Short Takes November 30 2017

Send yours to [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au or text 0427 154 176, including your name and suburb.WHILE the Supercars circus was in town on the weekend I was glued to a true sporting contest in which the participants only had access to a bat and a ball. For those of us blessed with a longer attention span it was compelling watching Smith’s artistry, the brutal fast bowling and the courage from some of the English. Reality TV at its very finest.
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Greg Hunt, Newcastle WestLET me get this straight. They’re going to demolish the Queens Wharf tower (“Tower on its last legs”, Herald 29/11) because it’s ugly, or is it because people can’t get their brains above their belts?

Peter Grant,Speers PointIF the Queens Wharf tower has to come down (“Tower on its last legs”,Herald29/11) it could be a good idea, as it’s on the water, to put it on a barge.Tow it out to sea,turn it into a fish reef andadd more as time goes on – boats, trains, planes. Great for tourism.

Alan Ackroyd,HamiltonTO Les Hutchinson (Letters, 29/11):if you’re a native to Britain you are British,a native to Canada you are Canadian.Myselfbeing born in from n parentsmakes me a native n. Therefore I believe I can be classed as an indigenous n, andI have no problem with celebrating Day on the 26th of January.

Brad Hill,SingletonIS anyone else sick of seeing discarded dirty nappies littered around the car park of Lambton Pool and surrounds? How about you put them in the bin or take them home? Set an example for kids instead of passing on your self-entitled mentality. Not hard.

Ann Walker,LambtonREGARDING the port helicopter(Letters 29/11), perhaps it will be able to help showcase our area to the cruise ship passengers, saving them a long bus trip? A shuttle service by air to the vineyardswith a commentary on theviews sounds like perfect way to showcase our area to cruise passengers in the short time they are in port.

Graham Fox,Clarence TownIN my profession I’m required to do work in people’s houses on a daily basis. To put people at ease, as a stranger in their house, I break the ice by bringing up the latest news. I’ve noticed at least 90% of people don’t care about royal babies, royal weddings and so on. I wonder why the media goes into meltdown when people just don’t care. As one old bloke stated maybe coverage of world champion marbles will be next.

Rick Sharp,BelmontI WOULD like to thank all the people from Mount Hutton and Jewells shopping centres who generously donated to my Multiplying Gift Appeal for World Vision. With your help I raised over $600 which is equal to over $6000 worth of food aid. I’d like to say avery big thank you to you all!

Adrian Pypers,RedheadTHE POLLSDO you support the demolition of the Queen’s Wharf Tower?

Yes46%, No54%

For new US Fed chief, easy times demand some tough calls

Incoming US Federal Reserve chief Jerome “Jay” Powell may indeed be the “continuity candidate” that the market assumes, but it’s unclear that more of the same in terms of monetary policy is what is needed right now.
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On Tuesday night, n time, Powell toed the party line in his confirmation hearing with US senators, repeating the consensus positions of the Fed’s board under outgoing boss Janet Yellen: there will be a rate hike in December, a few more next year, and a continued run-down of the central bank’s bloated balance sheet.

Powell will be appointed at what looks like a sweet spot for the global economy, with investors unruffled by the beginning of the end of the post GFC years of monetary stimulus.

The reduction in central bank support programs, in terms of asset purchases, is halfway through, Citi strategists estimate. And “so far, the impact on markets has been limited,” they note. “Perhaps the second half of the taper will bring more market turmoil.”

Perhaps. But the timing of when this “paradigm shift” away from extraordinary support will really kick in remains a mystery. This time last year there was a lot of talk of higher rates and losses in bond markets, which would put expensive asset markets around the world under pressure. Instead it was another fabulous year to make money in at the riskier end of financial markets.

The upbeat mood is nicely captured by the fact that International Monetary Fund forecasters in recent months have for the first time since 2010 begun to upgrade their growth outlook.

All of which, as Macquarie economists put it, means now is the time to “make hay while the sun shines”. The Macquarie view chimes with what looks like an emerging consensus that the turn in the cycle won’t happen until 2019, a year that “is likely to be more dangerous as stronger wages and inflation in the US along with the first rate hike in Europe, collide with further China weakness”.

So what, as the newly ensconced boss of the world’s most important central bank, do you do in this situation? What does “making hay” look like in terms of monetary policy? Ahead of the curve

It seems the incoming crop of top central bankers – Chinese and Japanese central banks are also likely to have new chiefs – will have at least a year of sunshine under which to bask. That should embolden them to try to get “ahead of the curve” – tighten policy in anticipation of rather than in response to climbing inflation. Perhaps they will begin paying more than lip service to the fact that low and even negative yields around the developed world have contributed to what some call “the everything bubble”.

For what it’s worth, the rich countries club, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, has pinned its colours to the mast and said the RBA should preference financial stability over inflation targeting and lift rates now to ward off further risks of a bubble and bust in the housing market.

The RBA is surely not averse to that thinking. In August 2012, former boss Glenn Stevens said he “would have thought that by this point we have to conclude that simply expecting to clean up after the credit boom is not sufficient any more; the mess might be so large that monetary policy ends up not being able to do the job when the time comes”.

If Stevens was saying that five years ago, then what has happened since is a collective failure of nerve under the pressure of almost single-handedly guiding the country through the post-mining investment boom era with only the blunt tool of interest-rate setting. Stevens cut rates eight times over the intervening period, from 3.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent now.

Do central banks have the nerve to “lean” against bubbles now? Do they “make hay while the sun shines” and increase rates to get ahead of the curve, leaving them with enough ammunition to ease rates come the next downturn?

Our central bank seems further from that point than do others, such as the Fed or the Bank of Canada.

The RBA under Philip Lowe – who as far back as 2002 was penning papers on the importance of financial stability concerns in monetary policy making – appears happy with the way regulatory interventions have taken the steam out of the housing market. Lowe also has the (very thin) cushion of rates at a plump 1.5 per cent, which suggests rates could, in a pinch, be cut a couple of times before losing any leverage over the economy.

For central bankers, like politicians, the decisions you make when times are good can sometimes be as important as the ones you make when times are bad.

Newcastle business Escape Travel moves to create ripples by chartering an entire ship for a cruise in Southern France

It takes two: Adam and Fiona Pearson own and run Escape Travel franchises in Newcastle.You attended Whitebridge High then abandoned plans for uni. Why?
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My Dad was home from work recovering from a heart attack, and I’d just finished the HSC. We were chatting and I mentioned I wouldn’t mind giving what he did a go. Although I did well at [school]and had enrolled in computer science at The University of Newcastle, I was tired of studying. I just wanted to work. I did six weeks work experience at Jayes Travel in Newcastle, when it was owned by the original Jenkins family, loved it.I quickly realised I wanted to travel. I really didn’t like history at school, but seeing it in the flesh is a whole other story – there’s nothing like standing in Rome and seeing thousands of years of history. It’s fantastic and I love it. I guess I’m living proof you don’t have to go to uni to have a successful career.

Adam Pearson

Your first impressions of the travel industry?

I loved it. It is fast paced, fun, the people we worked with and clients we dealt with where happy and it was all about making great holidays for people – while some things have changed, this hasn’t.

When did you and your dad openyour Harvey World Travel store and how did the partnership work?

Twenty oneyears ago. We had 28 years of experience between us(Dad had been in the travel industry for 20 years and by then I had been for eight years)and coming together meant we were able to capitalise on this. We’re lucky to have a great relationship so there’s been no problems working together. Mum did the books and my brother joined us later the same year that we opened, as did Angela Jenkins, who is still with us.

In 2015 you took over the business, which rebranded to Escape Travel and has five Newcastle franchises. What role do you and wife Fiona have?

Although we own the business together our roles are different. I manage day to day operations and oversee all five offices in Toronto, Mt Hutton, Charlestown, Glendale and Kotara, and Fiona does the administration.

Describe your average day?

Supporting frontline staff, arranging advertising, negotiating group travel arrangements and looking for future opportunities, liaising with travel partners, suppliers and our head office, keeping an eye on finances and generally ensuring that every thing is running smoothly – I have a great team and get a lot of help!

What are the biggest challenges to your industry?

The misconception that booking online saves money – it doesn’t. The experience of a well travelled agent counts when booking a holiday, especially someone who’s been there and done what you want to do. I’ve heard of so many stories where people have missed some amazing experiences in various parts of the world because they simply didn’t know it was there or booked flights that have taken more than 30hrs to get to Europe! Find a good agent and stick with them. A travel agent is an agent for their clients. Book online or direct with a supplier and you’ll only get their options. A good agent will know the options and the differences between them.Cheapest and best are two different things.

And to your business?

In line with the above, we employ local people who genuinely care about our customers and love the opportunity to make the best holidays – the internet doesn’t. Purchasing your holiday through an agent keeps some of the profits here in and doesn’t cost you any more.

You have just said you are the only travel agent in to charteran entire ship on a cruise down the Rhone to southern France. How do you know it’s the first of its kind?

I’ve double-checked this with Emma Davey at Scenic, and she assuresme this is an n first for a travel agent. It’s also a first for Escape Travel (and the Flight Centre group of companies), for Newcastle and Scenic. Plenty have taken groups to Europe, none have charted the whole ship though.

Why the move?

Chartering an entire luxury cruise ship means all of the customers come from us, and from the same geographic region, ie Newcastle/Hunter. Over the years of taking groups of people overseas, we’ve seen some lovely friendships blossom. This happens because everyone lives in the same region and friendship can be continued after the trip. Just imagine going on a trip with 150 people who all know each other. The South of France has always been somewhere that I’ve wanted to visit. We’re visiting the Beaujolais wine region, a gourmet splurge in Lyon, and dinner and a classical concert in the Pope’s Palace in Avignon. The palace is not open to the general public and is only available to the French Parliament and Escape Travel for access. There are also other stops.

For those who haven’t cruised, what’s the appeal?

All inclusive luxury and unpacking once! Everything’s included. The only extra’s on board are spa treatments and getting your hair done, everything else is taken care of – meals, drinks, entertainment, shore excursions and even specialty dining.

Favouritedestination?

My ‘win lotto’ go-back-to place would be the Maldives. Spectacular – the quintessential island paradise.

NBN delay could cost up to $790 million, Labor claims

Delays for millions of future NBN customers expecting to connect through their existing pay television or internet cables could cost taxpayers up to $790 million, a statement from Labor claims.
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The delay of new customers being added to the hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) network for six to nine months, could cost from $423 million to $790 million, according to a joint announcement from shadow minister for communications Michelle Rowland and shadow minister for finance Jim Chalmers.

They pointed to the 2016 NBN Corporate Plan, which included a sensitivity analysis for a situation where delays occurred – and a revenue per home of $47 a month.

But the government has questioned the accuracy of the figures – saying the NBN was still working through the financial forecasts, and the estimates in the Plan were made before the HFC network was being rolled out.

Labor’s calculations were made on the assumption that three quarters of two million homes were delayed for half a year, leaving a $423 million shortfall. The upper end of the range assumes three quarters of 2.5 million homes are delayed for nine months, resulting in a shortfall of $793 million.

But a spokeswoman for the Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the Labor announcement was based on NBN’s 2016 Corporate Plan, which was released in August 2015 and updated twice.

“The figures used by Labor reflect estimates made before the HFC network was being rolled out. In the time since that corporate plan was issued, NBN has rolled out HFC to more than a million premises – the fastest rollout of any technology type in the network,” she said.

“NBN’s latest Corporate Plan estimates a peak funding range of $47 to $51 billion.

“As the Corporate Plan notes, NBN’s management continues to forecast a range of possible outcomes due to the long term uncertainty inherent in a complex infrastructure build over multiple years.”

In a radio interview, Mr Fifield agreed the NBN had some “teething issues” with the HFC technology, but said the multi-technology mix approach was “the right one”.

“The issues that have been identified are very fixable. They will be solved,” he said.

“And the NBN will be completed by 2020. That’s still the target and what will be achieved.”

NBN Co was unable to provide confirmation or denial of the figures.

“NBN is still working on our revised financial forecasts following our decision to temporarily pause sales on the HFC network,” a spokeswoman said.

Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn gave his support to the NBN for delaying the roll out at an address to the American Chamber Of Commerce in on Tuesday.

“While there are financial implications for Telstra as a result of this decision, I applaud nbn for prioritising customer experience over roll out and taking this action to address a significant customer issue,” Mr Penn said.

with Ben Grubb

Bali flights cancelled into fourth day as Mount Agung erupts

A group of surfers from Sydney wait for updates on their cancelled flight. Picture: AAPThe normally bustling airport on the Indonesian resort island of Bali is a near- ghost town, dotted by anxious n tourists desperate to get home.
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The Mount Agung volcano lies a fair distance – about 70 kilomteres away – but the threat it poses is very real, and visible.

Activity at the mountain has ramped up in recent weeks culminating with the cancellation of flights in and out of Bali this week due to a large ash cloud thrown up by the volcano.

Indonesia has raised its alert for Mount Agung to the highest level, warning of the risk of a lava eruption is “imminent”.

Mount Agung, which sits more than 3000 metres high over eastern Bali, last erupted in 1963 killing more than 1000 people and razing several villages.

On Monday night, tourists settled down for the night on makeshift beds on the airport’s dusty floors.

Some were considering making the more than 10-hour journey to Surabaya and catching a series of flights across Indonesia back to .

All are frustrated by what they say is a lack of updated information from their airlines about what happens next.

The first Janeen McKay heard about flight cancellations was in a text from her brother back in as she was on her way to Bali’s airport.

“I had nothing from Jetstar, they had my mobile number,” the West n said.

An empty Bali International Airport after volcanic ash forced its closure.Photo: James Hall

After a 12-hour wait at the airport, she’s now been told she won’t be able to get home until Saturday at the earliest.

“We had a really nice time in Bali but then we get here and this has just ruined it,” Ms McKay said.

“Why does it take five days to get us out of here? Not very happy.”

Ms McKay, an office manager, is keen to get back to Geraldton, north of Perth, to take over the care of her elderly mother from her sister, a nurse, who’s needed back at work on Thursday.

Veronika Naberezhnova is also non-plussed.

“It’s a bit annoying,” the Department of Human Services worker said.

“My family’s waiting there (in Sydney) as well, they’re all waiting, they’re all stressed.”

On the other side of Bali, at Sanur beach, the distant crackle of lightning and an afternoon rain shower were the only annoyances for tourists lounging on sun beds and sipping cocktails.

For them, the airport’s closure means an extended holiday.

Due to the significant volcanic ash and current weather conditions, Denpasar Airport is currently closed. As a result, we have cancelled all flights between Bali and today and Wednesday 29 November. More info available on our Travel Alerts page. https://t苏州夜场招聘/LD8rC5LZdZ

— Virgin (@Virgin) November 28, 2017[Travel update] All Wednesday Bali flights cancelled: https://t苏州夜场招聘/ipKqIRVLSf#MountAgung#volcanoNext update by 7pm AEDT tonight.

— Jetstar Airways (@JetstarAirways) November 29, 2017

JQ101 to Townsville and JQ117 to Perth –a flight originating in Singapore –won’t be going ahead.

AAP