Australian soccer in limbo as we await word from FIFA

Australian soccer remains in limbo as the embattled FFA chairman Steven Lowy and his board await word from FIFA as to their fate following the loss of a crucial vote at the annual general meeting last week.
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The A-League clubs, who are his chief opponents, are more determined than ever to create the conditions for an independent A-League, where they could capture more of the revenues generated by the competition to underwrite what have largely been loss-making investments for the past decade.

From their point of view, FIFA appointing a “normalisation committee” – an independent group of outsiders who would run the game in place of Lowy and his board, who would be sacked – is the policy most likely to deliver them their preferred outcome. For them, the sooner the FIFA decision makers act, the better.

But at no stage has Lowy indicated that he will surrender easily.

It is in his interests to convince FIFA that he and the board are still reaching out to the dissident factions to try to reach a consensus over the issues that divide them – even if the clubs show little sign of wanting to work with him in the future.

It is understood that earlier this week, despite the effective vote of no confidence last Thursday, Lowy wrote to the clubs seeking to re-open discussions on the new operating model for the A-League.

This was a concept that the FFA board and its chairman had floated earlier this year before relations between he and the clubs broke down so badly.

On the surface this looks like an olive branch, but the anti-Lowy brigade see it as an exercise designed merely to convince FIFA that he is still working hard and should therefore be allowed more time.

This is a difficult case for the game’s governing body. It was they who earlier in the year gave the FFA board a deadline of November 30 to sort out the problems associated with the Congress.

The board has failed to do that – in fact, for years now the board has failed to comply with FIFA’s demands that it broaden the representative base of its Congress, while it has also ignored the recommendations of previous federal government-sanctioned reports to set up an independent A-League.

Now FIFA must decide whether to use the broadsword of the normalisation committee, which would pave the way for a clean slate, or the rapier of some other approach to try and find a solution that could involve all parties but simultaneously end the increasingly bitter enmity.

Trying to square the circle might be an easier task given the breakdown in relations and the bad blood that now exists.

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

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‘It’s madness’: two different red zone maps in two weeks

The Department of Defence has unveiled its own mapof Williamtown’s contamination ‘red zone’, which appears to contradict a new mapreleased by the NSW environmental watchdog just a fortnight ago.
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Residents were astonishedas the map was presented to the media in Williamtown onTuesday, to coincide with the release of two final reportsinto the contamination crisis, including an updated Human Health Risk Assessment.

During a press conference, a technical expertargued that both Defence and the NSW Environment Protection Authoritywere on the same page, despite their differingmaps.

“There’s consistent advice and findings,” said Amanda Lee, a technical director for Defence contractor AECOM.

However stark differences are evidentin the maps, with different borders, colour-coding, numbers of segmentsand sets of precautionary guidelines for residents.

Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington slammed the release of the new mapas “madness”.

“It’s like the maps are a visual representation of the dysfunction between the state and the Feds,” she said.

Defence’s map divides the contaminated area into four colour-coded “risk zones”, with separate sets of precautionary guidelines for each zone.

The NSW EPA map hasthree “management areas” and two sets of precautionary guidelines for residents.

Representative of the Williamtown and Surrounds Residents Action Group Rhianna Gorfine described the situation as like being in an episode of satirical television comedy ‘Utopia’.

Defence representatives are due to front a community meetingat 5.30pm.

UPDATE 7.30PM –Footage from the community meeting

Cabbage Tree Road resident, Kim-Leeanne King speaks up at a Defence and EPA community meeting this evening. #williamtown#[email protected]@carriefellnerpic.twitter南京夜网/0wXEgvG8AV

— Marina Neil (@MarinasMarina) December 5, 2017

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High auction volume reaffirms November as biggest month for property in ACT

November has been reaffirmed as the biggest month for property in the ACT, with the highest monthly volume of auctions for the year.
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Last month, there were 509 auctions in the Canberra region, significantly higher than October’s 314.

The November clearance rate was lower than previous months at 65.9 per cent. However, Allhomes Data Scientist Dr Nicola Powell attributed this to the higher volume of auctions.

“We had such a high level of scheduled auctions that it impacted the overall clearance rate, but even though they have been lower than previous months they are still tracking rather robustly,” Dr Powell said.

CoreLogic’s latest monthly figures, released on Friday, show Canberra as the capital city with the biggest monthly property price increase, 0.9 per cent.

Dr Powell said the high number of auctions was the result of Canberra’s strong market.

“When you have a strong market the method to sell is via auction because you have a level playing field for buyers who are out there,” she said.

“Selling by auction is something that is really ingrained in the Sydney market, but it’s only been part of the way we sell here in Canberra in recent years.” Related: With Christmas just around the corner, Canberra’s property market is slowingRelated: Selling your home in the summer Canberra marketRelated: What are the chances of my Canberra home passing in?

Historically, November is the month for the highest number of new listings for all capital cities.

Last month, 1443 houses were on the market in the ACT and 1248 units. This is a slight increase on November 2016, when 1356 houses and 1186 units were on the market.

“In terms of November we do see sellers wanting to secure that sale before the Christmas shutdown and buyers obviously want to get into their home before the new year,” Dr Powell said.

Auctions almost come to a halt in January. In the first month of 2017 there were only 20 residential auctions in the ACT.

“For people that have to sell in January, there’s a lower level of auctions, so there’s less competition and that’s a great thing for a seller going to market,” Dr Powell said.

“A lot of buyers in the market will be taking holidays at that time of the year, which is why traditionally we don’t see a lot of vendors going to market at that particular time.”

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Pork with a festive twist

THE DISH UNIQUE: A different take on a Sunday or Christmas day roast. Picture: Nicole Butler Photography
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Salt Baked PorkBelly, Savoy Cabbage, Apple and Ginger Sauce

CHEF’S TIPSDouble the apple sauce recipe and refrigerate for your morning toast and crumpets.

Troy Rhoades-Brown and Mitchell Beswick of Muse Restaurant. Picture: Nicole Butler Photography

INGREDIENTS1.4kg pork belly, skin on (the best quality you can source)

1 savoy cabbage, cut into 8 wedges, core attached

100ml vegetable oil

1 bunch of shallots to finish

Apple and ginger sauce

4 granny smith apples, peeled, core removed

Juice of 1 lemon

100g sugar

60g ginger, sliced into 6 pieces

2 star anise

80mlwater

100g butter

Marinade

100ml soy sauce

220mlShaoxing rice wine

1 knob of ginger, sliced

4 cloves garlic, sliced finely

250g table salt

METHODApple sauce

1. Place apple, lemon juice, butter, sugar, ginger, star anise and water in a sauce pan and cook covered on a low heat for 20 minutes. Remove ginger and star anise. Blitz mixture in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Pork belly

1.Marinate the pork belly in a large tray or container overnight in your fridge. Make sure when placing the pork into the marinade that the pork skin is facing up and that the marinade does not touch the skin. Do not cover the pork belly, as leaving the skin exposed will allow it to dry out overnight.

2.Place pork belly onto a roasting rack on an oven tray, with 2cm of water underneath the rack. Cover the pork skin with 250g of table salt and place in a pre-heated oven at 140 degC for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

3.Rub the cabbage wedges with vegetable oil and season.

4.Remove the salt crust from the pork belly, turn the oven up to 240 degC, add the cabbage to the tray and continue to cook until the pork belly skin is completely crisp and crackled, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

5.Remove and rest the pork belly for 20 minutes before carving. Meanwhile turn down the oven to 150 deg C and cook the cabbage for a further 15 minutes.

6.Serve with 1 bunch of sliced shallots.

THE RESTAURANTMuse Restaurant is located at the Hungerford Hill winery in Pokolbin, NSW. The restaurant is family owned and run by Megan and Troy Rhoades-Brown.The Muse recipe series was created by Rhoades-Brown and head chef Mitchell Beswick.

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MP shocked by daughter’s gay relationship

Andrew Wallace MP. Photo: AAPAndrew Wallace was shocked to discover his daughter was gay.
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The Queensland Liberal backbencher is a committed Catholic who goes to church most Sundays and even joined a monastery as a teenager.

“About three years ago our daughter told my wife and I that she was attracted to women – that she had a girlfriend,” Mr Wallace told parliament on Tuesday, during debate on legalising same-sex marriage.

“My wife and I were shocked. Probably more me than my wife. I didn’t know what to say.”

Mr Wallace believed the Catholic teaching that marriage was between a man and a woman.

“Homosexuality went against what I had been taught to believe for many years. How could this be happening? How could this be happening to me, to our family?,” he asked.

His daughter Caroline struggled with mental illness and eating disorders throughout her teenage years.

She had boyfriends growing up, but told her father “it never felt quite right” and she felt she could not tell her parents because she thought they would not approve.

“She said she had always secretly been attracted to women and I’m sure this internal conflict would have, in some part, at least exacerbated her mental state,” Mr Wallace told parliament.

Caroline is now in a much healthier and happier place.

“She has a terrific job and a wonderful partner who our family love very much.”

Caroline offered her father a poignant parallel during their initial discussion that proved to be an epiphany for him.

“She said, ‘Dad, in the years to come, my generation will look back and judge your generation about how you deal with the issue of homosexuality’,” he told MPs.

“In the same way your generation considered your parents’ generation in the way they dealt with our indigenous people.”

Labor frontbencher Linda Burney choked back tears while explaining she supported marriage equality, saying her 33-year-old son Binni, who died in October, was gay.

“I have seen first-hand the confusion, anxiety and pain that many of our young people experience struggling with their sexuality,” she said.

Labor MP Cathy O’Toole’s daughter Louise knew quite early on that she was gay, but did not act on her feelings until her early 20s out of fear. She struggled with depression and anxiety throughout her teens.

Next year, Louise will marry her partner Cat.

“As a mother, all I have ever wanted for all of my children is for them to be happy, to belong, and to be accepted them for who they are,” Ms O’Toole told parliament.

Mr Wallace will support same-sex marriage but wants to see greater religious protections in the bill.

Nationals MP Andrew Broad, an opponent of same-sex marriage, will vote in favour of the legislation in line with his western Victorian electorate but also wants to see greater religious protections.

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Big picture thinking wins

Clare Dunnicliff, CEO, Winton Consulting, is passionate about achieving sustainable outcomes for organisations.An alternative change management consultancy model specialising in identifying and managing the root-cause of problems in the workplace has been recognised for its excellence at state level.
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Maitland based firm Winton Consulting was a finalist in the recent at the NSW Business Chamber State Business Awards at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour on Friday November 17.

Thecompany was among 15 other small business finalists in the Excellence in Small Business Award who represented the category’s regional winners from across New South Wales.

Winton Consulting was selected as a state finalist after being awarded the Excellence in Small Business Award (<20) at the 2017 Hunter Business Awards announced in Newcastle duringAugust of this year.

During the past three years, Winton Consulting has expanded from one to seven employees and has grown its client base from four to 35 across NSW, QLD, ACT, WA, Victoria and Tasmania.

Winton Consulting’s team of highly skilled and respected consultants partners with organisations across public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

The team at Winton work closely with clients to delivera cooperative, innovative and holistic approach to strategic planning, operations planing, process improvement and people management for every client.

Their mantra is to take thelong view, whichis vital to implement solutions to systemic problems andensure sustainable changes that will ultimately take anorganisation into a profitable, robust future..

“There’s a common perception that consultants are engaged to shake things up, change everything, “streamline” staffing practices and then walk away.

“This is completely at odds with the approach we take,” explains CEO, Clare Dunnicliff.

As the founder of Winton Consulting, Clare is passionate about leading, managing and generating change and is driven by a desire to transform organisations by helping to createclarity during timesof uncertainty.

Winton Consulting partners with charities and not-for-profits andworks with corporations and government and councils to achieve best practice and relevant outcomes for today’s competitive markets.

My experience over the years has taught me that the old adage ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’ is true, and perfectly describes what we aim to do her atWinton,” adds Clare.

Winton Consulting is based atSuite 3, 461 High Street, Maitland.

Contact1300 309 170 for more information or head to 梧桐夜网wintonconsulting南京夜网419论坛

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FFA turn to Socceroos legends to find new coach

soccer Wo4rld Cup Germany Socceroos Australia V Croatia End of game Jubilation Marco Bresciano, Vince Grella and Satn Lazaridis 230606 Tim Clayton SMH Sportsoccer World Cup Germany Socceroos Australia V Croatia End of game Jubilation Marco Bresciano, Vince Grella and Stan Lazaridis 230606 Tim Clayton SMH SportFootball Federation Australia will turn to a trio of Socceroos legends to assist in appointing the manager who will lead Australia through the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
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Three members of Australia’s so-called “golden generation” – Mark Bresciano, Stan Lazaridis and Mark Schwarzer – are among a panel of experts who will advise the FFA on the coaching hire, along with FFA’s head of national performance, Luke Casserly, Socceroos assistant coach Ante Milicic (both are also former national team representatives), FFA’s national technical director Eric Abrams and chief medical officer, Dr Mark Jones. It is expected that two international names will join this panel and will be named in the coming days.

The advisory panel, as well as search and consulting firm SRi Executive, are working with FFA on the criteria for selecting the new coach and will be involved in initial interviews. The final decision is expected to be made in February, ahead of friendly matches in March, with the World Cup starting in June.

Australia will take on France, Denmark and Peru in the tournament, their fourth consecutive World Cup appearance since breaking a 32-year drought in 2006. Bresciano famously scored the goal that sent their play-off tie against Uruguay into extra time, before Schwarzer was the hero in the penalty shoot-out, making two saves. Lazaridis was on the bench for both legs against Uruguay, and made the squad for Germany in 2006.

“As you would expect, we have had a high-level of interest already,” FFA boss David Gallop said. “As things stand, no one is ruled in or out. We are open-minded about whether the coach is Australian or someone from overseas but they must live in Australia, embrace the progress on and off the field that has been achieved with national teams over the past four years – especially in the areas of technical development and sports science – and be prepared to be an ambassador for our sport here and abroad.”

One potential candidate is former Argentina and Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, an appointment that would meet most fan’s expectations, but another big name thrust into the mix is former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

“Yes of course I’m interested. It’s a big job, a big football country, you’re playing in the World Cup – again. You more or less always play in the World Cup,” the 69-year-old told News Corp on Tuesday.

The Swede led England to two World Cup quarter-finals in 2002 and 2006, losing to Brazil and Portugal, respectively. He also oversaw the Ivory Coast’s campaign in 2010, when they failed to make it out of the group stage.

“The whole world would say France is favourite to win that group, but second I think it’s very tight. Any team there can beat anyone, it’s very open. Why not Australia?” Eriksson said.

Gallop said the prospect of a coach taking over for the World Cup and then passing the team on to someone else, as Guus Hiddink did for the 2005 play-offs and 2006 tournament, is not an ideal outcome for Australia – but didn’t rule it out entirely.

“FFA’s starting point is to appoint a coach for the long-term but we will be advised on this and other matters by our expert panel. We are confident that we will attract the right person to lead the Socceroos at the World Cup and hopefully beyond.”

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New generation at Civic

Prize Fighter: Actors and brothers Pacharo and Gideon Mzembe in a scene from the play, which will show at Tuff’ N Up boxing gym in Newcastle West. Picture: Dylan EvansThe great white and male Australian battler is a character who has always been unique to the cultural mythology of our suburbia. Many of us can so easily relate to his story because it encompasses things that we tell each other about ourselves. Loyal. Hard working. Respectful of family and friends. Disrespectful of anything false or underhanded. An honest, blue collar larrikin just trying to make a living.
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But in a more modern and intercultural suburban landscape, this portrait of the Australian hero is, to say the very least, looking a little outdated.

Commencing in February, the 2018 Civic Theatre season will be a testament to how diversified the heroic, contemporary Australian character has become. It will be a season of stories that are written across the less familiar faces of our present and past.

Across cultures that are colourful and ancient, but too often ignored and unseen. Against the inaccurate assumptions and expired stereotypes that are still attached to race, gender and the nature of theatrical storytelling itself.

LETTERS FROM LINDY One of the more frequently made assumptions that the award-winning playwright Alana Valentine challenges is that the great white battler must inevitably be an Australian male. On July 7 at the Civic, Letters to Lindy brings to Newcastle the heartbreaking,candid story of a woman around whom an entirely different type of suburban Australian myth revolved.

Letters to Lindy: Jeanette Cronin, Alana Valentine and the real Lindy.

Jeanette Cronin plays the once reviled, befallen and then later exonerated Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton – a woman whose name still reverberates with suspicion, religious prejudice and intrigue. As Cronin reads to the audience a selection of some of the 20,000 letters that the public wrote to her over the course of three decades, we are offered an insight into a private and painful struggle that large swathes of the Australian public refused to ever acknowledge or attempt to sympathise with.

“One of the things I love about this play,” says Civic Theatre manager Vanessa Hutchins, “is the attention Lindy gives to all of the letters themselves. She respects the hateful correspondence as much as she does the offerings of love and support. The letters themselves are haunting. They also give the audience an opportunity to hear her story from the mouth of a nation who at the time was absolutely obsessed with her.”

PRIZE FIGHTERFor an insight into a very different struggle, Hutchins points out that Prize Fighter also presents a fascinating example of a compelling and personal story of triumph over adversity. In a production to be presented inSeptember at the Tuff’ N Up boxing gym in Newcastle West, Malawi-bred brothers Pacharo and Gideon Mzembe play young Congolese boxers wrestling with the spectres of their violent pasts. Playwright Future DFidel, who himself had to flee a war-torn Congo before settling in Australia, dedicated the story of his main character Isa to an impressive and talented young man he once met in a Tanzanian refugee camp.

“This is a story about second chances” saysthe Zimbabwean-born, NIDA-trained Pacharo. “My character Isa has come to a place to escape his memories but eventually he learns that place itself is not enough to remove you of your demons.” For his brother, former rugby league playerand New York Acting Academy graduate Gideon, Prize Fighter is a story about the distances that an enormous athletic ability can transport an otherwise disadvantaged individual.

“If you don’t have sporting talent in a country like Malawi or the Congo,” Gideon says, “then you don’t have the same access to education or opportunity. This is why sport is a great way to tell a story. It is the language of success that everybody understands.”

WHO AM I?Who Am I?, which opensat the Civic on June 26, is yet another Australian play that explores the psychology of triumph and the sometimes obsessive pursuit of success.

Back in 1993, born and bred Newcastle performer Russell Cheek became every TV lover’s overnight hero by becoming champion of Sale of the Century. Who Am I? is an irreverent, but compelling foray into the mind of a quiz contestant under a unique and unbearable degree of pressure.

Not only has Cheek written and performed as himself in the show, he has assured that the play maintains the strongest possible link to Newcastle by enlisting fellow former Castanet Club member Steve Abbott (best known as Sandman) as his director.

Cheek speakspassionately about Who Am I? and the creative partnership between himself and Abbottthat first made it possible.

“After dinner parties that the two of us would have with friends at my place in Newcastle, we would always find ourselves watching repeats of me winning the game show,” Cheek says.

“After this had happened a couple of times, Steve began to watch the watchers. He became fascinated by the nervous, edge-of-your-seat anticipation of our dinner guests.

“One night after everybody had left he turned to me and insisted that we do a show. It was a period of transition for both of us. I had time to write. The play emerged from that particular time.”

THE PLACE IN BETWEENAlso in the 2018 season, Newcastle choreographer Cadi McCarthy explores the emotional intricacies of change and transition in The Place In Between. Presented by the local dance company Catapult and featuring a small, talented ensemble of young dancers, the performance measures the disturbances created when change, even when it is predictable and expected, descends upon us and compels us to act and make decisions.

The Place In Between is made more powerful by how carefully it exposes the intimate secrets we share only with ourselves.

They are all shows, Hutchins suggests, that celebrate the unflinching determination of the individual.

“So much of our season in 2018 is about strong and personal stories. Some are quite visceral, blood-sweat-and-tears stories. Others are about how a community can embrace the individual. But they all share with the audience something fascinating about the telling of the story itself.”

civictheatrenewcastle南京夜网419论坛/Season-2018.

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ASX struggles on banks, miners

Investors continued selling the big four banks, with losses in the big four offsetting gains made by the retailers on a day where the Reserve Bank of Australia kept interest rates on hold.
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A lift in both the iron ore and oil prices failed to motivate the resources sector, which was another poorly performing sector over the day, closing down just behind financials.

The big four banks have had a rough week following the announcement of a royal commission into the financial services industry last Thursday, however some investors believe they might have suffered enough.

“It looks like the banks are close to finding a base, there was some pretty lacklustre selling throughout Tuesday,” said Romano Sala Tenna, portfolio manager at Katana Asset Management.

“They look like they’ve run their course for the time being, we’ll have to wait for more news flow about the commission to seel them fall further, I would expect.”

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index and the broader All Ordinaries Index each fell 0.2 per cent, to end the day at 5971 points and 6056 points, respectively.

Westpac fell 1.1 per cent to $30.83, ANZ lost 1 per cent to $28.05. CBA lost 0.2 per cent to $78.74 and NAB dipped 0.4 per cent to $29.36.

Investors look to have scooped some profits from resources giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, which closed down 0.9 per cent to $27.75 and 2.1 per cent to $70.57, respectively.

Elsewhere, AWE Limited shares crashed 10 per cent to 63 cents after China Energy Reserve and Chemical Group Australia withdrew its 71 cent per share takeover offer.

The arrival of Amazon to Australia failed to stifle retailers who shot higher following stronger-than expected retail sales data for October.

Harvey Norman bumped up 6.3 per cent to $4.25 and JB Hi-Fi climbed 6.8 per cent to $25.73.

Telstra enjoyed a strong day, continuing its run after some positive broker comments on Monday. The stock closed up 3.1 per cent at $3.61.

In other equities news, G8 Education rebounded 5.3 per cent following Monday’s savage loss after a profit downgrade. Investors were buoyed by UBS and CLSA maintaining their “buy ratings” on the company.

REA Group dropped 2.5 per cent after Macquarie downgraded the stock to “underperform” on valuation grounds. Stockwatch

Magellan Financial Group rallied on Tuesday, rising 6.2 per cent to $26.72. The gain followed an upgrade to buy from neutral at UBS with a $30 target price. The broker said that whilst rising global equity markets and strong net flows suggest Magellan is on track for 15 per cent growth in assets under management in the first half of 2018, its shares have declined 13 per cent. The firm has underperformed the ASX 200 by 17 per cent, the broker noted. “With MFG trading at only 17.1 times forward earnings – a premium of only 6 per cent to the broader market compared to 26 per cent over the last three years, we upgrade MFG on valuation grounds.” Nickel

Nickel gained on Tuesday as the metal mainly used in stainless steel got a boost after Chinese steel futures touched three-month highs, but a firmer dollar capped the rise. Steel and iron ore contracts in Shanghai have surged as government-ordered steel production cutbacks to reduce pollution led to tighter supplies for some mill products. The stronger prices might not last long because eventually the steel production cutbacks during the peak Chinese smog season in the winter would mean less need for nickel, said Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics. Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange closed 0.8 per cent higher at $11,320 a tonne, paring gains after touching an intraday high of $11,470. New Zealand dollar

A speech from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand saw the kiwi dollar jump on Tuesday. A new assumption that global inflation will stay lower for longer means it is more exposed to the risk of prices picking up, said Acting Governor Grant Spencer. “More recently we have been assuming greater persistence in low global inflation and this is contributing to our current flat track for future OCR levels,” Spencer said in a speech Tuesday in Auckland. “This now puts some risk on the upside for inflation and interest rates.” The RBNZ currently sees the official cash rate remaining at a record-low 1.75 percent until mid-2019. New Zealand’s dollar rose after the speech, buying US68.95?? in Wellington from US68.65?? immediately before the speech was published. Asian shares

Shares around the region were mixed, after Japan’s Nikkei share average dropped on Tuesday while Singapore and Philippines shares rebounded. In Japan, semiconductor equipment manufacturers’ stocks were hit by weakness in US tech shares overnight. Singapore shares climbed 0.4 per cent after a survey showed late on Monday that factory activity rose for the 13th consecutive month in November to hit its highest level in eight years. Philippine shares snapped a five-day losing streak and inched up 0.3 per cent after data showed headline inflation slowed for the first time in five months to 3.3 percent, in line with forecasts. Oil

Oil markets nudged higher on Tuesday, buoyed by expectations of a drop in US crude stockpiles and after last week’s deal between OPEC and other crude producers to extend output curbs. Brent crude finished the day at $62.45 while West Texas intermediate was at $57.47 a barrel. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers last week rolled over their agreement to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day until the end of 2018, aiming to erode a global glut and drive up prices. Goldman Sachs said Saudi Arabia and Russia showed a stronger commitment to extending cuts and raised its Brent and WTI spot forecasts for 2018.

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Financial planners could lose from Royal Commission

The scandals at most of the big banks that stretch back more than a decade have often involved their financial planning arms.
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That’s partly to blame for the fact that about eight in 10 adult Australians are not receiving financial advice, even though many would benefit.

They are also put off by the cost of face-to-face advice; though the cost is likely to be outweighed by the financial benefits of receiving good financial advice.

Other likely reasons for not seeing a planner include concerns that products would be pushed their way or a perception of a lack of independence within some parts of the financial planning industry.

Governments have responded to the scandals. They have introduced new laws and tightened others so consumers are better protected than when commission-based product flogging was rife.

Commissions are banned on almost all financial products and the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority is overseeing the professional and educational standards of financial advisers.

Yet, it seems that these reforms, and others, will take some time to work, before consumer perceptions of the financial planning industry change for the better.

The latest Roy Morgan Superannuation and Wealth in Australia survey, which includes surveys of what people think of financial adviser, shows trust in financial planners for ethics and honestly has shown no real improvement since the survey began in 2009.

In fact, after improving a little, financial planners’ trust factor declined 2 percentage points in the past 12 months to 25 per cent, which is where it was in 2009.

Trust is in short supply. Whether it is governments, media and “fake” news, multinationals avoiding paying their share of tax, there is real need for financial planners to gain a greater level of trust among Australians.

Independent, expert advice does set people up for a much more financially secure future than they would have otherwise.

Most consumers probably feel that just seeing someone called a financial adviser is not sufficient to ensure they will receive a certain minimum level of professionalism.

Consumers want planners’ professionalism to be validated by an independent party, which explains why in recent years websites have appeared that rate financial planners.

The Royal Commission into the banks and other financial services entities, announced by the government last week, will most likely be revisiting the scandals that have involved financial planners and the financial planning arms of the banks, stretching back many years.

Already, the banks have paid millions of dollars in compensation, settlements or refunds.

Who knows what the Royal Commission will turn up.

It could very well uncover other scandalous practices involving the financial advice operations of the financial institutions.

It’s likely the reputation, not only of the banks but of financial planning as a whole, is set to go lower.

But it would be wrong for consumers to avoid getting financial advice in the belief that many of the problems in financial planning industry have not been cleaned up – they have.

Twitter: @jcollett_money

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