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Christine Piper lands Vogel's Literary Award

Written By kom nampul on Selasa, 22 April 2014 | 23.30

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Believable setting: Author Christine Piper. Photo: Supplied

The predicament of Australian-born Japanese civilians in an Australian internment camp seems a natural subject for the Vogel's Literary Award winner, Christine Piper, when you know her own complex background.

Piper, 35, just met the age limit for the $20,000 prize for unpublished manuscripts by young writers, which has launched novelists Tim Winton, Kate Grenville, Mandy Sayer and Gillian Mears among many others. Her debut novel, After Darkness, is published this week by Allen & Unwin as part of the award after five years' work ''from vague concept to final PDF''.

Written as part of her doctorate of creative arts at the University of Technology, Sydney, the novel is narrated by a Japanese doctor in the World War II camp at Loveday, South Australia, who has lived in Broome among the Japanese pearl divers, and is filled with regret about his medical work in Japan.

Piper's Australian father and her Japanese mother met in Japan when he was an exchange student and married years later. Their daughter was born when they were working in South Korea and the family moved here when she was one. ''I remember saying I wanted to be a writer from at least the age of 10,'' Piper said.

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With a bachelor of media from Macquarie University she wrote and edited for magazines but ''got serious'' about creative writing with fellowships in the US and published short stories in journals and anthologies. ''When I was growing up in Australia I had a sense that I was an outsider,'' she said. ''When I had finished high school at 17 I went on exchange to Japan and thought I would find my identity. But I found that my identity is made up of my friends and the people I surround myself with. I am Australian and I was more of an outsider there. I'm a writer so it's always like that.''

Researching her novel, she was drawn to reports about the 100-odd Australian-born and half-Japanese interns among 4300 civilians who were locked up in three camps during the war.

''They were caught between two cultures and welcomed by neither,'' she said. ''They were very proudly Australian and one man served in the Australian Army and was discharged for being Japanese; he seemed a softly spoken, lovely young man and I felt for him.''

Such people were also picked on by nationalistic Japanese leaders in the camps. But Piper worked to create empathy for all her characters and a believable setting, drawing on interviews with former child internees and an unpublished diary translated with help from her mother.

Piper will soon return to New York, where she and her Australian fund-manager husband moved recently after winning US green cards on their fourth attempt. There's another ingredient for the mixing pot of her next novel.


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Mayor's raffle causes ruffles

EXCLUSIVE

"I don't have to tell you anything,": Jilly Gibson.

"I don't have to tell you anything,": Jilly Gibson. Photo: Fiona Morris

The mayor of North Sydney took a potentially illegal donation from a pub baron which she says was for tickets in a raffle of one of her paintings.

A copy of a bank statement in her name, obtained by Fairfax, shows Jilly Gibson was sent $999 by Peter Calligeros - who owns three North Sydney pubs - weeks before the 2012 council election that brought her to power.

That's $1 shy of the threshold at which donations must be individually reported. But all donations from people who profit from the sale of alcohol are prohibited.

The mayor did not declare any conflict when later considering policies affecting Mr Calligeros' business interests.

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Cr Gibson came to attention this year when she applied for a restraining order against a fellow councillor. That matter is working its way through the courts.

Mr Calligeros initially said he could not recall sending the mayor money but then said he had made an "unintended charitable donation" that had been refunded.

"I thought I was buying raffle tickets [for paintings] because she's a bit of an artist," he said. "As soon as I realised it might have been used for donations, I wanted it back."

Mr Calligeros said he could not remember who sold him the tickets and qualified previous statements to say he was no longer certain how the money came to be returned. It took almost a year - less than two months before the first deadline for election returns - for the money to be returned.

Cr Gibson said she was unaware of the donation until just before filing her campaign returns, when she sacked her campaign's ''official agent'' who she claims had not alerted her. ''The raffle was cancelled [due to lack of interest],'' she said.

Another $990 - also labelled raffle tickets - was deposited into the mayor's account a week later. No raffle on that date is listed in her election returns and it is not known who sent the money. "I don't have to tell you anything," she said.

Cr Gibson said she was unaware of any potential conflict of interest when proposing the council turn off parking meters after-hours for two years on about 10 stretches of street in the centre of North Sydney, an area encompassing Mr Calligeros' pubs. The proposal was later rejected after its cost was estimated at $300,000. "I stand by my initiative [which] would have been right across the CBD," she said.

Despite winning the election, Cr Gibson lacks a majority on council. She said another candidate with whom she had a falling out, Maryann Beregi, was responsible for fund-raising. Cr Beregi says she did not meet Mr Calligeros and was unaware of any raffle.

Cr Gibson said the Election Funding Authority had cleared her repayment of the donation and raised no problems with her returns.


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NSW police breaking the law

At least 20 NSW Police officers have been charged with criminal offences so far this year, with accusations ranging from creating false documents to importing pepper spray and sexual assault.

Seven of the officers charged were male senior constables and the rest were of lower rank. Only three of the charged serving officers were women.

One officer is expected to face court after he was recently charged with the aggravated rape of a 10-year-old girl and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The 40-year-old senior constable was given a court attendance notice at work and was expected to appear before Goulburn Local Court on June 19.

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An interim apprehended violence order was in place to protect the alleged victims and witnesses, police said. The constable has been suspended from duty with pay pending the outcome of his case.

On Wednesday, a police officer from Sydney's west will face court after he allegedly made threats against a private business on the telephone. The senior constable, 38, is expected to appear before Downing Centre Local Court charged with using a carriage service to threaten serious harm.

Of the more serious alleged incidents, one senior constable was charged with five counts of sexual assault and four of common assault after a series of domestic-related incidents in the state's west in February.

A female probationary constable was charged in February after she was allegedly caught importing pepper spray into Australia.

Another officer was before the courts charged with attacking a woman during an argument on the way home from a New Year's Eve party. He was charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent and granted bail before his expected appearance at Newcastle Local Court.

A NSW Police media spokesman said it was always a concern when a police officer was charged with criminal offences. ''No police officer is exempt from the law,'' he said. ''The fact that officers are charged and put before the courts is an indication NSW Police officers are not above the law.

''Further, the NSW Police Force issues a media release whenever an officer is to be put before the courts in the interests of transparency. Officers who lose the commissioner's confidence are dismissed from the organisation.''

In the 2012-13 financial year, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione dismissed four officers under section 181D of the Police Act, which can be brought into effect if the commissioner loses confidence in the police officer's suitability to serve.

What they are accused of

April 17 A male senior constable is charged with aggravated sexual intercourse with a 10-year-old girl and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

April 11 A male senior constable to face a central Hunter court after being charged with making a false official instrument to pervert the course of justice (creating a false record).

April 2 A male senior constable is expected to appear before a Sydney court accused of making threatening phone calls to a private business.

March 29 A male senior constable is charged with aggravated and indecent assault against two other police officers in 2011 and 2013.

February 28 A male senior constable is charged with five counts of sexual assault and four of common assault after a series of alleged domestic-related incidents.

February 27 A female probationary constable is charged over the alleged import of  pepper spray.

February 26 A female senior constable is charged with stalking/intimidation with the intention of causing  physical fear and using a carriage service to harass on the state's central coast.


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The high cost of holding on

EXCLUSIVE

"When we first established intensive care in the the 1960s and 1970s we could keep people alive longer than we had previously,": Ken Hillman.

"When we first established intensive care in the the 1960s and 1970s we could keep people alive longer than we had previously,": Ken Hillman. Photo: Steven Siewert

Australia needs to rethink how it keeps sick, elderly people alive in hospitals and stop overtreating them at the end of their lives, the outgoing director of St Vincent's Hospital's Intensive Care Unit says.

Bob Wright, AM, a pioneer of intensive care medicine, said older patients are being treated more intensively and expensively than ever before and ''sometimes you wonder whether it's the right thing''.

Medical and legal experts have backed his call for greater discussion of the issue, warning that politicians and doctors are hamstrung by a system geared to save as many lives as possible.

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New figures show over 65s are the most expensive age group to treat in intensive care, costing more than complicated neonatal cases.

Dr Wright, who retired recently from the position he held for 43 years, questioned whether it is worthwhile expending time, energy and money on elderly people who are beyond medical help.

''You can take someone who's young and dying and bring them back to life and then you've got someone who can live for another 40, 50, 60 years,'' he said.

He said elderly people who led active lives and were fit and healthy could still benefit greatly from intensive care, but there was a "spectrum" of doctors, patients and families who argued for vigorous treatment at the end of a life, even when the patient was ''irretrievable''.

Preliminary analysis provided to Fairfax Media by the NSW Department of Health shows it costs about $202 for every hour a person over 65 is in ICU, 71 per cent more than the cost of very young babies.

The number of people aged over 85 admitted to hospital surged 9 per cent a year in the five years to 2011-12, the most recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures show.

University of NSW Professor of Intensive Care Ken Hillman said the issue was one of the most important facing the health system. "When we first established intensive care in the 1960s and 1970s we could keep people alive longer than we had previously, but … this gradual creep occurred, and we look at it now and think maybe this is something really perverse."

Professor Hillman said it was hard for politicians to talk about it because "everyone will say they are just doing it to save money". "If you think about the way that birthing changed in the '50s … The babyboomers need to change dying and death like they did with birth,'' he said.

Graeme Duke, an intensive care specialist at Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne, analysed data on more than 108,000 older Victorian patients and found ICU admissions for people aged over 80 rose more than 3 per cent a year over 12 years.

"I think it's probably related to better primary healthcare," he said. "This is a big quandary in modern healthcare: today's survivor may well be tomorrow's complex patient."

But he said he was surprised that his research, published this year in the Medical Journal of Australia, found that while people aged over 65 used an increasing proportion of ICU resources when they were admitted, their rate of admission was decreasing.

"It seemed to point towards … people getting better advice.''

In 2013 NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner launched the advanced care plan, which includes a website that provides information on how to plan medical care.

Ben White, director of the Health Law Research Centre at the Queensland University of Technology, said some doctors were also hampered by legal concerns.

Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said society needs to do a better job of end of life planning with the whole population. But he said that focus needs to steer away from cost of care, and placed on quality of life.


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O'Farrell's $160k-a-year exit

Written By kom nampul on Senin, 21 April 2014 | 23.30

Hefty pension: Barry O'Farrell to receive $160,000 a year.

Hefty pension: Barry O'Farrell to receive $160,000 a year. Photo: Ben Rushton

His political career came to a premature end in humiliating circumstances, but Barry O'Farrell can expect to live very comfortably when he returns to civilian life thanks to the state's taxpayer-funded parliamentary superannuation scheme.

The former premier will receive a pension of about $160,000 a year for the rest of his life, according to an analysis by Greens upper house MP John Kaye.

Alternatively, if the 54-year-old chooses to take his superannuation entitlements as a lump sum, he will receive $1.6 million.

Mr O'Farrell's super could be even larger if, as some anticipate, he continues in his position as the member for Ku-ring-gai until the election in March next year.

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On July 1 this year, the Parliamentary Remuneration Tribunal is expected to award MPs a pay rise of up to 2.5 per cent, increasing his payout by the same amount.

Mr Kaye said it was unfair that the former Premier was so well catered for when his government had ''decimated the public service''.

''Mr O'Farrell froze wages for nurses, teachers and paramedics behind inflation, slashed workers' compensation benefits and retrenched 15,000 public-sector workers,'' he said.

''He will have a much more comfortable post-work life than injured workers and most of the rest of the population.''

Mr O'Farrell is likely to be the final NSW premier to receive such a generous taxpayer-funded pension, with politicians elected after 2007 covered by a super scheme similar to that of other workers.

Reforms Mr O'Farrell introduced as premier in 2012 mean he will not be entitled to non-financial perks of his predecessors, such as free travel, a driver and an office.


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Why we pay $20 for movie tickets

Entertainment

Graham Burke says going to the movies is still a cheap night out.

Graham Burke says going to the movies is still a cheap night out.

A top executive of Village Roadshow has defended the price of movie tickets, with one of the country's largest cinema operators insisting cinema is still a cheap night out.

Village co-executive chairman Graham Burke said ticket prices relative to other countries reflected the high cost of Australian wages.

And Mr Burke lashed out at the virus-like spread of piracy, welcoming a government commitment to clamp down on illegal downloads.

The price of movie tickets in Australia has come under scrutiny with the top price of an ordinary ticket hitting $20 in some cinemas.

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''It's more like $17 and $18 [a ticket] and there's loads of discount available,'' Mr Burke said.

''In Australia we pay approximately $23 an hour for our people; in America, where we operate cinemas, it's $8 an hour.

''And prices are simply a function of wages. And I actually think that's a good thing because it means that the wealth is being shared and Australian people are doing well.''

His comments follow Benjamin Zeccola, the chief executive of Palace Cinemas, saying cinemas were lifting prices to stay in business amid high wage costs and widespread downloading. ''It's upsetting that people use ticket prices as a justification for stealing a film,'' Mr Zeccola said.

Mr Burke said even higher-priced Gold Class and Vmax tickets compared well with going out for dinner.

''Gold Class is also a very cheap night out, because two movie tickets at $35 is $70, plus a bottle of wine, some sliders or sushi, you come out of it having had a great night and a terrific movie for probably $110, whereas you go to any restaurant, it's $240, and that's not being treated like royalty and not having seen a terrific movie.''

Box-office takings across the industry fell 2.3 per cent to $1.1 billion last year, according to figures from the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia.

Even so, to offset flat revenue or declining audiences, players such as Village are rolling out Gold Class and supersized screens. Gold Class is the fastest-growing area of Village Roadshow's business.

Meanwhile, Mr Burke said piracy was ''spreading like a virus'' in Australia and if left unchecked would become a serious problem for his business. ''Australia is probably the worst country in the world for pirating movies,'' he said, labelling it ''plain and simple theft''.

''It's like going into a bookshop through the back door, and taking all the books out. It's something that needs to be addressed and is being addressed in democracies throughout the world.''


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Family ties bind Wran's millions

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Leaders pay tribute to Neville Wran

Politicians from both sides offer their praise and share their experiences of working with former NSW premier Neville Wran.

PT1M43S http://www.smh.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-36zx4 620 349

Neville Wran's family was unhappy in its own way during his final years but his widow Jill Hickson regained control of her husband's affairs after they reconciled in 2012.

Ms Hickson and his four children Kim, Glenn, Harriet and Hugo are believed to be the main beneficiaries of his multimillion-dollar estate.

Real estate is thought to comprise much of the family's inheritance. They had a home in Woollahra, a beach house in Palm Beach and a farm in the Yarramalong Valley on the Central Coast.

Neville Wran with wife Jill.

Neville Wran with wife Jill. Photo: Ken James

The former NSW premier had retreated from much of his business investments as he grew frail. However, in addition to real estate assets, Ms Hickson, who stayed with him until his death, can also expect to be eligible for a fair slice of his towering parliamentary pension, built to stratospheric heights thanks to his 10-year stint as premier.

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Another of his beneficiaries is likely to be his New Caledonia-born god-daughter Helene De Poortere. A Sydney travel agent and investor, Ms Poortere had been one of Mr Wran's most constant visitors during his last years.

Mr Wran, a friend of her father's, had played a major role in

Ms Poortere's life, supporting her for years when she arrived in Sydney from the French Pacific colony. During one of his sick periods, Mr Wran once described the

French/Vietnamese New Caledonian as ''my rock''.

The 87-year-old died on Sunday after a long illness, and on Monday his family accepted the offer of a state funeral.

Mr Wran and Ms Hickson married in 1976, a month after his divorce from his first wife Marcia Oliver was finalised and three months after he won the election and became premier. He was 50, she was 28. They had two children and a sometimes rocky relationship over their 38-year marriage.

They first split publicly in 2006.

They reconciled 18 months later, but in 2011 Ms Hickson returned home to find her Woollahra house empty and her husband and his carer gone. They had temporarily moved to the Vaucluse home of long-term business partner Albert Wong and his wife, Sophie.

Ms Hickson had become concerned after her husband withdrew almost $1 million from a joint account and she was reported as telling friends he had dementia and did not have the capacity to make business decisions.

However, the Wongs joined with Mr Wran's daughter from his first marriage, Kim Sheftell, 57, in claiming that while he might be weak in body, mentally he was still sharp.

He had also changed his will and executed documents removing his wife as power of attorney and replacing her with Mrs Sheftell and Mr Wong, who had been his business partner since 2004.

The pair were also appointed enduring guardians, along with the former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull. Mr Wran and Mr Turnbull were once partners in the merchant bank Whitlam Turnbull.

Mr Wran eventually left the Wongs, first moving into rental accommodation in the upmarket ''Toaster'' building at Circular Quay and then becoming a resident at the Elizabeth Bay aged-care facility Lulworth House.

In late 2012, the couple again reconciled.

''I relinquished all my dealings with Neville, business or otherwise. Jill took control of his affairs again,'' Mr Wong said on Monday.

Ms Hickson did not wish to comment: ''I don't want to go over all that again.''


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Ministers axed in NSW cabinet shake-up

On his way out: NSW Attorney General Greg Smith.

On his way out: NSW Attorney General Greg Smith. Photo: Jonathan Ng

Four senior NSW government ministers - including Attorney-General Greg Smith and Hospitality and Racing Minister George Souris - will be dumped from cabinet under a shake-up ordered by new Premier Mike Baird.

On Monday night it emerged Mr Smith, Mr Souris as well as Environment Minister Robyn Parker and Local Government Minister Don Page are set to be axed from the ministry.

Pittwater MP Rob Stokes, Castle Hill MP Dominic Perrottet and Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell, all Liberals, are to be being promoted along with Nationals MPs Troy Grant, who is the member for Dubbo, and Bathurst MP Paul Toole.

Axed: NSW Minister for Hospitality and Racing George Souris.

Axed: NSW Minister for Hospitality and Racing George Souris.

The sacking of Mr Smith as Attorney-General will be seen as a victory for law-and-order hardliners who have been critical of his support for bail law reform and vocal opposition to mandatory sentencing.

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Last year Mr Smith, a former deputy director of public prosecutions, declared mandatory sentencing was an ''ineffective crime fighting tool''. Mandatory minimum sentences were a centrepiece of the government's response to alcohol related violence in February but have been blocked by the upper house.

Ms Parker - a surprise choice as environment minister by former Premier Barry O'Farrell after the 2011 election - has had a chequered time as Environment Minister, most recently drawing criticism over the controversial draft masterplan for the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Domain.

The promotion of Mr Stokes, a parliamentary secretary for renewable energy, indicates he may be in line to take on the environment portfolio.

Mr Perrottet, a leading rightwinger, is chair of the Parliament's legal affairs committee but not expected to be made attorney-general. There was speculation Planning Minister Brad Hazzard may be given the role.

The promotion of Mr Rowell, who is government Whip, will be seen as as another nod to the party's right

faction which had been pushing for better cabinet representation than existed under Mr O'Farrell.

The dumping of Mr Souris from cabinet is perhaps the most surprising given his role in overhauling the liquor licensing regime following the fatal assaults in Kings Cross on Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie.

Mr Baird is expected to announce the full details of his new cabinet on Tuesday before it is sworn in on Wednesday at 10am.

Assistant ministers will also be appointed to the key portfolios of health, education and planning to provide extra support. These are likely to be ministers holding related junior portfolios. The example given was the Minister for Mental Health - currently Kevin Humphries - who would be made assistant health minister.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Adrian Piccoli will retain their portfolios.

Mr Baird confirmed on Monday that he would not hold on to the Treasury portfolio to deliver the budget on June 17 as he needed to focus immediately on his new role. As his predecessor Barry O'Farrell did, Mr Baird will also become minister for western Sydney.


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Strata changes for a majority rule

Written By kom nampul on Minggu, 20 April 2014 | 23.31

Ayres

Focused: Fair Trading Minister Stuart Ayres says change is vital. Photo: Helen Nezdropa

A majority of apartment owners will be able to force their neighbours to sell their homes to developers under proposed laws to be taken to the NSW cabinet for approval next month.

Currently, every owner needs to agree to sell their apartment before an entire block can be sold for demolition or to developers.

But just three in four owners would need to agree to sell under the proposed new laws that Fair Trading Minister Stuart Ayres' department has drafted for cabinet approval.

Mr Ayres said the proposed package of reforms he hopes to table in Parliament next month are ''vital to future-proof strata in NSW''.

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''The strata reforms will focus on improving the lives of people living in strata by increasing transparency and engagement in strata complexes,'' he said.

''The reforms will help facilitate renewal and upgrade of strata facilities that are difficult and expensive to maintain.''

If adopted by Parliament, the proposals will open the way for termination of strata schemes, allowing for the sale to a developer, as an alternative to ongoing maintenance of old run-down buildings.

According to government figures, about 30 per cent of residential strata schemes in the Sydney metropolitan area were registered more than 30 years ago.

A spokeswoman for Mr Ayres said the draft bill has been put to stakeholders for consultation.

Committee for Sydney chief executive Tim Williams said the proposed changes were important for renewing older low-density unit blocks that needed to be replaced.

''We think this is a very important reform for creating new possibilities for development well connected to jobs and services in Sydney,'' he said.

But Chris Martin, a senior policy officer for the Tenants Union of NSW, said he was concerned the proposal to allow strata schemes to be extinguished with the support of 75 per cent of owners would force elderly and vulnerable owner occupiers out of their homes.

''We are worried about owner-occupiers as well as tenants in the older strata schemes - particularly older owner-occupiers who have either few or no other assets than their apartment,'' he said.

''We have a housing system that doesn't have enough affordable housing options, especially for older people. If the NSW government wants this urban renewal agenda it also needs to develop an affordable housing agenda.''

The proposals allowing for urban renewal include a provision for appointment of a strata renewal committee to oversee the development of a collective sale.

The strata reforms also include proposals to allow strata meetings to be held through teleconferencing and for votes on motions to be given through the post or by secret ballot.

Pet ownership and installing picture hooks will become easier for owners under the proposed new regulations, but owners corporations are likely to be allowed to take tougher action in response to parking offences, cigarette smoke and the unwanted installation of floor boards.

More than a quarter of the NSW population lives or works in a strata dwelling.

The Department of Fair Trading says termination of a strata scheme without the unanimous support of all apartment owners occurs in countries including Singapore, New Zealand and the United States.

Since the resignation as premier of Barry O'Farrell on Wednesday, most ministries are officially vacant, but so far there is no indication the Department of Fair Trading's proposals for strata laws will change.


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Pokies, $298m and 'pork barrelling'

EXCLUSIVE

"We're extremely disappointed at how this money has been spent": Gordon Bradbery.

"We're extremely disappointed at how this money has been spent": Gordon Bradbery. Photo: Supplied

Millions of dollars in poker machine taxes taken from some of Sydney's poorest suburbs to fund "disadvantaged communities" have been used to pay for the state government's election promises.

Introduced in 2011, category 3 of the ClubGRANTS program established a tax of 0.4 per cent on gaming machine profits over $1 million. According to the scheme's guidelines, proceeds would go towards funding large-scale sporting and health projects in disadvantaged communities.

Instead, all of the money raised - more than $14 million - has been spent on the state government's election commitments, including an upgrade to "soccer infrastructure" at Lambert Park, in Leichhardt, and improvements to Pluim Park football ground, near Gosford.

"They are pork-barrelling," says Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone. "It's as simple as that."

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Fairfield is the third most disadvantaged local government area in NSW, with an unemployment rate twice the state average. Its residents also put more money through the slots than any other suburb in NSW, generating $298 million in poker machine profits in the year to August 2013, making it the biggest single contributor to the category 3 fund.

As a "culturally and linguistically diverse area", Fairfield qualifies by ClubGRANTS' own guidelines in the "priority group" for project

funding. Yet not one dollar has made its way back to the area.

"They should put at least some of the money back into the area where it was generated, which also happens to be the area of greatest need," Cr Carbone said.

A report by the NSW Auditor-General last year criticised the government's management of ClubGRANTS. It said the minister responsible, George Souris, had neglected to establish an independent committee to administer the fund.

"We found a lack of information on details on the projects and justification of funding," the Auditor-General wrote, as well as a lack of transparency as to "what basis these grants were given except that it was an election commitment''.

The report also found that public reporting on the scheme could be "significantly improved", and recommended that grant application and management processes be publicised.

The funding committee was finally appointed in February, 2½ years after the scheme's launch. But Mr Souris retains the right to reject the committee's decisions for grants given under category 3, and is not bound under the legislation to seek the committee's advice before making a decision.

Of the $14.2 million spent so far, $2.2 million went to upgrading football infrastructure in Leichhardt, which ranks in the top 10 per cent of the state's most well-off areas. Some $3 million was given to Pluim Park, in The Entrance, a Labor electorate won by the Liberals at the 2011 election. Another $5 million has been spent on upgrading Football NSW's headquarters at Valentine Sports Park in Blacktown, a multi-purpose sporting complex that already has five playing fields, lecture rooms, an indoor sports hall, indoor pool and dining room.

"We're extremely disappointed at how this money has been spent," Wollongong lord mayor Gordon Bradbery, pictured, said.

Wollongong residents contributed $121 million in club poker machine profits in the year to August 2013, making it the fifth biggest contributor to the category 3 funding pool. It also has pockets of crippling poverty, with suburbs such as Warrawong and Cringila rating below Brewarrina in terms of socio-economic disadvantage.

"Yet we got nothing," Cr Bradbery said. ''As a city we've been dudded because we're a Labor area.''

A spokesman for Mr Souris denied allegations of pork-barrelling, noting the government's election promise to fund ''certain commitments'' from the ClubGRANTS fund.

He also said that the Auditor-General's recommendations have been "completed" and that "funding is not allocated based on the local government area from which it was derived''.


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