Monthly Archives: December 2018

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Centenary of the Great War

MASKS ON: Always aware of the threat of poison gas, two Diggers pose for their photo at the front line. Photo: The Digger’s View by Juan MahonyNewcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley enlistment and death details for March 4-10, 1918.
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AUSTRALIAN RAIDSMr Gordon Gilmour, special correspondent on the West Front for the n and New Zealand Press Agency, reporting on Monday, says: “I saw a big batch of ns today, who are in training for a raid upon German positions, at a point where it is known that every blow is particularly harassing to the enemy.

The boys are taking a fiendish delight in the operation, proof of which is given by the fact that out of a body of troops exclusively from the New South Wales country districts and northern towns, three times the number required volunteered for the raid, such is the universal keenness to get a real slap at the Bosches. Among the most enthusiastic are many young arrivals, who have not yet had a real chance in the open. When I entered a hut full of chosen raiders behind the lines, the moment for action was drawing near on Sunday. Most had already taken the precaution of writing letters to those at home, leaving them to be forwarded in the event of mishap; but the hut resounded with laughter, despite which some were sleeping soundly, and others playing cards. There was not a gloomy man among them. Having made up their minds for the job, and being determined to carry it through thoroughly, they had learned every detail by heart, so that a mistake was impossible. Now they awaited the order to go forward, and were supposed to be resting, yet some outside were exuberantly kicking footballs. Indeed, the whole team of raiders seemed to regard the event much like a football match. Those men were not recruited by promises of rewards. They explained to me that they only wanted an opportunity to kill Fritz, because a Newcastle man added:- “It’s got to be done, if we are to get back to before we are old men.”

When General Birdwood addressed the group of raiders as “cobbers” he was proud of, they were pleased, but listened stolidly to the reference to their bravery. They did not think it brave. It was just a job, and a job worth doing. Earlier successful slaughtering raids made them eager to participate. The raiders included several Gallipoli men and others who had been three times wounded.

CARDIFF MAN IN FRANCEMr McRae, of Cardiff, has received the following letter from his son, Corporal Norman McRae, dated from Rhyl (Wales) Military Hospital, December 31, 1917: “Tomorrow is New Year’s Day, and to me it will be a lot different to the one I experienced 12 months ago. Then I was up to my knees in water and mud, with shells whizzing about, but this time – well, you know what civil life is; and that is practically what it is for us now. I have often made up my mind, since I got wounded, to let you know a little about my experiences in France, I don’t suppose you will know, but, at the time I went to France there was a whole division (3rd), including artillery, engineers, pioneers, A.M.C., etc., went across, so you will see that we were all fresh troops, hardly any of whom had ever seen a shell. We landed in France on the 22nd November, and on the 27th we were in the firing line, having relieved an English regiment, in front of Armentieres. We stayed there until two days before Christmas, when we were relieved by our next brigade. We marched back to a small village a few miles from one of the most important towns on the Western front. Our parcels and mail arrived on Christmas Eve, and you can imagine with what delight they were received. I was lucky enough to receive my first mail from home. We had a fortnight at this place, then marched to “Jesus Farm,” on the way back to Armentieres. From this time (19th January), right up till June, we were constantly moving from one sector to another, until we reached “Ploegsteert Wood” (or Plugstreet as the boys call it). This place was recognised as one of the liveliest places along the front at the time. This wood once belonged to King Albert of Belgium, and before the war must have been a wonderful place. As it was, the place was still beautiful, and hardly knocked about at all. However, it was full of guns, as preparations were going on for an offensive. On the night of June 6th we left __, about four miles behind the line, in battle order, to march up to the line, with a full knowledge of what we were going for. At 3.10 amon the 7th, we “hopped the bags,” after the explosion of 19 gigantic mines, the like of which I had never heard before, and don’t want to hear again. It was awful. We didn’t meet much opposition, but what we did meet was finished in the usual style. We managed to hold what we had taken, and were relieved after putting in three days of hard work. We were given a fortnight’s rest after this to recuperate and receive reinforcements, which were badly needed. After this spell, we “hiked” our packs back once more to the line, to the scenes of Captain Bairnsfather’s first sketches. This was just behind Messines. It wasn’t very long before we went into the line again, but it was 36 days before we got out again. Of all the bad days I have had on active service, I think those were by far the worst. We were under shell fire all the time. Night after night we had to wear gas masks, for old Fritz strongly believes in his gas shells. After this little lot, we were given two months’ spell. During this time I got my stripes. From this place we went to Winnizeele, some miles behind Ypres, and after four days’ rest were taken up in motor lorries to the line. We went into Zonnebeke, and put in a week. There were no trenches, only shell-holes half full of water. It was some place; both sides continually shelling. When we came back to Winnizeele, there was many an old face missing. We only stopped here a couple of days, and then once more motor lorries carried us back to Ypres, sadly under strength. We put up in tents for a night, and then once more prepared to go over the top. This was on October 11th. At 5.25 a.m., 12th October, after a night of constant rain and shelling, we hopped over, with Passchendaele Ridge as an objective. No sooner had our barrage opened than a veritable hail of bullets rained on us. We struck bogs, and trees joined together with wire, through which we had to force our way. On safely getting through this lot, I must have resembled some of the chaps who patronised the ‘Dudley Express’ (miners’ train). I was covered in mud from head to foot. We had to fight our way right to our objective, using both rifle, bayonet and bomb freely. I managed to stay the distance, but was wounded shortly after arriving. To this day I can’t remember how I managed to get back to the dressing station. Sufficient to say that I am In ‘Blighty’, having a real good spell, for the first time since leaving . I have heard that reinforcements are not available to make up the battalions to their fighting strength. For my part, I am glad conscription has been rejected, but, on the other hand, we must have men to keep us going. Taking things as they are, at present, I foresee at least one of our divisions being broken up to reinforce the others, and one division less means more work for those remaining. God knows they have enough now to do, without more being put on their shoulders.

TRIBUTE TO BRITISH WOMENLieutenant T. Laurie Adam, of Wickham, writing from Third London General Hospital, Wardsworth, under date 10th November, 1917, speaks highly of the great work of the women of England.

“Last Friday was Lord Mayor’s Day. There was a naval, military, and civil procession. In the morning a wealthy businessman, Mr. Howard Williams, came to the hospital with a number of motor omnibuses, and took us away into town, gave us a luncheon, and then arranged seats for us in his shop window. This gave us a view of the whole procession, and it was some procession, too! Sailors, soldiers, munition girls and girl farm workers. We cheered those girls! The work they are doing is absolutely wonderful. Some of the munition girls are quite yellow through working so constantly among explosives, and they cannot live much longer. And yet they had to adopt conscription in a country like England, where more girls are dying a slow death, that we might have sufficient shells out in France. My God! It hurts! And in , the country of which we have all boasted over here, turned conscription down, while the women of England are giving their lives that we might be saved when out on the battlefields of France and Belgium. I wonder what has become of our manhood. Knowing these things, you can quite imagine the pity we felt for these great, grand women, and the spirit we put into that cheering. I hope they understand.”

BELMONTThere was a large gathering in the Belmont Hall on Saturday night to welcome home Private Walter Marks, who has returned from the front. Private Marks left Sydney on May 1, 1916, and landed In England on July 9th, where he remained for four months. He proceeded to France on 21st November, and took part in the big push at Messines, where he was seriously wounded in the chest. After remaining in hospital at Abbeville, on the Somme, for three months, he was transferred to Notley, near Southampton, England on August 8, 1917.

Private Marks speaks highly of the attention he received from the doctors and nurses. It is a very large hospital, a quarter of a mile in length, and accommodates 5000 patients. He left England on December 17th, and arrived in Belmont on February 16th. The hall was nicely decorated with foliage and bunting. The welcome home, which took the form of a social, was presided over by Mr. W. G. Hall. Private Marks was carried on shoulder high by two of his old school mates, Messrs Norman Campbell and Jack Lunn (the former being a returned soldier), the audience singing “Home, Sweet Home.” Mr. Hall said Private Marks had played the man, and on behalf of the residents of Belmont asked his acceptance of a gold medal as a token of their appreciation. Private Marks said he appreciated their action in welcoming him home. He had done his best while away, and would, in the near future, if his health permitted, and his services were required, be willing to again fight for . Refreshments were served by the Red Cross ladies. Votes of thanks were accorded to all who had assisted. The remainder of the evening was spent in dancing.

WICKHAMMrs Bond, the Mayoress of Wickham, has received the following brief letter from Trooper Terrance J. Ganger, Second Light Horse, Palestine, under date January 3:“Just a line of thanks from my comrades and myself to you and the Wickham Patriotic Committee for the Christmas gifts, which we received. I may say that we were all delighted with them. The boys are exceedingly pleased to see that they are not forgotten by the folks of bonny . Best wishes from all.”

ENLISTMENTSStanley Vincent Baker, Tomalla; Ulick Lancelot Bourke, Merewether; Joseph Jacobs, Newcastle; David Haddon McNair, Islington; Basil Wynne Spring, Newcastle.

DEATHSL/Cpl Herbert Leslie Elvin, Cessnock; Sapper Robert John Hampton, Dungog.

Horoscopes: week beginning March 11, 2018

ARIES: The next ten weeks will see a build-up of responsibilities and emphasis on career interests as a deadline looms and passes on April 18. Situations often take time to develop naturally, so this is all par for the course although you may not feel like it at the time. Be prepared for delays in these matters between April 18 and September 6.
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TAURUS: An overseas trip, impending legal matter, or education interest is quite important to Taureans over the coming ten weeks. Situations are not resolved quickly and delays in or around all these matters can be expected between April 18 and September 6. Thorough preparation in these matters brings favourable results.

GEMINI: A matter of financial importance, whether to do with a will, taxation, insurance, superannuation, or partnership income, is emphasised during the coming ten weeks. You need to be patient and practical with these matters, which will take time to work through. Expect delays between April 18 and September 6.

CANCER: Partnership, whether business or personal, naturally provides strength for Cancer but also entails heavy responsibilities. Such matters are currently emphasised, bringing to a head some of these issues in the ten weeks around April 18. Attend to important matters before that date, lest there be delays.

LEO: Leonine characters are carrying a heavy work load, during the next ten weeks, that is likely to be marked by delays due to the nature of that work. Steady efforts and routines make the situation more manageable, but be prepared for increased workload around April 18. Decks may not be cleared for a number of months.

VIRGO: Virgo’s fortunes are building in strength during the next few months, reaching a peak in the weeks around April 18. This can bring a solid opportunity that enhances your life or one of your children. It’s likely that you’ve been working on this for some time and is a work in progress. A great deal of satisfaction is likely to ensue.

LIBRA: There’s strength in numbers and in family, and the next ten weeks will certainly highlight this point. April 18 and the weeks around it is important in this regard, marked by enhanced feelings of security through family and a place to call home. This is likely to be a slowly developing situation, occurring in phases, so expect more later in the year too.

SCORPIO: April 18 and the weeks leading up to it are important for putting plans in place, dealing with transport issues (such as cars), and negotiations. Make the most of this time as it is easier to bring things to fruition before then. Following that date until September 6, these situations can be complicated by delays due to various reasons.

SAGITTARIUS: Sagittarius’ strength in money matters tends to take time to build, particularly where income and wealth are concerned, unless it is inherited. You are working tirelessly towards these ends in the weeks to April 18, but after that date there may be delays for a number of months in financial processing. Keep on top of things!

CAPRICORN: New heights of achievement are attained by Capricorn during the weeks to April 18, when there is a relentless push to bring order and form to your life and living conditions. However, between that date and early September, these energies subside as a natural part of the ebb and flow of living that occurs annually.

AQUARIUS: Aquarians currently require greater patience in dealing with various aspects of their life, particularly at a personal level. Things may not be resolved as quickly as you would like or to your complete satisfaction. This is only for a time. In the meantime, do what you can and bide your time until the timing is right. You will know it when it arrives.

PISCES: Pisceans are building their dreams and bringing them to reality at the moment, or at least putting the elementary aspects of these goals into place at the moment. There’s much to be done in the weeks to April 18 so don’t waste time, but don’t overdo it either. If not all is in place by then, there’ll be further opportunities later in the year.

© Alison Moroney, 2018 [email protected]苏州楼凤www.alisonmoroney苏州楼凤

Melbourne firies get generous leave deal

A new enterprise agreement could see Victorian firies take 196 days off work a year with full pay.Victorian taxpayers will fork out $150 million for a new pay deal for Melbourne firefighters that includes almost 200 days personal and other leave a year.
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Metropolitan Fire Brigade firefighters will vote on the long-awaited enterprise bargaining agreement on Friday

United Firefighters Union secretary Peter Marshall said technically firefighters could take all that leave but they’d have to have someone die in the family, be adopting someone, be a carer for a family member and be in an abusive relationship.

“So it is a nonsense to say they have got that much leave,” he told AAP.

“We did a comparison in the building industry and it is almost the same if you add up all the leaves. All those leaves are industry standards.”

State Emergency Services Minister James Merlino said on Tuesday the agreement cost is “in the order of $150 million and that’s fully accounted for in the budget”.

“If you’re in a burning home and you’ve got a firefighter bashing through the door to save you and your children, do you think you care what they’re paid or what allowances they receive?”

The deal reportedly includes a $1200 second language allowance and an “availability allowance” for commanders worth 5.5 per cent of their salary.

Firefighters who have been on the job for more than two years will be eligible for 99 days of personal and sick leave a year, on top of 65 days’ annual leave.

By comparison, frontline Ambulance Victoria paramedics are entitled to up to 50 days of annual leave and Victoria Police officers get 45 days.

The agreement also included provisions for 10 days of community service leave and five days of union training, which alongside the state’s 13 public holidays added up to 196 days.

The minister said it wasn’t “a massive increase in leave entitlements”.

“There are various clauses in regards to leave but to think that every firefighter would add every single one of those leave provisions in one year is just completely unrealistic,” he said.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton reportedly raised concerns with Mr Merlino and the MFB board over the deal just days before the latter endorsed it.

The commissioner has been investigating both the Country Fire Authority and MFB and its report has been tangled up in a legal bid by the United Firefighters Union to block its release.

However, details of the report were leaked to The Age which on Tuesday reported on claims of entrenched bullying, “everyday sexism” and a “hyper-masculine culture” in the MFB.

Opposition emergency services spokesman Brad Battin wants Friday’s vote delayed until the report is released publicly in full.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy called the deal a “stinking, rorting mess” and repeated his pledge for a royal commission into the fire services if the coalition wins government in November.

The saga involving the MFB and CFA pay deals saw former emergency service minister Jane Garrett resign in 2016 and a succession of fire service executives quit.

Jets skipper Boogaard’s season likely over

Nigel Boogaard’s season is likely to be over after sustaining multiple injuries against Sydney FC.Newcastle’s A-League title hopes have taken a huge blow with skipper Nigel Boogaard likely to miss the remainder of the season due to injury.
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Defender Boogaard hyperextended his left knee, fractured his fibia and tore his calf late in Saturday’s stirring win over Sydney FC after falling awkwardly.

The 31-year-old refused a stretcher and walked off the field but after seeing a specialist on Monday, the triple injury blow is likely to sideline him for two months.

The Jets admitted in a statement Boogaard faces an “uphill battle” to play again this season.

However, the ligaments in his knee are still stable with the club’s physiotherapist Justin Dougherty calling it a best case scenario outcome.

Still, it is a major setback and means the Jets will be without two of their main men following Andrew Nabbout’s transfer to Urawa Red Diamonds.

Striker Roy O’Donovan is also suspended for the next two matches.

Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick said he would give Boogaard every chance to prove his fitness but admitted it’s an unlikely proposition.

“Nigel will be doing his upmost during the recovery and rehabilitation process,” Merrick said.

“He’s a tough character and an absolute professional when it comes to looking after his body.

“He’s not one to make a song and dance about it but Nigel goes through a great deal to get himself on the park, in top condition week-to-week.

“In saying that, he will be hard-pressed to get back to full fitness before finals which is disappointing for Nigel given the way he’s played all season.

“No doubt it’s a big loss for us, he’s a leader on and off the pitch but I believe we’ve got guys that can step in and do a job which we’ve seen right across the season.”

Lachlan Jackson, 22, is the Jets’ next best option to fill in for Boogaard at centre-back alongside Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

One-in-10 women sexually harassed at work

A new survey suggests one-in-10 working n women are being sexually harassed at work.An overwhelming majority of ‘s young working women say that respect is their top priority at work, but one in 10 are still being sexually harassed.
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The findings are contained in a wide-ranging survey of 2109 working women and 500 men, who shared their thoughts on everything from job security, equality, skills and aspirations.

While being treated with respect by their boss was viewed as essential for 80 per cent of the women, in reality only two thirds believed they actually were.

Fewer than a third of women, who were all under 40, believed both sexes were treated equally in the workplace, while half of the men surveyed did.

Sexual harassment was also commonplace at work for many women, with 10 per cent having endured such behaviour in their current job.

Women with a disability, or who were from culturally diverse backgrounds, gay, or studying were most likely to have been harassed.

One woman told of how she was described as a “tasty little bitch” after meeting with a GP, while another in the legal industry was told by a magistrate to “prove to me you’re more than blonde hair and blue eyes”.

Other women told of how male colleagues commented on their bras, or were told how their harassers were “just being friendly”.

Reporting the harassment was difficult for many, with women fearful about the impact it could have on their career progression or worried that their boss wouldn’t sanction the perpetrator.

One of the study’s co-authors, Dr Elizabeth Hill, from the University of Sydney’s Women, Work & Leadership Research Group, said while young women were “crying out to be treated with respect” they actually had a poor experience of being valued in the workplace.

“Enough is enough. Workplaces have to change,” Dr Hill told AAP as the study was released on Tuesday.

“n women are better educated than ever and this is the workplace they are faced with.”

The study is described as the first of its kind in terms of giving young working women a voice about their work aspirations and current experiences.

While most women rated job security as another top priority, just three in five felt secure in their current jobs.

Being able to work somewhere that was flexible and offered predictable hours was important for nine-in-10 women, particularly those with caring responsibilities.

Four-in-10 of the women had a least one child and half expected to have another.

Dr Hill said while debate about the future of workplaces often focused on the importance of technology and robots, 60 per cent of projected jobs growth in through to 2030 is linked to industries where women dominate, such as healthcare and education.

“So the future of work is actually about young women,” she said.

“But what we’ve found is that there this gap, that the majority of n workplaces aren’t yet ready to meet young women’s aspirations to court their future success at work.”

Vic public execs to head back to school

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he’s happy to send highly-paid bureaucrats back to school.Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he’s happy for highly-paid bureaucrats to go back to class and be schooled on how to deliver some of the state’s most expensive infrastructure projects.
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The Office of Projects Victoria wants to create a “Major Projects Academy” for executives responsible for delivering the state’s largest infrastructure and social projects with budgets of up to $2 billion.

“We’re happy to train people up to get things built,” Mr Andrews said.

“We’ve got 60,000 people … employed directly because of our major projects agenda in road, rail, level crossing removals, schools and hospitals.”

The OPV, established in September 2016 to oversee major projects, is seeking expressions of interest from existing academic institutions on how to structure a program for executives.

“The training is to enhance leadership and expertise to avoid pitfalls when managing complex major projects,” it said in the tender documents.

“In short, what skills can be taught to executive officers.”

In a statement to AAP, a Department of Treasury and Finance spokesman would not say how many executives are expected to be trained through the course or an estimated cost.

However, he said setting up a Victorian Major Projects Leadership Academy would “support identifying, retaining and attracting project talent across the public sector”.

Such an academy would also “enable cross-department, cross-jurisdiction and cross-generational collaboration, knowledge transfer and capability building”, “transfer lessons learnt” from other projects.

Shadow treasurer Michael O’Brien said the government had been embarrassed by project cost blow-outs and was trying to train public servants to avoid repeating mistakes.

“These people are being paid an enormous amount already, why are they being hired if they don’t have the skills necessary and go back to school on the job at the taxpayer’s expense?” Mr O’Brien said.

Riverbank plan has Lorn residents concerned about pollution, privacy and safety

Lorn Action Group spokeswoman Sally O’Neal pictured on the Lorn side of the levee with her dog Rex. Picture: Max Mason HubersLorn residents want more consultation onplans thatcouldplace the Hunter River at the forefront of regionaltourism and possibly impacttheir safety and privacy.
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Last year Maitland City Council flagged plans for the Lorn riverbankto improve recreational access to the Hunter River and its banks from council-owned land.

The Lorn Riverbank Masterplan and Plan of Management includes an access road over the levee, exercise equipment, two amenities blocks, picnic tables, children’s play area, off leash dog area, paved pathway to the river, an open spacearea around a central plaza large enough to hostcommunity functions.

The 9.5 hectare Lorn site isvisually prominent from the Riverwalk adjacent to The Levee and will be even more so with the completionof the Riverlink building.

The Lorn Action Group has held a meetingto discuss the proposal, most residents concerned about traffic movements and their privacy.Group spokesperson Sally O’Neal said there are a lot of residents who have not been kept in the loop.

Ms O’Neal said council has letterbox dropped all of the Lorn properties that may be affected by the proposal which was on public exhibition late last year.

“In reality this is a proposal that affects the whole of Lorn because of its traffic implications,” Mr O’Neal said.“Sharkey’s Lane is already a racetrack and an accident waiting to happen.”

Residents key concerns are traffic, privacy, pollution, parking and keeping the integrity of the riverbank. “Submissions are now closed and it seems to be going nowhere.”

An objectivein council’s +10 Community Strategic Plan was to improve recreational access to the river and its banks from council-owned land. As a result, council voted to prepare a plan of management and a masterplan forLorn Riverbank.

Council has identified a number of objectives it wants to achieve at Lorn including: Upgradinganaccess road over the levee, create a circulation system that accommodates vehicles,provide new parking areas andinstall vehicle control devices.

It also plans to providepublic toilet facilities, installa retaining wall levelingoff a lawn area for open play, provide a shared pathway network through the site that will linkactivity locations.There is also a proposal to create a central plaza, install picnic tables and exercise equipment and a children’s playground.The riverbank will be reshaped and stabilised with apaved access pathway to the water.Native trees and shrubs will also be planted.

A similar plan is also in place for the riverbank atMorpeth.

Socceroos: Andrew Nabbout and Dimi Petratos rewarded with international call-up

Andrew Nabbout. Picture: AAPERNIE Merrick said he’s the first to congratulate Andrew Nabbout about his deal with Japanese giants Urawa Red Diamonds.
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That became double congratulations on Tuesday when Nabbout and now former Jets teammate Dimi Petratos werenamed in new Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk’s preliminary squad for this month’s friendlies against Norway and Colombia.

Nabboutfarewelled teammates and friends on Tuesday as the 29-man squad was announced. It capped a fairytaleresurrection for Nabbout, whohas revived his A-League career at Newcastle over the past two seasons after playing in the Malaysian second-tier following his departure from Melbourne Victory in 2015.

Starting as a wide attacking player with Newcastle, Nabbout has stepped up as a fill-in striker this season and scored 10 goals in 22 games.

@NewcastleJetsFC coach Ernie Merrick on the departure of @[email protected]@ALeaguepic.twitter苏州楼凤/OJ5i2RIHHB

— Craig Kerry (@craigkerry77) March 6, 2018

“I’m the first one to congratulate Andrew,” Merrick said of the deal with Urawa Red Diamonds.

“He’s had a great couple of years here.He’s a great servant to the club, playing fantastic football.

“He has an opportunity to go to a really big club over in Japan and I think he’ll do very well, so I think it’s a good move for him and for the club.”

Petratos is also in line for a Socceroos debut and a chance to push his World Cup selectionclaims.The former Brisbane player has starred for the second-placed Jets as a playmaker in his first season with the club.

Both friendly matches will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Network Ten.

Dimi Petratos

Socceroos: Aziz Behich, Joshua Brillante, Tim Cahill, Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Brad Jones (gk), Tomi Juric, Matthew Jurman, Robbie Kruse, Mitchell Langerak (gk), Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Jamie Maclaren, James Meredith, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Andrew Nabbout, Dimitri Petratos, Josh Risdon, Tom Rogic, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mathew Ryan (gk), Trent Sainsbury, Aleksandar Susnjar, James Troisi, Daniel Vukovic (gk), Bailey Wright.

Ask Noel: investment property, debt and more

I am focusing on paying off my first home loan. Would you recommend I buy a new investment property for the future of my family, or keep paying off the first home loan quickly? I have only an average middle-class income.
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The first step is to get your mortgage under control, and then think about diversifying.

I suggest control would mean having your repayments at the rate of $1100 a month for every $100,000 of your loan.

This would have it paid off in 10 years with minimal interest if interest rates were no more than 6 per cent.

As you already have a substantial amount of money in the residential property basket, namely your own home, I think a better strategy would be to start to invest in share-based investments.

The good thing about doing that is you can start small and add to your investment as your experience and confidence grow.

You don’t have to go out on limb and borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars as you would have to do if you bought investment property.

I note you use the words ‘‘new’’ investment property.

Keep in mind the secret of success in real estate is to buy a property at the right price, and then add value by rezoning or refurbishment. This is usually not possible with a new house or a unit.

If I buy a second home, keep the first home and change it to a full-time investment property, should I change the investment home loan to an interest-only loan? What should be my investment goals?

The name of the game is to maximise your deductible debt, and minimise your non-deductible debt. You do not want to be in a situation where you are paying tax on the rent from an investment property, while stuck with a huge non-deductible mortgage on your residence.

Therefore, I would certainly recommend you convert the loan to interest only, and if this is not possible, then try to get a 30-year loan where the first 10 years’ payments consist mainly of interest anyway. This should free up resources to enable you to speed up repayment of the non-deductible debt on your residence.

Readers who have a debt on their own residence now, and are thinking of renting it out in the future, should make sure extra payments are kept in an offset account, and not paid off the loan. This will maximise future tax deductibility of interest.

In a recent article you warned about the inherent dangers in debt consolidation, and mentioned the scenario where a family with several personal loans could get out of trouble by focusing on paying the smallest loan off first, and then using the payments no longer needed for that to attack the second smallest loan. If a family could not do that, what would be the harm of rolling all the personal loans into their housing loan, getting a cheaper rate overall?

Rolling all the debts into the housing loan would certainly pay them off quicker, provided the family were disciplined enough to increase the payments on the housing loan to dramatically speed up the loan term. The problem is that most people end up in financial strife because of bad money management – if they don’t change their ways many would be in worse problems if they increased the housing loan, as they would end up paying all personal loans over 30 years.

I am 66 years old and receive a part pension – my wife is not yet old enough to receive the pension. We are considering extending our home, with the extension costing around $120,000. Am I correct in my understanding that the amount spent on such an extension would become part of the non-assessable value of our residence in accordance with Centrelink rules for the aged pension?

Your assumption is correct.

Just make sure you don’t fall into the trap of over capitalising your home because the money you would lose on a resale would be more than you would save by becoming eligible for a bigger pension.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature. Readers should seek their own professional advice before making decisions. Twitter:@noelwhittaker

Farmers could survive US tariffs: minister

Agriculture is in a strong position to absorb any shock tariffs from the US, Canberra says.n farmers have access to enough global markets to survive any escalation in tariffs from the United States, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud believes.
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Mr Littleproud says the government’s record on trade deals, including landing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has put agriculture in a strong place to absorb any shock tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump.

“We’ve been able to spread the risk globally around the world for our producers in the agricultural sector, but also in terms of other industries,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Mr Trump has announced he will put a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium.

The US is adamant there will be no exemptions, but the n government has continued to lobby for one, which is understood to have been promised on the sidelines of last year’s G20 summit.

The move has sparked fears of a “trade war” which could spread to other sectors.

“One part of the world may want to move into protectionism, we don’t,” Mr Littleproud said.

“We in need to engage with the world, particularly in the agriculture sector, more than anybody.”

Trade Minister Steven Ciobo will sign the 11-nation TPP, which does not include the US, in Chile later this week.

Mr Littleproud pointed to that deal, along with agreements with South Korea, Japan and China, as evidence export markets won’t suffer from further US tariffs.

“I’m confident our track record can be put on the ground against any government of any nation and it’s top of the pops as far as I’m concerned,” Mr Littleproud said.