AMERICAN DREAM: Newcastle-Central Coast band October Rage have built a US fan base, but are relatively unknown in Australia.FOR Newcastle’s Kai Chambers it all began with a “horrendous” advertisement for a drummer in the window of Muso’s Corner four years ago.
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He never believed answering the ad would lead to fulfilling his rock’n’roll dreams, travelling around the US in a tour bus. Yet that is the situation Chambers, and fellow Novocastrian guitaristJohn McMullen, will find themselves in come May when they fly out fortheir third American tour with hard rock band October Rage.

The four piece wereformed in 2008 by Central Coast brothers Nick and William Roberts. They received their big break in 2010 when their single Silver Line won a Triple M radio competition to support Bon Jovi on their Australian tour. Contacts madeled to an opportunity to perform in the US.

However, the Roberts brothers’ ambitions burnt out their formermembers, opening the door for Chambers and McMullen to be recruited. But not before Chambers, whose father Terry was thedrummer in English rock band XTC, believed the ad was a hoax.

“The ad was like ‘international touring band seeks drummer, we’ve played with Bon Jovi andSteel Panther, must be able to tour and have current passport’,” Chambers said. “I was thinking you’ve got to be kidding me. This ad is horrendous. It’s got to be some guy whose dreaming, but I later thought what if it’s real?”

October Rage have released three EPs and are preparing to record their debut album Victory or Valhallawith Newcastle producer Rob Taylor (The Whitlams). The album will be released through Salt Lake City-based label Aircastle Records.

Each US tour and EPhas increased their fan base across the Pacific and led to support slots with Alien Ant Farm,Sevendust andPuddle Of Mudd. However,October Rage remain relatively unknown in Australia.

October Rage – Valkyrie“It’s got a lot to do I reckon with the saturation of Australian radio with old stuff that’s been played for 30 years and nobody else can get a look in,” Chambers said. “Everyone wants to go see Midnight Oil and Jimmy Barnes and nobody wants to see anything new I guess, whereas in the States they have dedicated stations to specific genres.”

Chambers is also October Rage’s booking agent and has secured the band’s biggest shows this American summer, including an appearance alongside US bandsBlack Stone Cherry andAlter Bridge atRockin’ The Rivers in Montana.

“We played there 1pm on Thursday last year, which is the opening day, and this year we’ve been promoted straight to the main stage,” he said.“Everywhere we go it’s building more and more and everyone seems to want to help you chase your dreams, opposed to cut you down at the knees.”

Catch October Rage at the Newcastle Leagues Club on April 22.

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Toll road operator Transurban will fund the Inner City Bypass upgrade and take over ongoing maintenance and operation of the road in return for increased tolls on existing Brisbane toll roads.
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Tuesday’s announcement, made at the Legacy Way control centre at Bowen Hills, would see heavy vehicle tolls increase on the Clem7, Legacy Way and Go Between Bridge toll roads.

Regular motorists using the Legacy Way tunnel would also be slugged with an increase of about 7 per cent, bringing it to the maximum toll allowable.

The $60 million ICB upgrade would see a widening to four lanes in each direction between Legacy Way and the RNA tunnel, new on- and off-ramps onto the ICB, bus priority measures at the Herston Road exit and a new westbound on-ramp from Bowen Bridge Road and the Inner Northern Busway.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the agreement would save ratepayers more than $54 million, meaning the ICB upgrade would be delivered with just $3-4 million from the council’s budget.

The agreement between Brisbane City Council and Transurban, subject to state government approval, means heavy vehicle tolls for the Clem7 and Go Between Bridge will increase from 2.65 times the car tolls to three times the car tolls from July 1 next year.

Legacy Way would follow suit on July 1, 2020, at the same time as car tolls for tunnel users also increased.

Transurban Queensland general manager Wes Ballantine said the agreement, believed to be the first of its kind in Australia, would not see a toll introduced to the ICB.

Mr Ballantine said Legacy Way regular tolls would increase “circa 7 per cent” in 2020, from $4.94 to $5.31, in 2017 terms.

At a time when Brisbane’s TransApex network of toll roads were performing well below expectation, Mr Ballantine defended the price hikes for motorists.

“I think with almost 500,000 trips a day on Brisbane’s toll roads, Brisbane would look a lot and feel a lot different to the negative if these toll roads didn’t exist,” he said.

“Rather than the toll price increase, it’s actually the improvement in the ICB which will make a difference here and, in close conversation with the council, we believe that the price increases here are commensurate.

“Certainly, the value improvement is way beyond the (toll) price increase we’re announcing here today.”

Although Transurban would take over the operation and maintenance of the ICB under the agreement, Mr Ballantine said there would be no toll introduced to the road that linked Hale Street and Kingsford Smith Drive.

“Our key focus is how can we make the network work better, whether they are our roads or not,” he said.

“The council was open to that conversation and, with our tunnels at each end of this road and our workers on the road every day, we were in the best position to provide the most efficient operations of this road.”

Cr Quirk said the precedent of such an arrangement was set with the Logan Enhancement Project, a market-led proposal by Transurban to upgrade parts of the Logan and Gateway motorways.

“(State approval) has been sought, but we’ve only reached a point of agreement now with Transurban, so we’re in a position now where we can go to them with an agreement and we can formally ask for that approval.”

Cr Quirk said the freight industry had been consulted ahead of the announcement.

“It comes back to a value proposition – will it be value for money in terms of the dollars paid for the time saved?” he said.

“When you’re dealing with large vehicles like this and the large cost of fuel and maintenance associated with those vehicles, time saving can be a very significant cost advantage.”

Cr Quirk said Transurban approached the council after the ICB upgrade announcement was made last year.

When asked whether funding an upgrade to an untolled road would be a bitter pill for toll road users to swallow, Cr Quirk said such financial arrangements needed to be considered.

“It’s always an issue of revenue and where it comes from to keep up with infrastructure,” he said.

“You have a number of choices. You can continue to increase rates around that. There are a number of ways you can go about it.

“The one thing I do know is that the people of Brisbane will want me to keep up with the infrastructure build.

“They’ll want to make sure that, as our city and region grows, that we continue to invest.”

The Lord Mayor said construction savings, along with an estimated $1 million a year in maintenance cost savings, would be reinvested into other Brisbane infrastructure.

“Where we anticipated that this would be an $80 million project, the total cost will come down to about $3-4 million,” Cr Quirk said.

“There’s always a list of infrastructure jobs to be undertaken and that always makes up part of our budget considerations each year.”

Mr Ballantine said the three-time multiple toll for heavy vehicles was consistent with toll roads in Sydney and Melbourne.

“It’s very in line with the market,” he said.

The seeds of the agreement were sewn last June, when Mr Ballantine indicated Transurban was in early discussions with the council.

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Outgoing ABC Chairman Jim Spigelman.15th March 2017.Photo: Steven Siewert Photo: Steven SiewertNBN board member and former Telstra executive Justin Milne is expected to be appointed the new chair of the ABC by the Turnbull government later this week.
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Mr Milne will succeed former NSW chief justice James Spigelman in the prestigious role when his five-year term officially expires at the end of the month.

Mr Milne has been a long-time friend of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull since they worked together at internet service provider Ozemail in the 1990s.

The chair of the ABC is unusually the prerogative of the prime minister with input from the minister for communications.

Fairfax Media understands the appointment was approved by cabinet on Monday night, with an official announcement expected later this week.

The job comes with a pay packet of around $160,000 a year.

As well as OzeMail, Mr Milne served as chief executive of internet giants MSN and BigPond before Mr Turnbull appointed him to the NBN board in 2013.

He is also chair of accounting software group MYOB and NetComm Wireless, and also sits on the board of Tabcorp Holdings.

An ABC source said staff would be relieved the government had appointed someone with extensive experience in telecommunications and media rather than an “ideological warrior”.

A spokeswoman for Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said: “The Government has made no announcement about the next Chair of the ABC, but will do so in the near future.”

The appointment comes after an announcement by ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie to cut 200 jobs as part of a major restructure of the broadcaster.

Prominent lawyer Danny Gilbert, managing partner of law firm Gilbert + Tobin, was in the running to be appointed chairman, but was pipped by Mr Milne who has more media experience.

Mr Spigelman last week told Fairfax Media he was disappointed not to have been appointed to a second term.

“If I had been offered a second term I would have accepted,” says the former NSW chief justice and principal private secretary to Gough Whitlam.

“My predecessor wasn’t given a second term and wanted it; I haven’t been given a second term.”

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Stockton hazard exposed Concern: Surf club life members Ken Grainger (left) and Wayne McMahon. Picture: Daniel Danuser.
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Rock platform: Local children inspect some of the exposed rocks.

Danger: A number of beach users have been injured on the rocks.

TweetFacebookMOTHER Nature brought it to a head in June last year.

The effects of extreme storm surges stripped Stockton Beach to a thin ribbon of sand.

The long-held hope of many locals that authorities would act on the continual erosion problem faced by the coastal strip became a reality.

Newcastle City Council agreed to a $2 million beach restoration program.

Fast forward nine months and hundreds of Stockton Surf Life Saving Club nippers are gathered ready for their weekly Sunday morning competition.

Large, sharp rocks litter the beach, causing the cancellation of the sand events.

Stockton surf club life member Don Bland said parts of the beach were “just far too dangerous for use”.

“You’ve only got to look around to see what we’re dealing with,” he said. “It’s a major safety hazard. To try and tell us the rocks have always been there is complete rubbish. I’ve been here since 1947 and the rocks are an unwelcome new feature.”

The club’s director of lifesaving, Luke McShane, said volunteer lifesavers had seen a significant increase in injuries in the past few months.

Mr McShane said the problem was getting worse as the sand moved south “uncovering more leftover rocks”.

“While there’s no doubt that the conservation works are completely necessary to ensure the sustainability of our beach over the next few years, there’s been an obvious failure to address the hazards that have resulted from the work,” he said.

“In and out of the water, we’ve seen both lifesavers and members of the public sustaining a range of injuries from ripped up toe nails to deep lacerations.”

After being contacted by Fairfax Media, Newcastle City Council’s spokesman said an inspection would be carried by its contractor on Tuesday to remove any exposed rocks.

A further inspection will be carried out next week on extreme low tide.

“Following stormy weather over thepast two weeks, around 800mm of sand has been lost from the new seawall at Stockton, exposing a number of rocks leftover from the stockpile. Earlier this month, council officers undertook an inspection and no protruding rocks were visible.”

Council’s spokesman said an “ongoing sand nourishment and rock-screening process” was in place to ensure the beach was safe.

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Mellissa Moore was sitting on her porch in Gladesville on Sunday afternoon, taking in some of the rare sunshine when she felt a creature slither over her toes.
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“I thought, ‘Oh, it’s just a blue tongue’,” Ms Moore said, before she glanced down. “Hang on – this one doesn’t have any legs!”

The snake was perhaps 30 centimetres long, and likely to be the venomous red-bellied black snake. “I could clearly see the red stripe,” she said, before it slid away.

Ms Moore’s concern was that there would more in the grass around the house where her two young children have – until now – been free to play.

“They are forever outside without shoes,” she says. “Now they don’t go outside without gumboots.”

Sydney’s long wet patch may have buried a few memories of what was the city’s hottest summer in 158 years of records.

But it also appears to have nudged a few critters, such as snakes and spiders, inside homes and garages in search of drier conditions. ‘Inundated’

For professional snake handlers such as Harley Jones of Snakes in the City, it’s been a bumper season of call-outs, with up to four a day for red bellied black snakes alone.

“At the moment, we’ve been inundated,” Mr Jones says, just after bagging another juvenile red-belly that had found its way into an office complex at Lane Cove. The wet weather “tends to put them inside houses,” he adds.

March, though, also tends to be the peak season for breeding, with red-bellies typically spawning about 14 offspring at this time of year. While most will be taken by kookaburras, foxes and other predators, juveniles are still capable of inflicting a very nasty bite.

In terms of injecting highly potent venom, “they are just as capable as a parent. The last thing you do is pick them up,” Mr Jones said.

Red-bellied black snakes “are found all over Sydney,” he adds. “They’re absolutely everywhere … You find them in the middle of the CBD, all over the north shore, all over the south and all over the east.”

Most of those he captures are released back into the wild, such as in the Lane Cove National Park.

Other snakes turning up include golden-crowned snakes, particularly in the north shore, and green or brown tree snakes – with the latter able to climb through open windows.

Stephen Mahony, a herpetologist at the Australian Museum, said people are more likely to come across snakes such as red-bellied black snakes and browns once the sun comes out after a wet spell.

“They are generally less active in overcast, rainy and colder conditions,” Mr Mahony said. “Red-bellies do hunt a lot of frogs, so may be seen hunting somewhat more after rain periods once it warms somewhat.”

“Some snakes, for example pythons – such as the diamond python – and some tree snakes such as the brown tree snake do seem to increase in activity when it is wet,” he said. “Though the reason is not clear.” More rain to come

Those hoping for a break in the snake-friendly weather will have to wait a few days yet.

“There’s a high chance for showers each day” up until about the weekend, said Graeme Brittain, a Weatherzone meteorologist.

Storms are possible in Sydney both on Tuesday and especially Wednesday afternoon. (See the Bureau of Meteorology chart below showing predicted rainfall totals over the next four days.)

“We’ve had these moist on-shore flows, and above-average sea surface temperatures off the NSW coast,” Mr Brittain said. The additional moisture that’s available has combined with upper-level pools of cool air to create ongoing instability and rain.

While nights have been exceptionally warm, the clouds are keeping a lid on temperatures – although most days are above the March average.

“There’s no real sign of any real heat making it towards the coast over the next week or so,” Mr Brittain said.

Still, there’s a chance for some reasonable sunshine on Sunday and early next week, as temperatures in the city climb back towards 30 degrees. Snakes won’t be the only ones happy with that outlook.

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So far in March, Sydney has had 17 days with at least 0.2 millimetres of rain, or well above the average of 13.6 rainy days for March, according to Agata Imielska, senior climatologist with the bureau in Sydney.

The record of 26 rainy days, set in 1870, is perhaps out of reach but the 22 wet days in March 2014 is within reach.

In terms of rain totals, the 223 millimetres is already well above the average of 129.6 millimetres for March at Observatory Hill.

“The record March total is 521.4 millimetres in 1942, so we’ve got a way to go to reach that record as well,” Ms Imielska said.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

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It’s not every day that Cory Bernardi and Amnesty International are on the same page.
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But the conservative senator and the human rights organisation have both flagged major concerns about the Turnbull government’s plans to ratify an extradition treaty with China.

Ten years after the Howard government signed the extradition treaty, and days before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Australia to discuss the legal agreement, the senator and the human rights group have questioned the protections in place to stop the death penalty being implemented for serious crimes. China executes more people than any other nation.

The treaty was quietly tabled on March 2, is on track to be ratified by July, and will facilitate each of the nations returning an accused criminal to the other to face trial.

Liberal-turned Australian Conservatives leader Senator Bernardi told Fairfax Media that he did not know why ratification had been delayed 10 years but “no public case to justify it [the treaty] has been made”.

In 2015, a staggering 1.232 million people were found guilty by Chinese courts, while 1039 people accused were found to be innocent – a conviction rate of 99.92 per cent – a fact that Senator Bernardi said made him question the impartiality of the legal system.

“This is a red flag to my support for the rule of law and I cannot justify an extradition agreement with China any more that I can with Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan,” he said.

An Amnesty submission on the treaty flagged a number of concerns about the human rights safeguards that were in place.

“How would Australia monitor what is happening in China to ensure the Chinese government is upholding its undertaking? Would the Australian government continue to ensure whoever is subject to extradition has not been in fact been sentenced to death or executed?”

Labor, the Greens and the Senate crossbench will have 15 sitting days of parliament to disallow the treaty. Combined with Senator Bernardi’s support, just two more Senate votes will be needed to block it coming into effect.

Australia will be the first member of the “five eyes” intelligence community to ratify an extradition treaty with China, and one of the few Western countries, alongside France and Spain, to do so.

Last December, the treaties committee recommended ratification while recommending safeguards to “strengthen the protection of individual human rights”.

A spokesman for Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the treaty would allow Australia to refuse extradition where a person could face the death penalty, torture, cruel treatment, or face political charges.

“All extradition requests are considered by the relevant minister on a case-by-case basis. The safeguards in this treaty combined with the Extradition Act enable the minister to consider all relevant humanitarian considerations.”

The Law Council of Australia has also warned the undertakings from China not to carry out the death penalty are not legally enforceable.

“There is no consequence,” it said in its submission last year. What is Australia going to do? What is the reality? Is Australia going to try to haul China before the International Court of Justice? It is a joke.”

The extradition treaty would not operate as a prisoner swap, so would not facilitate the return of Australians who had been convicted of breaking laws in China.

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Collingwood youngster Jordan De Goey will miss at least the first six weeks of the season – and probably more – after receiving a three-week club ban to come into effect only after the hand he broke in a bar fight and lied about has repaired.
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It has emerged that the Collingwood players had agreed on Friday that a week out from their first game it would be wise not to drink on the weekend. Only hours later De Goey got in a fight in a St Kilda bar and broke his hand.

He initially told the club an implausible story of a freak injury while playing with his dog and hitting his hand on a door knob, but late on Monday he finally contacted the club to come clean about the real cause of the injury.

De Goey asked for a meeting with coach Nathan Buckley and football manager Geoff Walsh because he had to correct the story he gave them and to deal with the consequences of having lied to them and embarrassing Buckley by having him publicly defend him with the flimsy alibi.

De Goey, a top-10 draft pick, admitted to Buckley and Walsh at Tuesday’s meeting that he had made up the dog story but was adamant he had not been drinking. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframe_afl_video’);

De Goey, who turned 21 last week, told the club that while his friends were drinking on Friday night he had not been when he got in a fight and broke his hand.

“He was with mates and they were drinking but he was not. He had plenty of time to change that story if it was not true and he is adamant he was not drinking,” Walsh said. Well here I was thinking the ratpack was done and dusted at the pies…#warmstheheart??? Dane Swan (@swandane) March 21, 2017

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AFR, GENERIC, ATO Australian Taxation Office, tax, taxpayers, money, Government revenue, budget. Wednesday 18th December 2002S photo Louie Douvis / ldz ***AFR FIRST USE ONLY*** Photo: Louie DouvisEvicted tenants discover former Kirribilli rental unit on AirbnbWant to be an Airbnb host? This Aussie start-up will help organise everythingMurray Cox: The Australian pricking Airbnb’s global bubble
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People who rent out their houses on Airbnb stand to make, on average, less than half of what they charge, new figures based on the company’s data and checked by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) show.

Apartment-owners fare only slightly better, likely to make a little over half the price they tend to charge, after paying income and Capital Gains Tax when they finally sell their property.

And if either group doesn’t declare their participation in the sharing economy in a bid to avoid tax then they’re “likely to receive a ‘please explain’ letter from the ATO,” warns Mark Chapman, director of tax communications at H&R Block.

“[The ATO] is able to data-match rental income with third party data, not least the Airbnb website itself, which discloses information about you and your property, which the ATO can then match with your tax return,” he says.

“Bear in mind too that the ATO shares information with State Revenue Offices. That has led the Tasmanian SRO to attempt to levy land tax on some Airbnb renters in that state – a legally dubious challenge but one that other states could follow if a precedent is set.”

The calculations were done by officers of the Our Strata Community, Our Choice (OSCOC), an organisation that is lobbying the NSW Government for apartment buildings to be allowed to continue to decide themselves – by a 75 per cent majority vote – whether to permit Airbnb to operate in their buildings. All their figures were run past by the ATO as well as H&R Block and then reworked to take in their amendments.

But the final results stunned them. “We were shocked to find that people renting out their homes on Airbnb and presumably other organisations too like Stayz will make so little profit on it in the long term,” says Michael Mangan, OSCOC chairman.

“I think a lot of people haven’t really figured that out yet. Most people won’t make much profit after tax and then, on top, they’ll have cleaning costs, the costs of making good any wear and tear on their property and any damage. In some areas where the value of property has gone up by a lot over the past couple of years, we actually found some people, when they come to sell their home, making a loss.”

The figures are based on average wage-earners, living in average priced homes whose value has risen by an average percentage, and letting out rooms, or their whole home, for an average 28 days a year, on Airbnb-supplied numbers, and charging an average $160 a night.

Those in houses were discovered to have a $1462 income tax bill in 2016 and owe another $1352 in capital gains tax if it were sold. It meant they’d end up receiving just $60.17 a night.

Apartment-owners did only marginally better, making $89.91 a night.

An ATO spokesman said: “If you earn money from renting out a room or house you need to declare it because it counts as assessable income. Any money earned through accommodation sharing, where you rent out all or part of your house or even a car space, should be included in your individual tax return as rental income.

“We are focused on supporting those participating in the sharing economy through accommodation rental by making it easier for them to understand their obligations.”

An Airbnb spokesman declined to comment on the figures but said that, while every host’s financial situation was different, the company recommends they seek advice from their accountant or a tax professional.

“The average income for Australian hosts is just $5000 a year, and while this may not sound like a lot, we know the impact can often be life changing,” he said. “Our hosts tell us this modest extra income helps pay off the mortgage, cover bills and household expenses. Others list their home to pay for their own holiday away with the family once or twice a year.

“Many of our hosts make a modest income from Airbnb, which will of course be offset by the deductions they are entitled to. We make it easy for hosts to declare their income by proactively providing them with a summary of earnings every year before tax time.”

But Chapman has urged anyone contemplating, or actively renting out their homes or rooms on services such as Airbnb, to sit down and work out the financial implications early on.

“As time consuming and difficult as it may be, take the time at the start to work out your post-tax financial returns – not just from the rental itself but over the whole life of your ownership of the property,” he advises. “That way, you will be walking into your Airbnb arrangement with your eyes open and will avoid any unpleasant financial shocks down the road.” Unit rented out on Airbnb in 2016 – According to Airbnb numbers

If last year you were an average wage earner in NSW ($80,132) who owned and lived in an average apartment in Sydney (worth $711,256), which increased the average value that year (6.3 per cent or $42,367), and you let it out for the average number of days on Airbnb (28 days), and you received the average amount of income from that ($4500), you would be liable for: A $1462.50 income tax bill this yearAnother $519.93 capital gains tax bill when you sold it

In order to comply with tax law, you would actually have a tax bill of $1982.43 against an income of $4500, which works out as a profit of just $2517.57, or $89.91 per night it is rented out.

Assumptions:

* Assuming unit held for 12 months, by individual/s (not superannuation), apply 50% CGT exemptionHouse rented out on Airbnb in 2016 – According to Airbnb numbers

Issue:

If last year you were an average wage earner in NSW ($80,132) who owned and lived in an average home in Sydney (worth $1,123,991), which increased the average value that year (10.7 per cent or $108,532), and you let it out for the average number of days on Airbnb (28 days), and you received the average amount of income from that ($4500 ), you would be liable for: A $1462.50 income tax bill this yearAnother $1352.72 Capital Gains Tax Bill when you sold it

In order to comply with tax law, you would actually have a tax bill of $2815.22 against an income of $4500, which works out as a profit of $1684.78 a year, or $60.17 per night that you rent out your house, and a tax rate of 87 per cent.

Assumptions:

* Assuming house held for 12 months, by individual/s (not superannuation), apply 50% CGT exemption

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A security consultant who was charged after a listening device was found in the All Blacks’ Sydney hotel room in August has pleaded not guilty.
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Adrian Gard, 51, was charged with one count of false misrepresentation resulting in a police investigation in February. Police will allege Mr Gard gave a false statement to authorities that he had found an “unlawful listening device” in a chair in an All Blacks team meeting room which then resulted in an unnecessary investigation.

Mr Gard’s lawyer, Simon Joyner, made a short statement outside Waverley Local Court on Tuesday, saying his client would plead not guilty when he returned to court on May 2.

“He has participated with the police investigation and he respects the All Blacks and what they represent,” Mr Joyner said.

Mr Gard declined to comment to the media.

Mr Joyner requested a two-day hearing to coincide with the availability of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and his management.

He also said he would issue a subpoena.

It is not clear whether Hansen will be required to give evidence, however there is the possibility he may be able to do so via a teleconference rather than make his way to Sydney.

New Zealand Rugby Union did not respond to a request for comment.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen described the charge last month as “bizarre and unbelievable”.

“It’s very hard to understand,” Hansen said. “The charged man has worked for the All Blacks, and many other organisations, for a long time and is someone who is trusted and well-respected by us.”

It is understood there was a device of some description, given NZRU chief executive showed Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver a picture of it just before the story came out in the media.

However, police believe it may have not been in a chair, as Mr Gard alleged.

News of the incident, which broke on the morning of the first Bledisloe Cup Test between Australia and New Zealand in August, sent shockwaves through the rugby world.

While no one from New Zealand Rugby said they thought the device was planted by someone from within the Australian camp, Pulver and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believed there was an implication of foul play.

“I knew one thing was definite … the inference was that we were involved, I know that was ridiculous,” said Cheika in February. “It’s not nice to have to answer questions from police and stuff like that, especially when you’ve got absolutely nothing to do with it.”

The incident left a sour taste in trans-Tasman relations for the remainder of the year.

Cheika’s frustration came out in the aftermath of Australia’s loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park in October, accusing New Zealand of inferring that he or his team were behind the device.

While it was first reported by New Zealand media the device was “sophisticated”, later reports suggested this was far from the case.

Gard has worked with the All Blacks as a security guard for more than 10 years whenever they have toured Australia as well as at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

He has also worked for a number of high profile clients, including Paris Hilton, Schapelle Corby and former US President Bill Clinton.

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Controversial West Coast recruit Drew Petrie has been confirmed to make his debut against his old club North Melbourne in Sunday’s season opener at Etihad Stadium.
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Eagles coach Adam Simpson has disclosed the 34-year-old rookie import will play after a highly impressive summer training campaign with crucial ruck support performances in practice games this month.

Simpson announced on his regular Seven News interview on Monday night the experienced Petrie will start on Sunday.

“We will go with Drew. He will play his first game for the club on the weekend,” he said.

The highly popular former Roos big man has been earmarked all summer to make a debut against his old outfit as West Coast plans for a flying start to the away engagements this season.

He will share ruck duties with another import as injury-plagued former Geelong big man Nathan Vardy also makes his Eagles debut after crossing last October in a trade deal from the Cats.

Petrie and Vardy team with another stunning Eagles recruitment coup from last season as champion midfielder and heavily decorated Hawthorn superstar on-baller Sam Mitchell takes his Eagles inauguration on Sunday.

West Coast look capable of beating the Roos to launch the new premiership season and celebrate Petrie’s introduction.

Petrie was a shock rookie draft selection to West Coast last November after almost two decades and 316 games at North before an unceremonious departure along with Roos legend Brent Harvey and tough defender Michael Firrito in an uncompromising cull of aged stars.

Petrie will be elevated onto the senior Eagles playing list ahead of selection confirmation later this week as replacement to lead ruck duo Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett who have long-term injuries.

Naitanui is out for the 2017 season as he recovers from a full knee reconstruction while Lycett faces a 12-week rehabilitation from a badly dislocated left shoulder.

Lycett was playing just his first practice match after a four-month recovery from knee surgery when he damaged his shoulder making a tackle playing with affiliate WAFL outfit East Perth.

Another back-up ruck candidate Jon Giles has battled on-going knee soreness as well as a broken thumb in summer training.

“It’s been fortunate for us with Scott coming back from his knee and hurting his shoulder and then Jonathan Giles hurting his thumb during the pre-season and it’s just not quite ready yet,” Simpson added.

The Eagles boss floated prospects to add an extra tall defender depending on North’s forward troops.

Rising intercept back liner Tom Barrass was a surprise omission from an Eagles defensive battery for the final pre-season game against Melbourne in Perth.

Simpson instead opted for resumption of a successful defensive structure with just two tall key backmen surrounded by a battery of smaller, running defenders that proved efficient in 2015 when West Coast bucked the odds and made a grand final, before copping a belting from a powerhouse Hawks unit.

Barrass, 21, as well as experienced defensive experts Will Schofield and Sam Butler are in for selection consideration with at least one of them tipped to travel with the squad ahead of a final make-up of the starting line-up on Sunday.

“It’s a good problem to have with our defenders in particular,” Simpson said.

“North traditionally play pretty tall up forward so we need to look at that and see how we handle match committee and see what advantages there are in playing small or tall.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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