July, 2019

The week in pictures: Photos

The week in pictures: Photos LAUNCESTON: Legana Presbyterian Care nursing home resident Nella Groves shows off the nude calendar the nursing home has produced. Picture Mark Jesser
Nanjing Night Net

WAGGA: Country singer Grant Luhrs dears up for the Country By the Lagoon concert. Photo Les Smith

LAUNCESTON: Storyteller Bert Spinks spins a yarn inside Saint John Craft Beer Bar. Picture Scott Gelston

FORSTER: Buster is obsessed with his ball. Photo by Kath Majewski

FORSTER: Lightning over Bennetts Head on Monday. Photo by Merryl Kemp

PORT ELLIOT: Four-year-old Huxley Golder welcomes the new pedestrian crossing in Port Elliot, near the site where a local toddler was killed at Easter 2012. Photo Anthony Caggiano

REDLAND CITY: Dry weather brings out magnificent blooms in city streets. Picture Chris McCormack

REDLAND CITY: Local boat builder Aluminium Marine launches its lastest boat built for New Zealand tourist market. Picture Chris McCormack

VICTOR HARBOR: Thousands flocked to Victor Harbor for the annual Schoolies Festival. Photo Ryan Finlay

WAGGA: Australian Army Band Kapooka musicians Russell Hodges and Corporal Justin Kennedy are heading to Gallipoli for the Anzac Day centenary. Photo Les Smith

WAGGA: Bureau of Meteorology Wagga’s acting officer Robbie Lennard and technical officer Nigel Smedley show off the bureau’s new 2015 weather calendars. Photo Les Smith

WAGGA: Sunrise Rotary’s Dennis Blackett is merry and bright as he checks out a Christmas tree, for sale just in time for the festive season. Photo Michael Frogley

WAGGA: WIRES volunteers have been caring for fruit bats. Photo Michael Frogley

WHYALLA: Whyalla Leisure Centre has received a $320,000 Regional Development Australia Fund. Pictured was Minister for Regional Development Geoff Brock visiting Whyalla Leisure Centre. Photo Kayleigh Bruce

YANKALILLA: Author Angela Goode was the guest speaker at the opening of the new Yankalilla Library. Photo Alice Dempster.

ROXBY DOWNS: Wade Hooper is no mug when it comes to golf courses, after all he started playing the game at 10 years of age. He is the new superintendent of the Roxby Downs Golf Course and Town Oval. Photo Jack McGuire

PORT LINCOLN: Fresh Fish Place owner Craig McCathie and staff members Debra Harder, Rhiannon Osborn and Kelly Ridgway showed off some of the fresh local seafood that is getting popular heading in to Christmas.

BATEMANS BAY: Detectives Andy Tyler, Peter Gillett, Simon Davies and Bredan Lee flaunt their Movember creations.

ULLADULLA: Craig Smith (left) has sold Milton District Meats and the operation will be run by general manager Frank Schnoor and CEO Leisa Perfect on behalf of the new owner who has plans to expand the business and export meat to Asia.

EDEN: Eden Marine High School graduate Harrison Warne’s photo of a Gippsland Water Dragon has taken out second prize in the Ecological Society of Australia photography competition.

KIAMA: Kiama Preschool director Maria Whitcher with Molly Peseta, Coby Rogers, Jack Norris, Ruby Gallagher, Lindy Verryt and Isabelle Fredericks. The preschool recently received achieved high honours as part of a national assessment system. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

NOWRA: No one was seriously injured when this car ploughed into a house in Bomaderry last Friday. It was the second time in as many days that a car had lost control and collided with a building.

WYNDHAM: Students from Wyndham School of Dance will perform ‘Mary Poppins Comes to Wyndham’ in a special show to mark the school’s 20th birthday next month.

TAMWORTH: Tamworth’s Chloe Morris, 6, and Ella Jones, 5, show off their gap-toothed grins. Photo: Barry Smith

BATHURST: Such are the rapidly deteriorating seasonal conditions that David Suttor from historic ‘Brucedale’ on the Sofala Road has just terminated a 250-acre wheat crop. He’s opted out of waiting until harvest and made round bales of hay.

ORANGE: White Ribbon Day was the catalyst for Orange to reflect on its poor record of domestic violence, which is more than double the state average.

BATHURST: Cherry orchardist Russ McCarthy says recent warm, dry weather has ensured a bumper crop of cherries this year. He is among local stone fruit growers revelling in good growing conditions. Photo PHILL MURRAY

MUDGEE: Tyla James doing his best to escape Sunday’s extreme heat by going for a dip. Photo: COL BOYD

DUBBO: Women spent two days at the weekend learning how to mentally and physically prepare themselves for a bush fire at the Women with Flair workshops. Pictured is Sharon Balmer using a portable pump while Helena Patriarca, Ani Langbien, Heidy Steppat, Sue Lomax, Alison Oliven and Ann Myes supervise. Photo: GREG KEEN.

DUBBO: It is exactly 11 weeks today since Kibibi was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo and the hippo calf is growing in both confidence and size. Photo GREG KEEN

WELLINGTON: Wellington Public School students tie their balloons and pledges to the fence at school during White Ribbon Day.

WOLLONGONG: The 10th i98 Camp Quality Convoy. Photo Christopher Chan

NEWCASTLE: The long wait for Skywhale resulted in a short appearance in the skies by the $300,000 art work. Photo Simone De Peak.

NEWCASTLE: Eric Platt of Newcastle soaking up the rays at Bar Beach. Photo Simone De Peak

NEWCASTLE: NBN Newsreader Mike Ribbard is retiring from the NBN News. Photo Phil Hearne

NEWCASTLE: TAFE Final Year Graduates of Advanced Diploma in Industrial Design Samantha Wigman (left) and Peter Hunt with a lamp by Vera Brack, a TAFE 1st Year Advanced Diploma in Industrial Design student. Students putting together their best work on display at The Edwards.

NEWCASTLE: Storm rolls in over Newcastle. Photo Ryan Osland.

MACKSVILLE: Macksville Public School mourns the passing of Phillip Hughes.

PORT MACQUARIE: Some of the talented dancers from Port Macquarie High School who will perform in Schools Spectacular this Friday and Saturday – back from left, Molly Cassidy, Jamie Roberts, Amelia Pitt, centre, Shannon Beck, Lani Webber and Tia Tyler, front Denika Bendt. Absent – Sarah Bisco, Emma Piper, Morgan George, Tanish Palmer and Sasha Langdon.

WARRNAMBOOL: Hopkins river was a great place to be last Sunday.Pictured is Matt Primmer and Julian Bellamy. Photo Damian White

WARRNAMBOOL: Brauer College Christmas Gala Market held at the school hall. Student Sarah Hancocks 14 selling her xmas wreaths. Photo Damian White.

CUDGEE: Cudgee Primary School held a Night Market on Friday. Pictured L-R 11 yr old Jarren Maddocks, 6 yr old Audrey Moore and 11 yr old Kalin Jans. Photo Leanne Pickett


Banks may need to set aside rainy-day capital

‘System robust’: Financial Systems Inquiry chairman David Murray. Photo: Nic WalkerA year ago when Joe Hockey appointed David Murray to lead a “root and branch” review of the financial system for the first time in 16 years, he raised the risk that governments always take on when they launch an inquiry without knowing where it will lead.
Nanjing Night Net

The Wallis report in 1996 had resulted in financial system architecture that worked: a specialist bank and insurance regulator, APRA, a specialist companies and markets regulator, ASIC, and a central bank that acted as the gatekeeper of the financial system and the economy.

Wallis wasn’t the only thing Australia had going for it during the 2007-09 global crisis. The government entered it with relatively low balance-sheet gearing, for example. Australia’s large stock of variable rate loans also allowed Reserve Bank interest rate cuts to flow into the economy quickly, something that did not occur in the United States, where a much larger stock of debt is fixed rate.

The consensus not just in Australia but around the world was, however, that Wallis passed the global-crisis stress test successfully, to the point where it became an exemplar.

There was no serious appetite for it to be dumped, and sighs of relief last July when the Murray inquiry’s interim report concluded that Australia’s regulatory architecture could be renovated and improved, but was at its heart “robust and effective”.

The Murray inquiry’s final report is expected to be released by the government on Sunday week, December 7, and the big banks expect it to recommend that they underpin their home lending books with more balance-sheet capital, to reflect the growing share of home loans on their lending books, the growing share of loans to investors in their home loan portfolios, and the risks they face if housing prices turn down sharply.

The banks have been fighting a rearguard action against the recommendation, which was foreshadowed in the interim report.

The household debt-to-income ratio had declined since the global crisis,  home loan repayments as a percentage of household income had fallen during the same period to the average since 1980, and sub-prime home loans that peaked at 14 per cent of total home lending in the United States before the global crisis got to only about 1 per cent in Australia, Westpac said in its response to the interim report, for example.

Large-bank non-performing loans were less than 2 per cent of total loans compared with more than 3 per cent in the US, almost 6 per cent in the United Kingdom and 8 per cent in the Euro area, it added.

A stress test conducted this year by APRA that assumed a horror scenario – a 4 per cent contraction in economic growth, unemployment of more than 13 per cent and a double-dip slide in house prices of more than 40 per cent – did, however, conclude that the banks could rack up losses of $170 billion during 5 years, about a third of them on home loans. If it took a hit of that magnitude, Australia’s banking system would not be fully functional, APRA’s chairman Wayne Byres said in a speech early this month.

Byres said the regulator was not forecasting that a slump of that ferocity would occur. The stress test was nevertheless “very deliberately designed” to expose vulnerabilities in the banking system, he said. That, and the fact that the banks are still reliant on overseas markets for funding, is likely to persuade Murray that extra “rainy-day” capital should be set aside.

As much as $53 billion could be needed, according to the Fitch credit rating agency. The big banks earn that much among them in about two years, however. Fitch says they are well positioned to raise the money internally, and would be given time by APRA to do so.

If it calls for the banks to build their capital buffers but endorses Wallis’s system architecture, the Murray report will be classed initially at least as being less influential than the Wallis report or the Campbell inquiry in 1979 that lit the fuse on financial deregulation.

What that would mean, however, is that Murray and his colleagues got it right. The system needs fine-tuning rather than a radical overhaul, and there will still be much in the final report worth taking up.

The interim report made it clear that superannuation would be a major focus, and noted that the regulation of superannuation had been focused more heavily on the accumulation phase than the retirement, or drawdown phase.

Some might say this is an obvious conclusion to reach after the examples of adviser misbehaviour and investor losses that have emerged since the global crisis occurred, but the obvious conclusion is in this case the right conclusion, and it will be very interesting to see where it lands.

It is hoped the final report will, for example, recommend that the gearing of self-managed superannuation for property purchases be banned, closing down an opportunity for self-interested alliances between property spruikers, lenders and financial advisers that should never have been allowed to open up.

The interim report also asked for feedback on whether genuinely independent advice needed to be more clearly distinguished, as it is in the UK, where advisers must tell their clients whether they are independent – able to recommend all products – or restricted, and able to recommend only some products. A similar recommendation here would be a body blow to the big banks and their tied planner networks.

It also asked whether ASIC should be given the power to prescribe marketing terminology for complex and risky products and, if necessary, temporarily ban them. ASIC’s equivalent in the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority, already has the power. ASIC wants it, and Murray may well strengthen its arm.

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

McCullum smashes Black Caps’ quickest century

Captain Brendon McCullum’s belligerent record-breaking century put New Zealand on top in the third Test after offspinner Mark Craig’s career-best 7-94 finished off Pakistan for 351 early this morning.
Nanjing Night Net

McCullum smashed New Zealand’s fastest ever Test hundred off 78 balls, and he and Kane Williamson combined for the Kiwis’ biggest second-wicket stand against Pakistan in reaching 249-1 at stumps on the second day to trail by 102 runs.

The skipper was unbeaten on 153 off 145 balls, hitting 17 fours and eight sixes, in a 198-run stand with Williamson, who will resume on 76.

Earlier, Pakistan resumed the day on 281-3 and lost its last seven wickets for just 70 runs in the first session, with Craig claiming the last five.

Play was abandoned on Thursday after the death of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes, and the match was extended by a day.

Pakistan stemmed the flow of runs after tea through offspinner Mohammad Hafeez, limiting New Zealand to 85 runs in 20 overs.

But in the second session, McCullum pulverised the bowlers as the Black Caps racked up 164 runs in 25 overs for the loss of Tom Latham for 13.

McCullum punished fast bowler Mohammad Talha (7-0-62-0), and spinners Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah conceded 130 runs in 20 overs on the flat pitch.

McCullum missed Tim Southee’s New Zealand record of fastest Test half century by just one ball, when he raced to 50 off 30 deliveries by smashing fast bowler Rahat Ali for two successive boundaries.

He took four boundaries in Talha’s penultimate over before tea, and turned Babar around the wicket off the last ball before the interval to complete a magnificent 10th test century, and his first against Pakistan.

Ross Taylor held the previous New Zealand record of an 81-ball hundred, against Australia at Hamilton in 2010.

McCullum’s blitz overshadowed Williamson’s knock, as the right-hander scored his first half century of the series and hit seven fours and six.

Earlier, Hafeez resumed at 178, but missed out on a maiden double century, and was out for 197 before Craig quickly wrapped up the innings in an extended 2 1/2-hour first session due to Friday prayers.

There were no celebrations from New Zealand players because of Hughes’ passing, despite Pakistan losing wickets in quick succession at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

The teams and officials wore black armbands and lined up to observe a minute of silence before play. As another mark of respect, both teams put their caps on the handles of their bats and placed them along the fence near the field entrance. The New Zealanders also penned the initials PH on their shirts below the Silver Fern.

Neither Southee nor Trent Boult bowled a short delivery with Hughes’ death from a bouncer still fresh. The players were visibly sombre, and even McCullum was subdued when he reached his 100, with barely an acknowledgement to his applauding team, and a hug from Williamson.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq couldn’t add to his overnight 38 before he drove at a wide Southee delivery, and was caught behind in the fourth over of the day.

Hafeez dominated the bowlers on the first day with his crisp cuts, pulls and drives, and on the verge of reaching 200 on Friday he pulled legspinner Sodhi and was out at deep midwicket off a top edge.

Hafeez faced 316 balls, hitting 25 fours and three sixes in just over seven hours of flawless batting, but his departure at 311-5 ignited the collapse, as Craig claimed all of the remaining five wickets.

Taylor became the second New Zealander to achieve 100 catches, after former captain Stephen Fleming, when Rahat Ali edged Craig in the slips. Taylor added one more to his tally by having last man Yasir Shah caught at the same position for 25.


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

Motorcyclist dies, another critical after separate crashes

The death of a motorcyclist this morning in Toorak caps off a horrific week on Victoria’s roads.
Nanjing Night Net

The male motorcyclist was killed when he hit the back of a turning truck and then crashed into a car on Toorak Road at 8.40am on Saturday morning.

The motorcyclist died at the scene, but the drivers of both the truck and the car were uninjured.

Police will prepare a report for the coroner.

His death is the second serious accident involving a motorcyclist in a single day.

Five hours earlier, another motorcyclist suffered life threatening injuries after being hit by a Ford sedan on the Princes Highway in Noble Park.

His death is the eighth fatal crash on Victorian roads in just five days prompting renewed pleas by police for motorists to drive safely.

Among the other accidents: On Friday afternoon, in Orbost, a male driver in his 20s was killed and his female passenger flown to the Alfred in a critical condition after a head-on collision with a cattle truck.  In the early hours of Friday morning, a 39-year-old Brighton man died after his car came off the road in Wonthaggi.The day before three people were killed in separate accidents. A 46-year-old Wangaratta woman died when her car hit a grain truck in Rutherglen, a 91-year-old man died in hospital after a car crash in Mount Martha.On Tuesday, a woman in her 60s crashed into a tree in Kanumbra, while on Monday, 57-year-old St Kilda man died after the car he was a passenger in collided with a truck in Springhurst.

Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said: “Each death on our roads is a tragedy and should send a stark reminder to all Victorians to take extra care.”

Since a traffic blitz began on November 14, police have identified over 21,000 traffic offences.

“When more than 7000 people have been caught speeding and more than 900 have been caught driving drunk or on drugs it’s lucky we haven’t had more people killed,” he said.

The state’s road toll sits at 230 for the year, up from 212 in 2013.

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