10 questions to ask before you buy an apartment

Generic airbnb, hotel, accomodation, airbnb mobile app. Wednesday 27th July 2016 Photo: Ryan Stuart Photo: Ryan StuartDemand for apartments is still running hot and with more units coming onto the market over the next few years, potential buyers have plenty of choice. But before you sign on the bottom line, make sure you ask yourself the following 10 questions.
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1. What are the ownership costs?

Make sure you find out what the owner’s corporation and other costs will be. Steve Mickenbecker, Canstar’s head of research, product and strategy, says you should be advised of all costs, but you can also request to see the financials and minutes of previous corporation meetings.

“Get a copy of the body corporate minutes going back as far as you can and find out if there are any outstanding legal issues or capital works that might be upcoming, which could be an early warning sign of trouble ahead,” he says.

2. Who is the developer and builder?

Charles + Stuart managing director Andrew Veron says potential buyers need to look at the record of the developer and whether they deliver. “This is a big issue as many people now buy off the plan and the person they buy from is not the person who is developing it,” he says. “You should also ask the same question about the builder. Who is he and does he deliver on time? Some fail miserably with their delivery times.”

Greenland Australia project director Peter O’Meagher is handling a new development in Erskineville called Park Sydney, at 169-175 Mitchell Street, which is being developed by Greenland. “Greenland has an impressive track record globally and a great capacity to deliver,” he says. “Looking at past projects, and Greenland has five current ones in Sydney, is one way to find out about the developer’s history.”

Greenland, the developer behind Park Sydney, has a strong record of success in global developments. Photo: Park Sydney.

3. Who is the strata manager?

Veron says with off-the-plan purchases, ask who the strata manager is and who compiled the strata budget. “Often the agent will give you a figure that does not reflect the operational budget of the building,” he says. “Also in the first year of the plan, the budget is probably going to be 15 per cent less than what it normally is because most of the equipment is under the warranty schedule of the builder and that expires after 12 months.”

4. What’s the parking situation?

Veron says with car spaces at a premium, there will be buyers that don’t end up getting one. “Be aware if you don’t get a space then you do not get the right to a council car-parking permit,” he says. “This information is not always readily disclosed,” he says. “Technically it’s supposed to be advertised in the display suite but I rarely see it.”

5. What developments are being built nearby?

Veron says any future developments in the area need to be checked out. “Find out if you may suffer from a loss of views or amenities,” he says. “Any new work may also involve road closures, so you need to get an understanding of what the effects of any developments will be.”

6. What are the vacancy rates?

A building’s vacancy rate is a good way to gauge whether it is a good financial investment. Photo: Anna Kucera

Vacancy rates are interesting whether you are buying as an owner-occupier or investor, Mickenbecker says. “If buying as an owner-occupier, it will affect your capital gain if vacancy rates are high,” he says. “If you’re an investor and there are high vacancy rates then the market is saying it’s not a building for you. It’s not always easy to get vacancy rate information, but it’s worth a try.”

7. How close is it to public transport?

Access to public transport is important for unit owners, as residents are unlikely to have multiple car-park spaces, O’Meagher says. “Therefore it’s important train and bus stations are nearby,” he says. “Park Sydney is located within easy walking distance of Erskineville and St Peters stations and is also well served by buses.”

8. What local amenities are nearby?

Location, location, location: Park Sydney being just four kilometres from the CBD means it is served by lots of amenities. Photo: Park Sydney

“Location is key, especially a location that offers amenity and access to public transport,” O’Meagher says. “Park Sydney is close to services and only four kilometres to Sydney’s CBD, which is a strong advantage of the site. It’s also close to Sydney Park and to many educational, retail and employment facilities.”

9. What is the quality of the internal fittings and fixtures?

Veron says check what the finishings will look like. “Will the wardrobes have drawers? I’ve seen many that don’t,” he says. “And how many power points will there be. There’s usually never enough.”

O’Meagher says with Park Sydney, Greenland committed to running design competitions for every building. By completion there will be around 1400 apartments across nine residential buildings. “The competition process ensures a high degree of rigour that goes into the design process,” he says. “Purchasers can be confident knowing that the apartment is carefully considered from a design point of view.”

10. Is the building available for Airbnb?

Photo: Ryan Stuart

This is a big question that will only get bigger, says Veron. “If many units are being bought for Airbnb then you want to have this situation clarified before you buy. If you’re an investor it may not worry you, but if you’re an owner-occupier then this will affect your concept of amenity.”

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

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Scott Morrison’s 2017 budget speech in full

Picture: Getty ImagesULTIMATE GUIDE: Everything you need to know from Budget 2017-18AT A GLANCE: How the budget will affect youThank you Mr Speaker, I move that this Bill now be read a second time.
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For many years now, as our economy has gone through major changes, Australians have had to dig deep to keep our economy on the right track.

During this time we have consistently outperformed the top advanced economies in the world.

However, not all Australians have shared in this hard won growth. Many remain frustrated at not getting ahead.

This is especially true in areas where technological change, globalisation and the end of the mining investment boom has had a significant impact.

Small business owners have gone without to keep their businesses open. Australians have taken second jobs, where they can, so bills can be paid.

And it’s been a fair while since most hardworking Australians have had a decent pay rise.

I know this has put real pressure on Australians and on their families. Terribly, this has meant some families have even broken apart.

I believe, though, that we are now moving towards the end of this difficult period.

The signs of an improving global economy are there to see.

There is clearly the potential for better days ahead.

But success cannot be taken for granted. We must be determined to secure our opportunities.

This Budget is about making the right choices to secure the better days ahead.

Our choices are based on the principles of fairness, security and opportunity.

We must choose to focus on growing our economy to secure more and better paying jobs.

We cannot succumb to the laziness that thinks growth will take care of itself.

We must choose to guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on.

We cannot underestimate just how important these services are to people.

We must choose to tackle cost of living pressures for Australians and their families.

We cannot agree with those who say there is nothing that the Government can do.

And we must choose to ensure the Government lives within its means.

Because we cannot pass a burden and forsake our obligations to the next generation.

Mr Speaker, tonight I announce a fair and responsible path back to a balanced budget.

Having exhausted every opportunity to secure savings from our 2014–15 and 2015–16 Budgets, we have decided to reset the Budget by reversing these measures at a cost of $13 billion.

Despite this, I can confirm tonight that the Budget is projected to return to balance in 2020–21 and remain in surplus over the medium term.

The underlying cash balance will improve from a forecast deficit of $29.4billion in 2017–18 to a projected surplus of $7.4billion in 2020–21.

Growth in payments has been restricted to less than 2.0percent peryear.

Since coming to Government we have arrested growth in our debt by more than two-thirds.

Around three quarters of the increase in our debt since 2007-08 has been driven by welfare, health and education spending.

To respect future taxpayers, this everyday spending should be funded from the firstdollar we receive in taxes, not debt.

The Budget papers show, after you take into account the net operating balance, infrastructure grants, and non–cash accounting provisions, the Government will no longer be borrowing to pay for our everyday expenses from 2018-19.

There is now a clear and growing consensus that the global economic outlook is improving.

We have positioned Australia well to take advantage.

At home, we expect real growth to rebound to three percent over the next two years, after a temporary slowing this year, that takes into account Cyclone Debbie.

Household consumption, non-mining business investment and exports are expected to support growth.

Wage growth is expected to increase from around two per cent to above three per cent over the next four years.

Given commodity prices continue to be volatile, we have maintained conservative assumptions.

Mr Speaker, in this Budget, we have chosen to grow our economy to support more and better paying jobs.

For the past year we have been delivering our national economic plan for jobs and growth.

The first phase of our enterprise tax plan is now law. Our export trade deals are bearing fruit, with additional access secured. And our investments in science and innovation and our defence industries are breaking ground.

Tonight we add to this plan.

And we start by backing in small business even further.

Small business owners are out there fighting for growth in their businesses every day. They deserve our respect and support.

Backing up our recently legislated tax cuts, small businesses with a turnover up to $10million will continue to be able to immediately write off expenditure up to $20,000 for a further year.

And we will take further action to reward States and Territories that cut red tape costs for small business.

To support growth we choose to invest in building Australia, rail by rail, runway by runway and road by road.

We will establish the Western Sydney Airport Corporation to build and operate the new Western Sydney airport, creating 20,000 jobs by the early 2030s and 60,000 in the longer term.

We will inject up to $5.3billion in equity over the next ten years into this company.

Earth moving works will commence on the 1800-hectare site in the second half of next year and Western Sydney Airport will be delivered in 2026.

TheSnowy Mountains Schemeis the benchmark for nation building infrastructure.

The Prime Minister has announced our intention to further develop the Snowy Hydro with Snowy 2.0. Tonight we announce our intention to go further.

The Commonwealth is open to acquiring a larger share or outright ownership of Snowy Hydro, from the NSW and Victorian State Governments, subject to some sensible conditions.

First, all funds received by the States would need to be reinvested in priority infrastructure projects.

Second, Snowy Hydro’s obligations under its water licence would be reaffirmed and we would commit to work together to expedite and streamline environmental and planning processes associated with Snowy 2.0, without compromising any standards or controls.

Third, Snowy Hydro would have to remain in public hands.

We have already begun discussions with NSW and invited similar discussions with Victoria.

Tonight, we announce we will deliver $75billion in infrastructure funding and financing over the next ten years.

$844 million will be used to upgrade the Bruce Highway, including $530million for works from Pine Rivers to Caloundra.

In Western Australia we are investing $1.6billion in infrastructure, including funding for better road access to the Fiona Stanley Hospital precinct.

In Victoria, we will make $1billion available for regional rail and other infrastructure projects, including $30 million to develop a business case for a rail link to Tullamarine Airport. A new $500million Victorian regional rail fund will include $100million for the duplication of the Geelong-Waurn Ponds line.

In addition, the Turnbull Government will establish a $10 billion National Rail Programme to deliver rail projects that provide better connections for our cities and regions and create new opportunities to grow our economy.

Projects such as Adelink, Brisbane Metro, Tullamarine Rail link, Cross River Rail in Brisbane, and the Western Sydney Airport Rail link, all have the potential to be supported through this programme, subject to a proven business case.

It is important to invest in infrastructure, but we have to make the right choices on projects, as part of a broader economic growth strategy.

Our new Infrastructure and Projects Financing Agency will help us make those right choices, recruiting people with commercial experience to ensure we use taxpayers’ money wisely.

We must also choose to invest specifically for growth in our regions.

The Productivity Commission recently highlighted that some regional areas have been disconnected from our national growth.

So we will establish a $472 million Regional Growth Fund to back in the plans that regional communities are making to take control of their own economic future. This includes $200million in funding to support a further round of the successful Building Better Regions programme.

In one of the biggest investments ever seen in regional Australia, the Government will fund the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project with $8.4billion in equity to be provided to the Australian Rail Track Corporation. Construction on this 1,700kilometre project will begin in 2017-18 and will support 16,000 jobs at the peak of construction. It will benefit not just Melbourne and Brisbane, but all the regions along its route.

Skilled migration has always played a significant role in driving our economic growth.

But it must be on our terms and we must skill more Australians to secure jobs.

Until now, employers have had to contribute 1 or 2 percent of their payroll to training if they employ foreign workers. These requirements have proven difficult to police.

Accordingly, we are replacing these requirements with an annual foreign worker levy of $1,200 or $1,800 per worker per year on temporary work visas and a $3,000 or $5,000 one-off levy for those on a permanent skilled visa.

Over the next four years, $1.2 billion will be raised from this levy that will contribute directly to a new Commonwealth-StateSkilling Australians Fund.

States and Territories will only be able to draw on this fund when they deliver on their commitments to train new apprentices.

Mr Speaker, in this Budget we have chosen to guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on.

The first duty of a national Government is to keep Australians safe.

In 2020-21, we will meet our commitment to increase defence spending to two per cent of GDP, three years ahead of schedule.

We are supporting our 2,300 Defence force personnel serving overseas.

We are investing over $300million to ensure the AFP can continue to lead the charge against terrorism, organised crime, child exploitation and other crimes.

And we will continue to ensure Operation Sovereign Borders has the resources needed to do its job.

I know that ‘stopping the boats’ was something many said could not be done. What others mocked as a slogan we turned into an outcome.

Every Australian understands the importance of health care.

Tonight, we put to rest any doubts about Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

We are lifting the freeze on the indexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

We are also reversing the removal of the bulk billing incentive for diagnostic imaging and pathology services and the increase in the PBS co-payment and related changes.

The cost of reversing these measures is $2.2 billion over the next four years.

Tonight, I also announce we will legislate to guarantee Medicare and the PBS with aMedicare Guarantee Bill.

This new law will set up aMedicare Guarantee Fundto pay for all expenses on the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Proceeds from the Medicare Levy will be paid into the fund.

An additional contribution from income tax revenue will also be paid into the Medicare Guarantee Fund to make up the difference.

The Bill will provide transparency about what it really costs to run Medicare and the PBS and a clear guarantee on how we pay for it.

$1.2 billion in new medicines will be made available, including for patients with chronic heart failure, funded by an agreement to decrease the cost of medicines for taxpayers.

The Commonwealth will increase hospitals funding by an additional $2.8 billion over four years.

Significantly, we will invest an additional $115 million in mental health, including funding for rural telehealth psychological services, mental health research and to prevent suicide.

We will also invest $1.4 billion in ground-breaking health research over the next fouryears, including $65.9 million this year, to help research into children’s cancer.

All up, our commitments equate to a $10 billion re-investment in Australia’s health care over four years, including the $2.8 billion increase in hospital funding.

They are underpinned by cornerstone partnerships struck by the Health Minister with our doctors, specialists, pharmacists and the medicines sector.

And tonight we have chosen to close the funding gap for our National Disability Insurance Scheme once and for all.

The funding gap is currently $55.7billion over the next ten years. We have previously sought to close this gap with budget savings that we have not been able to get through the Parliament.

To ensure the NDIS is fully funded we will legislate to increase the Medicare Levy by 0.5 percentage points in two years’ time, when the extra bills start coming in.

This will also provide further time to explain to Australians what the NDIS will deliver.

Even if we are not impacted directly, this is all our responsibility.

Our decision to increase the Levy reflects the fact that all Australians have a role to play.

I also announce a commitment of $80 million for Australians with a mental illness such as severe depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia and post-natal depression resulting in a psychosocial disability, including those who had been at risk of losing their services during the transition to the NDIS.

The Turnbull Government will continue to invest record amounts in education.

After reversing proposed savings from the 2014-15 Budget, we will invest $18.6 billion in extra funding to educate our children in all schools over the next ten years.

Our schools funding package delivers a fairer and simpler way to meet our shared commitment to educate each and every child, in accordance with the Gonski needs-based standard.

In addition to the funds provided by the GST to the States, we will meet 20 per cent of the needs-based funding for every student in our public school system and 80 per cent for students in non-government schools by 2027. Funding for each student across all sectors will grow at an average of 4.1 per cent each year.

In Higher Education, we are launching a fairer system, with students asked to pay a bit more for their own education costs. However taxpayers will continue to subsidise more than half the cost of each student’s higher education.

A 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend will be applied to universities for the next two years to ensure taxpayers and students get better value for their investments.

This Budget also delivers important increased support for veterans mental health, protections for children within the family justice system, victims of domestic violence, closing the gap for Indigenous Australians and creating the National Redress Scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

Mr Speaker, in this Budget we have chosen to place downward pressure on rising costs of living.

The Prime Minister’s energy security plan provides reliable and affordable energy for Australians, coping with rising electricity prices.

He is securing access to our gas resources for domestic use. We have set aside around $90 million for this task in this budget.

He is ensuring energy consumers and businesses get a fairer deal, by funding the ACCC to investigate and police competition in retail electricity and gas markets.

The Prime Minister is working to improve energy regulation, with additional funding tonight to improve gas market efficiency and transparency.

He is investing in new generation, transmission and storage capacity. This includes Snowy 2.0, around $37 million to South Australia for new energy infrastructure and funding to prove up gas pipeline proposals to South Australia from Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

And more than $3 billion has already been provided to support new emissions technologies.

To support older Australians we are restoring the pensioner concession card to those impacted by the pension assets test change introduced earlier this year.

As a result, they will regain access to state and territory based concessions that were withdrawn after the change.

And we want customers and taxpayers to get a fairer deal from our banks.

For the system to be fairer, there needs to be greater competition and accountability – now.

In response to the Ramsay Review, we are establishing a simpler, more accessible and more affordable one-stop shop for Australians to resolve their disputes and obtain binding outcomes from the banks and other financial institutions, to be known as theAustralian Financial Complaints Authority.

A newBanking Executive AccountabilityRegime will be introduced, requiring all senior executives to be registered with APRA. If in breach, they can be deregistered and disqualified from holding executive positions, and be stripped of their significant bonuses.

Banks will also be held to account if they try and hide misconduct by executives with new mandatory reporting requirements.

If banks breach misconduct rules, they will also face bigger fines starting at $50 million for small banks and $200 million for large banks.

As recommended by the Coleman Committee, a permanent team will be established within the ACCC to investigate competition in our banking and financial system.

The introduction of an open banking regime in 2018 will give customers greater access to their own data, empowering them to seek out better and cheaper services.

Tonight, I also announce a new six-basis point levy on the big banks’ liabilities, starting on July1.

This represents an additional and fair contribution from our major banks, is similar to measures imposed in other advanced countries, and will even up the playing field for smaller banks.

The levy will only affect our five largest banks with assessed liabilities of $100 billion or more and does not apply to superannuation funds or insurance companies.

Importantly, customer deposits of less than $250,000 and additional capital requirements imposed on the banks by regulatory authorities are excluded from their assessed liabilities.

Unlike the previous bank deposit tax, this is specifically not a levy on pensioners’ and others’ ordinary deposit accounts, nor is it on home loans.

This measure will secure $6.2 billion over the Budget and forward estimates to support budget repair, including the reversal of significant budget savings measures.

We have also chosen to put downward pressure on rising housing costs

If a family or an individual has a roof over their head that they can rely on, then all of life’s other challenges become more manageable.

Whether you are saving to buy a home, spending a high proportion of income on your rent, waiting for subsidised housing, or you’re homeless, this is an important issue to you.

There are no silver bullets to make housing more affordable. But by adopting a comprehensive approach, by working together, by understanding the spectrum of housing needs, we can make a difference.

We will work with the States and Territories and local Governments to get more homes built, because prices are higher where demand is greater than supply.

The Commonwealth will replace the National Affordable Housing Agreement that provides $1.3 billion every year to the States and Territories, with a new set of agreements, with the same funding, requiring the States to deliver on housing supply targets and reform their planning systems.

We will also establish a $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility, based on a UK model, to fund ‘micro’ city deals that remove infrastructure impediments to developing new homes.

An online Commonwealth land registry will be established detailing sites that can be made available for residential development.

In Melbourne, land for a new suburb that could cater for 6,000 new homes will be unlocked just 10km from the CBD, by releasing surplus Defence land at Maribyrnong.

The Turnbull Government will also help deliver tens of thousands of new homes needed in Western Sydney as part of our Western Sydney city deal.

A new National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation will be established by July 1 next year to provide long-term, low-cost finance to support more affordable rental housing. States and Territories will also be encouraged to transfer stock to the community housing sector.

Other measures to address supply include: allowing Managed Investment Trusts to be used to develop and own affordable housing, providing investors in affordable housing with greater income certainty by enabling direct deduction of welfare payments from tenants, and increasing the capital gains tax discount to 60 per cent for investments in affordable housing.

These measures will also support State, Territory and local governments imposing inclusionary zoning requirements on new development sites and provide more vehicles for superannuation funds to invest in affordable housing.

And tonight I announce $375 million for a permanent extension of homelessness funding to the States, with a continued focus on supporting young people and victims of domestic violence.

On the demand side, for those who are trying to save to buy their first home, we will support them by providing a tax cut on their first home deposit savings.

First home buyers will be able to save for a deposit by salary sacrificing into their superannuation account over and above their compulsory superannuation contribution from July 1.

The First Home Super Savers Schemewill attract the tax advantages of superannuation. Contributions and earnings will be taxed at 15 per cent, rather than marginal rates, and withdrawals will be taxed at their marginal rate, less 30 percentage points.

Savers will not have to set up another account, they can just use their existing super account and decide how much of their income they want to put aside to save for their first home deposit.

Contributions will be limited to $30,000 per person in total and $15,000 per year.

Under this plan, most first home savers will be able accelerate their savings by at least 30 per cent.

We will encourage older Australians to free up housing stock, by enabling downsizers over the age of 65 to make a non-concessional contribution of up to $300,000 into their superannuation fund from the proceeds of the sale of their principal home.

And on demand management, we will continue to prefer the scalpel to the chainsaw, to avoid a housing shock.

Mum and dad investors will continue to be able to use negative gearing, supporting the supply of rental housing and placing downward pressure on rents.

Our regulatory agencies will continue to use the flexible and calibrated controls they have available.

And we will legislate to extend APRA’s ability to apply controls to the non-ADI sector and explicitly allow them to differentiate the application of loan controls by location.

Even tougher rules on foreign investment in residential real estate will be introduced, removing the main residence capital gains tax exemption, and tightening compliance.

We will also apply an annual foreign investment levy of at least $5,000 on all future foreign investors who fail to either occupy or lease their property for at least sixmonths each year.

And we will restore the requirement that prevents developers from selling more than 50percent of new developments to foreign investors.

Together, these measures represent a comprehensive package that can make a difference.

Finally Mr Speaker, we have chosen to ensure the Government lives within its means.

We will continue our crackdown on multinationals not paying their fair share of tax.

The ATO has already raised $2.9 billion in tax liabilities this year against a group of just seven large multinational companies, and expects to raise more than $4 billion in total this financial year from large public companies and multinationals.

Tonight we are toughening the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law to extend the rules to structures involving foreign partnerships or trusts and clamping down on aggressive structuring using hybrids.

We will also be introducing new tax integrity measures as recommended by our BlackEconomy Taskforce.

We will continue the fight against serious financial and organised crime by providing the Australian Taxation Office with additional funding to chase and tax the crooks.

From 1 July 2017, the Government will improve the integrity of negative gearing by disallowing deductions for travel expenses and, for properties bought after today, the Government will also limit plant and equipment depreciation deductions to only those expenses directly incurred by investors.

Together all of these measures are estimated to provide a gain to revenue of $2.1billion over the forward estimates.

And we will continue to stop people trying to take an easy ride on our welfare system to protect it for those who need it most.

The best way to get your welfare budget under control is to get Australians off welfare and into work.

We will support young parents to get jobs by expanding the successful ParentsNext programme from 13,000 vulnerable young parents to 68,000 in more than 20 new locations, especially those with high Indigenous populations.

The programme supports young parents, mainly mothers, with child care, pre-employment training, financial literacy and numeracy skills and linking up with other education and training opportunities.

We are also strengthening mutual obligation requirements.

Those who do not meet their responsibilities and either fail to turn up to appointments or take on suitable work will face escalating financial penalties, ranging from reduced to cancelled payments.

We want to support job seekers affected by drug and alcohol abuse, but to protect taxpayers, it has to be a two-way street.

We will no longer accept, as an excuse from repeat offenders, that the reason they could not meet their mutual obligation requirements was because they were drunk or drug-affected.

In addition we will commence a modest drug testing trial for 5,000 new welfare recipients.

JobSeeker recipients who test positive would be placed on the Cashless Debit Card for their welfare payments and be subjected to further tests and possible referral for treatment.

Other welfare measures include: strengthening verification requirements for single parents seeking welfare, a crackdown on those attempting to collect multiple payments, stricter residency rules for new migrants to access Australian pensions, and denying welfare for a disability caused solely by their own substance abuse.


Mr Speaker, this is a responsible Budget.

It sets out a credible and affordable plan, based on the principles of fairness, security and opportunity.

Above all this is an honest Budget.

It is honest about our challenges and opportunities.

It does not pretend to do things with money we do not have.

It does not indulge simplistic solutions to what we know are complex problems.

This is a Budget that makes the right choices for Australians who are working hard to secure the better days ahead for themselves and their families.

That is why this Budget is a plan that can be trusted and supported.

So to be clear, our plan is,

to grow our economy to create more and better paid jobs,to guarantee the essentials that Australians rely on,to reduce cost of living pressures, andto ensure that the government lives within its means.Once again Mr Speaker, I commend our plan, this Budget and this Bill to the House.


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Your primer to the 2017-18 Federal Budget

FULL COVERAGE: All our Budget coverage, in one convenient locationHOUSING: Treasurer assures public relief is at handPOLICE: $321.4m recruitment drive for anti-terrorism specialistsBENEFITS: Pollies’ kids to lose first-class seatsOPINION: Finally, we could have a budget that will dosomethingCARTOONS: The budget as told by cartoonists over the yearsMalcolm Turnbull has promised Tuesday’s budget will be committed to “fairness, opportunity and security”.
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The Prime Minister wants to ensure Australians have the opportunity to get ahead through economic growth that provides a better-paying job, or helps them start and grow a business.

“To realise their dreams,” he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

Mr Turnbull was touring a forensics complex to announce a $321 million boost for the Australian Federal Police’s domestic operations, in a further attempt to beef up national security.

It was the biggest increase in a decade, he said.

Earlier, the Industry Minister, Arthur Sinodinos, announced a $100 million funding package for manufacturing, aimed at Victoria and South Australia which have suffered the brunt of the demise of car-making.

“We are absolutely committed to supporting the Australian manufacturing sector,” Mr Turnbull said.

The Prime Minister, who has just returned from the US after his first face-to- face meeting with President Donald Trump, said increased investment in US manufacturing was down to the prospect of lower taxes and affordable energy.

That’s why he was taking decisive action to ensure Australia had affordable and adequate gas supplies, and why the government was sticking with 10-year plan to cut company taxes.

TAKE THE TEST: Where do you sit in Australia’s wealth divide?INTERACTIVE: How your tax dollars are spentThe Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, continued Labor’s attack over the government’s schools funding plan, arguing it was a $22 billion cut over the next 10 years.

“Why does Malcolm Turnbull choose to give $50 billion in tax cuts to wealthy companies but rips off kids and parents? He has got the wrong priorities,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Meanwhile, the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, received some blunt advice on the eve of his second budget from Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart – cut spending.

The multi-billionaire mining magnate wants reductions in red tape regulations, compliance burdens and tax rates.

“It’s very frustrating that there’s wastage going on and that so little attention, real attention, is given to making ourselves attractive for investment,” she told News Corp.


What to expect in tonight’s budgetUniversities

Students will have to pay up to $3600 more for a four-year university degree and start paying back their loans once their income reaches $42,000. The most expensive degree, medicine over six years, would cost $71,900, up from $68,000. Universities will be subject to a $2.8 billion efficiency dividend.


The government will pump an extra $19 billion into schools over the next decade under a plan labelled ‘Gonski 2.0’. More than 99 per cent of schools will see a year-on-year increase in funding, and on average per-student funding will grow 4.1 per cent a year over a decade. The budget will also include a funding extension for the guarantee of preschool hours for four-year-old children.


The two per cent deficit levy on higher income earners, introduced in 2014, will be removed as legislated. The budget will detail how much the tax office is reaping from measures aimed at combating multinational tax avoidance. The advanced manufacturing sector will get an additional $100 million to cushion the demise of car-making in Victoria and South Australia.


Government to provide $350 million to help defence force veterans battling health conditions.


The government will use “good” debt to finance a range of infrastructure projects. Top of the list is Sydney’s second airport at Badgerys Creek. Government has also agreed to a $2.3 billion road and rail package with Western Australia covering 17 projects. Strong hints of funding for an inland rail freight project linking Melbourne and Brisbane.


Hints the freeze on Medicare rebates that GPs are paid for bulk-billed consultations will end earlier than planned in 2020.


New demerit point system aimed at welfare recipients who persistently dodge their job-seeking obligations. Work dodgers will start losing payments when they reach four points, and when they get to seven points will be stripped of payments for eight weeks.

Electricity prices

Aged pensioners and disability support pensioners will get a one-off payment to help with energy bills this winter. Singles will get $75 and couples $125.


The government has been relatively coy, despite raising expectations of a solution. It has flagged the establishment of a “bond aggregator” as an intermediary to attract greater private sector investment into affordable community housing. As well, there could be incentives to encourage older people to downsize in order to free up family homes. Allowing first home buyers to tap their superannuation for a deposit appears to be a no-go, but a salary-sacrifice style savings account is on the cards.

Urban Rail

#BREAKING The ABC can reveal the Treasurer will tonight announce a multi-billion dollar suburban rail package. #Budget2017

— Jesse Dorsett (@jessedorsett) May 9, 2017

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Where to take Mum to eat this weekend | photos

Where to take Mum to eat this weekend | photos Hooked Restaurant & Grill, Wickham.
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Silo, Honeysuckle.

Barcito, Hamilton

Lizotte’s, Lambton

Rascal, King Street.

Junction Hotel, The Junction

East End Hub, Newcastle East

Zaih’s, a cosy and surprising dining experience in Lovedale, has had a busy life in a short amount of time.

Maryville Tavern, Maryville

The Kiosk, Newcastle beach

Scratchleys on the Wharf

The Cottage, Scone

The Vines Restaurant at Hollydene Estate, Jerrys Plains.

Muse Kitchen, Pokolbin

The Lucky, Newcastle



Apothecary Kitchen

Bank Corner




Bolton Street Pantry

Bonta Vera

Bronx Pizza

The Burwood Inn




customs house





Favourite Chair


Fortunate Son

Fratelli Roma



Grain Store





Hunter’s Quarter


Little House on King


The Lucky



The Landing


Moor, Newcastle

MEET, Honeysuckle

Momo Wholefood Cafe, Newcastle

Muse, Pokolbin

Napoli Centrale, Newcastle

The Old Vic, East Maitland

Parry St Garage, Newcastle West

Paymasters, Newcastle East

The Persian Place, Newcastle

Popup Restaurant, Pokolbin

Portafilter, Mayfield

The Poyer’s, Lemon Tree Passage

Reserve Wine Bar, Newcastle

Restaurant Botanica, Pokolbin

Spice & Lime, Singleton

The Grand Pavilion, Warners Bay

Coal River & Co., Darby St

Esca Bimbadgen, Pokolbin

TweetFacebookRight on trend: Hunter food fadsSimple moments we treasure | reviewsDrinks we like | reviewsFairfax Media’s Weekender diners have put together a list of their top restaurants in the region this year.

Click through the images above for the full list, or click on individual images below for a full review of most of the restaurants.

Silo, Honeysuckle.

Barcito, Hamilton

Lizotte’s, Lambton

Hooked Restaurant & Grill, Wickham

East End Hub, Newcastle East

Junction Hotel, The Junction

Rascal, King Street.

Zaih’s Restaurant, Lovedale

The Kiosk, Newcastle beach

The Cottage, Scone

Scratchleys on the Wharf

Fredeli, Warners Bay

The Galley at The Anchorage, Corlette

Antojitos, Carrington

Apothecary Kitchen, Hamilton

Bank Corner, Newcastle West


Basement, Newcastle

Benjamas, Cooks Hill

Bolton Street Pantry, Newcastle East

Bonta Vera, Minmi

Bronx Pizza, Cooks Hill

The Burwood Inn, Merewether

Carrington Place, Carrington

Core Espresso, Cooks Hill

Criterion Hotel, Carrington

Commonwealth Hotel, Cooks Hill

Customs House, Newcastle East

Drift Food Coffee Catering, Merewether

Esca Bimbadgen, Pokolbin

EXP Restaurant, Pokolbin

Favourite Chair, Maitland

Foghorn Brewhouse, Newcastle

Fortunate Son, Hamilton

Fratelli Roma, Maitland

Goldbergs, Cooks Hill

The Grainery, Singleton

Graze at Willow Tree Inn, Willow Tree

The Greenroof, Hamilton

Grain Store, Newcastle East

Habesha, Newcastle

Hunter’s Quarter, Pokolbin

Lakehouse Cafe, Murrays Beach

The Landing Bar, Honeysuckle

Little House on King, Newcastle East

Bistro Lowlands, Cooks Hill

The Lucky, Newcastle

Margan Restaurant, Broke

Maryville Tavern, Maryville

Moor, Newcastle

MEET, Honeysuckle

Momo Wholefood Cafe, Newcastle

Muse, Pokolbin

Napoli Centrale, Newcastle

The Old Vic, East Maitland

Parry St Garage, Newcastle West

Paymasters, Newcastle East

The Persian Place, Newcastle

Popup Restaurant, Pokolbin

Portafilter, Mayfield

The Poyer’s, Lemon Tree Passage

Reserve Wine Bar, Newcastle

Restaurant Botanica, Pokolbin

Spice & Lime, Singleto

SPROUT Dining, Newcastle

Subo, Newcastle West

Supper Lane, Newcastle East

The Tailor’s Workshop, Islington.

Talulah Bar, The Junction

Temple Bar, Maitland

Three Bears Kitchen, Newcastle

The Grand Pavilion, Warners Bay

Coal River & Co., Darby St

The Lucky, Newcastle

Muse Kitchen, Pokolbin

The Vines Restaurant at Hollydene Estate, Jerrys Plains.

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Olympic champ returns to Canberra for rugby sevens bid

Olympic Games gold-medal winner Sharni Williams admits she feared the worst for her career when her right arm went numb when a breakdown drill went wrong last month.
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But the Australian women’s sevens captain has vowed to get back on the field stronger and fitter for a whirlwind year, which will include joining a newly-formed University of Canberra side.

Williams will be unveiled on Wednesday as a the marquee signing for the University of Canberra team after the Australian players were divided up for the new competition, which starts in August.

The former Canberra Royals star will be joined by Brooke Anderson as the Australian contingent with the rest of the squad to be announced in the coming months.

However, Williams’ year was almost over before it started when he copped a knock at training that caused her C5 and C6 vertebrae to pinch a nerve, leaving her right arm numb.

The 29-year-old former mechanic has a tough-as-nails reputation but knew something was wrong straight away.

“Initially I was pretty worried about it. Our coach, [Tim] Walsh, had an issue with his nerve and it never quite came back the same,” Williams said.

“But every day I’ve been progressing and see a change. I play rugby, so I know injuries are going to happen.

“I’m doing all the little things – they matter to me. I know rugby’s not going to last forever. But this isn’t going to stop me.”

Williams hopes to make her comeback to the international sevens circuit in Canada at the end of May, but she also has one eye on making a return to the 15-a-side game for the women’s World Cup in August.

Williams has played at the 2010 and 2014 World Cup and wants to “aim high” as she enters the twilight of her career.

She will target a sevens comeback, the World Cup, the new university competition and then the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year.

Williams hasn’t ruled out a bid to play at the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 as Australia aims to defend its gold medal.

But first she’s on a mission to grow women’s rugby and help inspire the next generation by being a part of the University of Canberra squad.

Williams dreamt of playing hockey for Australia when she was a child in Batlow, but switched to rugby when she moved to Canberra.

“I still remember being the only girl training at the Brumbies and always asking [then-coach] Andy Friend to let me train with the guys,” Williams said.

“So I’m super excited to put on the university of Canberra jersey because I’ve been a part of it and know the culture of Canberra. We’re always the underdogs in rugby, so hopefully I can help inspire some more players.

“This new competition is massive for women’s rugby. I can’t wait to get back to Canberra and play.”


Round one: University of Tasmania Stadium, Launceston, August 25-26

Round two: Macquarie University, Sydney, September 9-10

Round three: University of Queensland, Brisbane, September 16-17

Round four: Bond University, Gold Coast, September 29-30

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

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Recruitment drive for anti-terror specialists

The Australian Federal Police will receive $321.4 million in this year’s federal budget to go on a big recruitment drive for anti-terrorism specialists, such as bomb squad technicians, tactical response officers, forensic scientists and negotiators.
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The cash splash has been describedby Justice Minister Michael Keenan as the “largest single domestic policing funding boost in a decade”, and is more than double the $153.6 million the AFP and the Australian Crime Commission received in last year’s budget, to be rolled out over five years, to boost security arrangements.

“We are living in a very difficult national security environment and we’re also living in an environment where organised criminals, particularly those involved in the drug trade, continue to enhance the sophistication of their operations,” Mr Keenantold the ABC.

“And we need the AFP to be a high-tech organisation, with the skills sets available to it to meet these threats.”

“We know crime is changing”,AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said at a press conference to announce the funding held at the Majura Forensics Complex in the ACT.”It’s changing at an incredible rate, particularly for the work of the Australian Federal Police. My front-line officers, those in uniform, those investigators around the country and internationally, need to know that they have the most modern, capable police force behind them to help them in terms of the investigations and the critical work they do.

Be it in organised crime, be it in terrorism, be it in cyber-crime. We deal with some of the most complex protracted investigations that this country has and we need to know we have the capabilities to support those front-line officers and that is exactly what this announcement today is about.

It’s about ensuring the future of the AFP is reliant on those specialist capabilities, our forensic capabilities, our technical capabilities, our specialist core capabilities that support front-line police.”

So this is a very welcomed injection into the AFP. I think it’s a wonderful, wonderful statement about the support for the organisation, but also a wonderful opportunity for the AFP to make sure that we can deliver the AFP of the future; a ten-year commitment to look at the future of the organisation, to make sure we can deliver on our vision to make sure that we can support the community in the critical work that we do, particularly around terrorism and organised crime.

Last year, in a response to senate estimates, the AFP said it was “stretched” to fight terrorism: “The AFP’s capacity to respond to increased volumes of activities and threat means thatresources are stretched. The AFP will continue to prioritise work and cases based on therisks and threats to Australian interests.”

On February 28, NSW electricianHaisem Zahab was arrested at his property in Young in NSW’s south-west, for allegedly attemptingto research and design a laser warning device and missiles for IS over the internet.

The 42-year-old had been under investigation for 18 months as part of the Australian Federal Police’s Operation Marksburg.

Up to 400 federal and Victorian police were used on Operation Kasselholm, which culminated in a series of raids in Melbourne’s north-west just before Christmas 2016, aimed at foiling a plan to attack Federation Square, Flinders Street Station and St Paul’s Cathedral. Seven people were arrested and four were charged.

While some of the high-tech recruits will focus on combatingthe threat from terrorism, others are likely to focus on the AFP’s work battling the international crime syndicates and drug importers linked to local gangs.

Last month, the AFP announced they had seized $903kilograms of ice in a warehouse in Melbourne, a record haul of the drug, hidden between the timber slats of floorboards imported from China.

It’s believed a Chinese organised crime syndicate was behind the importation and it was likely bound for crime syndicates for distribution across the country.

“We didn’t get to that warehouse by mistake,” AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said at the time, noting the AFP worked with Victoria Police.

“It’s good work, not good luck.”

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

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What Hunter kids thought of NAPLAN

Pens down: St Kevin’s Primary Cardiff students Rebecca Hart, Grady Platt and Oliver O’Grady said they had mixed feelings about NAPLAN moving online from next year. “I’m slower at typing, so I’d prefer it on paper,” Oliver said. Picture: Marina NeilSTUDENTS at StKevin’s Primary at Cardiffare“relieved” after the first of three days of NAPLAN, saying they are treating the literacy and numeracy assessments as “just another test” and“nothing to be stressed about”.
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Year five studentsGrady Platt, Rebecca Hart andOliver O’Grady, all 10,were among the44,962 Hunter and Central Coast year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students who sat the writing and language conventions papers on Tuesday.

Students from St Kevin’s Primary at Cardiff give their verdict on NAPLAN and the importance of not worrying @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/RWMQej1jiw

— Helen Gregory (@HGregory_Herald) May 9, 2017

“I was a bit nervous but now I’m just relieved I’ve finished,” Rebecca said.“I’m not stressed about it.”

Grady said the tests werea“way for your parents to know how you’re going” and he felt like he’d done“quite well”.

The language conventions paper testedspelling, grammar and punctuation.

The triosaid they found most of the paper“fairly easy”, with the exception of some tricky spelling questions.

Oliver said he was happy to put the test behind him and focus on the reading paper.

The writing task providedan idea or topicand asked studentsto write a response.Rebecca and Oliver said they had plenty of ideas andfinished just in time, whileGrady said he useda preparedresponse that he adaptedto suit the question.

The students said they spent time in class doing practice tasks and past papers under test conditions.

They also studied at home:Rebecca did some online language conventions questions, Oliver did some maths questions and Grady attempted questions froma year six ability test book.

But all said they didn’t feel any pressure from their parents or teachers to perform.

“My parents said to try my best but don’t get too worried about, just to think of it as another test,” Rebecca said.“They said to get as much done as you can in the time and just do your best.”

Oliver said his mum told him“it was not the end of the world if I didn’t do well”.

Grady said their teachers had also been supportive and told them to stay calm.

The trio said they all went to sleep earlier than normal on Monday and tried not to think about the tests, whileOliver said he also woke earlier on Tuesday so he didn’t feel hurried when preparing for school.

Assistant principal Glen Rooke said the school treated NAPLAN as one part in a“suite of assessments”.

Students will sit the reading paper on Wednesday and the numeracy paper on Thursday.

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Merrick aims to fly high with Jets

DRIVEN: New Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick. Picture: Getty ImagesERNIE Merrick insists he can win a title at the Newcastle Jets.
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The fiercely driven 64-year-old would not have accepted the coaching position –a poisoned chalicein recent seasons–if he didnot.

Merrick has signed a two-year deal, beating former Blackburn manager Steve Kean, and by the end of that period he expects to be challenging for a title.

“I feel this club is going places,” Merrick told the Herald from Scotland where he is visiting family.“I am not one for trying to buy time. Because of the set-up, the facilities, the staff and theculture of the town – historically it is a great place for football–I think we can make a substantial difference in season one. That is certainly what I intend to do. I am not one who has a four-or-five-year plan. It is about doing it and doing it now. I am very big on having a winning mentality. I don’t care how skillful players are, if they are not there to win and fight for the club, they shouldn’t be there.”

Merrick aims to fly high with Jets TweetFacebook“Icouldn’t see them winning anything,” he said.“I liked the club, I liked the setup andI had good support. It waswas more to do with FIFA windows not being respected and the horrendous travel schedulewe were continually given. We had six of our best players out for six games.”

He faces a different challenge in Newcastle.

The Jets finished bottom last season, the second time in three years they have collected the wooden spoon, and haven’t qualified for the finals in seven years.

“Newcastle fans have been long suffering in many ways,” he said.“I’m not blaming anyone for that but it is time to make a change and I want to do that as soon as possible. Season one is critical to show the direction we want to go.”

Under Mark Jones, the Jets were in sixth place with sevenrounds remaining and Merrick believes there is a“good core” at the club.

“I would like to bring in some experience,” he said.“The two players they have already signed, Daniel Georgievski and Roy O’Donovanare very good players. That is a good start.”

The current support staff, led by assistant Clayton Zane, will remain.

​“They come across as pretty competent people,” Merrick said.“I have never been the type of person to come in and clean out staff.”

Merrick will be back in Australia in a fortnight but said he was“on the job now”.

“I will be on the phone to all the staff, especially the strength and conditioning coach Chris Smith,” he said.

“I’m very big on preparation and planning.That can start now and that is what will happen.”

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Glenn Maxwell to remain a Bushranger but no certainty for Ashes berth

Glenn Maxwell is set to stay in Victoria but the dramatic improvement in James Pattinson’s batting could mean he will struggle to keep his hard-earned Test spot for the Ashes.
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Maxwell, seeking to reignite his international career after being dropped from the national ODI side, attempted to shift from Melbourne to Sydney on the eve of the 2016-17 season. Victoria opted to enforce his contract.

There was speculation earlier this year that Maxwell remained unhappy and would call the SCG home in 2017-18. Cricket NSW chief executive Andrew Jones has confirmed that won’t be the case.

“We’d never planned it. We were pleased to learn that he was thinking of coming to NSW last year,” Jones said.

“‘OK’ and then he wasn’t; ‘OK’. And the same this year.

“We asked the question. He’s not going to come, OK.”

The Bushrangers expect Maxwell to stay in Victoria as he attempts to nail down a spot in the top six of the Test side, but that will be easier said than done with a feeling in cricket circles that the national selectors will be tempted to bat Pattinson at No.7 behind wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, to accommodate a four pronged pace attack and spinner Nathan Lyon.

Pattinson has always been an able batsman but his recent performances with the willow suggest he could hold down No.7; in three innings with Nottinghamshire in county cricket the fast bowler has made 160 runs, with a highest score of 89 not out.

One benefit of his long absences through injury is that he has returned to competitive cricket as a specialist batsman at grade level, striking a century for Dandenong in Premier cricket last summer.

The prospect of a pace attack comprising Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood is a tantalising one, but it remains to be seen whether the selectors will be prepared to gamble by playing five batsmen plus Wade, followed by a strong lower order.

Maxwell posted his maiden Test century in Ranchi earlier this year, having been called up following Mitch Marsh’s shoulder injury.

The 28-year-old is yet to play a Test on home soil but Jones believes that should change during this summer’s Ashes.

“He’s a genius. I think he’s a superb player. I thought he should’ve been picked for the first Test in India and I’m glad he was picked for the last couple,” Jones said.

“He shouldn’t be playing state cricket. He should be playing for Australia.

“It’s really about who he’s going to play two (Shield) games for rather than 10 games for, in my opinion.

“He’s batting six for Australia now and I think that’s a good spot for him. Good luck to him.”

Maxwell was overlooked for the Vics’ Sheffield Shield opener last year. However, the enigmatic allrounder’s discontent was laid bare when he spoke publicly of how it was “painful” to be batting below captain Matthew Wade.

Wade is set to return home to Tasmania this year. It means the Bushrangers will have a new captain and Maxwell’s hopes of batting higher up the order will be boosted.

Maxwell, who is currently captaining Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League, may even be in the mix to lead his home state. Close friend Aaron Finch and Test batsman Peter Handscomb appear the other leading contenders for Victoria’s captaincy.

Maxwell will link up with Australia’s Champions Trophy squad in England when Punjab’s IPL season ends.

with AAP

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

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Venture embraces variety

INNOVATIVE: Emma Norbiato and Bill Calabria are championing alternate-variety wines.Montepluciano, nero d’avola and aglianico are celebrated red grape varieties in Italy, but still unfamiliar to most Australian wine drinkers – something Emma Norbiato and Bill Calabria have set out to remedy.
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Emma, the award-winning winemaker for Griffith-based Calabria Family Wines, and Bill, the company’s managing director, have spearheaded the release of $15-a-bottle 2016-vintage montepluciano and nero d’avola and 2015 aglianico wines that are eminently accessible to the average punter.

The wines can be bought on calabriawines南京夜网419论坛, at the 1283 Brayne Rd, Griffith, cellar door and in bottle shops.

Montepluciano is one of central Italy’s “workhorse” wine grapes and nero d’avola is the most widely planted variety on the Italian island of Sicily.Aglianico is the most widespread red variety in southern Italy and the Calabria family has been a pioneer of the grape in Australia, producing the inaugural vintage wine in 2008.

The Calabria venture began in 1945 when Italian immigrants Francesco and Elizabeth Calabria set up a small winery at Griffith. It operated under the Westend Estate title up to 2014 and, under the Calabria Family Wines name, has become a major multi-regional producer.

Bill Calabria, the youngest of Francesco’s and Elizabeth’s nine children, runs the company along with third-generation family members.In the 2013 Queen’s Birthday awards Bill was made a member (AM) of the Order of Australia for his wine industry services and for his work in establishing the Westend Foundation to aid Riverina families with members stricken by cancer.

Emma Norbiato was last year crowned Winemaker of the Year in the Australian Women in Wine Awards, created in 2015 by The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society to spotlight positive female role models and bring about increased gender diversity in the Australian wine industry. Emma has been a great advocate of alternate grape varieties and her 2009 recruitment by Calabria is a great example of gender equality.

Born and bred in the Riverina on a sheep and rice farm, she launched a wine career in 2001 with a Charles Sturt University wine science degree. Then came a job at Lindemans, a vintage in Tuscany making Brunello at Castelgiocondo, four years in the red winemaking team at Penfolds and, at the age of 26, a senior winemaking role with Casella, notably producing Yellow Tail.

In 2009 Emma and her husband had their first child, Archie, and she joined Calabria under a part-time arrangement that has allowed her to have two more children, Florence and Edward.

As well as being a winemaker, a wife and mother, Emma enjoys cooking, mountain bike riding and waterskiing.

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