Public stand up to fight merger

Lockhart shire residents have formed a Community Steering Committee in a bid to fight the proposed merger.Lockhart locals are gearing up for a fight with a public committee formed in a bid to prevent the council merging with two others.
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It comes as a host of councils across the Riverina prepare for public enquiries into mergers.

Lockhart Shire Council appointed 15 members of the public to the Community Steering Committee.

Committee members will work to encouragemembers ofthe community to makea submission to fight the merger.

The three-way merger between Lockhart, Urana and Corowa was first raised when IPART released their recommendations.

Public enquiries will be held from February 1 to 12 at various locations around the state.

For more information on public enqiries or proposed mergers in your regiongo to梧桐夜网councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov419论坛/.

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Dalgleish climbs to the top

It was a hot contest at Chalambar Golf Club on Wednesday, with Maree Dalgleish eventually prevailing. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI MAREE Dalgleish survived a four way countback to claim victory in the weeklyChalambar Golf Club ladies competition.
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Dalgleish took the division one spoils from Chris Hurstfield, Rene Hamilton and Penny Brown, with the quartet finishing one-up against the colonel.

Judy Edwards was declareddivision two winner after she returned two up, while Barb Mannix claimed runner up honours with one down.

Nearest pins went to Goldie Rowe (second hole), Gayle Dadswell (sixth), Maree Dalgleish (16th) and Judy Edwards (18th).

Alwyn Kitchen finished on top of Monday’s stableford contest with 19 points, while Dalgleish was runner up on 17.

Last Saturday saw Chris Hurstfield take home a stableford victory. Hurstfield scored 31 points to receive the spoils, and runner up was Lyn Faneco on 28.

Faneco claimed nearest to the pin on the 16thhole.

This Wednesday is a Chalambar ladiestwo-person ambrose event, startingfrom 9:30am.

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Gonski funding levels revealed

Cash: Mannum Community College will get more than $100,000.
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The State and Federal governments will invest $1.2 million in the Murraylands and Mallee’sschools in 2016 as part of the Gonski funding package.

State Education Minister Susan Close said the funding –which will cease next year –would help students from every socio-economic background achieve their potential.

Callington PS: $4200Cambrai AS: $26,900Coomandook AS: $26,700Coonalpyn PS: $10,600East Murray AS: $9600Fraser Park PS: $60,100Geranium PS: $2700Jervois PS: $21,500Karoonda AS: $8200Lameroo RCS: $10,700Mannum CC: $107,800Meningie AS: $49,200Murray Bridge HS: $359,600Murray Bridge North School: $224,500Murray Bridge South PS: $173,100Murray Bridge Special School: $12,900Mypolonga PS: $7500Palmer PS: $2900Raukkan AS: $13,600Swan Reach AS: $8900Tailem Bend PS: $41,500This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Teaching students to face personality assessments

The Board of Studies’ move to institute personality tests at all universities comes after a crackdown on teacher training by the NSW government in September. Photo: Lyn OsbornNSW teaching students will face personality assessments from next year, the NSW Board of Studies has confirmed.
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The President of the NSW Council of Deans of Education, Chris Davison, said the assessments will draw from tests similar to those undertaken for the army and will weed out candidates unsuited to teaching before they begin their degrees.

“The challenge is to have one that works for teaching. You probably need a much higher degree of empathy than you do in the army,” she said.

Professor Davison said that the national program was necessary despite tough new regulations on literacy and numeracy imposed by the NSW government.

She said the personality assessments were being implemented because students with poor communication or behavioral issues were still undertaking teaching degrees.

“At one stage it emerged that someone in our own program at UNSW had major psychological problems,” she said.

“They already had a degree in another field so had passed the academic requirements but they couldn’t maintain eye contact, they couldn’t maintain conversation. We found out they had recently been released from psychiatric ward and had problems interacting with people.

“Their counsellor suggested they take up a teaching degree. I counselled them to withdraw.”

The Board of Studies’ move to implement personality tests at all universities comes after a crackdown on teacher training by the NSW government in September.

For the first time this year, teachers had to achieve three band 5s to be accepted into university and pass literacy and numeracy tests, as thousands of school students prepare to return to school from January 28.

Less than 10 per cent of universities are impacted by the band 5 regulation, said Professor Davison. It does not apply to double teaching degrees such as a Bachelor of Science and Education.

The second degree is assumed to take the place of the three band 5 standard at most major universities.

Professor Davison said the tougher academic regulations announced by NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli at UNSW in September were “ironic, because we are not affected by them”.

While the regulations may not have prevented students from enrolling at most major universities, the publicity has made a dent in teaching applications throughout the state.

“Across the sector there has been a drop in applications for teaching this year,” said Western Sydney University’s Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Denise Kirkpatrick.

Professor Kirkpatrick said she welcomed the government’s tightening of teaching standards, saying it would lead to more well-prepared teachers in the state’s classrooms.

Despite the crackdown, second chances have been extended to teachers who have not met the three band 5 standard through alternative entry schemes or scored a double degree position.

At the University of Notre Dame Australia, students who failed to get the required marks will be able to take a bridging course that will equate to the threeband 5 qualification.

The course will focus on HSC English and the seven key competencies outlined in the Australian Curriculum: literacy, numeracy, ICT capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and intercultural understanding.

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Tennis: Players were warned of match-fixing allegations

Match-fixing scandal forms a cloud over the Australian Open. Photo: Cameron SpencerTennis Australia was tipped off about the match-fixing allegations more than a month before the tournament started, with the ATP warning players of the bombshell that was about to be dropped.
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Fairfax Media has been told the ATP informed all players at a compulsory meeting at a Melbourne CBD hotel on Saturday. It is understood Tennis Australia also spoke to the management teams of several Australian players  leading into the tournament, to familiarise them with what was subsequently released by BBC and Buzzfeed on Monday.

It is understood several players have been approached in the past month by several media organisations in regards to suspicious betting and match-fixing in the  sport.

It is understood Tennis Australia was aware of the players  the BBC and Buzzfeed believed had allegedly been involved in matches with suspicious betting fluctuations.

The BBC/Buzzfeed did not release the players’ names, referring to them by code.

On Thursday, another website, Show Legend, claimed to have decoded the Buzzfeed algorithm and released a list of names on social media, including Lleyton Hewitt, that it alleged was the focus of the Buzzfeed report.

While the third-party report strongly rejected any suggestion Hewitt was involved in any dubious activity, the ATP and Tennis Australia are hellbent on ensuring the Australian legend’s reputation is not tarnished by the whole episode.

It is understood ATP and Tennis Australia solicitors are ready to launch a legal attack on any organisation that implies the two-time grand slam champion is involved or connected to match-fixing.

Fairfax Media contacted Hewitt’s agent David Drysdale, who backed his client’s stand in the press conference following his exit from the Australian Open on Thursday night.

“It is absolutely ludicrous that anyone would think Lleyton Hewitt would be involved in anything like this,” Drysdale said.

“Everyone in this country knows his character and there’s no questioning his integrity.”

Using an algorithm from information provided in the Buzzfeed report, decoders identified 15 players and a series of matches that raised flags because of betting irregularities.

Fifteen Hewitt matches were flagged, including at least one in the Davis Cup, outraging tennis purists and a country that widely recognises the 34-year-old as one of the most competitive athletes Australia has produced.

While Hewitt’s farewell was somewhat overshadowed by the speculation, the veteran did not shy away from the drama, describing it as “absurd” that his name had been thrown into the controversy.

“I think it’s a joke to deal with it,” Hewitt said of the saga after his career-ending straight-sets loss to David Ferrer.

“You know, obviously, yeah, there’s no possible way. I know my name’s now been thrown into it. I don’t think anyone here would think that I’ve done anything corruption or match-fixing. It’s just absurd.

“For anyone that tries to go any further with it, then good luck. Take me on with it. Yeah, it’s disappointing. I think throwing my name out there with it makes the whole thing an absolute farce.”

Hewitt is not the only high-profile tennis player to have his name publicly linked to suspicious betting activity.

A report in Italian newspaper Tuttosport linked Novak Djokovic to betting irregularities in a match he lost in 2007 to Frenchman Fabrice Santoro.

The world No.1 strongly denied the accusations, also describing it as absurd.

“It’s not true,” Djokovic said.

“What it is to say? I’ve lost that match. I don’t know if you’re trying to create a story about that match or for that matter any of the matches of the top players losing in the early rounds, I think it’s just absurd. Anybody can create a story about any match. That’s my point.

“There hasn’t been too many matches where top players lost in last decade or so in early rounds. You can pick any match that you like that the top player lost and just create a story out of it. I think it’s not supported by any kind of proof, any evidence, any facts. It’s just speculation. So I don’t think there is a story about it.”

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Nick Olive’s Fox Tales off to prepare for Black Opal Stakes

Canberra trainer Nick Olive is aiming Fox Tales at Canberra’s group 3 Black Opal Stakes. Photo: Elesa KurtzCanberra trainer Nick Olive is hoping Fox Tales can go one better than stable star Single Gaze in the $275,000 Black Opal Stakes (1200 metres) after the son of Foxwedge saluted on debut at Thoroughbred Park on Friday.
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Fox Tales jumped well and sat on the pace before taking the lead in the home straight, winning by ¾ length from Can’t Find Snippy, with No When To Hold Em third in the two-year-old handicap (1000m).

The final four races on Friday’s program were abandoned due to poor visibility. There were no issues with the track.

The two-year-old colt will go to the paddock for a brief spell to freshen up for next month’s Lightning Ridge Plate (1000m) as a stepping stone into the Black Opal Stakes on March 6.

“That’s where he’ll head. I’m thinking now of giving him five days in the paddock and missing the next two-year-old race and then heading to the preview, and then hopefully on to the Black Opal from there,” Olive said.

Olive said he thought Fox Tales would turn into a good horse, but he had a long way to go to show if he could be as good as Single Gaze, which is “the best horse I’ve ever had”.

Single Gaze finished second to Takedown in last year’s Black Opal after finishing third to Le Chef in the $2 million Magic Millions Two-year-old Classic (1200m).

“I really like this horse … he’s just improved [with] everything he’s done. He’s given me the feel of a good horse and he’s nowhere near his top yet,” Olive said.

“He’s got a lot to learn and a lot more to come down the track.

“[Single Gaze is] the best horse I’ve ever had so he’s got a long way to get to her.”

Single Gaze spent 10 days in the paddock and was back in work, getting ready for the group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m).

Then the plan is for the group 3 Kembla Grange Classic (1600m) on March 11, before the group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) two weeks later.

Potentially the $1 million Australian Oaks (2400m) would be after that.

“She’ll be nominated for the Oaks, but I don’t know whether she’ll run that trip,” Olive said.

Olive has Rose Of Falvelon running in the benchmark 78 handicap (1000m) at Randwick on Saturday, where she’ll probably run even though she doesn’t handle the wet.

Norm Gardner’s Atom Eve will jump in the Highway Handicap (1200m), where the unbeaten three-year-old filly is going for her third straight win.

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$24b high speed rail project into the heart of Newcastlepoll

A COMPANYbacked by China’s state railways companywants to spend $24 billion ona high-speed rail network that would make it possible to travel fromNewcastle to Sydney in less than an hour.
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Centurion Group, a developer and China Rail’s local partner, says a privately funded rail system running from Campbelltown, in Sydney’s south west, to Newcastle, is financially viable and could go ahead if the state government supports the project.

The 150-kilometre line, as envisioned by the company’s chief executive Patrick Yu,would run from Campbelltown, to Central, Chatswood, Wyong, and then to Newcastle after turning at Cameron Park.

“It would take less than an hour from Central to Newcastle,” Mr Yu said. “We are being cautious and saying 50 [minutes] at this stage.”

The line would run all the way into the city of Newcastle, but still allow the city to connect to the harbour, Mr Yu said.

“We would go underground,” he explained.

The plan would be for the line to run toitstruncation point–presumablythe proposed Wickham Interchange –and then entera tunnel which would leadall the way to the site of the former Newcastle railway station.The company has been pursuing the idea for some years, and has the support of NSW upper houseChristian Democrat Fred Nile, butthere’s one big challenge stopping the plan at its first hurdle.

Centurion says the line could be funded by “value capturing” –that is developing in areas around new stations –but firstwantsthe state government to redesign it’s $7 billion Sydney harbour tunnel crossing to accommodate a high-speed rail line.It says it would onlycost $250 million extrato make the tunnel large enough to fit the line.

“Otherwise you would have to legislate for a third tunnel through the harbour,” he said. “It’s a narrow harbour as it is, it could take 10 years before that happens.”

But Transport for NSW has been quick to knock the idea on the head, saying that designing the tunnels for high speed rail would mean making new stations in Sydney almost three times deeper.

“The new twin metro railway tunnels … are being designed to be as shallow as possible on either end of the harbourto make it easy for customers to get into and out of stations as quickly as possible,” Transport said in a statement.“The whole point of Sydney Metro is to deliver fast, frequent, convenient services.”

Don’t put the cart before the corridor

IT WAS four years ago that Todd Williams, the chief executive ofRegional Development Australia in the Hunter, helped cobbletogether a coalition of business leaders, government officials and politicians to lobby for work on a high speed rail network to begin in this region.

At the time, the thenLabor government wasworkingon the second partof amajor study into the feasibility of a Brisbane-to-Melbourne fastrailnetwork.

When the report came out in 2013it put theoverall cost of the project at $114 billionand estimated that the stretch between Newcastle and Sydney would be the most complicated and expensive –attaching a price tag of$141 million per kilometre.

Despite the cost, Regional Development Australiahaven’given up. Next month the general manager of Central Japan Railway, Shohei Yoshia, will deliver a key note address for the group.

Mr Williams said the issue was still “so important”, but had to be dealt with “one thing at a time”.

“What we found out back then was that there is currently no corridor preserved, there’s no land available, that needs to be dealt with as a priority,” he said.

The chief executive of the Hunter Business Chamber Kristen Keegan, agreed, saying that while she wasn’t familiar with the Centurion Group proposal, preserving a rail corridor was the first step.“It is important that if high speed rail in Australia is to become a reality that the appropriate rail corridor is identified and preserved,” she said.

Since the landmark 2013 study the government has changed and the issue has dropped off the agenda.

However a spokesman for the federal government’s infrastructure minister Warren Truss said the government was working with states “to identify priority sections of the preferred alignment for protection”.

“Jurisdictional consultations have focused on corridor issues relating to the preferred alignment,” the spokesman said.

Garry Glazebrook, an adjunct professor ofurban planningat theUniversity of Technology Sydney, did work mapping out routes for high speed rail for the previous government. He isskeptical of when it might happen, but thinks Australia would benefit.

“I think we’ll be just ahead of Antarctica in getting it,” he said.

He said that having a far closer link with a “global city” would make it easier for businesses to justify moving to Newcastle, as well as make it an attractive place to live.

“From a business point of view, you could argue firms will think well it’s cheaper, the lifestyle is better, but you have Sydney less than an hour a way,” he said.“I think certainly it would have that impact for housing, you would see development around railstations.”

The cost of not building high speed railZAC Zavos says he would “definitely” still be in Newcastle if high-speed raillinkedthe city to Sydney.

The co-founder and managing directorof Conversant Media –the publisher of culture site Lost At E Minor and sports opinion site The Roar –ran the company inNewcastle from the end of 2007 until last year,when the toll of travelling back and forth to Sydney caught up with him.

“I think a lot of businesses want to be in Newcastle but are forced to operate out of Sydney because that’s where they need to be,” he said.“But we only moved because of the distance, if you eliminated that then all of sudden businesses have the option of staying, or coming, to Newcastle.”

Mr Zavos employs 16 people in his Surry Hills office. Most were already based in Sydney, but, he says, if he could have, his Newcastle office would have been larger.

“We wouldn’t have left if there was any viable option to stay,” he said.“The economic benefit to me is simple; you’re decentralising Sydney and bringing businesses into regional areas like Newcastle.”

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Golden Guitar Awards 2016photos

Golden Guitar Awards 2016 | photos Photo: Gareth Gardner
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Power of imagination fuels high-speed rail

Many Hunter residents will be familiar with the first high-speed rail link between Newcastle and Sydney.
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For many years the famousNewcastle Flyer departed Newcastle about 7.30am and arrived at Central in time for the start of the business day.

Ironically, the now-defunct service offered travelling times that were at leaston a par with modern day train services.

The vision of a 21stcentury high-speed rail service that would cut travelling times between the two cites to less than an hour has been talked about and investigated for the best part of three decades.

The latest plan by the Centurion Group to build a $24 billion privately-funded rail system from Sydney’s south-west to Newcastle has many features of previous proposals.

Few would disagree that such a service would potentiallybring major benefits to the Hunter. Thousands of people who presently live and work in Sydney would move toNewcastle creating a major economic stimulus.

Despite significant engineering challenges, most notably the Hawkesbury River terrain, the Centurion Group believes its plan is financiallyviable.

However, it has asked the state government to redesign its $7 billion Sydney harbour tunnel crossing to accomodate a high-speed rail line.

Like previousplans, the latest proposal is lacking detail about the level of patronage that would be required to make the service viable.

The project’s “value capturing” funding plan will raise eyebrows, and the NSW government is already saying it won’tbudge on the harbour crossing.

Whatever theircommitment to high-speed rail today, it would be wise for state and federal governments to begin securing a possible corridor, as Newcastle business leaders have pointed out.

As theHeraldhas said previously, national infrastructure must be about setting the scene and creating the conditions for investment.

Should the day arrive when the country needs high-speed rail, the land would available. If it’s never needed, it can be sold off at handsome future prices.

In the meantime, most commuters would settle for a reliableservicethat could take them between Newcastle and Sydney in less than two hours.

Issue: 48,140

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Golden Guitars 2016: The red carpetphotos

Golden Guitars 2016: The red carpet | photos Photos by Geoff O’Neill
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George Timotheou sets his sights on A-League breakthrough

A-League ambitions: Sydney FC NYL defender George Timotheou wants to aim for higher honours next season. Photo: Melissa AdamsSydney FC defender George Timotheou believes his team is ready to cause an upset against Adelaide in the National Youth League final.
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The 18-year-old Canberran is relaxed, saying that he and his teammates are feeling prepared and treating the final as an ordinary match.

“We’ve had a good week at training, we all feel confident that we’ve done what we need to do. It’s just another game really. We just treat it the same, prepare the same,” Timotheou said.

He will be drawing on the invaluable experience he gained during his stint with the Young Socceroos squad at the World Cup qualifying tournament in Laos.

“For me it was my first international tournament,” Timotheou said. “Just the professionalism about the whole thing, the whole camp, it was a real eye-opener to see the next level and just made me hungry to keep working hard.”

His goal is a call-up to the A-League.

“You gotta perform for your team as well but the ultimate goal is to step up to the first team and play A-League. So I guess that’s what I’ll be focusing on this season is trying to get an opportunity for grades to have a look at me,” Timotheou said.

“Obviously I wanna play for Sydney in the A-League but we’ll see what happens. I’ll keep being patient and working hard.”

Timotheou’s younger brother Antoni is one of several players who have been selected in the Canberra United Academy, and George thinks that it will provide many young footballers from Canberra with a “stepping stone” to professional leagues.

“I guess for me, while I was growing up, there wasn’t that [the UC Academy],” George Timotheou said.

“I had to leave home because they didn’t have that initiative in place while I was still there. But now I think it’s a really good thing and all the players should take this opportunity.”

The NYL final between Sydney FC and Adelaide United will take place in the Central Coast Stadium at 4:00pm on Saturday.

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Concession closures show David Jones is happy to lose Dick Smith

Dick Smith’s receiver Ferrier Hodgson has shut down the 27 concessions in David Jones stores. Photo: Edwina PicklesThe closure of the Dick Smith concessions in David Jones may signal the end of audio visual retailing at the upmarket department store chain.
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The receivers of Dick Smith Holdings, Ferrier Hodgson shut down the 27 concessions in David Jones stores on Friday amid speculation over whether the department store’s South African owner Woolworths Holdings will redeploy the concession real estate in its stores.

Woolworths would not say what its plans were for the space except to say it would “consider its options in relation to audio visual as part of its regular review of the category mix and the broader electrical and appliance offering”.

The Dick Smith-branded concessions have traded out of David Jones since late 2013, selling audio visual equipment, including blockbuster brands such as Apple.

However, there has been talk that David Jones wasn’t happy with this arrangement for some time.

The decision to shut the concessions suggests Ferrier Hodgson quickly identified them as one of the least profitable parts of the Dick Smith operation as it works to find a buyer for failed retail chain.

One source close to Dick Smith said the concessions were always a weak point in the electronics retailer’s strategy.

“It was quite well telegraphed that David Jones wasn’t happy with what Dick Smith was doing,” he said.

As many as 181 staff stand to lose their jobs over the closure of the concessions. However, David Jones has come to the rescue of some of the employees, committing to re-employ staff who were working for David Jones at the time it entered into the concession agreement.

Dick Smith’s former chief Nick Abboud is understood to have negotiated the agreement for the concessions, which included a minimum sales guarantee.

It’s understood this arrangement meant David Jones received guaranteed income from the Dick Smith concession, irrespective of sales.

Retail analysts suggest the concession deal was as much about building the profile of the brand among David Jones’ big-spending customers as it was selling product.

The Dick Smith concessions accounted for just 3 per cent of the operation’s total sales and were a tiny cog in the operation, which collapsed under the weight of more than $400 million in debts in early January.

Ferrier Hodgson said the relationship between David Jones and Dick Smith would end as of Wednesday, January 27, and that both parties had agreed to the termination terms.

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The business end: the biggest business stories for Friday, January 22

Former Woolworths chairman backs Mitre 10, Home merger
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by Sue Mitchell

Former Woolworths chairman John Dahlsen says Woolworths’ exit from the $45 billion home improvement market could boost competition if regulators approve a merger between wholesalers Mitre 10 and Danks and clamp down on Bunnings’ expansion.

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Grown woman with PhD wants to be allowed to pick her own super fund

by Sally Rose

Dr Rhiannon Pilkington is the first to admit she is no superannuation expert. But the 29-year-old public health academic believes that is not a reason she, like roughly 2 million other Australians, should not have the right to choose her own fund.

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The job Australians don’t want

Troubled retail giant Woolworths is set to be run by a foreigner after a search for a local executive to head the chain came up empty-handed.

In surprisingly frank comments, Woolworths chairman Gordon Cairns has admitted he invited several Australians to consider the job to replace Grant O’Brien but none were interested in even interviewing for the role.

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The real reason Netflix is cracking down on VPNs

​by Dominic White

It’s a rare thing when a high-profile company changes its position on a key issue overnight. So Netflix’s announcement on January 15 that it would take steps to stop customers streaming shows that aren’t officially available in their country came as a big surprise to many observers.

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A Hillary Clinton-style tax on Australia’s rich is a bad idea

by Nassim Khadem

We shouldn’t tax the rich more. Hear me out before passing judgement.

In the United States, Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton wants to raise tax rates on those earning over $5 million a year by 4 per cent.

The “fair share surcharge” is among other proposals to close tax loopholes that allow multimillionaires to pay lower tax rates than American middle-class families.

But it only applies to 0.02 percent of taxpayers. And in an Australian context it makes little sense.

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ASX posts weekly gain as BHP rallies

Australian shares finished the week in positive territory as commodity prices continued to lift from recent record lows, aided by signals from Europe and Japan that central banks will add to stimulus if needed to boost the global economy.

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ATO crackdown on rental properties, holiday homes

by Nassim Khadem

Australians who rent out their holiday homes for just a few weeks a year, but try to claim full-year deductions on their tax returns have come under fire from the Australian Taxation Office.

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Social Playground’s million-dollar tennis selfie business

by Cara Waters

Attendees at the Australian Open are queuing up to get a printed version of their selfies thanks to technology created by Sydney small business Social Playground.

Click here for the full story. 

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

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