Multiple servos sell in portfolio auction

Three service stations and a bank-leased building have sold for $14.4 million in the latest portfolio auction conducted under the banner of Cushman & Wakefield.

Cushman’s inaugural portfolio auction held across sites in Sydney and Melbourne achieved a 66 per cent clearance rate after a portfolio of three Caltex petrol stations with 15-year leases in place and a property tenanted by National Australia Bank in Wagga Wagga sold.

The largest petrol station, a 2665-square-metre facility in Mount Waverley on a busy intersection at 622-626 Blackburn Road, sold to a private investor for $4.3 million on a low 3.48 per cent yield.

The other two service stations, one in Cheltenham North, Melbourne, and the second in San Remo, NSW, sold for yields of 4.28 and 6.1 per cent respectively.

Portfolio auctions have become an industry favourite with larger agencies like Cushman and CBRE following the lead of long-term player Burgess Rawson.

CBRE’s inaugural portfolio auction in August achieved strong sales rates but a recent portfolio auction of residential development sites delivered a disappointing 50 per cent clearance rate.

The NAB building in Wagga Wagga sold for the first time in 25 years, fetched $2.31 million on a 6.72 per cent yield.

Properties that failed to sell on the day included a Cash Converters and another petrol station.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

‘Expensive, unpleasant’: School braces for defamation backlash

Kambala and its former principal Debra Kelliher will attempt to settle a defamation suit over emails about her that were circulated by teachers, to avoid the damaging publicity that would result from a hearing.

Ms Kelliher launched defamation proceedings against the Rose Bay private girls’ school and two of its teachers over an email sent by head music teacher Mark Grandison shortly after her resignation that described her three-year leadership as “tyrannical”.

Social sciences department head June Peake then forwarded the email and a chain of unflattering responses from the recipients to 200 staff.

Ms Kelliher has claimed that the attacks on her tenure have sullied her reputation to the point where she cannot find re-employment as a school principal, and is suing for special damages of up to $2 million.

Former Kambala principal Debra Kelliher. Photo: Cameron Bloom

But both parties agreed at a directions hearing in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday morning that it would be in their interests to mediate the dispute rather than air their dirty laundry in open court, if they can reach an agreement.

Justice Lucy McCallum said it was a case in which the processes of the court would be “destructive to both sides”.

“There’s not going to be any winners out of a hearing that attracts a lot of media attention, which it will,” Justice McCallum said.

Kambala’s barrister Clarissa Amato said the school’s primary concern was maintaining an “environment of excellence for the girls” and the potential for financial and other damage was considerable.

“It promises to be long, expensive and unpleasant for both sides,” Ms Amato said.

Ms Kelliher, 60, resigned as principal of Kambala in April after 80 staff signed a motion of no confidence in her leadership.

The claims and counter-claims contained in documents filed with the NSW Supreme Court contain allegations of dysfunction, bullying, name calling and malice among the senior teaching staff at the harbourside school.

According to Ms Kelliher’s statement of claim, the school’s financial position had been compromised by fraudulent activity and exorbitant expense policies, with the former principal charging the school for her jewellery, clothing and hair appointments and teachers enjoying international study tours with their spouses that held little value for the school.

She claimed the teachers who sent the emails were motivated by malice and outrage over the positive publicity she received following her resignation “and their spiteful determination to ensure that … instead she be publicly disgraced”.

Mr Grandison did not like her because she had introduced an online payment system for music tuition and rejected his request for a $300,000 Steinway piano, she claimed in the document.

Ms Peake was put out that she had received a warning letter for using an inappropriate nickname for a senior staff member and had to attend a disciplinary meeting for belittling staff and upsetting them with her “intemperate behaviour”.

But Kambala argued in its defence pleadings that to the extent the defamatory meanings were carried – that Ms Kelliher was incompetent, unethical, lacked interpersonal skills and had “waged a vicious and tyrannical campaign” against the school – they were substantially true.

Many parents had complained about her, at least 80 staff members had lost confidence in her and many teachers had left.

Ms Kelliher had a reputation among parents and staff for unethical conduct, bullying conduct, a lack of interpersonal skills and creating a culture of fear amongst the staff, the defence pleadings claim.

The matter was adjourned to November 10.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Telstra offers refunds over AFL digital screen shrinkage

Telstra’s AFL Live Pass app has been described online as a “rip-off”, “a joke” and “useless”.

Football fans have long reported various issues with the app, which allows subscribers to stream AFL matches live on mobile and tablet devices.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is alerting subscribers they may be entitled to a refund, after Telstra introduced a screen-size restriction meaning games could not be viewed on a full screen on many devices during the 2017 season.

On January 31, Telstra introduced a screen-size restriction of seven inches (17.5 centimetres) diagonally – the size of an iPhone.

The change means there is a sizeable black border surrounding the live-stream when they watch on devices such as the iPad, with matches only becoming available in full-screen mode 12 hours after the end.

Many fans were angry when they discovered the sudden change as they watched the Collingwood-Essendon practice match in February.

The ACCC said the Live Pass app was still advertised on the AFL website with images of matches appearing full-screen on tablets, with the tagline “Watch every AFL match live on mobile and tablet”.

“The ACCC was concerned that footy fans may have subscribed or renewed subscriptions to the AFL Live Pass thinking that they could continue watching live AFL matches in full-screen on a tablet, when this was not the case,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in the statement.

“Some footy fans were locked into a Telstra subscription before the screen size restriction took effect.

“When businesses make changes to the subscription terms of goods or services, customers should be clearly notified of the change so people are able to make an informed decision about whether to continue their subscription.”

Telstra has been offering refunds to annual AFL Live Pass subscribers, and those who downloaded the app on a tablet before January 31, via its Crowd Support page since August.

The refund form will be available until March 22 next year.

A short statement on Telstra’s website said: “As part of Telstra’s digital rights agreement with the AFL, the 2017 Season live match image on the Official Live App was reduced from a maximum of 11 inches to 7 inches diagonally.”

Many subscribers have reported issues with the app on Telstra’s Facebook page, including problems with logging on and using the app on a variety of devices.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Diocese rejects hall claims

UP IN ARMS: Hunter Multicultural Communities president Bob Bell with Italian Welfare Organisation President Andrea Rufo and welfare representatives outside the St Laurence O’Toole church in Broadmeadow. Picture: Marina NeilNewcastle’s Catholic diocese has hit back at claims it did not consult the community before serving an eviction notice to users of the St Laurence O’Toole church in Broadmeadow.

The Herald reported earlier this month that members of the city’s Italian community, in particular, were upset because they felt they had not been consulted before being moved out of the hall to make way for a learning centre for troubled youths.

The Italian Welfare Organisation,Hunter Multicultural Communities and the Association of Italian Pensioners of Newcastle –whose members use the Broadmeadow Road hall–said the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle signed a deed of agreement that meant the groups could use the facility until theyno longer needed it. But the diocese served an eviction notice on September 27.

A spokesman for the diocese dismissed the groups’ claim that no consultation took place before the notice was served, sayingthe claimswere “completely lacking in either fact or substance”.

He said the diocese consulted with all three groups, as well as nearby residents and St Benedict’s parishioners,before the eviction notice was served.

The spokesman said several meetings were held with group representatives,public meetings took place in March and June to consider the issue and the diocese’s plans were circulated in a letter datedMarch 31.

“In conversations with a wide range of parishioners in a variety of settings, we have been made aware that an overwhelming number of parishioners – who regularly attend mass in Broadmeadow – are in favour of the proposal,” he said.

The spokesman said the diocese was “still committed” to relocating the groups.

“The Deeds of Agreement do not promise the Italian Welfare Organisation’songoing use of the St Laurence O’Toole Centre until they no longer need it,” he said.

“Deeds with the Italian community organisations do not grant a right of occupation of premises, but deal with the sharing and funding of the facilities located in the premises.”

Australia defends Cambodian ties as crackdown continues

Prime Minister Hun Sen?? commands a 6000-strong personal bodyguard unit. Australia’s ambassador in Phnom Penh, Angela Corcoran, sings an MoU and toasts the upgrading of ties with Cambodian’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn during a ceremony in Phnom Penh on Wednesday October 18 2017

Bangkok: The Turnbull government has defended Australia’s support for the Cambodian military, even as its soldiers train to use force against civilians amid a ruthless crackdown on democracy and political freedoms.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman told Fairfax Media that defence engagement with Cambodia “remains a constructive way to deepen and maintain bilateral ties over the long term,” despite mounting evidence the country is fast sliding into a dictatorship.

A video surfaced on Facebook this week showing armed soldiers in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s 6000-strong personal bodyguard unit training to disperse civilian demonstrators with armed personnel carriers and tanks.

Pointing AK-47 assault rifles, chanting soldiers are seen charging on mobs of mock demonstrators to break them up, according to the Phnom Penh Post.

On Wednesday, Australia upgraded diplomatic ties with Cambodia in a champagne-clinking ceremony, sparking criticism that Canberra is moving closer to Mr Hun Sen at a time human rights groups are calling for donor countries to pressure his regime by imposing punitive sanctions.

Mr Hun Sen, a former commander of the murderous Khmer Rouge who defected to Vietnam, commands the bodyguard unit near his fortress-like resident outside of Phnom Penh. It bristles with sophisticated military hardware, including rocket launchers and 100 tanks.

Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh has repeatedly warned that soldiers would “smash the teeth” of protesters and side with the ruling People’s Party in any conflict.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said the military has a long record of intimidating political foes of the government and shooting down protesters on the streets.

“Why the Australian military would want to have anything to do with them is beyond understanding,” he said.

“This is a recipe for more Australian taxpayer’s money disappearing into a haze with little to show but the uncomfortable taint of close association with a serious rights abusing regime.”

The Australian Defence Cooperation Program provides wide-ranging support for the Cambodian military, including scholarships for soldiers to attend office- training courses in Australia.

The spokeswoman said the program focuses on practical engagement activities, including “training and education, maritime security cooperation, senior level dialogues and reform and professionalism of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces”.

Mr Hun Sen has claimed a US-backed conspiracy is trying to oust him after more than three decades in power, but exiled opposition leaders say he is using the claim as a pretence to silence his critics and dismantle democratic institutions.

The regime has forced the collapse of the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party, human rights and community activists are being harassed, independent media outlets have been forced to close and long-time expatriates say a climate of fear pervades in Phnom Penh at a level they have not seen for more than a decade.

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson has been charged with espionage, stoking fears among foreigners they risk being falsely accused, and could face years in jail.

Rhona Smith, the UN’s human rights envoy to Cambodia, has warned the country appears “to be approaching a precipice”.

Australia has pledged $87 million in development aid to Cambodia this year, on top $55 million it paid the regime to accept refugees from the Nauru detention centre.

Only a handful of refugees have agreed to make the journey to one of Asia’s poorest and corrupt nations.

In recent days Australia has faced growing criticism over its refusal to cut support for Myanmar’s military which is accused of committing atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

The UN has described the Rohingya crisis as ethnic cleansing and human rights groups say it amounts to crimes against humanity.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said Australia is deeply concerned about the violence, but she has refused to directly condemn the Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, or the country’s military.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.