The US golf dilemma

16/08/2018 // by admin

Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy is the favourite to win at the Valhalla Golf Course in Kentucky, US. Photo: FDCOn The Green
Nanjing Night Net

THE final major for the year starts on Fridaymorning, Australian time, at Valhalla Golf Course in good old Kentucky.

I have always pondered that the US PGA Championship shouldn’t be a major and we should have at least two of the four majors played outside of America.

That was, until it was announced last year, the US PGA officials are pursuing the concept of playing the championship outside America, and Australia has been muted as a possible venue.

This now means I’m a big US PGA fan.

Sigh, golf’s a fickle old game, isn’t it?

Anywho, Rory McIlroy is the current face of golf around the globe with his British Open victory followed by last week’s World Golf Championship win.

The Irishman is in one of those moods where he can beat everyone by the length of a medium length par four and starts the PGA Championship as an outrageous favourite.

The only downside to McIlroy’s crazy form is he has once again taken down our Adam (Scott) like he did in last year’s Australian Open, usurping Scott as world number one.

In this week’s pre-tournament press conference, Scott was asked how much of a disappointment had it been to lose his number one status?

“It’s not extremely disappointing,” Scott said.

“I think the right guy is at number one at the moment.

“He’s played the best over the last couple months.

“And the way I think I like to see the rankings work, and number one as the guy who is winning the most tournaments probably should be the number one player; and he’s won two well, three really big tournaments this summer, and I’ve won one event.”

Scott said his consistent play was good, but “you want the rankings to work and favour guys that win big events like this”.

“I think it’s fair at the moment,” he said.

“I hope that I could go ahead and win this week and maybe go back to number one.

“But there’s no doubt Rory has played the best golf over the last few months.”

Despite the American journalist breaking the world record for putting the term “sort of” in a paragraph, I thought his question was quite pertinent.

“You’ve been out here long enough to see I guess now a couple of different guys play some pretty dominant golf and yourself sort of included in that,” the journalist said.

“Just curious what it’s sort of like to go up against that when you’re playing particularly well; and then secondly, do you think we are sort of in an era now where we are seeing a few different guys or maybe one or two different guys kind of do that, and sort of moving into this era as we go forward.”

Scott said a lot of great golf was played all the time.

“The dominance of Tiger’s play over a 10-year period is unmatched, really, I’d have to say, and was quite incredible,” he said.

“I think the biggest difference between me seeing Tiger play like that when I was a lot younger, less experienced and not as good a player; and seeing a guy like Rory really stamp his authority down the last two weeks, you know, he’s played well the whole summer since he won over in Europe, so I guess for the last couple months, is that I believe I’m a better player and I can play at that level.

“And I think 10 or 15 years ago, I didn’t have that belief, through lack or experience or whatever it might be.

“I think the biggest thing that held me back was not believing and probably most guys felt like we were beaten before we got out there.

“And that’s different now for tons of reasons, I think.

“But, you know, it’s only motivating to see Rory play so well and know that I’ve said a lot that I feel this is my time, so I’ve got to beat whatever Rory is trying out there and I believe I can.”

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

Tomato farm decision deferred

16/08/2018 // by admin

A decision on a development application for the construction of a second tomato farm north of Guyra has been deferred.
Nanjing Night Net

RPP members John Griffin, Gary West and Pamela Westing met in Guyra this week to consider the Develpment Application for the new glasshouse facility

The proposal went before the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) in Guyra on Wednesday.

Panel chair Gary West and panel members John Griffin and Pamela Westing had earlier inspected the existing glasshouse facility and also the site of the proposed new development.

They told the meeting that there was not currently enough information to make a decision and a lot more work needed to be done before the development can go ahead.

Mr West said that he realised the development held enormous significance for Guyra but it was his duty to be ‘mindful of planning requirements’.

Mr Griffin, agreed saying that with the current lack of information to give the go ahead ‘would not be an informed decision’.

Chief among the concerns which were not adequately addressed were access to the site from the New England Highway, waste water, green waste and chemical use.

Tomato farm representatives informed the panel that a lot of the information they required has already been addressed. They have had a start-up meeting with the RMS and a design for the main intersection to access the site has been done.

Another meeting is scheduled with the RMS next Thursday to address some of the concerns raised by the panel.

The representative told the panel members that they are mindful of the fact that the current facility uses half of the town’s water supply and that the new facility aims to be self-sufficient as far as water use is concerned.

“This development application is not your standard farming document,” Mr West said. “I think we can help you in the future, but not today. We are happy to come back as quickly as necessary to deal with the application once all the information has been provided.”

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

OPINION: Government funding of families a puzzle

16/08/2018 // by admin

THE federal government helps families with the costs of raising children through the family payments system. Every year, some $32billion is spent on programs like the Family Tax Benefits, the Schoolkids Bonus, childcare fee subsidies, parenting payments and paid parental leave.
Nanjing Night Net

But are families really well served by this system?

Complexity poses a serious problem. Each program has different sets of eligibility criteria and means testing, so navigating the requirements is a hefty task.

For many families, Parts A and B of Family Tax Benefits (which are payments to assist with the costs of children) overlap. Because both reduce as income increases, any rise in income has a cumulative impact. The Child Care Benefit (which helps families with childcare fees) reduces in a similar way. Then there’s the interplay between these payments and a family’s tax liability.

These complexities render it difficult for families to make decisions about work and the responsibilities of children, because they cannot easily weigh up the best options to suit their specific circumstances.

After having children, it’s incredibly hard for families to work out what the return is on picking up additional shifts at work or increasing the number of days at the office. In most cases, it is the secondary earner – usually, but not always, the mother – who suffers most acutely from the disincentives to work.

Decisions about balancing work and children are fundamentally the prerogative of parents. Each family is best placed to determine what sacrifices they are willing to make – time, money, a particular lifestyle – for the kind of balance they want.

But government policy should not actively constrain families from making those decisions.

The government has made much of the need to bring the budget back under control and secure the country’s economic future across the medium term by increasing female labour force participation.

These are both sound goals, but the means of realising them is somewhat confused.

The government needs to decide what the system of family payments is for. Is it to provide children with a basic minimum standard of living? Is it to recognise the social benefits of children? Is it to create incentives to participate in the workforce? These questions have not been answered in a consistent manner for quite some time.

Then, policy should be reformed accordingly so that it’s simple, predictable and fair. Simplifying family tax benefits and streamlining childcare subsidies are a good starting point.

Reform of the system cannot be piecemeal. Over time, new programs have been added without tackling the structural issues.

This in part has caused the current complicated state of affairs. Though the Senate seems intent on fighting the government on the Schoolkids Bonus, it’s only one small part of a larger, opaque system that strongly influences the choices families can make.

It’s tempting to think that the right outcomes can be achieved by trimming some spending here and adding a new program there. But the problems with our family payments are systemic, and so any attempt to fix these problems must be systemic too.

Trisha Jha is a policy analyst at the Centre for Independent Studies and author of the report Complex Family Payments: What It Costs The Village To Raise A Child

OPINION: Business needs to be online

16/08/2018 // by admin

SWITCHED ON: Increasing business participation in the digital economy will increase regional prosperity and community well-being.OUR research into regional competitiveness seeks to identify the critical areas that Hunter businesses and planners must address in the next five to 10 years to ensure our region becomes a globally competitive economy.
Nanjing Night Net

Our research has shown that one of the most pressing needs for the Hunter is to become more engaged and connected to the global digital economy.

At the foundation’s June breakfast, CSIRO director of advanced manufacturing Dr Swee Mak identified the ‘‘virtual world’’ as one of the megatrends that will be relevant to all businesses.

The global digital economy is thriving as emerging technologies change the way we live and drive new opportunities for businesses to develop, through new product and service offerings, supply and distribution methods, and access to larger markets.

At our July breakfast, we focused on the Hunter’s digital economy and released our June survey data concerning business and consumer use of information and communication technologies (ICT).

It showed that Hunter consumers are following the national and global trend of buying online, with more than eight out of 10 Hunter internet users buying goods or services online, their most popular use of the internet.

Smartphones, with their ‘‘go-anywhere’’ capability, including web access and other services, have facilitated the use of converged communications. Mobile phones are increasingly being used by Hunter consumers for product search, online purchasing and paying bills.

As consumers move rapidly online, how well are Hunter businesses engaging with the digital economy?

Our June data shows that though 92per cent of Hunter businesses can access the internet – on a par with the most recently published national figure (93per cent) – just 57per cent of those had a dedicated website, lower than the national figure for small businesses (64per cent).

Of those using their website, 52per cent used it to advertise their goods and services but only 27per cent used it to take orders (compared with 30per cent nationally).

With websites playing a critical role in allowing businesses to engage in delivering online services and goods, what is preventing the Hunter’s small to medium enterprises from embracing an online market?

The most common reasons cited by business owners and operators for not using a dedicated website to advertise were a lack of staff time or resources (27per cent), lack of knowledge or expertise (23per cent), uncertainty over its benefits (22per cent), and concerns over costs (20per cent).

Alarmingly, however, when asked how they would like to improve their knowledge of ICT, more than one-third of Hunter businesses felt they did not need to improve their knowledge. Those who wanted to, indicated that they would like to know more about marketing via social networks (30per cent), developing a presence online (26per cent) and accepting online payments (20per cent).

At the foundation, we are working with regional stakeholders, including the Hunter DiGiT (Digital Industry Growth and Innovation Taskforce), to develop ways to address these barriers and to help our small businesses to engage with the burgeoning digital economy.

James Vidler, the president of DiGiT, part of a panel discussion at our July breakfast, said increasing our participation in the digital economy would not only increase our regional prosperity but could also improve community well-being by increasing access and reducing inequity of access to vital health and education services and entertainment.

It could improve our environmental sustainability by increasing teleworking, and developing smart public transport systems and digital logistics.

DiGiT’s mission, ‘‘By 2020, establish the Hunter as a leading digital regional economy with a global reputation’’, aligns closely with the foundation’s mission: ‘‘Future-proofing our region for generations to come’’.

A recent survey seeking industry and community input to guide Hunter DiGiT’s focus will help to determine which initiatives we pursue first to help the region maximise the opportunities and benefits associated with the digital economy.

At the foundation, we will continue to identify the needs and attitudes of regional businesses and community, and to monitor the success of their initiatives. We will provide insights that move the Hunter forward.

View the foundation’s digital economy infographic and watch a video to find out what our panelists had to say at hvrf南京夜网.au/futureproofing.

Anthea Bill is a senior research fellow at Hunter Research Foundation and took part in a recent panel discussion on the digital economy

Rouse Hill area police news

16/08/2018 // by admin

Two robberies in Rouse Hill this week could be unusually linked, police said.
Nanjing Night Net

The first, in Augusta Circuit, occurred between 11.30pm, Wednesday and 3.45am the following morning.

Thieves stole a $900 iPad, a $750 G-Tecta gas detector and a Leatherman (multi-tool) worth $100 from a 2009 blue Toyota Hilux.

Police said it was not known how they opened the car.

The second robbery took place in Greensborough Avenue between 7.30pm, Wednesday and 6.30am the next day.

The thieves tried to force their way into a premises, but failed and broke into a trailer instead, stealing some remote control cars.

However, the iPad and the Leatherman stolen from Augusta Circuit were found in Greensborough Avenue at 9.30am.

Police said it was possible the same thieves were responsible for both robberies.

An aggravated break-and-enter took place in Liberty Way, Kellyville on Sunday evening or Monday morning.

Between 10pm, Sunday and 3am the next morning, a thief or thieves forced their way in through the premises’ ground floor rear door.

They got away with a laptop, a wallet, two handbags and sunglasses worth $1150, before a dog barked and woke residents sleeping upstairs.

They told police they found the downstairs open and their property missing. Anyone with any information is urged to contact The Hills police.

A man threatened staff and stole money from a 7-Eleven service station in Quakers Hill on Sunday.

The robbery took place in Lalor Road about 10.10pm.

Police said the employee who was threatened was not hurt during the robbery.

No description of the robber isavailable.

Police are investigating and urged anyone with any information to contact Quakers Hill detectives on 9678 8999 or Crime Stoppers.

A one-punch-assault seriously injured a young man in Blacktown on Wednesday.

Police said the 22-year-old was approached by another young man in Westpoint Shopping Centre about 11.45am.

They allege the other man punched him, causing him to fall backwards and strike his head on the floor.

He suffered a fractured skull and other injuries and was rushed to Westmead Hospital. His condition was described as serious but stable.

An 18-year-old man is assisting police with the investigation.

A young male with developmental delay was robbed in Blacktown last Tuesday. Police said the 16-year-old, who also has ADHD, met with a group of other young people at the Patrick Street entrance to Westpoint Shopping Centre in the afternoon.

Another male in the group allegedly demanded he hand over some money or he would hit him.

He handedover $50 after more threats were made.

Police are treating the incident as a robbery and urged anyone with any information to call Blacktown detectives.

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