Sydneysider combats $6.4m buyer’s remorse with bigger buy

A week after Pally Beauty Laser Clinics owner Feng Wei Guo and Biyu Lin took possession of the Killara mansion they’d paid $6.36 million for in April, the home of architect Jorge Hrdina and his wife Diana hit the market just 500 metres down the road.
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Not content with their historic Federation residence, known as The Gables, the couple bought the Hrdina home instead.

And so they did, paying well above the $7 million guide set by Scott Farquhar, of McConnell Bourn Lindfield, to outlay $7.38 million for the contemporary and recently built residence with tennis court and swimming pool.

The home is on almost 1800 square metres on dress circle Springdale Road.

By the time the second purchase was completed the couple from China had outlaid a total of $13.74 million for real estate in the leafy upper north shore suburb, and paid more than $842,000 in stamp duty to state government coffers.

Records show three days after Feng and Biyu moved into their new residence, they returned their former, albeit brief, home to the market. They then listed The Gables and set a $6 million guide ahead of a September auction.

The Gables sold for $6.38 million, offering a $20,000 gain in six months, all of which would have gone towards the $385,690 stamp duty on the sale.

All up the three registered sales are the second, third and fourth highest sales this year in the leafy prestige suburb, topped only by the $8.8 million paid in May for an estate in Arnold Street.

Killara was the location of another quick resale this month when the historic Federation property Poitiers was resold just six months after the buyer from China purchased it.

Hongjuan Li bought the property with approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board in March for $5.45 million from the family of former Wallaby captain Stirling Mortlock.

Six months later it was resold by Glenn Curran, of McGrath, for more than $6 million, reflecting a $550,000 gain in value in six months.

It was sold to the local family who were left as the underbidders when it first sold this year.

Mr Curran said the vendor had relisted the property when it became apparent the historic property would require restoration and maintenance.

Killara’s median house price has peaked at $2.9 million this year thanks to a 9.4 per cent rise in values in the past 12 months, according to Domain Data. Related: Upper North Shore record toppled by $12 million Warrawee saleRelated: O’Neil family sell their Point Piper playground after 60 yearsRelated: Chinese buyer who paid $5.45m in June just resold for $6 million

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Fury as 85 school staff read they had been sacked in newspaper

Dozens of people rallied outside a Uniting Church office in Brisbane after more than half the staff at a Townsville Indigenous school criticised by a royal commission were given the sack.
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The group of about 50, brought together by the Independent Education Union, stood outside the Milton office on Thursday morning calling for compensation for the 85 staff members let go at Shalom Christian College.

Earlier this month, the school announced it would be closing its secondary school and no longer taking boarders, following a review.

According to IEU Queensland president Andrew Elphinstone, the teachers and school staff found out their jobs would not be renewed next year from a story published in a Townsville newspaper last Monday.

“It is a shame they haven’t had a chance to solve the problems, they are just walking away from it,” he said.

It is understood approximately 125 staff were employed at the school, with 85 cut as of next year in line with the closure of Shalom’s secondary school and boarding facilities.

“The interesting thing for the school is that they are catering for this difference but now they are walking away because it is too hard to support the kids,” Mr Elphinstone.

The Townsville school was part of the child sex abuse royal commission regarding the alleged gang rape of a 14-year-old girl on campus in 2006.

Speaking to the commission last year, the child’s parents said the college had not looked after their daughter’s interests medically, psychologically or legally and counsel assisting the royal commission harshly criticised the school.

Former Shalom principal Christopher Shirley was questioned about his handling of the incident and told the commission he guessed there “would probably” be “five (sex assault allegations) a term, 20 a year”.

In a statement published to the Uniting Church website, Reverend David Baker said the closure was the result of an eight-month renewal strategy process for the school.

“The College will shift its focus to primary education only from next year, with secondary schooling to cease from the end of the current school year,” he said.

He said Uniting Church would work with the Department of Education and Training along with the private school sector to find places for students throughout Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

“We’ll also reach out to nearby schools to help our valued staff secure employment opportunities,” he said.

“This will no doubt be distressing news for many people, and we apologise to those who will be affected by the changes.”

Mr Elphinstone said many of the schools in the area may not be able to cater to the students.

“Shalom is a boarding school and has a significant number of kids who come from regional and remote areas,” Mr Elphinstone said.

“It was set up to focus on Indigenous education.”

The Uniting Church took over the school in 2013 after its previous owners, the Congress Community Development and Education Unit went into voluntary administration.

– With AAP

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Marlin bite excites

FISH OF THE WEEK: Finlay Taaffe wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this beautiful whiting hooked in Swansea channel last week.Fishing has been spectacular off Nelson Bay this week with a great marlin bite over the Shelf.
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Brent “Hammer” Hancock, from Tackle World Port Stephens reports a mixture of blues and stripes teased, tagged and talked about coming straight out the front of the bay on the shelf.

“This time of year it’s not unheard of, but it’s been like a January or February style bite,” he said.

“Plenty of boats catching them.

“Steel Lambert got seven bites and caught three during the week.

“The boys on White Dog, Josh Sowter got six bit and caught two over the weekend and then caught three on Tuesday.

“Also Tuesday, the crew on Glaucus went four from five, three stripes and one blue.

“And I heard reports of fish caught on Wednesday.”

Intel from out wide suggests water temps up aorund 24 degrees, not much current and plenty of bait fish.

“It all depends on the weather, whether you can get out there and into it,” Hammer said.

“Looking at forecast, there’s supposed to be stiff nor-easters on Friday and Saturday, but there could be window on the Sunday.

“As long as the current doesn’t run hard like it did like the last two years, the fish should hang around.

“But you can’t predict it this early into the season. Whether it’s a false dawn or the dawning of a super season,you can’t say, but we’ll take it.”

Pretty flyHammer is just back from his annual foray up to Fraser Island where this year he helped his 10-year-old daughter Lilly catch her first ever black marlin.

“There were plenty about and you didn’t have to go far offshore to find them.

“We saw juveniles swimming around in less than three metres of water.

“Along with a whole range of other species like long-tail tuna, tiger sharks and manta rays.

“It’s a special place.”

Hammer likes to tease up the marlin to the back of his boat and throw flies at them.

“It’s a fun way to fish for marlin and you get a lot of bycatch with things like spotted mackerel and lots of tuna.

“The amount of blacks up there is hopefully a good sign of what makes its way down to our waters next year.”

Cool runningBack in local waters and contray to the hot bite out wide, it’s been a bit of a different story inshore

Typical of the prevailing nor east wind pattern, the water has gone cold, shutting down the fish a bit.

“It’s been a bit tough on the snapper fishing,’’ Hammer said.

“Reds have still been turning up but more often in the shallows – 10-20m range of water depth.

“Even though it’s cold, there’s been a few nice kingies caught too, up to 16kg. You’ve got to work for them but they have been there.”

Moon talkThere’s plenty of school jew about and with the full moon due next Monday and evening high tides scheduled, it will be well worth a shot in the bay, lake and along the beaches, if it’s not too blowy.

“Early morning just before the wind comes up is also a good time to target jew, just on the tide change,” Hammer said.

Inside the estuaries are fishing well for flathead, with some great fish about.

Whiting are going well on the beaches and shallows.

Studious typeCongratulations to Joshua van Lier, from Australian National University, who took out the 2017 John Holliday Student Conservation Award at an event held at the Port Stephens Fisheries Institute last Friday.

Joshua won the award for his paper titled ‘Importance of soft canopy structure for labrid fish communities in estuarine mesohabitats’.

Dry as it might sound,this kind of research is crucial to informing decisions on aquatic habitat and fish conservation issues. And I could think of worse environments in which to study.

The award is open to post-graduate students who are enrolled at Australian universities and undertaking fisheries-orientated research in NSW.

The award will be available again in 2018. Joshua’s research earned him a $3000 cash prize.

For more information or to view previous applications, visit the DPIwebsite.

Cod forbidThe Murray cod season opens today Friday, December 1, following the annual three month breeding closure.

The country’s largest freshwater fish is found in theMurray-Darling River system and is a prized catch for many intrepid Hunter anglers.

The three-month ban is implemented each year in all inland waters other than Copeton Dam to protect the species during breeding season.

DPI re-stocked over 920,000 fish last year and similar numbers of Murray cod are planned for release this season.

A daily bag limit of two Murray cod per person per day and a total possession limit of four applies when fishing in any inland waters.

‘Cruel’: Education to axe 36 jobs, more cuts likely

The federal education department will axe 36 jobs and more cuts will probably follow soon as it struggles to meet a $17.6 million budget shortfall.
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A government-imposed efficiency dividend has forced the agency into the decision before Christmas, and it is feared that staff will have to compete for positions in a “fill and spill” arrangement where positions are cut and public servants have to apply for remaining jobs or seek work elsewhere.

Consultants have identified positions to shed and are still moving through the Department of Education and Training to earmark more cuts, the main public sector union said.

The department confirmed it was trying to meet its budget allocation, and would have to make decisions about its “optimal structure”.

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“Staff in areas currently being restructured have been consulted on the process, and have been kept informed at all steps towards the transition to a new structure – including those staff currently on leave or temporarily working in other agencies,” a spokesman said.

Community and Public Sector Union deputy secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch blasted the timing of the cuts, saying it was cruel to have Education department staff fighting for positions as Christmas neared.

“That budget hole is there not because this agency has been wasteful with its funding but because the Turnbull government keeps cutting its funding each and every year and yet somehow expects services won’t suffer,” she said.

The latest cuts come after the federal budget in May revealed the department would axe 49 additional jobs this financial year.

The Coalition projects Education’s spending will drop by $3 million per annum this year and another $25 million a year by 2020, when it expects the agency’s expenses will fall to $358 million.

Education, which employs about 1900 staff, was “making every effort” to avoid involuntary redundancies and redeploy people internally or to other agencies, Ms Vincent-Pietsch said.

“But staff are understandably worried, especially since this appears to be just the beginning,” she said.

“It says a lot about how Commonwealth agencies are run under this government that Education could afford to hire private consultants to tell it where the axe should fall, but can’t afford to retain the staff who actually do the work.”

The Education department said it was supporting staff impacted by the cuts.

Its cuts emerged in a week Coalition senator Eric Abetz dragged public sector job losses back into debate by saying agencies should shed more staff despite slashing 3500 jobs last year.

After a report released on Monday showed the government had reduced its headcount to 152,095, the conservative backbencher said no “noticeable” impact on service delivery had followed Coalition cuts since 2013, a claim rejected by unions, Labor and experts.

Follow Doug Dingwall on Twitter.

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Regulator bans pelvic meshes

Late: Pelvic mesh campaigner Gai Thompson says the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s decision to ban prolapse mesh devices is “too little, too late”.Suffer in Silence: Our campaignAUSTRALIA’Speak medical device regulator has banned all transvaginal pelvic mesh devices to treatprolapse in women but the move is “too little, too late”, say womenwho have complained for years about devastating complications following mesh surgery.
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“Why has it taken so long?” said Gai Thompson, of Sydney, after the Therapeutic Goods Administration announced it was removing the last mesh devices on the market to treat prolapse in women after childbirth, implanted via the vagina, because of little or no evidence backing their safe use.

The TGA said it was also cancelling single incision mini-slings to treat stress urinary incontinence after evidence the risks to women outweighed the benefits.

The move follows years of complaints by women leading to several high-profile class actions involving at least 1300 Australian women, an unknown number of confidentialsettlements with doctors, and an on-going Senate inquiry launched after Victorian Senator Derryn Hinch described pelvic mesh as “the greatest medical scandal” against Australian women.

Inits statement on Wednesday, after sustained public criticism of the regulator by women dealing with the consequences of mesh surgery, the TGA said the move came after it reviewed the latest published international studies of transvaginal mesh devices –implanted via the vagina rather than abdomen –of each device supplied in Australia.

“The TGA is of the belief that the benefits of using transvaginal mesh products in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse do not outweigh the risks these products pose to patients,” the TGA said.

While the ban includes single incision mini-slings it does not extend to mid-urethral slings regarded as the “gold standard” for treating stress urinary incontinence. Despite evidence supporting the benefits of the mid-urethral slings, a significant number of women are registered in a legal class action against Johnson & Johnson alleging serious complications from the use of one of its most popular mid-urethral slings.

The TGA announcement comes just weeks after the regulator announced it was moving to shift all transvaginal mesh devices in Australia, to treat prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, to a high risk classification.

The TGA issued cancellation notices, and notices to impose conditions, on a number of manufacturers on Wednesday, with the ban coming into effect from January 4. The devices can be used until then, and manufacturers have 90 days to appeal.

The TGA said it had overseen the removal of 45 transvaginal mesh devices since it launched a review in 2013 following global controversy about the devices.

Mrs Thompson, who was implanted with a Johnson & Johnson Prolift device in 2008 leading to catastrophic injuries, complained to the TGA in 2011 but said her complaint was simply filed and not taken seriously.

“The TGAtreated us with complete disdain. A group of usmet with them in May last year and they were so dismissive, just like the doctors have been dismissive. For years we’ve been saying these devices have destroyed women’s lives, and no-one was listening,” Mrs Thompson said.

“The only reason this is happening now is because of the publicity. They have been so condescending. How many women have had their lives destroyed because these people didn’t act when they should? Why were these devices ever let on the market when clearly there was no evidence they could be safely used?”