via a higher ”efficiency dividend” – a 2.25 per cent cut to agencies’ administrative budgets.

The Coalition’s recent independent Commission of Audit strongly criticised this dividend, describing it as ”a particularly blunt instrument to achieve budgetary savings”.

”Rather than make explicit and often difficult decisions about what government should do and the extent of public sector resourcing, an efficiency dividend reduces funding to both areas of high priority and areas of low priority …” the commission found.

However, the government has ignored this advice and increased the dividend even further to 2.5 per cent for the next three years.

Despite stepping up these across-the-board cuts, the Coalition can claim to be a tad less harsh than Labor, at least in the short term: it has set aside an extra $144 million to pay staff wages next financial year compared with the amount in the Rudd government’s last budget update.

The Tax Office will lose the largest number of staff in 2014-15. It is expected to shed more than 2300 full-time jobs, about one in three of the projected losses.

Several portfolios will bear most of the pain: treasury, health, industry and foreign affairs agencies are expected to lose about 10 per cent of their workforces.

The government will also specifically target publicists and communications specialists, saying it will save more than $5 million a year by “moving to more efficient practices for public affairs and internal communications”.

There are a few surprise winners: the bureaucracy’s largest employer – the giant Department of Human Services, which includes Centrelink and Medicare – will gain staff in the coming year.

Mr Cormann and Mr Abetz said the department would be busy implementing the government’s welfare reforms, such as expanding the work-for-the-dole scheme.

The Defence Department and the Defence Materiel Organisation were also tipped to shed thousands of civilian employees, but will together lose just over 400 full-time jobs.

The two ministers also pointed out they had funded the redundancies caused by “Labor’s largely indiscriminate cuts”: separation payouts will reach a record $273 million by the end of June, as a result of most government workplaces retrenching staff this year.

However, very few redundancies have been funded in the years beyond. The government has allocated less than $50 million a year for payouts in the budget’s outlying years, about the same amount set aside by Labor.

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Australian Tax Office the biggest loser as public service staff cut in budget

Public service: The Australian Tax Office will be expected to lose the largest number of staff in 2014-15, with more than 2300 jobs set to be slashed. Photo: Louie DouvisFederal budget 2014: full coveragePublic service news: full coverage
Nanjing Night Net

The federal bureaucracy is poised for its greatest loss of staff since the early years of the Howard government.

However, the Abbott government’s first budget will hit the public service more softly than the Coalition’s rhetoric had suggested, and its staffing cuts are less harsh than those tipped in its mid-year budget review in December.

Civilian government agencies will shed 7336 full-time-equivalent jobs over the coming year, offset by the recruitment of an extra 2744 military personnel.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Public Service Minister Eric Abetz said the cuts would continue in later years, and they expected the public service to shed about 16,500 jobs by July 2017. In opposition, the Coalition had pledged to cut only 12,000 jobs over two years.

”Around 14,500 of these reductions are the result of Labor’s secret, unfunded, across-the-board cuts, which they initiated just before the last election,” the ministers said.

A month before the 2013 election, the Rudd government revealed plans for deep spending cuts across the public service, via a higher ”efficiency dividend” – a 2.25 per cent cut to agencies’ administrative budgets.

The Coalition’s recent independent Commission of Audit strongly criticised this dividend, describing it as ”a particularly blunt instrument to achieve budgetary savings”.

”Rather than make explicit and often difficult decisions about what government should do and the extent of public sector resourcing, an efficiency dividend reduces funding to both areas of high priority and areas of low priority …” the commission found.

However, the government has ignored this advice and increased the dividend even further to 2.5 per cent for the next three years.

Despite stepping up these across-the-board cuts, the Coalition can claim to be a tad less harsh than Labor, at least in the short term: it has set aside an extra $144 million to pay staff wages next financial year compared with the amount in the Rudd government’s last budget update.

The Tax Office will lose the largest number of staff in 2014-15. It is expected to shed more than 2300 full-time jobs, about one in three of the projected losses.

Several portfolios will bear most of the pain: treasury, health, industry and foreign affairs agencies are expected to lose about 10 per cent of their workforces.

The government will also specifically target publicists and communications specialists, saying it will save more than $5 million a year by “moving to more efficient practices for public affairs and internal communications”.

There are a few surprise winners: the bureaucracy’s largest employer – the giant Department of Human Services, which includes Centrelink and Medicare – will gain staff in the coming year.

Mr Cormann and Mr Abetz said the department would be busy implementing the government’s welfare reforms, such as expanding the work-for-the-dole scheme.

The Defence Department and the Defence Materiel Organisation were also tipped to shed thousands of civilian employees, but will together lose just over 400 full-time jobs.

The two ministers also pointed out they had funded the redundancies caused by “Labor’s largely indiscriminate cuts”: separation payouts will reach a record $273 million by the end of June, as a result of most government workplaces retrenching staff this year.

However, very few redundancies have been funded in the years beyond. The government has allocated less than $50 million a year for payouts in the budget’s outlying years, about the same amount set aside by Labor.

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Ryan O’Keefe takes on mantle of Swans mentor

Ryan O’Keefe (right) hasn’t played a senior match for the Swans in a month. Photo: Daniel MunozSydney veteran Ryan O’Keefe is mentoring one of the young midfielders who has put his future in the game in peril.
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Jake Lloyd is among several Swans in the engine room O’Keefe long commanded who appears to have squeezed out the club hero and left him facing his football mortality.

O’Keefe, 33, last played a senior match in the dismal loss to North Melbourne last month. It was his 53rd consecutive game, taking him to 286 – fourth on the Swans’ all-time list. He won the Norm Smith Medal in the victorious 2012 grand final and finished fifth in the best and fairest in 2013. Yet, the gritty left-footer underwent a rapid demise amid a restructuring this season that has left him on the outer in the final year of his contract.

“He still wants to play senior football, of course, and we haven’t ruled him out of playing senior football,” coach John Longmire said. “But hopefully the supporters are also seeing the development of our players. That’s the reality, we need to keep evolving as a team, our structure needs to keep evolving, our personnel needs to keep evolving. We needed to add some more depth and armoury and variation to our midfield.”

Jarrad McVeigh has returned to the centre after filling in for injured defenders last season. Ben McGlynn and Craig Bird are spending more time in midfield, too. Josh Kennedy and Kieren Jack are consistent performers and Luke Parker is consolidating his position.

“And now you’ve got Lloyd and [Harry] Cunningham; they give us something a little bit different,” Longmire said.

“They’ve been playing well. They’ve had really good pre-seasons themselves and they deserve their opportunities. They add something different to our team, which is very important for us.

“It doesn’t mean that Ryan can’t come back in and play and we’re not going to rule him out because we think he can come in and do certain roles.

“But we’ve got some players there who have had some reasonably strong seasons to date and you’ve got to keep evolving as a football team, adding games, and hopefully the supporters can see some of those younger kids coming through and playing good football as well.”

Some of that might be due to O’Keefe’s contributions. His presence in the reserves, Longmire said, had been valuable for the club’s second tier. Apart from “training as hard as he ever has”, the coach said O’Keefe had been spreading his knowledge among the reserves on and off the field.

“His preparation and leadership has been absolutely second to none. He’s been sensational and really important for what we’re about, helping with the development of some of the players coming through. Whether it’s on-field where he can address them or at the breaks or after the games or pre-games, his contribution has been enormous for our younger kids.

“That’s ultimately what we want, the older players helping the younger kids – he’s even Jake Lloyd’s mentor – and to have him doing such a good job at that is a credit to him.”

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Greg Bowden to join Graham Quirk on $60,000 trip

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk. Photo: Michelle SmithA key Brisbane lord mayoral advisor who became embroiled in the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption will take part in a $60,000, ratepayer-funded overseas trip in September.
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Just a month after it was revealed at ICAC that Greg Bowden accepted a $5000 donation from Australian Water Holdings to secure a meeting with former Lord Mayor Campbell Newman in 2007, Brisbane City Council’s civic cabinet has given him the go-ahead to take part in the 11-day business mission.

Mr Bowden accepted the $5000 as head of Forward Brisbane Leadership, the fundraising body that catapulted Mr Newman to the lord mayoralty and Queensland premier’s job.

Now, as Lord Mayor Graham Quirk’s strategy, communication and economic development director, he will accompany Cr Quirk and two council officers on the trip to the Middle East, China and Singapore in September.

The Lord Mayor said he had full confidence in his advisor.

“Mr Bowden had no involvement other than his role at that time as fundraiser, he was the recipient of the cheque,” Cr Quirk said at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“This was Mr Bowden’s only involvement, if there was more, ICAC would have come knocking.

“The moment it became public knowledge, the LNP returned all donations.

“I want to give you an assurance today, Mr Bowden had no involvement, he was recipient of monies in relation to his role at the time as the fundraising director of this organisation and that was his only involvement.”

Forward Brisbane Leadership wound up in 2012.

The $5000 payment was returned in March, seven years after it was made.

The delegation will also consist of 45 Brisbane business leaders and will visit Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Hyderabad and Singapore.

It will be Cr Quirk’s first visit to these cities as Brisbane’s Lord Mayor.

It also emerged at Tuesday’s meeting that civic cabinet has approved a five day trip for deputy mayor Adrian Schrinner to Singapore in June, to attend the fifth annual World Cities Summit.

Defending accusations from Opposition Leader Milton Dick they were “travel junkets”, Cr Quirk said they were necessary to establish economic relationships for Brisbane.

“Today cities are much more, much more than simply roads, rates and rubbish,” he said.

“They are about economic powerhouses becoming more and more relevant as the drivers of economic activity.”

Last year’s Lord Mayor’s business mission generated $230 million in investment in the city, Cr Quirk said.

“My job is to stay focused, to try in difficult times to get some doors opened for this city,” he said.

“With Asia it’s about the creation and development of relationships and I’m committed to that.

“I don’t care what criticism comes in relation to that because I know what I am doing is right, it is right for the businesses of this city, for the point of growth of this city and I will continue to stay committed to the job I have as Lord Mayor of Brisbane.”

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NRL: Round 10 teams

Rabbitohs v Storm
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Friday May 16, 7:40pm, ANZ Stadium

Rabbitohs: 1. Greg Inglis 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dylan Walker 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. David Tyrrell 11. Kyle Turner 12. Ben Te’o 13. Sam Burgess. Interchange: 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Jason Clark 16. Chris McQueen 17. Luke Burgess 18. Joel Reddy 19. Ben Lowe

Storm: 1.Billy Slater 2. Sisa Waqa 3. Will Chambers 4. Kurt Mann 5. Young Tonumaipea 6. Joel Romelo 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Bryan Norrie 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe. Interchange: 14. Kenny Bromwich 15. Tohu Harris 16. Dayne Weston 17. George RoseBroncos v Titans

Friday May 16, 7:40pm, Suncorp Stadium

Broncos: 1. Ben Barba 2. Daniel Vidot 3. Jack Reed 4. Justin Hodges 5. Dale Copley 6. Josh Hoffman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Alex Glenn 12. Corey Parker 13. Matt Gillett. Interchange: 14. David Hala 15. Ben Hannant 16. Corey Oates 17. Todd Lowrie 18. Jake Granville

Titans: 1. David Mead 2. Kevin Gordon 3. William Zillman 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Anthony Don 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Albert Kelly 8. Luke Douglas 9. Beau Falloon 10. Nate Myles 11. Mark Minichiello 12. Dave Taylor 13. Ashley Harrison. Interchange: 14. Matt White 15. Luke Bailey 16. Cody Nelson 17. Paul Carter 18. Mark IoaneEels v Dragons

Saturday May 17, 3pm, Pirtek Stadium

Eels: 1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Semi Radradra 3. Will Hopoate 4. Willie Tonga 5. Ken Sio 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Tim Mannah 9. Nathan Peats 10. Darcy Lussick 11. David Gower 12. Manu Ma’u 13. Joseph Paulo. Interchange: 14. Pauli Pauli 15. Peni Terepo 16. Junior Paulo 17. Mitch Allgood

Dragons: 1.Josh Dugan 2. Brett Morris 3. Joel Thompson 4. Gerard Beale 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Sam Williams 8. Tyson Frizell 9. Mitch Rein 10. Leeson Ah Mau 11. Bronson Harrison 12. Ben Creagh 13. Trent Merrin. Interchange: 14. Jack Stockwell 15. Dan Hunt 16. Jack De Belin 17. Will MatthewsSharks v TigersSaturday May 17, 5:30pm, Remondis Stadium

Sharks: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Beau Ryan 6. Luke Lewis 7. Jeff Robson 8. Sam Tagataese 9. John Morris 10. Bryce Gibbs 11. Anthony Tupou 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen. Interchange: 14. Isaac De Gois 15. Chris Heighington 16. Tinirau Arona  17. Siosaia Vave 18. Michael Lichaa 19. David Fifita 20. Jonathan Wright

Tigers: 1. Kurtis Rowe 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Tim Simona 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Pat Richards 6. Braith Anasta 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah 10. Keith Galloway 11. Cory Paterson 12. Bodene Thompson 13. Adam Blair. Interchange: 14. Martin Taupau 15. Ava Seumanufagai 16. Blake Austin 17.  Sauaso SueCowboys v RoostersSaturday May 17, 7:30pm, 1300 Smiles Stadium

Cowboys: 1. Michael Morgan 2. Matthew Wright 3. Brent Tate 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Johnathan Thurston 7. Ray Thompson 8. Matthew Scott 9. Rory Kostjasyn 10. James Tamou 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Jason Taumalolo 13. Tariq Sims. Interchange: 14. Cameron King 15. Ethan Lowe 16. Ashton Sims 17. Scott Bolton 18. Glenn Hall

Roosters: 1.Anthony Minichiello 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 6. Sonny Bill Williams 7. James Maloney 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Sam Moa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Aidan Guerra. Interchange: 14. Daniel Mortimer 15. Frank-Paul Nuuausala 16. Isaac Liu 17. Dylan Napa 18. Samisoni LangiRaiders v PanthersSunday May 18, 2pm, GIO Stadium

Raiders: 1. Anthony Milford 2. Reece Robinson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Jack Wighton 5. Mosese Pangai 6. Terry Campese 7. Josh McCrone 8. David Shillington 9. Glen Buttriss 10. Brett White 11. Josh Papalii 12. Jarrad Kennedy 13. Shaun Fensom. Interchange: 14. Matt McIlwrick 15. Joel Edwards 16. Paul Vaughan 17. Dane Tilse 18. Mitch Cornish 19. Shannon Boyd 20. Kyle O’Donnell 21. Sami Sauiluma

Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Jamal Idris 5. Dacid Simmons 6. Jamie Soward 7. Peter Wallace 8. Sam McKendry 9. James Segeyaro 10. Brent Kite 11. Sika Manu 12. Tyrone Peachey 13. Adam Docker. Interchange: 14. Matt Robinson 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Isaah Yeo 17. Tim Grant

 Bulldogs v WarriorsSunday May 18,  4pm (Sydney time), Waikato Stadium

Bulldogs: 1. Sam Perrett 2. Mitch Brown 3. Josh Morris 4. Tim Lafai 5. Chase Stanley 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Aidan Tolman 9. Michael Ennis 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Tony Williams 13. Greg Eastwood. Interchange: 14. Dale Finucane 16. Tim Browne 17. David Klemmer  24. Sam Kasiano 19. Moses Mbye

Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins 2. Ngani Laumape 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Ben Henry 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Chad Townsend 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Suaia Matagi 9. Nathan Friend 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Jayson Bukuya 12. Ben Matulino 13. Simon Mannering. Interchange: 14. Feleti Mateo 15. Sebastine Ikahihifo 16. Sione Lousi 17. Kevin Locke 20. Charlie Gubb

 Sea Eagles v KnightsMonday May 19, 7pm, Brookvale Stadium

Sea Eagles: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Peta Hiku 4. Steve Matai 5. David Williams 6. Jack Littlejohn 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Starling 9. Matt Ballin 10. Brenton Lawrence 11. Anthony Watmough 12. Justin Horo 13. Jamie Buhrer. Interchange: 14. James Hasson 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Jesse Sene-Lefao 17. Jason King 18. Tom Symonds

Knights: 1. Darius Boyd 2. James McManus 3. Dane Gagai 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. David Fa’alogo 9. Kurt Gidley 10. Kade Snowden 11. Beau Scott 12. Robbie Rochow 13. Adam Cuthbertson. Interchange: 14. Adam Clydsdale 15. Chris Houston 17. Willie Mason 18. Korbin Sims 19. Joseph Tapine

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New Miners recruit returns to familiar territory

ON THE COURT: Ballarat Miners’ new recruit Nathan Sobey during his first training session on Tuesday night. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORDTHERE is some familiarity for Ballarat Miners recruit Nathan Sobey.
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Plenty is different, too.

The 23-year-old officially joined the GMHBA Miners roster on Tuesday night, suiting up for his first team training session at Damascus College.

Faces are different – he does not know any of his teammates – but the uniform and the Minerdome offer a sense of deja vu. Sobey left the MARS Minerdome as a youth league player for a four-year college career with a NCAA division one college, University of Wyoming, in the United States.

He only arrived back last week, heading for his hometown Warrnambool, and could hardly wait to pull on the Miners’ uniform once more – this time in the South East Australian Basketball League.

“I’m excited … this is a really good experience to keep playing and I’m ready to get on the floor,” Sobey said.

“(College basketball) was awesome and it was great to be there for the full four years.”

How he will fit in a line-up that is in great form is a challenge for Miners head coach David Flint, who said Sobey was a fantastic addition.

At 190 centimetres tall, Sobey adds versatility to the Miners’ roster that has a wealth of point guards and big guys but could use some help, particularly defensively, on a quick No.3 or tall No.2 rival.

Sobey fills a spot vacated by Kris Blicavs, who is on the long-term injury list with a complex back injury.

He will be thrown into a gruelling month for the Miners. They have won their first three of eight matches and are set to resume by facing leading men’s heavyweights Mount Gambier, at home on Saturday night, and Dandenong on the road Sunday.

The following two weekends feature a Canberra-based double and road trip to Albury-Wodonga.

Sobey arrives with strong credentials as an athletic player that delivers plenty of intensity.

He started all 33 games for Wyoming in the 2013-14 season, averaging 9.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists.

Talks with Flint have centred on settling back into Ballarat but training soon ironed the basic on-court stuff out.

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Newcastle Next:Where will the Novocastrians play?

1870s to 1900s sandunes filled as city dump.Newcastle Next: Archive and entries
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Or turning weakness into strength as a means of sustainability.

When Newcastle beach was the cities rubbish tip (around 1870-1898) an international group of pantomime artists scolded council for allowing a natural asset to be used in such a way. They said elsewhere in the world beaches are put to healthy community use.

South Newcastle Beach is a legacy of many types of human use and is observably geologically unstable. Yet it remains a prized public recreation attractor.

Both Newcastle and South Newcastle Beaches have in the past contributed greatly to the recreational culture that is some essentially Newcastle and the Hunter region. Yet unless a funding mechanism which doesn’t drain the public purse is explored it is likely South Newcastle and parts of King Edward Park will no longer be able to play that current and historic role.

Without diminishing the public spaces, in fact by securing them it is possible to adopt a European approach to utilizing the currently crumbling cliff tops and face by engineering a sustainable structure. With open spaces top and bottom and ocean view real estate within that sandwich. Potentially a massive project, yet one which would remove the burden of ongoing public expenditure while enhancing public recreation spaces, and removing the current safety problems.

A radical idea, perhaps? Yet one which could be dealing with future sea level challenges, building a world class surf break and crumbling cliff faces all in one; and in a self funding model.

World’s best surfing attraction can be created (by reverse engineering the underwater rock platforms) along with the benefits of the real estate returns (99 year leases?) to ensure that tourism has a major coastal attractant for the Hunter.

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Budget 2014: $5 million cardiac lab delivered

File picTHE federal government has delivered on its election promises to Indi and Farrer, including funding for the $5 million Border cardiac laboratory.
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While Liberal MP for Farrer Sussan Ley welcomed the budget as fair, Indi independent Cathy McGowan was concerned about the $7 GP co-payment and changes towelfare.

Ms McGowan said the budget showed strong financial management, but stopped short of endorsing it.

She said she would consult constituents before her formal budget response in Parliament in three weeks’ time.

The cardiac catheter lab was the big-ticket election promise for both electorates secured by Ms Ley and former Liberal MP for Indi Sophie Mirabella.

Funding was also confirmed for the Albury-Wod­onga headspace centre for youth mental health, as part of $14.9 million over four years for 10 sites nationwide.

Ms Ley said she expected the Border headspace could open by December.

“I’ve already had the team in to Albury and they’ve given feedback on what we need,” she said.

“Gateway Health is the lead agency to implement it, but the money is there for them to do that.”

On-going funding for the $70 million Border cancer centre was alsore-confirmed.

In Indi, $150,000 promised for a Bright hospital up-grade feasibility study appears to have been raised to $200,000.

Funds of $1.2 million to improve roads in Indigo and $50,000 for CCTV cameras in Myrtleford — both promised by Mrs Mirabella — were also confirmed.

“People were worried that we were going to get punished (for defeating Mrs Mirabella), but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Ms McGowan said.

She was also pleased $100 million had been committed to fix mobile phone blackspots, but feared the GP co-payment would damage the health system, particularly public hospitals.

Ms McGowan said she was concerned about the re-introducing work-for-the-dole and restricting young people’s access to Newstart, given Indi already had high youth unemployment and too few education opportunities.

“I’m going to undertake electorate-wide consultation on this,” she said.

“We’ll be out there asking what the major issues in the budget are forpeople,” she said.“I’ll reserve my judgment until I hear people’s opinion.”

Asked how she would pitch the budget to Farrer constituents, Ms Ley said: “Overwhelmingly it’s a fair budget”.

“For the good of the country, this budget is necessary and I believe everyone equally and fairly shares the pain.”

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