Running hot – the Australian taking 3D printing from the lab to the factory

Engineer Michael Fuller shows off the 3D printed heat exchanger he has developed for Formula One teams. Photo: Wayne TaylorWhat Michael Fuller pulls from his briefcase looks like a small piece of plumbing – like something that catches hairballs – but it may well represent a levelling of the playing field in manufacturing.
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“Because it costs the same to make here as it does in China,” he says.

Fuller’s gizmo is a heat exchanger – a device that is found in fridges, air-conditioners, power stations and, in this case, cars – and a product of 3D printing. Its internal geometry is so complex it can’t be made any other way. It’s half the weight of similar devices, significantly more efficient – and already has Silicon Valley venture capitalists keen to know more. Why?

Because the heat exchanger industry will be reportedly worth $20 billion within the next five years. So there’s that. Kerching.

For Fuller, 39, an engineer, the heat exchanger is merely “a conduit … to the bigger vision” of taking 3D printing out of the laboratory and into production. “There is this advanced manufacturing utopia we talk about, where we transition from a high labour quotient to a more productive one,” he says.

3D printing, or metal additive manufacturing, will be part of utopia, albeit as a cottage industry. “As we move to producing, say, 2000 of these a year, the price point drops to where the product is competitive.”

Fairfax Media spoke to Fuller on the eve of him leaving for Britain , to talk to former colleagues in the Formula One racing industry. His plan is to have a team bolt his heat exchanger into a high-performance car, create a bit of PR dazzle and move on from there.

The move is no less audacious than how Fuller became an engineer in the first place. He was 12 years old, racing go-karts, and telling everyone who asked that he wanted to build racing cars when he grew up. At that time the Australian Grand Prix was run in Adelaide and the family made an annual pilgrimage to see the race.

“I was a mad fan,” he says.

There were no doubt many young boys being condescended to as they voiced their racing dreams. But Fuller’s father, who was always working on car engines in the home garage – “one of my early memories is him dropping a gearbox on my hand” – took young Michael seriously. He said it was time to write letters to Formula One teams and ask their advice.

“So I write, ‘I’m 13 years old living in Australia. How can I work for you?’ Some of the teams wrote back,” he says. “One in particular laid it out: this is what you need to do.”

He needed to become a mechanic or an engineer and then volunteer to help out with race teams. Fuller found he was “too cerebral” to be a mechanic, and did a mechanical engineering degree. He then spent a year on the hyper-masculine V8 touring circuit. “It was character building,” he says. “There was an anti-engineering bias. They’d call them boffins.”

At the end of that year, 2000, literally on the day of the season’s last race, Fuller flew to Britain to break into European motorsport. At the end of his first week he was juggling three job offers. By 2008, he was working for BMW’s Formula One team in Switzerland, when word came that his father had brain cancer. Fuller returned to Melbourne, spent a terrible 14 months watching his father die, lost his brother soon after in a motorbike accident – and lost too his passion for Formula One.

He turned his focus into starting up Conflux Technology, and last year began work on his heat exchanger. Word of the project has been relatively quiet. But an interview with a technology website was spotted by Marc Andreessen, the US nerd who who coded the first web browser and co-founded Netscape.

Within 12 hours of Andreessen tweeting the link to the story, Fuller was approached by venture capital companies who have invited him to talk at a Silicon Valley conference in October.

Fuller wants to change the world. Already, the boffins – the new world’s true leaders – are wondering if maybe he’s already done it.

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Liverpool Council upsets Orthodox community by leaving pork off the menu for interfaith lunch

Macedonian community member Alex Dzepovski with a plate of traditional grilled meat and pork dish at the Europe Grill Macedonian restaurant in Newtown. Photo: Peter Rae Macedonian community member Alex Dzepovski with a plate of traditional grilled meat and pork dish at the Europe Grill Macedonian restaurant in Newtown. Photo: Peter Rae
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Macedonian community member Alex Dzepovski with a plate of traditional grilled meat and pork dish at the Europe Grill Macedonian restaurant in Newtown. Photo: Peter Rae

Macedonian community member Alex Dzepovski with a plate of traditional grilled meat and pork dish at the Europe Grill Macedonian restaurant in Newtown. Photo: Peter Rae

They were trying to be respectful and cater to all faiths when they decided on the menu for Liverpool Council’s first Christian Orthodox Interfaith lunch.

But instead of a delicious spread that would be palatable to all, a scandal has erupted that has become known locally as “porkgate” and it has the councillors and community members scrambling to defuse the furore.

It was what was not included on the menu’s menu for lunch next Sunday – pork – that has upset members of the Orthodox Macedonian community.

As the luncheon was being hosted on behalf of the Orthodox community, they wanted to eat and share their traditional dishes and that, according to author and musician Alex Dzepovski, includes pork.

Mr Dzepovski said pork is special to the Macedonian community and in historical terms played a large part in their lives under Ottoman rule. To some members of the community it had become a symbol of their survival as pork was their main meat staple for hundreds of years.

So when it was left off the menu for the Liverpool Council lunch it sparked complaints and an article in the online newsite Falanga上海夜网m.au which complained about the “discriminatory policy of the Municipality of Liverpool”.

A translation of the article said that the council was discriminating against Orthodox people (including Macedonian, Serbian, Russian and Greek Orthodox), due to the council’s current Islamic leadership.

But the office of Liverpool mayor Ned Mannoun​ has said he has no problem with pork or alcohol being served at the luncheon.

When questioned why pork was off the menu, a council spokeswoman had said that “to serve pork at such a lunch would mean that none of the Muslims in attendance could eat ANY of the food served from the kitchen where all the food is prepared. Apparently pork contaminates the food area and therefore would be insulting to our Muslim guests (or Jewish) and be completely at odds with the entire point of an interfaith lunch where we are trying to bring together people of different faiths.”

Liverpool councillor Peter Ristevski​ had foreshadowed a motion for a council meeting on Wednesday night pushing for the lunch budget to be increased so the menu can be expanded to include a traditional pork dish as a menu choice.

But a spokeswoman for the council told Fairfax Media they had relented and they would now give guests the options of pork, chicken and beef.

Two options were usually served at council functions and “because Muslims, Hindu and Jewish people don’t eat pork, we don’t normally serve it”, she said.

“This is the protocol at most levels of government for multicultural events … Council holds a large number of functions and events throughout the year and this is the first time we’ve received a complaint about the menu,” she said.

More than 14 different faiths would be represented at the lunch, she said.

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Get out of town: Check out these homes in Merimbula, Bangalow, Newcastle and Thredbo

5 Patrick Court, Merimbula has great views. Photo: Kit Goldsworthy 1 Rifle Range Road, Bangalow has undergone extensive renovations. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au
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41 Corlette Street, Newcastle is at the end of a row of terraces. Photo: Karly Silvello

3 Crackenback Drive, Thredbo is close to the skifields. Photo: domain上海夜网m.au

Merimbula 5 Patrick Court

$950,000

4 bed 2 bath 3 car

Views over Merimbula Lake, Bar Beach and as far south as Pambula Beach are the drawcard of this contemporary, architect-designed house. Glass walls in the living space and master bedroom maximise the water views by day and Merimbula below twinkles at night. Open-plan living, a gourmet kitchen, spotted gum floors and double glazing complete the picture, along with low-maintenance gardens and a 5000L rainwater tank.

Agent Merimbula Realty, 0409 139 546

Bangalow

1 Rifle Range Road

$2.85 million

5 bed 3 bath 2 car

This stylish home has come a long way from its 1903 beginnings and still retains character. A major rebuild has turned it into a light-filled modern house with a multiple-use open living space, large entertaining deck, swimming pool and a self-contained studio. The marble-wrapped kitchen has a walk-in pantry and the main bedroom has a buiIt-in four-poster bed, en suite and dressing room.

Agent Unique Estates, 0411 144 877

Newcastle

41 Corlette Street

$570,000 +

2 bed 1 bath 0 car

Sitting at the end of a row of terraces, this renovated c1900 house is close to cafes, shops and within walking distance of beaches. Set over two levels, the living and dining rooms (both with working fireplaces) are downstairs with the kitchen and a powder room, while the bedrooms and bathroom are upstairs. A rear courtyard has shed and pedestrian access.

Agent PRDnationwide Newcastle, 4926 0600

Auction August 12

Thredbo

3 Crackenback Drive

$1.59 million

3 bed 3 bath 2 car

Lightning is the name of this three-level duplex, and possibly the speed at which you’ll hit the slopes from here. It has a dual-key studio with kitchen, three living areas, a designer kitchen, living room terrace and four covered balconies. All-important drying/laundry space is in the double garage, and it’s a short level walk to the nearest run to the Valley Terminal.

Agent Mountain High RE, 0408 273 958

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GST debate explained: why the Abbott government’s talking about a tax rise no one wants

Where’s the money coming from? Australia faces a growing gulf between revenue and expenditure. Photo: James DaviesWe’ve been told we’re heading for ever-growing deficits. Is the problem with revenue or expenditure?
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Both. As a number of leading economists have said, Australia doesn’t only have a spending problem. It also has a revenue problem.

That’s because revenue that comes mainly from taxes – such as company tax – is falling as the mining boom ends and iron ore prices take a hit.

There’s greater economic uncertainty – both locally in terms of how strongly jobs will grow – and overseas with uncertainty in China and Europe.

At the same time as incoming revenue is falling, government spending on areas such as health, education, welfare and defence is rising.

Leading economist Saul Eslake has said that: “The problem we have is a long-term mismatch between what people expect government to spend on them and what they’re willing to pay in taxes.”

How much will increasing the GST to 15% raise? 

KPMG did economic modelling for CPA Australia that showed increasing the GST rate from 10 to 15 per cent leads to additional GST revenues of more than $20 billion a year.

But how much money is raised depends on whether there’s associated compensation.

Preliminary modelling that NSW Premier Mike Baird presented at this week’s COAG retreat said that lifting the GST – without broadening its base to include food and education – would raise an extra $36 billion by 2020.

And what about compensation for low-income earners?

There’s also been talk of using money that would come from a GST rise to abolish a number of inefficient state taxes, hand down personal income tax cuts, and/or provide compensation.

Mr Baird says if the GST goes up to 15 per cent households on less than $100,000 a year should be compensated.

But NATSEM’s Ben Phillips has said, if compensation’s introduced for households earning up to $100,000, “you would be compensating most households and not getting much in net terms”.

Mr Baird says after households earning below $100,000 are fully compensated for the rise, and those earning between $100,000 and $155,000 receive back half the increase, the revenue boost would be about $18 billion.

This would still fall billions of dollars short of the revenue that modelling suggests is needed to cover escalating national healthcare costs.

Is 15% high on a global scale? 

Australia’s 10 per cent GST rate – which hasn’t changed since its introduction by the Howard government in 2000 – is now half the average of the developed world, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The OECD average rate is 19.5 per cent, and it says there is scope to lift the GST rate and broaden the base to bring Australia into line with other countries.

The New Zealand government in 2010 increased its GST rate from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent.

Nordic countries, including Denmark, Hungary, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden have some of the highest value-added tax (another term for GST) rates internationally at or near 25 per cent.

Is there a plan to broaden the GST? 

The federal government’s tax white paper is examining an increase to the GST as part of a broader tax reform agenda.

Treasurer Joe Hockey has said that any changes to the GST need to be supported by the states, as they will be the beneficiaries.

While Mr Baird is supportive of increasing the rate, other state premiers – who went to state elections promising no GST change – have said they will not support an increase in the rate or broadening of the base.

Queensland and Victoria are instead advocating a 2 percentage point rise in the Medicare levy (the levy was already increased from 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent last year to pay for the National Disability Insurance Scheme).

This would mean the levy hits 4 per cent, and would push the highest marginal tax rate to 51 per cent.

It seems like the Abbott government is pushing this discussion by removing funding from health and education. Is that correct?

The states face a long-term funding shortfall as our population grows and there’s greater demand for public health and education services.

In last year’s budget the Commonwealth withdrew $80 billion in long-term funding, leaving the states unable to fund the increased demand for such services.

The recent leaders’ retreat was aimed at discussing where they can go to now.

Is there a politically palatable way to raise taxes?

The Abbott government has not yet sold the case for tax reform, and unfortunately what makes economic sense does not always make political sense.

The problem with the GST is it is considered a regressive tax. The lower your income, the higher the percentage of that income that is spent on the goods and services covered by the tax.

That means that any reform needs to be associated with compensation, and or lower personal taxes. But then as stated, there’s less revenue coming in.

Business and community stakeholders in the tax debate have said it is important that the federal government looks at the tax system as a whole, and not cherry-pick.

Rather than just increasing the GST, the government could also look at thesacred cow tax breaks – billions of dollars going to superannuation concessions and negative gearing that primarily benefit the rich. Mr Hockey and Prime Minister Tony Abbott have ruled out doing so.

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Portable and inflatable pools: experts consider the dangers

Peta Ryder of Southgate and her son Hugh enjoy the winter sun in Grafton on Saturday. Photo: Simon Hughes Three-year-old Hugh Ryder enjoys the warm weather in Grafton on Saturday with Eden Hiatt, aged two. Photo: Simon Hughes
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Comment: Carefree attitudes

Inflatable and portable children’s pools may be required to be sold with compulsory fencing to prevent backyard drownings, with some experts even floating the idea of a ban.

A draft paper by a Westmead Children’s Hospital pool safety group warns portable pools are “more dangerous than permanent pools” because many parents perceive them as less risky.

“The injury to young children caused by unfenced portable pools is too great a price to pay,” said a draft report by the swimming pool safety working group.

In addition to fencing and more public education, it also suggested a ban as another way of preventing drownings and near-drownings in the 110,000 portable pools sold annually.

The chair of the group, Professor Danny Cass, ruled out a ban on Saturday.

He described the paper obtained by Fairfax Media as a “draft of a draft”. It was mistakenly circulated to the swimming pool industry last week.

The finished paper will form part of the hospital’s submission to a major review of pool fencing being conducted by former Treasury secretary Michael Lambert.

Professor Cass said his experience was that working with industry on previous safety issues like baby walkers, trampolines and skateboards had avoided the need for regulation.

Professor Cass, who is the director of trauma at the hospital, envisaged the preferred option would be requiring portable pools to be sold with a fence, something similar to the inbuilt fencing that now surrounds trampolines.

“There is nothing that engineering can’t fix,” he said.

The draft discussion paper estimated that there are as many as 10 incidents classified as “non-fatal drownings” in portable pools a year. Health experts in the United States had noted a rise of drownings and near-drownings in unfenced portable pools of as much as 25 per cent.

Because of increased awareness of the risks associated with non-fatal drowning, more parents and ambulances were sending children who had suffered a non-fatal drowning to hospital for treatment.

Professor Cass said only 5 per cent of these children would suffer permanent and serious injury. The hospital was also beginning to track children who appeared to have fully recovered after the incident. In some cases, these children had minor concentration and behavioural problems that the hospital was studying.

Under existing pool guidelines, all pools that are capable of being filled with more than 300 millimetres of water (about the depth of the average ruler) must be surrounded by a four-sided fence, with a height of 1.2 metres above the ground. Yet many parents are unaware that portable pools also need fencing.

Professor Peter Middleton, the chair of the NSW Branch of the  Australian Resuscitation Council, said the problem with many portable and inflatable pools was that they had low sides, making them easy for kids to access.

“These pools are real danger, and we wouldn’t leave kids in a full bath of water by themselves, or even in the same room, but some parents leave them in a bath full of water in the garden.”

He said the fatality statistics hide a problem: the children who don’t die from drowning but who are left with brain damage.

Brian Owler, the president of the Australian Medical Association, said parents often had a false sense of security with portable pools because they were so easy to buy.

“People think it is just a portable pool, kids can’t drown in them, and people don’t pay as much attention as they do to properly installed pools,” said Dr Owler.

The head of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of NSW, Spiros Dassakis – a member of the working party – declined to comment until his organisation had finalised a response.

Professor Cass said nothing should overshadow the primary safety messages, which was “supervision, supervision and supervision”, the need for a gate and the importance of CPR.

He estimated that of all drownings, including those that were non-fatal, as many as half were caused by a lack of parental supervision.

Professor Cass suggested a slip-and-slide might be a safer and healthier way to cool off next summer.

“Everyone is starting to come on board, and realise that maybe a bit of plastic and a hose, and have the kids slide along, might be a little better than a plastic thing that gets algae and causes middle-ear infections or worse.”

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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.
Shanghai night field

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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