E TAKE M!
H O ME
ADVENTURE TRAVEL • EVENTS • PEOPLE • ENTERTAINMENT • SPORTS
ISSUE 18 MAY 2015
BURNING MAN Madness in the Nevada desert
LAMBOS ON ICE
Learn to drift in a $428k Huracán
THE FIRE Hitting mach 10 with the fastest surfer in the world
Welcome to ROCKS, the inflight magazine for Alliance Airlines Welcome aboard. We hope youâ€™re enjoying your flight, either switching off from a busy time at work or getting yourself ready for your next stint at the mine. This magazine is created to entertain you, so sit back and enjoy the ride. This month we feature surfing legends Mick Fanning and Sally Fitzgibbons and have some real traveller's treats in store for you. First we head to the elusive Burning Man festival in the US, discover the hidden delights of Azerbaijan. Now if you've experienced both we'd have to give you a medal! We hope you enjoy this issue of ROCKS. Do drop us a line â€“ we love hearing from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott McMillan Faye James and the team Managing Director at ROCKS and Alliance
Auckland, New Zealand.
GROUP EDITOR Faye James DEPUTY EDITOR Ben Smithurst ASSISTANT EDITOR Riley Palmer SENIOR DESIGNER Guy Pendlebury SUB-EDITOR Jael Livingstone, Jane McKie
CONTRIBUTORS Ben Groundwater, Tom Guise ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Scott Hunt 02 8962 2600 email@example.com WA AND NT SALES AGENT
Helen Glasson Hogan Media: 08 9381 3991 E: firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHER Geoff Campbell PRINTER SOS Print & Media
ROCKS is published by Edge 51 Whistler Street, Manly NSW 2095 Phone: 02 8962 2600 edgecustom.com.au ROCKS is published by Business Essentials (Australasia) Pty Limited (ABN 22 062 493 869), trading as Edge. 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. ROCKS cannot accept unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. If such items are sent to the magazine, they will not be returned. A selection of images used in this publication has been sourced from Thinkstock, Getty Images and Corbis.
Attention: FIFO Miners and Oil & Gas Employees Earning $110k-$300k
Last chance with certainty to purchase
Property in your SMSF and save thousands in Tax. FIFO: Already have SMSF, Thinking about starting a SMSF or You just want to SAVE TAX. “Super Funds Should Be Banned From Borrowing” ABC’s 7:30 Report Editor Alan Kohler, along with Robert Gottliebsen and Bruce Brammall from the Eureka Report agree on these three points… 1. The ‘Murray Report’ recommended a banning of Super Funds to borrow (Dec 2014). 2. It is unlikely that any changes to SMSF would be retrospective. That means if you have purchased a property prior to any changes in legislation you retain your property within your SMSF with tax benefits. 3. Future arrangements of borrowing in a SMSF could be banned altogether if the government adopts the ‘Murray Report’ recommendations. (For full report we recommend subscribing to: Eureka Report online, Australia’s highest standard unbiased financial editing and reporting)
This Could Be Your Last Chance to take Advantage of This Opportunity If you’re a FIFO Worker, Professional, Trades Person, Employee or Contractor, working in Oil & Gas and Mining, you will be earning a very large salary or wage. I have lived and worked up the bush in Newman, Karratha and Pt Hedland assisting FIFO workers for 26 years to slash their Tax. I know the sacrifices. It is cooking ‘North West hot’. You work massive hours. Double the hours that other employees work in one week. It’s dusty. You’re away from your family most of the time. On top of that, the ATO takes...
Massive amounts of your hard earned Dollars in Tax each year The system is unfair to employees. Business averages just 815c in the dollar. Think about this fact. If you earn $160k a year, you’re paying a whopping $49,547 or an average of 31c in the dollar. That’s double the amount in tax that business pays. Over the next ten years when you’re trying to get ahead & save for an early retirement. It’s not the ATO fault, I suggest you have a choice, because you can reduce your Tax Legally if you would like to but if do you do nothing then.....
You will Pay $495,470 in Tax! That’s nearly half a million dollars. If you’re on $200k a year you’ll pay even more — $649,470. And if you’re on $300k, you’ll give up a massive $1,130,470 in tax pa. That’s money your family will never see. It’s money you’ll never enjoy in retirement. You will have to work years longer away from your family to save. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can choose so, why not at least stop listening, to some of the guys whinging about tax in the crib room & consider this. We will give you facts and the most Tax Effective Structures (not just SMSF’s), to reduce your Tax by thousands of dollars & put you in control. So you can make an informed decision...
What we will do for you
We will Slash Your Tax... No if’s, buts' or maybe’s. We will save you a minimum of $3K to 15K in Tax pa, perhaps more if you earn more, providing you act on our recommendations & answer a 10 minute questionnaire. We use different Tax Effective Structures, Private Companies, Family Trusts, SMSF combined with associated Entities, Discretionary Trusts, Special Purpose Companies, Custodian Companies & Tax Rulings that it is highly likely you do not know nor are you applying these rulings now.
Why FIFO Accountants are very Unique? We put you in control. No managed funds, just, Direct Shares, Direct Property, Direct Gold, Silver, Platinum, coins or bars, Treasury Bonds & Infrastructure Bonds & Newsletters with no bias or pecuniary interest. We don’t take trail commissions, that are fees linked to your fund balance. The more you Salary Sacrifice & contribute, the more money Fund Managers get paid. We don’t take Volume Bonus Fees, Performance Fees, Managed Expense Ratio’s (fees). All these are eliminated by your SMSF. We will save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your SMSF. Ask for Alan Kohler’s damming report on Managed Superannuation, “Its virtually impossible” to understand these fees Alan Kohler states. A SMSF eliminates hidden fees.
Dollar Cost of Delay SMSF or..
the Tax Savings & Benefits of proceeding. Lost Tax Deductions, Property $36k pa, time 10 years holding property.
Lost Potential Capital Growth on Property Hard to quantify but possibly 5% for 10 years.
Lost Income from Property. That assists in paying off property... 5.18% gross rental income over 10 years.
Lost Tax Benefit Salary Sacrifice, 10 years. $70k $160k pa (Ask for 10 page Property Report)
Use your phone to Snap a photo of the ad and ring us when you land. We are here to help you save Tax. FIFO Accountants Pty Ltd FIFO Tax Planning Mobile: 0448 073 201 www.slashyourtax.com.au .
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PORT HEDLAND KARRATHA
PHOSPHATE HILL EMERALD
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BALLERA MILES MOUNT KEITH LEINSTER
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PROVIDING CUSTOMISED AVIATION SOLUTIONS • FIFO charter services • ACMI aircraft leasing P W
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07 3212 1501 E email@example.com allianceairlines.com.au/charter
ABOUT US Alliance Airlines was established in 2002, recognising the growing demand from the domestic mining and energy sector for a provider of safe and reliable air transportation services to and from remote site locations. Alliance commenced operations with two Fokker 100 aircraft servicing two FIFO contracts, both of which are still serviced today. Our company has since expanded its fleet and operational capabilities to better service the continuing air transportation needs of the mining and energy sector . Alliance is a leading mining services company specialising in providing: • FIFO services • Ad hoc charter services • ACMI, or wet leasing, services. In December 2011, Alliance successfully listed on the ASX as AQZ.
FLIGHT BOOKINGS For customers wishing to book flights between Perth and Karratha or Brisbane and Emerald, this must be done online: www.allianceairlines.com.au/home For customers wishing to book flights between Adelaide and Olympic Dam, this can be done online: www.qantas.com
OUR FLEET FOKKER F100
RR Tay 650-15 Turbofans
All economy seat configuration, 33-inch seat pitch, galley, toilet, pressurised, air-conditioned
CHARTER BOOKINGS For corporate or private charters of Alliance aircraft, the following contacts are available: www.allianceairlines.com.au/charters firstname.lastname@example.org 07 3212 1501
SAFETY INFORMATION Even though you may travel frequently, please familiarise yourself with the Safety On Board card located in your seat pocket.
ALCOHOL Passengers are not permitted to bring alcohol on board for in-flight consumption. On flights where Alliance offers a bar service, our flight attendants adhere to RSA guidelines.
SEAT BELTS Please observe the ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ signs when illuminated. In the interest of safety, keep your seat belt fastened at all times in case of unexpected turbulence.
Passengers should ensure that carry-on baggage does not weigh more than 7kg and fits into the overhead lockers.
RR Tay 620-15 Turbofans
All economy seat configuration, 33-inch seat pitch, galley, toilet, pressurised, air-conditioned
2 x PW125B Turboprop
All economy seat configuration, 33-inch seat pitch, galley, toilet, pressurised, air-conditioned
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CONTENTS THE PICK
ISSUE 18 IN ORE
24 BURNING MAN
Crazy sculpture – and crazier crew – in Nevada.
The super-rich overlap of Europe and Asia.
Three-times world champ, fastest surfer alive, and... the guy who nearly killed Metallica?
22 SALLY FITZGIBBONS
The incredible thee-times World Title runner up is just 24. Now for the next step...
18 MICK FANNING
What’s happening, killer apps, great books and a Wombat speaks.
Fine dining on the move.
14 MAN + MACHINE
Japan. A frozen lake. And a gaggle of Lamborghini Huracáns. Want to enjoy the ultimate ice drive?
Specialist section with the latest news & views from around Australia, featuring: • Inside Mining • Investment
• Agribusiness • News & Reviews May 2015
ROCKS has sniffed out the best stuff so you don’t have to. Just sit back, relax and enjoy!
E VENTS + ENTERTAINMENT + TECH + MOTORS + FOOD & DRINK
ON THE DOWNLOAD
Play, create, snap – 3 cool apps Pushbullet
THE ORD VALLEY MUSTER
> Powering into its 15th year, the Argyle
Diamonds Ord Valley Muster, in Kununurra, WA, has become so popular that last year it sold out. This year’s highlights include the really on the road Melbourne International Comedy Fest roadshow, chef Matt Moran and the Waringarri Jamboree. Meanwhile on 23 May, the internationally acclaimed Kimberly Moon Experience concert will be headlined by The Living End, Dan Sultan, Megan Washington and The Whitlams, each lighting up the Jim Hughes Amphitheatre on the banks of the majestic Ord River. ordvalleymuster.com.au
Adroid/iOS, free A sharing app for multiple devices – tablet, smartphone, and PC. This lets you see all your phone’s notifications on your computer, share files with a click, and share links from notifications. Vital.
SEA & VINES FESTIVAL
> South Oz has pie floaters, one-way freeways and churches. And yet, few South Australian experiences match it for bouncing around wine country, gorging on produce that will make you weep... and then driving home with some of the world’s best wines in your boot. The highlight of McLaren Vale’s highlight-filled, four day Sea & Vines Festival is probably the ‘Sunday Experience’. You buy a $25 ticket and then select three out of the rich list of participating venues and wineries – split into three sessions between 9-5pm – to visit throughout the day. June 6-9, seaandvines.com.au
> An apple a day will keep the doctor away, but you need good aim and a strong arm. But what of those who prefer their apples brewed than thrown at the local GP? Enter CiderFest, Batlow’s one-day celebration of apple juice’s most adult form. A homespun one-day event in NSW that’s free of over-produced gloss, this is a paradise for cider lovers, brewers, aficionados and, er, people who enjoy dressing up as fruit. And it’s free. Saturday, May 16. batlowciderfest.com.au
Android/iOS, free Smartphone users know the terror of showing someone a pic... and then breaking into a sweat when they begin flicking through your other snaps. KeepSafe creates private, secure galleries that you control all access to.
iOS, Free Really, at heart, this is just another calorie tracker for those looking to lose a few kilos. Except for one thing: it’s deeply insulting. Near your calorie goal for the day and the app starts berating you.
Got s WHA ROC omething T? to you’r KS ? Is t here say abou e bur some t ning Don breat ’t mumb to see co thing le it h– ver Send tell us w under yo ed? h ur an a edge email to t you thin custo k r o and h m.co cks@ ! a m v .a e you *Plea se be r say u kind migh – our .* t not frag be ab
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FIFO syndrome symptom #9
Watching sit-coms with a wom called Tom.
When youâ€™re ready to cancel movie night with the marsupial, fly in to the legendary lifestyle of Taranaki, New Zealand.
SUMMIT 8000 ANDREW LOCK,
ew animals are as dependable as the wombat: squat, muscular and built to stand its ground, the wombat’s weight might top out at around 35kg but it can easily write off a hatchback. Liverpool guitar popsters The Wombats have been well received in Australia since their first album, A Guide To Loss, Love & Desperation scored a Triple J hit with the single ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ in 2007. As a result, they’ve spent a lot of time touring here between summer gigs across Europe and the USA – and being asked a lot of questions about wombats. Meaning that drummer Dan Haggis considers himself something of an expert in the burrowing Australian beasts. But how much does
$29.99 There are only 14 mountains over 8000m – from Everest, the daddy, to K2, the most fiendishly difficult, to Annapurna, the ‘mountain that mountain climbers fear’ because almost every step is made in the shadow of towering, unstable ice cliffs and laden avalanche fields. Andrew Lock, Australia’s greatest climber, has climbed them all, usually without oxygen and often solo. This memoir – and especially his descent from K2 on a climb that claimed three friends – is visceral and often terrifying. Brilliant.
How much does the British pop trio know about actual wombats? Surprisingly little.
he know, really? Rocks finds out ahead of their July tour for third album Glitterbug. “We’re really looking forward to it,” Haggis says. “Hopefully by then people will have heard the songs and they can sing along.” Have you learned much about actual wombats during your trips Down Under? Well, yes – our knowledge is getting pretty good, actually. Although we haven’t learned anything particularly new, recently. If there’s any particularly enlightening nuggets of knowledge you’re willing to give me then I’m happy to take them on. Give us a fact. Their poos are cube-shaped. Well done. What else? They’re stackable. Wombats are stackable?
CANDICE FOX, $32.99
No, their droppings are, I suppose. Like… Lego. Lego droppings. Okay, sure. Next. Um. Er, they like… playing… chess. In their… burrows. Eh? They’re keen chess players. I’m not sure that… And they like stacking their poos as high as they can go. They’re very keen on that. And the record for a stack by a wombat was just over three metres, I believe. Wait, so you’re an expert on wombats, and your facts are that wombats have square droppings, enjoy chess and play a horrible sort of Jenga? I’m sorry. You’ve got me. The Wombats tour Australia in July. See thewombats.co.uk for information. Glitterbug is out now.
Her ripping first book, Hades, was the deserved winner of the Ned Kelly award for best debut crime novel. Now Sydney author Fox is back with a ripping whodunit with a plot surrounding three missing girls. It’s mostly about the dynamic between two cops – detectives Frank Bennett (straight-up) and Eden Archer (trigger-happy) – with a pinch of Eden’s dad, a proper legendary old-school crim called Hades. Who lives in a rubbish tip. Proper thriller goodness from a new writer.
NICHOLAS IRVING WITH GARY BROZEK, $29.99 The blockbuster success of American Sniper means we can expect more firstperson bios from the most skilled US sharpshooters. Nicholas Irving, Master Sniper, was the first African American to serve in the US Army’s Special Operations 3rd Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment – which fought in Somalia’s infamous ‘Black Hawk Down’ incident – and while his ‘numbers’ are chillingly impressive, his book is a touch less gung-ho than Chris Kyle’s.
WHERAET TO E INK & DR
FIVE OF THE BEST
Just like a progressive dinner party, why stay in the same joint for each course, when you can move on to somewhere new? WORDS: Simone Henderson-Smart
Seasonal Food Foray Rutherglen, VIC
Two Fat Blokes Hunter Valley, NSW
Southgate Moveable Feasts
Guerilla Eats Sydney, NSW
The journey begins at the tourist info centre where you collect your bike and pedal to Pickled Sisters to pick up your tiffin full of goodies. Each of the iconic Indian lunchbox’s four layers contains a dish for two, that you unveil at a particular winery where they’ll provide you with a matching glass of wine. pickledsisters.com.au
The Hunter Valley wine region, two hours north of Sydney, is home to some spectacular cellar doors, many of which have their own restaurants. These selfproclaimed chubsters know the region well, and arrange tours that encompass four different wineries, and up to nine courses, with matching vino. twofatblokes.com.au
The Southbank Shopping Centre on the banks of the Yarra is not just packed with shops, as its name would suggest, but is also home to more than 10 fabulous restaurants. Kill three with one stone with a course at each over either a leisurely Sunday lunch or a Monday dinner. southgatemelbourne.com.au
The good food folk at Guerilla Eats have devised seven different food crawls through some of Sydney’s hotspots. All venues are within walking distance and offer a meal with a matching drink. Choose from the likes of hipster haven Redfern, sexy Surry Hills or the historic Rocks district. guerillaeats.com.au
With microbreweries popping up everywhere, it’s easy to visit several in one day with these tours. Dave’s got the Sydney craft beer scene sussed. He’s devised two separate itineraries: ‘Hipsters & Hops’ takes in the best of the inner west, with visits to the young guns at Young Henry’s and Batch Brewing in Marrickville, and old school brewers Rocks Brewing in Alexandria. ‘Northern Exposure’ heads to the northern beaches. Starting at Sydney’s newest brewery, Modus Operandi in Mona Vale, the tour then heads south, stopping in at Nomad Brewing Co in Brookvale and 4 Pines, which overlooks the harbour in Manly. Both trips involve plenty of brew and chats with the fine gents who craft them. davesbrewerytours.com.au
Leederville Food Safari Perth, WA Sticking with an Asian theme to match its cuisines, this food trek is done from the comfort of the back of a rickshaw, so someone else does all of the hard work getting you from A to B. You just need to hop on and off to chow down at Ria Malay Kitchen and Kitsch Bar Asia, and then finish up at Foam Coffee Bar. leedervillefoodsafari.com.au
YARRA VALLEY CIDER AND ALE TRAIL Melbourne, VIC
TASMANIAN CIDER TOURS Hobart, TAS
DAVE’S BREWERY TOURS Sydney, NSW
Running four days a week, this tour begins in Melbourne and then heads to the nearby Yarra Valley for a big day out, featuring visits to five breweries and cideries. Along with insights and information, the brewers dish up generous tasting paddles – so it’s recommended you make sure you’ve had a decent-sized breakfast before heading out. A generous lunch is served at brewery Hargreaves Hill, but there are a few stops on the itinerary before then. Perhaps the highlight of the tour, White Rabbit brewers are all about taking the basics and then adding a huge whack of imagination to create unique yet still very approachable beers. aussiebrewerytours.com.au The Apple Isle has a long history with the doctor-avoiding fruit. Apple seeds were first planted here back in 1788 by Captain Bligh. A massive industry developed, which at its height in the 1970s saw the island home to more than 2200 orchards. Recent times have seen the apple’s popularity wane, with many farmers replacing them with cherries. Thankfully a few remain and are able to ride the great cider wave that’s built momentum across Australia. There are currently over a dozen craft cider brewers in Tassie and this tour takes in up to four for tales and tastings. tasmaniancidertours.com.au May 2015
WORDS: BEN SMITHURST
TEPPANYAKI Fancy drifting on ice in a $428K Lamborghini Huracán? Head to the Winter Academy in Nagano, Japan
sually, lakes are right up there with trees, cliffs and telegraph poles in the list of ‘Things not to drive into when you’re in a $428,000 Italian supercar’. But this isn’t a normal day in the Lamborghini Huracán, and we’re in Japan, in the middle of January, where the average temperature is below zero. The lake we’re on is in Nagano, host city of the 1998 Winter Olympics, and it is frozen solid. In the corner, near a sad shuttered-up boathouse, a gaggle of duck-shaped paddleboats peers out from a layer of snow. It is very, very cold. Terrible weather for ducks. In fact it’s minus six degrees, and the ice is 40cm thick. Thick enough, I hope, to support the 1,474kg of car that I’m sitting in, plus my weight, a full 80 litres of fuel and my co-driver/instructor. He is a professional, mad and professionally
mad Japanese Super Trofeo Series driver, and he is shouting The Fast & The Furious lines at me. Welcome to Lamborghini’s Winter Driving Academia, a US$4000-a-day (A$5200) expert driver training school. It runs for just three days a year, in three locations – here, on Lake Megami, in Italy and the USA – and is open to punters and Lambo owners alike. “So,” my tutor shouts over the roar of the engine, which I am revving like a madman, because it’s great. His name is Hiro, and he’s teaching me to drift with left-foot braking. “It’s acceleration, power over-steering, control with the counter-steering, and then we have another corner to do. Brake, turn in, acceleration again, counter-steering on the other side, and then we have another corner, the opposite direction. Brake, turn in,
A COOL $3M WORTH OF LAMBOS LINED UP IN THEIR WINTER FINERY
MAN + MACHINE
OUR MORNING BRIEFING WITH ÜBERMENSCH CHIEF INSTRUCTOR PETER MUELLER.
AVENTADOR (LEFT) AND HUARCÁN CUT FOOTLOOSE.
acceleration, counter-steering. It’s like a dance.” “Got it?” If you’ve never driven on ice before, know this: the first time you do it, it is fiendishly difficult. Our day’s schedule – outlined in a morning brief by super-manly German chief instructor Peter Mueller – is intimidatingly varied. We’re to begin with familiarisation laps of the course, which has been carved into the ice, first observing our instructors before taking the wheel ourselves. We move onto ‘skidpan’ work – really just drifting exercises on another part of the lake – with tutelage in throttle, steering control and more. Then we get back on the track for laps at a top speed that, on zero-friction ice, counts as scary fast: about 90km/h. The Huracán has custom-made, snow-coping Pirellis. Each is wider than Godzilla’s backside, but for all their effect, at the mercy of a brutishly uneducated right foot, they might as well be coated in prayers. The Huracán has 449kW and 560Nm, care of a 5.2-litre V10 that laughs in the face of both physics and global warming. We’re also being assisted by its all-wheel-drive setup. Outside, distractingly, a $760K V12 Aventador slides past, bellowing like a minotaur. “Got it,” I say. But I am lying. In moments, I’m spinning around like Kylie Minogue’s hotpants in a dryer. And then, moments after that, I’m doing it again. And again. This happens throughout the morning, at steadily increasing intervals, in a variety of different lessons: figureeights, then long, held-drift circle work, then ‘catching’ a drift as the Lambo wiggles its bottom and pendulums out the other way. It’s often very frustrating. You seem not to learn at all… until you do.
It’s all small lessons interspersed with thrilling epiphanies, as hard-to-grasp mechanical processes become (vaguely) automatic. It is more fun than any other thing in the history of the world, ever. Even if, occasionally, a Land Rover must make its way out onto the ice to drag a plugged Lambo from a snowdrift, its red-faced pilot making apologies. “How good is this?” says Mike, a very tanned Australian lawyer sporting buttery Italian loafers, a leather jacket and no socks. We met last night in the hotel onsen, over an Asahi. Mike’s regular drive back home is a Bentley Continental GT.
IT IS MORE FUN THAN ANY OTHER THING IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, EVER.
He says, “I’ve done track days before, and I’ve driven the Super Trofeo circuit in Sepang [Malaysia], but I’ve always wanted to drift.” “It’s amazing how quickly you can pick it up when there’s someone beside you constantly correcting your mistakes. Although I think I stuffed up before. I let Peter Mueller think I was a semi-pro racer. He’s been coming over and giving me high-level tuition between drives. When they pulled me out of that snowbank before, and he saw who was driving, he looked like a disappointed father.” “Ha!” “You don’t have any spare socks, do you?” The day’s final exam involves several laps of the largest of the lake’s two circuits. Hiro occupies the passenger seat. Stressful. There are a series of instant sensations that define your Huracán driving experience on the ice. The instant surfeit of torque nestling beneath your right foot like an angry troll squeezed under a bridge. The thrilling pendulum of the Huracán’s mid-engine momentum as you hunker from one side to another, like a twitchy boxer. The dizzying adrenaline surge that comes with embracing counter-intuitive power delivery to catch your flick, and reverse it. Or the frustrated, slightly sickening realisation that you’ve just run out of steering lock, and are now going backwards faster than Greece, in a whooshing spume of spindrift.
Fortunately, after hours of instruction – and even on a worryingly deteriorating track, with large potholes appearing – it’s thrilling to get around at a reasonable clip, drifting to and fro, only quarter-turning the steering wheel to adjust the angle and steering almost entirely with your right hoof. You enter turns already pitched into understeer, the sort of Scando flick it would takes proper skill to master… except with the leg-up of hours boshing around on friction-free ice with one-on-one tuition. Frozen lakes really are like training wheels for the wannabe drifter, and it’s quite easy to decide that you’re actually much better than you really are. Catch three drift turns in a row, and when Hiro yells – in a perfect
FUN NAGANO FACT: THE 18TH WINTER GAMES WAS BATTERED BY RAIN, SNOW, SLEET AND EVEN A MINOR EARTHQUAKE BACK IN 1998.
American accent – “YEAAAAH! TOKYO DRIFT, BABY!” you almost believe you’re the Stig. Almost. “You tell Peter that I am the best instructor,” says Hiro. “See how you’ve improved? You’re doing it! Look, no other groups are overtaking anybody! See!” He’s right. To be fair, though, nobody else is trying: the Korean group is circling the track politely, the Japanese following suit. Hiro has been berating them on the walkie talkie and shuffling the Australians through. Earned or not, our false confidence is soaring. ’Straya! And then, a final lesson. The blizzard that’s been threatening all day comes barrelling in, and the course is almost whited out. We fear we’ll miss our ‘hot lap’, where we sit
MAN + MACHINE
THE INSTANT SURFEIT OF TORQUE NESTLING BENEATH YOUR RIGHT FOOT LIKE AN ANGRY TROLL SQUEEZED UNDER A BRIDGE.
The Lamborghini Winter Academy costs US$4000, including all food, accommodation and transfers in Japan (you have to get yourself to Tokyo). visit: squadracorse.lamborghini.com/en/accademia/overview
in the passenger seat while Hiro shows us how a real driver does it. “It’s okay,” he grins. “I know the ice-track course pretty well by now.” Four high-speed laps later – mostly sideways, occasionally backwards, always totally in control – Hiro’s sheared us of any Stig aspirations. He’s a delicate, blurred ballet of wrists and ankles. We’re laughing. Outside is an adrenalin blur of grey snow. It could be a blow to the ego, but it’s just too cool. Racetracks are fine places for Italian supercars. The streets of Milan, Los Angeles or Cannes – all perfect. Even so, you’ll still want to steer clear of trees, cliffs or telegraph poles. But provided it’s cold enough, you can do a lot worse than driving your $428,000 baby Lambo into a big Japanese lake.
Three times World Champion Mick Fanning is the fastest surfer in the world. But what about the time he almost killed Metallica?
nly two men have won more world titles than Michael Eugene Fanning: Newcastle’s Mark Richards – who won every year he competed between 1979 and 1982 – and obscure American failed actor Robert Kelly Slater, 43. Last December, the 33-year-old Gold Coast surfer came within a hair’s breadth of winning his fourth title at the famous Pipeline Masters in Hawaii – only to be beaten by freakishly talented 21-year-old Brazilian Gabriel Medina. “If I was honest, I was pulling for Mick Fanning today to pull a magic trick,” said Slater, at the time. For lesser surfers, it would be a bitter pill to swallow – not least because Medina was Fanning’s Hawaiian housemate. Not Fanning – who was, admittedly, placated by the three World Titles already stashed in his shed. “Congratulations to Gabe,” said Mick, graciously. “Aside from being such a freak in the water, he’s such a cool and respectful kid.”
Can he make it four in 2016? Even with a new wave of youth challenging Fanning and Slater’s old guard, you wouldn’t bet against him. Is it harder to win a first world title or consecutive ones? Mentally, the first one is harder. You’ve still got that doubt in your mind whether you can do it or not. It’s a lot harder. You’re renowned as the fastest surfer in the world. Have you ever gone so fast that you’ve gone slightly back in time? I wish. Then my head wouldn’t look so ugly. Ha! You were timed surfing with a GPS at the first event of the year at the Gold Coast once... Yeah – we got up to about 47 kilometres per hour, I think. You don’t ever really think about how fast you’re going in real terms. It’s pretty wild. It’d be awesome to time
INORE You’ve caught millions of waves. Can you remember the single best wave you’ve ever caught? It was a wave I got the first time I went to Tahiti. I was in a heat with Kelly Slater and I was on the inside of Kelly and it was really big. Kelly looked like he was going, and I thought, ‘Stuff that!’ and I went. I probably would have died if I hadn’t made it, but I’m stoked because I did. And I got a total of three points. Three points? What? Yeah! The best wave I’ve ever caught! But I didn’t really get into the barrel. It was just the drop that felt so good.
I WAS FOCUSED DOWN THE LINE AND HE WAS STRAIGHT UNDERNEATH ME. I JUST MISSED HIM, I SAW HIM AT THE LAST MOMENT… yourself in waves like we had at Kirra when it was eight foot the other month. Or how fast you take the drop at Waimea… Which do you think the fastest wave in the world is? Probably Kirra. Or Jeffrey’s Bay. Your party animal alter-ego’s name is Eugene. Isn’t Eugene the nerdiest party animal name ever? I think there’s worse. I think Dominic would be worse. Are you the best ever surfer from Penrith, in western Sydney? There are a couple of surfers from Penrith – there’s Matt Wilkinson, Darren O’Rafferty… there have been a few over the years. Any of those others won multiple world titles? Well, no. Not at the moment.
FEW MEN BORN IN PENRITH CAN PILOT THEIR WAY THROUGH A FRONTSIDE TUBE LIKE FANNING.
Didn’t you almost kill Metallica once? Yeah! I went surfing with them and we took Kirk [Hammett, lead guitarist] out on the Gold Coast and I nearly ran straight over his head. I was pretty freaked out about it – I didn’t see him. We were just surfing at Duranbah and I told him to go the wave before mine, but I didn’t realise that he’d fallen off straightaway. Then as I took off I was focused down the line and he was straight underneath me. I just missed him, I saw him at the last moment… otherwise he would have had about 10 stitches in his head. After Eugene, your other nickname is White Lightning. Who gave you that? It was actually Neil Ridgway, who was the editor at Tracks magazine. He put it across the cover when I was on it – and it just stuck. Now he’s the international marketing manager at Rip Curl.
Wow. Have you ever feared for your life in big surf? A couple of times, but you get over it pretty quick. When I was a kid I went to Hawaii and I caddied for Margo [legendary underground Australian ’90s surfer Brendan Margieson] and it was easily 15 foot Sunset. I didn’t want to go out, and he made me. I was sitting in the channel just wanting to cry. Ah, caddying, where you paddle out during a contest you’re not in, so a competitor has a spare board if his breaks. But then if he takes your board you have to swim in! Did he need you? No, thank God. I would have swum halfway in and just given up.
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Sally Fitzgibbons is a surfing natural – straight outta Gerroa, New South Wales
“IF I WAS in charge of the Women’s World Tour, and had an endless supply of money?” mused Sally Fitzgibbons between heats at a surf comp in 2012, “I would take the Tour to all my favourite waves around the world… and we’d get driven out to our heats in golf buggies. And you know how boxers always have these really hot girls that walk them out to a fight? Well, we would have these really hot guys drive us out to the spot, and we would have our own
private warm-up sessions. So everyone would have to clear the line-up and three or four girls would get to surf by themselves for a while before the event.” Sadly, Sally hasn’t yet come by that endless supply of money – but so far she’s proven herself to have an almost endless supply of talent. The 24-yearold from Gerroa – 130 kilometres south of Sydney in the Illawarra region – is a fixture at the top of the Women’s World Tour. A tour which,
over the past decade, has undergone a quiet revolution. Once considered also-rans by the bloke-focused, often chauvinistic men’s tour, women’s events were previously just attached to the men’s tour… and played out whenever the waves went flat, onshore or during crappy conditions when the guys were surfing. No more. Women’s surfing has come on so strongly that even though its been dominated by the eversmiling incumbent, six-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore, both male competitors, crowds, TV and online audiences are through the roof. Alongside Gilmore, Fitzgibbons is one of the world’s greatest ever female boardriders amongst a current high-performance bubble including fellow Aussies Tyler Wright and Laura Enever, Hawaiians Carissa Moore and Coco Ho and a brace of North and South Americans. In 2011, Sally was the World Title runner-up; last year she came fourth. “My dad and three older brothers all taught me to surf from the age of six,” says Sally. “We spent most of our time down by the beach as kids, so it was natural to take up surfing and copy my brothers.” Eighteen years on and this born-and-bred water baby is now right up there with the elite, tackling triple overhead waves and barrelling her way across some of the world’s most pristine reefs. Nonetheless, she describes running into the familiar waters along Gerroa’s coast as ‘‘coming home to an
I WOULD TAKE THE TOUR TO ALL MY FAVOURITE WAVES AROUND THE WORLD … AND WE’D GET DRIVEN OUT TO OUR HEATS IN GOLF BUGGIES.
old friend’’, and says these beaches – Bombo Beach, Surf Beach, Jones’, Mystics – remain her favourites. Sally’s dedication to surfing really began in 2009, the same year she first qualified for the ASP World Championship Tour. Up until that point, she’d been faced with the unusual dilemma of excelling at too many sports. She had variously represented both the state and nation in athletics, touch football, soccer and cross-country running. “I loved all the sports I played for different reasons, and it was hard to let go of any,” she admits. “Surfing began to
blossom for me at a time when I had to decide to focus all my efforts on just one sport, so I took the surfing pathway. Having that clear vision to the elite level, gave me the confidence to put everything into my dream of becoming the World Champion.” That dream requires gruelling dedication. The World Surf League Tour runs from March to December – and though she often surfs in paradise, she first has to get there. That means missing her family and friends, constant jetlag and being confronted by the media at some of her most vulnerable moments.
“There are parts that are tiring and tedious, but I wouldn’t say there are too many bad things,” she explains. “For example, having a 30-hour flight and then having to strap boards to the roof and navigate to a destination you aren’t familiar with, all while you’re extremely exhausted – these are the tough parts. But you learn to enjoy them.” “It’s what I love doing and am so passionate about. I really enjoy being in the competitive arena for most of the year and testing myself against the world’s best surfers and waves.” May 2015
UNLEASHED Being stuck in the middle of nowhere without cash or clothes is the new red-hot thing. Charting the incendiary rise of Nevadaâ€™s iconic Burning Man.
WORDS: TOM GUISE PHOTOGRAPHY: BRAD COOK
lack Rock City has its own radio station. Doesn’t sound that big a deal, until you realise Black Rock City is actually a dry lake bed in the middle of the Nevada desert. As our RV thunders towards it in a rolling cloud of alkali dust, we tune in. Slotted between a pulsating trance tune and a cautionary ad about unprotected sex is a newsflash. “We have Joe here, who’s broken his clavicle,” announces the surprisingly upbeat voice.
“He needs to get to Reno fast. If anyone can give him a ride, please come to the medical centre at Esplanade and 5.15 as soon as possible.” Joe’s in trouble. This is day two of the Burning Man festival and everyone’s heading the opposite way – in. Also, Reno is nearly 200 kilometres away. That’s three hours with a shattered collarbone, assuming he catches a ride right now. Joe’s just discovered one of the principles of Burning Man – radical self-reliance.
By the time our motorhome finally crawls through the gate four hours later, Joe is hopefully tucked into a comfy Reno hospital bed. It’s the middle of the night and our first taste of this week-long experiment in extreme counter-culture is a schizoid mix of oppressive regime and hippy commune. Uniformed guards with flashlights check our tickets, then investigate the inside and underside of the RV – even the glovebox – looking for stowaways. If we had a hay cart,
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UNLEASHED they’d probably pitchfork it. Next, chirpy ‘greeters’ dressed like charity-shop pirates force us out of the van to spread-eagle in the dust, have our personal space invaded by hugs, and ring a giant bell. We’ve been initiated. Welcome to Black Rock City – home of Burning Man. And for nine days each year it really is a city. A motorhome metropolis the size of downtown San Francisco, with streets rippling outwards in perfect concentric rings intersected by radial avenues – like some gargantuan crop circle. It has an airport, a post office, a police force and fire department – the latter crucial in overseeing what towers at the centre: the Man himself. A 10 storey-high wooden effigy ritually set ablaze on the penultimate night. It’s a Wicker Man fantasy potent enough to give Nicolas Cage cold sweats. But there are better movie analogies to be had. Giant ‘art cars’ cruising the dusty landscape – their decks populated by hedonistic Burners – easily evoke the desert planet of Star Wars; more so when smaller ‘mutant vehicles’ buzz past you to park outside a shanty cantina playing jazz. The connection to the postapocalyptic outback of Mad Max is more literal. Nightfall reveals a fully-fledged Thunderdome – the caged combat arena where Tina Turner forces Mel Gibson into a hammer-wielding death-match on bungee ropes. It’s the same deal here, only with padded pugil sticks and without Tina and the mortal
outcome. Well, maybe not the last bit – clinging to the outside of the geodesic cage with other cheering spectators, there’s a very real prospect I could plunge to my death. Hence the unofficial motto: Keep Burning Man potentially fatal. That’s never more apparent than when riding out into the darkness of the ‘deep playa’ – the unbound desert beyond the neon cityscape. Here, mysterious sights are to be found – luminous forests, an open-air planetarium, a ’50s diner that a Jeff Bridges lookalike without shoes told me he’d been trying to rediscover for three years. Here, art cars roam free. Fail to cover yourself or your bike in enough lights and you could wind up as rocky roadkill. The night before the dawn burning of Embrace – an epic 22 metre-high hollow
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THE DRY LAKE BED HOSTS AROUND 300 ARTWORKS EACH YEAR – SOME MORE TRIPPY THAN OTHERS.
sculpture of a man and woman – over 60 art cars gather in the deep playa to await the moment. The atmosphere is incredible. Sonic waves of different music fold into each other as thousands of half-naked and stark-naked Burners clamber on and off party vessels built like dragons and mechanical
octopi, many spewing fire. One that resembles a moving castle seemingly has flame throwers just for guests to play with. It wasn’t always this insane. In 1990, when Burning Man first came to the Black Rock Desert, it was much worse. Having been evicted from San Francisco’s Baker Beach by fire-
fearing cops, this was a reckless time of people racing cars around the camp and sporting loaded firearms. Today, there’s a speed limit of 8 kilometres per hour and you can’t bring any weapons, fireworks or dogs. The population has gone from 800 to over 65,000 and the Man has ranged from 12 metres to 32. Leave no trace became a guiding principle – everyone must take their trash or MOOP (matter out of place) with them. A volunteer police force (the Black Rock Rangers) was formed2 then a fence was built to collect windstrewn trash. Today, alongside law enforcement in night-vision goggles, the fence keeps humans from sneaking in; a situation that’s escalated with the ticket prices. In 1994 entry was US$30 – today it’s US$390. Once inside though, money isn’t an issue – you can’t spend it on anything, except ice and coffee. It’s another of those principles – decommodification – and it extends to every level May 2015
‘EMBRACE’, A 22-METRE WOODEN SCULPTURE, TOOK TWO YEARS TO DESIGN AND BUILD – ALL FUNDED BY A $52,099 KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN.
of Burning Man. There’s no sponsorship, the organisation is non-profit, even the performers are unpaid. Unless you plan to survive on frappuccinos, you have to bring what you need or find it on site. Intended to instill the principles of radical selfreliance and gifting, it’s recently seen wealthy attendees rocking up to ready-made luxury camps. Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin famously created the first Google Doodle as an out-of-office notice while they nicked off to Burning Man, while Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk sent ahead a fivestar fleet of eight fully-stocked RVs for himself. At least Mark Zuckerberg kind of gets it – he helicoptered in to serve up grilled cheese toasties. He’s not alone. Everywhere we ride there are camps offering tequila shots, or hot tacos, or ‘the world’s best Bloody Mary’ (arguably true). At a ‘one cent hot dogs’ saloon, the barman offers me a pickleback. “Take a slug of bourbon, then a shot of the juice from the pickle jar,” he yells to me over a cover band live version of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’. “You’ll be surprised,” he reassures me. He’s right – the brine
neutralises the punch of the whiskey. Two picklebacks later and a mammoth hot dog is placed on the checker tablecloth in front of me. It doesn’t cost a single cent. As I tuck in, the band finishes to rapturous applause. “Thank you!” they shout, as their stage spontaneously drives off into the darkness leaving just the crowd, their giant hot dogs and picklebacks, the distant cacophony of a myriad of other sound systems and a starry sky split by the occasional highpowered laser beam. A few days later the whole restaurant will be gone, leaving no trace. Not even a pickle.
NOT AN ACTUAL ALIEN. PROBABLY.
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THE MAD MAX III-STYLE THUNDERDOME HAS BEEN AT BURNING MAN EVERY YEAR SINCE THE MID-1990S.
THE MAN ERUPTS: THE EPONYMOUS STATUE GOES UP.
WHEN TO GO
WHERE IT IS
Burning Man is being held from August 30 to September 7, 2015. Tickets cost US$390 per person, plus US$50 per vehicle, and are notoriously hard to get. The last 1,000 will go on sale August 5 at 12pm PST, but you’ll need to pre-register July 29 at tickets. burningman.org
The nearest city to Burning Man is Reno, 196 kilometres away. Stocking up on food and water is crucial, and you might want to consider renting an RV, as the desert can often reach 40°C in August. Any Walmart in Reno is normally stocked ready for Burners, including $100 bikes.
Black Rock City is laid out like a giant clock – the noisiest areas being around 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, where the stages are. It’s better to stay nearer the edge and travel around on your bike. Don’t worry about being stuck in a boring area – there aren’t any!
Your ticket comes with a guide book to the many camps that gift food, water and alcoholic drinks, but riding around will yield just as many results. The only places you can actually buy anything are Center Camp Café – coffee – and Arctica (also at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock plazas) which sells ice.
s of Eastern d a o r s s o r c At the n Asia is a r e t s e W d n Europe a lence, u p o e g n a r t country of s caviar and fireâ€Ś et black-mark
E R E WH L L E H E H T S JAN? I
I A B AZER roundwater G n e B : S D R WO
UNLEASHED BAKU’S OLD GOVERNMENT HOUSE WAS DESIGNED FOR 5,500 PEOPLE.
id you know? Or did you Google it? You have to do some proper research to find out that it’s even a country, let alone to discover that Azerbaijan is a country rich with oil and gas money, a place currently striving to bill itself as ‘the new Dubai’, a Central Asian state with as many international luxury-brand shops and fancy restaurants as postcommunist apartment blocks and “provodnik” food stores. It’s a country with a proud history in combat sports like wrestling and boxing. It’s a place where black-market caviar
exchanges hands in quiet corner stores. It’s a nation that boasts of its victory in the Eurovision Song Contest (in 2011, FYI, for ‘Running Scared’, sung by chemistry-free pop duo Nigar Jamal, a stunning blonde, and Eldar Gasimov, a human axolotl). It’s a strange, fascinating and rich country that’s in the process of opening its doors to foreign tourists, and it’s chasing visitors like you. But back to the original question: where the hell is Azerbaijan? Look it up. It’s a small nation with the oil- and gas-rich Caspian Sea to its east, Russian and Georgia to its north, Iran to its south, and its arch
rival Armenia to the west. The official language is Azerbaijani, which sounds a lot like Turkish. Its food is a mixture of Middle Eastern and European influences. It’s a predominantly Muslim country where you can drink alcohol and wear any clothes you like. Everything is a surprise in a country you know nothing about. The streets of the capital, Baku, are lined not with grey apartment blocks but with a rich mix of architecture that looks like it’s been pilfered from various parts of Western Europe. Largely because it has.
THE GREATER CAUCASUS MOUNTAIN RANGE DOMINATES THE COUNTRY’S NORTH.
YOU DIDN’T COME ALL THIS WAY TO CENTRAL ASIA TO DO THE SAME STUFF YOU COULD DO OVER IN THE GULF. THE TRUE APPEAL OF AZERBAIJAN IS THE THINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT.
AZERBAIJANIS HAVE DEEP PRIDE IN THEIR MANY ELABORATELY BROCADED HATS.
DID YOU KNOW?
Azerbaijan and Iran are the only two countries currently harvesting wild beluga caviar from the Caspian Sea.
“MY HAT REP RE
The number of foreign visitors to Azerbaijan has risen from 576,000 in 2002 to 2.27 million last year.
During the country’s original oil boom in the early 20th century, a bid was made to make Baku look more modern, with architects from all over Europe roped in to design the new streetscape. The result is a city full of buildings that look like they belong in London, Paris, Rome or Milan. The 21st century buildings are even more impressive. Baku’s ‘Flame Towers’ – three flame-shaped skyscrapers that reflect Azerbaijan’s slogan of ‘land of fire’ – dominate the city skyline. A Lamborghini shop on the ground level dominates the street frontage. The white-tiled, wave-shaped Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre is a modern-day answer to the Sydney Opera House, the sort of iconic building you’ll see on photos and postcards around the country. Azerbaijan has money to spend – that much is obvious. Anyone attempting to be the ‘new Dubai’ would have to be prepared to splash some cash. There are Tom Ford and Bulgari stores on Baku’s main drag; upmarket cocktail bars and restaurants down by the water’s edge. But you didn’t come all this way to Central Asia to do the same stuff you
could do over in the Gulf. The true appeal of Azerbaijan is the things that are different. Take the caviar. Azerbaijan is famous as the producer of some of the world’s best ‘black gold’, harvested from beluga sturgeon fish pulled from the Caspian Sea. The official sale of caviar is tightly controlled by the government, ensuring prices remain extremely high. That is, unless you go to a place like Taza Bazaar. There, black-market caviar is slipped into your hands for about $50 per 25-gram jar. It’s easy enough to find – just listen out for the guys who whisper “caviar” as they wander past. Follow them into a back room, taste the product, then decide how much you want to buy. There’s a drinking culture in Azerbaijan, too, though it revolves as much around tea as it does alcohol. The Old City of Baku, a warren of narrow alleys that dates back to the 12th century, is lined with teahouses, often smoky little places hidden underground. These venues are usually filled with men smoking shisha pipes and sipping sweet tea. Just outside the old city walls, Azerbaijan’s young and trendy hang
THE WILDLY WARPED HEYDAR ALIYEV CENTRE, NAMED AFTER A FORMER PRESIDENT (AND KGB OFFICER).
UNLEASHED out in the pubs and bars that can be equally difficult to find, and usually expensive. This is nightlife in the Russian style, where cash is flashed, vodka is downed, and cheesy electro-pop is danced to. Outside of Baku, however, the attractions are more natural. Remember the ‘land of fire’? It’s not just a catchy Game of Thrones-esque slogan. Azerbaijan actually is on fire, constantly. The Yanar Dag, or ‘burning mountain’, is an outlet of natural gas on a hilltop just outside the capital that burns day and night in a three-metre-high flame. It’s claimed that it was lit in the 1950s when a shepherd dropped a cigarette on the ground. It’s never gone out. Azerbaijan is also a country with an adventure sports industry in infant stages – ski fields are in the process of being developed in the north, while there’s already a range of hiking and mountain-biking options close to Baku. You’ll often hear locals boast that nine out of the existing 11 climate zones identified on Earth exist in Azerbaijan, from desert plains to snow-capped mountains. You’d have to agree that that’s far more impressive than victory in Eurovision. YA
YANAR DAG WAS LIT IN THE 1950S WHEN A SHEPHERD DROPPED A CIGARETTE ON THE GROUND. IT’S NEVER GONE OUT.
THE LOWDOWN WHERE TO STAY The Four Seasons Hotel is ideally situated right next to the Caspian coast and the Baku Old City. Rooms start from $571 per night. See fourseasons. com/baku. WHERE TO EAT For authentic Azeri dishes like rice pilaf and shish kebabs, check out Firuza near Fountain Square in Baku. WHAT TO DO Time your trip to coincide with one of the sporting events hosted in Azerbaijan, which include GT touring car meets, football matches, and the 2015 European Games in June.
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WA&NT ROCKS GRUB
THE NEW FOODIES’
THE NEW FOODIES’
FAVOURITES Want the best grub in the Territory and the west? Talk to the highest-rated foodie bloggers in Darwin and Perth… WORDS: BEN SMITHURST
here’s My Kitchen Rules, MasterChef and Kitchen Revolution. International celebrity chefs from Jamie Oliver to Marco Pierre White, Heston Blumenthal and Rick Stein are such regulars at our International Arrival Terminals that they’re on first-name terms with customs officials. They dive into a pool already crammed with hot local grub merchants from Kylie Kwong to Matt Moran, and rub shoulders with Aussie food icons from Tetsuya Wakuda to Neil Perry. Australia is so in love with food that ‘plating up’ has entered the lexicon and the once proud Chiko roll is on its knees. And you can barely turn around in a café without someone Instagramming their toast. The once simple acting of eating has reached almost fetishistic heights – and so it only makes sense that dining out has become a sort of secular Aussie religion. But where to go? Enter the food blogger. Everywhere you turn, there’s a new one. And for good reason. Neither restricted by the frequency or regularity of print, nor – importantly! – with a recognisable face when they enter the restaurant, the foodie blogger is a great entry to the real person’s take on a city’s dining scene. They’re the halfway point between a recommendation from a locally based mate who doesn’t mind a feed and taking advice from a professional food writer jaded from 25 straight years of crème brûlée. So what better way than to ask a city’s toprated culinary blog writers (according to Urbanspoon.com) to recommend their favourite dining locations in their capital cities? Rocks heads north and then west with the gastroweb’s best…
THE ONCE SIMPLE ACTING OF EATING HAS REACHED FESTISHISTIC HEIGHTS May 2015
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DARWIN FOODIES A self-described “group of food fanatics all living in Darwin”, the creatively named Darwin Foodies eclectic blog bounces out at random intervals, covering all varieties of food in the Territory capital – from low to high-brow – even including recipes. Their blog comes with a hearty disclaimer: “Taste is subjective,” says foodie Tuan Nguyen and co’s tongue-incheek editorial. “If you have a bad experience at a place we’ve reviewed, blame your tastebuds not ours!”
IF YOU HAVE A BAD EXPERIENCE AT A PLACE WE’VE REVIEWED, BLAME YOUR TASTEBUDS NOT OURS!
Best breakfast: “Laneway Specialty Coffee in Parap. It’s very busy in the mornings so try to get in early, but the coffee and food is sublime – making the wait worthwhile.” Best for a drink: “Fiddlers Green, on the Darwin Waterfront. It’s an Irishthemed pub with a fantastic atmosphere every night of the week. Food is great too – they do breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Most ‘Darwin’ experience: “There
are loads of multicultural street foods, snacks and crafts at the markets. Parap (Saturday morning), Nightcliff (Sunday morning) or Rapid Creek (Sunday morning) are all year round. Mindil Beach is the biggest of them all (Thursday and Sunday evenings, March to October).”
Somewhere a bit fancy: “Pavonia Place, in Nightcliff. It’s modern Australian with a hint of Asian fusion, featuring great service with relaxed atmosphere. The menu is updated a few times a year to keep things fresh.” Best for romance: “il Piatto at SkyCity Casino. It’s just a great view and the food is well priced for the fancy setting…” Best spot for a ‘Sunday session’:
“For your last chance to play before the Monday morning blues, head on over to The Deck Bar on Mitchell Street. It’s Darwin’s most popular Sunday session venue.”
Website: darwinfoodies.com May 2015
PERTH FOOD ENGINEERS
The west’s no.1 food bloggers
are a pair of food-obsessed electrical engineers based in the city on the Swan. Perth Food Engineers (geddit?) are Miss L (aka N.Lam, “the adventurous one”) and Miss Egg (aka Sandra Tan, “the crazy, weird one”). “I got my love for food from my dearest mum, who used to drive me around Singapore to eat the yummiest food,” says Miss Egg, Rocks’ contact. “We love to let others know of the great/ crappy places in WA so that the love may be shared around!”
Best breakfast: “For food, Gusto
in South Perth would be the place I would definitely recommend for ‘gusto’ portions, and great combinations of flavours in the dishes they serve. The venue is rather small, though, so get in early or expect a wait. The coffee at Gusto can’t beat the two that I frequent for my weekend hit, though – Ingredient Tree at Wembley, or Elixir at Nedlands. I’ve had so much coffee from those two places that I might as well become a shareholder.”
of flavours from the East to the West. It’s not easy to get fusion dishes right, but Suburban Table definitely had it going for them. End the evening with homemade ice cream, and you’ll discover a place that is a little too unknown for its quality of food.”
Best for romance: “Fillaudeau’s,
in Caversham, in the Swan Valley, is definitely worth visiting for a comfortable, relaxing, intimate meal for two because of its beautiful outdoor setting, and the honest, good food that they serve. Throw in a nice bottle of wine while you’re at it, because, after all, you’re in the heart of Wine Valley. During the day I would recommend reserving a table outside to drink in the beautiful views.”
Best for a drink: “Five Bar in Mount Lawley is probably the number one place I would go. Great beer choices, and based on my previous visit, jawdroppingly awesome chips! It’s hard not to love a place that does perfect chips. Chic, bohemian and classy all into one. Oh, and a pool table. Winner? I think so.” Most ‘Perth’ food experience: “Little Creatures in Fremantle is one of those places known to every second local that you speak to (or maybe more). It serves the quintessential beer, wine, and spirits, with pizza and steak sandwiches galore. And the sand pit out at the back makes it familyfriendly too.”
Hidden secret: “I went to Suburban Table in Mosman Park recently and it’s the definition of a hidden gem; a cosy little corner with lots to boast about, particularly the beautiful mixtures
FIVE BAR IS PROBABLY THE NUMBER ONE PLACE I WOULD GO. GREAT BEER CHOICES AND JAW-DROPPINGLY AWESOME CHIPS!
A LITTLE LESS EMAILS A LITTLE MORE EXERCISE What will you do a little less & a little more? Tell us at littlelesslittlemore.com.au
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HELLO OR GOODBYE? Photo credit: Mike Calder Photography.
Devil Facial Tumour Disease was discovered in Tasmanian devils in 1996. It’s a contagious cancer spread through biting, and it is always fatal. The devil population has suffered immensely and, more than 80% have been lost. The ‘Save the Tasmanian Devil Program’ supports the survival of the devil in its natural habitat, the Tasmanian wilderness. Funding is vital, and we need your help.
To make sure it’s not goodbye, the Tasmanian devils need your help!
AN INITIATIVE OF THE SAVE THE TASMANIAN DEVIL PROGRAM COORDINATED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF TASMANIA FOUNDATION
Log onto www.tassiedevil.com.au for more info and ideas.
Best breakfast: “Call me crazy, but
“iMasticate popped up during
a brainstorm with my bestie and brother,” says the mysterious (but charming!) blogger behind one of the west’s best food critiques. The author strives for anonymity, so as to better soak up genuine dining experiences, with reviews that are honest, unpretentious, and capture their silly sense of humour. They even run without an author bio – a shame, because in person, they’re devastatingly attractive. “I love food, bargains and ranting about awesome and awful restaurants,” they tell Rocks.
THE BEST BREAKFASTS THAT I EVER HAD WERE FROM MALAYSIAN HAWKER STALLS.
the best breakfasts that I ever had were from Malaysian hawker stalls. Sri Devi, in Northbridge, is open in the late morning on weekends. The roti (bread) is buttery and crispy, perfect to smother in dahl and curry sauce.”
Best value degustation: “You need to book months ahead to lock in a dinner at Marumo, a small Japanese restaurant in Nedlands. The sevencourse omakase, or chef’s selection, is super cheap at $55 per person. Trust me, it is sooo worth the wait!” Most ‘Perth’ food experience: “Little
Creatures in Freo offers amazing harbour views, wood-fired pizza, hot chilli mussel, and locally brewed beers and cider on tap. What more could you ask for?
Hidden secret: “If you wander too far along William Street in Northbridge during the evening, the shops are closed and the crowds start to thin out. Here you’ll find The Edge of Sahara, a dimly lit African restaurant, just before a seedy kebab shop. Order the lamb tajine – it’s divine.” Best for romance: “Romance is an awkward thing for me, but one of the best dates of my life was at Jun, in Hay Street. The restaurant is tucked downstairs, through a red door, that you’ll find in a dodgy-looking alleyway in the city. Share some yakitori (meat skewers), tori karaage (fried chicken), and aburi salmon belly (torched sashimi). You can relax and enjoy with BYO booze.” A little extra: “Want to picnic in the sun? Swing past the Re Store in Leederville or Northbridge for an awesome selection of cold meats, cheese, and other European foods. If you find yourself at the Northbridge store, drop into Corica across the road for a chocolate custard canoli (they are seriously the bomb).” Tumblr: imasticate.tumblr.com May 2015
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QUEEN OF BAD TIMING A twenty-something marketing professional in her other life, blogger Kristy K, aka the Queen of Bad Timing, has been documenting the west’s foodie scene since 2012. “My food philosophy is very much one that supports local and sustainable produce, and eating nose to tail style,” she says. “Almost anything can taste good if cooked and treated in a respectful manner so I love looking for opportunities to try something new.”
Best breakfast: “Mrs. S in Maylands is a staple in the Perth breakfast scene. The food is beautiful and inventive, the menus are in children’s storybooks and there’s a counter full of cakes to indulge in after brekky. From the breakfast pannacotta to the ‘manwich’, there’s something for everyone.”
Most ‘Perth’ food experience:
“Harvest Espresso in Perth is the
epitome of current food trends. It has an ever-changing seasonal menu with a modern Australian cooking style (with some slight Asian influences) which has made visiting the restaurant a sport for those dedicated to trying their beautiful dishes. It’s a tiny venue with limited seating but I promise it’s worth the wait!”
Best for a drink: “Newcomer, The
Standard, in Northbridge is already ticking all the boxes for me. Their food is far from your normal pub fare with some inventive twists on classics like beef carpaccio and clams, plus their desserts bring the fun to the table. Always save room for a cocktail!”
“IT’S A TINY VENUE WITH LIMITED SEATING BUT I PROMISE IT’S WORTH THE WAIT!”
Hidden secret: “The Old Crow in Northbridge is a highly underrated restaurant that definitely requires a shout out. Their southern American style cuisine makes my tastebuds sing with funky dishes like crispy Brussels sprouts, fried chicken sandwiches in gravy and duck liver parfait. It’s easily one of my favourite places!” Best for romance: “Must Wine Bar in HARVEST ESPRESSO
Highgate provides beautiful modern food with a fine dining flair. Every visit there is met by dim lighting, fragrant dishes and the desire to order a mountain of oysters to guzzle with champagne. It’s unpretentious but beautiful.”
Something extra: “Noodle Forum in
Perth CBD is a tiny little hole in the wall but attracts masses of people for their noodles. Their head chef has perfected the dying art of bamboo bouncing to create the noodles – something no one else here is doing. The result is tasty and beautiful!”
PERTH MUNCHKIN PERTH
Born-and-bred in the west,
CJ, the woman behind food – and occasionally, recipe – blog Perth Munchkin works in finance by day – and hits the restaurant scene at night in a style less vigilante, more jus-aware Batman. “Name your pleasure – seafood, Italian, French, Indian, whatever - it’s all on offer here,” she says. “Fabulous restaurants open up on a weekly basis.”
Best breakfast: “There is plenty of
choice these days and it’s hard to pick a favourite, but for me La Veen in King Street, Tuck Shop Café in Newcastle Street, Mary Street Bakery in Highgate and Sayers in Leederville are all definitely worth a visit.”
Best for a drink: “The Brisbane is a lovely pub with a spacious outdoor section and tasty food. On the bar front there are so many wonderful new small bars popping up, each with something different to offer. Some of my favourites are in and around Northbridge – Lot 20, The Standard, The Flour Factory and The Laneway Lounge – and The Classroom in North Perth.” Most ‘Perth’ food experience: “Take
advantage of the beautiful coastline and enjoy a meal overlooking the ocean at a spot like The Cottesloe Beach Hotel. With the beach club menu created under the guidance of renowned chef Russell Blaikie, it’s a picturesque choice for a tasty meal with a focus on local produce and the chance to enjoy a beer or a glass of Margaret River wine by the seaside. Another Perth experience worth trying is a progressive dinner around Brookfield Place. This is an impressive foodie precinct in the Perth CBD with several top restaurants (Print Hall, The Trustee, Apple Daily, etc) and small bars (Bar Lafeyette, Bobeche, Bob’s Bar, etc) so you can have a top night out and try out a few new places without having to walk too far.”
FABULOUS RESTAURANTS OPEN UP ON A WEEKLY BASIS IN PERTH.
A FISH CALLED INGLEWOOD
Hidden secret: “A relative newbie for seafood fans is A Fish Called Inglewood, in – unsurprisingly – Inglewood. It has a wonderfully casual vibe but is serving up seriously amazing seafood meals. With a menu that changes daily depending on what is available at the fish markets, I think it’s a real winner.” Best for romance: “My favourite
is Restaurant Amusé in East Perth. A leisurely 10-course degustation provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy several hours of delicious and creative dining with your special someone. Other spots that tick the box for me in the romance/special occasion department are St Michael 6003 in Highgate, Red Cabbage in South Perth, 1907 in Queen Street and Clarke’s of North Beach in North Beach.” COTTESLOE BEACH
“THE HAMSTER WAS BURNT” Not all food bloggers are sane.
SCANDYBARS What is it: A blog about chocolate bars, chocolates generally and (very) occasionally other lollies. Gimmick: It’s just cross sections of chocolate bars from around the world, photographed in macro high-res, forensic detail. Only it’s American, so they call them ‘candy’. And that’s it. Site: scandybars.tumblr.com
ROYAL BACON SOCIETY What is it: There are a lot of bacon blogs, but RBS wins because its recipes are augmented by other articles (‘Top 10 Bacon Quotes From Homer Simpson’, ‘World’s Longest Bacon?’, etc). Gimmick: None, apart from obsessive bacon fanboyism. It’s salty and delicious. Site: royalbaconsociety.com
AIRLINE MEALS What is it: ‘Nothing but airline food!’ says Airline Meals’ non-appetising slogan, but they’re serious about it... at the same time as being seriously fun. Gimmick: The site contains 35,000 images of meals from up to 700 different world airlines, with attached user reviews. Site: airlinemeals.net
GIRL MEETS BUG What is it: Pretty young Michigan entomophagist – meaning ‘insect eater’ – Daniella Martin is a passionate scoffer of creepy crawlies. The frequency of her posts has dropped away since her book deal last year, but the good stuff is all still there. Gimmick: Bug eating. Obviously. She also has a US cable TV show, which shares the title of her blog. Site: girlmeetsbug.com
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE BEAUTIFUL COASTLINE AND ENJOY A MEAL OVERLOOKING THE OCEAN.
Something extra: “If you have time
then I’d recommend a visit to the Swan Valley. It isn’t too far from the CBD and is an amazing part of the world. Wineries, breweries and fabulous restaurants – Sandalford, Sittella and Mandoon Estate are some of the best – make it a trip you might never forget.”
PUTTING WEIRD THINGS IN COFFEE What is it: Now sporadically updated, PWTIC’s mission statement is in its title. Odd things are added to coffee, the resulting concoction is consumed and reviewed. Gimmick: Notable failure additions include yoghurt and salt in coffee, salmon in coffee and blue cheese in coffee (“not unlike vomit”, apparently). Site: puttingweirdthingsincoffee.com
THE CHEF’S WIFE PERTH
Perth food blogger, The Chef’s
Wife, aka Amanda Carlin, loves nothing better than to find the tastiest morsels in the west. Her blog The Chef, his Wife and their PERTHfect Life is dedicated to sharing Perth and Western Australia’s best places to drink and dine; be it casual, childfriendly or something a little bit special.
Best breakfast: “The best breakfast
in Perth is very hard to pick. I have many favourites! Harvest in Vic Park, Typica in Claremont and Mary Street Bakery in Highgate are just a few that spring to mind. The evolution and popularity of brunch in Perth is something that excites me – I love a stack of homemade crumpets first thing in the morning!”
MY FAVOURITE ALL-ROUNDER IS LITTLE CREATURES IN FREO – FOR ITS GREAT VIBES AND TASTY SHARE FOOD.
Best for a drink: “My favourite all-
rounder is Little Creatures in Freo – for its great vibes and tasty share food. We are spoiled for choice with small bars in Perth, my top choice being The Cabin Small Bar in Mount Hawthorn, where the food and cocktails are sublime. My favourite beer garden in Perth has to be Guildford’s shady Rose & Crown Hotel, with The Brisbane in Beaufort Street a very close second.”
BE AN ONLINE FOODIE THE CHEFS FEAR Start your own food blog. GET SNAPPY
BIB & TUCKER
Most “Perth” food experience:
Christina Soong, aka The Hungry Australian’s (hungryaustralian.com), clean, well-designed blog is a hit – and while her site took off within months of its debut in 2011, expect it to take up to three years of blogging to find your unique voice. However, Soong advises that, “If you’re trying to establish yourself, I think you have to blog a minimum of once a week, thrice, ideally.”
“I’d have to go with Bib and Tucker,
which is nestled in between the sandy white dunes at Leighton Beach, for a quintessentially West Aussie experience. There’s nothing more relaxing than gazing out over the Indian Ocean whilst chowing down on some delicious grub.”
Hidden secret: “Forgive me, but my hidden secret is also a very personal one. Call me biased but I love the restaurant Flinderz, in the heart of oceanside suburb Hillarys - where I happen to know the head chef, my husband, very well! It’s a chilled out spot for brunch, lunch and dinner where such delicacies as banoffee pancakes with deep-fried ice cream and pulled pork benedict are big hits.” Best for romance: “The best
restaurant for a date night really depends on your budget! I love something a little bit special, so our go-to place for a memorable meal for two is Restaurant Amusé in East Perth. Head chef Hadleigh Troy is very talented and we love his molecular gastronomy cooking style.”
Blogs without photos don’t cut it. The key, wrote Emma Gardner, of awardwinning blog poiresauchocolat.com, in The Telegraph last year, is finding natural light. “It’s best on a cloudy day,” she said. “Strong direct light and flash photography can create difficult shadows. You don’t need an expensive camera – a lot of bloggers use their iPhones... In terms of styling, the best advice is to keep your photographs clutter-free.”
GET GRACIOUS Blogs should feel personal – so make them that way. “Be present and responsive on social media as best you can,” says US blog star Kate, the first-name-only face of vegetarian wholefoods blog cookieandkate.com. “Find a way to let your commenters know that they are appreciated, whether that’s by emailing them privately, responding to their comment publicly or by commenting on their blogs.” FLINDERZ
BE INTERESTING If you’re going to go painstakingly photographing your toast, at least have something to say about it. Are you homespun, earnest or funny? Are you Jeremy Clarkson, Pete Evans or a hungry Viking thawed from the permafrost? Experiment. Be straight talking. Wear a helmet with horns on and ram your longship into someone’s custard flan. Find your niche.
Instagram: @thechefswifeperth May 2015
UNLEASHEDWA/NT ROCKS GRUB
Here’s how to contact our foodie bloggers’ nominated nosh houses
PERTH: 1907, Queen Street, Perth. 08 9436 0233 1907.com.au
The Flour Factory, Northbridge. theflourfactory.com
The Re Store, Leederville. 08 9444 9644
Apple Daily, CBD. 08 6282 0000 printhall.com.au/ the-apple-daily-bar-eating-house
Gusto, South Perth. 08 9367 3512
Rose & Crown Hotel, Guildford. 08 9347 8100 rosecrown.com.au
Harvest Espresso, Vic Park. 08 9355 5884 harvestespresso.com.au
Sayers, Leederville. 08 9227 0429 sayersfood.com.au
Ingredient Tree, Wembley. 08 9287 1100 ingredienttree.com.au
Sri Devi, Northbridge. 08 9228 8720
Jun, Hay Street. 08 9221 3339
The Standard, Northbridge. 08 9228 1331 thestandardperth.com.au
La Veen, King Street. 08 9321 1188
St Michael 6003, Highgate. 08 9328 1177 stmichael6003.com.au
Bar Lafeyette, CBD. 0416 816 355, barlafayette.com Bib and Tucker, Leighton Beach. 08 9433 2147 bibandtucker.net.au Bobeche, CBD. 08 9226 5596. bobeche.com.au Bob’s Bar, CBD. 08 6282 0000 printhall.com.au/bobs-bar The Brisbane, Beaufort Street. 08 9227 2300 thebrisbanehotel.com.au The Cabin Small Bar, Mount Hawthorn. 08 9444 6214 cabinbar.com.au Clarke’s of North Beach, North Beach. 08 9246 7621 clarkesofnorthbeach.com.au The Classroom, North Perth. 08 9444 7729 theclassroom.com.au Corica Pastries, Northbridge. 08 9328 8196 coricapastries.com.au The Cottesloe Beach Hotel, Cottesloe. 08 9383 1100 cottesloebeachhotel.com.au The Edge of Sahara, Northbridge. 0427 778 197 theedgeofsahara.com Elixir at Nedlands. 08 9389 9333 elixircoffeespecialists.com Fillaudeau’s, Caversham. 0893 777 733 fillaudeaus.com.au A Fish Called Inglewood, Inglewood. 08 6101 4678 afishcalledinglewood.com.au Five Bar, Mount Lawley. 08 9227 5200 fivebar.com.au Flinderz, Hillarys. 08 9403 5225 56
The Laneway Lounge, Northbridge. 08 9321 2508 thelanewaylounge.com.au Little Creatures, Fremantle. 08 62151000 littlecreatures.com.au Lot 20, Northbridge. 08 6162 1195 lot20.co Mary Street Bakery, Highgate. 0499 509 300 Marumo, Nedlands. 0431 040 899 marumo.com.au
Suburban Table, Mosman Park. 08 9383 2233 suburbantable.com The Trustee, CBD. 08 6323 3000 thetrustee.com.au Tuck Shop Café, Newcastle Street. 08 9227 1659 Typika, Claremont. 08 9284 6088 typika.com.au
Mrs. S, Maylands. 08 9271 6690 mrsscafe.com.au Must Winebar, Highgate. 08 9328 8255, must.com.au
Noodle Forum, CBD. 08 6113 1554, noodleforum.com.au
Deck Bar, Mitchell Street, 08 8942 3001 thedeckbar.com.au
The Old Crow, Northbridge. 08 9227 9995 theoldcrow.com.au
Fiddlers Green, Darwin Waterfront. 08 8981 2222 snipurl.com/29r9m13
Print Hall, CBD. 08 6282 0000, printhall.com.au
il Piatto, SkyCity Casino. 08 8943 8940 skycitydarwin.com.au/ restaurants/il-piatto
Red Cabbage, South Perth. 08 9367 5744 redcabbagefoodandwine.com.au
Laneway Specialty Coffee, Parap. 08 8941 4511 lanewaycoffee.com.au
Restaurant Amusé in East Perth. 08 9325 4900, restaurantamuse.com.au
Pavonia Place, Nightcliff. 08 8948 1515 pavoniaplace.com.au
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ATTENDING A CONFERENCE OR EXPO IS A GREAT WAY TO DEVELOP YOUR NETWORK, LEARN ABOUT THE LATEST INNOVATIONS AND SLIP IN SOME WELL-EARNED DOWNTIME. HERE’S WHAT’S COMING UP THIS MONTH
MINING AUSTRALIA EXPO MAY 6–8 PERTH CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE, WA
celebrity chef Pete Evans. If you’re on a budget, the grand old Royal Perth Hotel on nearby Wellington Street has a range of well-appointed rooms with heritage flourishes and quirky architecture.
This is Western Australia’s premier trade event, bringing together the best of the mining and resource sector to showcase the latest products and innovations, discuss current industry issues and provide the opportunity to network with peers and deal directly with suppliers.
WHERE TO EAT: More than a
WHERE TO STAY: Being smack bang in the middle of the CBD, there are 15 hotels within a 5-minute walk from the convention centre. The nearby Fraser Suites offer a 5-star luxury home away from home, with well-equipped kitchens and room to relax. Although the kitchen may not get too much of a workout, as the on-site restaurant, Heirloom, has a healthy and yet flavoursome menu devised by Paleo champion and
venue, Print Hall on St Georges Terrace is a four-storey bar and dining precinct. Comprising restaurant of the year Print Hall Bar and Dining Room as well as specialty baker and roaster Small Print, South East Asian street food joint The Apple Daily Bar and Eating House and to top it all off, Bob’s Bar – named after our beloved beer-swilling ex-Prime Minister Bob Hawke – sits on the rooftop with views out over the city lights.
WHERE TO PLAY: Just a quick hop over the river lie the supreme greens of the Royal Perth Golf Club. An old school institution, the club has been around since the 1800s and the all-important 19th hole has a lovely wide verandah where you
can bunker down for the afternoon. If golf’s not your thing, then another great way to unwind in sandgroper city is to take a cruise down the Swan River to the famous Swan Valley wine region for a bit of cellar door hopping. There are many tour operators happy to drive you around and let you enjoy a few vinos without risking a brush with a breathalyser. There’s a comprehensive list at swanvalley.com.au
Clockwise from top right: The Swan Valley is full of cellar doors; Fraser Suites luxury; swing a club at Perth’s famous Royal Perth Golf Club; Print Hall Bar and Dining is just one of the offerings in this party precinct.
BRISBANE TRUCK SHOW MAY 14–17 BRISBANE CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE, QLD The largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, the Brisbane Truck Show attracts around 290 exhibitors and 40,000 attendees and is the premier event in Australia for the transport industry showcasing the latest in heavy vehicles, technology, engineering and innovation.
WHERE TO STAY: Offering a range of well-priced apartments and hotel rooms, the Mantra at South Bank is an easy walk from the Convention Centre. If you’re after a bit more luxury, head to the other side of the river for a wide choice of five-star options. The pick of the bunch is the Treasury Casino and Hotel, offering stylish heritage surrounds with all the modern facilities you would expect.
WHERE TO EAT: You’ll be right by the South Bank precinct, so head straight for what is possibly the only surf club in the CBD of an Australian capital city – South Bank Surf Club bar and restaurant. Sure the beach at South Bank is manmade, and there aren’t any waves, but the views are gorgeous and the atmosphere is suitably laid-back. Their oysters are plump, creamy and shucked to order. Grab yourself a dozen, or a half kilo of fresh king prawns, add a bottle of chilled vino and a spot on the deck, and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect afternoon. WHERE TO PLAY: Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley is a bar hopper’s paradise. Take a stroll down Ann Street and be rewarded every few metres with another new and interesting place to drop in for a couple. The Woolly Mammoth Alehouse is, as you’d expect, all about beer and is a good place to kick off proceedings. There are 23 taps pumping out the good stuff and for
the indecisive there are themed tasting paddles to narrow things down a bit. Next, take it up a notch at the steampunk-inspired Press Club with its dim lighting, cosy booths and burlesque every Sunday. Continue your wanderings and in the next block alone there are five more bars to tempt you into their dark depths, so pace yourself.
Clockwise from top left: The Woolly Mammoth is just one of many bars in Fortitude Valley; the Treasury is all about premium service and heritage flourishes.
The Palace Hotel on Argent Street: home to great steaks, comfortable rooms and a few queens of the desert.
RESOURCES INVESTMENT SYMPOSIUM MAY 24–27 BROKEN HILL, NSW Held annually, this symposium attracts many top level players from the mining and resource sector, as well as brokers and both private and institutional investors all keen to get some inside information. Speakers reveal breaking company news, critical industry issues and new developments to help guide investors in their decisions. There are plenty of opportunities for networking too, with a BBQ dinner, Australian Rock dinner and the hotly contested Outback Golf Challenge.
WHERE TO STAY: The Imperial Fine Accommodation is a gorgeous old heritage building with large suites, as well as a huge guest lounge and billiard room for unwinding at the end of the day. 6
If you’re after a bit more space, the Red Earth Motel offers modern, spacious apartments with fully equipped kitchens. Fans of Priscilla Queen of the Desert should book a room at the Palace Hotel where the frocks-in-the-dust film was shot.
WHERE TO EAT: If you’re after something flash, then the aforementioned Palace Hotel is your best bet. Sure it’s just a pub, but there’s not much else going on in Broken Hill and they do it really well. Vegetarians should probably give it a miss, but everyone else should grab a steak knife and try their roasted rib eye on the bone that comes on a bed of crushed pan-fried garlic and rosemary new potatoes with honey-glazed baby carrots, caramelised garlic, shallot and parsley butter and shiraz jus. In a stroke of menu genius, they also offer the usual selection of steak sauces (pepper, mushroom, Diane etc) to accompany their hot chips for dipping deliciousness.
Cool off in the pool at The Imperial.
WHERE TO PLAY: The fishing fraternity head straight for the Menindee Lakes, a chain of freshwater lakes and rivers which, when full, hold three times the water of Sydney Harbour. There’s cod, carp and crayfish on offer for anyone keen to wet a line. Fans of Mad Max should head for the nearby town of Silverton where slightly obsessed Adrian Bennett has put together a huge collection of memorabilia and opened a museum. Loads of locals were involved in Mad Max 2 when it was filmed here, and they were more than happy to donate the cars, costumes, photos and associated props that were left behind and help create what must surely be one of the biggest collections of its kind in the world.
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SMART SUPPLY CHAIN AND LOGISTICS CONFERENCE AND EXPO MAY 26–27 MELBOURNE CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE, VIC Previously held in Sydney, this year the conference and expo move to Melbourne where organisers hope to attract around 4,500 new visitors by running concurrently with National Manufacturing Week.
WHERE TO STAY: For fivestar convenience, the Convention Centre is located right next door to Melbourne’s Hilton hotel at South Wharf right on the river’s edge. Also nearby is the Crown Towers complex that Luxury Travel Magazine named ‘Australia’s Best Hotel’ last year. It’s not hard to see why. From the vast indoor swimming pool and spa to the Crystal Club business centre with complimentary buffet breakfast to start the day right and drinks and canapés for a perfect finish, this place is all class. 8
WHERE TO EAT: Not a pick-up joint, as its name suggests, The Meat Market is in fact all about serving perfect steaks straight from the grill that sits in an open kitchen right in the middle of this rustic, warehouse-style space. Fittingly the wine list has a red to white wine ratio of 2:1, with many available by the glass so you can start with a delicate Pinot before working your way up to a steakworthy Shiraz. Beer lovers should head straight for Matilda Bay Brewery’s The General Assembly, where every one of the brewer’s craft concoctions is available, along with seasonal special brews. The menu is the perfect match for the beers, with charcuterie boards, an assortment of bruschetta and a Spanish woodfired oven/grill hybrid churning out succulent and smoky steaks, fish and chicken.
WHERE TO PLAY: Just across Port Philip Bay from the Melbourne CBD is the Mornington Peninsula. Home to a staggering 18 golf courses, 50 cellar doors, as well as fishing charters, day spas and
10 different wine and food farm gate trails, there’s plenty in this Mediterranean-style string of seaside villages to keep everyone happy. In fact, it’s well worth considering taking a week off after the conference to really make the most of this special place. Plan your stay at visitmorningtonpeninsula.org
Top left and right: Crown Towers’ riverside luxe. Above: Beer lovers should head straight for The General Assembly.
S U M M A R Y MINING AUSTRALIA EXPO MAY 6–8 PERTH CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE, WA BRISBANE TRUCK SHOW MAY 14–17 BRISBANE CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE, QLD RESOURCES INVESTMENT SYMPOSIUM MAY 24–27 BROKEN HILL, NSW SMART SUPPLY CHAIN AND LOGISTICS CONFERENCE AND EXPO MAY 26–27 MELBOURNE CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION CENTRE, VIC
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TRAY CHIC WORDS: JAMES STANFORD
FORD HAS ANNOUNCED it will stop producing all Falcons in Australia at the end of next year and that will include the iconic Ute. Thankfully, it has introduced one last model, the FG X. On the upside, the Ute is being given a wide range of upgrades, but the bad news is that although Ford has reintroduced the rampaging XR8 sedan, there will be no XR8 Ute. Circle workers will still be able to buy the super slidey XR6 Turbo, so all is not lost on that front. The Ute is a big deal for Ford in Australia, partly because it came up with the first ever car-based ute back in 1933, while the first Falcon Ute appeared a year 10
GET OUT YOUR GIANT MAN HANKIE, THIS IS THE LAST EVER FALCON UTE.
It is an absolute rocket. The engine has plenty of torque to start off with, but goes bananas when the big turbo gets going.
after the sedan was introduced in 1960. The new FG X model is largely the same as the existing model, but receives a new-look front end that mimics the new Mustang and Mondeo. Ford designers have come up with some cool W-shaped LED daytime running lights for the XR6 that lend it a more aggressive look. While the sedan has a new rear-end design, the back of the Ute has been left alone. In the cabin, new features include an eight-inch high-res touch screen, redesigned seats and trim and a fresh instrument cluster. There is also a new radio with dual antennas, capable of receiving digital radio stations.
The engines have been left untouched although base six-cylinder cars will receive a new gearbox. Choose between a base six-cylinder petrol, which creates 198kW, or the same engine running on LPG which offers a bit less power, but a little more torque. They are both good fun and have more than enough grunt to move the Ute along at a cracking pace, but it is the 270kW XR6 Turbo Ute that will have you thinking naughty thoughts. It is an absolute rocket. The engine has plenty of torque to start off with, but goes absolutely bananas when the big turbo gets going.
The Ute still has leaf springs at the back, which means it can become a bit unsteady out of corners when you step on the gas. You wonâ€™t have to push hard to get the Turbo Ute sideways in an instant. Of course, the stability control will stop things getting too crazy, but the sideways shenanigans are what performance utes are all about (in a controlled environment on a private road, of course). The Falcon Ute range runs from $29,390 for the base six-cylinder through to $39,810 for the red-hot XR6 Turbo. At that price, the Turbo Ute is an absolute bargain two-seat performance car with a very big boot. Weâ€™ll miss you, big fella.
A very wise choice Choosing Wisely Australia® is enabling clinicians, consumers and healthcare stakeholders to start important conversations about tests, treatments and procedures where evidence shows they provide no benefit and, in some cases, lead to harm.
The issue Choosing Wisely Australia is empowering consumers and health professionals to initiate frank discussions about what care is truly needed. Not all tests, treatments and procedures are in the consumer’s best interest. Unnecessary practices are a diversion from high quality care. They can lead to more frequent and invasive investigations that can expose consumers to undue risk of harm, emotional stress and financial cost. Many have become ingrained in the system. The right choice should be based on the best available evidence and discussion between the consumer and clinician. Choosing Wisely Australia is changing the culture, that ‘more is not always better’ when it comes to medical tests, treatments and procedures.
Health professionals Australia’s medical colleges and societies are leading the way. They are identifying those practices that warrant scrutiny, discussing best practice and drawing on the expert opinion of their members to make the sometimes difficult decisions about which practices should be avoided. Each organisation is developing a list of recommendations: ‘Tests, treatments and
Choosing Wisely is changing the culture, that ‘more is not always better’ when it comes to medical tests
procedures to question’. These recommendations and the evidence that supports them are being shared among the wider health community and more broadly, the general public.
Consumers Choosing Wisely Australia can only be effective if consumers are part of the conversation and are provided with the evidence they need to confidently ask questions about how best to limit their exposure to unnecessary and potentially harmful tests, treatments and procedures. It places consumers at the forefront of their health and increases their capacity to make informed decisions in partnership with their healthcare professionals in ways that cater for their own preferences and personal circumstances.
Community benefits While the focus of Choosing Wisely Australia is firmly on best practice and high quality care, there are clear benefits for the health system. Unnecessary practices represent a significant burden on the healthcare budget. Choosing Wisely Australia gives the medical community the platform it needs to take a leadership role in
the responsible management and fair distribution of finite healthcare resources. Wise stewardship of resources is a core tenet of medical professionalism. The initiative gives practitioners the opportunity to have greater control over how funding is allocated in keeping the healthcare system sustainable.
Partnerships Choosing Wisely Australia is a growing movement. To date, the following medical colleges and societies have committed to the campaign: • Australasian College of Emergency Medicine • Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy • The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners • The Royal Australasian College of Physicians • The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists • The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia To find out more or become involved: choosingwisely.org.au twitter.com/ChooseWiselyAu firstname.lastname@example.org
We bring you the latest news, innovations and opinions as Aussie agribusiness transitions from the mining boom to the dining boom.
– time to invest?
THE NEXT FEW YEARS SEES A TRANSFORMATION OF THIS SECTOR. REGIONAL BUSINESS EXAMINES THE LANDSCAPE. WORDS: BALDEEP S. GILL
AUSTRALIAN agribusiness has not yet received the level of attention it deserves from investors, but the next few years will see a transformation of this sector with individuals, corporates and fund managers seeking to build positions for the long-term. To understand why, letâ€™s examine the landscape.
Consumer demand is growing Between now and 2050 the World Bank has indicated that the global
population will grow to 9 billion, 70 per cent of which will be in the Asia Pacific region, Middle East and Africa. There will also be an increase in affluence as GDP per person grows creating a greater demand for higher protein foods, such as meat, grain and dairy. Australia is the largest net exporter of agricultural produce in geographic proximity to Asia, and as such is already recognised as a source of high quality and diseasefree product. The consumer demand is there.
Australia is the largest net exporter of agricultural produce in geographic proximity to Asia
act: Sav v y i n looki vesto areas ng for ne rs are wg now boom that th rowth em h agric as ended ining ultur , and the s e is unde potli ght. r
*AITA Statistics Ytd December 2014. #Source: Logistik Magazine 2014. *AITA Statistics Ytd December 2014. #Source: Logistik Magazine 2014.
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Business conditions are turning The receding dollar, favourable environmental conditions and falling interest rates have made Australian produce and producers considerably more attractive. Food security is becoming more important and investors are factoring this into their decision about where to place capital. Australian agriculture is also benefiting from the end of the mining boom as investors look to new growth areas with longer-term demand in mind.
Our industry is heavily skewed The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences indicates that there are around 120,000 farming enterprises in Australia, generating approximately $50 billion of turnover per annum. Analysis by business intelligence specialists Neil Clark suggests that 8 per cent of enterprises generate 50 per cent of turnover and 75 per cent of industry profits. The future of Australian agriculture relies on industry leaders. At the farm gate level there are leaders in each industry: • Beef industry leaders include the Australian Agricultural Company, Consolidated Pastoral, S. Kidman & Co and Stanbroke Pastoral. • Grains industry leaders include the Nicoletti Group and the Greentree family. • The dairy industry is led by the Van Diemens Land Company • Mixed farming is dominated by the Hassad corporation with assets across Australia.
• The horticulture industry includes leaders such as Select Harvest and Costa Group. • Aquaculture includes leaders such as Tassal and Huon Aquaculture. Beyond the farm gate there are also leading industry participants: • Rural services providers include Ruralco, Elders and Landmark. • Logistics providers include GrainCorp, CBH and Qube Holdings. • Dairy processors include Fonterra, Murray Goulburn and Norco. • Chemical companies include Nufarm, Incitec Pivot, Hi-Fert and IMPACT! • Animal health providers include Bayer, Novartis and Pfizer.
Investing in these assets Many agriculture assets are privately held and unlikely to be available for public investment. However, there are a large number of existing – or soon to be listed – agribusiness companies either at the farm gate, or beyond the farm gate, which are open for investment. While each investor should consult a qualified financial adviser for personalised advice, the following observations may be worth considering: Broadacre enterprises in grain and beef are aiming to meet the needs of the emerging middle class in developing markets by developing closer links with purchasers – rather than relying on intermediaries that take a slice of the margin.
act: Just 8 % of A farm s ge ustralia of th nerate 5 n e 0 turno industry % ’s ver, a nd 7 of its profi 5% t.
Dairy farms and processors are emerging as a significant growth play in Australia as they look to capture as much of the value chain as possible. concentrating on the upper end of the market for demand in powdered, UHT and fresh milk. Horticulture offers significant prospects with current and newly listed players seeking to build vertically integrated businesses across production, processing, storage and distribution. As with the mining boom, services companies in logistics, chemicals, rural services and processing businesses offer an alternative investment strategy, which may align with the risk appetite of investors who prefer not to invest directly in farm gate assets.
Investment requirements At present, agriculture does not receive sufficient attention from the investment community. The Australian Stock Exchange has indices for the health, telecommunications and utilities
Dairy farms and processors are emerging as a significant growth play in Australia as they look to capture as much of the value chain as possible.
service with which to gain prospective new business. Fund managers and corporate investors may have the benefit of inhouse analysts to guide their decision, but private investors may struggle to benchmark the opportunities in a meaningful way. There are a number of specialist agri-investment advisors across Australia. However, given the complexity of this sector, it is essential to find an advisor that understands your risk profile – not just agri, but where in agri and why.
Conclusion sectors, but nothing for agriculture. It is essential that an Agri Index be developed as a means of tracking and benchmarking participants, as well as supporting index-based investments. Most brokers do not dedicate sufficient analytical resources to analysing, understanding and making recommendations in this sector. Brokers may find this capability a
Australia is not yet ‘in a dining boom’, but we are certainly preparing the ingredients and laying the table. Be sure to reserve your seat. Baldeep S. Gill is an independent strategic consultant with over 25 years of experience working with agribusiness companies in domestic and international markets.
Your home. Our backyard. We understand that selling any home is always a big step. At Raine & Horne we build our business on understanding who you are and the passion and enthusiasm you have for where you live. We believe in working together in an integrated, consistent and smart way to get the best results. From start… to sold. You can be sure that Raine & Horne has the energy to move your place. Fast. We’ve been helping Australians for over 130-years. Now we’d like to help you. So visit rh.com.au to find your nearest agent, search properties and find useful and up-to-date information that will help you make the right decision.
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FLAVOURS FROM NEW HAPPENINGS TO FAB PRODUCE, WE UNEARTH THE LATEST TABLETOP TREATS. GOTTA-GET-IT GADGET BYO lunchers rejoice! When it comes to leftovers, this little beauty from Lifefactory has it all covered. Throw out your plastic containers, ditch the microwave-safe bowls and oven-proof dishes and lose your lunchbox. From the freezer to the oven or the microwave, the tempered glass container can take it all. And it even looks good enough to eat from, provided you can find a fork anywhere in the office kitchen. Stockists: until.com.au/stockists, (02) 9119 8700. rrp $33.95.
If your idea of a good night out is sipping on G&Ts the size of your head while surrounded by the pomp of old England, then head straight to Sydney ’s newest gin palace, The Powder Keg, in Pot ts Point. Mix ologist of the moment Grant Collins has put a modern twis t on the traditional tipple by pairing gin (the bar has over 90 from all par ts of the globe) and tonic (your choice of five ) with lavish concoctions like a caramelised passion fruit whe el, fresh lime and bee pollen. The gin-averse have plenty to keep them happy too, with a lengthy wine and cocktail list to plough through. The food also pairs the modern and trad itional, taking old English fare like Cumberland sausages, Scotch eggs and smoked mackerel and giving them a 21st century makeover. Head chef Elijah Holland makes goo d use of the Keg’s smoker with chicken and mussels to die for, but for us the winning dish (which we have obsesse d about ever since) is the Duc k Schnitzel Lollipop. If you are a quartet, there’s really only one thing to order; the bar’s signatu re cocktail The Powder Keg. Smokin’! thepowderkeg.com.a u
Masterclass Perched high on a hill looking out over the Central New South Wales town of Wagga Wagga, the high tech, purpose-built cooking school Food I Am attracts high calibre chefs from all over Australia to teach and inspire. The lucky few who book in for the May 8 session will get to rub shoulders with the Spanish maestro from Melbourne’s Movida, Frank Comorra. Check out the full schedule at foodiam.com.au
Crafty Brews Single Origin Beer Australia’s love affair with cider shows no signs of abating. Try Rekorderlig’s new Dry Apple. rekorderlig.com.au
Cookbook collaborator and former journalist David Dale previously brought us his tales of how Italian cooking charmed the world. Now he has his sights and his tastebuds firmly set on Turkey. “Turkish is going to be the next international phenomenon,” he enthuses, “and Somer the next Ottolenghi.” Together with Istanbul-born, but now Sydney-based chef Somer Sivrioglu, Dale has produced a comprehensive guide to Turkish cuisine that focusses on fresh, simple dishes that evoke regional authenticity. Anatolia is out now through Murdoch books, RRP $79.99.
Grampians Grape Escape, May 2–3 Noosa Int’l Food and Wine Festival, May 14–17
This month we’re loving: figs Figs are just gorgeous fresh, and make a great addition to salads and cheese platters, but where they really shine is in their ability to make simple but impressive desserts. Stir lemon zest through mascarpone and dollop onto fresh fig halves, drizzle with honey and you’re done!
As he gazed out across golden barley fields from a country pub in Germany, beer purist and pilgrim Stuart Whytcross was reminded of his home in Barellan, New South Wales. Suddenly it all became clear – he would return home and devise a way to produce exceptional beer from his Dad’s prize barley fields and find another local to malt the barley, thus giving the town its own single origin beer. “Beer doesn’t tend to have the origin base story like wine does, but with Barellan being a strong maltproducing region, it’s the perfect fit for the town to have its own beer,” Stuart says. In true community spirit, crowdfunding and donations by locals got the project off the ground and all profits from the Barellan Beer Co. Golden Grain Ale will go directly back into the community. Stuart has allowed supporters to be involved every step of the way – from choosing the brew, the label and even the name. To taste it on tap, you’ll have to venture out to The Commercial Hotel in Barellan, but thankfully there’s also a bottled version for the city slickers. facebook.com/barellanbeer
Adelaide Farmers’ Market Wayville, SA From humble beginnings in 2006, to becoming South Australia’s biggest farmers’ market that now regularly attracts over 5,000 locals and tourists every Sunday, the Adelaide Farmers’ Market is a showcase of the state’s best produce. Every region is represented here, and shoppers can choose from the best seafood from the Eyre Peninsula, free-range meats from the Barossa and artisan cheeses from the Hills. Lucky locals! WHERE: Adelaide Showgrounds, Wayville WHEN: Sundays, 9am–1pm
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Helpful insights and fascinating facts about the Australian mining and resource sector
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news+views QUEENSLAND REINSTATES URANIUM MINING BAN A recent decision by the Palaszczuk government to ban uranium mining in Queensland has taken the industry by surprise and threatened to negatively impact investors. After just a few years of open uranium mining – following a thirty-year period of prohibition – minister for natural resources and mines Anthony Lynham announced that although mining would no longer be allowed, exploration would be permissible. According to Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche, the ban on uranium mining would result in the loss of nearly $6 billion worth of recoverable uranium. The QRC continues to urge government officials to reconsider the decision, with Roche stating that it is “very hard to have an on-again off-again situation for our would-be uranium miners in Queensland.” The state’s ban goes against both Southern and Western Australia’s support for uranium mining and the Queensland government’s commitment to creating employment opportunities has now come into question following its decision to reinstate the ban.
SOUTH32: IS THE PROFIT WORTH THE COST? The creation of BHP Billiton’s new company South32 is set to cost the industry power player US$738 billion, but BHP has assured shareholders that the demerger will be advantageous. South32 will be comprised of BHP’s Illawarra and South African coal mines, along with several of its aluminum, nickel, silver, manganese, lead and zinc operations. This allows BHP to focus on its ‘five pillars’: iron ore, copper, coal, potash and oil. Shareholders are set to receive one South32 share for every BHP share and ideally will experience a return of 40 per cent of underlying earnings in the form of dividends. BHP Billiton chairman Jacques Nasser claims that South32 “will have the opportunity to pursue growth and investment opportunities that may not otherwise be pursued if its assets remain within BHP Billiton.” Despite the high cost of the demerger, BHP predicts that this deal will save it approximately US$100 million per year.
BHP BILLITON: NUMBER ONE AUSTRALIAN COMPANY IBISWorld has again named BHP Billiton the largest company in Australia in its latest Top 1000 Companies report
which ranks the country’s largest firms by revenue. BHP ranked number one, recording approximately $73 billion of revenue. Other major mining companies included in the report were Rio Tinto (4th), Glencore (13th), and Fortescue (27th).
MINING ETFS Purchasing a mining ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) like iShares MSCI Global Metals & Mining Producers allows you to reap the benefits of success of the country’s “global titans of the mining sector,” namely those of BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Glencore which account for one third of the ETF’s weightings. The success of such an ETF depends on metal supply and demand: a global demand for infrastructure or automobiles works in favour of the mining industry, while an oversupply or lack of demand results in lowered stocks. The continued global demand for metal – particularly from China – is expected to positively affect the industry rather than hinder its success. Based on current trends it is anticipated that “the up-cycle will return.”
KICK IT INTO GEAR Rio Tinto’s daring automated initiative to cut production costs will be put into action in 2015.
It’s a day like any other at Rio Tinto’s Pilbara region mining sites as vehicles loaded with iron ore travel the 300km distance to Dampier Port. However, that scene is likely to change with the introduction of new industrial remote control technology. If all goes according to plan, Rio will soon be introducing unmanned trains to its sites that will transport mined ore to port. The driver will be up to 1,500km away running the operation remotely from Perth. Currently the leader in automated mining production, this move towards an unmanned train is only part of Rio’s ‘Mine of the Future’ project which has been in the works since 2008. This innovative change in transportation will have the desired effect of cutting costs, but more importantly for the mining giant, it will also change the roles of its workers –
it hopes – for the better. Dr. Brian Fisher, managing director of BAEconomics and co-author of a 2012 mining automation study for Rio Tinto has conducted thorough research on the issue. “The goal is to take costs out of the system. But it is not about cutting labour costs — that is a minor part,” Dr. Fisher told The Australian. “It is more about making better use of a company’s capital equipment.” In other words, the unmanned trains would allow workers to focus on more comprehensive work instead of the monotony of transportation. Other companies that are working to achieve similar automated success include BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group, but Rio already boasts the largest use of unmanned vehicles in the world already operating 53 trucks with a 320 tonne capacity. Even so, the company has plans
to nearly triple that number by the end of this year. While the move towards increased automation does have the attractive benefits of cutting costs and putting miners to work on other tasks, the biggest issue Pilbara train and truck drivers have been facing, and will continue to face, is the potential loss of work that comes alongside this hightech upgrade. Even amidst Rio’s increased automation, Dr. Fisher still emphasises a need for drivers on mining sites. “Some things are harder to automate,” he told The Australian. “For example, driving the big front-end loaders that load a haul truck in a pit is still best done by a person.” Thus, while some areas of Rio’s operations have potential for automation, in doing so it can allow for our human workforce to be utilised efficiently elsewhere.
NASA SMARTS GOES UNDERGROUND
Gut-wrenching slow-motion – an underground mine worker walks towards a blind-corner; an LHD bears down, head-on, flesh and machinery collide. A terrifying picture for every mine man or woman, management or operator, but one too common in Australian mines. Though our safety standards are the world’s toughest, we saw a spike in fatalities to 17 workers Australia-wide in 2013/14 largely due to unnecessary accident, a poignant reminder our mine workers face hazards every day of their working lives. A new electronics system, operating in hard rock and now under trial in Australian coal mines, is already saving lives. It detects converging man and equipment; plus equipment and equipment; even equipmentapproaching infrastructure, using a low frequency magnetic field. Used in all mining operations, the magnetic field provides for safe, nonvisual detection in the high-risk zone
“the magnetic field provides for safe, non-visual detection in the high-risk zone from zero metres to 35 metres from the equipment.” from zero metres to 35 metres from the equipment. It instantly sets off warning alarms for both worker and machine operator and even shuts down machine operation. Worker alarms are as close as belts and hard hats. The Hazard Avert system was developed in the USA by STRATA Worldwide – using NASA low frequency
electronic field technology used as part of the space program. The system is deployed in over 100 mines in the USA, South Africa, and now Australia. Now modified and fully-approved for the rigorous safety standards of Australian mines, the system is suited to underground and surface coal and hard rock mining.
BUILDING THE NEXT BOOM…
ince early 2010, South East Queensland has seen significant growth in the construction of liquefied natural gas export infrastructure. The Queensland Curtis LNG Project comprises 540km of buried underground pipeline, linking Queensland’s gas fields to the liquefied natural gas plant located on Curtis Island, near Gladstone. The project has involved investments of over $21 Billion and is underpinned by massive export sales agreements which will contribute up to $32 Billion to Queensland’s Gross State Product in the decade to 2021. This Greenfield project has allowed Australian companies in resource and infrastructure construction to establish themselves as world players in their areas of expertise by applying their own unique methodologies to large scale, world-first projects. One such company is EPS Group Australia, a highly specialised, industry leading electrical contracting company.
Precision under pressure From the outset of construction, EPS Group Australia have worked on some of the most complex and vital elements in readying the QCLNG project for export operations. A prime example is the company’s provision of High Voltage Testing, Commissioning, Completions and Hazardous Area Inspections on key FCS’s,
“EPS GROUP AUSTRALIA has maintained its principals of being highly responsive and adaptable, aligned with the philosophy that it treats each project as its only project” CPP’s, well heads and substations. The nature of these works requires precision under pressure, at a stage of the project where key milestones are crucial to wider project success. Throughout the project Director Paul Buckley explains “EPS group Australia has maintained its core principles of being a highly responsive and adaptable company aligned with the philosophy that it treats each project as its only project“.
Methodology There are a number of key differentiators to EPS Group Australia’s approach in the High Voltage Testing and Hazardous Area Inspections offering. The first is to deploy self-sufficient teams which can work independently, rather than individual testing specialists. The specialised teams which were involved with the QCLNG upstream projects, included Project Managers and Superintendents to oversee operations, as well as specialist engineers, technicians and inspectors. The second is that EPS endeavours to keep our specialist teams together from project to project allowing them to gel and cultivate a productive and prosperous working environment, just as a
premiership winning sporting team would. This is particularly advantageous in the FIFO “back-to-back” environment. EPS Group Australia also sees the benefits when the client packages the handover of the commissioning and completions component of the project to a specialist and independent team, from a Quality Assurance, single point accountability and project familiarity point of view. The results of this approach speak for themselves…
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Mine of the future more like a factory COMMODITY PRICES SEEM TO EDGE LOWER EVERY DAY WITH MINING COMPANIES PUTTING NEW PROJECTS ON HOLD AND INSTEAD LOOKING AT THE PROFITABILITY OF EXISTING OPERATIONS. WORDS: DARREN BAGULEY
“The reason for the industry’s current problems is historical.”
WHILE SOME companies are following the traditional path of responding to a downturn by cutting staff and shuttering mines, others are looking to technology to make their operations leaner and meaner. Innovative companies are also looking to do the same with new projects, whether they’ve been in the pipeline for years or are only just starting the process. Much of the reason for the industry’s current problems is historical, noted BHP Billiton ceo, Andrew Mackenzie, in a June 2013 speech to the Melbourne Mining Club. “Mining was such a low growth business for much of the 20th century, so we were caught off guard by the pace of China’s early 21st century urbanisation and industrialisation. Demand was met in part by higher cost – much higher cost – operations. And many invested poorly to the detriment of their
owners. Finding five dollars of savings per metric tonne did not seem as pressing when prices were skyrocketing. But it really matters now.” This view was echoed in a report by global management consulting firm, Deloittes. In ‘Tracking the Trends 2013’, Deloitte noted that as the easy-to-mine deposits are gone or nearing the end of their lives, mining companies are being forced to go further afield into more remote areas. This is resulting in operating costs becoming unsustainably high, with an urgent need for companies to invest in costreducing technologies, improve operational efficiencies and pro-actively control maintenance costs. Doing this effectively would require a level of analytical capability that most mining companies don’t actually possess, the Deloitte report stated.
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The cost reduction and operational efficiency the Deloitte report refers to involves the deployment of a range of technologies, some of which are already in certain Australian mines. Inside Mining readers will be familiar with some of the cutting-edge technologies being deployed such as Rio Tinto’s driverless trains, driverless ore trucks and, in this issue, there’s a story on driverless drill rigs. Other measures include aiming for close to real-time production management, which in an underground mining environment involves using cutting-edge technology – such as off-the-shelf Wi-Fi networks and wireless RFID tagging – for vehicle and personnel tracking. In an open cut environment it may include the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or drones for tasks such as monitoring stockpiles (see Inside Mining, Issue 16). Underground and open cut mines
are both utilising software systems for design, mapping, modelling, estimation, scheduling and mine production management reporting tools. Three dimensional simulations are also vital for identifying weak points and bottlenecks which may not be apparent on a two dimensional map. While business management tools make for greatly improved decision-making, Dassault Systèmes GEOVIA vice president Australia, Ben Farquharson, makes the point that it is easier to get it right in the first place rather than trying to fix things up later in the piece. “For example, not understanding the geology accurately enough and building a whole plan and schedule and making decisions based on [poor information] ends up with a troubled environment and companies end up spending a lot more trying to fix the problems downstream.
“Three dimensional simulations are vital for identifying weak points.” Fast fact: On average the cost of production for Australian iron ore is $72 a tonne.
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Fast fact: Through technology and operational improvements, Canadian mining company Dundee Precious Metals, was able to quadruple production from 500,000 tonnes per year to nearly two million – while achieving a 44 per cent improvement in unit cost at its Chelopech mine in Bulgaria.
“The key is strategic planning early on, reviewing plans constantly and also measuring and monitoring the plan. GEOVIA has technology that allows mining companies to really measure their production environment and whether they’re on or off plan and where it all meets up you can evaluate on an ongoing basis and kind of closes the loop of mine planning value chain. “Nevertheless, it’s still really important to get the basics such as the geology right. If an operator overestimates the grade of ore by 20 per cent, then they get out there and start blasting our benches, loading trucks and building stockpile before realising they’re not getting the grade they expected, it can lead to a 20 per cent drop in net return on the investment.” Nevertheless, modern product
management systems – which owe more to the manufacturing industry than the traditional mining industry – can lead to savings of up to 10to 15 per cent. “These sorts of systems help companies manage the entire ore body from when it’s dug out and if they can save 1 to 5 per cent still worth it, but 10 to 15 per cent is quite achievable,” says Farquharson. “The focus is now, and has to be, on cost control... software technology such as our GEOVIA and DELMIA products can enable that. But it’s not just the software, it’s also the processes that go with the software which allow producers to get a handle on their production environment and understand where they are leaking in terms of business waste. Those procedures and processes that are inefficient are a waste of money and people’s time.”
“The key is strategic planning early on, reviewing plans and monitoring the plan.”
PYBAR increases raise bore capability with purchase of new rig nderground mining contractor PYBAR Mining Services is further strengthening its raise bore capability in shaft construction with the acquisition of one of the most powerful raise bore rigs in the market – the Herrenknecht RBR600-VF. PYBAR is the third largest underground mining contractor in Australia with strengths in the eastern states and growth targets in the west. This acquisition places PYBAR in the top two underground miners in the country to have this level of raise bore capability, enabling it to service the largest underground mines. The majority of raise bore rigs in Australia have a maximum diameter potential of 6 metres or less. The RBR600-VF has the capacity to construct shafts up to 8m in diameter and 1,200m in length, making it one of only two large diameter Raisebore rigs in Australia with a capacity greater than 6m in diameter. Drilling shafts of this size requires rigs with high torque and high thrust forces. The RBR600-VF, developed by German rig manufacturer Herrenknecht, delivers this with a thrust force of 10,000 kN, or sufficient capacity to lift a 1,000 tonne weight under the rig. Due to its variable frequency drive, the rig is also one of the most efficient on the market. Whether utilising mains power or generators, its power consumption will be half of that of an equivalent capacity machine with hydraulic drive, potentially saving clients thousands of dollars on power bills. With its track mounted mobile and compact design, the RBR600-VF offers 40
flexibility even in confined spaces and is therefore suitable for a variety of applications in the mining industry, minimizing the investment required in access roads and underground chambers. It can be used to create shafts for ventilation, access and haulage, as well as pressure shafts for hydropower plants. The rig can be mobilised by conventional load road transport (quad axle float) or overseas by ship in standard sea containers. With the industry increasingly seeking non-entry mining solutions, reaming shafts with the RBR600-VF is safer, less labour intensive and, depending
on the application, more cost effective than conventional shaft sinking. PYBAR CEO Paul Rouse said: “There are very few contractors with this level of rig capability. It means we can service the largest underground mining projects in Australia with a full suite of services available. “We’re building a solid reputation in the market for exceeding productivity targets and this latest investment will ensure we continue to add value to our clients and out-perform on concerning project schedules.” For more info visit: pybar.com.au
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Rigging the future? Drilling and blasting may be old technology as far as industrialised mining is concerned but itâ€™s as high-tech as anything else. WORDS: DARREN BAGULEY
rilling and blasting are dangerous evolutions for the operators and drill rigs are expensive pieces of kit operated by highly-skilled crews. Not surprisingly, the main drivers for new drill and blast technology in the last few years have been safety and costsaving, both in terms of automation and fuel efficiency. With commodity prices low, however, producers are looking to sweat their assets by maximising the metres of hole drilled per shift and per maintenance period. “There is currently a major focus on costs throughout the industry trying to get more out of existing assets. More drilled metres per shift, is the biggest focus,” says Atlas Copco Drilling Solutions business line manager, Dustin Penn. “Producers are looking closely at metrics such as time between services, overall utilisation, metres per operating shift. There is not a lot of capital to go around the industry at the moment and one of the ways producers try to reduce their costs is to sweat their assets.” One of the ways that drill rig manufacturers are enabling producers to do this is through automation. “It’s all about consistent performance,” says Penn. “Factors like weight on the bit, optimal rotation speed, and maximising the drill bit cutting engagement into the rock to try and maximise what that drill can put out in a given shift.” Many of the newer drills that Atlas Copco has brought to market over the past few years are already set up with the company’s base technology, which gives an ability to upgrade with additional features, according to Penn. “Producers are moving from expansion to production mode and they’re upgrading to the automated features to try and get the most out of that asset.”
For mining companies, one of the most obvious drivers of automation is labour costs. Large sites that have five or six drill rigs, each with their own crew, can have 50 or so people per shift out drilling blast holes. Especially when these crews are FIFO, it gets expensive. With automation there can simply be one supervisor per machine with most of the production activity – trimming up, positioning over the hole, drilling the hole, etc – handled by the rig and its software. The remote-controller or supervisor is available to handle the exceptions, with the result being that the rig can achieve more hours drilling than with a machine where everything is done manually instead. Usually following a pre-programmed drill plan, the rigs use a combination of GPS, onboard sensors and a range of different linked computers on the machine in order to position themselves accurately. In most cases operators are onboard the machine, but Penn says some Atlas Copco customers are working on scenarios where the machine is completely remote and autonomous. “It’s effectively a robot drill rig,” says Penn.
“The rigs use a combination of GPS, onboard sensors and a range of different linked computers on the machine in order to position themselves accurately.”
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While cost reduction is a major factor, with Atlas Copco witnessing customers getting returns on investment (ROI) measured in months, safety has also been a major driver behind drill rig automation. The operator can ride the rig up to the rock face or bench that needs to be drilled, let it do its setup procedure and vacate the machine while it drills the blast pattern. Because the operator is nowhere near the rig while it’s drilling, in the event of a rock fall or even something major like a cave-in, the operator is a safe distance away from the machine. The automated machines have light boards and audible alarms which can be programmed and customised to fit with company OH&S standard operating procedures (SOPs). Penn explains that alongside the labour savings and safety elements, operators of the automated machines are finding they’re getting greater consistency and that the human operators are actually improving their skills by seeing what the machine is doing. “The advantage for shift and mine managers is that they know the machine will get so many metres drilled per shift and they can plan for that,” says Penn. “By contrast, human operators vary. Good
operators have bad days and some are just better than others.” Fuel efficiency has been another driver over the past few years and drill rig manufacturers have employed some clever engineering to do this. Normally, when not drilling, compressors are still on standby – which is a load on the drill rig’s engine. “By putting a ‘smart’ clutch between the engine and compressor which disengages when the rig is on standby, small rigs are reducing fuel usage by 60 to 70 per cent and big rigs by 30 per cent,” reveals Penn. The advance of drill rig technology is also feeding into blast technology. The new generation of automated drill rigs are able to gather data from the drill holes as they’re being drilled. Atlas Copco’s rigs are capable of wirelessly transmitting the data to a central server while other manufacturers transfer via USB. That data is then uploaded to blasting design software allowing drill and blast designers to use a range of different densities, explosive materials and delays in the pattern – all tied together by the blasting software. Other sensors measure the effectiveness of the blast, which is also uploaded to the blasting design software.
“Drill rig technology is also feeding into blast technology. The new generation of automated drill rigs are able to gather data from the drill holes as they’re being drilled.”
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snapshot BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Bowen Basin, Queensland, Australia.
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Top tips from the experts on how to make the most of your hard-earned cash
My Journey into Trading for a Living
have had the privilege of having a life time association with mining in WA. My initial attraction was by invitation from my employer and I have only temporarily deviated from that career path over the years. I have watched the iron ore and gold industry grow from its infancy to what it is today. I recall when the America’s Cup winner Alan Bond who along with his team had the foresight to convert the various mines on the Golden Mile into the giant ‘super pit it is today. Gold has been mined along the strip for over 100 years now. Similarly I was involved with the infancy of the great iron ore mines we have in WA. My connection has always been via mining construction and mining expansion. Once I became involved I guess the might and size of the various projects has always held my attention. Over the years I have had the great fortune of working on both underground and open cut mines in the gold and iron ore industry. Mining has always been a tough ‘mistress’ for myself and colleagues. In my early days I had several months away from my growing family and friends working on site. These days it is still a challenge. Many mining construction swings are either one month or three weeks on site and one week off. But irrespective of the time away from family the industry has always provided me with a great and fulfilling income and life style down through the years. I have had a long association with trading. I my infancy as a trader myself and colleagues bought and sold what were known as penny mining resource stocks. Some went well and other not so good. It was
all manual research and phone calls to the broker to get trades on and closed. Incidentally there was no apps as ‘stop loss’ orders in my portfolio. Hedging was a little known skill as well. My introduction to FX and Learn to Trade started about two years ago. My trading journey with LTT has been amazing. The trading education I have participated in has been very enlightening and always encouraging. The LTT team does not cease to provide outstanding support and encouragement. At this stage of my trading career I have learned as much about myself as trading. There is an abundance of trading techniques available to suit both the long term trader and the short term traders. Trading electronically is definitely ‘an art’ not a science and each of us has to decide where we fit. I am still on that journey. Speaking for myself I have had some great trading successes and can certainly see a way forward that I will be able to live comfortably trading for a living. Time for me to surrender my mine site commitments. LTT still provide me ongoing support and encouragement after all this time. My trading journey continues. Enjoy the journey, Colin McGill
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OF SUPER THE WORD SUPERANNUATION NEVER FAILS TO ELICIT ANXIETY, DREAD AND UTTER BAFFLEMENT. WE SPEAK WITH INDEPENDENT ADVISOR SIMON WOTHERSPOON WHO DEMONSTRATES THAT KNOWLEDGE REALLY IS POWER, AND GIVES US THE TOOLS TO BEGIN INVESTING IN OUR FUTURE. WORDS: RILEY PALMER
Managing our superannuation is something we tend to put off for that elusive rainy day all the while knowing – and ignoring – that we’re potentially stabbing our future selves in the back. Sound familiar? Fear not. Independent private wealth advisor and joint director of Adelaide-based financial advisory Wotherspoon Wealth, Simon Wotherspoon, is here to save future-you from present-you. Taking us back to basics, Simon sheds light on some of the fundamental superannuation dos and don’ts, and gives us a starting point from which to approach that rainy day. Q: What is superannuation, and how do different funds operate? A: Superannuation is simply a taxtreatment around investments intended to provide for retirement. There are many different ways to access this tax environment. While industry funds and retail funds offer a package comprised of the tax structure, administration and investment service, self-managed super funds (SMSFs) allow an investor to take control and separate out the administration and tax from the investment functions. Q: What are the benefits of SMSFs? 1. Control and greater flexibility: As trustees, SMSF members can
choose where to invest their retirement savings – from listed shares, term deposits, cash management accounts and bonds, to listed investment companies, exchange-traded funds and even direct property. 2. Fees: Often the administration fees are fixed for a SMSF so they become cost effective for higher super balances (>$400k). Usually retail and industry funds have administration fees based on a percentage of funds under management. 3. Insurance: SMSFs can hold personal risk insurance in the fund and can be tax-deductible to the fund. 4. Estate planning: Superannuation does not usually form part of a person’s will, but as the trustee of your own fund, you have more control over who receives your ultimate benefit. 5. Borrowing and direct property investment: In 2007, the superannuation rules changed to allow people to borrow through their SMSF for investment purposes (this is currently being reviewed).
Q: How can individuals maximise their superannuation as an investment? A: Though retirement may be some time off yet, it’s likely that super will end up being your largest asset, so being in control and understanding it is vital. Talk to a professional adviser, and establish a plan that you can work towards over time. Also, ensure your superannuation is consolidated – by having more than one fund you are being charged multiple administration fees. Q: What should people early on in their careers know about superannuation? A: Super doesn’t only have to be a saving account for your retirement. While you typically can’t draw on your superannuation until you reach your preservation age (between 55 and 60, depending on your birth date) and permanently retire, or reach age 65, it can have many benefits in the interim – especially tax benefits. And if you’re managing a SMSF you can invest with almost as much freedom as investing outside of super. Q: Explain what contribution caps are. A: There are two types of contribution caps: concessional (pre-tax) and nonconcessional (post-tax). Typically, concessional contributions are employer contributions and salary-sacrifice contributions from pre-tax salary, and are taxed at 15 per cent on their way into the fund. The concessional contribution cap is currently $30,000 for individuals below age 49 and $35,000 for those age 49 and over (as of 30th June 2014). If you earn in excess of $18,200 p.a. and have spare cash flow to contribute to superannuation, you may gain a net tax benefit by salary sacrificing to superannuation. Non-concessional contributions are made with funds that have already had income tax levied. There is therefore no super contributions tax payable on these types of contributions as they enter the fund. The non-concessional contribution cap is currently $180,000 p.a. or, if brought forward over three years, $540,000.
Simon’s top five tips for choosing a super fund 1. Decide how much control you’d like to have over the investment of your super. 2. Consider whether or not you want the additional responsibilities that come with being a trustee of your SMSF. 3. Make sure you know what fees are involved when choosing a fund. Consider the scale of superannuation monies you have now and expect to have in the near future.
Q: What superannuation tips can you provide for people earning large quantities of income in short periods of time (eg. miners)? A: As you get closer to retirement, making extra salary sacrifice contributions up to the concessional contributions cap can offer disciplined savings, while reducing your personal income tax. Another consideration is making additional nonconcessional contributions – however, once the money goes into your super, there are strict rules about drawing the funds back out.
4. Compare the performance of funds you wish to consider. Although past performance is no indication of future performance, it can provide some insight. 5. Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and make sure you can access life insurance through your superannuation fund. Make sure you nominate a beneficiary for your superannuation funds in the event of your death.
Managing our superannuation is something we tend to put off for that elusive rainy day, knowing that we are stabbing our future selves.
Q: What are some of the hidden costs associated with super funds? A: There are typically three levels of fees associated with superannuation: 1. Tax and administration: Fees charged by the super fund – or fund administrator in the case of SMSFs – to manage the paperwork, and ensure the rules of superannuation are followed. Industry funds tend to keep these costs very low but supplement their income with investment fees (see below). Retail funds charge a percentage of funds under management which can add up as your balance grows, while administration fees for SMSFs tend to be fixed and can range from $2000 to $4000. 2. Investment fees: Fees that are paid to the super fund investment managers. Investment fees on managed funds can be as high as two per cent. It’s a fee many people don’t realise they are being charged. Since trustees of their own SMSF have control over the investments they use, often these
investment fees can be avoided or reduced, by investing directly into shares or property for example. 3. Advisor fees: Fees charged by a professional advisor. Based on research recently conducted by Vanguard in the United States, professional advisors charge up to three per cent p.a. in net returns. It can help to seek out an independent advisor with a transparent fee-for-service. Q: What is the relationship between super and insurance? A: It is possible to hold some of your personal risk insurances inside superannuation. For instance, we recommend people in industries like mining hold life insurance inside super, with Income Protection, Total & Permanent Disablement (TPD) and Trauma cover outside of super. Holding life cover inside super is tax effective since the premiums can be paid for with concessionally taxed super contributions.
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