On ‘Brexit Day’ Britain will leave the EU – but not any EU institutions

‘Brexit Day’ on March 29, 2019 will see Britain leave the European Union in name only, under an EU plan leaked to the media hours after the so-called ‘divorce deal’ was done.
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Instead, two ‘transition’ years will follow Brexit, during which the UK stays subject to the entire body of EU law, set by Brussels, but no longer having any say in those laws.

The UK will stay in the Customs Union and the Single Market for that time, and would have to abide by their rules such as the free movement of labour.

The document implies the UK government has already agreed to these conditions – and European Council president Donald Tusk also gave that impression.

“As you know, the UK has asked for a transition of about two years, while remaining part of the Single Market and Customs Union,” Tusk said. “And we will be ready to discuss this, but naturally, we have our conditions.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her ministers have previously insisted that Britain would leave both institutions on Brexit day.

In a statement to parliament in October, May said: “As we leave the European Union in March 2019 we will leave full membership of the Customs Union and full membership of the Single Market.”

She could argue the UK will no longer have ‘full membership’ because it cannot set the rules, but that explanation would likely not be well received.

In a sobering speech shortly after the divorce deal was announced, Tusk said he was satisfied with progress on the divorce deal but “the most difficult challenge is still ahead”.

“We all know that breaking up is hard, but breaking up and building a new relationship is much harder,” Tusk said. “Since the Brexit referendum, a year and a half has passed.

“So much time has been devoted to the easier part of the task. And now, to negotiate a transition arrangement and the framework for our future relationship, we have de facto less than a year.”

The document, circulated to European leaders on Friday, is the EU’s draft of guidelines for the second phase of negotiations.

Tusk said the EU was ready to start preparing a close EU-UK partnership in trade, in the fight against terrorism and international crime as well as security, defence and foreign policy.

Whitehall insiders said they would not be taking a celebratory holiday now that the first stage of Brexit is done, but would be hard at work nailing down the transition arrangements.

UK-based businesses, including big corporations in the City of London, have made it clear to May that there must be clarity on the transition by March 2018, a year ahead of Brexit day.

Otherwise they will not be able to plan for the year ahead, and could activate contingency plans to move operations and staff to the continent.

Reaction to the divorce deal struck in the early hours of Friday morning was mixed, with hardcore eurosceptics calling it a betrayal of Brexit.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the “very bad deal” was a humiliating capitulation, and the UK had met every one of the EU’s demands.

“We collapsed at every level,” he said, saying it would be at least six years after the Brexit vote before the UK was able to make a trade deal with any other part of the world.

“We look like mugs,” he said. “We wasted months and months and in the end we agreed to all the things the Commission insisted upon.”

When asked for an example of where the EU had given ground, chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he was not “at this stage insisting the UK should repay the removal costs” for EU agencies leaving London.

Under the deal, Britain will pay a financial settlement for outstanding debts and obligations, calculated and paid over time – and estimated in the media at about between ??35 billion ($62 billion) and ??40 billion.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker called the agreement “the breakthrough we needed” allowing the two sides to begin discussions on crucial future trade and customs arrangements.

May, who may have saved her job by getting the deal done, said it had required “give and take from both sides”.

The Democratic Unionist Party, who scuppered a draft deal on Monday because they were concerned it would divide Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, have cautiously accepted the new version, saying there was “more work to be done”.

Their leader, Arlene Foster, said they had run out of time to go through the details of the agreement, and May had decided to go to Brussels anyway in the national interest.

DUP support in Westminster is vital for May’s minority government.

The agreement, which is provisional and could change next year, also guarantees the continuation of current rights of the three million EU citizens in the UK to continue to live, work and study there, including family reunification rights for spouses, parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren.

And it guarantees there will be “no hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic, while also maintaining the “constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom”.

The UK will “maintain full alignment” with the rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union, unless it can come up with some other arrangement that guaranteed no immigration posts or customs checks on the geographical border.

In a public letter from the EU Commission to the European Council – the leaders of the nations forming the union – the Commission expressed its scepticism.

“(The UK’s) intention seems hard to reconcile with (its) communicated decision to leave the internal market and the Customs Union,” the letter said.

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England’s focus on sledging could cost Ashes, warn retired stars

England must forget about the sledging and redirect their energies to playing cricket if they’re to save the Ashes.
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That’s the opinion of several retired Australian Test cricketers who believe the chatter out on the field this summer has been no different to what’s gone before in more than a century of cricket between the great foes.

There have been no official complaints made to the International Cricket Council, despite much discussion so far this series focusing on whether or not the sledging has become too personal.

The visitors believe Australia took things too far in the opening Test at the Gabba, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow one of the primary targets.

Then in Adelaide there appeared to be plenty of discussion between Australian captain Steve Smith and the English bowlers.

At one stage umpire Aleem Dar stood between Smith, at the non-striker’s end, and Jimmy Anderson when one of their discussions became particularly robust.

“It’s been round for 100 years,” former Australian quick Craig McDermott said. “You don’t want to get personal, that’s for sure, but there’s always words said and that’s part and parcel of it at the end of the day.

“That’s what they said last time when they got flogged 5-0 out here. We didn’t cry poor when we got beaten in England did we? I think they need to just concentrate on playing cricket.

“It wasn’t a very quiet field when you played against blokes like Ian Botham and people like that. There was always plenty said in that particular era, and the West Indies were the same.”

Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland played down the perceived sledging during the Adelaide Test as “banter” and CA feel the umpires are doing their job in managing the players.

“We do recognise that international cricket is a high-stakes, competitive environment and on-field banter is as old as the game itself,” a CA spokesperson said.

“All players are reminded regularly that they have a responsibility to manage their on-field emotions, even in the most pressured situations. Our players understand the consequences if they overstep the mark at any time.”

When England beat Australia in the Old Dart in 2015 their players were only too quick to remind the visitors that their Ashes campaign was falling into a state of disrepair.

“If the English are going to complain about it, they probably should look internal to see who their main culprits are as well,” retired all-rounder Shane Watson said. “When things are flying for them, they’re always very happy to continue to dish it out.

“It’s part of the game and part of an Ashes series, it’s high stakes out in the middle, not just the players, but the support staff around, the administrators, the fans, everything, there’s a lot on the line.

“I’ve loved seeing Steve Smith stand up to a few of those senior guys in particular, Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, because he’s a leader of the team and he’s got to make sure he stands strong for himself and for his team around him.

“The players know where the line is, they’re going to push the line of course because it’s high stakes and people are trying to put their stake in the ground as well. I’d be extremely surprised if it boiled over.”

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UN warns racism on the rise in Australia

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Senator Zed Seselja during a visit to the Crace Early Learning Centre in Canberra on Wednesday 8 February 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex EllinghausenThe United Nations has issued a scathing report on racism in Australia, warning discrimination is “on the rise”, including in the political sphere and in the media.
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But the assessment and its recommendations have drawn a fierce response from the Turnbull government’s Multicultural Affairs Minister, Zed Seselja, who lashed out at its “bizarre criticism”.

The periodic review documented 16 areas of concern including the welfare and status of Indigenous Australians, asylum seekers and migrant workers.

The UN committee proposed a range of radical changes to combat racism, including beefing up section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and effectively censoring aspects of the media and public commentary.

It suggested racist incidents were often “treated with impunity” and said section 18C should be better policed by “law enforcement officials”. UN officials were concerned too few racial discrimination complaints made it to court because the costs and the burden of proof were too high.

Free speech advocates consider section 18C – which makes it unlawful (but not criminal) to offend, insult or humiliate someone on the basis of race – a blight on free expression. The Turnbull government earlier this year tried to water down the section’s wording but was blocked by the Senate.

In its report released overnight in Geneva, the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination declared “expressions of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia, including in the public sphere and political debates as well as in the media, are on the rise” in Australia.

The report’s conclusions are based largely on submissions and testimony from non-government organisations, communities and Australian governments.

Hate speech and violence particularly affected Arabs and Muslims, asylum seekers and refugees, Africans, South Asians and Indigenous people, the committee noted.

It recommended ditching the anti-terrorism and national security clauses of the Multicultural Australia statement – announced by the Turnbull government in March – which it warned could lead to racial profiling of Muslims and Arabs by police.

Senator Seselja said the Turnbull government “completely rejects this bizarre criticism” and that a successful multicultural Australia “is only possible, if at the same time, our borders are secure and our nation is safe”.

The UN committee also turned on politicians, saying Australia needed to combat xenophobia in political discourse by ensuring public officials “not only refrain from such speech but also formally reject and condemn hate speech”.

Furthermore, the media should “put an end to racist hate speech” in print and online, and adopt a “code of good conduct” with provisions banning racism.

Alina??? Leikin???, lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said the UN report was a clear call to arms for the government to “act both urgently and effectively” in tackling racism.

Of particular resonance were concerns about Aboriginal land rights and the failure of the Closing the Gap strategy to improve the welfare of Indigenous Australians.

The UN said a “paradigm shift” was necessary in how governments deal with Indigenous people, calling on the state to “demonstrate the necessary political will to ensure that aspirational plans and programs become a reality”.

Several of the concerns raised in this year’s evaluation were already flagged in the UN’s previous report on Australia in 2010. However, the document released overnight was significantly more critical than the one seven years ago.

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Watson raring to go for Thunder in Big Bash

Sydney Thunder captain Shane Watson has declared himself fully fit ahead of next week’s Big Bash season-opener against the cross-town Sixers, having recovered from the hamstring injury that ruled him out of this year’s Bangladesh Premier League.
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The retired Test all-rounder has returned to grade cricket with Sutherland after injuring his troublesome hamstring early in the summer, rendering him unavailable for the Dhaka Dynamites in what would have been his first crack at the BPL. He scored 108 off 51 balls in grade cricket on Sunday against Mosman.

Watson missed the first four matches of last season’s tumultuous Thunder campaign with a calf injury. He returned to lead his side to three wins from their last four games, but it wasn’t enough to steer them into the finals and their title defence ended with barely a murmur.

His injury was only one of several unsettling issues that plagued the club last summer.

England one-day captain Eoin Morgan was forced back to international duty halfway through the season, while Pat Cummins couldn’t see out the season due to commitments with the Australian team.

West Indian dynamo Andre Russell also missed the back half of the summer through injury. He subsequently received a 12-month ban for a doping whereabouts rule violation.

“It didn’t help that I was injured for the first four games as well, so that mucked around the batting order and the bowling line-up,” Watson said.

“We had Andre Russell come in and had a few things hanging over his head. It was a pretty disruptive season with a few things that happened.

“What we took out of last season was to be able to make things simpler, make sure that we really set the foundations really strongly in the first week in the lead-up to our first game, so everyone really is on the exact same page, everybody knows exactly what’s expected of them.”

The Thunder have recruited well as they target an instant return to the top four in this summer’s expanded competition.

Callum Ferguson has joined from the Renegades while New Zealand quick and Twenty20 specialist Mitch McClenaghan signed earlier this year. Both are expected to play out the entire season.

English wicketkeeper Jos Buttler has also joined the Thunder. He’s been named in England’s 16-man one-day international squad which will play Australia in five ODIs after the Ashes, starting on January 14, but should be available for most of the BBL.

“We’ve lost a bit of experience with Eoin Morgan, but for us to be able to get Jos Buttler, he’s a world-class T20 player and, from my dealings with him, he’s a world-class guy as well,” Watson said.

“His experience and his quality as a T20 player is going to add a lot of value.

“We’ve obviously lost Pat Cummins and the impact he provided with both bat and ball last year. The reason we went for Mitch McClenaghan [is that] he’s an impact bowler, very experienced as well – he’s had a lot of success at T20 cricket.

“Then through the middle order with Callum Ferguson, he is a huge coup. To be able to get Ferg up from the Renegades, he’s still playing great cricket.

“He’s going to add a lot of experience in that middle order. He’s a highly-skilled batter, reads the game very well, very calm under pressure.”

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Why private schools need to be a thing of the past

More wealthy parents are looking past private schooling for their children. Photo: Jim RiceOpinionIf I had one wish for Australia it’d be this. Ban private schools.
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TheTurnbull government has been caughthiding funding figures for Catholic schools but it beats me why such funding even exists. Indeed, it beats me why private schools exist. Why they’re even legal.

Private schools don’t necessarily produce bad people, although it’s true that (as a 2013 Crikey survey found) most cabinet ministers attended them. Private schools are just very, very bad for the country.

Public money is our money. It’s there to fund stuff in which we all believe and from which we all benefit – stuff that makes Australia fairer, more creative, more harmonious, more successful.

Illustration: Simon Letch

We’re across it. That’s why Peter FitzSimons’petitionagainst Gladys Berejiklian’s $2 billion stadium rebuild gathered 150,000 signatures inside a week. “We are tired of taxpayer dollars being lavished on …Sports Big Business while community sport withers on the vine…” wrote FitzSimons. Everyone agrees.

Yet when it’s schools withering, we’re fine. Every year we pour $53 billion into a system that can only divide us, with a quarter of it – $12.7billion – going straight to educational big business.

And for what? What does it buy, this immense spend? It buys a system that deliberately tribalises children before they can read, that has parents selling their houses for school fees, stressing about homework and entry exams and increasingly investing inprivate tutoring for four-year-olds. Yet for all that effort and angst, it’s a system that leaves us (asrecentnewsyet again makes clear)less well educatedwith each passing year.

Increasingly, education seems like happiness: despite (or because of) a vast global industry devoted to generating angst, the harder we try, the more elusive it becomes.

Three arguments are usually advanced for private schools. One, choice. Parents should be free to choose expensive or religious education for their kids if they wish. Two, quality. Private schools offer better education and, regardless of politics, the kid’s interests should prevail. Three, burden: private schools, far from siphoning wealth from the public system, lightens its load.

None of these arguments stack up. Take choice. Choice relies on comparison, product to product. But education is not shampoo. You can’t try a school for a few weeks or years and know that how your kid tracks is a direct result, or how things might have been different elsewhere. So comparison is illusory.

Indeed, anew papersuggests that the focus on choice and competition may itself be distracting us from the content and purpose of education, in favour of its trappings.

Which goes directly to the quality argument.Many parents send their kids to private schools, even when they don’t approve, because they think the education is better and there’s at least a modicum of discipline. And yes, private schools are more able to impose order and sack teachers for non-performance. But, given that these students are already more biddable and more literate, it’s impossible to prove any net educational benefit.

Three years ago, David Gillespie (author ofFree Schools) argued persuasively that, once you correct for socioeconomic advantage, even the most expensive schools add nothing to educational outcome. This may be one reason why – it’snow reported– more wealthy parents are choosing to put their kids in the public school system.

Across the board, though, quality is low and falling, with consistently dropping international test scores in maths and science. Even a recent and welcomeimprovement in reading, mainly because girls love books, still takes us only to about the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average. Could do better.

And that leads immediately to the idea of burden. Does anyone suggest sport’s Big Money dudes – the sponsors and gravy-trainers, the owners and big-bucks players – are taking the burden off the public sport system?

No, they’re creaming off the talent, quarantining it from public access for vast private profit and getting a public leg-up on the way. This is so wrong on so many levels. What’s weird is that we can see it with sport, but with schooling – where the bill is six times the size, and annual – we’re blind.

But honestly – burden? According to theABC, almost a quarter of the $53 billion funding of schools ($12.7 billion) goes to private schools – which educate roughly a third (34 per cent) of populace. So each private school student sucks almost two-thirds as much as each public one. Before the benefit of their $30,000 in fees.

In other words, for every private school student the burden decrement on the public system is fairly small, but the personal advantage is immense.

This is manifestly unfair. Private schools heighten inequality, privileging the privileged, hogging the teaching talent and siphoning off kids already equipped with reading backgrounds, so depriving the public system of beneficial peer-to-peer learning.

But that’s not all. Tribalising children before they outgrow the booster seat can only encourage class-based and religious sectarianism. Friendly rivalry is one thing. But you can’t allow a lovely school like Loreto Normanhurst without also allowing schools that demand your mother’s birth certificate, or preach against infidels. This can only bring hatred.

But the best argument against private schools is productivity. Squabble all you like about divvying up the pie but far more useful – and more fun – is growing it. Technically, yes, education is a burden, but as an appreciating asset it’s more house than car; an investment.

Forty years ago, Finland stunned the world by nationalising schools, revering teachers, ending streaming, entering school late, shrinking the school day, reducing homework and extending holidays – then topping every test.Lately, its schools slipped a little, mainly due to global financial crisis-driven reductions. But its schools are still up there, and in an extraordinary turn-up Dr Pasi Sahlberg, who as minister designed the Finnish system, will move to Sydney next year, to teach.

Maybe we can persuade him to fix our schools, putting all schools up there with Grammar, say, or Loreto. If he needs more than Gladys’ stadium money, we could give him WestConnex as well. Wouldn’t that be great? Save the parks, clean the air, grow the future. Win, win, win.

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Kurt Gidley back at Knights in corporate position

Returning: Former Newcastle Knights skipper Kurt Gidley is returning to the club in a corporate role following his retirement. Picture: Peter StoopTwo years after his decorated 251-game NRL career endedat the club, Kurt Gidley is back at the Newcastle Knights.
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The former Knights skipper will join the club’s corporate management team for the first time on Monday in a business developmentexecutive role as part of Newcastle’snew era under the ownership of Wests Group.

In an appointmentcertain to win widespread approval from sponsors and fans, Gidley’s job description includes community and corporate workas well as an involvement in media.

Read more: Knights to target Radradra

“I’m really looking forward to it and grateful for the opportunity,” Gidley said on Sunday.

“I’m starting tomorrow and it is going to be a bit of a hybrid job whereI’ll probably be involved in a few different areas.

“There will be some community stuff, some corporate stuff initially and game day involvement during the season as well and some input intothe club’s on-line media.

“I’d imagine I’ll be pulled in a few different directions and I can see it beinga really good experience.”

Gidley’s15 seasons as a player at the Knights saw him becomethe club’s second-most capped player behind Danny Buderus before he finished up at the end of the 2015 season.

He has spent the past two years playing with English Super League club Warrington, coming agonisingly close to winning the Challenge Cup/grand final double with the club in his first year.

But after finishing up at the end of last season and returning home to Newcastle with his young family,Gidley said a football department role did not interest him.

“I’m looking forward to doing something on the corporateside of things as opposed to the footy side of it,” he said.

“Igot my level two strength and conditioning while I was in England but by the time I finished that, I was thinking I don’t really think this is what I want to do.

“I wanted to try something new and after talking to Phil [Gardner, Wests boss and Knights CEO], this opportunity opened up for me on the corporate side.

“To be honest, I’m happy to try and steer away from the coaching side of things.Maybe one dayit will happen but at the moment -part of retiring -I want to get away from it a bit.

“It’s great the way it’s worked out that I can still stay involved in the game and back at the Knights, who I love and back in Newcastle. But I want to try something else and learn some new skills.”

Gardner said Gidley’s standing withinthe club and in Newcastle makes him a perfect fit for the business development role, which was previously filled to some degree by James McManus.

Gardneralso revealed Gidley’s former teammate Mark Hughes will be working more closelywith the Knightsfollowing the sale of his cleaning business.

“To haveKurt and Mark, who had such great playing careers at the Knights,involved again is a huge positive for ourclub and will enhance our strong corporate position,” Gardner said.

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Climate group ‘charity’ question

The blockade starts.THE climate groupthat organised an anti-coal blockade of Newcastle harbour last yearis being investigated by the federal government’s charity regulator.
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The deputy chief executive of 350.org Australia, Glen Klatovsky, told the Newcastle Heraldon Sunday that the organisation was being investigated under the Charities Act for allegedly “engaging in, or promoting, activities that are unlawful or contrary to public policy”.

Mr Klatovsky said 350.org Australia was contacted in September 2016 by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission over the May 8, 2016, event, in which 2000 people gathered on Horseshoe Beach and in the harbour as a protest to “break free from fossil fuels”.

Read more: How 350.org blockadedNewcastle harbour

There were no arrests on the harbour but more than 50 people were detained by police after a protest on the coal rail lines at Sandgate.

Mr Klatovsky said the commission was trying to ascertain whether 350.org was “promoting unlawful activity” in its role as protest organiser.

“Our goal was to be part of a global set of actions on climate change using the rights of Australian citizens to protest,” Mr Klatovsky said. “We didn’t tell people ‘while you are here, go and get arrested’.”

He said the organisation also denied “advocating for a particular political candidate”. Hesaid 350.org had asked whether there had been a complaint made against it but had not received an answer for the commission.

“Many of usfeel that following similar attacks on similar groupsin Canada and the UK, that what we are seeing here is an attempt to silence civil society voices,” Mr Klatovsky said.

Fairfax Media’s Australian Financial Review reported on Thursday that the organisation had emailed supporters saying the probe was costing “thousands of dollars in legal fees’.

“We need to make a stand against these attacks on charities by the federal government, the Minerals Council of Australia and the fossil fuel industry,” the email said.

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From where you’d rather be: see what Picnic Island has to offer

The buildings on the island appear much smaller than I imagined, as our aqua taxi pulls up to the jetty.
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Four modest rooms sit on the edge of the island, with glass doors facing out towards the water.

There is a shared kitchen and living room next to them, and compost toilets to the side.

I’m in a small group of travel writers and photographers who have been invited to experience Picnic Island, where Melbourne planning consultant and former politicianClem Newton-Brown had been escaping to for the past decade with his family.

He bought the private sandstone island about 10 years ago, and last year, decided to open it up to the public.

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After wandering the carefully laid footpath and settling into the bedrooms, we are invited to enjoy a home cooked meal in the kitchen, overlooking the water and the Tasmanian mainland.

As the light fades in the evening, Carins bids us farewell until the morning, and leaves us with little torches, whichare dimmed and filtered red so as not to disturb the penguins and shearwaters.

He switches off the humming generator on his way out, leaving the island powerless –that way, the birds are not scared by the noise, and can come home for the night.

There is about a half-hour twilight period where it is almost silent, except for the water quietly lapping on the rocks.

But, shortly after dark, the island comes alive, with the sound of squawking and braying filling the air.

We grab out torches and carefully circle the island on the footpath. Seemingly out of nowhere, itis absolutely crawling with native penguins and shearwaters.

It is so loud, you would almost think the Coles Bay township should be able to hear it. We see penguins waddling through the scrub and shallowly burrowing into the earth.

It suddenly becomes clear why BirdLife Tasmania has been concerned about this venture.

PRIVACY: The view from the balcony in front of the guest rooms at Picnic Island. Picture: Carly Dolan

BirdLife Tasmania voiced its opposition to the project back in 2016, withdrawing its support, which it initially granted in relation to the original plans.

The organisation’s convenerDr Eric Woehler said last year that the initial proposal for a standing camp and much smaller construction project on the island was changed, which could impact the habitat of the penguins and shearwaters.

He visited the island in late August this year, with a representative from Glamorgan Spring Bay Council.

“Based on the visit and on-site discussions, BirdLife Tasmania made 10 recommendations to council and the landowner, and reaffirmed our opposition to a sculpture park on the island,” Mr Woehler said.

“I have no idea as to whether these recommendations have been acted upon by council and/or the island’s owner.”

Newton-Brown said the birds and wildlife were the island’s star attraction.

“We are continually working with BirdLife and other environmental experts to implement recommendations to ensure the seabird colony thrives,” he said.

Carins said he and his wifeSusansaw an opportunity, as locals, to help preserve the colony, which, he said, was “absolutely paramount”.

“We saw this as an opportunity to have a local business involved with the island so we could at least be privy to what was happening out there.

“It means we can be a little bit more involved with how it’s managed and hopefully preserve its beauty and the colony.

“I firmly believe it can be managed in a way that people can visitand stay on the island, but also preserve the colony.”

SKIPPER: Freycinet Adventures’ Nathan Carins in his aqua taxi, which he uses to take clients to Picnic Island and around the peninsula.

Freycinet Adventures, which is run by Nathan and Susan Carins, had always offered a four-day kayaking tour.

“But we saw a bit of a decline in bookings for that style of tour,” he said.

“After a bit of investigation, we came to the conclusion that people were seeking a bit more of a comfortable experience, rather than sort of roughing it in tents for four days.

“So we looked at some of the different options about how we could go about providing that style of tour, and the island was one of those options.”

Carins was already ferrying Newton-Brown’s private clients to the island via the aqua taxi, so he felt it was a “good fit” to go into partnership.

The Examiner, Tasmania

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Governing bodies agree to compromise

A NEW governance structureto align seniorand juniorcompetitions has been “approved in principle” after the Black Diamond AFL, AFL NSW/ACT and AFL Hunter Coast reached a compromise on Friday.
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Under the existing model, senior football in the region has been run by BDAFL, whileAFL Hunter Coasthas overseen juniors.

CHAMPIONS: Black Diamond title-holders Terrigal Avoca will face five new teams next season.

Under the proposed revamp agreed on Friday, a newseven-man board made up of AFL NSW/ACT representatives and members wouldbe elected by both the senior and junior clubs togovern all football in the region.

Members of both the BDAFL and AFL Hunter Coast will be asked to voteto ratifythe proposal, after whichthe new league wouldbe established.

BDAFL President, Wal Bembic endorsedthe outcome of Friday’s meeting, aftermonths of protracted negotiations that at one point appeared likely to result in a split and the BDAFL relinquishing its affiliation to the AFL.

“The Black Diamond AFL have always stated that a single governance model is important for the continued development of AFL in this region,”Bembic said in a statement.

“In saying that, however, the Black Diamond AFL is very strong and independent in its own right, and the board had a responsibility to its members to ensure that any new model would not negatively affect them or the competitions.

“I would also like to thank the AFL NSW/ACT and AFL Hunter Coast on the manner in which the negotiations were handled and look forward to the commencement of the new league and more importantly being able to focus again on the 2018 football season.”

A new community football manager will be appointed to oversee competition strategy, alignjuniors and seniors, educate clubs and coordinate umpiring and football operations.

The football manager will work in conjunction with two full-time operations assistants, a part-time media manager and the existingAFL NSW/ ACT umpiring and development staff.

The new league will useAFL brandingand will have regional naming, which will apply to both junior and senior competitions, but the senior competition will continue to be known as the Black Diamond Cup.

Member clubs are expected to receive affiliation-fee relief.

In all, 41 teams will compete across the men’s and women’s competitions, with nominations still to be called for the social (over-30) competition.

Five sideswill be added to the Black Diamond Cup first-grade competition, increasing the league to11 teams.

There will be 14 teams in the Black Diamond Plate reserve-grade premiership.

The women’s competition will expand to 16 teams, including two teams fromNewcastle City.

A sustainability programwill be introduced in an attempt to ensure a more even spread of playing talent.

This is expected to entail a points system that will be enforced before each game.

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Hunter take next step at Interbranch

Co-captain Lisa Wright was the only surviving Hunter squad member to know what it felt like to stand on the podium at the NSW Interbranch surf lifesaving titles before Sunday.
Nanjing Night Net

Hunter take next step at Interbranch CLEAR RUNNING: Hunter youth division star Nicola Owen sprints up Stockton Beach on Saturday during the NSW Interbranch surf lifesaving championships. Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

ONE-TWO: Hunter’s Zara Foran, left, and Tiana Sargeant after the under 12s board.

LEADING THE WAY: Hunter co-captain Daniel Collins in the open ironman.

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 2 action. Tiana Sargeant. Picture: Bronte Smith

Day 2 action. Lily Costello. Picture: Bronte Smith

Day 2 action. Hayden Copping. Picture: Bronte Smith

TweetFacebookCaptains Daniel Collins & Lisa Wright accept 3rd place plaque as Hunter celebrate their @slsnsw Interbranch breakthrough @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/zVgvz6DK8F

— Craig Kerry (@craigkerry77) December 10, 2017Hunter on the podium at @slsnsw Interbranch for 1st time in 14 years @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/sDgjtSo09T

— Craig Kerry (@craigkerry77) December 10, 2017

Daniel Collins, 21, missed the event last year while on the Nutri-Grain ironman series and debuted as a captain on the weekend. He said the squad’s depth andstandout performances from Zara Foran (under 12s) and Nicola Owen(under 17) pointed to more success in the future.

“For a lot of the young kids, it won’t really sink in yet,” Collins said of the bronze.

“Especially for those in their second or third years. They’ll think ‘we came fourth last year and now we’re third’, but it’s something that’s been in the making for a long time and it’s really exciting to get third and build into next year.

“I think at one stage we were within reach of second and getting close to Sydney, and that’s good.Depth has always been our problem but across all the age groups, we’ve had some really good results this weekend.”

Head coach Tim Foran said the return of Collins, Wright and Kieran Gordon in the opens and an impressive points haul from the under 12s were factors in Hunter’s rise tothird.

“We just had a really nice team feel about it, which has been a few years in the process,” he said.

“After the first six or seven events today, we hadn’t been worse than second. Then we had some really good results in the rescue tube rescue races, which we didn’t go that well in last year.Our Cameron relays were good and we won just about every board relay going.”

Hundreds ofathletes from the 11 NSW branches competed at Stockton, which proved a suitable venue despite concerns last week aboutbeach erosion.

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Jets ride luck in Perth to steal three points

SCRAMBLE: Roy O’Donovan (left) and Mitch Nichols battle for possession during the Jets’ come-from-behind 2-1 win at nib Stadium on Saturday. Pictures: AAP Images HAPPY DAYS: John Koutroumbis celebrates after scoring his first A-League goal on Saturday night.
Nanjing Night Net

COACH Ernie Merrick labelled the Jets come-from-behind 2-1 win over Perth as “theft”.

The moment Johnny Koutroumbis found the equaliser, on our way to a come-from-behind win in Perth! pic.twitter南京夜网/9likHBWRBD

— NEWCASTLE JETS FC ✈️ (@NewcastleJetsFC) December 10, 2017TweetFacebookNEW 1st goal offside and foul on fullback. Boys on VAR must have clocked off and gone to bar. I think Ray Charles maybe would have picked those TWO things up Looking forward to clarification from gents at FFA. Ref was lovely chap to try and chat to at end of game full of banter😪 pic.twitter南京夜网/gbogp74yhm

— Kenny Lowe (@kennylowe10) December 10, 2017

After a lacklustre opening hour, the introduction of Roy O’Donovan and Koutroumbissprung the Jets to life.

O’Donovan, playing his first game back from a groin injury, was involved in both goals.

It was his header which Koutroumbis put away for the equaliser. The Irishman also got a touch on the Petratos corner whichWalker directed into his own goal.

“Johnny did well,” Boogaard said. “He was in the game from the minute he got on and had an impact.Having Roy in the game drew attention to him and he had a hand in both goals.It’s good to see that we do have that depth and can bring quality off the bench. The first half wasn’t good enough. We were off the pace and they seemed to be winning every second ball.”

Perth coach Kenny Lowe could not believe his side lost and later vented his frustration on social media.

“1st goal offside and foul on fullback” Lowe posted. “Boys on VAR must have clocked off and gone to bar. I think Ray Charles maybe would have picked those TWO things up Looking forward to clarification from gents at FFA.”

The Jets now have back-to-back home games against Adelaide and Western Sydney to close out the year.

“We are in good shape and have a couple of home games to capitalise on the position that we are in,” Boogaard said. “Come the new year, if you can hit the ground running and win some games, it puts you in good stead. Hopefully, we can keep ahead of thechasing pack.”

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Newcastle claim first Regional Bash title

SHOT: Newcastle Blasters after winning the Regional Bash final at the SCG on Sunday night. Picture: Twitter via @IvanSpyrdzDylan Hunter has produced an excellent all-round performance to help the Newcastle Blasters claim their first Regional Bash title after defeating reigning champions the Orana Outlaws in Sunday night’s final at the SCG.
Nanjing Night Net

Hunter top scored with 54 runs batting at No.4 and then took 2-21 from his four overs of left-arm orthodox spinners as the Novocastrians kept their NSW central west opponents at bay by 16 runs.

Despite losing 5-7 in their last two oversthe Blasters successfully defended169, dismissing the Outlaws for 153 on the third last ball of the T20 tournament decider.

It was the first time Newcastle had made the top-two showdown while Orana had featured in each of the competition’s three maingames.

Hunter’s half-centuryproved pivotal to the outcome –constantly keeping the scoreboard ticking, finding the boundary on either side of the pitchand smashing back-to-back sixes back over the bowler’s head three-quarters of the way through the innings.

The City player then backed it up with the ball, chiming in with two handy wickets.

Blasters skipper Nathan Price (49) contributed again at the top of the order, falling one short of a fifty, while Jonty Durrheim (23) and Jed Dickson (17) bothmade starts.

In the field Dickson took a diving catch over his shoulder from a skied shot and created a run out from the deep with a fine throw to wicketkeeper Ben Balcomb.

NSW Country all-rounder Joe Price, who was cleared to play this week despite a groin injury, took the final wicket.

Earlier in the day Newcastle beat Northern Rivers Rock by 65 runs in asemi-final at the same venue after reaching 7-183. Man-of-the-match Nathan Price got58.

Player of the Match in #[email protected] Conference Final – Nathan Price. pic.twitter南京夜网/3i3g9iLv4h

— Ivan Spyrdz (@IvanSpyrdz) December 10, 2017

The overall result caps off an outstanding representative campaign by Newcastle with the Regional Bash crown now sitting alongside the NSW Country Championships trophy from last month.

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Gary Harley’s racing review

THE Irish eyes of talented jockey Declan McDonogh were smiling on Saturday when he landed a double on his first-ever visit to Newcastle Racecourse.
Nanjing Night Net

The 37-year-old Irishman had four mounts on Saturday and he was first past the post on Puppet Master in the 900-metre Three-Year-Old Maiden Plate and California Turbo in the 1400m Maiden Handicap.

WINNER: Jockey Adam Hyeronimus (centre) rides Magic Choir to victory in race three at Rosehill Gardens. Picture: AAP

His other two mounts were unplaced.

The brilliant Pupper Master, the hot $1.60 favourite, wasn’t far outside the 900m track record when he treated racegoers to a display of sheer speed. With McDonogh sporting the colours of 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign, Puppet Master quickly put a gap on his rivals, and he straightened up with a big lead and full of running.

Puppet Master won by one-and-three-quarterslengths in 51.34, or 0.17 outside Rebel Miss’s track record.

The colt sped over the last 600m in a breathtaking 32.07.

He is trained for a large syndicate of owners by She Will Reign’s Warwick Farm trainer, Gary Portelli.

Purchased at a “ready to run” sale in Melbourne, the three-year-old has had five starts, for a win and three placings. McDonogh had a smile from ear to ear when greeted by connections on dismounting.

“Wow, he is quick,” he said. “Very fast.

“I wasn’t going to give up the rails but I had no worries there. He left them standing.”

McDonogh’s other winner California Turbo is from the power Snowden stable and he was very impressive.

The three-year-old was on debut after a recent Randwick barrier trial win and he settled at the tail of the field.

The leader, Starvino, kicked away inthe home straight and looked to have the race won. But California Turbo unwound a powerful sprint to gather in Starvino and race away to win by a widening 1.8 lengths.

“The trainer told me to have the horse where he is comfortable in the small field,” O’Donoghsaid.

“They got along up front, so I rode him patient and he attacked the line.”

McDonogh started his riding career at 17 and he has since ridden 960 winners.

“Unfortunately my visa only allows me to stay until the end of January,” he said.

“I love it here in Australia and the tracks are so much better than at home.”

Champion trainer Chris Waller produced a highly promising filly in the 1200mMaiden Plate.

Seahampton, a three-year-old daughter of Golden Slipper winner Sebring, is not only a magnificent looking individual but is also richly talented.

After firming from $4 to $2.80 in her second race start, Seahampton settled near the tail and was held up near the top of the straight.

Jockey Grant Buckley managed to find a gap and Seahampton stormed home to win by two-and-a-half lengths.

The Kris Less-trained Heat Haze was the only Newcastle-trained galloper to win at the meeting.

Meanwhile, AAP reports: Todd Howlett will target another Highway Handicap with Magic Choir after he made a successful metropolitan debut in the concept for country horses at Rosehill.

The four-year-old ($18) notched the third win of his six-race career after finishing strongly to beat Gitan ($7) by half a length on Saturday, with Forever Newyork ($18) a neck away third.

After recording his third Highway Handicap victory, Howlett said Magic Choir could expect to make another road trip from Muswellbrook over summer.

“We picked this out early in his prep and we’ll come back for another Highway,” he said.

“He’s racing well. He’s doing a nice job.”

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