Entries from September, 2019

Birds perish as scorching weather dries out Hunter Wetlands

Grim: Hunter Wetlands Centre CEO Dr Stuart Blanch said an estimated 100 egrets died in the recent hot weather. Picture: Jonathan CarrollEgrets are to wetlands what canaries are to mines, a Hunter wildlife expert says –if the egrets are fine, then so are the wetlands.
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That’s why Dr Stuart Blanch, the CEO of Hunter Wetlands Centre, was so dismayed to find about 100 dead egret chicks at the Sandgate conservation area last week, as hot weatherdried-outthe ecosystem.

“When the egrets are in trouble, the wetlands are in trouble,” he said.

“These are high level predators. They eat fish, snakes, aquatic insects, frogs –that’s the top of the food chain, almost.

“They need everything else in the wetland to be going right. The flooding, the water quality, not too many weeds, the rest of the food chain. We love them and we love seeing them around. They are evidence that the ecosystem is working well.”

Dire: Hunter Wetlands Centre CEO Dr Stuart Blanch says the egret is an important part of the wetland ecosystem. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Dr Blanch estimated there were about 200 nests on the property, each containing one or two chicks, which meant between a quarter and half of the young birds were lost in the heat wave. While the weather was also a challenge this time last year, DrBlanch said last week’s harsh conditions were worse.

Blistering temperatures reachedthe mid 40s on the worst day, January 6.

“Birds can’t handle that, particularly young chicks,” he said. “We had dozens leaving our property. It was stinking hot and there was no water. A lot of the chicks that died were two, three, four weeks old.”

When Hunter Water heard of the wetlands’ plight, the utility donated three million litres of water to soak part of the dry wetlands and provide relief for the birds. Hunter Water saidit was possible because of conservation steps that had helped save water.

“Just like at the wetlands, the warm and dry summer conditions have also taken their toll on Hunter Water’s dams, which are at their lowest summer levels in more than a decade,” Hunter Water’s managing director Jim Bentley said.

“Hunter Water has made significant inroads to reduce our own leakage, including by using new tools to manage our water network better.”

Hunter Wetlands was established in 1985 and was added to the list ofWetlands of International Importance in 2002, according to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

There is an estimated 200 plant and bird species at the site.

Cambodian court delays bail decision on Ricketson

Phnom Penh: Declaring that journalism is not a crime, accused Australian spy James Ricketson was ordered returned to one of Cambodia’s harshest prisons on Wednesday after judges delayed announcing whether he could be released on bail.
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“I have a right to free speech under the Cambodian constitution,” 68-year-old Ricketson said as guards led him from the country’s Supreme Court.

“I would like to think the Australian government would defend my right to free speech,” he said.

Ricketson arrived at the court almost an hour after the delay was announced in an apparent jail transfer mix-up.

“I’d love to know what country I am supposed to be spying for,” Ricketson told Fairfax Media while handcuffed to another prisoner.

Court officials said the case was delayed until January 31 because authorities were late bringing Ricketson from jail for Wednesday’s hearing.

Ricketson said he was not confident of being released on bail because it would be a “loss of face” for those building a case against him.

Authorities are investigating Ricketson over his alleged links to a now-disbanded opposition party, which has been accused of attempting to overthrow strongman Hun Sen in a purported United States-backed conspiracy.

He was arrested after flying a drone over a rally on Phnom Penh’s riverfront staged by the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party in June and accused of spying against the government.

The opposition party’s leaders have been jailed, are in hiding or have fled the country in a sweeping crackdown on opponents of Hun Sen ahead of elections scheduled for mid-year.

Analysts say the supposed conspiracy has provided Hun Sen, one of the world’s most notorious autocrats, with an excuse to target his political opponents, as he shrugs off any pretence of democracy in the country where Australia has a deal to send refugees from Nauru.

Opposition figures and the US have strongly denied involvement in any conspiracy.

Ricketson, a prolific letter writer and blogger and award-winning documentary maker from Sydney, was a familiar figure over years at opposition and protest rallies in Phnom Penh, where he has been filming a documentary on a former street beggar he has supported for decades.

Ricketson told an earlier court hearing he came to Cambodia “to help poor people and make films, not to be a spy”.

For years he has supported scavengers at a rubbish dump on the outskirts of Phnom Penh while writing critical blogs about some non-government-organisations in Phnom Penh and campaigning against the conviction of a convicted British child sex offender, who he says is innocent.

Ricketson has been held in pre-trial detention since June in Prey Sar, one of Cambodia’s notoriously harsh jails, as he protests his innocence.

“I am still confused as to what I have done other than flying a drone without a permit to deserve such punishment,” Ricketson wrote from a cell he is sharing with 27 other prisoners.

The circumstances of his arrest and detention have been murky.

Officials said he has been accused of spying “for a foreign state or agents” but provided no further details.

Fresh News, a pro-government news site, accused Ricketson of being an “important spy” and linked him to the supposed plot to overthrow Hun Sen that allegedly involved opposition leaders, staff of NGOs, US embassy officials and journalists.

Support for Ricketson is growing in Australia where thousands of people have signed a petition calling for his release and criticising the Turnbull government for failing to intervene in his case.

Australian journalist Peter Greste, a press freedom advocate who was jailed along with two other Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt, has thrown his support behind the campaign.

Greste tweeted to his 50,000 followers: “Help free another journalist in prison on national security charges. No evidence that James Ricketson in Cambodia is guilty of anything other than caring.”

People who know Ricketson say any suggestion he is was spying is ludicrous.

Ricketson is suffering un-medicated high blood pressure and other ailments and his family fear he may die in jail.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the “Australian Government is continuing to provide consular support, while ensuring we do not prejudice in any way his current situation.”

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‘Simply outrageous’: Train strike could cost economy $100m

Commuters wait for the train at Strathfield station as timetable changes and shortage of train drivers has forced some services to be cut. Strathfield, Sydney. 15th January, 2018. Photo: Kate Geraghty NSW Premier Mike Baird, Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian and Sydney Business Chamber Executive Director Patricia Forsythe make a business tax announcement.Photo Nick Moir 13 June 2016
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NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance (left) & Sydney Trains CEO Howard Collins (right) at Martin Place train station. Sydney CBD. 15th January, 2018. Photo: Kate Geraghty

A planned 24-hour train strike later this month could cost the local economy more than $100 million, the Sydney Business Chamber says, labelling the strike “simply outrageous”.

Patricia Forsythe, executive director of the Chamber, also said the rail union’s call for people to stay home on the day of the planned strike on January 29 was irresponsible.

“It’s one of the busiest days of the work year: the Monday after the Australia Day holiday is traditionally one when basically all of the workforce is back from summer holidays, schools are returning. It is a significant day in our economy,” she said.

“If they were going to pick a day for maximum disruption they’ve certainly done that.”

Ms Forsythe said the Business Chamber’s estimate was based on the fact about 10 per cent of the workforce in greater Sydney use the rail system to get to work, and Sydney had a “billion dollar economy”.

“Our estimate – and it depends on how many people can’t get other means of transport – is that it could effectively cost the Sydney economy more than $100 million,” she said.

“Without a doubt it represents millions and millions of dollars to our economy.”

On Wednesday, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) announced the details of their planned strike, saying NSW train workers will stop work at 12.01am on Monday, January 29 and start work again at 12.01am on Tuesday.

The union’s NSW secretary Alex Claassens??? said Transport Minister Andrew Constance and the state government “[hasn’t] left us with any other choice” after pay negotiations stalled.

“There’s never an ideal time to take this kind of action, but the reality is, we have to,” he said.

Mr Constance told Network Seven on Wednesday that the proposed strike is a “silly stunt”.

“The rail union don’t want to meet with me,” he said.

The RBTU is asking for a pay rise of 6 per cent per year, while the government is sticking to their proposed 2.5 per cent increase.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley said he thought the union was asking for too much, and while he was not a fan of the planned stop-work he thought rail workers deserved better conditions.

“Workers deserve to be treated with respect, people who work for a living delivering vital public services deserve to be well treated with fair pay and good conditions,” he said.

“They deserve a pay rise, but 6 per cent is too much.”

Mr Foley said Mr Constance needed to sit down with the union and work the problem out, otherwise one million commuters will be affected by the strike action.

“This requires both sides sitting down in good faith, negotiating a common-sense solution – there’s plenty of middle ground here,” he said.

The Opposition Leader said Mr Constance had “inflamed” the situation with the union.

“His premier needs to sideline him so that this matter can be resolved,” he said.

Ms Forsythe said the Business Chamber has spoken previously to Mr Constance’s office, but on Wednesday they were calling on the union to halt their industrial action.

“It’s the wrong call, it’s the wrong message,” she said.

The planned strike comes after a horror week on Sydney’s train network, with staff shortages and network damage leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

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Why Woolies boss is looking at start-ups to never run low on bread again

Technology is revolutionising the way supermarkets do business but Australian shoppers aren’t yet ready to embrace some of the futuristic innovations retailers are trialling, Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci says.
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“Technology has become crucial to the future of retail – this is the key for us,” Mr Banducci told Fairfax Media on the sidelines of the National Retailers Federation’s annual expo in New York City.

Mr Banducci was scouring the expo on Tuesday looking for the latest innovations from tech giants and start-ups that could be used in Woolworths’ almost 1000 stores.

Among those that caught his eye was a new barcode scanning technology from software company Digimarc which embeds a code that is imperceptible to the human eye into a product’s packaging design, meaning any part of the item can be scanned at checkout.

The technology has been used by US supermarket Wegmans on its entire range of home-brand products, and Digimarc says it speeds up checkout scanning times by 30 per cent.

“We know our shoppers will let us use their data to help them have a better shopping experience, but we’ve got to be very cautious,” Mr Banducci said.

Several exhibitors at the conference are pitching software that uses cameras and image recognition software to monitor product levels on shelves.

“If you want to upset a customer, don’t have bread,” Mr Banducci said, adding that technology that alerts store managers whenever stock was low was a “fantastic” tool.

Similar technology was being used to check the accuracy of online orders before they are collected or shipped, and to monitor supply chains.

Mr Banducci said he spotted a couple of other attractive technologies that “we’d rather keep to ourselves”.

Some of the most significant advances in the way supermarkets operate have happened recently in China, where some shoppers do not ever encounter a staff member or checkout.

Some Suning and Alibaba stores use facial recognition software to identify customers and automatically charge their bank accounts for the products, which are tagged with sensors, they walk out with.

Mr Banducci said Woolworths could be doing similar things if it wanted to, but had to tread carefully around customers’ privacy concerns and privacy laws.

“I don’t know if the Australian consumer is ready for it. Maybe the next generation will be,” he said.

“We know our shoppers will let us use their data to help them have a better shopping experience, but we’ve got to be very cautious.”

Woolworths recently introduced a suite of digital innovations at its Marrickville Metro store, including installing touch screens to tell bakery staff what they needed to bake and when, and enabling an in-store product finder in its app.

“We’re doing a lot of learning and proof of concepts in that store before we take it to further roll-out or further enhancements,” said Fay Ilhan, Woolworths’ head of e-commerce sales and digital innovations.

Those changes were driven by the company’s new division WooliesX, which was formed last year and brought together its digital, e-commerce, customer loyalty and customer services teams in an effort to drive innovation at the 93-year-old supermarket.

“There is as much opportunity to digitise the back of house as the front of the shop: how you sign in contractors, how you figure out how many chickens to cook – there’s amazing opportunities,” Mr Banducci said.

The reporter attended NRF as a guest of Microsoft.

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Fifteen-year-old storms past Rogowska

It took until the post-match interview on court before many in the crowd appeared to realise that teenage sensation Marta Kostyuk was just 15 years old.
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The audible murmur that hummed around Margaret Court Arena was one of surprise, as the exhausted Kostyuk, born in June 2002, found the right words to describe her elation at making the third round of a grand slam for the first time.

Her feat is not to be underplayed, as she is the youngest female player to reach such a stage in a grand slam since Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the 1997 US Open, and the youngest to do so in Australia since Martina Hingis in 1996.

After watching her demolish her opponent 6-3, 7-5, the crowd’s reaction was understandable, as even her vanquished opponent, Australian Olivia Rogowska, was taken aback by the power of Kostyuk’s shots.

The 26-year-old said post-match she did not feel as though it was a 15-year-old on the other side of the net.

“She’s going to be a dangerous player when she grows up,” Rogowska said.

Kostyuk’s threat level, already high enough to dispose of the Australian wildcard and the 25th seed Shuai Peng in the first two rounds, is only going to grow.

The only pointer to her tender age on the tennis court was the inconsistency in her play.

Eleven double faults and 22 winners give an indication of the 89 minutes of ups and downs, but those slingshot returns from the back of the court that did hit the mark were unstoppable.

Already it’s easier to catch a hungry lizard’s tongue than return Kostyuk’s forehand when she hits one with force.

At times she took both feet off the ground and pirouetted like an Olympic ice skater, twirling through the air to put her full weight behind the balls she fired past a hapless Rogowska.

It was a shot combining the grace and power of an acrobat, a skill Kostyuk has practised for seven years, or nearly half her life.

She knows her fame is growing, admitting after the win that she sensed something had shifted, and it wasn’t just the size of her bank balance.

The first words she uttered as she entered the packed media conference were: “This is scary.”

It was a quote befitting someone her age, but she showed great maturity in dealing with the focus.

“It’s actually the first win when I feel like something is going on, something different,” Kostyuk said.

She said the experience she gained the previous year, when winning the Australian Open junior final, stood her in good stead and the only nerves came when she served.

She also admitted the code violation paid against her for coaching from the sidelines left her fuming, as the incident threatened to upset her equilibrium and momentum early in the second set.

“I was so mad. I wasn’t upset. I was so mad, because I didn’t see what mum was showing me,” Kostyuk said. “Then when the referee said code violation, I was, like, what? I didn’t even see her, like – like, I swear, I didn’t see what she was showing me.”

It was, it seemed, the sort of interaction mums have with their teenagers every day, with her mother also telling her post-game to stay away from her phone until she had eaten properly.

The sparkly teenager was compliant, as she knows what needs to be done to succeed in her chosen profession.

“I know that only talent will not help me to play good,” Kostyuk said. “I’m working pretty hard.”

Now she faces her Ukrainian compatriot Elina Svitolina in the third round, and will go into the game with some expectation to perform. Not that it concerns her too much.

“I will just enjoy it. I think I’m going to play on big court again, but I will just try to show my best tennis,” Kostyuk said.

Meanwhile, title favourite Svitolina celebrated like she’d won the Australian Open after surviving a stern test against rising Czech Katerina Siniakova to reach the third round.

Fourth-seeded Svitolina exploded with an animated double fist pump after battling back from a set down to progress 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

She conceded it was tough going in her first appearance of the tournament at Rod Laver Arena.

“I thought I’m going to melt today. It was not easy and I was struggling a bit,” she said after the 2??-hour workout.

“Hopefully I can recover. I can’t wait for an ice bath.”

With AAP

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First-home buyers shine in new ABS data

First-home buyers have again lifted their claim on new mortgage lending in Australia, according to official data, with experts calling 2018 the year of the first-home buyer comeback.
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The number of loans written to first-home buyers, as a percentage of total owner-occupied loans, rose to 18 per cent in November 2017 from 17.6 per cent in the previous month, ABS housing finance data show.

The last time the figures were at 18 per cent or above was 2012 – although that figure was still a long way off May 2009 when first-home buyers made up 31.4 per cent of all new mortgages.

The figures also show policy measures aimed at dissuading property investors continued to bite in November, with a seasonally adjusted 1.5 per cent gain in finance to investors in the month but an 8.3 per cent fall year-on-year.

Overall housing finance commitments were up 2.1 per cent in November and average loan sizes for both owner occupiers and first-home buyers rose – $11,000 and $3000, respectively.

Chief economist at Market Economics Stephen Koukoulas said a softer national market, low interest rates and better buying conditions were coming together to help many young buyers into the market.

“Opportunities for first-home buyers are certainly improving,” he said, but warned the figures may not continue to rise, but rather track sideways from current highs.

“Once you’ve already had a decent pick-up it’s hard for it to keep growing.”

“Maybe there will be more of a consolidation of these higher levels rather than extra growth.” Aust Nov housing finance: investors +1.5%mom, owner occupiers +2.7%. Stronger than expected but investor share continuing to fall. First home buyer share rose to 18% as decline in investors provides space and improved stamp duty duty concessions in NSW and Victoria help. pic.twitter苏州美甲学校/1T4R0sMElL??? Shane Oliver (@ShaneOliverAMP) January 17, 2018This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲学校.

Sorry, no one wants your used clothes anymore

For decades, the donation bin has offered consumers in rich countries a guilt-free way to unload their old clothing.
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In a virtuous and profitable cycle, a global network of traders would collect these garments, grade them, and transport them around the world to be recycled, worn again, or turned into rags and stuffing.

Now that cycle is breaking down. Fashion trends are accelerating, new clothes are becoming as cheap as used ones, and poor countries are turning their backs on the second-hand trade. Without significant changes in the way that clothes are made and marketed, this could add up to an environmental disaster in the making.

Nobody is more alert to this shift than the roughly 200 businesses devoted to recycling clothes into yarn and blankets in Panipat, India. Located 55 miles north of Delhi, the dusty city of 450,000 has served as the world’s largest recycler of woollen garments for at least two decades, becoming a crucial outlet for the $US4 billion ($5 billion) used-clothing trade.

Panipat’s mills specialise in a cloth known as shoddy, which is made from low-quality yarn recycled from woollen garments. Much of what they produce is used to make cheap blankets for disaster-relief operations. It’s been a good business: At its peak in the early 2010s, Panipat’s shoddy manufacturers could make 100,000 blankets a day, accounting for 90 per cent of the relief-blanket market.

In the early 2000s, though, cash-flush Chinese manufacturers began using modern mills that could produce many times more blankets per day than Panipat’s, and in a wider variety of colours.

Ramesh Goyal, the general manager of Ramesh Woollen Mills, told me that Chinese manufacturing has become so efficient that a new polar fleece blanket costs a mere $US2.50 retail — compared to $US2.00 for a recycled blanket. This has made China the preferred manufacturer of relief blankets worldwide, costing Panipat most of its export market.

So Panipat is changing. Five years ago, nobody in town made new fleece blankets. Today, about 50 mills do. Ramesh Woollen Mills added a Chinese-built line in 2016, and thereby boosted its production from 7,000 kilograms a day to 12,000, two-thirds of which is polar fleece. Consumers appreciate the quality, variety and fast production times.

But what’s good for Panipat and its customers is bad news for donors and the environment. Even if Panipat were producing shoddy at its peak, it probably couldn’t manage the growing flood of used clothing entering the market in search of a second life.

Between 2000 and 2015, global clothing production doubled, while the average number of times that a garment was worn before disposal declined by 36 per cent. In China, it declined by 70 per cent. Fast fashion fiasco

The rise of “fast fashion” is thus creating a bleak scenario: The tide of second-hand clothes keeps growing even as the markets to reuse them are disappearing. From an environmental standpoint, that’s a big problem. Already, the apparel industry accounts for 10 per cent of global carbon emissions; as recycling markets break down, its contribution could soar.

The good news is that nobody has a bigger incentive to address this problem than the industry itself. By raising temperatures and intensifying droughts, climate change could substantially reduce cotton yields and thus make garment production less predictable and far more expensive. Industry executives are clearly concerned.

The question is what to do about it. Some brands, such as H&M and Patagonia, are experimenting with new fibres made from recycled material, which could help. But longer-term, the industry will have to try to refocus consumers on durability and quality — and charge accordingly. Era coming to an end

Ways to do this include offering warranties on clothing and making tags that inform consumers of a product’s expected lifespan. To satiate the hunger for fast fashion, meanwhile, brands might also explore subscription-based fashion rental businesses — such as China’s YCloset — or other more sustainable models.

None of these options can replace Panipat and the other mill towns that once transformed rich people’s rags into cheap clothes for the poor.

But, like it or not, that era is coming to end. Now the challenge is to stitch together a new set of solutions.

Adam Minter is the author of “Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade.”

Bloomberg

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Hidden Perth: The story behind Australia’s first free colony

There’s no plaque outside 57 Murray Street in Perth’s CBD, nothing to record the significant role it played in Australian history.
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Yet had you visited this same building anytime between 1915 and 1940, you’d have witnessed a steady stream of Indigenous Australians queuing up – for permission to marry, the correct form to move to another town, or just to collect a bar of soap.

The imposing, heritage-listed building was once the headquarters of possibly the most infamous public servant this country has ever produced.

Auber Octavius (AO) Neville – sometimes known as Neville the Devil – was appointed Chief Protector of Aborigines by the Western Australian government in 1915, with his title changing to Commissioner for Native Affairs in 1936 until his retirement four years later.

Played by Kenneth Branagh in the movie Rabbit Proof Fence, Neville was the architect of the policy of assimilation we now call “the Stolen Generations”.

As Chief Protector of Aborigines, Neville ironically believed “the Native race” should be genetically absorbed.

As he put it: “Are we going to have one million blacks in the Commonwealth? Or are we going to merge them into our white community and eventually forget that there were any Aborigines in Australia?”

But enough of Neville and the past. I’m here on a two-hour walking tour with Ryan Zaknich, co-founder of the award-winning Two Feet & a Heartbeat company, which offers bespoke walking tours of the city, depending on your interests. And my request had been simple: “Show me what’s new.”

For those of you who haven’t been to the WA capital in the past few years, much has changed. James Packer’s new five-star $650 million hotel Crown Towers, Perth (which opened in December 2016 and is linked to the neighbouring Crown Metropole and Crown Casino) offers superb views of the changing Perth skyline from its top floor club lounge (crownhotels苏州美甲学校419论坛/crown-towers-perth/en).

Look, there’s the 60,000-seater, $1.6 billion Perth Stadium (perthstadium苏州美甲学校419论坛/), due to open in 2018 in time for next year’s AFL season (both West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers will play there), with Test matches to follow.

So what else is new? I meet Zaknich at the Atlas Building, a former assurance headquarters that opened in 1931 on The Esplanade.

If that hardly seems new, we’re here for two reasons. Firstly, it is the home of the Museum of Perth (museumofperth苏州美甲学校419论坛/), a not-for-profit organisation which opened in 2016 to chronicle the city’s social, cultural, political and architectural history.

The exhibition today is Demolished Icons of Perth – a photographic display showing buildings that were bulldozed alongside photos of what replaced them. “Perth could have been the most beautiful city in Australia,” Zaknich says. “But we destroyed it.”

Secondly, Zaknich knows the Atlas Building has arguably the best view (for the time being) of Elizabeth Quay, the multi-billion dollar renovation of the Esplanade Reserve and the “Perth waterfront” (the WA government has spent $440 million developing the site which will eventually feature the future Ritz-Carlton hotel – some 2800 new hotel rooms are due to open in Perth before the end of 2019).

This foreshore was the birthplace of the Swan River Colony. It’s often forgotten Perth is the third oldest capital city in Australia (after Sydney and Hobart). Initially – and isn’t this the story of European settlement of Australia? – it was a debacle.

Captain James Stirling, the city’s founder and WA’s first governor, arrived in 1829 to form the first free colony in Australia (though the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh had named the Swan River after the black swans he saw there in 1697). Of course, the local Nyoongar people had been there for 40,000 years or more. Quite naturally, they took exception when their traditional food supplies were consumed by the newcomers.

As Zaknich points out, the Swan River at this point is a misnomer: it’s actually an easily defended part of the tidal estuary. But although it will be several years before Elizabeth Quay is completed, it has already become a focal point of the city.

A 20-metre high, double-arched suspension bridge for pedestrians and cyclists now crosses to the Isle of Voyage, containing the rebuilt Florence Hummerston Kiosk (isleofvoyage苏州美甲学校419论坛/home).

Then there are the seasonal pop-up festivals, the futuristic Bell Tower on Barrack Street Jetty, and signature $1.3 million, eight-storey steel and carbon fibre installation designed by local artist Christian de Vietri, unveiled in 2016 (apparently it represents water ripples reflecting the Swan River, the land and the sky).

As we walk northwards from Elizabeth Quay, Zaknich points out back lane bars and restaurants that will be thriving come Friday evening, a legacy of the WA government’s 2007 licensing reform designed to encourage a more vibrant streetscape (including the street art prompted by the not-for-profit organisation FORM – form.net419论坛/).

We also venture into COMO The Treasury – the 48-room luxury hotel recast from what used to be the 19th-century State Buildings (comohotels苏州美甲学校/thetreasury). Then we take the lift up to Perth’s most celebrated rooftop restaurant, Wildflower (wildflowerperth苏州美甲学校419论坛/). Sadly, there’s no time to sample the $145 five course tasting plate determined by whichever of the six Indigenous seasons we happen to be visiting in (example: “Slow-cooked Doodlakine pork with sweet potato, sour radish, candied mustard, Davidson and powdered Kakadu plum” – a winner at any corroboree).

Throughout our walk, Zaknich fills me in on the tragedies of Midgegooroo and his son, Yagan.

Midgegooroo was a tribal elder of the Nyungar nation who fell foul of white man’s law. This was (a) because white man’s law had never been explained to him and/or (b) because he was obeying his traditional laws – which meant if someone arrived unannounced and stole your fish, you were fully entitled to pluck his goose.

What is undeniable is that Midgegooroo was captured, imprisoned, then condemned to death without a trial, tied to the gates of the city gaol and executed by firing squad.

The main reason Zaknich is telling me this is because our tour is due to end at Yagan Square.

Since the railway arrived in 1881, Perth has been a divided city. Sandwiched between the Swan and the trains, the city centre has stretched out in a narrow east-west corridor.

Northbridge was home to Chinese market gardeners, opium dens, mahjong rooms, whore houses, nightclubs.

Of course, it had to reinvent itself once that custom (minus the market gardening) was transferred to the newly opened Burswood Island Casino in 1985.

Northbridge is now undergoing another revival, as demonstrated by trendy hotels such as the Alex Hotel (alexhotel苏州美甲学校419论坛/), funky restaurants like Sauma, Meat Candy and Lucky Chan’s Laundry + Noodle Bar, and Northbridge Piazza with its free outdoor movies.

This year, Northbridge is being connected to the Perth CBD for the first time in 137 years. According to its official website, Yagan Square will be “the city’s new heart … a hub of activity both during the day and at night with cafes, restaurants, pop-up shops and kiosks”.

Essentially it is a new public meeting space (similar to Melbourne’s Federation Square) created by enclosing and building over the railway tracks.

“This will be where Eagles fans gather when they win the Grand Final,” Zaknich says. “It can cater for up to 8500 people.”

Of course, the main significance of Yagan Square is its name.

Yagan is one of the few Aborigines to have made it into the Australian Dictionary of Biography. A resistance leader and defender of his people, Yagan was shot dead on July 11,1833, by a young shepherd boy eager to claim the ??30 bounty for capturing him “dead or alive”.

The story of Yagan’s subsequent decapitation, the skinning of his tribal tattoos, the return of his severed head from the UK in 1997, and its final burial in 2010 is too tortuous to repeat (no one emerges with glory).

Yet the naming of Perth’s new civic corroboree space after him – at the same time the revitalised quay is rebadged after the reigning monarch – marks a reconciliation of sorts. Doesn’t it? TRIP NOTESMORE

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Steve Meacham was a guest of Tourism Western Australia.

Wallarah 2 coal mine approved despite risk to Central Coast water supply

Wallarah 2 coal mine approved despite risk to Central Coast water supply Decision: NSW Planning Assessment Commission members (from left) Andrew Hutton, David Johnson and Dr Peter Williams at a November Wallarah 2 hearing.
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Protest: Central Coast residents protest outside the Wallarah 2 Planning Assessment Commission hearing in November.

Concerns: Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive Sean Gordon outside the PAC hearing. An earlier Wallarah 2 proposal proposed mine infrastructure over Darkinjung land without consent.

TweetFacebookWallarah 2 coal project is completely unacceptable and completely unwanted.

Australian Coal Alliance spokesperson Alan Hayes

Mr Phillips said the mine was risky because of its threat to the safe drinking water supply of more than 300,000 people, and “has been knocked back by a previous state government for that very reason”.

“The Coalition came to power promising to end mining in sensitive drinking water catchments. They promised to stop this very coal mine – Wallarah 2 – but now they’ve given it the green light,” Mr Phillips said.

The Planning Assessment Commission approved the underground mine to produce up to five million tonnes of coal for 25 years. The coal would be exported to Korea and used in “local domestic power stations”, it said.

It noted that demand for coal for 25 years and the acceptability of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the end use of coal remained “significant uncertainties for the project”.

The commission acknowledged subsidence of up to 2.6 metres beneath a state forest area;increased flooding impacts for more than 170 property owners that could require lifting or relocating homes andincreased flooding impacts affecting 15 bridges and roads.

It also acknowledged that “economic costs and benefits of the project are finely balanced, with inevitable uncertainties about demand for thermal coal 20 years in to the future”, after Kores’ economic benefit estimate of $1.56 billion to the state was reduced to $32 million in a report commissioned by the Department of Planning.

The commission said it was satisfied impacts on surface and groundwater, and the Central Coast water supply, could be “acceptably managed”.

“The commission has found there is a small risk of impacts including to the drinking water catchment, and a small level of scientific uncertainty to these. On that basis the commission is satisfied the threat of serious or irreversible damage is very low”.

“Any potential loss to the water availability from the aquifer of the Central Coast water supply would be compensated by the applicant providing 300 megalitres a year of treated water to the catchment,” the commissionsaid.

The underground mine would provide 450 jobs during construction and 300 once operating, and any risks could be “appropriately managed and contained” by a “rigorous framework of conditions,management plans, monotiring programs and independent audits”.

Jaliens back for challenge

PLAYING for Westonis a long way from keeping Lionel Messi goalless in a World Cup match.
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MARQUEE MAN: Kew Jaliens tries out a Bears playing shirt at Weston Park on Wednesday after the Northern NSW NPL club announced his recruitment. Picture: Craig Kerry

But at 39 and after almost three years out of the game, Kew Jaliens admits competing in the Northern NSW NPL this year will be a mentaland physical challenge.

“For me, the main thing is my conditioning,” Jaliens said.“I never had any injuries, so the body feels good.I think it’s more of my own mental challenge – accepting that I’m not as fit or as strong as I used to be, and can I still do the things that I have in my head?I think it’s more of a personal challenge than being able to play.”

The Bears announced on Wednesday the signing ofthe former Newcastle Jets captain, who will be among the best credentialed players ever inthe top NNSW league.

The centre-back last played in May 2015 after 11 games forMelbourne City and36 with Newcastle. Those stints came aftermore than 400 matches across stays attop Dutch andPolish clubs. Hisinternational career included the2008 Olympics and 2006 World Cup, where he helped the Netherlands contain Argentina’s Messi in a 0-0 draw.

Since retiring, Jaliens’ football focus has been oncreating a youth academy, which the Bears will provide crucial space for at Weston Park.

@WestonBearsFC president Rod Henderson with marquee recruit Kew Jaliens today at Bear Park @[email protected]@NNSWFpic.twitter苏州美甲学校/8bZHSSillb

— Craig Kerry (@craigkerry77) January 16, 2018

Jaliens will join a long listof former A-League stars, including Jets great Joel Griffiths, who have played on in theNNSW NPL. He said the advice from Griffiths was: “Just go in blank because it’s totally different and just enjoy it rather than getting all the frustrations about professional stuff that we were used to …you can crush your head if you get a bad pass or things are not working, but these things will happen and to just enjoy it.”

The Bears have finished last the past two seasons and Jaliens said the goal this year was “just to compete”.

“If you come last two years in a row, you want to leave that behind and just compete,” he said. “I’ve seen some games and in some we weren’t the lesser team, but sometimes inexperience can kill you.”

He hoped to provide crucial leadership and experience alongsidereturning stalwart Nathan Morris and veteran midfielder Josh Maguire at the Bears.

“For me, I just want to be there for the boys,” Jaliens said.

“I just want to make the ones around me better than they are now and contribute to what they want to do.

“I’ve done it all before, so it’s easy for me, but there are a lot of young boys here who might have a passion to play at a higher level or even bring this club to a higher level, and I think that’s where I come in.”

Off the field, he hoped to provide that guidance to juniors in Weston and the surrounding suburbs.

“Where my passion lies is to work with youth, to develop youth and give them a football education like I had when I was back in Holland,” he said.

“The plan still is to have an academy, so my priority and energy was in setting that up and that’s coming off the ground now.

“That’s one less worry for me, so now I can focus on other things.”

Jaliens was technical director at Weston in 2016 and part of last season but now felt the time was right to return to the field.

“I’ve been around Weston for a bit, most of the time working with the kids, but lately also running with the first team,” he said.

“The body feels good, I don’t have any complaints and even when I trained with the boys, I enjoyed it.

“Especially this year, I think we’ve got a good mix of talented boys and some experience and I think that’s a good mix to start with.

“Last year we had a lot of talent but not so much experience and I think that’s what cost them a bit. I think this year there’s a very good mix and I enjoy being with the boys.

“Even though it’s a lower level, it’s still up to you to challenge yourself every game or every training session to be the best you can,” he added about his return.

“In that sense, I think it’s enjoyable to do the thing that you love.”

Jaliens, now a permanent resident in Australia, said he had enjoyed spending extra time in recent years with his young family, who have stayed in Newcastle since he joined the Jets in 2013.

Bears president Rod Henderson said the influence of Jaliens and Morris “will be sensational in guiding the young players through to the next level”.