Greens senator Christine Milne.LABOR’s pain over its under-performing minerals resource rent tax is set to increase when the Greens unveil plans for a wide-ranging inquiry into its design and performance.
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The Greens leader Christine Milne will open a new line of attack on Labor’s left flank on Tuesday, using a lunch-time address to the National Press Club in Canberra, to push for a full-scale Senate inquiry.

It would need the backing of the Opposition in the Senate to be successful.

Under the plan, the committee will be tasked with examining all aspects of the MRRT’s design and administration including its highly troubled negotiation phase with the big three miners, and “the extent to which the design of the tax as opposed to other factors such as commodity prices are responsible for the mismatch between actual revenue and revenue projections”.

Also in the Greens’ sights are the lack of community consultation; options to strengthen the tax to raise more money from miners; its current impact on the budget; and, the extent to which its shortfall has compromised other programs.

The potentially embarrassing election-year move will put the minor party on a collision course with the party it backed to form government in the House of Representatives.

It comes as Labor struggles to explain why a super-profits tax that was projected to raise $2 billion in its first year to fund tax breaks for businesses and the low paid – itself a downward revision on previous projections – has turned in just $126 million in its first six months of operation.

Branding Labor as “too scared” to take on powerful vested interests, Senator Milne will argue the eventual tax was merely a political fix to silence the miners in the lead-up to the 2010 election. “If a government is too scared to take on vested interests, then it is the people who can’t afford ads in the paper or television, who can’t afford expensive lobbyists to walk the halls of Parliament House, people who can least afford it – people like single mothers – who end up paying,” she will say according to speech notes obtained by Fairfax Media. “Well, the Greens aren’t afraid.”

It is unclear whether the Opposition will back the move but the Greens believe Coalition support is likely, if only to embarrass the government before the election.

The Senate inquiry is separate from smaller inquiries already under way in the Senate regarding loopholes in the tax which allow big miners to depreciate assets from current market value, and which also allow state governments to jack up royalties at the expense of the Commonwealth.

Ms Milne will say she has raised concerns about the mining tax “in public and in private with the Prime Minister and the Treasurer on numerous occasions”.

“It is now clear that they, like Tony Abbott and Warren Truss are just not prepared to put themselves on the line for the national interest,” she will say.

“Let us put to rest the nonsense that the mining industry cannot afford to pay more.

“In 2011, the big three companies that negotiated the mining tax – BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata – made a combined annual profit of $27 billion.”

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


Join the Markets Live blog from 8.30am
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Australian shares are set to open flat to lower on weak offshore leads as investors take in another busy day of local earnings reports.

On the ASX24 shortly after 6am, the SPI futures contract was 4 points lower to 5038. The Aussie dollar was trading flat against the greenback, buying $US1.0296, slightly ahead of yesterday’s close. It was also buying 96.77 yen, 77.11 euro cents and 66.60 pence.

Companies reporting earnings today include Coca-Cola Amatil, Arrium, Southern Cross Austereo and Asciano.

Making news today

In economics news:RBA minutes from the February policy meeting at which interest rates were left on hold

In company news:The following companies report first half results: Arrium, Southern Cross Austereo, Sonic Healthcare, Monadelphous Group, Macmahon Holdings, Asciano, Australian Infrastructure Fund, Mcmillan Shakespeare Coca-Cola Amatil full year resultsInvoCare full year results

Analyst rating changes:Macquarie Atlas cut to hold at Deutsche BankPacific Brands cut to reduce at NomuraGPT cut to underperform at Credit SuisseIluka Resources raised to sector perform at RBC Capital

Offshore overnight

United States

Wall Street was closed for the President’s Day public holiday.

London

Europe’s main stock markets mostly fell after a weekend meeting of the Group of 20 leading economies ended with Japan being spared an accusation of unfairly devaluing its currency.

Key numbers:London’s FTSE 100 lost 0.16% to 6318.19 Frankfurt’s DAX 30 added 0.46% to 7628.73 In Paris the CAC 40 added 0.18% to 3667.04

Asian

Asian markets were mixed, with Tokyo surging thanks to a weakening yen after a weekend G20 meeting ended without accusing Japan of orchestrating a recent slide in its currency.

Key numbers:Japan’s Nikkei added 2.09% to 11,407.87 Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.27% to 23,381.94 China’s Shanghai composite lost 0.455 to 2421.56

How we fared yesterday

The Australian share market closed higher, led by the major banks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lifted 29.5 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 5,063.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had added 28.3 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 5,082.9 points.

BusinessDay with agencies

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


Bungie’s next original creation, Destiny, is now more than just a name and some concept art.Throughout the week, I keep a Word document on my computer desktop where I paste in quick notes and links for the next Tuesday Newsday. I usually end up with four or five when Monday evening rolls around, a practical length for an article like this.
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However, this week I have over a dozen, so I have had to prune away some of the less interesting stories and keep only the best of the lot. Even so, this is going to be a long one…

Bungie finally unveils their new IP

One word, “Destiny”, and a weird triangular logo. That’s all we’ve had for months, teasing the brand new game from one of the most popular studios on the planet.

Far back in 2007, Halo creators Bungie announced they had secured their independence from Microsoft and were striking out on their own to create new intellectual properties (IPs). Three years later, they announced a long-term publishing deal with Activision, which would include several new IPs that would remain Bungie’s property.

In November, there was a leak – a title and a logo, some meaningless concept art, and some very vague plot details. Bungie responded by confirming the title and logo were genuine and releasing some more concept art. After that, silence.

This week, Bungie has finally unveiled some substantial detail about Destiny, though many of the specifics are still quite vague. We now know that it is an always-online massively-multiplayer first-person shooter, and that it will be console only – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and “future consoles” only, no PC. While even more concept art has been released, maddeningly there is still no gameplay footage, or even stills.

The concept is that humanity has been nearly destroyed by natural disasters, and a roving alien intelligence saved a small human community from total extinction. This community has grown and thrived thanks to their protector, and are now striking out into the devastated earth to reclaim it. They quickly learn that they are not alone: many diverse alien species, all of them apparently hostile, have taken up residence on the deserted world, and humanity will have to fight if it wants its home back.

No release date had been announced, but the loose launch window is late this year, presumably in time for the Christmas shopping season. Check out Bungie’s video documentary if you want to know a bit more.

Telltale announces Walking Dead sequel

Well, this could get confusing. Telltale Games, the creators of the popular and critically acclaimed Walking Dead episodic game series that snagged a host of “game of the year” awards, have announced they are creating a sequel. Labelled a “second season”, it will once again be an episodic release, and Telltale has revealed that the huge success of the first season of The Walking Dead is going to affect how they design games and do business from now on.

The only problem is that there is already a Walking Dead game coming out in 2013. Published by Activision, The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts will be a first-person shooter survival game. Rather than being based directly on the comics, as Telltale’s adventure series was, it will be based on the Walking Dead TV series, which has stamped its own style on the franchise.

The shooter is due out in March, while no release date details have been given for Telltale’s second outing.

Steam starts selling Linux games

It was pretty much an inevitability after Valve boss Gabe Newell called Windows 8 a “disaster for gamers” and declared Linux to be the open and free future for PC gaming, but this week it actually happened: Steam has started selling games for Linux. While Steam promotes Ubuntu as their favourite “flavour” of Linux, it appears to support a variety of distributions.

The launch is a quite spectacular one, with Steam listing over 100 games for sale to Linux users on day one, a huge improvement over the launch of their Mac OS X support in 2010, with around 50 games available. Considering Mac OS X users now have over ten times that many to choose from, this promises a bright future for Linux-based gaming.

Even so, there are few high-profile games available so far. The vast bulk of the launch day titles are independent releases, and while many of them, such as Bastion, FTL: Faster Than Light, and World of Goo have found some mainstream success, they lack the star power of Portal 2, which was the flagship of the Mac OS X launch.

Still, it is early days, and those in the market for a bargain would do well to check out the Linux launch sale: every Linux-enabled game is on sale, even for Windows and Mac users.

A plethora of game delays

Several high profile games have been delayed in the past couple of weeks, with perhaps the highest profile of the lot being Grand Theft Auto V, which has slipped back to September after initially being announced as a northern Spring release (March to May). Rockstar said the delay was to polish the game more and make sure it would be as good as possible.

Last week we talked about Rayman Legends, which was both announced as a cross-platform title and also delayed until September. Wii U fans were angry when publisher Ubisoft admitted that the Wii U version, which was originally supposed to be ready in November 2012 for the launch of the new console, is finished, but will not be released until the PS3 and Xbox versions are ready later in the year. This does not say good things about Ubisoft’s faith in the value of the Wii U.

This week, Naughty Dog fans emitted a collective groan of disappointment when the creators of the phenomenal Uncharted series revealed that their new project, The Last of Us, has slipped back a month from May to June. The highly anticipated PS3 exclusive was, like GTAV, delayed in order to finish off the final polish and make sure it was ready for release.

It’s official: 2K has the WWE games licence

Wrestling fans can finally let out a sigh of relief. The fate of the WWE wrestling licence was not officially revealed during the massive sell-off of THQ’s assets several weeks ago, but rumours were circulating that 2K Sports, the label behind NBA 2K13 and many other popular sporting titles, had picked it up. Those rumours have now been officially confirmed.

The details are still a little hazy, but it appears that 2K’s parent company Take Two has retained the services of Japanese studio Yuke’s, which had been creating THQ’s wrestling titles for them for several years. Some fans have expressed disappointment over that last fact, as they felt Yuke’s was stuck in the past, and the franchise needs a breath of fresh air.

As for whether there will be a WWE game out this year, there is no word currently.

All Australian states now have R18+ rating for games

Queensland has finally caught up with the rest of the country, with its state parliament belatedly passing legislation to put the R18+ rating for games into law.

The decision was marked with several snafus, with the most prominent being the Queensland Attorney General’s website publishing a press release announcing the new legislation before the vote had taken place. The vote was then delayed again and again, and for a while seemed likely to slip backward into the next sitting of parliament. In the end, though, the vote occurred and the legislation was passed into law.

Had there been further delays, we would once again have seen the situation we had in the 1980s and 1990s when Queensland premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen placed more stringent restrictions on video rentals, leading to many notorious horror films carrying the famous “banned in Queensland” sticker. Any R-rated games released in the rest of the country would have been banned in Queensland. Thankfully, this legislation means that the new classification scheme is now standard across all states and territories.

Do you have a hot tip for a gaming new story? Send it to DexX at [email protected]南京夜网.

– James “DexX” Dominguez

DexX is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez

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


Australian businesses are struggling with cash flow, as companies fail to settle their accounts promptly, worsening the already subdued sales activity and conservative consumer sentiment.
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Companies took on average 52 days to pay their bills – 12 days more than their counterparts in New Zealand – and 62 per cent of accounts settled late in the last quarter of 2012, according to trade payments analysis by Dun & Bradstreet.

In D&B’s National Business Expectations survey, 68 per cent of business executives expressed their concerns about cash flow. About a third of executives nominated outstanding accounts receivable as their biggest hurdle to growth.

“Trade credit is an essential form of non-bank finance, and when bills are paid late it withholds essential operating money that businesses need day-to-day, but also to invest and grow,” Dun & Bradstreet chief executive Gareth Jones said.

“If businesses are waiting 52 days to be paid it impacts their ability to pay their own bills, creating an unhealthy cash-flow cycle in the economy that removes million of dollars from the system.”

Mining and forestry companies are the worst offenders when it comes to paying their bills. It takes them an average 55 days to settle their accounts, three days more than the national average.

The forestry industry is under tremendous stress as a result of low pulp prices and the high dollar. Many forestry investment schemes have collapsed in recent years.

In comparison, companies from the transportation sector pay their bills at an average of 49 days – a week faster than the national average.

Small companies that employ between 50 and 199 paid their accounts the fastest in the December quarter, while larger companies continued to pay their bills late.

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


BrisConnections, the operator of Brisbane’s $4.8 billion Airport Link toll road, has finally called in the corporate paramedics after the majority of its bankers pulled the pin on restructuring proposals.
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The toll-road operator’s board today elected to place BrisConnections in the hands of voluntary administrators from McGrath Nicol, including Jamie Harris and John Cronin.

BrisConnections board decided in November to enter into “formal negotiations” with its lenders about “potential reconstruction options” after conceding that its debts may exceed the value of its assets.

But last night the board was told that the majority of its lenders was not “prepared to support these restructuring proposals”.

BrisConnections said in a statement today that the directors were “unanimous in their decision” to appoint the administrators after “exhausting the alternatives available” to them.

A group of 10 banks including European heavyweights Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale lent about $3 billion to BrisConnections

The chairman, Trevor Rowe, said it was “disappointing that the board has had to reach this decision” as the Airport Link was a “world-class piece of transport infrastructure”.

The tunnel will remain open to traffic as usual.

BrisConnections had long been expected to follow a similar path to the failed operators of toll-roads in Sydney such as the Lane Cove and Cross City tunnels, and Brisbane’s Clem7 tunnel.

Traffic on the 6.7-kilometre toll road which connects Brisbane Airport to the central city has been half what Brisconnections was projecting it to be.

In November BrisConnections appointed corporate paramedics PPB Advisory to review its toll-road business. PPB had been looking at “current and anticipated traffic volumes, revenue, costs, forecast liquidity and BrisConnections’ capital structure”.

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


BRISBANE Lions coach Michael Voss admits he cannot guarantee allegations of drug use levelled at his former teammates are untrue, but says his club is trying to distinguish between “what’s fact and fiction”.
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Self-confessed drug dealer Jason McGrath, the cousin of Lions forward Ash McGrath, alleges he supplied drugs to Lions players between 2002 and 2009.

The Lions have denied the claims and say they had no reason to believe McGrath’s word.

The AFL says McGrath’s allegations are unsubstantiated and that no investigation “will be undertaken in the absence of credible information or evidence”.

Voss, who led Brisbane to its 2001-03 hat-trick of premierships, played until 2006 and then coached the club from 2009, conceded he could not definitively say his former teammates weren’t using drugs.

“I can’t be naive enough to sit here and say that it hasn’t happened. I couldn’t say that with 100 per cent certainty,” Voss told Brisbane’s Triple M on Tuesday.

“But there’s been a whole bunch of things that have been mentioned and I would really question the validity of those allegations. That’s why we say they’re unsubstantiated. The names that are being thrown around, I haven’t even seen before. Or met (those people).”

Voss said he could not recall meeting Jason McGrath, and that some of his former teammates could not recall meeting him. Ash McGrath, who played in Brisbane’s 2003 premiership win, is still on the Lions playing list.

Voss said there were inconsistencies in Jason McGrath’s allegations and that Brisbane found that “trying to sort through what’s fact and fiction is just a little bit hard at present”.

But he said the club treated the claims “very seriously” and said anyone with information should contact authorities.

“It refers to a previous era at the club and the club has got to treat that very seriously, if there is anything there,” he said.

“Again, there’s the Queensland police to go to, there’s the AFL integrity unit to go to. We encourage that process to happen. We’re not sitting here saying we’re trying to avoid it.”

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


SWEET SUCCESS: NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, presents Brian Agnew with the James Busby Trophy for the best wine from NSW.
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BEING presented with two 2013 Sydney Wine Show trophies on Thursday night was part of a highly emotional week for Brian Agnew, chairman of the Hunter’s Agnew Wines company.

Brian took to the stage at the presentation dinner to collect the Dr H.J. Lindeman Trophy for the best aged-vintage white and the James Busby Trophy for the best NSW wine of the show, won by the Audrey Wilkinson 2006 Museum Reserve Semillon.

The Sydney judging brought the wine’s show tally during the past seven years to 12 trophies and 19 gold medals.

Brian and his family had other reasons to be elated last week because he had received an encouraging doctor’s report in the aftermath of a tumour operation.

On top of that on Friday night daughter Jessica had given Brian and his wife Valerie their seventh grandchild, a little girl, and the Hunter vintage had wound up promisingly for the Agnew group’s Audrey Wilkinson, Poole’s Rock, Cockfighter’s Ghost and Firestick brands.

Valerie and Brian, a past chairman of the Moray and Agnew specialist insurance law firm, have owned the Wakefield Thoroughbred Stud at Scone for more than 30years and took the plunge into Hunter wine by buying the beautiful, historic Audrey Wilkinson property in 2004.

In 2011 they boosted their investment by buying the late David Clarke’s Poole’s Rock De Beyers Road, Pokolbin, vineyard and winery, the Cockfighter’s Ghost vineyard at Broke and the Poole’s Rock, Cockfighter’s Ghost and Firestick wine brands.

The Audrey Wilkinson awards were among six trophies and 13 gold medals won by Hunter wines at the Sydney judging, conducted by a panel chaired by Iain Riggs, managing director and chief winemaker at Pokolbin-based Brokenwood Wines. Wines made by gifted boutique winemaker Andrew ‘‘Thommo’’ Thomas won two trophies and five gold medals.

The Andrew Thomas 2007 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon won a gold medal in the any vintage named vineyard semillon class and the Len Evans Trophy for the best named vineyard wine and the Restaurant and Catering Industry Trophy for the best small producer’s wine in named vineyard classes.

Winning wines ready to buy

HERE are the 2013 Sydney Wine Show trophy and gold medal wines that can be bought now from Hunter producers:

❏ Audrey Wilkinson 2006 Museum Reserve Semillon, limited stocks at $100 a bottle at the De Beyers Road, Pokolbin, cellar door, by mail order on 49987411 or at audreywilkinson南京夜网.au.

❏ Andrew Thomas 2007 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon, $45, and Andrew Thomas 2012 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon, $28, both available at thomaswine南京夜网.au and at the Small Winemakers’ Centre, in McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, and at the Hunter Resort in Hermitage Road, Pokolbin.

❏ The Wine Society 2012 Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Semillon, $14 (to members), at winesociety南京夜网.au or 1300723723.

❏ First Creek 2011 Winemaker’s Reserve Semillon, $40, at the McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, winery or at firstcreekwines南京夜网.au.

❏ Two Rivers 2011 Stones Throw Semillon, $16, at the 2 Yarrawa Road, Denman, cellar door, at tworivers南京夜网.au and in shops and restaurants.

❏ Pepper Tree 2011 Tallavera Limited Release Hunter Valley Shiraz, $45, at the Pepper Tree cellar door at 86 Halls Road, Pokolbin, or at peppertreewines南京夜网.au.

❏ McLeish 2007 Semillon, $65, at the McLeish cellar door in De Beyers Road, Pokolbin, or at mcleashhunterwines南京夜网.au.

❏ McGuigan 2005 Vineyard Select Semillon, $50, at the McGuigan cellar door in McDonalds Road, Pokolbin.

❏ Bimbadgen 2012 Estate Semillon, $22, at the McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, winery and at bimbadgen南京夜网.au.

SWEET SUCCESS: NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, presents Brian Agnew with the James Busby Trophy for the best wine from NSW.

Wine list

Frankland Estate 2010

Olmo’s Reward,

$40

HERE’S a fitting tribute to celebrated Californian viticulturist Professor Harold Olmo, who in 1955 was commissioned by the Western Australian government to recommend new winegrowing areas and came out in favour of Frankland River and Mount Barker. It is fruit-driven and multifaceted, featuring an interesting varietal make-up. It is ruby red and has berry pastille aromas. Plush blackcurrant flavour rolls onto the front palate and briar, licorice and clove fruit characters integrate with vanillin oak on the middle palate. Smooth minty tannins display at the finish.

DRINK WITH: roast beef with a minted bearnaise sauce

AGEING: eight years

RATING: 4 and a half stars

De Bortoli 2008

Deen Vat 5 Botrytis Semillon,

$13.90 (375ml bottle)

THIS luscious stickie won the trophy for the best sweet white at the 2012 NSW Wine Awards and is terrific value at $14. It is gold with amber tints and has scents of quince jelly and pecan nuts. Lush lychee flavour glides onto the front of the palate and apricot, treacle and orange peel characters combine on the middle palate. Nutty oak and a touch of flinty acid show at the finish.

DRINK WITH: soft-set vanilla bean creme brulee

AGEING: seven years

RATING:4 and a half stars

Pokolbin Estate 2012

Hunter Valley Riesling, $28

LAST week, he won 2013 Sydney Wine Show trophies and gold medals with his semillon and shiraz wines, but Andrew Thomas is also a dab hand with riesling from the only Hunter planting of this classic variety. He made this wine and the other Pokolbin Estate rieslings that have brought owners Richard Friend and John Hindman such against-the-odds success in wine competitions. This fresh, crisp 2012 is green-tinted straw and has passionfruit aromas. Vibrant lime flavour zips onto the front of the palate and nashi pear, sherbet and mineral characters chime in on the middle palate. Steely acid comes through at the finish.

DRINK WITH: salt and pepper squid

AGEING: 10 years

RATING: Five stars


The week’s news through the eyes of Herald photographers
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Tina Thompson-Elliott in her shop, House of Elliott, on Perkins Street, Newcastle. Picture by Marina Neil

Brian Purdue, left, with Michael Osborne at the Wetlands near the rail line at Hexham, where a proposed truck facility is to be built. Picture by Marina Neil

Clean Queen Marissa Roberts with her daughters, Sophie Roberts 3yrs and Georgia Roberts 18months at their Shortland home. Photo by Marina Neil

Melody Pool is back in Kurri Kurri after winning the Telstra Road to Tamworth in January. She is using her prize money to head to Nashville to record an album. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Ray Beadle performing at Lizottes Newcastle. Lambton. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Hunters interim coach Trevor Gallagher in checked shirt with players after head coach Darren Nichols has abruptly quit. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Cliff Richard performing at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Broadmeadow. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Cliff Richard performing at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Broadmeadow. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Cliff Richard performing at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Broadmeadow. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Wes Whitworth, right, with his father Kim Whitworth, left, on Stockton Sand Dunes. Land Care Council has closed a large section of Stockton Sand Dunes to four wheel drives claiming that the dunes need time to recuperate. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Wes Whitworth, right, with his father Kim Whitworth, left, on Stockton Sand Dunes. Land Care Council has closed a large section of Stockton Sand Dunes to four wheel drives claiming that the dunes need time to recuperate. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Westrac, Tomago, first year Plant Mechanic apprentice, Scott Dawson. Photo by Marina Neil

Scene of accident at Beresfield shows a Toyota Landcruiser on its side on the edge of the New England Highway. Picture by Peter Stoop

Firefighters at scene of fire at Jayco Newcastle at Hexham. Picture by Peter Stoop

A stolen Porsche dumped in bush near West Wallsend at the end O’Donneltown Road. Picture by Peter Stoop

Redhead U/19s during the first of the semi finals at the Australian Surf Rower’s League Australian Open at Stockton Beach. Picture by Peter Stoop

U/15s Softball action at Boomerang Park, Mayfield West Belmont [Blue] V Macquarie [Green and Gold] Softball. Picture by Peter Stoop

U/15s Softball action at Boomerang Park, Mayfield West Belmont [Blue] V Macquarie [Green and Gold] Softball. Picture by Peter Stoop

Hayley Reeves has her head shaved to raise money for Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation during a fund raiser at Speers point Public School. Picture by Peter Stoop

Hayley Reeves has her head shaved to raise money for Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation during a fund raiser at Speers point Public School. Picture by Peter Stoop

The semi finals at the Australian Surf Rower’s League Australian Open at Stockton Beach. Picture by Peter Stoop

Amy Hardingham [Artistic director] and Mitchell Reese [General manager] of Tantrum Theatre in the group’s new home in the old St Philips Presbyterian Church at Watt St Newcastle. Picture by Peter Stoop

Daniel & Jessica Boyson of Lambton with their daughter Mollyjane at her 3rd birthday party Mollyjane has Carnitine-acycarnitine translocase deficiency. Picture by Dean Osland.

Renton Millar at the Australian Bowl Championships held at Bar Beach Skate park Picture by Dean Osland.

William the Fourth Project Manager Bob Cook. Picture by Dean Osland.

Jasmine Duff as Juliet and Harry Gelzinnis as Romeo Play rehearsing for Tantrum Theatre’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Picture by Anita Jones

Rosie Murree-Allen of Hunter Bellringers rehearsing in Adamstown. Picture by Anita Jones

Hunter Hurricanes player Matthew Skinner in action. against UNSW Wests Magpies. Picture by Simone De Peak.

Selena Archibald one of the founding members of the Aboriginal Reference Group with a backdrop of a work of Bungaree titled The First Australian by artist Warwick Keen. It is part of an exhibition at Lake Macquarie Gallery. Picture by Simone De Peak.

Jack Fardell at the Hurley Australian Bowl-Riding Championships the Bar Beach Skate Bowl. 7th FEBRUARY 2013. Picture by Simone De Peak.

Trevor Gallacher who has been appointed as permanent Hunters Head Coach. Picture by Simone De Peak.

A Hornet fighter takes off as Williamtown RAAF base hosts 70th anniversary of 41, 42 and 44 wings. Picture by Brock Perks

Suzanna Andric and daughter Lillian (3) watch as Williamtown RAAF base hosts 70th anniversary of 41, 42 and 44 wings. Suzanna’s husband, LAC Ed Andric, was in the parade. Picture by Brock Perks


THERE seems to be a battle of the cooking shows on at the moment between My Kitchen Rules and MasterChef: The Professionals.
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And fans are loyal and devoted – are you a My Kitchen Rules foodie or a MasterChef: The Professionals diehard?

Team Manu or Team Marco?

I have to admit that I’m a MasterChef kind of gal. I wouldn’t have a clue about what goes on in MKR, something about teams and cooking and the other teams judging?

But I’m not sure how Pete and Manu fit into it.

I really should watch it one of these days.

What’s appealing to me about this incarnation of MasterChef is the addition of Marco Pierre White and the fact the format is about a bunch of professionals putting themselves on the plate.

Having trained chefs battle it out adds a slightly gladiatorial atmosphere to the show. This isn’t just wannabes making a mess – these are people with their careers and reputations on the line. There’s something ruthless, yet devastating, about it.

Which hatted restaurants are going to hire a reject from the early elimination rounds?

Or who wants to eat at a restaurant where the chef thinks putting banana in aioli is a good idea? I’d also be avoiding a chef so arrogant they question the credentials of Marco Pierre White.

Speaking of whom, this man has a reputation to be feared.

He once cut open an employee’s uniform when they dared to complain about the temperature in the kitchen. His kitchen tales are the stuff of legends.

And yet we are presented with a man who is firm, fair, fabulous, and a complete softy when it comes to consoling blubbering messes. Team Marco forever.

[email protected]南京夜网.au

DINING IN: Masterchef’s Matt Preston and Marco Pierre White.

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REVIVAL: Peppers Guest House general manager Brian Rooney with executive chef John Edwards, who have overseen the rebirth of the Chez Pok restaurant.THE name Chez Pok was synonymous with Hunter Valley dining for decades before disappearing in 2010.
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But this year the institution returns at Peppers Guest House, Pokolbin, with a new executive chef and French-inspired menu.

Chez Pok is said to have been the first hotel restaurant to open in the Hunter Valley three decades ago. The eatery was renamed Restaurant Sanctuary in 2010 but has now returned to the much-loved moniker.

Roughly translated, Chez Pok means ‘‘among the Pokolbin people’’.

‘‘There is still great affection for the Chez Pok name in the valley – people haven’t forgotten the standard the restaurant set that so many have since embraced,’’ Peppers Guest House general manager Brian Rooney said.

‘‘Chez Pok really helped put the region on the dining map for Sydneysiders as well, and my new chef and I agreed it was time to revive the name that held so many great memories for guests of Peppers Guest House.’’

Under the eye of executive chef John Edwards, the food will return to the French-fusion style served by Chez Pok in the past.

‘‘The new menu has a focus on using as much local produce as possible while reintroducing French flavours,’’ Mr Edwards said.

‘‘It is a more streamlined menu in terms of its complexity than previous offerings, but one with lots of variety, which is why we are offering both main dishes and the share-plate option so that guests can avoid getting food envy when they order!’’

To celebrate its return, Chez Pok is offering all diners a complimentary glass of wine from its list of award-winning Hunter Valley wines to enjoy with every two-course meal, valid until April30. To book, call 49938999.

For those looking for a Hunter Valley getaway, the Gourmet Food Trail package from $399 per night includes breakfast for two, a three-course dinner for two at Chez Pok plus a food hamper. It is valid until March31, Sunday to Friday, subject to availability. Visit peppers南京夜网.au/guest-house.

Burgers for charity

GRILL AID: Getting behind Boardies Day.

LOSE the suit and tie and don your boardies on Friday to raise funds for the Surf Life Saving Foundation. Or better still, tuck into a burger at Grill’d, The Junction, where staff have thrown their support behind Dixon Park Surf Life Saving Club.

Staff will also ditch their kitchen gear and get into boardies on Friday for Boardies Day. Visit boardiesday南京夜网.au for more.

You can also do your bit for charity HeartKids this month by buying marked items from Donut King, Brumby’s Bakery, Michel’s Patisserie and Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar. The businesses are rallying in a bid to raise $200,000 for HeartKids, with 50¢ from every HeartKids product sold in NSW this month donated to the charity.

Verandah with a view

THIS Friday night the Keith Tulloch Tasting Lounge will be transformed into the After Hours Vintage Bar, a place to relax on the Pokolbin property’s verandah overlooking the shiraz vines and Brokenback Ranges with a glass of wine and share plate from Muse Kitchen.

The bar will be open from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Visitors will be able to purchase a glass of Keith Tulloch wine and share plates from Muse Kitchen.

Bookings recommended for the verandah on 49987500. Follow the drinks and tasting plate with dinner at Muse Dining, bookings on 49986777.


WHETHER it’s an intimate dinner or catching up with friends or family, The Junction’s Del Peco is versatile.
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For the late risers still after bacon and eggs or pancakes or something from Del Peco’s extensive breakfast menu, there is all-day breakfast until 5pm.

Or drop in at lunch for a selection of wraps, sandwiches, salads, open burgers or perhaps tapas if you’re in the mood to share.

The dinner menu offers breads, entrees, pasta, risotto and main meals. Below is a selection from the Del Peco menu.

Breakfast: Classic buttermilk pancakes with honeycomb butter and maple syrup $15; corn and dill cake stack with lemon roquette, Spanish onion, roasted tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, and chilli tomato relish (vegetarian) $14; breakfast burrito with bacon, roasted red peppers, Boston beans, scrambled eggs, smashed hash browns, chipolatas, chorizo, topped with chilli tomato relish, sour cream and melted cheese $18.

Lunch: Grilled chicken and fresh tomato, avocado, bacon, cos lettuce, Egmont cheese, sweet chilli and sour cream wrap $14; open burger of grilled beef with mesculin, fresh tomato, fried egg, melted cheese, caramelised onion and barbecue sauce $16. Wraps and burgers come with beer-battered chips or a fresh house salad.

Tapas: Inferno prawns cooked in a Thai chilli jam $12; crispy cubed pork belly topped with a sweet apple glaze $12; salt and pepper squid served with a dill aioli dipping sauce $12.

Dinner mains: Crispy skin duck breast with orange glaze, poached pears, rocket and hazelnut salad (gluten free) $28; 350g beef rib eye on a bed of mash with grilled asparagus spears and port wine jus (gluten free) $32.

DEL PECO

Address: 7/50 Glebe Road, The Junction

Open: Monday and Tuesday, 7am to 3pm; Wednesday to Saturday, 7am til late; Sunday, 7am to 3pm

Phone: 49253436

Website: facebook南京夜网/pages/Del-Peco-at-The-Junction/164659240219208

Owned by: Peter Micevski

Head chef: Phillip Pearce


Greens leader Senator Christine Milne says Labor has ended the alliance with the Greens. Photo: ALEX ELLINGHAUSENGreens leader Senator Christine Milne has announced the end of the formal alliance between Labor and the Greens, but pledged to continue to vote against no confidence motions and for supply bills in order for the parliament to continue until the September 14 election day.
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Directly challenging Labor’s election pitch that it stands for ”fairness”, Senator Milne accused the Gillard government of ”walking away from its agreement with the Greens and into the arms of the big miners”.

”Labor’s priorities lie with powerful mining interests not with the people and the Greens,” she told the National Press Club, saying it was Labor – by its actions – who had effectively ended the alliance with her party.

Senator Milne said the Greens were proud of the clean energy package implementing the carbon price, the start of a national Denticare scheme and the introduction of a Parliamentary Budget Office, and attacked Labor for allowing mining in the Tasmanian Tarkine wilderness, for reducing payments to single mothers and for subsidising ”big miners” and fossil fuel exports.

She promised to ”deliver confidence and supply until the Parliament rises for the election”.

”By choosing the big miners the Labor government is no longer honouring our agreement to work together to promote transparent and accountable government, the public interest or to address climate change,” she said.

”We will not walk away from the undertaking we gave not only to the Prime Minister but to the people of Australia. And that was to deliver confidence and supply until the Parliament rises for the election.

”We will see this parliament through to its full term.”

She said ”the Greens will not add to the instability that Labor creates every day for itself”.

Responding to the speech, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Julia Gillard said: ”This is a matter for Christine Milne and the Greens. We will always be the party that puts jobs and growth first.”

Ms Gillard and her deputy Wayne Swan signed the agreement with the Greens on September 1, 2010, after the election on August 21 did not result in either major party achieving a parliamentary majority. Along with her agreements with three independents, the agreement allowed Labor to form government.

The immediate response from Labor strategists to Senator Milne’s speech was that the Greens’ message that the environment should be put before jobs could be helpful for Labor in its re-election about creating jobs.

Senator Milne insisted Labor would not have introduced a carbon price if it had been elected in its own right.

”We have a carbon price in Australia because of the Greens. If it had been Labor on its own or the Liberals on its own we would not have a carbon price,” she said.

Industry Minister Greg Combet said Senator Milne was engaged in political ”product differentiation”.

And Australian Workers’ Union national secretary Paul Howes accused Senator Milne of trying to score ”cheap headlines” in retaliation over the federal government’s decision to reject World Heritage Listing for the Tarkine wilderness in Tasmania.

”This is just a political ploy by Christine Milne because she’s upset that she lost the campaign in north-west Tasmania. Well, boo hoo. At the end of the day the federal Labor government has done the right thing for jobs,” he said.

”Frankly for Christine Milne to say that Julia Gillard hasn’t delivered for the environment after she introduced a carbon price demonstrates how out of touch with reality Christine Milne is.”

Mr Howes also questioned the practical impact of the Greens’ decision, saying the minor party had been opposing a range of Labor initiatives for some time and would still support the government on supply and confidence votes.

He said Senator Milne was ”a leader who’s struggling” with a collapse in support after predecessor Bob Brown’s retirement.

”Frankly if Christine Milne wants to rip up an agreement, excellent,” Mr Howes said.

”I’m not surprised. These are people that can not handle doing things pragmatically, these are people that cannot handing doing things sensibly,” he said.

Mr Howes said Labor and the Greens did not share common objectives. Labor stood for protecting the environment but this must be done ”pragmatically and smartly” and would not ”sacrifice jobs at the altar of Green ideology”.


WHEN it comes to pizza, it’s hard to find someone more passionate than Mark Burrell. He’s even travelling more than 12,000 kilometres to Las Vegas to feed his appetite for discovering the most unusual and newest trends in pizza.
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Burrell opened Adam’s Ribs & Pizza, on Glebe Road, Adamstown, last year and has since gained a loyal crowd of pizza lovers who tuck into his fresh, handmade range. Originally from Newcastle, Burrell spent time working in a pizza franchise in Queensland where his love for pizza and getting creative with toppings grew.

He returned to Newcastle and soon found the Adamstown site for his venture, which is called Adam’s Ribs & Pizza, partly in a nod to the suburb, partly in a nod to Adam’s rib being given to Eve and also inspired by an episode of the TV series Mash, which featured a rib joint named Adam’s.

But it was important to Burrell to make his pizza place stand out from the others in town. He wanted to produce healthy pizzas, low on oil, made with fresh ingredients.

‘‘I wanted to create a pizzeria that was totally different from other pizza places. I make all of my bases from scratch and use all fresh ingredients – I won’t compromise,’’ he said.

‘‘I have a really different menu from most of the other pizza joints in town, with more than 20 pizzas. I make the rib sauces from scratch and even spent 12 months developing them. I hope to be able to bottle and sell them soon.’’

Adam’s menu also includes a range of cheesy calzone breads, pastas, baby-back ribs and buffalo wings. There is also a monthly pizza special – this month it’s buffalo chicken with bacon and ranch dressing – in addition to the range of traditional, seafood and deluxe pizzas.

Burrell’s pick of the bunch is The L.R.B, which combines lychee with roma tomato, blue cheese and mozzarella before being topped off with capers and baby spinach.

‘‘I used to dream of having my own pizza shop. In the franchise I struggled because I had to stick solidly to what was on the menu. I used to go into the kitchen and come up with inventions like The L.R.B but couldn’t sell them to people,’’ he explained.

Burrell is planning on taking The L.R.B to the World Pizza Expo next year to take on the best pizzas in the world. He’s also heading to the 2012 Las Vegas convention next month to learn more about pizzas and ribs, rather than throwing his hat – or pizza – into the ring for the competitive elements of the expo.

In its 29th year, the event is said to be the largest and longest-running trade show serving the pizza industry, offering thousands of pizzeria owners inspiration for new products and services as well as seminars, panel discussions and live cooking and baking demonstrations.

When it comes to washing down the pizza, Adam’s Ribs & Pizza also does nothing by the book. There is Mexican Coke in traditional thick glass bottles (but get in quick because it sells like wildfire: ‘‘I had two cases and it sold out in two days’’), a number of varieties of Dr Pepper, A&W Root Beer and even bottles of Snapple. He’s also become a distributor for Jones Soda Co, an American soda range made from pure cane sugar. Choose from flavours such as Cream Soda, Orange & Cream, Grape and Twisted Lime.

‘‘Many of these drinks were never sold in Newcastle before I imported them,’’ Burrell said. ‘‘We have the best range of US soft drinks in Newcastle … it’s my little indulgence.’’

Adam’s also stocks Crows Nest Soft Drinks and famous and much-loved Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, though he’s also on the hunt for locally-produced gelato or ice-cream.

One of Burrell’s other indulgences is music. Music posters adorn the walls of the pizzeria featuring acts as diverse as TOOL and Prince. This month there is also a huge KISS letterbox under the counter, part of a competition to win two tickets to the KISS and Motley Crue show at Sydney’s Allphones Arena on March 9 (spend $50 before March 1 to go in the draw).

Adam’s Ribs & Pizza is at 548a Glebe Road, Adamstown. Visit ilovepizza南京夜网.au or call 4950 9099.

MAD ABOUT PIZZA: Mark Burrell loves what he does. Picture: Simone De Peak