Ban on synthetic drugs comes into effect

A STATE-WIDE blanketban on synthetic drugs came into effect this week.
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The banmakes it illegal toto produce, sell or promote any substances that have apsychoactive effect, regardless of their chemical make-up.

While many of these substances were previously available for purchase over the counter, anyonepeddling these substances now faces tough penalties, including up to two years in prison or more than $38,000 in fines.

The new laws also give police the power to search and seize any psychoactive drugs, in thesame way police can search for any illicit drug.

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan welcomed the new blanket ban.

“Our ban on synthetic drugs will help save lives,” she said. “These drugs had been passed off as safe, legal highs when in reality they’re just dangerous chemical cocktails”

“Many residents came to me and shared their harrowing experiences of loved ones using synthetic drugs.”

Jacinta Allan

Synthetic drugs are designed to mimic the effects of illicit drugs like cannabis and ecstasy, while trying to avoid existing drug control measures.

The substances have been linked to increased hospital emergency admissions and a number of deaths in the past few years.

The World Health Organisation has indicated the harmful effects of synthetic drugs can include seizures, heart problems, withdrawal symptoms and addictions and blood-borne diseases.

The state government has also stepped up its fight on ice dealers with new laws that reduce the amount of ice required for commercial trafficking offences also commencing this week.

These ice reforms are mirrored by the changes to heroin trafficking quantities that were announced yesterday, as a part of the Drug Rehabilitation Plan.

Large commercial traffickable quantities for ice have been cut from 750g to 500g of pure methylamphetamine, and from 1kg to 750g when mixed.

Commercial traffickable quantities have been reduced from 100g to 50g of pure methylamphetamine and from 500g to 250g when mixed.

Anyone convicted of large commercial trafficking faces a maximum of life in prison, or up to 25 years for commercial trafficking.

Brett Ratner files defamation suit against rape accuser

Producer and director Brett Ratner has filed a defamation suit against a woman who claims she was raped by him 12 years ago.
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The defamation suit was filed in Hawaii’s Federal Court and relates to a posting on the woman’s Facebook account, which has since been deleted.

The suit says the defamation arises “from the defendant’s deliberately false and malicious accusations that plaintiff raped the defendant ‘about 12 years ago’,” according to media reports.

Earlier this week six women alleged in a report in The Los Angeles Times that they were either sexually harassed or sexually assaulted by Ratner.

The woman involved in the defamation suit, Melanie Kohler, is not one of the six women in The Los Angeles Times report.

The defamation suit alleges Kohler “on or about October 20, 2017, recklessly and/or intentionally posted a statement on her Facebook page claiming that ‘Brett Ratner raped [her]’.”

In her Facebook posting, Kohler said she had met the director at club in Los Angeles 12 years ago.

According to the suit, Kohler alleged that Ratner “preyed” on her when she was drunk.

“I’m embarrassed, humiliated, ashamed, and wish I could go back to forgetting it ever happened,” Kohler wrote. “But if I do that, if we all do that, then it keeps happening. We have to come forward.

“I can’t be an advocate for women speaking out if I don’t speak out, too,” she said.

The lawsuit calls the rape allegation “deliberately false and malicious.”

The posting was deleted by Kohler after she was contacted by Ratner’s Los Angeles-based lawyer, Martin Singer.

Singer told the trade publication Variety he did not threaten Kohler, but said she could “be sued if she didn’t take it down.”

Kohler subsequently deleted the post.

Singer is not representing Ratner in the defamation suit; the suit was filed on Ratner’s behalf by attorney Eric Seitz.

The defamation suit comes as Ratner is fighting accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct by six women, including actresses Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn.

TheLos Angeles Times has published accounts by Henstridge, Munn and four other women, detailing encounters with the 48-year-old producer in which he either forced himself on them, performed lewd acts or spoke crudely about his sexual activities.

Ratner is one of a number of high-profile Hollywood men swept up in a scandal which began when Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Allegations have also surfaced about now former Amazon executive Roy Price, director James Toback, producer Chris Savino and actors Dustin Hoffman and Kevin Spacey.

Henstridge told the newspaper that Ratner had “strong-armed” her into performing oral sex on him during an encounter at his apartment in New York.

Ratner’s lawyer, Martin Singer, denied the claims in a statement sent to The Los Angeles Times.

Singer said he had represented Ratner for two decades and in that time “no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment [and] no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement” from him.

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[email protected]: ASX to open higher; Powell confirmed by Fed

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

The uneven climb in risk trends this past week saw some of its speculative leaders falter through the US trading hours Thursday. That moderation is unexpected considering the headlines that global investors were to digest through the day. The GOP released its tax reform plan looking to fulfill one of the key, economy-supporting agenda line items of the past year’s campaign – a pledge that has also played a critical role in the US market’s climb since last November’s election. The list of themes that can hearten global sentiment through the final session of the week is short, but it does include the ever-popular change in US payrolls. Locally, the sharemarket is due to open higher to finish the week.

1. Wall Street: US indices were little change don the day heading into the twilight hours of trade Thursday. Then again, the dip registered by the likes of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were exceptionally modest and did little to truly sour the fact that record highs were set as recently as 24 hours before. Though these benchmarks have yet to seriously stumble, the drop in participation as a measure of conviction continues to weigh on enthusiasm for a subsequent run. Volume behind shares, futures and key ETFs has suffered steady down trend over the past week. That won’t trigger any immediate fear so long as VIX continues to hover around 10 and event risk doesn’t catch the market wrong footed with dramatic surprises.

2. US monetary policy: US monetary policy has dominated the entire second half of this week. The most explicit update on this very overbearing theme was Wednesday’s FOMC rate decision. However, the nature of that event was defused given the market’s clear expectation for its outcome. No hike in November but maintenance of a very high probability (98 percent according to Fed Fund futures) chance of a move at the December 13 meeting. That wouldn’t be the end of it however. The longer-term view of US policy and its early carry currency status will be heavily influenced by who is leading the group. That stewardship will be under Jerome Powell starting next year after US President Trump announced his choice following weeks of speculation. Powell rarely deviated from Yellen’s vote and differs most clearly when it comes to regulation – he supports deregulation. And of course, the final trading day of the week brings the States’ monthly payrolls. Always good for volatility, but its dubious that this figure can materially alter the outcome of the next policy meeting much less pace for the next two years.

3. BoE hikes rates: The Bank of England rose rates for the first time in a decade, but that was not enough to keep the sellers of sterling at bay. Sterling fell against all G10 peers while UK sovereign debt known as gilts were bid as markets pushed back expectations of the next interest-rate hike to November 2018. The Aussie rose 1.5% against the sterling, and the Kiwi rose almost 2% against GBP.

BoE governor, Mark Carney was among the 7-2 majority to vote for the right hike, but the Monetary Policy Committee dropped reference that the rate may need to rise further than markets anticipate. Sterling will remain subject to Brexit negotiations, and the current market pricing in of two increases by 2020 could drop on disruptions in the Brexit process, and taker sterling down too.

4. Bitcoin surpasses $US7,000: The rise in Cryptocurrencies continues to make market veterans uncomfortable. On Thursday, Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein both commented on bitcoin as it rose above $US7,000 for the first time. Blankfein said he had, ‘a level of discomfort’ with bitcoin, but said he was also uncomfortable with mobile phones when they surfaced whereas Thiam said that bitcoin was the ‘very definition of the bubble.’

The rise of bitcoin this week at a mere 21% (weekly range: US$US 5,496-7392 per XBT) was naturally helped by news that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced it was planning to launch bitcoin futures soon helping to bring regulation to the lucrative market. Market participants are enthused that this development could bring billions of institutional money into the cryptocurrency market.

5. The Australian Dollar: The local currency was the top performing G10 currency against the USD on Thursday. The US Dollar was hit starting with Thursday morning’s FOMC (Wednesday afternoon the US) that was quickly followed with rumours of a Jay Powell-led Federal Reserve who is seen as the continuity candidate to carry the torch for the Federal Reserve. Either way, the Australian Dollar has had a positive start to November, up by nearly 1% against the USD and seeing the biggest round of buying in nearly three weeks. The gains were on the back of AU trade and building data beating forecasts ahead of Tuesday morning’s RBA announcement where the market is bringing in a 99% chance of no change in monetary policy.

6. ASX: Futures are pointing to a 14-point gain at the open. While record highs from the S&P 500 and recent, sudden surges from the Nikkei 225 and DAX draw the indices glory; the ASX 200 has one of the most cleanly delineated technical patterns on the asset class. The three week follow through on the October 13 break through a five-month range resistance(5,800/5,815) has extended a bullish move up to a much larger technical ceiling. Around 5,975; we find a flat trendline that has connected peaks from 2008 to 2015 to the current year. Though few usually scale up to monthly charts. It is not difficult to miss the technical relevance. It takes a lot to make a break of this magnitude productive, and the struggle seen amongst global risk assets means this can be a difficult move to facilitate. Don’t write off a break, but do maintain some degree of skepticism when it comes to follow through.

7. Commodities: Iron Ore that had been sold aggressively found support on Thursday. Iron Ore has been the odd man out as metals like Zinc, Aluminum, Copper, and Nickel have gained over 20% this year. Iron Ore has tacked together three straight days of gains in Dalian as traders hope to see a revival for lower-quality iron ore after the China curbs ease. The view comes from looking at future premiums for May 2018 against January that shows after winter that China demand may break higher after the seasonal effects wane. Iron Ore has spent the last two weeks retreating gains over the summer on China’s fight to curb pollution.

8. Market watch:

SPI futures +0.24%, or 14 points, to 5933 points

AUD/USD moved 0.534% to 0.7717 – Session High: 0.773 Session Low: 0.7673

On Wall Street: Dow Jones 0.12%, S&P 500 -0.13%, Nasdaq -0.24%.

In New York: BHP 1.9%, Rio 0.88%.

In Europe: Stoxx 50 -0.23%, FTSE 100 0.9%, CAC 40 -0.07%, DAX 30 -0.18%.

Spot Gold moved 0.18% to US$US1276.97 an ounce.

Brent Crude moved 0.36% to US$US60.71 a barrel.

US Crude Oil moved 0.29% to US$US54.46 a barrel.

Dalian Iron Ore moved 1.26% to CNY442.5 a tonne.

Iron Ore delivered to Qingdao moved 0.74% to US$US59.79 a tonne.

LME Aluminum moved 1.16% to US$US2185 a tonne.

LME Copper moved 1.33% to US$US6930 a tonne.

10-Year Bond Yield: US 2.35%, Germany 0.37%, Australia 2.65%.

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

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Killed because of ‘a heart that didn’t care enough’

Nathaniel Price’s family spoke in court on Thursday.
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The family of high-speed crash victim Nathaniel Merritt-Price has told a Melbourne County Court of the emotionally crippling change his death caused.

Gemma Sargent, 20, appeared in court on Thursday for a plea hearing ahead of her sentencing for culpable driving causing death and negligently causing serious injury.

She was speeding with four passengers when her car rolled on NewYear’s Eve 2015, killing 19-year-old Price, onBuninyong-Mount Mercer Road.

Another passenger, Joelene Bounday, was left with permanent brain and back injuries.

Nathaniel’s father, Rod Price, read a victim impact statement out to a packed court room on Thursday.

“Myson Nathaniel has been ripped from my family and circle of friends,” he said.

“There is a room that is empty (at home), and a seat at the table that is vacant.

“I want to place on record the despair that is part of me every day.”

There were 16 victim impact statements submitted to the court.

Nathaniel’s mother, Susan Merritt-Priceread her statementthrough tears as she told the court she had hoped her son’s death was a sick joke in the days following the crash.

“My worst nightmare came true on New Year’s Day, 2015,” she said.

“The thing I dreaded most as a mother happened…it was because of the foolish actions of a heart that didn’t care enough.

“My 19-year-old boy who should’ve lived to bury his parents (died).

“Nathaniel was a timid driver, he would have hated endangering others on the road.”

Gemma Sargent

Sargent was remanded in custody after a jury found her guilty on September 7.

She appeared in the Ballarat Country Court via video link for the hearing.

The 20-year-old was heavily pregnant and already had one child when Price, pictured right,was killed.

Defence solicitor Jamie Page told the court his client was remorseful for her actions.

“She has made an absolute tragic mistake with consequences that affect many, many people,” he said.

“She is still young, still has prospects–she is soon to be a mother of two.”

“So the remorse is both for the consequences of her actions and the decision-making that took place.

“Being pregnant in custody and childbirth makes custody all the more difficult, that’s what makes it more onerous.”

Ms Bounday watched the hearing from Ballarat, with prosecutor Pat Bourke reading her victim’s impact statement to the court.

“Not only did I lose my best friend, I lost my life,” her statement said.

“I have been left with two broken bones in my back, I have got scars all over my body.

“I still have a scar from a hole in my leg, which no one knows the cause of.”

Joelene Bounday

Media watching the hearing from Ballarat were unable to hear Mr Bourke’s full argument, because the video link from Melbourne was turned off.

Speaking outside the court, Ms Bounday said she hoped Sargent would be “put away” for a long time.

“It changes my life, it changed me dramatically–she has no remorse,” she said.

Sargent was first committed to stand trial for the crash in November last year.

Paramedics and Country Fire Authority members attended the scene.

Emisha Lloyd and Jarred Sargent were also in the car.

Sargent overtook a car, which was travelling about 130km/hr, when she lost control.

Nurse Jennifer Cameron attended the scene following the crash and told the court two passengers said the car was travelling too fast.

Judge James Montgomery adjourned the case for sentencing to a later date.

The Courier, Ballarat

Winter returns: snow, hail forecast for Tasmania

More snow is on the way for the West Coast and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park on Friday and Saturday. Picture: Cordell RichardsonWinter weather will return with two cold fronts predicted to cross the state on Friday and Saturday.
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The first cold front will approach from the west on Friday and will bring snow down to 800 metres in the north and to 500-600 metres in the south of the state.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a bushwalkers warning for hazardous conditions inthe western and central plateau districts (West Coast and Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park).

Wintry weather on the way for #Tassie, with a cold front approaching #Brrr. Several warnings issued for tomorrow: https://t.co/NHL3HY0zFOpic.twitter南京夜网/kgUIG3Z4Fa

— BOM Tasmania (@BOM_Tas) November 1, 2017

The west and south of the state will see around 10-15mm of rain withup to 20mm in elevated areas in the west.

Small hail is possible across the state on Friday.

Another cold front will cross the state on Saturday morning bringing cooler temperatures and snow to 1000 metres in the north and 600-700 metres in the south.

Further road warnings may be issued over snow and frosty conditions over the weekend.

Weather warnings will be updated.

RELATED COVERAGE:

Snow down to 100m | pictures, photosReaders capture snowfalls in TasmaniaNorth-West weather: snow continues at Cradle MountainThe Advocate

Curtains close: Kirby family sell Sorrento cinemas

It is the end of an era in cinema ownership circles, with Village Roadshow founders and owners the Kirby family disposing of two picture theatres, including a historic ex-hall in Sorrento which it controlled for more than 70 years.
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The dynasty is understood to be banking more than $10 million for the assets, occupied long-term by the entertainment giant, and offered to investors with leasebacks of 10 years with options.

About 91 kilometres south of the CBD, the Sorrento complex at 26-36 Ocean Beach Road was built by Isaac Bensilum in 1894 as the Athenaeum Hall, where it hosted artists performing while on holidays.

On a 1120 square-metre block, the asset with three show screens was offered as an investment returning starting annual rent of $235,186.

A little closer to town in Rosebud, also on the Mornington Peninsula, a five-screen cinema capable of accommodating almost 800 moviegoers, has also found a buyer. Some 75 kilometres from the CBD, on a 2800 square-metre plot at 30 Rosebud Parade, behind a row of shops on Nepean Highway, this asset returns a net yearly income of $278,805.

CBRE’s Rorey James, Justin Dowers, Kevin Tong and Nic Hage marketed the sites.

In September, it was reported Village Roadshow would bank about $100 million selling (on a leaseback) Gold Coast theme parks: Warner Bros Movie World, Wet ‘n’ Wild Gold Coast, Paradise Country and Village Roadshow Studios.

YCH lists another ex-hostel

Yarra Community Housing is offloading another prime inner-city holding, this time in Fitzroy North.

The 11-bedroom former hostel at 5 Michael Street is expected to sell for between $2.5 million and $2.75 million following a campaign by Jellis Craig’s Bev Adams and Peter Batrouney.

Marketed as a grand renovation rescue prospect, in a prestige location, the wide Victorian occupies a 356 square-metre plot near the Queens Parade shopping village.

Earlier this year an investor who in 2015 paid YCH $4.8 million for another historic double-storey at 34-36 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, applied to build a 10-storey, 72-unit apartment complex, behind the facade.

Donvale investor keeps $9m in the neighbourhood

A Donvale resident who inspected an investment property in his suburb 48 hours before an auction scheduled yesterday outmuscled four serious groups to snare it for $8.95 million.

The 4800 square-metre landholding at 77-79 Mitcham Road, configured with a 7-Eleven service station and a car wash, returns annual rent of $382,547 and is changing hands on a 4.27 per cent yield.

With 73 metres frontage to the road where an estimated 23,000 cars a day pass, and less than a kilometre from the Eastlink motorway, the property also was marketed for its medium-term redevelopment potential.

CVA managing director Ian Angelico sold the site before a large crowd for $400,000 over reserve.

Developers circling Pompei’s famous boat shed

The historic Mordialloc property known as Pompei’s Boat Shed – for years operated by late angler and boat builder, Jack Pompei OAM, is said to be in post-auction negotiations with a handful of the developers who watched it pass in last week.

The spectacularly located 973 square-metre holding, abutting council land and the Mordialloc Creek, was listed last month with vacant possession – ending a family association with the site which began in the 1930s.

Jack became a custodian of the Mordialloc Creek, once joking it was so clean fish would develop tears in their eyes as they swam it.

It was from this workshop that the angler, who couldn’t swim, set out to rescue hundreds of distressed Port Phillip Bay users (when Victoria’s Water Police was established in the 1970s, Jack was made an honorary member).

The property is opposite a statue and bridge named after the local celebrity.

The boat business, now run by Jack’s family, has agreed to sign a short-term leaseback on the building upon any sale.

The campaign for 557-561 Main Street, run by Teska Carson’s George Takis and Michael Taylor, was said to have piqued the interest of numerous developers. It is expected to sell for more than $3 million and make way for a three-level building, likely with shop-top apartments.

Mattioli Group offloads Balwyn office for $7.6m

Another office investment in a blue-ribbon Melbourne suburb is selling on a low yield.

In Balwyn, the Mattioli Group is banking $7.55 million from the sale of a new four-level complex on the corner of Balwyn and Belmore roads. At the edge of a retail strip, the 838 square-metre building is configured with three shops on ground level and basement car parking.

Based on the building’s annual rental return of just under $350,000, it is changing hands on a 4.4 per cent yield.

Vinci Carbone director Frank Vinci said the asset still offers depreciation benefits. He said the campaign attracted a mix of more than 80 local and international private investors and syndicates.

The deal comes a week after the Bloom family, founders of the Portmans retail chain, sold a double-storey retail and office complex at 131-133 Glenferrie Road, Malvern, for $7.85 million, against a $6.5 million guide price.

In Hawthorn, local developer Benson Property Group has applied to build a five-level apartment complex on the site of a low-rise Burwood Road office which it bought for $10.5 million earlier this year.

Burgundy Plaza sells on 1.75% yield

A local Chinese syndicate fended off more than 25 groups, said to have included hardware giant Bunnings, to secure Heidelberg’s Burgundy Plaza at auction for $14.4 million.

The purchase price – $4 million over the reserve – puts the transaction’s yield at a low 1.75 per cent.

With 11 ground level shops and upstairs offices, the complex at 101-111 Burgundy Street sits on a 2520 square-metre Commercial 1 zoned site with a 31-bay car park.

On a corner block, the centre was marketed for its redevelopment potential – the agents suggesting the airspace could make way for an approximate 10-storey tower in the longer term.

CBRE marketing agent Mark Wizel said that to receive more than 25 offers totalling more than $220 million for a strata retail asset “with limited immediate development potential in a suburb with a median house price of only $760,000 four years ago suggests growing demand from buyers looking to secure landholdings with long-term future development underpinned by nearby employment options, retail and transport amenity”.

The site was marketed with colleagues Lewis Tong, Nathan Mufale and JJ Heng with Miles Real Estate’s Paul Evans and Tim Mitchell.

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Sir Reginald Ansett’s grazing property to fetch $40m

The last parcel of Sir Reginald Ansett’s former estate, a 22-hectare beachfront grazing property in Melbourne’s bayside Mount Eliza, has been put on the market with expectations around $40 million.
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Equity Trustees, which manages the R.M. Ansett Trust, will offload the large block of vacant land to free up funds for the trust, which donates to charities that run child-focused programs and scholarships.

Sir Reginald was best known for founding Ansett Airlines, which collapsed in 2001.

The land between Kunyung Road and Port Phillip Bay is next door to the 8.9-hectare former home of University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Business School.

The university sold the Business School, which features a historic waterfront mansion, to New Zealand’s Ryman Healthcare last year for nearly $40 million.

It was originally established as a country estate called Moondah by James Grice in 1888. Ryman plans to convert its grand 42-room mansion and numerous outbuildings into an aged care facility.

The trust’s 22.3-hectare block sits between Moondah and Sir Reginald’s original residence, an 11.7-hectare estate called Gunyong Valley, which the trust sold in 2006.

Gunyong was purchased by retirement village operator Charles “Chas” Jacobson for $14.5 million to turn into a holiday compound for his family.

A small portion of the trust’s land has direct access to Moondah beach, which adjoins Sunnyside Beach, a popular bathing site for nudists.

The area is covered by a green wedge zone that severely limits future development. It stretches across four titles between the coast, Kunyung Road and Albatross Avenue about 45 kilometres from Melbourne.

“Through this process we plan to release the value in the land and invest it back into the community,” Equity Trustees managing director Mick O’Brien said.

“The land is currently vacant and has been historically used for grazing.”

The expression-of-interest sale will be handled by professional services firm EY.

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100 million coffee cups needed to start recycling program

The takeaway cup holding your morning flat white could soon be turned into outdoor furniture, building materials, or food trays.
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Australians have recently been grappling with the fact at least one billion disposable coffee cups end up in landfill each year because the thin plastic lining often stops them from being recycled.

Stacked end-to-end, one billion coffee cups would stretch 120,000 kilometres, or three times around the world.

Environmental solutions company Closed Loop is hoping to ease the overwhelming waste problem by February, through its Simply Cups initiative, which aims to collect 100 million cups to start up a commercially viable recycling facility.

Since a public campaign in Sydney and Melbourne’s financial districts last year, Simply Cups has collected paper cups from large companies such as ANZ and Australia Post, from schools, universities, and office buildings like the Rialto building in Melbourne and Herbert Smith Freehills law firm in Sydney.

Now 7-Eleven has announced it will put Simply Cups recycling bins in 200 of its stores, at universities and construction sites from March next year, with the aim of recycling the 70 million cups its consumers use each year.

Simply Cups’ Rob Pascoe said the program had been collecting cups for four months, using them to trial a recycling method which separates the paper and plastic. It then turns the paper to valuable pulp, and the plastic to a form that can be used in other items.

The machinery will be running by February, and will process between four and six tonnes of cups a day at a plant in Adelaide, or in a mobile facility that will go interstate.

Mr Pascoe said people were still shocked to discover coffee cups cannot be recycled through council depots.

“I think people believed in paper cups, and it was one of the main reasons we changed from polystyrene cups about 10 years ago,” Mr Pascoe said.

“People were thinking ‘that’s great, they’re paper and they can be recycled’, but they can’t.”

Simply Cups also wants to put 100 million of its own cups into the market, with 1?? from every cup used to fund the recycling, and is encouraging other big businesses to sign up to their collection service.

It also supports the use of reusable cups, like KeepCup, which experienced a 403 per cent increase in online sales after the ABC’s War on Waste program aired.

Environmentalist Tim Silverwood, the co-founder of marine pollution action group Take 3, said there should be a greater focus on phasing out single use items.

“It’s things like plastic straws, plastic cutlery, plastic take-away containers. It’s just not on, in this day and age, to be producing items that we use for a couple of minutes that last on our planet forever.”

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Amazon’s real business is not about retail

About 100 aspiring start-up founders and team members gathered at Amazon’s Sydney office on Park Street this week.
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Top venture capitalists such as Blackbird’s Samantha Wong and AirTree’s James Cameron, and other industry figures, traded war stories and shared their views on the best ways to fund and grow a tech business.

Contrary to the narrative that has haunted much of corporate Australia over the past year – that Amazon is finally coming to these shores in the next few months – Amazon is already here, and has been for a while.

Arguably its most transformative (and certainly its most profitable) business unit – Amazon Web Services – has been up and running in Australia for five years now. It counts many of our best known companies (Qantas, Atlassian and Fairfax Media) as clients.

The event in Sydney this week provided an insight into AWS, one of the key pillars of Jeff Bezos’ $US520 billion ($677 billion) corporate empire, and a critical part of the AWS strategy – it wants to make itself indispensable to the next generation of the world’s great companies.

With an estimated 35 per cent global share of the market it operates in, it is well on the way to achieving that aim.

AWS provides “cloud computing” services to companies big and small. Its biggest “client”, it is often said, is Amazon’s own e-commerce operation, the business for which the Seattle giant is best known.

Essentially, AWS allows a firm to rent much of the digital infrastructure it needs to operate (including servers, and the databases and applications that run on them) from one of the world’s most successful tech companies.

AWS services include everything from storage to security and even artificial intelligence capabilities.

Outsourcing this infrastructure and these functions, rather than trying to build them in-house, frees up resources, which a company can redeploy into more important, value-adding activities. For start-ups, typically losing money as they scale, and sometimes still striving to find a fit between their product and a market, this can be hugely beneficial.

“You really want to focus on what your business actually does,” Chris Sharkey, the chief technology officer of Autopilot, a marketing automation start-up, told me on the sidelines of the event. “Servers and all of that is fun to talk about, but it really doesn’t make that much actual difference to your business, unless it goes wrong.” Seductive appeal

The seductive appeal of AWS was perhaps best illustrated when Netflix (a company that prides itself on its technical prowess) migrated the guts of its streaming service from its own infrastructure to Amazon’s.

In Australia, almost all of the discussion surrounding Amazon has centred on its impact on the retail sector. Earlier this week, a federal government minister warned it would “monitor Amazon closely” to ensure it would not rack up losses to undercut competition.

Yet many investment analysts believe AWS is where the real value in Amazon lies.

Since the company started splitting out AWS as a separate entity in its financial results in mid-2014, Amazon shares have more than doubled, easily outpacing the broader US market. Its most recent financial results explain why.

Last quarter, AWS generated $US2.98 billion in operating income, more than double the profit generated by Amazon’s US retail operations, and completely offsetting the losses it generated from retail in international markets.

But AWS’ growing dominance has created some unease.

For example, Chamath Palihapitiya, a respected start-up investor who runs venture fund Social Capital, has described AWS as a “tax on the compute economy” (which is somewhat ironic since Amazon itself doesn’t pay much tax).

He argues Amazon’s e-commerce business was really just a way of “dog fooding” their real raison d’etre: AWS.

Start-ups are an important customer cohort for AWS. The company estimates that 42 of Australia’s top 50 tech companies use AWS.

Amazon courts emerging tech firms with generous credits for AWS services, which can total thousands of dollars. These grants helped Autopilot relocate many of its operations from San Francisco to Sydney, Sharkey says.

The rise of AWS has helped underpin the start-up boom under way here and around the world. Due in no small part to AWS, it is now cheaper and easier to build a global business than ever before.

But it also means Amazon’s technology is embedded into the beating heart of more and more companies, including existing competitors (like Netflix) and start-ups that, in theory, might eventually pose a threat to its dominance.

Does this mean AWS could be a trojan horse for Amazon to stifle its competitors? Or rather, that it has a vested interest in the long-term health and success of its customers?

“I think AWS makes Amazon an effective shareholder in every business that sits on its platform,” says Andrew Macken, a portfolio manager at Montaka Global, which holds Amazon shares. “This is why they are such an extraordinary business – the likes of which we’ve never seen before.”

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

‘We desperately want to pay more’ says Wesfarmers chief

NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn at the NAB branch at 333 George Street, Sydney, on 1 November 2017. Photo:Jessica HRomas. The NAB full results are announced tomorrow on the ASX at 8am. (NOTE- THIS IMAGE IS TO BE EMBARGOED TILL 8AM Thursday 2 November)Wage growth is unlikely to pick up from record lows without a lift in productivity, some of the country’s most senior business leaders warned amid a fresh round of corporate job-shedding.
Nanjing Night Net

National Australia Bank said it would axe 6000 jobs over the next three years on Thursday, and Seven Network also announced significant cuts to its workforce, in a sign of the deep-seated changes rocking key sectors of the economy.

Against a backdrop of wage growth that is barely ahead of rises in the cost of living and a call from the ACTU for a new “living wage” to replace the minimum wage, business leaders maintained the best way to encourage stronger growth in pay packets was to encourage business investment, and promote efficiency.

NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn presented a plan to cut 6000 jobs by 2020, in response to the rise of automation and digital financial service. At the same time, the bank says it will hire 2000 people over the period and invest an extra $1.5 billion upgrading its digital capabilities.

Mr Thorburn said the changes were needed to set up the bank for long-term success, as the industry faces pressure to automate tasks that were previously completed by people, and competition from technology firms.

On the outlook for wages, Mr Thorburn said growth was unlikely to lift unless there was an increase in productivity and pushed for measures to lower business costs.

“I think until businesses start to invest, like we’re doing, and you start to get productivity improvement and efficiencies, then we’re not going to really see real wage growth,” Mr Thorburn said.

“What I hear from a lot of our small business clients is the cost of compliance, and regulation, is growing too much, and that’s a really significant cost, so there’s an opportunity there.”

Productivity refers to the economy’s output from its labour and capital – business groups have complained that productivity growth has been weak in Australia in recent years.

Chief executive of Coles’ owner Wesfarmers, Richard Goyder, said it was a “reality” of capitalism that wage growth would not pick up unless profits were also healthy.

“A lot of the people on low wages are employed by retailers. And we desperately want to pay them more – because that’s good for them, their families, and their security,” Mr Goyder told the National Press Club in Canberra.

“But you only can do that through growth in productivity. And you grow productivity by having competitive tax systems, a competitive industrial relations system, the micro and macro economic reforms the country needs.”

Seven Network executive chairman Kerry Stokes also underlined the pressure on pay and jobs in media, where revenues are being crunched because advertising dollars are flowing to digital giants including Google and Facebook.

Seven said it would make “$25 million of annualised recurring cost savings from headcount reductions, which will commence in the 2018 financial year”.

“There will be certain jobs that will be eliminated, there are certain jobs which will pay less in the future,” Mr Stokes said.

The job cuts on Thursday came after the Australian Council of Trade Unions made a push to replace the minimum wage with a “living wage” to help low-paid workers keep up with rising costs of housing, utility bills, and health case.

The union peak body argued argued a living wage should be set at 60 per cent of median wages – which would equate to $738 a week for the lowest-paid workers, $80 a week more than the current minimum wage.

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