Archive for December, 2018

Why you should actually love Love Actually

Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon both appeared in Love Actually. Photo: Universal Studios Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman in a scene from Love Actually (2003) Photo: Supplied.

Olivia Olsen belts out Mariah’s hit ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ in Love Actually. Photo: Love, Actually

Bill Nighy as Billy Mac in Love Actually.

‘Tis the season.

And no I don’t mean for puddings, colourful lights and manic crowds at discount outlets.

I mean ’tis the season for watching Love Actually as many times as I can between the end of November and the end of Boxing Day.

‘Tis also the season where I brace myself to defend this cinematic masterpiece against the naysayers and grinches who hate happiness and probably eat kittens.

I still struggle to understand why people hate Love Actually, despite my Facebook wall and email accounts being flooded with think pieces about how crap it is. (You can read them here and here if you need an antidote to this love letter to Richard Curtis).

But even as I trawl through the endless tomes of hate and bile, I still can’t really understand what they are going on about and why they find the whole thing so offensive.

Sure, it is saccharine and some of the storylines are a little uncomfortable, but from the moment Hugh Grant discusses the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport, through to the cheesy wedding scene where Keira Knightley looks like a goddess, Rodrigo Santoro’s brooding graphic designer Karl, to Rowan Atkinson’s career defining performance behind a shop counter, to Bill Nigh’s Billy Mac accusing the members of Blue of having small willies… it’s just endless fun and happiness.

Love Actually pretty much sums up every Christmas experience I have ever had (except for acting as a stand-in for a skin flick… but I’m still young).

Avoiding the flirtatious advances of a slightly over-zealous co-worker at the office Christmas party, watching my partner do the same at theirs, being hopelessly in love with someone at Christmas and finding the most awkward and embarrassing way imaginable to tell them, helping friends through heartbreak, dashing overseas to find love there…

All wrapped up in festive paper and a killer soundtrack, Love Actually is, actually, a deeply fascinating exploration of the human condition.

For many of us, this is the time of the year where you reflect on the state of affairs in your platonic, familial or other love life.

And if you can’t connect with at least one of the storylines in Love Actually you either have the most blessed life or mind-numbingly, bone-achingly boring one.

Moving away from how the film accurately holds a mirror up to life, there is the fact that this film is just bloody brilliantly written.

If you don’t snort with laughter when Alan Rickman’s Harry is buying a fancy necklace for his mistress Mia while his wife shops nearby and Atkinson puts the final flourishes on the wrapping and Rickman rolls out that classic line “what are you going to do next, dip it in yoghurt?” there’s no hope for you.

If you don’t feel a surge of unentitled parochial pride when Hugh Grant’s Prime Minister stands up to Billy Bob Thornton’s sleazy POTUS or get a lump in your throat when Emma Thompson sobs in her bedroom to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now (famously, she cried through all seven takes) then you might need to check the hole in your soul.

I couldn’t count the number of times I have watched Love Actually, it is my own private tradition to watch it as many times as I can around Christmas. I actually have the film’s theme song as the ring tone on my phone.

What makes this obsession even more surprising is that I normally have a strong allergic reaction to rom-coms, often resulting in hives and hyperventilation… or just leaving the room when one comes on.

I prefer superhero movies or spy films, the only other rom-com I could say I seriously enjoyed was Amelie.

But Love Actually stands out, its head way above the crowd, it is funny and charming and easy to watch and you finish the film feeling better than you started.

If you don’t think that, fine, you probably don’t like baby seals either.

Codeine crackdown: Common painkillers will require prescription from 2018

Painkillers containing codeine, such as Panadeine and Nurofen Plus, will require a prescription from 2018 to help prevent ns getting addicted to the drug.

In response to growing concerns about addiction, overdoses and other harm caused by codeine, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has decided to re-schedule the drugs so people cannot buy them over the counter in a pharmacy from February 2018.

The controversial decision, which will anger drug companies and pharmacies that sell the products, is being introduced with a year-long lead time so people with chronic pain conditions can adjust their pain management plans with doctors.

While an original decision on the re-scheduling of codeine products was meant to be made by November last year, Fairfax Media has previously reported on a quiet push by three large pharmaceutical lobby groups for a regulatory impact statement, which delayed the decision for 12 months.

A TGA statement released on Tuesday morning said there was evidence that misuse of codeine contributes to liver damage; stomach ulceration and perforations; low blood potassium levels; respiratory depression and death.

“Low-dose codeine-containing medicines are not intended to treat long-term conditions, however public consultation indicated that many consumers used these products to self-treat chronic pain. This meant that consumers frequently became addicted to codeine,” the TGA statement said.

The regulator said there was also little evidence that low-dose codeine medicines were any more effective for pain relief or coughs than similar medicines without codeine.

The decision comes after reports of codeine addicts swallowing up to 100 tablets a day, and people “pharmacist shopping” to get around rules introduced in 2010 that restrict purchases of more than five days’ supply of the drug at one time.

In 2013, Monash University researchers reported nine deaths over a decade linked to toxicity from codeine-ibuprofen medicines such as Nurofen Plus.

Government agency data also shows the number of ns being treated for codeine addiction more than tripled over the decade to 2012-13, from 318 to more than 1000 a year.

Matthew Frei, an addiction-medicine specialist and clinical director of Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre, told Fairfax Media last year that this figure probably vastly underestimates the number of problem users as many patients who abused drugs were not detected.

Other countries including the US, Japan and most of Europe have already stopped codeine-containing products from being sold without prescription.

Despite the international trend towards removing codeine from chemist’s shelves, Pharmacy Guild national president George Tambassis​ said the final decision was “short-sighted” and could limit access to the medicines for people with “genuine medical needs”.

“The decision has purportedly been made to help stamp out abuse of these medicines by some people, but in reality this measure will only encourage vulnerable patients to doctor shop and try to find ways around the system,” he said.

“Shifting it to prescription only without a mandated real time recording system or any screening program will simply bury the problem even deeper in the overwhelmed system and cost shift it to an already bursting MBS [Medicare Benefits Schedule].”

With Daniel Burdon

Sydney terriers terrorise cyclist and cost their owner more than $105,000

It wasn’t me: Two “small terrier-like dogs” terrorised a woman pushbike rider and cost their owner more than $100,000 after the bike rider sued for damages. The un-named dogs – similar to the pictured terrier – continued to “nip and bark” at the woman even after she fell.

TWO terriers who terrorised a woman on a pushbike have cost their owner more than $100,000.

The “two small terrier-type dogs” barked and nipped at Deborah Coleman on October 12, 2014 as she rode in a Sydney parkuntil she lost control, hit a fence and landed heavily on the road, cracking her helmet and fracturing a vertebrae.

Although a stunned and injured Ms Coleman was unable to move, the terriers “continued to nip and bark at her while she was lying there”, NSW District Court Judge Judith Gibson said in a decision awarding Ms Coleman $105,564 damages.

The figure could be even higher after Judge Gibson ordered the terriers’ owner, Leonie Wood, to pay Ms Coleman’s legal costs, but left open a chance to argue against the costs order in a Newcastle District Court hearing in March.

In October Judge Audrey Balla made a default judgment against Ms Wood after she failed to file a defence against the claim her unleashed and uncontrolled dogs caused Ms Coleman’s fall and injuries, including a fractured vertebrae and “deep gouging puncture wound” in the abdomen requiring two days in hospital.

Ms Wood failed to appear at the hearing before Judge Gibson on December 12, without an explanation to the court, and despite being “an employed person in a position of some responsibility”.

“This is not a case where the defendant (Ms Wood) is under any intellectual or physical disadvantage of the kind that would excite the Court’s concern,” Judge Gibson said.

The hearing included photos taken by Ms Coleman’s husband and stepdaughter, who were riding in the Sydney park with her, showing Ms Coleman on the ground after the fall with the terriers barking and nipping at her.

Ms Coleman was “unable, because of the severe pain inher left knee and right shoulder, to get up”, Judge Gibson noted.

Ms Wood “made no attempt to come towards the terrier dogs or restrain them and they were eventually restrained by the plaintiff’s step-daughter”.

Ms Coleman and her husband gave evidence that the dogs chased and barked at all three bike riders, and when Ms Wood was asked to control the dogs she replied that the park was a “leash-free” area and did not respond.

Judge Gibson accepted Ms Coleman’s evidence that she was “likely to have some difficulty getting back into full time work” in the community management sphere because restrictions on her neck made computer work, sitting for long periods and driving difficult.

Judge Gibson accepted that the accident had had “asignificant impact on her capacity for work and life generally”.

The $105,000 damages order included $52,000 as a “buffer for future economic loss”.

Have that awkward conversation this Christmas, pleads grieving Riverina mum

TRAGIC: Mitchell Cox took his own life just before Christmas two years ago after a long battle with depression.A Griffith mother who lost her son to suicide has asked people to make sure their loved ones are OK this Christmas.

Mitchell Cox was just 21 years old when he took his own life on December 23, 2014 after a lifelong battle with depression.

His mother, Carli, said she wanted people to know about the warning signs and that there was always another way through the darkness.

“People in that head-space need immediate crisis contact, to know they’re safe and to know things aren’t hopeless,” Ms Cox said.

“It’s so important to get the message out there that there is hope and they can get over it.”

From the time he was born, Mitchell had struggled.

Ms Cox said he was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice.

And after that traumatic entry into the world he had battled chronic asthma and endured bullying at school.

“Mitch was diagnosed with depression in his early teens and was on various medications,” Ms Cox said.

“I could recognise quite easily when he wasn’t handling things.”

Calls for a dedicated mental health crisis centre in the region have grown since it was reported a suicidal woman spent six hours waiting to see someone at the emergency departmentin Wagga last week.

Ms Cox said she liked to think a centre could have prevented Mitchell’s death.

“Maybe he needed to develop a personal relationship with a counsellor he trusted rather than talk to someone on the phone,” she said.

“If he had that person it could have been different.”

Val Woodland from Griffith Suicide Prevention, which operates a 24-hour crisis hotline, said it was critical people had difficult conversations with their loved ones if they suspected they weren’t coping with life.

“Probe a little further and make sure they get help if they need it.

Carli Cox

“This can be a lonely time of year when in you’re in a depressed state, tell them to call and have a chat about their circumstances.”

Lifeline: 13 11 14, Access Line: 1800 011 511, Griffith Hotline: 1300 133 911.

Brisbane Bullets lose to Illawarra Hawks in overtime

Bullets import Torrey Craig takes on A.J. Ogilvy of the Hawks on Monday night. Photo: Bradley Kanaris Brisbane forward Cameron Bairstow scored 16 points before leaving the match in overtime with a knee injury. Photo: Joshua Paterson

The Brisbane Bullets came back from a 17-point deficit to force overtime, before losing 91-85 to the Illawarra Hawks on Monday night.

It was the Hawks’ second win in two weeks at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Coming off a win over Melbourne United on Saturday, the Bullets were looking to bounce back but struggled for rhythm in attack just two nights after scoring 100 points in their win over Melbourne.

The teams traded baskets in a scrappy but fast paced first quarter, with the Hawks led by star import Rotnei Clarke and Tim Coenraad.

​Ball control was the Bullets Achilles heel in the first half, with the home side committing eight turnovers in the first quarter and 13 for the half.

The Bullets would record 25 turnovers for the game including four in the overtime period and coach Andrej Lemanis said he would look to find the positives from the match.

“You can’t win with 25 turnovers and four of them were in the overtime period, I think it’s one of those things that it’s crazy because we keep shooting ourselves in the foot, but it’s also the good news because it is something that we can control,” he said.

“It’s not like we are going out here and teams are outplaying us, we’re contributing to our own demise on a lot of occasions.”

The Hawks opened up a seven-point lead with under five minutes to play in the first half with the score at 28-21, only for Brisbane to claw away at the deficit with scores from Adam Gibson, Reuben Te Rangi and Anthony Petrie to bring the Bullets within three at 33-36.

Illawarra would have the final say of the quarter, however, as their imports Marvelle Harris and Clarke went to work in attack and helped give them a eight point buffer at half time with the score 34 to 42 in their favour, as Brisbane would only record one more point in the last three minutes through a Cameron Bairstow free throw.

Just prior to the whistle a scare went through the home crowd as key big man Cameron Bairstow took a heavy tumble while trying to block the shot of Hawks centre AJ Ogilvy. Thankfully for Brisbane fans the former NBA player quickly got to his feet.

Bairstow would later fall awkwardly on his knee and be forced to leave the game in overtime in what will be a worrying sign for the rest of the Bullets season.

Clarke led all scorers at the half with 10 including two tough three pointers, while Brisbane were kept in the match by seven apiece to Bairstow and captain Gibson and five each to Torrey Craig and Te Rangi.

The Hawks started the better of the two sides in the third period and extended their lead to 12 through scores to Ogilvy, Harris and Nick Kay, and with the lead growing and Clarke checking back into the match off the Hawks bench things were looking ominous for the Bullets.

Brisbane would battle valiantly, keeping their side of the scoreboard ticking over via free throws to Gibson and Petrie, but their struggles from the floor and inability to keep the Hawks off the line led to a 17 point 62-45 lead for Illawarra with three minutes left until the final quarter.

Bullets forward Daniel Kickert had his best few minutes of the match to close the third, sinking two free throws before helping create a steal and tipping in a missed lay-up from Shaun Bruce to have the Hawks lead at 63-53 to start the final quarter alongside a Craig basket.

The crowd roared to life when the lead was cut to seven by a Craig three to start the fourth, only for Harris to respond in kind with a three of his own to keep the Hawks lead in double digits.

Brisbane refused to die and closed to within six when Jermaine Beal hit two free throws, a margin the Texan almost halved when his three point shot minutes later rattled out of the rim.

Inflicting more pain following Beal’s unlucky miss from deep was Coenraad who then nailed a long ball of his own before Ogilvy then found himself open for a layup off another Brisbane turnover, giving the Hawks a 71-60 lead with six minutes to play forcing a timeout from Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis.

Craig would perform his usual fourth quarter heroics after the time out and combined with scores from Kickert and Beal the Bullets would force Illwarra coach Rob Beveridge into a timeout of his own with the score at 75-70 with two minutes left.

The Bullets got the defensive stops they needed and when Craig scored from a Petrie assist they were one score away from tying the game.

The Hawks then turned the ball over with the chance to ice the match and an Ogilvy foul put Beal at the line where the former Perth Wildcat tied the match with 11 seconds left.

In the final play of regulation Kay was unable to score over Petrie’s defence and the game went into overtime.

Bairstow would score twice in overtime before being forced to leave the court with injury, the Bullets also getting scores from Kickert, Beal and Craig but scores to Norton, Coenraad, Clarke and two baskets to Kay combined by four Brisbane turnovers would be enough for Illawarra to take their second win in Brisbane in as many weeks.

Craig who top scored for the Bullets with 21 points said the Bullets need to address their continuing inconsistency.

“It is frustrating we have been inconsistent all year and tonight we had a chance to correct that and we had an opportunity to seal the win but like coach said just turnovers are just killing us at the moment, myself in particular,  charges and stepping out of bounds or whatever it is, you have to eliminate those if you want to win, especially close games in this league,” he said.

The Bullets currently sit at fourth on the table on point differential from the New Zealand Breakers and play Melbourne in Melbourne on Boxing Day.

Sydney weather: Heating up with a storm chance as Christmas outlook brightens

Another hot day for Sydney will have people looking for some cool relief. Photo: Jessica HromasSydneysiders will have to wait until the evening before relief arrives on what’s been another hot day in inland suburbs in an unusually warm December.

Before then, sea-breezes restrict the city’s maximum to 27.1 degrees on Tuesday, according to revised forecasts by the Bureau of Meteorology. Temperatures in the west, though, climbed above 36 degrees in many parts of the west – from Camden to Richmond – with Penrith reaching 37.1 degrees.

There’s also an outside chance of thunderstorms across the Sydney basin, a risk that may linger into the evening depending the timing of the cool change.

“It looks like it will be a blustery cool change so it will drop temperatures pretty sharply for coastal areas when it comes,” Rob Sharpe, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, said.

Any storms on Tuesday, though, are likely to be fast moving from west to east.

A strong marine wind warning is in place for Sydney down to the Eden Coast, making it quite breezy for those seeking heat relief at the city’s coastal beaches.

“Sunbakers will find the sand blowing across their towels,” Mr Sharpe said, making it better to “find a friend with a pool”.

The bureau is also warning of “deceptively powerful surf conditions” during Tuesday, with rock fishing and swimming potentially “hazardous”.

The fire threat for Sydney is high but very high for the Illawarra/Shoalhaven regions and the far south coast. It is severe in the lower central west plains, where a total fire ban is also in place, the Rural Fire Service says.

So far this month, Sydney’s maximum temperatures have been running almost 3 degrees above average, while minimums are more than 2 degrees above the norm. Christmas picks

Weather models are now pointing mild to good weather for Christmas Day for many state capitals, with Sydney looking among the best places to celebrate the yuletide.

“It will be a pretty great day [for Sydney],” with quite sunny conditions and “just a small chance we’ll see showers or a weak thunderstorm”, Mr Sharpe said.

The forecast is for a top of 28 degrees in the city and 33 in the western suburbs, with mostly sunny conditions, the bureau said. Boxing Day and next Tuesday will be hotter, with 30 degrees tipped for both days in the city and as hot as 37 out west.

Adelaide looks likely to be hottest of the state capitals, with a string of days in the 30s from Thursday. On current forecasts, Christmas Eve in the SA capital will reach 37 degrees before tops of 40 degrees on both Christmas and Boxing Day. (See bureau chart below of the expected tops across on Christmas Day.)

Melbourne will heat up a day later, with sunny weather producing days of 32 degrees for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Boxing Day could be a hot one for those heading for the Melbourne Cricket Group to see the start of the second test against Pakistan, with a sunny day and 35 degrees expected.

Brisbane will be relatively mild, with a run of partly cloudy days over Christmas and high-20s. Hobart will likely see a run of pleasant days in the mid-20s from Thursday, peaking nice for Christmas Day with sunny 29 degrees predicted.

Perth will bake with 41 expected on Wednesday before the mercury eases back to the low- to mid-30s from Friday to Christmas Day before a cool change brings relief for Boxing Day. Cyclone in prospect

The main uncertainty hinges on the possible track of a tropical cyclone now off north-western Western , Mr Sharpe said.

Whatever the direction of the cyclone, a lot of heat will build up over inland , he said.

For now the Bureau of Meteorology is expecting the system to reach cyclonic strength on Tuesday and strengthen as it heads towards the WA coast.

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

Follow Peter Hannam on Twitter and Facebook.

Ricky Ponting says China captain Steve Smith not solely to blame for field placements

Former n captain Ricky Ponting has gone in to bat for Steve Smith after the incumbent skipper came in for criticism over field placements to start the final day of the first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba.

With the tourists still needing a sizeable 108 runs for an unlikely record-breaking victory with just two wickets in hand at the start of play on Monday, began with a surprisingly defensive field.

Asad Shafiq (137) and Yasir Shah (33) took advantage, adding 67 runs to take Pakistan to 8-449 and within 41 runs of a famous win before both were dismissed in the space of five balls as avoided a catastrophic result by the skin of their teeth.

But Ponting insisted that the field set-up would have come about as a result of collaboration with coach Darren Lehmann, and wouldn’t have been Smith’s decision alone.

“I’m pretty sure it would’ve been an open discussion between captain and coach and, the way they started yesterday’s play, I don’t think it would have been one of their ideas, it would’ve been a combination of both of their thoughts put together,” Ponting told SEN radio on Tuesday morning.

“That was the way I always used to work with the coaches I played under. Generally you tend to sit down and have a good chat.

“I used to like to include some of the senior players as well, especially once the game started, and get their opinions on the way the game was heading or where the game was going because I knew that what I always thought wasn’t going to be right all the time. So I liked to get other people’s ideas and advice.”

Ponting thought Smith was harshly treated by his critics and lauded the way the 27-year-old has begun stamping his authority on his team.

“We are always quick to be critical on people, at the end of the day they won by nearly 40 runs which is a significant margin, really, in a Test match,” Ponting said.

“It got a lot closer than Steve Smith would have hoped but at the end of the day it’s a Test victory and all of those players will learn.

“The thing I love about him (Smith) is that he leads from the front. Whenever there’s a tough situation with the bat, he’s always the first one to put his hand up and get the job done – that’ll make the players gravitate more towards the way he is as a captain and a leader as well.”

Meanwhile, Ponting had been mooted as a potential interim head coach of the national Twenty20 side for three matches against Sri Lanka in February, but the country’s most prolific Test run scorer didn’t believe he deserved the role.

“It just seemed to me that it would be better suited to someone that was already in the n coaching system like Justin Langer or Jason Gillespie rather than just having me come in from nowhere and take over for a couple of games and then go back out of the system completely once again,” Ponting said.”We’ll wait and see where that all goes. You never say never, I love coaching, I love working with younger people, especially younger batsmen.

“Where I get a lot of the great thrill from is trying to have an impact on the way that they think about cricket.”

Langer was announced as ‘s interim T20 coach last week.

Hunter TAFE student bypasses Higher School Certificate to achieve study goal

Focused: Courtney Hardwick from Valentine said the Higher School Certificate was not for everyone – and it was possible to succeed without it. Picture: Max Mason-HubersCOURTNEY Hardwick will never forget the disapproving looks and comments she received after she announcedshe was leaving herselective high school in year 10.

“A lot of peersthought if I left I was never going to go to uni or get a good job –that I was going to fail,” Courtney said. “It was kind of annoying –but good motivation.”

Fast forward one year and Courtney, 17, has completed three qualifications at Hunter TAFE, countless hours of voluntary workand received early entry to study a Bachelor of Communication at the University of Newcastle next year. Her former classmates will sit their Higher School Certificate exams in 2017.

“I feel sorry for them,” she said. “Schools should encourage students to focus less on stressing and worrying about the HSC and think about what they’re interested in and what they want to do in the future. It’s easy for students to only think about the ATAR and end up studying something they don’t like or are not interested in.

“In the end there are [other pathways] and the HSC is not going to ruin your life if you don’t get high marks.”

Courtney and her twin sister Shannon both earned places at their former school after sitting the Selective High School Placement Test but found it“stressful”. “In the last two years I was not really enjoying school, was not really trying very much and was unmotivated, so I started considering it [leaving] more. I think if I stayed I probably would have done really badly in the HSC.”

Courtney said her parents advised her and Shannon, who wanted to pursue film and media, they needed to research and formulate a plan for what they would study. Courtney had studied Business Studies in year 10 and decided on a Certificate IVin Business.

“I was excited but kind of scared because back then I was a bit shy,” she said.

“I was less stressed because the TAFE teachers were more chilled;we didn’t have tests, just assignments; and it was only two days a week instead of five.”

Courtney received an offer to start a Bachelor of Business in the middle of the year, but deferred it to pursue a Certificate IVin Marketing in the second half of the year.

Shecompleted a Diploma ofMarketing at the same time, through night classes. “I just kept going,” she said. “The teachers were really helpful and I was able to keep on top of my work.”

Courtney also didplacements at Event Cinemas and Ronald McDonald House; work experience atHunter Life Education;plus volunteered for the Red Cross and for TAFE at its Careers Expo and the Newcastle Show. She completed an internship with environmental organisation 1 Million Women.

“I’m really happy about it –I’ve achieved a lot,” she said.

“I was not really sure what would happen or what I was going to do at the beginning of the year, so I’m really happy where I’ve ended up.

“I’m going to see where things take me, but hopefully I’ll get a job in marketing while I study and be able to travel for a bit before starting full-time work.”

Turnbull government, Sydney Airport at loggerheads over Badgerys Creek

Paul Fletcher and Malcolm Turnbull with the new airport plan earlier this month. Photo: Peter RaeA stoush has erupted over who should foot the bill to construct and operate a new airport in western Sydney, after the federal government told the Sydney Airport Corporation that it would not offer extra taxpayer funds for the project.

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher issued a notice of intention on Tuesday to Sydney Airport, under which the owner of Sydney’s existing airport can exercise its first option to build the new Badgerys Creek airport.

That notice of intention does not include the offer of any extra taxpayer funds on top of the billions the government is spending on roads around the airport, and its current funding for planning and regulatory approvals.

“There is no direct financial support from the Commonwealth provided toward the cost of building and operating Western Sydney Airport, under the … proposed contract set out in the notice of intention,” said Mr Fletcher.

“But, of course, what Sydney Airport would be getting is the valuable opportunity to operate an airport at Badgerys Creek and to receive all of the revenue of that airport,” over a 99-year lease, he said.

When the federal government confirmed in 2014 it would deliver an airport in Western Sydney, it said the airport could be paid for by the private sector.

But in a statement issued to the n Securities Exchange, Sydney Airport Corporation said it had been consistent “that the project would require material support from the Commonwealth to make it commercially viable”.

Sydney Airport said it had been negotiating with the government on the basis that the government would either pay for the preparatory works at the airport site; offer a long-term loan to support the airport development costs; or help protect Sydney Airport if the project’s costs increased.

“Whilst Sydney Airport accepts that the Commonwealth has ultimately exercised its right to deliver a [Notice of Intention] that does not feature these procurement protections or any Commonwealth funding, the Commonwealth’s recent change in approach makes the Western Sydney Airport a challenging investment proposition,” the company told the ASX.

If Sydney Airport did not exercise its right of first refusal to build the airport, Mr Fletcher said the government could either build it itself, or offer substantially the same terms to other private sector parties.

A dispute about timing has also emerged. Mr Fletcher said Sydney Airport would have four months, until the middle of May, to decide whether to take up the offer of building the Badgerys Creek Airport.

But Sydney Airport said it believed it was entitled to nine months to consider the proposal.

Mr Fletcher said the cost of the airport was expected to be around $5 billion to $6 billion. He said the airport would be open by 2026, regardless of whether Sydney Airport exercised its right to operate the facility.

Sydney Airport’s right of first refusal to build a new airport in Sydney was included as a term in the privatisation of the existing airport by the Howard government in 2002.

Men arrested and charged after car-jacking in Ourimbah

TWO men have been arrested after an alleged car-jacking.

Police said a woman, 51, was sitting in herparked Holden Commodore sedan at a shopping centre car park in Ourimbah at about 10.15pm on Monday when two men, aged 30 and 24, approached the car.

They allegedlybegan banging on the driver’s window and demanded she hand over the car.

The older man allegedly kicked and smashed the driver’s window and dragged the woman from the car.

She received minor injuries during the incident but did not require hospital treatment.

Both men got in and drove from the scene.

Police from Tuggerah Lakes Local Area Command located the Holden Commodore a short time later crashed into a power pole on Wyong Road, near Beckingham Road, at Berkeley Vale.

The two men were arrested at the scene and were assessed by NSW Ambulance Paramedics for injuries.

The older man suffered facial injuries.The younger man received an ankle injury.

Both were taken to Gosford Hospital for treatment under police guard, before being taken to Wyong Police Station where they were charged.

Subsequent investigations found the men were allegedly involved in a separate single-vehicle crash on the Pacific Highway at Ourimbah earlier that evening.

The 30-year-old was charged with aggravated take/drive motor vehicle in company, two counts of negligent driving, not give particulars to owner of damaged property, and two counts of drive while disqualified.

The 22-year-old man was charged with aggravated take/drive motor vehicle in company; possess prohibited drug and an outstanding warrant.

Both were refused bail to appear at Wyong Local Court on Tuesday.