• Dick Smith may take female-friendly Move stores offshore

    Date: 2019.02.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Dick Smith COE Nick Abboud at a new Move store in Sydney. Photo: Louise KennerleyDick Smith chief executive Nick Abboud is considering taking his female-friendly Move stores offshore as the retailer eyes growth opportunities beyond its traditional consumer electronics base in Australia.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Launched by Mr Abboud in October last year, weeks before Dick Smith’s $520 million float, Move is now the fastest-growing and most productive part of the retailer’s business and is gaining global recognition after being nominated for three retail innovation awards.

    After receiving approaches from investors seeking to franchise the “fashtronics” concept, Mr Abboud is looking at options for taking Move overseas once store numbers have risen in Australia from seven to more than 30, including about 10 airport locations.

    “There’s nothing like this around the world,’ said Mr Abboud, who has more than 20 years retail experience, including 19 years at Myer. The 44-year-old came up with the Move concept after market research identified a gap in the $12 billion consumer electronics market.

    “The research that came back said that Dick Smith had pretty much a heartland type customer but the younger generation was not shopping at Dick Smith,” he said. “This was more about attracting a young affluent female customer.

    “I think Move could possibly go a lot further than 30 stores, but it may have to go international, and airports is an entry point to that,” he said.

    While Dick Smith and JB Hi-Fi are aimed at families with children and young- to middle-aged men, Move is blatantly targeting affluent 18- to 30-year-old women who see consumer electronics as fashion accessories.

    Move stores specialise in mobile technology including phones, laptops, portable wireless speakers, fitness monitors, headphones, clutch bags fitted with phone chargers and customised accessories featuring designs by fashion designers Dion Lee and We Are Handsome.

    Move stores are half the size of an average Dick Smith store and one-eight the size of JB Hi-Fi’s big boxes, but sales per square metre are higher than Dick Smith due to higher foot traffic and price points. Gross margins are expected to exceed Dick Smith’s (at present 25 per cent) as sales of private label Move accessories rise.

    Most importantly, Move gives Dick Smith a major point of difference with JB Hi-Fi as two of Australia’s largest consumer electronics retailers enter a new battle for market share.

    New JB Hi-Fi chief executive Richard Murray is intent on maintaining his 16 per cent share of the market, telling The Australian Financial Review last month he will not be undersold.

    Mr Abboud says Dick Smith is prepared to match competitors on price and now has supplier support and systems in place to ensure the chain can compete profitably.

    “We will not lose a sale as long as we are making money – we won’t allow staff to sell below cost,” he says.

    Dick Smith is using its $1.3 billion buying power to negotiate better deals with suppliers and generous rebates which give it more room to discount. Staff use deal calculators to judge how far they can reduce prices and stay above cost.

    “We’re not peddling on our own – that’s the difference between the new Dick Smith and the old Dick Smith,” said Mr Abboud, who took the helm a month after Anchorage Capital Partners paid Woolworths a $20 million down payment in 2012. He has since overseen a threefold rise in earnings.

    Nowhere is the battle between the two retailers more intense than at the recently refurbished Macquarie Shopping Centre in Sydney. Dick Smith has opened a 370 square metre store six doors down from JB Hi-Fi, as well as a Move store in the fashion precinct and a concession in the new David Jones department store.

    Mr Abboud says the three brands allow Dick Smith to take advantage of its buying power while appealing to three distinctly different groups of consumers.

    “It’s a fully integrated model – when we buy stock across all three brands the models and colours might be different but the deals we get are the same and support margins across all three brands,” he says.

    Mr Abboud is aiming to grow sales by between 5 and 10 per cent a year by using Dick Smith’s extensive store footprint (377 stores to JB Hi-Fi’s 182) to address all the touchpoints that influence a consumer’s purchase decision, including convenience, range and price, multichannel shopping with click and collect, and improved service, including post-paid mobile phones.

    At the same time, gross margins are expected to improve as the retailer expands its private label range from 11 per cent to 15 per cent of sales, while cost of doing business is forecast to fall from 19 per cent this year to about 17.5 per cent by 2017 – underpinning low double digit profit growth.

    Dick Smith is importing about $200 million in private label accessories under the Move brand and using the higher margin products to subsidise discounting on branded goods.

    “We’re selling it better, moving it better and we’re buying it a hell of a lot better as an organisation,” Mr Abboud says.

    “While Dick Smith did a very good job in private brand we’re taking it to another level. It will really help our margins and we can then go harder on selling computers and televisions.”

    Dick Smith’s underlying sales have been going backwards for most of the past five years. However, in the first 15 weeks of this year Dick Smith’s total sales grew 10 per cent and same-store sales rose 1.7 per cent – indicating that its sales growth strategy is achieving results –  while JB Hi-Fi’s same-store sales fell 2.1 per cent and total sales rose 0.5 per cent.

    Dick Smith shares have traded below their $2.20 issue price for most of the past 12 months, weighed down by concerns about the outlook for the consumer electronics category and the sustainability of the earnings rebound under Anchorage, which sold the rest of its stake in September.

    However, as the company approaches the first anniversary of the IPO, institutional investors and analysts are showing renewed interest.

    Cornerstone investor Perpetual has sold down, but FIL Investment Management has increased its stake from 7.9 per cent to 9.03 per cent in the past week.

    Ausbil Investment Management has reduced its stake in JB Hi-Fi in favour of Dick Smith. Ausbil director John Grace expects the company to generate low double-digit earnings growth as management executes its strategy, and sees further growth opportunities in the introduction of the three differentiated retail formats and omnichannel retailing.

    “In the short term we expect earnings growth will continue to beat forecasts,” Mr Grace said. “Together with a robust net cash balance sheet and a forecast fully-franked yield of greater than 6 per cent, there is solid valuation support.”

    Mr Abboud, who has about 15.3 million shares, making him one of Dick Smith’s largest shareholders, is sanguine about the share price and excited about the opportunities ahead.

    “Personally I don’t go home at night stressed about the whole experience, I actually get excited that I’m involved in that experience, whether it’s Move or David Jones or online or Dick Smith or duty free,” he said.

    “They’re things I know will put us way ahead of what everyone else is doing in the marketplace.”

    The self-confessed “gym nut” and new father is already thinking about growth options beyond 2017, when the company will have reached its 450-store target for the Dick Smith brand, online sales will have risen to 10 per cent and Move will have expanded into new markets.

    “We have no debt and a healthy cash position. We’ll start looking at acquisitions in similar spaces where we can increase our buying power and market share,” he said.

    “Forty per cent of the market is still fragmented, so there are plenty of opportunities.”

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

  • Islamic State claims beheading of US aid worker Peter Kassig

    Date: 2019.02.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Peter Kassig delivering aid last year. Photo: AFP/Kassig family
    Nanjing Night Net

    Peter Kassig delivering aid last year. Photo: AFP/Kassig family

    Peter Kassig delivering aid last year. Photo: AFP/Kassig family

    Peter Kassig delivering aid last year. Photo: AFP/Kassig family

    Threatening “slaughter” on Western streets, the Islamic State has released a video purporting to show the execution of US aid worker Peter Abdul-Rahman Kassig along with at least 12 Syrians.

    The horrifyingly graphic 15-minute video shows unmasked IS militants beheading a group of men – believed to be Syrian soldiers – then shows the decapitated head of 26-year-old Mr Kassig at the feet of the one masked insurgent in the group.

    The masked man, believed to be the militant dubbed “Jihadi John” from the previous videos that showed the execution of US journalists James Foley and Steve Sotloff and two British aid worker Alan Henning and David Haines, says: “This is Peter Edward Kassig, a US citizen.”

    “To Obama, the dog of Rome. Today we are slaughtering the soldiers of Bashar and tomorrow we will be slaughtering your soldiers and with Allah’s permission we will break this final and last crusade and the Islamic State will soon, like your puppet David Cameron said, begin to slaughter your people on your streets.”

    It is not possible to confirm the authenticity of the video.

    Mr Kassig served in the US Army in Iraq in 2007 and in 2013, after spending time with Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, started his own aid organisation – Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA) – and travelled to Syria as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician, his family said.

    He converted to Islam and took the name Abdul-Rahman before he was captured by the Islamic State, they said.

    Mr Kassig was on his way to the Syrian city of Deir al-Zor, transporting medical supplies for desperately under-resourced hospitals when he was captured on October 1, 2013.

    His parents, Ed and Paula Kassig, issued a statement on Sunday as news of the video depicting their son’s brutal death broke.

    “We are aware of the news reports being circulated about our treasured son and are waiting for confirmation from the government as to the authenticity of these reports.”

    They asked the media to refrain from publishing or broadcasting photographs or video distributed by the hostage takers.

    “We prefer our son is written about and remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family, not in the manner the hostage takers would use to manipulate Americans and further their cause,” their statement reads.

    Described as someone who would “help refugees out of his own pocket”, Mr Kassig said he felt driven to help those injured in the more than three-year long civil war.

    “In an area of Syria where many doctors had fled, Abdul-Rahman went directly into Syria to help those in need and his organisation, SERA, provided first aid training to civilians so they could treat the injured and save lives,” his family said in a statement released in October.

    The US National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said intelligence agencies were working to confirm the authenticity of the video.

    If it is authentic, she said, the White House would be “appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American aid worker.”

    British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was horrified by the “cold-blooded murder … ISIL have again shown their depravity”.

    Along with its Western media victims, the Islamic State has killed at least 17 Iraqi journalists in the last year, the media rights group Reporters Without Borders says.

    Since its bloody war began in March 2011, more than 200,000 Syrians have been killed and Syria has grown into the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists says.

    In addition to the deaths of Foley and Sotloff, at least 70 other journalists have been killed covering the conflict, most of them Syrian.

    An unprecedented number of journalists have also been taken hostage – 80 over the last three years, the CPJ says. Around 20 reporters, mostly Syrian, are missing and suspected of being held by the Islamic State.

    A third Briton, photographer John Cantlie, is still being held by the Islamic State, and has been forced to appear in a series of “news videos” by his captors.

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

  • Job Pilgrim in style of mediaeval miracle play

    Date: 2019.02.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Job Pilgrim: Maartje Sevenster as Hope Heart – Job’s wife – and Job – Neil Roach. Job Pilgrim: Neil Roach (Job) and Lindsay Roe (dervish).
    Nanjing Night Net

    Job PilgrimBy Vivien Arnold. Kaleidoscope Productions. The Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. November 20 and 21 at 8pm. Tickets $35/$25. Bookings: theq,net.au.

    For her dramatised oratorio Job Pilgrim, Vivian Arnold adapted and updated the biblical story of Job, in which a man’s faith in God is sorely tested. The piece combines symbolically named characters in the style of a mediaeval miracle play with a chorus of pilgrims who function like a Greek chorus.

    Job Pilgrim (Neil Roach) is an academic who is caught  plagiarising by a student, Will Judge (Edy Syquer) . Although it was a mistake, the student tells the dean and Job has a breakdown and is committed to a mental hospital.

    Not only does he have a mental crisis, he has a spiritual one too.

    “He can’t find God anywhere,” Arnold says.

    Among the other  characters are some who are of no help on his quest, like the Three Naysayers  – atheist Ivor Drain (Terry Johnson), hedonist Oliver Goodlife (Michael Thompson) and humanist Ada Fairway –  who try to persuade Job to give up his  spirituality and Dr Death (Jim Bowring) who tempts Job to commit  suicide.

    But on the other side are his wife, Hope Heart ( Maartje Sevenster), the nurse Martha Goodbody (Michelle Priest), the  highly spiritual volunteer Sophia Wise (Louise Page) and the orderly Christoff (Thompson Quan Wing) – whose name, like the others,  is no coincidence.

    Job Pilgrim was a long time in gestation. While the story of Job was one inspiration for the work, another was more deeply personal.

    “In 1996 and 2000 I had two stints in a mental hospital. For me it was a spiritual crisis.”

    She was terribly afraid of dying if there was no God.

    “It was my own spiritual crisis – I felt completely and utterly deserted and also desperate.”

    Her recovery was aided by music and painting and relationships and she decided to channel some of her feelings into Job Pilgrim.

    “I don’t want to imply that everyone with a mental illness has a spiritual crisis,” she says.

    But she knows others who’ve been in similar situations so she isn’t the only one with this experience.

    The members in Kaleidoscope are mostly in their 60s and 70s with a few in their 20s, 40s and 50s. It’s been going since 2007 and she says various churches have been very supportive in giving them rehearsal space .

    Proceeds for the performances  go to Home in Queanbeyan which provides permanent accommodation for previously homeless people suffering from mental illness.

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

  • Abuse victims finally find strength to seek support

    Date: 2019.02.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    HELP: Cathy Kezelman says the royal commission has sparked a flood of calls from victims.CALLS to Australia’s leading child abuse helpline have quadrupled since the start of the royal commission with research finding many survivors wait 30 years or more before seeking support.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Analysis of the Adults Surviving Child Abuse professional support line has found that almost 100 people are coming forward each week with the majority of them aged over 40.

    The study of 4000 callers found the most common age for abuse to occur was between six and 10 years of age, but the majority of callers seeking help were aged between 40 and 49 years old.

    President of Adults Surviving Child Abuse, Dr Cathy Kezelman, said the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse had encouraged more people to come forward.

    She said many had carried the burden of abuse for decades before seeking help.

    ‘‘There is an incredible sense of shame and self-loathing which does hold people back from seeking support,’’ she said. ‘‘People still worry about not being believed which is another deterrent.’’

    The Adults Surviving Child Abuse’s professional support line employs 14 specialist counsellors who work seven days a week but only between 9am and 5pm.

    Dr Kezelman said the organisation hoped to fund an evening support service.

    Adults Surviving Child Abuse will launch a social media campaign this week to support the estimated five million adult survivors of sexual abuse in Australia.

    Retired nurse Barbara, who suffered both physical and sexual abuse as a child, kept quiet for decades until she felt brave enough to speak out.

    Now 68, Barbara was abused in foster care and in institutions as a child but did not speak publicly about it until about 15 years ago.

    ‘‘I didn’t want to tell anyone because I was worried no one would believe me and I was embarrassed so I just said nothing.’’

    She says speaking about the abuse had helped her recover.

    ‘‘They are not going to make me a victim any more.

    ‘‘I am over being a victim.’’

    For support contact ASCA1300 657 380

  • Fears for ADF because of concerns over Defence Materiel Organisation workforce

    Date: 2019.02.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    More public service news
    Nanjing Night Net

    Australian Defence Force members sent to fight Islamic State could be at risk on operations because staff at a major government department may be underqualified.

    A leaked internal audit of the Defence Materiel Organisation – which employs 6500 public servants and spends $12.5 billion of taxpayers’ money annually – shows DMO staff might be signing off on equipment authorisations without the necessary skill level.

    A Defence spokesman said there had been no identified instances where this had happened and ADF capability had not been compromised.

    But the opposition called on the Abbott government to act urgently and one union said the report proved a highly skilled government workforce was crucial to national security.

    The audit found the DMO had no strategy to attract the correct engineering and technical skills in the future and had no idea of the skills gaps in the organisation which could lead to the ADF being put at risk.

    In detail, the June 23, 2014, audit report found: An 18 per cent vacancy rate in the organisation’s engineering and technical workforce which could result in critical vacancies given current recruiting constraints in the public service and potential future downsizing.For the DMO’s 2014 graduate intake, only 30 out of 45 engineers accepted offers. None were women. The existing recruitment strategy was “not working effectively”.The average age of the DMO’s engineering and technical staff was 52, meaning there could be a further shortfall in three to five years when the existing ageing workforce retired.The workforce management system was neither capable nor robust enough to deliver the goals of high employee satisfaction and staff retention.

    Opposition assistant defence spokesman David Feeney said the report outlined a “dire threat to Defence capability, and, therefore, our national defence and our ADF people”.

    He said Defence Minister David Johnston must take urgent action.

    “The minister and DMO leadership must inform themselves of the skills and deficiencies of their existing workforce,” Mr Feeney said.

    “They must ascertain the future needs of DMO and they must develop a plan to recruit, train and retain the skilled people we need to procure and sustain our Defence capabilities.”

    Do you know more? Send confidential tips to [email protected]南京夜网.au

    Professionals Australia ACT director David Smith, an advocate representing Defence engineers, said the report highlighted the risks of having less in-house expertise and the “hollowing out of engineering capability”.

    Public servants fear two current reviews into Defence will support large-scale outsourcing resulting in more redundancies in the bureaucracy.

    “DMO is trying to do what it can to fix the gaps but can’t because of recruitment limits which, in themselves, are making Defence less of an appealing place to be,” Mr Smith said.

    Mr Smith passed on comments from one of his members who said: “Under-resourced projects due to [staff] cutbacks will mean that there will be often one engineer working on a large body of work and if they leave or are sick, there is no one to pick up the work. Corners are being cut due to projects being under-resourced.”

    The Defence spokesman said the DMO was subject to ADF technical regulation oversight mandating suitably qualified personnel were involved in equipment authorisation.

    “ADF regulators independently assure this occurs both in acquisition and in sustainment activities,” the spokesperson said.

    “The DMO regularly conducts internal audits to better understand the state of the organisation.”This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Labor regains its heartland with Nuatali Nelmes as lord mayor

    Date: 2019.01.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    SWEET VICTORY: Nuatali Nelmes is congratulated by supporters after winning the vote for Newcastle lord mayor. Picture: Max Mason-HubersEDITORIAL: Labor’s Newcastle resurgence
    Nanjing Night Net

    THE seismic shift of political power in Newcastle has been completed with Labor regaining control of Newcastle council in a crushing win at the weekend’s lord mayoral byelection.

    Labor’s Nuatali Nelmes romped home in Saturday’s poll and with support from the Greens, will control the council until the next election in 2016.

    The win means Newcastle has regained its mantle as ‘‘Labor heartland’’ and has control of local, state and federal offices for the first time since 1998 when Greg Heys was the city’s lord mayor.

    How effective they are in dealing with Liberal state and federal governments now becomes the city’s biggest challenge.

    Ms Nelmes, the daughter of former councillor Paul Scobie, becomes only the second woman to win the lord mayoral role, behind the popular Joy Cummings who served two stints in the 1970s.

    Saturday’s byelection provided a decisive win for the 38-year-old Merewether resident, earning more than 42per cent of first preference votes.

    Independent candidate Brad Luke provided the only real competition but fell more than 15,000 votes short of a win.

    Greens candidate Therese Doyle earned almost 14per cent of the primary vote with independent Aaron Buman further behind with slightly more than 11per cent.

    Spending Sunday with her husband and children, Ms Nelmes said she was keen to get on with the job. At the top of her agenda was making the council ‘‘more open and transparent’’, she said.

    Among her other priorities was restoring funding to war memorial services, pumping $90,000 into the Renew Newcastle scheme, restoring environmental programs and pushing for state and federal funding for the expansion of Newcastle Art Gallery.

    ‘‘We need to continue the revitalisation of our city and, to be honest, a lot of people I have spoken to are not happy about the rail line being cut,’’ she said.

    ‘‘They feel like they’ve been cheated. They want improved public transport, not less. We need to be sending that message to the state government.’’

    The cost of those promises and restoring the services slashed by the council in recent years as it turned its finances away from insolvency will be Ms Nelmes’ biggest challenge, but she said the money would be found.

    Mr Luke said he hoped the council would continue to focus on the city’s urban renewal and not get sucked into another spending spree, which would undo its hard-won financial recovery.

    ‘‘At the end of the day, you’ve got to put your hand up and run, especially when you have no confidence in the other candidates who are running,’’ Mr Luke said.

    Mr Buman, he said, had taken a lot of his votes away, ‘‘which was unfortunate’’.

    ‘‘The people have voted, they’ve made their choice and we all have to get on with things,’’ he said.

    Mr Buman was disappointed with his result, saying he’d be unlikely to seek election again. While he paid tribute to Ms Nelmes’ win, he said he feared for the council’s future.

    ‘‘I take my hat off to Nuatali,’’ he said. ‘‘But I can’t say I have high hopes for Newcastle council. I think it’s about to implode. Therese Doyle will probably be elected the deputy – we’re in trouble.’’

    Ms Doyle and the Greens polled better than Mr Buman, saying the substantial swing to Labor was ‘‘a rejection of the crony politics that has been the hallmark of council business for the past two years’’.

    ‘‘Now we need to act on our promises to the people of the city and make sure they have a real voice in all future decisions about the city’s direction,’’ she said.

    The election of Ms Nelmes means that yet another byelection will need to be held in the city to fill the councillor seat she is about to vacate. That byelection will likely be held in February and will require the residents of Ward 3 to vote again. Ward 3 includes the suburbs essentially bordered by Kotara, New Lambton, Jesmond and Waratah.

  • Sacked Bishop Bill Morris to campaign for ordination of married men

    Date: 2019.01.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Former bishop William Morris. Photo: Nev Madsen/Toowoomba ChronicleSacked Catholic Bishop Bill Morris will campaign for the ordination of married men, during a book signing tour to Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
    Nanjing Night Net

    He says he was treated unfairly and deprived of natural justice by the late Pope Benedict who had a “closed door approach” during a private meeting in Rome.

    “I experienced a monologue, there was definitely no dialogue,” Bishop Morris said from Brisbane on Sunday.

    “My disappointment was that he [Pope Benedict] didn’t listen to me.

    “He repeated exactly what had been given to him and what was given to him had been wrong.

    “The facts were wrong, the interpretation was wrong and therefore his take on that, accusing me of doing something that I didn’t do on the grounds of the advice he was given [was wrong].”

    The controversial cleric was rushed to hospital in Brisbane with pneumonia in June on the morning he was due to fly to Canberra to launch his book – Benedict, Me and the Cardinals Three.

    He said he was now well enough to do the national tour where he will speak out about his treatment.

    He was forced out of his position in Toowoomba in 2011 after a group of conservative “temple police” parishioners complained directly to the Vatican about his preaching which included discussion about ordaining women and married men. The book notes that in 1998 Pope John Paul II effectively made it an offence for the faithful to discuss the possibility of the ordination of women.

    Bishop Morris had raised issues including married clergy, female priests and the possibility of recognising Protestant orders, in an Advent pastoral letter in 2006 that discussed the declining number of priests in far-flung parishes like Toowoomba.

    He was told in a meeting with Pope Benedict that it was “God’s will that you resign”.

    He says under pressure, he agreed to take early retirement but was still active in the Toowoomba and Brisbane dioceses.

    He told Pope Benedict during the meeting in 2009 of a sex abuse case at a Toowoomba school but the Pope dismissed the bishop’s request to stay at his post to deal with it.

    Bishop Morris said the atmosphere within the Catholic Church was changing under Pope Francis who encouraged dialogue.

    “I’d say in the process of dialogue the truth [about me] would have come out,” he said.

    Bishop Morris will speak at the Centre for Christianity and Culture at Barton at 7.30pm on Monday, December 1.

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

  • Failing waste company leaves mountain of garbage, multimillion-dollar headache

    Date: 2019.01.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Rubbish heap: Machinery stopped at the Skippy Bins site in West Belconnen. Photo: Jeffrey ChanA failing waste management company has left a mountain of rubbish at a disused depot near the NSW border, potentially burdening ACT taxpayers with a multimillion-dollar clean-up bill.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Skippy Bins, a Canberra-owned company offering a waste collection and processing service, is struggling with cash flow problems and significant tax debts, forcing the Tax Office to apply to wind it up.

    The company is now in voluntary administration and trying to find a way to keep itself afloat.

    Its West Belconnen waste processing depot lies in a state of abandonment, after being reclaimed by the ACT government early last month.

    The government is now dealing with a mountain of refuse, and says it will chase the costs of any clean-up from the company.

    The ACT is claiming $5.89 million in costs from the business, according to documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

    Liquidator Steven Gladman, of Hall Chadwick, said the most of the ACT’s claim was for clean-up costs.

    The government is assessing the piles of rubbish, which include building waste, for hazardous materials. An engineering report has also been commissioned.

    The depot is fenced off and the ACT Property Group has changed the locks and restricted access to protect the public.

    Skippy Bins director Michael Froome declined to comment about the situation.

    But it is understood the company, which has operated for 12 years, is confident it can survive and avoid taxpayers forking out for the clean-up.

    Financial documents show MNG Investments, which trades as Skippy Bins, was being pursued for $619,000 by the ATO, and had failed to lodge all of its returns.

    It has a long list of other creditors, and more than 50 individuals and organisations were listed at a creditors meeting last week.

    Mr Gladman said the other debts included unpaid tip fees owed to the ACT Government, and general trade creditors, such as Telstra, the company’s suppliers, equipment repairers, fuel suppliers, and accountants.

    The company’s core business is providing skip bins to residential and commercial clients in Canberra, Queanbeyan and Murrumbateman for waste. The bins are then picked up and the rubbish processed at the depot near the north-western ACT/NSW border.

    The waste is sorted, and recyclable material – including metal and aluminium, timber and wood, green waste, and plastic – extracted.

    Concrete and bricks are also crushed and converted into recycled concrete.

    ACT Property Group director Daniel Bailey said Skippy Bins is currently trying to trade its way out of debt.

    “If the operator can trade his way out of debt with the assistance of the liquidator there will be no public impact,” Mr Bailey said.

    The voluntary administration process is typically designed to give companies like Skippy Bins breathing room from its creditors to try and save as much of the business as possible.

    Mr Gladman said the voluntary administration period would last about a month, giving the company time to come up with a plan to save itself.

    If that plan is better for creditors than liquidation, the liquidator can decide to keep the company alive.

    The next meeting of creditors is due in about two weeks. Signs are up around the site advising that the property has been reclaimed by the ACT Property Group.

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

  • Police on the scrap heap: The hidden plight of injured officers

    Date: 2019.01.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    ‘I can actually smell the blood’: injured and discharged police officer Chadd Brunner. 
    Nanjing Night Net

    In his surreal nightmare world, Chadd Brunner finds himself walking through the basement of Penrith police station, its walls and floor covered in blood.

    “I can actually smell the blood, I can see the bodies and there is a car accident I attended on the M4 – under the basement. It’s all jumbled,” he says.

    The nightmares began after the workplace bullying started.

    Brunner, a former police officer, alleges he was repeatedly bullied at work and he has been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Both he and his wife Debbie, who was physically injured at work, have been medically discharged.

    Between them, they gave 30 years of service to the NSW Police Force. They are among hundreds of officers whose injuries have rendered them useless for further police service and who are in limbo waiting for insurance claims to be determined. Many have been waiting for years while enduring what they describe as excessive levels of surveillance by insurance companies, compounding their mental health injuries.

    Debbie says surveillance officers have had her home under constant watch.

    Chadd, like other police officers in a group known on Facebook as the Forgotten 300, is fearful every time he steps outside his home and has considered suicide.

     

    The Forgotten 300 is an advocacy group for hundreds of injured police who have claims with the insurer MetLife, which lost its government contract in 2012 when the police death and disability scheme was overhauled. Those who have waited years to have their claims determined feel abandoned.

    NSW MPs are now calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the plight of injured police and the hidden number who take their own lives.

    Greens MP David Shoebridge is holding a parliamentary forum next month where police will share their personal stories.

    Mr Shoebridge believes a special commission of inquiry is in order to review “clear failings in the system and to make recommendations to remedy them”.

    “The NSW Police Force treats its officers like disposable assets, once injured they are thrown on the scrap heap.”Metlife’s delay in deciding cases, along with their aggressive use of surveillance, can seriously aggravate an officer’s psychological injury. We expect police to run towards danger and put their lives at risk for the public, and in return the public owes them a duty to protect and support them if they are injured.”

    Mr Shoebridge says the government has failed to address the problem, leaving hundreds of injured police fighting long and lonely battles against “a very bloody-minded insurer”.

     

    Deborah Bryant was widowed in December last year after her husband Ashley took his own life at the age of 44, a year after being medically retired from the police force.

    Before leaving his wife and three children behind, Mr Bryant called 000 saying: “I suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. I can no longer live with the trauma of it and I want this to go to the coroner. There needs to be more things put in place for what happens. For partners of those that suffer, because I suffer and so do the partners. And there has to be more done for them. All right, I have no more to say.”

    Mrs Bryant said her husband, a detective sergeant who had dealt with trauma for 24 years, took his life after his insurance claim was denied. He was overwhelmed that he was letting down his family. She said police with serious mental health conditions should not be put under surveillance.

    Police Minister Stuart Ayres said he was disappointed former officers were experiencing stress as a result of surveillance techniques used by MetLife.

    “The NSW Police Force has advised me it has met with MetLife and the First State Superannuation Trustee Corporation to address the delay in assessing claims,” he said.

    “The health and well-being of police officers is of paramount importance to this government. I hope that with improved processes now agreed with MetLife, stresses experienced by former police officers can be minimised.”

    A MetLife spokeswoman said post-traumatic stress disorder was a serious and complex issue.

    “MetLife understands the concerns of former police officers who are suffering from post-traumatic stress and is working closely with all parties involved to resolve outstanding claims,” she said.

    The spokeswoman said MetLife had paid more than $156 million in benefits to former NSW police officers.

    NSW Police Association president Scott Weber said insurance company investigations were not cost efficient because they compounded mental injuries.”It is putting more pressure on injured workers. It exacerbates the injury and increases the insurance payment,” he said.

    “It’s time insurance companies looked at harm minimisation and dealing with the payment instead of trying to get out of their responsibilities.”

    There were 267 outstanding claims with MetLife in August, including 220 related to psychological injuries, according to a government response to a question on notice.

    “We still have injured police officers still left in limbo for a long time,” Mr Weber said.

     

    The Brunners receive a fraction of their former incomes – unlike injured police officers before them who received so-called “mortgage-busting” lump-sum payments of up to $400,000 before the government changes to the scheme in 2012.

    But more painful than their loss of income has been the lack of support from former colleagues.

    Debbie said Chadd had gained 30 kilograms, and had become a smoker and heavy drinker. It has put a strain on their marriage.

    “It totally turned our life as a family upside down,” she said.

    “I nearly lost Chad on several occasions this year and when you don’t get the support to cope with that, it tore our marriage apart. We separated for a period of time this year. It got to the point where we couldn’t cope with our own injuries and what we were dealing with individually, let alone trying to deal with each other’s. Many languish on scrap heap since insurer swap

    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. They defied orders from Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione against wearing their blue uniforms during the protest.

    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. which has put them under excessive levels of surveilance

    The NSW Auditor General found that injured officers had cost the NSW Police Force more than $110 million in 2006–07. Costs had been increasing since the introduction of the death and disability scheme in 2005. 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.

    “Payments to injured officers have decreased substantially when compared to the previous death and disability scheme,” the Auditor General said.

    However, the improvement in performance has not yet resulted in reduced premium rates … which are nearly double the statutory target of 4.6 per cent of police salaries.

    A spokeswoman from MetLife said MetLife has paid more than $156 million in benefits to former NSW police officers.

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

    “False claims can have a direct impact on the future costs and benefits for current serving officers and consequently it is important to ensure claims are handled with rigor and diligence.

    “We continue to work directly with the police commissioner and his team, our superannuation fund partner, reinsurers and other specialist parties to ensure that all genuine claims are assessed and paid as soon as possible.”

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

    “Many of the claims are of a psychological nature and as part of the process to determine if the illness is permanent,” the spokesman said.

    “TAL, where possible, also explores return to health and work options to help get people back on their feet.”

    “TAL’s primary goal is to service the needs of our partners and customers in accordance with the agreements we have with them and to meet our obligations to pay all valid financial protection claims.”

    TAL said it paid out over $843 million in claims in 2013, a 45 per cent increase on 2012 when $580 million was paid.

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

  • Doors stay shut at Silver Dolphin

    Date: 2018.12.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    ONE of the Hunter’s best known family restaurants has closed its doors for the final time, leaving about 20 staff out of a job.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Employees at the Silver Dolphin, a buffet-style restaurant inside Wests Cardiff, were told on Friday morning the business would close on Sunday but would not be opening on Monday.

    The restaurant has been a family favourite at Cardiff for more than 20 years and until recently employed about nine kitchen staff and 10 waiting staff.

    Wests Group chief executive Philip Gardner said the restaurant had closed ‘‘as they are in breach of their lease conditions’’. He said due to possible legal action, not involving Wests Group, he would have no further comment.

    The Newcastle Herald understands the restaurant changed hands about six months ago, a move which gave Wests Group the option not to renew the restaurant’s lease.

    Wests Group gave the new owner until November 7 to be out, but then extended that period until Monday as further negotiations took place.

    The new owner had hoped to salvage the situation, and is believed to have told staff of the closure only on Friday after a last-ditch attempt to get an extension was denied.

    Silver Dolphin supervisor Sam told the Herald the majority, if not all, of the staff were on casual contracts.

    Sam said she had worked at the restaurant for more than nine years.

    ‘‘We want to apologise to our customers, we feel so guilty that we haven’t been able to do anything for them,’’ she said.

    ‘‘The staff will miss all our customers, half our customers have been coming here since day one.

    ‘‘They will turn up next week and there will be nothing left.’’

    Sam said the restaurant was still popular and business had picked up since the new owner took over.

    It was unclear on Sunday what Wests Group planned to do with the space or whether another restaurant would replace the Silver Dolphin.