Monthly Archives: March 2019
NO PITSTOP: “This is not a ‘one off’, but will happen every year for at least five years”. The work being done on the foreshore for the Supercars event. Photo: Max Mason-HubersDear Jeff Corbett,
Newcastle East residents are being no more ‘precious’than residents anywhere in the world would be having a motor racing track built outside their front doors (‘Precious in the East End’, Herald 9/9)
We believe motor racing should be on a purpose-built, permanent track and not in anyone’s backyard. InNovember,V8s will race at more than 250kmhthrough the 40kmhstreets of Newcastle East, less than 5 metres from the front doors of 120-year-old terraces and businesses.
Imagine this event taking place though the Rocks precinctin Sydney. Imagine concrete barricades being set up for 20 per cent of the yearin front of cafes and restaurants overlooking Sydney Harbour.“Utter madness,” Sydneysiders would say. They know what’sgood for theirlocal economy.
In Newcastle, however, we seem quite happy with the idea of barricades obscuring the amenity of our prime beachside cafesand popular tourist attractions for up to threemonths every year. We are actually prepared to spend ratepayers’ money to help out Supercars.
More than 113 small business line this circuit. The loss of their amenity for up to three months every year will be considerable. They will suffer from traffic congestion and parking problems and will be unable to operate as usual, both during the event and in the construction period before and after the event. Already many businesses in the East End are reporting 60 per centlosses.
This is not a “one off”,but will happen every year for at least five years. There is no compensation for any of their financial losses.
A bit disruptive you say?Newcastle’s design-winning Foreshore Park has been rendered unrecognisable. Almost 200 trees have been cut down.A road has been built through the heritage listed Coal River Precinct. Another 2 hectares of the Foreshore Park is being concretedto house the two-storey pit stop facilities and concrete laid for grandstands.The rustic, narrow road below Fort Scratchley has been widened into a race track, totally transforming its heritage character and appeal.
Both Nobbys Road and Newcastle’s oldest road, Watt Street, has been dug up in order to remove the water inspection vents from the road to the footpath, to accommodate the race track. Newcastle City Councilhas fundedthis work, despite it being specialised infrastructure only necessary for a motor racing circuit. There’s no doubt council’s budget for this work has blown out.
In the public interest you say? The only financial figures available to test this assumption are thosemade public by Supercars. These have beenshown to be highly exaggerated by auditor-generals in Victoria, Canberra, Sydney, Queensland and Hamilton, New Zealand. The auditor-general in Canberra was scathing in his assessment of the idea that the Supercarsevent ‘showcased’ that city to the world. Canberra city council paid Supercars out -three years into their five-year contract -because of the money they were losing.
Jeff,I urge you to check out the history of Supercars events.Don’t simply rely on their promotional material. Why did it lose so much money in Canberra and Homebush? Why did the Gosford administrator reject the Supercars proposal three weeks before our council enthusiastically endorsed it?
There might be agood story here for a journalist such as yourself to investigate.
Dr Christine Everingham is aconcerned resident of Newcastle’s historic East End
William Tyrrell. Photo: SuppliedSEPTEMBER 12 will forever mark the day William Tyrrell went missing, and three years on there is still no sign of the little boy.
Shortly before 10.30am on Friday, September 12 2014, William, then aged three, was playing in the yard of his grandmother’s home on Benaroon Drive, Kendall, when he disappeared.
Hundreds of local residents and emergency service workers combined to search the rural township, looking in forests, creeks and paddocks for the boy in a search that spanned nine full days.
As a result, police formed the view that William’s disappearance was as a result of human intervention and detectives and analysts from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad established Strike Force Rosann to investigate William’s disappearance.
The Camden Haven State Emergency Service unit controller, and now the Port Macquarie-Hastings local government area local controller Paul Berg, was a part of the initial crew who searched for the first nine days.
He said the experience is one he thinks about almost every day.
“I never thought it would be something this big. When we first got there it was as simple as a child gone missing from a house,” he said.
“It’s important to note that on a job like that, we are a support role for police.
“You do think about it. It’s always on your mind, but so are a lot of jobs that you go to.
A family photo of William Tyrrell, circa 2014.
“I still find myself thinking about it, particularly with the media attention. Coming up to the three year investigation, you kind of can’t get away from it.”
Mr Berg said each event is very different and it affects people in different ways.
“Anything that involves a child is harder to deal with, and that’s the father side of me talking,” he said.
“You think of it a bit like that, and it depends on the circumstances around it.
“The SES has a range of support facilities for our members, and close friends and families always support us. We all support each other (in the emergency services).”
William Tyrrell: missing for three years.
The $1 million rewardOn the second anniversary of the disappearance of William, the NSW Government announced a $1 million reward for information on his whereabouts – the largest reward offered in NSW history.
The lead investigator in the disappearance of William Tyrrell, Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin said at the time that it was very important to dispel the perception that the announcement indicated police had run out of lines of inquiry.
“This is a very proactive investigation, we’ve got numerous lines of inquiry, and we see the reward as another tool to find out what’s happened to William,” Det Ch Insp Jubelin said.
The investigation was the largest in the state with 2,800 reports to Crime Stoppers, a further 196 reports of information direct to the taskforce and 1,078 possible sightings reported at the time of the reward being announced.
The community is still rallying for William with a walk held in Port Macquarie on September 10, 2017, raising awareness and encouraging people to never forget.
Three years on with Detective Chief Inspector Gary JubelinWilliam would be six years old this year, 2017, and to mark the anniversary of William’s disappearance, Det Ch Insp Jubelin outlined some of the ongoing work and the current status of the investigation.
He said Strike Force Rosann investigators remain highly motivated to provide answers to William’s family.
“Our team is mindful of the unresolved grief William’s family is feeling at the moment, and as investigators we are seeking to provide answers above all else,” he said.
“The last 12 months hasn’t been any easier than previous years – we are frustrated that after three years we are not where we want to be – but we are still determined to find out what happened to young William.”
Det Ch Insp Gary JubelinFrom the familyThe foster parents of William released a statement ahead of the third anniversary of his disappearance.
“Where are you William? Where are you our precious little boy? Tomorrow will mark the third anniversary of your abduction and three tragic years of unspeakable heartbreak and endless tears,” the statement said.
“Tomorrow will mark three years without you, three years of not knowing where you are, three years of keeping hope in our hearts that with every new tomorrow will come the day that you’ll be found.
“William, we will never stop loving you. We will never stop looking for you, and until the tomorrow we yearn for comes, we will never give up hope that you will be found and returned home to the arms of your loved ones where you belong.”
From September 11, 2017, the Where’s William Campaign will be rolling out a digital ad campaign featuring the $1 million reward on billboards, in shopping centres and on screens in cafes and offices around .
Police are urging anyone with information about the disappearance of William Tyrrell to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.
Port Macquarie News
Judi Dench, and Ali Fazal pose during a photo call for the film Victoria And Abdul at the 74th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. Photo: Domenico StinellisJust as the fidget spinner seemed to be fizzling out, Dame Judi Dench has jumped on the trend.
While at the Toronto International Film Festival to promote her latest film Victoria and Abdul, in which she plays Queen Victoria, Dench was questioned byUSA Todayabout her hobbies. The 82-year-old actor attempted to steer the conversation towards her desire to constantly expand her vocabulary by learning a new work each day, but was soon interrupted by co-star Ali Fazal who outed Dench as an avid fidget spinner fan.
“She owns a fidget spinner. Judi Dench owns a fidget spinner! It’s the coolest damn thing,” Fazal said.
Though hesitant at first, Dench proved to USA Today’s Andrea Mandell that she’s still keeping up with contemporaries by pulling out her tiny spinner from her eye-glass case and taking it for a spin on camera.
Dench’s press tour for the movie continues to prove that you really are only as young as you let yourself feel.
Just last week Dench’s admissions on still liking intimacy and sex were met with a barrage of headlines around the world. The actor also displayed her discontent about being probed about her retirement plans by BBCBroadcaster John Humphrys for the Radio 4, Best of Today Podcast.
“When are you going to retire?” Humphrys asked, before swiftly adding, “Let me rephrase it, are you???I knew that would be the reaction.”
Dench clapped back saying, “How dare you! What is that word? What is that word retire? Well hopefully not, I don’t know.”
After Humphrys questioned if retirement was ever on the cards, Dench explained, “I hope to do another film before the end of the year and I hope to do another one next year too.”
“And I just hope you know, hope that I’m going to be employed. I just always hope I’m going to be employed.”
In a perfect world, this article would have begun with a quote from the gangster/shrink movie Analyse This, released in 1999. In the event, though, the movie’s rating — due in large part to the ‘salty’ dialogue — leaves little that can be included here without censoring so much of it that it more closely represents morse code.
It stars, you might recall, Billy Crystal as a psychiatrist and Robert De Niro as a mob boss. De Niro, as Paul Vitti, reluctantly asks Crystal’s Dr. Sobel for help. Of course, being Hollywood, all’s well that ends well — and it’s a very funny journey.
Both men are there because they expect to be able to work together — and to both benefit from the process??? notwithstanding some aggression and disagreement along the way. Which, if you’ll excuse the metaphor, is often the relationship between government and investors when it comes to privatisations.
Most people will have a view on privatisations. But, without being unkind, most of those views are couched in an ideological world view. Government either should or shouldn’t own particular types of business, for those people.
Which, I’d submit, is a problem.
But that’s not to say each camp doesn’t have a point. The econocrats and competition-focused types — the Paul Vittis, if you will — believe, with some justification, that the private sector can run businesses much more successfully (read: profitably and with greater efficiency) than government. That’s hard to argue, given falling staff numbers and rising profits in organisations that were previously in government hands.
Those who focus primarily on the social good — let’s evoke the good Dr Sobel — will often argue that government has an important role in the provision of many different services. They would suggest the profit motive in otherwise-privately-owned businesses means that we all pay higher prices for the products and services we use.
Of course, life is not that simple??? or that black and white.
And there are a heap of hits and misses complicating the story. Privatising Commonwealth Bank hasn’t exactly helped the bank meet its regulatory requirements. Or improve competition in the banking sector. But Qantas — and its relatively poor post-float bottom line performance — has probably saved the government from a heap of (potentially costly) issues.
Telstra shareholders are either happy with their lot — if they bought the first tranche and remember to include their dividends — or unhappy if they bought T2 at the height of the dot苏州夜总会招聘 frenzy. But the taxpayer has missed out on the profits made in the meantime??? assuming the company would have made those profits in public hands, without job cuts. Meanwhile unions decry those losses, many consumers complain about services.
From a purely economic perspective, of course, there’s no reason — other than lack of political will — that those organisational changes, including job cuts, couldn’t have been made while the organisations were in public hands. And the buyers — either stock market investors or private equity companies — are only going to buy if they’re getting a good deal. The mythical win-win
In investing, win-win outcomes are very rare — it’s like selling your house. If you get a great price, the buyer overpaid. If she got a bargain, you lose out. So if these floats are — to use the investment banking euphemism –‘successful’ because the share price rises after the listing that’s money that the government left on the table.
Think about Sydney Airport, the nation’s power stations, our state TABs and the ‘poles and wires’ deal in NSW. Add in Medibank Private and QR National (now Aurizon).
Where there were willing buyers, those buyers either got a bargain, or were sold a pup. No-one takes the deal unless they are expecting to make money from it — cash that could have otherwise accrued to government coffers.
I have a deal of sympathy for those arguing for privatisation — most services have improved, capital investments have been made, and in at least a few cases, the risk of ownership belongs in private hands. Would Telstra, as Telecom, have invested sufficiently in mobile spectrum and new technology? Would Qantas have been a millstone around the government’s neck? CBA, despite its troubles, may not have become a market-leading player in technology implementation and discount stockbroking.
And those people — often including me — have a simple, and very reasonable, solution. Ownership is one way to exercise control, but governments have an equally powerful set of tools at their disposal: regulation.
We’ve seen the NBN negotiations where the federal government essentially repossessed the cables, ducts and pits from Telstra. The government controls banking policy on capital requirements and ownership concentration. It can decide how airports, railways and power stations are to be run.
Where the rubber hits the road, though, is governments’ awareness of the need — and willingness — to regulate effectively. Will a government really regulate to hurt a private owner of formerly government-owned assets? And with the budget balance foremost in mind, governments could easily be incentivised to pass regulations that would boost the value of the assets they’re planning to sell.
It’s also tempting to wonder what decisions might have been made differently if government still owned some of those assets, particularly in energy. Would there be as many coal-fired power plants? Would distributed energy (where locally produced and stored energy replaces or augments the main ‘poles and wires’) be further along if there was no government incentive to lease the distribution assets? Foolish takeaway
In a perfect world, ownership by government is a redundant requirement where that same government sets the rules for how a privatised asset is used or a privatised business is run. If you believe — correctly — that the government will do the right thing, the risk probably belongs in private hands, where service provision can be assured.
The real question is whether such regulation is, can and will be enacted to protect the public interest. If a mob boss and a psychiatrist can part as friends, maybe it’s possible??? Or maybe that’s just Hollywood.
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Scott Phillips is the Motley Fool’s director of research. You can follow Scott on Twitter @TMFScottP. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691).
A new combination meningococcal vaccine that protects against four strains of the potentially life-threatening disease can now be given to babies as young as two months old.
The vaccine MENVEO offers immunity for the meningococcal strains A, C, W and Y.
It was approved by the Therapeutics Goods Administration for use in infants from two months old in July.
Its manufacturer GSK had to initially prioritise at risk groups and adolescents but has now increased its stocks to supply pharmacies and GP surgeries with additional doses for infants.
Currently the national immunisation program offers a free vaccine against meningococcal C for 12 month olds.
The new combination vaccine is not subsidised and the cost of the vaccine is likely to vary depending on individual pharmacies and location.
While meningococcal disease was rare, under one-year-olds were at greatest risk and vaccination should be encouraged, infectious diseases expert at Sydney University Professor Robert Booy said.
Under five-year-olds were also at increased risk, with as many as one in 10 children who contract the infection dying of the disease, and roughly one in five could be left with long-term disabilities including brain damage, deafness and limb loss.
“Notifications of meningococcal disease usually peaks in late winter and early spring, so today’s announcement is timely and gives parents a TGA-approved combination ACWY vaccine option to help protect their babies from this potentially devastating condition.”
Overall incidence of invasive meningococcal disease in has decreased since the C vaccine was added to the immunisation schedule.
The number of meningococcal Y and W cases has risen in the past three years by at least 50 per cent, Professor Booy said.
“Protection against multiple strains is important, as the most common strains can change over time,” added Professor Booy.
Meningococcal B is currently the most dominant strain among babies in .
Health authorities have also found the cases of meningococcal W were on the rise, with the NSW government introducing a free vaccine against the strain to all year 11 and 12 students.
The bacterium that causes Meningococcal can infect the blood and membranes around the spinal cord and brain.
Symptoms among infants can include fever, refusing to feed, irritability, tiredness, floppiness, and nausea or vomiting.
If the disease can be fatal if not diagnosed within 24 hours.
The new combination vaccine can also be used in adolescents and adults.