What would it take to align competing views of the Hunter in government, industry and the community, to build regional consensus, synergies and attract investment?
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BRIDGE BUILDING: Will Rifkin delivers his recent New Professor’s Talk.

Misalignment and disagreement have many causes, including marginalisation of certain voices and domination by others. Those who feel disenfranchised can block agreement and change. These problems are compounded when questions are significant, outcomes are long-lasting, and uncertainty is high. Consider the nation’s energy mix and the planned closure of Liddell power station. What about the balance between the Hunter’s mining economy, agriculture, a rising service economy, opportunities for innovation, and desires to preserve community character?

One way to build a bridge between people with different areas of expertise, experience, interests, and values is through ‘dialogue’. In dialogue, strongly held assumptions and pre-existing relationships of power are momentarily suspended.

One can support dialogue through creation of something with a common meaning for the participants. That can serve as a springboard for conversation, drawing on each person’s expertise and insight. Such a tool is known as a ‘boundary object’, a term from the academic field of technology studies. What sort of boundary object could foster effective dialogue about key decisions for the Hunter?

The Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) Centre at the University of Newcastle has been creating such boundary objects for years. They are embodied in results from its quarterly Pulse surveys and analysis of other key social and economic indicators.

We are making them easier to access and use. We will be drawing on results of a $2million research effort addressing the changes in Queensland’s Darling Downs agricultural area due to $40billion in onshore natural gas development. This work was funded by the coal seam gas industry and the University of Queensland (UQ).

My team at UQ sought to develop a boundary object that stakeholders in different sectors would find meaningful and revealing. We had people from the communities, government, and industry prioritise a small set of social and economic indicators.

The research produced the Boomtown Toolkit. It was employed to create an annual report on trends in these socioeconomic indicators measured over 15 years.

Even just a single indicator – the rent on a three-bedroom house – helps us to understand the ‘system dynamics’ underlying a boom-bust-recovery cycle. The small set of indicators agreed on have helped to stimulate a shift in the regional conversation to address the distribution of benefits and burdens.

The HRF Centre is working on Hunter indicators. The priority indicators – e.g. population, primary school enrolment, mobile phone volumes, employment – would be selected by key stakeholders from the community. The data would then be ‘ground-truthed’ via local interviews, which can explain cause-and-effect relationships.

These Hunter indicators would be accessible on phones or laptops. They could de-mythologise debates about the region’s future and potentially attract more strategic investment. This sort of inclusive boundary object can help to put different parties ‘on the same page’.

For the complete New Professors Talk, visithrf苏州夜总会招聘.au/news-events/events

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For blacksmith Robert Everingham, soot, sweat and searing heat is just another day in the office. While his skills and processes are of the traditional European method, his aesthetic, he says, is distinctly his own.
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“I do a good share of traditional work, but am more contemporary in style,” says Everingham. “My key inspiration is nature and its fluidity. It makes for an interesting contrast with the materials I work with. It can be challenging to soften steel and give it an elegant flow.”

Working as a blacksmith for nearly 20 years, Everingham founded his eponymous business, Ironfist by Robert Everingham, in 2001.

“I trained in Sydney under Swiss blacksmith, Hans Schappi, learning the numerous forging techniques you require to become a blacksmith, as well as the fundamentals like welding and fabrication,” he says.

Working from his studio in Brisbane’s south side, Everingham’s team has swelled to five.

“The project sizes and workload have increased,” he says. “We work with private clients, architects and companies to create custom-made pieces, from small to substantial, like the ironwork for St Johns Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane. Each piece is different and extremely time-consuming, and can take weeks to go from design through to completion.”

Everingham’s process begins with a design brief, and is followed by multiple sketches before the forging and manufacturing process can begin. “Forging is very much a process of heating and hammering, and then reheating and hammering again,” he says. “We repeat the process until the desired effect is achieved.”

Raised in country Queensland, Everingham is the only son of a creative family that includes an artist and two jewellers. He is, not surprisingly, innately artistic. “A good eye is an asset in this job,” he says. “The forging process relies on it because you need to be able to visualise your end product. It can be a game of patience.” Related: ‘s ceramicists taking the industry by stormRelated: The latest retro trend making a comebackRelated: The biggest trends from Denfair 2017

Everingham says that while some consider blacksmithing a dying art, he senses a revival.

“There are not many of us around,” he says, “but there are still people out there who are interested, even at a hobby level. The attraction I think, is that it is an art often perceived as quite romantic – the heat of the forge and working on an anvil to create something unique and beautiful.”

Along with other traditional arts, like ceramics, weaving and woodwork, sustainability has assisted in reinstating and modernising the art of blacksmithing.

“It is very much a renewable art form,” he says. “We restore vintage wrought iron rather than replace it, and recycle old steel. Wrought iron is a very robust product and if it is done well, outlasts most other materials.”

Putting yesteryear’s nuts, bolts and horseshoes aside, today’s blacksmith crafts far sexier objects. Residential and urban art sculpture, architectural wrought iron gates, leggy coffee tables, curvy candelabra, and Argentinian barbecues are just some of Everingham’s commissions.

“Each design is functional art,” he says. “It is one of the few trades that still use the same techniques that have been used for hundreds of years to create a product by hand. There are no pre-forged components in my work. You can’t replicate the hand working with machines. Every piece, regardless of what it is, is an original and one-off.”

So how are the burns? “Thankfully there are not many,” he says. “Certainly no serious ones. I’ve always said if you are burning yourself too often, you are probably in the wrong game.”

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses the media during a doorstop interview at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 18 October 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Attorney-General Senator George Brandis during Senate estimate hearings at Parliament House Canberra on Tuesday 24 October 2017. Fedpol. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Senator Eric Abetz during Senate estimate hearings at Parliament House Canberra on Tuesday 24 October 2017. Fedpol. Photo: Andrew Meares

Treasurer Scott Morrison addresses a CEDA conference at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 24 October 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Treasurer Scott Morrison addresses a CEDA conference at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 24 October 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher during Senate estimate hearings at Parliament House Canberra on Tuesday 24 October 2017. Fedpol. Photo: Andrew Meares

Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher during Senate estimate hearings at Parliament House Canberra on Tuesday 24 October 2017. Fedpol. Photo: Andrew Meares

Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher with Attorney-General Senator George Brandis during Senate estimate hearings at Parliament House Canberra on Tuesday 24 October 2017. Fedpol. Photo: Andrew Meares

The High Court will consider the eligilbility under Section 44 of the Constition for politicians (anti-clockwise from top left) Barnaby Joyce, Fiona Nash, Matt Canavan, Nick Xenophon, Malcolm Roberts, Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam. Montage created 9 October 2017.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce departs question time at Parliament House Canberra on Thursday 19 October 2017. Fedpol. Photo: Andrew Meares

Senator Malcolm Roberts during a Senate estimates hearing at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 24 October 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Greens Senator Larissa Waters reacts as she announces her resignation in Brisbane, Tuesday, July 18, 2017. Ms Waters resigned as a result of her dual n-Canadian citizenship. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING

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It seems those summoning spells from localHarryPotterfans have paid off – hit stage playHarry Potter and the Cursed Childis coming to .
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The show’s producers announced on Tuesday the play will run exclusively at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre in early 2019.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is coming to Melbourne in 2019. Photo: Supplied

“You can’t ever assume a new play is going to have a further life, but we knew that ifHarry Potter and the Cursed Childdid have a life beyond London and Broadway, that the next stop would be [],” producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender said in a statement.

n producer Michael Cassel, who has had hits locally with the tour ofKinky Bootsand the production ofBeautiful: The Carole King Musicalcurrently playing in Sydney, will executive produce the show locally.

The play –based on an original story by JK Rowling, playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany, and featuring music by Grammy winnerImogen Heap– had its premiere on London’s West End in July 2016, selling out inhours. It’s had a sold-out run ever since.

It also broke records at this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards, scooping up nine awards amongst its cast, as well as Best New Play and Best Director.

A Broadway adaptation is set to open in New York in April 2018.

The eighth instalment in Rowling’sHarry Pottersaga, the play is set 19 years after the end of the last novelHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and follows Potter as a married husband of three.

Jamie Parker as Harry Potter in The Cursed Child. Photo: Supplied

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described the announcement as a coup for Melbourne.

“To secure a production of this calibre is a testament to Melbourne’s standing as an arts and cultural capital and leading global city for theatre,” he said.

Performance dates are set to be announced soon, the producers said.

The play will be the latest stage hit to open in Melbourne, following this year’ssuccessful run of Tony-winning musicalThe Book of Mormon(it opens in Sydney in February), and ongoing tour rumours overBroadway hitHamilton.

The Age

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???I’m loving the flurry of attention – and innovation – being given to round-ups.
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It began with the Acorns “fractional” investment app, which collects your virtual “loose change” and almost immediately funnels it into a diversified portfolio of your choice. The concept is now being applied to some banks’ ordinary transaction and savings accounts (for example, your everyday purchases may get rounded up and that money squirreled into your savings account) and even by a superannuation fund.

This is inconspicuous and unobtrusive future-proofing ??? because micro-saving and, in particular, micro-investing has maximum bearing on your life. Just $6 a day invested at 8 per cent from age 20 will make you a millionaire at 65. Better still, only about $100,000 will have come out of your pocket; nearly $900,000 will be “free” investment returns.

Wait 20 years to start, though, and you’ll need to find $35 a day (and save more than $300,000 yourself).

Round-up apps and features make saving automatic and therefore, psychologically, pretty pain-free.

But there are ways to use similar mind tricks, without waiting for the next bells-and-whistles product, to pay down your mortgage quickly and easily – and save a fortune. Trick 1: “Round up” your repayment

If you’re like most people, a set amount is whisked out of your account each month for the mortgage. Say you’re the average Aussie with an average $369,600 home loan on an average 5 per cent interest rate (of course you should be paying less). Your required monthly repayments are $2161 but without too much discomfort to your brain or budget, you could round that up to $2200 ??? and save more than $11,000 and get out of debt nearly a year early.

Just be sure to re-set your direct debit so there’s never any active deliberation.

By the way, never adjust your mortgage repayments down. You’ve already got your head – and your hip pocket – around that level of repayment. If the minimum falls, you’re making a “bonus” overpayment that will save you significant money and time. Trick 2: Make your repayments more frequently

You may never have given thanks for our Gregorian calendar. But you should start, because you can use it to make an extra repayment every year and barely notice.

Although there are 12 months in a year, there are not double that number of fortnights, 24, but 26. So if you very simply makehalfyour required monthly repayments instead fortnightly, you’ll be ahead by a full month. Don’t ask your lender, whatever you do, to simply switch your repayments to fortnightly – they will adjust the amount so that you’re in debt the full 25 or 30 years and so pay them the full whack of interest. You need to figure out yourself what is half, and then simply establish that direct debit.

On our model mortgage, above, the saving from repaying $1081 fortnightly versus $2161 monthly, is almost $45,000 and debt freedom 3.5 years early.

This works if weekly repayments better suit your pay cycle, too. There are not (12 x 4) 48 weeks in a year – but 52. So if you make one quarter of your required monthly repayments weekly, you’ll also be ahead a full month. Trick 3: Use every dollar twice

A magic little Aussie invention called an offset account lets you use every dollar twice. A savings account that runs parallel to your mortgage, it nets off 100 per cent off any money you have in it against your home loan balance. So if you have a $100,000 mortgage and $5000 in an offset, you’ll pay interest only on $95,000.

You might have separate savings for a holiday, for your next car, for kids’ school fees ??? you should instead be putting every single dollar – which you get to keep – in an offset account. That way you get to use it for its intended purposeandto save dramatic interest.

Let’s assume you have the average mortgage and an average of $10,000 sitting in your offset. You’ll save more than $22,000 in interest, and almost a year and a half.

You could also take this to a higher level by getting your salary/ies paid in and using a credit card for all your expenses, shifting the money out only when your credit card bill is due each month. At which point more salary should go in ??? Trick 4: Make it a race

n interest rates are at all-time lows so, now, you have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to repay your debt cheaper and faster than ever before. Do so at an average 7 per cent rate and the total cost of your average house will be $784,000. Do so at 5 per cent and that falls by about $200,000 to $585,000. And you save even more when you repay extra … even if you trick yourself into it!

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is a commentator and educator who presents her Smart Money Start, fun financial literacy incursion, in high schools around . Follow Nicole on Facebook.

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