Making great Connexions

ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Matt has been able to get his Ps with the help of his mum and staff at Challenge Connexions and has already driven by himself.A new NDIS-inspired service is launching in Newcastle this month, which will allow young people living with disability to connect with each other and gain valuable skills.
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Meet Matt. He is just like any other 20-year-old: working, volunteering, studying and socialising. However, due to his learning difficulties, Matt requires a bit more support to achieve his goals than others his age.

Matt has a very busy and fulfilling life, and the support provided by Challenge Disability Services has allowed him to gain valuable experience in his areas of interest.

With the launch of the new Challenge Disability Services Connexions program, more young active adults living with a disability who have low support needs, like Matt, will have the same opportunity.

Despite his learning difficulties, Matt is a conscientious worker with a special knack with children. He volunteers as a teacher’s aide and fortnightly cleans windows for businesses. Matt started washing windows for a local hairdresser, and now he services an additional four businesses.

“I am a teacher’s aide at the local primary school,” Matt said.

“I help any of the students, from Kindergarten to Year 6, that are having difficulties. I enjoy assisting them with their maths and art.”

With Challenge’s support, Matt was also given the opportunity to volunteer for his local PCYC’s Vacation Care for primary school children during the school holidays.

“I have also completed a TAFE course, Certificate IV in Interactive Digital Media, and learned about animation, cartoons, and editing,” he said.

Challenge Connexions can also support participants towards obtaining a driver’s licence. Matt recently passed his Provisional License test and is working towards buying himself a car, with his mum’s help.

With Challenge, Matt spends time in the gym on Mondays and group activities on Thursdays including trampolining, learning how to cook and playing basketball.

“My favourite activity so far was our excursion to the Irukandji Shark & Ray Centre at Port Stephens, it was interesting and I learnt new things,” Matt said.

“I liked going to school, but I prefer the time I spend at Challenge Disability Services. I really enjoy my time and the staff are all really nice. I have made quite a few new friends, and I have recommended Challenge’s services to my friends.”

The support provided to Matt will now be available to more people in the community with the launch of Challenge Connexions. The program is eligible for NDIS funding, providing the chance for 18 to 35-year-olds with low support needs to gain essential work, social, and life skills with people their own age.

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Sting’s ‘ very un-rock-star’ New York penthouse selling for $76 million

Manhattan condo to smash New York price recordDemi Moore’s Central Park triplex penthouse sells for $60.6 million, after two yearsGwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin sell lavish New York penthouse for $13 million
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British musician Sting and his wife, film producer Trudie Styler, are selling their New York penthouse and it’s surprisingly subdued for the hefty price tag.

The couple has listed the home, which spans across the top two levels of Manhattan’s 15 Central Park West building, for the rock-star price of $US56 million ($76 million).

Originally two separate apartments that they combined, the pricey pad only has three bedrooms and five bathrooms. However, it has a huge balcony overlooking Central Park.

The couple bought the home for $US27 million in 2008, meaning they’re hoping to flip it for more than double what they paid.

It has 500 square metres of floor space but that’s not enough for the couple who want a larger home to accommodate their growing family, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The penthouse has custom-designed interiors by Lee F. Mindel of Shelton, Mindel & Associates, who put in an all-white chef’s catering kitchen with two fridges, four ovens and three dishwashers

Separating the living and dining rooms on the lower level is an ornate gas fireplace, and around the corner is a private library and a private sauna room.

Most of the second level is taken up by the master suite, which can be accessed by elevator or the grand foyer staircase.

The master bedroom boasts oversized windows and French doors overlooking New York’s skyline, two large dressing rooms, as well as an enviable bath with stunning views.

Designed by “starchitect” Robert A. M. Stern, Central Park West is an an exclusive complex, that Judy Garland, John Lennon and Yoko Ono have all lived in.

Its residents have access to a full staff, landscaped motor court, fitness centre, lap pool, steam and sauna, screening room, private restaurant, wine rooms, a library, a children’s playroom and more.

The couple also own a unit at nearby 220 Central Park South, also designed by Stern.

The apartment has incredible views of Central Park and Manhattan. Photo: Sotheby’s

The couple bought the home for $US27 million in 2008.Photo: Sotheby’s

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

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Aussie rules makes play for new inner-city club

GROWING: Newcastle City and Terrigal-Avoca battle it out in the Black Diamond grand final last year. Picture: Simone De PeakAFL officials have started planning for a new inner-city Australian rules club to cater for growing demand in Newcastle.
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The NSW/ACT AFL hosted a meeting in Newcastle on Monday to set up a working party which will examine where the team will play, what it will be called and other details.

NSW/ACT AFL Northern NSW regional manager Simon Smythsaid Black Diamond Cup powerhouse Newcastle City had enjoyed a 37 per cent rise in junior player numbers and a 38 per cent increase in seniors from 2013 to 2016. The Blues and the Wallsend Swans, who have several junior teams, are the only Australian rules clubs in the Newcastle local government area.

“The rationale is the growth that we’ve seen within junior, senior and especially women’s AFL across the Hunter Valley, but more specifically Newcastle, and given the projected population growth that we will be seeing in the next 10 or 15 years,” Smyth said.

“We’re just trying to get ahead of the eight-ball and create opportunities for our game to continue to grow in Newcastle, and we think the best way to do that is to have another junior, senior, women’s club in the area.”

Newcastle City president Daniel Gardner, whose club has more than 150 registered seniors across three men’s and two women’s teams, said the Blues supported the idea of a second inner-city team as it would give more players opportunities to play at a highlevel.

The Blues have established themselves as the city’sdominant club on and off the field with drawcard facilities at No.1 Sportsground, although a controversial ban on recruiting players has brought them back to the pack this season.

But Smyth said the push for a new club was not aimed at spreading talent more evenly in the competition.

“That’s certainly not the driving factor. The driving factor is we need to cater for participants. There’s only so many teams we can fit on No.1 Sportsground at the moment,” he said.

“We’ve got the Newcastle City junior club booming and having their surplus teams playing elsewhere just to cater for the demand.

“Even though equalising talent may be a by-product, certainly that’s not the driving factor. We know our game’s growing, and the population of Newcastle will continue to grow,and not all of these players will be able to find a home at Newcastle City in the next five or ten years.”

West Newcastle played out of Wickham’s Hawkins Oval in the Newcastle AFL before merging with Wallsend when the Black Diamond AFL competition began in 2000.

Smyth said representatives from the former club were excited that “their patch of turf could be playing footy again”, although it was too early to say where a new club would play.

“We can’t come in and take over the ground of another sport, even though Hawkins Oval was a ground we used to play at,” he said. “We’ll be in constant communication with the council around opportunities to play at any facility we believe is appropriate in the inner west of Newcastle.

“Obviously Hawkins Oval makes sense from a traditional point of view, but we’re not in a position to go and knock out the current tenants.We understand that we may have to work with council and co-share with another code.”

Smyth said a club name was also open for debate.

“That’ll be up to the working party to decide, and it will come down to whether we’re relocating a club or starting up a new club or rehashing an old club, but certainly we think that having Newcastle in the name is an important thing so that people can play for this club and represent a part of Newcastle.”

The NSW/ACT AFL hopes the new club will have junior and women’s teams playing by next year.

“We want to aim high. That will be the charter of the working party to make those things happen,” Smyth said.

“There is a demand around women’s football at the moment.We know that we could probably start a women’s team tomorrow if we wanted to. And certainly there’s plenty of demand for junior footy and Auskick.

“At a minimum, if we can get a women’s team, some junior teams and some Auskick next year, that’s what we’ll be aiming for.

“If we’re able to get a senior men’s team as well, that’s an added bonus and we’d be very happy with that.”

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Budget fails to relieve the burden of many

The Turnbull Government’s tagline in Tuesday night’s budget touted fairness, opportunity and security for all Australians, but the reality of this statement is of grave concern for vulnerable people and those organisations that support them.
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The 2017 budget has resulted in apprehension for what the government intends to do to stop the increase of poverty in Australia, specifically with no commitment to increasing support payments, family tax benefits and expanding the cashless welfare trial and demerit scheme.

This year’s budget has frozen welfare payments at dangerously low levels, ignoring calls from services providers and the welfare sector to consider increases as a matter of priority.

Unfortunately, a lack of increased investment in support payments always has the biggest impact on those who need the most support to break the poverty cycle- children, young people, families and people with a disability. Poverty is not just about money or starvation. It’s about access to appropriate healthcare, affordable and appropriate housing, education and inclusion in society. Many of these issues were not adequately addressed in the budget and payments remain so low that poverty is a real scenario for many.

It’s particularly disappointing to see yet another attempt to reduce family tax benefits which will affect so many Australians who depend on such support. Families are already experiencing financial stress through the ever-increasing costs of living and it is simply unjust for families to assume the burden of balancing the budget for political gain.

While commitment to childcare and schools funding is a good start for families, it falls short of addressing key issues that result in poverty. As an experienced provider of emergency relief services across regional NSW, Samaritans is acutely aware that pressures on families are increasing. Changes in welfare support not only result in a negative impact on vulnerable people, but on providers who quite suddenly experience increased demand for services and support.

This year’s Rental Affordability Snapshot released by Samaritans and Anglicare in April showed that in the past five years, there has been no relief for people seeking affordable rental. We welcomed the budget’s announcement of funding measures to making housing more affordable and address homelessness. The bond aggregator for community housing is great news for the welfare sector.

Samaritans Specialist Homelessness services listed family breakdown, domestic violence and housing affordability and availability stress as the top three reasons for people seeking support in the past 12 months.

The biggest win from the 2017 budget was the government’s move to secure the future of the NDIS through the Medicare Levy and there was also welcome news of investment in the mental health space. News of the government’s commitment to helping people with mental health-related disabilities under the NDIS is a huge win for vulnerable people.

After this budget, we’re looking to the Turnbull Government to truly deliver on their promises of a fair and secure Australia, with adequate opportunity for all.

At Samaritans, we’re encouraging all levels of Government to work together to end the poverty trap and create a safe and secure community for everyone.

Peter Gardiner is the chief executive of the Samaritans Foundation.

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When terrorism strikes, we must unite

TRIBUTES: Whether the attack occurred in Manchester, Sydney or Iraq, victims of terrorism and their families deserve empathy and compassion, not judgement.I HAVE seen that a 12-year-old Australian girl is among the victims of a terrorist attack in Baghdad while she was buying ice-cream with her family on holiday.
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We should be all responding to her loss with compassion, but instead I have witnessed many statements by members of our society filled with hatred and anger and posing questions such as ‘why was she even there?’, ‘why wasn’t she at school?’ and ‘what kind of family would take her there?’.

I am disgusted to see the hatred towards this innocent girl and her family who are going through their toughest time. We did not question why concert-goers at the tragedy in Manchester were there, so why are we responding with zero compassion for this young girl? In these horrific situations we should respond to the loss with compassion and empathy for families and friends of the victims, always.

The facts are clear. Terrorism can and will occur anywhere. It is no longer something that occurs far away, or only in third-world countries. It occurs right here at home, and everywhere else. However, we should not let terrorism define our way of life. We should not let terrorism define whether we attend events or not. We should not let terrorism define whether we participate in activities or not. We should not let terrorism define whether we leave the house today or not. We must not let terrorism divide our community, both local and global. We must unite.

My deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims in recent attacks.

Bradley Burns,CardiffListen on light railTODAY we read that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has put the Fire Levy “on hold” until a further review is undertaken (‘Berejiklian delays fire levy’, Herald,31/5).

Gladys is quoted as saying: “We are a government that listens and we have heard the concerns of the community and will take the time to get this right.”

Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case with the plans for the light rail route here in Newcastle.Enough people have spoken out against the route of the light rail over the past couple of years and I would like to hear Gladys’ reason for not listening to her government’s Newcastle constituents in this case, as our voices seem to fall on deaf ears.

The cost of this “folly” to Novocastrians is just as important as the cost factor used as a reason for Gladys to act on the Fire Levy.

Come on Gladys, be the good Premier a lot of us believe you can be by using that “listening device” touted in the case of the Fire Levy for the case of Newcastle’s light rail route. Let’s not waste money raised from the lease of the Port of Newcastle. The savings to be made by taking the logical route for the light rail here in Newcastle can be used elsewhere, maybe in some other regional centre which is missing out, or even to offset the proposed Fire Levy.

Rod Faulkner,MarylandMore detail neededPERHAPS Supercars should head to Bunnings and purchase a moral compass.

Representative Cole Hitchcock appears to be telling residents they should make a decision for themselves about whether to stay or go during the event (‘Demand for noise plan’Herald,30/5). How can anyone decide without the relevant information? What if, like many, you don’t have the option to leave? Basically I think it boils down to Supercars trying to force people out. That way Supercars wouldn’t have to compromise or compensate for making 200 homes and hundreds of apartments unlivable.

Destination NSW and Newcastle City Council simply defer to Supercars when questioned over responsibility for noise. And all the while Supercars maintain the right to stay silent.

Mark Sampson, NewcastleDangers of drug misuseKERRY Redman (Letters, 31/5) rightly points out the dangers of marijuana.

The drug that causes society the most death, and damage, is alcohol, which sadly is legal and widely advertised.

All drugs, legal and illegal, are dangerous when misused. The problem with illegal drugs is that the user has no idea what they are consuming. Imagine if alcoholic drinks had no content on the label. We would have overdoses even more often that we do now.

It is no wonder there are deaths from illegal drugs. Sadly, we also have tens of thousands of deaths from the misuse of prescription drugs, tobacco, and alcohol: all currently legal.

Joan Lambert, AdamstownConcerning conditionsI HAVE read the terms and conditions of entry into the Supercars compound which will be applied to residents who decide to accept ‘free’ residents access tickets.In order to access our homes, we will be required to sign the terms, set out by Supercars and, presumably approved by Destination NSW. There are many parts of the terms which cause us extreme concern. I will list just a few of the more obvious ones.

Paragraph 5 states: “Warning – motor sport activities, the event and activities associated with the event are inherently dangerous and accidents can happen. There is significant risk of an accident causing injury, disability, death or property damage or economic loss.”

Is this not an explicit admission from Supercars that this is an inappropriate event to be held in an inner city suburb where homes are within two to three metres of the track?

In signing on for the pass, we will also be required, in paragraph 6 to agree that: “Upon entering the event, each patron provides this release…: SCA and the associated entities are not liable to me or to any person with me for (regardless of how or when the liability is caused, or by whom it is caused….): a. my death, injury to me or the injury or death of anybody else with me; b. damage to, destruction of, theft of or unauthorised delivery up of any of my property or equipment…; c. or damage to, destruction of, theft of or delivery up of any of my clothing or other personal items.”

So Supercars are requiring us to absolve them of damage to our person, our death, injury (including hearing loss, presumably), regardless if it is the race itself, persons associated with the race or other visitors who cause such damage. Our question is: where are the protections to our property?

The critical question is: what will Supercars do if we refuse to sign? We are allowing this organisation into our suburb to conduct an event which by their own admission carries extraordinary risk.We have put this to Supercars, as usual, without response.

Kate Napthali, Newcastle East

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Living large in his 30s on a non-stop world tour

Living large in his 30s on a non-stop world tour WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe, 33, hopes to complete 65 Contiki tours by the time he’s 35. He’s pictured here on the Great Wall.
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WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe does dress-ups in Japan.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe zip lining in Costa Rica.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe in Hobbiton, the New Zealand film set of Lord of the Rings.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe and his Contiki family in New York.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe at the pyramids on the Mexican Grande tour.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe in Budapest in 2016.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe on the Grand Northern Tour in front of Mount Rushmore.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe and the group on the Big Indochina tour.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe with some friends he met on a Peru tour.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe singing karaoke on the Vietnam boat tour.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe in a Russian metro tunnel.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe in Moscow.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe and a bit of bus shenanigans.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe on his 35th Contiki at the Taj Mahal.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe and the guys from the Japan tour.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe in, you guessed it, Las Vegas.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe at Niagara Falls.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe throws himself into one of the many Contiki games.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe at the Valley of the Kings, Egypt.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe at the Great Pyramids, Egypt.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe at the Acropolis, Greece.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe overlooking Edinburgh, Scotland.

WANDERLUST: Stephen Rowe at a football match in Brazil.

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Offshore train fiasco in QLD a warning for our Premier

The recentrally at Honeysuckle outside of the senateinquiry into the state of Australia’s rail industry highlighted the importance of maintaining a local, high-skilled manufacturing workforce in the Hunter.
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Dozens of local train builders gathered to tell state and federal governments that enough is enough when it comes to offshoring our manufacturing jobs.

I amappalled by the NSW government’s decision to offshore the $2.3 billion intercity train fleet to South Korea.

The intercity train fleet will replace the NSW TrainLink V-Set fleet that links Newcastle and the Central Coast, and the Blue Mountains and South Coast to Sydney.

The senate inquiry in Newcastle heard firsthand how this decision had dealt a crushing blow to the Hunter’strain manufacturing industry.It has been estimated that this decision has cost around 1200 direct jobs in NSW, and almost 600 jobs in the Hunter alone, at a time when youth unemployment in our region sits at over 12 per cent.An extra 12,000 downstream jobs could be jeopardised because of the government’s decision.

What a kick in the guts to our local workers, local businesses and local families who will all miss out on the benefits that hundreds of local high-skilled manufacturing jobs would bring to our regional economy.

Recent news out of Queensland has painted a bleak picture of what happens when we offshore our train builds to overseas manufacturers. These reports should also serve as a warning to the Premier.

The ABC recently reported that Queensland’s new trains, commissioned by the former Newman Liberal National Government, and built in India, have been put on indefinite halt.

This project cost the Queensland taxpayer about $4.4 billion and the 13 out of 75 trains delivered before the project were put on hold are riddled with mistakes.

Queensland’s New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) has ‘significant design issues’, including faulty brakes, dud air conditioning systems, poor ventilation, issues with disability access and even problems with sightlines for train drivers.

This means that our cousins north of the border have spent a whopping $4.4 billion on 13 dodgy trains.

Contrast that with Victoria, whichin September 2016 announced the creation of 1100 highly-skilled jobs with the state’s single largest order of trains to be built in Victoria, for Victoria.

I find it inconceivable that in light of this disaster in Queensland, our state government is still willing to send $2.3 billion of taxpayer’s money overseas to build the trains that will service our local region.It’s an insult to our workers, it’s an insult to their families, and it’s an insult to the people of NSW.

The Government must reverse this decision now to avert a disaster. Reverse this decision and build the trains in NSW

Appearing the Senate Inquiry in Newcastle, managing director of Lovells Springs in Carrington, Simon Crane, was adamant that all we need is the political will to bring rail manufacturing “back from the dead”.

In Parliament I have moved another motion calling on the NSW Liberal Government to reverse its decision to offshore the Intercity Train Fleet to South Korea. I look forward to the Government’s support of this motion when it is debated.

Yasmin Catley is the Member for Swansea and Shadow Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation in the NSW Parliament. SKILLS: From left, Simon Crane managing director of Lovells, in Carrington, manufacturing manager Trent Bell and leading hand Brett Manning. Photo: Simone De Peak

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Prices aren’t reason you can’t buy a house

SACRIFICE: One correspondent says the cost of buying a house, as relative to income, is not greater today than in the past. Could it be spending habits that need to change?
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I HEAR and read so many reports about how the cost of houses today makes it impossible for young people to purchase their first home. I decided to compare wages and house prices “back in the day” when my wife and I were first starting out together.

In 1960, my old group certificate shows that I earned 1040 pounds ($2080) per year. We built our first house for 10,000 pounds ($20,000) which was 10 times my yearly salary. Based on today’s average wage of $75,000 it should not be too hard in Newcastle to find houses to buy or build for the same 10 times annual salary at $750,000. Our new home was not complete on the inside. Retaining walls, lawns and gardens had to be established with our hands.

Interest rates were much higher than today and appliances were expensive. For example a new black and white 23” TV cost 890 pounds (nearly one year’s salary) compared to a 23” colour TV available today for $159 – about one day’s wage.

So how did we and others manage to build or buy our dream home? Here are some of the things we did not do. There were no coffees on the way to work, no purchased sandwiches (we made our own at home). No branded clothing. We didn’t spend money on rock concerts; maybe a trip to the movies a couple of times per year. There was no weekly dining out, no annual paid holiday trips and certainly no overseas trips. My first flight was at 29 years of age.

So, like so many others, with all the sacrifices made we scraped and saved for a wonderful family life that we would not exchange with anyone. The government thinks our plan must have been successful and worthwhile because today we cannot get any medical or pension assistance, having worked and saved so well for our future. We recommend the plan.

John Yates,BelmontPalliative care mattersWHAT value do you place on the quality of a patient’s life?In NSW the answer seems to be “not enough”. Palliative care everywhere is stretched in NSW.

The community services looking after people at home or in nursing homes are under-resourced, Aboriginal communities and rural areas are worse off.

Palliative care has been suffering from under-funding and lack of staff for far too long. Politicians should now give it the priority it deserves to bring us in line with Victoria. I understand 76 per cent of Australians want to die in their homes but 86 per centdie in hospitals or nursing homes. This number is expected to rise with our ageing population.

The severe shortage of doctors and nurses to provide specialist palliative care is a big problem. NSW needs funding for a minimum 10 more palliative care physicians and another 129 palliative care nurses.

This is a serious community health problem which will eventually affect us all and our families. It is Palliative Care Week. The theme is “you matter, your care matters – palliative care can make a difference”. The time for action is now, not 10 years.

GaryRosevear,GeorgetownSelective compassionONE only has to consider the massive Defence spending in Adelaide to protect the federal seat of Sturt for the Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, and other Coalition members in South Australia and compare this with the complete lack of consideration of the cruel hardships being inflicted on the residents of Williamtown.

The only conclusion any reasonable person can arrive at is that around Williamtown they vote Labor but in Adelaide Turnbull needs Pyne’s vital vote to maintain his leadership, so justice comes at long last, as your correspondent Max Ebrill (Letters, 22/5) pointed out so clearly. The Turnbull government is only interested in giving justice to someone they can rely on to vote for their government. As Mr Ebrill made clear in his letter, Turnbull and his ministers “are acting like cud-chewing cows” as our neighbours sink into despair, as their lives are ruined by lack of action by anyone of compassion.

Even if we cannot hold them to account at the ballot box, they should always uphold the common mateship that the PM was so proud to espouse at the Anzac services around the country. Our residents are victims of the war machine, just as the vets from the overseas postings.

Frank Ward, Shoal Bay Dutton needs to goMINISTER Dutton knows full well that the 7000 refugees who have not lodged claims for protection were only allowed to do so after 2015, and then only in small numbers.

His claim that they are ‘fake’ refugees is deeply offensive. Most of us have no problem in giving people seeking asylum here the right to a fair hearing. That includes supporting them so they can overcome their fear to tell their story. Most of us are tired of being fed fake news ever since the “children overboard” electoral stunt by former Liberal PM John Howard, 17 years ago.

Most of us don’t tell lies to each other. Most of us try to treat each other the way we would like to be treated. It’s what we teach and expect our children to do as well: to do the right thing.Most of us have the reasonable expectation that an immigration minister would seek to put in place a fair and efficient asylum-seeker process.

Instead I think we have a deceitful minister delighting in spinning a wicked tangled web. He needs to go.

Niko Leka, MayfieldWhat makes schools ‘best’SEVERAL correspondents have recently raised the issue of parental choice in education and the “best schools”.

Government schools have a charter to provide an education for all those who choose it. Non-government schools have no such charter. Indeed, the only choice that a parent has for a non-government school is the choice to apply. After that, the non-government school chooses the student. True choice exists only when all have equitable access.So which are the “best schools”? Are they those schools who consistently add value to their student’s NAPLAN scores, or are they those that have substantially improved their students HSC completion rates? Or perhaps it’s those schools whose indigenous students increasingly complete year 12. Maybe it’s the schools whose student well-being programs are nationally recognised, or perhaps the school that has dramatically improved student behaviour.

“Best schools” exist everywhere, not just in suburbs with high real estate values. They are not just those schools who achieve outstanding HSC results, but rather where the “best”, iemost effective, teachingoccurs.

Greg Archbold,Eleebana

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Clements out of deep water after cancer scare

Clements out of deep water after cancer scare HONOURED: Newcastle surfing legend Roger Clements with his surfing awards and trophies at his house in Hamilton South. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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On the cover of Surf magazine in 1969.

Competing in the 1977 Mattara Surf Classic.

At Black Rock, on the south coast.

At the Australian longboard titles at Crescent Head in 1992.

TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald and has also left2NURFM, where he worked as a copywriter and on air. The 66-year-old was diagnosed with bladder cancer late last year but has responded well to treatment and hopes to be back in the water soon.

When the world tour began in 1975, Clements was in his prime, having beaten two-time Australian champion Michael Peterson in the 1972 Mattara Surf Classic.

He was more than competitive against international surfers at the Bells Beach Classic from 1973 to ’77 and won the Mattara again in 1977, beating Bells winner Simon Anderson. But the fledgling world tour was a bridge too far, mainly due to finances.

“Peter Townend and Simon Anderson and all those guys wanted me to go with them, but becauseI only lived week-to-week as far as money went, I could never afford to lose my job and take the chance of going overseas,” Clements said.

“We had sponsors, but all we got was boards. They really struggled a lot of them. It wasn’t until the sponsorship dollars started rolling into it that they became more comfortable, but that wasn’t until about the ’78 mark, I guess.

“I do regret it, but I didn’t want to get stuck in acountry with no money and no support. Bells was a taste of it. It wasn’t a fact of not being good enough; it was just not having the money.”

Clements grew up in Crescent Head, started surfing at 11 and moved to Merewether with his family four years later. Hebegan writing weekly reports on the city’s competitive surfing scene for the Herald 42 years ago and also worked for 2NX and 2HD as a surf reporter and advertising copywriter.

The work allowed him to pursue his passion for competitive surfing on both short and long boards. He won national titles and was selected in Australian amateur teams for events in England and California in 1981 and 1983, the latter as captain.

He is a past president and life member of Merewether Surfboard Club and one of 10 names in its Hall of Fame, with the likes of Mark Richards, Peter Cornish and Luke Egan;a life member of Steel City Malibu Club, Surfing Newcastle and Surfing NSW;has won the Duke Kahanamoku Award for services to Australian surfing, andisin the Hunter Sporting Hall of Fame.

Clements has had chemotherapy to treat his cancer and hopes to return soon to the Dixon Park break.

“I’m still sore from the operation. I still take it day by day,” he said.

“The prognosis is good. It’s just a matter of time.”

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Budget 2017: Your ultimate guide to the federal budget

Related coverageWRAP UP: Morrison’s dash for cashAT A GLANCE: What the budget means for you and your familyWINNERS AND LOSERS: From the 2017-18 BudgetIN FULL: Read the entire speech as delivered by Scott MorrisonQUIZ: How much do you know about the budget?Morrison targets banks, multi-nationals in dash for cashAn increase in the Medicare levy for all Australians, a new tax on the country’s five biggest banks, and new measures to crack down on multi-national tax evasion were thecentrepiece of Tuesday night’s federal budget.
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The measures will raise almost$21billion of new tax revenue over the nextfour years, and help give the Turnbull government a modest surplus by 2021.

In a budget that targets the Turnbull government’s future election prospects as well as much-needed fiscalrepair – finally putting to rest the ghosts of Joe Hockey’s politically toxic “lifters and leaners” budget of 2014 -Treasurer Scott Morrison described the 2017 budget as a “reset”, and emphasised this was a budget for “right choices” and “fairness”. Read more

Budget slugs banks with new levy, further measuresFor Australia’s five biggest banks, this year’s federal budget will go down as another Black Tuesday.

By the time the federal Treasurer’s speech was over, the banks faced asuper tax, two powerful new regulatory bodies,fines of up to $200 million for breaching tough new misconduct rules and a beefed-up competition watchdog. Read more

First-home buyers get ‘super’ saver schemeSaving a deposit is the toughest challenge for first-home buyers and the federal government has promised to provide a helping hand with a new savings initiative worth $250 million.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme will allow entry-level buyers to save funds at a discounted tax rate by making additional contributions to their superannuation.

These additional contributions, and earnings made on them, would then be able to be withdrawn to be used as a home deposit. Read more

Retirees given $300,000 incentive to downsizeRetirees holding onto their family homes have been given a $300,000 incentive to sell under a federal budget plan to encourage older property owners to downsize.

Home owners aged 65 and over selling a home they have lived in for 10 or more years will be able to make a non-concessional contribution of up to $300,000 into their superannuation from the proceeds of the sale.

Both members of a couple are allowed to take advantage of this measure for the same home. Read more

Foreign home buyers hit by vacancy tax and restrictionsForeign ownership of new developments will be restricted, there will be steeper charges applied to purchases, less favourable tax treatment and charges on those with empty properties, in a raft of measures in the federal budget aimed at taking the sting out of the housing market.

One measure to be introduced from Tuesday is for foreign buyers to be slugged a fee for having a property that sits empty for six months or more in a year.

Those who don’t have a tenant in their property, or live in it themselves for a lengthy period of time, will be expected to pay an annual charge equal to their foreign investment application fee. Read more

$75b infrastructure spending spree to include Snowy Hydro buy-backA $75 billion infrastructure spending spree, to last 10 years and including a potential buy-out of the Snowy Hydro scheme from the states as well as a $20 billion “once in a generation” rail line upgrade,is the centrepiece of theTurnbull government’s economic growth plan.

The2017-18 federal budgeton Tuesday outlinedthe government’s seven-year funding plan, which includes the expensivecommitment to uprade Australia’s passenger and freight rail lines to “provide better connections for our cities and regions and create new opportunities”. Read more

A budget of ticking boxes, says former Liberal leader John Hewson“This is strangely a pre-election budget just after an election.”

This is the opinion of former Liberal Party leader Dr John Hewson in the lead up to the reveal of the 2017 Federal Budget.

There havebeen many leaks of whatthe budget will contain in the lead up to the annoucement, including foreducation, infrastructure and housing.

Dr Hewson said he thought it would be a very political document, addressing pressure points the Turnbull government currently faced. Read more

Scott Morrison makes promise of better days for governmentThe Coalition won the 2016 election, but a year later has delivered a Labor budget.

Labor will describe it as “Labor lite”.

But the document delivered by Treasurer Scott Morrison on Tuesday night will go a long way towards addressing the key concerns that provided a near-death experience for the Liberal-Nationals Coalition. Read more

Treasurer reacts to Budget cartoonPauline Hanson streams budget reactionOne Nation leader Pauline Hansonwill take to Facebook this evening to host her own live stream of budget reactionwith her other One Nation senators.

What’s in store? Well, let’s find out…

Check out the budget for yourselfDid you know you can read all the Budget papers online, right now? Check outhttp://梧桐夜网budget.gov419论坛/

#Budget2017 has been unveiled — watch our live coverage https://t.co/W8g3Yz7mfK

— ABC News (@abcnews) May 9, 2017Budget in five minutesECONOMY

Deficit of $29.4 billion in 2017/18 but projected surplus of $7.4 billion in 2020-21Increased Medicare levy adding $8.2 billion to the bottom line for three yearsWage growth expected to increase from 2per cent to more than 3per cent over the next four yearsUp to $13 billionof “zombie” 2014-era cuts to education and welfare will be dumped to shore up AAA credit ratingThe ecomonic outlook does looks brighter and projections for the deficit are encouraging but significant risks remain

BIG BUSINESS

Extra funding for the Tax Office’staskforce charged with clawing back $15b from the black economy”Google tax” expected toraise more than $4b from big business and multinationalsBanks subject to bigger fines of $50m-$200m for serious misconductSix-basis-point levy on the five largest banks, raising $6.2b over the budget and forward estimatesThe Treasurer was quick to point out that the banks and multinationals are the only ones who will be paying more tax on July 1

SMALL BUSINESS

Small business $20,000 instant asset write-off extended for second yearBusinesses with a turnover of up to $50m will receive a company tax cutAnnual temporary work visa levy of $1200 or $1800 per worker a year, and one-off permanent skilled visa levy of $3000 or $5000The lifeblood of the economy receives a welcome boost which should spur job creation

HOUSING

First-home buyers can salary sacrifice for deposit from pre-tax payRetirees who sell family home can add non-concessional $300k into super”Ghost tax” of up to $5000 for foreign buyers who leave homes emptyCommunity housing associations can borrow money at lower rates of interestIncrease captial gains discount by 60 per cent for investments in affordable housing$1b to fund deals within cities to develop urban areasTo fix housing you need a lot more houses, but in the long term these measures are likely to see prices continue to rise

COMMUNICATIONS

Gambling ads banned during live sports broadcasts before 8.30pm, and for five minutes before and after start of play$130 million annual licence fee for broadcasters will be scrapped in favour of a $40 million spectrum feeRepealing the 75 per cent reach and cross-media ownership lawsChanges will allow traditional media companies to compete with new companies. Previous laws were outdated

DEFENCE

Australian Federal Police get $321m to recruit anti-terrorism/trafficking specialists$350m for mental health services for veteransDefence spending is expected to rise from $32.4bin 2016-17 to $58.7bin 2025-26Extra funding will help security agencies protect Australians at home and abroad

INFRASTRUCTURE

Melbourne-Brisbane inland rail link gets $8.4b with construction to begin this financial yearSecond airport for Sydney at Badgerys Creek to get $5.3b over 10 years$844m to upgrade Bruce Highway$1b for Victorian projects including $550m regional rail fund, $30m for airport link business caseBig-ticket items to boost economic growth,jobs and the national psyche

HEALTH

Medicare rebate to be lifted, costing $2.2b over four yearsMedicare levy to be raised by 0.5 percentage points in two years’ timeExtra $2.8bfor hospitals$1.4b over four years for medical researchPrice cuts for taxpayer-subsidised medicines, which will save $1.8b over fiveyears$115m for mental healthBetter funding of Medicare and the NDIS provides security and insurance for all of us. A fair outcome

FAMILIES

One-off energy payments for pensioners ($75 for singles, $125 couples)Almost $430mto support universal access to pre-school for all four-year-olds$5.5m vaccination campaign. Family Tax Benefit A payments reduced by $28 a fortnight if children aren’t fully immunisedExpanding ParentsNext program to help young parents get jobs$3.4mover two years to expand Specialist Domestic Violence UnitsLittle extra funding for families hurt by Medicare levy increase

WELFARE

Demerit point system means payments deducted if job interviews skipped$375m to extend homelessness service funding to the statesDrug-testing trial will have 5000 welfare recipients put on voucher system if they test positiveSomeof the more controversial measures announced but little actual change

ENERGY

Government in talks to buy back share of Snowy Hydro from Victorian and NSW governments$90m to secure access to Australian gas for domestic use$37m for new energy infrastructure andgas pipeline in South AustraliaThe Snowy Hydro initiative had already been announced and there is little more here to get excited about

EDUCATION

Extra $2.2b over four years for schoolsReintroduction of Gonski-style needs-based funding formulaHECS debt threshold lowered to $42,000University students face 7.5 per cent tuition hikeUniversities hit with2.5 per cent -or $2.9bn -efficiency dividend over two yearsA welcome injection of cash for schools, but university students are worse off with higher fees and faster payments

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

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