Monthly Archives: July 2019

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.

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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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Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

Photos by Geoff O’Neill

TweetFacebookMore photos?The Cavalcade 2016|Toyota Star Maker 2016 grand final + Concert for Rural Australia|

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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.

Click here to read the full story.

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.

Click here to read the full story.

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.

Click here to read the full story.

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.

Click here to read the full story.

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.

Click here to read the full story.

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.

Click here for the full story.

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. 

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