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Monthly Archives: September 2019

Qld treasurer not worried by plan critics

The Queensland treasurer says criticism of the state government’s plan to lease assets, by a leading economics professor, are more of a challenge to the opposition than his own plans.

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University of Queensland professor of economics John Quiggin has released a review of the Newman government’s so-called “Strong Choices” plan, which will lease some state assets for 99 years in a bid to battle the state’s debt.

Mr Quiggin says the plan will have an adverse financial effect and lead to a cumulative loss of approximately $9 billion by 2020.

In the paper, entitled “Strong Choices or Weak Arguments?”, Prof Quiggin states the 99-year leases are practically the same as selling off an asset and that Queensland’s financial problems are tied to its taxation system.

“Unfortunately, successive Queensland governments have maintained the fiction that we can be a low-tax state while still providing the same public services and high-quality infrastructure as other states,” he wrote.

“Until this delusion is abandoned, we will experience financial difficulties whenever government revenue experiences one of its regular cyclical declines, as is happening at present.”

Treasurer Tim Nicholls was on the Gold Coast on Monday to announce a $74 million infrastructure development at a notorious exit of the Pacific Motorway in the city’s north.

Mr Nicholls said Prof Quiggin concedes the core issue of the government’s argument, that turning Queensland’s finances around involves either cutting services, increasing taxes or selling or leasing public assets.

“What he is effectively saying is that there needs to be a massive increase in taxes if his policy prescription is going to get underway. We don’t think that’s the right option for Queensland,” Mr Nicholls said.

He said it would be impossible to gather state funds for projects such as the planned upgrades in Coomera that were unveiled on Monday without a plan and the Queensland Labor Party was yet to provide one of their own to voters.

Mr Nicholls said the professor’s statement actually challenges Labor “to say how they would fund things like exit 54. What is their plan?

“We’re now seven days into an election campaign, we haven’t seen an economic plan from the Labor opposition nor have we seen the detail of their costings. What are they hiding from Queenslanders?”

Gajdosova fighting back after illness

Australian wildcard Jarmila Gajdosova has continued her resurgence at the Sydney International with an impressive 6-1 7-6 victory over 13th-ranked German Anna Petkovic.

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Gajdosova, who reached a career-high No.33 in the world rankings in 2011, was told by doctors two years ago that she may not be able to play again after contracting a virus called mononucleoisis.

The illness compounded a tough period in the Slovakian-born 27-year-old’s life, with her mother passing away, her marriage to Australian tennis player Sam Groth ending and her ranking plummeting to No.232.

“I think it’s the first time in three years I feel physically fit and that I’m playing well,” Gajdosova said.

“I had a lot of ups and downs physically and mentally on and off court a little bit.”

After collapsing six times and feeling constantly fatigued, Gajdosova knew there was something seriously wrong but admitted she was shocked when a doctor told her she may never play high level tennis again.

“He said I will recover, but he just said only time will tell if would be fit to do my job again,” she said.

“I still have to go for blood test and everything to keep up and vitamins and proper sleep schedule and all sorts of things so it doesn’t come back.

“It took me a year to recover, so in that year I got kind of content with the fact that that may be it. I may not play.

“Then I tried and built up slowly … but the way I feel like now, it’s amazing. I feel like a new person. Hopefully, it stays that way.”

Gajdosova, who is ranked No.68 in the world, will meet last year’s Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova in the second round.

NZ man agrees he bashed girlfriend

A New Zealand man accused of bashing his ex-girlfriend with a motorbike helmet in a Bali street has agreed with a witness account of the assault.

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Richard James Wackrow, 40, faces up to two years and eight months in jail for assaulting his German ex-girlfriend, known in court papers as Lisa Christina.

The pair got into an argument after falling off a motorbike at Jimbaran on September 4.

The man who lived nearest to the scene on Monday told a court he saw the fight, and Wackrow throwing his ex-girlfriend’s phone on to the road.

The Wellington man slapped the designer and then hit her twice in the face with a motorcycle helmet until her face was bloody, said the man.

His nephew took her to hospital where a medical report recorded a broken nose and damage to her cheek and both eyes.

When the judge asked Wackrow – who has chosen to defend himself – if the witness statement was true, he told the court: “Yes, absolutely”.

Wackrow was arrested in September at Bali’s airport as he headed for Australia, where he had reportedly been living in Burleigh Heads, on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Police had alleged he had a surfboard with him that was stolen from an American woman whom Wackrow had stayed with in June.

In August, the woman complained to police that Wackrow threatened to kill and “damage her face” in a SMS. He was accused of stealing a surfboard, mobile phone, two watches and money from her Canggu villa – but the charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.

His trial continues later this month, and Ms Christina may give evidence.

He is one of several Kiwis in trouble with the law in Southeast Asia.

Antony de Malmanche, a 52-year-old pensioner from Wanganui, was arrested in Bali in December, allegedly with 1.7kg of crystal meth in his backpack, Peter Gardner, 25, was detained in China in November and could face execution by firing squad after his luggage was allegedly found to contain meth.

His Australian girlfriend Kalynda Davis, 22, was detained at first, but released.

In Thailand, New Zealander Taylor Grainger, 41, was arrested in December with methamphetamine and cocaine in a police blitz on the tourist centre of Phuket.

Wozniacki retires in Sydney due to wrist injury

The 24-year-old Dane, who lost the final of the Auckland Classic on Saturday, had already had her left wrist strapped when she was forced to retire at 6-4 1-1 down to Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

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“I didn’t want to do it worse before Melbourne, so I’m just going to try and get some treatment on it and try and get ready for next week,” Wozniacki told reporters.

“I still have a week to go, so hopefully it’ll be fine… I’m confident that I’ll be fine to play in Melbourne.”

Zahlavova Strycova went through to a second round tie against local hope Sam Stosur, who had earlier progressed with a rain-disrupted 7-6(3) 5-7 6-3 victory over another Czech in Lucie Safarova.

Former U.S. Open champion Stosur had already had her first-round contest put back a day after wet weather in Sydney on Sunday.

She held her nerve throughout a three-hour contest peppered with rain interruptions and polished off the victory over the world number 16 with a thumping ace down the middle.

It was a welcome return to winning ways for Stosur, who blew a 5-1 lead in the third set last week to lose to American Varvara Lepchenko in Brisbane.

“I was pleased with the way I served for the match,” she said. “After what happened last week, to step up and serve the way I did, I’m obviously very happy.”

Third seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska enjoyed the more clement later conditions to beat France’s Alize Cornet 6-3 6-2 and reach the second round of a tournament she won in 2013.

The world number five made it clear, however, that her focus over the next few weeks under new coach Martina Navratilova was on improving on a single semi-final appearance at Melbourne Park.

“Martina’s going to be here tomorrow,” Radwanska said. “She’s really helping me on and off court. The goal is the grand slams so we’ll see how it goes.”

In the men’s draw, fifth-seeded Argentine Leonardo Mayer downed Benjamin Becker 7-6(3) 6-2 to set up a meeting with young Australian Nick Kyrgios or Pole Jerzy Janowicz in the second round.

Local top seed Casey Dellacqua overcame a second-set glitch to beat American Lauren Davis 6-4 1-6 6-4 and reach the second round of the Hobart International.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Dellacqua wins in round one win in Hobart

Casey Dellacqua has secured her first win for 2015 with a shaky performance at the Hobart International, battling with her mental approach to the game.

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The world No. 29 made a confident start on Monday against American contender Lauren Davis, but produced a second set riddled with unforced errors before eventually prevailing 6-4 1-6 6-4.

Top-seeded Dellacqua said she needs to focus more and not worry so much about technical elements of her tennis.

“Concentration has definitely got to get better for my part,” she told reporters after the match.

“I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with the way I’m hitting the ball, sometimes it just becomes a mind set.”

The left-hander said she found herself thinking about specifics like the ball toss and the success of her first serve, instead of the point being played.

“(I’m) the first to admit that I’m probably not playing my best tennis but at the end of the day it’s not about the wins or losses, it’s about my performance,” Dellacqua said.

Nevertheless, she admitted it’s nice to have a victory under her belt for 2015 after three singles losses at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

Dellacqua faces Italy’s Karin Knapp in round two on Wednesday.

World No. 51 Knapp on Monday beat Croatia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-2.

Dellacqua is expecting a good fight against the Italian.

“She’s a big hitter of the ball and the court is playing pretty fast,” she said.

“I’m going to have to be ready to go from the get-go.”

Dellacqua is the only Australian remaining in the Hobart singles draw after wildcard compatriots Storm Sanders and Olivia Rogowska both lost in three sets to seeded players.

During a day that included three retirements through injury, Britain’s Heather Watson found success, along with second-seed Zarina Diyas from Kazakhstan.

Watson meets American Sloane Stephens on Tuesday.