Inconsistent judiciary hits David Pocock despite dangerous play going unpunished

Brumbies player David Pocock grabs Chiefs player Michael Lietch around the neck. Pocock was suspended for two games by the SANZAAR judiciary. Photo: Supplied Chiefs player Charlie Ngatai cleans out Brumbies player Jordan Smiler. Fox Sports Photo: Supplied

Brumbies winger Henry Speight, left, was suspended for five games for an illegal tackle Stormers player Juan de Jongh. Photo: Supplied

Brumbies player David Pocock is tipped on to his head by Stormers players Schalk Burger and Juan de Jongh in a Super Rugby match Photo: Supplied

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has backed the ACT Brumbies’ depth to fill the giant boots of David Pocock, revealing he and Pocock were shocked when told of a possible suspension at a national team camp on the weekend.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham is set to call on either Jarrad Butler, Michael Wells or Jordan Smiler to step in for Pocock, who has been suspended for two of the club’s biggest games of the season.

Pocock pleaded guilty to playing a player without the ball after he was cited for grabbing Waikato Chiefs’ No. 8 Michael Leitch around the neck when trying to defend a rolling maul.

Pocock will miss games against the NSW Waratahs and the Canterbury Crusaders after the SANZAAR judiciary took a stance against dangerous play and contact with the neck.

But it can be revealed the SANZAAR citing process has overlooked two dangerous clean out attempts that left Pocock and Jordan Smiler dumped on their heads, despite Brumbies officials requesting they be investigated.

Clubs privately fear the unpredictable process, which requires a citing commissioner to deem an incident to have met a red-card threshold before it can be sent to the judiciary.

There is footage of Pocock being picked up and driven head first into the ground three weeks ago by Cape Town Stormers players Schalk Burger and Juan de Jongh when trying to prevent him from pilfering a ball.

The same happened to Smiler in the Brumbies’ loss to the Chiefs last weekend when Charlie Ngatai lifted him from behind and flipped him on to the ground.

Both incidents, which appear to breach Law 10.4 (j) for lifting a player, were reported to the citing commissioner but neither resulted in punishment because they did not meet the three required thresholds for lifting.

In contrast, Brumbies winger Henry Speight was suspended for five games last year for a similar incident in a final against the Stormers.

A lifting tackle is deemed to be one where the players’ legs are lifted above the horizontal, there is a driving action into the ground and head contact into the ground. A player only appears before the SANZAAR judicial officer if the incident has met a red-card threshold.

Pocock was in breach of Law 10.4 (e) and Leitch appeared to hit out at Pocock in trying to get the Brumbies flanker to release him during a maul in the 74th minute of the match.

“David didn’t even know about it when he came into [Wallabies camp] on the Sunday and we were a little bit surprised when it call came out,” Cheika said on Rugby 360.

“It will affect the Brumbies, absolutely no doubt because he’s a quality player. But it’s a great opportunity for Jarrad Butler … it’s a great opportunity for him to step up and say, ‘I’m here now, watch me play’.”

An independent citing commissioner watches every match and decides on incidents he would like to review. Teams can also make a referral within four hours after full-time.

“We’ve had a few discussions about the consistency of rulings and that’s all we’re after,” Larkham said.

“We put a couple of guys up for citing and we’ve had feedback from SANZAAR officials that the incidents haven’t breached the threshold for a red card and therefore wasn’t taken any further.

“David Pocock loses his exemplary [record] because of this incident. The decision has been made and it’s a shame … We’re obviously disappointed because he’s a great player and a great role model for kids.”

The Brumbies will return to training on Monday following this weekend’s bye, with Wells and Smiler the likely options to replace Pocock as Butler continues his recovery from a knee injury.

The Brumbies next face the Waratahs, Crusaders, defending champion Otago Highlanders, Pretoria Bulls and Melbourne Rebels in a run of games that could ultimately decide their finals fate.

Waratahs coach Darryl Gibson said: “He’s one of the best players in the world, so having to not face him is a bonus. But the Brumbies have got excellent depth so I’m sure they’ll put out someone equally as good.”

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‘Malcolm Turnbull, you didn’t invent the internet’: Waleed Aly slams PM’s NBN hypocrisy

Waleed Aly skewers Malcolm Tunrbull over the latest delay in the NBN rollout on The Project. Photo: The Project Aly was critical of Turnbull commitment to the ‘age of innovation’ in spite of the flawed NBN plan. Photo: The Project

Comment: Waleed Aly and Lee Lin Chin are ruffling feathers

Waleed Aly has taken aim at the hypocrisy of Malcolm Turnbull’s “age of innovation” aspirations as leaked documents reveal significant delays to the government’s NBN roll out.

On Wednesday’s The Project, Aly dethroned Mr Turnbull, the so-called “man who virtually invented the internet in this country” – a title bestowed by former PM Tony Abbott, along with the NBN plan he championed as communication minister.

The Logie-nominated host skewers the Coalition over its “mongrel” NBN promises, suggesting the earlier completion date was the only thing the inferior infrastructure had going for it over Labor’s NBN plan.

“This is worrying because while we were never told we would have the fastest internet under the Coalition, we were promised it would be delivered much earlier than under Labor,” Aly said of the delay.

“If we’re going to be the innovation nation, we shouldn’t go for the cheap and error-prone solution,” said former computer centre director, University of Queensland Alan Coulter, interviewed for Aly’s ‘Something We Should Talk About’ segment.

Labor had originally promised they would deliver the NBN with fibre-to-the-premises for $45 billion by 2021 with speeds of 1Gbps. The opposition’s modelling suggested Labor’s plan would cost upwards of $80 billion.

The Coalition overhauled the project when they came into power, switching to fibre-to-the-node with maximum speeds of 20-25mbs to be completed by 2019.

But the NBN has now blown out as much as $56 billion, with an estimated delivery date of 2020, just one year before Labor’s planned completion date.

“The problem here is, despite the latest figures showing the amount of data downloaded by Australians increased by 40 per cent from June 2014 to June 2015, the Abbott-slash-Turnbull government has never demonstrated that they value the need for high-speed internet,” Aly said.

“But look, the biggest infrastructure projects in this country’s history were built with the future in mind.

“The Snowy Mountains Scheme was built to last hundreds of years, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built with eight lanes, not two.

“But now, as we enter Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘age of innovation’ and we’re told the NBN is the most important infrastructure project of the 21st century, we’re expected to rely on a decaying copper network that experts say is already past its use-by date, instead of investing in fibre which the same experts say could service our internet needs for the next 100 years.”

Australia’s global rankings for internet speed had plummeted from 30th less than three years ago to 60th in the world according to last week’s updated rankings.

We have the Coalition to thank for that, Aly said.

“So if you’re watching this right now on the internet, and you had to wait for even a second for this video to buffer, you know who to blame,” he said.

“Tony Abbott… and the guy who he says invented the internet.”  #WhoToBlame

Waleed talks about #WhoToBlame for the NBN #TheProjectTVWritten by Waleed & Tom Whitty (@twhittyer)Posted by The Project on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名购买.

Battlelines at the ready as Tony Abbott’s Pollie Pedal hits the towns

Former prime minister Tony Abbott holds up a copy of his book Battlelines in Forbes during the 2016 Pollie Pedal tour. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Former prime minister Tony Abbott poses for a photo with students in Forbes during the 2016 Pollie Pedal tour. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Abbott signs a copy of his book. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Abbott orders a beer at the Vandenberg Hotel in Forbes during the 2016 Pollie Pedal tour. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Abbott with other Pollie Pedal participants at the Vandenberg Hotel in Forbes on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Abbott and former defence minister Kevin Andrews arrive in Forbes during the 2016 Pollie Pedal tour. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Former prime minister Tony Abbott presents a signed copy of his book Battlelines to students of Caragabal Public School. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Residents of Caragabal say no prime minister – sitting or former – has ever passed through their sleepy town. So when one finally trundled through on Wednesday, it was a good thing he came bearing gifts.

But the present Tony Abbott clasped in his hands wasn’t exactly what the parched NSW township – which has literally run out of water – or 11-year-old locals Angus Troth and Polly Napier were looking for.

“Well I can’t give you water but Angus, Polly, would you like to accept this book?” the former PM asked, his upward inflection dripping with hope.

“I’m not sure whether it will be the most popular book in the library, but someone might take it out at some stage.”

The school captains of Caragabal Public weren’t quite sure what to make of their signed copy of Battlelines, Mr Abbott’s 2009 conservative manifesto on federation reform, the monarchy and climate change. Diplomats and straight-talkers develop early, it seems.

“It’s probably gonna be a popular book for a few weeks,” offered Polly.

“It’ll probably be boring,” argued Angus.

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Polly countered.  This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名购买.

Jostein Gaarder’s novel is a crash course in global warning 101

Jostein Gaarder Photo: Sahlan Hayes The World According to Anna by Jostein Gaarder

The World According to Anna

Jostein Gaarder

Hachette, $24.99

Review by Thuy On

Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder’s mega-selling novel, Sophie’s World, was translated into 60 languages and sold more than 40 million copies – a gratifying but rather surprising feat for a book that was, in short, a summary of the history of philosophy wrapped up in a mystery. Gaarder’s latest offering is a much smaller volume and this time there are concessions and incursions into the modern world. Nonetheless the underlying structure remains similar in this precautionary tale: teenager Sophie has just been replaced by teenager Anna and Albert Knox, the middle-aged philosopher, is now psychiatrist Dr Benjamin Antonsen.

Ever since she was a child, the protagonist was told she had a lively imagination, an uncanny feeling that her dreamy visitations were from another time, another reality. Anna’s anxious parents sent her to mental health professionals, whereupon she disclosed her fear of climate change. Indeed, five years earlier she’d witnessed the lack of snow during the traditional Christmas sleigh outing, prompting her first stirrings that the “world was in disarray”.

Without much grace or preparation, the narrative promptly switches to one of Anna’s dreams – it’s the year 2082, and now Nova, ostensibly Anna’s great-granddaughter, is witness to the many changes wrought by an ill-treated and vengeful earth. The doomsday dystopian scenario is a familiar one: whole countries have been washed away; oil and fossil fuel have been depleted and there’s been mass extinction of animal and plant form. (“Humans will never see a living chimpanzee or gorilla that isn’t in a zoo.”) Nova is understandably incensed that she has inherited a world of loss and wants to know how to repair and redress eco-system collapse.

There’s something static and stilted in Gaarder’s plodding words, which may or may not be due to the translation. Right from the start it reads like a crash course in global warming 101 as the precocious Anna and her psychiatrist eagerly swap their learning on the matter. Like many of his works, The World According to Anna is written for young adults, with the author’s avuncular attempts to educate lending his novel a didactic tone; its preachy earnestness often overrides its literary scope, so keen is Gaarder to push his message across. The supernatural elements — of Anna and her great-granddaughter in their parallel worlds and a magic ruby ring handed down over the generations — offer a simple framework to discuss the ailing planet and how to save it.

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Ban on outdoor music concerts in West Aceh due to Sharia law

Sharia Police on parade at the beginning of their shift in West Aceh. Photo: Jason South Sharia Police in Meulaboh, in West Aceh checking for women wearing tight fitting trousers instead of the regency’s preferred skirts. Photo: Jason South

Sharia Police from Meulaboh, in West Aceh on patrol inspecting local women’s attire. Photo: Jason South

Jakarta: Outdoor music concerts have been banned from a regency in Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province on the grounds they violate Sharia law.

Draconian regulations – such as a ban on women straddling motorcycles (they must ride side-saddle), unaccompanied women working or visiting night spots after 11pm and a requirement that boys and girls are taught separately at school – have been introduced in different parts of Aceh in recent years.

The province, the only part of Indonesia that enforces Sharia law, also outlaws gambling, drinking and even fraternising with the opposite sex outside marriage.

Muslim women must wear a hijab in public and gay sex is punishable by 100 lashes of the cane.

The outdoor music ban comes after local singing sensation Ady Bergek was told he could not proceed with a gig on April 3 because it would violate Sharia law.   A photo posted by Ady Bergek (@adybergek) on Mar 23, 2016 at 9:44am PDT

West Aceh regent (bupati) Teuku Alaidinsyah was quoted in Kompas saying the ban was based on a recommendation by Ulema (a body of Muslim scholars trained in Islamic law), who believed a concert had more disadvantages than advantages.

“We will not be issuing a permit for music concerts since the recommendation by the Ulema, but a music event in a cafe or warung kopi [coffee shop] is permitted,” he said.   Patroli RAPI LhokseumaweA photo posted by Ady Bergek (@adybergek) on Mar 17, 2016 at 7:17am PDT

Human Rights Watch Indonesia researcher Andreas Harsono said the ban was a concerning infringement on freedom of expression.

“This is a result of the increased formalisation of Sharia in Aceh,” he said.

Mr Harsono said local elections were becoming increasingly sectarian, there was a rise in support for Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam from Saudi Arabia, and a strengthening of legal infrastructure which discriminated against minority religions, homosexuality and women.

Bergek (whose name means unruly in the Acehnese language) is famous for his take on Dangdut, a genre that borrows from traditional Indonesian music as well as from Indian and Malaysian films.

His greatest hit Boeh Hate (sweetheart) is part love song, part comedy.

But the Acehnese pop star fell foul of authorities after a concert in Banda Aceh, another regency of Aceh, earlier this year.

“For instance, there was no segregation between male and female spectators and the concert went into the evening, while according to Islamic sharia, a music concert should end before the evening,” Teungku Faisal Ali, the deputy head of the Aceh Ulema Council, told Fairfax Media.

“After that we protested, also the mayor’s office protested, because the organiser did not comply with the regulations, the Islamic Sharia. And later on the organiser extended their apology.”

The central government in Jakarta granted Aceh’s religious leaders the right to impose Sharia law in 2001 in a deal struck to quell a decades-long separatist movement in the province.

With Karuni Rompies and Amilia Rosa

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The Netflix effect: Australian data consumption grows faster than ever in 2015

Coming soon to Netflix: Baz Luhrmann’s new musical drama, The Get Down. Photo: Netflix/Baz LuhrmannCall it the ‘Netflix effect’: Australians’ hunger for data skyrocketed in the last year as online video streaming took the nation by storm.

In the three months to December 2015 we chewed through a record 1.7 exabytes of data – or 1.7 million terabytes.

That’s 50 per cent more than in the same period in 2014 – a record spike of more than half an exabyte.​ We only passed an exabyte worth of downloads for the first time in a three-month period in 2014, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

If you can’t fathom how big that is, consider this: during Telstra’s free data day on Sunday, a single customer ploughed through 1TB of data – enough to download 14 seasons of Mythbusters; 24 seasons of The Simpsons; the entire Wikipedia database; Microsoft software packages; Xbox game updates; Spotify playlists and much, much more.

Now multiply that by 1.7 million.

The massive spike in data usage coincides with the arrival new streaming video on demand (SVOD) services in Australia in 2015, including international giant Netflix and local players Stan and Presto.

About 2.7 million Australians are now estimated to watch Netflix, and at last count, number-two player Stan – which is joint owned by Fairfax Media and Channel Nine – had more than 700,000 subscribers.

Australians are increasingly opting for these services – as well as free-to-air catch-up TV services such as ABC’s iView – over traditional broadcast free-to-air and pay TV viewing, which don’t require an internet connection.

Research firm Ovum predicts there will be more than 4.7 million SVOD subscribers in Australia by 2019.

The rise in Australians’ data consumption is even more staggering when viewed against our plateauing growth in internet subscriptions.

In the four years to December 2011, the number of Australian internet subscriptions grew from around 7 million to 12 million, the ABS data show. In the four years since, however, only 1 million more subscriptions have been added – but the amount each subscription is downloading has more than quadrupled.

The average individual internet plan – whether it be a fixed-line home connection, mobile phone data plan, or another type of connection – consumed 44GB of data downloads per month at the end of 2015, up from 10GB in 2011. In 2014, before the streaming services took off, we were only downloading 30GB a month.

The ongoing rollout of the national broadband network, bringing fast broadband internet connections to more Australians, has also likely factored in the growth in downloads.

Almost all Australian internet connections – 99 per cent – are now broadband.

However under the multi-technology mix NBN, the quality and speed of a connection differs depending on whether a household’s connection is full fibre, a mix of fibre and copper, hybrid-fibre coaxial cable, fixed wireless or satellite broadband.

Fibre-to-the-premises connections doubled in the year to December 31 to 645,000 subscribers, the ABS data show. Mobile wireless and cable connections grew incrementally, while DSL connections fell by 69,000.

NBN chief technology officer Dennis Steiger said a “significant increase in usage” over the NBN network showed the more bandwidth Australians have, the more content they want to consume.

“The findings reveal our nation has well and truly embraced the global streaming revolution as services such as Netflix, Stan and Presto have redefined the way we view and consume content,” Mr Steiger said.

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Historic land rights settlement ‘too late’ for many traditional owners

From left: Kenbi traditional owner Zoe Singh, sister Raylene Singh, NLC chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi and traditional owner Jason Singh are all smiles outside NT Parliament House in Darwin, after the Kenbi Land Claim settlement was announced. Photo: SuppliedThe big regret when one of the country’s longest-running and most hard-fought Aboriginal land claims moved close to settlement on Wednesday was that so many of the land owners had not lived to witness history being made.

Almost four decades after lodging a claim for a huge tract of land on the Cox Peninsula, west of Darwin, surviving traditional owners joined with politicians to announce the terms for settlement.

Joe Morrison, chief executive of the Northern Land Council, told the gathering at the Northern Territory’s Parliament he was a young boy when the Kenbi claim was lodged 37 years ago.

“Gloria Gaynor had just topped the Billboard Hot 100 with her song, I Will Survive. Sadly, most of those original claimants have not survived,” he said.

The settlement covers about 64,000 hectares and follows two long hearings, three Federal Court reviews and two High Court appeals. It was complicated by disputes between claimants and made more fraught because some of the land has been a dumping ground since debris from Cyclone Tracy was offloaded in 1974.

Mr Morrison said the council had advised the NT and federal governments that traditional owners had accepted the final settlement, including a commitment to remediate contaminated areas. The NT Government approved the settlement on Tuesday.

Mr Morrison said the settlement – to be realised when the Commonwealth hands over title deeds to the land in coming months – was an occasion for celebration and reflection “as we remember all those who are no longer with us – those who never got to see their rights realised”.

Under the settlement, 52,000 hectares becomes Aboriginal land, traditional owners withdraw claims over some parcels of land and the public has access to coastal areas covered by the claim.

NT Chief Minister, Adam Giles,said the settlement would secure the future of Darwin for generations to come, while providing “real benefits” for the family groups covered.

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said he was delighted traditional owners had given their consent to a settlement that provided them with opportunities to pursue economic development “and other aspirations they may have”.

“I look forward to seeing other innovative agreements being struck across the Northern Land Council region in support of traditional owners who want transferable and commercially viable interests from land and native title rights,” Senator Scullion said.

The federal government committed $31.5 million last year to address dangerous levels of asbestos, pesticides, heavy metals and other toxic pollutants on the peninsula.

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Police looking for two men as part of Rebels bikie murder investigation

One of two men police are trying to identify as part of Mark Easter murder investigation. Photo: NSW Police Police are trying to identify two men caught on CCTV on a Sydney street as part of murder investigation. Photo: NSW Police

Michael Davey, also known as ‘Ruthless’, was shot dead in Sydney’s west last week. Photo: Facebook

Mark Easter, who was shot dead, and his partner Biancha Simpson. Photo: Supplied

Rebels bikie club members Michael Davey (second from left) and Mark Easter (second from right) have been shot dead in separate murders. Photo: Facebook

The van police believe is linked to the shooting death of Mark Easter. Photo: NSW Police

As investigators try to work out who gunned down Michael Davey on a Sydney street last week, police have released CCTV into the murder investigation of his mate Mark Easter.

The sergeant at arms of the Rebels OMCG Sydney chapter was shot dead and his body dumped just off the Pacific Highway north of Sydney last year.

It is unclear how long Mr Easter’s body had been lying in bushland in Cowan before it was found by council workers on June 26, 2015.

However police believe the 37-year-old was killed elsewhere, probably three days before when he left his home in Sydney’s south.

Nine months after Mr Easter’s murder, his friend and fellow Rebels bikie Michael Davey was shot dead.

Mr Davey was shot in the driveway of a home on Stafford Street at Kingswood last Wednesday night.

Mr Davey, 30 was known to those in the bikie fraternity as “ruthless” and died not far from the unit he shared with his girlfriend.

He was remembered by friends at the scene of his murder as an “amazing dad” and a “man’s man”.

It is understood while Mr Davey and Mr Easter were friends, detectives have not identified any links between the two murders.

Both were fathers to young boys and left behind heartbroken partners.

On Wednesday, homicide police released CCTV footage of two men they believe could have information about Mr Easter’s murder.

The footage, appeared to be captured from above a footpath on a busy Sydney road, shows two men in fluoro orange jackets walking into a business.

Police won’t reveal the exact location of the CCTV camera, citing investigative reasons.

Homicide Squad Detective Chief Inspector David Laidlaw said it appeared Mr Easter’s associations with OMCGs and criminal activities were behind his death.

“With any of the OMCGs, there is (rival club) disputes all over the place but nothing specifically to indicate him,” he said.

“But dealing in the world of criminal elements he was associated with, there could be a number of reasons someone would have wanted him out of the picture so to speak.”

Police also believe Mr Easter’s murderer didn’t act alone.

“He is a fair sized main and in order to dump his body, it would have required more than one person,” Inspector Laidlaw said.

Mr Easter left his Little Bay home on the night of June 26, 2015, “as per any evening”, police say, after having dinner with his girlfriend.

Friends say he was possibly picked up from his home because both his cars were left in the driveway.

Detectives believe he was likely abducted and killed either that night or early the following morning.

His body was kept for the following two days before being dumped with little effort to conceal it off the highway at Cowan on Friday June 26.

Earlier this year police released footage of a white van seen in the nearby suburb of Berowra early in the morning of Friday June 26, 2015 – just hours before Mr Easter’s body was discovered.

Investigators are still trying to identify the owner of that van.

After his death, close friend Angus McGuffie said he wanted Mr Easter remembered as a loving father, an honest man and a fitness fanatic.

“He wasn’t afraid to be a dag to make his son laugh – the bond they had was unbreakable. He wasn’t a bad person,” Mr McGuffie said.

“Anyone who knew Mark wouldn’t have one bad word to say about him … every memory I have with [him] is nothing but good times and [his] ridiculous laugh. He welcomed everyone and anyone and treated everyone with respect.”

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China still in structural change as growth stabilises, says Credit Suisse

China is entering a period of economic stability, but Australian investors must not get too comfortable with a bounce because the country is still deep in its structural shift, Credit Suisse’s top economist for the region says.

Manufacturing activity in the world’s second-biggest economy surprised the market last week when the purchasing managers’ index surged to 50.2, signalling a month of expansion and the first time it has not contracted in seven months, riding on a wave of easy credit.

“After the Chinese New Year we see more active monetary policy and fiscal policies, we’re seeing a more accommodative central bank, we’re seeing a less hawkish Ministry of Finance and that has translated to a meaningful rise in bank credit and acceleration in infrastructure investment,” Credit Suisse chief economist for non-Japan Asia,  Dong Tao said.

The PMI reading was the first hard data to support that view, he said.

Speaking to Fairfax Media on the sidelines of the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong, Dr Tao said while he was confident growth was stabilising, the question remained how long it would last as China was deeply entrenched in a structural, rather than cyclical shift.

But he said Australian investors were still obsessed with China’s economic recovery and a lift in demand for its resources. Demand weakened

“By now everybody realises that Chinese demand has weakened. There’s strong hope the cycle’s going to end at some stage,” he said.

“They look at all signs indicating perhaps the inventory correction’s over, perhaps the demand’s going up and more importantly, they hope that some stimulus would push things back to the old days.”

The golden age of investment, exports and housing is over for China, Mr Tao said.

“Every 10 years China has one major economic transition, we are standing at the doorstep of a new decade,” he said.

The new era was of “tailor-made consumption”, where consumers travel to Japan for toilet seats, Korea for plastic surgery, and Australia for property and milk formula.

In its shift towards consumption, investors must accept a slowing in demand for commodities but also annual Chinese GDP growth in the order of 4 per cent.

China has set an annual growth target of 6.5 to 7 per cent.

But Australia did not know how to capitalise on it, and Japan was doing a much better job of tapping into the Chinese consumer than Australia, Dr Tao said.

“Australia is blessed but the advantage of Australia is just like mining for the country – it’s underground, you’ve got to dig it out to take it from a reserve to value.”

But Australia was not an area of worry for Credit Suisse’s investment banking or private wealth business, its Asia-Pacific region chief executive, Helman Sitohang, said.

Mr Sitohang said the resilience of the Australian economy was “quite impressive”.

“Even with mining going down significantly, you had strong growth in the fourth quarter, it is still the fastest growing OECD country despite 2015 being a bad year for commodities. That speaks for itself.”

Vanessa Desloires travelled to Hong Kong as a guest of Credit Suisse.

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Cranes hit record numbers on Sydney skyline

Cranes dot the skyline around Sydney and Melbourne’s CBDs. Photo: Fiona Morris Crane count by city (number)

Sydneysiders looking to shelter them from the unseasonal heat could well find it in the shadow of one of the record number of cranes across towering over the city’s skylines.

Property and construction group Rider Levett Bucknall’s latest Crane Index report shows there are 288 cranes looming over the greater Sydney region, stretching from the CBD to Parramatta in the west, Mascot in the south and even to the leafy lower north shore.

The current boom is unprecedented, with more cranes looming over the city in any time since RLB launched its index in August 2012 and a 35 per cent increase in numbers in the past six months alone.

Sydney accounted for two thirds of the new cranes erected nationally since September.

With 239 cranes, residential developments make up the lion’s share of the activity, compared with 22 in the commercial sector and 16 on civic construction projects across Sydney.

“Sydney firmly remains the construction king for Australia, with the greatest number of cranes erected in the residential, commercial and civic sectors,” RLB NSW managing director Matthew Harris said.

Nevertheless, Melbourne is also busy with 148 cranes dotting the horizon, mostly around the city.

Key crane hot spots within Melbourne occur in the CBD, Carlton, Caulfield, Chadstone, Docklands, Toorak and Southbank.

But with signs the housing market is cooling, will the construction boom last?

February data on housing approvals indicates a continuing fall in NSW from June 2015, lobby group Urban Taskforce has reported.

“June 2015 was a high point for NSW housing approvals with a total of 5,921 adjusted for trend, but this number has fallen since then to 5036 in February 2016,” Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson said.

“While 5000 approvals in a month is still a healthy number, the fact that there has been a drop of 900 approvals indicates a worrying trend,” he said.

But RLB’s Mr Harris said he is yet to see signs of a slowdown.

“Despite what you read, [it] refuses to cool down,” he said.

“There has been a rise of 44 per cent in residential work done to more than $10 billion in 2015 and the momentum does not seem to be slowing,” he said.

The current boom in crane numbers even overshadows the feverish construction in the years ahead of the Sydney Olympics in 2000. In 1998, for example, there were 34 cranes across the Sydney CBD while at Olympic Park, there were 35 at what is now ANZ Stadium alone.But by late 1999, the CBD number had dwindled to 22 and at the low point of late 2000, there were about 10.

A heatmap of Sydney cranes activity for March 2016 Image: Rider Levett Bucknall, OpenStreetMap and myheatmap

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