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Posts Tagged ‘Local News’

Relief is on the way for stranded holidaymakers on Rottnest Island after a major ferry service decided to brave dubious weather conditions this weekend.

Rottnest Express had cancelled services until Monday, after forecasts of gale-force winds. It left up to 200 people stranded on the island until at least Monday, after the other operator, Oceanic Express, also decided against taking to the sea this weekend.

But Rottnest Express today decided to run skeleton services this weekend, with four trips to the island, and two back, tomorrow and Sunday.

Chief executive Tim Crosland said the company believed it had an obligation to always provide services “if safe”.

Each scheduled journey would be assessed on the prevailing weather conditions, he said.

Oceanic Express is running a service today for pre-booked passengers.

Source www.watoday.com.au

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The coast of Western Australia is getting busy: the whale watching season is underway and early sightings suggest that not only has the season started early, but there are more whales than there’ve been in decades. Commercial whaling in Western Australia finished up in 1963 with just 500 humpback whales left in the waters, but estimates now put the number of whales that will swim the 8,000 miles from Antarctica to the north of the state at around 17,000. Good work, whales!

Whale watching trips run all up and down the coast and from the capital Perth, too – grab a two-hour trip from Hillarys Boat Harbour for A$62 (Whales_in_Western_Australia$50), or head south to Albany for three-hour cruises that let you come on board again in the unlikely event of no whales showing up.

The only thing that seems to be growing faster than the whale population is the population of whale-watchers. Tourism peeps in West Oz say tourist numbers are growing by 15% every year so you need to hurry to avoid the crowds.

Source  :   www.jaunted.com

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Gale force winds tipped to hit Perth this weekend have forced two ferry operators to cancel all trips to Rottnest Island.                                                         sea storm               

The popular Rottnest Express confirmed it has cancelled all bookings from Friday to Sunday inclusive while Oceanic Cruises will not operate on Saturday or Sunday.

The third company which operates ferry trips to the island, Rottnest Fast Ferries, was already closed until July 3 for its regular winter break.

A Rottnest Express spokesman confirmed there had been “a few” bookings and all passengers would be issued refunds, while Oceanic Cruises did not have any bookings for this weekend.

Bureau of Meteorology public weather services manager Neil Bennett said waters from Yanchep to Mandurah and offshore to Rottnest Island could expect winds reaching between 30 to 40 knots on Friday and Saturday.

Mr Bennett said it was likely the Bureau would issue at least a strong wind warning but likely a gale force wind warning for the area.

Source  :   www.thewest.com.au

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The Government has released its scaled-down idea of what it wants the Perth waterfront to look like – but it’s after the same effect as at some of Australia’s best-known sites.

Premier Colin Barnett yesterday unveiled proposals radically different from those suggested by his Labor predecessor Alan Carpenter.

 The plans include a mix of civic, commercial, residential, retail, education and cultural areas.                  perth waterfront

Premier Colin Barnett yesterday unveiled proposals radically different from those suggested by his Labor predecessor Alan Carpenter.the foreshore, similar to those in Sydney’s Darling Harbour and Circular Quay and Melbourne’s Southbank,” Mr Barnett said.

Unlike Mr Carpenter, who committed the Government to fully-funding his vision, Mr Barnett wants a mixture of public and private capital.

Mr Barnett said the new plans aimed to feature world-class architecture “without being over the top”.

“Western Australians have been shown many plans for the foreshore over many years and nothing has actually happened,” he said.

“The Government does not want to impose yet another grand vision on the WA community. This is a more modest concept that shows a ground-scale depiction of what could be developed.”

Mr Barnett said his plans provided for greater public access, while the previous government wanted to develop “monuments” that blocked off the river from the public.

“It would have been an enclave for the wealthy and businesses.”

Work on the project was expected to start within 18 months.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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EXCLUSIVE: SUPER 7s Oz Lotto has jackpotted to a staggering $90 million next week.

The new, all-time record lottery draw will take place next Tuesday after there were no first division winners in last night’s $50 million draw.

A rush for tickets for last night’s game saw the division one prize pool boosted to a massive $59 million.

Tattersall’s Lotteries PR manager Karen Anning said next week’s Super 7s Oz Lotto
draw will shatter all existing records for lotto games in Australia.

“We were expecting the game to jackpot to $60 million next week if there were no first division winners but, due to the unprecedented level of interest in last nights draw, the decision has been made to offer a minimum guaranteed jackpot level of $90 million, Ms Anning said.

“The lotto frenzy we have already experienced over the past week is expected reach epic proportions in the lead up to next Tuesday nights draw.”

source  :  www.news.com.au

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A new way of luggage screening could reduce waiting for frustrated passengers at Perth International Airport, its proponents say.                                                   3-perth-airport

The company contracted to screen international passenger baggage says it is testing a system which helps overcome problems caused when luggage is loaded on to a plane but the passenger fails to board.

Unisys, which was recently granted a five-year extension to its contract, says the new technology will allow its existing barcode tracking system to link passengers to bags.

Currently at Perth Airport, the barcode is linked only to the bag, meaning substantial delays can often result as staff try to find and remove baggage should a passenger fail to board.

A Unisys spokeswoman said the new system would be implemented in Perth “in the near future” once testing had finished.

The new technology was part of the requirment of the renewal of the contract with the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia, the peak aviation industry body.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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One of WA’s largest educational institutions has moved its students into the digital age.

East Perth-based Central TAFE is about to roll out its first student e-mail service, after signing a deal with Microsoft.

The TAFE will offer its 15,000 students the software giant’s Live@Edu application, after trialling it with about 500 of them.

It follows a nine-month process which began when WA TAFE’s issued a tender for the supply of student e-mail services. Microsoft was awarded the tender last month.

Central TAFE managing director Neil Fernandes said Live@Edu would offer “connectivity and collaboration right across our campuses”.

Other WA TAFE’s – who have about 120,000 students between them – are watching Central’s pilot program. Live@Edu offers 10GB-capacity mailboxes and the potential to send and receive 20MB attachments.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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Morley is set to get a revamp – with the $50 million Coventry Square development now out for public comment.                                      

“This is a great step forward for us,” said Greg Poland, the principal of The Strzelecki Group development company that plans to build the project.

“Once the six-week public consultation period has finished we can then start transforming the old Coventry’s warehouse into the ultimate tourist and shopping precinct.”

As well as being built in the heart of Morley – beside the Centro Galleria shopping mall – Coventry Square will be a major part of the new town centre for the City of Bayswater.

If approved, the development will house more than 200 specialty stores, selling everything from fashion, to local arts and crafts.

Mr Poland said the development would include restaurants, cafes, a microbrewery and a fresh food section dedicated to organic produce.

“At a time when the economy is slowing down, Coventry Square will be a real shot in the arm for Morley and the City of Bayswater by creating hundreds of new small businesses and jobs for about 1000 people,” he said.

The Strzelecki Group hopes to open Coventry Square in April next year.

Source  :   www.watoday.com.au

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A sick snake has been stolen from Perth’s northern suburbs, sparking a police hunt.                                                snake-article-420x0                                                       

The two-metre long carpet python was being cared for by the Department of Environment and Conservation at its wildlife research centre at Woodvale.

The centre was broken into some time between Friday and yesterday morning and police believe the python was taken then. It was being cared for due to illness and there are concerns for its welfare.

A police spokeswoman said it was not ordinarily considered dangerous, but was capable of causing a “nasty bite” which could be “particularly dangerous” to young children.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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STAMP duty on housing loans could be abolished after the Henry tax review, which is likely to recommend states be given a share of income tax to make up the difference.

The most likely path to do this would be for the Commonwealth to give the states the ability to impose their own surcharge on income tax, which would be collected for them by the Australian Tax Office.

 The Henry review has been inundated with submissions calling for the end of stamp duty.

Tax economists argue that the tax on moving house, although easy to collect, leads to poor use of the housing stock and poor labour mobility, The Australian reports.Having to pay stamp duty not only discourages elderly people from moving to more appropriate accommodation, it also deters people from moving house to a better jobs market. 

At a conference conducted by the Henry tax review at the Melbourne Institute last week, both international and Australian tax economists said stamp duty should go, with Melbourne University professor John Freebairn describing the tax as “a piece of garbage”.

The review panel is being influenced by state submissions arguing that replacing stamp duty by extending other state taxes, such as payroll tax or land tax, would be too difficult to implement nationally.

Tasmanian Treasury secretary Don Challen, who is close to the inquiry’s head, federal Treasury secretary Ken Henry, told last week’s conference that reform of state taxes would succeed only with leadership from the national government.                                                                                                                                                      stamp duty

“If you want to achieve a difficult reform, you’ve got to make it a national one,” Mr Challen said.

He said it would be too hard to win political consensus to extend land or payroll taxes.

“It requires eight lots of political commitment and eight lots of legislation and that path is doomed to failure,” he said.

However, he said he believed states would be willing to act on stamp duty if the commonwealth provided an avenue for alternative revenue.

The idea of giving states a cut of income tax was pressed two years ago by the OECD, which suggested the states “piggy-back” on income tax. The OECD also urged states to drop stamp duty.

One of the world’s leading experts on federal taxes, Canada’s Richard Bird, said the states were heading for a financial crisis because they did not have a sufficient tax base to support their burgeoning health and education costs, which were all rising much faster than the consumer price index.

One of the problems with stamp duty for the states is that it is vulnerable to the state of property markets.

Stamp duty usually raises about $14 billion a year for the states, but the recent state budgets showed big falls of more than $1bn each in NSW and Queensland, in 2008-09, for example.

“In Australia, it should certainly be feasible to permit states to impose a surcharge on the federal personal income tax base,” Professor Bird said.

He said that, ideally, Australia would follow the Scandinavian practice of allowing states to have a flat tax surcharge on income, rather than mirroring the commonwealth’s progressive taxation.

The states would be allowed to set their own level, making states more responsible for their own finances.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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