People not a priority in privatisation game

Mark Morey, secretary of Unions NSW
Nanjing Night Net

Good government is all about setting priorities.So what does that say about the Berejiklian government’s decision to privatise the new hospital inMaitland?Especially when it is spending a whopping $2.5 billion knocking down and rebuilding relatively new Sydney football grounds?

It says this government doesn’t really care about services like health, education and transport.It says this government is more interested in providing games for inner-city residents than delivering on the basics for people in the regions. In short, it says everything we need to know.

Let’s be clear about what the privatisation of theMaitlandHospital means. Regardless of whether the operator is a big corporation or a religious not-for-profit entity, it will be running the hospital on the same type of contract. That contract will allow the new operator to extract a financial surplus – money for them that could and should be going into the provision of services.

We know from experience what happens under hospital privatisation: patient care suffers; cleaning happens less often; the standard of food slips; patients have to wait long periods for assistance because there aren’t enough staff to move them.

These arrangements don’t even deliver better value for money to the taxpayer. According to the Auditor-General, the 1992 privatisation of Port Macquarie Hospital resulted in the state “paying for the hospital twice and giving it away”. Costs were 20 per cent higher than those in the public sector, and risk was lumped with the government and NSW taxpayers.

While the NSW government’s argument for privatising hospitals has always been threadbare, it rested on the simple assumption the government should no longer be in the business of providing public health services.

Now, however, the claim that the state is too broke to run hospitals has been blown apart. The money has always been there – it’s just that Ms Berejiklian wants to spend it on something else, on a different set of priorities.First it was Parramatta stadium, knocked down and rebuilt.Now it will be Allianz Stadium – only 29 years old – knocked down and rebuilt.And the final insult: ANZ Stadium will be knocked down and rebuilt just 17 years after it hosted the Olympics.

Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s nothing better than a day at the footy.But even the most ardent sports fan can see the Premier’s $2.5 billion stadium program is one of the most obscene, disgraceful exercises in wasteful spending in the history of NSW. This is not an error of judgement, or a silly decision made in haste. The stadium program has been years in the making, and involves the highest-ranked people in government. And the privatisation of our assets is how they are paying for it.

I’m sure selling hospitals and rebuilding sports stadiums plays well for the Premier in the boardrooms of Sydney. The Premier will probably get an extra glass of champagne at the SCG Trust Christmas drinks this year. Maybe Ms Berejiklian needs to get out of the boardroom and see what life is like for the rest of us who don’t get a free ticket into the corporate suites for State of Origin.

Communities around the state have already rejected the NSW government’s hospital privatisation agenda. Bowral, Goulburn, Wyong and Shellharbour have already said “no” to privatisation.

It’s the Hunter’s turn to send Ms Berejiklian a clear message: your priorities are all wrong Premier, and it’s time to start putting people first.

Mark Morey is the secretary of Unions NSW

OrotonGroup collapses into administration, joining Aussie retail bloodbath

Oroton’s board hasn’t managed to find a viable way out of the retailer’s financial woes. Photo: Nic WalkerIconic handbag retailerOrotonGroup has gone into administration, becomingthe latest casualty in Australia’s retail bloodbath.
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The company said on Thursday morning that an eight-month strategic review failed to find a viable option to secure its future.

Its 59 Oroton stores, including the one at Westfield Kotara, will continue to trade as usual while administratorsDeloitte Restructuring Services pursue a sale or a recapitalisation, the company said.

Oroton has suffered falling sales in recent years and racked upa $14.2 million loss in 2017.

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Thecompany’s shares, which went into a trading halt on Tuesday while the boardfinalised the result of its review, had fallen from$7.80 in early 2013to $2.44 a year ago. On Monday, they closed at just43¢.

Interim chief executive Ross Lane, whose grandfather Boyd Lane founded Oroton in 1938 and whose family holds 21 per cent of the company’s shares, said management was unable to find a better outcome than voluntary administration.

“The board is disappointed that it has had to take this step after running such a comprehensive process,” he said.

“However…. it is apparent that voluntary administration is necessary to protect the Oroton business and the future of this iconic Australian brand.”

AdministratorVaughan Strawbridge said he and hiscolleagueGlen Kanevsky would be focused on continuing to operate the business as they seek to sell or recapitalise the company.

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Restructuring the group was a possibility, and “our ambition is that a stronger Oroton business will emerge from this process”, Mr Strawbridge said.

Oroton joins a string of mid-sized fashion retailers to collapse over the past 18 months, with Marcs, David Lawrence, Herringbone, Rhodes & Beckett,PaylessShoes and Pumpkin Patch all going under.

Oroton said in August that it would close itssix Gapfranchise clothing stores so it could focus on its core handbag brand.

The company’s stock is tightly held, withfund manager and long-time company backerWillVicars, of Sydney-based firm Caledonia, owning18.2 per cent of shares.

Gazal Corporation, the listed wholesaler of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen andPierre Cardin apparel in Australia,bought 7.3 per cent of Oroton in July.

A privatisation bid by the Lane or Vicars camps, or a takeover from Gazal, were all floated as possible outcomes from the review.

The company had net debt of $5.4 million at the end of FY17, and a market capitalisation of $18.3 million at its last share price. The 31 per centshares in free float had a value of just $5.7million.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Variety launches coffee initiative in Civic Park | PHOTOS, VIDEO

GRAND OPENING: Variety Australia launched their mobile coffee van in Civic Park alongside a Newcastle Senior School market stall, with free coffee under the midday sun. Picture: Isaac McIntyreCivic Park hosted the launch of the Variety Australia mobile coffee van on Tuesday morning, with a crowd of CBD workers turning out for the free coffee drive.
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Hosted by Member of Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp, alongside Variety’s Head of Regional Development Jason Bourke, the event is planned to be the first of many as part of the Community Building Partnership program.

“It’s a fantastic new addition to Newcastle,” Crakanthorp said of the mobile coffee van. “$20,000 to get this amazing machine. It’s a group effort with Jason [Bourke] and some very discounted beans from Crema Coffee Garage.”

“It’s good publicity for Variety in the park, and getting their brand out there to make sure that both they and the school that they are partnered with get a lot of exposure. We [were] right in the middle of the park with a lot of red, so it really stands out.”

Variety launches coffee initiative in Civic Park | PHOTOS, VIDEO OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

OPEN: Variety’s free coffee van was an immediate hit in Civic Park at their grand launch. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

TweetFacebookPlenty of love for the @VarietyAU coffee van handing out free drinks at #CivicPark until 11. Even @crakanthorp is serving cappuccinos. pic.twitter南京夜网/ce0MPQ7ox5

— Isaac McIntyre (@isaac_mcintyre6) November 29, 2017

The next appearance of the Variety mobile coffee van will be at Christmas carol events over the coming weeks.

If you are interested in hiring the van for events, contact Variety on49654911.

Silvio Berlusconi debuts new face

Silvio Berlusconi is making a bid to re-enter politics and what better way to show he’s ready for it than with a brand new face. Italy’s former Prime Minister, who at 81, has already weathered a number of controversies, including serial sexual harassment claims, tax fraud and the infamous bunga-bunga parties, is showing no signs of slowing down with his completely refreshed visage.
Nanjing Night Net

No stranger to heavy makeup, (foundation and eyebrows are very much on fleek) Berlusconi emerged on Sunday to attend a right wing political meeting and an Italian chat show with a face that would not be out of place at a Madame Tussauds exhibition. His gleaming teeth and what looked to be sprayed-on hair framed what is possibly the tightest face in politics.

And there has been stiff competition. President Donald Trump, 70, looks to have undergone multiple surgeries, including what looks to be a major face-lift, nose job and teeth replacement. His ex-wife Ivana Trump confirmed this in a court deposition, saying under oath that her then husband flew into a rage because of the pain of scalp-reduction surgery, adding that Trump underwent liposuction for his chin and stomach.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden, 75, emerged only two years ago with a startlingly smooth forehead, leading one plastic surgeon to comment that he’d “Bet his pay cheque” that Biden had undergone a brow lift. Let us not forget former secretary of State, John Kerry, who in 2013, vigorously denied multiple claims he’d had fillers put in his cheeks.

If these men have in fact had something done, it would make a certain type of sense. Journalist Paul Begala’s statement, that “politics is show business for ugly people” has entered the lexicon for a reason, and that reason is ego. It’s interesting to note, however, that public life in all of its forms now requires more of men, or rather, men of a certain age are feeling vulnerable to the culture’s obsession with appearance. It’s a grim gender reversal, aren’t we all used to scrutinising women for having had too much work? And aren’t we then accustomed to spurning them if they don’t age as gracefully as we would wish?

But it is perhaps a sign of the mainstreaming of plastic surgery, which means we can expect more work and more denials.

Still, if these men intend to deny they’ve had anything done, they should probably put more effort into their excuses. Might we suggest following the lady’s lead and putting it down to “lots of water” or “sunscreen” or, the fabulously modest “good genes”, followed by a shrug.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hope new test will reduce cancer deaths

ALMOST 102,000 women in the Hunterare overdue for a pap test ahead of a new cervical screening procedure being rolled out from Friday.
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Experts claim the newfive-yearly test is more accurate than its predecessor, with cervical cancer deaths expected to reduceby 20 per cent.

Morethan 18,000 women in Newcastle alone are overdue for a screening test, data shows.

Professor David Currow,chief executive of the Cancer Institute NSW, said the new test detectedthe presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that may cause cervical cancer.

“The previous pap test could only detect changes in the cells once they had occurred, whereas this test will allow us to identify and monitor women with HPV, who may be at a higher risk of these changes occurring, while women who are negative for HPV will have five years before their next screen,” Professor Currowsaid. “The new test will ensure women are one step ahead of cervical cancer.”

He encouraged thoseoverdue for screeningbook an appointment for the new test as soon as possible.

“We know that eight out of 10 women diagnosed with cervical cancer have not had regular screening. Don’t let this be you,” hesaid.

NSW chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, also urged women to speak with their GP about the Cervical Screening Test.

“Cervical screening has been one of the great public health success stories of our generation, halving both the incidence and mortality rates for cervical cancer,” Dr Chant said.

Professor Karen Canfell, director of research at Cancer Council NSW, said the new program was “excellent news” for all women.

“Recent results from Australia’s largest clinical trial, Compass, have shown that the new Cervical Screening Test is substantially more effective than the pap test,” she said. “Our research also tells us that the renewed program will reduce cervical cancer cases and deaths by at least 20 per cent. Australia has been a leader in this space for decades, and it’s exciting to see us at the forefront of cervical cancer prevention again.”