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Former federal health minister Dr Michael Wooldridge was originally hit with a 27-month ban and a $20,000 fine. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui Mr Lewski is free to go about his business after the Full Court of the Federal Court threw out his 15 year ban.
Nanjing Night Net

The corporate watchdog has been left with egg on its face after the Full Court of the Federal Court found the former directors of Prime Trust – who include businessman Bill Lewski, former federal health minister Michael Wooldridge and former Places Victoria boss Peter Clarke – did not breach the Corporations Act when they signed off on a controversial $33 million payment to Mr Lewski.

The Full Court found ASIC took too long to bring its case against the directors and as such a crucial meeting in July 2006 where the listing fee was granted by changing the constitution could not be considered.

The statute of limitations for breaches of the Corporations Act is six years.

“The failure of ASIC to commence proceedings before August 23, 2012 has been the primary cause for the complexities introduced into the proceeding, as no direct reliance could be placed upon the conduct that occurred on July 19, 2006 as establishing a contravention,” the Full Court found.

As a result, Justice John Middleton told a brief hearing in Melbourne on Thursday: “We are of the view the trial judge should not have concluded the directors breached the Corporations Act”.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is now facing a legal bill in the millions after the decision. The regulator is currently reviewing the decision that was handed down on Thursday morning.

Retirement village owner Prime Trust, once worth $560 million, collapsed in 2010 wiping out the savings of about 8000 investors.

The court matter rested on whether the directors of Prime Trust, who were also directors of the trust’s responsible entity Australian Property Custodian Holdings Ltd, had not acted in the best interests of investors when approving the deed to pay Mr Lewski a $33 million fee for listing the company he had founded ahead of its 2007 float on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Investors were left disappointed by the decision that overturned a 15-year ban for Mr Lewski and a $230,000 fine, four-year bans for fellow directors Kim Jaques and Mark Butler and a 27-month ban for Dr Wooldridge and a $20,000 fine for each. Mr Clarke was never banned but instead fined $20,000.

“We believe that the issues raised in the appeal judgment are complex and we are currently reviewing and considering the findings of the appeal judges,” Prime Trust Action Group member and Prime Trust investor Steve O’Reilly said.

It is unclear whether the directors will now sue the regulator for compensation over loss of income as Mr Lewski, Dr Wooldridge, Mr Jaques and Mr Butler have all been serving out their bans since the original banning orders were handed down in 2014.

Craig Shepard​ of KordaMentha, the liquidator for Prime Trust, said the ruling would not affect separate legal action brought by the liquidators to recoup $50 million for the listing fee.

“The outcome in favour of the former directors was significantly affected by the failure of ASIC to commence proceedings before August 23, 2012,” Mr Shepard said.

“The pending proceeding in the Supreme Court of Victoria is not affected by this limitation issue. There is direct reliance in the Supreme Court proceeding on the conduct of the former directors that occurred at the critical meeting on July 19, 2006,” Mr Shepard said.

In a statement released after the ruling, Dr Wooldridge said the demise of Prime Trust had taken a significant toll on many people including his family but particularly the unitholders who suffered loss.

“I am glad the decision by Mr Justice Murphy has been overturned; I always maintained his decision was unjust,” Dr Wooldridge said.

“This decision allows me to meaningfully rebuild,” Dr Wooldridge said.

A statement from Mr Lewski’s lawyers at SBA Law said: “Mr Lewski is very pleased with the result of the unanimous decision delivered today by the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia.

“He is particularly relieved that the Court found that all of the Directors acted honestly – as it has always been their belief that they had acted in accordance with, and in reliance on, their legal and professional advices,” Mr Lewski’s lawyers said.

A spokesman for Mr Clarke said the former senior government official was always confident he had acted appropriately in his role as a director of Prime Trust. Mr Clarke, who had only just joined the board ahead of the vote to grant the payment to Mr Lewski, abstained from voting on the payment.

Through his spokesman, Mr Clarke said “today’s decision by the Full Court of the Federal Court to absolve him of all contraventions following a four-year court battle with ASIC was a relief but also expected”.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Possums at risk in South West region

Posted by admin on 20/06/2019
Posted in 南京夜网 

THE population of a subspecies of brushtail possumsin the South West willcontinue to decline due toclimate change and habitat loss,according to an Edith Cowan University Centre for Ecosystem Managementstudy.
Nanjing Night Net

Endemic to the South West of Australia, the koomal possumhas undergone a significant reduction in distribution due to its vulnerability to habitat fragmentation, introduced predators and tree/shrub dieback.

The ECU research, which used species distribution models, radio tracking and trapping to collate data,foundareas heavily infested with dieback were not occupied by koomal possums and thatkoomal presence was linked to the extent of suitable vegetation available.

Lead researcher Dr Shaun Molloy saidthe main geographic areawhere the possums live wasshifting and contractingwith climate change, which was having a significant impact on the species.

“Koomal have pretty much disappeared from the Wheatbelt and most of the inland part of their range, largely because of clearing and introduced predators,” he said.

“They are still persisting well in much of the Jarrah forest and in coastal areas because there is still good tree canopy cover.”

However, Dr Molloy saidthis cover wasdeclining, and inthe next 10 years the possums wouldcontinue topersist but in fewer and fewer areas.

“Climate change combined with other factors such as inappropriate fire regime, land clearing, man-made obstacles to movement such as roads and suburbs, weeds, pathogens such as dieback and introduced predators such as foxes and feral cats,all combine to have a potentially devastating impact on our native plants and animals,” he said.

“We all have to understand what a real and serious threat climate change is and how it combines with other impacts to threaten our biodiversity.

“I believe that our greatest problem is that we, as a society do not take the time to learn about our unique and wonderful plants and animals.I am convinced that if we knew more about them we would learn to care enough to make room for them in our future.”

Dr Molloy said responsible pet ownership, establishing native plants andprotecting nativebushland were great ways to start helping the koomal and other animal populations survive.

The locations in which koomal possums are located are on the decline due to their vulnerability to habitat fragmentation, introduced predators and tree dieback.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

TAFE must ensure Sth Coast focus remains

Posted by admin on 20/06/2019
Posted in 南京夜网 

TAFE is not leaving town, the government says.
Nanjing Night Net

However, Wednesday’s announcement that the state’s 10 autonomousinstitutes would make way forone overarching entity, appears to indicate otherwise.

Opinions are divided on what the reformmeans, and whether it is good for education and good for regions such as our own.

NSW Skills Minister John Barilaro said the institutes –including the Illawarra institute,which has 13 campuses from Wollongong to Bega and west to Yass –would be folded into one streamlined, multi-campus operation.

It’s a “once-in-a-generation reform” of the sector, effective immediately.

The barriers which currently exist between the institutes will be dismantled, the minister said.

There will be less duplication, administration will be streamlined and “One TAFE” will be efficient and strong, he said.

But common sense says regional areas will feel the effects of yet another “streamlining”.

Any loss of regional autonomy must be questioned. Can the government guarantee TAFE’s accessibilityin the Illawarra will bemaintained?

Will more of our campuses fall by the wayside?

Thewounds inflicted by the closure of the Dapto TAFE campus are still raw for many.

Among those with concerns isShellharbour MP Anna Watson, whosays changes to our TAFE campuses will make it easier for the state government to hide falling student enrolments, reduced course offers, cuts to teaching positionsand downgraded campus services.

In short, it will mean the state government can slice up any regional campus just like it did to Dapto over the last six years, she said.

The Dapto TAFE campus closed its doors on January 22 and has been replaced by a Connected Learning Centre, a shopfront, in the suburb’s CBD.

Despite the changes announced on Wednesday, the state government is not offering a single new dollar in extra funding to Illawarra TAFE, Ms Watson said.

Fairfax Media asked TAFE Illawarra to break down what the announcement means for this region.It replied with a generic statement from TAFE NSW.

The organisation is “up for the challenge”to deliver a strong, modern and more competitive educational system.

Let’s hope it can deliver.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

New equipment at Blaxland

Posted by admin on 20/06/2019
Posted in 南京夜网 

Ready to play: Ward 4 councillors, Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill, Anton Von Schulenburg and Brendan Christie inspect the new play equipment at Blaxland Oval.Playtime is a lot more interesting at Blaxland Oval now the new play equipment has been installed by Blue Mountains City Council.
Nanjing Night Net

The new playground equipment is a Moduplay design and includes custom-built scaling walls, a spider net, bannister slide and a nest seat swing.

The play area has a combination of soft fall mulch and rubber soft fall pads for underlay.

“It’s a pleasure to see local children enjoying the new and improved playground,” said Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill.

“The new play equipment meets the community vision for the Blaxland Oval precinct which includes partial wheelchair access; reuse of the existing spinner and swings; and complements the retained equipment for younger children.”

The new play equipment waschosen to suit the demographic of the local community and to be age-appropriate for the range of ages of children using the park.

“The upgrade of Blaxland Oval play equipment is one of the many initiatives funded by the special rate variation that have been brought forward to improve services sooner rather than later to meet community needs,”said the mayor.

Blaxland Oval is one of a number of playgrounds across the city upgraded by council in the last year.

In recent months Blue Mountains council has conducted comprehensive research and community consultation on open space, play and recreation, to inform its approach to delivery of parks and recreation services in the future.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Coal seam gas hits big screen in new movie

Posted by admin on 20/06/2019
Posted in 南京夜网 

LOCAL STARS: Woody Naismith wants to reach out to local coal seam gas activist groups to appear in his film along with some of the nation’s biggest actors
Nanjing Night Net

AN Aussie filmmaker has lined up some of the nation’s biggest actors to star in a movie exploring the complex issues a community faces when the coal seam gas industry comes to their town.

Woody Naismith wants those with a personal interest in the debate to contribute to his crowdfunding campaign to get the movie off the ground.

His movie,The Fox Hole, focuses on what happens when CSG company, Natural Gas Providers, establishes gas wells in a beautiful but fractured Australian country town, dividing residents and forcing them to chose been the economic benefits and the environmental impacts.

Sound familiar?

Naismith said he was inspired by a conversation he had with a friend in Narrabri.

“I called them up to talk about fracking, but they wouldn’t give me the time of day other than to say they were pro-coal seam gas,” he said.

“That really fed into the film and inspired me to replicate the real life situation. The film really plays on the idea of what’s more important – the economy or the environment?”

Naismith has signed up Gyton Grantley (HouseHusbands,Underbelly) and Rick Cosnett (The Flash,The Vampire Diaries) to star in the film, who all met at the Queensland University of Technology.

The movie is set in a “nowhere in particular, run of the mill” Australian town in NSW – a setting the region around Armidale and the New England could fill perfectly.

“I’d like to get up that way, particularly those beautiful, sun-drenched, browner parts of the area,” he said.

And it wouldn’t be a movie about coal seam gas without a community protest.

Naismith said he’d like to reach out to local activists groups to appear in the film.

“I thought what a great thing to have in the film, to get these people who are battling coal seam gas protesting on screen,” he said.

“I really want real Australia people represented in the film.”

Naismith is crowdfunding through the government-run website Australian Cultural Fund.

For more information, visitaustralianculturalfund.org419论坛/projects/the-fox-hole/.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.