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James McDonald opts for Telperion in the Skyline Stakes

Together again: James McDonald has opted for Telperion for Saturday’s Skyline Stakes. Photo: bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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Godolphlin’s Australian retained jockey James McDonald made a “gut call’ in preferring Telperion as his ride for Saturday’s Skyline Stakes at Randwick.

He waited until trackwork on Tuesday but still has respect for Souchez, which could hand English hoop William Buick a Golden Slipper lead-up for the second consecutive year.

“If anything Souchez has been working better than Telperion,” McDonald said. “But I really like him and have from the start and that sways me to Telperion. There isn’t that much between them.”

McDonald admits to usually being guided by trainer John O’Shea about most of his decisions when it comes to rides but this one was his alone.

“I’m just hoping I made the right call,” he said.

Buick, who won the Pago Pago Stakes on Tarquin, has flown in for five rides, including Magic Hurricane in the Chipping Norton Stakes and It’s Somewhat in the Liverpool City Cup.

ZANBAGH PLANS

When John Thompson told Sandy Tait he was thinking of targeting Zanbagh at the Guy Walter Stakes back in December, there was a laugh of approval.

“He obviously had a lot of success with Guy, and was pleased to have a runner in his race,” Thompson said.

“We [were] talking at the end of that summer prep where we got her back winning and I was fairly happy with her and thought she was up to the better races. This is a starting point but to win it would be a great honour because of who it is named after.

“She is going as well as she was before winning first-up last time but she did strike a wet track back then. We are going to look at races like the Coolmore Classic and Queen Of The Turf with her this time in and I’m sure she is up to that grade.”

CAVANOUGH’S CONTINGENT

Albury trainer Brett Cavanough looks set to dominate the Country Championship heat at Wagga on Saturday with trio of runners “that have been aimed and targeted at this day”.

There would not be a better-placed horse in the country than Just A Bullet on the weekend, with Cavanough having able back-ups in Another Rush and Steakandbearnaise.

Just A Bullet has had five wins and 19 starts to just fall in under the qualification criteria.

His last start was a third in the Rubition Stakes at group 2 level behind Heatherley, one of the popular elects for the Oakleigh Plate, and Politeness, which has admirers in the Futurity.

Those are a long way from a set weights Class 5 at Wagga. “He looks well in with 59kg,” Cavanough said.

“I have always thought he would run a strong seven [furlongs, 1400m]. We were aware of the conditions and like the other two we have set him for this race a long way out.”

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.

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Arms Of An Angel the unknown factor in the Miracle Mile

Proven performer: Beautide doesn’t need an introduction. Photo: NSW Harness Racing ClubWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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The unknown factors going into Sunday’s Miracle Mile outweigh the proven form, setting up an exciting a couple of minutes at Menangle.

The known is that Beautide is a champion and Lennytheshark is the best horse in the country at the highest level  this season.

Have Faith In Me might be potential superstar after his 1.48.8 win in the Chariots Of Fire victory and is ready to match it with his older rivals.

But for trainer Shane Tritton the unknown is his friend. He has Arms Of An Angel, a flying mare with a will to win.

The given is she will lead from the pole, but what is she is actually capable of is the big question.

“No one knows how good she is, not even me,” Tritton said. “She is a fierce competitor and just wants to run and wants to beat every other horse around her.

“She doesn’t know what she is up against on Sunday. She will just go out and do her thing. How quick that will be, who knows?

“What we do know is that she should be a length in front at the top of the straight.”

Arms Of An Angel’s biggest test so far ended in defeat when third in Have Faith In Me’s Chariots Of Fire.

Glorious defeat, if that’s possible, with an excuse but a time to say she is very good.

The four-year-old mare  was expected to lead despite a wide draw but missed the start by at least a dozen metres. The bit became lodged over the noseband, making her hard to steer.

From there, driver Lauren Panella had little control but Arms Of An Angel’s competitive instincts took over and she ran around the 1.49 mark.

“Of course we were disappointed for something like to happen,” Tritton said. “She could have quite easily have dropped out and ran sixth or something like that.

“But she showed what we know that she is a competitor.

“She just wants to beat whatever is around her and because of that, she ran a quick mile after giving away a start.

“I have had a couple of Miracle Mile runners before which we knew were vulnerable at the level. I think she is good enough but she is still learning.

“All she wants to do is race, we have to work her first in the morning because if she sees other horse she want to chase it down.

“In time she will get better and be driven with a sit but now, we let her show her natural speed.”

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.

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Fire crews battle bushfire near Kearsley

Fire crews battle bushfire near Kearsley Blaze: The bushfire, near Kearsley, is in the Werakata National Park. Picture: Max Mason Hubers
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Blaze: The bushfire, near Kearsley, is in the Werakata National Park. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Blaze: The bushfire, near Kearsley, is in the Werakata National Park. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Blaze: The bushfire, near Kearsley, is in the Werakata National Park. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Blaze: The bushfire, near Kearsley, is in the Werakata National Park. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

TweetFacebookAdvice: #NeathRdFire easing conditions & good work by firefighters has seen the threat ease. A lot of work to do tonight by #NSWRFS & #NPWS

— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) February 25, 2016Crews gaining the upper hand on Neath Rd Fire at #Kearsley. No property at threat just over 5 ha burnt. #NSWRFSpic.twitter南京夜网/XUQkiWex76

— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) February 25, 2016

EARLIER

FIRE crews are battling threebushfiresin remote country near Kearsley and Abernethy.

Crews from the Rural Fire Service and National Parks and Wildlife Service were called to the Werakata National Park following reports of smoke about 12.30pm on Thursday.

Inspector Glenn Byrnes, from the Lower Hunter RFS, said the fire appeared to be on the old Hebburn No2 coal mine landoff the Elrington fire trail.

They had received multiple calls from Kurri Kurri, Abermain, Weston and Kearsley.

There was no property immediately under threat.

The temperature near the fire ground at 2pm was 38 degrees celsius with light winds.

A second blaze has sparked up near Abernethy.

Two fire crews were also at a small blaze off Cessnock Road at Abermain.

More to come

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Is talcum powder going to give you cancer?

Johnson & Johnson has maintained its talcum powder products are safe to use. Photo: suppliedJohnson & Johnson in $100m talcum powder payout
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Please say it isn’t so. Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder – that soothing white talc probably hundreds of thousands of us have used for decades and on our babies too – causes cancer?

Members of the jury in the case of Alabama woman Jacqueline Fox obviously think so. They ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay Fox’s family $US72 million in actual and punitive damages after she died of ovarian cancer. It was reported that a pathologist found her ovaries were inflamed from talc which then turned into cancer. Aged 62, Fox had used Johnson & Johnson powder products for 35 years, applying them in her genital area. So should you stop using it?

If you are someone who wants to minimise or eliminate all possible risks of cancer from your life, the answer is yes. Because the highest authority available to us – the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer – classifies talc-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” when it’s used around the perineum – the nether region stretching from the vagina to the anus.

In other words, the international expert working group convened by the IARC to examine the evidence for a link between talcum powder and cancer has concluded that there possibly is one. That’s if we’re talking about the way body powder is most frequently applied, that is, by dusting around the vagina. Most commonly, women start using it around the age of 15, and for an unknown number like Fox it becomes a daily habit of a lifetime.

“On the one hand we can’t dismiss completely that the perineal use of talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer,” said Professor Bernard Stewart, a world authority on environmental cancer risks who advises both the IARC and Cancer Council Australia.

“On the other hand all of the studies are not conclusive. Some studies showed an association and some did not,” he says. And of the ones that showed an association, some showed an adverse one: that the more you used, the lower the risk, and vice versa – “which is not what you would expect”.

So the evidence isn’t strong enough to warrant action by health authorities, such warnings against use or on labels, says Professor Stewart. So back to the question: what is a woman to do?

The professor says it’s “fair enough” to stop using talc: “The evidence is enough to justify anxiety in an individual woman, and if an individual woman wants to stop using talc in this way I have absolutely no criticism of that”.

But he also advises the evidence isn’t strong enough to justify any of us losing sleep over somehow putting ourselves at risk in the past. And he says a jury determination in a court case is “the last place one goes for objective medico-scientific assessment”.

While it is “understandable at a human level” that a jury might be outraged by the notion that someone might get cancer by the seemingly innocuous use of talcum powder, it “provides no scientific insight”. “Decades of science” back the safety of talc

Johnson & Johnson disputes the IARC’s conclusion. It said in a statement: “The recent US verdict goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products, and while we sympathise with the family of the plaintiff, we strongly disagree with the outcome.”

A Sydney-based spokesperson for the American multinational told Fairfax Media: “Johnson & Johnson relies on the greater body of evidence, and the greater body of evidence suggests there is really insufficient science to make that link.

“Do we believe that the product continues to be safe? Very much so.”

The NSW Cancer Council says on its website: “Further research is needed to determine whether and how talcum powder might increase the risk of ovarian cancer.”

(There’s a separate kind of naturally-occurring mineral talc that contains asbestos and definitely causes cancer. Asbestos may have been present in some body talcs before the mid 1970s, but the industry decided after a flurry of adverse publicity back then to market talc with no asbestos, the IARC said).

The IARC considered 20 studies to evaluate the risk of ovarian cancer from using body powder. It focused on eight studies it deemed “more informative” because they were population-based (that is, not focused on particular groups of people), of reasonable size, with acceptable participation rates and allowed control for unidentified factors which might confound the results.

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Hunter woman victim of fraud and larceny slams judge’s verdict

COURT: Victim of crime Lisa Marks said she feels violated after a woman stole her wallet and used her bank cards to clock up several charges. A Hunter businesswoman has been left devastated after the woman who stole her identity and thousands of dollars from her bank account was allowed to walk free.
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Small business owner Lisa Marks had her wallet stolen by a phony customer at her New Lambton clothing store Parker and Barrow.

Within an hour the offender had used her cards to make several charges using the paywave function at shops and cafes.

“It just gave me a sick feeling knowing someone was walking around using my cards,” Mrs Marks said.

“I contacted police and the bank straight away and cancelled my cards and I thought that was the end of it.”

But matters got worse when the offender used Mrs Mark’s driver’s licence to withdraw more than $5000 from her bank account.

Many of the stores and banks used by the offender had recorded CCTV footage of the woman, 30-year-old Ebonee Cupples, which was handed over to police.

On February 18 police picked up Cupples at East Maitland Bowling Club as she sat playing the pokies.

According to a police report tendered to the court, a search of Cupples vehicle found two bank cards belonging to Mrs Marks and two bags of the illicit drug ice in her handbag.

“When I found out she had been arrested I felt a bit of relief,” Mrs Marks said.

“I thought I could finally move on and not worry about where she was and what she was doing.”

Cupples appeared at Maitland Local Court on Friday February 19 on charges of larceny, fraud and possession of a prohibited drug.

She pleaded guilty to all charges and Magistrate Andrew Eckhold handed down a 12-month suspended sentence, which meant she got to walk out of the courtroom that day.

“What a weak sentence,” Mrs Marks said.

“To know that she got to walk out of that courtroom is just disgusting.

“They never recovered my licence, what’s to stop her from passing that on to someone else?

“Who knows what debt is going to pop up in the future under my name because of this.”

According to police facts Cupples was extremely well known to police and her criminal history dictated that she had been committing offences of this kind for many years.

“I am so disillusioned with the justice system,” Mrs Marks said.

“There is no incentive for hard working citizens to go to police and report crime if they just get to walk out of court with no repercussions for their actions.”

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New hybrid premium cabin design for planes: First-class bunk beds

An elevated first-class suite. Photo: Formation Design Lie-flat suites are elevated above other regular lie-flat seats in a bunk bed-like formation. Photo: Formation Design
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Premium cabin seats. Photo: Formation Design

Premium-class plane cabins in the future could look remarkably different should an innovative concept which sees first class suites elevated above other premium seats be adopted by airlines.

The hybrid first- and business-class cabin concept will feature lie-flat seats on floor level with a second level of lie-flat suites elevated above other passengers in a bunk bed-like formation, The Telegraph, London reports.

According to the concept’s US creators Formation Design, the hybrid layout enables airlines to accommodate more passengers in premium cabins thanks to an overlapping design which sees the suite’s bed overlap the foot of the bed below. The proposed design also said offers passengers broader beds and more seats with direct aisle access.

The cabin will contain the usual features passengers expect on long-haul flights, such as entertainment systems, but airlines would need to remove overhead cabin lockers to allow for the elevated suites.

The new hybrid concept for a premium-class plane cabin  is shortlisted  for the Crystal Cabin Award, the only international award for aircraft interior innovations.

Airlines including Emirates, British Airways and Singapore Airlines currently offer suites in their first-class cabins.

See: Airline review: Emirates’ first class Private Suite

With the launch of The Residence Class on Etihad in 2014, described as ‘better than first class’, competition among airlines has heated up to win over the most lucrative air passengers. Etihad’s “The Residence” is a three-room private “apartment” that comes with a lounge area, bathroom and bedroom, and costs about $27,000 for a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.

Last year Emirates announced it would revamp its first-class seats to put a greater focus on privacy. Qatar Airways also has plans to create a double-bed cabin.

Emirates was among nine other airlines including Etihad, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Swiss and Thai Airways named as the top 10 airlines with the best for first class cabins by AirlineRatings南京夜网 in 2015. Air France, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Japan Airlines, Qatar, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia/Atlantic topped the list for best business class cabins in the rankings.

Winners of the Crystal Cabin Awards 2016 will be announced April 5 in Hamburg, Germany.

See also: World’s best airline for 2015 named See also: Flying to Europe and back in every airline class

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‘I’ve never met someone who is homophobic’: Coalition backbenchers vent over Safe Schools

Liberal MP Luke Simpkins. Photo: Alex EllinghausenHow controversial Safe Schools program saved a life
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A Coalition MP has declared he’s never met someone who is homophobic, joining a growing chorus of backbenchers attacking a program designed to support gay, lesbian and transgender school students.

Attacking Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s claim that conservative senator Cory Bernardi is homophobic, WA Liberal backbencher Luke Simpkins said Labor had been “reduced to name calling”.

“The moral trump words of which I speak are terms such as homophobia,” Mr Simpkins told the House of Representatives on Thursday.

“To take that case in point, it is defined to mean ‘an extreme or irrational fear of homosexuality’. This is therefore a much-used word to stomp on any form of commentary on issues such as this, but it is also wrongly used.

“I have never met anyone that displays an extreme or irrational fear of homosexuality.

“I have an army background and a sporting background and never have I met anyone who has such fears.”

Mr Simpkins is the latest backbencher to rise in Parliament to voice concerns over the Safe Schools program.

A Coalition party room meeting was dominated by the issue on Tuesday. It led Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ask Education Minister Simon Birmingham for an independent review to ensure the $8 million opt-in program – currently used in about 500 schools – is age appropriate.

The Safe Schools Coalition has welcomed “all opportunities to demonstrate the positive impact” of the program and “provide the facts and evidence behind it”.

National program director Sally Richardson has previously stressed there is no content which teaches sexual techniques or things like chest binding.

Ms Richardson said critics had wrongly accused Safe Schools of including content which was not part of the program but on websites that the program had links to.

On Wednesday afternoon, Tasmanian Liberal MP Brett Whiteley claimed Safe Schools is an “extraordinarily dangerous program” that doesn’t make schools safer but rather seeks to “stamp out gender entirely, to create confusion and doubt in children’s minds about their gender”.

“We all want safer schools. Yet the incongruence between the title and objectives of the Safe Schools Coalition program and what is actually taught and, importantly, how it is taught is remarkable and confronting,” he said.

“This is state sanctioned and state funded social engineering at its worst.”

Around the same time, Queensland Liberal Nationals senator Barry O’Sullivan told Parliament that while he wanted to see bullying stamped out, the program set out to “deconstruct general norms that reflect society”.

“It was directed particularly at the unique cohort of people who are said to be suffering – and I accept they are – with respect to sexual confusion,” he said.

“Mind you, I think every young person at some stage – and it was my own experience- has difficulty during that puberty. There is confusion and misunderstanding. They are scared.”

He criticised encouraging young people to view sexuality as fluid and said heterosexuality was not offered as an option.

The newly elected member for Canning, Andrew Hastie, told the House of Representatives on Tuesday that the initiative was “more about advancing ideology than equipping children with techniques to deal with bullying”.

“The program decries bullying yet pushes its own form of bullying by pressuring young children to conform to a particular view of sexuality,” he said.

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Earnings growth to outpace dividends for the first time in five years

Flat dividends from the banks and falling payouts from the miners are dragging on aggregate DPS growth this reporting season The dividend payout rate may have peaked, Citi says. Photo: Citi Research
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The slashing in dividends by the big miners and flat payouts from the banks mean earnings per share growth is set to outpace dividend per share growth for the first time in five years.

Goldman Sachs equity strategist Matthew Ross said according to estimates this half-yearly reporting season would “buck the trend of recent years that has seen the ASX 200 consistently deliver dividend growth well in excess of earnings”.

The main drivers of this shift are the heavyweight miners and banks, which may point to a peak in the payout ratio, followed by little growth in aggregate dividends for “a while”, Citi equity strategist Tony Brennan said.

“The main factor is resources companies cutting their dividends, both BHP and Rio Tinto indicated that going forward they’re going to have different dividend policies,” he said.

BHP Billiton this week formally abandoned its progressive dividend policy in which dividends would remain steady or lift, amid a $US5.7 billion first-half profit loss. It slashed its dividend by 75 per cent to US16¢ a share, fully-franked. It is the first time the Big Australian has cut its dividend in almost 30 years.

Meanwhile, dividends are expected to remain flat from the banks, led by Commonwealth Bank of Australia which maintained its interim dividend at $1.98 a share. ANZ Banking Group, Westpac Banking Corporation and National Australia bank report their half-yearly profits in May.

Citi has forecast flat dividends for the banks for the next two years, and then dropping, the banks earnings are expected to grow.

“While the collapse in resource profits has put their dividends under pressure, the moderating profitability and rising capital requirements are also making it difficult for the banks to grow dividends, potentially limiting growth to other sectors,” Mr Brennan said.

“Apart from resources and banks there doesn’t seem to be a broad slowing in dividends elsewhere,” he said.

According to Goldman Sachs research, consensus estimates point to zero DPS growth in the banks versus 3 per cent EPS growth.

Estimates put resources EPS and DPS growth at minus 40 per cent.

Outside of those sectors, in industrials, DPS growth is tipped at 1 per cent, against EPS growth at 3 per cent. Earnings strong despite dividend drag

This reporting season’s payouts may prove a disappointment for yield-hungry investors accustomed to growing dividends.

A report by Henderson Global Investors found that Australian underlying dividend growth (which takes into account exchange rates and other factors) hit 14.5 per cent last year, but the plunging Australian dollar against the US dollar led to a headline number of 7.6 per cent, to $US46.5 billion ($64.7 billion).

This growth was largely fuelled by the banks, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac both raising their distribution even in US dollar terms, the report said.

But this driver may be missing from this year, with regulation imposts hitting bank balance sheets, limiting dividend growth for some time.

“That said, it will still generate the lion’s share of Australian payouts.”

Despite the drag on dividends this year, this earnings season is on track to be one of the strongest since the global financial crisis relative to expectations, Mr Ross said.

Almost half the companies that reported up to February 22 had beaten consensus earnings estimates by more than 2 per cent, while 28 per cent had missed, he said.

“It is encouraging to note that only twice in the past 15 earnings seasons have more than 40 per cent of firms beaten expectations,” Mr Ross said.

“Most encouraging as a signal for the broader economy, 40 per cent of firms have beaten at the revenue line, and only 15 per cent have missed.”

But this positivity comes with a caveat: historically, the firms that report late in the season are more likely to disappoint, dragging down the overall results.

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Business investment improves, but outlook disappoints

Business investment stopped contracting in the December quarter but plans for capital expenditure next financial year have fallen short of expectations.
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The Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday that private sector December-quarter investment in buildings, equipment, plant and machinery rose 0.8 per cent, seasonally adjusted, from the previous three months, leaving it down 16.4 per cent year-on-year.

Growth was better than expectations, with the average estimate from a Bloomberg survey of economists a 3 per cent decline.

Investment in resources-related machinery and infrastructure, which has fallen off sharply over the past two years, dropped just 0.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter, suggesting it is close to bottoming out.

Manufacturing, however, was down 3.6 per cent on the quarter, and other industries – including services – were up 3.1 per cent on the September quarter.

The Australian dollar slipped as analysts and traders focused more on the gloomy first estimate from businesses of planned investment in the 2016-17 financial year.

This came in at $82.6 billion, $10 billion short of economists’ expectations, and $20 billion below the corresponding first estimate for ths current financial year.

The fifth estimate for this financial year was also slightly below the fourth.

Capital Economics senior economist Daniel Martin said future capital expenditure estimates were “concerning”.

“Overall, [Thursday’s] capex figures suggest that while current investment appears to be stronger than we’d previously thought, the outlook is weaker,” he said.

“This will be worrying for the RBA and could prompt the RBA to cut rates again soon.”

The ABS calculated that businesses spent almost $32 billion on buildings, equipment, plant and machinery in the three months to the end of December last year. Of this, $20.4 billion went on buildings and structures, with the rest invested in equipment, plant and machinery.

Nomura rate strategist for Australia Andrew Ticehurst noted that plant and equipment spending, which climbed just 0.1 per cent, is the only component which feeds directly into fourth-quarter gross domestic product figures, published next week.

Estimated spending plans also pointed to weak business activity this year, he said.

“There is no sign here of a pick-up in non-mining investment intentions, with capex spending in manufacturing and other industries looking set to fall in 2016-17,” he said.

“[Thursday’s] data does support our ongoing assessment that a lower cash rate will be required in 2016, and we continue to forecast a 25bp rate cut in May.”

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Put your gloves on for Clean Up Australia Day

New Year resolutions have been made and broken as we move to the end of February, but there is one feel-good activity that we can do for ourselves and our home that will somewhat balance the books. Get out and about this week and clean up your business, your school, your park or your beach, because it is Clean Up Australia week once again.
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It all started in Sydney in 1989 and since then, Clean Up Australia Day has become an annual event involving millions of ordinary Australians and in 1993 it became a global program through the United Nations in some 80 countries. Show that you are willing to do something to help care for the planet.

Finally, our state is making the right noises about banning plastic bags and sniffing around the edges of making beverage bottles recyclable.But it is our local youngsters who are putting dreams into action and becoming our sustainability leaders.Tim Silverwood whose personal decision to clean plastic from his favourite surfing beaches and inspire others to do the same has become internationally famous. In 2012 Nick Morris, having just graduated from University of Newcastle, saw a business opportunity in restaurant waste and established his thriving business Thegreenhelpinghand, to make local businesses more sustainable.

Supplied: Wikimedia Commons

Join the Clean Up crew on Sunday, March 6, put your gloves on and fill that garbage bag. Last year about 530,000 people removed almost 16,000 tonnes of rubbish at more than 7000 sites across Australia. You can find how and where and what easily on the web. If you have some spare dollars then donate to Clean Up Australia to help this wonderful organisation grow.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not,The Lorax by Dr Seuss.

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

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