Illegal dumping investigator Craig Izzard denies bribery allegations at ICAC inquiry

Craig Izzard after appearing at the ICAC inquiry on Thursday. Photo: Peter RaeA former illegal dumping investigator told a corruption inquiry he was “surprised” to learn more than 200 tonnes of asbestos-contaminated waste had been dumped at a western Sydney property he was allegedly responsible for investigating.

Craig Izzard, a former rugby league player for the Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels, endured a day of rigorous questioning at the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Friday over his alleged involvement in “black market” dumping operations last year.

Mr Izzard maintained he had done nothing improper, as counsel assisting the commission James Mack guided him point-by-point through his employment code of conduct for the Western Sydney Regional Illegal Dumping Squad (RID).

“Is it your evidence that, while employed in the Western Sydney RID, you always acted honestly?” Mr Mack inquired

“I would say so, yes,” Mr Izzard replied.

Mr Izzard is the principal person of interest in four allegations of corrupt conduct, including three times last year when he allegedly solicited bribes from people in exchange for not investigating their dumping activity.

Among the allegations, Mr Izzard is accused of soliciting a bribe from Reuben Matthews in exchange for turning a blind eye to dumping at his property in Willowdene Avenue, Luddenham.

But Mr Izzard said he had no involvement in investigating the site, despite email evidence showing he was asked by Liverpool Council to investigate dumping complaints in November 2014.

He told the commission he had been “surprised” to learn that more than 200 tonnes of waste was later dumped at the site and tests revealed it was contaminated with asbestos.

Matthews was later convicted of dumping offences and fined $55,000. Another man, Nosir Kabite, was fined $25,000 after pleading guilty to transporting the waste to the property.

Earlier in the week, Mr Mack extracted an admission from Mr Kabite that he and Mr Izzard had an understanding that involved the exchange of “favours”.

After numerous recordings of phone calls between Mr Kabite and Mr Izzard were played before the inquiry, Mr Kabite admitted the pair used the code word “drinks” when discussing bribes.

“Mr Izzard frequently asked you for drinks, and by drinks he meant bribes, and it was your job to go out and get Mr Izzard a drink? Do you agree with me?” Mr Mack asked Mr Kabite.

“Yes,” he replied.

Mr Kabite said he gave Mr Izzard money on “two or three occasions”, and each payment was between $500 and $700.

However, Mr Izzard maintained the payments were in connection with an unrelated energy business he owned, whereby Mr Kabite would sell refrigeration units for him.

He also denied attempting to solicit a bribe from another man, Antonio Barillaro, in connection with alleged illegal dumping at a property in Badgerys Creek, telling the inquiry he’d never heard of someone by that name.

The commission also heard Mr Izzard regularly advised Mr Kabite over his council-related dilemmas, including one time when he suggested Mr Kabite’s nephew could attempt to avoid a dumping-related fine by pretending someone else was responsible.

When asked by assistant commissioner Reginald Blanch if he realised he was advising someone to pervert the course of justice, he replied: “I think it was, I probably didn’t [think] about it, Mr Commissioner.”

Mr Izzard will continue giving evidence to the inquiry on Monday.

North shore offices are back in the spotlight

The north shore in Sydney is returning to its former self as more office towers are being constructed to satisfy the demand of the expanding commerce industries.

Having gone through tough times when office vacancy reached heady levels of about 20 per cent, the area was turned into a residential zone.

But with significant stock withdrawals and rising rents in Sydney’s central business district, the demand for office accommodation across the north shore is expected to rise substantially, according to Knight Frank’s managing director, North Sydney, Angus Klem​.

He said North Sydney is now “well and truly an adjunct to the Sydney CBD”.

“Over the next two years significant stock withdrawals in the CBD will see an exodus of tenants to North Sydney and the other north shore markets,” Mr Klem said.

There is also the planned state metro line that has led the state government to buy up properties in North Sydney, which has led to a tightening of stock.

Knight Frank’s Giuseppe Ruberto​, director of office leasing, north shore, said a number of tenants were opting away from the CBD due to cost and the limited options available. He said instead tenants were choosing to operate within the north shore with North Sydney expected to be a big winner over the next 24 months.

“Effective secondary rents in the CBD core have risen by over 20 per cent in the last 12 months, with rents now sitting over $900 per square metre gross in some locations, so it is no surprise tenants are now considering other options. Recently we have seen tenants, including BT Australasia and Chubb Insurance, committing to North Sydney from the CBD,” Mr Ruberto said.

He said the lack of prime space in North Sydney was an issue of the past with 101 Miller Street as the only premium building available and experiencing strong leasing success with a number of floors leased, highlighting the demand for quality assets.

Another development is by DEXUS Property Group at 100 Mount Street,  North Sydney. The group has appointed JLL national head of leasing, Tim O’Connor, and JLL head of office leasing North Sydney, Paul Lynch, to partner with DEXUS’ leasing team, headed by Chris Hynes, on the project’s leasing.

DEXUS executive general manager of office and industrial, Kevin George, said the group had received some strong inquiries to lease the office space since it had agreed to buy 100 Mount Street. “Now that we have settled on the acquisition, we can progress leasing discussions,” Mr George said.

Knight Frank’s Tyler Talbot, director, institutional sales, North Sydney, said north shore investment activity had been strong over the past 12 months and this was expected to continue with high demand from both domestic and offshore groups.

“Limited quality stock, falling interest rates and the real prospect of significant rental growth has been driving down yields,” Mr Talbot said.

Knight Frank’s latest research report, the North Shore Office Market Overview: August 2016 found about 80,000 square metres of office stock has been earmarked for permanent withdrawal from the North Sydney market over the next four years.

According to Knight Frank’s Alex Pham, senior research manager, NSW, the significant withdrawal of stock saw the North Sydney vacancy rate dipping to its lowest level in four years at 7 per cent in July 2016.

Hotels sector braces for busy times ahead

The Novotel Darling Harbour was the first Accor hotel in Australia. Accor has grown to 208 hotels across the country.There are three mega trends that are being felt in the hotel sector and operators are taking up the challenge, says AccorHotel’s Asia Pacific chief executive Michael Issenberg.

Speaking in Sydney for AccorHotel’s 25th anniversary in Australia, Mr Issenberg said hotels had a new “dream phase” where the “before and after” experiences at a hotel had changed the sector dramatically.

AccorHotels arrived in Australia with the launch of the Novotel at Darling Harbour and now has 208 hotels under 12 brands across the country. It will expand with its latest $3.9 billion purchase of the Fairmont, Swissotel and Raffles hotel.

But Mr Issenberg said amid the new sharing economy and guests’ ability to plan and book a hotel room by themselves, and where every experience is put online immediately, its still old-fashioned service during the stay that remains the constant focus of hotel operators.

“Travel is now about the time it takes to plan and then book a holiday and select the appropriate hotel, which we call the dream phase, but once the guest arrives it’s back to offering the best service we can to make the stay enjoyable,” Mr Issenberg said.

“Everything has changed with technology and the sharing generation, so service is the differential for hotel operators.”

He said now that most people bring their own electronic devices and download movies, demand for cable TV in a room has diminished, but demand has risen for better Wi-Fi and technology outlets.

Mr Issenberg said the sector’s mega trends are the inflow of Asian travellers, the increased use of private stay accommodation, such as the group’s Onefinestay​ business, and the new sharing economy, which is not just the domain of the so-called millennials but where visitors like interacting in more relaxed lobbies and common areas.

“The growth of visitors from Asia is an important mega trend that is changing the hotel and tourism sector,” he said. “That includes having dual-speaking staff and different and more varied food, among many other services.”

This comes as the sector is bracing for an inflow of visitors for events that are now booked at the new International Convention Centre, which has been rebuilt in Sydney and opens later this year.

According to ICC Sydney, there are already more than 100 events booked and it expects to generate at least $200 million a year in economic benefits for NSW. Given the time and distance of travelling to Australia, it is expected that some guests will stay and see more of the country, which will benefit other states.

Business Events Sydney has booked 43 events to be hosted at UCC Sydney, of which 39 are international, which is its core focus.

Lyn Lewis-Smith, chief executive of Business Events Sydney, said of this pipeline 17 events will be hosted  next year, although she expects this to keep increasing over the next 12 months,

Ms Lewis-Smith said international conference delegates spend up to 6.5 times more than a regular tourist, so this super high yield traveller is the NSW government’s focus.

The chief executive and founder of Ovolo Hotels, Girish Jhunjhnuwala, said Sydney was the gateway to Australia for travellers around the world. And the opening of ICC Sydney will definitely further strengthen Sydney’s position in conventions, exhibitions and entertainment segments by attracting more international business travellers to the city.

“Hotel room demand is already at an all-time high in the city, and with the ICC’s opening, it’s going to likely accelerate rate increases, which is sure to benefit hotels in Sydney,” Mr Jhunjhnuwala said. “Overall room quality, however, continues to be a big issue, as there are limited new hotel openings and the majority of the city’s hotel room inventory is old and tired. Ovolo is well positioned with recently refurbished hotels in Darling Harbour and Woolloomooloo.”

US citizens renouncing because of tax laws affecting Australian superannuation

Karen and Frank Alpert gave up their American citizenship in June this year. They became Australian citizens 17 years ago after falling in love with Australia. Photo: Robert ShakespeareMost Americans would rather die than surrender their passports, but when Brisbane academic Karen Alpert renounced her US citizenship in Sydney with her husband and daughter she was angry.
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The Californian who migrated to Australia 20 years ago wasn’t quitting because of the prospect of Republican candidate Donald Trump, although she does predict others may quit too if he is elected President.

Like thousands of Americans who are now giving up their citizenship, the Alperts were protesting at United States tax policy. Other than Eritrea, it is the only country in the world that taxes non-resident citizens – and even holders of a Green Card (alien resident permit) who are also living outside the USA – on their worldwide income, regardless of where it is earned or where they live.

This requires the estimated 200,000 Americans who live in Australia, many of whom are dual citizens, to file an annual tax return in both countries. Compliance is cumbersome: the American tax code is 74,608 pages compared with Australia’s 3657 pages. Many dual citizens who live in Australia claim the American treatment of Australian superannuation means they are effectively being taxed twice.

Until the introduction of the 2010 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA, the US government had no way of uncovering the earnings of the eight million Americans who live abroad. And most expatriates were unaware that they were required to file annual tax returns in both countries.

That’s changed. Now about 192 countries, including Australia, have agreed to FATCA, which obliges all banks and financial institutions to provide details of every American citizen’s bank balance and earnings. If the banks don’t oblige, they can be banned from operating in the US.

Because of FATCA more than 4500 US citizens gave up their citizenship last year, compared with 231 in the year before it was introduced. Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, gave up his citizenship a few years ago, and others including the former mayor of London Boris Johnson – who was born in the US – have also threatened to quit in protest at the US tax policies.

Ashy Bines members claim payments were taken after cancellation

Ashy Bines leads a workout at the Sydney Show Grounds. Photo: Brook Mitchell Women getting in the spirit at the Ashy Bines World Booty Tour in July. Photo: Brook Mitchell
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Ashy Bines arrives to lead a class for her World Booty Tour. Photo: Brook Mitchell

More than 4000 Ashy Bines fans turned up at Sydney Olympic Park in July for the sold-out $28 Ashy Bines fitness session. Photo: Brook Mitchell

Interact with us on Facebook – Savvy Consumer

Australian women who have signed up to one or more programs hosted by Gold Coast fitness mentor Ashy Bines have complained about being charged up to $US30 a month after cancelling their memberships.

The social media fitness star is well known for her “12-week Bikini Challenge” and her “World Booty Tour”, a ticketed event that involves mass fitness sessions for thousands of Ashy Bines members.

But members on social media pages for Ashy Bines have said they have struggled to cancel their memberships, with some being blocked from online forums for which they have paid to access.

“I’ve been a follower of Ashy Bines for years. I’m originally from Sweden and I bought her program when I first came here,” said 27-year-old Diana, who has asked for her surname not to be published.

“With her plans you get access to online forums, girls share recipes, talk, ask each other for tips. Every plan you purchase  gives you access to a different forum.”

For $US7.70 the Ashy Bines Booty Challenges includes a full workout plan, a video library, a tailored nutrition plan and access to the online forum.

Diana had already spent $177 on a VIP ticket to the Ashy Bines Sydney Booty Tour, including access to online forums and a program app, when she signed up to Ashy Bines’ The Life program.

At a cost of 1 cent for the first four weeks, and then $US29.95 a month thereafter, the program offered access to a “celebrity-like support team…to put a stop to that terrible yo-yo experience of losing weight…”

All charges for Ashy Bines programs are in US dollars, unless otherwise stipulated.

“When I joined in May I decided to cancel the same day, and I received confirmation that I would not incur any further charges,” Diana said.

However by the end of August, Diana found four withdrawals from her account plus foreign transaction fees, totalling around $US30 each.

“I contacted her support and they put me in a queue…So I decided to write to her on Instagram, and so many girls replied with the same experience…but the comments were deleted very quickly.”

Diana has since received her refund but has been blocked from all Ashy Bines forums, even those she has paid separately to access.

Other women on social media and product review websites have stated that they only elected to sign up to the $US7.70 Booty Challenge package, but were still being charged $US30 a month for The Life program.

In a statement to Fairfax Media, a spokesperson for Ashy Bines Inc said when someone signs up for the 28-day Booty Challenge, they are not automatically signed up to The Life program. “It is an option provided and agreed to at the sign up stage.”

She said subscribers to The Life program would be charged a fee if they did not opt out within the 28-day free trial period, but they could still opt out by emailing.

“However, if anyone believes they been charged by accident after they have emailed…we encourage them to please get in touch and we will investigate on an individual case-by-case basis, as this should not be the case.”

A spokesperson for NSW Fair Trading said customers who were dissatisfied in their dealings with Ashy Bines should contact the trader to  try to resolve the matter in the first instance, or “lodge a written complaint with Fair Trading” if they are unable to resolve their issues.

More than 4000 Ashy Bines fans turned up at Sydney Olympic Park in July for a sold-out $28 fitness session, where they were led through a 45-minute “booty lifting and sculpting workout” by Ms Bines.

Her success is often attributed to her Facebook page, which has more than 1.5 million followers.

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Wallabies v Springboks: Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper shine brightly in Brisbane

Call it a one-game winning streak. The Wallabies are finally on the board for 2016 after grinding out a 23-17 victory over South Africa in front of a disappointing crowd at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
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It was highly entertaining in patches, scrappy in others, but after dropping six-straight Tests, the Wallabies were going to lap up any victory with glee as the pressure lifts in the wake of a pair of heavy defeats at the hands of the untouchable All Blacks.

Green jerseys would prove far more agreeable for the Australians, who were spearheaded by the relentless Michael Hooper, who helped the home side rebound from a 14-3 deficit to claim the Mandela Plate in front of 30,327 fans on a wet night in Queensland.

Bernard Foley had the veritable mixed bag, throwing an intercept that set up a Springbok try, but scoring one of his own in the second half to add to his five-from-five with the boot.

The old Reds combination of Will Genia and Quade Cooper looked far more effective, with Cooper highly involved and orchestrating some promising raids as his combination with Foley at inside centre began to flourish.

Winger Reece Hodge looks a keeper for Michael Cheika, while Samu Kerevi is slowly working out how much of a physical impact he can have with his midfield carries when he runs with vigour and confidence.

“It’s been a long while, it’s a good feeling. We’ve hung in there right throughout. They played well tonight but we’re very happy to win,” said captain Stephen Moore after the match.

The rain that had persisted over Brisbane for much of the afternoon lifted by kick-off but the Wallabies were still miserable. After just two minutes the Springboks were over through number eight Warren Whitely, despite some desperate defence from Genia.

Cooper had some good early touches, and his short kicks behind the rushing Boks defence were turning them on their heels. They were unlucky not to get more pay when Hodge almost pocketed one up with the line in sight, although the three points from the scrum penalty had them on the board.

But such had been the Wallaby woes that even the most promising of movements could end in tears. Israel Folau, Kerevi and Cooper were part of a glittering raid down the Springbok left which had their line in tatters.

It was swung back to the right, but with gold jerseys swarming, Foley managed to find a green one. The Adriaan Strauss intercept made its way to Johan Goosen, who ended the 80m effort under the posts and saw the South Africans lead 14-3 after 20 minutes.

The Wallabies were trailing, but applying most of the pressure. Moore twice shunned penalty shots from wide out to kick to the corner and his persistence paid dividends as Adam Coleman crossed for his first Test try, making it 14-10 with half an hour down.

More quality backline interchanges, Foley and Cooper featuring prominently, poured the pressure on the Boks to start the second half, and the dividend was three points and key line-out man Eben Etzebeth shown a yellow card for a professional foul.

Foley made it four-from-four and the Wallabies were in front with a spring in their step. It took a brilliant try-saver from Goosen to stop Kerevi from scoring in the corner, whose leg was ruled to graze the line at the exact moment he touched down the ball.

But the Wallabies were asserting control. An 18-phase raid in the corner opened it right up for Foley, who dummied his way over under the posts to make it 23-14 to the home side, only for that to be whittled back to 23-17 after a quickfire penalty.

But the Boks didn’t have enough in the tank to steal the result, as the Wallabies did in this very fixture last year. Perhaps this victory will produce the same long-term bounce for Cheika and his embattled troops.

Wallabies v Springboks: Improved performance eases pressure on Michael Cheika

The Wallabies were far from a polished product – and there is no suggestion this year will be smooth sailing, but there were definite improvements in their 23-17 win over the Springboks in Brisbane.
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It is not as simple as saying the Wallabies are back on track, as we will no doubt hear from countless players and coaches over the next few days.

South Africa were supposedly an out of sorts outfit – it’s easy to draw that conclusion after a loss to Argentina – but the fact the Pumas scored more points (19) in one half against the All Blacks on Saturday than the Wallabies did in Sydney and Wellington combined, indicates they are a slick outfit and will be no pushovers in Perth next week.

The easy way for the Wallabies to silence critics would have been to pump the Springboks with the attacking rugby they lived and died by last year.

The result has answered questions – Bernard Foley and Quade Cooper can star alongside each other – and restored confidence in the lineout, but hardly injected confidence Australia will be world-beaters anytime soon.

It is worth keeping in mind that after the Perth fixture the Wallabies play their next eight Tests abroad; Pretoria, London, Auckland and then a Spring Tour. Things are not going to get easier and it could be a long year if beating a Springboks side lacking any real structure was not as straightforward a task as they would have liked.

2005 was the last time the Wallabies lost seven on the trot. Eddie Jones was in charge. Two games later, after a 22-24 loss to Wales, he was sacked as coach. You have to trawl the history books to 1969 to find the last time the Wallabies went down seven in a row before that.

Such a crisis has been averted, but only just, thanks to a 62nd minute try to Foley.

In the blink of an eye the Wallabies trailed 7-0 and were on the backfoot once again. A collective sigh echoed through a slightly fuller than half Suncorp Stadium. It was then hands on heads when Foley threw an intercept pass to Adriaan Strauss finished off by fullback Johan Goosen to put the visitors ahead 14-3.

Foley redeemed himself though, scoring late to give Australia a nice buffer and give further credit to Cheika’s plan of having he and Cooper forge a long-term No.10 and No.12 combination.

The lineout was far better. Stephen Moore didn’t miss a throw all night and is no doubt sleeping easier without the prying hands of New Zealand’s Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick in front of him.

He backed himself and let his throwing do the talking.

Adam Coleman, solid across the park, dived over for his first Test try in the 27th minute to mark Australia’s second try in 187 minutes of play.

Reece Hodge was a standout on his starting debut while Cooper produced glimpses of brilliance, including a behind-the-back flick pass to Samu Kerevi to go with a string of inside passes that are working an absolute treat at the moment.

Australia’s forwards were direct and possessed plenty of punch and power through the middle, while Michael Hooper picked his moments cleverly at the breakdown.

It wasn’t the wet war of attrition expected given the Brisbane weather prior to kick-off, but the Wallabies were up for the fight, because, well, they had to be.

And we might see more Cheika pre-game chats with referees after the Wallabies were the beneficiaries of a 11-8 penalty count. There was also the stroke of good luck keeping Israel Folau on the park after a questionable late hit on Goosen.

Cheika was, however, visibly perplexed at Kerevi’s non-try early in the second half with the Wallabies up by two points.

For now though, the pressure on Cheika has been alleviated with this latest, albeit narrow, victory.

He will enjoy being back in the winner’s circle but the Wallabies missed a perfect chance to make a statement and change a perception they are a markedly different team to the one that galvanised the nation some 10 months ago.

Australian cricketer Steve O’Keefe quits alcohol for six months after pub incident

Steve O’Keefe always liked a drink and a chat. It was just that one Saturday night last month on the Corso in Manly he did a bit too much of both.
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There were reasons behind the NSW and Australian spinner tying one on and then letting his frustration get the better of him and verbally abusing police when he was denied entry to a pub. The devastation of tearing a hamstring midway through Australia’s first Test in Sri Lanka, and wondering whether he would ever suit up for his country again, was chief among them.

O’Keefe, 31, does not want to make any excuses, though. In fact, the episode has not just left him $10,000 lighter on due to a Cricket Australia fine but with a renewed focus on getting as much out of his career as he can.

Hence he has put an increased focus on recovery, more specific training – and has decided to quit the booze for six months. The latter is a well worn path for athletes who have run into strife on a night out. But while O’Keefe’s incident doesn’t rate too highly on the scale of player misbehaviour, particularly compared to the misadventures of athletes in other codes, he has taken something productive out of it.

“I’m getting older and I’m getting injuries like the hamstring, which I’d never done before, and if I want to at my age give myself a realistic chance of having the long career that I want then I need to be doing these other things outside the game,” he said.

“It’s not something I go around touting to every individual. I’m planning to go [without alcohol for] the cricket season. It’s not for everyone. I love a beer and having a beer at the end of the game with your mates you certainly got a lot out of. You sit back and relax and some of those conversations you have really extend your cricket.

“But I think for me right now it’s the best thing I can do to give myself every chance of playing the best cricket and being as healthy as I possibly can.

“I’m into day 31, I’ve been ticking them off.”

O’Keefe had been so embarrassed by his behaviour outside the Steyne Hotel last month that he spoke to police the next day and apologised to the hotel manager.

What had been building up inside him in the 11 days before had been the disappointment of another missed opportunity, having broken down so early in the Test series in Sri Lanka. There had already been frustration for O’Keefe at the cancelled tour of Bangladesh last year, on which he was likely to feature, and the hamstring injury in Kandy was another setback.

Spin city: Steve O’Keefe is a possibility for the tour of India in February. Photo: AP

It was fine when he was still with Steve Smith’s squad, where he remained upbeat around teammates, but when he returned home reality was tougher to swallow.

“I think I mainly just felt sorry for myself,” O’Keefe said. “I’d been home for a week and I felt like I had things under wraps and then you have a couple of drinks and those other thoughts that are sitting around in the back of your head start to come to fruition. You think, ‘is that it? Is that your last opportunity to play cricket for Australia?’

“When you go home and you’re on your own, you sit down and reflect on it and the Test is on the TV, it’s a hard thing to take. Obviously it’s fair to say I didn’t handle it appropriately at all.”

The likelihood is more chances will come O’Keefe’s way. He is in selectors’ plans for the tour of India in February and March and could get a start even earlier, having played alongside Nathan Lyon in the weather-affected Sydney Test against the West Indies in January.

“India is there and will be in the back of your mind, but it’s just a day by day thing at the moment,” he said. “You’ve got to be performing well for the Blues and there is a lot of guys out there now, particularly young spinners around the country, doing really well.”

Labor romps home in council elections at Lake Macquarie and Cessnock

TRIUMPHANT: Incoming Labor Mayor of Lake Macquarie Kay Fraser, centre, with supporters at Windale on Saturday night. Labor is expected to hold the balance of power in at least two Hunter councils after strong swings towards the party in Saturday’s local government elections.

“Labor is back and we’re back for good,” said councillor and incoming Mayor of Lake Macquarie Kay Fraser, as she delivered her victory speech to a crowd of about 60 party faithfulat the Windale Gateshead Bowling Club.

“Its been a bit of a hard slog, we all know it was a difficult pre-selection and we’ve had to work extremely hard…but we’ve had a 12 per cent swing and we are back.”

Midway through thecount of first preferencevotes on Saturday night there was also an 18 per cent swing towards Labor in its Cessnock heartland, with incumbent Country Labor mayor Bob Pynsent all but certain of retaining power.

The party also expectedto secure two extra seats on the council.“We’ve had fantastic support from the community,” Cr Pynsentsaid.

Labor insiders suggestedsome of the state government’spolicies had been on the nose with voters in the lead up to the poll, including the greyhound racing ban and council amalgamations.

Lake Macquarie Liberal councillor Jason Pauling admitted both those issues had been raised by voters on the campaign trail.

“But I think clearlythe most prevalent thing is thereis a predisposition to Labor in this area, that is no surprise,” he said.

“For many decades it has been very heavily dominated by Labor and this is a Labor town.”

Cr Pauling said his party expected to again have three councillors on Lake Macquarie council, but with two new faces –Nick Jones in the East Ward and Kevin Baker in the North Ward.

”We’re pretty chuffed and we didn’t expect much more than that. Anything beyond that would have been a dream,” he said.

“From what we can see, particularly the independent Lake Alliance appears to have taken a bit of a pounding.”

He said he was “deeply disappointed” that Cr Fraser had castigated him for a negative campaign style in her victory speech.

“From our perspective, the Liberals ran a very positive message,” he said.

“I will highlightthat ALP heavyweights attacked all three of our candidates who have ultimately been elected.”

In the speech, Cr Fraserthanked her husband and sons Pete and Steve for their support andaccused Cr Pauling of running a “disgraceful” campaign by sending text messages to ratepayers saying Labor wanted to take away their weekly garbage bin collection.

She said the independents –including Cr Laurie Coghlan –had tried to run on the “coat tails” of the old Lake Alliance whileLabor had run a positive, grass-roots campaign.

“We’ve been getting upand going to train stations every morning –freezing –door knocking, letter-boxing, going to the markets, we have been working extremely hard.”

Cr Fraser was “elated” that she willbecome the second female mayor of Lake Macquarie when she takes over from MPJodie Harrison.

“Ithink as a female to run the council is really an honour and a privilege and Ithink we bring other values to that position as well,” Cr Frasersaid.

Tennis: Wally Masur, Ken Willis and Keith Carnall headline Tennis ACT Walk of Fame

Wally Masur in action against Boris Becker at the 1987 Australian Open at Kooyong in Melbourne.Wally Masur joked that being included in Tennis ACT’s Walk of Fame just means he’s old.

Masur headlines a trio of Canberra tennis legends inducted into Tennis ACT’s Walk of Fame alongside Ken Willis and the late Keith Carnall.

The three will be honoured with inscribed pavers at the entrance to the Canberra Tennis Centre – a facility Masur believes could hold major events in the coming years.

“[Keith Carnall] is no longer with us so maybe it’s a sign that I’m on the wrong side of 50,” Masur said.

“It’s probably a coming of age for tennis, sport and the city of Canberra.

“I guess we’ve been on a bit of a journey, and that facility is absolutely world-class. A next-generation gym combined with the tennis centre and the indoor facility is just fantastic.

“That’s what tennis needs in this country, and the nation’s capital deserves a centre of that magnitude to hold events. I suppose the Walk of Fame is something for Tennis ACT to showcase some of the people that have been involved in the sport, different facets of the sport, and tie it in with this brand new centre.”

The recognition allowed 53-year-old Masur a moment of reflection on his days as a youngster looking to make a mark in the game.

“It’s always been a pretty vibrant tennis scene in Canberra,” Masur said.

“I was fortunate as a junior that the tennis scene – the A-grade scene and the junior scene – in Canberra at the time in the ’70s was very strong, and I was lucky to be a part of that.

“That was reflected around the country – tennis was pretty popular. Canberra was like a big country town at the time, it was was easy to get around, plenty of competition and I was pretty fortunate.”

Tennis ACT chief executive Ross Triffitt believes finding three candidates from vastly different eras is a nod to Canberra’s lengthy production line.

“They’re all outstanding candidates,” Triffitt said.

“It’s an exciting time and it’s probably a good time to ensure that we capture the history. Hopefully moving forward there’s going to be a great chapter with a great venue, boost in participation, and amazing individual performances.

“Some of our players are doing great things, so it’s certainly a great time to ensure that we’re capturing great things that happened in the past, and it looks very bright in the future.”

The Mail: Palentino leads the way for Weir quinella in Makybe Diva

The Darren Weir juggernaut continues to roll on, the champion trainer landing a one-two in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington to make it two out of two for the stable in group 1 races run in Victoria so far this season

But the result was not quite what most punters expected, as Weir’s four-year-old Palentino, a $9 shot, got the better of the red-hot favourite ($2.05) Black Heart Bart.

The pair fought an enthralling duel through the final 200 metres of the long Flemington straight, the younger colt getting the better of the older gelding to score by a length. The David Hayes-trained $13 shot He Or She, partnered by Craig Williams, ran right up to his best to take third place, two lengths adrift.

Now the Cox Plate is very much on Palentino’s agenda.

“I was a little worried about him in the yard, but when he jumped he probably got a pair further back than we were expecting, but he was settled and he was just going through the motions. He got a beautiful ride, and even when he got to the outside of him [Black Heart Bart] I didn’t know if he would get past him, but I thought he would test him,” Weir said.

“He was always going to be a little bit vulnerable in those first couple of runs, but he’s come on and got the job done today. This is the race he was aimed towards, and if he measured up he will obviously head towards the Cox Plate. We will have to map out a plan for that now.”


Tim Martin can’t remember his last city double, “it was probably three years ago – more maybe” but Moral Victory and Heavens Above announced the talented trainer is back. Heavens Above, runner-up in the the Queen Of The Turf during The Championships, dropped back to 1200m second-up and took out the Sheraco Stakes.

“She is just a good mare and when she finally got clear she really hit the line,” Martin said. “We know she is only going to get better as they step out in distance and I can’t wait to get her to another group 1 mile. She will go to the Golden Pendant, then hopefully back up in the Epsom and Melbourne is there for her as well.”

Tye Angland had to wait for the run to come on Heavens Above but she charged late to win by a head from Ravi, with Magic Alibi a neck back third in a blanket finish. Earlier, Clare Nutman had got Moral Victory to win first-up for Martin.


Sydney three-year-olds Detective and Kentucky Miss proved too good for their Melbourne rivals at listed level at Flemington on Saturday.

Joe Pride took Kentucky Miss to Melbourne and got some black type and might spell her and look at a race like the Galaxy in the autumn.

“Thrown in with no weight on her back, I think she could measure up,” Pride said. “It’s a handicap and it’s a good race for fillies if they’re smart. That’s why I’ll be mindful of where I place her in the spring.”

A race later Detective led home a Sydney quinella, beating Tessera for a black-type success, which could have him targeting the Caulfield Guineas.

“He just kept running second no matter where I took him [as a two-year-old],” co-trainer Peter Snowden said. “Those seconds have become wins now. It’s two for two this preparation. It’s good to see him show a bit of fight, he was well-ridden and it was good to see him get a win.”

Racing: Saracino Stakes his spring claim, but Baker unsure of his best trip

Flemington’s famous “straight six” can be a trap for inexperienced youngsters used to running around a bend and taking a lead from a rail.

Kiwi trainer Murray Baker was concerned that his progressive three-year-old Saracino might struggle to adapt to the contours of the straight 1200 metres at headquarters, a course and distance not encountered anywhere else in Australia.

The wily horseman hoped that his New Zealand raider might find cover to tow him into the race, at least past the crossing where the straight course meets the round circuit for the last 600 metres.

He admitted after the $6 shot had shown plenty of fight to virtually lead all the way in the group 2 Danehill Stakes that he had been worried when he had jumped in a prominent position, particularly given his tendency as a two-year-old to idle when he hit the front.

But any concerns would have been shortlived as Saracino, under Damien Oliver, saw off all challengers to score  by a long neck  from the Godolphin-owned Archives ($6.50) , who had also  been in the vanguard throughout, with  filly Samara Dancer ($11), from the Adelaide stable of Phillip Stokes running on for  third.

Baker is not sure whether Saracino will stay the 1600 metres of the Caulfield Guineas, but he is unlikely to die wondering as the horse’s next target will be the 1400-metre Guineas Prelude at Caulfield in a fortnight.

Should he come through that and look as though the Guineas distance will be no problem he will probably head for the group 1 classic.

“I thought it was a very brave effort, he was in front a long way out,” Baker said. “We were going to probably try and ride him off the pace today to get him over the junction, but he was in front, he kept kicking all the way up the straight.

“You’d like to think he could make the Caulfield Guineas. Who knows, he might not be a miler more a sprinter. But there are plenty of options open for him if he’s not going to get the mile.”

The Caulfield classic could also be the target for Peter Snowden’s improving colt Detective, who took out the listed Starlight Express Room Stakes over 1400 metres under Chris Parnham, winning at his first ride for the Sydney yard.

“He’s getting further up the pecking order [in the Snowden stable], the trainer said.  “This preparation I first wanted to win a race with him. He did that at Wyong and today he stepped up in class and won with authority.

“Whether he is a Guineas horse I am not sure, but he’s in it and we will keep heading that path and see what happens.”

It’s not often that horses start at $201 in a metropolitan race, and even rarer that they make the frame – especially on debut in a listed contest.

But young  Japanese trainer Yoshitomo Shima, who is based at Ballarat, managed to almost pull off a massive shock with his filly Beyond The Dream, who beat all bar the  favourite Kentucky Miss in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes.

Shima has hardly had any runners and is little known, as was the filly’s jockey, Sydney-based Yusuke Ichikawa. The trifecta on the race paid over $8000, while the first four, not surprisingly, jackpotted at over $88,000.

Postie Bike Nationals held in Maitland

Postie Bike Nationals | Photos Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Scenes from the Postie Bike Nationals at Maitland. Riders cruise in to Newcastle on Saturday morning. Photo: MARINA NEIL

Picture: Nick Bielby

Picture: Nick Bielby

Picture: Nick Bielby

Picture: Nick Bielby

Picture: Nick Bielby

Picture: Nick Bielby

Picture: Nick Bielby

Picture: Nick Bielby