Wangi RSL jetty falling apart

Wangi jetty in ruins PATCHY: Wangi RSL Club’s treasurer Ross Ahrens on the jetty that he says is in a poor state of repair and is in dire need of replacing for the benefit of the broader community. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

BLOCKED OFF: Part of the Wangi RSL Club jetty that can no longer be used because of damaged and decaying decking. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

BROKEN: A floating concrete finger wharf at the Wangi RSL Club jetty that has been taped off because it is damaged. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Wangi RSL Club treasurer Ross Ahrens on the damaged and decaying jetty. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

Part of the damaged Wangi RSL Club jetty. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

A gap in the decking on the Wangi RSL Club jetty.

Wangi RSL Club treasurer Ross Ahrens on the damaged and decaying jetty. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

TweetFacebookHerald along the jetty, he pointed out it was a walk through damage and decay. Wooden sheets covered gaps in the deck. A walker recently had a plank give way beneath him, Mr Ahrens said. Cleats had been torn from kick rails, and most of thefinger wharves had been blocked off, because they were too dangerous to use. Only a fewboats remained in berths that were deemed usable.

“It’s sad, totally sad, Mr Ahrens said as he surveyed the jetty.

The club has had plans into Lake Macquarie City Councilto extend and upgrade the jetty. The council has given approval for work on the existing jetty, but Mr Ahrens said “it’s gone beyond repair”.

“You’ve got to rip the whole thing out and do it again,” he said.

Wangi RSL is grappling with how to pay for a new jetty. MrAhrens estimatedit would cost between $1 million and$1.2million to build it.Theclub has had some lean years, and it doesn’t have the moneyto replace it, so it has been looking at other funding options. It has considered the possibility of an external developer and manager to lease the facility. Anotheroptionis government funding through the NSWBoating Now program, which the club is applying for.

But Ross Ahrens said under that funding arrangement, the club would have to come up with 25 per cent, or about $250,000. Which is why he has proposed an accompanying option: to sell the land the sailing club occupies.

The sailing club, which has been abase of Olympic gold medallistsNathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen and the venue for many national regattas, has a 99-year ‘peppercorn’ lease with the RSL, with about 73 years to run.Mr Borgert said the sailing club would like to further secure its future by buying the block, if it became available.

“We’d be looking at it favourably,” he said. “We are in a position [to buy], subject to the price.”

The sailing club is also keen to see the RSL’s jetty replaced. The club’s coaching and rescue boat is berthed there, and the jetty’s finger wharf is heavily used during regattas.

“If the RSL didn’t have a jetty, we’d have to put in temporary berthing,” Mr Borgert said.

Although it was the club’s responsibility to maintain the jetty, it was a community asset, Mr Ahrens said. Boats from all over the lake frequently used it to access the nearby shopping area. However, the income from the jetty, by leasing overnight berths, brought in only about $15,000 annually for the club.

“Is there an equivalent for a single club standing alone and doing it all for a community wharf?,” Mr Ahrens asked.

He said the club had asked Lake Macquarie City Council for financial support, “but the answer was they could not justify three wharves in the one area”. There is a jetty on thesouthern shore, at Dobell Park, and another in front ofWangi Workers Club, at the head of the bay.

A spokeswoman for the council said it did not provide funding for the improvement of assets it did not own. However, she said the council had advised Wangi RSL on potential funding opportunitiesand would assist by providing a letter of support for the club’s application to the NSWgovernment.

Julian Borgert argued the council should be more supportive, given how much the general public usedthe RSL jetty.

“They [the council] can sit back and say it’s an asset of the RSL, but it’s not a private marina with security gate access to it,” he said.“We struggle big time to get anything funded [by the council] down here.”

Ross Ahrens said the club would most likely have to close off the main part of the jetty by the end of March.It would also have to spend about $20,000 to repair an adjoining wharf, so that the boating community still had some access to the shore.

“I think it’s a detriment now, more than an asset,” Mr Ahrens said.

Please explain: ABC says Pauline Hanson’s One Nation election night lockout threatens democracy

An ABC journalist is locked out of the One Nation after party tonight and is forced to file his stories from the bowling green.Pic:Tony McDonough . Saturday 11th March 2017 Photo: Tony McDonoughThe ABC has demanded an explanation from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party after its reporters were blocked from attending election celebrations on Saturday, describing the move as an attack on independent media.

ABC reporters were locked out of a West n election night event in Perth, as a controversial preference deal with the Liberal Party and Senator Hanson’s comments on vaccinations and praise for Russian president Vladimir Putin saw One Nation’s message all but drowned out.

Other journalists, including a reporter from Fairfax Media, were allowed to attend the event, prompting ABC editorial director Alan Sunderland to ask why his staff had been singled out.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Sunderland said party officials had claimed all media had been treated appropriately, with a pool camera arrangement for TV crews in place inside the function.

“Other media representatives from a range of organisations attended on the night without any prior arrangements or permission being required,” Mr Sunderland said.

“Those other media representatives, who included broadcasters, agencies and newspaper reporters from inside and outside Western , were granted immediate access to the event.

“The ABC was denied access, and was treated differently to all other media.”

One Nation officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr Sunderland defended the ABC’s coverage during the election campaign, describing it as “accurate, impartial and independent”.

“If the ABC has been denied normal access to political events for simply doing its job, then that is an attack not just on the public broadcaster but on the fundamental role of the media in a democracy,” he said.

“We will continue, as we always have, to report without fear or favour.”

One Nation’s projected vote in the state reached just 4.8 per cent in the lower house, well short of earlier predictions of a 13 per cent vote. Despite the disappointment, Senator Hanson declared the result to be “fantastic” on Monday.

She blamed Labor for spooking voters over the Liberal preference deal.

Labor recorded a landslide win over Colin Barnett’s Liberals, with new premier Mark McGowan expected to be sworn in this week.

On Twitter, One Nation Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts said the ABC’s coverage was unbalanced.

“ABC refuses our party right of reply so we refuse your right of entry,” he said.

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive officer Paul Murphy said in a statement denying the ABC normal access to political events was an attack on the public broadcaster and the role of the media.

“There has been understandable outrage at the Trump administration’s vendetta against CNN, The New York Times and several other outlets in the US, and what happened in Perth on Saturday night shows we must be just as vigilant about press freedom here in .”

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Celebrity Solstice cruises into Newcastle harbourphotos

Celebrity Solstice cruises into the harbour | photos, video INSTA @princesskim88 @celebritycruises arriving into Newcastle Harbour this morning. #celebritysolstice #celebritycruises #cruiseship #newcastlensw

Celebrity Solstice from 2000 feet, sailing out of storm into port. Picture: Tim Bohlsen

Picture: Gordon Laffan

Picture: Gordon Laffan

INSTA @princesskim88 The #celebritysolstice coming to Newcastle past #nobbyslighthouse this morning. @celebritycruises @nobbyslighthouse @newcastlenowbia #newcastlensw #cruiseship #celebritycruises #celebritysolstice #visitnewcastle #newcastlensw #newcastlenow

INSTA @illshootya Celebrity Solstice cruising into Newcastle as dawn breaks #celebritysolstice #newcastlensw #myabcphoto #newcastlelive #newcastlemirage #smartartistpromotions #cruise #cruiseship #nikon #dawn #surfboat #rowing #mynewcastle #australia

INSTA @oceansoulsanctum Harbour view 🚢⚓️ #newcastlensw

INSTA @kmackayphotography The amazing Celebrity Solstice coming into Newcastle this morning! #CelebritySolstice #Newcastle #NewcastleNSW #Newcastlelifestyle #Queenswharfhotel #Cathedral

Ruth and David Johnson of Redhead watch cruise ship The World arrive in Newcastle. Picture by Peter Stoop

Radiance of the Seas in Newcastle on January 14 2015. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Shortland ferry passes Rhapsody of the Seas in Newcastle on February 18 2015. Picture by Phil Hearne

Celebrity Solstice entering the port of Newcastle on March 9 2014: Picture by Darren Pateman

Celebrity Solstice visiting Newcastle in March 2014. Picture by Darren Pateman

The view from inside Celebrity Solstice, which was the biggest cruise ship to visit Newcastle when it arrived in March 2014. Picture by Simone De Peak

The Celebrity Solstice’s main dining hall. Picture by Simone De Peak

Staff water the Lawn Club atop Celebrity Solstice in March 2014. Picture by Simone De Peak

An adults-only solarium aboard the Celebrity Solstice. Picture by Simone De Peak

Onlookers farewell Celebrity Solstice as it leaves Newcastle on March 9 2014. Picture by Eddie O’Reilly

Coal ship Ocean Dragon enters Newcastle harbour, where Radiance of the Seas (top left) is docked on January 14 2015. Picture by Peter Stoop

Celebrity Solstice in Newcastle harbour on its second visit to the city on March 13 2015. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Pacific Sun docked in Carrington in February 2012. Picture by Darren Pateman

Spirit of Adventure leaves Newcastle in December 2011. Picture by Phil Hearne

Spirit of Adventure off Nobbys in December 2011. Picture by Phil Hearne

Pacific Sun leaving Newcastle on October 28 2010. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Arcadia Vale’s Tony Armstrong and Tighes Hill’s Sharon Oakley watch Crystal Serenity coast out of Newcastle in February 2012. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Dawn Princess passes Stockton on March 7 2010. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Lani and Sasha Holz and Gabrielle and Amelie Bourke, all of Merewether, farewell the Seven Seas Mariner on March 27 2009. Picture by Natalie Grono

Onlookers at a cafe outside the cruise terminal on September 8 2010. Picture by Stuart Quinn.

Sun Princess leaves Nobbys on October 18 2009. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

The Pacific Sun off Nobbys in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

Silver Shadow in Port Stephens in 2006. Picture by Kitty Hill

Pacific Sun at Dyke Point shortly before dawn on September 8 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

Kurri Kurri’s Ji Forbes, 7, fishes as the cruise ship Millennium departs in 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Silver Whisper laves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Darren Pateman

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

The Pacific Sun leaves Newcastle harbour on September 8 2010. Picture: Stuart Quinn

Pacific Star passes Nobbys on November 27 2007. Picture by David Wicks

Millennium leaves Newcastle harbour in January 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Sun Princess, as seen from Carrington on October 18 2009. Picture by Kitty Hill

Millennium leaves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

Onlookers watch The World arrive in Newcastle harbour. Picture by Peter Stoop

Cruise ship Mercury arrives. Picture by David Wicks

Pacific Star visits Newcastle in 2007. Picture by David Wicks

Cruise ship The World enters Newcastle on September 13 2006. Picture by David Wicks

The World’s captain Daj Saevic on the bridge as The World visits Newcastle in March 2003. Picture by Peter Stoop

Volendam in Newcastle harbour in March 2010. Picture by Anita Jones

The Silver Whisper leaves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Darren Pateman

Silver Shadow in Newcastle harbour on February 19 2004. Picture by Ryan Osland

Rhapsody of the Seas in February 2013. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Pacific Sun sneaks into Newcastle Harbour at dawn in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

The Pacific Sun arrives in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

The Radiance of the Seas leaves Newcastle in October 2013. Picture by Simone De Peak

TweetFacebook Cruising in the harbourThe cruise ship season is well and truly underway in Newcastle harbour.

Everyone’s eyes were on the Celebrity Solstice on Tuesday morning as she cruised in at 8am.

The ship, with nearly 3000 on board, will depart the city at 5pm.

Have a photo of the Celebrity Solstice? Share it with us on Instagram or email [email protected]苏州夜网.au.

‘Claire’ wrongly blamed for ‘paleo pear and banana bread’ line

Senator James Patterson during a meeting with representatives of volunteer firefighters at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 10 October 2016. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Photo: Alex EllinghausenA junior public servant who was mocked for talking about “paleo pear and banana bread” in a widely ridiculed government recruitment ad was wrongly blamed by her boss for inventing the line.
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The Department of Finance video, which was slammed as cringeworthy and atrocious after it went viral earlier this month, features a group of real-life staff members spruiking the exciting benefits of the department’s graduate program.

In one memorable exchange, a young woman named Claire has a chat to colleagues: “Hey guys, I’m just heading downstairs for my paleo pear and banana bread. Would you like to join me?”

Her offer was rebuffed by an older colleague, who said the delicacy was “a little bit fancy for me”.

The jarring line became a symbol of the awkwardly-scripted video, and even became the subject of discussion at a Senate estimates hearing at Parliament House. Liberal senator James Paterson said the line “stood out to me and struck me as perhaps a little trivial” and asked Department of Finance officials for an explanation.

“I understand the reasons you would be doing this, but it seems a bit trivial for a serious agency of government … to be joking about paleo pear and banana bread,” he said.

David Fredericks, a deputy secretary of the department who also makes a wooden cameo in the video, jumped in.

“I can tell you a small back story on that,” he offered.

“That was a change made in the script at the time of the filming. It was actually made at the request of the graduate. It was basically accepted because we took the view, and I think the agency took the view, that we are possibly not the best people to know and understand how best to communicate to a young generation of graduates. So this graduate, with a bit of innovation, wanted to change the script.”

Senator Paterson responded: “Right. So you are exonerating the agency for having written that line?”

Mr Fredericks replied “yes”.

But Claire never asked for the line to be included and Fairfax Media understands Mr Frederick’s claim did not go down well inside the department.

He has now written to the Senate committee correcting his evidence, noting he has “since been advised that a member of the production crew suggested this change to the script”.

The cafe inside the department’s plush building doesn’t even have paleo pear and banana bread on its menu.

Government tenders show the Department of Finance is spending $37,400 with ad agency Together Creative, which describes itself as a “famously good creative agency” that develops “head-turning campaigns”. The ad cost $4000 to produce.

A spokesperson for the department declined to say whether Claire had received an apology.

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This working class boy is a changed man

TELL ALL: Jimmy Barnes brings his Working Class Boy show to the Civic Theatre on March 23. Want to win tickets? Enter today’s giveaway. Picture: Stephanie BarnesIt takes a brave man to face his fears. But to bare yourheart and soul and talk publicly about your deepest, darkest secretsin an attempt to help others? That takes real guts.
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Jimmy Barnes made the decision to be that man. And it saved his life.

The much-loved singer’scareer,both as a solo performer and as the lead vocalist of Cold Chisel, has made him oneof the most successful artists inn music history. But all his life Barnes had been battling the demons of his childhood.

Writing Working Class Boy was a form of therapy for Barnes. A sorely needed one at that. This is a man who, over many years, almost drank himself to death in a desperateattempt to forget his past.

“Alot of the issues I hadn’t spoken about to anybody, not even my siblings. I’d tried to block them out,” he tells Weekender.

“They say it’s a memoir but in a way I’ve been running from this shit my whole life.

“The stuff I wasn’t addressing was killing me. That was what had been making me drink myself to death, you know? It was damaging me in so many different ways.”

His Stories & Songs shows, based on the book, are a distinct change of pace.Barnes is joined onstageby children Mahalia and Jackie, and son-in-law Ben Rodgers, and shares the stories and memories that made him the man he is today.

Working Class Boy closed a chapter of his life, opened a new one and uncovered some life-changing footnotes along the way.

“I knew I had to write it. So I sat down and every time I’d write a chapter I’d feel a weight lift off my shoulders,” Barnes says.

“It was great buttowards the end of the book I thought ‘You know what? As soon as I finish it I could tear it up’. Delete it. It had done its job.

“It was only when I finished the book that I realisedthere were probably a lot of people who had been through something similar and hadn’t dealt with it.

“And I knew there werea lot of people still living in themiddle of it. Alot of people living in poverty, a lot of people living with domestic violence, a lot of people living with alcoholism and abuse.

“Iput it out there and thought Icould start a conversation because people really do need to talk about it. Especially domestic violence. I don’t have the solution but it can only help to shine the light on it.”

The story of how James Swan became Jimmy Barnes traces his life from his earliest Glasgow recollections of trauma, alcoholism and violence to the beginnings of Cold Chisel in 1974 when he was 17 and left the family home.

“I don’t blame my parents, you know, for how my life was,” Barnessays.

“I know what they went through. It’s not about blame, it’sabout acknowledging what effect something has had on you, and letting go of that.”

Barnes investigatedall aspects of eachmemory, fromall sides, to discover how the story really panned out.The sometimes painful revelations answered a lot of questions, and joined many dots, for his family.

“It gave them another insight into why I am who I am. For 50 years I was trying to drink myself to death and they couldn’t work out why,” Barnes says.

“It’s been really therapeutic, really cathartic,for my family.

“There has to be a point in life where you break the cycle. My father started to try to do it, my stepfather helped, but I had more opportunity to do it. So I took it.”

Barnes gave up drinking for 10 years and now “drinks a little but not much”.

“From thetime Iwas a young fella until not so long back, whenever I drank it was to get hammered. I didn’t drink for taste. Now instead of a bottle or two I have a sip of whisky,” he says.

“I’m just enjoying life now, you know? I’ve still got issues and problems but I’ve dealt with most of them and it’s opened up the door to deal with the rest of it.”

When asked if these thoughts, feelings and memories could have been expressed by him in song, Barnes pauses.

“You know what? They could be now. But not while I was still blocking them out. The big issues didn’t come out in the lyrics of my songs but the fear and the guilt, the anger and the love –those emotions came out in everything I have sung since the day I started singing.”

And people felt a connection?

“That’s because I was reaching out in those songs. I needed to talk to someone, anyone, and it came out in the way I sang,” Barnes explains.

“Songs can allow you to show that you’re vulnerable, to show that you’re on the edge. Music gives you a lot of avenues to express emotions where you don’t have to talk.

“People think it’s a sign of weakness to show that they’re vulnerable when in fact it becomes a strength. Everything I wrote in this book, it empowered me. Idon’t feel vulnerable any more.”

Jimmy Barnes is at the Civic Theatre on March 23.

Sydney weather: Commuters set for damp journey to work

Commuting is likely to be a damp affair on Wednesday morning, after steady showers settled over Sydney on Tuesday.
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Parts of the city’s west including Baulkham Hills, Prospect and Blacktown copped more than 50mm from 9am to 6pm, causing flash flooding, while Mt Boyce in the Blue Mountains was drenched with 72mm of rain in the same period.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting rain and thunderstorms to linger in Sydney for the rest of the week. Up to 15mm of rain is expected in the city on Wednesday, with conditions expected to improve throughout the day.

Thunderstorms threatened the city on Tuesday morning, with heavy falls earlier in the day over an arc stretching from Gosford in the north around to Blacktown and Penrith in Sydney’s west.

The Bureau of Meteorology cancelled its warning of severe thunderstorms for Sydney and the Hunter regions, but left it in place for northern parts of the state around Narrabri.

The threat in the north remained for large hailstones and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and damaging winds, with locations likely to be affected including Gunnedah, Moree, Walgett, Coonamble and Lightning Ridge.

Jacob Cronje, a senior meteorologist with Weatherzone, said the nature of the weather set-up involving an upper-level cut-off low pressure explained the relatively broad and long-lasting warning from the bureau through much of Tuesday.

“These systems behave in complex way with surface features,” such as moisture streaming in from offshore, Mr Cronje said. “That makes it very difficult to pinpoint the areas of most-persistent rainfall” and storms.

While Observatory Hill had been mostly dry for the past couple of days, the site was forecast to receive 10-25 millimetres of rain by the day’s end.

Some of the heaviest falls on Tuesday were Horsley Park, with 47 mm and Badgerys Creek with 41 mm.

John Keeble, a resident of Bilpin in the Blue Mountains, said his spot had collected 122 mm of rain since 7 am, and was the “heaviest rain I’ve ever seen up here”.

“We also don’t have any power at the moment, I’m running on [a] generator,” Mr Keeble said. “Maybe the lightning this morning knocked something out.

Showers should be a feature of every day until at least next Monday, the bureau said, with Friday’s 10-25 mm looking likely to be the wettest at this point.

Weatherzone: Sydney radar

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

The true meaning of music is blowing in the wind, says this one man bandVIDEOS

The word “troubadour” has become a common, and dare I say it cliche, way to describe musicians doing what musicians tend to do –travel from place to place to share their stories.
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UNIQUE: Singer and songwriter Archer does things his way. He plays in Maitland and Newcastle later this month.

Archer, however, is the real deal. This “old-time sing-song man”, as he is described, has no fixed address and tends to do whathe pleases until he decides it’s time to record a song or play a gig.

When Weekender calls on the eve of the release of his latest single, he is somewhere in regional Victoria where he has been working on a farm, doing odd jobs. Mobile phone reception is sketchy so Archer sprints down the street to find a “sweet spot”.

This is a man who jumps on and off the grid when it pleases him, and one gets the feeling he is more comfortable off than on.

“I can’t spend all day with a phone up my butt, it becomes uncomfortable. Especiallythose modern ones – they’re huge,” he says.

“We’re all following some peculiar course to the grim end, that’s for sure.”

When I make a reference to the Terminator movies, where machines take over the world, he is stumped for a moment. Archer doesn’t spend a lot of time watching television.

“Oh, you mean the one withthe robots? Yeah, oh definitely,” he replies.

“It’s only a matter of time.But maybe the robots will do a better job, you know?”

For a modern-day drifterArcher has played in some impressive venues –andin esteemed company. He has toured Canada, and New Zealand and shared the stage with the likes of Martha Wainwright and C.W. Stoneking.

His music is grounded in blues but is uniquely his own. And he doesn’t care much for trends or expectations. He just does what he does. Writes what he sees and feels.

Archer’s latest single, My Little Sweet Aussie Sweetheart, is a coverofMike O’Malley’s little-known original ballad from the 1950s.It’s a deceptively simple but timeless love song that suits Archer’s haunting voice.The track was engineered byAlex Bennett (C.W. Stoneking) and recorded straight to tape, resulting in that lo-fi feel.

ArcherMy Little Sweet Aussie Sweetheart – Archer“I visited my mate Kenny Joe Blake and his son was singing the songa lot and I guess it just got in my head,” Archers explains, typically understated.

“But there is somethingabout it. I feel like it’s a beautiful song so I thought I’d record it. It’s going to be good to hit the road and leave all the chores behind.

“My base changes, you know? I’ve been working on this farm from time to time and I’ve just been in New Zealandfor a month doing a hitchhiking tour with my friendFlora, which was pretty good.Like any country it’s got a natural beauty about it but it has been less humanly dominated.”

Jesus Was A Man – ArcherFor a manwho reveres nature and animals and is scornful of mankind’s obsession with “shiny, plastic things”, Archer is showing a softer side on this national tour and offering free admission to his shows to all women over the age of65. He will also be stopping off at nursing homes and retirement villages for free shows along the way (“The nursing homes are gold mines. Older people have so muchto teach us.”).

Archer’s definition of music and what it means to him borders on the philosophical. In its pure form, he says, it’s “valuable” in a way that material possessions are not.

Garden – Archer“Music is pretty elemental stuff, I think. You can have a human being singing a song or you can have the wind making its way over the plains. I feel like it’s the same thing. Music is everything, really,” he says.

“Iguess it could also be a career or an economic thing but that’s kind of bullshit stuff. You don’t need that much in life. You can’t take it with you when you go.

“I certainly don’t have a lot of concrete ideas about anything because I’m lost, but not in an alarming way. Life is a hard video game to figure out. But no one really has a place they need to be, do they?We’re all kind of stumbling around.Having said that, there’s potential at least. We’ve got potential.

“I don’t live in a world where people are saying you need to do this or that. You’ve just got to carve out your own path. Make yourself happy and maybe make some other people happy on the way.”

Archer will perform at The Grand Junction in Maitland on March 30, and at The Stag & Hunter in Newcastle on March 31. Entry is free.

Give kids a go, says Postecoglou

Adelaide United’s teenage sensation Riley McGree has retained his place in Ange Postecoglou’s squad for the crucial World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and the UAE – an example of selection boldness that the national team coach would like to see replicated by A-League bosses whenever possible.
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The youngster, who only turned 18 last November, avoided the axe as Postecoglou trimmed his party from the provisional 30 he named last week to the 23 who will make the trip to Tehran. That is where the game against Iraq will take place on March 23 before the squad returns to Sydney for the game against the UAE five days later.

If the teenager can get some game time he will join an illustrious group of young internationals, headed by perhaps ‘s greatest star, Harry Kewell, who made his first appearance at 17 years and seven months. McGree would be nine months older if he was given a debut in the next fortnight, a remarkable rise for a midfielder who has only played a handful of games for his struggling A-League club.

And Postecoglou says that if he shows he is good enough, then there is no reason why McGree could not play some part in either of these matches.

“We haven’t had too many teenagers even getting a run these days. I thought he looked exciting from the moment he broke into the team. I like the way he has adjusted playing in an unfamiliar position against some pretty good opponents.

“This is a good time for me to have a look at him,” Postecoglou said on Tuesday morning, stressing he is always keen to bring in anyone he feels ” has got something”.

The national team coach only wishes that A-League managers were a little bolder in their selection choices and put their faith in younger players, who tend to approach the game with less fear and a sense that anything is possible.

“We have waited too long in the past maybe with some of our young players … as an 18 year old he has stepped in and looked the part. He is exciting when he runs with the ball.

“As a young player coming into our league he has already made an impression. From that perspective I would like to have a closer look at him. He’s there to contribute, if he does well at training he could play.”

In an ideal world, says Postecoglou, the A-League would produce half a dozen exciting youngsters every year, although he acknowledges that we live in a far from ideal world.

Coaches the world over are under pressure to get results, however, and there is often a reluctance to blood fresh talent, hence the small numbers of players like McGree coming through the system.

“Part of the excitement of football worldwide is young players breaking through. We haven’t had much of that … maybe in the case of some young players we wait too long.

“If a young players comes in and shows something special I am not going to wait too long to put him in the national team.”

Postecoglou has been adventurous where McGree is concerned, and has also called up Mustafa Amini, a bright talent who had dropped off the radar somewhat when in Germany but has restated his case now he is playing with Aarhus in Denmark.

James Jeggo, once of Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United, is also given a chance to earn his first cap having impressed the coach with his displays in the Austrian league for Sturm Graz.

But he has left out other promising younger players such as Craig Goodwin, now playing in Holland’s Eredivisie, and Awer Mabil, another former Adelaide youngster who is now also playing in Denmark.

They are on standby, along with the other five players left out of the provisional squad – Nathan Burns, Alex Gersbach, Chris Ikonomidis, Ryan Edwards and Matt McKay, the Brisbane Roar veteran.

Including McGree there are six A-League players in the squad – Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Daniel Vukovic (Sydney FC) and Rhys Williams (Perth Glory).

Grant’s selection is due to his excellent season at league leaders Sydney, where his drive and determination from right back has impressed everyone who has seen him play, while Vukovic has also had an excellent campaign back in his home city following his up and down year last season with Melbourne Victory.

Troisi and the often injured Williams are back from the wilderness after figuring prominently earlier in their careers while the evergreen Cahill remains a vital weapon off the bench.

Postecoglou is likely to make several changes between both games, given the timeframe and travel involved, but will look to use Cahill as a pinch hitter should the need arise. He is not too worried that he has not been starting for Melbourne City.

“It’s not the first time we have brought him in with limited game time … its more about the impact he can make in the two games, he has proven that in the past. I don’t expect him to play 90 minutes.”

The squad also includes regulars Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, Mat Ryan, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Robbie Kruse, Trent Sainsbury and Mark Milligan, while Aziz Behich and goalkeeper Mitch Langerak return to the international scene.

“We’ve come up with a good strong squad that has a mix of experience, form and players who are playing regular football,” Postecoglou said. “I was pleased with the collective game time the squad got through over the weekend and come into camp playing well.

“We face two important games in five days and it’s good to welcome back some guys who have been out of the squad for different lengths of time for various reasons and I’m confident the group we’ve selected will be ready to hit the ground running.”

Prices are higher in this suburb but the good stuff is next door

COBURG AFR 080312 PIC JOSH ROBENSTONE AFR FIRST USE ONLY generics, coburg, sydney rd, bell st, strip shopping, retail, pink, traffic, multicultural pic josh robenstone SPECIALX 1111 Photo: Josh RobenstoneCoburg: Can buyers still nab a bargain?Good Food guide: Where to eat in CoburgCoburg North house prices soar
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I love Coburg. Well, actually I don’t, but someone does; they’ve stuck a sticker on their letterbox saying just that. It’s a weird juxtaposition: a McMansion of the late 1970s, taking up all the land with its two storeys of brown brickness, its roof lined with solar panels. But that’s Coburg. Traditional, multicultural, green and loveable for its quirks.

I lived here in the late 1990s. My would-be-housemates advertised the sharehouse as in “Brunswick East” but after I moved in, the letters arriving suggested differently. Brunswick was across Moreland Road, and I’d found myself in Coburg. Then, it seemed miles away from the CBD, and miles away from the “Brunswick” way of thinking.

If I’d bought one of the lovely Cal bungs in that street back then (alas I didn’t have $140,000 to spare at the time) I’d be living the dream now. Coburger and Co, selling “burgers, loaded fries and shakes” would have been around the corner, and a reinvigorated Merri Creek, then a scary place to get lost, would form part of my route for the eight kilometre ride into the city.

But Coburg sits in many Melburnians’ memories for one thing: Pentridge. The jail was the first landmark on the traditional roadtrip to Sydney. You’d motor past those gates, wondering about those living their lives out inside the medieval bluestone walls. I kind of wonder still.

My GPS freaks out when I end up in the Pentridge housing estate, looking for Coburg High School. As I spin around roundabouts avoiding the no through roads it’s telling me to go down, I notice that some of the townhouses aren’t ageing so well. There are acres of fenced off zones that are waiting for something to happen. There’s a cool cafe there though (The Boot Factory), and even burgers (called Pentridge Burgers, no less!) so I’m sure it will all be okay.

One of the unusual things about Coburg is that most of its good stuff (sorry Bell Street, Coburg, you’ve still got a way to go) is in Coburg North. Like the outdoor Coburg Olympic Swimming Pool on the north side of Murray Road (open December 1 until March 31 and not when the temperature is below 24 degrees). Coburg North is home to one of Melbourne’s last drive-ins, the Coburg Drive-In, which triples as a Food Truck Festival (occasionally; the next one is April 12-13), and, each Sunday morning, a trash and treasure market.

Yet, according to Domain Group data, in December 2016, the average house in Coburg North was $100,000 cheaper than Coburg ??? $767,000 vs $870,000. Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson puts this down to better properties.

“Coburg has more buyer buzz and overall better quality properties – it was a prestige suburb in the ’20s and ’30s” says Dr Wilson. Stickybeak down The Avenue or The Grove to see what he means.

Meanwhile, agency Alex Karbon has listed one of the most remarkable sites in Coburg: 10,000 square metres of land at 7-23 Elizabeth Street. What will it become? Who knows. Anything seems possible in Coburg. Six things you didn’t know about CoburgCoburg High School (try Urquhart Street to find it) is educating 550 students this year, but expects over 1000 in 2020. It had a staggered opening in 2007 and started taking the whole gamut of high school kids last year.It’s popular with cyclists. Moreland BUG isn’t some rare insect; it’s the local Bicycle User Group. Cycling initiatives in the ‘burb include the almost decade-old O’Hea Street east-west route where the footpath is for cyclists as well. The death-defying 40-year-old Coburg Velodrome (Coburg North) hosts food truck festivals and cinema nights.The Harold Stevens Athletics Field (Coburg North) hosts extreme running events, including an ultramarathon where runners run around and around the oval for either 24 hours or until they hit 100km. The next one is April 22-23.Coburg has strong ties with East Timor: Ex-First Lady Kirsty Sword Gusmao OAM now lives here, and Wild Timor Coffee, a cafe started by returned soldiers, operates from 282 Sydney Road, Coburg.When Courtney Barnett wrote about looking for a house to buy in Preston (Depreston), she’d actually been traipsing around Coburg.Vance Joy lived here and has been the Coburg Football Club’s No 1 ticket holder since 2015. He played for the Coburg Tigers in 2008 and 2009.

Could Labor break up the big four banks? ALP frontbencher says yes

Labor MP Matt Thistlethwaite has suggested ‘s big four banks could be broken up into smaller entities if the ALP’s proposed royal commission into the sector recommends it.
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But the n Bankers’ Association has warned such a move could undermine international confidence in the banking sector – in particular, in the “too big to fail” big four – and potentially spark a credit crisis.

Mr Thistlethwaite holds the junior frontbench position of assistant to shadow treasurer Chris Bowen and when contacted by Fairfax Media, Mr Bowen failed to rule out such a move, though he chose his language differently to his junior minister.

“Federal Labor had already outlined the sorts of areas a royal commission into the financial services sector would examine,” Mr Bowen said.

“It would then be up to a royal commission to review the body of evidence and call witnesses and ultimately, provide recommendations for a banking system that works for n consumers.”

In an earlier interview on Sky News Mr Thistlethwaite left the door open to the move, which could be politically popular with voters who have seen the big four banks hit by scandal in recent years, and which could potentially see retail banking separated from wealth management and super.

The Turnbull government has opposed a royal commission and has introduced a number of reforms to clean up bank bad behaviour, including regular appearances by bank chief executives in Canberra before a parliamentary committee.

Mr Thistlethwaite was asked: “if you win government – it looks like you’re going to win government, so we’re going to have a royal commission – if that happens, is it possible that Labor might look at legislation to break up the banks?”

The Sydney-based MP responded: “Yeah, there’s a whole host of people who argue that we should break up the retail banking sections, so deposits and mortgages from the wealth management, the insurance that they’ve added on over recent years, and it’s an approach that was taken in the US, it was watered down unfortunately by Bill Clinton.

“It’s something that they’re doing in the UK and there’s calls for it to happen in , that’s something that would be aired and looked at in a Royal Commission, and someone that was independent of government, that was an expert could advise the Government on whether or not…”

“So it would be on the table but it would be a case for the royal commission to delve into the viability of it?” host Peter Van Onselen asked.

“Yeah that’s right, it would certainly come up in the context of a royal commission and would be something that any government would take advice on,” Mr Thistlethwaite replied.

The Labor MP’s comments are not official party policy and a move to break up the big four – Westpac, the ANZ, the National Bank and the Commonwealth Bank – would be a major step that has not previously been canvassed by Labor.

Labor has not released the terms of reference for a banking royal commission, arguing it will do so if it is elected to government and the inquiry goes ahead, though it has released some initial objectives for the inquiry.

ABA chief executive Steven Munchenberg said Mr Thistlethwaite’s comments “reinforce why we are extremely nervous about the risk of a royal commission, should there be another crisis of confidence in the financial system globally”.

“International investors will re-assess the risk of providing funds to at a time of global uncertainty if they see that there is a royal commission looking at possibly breaking up the major banks. That will undoubtedly lead to a higher risk assessment and the prospect that international investors will stop funding ‘s banks and therefore will face a credit crisis.”

Liberal assistant treasury minister Michael Sukkar said Mr Thistlethwaite’s comments were “an extraordinary admission”.

“The four pillars policy has been the cornerstone of our stable banking and financial services industry,” he said.

“That the Labor Party is seeking to use the banking royal commission as a vehicle to break up the banks is frightening for the economy”.

Last May, Mr Bowen said the “vertical integration” of banks was a “serious issue” that would be examined by a potential royal commission into the sector.

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SA backs battery, gas plant under $550m energy plan

20150409: Canberra; AFR: South n Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis. Photo by Sean Davey.20150409_AFR_0310.jpg Photo: Sean DaveySouth has outlined a series of policy measures that are aimed at insulating the state from the recent spate of damaging blackouts as it seeks more secure electricity supplies – sparking immediate criticism that by effectively going it alone, the state could create additional problems for the national energy market.
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A government-owned gas power plant forms the cornerstone of the $550 million plan, which also features a large battery storage project, a second gas power station to be built by the private sector backed by a contract to supply the state government and other measures to encourage the development of additional gas resources and an energy security target for the state.

“We’re taking charge of our energy future,” Premier Jay Weatherill??? said of the series of measures outlined on Tuesday, which include giving additional ministerial powers to direct the market to operate in the interests of South ns.

He also promised that the steps would help to reduce power prices, although this would likely occur once all of the measures were in place.

But the decision to build a $360 million government-owned power plant, to be financed out of the budget surplus without canvassing cheaper alternatives, sparked immediate criticism along with concerns that giving the state energy minister the power to intervene in the national energy market to protect South n interests could prompt other states to do likewise.

“We’re calling for a national solution,” Anthony Penny of Business SA said. “We can’t afford for South to be islanded.

“There is no point in South intervening in a national market and then expecting that national market to work in our favour when it suits us. This will only cause other States to follow a similar isolationist pathway.”

“Governments do have to take leadership decisions,” Neil Greet of Engineers said, “but it has to be done as part of a national transition plan. This needs to be part of an integrated plan that takes us forward.”

Mr Weatherill conceded the proposed new power plant would not be in place by next summer, and that supply pressures could emerge well before then anyway, which could force the government to contract for additional supplies well before year end. As well, the source of gas for this plant has yet to be clarified.

Obtaining sufficient gas supplies at a competitive price has been a stumbling block for private power generators serving the state.

Mr Weatherill said the government is finalising a contract to supply three-quarters of the government’s electricity use from a new supplier to the market, which will build a new power plant. A shortlist of three companies has been compiled, with the final decision due soon.

The various measures outlined should also serve to reduce power prices in the state, he said, without being specific.

“We have expert advice this will reduce the price of electricity, when competitive pressures are returned to the market, which this plan endeavours to achieve,” he said. Battery plant

The battery storage plant is planned to have 100 megawatt capacity, which would make it the largest in . Built and operated by the private sector, the cost has yet to be clarified. A number of groups are vying to win this contract.

Details of the state’s energy policy have emerged just days after Tesla boss Elon Musk offered to save the state from blackouts by installing large-scale battery storage.

“This is a plan that puts control of our energy system back in South n hands,” Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said on Tuesday.

“For too long, South n households and businesses have been at the mercy of private companies seeking to maximise their profits and a national operator that manages our grid from Melbourne and Sydney.”

The new policy comes after a statewide blackout last September when freak storms brought down major transmission lines in the state’s north, with further widespread disruptions in early February when local power generators refused to supply to help avert further blackouts.

On one occasion about 90,000 properties were intentionally blacked out when the n Energy Market Operator (AEMO) ordered load shedding to deal with a lack of adequate supply. On other occasions it has warned of possible supply cuts as demand soared.

Mr Weatherill said the government’s plan would also put downward pressure on electricity prices.

“We’ll get reliable, affordable and clean power and ensure more of the state’s power is sourced, generated and controlled here in South ,” he said. “Our state has built its reputation on a clean, green environment and this plan recognises that clean energy is our future.”

He indicated that the government-owned power plant may not operate at a profit as it will provide some ancillary services to the power market, although by operating it at times of high power prices this could generate income in those periods. ‘Considered and comprehensive’

The n Services Union’s SA and NT branch said the plan would bring an end to the employment insecurity its members in the energy sector had been feeling.

“The government has offered pathways for cleaner technologies to develop, while giving security to workers in gas-fired generation until that pathway is clearer,” branch secretary Joseph Scales said.

AGL Energy, one of the largest power generators in South ,described the new policy as “considered and comprehensive”.

“Increased gas supply is a key way of improving energy competitiveness for South n businesses and households,” it said.

“While national reform of the energy market architecture is urgently required, these South n reforms will address some key issues required for the more cost-effective integration of increasing renewable energy generation.”

with AAP and Reuters

South China’s new energy plan released

The minister said the plan would also create about 650 jobs, although it stopped short of guaranteeing the new gas plant would be up and running by next summer. Photo: Brendan EspositoA $550 million energy plan unveiled by the South n government will aim to improve the reliability of statewide power.
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Premier Jay Weatherill released details of the plan on Tuesday, March 14, saying the goal was delivering “reliable, affordable and clean” power.

The state government expects the plan to create 630 new jobs in South .

South n Power for South ns will ensure more of the State’s power is sourced, generated and controlled in South .

The plan will include:

Building ’s largest battery to store energy from the wind and sun, part of a new Renewable Technology Fund that supports clean, dispatchable and affordable powerBuilding a government-owned 250MW gas-fired power plant to provide emergency back-up power and system stability services for South ns, in the meantime procuring temporary back-up generation if necessaryIntroducing new Ministerial powers to direct the market to operate in the interests of South nsIncentivising increased gas production to ensure more of our State’s gas is sourced and used in South Introducing an Energy Security Target to ensure our power system uses more clean, secure energy generated in South Using the Government’s purchasing power through its own electricity contract to attract a new power generator, increasing competition in the marketThe new gas-fired power plant is budgeted to cost $360 million, $150 million will be committed to the SA Renewable Technology Fund and new PACE grants are worth $24 million.

Commenting on the plan, Mr Weatherill said coal-fired power stations closing across , no “coherent” national energy policy and “ideological attacks on renewable energy” had led tounder-investment in new energy sources.

“The privatisation of our state’s energy assets has placed an enormous amount of power in the hands of a few energy companies,” he said.

“These factors, together, have led to too little competition in our national energy market. It is a market that benefits the owners of the privatised assets, rather than the people and businesses who depend on this essential service.”

Premier Jay Weatherill. Stock photo.

He said the plan’s goal is to make the state more self-reliant.

“Our plan will make our power supply more reliable, put downward pressure on prices and create jobs,”

“In the longer term, South will become more self-reliant for its power supply.

“As a state that has built its reputation on its clean green environment, this plan recognises that clean energy is our future.”

The South n Liberal party hasnot responded to the plan yet.

Visit the SA energy plan website for more details.

Victor Harbor Times

Socceroo Tim Cahill free to face Jets in A-League before Tehran mission

Tim CahillMelbourne City star Tim Cahiil will be available for Saturday’s A-League clash against desperate Newcastle despite being named in the Socceroos squad for a World Cup qualifier next week.
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Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou picked 37-year-old Cahill for crunch games against Iraq in Tehran next Thursday and the UAE in Sydney the following week despite concerns over his fitness and a lack of game time.

The squad will begin assembling in Tehran on Sunday, but Cahill and the other six n-based players will first be on deck for their A-League sides this weekend.

City host a Newcastle side desperate to keep their finals hopes alive.The Jets are eighth on22 points, three behind sixth-placed Wanderers with five games left. City are third on 33 and in a dogfight with Brisbane (33) and Perth (32) for hosting rights in the first week of the play-offs.

Cahill was an unused substitute against the Mariners in City’s most recent game, came off at half-time in a 3-1 loss to Sydney FC the previous week and played four minutes of a 5-1 victory over Wellington before that.

But Postecoglou, after surveying his paltry attacking options, kept faith with the veteran striker, who has 48 goals in 94 internationals.

Teenage Adelaide United midfielder Riley McGree is part of Postecoglou’s 23-man squad, but Nathan Burns and Alex Gersbach missed out.

Uncapped Sydney FC right back Rhyan Grant and goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, Perth’s Rhys Williams, Melbourne Victory’s James Troisi and Denmark-based Mustafa Amini also survived as Postecoglou trimmed the 30-man preliminary squad.

The others axed were Ryan Edwards, Craig Goodwin, Chris Ikonomidis, Awer Mabil and Matt McKay.

As expected, Switzerland-based striker Tomi Juric is in after further pressing his claim to spearhead ‘s attack with a third goal in as many games for FC Luzern last weekend.

Postecoglou also retained fellow forwards Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse.

On-notice defenders Trent Sainsbury and Brad Smith survived even though they sat on the sidelines yet again for Internazionale and Bournemouth last weekend, while Burns’ latest exclusion from FC Tokyo’s match-day squad added the final nail in his coffin this time.

: Amini, Aziz Behich, Cahill, Milos Degenek, Grant, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, James Jeggo, Juric, Kruse, Mitch Langerak, Leckie, Massimo Luongo, McGree, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Ryan, Sainsbury, Smith, Troisi, Vukovic, Williams, Bailey Wright.