Most-read business stories of 2012

Clive Palmer continued to make headlines in 2012.The most-read business stories on smh南京夜网.au in 2012: Property prices, Clive Palmer and global economics.
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10. Property market undergoing seismic shift, report finds

Australia’s real estate sector is undergoing a once-in-a-generation shift as debt-wary buyers stay out of the market, Chris Zappone reported in March.

9. Home prices extend national retreat

Home values fell the most in at least six years in May defying Reserve Bank efforts to spark a recovery in the nation’s lacklustre housing market with interest rate cuts.

8. History may judge Trujillo more kindly

History has probably dealt former Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo an unfair blow, columnist Elizabeth Knight wrote in November.

”Only three years ago it looked like he had blown up billions of dollars of Telstra shareholders’ capital. But a lot has changed since then.”

7. The $665 million man: 41-year-old ‘Wizard of Oz’ returning to Sydney with a fortune

In October, it was reported flamboyant hedge fund manager Greg Coffey, dubbed the “Wizard of Oz”, has quit his job in London and declared his retirement from the industry aged just 41 and after amassing a fortune estimated as high as $665 million. The Australian-born financier, who was as renowned for his eccentricities as his investment performance, told investors in a letter that the demands of the job were too onerous and he wanted to spend more time with his family in Sydney.

6. Coke loses its fizz in battle of the margins with Woolies

If Coke doesn’t have the brand power to stare down Woolworths, who does, Colin Kruger asked in March after Coca-Cola Amatil released its full-year results, offering a clearer picture of its costly battle with Australia’s largest retailer over profit margins in supermarket aisles.

5. World Bank’s crisis warning

In January, the World Bank said the global economy was on the edge of a new financial crisis, deeper and more damaging than the one that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

4. Online mega sale to lift local retail

Some of Australia’s biggest retailers, including Myer, Target, Westfield and Dick Smith, have signed on for Click Frenzy, it was announced in November. Click Frenzy, of course, turned out to be nothing like America’s online shopping phenomenon, Cyber Monday.

3. US, Europe continue the global sharemarket carnage

In July, the carnage on global stock markets continued with US shares falling again and stocks in Europe sliding to four-month lows as jitters intensified over the deepening eurozone debt crisis.

2. How Australia topped the medal tally

BusinessDay columnist Michael West showed how statistician Brian Dawes determined that Australia had actually won the most medals at the London Olympics, in the second most-read business story of the year.

1. Clive Palmer plans to build Titanic II

The headline says it all, really. In April, Queensland billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer unveiled his plans to build the Titanic II to add to his tourism portfolio. He said his new company, Blue Star Line Pty Ltd, had commissioned the state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build a near replica of the ship.

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Heritage watchdog gets new members

Queensland’s Heritage Council has four new members in what Environment Minister Andrew Powell describes as a “revitalisation” of Queensland’s 11-person heritage watchdog.
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While the same representative groups remain on the Queensland Heritage Council – the Queensland Council of Unions, regional councils, a heritage architect, the Property Council of Australia and the National Trust – there are now two Property Council members.

The new members are: the vice-president of the Queensland Council of Unions, William Marklew; Brisbane-based architect and historical assessor, Ivan McDonald; and Property Council of Australia representative, Marcus Ford.

They replace the previous QCU representative Dr Howard Guille, heritage architect Peter Marquis-Kyle and Local Government Association of Queensland representative Barbara Hovard.

There is an extra representative from regional Queensland, with Queensland Canegrowers deputy chairman Anthony Ross earning a nomination.

John Cotter, the former head of AgForce and now the chairman of the Queensland Gasfields Commission, keeps his spot as a regional representative.

Fraser Coast councillor George Seymour effectively takes the place of Cr Barbara Hovard, while existing members Stuart Lummis (Queensland Property Council) and Dr Judith McKay (historian) keep their spots.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell, said the new council was a good mix of the old and the new.

“I would like to thank all the current members for their work and dedication they have shown to preserving Queensland’s historical buildings and landmarks,” Mr Powell said.

“I take great pleasure in congratulating all members on their appointments and look forward to hearing their views on how best to preserve and protect our iconic places.”

Professor Peter Coaldrake, from Queensland’s University of Technology, keeps his spot as chair of the Queensland Heritage Council.

Who they are? Professor Peter Coaldrake has served as chairperson of the QHC for two years. He is vice-chancellor of the Queensland University of Technology. He has overseen a number of important heritage projects including the restoration of Old Government House. John Cotter is a current QHC member and current representative for rural industries in Queensland. He is the chair of the Queensland Gasfields Commission. Stuart Lummis is a current QHC member and is an active member of the Property Council of Australia. Mr Lummis has a role in managing over 76 heritage-listed properties as part of his employment. Glenda Sheaffe is currently a member of the QHC, representing the National Trust of Queensland. Ms Sheaffe has served on the National Trust council for more than 10 years and has been involved in heritage matters in Queensland for over 25 years. William Marklew is the vice-president of the Queensland Council of Unions and the secretary of the Union Shopper Incorporated. Mr Marklew has served on a number of boards including the Australian Defence Credit Union and the Endeavour Foundation.George Seymour currently holds the portfolio for community, family and cultural services on the Fraser Coast Regional Council. Cr Seymour is also the chair of the Heritage Reference Committee and chair of Maryborough Open House organising committee.Anthony Ross has been a state and regional director for the Queensland Cane Growers organisation for 12 years. He runs a large sugarcane growing business in Mackay and has a long-standing interest in cultural and historical matters.Leanne O’Brien was a member of the QHC for seven months, during which time she provided specialist legal advice to the QHC in the fields of town planning and heritage conservation matters.Judith McKay works as a consultant historian and curator and recently was the co-author of the Queensland Parliament House Conservation Plan. Dr McKay has worked as a senior curator at the Queensland Museum, trained in history and museology and been an expert witness in Queensland Planning and Environment Court hearings.Ivan McDonald is currently a heritage advisor to Ipswich City Council and Sunshine Coast Regional Council. Mr McDonald is a former councillor of the National Trust.Marcus Ford is a former board member of the Urban Development Institute of Australia and now serves on the Property Council of Australia.

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2012 Christmas light competition winners

THE Hannigan family is ecstatic after claiming the Max Bailey First National Christmas Light Competition for the second year in a row.
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“A lot of people told us you never win twice so we’re very surprised and happy to win it again,” Kylie Hannigan said.

“We always aim for bigger and brighter each year and it really paid off, we took a whole new approach this time round and created a North Pole scene.”

The display at 127 Casey Drive took 30 hours over two weekends to put up, plus additional tweaks to the lights.

“We always light up on December 1 and had to brave the 40 degree heat at the end of November to get them up on time,” Mrs Hannigan said.

The family plans to donate its $200 prize money to St Catherine’s Catholic College for the Harry Dunn climbing wall to be built at the school.

“Because our motivation for putting up the lights is children, we wanted to make sure the money went to a related cause. Last year it went to the Children’s Hospital, at Westmead.

“Christmas lights are contagious and if we are not on holidays next year we will definitely be putting them up next year,” Mrs Hannigan said.

“We are amazed at how many houses are putting up lights in Hunterview but noticed a lot of good displays didn’t enter in the town competition and we encourage them to sign up,” Luke Hannigan said.

The best time to see the 127 Casey Drive lights was between 8.30pm and 10.30pm. Christmas carols can be heard in the background on Thursdays and Sundays.

The last night to see the display will be December 30.

The second time winning home of the Max Bailey First National Christmas Light Competition is 127 Casey Drive, Singleton.

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LETTER: Limited options in two horse race

EVER wondered why preferential voting is compulsory in a Federal Election?
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It’sthe way that Labor and Liberal have set it up so that one of them ends up with yourvote even if you don’t want to vote for them.

Aseach person is eliminated in the counting process and the votes given to thenext in line on the ballots, eventually your vote will end up with one of thetwo main parties unless you happen to be in an electorate where an independentor other gets in. How can you stop this happening?

Ifyou are like most people I’ve been talking to who dislike both Labor andLiberal, you need to have a good look at all of the other candidates who willbe standing in your electorate and see what they stand for. Talk with yourfriends and neighbours and see what they think.

Phonethe candidates you like and ask them why you should vote for them. You, thevoting public have the power to change the way your country is run if you decideto use it.

Ihope you would find that Katter’s Australian Party stands for the ideals that youprefer, but I don’t mind if you believe it is an independent or other party aslong as you are voting for the change I know you want.

Wemight not be able to change the world but hopefully together we can change ourCountry!

Bruce Nicholson, KAP Candidate for Hume.

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Holiday trade ‘slowest in 30 years’

RETAILERS in Queanbeyan are experiencing one of the slowest Christmas periods in years, according to several local business owners.
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Steve Stavreas, of Dimitri’s Jewellers, said the usually busy Christmas period was failing to meet expectations.

“It is probably the quietest lead up to Christmas in 30 years,” he said.

Mr Stavreas said his store was not alone in failing to see a large increase in consumer spending.

Owner of Queanbeyan Gifts and Gadgets, Barry Taylor, agreed the Christmas period had been quiet this year in Queanbeyan.

“I had no expectations this Christmas period after such a shocking year financially. We’re down on where we were two years ago,” he said.

Christmas was supposed to bring strong relief to those struggling in the retail sector.

The Deloitte Access Economics Quarterly Retail Forecast predicted a 5 per cent year-on-year retail sales growth in the ACT.

It was hoped the forecast growth would spill into the Queanbeyan area.

However, Mr Stavreas said the level of growth forecast by Deloitte Access Economics was inaccurate and both Canberra and Queanbeyan will fail to see that level of increased revenue.

“We have three stores, two in Canberra and one in Queanbeyan and those (Deloitte) figures are way off the mark,” he said.

Mr Taylor also questioned the accuracy of the forecast.

“I’d like to know who they’re (Deloitte) projecting that trade with. I’ve noticed that some people have moved their Boxing Day sales forward so that should tell you something,” he said.

Mr Stavreas said the reasons for shoppers not spending their money were still unclear but there is a general lack of confidence amongst consumers.

Both Mr Stavreas and Mr Taylor cited potential Commonwealth public service job cuts as a reason for the lack of consumer confidence.

Online shopping is also expected to impact Christmas sales this year and Mr Taylor said the threat from online shopping is real.

He urged Queanbeyan residents to spend their Christmas budget locally.

“The Queanbeyan community has to spend money in Queanbeyan.

People might not understand that if a job goes here, that might affect three, four, or five other people,” he said.

The impacts of retailers not seeing an increased level of spending may affect more than just the bottom line.

Mr Taylor said that if trade didn’t increase, it may cost local jobs.

“I think it has to (affect employment). I know people around here who have lost their jobs. We’d normally employ people for the Christmas period and we haven’t done that. We’ve cut hours and haven’t put on Christmas casuals,” he said.

The Christmas period hasn’t been doom and gloom for all retailers, however.

Queanbeyan Business Council member and Telstra store owner Neil Kennedy has seen an increase in profits of nearly ten per cent from this time last year.

Mr Kennedy said it could be partly due to his store not having to face some of the same challenges as other retail outlets, such as the threat from online shopping.

This is because mobile phone owners need to connect to Australian phone networks, which means they’re more likely to purchase phones in store.

Local retailers have said the 2012 Christmas season trade has been the slowest in three decades.

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Born in a rush

NOT one but two of the Dreaver family children were born in a rush giving their parents Alyson and Ian Dreaver plenty of adrenaline rushes.
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The first to make their hearts pump was four-year-old Tom who was born eight weeks premature weighing 1.8 kilograms.

At birth Tom fitted into the palm of Ian’s hand.

Tom spent five weeks in hospital including time in intensive care.

Today he is a boisterous pre-schooler who loves torches and spending as much time as possible on his grandparent’s farm at Lower Belford.

The second to come in a rush was nine-month-old Rose who was accidently born at home in Branxton in February.

Alyson said the 000 call went out when she and Ian realised they would not make it to the hospital in time for the birth but unfortunately Rose’s arrival coincided with the early morning peak mine traffic period.

The ambulance dispatched from Rutherford took 40 minutes to get to Branxton and by that time Rose was already in her mother’s arms surrounded by her stunned, but absolutely delighted three older brothers Jack (six), Tom (four) and Lewis (two).

That day Jack who attends school at Rosary Park Branxton and Tom at Branxton Pre-School were keen to relive their early morning adventure with their school and pre-school friends.

Whereas Lewis just wanted to be number one baby back in his mother’s arms.

This Christmas the brothers will have to become accustomed to some pink and girly toys being found under their Christmas tree.

BUSH CHRISTMAS: Tom Dreaver and his brother Jack who is holding their baby sister Rose. The children are pictured on their grandparents Daryl and Colleen Johnston’s property at Lower Belford. The property is the site of the annual Gumball music festival.

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Gallery: Pick of the pics

A look back at the week that was in the news pages of the Hunter Valley News and the Muswellbrook Chronicle.
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BRAVING THE ELEMENTS: Muswellbrook’s Melanie Fahey and Charlotte Fahey, 11, were determined to take part in the 2012 Muswellbrook Christmas Carols – no matter the weather conditions. Turn to page 9 or this week’s Muswellbrook Chronicle for more pics from the festive evening.

THE AIR UP THERE: Muswellbrook brothers Adrian and Jordan Nichols wow the spectators with their unique double back-flip at the new Denman skate park. More pics from the official opening last week inside this week’s Muswellbrook Chronicle, or, visit www.muswellbrookchronicle南京夜网.au to view a gallery of photos.

2013 LEADERS: Aberdeen Public School captains Amy McCamley and Joshua Surawski (centre) are flanked by vice captains Seth Mitchell and Phoebe Dallah. More school news from the region, page 11 of this week’s Muswellbrook Chronicle.

MR JOB-LESS: Darin Job at his Gungal home this week with his redundancy letter. Mr Job was one of about 27 workers at Muswellbrook’s Thomas and Coffey worksite who were made redundant from their jobs last Friday. Mr Job predicts more jobs will be lost in the near future from mining companies and associated services in the Upper Hunter. Full story in this weeks Muswellbrook Chronicle.

HOT TOPIC: Picture of a grass fire that burnt out more than 650 hectares of private land near Denman this week. Hunter Valley Rural Fire Service Superintendent Paul Jones praised the good work of more than 100 RFS volunteers that helped bring the blaze under control. Full story and how to be bush fire safe on page 4 and 5 of this week’s Muswellbrook Chronicle.

THE BEST MEDICINE: Muswellbrook Hospital Auxiliary members Peg Dolahenty, Robyn Adnum, Joy Bray and Evie Bridge spread a little Christmas cheer at the hospital this week – and were joined by the man in the red suit to put some smiles on faces. Full story on page 4 of this week’s Muswellbrook Chronicle.

SMILES ALL AROUND: Some of Muswellbrook High School’s top achievers in the HSC, from left, Jordan Day, Nick Logan, Petra Franks and Tamara Petersen. HSC and ATAR scores were released state wide this week. Full story in this week’s Muswellbrook Chronicle.

SCONE’S BOB THE BUILDER: Kevin Bell has been an employee of the Upper Hunter Shire Council for 50 years. He started out as a trainee draftsman in 1962 and today works as a project engineer. Congratulating Mr Bell for his achievement are the council’s general manager Darryl Dutton and mayor Michael Johnsen. Full story in this week’s Hunter Valley News or at

FIGHTING FORM: Muswellbrook PCYC club boxers Mark Glew, Will Murdoch, Rick Scholes and Jay McTaggart, who brought home a title belt recently. It has been a busy few weeks for the Muswellbrook PCYC crew, catch up on all that has been happening there – page 6 of this week’s Muswellbrook Chronicle.

FAREWELL FUZZ: There was not a whisker in sight when Muswellbrook’s Mr Mo, Gary Comerford (centre), collected his prize this week. But Robert’s Meats butcher Vince Coombes offers a closer shave while 10-year-old Mitchell Comerford does his best impression of his dad. To see Mr Comerford’s award-winning mo, grab a copy of this week’s Muswellbrook Chronicle.

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LETTER: Standing for three cities only

POLITICALLY,it is true that NSW stands for Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong. These threelargely industrial cities usually determine the outcome of the State Governmentelections.
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Forthe past 60 years the Liberal coalition has only been in office for 19 of thoseyears including the one year that the O’Farrell Government has served so far.

Thelongest serving Liberal Premier was Robert (later Sir Robert) Askin who survivedfor 10 years from 1965-1975.

Noother Liberal Premier since then has served more than one term.

Itis becoming increasingly obvious that Goulburn is not going to enjoy anyfavours from this government.

Becauseof the way that the previous Labor government left the State’s finances therecould be more job losses in Goulburn and transfers that appear to benefit Wollongong.

Ourproblem is that Goulburn is considered to be a safe seat for the Liberal Party andthe sitting member is expected to smooth the waters by assuring us that the cutsare a result of Labor’s mismanagement.

Regionalareas will continue to suffer as the government becomes more city centric totry and ensure that they do remain in office for more than one term.

Thefractured Labor party will have great difficulty restructuring before the nextelection after having three Premiers in the past six years they appear to have insurmountableinternal difficulties.

Meanwhile,we must hope that there are no more job losses in Goulburn and if it looks asthough there could be we must let the government know that we are not prepared toaccept any more cuts.

Allan Chapman, Windellama.

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New Year’s Eve – events across the Central West 

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What: Party In The Park.

Where: Victoria Park, from 4.30pm.

Details: Live music and kids can play on the adventureplayground. Fireworks at 9pm


What: Free community fireworks

Where: Parklands Resort from 9pm.

Details: As well as dinner and the fireworks, ParklandsResort will open up the Windamere Room and help entertain the partying crowdwith a DJ for those over 18s in attendance. The Windamere Room will also offerbar facilities and there will be a jumping castle outside for the kids. The DJwill continue to play throughout the night as the countdown to midnight begins.

There will also be a big screen showing the Sydney NYEfireworks.

Have we missed a community event? Please send details to [email protected]南京夜网.au and we will add your event to our list.


What: Rockin’ Heartbeats playing

Where: Club Lithgow New Years Eve from 8pm.

Details: They will be belting out the best rock ‘n’ rollsounds of the 1950s and 1960s and beyond.

What: Live music

Where: The Lithgow Workmens Club New Year’s Eve

Details: The Workies will be open until 2.30am. JimmyMann and Scott Donaldson Big Shots will be in the lounge while DJ Saytonic andlive band Mind Over Matter will be in Pulse Bar.


What: 67th Australian Jazz Convention New Year’s Eve Ball

Where: Forbes Services Club

Details: Available to those who register for the conventionto be held from December 26-31.The public can register for the convention byvisiting www.forbesjazz2012南京夜网.au


What: Live Music

Where: Tullamore Hotel

Details: Kevin Windross Band.

What: Live Music

Where: The Services Club

Details: Barry Green will play from 7pm.


What: New Years Eve ‘ Under the Stars’- presented byMcCormack Barber

Where: From 5pm-10pm, Waratahs Sports Club, TelopeaStreet

Details: Proudly supported by Orange City Council,Bendigo Bank, Essential Energy, John Davis Motors, Woolworths and OrangeEx-Services Club the spectacular event was a smashing success and we areplanning an even bigger and better New Year’s Eve for 2012.

Featuring a live concert, rock-climbing wall, jumpingcastles and other amusements, loads of activities for children and the biggestand best fireworks display this side of the Mountains, the event will bealcohol free and all about celebrating the wonderful and vibrant community inwhich we live.

Delicious food will be available on the evening, butfamilies are encouraged to pack a picnic, listen to music and take part in thefun.

A gold coin donation is all that we ask people to donateon NYE, the proceeds of which will go towards a local charity.

Have we missed a community event? Please send details to [email protected]南京夜网.au and we will add your event to our list.

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Science degree onthe horizon

VINCENTIA HighSchool year 12 students earned 11 band 6 results in the HSC.
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Three of thosewent to Mekayla Burdfield from St Georges Basin and she’s very happy about it.

On Wednesdaymorning she was too nervous to check her results and managed to put it offuntil 11am.

“In the end myprincipal phoned me and told me to hurry up,” she said.

“It doesn’t feelreal, I couldn’t believe it when I read the message.

“It wasdefinitely a sense of relief it’s such a pain waiting for the results.

“I would suggestnext year’s students always keep trying, even if you have a bad mark for oneassessment.

“I’m notnecessarily the smartest kid in the bunch but I just kept on trying, and Iworked hard,” she said.

“I will be goingto the University of Wollongong next year and have early entry in two differentcourses.

“I have alsoapplied to do an international bachelor of science, which is a very selectivecourse, only eight people get in to that.

“I want to workin science, something with an international role with a link to theenvironment.”

TRIPLE TREAT: Mekayla Burdfield scored three band 6s to add to Vincentia High School’s total of 11.

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