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Trump doesn’t care. Can investors do the right thing?

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In the wake of Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, it’s easy to feel somewhat helpless if you take the view – as I do – that action is needed on climate change.

For the record, I think the scientists are right. But there’s a higher logical framework: if they’re wrong and we have a cleaner environment, that’s still a good thing. But if they’re right and we do nothing??? Or, put another way, you’re very, very unlikely to lose your house to a fire; but you have it insured anyway, don’t you?

So it’s no surprise there is momentum in the area of what I’ll broadly call ‘responsible’ investing.

That’s a necessarily amorphous term, and takes in the whole gamut of ‘I want returns plus???’-type thinking. The various labels often used in this area are ethical investing, impact investing, pro-social investing or ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing.

Whether or not you think such an approach makes sense – for yourself or others – it’s hard to deny the groundswell of money moving to such a strategy.

Most of the activity is happening at the big end of town. Asset managers are offering their clients ‘responsible investment’ options, and new fund managers (and super funds) are springing up to capitalise on the trend.

As consumers, if we’re so inclined, we can look for funds and fund managers that take such an approach. But as individual investors, what can we do?

First, here’s what not to do. Some would disagree with me here, but I think the worst thing you can do as an investor is invest in a company just because you hope its earth- or society-friendly products or services will be successful.

By all means, cheer for the company’s success — but remember that when you buy shares on the ASX, the company gets none of that money. You’re just buying from a current owner. Buying a used Holden doesn’t help the company. What can you do?

If you’re ethically-minded, and don’t like the idea of profiting by owning a company that creates negative outcomes for the world, then use that as one, but not your only, filter. Look for businesses that meet all of the ‘traditional’ investment tests, and then add an ethical filter on top.

If you’re going to buy shares of a poor business that’ll end up delivering you a loss on your investment, all you’ve done is enrich the person who sold you the shares at your expense. You would have been better off simply donating those losses to your favourite cause, and not investing at all.

The great thing for ethical investors is that the companies which tend to make the ‘responsible’ grade tend to be, generally speaking, better companies.

The ones that have big futures are likely to be those — in general — that are meeting a new need or opening new markets. And equally, those companies that are doing what some consider the ‘wrong’ thing are likely to suffer from the increased pressure from an unhappy public and a (not unrelated) potential regulatory response.

Of course, this isn’t a simple or guaranteed strategy: one of the very best performing US companies, measured over decades, is the cigarette maker Altria (formerly known as Philip Morris).

Lastly, while investing ethically might make you feel better, it might — just might — make sense to maximise your investment gains and simply choose to donate a proportion of your profits to your preferred charity. That doesn’t sound as effective — or as clever — but might just make more of a difference, after all. Foolish takeaway

Many of us want to think we’re ‘doing well by doing good’. It’s a seductive idea. And, given the choice, I’d rather make money by investing in something that improves society, rather than making things worse. But ethics, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Either way, your money can still be used for good, if you choose. And that’s probably the key thing to remember. Because, whatever you would prefer to believe, those companies don’t know you own them.

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Scott Phillips is the Motley Fool’s director of research. You can follow Scott on Twitter @TMFScottP. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691).

Dungog council general manager Craig Deasey says ‘time for a rest’

PRESSURE: Dungog Council’s departing GM Craig Deasey says the stress of the last three years has “taken a toll” on him. Picture: Jonathan CarrollCRAIG Deasey is a man with a weight off his shoulders.
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At home in Ashtonfield on Fridaythe now-former Dungog general manager, a veteran of local government who has been in the job since 2005, could only laugh when asked how spending the last few years at the helm of the Hunter’s most financially crippled council has affected him.

“Well, it has certainly taken a toll,” he said.

“There have been many sleepless nights, and I’m suffering from a few health-related things at the moment.

“Basically the body is tired and I need to give it a rest.”

In 2015, when Dungog was torn apart by the devastating April floods, it was Mr Deasey who was tasked with holding the council –and the town – together, while navigatingthe NSW government’s complex local government Fit for the Future process.

In August that year, it got too much. After working “countless” hours since April, his health deteriorated to thepoint that he was forced to take three months of stress leave.

His doctors told him not to come back to work, but he ignored them. Partlybecause of his close relationship with his staff, but also because he thought “there would have to be an end point”.

Butthe end never came. Last month, Dungog councillors shocked many in their community by ignoring Mr Deasey’s pleas to pursue a voluntary merger with Port Stephens and instead wait until at least after the next election.

He said that vote was “very much” part of his decision to leave.

“As a general manager you’re required to implement the policy decisions of the councillors [but] the reality is there was a possibility that resolution could lead to the possible splitting of the shire, which is the worst outcome for the Dungog community,” he said.

Mr Deasey’s decision to walk prompted a mass exodous of councillors –four, including the Mayor Harold Johnston –and leaves the council with only four remaining.

That’s prompted Nationals MP Michael Johnsen to again call for his government to put the council in the hands of an administrator. Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton said on Friday the issue was “being considered as a matter of urgency”.

The Local Government Act states that an administrator“may be appointed for an area”without a public inquiryif“there are not enough councillors for there to be a quorum at council meetings”.

But Greens Upper House MP David Shoebridge believes the council still has a quorum under the act, which also states that a quorum is “a majority of thecouncillors of the council who hold office for the time being”.

He said the council could “function pretty well, and I expect it will”.

“I find it astounding a Nationals MP is trying to sink another regional council,” he said.

Asked how four councillors including the mayor resigning in one day was not a chaotic situation, he replied: I find it a pretty appalling betrayal of the responsibilities of an elected councillor. It is a betrayal of the trust of those who elected them to do a job”.

He said the exodus was a “political strategy”.

“What I see is a poorly orchestrated and ugly political strategy which has backfired,” he said.

But Mr Deasey denied he had been part of any plan to force the government’s hand.

He also hit out at remaining councillor Linda Bowden, who on Friday accused the departing councillors of throwing “a bit of a tantrum” and “closing down debate”.

“They have had years to sort this out amongthemselves and to put up the motion they did last month to me demonstrates filibustering at the worst possible time,” he said.

“It means further delay, further time of uncertainty for the community.

“This is going to go on, and on, and on.”

Off the beaten highway, an artisan village awaits

The Long Track Pantry … a refreshing air of quality to what’s on the shelves.I must have been through the Murrumbidgee River village of Jugiong and the pretty surrounding valley quite a few times on trips between Sydney and Melbourne.
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Perhaps I even stopped there to get petrol, to have a comfort stop or just to take a break.

But I’m sure that I haven’t been there since it was by passed by the Hume Freeway in the mid-1990s, adding my own weight to arguments that the village would die due to the lack of interest.

Yet not only has it survived but it seems to be thriving.

In memory of Sergeant Edmund Parry … killed by Ben Hall’s gang.

I was there midweek recently and the place was buzzing. The Sir George pub was packed for lunch, and the Long Track Pantry was doing a brisk trade in coffees, plates of delicious-looking food, jars of homemade condiments, kitchen utensils, cookbooks and various lines of souvenirs and useful knick-knacks.

Over the past few months, several new businesses have opened, including an art gallery and a furniture craftsman. That’s hardly the sign of a village in decline.

The old highway, once very much the domain of thousands of cars and semis, was confidently being negotiated by even the most elderly as they made their way over to the park to look at the memorial to Sergeant Edmund Parry, killed in action against Ben Hall’s gang in 1864.

The historic Sir George hotel … booming again.

And I guess that’s the thing. Heavy traffic and people on foot don’t coexist all that easily. Remove the former, give the latter a reason to go there and, as has been shown to be the case with Tasmanian Midlands towns such as Oatlands and Ross, they will eventually come, and they will love it.

Juliet Robb opened the Long Track Pantry about 10 years ago in partnership with her husband Hew and is making it work, not just for her but also for Jugiong. Most of the condiments and the fresh food are local, and it seems a useful source of employment as well.

There’s a refreshing air of quality to what’s on the shelves, and the friendliness of staff give it a distinctly country feel.

Juliet Robb … making it work, not just for her but also for Jugiong.

When Liz Pratter and her daughter Kate Hufton bought Jugiong’s Sir George pub, just up the road, less than two years ago it was boarded up and required a heap of work to make it operational.

With plenty of help from Liz’s partner, Kim Gamble, now the hotel’s operations manager, the historic Sir George, which dates from 1852 and had been in the hands of a single family for seven generations, has been trading again for the past six months. And to say it’s booming wouldn’t be an exaggeration.

Under head chef Nick Williams, the kitchen is turning out plenty of hearty, delicious meals, and Kim has put his experience from Rottnest Bakery to excellent use.

The backyard of the Sir George … buzzing with the lunch crowd.

He installed a wood-fired oven into an original stone cabin out back and is baking classic fresh sourdough on a daily basis. Believe me, the deviation off the freeway is worth it for the bread alone.

Another reason for the restaurant’s popularity comes via the lamb supplied by Kate’s husband Charlie Hufton, a local farmer with properties at nearby Harden and Gundagai.

The paddock-to-plate philosophy certainly holds true here.

There are plans to add 10 units of accommodation, using the old Cobb & Co stables out the back as the basic building blocks, within the hotel’s extensive gardens.

Liz won’t be forced into a schedule for this, but does add that it’s a plan for “the short term”.

Kim Gamble … with fresh sourdough from the wood-fired oven.

I must admit to being absolutely charmed by Jugiong. It is the very model for any village seeking a productive life after being thrust off the main road.

John Rozentalsis a freelance writer whose passions aretravel, food and wine. He lives at Molong in the Central West of NSW, from where he hostsOz Baby Boomers, a lifestyle-resource for mature ns, and Molong Online.

Leveson’s boyfriend led police to bush burial site many times

Faye Leveson (left) and Mark Leveson (right) during a press conference at the crime scene where human remains have been unearthed that may be Matthew Leveson??????s. Waterfall, Royal National Park. 1st June, 2017. Photo: Kate GeraghtyMatthew Leveson’s ex-boyfriend travelled with police to point out the 20-year-old’s bushland burial site on multiple occasions before it was finally found.
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As the human skeleton uncovered on Wednesday undergoes forensic examination to confirm it is definitely that of Mr Leveson, his family are now living with the fact the person who hid information about his death will most likely remain a free man.

It is understood Michael Atkins, 54, has given police his version of what happened on September 23, 2007, the last time Mr Leveson was seen alive.

A close examination of the bones will help police decide whether Mr Atkins’ story is true or not.

It will then fall to the coroner to rule how Mr Leveson died, which his family have waited for 10 years to find out.

Even though police have dug up the body after guidance on its whereabouts from his ex-boyfriend, detectives doubt they will find any new evidence to warrant them charging Mr Atkins over the death again.

Under double jeopardy laws, a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice unless fresh and compelling evidence is adduced.

Mr Atkins was acquitted of Mr Leveson’s murder and manslaughter by a jury in 2009.

Five years later, after being granted two separate immunity deals, Mr Atkins helped police find the body believed to be that of Mr Leveson.

Fairfax Media understands Mr Atkins travelled to the Royal National Park on a number of separate occasions over the past six months to show police where he remembered burying Mr Leveson.

The first occasion was in the early hours of November 10. The Queensland-based electrician pointed detectives to a bushwalking track off McKell Road at Waterfall.

However, days of searching uncovered no trace of Mr Leveson’s body.

Police launched a fresh search, about 500 metres down the road, two months later after Mr Atkins visited the area again.

Nothing was found. It is understood Mr Atkins then travelled to the national park at other times with police in a bid to lead them to Mr Leveson’s remains.

Finally, detectives returned to the first search site last week to ensure every inch of ground had been dug up.

They were minutes from wrapping up the search on Wednesday afternoon when an excavator came across human bones.

On Friday, a post-mortem examination was carried out and police hope to have results in the next few days.

The case is unlike any other in NSW.

It involved a plethora of complex legal issues and pushed judicial boundaries in the pursuit of finding Mr Leveson’s body.

Police returned to the crime scene on Friday and a large sifter was used to comb through the soil for evidence.

Pieces of clothing were found with the bones.

When contacted on Friday afternoon, Mr Atkins’ legal team said they had no comment to make at this stage.

The inquest into Mr Leveson’s disappearance is due to resume in August.

‘We have an expectation on ourselves of perfection’

A pilot program at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital designed to improve junior doctors’ wellbeing is attracting national and international interest, as the medical profession looks to reduce levels of stress, burnout and depression among some of its most vulnerable members.
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The early years of medicine are particularly challenging, in part due to the long hours and taxing training and exams. During a national survey by beyondblue in 2013, young doctors reported poor mental health and high levels of stress and burnout, with almost 28 per cent of doctors under 30 having had thoughts of suicide prior to the previous 12 months.

Bethan Richards, RPA’s former network director of physician training, said three basic physician trainees (BPTs) in NSW had taken their own lives in the months before the program was pitched in March. “That really gave us the impetus to take it front and centre,” Dr Richards said.

The n-first program teaches BPTs, or medical registrars, how to debrief, manage traumatic and emotionally challenging events and recognise signs of stress and burnout. It also provides personal and motivational training to make regular exercise, as well as good nutrition and sleep practices, part of their busy schedules.

Called BPTOK, it was developed by past and current BPTs, training directors, psychiatrists and mentors. Funded through the Sydney Local Health District’s innovation challenge, The Pitch, it is delivered in protected teaching time as a core element of training.

Dr Richards saw the impact heavy workloads and responsibilities were having on young doctors, with about 10 per cent of trainees referred externally for psychological help.

“In a way, it was [making] them sick,” she said. “As doctors we’re not very good at seeking help from others and we have an expectation on ourselves of perfection – of not making mistakes, not being sick. It’s harder to be there for patients who are in their own world of distress when doctors are not in the healthiest mindset.”

Dr Richards said the program would make the trainees better doctors and sent the message “that we value these skills as much as we value … the other life-saving skills we’re teaching. We’d love to see all this taught at medical school.”

Dr Louise Ward, a recent BPT who delivered the program pitch, said it reassured trainees “they’re not alone, there will be other people having difficulties”.

“It’s common not to talk about having problems, but this is part of the step towards changing the culture in medicine, to make it okay to admit that you might need help and to ask for help.”

Battleground: Cricketers questioned over grassroots initiative

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 26: n Cricketer’s Association CEO Alistair Nicholson speaks to the media outside the SCG after players gathered after the Phil Hughes Accident yesterday on November 26, 2014 in Sydney, . (Photo by Dominic Lorrimer/Fairfax Media)’s top cricketers have proposed a $600 million grassroots seed fund but Cricket has questioned where the money will be derived in the latest pay dispute battleground.
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As part of a plan which has gone under the radar, the n Cricketers’ Association wants $119 million a year put towards junior and community cricket, as part of the 22.5 per cent of revenue it says should go towards that crucial area of the sport.

CA plans to spend between $55 million and $60 million a year – an increase of $15 million per year – at a grassroots level under its submission in a new memorandum of understanding, sparking questions as to how the ACA plans to fund the added $60 million it wants to spend.

The ACA proposal also has 22.5 per cent of revenue going to player payments and 55 per cent to CA.

The players say their plan “prioritises the investment in grassroots cricket by protecting 22.5 per cent of these revenues for it, including the creation of an estimated $119 million per year, five-year ‘Grassroots Seed Fund’ to secure cricket’s future; leaves an estimated $1.5 billion (or 55 per cent of these revenues) with CA for cricket administration over and above player payments and protected grassroots investment”.

The ACA says the grassroots plan should be done in conjunction with a cap on CA’s administrative costs, as Simon Katich reiterated this week.

“As a result of this set allocation to grassroots, cricket achieves a ‘cap’ on CA’s administrative costs of approximately 55 per cent of revenue … to ensure that cricket in prioritises the right level of investment in grassroots and fair remuneration of all players,” the ACA said.

CA has questioned this plan, declaring the added funds could only come from either slashing CA staff needed to administer competitions such as the Sheffield Shield, Women’s National Cricket League and Matador Cup, axing initiatives such as the recent “boot camp” for elite under-18 cricketers in Thredbo, or slashing player payments.

“The ACA’s proposal would require significant cuts in some of these areas but the ACA doesn’t say which should be targeted,” a CA spokesman said on Friday.

“The ACA’s proposal would make the inflexibility of the revenue-share model even worse. It would effectively pre-commit 45 per cent of n cricket’s gross revenues to just two areas, regardless of the costs of generating that revenue.

“No business could operate with that lack of flexibility and no other business does. The ACA’s proposal attempts to fix one problem, the underfunding of grassroots, by making another problem, the inflexibility of a fixed gross revenue-share model, much worse.”

The ACA has rejected these claims, declaring there would be enough of the $2.6 billion they project in total cricket revenue to spread around.

“I don’t think we’ll need to cut anything,” an ACA spokesman said.

This comes amid an argument between players and CA over projected revenue. The ACA says CA is set to receive $2.6 billion over the next five years, excluding the Twenty20 World Cup in in 2020.

CA, however, says it’s difficult to put a specific figure on revenue, as 80 per cent of revenue is uncontracted. CA will soon officially go to market for new international and domestic television broadcast rights, while a rich deal with an Indian broadcaster will also be brokered.

Suburban clubs contacted by Fairfax Media say they just want a fair deal that will enable more development coaches and an upgrade of facilities. Cricket Victoria chief Tony Dodemaide is one state boss sweating on funds to hire more development coaches, an area the AFL dominates in Victoria.

CA’s submission says “cricket currently lags behind the AFL in terms of full-time grassroots resources, with only 171 full-time employees versus AFL with 450-plus [according to CA internal estimates]”.

It’s understood comments made by Steve Smith in England ahead of ‘s opening match in the Champions Trophy have also raised eyebrows. When asked about CA’s claim that the ACA’s insistence of a revenue-share model would harm grassroots cricket, Smith said: “I’m not sure I completely agree with that. If we look back at the last MOU I think players gave back $10 million to grassroots cricket, which is quite significant.”

It’s understood CA has questioned whether that money was given only to Premier cricket clubs – which are community based – and whether those funds had been fully distributed. The ACA said that money was spent in several development areas.

The CA board of directors met in Brisbane on Friday, where the primary focus was a new five-year strategy set to be unveiled within months. The focus is on all areas of the sport, including women and grassroots.

The board was given an update on the MOU spat but it was not an official agenda item.

ACA chief Alistair Nicholson has spent the past week in England discussing the pay issue with players, who are still calling on CA to appear at mediation in a bid to get negotiations going ahead of the June 30 stalemate.

But CA maintains unless the ACA drops its insistence on a revenue-share model, mediation is pointless. The ACA has offered “flexibility” to a degree in what is “open to a discussion of what is in and what is out of shared revenue streams” – but that is unlikely to cut it with CA.

Turnbull government urged to adopt new low emissions target

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The Turnbull government should adopt a Low Emissions Target as a fall back option to help reduce its carbon emissions and meet its Paris climate targets, according to the Climate Change Authority.

The call is contained in a new joint report by the Authority and the n Energy Market Regulator, requested by Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, on how to improve power security in and reduce electricity prices.

Fairfax Media understands the recommendation is likely to be mirrored in chief scientist Alan Finkel’s review of the electricity sector, which will be released at the next Council of n Governments meeting next Friday.

The report argues that an Emissions Intensity Scheme is still the best way to reduce emissions but the Turnbull government ruled out this policy after a revolt by the Coalition backbench late last year.

In the absence of an emissions intensity scheme, “a LET could support a wide range of generation technologies including gas and carbon capture and storage” the Authority stated.

The energy market regulator said it had not compared a Low Emissions Target with an Emissions Intensity Scheme in terms of its impact on the electricity market, including on prices and system security.

A low emission target operates in a similar way to the Renewable Energy Target and implementing one could help provide a path forward for the Turnbull government.

It would require more electricity be supplied from – depending on its design – renewables, carbon capture and storage and highly efficient gas

A low emissions generation target could be set in a LET, and scaled up in future if needed, or a desired level of emissions intensity per unit of electricity generated could be set.

The report was released on Friday as Mr Turnbull stared down calls from his backbench to postpone the release of the Finkel review after the United States abandoned the Paris climate treaty.

A coalition of groups including the Business Council, ACTU, ACOSS, Conservation Foundation and the Climate Institute issued a joint statement on Friday that said must remain a signatory to the Paris deal, which requires a 26-28 per cent emissions cut, against 2005 level, by 2030.

In Singapore, Mr Turnbull said President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris international climate change pact was not a surprise, but disappointing.

“We would prefer the United States to remain part of the agreement,” he said.

Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of the landmark accord – which seeks to limit global warming to 2 degrees celsius through emissions cuts from member nations – has been met with a swift global backlash.

Mr Turnbull also rebuffed calls by senior conservative Eric Abetz to put the Finkel Review on ice and ask its author to consider the local ramifications for a Paris accord that does not include the US, including putting beef producers at a competitive disadvantage.

Fairfax Media revealed on Thursday that five Coalition backbenchers – Ian Goodenough, Senator Abetz, Ian MacDonald, Tony Pasin and environment committee chair Craig Kelly – want the government to reassess the Paris agreement.

But Mr Turnbull said the timing of the release of the Finkel Review will not change and that the nation needed an “informed, hard-headed, practical approach” to the future of the electricity system.

Labor Climate spokesman Mark Butler said “any notion that the Turnbull government’s opposition to an EIS is based on rational concerns for impacts on electricity affordability, reliability or policy effectiveness is demolished by this latest report”.

Greens climate spokesman Adam Bandt said that a low emissions target was a “second best option”.

This week Dr Finkel told a Senate hearing that his report would cover ‘s responsibilities to cut total emissions under the Paris agreement but did not say whether it would advocate placing a price on carbon.

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg told the ABC on Friday that an EIS pushed by business leaders would not solve the major issue of reliability, typified by the South n blackout earlier this year.

“Our position on an emissions intensity scheme is clear: we believe that that does punish some of the existing coal-fired power generators in the country,” he said.

Environment groups are pushing for a faster transition to a 100 per cent renewable power grid.

The ACF, Wilderness Society and Solar Citizens on Friday released a document that called for an “urgent energy system overhaul that provides a clear pathway to a clean, reliable, affordable, inclusive and equitable renewable energy future for all ns”.

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Muirhead back to work after Brumbies dream

Andrew Muirhead. Brumbies captains run 2nd June 2017. Photo by Karleen Minney.How do you celebrate scoring your first Super Rugby double? With a keg party of course.
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But this isn’t the type of beer keg you’d expect after Andrew Muirhead scored two tries in his second game for the ACT Brumbies.

Instead, Muirhead was contemplating going back to work delivering kegs when he arrived home this week “to keep me awake” after a dream start to his Brumbies career.

Muirhead has been rewarded for his two tries in 13 minutes by keeping his place on the bench for the Brumbies’ clash against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday night.

The Brumbies arrived in Canberra on Monday night after a perfect two-game tour of South Africa and Argentina, finishing with a 39-15 thumping of the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

It was a fairytale ride for Muirhead, who doesn’t have a full-time professional contract and was plucked from Canberra’s club rugby competition to join the touring squad two weeks ago.

Muirhead had to ask his boss at Murrell Distribution for some time off delivering kegs and tyres to chase his rugby ambitions.

He got the perfect reward when she scored two tries against the Jaguares, the second a superb solo effort of twisting and turning his way to the line.

It could be the catalyst to earn a Super Rugby full-time deal and launch his career.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet to be honest with you,” Muirhead said.

“Hopefully this leads to something in the future but I don’t know yet. We’ll wait and see.

“I think I’ll have Tuesday morning off, my boss is pretty good. But we work some half days so I might look to do a few hours in the afternoon to keep me awake.

“The boss has looked after me so I’ll do right by him as well.”

Muirhead was the icing on the cake to the Brumbies’ two wins and form turnaround on a massive journey to Port Elizabeth and Buenos Aires.

He was the ninth player to debut for the Brumbies this year and rookie prop Faalelei Sione became the 10th in the clash against the Jaguares.

The rise of unknown players is the silver lining to the Brumbies this year, who have capitalised on opportunities to be on the verge of a fifth consecutive finals appearance.

Fullback Tom Banks is another who has leapt out of obscurity to stamp himself as a Super Rugby player, using his lightning speed to score a double against the Jaguares.

But even after his own try-scoring feats, Banks made special mention of Muirhead’s efforts.

“He’s such a good bloke and he’s worked unbelievably hard coming down from Brisbane to Canberra this year,” Banks said.

“To get his opportunity, he’s taken it with both hands and I’m really proud of him. He’ll do a lot for this team.”

The Brumbies will play the Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night and a third consecutive win all but secure a finals spot.

The game will be prop Ben Alexander’s 143rd game for the Brumbies, setting a new club record as the most capped player.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham kept an unchanged starting XV last week, but he could opt to rotate players after a heavy travel schedule over the past two weeks.

SUPER RUGBY ROUND 15

Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

Brumbies team: 15. Tom Banks, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Kyle Godwin, 11. Aidan Toua, 10. Wharenui Hawera, 9. Joe Powell, 8. Jordan Smiler, 7. Chris Alcock, 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Josh Mann-Rea, 1. Nic Mayhew. Reserves: 16. Robbie Abel, 17. Faalelei Sione, 18. Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Tom Staniforth, 20. Jarrad Butler, 21. De Wet Roos, 22. Andrew Muirhead, 23. Nigel Ah Wong.

Rebels team: 15. Reece Hodge, 14. Sefa Naivalu, 13. Tom English, 12. Mitch Inman, 11. Marika Koroibete, 10. Ben Volavola, 9. Nic Sirzaker, 8. Amanaki Mafi, 7. Colby Faingaa, 6. Hugh Sinclair, 5. Lopeti Timani, 4. Steve Cummins, 3. Tyrel Lomax. 2. James Hanson, 1. Toby Smith. Reserves: 16. Siliva Siliva, 17. Cruze Ah Nau, 18. Laurie Weeks, 19. Culum Retallick, 20. Will Miller, 21. Ben Meehan, 22. Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23. Jonah Placid.

OpinionWorld Environment Day a call to arms

World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5.Globally, events supporting positive environmental action have been held on this day since 1972.
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Twenty years ago on this day the ground-breaking Pathways to Sustainability: Local Initiatives for Cities and Townsinternational conference was held atNewcastle City Hall.The five-day conference was endorsed by the United Nations.Speakers came from over 30 countries. The event drew together some of the world’s leading thinkers, local politicians, business people, local government and the community. It was one of the most important events of Newcastle’s bicentenary celebrations and culminated in the Newcastle Declaration committing our city to a sustainable future.

“Gathered at Newcastle, on World Environment Day, 5 June 1997, we acknowledge that in the five years since the Rio Earth Summit much has been learnt about implementing the concept of sustainable development. There is growing evidence, however, that the future of all life on Earth is still in peril. There is an urgent need to accelerate and assist action at all levels, particularly locally, if the global sustainable development objectives of Agenda 21 are to be realised”.

Over the following 20 years we have seen the innovative ClimateCam initiative of the Newcastle City Council, which allowed the public to visualise and thus decrease energy consumption across the city through the ClimateCam billboard ClimateCam in schools program; the Smart Future Cities Program; and the establishment of UN training centre in disaster preparedness CIFAL at the University of Newcastle. World Environment Day on June 5 is a call to arms for the planet to build on these foundations not to let them lie fallow in the archives.

Professor Tim Roberts is the director of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, University of Newcastle