Archive for 2019

letters to the editor for Monday, January 8, 2017

ROOM FOR RVs: Reader Jon Caine says part of the former train line should be used for a parking spot for caravans and RVs.DEARNewcastle council – following a recent letter from a disappointed out of town visitor who found the information office shut (Short Takes, 1/1), plus having driven behind a few caravans looking for a place to park, here is a suggestion for the former railway station.
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Move the poky information counter from the Maritime Museum to a roomy new space at the station.

Like many such places in much smaller towns, there could be displays of local products, a wider range of pamphlets on offer, maybe even a booking centre for activities like the Famous Tram or harbour cruises to name a few.

Everyone wins: the museum has more space, visitors can access information everyday (and not just the days and restricted hours of museum opening times) and there is a greater opportunity to showcase local products and services.

And the aforementioned caravans? Surely somewhere in the filled-in expanse that used to be train lines could be found space to put some parking places for visitors in vans or RVs. There’s certainly nowhere for them to park in our beautiful city now.

Jan Caine, MarylandSWISS STYLETO John Maxwell Hollingsworth (Short Takes, 4/1) – could also emulate the peaceful republic of Switzerland with one of the highest standards of living in the world.

No 1975 there, where our unelected head of state who represents a foreign unelected head of state, not ns, dismissed a democratically elected government to prevent it from solving a political impasse by calling a democratic half senate election.

Were I a monarchists I wouldn’t be bragging about those events either. Until then, a republican to an n was an American politician, if they had even heard of the word.

Colin Fordham, LambtonDON’T FORGET TONYDARRYLTuckwell (Letters, 4/1) reckons the buck stops with Malcolm Turnbull.

That’s true, but blame also needs to be apportioned to Tony Abbott, who instructed his Minister for Communications (Turnbull) to destroy the NBN.

You probably can’t call what Turnbull’s done absolute destruction, but the result certainly isn’t good from a national perspective.

It’s on par with the idea, fortunately kyboshed at that time, that our original telephone roll-out should have been done using iron wire (not even steel) on cost grounds; only this time the misers have had their way.

I suppose some industry people will be happy – when we get around to fixing NBN, it’ll cost twice what we’ll spend this time, and they’ll make millions.

I do hope Ms Henderson has more luck with her NBN connection than we had. It took from February 22, 2017 toJuly 8, 2017 to restore service at our place, after multiple, interminable phone calls and technician visits.

A frustrating, Kafka-esque experience.

Barnard (Barney) Ward, EdgeworthHUTS AN OPTIONTHE Newcastle council’s lack of change rooms at Nobby’s Beach could be solved by the introduction of bathing huts to the beach.

These brightly coloured huts are a drawcard for tourists to English beaches and could be sponsored by private enterprise.

They are used in Brighton Beach in Victoria, so why not try something new for Newcastle that has worked elsewhere.

Paula Fisher, New LambtonSPEED SOLUTIONSISN’Tit time to look at the total picture?Speeding is so often toblame for the high number of road accidents.

Is it any wonder, as there are more cars on the road than ever?So isn’t it time to look at other countries road rules?

For example, on two lane roads, make cars stick to the inside lane unless overtaking regardless of speed limit.

It’s been proven that overtaking on the inside lane is dangerous.That’s why it’s illegal in most other countries.

How often do you see most cars in right lane, travelling below speed limit?

How often do you see police statistics for drivers on expressways booked for driving in fast lane and not overtaking?

Most of us like to drive fast, especially young drivers. Some people are all for spending $2 billion on a sport stadium but providing a safe circuit for drivers to speed to their hearts content is not even looked at.

I am talking about a facility like Wakefield Park past Goulburn.

There drivers can learn to drive fast safely and not have to cope with two-way traffic, nor police speed cameras.

Newcastle, I suggest, has a huge need and would be very successful with a similar facility.

So many hoons on our roads that could take their frustrations out on the track in a safe environment and not risk killing or maiming others.

Herman Oosterman, TorontoNO LOYALTYIN-FORM Newcastlejockey Aaron Bullock, who was replacedby Hugh Bowman for the Magic Millions ride on Jonker, showed his capabilities on Thursday with three rides for three wins at Taree.

Bullock, who rode two rides for two wins on Jonker to place him into the Magic Millions as favourite, deserved to keep the ride.

It only goes to show there is no loyalty when it comes to big money races.

Peter Lofty Lockwood, SingletonWaiting for answersIT’Snecessary for some members of the public to watch councils.

Because the public hasa basic statutory right to know what theelected representatives are saying and the decisions they are making when they are assembled as a council.

The last Newcastle council let the people down when it resolved in a closed meeting of council to build a motor racing circuit through Newcastle’s Foreshore public parkland and the residential streets of Newcastle East.

Even at this date, 18 months after the resolution, council has still not released full details of the July 16, 2016 Major Event Report Resolution. The public hasa right to know what their elected councillors are doing on their behalf.

Doug Lithgow, Adamstown Heights

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Dastyari to draw taxpayer salary for weeks

Labor leader Bill Shorten has confirmed that former senator Sam Dastyari could keep receiving his taxpayer-funded salary into 2018, despite announcing he would resign earlier this week.
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Senator Dastyari’s replacement in the Senate will not be selected by NSW Labor until the start of February. That person – widely tipped to be Kristina Keneally, if she does not win the seat of Bennelong in a byelection this Saturday – will then have to be confirmed by the NSW Parliament.

Senator Dastyari quit over revelations in Fairfax Media over his links to Chinese Communist Party-linked political donor Huang Xiangmo; his exit has infuriated allies of Senator Dastyari in the influential NSW Right faction of the ALP, which has loyally backed Mr Shorten as party leader since 2013.

When announcing his resignation on Tuesday, Senator Dastyari did not immediately stand down, but said he would “not return to the Senate in 2018”. Parliament is not due to return until February 5.

If Senator Dastyari did not formally resign until February, he would continue to draw his senator’s salary, which would amount to about $20,000.

However a well-placed Labor source said Senator Dastyari would be gone within a matter of weeks.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Senator Dastyari should “get out of the Senate right now and it is a mark of the weakness of Bill Shorten’s leadership that it took all of this time for Dastyari to foreshadow his resignation”.

“He hasn’t resigned yet. He’s still taking money from the taxpayers of the country that he put second. He did not put first.”

But Mr Shorten argued other MPs who had quit parliament had taken lengthy periods to go, too and that Senator Dastyari was no different.

“[Liberal] senator Brett Mason – 23 days. Christine Milne, leader of the Greens – 98 days. Joe Hockey – 34 days. Then he moved onto another paid government job. [Liberal] senator Michael Ronaldson – 73 days. [Liberal] senator Chris Back, admittedly not a household name, but 46 days. Even Nick Xenophon – 26 days,” he said.

“What I expect Senator Dastyari will do is that, sooner rather than later, he will wrap up his matters. But let’s be clear – there’s electorate work. He can’t just leave punters in the lurch. He’s resigning. He won’t be back in the Parliament.”

NSW Labor general secretary Kaila Murnain said the party would “begin the process of selecting for the Senate casual vacancy early next year. There are a number of administrative processes that have to be completed, which can’t be finalised prior to Christmas.”

Some MPs believe Senator Dastyari could have survived the scandal if he had hung on until Christmas, and that he was unfairly treated by Mr Shorten and sections of the Labor Left faction.

Finger pointing has begun, with some members of the Right suggesting a co-ordinated attack was launched on Senator Dastyari to force him out.

A report that Senator Dastyari pressured deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek not to meet a pre-democracy activist in Hong Kong, which was quickly followed by senior Left MPs Catherine King and Linda Burney suggesting he should consider his position, has been blamed as the final straw before Senator Dastyari’s demise.

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Newcastle council rejects doubts over rail corridor rezoning survey

Council dismisses doubts over rail corridor rezoning survey The rail corridor leading into Newcastle station before the lines were removed.
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A section of the disused rail corridor near Merewether Street which would be open for development under the rezoning plan.

Worth Place, the western extremity of the subject corridor land.

The site of the proposed Newcastle University development on a section of the old rail corridor and adjoining Honeysuckle land.

TweetFacebookThe two questions in the poll read:“Question 1: Newcastle is undergoing unprecedented change and renewal. The next phase of this renewal is the corridor reserved for heavy rail. The NSW Government’s proposal is to maintain a significant portion of this corridor as public open space, including restoration of Newcastle Station. The proposal will allow some development on the former heavy rail corridor, including space for the University of Newcastle to expand its city campus, and the delivery of affordable housing. Newcastle City Council has secured a commitment from the NSW government that any profits from development will be reinvested in Newcastle. Do you support or oppose this mixed use proposal?

“Question 2: It has also been proposed that allowance be made to maintain a transport corridor on this land. Thiswould mean the land could not be used for mixed uses as described above. The NSW Government hasadvised that this corridor is not required for transport purposes.Do you support or oppose this alternate proposal?”

READ MORE:Newcastle council approves rail corridor rezoning

Responses to the first questionsuggested more people (57.5 per centto 27.3 per cent) agreed or strongly agreed with rezoning the corridor for mixed uses.

However, responses to the second question suggested more people (34.7 per centto 30.3 per cent) agreed or strongly agreed with maintaining the corridor for transport.

The number of people “undecided” jumped from 13.6 per cent in the first question to 28.8 per cent in the second.Those who answered “don’t know” rose from 1.6 per cent to 6.2 per cent.

ROLLING ALONG: A section of the former rail corridor which is being transformed into the Market Street Lawn. Picture: Marina Neil

A University of Newcastle associate professor with a background in statistics said the first question was “reasonably clear”, but the second was “confusing”.

“It is not clear whether someone is being asked,‘Do you support or opposethe proposal to maintain the transport corridor ordo you agree with the government’s decision?’” she said.

“This is most telling when you look at the results of the poll, which showthat the highest percentage of respondents indicated ‘undecided’and a certain per cent answered ‘don’t know’.

“They probably weren’t clear what they were being asked about.”

A group of 38 community and transport activists, including former Greens councillor Therese Doyle,wrote an open letter tocouncillors on Tuesday claiming the questions were “framed to elicit a predetermined response” and that the council had initiated the survey only after 69 per cent of public submissions objected to the rezoning.

Read more: Newcastle City Council appoints Jeremy Bath as CEO

Cr Mackenzie criticisedthe report from council staff on the rezoning proposal, saying it was open to accusations of bias and left the council’s decision open to legal challenge.

The report stated that the council had received 394 public submissions against the rezoning, plus 137 form letters, and 226 in favour of the proposal, plus 46 form letters.

Cr Mackenzie said staff had “miscategorised” 137 negative submissions as form letters,and he took exception to a section of the report which said those in favour “expressed excitement” about the university precinct.

But after the meeting, at which he was the lone voice against the rezoning, Cr Mackenzie said it was time to move on and the issue had divided the city for too long.

Jeremy BathNewcastle Herald thatopponents of the corridor rezoning “can’t have it both ways”.

“On the one hand they claim push pollingwhile at the same time suggesting the poll result isn’t conclusive,” he said.

“The elected council has made a final decision, and not accepting it won’t make it change.

“Council understands that there is a section of the community that are opposed to the rezoning, primarily on the basis that they don’t accept the decision to remove the heavy rail.

“A look down Hunter Street shows that argument has been fought and lost.

“It’s time to accept the decision as Cr Mackenzie has done in publicly calling for a truce and for everyone to move forward collaboratively so that the rezoning delivers genuine revitalisation outcomes.”

He said the ReachTEL poll of 955 residents had cost the council$2200 plus GST.

Both Mr Bath and Mr Chrystal said the survey was a response to a successful motion by Cr Doyle and fellow former Greens councillorMichael Osborne on August 22 that community consultation includetheir support for buildings being constructed on the corridor in a way that enabled light rail to pass underneath.

“It was impossible for the survey to be included in the approved engagement plan because Cr Doyle did not inform council of her motion until the night of the August council meeting when the plan was approved,” Mr Bath said.

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China set for downsized aths team for home Games

face the prospect of fielding a smaller athletics team than England’s at next year’s home Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
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The team is currently scheduled to be almost three-quarters the size of that sent to Glasgow four years ago.

Athletics has been told by the Commonwealth Games Federation that it can field a team of 73 for the Games in April. England has been told it can send 75. Four years ago in Glasgow, took a team of 92. None of these figures included Paralympic athletes among them.

AA last week sent an email to coaches and athletes to confirm the team size of 73. With marathons and walks being popular public events, they will take 12 spots.

also aim to fill all relay places – another 20 athletes – so excluding the 100m, 200m and 400m events where runners will come from the relay teams, that leaves 41 places for 32 events.

Two of those events are the men’s and women’s 10,000m for which the Zatopek 10 at Albert Park on Thursday night doubles as the Commonwealth trial. The first two in those races will be selected, meaning there are then 37 athletes for 30 events.

thus face fielding a team of barely more than one athlete in the majority of events despite likely having more than one athlete qualified in those events for a home Games.

The CGF has set a cap of 90 for athletics teams from any country. Only England and get close. But the CGF, randomly, imposed 73 for this year. AA and the Commonwealth Games remain hopeful of pushing the number closer to the maximum of 90 but as yet there are no guarantees.

Normally athletes who have an A standard and come first or second are automatic qualifiers for a team.

Other athletes with A standards are normally picked regardless of how they went at the trial to make sure the best athletes are not left behind because they missed the trial. That occurred with Jane Flemaming in 1990 when she was injured for the trial but eventually picked for the team and went on to win two gold medals.

In the men’s 10,000, have four men – Pat Tiernan, Brett Robinson, Dave McNeill and Stewart McSweyn – all regarded as legitimate chances to achieve the A standard at the Zatopek.

But only the first two across the line will be picked.

With the Games in less than four months, it makes qualifying confusing for athletes, who don’t know how many will be able to take.

Winning the trial is the surest way to guarantee selection, but as with Flemming, there are examples of the country’s best athletes being unfit at the trial but fit by the Games.

“I think it would be unlikely we would have an A qualifier not selected,” coach Craig Hilliard said.

Senior running coach Nic Bideau was not as confident of that if the number remained at 73.

“If it stays at that number there will be events where there are three A qualifiers at the trial and they won’t take three,” Bideau said.

“It’s hard to believe they could accept having a smaller team than England’s at our home Games. Our final number might be higher but so would England’s.”

The Zatopek is at Albert Park on Thursday December 14. The women’s 10,000m is at 8pm and the men’s at 9pm.

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NSW Police Association Central Hunter branch offered 10 new police positions from NSW Police Force senior executive

Maitland’s plea for more policehas been answered with NSW Police senior management offering 10 new positions to the Central Hunter.
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And in a further show of support for the regioneight officers have been earmarked for the Hunter Valley command, which includes Singleton and Muswellbrook.

The offer comes after the NSW Police Association Central Hunterbranch took up industrial action in November as frustrations abouta lackof numbers boiled over.

The branch had called for 20 new positions, butbranch chairman Mitch Dubojski said 10 was a“very good start”.

“This isn’t a win or loss scenario, but it’s a large step forward,” Mr Dubojski said.

“It will help enhance our response times and allow us to provide a better service to the community.”

The branch is expected to formally endorse the offeron Thursday.

Read more: Police battle very thin blue lineNot a single new copNew police structure becomes clearerFrustrations grew after the NSW Police Force senior executivepromised that its long-awaited policere-engineering process would put more boots on the ground in exchange for an overhaul of the existing commandstructure. ButMr Dubojski said at the time no assurances on extra numbers had been given, hence the decision to proceed with industrial action.

Action was called off after a few weeks whenthe Police Commissioner pledgedto assess what additional resources were neededby mid-December.

The Central Hunter will splitinto two new-look districts under the re-engineering process in January. Mr Dubojski said the 10 new positions will move with Maitland into the Port Stephens-Hunter district when the changes come into effect.

Who the new officers will be and when they will start is yet to be decided, but Mr Dubojski said he was glad they had an answer on the numbers.

“The re-engineering process has been tremendously stressful,” he said.

“This isdefinitely going to provide everyone with more of a positive outlook towards what they’re doing. Especially coming up to the festive season, which is always a busy time for us.

“It’s very reassuring that the senior executive has listened to our concerns and balanced out numbers with the needs of the community.

“We want to thank the community for all of its support.”

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ACCC has gas pipeline monopoly in its sights

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The ACCC Gas Inquiry 2017-2020 report found that while action has been taken by energy companies to remedy a predicted domestic gas shortfall across the east coast, prices still remain high.

It also supported the potential of AGL’s LNG regasification plant in Victoria to reduce the state’s gas shortages.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said that while energy companies have acted to address a forecast domestic gas shortfall of up to 108 petajoules on the east coast, and create a 20 petajoule surplus on the horizon, the market remains challenging.

“It’s still a tight market, price offers for industrial users have come down from $16 per gigajoule to between $8 to $12 per gigajoules, but it should be closer to $6 to $8 per gigajoule,” Mr Sims told Fairfax Media.

“It’s still too high, but it is an improvement.”

Mr Sims said the next major focus for the ACCC is reducing the impact of ‘s pipeline monopoly.

“We want to regulate the pipeline monopoly,” Mr Sims told Fairfax Media.

“We can’t break up it as the situation is what it is, but there are actions we can take.”

The majority of ‘s gas pipelines are owned by three companies, APA Group, Jemena, and n Gas Networks.

Mr Sims said the ACCC will first ensure pipeline owners cannot stop others from accessing gas pipelines.

Secondly, in terms of pricing, Mr Sims said there will now be an arbitration system put in place where issues over access exist.

“This means when contracts expire companies can seek arbitration.”

He said these actions will have a direct impact on gas prices and better results for gas users.

“In two to three years pipeline prices will come down, and we’ll see lower flow-on prices in Victoria and NSW,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC also backed the potential for AGL’s proposed, $250 million Crib Point floating LNG terminal, in Victoria.

“If viable, an LNG regasification terminal could be an alternative form of transport for bringing additional gas into the southern states,” the report said.

Mr Sims said there were a number of ways Victoria could address its forecast gas shortfall.

“The better way for Victoria is through access to gas in the state, but if it continues to be dependent on Queensland for gas, then a regasification facility makes sense,” he said.

AGL aims to begin construction of the facility in 2019, and sourcing LNG from the global market in 2020/21.

Speaking at the n Financial Review’s National Energy Summit earlier this year, Morgan Stanley analyst Rob Koh said AGL’s planned import facility makes economic sense.

“I think it’s not a bad idea for AGL to be talking about it and to be planning for that,” Mr Koh said.

“Part of that dynamic for AGL is having a reliable supply of gas to the southern markets. As we know, the marginal producer at the moment is in Queensland and the cost of shipping gas from the northern markets to the southern markets is in the order of $2.70.

“So finding another route that is another alternative to that is potentially a good idea.”

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‘Still so many stereotypes’: The top 2017 HSC students revealed

When Bianca Ritter decided she wanted to study traditionally male-dominated subjects for the HSC, including construction and industrial technology specialising in timber, most people questioned her choices.
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“I was interested in the more masculine subjects but there are still so many stereotypes and a lot of stigma around females in those areas and so many people asked ‘why would she do it, especially because I have always been a pretty good student’,” Bianca said.

But the high-achieving Mount Carmel College student proved them wrong and has topped the state in construction.

As the state’s graduating high school class of 2017 nervously await their HSC results to be released at 6am on Thursday, the NSW Education Standards Authority celebrated the students who topped a course at a special ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday.

Bianca was one of 120 students from 85 schools who topped one of 114 HSC subjects, with eight students coming first in more than one.

Seven students topped two courses each, including the same two students who came equal first in Music 2 and Music Extension.

Selective high schools Fort Street and North Sydney Boys had the most number of students who topped a course, with four from Fort Street – including two students who came first in two subjects – and North Sydney Boys had four students who came first in their course, including one who topped two subjects.

Julian van Gerwen, a year 11 student from Fort Street High, came first in mathematics and mathematics extension 1, while his classmate Angela Zha topped German continuers and German extension.

Hebe Larkin, from Pymble Ladies College, was the only student to have placed first in three subjects (Classical Greek continuers, Classical Greek extension and Latin continuers).

The schools were split fairly evenly between 45 government schools (including selective and language schools) and 40 non-government schools, including 17 Catholic schools.

The Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, described the students as the “shining stars of this year’s HSC”.

“The HSC is challenging for every student, so to come first in a course is an outstanding achievement,” Ms Berejiklian said.

These students have risen to their potential through ability, hard work and enthusiasm for their studies.”

Bianca plans to take a year off from her studies next year to travel but then hopes to work in construction project management or interior design.

“I haven’t applied for university yet because after 13 years of school, I am ready for a break,” she said.

Explore the full list below.

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Regulator targets underperforming super funds

The n Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) intends to beef up standards to make super funds accountable for poor performance and justify their expenditure on marketing and advertising.
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APRA deputy chair Helen Rowell said super fund members deserve confidence their fund is “delivering quality, value-for-money outcomes” as she released consultation papers outlining the proposed changes.

The move comes after the regulator wrote to super funds in August demanding meetings with funds failing to deliver “quality” outcomes for members.

In the August letter, APRA targeted funds who were poor performers based on a range of data, including returns, costs to members, insurance costs and the impacts on members of funds experiencing declines in member numbers.

APRA did not name the funds or say how many were in its sights.

The regulator is proposing a toughening of standards so there is an “outcomes” assessment that will apply to all investment options – “choice” investment options and the “MySuper” options, the options with more protections for those who do not choose a fund.

The Turnbull government has prepared a bill that requires funds to audit performance annually and to make the results public, but it applies to MySuper options only.

APRA proposes a regulatory change to ensure trustees have more robust processes in place concerning their expenditure, including on advertising and marketing, and how that supports better outcomes for members.

APRA believes there should be a clear purpose for the spending and trustees must show they have been able to deliver on that purpose.

A blanket advertising campaign that has not delivered a benefit in terms of more members or increased contributions would be unlikely to meet the value for money test.

The proposed standards come despite the royal commission into banking and other financial services entities, which includes super funds. The government wants to start the commission in February and run it for a year.

The royal commission will consider if super funds are using members’ savings for “any purpose that does not meet community standards and expectations, or is otherwise not in the best interests of members”.

Under another of APRA’s proposed changes, funds would be required to make it much easier for members to not only opt out of life insurance, but also to increase their cover.

Sometimes it is hard to members as they have to fill out forms, and the regulator want funds to make it straightforward and simple for them.

Submissions on APRA’s consultation papers are open until 29 March 2018.

The new and revised prudential measures are expected to be released by mid-2018, with a proposed commencement date of 1 January 2019.

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No action against Ipswich developer over Brookwater Resort

The corporate watchdog was tipped off almost a year ago about developer Richard Turner allegedly selling units in a proposed Queensland golf resort scheme he no longer controlled, but determined it would not take any action.
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Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission, the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, and Ipswich City Council also received complaints about possible misrepresentation by the then-mayor and CEO supporting the Brookwater resort scheme from August 2015 onwards, but the investigations cleared them.

Fairfax Media revealed allegations on Tuesday that Mr Turner has continued to market and sell apartments in the scheme even though his landholding company was taken over by receivers in October 2016, raising a further $3 million in deposits from mum-and-dad investors in and overseas.

Documents show money has been raised since the October 2016 receivership of the company through which Mr Turner owned the land earmarked for the first phase of the scheme.

Correspondence obtained by Fairfax Media shows that in November 2016 the corporate regulator ASIC wrote to former Ipswich mayoral candidate Gary Duffy regarding his concerns about the scheme.

“You have raised concerns that Brookwater may have misled the public by continuing to promote its resort development after they had lost possession of the land allocated to the resort,” ASIC official John Searle wrote to Mr Duffy.

“We conducted our own inquiries to obtain additional information … weighed the obligations under law against the evidence available, and have determined that we will not take action.”

A month later Queensland’s corruption watchdog similarly rejected a complaint from Mr Duffy alleging that the then-mayor of Ipswich, Paul Pisasale, and then-council chief executive Jim Lindsay had misled the public by promoting the scheme despite knowing of its financial troubles.

“I understand you allege that Cr Pisasale and Mr Lindsay have purposely engaged in dishonest behaviour to deceive the public regarding the Brookwater Resort by improperly promoting it and its developers Brookwater Resort Investments Pty Ltd, despite knowing there were problems with the company as early as August 2015,” Kylee Rumble, the CCC’s director of integrity services, wrote to Mr Duffy on December 6, 2016.

“We have decided that the information you have provided us … does not enliven the CCC’s jurisdiction because the conduct would not, if proved, constitute any criminal offence or be a disciplinary breach providing reasonable grounds for terminating Mr Lindsay’s services.”

Ipswich City Council said it had received a similar complaint regarding the conduct of Cr Pisasale and Mr Lindsay via the Department of Local Government and had investigated it internally.

A council spokesman said city solicitor Dan Best had conducted the probe because “clearly the chief executive can’t investigate himself”, and had found that “the complaint lacked substance”.

“It found there was no evidence to suggest any misleading or deceptive conduct under the n Consumer Law, investment fraud, misconduct under the Local Government Act 2009, a breach of trust, or corrupt conduct,” the spokesman said.

Correspondence seen by Fairfax Media shows an unrelated complainant with knowledge of the scheme began raising issues about the development directly with Cr Pisasale and Mr Lindsay in August 2015.

The correspondence indicates Cr Pisasale’s first action was to tip off Mr Turner about the complaint. The council declined to investigate, telling the complainant in July 2016 that the allegations of “misconduct, malpractice and illegal actions” were for other authorities to deal with.

Mr Turner’s companies are understood to have sold almost all of the 168 units in the first phase of the resort, with two-bed apartments offered at between $580,000 and $800,000.

A real estate agent instructed by Mr Turner, Deric Ly of Global RE in Liverpool, told Fairfax Media there were hopes to pre-sell a second phase of the resort, involving a further 130 residential units.

The land earmarked for the first phase of the resort has since June this year been owned by Lendings Pty Ltd, a company controlled by the Melbourne-based Hunt family. It has had no dealings with Mr Turner.

Springfield Land Corporation, which owns the rest of the land intended for the resort, said it had terminated all its development option agreements with Mr Turner in October 2016.

But Mr Turner’s lawyer denied this, saying the assertion that the option agreements were terminated “is not consistent with what our client has instructed us is the current arrangement”.

His solicitor, Joe Welch of Gold Coast firm Hickey Lawyers, has said that to the best of his client’s knowledge, sales had been made according to the relevant laws regulating the sale of proposed lots.

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Tasmania could become first state to blow up the pokies

Prime Minister Julia Gillard talks with Independent Mp Andrew Wilkie at the conclusion of question time at Parliament House Canberra on Tuesday 10 May 2011. Photo by Andrew Meares / Fairfax SPECIAL 000000Tasmania would become the first state to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs in a major strike against the gambling industry announced by the state Labor opposition.
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It comes as a report from the left-leaning Institute reveals is home to a stunning 76 per cent of the world’s poker machines in pubs, clubs and non-casino venues.

Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White said she would seize a “once in a generation” opportunity to ban pokies outside casinos if Labor wins next year’s election in that state.

It follows a parliamentary inquiry that showed $110 million was lost to the 2375 electronic gaming machines inside pubs and clubs across Tasmania last financial year.

“That is $110 million that’s not being spent in those communities,” Ms White said.

The move to ban the machines within five years represents a significant blow to the gaming industry, which is largely tolerated by the major parties.

Former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard squibbed on a deal with anti-pokies crusader Andrew Wilkie to introduce mandatory pre-commitment on gaming machines, and also refused calls for a $1 bet limit.

is home to about 200,000 poker machines – more per person than any country except a handful of gambling meccas – and ns lost $12 billion to the machines in 2015-16. Half of those losses were in the pokies-addicted state of NSW, whose government takes in close to $1.5 billion in taxation from poker machines each year.

Western is the only state in which pokies never proliferated, having been limited to Perth’s Burswood Casino since the 1970s. Excepting WA, Tasmania has the lowest per capita pokies losses of any state, according to the n Gambling Statistics database.

Ms White said the machines nonetheless had a “devastating affect on people and their families”, with seven additional people impacted for every person hit by a gambling addiction.

“There is absolutely no doubt this is a health issue,” she said. “This is the right thing to do for the health of our community.”

Under Labor’s plan, pubs would be assisted with a $55 million support package to wean them off the pokies. Casinos would be allowed to retain the machines.

Pokies in Tasmania are operated under the monopoly control of the Federal Group, which Fairfax Media has contacted for comment.

Mr Wilkie, who represents the Tasmanian seat of Denison, said Labor’s policy was “a win for those who have been tirelessly campaigning for meaningful poker machine reform”, and called on Liberal Premier Will Hodgman’s government to follow suit.

Bill Browne, co-author of the Institute report released on Wednesday, said was a “global anomaly” when it came to poker machines – even when taking casinos into account.

” has 0.3 per cent of the world’s population but 6 per cent of its conventional gaming machines and 18 per cent of its poker machines,” he said.

The report drew on data from the World Count of Gaming Machines survey commissioned by the Gaming Technologies Association, which only counts known, legal gaming machines. Not all such machines are counted as poker machines.

In a policy document, Tasmanian Labor indicated it would look to increase the tax on poker machine revenue at casinos to maintain the $4.5 million budgeted for anti-problem gambling causes.

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