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Seaplane ‘destroyed’, rebuilt following previous fatal crash

The seaplane that crashed north of Sydney killing six people on New Year’s Eve had been “destroyed” in a fatal accident two decades ago, an investigation report shows.
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Authorities are trying to determine what caused the plane to plunge into Jerusalem Bay, killing British executive Richard Cousins, 58; his two sons William, 25, and Edward Cousins, 23; his fiancee Emma Bowden, 48; her daughter Heather, 11; and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44.

The Sydney Seaplanes aircraft had flown thousands of trips around Sydney Harbour since the early 2000s.

But the de Havilland Canada Beaver model, first registered in 1964, flew under a different registration in a previous life as a crop duster with the same serial number. The plane set off from Armidale in the state’s north on November 15, 1996, and was preparing to spread a load of phosphate fertiliser on a nearby property when it fell into difficulty in hot, gusty winds.

The victims of the New Year’s Eve crash, including engaged couple Richard Cousins and Emma Bowden, their children, and pilot Gareth Morgan.

It failed to rise steeply enough, clipped a hillside with a wing and cartwheeled, a government report found.

The pilot was killed, and under “damage to aircraft” the investigators wrote “destroyed”. They found that wind conditions, air density and the plane’s weight were all significant factors in the crash. But they could not determine why the pilot had not dumped the full load or used a climbing flap.

A Sydney Seaplanes spokesman has said the company will make no further comments on technical matters while the investigation continues.

However, it is understood that the aircraft was entirely rebuilt, recertified and owned by several more businesses before it was acquired by Sydney Seaplanes.

The Civil Aviation and Safety Authority confirmed the plane had been repaired according to industry requirements before it flew again.

Sydney Seaplanes managing director Aaron Shaw said on Monday that the company took aircraft out of the water to check them every 100 flying hours.

He said engines were replaced every 1100 flying hours, 100 hours sooner than the industry standard, and the engine in the plane that crashed had only done 200 hours.

The seaplane that crashed on December 31, 2017 at Jerusalem Bay had previously been used as a crop duster. Photo: Daniel Adams

Property developer Denis O’Neil, who owned the plane in the early 2000s, said he had found it perfectly reliable as he flew between Sydney and the central coast.

“They’re the safest planes in the world,” he said. “I just feel for that family so much.”

Ms Bowden and Mr Cousins, the head of the world’s largest catering company, Compass, had sent out wedding invitations before coming to for a holiday.

Ms Bowden’s father, former British MP Gerry Bowden, said in a statement that the family was “devastated by the loss of dear Emma and dear Heather who spread happiness and joy among all they met throughout their lives”.

Kevin Bowe, vice-president of the Seaplanes Pilots Association , said his tourism company had operated several former crop dusters as seaplanes in the Whitsundays and any crashed plane would have been “completely overhauled” before returning to the air.

The DHC-2 Beaver, pictured here under its previous registration VH-IDI, was built in 1963. Photo: Daniel Adams

“They would be good as new, sometimes – quite often – better than new,” he said.

Mr Bowe suggested a downdraft coming off the hill near Cowan Creek at Jerusalem Bay might have caused the aircraft to stall.

Investigators from the n Transport Safety Bureau aim to have recovered the largely intact aircraft from the water by the end of the week, using airbags or a crane, or both.

Nat Nagy, an executive director at the bureau, said he knew of no “systemic issues” with the DHC-2 plane model, which he considered reliable.

Another DHC-2 crashed in Canada in 2015, killing six, which prompted the Canadian Transportation Safety Board to recommend in September the mandatory installation of stall warning systems.

Only four of the 223 commercially operated models in Canada used such a system at the time of the recommendation and it is unclear whether the Sydney Seaplanes aircraft had one installed.

The Sydney Seaplanes aircraft plunged into Jerusalem Bay, north of Sydney. It remains underwater as authorities plan how best to recover it. Photo: David Oates

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How to choose the right pet when renting

Owning a pet while renting isn’t without its challenges, as pet-friendly properties are rare and in high demand.
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A large part of the reason so many landlords don’t allow pets is the damage they can potentially cause to the property.

But according to Dr Bronwyn Orr, scientific officer, companion animals at RSPCA , when it comes to property destruction, giving your pet appropriate training and stimulation is more important than choosing a specific breed.

“A pet will quickly show problem behaviour and could become destructive, which is not ideal for renters, if it is not getting enough attention and enrichment.” What to do before getting a pet

“In the first instance, always ensure your tenancy agreement allows for pets to be kept on the property,” Dr Orr said.

If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in a rental that allows pets, it’s still worth asking. Landlords may amend the terms to allow certain pets in order to retain a quality tenant.

Even if you do live in a pet-friendly property, Dr Orr recommends thinking about how long you will be staying there, and taking into account future moves before getting a pet.

“As pet-friendly accommodation can be difficult to secure at times, ensure you will be able to care for your animal for its natural lifespan before bringing it home.

“Relinquishing pets due to a lack of pet-friendly accommodation is a common reason animals are surrendered to shelters.” How to choose a pet when renting

Dr Orr said the most important thing that needs to be considered when choosing a pet is whether you have the space and time to interact with them.

“If you are thinking of getting a dog, cat or bird, remember these animals are highly social and require a considerable amount of interaction every day,” she said. Related: What happens if your landlord finds out you’re hiding a pet?Related: Pet-friendly rental properties are a good investmentRelated: Top 3 tips for moving with pets

According to Dr Orr, dogs are more likely to cause property destruction if they don’t have adequate enrichment. “It’s important to consider their physical and psychological needs and how the size of the house or apartment you are renting might impact these needs.”

Puppies need near-constant attention as they are growing, and their exercise requirements make them less suitable for apartments. Teething, chewing and toilet-training may also cause property damage.

“If you are considering getting a dog to live in your apartment, consider adopting an older dog from a shelter who will have lower energy levels,” Dr Orr said.

Adoption may also be a way to ensure the needs of your pet suit the accommodation you are living in. “In most cases, the shelter staff will be able to give you an idea about the personality of the pet, and some insights into their individual requirements.”

Dr Orr said those thinking about getting a cat or kitten should consider consider purchasing two cats together. Siblings, kittens of a similar age, or any two cats that are known to get along will provide each other with company while you aren’t at home.

“Cats and kittens need enrichment, so be sure to provide scratching posts, climbing spaces, toys and sleeping and hiding spots,” she said. “This will help to ensure that they are not scratching furniture and fly screens, which is essential for renters.” Which dog breeds are best for renters?

Although choosing a specific breed of dog won’t guarantee a problem-free tenancy, different types may be more suitable for you, depending on the type of property you live in and your lifestyle.

“Exercise levels vary among dog types,” Dr Orr said. “Working dogs such as kelpies and border collies will require significantly more mental stimulation and exercise than other types of dogs.

“Some types of dogs don’t shed much hair. These are the poodles, the poodle crosses and hairless dogs, such as the Chinese crested.”

For apartment dwellers, small, low-energy breeds such as the bichon frise, pug and shih tzus, may be suitable, although regular daily exercise and socialisation with other dogs is always essential. What other types of pets suit renters?

Fish are low-maintenance pets and their compact enclosures keep them contained, minimising the chance of property damage.

“Fish can make perfect pets for small spaces,” said Dr Orr. “Make sure you have an appropriate aquarium setup with proper filtration, temperature control, aeration and maintenance of water quality.”

Breakages and spills during cleaning are possible causes of property damage, so it’s still a good idea to check with your landlord if fish are acceptable.

Although they are small, guinea pigs and rabbits need plenty of space to move around outside their cage. “Regular access to an outdoor, grassed area is important so they can exercise and explore,” Dr Orr said.

“Guinea pigs are highly social, and are best kept in pairs, but be careful not to mix genders as you will end up with unwanted babies.”

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Marry Me, Marry My Family is the antidote we need to Married At First Sight

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OUR PICK

Marry Me, Marry My Family

SBS, Tuesday, 8.40pm

Most weddings are fraught with some type of drama. If, like me, your oh-so-white self married another whitey and you both came from all-white-on-the-night families, the biggest hurdle you had to overcome was probably a black sheep uncle (who, in my case, was very definitely not black, just a jerk).

So I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Nancy, an Armenian Christian, to cope with a family who can barely accept her relationship with the lovely Ashu, an Indian Hindu.

It’s one thing to be not on board with your child’s choice of partner, but quite another to constantly mutter darkly about how you wished you had never left Armenia because if you had stayed your only daughter would be married to a good Armenian man.

Nancy’s mother even tells a guest at the wedding, who had tried to tell her that “the heart does not have a religion”, that a dog cannot marry a cat, therefore an Armenian cannot marry an Indian.

It’s easy to roll an eye at the mother’s misery guts attitude – and Ashu’s family are genuinely baffled by her unwillingness to celebrate what they see as a beautiful union – but there is real pain there, deeply rooted in culture and tradition.

Nancy and Ashu are one of six couples profiled in this three-part documentary series, which shows how much some couples go through just to say “I do” and the complications – and joys – their families can bring.

It’s heartwarming stuff – I teared up at Ashu’s wedding speech, which beautifully captured what modern-day really is – and it’s the perfect antidote to the so-called “search for love” being peddled on Nine’s Married At First Sight or Ten’s The Bachelor and Bachelorette.

While Married At First Sight is busy faking weddings between bogans for ratings, Marry Me, Marry My Family quietly shows Ashu converting to Christianity so he can marry Nancy. Where’s the sensationalism in that?

Imagine if last year’s Bachelor Matty J had to spend two hours of a “home visit” bargaining with Laura’s family about her dowry (goats being the gift du jour), as Mark and Wambui – the second couple in tonight’s episode – do in Kenya.

I’m sure the struggle is real for some of these reality couples – Sophie Monk may have to leave the Gold Coast for her multimillionaire beau’s digs in Sydney – but none of them is crying when confronted with a Kenyan slum not far from their in-law’s house.

And don’t tell the casting directors of Married At First Sight and the Bachelor/ette, but there were brown people in the first episode of Marry Me, Marry My Family and it was very watchable. Diversity, huh? Who would have thought?

It is often said ns love seeing themselves on screen – it’s why shows such as n Story and Back Roads are popular and partly explains the success of Kath and Kim.

And it’s for this reason that I hope Marry Me, Marry My Family gets the audience it deserves. Because this is the of today. I mean, where else is a skip-truck driver from Adelaide going to meet a gorgeous Kenyan woman? The casino, that’s where. How Aussie is that?

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Kate Carnell backs sex shops as banks deny services

Sex shops struggling to operate after banks denied them services have received the backing of ‘s small business ombudsman in a bid to end “discrimination” against the adults-only sector.
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Small Business and Family Enterprise ombudsman Kate Carnell wrote to the peak banking body and accused banks of hypocrisy for refusing their services to adult industry businesses on moral grounds.

“It’s a bit rich for the banks to decide which industries are moral and which aren’t,” she said.

In a letter to the n Bankers’ Association in December, Ms Carnell said members of adult industry body the Eros Association were registered and covered by a code of conduct, and needed merchant services.

“Without this, some businesses may resort to other means in the cash economy which feeds into the transaction activity frequently associated with criminal organisations,” Ms Carnell told Fairfax Media.

Banks undermined efforts to combat the black economy by refusing services to adult industry businesses, she said.

A recent report by Eros said 16 out of 24 adult businesses participating in a survey believed they had suffered discrimination from the major banks, which had denied loans and merchant services to operators, only giving scant reasons.

The ABA said lending decisions were a matter for individual banks, which should exercise their own commercial discretion.

Manager of Sydney- and Canberra-based adult business Ohzone Stores Rick Vermunt said he learnt from NAB at short notice in June it was cutting his merchant services, telling him it appeared he “may have breached the MasterCard Worldwide regulations in relation to adult content” on his website.

The bank left online purchasing gateways open for three days after cutting its services, so Mr Vermunt was unable to see whether customers buying items online had made a payment.

“You’ve got people trying to purchase and then they can’t complete their transaction,” he said.

“There’s bad will created for the customer base and then you’ve got to bring those people back.”

He was able to move his websites onto an existing PayPal set-up, but said some businesses would have been crippled if they had to find a new service from scratch.

Eros policy adviser Jarryd Bartle said it didn’t oppose banks refusing services to businesses when they had legitimately found risks, but that the industry was facing discrimination based on “broad brush generalisations”.

“That’s overstepping the role of the banks, to be making those moral judgements, particularly when those judgements are not in step with the community’s views,” he said.

“Because the banks haven’t been transparent, it’s hard for us to assess why they think these risks exist.”

NAB said a potential borrower’s capacity to repay, and “the size, type, tenor and complexity of a transaction” were all factors in its decisions.

“Accordingly, we do not provide lending or merchant services to brothels and escort agencies. Our exposure to the legal sex industry has been decreasing over time,” a spokeswoman said.

Westpac does not provide services to customers operating brothels, while Commonwealth Bank said it “actively considered” the social impacts of its clients’ activities, and would “only lend to businesses and projects where we understand and believe those risks are well mitigated.”

An ANZ spokesman said that if applicants passed normal credit policies for retail customers, the bank imposed no restrictions on lending to people employed in the adult industry.

“We assess each case on its merits and in line with our own risk appetite as we do with any application for lending.”

The small business ombudsman’s call for banks to provide services to the adults-only sector comes after a Canberra-based online sex shop filed a complaint with the ACT Anti-Discrimination Commissioner when zipPay and Afterpay turned her down because her business was part of the adult industry.

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Sam Smith shares his struggles with body image

Sam Smith is renowned for sharing his thoughts and emotions openly with fans. Now, in an interview with V Magazine, the 25-year-old Too Good at Goodbyes singer spoke candidly about past struggles and making peace with his body image.
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Interviewed by friend, Sarah Jessica Parker, as the cover-star for the publication’s spring issue, Smith said that he feels “completely different” about himself as opposed to two years ago because of his noticeable weight loss.

“When I was shooting my first music videos I wasn’t happy with the way I look, so I was trying to control the way the camera moved.” he said, with the magazine labelling him “the voice of freedom.”

Sam Smith in New York. Photo: Victoria Will

“I got a bit obsessive. I was constantly looking in the mirror, pinching my waist, weighing myself every day.”

These days, Smith has established a healthier outlook and relationship with his body. Though he admits it’s difficult not get caught in comparing himself to unattainable standards despite having already lost 22 kilograms in a food an exercise overhaul.

“Now I’ve gotten to a place where I love my stretch marks and I just enjoy my body,” the four-time Grammy winner shared.

“My job is very self-indulgent. I get kind of sick of myself, so I trust my team. But my body image is always going to be an issue.”

“I need to constantly train myself to watch the right sort of films, to not look at certain ads and think that’s how my stomach should look. It’s something that I’m fighting every day. I think men should talk about it more.”

Speaking about how his sophomore album The Thrill of It All, differs from the first as a project “about self-love” and better embracing sexuality, Smith also discussed how the relationship with new partner, 13 Reasons WhyBrandon Flynn is also changing his perspectives on happiness and image. The pair are currently enjoying some time together in ahead of Smith’s scheduled Sydney show.

“In the past few years I became a gay man properly. On a personal level, I’m in a relationship right now and for the first time, I think I deserve to be happy,” he said. “I’m actually asking myself if I’m going to be writing some happy love songs soon.”

“When I was writing it, I had a really bad relationship with myself. I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror, and now I really kind of like myself. I enjoy my own company and I feel like I deserve to be loved back.”

For Smith, happiness is now what breaking the rules means to him. He also holds a hopefully mindset for the future.

“It’s exciting seeing people walking the streets and fighting for what they believe in. It’s nice to see people protesting — that excites me.”

Breaking rules, “means happiness, it sounds so strange, but I became some comfortable with my loneliness. I most my friendship with happiness.”

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Pressure on NSW as Victoria in line for large-scale battery

Victoria has joined South in lining up a new large-scale battery to support the electricity grid, adding pressure on NSW to follow suit.
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The reliability of the National Electricity Market, a major political and economic issue in 2017, may be tested in coming days as a large heatwave sweeps across southern .

Temperatures are forecast to reach 41 degrees in Adelaide and Melbourne, while parts of western Sydney will reach 42 degrees, the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts.

While a cool change will ease conditions in South and Victoria on Sunday, Sydney is tipped to hit 37 degrees in the city and 45 degrees in Penrith.

A 100-megawatt battery supplied by Tesla is already providing support for the grid in South . Its joint owner, France’s Neoen, announced on Wednesday it had now signed a “support agreement” with the Victorian government for a 20-megawatt battery for its Bulgana Green Power Hub located near Stawell in western Victoria.

A Tesla car charging station is at South ‘s wind and solar battery plant outside of Jamestown. Photo: AAP

The battery’s agreement opens the way for construction of a 204-MW wind farm, and will support a 40-hectare Nectar Farms glasshouse nearby. The farm would not have proceeded without the renewable energy project and battery – together costing more than $270 million – Neoen said.

Tesla’s big $US50 million ($64 million) battery, the largest lithium battery of its kind, has drawn international attention since becoming operational near Adelaide last November.

While having a capacity to supply only about 30,000 homes for an hour, the battery also provides other grid services – as it did on hundreds of occasions in December alone, according to the n Energy Market Operator.

“The performance of the South n battery is outstanding,” Franck Woitiez, Neoen’s managing director,” said. “The Bulgana battery is primarily going to provide energy to Nectar Farms and may support the grid in the future.”

Lily D’Ambrosio, Victoria’s energy minister, described the agreement as “a major step forward for communities, businesses and the renewable energy industry”.

“This project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while helping meet Victoria’s renewable energy generation targets,” Ms D’Ambrosio said in a statement.

Tesla’s 100 megawatt lithium-ion battery in SA provided grid services on hundreds of occasions in December, according to the n Energy Market Operator. Photo: David Mariuz

The Bulgana battery is not expected to come on line until mid-2019 but the agreement to proceed will likely be matched by many more this year and next, John Grimes, head of the Smart Energy Council, said.

“What we’re seeing with the South n battery, what we’re seeing in Victoria, is really the tip of the ice berg for a pipeline of projects that’s coming along,” Mr Grimes said. “This is a breakout year for energy storage.”

Natalie Collard, an executive general manager at the Clean Energy Council, said the Bulgana hub and Tesla’s big battery “show just how effective these new technologies are in responding quickly to support our existing power grid with backup electricity and a very diverse range of other services”.

“Batteries will become a part of everyday life for households and industrial operations as they get progressively cheaper – and this will happen faster than most people think,” Ms Collard said.

Luke Foley, the NSW Labor opposition leader, has criticised the Berejiklian government for failing to join other states in pursuing large-scale storage.

“Battery storage is essential to ensuring the supply of energy at the times of greatest demand,” Mr Foley said in his budget reply speech in June.

“I call on the government to immediately tender for 100 megawatts (MW) of storage to be delivered and in place for this coming summer.

A spokesperson for NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin, though, said the government was “excited by the opportunities batteries present to both cut household bills and boost security of supply” and had recently released a home battery storage guide to help consumers make this decision.

“We continue to monitor technological advancements and are aware that new renewable energy projects are considering incorporating batteries,” the spokesman said.

He also said the government had implemented all actions recommended by the Energy Security Taskforce to prepare for surging demand during summer, and that AEMO had said NSW was “well positioned” to cope with conditions such as during this coming weekend.

Ms D’Ambrosio told Fairfax Media that AEMO had advised Victoria “that there is a sufficient amount of energy available within the grid”, and the government has put “contingency measures in place to ensure that remains the case over summer”.

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Ten things you need to know about travel in 2018

Travelling in 2018? Here are 10 things you need to know before you embark on your overseas journey. SMART SUITCASE BAN
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Rethink that GPS-trackable suitcase – Qantas and Virgin are just two airlines that, as of January 15, have banned smart suitcases from both the cargo hold and cabin unless their lithium-ion batteries can be removed. At least three US airlines have done the same with more likely to follow. THE OVERTOURISM BACKLASH

Crowded beach of Zlatni Rat in Bol, Croatia. Photo: Shutterstock

Some Europeans have had enough of tourists. In Croatia there have been police crackdowns on lager louts. Milan has banned selfie-sticks. In Barcelona and Venice there have been anti-tourism marches. In Iceland and other places, tourism taxes are on the increase. Be informed before you travel – and well-behaved as you travel. WORLD CUP OF FOOTBALL 2018

At this year’s World Cup in Russia, security will be the tightest ever. Hooligans won’t be tolerated, especially in the wake of clashes between English and Russian fans at Euro 2016. Even chanting in the street may attract strong police action. Advice is to steer clear of any such situations. DOLLAR DEVALUATION

The n dollar is predicted to dip to 74 US cents by mid-year and to 70 by the end of 2018. It’s also predicted to fall against both the euro and stirling. It’s a trend that may continue until at least the middle of 2019. NEW BARRIER REEF SAFETY MEASURES

Photo: AP/Queensland Tourism

As a result of a spate of deaths in 2016, tourism operators will now be allowed to request declarations from people identified as at-risk before they enter the water on the Great Barrier Reef. If at risk, they’ll be required to wear flotation devices and specifically coloured vest or snorkel so they can be easily spotted. POLITICAL VOLATILITY

Tourism hotspots Cuba, Hong Kong and Kerala in India are among the destinations with simmering political problems. Pro-democracy protests continue in Hong Kong. In Kerala, there has been recent political violence with Cyclone Ockhi exacerbating unrest. And US President Donald Trump has reversed his predecessor’s reopening of ties with Cuba. Watch this space. ETHICAL ISSUES

Government-sanctioned military operations in Burma, which have forced 600,000 Rohingya people to flee the country, pose not just a safety issue for tourists, but an ethical one as well. The decline of political rights and the arrest of the opposition leader – among other human rights concerns – has put Cambodia firmly in the problem-destination category, too. THE ROYAL WEDDING

Photo: AP

Expect a huge police presence on and around May 19, the date chosen for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Though the ceremony is in Berkshire, at Windsor Castle, there is likely to be celebration in the capital. The date is also that of the FA Cup, held at Wembley Stadium, adding further crowds and security risks. US AIRPORT SECURITY

Come January 22, all Americans travelling by air in the US will require a “Real ID-compliant” licence or similarly compliant document. While that isn’t likely to directly affect n travellers, it could cause check-in delays and confusion. There are already warnings out to get to airports earlier in implementation phase. LEGALISED MARIJUANA

As of January 1, recreational marijuana use by adults is legal in California. But there are still rules for consumers, including laws about having cannabis in cars. Smoking, eating or otherwise using marijuana in public is still illegal under Proposition 64.

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Lower $A a cue to buy miners: UBS

Monday fundie picture of (left to right) Steve Wood and Victor Gomes from UBS Asset Management. Thursday 13th April 2017 AFR photo Louie Douvis .’s current economic challenges may not have investors rushing to the smaller end of the market, but UBS small cap fund managers Stephen Wood and Victor Gomes say there are good opportunities on offer if you know where to look
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A housing market boom that pushed prices to sky high levels in Sydney and Melbourne and consumers deeply into debt, coupled with power price bill shocks, are likely to all combine to keep interest rates on hold for some time, the managers of the UBS n Small Companies Fund said.

Given that backdrop, the n dollar may continue to gradually weaken and “we think the best way to play that is resources”.

The lower the n dollar, the more money the miners make, they said, with costs in n dollars and cost inflation still under control. “The currency weakens and that supercharges the margins,” they noted.

The fund managers have combined their view on an expected currency benefit to the mining sector with the technological change occurring elsewhere to put money to work in lithium, copper and nickel small cap resource companies.

In particular, they like lithium players Galaxy and Pilbara Mining, along with copper producer MetalsX.

These companies are a way of getting exposure to the renewable energy space, which has been sharply in focus ever since a widespread power blackout in South turned up the heat on electricity supply and led to an offer from Elon Musk’s Tesla to build a giant battery to help provide power for South .

“That was a fabulous advertisement for renewables,” the pair said.

Another way to invest in the small cap mining space is to buy the companies that are supporting these miners and that have seen their propositions improve, Mr Woods and Mr Gomes said.

Contractors that are helping to build new solar facilities that are only going to get bigger in , where there’s no shortage of land, are interesting, they said. Their stock picks along this theme include RCR and NRW, along with equipment firm Emeco.

One of the key characteristics of the small cap space is that it’s a very active investment environment, the fund managers noted.

“A year ago we would have been driven by different themes,” they said. For example, the mining sector has been through an evolution in recent years from being on its knees, to working its way out of the gloom, and finally benefiting from rising commodity prices.

Watching coal producer Whitehaven and iron ore producer Fortescue Metals take their costs down and cut their debt was quite amazing, the managers noted. “When commodity prices turned, the leverage was just enormous.”

As Mr Woods put it: “Sometimes it’s not about timing the market, it’s about time in the market.”

“You need to identify different market phases, you need continuous active management. Circumstances change and you need to be continuously monitoring.”

The team, which has been together for seven years, and includes Mr Woods, Mr Gomes, David Haddad and Joel Fleming, invest with a six-year timeframe and are firmly committed to this.

“It needs something dramatic to move the dial on our six-year view. That’s why our portfolio has a low turnover.”

The market has already been through the industrialisation of China, the GFC, the early phases of fiscal stimulus, monetary stimulus, the winding back of unconventional policy and now aggressive fiscal stimulus, they said.

Going forward, they’re looking at digitisation, the cloud and artificial intelligence, which they said “will damage or help companies depending on how they are positioned”.

Companies they like for these themes include data storage group NDC and TechOne.

“A lot of investors see small caps as a casino. We take conviction views and we have a diversified portfolio with a good spread to ride out the speed bumps,” they said. “And there will be speed bumps.”

Overall the last year has been one where the median small cap manager has struggled to beat the index, they said, with UBS expecting 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent for the year, which they said will place it among the top performers.

That situation is the result of a more balanced year for sector performance, they said. “Some companies within a sector have done badly, some have done well.”

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Wamberal Beach shows why we all need to get real about the future costs of climate change

IN June, 1974, the owners of about 60 properties at Wamberal Beach, on the Central Coast of NSW, were facing one of the biggest storms of the century that coincided with the highest tideof the year.
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The beach was already in a bad state. Two major storms in February and May of that year dragged tens of thousands of tonnes of sand out to sea. Dunes that had provided houses with some protection were gone.

I was 14 when the storm hit.

On Christmas Day a coupleof weeks ago I walked with some of my brothers and sisters past the house at East Gosford where we lived in 1974 and we talked about the impact of that storm even there–how flood waters rose to an extraordinary height and nearly entered our house. We were kids. It was thrilling at the time. I have no memory of how Mum and Dad reacted.

In those relatively primitive news timeswe weren’t aware of the devastation at Wamberal until the following few days, buta NSW Supreme Court judgment from the 1990s shows thatpeople who owned properties at Wamberal“were told to defend themselves the best way they could”.

Someused sandbags to deal with the immediate threat but othersput septic tanks filled with sand and concrete in front of some of the houses. Concrete was sprayed over mesh placed behind the tanks. Some time later large rocks weighing up to three tonnes were placed behind the septic tank line.

There was no plan. There was very little formal oversight. There were consequences.

Four years later, in June, 1978, another devastating storm hit the beach under very similar circumstances. Waves smashed into the makeshift seawalls that protected houses behind it, but the deflected waves hit two houses to the north and they eventually collapsed into the sea.

The resulting 1989 court decision, Egger v Gosford Shire Council, was significant because Mrs Egger, the owner of one of the destroyed houses, lost her case against the council. The NSW Court of Appeal confirmed that it was not“reasonably foreseeable” that the 1974 emergency works–where Wamberal property owners were told to defend themselves the best way they could–would result in the destruction of other homes four years later.

Wamberal Beach on Thursday morning was typical ofthis time of year. Houses that are regularly closed off and empty for weeks at a time were strewn with summer holiday detritus–towels hanging over balcony rails, kids’ bikes and boards laying about, barbecues in position, deck chairs in the sunny spots.

But the legacy of a storm that smashed the coast in June, 2016, and threatenedWamberal beachfront properties like no storm has in the past two decades was still very evident. Millionaires’ row, as it is known to locals, looks as it always has from Ocean View Drive. But from the beach there are houses left sitting precariously close to steep drops.

A concrete wall that was blasted nearly in half on that stormy night is still in place, the smaller damaged part sinking slowly further down to beach level with every month that passes.

It’s all on hold as property owners, Central Coast Council and governments work out what to do. It’s an extreme situation, but replicated to various degrees up and down the eastern n coastline.

There is no easy fix. The 2016 storm confirmed what the 1978 storm demonstrated–you can’t tackle coastal erosion on an individual basis. You only have to walk up Wamberal Beach to see where houses without any kind of walls, but with walled-off properties nearby, were the hardest hit. Sand dunes beneath the un-walled houses were simply dragged away and the housesleft terribly exposed. Another major storm this winter could see homes lost.

For years and years very expensive houses have been built up and down Wamberal Beach. I’m old enough to remember when Gosford Council vaguely floated the idea of buying up all the properties. Even back in the 1980s and 1990s that was never an option. The cost was one reason, but many people–and not just the Wamberal Beach property owners–refused to accept that the sea could encroach to the point of destruction. Many people haverefused to accept that climate change isa potential problem.

A judge in a 1990s court case where aWamberal Beach property owner fought to build a very large house very close to the beachside boundary of his block, completely dismissed an engineer’s evidence about what would happen if a severe storm threatened the house.

The engineer said it was “most unlikely, in his opinion, for the community to stand idly by and watch the destruction of major buildings”.

The judge said that view placed the community “under pressure to undertake urgent preventative or restorative works” and reliance on such an approach “would be the antithesis of good planning”.

There is a lot of agitation about coastal erosion and who’s responsible for addressing the issue and paying the cost. There is a strong view in my local area that not a cent of public money should be spent to protect extremely expensive Wamberal Beach homes built particularly over the past 20 years. Building constraints include piering down to bedrock, leaving at least one with pier costs alone of $700,000.

One of many recent coastal management reports releasedby councils and government authorities to address these issues notes that governments need to do much more to prepare the public for the likely cost of climate change-related sea rises and coastal erosion.

A walk along the beach shows why.

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‘I got here at 3am and there were people in front of me’

The fifth and final Ashes Test match begins in Sydney today and with that comes an annual tradition. Although the series has already been won by , thousands of SCG Members lined up in the early hours this morning to secure the best seats at the historic ground. One patron even began queueing at 3am.
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Fans, both young and old and from all parts of NSW, were undeterred by the poor weather as they queued for hours, with the line stretching hundreds of metres. Despite the members gates opening at 7am, Leo Mellrose was among the first patrons to line up. “I got here at around 3 in the morning and there were still seven people in front of me”.

Mr Mellrose has attended all days of the Sydney Test Match for four decades and says that he sees the practice of lining up as an “annual tradition”.

“I usually get down here an hour earlier [in the line] for an Ashes Test Match. It’s the one you want to get to”

Tim Ruddell has been coming down from Newcastle with his family for 20 years with 15 members of his family. “We got here at 4:15 this morning to be the first 50 people here”. Queuing for the Sydney Test Match has become a family tradition for Mr Ruddell. “Twenty years ago, it was the parents who were running for the seats. Now the kids have grown up and they’re the ones making the mad dash”.

English supporters are also partaking in the tradition. Anna Hall, a British national living in Sydney, has attended the first day of the Sydney Test Match for the past six years. “It’s tradition with my friends, the 5am dash,” she explained. “It took over 45 minutes just to get a coffee; that’s how many people are here.”

The past two Sydney Test Matches have been affected by rain, and it appears the weather may wreak havoc once more with rain predicted on the first, fourth and fifth days.

However, this hasn’t deterred fans from piling into the stadium by their thousands. Ian McGuire, who has gone to the past 30 test matches at the ground and the last four with his grandson says that it is important to “turn up and hope for the best”.

The first three days of the Test match have been sold out.

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