FORMER Knights winger James McManus has claimed a significantearly victoryin hislegal battle to prove the club was negligent in its handling of a series of concussions that ended his career.
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The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that McManus’s lawyers were entitled tosubpoenamedicalrecordsrelating toincidents involvingformer teammatesRichie Fa’aoso and Robbie Rochow, along with the game-day diaries of ex-Newcastle coaches Rick Stone and Wayne Bennett.

McManus’slawyers argued suchinformation was essential“to establish that his position is not unique and that other players have been treated … in the way that he contends he was treated and which, on his case, amounted to a breach of duty causing damage”.

Lawyers representingthe Knightsfiled a motion arguing that permission to accessmaterial relating to Fa’aoso and Rochowshould be“set aside” because“there can be no legitimate forensic purpose in the material that is sought”.

But in a decision announced on Monday, Justice Ian Harrison ruled that McManus’s proposed subpoena“does have a legitimate forensic purpose” and dismissed the notice of motion filed by the defence, awarding costs to McManus.

Moreover, Justice Harrison ruled that there was“potential significance of specific cases showing how the defendants treated similarly injured players in the past”.

McManuslaunched his landmark case in February, arguing that he was forced into premature retirement and left with“traumatic brain injury” after suffering repeatedconcussions.

He has alleged that on a number of occasions he suffered“severe” head injuries and symptoms but was allowed to continue playing, even though the Knights“knew or ought to have known” that would expose him to“the cumulative effects of further concussive injuries and foreseeable permanent brain damage”.

He is suing two companies–Newcastle Knights Pty Ltd, which was owned by Nathan Tinkler and is in liquidation, andKnights Rugby League Pty Ltd, the company formed when Tinkler was removed as the owner of Newcastle’s NRL franchise in 2014.

The incidents involving Fa’aoso and Rochow occurred two years apart, and McManus played in both games.

In a loss to Manly in March, 2011,Fa’aoso was knocked senselessand continued to play after stumbling around, trying toregain his footing.

LAW SUIT: James McManus.

The following day, coach Rick Stone arguedFa’aoso was a player capable of recovering quickly from a head knock, but the incident prompted the NRL to almost immediatelytighten concussion protocols.

“Richie can look untidy when he gets knocked out but he comes to fairly quickly,” Stone said at the time. “Sometimes giving a bloke a couple of minutes to clear his head doesn’t look good on TV but … I wanted to give him a minute or two to reassess where he was at.”

Stone conceded, in hindsight, he should have replaced Fa’aoso.

“For player safety, Richie probably should have come straight off on the weekend, there’s no doubt about that,” Stone said.

“If I had my time again, I would definitely do that. But sometimes you leave them out there to see if they can get back into the gameandyou don’t have to make an interchange.”

Fa’aoso played a week later against St George Illawarra.

Two years later, playing against Penrith in round 19, 2013, Rochow suffered two head knocks in the space of 14 minutes and coach Bennett was criticised for not replacing him.

At the time, Bennett referred to the critics as“drama queens, saying:‘I don’t really need a whole lot of procedures for me to do the right thing by players withconcussion.

“I’ve done it all my coaching life, so there’s no chance that those players will play on the weekend if there’s any doubt about their health.’’

Rochow played the following week against Sydney Roosters.

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s current co-captain, Sione Mata’utia, will have to pass concussion tests to play against Canberra on Friday. He wasreplaced after a head knock in Saturday’s 44-12 loss to Melbourne.

It was the third time this season the 21-year-old has been replaced in a game and not allowed to return after a head-injury assessment.

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DELTA Electricity has more than 80 hectares of land on the southern section of its Vales Point power station holdings that it describes as “capped and rehabilitated”.
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The land is the power station’s ash dam area, where the ash waste from operations is stored. It includes heavy metals. There is growing controversy across Australia about the future of power station ash dams as they close, sometimes abruptly as in South Australia and Victoria, or face imminent closure, as is the case with the Hunter’s Liddell power station in 2022.

They are a potential environmental hazard. In Port Augusta the closure of the Northern power station in 2016 left the city dealing with a 220-hectare ash dam. Earlier this year capping was breached and wild winds blew power station ash across the city.

At Vales Point there is a more practical reason constraining what can happen with its ash dam area, rehabilitated or not. A zoning restricts any future development to that which can be construed as energy-generating.

Delta Electricity’s proposal for a 45 megawatt solar farm that it says could power up to 15,000 homes is a sensible option for the future, as long as the considerable environmental issues associated with the site are raised, considered and addressed.

Delta owner –the aptly named Sunset Power International –has looked forward like other energy providers in this country and registered that the Paris agreement is real, will have impacts whether Australian politicians want to recognise that or not, and has committed to solar energy.

It is to be applauded for that.

As Total Environment Centre executive director Jeff Angel noted: “It’s another big signal that old coal-fired power stations and the utility owners are changing for the better.”

It comes hot on the heels of AGL Macquarie’s strong commitment to solar and wind as the “most economic options” to replace coal-fired power at Liddell.

Of course there are competing realities in this equation. We cannot ignore industries like Tomago Aluminium that say renewables cannot supply the baseload power they need to operate. We also cannot ignore that the Parisagreement will change everything, and sooner than we think. It has already changed how lenders look at coal. It’s why they won’tfinancecoal-fired power stations.

Times are changing, faster than we realise.

Issue: 38,577.

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The Australian Cricketers Association has welcomed the news that Australia’s Test players will have three Sheffield Shield matches to prepare for the first Ashes Test this summer.
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Cricket Australia released its domestic fixtures for the upcoming season on Monday, with three rounds of the shield season to be played before the first Test between Australia and England that begins in Brisbane on November 23.

One of the rounds will again be a day-night affair played with the pink ball, serving as preparation for the second Test of the Ashes series, a day-night Test in Adelaide.

CA also confirmed the back half of the season will again feature the Dukes balls used in England, serving to better prepare Australian players for away Ashes series.

The domestic one-day series will be sponsored by insurance firm JLT and will again be held as a standalone event at the start of the season, played between September 27 and October 21, with matches in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Hobart, where the final will be held.

A development Cricket Australia XI – featuring young players on the fringe of state selection – will again participate in the one-day tournament despite mixed views on its worth.

Players had sought a greater say in scheduling during the recently completed memorandum of understanding negotiations, with ACA chief Alistair Nicholson giving his approval to the fixture list.

“The Sheffield Shield has been proven as the best high-performance environment to prepare players for Test cricket,” Nicholson said.

“The Ashes is an incredibly important Test fixture, so to get three competitive games in before the series will be of huge value.

“The selections in the national team of Peter Handscomb and Matthew Renshaw on the back of strong shield performances last year, paved the way for their strong start to their Test careers.

“The players value Sheffield Shield immensely, and are pleased that they have been given the best opportunity to succeed in the upcoming summer of cricket.”

Cricket is also set to return to the newly redeveloped Junction Oval, with a shield match between Victoria – searching for their fourth-straight title – and New South Wales, marked down for early March. The match will be the first first-class match played at the St Kilda venue since the 2008-2009 shield final.

The ahield final begins on March 23.

CA’s head of cricket operations Peter Roach explained the features of the schedule. “The way the schedule has been structured also reinforces the significant role our domestic competitions play in helping players prepare for cricket at international level. From the high-level of competition in the domestic one-day cup to start the summer, to day-night rounds in the Sheffield Shield, we want our players to have the skills to succeed not just domestically but at the highest level against international opponents,” Roach said.

“After just two years, Australian cricket is starting to see significant benefits from exposing Australia’s emerging talent at a higher level through the CA XI.

“From year one to year two we have seen massive advances in the performance of the squad.

“On Dukes balls, players welcomed this change positively and our analysis from the season just gone showed that the ball slightly favoured the bowlers over the batsman when compared to the red Kookaburra ball.”

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Crowds numbers to Vivid rose 35 per cent in 2017. Photo: Yaya StemplerTOKYO: This year’s Vivid festival attracted a record 2.33 million visitors, with national and international visitors to the Sydney light show up by 35 per cent.
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Launching the dates for next year’s Vivid to the Japanese tourism industry in Tokyo, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the world’s largest light show would be 10 years old in 2018.

This year, 5000 Japanese tourists travelled to Sydney to attend Vivid, but Ms Berejiklian said the NSW government wanted to boost Japanese tourism around the event, and would host a large delegation of 50 travel agents at Vivid in 2018.

Toru Ikuta, chief executive of major Japanese tour company, JTB World Vacations, said 20 years ago, 800,000 Japanese visited Australia annually. But the number of Japanese tourists plummeted by half in the following decades as tourism promotions stopped, and airlines reduced flights.

In the past year, Japanese tourist numbers have begun to rise again, with around 400,000 visiting Australia in 2016. The number of Japanese tourists to NSW rose by 20 per cent to 165,000 last year, assisted by more direct flights.

Mr Ikuta said an increase in Australian tourists travelling to ski in Japan, as a result of marketing by the Japanese government, had led to Qantas, JAL and ANA increasing flights between Australia and Japan.

This has reduced the flight cost for Japanese travellers wanting to come to Australia, who might have previously been deterred by the high cost of food and accommodation compared to other Asian destinations.

Mr Ikuta said Sydney was the top destination for Japanese tourists visiting Australia for the first time, and they liked the city’s urban atmosphere and food. For repeat visitors, Queensland beaches are popular.

Ms Berejiklian said NSW wanted to attract more repeat visitors from Japan, by promoting events such as Vivid.

“We are seeing a resurgence of Japanese visitors to our shores and we want to see that grow even further,” she said.

Vivid will be held from May 25 to June 16 next year. The NSW government said the tourism generated by Vivid contributed $143 million to the NSW economy.

The 2017 Vivid attendance figure was up slightly on 2016 levels of 2.31 million. Last year 17,827 Chinese tourists travelled to Sydney for Vivid.

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afr Dr Andrew Leigh MP shadow assistant treasurer speaking at the Debate on Negative Gearing at the Four seasons hotel 21st June 2016 photo by Louise Kennerley AFRThe executives of the world’s largest technology companies will be grilled by a Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance on Tuesday, as the government hopes to claw back $4 billion in missing tax revenue.
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Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and IBM Australia leaders are all expected to appear at the inquiry in Sydney, while a 1000-person taskforce combs through the records of Australia’s largest companies in a bid to turn around endemic levels of multinational tax avoidance.

Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer issued a blunt warning to all company executives ahead of the hearing.

“You don’t get to choose whether or not you pay tax,” she told Fairfax Media. “Companies that book sales in Australia are going to be taxed in Australia. This revenue ultimately goes to providing the services and the infrastructure Australians demand and expect.”

While not commenting specifically on the companies appearing, Ms O’Dwyer said she had written to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann urging him to stop government contracts, sometimes worth more than $1 billion, being awarded to companies who do not pay the full company tax rate.

Google’s director of international tax, Damon Richardson, will be interrogated by the economics committee less than six months after the $630 billion US company restructured its tax affairs to reflect the amount of advertising revenue it actually earned in Australia.

In April, following the introduction of the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Legislation, Google recognised $882 million in Australian advertising revenue for the first time.

“Google Australia made a pre-tax profit of $121 million and paid $33 million in corporate income taxes,” a company spokesman said at the time.

In its submission it said it paid billions of dollars of corporate tax every year. “In fact our overall corporate tax rate in 2014 was about 19 per cent, a few percent lower than the OECD average of 25 per cent.”

The company declined to comment ahead of the hearing but emphasised everyone “would benefit from a simpler, more transparent tax system”.

Social media giant Facebook, who will also appear before the committee, declared its Australian revenue had suddenly increased tenfold in the space of a year after the introduction of the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Legislation.

After booking in an increase from $33.5 million to $327 million in revenue last year it paid $3.4 million in tax.

Computer giants Microsoft and IBM, who are scheduled to face questioning after lunch, are expected to come under increasing pressure to sign up to the federal government’s tax transparency network.

IBM earned more than $4 billion in revenue in 2013/14 and paid just 9 per cent tax in that year after claiming research and development credits.

At the same time it has won a $1 billion contract to overhaul computing at the Department of Human Services as part of 178 tenders in the past decade.

Labor’s shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh called on the government to go further and introduce mandatory country-by-country taxpaying reports for multinationals.

“High-level tax information about where and how much tax was paid by large corporations [over $1 billion in global revenue] should be released,” he said.

The Uniting Church’s social justice spokesman, Mark Zirnsak, who will be the first to give evidence on Tuesday, said the companies have responded to legislative changes, but are only doing what is absolutely necessary to not fall outside the law.

“I’m not convinced they are paying legitimately what they should be,” he said.

“The Multinational Anti-Avoidance Legislation has been a good start but it’s not the whole story.”

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DRUMMER BOY: Newcastle’s Dom Borzestowski, centre, with his Gang Of Youths bandmates. Picture: Maclay HeriotGANG Of Youths’ second album Go Farther In Lightness has been universally praised since its release last week.
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A five-star reviewinRolling Stone, even in 2017, carries weight.

The album holds special importancefor Gang Of Youths’ Newcastle-bred drummer Dom Borzestowski. The former St Philips Christian College student joined the Sydney five-piece in late 2014 as they were putting the finishing touches to their hitdebut The Positions.

Borzestowski played on the tracks Restraint & Release and The Overpass, which were recorded in his Newcastle home studio, but every snare and tom tom is his on Go Farther In Lightness.

“This album is pretty significant for me as well personally, because it’s actually the first full album I’ve ever recorded with a band,” Borzestowski said.

“I’ve played on different songs and even the first album The Positions, Iplayed two songs, but I’ve neverrecorded a whole body of work with a band I’m in.”

Go Farther In Lightness is a boldstatement. A 77-minute and 16-track opus where lead singer and songwriter Dave Le’aupepe channels The National’sMatt Berninger and Bruce Springsteen in equal measure.

Gang Of Youths – The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest ShadowsIt’s an ambitious record from an unashamedly ambitious band.

In March Gang Of Youths followed the well-trodden path of many great Australian acts bymovingto London where they settled into a five-bedroom house together.

“We settled on London as the next step aswe wanted to be based in the northern hemisphere to make touring easier,” Borzestowski said.

“Australia is so faraway from the rest of the world and it’s quite expensive to fly us all over for tours, so the easiest thing at this point in time was to be based there. Because no one really knows who we are in Europe and the US and we wanted to chip away at those markets more and get our music out.”

Gang Of Youths already sound like a band born to play stadiums. Tracks like What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out and Fear and Tremblingare hand-over-the-heart anthems asking to be belted outby thousands in unison.

FIVE-STAR RATING: Gang Of Youths on the cover of the September edition on the Australian Rolling Stone.

Borzestowski still remainsaNovocastrian kid whoenjoys banging the skins with old friends like Adam Miller at the Grand Hotel’s jazz nightswhen he’s home,but are stadiums the end goal?

“We’re definitely very ambitious with it, but we don’t want to cater our stuff for that end result,” he said.“Dave [Le’aupepe] just writes what he’s feeling and if that’s what comes out and that’s where it takes us, then that’s sweet.

“We do love playing smaller or medium-sized rooms as well and there’s more of an intimacy there, whereasyou might lose that in a stadium. It’s hard to say where it’ll take us, but my dream one day would be toplay in a stadium.”

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The NSWRL has moved to keep children in the sport by introducing 21 weight and age competitions across Sydney that will have major ramifications on participation levels in rugby league.
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The initiative has been backed by Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary, who recently told Fairfax Media he wouldn’t be playing the sport if it wasn’t for the weight and age competition he played while living in New Zealand as a teenager.

Debate over allowing smaller children on the same field as much bigger kids the same age has been rife over the past few years.

But over the next four months the NSWRL will run competitions in the Penrith, Parramatta, Manly, Balmain and Western Suburbs districts that will place emphasis on ensuring children aren’t lost to the sport because of a fear of getting hurt.

“After my first-ever match it was hard to even fathom playing footy because the skill aspect was out of the game,” Cleary said. “It was all about whoever could run the hardest and tackle the hardest. If you’re just getting smashed all the time it’s not much fun as a little bloke.”

The NSWRL has implemented a range of competitions that caters for children as young as 10, as well as an adults Friday night nine-a-side competition.

“We know that unevenness of competition and the time commitment of a long season are major factors why kids turn away from the game,” NSWRL football general manager BJ Mather said.

“The opportunity to play a casual game with your mates, feel like you’re able to compete in a weights program or just have some fun and sample the atmosphere at Friday Night 9s means that there’s always an option for you to play the game that you love.”

Cleary spent most of his junior sport days out on the soccer field while living in New Zealand when his father Ivan Cleary, now Wests Tigers coach, was in charge of the Warriors.

The first game of rugby league he played was an open age and open weight contest, an experience that almost saw him lost from the game completely.

“I’ll never forget it,” Cleary said. “I came from a soccer game to play an open weight game of footy. These kids … I just couldn’t believe it. We got flogged. I was 12. A real soccer skinny boy.

“These kids were huge. I mean, they had moustaches. I remember coming halfway through the game watching someone I knew getting carried off with a dislocated shoulder. I was like, ‘what have I gotten myself into’.”

That following year he moved into a weighted competition.

“If it wasn’t for that, there’s every chance he never would have played again,” Ivan Cleary said of the weight for age competitions.

“When you move house, or in our situation, move country after I left the Warriors, one of the things you have to do is sell it to the kids. That was one of the ones with Nat, telling him the footy is going to be totally different. It’s only luck he was playing at all.”

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Shares suffered a dour start to the trading week as BlueScope Steel became this earnings season’s latest victim, while selling in bluechips Telstra and CSL also weighed on the ASX.
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The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 21 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 5726, after hovering near 5700 points and the bottom of a 100-point range that has held for some months.

Investors had hoped an upbeat earnings season would help lift the sharemarket, but “it has been an unambiguously disappointing run of results thus far,” JP Morgan equities strategist Jason Steed observed.

An ambiguous lead from Wall St leading into Monday’s open allowed investors to concentrate on another busy session of earnings releases and dramatic share price moves.

BlueScope, which had been one of the ASX’s top performers this year, tumbled 22 per cent after the steel manufacturer revealed its strongest profits since 2005 but warned of falling profit margins in its US business. That more downbeat management assessment for this financial year suggested a 20 per cent downgrade to consensus expectations, according to Citi analysts.

Vocus plunged 15 per cent after private equity players abandoned takeover bids and the telco simultaneously downgraded its earnings outlook.

Fortescue Metals revealed a bumper profit result and lifted its dividend, buoyed by continued strength in the iron ore price. The miner said fatter payments may follow.

The stock, which erased most of this year’s losses with an advance of 6.4 per cent, “remains acutely exposed to iron-ore price movements,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Paul Hissey wrote in a note to clients. Meanwhile, Citi analysts upgraded Fortescue to “neutral” from “sell”.

BHP Billiton shares advanced 1.2 per cent in anticipation of its annual earnings announcement on Tuesday in which the giant miner is expected to almost triple dividend payments, on Bloomberg forecasts.

G8 Education was the performing stock in the top 200, jumping 8.9 per cent despite saying the company telling investors that wages growth and the federal government’s cap on benefits have led to fewer children going to childcare centres. Alongside a half-year profits announcement, management talk of a change to the company’s dividend policy may have buoyed the stock.

Westpac’s quarterly trading update helped the bank eke out a 0.3 per cent gain on Monday, while fellow lender ANZ ended the day flat, NAB dropped 0.5 per cent and CBA fell 0.9 per cent. Telstra lost another 0.8 per cent while CSL slipped 1.5 per cent. Stock watchSpark New Zealand

As shareholders continue to flee Telstra after last week’s big dividend cut, Spark New Zealand is a good alternative for income-hungry investors, Morgan Stanley analysts believe. “Spark is our preferred dividend yield play in Australia and New Zealand telcos,” they wrote. “Continuing capital management was confirmed in the guidance [on Friday] for a FY18 dividend-per-share of 25??”. That payout estimate implies a dividend yield of 6.4 per cent, “the highest among peers in our coverage universe, for what we consider to be below-average risk”. The analysts expect “little or no” earnings growth over the year ahead, “but that’s OK, because Spark is not a growth story, it’s a dividend yield story, its shares trade like a bond proxy”. MARKET MOVERSIron ore

China’s iron ore futures rose for a third day on Monday, soaring close to 7 per cent, fuelled by concerns of shortages of high-grade iron ore and before curbs on futures purchases come into force. The Dalian Commodities Exchange on Friday said it will limit the daily purchases and sales of contracts for delivery in January and February to 6000 lots from Tuesday. Each lot is 100 tonnes of ore. The most-active iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodities Exchange climbed 6.8 percent to 597 yuan a tonne on Monday. Aussie dollar

News on Friday night that US president Donald Trump had sacked his controversial adviser Steve Bannon “lifted risk appetite on hopes that this could see efforts redirected back to a business???friendly economic agenda,” RBC Capital Markets currency strategist Sue Trinh said. The Aussie dollar, which had jumped back above 79 US cents in New York that night, eased lower on Monday, but still fetched US79.2?? in afternoon trade. Traders are overwhelmingly negative on the greenback’s short-term prospects.

Earnings scorecard

JP Morgan analysts noted that the proportion of companies “missing” with their earnings rose to 26 per cent last week, outweighing the number of companies beating expectations, which have come in at 20 per cent. “Across the market as a whole, earnings revision trends reflect the paucity of positive results,” they said. Only 8 per cent of the 86 companies that reported up to the end of last week had seen upgrades, they said. The result is a “painful” average downgrade to one-year forward earnings of 2 per cent.

Regional stocks

Asian stocks were mixed on Monday as investors monitored war drills scheduled for the Korean peninsula and prepared for a key meeting of global central bankers later this week. South Korea’s benchmark KOSPI index was 0.2 per cent lower in late trade. South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday warned North Korea not to use his nation’s latest round of annual military drills with the US as an excuse for any further provocations. Shares in Tokyo fell amid thin trading volumes, while they rose in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull flew in a CH-47 Chinook over Kabul, Afghanistan to meet Australian troops serving at Camp Qargha on Monday 24 April 2017. Pool Photo: Andrew Meares Afghanistan and defence experts say the new strategy US President Donald Trump will unveil on Tuesday to stabilise the war-torn country will have little effect unless neighbouring Pakistan can be persuaded to stop giving sanctuary to the Taliban.
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But one analyst, John Blaxland of the Australian National University, said such persuasion will be difficult and the “opportunity might already have passed” because Pakistan has grown closer to China in recent years and feels less obliged to listen to Washington than it did immediately post-September 11.

Mr Trump is set to deliver a major address late morning Australian time that will almost certainly involve an increase in US troop numbers and broader authority for military leaders. Australia has already committed an additional 30 military advisers, taking its total to about 300. Forty-one Australian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, and 261 injured.

Afghanistan is becoming more violent, with the Taliban retaking territory and other groups such as the so-called Islamic State also becoming active.

The Australian National University’s William Maley – regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on Afghanistan – said the current security situation was “fairly alarming” and pointed to a United Nations report released on Sunday that found at least 36 civilians and pro-government fighters who had surrendered were executed earlier this month by a mix of Taliban and apparent Islamic State fighters.

“What this demonstrates is that the Afghan state is still not capable of providing ambient security for people whom the armed opposition might wish to attack,” he said.

This might cause them to lose faith in the government and further undermine its legitimacy in the eyes of the population, he said.

Mr Trump’s key challenge was to “affect the psychology of the situation in Afghanistan” by putting forward a credible strategy. In a country such as Afghanistan that has effectively been at war for decades, people tended to back “who they think will come out on top”, he said.

Ending Pakistan’s sanctuaries, to which the Taliban can retreat to regroup whenever they are under pressure, was the most important part of that, he said.

Importantly, Defence Secretary James Mattis said on Monday the plan was “a South Asia strategy … not just an Afghanistan strategy” – a possible reference to Pakistan.

Defence expert John Blaxland agreed the Pakistan sanctuaries needed to be shut down but added that ending corruption and opium poppy farming – which provides significant revenue to the Taliban – were also critical.

But he said that “US leverage is much less than it used to be” because Pakistan had grown closer to China.

On international troops’ presence, Professor Blaxland said Mr Trump needed to avoid predecessor Barack Obama’s mistake of signalling his 2009 troop increase was temporary, meaning the “Taliban could just wait it out”.

“It will be couched in terms of a similar posture to what the US has maintained in Japan, South Korea and during the cold war in Germany, a force that is maintained with no end state,” he said.

Various options have been under consideration for Afghanistan, including sending about 3,800 more troops to augment the 8,400 already there to train and assist local forces.

Another option Secretary Mattis has mentioned is to replace US troops with private contractors.

Mr Trump met at Camp David on Sunday with more than a dozen aides, including Secretary Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Vice President Mike Pence.

– with the Washington Post

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Lola Constance and Ross Madden, two of the 36 people with disability who live in specially-designed units at the Crowle Estate apartment complex in Ryde. Photo: Fiona MorrisA sun-filled, spacious apartment with a generous balcony overlooking a park is the dream of many Sydneysiders.
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The realisation of that dream is especially poignant for Ross Madden and Lola Constance, who moved into their new apartment eight months ago at the Crowle Estate residential development in Ryde.

“It’s quite good, isn’t it,” Mr Madden said. “It’s a lot better than the old house we used to live. I don’t miss it.”

A research project Crowle Estate: Beyond the Group Home, conducted by the University of Technology, Sydney, will test whether units equipped with innovative technology and built within apartment complexes represent a better solution for people with disability than group home accommodation.

Mr Madden and Ms Constance are two of 36 people with a disability living in 22 specialist disability accommodation units scattered among the complex of 490 apartments built on the grounds of the former Crowle Home – a large residential centre in Ryde that housed almost 50 people with disability until its closure in 2012.

They were both long-term residents of Crowle Home, which was set up by the Sub-Normal Children’s Welfare Association in Ryde in 1952 as a residential facility for children with intellectual disabilities.

Ross Madden and Lola Constance’s apartment will be equipped with technology tailored to their needs. Photo: Fiona Morris

The death and illness of some of the children’s parents meant they remained living at the site, which turned into a facility for adults run by disability services provider Achieve Australia.

Chief executive Anne Bryce said the home had reached the point where it did not comply with Australia’s international obligations and laws regarding the rights of people with disability.

The facility was located within fenced and gated grounds, cut off from its neighbourhood, while residents such as Mr Madden and Ms Constance were forced into regimented routines such as communal eating times, segregated male and female living and had limited privacy.

In contrast, Mr Madden can share a home with Ms Constance where they can cook and eat when they like and entertain friends.

Their new apartment has spacious rooms, and a hall and doorways wide enough to manouevre a wheelchair. Kitchen benches and light switches are also positioned to ensure ease of use.

The apartments, each worth about $900,000, were funded by the sale of the 4.5-hectare Crowle Home site for $32 million to a property developer.

Ms Bryce said the Crowle project is designed to provide a new option for people with disability to lead an ordinary life.

“At Crowle the people with disability we support have their own apartments,” she said.

Each apartment will be equipped with technology tailored to the needs of each resident.

Ms Bryce said this included seizure mats on beds that report to a support centre, sensors that recognise movements and can identify changed routines and emergencies and apps that allow residents to easily control the temperature and light of their home.

For Mr Madden, who needs assistance with personal care, showering and dressing, the large bathroom allows two carers to assist at the same time.

Ms Bryce said the cost of providing services around-the-clock in specialist disability accommodation ranges from $125,000 to $500,000 a year and is met by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“In Crowle we hope to prove that with the scale of the site we can deliver services with a similar cost to a group home,” Ms Bryce said.

Patricia O’Brien, a board director of Achieve Australia and professor of disability studies at the University of Sydney, said group home living tended to isolate people with disability from their surrounding community.

“People may be accommodated in the community but location, type and size of accommodation can run counter to facilitating social inclusion and the building of social connections with neighbours, making of new friends and strengthening of family connections,” she said.

The Crowle Estate model was designed to encourage social inclusion by giving people with intellectual disability the opportunity to live in the same residential estate as non-disabled peers, Professor O’Brien said.

“Spreading a number of such apartments across a commercial development ensures that people with disability can take their place in mainstream society as equal citizens with the same level of choice of where they wish to live.”

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