Home » 2018 » December

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.

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.

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.”

Sarah Armstrong: books that changed me

Sarah Armstrong Photo: Donatella Parisini Journalist and producer for Foreign Correspondent: Author Sarah Armstrong. Photo: Supplied

Sarah Armstrong has been a journalist and producer for ABC radio and Foreign Correspondent on ABC TV. Her first novel, Salt Rain, was shortlisted for the 2005 Miles Franklin Award. Her third novel, Promise (Macmillan), is about a woman who runs away with her neighbour’s son after she suspects he is being abused. She lives in northern NSW with her husband, the writer Alan Close.

The Chrysalids

John Wyndham

When I was a kid, we didn’t have a television and I read all day long, including at school where I hid a book on my lap. I discovered John Wyndham when I was about 10, and I still remember the exhilarating and disturbing experience of reading The Chrysalids. This post-apocalyptic story with child protagonists was the first time I really felt the unsettling power of fiction.


Gillian Mears

This is a collection of linked short stories by Gillian Mears, who, so sadly, died in May. Set on the north coast of NSW, Fineflour is her second book, and tells the stories of those living in a riverside town. Gillian’s writing is wry, melancholy and exquisitely tender. When I first read it I felt a profound resonance, as if she was articulating, in a way I couldn’t, something about how I observe the world.

Playful Parenting

Dr Lawrence Cohen

After my daughter Amelia was born six years ago I read way too many parenting books and was tying myself in knots, until I read Playful Parenting. Larry Cohen says children use play to communicate deep feelings, release tension and get close to those they love. Coming to see playfulness as an essential aspect of parenting – and not least for dealing with conflict – has made our family’s life smoother and much more relaxed.

The Turning

Tim Winton

Another collection of linked short stories! I’ve read this book many times and am always moved and inspired. There’s an economy and spare quality to his writing that is all the more admirable because he conveys so many subtle and complex layers of meaning. In The Turning, Tim Winton captures, for me, the vulnerability and beauty of being alive. I re-read it every so often for a masterclass in writing.

Moroccan feel adds to office’s internal courtyard

Six Degrees Architects designed the new office in Jessie Street, Cremorne. Photo: Alice Hutchison The exterior of the four-level building designed by Six Degrees Architects. Photo: Alice Hutchison

This four-level office block, overlooking the railway tracks entering Richmond Station, has quickly become a landmark building in the Cremorne neighbourhood. Designed by Six Degrees Architects, the low-rise building could easily be mistaken for apartments rather than offices for the techno industry. North-facing balconies, with their concrete breezeblock screens, add a more domestic feel to the facade. “We wanted to add another layer to the facade rather than just presenting a monochromatic steel and glass office building,” says architect Michael Frazzetto, senior associate with Six Degrees Architects.

The prominent corner site, previously occupied by a single-storey 1960s warehouse, was shaped not only by the position but also, importantly, by the client’s admiration for Six Degrees Architects’ Newmarket Hotel, in Inkerman Street, St Kilda. “He loved the way we used concrete at that hotel and its general materiality,” says Frazzetto, referring to that project’s use of exposed brick, steel, tiles and more sumptuous materials such as the lush red velvet curtains. A recent trip to Morocco also captivated the client’s imagination. “He showed us images of the Riad where he stayed. There was an internal courtyard and a sense of intimacy that came with this place,” he adds.

Six Degrees Architects took their client’s brief on board and as a team looked at various courtyard-style buildings in several European cities as well as those built over several time spans, including Roman palazzi, Renaissance buildings and those found in Moorish cities. “We felt we could apply some of the same principles to this site. A number of people here came up with sketches and concepts in the initial design phase,” says Frazzetto, who sees the outcome of this project coming from the eclectic approach from various members of the design team.

The building’s concrete facade, comprising thermo panels (fully insulated to allow them to be fully exposed for the internal spaces) are complemented by floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors and concrete brise-soleil concrete block screens to filter light, ventilation and views over the railway tracks. In contrast, the west elevation is predominantly concrete with carefully articulated windows framed in steel to accentuate the impressive city views. “The yellow (painted panels) refer to the Richmond Football Club,” says Frazzetto, who included a large concrete planter on the first level on the western facade to form sun protection over the pavement.

As with many nearby warehouses and factories, the approach to this office building is fairly discreet through a narrow passage. But it’s only until one enters that the Moorish ambience unfolds. The office on the top level, for example, taking up the entire floor plate (approximately 250 square metres), features an internal courtyard. Immediately past the steel and glass doors to the courtyard is a colonnade of arched concrete columns, evocative of the Newmarket Hotel and also the Riad in Morocco. A fireplace with a concrete hearth framed by Moorish-style tiles, completes the picture. “Eventually this area will be filled with plants, creating an oasis in this urban environment,” says Frazzetto.

Six Degrees Architects also included archways within the office spaces, including carving into the concrete walls. And in contrast to the Moorish “overlay”, the palette has been kept simple, with concrete ceilings and walls, the former with exposed services.

Unlike the top level, the lower levels have been segmented into thirds with plywood walls softening the concrete floors and ceilings. Ideal for tech companies searching for smaller and well-located offices, there’s been no shortage of tenants since the building was finished. “We wanted to create simple, functional and robust spaces, but also provide a building that had its own character, something that didn’t feel too corporate,” adds Frazzetto.

Ellyse Perry looks forward to Southern Stars’ first series in Sri Lanka

As the Australian men’s team’s long tour of Sri Lanka winds up, the Southern Stars are ready to fly out for their first ever tour there – a limited-overs series that demonstrates that much could be learnt from the women’s game.

Meg Lanning’s squad are travelling to Colombo as part of the ICC Women’s Championship, with crucial points on offer in the first three one-day internationals in their bid to secure automatic qualification for next year’s 50-over World Cup in England.

The ICC is considering introducing a similar league structure for the limited-overs forms of men’s cricket in a development that could add context to standalone bilateral series.

In the women’s championship countries play each other home or away over a four-year cycle, with the top four gaining direct entry to the World Cup. The Australians, reassembling for the first time since the World Twenty20 championship in India in March, are on top of the ladder as they head to eighth-rated Sri Lanka.

“What’s been really great about this competition is it puts impetus on all nations,” Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry said. “We haven’t toured Sri Lanka for a standalone series before. The [championship] has been mutually beneficial in that in allows us to be exposed to different conditions and some of the other countries can develop further as well.”

Perry is now keen on developing  her leadership credentials further. She led Sydney Sixers to the final of the  first Women’s Big Bash League last summer and has now been named to skipper a Governor-General’s XI at Drummoyne Oval in an annual game that was launched last season and this year will feature a touring South African XI.

“I haven’t done a lot of captaincy in my professional career, but I did quite a bit as a kid,” Perry said. “Last year was the first time I’ve really had a go at it playing at a higher level. I really enjoyed it andI guess the more experience you have doing it the more comfortable you get at it.”

Racing: Trainer Todd Smart sets up in Canberra

Todd Smart is confident he can further his career in Canberra. Photo: James HallCanberra racing has a new operation setting up camp.

Previously based in Wagga Wagga, Todd Smart has polished the cobwebs off his new stable at Thoroughbred Park and has rehomed five of his fleet including his Commands-sired gelding, Attainment.

Despite spending much of his formative training years in Melbourne, Smart said the facilities, location and recent performances of Canberra horses make the capital the right option.

Smart said trainers such as Nick Olive and Matt Dale have proven you can win group 1 races from the territory, and he is confident the move will allow him to further his career.

“You’re not too far away from Sydney, you’re still not too far away from Wagga and all those kinds of places but the all-purpose track which is nearly finished means you can work horses all year-round,” he said.

“The facilities are second to none and I think the move will help me take my horses to another level.”

Smart boasts an impressive racing CV.

He began his career more than a decade ago working alongside Matthew Dale at John O’Shea’s stable. He then served as an assistant trainer to Colin Little at Caulfield before being Robert Hickmott’s foreman during arguably Lloyd Williams’ most decorated period.

“It was the year we had six runners in the Melbourne Cup and we actually won with Faulkner in the Caulfield Cup,” Smart said.

“There is no stone unturned with them, money is not an issue. They have the world’s best stayers and just the attention to detail was what I like and has helped me get the best out of my horses.

“And Canberra is a step in the direction … because it’s got the walkers, it’s got the swimming pool, it’s got the all-purpose track and all the things that I need going forward with my career.”

Meanwhile, Olive was the only multiple-winning trainer at Canberra on Friday.

His three-year-old Sebring filly, Cool In Black, won its maiden over 1300 metres and his other three-year-old, Fox Tales, continued his impressive run. The gelding has now won two of his three starts and placed in the other.

Another Australia Post truck catches fire on the Hume Highway

The postal truck on fire at Woomargama on Friday morning Photo: Live Traffic NSWAnother Australia Post truck carrying parcels in transit has caught fire on the Hume Highway, destroying its contents.

The truck was near Woomargama, about 50 kilometres north-east of Albury when the driver of the truck noticed smoke on Friday morning.

Flames were seen spreading through the trailer on the side of the northbound lanes after it caught fire about 5am.

Rural Fire Service Superintendent Patrick Westwood said it took six fire trucks and about 25 firefighters to put out the blaze.

He told the Border Mail, a blown tyre may have contributed to causing the fire.

“It started a small grass fire next to the truck as well, but both were controlled and in hand by 6am,” he said

“I do believe the trailer had postage items in it … there was very little salvageable.”

The driver pulled over and tried to put out the fire, but it quickly became “far too dangerous”, and the trailer was destroyed, the mail service said in a statement.

“Fortunately and most importantly, nobody was hurt,” it read.

The driver managed to disconnect the trailer from his prime mover and was cleared of any injuries after being examined by paramedics.

Authorities created a makeshift lane to allow traffic to continue at a slowed speed until the truck was recovered about 10.50am.

It comes after another Australia Post truck was destroyed by fire on the same highway in April last year.

It took four Rural Fire Service trucks to extinguish the blaze at the time, which resulted in a large amount of letters being destroyed that were on their way from Sydney to Melbourne.

Australia Post said it would start sorting through the parcels damaged in the latest fire when it is safe to do so, and would use machine scanning data to help contact the senders.

Customers who posted parcels in Victoria on Wednesday 7 or Thursday 8 September for New South Wales or Queensland are advised to contact Australia Post on 13 13 18 from Monday for further information.

Australia Post issued an apology to affected customers.

Norway blasts Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg for censoring ‘napalm girl’ photograph

Aftenposten’s editor-in-chief, Espen Egil Hansen. Photo: Aftenposten

London:  Facebook is reinstating a famous Vietnam War-era photo of a naked girl fleeing a napalm attack, after a public outcry over its removal of the image including harsh criticism from Norway’s prime minister.

In a clash between a democratically elected leader and the social media giant over how to patrol the internet, prime minister Erna Solberg said Facebook was editing history by erasing images of the iconic 1972 “Napalm Girl” photograph, which showed children running from a bombed village.

The company initially said the photo violated its Community Standards barring child nudity on the site.

Earlier a furious Norwegian newspaper had taken Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to task for “abusing his power” as the world’s most powerful editor.

Espen Egil Hansen, editor-in-chief of the Aftenposten, the country’s biggest newspaper, published a long tirade against Mr Zuckerberg after receiving an email from Facebook saying the image contravened the site’s rules.

Facebook had also suspended Norwegian author and journalist Tom Egeland after he shared the image on the social networkseveral weeks ago as part of a story on seven photographs that changed the history of warfare.

Aftenposten reported on that suspension and used the same photograph in its article, which it then shared on the newspaper’s Facebook page.

But Facebook sent Aftenposten an email asking them to “remove or pixelise” the photograph.

“We place limitations on the display of nudity to limit the exposure of the different people using our platform to sensitive content,” Facebook’s letter said, adding that it allowed some exceptions for “content posted for educational, humorous or satirical purposes”.

Less than 24 hours after sending the email, Facebook unilaterally deleted the article, and the image, from Aftenposten’s Facebook page.

It also censored  Ms Solberg after she posted the photograph on her own Facebook page in solidarity.

Ms Solberg posted the picture on Friday morning but it was taken down just three hours later, Bloomberg reported.

The Terror of War, a photograph by Nick Ut showing nine-year-old Kim Phuc fleeing a napalm attack, won a Pulitzer prize and is considered one of history’s most powerful war journalism images.

“Listen, Mark, this is serious,” Mr Hansen wrote. “First you create rules that don’t distinguish between child pornography and famous war photographs. Then you practice these rules without allowing space for good judgement.

“Finally you even censor criticism against and a discussion about the decision – and you punish the person who dares to voice criticism.”

Mr Zuckerberg has denied that Facebook is a media company.

However Mr Hansen said that Mr Zuckerberg was “the world’s most powerful editor” as Facebook was “offering us a great channel for distributing our content”.

“You are restricting my room for exercising my editorial responsibility,” Mr Hansen wrote.

“I think you are abusing your power and I find it hard to believe that you have thought it through thoroughly.”

Free and independent media must sometimes publish unpleasant images, he said.

“If liberty means anything at all, British George Orwell wrote in the preface to Animal Farm, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

“Editors cannot live with you, Mark, as a master editor.”

Rolv Erik Ryssdal, CEO of Schibsted Media Group, which owns the newspaper, told Fairfax Media it was “not acceptable” for Facebook to “stop Aftenposten from publishing one of the most important photos of our time”.

“Facebook’s censorship is an attack on the freedom of expression – and therefore on democracy,” he said.

In an email to the newspaper, a Facebook spokeswoman said that while they recognised the image was iconic, it was hard to distinguish between cases where naked pictures of children should be allowed, and when they should not be.

“We are trying to find the right balance between people having the opportunity to express themselves, and maintaining a safe and respectful experience in our global community,” the email said.

“Our solutions will not always be perfect, but we strive to further improve our policies and the way we enforce them.”

In a statement to Fairfax Media, Facebook said it had “looked again at how our Community Standards were applied in this case”.

“An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our Community Standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography,” the statement said.

“In this case, we recognise the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time. Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal, so we have decided to reinstate the image on Facebook where we are aware it has been removed.

“We will also adjust our review mechanisms to permit sharing of the image going forward. It will take some time to adjust these systems but the photo should be available for sharing in the coming days.

“We are always looking to improve our policies to make sure they both promote free expression and keep our community safe, and we will be engaging with publishers and other members of our global community on these important questions going forward.”

In an email to Fairfax Media, Mr Ryssdal also disputed Mr Zuckerberg’s claim that Facebook was not a media company, saying that the social media giant was taking more than $200 million from the Norwegian advertising market but – along with Google – paid “only crumbs in taxes back to society”.

Facebook uses an anti-child exploitation software tool by Microsoft known as PhotoDNA which constantly crawls through its pages looking for, matching and deleting exploitative photos of children. It also reports them to child protection agencies.

Ms Solberg said Facebook’s ban had put unacceptable limits on freedom of speech.

with Reuters

Company woos researchers with free offers and product discounts

Photo: Louie DouvisAustralian researchers have reaped hundreds of dollars in freebies from a company in exchange for mentioning its product in academic papers.

Researchers from the Lowy Cancer Research Centre at the University of New South Wales and the University of Queensland have referenced products by US-based cell culture manufacturer Cyagen.

The company, which produces transgenic mice embryos and stem cells, offers vouchers worth hundreds of dollars, redeeable of future purchases, if researchers mention their products.

University of New South Wales researchers were awarded a $650 credit voucher after mentioning the company’s name in a 2011 article published in Molecular and Cellular Biology. 

The voucher was not disclosed.

A university spokesman said the researchers only became aware of the voucher after the paper was published, and used the voucher to pay for products in other unpublished research, he said.

They initially mentioned Cyagen as it was standard practice to mention suppliers in academic journals.

“There was no personal benefit to any individual researcher,” the spokesman said.

“Researchers have an obligation to use public funds in the most cost-effective manner and this includes taking advantage of discounts when they are offered,” he said.

 Photo: www.cyagen杭州m

One of the University of Queensland researchers who worked on a paper that cited Cyagen, Professor Carol Wicking, said she and her colleague were not responsible for using Cyagen.

“The UQ research did not use Cyagen products or services  for this work and we did not receive any incentives from this company,” she said.

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research states that an academic publication must disclose “all sources of financial and in-kind support for the research” and any potential conflicts of interest.

Fairfax Media does not suggest the academics’ research was influenced by the discount, nor is it suggested the academics improperly received or misspent funds from Cyagen.

Canberra University’s assistant professor, Dr Wendy Bonython, who sits on multiple research ethics committees and writes about academic integrity, said citing a service which offers inducements set a worrying precedent.

“If we’re starting at this thin edge of the wedge, where is it going to go next?”

Dr Bonython, who works in the university’s School of Law, said junior researchers and low-budget laboratories were more likely to be lured by freebies – a situation oozing an “unethical aroma”.

“This is not appropriate in an environment where you want to be making decisions based on individual verified tests, not commercial factors.”

“It risks the independence and integrity of research.”

Public health expert Dr Ken Harvey, who quit La Trobe University after it signed a deal with Swisse Wellness to fund a Complementary Medicine Research Centre in 2014, said he was not opposed to industry funding research.

However, all funding should be clearly disclosed on the paper or on the university’s website, he said.

“Transfers of value such as financial discounts for using Cyagen’s cell lines should be made publicly available.

“The concern is that this may impede consideration of alternative products which may be equally if not better,” the adjunct associate professor at Monash University’s department of epidemiology and preventive medicine said.