City support for hospital growth plan

Maitland Private Hospital is poised to develop an intensive care unit and chemotherapy suiteafter Maitland councilvoted to refer expansion plans to the Joint Regional Planning Panel.
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Councillors voted unanimously on Tuesday night to make a submission to the panel indicating its support for the proposa,l which will include a new 25-bed surgical ward, alterations to incorporate anintensive care unit and achemotherapy ward.

The project would also include the demolition of some houses to accommodate 28 additional car parking spaces.

The application has been referred to the planning panel because the proposed cost of the development is more than $5million.The proposal, if approved, will result in 172 hospital beds on site.

Councillors had little debate on the matter, which was moved by Cr Peter Garnham.He said council hadalways known that the private hospital, on the corner of Chisholm Road and the New England Highway at East Maitland, would continue to grow.

Cr Arch Humphery said the application was an indication of the demand for health services in the Maitland area. He said there hadbeen difficulty developing the facility in the pastdue tosome site constraints.

Fairfax Media reported in May thatMaitland Private Hospital was toreceive a $25 million upgrade that wouldinclude an intensive care unit and a chemotherapy suite,two theatres and associated services, a new 24-bed ward and more parking.The upgrade is expected to create 50 more jobs in the hospital.

The announcement came after Healthe Care, the company that owns the hospital, was sold to China’sLuye Medical Group.Healthe Care CEO Steve Atkins said the upgrade wouldmake chemotherapy and intensive caremore accessible for people in Maitland and the Upper Hunter.The additionis part of a wider cancer project at thehospital.

Mr Atkins told Fairfax Media in Maythe plan wasto acquire houses behind the hospital to transform into a cancer institute.“We’re keen to develop a more comprehensive cancer service, which we’re really excited about,” he said.

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

Senator’s larceny charge proven but dismissed

No conviction: Barrister Peter King, left, and Senator Rod Culleton, right, leave Armidale Local Court. Photo: Breanna Chillingworth
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It was ‘foolish’Magistrate Michael Holmes has found the larceny charge proven butdismissed itunder Section 10A, meaning Rod Culleton will be free to continue as a senator for Western Australia.

Senator Rod Culleton says the only reason he dropped the application to have the larcenycase heard by a jury was because due to a plea deal.

Speaking outside Armidale Local Court on Tuesday, Mr Culleton said it was a “favourable outcome” after he was handed a Section 10A dismissal fora larceny charge.

“It’s been at huge expense, not only to my family but to a number of parties over $7.50 of a key, a key that I put the value too,” he told media.

Senator Rod CulletonSenator Rod Culleton admits he was “foolish” to take tow truck key during dispute in #Guyra in 2014. He’s escaped conviction today @The_NDLpic.twitter南京夜网/ikUhd2NElY

— BreannaChillingworth (@breannachill) October 25, 2016Barrister Peter King says Senator Rod Culleton has been “exonerated” in #Armidale court after escaping conviction for larceny @The_NDLpic.twitter南京夜网/wEAgmsmW21

— BreannaChillingworth (@breannachill) October 25, 2016Barrister says Culleton ‘exonerated’Culleton’s barrister Peter King says his client’s name has been cleared.

“I’m very pleased to say that Rod Culleton has been completely exonerated in the court today and the charges against him have been dismissed,” he said outstide Armidale Local Court.

“On the basis he was to be completely exonerated and he was, and indeed the magistrate held that he was a man of very good character.”

No convictionMagistrate Michael Holmes has found the larceny charge proven butdismissed itunder Section 10A, meaning Rod Culleton will be free to continue as a senator for Western Australia.

In sentencing, Mr Holmes said Culleton acted “foolishly” during the dispute in 2014.

In court: WA Senator Rod Culleton outside Armidale Local Court earlier this year. Photo: Matt Bedford

Mr Holmes said he took into account the extenuating delays in the case by Culleton, his good character, family ties and his work.

“The trivial nature of the offence … but I do find that you acted somewhat foolishly,” he told Culleton.

Mr Holmes ordered Culleton to pay $322.85in compensation to the tow truck driver.

Guilty pleaRod Culleton has pleaded guilty to stealing a tow truck driver’s key after an altercation in April 2014.

Barrister Peter King said his client was acting in “self-defence” when the key was “flung” during the confrontation on April 11 in Guyra.

“[His actions] was to prevent a criminal trespass to his vehicle and the property on which he was located,” he told the court.

Application to have case heard by a juryWA ONE Nation senator Rod Culleton will try and have a charge he stole a towtruck driver’s key in Guyra heard before a jury.

The newly-elected senator appeared in Armidale Local Court on Tuesday morning where the case was set down for hearing before the court was told he wants the matter dealt with in the district court.

Mr Culleton’s barrister Peter King lodged an application in the court to have the matter which he says is strictly indictable heard by a jury.

In court: WA Senator Rod Culleton outside Armidale Local Court earlier this year. Photo: Matt Bedford

But Magistrate Michael Holmes is refusing to grant the application.

“This was never flagged, the matter is listed for hearing today,” he told the court.

“This was received yesterday morning at this courthouse …not very satisfactory is it.

“Iwould have expected more courtesy to the court.”

For the charge to be dealt with in the district court the larceny charge must relate to an item worth more than $5000.

Mr Holmes questioned the application and said Mr Culleton had been quoted in the mediasaying the charge related to “a $7.50 key”.

“He now puts the value at over $5000,” Mr Holmes said examining the papers.

“I think the charge sets the value of the obtaining the key the value of … just say about $300.

“That’s what the crown is relying on for the purposes of these proceedings.

“It is not a proper case for a jury.”

Mr King said there were two issues in the case and it should be heard before a jury.

Barrister Peter King

“There’s been … fair to say abeefing up of the prosecution case,” Mr King told the court.

Mr Culleton has pleaded not guilty to the charge of stealing the key in Guyra on April 11, 2014.

According to court documents, Culleton is accused of the theft of a key for a Peterbuilt heavy haulage tow truck between 8am and 10am.

Court papers state the property is worth $322.85, with the tow truck owner seeking compensation for the purchase and installation costs after he was forced to get a new ignition switch and door locks.

The court has been told the prosecution has obtained further evidence with four extra statements served on the defence in the lead-up to the hearing, including two new statements.

The prosecutor said “discussions” were ongoing but “majority” of the prosecution witnesses were ready for the hearing today.

Northern Daily Leader

Same-sex marriage plebiscite was a ‘shitty political deal’ between Liberal factions: Christine Forster

Christine Forster is a member of the City of Sydney council. Photo: Brook MitchellTony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster has described the stalled same-sex marriage plebiscite as a “shitty political deal” struck as an agreement between the Liberal Party’s conservative and moderate factions.
Nanjing Night Net

The Liberal councillor and same-sex marriage advocate made the startlingly frank admission during a heated debate of Sydney City Council on Monday night.

On Tuesday, Ms Forster told Fairfax Media she stood by her comments but stressed she was not suggesting the plebiscite was cooked up in a cross-factional “deal where Tony sat down with Malcolm, or Eric Abetz sat down with Simon Birmingham”.

“I’m saying it was a shitty deal because it was. From my point of view, it was a bad deal because I never wanted a plebiscite; I wanted a free vote in Parliament,” she said.

“But we got a plebiscite as policy and that’s the only way I see this progressing now, at least for the next few years.

“What I said [at council] was a plebiscite was a compromise agreement because it provided a way forward on same sex marriage for both the Left and the Right of the Liberal Party.”

Ms Forster – who wants to marry her long-term partner, Virginia Edwards – called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year to hold a free vote. She then backed a plebiscite when it became clear it was the only path to reforming the Marriage Act in the current term of Parliament.

But her claim in an open council meeting that a plebiscite was a political deal will be a blow to Mr Turnbull, who has maintained that it was a “legitimate and democratic” way forward, rather than part of the price he paid in taking the leadership from Mr Abbott, a strident opponent of same-sex marriage.

In August last year, Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne complained that the party room meeting that resulted in the plebiscite compromise was effectively “branch stacked” because of the inclusion of socially conservative Nationals MPs and senators.

Mr Turnbull has conceded that a plebiscite was part of the Coalition agreement with the Nationals, but never acknowledged any deal with conservative Liberals on the matter.

Labor councillor Linda Scott said Ms Forster had belled the cat on the Liberal Party’s real motivation.

“Mr Turnbull had repeatedly said that his was a principled position on holding a plebiscite. Now Cr Forster has revealed the truth about her party’s position – the plebiscite was a political deal, trading the rights of people and their families,” she said.

Ms Forster’s comments were made as council debated a motion in support of marriage equality.

She voted against a motion that congratulated Labor for opposing the plebiscite but backed a compromise motion authored by councillor Kerryn Phelps which commended the work of marriage equality campaigners, the LGTBI community and mental health professionals in raising awareness “about the real possibility of a potentially divisive and hate-filled campaign against marriage equality”.

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

World’s best-perceived cities versus the reality revealed in new PwC report

London measures up to be named world’s best city. Photo: iStock Sydney also fared better in perception and than in reality. Photo: Tourism NSW
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A closest link between perception and reality: Amsterdam. Photo: iStock

Sydney is considered one of the best cities in the world, but the perception does not match up with the reality, according to a new study.

London was named the best perceived city in the world ahead of New York and Paris, in the global report that examines the perception of major cities versus the reality.

While Sydney came close to the top of the list at no.5 for “best perceived” cities, Australia’s largest city dropped to no.10 when it came to assessing what it is really like.

The report, which comprises two studies, (one on “perception” and the other on “reality” and benchmarks) rates 30 cities on a variety of factors including: corruption; health, safety, and security; innovation and entrepreneurship; transportation and infrastructure; demographics and liveability; sustainability and the natural environment; economic clout; intellectual capital and innovation; and education.

London topped the list with 5200 adults from across 16 countries scoring the city highly. Sydney was ranked No.5 behind Amsterdam and ahead of Berlin (No.6), Tokyo (No.7), Toronto (No.8), Stockholm (No.9) and Los Angeles (No.10). The study did not include any other Australian cities.

Los Angeles, Tokyo and Berlin were named among the world’s 10 best cities, however they all failed to make the top 10 when it was ranked according to quantifiable factors. Sydney also fared better in perception and than in reality, falling five spots from No.5 to No.10. Cities like New York, Berlin and Rio de Janeiro were in the same boat, with their overall perception outpacing their real-world attributes, the report states.

Cities showing the closest link between perception and reality were London, which is No. 1 in both studies, and Paris and Amsterdam, which are in the top five in both studies.

At the other end of the spectrum, Lagos ranks the lowest and Jakarta in the bottom three in both studies, and Shanghai and Moscow are at No. 21 and 22, respectively, on both lists.

The report, published last week by international consultancy firm PwC, was conducted in December 2015, before Britain’s exit from the European Union and the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

London was also named best city in the world for travellers in 2016 by TripAdvisor. It was described as “one of the world’s most admired destinations” thanks to its mix of culture, music, history, fashion, food and beer. 10 best cities: the perception10 best cities: the reality

See also: Countries with the worst and best reputations

See also: The most overrated (and underrated) cities   This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Flashback Friday: This That Festival, Live at the Foreshorephotos

Flashback Friday: This That Festival, Live at the Foreshore | photos Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers
Nanjing Night Net

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Dawn Tindall, dancing, left, on “The Other Stage”. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. “The Other Stage” Jimay Falcon, left, with Sh”Gazey, right. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Fans rock out to Baby Animals performing.Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Fans watching Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Thousands flocked to Newcastle foreshore on Saturday for the first This That festival. Pics: Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. “The Other Stage” Jimay Falcon, right, with Dawn Tindall, left. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. “The Other Stage” Jimay Falcon, right, with Dawn Tindall, left. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday.Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Mark Seymour performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. James Reyne performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Sh’Gazey, left, dancing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Dawn Tindall, dancing, left, on “The Other Stage”. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Dawn Tindall, dancing, left, on “The Other Stage”. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Dawn Tindall, dancing, left, on “The Other Stage”. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Dawn Tindall, dancing, left, on “The Other Stage”. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Fan watch Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing.Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from Live at the Foreshore music festival on Sunday. Baby Animals performing. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

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NAB credit card customers risk bad credit record

NAB is switching its credit card customers to Visa. Photo: Louise KennerleyNational Australia Bank credit card customers who do not update their direct debit arrangements when they are issued their new Visa credit card risk not only missing payments, but potentially damaging their credit records.
Nanjing Night Net

The warning comes as hundreds of thousands of NAB credit card customers are being switched from MasterCard to Visa.

With the advent of the comprehensive credit reporting regimen, more types of late payments of bills are recorded on credit records.  A poor credit record could make if harder or impossible to get a loan.

Late last year, NAB signed a 10-year exclusive deal with Visa effectively dumping MasterCard. All customers have been notified of the change.

It started issuing Visa credit cards to its MasterCard customers in July. t is expected to be another 12 months until the switch-over is complete.

There is no change for NAB debit cardholders as NAB debit cards are already provided by Visa.

A Money reader recently received a letter from NAB saying that she is to be issued with a Visa credit card. This was the first she heard of it.

The reader, who wishes not to be named, said her husband has direct debits on the MasterCard to pay the bills and is not impressed with having to change all the arrangements.

“It’s a very high-handed, unilateral decision in which their customers have had no say in whatsoever,” she says.

NAB maintains that customers who have a MasterCard credit card are being issued a like-for-like or better Visa credit card.

A NAB spokesperson said the bank is providing its customers with a changeover period of at least 60 days after they receive their new Visa credit card to update their direct debit details.

Also, some direct debits, such as those payments set up by NAB or from other bank accounts, will automatically be transferred to the new card.

Bessie Hassan, money expert at comparison site, Finder, says it is very important that NAB customers check their last credit card bill and identify all payments that are processed automatically and give the providers their new credit card details.

“If you forget to change your direct debits you could miss payments and subsequently damage your credit score if a direct debit remains unpaid for too long,” she says.

A damaged credit score is more likely with a missed regular payment, such as for telecommunications plans, which many people pay automatically with their credit cards, she says.

Payments on home loans, personal loans and on credit cards themselves are usually not allowed to be made with credit cards, she says.

NAB says the deal with Visa will result in a “full range of card features and improved banking and payment experiences”.

For example, as a consequence of the deal with Visa, the bank earlier this year released NAB Pay, which allows customers to make contactless payments using their smartphones.

Westpac and Commonwealth Banks say they have no plans to follow NAB in signing up their retail credit card customers with one credit card provider.

ANZ was contacted but did not respond by deadline.

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

NSW government accused of discrimination against temporary residents

Software designer Silvio Jemma is frustrated at not being able to enrol his son in a local school. Photo: Daniel MunozChildren as young as five are being rejected by NSW public schools because their parents are temporary visa holders while schools across Sydney overflow with enrolments.
Nanjing Night Net

Five-year-old Frederico Jemma was born in Sydney to Italian parents who have lived in NSW for seven years on temporary visas. Both have paid taxes and are happy to stump up the $5000 it costs to send an international student to a local public school.

But in September they were told there was no room for Frederico at Kensington Public.

Enrolments have skyrocketed by between three and five times the NSW average over the past four years across the Waverley, Canada Bay, Sydney and Ryde local government areas, according to a Fairfax Media analysis of Department of Education figures. At Kensington Public they have surged 14 per cent in that time alone.

Facing a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion to build thousands of new classrooms, the NSW government committed record levels of funding this year for 1100 new classrooms in the next four years to help meet the boom in student enrolments.

But the extra capacity will not come quickly enough for Frederico.

Frederico was rejected because he was the son of migrants who had been unable to stay in the one job for the more than two years necessary to gain sponsorship and permanent residency.

As the son of temporary visa holders, Frederico is ineligible for citizenship until he turns 10.

Frederico’s father, Silvio Jemma, a software developer, has worked for Animal Logic, the film production company behind the animated hit Happy Feet.

He is one of several employees in the industry which runs on short-term contracts, who claim they have been left out due to restrictions on enrolling students on temporary visas.

“Most of the children in his class at the daycare, most of them are going to Kensington,” said Mr Jemma. “He thinks he is going to go there, he thinks he is going to stay with them, that is what we thought too, now we are just staying silent.

“It is discrimination. I live 500 metres away and just because I have a 457 Visa I have no rights. It’s frustrating.”

Last year, Fairfax Media revealed the NSW government was weighing a ban on international students at inner-Sydney schools to accommodate rising local enrolments.

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

Mirvac forecasts strong growth despite settlement delays

At Harold Park in Sydney, Mirvac said there was only one remaining lot to be settled across all completed stages. Mirvac recently opened the Tramsheds at Harold Park, Sydney. Photo: Cole Bennetts
Nanjing Night Net

The number of apartment buyers defaulting before settlement has risen above Mirvac’s historic average of 1 per cent following banks’ clampdown on lending to overseas investors.

But the diversified developer and fund manager said demand for its apartments remained strong and it had resold all defaulted lots marketed for sale.

“While we continue to experience settlement delays from foreign buyers, settlements overall are tracking in line with expectations, and we continue to carefully monitor and manage our settlement risk profile,” Mirvac chief executive Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz said in the group’s first-quarter results.

Mirvac said it had completed 667 settlements in the past three months, including more than 60 by overseas-based buyers.

Despite looming fears of an oversupply of apartments around the country, Mirvac reaffirmed its target of more than 3300 lot settlements in the 2017 financial year, with more than 65 per cent expected to settle in the second half.

It said it would achieve its targets of 8 to 11 per cent growth in operating earnings in the 2017 financial year, and a residential return of more than 15 per cent on invested capital.

Overall, it had 2840 of targeted lots pre-sold or settled, including 95 per cent of its top 10 projects. These included Moreton Bondi, 2 Unison Waterfront, Queensland and 3 Yarra’s Edge, Victoria.

At Harold Park in Sydney, there was only one remaining lot to be settled across all completed stages. Construction of the final stage, Precinct 5, was under way and it was 93 per cent pre-sold.

Ms Lloyd-Hurwitz​ said Mirvac had released more than 850 residential lots, with “solid sales across both apartments and master-planned community projects”.

There was an increase in pre-sales contracts to $3 billion, with 37 per cent expected to settle this financial year.

“The group remains on track to achieve a significant uplift in earnings within our residential business in FY17, underpinned by a high level of earnings visibility,” Ms Lloyd-Hurwitz said.

She said as at September 30, Mirvac had 89 per cent of expected residential earnings before interest and tax secured for the current financial year and and 59 per cent secured for the 2018 financial year.

“Our overweight [position] to Sydney and Melbourne, in addition to a balanced exposure to master-planned communities and apartment projects, means we are well-placed to capture demand for quality residential product,” Ms Lloyd-Hurwitz said.

“Our medium-term outlook remains robust, with a current pipeline that supports over 14,000 potential lot settlements over the next four years.” Mixed outlook

But there is a mixed outlook for the residential sector.

Sydney and Melbourne, where Mirvac is overweight, are in the grip of a construction boom, with Brisbane steady and Perth remaining weak.

The latest State of the States report from CommSec says NSW remains on top of the economic performance rankings but may experience a challenge from Victoria over the coming year. Overall construction work is providing solid momentum to the economy.

Victoria remains in second spot on the performance rankings. And given solid growth on a number of key indicators, the state is well positioned to consolidate or improve its position.

CommSec’s chief economist, Craig James, said Queensland was the second strongest state on dwelling starts and population growth was the fastest in 15 months. Both tourism and agricultural exports would provide momentum in coming months and higher coal prices were encouraging.

This was reinforced by the latest Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index, which shows the residential sector continues to be the driving force in activity, with more than 81 per cent of all cranes sighted on new apartment developments around the country.

The RLB index shows that Sydney continues to be the driver of crane activity, with 46 per cent of all cranes (up from 44 per cent). Melbourne and Brisbane saw small losses in crane numbers as projects moved towards completion.

Mirvac’s other business of office, industrial and retail was also strong, with rents rising, vacancies steady and sales per square metre in the redeveloped malls, hitting about $10,000 a year.

Mirvac has plans to boost its retail segment with the redevelopment of the Harbourside shopping precinct in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, which is said to include an apartment tower. It also recently opened the Tramsheds at Harold Park, Sydney.

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

Time for cricket authorities to act over schedule

Repercussions of a losing one-day series against South Africa were minimal for Australia. Photo: Gallo ImagesComment
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The message is loud and clear. Australia’s top cricketers are complaining there are too many matches, and the need to satisfy bilateral agreements and television contracts is potentially diluting the honour of representing your country.

Cricket Australia officials declare if players are feeling the pinch, then they should rest during April and May, rather than using this time to head off to the lucrative Indian Premier League.

That thought is echoed by Steve Waugh, who says the only difference in scheduling compared to his time in the game is the level of intensity of the matches, for there are more internationals, but players are able to bypass grade and domestic cricket – something he didn’t do.

Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council continues to work on plans to add greater context to the three formats, even considering splitting Test nations into conferences.

Clearly, something needs to give soon, for hostility between players and officials over a congested schedule, exacerbated by complaints about a lack of context, are growing. So, what to do?

Scheduling, no matter what the sport, is tricky, with vested interests, but this summer’s hotchpotch of a calendar adds to the frustration.

Test campaigns against South Africa (the fourth different series they have met Australia in this year) and Pakistan are divided by three one-day matches against New Zealand, as part of the new deal over the Chappell-Hadlee series – a sweetener to the Black Caps agreeing to the inaugural pink-ball Test last summer.

Once the Pakistan Test series is done there are five one-day internationals, then a trip to New Zealand for three one-day internationals. And that’s not the end of the local summer, for there will be three Twenty20 internationals against Sri Lanka back on home shores.

These fall at the same time the Australian Test squad will be preparing for the first Test in India, meaning there will be two Australian sides on the go – potentially diluting the prestige of representing your country, although ensuring a healthy payday for a wider group of players ($5000 a T20 match).

There is no question the T20 format has been a stunning success at a domestic or franchise level, but it still seems an afterthought – outside of the World T20 – at an international level. There is a view among some in the Australian set-up that the commentary gimmicks associated with T20 internationals means the format is more entertainment than sport.

If international T20s were cut from the calendar, outside of the World T20, would it really matter? Probably not. It would allow more rest for the players, and even add to the value of the T20 domestic product, including the Big Bash League. Spots for the T20 World Cup squad could be judged on domestic performances.

In terms of the IPL, such is its lure and power that it’s time players from all nations can participate fully and annually. The Australians have been given about a six-week window in April and May to do so, although this is then used against them in the “rest” debate.

What shouldn’t be forgotten is that an IPL payday is money a governing board doesn’t need to find to help keep players content – an issue particularly among the poorer nations.

The “context” issue is also an important one, for the Test championship lacks public recognition – many judge Australia’s standing on performances in the Ashes rather than overall rankings – while there are too many meaningless one-day internationals. Australia was able to send an under-strength side to South Africa this month because the repercussions of a losing series were minimal.

That would change if these series had an impact on World Cup points qualification – the 2019 event will have 10 nations, a drop of four – and the pool groups countries were placed in. The sooner this happens the better. It may not be revolutionary but at least it’s something.

“There is a conflict within players around the world under the current structure. The game … must find a way to give meaning to each game. Every match must matter,” former South African skipper Graeme Smith said.

Federation of International Cricketers Association executive chairman Tony Irish said there is “rapidly losing spectator appeal” in many countries to bilateral cricket. “Consequently their commercial value is under severe threat,” he said in FICA’s structural review.

It’s not uncommon for players and administrators to be at loggerheads but, in this era when there is much money to be made, surely there is a way to keep all parties happy.

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

Glenn Maxwell left out of Victorian Bushrangers XI for Sheffield Shield opener

STUMPS ON DAY ONE: VICTORIA 4-351
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Having been denied a move to NSW during the winter, Glenn Maxwell was left shocked on Tuesday after his hopes of a Test recall took a major hit following his omission from the Victorian XI for their Sheffield Shield opener against Tasmania at the MCG.

The Bushrangers were rarely troubled in his absence though, with West Australian recruit Marcus Harris marking his first Shield appearance with his new state with a century as Victoria cruised to 4-351 at stumps on day one.

Maxwell, 28, sought a move to NSW during the off-season but had his request knocked back by the Bushrangers after an administrative bungle in which he requested his transfer after the window for Cricket Australia-contracted players had closed. The mercurial all-rounder was dumped from the national one-day side earlier this year, at which time national selection chairman Rod Marsh urged him to make a compelling case for a return by making runs aplenty for his state. But that task was made impossible – at least for now – when Victoria named their side for the clash with the Tigers, with Maxwell picked as 12th man.

Maxwell – who averaged 56 in the Shield for the Bushrangers last summer – was overlooked even after a sore neck incurred by fellow all-rounder Marcus Stoinis in the warm-up, with Daniel Christian drafted into the XI despite missing the initial 12-man squad. It’s understood Maxwell was taken aback by the news.

Victorian coach and selector Andrew McDonald defended Maxwell’s omission. “It’s just a matter of balance,” McDonald said. “There will be some unlucky players.”

While Maxwell was likely to struggle to play a home Test this summer, his reputation as a good player of spin, as well as a useful off-spinner and skilful fielder meant he had been touted as an option for the Test tour of India early next year.

Maxwell’s non-selection overshadowed the start of a match in which quicks Jackson Bird (Tasmania) and Peter Siddle (Victoria) are seeking to impress on-duty national selector Mark Waugh before Australia’s squad for the first Test against South Africa is picked later this week.

Tasmania won the toss and chose to bowl, with Bird taking the new ball for his side. He was typically tidy (1-53 off 22 overs) and was rewarded for his toil when he had Aaron Finch caught behind for 17 on the stroke of dinner. But it was Harris who stole the show, briskly making his fifth first-class ton and repaying Victoria’s decision to pluck him from WA, where his output was middling across 42 first-class matches. Harris was eventually dismissed for 115, after edging spinner Beau Webster to first slip. Test batting aspirant Peter Handscomb also started his red-ball campaign in fine fettle, getting to 78 before lobbing the ball to backward point where he was caught after misjudging an Andrew Fekete bouncer. However, Matthew Wade (56 not out) and Cameron White (50 not out) refused to allow the Tigers a look at Victoria’s tail. The early Victorian wicket to fall was opener Travis Dean, who was bowled by spinner Cameron Boyce after making a scratchy 26.

Harris said the pink-ball – first used in the Shield three summers ago – had become easier to see over the last two Australian seasons.

“It’s been good,” Harris said after play.

“It didn’t swing in the first five or six overs and then the lacquer came of it a little and it swung a bit, and then the seams went soft and the air went out of it a bit.

“But it’s been all good otherwise.

“It’s still sort of tough sitting in the viewing room watching it. When you’re playing it’s sort of OK, but yeah it’s definitely improved.”

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