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The five worst roadside litter dumping areas in NSW

A sofa that was dumped at a Newell Highway rest stop. Photo: SuppliedTwo sites along the Pacific Highway north of Sydney have been named as among the worst black spots in NSW for kerbside rubbish dumping.
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The ranking comes as the government ramps up fines for littering this Christmas, to address the state’s multi-million-dollar problem with litter along its highways.

Highway service centres and rest areas, and entrances and exits to towns, have been identified as the most common sites for rubbish dumping, with high rates recorded during holiday periods.

“The NSW government invests big dollars to try and keep our highways clean. The Pacific, Princes, Hume and Newell highways are some of the holiday roads which we spend more than $9 million on clean-up costs each year,” Roads Minister Duncan Gay said.

The top five worst dumping hotspots have been ranked, with the worst areas identified as the Pacific Highway at Ourimbah,79 kilometres from Sydney, and Lake Haven Sparks Road to Lake Haven Drive, 31 kilometres from Gosford.

This year, the two areas combined cost more than $2 million in clean-up costs.

The Hume Highway at Penrose Forest Road, Penrose, 53 kilometres from Goulburn, came in next at a cost of $1.3 million.

It was followed by the New England Highway at Goonoo Goonoo Rest Area (132 kilometres from Muswellbrook) at more than $850,000, the Newell Highway at the Marthaguy Rest Area (51 kilometres from Dubbo) at almost $650,000, while the Princes Highway at the Nungarry Rest Area (six kilometres north of Kiama) cost almost $550,000.

Mr Gay said extra resources had been put towards rubbish clean-ups over the holiday break.

Litter along NSW highways is not just bottles and food packets – large debris is also in the mix. Photo: Supplied

“You wouldn’t like it if people were dropping rubbish in your backyard, so don’t do it on our highways. We’re doing our bit, now do yours.”

He added: “If you’re getting a burger or a snack en route, it is simple; put the rubbish in the bin. Don’t be disgusting.”

The push to tackle roadside rubbish is part of the strategy to meet Premier Mike Baird’s”Premier’s priority”to reduce the state’s total litter by 40 per cent by 2020.

Last week, Environment Minister Mark Speakmanreleased a public discussion paper for a NSW container deposit scheme, which will also work towards meeting the litter target.

Fines for littering from a vehicle range from $250 for an individual and $500 for a corporation to $900 for aggravated littering, such as lit cigarette butts during extreme weather conditions.

NSW Environmental Protection Authority director Stephen Beaman said the most common items tossed on the state’s highways were items such as “cigarette butts, beverage containers [and] fast food wrappers”.

Even when a bin is provided, travellers are opting for the ground instead. Photo: Supplied

“People can now report if they see someone, usingthe Report to EPA app. They can record the time, place and region, and if the evidence is sufficient we can issue a fine.”

The citizen’s reporting app has been in place for around nine months and has resulted in a strong outcome.

“Something like 12,000 people have downloaded the app and we’ve issued about 6000 fines. In the previous year we issued around 450 fines, but now the community is our eyes and ears,” he said.

“For us, it’s about not issuing fines. The perfect outcome would be a social norm where people don’t litter.”

Mr Gay said the most frustrating thing is that motorists using highways as dumping grounds are throwing away millions of taxpayer dollars.

“We’d much rather be spending this money on other road safety, maintenance and infrastructure projects.”

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WIN and Nine strike six-month TV deal extension

BLACKOUT?: Rural and regional viewers on WIN could “fade to black” on New Year’s Day unless a deal is done by Bruce Gordon’s WIN Corp. Photo: KEN ROBERTSONRegional TV broadcaster WIN Corp has narrowly avoidedits services “going to black” on the stroke of Midnight by extending its licensing deal with Nine Entertainment for six months and hinted at a bigger tie-up between the companies.
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WIN, which is owned by Bermuda-based billionaireBruce Gordon, was facing the possibility of losing its feed from Nine. The city broadcaster wanted a bigger share of its affiliate’s advertising revenue and the existing contract was set to end at midnight tonight.

Failure to strike a deal would have left regional viewers with the limited range of programming thatWIN itself controls.Rural and regional fans of the cricket would have hadto switch over to SBS for the upcoming Tests between Australia and the West Indies as well as India.

But after tense talks at the highest levels ofboth companies on Wednesday, the partiesagreed to extend their arrangements for six months until June 2016 with Nine getting additional payments over the period.

The bigger story is the increased cooperation between the two companies that could lead to a merger, which would create a broadcasting giant worth up to $1.8 billion.

Sources close to both parties revealed to Fairfax Mediathat merger talks were on the table throughout these discussions.

“NEC and WIN have also agreed to work together on a range of opportunities relating to their content and to the mutual growth of their respective businesses,” Nine said in a statement.

“Broadcast television is evolving, but the role of the affiliate and its relationship with the local community remains important,” Nine chief executive Hugh Marks added.

WIN would be expected to keep a stake in a combined entity, but discussionsremain at anearly stage with no firm discussions aroundprice or structure. WIN’svaluehasbeen speculated at between $150million and $300 million. Nine’s marketcapitalisationis $1.6 billion.

Mr Gordon already owns a 14.95 per cent of bothNineand Network Ten.

But both parties are limited by the federal government’s “reach rule”, which prevents any one party from owning metropolitan and regional broadcasters. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to push for a scrapping of the law next year.

June 2016 is shaping up as a vital year for regional and rural TV viewers.

Ninehas held previously exploratory talks to supply its broadcast feed torival rural broadcaster Southern Cross, which currently uses Network Ten’s less popular contentin a deal that expires in June 2016.

Earlier:BRUCE Gordon’s WIN Corp, the regional TV broadcaster that reaches 25 per cent of Australian viewers, is in last-ditch talks with Nine Entertainment to stop its services from “going to black” at midnight on Thursday.

WIN is one of regional Australia’s biggest broadcasters and gets the vast majority of its content, including popular live cricket matches, from Nine in exchange for 39 per cent of its advertising revenue.

But Nine hasargued that it bears too much of the risk anddemanded a larger 49 per centshare of WIN’s ad revenues as part of a new licensing deal, warningthat it will cut off its broadcast feeds at 12:01am on New Year’s Dayif a deal is not done by then.

It is understood WIN was refusing to budge during high-level talks on Wednesday afternoon.

Failure to strike a deal would leave regional viewers with the limited range of programming thatWIN itself controls.

Rural and regional fans of the cricket would have to switch over to SBS for the upcoming Tests between Australia and the West Indies as well as India.

Sources close to both parties revealed to Fairfax Mediathat merger talks are also on the table, which would see the creation of a broadcaster worth up to $1.8 billion.

“The negotiations are ongoing and Nine are hopeful win will come to the table with something meaningful so we can move forward,” a Nine spokeswoman said.

Ninehas held previously exploratory talks to supply its broadcast feed torival rural broadcaster Southern Cross, which currently uses Network Ten’s less popular contentin a deal that expires in June 2016.

WIN would be expected to keep a stake in a combined entity, but discussionsremain at anearly stage with no firm discussions aroundprice or structure. WIN’svaluehasbeen speculated at between $150million and $300 million. Nine’s marketcapitalisationis $1.6 billion.

WIN’s Bermuda-basedbillionaire owner Mr Gordon already owns a 14.95 per cent of bothNineand Network Ten.

But both parties are limited by the Reach Rule, which prevents any one party from owning metropolitan and regional broadcasters. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to push for a scrapping of the law next year.

How much will an Uber cost you on New Year’s Eve in Canberra?

Uber’s surge pricing system means the cost of your ride could soar as more and more punters look for a way home once the clock strikes midnight. Photo: Dominic LorrimerRevellers ringing in the New Year across the capital will have an extra option to travel home thanks to Uber’s entrance into the Canberra market – but at what cost?
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Uber’s dynamic pricing system means the cost of your ride could skyrocket as more and more punters look for a way home once the clock strikes midnight.

Surge pricing is the honeypot the ride-sharing company uses to ensure there are enough drivers when demand balloons during big events and holidays like New Year’s Eve.

But how much can your ride actually blow out? That comes down to the price-elasticity algorithm the company uses to ensure there are enough drivers in areas of high demand.

An Uber insider said there’s no way of predicting how much prices will spike until the demand is there, but a surge price of more than three times the base rate was in place in parts of Sydney last year.

“The festive period is one of our busiest times of the year, as more people require transport to get to and from Christmas and New Year’s parties and events,” a spokesman for the company said.

“To help accommodate for this increase in demand, we actively encourage more driver-partners to get on the road over the festive period. This is particularly important given some of our busiest nights of the year take place in December.”

It’s not uncommon to utilise dynamic pricing – hotels and airlines do it as well – but the pricing method came under fire last year as passengers in Sydney reported being caught off guard by the rise in prices.

A $35 trip home from the Sydney CBD to Coogee cost one woman $213 with an Uber car service last New Year’s Eve.

The company maintains it takes notifying customers of current pricing seriously.

An email from Uber to its users on December 31 last year warned them fares could be over $100 at 2am, with the highest rates expected between 12.30am and 4am.

When surge pricing is in effect, a lightning bolt is displayed in affected areas.

A notification will also pop up, forcing you to accept and punch in the higher rate before it will connect you to a driver.

Those who don’t want to accept the inflated price can request notification when the surge pricing has subsided.

“My hot tip would be to book an Uber at 11.59 and lock it in before the rush, which causes prices to rise,” Uber’s general manager for Australia, David Rohrsheim told Fairfax Media on Sunday.

Despite being much cheaper than taxis, there could be one advantage to ditching your Uber this New Year’s Eve.

Maximum taxi fares are controlled by the ACT government, with a fixed rate of $2.37 per kilometre in a standard taxi between 9pm and 6am Monday to Friday and all day on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday.

Taxi drivers can also pick passengers up in Queanbeyan – despite Uber being legalised in NSW, Queanbeyan is still a blackout area due to licensing issues.

Canberra Taxi Industry Association chairman John McKeough said patrons who book a taxi online or through an app can elect to receive a phone call from a driver when they are out the front.

Taxi passengers can also choose to receive a text letting them know when their taxi is a kilometre away.

“In the city it’s going to be very busy after midnight so we ask people to be patient,” he said.

“You don’t have to accept the surge pricing – you can wait for a taxi, it’s been proven taxis are quicker anyway.

An Uber spokesman encouraged riders to always get a fare estimate, available in the app or on their website.

He also recommended users split the fare with up to four friends.

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WIN in last-ditch talks with Nine to prevent regional TV cutoff

Rural and regional viewers on WIN could “fade to black” on New Year’s Day unless a deal is done. Photo: Ken RobertsonBruce Gordon’s WIN Corp, the regional TV broadcaster that reaches 25 per cent of Australian viewers, is in last-ditch talks with Nine Entertainment to stop its services from “going to black” at midnight tonight.
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WIN is one of regional Australia’s biggest broadcasters and gets the vast majority of its content, including popular live cricket matches, from Nine in exchange for 39 per cent of its advertising revenue.

But Nine has argued that it bears too much of the risk and demanded a larger 49 per cent share of WIN’s ad revenues as part of a new licensing deal, warning that it will cut off its broadcast feeds at 12:01am on New Year’s Day if a deal is not done by then.

It is understood WIN was refusing to budge during high-level talks on Wednesday afternoon.

Failure to strike a deal would leave regional viewers with the limited range of programming that WIN itself controls. Rural and regional fans of the cricket would have to switch over to SBS for the upcoming Tests between Australia and the West Indies as well as India.

Sources close to both parties revealed to Fairfax Media that merger talks are also on the table, which would see the creation of a broadcaster worth up to $1.8 billion.

“The negotiations are ongoing and Nine are hopeful win will come to the table with something meaningful so we can move forward,” a Nine spokeswoman said.

Nine has held previously exploratory talks to supply its broadcast feed to rival rural broadcaster Southern Cross, which currently uses Network Ten’s less popular content in a deal that expires in June 2016.

WIN would be expected to keep a stake in a combined entity, but discussions remain at an early stage with no firm discussions around price or structure. WIN’s value has been speculated at between $150 million and $300 million. Nine’s market capitalisation is $1.6 billion.

WIN’s Bermuda-based billionaire owner Mr Gordon already owns a 14.95 per cent of both Nine and Network Ten.

But both parties are limited by the Reach Rule, which prevents any one party from owning metropolitan and regional broadcasters. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to push for a scrapping of the law next year.

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

Interest rates and commodity prices will shape markets again in 2016

The Reserve Bank noted that business credit growth had picked up. Photo: Louie Douvis In the commodities markets there are some mildly positive signs. Photo: Michele Mossop
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The Fed should flatten its rate-rise trajectory if US growth slows. Photo: Andrew Harrer

China’s economy is shifting towards a consumer demand-driven model.

There are many questions to be answered as the markets rally into the new year. Two of the biggest are what happens to interest rates, and what happens to commodity prices?

In mid-December, when it boosted short-term rates for the first time in almost a decade, the US Federal Reserve said it expected “gradual increases” thereafter.

The so-called “dots” that plot what members of the Fed’s rate-setting committee think will happen were not changed for 2016, however, and they chart a course that is more aggressive than the one the market has priced in. The median dot forecast is for four more quarters of a percentage point increases in 2016. Federal Funds rate futures are priced for an increase of just more than a half a percentage point over the same time.

This does not mean that the markets will throw a tantrum when the Fed announces its next rate hike, perhaps in March. A rise of almost a quarter of a percentage point in three months is basically priced in. There is potential for increasing tension during the year, however, if the Fed maintains its dot plot, and the markets decide that it should be more cautious.

After the successful launch of the new rate rise cycle in December, the gap between the dots and market prices could also close calmly, however. The Fed should flatten its rate-rise trajectory if US economic growth is slower than expected, or if inflation does not move up, as it currently predicts. If the economy does what the Fed expects, the markets should move futures prices up towards the dots.

In Australia, the Reserve Bank cut its cash rate from 2.5 per cent to 2.25 per cent in February and to 2 per cent in May. It said after its November and December meetings that an unthreatening inflation outlook might “afford scope for further easing of policy”, if it is needed.

At its current exchange rate of about US72.9¢ the Australian dollar is, however, giving more support to the economy than it was in May, when it was more than US80¢ and the Reserve Bank was saying further depreciation was “likely and necessary”.

Business credit growth also climbed out of the gutter in 2015. It grew at an unsustainably strong average rate of 19.6 per cent in 2007 before the 2008-09 global financial crisis and went negative in 2009 and 2010, after the crisis hit. It was still increasing at a rate of less than 2 per cent a year in 2013, but increased by 6.6 per cent in the year to October 2015.

The Reserve Bank noted that business credit growth had picked up when it left its cash rate at 2 per cent in December. It also said business surveys suggested a “gradual improvement” in the economy outside the resources sector. If those trends continue to build in 2016, the market will be alert for signs from the central bank that 2 per cent is as low as the cash rate goes.

In the commodities markets there are some mildly positive signs, but it is too early to tell whether prices have found a base.

The bottom of a commodity price cycle results in uneconomic production being sidelined, and there were production cuts in key commodities including iron ore, coal, oil and copper in the second half of 2015.

Iron ore production increases in the low-cost Pilbara region outweighed cuts elsewhere in that market, however, and across the resources sector companies that a year ago were producing at prices that were threatening to be loss-making stayed in business in 2015 by pulling their production costs down, extending the supply-side adjustment.

In the US shale oil belt, for example, the number of drilling rigs deployed has fallen by about two-thirds since October 2014, in the face of the oil price slump that Saudi Arabia has engineered by raising its production. The Saudi production surge was aimed at the US producers and the US market share they were winning – but US oil production is still only about 4 per cent below a high set in the first half of 2015 despite the sharp reduction in drilling activity.

There are predictions that US shale oil production will fall sharply in 2016 if oil stays at less than $US50 a barrel – West Texas Intermediate oil is about $US37.16 a barrel and has not been more than $US50 since July – but so far the US shale oil producers have been resilient.

Prices would also recover if demand for commodities picked up, but that too could be a drawn-out process.

The key market is China, and while there were some signs at the end of 2015 that its economic growth slump was bottoming, China’s economy is shifting towards a consumer demand-driven model that is less frenetic and less commodity-intensive than the heavy construction phase that preceded it. The 10 per cent-plus economic growth rate that China was achieving during the commodities boom is history, and so are the ultra-high commodity prices that accompanied it.

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Canberra’s prison bookworms favour Game of Thrones, Muhammad Ali and cookbooks

The library inside the Alexander Maconochie Centre. Photo: Jay Cronan The Hume library’s collection at the Alexander Maconochie Centre contains about 5000 items. Photo: Rohan Thomson
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The life of sporting great Muhammed Ali, the real-life hell faced by Australian soldiers during World War I and the gory violence of Game of Thrones have proved an acceptable form of escape for inmates locked inside Canberra’s jail.

ACT Corrections has shed light on the most requested books pored over by detainees at the Alexander Maconochie Centre library.

Fantasy fiction was the leading choice for male and female detainees from the Hume library’s collection of about 5000 items in 2015.

Prisoners were engrossed by American fantasy writer Peter V. Brett’s fear-laden The Painted Man, the first in The Demon Cycle series that features flesh-eating demons that rise at night and feast on humans.

The blood, power struggles and romance that fill George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones books, which inspired the hugely popular television series, were also sought-after.

As were books from Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar Saga, part of The Riftwar Cycle series, which follows an epic battle between human magicians set in the mythical worlds of Midkemia and Kelewan.

Inmates also gravitated towards fictional works with a tighter grip on reality, such as action thriller books by Australian writer Matthew Reilly and British novelist Lee Child.

Stories of real life featured prominently next to works of fiction in last year’s literary preferences.

Detainees commonly borrowed biographies and autobiographies, particularly of sports legends such as boxer Muhammed Ali, and stories of Australian history such as Gallipoli Diaries, about the Anzacs, by Jonathan King.

Yearly editions of Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, which detail bizarre items and events from around the world, were another hit.

Last year’s most popular items also included books focused on learning and practical skills for inmates who wanted to use their spare time productively.

Cookbooks were crowd-pleasers, particularly 4 Ingredients and books published by the Australian Women’s Weekly.

Inmates also favoured dictionaries, poetry books and volumes on art and drawing, such as How to Draw Animals.

Language books were well-read, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Asian languages the most favoured.

Indigenous inmates make up roughly 20 per cent of the ACT’s prisoners.

Surging detainee numbers have put significant pressure on the territory’s jail facilities in recent years and the AMC’s population reached more than 400 inmates on Christmas Day.

Detainees at the main jail and a 30-bed overflow facility at Symonston Correctional Centre can also browse regional newspapers, legal materials and magazines.

The most popular magazines in the past 12 months were motoring and science publications, including National Geographic.

Fantasy books by Raymond E. Feist and George R. R. Martin, as well as thriller novels by Lee Child, featured in last year’s favoured literary choices for Canberra’s jail inmates.

Prison memoirs had also been in demand.

Choices among the territory’s prison population appeared to differ from residents outside the jail walls, with Libraries ACT last month revealing its most borrowed book for 2015 was the thriller Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins.

That was followed by romantic comedy The Rosie Effect, a sequel to romantic comedy bestseller The Rosie Project, by Melbourne-based writer Graeme Simsion.

Journalist Annabel Crabb’s look at work-family balance in The Wife Drought, Marie Kondo’s The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organising and former prime minister Julia Gillard’s My Story rounded out the top five.

In 2010, the most borrowed book from the AMC’s then-new library was The Damage Done, the autobiography of convicted Australian drug trafficker Warren Fellows.

The book details the harsh conditions Fellows faced during 12 years in Thai prisons for his role in a heroin distribution ring.

White Lies, the musings of Damian Marrett, a former undercover officer with Victoria Police who helped bring down members of the Griffith mafia, came in at number two, followed by John Silvester and Andrew Rule’s Underbelly.

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Maeve O’Meara’s Food Safari Fire heats up world cuisines from all over Australia

Food Safari Fire presenter Maeve O’Meara.Maeve O’Meara gets so close to her subjects in her new series Food Safari Fire that she actually singed off a handful of hair.
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“We were filming a wood-fired oven in Adelaide on a really cold day,” she says. “I just needed to stand right up against that oven to get as warm as I could, and I didn’t realise but I reached up [to her head] and thought, ‘Oh my god’.

“It wasn’t the flame, it was the hot air coming up outside that oven and it very neatly gave me a very different hairstyle.”

Fortunately that was the only hazardous incident on O’Meara’s six-month journey across Australia for the 10-part series that focuses on the most primal of cooking techniques.

It’s not merely snags on the barbie – the show uses fire to link together cuisines from all over the world, from Japanese to Chinese, Mexican and beyond. Episodes are themed around topics such as street food, grilling, spit-roasting and smoking, with some of the nation’s most famous culinary faces sharing their fiery wisdom.

What is it about cooking with fire that makes it such an enticing, compelling process?

“It’s beautiful, it’s sensual and it’s challenging,” says O’Meara. “Even top chefs talk about how each time it’s different and, in a cooking sense, that’s fantastic. I also think cooking outside, you don’t feel as rule-bound as say cooking in a kitchen and being really strict on technique.

“For everyone that we filmed, men, women of all different ages, there’s some sort of DNA part that relates to fire that is deep within them and is so enjoyable.”

Marinades and cuts of meat make up only a small part of the picture. The intricacies of elements such as charcoal and different types of wood are investigated, for example. Chef Lennox Hastie from Sydney’s Firedoor demonstrates how fruit woods can be used like a spice to flavour. Elsewhere, Movida’s Frank Camorra and his parents, who moved from Spain to Australia, demonstrate the more social side of fire and invite O’Meara to their weekly family get-together in Geelong, cooking traditional Spanish dishes in a perol pan over fire.

Smoking, one of the big trends at the moment, is another subject tackled. “Smoking is really the new black in fire cooking,” says O’Meara. “Everybody is just excited by it because you’re cooking secondary cuts of meat, learning to use different flavour combinations, whether it’s a dry rub or cooking over a particular sort of charcoal, and it’s that low and slow cooking that is just about to boom here.

“The brisket and pulled pork revolution is well and truly on us and I think more and more people will want to have a taste of that and think ‘we could do this ourselves in our backyard’.”

O’Meara says 12-hour brisket is more the “advance class” of cooking, but the show does cover elements that are achievable for everybody. She says it’s possible just to do something as simple as getting a $50 barbecue from a Middle-Eastern store to use for cooking over charcoal.

O’Meara herself bought a tandoor oven from NSW potter Cameron Williams, which she says is a like a “terracotta R2D2”, and is mastering the art of cooking chicken, prawns and lamb cooked in that way.

The new series is the seventh season of Food Safari and is teamed with a book featuring techniques, information and recipes. O’Meara says she’s also going to be live tweeting while the show airs.

She says the new series carries all the hallmarks of what Food Safari fans know and love, plus a power from fire that drives it as well.

“The images are beautiful and I think that when you see drops of juice coming on to charcoal and spurts of smoke coming up, those moments are like, ‘Oh my god, I reallyneed to eat something’.

“It’s meant to be inspirational and practical, but really its strength is the people who cook and create, who are so fabulously disarming and loving what they do. Translating that to the screen is the real strength of Food Safari.”

She says her top dish is possibly Tetsuya Wakuda’s​ mackerel cooked on a small konro grill with miso and soy, but her favourite experience of the show is the people.

“I love my job and my life and I love going into people’s homes and capturing what brings them together and their culture. It’s like a great, big warm hug. Filming an extended Samoan family cooking an umu, a ground oven feast, was just something I hadn’t seen before.

“This is the suburbs of Sydney, the fact that it is there in the backyard next to you and it’s so different and interesting. It’s probably not something that everybody is going to be able to recreate but what joy to have that as part of our culinary mix in the backyards of Australia.”

WHAT Food Safari Fire

WHEN SBS, Thursday (January 7), 8pm. 

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Frances O’Connor talks about harrowing drama The Missing

Frances O’Connor, centre, and James Nesbitt, right, in the series The Missing.In The Missing, Frances O’Connor plays Emily Hughes, who faces every parent’s worst nightmare when her five-year-old son disappears on a family holiday. The stylish, chilling and highly acclaimed thriller drew a huge response when it aired in Britain and the United States, and now SBS is giving the series another look.
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The Missing had a huge impact and became a real talking point. Did you expect such a big response?

When I read the script I was just excited because I thought, ‘God, this is such a great script.’ When we were filming it, [we knew] we had something special and we worked hard to try and make it authentic, but we didn’t realise that it would have quite the reaction that it did. Friends would say I just can’t watch any more and then would call me a few months later and say I ended up binge-watching the rest of the show. I think it just disturbed a lot of people, a small child disappearing at a swimming pool. It’s something that we’ve all had moments when our children have just gone missing for 30 seconds and that feeling of panic.

Was it hard being a parent [to son Luka, 10] and doing the role?

It’s very hard to kind of not go there because you’re doing those scenes. When we were establishing it in the first couple of weeks, I did go there in terms of substituting and thinking that that could happen. But then it very quickly just started to feel real in the moment, especially with Jimmy [Nesbitt, who plays the father, Tony]. He’s so good and we really started to believe in our characters and essentially really missing Oliver, the kid. It was a tough one but the script was so good we both felt really passionate about going there.

What is the most compelling aspect in the way the story is told?

I think because it’s not linear and there are lot of different time jumps, the audience are not really spoon-fed so they’re participating in putting the information together, and so that’s very thrilling for the audience and it’s also very thrilling for us. We shot in blocks, so we shot all of 2013 first and then we went back in time to shoot the summer where the child goes missing, so it meant you had a great continuity in terms of how you played your character and the history of what they’d been through. The good thing was Jimmy and I knew each other so well by the time we got to the summer when Ollie went missing, we had a great sense of intimacy and connection because we’d done all the other work first.

What were the demands on you personally?A British tabloid reported that you’d get home and burst into tears.

I never said that! I said there were times when you’d get home, and I was talking about it in context of being away in Brussels Monday to Friday [where it was filmed], sometimes you’d be a bit teary when you’d get picked up from the train station on the Friday, but just because you missed them [her family]. I guess what I was saying is that it could be emotional, I wasn’t saying I was a nervous wreck.

Why would anyone want to watch such a harrowing subject?

I think it moves pretty quickly off the experience of being in a situation where your child is abducted and moves on to the mystery of it. A lot of it is to do with who did it, and the way that it it tells the story. It doesn’t sit with the parents for eight episodes, it moves on to other characters and explores their motives and their reality, so in that way it is palatable. They do find a way of exploring the issues without dragging the audience through the mud too much. The truth was, people were coming up to me in the schoolyard and going, oh my god, did you see yesterday’s episode, can you tell me what’s going to happen?

You received a Golden Globe nomination for your performance, how did that feel?

It was nice. We were so happy with how the show went and we got so much out of working on it. It was just nice that we all got to go to LA and get dressed up and celebrate. The show got nominated, and Jimmy should have got nominated, he was so brilliant in it, but it was just really nice. We got to have a party and a glass of champagne, it felt karmically that we had deserved it after we’d finished shooting [laughs].

The Missing airs on SBS on January 6 at 8.30pm.

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Sydney New Year’s Eve 2015: Where to see fireworks on the Harbour and beyond

Front row seat: Jose Palacios and his family wait for the fireworks at McMahons Point. Photo: Cole Bennetts People camp out at Blues Point Reserve to secure a spot ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Photo: Wolter Peeters
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Early birds have found spots both comfortable and less so in Kirribilli. Photo: Nick Moir

New Year’s Eve weather

With road closures, price hikes and plenty of competition, catching the crackers on New Year’s Eve can be a struggle for Sydneysiders. Thankfully, there are plenty of outstanding locations where you can spend the night within sight of the fireworks display – and many are nowhere near the Harbour. Families

Balmain Peninsula

Balmain and Birchgrove are always popular destinations for families. Entry is free and there is a lot of green space to spread out a picnic rug and enjoy Balmain’s village vibe. There will be numerous road closures from 3pm onwards, so buses will have free rein. Catch a 444 or 445 down Darling Street straight to Illoura Reserve, or you can take the 441 to Mort Bay Park and Birchgrove Park. All parks and reserves in the Balmain peninsula worth spreading your rug on are designated as alcohol-free areas.

Parramatta Old King’s School

Parramatta Council will host a huge free event especially tailored to families along the Parramatta River foreshore, on the grounds of the Old King’s School. Live entertainment will feature an appearance from Curious George the monkey and some rocking soul performances to keep the parents’ enthusiasm piqued. Food, rides and roving performances will ensure the party mood endures until a spectacular fireworks finale at 9pm. The celebrations start at 4pm – get there early to ensure you are not turned away if the grounds reach maximum capacity. The event is alcohol-free.

For more information see the Parramatta City website.

Brighton Le Sands

You can get the best of the fireworks and water views in Brighton Le Sands with Rockdale Council’s fireworks released off barges on Botany Bay at 9pm. The foreshore parks of Cook Park and Lady Robinsons Beach provide the perfect new year family destination with great access to toilets, public transport and plenty of green space and sand for picnickers. Brighton Le Sands foreshore parkland is alcohol and glass free.

For more information see Rockdale Council’s NYE guide. Young ones

Coogee Beach

Even if you haven’t booked tickets to any of the parties in Coogee, you can still make an event of New Year’s Eve by heading to Gordons Bay in the afternoon for a dip before making your way around the headland to Dunningham Reserve, where Coogee’s fireworks will be released at 9pm. Secure a spot on Trenerry Reserve on the southern side of the beach to get a complete view of the display, and a little distance from the night’s revelries. The Coogee Bay Hotel and Coogee Pavilion will be thumping.

For more information about the Coogee Sparkles event go to Randwick Council’s website.

Blues Point

Blues Point is a Sydney sweet spot that’s worth getting to early. Smack bang in front of the Harbour Bridge and entirely free, secure a patch of grass here and you can be sure to start off the new year very smug. Simply catch the train to North Sydney station and walk down Blues Point Road. Bring a guitar and some snacks and usher in 2016 with perfect views. Non-alcoholic drinks and food will be available on site.

Parramatta River foreshore

Parramatta is pulling out all stops to provide a New Year’s Eve event that rivals the house music and hordes of young people on Sydney Harbour. While Paramatta’s youth-oriented event on the river foreshore between Lennox Bridge and Parramatta Wharf is strictly alcohol-free, a well-curated DJ line-up, hip-hop dancers and jet-ski pyrotechnics more than makes up for it. Enjoy Parramatta’s 9pm fireworks, then head to one of the numerous bars in the area to dance away the rest of your evening.

For more information see the Parramatta City website. Seniors

Dee Why Beach

The buzzing atmosphere and stunning views at Dee Why will bring you a New Year’s Eve to boast about. Crackers will be released at 9pm off a barge, showering Dee Why’s expansive beach. There are restaurants along the Strand, or you can bring a picnic to eat on the beach as you strain the sand with your toes.

For more information see the Sydney南京夜网 website.

Westfield Miranda

Westfield Miranda features the only fireworks display in the Sutherland Shire. The Shire community has come together to make this a luxurious evening with live music and a dedicated fireworks display at 8.45pm.

For more information see the Sutherland Shire’s website.

Nield Park Oval, Five Dock

This is an old inner west favourite that is easily accessible with nearby parking, toilets and a passable view of Sydney’s fireworks. While you won’t be able to see the Harbour Bridge, the city skyline will certainly be alight, and a short walk to Rodd Point will earn you water views across Iron Cove. Catch a 436 bus to Rodd Point and bring some snacks. Couples

Campbelltown, Koshigaya Park

So you were looking forward to all the extravaganza and romance of NYE with crowds, colourful entertainment and a brilliant firework display at midnight – but you haven’t booked anything. Campbelltown’s Koshigaya Park could be your salvation. Enjoy funky DJs with adult entertainment starting from 8pm onwards, fireworks displays at 9pm and midnight, and lots of food. Share fairy floss with your loved one and take a spin on the Ferris wheel. The park is within easy walking distance from parking in Campbelltown’s CBD and Campbelltown train station.

For more information see Campbelltown Council’s website.

Woolwich Peninsula

Couples who want to nestle in greenery with a picnic and unencumbered views of Sydney Harbour would do well to make their way to Clarke’s Point Reserve near Woolwich Marina. This reserve has a rich industrial history – a short stroll around the dock will provide a pretty interlude before sundown. Leave your car in Hunters Hill and catch the 528 down Woolwich Road. Parts of the reserve are steep, so leave your heels at home.

Rowland Reserve, Bayview

Rowland Reserve is a secret hideaway from the hot mess that is Sydney on December 31. Enjoy fireworks displays at 9pm and midnight, intermingled with the sound of waves lapping on the sand of this protected bay. Yachts, dinghies and bush in the background only make Rowland Reserve more picturesque. Alcohol is prohibited. Road closures and restrictions

Sydney Harbour Bridge will be closed from 11pm to 1am. Anzac Bridge, Victoria Road and the Western Distributor will be closed from 8.30pm to 9.30pm and from 11.30pm to 1am.

There will be road closures in the CBD and other areas such as Balmain, Birchgrove, Parramatta and North Sydney. Check council websites for specific streets and times – using public transport is recommended.

Additional bus services will be travelling to and from the celebrations. Some ferry services end as early as 5.39pm, so plan your trip ahead.

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

Opal heralds end to most paper tickets for NSW public transport

Long-time transport ticket collector Noel Farr is sceptical Opal will help reduce fare evasion. Photo: Nic Walker The sale of most public transport tickets will cease in NSW on New Year’s Day. Photo: Nic Walker
Nanjing Night Net

The new year marks the end of the line for the vast majority of NSW’s magnetic-striped paper tickets for public transport.

Long a part of daily life for millions, they are about to become relegated to the collections of people such as Noel Farr, of Camperdown in Sydney’s inner west.

Mr Farr, 61, who has collected about 10,000 transport tickets since the 1970s, said the move signalled the end of an era for paper tickets.

“It is a progression. We have gone from Edmondson ticketing to the magnetic-striped tickets and now to Opal,” he said.

“If it’s an improvement in the system, I am all for it. But I am a bit doubtful that it is an improvement.”

As part of the switch to the state’s Opal electronic ticketing system, 57 types of magnetic paper tickets will no longer be sold to commuters from New Year’s Day, including MyBus Travel Ten, MyMulti Weekly and Pensioner Excursion.

Mr Farr is sceptical about suggestions Opal will help the government reduce fare evasion, because only about 16 per cent of train stations have gates.

“When they bought out paper tickets they said it would eliminate fare evasion and reduce cost,” he said. “Now they are saying that about the Opal cards. Unless you put gates on every station, it will never happen.”

However, Transport for NSW said a recent survey showed fare evasion across the state’s transport network dropped from 11 per cent in 2012 to 5.2 per cent this year. About 70 per cent of passengers pass through stations that have gates.

Another collector of NSW travel tickets, who wanted to remain anonymous to safeguard his collection, said the state risked watching history “slipping through its hands” because the concept of archiving old tickets was foreign to many in government.

Although the sale of the vast majority of tickets will end, single and return adult and concession tickets for buses, trains, ferries and light rail will still be sold as part of efforts to cater for tourists and infrequent users of public transport.

More than 4.7 million Opal cards are now in circulation in NSW. About 700,000 Gold Opal cards have been issued to pensioners, senior commuters and war widows; the card caps their fares at $2.50 a day.

The NSW government has spent $1.4 billion on the electronic ticketing system.

About 100 top-up machines for Opal cards have been installed at train stations, ferry wharves, light rail stops and major bus interchanges, and transport officials expect 350 to be in operation early next year.

The government has said it will give commuters “plenty of notice” of the final date they can use paper tickets that will no longer be sold from January 1.

Whereas tickets such as the Family Funday Sunday will become a relic of the past, fares will be capped at $2.50 for travel on Sundays for Opal card holders.

Opal also gives cardholders unlimited free trips after they have notched up eight paid journeys in a week.

At one of Australia’s largest train museums, Trainworks at Thirlmere, staff have spent the last year cataloguing a large collection of the state’s railway tickets from the past century.

It includes more than 17,000 Edmondson tickets donated by former NSW station master Ken Ames, who now lives in Tasmania.

The drawcards include nine-carat gold “life passes” issued to parliamentarians and governors-general for free journeys on the state’s public transport system.

Etched on each of the gold passes is a coat of arms and the recipient’s name.

Not everyone, however, is enamoured of paper transport tickets.

Mr Farr admits his wife, May, doesn’t share his passion for collecting thousands of tickets, including Edmondson cardboard tickets. “She doesn’t quite understand … “

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