Friends pay tribute to ‘beautiful’ Sevanah and her mother Kelly killed in Molong accident

Friends pay tribute to ‘beautiful’ Sevanah and her mother Kelly killed in Molong accident TRAGEDY: Friends gathered at the crash site and paid tribute to the deceased mother and daughter. Photo: STEVE GOSCH
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TRAGEDY: Friends gathered at the crash site and paid tribute to the deceased mother and daughter. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

TRAGEDY: Friends gathered at the crash site and paid tribute to the deceased mother and daughter. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

TRAGEDY: Friends gathered at the crash site and paid tribute to the deceased mother and daughter. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

TRAGEDY: Friends gathered at the crash site and paid tribute to the deceased mother and daughter. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

TRAGEDY: Friends gathered at the crash site and paid tribute to the deceased mother and daughter. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

TRAGEDY: Friends gathered at the crash site and paid tribute to the deceased mother and daughter. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

TRAGEDY: Friends gathered at the crash site and paid tribute to the deceased mother and daughter. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

TRAGEDY: Friends gathered at the crash site and paid tribute to the deceased mother and daughter. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

TRAGEDY: Friends gathered at the crash site and paid tribute to the deceased mother and daughter. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

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Illawarra Vietnam veteran Neil McLean robbed on Remembrance Day

Vietnam veteran Neil McLean woke up to find his caravan and shed had been ransacked. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERItwas a day to remember, but one a Vietnam veteran from Russell Vale would rather forget.
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When Neil McLean woke on Tuesday he noticed something out of the ordinary in the backyard.

The door to his caravan was open, despite being secured the night before – a discovery that turned feelings of reflection and celebration into those of utter disbelief.

“They’d smashed the lock on the caravan door and just absolutely ransacked the inside of it – pulled the guts right out of it, everything,” Mr McLean, 71, said.

“I went to my shed and they’d done the same.”

The caravan was parked about five metres from the back door of his house and Mr McLean said he “never heard a word” during the night.

“I couldn’t believe it … it’s very upsetting,” he said.

A “little bit of money” kept in the caravan, possibly about $100, was all that was taken physically, but the vandals successfully dented the veteran’s Remembrance Day.

Mr McLean’s day included a talk with children at a ceremony at the Aspect South Coast School in Corrimal.

“I did that speech but it was a little bit upsetting trying to get up there when the forensics were still at home going through everything,” Mr McLean said.

He joined the Army in 1961 and spent time with a battalion at Holsworthy before leaving for Vietnam in May 1965.

In Vietnam, he was a member of the pioneer platoon that worked with explosives.

After one year and six days he returned to Australia and later became an instructor at the Army Recruit Training Centre Kapooka, near Wagga, until he “got out” in 1970.


Six vehicles damaged in Point Piper crash

Six vehicles were damaged when a Mercedes-Benz crashed into two vehicles heading in the opposite direction before hitting a number of parked cars in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, police say.
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Remarkably no one was injured in the crash just outside Cranbrook School on New South Head Road in Point Piper about 7pm on Tuesday.

Witnesses who called triple-0 said one of the vehicles had overturned.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said a grey Mercedes A45 AMG hatchback was heading towards the city on New South Head Road when it collided with a Holden Rodeo ute and an Audi heading in the opposite direction.

The Mercedes then crashed into two other vehicles before coming to rest against the gutter.

The Holden Rodeo crashed into a vehicle heading in the same direction.

The driver of the Mercedes, a 27-year-old Pyrmont man, was given a roadside breath test and the result was negative, police said.

Police seized the Mercedes for further examination and investigations into the crash are ongoing.

No charges have been laid.

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Savers stung as banks slice term deposit interest rates

Banks have made significant cuts to their short-term deposit rates. Photo: James Davies Banks have made significant cuts to their short-term deposit rates. Photo: James Davies
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Banks have made significant cuts to their short-term deposit rates. Photo: James Davies

Banks have made significant cuts to their short-term deposit rates. Photo: James Davies

Australia’s big banks are quietly making significant cuts to the interest rates paid on term deposits, as lenders compete less keenly for household savings.

While the Reserve Bank has not moved official interest rates since August last year, new figures show interest rates across three-month, six-month and one-year term deposits have been cut in recent months.

The cuts are likely to affect pensioners and self-funded retirees in particular, as rate reductions erode the income they receive from their retirement savings.

Three-month term deposits have fallen the most, with National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ all cutting these rates by at least 20 basis points since June, almost equaling an “official” RBA reduction, figures from comparison website RateCity show.

All the major banks are now paying less than 3 per cent on a term deposit over the popular term of three months, the figures show.

Rates on six-month term deposits have also dropped 11 basis points since July, to an industry-wide average of 3.26 per cent. One-year term term deposit interest rates have fallen by a similar amount, to between 3.2 and 3.3 per cent for all of the major banks.

RateCity analyst Peter Arnold said the cuts raised the risk that savers’ funds would be “rolled over” into a product with a much lower rate when the deposit reached maturity.

“It’s less competitive than it was six months ago,” Mr Arnold said. “Savers need to make sure they don’t rollover into a lower rate.”

The Reserve Bank has also highlighted the trend, saying there was less competition for term deposit funds and this was helping to lower banks’ cost of funding.

In response to the lower rates, households are turning away from term deposits, which surged in popularity after the global financial crisis savaged retirement savings.

The total amount households have in term deposits has edged down in recent months, while billions have instead been put into transaction or “at call” bank accounts.

“Depositors have continued to move away from term deposits as the interest rates on these products continue to be less attractive in comparison to bonus saver accounts,” the RBA’s Statement on Monetary Policy said last week.

Despite this, interest rates on popular online saver accounts have not been immune from the trend. RateCity figures show these have also fallen in recent months to between 3.6 per cent and 3.82 per cent for the major banks.

Banks noted the lower deposit rates when unveiling their latest profit results, but argued this windfall was being passed on to borrowers in the form of lower mortgage rates, rather than benefiting the banks’ bottom lines.

The Reserve Bank estimates that average mortgage rates have fallen by about 15 basis points outside the official 25 basis point move since August last year, because banks are giving borrowers larger discounts off their advertised rates.

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The six main benefits from a free trade agreement with China

So, after 10 years of negotiations, just what does Australia stand to gain from inking a free trade agreement with its biggest trading partner? The China FTA, which Prime Minister Tony Abbott and President Xi Jinping are likely to sign early next week, will bring new opportunities in the Chinese market place, particularly for Australian farmers and professionals. The greatest benefits will take up to a decade to be phased in, however, and some of the biggest gains will be in areas you might least expect.  
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The China FTA will struggle to live up to hyperbolic expectations. But that’s only partly because the benefits have been oversold, particularly by people close to Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, who appear to have confused quarantine standards with trade concessions in the live cattle trade.

These are all good reasons to applaud Trade Minister Andrew Robb’s dogged pursuit of a deal with Australia’s dominant trading partner, after sealing agreements with the No.2 (Japan) and No.3 (Korea) earlier this year.

Thankfully, there are unlikely to be any of the dubious “free trade” traps that were embedded in the US FTA, such as higher prices for copyright material and pharmaceutical products, although it will pay to scrutinise any parallel changes to the controversial 457 work visa category.

The last time Australia negotiated a free trade agreement that generated this much excitement it didn’t work out so well. A decade after the Howard government touted more than $4 billion in annual benefits from the US FTA, America’s share of Australia’s exports has plummeted, by half, and the only thing that has grown by $4 billion is the bilateral trade deficit.

The sting in the tail of this agreement is unlikely to have anything to do with the fine print.

A few years from now all these gains will offset but not overcome the other economic trend coming from China: the end of a once-in-a-century resources boom.

“The short-term benefits will be quite small, certainly smaller than the loss of benefits we’ll see from declining terms of trade,” says Saul Eslake. “If it’s a good agreement, the longer term benefits will go a long way to ameliorating the decline in terms of trade.”

No matter what Mr Robb achieves in Beijing, with the price of iron ore barely more than half what it was one year ago, the net benefits of a China FTA are likely to be swamped by the consequence of plummeting prices that Chinese mills will be paying for Australian ion ore, coal and gas.

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THE MORNING GRILL: Two killed in crash at Molong

9am:That’s all we’ve got time for today. Check back tomorrow for the latest inregional news.
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In the meantime, why not take a closer look at today’s news?

DUBBO|NARROMINE|WELLINGTON|NYNGAN|LIGHTNING RIDGE|WESTERN MAGAZINE

8.50am: A coronial inquiry into the Wambelong fire near Coonabarabranthat destroyed 53 houses has heard the incident wasmarred by communication breakdowns, mistaken predictions by fire analysts, and local residents being given incorrect information.

8.40am: Want to know what’s making news in other regions? Here is a collection ofevery front page from Fairfax papers across Australia.

8.30am: Kids say the darnedest things. Check out what year 3 Gold at St John’s Catholic Primary schoolwould do if they were the mayor of Dubbo.

Year 3 Gold at St Johns Catholic Primary school

8.20am: The ICC Cricket World Cup trophy will make a trip to Dubbo as part of a regional tour before next year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

The ICC Cricket World Cup trophy

The trophy will be in Dubbo on December 2.

8.10am: In a display of the impactpeople power can have, Dubbo City Council has halted construction of a roundabout in Baird Drive after a protest.

Rebecca Boehme, Annette Webber and (front) Mathilda Boehme at the roundabout that they say is poorly-designed. Photo: GREG KEEN

The roundabout is in an awkward location at theintersection of Baird Drive, Lansdowne Drive and Bellbird Way.

Because streets are offset, the introduction of aroundabout have eliminated the right turn option from Baird Drive onto Bellbird way.

Council have announced a temporary halt to construction but say there is no guarantee theright-turn manoeuvre could be reinstated.

8am: Now a quick look at the national news:

POLITICS: There are growing concerns the federal government’s free trade agreement deal with China could do more harm than good.

POLITICS: Tony Abbott and Vladimir Putin have come face to face at APEC and talked about MH17. In case you are wondering, there was no shirtfronting.

FINANCE: Bad news for savers with the major banks cutting the interest rates paid on term deposits. Pensioners and self-funded retirees are expected to be among those worst affected.

7.50am: Customers of Myer, the Commercial Hotel and other businesses in that area should be aware that Brown’s Avenue, the entrance to the Myer car park off Brisbane Street, will be closed on 14th, 17th and 28th of November between 7am and 3.30pm.

Essential Energy is upgrading the underground power supply in that area. During those times the one way road on the northern side of the Commercial Hotel (left side if looking at it from the front)will be converted to two way.

At all other times Brown’s Lane will be open.

7.45am: The HSC is over for another year and while many students are now eagerly awaiting their HSC results and ATAR scores, they are also now able to let their hair down.

Now is the time to relax for year 12 students now their HSC commitments are over. Photo: GREG KEEN

Have a look at some photos from formals forSt Johns, the Dubbo Christian College, Dubbo College Senior Campus and Macquarie Anglican Grammar School.

7:35am: In other local news:

WELLINGTON: A competitor in the Wings Over Wellington event remains in a critical condition after a hang gliding accident.

Simon Plint was flown to Liverpool hospital after the incident on Monday.

ORANA: The crowd at yesterday’s Remembrance Day ceremonies across the region paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for Australia in war and conflict. See coverage from Dubbo, Narromineand the story of Wellington remembering one of its own World War I heroes.

NARROMINE: The relocation of the cenotaph will begin today. Yesterday’s Remembrance Day ceremonies were significant because they were the last with the cenotaph in its current location

7.20am: There has been another terrible accident on our region’s roads with two killed in a two-car collision at Molong.

Police are investigating after a Ford Laser and a Subaru Outback collided on the Euchareena Road intersection on Shades Creek Road at approximately 5pm yesterday afternoon.

A 16-year-old learner driver was driving the Laser, with her 39-year-old mother in the passenger’s seat.

They died at the scene, while the occupants of the Subaru Outback, a woman, one-year-old and a newborn baby, were not injured.

Both vehicles have been seized for mechanical examination.

Police from Canobolas Local Area Command are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and will prepare a report for the information of the Coroner.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers南京夜网.au/

7am: Good morning and happy hump day,

You’re here with Mark Rayner and if you have any news tips you would like to pass on, email me at [email protected]南京夜网.au.

Today’s Weather

DUBBO / NYNGAN / TRANGIE: It will be sunny today with light winds in the morning. Dubbo a top of 33, Nynganand Trangie 35.

COBAR / BOURKE: Also expected to be sunny with gusts of wind before easing off later in the day. Cobar a top of 35, Bourke a very warm 38.

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need2know: Weak lead from Wall St

Local stocks will have to find their own way at the opening as Wall Street fluctuates between slightly positive and slightly negative after both the Dow and S&P 500 set fresh intraday record highs.
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What you need2know:

• SPI futures down 5 pts at 5526

• AUD at 87.00 US cents

• In late trade, S&P 500 -0.1%, Dow -0.1%, Nasdaq flat

• In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%, FTSE +0.2%, CAC +0.5%, DAX +0.2%

• Spot gold up $US18.06 to $US1169.53 an ounce

• Brent oil down 76 US cents to $US81.58 per barrel

What’s on today

Australia credit/debit card lending, wage price index, lending finance, consumer confidence; US wholesale sales.

Stocks to watch

The following companies are hosting AGM’s today: Nine, Fortescue Metals Group, Commonwealth Bank, Asciano, Computershare, Aurizon.

Dulux Group is scheduled to release full-year results.

CIMB is maintaining a “reduce” rating on Commonwealth Bank and dropped its target price to $75.86 from $75.95 a share.“Relative to peers, we view CBA as more at risk from measures to cool the housing market, an increase in mortgage risk weights and a rise in ‘D-SIB’ capital targets. We still think CBA is overvalued,” it said.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has maintained an “underperform” recommendation on Scentre Group and a price objective of $3.40 a share.

Currencies

Near-zero US interest rates are too low and should make the Federal Reserve nervous, one of its top policymakers, Charles Plosser, said. In an interview with broadcaster CNBC, Plosser said that even though inflation was below the Fed’s preferred level of 2 per cent, there was no reason to keep interest rates at current crisis-era levels, especially with US unemployment now so low.

“That are many indicators that tell us rates are too low,” Plosser said. “We have been at zero for nearly six years and there is no precedent in history, even when inflation is too low, to have rates at zero when unemployment rates are as low as they are. We are really behaving in a way that is outside historical norms and that should make us nervous.”

The rouble resumed its dramatic slide on Tuesday, a day after the Russian central bank floated the currency that has been driven sharply lower by falling oil prices and economic sanctions imposed over Russia’s policy in Ukraine.

Commodities

Zinc prices rose, supported by a strike at a Peruvian mine and concerns over expected tight supplies. “The mine supply side for zinc is going to be tight next year but more recently smelter output expectations in China have become more muted. We see zinc prices averaging above $US2300 a tonne next year,” Macquarie analyst Vivienne Lloyd said.

Chile’s Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, has lowered its term premium by 3.6 per cent to $US133 a tonne for 2015 term shipments of the metal to China. The premium is in step with the Chinese spot market, where the surcharge has more than halved this year.

A subtle shift may be taking place within OPEC as it heads into its most important meeting in years as the discussion over whether it needs to cut output to defend oil revenues quietly intensifies.

United States

US stocks edged lower on Tuesday afternoon after the Dow and S&P 500 managed to touch fresh intraday records for a fifth straight session in early trading.

Among the S&P 500’s biggest percentage decliners, the stock of Juniper Networks fell 3.8 per cent, a day after the company’s chief executive resigned following a board review of his conduct in a negotiation with a customer.

The benchmark has rallied more than 9 per cent from a six-month low in October, buoyed by supportive economic data and solid corporate earnings reports. For the year, the index is up over 10 per cent. “We have come pretty far, pretty fast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the market consolidate a little, in the form of hovering around here or pulling back a little bit,” said David Lebovitz, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds in New York.

Europe

Europe’s leading stock markets have pushed higher, with traders reacting to corporate updates while keeping a watch over escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine in the absence of major economic data releases.

Vodafone shares jumped 5.4 per cent to 219.4 pence after the British mobile phone giant hiked its full-year profits forecast despite tumbling profits in the first six months of its financial year, mainly on exceptional charges.

Shares in German consumer goods group Henkel rose 4.6 per cent after it also posted better than expected quarterly earnings and raised its full-year forecast. Outside the blue chips, Germany provided further earnings support after mid-cap construction group Hochtief, controlled by Spain’s ACS, rose 2.6 per cent. It reported a 12 per cent rise in underlying third-quarter net profit, beating market expectations

What happened yesterday

Heavy falls in the biggest miners pushed the Australian sharemarket lower, as the outlook for commodity prices continued to worsen.

The benchmark S&P/ASX  200 Index and the All Ordinaries each slipped 0.1 per cent on Tuesday.

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Port Hedland tugboat strike put on hold

A last-minute intervention has held off a strike at Australia’s largest iron ore export port.
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A last-minute intervention has held off a strike at Australia’s largest iron ore export port.

A last-minute intervention has held off a strike at Australia’s largest iron ore export port.

A last-minute intervention has held off a strike at Australia’s largest iron ore export port.

Industrial action looms at Gorgon LNG project

Plans for a tugboat strike at Port Hedland on Wednesday morning have been put on hold, after an eleventh-hour intervention by the Fair Work Commission on Tuesday evening.

The four hour strike was due to begin at 6am Western Standard Time, but has been delayed by another week after the commission acted upon an application by tugboat operator Teekay Shipping.

The intervention means that iron ore exports by the likes of BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group, BC Iron and Atlas Iron can go ahead unhindered on Wednesday.

Teekay sought an intervention on the grounds that it had sent a proposed workplace agreement to the tugboat engineers, which was due to be voted upon within a week.

The proposed agreement had not been ratified by the engineers’ union, the Australian Institute of Marine Power Engineers, and does not meet the engineers demand for daily hours of work to be capped at 12 hours.

But the commission handed down interim orders late on Tuesday evening, which effectively postpones the strike for one week, to allow Teekay’s proposal to be voted on by the engineers. Aside from the one week delay, the engineers must also provide three days notice of any new strike, meaning the earliest a strike would now take place at Port Hedland appears to be November 22.

Teekay has struck new workplace agreements with the other two groups of tugboat workers in recent weeks, the deckhands and the masters, and the company wants to test the engineers’ appetite toward the proposed deal.

AIMPE spokesman Andrew Williamson said an informal poll of engineers conducted on Tuesday indicated the members remained strongly opposed to the proposed deal circulated by Teekay in recent days.

“AIMPE is campaigning vigorously for its members to reject the company’s proposed agreement,” he said.

The threat of a strike comes at a bad time for iron ore miners who are already battling depressed iron ore prices, with several smaller iron ore exporters struggling to break even during the September quarter.

The miners believe the tugboat workers are already well paid, and their demands for improved conditions are at odds with the general drive across the mining industry for austerity and improved workforce productivity.

But with shipping movements through the port reaching record highs on the back of the rising tide of iron ore exports, the tugboat workers argue they are doing more work than ever before, and often working more than 12 hours per day.

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Scandal over Ultranet shares, jobs

The Ultranet schools IT project was dumped by the Coalition government last year.Senior Victorian education department officials bought shares in and took jobs with the company given a $60 million contract to deliver the failed Ultranet schools IT project.
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The revelations will re-ignite questions over the former Labor government’s handling of the project – dumped last year by the Coalition after its cost blew out to $180 million – and come as Victoria’s anti-corruption agency continues its probe of the education department.

The shares scandal was uncovered by a secret 2010 internal education department inquiry which revealed its general manager, John Allman, had bought shares in CSG Limited before it was announced winner of the Ultranet contract in July 2009.

The internal inquiry also found two of the department’s then regional directors, Wayne Craig and Ron Lake, purchased 11,289 and 1112 CSG shares respectively after it was awarded the Ultranet contract.

Mr Lake’s assistant regional director for Loddon Mallee, Julie Baker, also bought 14,238 CSG shares in August 2009. CSG’s share registry confirms these purchases.

Fairfax Media understands the department’s former acting secretary, Jeff Rosewarne, received the findings of the internal inquiry in early 2011.

But it appears Mr Rosewarne, who also headed the Ultranet Project Board, had not acted on the inquiry’s recommendations for disciplinary action and referral of the share purchase to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission by the time he was appointed head of the Primary Industries department in August 2011.

Fairfax Media can also reveal the education department deputy secretary responsible for the Ultranet, Darrell Fraser, took an executive job with CSG in July 2011, two years after he was instrumental in giving the company its biggest-ever contract against the advice of Premier and Cabinet and Treasury.

Mr Fraser was joined at CSG six months later by another senior education bureaucrat responsible for the Ultranet, Dianne Peck.

The decision to award CSG the Ultranet contract shocked many in the education department and IT sector, with widepread concern over the Darwin-based company’s lack of experience and expertise in delivering major projects.

Victoria’s Auditor-General confirmed these concerns in December 2012, reporting “serious process and probity issues” with the Ultranet tender process, including CSG’s suspension from bidding in February 2009 only to months later re-emerge as the contract winner.

Fairfax Media can reveal that the key to CSG winning the Ultranet tender was its $5 million offer to buy a small company part-owned by a former colleague of Mr Fraser and Ms Peck’s weeks before tender process began in November 2008.

CSG bought a little-known company called Cinglevue Pty Ltd on October 17, 2008. Cinglevue was a vendor for US software giant Oracle’s educational products.

Oracle had been a partner in the Ultranet prototype trialled at Glen Waverley Secondary College, where Mr Fraser was principal and Ms Peck his assistant principal in the early 2000s.

Company records show another former Glen Waverley Secondary College staff member, Frank Aloisio, was a director and part owner of Cinglevue until its sale to CSG in October 2008.

Cinglevue’s other owners were former WA education department official-turned-Oracle executive, Greg Martin, and Perth IT businessman, Greg Tolefe.

Mr Aloisio was also a former business partner of the education department’s Ultranet project director Ben Cushing. Mr Cushing had worked at Glen Waverley under Mr Fraser and Ms Peck.

West Australian Supreme Court documents reveal that CSG paid $1.8 million for Cinglevue in October 2008 and a further $3.2 million when the Ultranet contract was signed in June 2009.

The documents refer to an “exclusive teaming agreement” between Oracle and Cinglevue to enable the Australian company to “act exclusively as the prime contractor with respect to the Ultranet tender response and the subsequent Ultranet agreement”.

In a statement, an education department spokeswoman said the department’s secretary Richard Bolt was provided with the internal inquiry into the CSG share purchases shortly after he was appointed to the role in late August 2011.

“Mr Bolt instructed his department to refer the report to ASIC and he also implemented the disciplinary actions recommended to him. In May 2012, ASIC advised the department it was not going to initiate a formal investigation,” the spokeswoman said.

Mr Allman, who is now the department’s south-east regional director, said he co-operated with the internal inquiry and accepted its recommendations.

“My decision to buy those shares was simply part of a long-term ongoing interest and was in no way on the advice of or connected with any employee of the department, past or present,” he said.

Mr Craig, whose wife is understood to have bought the shares under his and her name, declined to comment. He left the department last year and was not involved in the decision to give the Ultranet contract to CSG.

Mr Lake, who resigned as the department’s regional director for the Loddon Mallee in 2012, is now a director of schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He did not respond to Fairfax Media’s inquiries.

Ms Baker has also left the department and worked as a consultant with Mr Lake in Saudi Arabia in late 2012.

Mr Fraser and Ms Peck have left CSG and have also worked in Saudi Arabia with Mr Lake. Neither has responded to Fairfax Media’s inquiries.

Mr Cushing and several other former education department staff involved with the Ultranet have also since worked in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Rosewarne, now a director of the Catholic Education Office, declined to comment.

Announcing the signing of the Ultranet contract in July 2009, then education minister Bronwyn Pike described the tender process as “rigorous and comprehensive” and said CSG had “proven it is ready, willing and able to take on this important project.”

CSG’s education technology business was bought by Japan’s NEC in 2012.

THE ULTRANET SCANDAL

What is the Ultranet?

An intranet for Victorian government schools promised in 2006 by the then Labor government.  It was shelved by the Napthine government after costs blew out to $180 million and it had few users.

Why is IBAC investigating the Education Department over the Ultranet contract?

Senior Education Department bureaucrats bought shares in the company awarded the Ultranet contract, CSG, and two were given executive jobs at CSG.

HOW THE SCANDAL UNFOLDED

2004 

Labor government holds trial of Ultranet using software from US giant Oracle at Glen Waverley Secondary College.The college’s principal Darrell Fraser (left) joins education department as a deputy secretary.

November 2006

Labor promises Victorians it will deliver a $60.5m IT project to connect students, parents, teachers and administrators to classrooms.

August 2007

First request for tender to develop Ultranet released. All bids are over $100m so department cancels tender process and reduces project by 90 per cent. Cinglevue Pty Ltd is registered, part-owned by a former Glen Waverley SC staff member and with an exclusive deal to provide Oracle software.

October 2008  Darwin IT firm CSG Limited offers $5m to buy Cinglevue.

November 2008 Second request for tender for Ultranet begins.

February 2009 

Education Department Ultranet project board suspends CSG from bidding.

May 2009 CSG re-emerges as preferred Ultranet tenderer.

July 2009

Labor’s then education minister Bronwyn Pike announces $60.5m contract signed with CSG.

August 2010

Ultranet launched across Victoria and students given day off so teachers can get accustomed. System crashes, embarrassing government.

November 2010

Ted Baillieu leads Coalition to surprise election victory. Internal Education Department inquiry into senior officers buying shares in CSG begins.

Early 2011  Report of internal inquiry confirms four senior officers, John Allman (right), Ron Lake (far right), Wayne Craig and Julie Baker, had bought shares in CSG. Report delivered to acting education secretary Jeff Rosewarne.

June 2011 Darrell Fraser resigns as deputy secretary and takes senior executive post with CSG.

August 2011  Jeff Rosewarne (left) becomes Primary Industries Department secretary. New education secretary Richard Bolt handed report into CSG share buying. He acts on recommendations, taking disciplinary action and referring to ASIC.

January 2012 Education Department’s key Ultranet officer, Dianne Peck, joins Darrell Fraser at CSG.

May 2012  ASIC decides not to launch formal investigation into CSG share trading.

December 2012 Auditor General reports cost of Ultranet has blown out to $180m and finds serious probity issues with tender process.

June 2013  Napthine government announces taxpayer support for the Ultranet will end at the start of 2014, effectively killing the project.

Read more:Ultranet shares and jobs scandal snares Victoria’s education department Ultranet executive accused of fraudUltranet’s costly failure an education in politics and procurementUltranet IT system lined up for Catholic schoolsThreat to subpoena Victorian education chiefs over Ultranet dealUltranet’s biggest losers

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Fairfax front pages: Wednesday, November 12

Fairfax front pages: Wednesday, November 12 Central Western Daily, Orange, NSW.
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Parkes Champion-Post, Parkes, NSW.

Canowindra News, Canowindra, NSW.

Hunter Valley News, Newcastle, NSW.

Manning River Times, Taree, NSW.

The Courier, Ballarat, VIC.

The Tamworth Times, Tamworth, NSW.

Bendigo Advertiser, Bendigo, VIC.

The Area News, Griffith, NSW.

Southern Highland News, Bowral, NSW.

Beaudesert Times, Beaudesert, QLD.

Camden Haven Courier, Laurieton, NSW.

The Courier-Sun, Bellingen, NSW.

Blue Mountains Gazette, Springwood, NSW.

The Transcontinental, Port Augusta, SA.

Coastal Leader, Kingston, SA.

The Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga, NSW/VIC.

Narooma News, Narooma, NSW.

Dubbo Mailbox Shopper, Dubbo, NSW.

Northern Daily Leader, Tamworth, NSW.

Mid-Coast Observer, NSW.

Wingham Chronicle, Wingham, NSW.

Gouburn Post, Goulburn, NSW.

The Advocate, Burnie, TAS.

Eastern Riverina Chronicle, Henty, NSW.

Nyngan Observer, Nyngan, NSW.

The Advocate, Hepburn, VIC.

South Coast Register, Nowra, NSW.

The Examiner, Launceston, TAS.

Port Macquarie News, Port Macquarie, NSW.

Daily Liberal, Dubbo, NSW.

Merimbula News Weekly, Merimbula, NSW.

North West Star, Mt Isa, QLD.

The Daily Advertiser, Wagga, NSW.

The Observer, Coleambally/Darlington Point, NSW.

The Weekly, Mudgee, NSW.

Redland City Bulletin, Cleveland, QLD

Bay Post, Batemans Bay, NSW.

Yass Tribune, Yass, NSW.

Gloucester Advocate, Gloucester, NSW.

Braidwood Times, Braidwood, NSW.

Hawkesbury Gazette, Hawkesbury, NSW.

Augusta-Margaret River Mail, Margaret River, WA.

Wimmera Mail-Times, Horsham, VIC.

Northern Argus, Clare, SA.

Goondiwindi Argus, Goondiwindi, QLD.

Narromine Newsn Narromine, NSW.

Dungog Chronicle, Dungog, NSW.

Jimboomba Times, Jimboomba, QLD.

Moruya Examiner, Moruya, NSW.

The Esperance Express, Esperance, WA.

The Canberra Times, Canberra, ACT.

Tenterfield Star, Tenterfield, NSW.

Wellington Times, Wellington, NSW.

The Advertiser, Cessnock, NSW.

Cootamundra Herald, Cootamundra, NSW.

Maitland Mercury, Maitland, NSW.

Border Chronicle, Bordertown, SA.

The Flinders News, Flinders, SA.

Armidale Express Extra, Armidale, NSW.

The Leader, Wagga, NSW.

Grenfell Record, Grenfell, NSW.

The Armidale Express, Armidale, NSW.

Cowra Guardian, Cowra, NSW.

Merredin-Wheatbelt Mercury, Merredin, WA.

The Blue Mountains Review, NSW.

Avon Valley Advocate, Northam, NSW.

Western Advocate, Bathurst, NSW.

The Young Witness, Young, NSW.

Bombala Times, Bombala, NSW.

Great Lakes Advocate, Great Lakes, NSW.

The Standard, Warrnabool, VIC.

The Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga, NSW/VIC.

TweetFacebook Fairfax front pages: Wednesday, November 12Front page news across Australia, as presented by Fairfax Media publications.