Church ‘can protect children, confession’

The Catholic Church says children can be protected while maintaining the seal of confession, despite the prime minister declaring child safety must come first.

Malcolm Turnbull has called on churches to prioritise the safety of children, even if child abuse has been revealed in confession.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said the church does not view the sacramental seal as incompatible with maintaining child safety.

He said the church wants measures that will genuinely make environments safer for children.

“There has been no compelling evidence to suggest that legal abolition of the seal of confession will help in that regard,” he said.

“Protecting children and upholding the integrity of Catholic sacraments are not mutually exclusive and the church wants to continue to work with government to ensure both can be achieved and maintained.”

Australia’s Catholic leaders maintain the seal of confession cannot be broken even if priests face criminal charges for failing to reveal child abuse, as recommended by the child abuse royal commission.

In announcing the federal government’s formal response to the inquiry, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had a clear message to the churches: “The safety of children should always be put first.”

Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter said the states and territories, which had responsibility for mandatory reporting laws and systems, currently dealt with priests in different ways.

“The process will be that the states have agreed to harmonise their laws, so in effect to accept the recommendation of the royal commission,” he said.

The only question for the federal government was how state laws interacted with section 127 of the Commonwealth Uniform Evidence Act, which covers religious confessions.

“That provides a protection to the confessional, but ever since that provision has existed that protection has never been absolute,” Mr Porter said.

“It’s always been very heavily qualified by the fact that confessions made for a criminal purpose have never been the subject of a protection or a privilege.”

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the Council of Attorneys-General reached no agreement in principle, or in detail, on the religious confession privilege under the evidence act.

“NSW remains of the view that the issue should be considered at a national level,” he said.

The ACT Legislative Assembly last week passed legislation requiring priests to break the seal of confession and report abusers.

But there will be a nine-month wait before the law is enforced as the government works through the “legal complexities” of the bill.

Australian Associated Press

Commercial Property: Demand from investors for childcare assets outweighing supply as Thornton facility set for auction

DEMAND SECTOR: The property is located 2 Darlaston Avenue and has a new 15-year lease plus options to 2053. The net income on the property is $197,925 per annum plus GST. Strong interest is expected for abrand-new 91-place childcare centre when the Thornton property goes to auction on Tuesday.

Burgess Rawson are marketing the G8 Education early years learning centre which is positioned on a 2479 square metre corner site with 24 on-site car parks

Sales exectutive Michael Vanstone said the property provided investorswith an opportunity to buy intoAustralia’s fastest growing investment class.

MrVanstone saiddemand from investors for childcare assets this year was outweighing supply.

“The childcare market has certainly been a popular investment option in recent months, and with the market receiving strong growth throughout Australia, properties are often considered trophies amongst serious commercial property investors,”Mr Vanstone said.

“An appealing location, secure long-term lease, brand new purpose-built facility and significant tax depreciation benefits are just some of the factors that cement this property as a must-buy for investors seeking a secure, long-term investment.

“Thornton itself is a rapidly expanding area within the western growth corridor of greater Newcastle, fuelled by extensive residential and commercial developments, suggesting this asset’s value will only increase over the coming years. “

The property is located at 2 Darlaston Avenue and has a new 15-year lease plus options to 2053.

The net income on the property is $197,925 per annum plusGST with four per cent fixed annual rent increases.

The property will auction at Sydney’s Doltone House.

OPPORTUNITY IN LAMBTON SHOPColliers International will take a shopfront with rear courtyard at 111 Elder Street in Lambton to auction on Thursday. It has a B2 Local Centre zoning and is offered with vacant possession.

Trad puts borrowing ahead of credit rating

Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad says infrastructure is a higher priority than paying down debt.Queensland Labor Treasurer Jackie Trad is sticking to her planned focus on borrowing and spending to meet the needs of a growing population, despite calls for action on the state’s rising debt.

Global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service has warned a projected gap between government revenue and spending will increase debt and could challenge Queensland’s current double-A-plus standing, following a downgrade from triple-A some years ago.

But Ms Trad said she didn’t have a time frame to cut debt and get the state back on track for an upgrade back to the top-tier triple-A rating.

“We’re not going to embark upon a radical privatisation or cutting, sacking and selling program in order to accelerate our (path back to a) triple-A credit rating,” she told reporters on Wednesday, a day after handing down her first budget.

“We will do this in a responsible way, in a way that makes sure that we create jobs in the economy, that we deliver the infrastructure we need for a growing population.”

The state’s credit rating, which is a signal of the ability to repay borrowings, was cut in 2009 under the former Bligh Labor government by Moody’s and fellow ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.

Later, former LNP premier Campbell Newman failed in his promise to regain the rating and pay down $80 billion of government debt during his three years in power.

In October 2016, S&P said restoring the rating was possible within two years “if the government successfully implements its debt action plan”.

S&P global ratings analyst Anthony Walker on Tuesday said strong commodity prices forecast over the next four years would offset new spending announcements and help to shrink state debt.

“The outlook on our rating reflects our expectations that the state’s budgetary performance will remain steady, and that debt levels could rise to fund new infrastructure projects,” he said.

It follows predictions Queensland’s unemployment rate will linger at six per cent or more until 2021, despite government spending to drive growth.

Australian Associated Press

Watmough unleashes on Manly skipper DCE

Former Manly star Anthony Watmough has unleashed an extraordinary, expletive-ridden tirade against current skipper Daly Cherry-Evans and ex-coaches Des Hasler and Geoff Toovey.

Speaking on the Hello Sport podcast, Watmough claimed Cherry-Evans “turned into a f***wit” after demanding a massive pay increase following their 2011 NRL premiership win.

In the latest in a series of stories to tarnish the name of the former Queensland representative, Watmough accused Cherry-Evans of effectively holding the club to ransom over his contract demands.

Watmough was among a group of senior players who helped the club to a long period of success during the latter part of last decade and into the 2010s.

Watmough said that many of that Sea Eagles generation of players accepted less many to keep the playing group together.

And Cherry-Evans’ demand for a greatly-upgraded contract in 2012 put him offside with members of the senior playing group.

He claimed Cherry-Evans vowed not to turn up to training unless the club gave into his demands.

“I said ‘mate you just signed a f***ing four-year deal, you turn up to training’, Watmough said.

“He (Cherry-Evans) goes ‘Nup. My manager told me not to’.

“Not to turn up to training … I’ve looked after him, gave him whatever he wanted as a kid. Always made sure he didn’t want for anything.

“I said to him ‘mate, you know what we’ve sacrificed to stay together, to be successful. Your time will come’ and he just looked me straight in the eye and went ‘nah, not turning up’.

“So I’ve walked out and went to Tooves (Toovey) and said ‘don’t give him any money. You’ve got him by the balls. If he doesn’t turn up to training, fine him’.

“And Tooves just succumbed to the board, next thing we know he’s up around the $500,000 mark after being on $50,000.”

“So that’s where Tooves stopped worrying about the players and started worrying about his own back. Tooves chose one side of the board over the players and that’s where he lost me.”

Cherry-Evans’ name has taken a battering over the last few years after his decision to turn his back on a contract with the Gold Coast, rumours he had been blacklisted by Queensland over personality clashes and the Sea Eagles’ refusal to pick Jackson Hastings following an confrontation with the club’s No.7.

Manly, chairman Scott Penn and Cherry-Evans’ management did not reply when contacted by AAP on Wednesday.

The forward also gave his version of events surrounding ex-coach Hasler’s departure to Canterbury in the days after the 2011 premiership triumph, saying he “burnt a lot of bridges”.

“If he had of just said ‘I’ve been offered $1.5 million, I’m going,’ we would have said ‘good, go’. But he blamed everyone else.

“So we as players were furious and then what we found out in the aftermath, well Dessie’s Dessie. He’s always going to look after Dessie.”

Australian Associated Press

AFL training behind my aerial skill: Folau

Wallabies star fullback Israel Folau says he learnt his aerial skills from Carlton Blues AFL stars.In the shadows of the MCG, Wallaby Israel Folau says his early days training in the AFL heartland gave him the skills to become one the world’s best rugby union fullbacks.

Folau and the Wallabies have been given the keys to Collingwood’s training facilities while they prepare for Saturday’s second Test against Ireland at Melbourne’s AAMI Park.

But it was across town with the Magpies’ arch-rivals Carlton, when Folau, as a young Melbourne Storm rugby league player honed his remarkable aerial talents.

The Storm shared Carlton’s facilities and Folau said he learnt from the Blues players.

“That’s where I really learnt that skill,” Folau told AAP.

“We used to do a lot of kick-catch work with Carlton, and it really taught us some great skills catching above our heads, off our chest.

“Those things I’ve carried throughout my career and I’m really thankful I got the opportunity to learn that.”

Catching securely with two hands above his head sets Folau apart from many other rugby players, but he says many others are now mastering the skill.

“It something for me as a strength that I like to obviously use at every opportunity I get, and we’ve got some great guys who can put the kicks on point which makes it a lot easier for me to catch it.”

But Folau said it was actually the Storm’s fullback Billy Slater, also known for high-ball grabs, who he most looked up to.

“Billy Slater was one I used to see do extras after training and his catching technique was unreal, so I really looked up to him and followed.

“I wanted to learn that skill because of guys like him.”

As well as the risk of a turnover, there’s a danger of falling heavily from such a great height.

But Folau has never thought about the threat of injury.

“I don’t think about the danger – it’s part of my role and when my opportunity presents itself, I’m always looking get up.

“A lot of people ask me if I’m scared I’m going to land on my head but I’ve got eyes on the ball and no regard for the things around me, so it’s something I don’t even think about.”

Australian Associated Press