Monthly Archives: January 2019

LGBTI advocate happy with plebiscite failure

Horsham LGBTI advocate Maddi Ostapiw HORSHAM LGBTI advocate Maddi Ostapiw has welcomed the defeat of legislation to enable a plebiscite on legalising same sex marriage.
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Ms Ostapiw said she couldn’t think of a single gay group that was in favour of holding a national vote on same-sex marriage and a taxpayer-fundeddebate on the issue.

Legislation to enable the plebiscite was defeated in the Senate on Monday night.

“I’m very happy,” Ms Ostapiw said.

“Even though within this term of parliament the plebiscite might have been the quickest way to go about achieving marriage equality, it was not the ethically and morally responsible way to do it.

“It would have put a lot of people in harm’s way.”

Ms Ostapiw said gay groups had made an informed choice to oppose a plebiscite rather than enable a national debate on their right to marry.

Ms Ostapiw said the groupsfeared a debate, with mandated media exposure for the opposing argument, would be damaging to young LGBTI people.

“We’re willing to wait a number of years if we absolutely had to,” she said.

“Speaking on behalf of quite a number of marriage equality campaigners, it’s not just going to rest until the next election.

“We’re going to keep campaigning for a free vote in parliament.”

Attorney General GeorgeBrandis said Labor’s decision to block the plebiscite was “one of the more cynical exercises in politics that I have ever seen”.

He implored the Senate to “stop playing politics with gay people’s lives” and “get out of the way”.

Member for Mallee Andrew Broad has said he wantedto keep the current definition of marriage but would follow his electorate’s result if a plebiscite was held.

Last month, Mr Broad threatened to withdraw support for the government if a compromise was reached to hold a free vote in parliament.

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Giant snake ‘circled man and ate dog’

TIGHT SPOT: Police estimate the boa constrictor seized at Singleton on Tuesday was 2.3 metres long. It is also suspected to have consumed a small dog and possibly circled a man expected to be face charges. Picture: NSW Police
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A MAN is likely facing charges after reportedly evading a circling boa constrictor confiscated from aSingleton home on Tuesday.

Police believe the 2.3 metre behemoth also devoured a small dog before it was seized from a property and put down.

Investigators expect to charge the man with possessing an exotic species without a licence after the 2.3-metre snake “may have eaten a small dog and attempted to constrict its owner in his sleep.”

Only licensed zoos and exhibitors can possess exotic reptiles in Australia under NSW Office of Environment and Heritage restrictions.

Officers seized the reptile from a Wentworth Avenue address on Tuesday after reports the owner was keeping the snake at the property.

Australian Reptile Park curator Liz Gabriel said a domesticanimal “like a little terrier” was roughly the size of creature a boa constrictor would target.

“It’s more unusual they’d try to constrict a person but look, it has happened before,” she said.“Really the only reason a constrictor would do that is to eat something it considers its prey.”

There are ten subspecies of boa constrictors, with the largest recorded stretching 5.5 metres long. More typically, they reach up to four metres in length and dwell in the Americas and some parts of the Caribbean.

Boa constrictors are typically nocturnal andgenerally live alone. The size of their prey increases as they age from rodents through to larger mammals and birds.

Authorities will euthanise the snake found in the Hunter, a decision attributed to the danger it poses to household pets and native mammals.

Given the reptile’s unclear origins, it could also carry disease and pose a broader biosecurity risk.

Investigations were continuing on Tuesday night.

Hunter Valley Zoo director Jason Pearson was unaware of the find at Singleton until contacted by Fairfax Mediabut said tropical snakes often thrived in Australia,a factor in their black market popularity.

Dr. Michelle Christy, National Incursion Response Facilitator for Invasive Animals CRC, told PestSmart Connect in 2015the constrictors’ large litters of live young allowed them to proliferate quickly from small numbers.

“It isn’t out of the question that a single pregnant female could establish a large population quickly,” she said.

In 2012 a fugitive boa constrictor sparked a hunt through western Newcastle.

Crane hanging ‘precariously’ from 51st floor of Barangaroo tower

The crane dangles on top of Tower One at Barangaroo in Sydney’s CBD. Photo: Supplied The Barangaroo towers taking shape. Photo: Peter Rae
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The crane dangling from Barangaroo’s Tower One. Photo: Nick Ryan

There were no reports of injuries after the incident, which occurred about 2pm. Photo: Supplied

A damaged crane hangs from the 51st floor of the highest tower at Barangaroo in the Sydney CBD. Photo: Kate Geraghty

A crane continues to hang precariously from the 51st floor of the highest tower at Barangaroo in Sydney’s CBD, after it was damaged while lowering machinery on Tuesday afternoon.

An exclusion zone is still on force at the bottom of Tower One at the northern end of the building project, but there were no reports of injuries in the incident which occurred at about 2pm.

The 3.9-tonne spider boom crane involved in the incident was bolted onto the top of Tower One, and was lowering a so-called boom lift at the time.

Police have closed Hickson Road and Sussex Street to traffic and pedestrians between Erskine Street and Towns Place.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said early on Wednesday morning that the operation to remove the crane was ongoing, and was expected to take until later in the morning at least.

“We’re asking people to avoid the area,” she said.

The closure of the roads due to the crane breakdown caused traffic delays on Wednesday. The 311, 324 and 325 buses were diverted away from Hickson Road, while the 288, 290 and 292 services started their trips from King Street Wharf instead of Sussex Street.

The Traffic Management Centre said it did not know when Hickson Road would be able to be opened.

A spokesman for the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, which represents workers at the site, said the crane was “hanging precariously” from the top of Tower One.

“They were lowering pieces of machinery and it has sort of collapsed under that load,” he said on Tuesday. “As to the cause, it is hard to tell at the moment. It is up 51 floors.”

Tower One has a small number of tenants who recently moved in.

Lend Lease, the developer of Barangaroo, said in a statement on Wednesday that it was continuing to work with a team of crane experts on a process to safely lower the load and remove the crane from the roof of Tower One.

“The precautionary exclusion zone remains in place this morning with traffic management along the closed section of Hickson Road. We will advise next steps in due course,” it said.

The latest incident follows the dramatic collapse of a crane on a Meriton building in north Sydney in September, which left three workers dangling from the high rise.

CFMEU state secretary Brian Parker said he understood a mechanical failure had led to the incident at the top of the Barangaroo tower.

“This is the second one we have had in a short space of time [in Sydney],” he said. “Work is going to be stopped [on Tower One] until such a time that we are satisfied that no one is going to be put at risk.”

Mr Parker said he was concerned that too many incidents were occurring during the erection and dismantling of cranes, and the union would “be in touch with SafeWork and we will be saying that we will have a blitz”. Customers: Wynyard Walk is temporarily closed due to a Police Operation at Barangaroo. Please use alternate route. Thanks.— T1 Sydney Trains (@T1SydneyTrains) November 8, 2016

Construction of Tower One, which is now one of Sydney’s tallest buildings, is close to completion.

However, it will eventually be overtaken by Crown’s casino and hotel complex, which will be built just north of it at Barangaroo. — James Henaghan (@jameshenaghan) November 8, 2016

With Megan Levy

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Incitec Pivot to cut debt as Louisiana plant ramps up

Incitec Pivot expects recent rainfall to lift fertiliser demand Photo: Greg McKenzieAfter spending $2 billion on big new projects in Australia and the US in recent years, investors in fertiliser-to-explosives group Incitec Pivot may have to wait a little longer to benefit, with the focus on reducing debt for the time being.
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At the same time, the group was cool towards the recent rise seen in commodity prices, which is yet to be reflected in its order book.

“We are really well placed for the uptick – when it comes,” chief executive James Fazzino​ said on Tuesday. He said he was aware of the reports of the re-opening of mines after the rise in the coal price, but it is yet to be reflected in orders.

“There are some positive signs,” he said. “There will be an upturn and we will generate compelling returns.

“The focus is on de-leveraging the balance sheet.”

He was speaking after the release of earnings for the year to September, which showed the net profit fell to $128.1 million from $398.9 million, due to low fertiliser prices, restructuring charges and write offs.

The final dividend of 4.6¢ gives an annual 8.7¢ a share payout which exceeded the full-year earnings a share of 7.6¢.

Incitec Pivot is expecting a significant lift in earnings over the next two years as it ramps up production at its new ammonia plant in Louisiana which is expected to run at 80 per cent of capacity in the year ahead, rising to maximum output in 2019, coupled with rising product prices. This plant alone is capable of generating about a quarter of the group’s earnings.

“It is a story of two countries,” Mr Fazzino said. “In Australia, and the Pacific, we’re through a lot of the worst – the metallurgical (coking) coal and iron ore outlook is a lot more positive than six months ago, therefore we expect an increase in volumes in Australia.

“In the US the structural change in US coal – it’s moved from the east to the west – to the Powder River Basin and we’re well placed for that,” he said with the Cheyenne, Wyoming, plant.

RBC analyst Andrew Scott said: “This was a credible result against the backdrop of difficult end markets conditions.”

Citi told its clients the results could trigger a sense of relief for investors.

“The outlook commentary looks pragmatic given the tough market backdrop the company currently faces,” it told clients earlier on Tuesday. “Incitec Pivot is not expecting much change in explosives markets this year and is suggesting that average fertiliser prices may continue to reflect further cyclical reductions.

“Given that expectations going into the result were very low this should not come as any great surprise and the result may generate a sense of relief.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Lyall Gorman confident Ben Barba is the only Cronulla Sharks player to fail drug test

Heading to Thailand: Ben Barba. Photo: Michele MossopCronulla CEO Lyall Gorman is confident Ben Barba is the only Shark to have recorded a positive result following a Mad Monday testing blitz on party drugs.
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The Sharks have released Barba from his playing contract to deal with personal issues after he recorded a positive test to cocaine just four days after the club won its maiden premiership.

Barba was given an extension until 5pm on Monday should he wish to lodge an appeal over his sanction, which is a 12-month ban after recording a second strike under the NRL’s illicit drug policy.

The former Dally M medallist had previously tested positive to recreational drugs in 2015. Gorman, who confirmed Barba would not be lodging an appeal against the decision, was confident no other Sharks players had been busted following their premiership festivities.

“That’s a very good question, because if I did know I couldn’t tell you [due to the protocols],” Gorman said.

“But what I can say is that I’m not aware of any players who have tested positive since then … We have been advised by the NRL no other player has tested positive during that period.”

The NRL integrity unit wrote to all clubs before the beginning of the finals series warning that there would be increased testing during a “risk period for players”. Barba’s decision not heed the warnings has resulted in him leaving the Sharks, potentially prematurely ending his career.

Asked if he was shocked by Barba’s decision to take cocaine in spite of repeated warnings, Gorman said: “Yes, absolutely surprised.

“He made a poor choice on a poor day. Whether he got carried away with the celebrations, I don’t know the exact circumstances of when this occurred. But obviously a poor choice.”

Despite recording a previous positive drugs result in early 2015, Gorman said “we felt very comfortable that Ben was heading in a very positive direction.”

However, the former Bulldogs and Broncos fullback will now head to a Thai rehabilitation facility to deal with personal issues.

“To think that Ben is not in a distressed state is clearly an understatement,” Gorman said.

“He has massive issues to confront on a personal basis, he has put his hand up and acknowledged those.

“It is him and his management that have requested the release. He needs to get out of the professional environment to fully focus on himself.”

The latest drama is more negative publicity that has detracted from Cronulla’s historic premiership win.

There was speculation star forward Andrew Fifita would walk out on the game after being overlooked for Clive Churchill medal and representative honours, however his management have dismissed any suggestion he wants out of the NRL.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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