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UrbanGrowth agency examines rail land potential

07/07/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

STATE-owned development agency UrbanGrowth has admitted it is looking into a ‘‘number of uses’’ for the city’s rail corridor land and ways of ‘‘activating’’ the area around the existing Newcastle railway station through redevelopment.
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‘‘We will be undertaking some work to understand what those opportunities may be and actually then provide advice back to government,’’ UrbanGrowth’s head of wholesale Peter Anderson told a parliamentary inquiry on Monday.

But he stressed the government was yet to make a decision on the future of the land while that work was being done – with only a month before it is scheduled to close the line to truncate the heavy rail.

UrbanGrowth, which is in charge of the overall city renewal project, has also denied it was seeking to smooth the way for the East end redevelopment it is carrying out in partnership with the GPT Group, by using its influence within government to ensure building heights for its site were increased through changes to city planning controls that were enacted following a swift public exhibition period.

‘‘At no time have we requested a shorter exhibition period of the Department of Planning,’’ Mr Anderson said.

However, an internal document written by an outgoing senior UrbanGrowth staffer noted it and the GPT Group had agreed to accelerate their project.

‘‘The timeline to submit the masterplan [development application] is presently end March 2014,’’ the document, dated February 13, says.

‘‘The latter is placed in jeopardy the longer the re-exhibition of required changes to the proposed LEP. We are not able/willing to submit a DA that is not conforming to the planning framework.’’

The document continues: ‘‘GPT are aware that the end of February target may not be achieved due to delays within the [Department of Planning]. They are relying on UrbanGrowth’s relationship with the [department] to manage this risk on the project’s behalf … The delay in LEP re-exhibition is a risk to the project.’’

Department of Planning infrastructure director Brendan O’Brien told the inquiry the bulk of the changes to planning controls had already been exhibited for four months from late 2012.

But he acknowledged increased heights for the East end site had only been exhibited for 16 days in March this year.

Liberal MP Greg Pearce said the process seemed ‘‘unusual’’ and queried whether it was a ‘‘good look’’ given the government, through UrbanGrowth, owned two-thirds of the site.

Mr O’Brien replied the changes exhibited weren’t complex and ‘‘I think on the matter of height, people form a view very, very quickly for or against [it]’’.

As was first revealed by the Herald, Mr Anderson confirmed UrbanGrowth was analysing plans for the Newcastle railway station buildings.

‘‘How about the corridor itself? Are you looking at redeveloping the railway corridor when the trains are finally stopped?’’ inquiry chairman Fred Nile asked.

‘‘We will do the analysis work on the corridor and… then report back to government what the options are,’’ Mr Anderson said.

Department of Planning and Environment secretary Carolyn McNally was also quizzed on when she learned Hunter Development Corporation general manager Bob Hawes owned stakes in properties at Wickham, where the government will build a new transport interchange.

Ms McNally, who was given her position in late July, said she was advised some time in the past three months, but the arrangement would have been endorsed by former department director general Sam Haddad when Mr Hawes was employed.

The inquiry’s interim report is expected before Christmas.

THE last of three hearings scheduled as part of an inquiry into Newcastle planning decisions has ended without appearances from any key ministers and certain senior bureaucrats involved, or Newcastle City Council’s boss.

Transport and Hunter Minister Gladys Berejiklian and Roads Minister Duncan Gay were asked to give evidence but both declined, according to the committee.

Transport for NSW bureaucrats did not appear either.

Ms Berejiklian said: ‘‘A response was provided to the inquiry from the NSW government including the relevant transport information.’’

Planning Minister Pru Goward was not asked to give evidence.

Council general manager Ken Gouldthorp was listed to give evidence on Monday afternoon by teleconference but instead provided the inquiry with a two-page letter.

He said teleconferencing would be ‘‘an unfair and less satisfactory substitute’’ to making an appearance before the committee.

He also said he had taken a trip overseas from November 3 to 21, which was ‘‘approved, booked and paid for months in advance’’ and hence could not attend an inquiry hearing in Newcastle on November 7.

Budget turns on final sitting fortnight

07/07/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

Optimistic: Tony Abbott is said to be in a positive frame of mind as the Government enters a crucial period. Photo: Alex EllinghausenJoe Hockey and Tony Abbott are hoping a re-alignment of crossbench numbers and a worsening revenue picture might lead to a more cooperative parliament entering the final sitting fortnight of 2014. As the Treasurer prepares to unveil his crucial Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook snapshot of the budget and economy in mid-December, the government is struggling with very poor public support, and a record of legislative failure on key aspects of its budget plan.
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The Abbott government has entered its final parliamentary sitting fortnight of the year hoping a re-alignment in the Senate and a worsening revenue picture might lead to a late breakthrough in the deadlocked legislature.

But hope is not being confused with belief despite billions of dollars of budget savings being stalled amid pale revenue from soft economic growth, weak company tax and capital gains receipts, and tumbling iron ore prices.

A tough day at the hands of a rejuvenated opposition, and fears of defeat in the Victorian state election this weekend, had the coalition backbench looking sullen and morally defeated on Monday.

Labor focused question after question on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s election-eve commitment that there would be no cuts to the ABC or SBS, among a raft of similar pledges involving health, education, and pensions.

“Did the Prime Minister say on the night before the election, September 6, 2013, on SBS television, did he actually say, “No cuts to the ABC or SBS.”? Labor’s Bill Shorten asked, again and again.

“I never said there would be special treatment for the ABC,” Mr Abbott responded to derision from the opposition and near silence on his own side as MPs attended to mail or stared at mobile screens.

“Everyone knew there was going to be an efficiency dividend applied across government and effectively what we are doing to the ABC is applying an efficiency dividend to it.”

“Was it you?” Labor MPs taunted, as Mr Abbott’s own words about political trust were quoted back to him.

As Treasurer Joe Hockey prepares to unveil his crucial Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook snapshot of the budget and economy in mid-December, the government is struggling with low public support, and a record of legislative failure on key aspects of its budget plan.

While Julia Gillard’s minority government lacked legitimacy and relied on the support of two country independents for its majority, the Abbott government’s thumping lower house margin has not given it the parliamentary authority such dominance would suggest.

Instead, it finds itself beholden to a clutch of conservative populists and has proved unable or unwilling to navigate legislation through or hold it back until success if possible.

One senior MP insisted the Prime Minister was in a positive frame of mind, while counselling against panic.

According to the government, just seven of its bills have been “negatived” (successfully voted against) by the opposition and cross benches in calendar 2014 including a bill to scrap the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (twice) and another to scrap the Climate Change Authority.

Also rejected was the Clean Energy (Income Tax Rates) bill, the Fair Work (registered organisations) bill and a series of social security bills – the latter of which have been re-structured and then re-committed in a different form to secure $2.7 billion in savings.

According to the opposition however, a total of 23 government bills (albeit counted differently) have been repudiated in the Senate this year.

The government had proposed restoring a balanced budget in four years deleting the deficit by 2017-18 but that is looking increasingly unlikely with key savings measures yet to be legislated – causing the loss of months and potentially years of savings – and the weakening revenue situation.

However, the break-up of the 4-vote Palmer United Party bloc, after Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie made her separation official on Monday, and other manoeuvrings, offers some faint hope of progress.

For example, Liberal Democratic Party senator, David Leyonhjelm has begun constructing a majority to strike a compromise on the Renewable Energy Target.

He hopes to offer the government progress on its plan to trim the RET’s impact, by removing the penalties on companies for failing to purchase sufficient green energy.

It is one of a range of possible issue-by-issue groupings that may become possible if the government drops an all-or-nothing mentality in favour of compromise and the pursuit of partial success.

Wayne Carey puts spotlight on forwards as the AFL considers crackdown on illegal blocks

07/07/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

AFL great Wayne Carey says forwards – and not just defenders – should be under scrutiny after the AFL revealed it was considering a crackdown on illegal blocks and screens in marking contests.
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AFL operations chief Mark Evans said on Monday the laws of the game committee had identified two areas for review during the post-season.

“One is holding the ball and giving us a better understanding around prior opportunity, in particular, and illegal disposal. The second main theme that has come up is blocking in marking contests. We will talk to the umpires across that in summer and see where we get to,” Evans said.

“I think it’s become so well done by defensive groups that it is reasonably discreet. We just want to have a look at it. I am not sure that we will be able to get them all but, certainly, [we will] be able to pick up on more of those blatant ones.”

In the laws of the game DVD issued to clubs last season, players were reminded that “where the umpire deems there is an unreasonable or excessive (unduly) push, bump, block or hold that prevents an opposition player from contesting the ball, a free kick shall be awarded against that player”.

There was also an example of a block former Tiger Jake King put on Jeremy Howe behind a pack to stop the Melbourne high flyer from launching into a marking contest.

Carey said the umpires faced a difficult task managing any crackdown.

“I think the one that needs [monitoring], in terms of blocking, is when a guy is running to mark the ball, which is what we want to see, and the defender just stands and blocks the run of the player and takes his eye off the ball. It could be four, five, 10 metres off the ball,” he said.

“But those types of blocks, it’s going to be hard [to monitor] – it happens across the ground all the time.”

While Evans spoke of “defensive groups”, Carey felt it was forwards who were now more interested in blocking for a teammate.

“There shouldn’t be tunnel vision and just saying this is what defenders are doing as a group because I think what defenders do better than ever is guard space and guard an area,” he said.

“They are not overly interested in blocking all the time any more. Where forwards are getting smarter, and certainly more team orientated, are at getting over and blocking for someone – a [Jarryd] Roughead will go and block for [Jack] Gunston. They almost take it in turns.

“The one you want to see paid is where they really take their eye off the ball. They have got their back to the play and they just run in and bump a defender, or the defender bumps the forward.”

Evans said his operations department was continuing to work on a clearer definition of holding the ball, an issue which frustrated coaches had raised through the season.

Asked on Radio Sport National what his definition was, Evans said: “It is a fairly loose definition, which says that the player has had a reasonable chance to dispose of the ball.

“In umpiring terms, without being absolute on it, it is sort of about four steps – about two seconds with the ball in open space but … there is something about the player’s intent with the ball.

“Sometimes you can look as if you are about to try and burst through a pack. He has no intent to get rid of the ball. He may only take two steps and it just feels like that should be holding the ball. I think that gives us some direction.”

Blake Windredwins Newcastle District Golf Championships

07/07/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

ACTION: Blake Windred in January this year. Picture: Peter StoopLAST year Blake Windred became the youngest winner of the WE Alexander Open at 15.
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The records kept coming on Sunday for the Charlestown 16-year-old when he became what is believed to be the youngest winner of the Newcastle District Golf Championships.

In the 27-hole event at Waratah, Windred carded four-under-par 102 to defeat Toronto’s Justin Ely by a stroke.

After shooting five-under 66 for the opening 18 holes, Windred should have a closed out a comfortable victory, but a bogey and a double bogey on his final two holes gave Ely a sniff.

“It was great to be back playing tournaments in Newcastle,” Windred said.

“Over the last couple of months, I’ve been around Australia playing big tournaments and it feels good to play with the boys I know.”

Windred will be back at Waratah this weekend to defend his WE Alexander Open crown.

Windred was also crowned junior champion over Tanilba Bay’s Carter Nepia (114) and Waratah’s Terry Blomfield (112) won the seniors by a shot from Hawks Nest’s Warren Gorton.

■ Jake Higginbottom has backed himself to retain his Asian Golf Tour card in the final three tournaments of the season, freeing up a tilt at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Last week, the Charlestown touring professional missed the Australian Masters to play the Manila Masters in the Philippines.

In Manila, Higginbottom earned $8280 after finishing 33rd at 284 (72-69-68-75), four under par.

That lifted the 21-year-old eight places to 74th on the order of merit. The top 60 retain their card.

As a member at The Australian, Higginbottom was desperate to play in the Australian Open.

However, it could prove a gamble as Higginbottom is unable to contest the King’s Cup in Thailand.

That leaves him with the Indonesian Open (December 4-7), Thailand Golf Championship (December 11-14) and Dubai Open (December 18-21) to climb 14 spots in the Asian Tour’s order of merit.

■ Fresh from his exit at the US web上海龙凤论坛m Tour qualifying school, Belmont’s Corey Hale will make his Australian Open debut on Thursday.

The left-hander bombed out in the second stage of the Q-School when he finished 57th in Kingswood, Texas, on November 14.

Due to earning his card for the OneAsia Tour this season, Hale will be one of seven Hunter professionals in the $1.25 million Open at The Australian in Sydney.

The others will be Australian Masters runner-up James Nitties, Nathan Green, Aaron Townsend, Callan O’Reilly, Leigh McKechnie and Jake Higginbottom.

“The Australian Golf Club is one of my favourite places and it’s been redesigned and it’s actually the first time I’ve played the new layout, but I certainly like the facility and the place,” Hale said.

■ Matt Kirkwood is not feeling any pressure as he eyes a fourth Charlestown Club Championship in five years on Saturday.

After three rounds of two-over 74, 75 and 71, the 24-year-old leads by 10 shots at four-over 220, from Matt McNamara (230) and Michael Wade (235).

A successful final round would follow victories for Kirkwood in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Last year he finished third behind Blake Windred and runner-up Brayden Petersen.

Windred and Petersen were unavailable for this year’s club championships due to Golf NSW commitments.

DVD REVIEWS: Deliver Us From Evil, Transformers Age of Extinction, The Newsroom Season 2, The Normal Heart, Sex Tape

07/07/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

Eric Bana stars as Ralph Sarchie in Screen Gems’ Deliver Us from Evil. SuppliedUniversal Sony, 118 minutes
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THIS flick will clear the room of the scaredy-cats in a hurry. Eric Bana stepped into the lead role as New York police sergeant Ralph Sarchie when Mark Wahlberg bowed out.

And Bana does horror proud.

Sarchie’s story was told in a book, Beware The Night, but the movie line heads into an original plot with Sarchie teaming up with a priest, Mendoza (played by Edgar Ramirez) as they seek to exorcise a demon from a former soldier who became possessed while serving in Iraq. Directed by Scott Derrickson and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it is full of darkness and tough guys.

And yes, it will scare the hell out of you.

Critics didn’t like it, but the public did, with the film grossing more than $87 million at the box office.

Rating: ★★★★

– Jim Kellar

Paramount, 157 minutes

SOMETHING strange has happened to blockbuster director Michael Bay since the 1990s, when he made his name with Bad Boys and Armageddon, overblown action movies that still played by the rules of genre.

By comparison, the Transformers films resemble out-of-control art school projects – crass without being remotely watchable, as if mocking the very notion of entertainment.

Transformers: Age of Extinction improves on its predecessors, mostly because it doesn’t feature the charisma-free Shia LaBoeuf as lead human.

His shoes are filled by Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager, a can-do “garage inventor” with a passing resemblance to Harrison Ford in The Mosquito Coast, a somewhat creepy obsession with the virtue of his leggy teenage daughter (Nicola Peltz), and a passion for discarded machinery that leads him to rescue Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), noble leader of the Autobot race.

Otherwise this is the same Transformers movie as all the others. There are sunsets, explosions and screechy vocal performances; calendar-art landscapes gleaming like Norman Rockwell on steroids; low-angle shots of buff bodies, flesh or metal; and tasteless evocations of September 11 leading up to a gleeful smash-everything climax.

Despite appearances, Bay is no fool: while the Transformers films are zeroes when it comes to suspense, characterisation or humour, last year’s true-crime satire Pain and Gain showed he can manage all three when he wants to. With his background in advertising and music videos, he’s closer than he seems to more obviously conceptual directors such as Michel Gondry or Jonathan Glazer: like them, he’s not primarily interested in telling a story, but in putting across an idea.

So what is this idea exactly?

Hard to say, but one of the more striking slow-motion shots shows a couple of giant Transformers spinning in mid-air while tossing human characters from hand to hand.

In plot terms these are the good guys, but visually they seem to represent those impersonal social entities – corporations, governments – that tower over the puny individual.

It’s no accident the film’s two human villains are a ruthless CIA “black ops” chief (Kelsey Grammer), and a more redeemable robotics entrepreneur (Stanley Tucci).

While these characters attempt to exploit the Transformers, they’re unable to control the forces they unleash; perhaps Bay is telling us that he, too, is a tool of the system, doomed to whip up endless sound and fury to sell some lousy toys.

Rating: ★★

– Jake Wilson

PAY TV PREVIEWS 21 JULYMELINDA HOUSTON 03 9384 6295DRAMApic from ‘THE NEWSROOM’, airing july 22 2013 on showcase.

Warner Bros, 3 discs, 473 minutes total

I MUST make a disclaimer here first: I am a news junkie, have been most of my adult life. Through thick and thin. Oh, there was a period when I was out of the loop, living in Alaska, but I caught up when I got back to civilisation.

The Newsroom is a show that appeals directly to the tastebuds of news junkies. It’s fictional, but smells a lot like CNN, America’s first dedicated cable all-news TV network.

The contemporary plotlines provide a palate for understanding the motives behind the news – what the competition is running, how scoops come into play, how the staff deal with the constant pressure.

Jeff Daniels, as news anchor Will McAvoy, is outstanding in the lead role. He has the right amount of cool and ego to make you love him and hate him at the same time.

The supporting cast is up to the task of holding together the newsroom and backing McAvoy as the leader of the pack.

Emily Mortimer as MacKenzie McHale is the ultimate executive producer; powerful and instinctive. John Gallagher and Alison Pill as young producers Jim Harper and Maggie Jordan are complicated – good at their jobs, not so good at personal relationships.

The talent doesn’t end there: Olivia Munn is outstanding as Sloan Sabbith, the economics reporter who hungers for more fame; Sam Waterston as crusty news director Charlie Skinner; Thomas Sadoski is producer Don Keefer, the staff’s bellwether about what is quality news.

This second season is an intense exploration of what went wrong with a huge investigative story the network broke, alleging misdeeds by the US military in Pakistan rescuing captured American soldiers. There’s still plenty of personal smooze, perhaps too much for my liking. But it certainly gives every character personality and helps explain their behaviour.

The show’s third and final season has just gone to air in the US on HBO.

It is still worth following. Created by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), it will be remembered for marking a particular period in American history. In this case, fiction tells a story that reality cannot package so easily.

Rating: ★★★★

– Jim Kellar

Warner Bros, 127 minutes

MODERN history is full of controversial events. But it makes for great movie fodder.

The reaction to the AIDS crisis will always be subject to revisionist history, particularly in America, where people tend to disagree on basic facts in regards to political matters all the time.

Dallas Buyers Club was a superb drama set at the time when AIDS was emerging as a major crisis. Matthew McConaughy deserved his Oscar for his role as Ron Woodroof, the rough-as-guts cowboy determined to help AIDS victims and himself by doing it his own way.

In The Normal Heart, we’ve got another non-traditional hero of the AIDS movement, Ned Weeks (played by Mark Ruffalo), a New York novelist who is deeply disturbed by the death of his friends, and eventually his own lover, at the hands of a disease that government authorities are trying desperately to ignore.

Weeks will tolerate none of the obfuscation going on around him, even from the AIDS movement, who he feels is way too patient and afraid.

This HBO production won Outstanding Television Movie at the Primetime Emmy Awards this year. The supporting cast is brilliant, including Julia Roberts, Jim Parsons, Alfred Molina and Matt Bomer.

Rating: ★★★★

– Jim Kellar

Universal Sony Pictures, 94 minutes

IF the challenge of making a successful adult comedy lies in combining the right proportions of raunch and sentiment, then Sex Tape – directed by Jake Kasdan (Walk Hard) from a script by Kate Angelo, Nicholas Stoller and star Jason Segel – shows how that balancing act can go wrong.

Segel and Cameron Diaz play Jay and Annie, a bored married couple who shoot an intimate home movie then must race through the night to stop it going viral.

This is a premise that provides plenty of opportunity for high jinks – and while I can handle Segel’s hangdog goofiness only in small doses, both stars are undeniably pros.

Still, there are early indications that the film isn’t going to work. First, the title is off: there’s no tape here, just an MP4 file, and the details of how it finds its way onto iCloud are convoluted and never funny.

Second, we’re told that Jay and Annie spent their evening of passion working through every position to be found in a 1970s copy of The Joy of Sex. But how provocative, really, is the notion of amateur porn that proceeds literally by the book? For comic effect, Kasdan and his team might have been better to skip over the details and let the viewer’s imagination run wild.

This points to Sex Tape’s larger problem: for an outrageous farce, it plays things extremely safe. Kasdan may not be a puritan, but he’s too commercially cautious to risk pointed satire of either the porn industry or family values.

He even avoids assigning his protagonists any overly specific character traits. Jay works in the music industry, but we learn nothing about what the job means to him.

Still less persuasively, Annie is depicted as a “mommy blogger” who’s about to sign a deal with a multinational toy company, a career move we’re meant to see as positive even after her future boss Hank, played by Rob Lowe, proves thoroughly deranged.

And an interminable sequence set in Hank’s mansion, where Annie snorts coke while Jay is chased by a German shepherd, is one of the weakest excuses for a comic set piece in any recent film not starring Adam Sandler.

Rating: ★

– Jake Wilson

The winners of the Devil’s Knot DVDs are: L. Roach, of Windale; B. Anderson, of Lambton; K. Young, of Hillsborough; W. Schafer, of Kotara South; and C. Rodgers, of Fern Bay.