Monthly Archives: October 2018

Waratahs sign 120kg ‘wrecking ball’ Taqele Naiyaravoro

Rugby-bound: At 120kg, Wests Tigers’ Fijian winger Taqele Naiyaravoro is bound to make an impact in rugby. Photo: James AlcockThe NSW Waratahs have recruited a 120 kilo winger from the Wests Tigers who, besides having the speed and power required to score Jonah Lomu-like tries, was blessed with the ice-cool nerves and safe hands  needed to deliver a baby.

Imposing 23-year-old Fijian-born Taqele Naiyaravoro, who stands 190cm tall and was linked to Cronulla and Canberra before he accepted the Waratah’s offer, was recruited by the Wests Tigers from New Zealand two years ago where he played union after a Kiwi talent scout spotted him starring for his school team in Suva.

Naiyaravoro, who had terrorised his opponents in the NRL’s second-tier NSW Cup competition, faced fierce competition for a spot on the Wests Tigers wing behind Pat Richards, David Nofoaluma and Marika Koroibete. The club gave him an immediate release on Wednesday to try to break into the Super 15 – a challenge Naiyaravoro will start when he turns up to his first training session on Thursday.

“It’s very exciting,” he said.  “I watch the rugby and the Waratahs are an exciting team that likes to run the ball …  I would like to think I can add to their attack.

“It’s a great opportunity to play in the top tier and I will give it my best shot. I have to do my medical and will wait to see what the Waratahs want from there. I just can’t wait.”

Naiyaravoro, who was born on Yasawa Island – where the Brooke Shields movie Blue Lagoon was filmed in the late 1970s – planned to seek out former rugby league international and AFL convert, Israel Folau, for his insights.

“I haven’t spoken to Israel yet but I would like to have a chat because he’s done very well in rugby,” he said.

The flying Fijian proved he had ice water running through his veins 10 months ago when he was forced to deliver he and his wife Ethel’s  daughter, Ella, on his own.

“The contractions were bad and I suddenly had to man up and deliver Ella,” he said with a laugh. “It was frightening but also phenomenal – the greatest thing I have ever done. To see her being born, and to be helping, was incredible … I had no alternative but to do what needed to be done.”

His manager Tyran Smith said the quietly spoken winger was  “pumped” about signing with the Waratahs and was determined to make the most of what he called an incredible chance for Naiyaravoro to make the most of his ability and skills.

“He is going into this with a great attitude,” Smith said. “He sees it as a great opportunity, he’s grateful for it and his determination to succeed is very strong.”

There were high hopes for Naiyaravoro when he joined the Wests Tigers two years ago. The club’s strength and conditioning coach Luke Portese compared him to another NRL wrecking ball – but there was a twist. ”He’s like T-Rex [Canterbury’s Tony Williams] but he’s faster,” Portese said last year. ”He’s just so big and fast.”

However, the return of Richards from eight years in the English Super League and the emergence of Nofoaluma as a crowd-pleaser made it hard for Naiyaravoro and other wingers to break into the Wests Tigers top squad.

He attributed the blistering speed that should amaze Waratahs fans when he gets his chance to play to “nature” and “school”.

”I ran for the track team at school but I think it is just natural,” he said. ”I was sent to Suva from Yasawa to go to school but I found I loved playing rugby union and running the 100 and 4×100-metre relay.”

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Nyrstar conditionally approves $350 million SA smelter redevelopment

Nyrstar conditionally approved the $350 million transformation of a South Australian smelter at Port Pirie, 220-kilometres north of Adelaide.Port Pirie smelter history in pictures: MEGAGALLERY

A $350 million transformation projectto upgrade a lead smelter at Port Pirie, 220-kilometres north of Adelaide, has been conditionally approved subject to finalisation of state government agreements.

Nyrstar, who operates the smelter,held a meeting in Belgiumon Wednesday and released their first quarter 2014 interim management statement.

“During Q1 2014 Nyrstar completed its final feasibility study for the proposed redevelopment of the Port Pirie smelter into an advanced metals recovery and refining facility,” the statement said.

“Subject to finalisation of all agreements relating to the funding and support package, the Nyrstar board has approved the redevelopment.”

Nyrstar was informed by the South Australian government that final cabinet approval hadbeen obtained to provide contingent support for the full amount of the third party funding.

“Nyrstar and the South Australian government are in advanced stages of finalising the agreements providing for this critical element of the proposed redevelopment,” the statement said.

“The South Australian government has advised Nyrstar that these documents will be executed by no later than 16 May, 2014, at which time the final investment decision will be announced by Nyrstar and the South Australian government.”

The state government was quick to respond to the outcome, with TreasurerTom Koutsantonis applaudingthe decision by the Nyrstar board as an importantstep toward a major redevelopment of the 125-year-old smelter facility at Port Pirie.

“Nyrstar has been able to make this important decision for the healthy future of Port Piriebecause of the certainty provided by the three-party agreement reached in December 2012,” he said.

“Since reaching that agreement the state government has been able to provide Nyrstar withthe regulatory certainty it required to make this crucial investment decision.

“The state government last year provided major development approval for the transformationproject after a thorough environmental assessment of the proposal.The continued commitment of the state government to the financing package was critical insecuring Nyrstar Board approval for this redevelopment.

“I look forward to continue working with Nyrstar toward an agreement between the companyand the state government for a financial deal that secures future production at Port Pirie.”

The future of the Nyrstar smelter was a key negotiating point for Port Pirie-basedindependentMP,Geoff Brock, when he was tasked with the decision to support a party to form minority government after a hung parliament at the South Australian state election in March.

Port Pirie community members hearing of the news on Wednesdaycould not hide the smiles on their faces.

“This is wonderful,” local Rotary Club president Barb Camporeale said.

“It’s just great news,” Port Pirie Regional Council’s events coordinator Rhys Millington said.

“It’s good for Port Pirie,” bottle shop worker and Lions Football Club member Damien Foster said.

Business owner Emanuel Protopapas also said the news was “great” and he doesn’t care where the money is coming from.

“Whoever funds it, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

“Port Pirie has been bleeding for so long.

“I ran into Member for Frome Geoff Brock the other day and I said I don’t care who he is supporting, as long as the electorate of Frome gets something.”

FederalMember for Grey welcomed the Nyrstar announcement, describing it as “great news” for Port Pirie and the state.

But he did not comment on the Federal Government’s Export and Finance Insurance Corporation no longer being required.

He said “the deal has changed” since Premier Jay Weatherill “announced” he would underwrite the loan in his agreement with Member for Frome Geoff Brock.

“That has some (financial) implications for South Australia,” he said.

“But in terms of the local outcome, however the deal is put together, it is a positive outcome.”

Port Pirie Regional Council Mayor Brenton Vanstone welcomed the announcement and said it was “very positive news”.

“This is the fourth in a series of definitive and positive steps,” he said.

“The first being government underwriting the loan, the second the lead and air concentrations bill 2013, the third was the development approval and the fourth was this statement saying the board has approved the project,”he said.

Mr Vanstone said all they are waiting on now is investment approval.

“The technology transformation of the Nyrstar Port Pirie smelter will mean the economic consolidation of the city of Port Pirie,” he said.

Port Pirie Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mark Hanlonsaid theeconomy will gain a “fantastic” boost from the Nyrstar and state government announcements about the smelter transformation project.

After learning of the latest developments, he said: “It is all very positive news, but I still look forward to the first stone being turned at the smelter at the start of the transformation.”

He said the decisionwould be ”absolutely fantastic” for the city’s economy, adding that it would bring 400 workers into the town to build the project.

“It will give the confidence that this community needs to move forward again without negativity,” he said.

Source: Port Pirie Recorder

Newsreader Ian Ross a ‘gentleman’ across the channels

Ex-Seven newsreader Ian Ross was remembered as always being a ‘gentleman’. He died aged 73 after a long battle with cancer. Photo: Courtesy of SevenWith his death, as with his life, Ian Ross showed a rare ability to unite the television industry.

Colleagues from both Nine and Seven, where he spent most of his career, put aside network allegiances to mourn his passing, with many repeating one word that explained his almost universal respect: He was, they all agreed, a “gentleman”.

“An absolute gentleman,” said newsreader Sharon Ghidella. “Such a gent,” said reporter Robert Ovadia. “One of the true gentleman of the business,” said radio presenter Trevor Sinclair. “An absolute gentleman. RIP,” added director Peter Skillman.

“Ian was just a very nice … wonderful man,” said Mark Ferguson who worked alongside Ross at Nine and then in opposition to him when the veteran newsreader swapped over to Seven.

“He had that great ability to bring warmth and sincerity to stories, but he also had a wicked sense of humour … you just couldn’t help but warm to him.”

Generous with his time and experience, Ross helped many colleagues with advice and tips, Ferguson said.

“He had a great ability and willingness to share his knowledge,” Ferguson said.

“I often do school visits these days and one of the questions I get from youngsters is who has inspired me in my career and Ian Ross is always the first name I mention.

“He spent countless hours giving me tips, advice, things that I still hold onto today … what a great guy.”

And to the viewers who didn’t know him personally, but trusted him implicitly, he was that and more.

Ross was an unflappable television presence in times of disaster or crisis, able to deliver the news calmly, clearly and objectively.

He was a trusted voice at the newsdesk, a former on-the-road reporter viewers knew was reliable with good news and bad, who shared a joke when appropriate, delivered often terrible news with care when he had to.

And no matter who he was reporting on, from pauper to prince, he treated everyone fairly and with the respect they deserved.

He was, as those who knew him attest, a consumate newsreader. And a gentleman.

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‘Green-lighting hate speech’: John Robertson on changes to Racial Discrimination Act

Opposition Leader John Robertson: “No good can come from lowering our own nation’s defences against racial or religious intolerance.” Photo: Ryan OslandNSW Opposition leader John Robertson has questioned the Federal Government’s proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, saying they risk “green-lighting hate speech”.

In a submission to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Mr Robertson said he had serious questions about the Liberal Government’s motivation in proposing the changes to s18c of the Act.

“As far as I can tell, the government has chosen to take its marching orders from the likes of Andrew Bolt, who argue that our racial discrimination laws should not be used to support a “victim mentality” among multicultural groups or comfort hurt feelings,” he said.

“It is bad enough that the Liberal government seeks to fix a feature of the current Act that isn’t broken. Even worse, the protections you want to wind back risk green-lighting hate speech. They let those who would engage in racist taunts off the leash.”

Mr Robertson said the proposal to remove the words “offend, insult and humiliate” would drastically narrow the definition of racial abuse.

He said the existing law strikes the right balance between freedom of speech and protection against racial discrimination.

“Removing the reasonable and good faith requirement opens the door to purveyors of hate, sloppy journalists and those whose arguments wilfully ignore the facts, such as Holocaust-deniers,” he said.

“So many Australians have come to this country from troubled parts of the world mired in war or sectarian conflict. No good can come from lowering our own nation’s defences against racial or religious intolerance.

“It is increasingly difficult to escape the conclusion that these changes have been concocted simply to placate right-wing commentators.”

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$80 million gets washed out to sea in Sydney’s massive stormwater drain

An archive photograph from the NSW State Library shows people crossing a flooded street in Alexandria. Photo: Supplied Water surges through the area: The big wet that’s all about to change thanks to a massive new drain. Photo: Supplied

The dream of a grand canal connecting Botany Bay with Circular Quay has gone down the drain – an $80 million stormwater drain that will prevent the new town of Green Square from being flooded. Ever since the area was settled nearly 200 years ago, residents of Alexandria and Zetland have battled floods that regularly occurred on the low-lying swampland only 4 kilometres south of Town Hall. Early residents complained of the threat of typhus as rising waters washed cesspits into farms and homes.  It was the grand vision of 19th century city planners that Alexandra Canal, which funnels 48 per cent of the city’s stormwater out to Botany Bay, would be extended to create a grand waterway from Botany Bay to Sydney Harbour that would also alleviate the area’s perennial flooding.  Now that dream is being realised, but not quite in the way those early planners imagined. A massive, 2.4 kilometre underground stormwater drain costing a reported $80 million, which will connect with the Alexandra Canal, will finally be built. To prevent floods costing lives in what will soon be a densely populated urban centre, the culvert will be nearly two metres high in some parts. It will be wide enough for two cars to drive side by side in the area where the waters converge as the drain meets the Alexandra Canal.

A range of studies originally considered building detention ponds near the future aquatic centre and close to the Drying Green – named because it was where tanners once dried their hides. But a lethal combination of floods and tides meant they would only make a “marginal difference” in a once-in-100-years flood.

”You need to cope with a flood of over two metres with flowing water. That’s very dangerous,” City of Sydney chief operating officer Kim Woodbury said. Without the new stormwater drain, a bad flood would have caused water to flow down Green Square’s town plaza – where an underground library will be located – and the town centre would have to be built on stilts. “And we wouldn’t have got approval for that,” Mr Woodbury said. The massive drain is a joint project by the City of Sydney with Sydney Water. A review of the stormwater drain’s environmental factors is now on display and requests for proposals have been sought from construction companies. Work is expected to start in March next year. A once-in-100-years flood in 2012 washed cars down Joynton Street, Zetland, resulting in the rescue of 20 passengers. Flood waters spread nearly 500 metres to reach a depth of two metres at their worst. “One car was floating down, then another car came in, and another and another, and they kept coming in,” said Robert McFarland, a State Emergency Service volunteer, who was commended for his bravery that night when he rescued 10 people from six cars.

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