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Celebrating faith in future

STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS: Catholic Schools Week is a celebration of the Catholic faith-based education which aims at giving each and every student the opportunity of realising his or her full potential.From March 4-10, Catholic schools across the Maitland-Newcastle diocese will open their doors to families, friends and community members to celebrate Catholic Schools Week 2018.

The week’s activities will include open days and nights, open classrooms, in-school liturgies, grandparent days, performances and more to celebrate and raise awareness of the many opportunities that Catholic schools provide through faith-based education.

Catholic Schools Week also marks the start of the 2019 enrolment period for all 57 schools across the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. Currently there are more than 19,000 students enrolled in Catholic primary and secondary schools in the diocese.

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is taking a number of steps to meet the growing demand for secondary education in the region.

It is building a new college –St Bede’s Catholic College in Chisholm – over four stages. With stage one completed, this January saw more than 100 students commence at the college in Year 7. Once all four stages are completed, the school will have more than 1100 students

Also in January this year, St Mary’s Catholic College in Gateshead opened its doors to 65 Year 11 students for the first time while St Joseph’s College in Lochinvar welcomed 75 Year 11 students.

All Saints’ College, with its St Peter’s Campus and St Mary’s Campus – combining St Peters (Years 7-10) and St Marys (Years 11-12) under one banner also started in 2018.

The annual Catholic Schools Week Mass on March 6 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Hamilton is a highlight.

This will be attended by principals and school leaders from all 57 schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle as well as members of the wider community including parishioners and local politicians.

“The theme for the week –‘Catholic schools: Faith in our Future’ – focuses on strengthening the relationship between students and their Catholic faith,” Dr Michael Slattery, Director of the Catholic Schools Office said.

“Their faith-based education – with the support of parents, staff and members of the wider diocesan community – is aimed at giving each and every student the opportunity of realising his or her full potential.”

SA oyster disease breach ‘very concerning’

Assistant Agriculture Minister Anne Ruston says responds well to biosecurity threats.The federal government insists it is on top of ‘s biosecurity after a “very concerning” outbreak of oyster disease became the latest issue to threaten produce.

Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome was detected in South last week, joining fruit fly in Tasmania as a recent issue to hit the agriculture sector.

Assistant Agriculture Minister Anne Ruston said the government had acted quickly to protect markets.

” has a great reputation for its responses to biosecurity, but it is of a concern and something that should be taken very seriously,” Senator Ruston told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

POMS causes rapid death and high mortality rates in farmed Pacific Oysters and can spread quickly.

Tasmania’s $24 million-a-year oyster industry is still recovering after an outbreak of the disease was first detected in early 2016, contributing to low stocks for last year’s pre-Christmas harvest.

POMS was detected last week in Adelaide’s Port River, but has not yet been found in any of the state’s eight oyster growing regions.

“It is very concerning and we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to contain it in the area that it is,” Senator Ruston said.

Labor’s agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said oyster disease had joined white spot in prawns, which last year crippled Queensland’s prawn industry, blueberry rust and fruit fly as recent biosecurity issues.

“This very deeply concerning most recent event surely now calls upon the government to give both our producers, growers, fishers and markets some confidence the government is across these issues,” Mr Fitzgibbon told AAP.

He believes exporters will be concerned over recent developments and accused the government of “staying quiet” on the issue.

But Senator Ruston said the government had a proven track record on dealing with breaches.

“What has shown is that while we aren’t immune to pest and disease outbreaks, what we have done is put in place extraordinary measures to respond to them,” Senator Ruston said.

Basketball: Katie Ebzery, Damian Martin make Chinan teams for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

IN: Katie Ebzery. Picture: Marina NeilHunter products Katie Ebzery and Damian Martin were named on Wednesday in n basketball teams for next month’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Ebzery and Martin retained their positions in the Opals and Boomers squads respectively following maiden Olympic campaigns in Rio in 2016.

It will be the first time the sport has featured at aCommonwealth Games since debuting in Melbourne 12 years ago.

won gold medals on that occasion in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

HERE THEY ARE @BasketballAus#[email protected] first Comm Games Basketball team since Melbourne 2006 pic.twitter老域名购买/Y0DGhNgEtZ

— Comm Games AUS (@CommGamesAUS) March 7, 2018

Fellow Novocastrian Suzy Batkovic wasn’t listed at the midweek announcement.

The 37-year-old isplaying professionally with French outfit Lattes Montpellier fresh from claiming an unprecedented sixth MVP award in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) and a third national title in four seasons with Townsville.

Batkovic was set to comeback for the Opals after missing the 2016 Rio Olympics, but opted to take up the European contract.

Opals –Stephanie Blicavs, Elizabeth Cambage, Katie Ebzery, Cayla George, Kelsey Griffin, Alice Kunek, Tessa Lavey, Eziyoda Magbegor, Jenna O’Hea, Nicole Seekamp, Belinda Snell, Stephanie Talbot.

Boomers –Angus Brandt, Jason Cadee, Mitchell Creek, Cameron Gliddon, Christopher Goulding, Matthew Hodgson, Nicholas Kay, Daniel Kickert, Damian Martin, Brad Newly, Nathan Sobey, Jesse Wagstaff.

ACCOLADE:Super Suzy rated WNBL’s best ever

FEATURE:Cassidy McLean takes on step at a time

Commercial Property: The Argenton Hotel closes for six months of major renovation works

NEW LOOK: The Argenton Hotel will be closed for six months as it undergoes major renovation works. It is set to be reopened in July or August.The Argenton Hotel on Lake Road, Argenton closed last month for a multi-million-dollar redevelopment including extensive building works, expansion and internal renovations.

The venue will be closed for up to six months with hopesto reopen in July or August.

Owners Campbell and Clare Rogers areno strangers to renovations. They purchased the Sydney Junction Hotel in 2014 and transformed it into one of the region’s premier hotels. They also bought the Gunyah Hotel last year.

“The hotel has undergone many smaller scale renovations in the past, but we have decided to close the doors and completely redevelop the hotel mainly due to the sheer scale of works we are about to undertake” Mr Rogers said.

“ … This renovation is aimed at providing a more modern casual venue that the local community can be proud of.”

SALE OR LEASEA spacious fully licenced restaurant in a prominent location in Charlestown is for lease at $50,000 or for $599,000 as a potential sale price. Itoffers “exceptional value for size andlocation”, according to Matt Nelson from Raine & Horne Commercial.

The property has a seating plan of 80 with 50 inside and30 in a private undercover courtyard.There is a commercial grade kitchen andlicenced bar and the property is in awell-exposed main road location.

GOOD POSITION: This property is for sale or lease and has a well-exposed main road location.

UNIQUE OFFERINGColliers International Byrne Tran and Adam Leacy describe a large site they have listed as “a unique opportunity to purchase a property located on one of the main roads servicing Warners Bay”.

The property at5-7 King Streetis 8081 square metres in size andis currently zonedB7 Business Park. It is for sale by Expressions of Interestclosing April 12.

OPTIONS OPEN: The 8081-square-metre site at 5-7 King Street, Warners Bay is located around 500m from Warners Bay’s The Esplanade cafe and retail strip.

Pushback on Trump tariffs gathers steam

Proposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports proved to much for Donald Trump adviser Gary Cohn.Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn has resigned after the US president said he would push ahead with punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which some critics have dubbed the first shot in a global trade war.

Cohn did not spell out the reasons for his resignation, although he was regarded as a bulwark of economic orthodoxy in an administration whose protectionist policies have sparked alarm among US legislators and in governments across the world.

Despite a rising tide of criticism from Republican lawmakers about the proposed 25 per cent tariffs on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium imports, Trump said he would stick to his guns, and again lashed out at what he described as a rigged trading system that has bled American companies and jobs.

Given the size of America’s trade deficit, Trump said the country would not be a loser in any fight.

“When we’re behind on every single country, trade wars aren’t so bad,” he told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

Critics worry that the measures risk igniting a trade war and damaging the US economy.

A prominent Republican critic of the proposal, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, returned to the attack on Tuesday, saying the proposed duties were too broad.

Although the measure is designed to hit China, its main impact will be on US allies like Canada.

Ryan, whose home state of Wisconsin could be hit by proposed counter-tariffs from the European Union, has consistently opposed the tariffs and called for “more surgical and more targeted measures”.

The White House has said the measures will protect industries and jobs from unfair competition, and that across-the-board tariffs are needed because countries like China use third countries for shipping steel to the United States, disguising its origin.

Opponents charge that the tariffs could destroy more jobs than they create and risk alienating US allies, while American consumers will end up paying more for a range of products from cans of beer to cars.

Financial markets have rallied off their lows on expectations the measures may be watered down in the face of an intense lobbying effort from leading Republicans.

Trump had been presented with three options by the Commerce Department. The broad tariffs that he announced last week were one.

He also had the option of imposing a much higher duty of 53 per cent on steel imports from on a narrower group of 12 countries that did not include Canada, Mexico and the European Union, although all countries would be subject to quotas.

For aluminium, China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam would be subject to direct tariffs and others to quotas.

Growth slows but Morrison stays optimistic

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe says he expects stronger growth in 2018 than in 2017. Scott Morrison remains optimistic about economic outlook despite growth slowing in the last quarter.

A marked rebound in household spending and a footy tournament have helped the n economy extend its record-breaking expansion.

However, weak exports during the final three months of 2017 proved a drag on economic growth, posting the worst quarterly outcome since September 2016.

The economy grew by just 0.4 per cent in the December quarter after an upwardly revised 0.7 per cent expansion in the previous quarter.

The annual growth rate eased to 2.4 per cent, from 2.7 per cent previously.

But Treasurer Scott Morrison remains optimistic about the outlook and the result was on track with what he expected when he released his mid-year budget review in December.

“ns (are) backing themselves, getting jobs, spending more and investing more, particularly where it matters in our economy,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen was not impressed with the result.

“At a time when the global economy is as strong as it’s been since the global financial crisis, it makes this result here in even more disappointing,” Mr Bowen told AAP.

“The government hasn’t had to deal with a global financial crisis, yet economic growth remains stuck below trend and low wages growth continues to be a concern.”

Household consumption increased by one per cent in the quarter, double the pace of the previous three months.

Mr Morrison noted this was led by an increase in spending in hotels, cafes and restaurants, thanks to the Rugby League World Cup tournament.

However, net exports fell 0.4 per cent, having previously been driven by a bumper crop, while also reflecting the final stages of motor vehicle industry close-down.

But Mr Morrison said a look at the overall indicators within the report showed a “soundness and a strength” in the economy.

The annual growth result was slower than the 2.5 per cent that had been forecast by the Reserve Bank.

Earlier, central bank governor Philip Lowe had warned the growth result might be easier than first thought because of exports, but it didn’t alter his expectation of a stronger economy in 2018 than in 2017.

“The underlying drivers leading to stronger growth are still in play,” he told the n Financial Review Business Summit in Sydney on Wednesday.

He said consumption and employment have picked up and investment is rising reasonably strongly.

“With the economy moving in the right direction, and interest rates still quite low, it is likely that the next move in interest rates in will be up, not down,” he said.

However, Dr Lowe does not expect a near-term adjustment with progress in reducing unemployment and having inflation return to target likely to be gradual.

Titans’ Brennan happy to chop and change

Gold Coast’s Garth Brennan says he’ll chop and change mid-game to get the most from his forwards.Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan won’t play it safe in his NRL head coaching debut, indicating his desire to chop and change what he views as a versatile forward pack.

A winner of titles in his time as Penrith’s NSW Cup and under-20s head coach, Brennan hasn’t felt out of his depth since accepting the promotion in October.

And while the former police officer admits he doesn’t enjoy the extra media commitments, he has been happy to spruik his message and give an insight into how his team will operate starting on Sunday against Canberra.

“I’ve been coaching a long time. Yeah it’s my first crack in an NRL position but I’ve been head coach most of my coaching career,” Brennan said.

“It’s about juggling players, moving positions and making calls on interchange … I’m not a rookie in that area.”

Central to that juggling will be Brennan’s forward pack, with Brisbane recruit Jai Arrow named in the front row to replace Jarrod Wallace (suspension).

The coach said Arrow would also spend time at lock, while starting lock Bryce Cartwright, who’s a former pupil of Brennan during his time at the Panthers, is likely to swing into the second row.

Captain Ryan James will start in the second row in a change from last season but is likely to relieve Arrow in the front row at some stage.

Former Roosters back Michael Gordon will make his Titans debut at fullback, while utility Mitch Rein will come off the bench in what will be a fresh start for the side that won just seven games to finish second-last in 2017.

“No doubt I’ll be nervous Sunday. I’m nervous no matter what grade I’m coaching,” Brennan said.

“I just want to see a really steely determination in defence because obviously attack will take time, the combinations will be better a the back end of the year.”

Common sense has left our opponents: PM

Malcolm Turnbull has used a business summit to slam political opponents over his planned tax cuts.Malcolm Turnbull says the laws of economic common sense appear to have been suspended among his political opponents when it comes to his government’s proposed tax cuts.

The prime minister used a business conference on Wednesday to reiterate the benefits of reducing the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent for all businesses, a cut that looks set to be blocked in the Senate.

“The laws of supply and demand have not been suspended … but the laws of economic common sense have been suspended among our political opponents,” Mr Turnbull told the n Financial Review Business Summit in Sydney.

He said reducing the tax rate from 30 per cent will return more investment, more employment, better-paid jobs and productivity.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said what is disappointing is Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and shadow treasurer Chris Bowen “know better”.

“Yet they are still going down this path of populist economics and it is going to cost ns if they get the opportunity to run this country,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

“If we think we can be complacent about our tax settings … then we are kidding ourselves.”

He pointed to new economic modelling by consultants KPMG which showed that not keeping up with the global trend of lower tax rates would come at a $5 billion cost to the economy and the loss of 25,000 jobs.

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe told the AFR conference a form of international tax competition is going on.

“If we do respond, and I can understand why we would, it needs to be in the constraints of running a sustained period of fiscal discipline,” Dr Lowe said.

He found it “quite troubling” that with the US economy already at full employment, it is implementing a big fiscal stimulus and going to have budget deficits of five per cent of GDP for the indefinite future.

“I think it would be a problem if we were to go down that route,” he said.

Dr Lowe added investment is not just driven by tax.

“People invest in because of our fantastic natural resources, our workers and our ability to innovate and tap markets,” he said.

Aust, East Timor sign Greater Sunrise deal

and East Timor have signed a treaty to resolve the Greater Sunrise oil and gas dispute.After years of bitter wrangling, and East Timor have signed a “historic” treaty at the United Nations aimed at resolving a boundary dispute that also carves up $56 billion in potential revenue from oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.

East Timor, one of the world’s most impoverished nations, will reap between 70 to 80 per cent of the revenue from the Greater Sunrise fields under the agreement.

The ceremony at the United Nations on Tuesday involved Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, East Timor deputy minister for the Delimitation of Borders Agio Pereira and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“This is an historic day for both our nations,” Ms Bishop told the ceremony.

“We recognise that it is a particularly important day for Timor-Leste and another step forward in Timor’s journey as a sovereign nation.”

Animosity again flared in the days leading up to the signing when East Timor’s chief negotiator Xanana Gusmao accused of colluding with oil companies to ensure Greater Sunrise oil and gas gets piped to Darwin instead of East Timor.

But the two nations were full of praise for each on Tuesday. The signing also marked the first time maritime differences were resolved under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“The agreement divides the revenues from the development of that project either 80/20 or 70/30 in Timor’s favour depending upon circumstances surrounding the development,” Ms Bishop told reporters.

“So clearly, should the development of Greater Sunrise proceed through the work of joint venture partners, then substantial benefits will flow to Timor.”

The foreign minister said she looked forward to the release of the UN Conciliation Commission’s independent report and analysis of the options to develop Greater Sunrise.

Mr Pereira said the negotiations between the nations were “tough”.

“This treaty establishes a special regime for the Greater Sunrise gas field and a pathway to the development of the resource,” Mr Pereira told the ceremony.

“The conclusion of this treaty clarifies the rights and responsibilities of Timor Leste and with regard to the resources and activities that fall within our respective sovereign territories.”

Mr Guterres, a longtime supporter of East Timor and its independence, hailed the signing as an historic breakthrough for the UN.

“This ceremony demonstrates the strength of international law and the effectiveness of resolving disputes through peaceful means,” he said.

Ms Bishop said , which also has a treaty with Indonesia, had kept Indonesia up to date with the East Timor negotiations.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi had congratulated and East Timor on the deal, Ms Bishop said.

“The -Indonesia treaty will remain and it does open the way for Timor Leste and Indonesia to negotiate the changing boundaries,” Ms Bishop said.

“That will have an automatic flow on effect of adapting the eastern and western boundaries of the n-Timor Leste treaty we signed today.”

Meninga backs Munster to reclaim Test spot

coach Mal Meninga has backed Cameron Munster to return to the Kangaroos’ set-up this year.Months after sending Cameron Munster home from Kangaroos camp, Mal Meninga has backed the Melbourne playmaker to reclaim his Test jersey in a standout 2018 NRL season.

Munster was on thin ice with Meninga after it was claimed the Storm star was banished from ‘s 2017 World Cup campaign last November for coming to blows with teammate Ben Hunt.

Munster, 23, was eventually welcomed back to the Kangaroos camp a game later before ‘s semi-final clash.

The Storm were forced to deny pre-season reports that they had become frustrated with the young gun’s off-field behaviour and were considering releasing him.

All now seems to be forgiven for Munster with Meninga backing him to step up for Melbourne in the absence of Sydney Roosters recruit Cooper Cronk this year.

He has been named at fullback, replacing veteran Billy Slater (shoulder) for Saturday night’s NRL season-opener against Canterbury in Perth.

“I think he will go to another level after playing Origin last year and being picked in the Kangaroos,” Meninga told Fox League’s Queenslanders Only.

“A few things happened in the off-season for him but he’s at Melbourne … I think that is the best environment for him.

“With Cooper Cronk not being there I think he has to step up and I think that he can.

“I think he will have enormous impact on the Storm’s success.

“I think he will get back into Origin and maybe the Kangaroos at the back end of the year.”

Munster is about to begin his fifth NRL season after a 2017 campaign that featured a premiership plus State of Origin and Test debuts before losing his way at the World Cup.

Storm skipper Cameron Smith admitted before the 2018 kick-off that Munster must address his off-field behaviour if he wanted to become a “special player”.

Munster was also among eight players who were hit with a 12-month Origin ban by coach Kevin Walters for breaking curfew at the 2016 Emerging Maroons camp.