Archive for March, 2019

Nick Williams backs government plans for an independent body to run racing in Victoria

Racing Minister Martin Pakula. Photo: Rob GunstoneThe multiple Melbourne Cup-winning Williams family has thrown its weight behind the Andrews government’s decision to throw out the board of Racing Victoria and create a new independent team to oversee the sport in this state.

Racing minister Martin Pakula said on Tuesday he intended to introduce legislation in 2017 to change the way directors are selected to ensure an RVL board  is independent, diverse and where conflict of interest is minimised and appropriately managed.

Nick Williams, son of leviathan owner Lloyd Williams, the state’s most prominent racing figure, quickly welcomed the initiative as a “fantastic” step in the right direction.

“It’s the single greatest thing that has happened in racing in the last 20 years,” Nick Williams said

“The fact that Daniel Andrews and Martin Pakula have put it on the table is wonderful. We would have been going out the door backwards otherwise.

“Now he [Pakula] can go through the process of getting the legislation changed and hopefully with an independent board it will be terrific. There is an enormous number of professional administrators and directors out there who could do a fantastic job for the industry.

“It will give those who can do the job the chance to work without pressure from people with sectional interests. It’s a huge feather in their cap that they have taken this decision and all I want to do is offer them my support, ” Williams said.

In a statement, Pakula said the government would consult with the racing industry in the new year to finalise the selection model.

“The selection model will not alter the fundamental nature of Racing Victoria and the government is not proposing to create a racing commission or a statutory authority,” he said.

“With the positions of permanent chairman and new CEO to be filled in the near future, the announcement provides prospective candidates with clarity and certainty around the future governance arrangements for Racing Victoria.

“Racing is an industry which employs tens of thousands of Victorians and is worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” Pakula added.

“It’s vital that an industry of such importance has a modern and independent governance structure to match. It is no longer appropriate for the board of Racing Victoria to be chosen by the people and organisations that it regulates.”

Pakula’s move comes at the end of a tumultuous week for the Victorian racing industry in  which RVL chairman David Moodie quit after he was found to have leaked sensitive information and misled the board in issues related to the ongoing cobalt cases that have plagued the sport for the past two years.

And on Saturday, Victoria Racing Club chairman Michael Burn stood down, citing concerns over a potential conflict of interest involving his role in a takeover bid for Tatts Group.

Maitland council approves a $3.6 million community centre for Gillieston Heights

Maitland City Council has approved a $3.6 million multi-purpose community centre for Gillieston Heights.

Councillors voted unanimously at a meeting this week to approve the development which will be built on land in Redwood Drive.

A report said the centre will cater for a wide variety of activities such as meetings, functions, sporting events, care facilities and workshops.

The centre is proposed to operate Sunday to Thursday between 8am and 10pm and Friday and Saturday between 8am and 12pm.

Cr Ben Whiting said the centre will fill a void in the local community and help provide a range of activities.

Cr Philip Penfold welcomed the development and said a community centre would have been a great facility for Gillieston Heights during the 2015 storm when the suburb became an island.

Council’s Development Assessment Coordinator Leanne Harris said the proposed centre will have the potential for a diverse range of uses however the development application has not outlined any specific uses at this stage.

The community centre has been designed with the flexibility to host both large and medium sized events and will include a commercial kitchen, storage rooms, furniture storage and an external deck.

The proposal also includes landscaping and car parking, Ms Harris said.

In a statement of environmental effects on council’s website, a report said theproposal is to accommodate services and the needs of the growing community.

This may involve a variety of activities, meetings, functions, sporting events, care facilities, and workshops.

Fairfax Media reported in 2013 that the suburb was identified as a priority for development in council’sUrban Settlement Strategy.

The Department of Education has also been monitoring the suburb’s growth purchasing1.3 hectares of land adjacent to the school for a reported $1.6 million in 2010 to accommodate any future expansion requirements.

Fairfax Media also reported that anew $200 million residential development in Gillieston Heights wasexpected to become home to about 1000 people by 2018.

Michael Cassel appointed Hunter Development Corporation chief executive

Michael Cassel has been appointed chief executive of the Hunter Development Corporation. Picture: Supplied

URBAN Growth program director Michael Cassel has been appointed chief executive of the Hunter Development Corporation.

In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, HDC announced the co-ordinator of Newcastle’s light rail delivery would work two jobs, taking over HDC’s top position which has been vacant since Bob Hawes stepped down from the general manager’s job in July.

With this appointment, Mr Cassel heads up both Urban Growth’s Urban Transformation and Transport Program and HDC.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes said Mr Cassel “would be an asset” to HDC.

“Michael has a wealth of experience in serving the people of Newcastle and I’m sure he will continue to work for the best interests of the local community in his new role at the Hunter Development Corporation,” Mr Stokes said.

“The NSW Government is investing more than $500 million to revitalise Newcastle and the Hunter Development Corporation with Michael at the helm will be equipped to play a greatly strengthened role in the future of the city and the region.”

Mr Cassel’s appointment comes after the Baird Government overhauled the HDC to more closely mirror the Greater Sydney Commission, beefing up its powers by giving it more responsibility over the future of planning in the Hunter.

It is charged with implementing the 20-year Hunter Regional Plan and co-ordinating the delivery of infrastructure.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, said it was a “very importanttime for HDC as they take a lead role in the implementation of the Hunter Regional Plan”.

“The Hunter has unlimited potential and I am sure Michael Cassel will be integral in its development,” Mr MacDonald said

The appointment comes on the same day former HDC general manager Bob Hawes was made head of the Hunter Business Chamber.

Shoal Bay businesswoman Helen Love’s organic repellant range Ya Mate is a quiet little achiever

Spray queen: Helen Love has built a successful brand in Ya Mate organic insect repellents. Picture: Sam Norris.

How did you come to found your organic insect repellent range, Ya Mate?

Helen Love

Ya Mate was one of the many products that I was experimenting with in the late 1990s. I was very passionate and focused on finding a natural alternative to using the chemical products that are on the market. Citronella is a known repellent but not strong enough on its own so after much experimentation, I found a combination of essential oils and plant extracts that were effective and I knew we were ready to bring Ya Mate to the market.

How did you go about making the product and testing it?

Initially I would buy bulk base creams and mix my oils and extracts into them but I wanted better quality products with less chemicals so I started making all of my own.

At that time, I was working in my other business, The Body Spot massage at Bondi Icebergs, and I would use my clients, friends and family as my guinea pigs.

As time has progressed, I got testimonials from volunteers and workers from Hunter Wetlands, Mission in Uganda, World Humanitarian Project, and Buzz Off anti malaria org. All have used Ya Mate and still do!

What’s the story behind the brand name?

I was brain storming with one of my clients from the Icebergs for weeks over this. We decided that the names of other repellents on the market were too hard and negative and, at the end of the day, a good insect repellent is your best friend! So, the name Ya Mate popped up – unusual yes but – your mate will always protect you!

You founded it in 2006 and initially you sold online at markets. How hard was it to build the brand?

I ask myself sometimes if I knew how hard it was going to be, would I do it again! I also firmly believe, if you do have a good product, you just need to get people to use it and then word of mouth will help develop your sales and this is certainly true with my range.

All of our stockists have come on board because their customers have asked them to get the products in store!

This whole business has been a giant learning curve for me and still is. I have done a lot of business courses over the time, more recently with the Hunter Business centre, to learn about marketing, getting and maintaining customers, social networking and developing the brand, oh, and the bookwork!

Ya Mate is now found in more than 600 shops, including pharmacies. Is your next target supermarket chains?

Definitely not. I want to maintain the integrity of my products and don’t want them to be mass marketed.

I want them to remain as a boutique brand available in Pharmacies and Health Food stores.

There are many organic skin products out there. How are yours different?

At this stage I don’t do skin care – my range is more personal care. Because I actually experiment, develop and formulate all of my range. it makes me unique. My focus is effectiveness and quality and I use the best ingredients available.

What have been the most difficult moments in business?

Getting established was really tough with lots of highs and lows. The business is totally self funded by my earnings from my massage clinic in Bondi. I would work there one week to earn enough money to buy ingredients and the other week, frantically making the product for my partner Ray to sell at markets, fairs and Trade Shows. We would have one profitable show which really buoyed our spirits, and then we would have two or three not so profitable! It was a real roller coaster ride until I finally decided to quit working hands on in my clinic five years ago and work full time on getting things really up and running.

And what have been the best bits?

When my products started appearing in shops, I would have to pinch myself to believe that I finally got that far! I was a real sense of achievement. The other high I get out of this is being able to help people – whether that be through my products, or being able to give people a job and/or income.

What is your focus in 2017?

Consolidation. Riding on the success of my Ya Mate range and few other products, for the last three years I have been working on expandingto create an on line store. I am in the process of having a new web site built with over 70 products on it. We have also developed a catalogue and will start to do door to door sales.I also want to expand into the Western states of so that Love Oil Collection will become national.

What’s your least favourite insect in the animal kingdom?

Hmmm…….it’s got to be the mossie and cockroach. I mean, what is their purpose on this earth! Ants, spiders, grubs and beetles etc have a job to do here but those two are just crawling, blood-sucking low lifes!

Newcastle Knights trade: Nathan Brown sees Joe Wardle as bargain buy in swap for Jake Mamo

Joe Wardle. Picture: Getty Images

KNIGHTS coach Nathan Brown believes centre Joe Wardle brings value for money and better balance to his NRL squad after confirming a player swap with Huddersfield for Jake Mamo on Tuesday.

Newcastle have long been in talks with the English Super League club, who have former Knights coach Rick Stone at the helm, about the trade, which has led to Mamo being released from the final year of his contract to take up a two-season deal with the Giants.

Wardle has signed a three-year deal with Newcastle, who he had originally agreed to joinfrom 2018.

“It took its time but I think at the end of the day Jake was happy with the idea of going to England and Joe was keen to come this way,” Brown said.“I think it’s a good deal for both parties.”

Browncoached Wardle at Huddersfield and said the “robust type of centre”, who can play back-row,“certainly gives our squad a lot better balance”.

“I took Joe from Bradford to Huddersfield as a kid and I coached Joe for a number of years,” he said.

“A good friend of mine coached him after that and I’ve followed his career. The English Super League, I watch that quite regularly.

“Having beenover there for six years, it’s something that I follow as much as I can, but a lot of these decisions are made on value for money, and for the price that we can get Joe for, we feel he’s very, very good salary cap value for what he can bring to the club.

“He’s at a good age, he’s 25, he’s played 140 Super League games, so he’s got good experience.”

Brown said the trade was a great opportunity for Mamo, who debuted for the Knights in 2014 and played 22 games.

Jake Mamo. Picture: Getty Images

“Jake really wants to play fullback and Stoney’s looking for a fullback,Stoney knows Jake well and Jake can get a lot of experience playing in the Super League,” he said.

“Who knows what may happen for Jake down the track but it certainly allows Jake to play positionally. He’s a young, single bloke and he loves travelling as well, so it’s not only a football thing I think for Jake, it’s a lifestyle opportunity as well.”

Despite the move, Brown said Mamo was an exciting young player who could develop and return to the NRL. The Knights have recruited Cowboys 18-year-old Kalyn Ponga from 2018 as their long-term fullback.

“Mostof our best fullbacks are smaller-type players, similar to Jake, they are not big in stature, but they can all probably play five-eighth and their understanding of the game is very high,” he said.“So Jake going over and getting a lot experience of playing fullback and learning the smaller parts of the game would benefit him long term.I’ve spoken to Jake about that and Jake understands that.”

Brown believed fullback was“a tough spot to learn, especially at a club that’s got a lot of younger players” and the Super League was the right step for Mamo.

“The NRL can be quite unforgiving and to learn to play fullback and for Jake to get the understanding of where the game is for a fullback, it’s going to take a bit of time,” he said.“There was a time 10, 15, 20 years ago when reserve grade was strong and they’d spend time in reserve grade, but definitely the right course for Jake to become a long-term fullback is in the Super League because beyond the NRL, it’s the nextbest competition.”