Baird government backs down on drunk rules after Liberal donors, alcohol lobby complain

The Melbourne Cup is traditionally a high-risk period for drunkenness. Photo: Eddie Jim Plans to further restrict pubs and clubs abandoned: Tony Abbott and Mike Baird. Photo: Supplied
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The Baird government abandoned plans to force pubs and clubs to take greater responsibility for preventing drunkenness after being lobbied by industry in the weeks before the March election.

Under draft guidelines prepared by the liquor regulator, anyone approaching a venue while drinking would have been refused entry.

“High-risk” periods for drunkenness, including Australia Day, St Patrick’s Day, Melbourne Cup, Anzac Day, NRL grand finals, State of Origin and the Bathurst motor race, would also incur drink service limits.

A limit of four drinks, or one bottle of wine, could be sold at a time to one person during these periods. Shots and high-alcohol ‘ready-to-drinks’ would be banned. End of year functions would also be classified as high risk.

But at a meeting on February 4 attended by the powerful Clubs NSW, Australian Hotels Association and Restaurant and Catering Australia, the groups argued against the tough guidelines, due to start in March.

A week later on February 11, the Australian Hotels Association met with Premier Mike Baird. The meeting with Mr Baird was the day after the AHA lodged a formal submission with the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing complaining about the “draconian” guidelines. The contentious proposals were soon dropped.

Correspondence released under freedom of information law shows AHA director Paul Green opposed refusing entry to someone seen consuming liquor. He said drinking in public wasn’t illegal.

The AHA also disputed the use of Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data showing a spike in assaults during “high-risk events”.

Prominent Liberal party donor John Hart, the chief executive of Restaurant and Catering Australia, complained to OLGR in writing about the impact of the “high-risk events” classification on the restaurant peak season, which he said ran from Melbourne Cup to New Year’s Eve.

Clubs NSW chief executive Anthony Ball “strongly questioned” the high-risk restrictions, which he wrote were “inappropriate” outside of Kings Cross and the Sydney CBD Entertainment precinct.

“We are unaware of any evidence to suggest that instances of permitting intoxication in clubs are increasing,” Mr Ball wrote.

Clubs NSW signed a memorandum of understanding with the Baird government in August that commits the NSW government to recognising that “the vast majority of clubs are safe” and to instead target responsible service of alcohol policies at “unsafe venues”.

The distilled spirits industry said it was unfair to single out NRL and motor racing as being associated with intoxication, while ignoring the Sydney Writers Festival and Opera House.

The Liquor Stores Association, representing Woolworths and Coles, wrote: “Just because a person is observed consuming alcohol prior to entering a licensed premises, does not mean they are already intoxicated.”

After the lobbying, several health measures in the guidelines were also dropped, including requiring venues to promote the availability of soft drink and low-alcohol beverages.

No mention is made of high-risk events, instead, drink restrictions apply after midnight.

The Baird government committed last year to setting clear steps that licensees must take to prevent intoxication, to assist police and inspectors to make prosecutions.

But Greens MP John Kaye said the correspondence shows the proposed rules were watered down to suit the alcohol industry.

“While the Baird government talks tough on alcohol restrictions, the powerful industry lobby can still effectively rewrite its own regulations,” Mr Kaye said.

“Weakening the guidelines will expose patrons to greater risk while helping licensees avoid their obligations to not sell alcohol to intoxicated customers.”

A spokesperson for Deputy Premier Troy Grant said “a draft for consultation is not a formal government position from which we are now resiling”.

“With lockout laws, three strikes, life bans and venue closures the NSW government has a strong focus on community safety,” the spokesman said.

Mr Baird’s spokesman said the detail of any meeting listed in the Premier’s diary was confidential.

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Failure to cut medical intervention rates in childbirth

Home births are safer in some cases, British health authorities say. Photo: Louise KennerleyTowards Normal Birth: are mothers better off?
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More than 60 per cent of Sydney’s maternity hospitals have seen an increase in the number of women who have had medical intervention in childbirth over the past five years, failing to meet ambitious targets to increase intervention-free birth in the state.

And some types of intervention in birth have increased dramatically in that time, with nearly 39 per cent of first-time mums now having their labour induced, a 15 per cent increase on 2009.

But the clinical community is split over whether the failure to meet the targets is leaving women with inadequate care, or if the targets themselves are too ambitious and could have unintended negative consequences.

In Britain, the push to improve vaginal birth rates has been criticised after several high-profile deaths in hospital maternity units which were in part put down to an “over-zealous pursuit of natural childbirth at any cost”, along  with a supreme court victory for a women who claimed she was not given enough information about the risks of vaginal birth.

But Australian College of Midwives’ spokeswoman Hannah Dahlen said the British cases were caused by specific failures of care in individual hospitals, and that in NSW, the natural birth targets were achievable and best for mothers and babies.

“The cascade of intervention is having a serious effect on women’s health, and we have known for a long time about the effect on the baby’s health,” she said.

Figures from Health Statistics NSW show there appears to have been an increase in the number of women suffering from major bleeding that requires a blood transfusion after both vaginal and caesarean section, to 1.7 per cent of all births.

She said she was shocked to see the large rise in inductions.

“That is the biggest predictor of having a haemorrhage,” she said.

She said she would like to see the Towards Normal Birth policy (currently undergoing its five year review) continued, with a greater focus on preventing first-time mothers from having caesareans, which then lead to more caesareans in later pregnancies.

The most recent data shows almost all hospitals are struggling to meet the Towards Normal Birth targets, and many are going backwards.

The policy was introduced to give women more control over their births and de-medicalise delivery, and aims to increase access to midwife-led care and alternative pain relief options such as water submersion.

But only 39 per cent of hospitals for which there is a available data increased their rate of vaginal birth between 2009 and 2013, the last year for which information is available.

Private hospitals had even higher rates of intervention than public hospitals, with an average caesarean section rate of 43.5 per cent.

But the head of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Michael Permezel, said Australia’s rates of caesarean section were similar to countries overseas, and were appropriate given mothers were getting older, and had more conditions that made vaginal birth more difficult, such as excess weight or diabetes.

“We should be working towards improving our maternal obesity rate and improving control of diabetes in pregnancy,” he said. “But I don’t think the correct manner is having a dictum from above from hospital administrators saying we need to reduce your caesarean rate.”

He said as more research was done on interventions in labour, what was considered the safest or best option would change – and it would also depend on a woman’s individual preferences. He said women who were older, more well-off, and less likely to have several births so wouldn’t be at greater risk from repeat caesareans, were also more likely to have private health care, which might explain the higher caesarean rate in private care.

“Women are becoming more risk-averse. Where they previously would have tolerated risk of a difficult vaginal birth or forceps delivery or even a vaginal birth after caesarean … many women, but not all, choose a caesarean section,” he said.

And while inductions in the past were thought to increase other interventions such as caesarean section, emerging research was showing they may actually have the opposite approach.

“More overweight mothers means higher blood pressure, more diabetes, more women going overdue, and there is also very good research that shows induction of labour is appropriate in those circumstances,” he said.

Joanna Holt, the chief Executive of NSW Kids and Families, said the caesarean section rate as a whole had remained relatively stable in the five years to 2013, and was currently nearly 28 per cent in public hospitals, and the rise in maternal haemorrhages from 1.1 per cent to 1.7 per cent was too small to be considered a trend.

The decision to induce a birth was based on a number of individual factors including weight and fetal growth restriction.

“It is noted that in NSW, the percentage of mothers aged 35 years and over [24.2%] was almost twice that of the national average for 2012 [14%] which may be a contributing factor,” she said.

She said a number of local health districts had adopted policies that would give women more options about their birth, and now 12 or 15 local health districts that provided maternity services had midwife practice teams within them.

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Stars on Sunday

An interior view of Julia Roberts’ Manhattan penthouse. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au Steven Spielberg has just sold his Malibu compound in a deal worth $US26 million. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au
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The view over Manhattan from Julia Roberts’ NYC penthouse. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au

Actor Kym Wilson has taken her Pittwater retreat off the market to consider her options after a protracted sales campaign failed to find a buyer.

Records show the Elvina Bay property was first listed at the start of this year with initial hopes of $1.35 million-plus, and were raised in March to $1.85 million given stronger market feedback.

Now based in LA with her husband, Canadian screenwriter Sean O’Byrne, Wilson bought the waterfront cottage when she was only 19 with her parents Harry and Robyn, paying $435,000 in 1993. At the time its privacy made it the ideal retreat for the budding starlet and her Wheeler Heights-based family.

Weekenders on Pittwater’s western foreshore are well known for taking months, if not years to sell. McGrath’s Jillian McGrath said the water-only access to the property made it an ideal weekend getaway but the practicalities also turned off a lot of buyers. Art deco apartment home to radio legend

When radio announcer John Harper died in 1958 then premier John Cahill lamented the passing of “one of the most popular figures in Australia’s radio history”.

Indeed, the legend of Sydney’s 1920s and 1930s airwaves was also one of the best paid at the time.

Already retired in 1952 he and his wife Jean bought a three-bedroom apartment in the tightly held art deco Mayfair building.

Sixty three years later that apartment is more of a time capsule, having been beautifully maintained in pristine condition by a recently deceased family member who later inherited it.

Still featuring the apartment’s original paint scheme and timber panelled ceilings, the three-bedroom apartment on a restricted company title goes to auction on August 3 for more than $1.3 million through Ray White Elizabeth Bay’s Ian Campbell. Moving on from Malibu

Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw have sold their Malibu beachfront compound in an off-market deal worth $US26 million, according to the LA Times.latimes上海夜网m/business/realestate/hot-property/la-fi-hotprop-steven-spielberg-malibu-20150713-story.html

The two-time Oscar award winner for best director (think Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan) bought the first of the two titles on the beachfront in 1989 shortly after his divorce from first wife Amy Irving.

The adjoining block was added in 2000 totalling $US6,575,000 purchase price for the 4000-square-metre property.

Built in 1992, the seven-bedroom mansion comes with the requisite home theatre, library, pool and spa, and separate two-bedroom guest house.

The Malibu property was already a decent money spinner for Spielberg. In recent years it has been rented over the summer for $US125,000 a month before it sold recently to Beverly Hills real estate tycoon Steve Gozini. Roberts lists NY penthouse 

The original pretty woman Julia Roberts has put her redundant New York pied-a-terre up for grabs for $US4.5 million.

Roberts and husband, camera operator Danny Moder, began scaling back their property portfolio this year, listing their oceanfront Hawaiian estate, the Faye Estate, for almost $US30 million.

According to Variety, the couple have owned this Manhattan penthouse since 2010 when they bought it in an off-market deal worth $US3,845,000, shortly after she had finished filming her hit Eat Pray Love. http://variety上海夜网m/gallery/julia-roberts-lists-new-york-city-penthouse/

Set on the 11th floor of a post-war building in Greenwich Village, the three-bedroom spread comes with a spacious living area and adjoining dining room with a fireplace and glass doors that open to a terrace and city views.

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Beach scenes brought inside this Bronte home

The living area’s statement piece is a generous bespoke sofa upholstered with a robust, wipe-down yellow fabric. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au Take the floor, with a hand-woven wool Baker rug, 160 x 230cm, $485 from completepad上海夜网m. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au
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Capture a real retro feel with a macrame pot plant hanger made from knotted cord decorated with wooden beads, 700mm long, $24.95 fromblock5store.etsy上海夜网m. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au

3,16 Pacific St, Bronte This simple, yet highly detailed Hagia indoor/outdoor coffee table designed by Kenneth Cobonpue, is made from nylon with a frosted glass top. Sized at 95cm in diameter x 40cm high, it’s $1921 from kezu上海夜网m.au. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au

The China Seas collection New Batik wallpaper from boutique US wallpaper and fabric brand Quadrille is high-impact, with its bold colourway of chocolate brown and navy on a creamy white background. Just perfect for a feature wall. From ascraft上海夜网m.au.PRICE TBC Photo: domain上海夜网m.au

Thonet No.18 barstools, custom-painted, complement the state-of-the art kitchen with its Corian benchtops at 3/16 Pacific St, Bronte. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au

The striking apartment block. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au

The charming courtyard at 3/16 Pacific St, Bronte. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au

A favourite artwork is Guan Wei’s acrylic-on-canvas painting from Martin Browne Contemporary. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au

Bronte

3/16 Pacific Street

$4.5 million +

Bedrooms 3, bathrooms 2.5, parking 2

Built 2010

Inspect Thu and Sat, 10-10.30am

Auction August 15

Agent Phillips Pantzer Donnelley 0418 404337

A carefree, Palm Springs-cool vibe rocks the interiors of Amelia Hill and Andrew Salter’s two-level, sub-penthouse apartment.

Located in a minimalist building consisting of four apartments, the design by Smart Design Studio masterfully maximises the site’s panoramic views across Bronte Beach to Ben Buckler.

“Our new apartment was essentially a blank canvas and, with two young children, we wanted to introduce a bright, happy colour palette to complement the beachside setting,” Hill says.

“The open-plan living space has sliding glass ‘walls’ that transition the indoors with an outdoor terrace that we felt was reminiscent of the modernist architectural style of Palm Springs.”

Enter their friend, interior designer Bronwyn Poole of Touch Interiors who understood the glam, Palm Springs aesthetic from visits to the Californian desert city beloved of legendary Hollywood celebs. By working closely with the couple, she helped realise their vision.

The Dulux Whisper White (half-strength) walls were overlaid with luxe furniture – mostly bespoke – plus boldly-patterned soft furnishings in vibrantly playful colours and accent detailing.

“The hues are saturated to blend the outside in with turquoise, sea-green and orange used in harmony. But yellow was the defining, expressive colour,” Poole says.

To take best advantage of the large living space, Poole devised four distinct zones: besides the kitchen, there’s dining and living areas, plus a reading corner.

“It’s a beautiful place to read and soak in the view,” Hill says, adding that the Guan Wei painting hung alongside perfectly reflects the relaxed feel of Bronte Beach, just 150 metres away. “We love the whimsical beach scenes in his Play on the Beach series.”

Mirrors installed on the back dining room wall reflect the outlook, adding to the sophisticated, upbeat energy.

“It’s always summer in this apartment. The sun from the perfect north-east aspect combined with the limestone tiled floors, creates a beautiful natural warmth.”

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Love your garden: How to keep those pesky weeds under control

Hard work: Nobody enjoys weeding, but there are things you can do to reduce weeds in your garden. Photo: domain上海夜网m.auI don’t think I know a gardener who really loves to weed.  I don’t mind the results of a clean-up but I prefer other more rewarding garden jobs than weed-pulling.
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I’ve got some good news for you. There are some do’s and don’ts to minimise the success of weed seeds germinating in your garden.  Now I’m not saying you can stop the wind blowing or birds doing their business as they fly over the garden but with a little effort you can turn a big problem into a minor one.

1. It starts at the nursery. I don’t like buying plants that have weeds around the base of the pot. It usually means the plant has been in its pot for a long time and is probably pot-bound. Your new plant has been competing with those weeds for nutrients. There’s also a good chance the weeds will establish themselves in your garden too.

2.  Fill your garden beds by planting shrubs and ground covers. You will reduce the amount of sunlight weed seeds need to germinate. You very rarely see weeds popping up in plants like lomandra, liriope​ or mondo grass.

3. Try not to disturb the soil. There are always weed seeds in your soil but unless they are exposed to the sun, they won’t grow. I understand if you are planting vegies  or annual flower beds but turning the soil to remove existing weeds is just encouraging the next season’s weeds to prosper.

4. The newspaper that you’re holding is my favorite way to knock out weeds. Rip and tear out existing weeds and simply cover with a few sheets of the Herald. It’s important to wet the paper completely so that it starts to break down and will accept rain water through to the soil rather than repelling it. Cover it with mulch and it will break the cycle of weeds in the soil for a year or two. In my opinion, this is the smartest form of weed mat. It’s free and it works. I don’t like traditional weed mats as they are permanent and hard to remove after weeds get established on top of them over the years.

5. Mulch, mulch and mulch. Mulch is still the most important element for successfully reducing the impact of weeds in your garden. Organic mulches such as compost bark fines, wood chips, pea straw and lucerne are all great ways to improve your soil, keep it warm in winter and cool in summer, reduce evaporation and most importantly, suppress weeds. Combined with the newspaper technique, I find its the best line of defemce when you’re under attack from weeds.

6. I’m often asked about sprays and herbicides to remove weeds and I don’t mind using them in a commerical situation as I know they’re fast-acting and I can guarantee success. At home with my daughter Heidi and of course, Danni my dog, I try to limit them. I have used them from time to time but always and without exception, I apply them at the application rates suggested. Stronger doesn’t mean they will work better. In fact, it can work less. I like using coloured dyes with my herbicides so I can see where I’ve sprayed and I don’t overspray.

7. On paths and driveways, boiling water works really well. Next time you’ve got the kettle on, take the leftover water out to the drive and try it. By the time the water runs off the drive onto a lawn or garden its just warm water and will do no damage, only good.

I’m not saying weeding will disappear from your life but it’s a lot more fun pulling out one or two from time to time than tackling a weed-infested garden every season.

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