Archive for April, 2019

Mirvac eyes residential property recovery

14/04/2019

Property developer Mirvac’s residential portfolio is showing signs of recovery after a writedown on the value of some projects caused a 66 per cent fall in full year profit.

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The company reduced the value of several apartment projects in Queensland and Western Australia by $273 million six months ago due to weaker housing markets.

That reduced its net profit in the 2012/13 financial year to $139.9 million, down from $416 million in the previous year.

But chief executive Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz said the outlook for the company’s development division was strong, with major projects in inner-city Sydney and Melbourne set to deliver additional earnings in the next three years.

“Residential markets remain mixed in terms of current performance and outlook,” she said.

“However, we are seeing signs of recovery as a result of improving housing affordability, population growth and low rental vacancy.”

Mirvac’s residential division delivers less earnings than its office and retail divisions, but Morningstar analyst Tony Sherlock said it was the area with the most growth potential.

“That’s the bit that’s going to get some higher growth in the year ahead,” he said.

Mirvac has forecast earnings per security of between 11.7 cents and 12.0 cents in 2013/14, up from the 10.9 cents per security it achieved in 2012/13.

Mr Sherlock said most of that growth would come from Mirvac’s residential business.

“The very positive rhetoric from Mirvac, it really points to a much more favourable outcome.”

Mirvac’s office sector posted income growth despite softening market conditions, maintaining a high occupancy rate.

The retail division turned its focus towards supermarket chains, helping it maintain a 99.2 per cent occupancy rate.

Mirvac’s operating profit, which excludes one-off financial items such as project value writedowns, grew by three per cent in 2012/13 to $377.6 million.

Mirvac shares gained 2.5 cents to $1.665.

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Abbott embarrassed by net filter mess

14/04/2019

The federal coalition has been embarrassed over its “opt out” internet filtering policy, with Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull forced to step in and kill it off.

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The coalition’s plan to enhance online safety for children, released on Thursday, promised a default filtering system for smartphones and other internet services “which provides maximum protection”.

The coalition was accused of wanting to impose an “opt out” internet filter on all Australians, prompting communications spokesman Mr Turnbull to issue a terse statement saying the policy was “poorly worded” and incorrect.

“The correct position is that the Coalition will encourage mobile phone and internet service providers to make available software which parents can choose to install on their own devices to protect their children from inappropriate material,” the statement said.

“The policy posted online today is being replaced with the correct version.”

Later on Thursday Mr Abbott also junked the “opt out” policy, authored by Liberal backbencher Paul Fletcher.

“We don’t, wouldn’t, won’t support any policy of filtering the internet – you simply can’t do it and it shouldn’t be done anyway,” Mr Abbott told reporters at Silvern, east of Melbourne.

“I read the policy last night, quickly it has to be said, and I thought it was a reference to the ability of people to get a PC based filter.

“I’m sorry that it’s poorly worded, but that’s been cleared up.”

Mr Abbott reiterated: “We don’t support filtering the Internet, we don’t support censoring the Internet”.

“We do want to see children protected where parents wish from the kind of material which is available on the net,” he said.

Senior Labor minister Chris Bowen said the policy “farce” shows why the coalition can’t be trusted in government.

“It’s about trusting a political party which can put out major policies, major initiatives in the dying hours of an election campaign, and what that means about their judgment,” he told ABC TV.

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Anderson accepts need for pre-Ashes break

14/04/2019

James Anderson doesn’t like taking a break from England matches but admits it is in his best interests to stand aside from international duty before the return Ashes series in Australia.

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Anderson was one of several key players from the England side that recently wrapped up a 3-0 Ashes series win on home soil to be left out of the squad for the forthcoming five-match one-day international series against Australia.

England begin preparations for their latest encounter against Australia with a one-day international away to Ireland on Tuesday where they will be without regular captain Alastair Cook, fellow top-order batsman Ian Bell, seamers Anderson and Stuart Broad as well as first-choice spinner Graeme Swann.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has called for spectators who bought tickets in advance to receive something of a refund given England are resting so many star names ahead of the return Ashes, which start with the first Test in Brisbane in November.

But the 31-year-old Anderson, while eager to lead England’s attack whenever he can, is also thankful for a break after a gruelling Test series against Australia.

“An Ashes series is emotionally and physically draining — you do feel it,” he said on Monday at a sponsor’s event.

“There are not many five-Test series any more and with a couple of back-to-back Tests in there as well you feel the aches and pains and it takes a lot out of you emotionally,” added Anderson, who during the course of the Ashes moved into second place behind Ian Botham in England’s all-time list of leading Test wicket-takers.

“It gets to a point where you just want to let things soak in, take everything in and have a rest.

“Cricketers don’t like missing cricket no matter what form of the game — it is quite frustrating to miss cricket.

“But there is a window here for the guys that have been left out to get a good rest and prepare for a tough winter.”

And the fact his fellow seamer Tim Bresnan missed the fifth and final Test at The Oval with a back injury meant Anderson understood exactly why he was being spared one-day duty against Australia.

“We’ve got a huge winter ahead of us,” he said.

“I’m sure the selectors considered all their options (but) with Tim Bresnan being injured we can’t really afford any more of our seamers getting hurt.

“I think that is why Stuart and I have been rested. Graeme Swann has obviously bowled a lot of overs this summer and with his recent injury problems with his elbow I think it is probably right to give him a rest.

“The way it is right now that is in our best interests.”

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Transfer window on the NRL agenda

14/04/2019

Transfer windows, transfer fees, player loans and getting rid of the second tier salary cap could be part of a revolutionary new-look NRL in 2015.

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In one of the most significant shake-ups to the game since Super League, NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle is aiming to roll out a new salary cap arrangement in November.

He hopes it will address some burning issues which have affected teams this season.

A major bone of contention is clubs losing star players who are still under contract but seek an early release, without receiving any compensation in return.

Canberra got nothing from St George Illawarra when Josh Dugan signed with them after the frustrated Raiders sacked the misbehaving fullback with two years left on his deal.

The same club also face losing fellow backline stars Blake Ferguson and Anthony Milford to rival clubs next year despite still being contracted, while Canterbury are likely to lose Ben Barba to Brisbane with two years to run on his contract.

Doyle confirmed he will put forward the idea of a transfer window when club officials meet next month.

“We’re looking at what issues have been coming up for a while and what needs to be addressed,” Doyle told AAP.

“One of those is that if clubs or players want to break contracts how do we deal with that?

“We’re looking at what other sports do … like for example a transfer window.

“It could be that if a contract is to be broken it would have to be during a certain window.

“We would also look to see if a player breaks a contract, can a fee be paid to his club and vice versa.

“If a club want to take a player for a certain amount of dollars … then the money received by the selling club wouldn’t form part of their (salary) cap.

“It would be compensation for the time spent on development.”

Doyle is also hoping to scrap the second-tier salary cap due to the problems generated this year when injuries have hit a club’s top-25 squad hard.

Last week Wests Tigers had to seek special permission to breach the cap so Holden Cup players Luke Brooks and Nathan Brown could play NRL against the Dragons last Saturday.

Doyle said that decision was a one-off and could only be taken because neither side had any chance of affecting the finals, but he accepted the system’s flawed.

“The cap’s been in place for the last 15 years and we want to make significant changes to how it operates,” Doyle said.

“At the moment we have the second tier cap and we’re looking to go forward and make that one cap not two.

“Wests Tigers applied for dispensation and it was good for the game and it was good that it could happen.

“But it’s not an ideal situation to deny players the chance to play.”

In addition, a player loan system is used by clubs in Europe’s Super League to good affect and Doyle believes there’s merit to bringing it into the NRL.

“It is certainly something we will look at,” he said.

“If you have a player injured and you don’t have adequate replacements in your own ranks … and there’s a first-grade standard player not playing in a top team a club can give him some experience.

“It could potentially benefit both parties.

“We’ve looked at what works in other sports and what we might be able to take from them.”

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Dockers score big upset win over Cats

14/04/2019

Fremantle lived the “anywhere, anytime” creed of their coach Ross Lyon to claim the greatest win of their 19-year AFL history on Saturday, upsetting red-hot favourites Geelong by 15 points at Simonds Stadium in a thrilling qualifying final.

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The prize for the brave Dockers was a week off before a home preliminary final, putting them in the box seat to claim a spot in their first-ever AFL grand final.

The Cats have been nigh-on unbeatable at Simonds Stadium in recent years, winning 43 of their previous 44 matches at the venue.

But the Dockers turned that record on its head, kicking 10 goals to five after quarter-time of a fiery encounter to win 12.15 (87) to 9.18 (72) before a partisan home crowd of 32,815.

The tide turned when Fremantle were able to gain ascendancy in the midfield through the likes of Michael Barlow (a game-high 33 possessions and three goals), Nat Fyfe and Lee Spurr, while 211cm ruckman Aaron Sandilands played his best game of an injury-interrupted year.

“It’s really obvious that it was a great effort,” said Lyon.

“I’m really pleased for the players that they have an opportunity.

“We get a home prelim which is really advantageous.

“It was a powerful response in the face of a great challenge.”

Lyon felt Fremantle were lucky to only trail by 13 points in what was the first final played in the city of Geelong in 116 years and the first-ever at Simonds Stadium.

The visitors led narrowly at the second and third breaks before kicking the only two goals of a frenetic final term.

“Contested ball we were plus 11,” said Lyon.

“That’s a good indicator that you’ve got your head over the ball.

“We had 70 tackles, I reckon we put our heads down and we won the clearances by a good margin.”

Geelong will now have to do it the hard way if they are to win a fourth premiership in seven years, starting with a cut-throat semi-final against Port Adelaide at the MCG on Friday night.

Even though several of the Cats’ better players on Saturday were in the back half, including Andrew Mackie and Jimmy Bartel, coach Chris Scott felt they still created enough chances to win the match in the final term, when they were outscored 2.3 to 0.5.

“As the game wore on they got control around the middle and their big ruckmen in particular were able to get first hands on the ball,” he said.

Even then it was a bit of an arm wrestle and I didn’t think it was a huge problem for us.

“The difference … was they got some easy goals, soft goals, and they didn’t give us any.”

The Cats suffered a huge blow when defender Corey Enright was subbed off at halftime with a knee injury that puts his participation in the remainder of the finals series in doubt.

They also struggled in the absence of key forward Tom Hawkins, who was a late withdrawal with the back injury that has troubled him for much of the year.

Fremantle key defender Zac Dawson was reported before the opening bounce for striking Geelong’s James Podsiadly.

A couple of incidents involving Docker Chris Mayne and Geelong’s Steve Johnson are also likely to attract the attention of the match review panel.

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