Architect of national disability insurance scheme warns on pace of the rollout

The architect of the national disability insurance scheme Bruce Bonyhady. Photo: Andrew MearesRolling out the National Disability Insurance Scheme too fast risks driving up costs through inflation, according to the architect of the reform.
杭州桑拿网

But Bruce Bonyhady, the chairman of the board of the National Disability Insurance Agency, will also tell the National Press Club on Wednesday that building the scheme too slowly would fail people with disability, their families and carers.

Mr Bonyhady, whose submission to Kevin Rudd’s 2008 ideas summit kickstarted debate about a National Disability Insurance Scheme, is, with the agency’s board, finalising advice to Commonwealth, state and territory disability ministers on whether the current rollout timetable for the scheme should be revised.

The Gillard government decided to launch the scheme in July 2013, a year ahead of the timetable proposed by the Productivity Commission, and a review released in March found the ambitious timeframe had compromised planning.

In May, the Abbott Government’s Commission of Audit recommended the rollout be slowed, warning the financial sustainability of the scheme was at risk on the current timetable.

But in the budget, the government made no change to the rollout schedule and no cuts to funding for the scheme, in fact restoring $45 million that had been removed from the scheme by the former Labor government in an administrative error.

In his address on Wednesday, Mr Bonyhady will describe the task of providing advice to the government on the ideal pace of the rollout as ”complex”, because ”markets evolve over time and at different rates in different places”.

”Build the scheme up too fast and allow demand to out-strip supply, and we risk failure by driving up costs through inflation and lowering service quality,” Mr Bonyhady says in speech notes provided to Fairfax Media.

”Build it up too slowly and we will also fail people with disability, their families and carers. Therefore the only consideration in the mind of the board is to build it right, for future as well as current generations.”

Mr Bonyhady says it will be a matter for governments to decide the optimal timetable for transition to the full scheme.

”But nothing should be done to jeopardise the ultimate full success of the scheme just for the sake of meeting deadlines set before the scheme started, now that we have a much larger base of hard evidence,” he says in the notes.

”So, if you ask when will the job be done, my answer is: We will recommend taking as long as it takes to build an NDIS that will last.”

Under the current timetable, the scheme’s first full year of operation will be 2019-20. In that year, the scheme is expected to provide support to 460,000 people at a cost of $22 billion.

Trials in the Hunter region of NSW and the Barwon region of Victoria as well as South Australia and Tasmania started in July 2013. The full rollout of the scheme in the ACT as well as trials in Perth and in the Barkly region of the Northern Territory started in July this year.

Meet the $30m supplements giant

Luke McNally in competition mode.Luke McNally’s story reads like Redfern-meets-Rocky.
杭州桑拿网

It is your classic tale of the scrawny kid who beats the odds and becomes a world champion.

The founder of vitamin and mineral/supplements business Mass Nutrition began trading from his lounge room in Sydney’s inner-west suburbs in 2006, driven to inspire enthusiasts “who wanted to deepen their understanding of health, nutrition and build a sustainable formula that’s right for their independent needs”.

His mission was timely.

In 2013-14 his company turned over $30 million and has 42 licensed outlets in every state and territory bar Tasmania.

A year ago, that turnover figure was about $8 million, McNally says.

He is matter-of-fact about his expectation the group will grow to 100-strong by 2016.

“We are absolutely not at our peak. We get 15 queries a week from people wanting to join us.

“But it is very important we work with people who display a sense of loyalty and understand teamwork, as sound knowledge of supplements is actually lower down our list of priorities because that can be taught.”

Crowned Mr Australia in 2012 and a top-10 finalist of Mr Universe the same year, McNally is still physically imposing.

Almost 30 – his birthday is July 23 – it is difficult to imagine him a 56-kilogram 17-year-old in 2001, able to see his own ribcage through his chest.

The indigenous businessman and body-builder describes his childhood as “difficult at times”.

“I was at times frightened of my father and my mother was away with work more often than she was home,” he recounts.

His parents’ separation led to years of drugs and alcohol abuse.

But he knew he needed to “break the cycle” and with a burning desire to qualify as a fire-fighter, one day he cut his hair, pulled out his piercings and the next morning arrived at his high school gym.

He tripled his daily food consumption “of peanut butter and Vegemite sandwiches, milkshakes and chocolate bars” and religiously trained to add bulk to his frame.

Aged 20, in 2004, he was accepted to the NSW fire-fighter program, which he credits with anchoring his life: “It’s taught me diligence, strength of body and mind.”

And it was around this time he met other men who regularly took dietary supplements.

“I didn’t have the money to get the supplements these other guys could buy so I made it my aim to set up as a price leader, to be able to get the supplements for people like myself.”

By 2006 McNally had started importing and trading his products, which he marketed and sold online.

But the e-commerce world was not for him as he really wanted to use his growing knowledge of nutrition and health to educate others.

So he opened his brand’s first bricks and mortar shop – in Tweed Heads in NSW’s far north – in 2008, took on a business partner (an old school friend) and before long one outlet became two, then three.

“We started wondering how to expand ourselves further as all our cash was reinvested in the business and it was very challenging trying to manage cash-flow to facilitate growth.”

The answer came in 2012 when Mass Nutrition partnered with a local legal company, which drew up licensing documentation.

It was the obvious way to grow reach without stumping up big capital.

“When we hit the ground in 2013 we were ready to go and that’s what we did; we almost quadrupled in reach last financial year.”

Australians reportedly cannot get enough of what Mass Nutrition sells.

Stores’ revenue grew by 3.9 per cent a year between 2009 and 2013, reports industry data provider IBISWorld.

Last year, Aussies spent almost half a billion dollars ($458.4 million) at 768 vitamin and supplement stores.

Nature’s Own, which turns 40 next year, was the biggest trader.

Online vitamin and supplement stores – while numbering only 43 in 2013 – generated $78 million revenue.

More tellingly, the e-traders grew by 8.4 per cent annually over the past five years.

Asked how he sees his company shaping-up against an onslaught of e-rivals, McNally seems unfazed.

He says he has three solid relationships with overseas supplement manufacturers and expects to more-than-double his brand’s network within 18 months.

“It is very cool for someone to get in touch with a supplier, set up a web site and start selling supplements just now”, he says. But his business knows its own focus, which is “female-specific, holistic and wellness products and education”.

“The biggest problem is all the online competition as almost every day someone new pops up and that’s got to stop somewhere.

“It’s not so much a concern to us as we place great focus on our brand and our reputation but it is a concern on a human level.

“These products can attract vulnerable market groups – young people and females who come to you wanting to lose weight at all costs – and this makes them vulnerable to the charlatans looking for quick returns online.”

World Cup 2014: Germany humiliate Brazil

Brazil v Germany: as it happenedBrazilians stunned by ‘inexplicable defeatKlose sets World Cup scoring record
杭州桑拿网

Belo Horizonte: This was not just a humiliation, a beating, a complete and utter demolition job. It was the ritual disembowelling of a team, the deconstruction not just of a squad of footballers, but of a nation’s hopes and dreams.

Teams don’t win World Cup semi-finals 7-1. It simply doesn’t happen. Surely not in the modern day and age, But yes, it did, and it is Germany who will now head to Rio to try to win their fourth World Cup on Sunday (Monday AEST), and Brazil who must bear the shame and the ignominy, the dishonour, discomfiture and degradation of such a slaughter.

And it wasn’t as if Germany had to be particularly brilliant. They were good, of that make no mistake. But when a team wins this easily it’s hard to know just how good. It wasn’t as if they were scything Brazil apart with sumptuous flowing football of the kind that will leave the rest of the world looking on, breathless.

But its relentlessness as it powered on and on to get to the final tally of seven had a terrible beauty about it, the total subjugation of an opponent who, before this match, seemed to think it had a divine right to be in the final.

In fact the scoreline and the poverty of the Brazilian performance distorted even the fact that this was a game in which a record for the ages was set: Miroslav Klose’s goal, Germany’s second, was his 16th in World Cups, making the 36-year-old veteran of four tournaments the record goalscorer in the history of the competition.

He and his teammates were aided and abetted by some of the worst defending ever seen in a game at this level. So simple was it for Die Nationalmannschaft that to compare it even to stealing sweets from a child’s pram is understating the ease with which Brazil was ripped asunder time and again.

Brazil left-back Marcelo, with his impetuous desire to get forward, continued to leave gaps on his side of the pitch which weren’t covered.

David Luiz, captain on this most notorious of days, and his centre back partner Dante, drafted in to replace suspended skipper Thiago Silva, stood immobile and unaccountable, the antithesis of what is required at the highest level.

The midfield lacked bite, the wingers rarely threatened, and Fred, the figure of fun up front? He simply lumbered as ever, in ever-less threatening positions.

Every time Germany came forward they either scored, or looked like doing so, as the Brazilians gazed, ball-watched, made half-hearted challenges or simply gave the ball away in dangerous areas.

It was like a surreal dream as Brazil first crumbled, then collapsed before finally capitulating in such a supine fashion.

If this was any other sport, one which  involved a mercy rule, the contest would have been stopped – and all of Brazil would have applauded.

The players themselves looked like fighters who know that this was one bout too many, one test for which they had been overmatched. They looked as though they would have been happy to quit on their stools and throw in the towel to save themselves further punishment and the agony of another hour of futile football.

Brazil have never been convincing in this World Cup. They have had the benefit of fanatical home support, of some dubious refereeing decisions and they have ridden their luck. And they have relied on the quality of Neymar, their superstar, to create something out of nothing.

They have drawn widespread criticism for the physicality of their approach, for the lumpen nature of their play and the lack of imagination in their midfield.

Brazil has run on a high octane mix of emotion and energy, of hype and hysteria, fuelled by a fan base whipped into a frenzy by a media dreaming of the ultimate glory.

This was the day the chickens came home to roost, the day when the world saw that the Emperor had no clothes.

Much was made of Neymar’s absence leading into this match; fans in the stands carried cardboard cut outs of the absent striker. Captain for the day Luiz and goalkeeper Julio Cesar carried a flag bearing his name. The team arrived for the game all wearing hats bearing the legend ”Forza Neymar”.

Was too much emotional capital spent on acknowledging the team’s hero? Did the players believe they could not win without him?

Or is the truth more prosaic, that without the organising talents of the suspended Silva and his robust defensive qualities Brazil were a rabble at the back and paid the heaviest of penalties.

This wasn’t the Brazil of the earlier games in other ways, either.

The physicality of their approach was muted – it was as if all the criticism had got to them – and, after Germany scored, all the energy went out of their play.

And Germany held the key to this game. Perhaps they were the first side – even more than the excellent Colombia and Chile – who had come up against Brazil in this tournament and had not considered themselves inferior. The first team who glanced at the Brazilian team-sheet and who saw not threats and concerns but opportunities and weak links.

After taking the heat out of the Brazilian early onslaught they silenced it in the best possible fashion, with that early goal by Thomas Mueller, left completely unmarked at a corner to volley home.

The second virtually put the game beyond doubt when Klose stuck his record-breaking goal, his first shot saved by Julio Cesar, the striker banging home the rebound while the defenders looked on.

Therein followed, in quick succession, two goals to Toni Kroos in a three-minute burst (23rd and 26th minutes) and a fifth to Sami Khedira in the 29th.

All that was left for Brazil in the second half was to save face. They tried, and it was a more even contest.

But just to rub salt in the wound German substitute Andre Schurrle came off the bench to nab the sixth in the 69th minute, popping up between Luiz and Dante to sweep home. The stand in central defender must surely have felt at this stage as if he was in all nine circles of hell simultaneously: certainly Brazil were, and their pain only intensified when Schurrle got away from the lumbering Luiz to smash a seventh in off the crossbar.

By the time Oscar pulled one back it was purely academic.

This was the tournament that, in popular myth, was going to be the World Cup where the Selecao erased the nightmare of 1950, when they were defeated at home in the final by Uruguay.

Instead they have an even bigger nightmare to deal with now. Brazil is a nation in meltdown, on the field and in the stands.

Germany march on, and in truth Joachim Loew might want to make sure he has a stiff probables v possibles match in training before Sunday (Monday AEST) – it will give his first team the sort of work out they didn’t receive here.

Asylum seeker mothers attempting suicide

A wave of attempted suicides has swept Christmas Island as 12 mothers tried to kill themselves in the belief their then-orphaned children would have to be settled in Australia.
杭州桑拿网

Fairfax Media has spoken with three independent sources who confirmed the women tried to end their lives after being told they would be taken to Nauru or Manus Island, believing their children would have a better chance of living in Australia if they were dead.

Jacob Varghese, who is a principal at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and who is representing 72 asylum seeker babies, said the mothers had become extremely distressed when told by immigration officials this week that they would never be resettled in Australia because they arrived after July 19, 2013.

Arrivals after this date will not be settled here, as enacted by Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

”We are gravely concerned about the welfare of the families on Christmas Island,” Mr Varghese said.

”We have heard from our clients there that in the last day several women have attempted suicide or harmed themselves. They are in a state of utter despair.”

Mr Varghese said his clients, many of whom have newborns, feel they are in a ”living hell”.

One woman tried to hang herself, while others starting cutting themselves with glass, he said.

”Keeping children and families on Christmas Island is monstrous,” he said. ”It is bad enough that we keep children imprisoned. But there is no sensible reason that families cannot be detained on the mainland where they would have access to the medical and welfare services they require.”

According to the Migration Act, section 4AA, children should be detained only as a last resort. Many mothers and their children have been held on the island for nearly a year, Mr Varghese said.

The president of Christmas Island Shire Council, Gordon Thompson, confirmed there had been women attempting suicide in the detention centre. ”They are saying, ‘The babies have better chance at life if I am dead,’ ” he said. ”Their thinking is that if the babies have been born in Australia, they cannot be sent anywhere else.”

A spokesman for Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison said: “It is longstanding government practice not to confirm or comment on reports of individual acts of self-harm.”

It comes as figures show numbers in offshore detention centres have risen sharply with asylum seeker children more likely to be in detention camps than adults.

Figures from the Refugee Council of Australia show nearly a quarter of children (23 per cent of 4331) in Australia’s immigration detention system are in detention centres, including 208 children in the Nauru centre.

This is in contrast to 18 per cent of adults being held in detention centres.

Figures also show many more asylum seekers are living in the community on bridging visas than in detention centres.

“The use of mandatory detention as a deterrent to people arriving by boat to seek asylum is one of the most unsuccessful of all Australian government policies,” said refugee council chief executive, Paul Power.

For help or information call Suicide Helpline Victoria on 1300 651 251 or Lifeline on 131 114, or visit beyondblue杭州后花园.au

Tour de France cobblestone stage will be ‘terrifying’, says Michael Rogers

A section of the cobblestone road cyclists will tackle during stage five of the Tour de France.Marcel Kittel wins fourth stage of TourSky’s worst fears raised by Froome crashInteractive: pull of the pelotonLille: Australian Michael Rogers predicts stage five of the Tour de France on Wednesday that passes over nine sectors of cobblestones will be “terrifying”.Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) is one of key riders who have been assigned to help Spanish Tour favourite Alberto Contador in the mountains of the Vosges, Alps and Pyrenees.But for Contador and every other contender for the overall win, concerns over the dangers of Wednesday’s 155.5km fifth stage from Ypres in Belgium to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut are at a high.And they have only increased in the last 24 hours with the prospect of rain making the total of 15.4km of cobblestones even more slippery and treacherous.Even if rain does not fall, there is every chances the cobblestone sectors, which are part of the Paris-Roubaix race course, will be even more hazardous as the rain of recent days has created a number of large pools of muddied water on them.That is the prediction of Australian cycling legend Phil Anderson who rode on the cobblestones on Tuesday with a cyclo-touring group that he is leading on the Tour.“Whatever happens, it’s going to be chaos with the water and mud already there,” Anderson said after Tuesday’s 163.5km fourth stage from Le Touquet-Paris Plage to Lille won by German Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) in a bunch sprint from Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and French champion Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr).After four stages, Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) still leads overall by two seconds from Slovakian Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Switzerland’s Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE).But the overall order is expected to undergo major reshuffle on Wednesday after the the damage of stage five is known.Rogers laughed light heartedly when told of Anderson’s off-the-cuff forecast, but he was serious when he spoke of how he and his teammates would take on stage five.“It is what it is … there is not much can do about it,” Rogers, from the ACT, said.“All we can try to do is to get to that first section [of cobblestones after 87km] in front – in the first 30 riders – and I believe it is every man for himself from then on.“It doesn’t matter if I lose 10 or 20 minutes, but it’s of utmost importance that Alberto gains time or limits his losses on some guys. It’s a terrifying stage for everyone.”No one is spared the anxiety of a stage that Australian Richie Porte (Sky) said in his Tour diary for Fairfax Media on Tuesday could be as influential as a mountain stage.For Porte and the Sky team, what is at stake was brought home to them on Tuesday when their leader, British Tour champion Chris Froome crashed after only four kilometres.Froome fell after two riders touched in the peloton, and one swerved into him.Froome sustained cuts and abrasions down his left side and injured his wrist.X-rays taken after the stage revealed no fracture to his wrist, but his injury could not have been timed worse than on the eve of a stage with cobblestones where the arms become shock absorbers to the punishment of riding over loaf-sized stones.Welshman Geraint Thomas, one of Froome’s teammates whose job will be to look after Froome on the cobblestones, said such Froome’s accident was frustrating.It is especially so, with it following three tension filled days in England where the peloton had to negotiate astonishing crowds that made racing more hazardous than usual, especially with the trend of many fans taking ‘selfies’ with their cameras.”You’re disappointed after getting through three rough days in the UK with the people and narrow roads. A crash like that after four kilometres is disappointing,” Thomas said.”It’s not ideal ahead of [Wednesday], but crashing’s part of the sport. [Froome is] tough mentally as well as physically, and he’s got a strong team to help him.”Asked about the cobblestone sectors, Thomas said: “Quite a few of the sectors have corners as well, which will just add to the carnage. Not looking forward to it.”
杭州桑拿网

Gruen transfer leaves second large hole at top of Treasury

The federal Treasury is to lose its two top officials in coming months.
杭州桑拿网

Deputy secretary David Gruen will leave to head the Bureau of Statistics. His boss, Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson, leaves in December as part of an agreement with the government to stay on until the G20 international leaders meeting in November.

The departures will leave a void at the top of the government’s chief economic adviser, along with considerably thinned ranks at the bottom.

Dr Parkinson told a Senate hearing last month that when he was appointed secretary in 2011 he had 1053 staff. He has since removed one third of them.

“That is one in three staff … without any reduction in the span of responsibilities,” he told the hearing. He said there was a risk the Treasury would “end up doing the job worse than we have in the past”.

Three weeks ago he wrote to Treasury staff saying the latest round of voluntary redundancies had fallen short and that he would need further involuntary redundancies in order to save 30 full-time salaries.

Colloquially known as the Treasury’s chief economist, Dr Gruen is equal number two in the Treasury hierarchy alongside the heads of the fiscal policy, markets, revenue and policy groups. His formal title is executive director (domestic) macro-economic group.

With then treasury secretary Ken Henry, he crafted the economic stimulus measures Kevin Rudd introduced in response to the global financial crisis.

Originally a biophysicist, he took up economics later in life and so emulated his father, Fred Gruen, who was one of the academic economists who worked as an adviser to prime minister Gough Whitlam in the 1970s.

The Bureau of Statistics has been without a chief for six months. Shortly before leaving in January, Mr Gruen’s predecessor as ABS chief, Brian Pink, warned that its capital budget was barely adequate to “keep the lights on”.

The ABS moved to cut 100 staff earlier this year and has culled many of its surveys. It is trying to conserve what money it has in order to modernise its 30-year old computer systems in order to prepare for Australia’s first predominantly on-line census in 2016.

Dr Parkinson’s departure was announced shortly after the Abbott government took office along with those of other departmental secretaries who left immediately. He was permitted to stay on until the May budget and then had then had that term extended until the conclusion of the G20.  He will not seek a further extension.

The departures provide an opportunity for the Coalition to remake the top echelon of the Treasury, although the only formal role it will have will the appointment of the Secretary.

Names mentioned as candidates include Philip Gaetjens, secretary to the NSW treasury and a former chief of staff to treasurer Peter Costello; and Peter Boxall, also a former chief of staff to Peter Costello in opposition. He ran the finance department under John Howard and headed the department of employment and workplace relations during the introduction of WorkChoices.

Other names include Mike Callaghan, head of the G20 Studies Centre at the Lowy Institute and a long-serving treasury official who was also chief of staff to Peter Costello.

Germany humiliates Brazil 7-1

Miroslav Klose of Germany celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between Brazil and Germany at Estadio Mineirao on July 8, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)Germany 7 Brazil 1
杭州桑拿网

Belo Horizonte: This was not just a humiliation, a beating, a complete and utter demolition job. It was the ritual disembowelling of a team, the deconstruction not just of a squad of footballers, but of a nation’s hopes and dreams.

Teams don’t win World Cup semi-finals 7-1. It simply doesn’t happen. Surely not in the modern day and age, But yes, it did, and it is Germany who will now head to Rio to try to win their fourth World Cup on Sunday (Monday AEST), and Brazil who must bear the shame and the ignominy, the dishonour, discomfiture and degradation of such a slaughter.

And it wasn’t as if Germany had to be particularly brilliant. They were good, of that make no mistake. But when a team wins this easily its hard to know just how good. It wasn’t as if they were scything Brazil apart with sumptuous flowing football of the kind that will leave the rest of the world looking on, breathless

But its relentlessness as it powered on and on to get to the final tally of seven had a terrible beauty about it, the total subjugation of an opponent who, before this match, seemed to think it had a divine right to be in the final.

In fact the scoreline and the poverty of the Brazilian performance distorted even the fact that this was a game in which a record for the ages was set: Miroslav Klose’s goal, Germany’s second, was his 16th in World Cups, making the 36-year-old veteran of four tournaments the record goalscorer in the history of the competition.

He and his teammates were aided and abetted by some of the worst defending ever seen in a game at this level. So simple was it for Die Nationalmannschaft that to compare it even to stealing sweets from a child’s pram is understating the ease with which Brazil was ripped asunder time and again.

Brazil left-back Marcelo, with his impetuous desire to get forward, continued to leave gaps on his side of the pitch which weren’t covered.

Marcelo of Brazil reacts after allowing a goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between Brazil and Germany at Estadio Mineirao on July 8, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

David Luiz, captain on this most notorious of days, and his centre back partner Dante, drafted in to replace suspended skipper Thiago Silva, stood immobile and unaccountable, the antithesis of what is required at the highest level.

The midfield lacked bite, the wingers rarely threatened, and Fred, the figure of fun up front? He simply lumbered as ever, in ever-less threatening positions.

Every time Germany came forward they either scored, or looked like doing so, as the Brazilians gazed, ball-watched, made half-hearted challenges or simply gave the ball away in dangerous areas.

It was like a surreal dream as Brazil first crumbled, then collapsed before finally capitulating in such a supine fashion.

If this was any other sport, one which involved a mercy rule, the contest would have been stopped – and all of Brazil would have applauded.

The players themselves looked like fighters who know that this was one bout too many, one test for which they had been overmatched. They looked as though they would have been happy to quit on their stools and throw in the towel to save themselves further punishment and the agony of another hour of futile football.

Brazil have never been convincing in this World Cup. They have had the benefit of fanatical home support, of some dubious refereeing decisions and they have ridden their luck. And they have relied on the quality of Neymar, their superstar, to create something out of nothing.

They have drawn widespread criticism for the physicality of their approach, for the lumpen nature of their play and the lack of imagination in their midfield.

Brazil has run on a high octane mix of emotion and energy, of hype and hysteria, fuelled by a fan base whipped into a frenzy by a media dreaming of the ultimate glory.

This was the day the chickens came home to roost, the day when the world saw that the Emperor had no clothes.

Thomas Mueller of Germany celebrates scoring his team’s first goal past Julio Cesar of Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between Brazil and Germany at Estadio Mineirao on July 8, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Much was made of Neymar’s absence leading into this match; fans in the stands carried cardboard cut outs of the absent striker. Captain for the day Luiz and goalkeeper Julio Cesar carried a flag bearing his name. The team arrived for the game all wearing hats bearing the legend ”Forza Neymar”.

Was too much emotional capital spent on acknowledging the team’s hero? Did the players believe they could not win without him?

Or is the truth more prosaic, that without the organising talents of the suspended Silva and his robust defensive qualities Brazil were a rabble at the back and paid the heaviest of penalties.

This wasn’t the Brazil of the earlier games in other ways, either.

The physicality of their approach was muted – it was as if all the criticism had to to them – and, after Germany scored, all the energy went out of their play.

And Germany held the key to this game. Perhaps they were the first side – even more than the excellent Colombia and Chile – who had come up against Brazil in this tournament and had not considered themselves inferior. The first team who glanced at the Brazilian team-sheet and who saw not threats and concerns but opportunities and weak links.

After taking the heat out of the Brazilian early onslaught they silenced it in the best possible fashion, with that early goal by Thomas Mueller, left completely unmarked at a corner to volley home.

The second virtually put the game beyond doubt when Klose stuck his record-breaking goal, his first shot saved by Julio Cesar, the striker banging home the rebound while the defenders looked on.

Therein followed, in quick succession, two goals to Toni Kroos in a three-minute burst (23rd and 26th minutes) and a fifth to Sami Khedira in the 29th.

All that was left for Brazil in the second half was to save face. They tried, and it was a more even contest.

David Luiz and Maicon of Brazil react after allowing a goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between Brazil and Germany at Estadio Mineirao on July 8, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

But just to rub salt in the wound German substitute Andre Schurrle came off the bench to nab the sixth in the 69th minute, popping up between Luiz and Dante to sweep home. The stand in central defender must surely have felt at this stage as if he was in all nine circles of hell simultaneously: certainly Brazil were, and their pain only intensified when Schurrle got away from the lumbering Luiz to smash a seventh in off the crossbar.

By the time Oscar pulled one back it was purely academic.

This was the tournament that, in popular myth, was going to be the World Cup where the Selecao erased the nightmare of 1950, when they were defeated at home in the final by Uruguay.

Instead they have an even bigger nightmare to deal with now. Brazil is a nation in meltdown, on the field and in the stands.

Germany march on, and in truth Joachim Loew might want to make sure he has a stiff probables v possible match in training before Sunday _ it will give his first team the sort of work out they didn’t receive here.

Expansion for Waratah Village

VILLAGE GROWN: The Waratah shopping centre, pictured, is planning a major expansion, see map.WARATAH Village shopping centre has confirmed future growth plans, with its owners acquiring more than a dozen neighbouring homes to make way for an expanded retail centre.
杭州桑拿网

The owners of the western Newcastle shopping centre, popular for its annual Christmas lights display and its 24-hour Kmart store, said though the expansion might be some time off, surrounding property was being acquired as it became available.

On the centre’s shopping list are 17 residential properties in Coolamin Road, Georgetown Road, Glenda Street, Tinonee Road and Turton Road. So far, 14 have been bought.

Centre owner Nekon Pty Ltd is now seeking to rezone the acquisitions from residential to commercial.

Centre manager Sheldon Hayden said the expansion plan had been in train for about six years, but it might take another three or four years to acquire all the properties it wanted and get the necessary approvals.

Mr Hayden said Waratah Village was a popular retail hub in the geographical centre of Newcastle and had good growth potential.

The company’s rezoning application has been lodged with Newcastle council and is on public exhibition until July 14.

Meanwhile, the retail village has become the first on mainland Australia to use power generated by on-site wind turbines.

Three turbines, each 14 metres high, were erected in the shopping centre’s car park in February. They were switched on last week and are now providing enough energy to power the centre’s car park lighting and common areas.

The wind turbines drew some concern from neighbouring residents when they were considered and approved back in 2011.

They are much smaller than the large Ausgrid turbine, which is about to be dismantled on Kooragang Island, and are considerably quieter.

Abbott axe poised to fall on carbon tax

Politics Live with Judith Ireland
杭州桑拿网

The government has edged closer to abolishing Labor’s climate change laws with a vote to axe the carbon tax set to happen as soon as Wednesday.

But as debate got under way in the Senate on Tuesday, new details of Clive Palmer’s proposed zero-dollar emissions trading scheme emerged, while motoring enthusiast Senator Ricky Muir flagged plans to punch a further $1.3 billion hole in the federal budget by trying to save the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government should achieve by the end of the week its long-cherished ambition to abolish the carbon tax, but it is increasingly clear the Palmer United Party intends to inflict maximum political chaos in the process.

In the Senate on Tuesday, Labor and the Greens attacked the government for a ”backward” step that would be condemned by future generations of Australians, while Palmer United senators, who support the tax’s abolition, moved an amendment to ensure power companies pass on to consumers the full cost savings from the removal of the carbon tax. Among its requirements, the amendment will force power companies to display the savings from the repeal of the tax in each household bill.

Debate on the repeal of the tax continued in the Senate on Tuesday evening, but a vote was not expected until Wednesday at the earliest, despite earlier fears from some Labor and Greens senators the government would try to stop the debate and bring on a vote.

The Palmer United Party was also finalising details of its emissions trading scheme on Tuesday and expects to bring an extraordinary 300-page amendment to the Senate next week.

The amendments will halt the abolition of the Climate Change Authority, allocate new money to the agency and put it in charge of monitoring climate action by Australia’s five major trading partners.

Under the Palmer plan, the ETS will lie dormant with a starting price of zero dollars. It would become active when the US, Japan, South Korea, the European Union and China are judged to have taken major action to reduce emissions on a nationwide basis.

The authority would be responsible for advising the government when that has occurred.

Fairfax Media has been told by sources in the Palmer camp that the draft amendment would not require those five to have emissions trading schemes of their own. However, this element of the amendments has not been finalised and it is understood at least one key member of the Palmer team is pushing for an ETS to be a requirement.

The ETS is likely to fail in the House of Representatives even if it passes the Senate.

But Mr Palmer has said that support for Direct Action from the PUP was contingent on government support for his ETS, potentially setting up a stand-off.

Creating further problems for the government is the move by Senator Muir, who is seeking amendments to save the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Senator Muir’s proposal seeks to block budget cuts to ARENA that are contained in the carbon tax repeal bill.

With Tom Arup

Follow us on Twitter

Sub-zero temperatures across the Hunter

Sub-zero temperatures across the Hunter Newcastle’s Megan Judd found a thick frost on her windscreen.
杭州桑拿网

Birmingham Garden’s David Hough rates this frost as the biggest in many years.

Birmingham Garden’s David Hough rates this frost as the biggest in many years.

Birmingham Garden’s David Hough rates this frost as the biggest in many years.

Birmingham Garden’s David Hough rates this frost as the biggest in many years.

Birmingham Garden’s David Hough rates this frost as the biggest in many years.

Birmingham Garden’s David Hough rates this frost as the biggest in many years.

Birmingham Garden’s David Hough rates this frost as the biggest in many years.

Birmingham Garden’s David Hough rates this frost as the biggest in many years.

Birmingham Garden’s David Hough rates this frost as the biggest in many years.

Rick Nicholson captured these frost crystals at Wallsend about 7.30am.

Rick Nicholson captured these frost crystals at Wallsend about 7.30am.

Sara Morgan captures a frosted floor at Raymond Terrace’s Riverside Park.

TweetFacebookHow was the weather at your place? Send pics to [email protected]杭州后花园m.au

Newcastle’s latest Miss Universe Australia Tegan Martin also took to social media to comment on the cold snap.

Good morning #Sydney .Missing the warm weather today ☀️. Anyone else a little cold ? #MediterraneanTan#bondiTanspic.twitter杭州后花园m/qkZKr1In4w

— Tegan Martin (@Tegan___Martin) July 8, 2014

Dozens of Herald readers shared their stories of the cold including water frozen in hoses, thick crusts of ice on horse troughs and heaters failing in the freezing conditions.

“Had to cancel a camping trip to Lake Glenbawn this week,” Phil Selman wrote.

“Thank you God!”

Rebecca Single said she recorded-4 degrees at her place in Cessnock, but things still got worse.

‘Here at Cessnock, heater just packed it in and I have an almost two-year-oldand a threeweek old to keep warm,” Ms Single wrote.

At Lake Munmorah, Kym Tomlinson-Ryan basked in a relatively balmy 12 degrees at 8am.

“[It was a] beautiful winter morning, so enjoyed a nice cuppa out on the deck in the sunshine,” Ms Tomlinson-Ryan wrote.

“Crazy that some areas were so cold and others just beautiful.”