ON FIRE: More than 19,000 punters turned out for Midnight Oil’s concert at Hope Estate last Saturday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollSLICK OILThere’sa plethora of winery shows ahead this summer, but the bar was set incredibly high by Aussie rock giants Midnight Oil last Saturday at Hope Estate. The atmosphere was electric due to a red-hot crowd. Organisers confirmed this week that more than 19,000 people witnessed The Oils triumphant return.
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BACK IN BLACKUnfortunately onelegend who won’t be returning is Johnny Cash. However, the Man In Black’s legacy is living on next year when n country singers Daniel Thompson andStuie French bring theRevisits Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison show to Newcastle City Hall on February 24.

CRAWL ONJames Reyne is taking his extensive solo and n Crawl catalogue on the road for intimate acoustic shows in regional towns. Reyne will perform at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre on April 6.

ON A ROLLOnecountry act making waves is Newcastle’s Hurricane Fall. Last week they performedDon’t Miss Me on reality TV show, The Bachelorette, and appeared on theRock the Boat CruisewithStatus Quo.

ADIOSSally Walker’sTwilight Musical Dialogues has been a raging success among classicalfans in Newcastle this year and the flautist’sfinal recital promises to be hermostvivacious.The Passionate Music of South America and Spain on November 10 at the Adamstown Uniting Church features musicfrom Chilean-born n pianistDaniel Rojas and ArgentineAstorPiazolla.

SAFE BET Country fans, keep November 24 free because Narrabri songbird Sarah Leete willperformat Mayfield’s Sunset Studios. Leete has releasedher debut singleSafeand will follow with anEP on November 3.

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Institutional investors are avoiding Bitcoin, saying it is the most crowded trade in global markets.
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On Monday, the crypto-currency experienced a surge in trading volume that boosted it to $7710 a coin ($US6026) and surpassed a market capitalisation of $127.9 billion ($US100 billion) for the first time in its history.

Mainstream curiosity and frenzied speculation have seen Bitcoin rise more than 500 per cent so far in 2017.

However, this most recent rally is largely thanks to another upcoming split in the technology, and the creation of an alternate asset called “Bitcoin Gold”.

The split would distribute a Bitcoin Gold token for every existing Bitcoin holder, and traders are expecting a Bitcoin Gold market to establish itself very quickly, like the previous split when Bitcoin Cash was developed.

But financial institutions and sophisticated investors, while conceding the technology that underpins crypto-assets is interesting, have kept their fiat money largely out of the game.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch asked institutional investors in September what they though the most crowded trade in financial markets was, and for the first time offered “long Bitcoin” as an option.

Some 26 per cent of investors surveyed said it was, the most popular response.

The lack of regulation around crypto-assets means money managers the world over are wary of investing.

“There’s no real asset backing or regulatory oversight, and that’s a bit concerning,” says Omkar Joshi, portfolio manager at Regal Funds Management.

“At the end of the day, there’s no real clarity about what the legitimate necessity of Bitcoin is, so it’s not something we look at as an investment.” Regulators are making moves

While money managers are wary of investing, n regulators have taken steps to place some parameters around the growing use of crypto-assets like Bitcoin and blockchain-based assets.

This week, Parliament is expected to vote on a bill granting AUSTRAC – the government’s financial intelligence agency – powers to police crypto-currency exchanges.

“Businesses that trade digital currencies for money, and vice versa, will be required to enrol and register with AUSTRAC,” Justice Minister Michael Keenan said in a parliamentary speech about the bill in August.

The bill comes just weeks after ASIC released guidance on when crypto-assets (not just Bitcoin) issued via an initial coin offering might be classified as a managed investment scheme, an offer of shares, an offer of a derivative or a non-cash payment facility.

Bitcoin is a crypto-asset that allows the transference of value between entities without a third party, and unlike currencies and securities, Bitcoin is a line of computer code.

Anybody with an internet connection and a Bitcoin wallet can buy and sell Bitcoin on exchanges throughout the world. New gold?

While there are rumours Goldman Sachs has set up a Bitcoin trading desk, the investment bank has this week released a note to clients arguing Bitcoin is not the “new gold”.

Commentators have likened the crypto-currency to gold because of its finite supply and its price rises that sometimes align with geopolitical tensions.

But Goldman Sachs has argued gold is still a better store of value than Bitcoin.

“Gold wins out over crypto-currencies in a majority of the key characteristics of money,” the bank’s analysts wrote in a note to clients.

The analysts said that digital wallets, where people can store crypto-currencies, are vulnerable to hacking and still have “significant regulatory risks”.

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King of the blues: John Butler at the Civic Theatre in Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-HubersWhen you’re on the inside looking out, the numbers don’t tell the story.
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Byron Bay’s legendary Bluesfest drew 105,000 attendees in 2017, hosting 85 bands with a total of 670 artists who gave 185performances across the Easter weekend.

For John Butler, arguably ’s most successful blues and roots talent, making the line-up for the 2018 will mark his 13thappearance at the festival.

“It feels good, it’s kind of surprising,” he says. “I’m stoked.”

New sensation: Tash Sultana.

The festival, hailed as one of the best music events in the world both by music fans and musicians, holds a special place in Butler’s mind, for good reason.

As he told Tim Elliott in Good Weekend magazine in 2009, here’s how his first Bluesfest appearance in 2000 went down:

“We had just released Pickapart, which was our first song to get played on Triple J. But when we played atBluesfestthere were only about 50 people in the audience. For the second show, I tried to stay positive. I told my wife: ‘This next show is going to be the bomb!’ But the crowd wasn’t huge for that either.

“But then, just when we were peaking, it absolutely pissed with rainand3000 people ran into our tent.Andthe show just went berserk. It was like a suffocated fire – you lift the lidandit explodes. It was a total flashpoint gig, a lot of people talked about itandwithin the year we had a huge fan base on the eastern seaboard.”

Music Legend: Robert Plant.

If you’ve seen a Butler concert, you know it’s all about the relationship between and the crowd.

“It’s an amazing festival,” he says. “You are fortunate to have great moments of connection. The fans are ready to have something take place, be part of it, make it happen.”

The timing for Butler to hit the festival could not be better. He’s been working on a new album for a few months now, and playing selected gigs (including opening for Midnight Oil shows at Hanging Rock and Sydney in November).

Early next year, he willdoing some touring with his band, playing some outdoor shows. “We will come right off the back of that into Bluesfest,” he says.

“It’s the best way. All hot and heavy.”

Like the fans on the ground, Butler is excited to be in the company of the mass of great musicians who play Bluesfest. But he doesn’t get overwhelmed by the energy of the moment.

He owned a property in the Byron hinterlands, but sold it a whileago and now happily calls Margaret River in Western home.

“I Love Byron,” he says of the festival. “Icatch up with my friends from all around the country and the planet.

“At the same time, Iam a bit militant in my objective, and my objective is to smash it. My objective is to put on the best show possible. I am tunnel vision. If that means not catching up with anybody until after Iplay, that’s fine.”

We discuss a few of the stars coming to 2018 Bluesfest:

Tash Sultana: “I love her. I haven’t met her. I love what she does. I dig what she has to offer.”

Robert Plant: “I met him years ago, opening for him in Switzerland. He’s the real deal. He loves music, he loves performing.”

This week Bluesfest announced another 16 acts coming to the festival, including Jackson Browne, Jason Isbell, Gomez, Michael Franti, Youssou N’Dour, Jimmy Cliff, The Wailers, Benjamin Booker, Canned Heat, Walter Trout and the Original Blues Brothers Band.

Previoulsyannounced acts included Lionel Richie, Jose Gonzalez, Gov’t Mule, Eric Gales, Bobby Rush, Joe Louis Walker, Chic featuring Nile Rogers and First Aid Kit.

Tickets for Bluesfest 2018 start at $159 for one day. A five-day pass (withoutcamping) is $595. Details: bluesfest苏州夜总会招聘.au

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If you haven’t noticed, ’s energy system is a train-wreck. However, a major new report from the International Energy Agency shows us how to get on the path to affordable energy bills. Electricity and gas prices have risen faster in in recent years than any other major country. Our toxic politics have reduced the problem to a pantomime of renewables versus coal, but the causes are more complex.
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Gas policy is a shambles. Building big gas export terminals without export restrictions pretty much guaranteed that gas would go up to international prices. And the failure of a number of projects to meet expectations means that many local companies are now paying much more for gas than the international price. In the electricity sector, we encouraged networks companies to spend far too much on poles and wires, which meant that network charges rocketed up. On top of that, a bunch of old generators are at the end of their life and whatever we replace them with, including new coal-fired generators, will be more expensive.

That’s the bad news – gas and electricity prices are much higher than they used to be, and they’re going to stay high for a while. So what’s the good news? Because energy was cheap for so long, our system wastes a lot of it. This means if we help homes and businesses save energy, we can dramatically cut our energy bills.

The IEA’s new report on energy efficiency makes some stark points. First, we can save a lot of energy. Recent improvements in energy efficiency cut gas use by 21 per cent in Germany and 27 per cent in the UK. could easily make these kinds of gains, with many of our manufacturers able to reduce their gas bills by 10 to 50 per cent. This wouldn’t just reduce gas bills – it would actually reduce gas prices.

Improvements in energy efficiency can also help households. The IEA report found home energy bills are 10 to 30 per cent lower thanks to energy efficiency. However, it’s not just about affordability, it’s also about energy security. Energy efficiency was essential to help the UK and France meet their energy security targets, and over here smart energy use could deliver much more capacity than Hazelwood and Liddell power stations put together. What’s more, energy efficiency helps grow the economy. The IEA calculated that improvements in energy efficiency in 2016 increased global GDP by an estimated AUD $2.8 trillion –twice the size of the whole n economy. And while it’s delivering this boost to the economy, energy efficiency was also the main reason that global greenhouse gas emissions stabilised. Improvements in energy efficiency accounted for 75 per cent of the reduction in emissions from the energy sector since 2014, far more than renewables or shifting to gas.

However, the IEA found that over the past 16 years, has fallen well behind the rest of the world on energy efficiency policy. And the lack of strong policies is a major factor behind our massive energy bills.

This means we have a huge opportunity. If we adopt the basic policies common in almost all other developed countries, we can cut energy bills, boost energy security and keep businesses thriving. These policies include support to help manufacturers save energy, minimum standards for homes to protect renters and minimum fuel-efficiency standards for cars. Ourgovernments need to massively ramp up their ambition in energy efficiency. It won’t solve every problem, but it will dramatically cut the pain for energy users and buy us some breathing space to fix up our energy system.

Rob Murray-Leach is head of policy at theEnergy Efficiency Council.Read More →

American director Kevin Smith has promised to give away any future profits from his Harvey Weinstein films after The New York Times unearthed decades of alleged predatory behaviour.
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More than 30 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment and, in some instances, rape. Actors from Angelina Jolie to George Cluney have condemned the disgraced movie mogul, with a long line of directors and producers also voicing their disgust.

Smith, the man behind films such as Jersey Girl and Zack and Miri Make a Porno, has said he is adding his voice to the chorus because he feels he has been indirectly “wrapped up in something really f—— horrible”.

Weinstein gave the filmmaker his first big break after purchasing the rights to black comedy Clerks in the 1990s. Speaking on the Hollywood Babble-Onpodcast, Smith said his entire career has since been “tied up” with the movie mogul.

“It’s been a weird f—ing week,” he said. “I just wanted to make some f—ing movies, that’s it. That’s why I came, that’s why I made Clerks. And no f—ing movie is worth all this. It’s wrapped up in something really f—ing horrible.”

Smith has promised to donate any residuals he makes from Miramax films to Women in Film, a not-for-profit organisation that lobbies for equal pay in the entertainment industry. The comedy director also said should The Weinstein Company close its doors altogether, then he’ll give $US2000 a month to Women in Film for the rest of his life.

“Hopefully that goes to people that get to make shit without having to deal with some fucking animal saying, ‘Here’s the price’,” he said. “I know it’s not my fault, but I didn’t f—— help. I sat out there talking like this man was my hero, like he was my friend. It [the alleged sexual harassment] didn’t happen to me, but it all hurts.”

The public commitment comes after Smith turned to social media to say he was “ashamed” he and Weinstein’s careers were intertwined.

“He financed the first 14 years of my career,” he wrote on Twitter not long after The New York Times first reported on the explosive allegations. “While I was profiting, others were in terrible pain.”

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New Approach: Callan O’Reilly is concentrating on the major four-round events this summer. He finished second at the Western n Open on Sunday. Picture: Simone De Peak.CALLAN O’Reilly hopes a less-is-more approach will be the springboard for a successful summer.
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The Toronto professional finished second behind former US PGA and European Tour regular Stephen Leaney in the $100,000 Western n Open at Royal Perth on Sunday.

O’Reilly fired rounds of 70-65-68-71 to finish at 14 under. He led by a stroke going into the final round but was overhauled by the former President Cup representative, who finished with a 69 to win by a stroke.

“I played well and gave myself a shot,” O’Reilly told the Herald from Perth airport where he was awaiting a flight to Brisbane to prepare for this week’s $110,000 Queensland Open. “Stephen played some pretty awesome golf. I didn’t lose the event, he won it.”

O’Reilly hit the ball “really well” with the highlightaseven-under 65 on Friday which shot the 27-year-old intocontention.

“I hit three of the four pars five in two, and the one I missed I was chipping from the fringe,” he said. “I made aneagle and three tap-in birdies. That was five under itself. I was hitting my driver really good and my long irons nice, and was setting up opportunities.”

O’Reilly has cut back playing thepro-am circuit and focused on preparing for the bigger four-day events.

“I did the Newcastle [pro-am] week and a few on the lower-north coast and mid-north coast but that’s about it,” he said. “I have been spending more time at home and trying to get my head right so I’m ready for tournaments. There are guys out there who love the grind and love playing competitively every week. It is a different sort of competitiveness between a one-day pro-am and a four-day tournament. The way you play and manage your game,it is a little bit different.It has been nice to work on my four-round golf because that is where the big trophies are and what you want to be playing for. Fingers crossed it is working. I’m really looking forward to the next four events.”

O’Reilly will play in the Queensland Open pro-am on Tuesday.

“I will get a good look at the course,” he said. “I played OKat Brisbane Golf Club last year, I’m in a good heads space and am ready to go.”

Following Queensland, is the NSW Open at Twin Creeks (November 16-19),the n Open at the n Golf Course (November 23-26) and n PGA at the Royal Pines (Novemeber 30-December 3).

* Leigh McKechnie shot rounds of 71-75 to be at two over and miss the cut in the WA Open. Aaron Townsend (75-73) and amateur Blake Windred (73-76) also didn’t progress to the weekend.

* Justin Ely produced a stunning four-under 67 to win the Toronto Cup at TorontoCountry Club on Saturday. Ely’s round included losinga ball out of bounds.Reece Green was runner-up at one under, followed by Mick Wade (73).

* It took a three-hole playoff to decide the Pacific Dunes Cup on Sunday. Michael Coutman, Ben Hillard and Mick Wade all finished on 75. Coutman was the victor after the extra holes.

* Di Leahy won the Pacific Dunes women’s A-Grade club championship for a 12th straight year on Saturday. Tania Hutchins was runner-up.

Judy Valler took out B-grade from Michelle Boshier. Christine Honeyman was the C-Grade winner.

In the men’s, Mark Rota won A-Grade from Chris Turnbull.

Tony Sampson edged out Gavin Trappel in B-Grade and Mark Ball won C-Grade from Bob McDougall.

* MultipleBranxtonclub champion Mark Hale won the Bathurst Golf Open on Sunday to earn a place in the NSW Open for a second straight year.Hale shot 71-69 to be at two under and finish two shots ahead of Pennant Hill’s Andrew Richards and Monash Country Club’s Nathan Barbieri.

Hale won a NSW Open qualifier in Gunnedah in 2016.

* Branxton Golf Club will host a “Bucks for Ben” charity fundraiser on November 3-5. The weekend includestwilight golf, a darts competition, auction and 3-person ambrose event.

* Justin Thomas beatn Marc Leishman in a playoff to take the US PGA Tour’s CJ Cup in South Korea.

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RYAN 98/9/17 SUN HERALD SPORT EX NCLE ATTN CHRIS HOPPER NEW KNIGHTS COACH WARREN RYAN PIC STEFAN MOOREFormer rugby league coach Warren Ryan has been found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after he punched and kicked a 76-year-old man following an argument at a Sydney pub last year.
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Ryan, 76, appeared at Waverley Local Court on Monday where he claimed the attack on his acquaintance Edward Purcell was in self defence.

A magistrate found Ryan genuinely believed he had acted in self defence, however his attack on Mr Purcell was “not reasonable”.

The incident unfolded at the Pagewood Hotel in Maroubra just after 6.40pm on November 11, 2016.

In a scene reminiscent of any pub on a Friday night, Ryan sipped beer and gestured with his hands as he sat across from his brother, Chris, and Mr Purcell.

As the conversation continued, Ryan paused with his glass halfway to his mouth then put it back down.

He stood, walked around the table, and punched his acquaintance with a left and right hook, causing Mr Purcell to fall backwards onto the ground.

Ryan swung at him for a third time, causing Mr Purcell to kick up his legs. Ryan grabbed his feet, then delivered a kick to Mr Purcell’s buttocks before moving away and allowing him to stand up.

The struggle was over in less than 30 seconds, leaving Mr Purcell wiping blood from his head with a handkerchief.

CCTV footage of the fight was played for the court on Monday.

Mr Purcell told the court he was having a heated discussion with Ryan about newly elected US President Donald Trump when Ryan became “aggressive” and said he would “deck” him.

“He said, ‘You’re the dumbest so-and-so I’ve ever met’. I said, ‘Maybe I feel the same about you’,” Mr Purcell said.

“He said ‘I’ll deck you right here.’ “

Mr Purcell said he suggested the men should take it outside, but Ryan “didn’t, he came around the table”.

“He came roaring at me like a bull and said, ‘You mongrel’, then ‘bang’.”

“I heard a hell of a crack like a hammer hitting a nail, then I staggered back and went down.

“That’s virtually where I stayed until Warren backed off.”

However, Ryan said the argument had been about penalty rates and he had been walking to the toilet in an attempt to defuse the situation when Mr Purcell stood in his way and made a fist with his left hand.

“He had his feet planted, and I thought ‘hello, it’s on here’,” Ryan said.

“His left hand was on the way up, and I thought it was a punch coming. I beat him to the punch, that’s what it boils down to.”

Ryan’s barrister, Bernard Gross, QC, said Mr Purcell had been “eyeballing” Ryan “in an aggressive manner” before the punches were thrown.

Mr Purcell responded: “I was watching what he was going to do, because he said he was going to deck me.”

“Why wouldn’t I be watching him? Do you think I’m big and strong enough to sort him out?”

Ryan was convicted and given a 12-month good behaviour bond despite his barrister asking for no conviction to be recorded.

“Any violence within the community is a serious matter,” the magistrate said. “The public at large look for someone to do something about it.

“The CCTV shows it all very clearly. Two strikes by the accused and the victim was on the floor. One would have thought, looking at it objectively, that the threat was out of the way.

“I’m satisfied that the accused formed the opinion he was in some type of threat and had to do something about it, but the response in all circumstances was not reasonable.”

Ryan is a two-time premiership winning coach who guided five different clubs to finals football.

The court heard he is also an experienced media commentator, having worked for Fairfax Media, ABC Grandstand and 2GB over several decades.

He was stood down from the ABC in June 2014 pending an investigation into allegations he made a racist remark. He resigned soon after, saying he wanted to “save them the trouble” of an investigation.

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A rising number of self-employed people are failing to contribute to their own superannuation creating weaker coverage in ‘s $2 trillion retirement income system, which has seen its score slip from last year’s world rankings.
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The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, released on Monday, shows maintained third place, behind Denmark and The Netherlands with one of the most sustainable and best retirement income systems in the world.

But ‘s score fell from 77.9 to 77.1 in the past year, down from a 2014 peak of 79.9, due to ‘s falling household savings rate and relatively slower economic growth as an advanced economy, authors said.

The index, in its ninth year, tracks 30 countries’ retirement savings systems, covering about 60 per cent of the world’s population.

The lead author, Mercer senior actuary David Knox, said ‘s system was strong but there was room for improvement to ensure more ns had superannuation which was under threat from a rising wave of gig workers, who charged organisations as independent contractors or temporary employees.

Estimates are that 1 per cent of ‘s workforce is part of the gig economy and falls outside the super guarantee established in 1992.

n law compels employers to pay 9.5 per cent of their employees’ ordinary earnings above $450 a month into a super fund, with this scheduled to reach 12 per cent by 2025.

“About 68 per cent of ns of working age have some super but there are others like the self-employed or gig workers who aren’t covered and don’t need to be covered,” Dr Knox said.

He suggested the self-employed should be compelled or incentivised by government to contribute to their super once annual income climbed above $50,000.

While voluntarily contributing to their own super might be difficult, the goal would be to eventually have them match the savings rate set by the wider labour force, he said.

“These people put in tax returns; if they contributed to their super during the year it would be in their tax return. If they earn more than $50,000 annually then you might start to say ‘you’ve got to be putting away an appropriate amount’.

“Traditionally government has been reluctant to impose (a super guarantee) on the self-employed because they want to put money back into their business but you’re not going to sell the local plumbing business for much. We would certainly advise that these ns should be increasing their contributions,” Dr Knox said.

Last month, the Association of Super Funds of (ASFA) said self-employed workers had about half the superannuation balance of their company employee peers.

Some had taken advantage of tax concessions to make their own contributions but coverage remained low.

About 25 per cent of these workers, particularly those in the gig economy, had no superannuation and many did not own a business with any material goodwill or value, other than their labour, ASFA said.

Contractor Katrina McLachlan said her five-year media business, Stories Well Told, had not paid her or partner Brenton Edwards’ super in that time, but had covered premiums for income protection and life insurance.

“When the invoice comes in we put away money for BAS but we’ve never factored superannuation into our quote,” Ms McLachlan said.

While she had contributed to her own super as an academic, she said the balance was lower than many at the same age because she had taken time out to have children.

“As I move towards turning 50 and getting older, super is something looming as a big concern which we’d like to address. It does keep us awake at night,” she said.

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Concerned: Warners Bay resident Irene Lojszcyk with fellow Albert Street residents at the site of the proposed units.A plan to build34 units acrossfour blocks in a suburban Warners Bay street has raised the ire of neighbours –who claim the plan is an example of over development.
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However, the firm behind theproposal has defended the plan, saying it’spart of the gentrification of the area.

Elk Designs has lodged a development application with Lake Macquarie City Council for the units on Albert Street, on the edge of North Creek.

But nearby residents saythey believe the development will have a negative impact on traffic, parking and the amenity of the street.

Irene Lojszcyk, who spoke against the plan at Monday night’scouncil meeting, said she counted eight instances of the applicantwanting an exception to the development control plan with this proposal.

She told the meeting that the building height, the proximity of the units to North Creek andthe impact thatelevating the block could have onreceding floodwater elsewhere in the street were among residents’ concerns.

But chiefly, she said, they were worriedabout the impact on parking and traffic–which Ms Lojszcyk estimated would increase seven-fold.

“[The development] goes against the look of the street, the amenity and the comfort and safety of the street,” she said.

“This is going to be highly concentrated. Albert Street is a short street–we meet with Lake Road–there have nearly beena couple of bad accidents at that junction, so the increased traffic flow will be dangerousand hazardous to residents.”

Elk Designs managing director Luke Stone told theHeraldthatthe development was“entirely consistent” with the strategic intent of the location.

“Whilst it represents a change from the aged single dwelling house forms that have historically predominated throughout the area, it adheres to the newer development forms that are being undertaken as the process of gentrification occurs throughout the area,” he said.

“In time, as other adjoining sites are amalgamated and redeveloped, this will be the predominant form of development.”

Mr Stone agreed thatparking in the plan was under the prescribed level butsaid the development would removedriveway entries to the four existing lots, which would create more off-site parking.

He also said the proposed height of the three storey development, at 11 metres, was a minor exceedence–the height limit in the area is 10 metres.

Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser said the project was still being assessed and residents’ concerns would be taken into account.

“Part of that process will involve the project being referred to the Design Review Panel, a panel of independent experts that advise council on urban design involving residential flat buildings of three storeys or more,” she said.

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Welcome to my inaugural grand tour of ‘s finest restaurants. Please, come in and sit down, have a glass of Tasmanian Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged bubbly.
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As your tour guide and host, I have spared no expense in sharing my ultimate gastronomic fantasy with you and your fellow members of this small and exclusive group.

We will be travelling by private jet, luxury train and helicopter across the country, with icy-cold beers and refresher towels at every turn. I have woven in bespoke private tours with the best chefs in the country, vertical tastings of ‘s greatest wines, and pit-stops at some of the country’s best food and wine producers.

It’s going to be an incredible journey from one hand-dived scallop to the next freshly dug truffle. And the best thing about signing up for my tour right now, is that it will cost you nothing at all – until some clever tour operator actually packages it up for real, and pays me to lead it, which I am sincerely hoping will happen.

Ready? Let’s go.

Melbourne’s fabled Attica. Photo: Colin Page

FIRST STOP: VICTORIAFOR AVOCADO ON TOAST, PEKING DUCK, A GARDEN TOUR AND A FORAGE, AND THE ULTIMATE WINERY BARBECUEIt’s Melbourne, so we kick off with coffee at Market Lane in the Prahran Market, followed by the signature avocado on sourdough with local kelp sea salt and lime at Kettle Black (thekettleblack苏州夜总会招聘.au) in South Melbourne.

Our private tram takes us on a tour of Melbourne’s parks and gardens before dropping us at the legendary 42-year-old Flower Drum Cantonese restaurant (flowerdrum.melbourne).Master chef Anthony Lui will tempt us with his legendary Peking duck and mud crab with noodles, which his son Jason Lui silver-services down our throats with commendable skill.

Flowerdrum. Photo: Vien Tran

A little snooze at the Langham before we join up for cocktails in the front bar of Andrew McConnell’s informally luxurious Cutler & Co (cutlerandco苏州夜总会招聘.au), for the signature fruits de mer platter and some very fine Victorian chardonnay.

Day two sees an exclusive gardening masterclass with Ben Shewry of the three-hatted Attica restaurant (attica苏州夜总会招聘.au). A tour of his flourishing herb and vegetable garden at the historic Ripponlea Estate will be followed by an impromptu foraging session on the way back to the restaurant for dinner, using our gleanings to create a special eight-course tasting menu that will never be repeated.

Next day, it’s a luxury high-speed train to Geelong that runs perfectly on time (this is a fantasy, remember) for lunch at Aaron Turner’s wood-fuelled Igni(restaurantigni苏州夜总会招聘). It’s a highly personal dining experience with a very hands-on chef, so expect surprises at every turn, from potato noodles cooked in chicken fat to flowering gum ice-cream with pine needle yoghurt, raspberries and Davidson’s plum.

Then we get a cheeky chopper to zip us over the magnificence of the Great Ocean Road, swinging back to Birregurra for dinner at Dan Hunter’s Brae (braerestaurant苏州夜总会招聘), ‘s newest entry (at number 44) in the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

Brae, Birregurra, Victoria. Photo: Colin Page

It’s all about the local food system, as we eat vegetables from Brae’s own garden and wood-fired bread from flour milled on the premises, on plates made from clay taken from the estate’s dams.

Time for sweet dreams in one of the luxury guest suites, after playing with our personal turntable and record collection. Then it’s wakey-wakey for Brae’s sensational breakfast in bed (googy eggs courtesy of the chooks), followed by a tutored stroll through the gardens with the chef.

The helicopters then whisk us across to the Mornington Peninsula for a vineyard barbie. And what a barbie – personally cooked over wood-fired grills by former Rockpool chef Phil Wood in the midst of the contemporary sculpture park of the Pt Leo Estate (ptleoestate苏州夜总会招聘.au). And so we wave goodbye to the rolling vineyards and lush gardens and great coffee of Victoria, to head south.

NEXT STOP: TASMANIAMODERN ART, OVEN-ROASTED SEAFOOD, HAND-MADE CHEESE, COUNTRY COOKING CLASSES AND A LUXURY CRUISEPrivate jet to Hobart. Soon we are aboard the ferry to MONA (mona苏州夜场招聘.au) where Museum of New and Old Art founder David Walsh takes us on a personal tour and chef Vince Trim opens a stack of Tassie oysters for us to have under the Armana pavilion, as artist James Turrell’s light installation illuminates the skies.

Pan-seared local squid, chorizo, blood orange, coriander and fennel.

Dinner is at Franklin (franklinhobart苏州夜总会招聘.au), where chef Analiese Gregory fires up the wood-fired oven and shows off some of Tasmania’s finest produce, from wood-roasted cabbage with ricotta saltata and flathead butter, to roasted lamb rib with licorice and burnt honey.

In the morning, the chauffeurs line up to drive us to Bruny Island for a cheese tasting with cheesemaker Nick Haddow, where we learn that the quality of Bruny Island cheese is completely dependent on the quality of the milk. It’s a day for kicking back and relaxing, in between a hands-on cooking class at Rodney Dunn and Severine Demanet’s Agrarian Kitchen (theagrariankitchen苏州夜总会招聘) and a slow stroll around the farm and gardens, where we pick herbs and vegies for lunch at their newly opened eatery and store.

​Copa di testa (pig’s head terrine) with salted cumquats at The Agrarian Kitchen. Photo: Peter Mathew

Then it’s back to the sea, to board the luxury cruise liner Seabourn (seabourn苏州夜总会招聘) to sleep the sleep of the innocent and well-fed as we move gently through the southern ocean to our next tour destination, South .

NEXT STOP: SOUTH AUSTRALIASCALLOP-DIVING, LOBSTER FEASTS, BAKED DAMPER, MAGPIE GOOSE, NATURAL WINES, AND HERITAGE FARMHOUSE FEASTSThe day begins out on the blue ocean as we meet up with huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ chef Jock Zonfrillo of Adelaide’s Orana (restaurantorana苏州夜总会招聘) and go hand-diving for scallops just off Kangaroo Island, followed by a beachside lobster feast garnished with native coastal plants.

Dinner that night is at Orana in Adelaide as Zonfrillo inspires us with his passion for native n ingredients, in dishes such as Goolwa pippies and beach succulents with native thyme, and magpie goose with native elderberry and wild garlic.

The signature dessert of buffalo milk, strawberry and eucalyptus at Orana. Photo: David Solm

Next day it’s a thoroughbred horseback trail through the Adelaide Hills to the Summertown Aristologist (thesummertownaristologist苏州夜总会招聘)–a perfect template for the small, independent, regional n restaurant – for an impromptu wine tasting (for us, not the horses) with anarchic winemakers Anton van Klopper and Jasper Button on the long communal table.

We drop in to Africola (africola苏州夜总会招聘.au), Duncan Welgemoed’s rollicking fire-driven Africanesque bistro in Adelaide for peri-peri chicken, then fly out to the picturesque airstrip at Hutton Vale Farm (huttonvale苏州夜总会招聘) in the Eden Valley for a fabulous feast of farm produce in the lovely old farmhouse. The big night out is at Hentley Farm (hentleyfarm苏州夜总会招聘), where head chef Lachlan Colwill dazzles us with his “surprise” menu, a journey through the pick of Barossa produce.

Hentley Farm, Seppeltsfield, South .

At this point, the famed Ghan passenger train (greatsouthernrail苏州夜总会招聘.au) makes a detour to pick us up (not sure how, but it does) and whisks us through the night to Alice Springs in our super-comfortable Platinum Club staterooms.

NEXT STOP: NORTHERN TERRITORYCOCKTAILS AT ULURU, WILD BARRAMUNDI, SUNSET MARKETS, AND MUD CRAB TO GOOh joy. Neil Perry of the Rockpool Dining Group has parachuted in to do a special breakfast in the Platinum Club, just for us. Scrambled eggs, heavy on the Sterling caviar, thanks chef.

Then it’s on through the ancient, raw landscape of the red centre to the luxurious Longitude 131 (longitude131苏州夜总会招聘.au) at Yulara, where we immerse ourselves in the World Heritage-listed wilderness, explore the local Indigenous culture, and join up for cocktails and canapes as the sun sets over Uluru.

Dune-top dinging at Longitude 131’s Dune House, Uluru.

We tootle off to Darwin on the Ghan the next day, grateful for the caffe lattes from our exclusive pop-up espresso bar run by the 2017 Barista Champion Hugh Kelly of Canberra’s Ona Coffee (onacoffee苏州夜总会招聘.au) and thankful that we have not had to ride any camels.

A quick stop to try the famed oysters and wild barramundi with fresh curry leaf and coconut at Jimmy Shu’s ever popular Hanuman (hanuman苏州夜总会招聘.au) before being whisked off to the Mindil Beach Sunset markets for a barefoot dinner on the beach.

Our high-speed jet gives us just enough time to scoff a claws-and-all salad of Darwin mud crab smuggled on board by our private chef.

Tropical cocktails at Hanuman restaurant. Photo: Supplied

NEXT STOP: WESTERN AUSTRALIATropical cocktails at Hanuman restaurant.Photo: SuppliedWe check into COMO The Treasury (comohotels苏州夜总会招聘), home to Wildflower, a contemporary restaurant run by chef Jed Gerrard with a sophisticated menu inspired by the six seasons of the Indigenous Noongar calendar: Birak, Bunuru, Dieran, Makura, Djila and Kambarang. Expect coral trout, red emperor and tastings of Shark Bay caviar.

Wildflower at COMO The Treasury, Perth.

Lovers of well-built Negronis and hand-made pasta can opt in for a masterclass in both the next day at Lulu La Delizia (lululadelizia苏州夜总会招聘.au) at no extra charge.

Then it’s a helicopter to the Margaret River for one of those long, lovely vineyard lunches that make life worth living. And yes, head chef Brendan Pratt of the magnificent Vasse Felix estate (vassefelix苏州夜总会招聘.au), promises there will be marron, the sweet, sought-after, local freshwater crayfish.

Jump on board the Kimberly Quest 2 (kimberleyquest苏州夜总会招聘.au) as she returns us to Perth in time for Chiang Mai chicken larp, spicy pork with rice cakes, and stir-fried softshell crab noodles at David Thompson’s Long Chim (longchimperth苏州夜总会招聘). A fitting way to say farewell and head east for our final round of feasting.

Bean curd laksa with a house-made soda at Long Chim. Photo: Nikki To

NEXT STOP: QUEENSLANDFOR JUST, YOU KNOW, QUEENSLAND. SUNSHINE, SEAFOOD AND SAILINGWhat is fascinating to our small but well-fed tour group, as the new Qantas Dreamliner gets us to Brisbane in record time, is how each state and region has its own unique tastes and “terroir”; how the clean, almost spiritual heat of fire fuels so many feasts, and how many top chefs driving our gastronomy are from second or third generation migrant families.

At the acclaimed Urbane (urbanrestaurant苏州夜总会招聘), we sign up for a seven-course vegan “herbivore” tasting menu from Peruvian-born chef Alejandro Cancino – a vegan himself. Thinksalt and vinegar saltbush with tomato tea, and shiitake consomme with porcini foam. Thinkmeat-free deliciousness.

At the Moubarak brothers’ Gerard’s Bistro (gerardsbistro苏州夜总会招聘.au), we sample Ben Williamson’s inspired take on Middle Eastern flavours, including burghul crackers with Paroo kangaroo, scampi caviar and coal-infused hummus, and Spanish mackerel with caramelised tahini, Aleppo chilli and karkalla (a crisp, refreshing coastal succulent).

Slow-roasted carrots, burnt honey and cardamom vinaigrette, dukkah, mint and tahini curd at Gerard’s Bistro. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Then we sail down the coast to Noosa in our sleek, elegant, 120-foot Quantum superyacht (quantumcharters苏州夜总会招聘.au) charter for a hands-on cookery class followed by a spectacular omakase at Danielle Gestlandt’s Wasabi Dining Room & Bar (wasabisb苏州夜总会招聘), where chefs Zeb Gilbert and Jiro Numata send out wild scallops with native finger lime, sake-poached bugs with tempura zucchini blossoms, and aburi (seared) Mayura Station wagyu. Then we re-board the boat and sail down to the Northern Rivers.

NEXT STOP: NSWAUSTRALIA’S NEW COASTAL CUISINE, A SIDE TRIP TO CANBERRA, CHAR-GRILLED STEAKS AND OPERA HOUSE PAVWe disembark at Brunswick Heads on the North Coast to see how Astrid McCormack and her partner, chef Josh Lewis, rewrite the idea of a North Coast ma-and-pa restaurant with charm and skill at their tiny 22-seater, Fleet (fleet-restaurant苏州夜总会招聘.au).

Fleet Restaurant in Brunswick Heads. Photo: Kate Nutt

(But secretly, we are really there for the chips-and-dips – the creamy, smoked mullet dip with its frizzy crown of potato crisps.)

An overnight stay at the chic boutique hotel Halcyon House (halcyonhouse苏州夜总会招聘.au) in Cabarita Beach is a must, if only for dinner at Paper Daisy, for Ben Devlin’s highly evolved coastal cuisine, including a brilliant paper bark-grilled fish. By unanimous vote, we stay an extra two nights and two dinners before heading for the nation’s capital.

A fleet of Maseratis ferry us to Canberra for lunch at ‘s oldest and finest Turkish restaurant, Serif Kaya’s Ottoman Cuisine (ottomancuisine苏州夜总会招聘.au), where we go full-on Turkish banquet while playing spot-the-polly.

Ottoman Cuisine in Barton

Dinner is at Canberra’s finest winer and diner, Aubergine (aubergine苏州夜总会招聘.au), for the joys of Ben Willis’ wagyu flank with lentils and Jerusalem artichokes, and sommelier Cyril Thevenet’s deep-diving wine list. The evening ends on a high note for a digestivo – and a sneaky late-night wood-fired pizza – at Canberra’s sexy little wine bar, Bacaro (italianandsons苏州夜总会招聘.au), tucked in behind Italian & Sons in Braddon. Dreams are of Amaro and anchovies in our penthouse suites at QT Canberra.

The Maseratis growl along the highway to Sydney, pulling off at Bowral for a locavore lunch at James Viles’ Biota Dining (biotadining苏州夜总会招聘), where the chefs bring dish after dish to the table that seem naturally rooted in their landscape. Dessert is performance art, as a young chef arrives at our table to twirl fresh honey from Biota’s own hives over twigs of mushroom bark.

With the tour ending soon, there’s a special frisson to our celebratory gala dinner amid the art deco marble columns of Neil Perry’s mighty Rockpool Bar and Grill (rockpool苏州夜总会招聘), where we tour the aging rooms and choose our own dry-aged, grass-fed, marble-scored steak to slap on the mighty wood-fired grill.

Rib-eye on the bone at Rockpool Bar and Grill restaurant in Sydney.

Rib-eye on the bone at Rockpool Bar and Grill restaurant in Sydney.Photo: Christopher Pearce

Sydney is a whirl of good times and great food, from the scallop sui mai dumplings at Mr Wong (merivale苏州夜总会招聘.au) to the uncompromisingly wood-fired menu at Fire Door (firedoor苏州夜总会招聘.au), where Lennox Hastie treats wood as a flavouring ingredient, and not just a fuel, grilling aged beef over vine shoots, marron over applewood, and mushrooms over mallee root.

There’s a memorable lunch at Fred’s (merivale苏州夜总会招聘.au) in Paddington, where the dining room merges with the open kitchen, and former Chez Panisse chef Daniel Alvarez and her kitchen team tend their wood-fired grills, hearths and ovens to showcase sublimely simple, seasonal food.

Highlight is a Sepia (sepiarestaurant苏州夜总会招聘.au) pop-up sunset cruise on one of the world’s most beautiful harbours, with a champagne tasting by sommelier Rodney Setter followed by Martin Benn’s quietly theatrical marbles of ocean trout. The luxury yacht drops us off at the Park Hyattfor some beauty sleep in preparation for our final day of bridge-climbing and Bondi surfing.

Quay restaurant, Sydney. Photo: Brett Stevens

Our farewell dinner is a Peter Gilmore one-two knockout, beginning at Quay (quay苏州夜总会招聘.au) with his meticulous mud crab with white turnip, kombu jelly and hispi cabbage, and continuing – via a fleet of water taxis – across Circular Quay to Bennelong (bennelong苏州夜总会招聘.au) in ‘s most celebrated building for the remarkable Opera House pavlova, its crisp meringue sails hiding soft, gooey poached meringue, raspberries and rhubarb.

The tour wraps up with an after-party at Restaurant Hubert (restauranthubert苏州夜总会招聘), where we tearfully say our farewells and make our way through too much wine, trying to process what an extraordinary country we live in and how well we eat and drink here.

Roasted Murray cod grenobloise at Hubert, Sydney. Photo: Supplied

Would we do it again? Yes, we would, and of course we can, anytime we like.

Terry Durack is a long-timeGood Food Guidereviewer and Fairfax Media restaurant critic. He is a regular contributor to Traveller.

SNACK ATTACKSYou’re on the road. You will be needing snacks.

STEAK SANDWICH AT BREAD IN COMMON, FREMANTLEHow good is this? A nicely charred minute steak, comte cheese and creme fraiche, tucked into house-baked ciabatta bread from the wood-fired oven. Seebreadincommon苏州夜总会招聘.au

FALAFEL BURGER AT MIZNON, MELBOURNEIsraeli wonderchefEyal Shani brings his fabulous street food to Melbourne. Do the pita bread stuffed with falafel, tomato, sour cream and pickles and die happy. Seemiznonaustralia苏州夜总会招聘

THE TIGER, AT HARRY’S CAFE DE WHEELS, SYDNEYHarry’s has been feeding Sydney’s late-night crowd since 1938. Star of the show is the dream team of meat pie, mushy peas, mashed potato and gravy. Seeharryscafedewheels苏州夜总会招聘.au

BRATWURST IN A ROLL AT BRATWURST SHOP & CO, QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET, MELBOURNEA lesson in how to be a Melburnian – wander around the historic Queen Vic Market clutching a smoky, meaty bratty roll for breakfast. Seeqvm苏州夜总会招聘.au

YABBY JAFFLE AT MONSTER, CANBERRAChef Sean McConnell created something of a monster, when he came up with this simple-but-lovely suppertime jaffle filled with yabby, gruyere, and creamy horseradish. Seemonsterkitchen苏州夜总会招聘.au

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