Pig farmer bashed to death while wife played dead in home invasion: court

Lucina Boldi (2nd from right) at Darlinghurst Supreme court for the trial of Ryan David Evans who has pleaded not guilty of murdering her partner Keith Cini in May 2014. Sydney, NSW. 10th May, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty Photo: Kate GeraghtyWARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
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The partner of a pig farmer bashed to death in their Badgerys Creek home has described how she “played dead” so a masked intruder would stop hitting her.

Lucina Boldi told the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday how she was woken in the early hours of May 30, 2014, by her de facto husband Keith Cini calling out her nickname, “Luce”.

She turned on the light and opened her bedroom door and saw two men dressed in dark clothing and with their faces covered standing with Mr Cini outside his bedroom door.

As one of the men turned towards her, she went back inside her bedroom.

“I put my back to the door trying to hold the person out but I wasn’t strong enough,” she told the court.

“The door got pushed and I was pushed in and I think I got hit in the head and the person kept hitting me and I put my arms up to protect my face.”

She fell to the ground and asked her attacker to stop, but he didn’t.

Senior Crown prosecutor Christopher Maxwell, QC, said, “Was there a point when he stopped?”

“When he thought I was dead,” she said.

“What did you do to make him think that?” Mr Maxwell asked.

“I didn’t move,” she replied.

Ms Boldi said she then heard one of the men say, “That’s enough, Brian.”

She continued to play dead while she heard smashing sounds and a voice saying, “Here it is.”

One of the men then returned and kicked her on the leg.

About 10 minutes later, she went and found Mr Cini lying on the floor, unconscious. She called triple zero.

Ryan David Evans, 28, is charged with murder in connection with the death of Mr Cini and with wounding with intent to murder Ms Boldi.

She suffered fractures to her arm and hand. She has a steel plate in her arm and cannot close her hand. She also had 50 stitches to her head.

Mr Cini was a pig farmer who would deliver pigs to restaurants in his trucks. He would keep the days’ cash takings in two safes in his home office.

Mr Evans allegedly once worked for him.

Mr Evans has pleaded not guilty to a total of seven charges related to the home invasion and another that occurred a month earlier in Medway, in the NSW Southern Highlands.

In that incident, Mr Evans allegedly attacked Brett Delamont??? with a pick handle in the early hours of April 28, 2014.

On Tuesday, Mr Delamont’s wife Alana Bush told the court she woke up to find two masked men in her bedroom, with her husband, suffering an injured and bloodied head, convulsing beside her.

One man yelled at her to stop screaming, saying, “Shut up, or I’ll hit him again” before he lunged and hit across the bed where her husband was lying.

Asked who else was in the house, Ms Bush eventually told him her daughter, Kirby Delamont, and her boyfriend both were.

Ms Bush said when the intruder replied “Nobody’s going to get hurt” she gestured towards her bleeding and convulsing husband and said: “He’s going to die.”

The couple’s hands and legs were tied and, as a pillowcase was put over her head, Ms Bush begged: “Please don’t kill us.”

The first intruder left while the other man stayed.

“I asked him to stop the crazy guy going into my daughter’s bedroom,” Ms Bush said.

When the second man said nobody was going to get hurt, Ms Bush stated: “Look at the hole in his [her husband’s] head.”

“We need help … he is bleeding, he is shaking, he is going to die.”

The man later told her: “This is not personal, it’s random.”

Ms Delamont said she woke to hear her mother screaming.

Two masked figures appeared at the bottom of her bed, one holding a pole-like weapon and the other a light.

“Their faces weren’t visible, they were covered by something,” she said.

One man yelled at her and her boyfriend to “get under the covers” before their wrists and legs were tied and he said: “I will be softer on you, sweetie.”

The Crown alleges Mr Evans and two other men were involved in the Medway invasion, one of whom had previous contact with the family and knew the house layout.

Mr Delamont was left with severe brain damage and $8000 in cash was stolen from the home.

The trial, which began before Justice Robert Allan Hulme on Monday is expected to go for 20 days.

With AAP

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Sport plays a united game

PROUD: Newcastle Knights centre Dane Gagai (seventh from left) with representatives from all 16 clubs showcasing the specially-designed jerseys ahead of this weekend’s annual Indigenous round. Picture: NRL mediaThis weekend I will once again wear the red and blue jersey, but it will carry moremeaning than most.
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Beyond simply representing the Hunter regionand NRL as per normal, the specially-designed uniforms for the now-annual Indigenous roundpresenta special opportunity for players, fans and the community alike to recognise the original land owners of this country as well as their traditional culture.

For us at the Newcastle Knights, teammates Dane Gagai and Jaelen Feeney have crafted something from their own heads and their own hearts for individuals to wear and everyone to share.

This instils me with passion and pride.

I am a white Australian, but I feel honoured to stand alongside those boys and wear this Indigenous jersey on such a special occasion.

Dane and Jaelen have incorporated images from their own heritage, including personal totems the shovel nosed shark and goanna respectively, but also added the Southern Cross to reinforce the fact we are one Australian nation. Reconciliation is our aim together.

Sport, especially rugby league, acts as the perfect platform to help unite people because when you’re in a team youstrive for a common goal, soit doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from.Differences should be embraced on a level playing field.

“The jersey and the round mean so much to me and my family because I get to represent my people and culture by playing the game I love,” Jaelen told me this week.

To the game itself against Canberra at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon, and following on from my representative experience in the final chapter of City-Country Origin, I hope to have that winning feeling two weeks in a row.

I feel rejuvenated after learning from the likes of coach Brad Fittler, captain Paul Gallen and young gun Nathan Cleary and I want to implement that energy back at the Knights.

Now we’re at home for the first time in a while and close encounters with the Raiders last season and a trial win this year give us a certain amount of confidence.

But we know the men in green present a difficult challenge, especially with attacking weapons like Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana, and we’ll have to execute our game plan for 80 minutes if we want to claimtwo valuable competition points.

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Surgical answer for GERD

WORTH CONSIDERING: Ideal candidates for GERD surgery Include young people not willing to be on medication for life, people not getting complete relief of symptoms with medication, and people with very large hiatus hernias. Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) is one of the commonest ailments in the community.
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It occurs when the contents of the stomach reflux back up into the oesophagus.

Often referred to as heartburn, about 10 per cent of the community suffer symptoms at least once a week.

Most cases are treated by over-the-counter medications which alleviate the effects of the acid, but notthe reflux.

In a small proportion of sufferers, left untreated the reflux can deteriorate to the point it is debilitating, causingserious complications, including oesophageal cancer.

These people should consider surgery, according toDr TIm Wright, from Eastern Surgical Services at Charlestown.

“The procedure is called a fundoplication and is done with keyhole surgery,” he said.“Cure rates are approximately 95 per cent and any side effects are very manageable.”

Many people with bad reflux are unaware that surgery is an option. Robert Prosser, from Edgeworth, was one. The57-year-old suffered from what he thought was bad heartburn for years.

He tried all the over-counter treatments –Mylanta, Gaviscon, Quickeze, Somac, even bi-carb soda in milk. None to any great effect.

“It got to the point I was waking up four of five times a night with the contents of my stomach spilling into my lungs,” Mr Prosser said.

“It caused so much damage to the back of my throat it led to Barrett’s Condition where the skins cells become pre-cancerous.”

After consulting with Dr Wright, Mr Prosser underwent afundoplication.”

“I haven’t had reflux since,” Mr Prosser said. “Not one Somac tablet, Quickeze, nothing. As far as I can be, Iam normal, although some of my friendsmight disagree.”

Mr Prosser was in hospital for two nights and back at bowls within two weeks.

“It’s a fantastic outcome,” Mr Prosser said. “I didn’t realise I had the problem until Ihad the bowel screen thing six years ago which picked up blood, which led me to having a gastroscopy and colonoscopy.”

Dr Wright emphasises that if considering such an operation, take time to find an experienced surgeon.

As far as Mr Prosser is concerned, the message is simple.

“Don’t put up with heartburn, for gods sake. It’s not normal in any way shape or form if it’s happening four or five times a day.”

For more information contact Dr Wright at Eastern Surgical Services on4032 8777.

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Newcastle Knights make play for Cooper Cronk

IN DEMAND: Melbourne Storm halfback Cooper Cronk. Picture: Getty Images NEWCASTLE Knights will do “everything withinthe club’s power”to sign Cooper Cronk if the Melbourne star decides to continue playing in the NRL next season.
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Cronkdropped a bombshell last month when he revealed he will quit the Storm at the end of 2017 to be closer to Sydney-based fiancee Tara Rushton.

The Queensland and Australian star is weighing up retirement and a career in the media after recently penning a deal with Fox Sports.

Chief executive Matt Gidley confirmed that the Knights had “very recent talks” with Cronk’s management and were formulating a proposal to present to the superstar playmaker.

“Are we interested in Cooper Cronk?Absolutely.” Gidley said. “Everyone is aware that he is looking to relocate and move closer to Sydney next year. We will certainly have a conversation with Cooper, and if he is interested in playing next year then we will do everything within our power to try and get him to our club.”

Asked if living on the Central Coast would be an option for Cronk, Gidley reiterated: “We will do everything in our power”.

Cronk was noncommittal about his future on Fox Sportspanel show Sterlo On the Couch on Tuesday night.

Newcastle Knights make play for Cooper Cronk TweetFacebook Cooper Cronk’s career in picturesPictures: Getty ImagesHis manager,George Mimis, has indicated that the dual Dally M winner willmake a decision at end of this year’s Origin serieson July 12.

“At the appropriate time there will be discussions had and we will make it very clear how interested we are in bringing him to our club,” Gidley said.

Cronk is the fourth marquee player the Knights have approached after missing out on Jack Bird, Matt Scott and Kieran Foran.

The Knights they are one of a few clubs with room in the 2018 salary cap for the $1 million price tag Cronk is likely to command.

A veteran of six grand finals, he has been linked to Parramatta, St George Illawarra, Canterbury and WestsTigers. Those clubs have either re-signed players or recruited other halves.

“Most clubs have already strengthened their rosters,” Gidley said.

Cronk would be the biggest signing in the Knights’30-year history and,with the uncertainty over the future of Trent Hodkinson, is seen as the ideal man to groom young halves Brock Lamb, Jalen Feeney and Jack Cogger.

As well as Cronk, the Knights are also in talks with Canterbury captain James Graham.

“Cooper and James,in terms of the qualities they bring to a club on and off the field, are exactly what we are after,” Gidley said. “They are super talented players, they are both experienced and bring genuine leadership traits which is what our young squad is in need of.There are obviously some challenges to work through to make that happen.”

Graham,31, is contracted to the Canterbury for 2018 but could be squeezed outas the Dogs look to free-up $2 million in the cap to accommodate the arrival of Kieran Foran and Aaron Woods.

“Weneed to respect the fact he is contracted to the Bulldogs,” Gidley said.“But if circumstances change there,he certainly knows how we feel and how much we would love to have him at the club.”

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How to catch ‘target’ sharks without killing other marine life

The latest marine bycatch data shows drum lines are more effective at catching target sharks and safer for all marine life than shark nets, prompting the Greens to call for an immediate end to the North Coast shark net trial.
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But despite committing to increase the number of drum lines deployed on the North Coast from 25 to 35, Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair insists a decision has not yet been made about the fate of the nets, which are to be removed on June 13 at the end of what will then be a six-month trial period.

Former premier Mike Baird announced a shark net trial in October 2016 on five beaches in and near Ballina after a series of shark incidents alarmed the north coast community.

It was just two weeks after the government had committed to using “smart drum lines”, which use GPS technology to alert Department of Primary Industries scientists when a shark is caught.

The shark net trial announcement came just two days after Mr Baird’s backflip on banning greyhounds.

Critics of nets claimed they would be lethal not just to sharks, some of which are endangered, but to other forms of marine life, including humpback whales.

In the five months from early December to early May, 127 “non-target” animals were found dead in the five trial nets at three Ballina beaches, Seven Mile Beach and Evans Head Beach, including an endangered green turtle. Another 117 animals were released alive.

Six target sharks were caught – two white, one bull and three tiger sharks – and three were tagged and released alive.

In the same period, the 25 North Coast drum lines, which are designed as a non-lethal shark “management tool”, caught 29 target sharks, 24 of them white sharks, with just one found dead after it was tangled in the line.

Two non-target animals – grey nurse sharks – were caught and released alive.

The department says that potentially dangerous sharks caught on the drum lines are tagged and relocated at least one kilometre offshore.

“Recent tracks from tagged sharks shows that they often head further offshore immediately after release (for the first 24 to 48 hours), so in addition to minimising any threat of an interaction with water users, having them move offshore after release further enhances the utility of SMART drum lines as a non-lethal bather protection tool,” the department’s website says.

NSW Greens marine environment spokesman Justin Field said: “The evidence is in – shark nets are little more than floating death traps for all marine life while SMART drum lines appear to be an effective means of catching target sharks.”

Mr Field called on the government to end the shark net trial early and backed the use of drum lines “supported by other non-lethal shark management techniques” such as Shark Watch, better resourcing lifeguards and personal deterrent devices.

But Mr Blair said the nets would continue to be used until mid-June and the community, the federal government and DPI shark scientists would be consulted before a final decision was made by early spring.

“When the nets are removed, we will increase the number of SMART drum lines to 35 (currently 25) – this will also be the most effective measure as the whale migration period begins on the North Coast,” Mr Blair said.

Helicopter surveillance would continue to operate on the north coast on weekends and there would be daily flights, supplemented by drones, during the July school holidays to provide shark surveillance at popular beaches, he said.

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After Molly, Hoges and Bondy, let’s forget about the rich and famous for a while

Let’s think for a minute about all the strong films based on real lives that Australia has produced over the years. It’s a list that goes from Breaker Morant and Shine right up to Rabbit Proof Fence, Mao’s Last Dancer, Tracks, Lion and Hacksaw Ridge.
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At their best, they’re compelling emotional stories about people who weren’t well-known when these films were being made.

Then let’s consider the commercial television equivalents. Samuel Johnson’s lively performance as music guru Ian Meldrum was the best thing about the mini-series Molly. And, after the patchy Hoges on Paul Hogan, House of Bond, about Alan Bond, was another disappointment.

Despite plenty of talent both behind and in front of the camera, the popular genre of dramatising famous lives has rarely risen to any great heights. It includes shows about Bob Hawke (Hawke), Graham Kennedy (The King), Ita Buttrose (Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo), Kerry Packer (Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War and Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story ), INXS (Never Tear Us Apart), Peter Allen (Not The Boy Next Door), Gina Rinehart (House of Hancock) and Mary Donaldson (Mary: The Making Of A Princess).

It’s hard to be optimistic about coming shows on Olivia Newton-John, Shane Warne and the Easybeats.

Dramatising lives should be incredibly rich material for both the big and small screen.

Every year bio-pics and stories based on real people compete for best picture at the Oscars. This year the semi-autobiographical Moonlight and Hidden Figures were nominated alongside those two Australian films, Lion and Hacksaw Ridge.

Recent years have included such solid films as American Sniper (Chris Kyle), The Imitation Game (Alan Turing), Selma (Martin Luther King), The Theory of Everything (Stephen Hawking), Bridge of Spies (James B. Donovan), The Revenant (Hugh Glass), 12 Years A Slave (Solomon Northup),Philomena (Philomena Lee), The Wolf of Wall Street (Jordan Belfort), Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln) and Moneyball (Billy Beane).

When film-makers deliver a good bio-pic, there is vast difference from what screens on Australian commercial TV. Even if they fictionalise elements of the story, they aim to say something truthful about their subject – the flaws that fame reveals, their internal conflicts, their struggles, their courage against the odds or the gap between the public image and the private person.

But the likes of Molly, Hoges, Never Tear Us Apart and House of Bond largely dramatise the myths about famous personalities.

They trade on nostalgia and curiosity rather than going deep into the light and shade of real lives.

The so-called golden age of television came about because American cable channels challenged what the traditional networks were doing.

Instead of seeking a mass audience who watched free, they chased smaller audiences who were prepared to pay for quality. Rather than familiar ways of making shows, they let stories breathe – hiring great writers, giving directors a decent budget and focusing on cracking stories.

Instead of homogenising these stories so families could watch them together, they pushed them into adult territory. The result has been shows that viewers around the world talk about.

With the federal government scrapping the commercial networks’ licence fees, it’s time for them to step up. Time to aim for world-class dramas that work for audiences here then sell internationally on the strength of the storytelling.

What about more TV dramas about ordinary Australians who’ve had extraordinary lives? Lion shows how stories like that can really strike a chord around the country.

Unless there’s a cracking yarn – the dark side of an icon or a genuinely inspiring tale – let’s just forget about the rich and famous for a while.

Twitter @gmaddox

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Customers unlikely to escape the bank tax

Whenever businesses are hit with a nasty new tax, there is a predictable response: we’ll pass it on to customers.
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Sure enough, the early signs are that banks expect at least some of the budget’s $6.2 billion tax on our five biggest lenders will also be worn by the millions of people who bank with them.

But just how easily can banks really offload a cost like this?

No doubt anticipating such a reaction, the government designed the tax so it would not apply to most household deposits. It’s also asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to launch an inquiry into home loan pricing over the next year.

Will these steps be enough to stop lenders sharing this cost with anyone with a bank account?

Essentially, the bank tax is a 0.06-percentage-point levy on all the money the big banks have borrowed to fund their lending (liabilities, in the jargon), excluding deposits of less than $250,000. It only applies to the five biggest banks: Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank, ANZ Bank, and Macquarie Group.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has been keen to point out that it excludes the vast majority of household deposits, and it is not a tax on mortgages.

But managing partner at Arnhem Asset Management Mark Nathan says that is not relevant, because banks don’t put their different types of funds in such pigeon holes.

“Banks are going to look at their aggregate funding costs and say, our costs have gone up because of this tax,” Nathan says.

There are three potential responses to an increase in costs, he says: to pay customers less for deposits, to charge more for loans, or for the business to make a lower return.

“I suspect it’s going to be a combination of all three, but the first two are going to wear the brunt of it,” Nathan predicts.

Martin North, of consultancy Digital Finance Analytics, also believes banks will ultimately pass on the levy to customers. He thinks the mortgage market is where they are most likely to do this, because that is where the big four have the most power to set prices.

Morrison probably saw this coming, and as well as setting the ACCC onto the banks, he has pointed out customers can take their business to smaller banks if they think they are being gouged.

Separately, the government will overhaul the body for sorting out disputes between customers and their banks. It is creating a “one-stop shop” that will deal with disputes spanning financial advice, superannuation, insurance and banking.

Such intense political scrutiny is likely to stop the banks from instantly raising prices and saying it is a direct response to the government.

But that doesn’t mean the lenders they won’t pass on the cost indirectly, such as by increasing rates and blaming other policies, such as a crackdown on their lending to customers with interest-only loans.

Banks’ mortgage decisions have been debated for years in this country, and it will be difficult for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to determine if such hikes are legitimate or otherwise.

What about Morrison’s point that customers vote with their feet? The tax will not apply to institutions such as Bank of Queensland, Bank of Bendigo, foreign-owned banks or credit unions.

Shopping around makes sense, but some small lenders often find it tempting to match their larger rivals.

When big banks faced tougher capital rules in 2015, which they responded to by raising home loan rates, some smaller banks were happy to also raise their mortgage rates, even though the new capital rules did not apply to them. North also argues that even with the tax, the big banks can still under-cut the smaller lenders, who have to pay more for money.

None of this is to say shareholders will get off the hook completely.

Bank shares plunged on news of the tax, which is equal to about 5 per cent of the industry’s profits.

Even though banks have shown themselves to be adept at passing on higher costs to customers, it is also a fact that their return on equity – a key measure of profitability – has been sliding.

Bank shareholders will no doubt have to wear part of the tax as well, which is of course why the industry is protesting so loudly. iFrameResize({checkOrigin:false},’#pez_iframe’); var frame = document.getElementById(“pez_iframe”);

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Maizen made to order in Central’s backline

FORM: Central Newcastle fullback Jake Maizen has scored six tries in the opening three matches of the Newcastle Rugby League season. They were his first games in the top grade. Picture: Jonathan CarrollBarista by morning, Butcher Boy by night.
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Jake Maizen takes orders of flat whites with two sugarsin his day job at a Hamilton cafe, but the calls aren’t quite as sweet on the field when chiming into the Central Newcastle backline.

“That’s a bit more serious than a cappuccino,” Maizen said.

The Cardiff 20-year-old has started his Newcastle Rugby League career on a try-scoring note, with the fullback crossing six times in his first three games in the top grade.

A member of Central’s under-19 grand final side last season, new club coach Craig Miller decided to give the youngster a shot in the No.1 jersey and sofar it has paid dividends.

Maizen opened 2017 with a four-pointer away at Kurri last month, followed up with a double at home against Lakes and nabbed a hat-trick playing Maitland at CoronationOval on Saturday.

“They [my teammates]make everything super easy for me,” Maizen said.

“I really just have to run my lines and it’s pretty much on a platter for me. My role is simplified and they just make me look good.”

And although having the likes of experienced campaigners Brad Murray,Steve Gordon and Shaun Metcalf around him, not all of Maizen’s tries have simply been walk overs.

It includes at least one from a line-break on halfway, slicing and dicing through the defence before sprinting away to claim the points.

But coach Miller hasn’t been all that surprised, he was impressed from the start.

“When I took over at the club I had a few weeks to watch the 19s and I thought they had a couple of really good young players that would hopefully push through into first grade,” Miller said.

“Jake was one of them so I was keen to get to training and see what he was like, but the more time we spent together and the more we got into team specifics he really took my notice.

“It’s his speed, his evasion and his football sense, and he’s a good kid to go with it.”

And to boot the Butcher Boys have a share of the competition lead, undefeated approaching the fourth round against Cessnock at St John Oval on Sunday.

“It’s been a good start, but I’mjust trying to be there week in and week out,” Maizen said.

“I’m not focusing on the tries too much, just happy with the wins.”

It hasn’t always been that successful during his time at the club, with firstsmaking the semis just twice since he kicked off in under 13s.

Prior to that he playedjuniors at Western Suburbs after starting at South Newcastle.

“It’s been unreal at Central and I wouldn’t go anywhere else,” he said.

“I’m happy there. That’s my footy home.”

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Cogger closes on comeback from surgery

Jack CoggerTeenage Knights half Jack Cogger is in line for an earlier than expected return frompelvis-stabilising surgery and a hernia repair.
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Cogger, who played six NRL games last season,has been training with Newcastle’s top squad this week, just two months after having the operation.

The 19-year-old was expected tobe sidelined for about 14 weeks but coach Nathan Brown said he could make his return in the lower grades as early as round 11.

“He’s starting to get close, Jack,” Brown said. “I don’t think he will be right this week, but they are planning on, if everything goes smooth, that he will play the following week.”

** Nathan Ross may reconsider travel arrangements next time he finds himself on a road trip.

The Knights winger made the four-hour trek back from Mudgee on Monday after his representative debut for City, but he did so sitting next to towering forward Pauli Pauli in the back seat.

“I was like a sardine in a can,” Ross joked at training. “It was a little bit tight there.”

Ross wasn’t the only one cracking jokes this week.Asked if the returning representative players might be rested at training this week, Knights prop Josh Starling said: “I’m not sure they did too much during the week. The boys had a few too many buffets so they might need to get in to do some extra training,” he smiled.“I think they will be right. They’re out there for a reason so they are pretty professional and they’ll be right to go.”

AAP reports: Canberra halfback Aidan Sezer expects prop Shannon Boyd and captain Jarrod Croker to overcome injury and face Newcastle.

Boyd (leg injury) didn’t play for Australia against New Zealand on Friday night, while Croker (arm)was unavailable for the NSW City-Country game along with the rest of the Raiders.

“I have no doubt those boys will run out ready to play on Sunday,” Sezer said on Tuesday.

“It’s round 10 and everyone’s getting knocks and bruises and I guess that’s accumulating over the weeks now so hopefully we can stay in good nick and keep a healthy squad.”

Jordan Rapana, Joey Leilua and Junior Paulo were the only Canberra players involved in representative round, giving the majority of the squad a well-timed break after defeats to the Bulldogs and Manly.

“We came off the back of two tight losses and we were thoroughly disappointed with it, but it was good to get off the legs and freshen up mentally and physically and ready to fight back this week,” Sezer said.

“We’ve been assessing out last two games and where we’ve gone wrong.

“It hasn’t been up to the Raiders standard we pride ourselves on.”

Josh Papalii will complete his suspension over a drink-driving conviction against the Knights, with Sezer admitting the star forward’s absence will hurt the side.

“In my opinion Papa is the best back-rower in the competition,” Sezer said.

“It’s big shoes to fill. We probably won’t have someone that can do the job Papa does each week but that’s paying respect to the player he is.”

Struggling Newcastle have won three games in two NRL seasons, but a draw and a four-point win to the Raiders last year will give them hope of an upset.

“Last year they finished wooden spooners and both times we played them they sent us to golden point,” Canberra forward Luke Bateman said.

“We’re definitely not expecting it to be an easy game. They’re always tough especially at home.”

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Federal budget 2017: Five housing changes to know about

Sorry, first-home buyers – this isn’t the budget you were hoping forThe winners and losers of Budget 2017Developers’ attempts to lure first-home buyers ahead of Budget decision on housing affordability
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Housing was a hot button topic for the 2017/2018 federal budget, so it’s no surprise there were a raft of changes for real estate.

The new measures have impacted on a variety of housing rules fromfirst-home buyers’ savings strategies to what investors can claim at tax-time.

Here are the five big announcements to know about. 1) Foreigners can only buy up to 50 per cent of a development

Under the new budget rules, developers will no longer be able to sell every property in their new development to overseas buyers.

Instead, a maximum of half the development can be sold to foreign buyers with the rest to be sold locally. The budget documents note this is to provide a “clear message” that new housing stock is expected to increase supply for Australian buyers.

Before this change developers required pre-approval to sell properties to foreign buyers but there was no limit on the proportion of sales.

Effect on revenue: No impact

In place from: May 9, 20172) First Home Super Saver Scheme

First-home buyers weren’t ignored by the budget with a new First Home Super Saver Scheme announced. The new super saver scheme will allow first-time buyers to put up to $15,000 a year, to a maximum of $30,000 under the scheme, into their superannuation.

These funds can later be withdrawn for a home deposit, including any earnings the deposits made.

This means they will have a tax incentive to save more, and it can be taken advantage of as a couple with each claiming $30,000.

Effect on revenue: Cost of $250 million ($9.4 million funding given to ATO)

In place from: July 1, 2017 (contributions), July 1, 2018 (withdrawals)3) An ’empty home’ tax on foreign investors

Foreign investors who keep properties vacant for more than six months will be faced with a vacancy tax. This is described as a charge on “underutilised residential property”.

The cost of this tax will be the equivalent of their foreign investment application fee – some several thousand dollars – and will be charged annually.

This change is intended to get more vacant homes onto the rental market.

Effect on revenue: Gain of $16.3 million ($3.7 million funding given to ATO)

In place from: May 9, 20174) Stopping investors from claiming travel deductions

Investors who previously had tax deductions for travel expenses related to their investment property will no longer be able to make these claims.

The government has ruled them out, even for those travelling to collect rent, maintain or inspect a premises, saying many have been incorrectly obtaining this deduction. This has included situations for “private travel purposes”.

Effect on revenue: Gain of $540 million

In place from: July 1, 20175) Retirees given incentives to downsize

Australians aged over 65 who sell their home of a decade or more will soon be able to put up to $300,000 in sale proceeds into their superannuation.

This incentive to downsize is expected to help free up larger homes for families to move into.

Effect on revenue: Cost of $30 million

In place from: July 1, 2018

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