Newcastle startup Herb Urban takes the guess work out of gardening for those who want to grow their own

TINKER TAILOR: Jared Lawlor, founder of Herb Urban, with an example of one of his smart garden systems. JARED Lawlor has a green thumb but when he moved into a Tighes Hill house a few years back he grew it –and a business – to next level proportions.
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Mr Lawlor andpartner Heidi took the sun for granted until they settled in thesouth-facing home, which enjoyed little drenching natural light beyond a small patch at the front fence.

“Being so used to growing herbs and veges we didn’t know what to do so I put my skills to the test,” says the electrical engineer.

He ran PVC pipes along a wall and developed a complex watering and plant nutrient system which quickly drew comments.

“Friendswere like ‘wow, that is a great idea’ and I soon realised it was and started to look at ways to simplify the system so the end user who didn’t have time or the inclination to do the tech stuff but wanted a garden could just set it and forget it,” he says.

Today Mr Lawlor’s startup Herb Urban is thriving, with plans to retail its smart gardening systems nationally and globally. It offers automatedgardening systems including vertical farms, urban farms and automated green wall systems, all of which turn on a controller with sensorsthat ensure plants receive the right amount of water and nutrients.

Greening spaces: A Herb Urban installation in Newcastle.

“It is a zero waste system – there is nothing out there on the market like it and I’ve designed this from scratch in Newcastle,”says Mr Lawlorof the product that he makes in the Islington co-workspace of carpenter Stu Pinkerton.

Watch my garden grow: The controller of the Herb Urban system is in the large box, which controls the water and nutrients given to the garden.

“The plants only get given what they will use and nothing more or less so they are living in a perfect state.”

Herb Urban will soon release its first commercial product, a DYI “plug and play” product allowing customers to buy and setup the system at home.

Out of the box: Herb Urban garden systems are horizontal and vertical and made to measure for urban spaces.

“The first units will be delivered around Newcastle but the product will be refined so we can go interstate and globally,” says Mr Lawlor.

He and his partner have long grown their own produce, keen to cutwaste associated withsupermarkets.

Mr Lawlor says Herb Urban grew from a pure desire to give people the ability to grow their own food without having to think about it.

“People who can gardentake it for granted, the knowledge base you have to build up over a long time; ifyou are gardening conventionally you have to cultivate soil and put time and sweat into it,” he says. “We wanted to take the guess work out of it.”

Mr Lawlor, a participant in The Business Centre’s Start House 100 innovation course, says many clients live in central Newcastle andwant to grow their own produce for sustainability and health reasons.With manyhavingan oversupply of produce, heplans to create a community of sharing via a local farmers markets stall or an online forum.

Dissecting the Amerika dream

Making independent films anywhere is never easy, but it’s that much harder in a country embroiled in a debt crisis.
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All really good Greek actors are working at two theatres simultaneously and making films on the side just to make ends meet, says Yannis Sakaridis, who nevertheless managed to round up a formidable cast in his film Amerika Square. The good thing, from a film-maker’s point of view, is that all the privation makes you nimble.

“You get really good practice when you work on a Greek film. We did this film in four weeks. A lot of people do it in less time. There is a lot of talent at the moment in shooting and acting, really good crews and I guess the weather always helps.”

Sakaridis lived in London for 18 years, so he has a point of comparison with an arts environment that is relatively flush. “And I realise that Athens is really a very modern place for art, with amazing theatre, music and novels being written. People matured very quickly after the crisis, I think. You miss something but you get something. I mean, there is obviously not enough money. But there is a lot going on.”

Amerika Square is an adaptation of a novel by Yannis Tsirbas that deals with another of Greece’s immediate issues: the fact that this cash-strapped country is the first staging post for refugees from Syria trying to get to Europe. The eponymous square is an unofficial meeting point for those new arrivals, those hoping to leave and the so-called “travel agents” who will supposedly smuggle them across borders.

“In the ’60s it used to be a place where all the artists used to be, but then it moved on,” says Sakaridis. “In the last few years it’s been like Casablanca.”

In the original novel, Victoria Doesn’t Exist, the story was told from the point of view of Nakos (Makis Papadimitriou), a fellow-traveller with fascist party Golden Dawn, whose personal sense of grievance is grounded in the fact that even in his late 30s, he still lives with his parents and can’t hold or generally get a job. His friendship with Billy (Yannis Stankoglou) goes back to their shared inner-city childhood, but Billy is almost the opposite: cool, liberal, curious, possibly harbouring a secret wish to do something heroic in his life.

In the film version, Billy becomes the central character, watching aghast as Nakos becomes increasingly fanatical. He can’t let him know about Tarek (Vassilis Koukalani) – the third major character – a Syrian doctor he is hiding in the basement of the cafe he runs. “We wanted to have three stories because we wanted to see the three representative ideologies and ways of dealing in that area,” Sakaridis says.

The average Greek is sympathetic to the refugees, who have had significant support from the current Greek government, Sakaridis says.

“Because we are a refugee nation. Thousands of Greeks came from the east, or their grandparents or great-grandparents like mine. My grandparents came from Istanbul in 1922 so I’ve got in my DNA a sort of refugee mentality.”

What is most remarkable is that Greece has produced a film like Amerika Square – now its national Oscar entry – which has been lauded by the international film press as “one of the best European films to date on the subject of immigration in all its painful implications”. That’s pretty good going on no money.

Penrith great Mark Geyer has endorsed Garth Brennan for the head-coaching vacancy at the Gold Coast.

IN THE HOT SEAT: Garth Brennan is tipped to be announced as Gold Coast coach on Thursday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollPenrith great Mark Geyer has endorsed Garth Brennan for the head-coaching vacancyat the Gold Coast, amid speculation the Titans will confirm his appointment on Thursday.
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Brennan is believed to have emerged atop a list of coaching candidates including sacked South Sydney coach Michael Maguire, Brisbane assistant Jason Demetriou and Ipswich’s coaching brothers Shane and Ben Walker.

Brennan’s credentials include winning the NSW Cup with Penrith in 2014 and the NSW Cup-NRL State Championship double this year after cutting his teeth as the club’s under-20s coach in 2012-13.

The former Newcastle Wests and Waratah-Mayfield fullback, who still lives at Stockton, also coached the Knights into the National Youth Competition finals in 2011.

“If it is true, geez, that’s a great result for the Titans because not only have they got a great coach, but they’ve got a great bloke,” Geyer said on Triple M Sydney on Wednesday.

“He’s got good intestinal fortitude. He’s all about making the player better. He’s not into politics. He doesn’t like the shit in the game. He just gets straight into what’s important and that’s the players and their performances on the footy field.

“They need a bloke to go in and be a great mentor and also going to be firm, but fair.”

Another premiership-winning ex-Panther, Martin Lang, wished Brennan luck and added that he is “going to need it”.

Lang said Brennan’s greatest challenge would be in managing enigmatic superstar Jarryd Hayne.

Hayne fell out with former Titans coach Neil Henry, who was subsequently sacked with a year to run on his contract.

“Everything I hear about him is very good,” Lang said of Brennan. “He’s got a great knowledge, good relationship with the players.

“But at the end of the day it will come down to how he handles Jarryd Hayne.

“I know these NRL jobs are few and far between but that’s a tough job to go into.”

Lang reckoned there were worse ideas than for the Titans and Panthers to trade Hayne and Matt Moylan if Brennan got the green light.

Moylan reportedly fell out with recently re-signed Penrith coach Anthony Griffin, missing the NRL finals campaign this year.

“Maybe he should swap him for Moylan at Penrith so Hayne can go to Sydney where he is happy, I don’t know,” Lang said. “But as a first-time coach Garth will know everybody needs to be treated differently.

“In many ways you have to treat someone like Hayne like a thoroughbred racehorse.

“But you have to set standards and if they are broken you have to pull everyone in line whether they are paid $1.2 million a year or $80,000.”

Lang said Hayne was just one dilemmaBrennan would faceat the Gold Coast.

A call on which consortium will buy the Titans off the NRL is not expected until November.

It is unclear whether Brennanwould relinquish his roleas New Zealandassistant coach at the World Cupjob if he securesthe Titans job.

Halfback Ash Taylor has also delayed contract extension talks until the Titans’ future is clearer but he becomes a free agent on November 1.

Other Titans can’t wait – prized utility Tyrone Roberts announced a surprise move to English Super League club Warrington from next season.

“There’s the club ownership, player retention, re-signing Ash Taylor, Roberts has gone to England – it’s a big call taking on the Titans job,” Lang said.

Gittins elected to Academy of the Social Sciences in China

The Sydney Morning Herald’seconomics editor, Ross Gittins, has been inducted as a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in (FASSA).
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He was among 46 people, mostly academics, elected to the academy in 2017 in recognition of their distinguished contributions to ‘s intellectual life and to society.

The group will be formally welcomed at a ceremony in Adelaide on Thursday.

Gittins said it was an “amazing honour” to become a fellow of the academy.

Ross Gittins has a reputation for helping readers make sense of complex economic issues.

The only other journalists to become fellows are political commentator Michelle Grattan and columnist Paul Kelly.

Gittins, who has been the Herald’s economics editor since 1978, is one of ‘s most influential public commentators.

He has a reputation for helping readers make sense of complex economic issues and, for decades, his columns, published in both the Herald and The Age, have been essential reading for economics students.

Gittins has previously been awarded honorary doctorates from Macquarie University (2011) and the University of Sydney (2012). He has also been appointed a member of the Order of (AM).

Gittins has written more than half a dozen books including Gittinomics, The Happy Economistand Gittins: A Life Among Budgets, Bulldust and Bastardry.

The former Liberal opposition leader and n National University professor, John Hewson, is also among those being inducted as a fellow of the academy this year.

The president of the academy, Professor Glenn Withers, said it was “good to see” fellows of the academy being drawn from a variety of fields, including journalism and politics.

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Sizzling duo celebrate a decade since Between Last Night & Us.

Coming: Tristan Goodall and Taasha Coates, as The Audreys, play Lizotte’s on November 8.It started with a taste ofpunk, then morphed into a reggae tune. But in the end, it caught fire as a “nice rolling folky groove”.
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Taasha Coates You & Steve McQueen, the first cut on The Audreys’ debut album, Between Last Night & Us. The year was 2006, when long-time friends (and once lovers) Taasha Coates and Tristan Goodall, formed The Audreys, an evocative folk band with a bundle of smartly written tunes reflecting an n flavour cached in exquisite musicianship and alluring vocals.

The album won an ARIA for best blues and roots album in 2006, winning the trophy overBernard Fanning’sTea and Sympathy, Lior’sDoorways of My Mind, The Flood’sThe Late Late Show and Xavier Rudd’sFood in the Belly.

Ten years and three albums (and two more ARIA awards)later, The Audreys took a break, to catch their creative breath, playing a few private house concerts but nothing else together.

Now, they are back, celebrating 11 years (yes, they missed 10) since the debut of Between Last Night & Us.The Audreys play Lizotte’s in Newcastle on November 8. Coates says they will play the album from start to finish and then come back on stage and play more from their extensive catalogue.

The touring band will include Tristan’s brother, Cameron, who played on the original album.

Steve McQueen has always been a crowd favourite. Coates even included it in the setlist of her solo tour this year.

“It started out a lot more PJ-Harveyish punkier,” Coates says. “Then Tristan started playing it on the banjo slowed it down. It had gone through a few incarnations. It took awhile to settle on that groove.”

When Coates and Goodall began playing music together, their goal was to simplify.

“When we began, we played pop songs,” Coates says. “We took out everything but the melody, we’d bring it back to the basics. We used to do that with Kylie Minogue songs, INXS.”

In fact, an INXS song, Don’t Change,made it on to the first album (the last song). “People still request it,” Coates says.

Coates is eagerto get back on the road, where she feels comfortable.Sherecently returnedfrom a month in Key West with her husband, American music industry figure Ray Flowers (they married this year), and has had a group of American musos doing some songwriting at her home outside Adelaide.

“I think it will be great fun” she says of the tour. “I can’t wait.”

And who knows . . . there is a hint of a reunion and new music from them in 2018.

Mills backs Spurs to cover superstar injuries to start season

Patty Mills says the San Antonio is still finding the right mix for their NBA championship bid as the Spurs’ new $US50 million man prepares to take the reins in the opening game on Thursday.
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Mills is set to get an immediate chance to prove his worth when the Spurs start their campaign against the Minnesota Timberwolves without stars Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard.

The low-key Spurs face a massive western-conference challenge this year as they compete with the stacked Golden State Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets.

Mills is about to start his ninth season and will lead the n contingent, including former No. 1 draft pick Ben Simmons, Joe Ingles and Andrew Bogut.

Mills, who signed a four-year contract worth $A63 million, will likely shoulder an increased workload as the Spurs ease veteran Parker back after a tearing his quadriceps tendon last season.

“I don’t think anything has changed in our preparation,” Mills said in San Antonio.

“Our mindset hasn’t changed from how we’ve prepared in the past. The only difference is that we don’t have Kawhi and Tony.

“We’d love to have everyone healthy, but this is the first game, not the play-offs.

“The first game is here, we’re still trying to work out who we are as a team and what our staple is.”

Simmons will start his NBA career against the Washington Wizards when he makes his highly anticipated debut more than a year after he was drafted.

A record nine ns are on NBA rosters this year, with Bogut moving to the Lakers, Ingles re-signing with the Utah Jazz and Matthew Dellavedova continuing at Milwaukee alongside Thon Maker.

The season got off to a horrific start on Wednesday when Boston Celtics recruit Gordon Hayward dislocated his ankle in a clash against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Hayward collided in the air with LeBron James and crashed to the floor on his left leg in a horrifying way.

A hush fell over Cleveland’s home arena as players grimaced, including the Celtics’ n big man Aron Baynes, as Hayward winced on the floor and team doctors set the foot back in place.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Gordon,” James said. “It was a pretty gruesome injury.”

Mills is hoping the Spurs get off to a smoother start as he looks to back up the best year of his career so far.

The 29-year-old played 80 regular-season games last year and averaged 9.5 points and 3.5 assists.

He stepped up in the playoffs when Parker was injured and averaged 10.3 points per game, but the Spurs’ championship hopes were ruined by the Warriors.

“A huge part of me staying [in San Antonio] was the amount I was able to learn off the court that I don’t think I would have learnt anywhere else in a basketball environment,” Mills said.

“This is a classroom and one I thoroughly enjoy. It’s broadened my horizons … it’s about getting everyone to buy into the system.

“The guys we have now, I’ve been really impressed with how quickly everyone has bought in. It’s not easy to do, but we’re on the right track.”

Trades Hall backs Newcastle rail corridor rezoning to secure uni move

Trades Hall backs building on old rail corridor MIXED USE: A state government concept design, released in April, for an affordable housing development beside the museum on part of the former heavy rail corridor in Merewether St.
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TweetFacebookHerald earlier on Wednesday that it had “secured rights and options” over two hectares of land at Honeysuckle.It is understood some of that land is on the corridor, which would need to be rezoned to allow the university to realise its full plans for the site.

“UON is currently developing a high-level master plan for the sites which considers options including next-generationteaching and learning facilities, campus support services and student accommodation,” it said in a statement.

“UON continues to undertake planning work and discussions with the Hunter Development Corporation and NSW Government regarding the future of the Honeysuckle precinct.

“UON is committed to working with the NSW Government and other partners to drive the city’s transition to a knowledge economy that acts as a magnet for jobs, industry and talent.”

Mr Wallace, who spoke in favour of the rezoning along with five members of the business community, said the council was being handed the university rezoning “on a platter” and could not pass up the opportunity.

Preparation work for light rail on Hunter St.

The supporters of the rezoning argued it would help create jobs and continue the city’s revitalisation.

But former Greens councillor Therese Doyle questioned whether the state government’s $650 million spend on light rail had revitalised the city given recent reports of the region’s rising unemployment rate.

“That hasn’t translated into employment. Ithasn’t translated into particularly good architectural design in the city. It hasn’t translated into renewal of our heritage buildings,” she said. “It hasn’t resulted in us being able to supply vibrant cultural spaces. That’s the kind of revitalisation I’m talking about.”

Other speakers against the rezoning urged the council to preserve the corridor for future public transport and for continuous pedestrian and cycling access. They argued the university could be accommodated without using land on the corridor.

The public exhibition period for the rezoning proposal ends on Monday.

The Property Council of did not address the forum, but its submission on the rezoning asks for increased development density between Darby and Brown streets to encourage investment.

But it also says this development should be designed in such a way as to allow people to walk and ride along that section of the corridor.

“The High Line in New York is a perfect example of how to repurpose an old corridor like that,” the Property Council’s Hunter director, Andrew Fletcher, told the Herald before the forum.

“With some innovative design and a bit of flexibility we say you can have your mixed-use development on certain parts of the corridor without sacrificing the active transport link.”

Origin eyes renewables despite NEG obligations

Origin will forge ahead with its renewable energy plans, despite new a government energy policy requiring more coal-fired power.
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Speaking at its annual general meeting, Origin chief executive Frank Calabria said the company planned to have renewable energy generation accounting for 25 per cent of its portfolio by 2020, despite the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee which will require more coal and gas-fired power generation.

Origin chairman Gordon Cairns said the company would adopt a company-wide, science-based emissions reduction target by the end of the year on top of its renewables plan.

“Encouraging investment in new supply is a critical piece of the puzzle, and we have urged governments to resist intervening in short-term policy and instead focus on getting the long-term energy and climate change settings right,” Mr Cairns said.

“We urgently need policy certainty. We cannot wait until 2020 for investment decisions to be made if we are to meet ‘s 2030 emissions reduction target,” he said.

However, as the NEG is still a framework, companies have not yet included it within their operational strategies “due to the absence of further details,” Mr Calabria said.

Origin’s renewable target is a 10 per cent increase from current levels, and will comprise about 1200 megawatts of new solar and wind generation.

Mr Calabria said due to obligations for increased reliability, there could be increased investment in technologies and energy sources to meet these requirements and support intermittent sources such as wind and solar.

“Over time, as more lower emissions [generation sources] come in, and if is it intermittent, that will require us to match that obligation with reliability, so you would expect over time for that to continue to require an investment in reliability, whether that’s peaking generation, pumped storage, or batteries in the near to medium term, they’ll all be part of the mix to make sure it’s dispatchable,” Mr Calabria said.

Mr Calabria said there were no plans to extend the lifespan of its Eraring coal-fired power station in NSW beyond its scheduled 2030 closure, although it does plan to continue to push capacity.

Origin also reaffirmed its FY2018 EBITDA guidance of between $1.7 billion and $1.8 billion, “provided that market conditions and the regulatory environment do not materially change”, Mr Calabria said.

This forecast was supported by UBS research, which said the government reforms across gas and electricity markets are unlikely to materially affect the near-term earnings of Origin.

Concerns were raised ahead of the AGM, after activist investors announced intentions to change Origin’s constitution.

However, the resolutions overwhelmingly failed, with more than 95 per cent of shareholders voting against it.

Amidst the investor group’s calls to change the company’s constitution, they also called on Origin to shut Eraring before 2030, which was dismissed by the Origin board.

During his speech, this was met by a lone cheer from one member of the audience.

Origin unveiled a massive spike in profit and earnings with growth of about 50 per cent year on year.

It announced an underlying EBITDA increase of nearly 50 per cent, growing by $834 million to reach $2.5 billion. Underlying profit also increased by $185 million to reach $550 million.

Despite this, Origin still recorded a loss of $2.2 billion, driven by a non-cash impairment of $3.1 billion.

This was caused by pegging the value of its joint venture Pacific LNG project to an oil equivalent price of US70 per barrel, and its Browse Basin assets, 480 kilometres off Western ‘s shore, now being viewed as a stranded asset and uncommercial.

Origin has focused heavily on driving down its debt levels, cutting levels of existing debt by $1 billion to $8.1 billion, this was aided in part by the $1.585 billion sale of Lattice Energy to Beach Energy, however it will not pay dividends in 2017.

During the same period Mr Calabria saw a 33 per cent increase in his total remuneration, due to a boost in his short-term incentives, from $1.781 million in 2016 to $2.664 million in 2017.

Throwback Thursday: 2013 Hunter bushfires in pictures

The devastating 2013 Hunter bushfires in pictures FIRE: It’s the fourth anniversary of the catastrophic fires we had in our area, might bring it all back for some of the locals. Picture: Dylan St John
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FIRE: It’s the fourth anniversary of the catastrophic fires we had in our area, might bring it all back for some of the locals. Picture: Dylan St John

A fire sign near Nords Wharf. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Simone De Peak

Checking power lines in Catherine Hill Bay. Picture: Simone De Peak

The scene at the Gwandalan motorbike club. Picture: Phil Hearne

A scorched sign pointing to the Catherine Hill Bay pub. Picture: Peter Rae

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Simone De Peak

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Simone De Peak

Exhausted firefighters take a rest while fire burns beside them in Cragan Bay Road, Nords Wharf. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

The remnants of the old Jetty Masters Cottage, Catherine Hill Bay. Picture: Simone De Peak

Fire damage at Catherine Hill Bay. Picture: Simone De Peak

Rural Fire Service crews taking a break at Finnan Park. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Simone De Peak

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

Damage at the Byrne property on Cabbage Tree Road, Williamtown. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Josh Fitzroy and his brother Brandon evacuate Nords Wharf. Picture: Phil Hearne

A scene from the corner of Flowers Drive and the Pacific Highway, Catherine Hill Bay. Picture: Phil Hearne

The remains of historic Wallarah House. Picture: Simone De Peak

A view towards the jetty at Catherine Hill Bay. Picture: Simone De Peak

NSW Rural Fire Service crew resting at Finnan Park, Campvale. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

NSW Fire and Rescue at the Finnan Park command post. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

THE NSW Fire and Rescue command post. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

National Parks staff hose down smouldering logs along Medowie Road. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Darren Watkins, of Medowie, shows how close fire came to his shed. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

A burnt-out garage on the Pacific Highway. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scorched pottery pigs at the Big T roadhouse, alongside the Big Prawn. Picture: Phil Hearne

Firefighters at Nords Wharf. Picture: Phil Hearne

The Gwandalan motorbike club. Picture: Phil Hearne

The razed roadhouse and the Big Prawn. Picture: Peter Rae

The Big T roadhouse. Picture: Phil Hearne

The Big T roadhouse. Picture: Phil Hearne

The remains of historic Wallarah House. Picture: Simone De Peak

Destroyed greenhouses owned by David Kilgannon on Cabbage Tree Road, Williamtown. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Iskey and his owner Meryl Mansour at the Swansea RSL evacuation centre. Picture: Darren Pateman

Emergency Services Minister Mike Gallacher speaks to evacuees.

Jack Byrne at the family residence on Cabbage Tree Road. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Incident controller Stuart Farleigh discussing strategy. Picture: Phil Hearne

Fires near the Nords Wharf bushfire centre. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

June Hammond, of Murrays Beach, with her dog Pebbles at the Swansea RSL evacuation centre. Picture: Darren Pateman

Sally Marsh and her dog Tillie at the Swansea evacuation centre. Picture: Darren Pateman

Rural Fire Service Hunter zone group captain John Ryan at the Finnan Park command post. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Firefighters at Nords Wharf. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

Michelle Byrne, whose home dog grooming business burnt down along with the family’s shed on Cabbage Tree Road, Williamtown. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by James Brickwood

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Catherine Hill Bay and Chain Valley Bay on Friday. Photo by Phil Hearne

A scene at Ricardson Road Raymond Terrace on Friday. Photo by Phil Hearne

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Fire at Fingal Bay. Picture submitted by Selwyn Cox

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Fire at Fingal Bay. Picture submitted by Selwyn Cox

Fire at Fingal Bay. Picture submitted by Selwyn Cox

Fire at Fingal Bay. Picture submitted by Selwyn Cox

Fire at Fingal Bay. Picture submitted by Selwyn Cox

Fire at Fingal Bay. Picture submitted by Selwyn Cox

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Scenes from the fires at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, on Sunday. Picture: Phil Hearne

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Fire at the back of Amaroo Crescent, Fingal Bay, on Sunday. Picture Jonathan Carroll

A bushfire burns south of Taree. Picture: Carl Muxlow

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

A bushfire burns south of Taree. Picture: Scott Calvin

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Matthew Kelly

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Matthew Kelly

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Kieran Resevsky, of Merewether

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Kieran Resevsky, of Merewether

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Leonie Davis

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Leonie Davis

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Fire burns at Glenrock recreation area, near Newcastle. Picture: Leonie Davis

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

Scenes of the Glenrock fire by Bradley Cody.

A bushfire burns south of Taree. Picture: Carl Muxlow

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

CHAOS Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

Pictures taken from the corner of Cabbage Tree Road and Nelson Bay Road. PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

Pictures taken from the corner of Cabbage Tree Road and Nelson Bay Road. PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

Pictures taken from the corner of Cabbage Tree Road and Nelson Bay Road. PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

Pictures taken from the corner of Cabbage Tree Road and Nelson Bay Road. PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

Scenes from Williamtown as a fire breaks containment lines. Pictures by Jonothan Carroll

Firefighters battle fire Michelle’s dog grooming shed beside a home on Cabbage Tree Road. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Firefighters battle fire Michelle’s dog grooming shed beside a home on Cabbage Tree Road. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Firefighters battle fire Michelle’s dog grooming shed beside a home on Cabbage Tree Road. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Firefighters battle fire Michelle’s dog grooming shed beside a home on Cabbage Tree Road. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

SMOKE GETS IN OUR EYES Newcastle is shrouded in the fallout from the Heatherbrae fire. Pictures by Simone De Peak (2)

SMOKE GETS IN OUR EYES Newcastle is shrouded in the fallout from the Heatherbrae fire. Pictures by Simone De Peak (2)

SMOKE GETS IN OUR EYES Newcastle is shrouded in the fallout from the Heatherbrae fire. Pictures by Simone De Peak (2)

SMOKE GETS IN OUR EYES Newcastle is shrouded in the fallout from the Heatherbrae fire. Pictures by Simone De Peak (2)

SMOKE GETS IN OUR EYES Newcastle is shrouded in the fallout from the Heatherbrae fire. Pictures by Simone De Peak (2)

SMOKE GETS IN OUR EYES Newcastle is shrouded in the fallout from the Heatherbrae fire. Pictures by Simone De Peak (2)

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook Ashlee Colhoun

OMINOUS The view from Newcastle looking north this afternoon. Picture by Simone De Peak

Twitter pic – Smoke at the Williamtown RAAF base by Amanda Douglas.

Twitter image from Andrew Valler – the corner of South Street and Medowie Road near the golf course.

Supplied pic of Lake Munmorah fire from Wangi over Pulbah Island. Photo Jason Gordon

Scenes from the fire at Catherine Hill Bay on Thursday night. Pictures by Jonathan Carroll

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook University Drive, by Hannah Sunderland

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook Tomago Road by Michael Mcgowen

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook The view from Pelican at Lake Macquarie

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook The view from Pelican at Lake Macquarie by Morgan Williams.

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook jiissee

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook The view from Newcastle looking north, by ndrewg

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook suzaan

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook ross smart

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook natasha fearon

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook mrschandlerbing

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook morgan campbell

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook Looking south from Bar Beach towards Lake Munmorah by Peter Harrigan

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook Lisa Allan

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook Kate Stokes

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook Heatherbrae by Michael Mcgowan

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook emmabk

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook brittanyjhumphry89

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook brent gibson

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook boonz

Pictures from Twitter and Facebook awa meech

Image from Dave Bean from the top of King Edward Park, looking north to the fires.

HELL ON EARTH A shot of the Port Stephens fires as seen from Newcastle’s Christ Church Cathedral. Photo by Mark Snelson

GROUNDED Firefighters battle the flames at Newcastle Airport.

FIRE: It’s the fourth anniversary of the catastrophic fires we had in our area, might bring it all back for some of the locals. Picture: Dylan St John

FIRE: It’s the fourth anniversary of the catastrophic fires we had in our area, might bring it all back for some of the locals. Picture: Dylan St John

FIRE: It’s the fourth anniversary of the catastrophic fires we had in our area, might bring it all back for some of the locals. Picture: Dylan St John

FIRE: It’s the fourth anniversary of the catastrophic fires we had in our area, might bring it all back for some of the locals. Picture: Dylan St John

FIRE: It’s the fourth anniversary of the catastrophic fires we had in our area, might bring it all back for some of the locals. Picture: Dylan St John

FIRE: It’s the fourth anniversary of the catastrophic fires we had in our area, might bring it all back for some of the locals. Picture: Dylan St John

FIRE: It’s the fourth anniversary of the catastrophic fires we had in our area, might bring it all back for some of the locals. Picture: Dylan St John

FIRES: October 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

FIRES: October 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

FIRES: October 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

FIRES: October 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

FIRES: October 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

FIRES: October 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

FIRES: October 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

FIRES: October 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

FIRES: October 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

FIRES: October 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebook The Hunter in flames 2013In October 2013 high fuel loads, coupled with warm, dry and windy weather provided the perfect conditions for a firestorm.

Bushfires raged across several locations in theHunterandCentral Coast. The skies turned orange and smoke was seen from most vantage points in the city. Fires ravaged more than 33,000 hectares in the region, but the inferno wasfelt across the state.

The NSW Premier Barry O’Farrelldeclared astate of emergencyon October 20.The fires were said to bethe worst in the state since the 1960s.

2013 REPORTS

Lake Macquarie homes under threatYOUR PHOTOS: The Hunter in flamesFiries prayfor respiteLake Munmorah bushfire tragedy as man dies defending homeThe burning investigation into whether the 2013 NSW infernos were deliberate

How to choose a paint colour that won’t go out of style

When a house looks tired and in need of an update, a lick of paint can be just what the interior designer ordered. Painting is a relatively inexpensive way to enhance a home’s appearance, as well as a straightforward job that many people can do themselves.
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But before getting busy with rollers and brushes, it’s important to give some serious thought to colour, lest you wind up with walls that date as soon as they dry (think: ’70s mustard or ’80s salmon tones).

So what are some house colours that are as safe as – well, houses? According to the experts, as boring as neutrals might initially sound, they’re often a good bet – though they too can be subject to trends and fads.

In general, white is a classic shade that’s perfect for showcasing works of art and blending into the background, allowing soft furnishings and decor to supply dashes of colour instead.

“White is obviously everyone’s favourite safe colour, but then there are different tones of white which can make things look dated,” says Meredith Lee, an interior designer who runs her own business, Meredith Lee Interior Design.

“In the ’90s there was a yellow-toned white that looks quite dated. Now it’s more grey-whites that are in.”

Sophie Carr, interior designer and founder of Studio Arrc, recommends a “crisp white”, particularly for ceilings, because “it always finishes off a room”.

“The greys stay classic as well,” she says. “If you do want to add depth to a room, bringing stone neutrals in is a nice way to do it.”

For those who feel white is just a shade too plain, Lee suggests a “neutral colour range”: paler, pastel versions of other colours.

“Every colour has a different value; it goes from the lighter ones down to the darker ones,” she explains. “Using the lighter ones can be safer.”

Carr says peach and nude tones can be a subtle way of introducing colour to a house, and tend to work well with a wide variety of furnishing schemes.

Wendy Rennie, colour and concept manager at Haymes Paint, says the company has a palette of whites and neutrals, as well as a variety of colour-based neutrals, that are popular with customers.

“We have a whole range called Natural Series, and they go from beautiful greys to some taupe colours,” she says. “The majority of people pick from that. The series has been created so that each colour has seven different strengths, going from light to dark tonally.

“For example, we’ve got Pale Mushroom, which starts with a nice bone white and goes into a really gorgeous green/grey tone.”

And several months ago, Haymes released their Blended Neutrals palette; nine new washed pastels that contain neutral elements.

“It’s a gorgeous array of peach to dusty pink and also some lovely powder blues,” Rennie says. “It’s this idea of creating spaces that are beautiful, light and airy, and we’re treating them as alternatives to standard neutrals. And it’s also this idea of making these colours feel more genderless.”

People who prefer a bolder splash of colour might opt for a single feature wall in an otherwise neutral room, but our experts advise against this.

“Feature walls are a bit passe, so I wouldn’t do that these days,” says Lee.

Carr agrees. “I think the feature wall has been overdone and it’s not as successful as people think it is ??? People do it when they’re terrified of making a mistake because they think one wall is less of a risk but I think it’s more successful if you paint the entire room.”

If eager-yet-cautious about choosing a stronger shade for a whole room, then start with a bedroom or bathroom, rather than a communal space such as the living room. Lee is a big fan of different colours for different zones of a house.

“The last thing you want is a whole house the same colour, because that really makes it quite bland,” she says. “Most clients are still very wary of using really strong and dark colours, but definitely the bedroom is a really great place to do that.”

Lee’s tip is to use cooler colours such as blues, greys and olives in bedrooms, and to steer clear of reds and oranges in areas meant for resting.

Carr concurs. “You’d never paint a bedroom red – it’s meant to be a tranquil, relaxing space.”

Instead, try warmer hues in areas that are more active, such as family rooms or a study. Greens can work well in spaces that connect to the outdoors, enhancing the connection between the inside and the outside.

Rennie notes that as people’s lives have become busier and more technologically switched on, with smart phones and tablets flashing constantly, darker tones are increasingly popular for a home’s “quiet” areas.

“Black is becoming the new white in terms of that meditative space,” she says. “A palette we’ve got which is a real curveball is Pitch Dark, all about low contrast, really dark colours used in the interior.”

At the end of the day, paint should be the backdrop for what’s going to be created in a space. And for that reason, there’s no colour Lee would ever definitely say “no” to.

“It all depends on the house and the circumstances,” she points out. “There are so many variables that there’s nothing I would really rule out.”

“It’s a matter of having confidence and having a holistic scheme,” Carr affirms. “If you’re going for an obscure paint colour, make it work and own it. If the scheme is strong, the more unique you go, the better!”

Turnbull’s plan guarantees emergence of a carbon price

23 March 2012. AFR. Hazelwood Power Station and Coal Mine in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria. Energy, power, electricity, coal, coal mine.Photograph by Arsineh Houspian. +(61) 401 320 173. [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘Energy07.jpg
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The Turnbull government’s new national energy guarantee could introduce a de facto carbon price, measuring the cost of emissions for the first time since the Abbott government scrapped the carbon tax in 2014.

The long-awaited energy plan, released by the government on Tuesday, requires electricity retailers to ensure improved reliability levels while also reducing carbon emissions in line with ‘s Paris Agreement commitments.

Buried in the detail of advice presented by the new Energy Security Board to state and federal governments is a mechanism to be added to the National Electricity Market in two stages in 2019 and 2020 that could produce a default carbon price.

“Some electricity retailers will not be able to meet the required emissions profile, while others will overachieve,” it reads. “Therefore a secondary exchange will occur between retailers to balance their portfolios.”

That “exchange’ will also be open to those underachieving retailers to buy a yet-to-be-determined portion of any “emissions guarantee” shortfall using n carbon credit units or international units, the briefing note says.

Hugh Grossman, Executive Director of advisory group RepuTex, said that mechanism creates a de facto carbon price, even if its level may be hard to pin down.

“It’s not a transparent price,” Mr Grossman said. “Certainly from a structural design point of factoring in that cost of carbon, [it’s] a very good step.”

Since n carbon credit units (ACCUs) already float and would be available for purchase by retailers, “the effective carbon price for the market would be the price of those ACCUs”, he said.

Josh Frydenberg, the Environment and Energy minister, though, downplayed the prospect, telling Fairfax Media there would be no explicit carbon price.

“Under the new initiative, the commonwealth will legislate the target and retailers will be required to have an average emissions level across their portfolio,” he said. “They can use existing contracts to meet this obligation, potentially including international permits and domestic credits.”

At least one state government, though, interpreted the advice to mean Canberra was backing linkage to carbon markets.

Craig Kelly, chair of the Coalition’s backbench energy committee, took a similar view, saying: “there is a potential price but what that price will be is an unknown factor”.

“There will be a cost or price there if you are not meeting your obligations,” he said.

Mr Kelly said it is possible the price could be zero, depending on what trajectory for emissions is set by the n Energy Market Operator.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has in the past supported a price on carbon as the most efficient way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are blamed for driving climate change.

However, carbon pricing as been kryptonite for the Coalition since Tony Abbott grabbed the leadership of the Liberal Party in 2009. Mr Abbott campaigned heavily to scrap the carbon tax introduced by Labor in 2011, a goal he achieved as prime minister in 2014, a little more than a year before he was toppled by Mr Turnbull.

Mark Butler, Labor’s energy and climate spokesman, said that even without an “upfront market” setting a carbon price, the plan designed by the government will “inevitably [set] a secondary market that provides a pricing of the carbon arrangements”.

“Now that might not be what Josh Frydenberg and Malcolm Turnbull told the Coalition party room [on Tuesday], but I think it is the response of everyone in the industry,” Mr Butler said.

“At the end of the day companies will start contracting and trading with each other and a price will emerge on that which reflects the carbon obligation,” he said.

RepuTex’s Mr Grossman said access to international markets may also be one way to link whatever carbon market emerges in to efforts in Europe, China or elsewhere to price carbon.

While international prices of carbon credits have been cheap in the past, those prices are likely to increase in the future, he said.

Given the large opportunities for carbon sequestration and other projects in that could supply low-cost carbon credits, this country may even become an exporter of such market instruments to the benefit of land users and other ventures here, Mr Grossman said.

Michael McCormack hospitalised after shirtfront from Coalition colleague

Small Business Minister and rural NSW Nationals MP Michael McCormack recovering in hospital today.
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POLITICS is a tough and bruising business at the best of times.

Just ask the federal Small Business Minister and rural NSW Nationals MP Michael McCormack.

Mr McCormack was ordered off to hospital today where he was diagnosed with a slight case of concussion and whiplash along with a badly cut inner lip, following an incident this morning during what was supposed to be a friendly touch rugby match.

The game was being held as part of preparations leading into the Rugby League 2017 World Cup events – for men and women – that are due to start at the end of this month in and NZ.

But as he sized an opportunity to head for glory and score a decisive try, and to run past one of the game’s biggest legends in Darren Lockyer on the sporting grounds adjacent to Parliament House in Canberra earlier this morning, the energetic and sports-man Riverina MP was shirtfronted by one of his own political allies.

McCormack hitAnd no, it wasn’t Tony Abbott concerned that his team-mate was exhibiting too much fresh natural energy for his liking.

Playing on the yellow team where Mr McCormack was accompanied by the likes of n Jillaroos captain Ruan Sims and other federal MPs and staffers, the Small Business Minister encountered the rugged and sizeable shoulder of larger-than-life Queensland Liberal MP Scott Buchholz.

While the video footage of the physical incident may be somewhat less dramatic, that didn’t stop Mr McCormack from adding a few additional points in recounting his own stunning version of events.

And what’s more, his take on the incident is even somewhat necessary, given his party leader and the Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce – playing on the other team on this occasion – made an untimely walk in front of the camera to block the winning shot from being captured for eternity’s viewing, in much the same way that Mr Buchholz inconveniently lunged, shoulder first, to thwart his rugby opponent’s run at the try line, for glory, to re-live achildhood dream.

“We were down by a try or two and they’d just dropped the ball and so we had it in our possession and we were on zero tackles,” Mr McCormack said.

“It was a tap and go situation and I said to myself, ‘if I can get past Darren Lockyer who is rugby league’s equivalent in terms of legendary status to what Tim Fischer or Barnaby Joyce are to the Nationals, there’s only daylight between me and the try line.”

“Lockyer was off-side and in rugby, just like politics, you have to back yourself so I tucked the ball under my arm and with nothing ahead of me blocking my run, I charged off down the flank towards the touch line to score in the corner.

“But there he was from out of virtually nowhere – the man mountain Scotty Buchholz.

“We may be Coalition colleagues in the world of politics but I’m sure he dropped his shoulder on me in the tackle.

“I’ve seen some big objects in my time – Uluru and the Snowy Mountains – but nothing quite as big as Scotty Buchholz coming towards me on the touch rugby ground.

“I could hear the crowd gasping as he hit me – and I’m pretty sure Barnaby Joyce didn’t see any of it.”

Mr McCormackdidn’t hit the deck immediately but he spent time on the sidelines to assess and did take his injuries seriously.

“I thought I was all-right but when Barnaby Joyce was giving a speech after the game – and normally I like to listen when he’s speaking – my head started spinning,” he said.

“I was assisted back to my office by (Queensland Nationals MP) Keith Pitt which I greatly appreciated and then went to see my party colleague Dr David Gillespie who insisted I visit the nurse.

“I headed to hospital where they diagnosed me with a slight case of concussion and whiplash and a badly cut lip, on the inside.

“And for the record, Barnaby was also named player of the match which was another good win for the Nationals.”

Some say you should mix politics with sport and sport with politics when it comes to reporting on both; a point Mr McCormack as an ex-journalist would find hard to disagree with.

But he said the game was won and lost and played in good sporting spirits by those who turned up and had fun, while they enjoyed fresh air and exercise in serving a good cause.

Now he’s under doctor’s orders to rest and recover from his bruises but being a man used to operating a busy work-schedule, he’s not likely to miss question time today.

But are there any ill-feelings towards his Coalition colleague Scott Buchholz?

“We hugged it out after the game,” he said.

“He’s a good man and he’s a big man too and now we know Scotty Buchholz will stand up to anyone and anything to get the right result.”

FarmOnline

APS needs permission to innovate without fear: Bowles

Scott Morrison minister for Immigration and Border Protection appeared before a Senate Committee hearing with Joint Agency Taskforce Lieutenant General Angus Campbell and Department Secretary Martin Bowles at Parliament House in Canberra on Friday 31 January 2014 Photo: Andrew MearesFormer Department of Health boss Martin Bowles has called for the public service to embrace a permission culture, giving employees the chance to try new approaches without fear of “crucifixions”.
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In a valedictory address to the Institute of Public Administration in Canberra, Mr Bowles reflected on 40 years in the public service, including high profile controversies such as the Rudd government’s home insultation scheme and the backlash to Abbott government budget cuts.

He said a permission culture would give departments and agencies the ability to innovate and succeed.

“What I mean by that is [an environment] where people are prepared to try different things and not be worried.

“One where, if things go wrong, there’s no crucifixions held at dawn or dusk.

“Things do go wrong, quite regularly in fact. The real thing is how do we get ourselves through it, how do we change that dynamic?

“If you create a culture where people feel like they have permission to do things, you can get anything done.”

A former Immigration Department secretary and deputy secretary at Defence, Mr Bowles announced in August he would join the Calvary Health Care network.

The move followed reported differences with Health Minister Greg Hunt.

A royal commission found the $2.7 billion home insultation scheme, which included the deaths of four people, was not properly designed or implemented.

As deputy secretary in the former Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mr Bowles said he saw first hand the impact on public servants.

Public service leaders should remind their colleagues of significant failures to avoid repeating past mistakes, he said.

“You would hope that we would never get to another home insulation issue but it is entirely possible if we as public servants don’t do our job properly.

“We had providers wanting to beat us, we had suppliers wanting to beat us, we had home owners wanting to beat us.

“I said ‘this is the best professional development you ever get’ and they thought I was stupid. But it was.

“It taught them a whole range of things they would have never ever have got anywhere else.”

Mr Bowles said he had been “absolutely smashed” in the immediate aftermath of Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey’s controversial 2014 budget, which included plans to charge a $7 co-payment for patients visiting their doctor and cuts to rebates for short appointments.

The plan was killed off in 2015 after months of controversy

“The media, Senate estimates, everyone wanted a victim,” Mr Bowles said.

“I kept saying, ‘I’m the secretary, I’ll get it right next time”.

“We got it wrong. Me bashing to death the person or persons, and there were quite a few persons involved in this issue, was not going to help.

“They knew they buggered it up, they didn’t do it again and I didn’t say anything.”

Praising ministers Greg Combet, Chris Bowen and Scott Morrison for their support of public servants, Mr Bowles said he would miss Canberra and would never rule out returning to government.

“The integrity of the public service has to be uncontestable,” he said.

“With the ever changing world that we are currently in, I think we need it more than ever.”

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