‘Bills included’: Tent in Sydney backyard advertised for $130 a week

Sydney rents rise at fastest rate since 2011 in ‘worrying’ trendMore ‘rent bidding’ apps to launch in Australia as rental revolution looms’Startling’ study shows long-term tenants going to extremes to make ends meet

Renters might be used to forking out big bucks to live in inner-city Sydney, but their resolve was seriously put to the test on Wednesday when a tent in a Sydenham backyard was advertised for rent at $130 a week.

Don’t worry, Sydneysiders still have some sense of a fair deal and outrage quickly ensued.

The ad, which was swiftly shared on platforms such as Reddit, stated a $200 bond would also be required and noted potential housemates would have to help keep the house clean and do the washing up.

“Includes all bills and $100/week of communal food that you can add to at your leisure,” the post stated.

“We are also part of a vege (sic) box collective.”

“You would have to be quite clean and taken on responsibilities for cleaning in the house…”

Unfortunately for the person who posted the ad, rather than being inundated with requests to move in, Facebook users quickly slammed the entrepreneurial scheme.

The ‘property’ was also advertised on Airbnb at $36 a night with positive reviews, one noting that the hosts were so friendly the guests had extended their trip from two nights to a week. That listing was also taken down on Wednesday.

It’s not the first time a Sydneysider has tried to make the most of unused spaces. A man living in the nearby inner west suburb of Newtown paid $215 a week to rent a balcony back in 2013.

And it’s not too surprising with Sydney’s median house rent now at $550 a week, and units sitting at $530 a week.

The tent’s listing on Airbnb.

In the 12 months to March, Sydney’s median asking house rent increased by $25, or 4.8 per cent, the biggest annual hike in five years.

Just under 2230 properties in the Sydney and Illawarra area are affordable for people on a minimum wage, according to a recent Anglicare report. That’s about 15 per cent of properties, compared to 17.7 per cent a year ago.

A recently released study found 42 per cent of long-term renters surveyed were struggling due to a shortage of funds, and one fifth had sought assistance from parents or friends.

There are also concerns that the launch of two rent-bidding apps, Life Offer and Rentberry, will exacerbate the situation. I mean, I’d pay $130 to live in a tent in Coogee – but Sydenham?? Flat out ridiculous.??? Jules LeFevre (@jules_lefevre) May 10, 2017

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Balancing comfort and style in a family home

Leaf through any home decor magazine, scroll through home real estate sites, or perhaps an Instagram account of an interior designer and it’s likely you’ll see immaculate spaces, free of clutter, where every piece is well thought out and in its place. Walk into any family home in real life and it’s quite often the opposite. Can you have a home that is both stylish and comfortable? Or do you have to sacrifice one for the other?

Richard Misso, from interior design company The Stylesmiths, knows how to balance style, comfort and functionality.

“Understanding how a family lives helps us respond with well thought out design solutions that satisfy our clients’ comfort needs,” he says.

“We try to find out if they like to lay across the sofa or sit upright, do they like to elevate their feet? Do they require back support? Do the kids like to sit on the floor? Do they require an adult zone that reflects calm and peace?”

The Stylesmiths recently helped transform an original 1940s dark and disjointed home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs into a family home for four with plenty of space and style.

“There was a strict budget in place with a brief to be very functional yet look good,” says Misso. “In keeping with a beachside feel, everything was kept light and bright in the interior with a bold exterior, navy contrasted crisply with white trims. The neutral palette of concrete floors and blonde timbers could then lend itself to pops of colour through artwork and furniture.

“Subtle features throughout included handmade ceramic tiles to the kitchen splashback and feature pendant lighting to the kitchen and master bedroom.”

The Stylesmiths captured the essence of laid back beachside chic that responded to the young family’s needs and style.

It’s about the details, both overt and covert. A balance between the two makes for a successful interior and cohesive home,” says Misso.

“Hidden or secondary details bring all the elements together connecting the furnishings, paint, surfaces, artwork and lighting; a good example of hidden details is good lighting versus harsh lighting.”

Of course, it’s not just the look at the interior design stage. A home’s functionality, style and comfort have to be considered in the very early stages of planning, and for the home-dweller it might not be immediately obvious what these designs are.

Japanese developers Sekisui House are designing homes with smart floor plans that cater to families.

“We consider how people move about the house,” says Takao Sawai, head of corporate marketing, Australia. “And position particular areas in close proximity to each other to provide comfort and convenience for residents.”

If you’ve just parked your car in the garage after shopping for groceries, for example, their homes provide direct access to the pantry to get everything inside with minimal fuss.

“It’s those sort of little ideas that make a big difference,” says Sawai.

Their way of looking at the housing affordability issue is that you don’t need to sacrifice comfort and design with a smaller floor plan; instead, it can be used to maximum efficiency.

An example is the inclusion of study zones within a central location in the home, instead of being tucked away in a back room.

“A feature of our study nooks is a lower wall height that encourages closeness with children, it provides more family time,” says Sawai.

The company’s development and research team continually measure feedback from their customers to ensure future designs continue to evolve.

“There’s a lot of nice architecture in the world but is it really useable?” he says.

“We are not a company that designs just for aesthetics or just for functionality. We combine lifestyle, safety, style and comfort; somewhere you might want to live for life.”

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In Her Time on trial in Doomben 10,000 for longer interstate campaign

BEN Smith believes In Her Time’s hit’n’run shot at the Doomben 10,000 will point to alot more than just her next Brisbane carnival target.

PRIMED: Josh Parr, driving In Her Time to victory in the Millie Fox Stakes at Rosehill, will ride her on Saturday. Picture: bradleyphotos南京夜网南京桑拿

The Newcastle trainer’s stable star will resume in the $700,000 group 1 over 1200 metres on Saturday, and the race will double as a trial of her travelling capabilities.

The four-year-old mare has notraced outside of Sydney and the Central Coast and Smith was keen to “test the waters”. In Her Time made the float trip to Queensland on Wednesday night and she was returning home after the race despite plans to run her again north of the border.

“She’s never had to travel before so we’re going up and back for this one to see if she can handle it and see if she’s up to group 1 level,” Smith said. “That will decide where we go.If she runs really well, we’ll look at the [$1.5 million] Stradbrokeand if not we’ll go to the [$200,000] Dane Ripper [both June 10 at Eagle Farm].

“We’re also looking at it as a guide to whether we take her to Melbourne for races in the spring and what we do in the autumn.”

In Her Time won back-to-back group 2 races –the Breeders Classic and Millie Fox Stakes –in February beforefifth on group 1 debut in the Coolmore Classic.

She won a trial at Wyong on May 1 but will hit the Doomben 10,000 first-up from a two-month let-up. Smith said a more patient approach, compared to his early days with the horse, paid off last preparation.

“She seems to race pretty well fresh,” Smith said of the winner of five from 11 starts.

“We’ve learned to space her runs. We’ve spelled her a couple of times, and we’ve tried a couple of places, but shenever spells well.We’re going to have to handpick her races, poke along and keep her fresh and happy.”

In Her Time, with Josh Parr again on board, will startfrom barrier 12of 14 on Saturday. Smith hoped the draw meant hissuccessful front-runner, a $21 shot with TAB Fixed Odds on Friday,could find cover.

“I don’t think it will bother her too much,” Smithsaid of the wide barrier. “There’s obviously speed inside us and it will probably just allow us to do our own thing.She’s good out of the gates and can put herself into a race. She can sit just off them.

“Redzel and Russian Revolution are going to go quite hard, and there are your backmarkers, so it looks like we should be able to put ourselves where we want.Josh has ridden her different ways in trials as well and she’s shown she’s adaptable.

“She’s keen in her work and Josh was very happy with heron Tuesday.She’s taken great improvement from her trial. We’ve got to test the waters at some point and this is a good test for her.”

Smith was also keen to see In Her Time perform again at group 1 level after a luckless effort inthe Coolmore.

“It was a solid run but we were a bit disappointed,” he said.

“If we’d been able to get out when Josh wanted her to, we would have finished much closer.

“She had the wind taken out of her, trying to get out around the 600 and the 450 again. That’s when they started to quicken, and it’s hard in any race to get going again from that.But she held on well, I thought.

“Stretching out to 1500, she needed everything to go right.”

He was confident of a better display with In Her Time dropping back in distance.

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Budget housing affordability measures a ‘help’ to East Maitland first home buyers, but calls for reduction in stamp duty.

Every bit helps.

That was the verdictfrom Hunter first home buyers on Wednesday, as they welcomednews they will be able to access tax breaks to help them save for a deposit.

SAVINGS MOUNTAIN: East Maitland couple Codie Ellicott and Tae Rowsell are struggling to meet the costs of a first home deposit. They say it will be ‘tricky’, even with the tax breaks announced in the budget. Picture: Perry Duffin

But forCodie Ellicott and Tae Rowsell, pulling together the funds to buy in their hometown of East Maitland remainsa daunting prospect.

“I’ve been working full time for three years and my partner for six or seven years,” Ms Ellicott said. “We’ve been saving throughout, but it’s really hard…the investors can usually offer a higher bid than you.”

Under changes announced in the federal budget, from July first home buyers will be able to salary sacrifice up to $30,000 into super for a deposit.

They will be able to withdraw the money from July 2018.

Retirees will be able to divert up to $300,000 from the sale of their family home to superannuation, encouraging them to downsize. Those incentives will come into effect from July 2018.

Agent Chad Dunn of Century 21 Novocastrian said the changes could result in “decent” savings for young buyers, particularly those in the highest marginal tax bracket.

He predicted there could be a short-term cooling in the market while they took advantage of the changes.

“I had 50 groups through a home on Saturday and easily half of those were first home buyers,” he said.

“I think you will see first home buyers go out of the market and stockpile more funds through this system, and probably come back next year.”

Mr Dunn said the changes for retirees could be a “gamechanger”by bringing a surgeof new stock to the market. But he believes it would have been preferableto introduce the changes immediately, rather than waiting for 12 months.

“Right now we have a really limited amount of stock on the market…those stock levels will certainly change next year when that ruling takes place.”

However according to Mr Dunn, one of the biggest pressures on young buyers was overlooked.

“I still believe stamp duty is tipping the scale,” he said. “They’re missing the third prong.”

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What first home buyers should know before investing in Scott Morrison’s scheme


After missing out on a free education, tax-free property windfalls and the chance to pour tens of thousands of dollars into super almost tax-free, young Australians have finally been thrown a tax break bone.

Sure, it’s more chicken wing than femur. But it’s worth considering for anyone looking to buy a home in coming years.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme unveiled on Tuesday night is expected to deliver first home savers a total tax break of $50 million in the coming financial year, rising to an annual break worth $70 million in four years.

A first home saver who earns $60,000 a year and ploughs $10,000 a year into the scheme for three years will be about $6000 better off than if they’d simply put their money into a bank deposit – the typical first home buyer strategy.

If that doesn’t sound like much moolah to you, you’re probably wasting too much money on smashed avo.

The scheme is unlikely to have a noticeable impact on boosting home ownership rates. By putting more money into borrower’s pockets without also increasing supply, the measure will likely add to home price pressures.

But compared to recent price movements, it’s just a drop in the ocean.

Sydney median dwelling prices jumped $120,000 over the year ended April to $860,000 – a weekly increase of about $2300 a week. Melbourne prices also leapt $100,000 over the year to $650,000 – a little under $2000 a week.

By topping up first time buyer accounts by about $2000 a year, ScoMo’s FHSSS keeps them ahead of the Sydney and Melbourne property markets by about a week.

Still, $6000 is $6000.

So how can first home savers get a bit of that action?

From 1 July 2017, first home savers can instruct their employer to deposit money from their pre-tax income into their super account, where it will be taxed at just 15 per cent instead of the usual marginal tax rates that would apply, currently at 19, 32, 37 and 45 per cent (plus the Medicare levy).

For someone earning between $80,001 and $180,000 on the 37 cent marginal rate, they get a tax saving of 22 cents in the dollar. Instead of pocketing just $6300 in after-tax income from the last $10,000 they earn, they’ll get to keep $8500 and put it into super.


Earnings generated on this money while in the super account will also be taxed at the low rate of 15 per cent, compared to paying the full whack of marginal tax on interest earned on bank savings.

The scheme maxes out at a total of $30,000 in contributions per individual and the maximum that can be salary sacrificed in any year is $15,000.

When the time comes to live out the great Aussie dream and buy a home, savers will pay tax on their withdrawal amount at their marginal rate, less 30 percentage points. For a person on the 37 cent rate, they pay just 7 cents. That’s not quite the tax-free withdrawals enjoyed by over 60s from super, but it ain’t bad.

All up, a person earning $100,000 a year who puts $10,000 a year into the scheme for three years would end up with $24,777 to put towards their home deposit, versus just $18,586 if they put their money in a bank deposit. They’d end up paying an average tax rate of 17 per cent, versus 38 per cent.

On the face of it, that’s worth doing.

But there are several things to consider first.

First, and obviously, you have to have the cash to spare. While for higher income earners, this may be a good forced-savings method, low income earners are less likely to have the spare cash. If they do, however, it will be worthwhile, their contributions being essentially tax-free thanks to the low income super tax offset.

Second, you may not be able to squirrel away as much as you think. Importantly, the usual caps on concessional contributions to super apply. From 1 July this year, that’s a maximum of $25,000 in contributions a year – both voluntary and compulsory – which attract the low tax rates. Anyone earning $106,000 or above will already have compulsory contributions of $10,000 and more a year, meaning they can put in less than the scheme maximum of $15,000 a year.

Another kink is that if you earn more than $250,000 you pay an extra 15 cents on your contributions, bringing tax to 30 cents. I know. Cry me a river.

It’s also important to know that, once in, your money can’t be withdrawn for other purposes. If you do not ever buy a home, the money has to sit there until you reach retirement age. If you do decide to buy, however, you can access the funds after a year.

It’s not entirely clear, however, how this will work.

While super funds hold your money, the scheme is administered by the Tax Office, which must calculate how much you can withdraw. How will this work? Will buyers need to show the ATO proof of purchase before accessing funds? If so, how can they get approved for a loan?

A final kink in the scheme is the fixed rate of return savers will get on their money.

To provide certainty, and to save super funds the hassle of calculating actual individual returns, money put into the scheme will be deemed to have returned 3 per cent plus the 90 day bank bill rate each year. Currently, that’s around 4.78 per cent.

If your super fund returns more than that, that excess will just have to stay in your retirement nest egg.

If your super fund performs worse, or even shrinks, the extra amount needed to pay out the deemed rate will be deducted from your retirement nest egg – possibly at a time of depressed values which is exactly when you should leave the money there to recover.

Investing in shares, which super funds do, is best done over the long run, and savers risk falling foul in the short term.

Overall, however, history suggests savers should enjoy a higher average returns on their money in super than a typical bank deposit rate.

Worth considering.

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World Rugby toughen eligibility laws but Tongan Thor free to play

World Rugby has announced players across the globe will now have to serve a five-year eligibility period before they can represent a national side. But a delay in its implementation until 2020 will allow Queensland Reds prop Taniela Tupou – known as the “Tongan Thor” – to be eligible for Wallabies selection this year.
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World Rugby executives met in Tokyo to discuss the Regulation 8 guidelines that relate to player eligibility.

A decision to extend the residency requirement from 36 months to 60 months was made with the intention of “protecting the integrity and sanctity of international rugby in the modern elite environment”.

It means players will find it significantly tougher to switch allegiances, however the increase to five years will not come into effect until December 31, 2020.

“This extension to the residency period within a forward-thinking reform package will ensure a close, credible and established link between a union and players, which is good for rugby and good for fans,” said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.

Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver was opposed to the change as recently as last year, saying he felt the tweak would leave rugby vulnerable to having players poached by a code such as rugby league that did not have complicated international eligibility rules.

But Pulver changed his tune this year, stressing the move from three years to five would have little impact on the Wallabies.

“At a World Rugby level, what we’re trying to do is to preserve the integrity of national teams,” Pulver said in February. “Frankly, if you are a Fijian that lives in Fiji, you should play for Fiji … you shouldn’t play for any other country. Same in Tonga, same in Samoa, same right around the world. It’s very important we preserve that.

“We support this change. It is a very healthy international change. Of the last 90 players that have used the residency rule to play for Australia, only two have used the 36-month residency rule.”

The two players are Fijian born Sefa Naivalu, who made his debut off the bench last year in Pretoria against South Africa, and 11-Test winger Henry Speight from the Brumbies.

As for 20-year-old rising star Tupou, he will not be affected by the changes but will still have to serve the mandatory three-year requirement.

Tupou is eligible for Wallabies selection later this year after being picked on the spring tour at the end of 2016 as a development player.

For some time, France and Argentina have pushed for five-year eligibility requirements in the hope of preventing national sides from plucking players from other nations and getting them into their systems quickly.

Argentina were the only side at the 2015 World Cup with an entire squad of locally-born players.

World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot, who hails from Argentina, lauded the decision on Wednesday.

“This is an historic moment for the sport and a great step towards protecting the integrity, ethos and stature of international rugby,” Pichot said. “National team representation is the reward for devoting your career, your rugby life, to your nation and these amendments will ensure that the international arena is full of players devoted to their nation, who got there on merit.”

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

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Hidden garden

EXOTIC: Visitors to Mr Bull’s Gardens pose for this 19th century Lake Macquarie Library photo. Photo: history.lakemac南京夜网419论坛BULLS Garden Road near Charlestown is very familiar to most Lake Macquarie people. But what’s the real story behind it?
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Believe it or not, more than 100 years ago this road going south, off Dudley Road, went to Mr Bull’s famous exotic gardens, hidden in bush.

Today, this major tourist attraction has long disappeared. The road winds for about two kilometres from near Whitebridge Cemetery to link with Oakdale Road at Gateshead.

Best known as a traffic shortcut, it’s also the road where the landmark O’Malleys aquariums does business.

What is normally forgotten these days is that around 1860 Edmund Bull bought a 60-acre plot here, in what is now Whitebridge, to gradually create a botanical paradise.

Eight of his children worked on rotation in the gardens initially. Two brothers at a time, as young as 14 years, were left alone in the bush for a fortnight, clearing the land.

Here, they lived on corn beef, tea, flour and sugar supplemented by what they could catch, such as possums, pigeons, parrots and bandicoots.

At night, there were the haunting cries of dingoes stalking their young cattle, some of which by morning would be without their tails.

Gradually, over decades, the cleared bush developed into some of the finest gardens in Australia. Now, after land changes, only the name Bulls Garden Road stands as a reminder of past glories.

Some of the garden splendour, however, survived until at least 1936.

Lake Macquarie City librarians today believe Mr Bull’s Gardens were located east of Whitebridge’s present Bulls Garden Road. Part of the road though outlines the boundary of the original land grant.

A gully of running water once cut through the land, creating a large rock pool, or miniature lake, leading to a waterfall. On the hills, an orchard was planted to obtain a livelihood, but the rest was moulded into a ‘hobby’ scenic garden.

Many seeds and plants largely unknown then in Australiawere planted. There were seeds from America and Java and bulbs from Holland, plus 24 varieties of camellia from Japan.

The cool gully full of palms, big ferns, staghorns and fat clumps of cane was beautifully landscaped, terraced by tiers of stonewalls. Rockpools and a row of fishponds under a great coral tree completed the picture.

Both Edmund and his second wife, Mary, were later buried at nearby Whitebridge Cemetery, in 1899 and 1903 respectively.

But it was a son, Sid Bull, who did much to create the legend as we know it today. Sid, who took over management of the attraction in 1904,allowed free public access to the gardens where his family lived on site and made a good living supplying refreshments, flowers and fruit to visitors.

People caught the train to then nearby Whitebridge station. Hundreds of people flocked to the gardens each weekend or on holidays.

There were once as many as 200 horse-carriages at a time pulled up on the grass outside.

Masters of sailing ships anchored in Newcastle Harbour who had heard of the beauty of the gardens hired buggies to make a special trip to the area.

Here, beside the waterfall was a small mine from which the Bull family collected coal.

Visiting the site in 1947, Herald writer Ian Healy reported only remnants of the gardens remained between plots of sub-divided land. He then heard tales of ships’ captains who once liked to creep into the mine, with picks, to chip off small pieces “which they treasured like gold”.

One of the greatest threats to the site were occasional bush fires. Early model cars then bought visitors in bigger numbers to the gardens and thefts of flowers and fruit increased.

Mr Bull’s gardens, which had once grown all tropical fruit from paw paws, pineapples and mangoes to tulips and violets, closed in the 1930s after about 70 years.

Sidney Bull and his wife then relocated from Whitebridge to Wallsend in 1937.

His father, pioneer Edmund Bull who had come to NSW in 1837, was from a long line of gardeners who had cultivated plants in Scotland and the Isle of Wight for several hundred years.

At first he lived at Folly Park, Mayfield, in 1854 before the industries came. Bull Street was named after him.

Sidney Bull said later that his father had grown the first bananas in Newcastle, but “nobody would buy them . . . the majority of people were suspicious of their taste and worth”.

The family then eventually moved to remote Whitebridge and the rest is history.

Linking the pastWELL, well. It’s not often you learn something new about local history.

It all started when author Doug Saxon, of Fishing Point, dropped me a note recently.

FORGOTTEN FIGURE: Michael Scott, pictured around 1940.

“I’m emailing you to let you know that, after three years of research, my book, Michael Scott. An Artistic Life, has finally been printed,” he wrote.

“The final product is 162 pages (A4) with some 90 photographs.

“You’re probably never heard of Michael Scott, but in the 1950s and 1960s he was well known throughout Australia, particularly as the founder of the Blake Prize for religious art.

“He also had strong connections to the Hunter – his father was medical superintendent at the Morisset Hospital and his uncle and benefactor was AA Rankin after whom Rankin Park Hospital and the adjoining suburb are named.”

According to Saxon, Scott was also a significant figure in changing Australian church architecture in the late 1950s and 1960s.

It turns out that Scott was also a newspaper columnist, radio broadcaster and lecturer on both religious art and church architecture while holding office in a number of church, government and community organisations.

In 1946, Scott was the first public figure to call for state aid for Catholic schools.

Author Saxon’s interest in Scott began after being appointed principal of Bonnells Bay Primary School (formerly Morisset East Public) on the western shore of Lake Macquarie, in January 1983.

Here, he received a letter from Michael Scott of Dublin, Ireland, seeking information about the school he attended from 1915 to 1917.

Michael Scott planned to write an account of his “incredibly happy days in the little (Morisset) bush school”.

Then in 2012, when Saxon set out to write the school’s centenary history, he found the letter sent to him 30 years earlier.

Saxon’s follow-up research uncovered that Scott had become orphaned at age 12 and had later become a Catholic priest.

At age 17, he gave up the opportunity to be a lawyer to become a Jesuit instead, fuelled by a sense of obligation to help those who’d helped his family. Intrigued, Saxon set out on the path to discover more.

This included that in 1968, Michael Scott became the first Australian Jesuit to leave to marry a woman he’d met in Dublin and fallen in love with almost 40 years earlier.

Saxon’s self-funded book ($30) is being launched on Saturday, May 13, at Adamstown Uniting Church.

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Man arrested wearing bra

Man arrested wearing bra BAIL: Keith William Green is mobbed my the media after being released from the Newcastle courthouse cells on Wednesday afternoon.
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FREE: Keith William Green is mobbed my the media after being released from the Newcastle courthouse cells on Wednesday afternoon.

TweetFacebookAccused Maryville peeping tom Keith William Green is released from custody. Story to come. @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/ySqCDoMsvk

— Sam Rigney (@SamRigney) May 10, 2017

Keith William Green, 55, of Raymond Terrace, appeared in Newcastle Local Court in handcuffs, a pair of green prison-issue shorts and a jumper on Wednesday charged with enter dwelling with intent and peep or pry.

His solicitor, Kristy Wade, pleaded not guilty to both charges and applied for bail on Mr Green’s behalf.

According to a statement of police facts, the alleged victim was at home on Sunday night when she saw a man standing in her backyard.

She grabbed a torch and the man, who was was wearing only a pair of white underpants, fled.

Then on Tuesday night about 11.25pm, the woman was asleep in her unit when she heard someone come in.

She walked into the lounge room and saw a man –wearing nothing but a pair of dark-coloured underpants – standing behind the lounge room door, court documents state.

“The alleged victim noticed that the accused had something protruding from the rear of his head but was unable to describe this object any further,” police facts state.The woman told police she recognised the man from a few nights earlier and told him to leave.The man ran out the front door and the alleged victim called police.

Police patrolled the area and allegedly found Mr Green running along Lewis Street at 11.36pm, court documents state.

At this stage, police allegehe was wearing underpants and a dark jumper and was carrying a bundle of ladies clothes and a black wig.

When police asked about the clothes, Mr Green allegedly said they were his.When asked about the cable ties and ratchet straps, the accused replied: “I don’t know”, court documents state.

Magistrate Robert Stone granted Mr Green bail on the condition he live at Raymond Terrace, report to police, adhere to a curfew, not enter the suburb of Maryville and provide a $1000 surety.

The matter was adjourned until June 22.

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Calls for Toowoomba Citytrain services to piggyback inland rail project

Train commuters use Queensland Rail trains in Brisbane. Photo: Jorge BrancoToowoomba mayor Paul Antonio has called for a new Citytrain link between his city and Brisbane to be piggy-backed on the federal government’s $8.4 billion budget commitment for the Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail route.
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The huge spend was unveiled in federal Treasurer Scott Morrison’s second federal budget on Tuesday night and would cover most of its estimated $10.7 billion cost.

Once built, the 1700-kilometre rail link, nicknamed the “Steel Mississippi” by some, would take about 110 B-double trucks off the roads with every train journey.

Cr Antonio said the inland rail would revolutionise business in the Darling Downs, but it also needed to be future-proofed to allow for future use as a passenger route to Brisbane, 140 kilometres to Toowoomba’s east.

“We have about 100,000 people in Toowoomba and you’d probably need a bigger critical mass to make it work,” he said.

“But I think there’s an expectation in Toowoomba that upon the maturity of the inland rail route, where there’s probably two lines at least, that we’d be looking towards getting a train to Toowoomba.”

Cr Antonio said he and Lockyer Valley mayor Tanya Milligan had put together a proposal for an in-depth study into an extension of the Rosewood line to Withcott, at the base of the range.

With the inland rail, Cr Antonio said, it could go even further.

“As we build this (inland rail) line, I’ll be advocating for that capacity to be built into it,” he said.

“I think there are times to strike with projects like this and from now on is the time for us to put this on the table and say to the federal government and those who are funding this, ‘future-proof this now’.

“They’re talking about building a single-line tunnel through the hill. Why wouldn’t you at least double that and have at least a two-line tunnel, and maybe a three-line tunnel, to future-proof the project?”

Public transport lobbyist Robert Dow, from Rail: Back on Track, said the inland rail would be a “game changer” for south-east Queensland and urged all three levels of government to explore passenger options using the new tunnels through the ranges.

“The opportunity exists for the state government to run commuter trains to Toowoomba in almost half the time it takes the Westlander train on the existing track and alignment,” he said.

“The travel time efficiency savings flowing from the track improvements will make rail highly competitive with cars for the journey from Toowoomba to Brisbane.”

The extension of the Citytrain network would not necessarily require expensive electrification, Mr Dow said, as diesel hybrids could be used.

“They can run out the wires to Rosewood then switch over to batteries with a diesel back-up,” he said.

“They regenerate, but can run part of the way on battery then flick over to diesel. Japan’s got these things already – these things exist.”

Transport Minister and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said while the Queensland government could eventually explore a Toowoomba Citytrain link, the Cross River Rail remained the state’s top priority.

“Unless it’s built, south-east Queensland will eventually grind to a halt,” she said.

“We must act now to make sure our public transport system keeps pace with the rate of population growth.

“We will consider further upgrades and linkages on our Citytrain network but first and most importantly, we need to get on with the job and build Cross River Rail.”

As for the freight benefits of inland rail, Cr Antonio said it would “change the way business is done right across this region”.

He said it would drive Toowoomba’s push to be a major logistical hub and a place where food could be produced and prepared for export around the world.

“Close of 50 per cent of what goes out of the Port of Brisbane comes through Toowoomba, principally on a road system that was built for a different purpose but will be replaced by the bypass soon, and secondly on a rail line that was built just on 150 years ago,” he said.

“The reality is, there’s not been a lot done to that windy, three-foot-six gauge line in the intervening period.

“… Of the 3.5 million tonnes of primary agricultural product that’s produced in this area, only 180,000 tonnes goes out on rail.

“It’s just ridiculous when its more competitive in somewhere like Goondiwindi to cart the grain on a B-double train than it is to cart on a train in reasonably sizable loads.

“So the exporters of this region are being disadvantaged terribly by the lack of infrastructure.”

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

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Economics shoots … and scores!

Imagine Steve Jobs saying the iPhone is useless or Bill Gates recommending that Microsoft Office be thrown out the window.
Nanjing Night Net

Such a bizarre situation exists in the world’s most popular sport, association football (or soccer). And those who saw the nerve-wrecking A-League grand final clash between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory on Sunday probably sensed that the problem at hand is the penalty shoot-out.

The parallels between the economy and sport are stronger than they seem, and economic research can be useful in both arenas by identifying “welfare-improving” rules and policies.

In 2006, FIFA’s then president, Sepp Blatter, said: “Football World Cup, it is a passion, and when the match goes into extra time, it’s a drama. But when it comes to penalty kicks, it’s a tragedy.”

Blatter’s statement followed the 2006 World Cup final, which featured arch-rivals Italy and France and was decided by a penalty shoot-out. His statement was motivated by the large number of important matches decided in this cruel lottery.

What’s the problem? Blatter’s primary issue was not just the randomness of the shoot-out but that it doesn’t provide a team contest. It also puts extreme pressure on individual penalty takers, who may suffer major psychological trauma if they miss. One may recall the agony and tears of players such as England’s David Beckham, France’s David Trezeguet, Chelsea’s John Terry and, most recently, Melbourne Victory’s Carl Valeri and Marco Rojas, who missed the penalty kicks in Sunday’s grand final.

FIFA’s efforts to reduce the reliance on penalty shoot-outs resulted in adopting the so-called “golden goal” between 1993 and 2002, which meant “sudden death” for the team that first conceded a goal in extra time. The rule tried to ensure that there was more attacking play and thus fewer matches decided in a shoot-out.

The fiasco of this rule did not surprise economists, because they pay attention to the effects of various policies on incentives of economic subjects. It was clear to them that the golden goal not only increased the “reward” for scoring a goal – and therefore incentives for players to attack in extra time – but it also increased the “punishment” for conceding a goal – and therefore incentives to defend. As it turned out, the latter effect was stronger due to a phenomenon known as “loss aversion”, a theory for which Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky received the Nobel prize in economics in 2002. When it became apparent that the golden goal was counterproductive and led to fewer goals in extra time, FIFA abandoned it. How can economics help?

Are there alternatives to the penalty shoot-out that would eliminate the above shortcomings and alleviate the football tragedy? This is where economic research can help, by answering the following question: what would happen if we swapped the extra time and penalty shoot-out around? If, after a tie in regulation time (90 minutes), the shoot-out first took place, and only then did the 30-minute extra time follow? Under this new sequencing the team that scored the most goals in extra time would win – regardless of the outcome of the preceding shoot-out. Only in the event that the extra time ended in a draw would the shoot-out result become relevant and determine the winner of the game.

The positive psychological effects of this change are obvious. The team losing the shoot-out would have an opportunity to sway the match in its favour in the subsequent extra time. If it failed, it would be perceived as a failure of the team, not the individual who missed the 12-yard kick. This would naturally reduce their stress and stigmatisation.

Other effects of the proposed rule change are quantified in my study (with colleagues Liam Lenten from La Trobe University and Petr Stehl??k from University of West Bohemia) published in the Journal of Sports Economics. Our econometric analysis of a large number of football matches shows the proposed move of penalties before extra time would strongly encourage attacking play and increase scoring in extra time. According to our estimates, in competitions such as the World Cup or the European Champions League final, the rule would increase the likelihood of a goal in extra time by 45 to 60 per cent. It would therefore reduce the proportion of tedious games with scoreless extra time by half, from 50 to 25 per cent. It’s because one team would always have an incentive to attack – unlike under the status quo, whereby both teams often defend and wait for the shoot-out.

Our study shows the exact boost in extra-time scoring would depend on many factors, such as the number of goals in regulation time, tournament round, home-ground advantage and relative strength of the teams (which we measure by bookmakers’ odds). Our regression models suggest, for example, that the probability of a goal being scored in extra-time of a World Cup quarterfinal, between two equally favoured opponents tied nil all after regulation time, would increase from the current 35.2 to 61.9 per cent. If this same type of match finished one all after the regulation 90 minutes, the scoring probability would increase from 46 to 72 per cent under the new rule.

Therefore, we hope that, after the successful launch of the goal-line technology and promising trials of video-refereeing, FIFA officials decide to test other football innovations, including the proposed swap of extra time and penalties. It would allow economic research to prevent many future soccer and personal tragedies.

Dr Jan Libich is a senior lecturer in macroeconomics at La Trobe University.

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

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