Aveo says sales showing some recovery after an industry review

Retirement communities operator Aveo has warned that unit sales would be at the “bottom end” of its forecasts as it was still recovering from a public scandal that saw it accused of ripping off and neglecting its residents.
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Aveo chief executive Geoff Grady told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting on Wednesday that demand for units had slowed in July in the wake of a joint Fairfax Media – Four Corners probe into the group which raised concerns about high fees and complicated contracts.

Mr Grady said sales inquiry was down 40 per cent in July compared to the previous year and 25 per cent in August but had improved in the meantime and was expected to normalise by the end of the year.

Mr Grady said the company had launched new contracts, introduced buyback guarantees and undertaken fresh marketing to build back momentum.

Still Aveo now expects to sell just 500 units in the first half of the financial year compared to the 621 sold in the same period last year – a drop of 20 per cent.

Because of that performance the turnover rate for its portfolio would be at the bottom end of its targeted 10 per cent to 12 per cent range although that would be partly boosted by contract conversions and minor development sales.

Turnover is a crucial metric for retirement companies because when a resident leaves a unit that is when the operator recoups the exit fee usually made up of a substantial share in the sale price.

Mr Grady said after the meeting that there was a “recovery of trust that had to be done”.

“It could really only be done from mid-August and onward, so by the time we announced our new product offerings and then got that into the media, we were talking about the end of August,” Mr Grady said.

“So really then to have that recovery over the course of September and October, two months, is doing pretty well.”

Investors responded well to the update. ??????Aveo shares hit a four-month high on Wednesday at $2.715 late in afternoon trading, but it was still well below the price [$3.30] it commanded prior to the Fairfax Media – Four Corners investigation.

Aveo said a class action against Aveo, co-ordinated by Levitt Robinson, was lodged in the Federal Court of on 15 September 2017.

“We believe we have acted appropriately at all times and strongly deny the claims and will strongly contest all the allegations in the proceedings. A defence will be filed later this week and the proceeding is not expected to come back before the Federal Court for a directions hearing again until March 2018,” Mr Grady said.

To help boost sales, the group is on the hunt for development sites with less exposure to its traditional Queensland and Adelaide base. To that end Aveo is developing 64 apartments at the Norwest business park area in Sydney’s Bella Vista, which is owned by its largest shareholder, Mulpha.

He said Aveo supported the regulatory reviews of the retirement sector either completed or underway across all states and supports moves to create a clearer and more consistent regulatory regime

The company copped a significant protest vote against its remuneration report with more than 15 per cent of votes cast against passing it.

Auctioneer cries foul as computer problems crash multimillion dollar art sale

An auction house is blaming a paid, deliberate attack that originated from Ukraine for a computer meltdown that shelved a multimillion dollar sale of artwork on Tuesday night.
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Scores of people had gathered at Chifley Tower in Sydney’s CBD for an art auction hosted by online start-up Fine Art Bourse, created by Tim Goodman, a former chairman of Sotheby’s, and Adrian Newstead, the founder of Cooee Art.

Buyers were competing for more than 80 artworks, including Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s Earth’s Creation I, which wasexpected to fetch at least $2 million.

But the auction was postponed after what was described as “an unusually high surge of traffic” overloaded the auction site’s server, which is based in Hong Kong.

William Ehmcke, a director of the online auction house, said in a statement on Thursday that the timing and size of the attack suggested it was paid and deliberate.

“There is also evidence that the auction platform database was hacked, just prior to the auction launch, to further disrupt the sale process,” he said. “All client data has now been removed from the FAB (Fine Art Bourse) database.”

Mr Goodman said: “Someone out there does not want us to succeed.”

On Wednesday, the company’s IT project manager Carl Welsby said: “The flood of interest on the site resulted in over 170,000 server processes at once, meaning the server had to put all these requests and users in a queue to process, causing the web page to stop loading.”

Mr Welsby might have expected stern words from his bosses over the embarrassing computer fail, but Mr Goodman suggested sinister forces might have derailed the auction, which has been rescheduled to Thursday.

“We are trying to find the source of the people that logged on at 6pm that caused the overload to the server,” Mr Goodman said. “More specifically we are looking to determine if there is an unusual number of people logging on from one particular country.

“At 6pm, we had 60,000 cached requests. The web server did not crash but as a result of this massive traffic it took too long to serve requests so to the general public it appeared like a crash.”

Asked who he suspected of the alleged IT mischief, Mr Goodman said: “I don’t believe it to be an auction house. I suspect a dealer in Aboriginal art or an auction house aggregator. The former is more likely than the latter. The art business is competitive and can be cut-throat especially when the stakes are high just like any industry.”

Mr Goodman later conceded it might not be sabotage. “However, 1000 people all logging on within minutes of each other seems very odd, hence our investigations,” he said.

But one art commentator told Fairfax Media: “Well, of course they are trying to maximise publicity for their gig and if it looks like sabotage rather than their own IT stuff-up then someone else is to blame I suppose. They must have been very pissed off, that’s for sure.”

CBA director Andrew Mohl faces protest vote over re-election

Long-serving Commonwealth Bank director Andrew Mohl faces a protest vote over his re-election, as shareholders demand accountability over the money-laundering compliance scandal that has rocked the lender.
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Several industry superannuation funds, including Local Government Super, Vision Super, First Super and n Super, are set to vote against Mr Mohl’s re-election to the board, with others also opposing the remuneration report, at the bank’s annual meeting on Thursday.

The protest vote comes as shareholders will also vote on a resolution pushing for a stronger stance on climate change from the banking giant. In response, chairman Catherine Livingstone is expected to tell investors CBA expects its exposure to the coal industry to continue falling over time.

Ms Livingstone will on Thursday run her first CBA annual general meeting as chair, after a tumultuous few months for the country’s biggest bank, which faces allegations of a mass breach of anti-money laundering laws.

Proxy firm CGI Glass Lewis has advised investors to vote against the re-election of Mr Mohl, a non-executive director, pointing to damage to CBA’s reputation caused by the money-laundering compliance scandal.

While banking sources on Wednesday expected Mr Mohl would be re-elected, and CBA would not receive a second “strike” on the remuneration report, several super funds will vote against the bank’s management, after more than 50 per cent of investors last year voted against its remuneration report.

Head of sustainability at $10 billion fund Local Government Super, Bill Hartnett???, said the fund would vote against the re-election of Mr Mohl for the sake of “accountability”.

“I think it’s important that we show accountability,” he said. The fund was impressed with Ms Livingstone’s handling of the Austrac scandal so far, he said, but it wanted further detail on what CBA was doing to make sure the Austrac debacle did not happen again.

Vision Super will vote against CBA’s remuneration report, and it will oppose the re-election of Mr Mohl.

“Vision Super believes voting our shares in the interests of our members is very important – we consider each issue on its merits and decide our own vote,” chief executive Stephen Rowe said.

Mr Mohl has been on the board for nine years, and CBA says it is asking for him to serve one more year because of his experience in insurance, given the bank is in the process of selling its life insurance business.

Cbus said it would vote against CBA’s remuneration report. n Super will support the remuneration report, but is opposing the re-election of Mr Mohl.

At the same time, the main proxy firms and several large industry funds, including UniSuper, First State Super and Hostplus, are set to vote with bank management and have praised Ms Livingstone’s handling of the Austrac crisis.

John Pearce, chief investment officer at UniSuper, said Mr Mohl was “one of the best qualified directors on the board”.

“In terms of the Austrac issue, I don’t see how Catherine Livingstone could have dealt with this any more firmly or swiftly than she has,” Mr Pearce said. “I don’t see how it’s in shareholder interests to create more instability on the board.”

Since the Austrac scandal emerged, Ms Livingstone scrapped all executive short-term bonuses as a form of collective accountability and a revamp of CBA’s remuneration policies.

Shareholders will also vote a resolution to “provide certainty” that the company would align itself with the goal of limiting climate change to no more than 2 degrees, and Ms Livingstone is expected to publicly acknowledge the decline in its coal lending.

The resolution, organised by environmental finance group Market Forces, is expected to be rejected by shareholders.

Market Forces executive director Julien Vincent said CBA’s commentary about moving away from coal was still an important signal at a time when United Nations negotiators were meeting for climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

“This is a powerful signal from ‘s largest company that it plans to get out of coal, all the more important as it is made while negotiators meet in Bonn to thrash out the next steps on climate change action,” Mr Vincent said.

[email protected]: ASX set to open higher but concern rises

The information of stocks that lost in prices are displayed on an electronic board inside the n Securities Exchange, operated by ASX Ltd., in Sydney, , on Friday, July 24, 2015. The n dollar slumped last week as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly contracted, aggravating the impact of declines in copper and iron ore prices. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg MARKETS. 7 JUNE 2011. AFR PIC BY PETER BRAIG. STOCK EXCHANGE, SYDNEY, STOCKS. GENERIC PIC. ASX. STOCKMARKET. MARKET.
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Stock information is displayed on an electronic board inside the n Securities Exchange, operated by ASX Ltd., in Sydney, , on Friday, July 24, 2015. The n dollar slumped last week as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly contracted, aggravating the impact of declines in copper and iron ore prices. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

Against such a placid backdrop as what we have seen in the global markets these past months, the recent stumble looks ominous. The correction that we have seen in Asian, European and US equities; emerging markets; junk bonds; carry trades; and jump in volatility measures is nowhere near extreme levels. Shares are still within arm’s reach of record or decades’ highs while many of these other benchmarks for sentiment have only taken a few steps from pricing perfection. An yet, concern is palpable. It is as much the rarity of market retreats recently as the clear correlation of assets that otherwise would not conform without a shove from risk appetite that adds such concern to investors. A market that depends on extreme quiet for performance is not a healthy one. Ominous signs

1. Wall Street: US markets finally suffered some of the degree of pain that the main European and Asian indexes have seen over the past week. While the main indices registered losses, much of the shock value in the day’s losses were in the opening salvo. Bearish gaps were registered across the board to start the day with the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffering its biggest chasm on the open since September 5th. Putting this single session’s slide into context, there is certainly reason for concern on a technical and fundamental basis. Across the indices, there are head-and-shoulders patterns in varying degrees of clarity and progress. Also concerning is the consistency of the bearish opens. The S&P 500 has opened with a gap down over six straight sessions. That last happened in August 2016 and only happened 5 other times in the past decade.

2. jobs and inflation data: There are two particularly important pieces of scheduled event risk on Aussie docket this morning. The data most will focus on is the October labor statistics – and for good reason. History shows that the jobs report has a frequent deviation from expectations as well as hearty impact on short-term volatility for shares and the local dollar. The forecast is a 13th consecutive month of jobs added to the economy (consensus for 18,800) with the jobless rate holding at a 5.5 per cent four-and-a-half year low. This is an important measure of domestic economic health, but the AUD’s true guiding light is its carry status – or lack there of recently. The consumer inflation expectation indicator from the Melbourne Institute may lack press coverage, but it more directly links to what could genuinely send AUD/USD for a lasting turn of trend.

3. US dollar: The US Dollar seems to have been caught up in the uncertainty over what fundamental theme is dictating its strength or weakness. The ICE Dollar Index (DXY) took a notable tumble Tuesday to drop back below 94 which took the wind out of a chart progression that many technical traders would recognize – an inverse head-and-shoulders pattern. On the one hand, the Dollar has rate forecasts continually working in its favor with outgoing Fed Chair Yellen’s remarks at the ECB panel not dampening that advantage nor the US CPI (at the 2.0 per cent target) from this past session doing anything to obstruct a gradual pace of hikes. Yet, on the other end of spectrum, the anticipation of US tax reform was billed as a windfall for US investment but increasingly sees its capacity for support recede on concessions and deficit projections.

4. China’s bond yield: A key reference rate yield in China just hit the highest level in three years, which may begin to reduce growth as the cost to borrow rises in a debt-fuelled economy. The Chinese 10-year yield surpassed 4% intraday, which is not worth panicking over but should be kept on your radar. Recently, Chinese equities have made new year-to-date highs, and the PBoC is expected to continue and support markets intermittently signaling concerns are not imminent. Lately, it appears that Chinese sovereign debt is the only asset not making investors in the soon-to-be global leading economy happy as expectations for above-trend growth and needed deleveraging abound. Keep an eye on this yield (we will) as a drift higher in Chinese bond yields could dampen borrowing demand and as a consequence, private growth.

5. BoE and Fed Speakers: Central Banker’s across the world will be speaking, and markets will be listening on Thursday, but BoE governor Mark Carney will likely command the most attention. In addition to the Bank of England Governor’s Carney, Ben Broadbent, Jon Cunliffe, Jo Place, Dave Ramsden, Sam Woods will speak at BOE’s Future Forum in St George’s Hall Liverpool.

Later on Thursday, a handful of Federal Reserve Presidents and Governors will speak with the likely focus landing on Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester as she delivers the keynote address at Cato Institute’s 35th annual monetary conference on the Future of Monetary Policy in Washington, at 09:10 AM ET.

6. ASX: n shares are set to open higher as base metals gained late in London.Yesterday, the ASX 200 pushed further away from 6,000 and closed 0.6% lower yesterday with a 34 point loss. The decline was the fourth straight decline, and similar to other markets, the ASX 200 is moving near the November open price. The drop has aligned with other Asian equity markets like the Nikkei 225, which topped at 23,382 (highest intraday level since 1992) the same day as the ASX 200 at 6052.1 on November 9 before retreating.

This week’s decline is the largest decline at 1.5% since the week of June 9 that posted a 1.9% loss. The market has persistently been pricing in a lower probability of a hike from the RBA until September of 2018, and a further delay of an expected hike may lift prices still. The main culprit of losses yesterday and a trend spreading globally is financials as compressed yields are expected to continue to strain revenue growth.

7. Commodities: Commodities led by Crude Oil and Metals will look to end the mid-month slump after starting November strong on Thursday. Wednesday’s EIA Crude Oil Inventory report in the US showed an unexpected supply build that coupled with traders concern about lack of details leading up to the November 30 OPEC+ (a moniker for OPEC and strategic alliances). Supply glut concerns and lack of details for the OPEC meeting have brought volatility and pushed the price of Brent, the Global oil benchmark further toward the opening price of the month at $60.94 per barrel. The price reached as high as $64.65 on November 7, the highest price since summer 2015 before retreating.

Metals markets also remain positive for the month, but concerns continue whether demand from China will continue to reduce the raw materials glut. The country’s pledge to focus on the quality of growth over the pace was the source of concern that demand may soon slow from China.

8. Market Update:

SPI futures up 19 points or 0.3% to 5961

AUD -0.6% to 75.84 US cents (Overnight low: 75.73)

On Wall St: Dow -0.5%, S&P 500 -0.4%, Nasdaq -0.4%

In New York, BHP -1.4% Rio -1.1%

In Europe: Stoxx 50 -0.3%, FTSE -0.6%, CAC -0.3%, DAX -0.4%

Spot gold -0.2% to $US1278.05 an ounce

Brent crude -0.3% to $US62.02 a barrel

US oil -0.6% to $US55.39 a barrel

Iron ore -2.1% to $US61.84 a tonne

Dalian iron ore -1% to 448 yuan

LME aluminium +1.2% to $US2106 a tonne

LME copper +0.2% to $US6773 a tonne

10-year bond yield: US 2.34%, Germany 0.37%, 2.59%

This column was produced in commercial partnership between Fairfax Media and IG

Labor unveils pitch to shake up the Finance Department

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Finance Minister Jim Chalmers address the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 13 September 2016. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen A Bill Shorten-led Labor government will shake up the Finance Department in an attempt to create a renewed entrepreneurial portfolio and provide better value for taxpayers’ money.
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Shadow Finance spokesman Jim Chalmers will outline the plan in a speech on Thursday, promising to give voters a better understanding of federal government budget decisions and the creation of a new dual-ministerial governance for the controversial $5 billion Northern Infrastructure Facility.

He will tell an audience at n National University that far too much taxpayers’ cash is being wasted by the Coalition on contractors, consultants and labour hire firms, for work that public servants could do at a lower cost.

Questioning arbitrary public service hiring caps, Dr Chalmers will argue billions of dollars of waste on duplicate IT systems and growing travel costs should be better spent elsewhere.

“The n public service needs to be refocused,” he will tell the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, the Crawford School of Public Policy and College of Asia and the Pacific.

“We need to reprioritise what’s important – quality services and sound advice, investing taxpayers’ money in a careful and considered way.”

The government’s Northern Infrastructure Facility would be overseen cooperatively by the ministers for Finance and Northern and better value would be sought from the more than $50 billion spent annually on government procurement.

“Crucial to any good government is a supportive bureaucracy that delivers the services ns expect and the policy advice government needs,” Dr Chalmers says.

“I’m concerned that public servants aren’t always able to meet those objectives. Service levels in regional areas have dropped and phones at Centrelink go unanswered.

“Arbitrary caps on the number of bureaucrats have left the public service hollowed out and unable to provide strategic advice.

“That’s led to far too much taxpayers’ money being wasted on contractors, consultants and labour hire firms to do work that public servants could do at a lower cost.”

He will argue the role of the department and the Finance minister should be broadened, becoming central to an agenda of “inclusive economic growth”.

Labor would seek to offer enhanced scrutiny of the 10-year impact of policy decisions and to increase the use of data in decision-making and assessment.

Former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser and treasurer Phillip Lynch split the Department of Finance from the existing Treasury in 1976, seeking new approaches to budget advice for government and creating a new two-headed economic policy apparatus.

Dr Chalmers, the MP for the Queensland seat of Rankin and former chief-of-staff to Labor treasurer Wayne Swan, says the federal government should be a more effective co-investor and service provider, and an engaged owner of significant government enterprises.

“This needs specialist expertise and a coherent policy narrative – it needs a Finance function to ensure the micro and the macro talk to each other.

“Finance has its origins in a dispute about who sets the nation’s policy. Its future is about realising the huge agenda for a progressive and determined national government,” he will tell the event.

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IEA predicts China will become world energy leader

The International Energy Agency predicts will have a growing role as a world energy leader as gas exports rise to meet the global transition from coal to gas-fired electricity generation.
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In its latest World Energy Outlook, the IEA’s forecast for the next 20 years predicts four major shifts in the global energy system , providing multiple scenarios for energy growth through to 2040.

Under its new policies scenario – which examines existing policies and announced governmental intentions – the IEA said a population boom will drive additional demand between now and 2040 equivalent to another China and India. It also outlines how countries will need to fulfil this demand.

It forecast renewables as meeting much of this need, approximately 40 per cent globally, of all energy generation, displacing coal for the most part. Renewables will account for around two-thirds of global investment in future power plants, the IEA predicted, with solar power becoming the largest source of low-carbon capacity by 2040.

Both oil and gas will see massive growth, with natural gas use rising by 45 per cent to 2040, and these two energy sources becoming the first and second most used fuel in the global mix.

Although ‘s electricity infrastructure is currently seen as being under pressure, the International Energy Agency predicted that China will need to add the equivalent of America’s national power system to electricity infrastructure by 2040 to keep up with demand. India will need to add a power system the size of the European Union’s.

Electricity security has been posited as a major issue that is moving swiftly up nation’s policy agendas.

It warned that the sliding cost curve for renewables may not be “sufficient on their own to secure efficient decarbonisation or reliable supply”.

“The policy challenge is to ensure sufficient investment in electricity networks and in a mix of generation technologies that are best fit for power system needs, providing the flexibility that is increasingly vital as the contribution of wind and solar increases,” the IEA said.

This statement echoes the federal government’s NEG framework, which has put greater obligations on generators and retailers to ensure energy security and reliability of supply, which includes coal and gas.

According to Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, coal and gas energy sources will account for between 64 and 72 per cent of ‘s future generation mix. ‘s energy future

The International Energy Agency predicts will take an increasingly important role in meeting future global energy demand.

was forecast to be one of the world’s largest gas suppliers, aiding the transition from coal-fired power generation to gas-fired generation.

The growing role of gas as a transition fuel from coal to renewables was highlighted in the report. This forecast was supported by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries recent World Oil Outlook, which stated that the largest contribution to future energy demand is projected to come from natural gas.

In absolute terms, demand for gas is expected to increase by almost 34 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, reaching a level of 93 mboe a day by 2040, OPEC said.

Earlier reports by S&P also noted the changing market, as LNG exporters will face increased volatility as decade-old contracting methods change to short-term flexible models.

The longer-term contracts that have been the norm for LNG exporters will change as LNG buyers demand more flexible volumes, S&P Global Platts LNG analyst Abache Abreu told Fairfax Media.

Mr Abreu said that it has shifted from a sellers’ market, driven by policy and regulatory changes in current import markets, “this is forcing buyers to now push their market risks up the chain to sellers”.

“The increasingly buyer-friendly characteristics of global LNG trading is adding further challenges to an exporter that has structured its business model around primarily destination-restricted, oil-indexed long-term contracts,” the S&P Global report stated.

“The traditional ways of doing business, based on destination-restricted, oil-indexed long-term contracts, are disappearing, making room for enhanced flexibility and interconnectivity.”

The International Energy Agency forecast nearly 70 per cent of all gas produced in would leave the nation’s shores. This is major increase from the current share of production, which sits below half.

will also become the world’s largest coal seam gas producer, accounting for nearly half of international output from the 2020s onward. This forecast includes scenarios where NSW, Victoria, Western , and Tasmania continue their moratoriums on gas, however, it is unclear whether this includes the Northern Territory, which is carrying out the Pepper Inquiry into fracking.

The International Energy Agency also forecasts to buck the global oil production trend, and experience the highest rate of compound annual average growth for all non-OPEC nations. The country will see a 3.3 per cent growth in oil production from 2016 to 2040, which will offset the general decline in Asia Pacific output as China and Indonesia wind back production rates. This growth is forecast to be supported by increased shale gas and coal seam gas production.

It forecast a massive increase in long-term oil prices, albeit lower than last year’s predictions. If the world’s sustainable energy policies are followed, the IEA expects oil prices of $US83 ($108) per barrel in 2025, rising top $US111 per barrel in 2040. However, if current policies are followed, the IEA expects oil to reach approximately $US140 per barrel.

However, if the oil prices fails to remain strong, there could be a wave of company collapses, S&P Global states.

“The sector has a significant amount of debt maturing over the next couple of years, and any meaningful drop in prices will lead to defaults and bankruptcies,” S&P said.

The industry saw a swathe of companies issuing or refinancing debt during the market boom between 2012 and 2014, and these debts will come to maturity in the coming years.

“While interest rates are low and the high yield spreads are near the low levels they were in September 2014, any significant declines in oil prices would result in a severe number of companies unable to refinance their debt and would lead to another wave of bankruptcies,” S&P Global said. Coal’s decline

Coal is forecast to be the big loser in the world’s energy mix, slipping from 37 per cent today to 26 per cent in 2040, and will be overtaken by renewables in the late 2020s, under the IEA’s best case scenario for carbon reductions.

This will be somewhat offset by increased coal consumption in Africa and Asia and the fact that existing and future coal plants will burn coal at a more efficient rate.

While thermal and steaming coal is expected to see a slow global decline in usage and exports, with the majority of nations reducing their coal-fired power generation levels, metallurgical coal still remains a major commodity, one which will continue to export.

“There are few alternatives to coal readily available in steel production, and therefore coking coal demand remains slightly more robust than steam coal demand, but it also declines at an average annual rate of 1.9 per cent,” the IEA said.

“With plenty of low-cost coking coal, [will] expand its exports of the coming 25 years,” the IEA report stated.

It predicts a 19 per cent increase in output to 425 million tonnes of coal equivalent compared to 2016 levels of 360 mtce.

This is aided in part by the fact “n exporters stringently maintained cost discipline,” the IEA said.

Due to this increase in production coupled with a global decline in coking coal exports, ‘s share of the coal export market will lift to two-thirds of the global export trade by 2040.

In terms of actual production, n coal tonnages will only increase by 0.5 per cent from 2016 to 2040. This marks as one of the few producers to actually grow output levels, only beaten by India which will experience a 3.8 per cent increase in production rates over the same time period.

OPEC also predicted coal’s decline, peaking about 2035 at a level of 86 million barrels of oil equivalent a day before beginning its downward trend.

But the coal industry will not implode, the IEA predicts.

“Despite the bleak prospects for the fuel, coal investment does not grind to a halt, since existing mines are depleted faster than demand drops,” the IEA said.

Socceroos thump Honduras to reach Russia 2018

Hero of the night: Mile Jedinak. Photo: AAPIt’s required22 games, taken 29 months and over 250,000 kilometres but finally reached their final destination; the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
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The longest and hardest qualifying campaign that any team has endured in the tournament’s history couldn’t derail the Socceroos as they sealed a 3-1 win over Honduras to qualify for their fourth successive World Cup.

For all the pressure and tension surrounding their most important competitive match in the last 12 years, the Socceroos saved their most comfortable win ofthe latter stages of qualification to last. A superb second-half performance from was capped off with a hat trick for captain Mile Jedinak. There was no shortage of fortune but it was nothing less than deserved after receiving little favours on their gruelling road to Russia. Jedinak was the hero, converting twopenalties and a deflected free-kick to ensure will be part of the biggest show on earth.

It didn’t start so pretty for as a nervous beginning wasso nearly a disastrous one. A heavy challenge over the ball from Matt Jurmanon Honduras’ Alberth Elisreceived a yellow card and had it been slightly mistimed, would have reduced to 10 men after two minutes.

That moment of jitters and enthusiasm set the tone for the first half as neither team managed to gain any composure or grip on the contest. The fluidity the Socceroos’ found amid the sapping conditionsin San Pedro Sulawasn’t replicated early in Sydney.

The visitors’ game plan to lock down the middle of the park made for unpleasant viewing for anyone other than their coach, Jorge Luis Pinto. They delayed ‘s firstclear chance until the 35th minute. A clever back heel from Tim Cahill found the run of Aziz Behich on the left flank whose driven cross landed at the feet of Tom Rogic. The Celtic midfielder shot low for the corner but was denied by another fine save from Escober who continued his form from the firstfirst leg.

Job done: Mile Jedinak is mobbed after scoring. Photo: AP

More purpose than poise heaped pressure after the restart turned the screws on Honduras and it didn’t take much sustained pressure to find an opening and a darting run by Tom Rogiccould only be stopped by a foul on the edge of the box.

After such an arduous campaign offered little luck to , fortune finally shone on the Socceroos. A wicked deflection from substitute Henry FigueroaguidedJedinak’sfree-kick into the net and on the path to Russia as the Socceroos broke the deadlock in the tie.

After 57 minutes of near silence, it brought the 77,060 fans became active once the gravitas sank in. They remained on their feet when Rogic’s long-range volley almost achieved the spectacular before Cahill was denied their second by the crossbar with a daring header from the edge of the box.

However, luck shone on the Socceroos once more.​Argentinian referee Nestor Pitanagave a chance to book their tickets to Russia after blowing for a contentious penaltyafter ruling Bryan Acosta handled the ball inside the box. After being denied what looked a certain spot kick in the first leg, Jedinak was in no forgiving mood. Thumping a penalty past Escober to book their ticket to Russia.

The Socceroos were gifted another penalty when Palacios hauled Robbie Kruse en-route to goal and yet again, Jedinak made no mistake as sealed their passage to Russia. A late scramble goal by Elis almost went unnoticed as began the celebrations that will go long into the night, and all the way to Moscow in June.

Billion-dollar wedding boom predicted as pink dollar unleashed

Florist Emily Smith and stylist Ruben Stewart . Story about the Pink dollar. Emily is owner of Boutierre Girls , a wedding and events flower specialist and Ruben helped her start the company. Pic Nick Moir 15 nov 2017 SMH NEWS. SEXPOL?? : LGBTQI community and pro marriage equality advocates have gathered to celebrate the yes verdict of ??????s postal vote on same sex marriage, at the iconic Stonewall Hotel on Sydney??????s Oxford Street on 15 November 2017. Photo: Anna Kucera
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Florists, photographers and wedding celebrants are among the army of small businesses set to enjoy a billion-dollar plus boost when tens of thousands of same sex couples are finally allowed to walk down the aisle.

According to ANZ senior economist Cherelle Murphy, the economic benefits of marriage equality related to weddings alone would be $650 million in the first 12 months.

That is a conservative estimate, assuming only half the gay couples who want to wed manage to do so within 12 months.

According to the 2016 Census, there were nearly 47,000 same-sex couples living together in .

A 2010 study by the University of Queensland found half of such couples would choose to marry, if possible.

That gives a total marrying pool of around 24,000 gay couples. Assuming an average wedding spend of $54,000, that yields total spending of $1.3 billion.

This would deliver a huge boost to ‘s $6.3 billion wedding industry, Ms Murphy predicts.

“The wedding spend by same-sex couples could be higher than the existing average, given their family incomes are on average higher than opposite-sex couples,” she said.

Florist Emily Michele Smith, the owner of Boutierre Girls, is among those expecting a pick up in business if same-sex marriage is legalised.

“Most of the weddings are held overseas at the moment, like in New Zealand,” Ms Smith said. “If they were held here in I would definitely get more business.”

Smith, whose wedding packages start from $5000 in Sydney and $8000 in Melbourne, says she has already decorated three gay civil ceremonies, and does not expect much difference between gay and straight wedding styles.

“One of them I didn’t even know it was a gay wedding. They’re no different to anyone else getting married.”

However lesbian weddings could come with a double boost. “Sometimes the girls would like a bouquet each and I’ve seen some girls walking down the aisle together.”

The head of the Tourism and Transport Forum, Margy Osmond, is predicting an added boost if thousands of foreign couples choose as the scene for their dream destination wedding.

“The n tourism sector is champing at the bit to unlock the pink dollar potential of same-sex weddings,” Ms Osmond said.

“In places such as tropical north Queensland, where the tourism industry has been recently hit hard by natural disaster and the slowing of the resources industry, the pink dollar could be somewhat of an economic saviour.”

Ms Osmond pointed out that wedding spending was not just limited to brides and grooms, but also included money spent by wedding guests.

“The wedding economy casts a huge net, with the average wedding seeing a pretty significant amount of cash being spent on not just things such as catering, honeymoons and accommodation, but also on things such as tours and eating out.”

In addition to wedding dollars, ANZ predicts the legalisation of same-sex marriage would also bring other indirect economic benefits, potentially boosting productivity through lower levels of stress and mental health problems if gay couples feel more accepted by society.

The chief executive of the Business Council of , Jennifer Westacott, who has been in a same-sex relationship for 30 years, on Wednesday issued a personal statement welcoming the “yes” vote.

“Marriage equality has always been about respect and acceptance; the resounding ‘yes’ vote today is a victory for all those who have felt like outsiders for so long.”

Labor says no to Adani but yes to $5 billion northern ‘slush fund’

The contentious Northern Infrastructure Facility, previously derided by Labor as a $5 billion Nationals slush fund, will survive under a Labor government, finance spokesman Jim Chalmers has confirmed.
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Set up by Treasurer Scott Morrison in the 2015 budget, the Queensland-based facility has spent more than half a million dollars in executive salaries and travel and has yet to make an investment.

The biggest proposal it has under consideration is a $1 billion loan to a company associated with Adani Group patriarch Gautam Adani to enable it to build a 400-kilometre railway from the proposed Adani coal mine in the Galilee Basin to Abbott Point near the Great Barrier Reef.

In a speech to be delivered at the n National University on Thursday Dr Chalmers will commit Labor to “reform” rather than abolish the facility, saying that under Labor it would be the responsibility of the finance minister as well as the minister for northern .

Labor would also establish a Manufacturing Fund to help manufacturing firms transition to high value production.

“The Bureau of Statistics tells us that nearly one in three innovative businesses cite access to finance as their major barrier to investment and growth,” his speech notes say. “There are many investments that are in the private and national interest that are not able to access finance.”

Leveraging the Commonwealth balance sheet to co-invest in worthwhile ventures could have the twin virtues of building value and generating assets on the government’s balance sheet.

The criteria that funds such as the Northern Infrastructure Facility would use to decide whether to invest would be whether there was an understanding of why the market was failing and whether the pay-off from investment was clear.

The Clean Energy Innovation Fund, set by Labor and continued by the Coalition, was a perfect example of the way in which government funds could enable projects to take place that would otherwise miss out on capital.

“For every dollar the Fund invested last financial year, the private sector added more than two,” Dr Chalmers will say.

“In its first four years of operation, the Fund committed $4.3 billion across 79 transactions, leveraging over $11 billion in new clean energy investment in total, helping ‘s transition to a clean energy economy.

“The answer isn’t to push everything off budget or to create fund after fund. The answer is to work out where, after careful, sober and clear-eyed analysis, the market is not functioning properly and where we can make an affordable difference.”

British MPs’ advice for China on same-sex marriage

News. Gay british MP Nick Herbert is in australia, will be lobbying coalition conservatives on Same Sex Marriage. He led the freedom to marry campaign in the UK and is a former minister in david cameron’s govt. Photo by Edwina Pickles. Taken on 8th Feb 2017.London: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May says she hopes will swiftly legislate gay marriage as Tory MPs dismissed fears it would undermine religion, citing England’s own experience in introducing the change three years ago.
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Same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales since 2014 after it was introduced the year prior by the conservative government led by David Cameron.

Shortly after the result was announced, Mr Cameron said he was delighted was following Britain’s lead.

“I’m incredibly proud of legalising same sex marriage in the UK and delighted that other countries are looking to do the same,” the former prime minister said in a tweet. “G’day !”

Mrs May echoed her predecessor during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

“I was proud, as I know he and other colleagues were, when we passed legislation here in this house, to enable same sex marriage here in the United Kingdom,” she told the House of Commons. “I hope the n government will indeed take that vote and act on it very soon.”

Mrs May was responding to a question from the Tory MP Iain Stewart.

He told Fairfax Media that ‘s decision was “another step towards global equality”.

“When the UK parliament approved same-sex marriage here a few years ago, some members voiced concerns about its introduction,” he said.

“These have not been realised and many who opposed it at the time now support it. I hope MPs in look at our experience and make the change in the law requested by the people.”

Debate will begin in the Senate on Thursday on the private members’ bill put forward by the Western n Liberal Senator Dean Smith to change the Marriage Act. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he expects it will be passed by Christmas.

But conservatives and ‘no’ campaigners are preparing to move major amendments to the bill. They want to make it legal for religious believers to refuse services for gay weddings without facing anti-discrimination action on the grounds of “conscientious objections”.

Nick Herbert, a conservative British MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights, led the “Freedom to Marry” campaign in Britain. Earlier this year he travelled to to brief MPs on the UK’s experience. “When we introduced equal marriage in England and Wales the reform became uncontroversial overnight,” he said. “We just made thousands of couples and their families very happy and that was a good day for lawmakers.”

Jason Groves, the president of the n Liberals Abroad, the only officially affiliated government organisation to back the ‘yes’ campaign, said the n result had made him “more proud to be n”.

“Now that this issue has been debated extensively, passing Senator Dean Smith’s bill should be parliament’s Christmas present to lesbian and gay ns,” he said.

“Those of us who’ve celebrated a same sex union overseas will be excited finally to have their relationship recognised when they go home.”

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