Iconic travel firm rebrands

GOING PLACES: Travel Associates is a boutique travel agency with a total focus on uncompromising customer service, a style that syncs perfectly with the Pearsons’ approach to travel.Escape Travel is rebranding asTravel Associatesafter joining forces with Australia’s number one premium travel agency group.
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This move is the latest exciting evolution in the Hunter based travel company founded and still run by thePearson family. Escape Travel emerged out of Harvey World Travel, which was founded by the Pearsons in the 1990s and remains synonymous with travel for generations of Novocastrians.

“We opened in January1997 with my father (Richard Pearson) and I as a franchise of Harvey World Travel, with mum looking after the accounts,” Richard’s son Adam said. “Later that year Angela Jenkins joined and still works for us, 21 years later. My brother Geoff joined us in 2005 and stayed in the business until late 2016.

“Over the 17 years as Harvey World Travel, we grew our business to five offices, buying Harvey World Travel Kotara and Charlestown and opening Harvey World Travel Mt Hutton and Glendale with more than 38 team members. We pride ourselves on still being a family business, owned by my wife (Fiona) and I for the last 18 months and it doesn’t stop with our family. We also have a brother and sister in our team as well as a mother and daughter.”

Travel Associates is a boutique travel agency with a total focus on uncompromising customer service, a style that syncs perfectly with the Pearson’s approach to travel.

“We understand that some clients are well-travelled andappreciate unique travel experiences and a choice of premium travel options,” Adam said.

“We also bring our expertise to the fore for first-time and less experienced travellers.

“Our experience really does matter. That’s why an appointment with Travel Associates is much more than just a consultation.”

Their travel advisors go out of their way to tailor design dream itineraries and provide competitive airfares (in first, business and economy class), special interest tours, luxury cruise and rail journeys, family packages to the likes of Fiji, Hawaii and Thailand with a difference.

Travel Associates’ national network of more than 500 experienced advisers offer a genuine love and passion for travel, a wealth of industry experience and years of first-hand destination knowledge.

“We have people in our teams with 10+, 20+ and 30+ years of experience in the travel industry,who have travelled to all corners of the globe –from trekking with the gorilla’s in Africa, to the Rocky Mountaineer rail journey in Canada, river cruising in Europe, skiing in Japan –we’ve done it all,” Adam said.

“That personal attention to detail is a perfect fit for the Travel Associates model, and paired withhigh quality marketing, IT support, training operations and superior buying power translates to the best deals for our clients.”

Our concern about the drought isn’t fair dinkum

It’s taken him too long, but public concern and the looming election has finally obliged Malcolm Turnbull to do the right thing by our farmers struggling with severe drought.
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In Forbes on Sunday, Turnbull announced a further $250 million in assistance to farmers and communities, including initial grants of $1 million each to 60 drought-affected councils in NSW, Queensland and Victoria, bringing Canberra’s direct handouts to $826 million.

Add a further $1 billion in concessional loans and the total outlay comes to $1.8 billion.

Well, about time.

Is that what you think? I don’t.

Dust storms sweep desolate farms near Balranald in south -west NSW as drought impacts the region. Photo: Nick Moir

I think most of it will be a waste of taxpayers’ money. You’ve heard of being cruel to be kind, but the way we carry on every time there’s a drought is being kind to be cruel. Our sympathy, donations and taxpayer assistance just prolong the agony of farmers unable or unwilling to face the harsh reality of farming in a country with one of the most variable climates in the world.

We may not be able to predict their timing or their length, but we can be certain that, before too long, this drought will be followed by another. And the scientists tell us climate change will make it worse.

And yet we keep pretending no one could have predicted or prepared for the next drought. Nonsense.

Our attitude to drought is all soft heart and soft head. I have two objections. The first is the way our collective concern about drought and its consequences is always media-driven.

Malcolm Turnbull in Forbes at the weekend. Photo: Fairfax Media

When I visited the country in mid-May, my host complained that no one in the city seemed to know or care about the drought that was ravaging the countryside.

But when, a few months later, the first media outlet got the message, it started the usual flood of heart-rending drought stories.

The media love drought stories because they know much they stir their customers’ emotions. Most people like having the media give their heart-strings a regular workout. I don’t.

And the trouble is, our concern about the drought – or the tsunami or earthquake or bushfire – lasts only as long as it takes the media’s attention to shift to some newer source of concern.

It’s already happening. Turnbull’s big announcement in Forbes got little media coverage because the threat to his leadership was far more exciting.

My more substantial objection to the recurring carry-on about drought is that it makes the problem worse rather than better. We give the bush a fish to feed it for a day when we should be helping it learn better fishing techniques.

Braidwood farmer Martin Royds has managed the drought after introducing soil science techniques and making a lot of management changes to minimise the effects of drought, fires and climate change. Photo: Karleen Minney

In their efforts to tug our emotions, the media invariably leave us with an exaggerated impression of the severity of the drought and the proportion of farmers who are suffering badly. They show us the very worst farms and the worst-off farmers.

To be blunt, they show us the bad managers, not the good ones. I can’t remember ever seeing a story where someone whose farm was in much better shape than his neighbours’ was asked how he did it.

The exception that proves the rule? Don’t be so sure. On average over the six years to 2007-08 – the Millennium drought – nearly 70 per cent of Australia’s broadacre and dairy farms in drought-declared areas managedwithoutgovernment assistance.

Many, maybe most, farmers prepare for drought. Some don’t. They’re the ones the media want us to feel sorry for. The ones who’ve overstocked their now badly degraded properties hoping it will rain before long or, failing that, the government and guilt-ridden city-slickers will give them a handout.

The trouble with our emergency assistance approach to drought is that it encourages farmers not to bother preparing for the inevitable. It encourages farmers whose farms are too small, or who lack the skills or spare capital to survive, to keep struggling on when they should give up.

And it does all that to the chagrin of the wise and careful farmers who’ve made expensive preparation for the next drought with little help from other taxpayers.

Australians have been leaving the farm and moving to the city for more than a century. They’ve done so because continuous advances in labour-saving technology have made small farms uneconomic and decimated the demand for rural labour. All while the nation’s agriculturalproductionkeeps growing.

This is my own family’s story. I was raised mainly in cities, but my father grew up on a dairy farm near Toowoomba and my mother on a cane farm in North Queensland.

Meaning that, were it not for my brush with economics, I too would share the city-slickers’ sense of guilt at having deserted the true Australian’s post on the land for a cushy life in the city. Would $50 be enough, do you think?

We are perpetrators of what Americans have dubbed the “hydro-illogical cycle”. As Dr Jacki Schirmer and others at the University of Canberradescribe it, this occurs when “a severe drought triggers short-term concern and assistance, followed by a return to apathy and complacency once the rains return.

“When drought drops off the public and media radar, communities are often left with little or no support to invest in preparing for the next inevitable drought.”

Every government report on drought concludes the best response is for farmers to improve their self-reliance, preparedness and climate-change management. We could help them with their preparations, but we get a bigger emotional kick from giving them handouts when droughts are at their worst.

Ross Gittins is smh南京夜网.au economics editor.

Federal MP Wyatt ‘disappointed’ in Dutton

Ken Wyatt says he’ll have to rethink his position if Peter Dutton becomes prime minister.Aged Care and Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt says he will have to consider his position if Peter Dutton becomes prime minister, given he boycotted the apology to Aboriginal Australians.
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The member for Hasluck, which is Western Australia’s most marginal seat, said if it got to the point of choosing a leader between Treasurer Scott Morrison and Mr Dutton, he would back Mr Morrison.

Mr Wyatt said the party room had reached a decision on Tuesday to back Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, yet some unhappy individuals “continued to work to undermine and change the circumstance”.

“I was disappointed when I discovered that he (Peter Dutton) had not supported the apology to the Stolen Generation,” Mr Wyatt told 6PR radio on Thursday.

“There was a handful who walked away from that vote and I was disappointed with them because the parliament was genuine and (then Prime Minister Kevin) Rudd was genuine in what he did, and it healed a lot of hurt.

“In serving, if it’s Peter Dutton then I would have to seriously think about my position.”

Mr Wyatt said only one WA MP had called him about the leadership issue because his colleagues knew he would always back the leader.

“It is sad because we now have allowed ourselves to give Bill Shorten and Labor an opportunity and a free run unless we become a cohesive unit again that governs for Australians – none of this right-left of extreme conservatives and non-conservatives.”

The 66-year-old urged his colleagues to act with integrity.

“Look at what Australia needs and make a judgment based on the strength of the leader, not on the strength of an opportunity.”

Mr Wyatt said he would be extremely disappointed if he was no longer able to continue to reform aged care and make Aboriginal health a priority.

Folau to fetch big Super Netball interest

New Zealand netball star Maria Folau (centre) will play Super Netball next season.Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander expects Super Netball clubs to clamour for Maria Folau’s signature after the New Zealand shooting star confirmed she was available to play in next year’s league.
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The long-time Northern Mystics shooter has lived in Sydney since marrying high-profile Wallaby Israel Folau last November.

She routinely flew home to play in the New Zealand league this year, but has now been given dispensation to play in the Australian competition while still being eligible to represent the Silver Ferns at next year’s World Cup.

Alexander said the 134-Test veteran and one of the sport’s most prolific long-range shooters would offer a club plenty of punch on and off the court.

“No club could say no to that sort of experience,” the national coach said.

“And obviously yes, from a commercial view definitely (she’s worth prioritising) but from a pathway point of view if she denied an Australian a contract it’s not in the best interests of the national program.

“For clubs to get that balance right is the key.”

The NSW Swifts are well stocked in attack but the retirement of Giants shooter Susan Pettitt offers Folau a genuine opening at a Sydney club, where her husband completed the recent Super Rugby season for the Waratahs.

But a move to Queensland is also viable, with Israel off contract and linked to the Reds and Mariah’s immediate family recently moving from Auckland to Brisbane.

Alexander expects both the Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning – the latter of which will chase consecutive titles in Sunday’s grand final – to enter the race for her signature.

Adding weight to the Lightning’s case is the presence of Kiwi coach Noeline Taurua, who is expected to be confirmed as the new Silver Ferns mentor in coming weeks.

Folau told the newsroom.co.nz website she would have retired internationally if not granted permission by Netball New Zealand to swap domestic leagues.

She played about half of the Mystics’ matches in the New Zealand premiership this year and found the commute too mentally and physically draining.

“And it’s also been hard on my husband and my family,” Folau said.

“I feel like I’ve given my all to netball, and I’ve done everything I can wearing the black dress for 13 years but I would love to give the World Cup one more crack.”

Folau is the second player, behind Laura Langman, to be granted a trans-Tasman exemption by NNZ, which wants to keep its leading players in New Zealand.

Greene a key to Giants’ AFL flag chances

Toby Greene has kicked 13 goals in seven AFL games in 2018 and averages 15 disposals.Statistics don’t always tell the full story but they suggest GWS forward Toby Greene is the club’s talisman and arguably their most important player, heading into a third straight AFL finals campaign.
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Toe, foot and hamstring issues have limited the Giants foundation player to just seven games this season, after he finished 2017 as their joint leading goalkicker with Jeremy Cameron and Jon Patton.

GWS won six and drew the other game Greene played in this season.

In a injury-hampered campaign in which just five Giants have played every game, Greene’s absence has been felt more keenly than most.

The combative 24-year-old is the player whose presence adds spark to their forward line.

GWS have scored an average of 15 points a game more when Green is playing.

He was absent from each of their five lowest scoring efforts of the season, including a horrific mid-season stretch of four straight losses, over which they averaged a paltry 55 points a match.

At 182cm, Greene is hardly a giant in the literal sense.

But his uncanny ability to regularly take marks in the forward 50 with his clever body work and good positional sense, allied to a strong ground game developed as a midfielder, makes him an x-factor player.

“He’s massive because he wins his own footy,” Giants’ forwards coach Brad Miller told AAP.

“He’s so hard to play on as a defender trying to match up on him.

“He can get you in the air but he can also get you on the ground and he’s fierce in the contest.

“He’s such a dangerous threat for us and he’ll be a huge upside if we can get him fit and firing for a couple of games in September.”

Green is listed to return for the first week of finals, by which time he won’t have played for five weeks.

However, he went almost three months between games earlier in the season and made an immediate impact, kicking two goals in a narrow home win over premiers Richmond.

“Even (though) he missed such a large amount of time, to play like he did…….there’s probably only a handful of players who can do that in the competition and he probably sits in that handful,” GWS vice-captain Stpehen Coniglio said.

“It’s not only his goals and his touches.

“It’s more just you’re walking out onto a game, particularly against Richmond, you look over, you see Toby Greene.

“Everyone, especially the more inexperienced players, walk really tall.”