A-League: Newcastle Jets winger out to strike against Wellington Phoenixvideo

FLYING: Andrew Nabbout has set the bar high this season. The Jets take on Wellington in a trial match at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Saturday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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ANDREW Nabbout knows too well to take nothing for granted.Not his positionin the Jets starting line-up,even his place in the A-League.

It is what has been driving the 24-year-old throughout the pre-season.

Nabbout, forced to reinvent his game during a stintinMalaysia before handed a lifeline by the Jets last season, is coming off a break-out campaign.

The power-packed winger scored a club-high eight goals last season to go with six assists. It was an output that had the former Melbourne Victory flyer in early contention for player-of-the-year honours.

His season –and the Jets –plateaued in the final third of the year.

With a new-look roster, boosted by the arrival of Dimi Petratos and Roy O’Donovan, Nabbout has set the bar higher for himself and the club.

Ready for takeoff. @NewcastleJetsFC prepare for friendly against Wellington at Jack McLaughan oval Saturday. @[email protected]苏州夜网/la5ZDOGgh8

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) September 15, 2017

“My aim last year was to hit double figures in assists and goals,” Nabbout said. “I ended up with six assists and eightgoals. I have to up that this year.Players are never really safe in the A-League. You have to keep improving every year.The coaches have been identifying how I can score more goals. For me, I have to get in the box more. Last year I did’t do it enough. I was trying to create a lot of things myself but when the other boys created I wasn’t there to cash in at times.This year it is about me getting in the box, finishing off and trusting those players around me.”

The Jets take on Wellington Phoenix at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Saturday, from 3pm, in their last hit out against A-League opposition before the season opener against Central Coast on October 7.

“It is important that we keep scoring goals,” Nabbout said. “We have been doing well against A-League opposition. We did it against Melbourne City (3-1) and Sydney (2-1), who both fielded fairly strong sides.Hopefully Wellington field a near full-strength side and we take it to them again.I know if I make the runs someone will find me. We have Dimi, and Roy and Browny andthe two midfielders, I trust in them and am getting in the box a lot more.”

Daniel Georgievski has a tighthamstring and along with Steve Ugarkovic, who has stitches in a cut on his leg, will sit out the clash, creating an opportunity for Jason Hoffman and Nick Cowburn. Jack Duncan starts in goals after missing the Sydney win with a groin niggle.

Wellington,who went down 1-0 to the Mariners on Tuesday,have been in camp at Cypress Lakes Resort.

“Wellington have pretty-much revamped the whole squad,” Nabbout said. “They have brought ina few decent players in Dario Vidosic, Dan Mullen and a few foreigners. Again it is A-League opposition. It gives us a chance to see what they are like and a chance to stamp our authority against them.”

Jets (likely): Jack Duncan; Jason Hoffman, Nigel Boogaard, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Ivan Vujica; Ben Kantarovski, Nick Cowburn; Dimi Petratos, Wayne Brown, Andrew Nabbout; Roy O’Donovan

It’s not just CBA: all the banks are exposed to millions in money laundering

Crime groups are washing millions a day of dirty money through ‘s big banks. Photo: Tanya LakeGaping holes in the anti-money laundering systems of ‘s big banks are being exploited by crime groups to wash up to $5 million in drug cash a day, according to confidential briefings by federal and state policing agencies.
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New details of police investigations reveal that the big four banks – Westpac, ANZ, NAB and CBA – have all been used by money laundering syndicates to launder drug funds offshore.

Syndicates are also suspected to have infiltrated the franchises of mid-tier banks. Police have gathered intelligence that an outlaw bikie group is examining acquiringthe franchise of a mid-tierbank,while the Bank of Queensland’s Punchbowl branch in Sydney was closed after Mexican cartel drug money washed funds through its accounts in 2010.

An n Crime Commission “High Risk Funds” investigation, which was examining the movement of illicit cash to the former Yugoslavia in 2012, identified a Bendigo Bank franchise that seemed to be involved.

Anti-money laundering agency Austrac’s decision last month to launch legal action against the Commonwealth Bank lifted the lid on that bank’s alleged lack of oversight of massive money flows.

But the latest revelations underscore what is an open secret in the law enforcement and banking communities:weak laws and questionable banking practices have enabled crime figures to open individual or company accounts or deposit funds with minimal or false identification, and quietly move millions of dollars.

Ticking the boxesGovernment officials said the public would be shocked to know the amount of drug money that was laundered on a daily basis, andthe ease with which it finds its way out of .

The formerNational Coordinatorof theCommonwealth Asset Confiscation Taskforce, Nick McTaggart, who recently worked for Austrac as a senior adviser, said the failure of major banks and other financial institutions to carry out basic due diligence likely placed them in breach of “know your customer”requirements.

Exacerbating the problem is the failure of financial institutionsto share information with each other, or to access information from the federal government or police, including biometric, intelligence or tax data.

“Most financial institutions are just ticking the compliance boxes rather than doingthe necessarydue diligence,” Mr McTaggart said.

“Technologies such aselectronic funds transfercapability also presenthuge problems.Any criminalcan get a company created today and bounce all the money into one account and then send it offshore and walk away from the company. No one will ask questions of the company for months.”

He welcomed the Turnbull government’sproposedtoughening of company director identification laws and whistleblower provisions, but added: “The governmentcan do more to assist”.

Anti-money laundering expert John Chevis. Photo: Supplied

Anti-money laundering expert John Chevis, who advises the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, said one key anti-money laundering provision had backfired.

Laws prohibit the banks from telling customers they have been reported to Austrac. The provision is ostensibly designed to avoid tipping them off in the unlikely event police or Austrac launch an inquiry.

What it meant, though, was that some banks continue to receive and shift drug funds despite making multiple Austrac reports about the launderers’activity.

“This has turned an anti-money laundering law into a ‘money laundering’ law. There is at least one instance of the absurd situation of a single money launderer being reported over 100 times by a single bank for making 100 suspicious deposits,” Mr Chevissaid.

$29m throughWestpac, CBAIn a Perth court in April this year, a fresh faced 30 year old from Hong Kong, Ka Sing Lai, was jailed for 10years for using Westpac and Commonwealth Bank accounts to launder at least $29 million in drug funds out of .

Lai’s operation was as simple as it was effective: he ferried money-runners to up to 10 Perth Westpac and CBA branches a day, depositing up to $500,000 into accounts opened by n front companies createdby other Hong Kong nationals.

Lai made 163 bank transactions before he was arrested in late 2015. Eight months later, in August 2016, evidence emerged suggesting he was back in business.

A second Hong Kong national, Chi Ming To, who police first identified as a driver for Lai, was pulled over in NSW. When police searched his car, they found $550,000 cash in the boot.

Despite being touted publicly by Justice Minister Michael Keenan as a major blow to organised crime, the arrest of Lai is privately described by senior police as a pyrrhic win in a fight in which they have been overwhelmed by money launderers easy ability toevade banking controls.

Peter Li deposited suspected drug money into ANZ branches around . Photo: James Alcock

On bail, back to the banksThere’s a familiar pattern to these events. On 18 November 2013, Hong Kong resident Peter Li flew into Sydney. He was granted a tourist visa and headed straight to The Star casino. In a bathroom, he was handed a yellow shopping bag police suspect was filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug money.

Just over 24 hours later, Li entered the ANZ’s Sydney CBD branch on York Street and opened two accounts. He listedthe casino as his place of residence.

Then hehanded over $50,000 in cash, asking for $1000 to be placed into one account and the remaining $49,000 into the second. Two days later, he shifted $20,000 from his second ANZ account into the first, into which he deposited a further $50,000 in cash.

He then flew to Perth and entered an ANZ branch, directing a teller to make two transfers of $35,000 from his ANZ accounts to two separate Honk Kong Bank accounts. Federal agents reconstructed these events after Customs officers found Li carrying $147,000 in cash when he attempted to leave five days after he had arrived in Sydney.

Li was charged with money laundering offences and released on bail on December 4, subject to a condition that he deposit no more than $2000 into any n bank account.

Happy Valentine’s DayTen weeks later, on February 14, 2014, Li walked into an ANZ branch in Sydney’s CBD carrying a bag stuffed with suspected drug funds.

Over the next four hours, he made 10 deposits at various ANZ branches within a few kilometres of each other. After running out of CBD ANZ bank branches, Li changed his clothes and returned to the first branch he had visited. There, he made an eleventh deposit of $9500, just under the $10,000 amount that triggers a mandatory suspicious deposit notification to Austrac.

Li’s eleven deposits of $9500 were made into the same ANZ accountusinga series of false names and phone numbers. On the same day, Li repeated this exercise at six NAB branches, depositing between $9000 and $9500 each time he entered the bank.

Under the current legislative regime, the banks have no clear obligation to demand verified identification, nor toquiz Li about his activities, nor talk to other banks about Li’s conduct. The law prohibits banking staff from telling Li they considered his conduct suspicious enough to report to Austrac.

So Li kept at it. A few days later, Li chose NAB and CBA branches to deposit multiple cash amounts under $10,000. After attempting to make his eleventh cash deposit into the same CBA account, a teller asked Li for his name. He refused to answer andthe teller called the NSW police.

By the time of his arrest a few minutes later, Li had deposited $289,000 in drug funds. It had taken him just over 10 hours over two days.

Chinese national Jun Yu Huang was an old hand at exploiting the banking system. In the 2000s, he had endured multiple stints in prison, including for setting up bank accounts with false IDs to commit fraud.

Police documents reveal that for five months in early 2013, Huang paid a Chinese woman to ferry large amounts of cash in green Woolworths’ bags to “various banks” in Sydney’s CBD. Huang then took over, using false IDs to set up accounts at money remitting businesses which specialise in moving funds offshore.

Huang used the NAB, Westpac, and CBA accounts of these remitters to deposit and move suspected drug cash to Asia. Over six weeks, Huang moved $3.2 million out of , the bulk of which was moved through Westpac accounts.

McTaggart says if banks had conducted proper due diligence by demanding and verifying Huang’s true identity and quizzing him about the source and purpose of the funds, it may have deterred him. Since Huang’s arrest, the major banks have stopped allowing money remitters to use the banks’ accounts to move funds offshore. But the banks still move funds themselves and are vulnerable to fake IDs and so called “cleanskins.”

Then there isthe case of 21 year-old Vietnamese national, Ahn Cat Chu.

Chu had been in for just sevenweeks on a student visa. When she was searched by police, they found 23 blue slips of paper revealing she had deposited $204,005 in just three hours at Westpac, ANZ, and CBA branches near Sydney’s Chinatown. She had entered the banks multiple times in a highly suspicious fashion, depositing amounts under $10,000.

When police seized her mobile phone, they discovered a cell phone in Vietnam had been texting her instructions.

Banks respondLaw enforcement sources said that while all banks could do far more to prevent money laundering, the CBA was targeted by Austrac because its complacency and failure to address problems with its automatic cash deposit system was egregious.

In response to questions from Fairfax Media, NAB’s chief risk officer David Gall said that despite extensive efforts to prevent money laundering, “people with bad intentions will always try to commit crime”.

“That’s why as a bank and an industry we have to always be vigilant and work with regulators, government and police to find new and smarter ways to prevent financial crime.”

A spokesman for Westpac said the bank was investing heavily in “verifying the identity of our customers (for example, in the case of online banking, through the use of external data verification), monitoring the activities of those customers over time, reporting any suspicious matters detected to AUSTRAC, and terminating customer relationships where appropriate”.

The Bendigo Bank said that the franchise which sent funds to the former Yugoslavia had been “appropriately monitored and any matters requiring reporting under legislation were submitted”. The Bank of Queensland declined to comment on the allegation involving its now defunct Punchbowl branch.

ANZ said its anti-money laundering controls were effective.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the government had rigorous anti-money laundering measures in place and was continually working with the banking industry to strengthen them.

Scott Alex Clough pleads guilty to Islington axe attack

Man guilty of Islington axe attack | PHOTOS AFTERMATH: Justin Hall was attacked with an axe at Islington. He was hit in the arm and face and narrowly avoided being killed. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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POLICE: Justin Hall was attacked with an axe at Islington. He was hit in the arm and face and narrowly avoided being killed. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

POLICE: Damage to the vehicle of Justin Hall who was attacked with an axe at Islington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

POLICE: Damage to the vehicle of Justin Hall who was attacked with an axe at Islington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

AFTERMATH: Justin Hall was attacked with an axe at Islington. He was hit in the arm and face and narrowly avoided being killed. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

POLICE: Damage to the vehicle of Justin Hall who was attacked with an axe at Islington. The weapon pierced the glass, but it did not shatter. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

AXE: The view from Justin’s seat where he was sitting when the attack happened. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

POLICE: Damage to the vehicle of Justin Hall who was attacked with an axe at Islington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

POLICE: Damage to the vehicle of Justin Hall who was attacked with an axe at Islington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

POLICE: Damage to the vehicle of Justin Hall who was attacked with an axe at Islington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

POLICE: Damage to the vehicle of Justin Hall who was attacked with an axe at Islington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

POLICE: Damage to the vehicle of Justin Hall who was attacked with an axe at Islington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

POLICE: Damage to the vehicle of Justin Hall who was attacked with an axe at Islington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

POLICE: Damage to the vehicle of Justin Hall who was attacked with an axe at Islington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebook Scott Alex Clough has pleaded guilty to attacking a car with an axe at Islington. Pictures: Max Mason-HubersA MAN who smashed up a car with an axe and struck the driver in the face with the handle over a minor parking dispute at Islington told police he“just snapped” when the driver didn’t move his car immediately.

Scott Alex Clough, 44, of Werris Creek, represented himself in Newcastle Local Court on Thursday where he pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, armed with intent to commit an indictable offence, destroy or damage property and intimidation.

It was a misunderstanding, a minor disagreement between two strangers that could have been easily settled without resorting to violence.

Instead, Clough launched a“completely unprovoked attack” that left the victim, Justin Hall, scared for his life, according to a statement of police facts tendered in court on Thursday.

Clough was in a white utility, affixed with CLOUGHY number plates, outside the Gateway Hotel in George Street about 4.45pm on August 17 when Mr Hall came outside and got into his Toyota Camry, which was parked in front of Clough’s ute.

Mr Hall unlocked his car, which he told police alwaystriggers a beep, with that sound promptingClough to beep back and yell at Mr Hall.

But Mr Hall wasn’t intending to leave right away and was waiting to charge his phone, police facts state.

Clough attempted to drive off but thought he was boxed in.

He then threw a half eaten devon roll at Mr Hall’s car and got out of his vehicle, telling Mr Hall:“Can you drive off so I can get my car out.“You are going to make me miss these lights”.

Mr Hall told him he would be“gone in a second”.

But then Clough got into his car,drove up alongside Mr Hall’s Camry, got out and retrieved an axe from the tray of his ute.

He used the axe to smash Mr Hall’s driver’s side window, looked inside and abused Mr Hall,before swinging the axe at the front windscreen, the blade penetrating the glass.

Clough then leaned inside the vehicle and hit Mr Hall in the nose with the end of the handle, terrifying Mr Hall who screamed out for help because he thought Clough was going to kill him.

Clough then stood up and swung the axe at the roof the Camry, causing a large gash before he got in his car and drove off.

Mr Hall was taken to hospital and police arrested Clough in his car at about 9.20pm that night.

He admitted to damaging the car and assaulting Mr Hall and said he“just snapped” during the minor dispute, tellingpolice he was embarrassed and remorseful.

Clough will be sentenced in Tamworth Local Court on October 30.

POLICE: Damage to the vehicle of Justin Hall who was attacked with an axe at Islington. The weapon pierced the glass, but it did not shatter. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Short Takes September 15 2017

The Newcastle East Residents Group business research showed only 13 out of the 111 small businesses researched would benefit from the Supercars event. A pretty biased type of research if I do say so myself. How about an independent report or are they afraid that the truth will come out and many more will benefit?
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Mark Creek,AdamstownPETER Dolan (Letters 14/9) claims only 123 out of 1763 wars of history were due to religious cause. So religion is a lesser evil, but an evil nevertheless!I’m being facetious of course, but let’s consider World War I, the causes ofwhich have been written about at great length. It was not a religious warbut its religious combatants, from the common soldier to the King Emperor, never allowed religious reasons to prevent or end it. Tell me Peter, how many of those 1763 wars did religion fail to prevent?

Luke Taper,GeorgetownWITH Hunter Street now partially closed, nobody should be surprised at the gridlock now occurring. Perhaps some forward planning would have been appropriate. A park and ride option would reduce the number of cars entering the CBD. It isn’t too late to consider this option. Motorists could park at McDonald Jones Stadium,District Park and Newcastle Showground and a shuttle bus bring them into and take them out of the CBD.

Nigel Dale,AdamstownA NATION of the Hindu religion wants a lamb ad withdrawn (“Indian government complains about n lamb ad”, theherald苏州夜网.au 11/9). was once renowned for its laidback easygoing ways and dry and satirical sense of humour with the ability to laugh at ourselves, but it appears now that we no longer can have our own identity without first ensuring that we aren’t stepping on any religious toes from a far-off country.

Allan Earl,ThorntonWITH these electricity companies offering discounts to their customers, some as much as 25 per cent, it shows me how much they are over-charging in the first place. But here is the rub:they give you two weeks to pay, and if you don’t pay inside that two weeks you lose your discount. Why don’t they give the customers extra time to pay so they can keep their discount?

Andy McFadden,Warners BayIN reply to a comment from former Catholic priestProfessor Des Cahill: the Catholic Church is a powerful institution, but as a moral leader it is sadly diminished. Absolutely correct.

David Davies,Blackalls ParkTO John Keen, there’s always a winner and a loser in rugby league. Unfortunately the few spectators that happen to watch a game are the losers, the hierarchy running the NRL couldn’t run a pub chook raffle. They have crucified what was once a great game to watch.

Brad Hill,SingletonTHE POLLSCAN wind and solar power replace Liddell power station in 2022?

Yes, 70.7%, No, 28%, Other, 1.3%

Ballarat church cancels couple’s wedding after Facebook post supporting same-sex marriage

Minister Steven North and Ebenezer St John’s in Ballarat.A Ballarat church refused to marry a young couple and cancelled their wedding plans because the bride-to-be expressed support for same-sex marriage on Facebook.
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The 26-year-old bride and 25-year-old groom were to be married in November at their Presbyterian church, Ebenezer St John’s in Ballarat, by minister Steven North.

In early August, when the Turnbull governmentannounced the postal survey on same-sex marriage, the bride posted a Facebook status declaring her support for change.

“I know it’s something not everyone will agree on and that’s fine but this is what I stand for and frankly it doesn’t effect [sic] my relationship with [my partner]one bit,” she commented.

Days later, the couple were summoned to Mr North’s office and were told he would no longer marry them, nor would they be allowed to hold their ceremony at the church.

In a letter to the bride, provided to Fairfax Media, Mr North said the views expressed in the Facebook post had “practical consequences” for the wedding.

“After the pre-marital counselling that you attended and the sermons delivered at Ebenezer on this subject, you must surely appreciate that your commitment to same-sex marriage opposes the teaching of Christ Jesus and the scriptural position practicedby the Presbyterian Church of and by me,” he wrote.

“This conflict of views has practical consequences in relation to your upcoming wedding.

“By continuing to officiate it would appear either that I support your views on same-sex marriage or that I am uncaring about this matter. As you know, neither statement is correct.

“Also, if the wedding proceeded in the Ebenezer St John’s church buildings, the same inferences could be drawn about the Presbyterian denomination. Such inferences would be wrong.”

A sign out the front of the church that reads “all welcome”.

Fairfax Media has spoken to the couple but has agreed not to name them, in line with their wishes.

The couple did not seek media attention about the case – Fairfax Media was informed by a friend of the family.

Ebenezer St John’sdid not return multiple calls.

John Wilson, clerk of assembly at the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, said decisions about officiating marriages were at the discretion of individualministers.

He did not wish to comment further.

But Presbyterian ministers and churchgoers are under clear directions to oppose same-sex marriage.

Minister Steven North inside the church.

Mr Wilson, who is also moderator-general of the Presbyterian Church of , published a blog post committing the church to the “no” case and calling on attendees to campaign actively.

“There are many powerful voices clamouring to tear down what God declares to be holy. The church must not be silent on this,” Mr Wilson wrote.

However, other church sourcessuggested the Ballarat experience was uncommon.

Darren Middleton, convenor of the Church and Nation committee and a Geelong minister, said it was the first such case he had encountered.

“This is a decision for individual ministers to make. My guess is most probably would have let the wedding go ahead,” he told Fairfax Media.

“It’s not normally a requirement to get married that you subscribe to particular views.I would want totalk to them about their views … but that wouldn’t be a bar to them getting married. That’s a separate issue in my mind.”

The Ballaratcouple had already sent wedding invitations to friends and family, but were able to find an alternative, secular venue for their November wedding.

The ceremony will be officiated by a retired minister.

In an emotive written response to Mr North,the couple said they would no longer attend Ebenezer St John’s church as a result of the minister’s decision.

“We feel this decision is absolutely disgraceful and is a disgrace to you and all the church, especially when we have been loyal and valued members of this congregation for 10 years,” they wrote.

“You were made aware from the beginning of our proceedings that we had gay friends and also that people in our wedding party were gay. How could you assume that we would abandon them or degrade them with regards to same-sex marriage?

“We understand we did agree with the teachings of the church in our marriage counselling but just because we agree with that for our own lives, doesn’t mean that we have to push those beliefs onto others.”

The church’s decision had caused “a great deal of stress and upset” to both families, the couple wrote.

The Age

$72,000 worth of missing invoices in confidential audit of Awabakal finances by PKF

PUZZLED: Former Awabakal board members Debbie Dates and Richard Green say they had not been made aware of any missing invoices and all transactions were “accountable for”. INVOICES fortransactions worth more than $70,000 have vanished, according to an audit of financial statements for theAwabakal Local AboriginalLand Council.
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The confidential audit by PKF –seen by theNewcastle Herald–also raisesconcerns about “inconclusive audit evidence” and “material inconsistencies” in the land council’s finances that “remained unresolved”.

As a result, the accounting firmwas unable to fulfillits obligation to form an opinion on the land council’s finances.

It has also referred the financial statements to the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC).

The audit was for the 2015/16 financial year, a period before Terry Lawler was installed as administrator and Rob Russell was appointed the land council’s chief executive.

The state government placed the land council into administration last October, after an investigation found it was responsible for”substantial breaches” of the Land Rights Act.

When contacted, Mr Russell strongly objected to the publication of the contents of the audit, saying it was a matter for Awabakal members only. He refused to offer any further comment.

As part of the audit, invoices worth $73,255 were selected for review, but according to PKF, were unable to be provided.

“Therefore, we were unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to support the validity of these transactions,” the report stated.

“Furthermore, there may be other payments that were not selected for testing where supporting evidence may not be found.”

The audit is understood to have been presented to a meeting of Awabakal members but former chair of the board, Debbie Dates, and deputy chair, Richard Green, both said they had not been informed of any missing invoices.

“Everything is accountable for, all the invoices are in the office,” Ms Dates said. “If they’re standing up and saying this and that, show us the proof.”

It’s understood a meeting of Awabakal members had to be abandoned last month, after it descended into chaos.

“I got up asking a question and the meeting was shut down,” Ms Dates said.

“ICAC was on the agenda and the post office. We were asking questions and it was shut down. If anyone is going to ICAC, why don’t they tell them?”

When contacted by theHerald, Mr Green said it was the first he had heard of the missing invoices.

“They’ve spent $300,000 of Aboriginal land council money doing the investigation [into the land council] and nothing has come out of it,” he said.

“The state land councils and the ministers, they have sent a lot of these investigators into these land councils. Instead of helping them, they do investigations into them so they can make money out of the Aboriginal people and take their funding. It’s been happening for 40 years.”

The document shows the land council made a loss of $930,474 in 2015/16, coming off the back of a $1.5m profit in the financial year prior.

The bumper result in 2014/15 was largely due to successful land claims, valued at $1.28 million, and profit on the sale of property, plant and equipment.

The land council paid $137,539 for repairs and maintenance in 2015/16, more than double what it had paid the year beforehand ($61,639). The land council’s cash reserves at the bank fell from just over $1 million to $461,921.

The audit indicated there were still 218 undecided land claims across the city. “If granted, this will significantly increase Awabakal LALC net worth,” it said.

However Lands Minister Paul Toole would not confirm the status of land claims known to have been lodged at King Edward Park, the entrance to Newcastle Harbour and James Fletcher Park.

“A comprehensive and exhaustive investigation on every claim is required. These claims that you asked about are progressing and are at various stages of investigation,” a spokesperson for Mr Toole said.

A number of Awabakal properties –including the former post office and land at Warners Bay and Waratah’s Braye Park – have become embroiled in lawsuits launched against the land council by developers. Court orders exist preventing the sale of the land.

Cameron Handicap: Got Unders delivers fairytale win for rookie Newcastle trainervideo, photos

Rookie Newcastle trainer Jay Hopkins made a direct hit with his second shot when veteran Got Unders claimed a breakthrough group race victory in the Cameron Handicap (1500m) on Friday.
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PLEASANT SURPRISE: Newcastle owner-trainer Jay Hopkins, right, receives the Cameron Handicap silverware from NJC director Mike Hadaway after Got Unders’ victory on Friday. Pictures: Jonathan Carroll

Got Unders was a surprise second to Happy Clapper in the group 3 Newcastle Newmarket in March this year for Hopkins, who has only six horses in work and has been training for abouta year.

Despite a poor last-start performancewhen 13th at Rosehill on Saturday, the eight-year-old geldingwas entered for the group 3 $150,000 Cameron in what Hopkins said was “a throw at the stumps” on his home track.

Given a saloon passage by jockey Tim Clark into the race behind the Kris Lees-trained topweightSound Proposition, the $26 chance wore downthe New Zealand group 1 winnerto get the nodon the post.

It was Hopkins’ first group race win, at his second attempt, and the $84,000 prize was easily his biggest so far.

The Jay Hopkins-trained Got Unders causes an upset in the G3 Cameron Handicap at #Newcastle, nosing pout Sound Proposition. pic.twitter苏州夜网/qGXoCHYztg

— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) September 15, 2017What a thrill for local trainer Jay Hopkins, winning the G3 Cameron Handicap with Got Unders. Congratulations! 👏 pic.twitter苏州夜网/2gOJUod8N6

— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) September 15, 2017

“I was probably going out to the bush somewhere.”

Hopkins’ family made the trip from Coffs Harbour to watch their horse run in the Newmarket but were not at the track on Friday.

“A few of them are sick. Mum and Dad have the flu, so thatshould cheer them up,” he said.

“I said,‘It will do something today because there’s no one here’.

“They are all in it.They’d had a few horsesbefore but they were all no good until this one.”

The seventh win in 52 starts took Got Unders’ prizemoney past $400,000.

Lees was pleased with the effort of Sound Proposition, which started as the $3.70 second favourite and workedfour wide early to sit outside pacesetter Special Missile ($2.70).

Carrying 59 kilograms, Sound Proposition gave away 5kg to Got Unders and the difference told at the finish.

Lees said the Epsom Handicap remained a possibility for Sound Proposition, which finished almost five lengths clear of next best, Godolphin’s Spectroscope.

The John Thompson-trained favourite Special Missile, which was on a five-race winning streak into its first black-type assignment, faded to finish fourth.

“Special Missile has had enough, he’s had a long prep and he’s done very well,” Thompson said.

Butts: Mums the word, NRL

Butts: Mums the word, NRL LOOK WHO’S WATCHING: Sharks fans before their NRL semi-final against the North Queensland Cowboys at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on Sunday. Picture: AAP
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TweetFacebookLast week’s semis were all worthy of the final stages of a long season.

Key match-ups, last-ditch finishes and enough controversy to hopefully excite crowds for the two sudden-death elimination matches this weekend.

On the point of crowds, I imagine the game’s senior management would be scratching their heads wondering where all the fans have gone.Against the 235,000 supportersour AFL counterparts attracted, week one of the NRL finals drew a combined 76,000.

One might have expected more from supporters of the fiveSydneyclubs involved,particularly when the Roosters game was effectivelya home semiand the three others were playing sudden death.

All in alla massive fail that seems to support the view that there are too many teams in Sydney.

Personally, I don’t need big crowds to enjoy footy, but it does add to the overall experience enjoyed and perception of costumer value.

Digging a little deeper, one metric of strategic performance akin to a canary in a coal mine is the number of mums on seats. This is where AFL dominates. But why “mums”?

Without wishing to appear outdated, in many households mum is the gatekeeper to dad’s dollars and the kids’ loyalty and affection.

This divine power extends to whether little Bobby plays junior league, AFL or soccer, and, in so doing, setting he or she on a path of lifetime interest and, perhaps, investment in that sport. Whether that’s Foxtel subscription, the latest jersey or tickets and a pie at the finals, future purchase decisions are influenced by this primary producer.

In these circumstances she, or he, is the key to the requisite mass appeal that drives broadcast revenue and, therein, the professional game’s very survival.

So come on, Mr Greenberg.Mums aren’t feeling the love with our game, and it’s hurting.The game is in decline on your watch and it’s time to lead, follow or get out of the way.

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Performance of week one of the semis, for mine, was shared between the greatest rugby league player to lace on a boot, Cameron Smith, and beleaguered young Panther Bryce Cartwright.

Smith’s long-term leadership and phenomenal resilience of body and mind markhim as an all-time great. Off the field he is a committed family man and exemplar role model, standing tall at the Players Association Ball on Tuesday night as its president, leading from the front. A constitution that belies his accountant’s frame, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s playing in 2020 with 400 games under his belt.

The second performance was all class. I know the Cartwright family well, having been a school buddy and teammate of Manly assistant coach John Cartwright.

So I’ve followed the ups and downs of his nephew, Bryce. A prodigious talent, he has all the skills. The archetypal modern player, coming straight from school into the big time, he’s determined to be a one-club player at the club his father and uncle played forand his grandfather, Merv, established in 1967.

But he has come back to earth with a thud in recent times as he develops into a responsible young man.

While still on that journey, you had to be impressed with his performance under pressure last week. Off the bench he scored just before half-time. On cue, as the game went down to the wire, he set up the go-ahead try with a deft kick before icing the win with another solo effort at the death.

If the Panthers are to prevail against the Broncos and their 50,000 bellowing supporters tonight, it will have a lot to do Cartwright and his equally gifted offsiderNathan Cleary. C’mon, Panthers.

With regards to the Parra-Cowboys elimination semi-final, I can’t see the Sydney boys getting beat. Courageous though they may be, I think the Queenslanders are running on tired legs and will be outgunned. Good effort, though, Greeny.

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Big or small, when solid foundations are laid in any organisationand guiding principles are maintained the future can be assured.

In the case of the Knights, those guiding principles were laid down in 1987 by a coaching staff whodreamed of a “bonfire that would never go out”. They recruited players whowere tough andcould tackle and embedded philosophies so refined and dogmatic that any financial or talent disadvantage would be negated in time.

The man tasked with devising and implementing such a long-term road map, and ensuring it stayed on course, needed to be more committed than the players and smarter than the opposition. He needed to know how young men ticked and how the game should be played, based on developing trends and fundamentals. Then he had to execute.

In short, we needed a Jack Gibson or a Ron Massey.

In my humble opinion, we did better. In Allan Bell, we gained a rugby league analyst par excellence,adeep and innovative thinker able to break down complex physical and mental processes into their constituent parts and apply training discipline that’smethodical and long-term.

Personally, I owe Allan a lot. But I’m not alone. Like Andrew and Matthew Johns, we have the good lord, our mums and dads and, to a large extent, Allan Bell to thank for much of what we achieved on the sports field. Indeed, an entire generation of Newcastle league players and coaches were, and continue to be, influenced by his techniques, his philosophies and even the designations given to myriad moves and plays.

In short, Big Alhas given much to the Knights and indirectly his adopted community. Which was why it was fitting if a little belated that he receive appropriate recognition at last week’s awards night. Disappointingly tacked on at the end of proceedings and not afforded the opportunity to respond, much less be presented on stage, he was laterhanded a life-member badge.Not that a lapel pin was needed to mark the level of esteem in which he is held in the league community, but a nice gesture all the same. Well done, big fella. Well deserved. Thanks for everything.

Sporting Declaration: Getting back in the race and why coaches need to set a better example

CROWD FAVOURITE: Jockey Hugh Bowman celebrates Winx’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Randwick this year. Picture: Bradleyphotos苏州夜网.auRACING has won, but it wasn’t an easy run.
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With overdue holidays coming at the end of a big week of Newcastle spring carnival news, racing has dominated my thoughts in the search for a Sporting Declarationbefore the return next week of your regular columnist, Robert Dillon.

The same columnist who wrote in2006 when discussingthe merits of racing as a sport that: “Uneducated types argue that if it was not for punting, there would be little or no interest in racing.But this viewpoint is invariably shared by people oblivious to the aesthetic beauty of horses running around in circles, ridden bymidgets thrashing them withwhips.”

Now, this came at the height of some great sports department banter. Racing lovers versus the rest of us. It was all good fun.

We would gang up on the hopelessly outnumbered Kevin Cranson and Greg French and chip away.

In those days, the Herald had a dedicated thoroughbred racing writer, the great Geoff “Woolley” Wilson, who worked from his home on the Central Coast.It was before my time, but apparently it was decided that situation was best for everyonegivenWoolley’s legendary ‘group 1’blow-ups.

Woolley knew his stuff and he had time and space to give racing a great run, but he wasn’t in the office to help even out the debate. To be fair, there wouldn’t have been one, such was the fear of Woolley’s wrath.

We lost the passionate racing man in February 2014 after a long battle with illness, which hadgradually restricted his work.

Along came redundancies and changes, and Woolley was never replaced.

I’d taken over the harness racinground from another stalwart, John Gilmour, midway through 2012 when he retired, so I was the logical choiceto take on the thoroughbreds as well.

I was reluctant, mainly because I already had a long list of other rounds on my plate, but also becauseI’d been stung by racing, or I should say, gambling.

Dad was a mad punter and had lost it all by the time I was 10, even after winning a share of a first-division Lotto dividend a few years earlier.

Punting was ingrained in the family. Livingwith Dad and his parents after that, I helped Pop with his SP bookmaking calculations, converting the odds in fractions he’d always used into decimals,on Sundays.

He worked for someone else in those days as more of a hobby but he was one of four SPs working within a couple of kilometres of each other in Telarah when Dad was growing up.

When Dad was a kid, he and Pop used to work pubs across the road from each other, taking bets and meeting regularly in the middle to check their progress.

The Old Man was hooked, and unfortunately restraint was not his strong suit.

Wary of following the same form line, I steered away from the round, but with no one filling the void and others spreading the load, I gradually took on more and more racing.

It’s been a good ride so far, even though I’m still very much finding my feet.

Covering racing has been a refreshing change from experiences dealing with increasingly over-managed and protected figures in other professional sports.

Trainers, jockeys, owners and administrators are accessible, easy to workwith and keen to promote their industry.

There’s some great characters and stories to be found as well, and I’m proud to say, I’ve hardly had a bet.

Who knows, I might even win over Dillo. I know he’s become a fan of the mighty mare Winx, whichhas helped push racing into the mainstream and draw bigger crowds with her amazing 19-race winning streak.

I’m long-odds though.

** The news cyclone that was the 10-year ban of Maitland colts rugby union player Mark Meafua for hitting a referee has subsided, but recent events in another code have brought it into focus, for me at least.

Meafua’s suspension and video of the incident went viral and sparked fierce social media debate about what was an appropriate punishment.

Many called for a life ban, and strong arguments weremounted for it.

Ten years, though, for a promising 18-year-old playereffectively ends any dreams he had of playing professionally.

It seems, to me, afair and measured punishment for aterrible offence, especially when you factor inthe shame and abuse he has received from footage of the incident going international and the assault charges he faces in court next month.

Opinions will vary, but the suspension matches that handed to 18-year-old Swansea soccer player Zach Fleming in 2015 for headbutting a referee. Video and news of his offence, though, was not spread worldwide.

This week, referee abuse was in the news again as NRL coaches Shane Flanagan and Trent Barrett copped hefty fines for post-match sprays about officials.

Of course, the offences are far less serious andthey were in a different code to Meafua’s, but they were on a much bigger stage.

If high-profile coaches and role models cannot accept the referees’ decision, and the fact it won’t always go their way, after a match, how can we expect youngplayers at grassroots level to learn to do it in the heat of battle on the field?

Obviouslystriking a referee is at the other end of the scale, but examples set and reinforced in the public arena must play a major role in shaping how young players deal with frustrations and approach officials.

And while theMeafua incident was a step backwards in this respect, there was a positivethat day. Maitland and Wanderers players showed immediate concern for young referee Niklas Gaaland their shock and disgust at the act was plain to see. Gaal received a standing ovation when he decided to finish the game. Fair play to them.

Newcastle rugby: Coach hopes video session has Wanderers primed for preliminary final battle with Southern Beaches

BIG OUT: The Two Blues will miss the power and pace of winger Bill Coffey in the preliminary final against Southern Beaches. Picture: Stewart Hazell. WANDERERS coach Viv Paasi hopes the penny has dropped–the Two Blues’premiership hopes could hinge on it.
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Paasi put his players through avideo session on Monday in preparation for the preliminary final against Southern Beaches at No.2 Sportsground on Saturday.

It wasn’t a simplya case of highlighting the things the Two Blues did well in the 59-5 win over Maitland in the minor semi-final.Paasi also looked at the last-ditch 20-19 loss to Southern Beaches in the qualifying semi-final the week before.

“We cut up a video anddid a comparison between the Beaches game and the Maitland game,” Paasi said

“There were a couple of identical situationsin both games and we looked at the two options we took. It showed the boys; this is what we do well, this is how we do it and why we do it. Against Beaches we didn’t play our way. We kicked a lot without anyreal purpose andgot a bit lost.Our set piece went quite well against them but in general play, at times wedidn’t take the right option.That was the message on the Monday heading into Maitland –make sure we play our way and stick to the game plan.”

Paasi has been forced to make one change from the Maitland rout. Powerhouse winger Bill Coffey, whoscored two trademark tries against the Blacks, is in Fiji at a wedding and has been replaced by George Ashworth.

“We have known since March that Billy would be unavailable this weekend,” Paasi said.“Georgehas played a lot of first grade this year and has been great for us. He gives you those second and third efforts in attack and defence, and he reads the game really well.”

Southern Beaches, after leading 10-3 at half-time into the wind, were over-run 27-10 by Hamilton in the major semi-final. They played the final 10 minutes with 14 men afterVilai Kelemete was sent off for a dangerous tackle. The replacement lock was found guilty at the judiciary on Wednesday but escaped suspension.

Fly-halfMichael Delore remains out with a knee injury.

“We will go with Pete Madden again,” coach Johan Lourens said.“Peteis a great young man and has good calmness to him. It works well. He had big shoes to fill but I was very happy with him last week.”

Southern Beaches, like they did against Wanderers,struggled at the set piece against the Hawks.

“We pride ourselves on our scrummaging and have put a hell of a lot of work into it this week,” Lourens said.

“Saturday will come down to one thing; which 15 players want it more.We have to be better. That is the most important message we keep saying– we have to be better.”