Indonesia files complaint against China in World Trade Organisation

Jakarta: Indonesia has complained to the World Trade Organisation over a protectionist tariff imposed by on paper imports, in a move that could overshadow the last months of sensitive free-trade negotiations.
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The latest salvo comes as the Indonesian government also expressed its “deep concern” after launched an investigation into the alleged dumping of steel rods exported from Indonesia.

The leaders of Indonesia and have committed to reaching a free-trade deal by the end of the year.

However, announced in April that it would impose dumping duties on A4 paper exported from Indonesia and three other countries in a crackdown on “unfair dumping into the n market”.

A dumping duty is a protectionist tariff imposed on foreign imports priced below their normal value in the country of export.

The decision was celebrated at the Maryvale mill of n Paper – ‘s sole copy paper manufacturer – where jobs had been at risk from cheap imports.

But on September 1, Indonesia filed a complaint claiming that ‘s actions appeared to be inconsistent with provisions under the World Trade Organisation’s Anti-Dumping Agreement regarding the determination of dumping.

Director of Trade Defence Pradnyawati said the anti-dumping measures were based on allegations by the n Anti-Dumping Commission that Indonesia’s ban on the export of timber logs had distorted the price of A4 copy paper.

The commission found exports of paper from Indonesia were dumped with margins of up to 38.6 per cent.

“The Indonesian government has pursued diplomatic approaches by explaining to the n government that the policy does not cause price distortion, however, it did not affect the course of investigation and decision on imposition of anti-dumping duties,” Ms Pradnyawati told Fairfax Media.

“Therefore, the government of Indonesia decided to raise this issue as a dispute case in the World Trade Organisation.”

Indonesia’s “request for consultations”, the first step in a trade dispute, gives 60 days to settle the issue. After that period, Indonesia could ask the WTO to adjudicate.

Indonesia’s chief trade negotiator, Deddy Saleh, said the A4 paper case would not affect the negotiation of the free-trade deal, known as the Indonesia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).

But he said if Indonesia’s complaint were successful, ” should no longer make accusations without strong foundation”.

“Because if it is continuously done it will obviously disturb the trust of the Indonesian business sector and government so that IA-CEPA won’t be easily implemented.”

A spokesman for Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said the government had made clear to Indonesia the independence of ‘s anti-dumping system and processes.

He said the Anti-Dumping Review Panel was undertaking a domestic review of the paper dumping duties.

“The government understands the panel has just instructed the Anti-Dumping Commission to re-investigate,” the spokesman said.

Indonesia and three other tobacco-producing countries have also appealed against ‘s world-first cigarette plain packaging laws to the World Trade Organisation, arguing they created an illegal trade barrier.

The final ruling is yet to be made but Bloomberg reported in May that a leaked draft report found ‘s laws were a legitimate public health measure.

With Karuni Rompies

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Deuces high: David Simon turns the clock back to the sexual revolution of the ’70s

In the hectic world of the HBO drama The Deuce, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Candy Merrell stands as a woman ahead of her time: a working girl who isn’t defined by the world in which she finds herself, but by the world she hopes to build for herself and her child.
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“It’s become clear to all of us that we live in a world that’s full of misogyny, [and] that I think we thought we had moved further than we have,” she says. “So playing a prostitute who ultimately gets involved in pornography is a very interesting perspective from which to explore women and our relationship to power, to art, to money, to sex.

“Candy says it explicitly in the first episode, she says, this is my job, this is not the entirety of who I am. You see her intellectual life, you deeply see her artistic life, you see her sexual life, you see her as a mum, you see her as a daughter. You see her as a full person.”

The Deuce, the story of how the mob, massage parlours and the emerging porn industry intersected in New York in the early 1970s, also stars James Franco, as twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino, who become proxies for the mob in Times Square.

Created by David Simon and his long-time collaborator George Pelecanos, the series can trace its origin to an earlier project, Treme, which was filmed in New Orleans. A colleague at that time told them the story of man in New York he knew who had lived through the events now fictionalised in The Deuce.

“We heard that and we thought, ‘we don’t want to do a porn show’,” Simon says, laughing. “We went up to New York for some editing on [Treme] and we met this guy and he started telling us stories. Three hours later George and I walked out of the meeting and we said, we are going to have to do a porn show because the stories were so compelling.”

The story of The Deuce pivots on the legal system’s inability – or unwillingness – to quantify what pornography was, Simon says.

“There’s a moment where the rules changed, so one moment you weren’t allowed to do things and then the next moment you were,” he says. “And the money and the human beings arrayed themselves around that new truth.

“Was the country ready for that kind of libertarian notion of we are not going to judge this anymore? Apparently, because we did it and this is what the courts felt comfortable saying in 1972 that they never would have felt comfortable in 1952. But that was the moment.”

It is, he adds, a powerful statement on “free market capitalism”.

For Gyllenhaal, the series tells a feminist story though that might not be immediately apparent.

She says it offers a chance to reflect on how women “have to twist themselves in order to feed themselves the things they need to stay alive intellectually, artistically, sexually, whatever, emotionally”.

Initially, the series’ depiction of sexuality is transactional, Gyllenhaal says. “For the first episodes most of the sex you see is performance, you see people going, I’m going to dress like this because I need to make this much money tonight and if I wear these clothes, more people are going to pick me up.

“Then you get to see a different kind of sex, sex that’s about female desire. And all of a sudden [it] shifts all the other sex you saw into relief. We’re so used to seeing sex portrayed on TV and in bad TV and bad movies. Here, in the middle of the piece, you have the bottom drop out.”

For Gyllenhaal the appeal of Candy was that she lives “in the dark side, and I think I’m interested in the dark side”, she says. “But also I think when you’re playing someone who’s just keeping their head above water, which is true for Candy, you don’t have the luxury to feel sad and sorry for yourself, those are middle-class problems.

“When you are just surviving, you have to be an optimist and so there’s a brightness about her and just reaching for the next rung, that was nice to play. I felt empowered by playing someone who was so comfortable with her sexuality. It was really fun. I felt inspired by that.”

Securing Franco’s services followed a slightly unconventional route, Simon says, noting that he and Franco essentially came to a verbal agreement, outside of the traditional machinery of agents, lawyers and managers.

“I was one of the biggest fans of The Wire, I met David and we were talking about Show Me a Hero,” Franco says. “I couldn’t do that because of scheduling but I was like, do you have anything in the pipeline you might do in a year or two and he said, ‘well, I got this show about the old 42nd Street and the dawn of pornography’.”

At that point, Simon had no plan to proceed with The Deuce and Franco, some time later, found himself reading Difficult Men, Brett Martin’s book about television showrunners, which included a section on Simon. His interest in working in television, generally, and with Simon, specifically, was rekindled.

“I was so drawn to this new kind of design of television shows,” Franco says.

So he called Simon. “I was like, I’m in,” Franco says. “That show about 42nd Street, how do we do it? We had to go shoot a pilot because HBO had Vinyl, another show about New York in the ’70s. We shot it and it was great and they picked us up.”

The series does not use overt signalling to differentiate between the two brothers.

“These are identical twins and they don’t have the exact same style but they look pretty similar,” Franco says.

“To differentiate them, it came down to behaviour and energy and how they speak and that kind of thing. Frankie’s a much more kind of swinging dude, he’s a degenerate gambler, he’s a bit of a ladies’ man, and he doesn’t take responsibility for anything. Vincent is the responsible one.”

Franco also directed two episodes, noting that the scripts were densely packed with detail. “These guys [Simon and co-writer Pelecanos], they come from journalism and writing, if there’s one thing they know how to do, it’s research,” he says.

“There was plenty of material that they just gave me that I could read and look at, but more than that, I had already done a lot of the research, watching my favourite movies from the ’70s, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Serpico,Dog Day Afternoon and The French Connection.”

The era depicted in the series is, in relative terms, a somewhat innocent time, Franco says.

“Of course, there was exploitation and all this stuff happening but compared to where porn went and a lot of things that are happening in pornography now, it was in some ways a lot more innocent,” he says. “They were trying to tell stories. There were actually porn films that had artistic aspirations.”

One of the episodes Franco directed deals with a groundbreaking piece of gay cinema, Boys in the Sand, a pornographic film notable because it was considered legitimate enough to be reviewed in the Hollywood trade newspaper, Variety.

“They were trying to do something there more than just titillate,” Franco says. “They were trying to do something artsy. The period we’re depicting and the films, a lot of the films, or some of the films that they were making at that time were very different than what you’ll find nowadays streaming online.”

The drawcard for fans of Simon’s work, Franco says, is that The Deuce takes on an almost Dickensian examination of its world and the people who inhabit it.

“Now, I think David Simon’s porn is political corruption, that’s what gets him off,” Franco says. “[But] here we’ve got characters on all levels of society and that’s what’s exciting.

“I think that was one of the most exciting things about The Wire. You’re looking at the drug war, but you’re not looking at it just from the police force’s point of view and you’re not looking at it just from the dealer’s point of view, you’re looking at it from all sides. That’s what we have here.”

WHAT: The Deuce

WHEN: Showcase, Monday, 11am and 8.30pm

Coles hops into half hour delivery with Deliveroo

Coles has added another twist to its experiments with online delivery, teaming up with the bicycle-based service Deliveroo to offer 30-minute home deliveries on groceries.
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Deliveroo, which mostly delivers food from restaurants, has been offering “food packs” such as a selection of barbecue items or entertainment snacks for delivery to customers in Melbourne’s inner-east since early this year.

The partnership upped the ante last month and is now offering a range of basic groceries for home delivery, including milk, bread, cheese, spreads and fruit and vegetables, plus a range of “meal packs” that include ingredients to make dishes such as pork noodle soup and risotto.

Coles has started promoting the offer to customers, advertising home delivery within 30 minute on those products through Deliveroo’s network, which is made up of contractors mostly using bicycles or scooters.

???Deliveroo is the second “share economy” service Coles has teamed up with as it tries to improve its online and home delivery offering ahead of digital retail giant Amazon’s arrival in some time next year.

The supermarket last month started a short trial with Silicon Valley giant Uber, in which the “ride-sharing” company’s network of drivers completed same-day deliveries for items that were left out or needed to be replaced from orders Coles’ own trucks delivered. The Uber trial was run out of Coles’ online-only “dark store” in Richmond South.

A Deliveroo spokeswoman said the service was only available to customers living within about three kilometres of Coles’ Richmond store, but that “based on the success of the partnership, we’re wanting to roll it out further”. A Coles spokesman declined to comment.

Retail consultant Steven Kulmar, founder of Retail Oasis, said Coles and Woolworths were both improving their online offering and deliveries with an eye on Amazon, which is due to open a full retail service in some time next year.

It is not clear exactly what Amazon’s local offering will be, but it could include its grocery service Amazon Fresh, which in the United States offers customers same-day grocery deliveries.

Mr Kulmar said delivery models like Uber and Deliveroo were attractive because consumers were moving towards smaller, more frequent shops.

“Customers are more interested in fresh – they’re interested in tonight’s meal and tomorrow night’s meal, not meals for the next fortnight,” he said.

Larger items were better suited to a click and collect “drive through” model, which had been “incredibly successful” for Amazon Fresh and which Woolworths was trying to emulate, Mr Kulmar said.

Amazon has signalled its intention to become a bigger player in the supermarket space with its $18 billion aquisition of Whole Foods.

Call for power to ban ‘unfit’ financial services bosses

The corporate watchdog should be given stronger powers to ban senior financial services managers and directors who oversee serious breaches of the law, an official review suggests.
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As part of a push to promote greater accountability in finance, the n Securities and Investments Commission Enforcement Review Taskforce has argued the regulator lacks the power to ban some senior managers or directors who are “unfit” for their role.

The gap in its legal powers has meant that some banned financial advisers continue to work in the industry as managers, potentially putting customers at risk, a consultation paper says.

It may also mean senior managers who oversee repeated breaches of the law are able to move within the industry without being punished, the paper said.

In response, the paper argued there was a need for ASIC to have powers to take action against senior managers or directors who have overseen businesss that have had “serious systemic compliance failures”.

“The government and the community are demanding better from those who occupy senior roles in banks, and the financial services sector generally,” financial services minister Kelly O’Dwyer said.

Such changes would beef up ASIC’s powers at the same time as the n Prudential Regulation Authority will also get greater power to ban senior managers and intervene in how top executives of banks are paid.

After a run of scandals in financial services in recent years, the government has appointed the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce to give the watchdog stronger powers when policing the sector.

Under current rules, ASIC can ban someone from providing financial services, but not from acting in a managerial position in the sector.

Nor can ASIC ban a director or manager “who may not have breached financial services laws but were nonetheless integral to the operation of the business,” the paper said.

ASIC can ban directors or managers who knowingly broke the law, but the paper said said there was a “residual concern” over its powers to take action against managers who “were responsible for the relevant business and failed to ensure that it was conducted in a lawful manner”.

The paper provided a case study in which ASIC identified “widespread breaches” of the law from a “large” licensee, and it accepted an enforceable undertaking.

The case study said ASIC had concerns about several senior managers within the firm, including a manager dubbed “Mr G,” who was later involved in further management failings at another firm.

“Despite the fact that Mr G appears to be involved in management failings at a number of licensees, ASIC is unable to ban him from managing financial services providers,” the case study said.

In response, the paper proposes the circumstances in which it can ban people to should be broadened, to expressly cover directors, company officers and managers.

It should be able to ban these people if ASIC has reason to believe they are “not a fit and proper person to provide a financial service”, the paper said.

Richmond star Dustin Martin’s dad locked out of China by new law

???Dustin Martin’s father will be unable to see his son play finals footy, or possibly win a Brownlow medal, after a new law was pushed through that would prevent Shane Martin from returning to .
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Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had an amendment passed to the Migration Act to stop the Richmond star’s father, and up to 20 other people, whose visas have been cancelled, from re-entering .

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government was “proud” of its decision to cancel Mr Martin’s, who he said posed a threat to .

Mr Turnbull made no apologies while speaking to radio station 3AW on Thursday.

Dustin Martin and his father Shane.

“His [Dustin Martin’s] father has had his visa cancelled because of his criminal record and association with outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Mr Turnbull said.

“People who are outlaw motorcycle gang members, who are criminals or threats to national security cannot stay in the country”.

When asked if Mr Martin posed a threat to the safety of the country, Mr Turnbull replied “of course”.

The new laws were passed on Monday, in anticipation of a High Court decision.

The High Court found on Wednesday that Mr Dutton had been wrong to kick out two men accused of being Rebels bikies, AJ Graham and Mehaka Lee Te Puia.

The High Court ruled 6-1 in the men’sfavour and ordered the government to pay their legal costs.

The men were extradited from based on secret information from police and intelligence services.

Governor-General Peter Cosgrove signed off on an amendment on Tuesday, just hours before the High Court ruling, to ensure any other decisions on visa cancellations by Mr Dutton under Section 503A of the Migration Act would stand.

Mr Dutton’s office said Mr Martin’s visa was cancelled for the safety of the n community because of his criminal record and association with outlaw motorcycle gangs.

“He [Shane Martin] should have thought about the consequences of his actions on his family and the victims of crimes at the time of his offending. This amendment ensures that people who are outlaw motorcycle gang members, organised criminals and threats to national security cannot stay in ,” a statement from Mr Dutton’s office said.

Mr Dutton strengthened his resolve while talking to radio station Triple M on Thursday morning.

“He’s not coming back, no,” he said of Mr Martin.

“I feel for the Martin family in the circumstances but I’ve got to take into consideration not only those people that have been victims of crimes committed by outlaw motorcycle gang members and those associated with them but also the future impact, that is we want to try and reduce crime.”

Mr Dutton said among the 20 people whose visas has been cancelled were “some pretty nasty characters”.

“If they’re going to harm ns I don’t understand how they can expect to stay here on their visas.”

The AFL star and his father last week opened up about their bond in separate interviews on the Nine Network’s The Footy Show.

Mr Martin has previously denied being involved in criminal activity.

He also revealed his desire to come back to to watch the Brownlow where Dustin is a favourite to win, or to see him play in an AFL football final.

Dustin’s family said last week that they were hopeful the High Court decision on Wednesday would allow Shane Martin to return to as early as next week.

Mr Martin has previously said he would take his fight to return to the High Court if necessary and said the weight of Dustin’s decision on his football future with the Tigers had taken its toll on the family.

ARU to face Senate inquiry after chopping Western Force

The n Rugby Union will be the subject of a Senate inquiry into the future of the code after a motion from West n politician Linda Reynolds was passed in the Upper House on Wednesday.
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In light of RugbyWA losing its appeal in the NSW Supreme Court to keep the Western Force in Super Rugby next year, Senator Reynolds asked that an inquiry to be established to look into a number of issues, including:

– ARU board deliberations leading to the decision to reduce n teams from five to four.

– Whether there continues to be a truly national national rugby union footprint in .

– The role of national and state-based bodies in encouraging greater national participation in rugby.

– The corporate governance arrangements and composition of national and state-based rugby bodies, including community representation on those bodies

– The impact of the decision to reduce the number of n teams on national participation in rugby.

The matter will be referred to the Community Affairs References Committee and the inquiry is expected to report back to the Senate by November.

“Having a look at the lack of transparency in the decision-making process of how they ended up picking Western Force to go, clearly indicates to me that there is something deeply in trouble, or troublesome, in the heart of ARU,” Reynolds said.

“We’ve heard variously that it was about money, about the number of teams. Western Force is the nation’s third-largest rugby-playing community, and its removal from the national competition will leave n rugby all the poorer.”

The ARU released documents on Tuesday evening outlining why it had cut the Force, which will no doubt be used as evidence during the inquiry.

It is an extraordinary length to go to after what has been a tumultuous year for rugby in .

RugbyWA released a statement last month which read: “RugbyWA strongly supports the call for a Senate inquiry based on the ARU’s misinformation as to their financial position and their lack of information available for the reasons for removing the Western Force.”

Meanwhile, Force backer Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and RugbyWA are still exploring their legal options and will likely make an announcement on Thursday as to whether they will take their appeal to the Court of Appeal or the High Court.

Players, coaches, administrators, staff and fans were left shattered on Tuesday after the NSW Supreme Court dismissed an appeal to from RugbyWA to keep the Force in Super Rugby for 2018.

While Forrest has already made it clear he plans to fight the decision further up the legal chain, there is a sense in the west that perhaps fighting on might not be worth it given decisions from an arbitrator and the NSW Supreme Court have both gone the way of the ARU.

The ARU has made contact with RugbyWA since the decision was handed down and the two parties are working through the difficult logistical process that is shutting down a team.

The killer blow for those at the Force, however, was the ARU’s reluctance to accept Forrest’s staggering $50 million offer, which could have done the world of good for the code in .

Meanwhile, Forrest’s declaration that he will bankroll a breakaway rugby competition has piqued the interest of a number of unions in the Indo-Pacific region that have an appetite to be involved.

Fairfax Media understands that since the billionaire gave a snapshot of the six-team competition he had in mind, there has been a surprising number of rugby nations come forward and inquire about what the rebel league could entail.

It is believed Hong Kong, Singapore as well as rugby administrators from New Zealand and South Africa – both countries that field teams in Super Rugby – have made contact regarding the competition.

RugbyWA is said to have been surprised by the amount of interest from overseas.

A few weeks ago Forrest flagged the idea of creating his own rugby competition, somewhat in protest at the ARU’s decision to cut the Force, but it was on Tuesday that rugby unions from Asia picked up the phone to find out what the fuss was about.

Forrest’s plan is well advanced and it is expected he will outline more details about which teams, where matches will be played and the like, early next week.

Meanwhile, SANZAAR has sprung into action to get its draw for Super Rugby sorted.

Rather than sitting on its hands, SANZAAR has had a draw waiting to go for some time now and says it will be released in about two weeks.

For context, last year’s draw was released on September 20, meaning it will come out at a similar time despite the frustrating delays associated with cutting an n team.

More DRS woes for Aussies as Tigers apply clamps

Day three: as it happened
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Chittagong: Matthew Wade lost another battle with the decision review system while Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins had their own DRS misadventures as suffered yet another collapse.

A day which had started with so much promise for the tourists turned into a damp squib with the hosts – despite continuing to drop catches – looking likely to keep the tourists’ first innings lead in double figures after rain delayed the start of play. Needing only to draw the match to win the series, the Tigers spread the field to keep ‘s run rate in check while also taking regular wickets. lost 6-78 and were 9-377 when bad light stopped play, a first innings lead of just 72 after bowling Bangladesh out for 305 on Tuesday.

Wade, whose position in the XI had been in doubt leading up to the match, couldn’t heed captain Steve Smith’s call for more runs, trapped lbw to a moving ball from left-arm quick Mustafizur Rahman, who celebrated his 22nd birthday with a third wicket for the innings. In the first Test Wade made five and four, falling foul of the DRS twice, having failed to a review a decision that would have been overturned in the first innings before unsuccessfully challenging a call in the second dig.

Just as he had been in the first Test, Maxwell was at the crease with his former Victorian teammate when the call to review was made. The all-rounder was involved in another poor review the very next over when he departed for 38 when the third umpire was consulted for an inside edge off the bowling of spinner Mehedi Hasan. Cummins fell lbw to Mehedi shortly after, a successful review from the Tigers reinforced by Bangladesh’s Nasir Hossain, who could face disciplinary action after raising his index finger while standing next to the umpire.

Ashton Agar was dropped on 21 but fell one run later to Shakib Al Hasan, with Steve O’Keefe (eight) and Nathan Lyon (0) unbeaten at the close of play.

Earlier, David Warner made another century but only after being involved in the run out of Peter Handscomb in pursuit of his 100th run. Shakib hadn’t yet taken control of this match like he did the first Test of the series, but with a direct hit he ended Warner and Handscomb’s 152-run stand, with the Victorian gone for 82 after overcoming debilitating heat exhaustion the previous evening. Warner was himself almost run out, again forced to retreat as he looked for that elusive run. Finally, it came though, leaping into the air as is his custom after a drive through extra cover for four.

It was just his fifth boundary of the innings, while the 209 deliveries it took him to reach the mark made it the slowest of his 20 Test hundreds. He’d also been given lives on 52, when he was dropped at short leg by Mominul Haque, and on 73, when Mushfiqur made a mess of a stumping attempt.

His knock ended on 123, Mustafizur claiming the crucial scalp with a bouncer, caught at leg-gully by Imrul Kayes.

Hilton Cartwright and Maxwell moved into the lead, almost making it to tea before Cartwright edged Mehedi to slip on 18. It was a moment of redemption for the spinner, who had put down Maxwell at gully when he was on 10, before spilling a difficult, and painful, return catch with the West n on six.

After a terrific day two, Warner and Handscomb were looking to further close the gap, starting day three at 2-225, but their task was harder after a thunderstorm pushed back play until after lunch.

Brisbane’s apartment market is correcting faster than predicted

Apartment oversupply in Brisbane could soon be a distant – if a little hysterical – memory, according to property experts.
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Analysts Urbis have released their Brisbane Apartment Essentials report for the second quarter of the year, and things are looking a little brighter than six months ago; or as associate director Paul Riga put it: “the sun’s coming out through the clouds”.

His report showed that apartment sales within inner Brisbane were at a relatively steady volume (up to 311 sales from 302 last quarter) and the average sale price of new units was at an all-time high: $725,563.

In the past 12 months, unit prices have fallen across Brisbane and seemingly in response, construction approvals plummeted.

All sorts of predictions were made about the market, including a potential 10 per cent fall in rents by the end of the year.

Mr Riga said it appeared the fears were overblown, as the market was now correcting itself faster than the most hopeful predictions had anticipated.

“As we predicted in the previous quarters, our sales were steady,” he said. “That’s predicted to continue of the next few quarters as there’s very limited product coming through the pipeline.”

The spike in average price was attributed to several premium products selling well, but Mr Riga said it was still a good win for the market. Related: Brisbane rents predicted to fall 10 per cent in 12 monthsRelated: Biggest quarterly drop in prices in March since 2011Related: River city rental yields on the slide

“We’re still confident about the inner Brisbane market. It’s got the right fundamentals there,” he said. “This product is being absorbed in a better way than originally expected.”

Mortgage broker Red & Co’s Kieran Foster agreed with Mr Riga’s assessment that Brisbane was recovering faster than most expected.

“The market has self-corrected itself quicker than anyone had anticipated,” he said.

Mr Foster said mutual apprehension from the Brisbane City Council, buyers, developers, and banks caused things to settle down in a timely manner.

“The amount of new projects starting are coming to a grinding halt, with a lot of the ones under construction mainly sold I think it’ll level out,” he said.

The rental market was another indicator how the apartment market was doing, and Mr Riga said vacancy rates in the inner city were remaining low.

“The signs for new apartments are relatively positive. That indicates there’s a higher level of demand for new product over established product,” he said. “Overall, it shows that people are voting with their rental dollars. They’re taking and absorbing the product we’ve seen come through.

“We’re looking forward to see what the rental data from the June report shows when it comes through.”

Mr Riga said if the apartment market remained steady for the next two quarters, Brisbane could be out of the woods by the end of the year.

Sporting declaration: Why Jets fans are half as good as Knights supporters

BACK IT UP: The Newcastle Jets prepare to take on Sydney FC in round four last A-League season at McDonald Jones Stadium. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNewcastle football lovers are all talk.
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Soccer supporters, that is.Lovers of the world game, the beautiful game.

After seven seasons of covering the code for the Newcastle Heraldand previous campaignsfor other publications, I can’t come to any other conclusion. Many of them are simply frauds.

For me, the passion for football in the region is unquestionable. That’s not the problem.

Talking to coaches, players, fans and administrators over 17 years of doing this job, there’s no doubting their love for the sport.

It’s infectious, and rising participation rates reflect the overwhelming popularity of the codefor players, male and female, of many ages.

Last year, Northern NSW Football said registrations hadgrown by 42 per centin the previous decade to 64,186. Around the same time, NSW Country Rugby League said its registrations were down to about 56,000.

Why then do crowd numbers for the Newcastle Jets lag so far behind the Knights?

Last Sunday, the Knights, with their third consecutive wooden spoon guaranteed, attracted a crowd of 20,535 at McDonald Jones Stadium for their final-round clash with the Sharks. In 12 A-League seasons, Jets fans have bettered that number only four times.

When they wereheaded forthe wooden spoon, their second in the past three years,in their final home game last season, the Jets had a crowd of 9380.

The Knights this year had a lowest crowd of10,997 and highest of21,412.The Jets last season peaked at 11,873 and bottomed out at 5642.

That’s why Newcastle soccer fans are frauds. Not all of them, of course, but the numbers don’t lie. In the stat that means the most, the region’s football supporters are half as good as their league counterparts.

So why don’t moreback up their passion for football with numbers through the gate at Jets games?

There’s a couple of obvious reasons why adisparity exists.

The Hunter is a rugby league heartland, producing some of the greats of the game, and generations have followed other NRL clubs since well before the Knights were founded.That obviously helps drawing a crowd week in, week out.

And while the A-League has taken giant steps in expanding and improving the top level of football in , it remains a long way off the best competitions in the world.The NRL, meanwhile,is the best rugby league competition on the planet, so that helps as well.

On the flipside, rugby league players and supporters at a local level are sometimes at their own match when the Knights are playing. Jets fans have no such excuse.

However, you can’t blame on-field results for a lack of support. The Knights have proven that.

The Jets have not made the finals since 2010 but the Knights have just had the worst three-year run in NRL history.Despite that, theiraveragehome crowd this season was 15,619. The Jets averaged8645 last campaign.

Anyway, enough of numbers. The point is, fans putting hands in their pockets to support their team makes all the difference.

The past two NSWRL/ARL teams to finish last three years in a row –Gold Coast Chargers (1991-93) and Newtown Jets (1976-78) –were gone a few years later.The Knights keep powering on.

The Jets have faced an uncertain future more than once but now have the relative security of Chinese owner Martin Lee.But real fans can’t expect to keep a team, let alone a successful one, if they don’t show up.

So why discuss this now, a month out from the A-League season?

Sunday’sshow of support for the struggling Knights struck me. Sure, it was old boys’ day and the20thanniversary of the club’s epic ARL grand final win, but what a crowd.

Then I had great chat with a tired Edgeworth coach Damian Zane on Monday, after his side lost the Northern NSW NPL grand final 2-0 to Lambton Jaffas in extra-time on Saturday night.

It was the first NPL decider at McDonald Jones Stadium and I was keen to follow up on reactions about the crowd figure of 4174, the atmosphere and the future of the fixtureat a 33,000-capacity stadium.

We got on to difference betweenfootball fans in and those overseas, and why a sport booming in participation in the Hunter can’t draw a better crowd to watch its A-League side.

“Whether we’re top of the league or bottom, we should be packing that joint out,” Zane said of the Jets.

He remembered how he was heart-broken when the Newcastle Breakers collapsed and the town was left without a club.

It’s not a stretch to say that could happen again, continuing a long history of failed Newcastle clubs, if passion for football doesn’t convert to dollars and cents support.

Look, I didn’t grow up with football. Like many of my schoolmates at Rutherford High, I was brought up on a steady diet of rugby league. We even gave the soccer types a bit of stick (sorryCouso).But plenty has changed in 20 somethingyears andthe sleeping giant of n sport has awoken in many ways.Still, in the Hunter at least, the Jets remain in the shadow of the Knights.

I’d love a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone complain about the Knights hoggingsports sponsorship coin in the Hunter. But those backers follow fans.

Now seems the perfect time for football supporters to push their team, their code, into the light. Theywanted Mark Jones gone and a proven coach brought in, along with quality signings.

Enter two-time A-League coach of the year Ernie Merrick and Dimi Petratos, Daniel Georgievski,Roy O’Donovan andNikolai Topor-Stanley.

Over to you, football fans. The time is coming to show up or shut up.

Two men found guilty over death, sex assault of Lynette Daley on NSW beach

Adrian Attwater (left) has been found guilty of manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault of Lynette Daley (centre). Paul Maris (right) has been found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and hindering the discovery of evidence. Photos: AAPTwo men have been found guilty over the death and sexual assault of Lynette Daley on a remote northern NSW beach nearly seven years ago.
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Ms Daley, 33, died from injuries sustained in the violent sex act with her “‘on-again-off-again” boyfriend Adrian Attwater, 42, and Paul Maris, 47, on a 2011 Day camping trip to Ten Mile Beach.

Following a five-week trial at the Coffs Harbour Supreme Court, a jury on Wednesday found Attwater guilty of manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault, and Maris guilty of aggravated sexual assault and hindering the discovery of evidence.

An autopsy found Ms Daley died from blood loss fromhorrific internal and external injuries after a violent sex act was performed on her.

Crown prosecutor Philip Strickland SC told the court in his opening address that the two men and Ms Daley “them drank a lot of alcohol on that day”.

At dusk, they stopped halfway up the beach in Maris’ troop carrier whereAttwatterand Daley got on a mattress in the back.

Attwater”repeatedly and vigorously” sexually assaulted Ms Daley for a couple of minutes, Mr Strickland said.

Maris joined in with a sex act atAttwater’sinvitation, the barrister told the court.

Lynette Daley

Attwateronly stopped the assault when he noticed blood on his hand and Maris later burnt her bra and the bloodstained mattress “because it stank,” the Crown said.

Confronting photos shown in court showed injuries to Ms Daley that caused significant blood loss.

The assault “substantially or significantly contributed to her death,” Mr Strickland said.

Her autopsy also revealed a small amount of methylamphetamine and a blood alcohol concentration of 0.303 – meaning she was “grossly intoxicated”.

Adrian Attwater has been found guilty of manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault. Photo: AAP

The prosecutor saidAttwatertold police “she was blind, she was off her f—ing face last night”.

Attwaterclaimed Ms Daley had a fit or seizure in the ocean when she went for a swim while naked and he performed CPR after dragging her back to shore.

When questioned about how the trio came to have group sex,Attwatersaid: “These things happen … girls will be girls, boys will be boys.”

Both men told police they thought it was consensual.

Paul Maris has been found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and hindering the discovery of evidence. Photo: AAP

Mr Strickland said Maris told police: “Well she didn’t object when I jumped in the back, she’d moved over to give me oral.”

Police initially charged Attwaterand Marisover Ms Daley’s deathbut, in 2012, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to proceed with the prosecution.

Last year,theDPP, Lloyd Babb, SC,took the rare step of asking an independentlegal adviserto review the case, including whether Attwaterand Maris should proceed to trial.

That review followed aFour Cornersinvestigation, in which the two men now charged over Ms Daley’s death were shown in police videos recorded at the time of Ms Daley’s deathdescribing events that took place in the back of Mr Maris’ four-wheel-drive.

Ms Daley’s family and supporters had been highly critical ofthe DPP for not prosecuting the two men.