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Will domestic gas prices be higher?

14/01/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

While the n gas shortage looks to have been avoided, there are concerns prices will continue to rise.
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On Wednesday, the government and the east coast’s three largest gas suppliers agreed to meet the forecast gas gap, meaning the government has avoided pulling the trigger on controversial limits on gas exports, known as the using the n Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (ADGSM).

The agreement means Shell, Origin and Santos through their Queensland LNG plants will sell a minimum of 54 petajoules of gas into the domestic market through contracts, and keep additional volumes on standby.

Shell has even created a gas trading team to ensure more gas is sold into domestic markets.

While no price restrictions have been placed on these domestic supplies, the companies have agreed to greater transparency in their contracts.

However, research forecasts these prices will be higher than the benchmarks set by the n Competition and Consumer Commission, and that the ADGSM would not have reversed this or driven down costs.

“We do not believe [the ADGSM] will be wielded to push prices below cost, nor even bring prices in line with cost,” First NZ Capital said.

Even the new agreement, known as the voluntary Gas Supply Guarantee (GSG), is unlikely to lead to a massive reduction in prices.

“We reiterate our view that the intervention in gas markets will not bring down gas prices to below $6 per gigajoule,” UBS Securities said in a report.

UBS analysts said the increased transparency and scrutiny would, however, ensure less gas was offered to market above the $10 per gigajoule watermark.

This position was supported by First NZ Capital.

“Wholesale prices will remain in the $7 to $10 per gigajoule range, which is consistent with recent domestic spot prices,” FNZC said.

Analysts reiterated their belief that the best way to bring down gas prices was to bring more supply online in the coming months. They said this would create a more stable price and eliminate periods of scarcity pricing that drove the domestic spot price to its recent highs for commercial and industrial customers.

“With Gippsland Basin gas forecast to decline materially in 2018, diversion of gas from LNG in Queensland is not sufficient to maintain balanced markets in the medium to long term, more gas supplies are needed,” UBS said.

Yet, the situation could have been worse, analysts said.

” is somewhat fortunate for this domestic gas crisis to have coincided with a period of low oil prices and global LNG oversupply,” FNZC said.

The nation and industry waits to see if its “luck” continues.

The case for splitting the cost of having a baby

14/01/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

It has been more than two years since the then-treasurer, Joe Hockey, famously denounced certain child-rearing women as double-dippers.
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His comments about women receiving paid parental leave from the government and their employer – on Mother’s Day no less – were as memorably misguided in timing as the policy change he was flagging was in substance.

Despite the image of money-hungry rorting mothers depicted by Hockey, I am yet to meet a single parent who has had their bank balance handsomely boosted upon welcoming a small child into the world. Babies have plenty going for them but they’re hardly cash-positive.

Just before the 2015 budget was handed down by the Abbott government, Hockey announced the paid-leave entitlements for parents who exit the workplace to have a baby would be cut.

It was curious not only because just a few months earlier the very same government had been spruiking its intentions to substantially increase paid-leave entitlements. To go from there to hacking into the already-modest entitlements was confusing, but to understand how injudicious that was, it’s necessary to understand the policy settings.

At first glance, paid parental leave might appear to be a flagrant luxury, the type of middle-class welfare that simply isn’t necessary. Dig into the numbers and the research, however, and it’s clear it is an astute investment with social and economic upside.

The reason Westpac introduced paid parental leave back in 1997 – the first n corporation to do so – wasn’t simply an act of generosity: paying women on maternity leave was a lot cheaper than losing them.

For the government, the economic benefits of providing paid parental leave are twofold – it can grow the tax pool by increasing female workforce participation and deliver long-term savings in health.

The 2009 Productivity Commission report identifies lower long-term health costs as a benefit of providing mothers 26 weeks’ paid parental leave, as recommended by the World Health Organisation.

In 2010, Labor introduced ‘s first paid parental leave scheme to enhance child and maternal wellbeing and support parents’ workforce participation.

That policy provides the primary carer of an infant up to 18 weeks of the minimum wage, currently a little over $670 a week before tax, which can be received in conjunction with any parental leave paid by the parent’s employer. Rather than being an oversight, this duality was critical for two reasons.

First, it split the cost between government and business and second, it would help get as many new parents in as possible as close to 26 weeks’ paid leave as possible.

The idea of parents being able to receive only one payment was ludicrous, according to Sydney University professor Marian Baird, who was involved in developing the original policy.

“This really undermines the architecture of the scheme and its original philosophy,” Baird told Fairfax Media, back in 2015.

“And to now say that mothers are double-dipping is just rude and cruel – it’s an outrageous attack on mothers because that was the plan of the scheme.”

For context, back in 1970, 47 years ago, an average of 17 weeks of paid leave was available to mothers across OECD countries. By 1990, this had increased to 39 weeks, while by 2014 the OECD average stood at just over one year.

The United Kingdom provides 39 weeks of paid leave, Canada 50 weeks and Sweden 60 weeks. Yet here, in 2017, offers parents 18 weeks at the minimum wage.

It’s worth remembering.

Georgina Dent is a journalist, editor and TV commentator with a keen focus on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

letters to the editor September 29 2017

14/01/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

WAITING: An early-morning express service to Sydney must stop at Cardiff station, says reader John Matthews.WOW,I have just finished reading myNewcastle Heraldfront page news (“Fast track: early-morning express train slashes 26 minutes off Sydney trip”,Herald,28/09). This sound fantastic until you start to read the small print.
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Then you realise it really is a shocker, especially if you live in the Lake Macquarie area. It might be okay if you live in say Speers Point or Belmont, butyou either have to backtrack to Broadmeadow or drive 45 minutes down the road to Morisset.

POLITICAL FOOTBALL: Robert Crosby argues sporting codes including the NRL have already waded into the political arena before the same-sex marriage debate.

In that case you might as well drive yourself all the way to Sydney.Surely it is the case to try to get more people on the trains than for them to drive themselves.

If a closer look at the stops you see that Wyong, Tuggerah, Gosford all are in close proximity to one another, so the question is ifthis is a trial, why not drop Tuggerah and install either Cardiff or Fassifern?

Both of these stations have long platforms now, and I think patronage would be increased. You cover a broader patronage thisway, and it offers amuch fairer breakdown of the stops.

John Matthews,Belmont NorthTRIAL AND ERRORHUNTER commuters –twostops.Central Coast – fivestops. Sydney – threestops?

For any commuterresidingwest or south of Broadmeadow, their only option for the newly announced Newcastle to Sydney fast-train trialis Morisset.

You had might as well just keep driving to Sydney.

Take a look at Cardiff and Fassifern’s car parks on a daily basis,let alone the streets surrounding them.Both are well-used stops for Sydney commuters.I think you call it no idea.

Michelle Toohey,BarnsleyPOLITICAL GAMESIN the lead-up to the two major grand finals this weekend, the marriage equality postal survey has been an unwanted presence to the dismay of numerous members of the public.

There is a view that sport should be apolitical given its broad appeal and focus on inclusivity.

Now while there is a degree of merit to that argument, in that people use sport to disconnect, the escapist quality of sport as entertainment has frequently engaged in politicised acts.

Take for instance the National Rugby League. Annually the NRL has devoted resources and competition rounds to issues including women, Indigenous ns, domestic violence, mental health and numerous other political causes. Every aspect of our culture is a reflection of the political climate we exist within; film, television, music, art, fashion and yes, even sport, reflect the politics of the day.

Comments from NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg have indicated the inclusive nature of rugby league as being compatible with the ‘Yes’ campaign.

On Sunday night, US rapper Macklemore will perform ‘Same Love’ during the pre-match entertainment, a call to arms in favour of the rights and better treatment of LGBTQ people across the world.These are political actions, just as the sport’s workraising awareness of the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous ns or condemning domestic violence are political actions.

Even the weak responses by major sporting bodies to player misbehaviour reflect the political climate of the day.

Sport is considered the unifier of society, so it cannot adopt mutually exclusive positions of remaining non-political while advocating for inclusivity and equality.

For too long the view that religion and politics aren’t discussed in public has existed to the detriment of progress.

Sport is particularly ingrained in n life, as ns we espouse the value of a ‘fair go’ for all. If we believe that value to be true, then sport has to take a political stand.

Robert Crosby,WaratahSUPPORT LESS THAN LOVINGSO Frances Abbot votes ‘yes’ for “fairness, love and family”? Trouble is you have to decide just who gets the “fairness, love and family”. Will it be the small percentage of same-sex couples that will actually marry?

Or will it be the rest of us who otherwise would be subjected to restrictions on free speech,indoctrination of our children into certain sexual practices and gender confusion; genderless bathrooms; denial of the natural right of children to both of their biological parents,and freedom from litigation for businesses, educational institutions and not-for-profits who do not wish to promote the LGBQTI agenda?

How much “fairness, love and family” will the rest of us get?

The Canadian experiment has already shown you can’t have it both ways.

Jeanette Ball,CarringtonDISTURBING DIRECTIONGENERATION useless is consuming mankind. Gone are the days of common sense and an eagerness to put in a good day’s work. It’s all about entitlements, sickies and what’s owed these days.

We have the do-gooders and the AAP, that being the Anti-n Party otherwise known as the Greens, to thank for this generation of useless individuals.Half of them can’t even get out of their own way.

Like I’ve said before, you wonder where we are heading as a human race.

Brad Hill,SingletonBAGGING OUT PLASTICIN response to Maree Eggleston (Letters, Herald, 26/9)who wrote about “grabbing a big handful” of plastic bags at the checkout to pick up her cat’s poo.

For all of us who saw theWar on Waste on the ABC a few months ago and are attempting to cut out waste and giving up single use plastic bags, I shuddered at the thought of anyone increasing their supply of bags.

Our household has decreased our waste and only uses the occasional plastic bag now (one per week normally).

Animal poo can be picked up with a rubber glove or shovel and placed in paper or flushed down the toilet.

I do hope that Woolworths and Coles will soon give us a viable alternative in replacement bags and perhaps return to the days of heavy duty paper bags or adopt Aldi’s solution and replace single use bags with reusable ones.

Other n states have banned the bags and have found solutions. We can do it too.

Denise Lindus Trummel,Mayfield

All the omens line up

14/01/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

FISH OF THE WEEK: Jackson King, 10, from Singleton, wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 45cm bass caught in a local impoundment.
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The earth turns, moons roll by and summer fishing is starting to unleash, according to Jason “One For” Nunn, from Fishermans Warehouse, at Marks Point.

“The amount of whiting on the beaches and throughout most estuaries is ahead of the curve as air and water temps begin to rise,” Jason said.

“Tying into that has been the Spring equinox which occurred in the southern hemisphere on or around September 22.

“The days are now officially longer the nights, which may or not appeal to fish, but certainly pleases many fishos.”

It also affects the tides, which may impact on whether you catch a fish this weekend.

“We’’re in what I call the ‘neap’ between winter and summer fishing,” Jason said. “Around the equinox you find the tidal water movements are much less, meaning you don’t get a real big high or low tide.

“This week there’s only half a metre difference between high and low.

“Consequently there might not be so much flow in your local estuaries, and many anglers will try and tell you, ‘no flow, no go’.

“The good news is that from now on each day, the tidal movements will increase and more importantly for local fisho’s they’ll swing over to the morning and we’ll see bigger tides build.”

Tying further into this earthy overview is the moon cycle.

“We’re heading into a new full moon on October 6, and traditionally seven to 10 days after that we should see the first prawn run of the year in Lake Macquarie and other local estuaries,” Jason said.

“That will be the real trigger for summer fishing to kick off as all the fish will move in to feed.

“Given we haven’t had that much rain lately, and that the Lake prawns are not so much affected by lack of water compared to river prawns because the lake is a catchment, I’m thinking we may see some really nice prawns on the go from October 14 onwards.”

Whiting bitingWhiting have made an early showbiting on tube worms along beaches and most estuaries in plentiful numbers.

Condition is a bit down, but expect that to improve once the prawns start running.

As we build to the full moon, expect the jew to come on. There’s already been plenty of reports of fish up to 90cm responding to squid of a night in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle Harbour and Port Stephens.

Estuary anglers have also been dining out on bream, flounder and tailor.

Flathead have begun moving out of the bays where they’ve holed up for the winter and into shallower water.

Offshore, there still plenty of barracouta about, as well as snapper and bonito.

Last week there werereports of yellowfin in deep water, east of Broken Bay, and if the weather gods are kind this weekend, which they may be on Sunday, it might be worth a shot in the 1000-fathom mark.

“All the key indicators are there –good water temps and lots of slimey mackerel about,” Jason said.

“Don’t be surprised if there’s the odd striped marlin about too. One was hooked last weekend off Sydney.

“What most Hunter game fishos did last year was wait until December/January and they’d already gone past.

“So this year look for a more concerted effort to get out early and meet the stripes as they move down.”

Trophy tagsMark “Wilba” Williams is now issuing DPI kits to a select group of anglers to intiate the tagging program as part of the Lake’s newfound Trophy Flathead Fishery status.

Under the program, anglers are encouraged to catch and release any ‘”trophy’’ flathead over 70cm, and where possible tag them.

“We’re distributing the kits to 10 recognised lake anglers,” Wilba said.

“The pink tags will be located on the second dorsal fin and if you happen to recatch a big tagged flathead, we encourage you to ideally let it go again, or if you keep it, inform DPI of the tag number and where you caught it.”

The point of the Trophy program, which is also being trialled in Tuross and the St George’s Basin, is twofold.

One, to give more people more chance to enjoy catching an iconic sportsfishing specie into the future, and two, to gather important scientific data on movements and breeding.

“The concept of species management is pretty simple,” DPI scientist Jim Harnwell said.

“If you don’t kill the fish, you can catch it again.

“Survival rates for flathead are almost 100 per cent, so if you let the big one’s go, people can keep coming back and catch a big fish. That in turn has an economic flow-on for the local area.

“One big lizard down at St Georges Basin has been recaught three times in 12 months.

“Furthermore, data suggests flathead over 70cm carry 12 times as many eggs as smaller flatheads, so they are a significant breeders.”

‘Overdue’ review of family law wasn’t Pauline Hanson’s idea, says Brandis

14/01/2019 | 苏州夜网 | Permalink

Attorney-General George Brandis has criticised One Nation leader Pauline Hanson for trying to take credit for a family law review, saying the Turnbull government had been planning the examination of the much-criticised system for years.
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Senator Hanson said “no one within the government was interested in dealing with family law until I returned to Parliament and hounded both the Attorney-General and Prime Minister.”

But Senator Brandis said on Thursday, “it would be a stretch to say that we are having this review because Senator Hanson urged it upon us. It is something I have wanted to do for quite some time, going back to before Senator Hanson was a member of Parliament.”

The first comprehensive review of family law in nearly half a century will examine how to make the system faster and less adversarial.

The n Law Reform Commission will conduct the review in response to near-blanket criticism of the system from people who have gone through it, child protection and family violence advocates, parental rights campaigners, lawyers and former members of the judiciary.

The review was first announced in the May budget and the terms of reference were released on Wednesday.

Senator Brandis said the review was “necessary and long overdue” because “n families and their needs have significantly evolved since the 1970s” when the Family Law Act came into operation.

A coalition of groups says a royal commission is the only mechanism to adequately address the problems with the family law system.

Some of the groups that called for a royal commission include child protection organisation Bravehearts, Lone Fathers, the National Council for Single Mothers and Children, and the Luke Batty Foundation.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said the family law system was a “toxic institution” and only a royal commission was “capable of overcoming the constitutional, legal and jurisdictional hurdles” that prevented its problems from being thoroughly examined.

The president of the Law Council of , Fiona McLeod, welcomed the review and said it was vital a lack of resources for the courts and legal aid was addressed.

“What we are seeing is families coming before the courts – they might have an interim hearing coming on before a judge who has 30 cases on their list with approximately 10 to 20 minutes to decide each of those cases and those outcomes can last a very long time until final orders are made. You might have a child of 6 months come before the court for a determination about who they live with and it is not until they are two or three years old until a final determination is made. That places enormous pressure on families who are already under pressure because of breakdowns, financial and emotional pressure,” Ms McLeod said.

Ms McLeod called for an immediate funding injection to help the legal system deal with its staggering case load.

She pointed to the example of a judge appointed to the Federal Circuit Court earlier this year who was immediately handed 500 cases, as well as the slow replacement rate of retiring judges.

Senator Brandis hinted there could be more funding for the overstretched courts and acknowledged that “we have put more judges into the system to deal with family law”.

The review will be conducted by family law expert Helen Rhoades???, a professor at the Melbourne Law School and a former chair of the Family Law Council.

Professor Rhoades will complete the report by the end of March 2019.

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