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    Tony Abbott says childcare spending not dependent on cuts to family payment

    2018 - 09.22

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott says savings are needed for an expansion to childcare payments. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Prime Minister Tony Abbott says savings are needed for an expansion to childcare payments. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott says savings are needed for an expansion to childcare payments. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott says savings are needed for an expansion to childcare payments. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    Budget 2015: What’s in and what’s out

    The government could soften its position and embark on new spending on childcare without forcing the Senate to pass budget cuts to family payments left over from last year, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has signalled.

    Labor has again ruled out supporting cuts to family payments announced in last year’s budget that are blocked in the Senate.

    Spruiking his $3.5 billion new spending program for working parents who access childcare, Mr Abbott said there would need to be spending cuts to pay for the new program.

    “All new spending has to be offset,” the Prime Minister said on Monday.

    “Let’s talk about where those savings may be but savings there must be,” he said.

    The government has been urging Labor and non-government senators to pass last year’s budget cuts to pay for the new childcare package, which has gained some support within the Parliament.

    Previously the Coalition has said new spending on childcare is contingent on legislating the unpassed savings measures.

    Opposition families spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said on Monday the government should look at different ways of funding the extra spending on childcare.

    She also homed in on the government’s decision to cut paid parental leave for women already receiving employer-funded leave that exceeds the government’s 18-week scheme, which was introduced by Labor and is paid at the minimum wage.

    The government has labelled the “double-dipping” as a rort and will stop paying parental leave to new parents from July 2016, saving the budget $1 billion over four years.

    It means instead of expanding paid parental leave to full pay for six months as he promised as opposition leader, Tony Abbott will actually oversee cuts to parental leave for up to 80,000 women.

    Mr Abbott conceded his decision to abandon his $5 billion scheme was a “a bit of a wrench” for him personally but the government had to “prioritise” because of the debt and deficit.

    “What’s become very clear is that if we want to maximise our help for families and at the same time maximise our impact on the economy the best way to do that is through and improved childcare system,” he said.

    Treasurer Joe Hockey made the announcement on Sunday while the childcare package was left to Social Services Minister Scott Morrison and Mr Abbott to announce.

    Asked why Treasurer Joe Hockey has been effectively sidelined in the lead up to Tuesday’s budget, Mr Abbott said Mr Hockey would have his own announcements to reveal on Monday and predicted the Treasurer’s budget speech would be “really outstanding”.

    He also dismissed a report that Mr Morrison raised the idea of him being promoted to the treasurer role as a “complete invention”. Mr Morrison has described the report as “rubbish”.

    Earlier Mr Morrison attempted to compliment Mr Hockey by describing the Treasurer as the government’s Greg Bird. Bird is a talented rugby league player but better known for unsavoury behaviour.

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    Have your say on council boundaries

    2018 - 09.22

    REDLAND residents will be able to have their say on the city’s electoral boundaries when the state government starts taking submissions on Friday.

    The three-week submission period was instigated after Redland City Council informed Local Government Minister Jackie Trad boundary changes to the city’s 10 divisions would be necessary before the next council election in March 2016.

    In April, Local Government Minister Jackie Trad referred 15 councils, including Redland City, to the Local Government Change Commission for review.

    She asked the Change Commission to assess the city’s internal boundaries.

    A review done in 2014 found boundaries would need to change if each division were to have an equal number of voters by the 2016 election.

    It is expected by next year’s March election, the city’s population of 99,635 in February, will be more than 100,350, setting a divisional target of about 10,000.

    Division 5, which covers Redland Bay and the bay islands, already exceeds that figure and adjustments will be necessary. Division 6 will also exceed its quota by the election.

    The commission will complete its review in September, before it puts forward its proposals, calls for objections and produces a final report for the minister, which cannot be appealed.

    New boundaries will come into effect after the March 2016 council election.

    In February, Redland decided against applying for a voluntary change to boundaries or to change the number of divisions.

    Division 1 councillor Wendy Boglary urged residents to use the submission period to make their view count.

    WHAT DO YOU THINK? How should boundaries be realigned?

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    Power company given extension

    2018 - 09.22

    Tom Taranto films the council meeting A MOUNT Cotton electricity plant developer has until September 20, 2016 to start building its $20 million project which will be powered on chicken poo.

    The date was set when Redland City Council granted developer Cleveland Power an 18-month extension to its planning application at its meeting on Wednesday.

    The extension was the second granted to the Mount Cotton company, affiliated to chicken farmer Golden Cockerel.

    Five councillors voted against the extension, including Division 6 Cr Julie Talty, who stood down from the company’s community liaison team on Monday.

    Cleveland Power said it needed the extension because it had failed to get adequate financial backing for its $20 million project.

    Cleveland Power’s David Bray was at the council meeting but was unavailable for comment.

    Officers recommended approving the extension and discussion centred on section 388 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, which governs extension requests.

    Chief executive officer Bill Lyon said case law dictated the council’s decision and there were no grounds for refusal. He said an extension ruled out further community consultation and another expensive court case.

    Officers told the meeting the community had been kept informed about the project, despite protests from those in the gallery and Division 7 councillor Murray Elliott.

    The meeting also said the State Assessment and Referral Agency had not objected to the second extension request.

    Council lawyer Andrew Ross told the meeting it would be financially risky to refuse the application after the council spent $350,000 defending 2007 and 2011 decisions and said the community was well aware of the project.

    Councillor Craig Ogilvie disagreed with the officer recommendation and said the power plant was a heavy industry inconsistent with the rural zoning of Mount Cotton and the Planning Scheme.

    He said he believed there had been significant changes to the proposal and to Mount Cotton where there were an extra 400 homes built since 2007.

    Division 10 councillor Paul Bishop and Division 1 councillor Wendy Boglary asked if the public had been told of the extension.

    The decision was made after pleas to refuse the extension from Redland Bay resident Juanita Grosvenor, Birkdale resident Genevieve Gall and former councillor Toni Bowler.

    Lawyer for Cleveland Power Michael Connor also addressed the council and said a court had already overturned a council refusal to extend the application in 2013.

    He said if the matter returned to court, a judge would make any ruling for costs based on the officer recommendation to allow the extension.

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    Dungog couple downplays their flood generosity

    2018 - 09.22

    Beth Elford with Anne and Rod Barnes at the Tall Timbers Motel in DungogRod and Anne Barnes who own the Tall Timbers Motel said the part they played in housing people following the April 21 floods was “nothing special”.

    The couple was at their Bandon Grove farm and said it “blew a gale” the night before.

    “Rod got a call around 5.30am from Trent Lean who rang to say there was a tree across the road and he couldn’t get out,” Anne said.

    “So he went to cut that up and I was just looking at facebook and starting seeing pictures of the floods.

    “Then I started to panic as we own a house next to Reliance Motors which is rented out and I was worried about Rhonda [the tenant].

    “I left to come into town but the approaches to two bridges were washed away and I had to walk a plank to get over them.

    “Meanwhile Rod drove up over Skimmings Gap Road and got into town that way.”

    As people were evacuated from their houses they needed hot showers and dry clothes.

    The couple opened up their motel for anyone who needed a place to stay and eventually had a full house.

    Anne was also stranded in town for four nights, unable to get home.

    “There are so many people left without homes to go back to,” Anne said.

    “I had people living in the residence at the motel and also people sleeping in beds in our lounge room.

    “Listening to people’s stories and how they got out or what they went through is absolutely heartbreaking.

    “They are just amazing.”

    One of those who not only managed to save herself and the lives of three others is Beth Elford who now calls the motel home.

    The Alison Court resident had only moved into her unit four days earlier and still hadn’t met all of her neighbours.

    “I heard the rain all night and got up the next morning and went to the front door and saw all this water.

    “I then saw Mr and Mrs Berry walking up from their unit holding dry clothes above their heads.

    “I could then hear someone calling out and it was Betty Kelehear down at her unit in water up to her chest.

    “She was trapped behind the screen door. I had never seen so much water like this before and I was really disorientated as this was a new area for me.

    “I got her out and took her up to my unit so she could dry off and then went back to help Daphne Oades and another person who have walkers to get around.

    “As the water started coming into my unit, I helped them up to Joan Ford’s unit and Trevor Richardson was taking people into his place, providing a hot shower and getting them dry clothes.

    “But I was so scared as there was no-one around to help.

    “We were on our own and I just didn’t know how far the water would keep coming up.

    “It was a real sense of helplessness.”

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    Linens to live and love by

    2018 - 09.22

    Linens to live and love by MADE UP: Royal Doulton’s Fable Navy gives a nod to folk art motifs in a fresh mix of crisp white, navy and red.Archer sheet set, a striking version of the classic herringbone;

    MADE UP: Jimmy Possum sets the scene with rich velvets, leather and knit throws.

    MADE UP: Charcoal features in Royal Doulton’s new collection.

    MADE UP: Jimmy Possum sets the scene with rich velvets in block colours and florals.

    MADE UP: Crisp white is edged in red for Royal Doulton.

    MADE UP: Sheridan maintains a classic appeal with neutrals for its Parish Collection.

    MADE UP: White, navy and charcoal are classic choices for Royal Doulton.

    MADE UP: Stripes add a splash of colour against classic white for Royal Doulton.

    TweetFacebook Linens to loveThe beauty of seasons is the changing light. While I like longer days to spend more time outside, the autumn-winter skies bring more subtle lighting that allows the colour and texture of nature to take centre stage.

    And the same can be said for interiors. The sun is lower and, when out, casts a longer shadow into the home. To help keep a little summery cheer inside during winter, I always like to change the cushions and throws on the couch. It’s a delicate balance of embracing the warmth of winter without appearing dreary. Think textures and layers that can be rotated for a fresh look on a regular basis.

    Winter is also a good time to choose new bed linen. The summer doona has long been laundered and packed away with a plump winter version in its place.

    If living in a cooler climate the flannel sheets may also have had a freshen up with a wash before coveting the bed. If the warmth of flannels is too much for you, then maybe it’s time for some new sheets. Store shelves are stocked with new designs and colours. However, for a classic look you cannot go past crisp white – with trims in charcoal or warm reds for this winter.

    Sheridan has stayed with neutrals for an understated bedroom with the Parish Collection, with block colours in some collections.

    Royal Doulton says its new collection of six distinct designs is a nod to London chic. Again, the overall colour palette is a mix of white, navy and charcoal with highlights of red, pewter and pops of primaries.

    Rich, luxurious fabrics are a staple at Jimmy Possum, with plush cushions and throws designed to mix and match with bedhead and couch upholstery. The bespoke cushions are made from different fabrics in silk and velvet for an individual look that can be layered for a stunningtextural finish.

    Team bed linens with chunky knit throws in navy or brushed velvet with vibrant cushions for a rich and layered look.

    For the living room, drape a few throws across the arms of chairs or the back of the couch to encourage a spot of winter cocooning.