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.

Fairfax Media

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.