Hunter Hero: Sister Diana Santleben – Founder pitches story of Zara’s House Refugee Women’s Centre

SisterDiana Santleben,Zara’s House Refugee Women’s Centre founder. TIRELESS: Sister Diana Santleben is the founder of Jesmond-based Zara’s House Refugee Womens and Children’s Centre, which is featured in Pitch Up. Picture: Supplied
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As the2017 Newcastle Citizen of the Year, Sister Diana Santleben might not need anintroduction for some.

But for those who do, she is the founder of Zara’s House Refugee Womens and Children’s Centre, at Jesmond.

The centreis a safe place for newly arrived refugee women and their families, where they can connect with the local community, share stories and skills, and learn languages –both English and that of their country of origin.

“Our motto is ‘in it together’,” Sister Di said of Zara’s House.“What we do is get to know people. It’s as simple as that. We’re not a big organisation, we’re a group of friends here in Newcastle who want to help.”

Sister Di, who moved to Newcastle about 13 years ago to retire, reckons it isthe Novocastrian spiritwhich lies in the centre’s roots.

“We’ve always had a very close relationship in all sorts of ways with the people of Newcastle,” she said.

“I love living here, I love the place and I certainly love the spirit of Newcastle.

“Because of how we are as Newcastle people, the logical thing is to say ‘how can we make refugees who come to our town feel as though they are welcome here?’.

“That basically is the philosophy of Zara’s House, a group of friends –about 80 of us –and we needed a centre.”

Zara’s Housewill gain a national profile this week, when Sister Di appearson an ABC Compass documentary series titled”Pitch Up”.

“About two years agoI was approached by AMP to apply for a grant to set up a micro-finance program with refugees,” Sister Di said.

“We had this need,working with refugees, to be able to lend a little bit of money.

“Not for buying anything, but when there is a crisis in the family. They pay it back slowly each fortnight.”

Zara’s House received $20,000 from AMP for the micro-finance program, and it was that link which led toCompass producersseeking out Sister Di to spend a day filming at Zara’s House.

The two-partseries, which begins onSaturday,will shine a light on the incredible work of Zara’s Houseand the benefits felt withinthe Newcastle community. A range of organisations are featured in the series, which focuses on live crowdfunding.

Sister Di hadto pitch to aphilanthropic group, whose members could decide if they wanted to contribute funds to the show’s featured organisations.

“I said, well, yes [to the series], no one really gives us [Zara’s House]any money unless they’re our friends,” Sister Di said.“The people of Newcastle, basically.

Tune in on Saturday night to see if that changes.

To learn more or to make adonation to Zara’s House, visit: www.zarashouse南京夜網.au

Liberals’ Hunter representative Scot MacDonald fights for his political life

THE PLAYERS: Catherine Cusack, Scot MacDonald and Gladys Berejiklian at an awards ceremony in Raymond Terrace on June 1. Picture: Simone De PeakTHE NSW government’s main representative in the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, is facing a preselection battle against an upper house colleague and rival, Catherine Cusack.
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Although neither parliamentarian would speak on the record about their looming showdown, both confirmed that they were intending to stand for re-election in the March 2019 election.

Members of the Legislative Council are elected for eight-year terms, and various sources have confirmed that the Liberals do not expect to hold all of the upper house seatsthey won in the landslide that brought the Coalition to government in 2011.

This leaves both Mr MacDonald and Ms Cusack scrambling to secure winnable places on a Liberal Party upper house ticket that holds the key to their immediate political futures.

Although upper house preselections are yet to open, the Liberals have opened preselections for some lower house seats, including Port Stephens, presently held by Labor MP Kate Washington, who comfortably saw of Liberal candidate Ken Jordan in 2015.

High-profile Liberal Jaimie Abbott, who is presently on Port Stephens Council, is still expected to stand for Liberal preselection despite having a first child due at the end of October.

THUMBS UP: Premier Gladys Berejiklian beside Port Stephens councillor and likely state candidate Jaimie Abbott, earlier the same day at Tea Gardens.

In what is being viewed as a move to help boost the party’s chances, the Liberals are holding their next state conference at Nelson Bay on Saturday, August 25.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian was in the electorate on June 1 when she announced a $1-million refurbishment of the heritage-listed Tea Gardens police station, an announcement that was made with Cr Abbott and Ms Cusack –who is the party’s upper house duty MLC for Port Stephens –by her side.

Mr MacDonald was first made parliamentary secretary for the Hunter in April 2015, relinquishing it in January 2017 after a reshuffle by the incoming premier, who installed Ms Cusack –described as the premier’s factional ally –in the job.

But Ms Cusack only lasted a month and nine days in the role, resigning the position after a nine-page email she sent to the premier, blasting some of her ministerial appointments, somehow found its way into the media.

Mr MacDonald got his old job back again, holding the line for the government through some difficult times, most notably the Newcastle light rail construction controversies.

Ms Cusack entered parliament in 2003 and Mr MacDonald in 2011. Liberal MLCs have either statewide –known as “at large” –positions on the upper house ticket, or the represent areas or “provinces”. Ms Cusack is understood to want to challenge Mr MacDonald’s position representing the “country north” province.

NSW woman guilty of attempted axe murders

Evie Amati stepped into a Sydney convenience store in the dead of the night brandishing an axe, with a bright yellow kitchen knife tucked into her back pocket and a sinister smile plastered across her face.
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She slipped passed customer Sharon Hacker before stopping to speak to Benjamin Rimmer at the counter, who initially thought the red-handled weapon was a fancy dress prop.

The transgender 26-year-old then ploughed the axe into Mr Rimmer’s face, felling him, before swinging it into Ms Hacker’s thick dreadlocks and leaving the Enmore 7-Eleven on January 7 in 2017.

She confronted pedestrian Shane Redwood, who used his backpack to fend off two blows, then ran for his life.

Amati had pleaded not guilty to two counts of wounding with intent to murder and one count of attempting to wound with intent to murder.

But after two days of deliberations, a NSW District Court jury on Friday found Amati had wanted to kill all three.

Amati sat in stunned silence as the verdicts were handed down, but later sobbed as she was comforted by her barrister Charles Waterstreet.

He had submitted his “super intelligent” client was suffering from a “mental derangement” at the time, and her fragile mind was affected by a toxic mixture of drugs including gender transition hormone medication.

But crown prosecutor Daniel McMahon argued Amati had not proved she was experiencing a psychosis, submitting she was driven by a deep-seated anger at the world and people.

She believed people were repulsed by her because she was transgender and took her anger out while disinhibited by drugs and alcohol, he said.

Amati told the jury she had been on a failed Tinder date, taking a pill she thought was ecstasy, and drinking.

She said she started hearing “inaudible whispers” on the walk home but smoked two joints to “anaesthetise” herself, rocked back-and-forth and listened to her favourite song – Flatline by US metal band Periphery.

“I only really had one more memory … that voice that had been telling me to kill and maim, and inflict pain on people, and start the rise of hell on earth,” Amati testified.

“I recall everything going quiet and feeling that voice come inside and I remember that smile, the smile that was not mine, a sinister smile that plastered my face that I couldn’t control.”

Mr Rimmer was in the public gallery to hear the verdicts while Ms Hacker arrived seconds after it was delivered.

“I really hope she’s able to have some sort of rehabilitation because ultimately that’s what justice is about. It’s to make sure people become better people than what they could be at the time,” Ms Hacker said outside court.

Amati will face a sentence hearing on September 12.

Australian Associated Press

Veteran Upper Hunter farmer finds hope in 1960s drought

Hope: Brian Hunt, 84, hopes the drought will break first in the Hunter, as it did in the 1960s. Picture: Marina NeilIf you askUpper Hunter farmers whether the dry spell gripping the region is the worst they’ve seen, many will compare it with the drought of the mid 1960s.
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Among them is Brian Hunt, an 84-year-old sheep and cattle farmer whose property between Scone and Murrurundi has been in the family for 150 years.

Mr Hunt says the Upper Hunter was one of the first regions that the 1965-66 drought hit –but it was also one of the first places it broke.

In this regard, he hopes history will repeat.

At his property late last week, Mr Hunt saidif someone asked him three months ago if the latest big dry was the worst he had ever experienced, he would have said ‘no’ and pointed to the ’60s. He has since changed his mind.The difference this time around, hesaid, was that there had been “a terrific year for rain” in the Hunter in 1964,before the drought took hold.He said dams were “chocka-block” full of water and it came in handy when the dry spell struck.

“That’s not the case this time,” he said.

Just like he did in the 1960s, Mr Hunt has de-stocked all his cattle but kept his sheep –which are known to be able to cope better in the harsh conditions.

“We were able to go to the sale yard and buy back in [when the drought broke],” he said.

But of the 14 dams on his property, Mr Huntsaid a couple had about “two feet” of water left in them. The rest were dry.The three old wells on the property were also running low.“I pump every day for the sheep and it’s the lowest I’ve seen it for I don’t know how long,” he said.

Upper Hunter’s farmers fighting through drought a day at a time TweetFacebook“If it doesn’t break soon I feel a lot of people are going to be out of business, having spent all available funds and facing having to sell [stock] into a depressed market.”

Craig Murphy

The state government announced last week a 50 per cent subsidy on transporting stock, water and feed up to the value of $20,000 for each drought-stricken property.

The government will back-date the subsidy to the beginning of this year. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said last weekconditions had become “so dire” that the government recognised the need for additional support.

READ MORE:

Upper Hunter farmers struggle through drought as dry spell tightens gripFreight subsidies introduced and fees slashed to help farmers’Everybody’s looking for rain’$500 million EmergencyDroughtRelief Package announcedDroughtaffected Hunter farmers say they need more help

Keary change won’t stop Roosters attack

Ryan Matterson will play five-eighth for the Roosters this weekend against North Queensland.He’ll weigh in as their heaviest half in two years but the Sydney Roosters are confident Ryan Matterson’s move to five-eighth won’t disrupt their dangerous left-edge attack.
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Matterson will play his first game back in the No.6 since 2016 on Saturday night against North Queensland with Luke Keary out injured, but he’s bulked up significantly in that time to transform to a forward.

He now weighs in at 107kg, well heavier than what he was back then.

What’s more important is how he can replicate Keary’s combination with Boyd Cordner and Latrell Mitchell over the next moth after the Roosters’ attack finally looked to have clicked.

That side of the field is now the second most potent in the NRL, with 32 of the Roosters’ tries this season having been created through that channel.

They are chasing their eighth win in nine games this weekend.

“I don’t think we’ll change too much of our structure on that left side,” Cordner said.

“It’s just another bigger body there to help us defensively. He’s very good defensively, Matto. We won’t be losing too much.

“They’re two different styles of players Luke and Matto and we’ll probably have to play to Matto’s strengths more. They’ll be good. He’s a great player.

“Just seeing some of the stuff he can do on the training field hopefully he can implement that out there on the field on game day.”

Coach Trent Robinson is also unconcerned, after he opted move Matterson to No.6 rather than bring back-up halfback Sean O’Sullivan into the side.

While he has only started there five times in first grade, he was a half throughout his under-20s stint at Parramatta and played No.7 for the Junior Kangaroos in 2014.

“Five-eighth is a specific role and we need a five-eighth to play that role. He will come and do his bit,” Robinson told reporters on Friday.

“I don’t think it will (hurt the left-edge attack) at all.”

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Only South Sydney’s left-edge has been more dangerous than the Roosters this year.

* Ten of the two teams’ past 13 matches have been decided by 10 points or more.

* Both teams sit in the bottom three for offloads.

*Stats: Fox Sports Stats

Australian Associated Press

POLL: How would you spend the Oz Lotto $100m? ?

A RECORD OZ Lotto jackpot of $100 million dollars has brought out the Newcastle punters and dreamers.
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Michelle McNeil from Aberglasslyn said she decided to take a chance on the $100 million because she didn’t win the $70 million OZ Lotto draw last week.

‘‘I could pay off the house, take my little girl on a holiday and help family and I would still have money left over, ’’she said.

Tonight’s $100 million OZ Lotto jackpot is the largest Lotto prize ever offered in Australia’s history.

It tops a $90 million jackpot that was offered in June 2009 which due to heighten player activity increased to a final Division 1 prize pool of $106.5 million.

However mathematicians calculate the chances of getting all seven winning numbers in this latest draw is one in 45 million.

Kristy Watts, 30, from Newcastle said she only ever purchased a Lotto ticket when the jackpot was more than $20 million.

She always plays her lucky numbers of 9, 11 and 4.

About 7.5 million entries are expected across Australia by the time entries close at 6.30pm today.

Robyn Hudson of Newcastle City newsagency is operating a TAB outlet for Melbourne Cup today as well selling Oz Lotto tickets.

She has in increased her staff from two to six people and anticipates that lines will be out the door at her Hunter Street Mall premises.

‘‘We never had a day where a $100 million Oz Lotto draw has coincided with the Melbourne Cup,’’ she said.

If a single Lotto player takes out Tuesday’s big prize it will rewrite the history books as Australia’s largest Lotto prize.

HOW WOULD YOU SPEND $100 MILLION?

1. Frances Johnson, Fern Bay

I’d pay off my house and book a holiday to England to see my aunty.

2. Hannah Wallace, Nelson Bay

I’d get a new visa card, buy a house and a puppy. I’d also book a holiday home to see my family in the UK.

3. Peter Talevski, Garden Suburb

I’d buy the Newcastle Jets from Tinkler. I’d also purchase several properties and a Ferrari.

4. Adam McAllister, Belmont North

I’d book a round the world trip and buy my favourite old car-the Mitsubishi Sigma.

5. Kristy Watts, Newcastle

I’d quit work and go on a long holiday.

WHAT YOU COULD BUY WITH $100 MILLION

1. A mansion in Charlottesville, USA is on the market for $96,500,000. The property is situated on 300 acres of land. There are 45 rooms including 8 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms. There is also a library, art gallery, home theatre and helipad.

2. The Indian Empress can be bought for 90,500,000. At 54 metres long, it is one of the world’s largest yachts. The vessel can house 32 guests and 42 crew members at the same time.

3. 11 diamond covered iPhone 4S’ worth $9,000,000 each.

4. 40 of the world’s most expensive car – the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.

5. 117,647 pairs of Jimmy Choo shoes.

6. 1,250,000 bottles of Moet & Chandon Brut Champagne.

7. Everyone in Australia could receive $4.40.

HERE’S LUCK: Michelle McNeill from Aberglasslyn would pay off the house and take a holiday with her little girl if she won the big lotto prize. Picture PETER STOOP

TRADITIONAL: Kristy Watts, of Newcastle, always includes her lucky numbers in her selection. She only buys a ticket if the prize is over $20million. Picture PETER STOOP

CAR LOVER: Adam McAllister would be happy with an old Mitsubishi Sigma – and a trip around the world. Picture PETER STOOP

MAGNATE: Peter Talevski would buy the Newcastle Jets. Picture PETER STOOP

ANIMAL INSTINCT: Hannah Wallace’s new life would include a puppy if she won. Picture PETER STOOP

A GREAT NIECE: Frances Johnson has plans for a trip to England to visit her Aunt. Picture PETER STOOP

SHOPPING LIST: The 45 room mansion in Charlottesville wouldn’t leave a lot of change from $100m.

SAIL AWAY: The Indian Empess yacht is so enormous it can’t all fit in one photograph. Yours for a tad over $90m.

PURRR: The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport is worth considering if you need new wheels to drive to the bank.

BLING BLING: Answer your diamond covered iPhone 4S, or have a rock star moment and throw it at the paparazzi in a hissy fit. You can afford 10 more if you win $100m.

TELL US WHAT YOU’D DO WITH $100 MILLION

Auctions return to spring favouritism

The auction of 5 Ethel Street, Malvern.In a positive sign for the residential market, more vendors are choosing to sell properties by auction. The Real Estate Institute of Victoria says the proportion of auction sales to private-treaty sales in Melbourne is trending upwards and providing the foundation for a ”better year” in 2013.
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The growth in auction sales comes hard on the heels of a 10-point improvement in Melbourne’s auction clearance rate since June.

In buoyant periods, auctions account for 30 per cent of Melbourne sales. In a sluggish market, the share of sales by auctions can dip below 20 per cent.

According to the REIV, auctions accounted for 22 per cent of 57,785 house and unit sales between January and the end of October.

Victorian valuer-general figures show auctions accounted for 24 per cent of 59,537 sales in Melbourne last year. In 2009, at the height of the global financial crisis, auctions’ share of sales was 19 per cent, while in the boom market of 2007 it was 31 per cent.

REIV spokesman Robert Larocca said the trend since June had been to an improving market, with more auction listings and sales compared with this time last year.

”The improving confidence should ensure that, from a transaction perspective, this year remains on par with last year or ends up slightly ahead,” he said. ”If the trend is sustained in the next six weeks, it will provide the foundation for a better year in 2013 in terms of transaction volumes and price growth.”

First National Lindellas director Dennis Dellas, who specialises in the Box Hill and Whitehorse areas, said more vendors were selling by auction.

”Last year vendors had no choice but to go with private sales because most auctions were a non-event,” he said. ”Since July it’s definitely changed – the auction is the way to go and there are multiple bidders out there.”

Melbourne has been called the ”auction capital of world”. The auction method of sale is particularly favoured in the inner suburbs because it creates urgency and limits the number of days properties are on the market.

Australian Property Monitors senior economist Andrew Wilson believes Melbourne’s market is being driven by ”a value momentum that started in the inner areas”. He said a generalised market recovery would be slow to occur because most recent growth had been isolated to mid to upper-end property.

Another real estate data company, RP Data Rismark, also doesn’t see a quick recovery pushed along by lower interest rates. Capital city house prices fell 1 per cent in October, following a 1.4 per cent increase in September, according to RP Data. It said home prices fell by 1.1 per cent in Melbourne and by 0.9 per cent in Sydney and Brisbane.

”Whether the October decline is a blip on the path to a recovering market or a sign of further weakness is yet to be seen,” said RP Data research director Tim Lawless. ”Other indicators are suggesting the market has gathered some strength.”

The auction clearance rate was on trend yesterday at 62 per cent from the 151 auctions reported to the REIV. The small number of auctions held reflects the impact of Melbourne Cup week on auction scheduling.

The clearance rate for last weekend’s bumper market has been revised down to 64 per cent (from 1128 auctions). There are 810 auctions scheduled for next weekend.

Report: Cheaper to buy than rent in 388 suburbs

More than meets the eye … the report on the affordability of buying compared to renting has sparked disagreement.Falling property prices and interest rate cuts have made it cheaper to buy rather than rent in 388 suburbs and towns around the country, a new report finds.
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And if buyers are willing and able to spend an extra $50 a week in mortgage repayments over rent, the number of suburbs where purchasing becomes a viable option rises to 1419, according to RP Data’s latest Buy vs. Rent report.

National research director Tim Lawless said the combination of steep price falls and significantly lower interest rates was creating new opportunities for renters keen to buy a property.

“For many buyers now may be a good time to either re-enter the market or buy their first home,” he said.

In the group’s last report in August, it was more affordable to buy rather than rent in only 238 suburbs.

“This result highlights the dramatic impact adjustments to mortgage rates can have on housing affordability in the marketplace,” Mr Lawless said.

But would-be buyers hoping to snap up a traditional house will be disappointed. Apartments accounted for about 75 per cent of the 388 suburbs where it’s cheaper to buy than rent.

“Across the capital cities, it is typically apartment-style housing where renting can be more expensive than paying a mortgage. The buy-in price tends to be lower compared with weekly rents, providing a narrower gap between mortgage payments and rental payments,” the report found.

Queensland, with 147 suburbs, and NSW, with 88 suburbs, offered the most opportunities for renters to become owners nationwide. South Australia (48 suburbs) and Western Australia (44) were next, while Victoria (17) trailled a distant sixth behind Tasmania (30).

RP Data said that the buy v rent equation was most favourable in regional areas, accounting for nearly two-thirds of suburbs where it was cheaper to buy than rent.

In Sydney, Rushcutters Bay, The Rocks and Macquarie Fields were among the 41 suburbs revealed as affordable.

Melbourne, by comparison, put in a dismal showing of just three suburbs, including Docklands, Carlton and Abbotsford.

Fortitude Valley, Oxley and the CBD made the list of 42 suburbs in Brisbane.

RP Data’s survey compared median asking rents against mortgage repayments based on a 5.9 per cent lending rate. It did not include additional buying or holding expenses such as council rates, land tax, stamp duty, owners corporation fees or maintenance costs.

The report has been criticised by industry operators who say the “theoretical” calculations bear little relationship to experiences at the coalface.

Buyer’s advocate Catherine Cashmore cites the findings for the inner Melbourne suburb of Abbotsford, where the median value is said to be $360,868 for units and the rent is $475 per week.

“Anyone who knows the area knows that price would only buy a one-bedroom unit, while that kind of rent would get a small, two-bedroom house.”

RP Data said there are 5386 suburbs across Australia, with the affordable buy v rent suburbs accounting for only 7.2 per cent of the total.

Despite a recent rally in some capital cities, home values are still down 6 per cent nationally from their 2010 peak.Comment at BusinessDay

Cheaper to buy than rent in 388 suburbs: report

More than meets the eye … the report on the affordability of buying compared to renting has sparked disagreement.Falling property prices and interest rate cuts have made it cheaper to buy rather than rent in 388 suburbs and towns around the country, a new report finds.
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And if buyers are willing and able to spend an extra $50 a week in mortgage repayments over rent, the number of suburbs where purchasing becomes a viable option rises to 1419, according to RP Data’s latest Buy vs. Rent report.The full report with all the suburbs

National research director Tim Lawless said the combination of steep price falls and significantly lower interest rates was creating new opportunities for renters keen to buy a property.

“For many buyers now may be a good time to either re-enter the market or buy their first home,” he said.

In the group’s last report in August, it was more affordable to buy rather than rent in only 238 suburbs.

“This result highlights the dramatic impact adjustments to mortgage rates can have on housing affordability in the marketplace,” Mr Lawless said.

But would-be buyers hoping to snap up a traditional house will be disappointed. Apartments accounted for about 75 per cent of the 388 suburbs where it’s cheaper to buy than rent.

“Across the capital cities, it is typically apartment-style housing where renting can be more expensive than paying a mortgage. The buy-in price tends to be lower compared with weekly rents, providing a narrower gap between mortgage payments and rental payments,” the report found.

Queensland, with 147 suburbs, and NSW, with 88 suburbs, offered the most opportunities for renters to become owners nationwide. South Australia (48 suburbs) and Western Australia (44) were next, while Victoria (17) trailled a distant sixth behind Tasmania (30).

RP Data said that the buy v rent equation was most favourable in regional areas, accounting for nearly two-thirds of suburbs where it was cheaper to buy than rent.

In Sydney, Rushcutters Bay, The Rocks and Macquarie Fields were among the 41 suburbs revealed as affordable.

Melbourne, by comparison, put in a dismal showing of just three suburbs, including Docklands, Carlton and Abbotsford.

Fortitude Valley, Oxley and the CBD made the list of 42 suburbs in Brisbane.

RP Data’s survey compared median asking rents against mortgage repayments based on a 5.9 per cent lending rate. It did not include additional buying or holding expenses such as council rates, land tax, stamp duty, owners corporation fees or maintenance costs.

The report has been criticised by industry operators who say the “theoretical” calculations bear little relationship to experiences at the coalface.

Buyer’s advocate Catherine Cashmore cites the findings for the inner Melbourne suburb of Abbotsford, where the median value is said to be $360,868 for units and the rent is $475 per week.

“Anyone who knows the area knows that price would only buy a one-bedroom unit, while that kind of rent would get a small, two-bedroom house.”

RP Data said there are 5386 suburbs across Australia, with the affordable buy v rent suburbs accounting for only 7.2 per cent of the total.

Despite a recent rally in some capital cities, home values are still down 6 per cent nationally from their 2010 peak.

Qantas hits back at Virgin over Emirates claims

Qantas has accused Virgin Australia of making a ‘‘thinly veiled attempt’’ to convince the competition regulator to reject its proposed alliance with Middle Eastern airline Emirates.
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In a strongly worded rebuttal of Virgin’s claims, Qantas said its rival was trying to ‘‘minimise Qantas International’s competitive position’’ so that what it termed the ‘‘formidable Virgin/Singapore Airlines/Etihad/Air New Zealand alliance’’ would not have to respond as vigorously.

Virgin has claimed in submissions to the competition regulator that a Qantas-Emirates alliance will make it harder for competitors to challenge the dominance of Australia’s largest airline on key routes.

But in its latest submission, Qantas has accused Virgin of a ‘‘gross exaggeration’’ in claiming that it already had a significant fare premium over Emirates and its other rivals.

Qantas told the regulator that the proposed alliance would not result in the two airlines having ‘‘the ability to increase fares’’. It argued that its average fares were ‘‘not materially different’’ than those charged by other full-service airlines and emphasised that ‘‘we are selling a commodity product’’.

‘‘The amount of capacity on the relevant routes means pricing needs to be set to attract the marginal passenger,’’ Qantas said in its submission.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is looking closely at the impact an alliance between Qantas and Emirates will have on fares.

Qantas has also taken aim at Singapore Airlines’ claims that it should look at alternative ways to turnaround its international operations.

The Australian airline said it had unsuccessfully attempted over many years to form an alliance with Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific or Malaysia Airlines to improve its fortunes.

It has also rejected calls from Air New Zealand, which has a large stake in Virgin, that the Australia-New Zealand route be considered on a stand-alone basis from the rest of the proposed alliance with Emirates.

Virgin and Singapore Airlines want the proposed deal – should it be granted anti-trust approval – to be granted for only half the 10 years sought by Qantas and Emirates.

Under the proposal, Qantas and Emirates will co-operate on passenger and freight operations on routes to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and New Zealand.

The ACCC has said it intends to make a draft ruling on the proposed Qantas-Emirates alliance by Christmas, and make a final decision in March.

The alliance stands a better chance of winning approval since the federal Transport Department gave its blessing and government ministers echoed calls for the deal to be approved.

Qantas’s response to its rivals’ claims was lodged before Virgin launched bids last week to take control of Tiger Australia and West Australian airline Skywest. The Qantas submission was only made publicly available by the ACCC on Monday.

Emirates has also lodged a submission echoing similar sentiments to its proposed alliance partner Qantas.

In a submission, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry has said it wants the United Arab Emirates government to issue a public guarantee that anyone traveling via Dubai will not “suffer any adverse consequences whatsoever” if they have an Israeli stamp in their passport.

The peak body wants the ACCC to make the guarantee from the UAE government a condition of the regulator granting approval for the Qantas-Emirates alliance.

Qantas has sought to allay the concerns by assuring the Jewish community that Israeli passport holders can buy tickets for Emirates flights and transit Dubai without requiring a visa.

The airline has also given assurances that anyone traveling on a non-Israeli passport but with a stamp indicating they have visited Israel will be able to enter Dubai.

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