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The secret to ageing, is in fact socialising

This article is sponsored by Aveo.
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HUMANS are by nature social creatures.

Our brains are wired for social interaction so we unconsciously yearn connection.

So as we age and retirement nears the thought of being alone, of losing one’s purpose and life generally slowing down hangs heavy in our minds.

Admittedly life takes a new direction but retirement doesn’t have to be dull.

It’s an open invitation to find meaningful things to do, challenge yourself, make new friends in your community and fill your calendar with exciting activities to look forward to.

In fact, recent neuroscience studies reveal the increasing value of social interaction, mental stimulation and physical activity as a preventative measure for cognitive decline and dementia.

This is otherwise known as ‘environmental enrichment’ according to globally recognised neuroscientist Professor Michael Nilsson, Director of the Hunter Medical Research Institute and a University of Newcastle researcher.

“It’s fascinating to see how strong the effects of environmental stimulation can be,” Professor Nilsson said.

Professor Nilsson has played a significant role in a number of initiatives involving architects, neuroscientists, designers and psychologists who are working together to further understand the aspects of environmental stimulation and how to bring them to reality.

These studies observed various social contexts and environmental aspects of multi-sensory stimulation, such as light settings, geometry, colours, textures and landscape. Conversely, if you’re alone, inactive and living in an unstimulating environment it can set you on a negative path.

Professor Michael NilssonStress accelerates the ageing processProfessor Nilsson explains the concept of environmental stimulation as a myriad of factors that collectively stimulate the brain and in turn can reduce our stress levels.

“Stress is regarded as an important contributor to cognitive decline,” Professor Nilsson said.

“One goal for everyone is to manage stress levels each day and work actively to do that.”

Professor Nilsson believes the focus should be on prevention through being physically active on a regular basis.

“I’m not talking about going out and running marathons, just a brisk walk when you get your pulse up three times a week,” he said.

“This can be anything like working in the garden, walking or playing sport.”

He recommends walking in green environments like parks or forests where you have strong visual stimulation, as past studies have shown that modern built-up environments can be partly responsible for stress and cognitive impact.

“There’s research that if you just pass by such monotonous environments you can become stressed, your blood pressure goes up and the heart rate increases.”

He said the opposite happens if you walk in green landscapes or around interesting buildings that encourages stimulation and helps you ease stress.

“Design, architecture and public urban environments don’t necessarily have to be expensive to orchestrate,” he said.

“Other studies show it may be initially more expensive but it’s paid off multiple times when you follow the consequences of these interventions.”

Professor Nilsson’s involvement in various research programs have shown promising results for cognitive stimulation and neural repair through the use of therapeutic gardens, stimulating architecture, social interactions and intense physical activity, but more research is required to further validate the findings.

He said they will take the results further by bringing the ideas into prevention with a goal of stimulating health resilience, particularly for the elderly.

“We believe the same principles should be implemented into aged care facilities, residential spaces and home settings.”

Everything can be organised like this in a retirement village to facilitate the holistic approach to your living in your older days.

Professor Nilsson said a lack of daily stimulation and social interaction can lead to depression, lethargy, and also trigger other psychiatric conditions.

Natural interventions the answer to our contentmentAs we age our priorities and concerns change depending on our circumstances but regardless of what those are, we all seek contentment.

Professor Nilsson emphasises the importance of keeping the brain active in our later years as a means to maintaining mental wellbeing.

“If you keep your brain healthy you maximise your opportunities for healthy ageing,” Professor Nilsson said.

“You should keep your brain active in different ways, as natural stimulation affects all of our senses like the way we feel, the way we see and the way we hear.”

Dance your heart out”Social interaction combined with cognitive challenges is very important,” he said.

“A great example of that is dancing, which gives yousocial interaction, music, physical activity, and a little bit of emotion.

“It’s very positive, it drives motivation, keeps your mood up and de-stresses you.

“I really favour dance for everyone but particularly for the older population.”

Professor Nilsson advocates good cardiovascular health, like dance and regular social engagements in natural environments to improve your state of mind each day and help pave the way to a fulfilling and healthy life.

This article is sponsored by Aveo.



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Moving forward

LOOKING BACK: A lot of water passed under the bridge in 2017 and the flow ain’t going to slow much heading into the new year.SIMON WALKER: That’s Life archive
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Christmas is calling and that can mean only one thing for columnists –time for year in review.

As usual,That’s Life has dealt with the big issues –anxiety, loss, frustration, elation, despair –and I haven’t even begun to shop for Christmas presents yet.

Taking a dartboard approach to the last 12 months of topics, January 2017 saw end-of-year holidays to cyclone-afflicted islands addressed. Nothing like a Force 10 hurricane to bring families together, literally, tethered –in case a tsunami struck. So relaxing.

February saw us hurtling down the roadin a rent-a-car. It could have been anyone going anywhere: the point being how loved ones can say such unloving things when they miss their turnoff on afreewayat speed.

March we dealt with political nutbaggery. Again, it could have been any month and any politician, butPauline Hanson’s advice about relying on Dr Google rather than your local GP really was sick mate when it comes to vaccinating.

April saw the changeover from Daylight Savings accompanied by that perennialconundrum –is it time to dig out the uggies, and should you really cross dress your summer bottoms with a flanno long-sleeve top?

May saw us buying suits for a pressing social engagement. A last-minute crisis that can be boiled down to three key considerations: Is the wedding tomorrow? Is the proposed suit too shiny? And does it fit? All ignorable if your partner ultimately approves (of the suit, I mean).

June wasBowel Cancer Awareness Month, and “Don’t die of embarrassment”was the message when it comes to screening. Just get the job done (ahem). Julywe pondered internet service providers, and a Christmas-in-July moment when our particular providersaid they were going to do something, and it actually happened!! Then we got the letter from the NBN saying that particular service provider would soon be disconnected.

August, I banged on about modern technology and how it doesn’t really improve communication. To back that up I pointed to the simple phone text on the way home from work – “Get coriander” –the world’s hardest-to-access herb after 5pm. Let’s leave it at that.

September was all about man flu –the virus we didn’t have to have last winter but most of us did. October canvassed the “hum”, in my head. Reader feedback suggested i wasn’t alone, or that I was mad. I still haven’t made up my mind. November, I dropped and destroyed my precious work coffee cup. Like I said, big issues.

December we bid farewell to our beloved family cat, the second for the year,rounding out a fairly poor year for family cats.

And so it went. A veritablepot pouri of personable experiences which hopefully generated a few snorts of mirth over the Saturday cereal. Not that the death of our cats was funny, but it’s not always about feline groovy. That’s life.

And so as the year draws to a close Iextend to all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and look forward to touching basein January.



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W-League Newcastle Jets: Emily Van Egmond on the attack ahead of top-of-the-table clash with Perthvideo, photos

Emily Van Egmond, left, playing against Canberra. Picture: AAPEMILY Van Egmond is happy to play anywhere in midfield, but Jets coach Craig Deanswill be happier toseemore of the Matildas star at theattacking endin the blockbusteragainst Perth on Saturday night.
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Newcastle rose to a three-way tie and second place on goals difference with a 3-0 win away over Brisbane on Sunday, setting up the top-of-the-table clash with Glory at McDonald Jones Stadium from 8.15pm.

Deans paired Clare Wheeler and Tori Huster in central midfield and pushed Van Egmond, who returned to the side from Matildas duties, forward.

Emily Van Egmond on the attack for high-flying Jets TweetFacebook Emily Van Egmond 2017AAP and Fairfax Media imagesThe move paid dividends as Van Egmond put Arin Gilliland away on goals for the second and third goals of her hat-trick.Deans said the form and hard work of homegrownYoung Matilda Wheeler had paved the wayfor the change.

“We can play Em further forward nowbecauseClare Wheeler has come in with Tori, and they’ve been reallygoodthe last three games they’ve played together,” Deans said.“It takes a bit of defensivepressure off Em and she can get further forward.

“Em is calm on the ball and she can obviously pass the ball well. She can strike a ball and she’s got some creativity, so having Clare come in has made a big difference.

“ItalsomeansGilly can play as a winger, and she’s dangerous up there.”

Van Egmond played through a back complaint against Roar and was rested for the final half an hour with the Jets up 3-0. She was glad just to contribute to the win.

“It was the first game where I’ve played more as an attacking midfielder and I’m just happy to play wherever Deansy wants me to play,” Van Egmond said.“I like all positions in the midfield, and I was lucky enough to find Gilly a couple of times off really nice forward runs and we capitalised in transitions, which was very pleasing.

“We’re starting to get familiar with each other and it’s just good competitiveness within the squad. Clare’s come in and done a fantastic job, and I thought she did a really good job on the weekend, as did Tori.”

For Deans, the attacking success in round seven broughtwelcomedselection headaches for the second half of the season.

“Cortnee Vine missed out on the weekend but she’s been playing well,” Deans said.“It’s nice to have a situation whereyou’re leaving good players onthe bench. Tara Andrews didn’t travel with the squad so we’ve got her to hopefully come in.It’snice to have some depth in the attacking area.”

The Perth clash brings with it the added challenge of stopping superstar striker Sam Kerr, one of Van Egmond’s best friends.

“Sammy’s obviously a great player, not just in the W-League, but on the world stage,” Van Egmond said.“She’s definitely a threat, but I think if we can minimise the space in behind for her to make those forward runs, I think that’s definitely going to be the key.”

Returning MatildaGema Simon is likely to miss another week of action for Newcastle in her recovery from a knee injury.

Defender Natasha Prior is nursing a knee injury but isexpected to be available.



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‘Unacceptable’: Martin Place twin towers proposal angers neighbours

The Macquarie Group’s unsolicited proposal to build two towers either side of Martin Place has angered the owners of a neighbouring skyscraper, who complain it will be overshadowed and its views ruined.
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The owners of the MLC Centre say Macquarie Group’s proposed tower on the south of Martin Place represents a “tipping point” and the “critical site in determining the future” of the pedestrian mall. The MLC’s owners argue the centre’s sky views will be “significantly impacted” if Macquarie’s proposal is approved.

The bank is seeking significant changes to the local building controls in order to build commercial towers on either side side of Martin Place – one more than 40 storeys at the “north site” and the other at least 28 floors on the “south site”.

The MLC centre, which sits at the corner of Martin Place and Castlereagh Street, is located directly opposite the proposed south tower.

In order to build the towers, the bank needs approval from the Department of Planning to increase the maximum floor space possible under the local environmental plan by more than 154,000 square metres, or 54 per cent.

To build the south tower, the bank is asking for a 76 per cent increase to hand it an extra 18,000 square metres of floor space.

It claims the increase is needed “to develop high-quality commercial floor space on an otherwise constrained south site, which if developed under the current controls would produce very small tower floor plates that are not preferred for office uses and would limit the viability of the site.”

But the MLC Centre’s joint owners, property management firms Dexus Funds Management and GPT group, have slammed the increase as “unreasonable and unacceptable.”

They hired prominent architectural firm Harry Seidler and Associates to conduct an analysis of the buildings’ impact on the MLC Centre and to prepare a submission objecting to the proposal. The MLC Centre was designed by Harry Seidler.

According to the submission, which was submitted to the Department of Planning this month, both of the towers will “reduce the amount of sunlight received by the MLC Centre public plaza in the morning, throughout the year” compared with the current situation.

The submission accused the bank of failing to “adequately quantify and address impacts on the [centre]”, despite its close proximity to the proposed south tower.

Macquarie claims its unsolicited proposal will deliver “a single, fully integrated Martin Place Station”, in line with the government’s $20 billion-plus Sydney metro line linking the city’s north-east to Bankstown via Chatswood, the CBD and Sydenham.

Five towers will be demolished at Martin Place to allow for construction of the metro station, which will connect to the existing station.

The bank’s proposal, which is currently being assessed by the department, enables its headquarters at 50 Martin Place to be incorporated into the design of the new station. It also includes an “all-weather” walkway from Martin Place to Hunter Street, with an option to connect further north to O’Connell Street.

“This future development will support the advancement of modern workplaces and resilient office accommodation, improve access to jobs, and strengthen ‘Global Sydney’ as a centre for economic and cultural activity,” the bank’s proposal said.

The MLC Centre’s concerns add to those raised by the City of Sydney and the n Institute of Architects, which lodged separate objections with the planning department earlier this year.

The City claimed the proposal in its current form would result in a “poor urban outcome for Sydney, reducing amenity levels,” while the Institute submitted that such significant developments should be decided through a competitive tender process.



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Missing backpacker found by a mate in Coogee

An Irish tourist missing in Sydney has been found after being missing for almost two days.
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25-year-old Craig Lambe was found by a friend in Coogee about 8.30pm on Wednesday.

Police thanked the public for their assistance, having released details of his disappearance on Tuesday in a public appeal for help.

Police said at the time that Lambe was last seen leaving his home on Middle Street, Kingsford, about 12.30pm on Monday, but had not made contact with friends and family or returned home since.

In a statement, his family in Ireland said he had left his apartment without money, keys or a phone.

“Craig informed his friend (who he was travelling with) he was going to retrieve money from a Western Union/Bank Account,” his brother James Lambe said.

“We believe Craig was struggling to access funds mainly due to losing his bank card but had not highlighted major difficulties with family or friends.

“Craig’s friend believed he gained access to money as suggested and went shopping as they had just moved into the apartment.”

James Lambe said his brother had taken a black bag with him, which the family believe contained his passport as well as a black jumper, thongs and a towel.

The 25-year-old, who is 180 centimetres tall with a medium build and brown hair, was wearing denim shorts.

James Lambe said the family just wanted to know that Craig was safe.

“Since Craig’s disappearance there has been a huge online appeal which we appreciate immensely but as of now there have been no confirmed sightings of Craig and he has made no contact,” he said.

“Due to the obvious lack of information about his whereabouts and the circumstances in which Craig left his residence on Monday the 11th we are deeply concerned.

“We urge anyone to come forward with information no matter how small they believe it to be and thank everyone who has supported thus far.” /**/



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Elf on the Shelf ideas to get you through to Christmas

Elf on the Shelf ideas to get you through to Christmas Photo: Shane Smith
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Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Alicia Leiper.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Christine Apted.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Courtney Wilson.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Courtney Wilson.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Debbie Harvey-Price.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Debbie Harvey-Price.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Fiona Bruce.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Hannah Lee.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Hannah Lee.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Hannah Lee.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Hannah Lee.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Hannah Lee.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Hannah Lee.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Hannah Lee.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Hannah Lee.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Jac Shell.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Jess Neilsen.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Jess Neilsen.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Jess Neilsen.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Jess Neilsen.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Kate Evans.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Manda Kelly.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Megan McMahon.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Megan McMahon.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Nicole Hann.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Nicole Hann.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Rachelle Haddrill.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Sharon Tracey Pope.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Zara Infante.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Zara Infante.

Elf on the Shelf inspiration from Zara Infante.

TweetFacebookElf takes hostages. Picture: Cassandra Gendle

December can be a tricky month. School’s coming to an end, it’s getting hot outside, school holiday boredom sets in almost immediately and ohmygodthere’ssomuchtodobeforeChristmas I’mbusygooutsideandplay. Elf to the rescue.

What you need: As many elves as it takes to guard the contraband.

Fart in a jar Elf: the ultimate mystery. Picture: Jodie Stewart

Let’s face it, this one has all the elements: mystery, suspenseand, most importantly, the most hilarious of all bodily functions (or so kids seem to think). Now this one sounds dangerous and the storyis just full of holes, but it’ll have them chuckling like there’s no tomorrow. How did the elf get in there? Why did the elf get in there? Who put the lid on? Why didn’t he fart while the lid was still off?So many questions, so little time to answer.

What you need: one elf, one jar, and a note. Bonus points if you can seal in some steamed broccoli fumes. That’ll really get them.

Hot tub party, elf style. Picture: Jess Neilsen

Ignoring the fact it’s probably 40 degrees outside, apparently elves are cold all year round –must be something about being from the north pole. And they’re very busy little critters, so they need a bath. Double-down and make it a hot tub party!

What you need: all the elves you’ve got, extra family members or guests, a bag of cotton balls, a tiny towel or twoand a hotel shampoo.

Selfie Elf.

Guilt trip Elf gets jobs done. Picture: Kelly Monley

Hey, why not use the elf to your advantage? You know, you can make any old task into a rhyme. “Roses are red, violets are blue, be nice to each other or I’ll tell Santa on you!” is a great start. “Christmas is near, the elves are about, please be a dear, and put the bins out” has a nice ring to it, too.

What you need:One elf, one mirror, one rhyme and a texta.

Mechanic elf, for those last-minute repairs.FINALLY, an elf that’s not making a mess or causing havoc. Actually being quite helpful. This right here is a Christmasmiracle. Maybe leave it near something that’s broken and see if anyone else in the house catches the hint. If not, well, you’ve still made it through another night of Elf on the Shelf.

What you need: one elf, one toy car/tractor/motorbike, several blocks or something to raise the car on, toy tools. Vegemite for oil stains optional.

Snowman kidnapper Elf.

Treasure hunt Elf. Picture: Zara Infante

One elf, hyped-up kids, a bit of sugar and an activity that could keep them occupied for a good couple of hours if you really want to –what’s not to love? Hide some treats, set up the elf with the note and let the little ones at it while you get stuff done.

What you need:one elf, one note, booty for the treasure hunt (we suggest candy canes).

Elf makes an important announcement. Picture: Chelsea Neems

Granted, this one would take some serious effort and won’t apply to everyone, but if you’ve got big news, this could be the way to go about it.

What you need: one elf, a pregnancy test and somewhere comfortable for the elf to lay their head. Maybe a support team as well.

Elf goes on a post-it rampage.

Elf makes some new fruity friends. Picture: Hannah Lee

Bello. Luk at tu! Tulaliloo ti amo. Bee do bee do bee do. Minionese, huh? Turns out these tricky elves can be good pals with the hilarious homemade minions hiding in the fruit bowl.

What you need: one elf, bananas, a texta and a true love of Minions.

Rave Elf and friends

How the heck did you get in there Elf.

Christmas Eve Elf –it’s almost over. Naughty Chuckles at the Mayne St cafe in Gulgong. Photo: Stephanie Limn

Well, really, Christmas Eve is a Sunday, but you get the drift. After a hectic few weeks of planning, purchasing, hiding, hiding again, whycan’tyoustayoutofthatcupboard, re-hiding, wrapping and placing under the tree, you’ve earned it. And so has the elf, who has somehow kept everyone on their toes for the last 23 days.

What you need:As many elves as you like (no one likes to party alone), 12 small cups, two ping pong balls, one sign and a ready-to-party attitude. Tell the others it’s BYO.

And of course, if you just. can’t. keep going, there’s always this.What you need:One elf, a tissue or two, electrical tape and a texta. Glass of celebratory wine is optional.



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Dastyari’s fall highlights donor influence in big money politics

Yuhu Group donating $1 million to the Children’s Medical Research Institute, today at Eastwood shopping centre. Saturday 14th December 2013. Photograph by James Brickwood. SHD NEWS 131214. Pictured is Yuhu executive Eric Roozendaal with Labor Senator Sam Dastyari_I9A8955.jpgThere is perhaps no greater illustration of the high stakes involved in ‘s big money federal political system than the careers of soon to be ex-Senator Sam Dastyari and his former Labor Party colleague Eric Roozendaal.
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Each climbed to the top of the pile to become general secretary of the NSW Labor Party – one of the most powerful political jobs in the country.

Yet while a humiliated Senator Dastyari fell on his sword on Tuesday over his associations with Chinese-n businessman Huang Xiangmo, Mr Roozendaal rejoices in the title of CEO of Yuhu Group, Mr Huang’s Sydney-based property development company.

When Fairfax Media first reported in 2014 that Mr Roozendaal – a former NSW Treasurer – had joined Yuhu, the hire was explained by the company as a way to navigate n politics.

The story disclosed that two months before he quit the NSW upper house in May 2013, Mr Roozendaal had travelled to China at the invitation of Mr Huang to tour some of Yuhu’s projects.

“After the inspection, Eric expressed that he would promote international communication and cooperation between Yuhu Group and government,” the company’s website stated at the time.

By that time the company had been donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the NSW ALP (and the Liberal party), while Senator Dastyari was NSW Labor general secretary – the top fundraising job at Sussex Street.

The root of Senator Dastyari’s undoing was arguably accepting Mr Huang’s offer to pay a $5000 personal debt incurred while general secretary.

It was exacerbated by his decision, while a Senator, to approach another Chinese businessman-donor to cover a $1600 over spend on his travel budget.

The “transactions” show Mr Dastyari was wont to treat donors like a personal ATM – likely a hangover from his days as general secretary soliciting much larger amounts from all manner of business people.

But more importantly they give credence to later claims that he acted the way he did – speaking against ALP policy on the South China sea and allegedly tipping off Mr Huang to possible n intelligence agency surveillance – because he owed them.

Not because of the relatively paltry sums settling personal debts, but due to the enormous donations to the NSW ALP that allowed him as general secretary to fight election campaigns.

For donors, forming relationships with those who hold the most powerful positions in n politics is just good business. As Mr Roozendaal’s experience shows, their apparent usefulness continues in post-political life.

On the Coalition side look at former NSW deputy Premier Andrew Stoner – a former state trade minister – who took on an advisory role with Yuhu.

It’s not just foreign players. Mark Arbib, another former Senator and NSW Labor General secretary, went to work for James Packer’s Crown.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced laws to curb foreign influence, including a ban on foreign donations. While it’s a start, it is missing – possibly deliberately – the bigger picture.

While the system continues to allow political parties to accept millions of dollars in donations from local businesspeople seeking influence, the concerns that brought down Senator Dastyari will remain.



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‘A tear in the eye moment’: Burrows eyes World Cup record and Super W

The chance to play at a fifth and final World Cup on home soil looms as the perfect motivation for Wallaroos veteran Louise Burrows to until she’s 43 years old.
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But it was the news of a new national women’s rugby union competition, the Super W, that brought a tear to her eye on Wednesday.

Rugby launched the inaugural Super W season in Sydney, with the ACT Brumbies to enter a team in the five-side competition.

RA also announced its intention to bid for the 2021 women’s World Cup and the 2027 men’s World Cup as part of its aim to grow the game.

Burrows has already started training with the Brumbies women and is considering playing for another four years to chase what would be a remarkable World Cup record.

Hooker Burrows has already played at four World Cup tournaments and is keen to keep going for as long as her body allows her to pack down in scrums.

And the small luxuries of the Super W could pave the way for Burrows to achieve her goal. For the first time in her 20-year career, Burrows doesn’t have to pay for a gym membership or sell raffle tickets to fund her travel for games.

The Super W is following in the footsteps of the AFLW and the Women’s Big Bash League in funding travel and training programs.

“It did bring a tear to my eye when they officially announced it,” Burrows said.

“We started in the gym this week … it’s the first time in my 20-odd years we’ve started a pre-season before Christmas.

“I guess I was a bit envious of the AFLW and all the sports, but so proud of women’s sport. As a female athletes, you want all female sports to succeed.

“I did hope I would still be playing when it happened for rugby. It’s really a step in the right direction for us.”

Tony Doherty will coach the ACT women’s side, which will start a four regular-season games in March against rivals from Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Western .

The ACT squad will be cut to 30 next year, but has already started training in the gym and will have a field session on Saturday.

The NRL will launch a women’s season next year, but the Canberra Raiders will delay bidding on a licence until they have the appropriate facilities at a proposed new base in Civic.

Outgoing RA chief executive Bill Pulver said the new competition would provide a pathway for young girls to the Wallaroos and n women’s sevens team.

“Super W will allow our women’s XVs players the opportunity to play in a high-quality competition, fully entrenched within the professional programs at each state giving them access to elite coaching and high-performance facilities,” Pulver said.

“This will make the Wallaroos a significantly stronger outfit moving forward.

“The pathway is now complete in both with the sevens series and Super W working in tandem to provide elite opportunities for players in both formats of the game.

“Bidding for the women’s rugby World Cup I hope signifies to the community how serious we are about making rugby a game for all and growing female participation.

“If we are successful with our bid, it will have an immediate and significant impact on women’s rugby.”



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Phase out shark nets and switch to smarter, less-lethal devices, inquiry finds

Lisa Mondy: a shark bite survivor who argues against shark nets and says the chances of an attack on humans remain minimal. Photo: Max Mason-HubersThe NSW and Queensland governments should phase out shark nets and immediately replace lethal drum lineswith more sophisticated gear to limit unnecessary harm tomarine wildlife, a Senate inquiry has concluded.
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The final report on shark mitigation and deterrent measures,released on Tuesday, noted the frequency of shark bites on humans was”infinitesimal” even as the number of beachvisits continue to climb.

Among the recommendations was increased funding for shark research to establish population trends and on the emerging technologies that may deter attacks.

The report also recommended that environment and energy ministerJosh Frydenbergshould refrain from permittinglethal shark controls until after a scheduled review of the biodiversity conservation act due in 2019.

It noted fatalities from sharks in totalled47 during the past 50 years – or fewer than one ayear. People were almost 100 times more likely to die from drowningthan from a shark bite.

READ MORE:​Surfer’s lucky escape from shark

“[The] hodge-podge of policies around the country is guided by politics, rather than by evidence and consultation,” said Peter Whish-Wilson, the Greens Oceans spokesman who chaired the inquiry.

“[Technology] is rapidly developing in terms of personal and whole-of-beach scale deterrence devices, and along with drones and phone apps this allows us to set a timeline for the full withdrawal of shark nets around the country,” he said.

Fairfax Media sought comment from Mr Frydenberg.

Aspokeswoman for Niall Blair, NSW’s Minister for Primary Industries, said the state now deployed only SMART drum lines, with rangefrom Ballina in the north to Narrawallee on the south coast.

“To date we are actively tracking245great white,10tiger and42bull sharks,” she said.

“SMART drum lines are complementing our meshing programs,” she said. “However, we will continue to compare the results of both technologies to make surewe can make decisions aboutthe best protections.”

Mark Furner, Queensland’s new fisheries minister, said the Palaszczukgovernment remained”steadfast in its support for the Queensland Shark Control Program as it has undoubtedly saved lives”.

“That is why it is so highly valued and why it will continue,” Mr Furner said. “While we continue to monitor emerging technology, the safety of swimmers is paramount.”

Phase out shark nets and switch to smarter devices: inquiry Bob Woodcock set a state record in 1981 with his 785kg great white shark caught on a 36kg line.

Page one of the Newcastle Post, January 29, 1992. Photo: Grahame Marjoribanks.

Date and location unknown.

A thrasher shark from Cowrie Hole in 1954.George Southern, Elsie Southern, Sailor Hopkins, Peter Walmsley

Cessnock game fisherman Paul Besoff, 20, spent an anxious night at Shoal Bay wharf last night guarding his prize possesion, a 1200lb plus tiger shark, he hopes will be ratified as a world record. Photo by George Steele, April 25, 1977.

A fishermen netted this ferocious looking fellow of Nelson Bay in August, 1971. It was later identified as a Sawshark.

Big Bitie caught Gil Noble of Pelican with the 12’3″ Tiger shark on April 23, 1984. Photo: Mick Dawson.

Karyn Heyward 16, of Blakehurst with 432kg White Pointer Shark, caught by Peter Thompson of Coal Point on a 36kg line on February 25, 1979. Photo taken at the Shoal Bay weigh in.

Troy Grieves of Caves Beach with the 319kg whaler shark he caught on March 18, 1984. Photo: Ken Robson at Pelican Marina.

Weigh in for the Womens Day In Game Fishing Competition Pictured is Gina Rees of Budgewoi with a 162kg Tiger Shark at Nelson Bay public wharf on February 27, 1991.

Deborah Ford, the widow of John James Ford, who was taken by a shark off Byron Bay is escorted from a service. Photo: Ben Rushton, 1993.

Shark mesh contactor Darryl Sullivan with a tiger shark netted off Merewether at police wharf on October 26, 1983. Photo: David Johns

Scott Graham, 11, of Swansea Heads with a Hammerhead shark meshed off the coast. Photo: David Wicks.

A Tiger shark caught by Hans Zimmerman off Port Stephens. Photo published on April 3, 1990.

Mick Wright with his 395kg Maco at Swansea weigh in on October 8, 1988. Photo: Dean Osland.

Perry James, 19, of Merewether, with the tiger shark he caught off Swansea on April 25, 1978.

Myuna Bay Fitness Camp principal Murray Scoble with shark jaws, taken on November 11, 1988.

319kg Whaler Shark caught by Michael Gleghorn, 23 of Bellbird. Caught about nine mile out from Port Stephens on a 24kg line. Michael is pictured with the rod he used. Photo taken September 20, 1987.

J Pickles of Nelsen Bay with a 762lbs Mako Shark in February 1963.

Hans Meyer with his record Tiger Shark, weighing 487kg. Taken at Swansea on April 26, 1986.

Paul Temperley of Elenmore Vale with his catch, a 291kg Tiger Shark in his boat, Boat Hot Tuna in the Big Game Fishing Competition. Photo: Anita Jones, March 1, 1992 at Nelson Bay.

Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Club weigh in Fish & Shark Tournament. Boat crew: Michael Richards, (Marks Point). Angler: Glen Kirkwood, (Swansea). Greg Harrison, (Belmont), on September 29, 1992 at Swansea. Photo: Dean Osland.

World record Mako shark caught, 329kg on a 10kg line. Gary Spruce, (Boat Skipper). Neil Williamson of Cambridge Hills, on November 25, 1979 at Pelican Boat Shed. Photo: David Wicks.

Flashback to March 1984. A Big White Pointer swallows 80kg shark almost whole (in two gulps).

Chris Clarke of the Fish Bowl framed in Tiger shark jaws at the Fish Bowl Charlestown Square on August 11, 1983.

Angler Mick Wright with a huge Mako Shark caught off Norah Head. (318kg) on October 3, 1993.

Scott Fitzsimons with his world record shark catch, on October 2, 1988. Photo taken at Swansea Weigh Station.

Perry James, 19 of Merewether with a tiger shark he caught off Swansea on April 25, 1978. Photo: C. Brodie.

Game Fishing Champ. 186kg Tiger Shark from boat “Down Under” on February 27, 1993. Place taken: Nelson Bay

Brothers Joe and Dominic Bagnato with a four-metre Grey Nurse shark. Phoo taken on July 23, 1986 at Fishermans Co-op, by John Herrett.

Weigh in for the Womens Day In Game Fishing Competition. Gina Rees of Budgewoi with a 162kg Tiger shark. Taken on February 27, 1991 at Nelson Bay.

Robyn Spruce with the jaws of her world record breaking shark. Photo taken at Belmont on December 10, 1980.

319kg Whaler Shark caught by Michael Gleghorn, 23 of Bellbird. Caught about nine mile out from Port Stephens on a 24kg line. Michael is pictured with the rod he used. Photo taken at New Marina, Nelson Bay, on September 20, 1987.

Neville James of Swansea caught this 273kg Tiger Shark off Catherine Hill Bay, at 1.30pm on April 8, 1979. It took him six hours to land it onto his boat Gari-Lee. He caught it on a 50lb line.

Mick Middleton with a Whaler Shark 185kg shark caught on 15kg line on June 30, 1989.

Brett Remington with a 121kg thresher shark on June 29, 1981.

Derek Henon caught this world-record hammerhead shark on January 5, 1986. The 208kg shark was taken on a 15kg line and took more than two hours to bring alongside boat. It was hooked about 10 km east of Port Macquarie. The previous best was 198.22kg caught off Port Stephens in 1982.

Jason Malowey (left) and Brad Thompson on January 5, 1989.

This article, published on January 23, 1988, detailed 15 shark attacks since the turn of the century.

Nathan Ghosn, 12, at Nelson Bay.

Sharks of Dudley Beach, taken February 27, 1997. Photo: Grahame Marjoribanks.

Belmont baths in the 1960’s. Photo: Damon Cronshaw.

Shark attack at Evans Head on January 4, 1989.

Two sharks in Newcastle. Date unknown.

Shark caught. Myuna Bay. Date unknown.

Deckhand from Alice L, Brian Craig pulls a small shark into the dinghy off Bar Beach. Photo: Ron Bell, January 15, 1998.

Shark meshing boat Alice L in Newcastle Harbour. Photo: Ron Bell, January 15, 1998.

Sharks of Dudley Beach, taken February 27, 1997. Photo: Grahame Marjoribanks.

Sharks of Dudley Beach, taken February 27, 1997. Photo: Grahame Marjoribanks.

Sharks of Dudley Beach, taken February 27, 1997. Photo: Grahame Marjoribanks.

Sharks of Dudley Beach, taken February 27, 1997. Photo: Grahame Marjoribanks.

TweetFacebookStep forwardLisa Mondy, who was bitten by a shark seven years ago near Port Stephens, supported the recommendations calling for the removal ofnets but queried the efficacy ofSMART drum lines.

These devices more precisely lure target sharks – such as great whites, bulls and tigers – and allow the animals to be tagged and released. .

“It’s a step towards something better but I think there’s going to be better ways,” Ms Mondy said.

“As much as killing or moving sharks seems like it could be helping, there’s not really any evidence to say that it is,” she said, adding that people “making informed choices about when we’re going into the water and where is a much better way of managing to keep safe from sharks”.

David Woods, a formerBallina fisherman,predicted morefatal shark bites in the future and “it will be more dangerous to swim in the ocean than drive a car on the road” if white sharks werenot taken off the endangered species list.

“Instead of seeing one every 12 months or six months you’re seeing one every second day,” Woods said.

READ MORE:​Hammerhead shark spotted in Lake Macquarie

Dissenting viewsCoalition senators provided additional comments to the report, saying public safety in the water was “paramount”.

They “largelysupport[ed] the use of non-lethal and deterrent measureswhere such measures are proven to be as effective as existing measures”.

They also strongly rejected the Greens’ view that nets and drum lines didn’t make beaches safe. Theynotedthere had been only one death during the past half-century at the 85-odd protected beaches in NSW and Queensland.

A great white shark: Senate report looks into the myths around shark bites. Photo: Paul Johnston

Labor senators, meanwhile, backed most of the report’s 20 recommendations while noting it was “unfeasible to place a blanket restriction” on the federal environment minister for the next two yearsmore. Still, they dubbed the proposal of the former Liberal government in Western for a shark cull as “absurd”.

The Greens, though, were disappointed that the report failed to call for an immediate removal of all shark nets while noted the “political difficultly” of such a step.

The report also highlighted the role of the media. Coverage of deaths from shark attacks”greatly exceeds” that given to most other cause offatalities or injury,it says.

“[Sensationalised] media reporting is problematic for supporting responsible and respectful public debate on shark issues and for the public perception of beach safety generally,” the report says.

Media coverage was one factor in thedecision in October 2016 by the then Baird governmentto backflipon its policy and introduce nets for northern NSW beaches after a spate of shark bites. The nets cover just 600 metres of about 32 kilometres of beaches and resulted in more than 250 animals being caught.

READ MORE:Two-metre shark jumped out of the water and hit him in the right shoulder.

Leading shark mythsThe report addressed popular misconceptions about sharks, including:

– Shark numbers have soared

There is no evidence to support the idea the shark population is dramatically rising despite two decades of protection. Experts say this misconception could have developed from more people in the water resulting in a greater number of sightings. It could also be due to changes in the distribution of prey leading to a higher number of sharks approaching the coast.

– Sharks target humans as prey

Experts say that sharks don’t target humans as prey and encounters that occur are usually due to the shark mistaking a person for their natural targets. Sharks are curious animals that are known to investigate anything they come across.

– Killing ‘rogue’ sharks is the solution

Sharks do not hunt humans and they haven’t developed a tastefor human flesh. Experts say sharks are continually roaming over long distances and most are not permanent residents at one location. Several shark encounters in one area cannot be attributed to one shark.

– More sharks equate to more attacks

Just because there are sharks in the ocean does not mean there will be attacks. Large numbers of sharks are constantly travelling through our waters along the coastlines and this activity commonly occurs without incident.

– Shark nets don’t let the sharks close to shore

Nets are not shark-proof and they do not act asbarriersseparating humans and sharks. They only have limited coverage as they are 150 to 186 metres wide and six metres deep. Experts say nets are not designed to create an enclosed area but are used as a passive fishing device to catch and kill sharks .



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NRL and players union to review third-party deals after Manly rort

The stakeholders with most to gain from third-party arrangements concede the system requires a radical overhaul after the controversial system was at the centre of another salary cap scandal.
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The Rugby League Players Association admit TPAs needs to be reviewed after Manly became the second club busted for rorting the salary cap in as many seasons. The Sea Eagles and two current officials have been issued with breach notices for off-the-book player payments over the past five years. The illegal payments came via third-party payments, the same system Parramatta were caught rorting last year.

While Manly’s cheating wasn’t on the same scale as Parramatta – the Eels overspent to the tune of $3 million over a similar period – the common denominator has been dodgy TPAs.

As part of collective bargaining negotiations, the NRL and the players’ union agreed to review the system.

“What the preliminary [NRL] findings do highlight is the need to review the current third-party agreement system,” the RLPA said in a statement issued on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, this is not the first time that salary cap breaches have been exposed which have a direct link to the negotiation and agreement of third-party arrangements.

“As part of the collective bargaining agreement negotiations, the NRL and RLPA have agreed to undertake a review of the TPA system. Whilst we do not have any fixed views on the system or how it could be improved, we look forward to working with the NRL and other key stakeholders to review the current arrangements.

“We stress that the review is not a direct consequence of the preliminary findings in relation to the Sea Eagles. However, the findings do reinforce the need to discuss improvements to this space.”

An NRL spokesperson added: “As part of the collective bargaining agreement negotiations, the NRL and RLPA have agreed to undertake a review of the TPA system.”

Manly is expected to avoid having competition points deducted from their 2018 campaign, but are facing the prospect of not being able to recruit any further players. The Sea Eagles have about $500,000 left in their salary cap, but those funds will be all but erased once head office takes into account the off-the-book payments made over the past five seasons. Such a ruling will prevent them from bringing Newcastle playmaker Trent Hodkinson back to Brookvale, leaving the club short in the halves after releasing Blake Green to the Warriors.

Integrity issues aside, TPAs were already under fire for creating a disparity between the clubs. While there is an argument that corporate dollars shouldn’t be turned away, it’s evident that some NRL clubs have greater access to TPAs than others. The situation undoes the work of the salary cap, a measure introduced to ensure all 16 teams are on a level playing field.

Several clubs were privately angered at Penrith’s attempts to transfer a third-party deal from Matt Moylan to James Maloney when the players were involved in a player swap with Cronulla. While the NRL refused to register the deal, there is a widespread belief some clubs aren’t operating at the required “arm’s length” approach in such matters.

While some players benefit from TPAs, they are usually limited to the game’s elite and there is a high prevalence of such arrangements falling over, leaving them out of pocket.

During its initial pitch in CBA negotiations, the RLPA attempted to introduce “player marketing contracts”, that would be independent deals brokered at arm’s length from a club and capped at $1 million per club. That initiative was put on the backburner as the parties agreed on a centrally contracted marketing system. However, both parties are prepared to consider similar alternatives to provide a system more equitable and transparent than the TPA system.



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