Ban won’t effect existing two-stroke machines

New requirements will force pollution controls on two-stroke engines from next year, but not existing machines.The small engine retail sector is getting ready for the biggest overhaul in two-stroke machines in history as the ban on non-compliant small motors looms next year.
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has been forced to jump in line with pollution controls in other nations.

While some say this is just another case of government over-regulation, the Outdoor Power Equipment Association (OPEA) says was lagging well behind other nations in engine pollution controls for small machinery.

The major victim of the ban on non-compliant two-stroke motors will be cheap Chinese copies coming onto the market.

There is no ban on machines using two-stroke already in use, with the final deadline for non-compliant imports taking hold on June 30 next year, with wholesalers and dealers given another year to sell off stock.

The OPEA says was 20 years behind other countries on small engine pollution controls. A two stroke lawn mower put out 40 times the emissions of a car, and a brush cutter as much as 10 cars. “Standards were overdue,” the OPEA’s Gary Fooks said.

“ in 2018 will adopt international small engine emissions standards, we will accept USA and the equivalent EU standard which covers spark ignition (petrol/ LPG) up to 19kW (25Hp) and boat engines. Diesel is not included. I’d say 52 per cent of what we buy now meets the standard,” he said.

“So what will pass? Handheld machines (e.g. chainsaws) – you’ll have better quality chainsaws, slashers etc. 2 stroke and 4 stroke, ground supported machines – mowers, pumps, generators –held to a tougher standard, and only 4 strokes will pass.

“Outboards and marine engines– four stroke and Direct Injection 2 stroke.

“Nothing you own now will be restricted and this appears to be the greatest fear people have.

“I don’t think rural and commercial operators will notice much change. Serious users are mostly already buying quality equipment and brands that already pass.”

Mr Fooks said the machines that won’t pass the new Federal lawsinclude “cheap and cheerful Chinese copies” that sometimes put out at 20 times the pollution of compliant machines.

“Rural and commercial operators who buy serious gear probably already have the clean machines. It’s the cheap and cheerful $79 machines sold in the giant city hardware’s that won’t pass muster.”

Victa stopped making two-stroke mowers last year.

The Land

Ride2Work Day becomes a pedalling odyssey

Journey’s end: Newcastle Herald reporter Scott Bevan arrives at the office at Honeysuckle, almost three and a half hours after he set off on his aged bicycle in southern Lake Macquarie. Picture: Max Mason-HubersWhen confronted with ridiculous challenges, there are usually two voices in my head. There’s the voice of reason, saying, “No, don’t do it”. Then there’s the other voice, which, in this case, soundsvery much like my Senior Deputy Editor’s, exclaiming, “Yes, do it!”.
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I couldn’t hear the “no” for the enthusiastic shouting of my boss on Tuesday.

And that’s how I agreed to participate in the national Ride2Work Day. “Why” is another question altogether.

This was a ridiculous challenge for a couple of reasons. The first wasmy ride to work was to be more like an odyssey. I would be cycling from the southern part of Lake Macquarie toNewcastle, a journey of about 33 kilometres.

The second reason was that I’m no MAMIL (Middle-Aged Male in Lycra). I’m more of a reptile. At 52, I’m a MAM. My bike is also well-worn.It’s a red Shogun, which I bought more than 20 years ago. It’s a marvellously durable bicycle, defying the years and rust. The Shoguneven has an original front tyre. That’s not an issue if you’re just riding to the shops, as I usually do; for a long trek, there was a reasonable chance this would turn into Push2Work Day for me.

Anyway, I ignored the “ridiculous” bits, as only a MAM can, and embraced the challenge. Wearing my best gym shorts (the ones with elastic still in them) anda pack on my back, andcarrying a bottle full of water and a belly full of anticipation, I set off at 9.07am on Wednesday.

No sooner had I put my feet on the pedals than a north-easterly skitteredacross the lake and smacked me in the face. That infernalheadwind was to be my constant companion.

Tracing the lake’s south-western shoreline was therapeutic. The riding must have been making me lookpositively youthful. A tradie in a ute near Rathmines waited for me to pass, saying,“It’s harder for you, son.”Son!

When I hit Wangi Road and endured the long climb towards Toronto, I felt positively decrepit. Actually, from my thighs down, I felt nothing at allbut aching. I also felt a little exposed, withthe whoosh of trucks travelling at 80 km/h just metres away. Still, there’s always someoneslower than you. I passed a young bloke,Nathan, who was walking to Warners Bay.

The run down throughToronto was sweet relief. The fallingof rain as I crossed the Fennell Bay bridge was not. Thankfully, there were only a few drops. From Booragul to Warners Bay, I didn’t have to contend with motor vehicles; I was on the bike and pedestrian path, allowing me to glance at the lake. On the path, I passed the first cyclists I’d seen since setting off. I wondered how many were participating in Ride2Work Day.

HALFWAY: Scott Bevan and his trusty bicycle on the foreshore near Speers Point during his epic pedalling commute to work in Newcastle.

To get an idea of that, as I pedalled towardsHillsborough, I stopped in at Cheeky Bikes. Owner OliverPringle said more and more people cycledto work most days.

“Traffic congestion is getting worse, and cycling is getting easier, with electric bikes,” he said. I was tempted to buy one of those, there and then, on the company card.In the workshopwere Matt Miller and John Ebeling. They praisedme for riding to work. I felt smugly self-satisfied. That is, until“Ebo”mentioned he cycled to work most days –from Maitland.

SUPPORT: Matt Miller (left) and John Ebeling at Cheeky Bikes, Warners Bay, repairing bicycles and giving moral support to our pedalling reporter. Picture: Scott Bevan

Following the Cheeky Bikes boys’ advice, I rode along the edge of the Newcastle inner city bypass,acting like a tortoise beside the motorised hares tearing past, as I climbedthe hill to the Cardiff turn-off. From there,it was gloriously downhill to Kotara and across to the Fernleigh Track –well, the last few hundred metres of it –and a cafe popular with cyclists.

Fernleigh Cafe barista Djalar Donovan said it had been an average morning, with about 20 riders stopping by. Then Louise Shearston arrived. She had just ridden from work, a nearby indoor climbing centre, to buy a drink. But she was participating in Ride2Work Day –“I never usually ride on a Wednesday”.

Scott Bevan takes a break at the Fernleigh Cafe in Adamstown.

One common callamong the ridersI had met was a need for a larger cycle network to connect communities and encouragetwo-wheel commuting. What’s more, having shared roads with motor vehicles, I reckon there’s room for more bike awareness. It’s not enough to have “Watch out for Bicycles” signs and logos on the road; that has to be translated into respect, irrespective of the number of wheels below us.

Scott Bevan on the last leg during his long ride to work. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

I traced the Honeysuckle foreshore and arrived at the office at 12.31pm. I had ridden to work. I felt great. It would be impractical for me to do this every day, as I would have only a couple of hoursat my desk before riding off again. Hang on. Now that I think about it, perhaps every day should be Ride2Work Day. Say “yes!”to that, Senior Deputy Editor.

Fernleigh 15 from Adamstown to Belmont on Sunday

ENDURANCE: Vlad Shatrov goes back-to-back at the Fernleigh 15 in 2016. I won’t be anywhere near him on Sunday. ABOUT a year ago a few mates of mine found an old photograph of me.
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Taken at sunset on Waikiki Beach sometime in 2011, the picture shows me, mid-stride, emerging from the water in a pair of red shorts.

“No joke, that is the best you’ve ever looked,” my mate told me immediately after he pressed the button.

And he was right.

I’d spotted him on the sand a second before he snapped the picture, sucked in my gut and puffed out my chest, while pretending it was all completely natural.

Then, after showing me at my peak physical health, my mates pulled up a more recent photograph.

I’m asleep in the back seat of a car on the way back from the airport after a trip to Bali.

I have drool on my face, I’m unshaven and my hair is revealing what I’ve been trying to hide for years; I’m going bald.

But the most striking thing about the picture, and the most embarrassing thing for me, is my gut.

The seat belt is grasping my stomach underneath and across the top, accentuating my shame and outlining the exact dimensions of my belly as if it were an anatomical diagram.

It was me at my absolute worst.

After showing me these two pics my mates bet me that I couldn’t return my body to its Hawaii heyday.

I was 102 kilograms and I’d need to get down to 82kg.

They gave me a generous 12 months to do it and three of my mates, let’s call them Dylan, Mitch and Dave*, even put some money down.

$2100 in total.

My weight loss missionstarted slowly.

Very slowly; my first run (walk)was a 50-plus minute 5 kilometre ParkRun.

Then running became more enjoyable, I started taking a salad every day for lunch and I cut out beer.

With the help of another mate, let’s call him Clayton*, I shaved about half an hour off my 5km time.

I started to love running, I was addicted to it and I quickly lost weight and felt great.

I’m not telling you this story because I’m something special.

After all, I’m just doing what I should have been doing for years and there are many more people with far more inspirational weight loss stories.

I’m telling you because I’m hoping it might encourage you, if you’re in the same situation I was in 12 months ago, to get out and go for a run.

You won’t regret it.

This weekend I’m competing in my first proper run –The Fernleigh 15 –and I literally can’t wait.

Next month, I’ll runthe Central Coast Half Marathon, and after that a marathon.

Because the thing I’ve learned about running is, once you start you can’t stop.

And if you haven’t registered for the Fernleigh 15, it’s not too late.

*Yes, that is their real names.

Commercial Property: Carrington hotel being sold as a leasehold asset

MAKEOVER: New life was breathed into the Criterion Hotel when it was refurbished in 2014. The bar and restaurant trade is strong.The sale of aleasehold asset at Carrington’s Criterion Hotel presents “a great opportunity”to enter the hospitality pub scene, according to Deane Moore ofMoore and Moore Real Estate.
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The Criterion Hotel in Bourke Street was refurbished in 2014 and Mr Moore said it offered “good restaurant and bar trade”.

The leasehold asset is being sold for $215,000 with 12 years remaining on the lease.

The business includes bar, restaurant, poker machines, outdoor areas and upgraded accommodation.

BAR REMOVEDThe historic Terrace Bar, on Hunter Street, has been withdrawn from the market due to personal reasons after being listed for sale this month through Colliers International.

DARBY SALEThe Cooks Hill Commercial Centre on Darby Street has been sold for an undisclosed sum after an expressions of interest campaign.

The site is zoned B2 Local Centre and is returning a net rent of approximately $1.505 million per annum.

Knight Frank’s Ross Cooper said the iconic property attracted “a lot of interest” through the marketing campaign before being sold to a local group on October 13 who will “continue that refurbishment and upgrade of the building”.

GOOD TENNANTSColliers International’sByrne Tran said 45 Enterprise Drive, Beresfield offered “a high quality investment property” in “one of Newcastle’s most popular industrial precincts”.

The property is located at the northern end of the M1 Motorway and Mr Tran said is leased to a good tennant until August 2020.

The property has a rental return of approximately $178,000 net per annum plus GST and is set for auction on November 9. Interest is expected to start around the low $2 million mark.

It comprisesan engineering facility with office areas over two levels and benefits from having a workshop and adjoining warehouse area.

DOER UPPERRaine and Horne’s Steve Dick said a Raymond Terrace property, at 44 Port Stephens Street,offered the potential for a small business to own their own building.

“If it has strong bones and a great location, which this has, someone can turn it into their own style and space,” he said.

It is set for a November 16 auction with bidding expected to start around $300,000.

Prominent investor shocks market with race comments

High-profile investor Marc Faber provoked a backlash from business television and investment management firms on Tuesday after comments in his latest newsletter suggested the United States had only prospered because it was settled by white people.
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The commentator, known as “Dr Doom” for his bearish calls on stocks and the economy, was dismissed from the boards of Canadian fund manager Sprott and mining company NovaGold Resources after his remarks. Business television networks such as CNBC and Fox Business said they would remove Faber from booking lists for their shows.

In the October edition of his newsletter, “The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report,” in a section discussing capitalism versus socialism, Faber criticised the move to tear down monuments commemorating the US Civil War military leaders of the Confederacy, and said:

“Thank God white people populated America, not the blacks. Otherwise, the US would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority.”

“I am not a racist,” Faber continued, “but the reality – no matter how politically incorrect – needs to be spelled out as well.”

The comments in his newsletter were circulated on Twitter after subscribers scanned and posted it.

They also caught the attention of observers in , with Market Economics managing director Stephen Koukoulas tweeting: Vile racism rather than the long, long train wreck of hopeless prognostications finally bringing down this goose https://t苏州夜场招聘/BGRSi7Vfj8??? Stephen Koukoulas (@TheKouk) October 17, 2017 Source: Bloomberg

Sprott, a Toronto-based alternative asset manager where Faber had served as a director since 2010, demanded his resignation and he complied, effective immediately.

“The recent comments by Dr Faber are deeply disappointing and are completely contradictory with the views of Sprott and its employees,” Sprott Chief Executive Peter Grosskopf said in a statement. “We pride ourselves on being a diverse organisation and comments of this sort will not be tolerated.”

Late on Tuesday, Canadian miner NovaGold Resources announced the departure of Faber from its board of directors, effective immediately.

Faber is also a director of Ivanhoe Mines and spokesman Bob Williamson told Reuters that the company was aware of Faber’s race comments but had no comment.

Faber, who has said that he predicted the 1987 stock market crash, made his comments after a lengthy critique of socialist policies which were prefaced by a reference to this summer’s violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which one woman was killed.

Faber described monuments commemorating the US Civil War military leaders of the Confederacy, which were at issue in the protests, as “statues of honourable people whose only crime was to defend what all societies had done for more than 5,000 years: keep a part of the population enslaved.”

Reuters with BusinessDay

Apartment Living: News on apartments around town

DA approved for King Street development HISTORY MEETS MODERN DAY: A development application has been approved for Ireland’s Bond 1884, comprising 25 one and two-bedroom apartments on King Street.
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An artist’s impression of how apartments in an approved development application for Ireland’s Bond 1884 on King Street will look.

TweetFacebook A DA has been approved for a King Street developmentIreland’s Bond 1884 set to blend city history with modern living.Interest can be registered on a new boutique development proposed for King Street in Newcastle.

Ireland’s Bond 1884 is an adaptive re-use project which Raine and Horne’s Jason Maxwell said blended one of the city’s heritage buildings with modern luxury.

A development application has been approved for a boutique development of25 apartments.

There will be 19 one-bedroom apartments and six two-bedroom residences.

“It’s an adaptive re-use project, converting an older commercial building into residential,” Mr Maxwell said.

“It is a completerebuildinternally while maintaining the existing facade.

“The owners have owned the building since the mid-80s. They’ve been commercial landlords and have now decided this would be the best use for the building.”

Expressions of interest are being sought with one-bedroom apartments starting from $395,000. Two-bedroom apartments will start from $650,000.

The apartments have been designed by architects EJE and Mr Maxwell said there had alreadybeen strong interest in the inner city project.

The popularity of Iris Capital’s East End development continues with Fabric House being “really well received”, according toColliers International’s Dane Crawford.

Fabric House

The art deco inspired building which retains its heritage facade on Wolfe Street was fast-tracked to market and its 57 apartments released to the public on October 14.

Mr Crawford said they had “effectively sold out half the building over the first two days”.

“That just reinforces that strong desire for people to purchase apartments in the CBD and to take part in that rejuvenation of the city,” he said.

“It really was a unique design, really different.”

Interest can also be registered for another new development close to the CBD, this one being marketed by Walkom.

Eaton Apartmentsin Union Street, Wickham is expected to be released in early December and will feature one and two-bedroom apartments with parking.

Walkom also marketed theWestEnddevelopment at Wickham which has sold out.

It is one of several new developments Walkom are marketing, including The Grounds at Callaghan, which offer aselection ofone and two-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom townhouses.

A top-floor studio in the Newcastle CBD is being marketed by Martyn Ransom at Chapman Property with a price range of $235,000 to $250,000, presenting an ideal opportunity for investors orfirst home buyers to gain entry into the market.

A two-bedroompenthouse apartmentwith a large deck and ocean views in Charles Street, Charlestown has been listed by Century 21’s Robert Russell with a price guide of $665,000.

Paths of the Soul review:quickly wears thin

Paths of the Soul is in selected cinemas from October 19, 2017. Paths of the Soul is in selected cinemas from October 19, 2017.
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Paths of the Soul is in selected cinemas from October 19, 2017.

FILM PATHS OF THE SOUL ??????(PG) Selected cinemas (120 minutes)

If you’ve never pondered the literal meaning of the word “kowtow”, you may have something to learn from the new film by Chinese director Zhang Yang (Shower), which follows a dozen or so Tibetan villagers on a 1200-mile pilgrimage through the Himalayas to Lhasa, as is Buddhist tradition.

This would be an arduous trek under any circumstances but, adding to the challenge, every few steps the pilgrims must drop onto their stomachs and touch their foreheads to the earth.

To protect their bodies, they wear leather aprons and have wooden boards strapped to their hands, generating a noise like the clicking of castanets. In the absence of a conventional score, this becomes central to the film’s soundtrack.

Paths of the Soul is not quite fiction, not quite documentary. Reports indicate that the journey we see is real, and that the non-professional cast members are playing versions of themselves.

But it also appears that Zhang has manipulated events in the manner of a reality TV producer – ensuring, for example, that a pregnant woman (Tsring Chodron???) was part of the group in order to build a sequence around the birth of her child.

That said, the limited drama here springs more from the natural world – say, the threat of an avalanche or flood – than from the kind of conflict between characters which commonly drives both avowed fiction and reality TV.

While the pilgrims vary by age and gender, we learn little about them as individuals. Most of the action is framed in long shot, as if keeping the mountains in view were more a priority than letting us see the characters’ faces.

Spiritually, too, the film keeps its distance, moving quickly past the question of why anyone would embark on this exhausting and risky journey at all.

Zhang, who isn’t religious himself, seems bent on having the best of both worlds – generating a vague feeling of uplift, while presenting Buddhist ritual as charmingly quaint.

Unsurprisingly in a Chinese film about Tibet, political issues are kept entirely out of the picture, though it’s notable that the characters seem to have no trouble maintaining their traditional way of life.

This is, in short, a blandly soothing film with little substance of any sort. How far you’re able to sustain interest over two full hours will depend on your enthusiasm for mountain scenery and for watching people kowtow.

For me, the appeal wore off fast.

Top private schools failed to address abuse claims

SPECIAL 6141 Trinity Grammar;Sun Herald News;000209;Digital Photograph by Simon Alekna;Story by Frank Walker;Headmaster of Trinity Grammar Grammar School, Milton Cujes…at the schoolTwo of the state’s most exclusive private schools failed adequately to investigate and address allegations of sexual abuse involving students, a royal commission has found.
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Senior management of The King’s School in Parramatta did not report the alleged sexual assault of a student in 2013 to authorities, despite a police officer’s written advice to do so.

The inaction was described by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as “a failure by the senior management of King’s”.

In its report into harmful sexual behaviour of children in schools, the royal commission also found senior management at Trinity Grammar School in Summer Hill did not adequately investigate allegations that students were being “raped” in the boarding house.

The report found that senior management, including headmaster Milton Cujes???, were made aware of the allegations of sexual assault involving boarders in 2000.

School psychologist Kate Lumsdaine??? initiated her own inquiry because she was “concerned that senior staff would not investigate the allegations”, the report determined.

“We are satisfied that, if Ms Lumsdaine had not interviewed the boys and reported her conclusion, there would have been no investigation of the sexual assaults that were occurring in the boarding house at Trinity in 2000,” the commissioners wrote.

Trinity Grammar School reported the allegations to the relevant authorities after Mr Cujes received Ms Lumsdaine’s report.

Mr Cujes, who gave evidence at the royal commission’s public hearing into schools in 2016, is due to retire at the end of the year.

Trinity spokesman Richard Pegg said in a statement that the school “acknowledges with regret that its initial response to the incident of 2000 was inadequate. As the Head Master stated to the Commission, ‘we could have done better, we should have done better’.”

“From the day the school became fully aware of the seriousness and extent of the issue and reported it to the authorities, the school committed itself unreservedly to the review and taking of appropriate measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students,” Mr Pegg said.

“Since that time, the school has learnt much about how to deal with issues of abuse and bullying more effectively.

“The welfare and wellbeing of our boys are paramount and we will consider seriously for implementation all recommendations that the Commission makes in its final report.”

The public hearing also examined how The King’s School responded to allegations that a student indecently assaulted another boy during a school cadet camp in 2013.

In an email sent to senior staff, a senior constable advised that the alleged incident was an offence and should be reported to police.

“The commissioners are satisfied that no one at King’s reported the … camp incident to the police, despite having written advice from the police that the matter should be reported,” the report found.

“This was a failure by the senior management of King’s. Headmaster Dr Timothy Hawkes ‘candidly’ accepted that the steps that King’s took were not effective in dealing with the problem in this case.”

The commissioners also determined, “in 2013 a bullying culture existed at King’s, both inside the boarding houses and in the school more generally”.

Dr Hawkes retired from King’s in June.

The inquiry into harmful sexual behaviour of children in schools also heard testimony about a Queensland high school and three primary schools.

Commissioners identified a number of systemic issues including how schools respond to allegations involving children and how allegations are reported to authorities.

Fairfax Media has also approached The King’s School for comment.

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

ASX’s $100b rally looks set to roll on

Jason Steed, n equity strategist at JP Morgan, poses for a picture at his office on October 17, 2017 in Sydney, . (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Fairfax Media) BULL. 011017. AFR. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION LOUIE DOUVISGENERIC BULL MARKET, STOCK EXCHANGE, MARKETS, INVESTMENT, BUSINESS, MONEY, SHARES, TRADING, TRADERS, MONEY.S***AFR & COLOUR FIRST USE ONLY***
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The recent hot run on the ASX, which has added $100 billion worth of value over nine sessions and shattered a five-month trading range, has the potential to push higher, experts say.

It has been a frustrating period for local investors, who have endured listless sideways trading since May. But the recent break higher for the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 sharemarket index suggests the synchronised global expansion, that has seen Wall Street, the Japanese Topix and the German DAX hit record highs, has arrived on n shores.

After last financial year’s bumper profits, n companies are expanding their business investment plans, buoying the mood among shareholders, said Hasan Tevfik, equity strategist at Credit Suisse.

“There is a newfound corporate confidence in which is permeating through to investors,” he said. “The recovery and expansion that we’ve seen in both China and the United States for the last few years has only come to recently.”

Non-mining business investment in increased in the June quarter and was almost 10 per cent higher than at the start of 2016.

Mr Tevfik pointed to an earnings expansion cycle that began in August 2016, which was freeing up cash flow for businesses to expand their operations.

“The average earnings expansion goes on for five years and during these phases the market pushes high,” he said. “And we’re just starting year two. So there’s a way to go yet.”

The synchronised global economic upswing that has lifted the spirits of foreign investors is likely to provide further support for n equities, given that between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of them earn the bulk of their earnings overseas.

“On top of that, general strong growth, even for companies that aren’t directly exposed, will probably benefit,” Mr Tevfik said. 6000 and beyond

Close to half the n sharemarket’s total capitalisation rests in the mining and financials sectors, which means the length and strength of the current rally will rely heavily on those heavyweight portions of the index, JP Morgan equity strategist Jason Steed said.

“To enable much of a move beyond the 6000 mark, we do need a continuation of the earnings upgrades through materials,” Mr Steed said. “Materials [earnings] have turned and we need to see them come back up, which we believe will happen. And we would need to see a stronger earnings uplift through the banks and insurers over the course of the next 12 months.”

To that end, the coming bank reporting season could be a crucial catalyst for the ASX. Full-year profit results are due from ANZ on October 26, NAB on November 2 and Westpac November 6. CBA holds its annual shareholder meeting on November 16.

“Looking forward to 2018 to argue for a much stronger – say 6500 points [for the ASX 200] theoretically – I don’t envisage a scenario where that is price-driven,” Mr Steed said.

“If you look at a lot of the gains over the past year outside of – we haven’t had a good year – a lot of it has been driven by earnings,” he said.

Mr Steed said the roughly 15 per cent gain in the MSCI All-World equity index had been matched by an equivalent expansion in aggregate earnings.

He expected the ASX 200 companies to increase profits on a per-share basis by about 5.5 per cent this financial year. Add in 4.5 per cent in dividend yield and that “gives us 10 per cent return, which is not so bad”.

Beyond a strictly earnings-driven market, Mr Steed believes “we need a much better political backdrop” to provide the environment in which investors are prepared to pay more for a given level of earnings. He pointed to the dysfunction in Canberra around crucial policies such as energy and a potential banking royal commission as examples of the “sovereign risk” that weighed on potential investor appetite.

Investors would also need some more clarity around how much of the recent middling earnings growth could be attributed to structural factors – such as increasing competition in the retail and telecommunications spaces – and how much was purely cyclical. Relative valuations may also come into play after the ASX lagged world equity markets.

“We’re now around five-year lows against the MSCI All-world [in terms of valuations], so do we see some mean reversion buying? A lot of money is driven by quant strategies, so there might be a flow of money. If we see a slight earnings upgrades and we see those strategies kick in, we might see some money come back in to the sharemarket.”

Breaking Bread: Vanessa Hutchins with Scott Bevan

LONG-DISTANCE VOYAGER: Civic Theatre manager Vanessa Hutchins talks with Scott Bevan over lunch at the Happy Wombat. Leaning across her lunch and talking over the thrum oftraffic on Hunter Street, Vanessa Hutchins recounts how she was recently in Tonga and met the kind of people who intrigue her: middle-aged couples who sell up everything, buy a yacht and sail away.
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“For me, one of the most dangerous concepts would be to be in the middle of the ocean, not knowingwhat weather’s going to hit you, not knowing the parameters of where you are – and embracing that,” she says.

And yet, in a way, that is the life Vanessa Hutchins has been leading.

She may be in her hometown now, as the manager of the Civic Theatre, but for the best part of three decades, Hutchins rode through creative tempests and typhoons, been becalmed at times,and found herself in someextraordinary and inspiring places, as she journeyedaround the globe.

“I’ve virtually lived a sailor’s life – without the boat,” she muses, while sipping on a craft beer.

Only Vanessa Hutchins has had a boat – the theatre.

PASSIONATE: Arts advocate and manager Vanessa Hutchins. Picture: Simone De Peak

AS a Novocastrian, Vanessa Hutchins was born in a harbour town, but shewas very much her father’s daughter in setting her life’s course for over the horizon.

Hutchins was born in 1971 and grew up in Shortland. She is bemused by how much the perception of her childhood suburb has changed. Now Shortland neighbours an internationally renowned wetlands.As a kid, she was considered to be living next to a swamp. But that environment inoculated her for future challenges, when she was living and working in the Top End.

“When I went to Darwin, the mosquitoes never got me, because of my breeding,” Hutchins says. “I was already toughened up. I’d tell them about the Hexham Grey . . . this monster of a mosquito, and they’d be like, ‘No, you’re kidding me!’ ‘Nope, it’s a mosquito that could take your head off!’”

Her father, Bill, was a merchant seaman, who had grown up in that other Newcastle. While in port here, he met a girl from Mayfield, Robyn.

“So Newcastle on Tyne marriesNewcastle on Hunter,” laughs Hutchins.

Bill and Robyn Hutchinshad three girls; Vanessa was the youngest. Bill Hutchins gradually left behind his life at sea, if not the memories.

Vanessa Hutchins recalls how for her 30thbirthday, she travelled to the Greek island of Rhodes. She phoned home.

“And I get my Dad on the phone, and he said, ‘Oh, Rodos! I might have spent a night in somebody else’s company in Rodos’,” she laughs. “‘No, Dad, don’t tell me the story!’.”

As a teenager, Hutchinssays, she clashed with her father because they were so much alike.

“In my late 20s, I actually started to get a real comprehension of what my Dad had given me in life as those bedded-down skills,” she says. “And it was creativity, it was expressing myself and not being afraid to express myself. And it was also the technical, it was the bits and the bolts.

“And that’s how we’d clash, because when I was a kid, I’d get into his garage, and I’d pull apart his lawn mower and try and put it back together again!”

Young Vanessa found other ways to express her creativity. At Jesmond High School, she loved art classesand being part of the large theatrical productions. Yet her passion was not to be on the stage but to be helping create the world that exists on it.

“I observed the people who were always front and centre on the stage,” she recalls. “And then I observed – and thought this was more interesting – the quieter creative process.”

She did everything from helping paintthe sets to being a stage manager.

HISTORY: Vanessa Hutchins with playwright John O’Donoghue at the Civic Playhouse.

Hutchins carried those backstage interests to the University of Newcastle, where she studied drama, while being involved in productions for Freewheels, Footlice and the Hunter Valley Theatre Company (HVTC).

To further her studies and knowledge in the technical side of the creative arts, Hutchins went to Wollongong before returning to Newcastle and her first paid job in the theatre, with the HVTC, in 1993. These were tough financial times for the HVTC, and Hutchins’ stay was short-lived, but thatdidn’t dissuade her froma career on the fringe of the stage.

For a time she worked as part of the technical crew for concerts at the Sydney Entertainment Centrebut found it didn’t suit her: “Little love, little time, get the show up, get the job done.”

Hutchinsjourneyed backto Newcastle and recalls sitting in her bedroom in Shortland, thinking about how she could find creative expression, work in the arts, and connect with a community.

“What was a really strong interest for me were the First Nations people of ,” Hutchins recalls. “It was something I hadn’t investigated, and I hadn’t been associated with. I realised that in Newcastle I hadn’t had a lot of contact with First Nations people.”

InWollongong, she had worked on a Welcome to Country ceremony, which she loved. What’s more, “there was the context of my Dad and the sailor and wanting to have my own odyssey”.

Hutchins, as production manager for the Bangarra Dance Theatre, in 2004.

In 1994, Hutchins moved to Darwin.

“It was a journey into the unknown, but that journey was very much focused on how you use the tools of the creative industries and put those tools into people’s hands to express themselves,” she says. “And I guess I had a really fast journey for the next four years.”

It was also a journey deep into the heart of , touring shows and plays that connected art with life. For instance, Hutchins oversaw a show that explored a road safety message in Aboriginal languages, and which was taken to remote communities.

The experience shaped how she views the value of art:“When I think about the outcomes of what we do.How strong is the message? How do we get a voice to commit to a message that makes change?

“That’s where I also learnt touring, and I think that’s why I became such a good tour manager, because on those types of tours you had to have everything.”

As a result, when she left the Northern Territory, Hutchins was sought for big-scale theatrical and musical productions. Those skills also took her to London, to work with the acclaimed theatre company, The Wrestling School.

But in 2001, “a little internal bell sounded in me” and she felt the need to travelhome just before Christmas. Hutchins was not long backwhen her father had a massive heart attack. She performed CPR, a skill she had learnt for tours. But this was the first time she had ever had to use it.

“Why that was me was because I was the one who had learnt how to not panic, how to work with fear, that had learnt how to work with what’s completely unexpected,” Hutchins muses. “I was the right person on the day for that gig.”

Her father died shortly after, but she was grateful to be there:“The beautiful thing was at the end of that, it almost felt like he had stage-managed or got me on his path.”

For the next few years, Vanessa Hutchins was production manager for the Bangarra Dance Theatre, which took her into iconic performance spaces from China to the United States, as she helped take indigenous stories to the world.Then she worked on largefestivals before being seduced back tothe Northern Territory. Hutchins directedthe 2007 Arafura Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, and she toured with NT performing artists.

While she loved helping communities projecttheir voices and stories, Hutchins found she was getting caught in a cycle of working ferociously then burning out. She needed more stability. And she felt the need to be close to her mother, whom she attributes with teaching her the value of strong human relationships. She wanted to be “close, reliable, all the things I hadn’t been able to do”.

And then: “Bang! The right job turned up at the right time.”

Hutchins in 2016, after being appointed manager of the Civic Theatre. Picture: Simone De Peak

Last year, Hutchinswas appointed manager of the Civic Theatre, a job that allows her to stay “on the national agenda while still being able to work out how to unearth community”.

In her spare time, Hutchins, who is single, walks her pet poodle, bought by a former partner to keep her at home more –“it didn’t quite work”.

“I don’t see it as I’ve chased a career, I seeit as I’ve been passionate about some focus points,” she says. “But with that, unfortunately, you do leave people behind.”

Hutchinsdesires to return to the Top End at some point, because “Ihave so many connections there now, and it still artistically intrigues me”. She also has other travel destinations in mind and perhaps even go long-distance sailing. But Newcastle is home. And she has a passion to develop the city’s cultural character, and to showcase what Novocastrians can do on the stage.

She believes Newcastle’s culture ishealthy and will continue to produce great artists, but that Novocastrians should proudly promote that beyond the city limits.

“What I would like is we advocate a bit more as to what our strengths are to the national industry,” Hutchins enthuses. “I think there’s that great barrier, ‘If I didn’t see it in Sydney, it didn’t really happen’. Or it’s not validated in some form.

I just want the validation we deserve.”

Vanessa Hutchins