Monthly Archives: May 2019

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Proud history underpins firm’s future

BUILDING ON PROUD HISTORY: New Sparke Helmore Lawyers chairman Andrew White believes his firm is uniquely place to serve the needs of clients.ADVERTISING FEATURESparke Helmore Lawyers is a client-first firm with more than 750 people working from eight offices across , serving the needs of the insurance, government, financial services, technology, mining, construction and property sectors.
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Their expertise spans corporate and commercial to construction, workplace to insurance, IP to IPOs, mining to manufacturing, and property to procurement.

Sparke Helmore is one of the largest law firms in , and the longest-serving national commercial law firm in the Hunter, and is committed to putting clients at the centre of everything it does.

Founded in Newcastle in 1882, the firm has had a presence in the city for 136 years and currently employs 112 people in its two Hunter offices, at Newcastle and Muswellbrook.

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Sparke Helmore LawyersSparke Helmore lawyers and staff are part of the local community, contributing to community activities such as the Sparke Helmore Newcastle City Triathlon (since 1994, the triathlon has raised nearly $500,000 for local charities) and Hunter Live (launched in 2009 by Sparke Helmore to offer local business people, educators and government representatives an opportunity to come together and participate in a series of panel discussions and forum events).

Issues of interest to clients in the corporate and commercial area include:

Regional investmentThe City of Newcastle, guided by the 2036 Strategy,is undergoing a rebirth with substantial investment in the CBD and other locations.

Redevelopment of Newcastle Airport offers enormous opportunityto enhance tourism and business connectivity with the rest of .

The mining industry remains buoyant with the demand for energy from traditional markets continuing to grow and alternate energy projects emerging which promise to bring significant economic activity and jobs.

“Sparke Helmore is deeply embedded in local communities of the Hunter region and has a long history of successfully developing key projects andthe associated financing and structuring activities that go with it,” Sparke Helmore chairman Andrew White said.

“We have significant capacity in our Newcastle office, with six partners – Alan McKelvey, Darren Rankine, Martin Taylor and Paul Tobin (all Corporate and Commercial), Greg Guest (Insurance) and Catherine Wilkinson (Workplace) – and 112 employees – including highly regarded Property Special Counsel Helen Murray, Environment and Planning Special Counsel Naomi Simmons and Senior Associate Natalie Vardanega– who have access to the firm’s national network.”

Property and infrastructure developmentSparke Helmore has been heavily involved with the acquisition of land and the drawing up of contracts relating to developments during the revitalisation of NewcastleCBD.

Their deep knowledge and capability combinedwith an intimate awareness of the broad matrix of interests in the city means they’reable to anticipate what’s coming down the pipeline.

“Anyone looking to establish either a core component of their business, or a branch in theemerging Newcastle business landscapeneeds access to advice that is not just purely legal, but formed by an understanding of the local business, economic and planning environment,” Andrew said.

“In many cases there are complex arrangements involving title, planning and physical constraints, and that’s where Sparke Helmore comes into it’s own. We’ve been here for 136 years.”

Evolving industry focusNewcastle has evolved enormously over the last 30 years and so has Sparke Helmore. In the next 10 or 20 years, that rate of change will grow, asit will with all industries throughout the world.

“The core element of any business must be the agility, preparedness and enthusiasm for change and evolution,” Andrew said.

“Sparke Helmore is deeply embedded in the Hunter Region and deeply committed to its future.

“The firm is making significant investments in the Newcastle office and across the country in engineering new ways of providing solutions to clients.

“We are keen to hear from and engage with clients to understand their needs and devise solutions that increase efficiencies and effectiveness of the service we provide.”

Andrew White, chairmanAndrew White is the Chairman of Sparke Helmore, leads the Hunter Commercial Group and is the head of the firm’s national mining and resources group.

For more information about Sparke Helmore, visit www.sparke苏州夜总会招聘.au.

Labor says Keolis Downer contract encourages shorter bus routes in Newcastle

Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison has accused the state government of encouraging Keolis Downer to “chop up” Newcastle’s bus network by offering it per-passenger incentive payments.
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The company said in March that its passenger numbers were up 4.9 per cent in January, a year-on-year rise from304,330 to 319,360.

But Hunter Labor MPs have argued that thecompanyhas divided some direct routes into two and sometimes three separate services under a new network introduced in January.

“Is this an incentive to make the routes shorter, forcing commuters to changebuses, therefore increasing the patronage statistics and the patronage incentive payment?” Ms Harrison asked minister for transport Andrew Constance in parliament on Thursday.

“It is now becoming clear why the minister has been talking up additional services and increasedpatronage numbers – so he can reward Keolis Downer with a big, fat bonus which he signed off onin the contract.

“There is no question that the number of people using our buses needs to be increased. We allwant that.

“But this patronage incentive payment rewards the bus operator for chopping bus routesup into pieces.”

She said the incentive payment was “hidden” on page 239 of the government’s “heavily redacted”10-year contract with Keolis Downer.

Mr Constance responded by saying the government had given Keolis Downer an incentive to attract more people to public transport.

“We’ve seen, from January to January last year, an increase in patronage on Newcastle transport,” he said.

“So, absolutely, very happy to incentivise the private sector to operate the state’s bus network in the way that they do.”

The government and Keolis Downer have foreshadowed route changes in light of customer complaints and two public rallies since the new network began.

The new timetable will not be released until next month, butKeolis Downer said on Thursday that the changes would have a “minor” knock-on effect on other services.

“Bus network refinements will see minor adjustments to other timetables as we work to optimise resources and better meet customer demand,” a company spokesperson said.

Wallsend MP SoniaHornery feared the changes could lead to cuts in her electorate.

“From what I have been told by people working closely on the review, there are going to be cuts to services from Wallsend to Newcastle,” she said.

“I have also been advised that … all of the small changes that should be made to improve the service will be ignored.

“Residents in parts of Shortland will still not be able to get to their nearest major shopping centre at Jesmond without going to Wallsend and changing buses.

“I don’t want a complete reversion to the old routes and timetables.I am happy to admit there have been some improvements in services.”

Transport for NSW weighed into the debate on Thursday night, saying the number of passengers transferring from one bus to another had changed little since the new network began.

“Newcastle went more than 10 years without any changes to its bus network and passenger numbers sank to a point where only three per cent of the local population used public transport,” a spokesperson told the Herald.

“The transport network was overhauled this year, based on data and the feedback of passengers and drivers.

“The result is more than 1200 additional services, providing more options to get people where they want to go.

“The total number of people changing buses remains low, with an increase of just 2.5 per cent compared to the old network. Still less than one in five passengers changes bus services.

“We will not apologise for implementing a system that encourages the operator to meet the needs of more in the community and to improve its service.”

Newcastle Now asks Gladys Berejiklian, council for ‘meaningful’ light rail help

Newcastle Now wants an audience with premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday to try to secure more money for its light-rail relief plan.
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The business support group is working on a package to provide immediate financial relief to traders affected by tram-line construction in Hunter and Scott streets.

It has spoken to Newcastle City Council and the state government about backing the plan but hopes to press the point further when Ms Berejiklian visits the city on Friday to help officially open the University of Newcastle’s NewSpace building.

The premier said on a visit to Newcastle in December that the government was “considering” rental assistance for affected business, but nothing has materialised.

Three weeks ago the council proposedits own assistance plan, a 50 per centrebate on a special rate which CBD property owners pay to fund Newcastle Now, but this was dismissed as “tokenistic” by former Newcastle Now general manager Michael Neilson.

Mr Neilson’s replacement, Richard Christian, said the Newcastle Now package would provide “meaningful” relief, unlike the council’s plan.

“I wanted to make clear that what we’re tying to do here is provide a meaningful and targeted package, so we’re concerned with some of the proposals that have been put forward by council and such, that they’re not going to provide meaningful relief,” he said.

“The only thing that’s yet to be determined is how much money will be in the bucket.

“As soon as we have the amount finalisedwe will be able to start referring people to The Business Centre, where they will be assessed.

“They will get immediate help with their financial situations, and they will be assessed on how much money they need and how much will help them through, and that can be accessed straight away.”

The government has not said when Hunter and Scott streets will reopen but says testing on the track will begin late this year.

Mr Christian said he had requested a meeting with Ms Berejiklian via parliamentary secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald.

“We feel that the package we’ve got is going to deliver for businesses, so we want some air time with her to present what we feel is the right approach.”

Newcastle Now announced on Thursday the first stage of its relief plan, including free 12-hour consultations with business advisers and financial advice.

Brumbies warning over declining crowds

Crowds at Brumbies games must improve or the Super Rugby club warns it could fold.The Brumbies have warned members the Super Rugby club could fold if crowds continue to decline.
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It comes on the back of their second-lowest ever crowd when they held an n derby with Melbourne at GIO Stadium this month.

The Brumbies aim to almost triple that figure of 5283 for their next match against the Sunwolves on June 3.

But in an email sent to members, chief executive Michael Thomson and chairman Phil Thomson explained the dire predicament and pleaded for more support.

“We know you want rugby to thrive in this region and, in part, to achieve this, we need a successful side playing in front of big crowds,” the email reads.

“The funds attendance at games enables us to invest back into our programs … and without your support and those funds the Brumbies may no longer exist.”

After the nightmare attendance against the Rebels, the Brumbies have drawn on three Canberra charities to help lift numbers.

If the Brumbies reach their targeted crowd of 15,000, they will donate $5000 to each organisation.

It would easily top their biggest crowd for the year (13,515), which came against arch rivals the NSW Waratahs.

Michael Thomson said on Wednesday the declining figures could be put down to the team’s struggles on the field, troubles within Super Rugby and an ageing stadium in an inconvenient location.

He pointed to the history of sport in Canberra in hope of a quick turnaround.

“Scheduling is a challenge but if we play the right football, we play entertaining and continue to connect with our community we’re confident people will come,” Thomson said.

“If you look at the history of sporting teams in Canberra, sometimes they turn quickly and we’re confident if we continue to do the right things people will come back.”

Lib MP’s Vic parliament ‘pig’ jab to Green

A speech on diversity in politics in Victoria’s upper house has exploded into Liberal MP Inga Peulich calling Greens leader Samantha Ratnam a “pig”.
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Ms Ratnam had given a member’s statement on increasing gender and cultural diversity in parliaments and pointed to comments by federal Liberal Senator Jane Hume about women who miss out on work opportunities needing to “work harder”.

Her speech sparked a fiery debate, which Ms Ratnam interrupted with a point of order.

“Did you say ‘you’re a pig’ to me? I think I just heard her say that,” she said in the chamber, supported by other MPs.

Ms Peulich was not on her feet at the time of the comment and she could not be heard by the microphones, but she told President Bruce Atkinson “if whatever it was that I uttered was offensive to anyone, I apologise.”

Mr Atkinson told Ms Peulich such a comment was “totally unparliamentary, it is unnecessary” and “certainly doesn’t meet the level of respect that I would expect all members adhere to.”

Ms Ratnam told reporters the exchange was “the lowest form of attack.”

“They can’t defend the fact they have some of the lowest representation of women across parliaments in , I’m so proud to lead a team of eight MPs, seven of which are women,” she said outside parliament.

Ms Peulich said Ms Ratnam should have been attacking the Andrews government’s “poor record”, rather than Ms Hume.

“Ms Ratnam, who professes to be an advocate for more women in politics, used this as a cheap opportunity to launch a nasty and personal attack on Senator Jane Hume and all female Liberal MPs,” Ms Peulich said in a statement.

Inga Peulich.

“I was incensed at this blatant display of hypocrisy by Ms Ratnam and the Greens but did withdraw an intemperate remark I made and hope Ms Ratnam will also apologise for her offensive and misogynist comments.”

In her member’s statement, sent to AAP, Ms Ratnam said “it is clear that members of the Liberal Party have little if any understanding of the privilege and advantage that helped install them and their friends into their powerful positions.”

Ms Ratnam’s family fled from war in Sri Lanka in the 1980s.

When asked outside parliament about the matter, Premier Daniel Andrews said: “I have no comment to make about Ms Peulich and if you can’t say something good about someone, you should perhaps say nothing.”