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Chevron eyes high court as it loses landmark tax case

Monday, 13 May, 2019

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 23: Grant Wardell-Johnson of KPMG poses for a picture on July 23, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Fairfax Media) Photo: Daniel MunozMultinational oil giant Chevron has lost its appeal against a multimillion-dollar tax bill issued by the Australian Taxation Office, setting the scene for the tax man to challenge other companies with dubious tax schemes.
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While Chevron’s appeal to the Full Federal Court is not the end of the matter – the company has told Fairfax Media it may appeal to the High Court – the case has emboldened Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan to go after other multinationals.

The Australian Taxation Office has already issued tax bills totalling $2.9 billion to seven large companies.

The Chevron case was in many ways a major test case for the ATO, and will have global implications for the way tax paid by large companies is assessed.

The ATO has been fiercely battling Chevron in court over unpaid taxes between 2004 and 2008.

The case examined the tax deductibility of a $2.5 billion inter-company loan made from a Chevron subsidiary in Delaware to Chevron Australia.

The Full Federal Court unanimously agreed with the ATO that Chevron used a series of loans and related-party payments worth billions of dollars to slash its tax bill by about $300 million. ATO is ‘heartened’ by outcome

The agency has to date spent more than $10 million in out-of-pocket expenses in the the Chevron case and was hoping for a win.

The ATO will now be able to challenge other companies with similar transfer pricing arrangements.

In 2015, Chevron paid itself $2.2 billion in interest payments; that amount is over half of the $3.9 billion in offshore interest payments to related parties that the ATO reported for the offshore oil and gas industry in its recent submission.

“We are heartened by the outcome,” an ATO spokesman told Fairfax Media. “This is the first matter to reach an Australian court which tests how our transfer pricing rules apply to interest paid on a cross-border related party loan.

“In short, the Court did not accept the proposition that the Australian subsidiary group of Chevron should be allowed to claim interest on the basis that its borrowings should be judged under the transfer pricing rules as if it was a standalone ‘orphan’ company separate from the rest of the Chevron Group.”

“This decision is significant and has direct implications for a number of cases the ATO is currently pursuing in relation to related party loans, as well as indirect implications for other transfer pricing cases.”

The ATO noted that Australia’s transfer pricing rules have been further strengthened since the years under consideration in the Chevron decision, and there were also tougher domestic laws including the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law and Diverted Profits Tax. Chevron can appeal

But a Chevron spokesman signalled this may not be the end of the battle. “Chevron is disappointed [with] today’s decision … We will review the decision to determine next steps, which may include an appeal to the High Court of Australia.

“As recognised by the trial court in the dispute, the financing is a legitimate business arrangement and the parties differ only in their assessments of the appropriate interest rate to apply.”

He said Chevron Australia was one of Australia’s largest investors and employers and since 2009 had paid almost $4 billion in federal and state taxes and royalties.

The tax and business community have also been keenly watching the case.

“The ATO’s win against Chevron should send a strong signal to all multinationals that these blatant tax avoidance schemes will be challenged,” said International Transport Workers Federation senior researcher Jason Ward. The union, which represents workers on the offshore LNG projects of WA, has been a vocal critic of Chevron.

“With this judgement, Chevron should be forced to change the current $42 billion loan which is already being audited by the ATO. If the current larger scheme is not restructured, Australians will lose billions more in future tax revenue.” Global ramifications

KPMG tax partner Grant Wardell-Johnson said the case would have global ramifications. Companies could no longer postulate that a subsidiary is completely independent of its parent.

“You cannot treat it as if it were an orphan,” he said. “Rather you must take into account the common ownership in determining the appropriate consideration.”

The Tax Institute’s senior tax counsel Robert Deutsch said “multinationals should as a matter of urgency review their existing offshore financing arrangements in light of this decision”.

“The decision may yet be appealed to the High Court but there is neither certainty that such an appeal will be made nor, if made, that it would be successful,” he said. “For the moment all parties should proceed on the basis that the Full Federal Court has provided the final word on this matter.”

Chartered Accountants tax leader Michael Croker said: “This is such an important win for the ATO and will influence many conversations with other multinational companies.”

He said the Chevron decision could influence government thinking on the need for further statutory limits on interest deductibility, noting Labor’s worldwide gearing ratio policy.

“But there are those who say Australia’s resource based economy and substantial infrastructure needs mean we cannot be too proscriptive on interest deductions,” he said. “One model is to impose restrictions but allow the Treasurer to authorise higher gearing for nation-building projects.”

Shadow assistant treasurer, Andrew Leigh, said the decision highlighted the importance of closing debt-shifting loopholes. “For all its hot air, the Turnbull Government has consistently opposed Labor’s fair measures to tighten the rules that let multinationals use internal loans to shift profits offshore,” Mr Leigh said.

Australian Greens finance spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young said Chevron had fought for almost 15 years against paying its fair share of tax to Australians. “The Chevrons and Adanis of this world do not need, or deserve, handouts from the Australian taxpayer when billions are being ripped out of our school system and our young people are struggling with record cost-of-living expenses”. Senate inquiry

The Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance, which has looked at profit-shifting techniques used by tech giants including Apple, Google and Microsoft will now shift its full focus to the oil and gas industry. New hearings are expected to take place in Perth on April 28.

As outlined by both Chevron and the ATO in the Senate hearing in 2015, the new $42 billion loan, like the smaller $2.5 billion loan in the court case, is a hybrid loan structure. It reduces profits in Australia and makes tax-free interest income in Delaware.

The Delaware parent company, which has no office and employees, pays an annual filing fee to the state of Delaware of $US175 and no tax on interest income.

Chevron admitted in the Senate hearings that this larger loan, under audit by the ATO, could reduce corporate income tax payments in Australia by $15 billion. But tax experts say the actual impact could be much larger.

The ATO will be releasing detailed guidance to help companies with related party loans comply with Australia’s transfer pricing rules.

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

Coke loses fizz as Australians turn off soft drinks

Monday, 13 May, 2019

Investors in Coca-Cola Amatil have pummelled the soft drink giant after weak trading at its core local beverages arm prompted an earnings downgrade and sending shares down more than 10 per cent.
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Australia accounts for about two thirds of Coca-Cola Amatil’s market. The company has been challenged to grow market share in a saturated and price-sensitive market that has increasingly turned its back on soft drinks.

Scan data obtained by Fairfax Media revealed soft drink sales slumped 2.9 per cent in volume in the 2016 financial year across the aisles of Coles, Woolworths, Foodworks and IGA supermarkets, reversing almost a decade of growth in the sector.

“Trading in Australian Beverages for the year to date has been weaker than last year with all channels experiencing volume and price pressure due to competition and category trends,” Coca-Cola Amatil told the market on Friday.

“Amatil management expects underlying (before non-trading items) net profit after tax [NPAT] will decline in the first half of 2017.

“While our medium term target continues to be mid single-digit earnings per share growth, at this early stage of the year we are expecting full year underlying NPAT to be broadly in line with last year. This is largely driven by the challenges being experienced in Australian Beverages.”

After a solid run this year, Coca-Cola Amatil’s shares were smashed on Friday, closing down 10.7 per cent to $9.61, wiping about $800 million from the company’s market capitalisation.

Bruce Smith, of investment fund Alphinity, said the announcement cast doubt on Coca-Cola Amatil’s full-year results.

“Everyone has known that the local business has been struggling to grow volumes and it’s difficult for the whole company to prosper when the biggest part has flat or declining volumes,” he said.

“It feels a bit hopeful to say full year will be in line … being down to date, and with so much of the year to go and so much earned in the final quarter, I’d be surprised if the company was really confident about a flat full year.”

Dean Fergie, director and portfolio manager at Cyan Investment Management, described the announcement as “disappointing” and lacking in detail.

“I’m not surprised the re-rating has been sharp and I wouldn’t be surprised if it continues,” he said.

“If they can’t produce even modest EPS [earnings per share] growth the stock moves from being what has previously been a growth stock to a value stock, and then your PE [price to earnings ratio] goes from 30 times back to 15.

“If I were a shareholder I’d be really reassessing my position because it looks like they’ve gone, certainly domestically, ex-growth.”

Coca-Cola Amatil, which is 29 per cent owned by The Coca-Cola Company of the US, said trading in New Zealand and Fiji, Alcohol, Coffee and food business SPC were within expectations.

Papua New Guinea was performing well and while trading in Indonesia continued to be affected by soft market growth, the business was delivering to expectations, it said.

“Amatil’s initiatives, which includes strategies to address the structural changes in our market and rebalance our portfolio, working together with our partner, The Coca-Cola Company, continue to be implemented. Further time is required for these initiatives to gain traction.”

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

Sweating on every word – how ASIC massaged the banking message

Monday, 13 May, 2019

Senator John ‘Wacka’ Williams at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 20 March 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares”Sorry about this, it’s obviously a huge deal for CFP [Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning unit]. They have sweated over EVERY word in the media release, believe me …”
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Rather than being an email from a CBA PR about a press release it was about to issue, it is an email from an ASIC executive, relating to an enforceable undertaking after finding gross misconduct in its financial planning division, thanks to a tip-off from CBA whistleblower Jeff Morris.

The executive was part of a process that saw ASIC taking weeks to draft press releases then submitting them for vetting to the very organisations they are supposed to be policing.

It sounds like something out of a Monty Python or Yes Minister skit but sadly it is not.

ASIC documents released in response to a freedom of information request made by News Limited two years ago show that it was commonplace until 2015 for ASIC to send draft press releases to the banks for feedback before issuing them to the media and the public.

In some cases ASIC acted like an extension of the banks’ PR team. By doing this it left itself open to being bullied into submission. Email correspondence between various ASIC staff reveals that sometimes the sugar-coating was self imposed, with some ASIC staff wanting to go in hard, while others pulled rank and went in soft. ‘Dialling down’

In one press release dated May 2014 that relates to ASIC imposing new licence conditions on two of CBA’s financial planning arms, an original draft press release called it for what it was: the business had “misled” ASIC over its compensation scheme and the methodology used to compensate clients.

But the word “misled” was dropped by an ASIC executive.

The ASIC media staffer, who no longer works at the regulator, wrote back: “We are not stating openly that CBA misled us? Are we dialling down that rhetoric?”

He goes on to say: “We have removed the reference about the results of the review being monitored by ASIC and will be made public? Do we want to consider that such a reference would provide some (even if on a minuscule scale) sort of comfort/reassurance to customers/media/observers who when they read this or hear about it third-hand will (already being disillusioned by how this matter has been handled) roll their eyes and refuse to believe there are no other surprises lurking about? Also consider the issue of transparency (then and now) being at the heart of this whole CFPL matter.”

The version that was released doesn’t mention “misled” and, after weeks of editing, plays down the significance of the licence conditions.

What is most interesting is the attitude of one of CBA’s spin doctors on receiving the draft release: “I think the language needs to align. A bit about semantics but we do need to be clear so will make some suggested adjustments.”

Asked about the arrangement a CBA spokesman said: “We value our relationship with regulators and we engage with them every day on a range of topics. ASIC plays a crucial role in ensuring Australia has a strong and stable financial system, and fact-checking statements prior to announcements is an important part of a regulatory process.”

It is all too cosy. Neutral tone

“Systemic fraud”, “systemic theft”, doctoring of customer files and “lying to clients”, were some of the words used by Senator Mark Bishop, who chaired the Senate inquiry into ASIC and the CBA, and recommended a royal commission into the bank’s financial planning arm.

In contrast, ASIC’s press releases favour a “neutral tone” about its concerns, as one email relating to a NAB release reveals. Words such as “superficial” were airbrushed from a Macquarie draft press release despite an independent experts report being considered a “sham” by a senior officer at ASIC.

In one press release ASIC deliberately left out the compensation figure despite knowing what it was. Correspondence between ASIC and Westpac relating to a dodgy Westpac home loan manager, David St Pierre, who has since been sentenced to jail, was rejigged with the ASIC PR saying to her colleague the restructure was to “placate” Westpac.

Emails show Westpac and ASIC discussing the timing of the media release and Westpac giving ASIC the heads-up it was briefing Senator Williams.

Again, not a good look. Nor was ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell’s curious remarks: “Given the good Senator’s current practices we should expect it to be leaked very quickly. I assume Westpac understand this?”

What is particularly disturbing is ASIC continued to send out draft press releases to the banks after chairman Greg Medcraft told a parliamentary inquiry into the performance of ASIC that the regulator had been “too trusting” of the banks, particularly CBA in its dealings with it over a financial planning arm.

That same Senate inquiry had found ASIC was too timid and trusting and that this was “inherently dangerous to ASIC’s legitimacy as a regulator”. ASIC promised to lift its game. Despite this, the policy to show draft releases and allow them to be edited continued. Culture exposed

It speaks volumes about the culture. It can only serve to embarrass Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who described ASIC as the tough cop on the beat when defending his decision not to have a royal commission into financial services despite public support.

ASIC says it changed its policy on media releases in February 2015. That’s all well and good, but the brutal reality is that policy only changed after Fairfax Media embarrassed it with an article, “ASIC allowed NAB to check and alter media releases”, in February 2015. The article was picked up in a Senate hearing by Senator Williams, with a commitment from ASIC that it wouldn’t do it anymore.

The information was supplied to Fairfax by a NAB whistleblower who released documents that showed ASIC agreeing to alter a draft media release about a significant, six-year-long system error in NAB Wealth’s Navigator platform, which affected tens of thousands of customers.

These documents shine a light on the impact of getting the heads-up on press releases. One internal NAB document says that “feedback provided was incorporated into the final release”, contributing to a “well executed” strategy that resulted in “minimal” media coverage and public reaction.

It was a win for NAB. A February 2014 document obtained by Fairfax refers to ASIC’s acceptance of NAB’s plan to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers to independently review the Navigator problem. “This approach avoided a formal enforceable undertaking.”

A second February document states: “This is a less severe regulatory outcome than was originally anticipated.”

Instead of calling it for what it was, the media release, issued on May 2, 2014, described it as “a systems error that resulted in some customers having incorrect investment income allocated to their account”. In the media release, ASIC acknowledged the “co-operative approach taken by NAB Wealth in this matter”. Macquarie sham

Another set of correspondence relating to Macquarie and its financial planning scandal describes an Ernst & Young independent experts report as a “sham”.

The ASIC officer Adrian Borchok, who has since left ASIC, who labelled it a sham requests the word superficial be included in the draft press release. However, Louise Macaulay, who is still at ASIC, wrote: “In para 5 do we really want to say ‘superficial’, as MEL [Macquarie Equities Limited] did engage EY to do a review of their compliance system.”

Borchok fired back: “I think the use of ‘superficial’ is appropriate because it reflects the situation. Further, the EY review was a sham therefore they are getting off easy with ‘superficial’.”

Correspondence such as this never came to light in the Senate inquiry into ASIC. Nor was it raised as an issue in a productivity commission report into ASIC and its capabilities.

A royal commission would compel complete correspondence as well as the various independent expert reports, along with a lot more.

Is it regulatory capture? Naivety? Why ASIC adopted such a policy in the first place is hard to understand. Whatever the reason, it strikes at the heart of the culture inside the regulator. It is why when Mr Medcraft finishes his term as chairman later this year it is imperative his replacement comes from outside and isn’t part of the club.

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

Litbits April 22 2017

Monday, 13 May, 2019

ABR Gender Fellowship
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Australian Book Review is seeking proposals for a substantial article on any aspect of gender in Australian literature (any genre). The Fellowship is worth $7500 and applications $7500. Applications close May 1. See: australianbookreview南京夜网419论坛. ACU Poetry Prize

Entries for the 2017 Australian Catholic University (ACU) Prize for Poetry are open until July 3, with a $10,000 first prize for poetry with the theme “Joy”. See: acu.edu419论坛/poetry-prize. What’s on

April 22: Canberra author Courtney Carr will be signing copies of her debut science fiction horror novel Cosmic Decay: Contamination at Paperchain Manuka at 11am.

April 24: Queanbeyan writer Omar Musa will launch his third book of poetry, Millefiori, at Smith’s Alternative at 7pm. Tickets $10. smithsalternative南京夜网.

April 23: In Writing While Female at Muse Canberra, some Canberra writers of life explore what it means to write as a woman. Featuring Jessica Friedmann, Lisa Fuller, Zoya Patel and Melinda Smith. Tickets $10 includes a drink.Bookings: musecanberra南京夜网419论坛/events/.

April 26: Dympha by Judith Armstrong tells the story of the wife of historian Manning Clark. Armstrong will discuss her book in the National Library Conference Room at 6pm. Admission free. Nla.gov419论坛.

April 27: The Mysterious Mr Jacob: Diamond Merchant, Magician and Spy author John Zubrzycki will talk about his latest book at Asia Bookroom, Lawry Place, Macquarie (adjacent to the Jamison Centre) at 6pm. RSVP to 62515191. Entry by gold coin donation to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. See: AsiaBookroom南京夜网.

April, 27: At 6.15pm for 7pm at the University House Common Room. Meet the Chef dinner with Valli Little who will be in conversation with Alex Sloan on Little’s new book My Kind of Food. $85 per person for pre-dinner canapes, three course dinner with wines from Mount Majura Vineyard. Bookings at: http://unihouse.anu.edu419论坛/events/meet-the-chef-dinner-with-valli-little/

April 27: At 7 for 7pm, John Foulcher, Melinda Smith, and Hazel Hall are reading at Manning Clark House. $10.00 entry at door, wine and nibbles served. Contact 0478640169 for more information.

April 30: At Muse Canberra, in Question Time:Katy Gallagher find out if and how Katy Gallagher, the person is different from Senator Katy Gallagher, federal politician. Tickets $10 includes a drink.Bookings: musecanberra南京夜网419论坛/events/.

May 4: In the lunchtime event The Long Table, Meg and Tom Keneally’s The Unmourned will be launched at Muse Canberra at noon. Tickets $75 includes 90-minute two-course lunch and a copy of the book. musecanberra南京夜网419论坛.

May 6: At 2pm at the National Archives of Australia, Professor Joan Beaumont’s book Moving Beyond 1915 Remembrance will be launched for Peace Works! at the National Archives of Australia, Queen Victoria Terrace. There will be displays and events and free refreshments from 10am to 4pm..

May 6: Come for afternoon tea with Jenevieve Chang, author of The Good Girl of Chinatown: From suburban Sydney to Shanghai Show Girl at 2pm at Asia Bookroom, Lawry Place, Macquarie (adjacent to Jamison) RSVP to 62515191. Entry by gold coin donation to the Australian Childhood Foundation. See:AsiaBookroom南京夜网

May 8: At 6.30pm, Manning Clark Lecture Theatre 2, ANU, in an ANU/The Canberra Times meet the author event, xo-founder and creative director of the Mama Mia Women’s Network, Mia Freedman, will be in conversation with Genevieve Jacobs on Freedman’s new book: Work, Strife, Balance. Free event. Bookings at anu.edu419论坛/events or 6125 4144. Pre-book signings at 6pm.

May 10: The next Poetry at the House reading is at University House at 7.30 pm. It will feature Louise Nicholas (from Adelaide), Paul Cliff (from Canberra) and Victoria McGrath (from Yass). Admission: $10 waged, $5 unwaged. RSVP: [email protected]论坛.

May 11: Still touching hearts: an evening with May Gibbs for the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature. Includes a presentation of original artwork to the Centre by Jane Brummitt, co-author of May Gibbs More than a Fairy Tale. 5.30-7pm at ALIA House, 9-11 Napier Close Deakin. $15 ($12 for CBCA members). RSVP by May 9: [email protected]南京夜网.

May 13: Plotting Your Novel with Ian McHugh is a writing workshop from 10am to 4pm in the E-Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre. Cost: $145 members, $210 non-members (includes 12-month membership). Concession rates available. Bookings: bit.ly/ianmchugh.

May 29: At 6pm at the Copland Lecture Theatre, ANU in an ANU/ Canberra Times meet the author event, Robert Dessaix will be in conversation with Professor Nicholas Brown on Dessaix’s new book, The Pleasures of Leisure. Free event. Bookings at anu.edu419论坛/events or 6125 4144. Pre-book signings at 5:30 PM .

May 30: At 6.30pm in the Copland Lecture Theatre, ANU in an ANU/Canberra Times meet the author. Chloe Shorten will be in conversation with Anna-Maria Arabia on Shorten’s new book, Take Heart: A Story for Modern Stepfamilies. Free event. Bookings at anu.edu419论坛/events or 6125 4144. Pre-book signings at 6pm.

* Contributions to Litbits are welcome. Please email [email protected]南京夜网419论坛 by COB on the Monday prior to publication. Publication is not guaranteed.


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

Embassy workers allege ‘betrayal’ over unpaid super

Saturday, 13 April, 2019

A former Canberra embassy worker has spoken of her “betrayal” by her former employers, the Spanish government, which is accused of refusing to hand over years worth of superannuation payments.
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Another former worker for the Spanish government in Australia says she has been left disabled by cancer but without vital disability cover because of the consulate’s failure to pay her super.

The two women are now taking legal action against their former employer, looking to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid super, interest and penalties.

But the Spanish government has defended itself, claiming its two former employees were covered by their home country’s social welfare system during the periods in question and their current claim was an attempt to “double-dip”.

Lawyers for the two women, Maurice Blackburn, says the case is the latest example of foreign governments refusing to follow Australian workplace laws.

Canberra grandmother Esperanza Poveda had two stints as a secretary at the embassy of Spain in Canberra between 1986 and 1998, and from 2004 until 2014.

In 2012, she secured an order from the ATO for the embassy to pay her unpaid super for the second period she worked there, but she says her former bosses refused to pay her for her first stint.

Maurice Blackburn is claiming damages of $68,000, for Ms Poveda which includes $32,000 in unpaid superannuation for 1992-1998 and penalty interest.

Melbourne woman Miren Itziar Urbieta worked at Spain’s consulate in the Victorian capital for 18 years until 2011 and says she was not any paid any superannuation at all.

According to her lawyers, the consulate’s failure to pay her superannuation, left her ineligible for total and permanent disability cover through her VicSuper fund and she is battling tonsil cancer which has left her permanently disabled since 2015.

Ms Urbieta is seeking damages of $131,000 including $54,000 in unpaid superannuation, $62,000 in penalty interest, and $15,000 for the TPD benefit that she would have been entitled to if super payments had been made into her VicSuper account.

Ms Poveda told Fairfax that she “furious” at the Spanish government over its treatment of her and her colleague.

“I feel furious because they think they can do whatever they want, like they do in Spain, and they think they can do the same thing here,” Ms Poveda said.

“I think its time for the Australian authorities to say that’s enough and you have to obey the Australian law.”

But a spokesman for the Spanish embassy indicated it would be defending the claims, saying the women were covered by the Spanish social security system during the period in question and were therefore not entitled to payments under the Australian system.

He also denied Maurice Blackburn’s claim that the embassy had not engaged with the law firm.

“We have been in touch by phone and the decision coming from our government has been duly notified to the former employees,” the spokesman said.

“The former employees opted expressly to be under the coverage of the Spanish social security.

“Their current claim implies a double dipping situation prohibited by law.”

But Maurice Blackburn lawyer Josh Mennen dismissed the Spanish defence as “absurd”.

“To suggest that an employee who resides and is domiciled in Australia is ‘double dipping’ by seeking their minimum superannuation contributions because they are said to have some cover under the Spanish social security system is absurd,” Mr Mennen said.

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

An Aussie thriller with Canberra links premieres at Dendy

Saturday, 13 April, 2019

The world premiere of a new Australian thriller will take place at Dendy Canberra on Sunday night – because the producer, Brian Cobb, and the lead actress, Miranda O’Hare, were both originally from Canberra. Although no longer based here they remain close to the city that produced them and have family and friends here.
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Indigo Lake, written and directed by Martin Simpson, is a Sydney-set film in which artist Jack Zeffa (played by Andrew Cutcliffe) is hired by Bill Kazak (Marin Mimica) to paint a portrait of his wife Ruby (O’Hare). As Jack paints Ruby a bond develops between them and as it deepens so do the jealous Bill’s suspicions.

Cobb, whose company Cobbstar Productions produced the $1.1 million film, says Simpson’s script was quite different to any other Australian film he had seen.

“It had a film noir aspect I liked.” he says. He is taking the film to Cannes and hopes to get it in wide release soon.

Cobb, who will be celebrating his 40th birthday on Sunday – “What a way to have a party!” – says he came relatively late to the arts. He was going to be a rugby league referee and it wasn’t until a trip overseas and a part in a corporate film when he was 20 that he decided to become an actor (he’s still a big fan of the Canberra Raiders). He trained at ther Australian Academy of Dramatic Arts in Sydney and had a few small parts but found himself producing plays for himself and his friends to perform in pubs and bars which drew him to the production side of the business and he studied it at the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

Since then his projects have included the longrunning gay digital drama series The Horizon, which began in 2009. He joined it in 2012 and it’s still running. Other upcoming projects include the virtual reality series Dream Channel and the coming-of-age story Patricia Moore. In 2016 Cobbstar won the City of Sydney’s accommodation grant for the space formerly known as Metro Screen.

O’Hare acted from a young age, being part of Canberra Youth Theatre and studying at the National Acting School before gaining an agent at a showcase in Sydney when she was 19. She didn’t know Cobb in Canberra but met him in 2008 when they did a play for Mardi Gras, The Unicorn and the Girl (no prizes for guessing who played who). They kept in touch and in September 2015 he told her about Indigo Lake. But her casting was not automatic.

“I did a fair few auditions – I had to fight my way to get the role. As soon as I read it. it meant so much to me,” she says.

“Ruby was a real character. She resonated with me… I understood her completely.”

Recently, O’Hare has been working on two international television series, Killing the Cure and Age of the Living Dead.

The premiere Q&A screening of Indigo Lake (CTC) is on at Dendy Canberra on Sunday, April 23 at 6.30pm. dendy南京夜网419论坛.

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

Toxic chemicals in fire-fighting foams could be phased out

Saturday, 13 April, 2019

The federal government is considering its “management options” for a potential [phase-out of some toxic chemicals once used in fire-fighting foams, in the wake of a spill near Brisbane Airport nearly two weeks ago.
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The Queensland government has already banned use of the PFAS chemicals and the Defence department is facing two class actions linked to contamination at airbases near Oakey in the state and Williamtown, NSW.

It comes as the federal government also considers wide-ranging reforms to the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, which assesses such substances, which The Canberra Times has previously reported prompted concerns about the protection of public health and the environment.

After a spill of up to 22,000 litres of fire-fighting foams containing the chemicals at a Qantas-owned hangar at Brisbane Airport, federal infrastructure minister Darren Chester has indicated the Commonwealth may now consider “phasing out” the substances.

It is understood the vast majority of the spilt foams were contained in the hangar, although fishing bans remain in place in nearby Boggy Creek, although the creek as been reopened to recreational activity.

The spill led to a fresh round of calls for the chemicals to be banned nationally, calls which have previously fallen on deaf ears in Canberra, despite the Defence-related class actions and on-going wrangling between airports and the government over what to do about potential contamination elsewhere.

Mr Chester said in a statement the government was now considering the “transitional removal” of the chemicals used in the foams.

“While it is known PFAS can persist for a long time, there is no consistent evidence that PFAS exposure is harmful to human health,” he said.

“The government is considering management options for PFOS and PFOA transitional removal from use, improved management and appropriate disposal of PFOS-containing firefighting foams at all facilities in Australia, consistent with the listing of the chemical under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.”

Mr Chester said a number of Commonwealth agencies were working with the Queensland government, Qantas and others to “ensure the spill is managed correctly and in line with respective jurisdictional regulations”.

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

Heavyweights and DUET drive ASX higher

Saturday, 13 April, 2019

Australia’s benchmark index followed offshore leads solidly higher on Friday, but it wasn’t enough to reverse losses in the earlier part of the week.
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The benchmark S&PASX200 soared at the open and held onto its gains to add 0.6 per cent to 5854.1 on Friday, narrowing its weekly loss to 0.6 per cent, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 0.7 per cent over the week to 5925.9.

Driving the index higher on Friday were the big banks and miners, who together make up the majority of the ASX200’s market capitalisation.

Greg McKenna, chief markets strategist at AxiTrader, said markets saw “an outbreak of positivity” after the US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested overnight that tax cuts weren’t far off, as well as a poll that shows good odds for a victory by moderate independent Emmanuel Macron in the first stage of the French elections on Sunday.

“Even though I’ve been highlighting the downtrend and the associated drift in data prints in recent weeks, should the market get the result that traders and investors like out of the French election on the weekend, we could see one heck of a risk on rally in stocks and other assets early next week,” Mr McKenna said.

“Traders seem to be alert but not alarmed at the moment.”

The miners soared off a 4.2 per cent rise in iron ore prices, adding ot Thursday’s 2.2 per cent rise, and were further aided by strong performances acrosss aluminium and copper commodities markets.

Pure-play iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group leapt 5.2 per cent. Rio Tinto had the biggest impact on the index, up 2.7 per cent, while BHP Billiton rose 1.7 per cent – its only day of gains for the week.

Traders in the big banks took heart from a resumption of the reflation trade.

CBA rose 0.6 per cent, ANZ added 0.9 per cent, Westpac strengthened by 0.5 per cent while NAB was up 1 per cent. Macquarie Group also rose strongly, after being part of a consortium that purchased the UK Green Investment Bank in London.

Outside the heavyweights, there was no shortage of corporate news. with a takeover and a profit downgrade causing the market’s most dramatic performances.

A profit warning at Coca-Cola Amatil sent its shares tumbling 10.5 per cent, while government approval of an offshore takeover of energy company DUET Group sent its shares soaring 9.5 per cent to $3.01 – just under the $3.03 per share takeover offer made by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings.

Stock Watch: Coca-Cola Amatil

Investors punished Coca-Cola Amatil on Friday after the company backed away from its promise of mid single-digit earnings growth, saying it now expects underlying net profit to decline in the first half, while full year profits will be flat. The share price tumbled 10.5 per cent to $9.61. Trading in the Australian drinks unit for the year to date has been weaker than last year with all channels experiencing volume and price pressure due to competition and category trends, the beverages giant said on Friday. Chief executive Alison Watkins re-affirmed earnings guidance for mid single-digit earnings per share (EPS) growth in February. But the company said that while that was a longer-term target, full year underlying net profit after tax to be broadly in line with last year.

Iron ore

Australia’s largest export managed to claw back some of its losses on Friday, climbing 4.2 per cent to $US68.68 a tonne. But over the week iron ore was down 8.9 per cent thanks to speculative traders betting an onslaught of new high grade supply would wash into the market. Brazilian producer Vale announced on Friday its first-quarter iron ore output fell 6.7 per cent as seasonal rainfall in a fast-growing mine in northern Brazil hampered extraction and the world’s No.1 producer.

??????Transfer pricing

The Australian Taxation Office has won a landmark transfer pricing case against Chevron, which could have ramifications for the $400 billion in loans that multinationals use to finance their activities in Australia. Chevron appealed an earlier Federal Court decision that came down largely in favour of the ATO, which claimed the company owed roughly $340 million in taxes, penalties and interest on a 2003 loan for its North-West Shelf gas project. But a unanimous judgment by the full bench of the Federal Court on Friday reaffirmed the ATO’s position. It said the appeal was dismissed, with costs.

Infrastructure takeovers

Shares in DUET Group rocketed 9.5 per cent higher on Friday after the government approved an offshore bid for the company. Shares in fellow utility groups Spark Infrastructure and AusNet also spiked higher and RBC analyst Paul John suggested the DUET deal “may pave the way” for other offshore bids. DUET Group said this morning that the overwhelming majority of its proxy holds – 99.3 per cent – have approved the takeover. Mr Johnson wrote that RBC was “confident of the deal ultimately proceeding”, and noted the $3.03 per share offer price was “very much at the high end of M&A valuations in the sector”.

US tax cuts

US markets enjoyed a positive boost following US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin’s comments around tax reform. The Trump administration is aiming to complete the biggest overhaul of the tax code since President Ronald Reagan by the end of the year, even if a second attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act fails, he said. Mnuchin’s comments eased growing concern that Trump’s fiscal agenda is foundering, while the odds for a rates hike in June surged toward toward 60 per cent after Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan reiterated that three increases this year remain appropriate.

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

Bitter Masters battle coming to an end

Saturday, 13 April, 2019

Retail giant Woolworths is a step closer to putting its disastrous foray into hardware behind it.
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In a long-awaited ruling, Woolworths’ joint venture partner, the US hardware giant Lowe’s, has been ordered to sell its shares in the joint venture behind hardware chain Masters for an amount yet to be determined.

The share sale to Woolworths will enable Woolworths to then sell the business to a consortium that includes some of Australia’s richest families.

Woolworths and Lowe’s have been squabbling over the value of the latter’s 33 per cent stake in the joint venture behind Masters. Woolworths said it was worth nothing; Lowe’s said it was worth more than $600 million.

The two companies had poured poured billions into launching hardware chain Masters in Australia, to compete with No.1 chain Bunnings. Woolworths pulled the plug on the business in early 2016 after years of losses.

In August last year it announced that Home Consortium – which includes families behind retailers Chemist Warehouse and Spotlight – would buy 40 Masters freehold sites, 21 Masters freehold development sites and 21 Masters leasehold sites.

In addition, it said it would sell inventory for about $500 million and sell the Home Timber and Hardware Group business for $165 million to the listed wholesaler Metcash.

Combined, Woolworths said it would reap $1.5 billion in gross proceeds from the three deals, but only $500 million after costs and prior to shareholder payments.

Woolworths on Friday announced a ruling that Lowe’s was required to sell its 33 per cent stake in joint venture vehicle Hydrox, for a value determined by a third-party independent expert.

“As a consequence of today’s award, Woolworths will be able to conclude the proposed transaction with Home Consortium without the consent of Lowe’s, once the final valuation and share transfer processes have taken place,” it said.

It’s unclear how much money Woolworths will net after paying out Lowe’s for its shares, and then selling the 82 blocks to the Home Consortium.

The Consortium will buy 61 Masters properties and 21 development sites, and then lease them to the likes of retailers Chemist Warehouse, Spotlight and Masters’ one-time rival Bunnings.

Industry insiders suggest there have been delays that have held up Bunnings’ plans to move into those former Masters sites.

Questions remain about how Woolworths would spend a windfall from the proceeds.

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

Enjoy a glass of red at this Red Hill retreat

Wednesday, 13 March, 2019

Allhomes. Canberra. Domain. April 18, 2017.?? 9 Scarborough Street, Red Hill. Photo: SuppliedCanberra’s icy winter is on its way, but a beautiful new home with a gas fireplace will certainly take off the chill. This Red Hill property offers the discerning buyer class and elegance, combined with modern touches for the ultimate in creature comfort.
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The entry way flows into a front foyer followed by an elegant lounge complete with open fireplace and timber windows – perfect for that warming glass of winter red with friends or family.

The neutral colour palette and cedar touches make it versatile for any decor, while the heart of the home lies within the open-plan kitchen – Caesarstone benchtops and an innovative design making appliances so discrete it almost seems as though it isn’t a kitchen at all. The island bench offers plenty of preparation space, while a custom-designed wall of sleek cabinets conceals an integrated Liebherr fridge-freezer providing generous food storage.

The spacious dining room adjoins the kitchen, and flows to the lounge area, making it ideal for entertaining.

Large bifold doors see the spacious family room open on to the terrace and sparkling pool. The enclosed pavilion can also be accessed from the terrace or family room, with the roof and ceiling fan providing year-round comfort.

Selling agent Mario Sanfrancesco, of Peter Blackshaw Real Estate, says this four-bedroom, single-storey home is perfect for families who want a touch of resort-style living. “I love the large family room and entertaining area overlooking the in-ground pool and the very private rear garden surrounded by mature trees and lush hedges,” he says.

Number nine sits in a prized location, close to schools, sporting fields and shops as well as the parliamentary triangle, CBD and embassy belt.

“The overall response to this home has been encouraging, which is not a surprise given the lifestyle it offers and proximity to Canberra Grammar School,” Sanfrancesco says.

“This home has been loved by many families over its lifetime and is ready for another to enjoy the peaceful surrounds and resort lifestyle.”

We love: The innovative approach to the kitchen, which sees appliances tucked away and carefully integrated into the overall design of the room bringing discreet to a new level.

Need to know: Highest recorded sale in the past 12 months was $2.97 million for 21 Scarborough Street in November 2016. Recent sales: $1.96 million for 37 Investigator Street in December; $1.55 million for 18 Astrolabe Street in February, and $852,500 for 108 Monaro Crescent in July.

Surrounding area: Red Hill is in the prestigious inner south of Canberra, on the southern side of Lake Burley Griffin. Circling Capital Hill, the location of Parliament House, the leafy suburbs of “Old Canberra” are home to many of the city’s most exclusive residences. The retail areas of Manuka and Kingston provide boutique shopping, quality cafes and fine dining.

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