US mayor believes future lies with uni

Gordon Bradbery, the mayor of Wollongong with former Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy. Picture: KIRK GILMOURWollongong has many pieces of the puzzle for a successful future, it’s just a matter of putting them together.
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That’s the message from former Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy, who was widely credited with turning that city from “the most environmentally degraded city in America” to being ranked by The Economist last year as the most liveable city in America.

Mr Murphy was in Australia as a keynote speaker for the Property Council of Australia’s Property Congress in Sydney last week.

The Illawarra chapter of the council invited him to Wollongong to see how another steel city could learn from him.

After a tour of the city, Mr Murphy said Wollongong’s potential was enhanced by its natural geography and the presence of the university and Innovation Campus.

“You have the pieces. It’s a question of whether you have the political will to put it together. That’s really the challenge for you,” Mr Murphy said.

“There are a lot of towns that don’t have a strong university presence like you do, or this spectacular setting. So how do you build on that?”

One of the approaches Mr Murphy took as Pittsburgh mayor was to get the city to buy the closed-down steel mills and redevelop them into riverside parks and areas where firms including Google opted to set up.

He said that, like Pittsburgh, Wollongong seemed to be “managing decline” – knowing the steelworks was winding down but not planning what to do next.

“You’ve gone from 30,000 to 3000 people [at the steelworks] so it would seem to me that the light bulb ought to go off, that we have this jigsaw puzzle and we’re losing what was historically our major employer.

“So there’s going to be a lot of land if that mill shuts down. How do we intentionally begin to reposition our city?

“Maybe all that property becomes reused for something else. But how do you position yourself in a global economy so that somebody would want to be there?”

Two big assets are the university and Innovation Campus – but the region needs to work out how to keep the new technologies it develops in the city.

“Your universities are your biggest raw material,” he said.

“Coal was your biggest raw material at one point, but universities have the intellectual ability to drive an economy – and you have the Innovation Campus as the beginning of that.

“My sense is that you’re going to grow and commercialise some of the research, but then it’s going to move.

“I don’t know that you’ve built the infrastructure you need to grow a technology economy, so you need venture capital so a young person coming out of university with a good idea, she needs some money to commercialise that.

“If she gets the money from Sydney or California, then she’ll go to Sydney or California.

“You get a fair amount of research dollars but there’s not a focused effort to commercialise that, and to keep it here.”

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It was a good deal: Base hospital contract mired in a series of entangling decisions

SUNRAYSIA’s problems with its undersized hospital trace to a very good business deal in 2000 that has created unforeseen complications for the local community 12 years later, according to La Trobe University academic Larry O’Connor.
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The La Trobe University accountancy lecturer suggests the district’s problems began with the Kennett Coalition Government’s decision in the mid-1990s to replace the ageing, community-operated Mildura Base Hospital with a modern, privatised hospital, and were compounded when the Bracks Labor Government allowed Ramsay Health Care, which built and operated the hospital, to sell it off to the Motor Traders Association of Australia (MTAA) Superannuation Fund in 2000.

Both decisions were now complicating the Baillieu Coalition Government’s negotiations with Ramsays in relation to the company’s application, under the Mildura Base Hospital Services Agreement, to continue as the hospital’s lessee and operator beyond 2015.

He saw “nothing sinister” about Ramsays’ decision to sell the hospital to MTAA Super in 2000, after building the hospital under a public-private partnership arrangement with the former Kennett Government.

“I honestly believe both governments and Ramsay acted in good faith at the time; they just failed to think through the long-term consequences for the local community,” he said.

The deal had been a good one for the MTAA. In simple terms, the hospital facility’s lease payments, paid by the Victorian Government, provided a guaranteed revenue stream that was actually worth far more than the hospital’s value as a capital asset.

“It also made good commercial sense for Ramsay, by freeing up the large amount of capital it had invested in the hospital, which cost about $26 million to build.

“But there are always pros and cons in such decisions, both in the short and long term, so they must be carefully assessed,” Mr O’Connor said.

The community debate over the hospital’s future had become polarised, emotive and had drifted away from key issues. His recent report, “Healthy Outcomes”, sought to bring some clarity to a debate in which key facts seemed to be poorly understood.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Tuesday’s Sunraysia Daily 06/11/2012.

Mildura base debate.

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Villa Verde’s Cup day quest 

BENDIGO trainer Shaun Dwyer is confident he can start Melbourne Cup day the best way possible – by training a winner.
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Dwyer’s two-year-old filly Villa Verde is the early favourite for today’s opening race the $120,000 7News Plate (1000m).

The daughter of Not A Single Doubt couldn’t have been more impressive in winning on debut at Caulfield a fortnight ago and Dwyer expects her to be in the finish again today.

“We’ve just ticked her over. She’s only had a couple of serious gallops since her win,’’ Dwyer said yesterday.

“She’s nice and happy, eating well and working well.

“She’s a laid back filly, so she can be hard to gauge. All you can go on is her eating and her work and both of them have been fine.”

Villa Verde officially doesn’t turn two until Thursday and will go to the spelling paddock after today’s run.

“On the face of it you’d expect her to race well again,’’ Dwyer said.

“If she is ready for the paddock she’ll run fifth or sixth.

“It’s hard to tell with two-year-olds, but from what I’ve seen of my filly I’d be happy for her to run even if this was her first start.”

Villa Verde will start from barrier 14 in a field of 15 and has the services of star jockey Michael Rodd.

“Racing down the straight for the first time is a slight worry, but all the field has to do it,’’ Dwyer said.

“Michael Rodd has had a good think about it and he expects the field to angle to the left and go to the rail.

“He wants to follow them over and slot in midfield with cover somewhere. He won’t go too early on her. We’ve worked her down the middle of the course proper at Bendigo a couple of times and she hasn’t had any issues with that.’’

BIG IMPRESSION: Villa Verde will start favourite in today’s first event at Flemington. Picture: FAIRFAX

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HVTC’s new head has ‘ideal range of skills’

Hunter Valley Training Company has appointed Sharon Smith as its new CEO.
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Chairman Bob Cameron AO made the announcement after last Thursday’s board meeting at its Telarah headquarters.

Mr Cameron said Ms Smith had more than 20 years’ business experience in a broad range of roles including finance, human resources, information technology, procurement, business development, strategic planning and communications.

“Ms Smith brings the ideal range of skills and experience in business and Government that HVTC needs to ­continue with its exciting development and expansion plans,” Mr Cameron said.

Ms Smith will take up her appointment in mid December.

Her previous position was general manager business strategy and communications with Hunter Water Corporation. Prior to that, Ms Smith was general manager of finance and corporate services at the utility.

She has held the position of company secretary at Hunter Water, Hunter Water Australia and Regional Land Management Corporation.

Ms Smith said it was a wonderful opportunity to lead HVTC.

“I know the organisation is well ­positioned to prosper in the group ­training industry,” Ms Smith said.

“I look forward to working with the team to further develop quality training and education for our young people which, in turn, better supports business across the regions we serve,” she said.

Ms Smith is a non executive director and chair of the audit committee at both Hunter Development Corporation and Newcastle Grammar School.

She has a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Newcastle and post graduate qualifications in Applied Finance.

She is a graduate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Ms Smith is also an executive coach, accredited by the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership.

Hunter-based HVTC was established in 1981 and has provided employment and training to more than 18,000

people.

It has 11 offices across NSW and employs 90 staff.

perfectly suited: HVTC chairman Bob Cameron with newly ­appointed CEO Sharon Smith.

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Crane winches 300kg man from Brisbane bridge tower

A 300 kilogram man who suffered an asthma attack had to be winched from his apartment in a Brisbane tower today.The 57-year-old man, who is a resident in the Walter Taylor Bridge, between Indooroopilly and Chelmer, remains in intensive care in hospital.Police ordered the closure of the bridge just before 5pm yesterday after paramedics were called to assist the morbidly obese man, who was experiencing breathing difficulties.Taringa fire brigade station officer Steve Marmotta, who helped coordinate the rescue operation, said medicos rendered treatment at the scene but a decision was made to remove him through a third-floor window using a crane.The bridge has two towers, each with their own apartment.The man was taken to the Royal Brisbane Hospital, where he remains in a critical condition. It is believed he suffers from a number of health complaints unrelated to his obesity.”We got the call to assist the ambulance guys about 2.30pm…but being inside a bridge and given the age of the structure, there are two flights of concrete steps that were deemed too narrow and too difficult to manoeuvre a stretcher down,” Mr Marmotta told brisbanetimes南京夜网.au.”A decision was made to cut out a window in the room where the patient was and get him out and on to a crane.”It all went pretty smoothly.”Dozens of emergency crews, police, crane contractors and a council engineer took part in the rescue.Mr Marmotta said in a stroke of good fortune, the crane company had been carrying out maintenance work on the bridge at the time.”It only took about 30 or 40 minutes to get it in place which minimised the amount of time we had to close the bridge to traffic,” he said.”To us, the cost of something like this doesn’t matter. It’s about getting the patient to safety as quickly as we can.”The rescued man is known to locals as a reclusive person who has shunned the attention brought by living in the former toll bridge.The apartments in the tower are owned by Brisbane City Council.It was built using suspension cabling used in the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. brisbanetimes南京夜网.au
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