Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink

All United Nations members have signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 6 which is to ensure access to water and sanitation for all, but due to partisan politics, bad economics or poor infrastructure, every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.
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By 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water.Not to mention the compounding effect of global warming through changing rainfall patterns and glaciers drying up, as in Bolivia.

Here at home, we have our own water problems with states unable to agree nor uphold agreements in place for the great Murray Darling Basin water system. Some of the ingenious solutions to bring clean water to the world at affordable prices are worth your support.

The Australian NFP Skyjuice Foundation’s SkyHydrant uses low maintenance, long life ultrafiltration technology to provide safe clean water for less than $1 per person per year.The South African “Hippo Water Roller Project” established in 1994 has delivered 50,000 Hippo Water Rollers across 20 countries. The Hippo Water Roller, developed in response to the unique needs of rural women and children across Africa forced to carry water, usually on their heads, to their homes, carries 90 litres of water inside a rolling wheel which is pushed or pulled with its handle. Another magical invention that makes pure water from the water vapour in the air is the WaterSeer of Vici Labs, worth a story in itself.

Have a family picnic at Grahamstown Dam or Chichester Dam, and read “When The Rivers Run Dry Water: The Defining Crisis of the Twenty First Century” by Fred Pearce, written in 2006.

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

Stink over RAAF sewerage: $7.5m pipe still unused

SEWAGE SAGA: An aerial view of the RAAF’s private sewage treatment plant, constructed in the 1950s. The need to decommission it was identified over a decade ago and was described as “urgent” by MP Bob Baldwin in 2012.
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THE TURNBULL government has been called on to intervene in a sewage sagathat hasrun into its fourth year, cost taxpayers $7.5 million for an unused pipeand left a bad taste in the mouths of Williamtown residents.

Defence admitted this week thattheWilliamtown RAAF base is still notconnected to the region’s sewerage network, with no end in sight to what appears to have become a war of attrition with Hunter Water.

When theNewcastle Herald revealed the dispute in January, 2016, Defence rubbished suggestions the parties were atan impasse and said the matter would be resolved within a month.

But two years later, Hunter Water claims Defence is still refusing to sign a standard trade wasteagreement setting limits on the amount of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl [PFAS] chemicals itdischarges into the sewer.

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Sewer pipe to nowhereDefence ready to sign for sewerIt means the base’s sewage –containing the toxic firefighting chemicals – continues topoolin unlined ponds on a neighbouring private property, with nothing to stop the toxinsseeping into the Tomago Sandbeds aquifer during heavy rain.

Shadow assistant Defence Minister Gai Brodtmann said it was time for Defence Minister Marise Payne to take control of the situation.

“Why hasn’t the Turnbull government shown leadership and stepped in to resolve this issue sooner?” she said.“I’m concerned at how long this negotiation has taken, and strongly encourage both Defence and Hunter Water to come to an agreement as soon as possible.”

Minister Payne could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Spokesperson for the Williamtown and Surrounds Residents Action Group Rhianna Gorfineslammed it as “unthinkable” that Defence would be seeking to flush PFAS into the sewer network.

“If they can’t connect a sewer after four years of negotiations, what hope have we got of them decontaminating the area?” she said.

A Defence spokesperson said negotiations were continuing and it would be seeking a high level meeting with the Hunter Water board.

“Defence remains committed to finalising the trade waste agreement as quickly as possible,” they said.

“Negotiations have been delayed due to a number of commercial and legal matters.These matters have been complicated by the emerging issue of PFAS as a contaminant, and, therefore, the lack of a NSW trade waste regulatory framework incorporating PFAS management.”

A Hunter Water spokesperson reiterated that all commercial and industrial customers were forced to sign trade waste agreements to protect the environment.

He said Defence could not“guarantee” that PFAS in its wastewater would meet requirements.

The RAAF base isserviced by a private sewage treatment plant,constructed in the 1950s.

The need to decommission the ageing plant and connect the base to Hunter Water’s sewerage network was identified over a decade ago and was described as“urgent” by Paterson MP Bob Baldwin in 2012, who warned the region’s drinking water supply was being put in jeopardy.

By late 2014, $7.5 million in taxpayer funds had been spent on the construction of a pipe and Defence and Hunter Water began negotiations over the trade waste agreement.

Ms Gorfine said the community no longer had any faith in Defence to follow through on its commitments.

She was incensed that community representatives were told in January 2016 thattheHerald’s reports were inaccurate and that the matter would be resolved by the following month.

“Why should the community have any faith in their words?” she said. “Actions speak louder than words.”

The Defence spokesperson said the latest testing on waste in its sewage ponds detected the chemical perfluoroctane sulfonate (PFOS)at 1.3 parts per billion.

“The waste is not currently treated for PFAS where itremains on Defence land,” they said.

“Where Defence removes waste from the site, that waste is treated in accordance with NSW Environment Protection Authority Guidelines.”

Australia has ‘missed the boat’ on nuclear power

ziggyThe Minerals Council of Australia has called for the country’s prohibition on nuclear power to be lifted. But both critics and supporters see little future for large-scale nuclear power in Australia’s energy mix.
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The man who once famously called for 50 nuclear reactors across Australia, nuclear physicist and NBN chairman Ziggy Switkowski, says “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”.

A lack of public support and any actual proposals for a nuclear plant had resulted in government inertia, he said on Thursday.

“Government won’t move until a real business case is presented and none has been, to my knowledge, and there aren’t votes in trying to lead the debate,” he said, adding that renewables were now a more economically viable choice.

“With requirements for baseload capacity reducing, adding nuclear capacity one gigawatt at a time is hard to justify, especially as costs are now very high (in the range of $5 billion to $10 billion), development timelines are 15+ years, and solar with battery storage are winning the race.”

Warwick Grigor, the former chairman of Uranium King, mining analyst, and a director of uranium miner Peninsula Energy, agrees.

“I think nuclear energy is great, but we’ve missed the boat in Australia, no one is going down that path in the foreseeable future,” Mr Grigor told Fairfax Media.

“When Fukushima [the 2011 nuclear accident in Japan] occurred, that was the closing of the door to our nuclear power possibilities.”

Mr Grigor sees battery technology, a market he has since entered, as a better alternative.

Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney said talk of nuclear power was “a dangerous distraction” from the steps that needed to address the energy and climate challenges facing Australia.

Nuclear energy has been officially banned in Australia since 1998, with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s OPAL reactor at Lucas Heights, NSW, the only nuclear reactor in the country.

But the Minerals Council’s executive director for uranium, Daniel Zavattiero, said the nation had excluded a low-emissions energy source of which Australia has an abundant supply from the current debate.

“Maybe nuclear power might be something that is not needed, but an outright prohibition on it is not needed,” he said.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg supported the Mineral Council’s stance.

“There needs to be bipartisan support for nuclear power and that does not exist right now,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“You would also need state-based support and that is not clear at this stage either.”

In a pre-budget submission, the Minerals Council said nuclear energy needed to be “allowed to compete with other low-emissions sources of electricity – and on equal terms”.

“The ban on nuclear power in Australia is hampering an open debate about future energy and climate change management.”

Mr Zavattiero’s position has been supported by the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, which recommended the lifting of the federal prohibition on a nuclear industry.

Mr Switkowski said smaller, modular nuclear reactors could play a part in the future energy mix, and could support regional centres.

An ANSTO spokesman told Fairfax Media these smaller plants could technically work in Australia.

“If Australia did want to expand into nuclear energy technologies, there would be a number of options to consider in the future, including small modular reactors and Generation IV reactors, which could be feasible if the policy, economic settings and technology were right and public support was in place,” he said.

However, the country currently did not have enough skilled personnel to safely operate a nuclear energy industry, he said.

“The question of whether nuclear energy is technically or economically feasible is a different question to whether Australia should or should not have a nuclear energy program, the latter of which is a matter for policy makers and the people of Australia,” the spokesman said.

Countries such as France have embraced nuclear energy, and nuclear power accounts for nearly 75 per cent of all energy generation.

This reliance on nuclear energy has played a role in helping the nation slash its CO2 emissions, with OECD data outlining France averaging 4.32 tonnes per capita compared to Australia’s average of 15.8 tonnes per capita.

While France had set a timeline to reduce its proportion of nuclear energy generation to half of all generation by 2025, French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said it would be difficult to keep to its timeline without reintroducing fossil fuel generation.

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Obstructing the field decision polarises cricket

The first player in the BBL’s history given out for obstructing the field is adamant he was merely trying to avoid being hit by the return throw rather than block its progress as he attempted to complete a second run against the Hobart Hurricanes on Wednesday night.
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But Brisbane Heat batsman Alex Ross was left with no choice but to walk when the umpires gave him out after reviewing the incident midway through the 17th over of the match.

The hard-hitting Ross was on 27 off 19 balls at the time but had to sit on the sidelines as the Heat rattled home, scoring 34 runs in the final three overs to fall just four runs short of victory.

Ross gave his perspective on Twitter: “I can unequivocally say I was trying to run away from the line of the ball to avoid being hit, as I felt I was going to make my ground.”

The controversial decision led to respective captains, Heat’s Brendon McCullum and George Bailey of the Hurricanes, having an animated discussion after the game.

McCullum made it clear that while he thought the Hurricanes deserved the win he thought the Ross decision was wrong.

Bailey told Channel 10 the Hurricanes’ initial appeal was made in relation to whether Ross was out of his ground but after seeing the vision they then enquired as to whether the batsman had obstructed the field as he changed direction when running down the wicket.

The umpires determined he had, in fact, obstructed the field, deciding Ross’s action was not accidental nor taken to avoid injury.

Cricket Australia said the decision was “justified” although they conceded it was a difficult rule to adjudicate as it required umpires to determine the intent of the player.

“The dismissal last night of Alex Ross from Brisbane Heat saw the batsman change direction, turn to watch the direction of the throw, and run on the pitch,” a Cricket Australia spokesperson said.

“The third umpire concluded that the change of running direction of the batsman, after seeing the direction of the throw, obstructed the wicketkeeper’s opportunity to affect the run out.”

Umpires are instructed to take into account whether a player changes direction as a guide for measuring intent.

The mode of dismissal is extremely unusual with only eight players ever given out in international cricket for obstructing the field.

The only time it has happened in a game involving Australia was in 2015 when England all-rounder Ben Stokes threw out his hand and deflected a Mitch Starc attempt to throw down the stumps.

Coincidentally the Australian wicketkeeper in that game was Matthew Wade, who was also keeping for the Hurricanes.

The Sydney Sixers English import Jason Roy is one of the eight players to have been dismissed for obstructing the field in international cricket after being given out for 67 against South Africa last year.

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Big Ben handling the hype like an old hand

BenSimmonshas been dealing with hype and expectation since high school so NBA All-Star and rookie-of-the-year chatter is water off a duck’s back for the 20-year-old Australian superstar.
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Simmonshas been a revelation in his first full season after being handed the point guard role by Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown.

Former Boomers mentor Brown made him the focal point of his team alongside giant centre Joel Embiid and it has paid off with the perennial battlers sitting just one spot outside the Eastern Conference play-off spots.

Simmonsaverages 16.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game and his 7.5 assists rank as the sixth-best in the league with his 1.9 steals tied for fourth.

That form has subsequently seen him touted as a potential All-Star, with online voting closing next week, and a frontrunner for the rookie of the year accolade.

Should he earn selection for the annual showpiece event he would be the first rookie to do so since LA Clippers star Blake Griffin in 2011.

Earlier this weekthe former Newcastle Hunters junior had clocked up just over 210,000 votes, placing him fourth among point guards in the East.

RISING STAR: Former Newcastle Hunters junior Ben Simmons has been a revelation in his debut season with Philadelphia. Picture: AP

Simmonssaid he is unfazed by the talk but revelling in the responsibility at the 76ers.

“I’ve had pressure my whole life, from high school, so I am not too worried about it,”Simmonssaid.


“I just go out there and try to enjoy my game. I’ve always been around cameras and the media.

“But I love being able to run the team. It’s one of those roles where the coach has a lot of confidence in me and I think I am doing a good job so far.”

The Melbourne-bornSimmonssaid sitting on the sidelines and missing his first season through a foot injury after being drafted No.1 overall in 2016 did little to prepare him for the rigours of the NBA.

“It helped to an extent, but playing the game is so different to watching,”Simmonssaid.

“I’ve learnt a lot from playing, far more so than watching.”

Brown believesSimmonshas only just scratched the surface of his potential but is delighted with how’s he adapted to his new responsibility, having played as a forward throughout high school and college.

“If any of us had thought about making him a point guard, forgetting 15 to 18 years of experience … and said ‘we are just going to give you the ball, you’re a point guard in the NBA’, … and fast forwarded 38 games into the season and looked at what he’s done, we’d have been incredibly happy,” Brown said.

“He has so much more growth to experience. Intellectually learning what a point guard is, that it’s not just dribbling the ball up the floor.

“As our point guard I see daylight, I see that being very progressive and heading in the right direction.”

Triathlete’s inspiring comeback from crash

Triathlete’s inspiring comeback from crash DETERMINED: Newcastle’s Lauren Parker will compete in her first triathlon since a freak accident left her paralysed from the waist down in April last year. Picture: Simone De Peak
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SUPPORT: Lauren Parker has been training with Paralympic legend Kurt Fearnley. Picture: Simone De Peak

Lauren Parker prepares for a training session at Newcastle Athletics Track on Thursday. Picture: Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookI have trained my whole life and I kind of know nothing else. It’s just a part of me, so it was quite easy getting back into training. It’s actually taken my mind off things and it’s where I’m the most happy.

Lauren Parker

“I didn’t even think that I would be back doing triathlon let alone doing it this quick but there has been a lot of support from the triathlon community, saying they’d love to have me back training and giving me the motivation to get back into it,” she said.

“I’m back to being a newbie again so I don’t know what to expect …but itwill be a good experience and I’ll just go as hard as I can and see what the result is.

“If I qualify then that would be absolutely amazing. If I don’t then it doesn’t matter.”

Training with Fearnley under wheelchair coach Andrew Dawes has been a boost for the determined Parker.

”It’s been so good, he’s such a machine,” she said.

“He does about four laps to my one but he’s really encouraging and really good to train with. He pushes me.”

Her weekly training schedule in the build-up to this race hasbeen four swim sessions, three hand cycle sessions and three racing chair sessions.

Each discipline has come with its own challenges.

“The hand cycle and racing chair are not really long sessions, but in a one-hour sessions it’s pretty hard work,” Parkersaid.

“The racing chair is the most technical but the hand cycle is just really hard on your arms.

“Your arms are in pain the whole time.”

“I haven’t hand cycled after swimming 750mand then theracing chair after the handcycle.”

Read more:

Newcastle triathlete in fight of her life

Six months on Parker set for swim event

The Tonk: Tendulkar junior to grace SCG’s hallowed turf

Sachin Tendulkar has contributed richly to the history of the SCG. It was at the famous venue that, as an 18-year-old, he announced himself to the country with his maiden Test ton on Australian soil. Twelve years later he rained on Steve Waugh’s farewell Test with an unbeaten 241 after shelving his cover drive, and he made 154 not out in the infamous Bollyline Test of 2008.
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On Sunday, nearly six years after his last match at the famous ground, it will be his son’s turn to grace the hallowed turf. Arjun Tendulkar, 18, is lining up for the Cricket Club of India in a Twenty20 match as part of the Spirit of Cricket Global Challenge, a tournament run by SCG Cricket.

There is even talk his father may be making a whirlwind trip from India just to see his son play at the ground, where his name is etched on the honour boards. Tendulkar, you’ll remember, is also the first overseas player to be given an honorary life membership of the SCG.

Unlike his father, Tendulkar junior is a left-arm quick, though he impressed this week with the bat, whacking a quick-fire 40-odd not out at Coogee Oval. Arjun has not hit the professional ranks but last year was picked in an under-19 side by Mumbai for an invitational one-day competition.

The son of a gun was playing at Bradman Oval in Bowral on Thursday and, our operatives tell us, will be in the crowd on Saturday night for the Big Bash League’s Sydney Derby.

The Tendulkar family is fiercely protective of Arjun’s privacy with all interview and photo requests having to go through his father. Pay war protagonists to meet

It was the greatest civil war the game had seen since World Series Cricket and wounds have not fully healed five months after a peace deal was struck in the bitter pay dispute.

An uneasiness remains about how Cricket Australia conducted itself during the standoff, and not just from the players’ side of the fence. There are figures in state land who were also unsatisfied with the approach taken by head office, having seen 230 cricketers around the country left unemployed for more than a month last winter.

However, now that the dust has properly settled, and the Ashes have been run and won, executives and directors on both sides appear to be at least attempting to improve relations.

Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Alistair Nicholson says his organisation’s president, former Australian wicketkeeper Greg Dyer, is expected to meet “a couple of CA board members” this month to discuss ways to avoid such a crisis ever occurring again.

“Now the Ashes is done, that conversation will now happen,” Nicholson told The Tonk.

“I think that the boards have to have some crossover, to at least try to understand some of the good and bad things that came out of it. There hasn’t been a lot of interaction on that with CA up until now.”

This week marks 100 days since the actual five-year memorandum of understanding was signed – there were weeks of to-and-fro following the heads of agreement deal that effectively ended the pay war – and the governing body and the players’ union have restored top-level contact beneath the board level.

“I can’t speak for him, but [CA chief] James [Sutherland] and I have a pretty good professional relationship,” Nicholson said. “And I’m dealing with [CA team performance boss] Pat Howard regularly on things. A couple of board members meeting in January from both sides of the board … I think that’s important.”

The ACA will later this month mark its 20th anniversary. Ashes pitches given thumbs up

There’s been much criticism of the pitches used for this summer’s Tests with many from both the Australian and England camps unhappy. But it seems the International Cricket Council does not share that view, with some of the ratings for this summer’s wickets likely to raise a few eyebrows.

While Australian captain Steve Smith described the Gabba deck as “reasonably disappointing”, the uncharacteristically slow pitch was given the highest possible rating of “very good” by match referee Richie Richardson. Not surprisingly, the Adelaide Oval was also given full points while Perth was judged to be “good”.

The MCG, as we all know, was slammed as “poor” while the SCG is set to be a tick with a grading of “good” or “very good” likely.

The ICC findings are at odds with the widespread view in the Australian game that the country’s pitches have become homogenised. Another son of a gun

Our loyal readers will be aware Usman Qadir, the son of Pakistan leg-spin great Abdul Qadir, has been turning heads in Sydney’s first-grade competition. Well, it seems word has spread well beyond the suburbs.

The 24-year-old leggie this week had a bowl in the nets with the Perth Scorchers. One spy tells us he gave Test opener Cameron Bancroft a bit of trouble. We also hear Perth and Western Australia coach and former Test great Justin Langer is very impressed. Again, watch this space.

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Man, 24, dies after snake bite in backyard

Tragic passing: The 24-year-old was rushed to Tamworth hospital on Wednesday night but died a short time later.A TAMWORTH man has died in hospital after being bitten by a what is believed to be a brown snake.
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The 24-year-old passed away in Tamworth hospital late on Wednesday night, despite the frantic efforts of emergency staff to save him.

It is understoodthe man was bitten by the snake in the backyard of a Cole Rd home in West Tamworth, shortly before 10pmas he tried to move the snake away from a family pet.

He was rushed to Tamworth hospital by family, but passed away within an hour of the bite.

The shock passingwill now be referred to the coroner, who will rule on the official cause of death.

On Thursday, Tamworth police were unable to comment on the matter but said a report was being prepared for the coroner.

A spokesperson for Hunter New England Health declined to comment on any admission and said it was a police matter.

The death of the man has shocked the local community, as well as friends and colleagues, and cameas the New England North West swelteredthrough another day of temperatures above 35 degrees.

WIRES volunteer Jacob McGoldrick, one of the group’s reptile handlers, said he was very saddened to hear of the young man’s death in Tamworth.

Deadly: The Easter brown snake. File photo

The local branch had had about 20 call-outs to snake sightings this warm season.

WIRES volunteer Jacob McGoldrickThe Leader.

Mr McGoldrick said Eastern brown snakes were the most frequently sighted, but red-bellied black snakes and yellow-faced whip snakes were also pretty common.

He said if someone came across a snake, they should stand still until it moves away, call WIRES on 1300 094 737 and, if possible, keep an eye on it.

WIRES volunteer Jacob McGoldrick

“Snakes aren’t out to get us, and the best thing people can do is educate themselves about snakes,”he said.

“They aren’t an aggressive animal, they’re just defensive.”

Mr McGoldrick said that, in the event of a bite, it was important to stay calm, use a compression bandage, stay still and call Triple-0.

It’s believed there havebeen fewer than 40 deaths from snake bitesin Australia since 2000, with the brown snake considered to be one of the deadliest in the country.

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Zullo rejects Asian offers to remain with Sydney FC

A better pay-day in Asia wasn’t enough to lure Michael Zullo away from Sydney FC after the defender rejected offers from abroad to sign a new contract with the Sky Blues.
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The lean back four of Sydney FC is one step closer to remaining together for next season after the Sky Blues retained the services of left back Zullo for an additional two seasons. The former Australian international was coming off contract at the end of the season but sealed his future with the club after signing a contract extension on Thursday afternoon that will keep him at Moore Park until May, 2020.

The 29-year-old has enjoyed a return to form and fitness since joining Sydney FC in 2016 and began attracting a flurry of offers from rival clubs and foreign teams to sign for next season on the back of his performances and success with the Sky Blues. Some clubs from South East Asia guaranteed him a higher salary than what he is on at Sydney FC while bigger teams in East Asia dangled the carrot of playing in higher-quality leagues. However, Zullo says he wasn’t prepared ot sacrifice his satisfaction, fitness and performances by moving from Sydney.

“I didn’t really want to get into looking at stuff in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, it’s not for me at this stage of my career. There were some interested opportunities in Japan and Korea but you have to take everything into account and Sydney was what was right for me,” Zullo said.

With player welfare in many Asian league’s not at the standard of Sydney FC who have the best injury record in the A-League, Zullo was hesitant to put himself at risk of poor physical management like that he experienced while in the Netherlands.

“I don’t begrudge someone who makes that decision because everyone is in a different situation and circumstance. My fitness is paramount, playing in a successful team and enjoying my football – they’re the three most important things for me,” he said. “It would have taken something really, really exceptional to draw me away from Sydney at this stage of my career. I still think we still have a lot more to achieve here. We have the A-League still to finish and the Champions League. If we are successful with our goals then we will be the most successful team in A-League history.”

While Sydney FC are Zullo’s fourth club in the A-League, it’s one where he’s felt a strong sense of obligation to remain at the Sky Blues. Rivals Western Sydney Wanderers were among those interested in signing Zullo as a free agent however he says he wasn’t interested in moving across town.

“Modern-day football, I think circumstances come up where you have to move around, that’s what happens. But when you come to a stage where you’re happy, you’re performing well, they’re treating you well and they’ve put faith in you, I think a time comes where you have to repay that faith,” Zullo said. “It’s not going to be life changing to move clubs in the A-League. If a club wants to keep you, you’ve been successful and they’ve done right by you, then you shouldn’t do the wrong thing by them.”

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold had no hesitations offering Zullo a renewed offer, making him the first player to renew their deal this season.

“Michael is one of the integral cogs in our defensive unit and it’s pleasing to have him on board for another two seasons,” Arnold said.”He’s a fantastic player to work with and his presence within the playing group only brings out positives.”

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Foreign buyers dropping out of property race, data shows

Soaring demand from foreign buyers of local property has dropped significantly in recent months as both Australian and Chinese policy-makers bear down on investor appetite.
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Foreign buyers will account for 18.1 per cent of residential sales in NSW in the three months to March 2018, down from 23.6 per cent in the same period a year ago, the latest ANZ and Property Council quarterly research found.

In Melbourne, foreign buyers are expected to cover 21 per cent of residential property purchases in the first quarter of 2018, compared with 25.2 per cent a year ago, according to the report. Queensland, meanwhile, saw a sharp fall to 13.8 per cent from 20.4 per cent in the same period last year.

Chinese buyers accounted for as much 87 per cent of foreign property investment in NSW between January and June 2017, according to Credit Suisse research, dwarfing activity from buyers originating from any other country.

“The share of property being sold to foreign buyers does look like it has dropped off, especially in the last couple of months,” ANZ senior economist Daniel Gradwell said.

“You can probably attribute that to the stamp duty surcharges across places like NSW and Victoria and additional tightening to regulation and the availability of funding.”

Recent policy changes in NSW now see foreign investors charged 8 per cent of the purchase price in stamp duty, double the previous level, among other changes, while Victoria has introduced a vacancy tax on empty properties.

Chinese policy-makers have also continued to tighten the rules on offshore investing, further dampening demand.

“It’s taken a while for the tighter capital controls in China to flow through but I think we’re starting to see the impact of that now and, combined with the domestic policies, it is starting to squeeze some of that demand out of the market,” Mr Gradwell said.

But experts say the drop in foreign purchases is coming off such a high base that there’s no immediate danger of a substantial shift in market dynamics.

“[Foreign buyers] are still sitting at around 20 per cent of new homes, so still a pretty significant player in the market,” Mr Gradwell added.

“It’s not like they’re falling off a cliff – there’s definitely still demand out there from foreign buyers and, equally, still demand to lend to them from within Australia.”

Weakening demand from Chinese investors is indeed slipping from all-time highs, according to international Chinese property platform Juwai, but the decline is to be expected.

“It seems that many observers think it’s either historic highs or historic lows, but in fact we believe it’s going to be somewhere in between,” senior spokesman Dave Platter told Domain.

“We’ve seen strong inquiries throughout the year ??? lower than 2016, but that’s to be expected because that was the highest year ever recorded – particularly the second half of the year.”

Other states also saw falling foreign demand in the residential space, but less severe in most cases than NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Foreign buyers accounted for 11.6 per cent of new homes in South Australia, down from 15.6 per cent in the March quarter of 2017, while Western Australia posted 9.1 per cent of purchases as being from foreign buyers, down from 11.4 per cent in the same period last year.

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