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WA stance on GST carve-up ‘arrogant’

OPPOSITION finance spokesman Scott Bacon says claims Western Australia is being “scandalously” deprived of GST revenues are an “extraordinary display of arrogance”.
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West Australian Liberal Senator David Johnston and Premier Colin Barnett are the latest to lament the handling of revenues from the federal tax, following similar calls from WA Treasurer Mike Nahan last week.

The three have voiced their outrage that Western Australia parts with billions of dollars in GST revenues raised in their state each year, with a large chunk ending up in Tasmania.

The WA government wants the GST distribution formula changed to a straight population share, which would cost Tasmania about $700 million a year.

The trio’s complaints have been rebuked by their Tasmanian Liberal colleagues, who vowed to fight any changes to the carve-up.

Mr Bacon said yesterday Labor was also opposed to any changes to the formula.

He said the West Australian politicians failed to recognise while the mining boom had benefited their state enormously, it had significantly disadvantaged states with less mining activity.

“The mining boom has forced the Australian dollar to historic highs and created a two-speed economy,” Mr Bacon said.

“The surging Australian dollar has cut the export earnings of trade-exposed states such as Tasmania and reduced our competitiveness.”

Mr Bacon said Tasmanian primary producers, manufacturers and tourism operators were among those hardest hit by the soaring dollar.

He said wealth generated by natural resources in Western Australia belonged to all Australians, not just those living in the state.

WA Treasurer Mike Nahan bags North-West, Tasmania$145m GST hit for TassieThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Caring for calves fun and educational for students

CAREER MOOOVES: Ulverstone High School students prepare to feed their calves. Picture: Grant Wells.FOUR calves on loan to Ulverstone High School are helping year seven students to learn in a hands-on way.
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DairyTas and several private enterprises are funding the Cows Create Careers – Farm Module at 10 North-West Coast schools.

Students were learning valuable skills, while enjoying themselves, Ulverstone High School grade seven coordinator Wade Symmons said.

“The kids are responsible for looking after them, AM and PM,” he said.

“It’s like looking after a baby. It’s a big responsibility.”

Grade seven student, Derrick Murfet, said caring for the animals was fun.

“They can get a bit playful,” Derrick said.

“I reckon it’s a fun, enjoyable thing.”

The program has paid for the calves, their food and other expenses.

The school would not have the resources to get the calves in without the funding, Mr Symmons said.

The program started in 2004 in Victoria, but is now available in 180 schools nation-wide.

Dairy Australia’s Industry capability program manager, Tracy Lloyd, said the program built awareness of dairy industry careers.

“By bringing calves into schools, students have fun learning about the different skills required in the dairy industry,” Ms Lloyd said.

As part of the module, students make dairy industry-related videos.

A grand presentation will recognise volunteers, students and teachers at Burnie on October 30.

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Minister urges public to heed rail message

Infrastructure minister Rene Hidding said it was crucial for Tasmanians to think about the effect risky behaviour behind the wheel has on train drivers.INFRASTRACTURE Minister Rene Hidding has urged Tasmanians to heed the messages of National Rail Safety Week and take extra care at level crossings.
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“Over the last two financial years, TasRail recorded more than 200 near misses at level crossings, a breathtaking figure by any standards,” Mr Hidding said.

Mr Hidding said it was crucial for Tasmanians to think about the effect risky behaviour behind the wheel has on train drivers.

“All too often train drivers witness dangerous or risky behaviour that puts the lives of many Tasmanians at risk.

“Every time a motorist or pedestrian decides to risk crossing the tracks in front of an oncoming train, there is a train driver fearing the worst.

“And when this unnecessary and illegal risk-taking results in inevitable serious injury or even death, train drivers are understandably left scarred by the experience.”

Mr Hidding said the state government wholeheartedly supported TasRail’s push to improve rail safety.

“The message to all road users is clear: when you approach a level crossing and a train is anywhere in the area, stop immediately,” he said.

“You might lose a minute but you will save your life, and you will certainly save a train driver a great deal of worry.”

Lose a minute, not your life | interactiveRespect the railway | Q and ADrivers must ‘stop, think’This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Green’s role in mill reopening stalemate to be examined

WHY Labor Leader Bryan Green apparently did little to help Forestry Tasmania get the mothballed Triabunna woodchip mill reopened will be probed.
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A parliamentary inquiry starting today will cover what Opposition leader Bryan Green and the former government did to ensure the Triabunna mill reopened in accordance with the forest peace deal.

A parliamentary inquiry starting today will also cover what Mr Green and the former government did to ensure the mill reopened in accordance with the forest peace deal.

Mr Green said he remained disappointed efforts to get the mill operating were “frustrated” by its owners (wealthy environmentalists Jan Cameron and Graeme Wood).

The Advocate obtained letters that showed FT’s efforts to get the mill restarted appeared to have been ignored by Triabunna Investments, a Cameron-Wood vehicle.

Triabunna Investments in 2011 called for tenders to reopen the mill.

FT offered to do so if it could not find another operator.

Three months later, FT’s then-managing director, Bob Gordon, wrote to Triabunna Investments about having heard nothing back.

Triabunna Investments last month said it received no economically viable tender.

The mill is still closed.

It was reportedly trashed last year to ensure it could not be used for forestry without major expenditure.

Mr Green said FT’s board decided to express interest.

Mr Green, who was resources minister at the time, said he was briefed on that, and encouraged FT.

“I supported the decision, but suggestions that ministers should interfere in the transactions between a GBE and a business goes beyond ministerial responsibility,” he said.

“I was, and remain, disappointed that efforts to get the mill going failed and were frustrated by the mill owners.”

Mr Green said he would be happy to answer any questions.

Barnett rejects claims on mill inquiryWhish-Wilson seeking unity on forestry issuesBooth family in machinery dealTriabunna mill subject of parliamentary inquiryBarnett seeks Triabunna mill ‘facts’This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Barnett seeks Triabunna mill ‘facts’

Lyons Liberal MHA Guy Barnett set up a committee to examine the circumstances of the Triabunna mill’s closure, but the state opposition says it’s just a drawn out witch hunt.THE chairman of the parliamentary inquiry into the destruction of the Triabunna woodchip mill hopes to “establish the facts” at public hearings in Hobart today, but the state opposition says it’s just a drawn out witch hunt.
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Lyons Liberal MHA Guy Barnett set up the committee to examine the circumstances of the mill’s closure, sale and dismantling by new owners, environmentalists Graeme Wood and Jan Cameron, after a national magazine exposed “disgraceful tactics of radical environmentalists”.

Mr Barnett said yesterday that he was “shocked and surprised” at the dismantling of the mill but also wanted to look at future opportunities for Triabunna.

“What we have seen are matters that need to be investigated,” Mr Barnett said.

“There are key questions that need to be asked,” he said.

Mr Wood and Ms Cameron are not on the witness list for the two day hearing, and Mr Barnett said witnesses have been written to and asked to give evidence.

Forest industry representatives dominate today’s witness list, including Forest Industry Association of Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards and Forestry Tasmania chief executive Steve Whitely.

Triabunna Investments, which is owned by Mr Wood and Ms Cameron, hit back at criticism of their handling of the decommissioning of the site last month.

They maintain all staff acted in a lawful and professional manner in the decommissioning process.

But Mr Barnett has described it as a “very murky affair”.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green said the Liberals were “looking back at a time when the state needs ideas for the future”.

“Mr Barnett talks about future opportunities for Triabunna but who on the witness list does he suggest will do that?” Mr Green said.

An attempt by Denison Greens MHA Cassy O’Connor, who will also sit on the committee, to change the focus of the inquiry from a “political vendetta against a private investor” to rebuilding the economies in struggling regional towns failed.

Barnett rejects claims on mill inquiryWhish-Wilson seeking unity on forestry issuesBooth family in machinery dealBooth not critical of mill actionTriabunna mill subject of parliamentary inquiryGreen’s role in mill reopening stalemate to be examinedThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

NSW Premier Mike Baird to block Cornwell expulsion despite ICAC revelations

NSW Premier Mike Baird. Photo: Peter Rae Andrew Cornwell. Photo: Daniel Munoz
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A motion to expel disgraced former Liberal MP Andrew Cornwell from the NSW Parliament will be blocked by the state government, which will use its majority in the lower house to vote down the move.

But the decision is expected to draw criticism of Premier Mike Baird from the opposition, Greens and independent MPs who believe Mr Cornwell should be forced out.

Mr Cornwell has admitted to a corruption inquiry that he accepted a $10,000 payment he understood to be a bribe from property developer Hilton Grugeon and used the money to pay his tax bill.

He also told the Independent Commission Against Corruption he accepted $10,000 in cash from another developer, Jeff McCloy, who is now mayor of Newcastle.

The money was used in Mr Cornwell’s campaign to win the seat of Charlestown. Property developers have been banned from donating to NSW political campaigns since 2009.

The expulsion motion is due to be moved by Greens MP Jamie Parker and may be brought on for debate as early as Tuesday afternoon.

But a government spokesman said on Monday night: “The government believes the ICAC inquiry should be allowed to run its course.”

It is understood the government feels the Greens motion is a stunt and no action should be taken against Mr Cornwell until ICAC hands down its findings, which are due by the end of the year.

However, Mr Parker said it would be “breathtaking if the Liberal Party provided political cover to an MP who has admitted this corrupt and unethical behaviour”.

“Failing to expel this MP would condemn the Liberals as a party not only condoning, but actively protecting corrupt behaviour,” he said.

Opposition leader John Robertson said Labor would vote in favour of the motion “because of the serious nature of what Mr Cornwell has admitted to”.

“I continue to be shocked by what we see playing out at ICAC,” Mr Robertson said.

“Despite promising to end the scandal, we continue to see a conga line of Liberals ministers and MPs dragged down to explain themselves.”

Independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, said he would vote to expel Mr Cornwell, but felt Mr Parker should have sought co-sponsors for the motion “to put it above party politics”.

“It is important the parliament restores community confidence and makes a united stand against corruption and expels those who have admitted to taking bribes,” he said.

Greg Piper, the independent MP for Lake Macquarie, said he would decide how to vote on the motion in due course. But he said it was “untenable for Andrew Cornwell to stay in parliament. One way or another he needs to leave.”

Mr Piper said he had been planning to move an expulsion motion against Mr Cornwell and was disappointed the Greens had chosen to “contaminate” the debate by “using it in a party political way”.

But Mr Parker said only one member could move for expulsion: “This isn’t about parties – it’s about the community’s faith in parliament”.

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Minister threatens sanctions over absenteeism in remote schools

Amata school kids performing at traditional dance for Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion. Photo: Justin McManusIndigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has vowed to impose sanctions on parents in remote indigenous communities whose children are not attending school.
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Senator Scullion declared his intention after figures showed the strategy to boost school attendance in remote communities without sanctions had failed to significantly improve attendance.

The minister yesterday met Greg Wirth, principal of the Amata Anangu School, south of Uluru, where fewer than 60 per cent of enrolled pupils attended school during second term.

Figures were similarly poor across other communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara lands in the north-west of South Australia.

Mr Wirth said there had been a spike in attendance after the new approach started in term one, with school attendance supervisors employed to boost school attendance.

The minister announced his intention at Amata after handing out certificates to children with unblemished attendance records.

One local described the plan as: ”No school, no pay.”

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

Cambodia asylum deal to go ahead despite intense opposition

Scott Morrison is yet to confirm if he will travel to Cambodia. Photo: Wolter PeetersFull federal politics coverage
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Australia’s secret refugee deal with Cambodia is about to be signed, amid growing opposition to the  transfer agreement.

With a deal imminent, the office of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison refused to confirm on Monday he was set to travel to Cambodia this week, while the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would not admit Australia’s ambassador to Cambodia, Alison Burrows, had been in meetings with the Cambodian government.

Cambodian officials were more forthcoming with details of the government’s activities in the impoverished south-east Asian nation.

“Regarding the issue of refugees, Australia Immigration Minister [Morrison] will soon, in the upcoming days, visit Cambodia. The minister will visit a number of areas in Cambodia,” the interior ministry told the Phnom Penh Post.

A ministry official also confirmed that Australia’s ambassador to Cambodia had met Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Friday in final negotiations on the deal.

The federal government has not divulged any details of the refugee transfer plan, but it has been speculated it will pay Cambodia $40 million to take up to 1000 refugees from the detention centre on Nauru.

Removing 1000 refugees from Nauru would almost empty the island’s detention centre – it is holding 1146 people – but would overwhelm Cambodia’s refugee infrastructure. The country has 68 registered refugees and 12 asylum seekers.

There are concerns Australia could be violating international law by sending refugees in its care to a place where they might face persecution.

Cambodia arbitrarily arrests members of minorities and government opponents, the United Nations says, and has previously sent asylum seekers back to their home countries where they have been jailed, or even sentenced to the death penalty.

Cambodia has said it will run background checks on all refugees Australia wants to transfer and will only take people who agree to be moved.

Labor and the Greens have criticised the government’s secrecy over its Cambodia transfer plan.

“It is time for the minister for secrecy to come clean on what the dirty deal is,” Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said. “What is it going to cost the Australian taxpayer and what are the arrangements.”

Labor’s immigration spokesman, Richard Marles, said the government’s record of asylum deals with other countries was woeful.

“It is completely unacceptable that Scott Morrison continues to keep the Australian public in the dark about any proposal to resettle asylum seekers in Cambodia.”

Fairfax sought comment from the Immigration Minister on the details of the deal with Cambodia, but questions were not answered.

Human rights advocates, refugee campaigners and legal experts have lined up to condemn any proposed transfer deal with Cambodia.

Human Rights Watch Asia deputy director Phil Robertson said Australia was outsourcing its refugee obligations.

“At its core, the Australia refugee dumping deal is all about Canberra violating its rights obligations and paying Phnom Penh to clean up the mess,” he said. ”Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his government should be universally condemned for his central role in trashing the principle of refugee protection in the region.”

Daniel Webb, from the Human Rights Law Centre, said the government’s argument that the transfer deal was a regional solution was flawed.

“Cambodia is a poverty-stricken nation with a poor human rights record and no history of refugee resettlement. There are more refugees in the world now than there has been at any time since the end of WWII.

”Only a tiny fraction seeks Australia’s protection. Yet when they do they’re locked up on remote Pacific islands while our government prowls around the region looking for somewhere else to dump them.”

Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition, said “shamefully, the government is trying to draw yet another poor country into undermining the human rights of refugees”.

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

Gallop promises ‘top 10’ club for 2015 All Stars

Winner … Simone Pepe celebrates after scoring for Juventus against the A-League All Stars on Sunday.Juventus’ saviour Simone Pepe praised the standard of Australian football and admitted the Italian champions were somewhat surprised by the A-League All Stars who made them work hard for a narrow 3-2 victory on Sunday night.
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Less than a day after Juventus entertained Sydney, Football Federation Australia revealed it is in talks to bring another European heavyweight to Australia next year. Manchester City are believed to be the frontrunners.

FFA chief executive David Gallop prolonged the public excitement surrounding the All Stars event by confirming a deal is in the works to bring a world “top 10” club to Australia next year. Several high-profile teams are being lined up for the 2015 A-League All Stars clash. Manchester City are in the frame following their takeover of Melbourne City.

It’s understood the FFA disclosed to A-League clubs a $1 million direct profit from the Juventus friendly match and confirmed the All Stars concept will remain an annual fixture for the foreseeable future.

Gallop remained tight-lipped on the identity of the opponent, but said it is a club that will maintain the standard set by past guests, Manchester United and Juventus. “We’re already in heavy planning to make sure there is another big fixture,” Gallop said. “I can’t exactly announce the team yet, but I can promise it’s a big one. A club inside the top ten in the world and it will be something fans will be really excited about.”

The All Stars concept received a favourable response from the Juventus players. Pepe, who scored the winning goal for the Italian champions, praised the standard of Australian football. The 30-year-old winger was warned not to underestimate the A-League players by former AC Milan and Australia goalkeeper, Zeljko Kalac, but his teammates were forced to learn the hard way against an exhibition side intent on snaring an upset. 

“I was speaking to [Zeljko] Kalac today who came and found me in the hotel, because we knew each other, and he told me there’s been great improvement,” Pepe said. ”In fact, I saw tonight that it was a great team because in their game they have strong individuals with good quality, even if we are a little off condition they gave us a great game.”

Juventus were impressive in their tactical set-up but offered little intensity in the opening half as they organised their tactical structure before their first competitive match on August 21. Pepe watched the bulk of the game from the bench before entering as a late substitute and was impressed with the speed and physicality of the All Stars.

“When I was on the bench I was aware of it but when I was on the field I became more aware that they’re in good condition physically,” Pepe said.

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

NRL Power Rankings: Round 22 – Josh Reynolds should have been told to pull his head in

Josh Reynolds undoubtedly did the wrong thing by his teammates last Friday night in Brisbane by acting like a goose but he was also let down by the Canterbury’s leaders.
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Reynolds, who has been encouraged at club and Origin level this year to sail close to the wind, went over the top against the Broncos. He was rightfully penalised for lashing out with his boots after being tackled by Sam Thaiday, he should have at least been sin-binned for his trip on Ben Barba and after his high tackle, the referees should have sent him straight off instead of signalling 10 minutes in the sin bin (yes, it didn’t affect the time he missed because there were only a few minutes left but it still sends a stronger message).

Somewhere between brain snap #1 and the final act of foul play, he should have been told to pull his head in by captain Michael Ennis, another renowned niggler, or the message should have come down from supercoach Hasler to show some discipline or he would send him to the sheds before the refs next had the chance to do so.

The upshot is he’s facing three weeks, the Bulldogs have lost their fourth match on the trot and are rapidly fading from the finals equation.

1. Manly (last week 1): Manly are still the team to beat. Souths dominated them on Friday night at the SCG but don’t be fooled into thinking the Rabbitohs are the benchmark just yet. Manly have consistently been the better team throughout the season.

2. South Sydney (2): But in saying that, the Bunnies were very impressive in toppling Manly 23-4, Sam Burgess was unstoppable through the middle and on the edges of the ruck. Only Sonny Bill Williams can match him as far as class in the finesse and grunt work that comes with being a modern-day forward in the NRL.

3. Roosters (3): You can’t blame them for not getting up for Monday night’s tussle with the Titans in the freezing rain in front of a quarter-full Allianz Stadium. But they did whatever was necessary and got the win.

4. Panthers (4): Supercoach Cleary’s side only broke the line three times against the Dragons in Wollongong but they made only four errors. They’ve reeled in the attacking flair in recent weeks as they’ve lost players to injury but they’re still racking up the wins.

5. Warriors (5): They were lucky to get away with the win over the Sharks but after racking up the half-century the previous weekend against another cellar dweller in Canberra, a touch of complacency can be overlooked just this once.

6. Cowboys (7): Supercoach Green is officially hardcore. Refusing to take Johnathan Thurston off during the 58-point annihilation of the Tigers because it would look soft is a risky strategy but it tells the other NRL teams that North Queensland aren’t mucking around as the business end of the season nears.

7. Storm (6): Winger Sisa Waqa scored four tries on the end of the Melbourne backline in the last-ditch loss in Newcastle. He’s off to Canberra next year. They need that sort of strike power but unfortunately he needs classy players inside him.

8. Eels (9): That’s two weeks in a row where Parramatta would have lost if not for Jarryd Hayne’s individual brilliance – polishing off Canberra after doing the same to Cronulla. Perhaps it’s time for the likes of Will Hopoate and Chris Sandow to shoulder more of the attacking burden.

9. Broncos (11): All five running forwards in the starting side, plus bench prop Ben Hannant, made more than 100 metres against the Bulldogs. Only one Canterbury forward, Tony Williams, did the same. End result, Broncos 41, Bulldogs 10.

10. Dragons (10): Josh Dugan is still relatively new to the centre position but one thing supercoach McGregor needs to instil in him is the will to go looking for the ball when it’s not coming your way. He was too quiet against Penrith and St George Illawarra can’t afford that from their best strike weapon.

11. Bulldogs (8): In freefall after four straight losses. They looked like over-achieving this year and giving the premiership a fair shake. Now it looks like they will miss the finals and be left thinking what might have been on their earlier-than-expected Mad Monday. Parramatta should towel them up this Friday.

12. Knights (15): It’s way too late to save their season but as far as consolation wins go, that after-the-siren victory at home over Melbourne after trailing by 10 with three minutes left is one of the best of all time. Travis Waddell, who stole the ball from Billy Slater to score the crucial second-last try, is a talented player and it’s a bit of a mystery why he hasn’t played more first grade during his stints at Canberra and Newcastle.

13. Titans (13): Incoming supercoach Henry needs to have a look at the roster. In particular, the majority of the first-grade forwards are getting a bit long in the tooth. An injection of some fresh blood is needed.

14. Sharks (14): If bench hooker Pat Politoni is ever entrusted with playing first grade again, he needs to be told – if you make a break when the team trails by four with a few minutes left and you have the fullback to beat with a teammate looming in support, pass it to him. Michael Gordon would have scored under the posts on Sunday in Auckland to register a boilover win but Politoni panicked as Warriors fullback Sam Tomkins backed off to put him in two minds.

15. Tigers (12): They melted in the tropical heat of Townsville. It’s a tough place to win at the best of times, let alone when most of your first-choice starting 13 is unavailable.

16. Raiders (16): They’ve forgotten how to win. Can’t blame them, they’ve won just once since beating the Cowboys in May. Despite their apparent ineptitude, they’re worth a sneaky investment this weekend against the Dragons, a team they have a mystical stranglehold on.

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