The Mehajer family’s latest diversion tactic involves balloons, babies and a party

Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer married in August. Photo: Emilio B Photography & Mehajer Pty LtdIn a bid to become Australia’s answer to the Kardashians, the Mehajer family of Sydney’s western suburbs are instead resembling Jim Carrey at the height of his comedic fame. When the pressure from negative news gets too much, the knee jerk reaction is to pull on a happy mask and declare, “It’s party time!”
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P.A.R.T why? Because they gotta.

Days after the parents of former Auburn deputy mayor Salim – Mohamad and Amal Mehajer – declared themselves bankrupt just hours before they were due in court over a $10 million tax debt, the Mehajers banded together over the weekend and staged a glittery smoke screen this time in the form of a baby announcement and sex reveal party.

Just three months after celebrating at a lavish wedding that made a Baz Luhrmann film look like a community repertory production, Khadijeh ‘Kat’ Mehajer and her husband Ibraham Sakalaki have announced they are expecting their first child sometime next year.

Instead of a cryptic social media post, a laLara and Sam Worthington, the couple shared the news by opening up Kat’s usually restricted Instagram account and hosting a “gender reveal” party.

Photos and videos thanking caterers and a dress boutique for providing the mother-to-be with an Alex Perry frock plastered the family’s social media platforms, all except brother and budding Halal certified toiletries entrepeneur Salim, who has deleted his account.

It’s been a busy few months for the couple, who, due to their Muslim faith only began spending time alone together after their marriage back in late August.

“1 + 1 = 3. We are pleased to announce Baby IKS2017,” the new Mrs Sakalaki posted to Instagram in late November, along with a photograph of her cradling a baby bump.

At Sunday’s function it was revealed they have conceived a child that will carry the XY chromosome.

“Whatever it is let’s not be upset,” Ibraham said before popping a balloon filled with blue confetti.

The couple were reluctant to comment when approached by Fairfax Media to discuss the baby news. Instead prefacing an interview with a written statement.

“Ibraham and I are happy to answer these questions so long that we are assured no negative stories/stigma is attached to our story,” Mehajer said.


‘Get stuffed’: Trump’s likely message to Australia taxing US multinationals

KPMG tax partner Grant Wardell-Johnson says Trump would tell the world to “get stuffed” when it comes taxing US multinationals. Photo: Daniel MunozAustralia may have tougher laws aimed at recouping more tax from multinationals, but that won’t stop the incoming US President Donald Trump telling us to “get stuffed” in the fight for more revenue from US-based companies, a KPMG tax expert says.
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President-elect Donald Trump has two major changes affecting multinationals under his tax reform agenda. First, he wants to cut the corporate income tax rate from 35 per cent to 15 per cent.

Second, he wants to introduce a special corporate tax repatriation holiday rate whereby corporations with money stashed overseas would be able to pay a tax rate of just 10 per cent on that income in order to bring it back into the United States.

Such a move would benefit multinationals like Apple and Microsoft which currently have billions stashed overseas.

But it would not be great for Australia, said the leader of KPMG’s Australia Tax Centre, Grant Wardell-Johnson.

Mr Wardell-Johnson said if Trump gets his tax reform passed, it wouldn’t really matter how strong Australia’s laws, or those of other countries, are.

Trump would be likely to be of the view that they can “get stuffed”, he said.

The OECD’ plan aimed at ensuring profits are taxed where economic activity is earned, known as Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), will be implemented by governments around the world over the coming years.

Tax experts have already warned this could usher in tax revenue wars.

This was highlighted in a recent case where the European Commission found Apple was not entitled to a special tax deal in Ireland.

Apple was ordered to pay up to €13 billion ($19 billion) in back taxes, plus interest, to Ireland after the Commission found the software giant had received “illegal state aid”.

Mr Wardell-Johnson said Trump’s proposed policies would increase the odds of such disagreements.

He said the United States had sided with Apple in viewing that decision as being “out-of-step, retrospective and quite extreme”.

Mr Wardell-Johnson said countries that do not cut their tax rates would be “outliers” and this would have a negative impact on their economy.

KPMG chairman Peter Nash said we could see “bidding wars” between nations to attract investment. “We would be very exposed should that [bidding] war erupt,” Mr Nash said.

On Friday it was revealed that almost 700 multinationals with operations in Australia paid zero tax in years gone by.

The corporate tax transparency report published by the Australian Taxation Office showed that more than a third of large public and private companies paid no tax in 2014-15.

The ATO says it is now fighting seven large multinationals for about $2 billion in revenue.

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VIDEO: Youths damage police van in Mayfield rampage

SMASHED: A discarded pram is used to smash a window on the parked police van at Mayfield on Saturday night. Officers were able to identify some suspects and make arrests. Pictures: Supplied.IT was Newcastle’s own chapter of William Golding’s masterpiece about young men falling into a state of anarchy.
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Long-time Stagand Hunter publican Aaron Hogg saidhe was at a loss to explain thebehaviour of a group of out-of-control teens any other way after they smashed windows and kicked in panels of a police van and yelled obscenities at officers.

The youths are believed to have emerged from a house party in a nearby Mayfield street just before midnight on Saturday before unleashing their fury on the parked van as officers were away dealing with other unruly behaviour.

WARNING: Explicit languageA video shot by a witness on a smart phone shows several young men kicking and lashing out at the van, with several of them usinga discarded pram as a missilebefore it eventually smashes a large side window.

They run into the middle of Hanbury Street and Maitland Road, wildly congratulate each other and repeatedly yell “f— the police” before returning for some more flying kicks.

They even grab the pram for a second round, trying desperately to smashed the driver’s side front window before taking off again.

Mr Hogg said he could only compare it to scenes in William Golding’s 1954 novel Lord Of The Flies, about a group of British boys who fail to govern themselves on a deserted island.

“I have been here 13 years and have seen plenty, but this was just anarchy,’’ Mr Hogg said.

“There was probably about half a dozen of them, maybe a dozen at times, all having their own little Lord of the Flies moment.

“Nobody was wantingto belt anyone else, it was all just a big parade to show their disdain to the coppers.

“It was a complete disrespect for any sort of authority that I have neverseen before. It was extraordinary.’’

But the anarchy was restored when officers returned to their car and surveyed the damage.

KICKED: The vision shows several suspects kicking panels of the van as others encourage them while officers are busy dealing with a party.

A police statement said the officerssaw four people running east along Maitland Road and started tochase the suspects on foot.

Four teenage boys were arrested and taken to Newcastle police station were they were questioned and charged.

Two 14-year-old boys,and one 16-year-old youth, werecharged with destroying or damagingproperty in company and granted conditional bail to appear at a children’s court on December 19.

DAMAGED: The footage shows several youths returning to the parked van a couple of times to continue the rampage.

The fourth boy, a 16-year-old boy, was charged with destroying or damaging property in company and refused bail.

Investigations are continuing and any other witnesses are urged to contact police.


EDITORIAL: State government unveils light rail and university expansion plans

HIGH up above the city, at the top of the University of Newcastle’s futuristic NeW Space building, NSW Premier Mike Baird and his transport minister, Andrew Constance, are glowing withgoodwill about the benefits they say will flow from their Revitalising Newcastle program.
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Meanwhile, in the shade of nearby Civic Park, a crowd of about 40 people has gatheredto hear Save Our Rail founder Joan Dawson and other speaks determined to keepup the fight. To them, the Wickham transport interchange, the light rail line on Hunter Street and the promise of new university buildings at Honeysuckle are nothing more than a property grab by the government’s developer mates, paid for with taxpayer dollars. Even at this late stage of the debate, their mantra remains: “Bring back the track”. To be fair to Save Our Rail, they are not the only ones still questioningthe decision to opt for a hybrid light rail that runson the corridor between Wickham and Worth Place before moving out onto Hunter Street and Scott Street. Indeed, the Newcastle Herald has voiced suchconcerns. And the government has only invited criticism by refusing to release key documents related to the Newcastle light rail:especially the business case, which would surely quieten the critics if it turned out to be as strong as the government implies that it is.

As things stand, the community is compelled to take the government on trust.Andtrust is in short supply when it comes to the public and politicians. But there is nothing in it for the government to come here and destroy the place. Having truncated the old heavy rail line, it now needs to make this venture work. Keolis-Downer, which will run the bus, ferry and light rail services, has a contract in which itsincentives are based around patronage. The more passengers it has, the more it will be paid. This alone should be incentive enough to design a public transport system that people want to use.

In the meantime, therewill be delays while the light rail tracks are installed. And the protests will continue, although Keolis-Downer says the usual response in cities that have received light rail is for the protests to be replaced by calls for track extensions. For the time being, though, Monday’sannouncements mark a major milestone on the road to the city’s reinvention. There will be no turning back, as Newcastle embraces its destiny, whatever that may be.

ISSUE: 38,412


Fetch TV launches Australia’s first 24-hour eSports and gaming channel

International team OG, which recently added Australian player Ana (right), won their third Boston Major against up-and-coming Greek team Ad Finem. eGG talent: Pinda Rika, Faisal Ariffin, Natasha Hidayah, Abdul Mu’adz, Danelie Purdue and Faraz Shababi.
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Australian eSports stars are stepping onto the world stage, as our country’s first 24/7 eSports and gaming network has begun live coverage of multi-million dollar international gaming tournaments.

The local launch of the Malaysian-based eGG “Every Good Game” network arrived on Fetch TV just in time for the finals of the Dota 2 Boston Major over the weekend, the first event of the 2016/17 Dota 2 championship season. Three Australian gamers were in the mix as 16 international teams competed for a slice of the $4 million prize pool, playing Valve’s super-popular team-based arena game.

It was an appropriate time for the channel’s launch as OG — the team that would go on to win Sunday’s $US1 million grand final — has an Australian as one if its members. Anatham Pham, who goes by the name “Ana”, became the first Australian to have ever won a Valve-sponsored event.

While competitive gaming is traditionally associated with South Korea and China, it has a growing following in South East Asia including Australia, says eGG’s Australian co-host and eSports commentator Danelie Purdue.

“eSports in Australia doesn’t always get the attention it deserves,” Purdue says. “It has a lot of passionate followers but unfortunately it tends to fly under the radar even though there are plenty of tournaments in Australia.”

“Sometimes it feels like Australian eSports fans have resigned themselves to the fact that it won’t go mainstream but I don’t think that’s true – it perhaps needs a bit of a kickstart and hopefully eGG coming to Australia can play a part in that.”

One of three Australian eSports casters on the eGG network, Purdue works alongside former competitive Call of Duty player Toby “TobiWan” Dawson and Australian eSports promoter David “GoDz” Parker who was one of the first eSports casters to offer English coverage of the Asian Dota 2 scene.

The network offers coverage of international eSports tournaments covering games such as Dota 2, League of Legends, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Along with live coverage of tournaments and highlights packages, eGG also focuses on gaming culture including game reviews, coverage from gaming conventions and couch-based talk shows similar to traditional sports networks.

Competitive gaming is attracting significant audiences around the globe, with 36 million fans watching the 2015 League of Legends world championships streamed live online. While the tournament was streamed on YouTube, twitch.tv and Azubu, with a peak audience of 14 million concurrent viewers during the final, traditional broadcaster BBC also streamed live matches within the United Kingdom.

Purdue moved from Australia to Malaysia last year to become a commentator with eGG. A passionate amateur eSports caster, she took a year off from studying games art and design at Perth’s Murdoch University to move to Malaysia in the hope of landing work as a professional commentator and was offered the job with eGG only a week before she was due to return to Australia.

“It was a big gamble for me, moving to Malaysia to build my connections in the eSports world, but it paid off — it’s a huge opportunity and I really believe Malaysia has the potential to be the eSports capital of South East Asia,” she says. “That could be great news for Australian eSports — we have a couple of players on the world stage but they’re playing for different foreign teams and we’re yet to see an Australian team in there.”

“Right now I’m not sure there’s enough local talent to produce an Australian team but, as with many sports, once a few Aussie players find international success it opens the doors for others to play and train overseas and builds a foundation for a future on the world stage.”

With Tim Biggs


Anger as Inspector Bryson Anderson’s murderer Mitchell Barbieri gets sentence cut

Inspector Bryson Anderson Photo: Kylie Pitt, Hawkesbury Gazette Police conduct a search of the property in Oakville, north-west Sydney, where Inspector Bryson Anderson was fatally stabbed in December 2012. Photo: Mick Tsikas
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Mitchell Barbieri pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Photo: Seven News

Living in squalor on an isolated rural property in Sydney’s north-west, Mitchell Barbieri and his psychotic mother believed the world was out to get them.

Police found notebooks and diaries in their Oakville house, filled with letters to the Pope, Russian President Vladimir Putin, state and federal politicians and TV presenters.

“They existed in an isolated, compromised state emotionally, materially and ultimately as a pair who believed they were both being persecuted in an elaborate global manner,” a psychiatrist found.

When the Barbieris began a violent confrontation with their neighbours on December 6, 2012, and police surrounded their home, one or both emailed politicians to say “corrupt” officers were trying to break in.

Mitchell Barbieri, then 19, murdered Inspector Bryson Anderson when he tried to intervene, stabbing the admired senior officer in the cheek and chest.

Paramedics heard Barbieri say: “Let the copper c— die. F— him.”

He pleaded guilty to murder in 2014 and was sentenced to at least 26 years’ jail, with a maximum term of 35 years.

His mother, Fiona Barbieri, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and was jailed for at least 7½ years.

Barbieri appealed against his sentence, in part arguing the sentencing judge did not properly consider his mental illness, which was “a transferred delusional disorder” influenced by this mother’s paranoid schizophrenia.

In a majority decision, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on Monday slashed 11 years from his sentence, giving him a new non-parole period of 15 years and a maximum term of 21 years and three months.

There was silence in the courtroom as the judges announced their decision, but the Anderson family soon expressed their torment.

“We came here today and were – to use my father’s words – kicked in the guts,” Inspector Anderson’s brother, Warwick Anderson, said outside court.

“How any informed member of the community could possibly think a sentence of 15 years for someone who stabs to death a policeman who turns up to help other people is what the community expects is absolutely beyond belief.”

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said he had written to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Lloyd Babb, SC, asking him to consider an appeal in the High Court.

The appeal judgment said Barbieri had delusional beliefs under the guidance of his mother, whom a psychiatrist described as being “powerful, charismatic and psychotic”.

Justice Carolyn Simpson found the judge erred in considering Barbieri’s “plainly severe” mental illness secondary to his mother’s.

She noted evidence the Barbieris considered themselves to be asylum seekers, and asked for Russian consular assistance after their arrest.

“The evidence I have set out … demonstrates the extent to which the applicant’s involvement with Fiona Barbieri and her dominance over him impacted on his mental condition,” Justice Simpson said, in a judgment agreed to by Justice Lucy McCallum.

The judgment said that, while it was important that sentencing acted as a deterrence, Barbieri’s case was not the appropriate vehicle to do so.

The dissenting judge, Justice Derek Price, said it was open to the sentencing judge to find Barbieri knew what he was doing, and was aware of the “wrongfulness of his actions”.

Barbieri will be eligible for parole in 2034.


Dylan Voller tells royal commission of road trip from hell

Dylan Voller speaking at the Royal Commission on Monday. Dylan Voller being manhandled by staff at the Darwin facility. Photo: ABC Four Corners
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Northern Territory prisoner staff forced a teenage detainee to endure a 15-hour road trip to hell with little water and no toilet stops, the royal commission into juvenile justice has been told.

Dylan Voller told commissioners he had been taken by road from Alice Springs to Darwin and was handcuffed in the back of a stifling hot van with no air-conditioning with only a hot chocolate and sandwich for the journey.

He was forced to defecate in his shirt, while the guards’ cigarette smoke made him vomit from nausea.

“I threatened self-harm . . . choking myself with seat belts,” Voller said.

He also gave evidence about being put in isolation in the Alice Springs Detention Centre and officers refusing his pleas to be let out to go to the toilet.

“I had been asking for at least four or five hours . . . I was busting,” he said. “I had to defecate in a pillow slip.

Voller, now 19, was the teenager who appeared in ABC’s Four Corners program last July, strapped to a mechanical restraint chair and wearing a spithood, and being tear-gassed during a 2014 riot at Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

The image helped spark the royal commission.

His harrowing evidence on Monday has sparked further widespread outrage.

Voller admitted he regularly spat at officers in a state of panic when up to four of them were holding him down and hurting him.

“It was a disgusting thing that I did, I do regret it but it became a mechanism because … I was defenceless, I couldn’t stand up and put them off me,” he said.

“It was pretty much a game for them, restraining us.”

Voller said he had been kept in restraint chairs for up to three hours and an officer who was filming his treatment wearing a spithood would turn the camera off, taunt him, and then start reshooting as he became angry.

He admitted to depression.

“I cut my wrist on one occasion, I tied sheets around my neck at least five times to the point where I passed out and had to be taken to hospital,” Voller said.

“There was no help in Don Dale, I was lonely, I kept being bullied from other officers and inmates.”

Voller,​ now an inmate at the adult prison at Holtze in Darwin, told commissioners how he suffered ADHD as a child and had been kicked out of school as a 10-year-old “and never went back” when he refused to take Ritalin “because it made me sick”.

He was first put into detention at 11 after living in government home home where older boys not only taught him to smoke marijuana but introduced him to a life of crime.

The court heard Voller was regularly strip-searched from the age of 11 and on one occasion was left in a cell overnight with no mattress, sheets or clothes.

“They turned the aircon on full blast, I was freezing all night…. I was actually crying asking for a blanket,” he said.

Voller listed a series of incidents where guards had taunted or abused him. including one occasion when an another individual who previously had been found not guilty of assaulting him had been permitted to return to work at Don Dale. “I put my head down. I couldn’t look at him”.

They included offering water and throwing it on ground and using the refusal of food as a discipline measure.

Voller recalled a guard on night duty taking pity on him after he had been refused food who pushed muesli bars, fruit and toast through his grill in the early hours. “He didn’t agree with them starving me, I guess.”

Voller said as part of the system at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre he had to wear a red shirt denoting he was “high risk” in the behaviour management system, and was told there was no way of appealing his classification.

Teenage detainees could earn up to $4.50 a day if their behaviour was good.

Voller said the jail deducted $1.50 “for rent”.

He claimed the prison had a rewards system where boys would earn fake money for good behaviour, which could then be spent on rent, toiletries, socks, underwear and CDs.

No prison guards were permitted in the Darwin Supreme Court when Voller gave evidence.

Voller will not be cross-examined despite making allegations against 31 guards.

Voller frequently failed to give evidence that tallied with a statement he had provided counsel assisting the commission Peter Callaghan SC, and as hours passed he began blinking frequently as if under stress.

At the end of his of his evidence Voller was invited to read a statement.

However, the audio was muted after he had completed a few sentences.

But when he finished, the public gallery broke into applause.

Earlier, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory heard submissions aiming to stop Voller’s evidence being streamed live across Australia.

Northern Territory solicitor-general Sonia Brownhill made an application to suppress elements of Voller’s testimony from the public broadcast saying he could identify current or former prison employees in his evidence.

Jon Tippett, QC, appearing for former Corrections Commissioner Ken Middlebrook, who resigned in the wake of the Four Corners program, told the hearing that vulnerable witnesses like Voller usually gave evidence behind closed doors but he “wanted to tell his story to the world”.

Commissioners Margaret White and Mike Gooda rejected the applications and Voller began his evidence.

Voller’s legal counsel, Peter O’Brien, told the royal commission his client was determined to give evidence in the most public way possible.

“He wants to give his evidence open and freely with [appropriate] safeguards in place,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr O’Brien told commissioners that Voller had principally sought to give his evidence in person rather than via a telelink from prison.

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Oil rally to roll on after combined cuts from OPEC, non-OPEC producers

Oil prices are set to rise as 11 more countries agree to cut output. Photo: Hasan Jamali The shale oil industry in the United States could undo the price hikes caused by the production cut, but it is too early to know when. Photo: Jacob Ford
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Rising oil prices could rejuvenate the lagging United States shale oil industry, analysts say, a move that would add more supply and work against OPEC’s plan to cut production.

Crude oil prices are set to rise above $US60 per barrel over the coming months after 11 countries agreed to join the OPEC production cut on Sunday. The non-OPEC nations, including Russia, Malaysia and Oman, agreed to reduce output by 558,000 barrels per day two weeks after OPEC’s landmark production cut.

That move saw Brent and West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, crude jump by over 4 per cent to $US56.68 and $U53.97 on Monday.

Oil prices have surged by more than 50 per cent this year and have doubled since Brent hit a low of $US27.88 in January.

“There’s still upside to oil prices despite the rally this morning,” said ANZ senior commodities strategist Daniel Hynes. “Certainly something in the mid-60s is quite achievable over the next few months.”

Energy was the best performing sector on the ASX on Monday, gaining around 3 per cent.

Mr Hynes said the decision by the non-OPEC producers in the early hours of Sunday morning, Australian time, “certainly surprised the market”, and even “more so” Saudi Arabia’s announcement just minutes later that it may cut production to below 10 million barrels per day.

The unilateral decision from the world’s biggest crude producer marked a change of strategy for the Gulf kingdom and was evidence that it is less concerned about losing market share than in previous years, Mr Hynes said.

In June 2014, the Saudi Arabian government upped oil output in order to make American shale oil uncompetitive in response to dwindling market share.

But prices have once again crossed the break-even point for US shale oil producers, and any ramp-up in production could spoil the effect of 22 OPEC-member and non-member countries’ combined output cut.

This will eventually bring down the prices created by the cartel, but that time has yet to come, say analysts.

“The scale of cuts that have been announced over the past couple of weeks would essentially negate any increase from the US anyway and push the market into deficit,” said Mr Hynes.

He added that the potential uptick in the US shale oil industry would remain a medium-term risk, with the oil rig count already trending higher before any overseas cuts had been announced.

“It will be some time before we see the impact of that and the recent price rise,” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by UBS resources and utilities analyst Nik Burns, who said in an email: “We would need oil to be closer to $US60 per barrel to see a large uptick in drilling activity to drive production materially higher.”

“Right now our view is that the current level of shale drilling activity can hold production largely flat,” he said, noting the construction of new shale oil wells would merely offset a decline in output from existing ones.

But when US shale oil producers do return higher output levels as expected, the current price increase will be in jeopardy.

“The gravity of their return will determine where prices top out at,” said Mr Hynes. “That is a headwind that will keep some sort of upside cap on prices in the shorter term.”

However while stocks are already up, the effectiveness of the production cut remains to be seen.

OPEC members met an average of 60 per cent of their commitments across 17 production cuts since 1982, according to Goldman Sachs, with the figure rising to around 80 per cent in recent years.

To solve this problem, OPEC has formed a compliance committee for the new round of cuts comprised of member and non-member countries. #OPEC & NON-OPEC deal to cut production:

Total cut 1,722 kb/d

% of Cut Prod: KSA 28.2% Russia 17.4% OPEC 67.6% NON-OPEC 32.4%#OOTTpic.twitter南京夜网/ZNydCdj3OJ— JEFAIN ALHAJRI (@JRJ_ALHAJRI) December 10, 2016

Regardless of compliance, the establishment of the agreement itself is nevertheless a positive sign, said Mr Hynes.

“There was certainly some scepticism about how non-OPEC producers would be able to come to some sort of agreement, but clearly Russia has been the driving force and has been able to bring others on board.”

The cuts include almost every major oil producer except the US, Canada, China, Brazil and Norway, and will apply to the first half of 2017.


New Newcastle Supercar circuit showcases city’s coastline

Revised Newcastle Supercars circuitCOMMUNITY feedback has prompted the organisers of next year’sCoates Hire Newcastle 500 to modify the 2.6 kilometre Supercar circuit.
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The revisedcircuitno longer crossesPacific Park but now runs the length of Watt Street, winds aroundShortland Esplanade and then cuts into Zara Street beforeheading into Parnell Place.

Significantly, the track still runs through the East Endwhere someresidents fear the event will have a negativeimpact on their lives.

Revved up: The revised 2.6 kilometre Supercar circuit no longer cuts through Pacific Park but runs the length of Watt Street and winds around Shortland Esplanade before cutting back into Zara Street.

But NSW Premier Mike Baird encouraged the race’sopponents to consider its benefits.

“Let me tell you they can rent their places out for a fortune,” he said during a visit to the city on Monday.

The newtwistingcircuitis designed to better showcase the city and itscoastline to more than 200 million viewers worldwide next November.

“This is a world-class circuit that will make for exciting racing for the people of Newcastle,” Supercars chief executive James Warburton said.

“We can’t wait to come to Newcastle and deliver great entertainment on and off the track and showcase the city to the rest of Australia and the world.”

New race circuit for Newcastle 500 supercars | VIDEO BEFORE: The initial V8 Supercar Newcastle track.

AFTER: The revised 2.6 kilometre Supercar circuit no longer cuts through Pacific Park but runs the length of Watt Street and winds around Shortland Esplanade before cutting back into Zara Street.

TweetFacebook“Newcastle City Council thanks the community for their feedback to date. Consultation will continue to minimise any disruption while ensuring the track highlights the best of Newcastle including its famous coastline,” she said.

“With the date and track now locked in we can look forward to planning the next 11 months before the Supercars take to the streets showcasing Newcastle on a global stage.”

Initial road upgrades will begin in late February.

Construction on footbridges and other infrastructure will begin about six weeks out from the event.

Community information sessions to discussthe next stages of planning process will be held at Crowne Plaza, Newcastle onTuesday between 4.30pm and 8.30pmand Wednesday between 8am and 12pm.


Nutri-Grain ironman series: Redhead’s Daniel Collins one top-10 finish away from grand final place

DANIEL Collins believes he needs onemore top-10 Summer of Surf finish to make the national ironman series final after bouncing back with agut-busting seventh at Torquay.
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COMEBACK KID: Redhead’s Daniel Collins heads out again during the gruelling ironman final of the Torquay round of the Summer of Surf series on the weekend. Picture: Shane Myers

The Redhead clubbie from The Junctionovercame early setbacks at the Victorian raceon Saturday and a first-heat exit at Fingal Bay last month tomoveto 10thoverall butfourth among those not already qualified for the national ironman series decider at Cronulla on February 24-26. The 20-year-oldand clubmate Isak Costello, who was 16that Torquay and now 15thoverall, are chasing top-five finishes among non-qualified athletes in the Summer of Surfto make thethree-round 40-man grand final.

Collins, who was eighth at Newport in round two,was hunting one more top-10 result at North Wollongong (January 6-7) or Surfers Paradise (February 4).

“If I can get another top 15, top 10, that will probably secure me a spot,” Collins said.“That’s the goal, to get in another final, get some more points and lock it down.”

“I was really happy to get in the mix again and I’m looking forward to the next couple of rounds.”

Collins had to work hard on Saturday for his bestresult in the ironman series.

SPENT: Daniel Collins after the ironman final at Torquay. Picture: Shane Myers

“I didn’t get much luck in the whole race,” he said.

“I led the first swim, then I got hit by a couple of waves on the board, then missed a couple on the way in.

“I wasn’t having a lucky day, then that last ski leg I workedmy way into a good spot, then got down a wave right after I turned the can, then the run up the beach absolutely killed me. I was very spent after that.”

It followed a disappointing exit in big surf at Fingal Bay in round three.

“I got smashed onmy ski on the way out in my heat, I got hit by a four-foot set, lost my ski and there was nothing I could have done,” he said.

“I was in the wrong spot at the wrong time, but that’s the surf, that’s racing.”

The race at Torquay, which was a straight-out final that doubled as the Jim Wall Memorial, was the only endurance format on the circuit and took in two legs each of run, swim, board andski.