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West Dapto levy cuts leave council $400m short

West Dapto levy cuts leave council $400m short

New caps on developer levies will leave Wollongong City Council with a $400 million shortfall on funds needed to provide community infrastructure for West Dapto.Section 94 development contributions - collected by councils to pay for basic infrastructure such as roads, drains and parks - were capped at $20,000 per residential lot in this week's state budget.The announcement came during the council's public exhibition of its draft West Dapto developer contribution plan, which proposes fees of up to $41,000 for each residential lot.The council has estimated West Dapto will need $756 million worth of infrastructure during the next 50 years but the cap means the council can collect only half that amount.General manager David Farmer yesterday said the council was seeking urgent talks with the State Government."The cap on Section 94 levies is extremely concerning and will place significant pressure on the successful development of West Dapto," he said."We're seeking formal talks with the State Government to explore strategies that will allow them to satisfy the need to reduce costs of development while ensuring adequate infrastructure is provided to service new greenfield developments."The alternatives were to scaleback West Dapto infrastructure or apply for a city-wide rate rise to fund the shortfall.Major West Dapto landholder and developer Stockland welcomed the changes."At $41,000 per lot it would put land out of reach of people down there and would probably mean releasing fewer lots," said Barry Mann, Stockland's general manager of residential development for NSW."We now will be able to produce more lots at a lower price and more people in the area will be able to afford to buy them."Meanwhile, Shellharbour City Council is facing a different dilemma.General manager Brian Weir wasn't worried about the size of the cap, but was concerned councils could now only charge for "essential infrastructure" specific to each new development. He said Shellharbour council had relied on developer levies to help fund city-wide infrastructure as the city grew, but that would no longer be allowed."Our section 94 levies range from $9000 to $14,000 per lot. But we are absolutely committed to the need for a city-wide levy as well as the precinct levy," he said.Ultimately, he said the scheme would push up rates for all residents."This new system advantages new subdivisions at the expense of existing communities," Mr Weir said.Local Government Association president Genia McCaffery backed councils opposed to the changes and said Camden council could be left with a funding gap of $1.3 billion over 20 years."The Government made these changes with minimal consultation with councils, no transitional arrangements and no understanding of the magnitude of the financial impact on many councils, ratepayers and local communities," she said.
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Fish-and-chip shops cop a serve over small portions

Fish-and-chip shops cop a serve over small portions

Picture: KEN ROBERTSONLong and skinny or short and stubby, Australians have an undeniable love affair with the humble hot chip.While a kilogram of potatoes is a relatively straightforward proposition, asking for a ''minimum'' or ''small'' serve of chips can produce portions ranging from princely to miserly.The Herald visited five fish-and-chip shops around Sydney to test who is dishing up the most generous servings, and those committing salt and battery on our wallets.At Glebe Fish Bite, the smallest order of chips delivered 220 grams of golden fries for $1.50, making it the best value at 68 cents for 100 grams. It was closely followed by Olde Fashioned Fish & Chips in Naremburn, which cost 83 cents for 100 grams. The poorest value was at Bondi Seafood Market ($1.36/100g) and Peters Fish Market at the Sydney Fish Market ($1.25/100g), which was the only outlet that did not cook the chips fresh.Across the Tasman, consumers have had a skinful of fish-and-chip shops' stinginess with the scoop. The Chip Group - comprising New Zealand potato growers, oil companies and health groups - wants to standardise the size of a ''scoop'' of chips. The Chip Group has already developed standards concerning the cooking, draining and salting of hot chips which have the potential to lower the fat content of chips by 20 per cent. The Heart Foundation has been working with fast food chains and outlets to reduce saturated fat levels by switching to so-called healthier oils. It has also backed a government initiative that would force fast-food chains to display the kilojoule, saturated fat and salt content of their products at the point of sale.''Consumers have a right to know what they're eating and they don't get that when they go to these quick service restaurants,'' said the NSW head of the Heart Foundation, Tony Thirlwell.Australians consume about 359,000 tonnes of hot chips each year, or 16 kilograms per person, while New Zealanders eat their way through about 27 kilograms. ''[Hot chips] don't have to be laden with unhealthy saturated fats. The oils will make the difference because they get absorbed,'' Mr Thirlwell said. Source: smh南京夜网.au
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Shape your online image, or others will shape it for you

Shape your online image, or others will shape it for you

My story begins with a fax machine. A fax machine in a walk-in stationery cupboard at a law firm at the start of my working life.It was new and fandangled, the height of whiz-bang. We were all taught to work it but no one understood it, so it wasn't long before a paralegal - thankfully not me - got in strife. Something he'd faxed had fallen into the wrong hands."A fax is like a postcard," a partner informed a hastily gathered assemblage in none-too-measured tones. He had a walrus moustache and baggy suit pants anchored by a belt to his ample hips. "It is not private!"Years later, nothing has changed. Broadcast mediums come and go but the principle remains the same. Whether you're faxing, podcasting, blogging, tweeting, retweeting or posting a photo/video/link to your or someone else's MySpace or Facebook page, it's all in the public domain. And if you say it, you must own it, along with any downstream consequences.Privacy has recently been cast by vested interests as a value of yesteryear. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said: "When we got started … the question a lot of people asked was, 'Why would I want to put any information on the internet at all?' [But now] people have really gotten comfortable, not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people."Last week's about-face by Facebook on some aspects of its controversial and complex "opt-out" privacy settings suggests that reports of privacy's death may be greatly exaggerated.But even if Zuckerberg is correct that social norms around personal privacy are relaxing, he left something out.For people to make informed and voluntary decisions about the exchange of their personal privacy for the benefits of social interaction, recognition and celebrity, they must understand the risks and benefits the choice entails.In particular, they must recognise that the snail trail of their online life can be matched, mashed, collated, broadcast and rebroadcast by anybody, in any context, for any reason, for many years into the future.What's out there - however partial, slanted, decontextualised or downright wrong - comprises your online, and contributes to your real-world, reputation.Reputation is an old fashioned word, but today - as in yesteryear - it still matters. What others think about you is a compendium of what you look like, say and do over time, as well as how these elements complement or contradict each other.Reputation matters because people must often make decisions about you before they know you. To do this, they must rely on reputation, or its protean precursor, first impressions.In a world where "no privacy" is the chosen or default setting, there will be a broad range of data out there - a personality test sat long ago, a tweet sent after a first date, photos of a drunken night - from which an interested party can build an image of you. That image may make implicit or explicit claims about your wisdom, competency or character.That our broadcasts may have consequences for our lives often gets missed. This is because most of what we do online attracts little attention. Usually, we are trying - and failing - to be heard.But at some point in nearly everyone's life someone will surface with the time and inclination to track back through the digital detritus of our online existence. They will decide whether to trust, respect, like or do business with us - and advise others to do the same - on the basis of what they see, hear and read.We can't control this process, but we can influence it. We can affect it by taking care with what we allow into the public domain in the first place. We can also proactively develop and nurture our personal brand in the hope that if and when others say false or malicious things about us, they roll like water off a duck's back.Build your image or others will shape it for you, an image consultant told me. "People will think things about you. You can either passively allow that to happen or get actively involved in shaping your reputation," he advised.Leslie Cannold is a Melbourne academic and writer.
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Geelong to host Nitro Circus event

Geelong to host Nitro Circus event

GEELONG has snared Nitro Circus Live after it was knocked back in Ballarat.
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The motorcycle action show had to look for a new Victorian regional host in August after Ballarat’s City Oval and Eureka Stadium were ruled out.

At the time, Nitro Circus Live promoter Michael Porra said he couldn’t understand why Ballarat couldn’t host the event.

“We’re pretty upset about it and we feel sorry for the people in the area,” Mr Porra said.

He was unable to be contacted for comment yesterday.

Nitro Circus Live was initially meant to be hosted by Eureka Stadium next March but it was too close to the start of the VFL season.

The City Oval was the next choice, but lighting restrictions and lease arrangements were among the reasons it was also ruled out.

The event will now be held on Wednesday, March 20, at Simonds Stadium, home of the Geelong Football Club.

Ballarat Regional Tourism has put the value of the Nitro Circus Live event at nearly $1 million, with 15,000 people expected to attend the Geelong event.

The one-off show will feature 40 motorcyclists performing daredevil stunts, and will be be one of the last in regional Victoria before Nitro Circus Live begins a worldwide tour next year.

Ballarat Regional Tourism chairman Stuart Benjamin said they had worked with all possible venues in Ballarat to host the event.

“However, we were unable to find one suitable for Nitro Circus,” Mr Benjamin said. “We would have liked to have seen it in Ballarat, but (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) restrictions ruled the City Oval out, though it met all other conditions.”

Mr Benjamin said BRT had written to Ballarat City Council asking it to investigate solutions to the lighting issue.

“We want to come up with a solution to activate that space.”

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IN ACTION: Nitro Circus

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Saffy vows vengeance on Raiders

Saffy vows vengeance on Raiders

Jarrod Saffy has vowed to avenge St George Illawarra's humiliating defeat on Sunday. Picture: MELANIE RUSSELLSt George Illawarra hard man Jarrod Saffy yesterday declared he wanted revenge on the Raiders.The 25-year-old has vowed to avenge Sunday's humiliating 32-16 defeat in the nation's capital if the two teams were to meet again in September.The loss at Canberra Stadium has opened the door for the green machine to sneak into eighth position, possibly setting up a week one finals showdown with the Dragons. Full coverage of the Dragons Despite failing to register a victory in five appearances against the Raiders, Saffy said he would be happy to take on Canberra in the qualifying final."We owe them one if they come back up here," he said."It would be nice to play them in week one."While the Raiders have proven to be St George Illawarra's bogey team over the past decade, it is the Dragons' recent record against Brisbane which will have fans concerned.The Broncos, who sit on the cusp of the top eight with two weeks remaining, are expected to be fighting for eighth position when they clash with the Raiders in round 26.The red and whites have lost three of their past four games against the Broncos, including last year's semi-final defeat at Suncorp Stadium.While some players will argue statistics count for very little on the paddock, Wayne Bennett's troops can't ignore the losses to Canberra and Brisbane in the last month.Despite losing those respective matches, the Dragons gave their fans a glimmer of hope when they produced dazzling attacking football in the dying stages.But by the time St George Illawarra started playing the attractive brand of football, it was too late.An inability to produce points saw the Dragons bundled out of last year's premiership race in straight sets, and despite copping a barrage of criticism again in 2010, Saffy insists his side aren't about to change their ways."That's the style we feel we need to play going into the finals," the South African-born forward said."I don't think we're going to go away from what works for us."We might throw the ball around a little bit but I don't think things will change too much."Newcastle play a similar style to the Raiders and will be desperate to upset the competition leaders at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Saturday night.The resurgent Knights, who must win against the Dragons to have any chance of playing in the finals, have captured the imagination of the rugby league fraternity with their flair and imagination with the footy.But Saffy said the best way to shut the Knights down was to stick to plan A."They're a big forward pack, so wrestle and line speed will be important," he said."They are going to throw the ball around so they'll test our defence but we'll get back to what works for us."Jeremy Smith and Beau Scott will return for the match, forcing Nick Emmett and Ricky Thorby back to the NSW Cup.
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Can you count on Lady Luck?

Can you count on Lady Luck?

You'd think in this high-tech age that superstitions would be irrelevant. But they are not, and I am as guilty as anyone in believing them.Whenever I see a single pigeon, I desperately start looking for another because the ditty "One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy" runs through my head.I don't want sorrow, I only want joy. I need to find two birds.And why pigeons and not magpies, which is the bird of choice of most Australian believers? Probably because we didn't have maggies in Fiji where I grew up.So the superstition is altered to fit the circumstances, which must surely undermine its authority.My hubby tells a story of arriving at a motel very late with his former wife and two young daughters.His then spouse took one look at the green bedspread and flatly refused to stay in the room because green was bad luck.And who hasn't avoided walking under a ladder, crossed themselves after seeing a black cat, tossed a pinch of salt over their left shoulder and tugged on a wishbone.Eleven days ago it was Friday, August 13. Without thinking of the significance, I rang a supplier to order 13 bedside lamps for the motel."Oh no," he spluttered."You can't order 13 lamps on Friday the 13th. You must make it 14."I immediately changed the order, but in hindsight perhaps I just fell for a clever marketing ploy.Interestingly, businesses generally experience a downturn on this fateful day as fewer people travel on Friday the 13th and some people don't even leave the house.Actually, you have to feel sorrow for the number 13; it comes in for a lot of flak. Motels avoid a room numbered 13, many high-rise buildings skip the 13th floor and some streets don't have a 13 house number.Many sports, including the Harlem Globetrotters and New York Jets, have retired the number 13 and no Formula One driver has had the number 13 on his car since 1976.However, in Greece and Spain 13 is only unlucky if it falls on a Tuesday and in Russia it is a bad omen on Monday.This fear of the number 13 even has a name: triskaidekaphobia.Mind you, if you live in China, Japan, Korea or Hawaii it is the number four that is considered unlucky.Maybe Lady Luck was always going to be against Julia Gillard in Saturday's federal election. There are multiple myths about redheads and who knows which ones played a part in our voting decision.The superstitions include that redheaded women can be violent and false, glib and vain, and when they die they will turn into vampires.In New Zealand they are sacred and have a clear road to heaven, but in ancient Egypt they were considered unlucky and each year a Titian-haired maiden was burnt alive.And while some people might think it lucky to rub Julia's head, others who passed her on the street might spit and turn around.Being a Catholic, Tony Abbott would regard superstitions as sinful, but then others would argue that all religious beliefs are superstitions.The only superstition I perhaps can adapt to him is my ditty pertaining to pigeons/maggies.If he has just smuggled one budgie into his swimming trunks he won't be our next prime minister, but if there happens to be two secreted within he might squeak over the line.
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Puppeteers’ power upset Australians

Puppeteers’ power upset Australians

Negotiations continue but it seems increasingly likely that Labor will be in the best position to form a minority government.As we stated here yesterday, there are quite a few examples of minority state governments that have worked, some of which have proved to be very successful administrations.Naturally, independents - and certainly the Governor-General - will need to be convinced that a Labor minority government could work.While we advocated for the re-election of a federal Labor government, and believe it could form a successful alliance with independents and the new Greens MP, we are not without one serious reservation. It concerns what has undoubtedly aggrieved many Australians; that is, the power of those unaccountable puppeteers who have treated government, both in NSW and now at a federal level, as their plaything.We had thought the furore over Kevin Rudd's political assassination would dissipate closer to polling day. But, even at an anecdotal level with our daily feature Feeling the Pulse, many ordinary voters remained agog at how a prime minister could be dumped by his own party in his first term.At the weekend, NSW Premier Kristina Keneally turned on Mr Rudd for dudding the state on infrastructure. Several other Labor figures have mused about what went wrong with the campaign and since Mr Rudd was knifed.Of course, there will be a large degree of revisionism about the root cause of how the wheels fell off such a popular and promising government.However, part of what was at play, in our opinion, was not so much a general cynicism about politics or politicians. Rather, we feel the Australian electorate was rejecting the way faceless men and women were manoeuvring a once more-principled party.Australians want to know that the mandate and blueprint they give a government through the ballot box is respected and honoured.This makes a more responsive, accountable federal Labor government - forced to work with others for survival - a fascinating and not necessarily undesirable proposition.
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State prison under siege

State prison under siege

Dramatic: The main guard tower and entrance to Risdon Prison, where 10 inmates took four hostages, including a prison officer, about 2.45pm yesterday.(1/4)Prison Action Reform president Caroline Dean and five members of the group were in mobile phone contact with the inmates during the siege.
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She said the hostage-takers were very serious.

"The prison officer's hand is on the table and if their demands are not met his fingers will be cut off. These guys don't muck around," Ms Dean said.

The hostage drama unfolded at 2.45 pm in the reception area of the maximum security jail that houses Australia's worst mass murder, Martin Bryant.

The prisoners are demanding the resignation of Attorney- General Judy Jackson and the state's Director of Prisons Graeme Barber and demanded Opposition justice spokesman Michael Hodgman attend the prison.

They are demanding improvements in their living conditions, an end to alleged human rights abuses in the prison, an end to overcrowding and implementation of rehabilitation programmes. Authorities refused to allow members of PAR or ex-prisoner Tony Bull, who was also in contact with the inmates, to join in the negotiations.

At a press conference, Mr Barber said that the custodial officer was safe and had spoken with negotiators several times, and appeared in good spirits.

Mr Barber confirmed that 19 prisoners were involved in the incident.

He said that medication had also been provided from the prison hospital for a number of prisoners with pre-existing medical conditions, while an earlier demand for food was met about 9pm.

Mrs Dean said inmates claimed other prisoners in the main yard had been hosed down in near-freezing conditions to get them back to their cells.

Government spokesman David Nicholson could not confirm the action.

Earlier in the afternoon, a prisoner calling himself Conway Richardson called the ABC claiming he was with the inmates who had taken over the jail, and outlining their demands.

He also asked for Opposition justice spokesman Michael Hodgman to attend the jail.

Mr Hodgman last night said he would not be attending Risdon Prison unless asked by those involved in attempting to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the stand-off.

Mr Hodgman called on inmates involved in the siege to release their hostages and cooperate fully with the police and prison service negotiators and then resume discussion about their conditions.

The drama follows an incident last week in which a prison officer was stabbed in the neck and ear with a narrow piece of wood and one in which an inmate was held hostage by another prisoner for more than seven hours in the top floor of Division 8.

Professional criminologist Rob White, of the University of Tasmania, said the prison's overcrowded conditions and lack of rehabilitation programmes had created a "powder keg" waiting to explode.

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Hawthorn -v- West Coast

Hawthorn -v- West Coast

Midfield focus: Hawthorn assistant coach and former Essendon and Port hardman Damien Hardwick ... predicting today's midfield battle will be vital to the outcome of the match. (1/2)The ladder leaders were keen to put behind them a torrid week which threatened to overshadow their impressive start to the season.
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A storm on Sunday caused a power failure at the club and on Wednesday captain Ben Cousins and forward Michael Gardiner were caught up in a police investigation into a nightclub shooting.

"It has not been the best week but it's nice to be here where we can just focus on the footy," said communications manager Gary Stocks.

Gardiner will miss today's game with a knee injury but the skipper was doing his best to be one of the crowd at yesterday's training session.

"Ben's been fine," said assistant coach Peter Sumich. "He's a pro. We would not think that will affect him. He'll play a role (in the game) and hopefully a pretty big one."

The Eagles' record goal-scorer said the team enjoys playing on a ground with similar dimensions to Subiaco Oval.

"We prefer playing on a ground like this," he said. "It's in terrific condition and the weather looks like it's going to be fine."

The Hawks reacquainted themselves to their second home in the setting sun and assistant coach Damien Hardwick said the players look forward to fixtures at Aurora Stadium.

"They call it home and we've won five out of six here," he said. "We've also got a good contingent of fans down here."

Hardwick predicted today's game would be won in the midfield.

"They've got a good forward line and a steady back but the top midfield line in the competition. If we can come out on top in that we've got a good chance of winning the game."

The former Port Adelaide premiership player expected Cousins to receive some flak about his newsworthy week.

"I'm sure he'll cop a bit. The media has built it up a bit but from a footballing point of view it counts for nothing.

"At the end of the day they are six-zip and it's only one player. The other players do not really care."

Sumich added: "If Ben gets sledged so be it. They are big enough to handle that sort of stuff. He'll just get on with the game.

"It cannot stop you winning the footy, taking a mark or kicking a goal and that's what we're focused on."

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Greens put fast rail back on track

Greens put fast rail back on track

After 25 years of planning, high-speed rail between Newcastle and Melbourne may become reality after the newly empowered Greens pledged to make it a key issue when they assume the balance of power in the Senate next year.The new NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon told the Herald that fast trains, running at up to 350 km/h between Sydney and Melbourne, had been one of the party's most prominent policies during the election campaign.The Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, announced the policy in April and his colleague, Scott Ludlam, repeated it in July, during the federal campaign. ''There wasn't a speech that Bob gave that didn't mention high-speed rail as a priority,'' Ms Rhiannon said.''Bob said we are not demanders - and we're not going to say that you have to give us this if you want that - but this has been a clear and consistent commitment from the Greens and we will pursue it.''The Sydney-Melbourne corridor is the fourth-busiest route for passenger aircraft in the world and the Australasian Railway Association believes the population growth in both cities will boost the market for a service directly between the Sydney and Melbourne central business districts.Ms Rhiannon - who, as a NSW MP, campaigned for improved urban public transport - said the Greens would consider amending any legislation dealing with infrastructure that came before the Senate. ''If the opportunity comes up in the context of legislation, the Greens would inject that [a clause or amendment on high-speed rail],'' she said.During the campaign, the federal Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese, announced a $20 million, 18-month study into the viability of high-speed rail between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The Nationals leader, Warren Truss, also committed the Coalition to high-speed rail.The new Greens MP for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, whose support will be crucial in forming a minority government, has also committed to a fast link between the two major cities. ''It was very much a part of his campaign,'' a Greens spokeswoman said.If the Gillard government retains office, Ms Rhiannon said the Greens would campaign for the rail plan in Mr Albanese's inner Sydney electorate of Grayndler.
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