April 2014 â€˘ Issue 03
EAST in the WEST Broome: a melting pot of Asian history and culture
FORMULA 1 SUPERSTAR Daniel Ricciardo takes the fast lane to the top of F1
YOU SPOKE, WE LISTENED Our survey results are in and your advice has been put into action
THE U LT I M AT E FISHING ADVENTURE
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Michelle Hespe firstname.lastname@example.org DEPUTY EDITOR Danielle Chenery ASSISTANT EDITOR Simone Henderson-Smart INTERNS Dana Groop, Kyle Soyer SUB-EDITOR Kris Madden, Liani Solari PRODUCTION MANAGER Brian Ventour SENIOR DESIGNER Guy Pendlebury PRINTER SOS Print & Media CONTRIBUTORS Brian Johnston, Stewart Bell, Winsor Dobbin, Sue Webster, Oryana Angel, Kris Madden, Fiona Poynter, Christine Retschlag, Ben Smithurst, Kevin Lee, Lesley Parker. NATIONAL SALES MANAGER, Rex and OUTthere Peter Anderson email@example.com NATIONAL SALES MANAGERS, Inside Mining Chris Wykes firstname.lastname@example.org David Little-Jones email@example.com SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER, National Property Guide, Directory and Skytrans Robert Desgouttes firstname.lastname@example.org WA, SA and NT SALES AGENT Helen Glasson, Hogan Media Phone: 08 9381 3991 email@example.com PUBLISHER Geoff Campbell CHAIRMAN Chris Innis CEO Eddie Thomas
ON THE COVER:
April: Gantheaume Point, Broome, WA.
May: Mangrove Bay, Broome, WA.
OUTthere is published by Edge 51 Whistler Street, Manly NSW 2095 Phone: 02 8962 2600, www.edgecustom.com.au OUTthere is published by Business Essentials (Australasia) Pty Limited (ABN 22 062 493 869), trading as Edge, under license to MGI Publishing Pty Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed are those of the individual contributors and not necessarily those of the Publisher. Information provided was believed to be correct at the time of publication. All reasonable efforts have been made to contact copyright holders. OUTthere cannot accept unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. If such items are sent to the magazine, they will not be returned. Some images used in OUTthere are from Thinkstock and Getty Images.
From the editor... My sister and I recently embarked on a road trip from Sydney to Mudgee for Polo in the Paddock. Unfortunately the ponies didn’t make it on to the fields as the rain began to fall around 11am when guests started arriving in Bunnamagoo Estate’s beautiful vineyard, and it didn’t stop all day. By midday, the parade of designer gumboots donned by women decked out in summer frocks, hats and fascinators, was downright impressive. Over 1000 people enjoyed the event, some dancing in the rain in front of trucks with bands aboard, while others indulged in a sit-down long lunch beneath the welcomed shelter of marquee tents. No one was complaining, as Mudgee really needed (and still needs) the rain – local farmers would certainly have been thanking the heavens for some of their crops being saved. Wine lovers worldwide should be grateful for the recent rain in some lucky regions of Australia lately as well, as so many vineyards have been or still are on the brink of not producing enough grapes for a good harvest. Despite the lack of polo, organisers said the event was a huge success, as everyone still had a fun day, and over $5500 was raised for charities including Ronald McDonald House and Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Country crooner Lee Kernaghan, who performed at the event, helped the cause as well by generously auctioning off his guitar. There were prizes for best dressed, and polo players hosted talks alongside their ponies for those interested in learning about how the sport is played. As they say, the show must go on, and despite no polo at Polo in the Paddock, one thing is for
Above: My sister and I at Polo in the Paddock, Mudgee. sure – locals and visitors alike enjoyed the local wine and produce. Most people made a run for it across the muddy paddocks in the rain at the end of the day – there was a lot of laughter to be heard as mud flew in every direction. Let’s all hope rain comes to the many other drought-ravaged areas of Australia. Our team on OUTthere is certainly sending out their thoughts to those affected, and hoping for future successful, prosperous years for farmers across Australia. We also hope that you enjoy this issue. Drop us a line sometime – we love hearing from you.
Michelle Hespe and the OUTthere team
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Issue 03 • April/May 05 welcomeaboard Flying with Cobham.
06 cobhamnews A look at our new in-flight dining options; more customer survey results; Cobham’s portable electronic device policy; a warm welcome to our new pilots; Cobham introduces new life vests; Cobham’s technological feats; pilot’s son inspired to ‘get brave and shave’.
11 what’snew & don’tmiss The latest news, products and some cool events you won’t want to miss.
13 explore Brian Johnston explores the multicultural wonders of Broome.
Issue 118 • April
Issue 119 • May
Daniel Ricciardo gives us an insider’s view of the fast-paced world of Formula 1, and tells Stewart Bell what it’s like to step into Mark Webber’s shoes.
Western Australian indie rockers Eskimo Joe talk to Ben Smithurst about their latest adventures and why they are excited about taking their music to regional Australia.
Michelle Hespe finds plenty of action, on and off skis, in the Victorian High Country resorts of Mount Hotham and Falls Creek.
Beat the winter chill by checking out Queensland’s hotspots.
food&wine Wine-lover Winsor Dobbin takes us on a tour of Australia’s rich and varied wine regions and gives his tips on must-visits.
Winsor Dobbin takes us on a culinary trip around the Apple Isle without even leaving Hobart, and discovers there’s much to savour about Tasmania.
Michelle Smart unearths some new Noosa highlights that will have everyone talking when the food festival hits town in May.
Simone Henderson-Smart grabs her tasting glass and checks out South Australia’s gorgeous wine regions.
Sue Webster looks at the state of agricultural studies in Australia.
Christine Retschlag talks about the tax implications of HR and recruitment.
insidemining • news and views • international mining • resources sector issues • finance and technology 3
Where we fly
BARROW ISLAND AREA C
BRISBANE BALLERA MOOMBA MURRIN MURRIN PERTH
KAMBALDA SYDNEY PASSENGER FREIGHT
Our fleet 6 x BAe 146 (passenger) 4 x BAe 146 (freight) 5 x Avro RJ100 3 x Bombardier Dash-8
British Aerospace 146 (BAe-146) Length: 28.60 m Wingspan: 26.21 m Height: 8.59 m Cruise speed: Approx 710 km/h at 8,840 m Empty weight: 23,897 kg Passenger capacity: 71–99 seats Freight capacity: 10,300 kg
Avro RJ100 Length: 30.99 m Wingspan: 26.34 m Height: 8.59 m Cruise speed: Approx 710 km/h Empty weight: 23,897 kg
Bombardier Dash-8 Length: 22.25 m Wingspan: 25.89 m Height: 7.49 m Cruise speed: 500 km/h at 7,620 m Empty weight: 14,700 kg
Jet aircraft are a fast and reliable means of transport across Australia for not only people, but also freight. In case you didn’t notice, the map to the left includes a freight route. In addition to providing chartered passenger services, Cobham supports domestic freight operations across the east coast of Australia. We operate more than 2500 flights per year with uplift capability of more than 25,000 tonnes of urgent overnight freight (that’s equivalent to carrying 150 blue whales). Our freighter aircraft carry urgent goods, including important documents, breakdown parts and medical supplies. As you would expect, reliability is essential for freight operations, especially when handling Express Post, which requires next business day delivery. Whether transporting people or urgent freight, we’re committed to being on time, reliable and safe every time. Thank you for flying with Cobham – we love having you on board.
Ryan Both General Manager, Regional Services Cobham 5
New in-flight dining options available WE RECENTLY SURVEYED many of our onboard guests to learn about what makes the perfect in-flight meal. As a result of this feedback, we have introduced the first of our delicious new meal choices on selected routes, with a view to continually enhance and provide industry-leading, innovative, fresh in-flight dining experiences. Guests on board flights within South Australia can now enjoy fresh fruit and locally made bakery items, as well as fresh new panini options. Selected flights in Western Australia will offer new choices, including our chef’s special, Huevos Rancheros, a Mexicaninspired hot breakfast. Other new meal choices include Tortelloni Trevisane and Pea al Forno, and Lamb Rogan Josh. During April, new Cobham crockery, cutlery, meal trays and in-flight products will be introduced on selected flights in support of our green initiatives. These new service items are lightweight and recyclable and will significantly reduce disposable rubbish from our flights and landfill waste. We are always on the lookout for new initiatives and ideas and we welcome your thoughts.
We have introduced the first of our delicious new meal choices.
You spoke, we listened IN THE LAST edition of Cobham OUTthere we published findings from an in-flight survey we conducted on our Western Australian flights. We also conducted an in-flight survey on our South Australian flights, and here is some of the valuable feedback we received from you about our South Australian airport facilities, aircraft, terminal, catering and cabin services. Some things you were particularly happy about: • Airport facilities and ease of check-in. • Cabin crew are always welcoming and polite and offer a high level of service and attention. • Clean and tidy presentation of aircraft. • Availability of pillows and blankets. • Variety of in-flight magazines and reading material. But there are always things we can improve on and, thanks to your feedback, we know where to start.
What you said
What we are doing
More variety of snacks or meals would be nice
We have recently updated our snack and catering services with a savoury, sweet or healthy option. Please look out for them during our snack services.
In-flight magazine should be more frequent
Our new, improved magazine, Cobham OUTthere, was launched in December 2013. It includes more than 100 pages of reading material and is updated monthly. We hope you enjoy reading it.
Disembarking in Adelaide is a very long walk
Passengers on flights from Moomba to Adelaide are ‘unscreened’ and aren’t able to enter the terminal directly from the aircraft on arrival as the area contains passengers who have been ‘screened’, and the mixing of the two groups is not permitted under transport security regulations. We are in consultation with Adelaide Airport regarding future development, and will provide input on future plans of the airport design with a focus on improving the passenger experience.
Use of portable electronic devices THE UNITED STATES aviation administrator, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), recently determined that airlines operating within the United States are able to safely expand passenger use of portable electronic devices during all the phases of flight. In Australia, restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices in critical phases of flight, such as take-off and landing, and ground operations remain firmly in place. As such, our policy concerning portable electronic devices remains unchanged and is as follows: • Portable electronic devices must be put in flight mode and then turned off prior to boarding.
• In flight: after the seat belt sign has been turned off, and following advice from cabin crew, portable electronic devices may be switched on. • When advised by the cabin crew, portable electronic devices must be switched off for landing and not turned on until you have arrived in the terminal. If you are embarking or disembarking using an aerobridge, portable electronic devices can be used until advised by the cabin crew to turn on/off. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is currently reviewing the Australian standing policy, and we will monitor the review and provide an update following the outcome.
Late last year we welcomed three pilots on board: Herbert Bugler and Anthony Carrison, joined our Perth-based operations; and Alan Benn joined the Adelaide-based crew. Let us introduce them to you. in Perth, Herbert says he looks forward to many happy years of flying Cobham’s regional services routes and spending his spare time improving his golf handicap to an ‘acceptable level’. First Officer Anthony Carrison, BAe146 Pilot (WA) Anthony grew up in country Victoria, shifted to Western Australia in 2005, and loves the mix of city and beach lifestyles that Perth offers. Part of his pilot’s licence was completed while on breaks from jobs on various Western Australian mine sites. Anthony is happy to have worked his way to the pointy end of the plane and looks forward to working with the Cobham team.
First Officer Herbert Bugler, BAe146 Pilot (WA) Herbert grew up in Vienna, Austria. After 12 years in the medical diagnostic industry he left the corporate world to fly for a living. Having spent many years flying in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Herbert and his family immigrated to Australia (Darwin) where he spent three enjoyable years flying with Cobham for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Now settled
First Officer Alan Benn, BAe146 Pilot (SA) When Alan left school in Sydney, he trained as a registered general nurse, which paid for his flight training. After a bit of travel time, he spent 10 years as a flight instructor in Adelaide. In early 1999, he joined the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Starting in Central Operations, he lived mainly in Alice Springs, then headed south to Adelaide to manage their flight standards department. For the past five years he was chief pilot. Alan says he is now happy to be in a new environment and operation and on a flying roster. His three teenagers keep him fairly busy between downtime spent on his motorcycle, which he says keeps him ‘sane’. 7
Did you know? COBHAM TECHNOLOGY PLAYS a critical role in protecting lives every day, from deep space to the depths of the ocean. As most people don’t see many aspects of Cobham’s technology arm, its contribution to this crucial sector is rarely recognised. It’s a bit like ‘Where’s Wally?’ – Cobham kit is everywhere yet rarely seen. In light of this, keep your eyes peeled for the ‘Did You Know?’ section in OUTthere, and we’ll shed light on what’s happening at Cobham around the globe.
Land, sea, air, space … and cricket
TAKING US INTO the shoes of what it’s like to be a batsman playing T20 Cricket, Brisbane cricketer Shane Watson became the first batsman to wear a camera in his helmet – with equipment supplied by Cobham. With a camera neatly in his helmet and our ultra-miniature M2TE transmitter at the heart of the system, when Watson thumped his characteristic big sixes, television viewers felt like they were standing in the shoes of the batsman and blasting the ball into the crowd. Central to this experience is our transmitter’s unique dual highdefinition (HD) video capability and ‘dual pedestal’ 16MHz-wide channel capability, which allow two true HD signals to be transmitted from a single unit. The HD signal is transmitted from the batsman via a short-range unlicensed link to a receiver on the stumps umpire. The HD video output from the receiver is fed into one input of the Cobham M2TE transmitter, and the umpire’s own camera into the second. The net result is outstanding picture quality. Now everyone can get a sense of what it feels like to have 145 kilometre per hour thunderbolts coming directly at them!
Safer at sea with SURVIVOR+™ DROWNING, HYPOTHERMIA AND exposure to life-threatening sea spray and frigid winds are always safety concerns for offshore workers. With nearly one-third of crew members not able to reach a life raft in time, Cobham recognised the need to make a life raft instantly accessible to each individual. As a result, Cobham is excited to introduce its new Survivor+™ Personal Overboard Survival System, which does just that. Survivor+ is a new class of ‘wear and forget’ inflatable personal flotation devices (PFDs) for the commercial maritime industry. Worn as a vest, it automatically deploys a raft when the wearer becomes immersed in water. A SOLAS-approved life vest and a tethered raft inflates; the worker boards the raft and a canopy is inflated and closed for thermal protection. Recognised by Lloyd’s Register as being in compliance with IMO safety standards, this major milestone tells the world that Survivor+ is ready for use by the commercial maritime industry.
Worn as a vest, it automatically deploys a raft when the wearer becomes immersed in water. OHIM – Certificate of Registration, No. 002242669-001, US Patent Pending
World’s Greatest Shave THE LEUKAEMIA FOUNDATION’S ‘World’s Greatest Shave’ raises important funds to provide practical and emotional support to people with blood cancer, as well as investing millions in blood cancer research. Since 1998, more than one million people have shaved or coloured their hair, fundraising more than $158 million. By raising funds through the World’s Greatest Shave, the foundation is able to continue to fund blood cancer research and provide free services to support Australian families. In 2013, Sebastian Marshall, a Cobham pilot’s son, raised $1000 for the World’s Greatest Shave and the Leukaemia
Last year, Adelaide Crows’ Tex Walker raised $66,000 by shaving his hair for the World’s Greatest Shave. Foundation. He was inspired by his favourite footballer, Tex Walker, of the Adelaide Crows, who pledged to shave his famous mullet and raise money for this worthwhile cause. Sebastian had followed Tex with a passion and over the past 18 months had grown his hair to replicate Tex’s famous style. The Adelaide Crows were informed of Sebastian’s efforts and, as a result, flew the Marshall family from Perth to Adelaide so Sebastian could meet his idol and attend a Crows training session. Last year, Tex Walker raised $66,000 by shaving his hair for the World’s Greatest Shave, which was aired live on Channel Nine’s The Footy Show. To sign up or donate to the World’s Greatest Shave visit worldsgreatestshave.com
Image: Tourism SA
Coorong National Park, South Australia Nearest Port: Adelaide Lovers of the film Storm Boy will be familiar with this incredible stretch of coast, south of Adelaide. Effectively, the Coorong is a string of saltwater lagoons, freshwater lakes and estuaries that are sheltered from the Southern Ocean by sand dunes on the Younghusband Peninsula. The park is teeming with an array of birdlife such as pelicans, ducks, swans and cormorants, which shelter here. It’s also a safe haven for migratory birds from as far away as Alaska. Campers also take shelter behind the dunes after long days of swimming and fishing on the 200 kilometre stretch of beach.
TO THE RESOURCE INDUSTRY Darwin
Port Hedland Barrow Island
Rockhampton Gladstone / Curtis Island
Roma/Chinchilla Toowoomba Brisbane Nth & Sth
Pinkenba Gold Coast
Murrin Murrin Kalgoorlie Osborne Park Bibra Lake
Sunshine Laverton North
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don’tmiss UNTIL APRIL 30
Rooftop Movies, Perth
Perth celebrates its long summer in style with a rooftop open-air cinema. From the day it popped up on the roof of the Roe Street car park, the cinema has been playing a mix of new summer blockbusters, cult favourites and true classics. Come and catch a great flick six levels above the city chaos in a beautiful outdoor venue.
FEBRUARY 8–APRIL 20
Rockbreakers: Prisoners built this colony, geology made it rich, Kambalda
This exhibition tells the story of a geological collection by convicts housed in Fremantle Prison and placed in Old Perth Gaol during the 1880s. It was moved to Perth Goal in 1888, where it now stands, and features rock and mineral specimens from the original geological collections of the Western Australian Museum, including a fragment of the Youndegin meteorite found in 1884 near York.
A Toast to the Coast, Perth
What could be more enjoyable than a wine and food festival set in a relaxed boardwalk empire? The festival promises something for every age range, with wine-tasting, market stalls, cooking demonstrations, live bands and plenty of children’s entertainment, including an animal farm.
Fremantle Street Arts Festival
Fremantle bursts to life with three days of vibrant performances on more than 10 stages constructed in the streets just for the occasion. The event promises a wide range of entertainment, including outdoor theatre, music, comedy, circus and cabaret performers. With the exception of some ticketed evening shows, performances are free, though of course you have the option to show your appreciation for a particularly impressive performance by tossing some money into the performer’s hat.
what’snew Go West It seems Perth’s burgeoning food scene is ticking all the right boxes and has even caught the eye of The New York Times’ travel editors. The city came in at number nine in its annual list of ‘52 Places to Go’ and was the only Australian destination to get a mention. The Times team was excited by Perth’s trendy transformation: “Regional wine lists? Check. Modish new restaurants in repurposed spaces like stables (the Stables Bar), cottages (the Old Crow) or a printing press building (the Print Hall)? Check. International celebrity chefs, including Jamie Oliver, whose Italian spot, Jamie’s Italian, recently opened? Up-and-coming neighbourhoods like Mount Lawley and Northbridge, chock-a-block with cafés and vintage shops? Check and check.” The article also mentioned the exciting Riverside Project that will see 40 hectares of land transformed into a vibrant waterfront community and tourist destination.
Charging monkeys Travellers who like to wander off the beaten track can now harness the power of the sun to charge their electronic devices with a compact, easy-to-use ‘solarmonkey’ from Powertraveller. The monkey comes with lots of tails to attach the lightweight solar panels to iPads, iPhones, mobile phones, GPS and eBook readers, keeping campers happy and connected. powertraveller.com
Turtles return to Queensland 2013 was a tragic year for Queensland’s beloved population of sea turtles; the record high tides, catastrophic flooding and cyclone events caused serious beach erosion, sweeping away an estimated 60 per cent of last year’s clutches of eggs. Just one year later, they have returned to the Southern Great Barrier Reef region, creating a magnificent sight for tourists to watch by moonlight when the eggs hatch and thousands of baby turtles scurry into the ocean. As Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services officer Lisa Emmert explains, turtle hatchlings are born with an in-built GPS system: “That connection with the magnetic field brings them back into this area to lay their eggs as adults.” It may be this system that calls them home, but as head of Queensland’s loggerhead turtle research program Dr Col Limpus notes, it’s the dedication of rangers and volunteers working to restore and protect the area that makes it possible.
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Broome may be a small town on the edge of the continent, but its Asian heritage gives it a fascinating and cosmopolitan history, as Brian Johnston discovers.
Anyone who flies into Broome can’t help but be impressed by the isolation and vastness of the rust-red expanses of Western Australia. Far below, worn-down mountain spines wind through plains of spinifex and wattle. Then, suddenly, red dust meets turquoise ocean in a surrealist clash of colour, and the little huddle of Broome appears, a dot in the wilderness. Here, where Outback meets seaside, you find a delightful mix of cattle farmers and Aboriginal people, footloose travellers and well-heeled jetsetters. Better yet, you find a history more cosmopolitan than you might imagine. In particular, Broome has an Asian heritage intrinsic to its development. When you’ve had enough of camel rides, crocodile farms and Cable Beach, an exploration of the town’s Asian connections gives an insight into an oftenoverlooked side of Australian history. “Our unique multicultural population of Asians contributed to Broome’s history, and to the spirit and energy that is still present here,” says Broome resident Gerri Ranieri proudly. She should know, being the event manager of Broome’s end-of-August Shinju Matsuri festival. Though Japanese in inspiration, the festival celebrates all of Broome’s cultures. During the event, the town’s main streets are given over to Asian food stalls, and Sammy the Dragon – unmistakably Chinese – makes his annual sortie through Chinatown. “The nine days of concerts, performances, games and other events have a uniquely Broome style, with elements of many nations, especially Japanese, Chinese, Malay, Timorese and Filipino,” says Gerri. “It’s a great opportunity to recognise the many cultures present in Broome for over a century.” That cultural mix was born with the discovery of very large pearl shells in Roebuck Bay in 1861. By the turn of the century, Broome’s population had swelled 14
with pearl fishermen from East Asia and the Pacific islands, and the town was supplying three-quarters of the world’s mother-of-pearl. “In the early days, the Japanese made up the largest portion of immigrants, with nearly one out of every two Broome residents hailing from Japan,” says local Glen Robertson. “They were considered to be the best divers and dominated the pearling industry until the Second World War, when they were forcibly interned and removed.” The Pearl Luggers museum allows you to inspect two restored pearl luggers (small pearling vessels) sitting among the mangroves; some 400 luggers operated from here in 1900. Former pearl divers give guided tours, and the museum doesn’t flinch from describing the dangers of pearl diving and the forced labour that many Aboriginal and Asian workers endured. Certainly, an inspection of the copper helmets and oxygen hand pumps used in the old days doesn’t inspire confidence, though the sight of restored luggers cruising along Cable Beach at sunset provides a seemingly romantic spectacle. Glen Robertson suggests a visit to the Japanese Cemetery outside town,
where worn-down headstones covered in Chinese and Japanese ideograms – the oldest dates to 1896 – acknowledge the many immigrants who lost their lives diving for pearls, many from the bends or from being lost at sea during cyclones. For a more cheerful tour, head out of town to Willie Creek to visit a modern pearl farm and learn about the process of creating cultured pearls. Synthetic materials almost destroyed Broome’s pearling industry but, in the 1950s, it was again the Japanese who pioneered cultured pearls here and gave the town a second lease of life. A memorial of bronzes on Napier Terrace commemorates this significant development – it shows the three Japanese involved in the business’ early development. By this time you’ll have earned yourself a drink, so head to Matso’s Broome Brewery for its Hit The Toad premium lager or famous mango beer. The brewery gets its name from a general store once run by the Matsumoto family, but now only drinkers sit under the lazily turning fans of this wood-and-iron building, gazing over the startling peacock-blue Roebuck Bay. It won’t be long before Asian influences are felt if you lunch here: Singapore chilli crab, perhaps, or grouper
FAST FACT Broome’s Cable Beach, famous for sunsets and camel rides, was named in 1889, when a submarine cable was laid between Indonesia and Australia, making landfall here.
with pineapple and pawpaw salad. Many swear by the Indian fish curry with mango pickle, suited perfectly to the dark Smokey Bishop beer. The multicultural heritage that flows through Broome’s food also flows through its bloodlines. Local comedian Mark Bin Bakar, best known for his TV character Mary G (sometimes described as the black Dame Edna), is a typical mixed-ancestry local. His father is a Singaporean Muslim, his mother an Aboriginal Catholic, and his grandfather an Irishman. “I grew up with Malays in and out of my life, a little bit of Japanese, and, of course, I’m Aboriginal. It’s the Broome formula, a mix of cultures,” he says. “What better upbringing to develop a sense of humour? Everyone laughed at each other’s inability to speak English properly, and over cultural misunderstandings. “My childhood was mainly mango trees, chasing off flying foxes, the pearling industry where dad worked, and lots of multicultural mayhem.” Another noted Broome resident, musician and playwright Jimmy Chi, has an Anglo-Chinese-Japanese father and Scottish-Aboriginal mother. Not surprisingly, Chi’s most famous work,
The multicultural heritage that flows through Broome’s food also flows through its bloodlines.
Bran Nue Dae, is ultimately a celebration of forgiveness and reconciliation. Much of the movie was shot in and around Broome. Matso’s was used as a set, as was Sun Pictures, the town’s venerable movie parlour. Sun Pictures is in Chinatown, a compact but attractive area of old corrugated iron buildings with neat verandahs, multilingual street signs and numerous Asian eateries and cafés. Occasionally, a hanging red lantern, lacquered gates or a passing cycle rickshaw bearing overheated tourists will catch your eye – another reminder of the Far East in this remote place. 15
In the old days, this area was cluttered with shady opium parlours, bordellos, and gambling dens loud with the click of mahjong tiles. These days, you’re more likely to encounter kitschy souvenirs and pearl stores, but the buildings along Johnny Chi Lane have evocative descriptions and photos of Chinatown in the late 19th century. On Sundays, Johnny Chi Lane comes alive with the Chinatown markets, one of several markets in Broome. You might also want to head to the Broome Courthouse Markets, held in the grounds of the historic courthouse under shady palm trees, which sells everything, from fashion and photographs, to Indigenous artworks. Tuck into a takeaway laksa or stir-fried noodle dish and nibble on exotic tropical fruits – just another taste of Asia on the western edge of the Outback.
Above and below: The Pearl Luggers museum offers a look at Broome’s long and colourful pearling history; Chinese dragons are always a part of the annual Shinju Matsuri festival celebrations, held every August.
Mercure Inn Broome Weld Street, Broome 08 9195 5900 mercure.com Moonlight Bay Suites 51 Carnarvon Street, Broome 08 9195 5200 moonlightbaysuites.com.au
EAT & DRINK
Matso’s Broome Brewery 60 Hammersley Street, Broome 08 9193 5811 matsos.com.au
Pearl Luggers 31 Dampier Terrace, Broome 08 9192 2059 pearlluggers.com.au Willie Creek Pearl Farm Off Cape Leveque Road, Willie Creek 08 9192 0001 williecreekpearls.com.au Broome Historical Museum Robinson Street, Broome 08 9192 2075 broomemuseum.org.au
MORE INFO broomevisitorcentre.com.au
minutes with …
Author Jesse Fink speaks with Kyle Soyer about his latest book, The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, and how it differs from anything ever written before about the band. play drums, just sort of tapping away on his accordion with spoons, and he just sort of falls into drumming for AC/DC. Image: Amy Janowski
Your connection with AC/DC sounds very personal?
Why is each chapter based on a specific song? They’re not just significant musically for AC/DC in terms of charting their sound development, but they’re also signposts for what was going on in their career. That approach allowed me to explore biographical elements in the Young brothers’ story – and no-one had ever written a traditional biography of the trio. It allowed me to talk to engineers, producers and other people behind the scenes who were really important in creating the colossus of AC/DC. Many had never spoken to anyone before about their time with the band. That was amazing to me, given the amount of words that have been written about AC/DC over the years. There was still a whole new story to tell.
Who exactly were some of these ‘unsung heroes’? One guy was pretty special. Tony Currenti had been mentioned in previous AC/DC books, but they’d always managed to misspell his name and never actually bothered to contact him and get his story. You look at the guy and he looks like [the character] Al Delvecchio from Happy Days. He’s not a guy you would expect in a million years had played for AC/DC. It’s one of the best music stories ever: that a guy can come out from Italy, not knowing how to write English, not having learned formally to
I was going through a catastrophic period in my personal life, after my divorce in 2007. I was at home one night sorting black socks on the end of my bed when I should have been out on the town, and thinking to myself, “My life has come to nothing. How did it come to this?” For whatever reason I just happened to put on some AC/DC. And one song off the album Powerage called ‘Gimme A Bullet’ came on. The lyrics are about a guy trying to get over a broken heart and they really spoke to me at a time when I needed to hear someone else talking about what they were going through. It just happened to be Bon Scott. It made me wake up to myself and think, “Hey, look, Bon got through this, I can get through it too.”
Was your approach to The Youngs different from your previous books? My second book was called Laid Bare. It was about my divorce, and had chapters with individual track listings. I took a similar approach in this book by naming each chapter after a song. Music is an incredibly powerful thing. It can be a great healer. That’s also why I took a really different approach to this book. I wanted to look at how AC/DC’s music is a powerful force in the lives of millions of people. Not just me – hundreds of millions of fans around the world. I’ve been amazed by the numbers of letters I’ve had from people, not only in Australia but overseas, telling me “I used to be a heroin addict” or “I lost a leg”
or “I’ve been through a bad divorce” or “I’m just really lonely, but what’s important to me is AC/DC. They’re the one thing that gets me through the day.”
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome? Convincing key individuals this was a project they should be involved in. There are many people who’ve been connected to the band but don’t want to talk ‘out of school’ about AC/DC. The Young brothers are very powerful. It’s hard enough to write a book, but it’s doubly hard when you’re writing a book about people who don’t want to be involved in it. The Youngs are very private; they don’t cooperate with biographers. So, in the end, it comes down to your resourcefulness and your drive to get it done. I hope this stands as an example to other writers that you can write about anything, even without the cooperation of your subject, so long as you work hard enough and do it well.
The Youngs is published by Random House Australia. RRP $34.99 1
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COASTAL COUNTRY Morgan Evans loves his home town of Newcastle. “It’s the only place where surfing and country music go together,” reasons the Novocastrian. The ‘new kid on the block’ may have won the Country Music Channel’s New Oz Artist of the Year award last year but, in fact, he’s been playing for about 15 years. Morgan blames endless touring as the reason why he’s only just now releasing his (self-titled) debut album, saying, “I just never got to the right time to put out a whole album.” Mind you, he has managed to put out three number-one singles and a few hit EPs along the way. The touring he refers to has included supporting Taylor Swift, and he’s played the world’s biggest
country music festival in Nashville (CMA Music Festival) – a place where he now spends a lot of his time, and where he recorded the album. He wrote 10 of the 12 tracks himself with a little help from some Nashville locals. “Some are big time and some are just guys I met in bars,” he laughs. This year Morgan will support Alan Jackson on tour. (Don’t know him? Google him – he’s huge!) He’ll also be spending time on tour with another American star, Gretchen Wilson. “Gretchen’s great,” Morgan says. “I can’t wait to do this tour with her.” But by far the highlight this year will be seeing his ‘coastal country’ style of music hit the shelves – and the charts. And then he’ll hit the surf.
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Melbourne publisher Smudge has carved out an award-winning niche in the food-lovers’ scene. Its latest offering celebrates the mighty burger. Whether under the guise of the perfect hangover cure, a quick snack or gourmet pub grub, the burger’s popularity is undeniable. This book tracks down Victoria’s best.
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Award-winning journalist Luke Harding journeys into the dangerous and secretive world of Edward Snowden in this real-life political thriller about the former National Security Agency contractor. Leaking highly sensitive intelligence from the heart of American power, Snowden became the world’s most wanted man, hailed by some as a hero and by others as a traitor.
YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN Jean Hanff Korelitz Allen & Unwin, $29.99 A happily married therapist, who thinks she knows everything about women, men and marriage, is suddenly confronted with a violent death, a missing husband and a chain of terrible revelations, causing her to realise that perhaps she doesn’t know much at all about her own life.
A sense of opulence is always in the air at From Orient in downtown Adelaide. The restaurant’s decor references Chinese heritage while embracing modern architecture and design, leaving the interior feeling spacious and, at the same time, intimate. The floor-to-ceiling polished-steel birdcage sculptures, large, dome-shaped black lights with warm, goldenyellow interiors, luxurious marble-topped benches and highly polished floorboards all set the scene for a lavish Chinese dining experience. The provincial origins of the menu are of utmost importance to the owners, who source the freshest local and imported ingredients to prepare dishes that have unique flavours and perfect balance. A sharing dish that highlights the intricacy involved in meal preparation is shui zhu yu. Layers of fragrant, complex spices are used in this tender fish dish and three specialty chillis are imported to make its creation possible. The fish fillets are drowned in a chilli and green peppercorn broth that includes bean sprouts. Don’t leave without trying the homemade tofu spring rolls with dipping sauce – they’re among the best. fromorient.com.au
Back in the 1930s, East Sydney was a neighbourhood in which you’d have to be pretty tough or stupid to step out alone. It was seedy and downright dangerous. Fast-forward to 2014 and it’s still a fascinating part of Sydney, chockers with interesting characters and retaining much of its history. Many of its back lanes and alleys, which were once the scenes of murder and mayhem, have been given a facelift, but they could still pass for a set on a 1930s film shoot. In one of these alleys – Crown Lane, Darlinghurst – is a bar and eatery called Love, Tilly Devine, which pays homage to one of Sydney’s most notorious brothel owners, who was married to an underworld gangster known for abusing her and her working ladies. Tilly was eventually done for tax evasion and passed away a poor woman. The owners of Love, Tilly Devine, named the bar after the colourful madam in remembrance of the area’s history – many of Tilly’s girls worked the lane. Today, pull up a stool in the 40-seater bar, select from a list of more than 300 wines from the best regions around the world, or indulge in a seriously good cognac or single malt whisky. It’s just the place to impress a business associate or take a new date. And, these days, they won’t need to dodge bullets or working girls en route. lovetillydevine.com 4
Upon entering CHOW in the Darwin Waterfront Precinct and clocking the Japanese blossom mural, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in a Japanese restaurant. Then you might spot the waving fortune cat and presume it to be a blend of Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Or Malaysian. Possibly Vietnamese. The best thing is: it’s all of the above and more. CHOW is a fusion of Asian cuisine and the main focus is on fresh local produce served in a laid-back, fun atmosphere amid colourful decor. You can get everything here, from sugarcane prawns in lettuce cups with rice noodles (sounding Thai), to Saigon spring rolls (take a guess), to a Malaysian curry soup or laksa. Pair all those with the range of cooling Asian ales, whole-coconut drinks and cocktails that, well, you just need in Darwin to stay hydrated, and you’re in an Asian haven. What better place for it than a city that prides itself on its multicultural heritage? After all, Darwin is a melting pot of Asian cultures. As they say, the proof of the pudding – or the dumpling – is in the eating. Yes, Darwinians and visitors are all loving CHOW, flocking here in droves. chowdarwin.com.au
SLICE OF HEAVEN
SKYCITY Darwin Hotel within the casino complex is our northern capital’s latest five-star boutique hotel. Deep within its impressive jungle of tropical gardens (locals joke that you could drop a coin in this fertile city and it would grow) there’s now a spa and wellbeing sanctuary. Step through the doors of Lagoon Day Spa on a typically hot Darwin day and indulge in some luxurious pampering while revitalising your body and mind. Choose a treatment from the extensive list and then chill out in the adjoining relaxation rooms, where staff are happy to bring you champagne and a platter of cheese, crackers, cold meats and fruit. Why not? It’s the perfect way to spend ‘me time’. There are eight treatment rooms with private courtyards and outdoor baths, and a swimming lagoon from which the spa took its name. Try the Mud Massage Therapy, which uses clay and natural oils to detox the skin. Olive and grape seed oils are used to protect, smooth and condition, while Asian herbs containing antioxidants are used to stimulate circulation. It’s mud magic by a lagoon in Darwin’s new slice of heaven. skycitydarwin.com.au
All images in this article courtesy of Red Bull Media House
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo gets his chance at Formula 1 glory with a seat at reigning world champion team Infiniti Red Bull Racing. Stewart Bell unveils the details behind his new gig.
FAST IS WHAT Formula 1 is all about. In the motorsports industry, deals, development and on-track action occur at a very swift pace. However finding a seat at one of Formula 1’s top teams is not something that can be achieved quickly. Take, for example, reigning Constructor’s Championship titleholder Infiniti Red Bull Racing. The last time we saw a free seat there was at the end of 2008, when David Coulthard retired. Of course, it was hardly what you’d call an open opportunity, with German young gun Sebastian Vettel about to jump in, alongside Australia’s Mark Webber, to show the world just how talented they are. Four consecutive World Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships later, (2010– 2013), largely care of Vettel, Webber has left the sport for the World Endurance Championship and the abandoned seat now has a new occupant: Daniel Ricciardo. As Formula 1’s most coveted seat, it’s natural that Ricciardo is over the moon, despite the massive shoes he needs to fill. “The season ahead is going to be very challenging, but also very exciting,” said Ricciardo at the
recent launch of the company’s new RB10 race car in Jerez, Spain. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a few months now – my whole life, in a way, as well. It’s another big step in my career.” Ricciardo is not overwhelmed at all by the huge technical changes set to shake up the sport this season – the new cars feature an all-new 1.6-litre turbo V6 engine, eight-speed gearboxes and multiple energy recovery systems. “With all the rule changes, it’s about exploring new ground, so it’s challenging for everyone, but I’m sure we’re all ready and excited,” says the 24-year-old. “I think it’s a good time to change teams – what, with all the changes happening in Formula 1 in 2014. I think it’s going to level things out and, I hope, give me the best chance possible to shine.” Of course, Ricciardo’s job could also be seen as something of a ‘poisoned chalice’, with the need to measure up to a team-mate who is, for all intents and purposes, the ‘once in a generation’ driver. Despite all that, Ricciardo’s target must be to beat Vettel, who has 39 career wins, 45 pole positions and 22 fastest laps to date. He’ll be a formidable
Ricciardo is not overwhelmed at all by the huge technical changes set to shake up the sport this season.
Above: Christian Horner, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Adrian Newey at the launch of the 2014 Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10. Below: Strapping into the car for the show run in Sri Lanka.
opponent, that’s for certain. Of course, the boy from Perth – who, with his genuine, permanent big smile, is one of the most thoroughly likeable guys you’ll ever meet – is looking forward to the challenge. “I’m really excited to be alongside Sebastian [Vettel] this year; he’s achieved so much, in so little time as well,” says Ricciardo, who earned his top drive on the back of a string of mature performances last year. “To be a four-time world champion is an amazing thing and I have a lot of respect for that and a lot of respect for him. I’m hoping to learn as much as I can and hopefully challenge him, of course.” Naturally, Vettel is playing the challenge down – but you can bet that he’ll want to shade Ricciardo as quickly as he can. “It doesn’t change that much – it’s a different name and a different guy, but the team is used to working with different drivers,” says Vettel. “The first
year might be difficult for him and the team just getting to know one another, so I may have an advantage there, but he’s very talented and bright and I’m sure he will adapt quickly and the team will help him, so in the end we are the strongest team that we can be.” It’s going to be an interesting battle, but one that is not likely to spark up in the same way that Vettel and former team-mate Webber did. Ricciardo, though highly competitive, is just not wired the same way as Webber. Infiniti Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner can already see that his new charge is fitting in well. “Daniel is going to be on a a steep learning curve and he’s going to be rated against Sebastian, which will be tough,” says Horner. “However, he’s approaching it with just the right attitude. He’s looking to learn and benefit from how Sebastian operates, and fundamentally Daniel is 9
DAN RICCIARDO: THE STEPS TO FORMULA 1 very fast. I think he could throw up some surprise results this year. I think he has real potential to be a star of the future.” After three pre-season tests – one in Jerez, Spain, and two in Bahrain – everything gets underway at round one in Australia. It really is a fairytale start for Ricciardo and a homecoming of sorts, as the sport’s newest megastar. “Being the sole Australian driver and having moved up to the top team on the grid, there’s going to be more attention around me,” Ricciardo says. “I’m aware of that and I just have to use it to my advantage. There will be a lot of positive energy and I have to surround myself with that and use it on the track.” Ricciardo will need everything he can get against Vettel – and if he needs some last-minute inspiration he can always look at his helmet, which features a rather courageous animal called the honey badger. “It’s supposed to be the most fearless creature in the animal kingdom,” explains Ricciardo. “When you look at it, he seems quite cute and cuddly, but as soon as someone crosses his territory in a way he doesn’t like, he turns into a bit of a savage and he’ll go after anything – even tigers and pythons. He turns very quickly, but he’s a good guy.” In a nutshell, that is Ricciardo: nice guy out of the car; and a fearless wild animal who will go after anything once the visor goes down. He embodies the Aussie fighting spirit in a way that really makes you proud.
2013 Ricciardo’s second full season of Formula 1 – mature race performances and consistently outperforms his team-mate. F1: Scuderia Toro Rosso, 14th, 20 points 2012 Ricciardo’s first full season of Formula 1 – proves himself quickly over one lap. F1: Scuderia Toro Rosso, 18th, 10 points 2011 Ricciardo steps up to Formula 1 with (now-defunct) backmarkers HRT F1 Team. F1: Scuderia Toro Rosso, HRT F1 Team, 27th, 0 points Formula Renault 3.5: 5th, 144 points (2 wins, 2 pole positions, 3 fastest laps) 2010 Ricciardo misses out on the Formula Renault 3.5 title by two points. Formula Renault 3.5: 2nd, 136 points (4 wins, 8 pole positions, 4 fastest laps) 2009 Ricciardo impresses as British Formula 3 Champion. Formula Renault 3.5: 2 races British F3: Champion, 275 points (6 wins, 6 pole positions, 4 fastest laps) 2008 Ricciardo picks up backing from Red Bull and clinches Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup Championship – shows the energy drink giant he’s capable. F3 Masters: SG Formula, DNF Formula Renault 2.0 Euro: 2nd, 136 points (6 wins, 5 pole positions, 5 fastest laps) Formula Renault 2.0 WEC: Champion, 192 points (8 wins, 10 pole positions, 7 fastest laps) F3 Euro (R): 2 races
Below: Ricciardo demonstrating at the Red Bull show run in Colombo, Sri Lanka, December 2013.
2007 Ricciardo moves to Europe, financed by his family, and shows promise. Formula Renault 2.0 Euro: 4 races Formula Renault 2.0 Italy: 6th, 196 points (1 podium) 2006 Ricciardo gets on the international circuit via Formula BMW. Formula BMW World: 5th Formula BMW Asia: 3rd, 231 points (2 wins, 1 pole position, 3 fastest laps) Formula BMW UK: 2 races, 20th, 3 points 2005 Ricciardo moves up to cars via Formula Ford. Formula Ford Australia: 3 races Karting 2000–2004 Karting
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Victorian Michelle Hespe marvels at how much adventure can you cram in at Falls Creek and Mount Hotham resorts … even if you’re not skiing or boarding.
FALLS CREEK and Mount Hotham in Victoria’s High Country both have a great rep for skiing and snowboarding, but what else can you get stuck into while playing in the white stuff this winter? Both Mount Hotham and Falls Creek are small ski villages compared with the larger resorts in Australia, such as Thredbo and Perisher, but that’s what makes them so accessible – and so much fun. You can ski-in/ski-out of many of the apartments and hotels, and their highest summits are similar, with Mount Hotham tipping the clouds at 1861 metres and Falls Creek’s highest lifted point maxing out at 1780 metres. Mount Hotham village sits at a height of 1750 metres, making it the secondhighest resort village in Australia (after Charlotte Pass), while Falls Creek village is perched at about 1500 metres above sea level. One thing is certain: when you’re up on either mountain you won’t run low on motivation to get out and amongst it. If you’re heading south from New South Wales, Falls Creek is an exhilarating three-hour drive through the mountains from Albury, a popular spot for Falls-bound snow junkies to fly into. The fine wine, craft beer and top-quality produce along the way means there are plenty of reasons to fit in other indulgent itineraries en route, including the beautifully lush town of Mount Beauty and the wine-laden villages in the King Valley. If you’re
coming from Melbourne, it’s only a four-and-a-halfhour drive from the Victorian capital. It’s worth a stopover in Bright, a picturesque town positioned right on the Owens River, with its own boutique brewery and plenty of cafés, restaurants and stores.
It’s all in the grooming Falls Creek is known for its off-piste skiing in the mountains surrounding the Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley lakes. Keen anglers pull fat brown and rainbow trout from the alpine waters below. The thick snowfall on high is broken up by perfect niches in which to rest and take in the alpine views. One great way to get to know the slopes is at night when all is quiet in the peaks – apart from the low-pitched engines of Falls Creek’s 14 snow groomers. These mighty machines make their way up and down the slopes at night, smoothing out the mountains until they look like they’re covered in beautifully soft, corduroy, raked cream – every cut, pile and divot made by skis, snowboards, snow bikes and snowmobiles the day before is wiped from existence. You can make a booking to join the groomers in a ride-along at the resort. Peering across these quiet, still mountains at night, it’s easy to imagine how Falls Creek might have been before the ‘begoggled’ powder hounds sought it out.
One thing is certain: When you’re up on either mountain you won’t run low on motivation to get out and amongst it.
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All Souls St Gabriels School is a co-educational day and boarding school fashioned in the spirit of the bush friendly, welcoming and hard working. We are one of Queenslandâ€™s oldest and finest boarding schools. Set in historic Charters Towers, we are away from the city stresses and strains, yet we have a proud academic, sporting and cultural heritage. Small classes, a safe environment, loads of space both in and out of the dormitories, an inclusive community, great boarding staff and dedicated teachers makes All Souls St Gabriels School a school you should seriously consider before you make a commitment to boarding. No matter where you live.
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8 reasons to Meet Somewhere Fresh in the heart of southeast queensland c ountry
The nearby settlements of Mount Beauty, Bogong Village and Falls Creek once housed workers on the Kiewa hydro-electric scheme, which was established in the late 1930s. The scheme is the largest in Victoria and was created specifically for power generation, diverting and harnessing water from the Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley branches of the East Kiewa River, which rises on the Bogong High Plains, and the West Kiewa River, which rises near Mount Hotham. The Rocky Valley Dam forms the main reservoir for the Kiewa hydro-electric scheme and can hold 28,000 megalitres (28 billion litres) of water – or, if you like, the equivalent of about 11,200 Olympic swimming pools. For lovers of snow, this means that even if Falls Creek does not experience big snow dumps, snow can be manufactured using the 230 snow guns throughout the resort. In 2010, Falls Creek expanded its snow-making system and now has an area of 110 hectares for snow-making, meaning the resort can open earlier and have the best possible snow cover throughout the entire season.
On yer bike Another way to get off your skis, but still get down the slopes, is on a snow bike. Increasingly popular on the mountains during winter, riding a snow bike is a strange feeling at first, balancing on a lowslung bike seat attached to two small inline skis. But after many awkward side-veering moments – as you try not to take out any innocent bystanders on your wheel-less pushie – you might get it. Who would have thought it, back when there was no-one up on the mountain except for the hydro-electric workers, bereft even of skis to enjoy the slopes? Now you can also snowboard, toboggan, ride a snowmobile or snow bike … or even be dragged along by a team of superenthusiastic huskies.
Get hairy on Hotham Legs burning after several days of traversing the flat bits, labouring back uphill to collect your yard-saled pole and goggles, or après-ski tabletop moshing? Then take a load off. With Australian Sled Dog Tours you can get behind a train of super-keen, steaming, slobbering, furry dogs and be hauled across the snow for a four-kilometre ride. The tours offer an insight into how life was on the mountains before all the lifts and pomas went in to make skiing more of a pleasure than a heart attack. The six rambunctious Siberian huskies reliably deliver a tour that you won’t easily forget. Think of it as the dilettante’s Iditarod.
Kat skiing At Mount Hotham, guests with a valid lift pass can also jump aboard a Kat (snowcat, that is) and get a lift up the hill in a comfy eight-seater cabin. It’s still possible to seek out a black diamond rush in pristine powder, carving through the back country and 15
jibing off errant trees. It’s cheating a bit, but when you’re the one up the top, swooping through snowfall that no-one else has had a chance to touch, it’s difficult to care.
Get to the chopper! If you really can’t decide between Falls Creek and Mount Hotham, why not be greedy and have them both? Jump on board a helicopter with Helilink and you can fly from Falls Creek to Mount Hotham, or vice versa. Once delivered you’re left to enjoy the slopes for four hours before pick-up for just $130 return. All you need is your gear and a valid lift pass for one or other of the resorts.
Night skiing At the end of the day it’s not all about après-ski sundowners. You can continue enjoying the slopes at Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, as both resorts have introduced popular night skiing sessions in the past few years. At Mount Hotham night skiing runs from Wednesday to Saturday from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. At Falls Creek it rocks from Monday to Thursday. Just rug up, rock up and buy your night skiing ticket before heading out under the artificial arc lamps. It’s an unmissable way to soak up the atmosphere of the mountains in a different light, and there are fewer fellow skiers to compete with. The rush of night air on your face as you fly through the glare below the black-ink heavens is worth every dollar – and it will give your liver a rest!
Above and below: Fun for the whole family at Falls Creek; Mt Hotham village.
Elk at Falls Creek Smackbang in the middle of town so you can ski straight out on to one of the villages’ main roads and down to the lifts, Elk Lodge is friendly, cosy and has its own stylish restaurant with generous, creative dishes that hit the spot after a big day on the slopes. The rooms are from twin-share up to eight-person. firstname.lastname@example.org Staying in Hotham Hotham has a range of accommodation options to suit every snow holiday need, from self-contained luxury apartments and cosy chalets to shared lodge rooms, there’s something to ensure your dream holiday is all it should be. Save money by packaging lift passes, snowsports lessons and equipment hire with select accommodation. email@example.com
EAT & DRINK
Feathertops at Falls Creek A charming bar and restaurant with generous, delicious meals. Cosy and inviting, meet some locals or other visitors while enjoying pretzels and mulled wine at the bar. feathertoplodge.com.au Dinner Plain Hotel An iconic bar, bistro and live entertainment venue. Family-friendly with hearty pub meals and great pizza. dinnerplainhotel.com.au
For all activities in Falls Creek fallscreek.com.au For all activites in Hotham mthotham.com.au 16
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Celebrate Australian wine
The theme of this year’s Aussie Wine Month is ‘Regional Heroes’. Wine writer Winsor Dobbin presents this guide to sampling some of the country’s best.
AUSSIE WINE MONTH runs from May 1–31, and is a celebration of all that is great about Australian wine, with more than 100 events held across the country. Yarra Valley, Victoria Just an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD, the Yarra Valley is home to some of the most influential winemakers in Australia and is driving the trend towards more elegant, drink-now wine styles. Known for its sparkling wines, stellar Chardonnays and outstanding Pinot Noirs, the Yarra Valley was first planted with grapes back in 1838. It was in the 1960s and ’70s, however, that the region blossomed, thanks to a range of climatic influences. Today, the Yarra Valley offers a country wine experience with a dash of city sophistication – there are plenty of top-notch places to eat, trendy craft breweries and cellar door tastings. The major producers include Coldstream Hills, Oakridge, Domaine Chandon, De Bortoli Yarra Valley,
Innocent Bystander, Punt Road, TarraWarra Estate and Yering Station; boutique producers also thrive, including more recent arrivals such as Hoddles Creek and Soumah. What’s new: The Upper Yarra is producing cool-climate wines of considerable elegance, while Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon both thrive in the warmer pockets. Alternative grape varieties Pinot Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier and Savagnin have also proved successful. Key destinations: De Bortoli Yarra Valley boasts tasting facilities, its own cheese maturation room and the popular Locale restaurant. Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander in Healesville encompasses a stylish cellar door, café, restaurant, coffee roaster and bakery and serves super pizzas. TarraWarra Estate combines wine tastings with an impressive art gallery – the TarraWarra Museum of Art – and an excellent restaurant. Oakridge recently completed a cellar door/restaurant rebuild and offers stunning Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, as well as magnificent views and fine dining.
Yarra Valley 18
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Margaret River, WA A three-hour drive south of Perth, Margaret River is one of Australia’s most stunning wine regions – both visually and because of the quality of wine produced in a climate similar to that of France’s Bordeaux. The overall production may be small, but Margaret River accounts for more than 15 per cent of Australia’s premium wines. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the star performers and Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blends have become the region’s signature. The big names include Voyager Estate, Leeuwin Estate, Vasse Felix, Cullen, Cape Mentelle, Howard Park, Devil’s Lair, Moss Wood, Pierro, Stella Bella, Brookland Valley and Xanadu; noteworthy boutique operations are McHenry Hohnen, Edwards, Flametree, Mantra/Wine by Brad, Woodlands and Fraser Gallop Estate. With dozens of cellar doors worth visiting, make time for leisurely exploration. The vineyards extend 60 kilometres to the north of the Margaret River township and 40 kilometres to the south. There’s a laidback ambience and many surf beaches and national parks to enjoy. Boutique breweries are also extremely popular. What’s new: The region is the venue for one of Australia’s newest food and wine festivals, the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, which attracts top chefs and wine experts from around the globe. Stormflower Vineyard is a new producer at Wilyabrup; star eatery Gnarabar has started serving lunches daily at the Evans & Tate cellar door; and Palmer Wines is now open for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Key destinations: Vasse Felix, the first commercial vineyard and winery in the region, has a cellar door, restaurant and art gallery in a lovely setting. Voyager Estate, with its breathtaking Cape Dutch architecture, overlooks vines, rose gardens and sweeping lawns. Cullen has a lovely dining room that looks out over the vines and the dishes are all either organic or biodynamic. Leeuwin Estate is a venue for regular concerts and is home to a topnotch restaurant.
Barossa Valley, SA The Barossa Valley is arguably the bestknown New World wine region on the globe. Home to world-renowned producers Penfolds, Henschke and Jacob’s Creek,
Barossa Valley it has been named on The New York Times’ list of ‘must-see’ destinations in Australia – and it’s just an hour north of Adelaide. The entire Barossa Valley region, which also takes in the cooler Eden Valley, is a gourmet’s delight with its gutsy wines, hearty food and German heritage. The warm Barossa Valley is synonymous with big red wines, usually made from Shiraz and Grenache, while the Eden Valley is best known for Rieslings. The Barossa Valley was established in the 1800s by Germanspeaking families, and many of today’s winemakers can trace their heritage back six generations. Some of the vines here are among the oldest in the world. Leading wineries include Penfolds, Wolf Blass, Yalumba, Jacob’s Creek, Henschke, St Hallett, Peter Lehmann and Grant Burge; smaller producers include Elderton, Turkey Flat, Charles Melton, Schild Estate and Torbreck.
What’s new: While grape varieties such as Shiraz and Grenache continue to dominate, many Barossa growers are experimenting with Italian, Spanish and Portuguese grape varieties, including Sangiovese and Tempranillo, which are proving highly popular. Also check out the new Six Southern Steps touring trail launched by six boutique wineries and the new Italian cooking school at Casa Carboni. Key destinations: Artisans of Barossa is a new tasting facility shared by some of the region’s smaller winemakers. The historic Penfolds winery and cellar door at Nuriootpa allows guests to blend their own wine, which is then bottled for them to take home with their name on the label as assistant winemaker. The Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre has a vineyard featuring rows of several grape varieties and an interpretative gallery, while iconic Seppeltsfield Estate at Marananga has a collection of fortified 21
FAST FACT Australia has commercial wineries in every state and territory (except NT) and is the world’s seventh-biggest wine producer after France, Italy, Spain, the US, China and Argentina. In Australia, the ratio of red grape plantings to white is 60:40.
wines dating back to 1878. It offers several different tasting options, including a new one featuring six different fortified wines matched with canapés.
Hunter Valley, NSW Two hours north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s busiest wine regions and is in a constant state of activity with its many festivals and tasting events. It boasts more than 60 cafés and restaurants and close to 120 cellar doors. Hope Estate, Tempus Two and Bimbadgen Estate all host regular music concerts, often featuring major international stars. In this region that has been making wine since 1828, the best-known cellar doors include Tyrrell’s, McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant, Hungerford Hill, Tulloch, Drayton’s, Brokenwood, Wyndham Estate, Tempus Two and Lindeman’s, but there are also dozens of family-owned boutique wine producers. The region is renowned for its age-worthy Semillon and Shiraz, but varieties such as Verdelho and Chardonnay also thrive here. What’s new: After one of the earliest vintages on record, chardonnays, semillons and verdelhos from the 2014 vintage should be available at the cellar door by the time you read this. Grapes were picked as early as the second week of January and winemakers were delighted with the fruit quality. Key destinations: The Small Winemakers Centre offers the opportunity to sample regional star wines by the glass. It pays to take some of the Hunter Valley’s roads less travelled to explore slower-paced sub-regions, such as Lovedale, and BrokeFordwich, where you’ll find outstanding producer Margan and biodynamic pioneer Krinklewood. Muse at Hungerford Hill, Bistro Molines and Margan are excellent options for food-and-wine matching.
Tasmania Tasmania has been described as ‘the new champagne region’. With cool-climate wines in vogue, Australia’s island state is producing world-class wines made mainly from pinot noir and chardonnay. Varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris and even Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon also shine. 22
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Leading sparkling wine producers include House of Arras/Bay of Fires, Jansz, Clover Hill and Kreglinger and the majority of grapes are grown in the north of this dramatically beautiful destination. Tamar and Pipers River stand-outs include Pipers Brook, Jansz, Dalrymple, Delamere and rising stars Sinapius, Holm Oak, Stoney Rise, Moores Hill, Goaty Hill, Velo and Tamar Ridge. On the east coast, check out Freycinet, Milton and Spring Vale. The capital of Hobart is surrounded by three wine-producing valleys: the Derwent Valley to the north, Coal River Valley to the east and the Huon Valley to the south. What’s new: The Huon Valley has become something of a wine hotspot with new cellar doors opening at Elsewhere Vineyard and Two Bud Spur to join longtime favourites Home Hill, Hartzview and Panorama. New cider tasting rooms include Willie Smith’s, Frank’s and Pagan. Key destinations: Josef Chromy has an excellent cellar door and restaurant complex overlooking a lake. Moorilla Estate is part of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) complex and is also home to fine-diner The Source, a wine bar and microbrewery. The Coterie is a new tasting facility and wine industry hangout at Coal Valley Vineyard near Cambridge.
Coonawarra, SA Located on the Limestone Coast, Coonawarra may be one of Australia’s most remote wine-producing districts but it punches well above its weight. Magnificent Cabernet and Shiraz – and some pretty decent white wines, too – are the result of a unique terroir that has fertile red-brown 24
topsoil on a white limestone base. Grapes have been grown here since the 1890s and there’s a busy calendar of festivals, events and wine tastings throughout the year. You’ll find some of the biggest names in Australian wine here, including Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Yalumba The Menzies, Katnook Estate and Brands Laira, as well as smaller stars such as Balnaves, Majella, Bowen Estate, Leconfield and Zema Estate. What’s new: Penola, the major town in the district, has a new meeting place in Penola Station restaurant, which specialises
in food-and-wine matching, while the Majella cellar door has a new look, and Parker Coonawarra Estate is being spruced up after a change of ownership. Key destinations: Wynns Coonawarra Estate has an interpretative centre that takes visitors on an interactive wine journey. Pipers of Penola is run by a member of one of the district’s most famous winemaking families, while Katnook Estate has a historic but beautifully restored tasting facility, along with some rarities on offer, including aged Sauvignon Blancs.
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Michelle Smart visits Noosa, on the Sunshine Coast, which plays host to one of the most popular food and wine festivals in Australia.
THE TREES ON Noosa’s Hastings Street are all draped in a jaw-dropping spectacle of fairy lights. They literally drip with strands of glittering golden stars, creating a flickering tunnel of festivity where people wander, chat, sit, drink and eat. The footpath is abuzz – it’s as vibrant as the sparkling lights – with people dining alfresco or propped up on stools in the windows of the many open-plan bars, cafés and restaurants. It’s difficult not to get excited about being in Noosa – and that’s without even checking out nature’s many offerings, which are every which way
you turn, in the form of lakes, rivers, beaches and inlets. Sprawling Noosa National Park wraps its way around this beautiful pocket of coastal paradise. The park can be savoured on the five walking tracks that wind through thick bushland and rainforest or snake around the cliffs and beaches. The tracks are marked on a map at base camp: Palm Grove Circuit; Tanglewood Track; Noosa Hill Track; Coastal Track and Alexandria Bay Track. They range from an easy stroll of one kilometre to a more advanced walk of 4.6 kilometres, and all of them
can be completed in a few hours. There’s an abundance of birdlife and many walkers regularly come across koalas and goannas. The park is also home to endangered wildlife such as black cockatoos, ground parrots and red goshawks. Another way to make the most of nature in Noosa (while having a good peek at the many incredible waterfront houses) is to give stand-up paddleboarding a go. It’s a sport that’s growing in popularity and it’s not difficult to get the hang of it. Despite being great exercise that helps to build core strength (the stomach and leg
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muscles are used to maintain balance while the arms get an ongoing workout), it’s very relaxing. Noosa Stand Up Paddle takes groups out regularly on Noosa River. There’s something magical about paddleboarding when the sun is shining and the water is glistening just below your feet – it’s as close as you’ll get to walking on water. It usually doesn’t take long before everyone in the group gets the paddling action down pat, and then you can chat to one another as you glide gracefully along the river, past bushland, party boats, other paddleboarders (some with dogs aboard), anglers and award-winning waterfront houses – a spectacular panorama that sums up the outdoorsy Noosa lifestyle.
Paddleboarding when the sun is shining and the water is glistening just below your feet, is as close as you’ll get to walking on water. Feasting in Noosa Fresh produce and farmers’ markets are a big part of life in Noosa and the surrounding regions. With such an abundance of incredible produce available in the local area and coming in from the nearby coastal and hinterland towns, it’s no surprise the place is a foodies’ haven hosting a world-class food and wine festival. This year, about 150 chefs and winemakers are coming to town for the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival, and the activities and events are enough to make your head spin. “The aim for 2014, is to strip away some of the formality and make it one big party,” says festival director Jim Berardo. Getting into the spirit of food, something different to do while you’re in town is a cooking class. Gail Rast is as passionate a cook as you’ll ever meet, and from her beautiful Noosa home, surrounded by national park, she
runs 10 different cooking classes, from pasta-making to mastering a simple Asian dinner party, cocktail foods and barbecued seafood. Gail’s pasta-making class is a winner, taking students step by step through using a pasta machine and making three simple, delicious sauces and a dessert to boot. Students invariably leave with a bounce in their step and a pasta machine under their arm, ready to head home and create one of those staples in life that is so much better when homemade. However as a tourist, eating out is what Noosa is really all about. There’s a bounty of exceptional restaurants in the region, but some of the top ones are right in the middle of town. Berardo’s Bistro on the Beach has one of the most spectacular views you could ask for. The tables are practically on the sand, with only a wind- and sunworn wooden boardwalk separating the clean-lined, airy dining space from
Top to bottom, then following spread: Berardo’s Bistro on the Beach; paddleboarding at Noosa Stand Up Paddle; Moya Valley Chicken, Hervey Bay Scallops, Kimchi and Samphire at Berardo’s Restaurant and Bar; Noosa Heads from Little Cove. 29
the stunning expanse of aquamarine ocean. The waves gently crash barely 20 metres away. The fare is fresh, flavoursome and simple in its approach, yet beautifully presented in pared-back, beachside café style. The dishes are just crying out to be matched with the enticing selection of wines on the menu, which changes, in turn, with the finest local produce available. Oysters and champagne are a great way to kick off a long lunch here (it can’t be anything but long with that view) and there are always a few fabulous types of ‘fish of the day’ available to ensure you get to know the local seafood.
Berardo’s ‘upstairs’ (as locals refer to Berardo’s Restaurant & Bar) is a timeless, elegant space that wouldn’t look out of place in Florida or even Savannah. With an abundance of white plantation shutters opening onto a swathe of fairy-lit treetops, and a smooth, sweeping oak bar that took 20 men to install, the restaurant is an ode to style, fine dining and exquisite service. The meals here focus on the best quality produce available, meticulously prepared, executed with clever flourishes and served in unusual vessels and plates. The flavours will have you thinking on them long after you’ve
scooped up the last morsel. Chef Tim Montgomery, whose passion and talent for food and fine dining shines through in every dish, has recently joined the food and wine festival team. Locale is the newbie on Hastings Street. It’s an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ tucked into a tropical garden that’s on its way to becoming a jungle. Though it’s a large space, the dim, golden lighting and dark timber laser-cut panelled walls give the Italian restaurant a moody, intimate feel. The dishes have classic Italian roots, but with the use of beautiful local produce and some sophisticated modern flourishes the meals raise the bar on Italian food as
you know it. The portions are generous – you may need to go for a stroll along the beach afterwards. Alternatively, on the way home, stop at one of the many cool wine bars under the fairy lights for a digestive or last hurrah. Small bars are just another thing that Noosa does well.
Like everything in Noosa, there’s so much choice. But don’t worry – there’s always tomorrow. No matter what experiences you choose during your time in Noosa, one thing’s for sure: Noosa is a feast for the senses and it’s gearing up to be one incredible party come festival time.
One thing’s for sure: Noosa is a feast for the senses and it’s gearing up to be one incredible party come festival time.
Round-up GET THERE
From Sunshine Coast Airport, rent a hire car or take a taxi into Noosa. If you want to take the more luxurious, personalised option, call Private Airport Transfers and chill out in the back of a swanky Mercedes. privatetransfers.com.au
Seahaven Noosa These newly renovated and refurbished apartments are absolute beachfront. Clean lines, sophisticated, stylish decor and a lovely personal concierge service make Seahaven a popular place to stay. Step out the door onto Hastings Street, with its incredible offering of cafés, restaurants and bars. seahavennoosa.com.au
Berardo’s Restaurant & Bar Berardo’s Bistro on the Beach berardos.com.au Locale: localenoosa.com.au 10 Hastings Cafe 10hastingsstreet.com.au
Noosa Stand Up Paddle noosastanduppaddle.com.au Life’s a Feast cooking classes with Gail Rast lifesafeast.com.au Noosa International Food & Wine Festival May 15–18, 2014, noosafoodandwine.com.au For more information: visitnoosa.com.au
AG-TRAINING: UNEVEN GROUND Dirt on your skin, grit in your soul and persistence are prerequisites for studying farming, discovers Sue Webster.
ustralian farmers might have a regular grizzle about unpredictable weather, ungifted politicians and an uncompromising dollar â€“ but at least theyâ€™re not trying to run agricultural training in this country. Hereâ€™s the good and bad news for the future of farming in Australia. Bad news: Australian farming needs 2200 agricultural graduates annually. It produces fewer than 800. Good news: 2013 saw a 15 to 20 per cent increase in university agriculture enrolments. Preliminary figures for 2014 also appear up. Bad news: The figures are skewed by enrolments in allied courses such as environmental studies and land management. Agriculture-specific enrolments have been decreasing. Good news: Our decline is less than that reported in both Canada and the Netherlands. Bad news: Studying agriculture in Australia is expensive. Universities rank agricultural science degrees in the same fee band as mathematics, statistics, engineering and computing, which is about $8300 to $8600 in the first year for three to four years of study.
Good news: Some regional universities offer diploma-level tuition costing about $5500 to $6000 for the first year for three years of study. Some TAFE-based courses are cheaper still: Diplomas or Advanced Diplomas in agriculture, horticulture, animal studies or agribusiness cost $1500 to $2000 per year; certificates in related disciplines hover around $1000. Bad news: You earn less with dirt under your fingernails. According to Australian Government data from August 2012, agricultural scientists averaged $1112 in weekly earnings, compared with the average weekly wage of $950. However, if they channelled their earth sciences passion into geology, or life sciences into biology, they would average $1762 or $1149, respectively. Good news: The on-farm agriculture sector is forecast to lose at least 30 per cent of its aging workforce over the next 10 years. It will need new blood. Bad news: The jobs are not out there. In the decade to 2008, employment in agriculture fell 14.8 per cent, or 62,900 jobs, to 373,800 people. By 2013, the total employed was down to approximately 316,800. And job projections are heading
Australian farming needs 2200 agricultural graduates annually. But it produces fewer than 800. 32
FAST FACT Farming is a chick magnet. The proportion of females enrolled in Australian agricultural courses continues to surpass males. In 2011, the proportion was 138 per cent.
CITY STUDIES FAST FACT Compared with some of our agricultural trading competitors, Australian farmers are less educated. The labour force with university degrees in Australia is 8 per cent; while in the US it is 19 per cent.
lower, and predicted to decline by 13,500 or 4.2 per cent by 2017. Good news: There are different jobs out there. Technology and farm consolidations are reducing the need for field workers, but there is actually a shift in demand towards higher skilled employees. Bad news: Some agricultural and horticultural training faculties are closing. In 2013, the University of Ballarat shut its TAFE certificate courses in horticulture and farming. In South Australia, TAFE head teachers have reportedly been instructed to accept no new enrolments in some primary industry and environmental management classes. In East Gippsland, Advance TAFE shut its agriculture campus last December with a bleak statement:
“The closure reflects the change in demand for agricultural training across the state and the reforms ... that compel ongoing viability and sustainability of courses.” Good news: New teaching facilities have opened across the country. In 2012, Charles Sturt University opened its $48.6-million National Life Sciences Hub. Last year, Queensland University of Technology incorporated earth and environmental science students into other science disciplines in its new $230-million Science and Engineering Centre, integrating life sciences with engineering, mathematics and technology. Educators are introducing adaptable courses, virtual classrooms and online training for onsite jobs ... when the NBN arrives. Bad news: Australia is facing an urban drift that is seeing fewer people living in rural areas. Those who remain face difficulties in accessing education. Good news: What’s the definition of a rich farmer? One married to a nurse or a teacher. A 1994 survey by Australian agricultural research company Kondinin Group found on half the farms there was a spouse or partner with a tertiary qualification.
Statistics aside, for one family living in Victoria’s north-west, the business of tertiary education is a philosophical challenge, as well as an economic one. An agricultural scientist, Jon*, knew he was in for a big financial hit when his daughter opted for a vet science degree in another state. “There are no tertiary institutions within 100 kilometres. The nearest that teaches anything related to agriculture or vet science is more than 200 kilometres away – ironically, in the city,” he says. “My daughter moved into the college, where accommodation and board costs $15,000 per year for the first year and $6000 per year afterwards. If we lived in Melbourne my daughter could live at home, which would save the family thousands. “People who develop schemes to ‘assist’ students do so from a city perspective. For example, students have to find money to live on. If you are studying in a small town, the opportunities for finding employment are extremely limited. “And courses related to agriculture are disproportionately expensive for the lifetime earnings they generate for the graduates. I suspect it comes from the misguided notion of the rich graziers’ kids doing their degree at some ivy-clad university ... if only they knew.” *Real name withheld
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SCHOOLIES There is no shortage of schoolies trips available for hardpartying school leavers, but Unleashed Travel offers a trip with a difference – a chance to give back through charity. Danielle Chenery finds out more.
choolies is all about school leavers descending on party destinations such as the Gold Coast in droves, fuelled by booze, drugs and the desire for some hedonistic fun. Right? Well, times are changing, according to Unleashed Travel CEO Jot Lynas, who has organised trips for more than 10,000 schoolies to date. Apparently teens these days are interested in a more rewarding schoolies experience with the chance to learn more about other cultures and even partake in some charity work. “We saw a gap in the market for more meaningful trips. There is a lot of negativity around schoolies, and I thought we could do a good job of taking kids away, without their parents, in a safe environment,” says Lynas, adding he wants to inspire kids to keep travelling and exploring other cultures. “While we’ve witnessed an increase in the number of teens heading overseas at this time of year, many of these students are now seeking something more than just lying on a beach by day and partying by 36
night. Our alcohol-free packages sold out in less than two months,” says Lynas. As a result, companies such as Unleashed Travel are creating trips that provide cultural experiences where teens can experience day-to-day life in the villages of Fiji; volunteer their time in Cambodian orphanages; or try their hand at community building and elephant keeper programs in Thailand. In 2013, Unleashed Travel launched Australia’s first teen volunteering adventure into Cambodia. The package aims to open the eyes of students to a country whose communities go without the ‘everyday normalities’ that teens in Australia take for granted, such as a steady education and a family home. Students travel to Cambodia and provide assistance to a Siem Reap orphanage and school. Teaching the local children English is a highlight. Lynas says Unleashed Travel chose Cambodia because it’s “one of those countries that is in great need of help and assistance”.
“We’ve joined forces with an Australian woman who is building a childcare centre, so older kids can go to school and get an education instead of staying home to look after their younger siblings,” he explains. School leaver Jordyn Hivon took the trip to Cambodia in 2013. She left Sydney on November 22 and arrived back on December 7. She found out about the trip because Unleashed Travel took part in a careers day at her school, which also included information about schoolies trips. “I never wanted to go on schoolies,” she says. “But I fell in love with everything Unleashed Travel was saying. I got the brochure and called Mum and within one week I was all set to go,” she says. “We were there to teach English. We volunteered at the orphanage five days a week. Some children were younger than one, while others were up to about 17 years old,” she says. “It was a huge eye-opener. The kids taught me so much, even though I only knew a handful of words in their language.
â€œWe saw a gap in the market for more meaningful trips.â€?
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They were really conscientious with their work – they did their homework and were really happy to show the teachers everything they’d done,” she says. “The charity element is all I wanted from schoolies, and teaching English is something I knew I could do.” It wasn’t all pleasant though, remembers Hivon. “We had a debrief at the start of the trip to deal with things we were seeing, like homeless people and stray animals. And we didn’t have the same comforts as at home,” she says. “And while the scenery was not beautiful [in a traditional sense] it was beautiful in its own way, and it was the people that made it beautiful. Although it was confronting to be in the developing world, it was worth it,” she adds. So why the change in mood? Are kids these days less selfish than in the past, or has it become more fashionable to care about people other than yourself? Lynas
thinks the answer lies in better awareness. “Students these days are more aware and are looking for alternatives,” he says. “Everyone goes to university these days, so they are looking for something extra to add to their résumé and set themselves apart from others.” “It’s about giving back to communities and gaining real-life experiences. They get a lot out of it – especially personal development. So many kids are just not interested in going to the Gold Coast and getting pissed.” Lynas says he expects the Cambodia trip to grow in popularity and become a favourite among 2014 school leavers, similar to the success of its alcohol-free package to Hideaway Island in Vanuatu in 2013. “We organised an alcohol-free trip to Vanuatu and it sold out. We could have had a full volunteer program every day with that group of kids.”
“It’s about giving back to communities and gaining real-life experiences. They get a lot out of it – especially personal development. So many kids are just not interested in going to the Gold Coast and getting pissed.”
Above: Unleashed Travel crew member Josh Moore (white singlet) with some of the children; Top right: Jordyn Hivon found her Cambodian experience invaluable. 39
insidemining Issue 10 – April 2014
Mental health issues in mining on the rise
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NUCLEAR DEBATE IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA The business community in South Australia is pushing the government to capitalise on the state’s rich uranium reserves and consider nuclear power as a possible solution to rising energy prices and global warming. Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) state secretary Peter Malinauskas recently added his voice to the Business SA campaign and spoke out against the government’s stance on developing a nuclear industry in South Australia. “I believe climate change is a real challenge that we need to face up to, and nuclear energy can be a safe source of base load power, with zero carbon emissions,’’ he told local paper The Advertiser.
see the importance of at least investigating the possibility. “For electricity prices across the state, which are so high, we ought to at least invest in finding out whether in the long term our power issues and energy security, as a state, are going to improve and be more affordable long term by investigating nuclear power,’’ the spokesman said.
THE END OF COAL SEAM GAS?
“Thus, I find it contradictory and irresponsible when I see the Greens and environmentalists outright opposing nuclear power. We should have a mature debate based on science and economics to determine if a nuclear industry is viable in South Australia.’’ It’s not just the Greens who oppose the move; the Labor party recently affirmed its opposition to a nuclear power plant and waste storage facility in the state, and the Liberals said there is “no support for any progression of this industry”. Business SA wishes to reopen the debate, and the Family First party seems to agree, with a spokesman telling The Advertiser that while they don’t currently support the development of nuclear power, they can
In a huge blow to the coal seam gas (CSG) industry, an investigation by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) into a project by Santos near Narrabri in northern New South Wales found that a nearby aquifer had been contaminated, with uranium levels measured at 20 times those deemed safe for drinking water. Santos was fined $1500 – a trifling amount, which EPA chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford said ‘’reflects the level of environmental impact, which was small”. Local farmers aren’t quite so nonchalant about the finding and are demanding Santos be forced to pack up and leave the area. Beyond that, they wish to see the industry banned throughout Australia. “If this is the sort of damage that CSG activities cause in the early phases of exploration, then the amount of damage that would occur if Santos went to full production with 850 wells or more is unthinkable,” said Anne Kennedy, a farmer from Coonamble. “Two weeks ago, at Narrabri, over 600 people voted against CSG in the region and we’re calling on the National Party today to support that resolution and join with us to shut down CSG in north-west New South Wales,” she said in early March when local farmers travelled to Parliament House in Sydney to plead their case. New South Wales Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham agrees, saying that 3
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confirmation of aquifer contamination in Narrabri was ‘’game over for coal seam gas’’. The Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council, near Coonawarra, South Australia, is keeping a close eye on what happens in New South Wales as it pushes state election candidates for a moratorium on fracking in a region that is dependent on groundwater for its towns, livestock and agriculture.
QUEENSLAND ON THE UP
“We promised at the election to grow the resources sector as one of the four pillars of the economy and this survey shows industry confidence in Queensland is improving,” said the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps. The survey was sent to about 4100 exploration, development and other miningrelated companies worldwide in order to obtain feedback on how policy affects interest in investment, and then ranked jurisdictions accordingly. “The survey shows industry’s growing confidence in the government’s policies, with Queensland reaching a five-year high score and ranking 24th out of 112 jurisdictions, up eight positions from the previous year, for prospective investment,” Mr Cripps said. Mining now employs more full-time workers in Queensland than either agriculture or hospitality.
The Queensland Government has been buoyed by the latest independent Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies released at the end of February, seeing it as evidence that its election promise to increase investment in Queensland mining by streamlining policies and cutting red tape has been fulfilled.
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In early March the Australian Senate passed a motion calling for Environment Minister Greg Hunt to reverse the decision to allow the expansion of the Abbot Point coal port near the Great Barrier Reef. Greens Senator Larissa Waters, who put the motion forward, argued new documents that Greenpeace obtained revealed the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) originally wanted to reject the plan because it would be impossible to offset the damage created by the proposal. However, GBRMPA chairman Russell Reichelt said the documents cited by Greenpeace were preliminary working drafts that were never submitted to the authority’s senior management responsible for the GBRMPA’s final decision. Furthermore, in a media statement, Reichelt said: “It’s important to note that the draft permit assessment was conducted before stringent conditions, the strictest ever imposed on an application of this type, were put in place by the Environment Minister to avoid, mitigate and offset any harm to the environment. This included a requirement for North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) to offset the amount of fine sediments released into the environment by 150 per cent.” 5
The GBRMPA approved the Abbot Point proposal in January this year. The controversial expansion will allow dredge spoil to be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The expansion proposal came from NQBP and will allow the corporation to dump three-million cubic metres of dredge spoil in the marine park over several years. The dredging will turn Abbot Point into one of the world’s largest coal ports.
HAZELWOOD MINE FIRE BURNS OUT OF CONTROL FOR 29 DAYS The Hazelwood open-cut mine fire in Victoria took 29 days of extensive firefighting to be brought under control. According to Victoria Country Fire Authority (CFA) news reports, the firefighting mission was complex because of challenges associated with a brown coal open-cut fire. The firefighting effort involved the CFA, Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI), Parks Victoria, airport firefighters and five interstate fire services, who had to work 24/7 over four weeks to bring the fire under control. The CFA quoted fire services commissioner Craig Lapsley as saying: “The suppression strategy has been successful across the entire fire area, including the northern and southern batters and the floor of the mine, with no, or limited, smoke issuing from these fire areas.” The fire began on February 9, after two grass fires spotted into the disused section of the mine. At least one of the fires was believed to be deliberately lit. The fire burnt in a three-kilometre-long section of disused mine face or wall and burnt no more than a few metres into the mine face at its deepest point, reported CFA. It was the largest coal fire that Australian fire crews have ever had to fight. The Age reported that vulnerable Morwell residents were advised to leave town in late February to avoid the thick smoke while the blaze was burning. The Victorian Government advised vulnerable residents to temporarily leave the area, and approximately 600 relocation grants and 1300 respite grants were given out, reported SBS. 6
The Victorian Government is providing a recovery package for Morwell residents, with the first phase including a $50,000 grant to clear the ash left by the fire. While the fire burned, 1200 residents rallied in Morwell, demanding a royal commission into lack of action by authorities. “Everybody’s sick of their eyes stinging, they’re sick of sore throats, they’re sick of their houses being covered,” protest leader Nerissa Albon told AAP.
The firefighters themselves struggled with the conditions, with one needing surgery on his hand after developing septicaemia when a small cut became infected. The incident prompted the United Firefighters Union (UFU) to test the safety of the water being used to fight the fire, and independent investigations found high levels of E. coli and other coliforms in the water, as well as the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
3M VENDING SOLUTION 3M™ Vending Solutions offer customers an effective method to dispense essential products on site, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Products that can be dispensed from 3M vending machines include personal protective equipment such as protective eyewear, respirators, earplugs, earmuffs, gloves or protective coveralls. Other consumables that can be easily dispensed from these machines include hand tools, abrasives and grinding discs, batteries, stationery supplies, tapes, first aid supplies and many more. This type of controlled vending is ideal for mining, oil and gas, construction, manufacturing, airlines, maintenance workshops, factories, automotive body repair shops and many other workplaces. Simple and easy to use, workers just need to locate the item they require, swipe their card (or the machine can be configured to use swipe tags), enter the corresponding item code and then collect the item from the bin. The vending machines don’t just benefit workers. Productivity is increased with a continual supply of essential products, 24/7, 365 days a year. Machines can be placed wherever required, not limited to one location in the store. Automated and customised product usage reports can be used for inventory management, budgeting, cost recharge and operation and production reviews. These machines also protect consumables from dust and damage and can assist with PPE compliance. For more information about the right 3M Vending Solution to meet your organisation’s needs, visit 3m.com/au/vendingsolutions or ring 136 136. advertorial
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FLOATING LNG TECHNOLOGY IS SET TO CHANGE THE OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY, ALLOWING FOR THE EXTRACTION, PROCESSING, STORAGE AND OFF-LOADING ON COLOSSAL VESSELS AT SEA. WORDS: ORYANA ANGEL
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ALL EYES are on Australia as new opportunities arise for the development of deeper, more remote offshore gas fields through the development of floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facilities. At the forefront is Shell’s Prelude FLNG project, the world’s first such facility, which will float above the remote Browse Basin and produce, liquefy, store and transfer LNG at sea before carriers ship it directly to markets. “What really sets it apart from every other LNG plant is the fact that it’s designed to operate offshore, directly adjacent to the gas reservoir and production infrastructure, as opposed to the usual processing plants that are located onshore,” says Shell Australia Prelude asset manager Jim Marshall. The mega-ship will be stationed in waters 250 metres deep, about 475 kilometres north of Broome, although calling Prelude a ‘ship’ is something of a misnomer. At 488 metres long, the largest hull ever built is longer than the Empire State Building and Eiffel Tower are high, measuring three times the length of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The plan is for Prelude to stay in place for the next quarter of a century; four groups of mooring chains will be held to the sea floor by suction piles. “The facility is designed to withstand severe weather – up to a 10,000-year storm – and will remain on-site during all conditions. A series of seven production wells will feed gas and condensate from the reservoirs via four flexible risers into the facility,” says Marshall. FLNG technology allows for the production, liquefaction, storage and transfer of LNG at sea, as well as the ability to process and export liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and condensate, opening up new business opportunities for countries looking to develop their gas 11
Above: An artist’s impression of a floating liquefied natural gas facility.
resources and bring more natural gas to market. “We believe FLNG will enable the development of gas resources ranging from clusters of smaller, more remote fields to potentially larger fields via multiple facilities where, for a range of reasons, an onshore development is not viable,” says Marshall. “This can mean faster, cheaper, more flexible development and deployment strategies for resources that were previously uneconomic or constrained by technical or other challenges,” he adds. On Prelude, the processing of gas and condensate will occur in modules on board that occupy an area approximately one-quarter the size of a typical onshore gas plant. Shell’s dual mixed refrigerant (DMR) process will be used to liquefy the gas before shipping. Work on FLNG began at Shell in the mid-1990s, about 15 years before the decision to go ahead with Prelude. While the vessel was built overseas (it was floated out of the dry dock in Geoje, South Korea, in December), there will be plenty
DID YOU KNOW? The FLNG facility itself will be 488m long and 74m wide and, when fully loaded, will weigh a massive 600,000 tonnes – roughly six times as much as the largest aircraft carrier. Some 260,000 tonnes of that weight will consist of steel. That’s around five times more than was used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Source: shell.com.au/aboutshell/who-we-are/shell-au/operations/ upstream/prelude.html
“The facility is designed to withstand severe weather – up to a 10,000 year storm.” 11
Above and right: The Prelude is 488 metres long; an artist’s impression of the finished facility.
of jobs created and financial rewards for Australia. “Up to 1000 jobs, both direct and indirect, will be created in Australia to support this project and it will generate $12 billion in tax revenue ... as well as about $45 billion in GDP,” says Marshall. Dr Rod Houston, business development manager of the energy group at CSIRO, believes the next stage of the process will be working out how to operate the systems at maximum efficiency. CSIRO has been active in the oil and gas sector through the Western Australian Energy Research Alliance (WA:ERA), a joint venture established in 2003 by CSIRO, The University of Western Australia and Curtin University to build capability and research in the areas of gas processes, facilities and subsurface technology and to support the major LNG companies. “We see [FLNG] as a very exciting opportunity where there will be some challenges for Australian conditions. We see this as an opportunity for CSIRO to build up innovation and capability in Australia and to support this emerging industry,” says Dr Houston. While FLNG will first be deployed in Australia, Dr Houston says FLNG technology might provide access to many other stranded gas opportunities here 12
and overseas. “We’re looking very closely at how to scale these types of systems for smaller and medium-sized fields,” he says. “There are a number of stranded small, medium and very large gas fields. Once you have some learning from initial projects, there will be further refinement and scaling of the technology,” he says. “We have the opportunity to potentially build up expertise in Australia, which can then be exported to the world,” he adds. Dr Houston also believes there is an opportunity for more research into solutions for ocean environment studies, taking in the off-loading of LNG: “For example, at what point in the weather and wave conditions can we continue to unload?” Shell’s Prelude facility will be connected for the next 25 years, so even in the worst weather conditions it will still be there. Other smaller projects will perhaps need to have more understanding of the limitations of off-loading in severe weather. “Smaller vessels could be more impacted by weather. Scaling down onboard process is a challenge of future research,” says Dr Houston. Stedman Ellis, chief operating officer of the western region at the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association
(APPEA), says Australia has the opportunity to be at the forefront of pioneering FLNG technology built on a history of oil and gas industry innovation. “I think the oil and gas industry globally is looking at the development of this
“Up to 1000 jobs, both direct and indirect, will be created to support this project.” technology. It provides another option to access oil and gas resources in deep water and to reduce costs and environmental impact,” says Ellis. Ellis notes once the project moves into its operational phase there will be a range of jobs created: “It will be operating for a very long time and jobs will be created in operations and maintenance. “If we build the skills to maintain and operate the vessels, we might eventually help employ this technology elsewhere in the world,” he adds.
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A RANGE OF INNOVATIVE PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT IS HELPING TO REDUCE THE RISK OF INJURIES ON MINING SITES. WORDS: KRIS MADDEN
BOOTS ‘N’ ALL Falls, trips and slips are among the most common accidents at mining sites, so investing in the right footwear is paramount. Oliver Footwear (now part of the Honeywell Safety Products division) has been producing tough, durable boots for miners since 1887. Oliver has recently released Smelter Boots designed to meet the needs of the aluminium smelter industry and other high-heat industrial environments. The boots feature a non-magnetic protective toecap (due to strong magnetic fields and electrical conductivity in smelter areas) and have been dip-tested in 960-degree-Celsius molten aluminium. The boots have a slip-resistant sole and offer greater resistance to cuts, as well as mineral oil and acid spills. “Oliver’s Smelter Boots are the result of an 18-month-long product development and testing process involving several Australian smelters,” says spokesperson Stuart Hull. oliver.com.au
COVER YOUR NOGGIN The danger of falling rocks and other objects is ever present on mining sites. In fact, the origin of the hard hat can be traced back to the mining industry, when the ‘hard-boiled hat’ made from canvas was invented in 1915. Miners’ safety helmets have come a long way since then. MSA, a world-leading manufacturer of high-quality safety products, recently developed the world’s first ‘green’ protective hard hat manufactured from sugar cane. Global research organisation Frost & Sullivan selected MSA’s V-Gard Green Protective Helmet for its 2013 New Product Innovation Leadership Award. Eric Beck, MSA’s global director of strategic marketing, says: “With the rise in green building and construction projects in general, it was an opportune time to introduce an alternative, sustainable safety hard hat that also helps reduce carbon emissions and demand for fossil fuels in product manufacturing.” msasafety.com 15
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ALL FIRED UP Hard Yakka has released a range of fire-retardant work wear that offers mine, oil and gas workers protection from arc flash, flash fire and heat stress. While cotton-based work wear can ignite and continue burning during an arc flash or flash fire, Hard Yakka Protect garments are self-extinguishing. The Hard Yakka Protect range includes highvisibility shirts, coveralls and pants featuring Tecgen Select fire-retardant fabric technology. Brenna Mathews, Hard Yakka’s product manager, says: “Hard Yakka Protect is an Australian first in fire-retardant work wear, coupling the best available protection with the lightest, most breathable and moisture-wicking fabric for the reduction of heat stress.” hardyakka.com.au
HANDS ON Hands and arms feature in mining’s most frequent injuries. HexArmor, distributed in Australia by Diplomat Blades, manufactures a range of highquality gloves, armguards and jackets, as well as aprons and chaps. “HexArmor’s technologies are engineered to allow the highest range of motion, so mine workers can tackle any job while keeping their hands safe,” says Diplomat Blades’ marketing manager, Matt Russell.
2007–2012, falls, trips and slips accounted for
of workers’ compensation claims in mining; more than half involved falling over objects on the ground or on slippery surfaces.
HexArmor’s newest protective glove, the Chrome Oasis 4030, “offers the highest level of cut and impact protection while ensuring the wearer won’t overheat”, Russell says. The new design is especially suited for protection from hazards such as metal burrs, wires or slivers in the oil and gas production environments. hexarmor.com
NOW HEAR THIS Traditional hearing protection is a safeguard, but it reduces the worker’s ability to hear what’s going on around them, says David Cannington of Sensear, which markets digital communication headsets for use in high-noise industrial environments. Sensear’s patented SENS™ (speech enhancement, noise suppression) technology uses smart algorithms to allow workers to hear speech and protect their hearing while remaining aware of their surroundings. Sensear calls this “360-degree binaural situational awareness”.
While cotton-based work wear can ignite and continue burning during an arc flash or flash fire, Hard Yakka Protect garments are self-extinguishing.
Furthermore, long-distance communication takes place through bluetooth mobile phones and twoway radios without the need to remove the hearing protection to answer calls. “It is a personal protection product that attempts to protect a sense – in this case, hearing – and inevitably leads to a reduction in the risk of accidents, particularly in high-noise environments,” Cannington says. sensear.com
EMPOWERING WOMEN It’s not often you hear words such as ‘super-soft’ and ‘slimming style’ on mining sites, but Kim Clark’s range of high-visibility maternity work wear, She’s Empowered, may just change that.
“It is a personal protection product that attempts to protect a sense ... and inevitably leads to a reduction in the risk of accidents, particularly in high-noise environments.” While working as an accountant at a coalmine, Clark came up with the idea after seeing her pregnant supervisor attend a meeting in a hi-vis shirt that wouldn’t close over her belly. “I started noticing work wear issues for women, who make up almost one-fifth of the country’s mining workforce, and discovered there were no maternity work wear options,” Clark recalls. Almost two years on, She’s Empowered has addressed the issue for hundreds of women in the mining industry and was a finalist in the 2013 Australian Mining Prospect Awards. Global mining giant Anglo American has already snapped up the range and mining companies Australia-wide are showing interest. shes-empowered.com.au
In 2011–12, the most serious injuries on WA mining sites were injuries to legs (27% underground, 33% at surface), followed by arms, back and hands.
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The last taboo In the male-dominated world of mining, the issue of mental health can often be a taboo subject. But rather than being the dirty secret of a hidden few, the problem may be more common than many in the industry realise. WORDS: FIONA POYNTER
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The FIFO lifestyle has major benefits for both employees and mining and resources firms. But with these come big challenges. Both Australian and overseas studies have reported that FIFO can be a major source of disruption and psychological stress. Many companies in the mining sector have contracted Employee Assistance Providers (EAPs) who offer counselling and support services to mineworkers suffering from mental illness. “When a referral is made for someone with a mental health problem, it is usually of a relatively serious nature because it has affected their performance and ability to carry on at work,” Bowers says. “This generally means they will receive an agreed number of counselling sessions, referral to doctors or mental health services and rehabilitation services.” But while the EAP process tends to be ‘reactive’, the ACRRMH’s work has been focused on the concept that ‘prevention is better than cure’. The organisation developed a program known as ‘Minds in Mines’, designed to
raise awareness and reduce the stigma attached to mental illness in the maledominated world of mining. It has been running since early 2011. Mental health is often a taboo subject in society at large, but this is especially true in an industry like mining, according to ACRRMH. “We believe that the macho attitudes and stigma associated with mental illness that have been a feature particularly in the rural and remote mining, resources and construction sectors are more profound than in urban areas or other professions,” Bowers says. Australian non-profit organisation Beyond Blue, which also works with mining firms to train them on dealing with depression and anxiety in their workforce, recognises the toxic nature of such a stigma. “The stigma and discrimination associated with depression and anxiety can be worse than the illnesses themselves,” Beyond Blue workplace and workforce program leader, Therese Fitzpatrick informed Inside Mining.
Illustration by Tanya Cooper at illustrationroom.com.au.
EACH YEAR, one in every three men and women in the mining and construction sector will be diagnosed with a mental illness. This is hardly a surprise when you consider the psychological and emotional challenges associated with living and working in some of Australia’s remotest and most extreme regions. It is bound to take its toll on the mind, as well as the body. Mental illness can come in many forms. Often, when we think of mental illness, we think of depression. But this is just one of the psychological afflictions that comes under the umbrella of mental illness. Destructive thinking, anxiety, acute stress disorder, alcohol and substance abuse, and bullying are all common mental health issues that can and do affect Australian mineworkers. Consider the lifestyle of the average mineworker and it’s not hard to see why their mental health could be compromised. Isolation from family and friends, shift work, fly-in fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in drive-out (DIDO) rosters, environmental extremes and dangerous workplaces are a part of their everyday existence – and are enough to challenge even the toughest of human beings. These factors can lead to depression and other mental illnesses, and, in extreme cases, suicide. “There are many mental health problems affecting people working in this industry, not just depression,” Dr Jennifer Bowers, CEO of the Australasian Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (ACRRMH) told Inside Mining. “This is important because there are differing symptoms and signs, risk factors and ways of supporting people who are at risk, or who have a particular mental health problem.” ACRRMH does extensive work with mining firms and mineworkers to address mental health and wellbeing issues. The FIFO factor is emerging as a common cause of mental health problems in the mining industry.
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When it comes to extreme cases of mental illness that result in suicide, there is no question that the ‘prevention is better than cure’ mantra is key. “The more I work out on sites, the more I learn about suicide and the consequences of it,” says Bowers. “Not only are the immediate family and friends affected by such a tragedy, it is the whole worksite, and there are some worksites with many hundreds or even thousands of workers touched by such a heartbreaking event. There is clearly a significant ripple effect resulting from such tragedies.” ACRRMH’s ‘Minds for Mines’ program gives mineworkers the tools to identify the warning signs of mental illness in their co-workers, as well as equipping them with knowledge of what to say and where to access support and services. “We have evidence that our programs have had an impact in this respect,” Bowers says. Mining firms themselves clearly play a critical role in helping employees to both prevent and deal with mental illness. And these companies appear to be taking the issue more and more seriously. “Initially mining firms were not that interested in engaging with Beyond Blue about mental illness, but now we are seeing some fantastic responses from the miners. They are realising this is a really important issue,” says Fitzpatrick. But the challenge is encouraging mining firms to treat mental illness with the same importance that they place on physical injury and safety. “Many companies think a toolbox talk
and a brochure will tick the ‘mental health’ box. It doesn’t. It takes much more than that to change attitudes to mental health problems, improve help-seeking behaviours and get the male-dominated workforces to engage and digest the information provided,” says Bowers. Mining giant Rio Tinto last year launched a two-year project in conjunction with Fremantle-based arts organisation DADAA, aimed at addressing the stigma of mental health in five regional communities across Western Australia. The project, known as FIVE, engages with both FIFO and residential workers and their families in the communities of Paraburdoo, Busselton, Geraldton, Derby and Esperance. It tackles mental health issues through the medium of art and sculpture, enabling mineworkers to engage in the process by using their particular skill, for example blasting, drilling or engineering, to create art and leave behind a legacy. Gradually, the program is helping to break down barriers around mental health. “It has already shown that better conversations are starting to take place with people on site, brought on through a common interest and excitement in the project,” says Rio Tinto’s Glen Johnson, who has spent nearly two decades in health and safety roles for various mining operations. “There has been a great link between the Busselton FIVE project and our Paraburdoo project and some key learnings about how this sort of model can reduce stigma.”
What can leaders do?
Critical success factors for leaders to create a mentally healthy workplace include: • commitment from senior leaders • internal champions • employee participation • sustainability • planning and evaluation • policies and procedures.
10 practical actions for workplaces
1. Speak to staff to understand stressors within the workplace and how they can be reduced. 2. Include mental health in organisational policies.
Illustration by Tanya Cooper at illustrationroom.com.au.
3. Provide information about mental health conditions. 4. Provide mental health awareness training for all staff. 5. To reduce stigma, promote personal stories of people who have experienced and recovered from a mental health condition. 6. Make reasonable adjustments to jobs of people with mental health conditions where required. 7. Review workload at team meetings and informal catch ups. 8. Ensure workers have a current job description. 9. Provide feedback on performance; acknowledge both achievements and opportunities for improvement. 10. Develop formal and informal complaint-handling processes. Visit beyondblue.org.au/workplace 25
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still a mining hotspot? The Australian mining boom may be far from over, but there are a number of low-cost overseas competitors nipping at the nation’s heels. We examine Australia’s position in the mining industry and reveal some major rivals. WORDS: CHRISTINE RETSCHLAG
MOZAMBIQUE MINERS may AUSTRALIAN be winning the battle of the boom when it comes to speculation surrounding whether it’s the end game for the nation’s resources sector, but they could be losing the war to low-cost competitors, according to major sources. The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) told Inside Mining that Australia faces “stiff competition” for market share of thermal and metallurgical coal from a range of other low-cost producers in Indonesia, Colombia, South Africa, Mozambique, Mongolia and India, as well as the interior provinces of China. “Australia does not enjoy a monopoly on resources endowment. For example, coal is mined commercially in more than 50 countries, with Australia accounting for less than nine per cent of global black coal production,” the MCA spokesperson says. “High-grade iron ore resources remaining in Western Australia are eclipsed by those in the Carajas region in Brazil and there are substantial high-grade resources in other countries. According to one study, Brazil, Guinea (in West Africa) and India combined have more than enough resources to take all of the future growth in demand. “After a remarkable decade of growth, the Australian economy and the mining industry have entered a more constrained and demanding phase. Yet GUINEA it is both wrong and defeatist to declare the so-called ‘mining boom’ over. “This view misrepresents mining’s
long-run growth trajectory, the large gains still to be won from future investment and export growth.” The MCA warns the number and attractiveness of Australia’s competitors are growing, combined with a declining risk profile of lower-cost, emerging resources nations that are demonstrating an increased willingness to invest in ‘risky’ destinations. This trend is being driven by the current ‘super cycle’ of demand generated by China’s urbanisation. But it’s not all bad news. “Longer term, there is still a large prize to be secured from demand for minerals resources in emerging Asia and elsewhere. “This global economic re-weighting, driven by the twin forces of urbanisation and industrialisation, will help underpin mining commodity demand in the future,” the MCA says. “Rebooting the boom requires a coherent and purposeful economic reform agenda to improve Australia’s productivity, cost competitiveness
and structural flexibility. “Australia needs to be ‘hungrier’ in bringing on projects of all sizes, including small and medium-sized mining projects.” Each year, Canadian-based The Fraser Institute, surveys mining company senior executives and senior managers in global mining exploration and producer companies with the focus on how public policies affect investment in exploration. The survey currently ranks Western Australia – Australia’s most prolific mining state – number 15 out of 96 global jurisdictions in terms of mining hotspots. The Fraser Institute Natural Resource Studies senior economist, Alana Wilson, told Inside Mining that Indonesia is a country to watch with “very attractive mineral potential”. “In a survey question on the GUINEA attractiveness of mineral potential, assuming a best-practices regulatory environment, Indonesia ranked third out of the 96 jurisdictions,” she says.
Metallurgical coal: Mongolia and Mozambique are emerging as major new producers. Mongolia’s Tavan Tolgoi project has the potential to match Australia’s largest mines. Mozambique is expected to be the world’s fourth largest seaborne exporter by 2020.
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MONGOLIA “On that same question, Western Australia ranked sixth (the highest ranked in Australia on this factor), suggesting it also has very attractive mineral potential. However, Indonesia does not have nearly as attractive a policy environment, ranking last out of GUINEA the 96 jurisdictions, based on its Policy Potential Index score compared with Western Australia (ranked number 15). A different survey question asks companies to weigh the relative importance of mineral potential versus policy factors when considering investment. Over the life of the survey, the split has been almost exactly 60 per cent mineral potential and 40 per cent policy factors, indicating that while the mineral potential is very important, the policy environment is also a significant consideration [along with economic and other factors]. Meanwhile, a study by business advisory group Grant Thornton has revealed junior mining companies may be struggling the most, with almost half holding less than $2 million in cash. MOZAMBIQUE The fourth survey of junior mining and exploration (JUMEX) companies reveals a lack of equity funding and the deterioration of market conditions continue to “significantly challenge” the industry. Grant Thornton Australia corporate finance partner Holly Stiles says investors are expecting companies to do more than simply conserve cash. “The time for battening down the hatches has passed – investors are looking for companies that are maximising every dollar, working harder than ever to unlock value in their projects and seizing opportunities to add value through transactions,” she says. “The past year has seen a continued deterioration of market conditions for JUMEX companies, and this means they need to stand out to attract investment. “JUMEX companies are resilient and most have experienced many downturns in the past. Having taken action on overheads, now is the time to pursue opportunities for growth.”
Australia’s current and MONGOLIA emerging competitors
“The time for battening down the hatches has passed – investors are looking for companies that are maximising every dollar.”
• Iron ore: West Africa has reserves of high-quality iron ore, estimated to match those in Australia, while offering much lower capital costs. China is investing substantially in new projects in Africa. • Thermal coal: A recent surplus of cheap domestic gas in the United States has redirected coal production from the domestic to export markets. The United States’ thermal coal exports rose more than 30 per cent in 2012. • Copper: Mine production from the Americas and Africa is forecast to increase further, including double digit growth in the United States, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. Asian copper mine production is expected to increase in Mongolia and Indonesia. • Gold: A diverse range of producers, including China, GUINEAis the world’s largest, which have increased production and market share. There is increasing exploration activity in hotspots in the Americas and Africa. • Nickel: Oversupply in the market and growth in lower-cost Chinese nickel. Madagascar and New Caledonia are forecast drivers in this sector. Source: Port Jackson Partners report for Minerals Council of Australia.
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FLY-IN FILM-OUT MEET DENNIS KREUSLER, PORT HEADLAND FIFO MINER … AND ACTOR, STUNTMAN AND BLOCKBUSTER MILITARY ADVISOR. WORDS: BEN SMITHURST
MONTHS ON END in remote, dusty, unbearably hot locations, with millions riding on the outcome. Long, hard days being slavedriven by egomaniacal lunatics. Using knockabout camaraderie to compensate for too little contact from home. Shooting big-budget Hollywood movies on location can be tough. Luckily, between his film gigs, Dennis Kreusler can ‘relax’, working as a fly-in, fly-out miner. Currently a leading hand working with NRW for Fortescue Metals in Port Hedland, Western Australia, the one-time Australian infantryman’s ‘other job’ is decidedly more Hollywood. An actor, stunt coordinator and on-set military advisor, his various roles have encompassed everything from X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Beneath Hill 60; to Spielberg’s epic The Pacific; and The Sapphires. He’s also appeared in Neighbours (as an undercover cop) and the much-heralded film Singularity, a romance/time-travel/adventure film starring Josh Hartnett and directed by legendary Palme d’Or winner Roland Joffé. Kreusler’s day job is blowing things up. His other job is pretending to blow things up. Inside Mining catches up with Kreusler to get the inside story. 33
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Kreusler on the set of Beneath Hill 60.
Is there a lot of crossover between the film industry and mining? Er, no, not really. When I started in mining I’d just finished work on The Sapphires as an assistant military advisor, and a close friend suggested I give mining a go. I thought there might not be too much difference between the long hours of the film industry and the mud and dust of the trenches, as such. But what makes it all work is that I work with an awesome group of characters – Hollywood couldn’t come up with some of them. As a military advisor, you train actors to behave like proper soldiers. What do most of the Hollywood types do wrong? Oh, good soldiering, weapons handling, muzzle awareness. It depends what period the film is set in. There’s traditionally a boot camp before each film, which is where we focus on all those issues.
If there are going to be a lot of weapons then you’ll be day-in, day-out firing – because if you get caught on camera you need to be moving and behaving as a soldier from that period would. Tell us about X-Men: Origins. I worked on the flashback military scenes at the start of the film – it was a good two-and-a-half weeks of filming for a two-and-a-half-minute opening scene. It was really great stuff. We were down on the beach in Newcastle in New South Wales. We were filming beach landings, firing up the beach, and blowing up the beach with pyrotechnics explosions. It was a rush. And it was a pleasure to work closely with Hugh Jackman. He’s an amazing, genuine Aussie bloke. Did he make you spot him in the gym? No! No, and I’m glad he didn’t. Have you seen the latest Wolverine? He’s a monster!
As an actor, running up and down a beach in Newcastle, pretending you’re being shot at by baddies, surrounded by a swarm of other grown men and cameras and everything ... after 15 takes, do you ever just think, ‘This is just silly’? Well ... you just sort of drop in the zone. You work out in your mind how many rounds you’re
“I thought there might not be too much difference between the long hours of the film industry and mining.” 35
going to fire off and where you’re going to run, and where you’re going to go to ground. There’s a lot to think about when you’re in the moment. Like The Pacific – some of the big battle scenes in that were really mindboggling. There are amtracs moving around you, pyrotechnic explosives, and guns blazing everywhere.
Did you steal any of Margot Robbie’s underwear? No, no! Nothing like that. It was all outdoors, it was a beautiful day. We just got on with the scene and got out of there. Soaps are very mechanical and they keep to a schedule – they’ve got a lot to do.
You played ‘Buccaneer Pirate Chef’ on Nim’s Island – with Gerard Butler and Jodie Foster. That’s weird. It was weird, but it was great. The characters in that film were very animated. I was mostly just cooking a barbecue out in the sun. It’s odd, but you’re just focused on doing your job the best you can. Everyone’s human and the lustre wears off after a while – you’re just concentrating on doing your job.
“Everyone’s human and the lustre wears off after a while – you’re just concentrating on doing your job.” Kreusler at his ‘other job’.
What do you think about when pretending to be dead? You usually just try to lower your heart rate, because you’ve just been running around and you’re trying to be as motionless as possible. And then you get up and do it all over again. It’s traditionally 12-hour days – six days on, one day off – and on The Pacific I did that for a full year. Tell us about Neighbours. You were a cop? Ha! I was playing an undercover detective and we were on a stakeout. It involved a bit of accelerating car action, away from the scene – it was a brief experience but it was wonderful. 36
What’s been your weirdest gig to date? Working on Singularity, which was directed by Roland Joffé, who directed The Killing Fields. It starred Josh Hartnett, and it was a period piece, so all the military were redcoats with muskets – which we had to train with ourselves to be able to train soldiers. So we were putting together a convoy with bullocks and horses and soldiers marching along in torrential rain in Queensland – the set was a nightmare. We were ferrying everyone through this deep mud on quad bikes. It was such a remote place – it was surreal.
Your bio says you bring a raw physicality to scenes. What does that actually mean? Ah, I guess it just means I’m not afraid of taking a bit of bark off when I get into the action sequences. You can’t be afraid to throw yourself around. Has working in movies ruined watching films for you? A bit. You pick up on continuity things – something in the wrong place from where it was, or they’re holding a weapon differently, or never-ending magazines of rounds. Hollywood deaths, where someone gets machine-gunned and they fly backwards across a table and get slammed against a wall! Really, your body contracts if you’re shot and you drop like a sack of spuds. Nobody has ever really been shot and launched.
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High tech work wear Bisley Workwear’s flame-resistant range has The Block’s Scott Cam all fired up. TV PERSONALITY Scott Cam knows just how easily workplace accidents can happen; he’s had a few work-related accidents in his 30 years in the trade. Expert builder and the presenter of Channel 9’s favourite home renovation show, The Block, Scott recognises that the right gear makes all the difference when it comes to safety, whether renovating a home or working in high-risk environments like mines or rigs – you just can’t skimp on protecting yourself. As ambassador for Bisley Workwear, and someone who wears Bisley on-site, Scott recently saw firsthand the advanced safety technology in Bisley’s Flame Resistant (FR) range when filming a television commercial for the brand. “A stuntman from The Matrix movie actually used a flamethrower on a mannequin wearing Bisley’s Flame Resistant gear, which was pretty awesome and reassuring at the same time.” The national TV campaign championed the benefits of Bisley with a really funny advertisement. The campaign directly reflected the brand’s philosophy of not taking itself too seriously, whilst taking its product very seriously. “Exactly what you want in your gear,” said Scott. “Bisley has a really rich Australian heritage and a stellar reputation for quality, and I’m proud to work with them,” Scott said. The brand’s flame resistant range, launched late last year, is well suited to the resources industry. It features TenCate Tecasafe® Plus, the leading
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Satellite enabling the energy sector to communicate and operate In remote areas, sometimes the only way to communicate is via the sky. Natural resources are found in remote and
sometimes harsh locations where even the simplest communication and logistical tasks present complex challenges that prove both difficult and costly. Efficient communication is essential for resources projects to be successful and satellite technology has changed the way the resources industry communicates and therefore operates. Satellites provide time-critical internet, voice, videoconferencing and data transfer services, meaning work sites are no longer restricted by fixed communication infrastructure. Satellite communications have played an increasingly important role in remote site evolution, from initial mobile exploration, to complex resources operations. Communication can be established directly with head office and other domains whether on-site or offshore, which in turn assists management in supervising numerous processes and remote operations. Immediacy is a significant feature because, often, decisions need to be made quickly; on-site experts can be consulted while teams can carry out instructions from key decision-makers in head office.
Resources and energy markets are in the midst of a bandwidth revolution. Northern Sky Research forecasts the industry will require more than 25Gbps of bandwidth by 2022, an increase of 72 per cent from bandwidth use in 2012. With more than 461,000 in-service units and $2.6 billion expected in revenue by 2022, the industry remains a critical consumer of satellite communications in the foreseeable future. From auto-tracking satellite units to large and secure enterprise networks, satellite infrastructure
Satellite communications have played an increasingly important role in remote site evolution supports operations ranging from on-site office requirements and employee welfare services, to remote asset monitoring and backup communications, as well as enhancing security and safety systems. Satellite technology is evolving with the requirements of todayâ€™s resources companies to ensure fast, reliable, secure communication. Driving the bandwidth demand includes the increased deployment of business-centric applications such as videoconferencing for both operational efficiencies and security needs. As operations in the resources sector continue to expand into harsh environments, physical security through remote video monitoring will play a larger role in driving bandwidth demand. Furthermore, advancing VSAT technology allows for communication to take place on the move and in these remote areas, enabling efficient global communications. Increases in automation to improve operational efficiencies will grow satellite adoption, and satellite will play a larger role in asset tracking, IP access and remote monitoring of production output, ensuring operators are operating at peak efficiencies with lower operating expenses. Australiaâ€™s pure-play satellite company NewSat will support this increase in bandwidth demand with Jabiru-2. Due to launch in May 2014, Jabiru-2 will provide highly targeted coverage in and around Australia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands, supporting the growth of the resources sector in these regions. Delivering 216MHz of highly targeted capacity tailored with high-intensity zones for Australiaâ€™s resources hotspots, satellites such as Jabiru-2 will further enable reliable and cost-effective communications to support large bandwidth applications, employee productivity and operational efficiency, meeting the evolving requirements of the local resources industry now and into the future.
Name: Lithium Element category: Alkali metal Melting point: 180.5°C Electron configuration: [He]2s1 Atomic number and mass: 3; 6.941 Discovered: 1817 by Swedish chemist Johan August Arfwedson Name origin: From the Greek lithos, meaning ‘stone’, because it was discovered inside a solid mineral – petalite.
Lithium facts • Lithium can be found in brine in salt lakes, however Australia’s lithium is found solely in hard rock deposits of pegmatite. • The majority of Australia’s deposits are found 250 kilometres south of Perth at the Greenbushes Lithium Operation. • Greenbushes is the world’s largest and highest grade lithium ore deposit. Talison Lithium – which runs the operation – is the world’s largest lithium ore producer. • Lithium is used in fireworks and flares as it burns with a bright red flame. • Lithium salts are used in spacecraft and submarines for their ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen. • Global demand for lithium has increased rapidly in recent years due to its use in rechargeable batteries for portable electronic devices such as mobile phones. • Lithium’s main use is in heat-resistant glass and ceramics used in ovens and cooktops. • Lithium was used to treat bipolar disorder for almost 50 years before it was understood how or why it worked.
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CLEARING DUST CONTROL IS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF MINERAL EXTRACTION AND PROCESSING, BUT ARE MINING COMPANIES TAKING IT SERIOUSLY ENOUGH? WORDS: KRIS MADDEN
and safety of workers is critical to the day-today operation of mine sites, and dust can cause serious risks. These range from reduced visibility on haul roads, which can lead to injuries and respiratory problems caused by inhalation. High levels of dust can also pose a threat to the moving parts of mining equipment, leading to expensive repairs and downtime and undermining an operation’s profitability and productivity.
Water, water, everywhere Dust generated from haul roads is the biggest source of fine dust particles on most mine sites. Tony Pynsent, managing director of Queensland-based Cooee Products, a company specialising in dustmanagement solutions, says a major contributor to dust problems in Australian mines is many companies make their haul roads out of whatever is nearby and then spray water to deal with the dust, which further destroys the roads. “The biggest cause of dust is the mining companies’ incorrect practices,” says Pynsent. “By not dealing with the problem properly, their roads fall apart, causing increased maintenance and interruptions to production, plus an
unsafe work environment. Mines see dust control as a cost without calculating their existing costs in spraying water. They think it is free.” Mason Trouchet, of Rainstorm Dust Control, a veteran of 28 years in the industry, agrees: “As mining operations have expanded in the past five years, in some cases doubling their output, dust-control measures have not kept pace. The attitude has generally been to throw water on the problem, but water on dust is water lost. “In a region such as Western Australia’s Pilbara, water is required
at four to five litres per square metre per day to manage dust on a typical 25-metre-wide haul road, so more than 100,000 litres of water is required for every kilometre of haul road each day.”
What’s the alternative? Both companies offer haul road dust-control solutions. Rainstorm’s DustMag is a hygroscopic solution based on magnesium chloride, which increases attraction between soil particles, providing the surface with better water retention and making the road more stable.
“DustMag can represent nine megalitres of water savings over 90 days for each kilometre of haul road. You don’t have to water again for three months,” Trouchet explains. Cooee manufactures a product called DustBloc, which not only reduces dust but also decreases the amount of water used on a mine site or haul road, leading to less deterioration. One mine site that has been using DustBloc for seven years reported an 80 per cent reduction in water usage and therefore reduced water truck usage. “Given that water trucks can cost about $400 an hour to run, being able to reduce the amount of applications immediately translates to a significant cost saving,” says Pynsent. Beyond simply throwing water on the problem, today a wide range of modern monitoring, diagnostic and control technologies are readily available to the industry. “There is now a science to dust control,” Trouchet says. “Rainstorm’s dust-management measures are taken from an informational perspective, producing a field of data that can add up to significant productivity gains.” Cooee has also developed new measuring technology that leverages communications infrastructure, including 3G and GPS. The solution combines dust, weather and stock monitoring into a single, transparent real-time system. “The system goes beyond dust; it looks at all air quality concerns, including blast fumes,” Pynsent says. “It can give you immediate feedback, thanks to weather integration, of where the fumes are going and whether blasting should continue.”
focus on effective solutions. The consequences of not complying with these regulations can be severe, including heavy fines or having to close the operation temporarily. Late last year, Rio Tinto’s Bengalla mine in the Hunter Valley was fined for failing to minimise dust emissions following warnings from the New South Wales Department of Planning. The company has been advised to review its dustmanagement processes. Amid growing community concerns over the potential health impacts of dust generated by mining activities, the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA) recently launched the next stage of its dustmanagement plan. The Dust Stop program enforces new standards for dust control, aiming to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in dust by August 2014. The program requires all New South Wales open-cut coalmines to assess their dust-control plans, including minimising haul road emissions and enforcing poor-weather operation standards. With increased awareness of the harm that dust causes to personnel, equipment and the environment, combined with legislation and water resources monitoring, the issue of proper dust control will undoubtedly become a higher priority for all mining operations in the future.
The Dust Stop program enforces new standards for dust control, aiming to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in dust by August 2014.
Regulatory environment Many governments have implemented more stringent air quality regulations and environmental policies, which has forced mine operators to 45
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FUTURE UNCLEAR The golden days of low-skilled labourers turning up at mine sites with little or no skills and securing lucrative jobs are over, according to major recruitment companies, and there’s division on where the sector is headed in the next 12 months. WORDS: Christine Retschlag
iscord is emerging among leading mining recruiters over where the industry is headed in 2014, with some reporting glimmers of positive activity and others far less optimistic about employment prospects. On the plus side of the debate, Hays Energy resource and mining regional director Chris Kent told Inside Mining that despite a continued lull in hiring across the sector, there remains “pockets of activity” in some areas around Australia. “In Western Australia, we have seen an increase in recruitment over the past few months due to an increase in demand from the iron ore industry,”
Kent says. “Where previously there was a shortage of experienced gold candidates, the commodity focus has now definitely shifted to iron ore, where demand for process engineers, crusher operators, mining engineers and supervisors remains relatively high. “In Queensland, employers are ideally looking for local candidates who can drive-in drive-out (DIDO) to site, as FIFO is too expensive and coal production companies are still cutting costs. “Within the Northern Territory, the resources and mining market remains quiet with very little direct hiring from owner-operators. However, we have seen an uplift in demand for trades and labour candidates from mining contractors.”
Kent says as Australia’s resources sector shifts from construction into operations, demand for labouring skills is diminishing. “Employers in general are able to be more selective in their hiring, with an increased level of experienced candidates in the market due to redundancies, projects being placed on hold and cost-saving strategies being implemented across organisations,” he says. But he warns Australia does not have enough qualified professionals to fill some of the emerging roles. “As the resources sector transitions to an operations phase and we embark on major liquefied natural gas and coal seam gas projects, resources companies
will face challenges in recruiting and retaining workers with the required specialist operational skills and experience,” Kent says. “Global competition for skilled workers is increasing, and with a long lead time required to develop critical skills, industry, government and education and training providers need to develop responses to meet these skills challenges. “Workforce planning needs to proceed quickly, ensuring domestic workers are available to fill time-critical shortages in the second half of the decade.” But while there has been a slight upswing in hiring, the next 12 months are not expected to herald a return to the boom days.
“We are not seeing a drop in salaries, but offers are at the lower end of the spectrum. Mining is a cyclical industry and it appears we are coming to the end of the investment phase and well into a rationalisation phase based on the need to improve productivity and competitiveness on the global investment stage,” Kent says. “There are still jobs for less qualified labourers but a lot fewer than before. There is more competition for these roles as there is an increased level of experienced candidates in the market due to redundancies. “For both blue- and white-collar jobs we are consistently seeing a trend towards dual-trade and skilled candidates. In the blue-collar space,
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candidates who are both qualified HV electricians and diesel fitters are preferred as they provide a higher level of versatility. There is also a preference for mining engineers who can contribute to both drill and blast design and long-term planning.” While Kent says there won’t be a return to the phenomenon where people with a driver’s licence could turn up at a mine and receive an $80,000 salary driving trucks, Western Australianbased Mining Employment Services director Konrad Forrest goes one step further, claiming it was a “delusion that never happened”. Forrest has adopted a more negative stance, telling Inside Mining the mining recruitment industry is currently in decline, with exploration geology the hardest hit jobs in the sector. “I don’t know of any jobs or roles that are starting to grow in demand. This is due to high cost and low commodity prices and new projects that have finished construction,” he says. “Australia has enough qualified professionals to fill roles and there are not often roles for less qualified labourers. I cannot see any new trends emerging around gender roles. “The recruitment boom for mining has been over for the past 12 months.” Even on LinkedIn, a forum called Mining Australia seems divided over the issue of employment requirements in the sector moving forward, with passionate industry commentators at odds on the issue. The comments follow a reported released by the Australian Workplace and Productivity Agency (AWPA), which states the oil and gas sectors, in particular, face an imminent shortage of skilled workers unless greater measures are taken by both industry and government to remedy the lack of domestic expertise. Despite the end of the mining boom and a “highly volatile” time ahead for investment and construction,
“For both blueand whitecollar jobs we are consistently seeing a trend towards dual-trade and skilled candidates.”
employment in the resources sector is set to rise as projects commence production and export, according to AWPA’s Resources Sector Skills Needs 2013 Report. While resources construction job numbers are set to plummet from 83,324 in 2014 to 7018 in 2018, employment in mining production is set to more than compensate with an expected seven per cent gain between 2013 and 2018 to 254,260. The report predicts many “plum positions” will soon be on offer in Australia’s resources sector, including specialist and supervisory roles, but they will need to be filled by overseas workers due to domestic shortfalls, particularly in the areas of mining engineers and drillers. Scott Barklamb, executive director of policy for Australian Mines and Metals
Association (AMMA), Australia’s national resources industry employer group, believes there is still some spark across the spectrum of the sector, from administration to construction to hospitality and engineering. “It’s important to remember there’s $318 billion worth of projects yet to be approved and begin construction. If supported by the right policy and regulation, these projects will drive continued demand for construction and support services for years to come,” he says. “There is a healthy demand for entry-level roles across all sectors and occupations, but, just like in any other industry, employers will favour those candidates who have taken the initiative to acquire any extra licences, tickets or qualifications needed for a particular site-based role.” 51
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PITFALLS FOR UNWARY LANDLORDS Every landlord has heard those horror stories about ‘the tenants from hell’, but most believe it will never happen to them.
Founder and director of Smart Property Adviser
THIS WAS true for Smart Property Adviser clients John and Kate (not their real names) until they discovered they had unintentionally leased their Adelaide property to some of the city’s drug dealers. After many years of being disappointed and let down by poor property managers, John and Kate decided to self-manage their Adelaide property. After undertaking a normal tenant selection process, a lovely young couple armed with great references was approved. Happy days – the new tenants paid their deposit and full bond in cash, and appeared to be such perfect tenants that John and Kate almost decided not to renew their landlord’s insurance policy.
The tenants religiously paid their rent in cash, and when they requested permission to install a new, powered, remote-controlled double-car garage roller door worth $2200 at their own expense, John and Kate thought ‘How good are these tenants?’ and they approved it without a second thought. John and Kate occasionally drove past the property and it always appeared ‘lived in’, and when they conducted a routine inspection in early November 2013, nothing seemed suspicious. Sadly, just six weeks later, Adelaide police raided John and Kate’s investment property and arrested the tenants, who were conducting ‘illegal activities’ inside the house. In short, they
had been running an elaborate hydroponic drug farm. Police later confirmed that the tenants had provided false names and identification, along with fake referees and references. Due to this harrowing ordeal, John and Kate spent approximately 130 hours trying to resolve the issue, dealing with the police and the insurance company, and were $2000 out of pocket. Fortunately, that landlord insurance policy they almost didn’t renew will cover about $12,000 in costs to clean and rewire the property and compensate them for loss of rent. This expensive ordeal serves as a warning to all landlords, and the following tips may help them to avoid similar traps.
Just six short weeks later, Adelaide police raided John and Kate’s investment property and arrested the tenants, who were conducting ‘illegal activities’ inside the house. 56
Specialist property managers will ensure there’s a good balance between relations with tenants and a professional approach.
1 tenant background and identity checks. The police have confirmed that John and Kate should have been more thorough in the application and tenant selection processes. They advised that in addition to references, John and Kate should have also asked for driver’s licences, passports and bank statements to prove income and employment. Unlike property management specialists, selfmanaging landlords need to be more thorough in tenant selection, as they do not have access to professional databases to investigate potential tenants.
Never accept 2 cash payments. The tenants made every payment, including their bond, in cash. If you are self-managing, never accept cash payments. Be strict and
demand that your tenants pay their deposit, bond and rent via internet banking. If you employ the services of a property management specialist, ensure that their office enforces a ‘no cash policy’ and that they only accept payments via a secure system like BPAY or DEFT. These systems produce a paper trail that can be traced or investigated if the need arises.
3 landlord insurance. Landlord insurance is crucial. John and Kate almost decided not to renew their policy. If they hadn’t, they would have struggled to fund the repairs and loss of rent.
Keep a professional
4 relationship with your tenant.
John and Kate liked their new tenants a great deal and were
under the euphoric belief that their tenants were ‘perfect’. In reviewing this case, Paul Tompkins, managing director of Smart Rental Management, commented: “This is a very good example of keeping your relationship with your tenants professional at all times. All landlords should engage a professional property management team who will have the ability to conduct in-depth research and investigations on any potential tenants. Specialist property managers will ensure there’s a good balance between relations with tenants and a professional approach.”
component because sales generate more income,” explains Tompkins. Specialist property managers focus 100 per cent of their efforts on property management, and they have the experience and insight to quickly identify suspicious tenancy applications. smartpropertyadviser.com.au smartrentalmanagement.com.au
Select a specialist
5 property manager. “Most real estate agents operate both sales and property management arms. These agencies put more effort into their sales department rather than the property management 57
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We reveal the biggest mistakes investors make when buying property and how to avoid them.
WHERE INVESTORS GO WRONG WHEN BUYING. ZORAN SOLANO From Hot Property Specialists Buyers Agency
t’s surprising the number of investors who habitually stumble at the property purchase stage and consequently don’t see the hotshot results they read about in magazines. But there’s a reason behind this. Simply put, it’s likely these investors paid too much for the wrong property. It can be the make or break of an investment property’s potential, and sadly the start of a very unhappy and stressful experience for the investor. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Often investors who’ve made these mistakes simply give up entirely, burnt by a bad experience. Commonly their mistake is made by not having a strategy in place or the time to research the market – not just online, but on the ground, attending property inspections and getting to know selling agents. The challenge is to get to the head of the queue with new or silent listings. This
means you’ll be one of the first to be contacted when an undervalued property comes up, often as a result of a death, mortgage stress or divorce. Or perhaps it’s just a great property with potential to add further value. Properties can move quickly, particularly bargains or well-priced properties with excellent income, growth or even development potential. So it does pay to be ahead of the game. Often many of the good deals will have one or more offers down before being released to the market, but not always. To get in on the ground floor with your search and offer, it helps to have your finances ready to go and your property criteria clearly listed. For example, what the property must include and what it can do without. Buying needs to be treated as a full-time job. This way you’ll know when the right property surfaces, and you can inspect the property as soon as it’s listed, or even before.
The second way investors tend to stuff up at the buying stage is when they pay a premium for a house in original condition with a cheap kitchen and perhaps a paint job when, if they’d spent more time searching the market, they may have picked up a renovated house from the same era in a similar location, fully rewired, re-roofed, replumbed, all asbestos removed and walls re-sheeted. It’s such a shame when buyers pay too much for a property with 50-year-old modifications, only to be faced with a minefield of ongoing maintenance.
Zoran Solano is the office manager and senior buyers agent at Hot Property Specialists Buyers Agency. He has been a buyers agent for more than five years now and is recognised as one of Brisbane’s leading agents in buyer representation. hotpropertyspecialists.com.au (07) 3170 3760. 59
Interest rates: fixed or flexible? LESLEY PARKER Personal finance journalist and writer for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald
Market economists are saying interest rates are as low as they are going to go and the Reserve Bank of Australia won’t be cutting any further, and nor will home lenders. So is it time to fix a low rate on your mortgage before rates go up again?
IN AUSTRALIA there are two types of loans: fixed-rate and variable. With a fixed-rate loan, the interest rate is set for a term of, say, three or five years. With a variable-rate loan, you ride the swings and roundabouts of market interest rates. If the Reserve Bank cuts its official cash rate, and banks follow, your mortgage rate will drop. If market interest rates go up, the bank will pass the higher cost on to you. At the moment, mortgage rates are historically low – at around five per cent, so locking in at this level is an easier decision than, say, locking in at nine per cent. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Here, you can lock in only for shorter terms, rather than the 30-year deals you can get in the US. When you lock in at five per cent, you’re taking a bet in the next three or five years mortgage rates won’t go any lower than five per cent. It’s not a bad bet, but nothing is a sure thing. You’re also betting that when your fixed term expires you won’t have to renegotiate your loan in a much tougher interest rate environment. That’s a harder forecast to make.
The conventional wisdom is that if you’re comfortably making the repayments on your variable-rate loan you’re better off riding the ups and – more importantly – the downs of variable interest rates over the long term. Studies suggest you’ll come out ahead of the borrower who tries to time the highs and lows of interest rates by taking out a series of fixedterm loans. However, if you have borrowed to the hilt or you are worried about your job, and any sort of rate rise would bust your budget, by all means consider fixing your home loan so you can sleep at night. If you do want to fix your rate, timing is important. Most people dally, waiting to see
if there’s one more rate cut. Meanwhile, lenders are sniffing the wind and quietly putting up their fixed rates. Before you know it, they are one percentage point higher than the prevailing variable rate is anyway. So, even if the economists are right in saying that interest rates will be on hold for a year or so, don’t wait too long to make a decision about fixed versus variable rates. Compare your variable rate with today’s fixed rate, then look at any fees you’ll have to pay to change your loan, and consider whether a fixed-rate product has the bells and whistles you want, such as an ‘offset’ facility where you can park extra repayments.
If you’ve borrowed to the hilt or you’re worried about your job, and any sort of rate rise would bust your budget, by all means consider fixing your home loan so you can sleep at night.
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