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More heritage homes could be demolished under new planning laws

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 11: Planning Minister Richard Wynne announcing the new Plan Melbourne scheme at a family house in Mentone on March 11, 2017 in Melbourne, . (Photo by Jesse Marlow/Fairfax Media)Developer demolishes Kew mansion, advertises block for double the priceDemolition properties across Melbourne sell for millionsBuyers pay millions for Melbourne vacant land
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Pressure is mounting on the state government to take a city-wide approach to heritage protection, following community outrage at a string of high-profile mansion demolitions in Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs.

It comes three months after the Andrews government’s refreshed Plan Melbourne blueprint removed the cap on the number of homes allowed on blocks in neighbourhood residential zones – once a fortress against higher density. Planning and heritage experts say rising developer demand stemming from the changes is putting further strain on gaps in local heritage protections.

The property market is increasingly luring developer dollars to any property without heritage restrictions; agents regularly market a slew of perfectly liveable homes with “land boxes” across them. Although councils such as Boroondara are completing their own $1 million municipality-wide heritage study (the first of its kind), other councils may not have the political will or resources to undertake expensive, up-to-date heritage overlay studies.

The National Trust of ‘s Victorian branch is calling on the state government to increase funding for councils to be able to do further strategic heritage work.

“We would like to see an increase in resourcing for heritage at a local government level across the board,” advocacy manager Felicity Watson said, adding that a holistic approach to heritage was needed. “I think there’s an urgent need do that, particularly in light of the latest iteration of Plan Melbourne.”

Ms Watson said recent examples – such as the demolition of Gough Whitlam’s Kew birth home, Ngara, and the $9.6 million Kew mansion, Forres, demolished and put back on the market as an empty block at almost double the price following the zone changes – highlighted a need for councils to review heritage policies, particularly given the concept of heritage changed.

Councils often lacked resources to do proper strategic planning work or implement regulations to get their planning schemes to a strong position, said RMIT University senior planning lecturer Joe Hurley.

“And you need both to deal with all the pressure which will come in the current climate, if you don’t have that policy in place, then it’s always a rearguard action,” Dr Hurley said. “You have these issues where [councils] say, maybe that shouldn’t have happened, but we didn’t have our house in order and it got let through.”

Dr Hurley said there was increasing tension between the protectionist local governments and the state, wanting to relax that over-protection.

“There’s two ways to go: either we say it’s open slather, open season, and wherever the market says we can make money, we should consolidate. Or we have an approach that says, ‘yes, we want this investment and consolidation, but we want a broader community engagement about where we have it and where we don’t.”

There has been an unequal application of heritage planning controls across Melbourne, according to University of Melbourne PhD Candidate James Lesh. For example, the inner city has residential protections achieved in the 1970s and 1980s as part of sustained resident advocacy.

“Why should the inner suburbs have such relatively strong residential controls, when the middle suburbs don’t? Simply because those suburbs had the right people living there at the right time, when there was the political and social will?” Mr Lesh said.

“Refreshed studies should be done for the middle suburbs, where there are numerous 19th and 20th century places that might be protected in some way.”

Boroondara mayor Phillip Healey said although the council had significant concerns about the potential for greater demolition of properties, the fact there was now no limit on the number of dwellings that could be built on one lot was its major concern.

“In the [recent Kew] example, we’ve gone from a cap of two dwellings to a result that could easily accommodate 20,” Cr Healey said. “We are very concerned by these changes and expect to see demolition of Boroondara’s wonderful period homes and neighbourhoods.”

Community concerns about heritage demolition are also predicted to increase in areas such as Yarraville, Footscray and Brunswick over coming years, with buyers spending a premium to move into neighbourhoods for their period character.

Architects who work in the area have responded to the Kew demolition by assuring local communities it would be unlikely that what was built in place would not respond to the neighbourhood’s existing character.

“The reality is no-one is doing ‘dog boxes’ in those suburbs; generally they have to cough up a bit of money for those sites, so what’s built is mostly architecturally designed and doesn’t come cheap,” Toby Ewert, director of Ewert Leaf.

He said because there was such strong competition from developers in those areas, and demand from local downsizers, there was no market for cheaply-built homes.

Nick Travers, director of Techne, said good architects would aim to work with a site’s history and, from a sustainability point of view, should incorporate objects from a house after a demolition and not just throw everything in the skip.

A spokesman for Mr Wynne said Plan Melbourne would help to protect and celebrate what made Melbourne special, such as heritage strip shopping centres. “As part of Plan Melbourne, the planning department will work with local councils to enhance and improve local heritage planning policies and assessment processes,” he said.

Lower returns ahead for investors

So far, financial year superannuation fund returns have been good with the prospect of double digit returns if world share markets don’t tank in June. The driving forces have been higher commodity prices and US markets reaching record highs.
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The prospects for leading world economies including Europe and the US have improved, leading to confidence in a modest increase in projected world growth rates. The dampening effect of higher US interest rates hasn’t to date been significant with world interest rates remaining at historically low levels.

Against this general background, the government’s $140 billion Future Fund has lowered its earnings targets to inflation plus a real return of between 4 and 5 per cent. Future inflation rates are likely to remain low if the recent trend of slow wages growth continues and the n dollar doesn’t fall suddenly.

For super fund investors, future returns around the Future Fund target rate of 6 per cent or slightly higher would be an attractive result provided that it doesn’t involve the possibility of future negative returns. Now that fixed interest returns ae low and both property and equity markets are at relatively high levels, achieving higher returns would involve considerable risks.

Especially after the 2017 changes limiting tax-free pension accounts to $1.6 million, retirees will experience a sharp fall in their retirement income in any period of low and negative returns. The new rules don’t allow any replenishing of pension accounts once the $1.6 million cap is triggered placing a high priority on achieving regular positive returns.

At older ages where the minimum annual pension requirement is higher, retirees will inevitably be forced to draw upon their fund capital to pay their pensions. At these ages, there’s an increased need to achieve positive investment returns and avoid periods of negative income.

All these factors point to the need to have diversified conservative portfolios in situations where rebuilding investment assets is not an option. The severe tightening of the age pension assets test by using a 7.8 per cent taper rate has moreover reduced the scope for receiving a part age pension to cushion the impact of lower pension fund earnings rates.

With future investment returns likely to be lower than those in the recovery period after the global financial crisis, retirees facing a long period of retirement will need to boost their account balances before they retire. The short-sighted decision to limit future concessional contributions to $25,000 annually will make this task even more difficult for those with relatively small current account balances.

The combined impact of lower investment returns, the tougher assets test and reduced scope to boost super balances will make the task of funding a comfortable retirement more difficult than it ever has been.

Daryl Dixon is the executive chairman of Dixon Advisory. [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

Waratahs leave it too late against Chiefs in Hamilton

Four second-half tries gave the NSW Waratahs a chance to produce a miracle win, but it wasn’t enough as the Chiefs ran away 46-31 winners in Hamilton on Saturday.
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With the Brumbies cruising to a 32-3 win against the Rebels in Canberra, the Tahs’ horror season is officially over. The side from the ACT will be the only n team in this year’s finals series, as they topped the group and secured a quarter-final berth with the win.

Staring down the barrel of their heaviest defeat this year, Rob Horne’s 50th minute intercept try and Will Skelton’s clever work from a rolling maul put the Waratahs down 32-17 with 23 minutes remaining and with a faint hope of victory.

That hope grew even more when Cam Clark (73rd) and Sekope Kepu (74th) both scored tries of their own to get the score to 39-31, but all chances were extinguished when James Lowe crossed for his hat-trick in the 79th minute.

“The damage was done in the early stages of the second half,” coach Daryl Gibson said. “The Chiefs got on an excellent roll and then for us the yellow cards were pretty costly.

“While against New Zealand teams we remain very competitive, we’re still not good enough to win.

“Already being down 15 points at half-time made it difficult. I’ve always known we’ve had excellent fight and we’ll always come back and keep ourselves in the contest, but our missed tackle ratio was high … so it’s hard to be competitive if you miss that many tackles.”

The numbers for n rugby teams are becoming even more depressing, with the Waratahs’ latest defeat marking loss No.22 this year for Aussie sides against their New Zealand rivals.

As for the Waratahs themselves, they have now been beaten in nine of their 13 matches in what will go down as one of their worst seasons in history.

The Waratahs went into the last match before the June Test window knowing nothing but a win would suffice.

Now they will return to Sydney with their season over, with games against the Jaguares in Sydney and Western Force in Perth remaining in July.

Gibson has sounded like a broken record in recent weeks, asking for an 80-minute performance from his side, something they have been striving for all season.

On the evidence we have seen this year, it might be a while before NSW achieve this – at least for as long as they give away easy ball through turnovers and schoolboy errors.

NSW have been the second worst team in the competition for turnovers conceded, and that was no more evident than in the early passages of play when Tom Robertson and Clark gave the ball away thanks to hungry Chiefs players over the ball.

It is an area that has crippled the Waratahs at stages this year.

The Chiefs edged ahead with a penalty goal before Bernard Foley missed a relatively easy attempt shortly after.

The frustration would have bubbled over in the 15th minute when Mitchell Brown crossed for the first five-pointer of the match.

In the lead-up, three Waratahs players missed tackles on Anton Lienert-Brown, who passed to another Chiefs player, who then offloaded to Brown in what was all too easy for the hosts as they went 10-0 up.

The Waratahs struggled for possession and territory in the opening half, making their goal of establishing quality front-foot ball all the more harder thanks to the brilliant work of Chiefs five-eighth Damian McKenzie, who set up Lowe for the second try of the game.

McKenzie’s ability to create something from nothing is admirable and the lightning speed at which he passes the ball put him in a different league to incumbent Wallabies No.10 Bernard Foley on Saturday.

All year captain Michael Hooper has begged his Waratahs to show better discipline across the 80 minutes.

Last week it was Dean Mumm, and on Saturday it was Tolu Latu who had a brain fade in the 38th minute, tripping McKenzie who was trying to regather a short chip over the top.

A yellow card was warranted, but it has been the story of the Waratahs’ year, with Latu – and then Paddy Ryan late in the match for aggravating a situation – becoming the ninth and 10th NSW players to be sent to the bin.

The silver lining? Watching prop Kepu trying to throw lineouts, albeit with a degree of success.

The half-time score of 18-3 flattered the Waratahs, for the Chiefs could have piled on 30 points by that stage.

That was evidenced in the three minutes back after the break when Lowe crossed for his second try thanks to a perfectly timed out-the-back pass from halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

Then it was Kerr-Barlow who got in on the action, scoring one of his own before a McKenzie conversion put the Chiefs ahead 32-2.

Kepu’s try will go down in rugby folklore, with the big prop running 60 metres and fending off McKenzie to plant the ball down in the corner in one of the great displays of strength and determination.

One girl’s fight against child marriages in India

New Delhi: When Vijayalaxmi Sharma was 13 and heard that her best friend Meena was getting married, she wasn’t shocked. Every girl in Pachala village in Rajasthan where she lived got married at puberty.
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Vijaylaxmi attended the wedding and enjoyed dressing up for it. The shock came later when Meena became pregnant, developed complications, and died in childbirth, aged 14.

Her death set Sharma thinking and wondering if that might be her destiny too.

“All the girls in my extended family and all the girls in every village around here got married early,” Sharma told Fairfax Media this week. People here venerate parents who get their daughters married early because they have discharged their responsibility and have no tension.”

She wanted to avoid the same fate and wanted to continue studying. Her instincts were reinforced when some voluntary workers came to her school and explained the devastating consequences that child marriage can have for young girls: early motherhood can harm their physical growth, their mental and emotional development, and their health. Child marriage denies a girl her right to health, education and choice.

In some Indian states, including Rajasthan, almost six in 10 girls marry as children. Nationally, about half of Indian women are married before they turn 18 – the minimum legal age of marriage for boys and girls.

Poverty and ignorance are two reasons for child marriage. Another is a patriarchal culture that dictates that brides must be virgins. To ensure this, parents have to prevent daughters from dating and losing their virginity, bringing dishonour to the family, and the best way to do this is marry them off while they are still very young.

Sharma managed to avoid a child marriage and has campaigned to persuade parents in her own village and the surrounding ones not to marry their girls early.

This sole crusader, now 21, has been active in 13 villages, working with a small group of friends to spread awareness by going door to door, putting on street plays, and using puppet shows to project the message. She has managed to prevent around 50 child marriages.

But her first battle was with her own parents when she turned 14 and discovered that they were looking for a husband for her. The next few months were an ordeal. When she said she wanted to defer marriage until she had studied, her parents were dumbfounded. Girls in Rajasthan are not meant to voice their opinions. They are meant to obey.

If the girl is disobedient, the parents are mocked by neighbours. For her impudence, Sharma was locked up in a room without food or water. Her two younger brothers, who are fond of her, used to secretly share their food with her.

“My father said he was ashamed of me. He said I was the only girl in the village still unmarried. And it was true. I was the only one my age who wasn’t married,” she said.

The struggle lasted until her parents finally accepted that she was adamant. Moreover, she told them that she would finance her education herself without taking a penny from them. Sharma continued going to school and paid her fees by sewing clothes and giving tuition to other children.

In the initial stages of her campaign to persuade villagers of the ills of child marriage, she hit a wall. Because of her age, they didn’t take her seriously.

“If I don’t marry my daughter, are you prepared to take her on and look after her,” some asked. Others laughed when she told them her age and pushed her out of the house.

It was only when two things happened that the tide began slowly to turn. First, some members of a voluntary group from a nearby town began to lend her support. The fact that they were adults made villagers take Sharma more seriously.

Second, they saw her practical commitment to her cause: “I used to donate my clothes to girls whose parents were really poor. I used to ask the teacher to waive their fees so that girls could continue studying. When people began seeing that I wasn’t just saying ‘don’t marry your girls’ but also helping them practically, then attitudes began changing.”

Eventually her parents also threw their weight behind her. And then finally, the head of the village council – the sarpanch or headman – also lent his authority to her campaign. By now, in any case, villagers were a little nervous about her. This teenager with a low, gravelly, masculine voice, was capable of reporting a child marriage to the police the moment she got wind of the preparations.

“People became nervous about getting into trouble with the police,” she said. “That was another useful factor because under the law, no one can get married before the age of 18.”

Apart from the efforts of non-government organisations and individuals like Sharma, education and awareness have gradually been eroding child marriage. Many districts of Rajasthan, for example, have reported a decline in recent years.

Sharma, who went on to get a degree from Rajasthan University, is happy that she made her contribution. “Every time I felt disheartened, I used to picture Mamta in her wedding finery and her dead body a few months later.”

Will she ever get married? “Oh yes. If my parents supported me on this, that is the least I owe them now that I have finished my education,” she said. “I have promised them I will marry the man they choose for me.”

Fitzroy house price record smashed by nearly $1 million

Tap here for Saturday’s auction resultsTap here for the Market snapshotHouse of the Week: Colourful Fitzroy home embedded in historyGraeme Simsion selling his Fitzroy family homeDid Fitzroy just out-Fitzroy itself?
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Fitzroy’s house price record was shattered by almost $900,000 on Saturday, as a crowd of more than 200 watched in shock when a 163-year old year terrace sold dramatically under the hammer.

The previous suburb record is believed to be $4,011,000 for 17 Bell Street, Fitzroy, set last November.

The property at 43 Gore Street, owned by Madman Entertainment co-founder Paul Wiegard, last changed hands for $2.1 million in 2008, Domain Group data shows. Mr Wiegard spent about $2 million on a complete renovation in 2011.

The film industry entrepreneur is understood to be moving across the Yarra River to the other side of the city following the sale.

The average punter inspecting the house could have mistaken it for the set of the next season of The Block.

All three floors of the Victorian three-bedroom house were buzzing with people, who lined up just to get a peek at the rooms; some admiring the thoughtful and tasteful styling and renovation.

Bidding opened slowly at $4 million with a vendor bid by Kay and Burton auctioneer Gowan Stubbings, and rose mostly in $25,000 jumps.

Mr Stubbings went to check with Mr Wiegard for the second time when the bidding appeared to have run out of steam at $4.65 million. He came back outside only to return inside immediately again, after a shock knock-out bid of $4.8 million from the eventual buyer ??? putting the house on the market.

After a final attempt by one of the two other would-be buyers with a $10,000 rise, a second knock-out bid of $4.9 million sealed the deal.

The buyers were a young family with three children who presently live in the City of Boroondara, but interest had come from all over the world, including China, New Zealand, Germany, Singapore and the United States. More than 300 people had inspected the property throughout the campaign, according to listing agent Darren Lewenberg.

“We knew we had an amazing home, we knew we had depth in the market, people who wanted to own it; the unknown was in terms of what the result was,” Mr Lewenberg said. “They took a couple of years of painstaking research and speaking to designers and architects to get it to this level.”

“Buyers ??? local, national and overseas ??? not only inquired but also visited the home.”

Prominent surgeon Thomas Embling built the terrace in 1854 as his home and practice.

Gore Street is home of some of Fitzroy most significant sales, including the former home of comedian Hamish Blake and author of international bestseller The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion. The author and wife, Anne Buist, recently sold their Fitzroy home for an undisclosed price close to $4 million.

Meanwhile in Albert Park, an original two-bedroom house on just 164-square metres sold under the hammer for $1.38 million, $100,000 above reserve.

Three hopeful buyers competed for the period cottage at 172 Danks Street, which was part of a deceased estate and had been in the same family for decades.

Abercromby’s auctioneer Mark Williams opened the bidding at $1.2 million and the house, just one block from the beach, was declared on the market at $1,285,000. A family with plans to renovate trumped their competition to win the keys.

Klemmer requests release from Bulldogs contract

Canterbury’s best forward could be on his way out of the club, with NSW Origin and Test prop David Klemmer requesting a release from his deal at the Bulldogs.
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In a huge blow to Canterbury’s future aspirations, it appears Klemmer could be on his way out of Belmore at the end of the season after seeking a release from the final three years of his contract.

Fairfax Media understands at the heart of Klemmer’s frustrations is a perception he has been left short-changed after the club failed to commit to a number of financial arrangements previously agreed upon.

The club is trying to make sure Klemmer is compensated for the deal coming undone, but he is no guarantee to be at the Bulldogs next year.

It is also understood Klemmer’s future as a starting player at the Bulldogs has recently been questioned by the club, who had been considering shifting the international forward to the bench next year to accommodate the arrival of Aaron Woods alongside Aiden Tolman and James Graham in the run-on 13.

Klemmer is considered one of the best forwards in the NRL and would not have any trouble landing a deal for 2018 and beyond if the Bulldogs are unable to keep him satisfied.

Wests Tigers showed interest in luring the 23-year-old the last time he was off contract and Klemmer would be a handy pick-up for the joint venture to go with the acquisition of Russell Packer and Ben Matulino in a new-look forward pack at the club next season.

While Klemmer’s departure would cruel the prop of the chance to play alongside close friend Woods, Klemmer is very close to Josh Reynolds, who will leave the Bulldogs at the end of the season bound for the Tigers.

It is understood Klemmer was disappointed the club did not do more to keep Reynolds, who is regarded as the heart and soul of the Canterbury outfit.

Woods and Reynolds will be in Klemmer’s bridal party when he gets married to the mother of his three children after this year’s World Cup at the end of the season.

Canterbury have massive salary cap constraints for next season and are already expected to part ways with Sam Kasiano and Greg Eastwood at the end of the year to make room for Woods and Kieran Foran.

Graham, who has been linked with a move to Newcastle after reports the Bulldogs captain had been shopped around, is now likely to remain at the club – especially if Klemmer departs at the end of the season.

The Bulldogs this week extended the contract of fullback Will Hopoate for another three seasons, the former NSW representative agreeing to play games on Sundays despite a desire to sit out matches on the sabbath because of his religious beliefs.

If Klemmer is granted a release, it would go a long way to alleviating Canterbury’s salary cap concerns for next year, with only hooker Michael Lichaa among the high-profile off contract players at the end of this year.

Klemmer was arguably NSW’s second best forward behind Blues prop Andrew Fifita in the opening game of the State of Origin series on Wednesday night, proving why he is held in such high regard by Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga.

The All Saints Toongabbie Tigers junior made his NRL debut in 2013, graduating from the Bulldogs’ under-20s team where he was crowned the competition’s most valuable player in 2012.

He has played for his state on seven occasions and represented in nine matches since making his debut for the Kangaroos as a 20-year-old in 2014.

Josh Kelly the anonymous giant among the big names

He’s one of the three most wanted men in the AFL, yet $9 million man Josh Kelly could still walk down the streets of Sydney wearing a virtual cloak of anonymity.
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The off-contract Giants midfielder doesn’t boast the Brownlow Medal of Nat Fyfe or the tattoos of Dustin Martin. He’s tucked away in Sydney where AFL takes a back seat to rugby league in the media, and that suits him just fine.

His silky skills and ball-winning ability are underpinned by a maturity and quiet calmness rarely seen in a 22-year-old.

On the field Kelly is a ball magnet. He’s in career-best form and has played a huge role in the Giants’ strong start to the season.

But off it he keeps his head down: he doesn’t chase headlines and he behaves himself as he always has done, so as not to jeopardise what is quickly growing into a super AFL career.

The worth of that career has grown exponentially this year. At the moment he has a two-year offer on the table to re-sign with the Giants, who drafted him at the end of 2013 with pick No.2.

He is also weighing up a reported nine-year, $9 million offer to join North Melbourne. And St Kilda are also believed to be interested in his services, after failing to lure Fyfe from Fremantle.

North and St Kilda both have cash reserves to make a serious play for Kelly, the former also reportedly interested in Martin.

Kelly was asked about his future during the week and handled the inquisition with aplomb.

He will make the decision when the time is right, he said. He loves playing for the Giants but it is a big decision and he has no interest in rushing the process.

It is a maturity Kelly has always had, says AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan.

“Absolutely low maintenance is what we call them; never an issue with him, there was never going to be an issue,” Sheehan said.

“He was so respectful in every way as a young man. Coming through the Vic Metro program, Sandringham, Brighton, all the places he’d been he had a fantastic reputation for being a young leader.

“He was always destined to be a very good player at the highest level.

“With his father, Phil, being a top player he was able to get good mentoring along the way as well. The head completely on the shoulders, no distractions there, and was able to manage the challenges of a young fella trying to make it into the professional AFL life.”

As for Kelly’s on-field brilliance, Sheehan said that would always come once he built his body. He weighed 73 kilograms during draft year, and Kelly has put on almost 10 kilograms since joining GWS.

“The frame was always going to take a little bit of time to fill out, that was the only thing you were waiting on,” Sheehan said.

“As a young kid, he was just so highly regarded. He was an exciting player to watch at under-age level, you don’t say that of all the boys.

“His courage in the air for a kid so light would be a thing you take away one day. Then the way he ran, he’d run quickly and run all day. His use of the ball was always pretty special as well. He had everything but the frame.

“His body’s matured, he’s really just the complete package in terms of what you’re after: unflappable player in the game, great leader and role model off the ground as well and a consistent performer at a very high level week in week out.”

Egg Tart too good in the Queensland Oaks

Chris Waller seems to save his best fillies to win Queensland Oaks at Doomben.
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Winx, of course won her first group 1 over the 2200m at Doomben two years ago, and Egg Tart joined her on the honour roll, charging away from her rivals on Saturday.

It was Egg Tart’s second group 1 after winning the Australasian Oaks in Adelaide last start – and the win marked her sixth on the trot.

Amazingly, the past four wins have come in four different states, starting in Sydney via Melbourne and Adelaide.

“I have never tried that with any horse, I don’t think I have had one good enough to do it,” Waller said. “She is a special filly and they can do special things.

“We knew she was pretty good, but she just came too late for the Sydney Oaks, so we looked at the program and gave her challenge.

“She has lived up to it.

“She has that x-factor, where she is not calling on her reserves – and just like Winx, I will give her a chance to show me how good she is.”

Egg Tart could follow a similar path to Winx in her four-year-old spring.

“After Winx won the Queensland, Oaks we ended up chasing the Epsom at Randwick. It was probably because the Epsom was put up to being worth $1 million,” Waller said.

“It is the type of race we will probably look at with Egg Tart.”

Egg Tart settled near the tail of the field, but Kerrin McEvoy never panicked as he started to come into the race from the 800m. At the top of the straight, she had clear running and EggTart did the rest, bursting away to win 1?? lengths from Pygmy, which tracked her everywhere she went, and Oklahoma Girl running into third.

McEvoy was delighted with Egg Tart and believes there is still more to come from her.

“I didn’t want to get off her, she is that good,” McEvoy said. “I haven’t ridden too many fillies which have that sharpness. She just relaxed and then let down really quickly and got me out of a tricky position.

“She is one of those fillies that feels like she is going to be even better in the spring.”

Egg Tart continued a good season for her owners, the Hermitage syndicate, which also won the New Zealand Sires Produce Stakes with Summer Passage.

Egg Tart started the day at $3.10 and in her charge to victory went past stable Dawn Wall, which had been backed from $7.50 to $4, but failed to run out the trip, finishing in midfield.

Godolphin were delighted that Pygmy lived up to their long-held expectations that she was up to Oaks company.

“I followed the winner and was hoping she would take me into the race a bit quicker,” Pygmy’s jockey Tommy Berry said. “When she went I could just go with her for the first couple of strides.

“She is just that bit more mature than my filly, but she was able to sprint that bit quicker.

“My filly is going to be a lovely horse in the spring.”Godolphin trainer Darren Beadman added, “she has come off a couple of provincial wins and raised the bar again.

“She is the sort of filly that is only going to get better – and now has some black type.”

Newcastle Rebels go down fighting in CRL final against Monarophotos

Edwards proud despite Rebels defeat in CRL final | photos TweetFacebook Newcastle Rebels v MonaroJonathan Carroll pictures from the CRL Championship final.Todd Edwards said his under-23 Newcastle Rebels side were the best he’dcoached in representative football despite them falling short of the Country Championship at St John Oval on Saturday.
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Monaro won the first edition of the under-23 titles, which replaced opens, 18-14 after leading the final 12-6 at half-time.

Newcastle halfback Sam Keenan won the race to a Jack Kelly grubber in the sixth minute to put the hosts ahead 6-0.

Monaro equalised when Tori Freeman spun out of a tackle to score in the 15thminute.

Monaro centre Ryley Thomas then ran 60 metres to score off a blocked JacobGagai kick in the 25thminute.

The visitors converted a penalty in the 45thminute and centreCleve McGhie powered over from short-range in the 52ndfor 18-6.

Keenan sliced through and scrambled over in the 56thminute to give Newcastle hope in the rain at 18-10. Gagai found space out wide to score in the 70thfor 18-14 but Monaro held on for the title.

Edwards said his side paid the price for their first-half errors against a Canberra side who had their players rested the weekend before the clash.

“The game was patchy but we weren’t great early,” Edwards said.

“They led 12-6 at half-time but they should have been up by much more. They should have been up by 20 odd with the possession they had.

“We had an even share of the ballsecond half but we didn’t have the energy to capitalise on it. We just did too much D in the first 40.”

Despite the loss, Edwards was full of praise for his squad and hoped to be back in charge next year.

“This is the best rep group I’ve coached by a fair way,” he said.

“The boys last year were good but these boys were great, even though they fell at the last hurdle.

“The Canberra players were stood down last week andwe had 11 in club football lastSunday. Thefive-day turnaround hurt us but there’s no excuses,Canberra were just better on the day.”

Ten fromMonaro and eight Newcastle players – Jamie Ghoulmieh, Keenan,Roman Fepuleau,Jarrod Smith,Lincoln Smith, Jake Lawrence, Luke Higgins and Gagai –were selected in the Country Under-23 side to play Tonga and Scotland.

Canberra auction market produces near-record sales

The robust Canberra home auction market continues to strengthen, producing near-record results for May sellers.
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Canberra recorded an overall home auction clearance rate over May of 70.1 per cent, which was well ahead of the 66.3 per cent reported over the previous month and significantly higher than the 61.5 per cent recorded over May last year. The May result was the second highest on record for that month and just behind the 73.7 per cent reported over May 2017.

Canberra recorded a median auction price of $721,000 over May, which was 1.5 per cent higher than the $710,000 recorded over April and 7.6 per cent higher than the $670,000 recorded over May 2016.

Belconnen was the top performing Canberra auction region over May, with a clearance rate of 80.5 per cent and also the highest sales at 62. Next highest was Canberra Central, with 72.5 per cent, followed by Gungahlin 70.6 per cent, Woden Valley 69.4 per cent, Tuggeranong 59.5 per cent and Weston Creek 47.6 per cent.

Next week the Reserve Bank will convene for its regular monthly meeting to determine the direction of official interest rates over June. Although the Bank is more likely to leave rates on hold again at the record low rate of 1.5 per cent, the odds are narrowing for a near-term cut given the continuing underperformance of the national economy.

Although the national jobless rate has improved, underemployment remains a challenge in a continuing low incomes growth economy. This is predictably being reflected recently in declining retail sales with ABS data recording latest trend growth at the lowest levels in nearly five years.

Planned residential building is also declining, with ABS building approvals down by 4.6 per cent this year so far compared to the same period last year.

And, most sobering, the national economy may record yet another quarter of negative growth over March, following the decline recorded over the previous September quarter. Surely this will offset the recent focus by the Bank on the direction of Sydney house prices.

Dr Andrew Wilson is Domain Group chief economist. Twitter: @DocAndrewWilson Join on LinkedIn and Facebook at MyHousingMarket.