More women, less alcohol needed at Sydney Uni’s colleges

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 04: St Paul’s College at Sydney University where Stuart Kelly was bullied on August 4, 2016 in Sydney, . (Photo by Dominic Lorrimer/Fairfax Media)Elizabeth Broderick launched her report into Cultural Renewal at the University of Sydney Residential Colleges, this is an extract of her speech.
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It is never an easy task to hold the mirror up, to have a close look at the culture of the organisation we lead, and at times, to face issues that can be confronting But in my experience of examining organisational culture, those organisations that do precisely this are the ones that continue to evolve and, remain relevant and dynamic.

In commissioning this independent review the colleges invited me to shine a light on all aspects of college culture, the good and the bad.

My team and I have connected with many hundreds of college students. Far from being uninterested in this work, students have been enthusiastic about contributing to the project with one student stating:

“I want college to be a place where everyone can have a positive time, like myself. If we need to change parts of the culture to make sure this happens, then I am all for it??? We need to be a place for everyone.”

I acknowledge that on occasion students recounted distressing experiences. I want to thank all of those students who participated – and, in particular, those courageous students who shared their stories with my team. The report is much richer and more powerful because of your contributions.

I am not surprised by what I found in the colleges. Having studied many organisations over the past decade, those aspects of the culture that do require strengthening are the ones I would have expected.minimise the findings. Rather the findings should be a lever for strong action, action that needs to be taken, as a matter of priority.

I will take you through some of the key findings, but first a word on the methodology.

My team and I spoke to over 630 students and recent alumni during the project. In total we spoke to 42 per cent of current students in discussion groups and in individual interviews. We surveyed over a thousand students, representing a 69 per cent response rate.

This research has provided us with strong representative data. We also undertook extensive reviews of local and international best practice and this best practice forms the basis for our recommendations.

Turning to the findings now. Our research found that for most college students most of the time, their experience is positive and rewarding. This was an overwhelming finding, drawn from both our survey data and the qualitative data.

Students spoke of the strong academic support, pastoral care, access to extra-curricular activities and the establishment of firm friendships – all features of college life that enriched their overall university experience.

Our data shows that of students surveyed, 86 per cent felt a sense of belonging at their college. This strong sense of belonging also featured in many of the discussions with students across all of the colleges.

In addition to this, 89 per cent of students felt supported by peers and staff. Students told us:

“I feel safe, included and truly believe that college has not only helped me excel in academia but also learn social skills and gain friendships for life.”

Though there is strong positive data, some students also identified challenges with college life.

Students spoke to us of a so-called “big drinking culture” at college.

Forty-nine per cent of college students believed that alcohol helped them to socialise and make friends – an important element of fitting in. A further 15 per cent believed that there was too much focus on drinking at college. 13 per cent experienced pressure to drink alcohol when they didn’t want to. Female students were significantly more likely to report experiencing this (15 per cent) than male students (9 per cent).

In relation to issues concerning safety, 19 per cent of students reported experiencing bullying or intimidation, pressure to participate in activities that were humiliating or intimidating to them or another student, or hazing. 50 per cent of students said they had witnessed these behaviours.

A quarter, 25 per cent of women and 6 per cent of men reported experiencing sexual harassment since commencing at college. 46 per cent said the harassment occurred either at their college residence or grounds while 44 per cent said the sexual harassment occurred at a different University of Sydney College residence or grounds. The overwhelming majority of perpetrators were male.

Six per cent of women and 1 per cent of men reported that they had experienced actual or attempted sexual assault. In 95 per cent of the incidents and in all the incidents reported by women, the alleged offender was male.

The data is compelling. As I mentioned earlier, Overwhelmingly students’ stated that they felt they belonged in college and felt supported by both staff and peers. But for some, college life is challenging. It can be isolating, and on occasion it can be unsafe.

Our evidence found that for women in particular, the college experience can be quite different to that of their male peers. This was evident across many data points, including experiencing ‘exclusion or isolation’, pressure to drink alcohol, sexist remarks, the pressure to have sex or hook up to fit in, experiences of sexual harassment and of sexual assault.

Turning now to the recommendations – I make 23. Many build on the promising strategies under way at the colleges.

Each recommendation is intended to ensure a safe and supportive environment, for all students.

A cohesive and collaborative intercollegiate community will have a united response to culture. For this reason the recommendations are common across all colleges.

Courageous leadership from college councils, staff and student leaders lie at the heart of our recommendationsAll three tiers of leadership should therefore actively own and champion the recommendations. With this objective in mind we propose that the leaders develop and deliver a clear and strong written statement (signed by all) that articulates the importance of cultural renewal, its benefit to individual students and the college more broadly.This message should also unequivocally state the college’s zero-tolerance to any unacceptable behaviours and attitudes.

On student leadership, there is a set of recommendations that give greater capacity for the election of, not just the most popular students, but those student leaders who visibly demonstrate the best leadership qualities , including a visible commitment to an inclusive and respectful college culture.

Our analysis shows that women are largely under-represented in student leadership roles. Over the last five years only four women have held the position of senior student or house president in co-ed colleges compared to 16 men. The research is now unequivocal – leadership teams that are gender diverse, result in better decision making and outcomes.

The students from co-ed colleges made it clear to us that they wanted to see more women in their leadership teams, which historically has not been the case. As one student told us:

“If males just keep on getting elected, good women students will leave. They will feel they don’t have a voice.”

On ensuring the wider university campus is inclusive for all students – college and non-college students alike – we make specific recommendations to the University of Sydney. Our data found that around 51 per cent of college students felt stigmatised on the broader university campus because they attend college. There was a sense that they did not belong on the campus.

We therefore propose that the university’s code of conduct prohibit negative or unacceptable comments, attitudes or behaviours from other non-college university students and university staff towards college students and staff. We also recommend the creation of shared learning spaces within the colleges where college and non-college students can come together.

Alcohol featured prominently in our discussions and in the survey. The evidence from numerous research studies is clear – excessive alcohol consumption creates risk – risk to oneself and risk to others. Strong action to minimise any risk is therefore imperative.

So in relation to alcohol we make strong recommendations grounded in best practice approaches of harm minimisation, that seek to reform its demand and supply. We recommend one common alcohol policy across all colleges. This will limit an individual’s ability to “alcohol shop” as all College bars will operate in the same manner.

In relation to the operation of bars and events we recommend that the liquor licence is held by, and the bar is managed by a qualified external provider and that the use of student club fees for the purchase of alcohol be prohibited.

In relation to safety we recommend that the college’s policies on bullying and harassment should explicitly include provisions that strictly prohibit hazing or any other behaviours that compromise students’ physical or psychological safety and wellbeing. Swift action should be taken in relation to those who breach this policy.

In relation to sexual misconduct we recommend that each college, and the University of Sydney develop with an expert, a stand alone policy. The policy should articulate a zero tolerance approach to sexual misconduct, a commitment to trauma informed victim/survivor support and strong action against those who breach the policy.

A stand alone policy sends a clear message to all students of the college’s position on sexual misconduct. It also signals to survivors that all incidents and reports are taken seriously and in so doing, contributes to the creation of a safer reporting environment.

Linked to these recommendations is a call for colleges – particularly those which are co-ed – to eradicate all elements of a hyper-masculine culture – one where male sport for instance, is celebrated over female sport and a “boys will be boys attitude” can be perpetuated. Where such culture exists negative attitudes and behaviours, particularly in relation to women, can be heightened.

Cultural change does not happen overnight. In institutions that have deep-seated traditions and customs it can take time. The cultural renewal process has built significant momentum and I am optimistic that the residential colleges at the University of Sydney are on a strong path of evolution. This report serves as a record that the colleges are genuinely committed to ensuring the creation of environments where all students can thrive. It demonstrates a readiness by each institution to take further bold action to strengthen culture.

I am also encouraged by the fact that the university and all college heads and chairs have accepted my recommendations and have begun the process of implementation. Implementing the changes described in my reports will position the colleges and the University of Sydney as leaders among n and international colleges and universities.

There is also a strong appetite for cultural reform from the students. Student contributions have been vital to the formulation of our recommendations. Constructive discussions on the findings and recommendations have been held with the cohort of 2018 student leaders. These student leaders will be important ambassadors of cultural reform. As one student stated:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed [college] and my attendance here has been a highlight of my life so far, and because of this, I’m in strong support of making changes that could make the experience even better for upcoming generations.”

I look forward to following the progress of each college as they continue on the path of cultural reform towards the creation of inclusive environments where every student feels supported, respected and safe.

Newcastle District Cricket Association: Charlestown’s Glenn Winsor recovers for Under-19 National Championships with Under-17 Cricket China XI

SHOT: Charlestown first grade all-rounder Glenn Winsor, in his third season travelling from Singleton to play at the Newcastle club, will represent the Cricket XI at the Under-19 National Championships. Picture: Marina NeilGlenn Winsor’sset to become a lifeguard at his hometown Singleton Pool.
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But a start date has been put on hold for the Hunter-bred 17-year-old, who has continuous cricket commitments up until Christmas.

The Charlestown first grade all-rounder will represent the Under-17 Cricket XI at the Under-19 National Championships in Tasmania from Monday and then follows up with Newcastle’s under-18 squad at the NSW Country Colts Championships in Tamworth later next month.

“I had the [job] interview today, but I can’t work all December because I’m away so hopefully I start in January,” the former PCH player said.

It will be a busy period for theright-arm paceman and right-hand batsman, but it almost didn’t eventuate.

Winsor player struggled with stress fractures in his lower back for nine months and heonlyreturned to the field in late September.

Rehabilitation work on his core, including yoga and stretching, helped him recover, prepare and then participate in the Under-17 National Championships with ACT-NSW Country.

Performances at the tournament, including 209 runs at an average of 41.8 and nine wickets at 19 apiece,led to his selection in the n under 17s squad.

“I wasn’t really sure [how I’d go] because they were my first games back and I’d beenout for nine months withstress fractures,” Winsor said.

“[When I was out] It was stiff and sore through the day, but not anything heaps painful unless you start running around.

“I knew I’d be able to play again, but I wasn’t sure if I could bowl that quick again. It’s beengood [so far] andback to normal.”

Winsor will line up alongside fellow Hunter junior Will Fort (Norths –Maitland) at the upcoming 12-day competition and against players almost two years his senior including Newcastle star Jason Sangha, who is set toskipper the Under-19 ACT-NSW Country side.

“I’m pretty keen to play,” he said.

“I think the bowlers will be quicker and the batters will be better. They will all know how to play the game.”

Winsor departswith the team on Friday before meeting Victoria Metro at Hobart’s New Town Oval a few days later. Round games follow against Tasmania, Western , ACT-NSW Country and South . Play-offs take place betweenDecember 12 and 15.

The colts carnival, with four of his Charlestown clubmates,then goes from December 18 to 21.

In his third season at the fourth-placed Magpies, he will now missback-to-back two-day encounters.

“We’ve got a good young side and we’ve been starting to play well,” the former Singleton High School student said.

One quarter of home owners said to welcome price fall

A quarter of n home owners are now “happy to see house prices fall”, with more now expecting to benefit from weaker property values than further gains.
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A “surprising” 37 per cent of ns want lower house prices, according to a survey of 1500 ns by ME Bank, including 24 per cent who own a home and 20 per cent with an investment property.

The overall result, however, was split, with 38 per cent of people keen to see prices keep rising.

When asked why they want house prices to fall, an overwhelming 97 per cent of homeowners responded “to help address the housing affordability issue”.

The responses can be taken as a sure sign house prices have reached heights many think are unfair, according to ME Bank’s general manager of home loans Patrick Nolan.

“Traditionally ns fall into two camps when it comes to property prices: owners, who want them to rise, and non-owners, who want them to fall,” Mr Nolan said.

“But with high prices disrupting the dream of home ownership and the benefits that brings, views are changing.”

Most tellingly, according to the researchers, the survey indicates more ns would benefit from property prices falling than rising – 28 per cent indicated they’d benefit by selling if prices continued to rise, compared to 47 per cent who said they’d benefit by buying if property prices fell.

The survey, carried out this month, also shows any adjustment to prices could create shockwaves, with 43 per cent of respondents saying they were reliant on future house price gains to achieve life or financial goals – 10 per cent are completely reliant.

Younger ns appear more reliant on future house price gains, with a slim majority of Millennials (25-39 year olds) responding that they were “reliant”, compared with 30 per cent of Baby Boomers (55-74 year olds).

The bulk of those wanting house prices to continue rising are property owners, with 49 per cent of home owners and 55 per cent of investors still looking for gains.

The report comes as an increasing number of property analysts and economists call the top of the n capital city house price boom, especially UBS economists, who announced the boom is “officially over” this month.

“There is now a persistent and sharp slowdown unfolding,” economists George Tharenou and Carlos Cacho wrote to clients. The investment bank said the price falls would end 55 years of unprecedented growth that has seen home values soar by more than 6500 per cent.

Paper tiger: Why banks don’t need to fear an inquiry

Head for the hills – the nightmare scenario that our banks have long feared may be about to come to pass.
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Laws to start an official inquiry into the industry could clear the House of Representatives next week after a second member of the federal Coalition sided with opposition politicians seeking a probe.

Executives of the big four banks have endured balance sheet levies, fines and Senate grillings in their hopes of averting such an outcome. Now, all that may be in vain.

Their share prices tell a different story. Westpac, National Bank, ANZ Bank and the Commonwealth Bank all edged down, but none by more than a percentage point. Hardly the reaction of an industry in jeopardy. How to explain the divergence?

One reason is that n Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry, for all their powers and pomp, tend to be paper tigers.

Despite dozens of investigations carried out over the years and millions of column inches dedicated to their proceedings, it’s remarkably hard to find evidence of lasting policy effects.

After the Cole commission into the construction industry reported in 2003, the government struggled for years to pass related legislation in the absence of opposition support. The over-representation of indigenous ns in prison has been rising for decades, despite that factor being named as one of the central issues of a 1991 commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Inquiries into an insulation-subsidy program and trade-union corruption set up by the current government in 2013 were treated by the opposition as politicised star chambers.

While a commission will probably divulge embarrassing details and chew up executives’ time, it’s hard to argue real political change will result. Ultimately, only shifts that receive sufficient bipartisan support make it through Parliament.

That applies in the case of a putative banking commission, too. Banks have a job on their hands to clean up the fast-and-loose internal cultures that have led to scandals around interest-rate rigging and money laundering, but the elephant in the room of any inquiry will be the role that successive governments and regulators have played in creating the conditions that cause many ns to resent their banking system.

Here are a few things that would go some way to improving public trust: Endowing regulators with the enforcement powers and willpower to punish banks that step out of line — but that looks like emerging anyway as a result of a separate Treasury report last month;Taking the edge off the spiralling cost of housing in the big cities — but that too appears to already be in train, thanks to a building boom that’s causing rents to grow at the slowest pace in several decades;Clamping down on some of the loose lending practices that have historically turned tight housing supply into spectacular rises in house prices — but that shift began some years ago after the RBA’s perverse opposition to macroprudential regulation started to soften;Reversing the economic divide between the haves and have-nots in the property market — but there’s still a bitter dispute between the government and opposition over whether to end policies like the roughly $2 billion a year investor subsidy via “negative gearing.”

These changes won’t be sufficient on their own — but they’ll go a lot further toward improving the conduct of banks and the confidence of customers than special balance-sheet levies or public hearings.

Our banking system, for all its faults, is reasonably competitive, and its flaws are ones that governments and regulators have allowed to develop.

As such, public distrust in banks is best understood as a symptom of public distrust in the economy and governance as a whole. Only when the latter improves will the former be able to recover.


Photos: Qantas opens its first lounge at London’s Heathrow

Hanging out at Heathrow Airport has probably never featured on your London bucket list. But that may change thanks to the first dedicated Qantas London Lounge.
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This swanky new Terminal 3 retreat is a boon for those travelling on the airline’s twice-daily “kangaroo route” services, and also for the direct Perth-London stretch beginning next March.

Unveiling the 230-seat, Wi-Fi-connected lounge, Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce described it as “a bit of English and a bit of n, too” and that’s reflected in everything from the decor to food and drink.

Overlooking the airfield, there’s a smart-casual lower-floor dining room, with a staircase winding up to a spacious top floor that has the air of a hip hotel bar, not least when you’re at its circular, marble-topped bar, beneath a brass chandelier, sipping cocktails to jazzy background tunes. There are fabric chairs and leather sofas for chilling out, secluded workstations with printer facilities, and six dazzling shower suites with Aurora Spa amenities.

Flatscreen TVs show UK and n news and weather. You can order flat whites and select gins, beers and wines from both countries. There’s tea and scones, hot and cold buffets (including the likes of smoked salmon with kale and quinoa salad), and a la carte offerings such as salt and pepper squid with green chilli sauce – a popular signature dish that you may have enjoyed in other Qantas lounges around the world.

Open daily 8am-8.30pm, the lounge is available to Qantas customers travelling in First and Business and Qantas Platinum One, Platinum and Gold Qantas Frequent Flyers and their guests. Also eligible are oneworld Emerald and Sapphire customers, Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold customers and Qantas Club members and their guests. See qantas苏州夜总会招聘

See also: A 17-hour long haul? How Qantas’ Dreamliner seats stack up

See also: Qantas jumbo jet takes off for Antarctica

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.


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.