Boom times to bust for unemployed miner

Starting over: Former miner Brad Mort, with wife Kathy and children, from left, Rayna, 3, Hudson, 6, and Austin, 9, is looking for a new job.Brad Mort is the human face of the mining downturn.

The Stroud 38-year-old was retrenched from his job at the Abel mine near Black Hill in August last year, after the Yancoal operation shed about 170 workers, orclose to two-thirds of workforce.

Mr Mort, a former horticulturalist and vineyard supervisor, had landed what hethought was his dream job in mining less than four years earlier after trying for two years to break into the industry.

“Mining was going gangbusters and I wanted a piece of that pie,” Mr Mort recalls. “My old job was very satisfying, but once the kids came along, I needed something more to secure our future.”

“When I was interviewed at Abel, they told me the mine had 25 to 30 years’ life left in it. I was really excited and grateful; Ithought that was going to see me out.”

Mr Mort loved the camaraderie of his new job, the betterpay packet and the extrafamily time his flexibleroster allowed. But after the firstyear, rumours of cutbacks began to circulate and the roster tightened up.Then, in August 2015, the axe fell.

Determined not to join the swelling ranks of long-term unemployed miners, Mr Mort took a short breakthen immersed himself inretraining, undertaking Certificate IV and diploma courses in Work, Health and Safety.

However, after “40 or 50” job applications, Mr Mort has had very little response and no job offers.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “I have invested in the training and committed to thisbeing my future, so I am not ready to abandon it yet,but I can see that in another month or so, if nothing comes up, I will have to look around for whatever work I can get.”

This week’s announcement that 270 jobs are to be shed from the Mount Arthur mine near Muswellbrook brings the number of jobs set to go from Hunter mines this year alone to at least 1000.The Herald reported yesterdaythere was growing support for governments to develop a formal strategy to help mining communities deal with the downturn and unemployed mine workers transition into new roles.

Muswellbrook Mayor Martin Rush has called on the state government to commit $30 million to establishing an Upper Hunter Economic Development Council to address the issues and federal Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon wants to see a regional strategy promoting economic diversity.

Mr Mort said the volatility of the industrywas the reason hedid notconsider another mining job.

“I did a lot of research and decided there wasn’t a lot of future in coal, especially locally. The money andconditions have goneandI think it will be a long time before it turns around in workers’ favour again.”

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Kim Churchill mesmerises crowd at album world premiereGALLERY

Kim Churchill mesmerises crowd at album world premiere | GALLERY CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel. Pictures by PERRY DUFFIN

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel. Pictures by PERRY DUFFIN

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel. Pictures by PERRY DUFFIN

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel. Pictures by PERRY DUFFIN

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

BIRTHDAY BOYS: Before Kim Churchill’s show kicks off, Grand Junction publican Ben Quinn wishes head chef Drew Fernie and Junkyard music fanatic Gerard Forde a happy birthday. Picture by PERRY DUFFIN

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

TweetFacebookSilence/Win, is a step forward.

The songs are more intricate, stylistically at a crossroads of every folk tradition, from ’60s British pastoral to rhythmic roots.

The arrangements, spurned by Churchill’s kinetic guitar work, have a theatrical sensibility and a perfectionist’s attention to detail.

From the outset his vocal delivery is more diverse, traversing lower registers that evoke the velvet voice of Jeff Buckley.

The melodies and structures serve each lyrical sentiment, narrative and mood, delivered with humble restraint.

Though, of course, these are just the bare bones of each new song- the “unplugged” renditions.

On record they will feature lush arrangements withstring quartets and brass.

But here in the intimate setting of the Grand Junction’s dining room, in front of 60 near-catatonic fans, the stripped-back versions are nothing short of arresting.

Churchill affords the crowd glimpses of his technically capability; momentary flourishes where fingers ripple across the neck too fast to process, a brief flurry of harmonics, songs played entirely over the neck.

He might be Australia’s best guitarist, but he’s not about to prove it.

Intersected with the unreleased songs are some fan favourites, like Don’t Leave Your Life Too Long and Rage (the latter always performed at the publican’s behest).

Churchill also tells stories about the inspiration behind each new work, candidly conveying the rumination that spawned each new composition, from a Sri Lankan sojourn to his grandmother’s innocent romance during the final weeks of her life.

He brings the evening to a close with Window to the Sky, the tune voted to number 42 in last year’s Triple J Hottest 100 countdown.

It’s an appropriate choice.

If this album preview has been any indication, Churchill’s window to the sky is wide open.

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Victorian stranglehold on Golden Slipper might unearth another likely prospect

Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing

A Mick Price-led Victorian stranglehold on the Golden Slipper has certainly muddied the two-year-old picture, but another wildcard from south of the border is already eyeing off bigger fish later in the carnival.

Dominant Bendigo maiden winner Meridian Star will provide Jackie Beriman with her first ride at Rosehill, hoping to throw another spanner in the works in the strangest of Golden Slipper build-ups.

Price’s stablemates Extreme Choice and Flying Artie won’t be bundled from the top of betting, but Meridian Star can provide trainer Richard Laming with some food for thought in the Bede Murray Magic Night Stakes, the Golden Slipper’s last-chance saloon.

“More than likely we won’t go to the Slipper and will probably wait for the Sires [Produce], but you never know,” Laming said. “Everything has got to go right obviously.

“I don’t really have a lot of two-year-olds as I don’t push them early. This is the first main prep she’s put her hand up and she’s such a good doing filly in that she’s never left an oat.

“She’s shown a lot of natural ability and the first time we let her head go was at Bendigo the other day. There’s still more improvement there.”

Gai Waterhouse is tipped to press her claims to be three-handed in the Golden Slipper with Prompt Response a $3 favourite with Ladbrokes for the Magic Night Stakes where Godolphin’s Reisling Stakes late scratching Calliope is a $3.60 second elect.

Meridian Star, owned by the emerging Group 1 Racing syndicator, is a $31 chance of causing a boilover in the fillies division.

But it hasn’t deterred the enthusiasm of those attached to the filly, which was passed in for $55,000 at last year’s Easter sale in Sydney and picked up by Group 1 Racing’s Shaun Wallis, who was introduced to Laming through top jockey Michael Rodd.

“We started with one horse and now we’ve got about 10 [together],” Laming said. “We have just taken our time and before [Meridian Star] won we went there pretty confident and she won well.”

Wales will wear the Group 1 red and black colours in Monday’s Adelaide Cup.

The colts will have their chance to stake an 11th-hour Golden Slipper bid in the Pago Pago Stakes with the luckless Mount Panorama a $3.50 favourite in an open betting market.

“He has had excuses in all three starts to date whether it be through missing the start or wet tracks and it looks a nice race for him,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes said. “If we were to consider going onto the Slipper he would have to win and win well though.”

Fellow Rosehill lodger Gerald Ryan has already ruled out a Golden Slipper start for Aviator, a $16 hope in the Pago Pago Stakes, should he earn exemption for the $3.5 million scamper on Saturday week.

“I said to [Vinery Stud’s] Peter Orton, ‘I reckon this horse could measure up in the autumn’,” Ryan said. “Instead of overtaxing him in the spring we gave him five weeks off and started again.

“He worked very well [on Tuesday] morning with an older horse and I love when two-year-olds can do that. He’s going terrific, but he’s another where the Slipper was never on his agenda.”

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.

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Anthony Caceres’ injury forces Melbourne City midfield reshuffle ahead of Adelaide game

The topsy turvy nature of this year’s A-League season has led to predictions a team that doesn’t finish in the top two could win the title for the first time, and Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip doesn’t disagree.

The Dutchman takes his City team to Adelaide on Friday night for a game which will have a big bearing on how City’s season pans out.

Van ‘t Schip has a full squad to choose from, barring long-term absentee Corey Gameiro and midfielder Anthony Caceres, who strained his quad at training earlier this week.

He will have to shuffle his midfield to cover for Caceres’ absence and also has the option of recalling defender Connor Chapman at the back.

The fact that City kept only their second clean sheet of the season last week in the 3-0 win over Sydney FC is, however, an argument for him to stick to the status quo, with Paddy Kisnorbo and Alex Wilkinson anchoring the backline.

So far this season Sydney, Melbourne Victory, Brisbane, Western Sydney and now Adelaide have been at the top of the ladder, and with six rounds to go there is plenty of scope for the current pecking order to change dramatically.

Adelaide are currently four points ahead of City, on 39 points. Win on Friday  and City are back in the battle for the minor premiership. Lose, and it is hard to see City regaining lost ground against the Reds, who are currently on the back of a club record 14 game unbeaten streak.

“At the end of the league the momentum where you are is very important,” said van ‘t Schip, at training before his team flew to South Australia.

“It’s that close, it’s changing all the time. Brisbane, Western Sdyney, now Adelaide is on top. If we have a good result in Adelaide we are there in the mix as well. It could all change in the play-offs.”

His sentiments would be shared by Kevin Muscat, coach of defending champions Melbourne Victory, who languish in fifth spot and face a potentially season-defining game in Brisbane on Saturday night, and Kenny Lowe, coach of rapid improvers Perth Glory.

The Glory knocked Sydney out of the top six when they defeated Newcastle Jets on Monday night and like Adelaide they are a team riding their form, having only lost one of their last eight matches.

For Perth a top-two spot is probably out of reach, but they can be a finals wrecking ball from the bottom half of the draw.

For City it is very much a possibility, especially if they can get three points at Hindmarsh and bring the Reds’ run to an end.

Inspired by Aaron Mooy, City ran out 4-2 winners early in the season when the teams met for the first time. Both were in very different places then: Adelaide were winless, and City wildly inconsistent.

Van ‘t Schip won’t put too much store in that last meeting, admitting that despite the scoreline the game could have gone either way.

“I think Amor [Reds coach Guillermo Amor] kept telling people that they were playing well. Maybe they were having transformation because of the coaching change [from Josep Gombau to Amor]. It was a very open game when we won there 4-2. They had chances … sometimes games get decided on certain moments, we just took the moments better than they did.”

He is under no illusion that the task this time will be harder.

“After they started winning it’s all going their way. You can’t be undefeated for 14 or 15 games in a row without being a good team. They have confidence, and they are on fire.”

Van ‘t Schip has urged consistency from his squad, but it has been hard as he has hardly ever been able to field the same starting 11.

“We used a lot of players, especially that first part. Connor Chapman is now fit. He could play a role,  but it’s now about competition and waiting for your chance. When you get it you have to be ready. If players are performing then they can continue.”

The clean sheet against Sydney was a significant boost for the side, says van ‘t Schip.

“It’s very important, the boys understand that if we get that part right [defending] we can really play a big role in the last part of the league and into the play-offs.

“If you don’t get it right it brings uncertainty to the team. We get a great test on Friday against a team that is always playing good football. “

Argentinan midfielder Marcelo Carrusca is the heartbeat of the Adelaide side but it is not just about keeping him quiet, van ‘t Schip says.

“He can set things up, he can dictate, he is intelligent, he is without a doubt a very important player for them. But it’s not all about him, it’s their whole team.”

French winger Harry Novillo, suspended for two weeks by the club for his involvement in a domestic dispute, returned last week against Sydney and is likely to play again.

Van ‘t Schip was reluctant to get drawn into a debate about the volatile striker, content to say he had integrated well on field on his return.

“We have done what we had to do as a club. We talked about it with Harry and the players. He fitted in well with the players, worked hard and that’s the best way to show that he wants to pay [the club] back.”

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Stella prize shortlist authors vie for $50,000 prize

Poet Fiona Wright at ‘Coffee and a Yarn cafe’, Newtown, Sydney. 24th March 2011. Photos: Tamara Dean Photo: Tamara Dean TKDFiction dominates the shortlist for this year’s Stella Prize, with two collections of short stories, three novels and one tranche of essays vying for the $50,000 award that is given to a book by an Australian woman writer that is “original, excellent and engaging”. There were 170 entries.

On the list announced today are: Six Bedrooms, by Tegan Bennett Daylight, a suite of 10 stories, four linked; Hope Farm by Peggy Frew, the second novel by a former Age short-story competition winner and member of Melbourne band Art of Fighting;A Few Days in the Country and Other Stories by Elizabeth Harrower, whose long-out-of-print work has been brought back into print to great acclaim in the past few years; The World Without Us, by Mireille Juchau, who won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for fiction in January; The Natural Way of Things, by Charlotte Wood, a dystopic novel that rages against the abuse of power in our society, and Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by poet Fiona Wright.

Brenda Walker, chair of the judges, said the prize was going from strength to strength.

“A common thread I see – it doesn’t apply to every title – is some kind of vital expansion of Australian women’s literature,” she said. “You can say that Fiona Wright connects her book to Christina Stead – she writes quite a bit about Stead – and you immediately think about Barbara Baynton when looking at a few of the titles. Elizabeth Harrower is part of that literary history and there she is vivid and present. So I see this as a burgeoning of women’s literary tradition, which has often been a little bit oblique to the mainstream, canonical stuff.”

Wright, whose previous work was a collection of poetry, Knuckled, started her essays about anorexia after she had emerged from her first spell in hospital for the eating disorder.

“I had to really reconsider a whole lot of things in my world and in my life and in myself. It felt like everything had been thrown up in the air and I was very much sorting through the pieces of the narrative I’d been telling myself. I think the essays really came out of that – they are such a good form for thinking through.”

But she was quick to point out that Small Acts of Disappearance was not a recovery narrative.

“I find that narrative frustrating. It’s too simplistic and it forces this linearity on a process that is anything but. And it also lends itself or forces a neat ending and I’m not sure that I believe in those.”

In the essays she equates the impulse to starve and the impulse to write. Hunger and writing, for her, are both “mediators”.

“I think that hunger is something that can stand between you and the world. Both as a kind of protection and as away of managing the complexity of the world. Writing, for me at least, is so often a process of making meaning and of finding patterns within things that happen. Hunger has that effect; it’s all about ritual and regularity and predictability, in a way.”

Wright says she has another poetry book in the pipeline but was still writing essays: “I think I’ve fallen in love with essays. I keep writing them, which I never expected to happen. It’s just such a fantastic and flexible form.”

All the shortlisted authors will this year receive $2000 and a three-week writing retreat. The winner of the Stella Prize will be announced on April 19.

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Corey Brown taking trip down memory lane with Coolmore Classic favourite Ghisoni

Jockey James McDonald rides Ghisoni to win race 5, The Coolmore Surround Stakes, during Sydney racing at Royal Randwick Racecourse. Photo: bradleyphotos苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛 Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing

An untimely outbreak of the strangles virus has robbed Corey Brown of a chance to wind the clock back on the world’s richest race night in Dubai, but the Singapore-based expatriate will still take a trip down memory lane at Rosehill on Saturday.

Currently topping standings in the Singapore premiership race, Brown was in line to shadow three horses – including super sprinter Spalato and Derby-Gold Cup hero Quechua – to racing’s most lucrative carnival later this month before the strangles disease forced a lockdown on horses leaving the Asian nation.

Instead Brown’s March will be filled with a couple of return trips to Sydney for group 1 days, starting with the ride on Godolphin’s unbeaten filly Ghisoni as favourite for the Coolmore Classic, the race in which Brown chalked up his first major on Camino Rose in 1999.

“Hopefully it’s a bit of an omen,” Brown said. “It’s pretty disappointing [not being able to ride in Dubai]. I went there the first year Meydan was open and the weekend before the World Cup meeting was on I competed in the Jockey Challenge and then I went back on World Cup night for three rides.

“I’m more than willing to come home leaving on a Friday night and getting back home to ride on a Sunday. For mine this is the first time I’m heading home with a very good chance in a group 1 race.

“It hasn’t been by design to come home just for the super chances, it’s more being out of sight and there’s a lot of young kids in Australia. I’m always available if selected so to speak, but I think it’s been a little bit more out of sight out of mind.”

But his ability to ride at Ghisoni’s feather weight of 50kg was more than enough for trainer John O’Shea to seek out the services of Brown, who is mulling a permanent return to Australia at the end of the year.

The Melbourne Cup winner has improved his ability to ride light in the humid Singapore climate and was taken aback with the comments of Godolphin’s retained rider James McDonald after Ghisoni’s last win.

“I’ve watched her replays and obviously she’s been fairly impressive,” Brown said. “I was really happy with James’ post-race interview and that was what got me over the line as far as coming to ride the horse. When they rang and said could I ride that weight … listening to James and watching her last win, he was very impressed with her.

“I obviously spoke to [Godolphin assistant trainer] Darren Beadman for a while and he gave me a rundown on her and they’re also super excited about her so I was thankful to get the call.

“My weight’s really good. I’m not saying I’m there yet, but I have ridden 50 [kilograms] in the Gold Cup which was over 12 months ago. I haven’t got far to go now, but I’ve just been running – no saunas – and watching what I’ve been eating.”

An appetite to ride regular trackwork – something that Brown confesses wasn’t one of his strong points in Australia – has also helped open up a number of rides at light imposts.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I reckon I’ve ridden more [trackwork] over here in three years than I have in my whole career in Australia,” Brown said.

“I’ll ride a minimum of five – sometimes six – days a week and that would be five horses a morning and sometimes up to eight if you’ve got a busy weekend ahead of you. From what it was before I left home [the weight] is much better and easier to control here.”

Ghisoni was a solid $4.50 favourite with Ladbrokes on Thursday for the Coolmore Classic with Guy Walter Stakes heroine Solicit, gunning for a maiden group 1, joining Melbourne mare Azkadellia on the second line of betting at $5.50.

Brown’s Rosehill book will also include Kris Lees’ Twist Tops in the Magic Night Stakes and Craftiness in the Maurice McCarten Stakes.

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.

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Tom Staniforth restarts his ACT Brumbies career 700 days after his Super Rugby debut

Tom Staniforth will play his first Super Rugby game in 700 days when the Brumbies play the Western Force. Photo: Rohan Thomson Tom Staniforth before his Super Rugby debut in 2014. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Staniforth playing for Canberra Grammar in 2012. Photo: Melissa Adams

Recalled ACT Brumbies second-rower Tom Staniforth says his belief and confidence never wavered in a 700 day wait between his Super Rugby debut and his next game.

But the Canberra junior admits he feels like he’s starting all over again after forcing his way on to the Brumbies bench for their clash against the Western Force on Friday night.

Staniforth played his first game for the Brumbies almost two years ago and has been fighting for his second cap since helping the team beat the Queensland Reds in 2014.

The long journey and painful waiting has done little to dampen his enthusiasm as he sets out on a mission to play as many games as he can in the final year of his contract.

“It did cross my mind whether or not I’d get another go, but I was always pretty positive with it. I had to train hard and put my best foot forward,” Staniforth said.

“I am starting again, but I feel a lot fitter, stronger and a lot more ready. Two years ago I thought I was ready but now I know that I am.

“Super Rugby can change a lot in two years. But I feel like I’ve done the work. I’m not too nervous, I’ve trained for such a long time now and played in trials. I feel ready and very, very excited to get out there.”

Staniforth is one of three changes to the Brumbies side for the round-three match in Perth.

He joins the bench, with Jarrad Butler moving into the starting side to replace Ita Vaea at No. 8 and Rory Arnold returning to lock after Blake Enever injured his shoulder.

Staniforth will also join the Brumbies on their two-game tour of South Africa, with coach Stephen Larkham to finalise the rest of his travelling party after the Force game.

Staniforth was collecting glasses in pubs around Canberra for work the last time he played for the Brumbies as a 19-year-old.

Now 21, he is nearing the end of his first professional contract and hopes to use his game time to impress and win a new deal.

The Canberra Grammar graduate has transformed his body since joining the Brumbies program on a temporary contract in 2014 before being upgraded, stacking on almost 10 kilograms since leaving school to match it with men.

The 113 kilogram second-rower helped lead Royals to a Canberra John I Dent Cup premiership and the former Australian under-20s vice-captain says his inner mongrel is driving him to perform at the top.

“[Larkham] has shown in the first couple of rounds he’s willing to give guys an opportunity and you’ve got to take that when it comes your way,” Staniforth said.

“You sort of get those debut feelings again but I’ve done all the work and I’ve had a good pre-season.

“I grew up idolising the Brumbies so to be on tour makes it very real. It’s special to me and something that I definitely don’t take for granted.

“I’m not thinking about the future at all. That’s in my manager’s hands, all I have to do is focus on playing some good footy.”


Friday: ACT Brumbies v Western Force in Perth, 10.05pm AEDT. TV time: Live on Fox Sports 2.

Brumbies team: 15. Aidan Toua, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Matt Toomua, 11. Joseph Tomane, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 9. Tomas Cubelli, 8. Jarrad Butler, 7. David Pocock, 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Scott Sio. Reserves: 16. Josh Mann-Rea, 17. Allan Alaalatoa, 18. Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Tom Staniforth, 20. Jordan Smiler, 21. Michael Dowsett, 22. Andrew Smith, 23. Nigel Ah Wong.

Force team: 15. Dane Haylett-Petty, 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Ben Tapuai, 12. Junior Rasolea, 11. Semisi Masirewa, 10. Jono Lance, 9. Ian Prior, 8. Ben McCalman, 7. Matt Hodgson, 6. Brynard Stander, 5. Adam Coleman, 4. Ross Haylett-Petty, 3. Jermaine Ainsley, 2. Heath Tessmann, 1. Pekahou Cowan. Reserves: 16. Nathan Charles, 17. Chris Heiberg, 18. Guy Millar, 19. Steve Mafi, 20. Angus Cottrell, 21. Alby Mathewson, 22. Peter Grant, 23. Marcel Brache.

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Why gearing isn’t helping the housing industry

Mark Kentwell’s article (“Playing with negative gearing is risky business”, Herald 9/3) recycles all the usual assertions about the consequences of changing Australia’s system of negative gearing- none of which I believe survives a moment’s confrontation with the evidence.

First, negative gearing doesn’t make a significant contribution to the (desirable) objective of increasing the supply of housing. Over the past decade, only 7% of the total amount lent to investors for property purchases has been directed towards new housing. That means 93% has been directed towards the purchase of existing housing – and that has served only to drive up the price of that housing to ever-higher levels, to the detriment of those who would like to own their own home, but who can’t compete with investors who get their interest costs subsidised via negative gearing.

Second, negative gearing isn’t primarily a device used by ‘mums and dads’ to secure their retirement- it is, overwhelmingly, something used by high-income households to defer and reduce their tax obligations. The richest one-fifth of Australian households owns72% of all investment property. A taxpayer in the top tax bracket is two-and-a-half times as likely to have a negatively geared property investment as one with a taxable income of less than $180,000.

Third, the temporary abolition of negative gearing by the Hawke Government in the 1980s didn’t result in a nationwide spike in rents or plunge in new dwelling construction – as even the BIS Shrapnel report quoted by Treasurer Morrison in defence of negative gearing concedes.

In my view, there is nothing a Federal Government could do, that would do more to help young people (in particular) to achieve their desire to own their own home than to curtail negative gearing.

Saul Eslake,former Chief Economist of ANZ Bank, is now an independent economist

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Stepson charged with murder

UPDATE, 5.30pm:

A MAN stands accused of murdering his elderly stepfather after the alleged victim fell from a verandah during a fight and was left in a garden bed.

Rodney Rees Ambrosius, 50, was arrested by police in a Coomba Park reservenot far from where the body of 74-year-old Kenneth Perry was found by his wife and the mother of the accused.

Police will allege the pair fought on a verandah before Mr Perry fell off the verandah and into the garden bed.

Mr Ambrosius had been living in the couple’s house near Wallis Lake for aboutsix weeks before the incident.

Police were called to the Binalong Crescent residents about 4.50pm on Wednesday after getting a call from Mr Perry’s distraught wife.

She had returned home to find hisbody and her son missing.

The accused was arrested a short distance away in a park.


A crime scene was established at the home and examined by detectives and forensic specialists.

Mr Ambrosius wascharged with murderand assaulting police in the execution of their duty.

A man has been charged over the alleged murder of his stepfather at a home near Forster on Wednesday.

Police were called to a Coomba Park address about 4.50pm and discovered the body of the 74-year-old man in a garden bed.

A 50-year-old man, who was identified as the older man’s stepson, was arrested in a nearby street and taken to Forster police station.

A crime scene was established at the Binalong Crescenthome and examined by detectives and forensic specialists.

The man has since been charged with murder (domestic violence) and assault police in execution of duty.

He was refused bail to appear before Forster Local Court on Thursday.

More to come

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From Cessnock to an NRL fairytale in a year

ICE-cool centre Kerrod Holland capped aremarkable rise from Cessnock to theNRL when he kicked the winning goalfor Canterbury in Thursday night’s 18-16 triumph againstPenrith at Pepper Stadium.

This time last season, Holland was juggling training sessions with both the Goannas in the Newcastle district competitionand the Knights’ NSW Cup side.

The Singleton junior played just one game in Newcastle’s reserve grade before round 12, before scoringa hat-trick in round 13 to finish the season with 18 tries, a swag of goals, selection in the NSW Cup team of the year and a grand final winners’ medal.

The Novocastrian Electrical electrician then accepted a two-year deal with the Bulldogs, after the Knights were unable to match their offer.

He played in the Auckland Nines tournament and, with an injury to Brett Morris prompting Des Hasler to switch Will Hopoate to fullback, was promoted for his NRL iniation.

He posted his first points in the top grade with a 61st-minute conversion, and then completed a fairytale when he converted an 80th-minute Moses Mbye try to steal two competition points, at which point he was mobbed by his teammates.

“It was always going over,’’ Holland said afterwards. “I knew straight away.’’

Penrith were shattered after leading for 76 minutes.

The Panthers drew first blood with a try by centre Peta Hiku in the fourth minute, followed seven minutes later when prop Sam McKendry crashed over.

Five-eighth Jamie Soward converted to give the home side a 12-0 lead.

The Bulldogs hit back with a Will Hopoate try in the 24thminute, but the Panthers held a 14-6 half-time advantage, which they increased by two early in the second stanza with a Soward penalty goal.Canterbury narrowed the deficit midway through the second half when elusive halfback Mbye scored after a crafty inside pass from Hopoate.

AAP reports: Canterbury hooker Michael Lichaa will miss four NRL matches with a knee injury.

The Bulldogs rake suffered the setback in Friday night’s win over Manly, and will require an arthroscope to clean out the minimal damage sustained before he limped off midway through the second half.

The month-long layoff will come as a relief to the 22-year-old who was facing the prospect of a season-ending injury.

LIVING THE DREAM: Former Knight Kerrod Holland celebrates the matchwinning goal on his NRL debut for Canterbury against Penrith. Picture: Getty Images

Former St George Illawarra No.9 Craig Garvey replaced LichaaonThursday night.

HAVING A BALL: Penrith playmaker Jamie Soward places a grubber behind Canterbury’s defensive line on Thursday night. Picture: Getty Images

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