Archive for May, 2019

  • Tony Abbott seals free trade deal with Beijing

    Date: 2019.05.17 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    G20: full coverageCall me top trader Tony, as Abbott scores big time
    南京夜网

    China’s President Xi Jinping has arrived in Canberra with what could be the most ambitious free trade agreement his country has signed since committing to the World Trade Organisation, promising billions of dollars in new markets for Australian exporters.

    The deal offered to Australian farmers and professionals, ranging from lawyers to aged-care providers, will meet and in many cases exceed what industry had hoped for.

    A last-minute breakthrough by Trade Minister Andrew Robb will give Australian dairy farmers tariff-free access within four years to China’s enormously lucrative infant formula market, minus any of the “safeguard” caps that currently restrict competitors from New Zealand, according to sources.

    Winemakers, currently selling more than $200 million worth of goods to China each year despite tariffs between 14 and 30 per cent, will also see tariffs eliminated over four years.

    Tariffs on horticultural products, seafood and other goods accounting for 93 per cent of Australian exports by value will also be reduced to zero by 2019. Shock tariffs recently imposed on Australian coal will be removed over two years.

    The Abbott government has given ground on labour, agreeing to a new case-by-case mechanism for Chinese investors to apply to bring in workers at Australian wage rates in areas of skills shortages.

    Private Chinese investors will have the foreign investment review threshold increased to a billion dollars, in line with Australia’s other FTAs.

    But the government has held its ground on all investments from politically sensitive state-owned enterprises, which will continue to be subject to automatic foreign investment review.

    This and other outstanding questions, most notably Australian sugar, will be reviewed within three years.

    Barring last-minute accidents, Mr Xi will sign the agreement with Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday afternoon after giving a historic speech to a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament.

    Mr Xi will sketch his vision of what he recently called his “Asia-Pacific Dream”, emphasising peace, prosperity and collaboration.

    He faces a tall challenge in attempting to rival the democratic and pluralistic principles and commitments that US President Barack Obama outlined for rapturous students at Queensland University at the weekend, before flying out on Sunday night.

    Mr Xi’s two-year tenure has been marked by oppression and an anti-corruption crusade at home, and confrontation abroad, but his global standing has been recently buoyed by a landmark climate change commitment with Mr Obama and a territorial truce, of sorts, with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    The FTA will highlight economic opportunities that the US cannot match, with China already buying nine times the value of  Australian goods exports as the US. Sources close to the deal say benefits are almost certain to exceed the $US18 billion over 10 years identified in an earlier feasibility study.

    The access offered to China’s service sector market place, in particular, is so unexpectedly extensive that government officials say the implications are potentially global.

    “China has sent a powerful signal that it is prepared to open and do business with a developed economy,” said a source close to negotiations.

    Industry representatives briefed on Sunday told Fairfax they were “shocked” at the breadth and depth of Chinese concessions.

    Subject to surprises in the fine print, health and aged care providers will be able to operate directly in China, leapfrogging providers from Japan, the US and Europe that had been queuing to service the vast, rapidly ageing but previously impenetrable market.

    Tourism and hospitality firms will be able to open hotels, law firms will be able to service clients directly from special Shanghai-zone headquarters and Australian universities will be able to market directly to Chinese students.

    Australia’s giant financial services companies, including ANZ and IAG, have received a boost with what appears to be preferential access not enjoyed by competitors in the US and Europe.

    Engineers, architects and dozens of other services sectors have made substantial inroads into what had always been a lucrative but exceedingly difficult market.

    “It looks on the face of it that we’ve got a sensationally good deal here for the Australian services sector,” chief executive of the Australian Services Roundtable Ian Birks said.

    “It’s so far beyond what anyone expected that it looks to me to be more than just a trade deal with Australia but a statement by the Chinese government to the world,” he said, speculating on whether Mr Xi had used this bilateral deal with Australia to kick-start a much-delayed wave of services-oriented economic reform.

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    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • NSW Premier Mike Baird to open medicinal cannabis symposium

    Date: 2019.05.17 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Premier Mike Baird will launch a symposium on the medical use of cannabis. Photo: Alex EllinghausenPremier Mike Baird will launch a symposium debating the medical use of cannabis on Friday.
    南京夜网

    His appearance will add further weight to a controversial push to decriminalise the use of cannabis for the treatment of sick and terminally ill patients.

    Lucy Haslam, whose 24-year-old son Daniel has been using cannabis for relief of nausea, vomiting and poor appetite related to chemotherapy for the treatment of bowel cancer, has organised the symposium with the support of state government funding.

    To be held in Tamworth on Friday and Saturday, the symposium follows Mr Baird’s public support for finding a way to use cannabis as a medical treatment for illnesses such as cancer. The symposium will host a range of Australian and overseas health and legal experts to discuss the merits of the treatment.

    Earlier this year, Nationals MP for Tamworth Kevin Anderson drafted a private members bill to allow terminally ill patients to use cannabis.

    Mr Baird later announced the NSW government would run clinical trials of the drug. The trial will be devised by a working party that will report back to the government by the end of the year.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has thrown his support behind the planned trial.

    Mr Baird has also said the existing police discretion to not charge terminally ill adults if they are caught using cannabis for pain relief would be formalised through new guidelines.

    He said the clinical trial would “explore further the role cannabis can play in providing relief for patients suffering from a range of debilitating or terminal illnesses”.

    Last year, a NSW Upper House Inquiry recommended the state government approve use of cannabis for those suffering from chronic pain and amend the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act to add a defence to cover the authorised use.

    Health Minister Jillian Skinner indicated she would not support the recommendation but wrote to the federal government asking for further clinical research on the issue.

    Ms Haslam said Mrs Skinner and the Australian Medical Association had declined her invitation to the symposium.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Call me top trader Tony, as Abbott scores big time

    Date: 2019.05.17 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Abbott seals free trade deal with Beijing
    南京夜网

    The title Tony Abbott applies to himself whenever possible is that of “the infrastructure prime minister”.

    As nomenclatures go, this is hardly pretty, rolling off the tongue with all the fluidity of building rubble.

    Besides, it is not even true yet, despite his government’s fast-tracking of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new projects.

    Like many of those in various stages of planning, “the infrastructure PM” is a work in progress – more rhetoric than reality.

    But on international trade, it is a different story. Here, Abbott is a world beater. Literally.

    Indeed, the first termer’s record on trade is unprecedented. Before even reaching the half-way mark of his first stint, Abbott has crashed through the wall of inertia and the tangle of befuddling technical difference that has stopped many before him, to conclude crucial free trade agreements with our most important partners.

    This year alone, he has signed landmark bilateral trade agreements with Japan and Korea, ending years of deadlocked negotiations. Ably assisted by the flinty Trade Minister Andrew Robb, whose commitment to staying the course is admired in trade circles world-wide, Abbott has succeeded where those before him failed to make ground. The secret ingredient is no secret at all: purpose.

    Australian exporters and consumers will be the winners. Together these deals are worth billions to the economy with tangible benefits in specific product lines and broader value in stability of markets and new opportunities yet to be imagined.

    On Monday, Abbott will unveil the latest and biggest addition to the free-trade trophy shelf: an FTA with China.

    This is the quintessential “big deal” removing and reducing tariffs and quotas in a market of 1.4 billion people within a $10 trillion economy.

    China’s economy is growing at more than twice the pale rates achieved by Australia and the US, and vastly more than Europe where the austerity hawks have all but killed the patient with cuts.

    China is already Australia’s biggest earner with two-way trade running at $150 billion annually.

    That is now set to accelerate with freer access by Australian producers to Chinese consumers of beef, wine, coal and dairy.

    But there will be big opportunities in service delivery too, which in many ways is the best aspect of the deal. Even Australian consumers will benefit with cheaper cars, high-tech products and more.

    Trade is central to Abbott’s foreign policy. He views it as the great enabler,  not just vital in raising living standards, but important to global growth and stability. Prosperous nations with open markets, he believes, have an increasing stake in protecting the international system of rules and norms.

    As the world eyes a rising China with some trepidation, Abbott has helped it see the economic virtue of integration,  a record worthy of the title of “the trade PM”.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Police on the scrapheap

    Date: 2019.05.17 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Thousands of uniformed police officers rallied outside NSW Parliament in Sydney in November 2011 to protest against the government’s plans to slash compensation payments to officers who are injured or disabled in the line of duty.
    南京夜网

    The officers were furious with proposed changes to the police death and disability scheme, which would restrict some compensation payouts and place a greater emphasis on rehabilitating injured officers back to work.

    Mike Gallacher, who was police minister at the time, said spiralling costs of the death and disability scheme were unsustainable and had delivered lump-sum payments of more than $400,000, which had discouraged officers from returning to work. He said the government’s priority was to get injured police officers working again.

    When the insurance scheme was overhauled in 2012, the government awarded the contract previously held by MetLife to another insurer called TAL. There are more than 230 injured police still waiting to have claims settled by MetLife.

    The NSW Auditor General found that injured officers had cost the NSW Police Force more than $110 million in 2006–07. In 2011–12 the scheme cost $260 million, more than 10 times what was anticipated in 2005.

    In a report released earlier this year, the Auditor General said up to 526 police officers a year were receiving large lump sum benefits and medical discharge following long-term sick leave under the old scheme.

    Since the introduction of the new scheme, the number of medical discharges have fallen dramatically under a policy to return injured officers to duty as soon as possible.

    The Auditor General reported the new scheme had reduced the length of time injured officers are on benefits. It has also decreased costly claims for psychological injuries and the number of injured officers returning to work on rehabilitation. This had been achieved through reducing the incentive to claim a lump sum and leave the police force.

    Metlife has said that in the last 12 months it had considerably boosted its dedicated assessment team and reduced the number of cases significantly.

    The new government insurer, TAL, said it recognised the complexity of some claims and was working with all stakeholders to finalise claims as quickly as possible.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • G20: Menu offers nation’s finest for world’s leaders

    Date: 2019.05.17 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    World leaders attending the G20 in Brisbane are being offered some of Australia’s finest produce.
    南京夜网

    At the Leaders’ retreat barbecue, with executive chef Ben O’Donoghue:

    Salads:

    Cairns Vannella Co. buffalo mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes and basil

    Seared asparagus, peas, broad beans, goat’s curd and Mount Zero wild olives

    Kale salad with broccoli, avocado and toasted seeds

    Seafood:

    Freshly shucked Moreton Bay rock oysters

    Cooked Mooloolaba king prawns with lime mayonnaise

    Barbecue:

    Moreton Bay bugs, figs, pancetta and fresh bay kebabs with chimmichurri

    Smoked and spiced Flinders Island butterflied leg of lamb with yoghurt and eggplant

    Cripsy skin Tasmanian ocean trout, avocado, apple, radish and watercress salad

    Dessert:

    Pavlova

     

    The G20 Leaders Dinner at the Gallery of Modern Art, with chef Josue Lopez:

    Entree: Hervey Bay scallops with organic Lockyer Valley cauliflower, Mooloolaba squid broth and local beach greens.

    Main: Kenilworth VIP Gold Pure wagyu fillet, Kalbar carrot textures, organic black garlic and Symphony Hill shiraz jus.

    Dessert: Wattleseed custard with Daintree chocolate and vanilla curd.

    The G20 Leaders’ Summit lunch on November 16, with executive chef Martin Latter:

    Entree: Grilled Darling Downs lamb fillets, sweet potato, caramelised onions, bush tomato jus, mint and pea shoot salad.

    Main: Pan-seared south-east Queensland king snapper, butter-poached bug, citrus sabayon, glazed baby carrots, sugar snap peas and vanilla bean beurre blanc

    Dessert: Coconut meringue, green mango salad, compressed pineapple, passionfruit and kaffir lime sorbet, coconut crumble.

     

    Spousal programme:

    Spouses of leaders (including Mrs Abbott) visited Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary this morning.

    They watched a demonstration of sheep shearing and rounding up of sheep by sheep dogs.

    They fed koalas and kangaroos and had a morning tea. The spouses will attend the evening reception this evening at GOMA before attending a private dinner and cultural performance.

    The leaders’ dinner will be leaders only.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.