QBE on track to reach $US250 million in savings

Written by admin on 08/08/2018 Categories: 南京夜网

Insurer QBE is on track to meet its savings targets.QBE says it is on track to hit its target to cut costs by “at least” $US250 million by 2015, as it replaces hundreds of jobs in western countries with staff in Manila.
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The global insurer also affirmed its full-year guidance on Tuesday, as it benefits from relatively few natural disasters and the recent fall in the Aussie dollar.

At midday its shares had risen 2.6 per cent, or 39.5c, to $15.70.

QBE, which is looking to rationalise its operations after a spate of acquisition-led growth under former boss Frank O’Halloran, earlier this year unveiled a plan to save $US250 million a year by 2015 by sending about 700 positions to the Philippines.

As the changes are rolled out across its Australian division, chief executive John Neal today stressed that he expected expenses would be cut by “at least” $US250 million as a result of the program.

The cost-cutting push will also result in changes to its operations in North America and Europe – where the company may also look to carry-out cuts in its European business slightly earlier than expected.

“This is very much the start, the first wave if you like, and there will be more activity that will follow,” Mr Neal said.

So far, 521 positions in Australia have been affected by the offshoring changes.

Most of these staff are set to be redeployed within the group, while 39 have been made redundant, and 52 contractor positions have not been renewed.

The chief executive of its Australian arm, Colin Fagen, said QBE was “extremely confident” it would save more than the original $85 million in costs that it had planned to trim from its Australian operations by 2015 through the offshoring changes.

This was likely to occur because the company’s redundancy costs had been lower than expected, while the volume of work being carried out in Manila had exceeded expectations.

Mr Neal also said he was confident the company expected to hit its full-year forecast for premiums to increase by about 5 per cent, and indicated it had benefited from several one-off factors.

He said conditions were “very positive” in Australia and North America but tougher in Europe, where rates were flat.

“It’s still very very early days in the year but we are quite relaxed about where we see ourselves for the half year.”

QBE, which reports its profits on a calendar year basis, will present its half-year results in August.

Insurers have benefited relatively few natural disasters in recent months, while QBE has extensive US operations, so it tends to benefit from a falling Australian dollar.

“Overall, the weakening in the Australian dollar is good news for us, but it does bring some complications,” Mr Neal said.

Deutsche Bank analyst Kieran Chidgey said the progress on cost-cutting and positive one-off factors should cause the “market’s conviction in QBE’s turnaround” to increase.

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Spencer rules breakfast, but Nova’s share explodes

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He’s done it again; 612 ABC Brisbane announcer Spencer Howson has retained his crown as king of the lucrative breakfast radio session.
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Despite a 0.1 per cent drop, Mr Howson’s 13.1 per cent market share is still firmly in front of his commercial rivals, ratings agency Nielson confirmed on Tuesday.

But DMG’s Nova106.9 breakfast team of Ash Bradnam, David ‘Luttsy’ Lutteral and Kip Wightman closed in on Aunty’s star, gaining 1.1 per cent to steal the number two spot from Robin Bailey, Terry Hansen and Bob Gallaghar on ARN’s 97.3FM.

Nova also overtook 97.3 as the station with the largest overall audience through the week – a coup that rounds out its standing dominance of the weekend market.

Fairfax Radio 4BC, owned by the publishers of this website, also improved its overall market share, growing its audience by 0.9 per cent to beat 4KQ, 4BH, and the ABC’s Radio National and Triple J for the number six spot.

The station’s breakfast team also recorded a 0.4 per cent audience boost to maintain its sixth-place ranking.

Meanwhile the Triple M Grill Team – Pete Timbs, Michelle Anderson and Greg ‘Marto’ Martin – moved from fifth to fourth place, changing places with their Austereo cousins at B105 – Jason ‘Labby’ Hawkins, Stav Davidson and Abby Coleman.

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What a relief; now let’s get on with it, says Horwill

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Now we can all get some sleep: Wallabies captain James Horwill, left, fronts the media with coach Robbie Deans after the judicial hearing. Photo: James BrickwoodWallabies captain James Horwill says he feels ‘‘vindicated’’ by an International Rugby Board ruling that a stamping allegation against him be dismissed for the second time in nine days.
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The Test second-rower is free to play in the series decider against the British and Irish Lions in Sydney after 12 hours of deliberation overnight on Monday produced the same result as the first hearing on June 23.

Horwill said he was ‘‘very relieved’’ to be told the news during a gym session on Tuesday morning after enduring a sleepless night in limbo.

‘‘I feel very vindicated by the way it’s gone,’’ he said. ‘‘I love what I do and it means a hell of a lot to represent my country and not only to represent it but the opportunity to lead in what is probably the biggest game in this country since the 2003 World Cup final. I’m very excited and now we can focus on the game and that’s what is important.’’

The decision was handed down by Canadian judicial officer Graeme Mew  at about 10am on Tuesday, 12 hours after he took final submissions from Horwill, his legal counsel and the Australian Rugby Union.

Mew found there was no cause to overturn the original ruling of judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC, who said on June 23 that he could not find an intentional or deliberate action of stamping or trampling on the head of Lions second rower Alun Wyn Jones.

‘‘For the appeal to succeed the IRB would have to establish that there was some misapprehension of law or principle by the judicial officer or that his decision was so clearly wrong or manifestly unreasonable that no judicial officer could have reached the conclusion that he did,’’ Mew noted in his judgement.

‘‘There was sufficient evidence upon which a reasonable judicial officer could have reached the decision that was made.

‘‘Accordingly, it could not be said that the judicial officer was manifestly wrong or that the interests of justice otherwise required his decision be overturned.’’

Horwill accepted the decision calmly on Tuesday but was obviously pleased to have the uncertainty behind him.

‘‘I can’t complain. It’s been a very fair process both times; as I said before, the hearings have been very fair and the process is what it is,’’ he said, after  thanking the public for their support.

‘‘My family and the team have been very overwhelmed by the amount of support we’ve received so I thank you very much and it’s now time to get on with football.’’

The original incident occurred in the third minute of the Lions’ 23-21 victory over the Wallabies in the first Test.

Horwill struck Jones in the head during a ruck. The Lions second-rower played out most of the match and required stitches to his eye after the full-time bell.

The Lions referred the matter to the citing commissioner after the game, but a four-hour hearing in front of IRB-appointed judicial officer Hampton last Sunday night found there was enough merit in Horwill’s explanation that he was ‘‘spun off balance’’ by Lions players entering the ruck from the other side.

The decision was controversially overturned by the IRB on Thursday night and while the board did not provide a clear reason,  they cited the ‘‘preservation of player welfare’’.

‘‘It is important for the IRB to ensure amongst all stakeholders in the game that there is full confidence that priority is given to player welfare and the values of the game,’’ the IRB said at the time.

Horwill said he had been unaware of the incident until he was cited and had a chance to view footage from the game.

Rugby Union Players’ Association chief executive Greg Harris congratulated Horwill on being cleared to play.

‘‘James Horwill was initially cleared of the stamping charge as per the IRB’s established judicial process.

“RUPA, like the ARU, was both surprised and disappointed that the finding of the IRB appointed judicial officer, Nigel Hampton QC, from New Zealand was deemed to be ‘erroneous’.

‘‘The fact that the verdict was not delivered until midday on Tuesday added significant disruption to the preparation of the Wallabies team for the third, and deciding Test.

‘‘RUPA still remains sufficiently concerned with the perceived inconsistencies with the processes and as such has raised the matter with the International Rugby Players’ Association and requested that IRPA raise the matter formally with the IRB.’’

Harris said the case set a dangerous precedent by the IRB and that not only the RUPA membership, but the broader rugby community in Australia, were concerned about the motives behind the decision to refer the matter again.

‘‘James is the Australian captain and is a sportsman of impeccable character who in 130 professional games had never been cited.

“He always had the full support of RUPA and his fellow players no matter what the outcome of the IRB’s judicial processes were to be,’’ Harris said.

The IRB released a statement a short time ago accepting Mew’s decision.

‘‘While ultimately not proving successful in its appeal, the IRB is satisfied that it took the right approach,’’ the statement said.

‘‘The IRB would like to acknowledge the professional manner in which the Australian Rugby Union managed the process as host union of the tour.’’

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OPINION: Political posturing in positions of power

Written by admin on 09/10/2019 Categories: 南京夜网

JULIA Gillard worked hard to strategically position herself and her government’s policies positively in the minds of Australian voters.
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However, the media kept telling us her communication didn’t have traction with the electorate.

People talked about the messages not getting through but this wasn’t the root problem with Ms Gillard’s communication efforts, according to research conducted by PhD student Deborah Wise and myself over recent years. We’ve been looking at the concept of positioning in public relations.

Through some nifty positioning work of his own, Tony Abbott managed to construct an image of Ms Gillard in the heads of many voters as somehow being an illegitimate prime minister.

Back in 2011, he used the carbon tax debates to declare Ms Gillard a liar, positioning her as untrustworthy. The subsequent storylines, or key messages as those working in PR call them, centred on Ms Gillard going back on her pre-election promise that there would be no carbon tax.

Mr Abbott wove a tale of deceit and, linked with the threat of a big new tax on everything, seemingly hit the mark with Australian voters. On this foundation, Mr Abbott was seen to constantly question whether Ms Gillard could be trusted on anything she did.

Underpinning Mr Abbott’s positioning of Ms Gillard was his assertion that she had breached the trust of the Australian people. This, in the context of strategic PR positioning, undermined her right to position herself as the legitimate leader of the country.

In the minds of voters this translated as Ms Gillard having no moral right to be leader or to be trusted to set the course for the nation. Our research found something wrong with Ms Gillard’s overall communication strategy from a positioning perspective.

She failed to construct, in the minds of voters, the moral right to introduce a price on carbon.

It seems that in the minds of many, she never did so and this failure served to fuel Mr Abbott’s ongoing positioning of Ms Gillard as a “bad prime minister” and her government as “bad” – a bad government, a bad tax, a bad plan and so on.

This permeated much of Ms Gillard’s term and she never successfully countered with a campaign to reposition herself as having an indisputable right to lead the government.

In the recent shadow of her overthrow from prime ministerial office, it begs the question whether there was ever going to be time for her to undertake such a campaign no matter how long she had in office, what could she have done?

I think Ms Gillard should have acknowledged her mistake in not better explaining her motives to introduce the carbon price. People may have understood a position centred on making the judgment call that doing a deal with the Greens was better than inflicting Tony Abbott on the nation as prime minister.

This may have given her a platform to talk, and even be heard by the electorate, about why she thought Mr Abbott would be such a bad choice for the country.

It is doubtful whether we would have ever got the opportunity to see if such a mea culpa could have formed the basis of a turnaround in the electorate’s regard for Ms Gillard and her government.

The notion of positioning is still centred on marketing ideas of product differentiation and promotion. It seems considerations of local moral orders that determine rights and duties associated with positions taken or assigned are not on the to-do list.

Hopefully in the wash-up post-leadership spill, those combing the ashes of Ms Gillard’s defeat in the search of answers might move beyond simplistic notions of PR messaging and look more closely at what it takes to successfully position a prime minister.

Dr Melanie James is a senior lecturer in communication and public relations at the University of Newcastle.

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OPINION: Keeping quiet about the politics of racism

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SAD: Betheina Kuku with the recent vandalism to her car. SAD: Betheina Kuku with the recent vandalism to her car.
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WHITE people are racists. We saw that last month when a black Sudanese woman had her car vandalised with racist graffiti (“Attacks may force family to leave” Herald, 22/6).

But white Australians are not the only people here with racist opinions; they are just the ones expressing them at the moment – because they are able to.

There are deep wells of visceral racism in the Chinese community against white (and black and other Asian) people, but they keep their mouths shut. Indians are mercilessly racist too. So are Arabs.

There are strong racial feelings within the African community here between various ethnic groups. In Africa they call it tribalism – racism by another name. I have been told by an Aboriginal man that something similar obtains within the indigenous community.

All that doesn’t bother the white Australian community, since it’s not on the receiving end yet.

Racism is a fundamental human instinct. Don’t tell me that in your unguarded moments you don’t feel something of it. The racism we all share is ancient, natural, understandable and, in general, no massive problem. We tend to like our own people better than others, that’s all.

Most of the time we can handle dealings with other races pretty well. We know there are differences in looks, language and character, but people reach across that divide all the time, everywhere in the world, to do what they have to do in life and to get a little pleasure and company.

Racism is a problem when the expression of that feeling takes violent and demeaning forms. But I believe there are likely to be personal, not racial, reasons for most of these.

I knew a Burundian refugee in Newcastle who was being threatened with a dog by someone in his street. It looked racist. It turned out that the dog-man was about as far down the social scale as you could get. The Burundians gave him a chance to get one rung up from the bottom.

He wasn’t a racist. He was a personal problem.

Racism becomes a public problem when politicians use it to build a power base.

Hitler did. So did apartheid South Africa. Politicians everywhere (even here) know that race is a winner.

Just the thing to stir up fear of those who are “not like us” so the pollies can save us from them. They throw their babies overboard don’t they? People like us wouldn’t do that. We’ll decide whether that type of people come here or not.

This dog-whistle, silent political racism that never owns its name is the biggest source of racist feeling in the country. Its tentacles descend from the manipulative politician, through the toady shock-jocks and politicking media, down to those in society who can most easily be persuaded they are under some sort of threat.

The young and those with personal problems can’t easily deal with that. Here comes the graffiti. The dog threats.

It’s no sin to like your own people best. It is a sin to turn the Australian people towards a hidden but active dislike of other people. God bless Australia. God damn everyone else.

Conservative parties are the main culprits – the far-left parties flagellate themselves for their own apparent sins and seem to believe other races are blameless and good.

The issue is not being helped by this black-and-white approach – good v evil. Racism is a deeply human thing. It’s one of those natural parts of life like obesity, skinniness, religion, diet, sexuality, ear size. It’s human.

Consider these two stories.

I gave an old woman a lift home once from a shopping centre. At her place an African woman passed by. “They’re very bad people!” said the old lady. “She pushed me into the gutter one day!”

Did she? Didn’t she? I don’t know. It was probably just a piece of the mud life throws at us sometimes. Some get hit, some don’t. We have to learn how to deal with it. It’s not a racist thing.

My father always disliked black people and said so. He ended up in hospital where I found him being attended by an African nurse. She impressed him a lot. He was surprised to find that, in his opinion, she was the best nurse there. He still didn’t like black people – but he liked this one.

Personal experience mostly overrides politically induced prejudice. And so it should. We always get along better without that.

There are no people who are “racists” and others who are not.

But there are people who are foolish enough to become the hands, mouths and pens of mendacious political pretenders.

Put your fingers in your ears when you hear them start to speak.

Tony Troughear lived and worked in Kenya for 20 years.

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Charge laid after Whitehaven hoax email

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The anti-coal campaigner who temporarily wiped more than $314 million off the value of Whitehaven Coal with a hoax email has been charged after an investigation by the corporate regulator.
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Jonathan Moylan tricked investors into thinking that a $1.2 billion loan arranged by ANZ for Whitehaven had been cancelled on ethical grounds.

Shares in Whitehaven, which then had struggling coal baron Nathan Tinkler as its biggest shareholder, fell from $3.52 to $3.21 before the stock was put into a trading halt.

The incident was the third time in six months that trading on the Australian Securities Exchange has been influenced by a hoax.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission confirmed that Mr Moylan was charged with one offence of breaching section 1041E of the Corporations Act, covering the making of false or misleading statements.

Mr Moylan reportedly sent out the hoax press release from his laptop in the Leard State Forest in New South Wales.

Some media outlets published a story on the hoax release, but later retracted it.

The Lock The Gate Alliance slammed the charge as a double standard. Alliance president Drew Hutton said it was “extraordinary” that Mr Moylan was facing jail.

“We are asking ASIC to reconsider their decision and withdraw the prosecution – the penalty is clearly disproportionate to the offence and Mr Moylan has apologised to anyone affected by his actions,” he said. “Whether you agree with his actions or not, Mr Moylan’s intent was obviously just to tell the world about the plight of the people and environments at risk from this massive coal mine.”

Mr Hutton said the campaigner had felt the full force of the law, which “multi-national mining giants rarely feel in this country”.

He said Mr Moylan had sought to focus the nation’s attention on “how the proposed Whitehaven coal mine will destroy thousands of hectares of Leard State Forest”.

The alliance said Mr Moylan would appear before Downing Centre Local Court on July 23.

Mr Moylan faces up to 10 years in jail and a maximum fine of $495,000.

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Pakistan ups ante to keep Qadir jnr from Australia

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The son of legendary Pakistan wrist spinner Abdul Qadir is the subject of an intriguing tug-of-war for his services between Australia and his native land.
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The Immigration Minister, Brendan O’Connor, on Tuesday announced Fawad Ahmed’s citizenship and now it can be revealed senior Australian cricket figures have their eye on another  talented young leg-spinner from the subcontinent  – one with a famous surname.

Usman Qadir, 19, spent last summer playing club cricket in Adelaide and with South Australia’s Futures League team based around players under 23 and has reported interest in returning next season and then pledging his allegiance to Australia. However, in a fascinating twist, there were reports on Tuesday that the Pakistan Cricket Board would make him a shock inclusion in its squad for their tour of the West Indies this month — despite him having not yet played a first-class match. In what is being viewed as a radical move to force young Qadir’s hand and stave off keen interest from Australia, Pakistan appear ready to pick him simply to ensure he remains in their ranks.

‘‘He has shown some interest [in representing Australia] but I also know he’s of significant interest in his home system,’’ said South Australia’s director of cricket Jamie Cox. ‘‘We’re pretty much tip-toeing our way through our options from here.’’

Qadir, a Pakistan under-19 representative last year, starred in the Adelaide club competition last summer, and was called up by the Redbacks for the interstate second XI competition, before flying home early after being involved in a minor car accident.

It was anticipated he would return to Adelaide on another visa next season, sponsored again by South Australia.  Officials had  discussions with Cricket Australia along these lines.

‘‘We’ve left the conversation very open but we’ve made it clear to him that if he’s going to come back here again we’re going to want more of a commitment,’’ Cox said. ‘‘He hasn’t come out and said ‘if you can do this and that, then I’m yours’. I think he’s still very much considering it from what I can gather but he’s also very much in [Pakistan’s] eyes as well.

‘‘With Qadir it’s a very different story to the Fawad case. But we’ve spoken to CA about it and followed their progress on Fawad pretty closely. He’s a young fellow with obviously good genetics and talent who just happened to play a year of club cricket here and did well. We’ve sort of left it in Ussy’s hands.’’

The dearth of leg-spin talent in Australia has fuelled interest in both Ahmed and Qadir, but the sudden elevation of the teenager into Pakistan’s national squad could throw a significant spanner in the works.

Qadir was quoted last December saying he had been ‘‘offered to play for Australia’’ but that he had not made a decision. ‘‘I’ve left the final decision in my father’s hands,’’ a Pakistani cricket website reported him as saying in an interview.

Qadir’s father, who took 236 wickets in 67 Tests for Pakistan, is regarded as one of the game’s finest ever leg-spinners.

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Parramatta Stadium upgrade falls short

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Missing out?: Both the Parramatta Eels and the Western Sydney Wanderers feel aggrieved on the $20 million Parramatta Stadium upgrade.. Photo: Wolter PeetersThe Parramatta Eels and Western Sydney Wanderers have conflicting views on how the $20 million upgrade to Parramatta Stadium should be spent and have both been left underwhelmed by the federal grant.
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While the respective NRL and A-League clubs have welcomed the much needed boost to Parramatta Stadium, Fairfax Media understands both organisations feel they have missed out on what they required.

It is believed Parramatta wanted a large chunk of the funding to go towards a high performance centre for their players to have a state of the art training facility. While the Wanderers, who use Blacktown Olympic Sports Park for training, were pushing for the stadium capacity to be lifted from 20,000 to 30,000 after three sell-out games in their debut season.

The Federal Government tried to please both parties by providing some upgrades to the venues dilapidated facilities and increasing the seating by 3300, but neither party was jumping for joy. The Eels are in the first year of a three-year deal with ANZ Stadium to play at least three of their ‘blockbuster’ games at the Olympic Park venue.

Parramatta have also set a target of reaching 40,000 members by 2017 and believe they will outgrow their current home ground in the next couple of years.

Eels chief executive Ken Edwards refused to rule out a permanent move to ANZ Stadium and said the planned $250 million upgrade to the venue adds further merit to the move.

However he insists Parramatta Stadium remains in the club’s plans for the future in the way Canterbury use Belmore Sports Ground and South Sydney use Redfern Oval as their training facility. “This is our spiritual home,” Edwards said. “We always want to be here in some way shape or form. More important to us at the moment, other than stadium deals, is securing the funding for our high performance and community centre, which we want based here in Parramatta and close to Parramatta Stadium. We currently have the worst training facilities of any team in the NRL and probably any professional sporting team in Australia, and it’s just not good enough. You can’t expect Ricky and professional athletes to get the sort of results we’re all talking about with the sorts of facilities he currently has or doesn’t have.”

It’s certainly more than a coat of paint but hardly the complete renovation widely hoped. The stadium’s eastern standard will be upgraded and given modernised facilities, with better facilities for players – especially changing rooms – also being installed.

A total of 3300 seats will be added to the northern and southern ends of the stadium, extending the natural slope of the existing mounds, bringing total capacity to 24,000. The training field adjacent to the main field will be extended from 70 metres to 110 metres.

There can be no doubt that the Wanderers would have liked to have seen a guaranteed increase of closer to 10,000 than the amount promised.

Such an expansion would have ensured demand was met for all games in the future after seeing the sold-out sign raised multiple times in their debut season – a predicament FFA chief executive David Gallop hopes to avoid in the near future.

“It’s pleasing to see those people rewarded with an opportunity to put their bum on a seat at Parramatta Stadium in the years ahead with increased capacity,” said Gallop. “No one likes seeing people turned away from games and that’s a real possibility given that they’ve already sold out three games in their first season.”

There was real hope among the football fraternity that the open ends at Parramatta Stadium would be given a second tier and a roof, which would give the atmosphere a significant boost, but neither has materialised.

However, Gallop admitted that the Wanderers and FFA would start lobbying again for an increase in capacity if the demand warranted it in the coming season.

“While we’re grateful for the increased capacity from around 20,000 to 25,000, but it’s certainly conceivable that, in years to come, that demand will again exceed supply,” he said. “Again, we’ll be left considering what to do, but that’s a few years off at that this stage.”

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Gerrans’ win pumps up GreenEDGE tyres

Written by admin on 12/09/2019 Categories: 南京夜网

Just after Simon Gerrans earned the Australian Orica-GreenEDGE team its first stage win in the Tour de France, a principal player in setting up the Victorian for his moment of glory, teammate Daryl Impey, said with a  sigh: ”Definitely the monkey is off our back now.”
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The South African rider’s words summed up much about the Orica-GreenEDGE team’s short tenure in the top division of world cycling.

While it impressed in its first year as a first-division ProTeam licensed squad with its 33 wins last season, it still disappointed by failing to claim a stage victory in last year’s Tour, and by falling short of its ambitions in this year’s one-day European spring classics and also the Giro d’Italia in May.

The second-year team has won many races  this year, but doubts about its strength in the majors had been building – even though the squad  conceded recently it  should consider having (or developing) a rider who could compete for overall honours  in the years to come.

But by Gerrans beating Slovakian Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Spain’s Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) to win Monday’s 145.5-kilometre third stage from Ajaccio to Calvi, the team silenced  its   detractors.

And as the Tour transferred from Corsica to Nice on the French mainland, for the 25km stage-four team time trial, it was clear Gerrans’ joy for the win was shared by  teammates such as Impey.

Orica-GreenEDGE had hoped to set up Impey  for the yellow leader’s jersey after starting the day in fourth overall at one second to Belgian Jan Bakelants (RadioShack).

But when Bakelants was still riding strong near the end, Gerrans appeared their best stage-winning hope. ”Once Bakelants was there, we rode for ‘Gerro’,” Impey said. ”It was roles reversed [to stage 2], but he pulled it off; better than I did [with  eighth on stage 2].”

Stage3 unfolded perfectly for Orica-GreenEDGE. Australian Simon Clarke got into the day-long break to give Gerrans  a chance to rest in the peloton, as Clarke’s presence in the lead meant  they had no need to chase.

”It is always good to have someone represented [in the break]. ‘Clarkey’ did a good move that took the pressure off us right away,” Impey said. ”We didn’t really have to chase – only at the end [after Clarke was caught], when that small move split off the front. But all the boys were committed. We could not have asked for more.

”The win has taken the pressure – not that the pressure is off – but the monkey off our back now. And it is nice to get the win early on in the Tour.”

There was no understating Clarke’s role. Clarke, the King of the Mountains in last year’s Vuelta a Espana, said his presence in the early break ”was to take the pressure off the team so ‘Gerro’ could sit back, relax  and come up with a good sprint, and it worked perfectly”.

But as Clarke added, making a breakaway group in the Tour is not an easy task, especially in the first week when most riders feel strong.

”You have to use your nose and go with the feel and sit back,” he said. ”If you go with every single attack … there’s no  way you will get in a breakaway. I got in four breaks in the Vuelta last year, so I kind of got it down pat and figured while it doesn’t go the same way every time, at least you get that feel of it.”

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Gallop says Wanderers soaring sky high

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Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop believes the Western Sydney Wanderers are on “greater growth trajectory than any other sporting club in the country” – which means the club’s new owners will need to follow some very strict rules.
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The Wanderers have only been in existence for a year but their barnstorming popularity in the city’s west has made the FFA increasingly wary about protecting the basics of the juggernaut brand.

The FFA’s search for a new owner is now officially under way, with the club appointing a leading financial services company to source prospective buyers for the club – which has been widely valued at $15 million, even if the game’s governing body is hoping for more.

“We’ve engaged investment bank UBS [to source investors] but clearly we’ve got some non-negotiables around the colours, the logo, the name, the venue and the general community engagement model that has worked so well,” Gallop said. “There are important non-negotiates around the culture that’s already been created at this club. Beyond that, we’re looking to see who the market throws up as a potential purchaser.”

Despite a refusal to negotiate on the club’s identity – which would be unlikely to change in any case – Gallop said the Wanderers represented exceptional value for money considering their potential to expand.

“There’s no doubt that this club is on a greater growth trajectory than any other sporting club in the country. With the population of western Sydney increasing by several thousand per month, this is the train to get on board if you’re looking at sporting clubs,” he said. “It’s difficult to put a price on it but what you’re buying into is the trajectory of this club and the trajectory of football.

“The participation in the Asian Champions League will be an eye-opener to what the future might hold for this club and this league as we forge stronger and stronger links with the fastest growing economic region in the world.”

In order to maintain and increase the club’s momentum, some felt the FFA should have held ownership for a while longer – not least to increase the sale price – but Gallop says it should never be the administrative body’s ambition.

“Importantly, FFA doesn’t want to own football clubs, so the sooner we remove ourselves from that potential conflict situation, the better,” he said. “We’d also look to maximise the financial benefits in a way that is then invested prudently across the grass roots and the elite level of the game.”

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Swann song? It was just a dream

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If there was ever a doubt about Graeme Swann’s importance to England, it was erased by the panic that set in when he was struck a painful blow on the bowling arm on Monday.
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Swann was later cleared of a broken arm, but for an anxious time before the scans came back, England feared for its match-winning off-spinner.

For all the hype around England’s high-class pace attack, Swann is arguably England’s most important player against Australia.

He loves bowling to left-handers, and there could be a few of them in Australia’s middle order.

Swann, who is England’s most successful off spinner with 222 wickets in 52 Tests, would relish the chance to bowl to Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja, who have both had problems against spin. So central is Swann to England’s Ashes hopes that it is expected dry, turning pitches will be prepared around the country to suit him.

Swann was expected to bowl again in England’s warm-up match against Essex to prove his fitness for the Ashes, but has had a disjointed preparation because of elbow surgery and, more recently, back and calf problems.

An injury to England’s main spinner would swing the balance of Ashes power towards an Australian team that is starting to get its groove back under new coach Darren Lehmann. Neither of England’s back-up spinners can be picked with confidence – Monty Panesar was dropped by Sussex earlier this year and James Tredwell is yet to take a wicket in five county championship matches for Kent.

Australia, at last, has a couple of spin options behind Nathan Lyon, with Ashton Agar’s lanky brand of left-arm spin causing excitement and a mature leg-spinner available now that Fawad Ahmed is an Australian citizen.

If all else fails Australia should ensure that hulking Essex fast bowler Tymal Mills, who struck Swann, Tim Bresnan and Joe Root on the arm, jaw and knee respectively, during the Ashes warm-up fixture at Chelmsford, stays around the England camp as a net bowler.

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WINE: Queen of the vines

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ROSE Kentish is a queen of McLaren Vale winemaking, having put her stamp on an innovative range of wines made in France.
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It’s common for Australian winemakers to work in Europe, but the mother of four has pushed the boundaries in three vintages to make French wine to sell under her own label in Australia.

Two of the wines from her third French vintage, the Ulithorne 2012 Epoch Rose and Ulithorne 2012 Corsus Vermentinu, recently arrived on my tasting bench and are reviewed today on this page.

French law provides many hurdles for ventures like Rose’s, but Hunter winemaker Usher Tinkler has succeeded with chardonnay and pinot noir wines in the famed Burgundy Region.

A friendship established in 2006 with French winemaker Arnaud Desfontaine paved the way for Usher to release early last year a 2009 Montagny Premier Cru Le Burnins Chardonnay, 2009 Chablis Premier Cru Mont de Millieu Chardonnay and the 2009 Fixin Premier Cru Clos du Chapitre Pinot Noir.

Self-confessed pinot noir fanatics Steve and Leanne Webber, who head the De Bortoli Yarra Valley arm, have succeeded in producing De Bortoli brand wine in Burgundy.

After much negotiation with French authorities in 2003, Steve and Leanne went to Burgundy and bought grapes from a Villages-rated vineyard in the Gevrey-Chambertin area.

They made a tiny batch of 2003 wine and exported it back to Australia where it sold for $85 a bottle as the De Bortoli 2003 Gevrey-Chambertin Combed du Bas.

Rose Kentish’s French adventure was triggered a year after she was crowned Queen of McLaren Vale’s 2008 Bushing Festival for her Ulithorne 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz.

The Bushing King or Queen title is awarded to the maker of the best wine of the McLaren Vale Wine Show and Rose was only the second woman, after legendary winemaker Pam Dunsford, to win the award.

When a heatwave wiped out her 2009 Ulithorne grape crop, Rose decided to pack up her artist husband Sam Harrison and their four children, then aged six, 10, 12 and 15, and head off to France to realise a long-held ambition to make wine in Europe.

Sam and the children were not keen, but Rose prevailed and in 2010 they settled into digs in the mediaeval town of Aubais, between Montpellier and Nimes.

The children quickly learned French and settled into local schools, and painter Sam drew inspiration from the new locations.

Although she had only schoolgirl French, Rose managed to persuade French vignerons to sell her grapes and to allow her to turn them into wine in their wineries.

She used cinsault, grenache and mourvedre fruit to make a 2010 rosé at the Domaine de la Sangliere winery in Provence and bought vermentino grapes in Corsica to make her Ulithorne 2010 Corsus Vermentinu at the Vino Vecchio winery.

After nine months in France the family returned to their lives in the South Australian south coastal town of Middleton, between Victor Harbour and Port Elliot.

Rose went back to France sans family in 2011 and 2012 to make new vintages of her Ulithorne French wines to sell alongside her small-batch McLaren Vale wines.

The products of these sojourns were the 2012 Epoch Rosé and the 2012 Corsus Vermentinu and a now sold-out $34 Ulithorne 2011 Immortelle red, a blend of shiraz and the rare Corsican minustellu, niellucciu and carcaghjolu neru varieties.

Rose plans to make her fourth vintage visit to France next September-October and aims to make a 2013 Epoch Rosé, Corsus Vermentinu and Immortelle red and will check on the progress of casks of the 2012 Immortelle. She also hopes to make progress with another French ambition – making a sparkling wine in Champagne.

Passion for Ulithorne

THE Ulithorne story began in 1971 when Sam Harrison’s parents bought land at McLaren Vale and planted a vineyard. In 1997 Rose Kentish and husband Sam bought the vineyard, a move that ignited Rose’s passion for winemaking. Her guide into the world of wine was prominent McLaren Vale winemaker Brian Light, who was contracted to make the early Ulithorpe wines.

With Brian as her mentor from 2001 on, Rose took an increasing role in the success of the Ulithorpe and Frux Frugas (Fruit of the Earth) wines.

In 2006 Sam and Rose sold the Ulithorpe property, but retained the brand name and first option on the vineyard’s grapes.

They bought a disused 1855 flour mill at Middleton, on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

The mill has been turned into a studio for Sam and a cellar door for Rose’s wines. With one exception these McLaren Vale wines are made from Ulithorne vineyard fruit. The exception is the Ulithorne Chi grenache-shiraz red, which comes from old bush vines on another McLaren Vale property.

In the wake of the 2008 Bushing Queen win and the daring forays into French winemaking, Rose notched up another first last March – becoming the first woman to win McLaren Vale’s Wayne Thomas Scholarship.

The scholarship was established in 2008 and allows the recipient to attend the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course and to serve as an associate judge

at the McLaren Vale Wine Show.

The award honours Wayne Thomas, who died on April 13, 2007, at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer. The father of ace Hunter winemaker Andrew, Wayne was a popular figure in McLaren Vale and Hunter winemaking.

Rose says she is “stoked” at the chance to boost her wine judging skills, in addition to which she is doing a post-graduate masters degree in winemaking at Melbourne University.

Her wine career is a far cry from her first job after growing up in Adelaide.

She went off to Longreach as a governess and cook on an outback station.

That was followed by a return to Adelaide for a business and marketing degree course at the University of South Australia and eight years as a marketing consultant.

During this time she developed an interest in wine, which became a deep commitment after she and husband Sam bought the Ulithorne vineyard.

Winemaker moves on

JIM Chatto last month ended his seven-year term as chief winemaker of Dr John Davis’s Pepper Tree Wines group and took up his exciting new challenge with the McWilliam’s family wine company.

Jim, 40, has been appointed McWilliam’s chief winemaker in charge of the family-owned company’s Australia-wide portfolio.

He will be based at Mount Pleasant winery at Pokolbin and in charge of winemaking at that iconic operation made famous by its founder Maurice O’Shea. He will also remain a consultant to Pepper Tree, where 32-year-old Scott Comyns has taken over as chief winemaker.

Pepper Tree is the centrepiece of millionaire geologist and oil exploration company director John Davis’s wine empire, which includes the Hunter Briar Ridge and Tallavera Grove operations and vineyards in Wrattonbully, Orange and Coonawarra.

CROWNING GLORY: McLaren Vale 2008 Bushing Queen Rose Kentish, right, with mentor, winemaker Brian Light.

CELEBRATED: Winemaker Rose Kentish.

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TRY THIS: Made By Lesley Taylor 

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Address: 27 King Street, Newcastle
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TAYLOR-MADE: Lesley Taylor in her revamped restaurant. Picture: Anita Jones

Open: Tuesday to Saturday, lunch and dinner

Phone: 49292323

Head chef: Lesley Taylor

HER name has been synonymous with Newcastle dining for years and now Lesley Taylor has stamped her mark on the city more than ever with the opening of Made By Lesley Taylor.

The chef began her apprenticeship working under Robert Molines at The Cellar Restaurant before cheffing at Cafe Albion where she earned Newcastle’s first chef’s hat in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.

She then took the helm at Restaurant Deux, before merging the restaurant with the French bistro Le Petit Deux. A year later, Taylor was ready for a new challenge, renovating and relaunching the restaurant with a new menu and feel. Gone is the ramp at the front of the restaurant, which increases the size of the dining area.

But for Taylor the focus remains the food.

‘‘I think this is the best menu I have ever written, even back to Restaurant Deux days,’’ Taylor said.

‘‘I have been able to be more creative and haven’t been restricted by any labels.’’

Below is a selection from the Made By Lesley Taylor dinner menu.

To start: All $20. Seared scallops, sweetcorn dumplings, Jerusalem artichoke, prawn crisp, shimeji jus; blue swimmer crab tortellini, avruga, avocado, bisque; seared duck hearts, cumin, snow peas, braised witlof, glazed onions, capers.

To continue: All $38. Roast snapper,

white beans, leeks, local samphire, clam veloute, crumbed razor clams; seared duck breast, parsnip, hazelnut mayonnaise,

crisp kale, stuffed neck, red wine jam; pheasant, beetroot, cocoa, pistachio

and vanilla crumble, smoked goats

cheese.

To finish: All $15. White chocolate custard, liquorice ice-cream, poached pear, deep-fried meringue; dark chocolate marquise, flavoured toffee shards, berries, coulis; apple fritters, almond cake, apple sorbet, spiced crumble, whipped cream.

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