Category: rjkeanhc

Atlanta Trade Mission to Visit Montego Bay in OctoberAtlanta Trade Mission to Visit Montego Bay in October

first_imgA trade delegation from Atlanta is to visit Montego Bay in October, as part of efforts to deepen the trading relationship between the sister cities.The team, to be led by Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reid, will comprise 12 top business executives from the capital of the American state of Georgia.Mayor Reid gave the commitment for the visit during talks with the Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris on Tuesday, May 21, at Atlanta City Hall, downtown Atlanta.Mayor Harris was leading a six-person delegation to the city comprising members of the Montego Bay Parish Council, the Atlanta/Montego Bay Sister-Cities Committee, and the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.“I believe that a trade mission from Atlanta to the city of Montego Bay will be beneficial to both cities. I think the economic potential that are available in Montego Bay and Atlanta and by extension, Jamaica, is just extraordinary,” Mayor Reid said.He pointed out that the Atlanta trade delegation will be looking at various investment opportunities in Montego Bay in the areas of manufacturing, information technology, tourism, real estate, among others.Mayor Reid stated that the trade mission will coincide with the 20th Atlanta/Montego Bay Sister-Cities Health Mission in October, at which time, he will have an opportunity to see the work that is being done by the medical team.He promised to provide more support for the health mission, which has benefitted more than 50,000 Jamaicans in western parishes over its 19-year history.The Atlanta Mayor also commended the Government of Jamaica for the upgrading of the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, which is now a world class facility and said the city is willing to offer technical assistance for further improvements.Mayor Harris, in welcoming the Atlanta trade mission, said it will help to strengthen the 30-year sister cities relationship between Atlanta and Montego Bay.He requested support from his counterpart in promoting and marketing the Montego Bay Convention Centre, as well as the Catherine Hall Sports Complex, and the Trelawny Stadium in Falmouth, Trelawny.Both Mayors held discussions on a wide range of topics, including tourism, cultural and educational exchanges, strengthening the relationship of both cities, the training of firefighting personnel, improving service delivery, and solid waste management.The Montego Bay team arrived in Atlanta on Saturday, May 18, for a four-day visit at the invitation of Mayor Reid.They attended a joint sister-cities meeting, where they met with representatives of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, members of the Atlanta City Council and held discussions with the representatives of the Atlanta Solid Waste Department and representatives of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.Atlanta’s Fire Chief, Kelvin Cochran Harris, during a meeting, committed to offering specialised training in various areas of fire and rescue, in addition to establishing an exchange programme where firefighters could travel to either city for technical experience.The delegation included Secretary/Manager, St. James Parish Council, Gerald Lee; Chairman of the Civic and Community Affairs Committee, Councillor Suzette Brown; Chairman of the Atlanta/Montego Bay Sister-Cities Committee, Fred Smith; Andre Dixon and Mary Chambers from the Atlanta/Montego Bay Sister-Cities Committee; and, Personal Assistant to Mayor Harris, Cheryl Royal.Contact: Derrick A. Scottlast_img read more

CARICOM Skills Certificate Widening Access to Employment OpportunitiesCARICOM Skills Certificate Widening Access to Employment Opportunities

first_imgSkilled Jamaicans and other qualified Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals are broadening their access to employment opportunities within the region through the free movement regime.With the acquisition of a Certificate of Recognition of CARICOM Skills Qualification, which is a provision under the CARICOM (Free Movement of Skilled Persons) Act, qualified persons are able to move and work freely in another territory without the need for a work permit or permit of stay.The Act was promulgated in July 1997 in furtherance of the provisions of the 1989 Grand Anse Declaration that underpins the advancement of the Caribbean regional integration process through the creation of a CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).Since then, Jamaica has adopted legislation that provides for the movement of skilled nationals in the 10 approved categories across the region.These are university graduates, artistes, musicians, sportspersons, media workers, registered nurses with diplomas or degrees, teachers with diplomas, artisans with at least level 2 CARICOM Vocational Qualification (CVQ), holders of associate degrees, and household domestics with a CVQ level 2. The National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) is also accepted in Jamaica.Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, tells JIS News that while there have been challenges, he is of the view that a workable regime has been designed for the movement of skilled nationals.He notes that since the regime came into effect two decades ago, 16,000 Caribbean nationals have been issued with CARICOM skills certificates.These include 3,865 that originated locally, according to Director of the Work Permit Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), Lisa-Ann Grant.Ms. Grant notes that of those issued in Jamaica, 3,073 were to locals to work in other territories.Since the start of the year, 60 Jamaicans and 18 CARICOM nationals have been provided with skills certificates in Jamaica.Ms. Grant says she is proud of the work that has been done to facilitate nationals gaining employment across the region, particularly university graduates.“(As) a graduate from the university, traditionally, 20 years ago, I could only seek a job in Jamaica. Now we have a region that is no longer seeing me as Jamaican, but seeing me as CARICOM, so I can apply in a bigger space for employment,” she says.She notes, as well, that since the category of household domestics was added in 2010, it has allowed more nationals to move as there is a demand for that skill in some member states.In addition, Ms. Grant informs that persons are moving within the Sandals hotel chain throughout the region. “That’s the good thing; you’re now able to get experiences outside – a different world view,” she says.Ms. Grant points out that persons can obtain a CARICOM skills certificate without a job offer. “The skills certificate is a recognition of your skills. So, I may have a skills certificate but I may not choose to use it to move. It doesn’t change the fact that I have been so recognised as skilled,” she explains.“It’s a recognition of your skills, so it doesn’t expire. You can choose to update your skills certificate, because a unique identifier on the certificate is your passport number and for most, if not all jurisdictions, that will expire after 10 years, so you may choose to update your skills certificate with your new passport number… (or) to amend (the information) because you have a higher level of skills,” she points out.Ms. Grant further notes that once nationals have the requisite qualifications, they can apply for the skills certificate in any member state.“You are skilled, so you can be recognised in any member state. So as a Jamaican, I can apply for my skills certificate in Trinidad, Barbados, St. Lucia, Belize, in Suriname,” she points out.Explaining the process of obtaining the CARICOM skills certificate, Ms. Grant informs that nationals will first need to contact the Ministry’s 1F North Street location and indicate their intention to apply.Once the Ministry determines that such a person is eligible, he or she will be sent an application form by email, which is to be completed and returned to the Ministry along with specified documents. These are:• A certified copy of the applicant’s birth certificate.• A copy of the biodata page on the applicant’s passport, which should be signed by a Justice of the Peace.• A police report from the country in which the applicant has resided for the last three years.• Three certified passport-sized photographs.• Documents indicating a name change (marriage certificate or deed poll documents), if applicable.• A certified copy of university degree, associate degree, diploma, professional qualifications.• For employed or self-employed persons, a cover letter detailing the purpose for application.Once the certificate is issued by the competent authority, CARICOM nationals are granted a stay of six months, and during that period, they are required to submit their skills certificate to the competent authority of the host country for acceptance.“The competent authority may verify the validity of the certificate and the documentation on which it has been issued. During the period of consideration by the competent authority, the CARICOM national can work,” Ms Grant notes.For the island of Jamaica, she informs that the verification process involves persons taking in a certified copy of the skills certificate, a certified copy of the biodata page of their passport, three passport-sized pictures, and completing a simple information-gathering form at the MLSS office.“Once that is done, I will contact the member state. Once it is verified, then we will give you a letter to take to the immigration department where you will be given an unconditional stamp,” she explains.Ms. Grant stresses that legitimate, bonafide certificates can only be issued by the competent authority.For Jamaica, this is the Ministry’s 1F North Street location only.For more information, please contact: Ministry of Labour and Social Security 1F North Street Kingston. Phone: (876) 922-9500-14; Email: implementation of the CSME, including free movement of skills, is among matters that will be discussed at the 39th Regular Meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government, which will be held from July 4 to 6 in Montego Bay, St. James.The opening ceremony, along with the closing press conference will be streamed live at read more

NDP government would apply UNDRIP invest 18 billion in First Nation educationNDP government would apply UNDRIP invest 18 billion in First Nation education

first_imgAPTN National NewsENOCH, Alta.—An NDP government would invest $1.8 billion new dollars for First Nations education and ensure all federal government decision respect treaty rights, inherent rights and the principles in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the party’s leader Thomas Mulcair said Wednesday.Mulcair unveiled his party’s Indigenous issues platform at the River Cree Resort in Enoch, Alta., during an Assembly of First Nations open forum on First Nation issues.The NDP is the only party with a full platform on promises for Indigenous communities and people.The party released its northern platform Tuesday which promises to add 50 communities to the Nutrition North program, which aims to reduce the cost of health foods in Northern communities. The party is putting $32 million toward the program.The AFN invited all party leaders to the forum, but only Mulcair showed up. The Liberals sent their Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett.The NDP, which is currently trailing behind the Conservatives and Liberals in recent polls, said it would invest $1.8 billion into First Nations education over the next four years and $8.4 billion over the eight years as a result of an annual escalator.An NDP government would create a cabinet committee, chaired by the prime minister, to focus specifically on First Nation issues to ensure all government decision respect treaty rights, inherent rights and UNDRIP principles.The party re-announced its commitment to hold a public inquiry into the high number of murdered and missing Indigenous women within its first 100 days in power. The NDP is putting $50 million toward holding the inquiry.The NDP is promising $68 million to revitalize Indigenous languages and $8 million for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation which will hold Indian residential school documents and survivor testimonies gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.The party is promising to remove the two per cent funding cap on social transfers to First Nations  along with investing $375 million in new dollars targeting housing, schools and clean water over four years. The NDP is also aiming to strike a housing agreement with First Nations that could see it draw from the $2.7 billion fund the party would create for affordable housing.Infrastructure on reserves could also see a $96 million in funding over four years and $800 million over 20 years.The NDP would put $5 million a year for a suicide prevention strategy as part of a $100 million mental health innovation fund for children and youth. It will also put $20 million toward a national diabetes read more

Kenya UN reports sharp deterioration in security humanitarian situationKenya UN reports sharp deterioration in security humanitarian situation

29 January 2008The post-electoral crisis in Kenya has taken a sharp turn for the worse in recent days with violence claiming many more lives and hampering relief efforts by United Nations agencies and their partners, further worsening an already dire situation. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), at least 19 people had been killed in Naivasha on Sunday and 12 people had been killed in Nakuru yesterday, following violent massacres and the torching of houses. Nearly 700 people are believed to have been killed in the violence, which first began a few weeks ago after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga in December elections. The crisis has also forced some 255,000 to flee their homes.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Kigali earlier today that he was deeply concerned by the situation in Kenya, the mounting death toll, and the ethnic clashes. Responding to questions in a joint press conference with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Mr. Ban said he discussed the situation this morning by telephone with former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is leading the mediation effort in Kenya as part of the African Union (AU) Panel of Eminent Personalities.The Secretary-General added that he is going to meet tomorrow on recent developments in Kenya with African leaders gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the AU summit.On the humanitarian front, the worsening security situation has hindered the efforts of UN agencies and their partners to assist those affected. While the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is continuing to distribute food to displaced Kenyans and slum dwellers, the agency yesterday cancelled a new round of food distribution in the shantytowns surrounding the capital of Nairobi because of security concerns. The distribution, which began last Thursday, was targeting over 73,000 people in 13 sites around Nairobi, but only 32,400 had received aid before the distribution was stopped. WFP’s Christiane Berthiaume said the situation was “grave” in the shantytowns as most people had lost their houses as well as their work. The agency is facing a similar situation in the Rift Valley Province, where a planned food distribution to IDPs that began on Friday was also interrupted. Insecurity was also threatening the transport of food supplies, with truck drivers refusing to leave Mombasa. WFP is hoping to get security escorts for its supply convoys. There is increasing concern about the toll the violence is taking on women and children. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that between 80,000 and 100,000 children were now in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). Spokesperson Veronique Taveau told a press briefing in Geneva that despite a bad sanitary situation and a lack of clean drinking water in the camps, it was harder and harder for UNICEF teams to move about the country and to deliver emergency aid. Some schools had been able to open, and some had been set up in tents in the IDP camps, but children were not safe from the violence even there, she said, noting that schoolchildren had had to flee a temporary school in one of the camps yesterday after threats by a group of youths wielding machetes. UNICEF also reports increasing cases of sexual violence. Recently, a UNICEF protection team at a camp in the Northern Rift Valley was interviewing young women who had been raped, when a group of over a dozen men appeared, threatening the women that if they continued to testify, they and their children would be subjected to renewed sexual violence. A UNICEF representative, who reported the incident to the camp security authorities, was told “there is nothing going on in the camp. Everything is fine.”The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the worsening security situation in various parts of Kenya’s Rift Valley province has hindered access to IDPs. Yesterday, UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) called off a planned evacuation of up to 400 people from Timboroa, an area some 60 kilometres from the town of Eldoret, where some 11,000 fresh IDPs have fled following weekend attacks on their homes.“UNHCR had expected to work with IOM and other agencies to register IDPs wishing to leave the area and explain to them their options regarding evacuation,” UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond told reporters. He added that a similar evacuation of IDPs from Naivasha was also shelved for now owing to the security situation.Meanwhile, in neighbouring Uganda, where some 6,500 Kenyans have fled since the violence first erupted a month ago, the agency and its partners are continuing to relocate refugees away from border areas to a transit centre further inland in Mulanda. UNHCR is transferring relief supplies to the new transit centre, and refugees in Mulanda have been registered and provided ration cards for food, basic household commodities and other services, as well as a tent for each family. read more

ServiceLearning Resource Centre celebrates grand openingServiceLearning Resource Centre celebrates grand opening

Brock University is launching a new resource centre to help faculty and students discover learning opportunities outside the lecture hall.The Service-Learning Resource Centre, which celebrates its grand opening Tuesday, helps connect students with local events and organizations to provide them with chances to engage with the community and connect their experiences to what they learn in the classroom.Opportunities available to students include volunteering with local festivals, social justice events and service organizations. Students have also been involved in community greening projects at local schools and extra-curricular alternative reading week programs in which they can travel and volunteer internationally.The centre will also support faculty in their efforts to build courses that incorporate community engagement and experiential learning.“Brock has a strong commitment to Niagara and our community partners. The Service-Learning Resource Centre is already connecting community partners with different departments on campus,” said Sandy Howe, service-learning co-ordinator. “It’s our hope that exciting partnerships continue forming and current ones are strengthened as a result of having a central location on campus for these connections to happen.”The grand opening drop-in event happens Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Service-Learning Resource Centre, located in Learning Commons room 226. Opening speeches start at 1:30 p.m. Please RSVP to Howe at if you plan to attend. read more

Stock markets commodities surge amid optimism debt crisis can be avertedStock markets commodities surge amid optimism debt crisis can be averted

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press Posted Nov 20, 2012 2:35 am MDT Stock markets, commodities surge amid optimism debt crisis can be averted TORONTO – North American stock markets were in rally mode Monday as traders felt that cool heads will prevail and American politicians can come together to agree on a budget deal by the end of next month.Without such a deal, the U.S. risks going over a so-called fiscal cliff and into recession as the economy would suffer a severe shock from a combination of automatic spending cuts and the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts.The S&P/TSX composite index jumped 162.68 points to 12,040.4, while the TSX Venture Exchange gained 14.62 points to 1,249.96.The Canadian dollar closed up 0.44 of a cent to 100.34 cents US.U.S. indexes surged with the Dow Jones industrials running up 207.65 points to 12,795.96, the Nasdaq climbed 62.94 points to 2,916.07 and the S&P 500 index was ahead 27.01 points to 1,386.89.Fiscal cliff concerns started to ease Friday afternoon following a meeting between congressional leaders and U.S. President Barack Obama, with both Republicans and Democrats striking a more conciliatory stance.And on Sunday, Obama said: “I am confident we can get our fiscal situation dealt with.”While there is still room for plenty of disappointment in resolving this potential crisis, markets were on the lookout for anything positive out of the negotiations.But analysts said more than just reassuring words will be needed.“Rhetoric only goes so far and so the market will now need to wait,” said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer, BMO Harris Private Banking.“This is a pretty slow week with U.S. Thanksgiving so it’s more a question of what’s the timeline, how long will it take for the story to be (written) on this current episode on discussions related to the fiscal cliff. If we don’t get it right, that will be very poor for markets.”Markets finished positive on Friday but prior to that, the TSX had tumbled 3.9 per cent since the election Nov. 6 as a U.S. economic shock would impact economies around the world. A sudden slowing of economic growth would be bad news for a resource heavy market like Toronto, since a lessening of demand for oil and metals would put pressure on mining and energy stocks.Meanwhile, the Dow industrial average has fallen five per cent as investors worry about higher dividend, capital gains and payroll taxes.On the TSX, the telecom sector was in focus after BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) and Astral Media Inc. (TSX:ACM.A) said they are submitting a new acquisition proposal to the CRTC, saying they’ve found ways to address the regulator’s concerns over the level of ownership concentration in some markets. The CRTC recently rejected the original $3.4-billion proposal for Bell Canada’s parent to buy the Montreal-based radio, television and media company. BCE shares gained two cents to $42.01 while Astral shares climbed $1.38 or 3.1 per cent to $45.78.The tech sector was the leading gainer, up 2.23 per cent as Open Text (TSX:OTC) rose $1.82 to $55.17 while Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM) climbed 36 cents to $9.59.The gold sector climbed about two per cent while December bullion gained $19.70 to US$1,734.40 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) was ahead 89 cents to C$40.61 while Centerra Gold (TSX:CG) climbed 46 cents to $9.54.The energy sector was right behind, up 1.77 per cent as oil prices gained ground for a second day on worries that oil supplies could be disrupted if the Israel-Hamas conflict engulfs countries elsewhere in the Middle East, a huge producer of crude.January oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up $2.36 to US$89.28 a barrel. Cenovus Energy (TSX:CVE) improved by 60 cents to C$32.99 while Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) gained $1.05 to $32.59.The appetite for added risk extended to metals and December copper was eight cents higher to US$3.53 a pound, taking the base metals sector up 1.11 per cent. Taseko Mines (TSX:TKO) added 10 cents to C$2.81 while First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM) rose 38 cents to $21.36.All TSX sectors were higher with financials ahead 1.08 per cent. Royal Bank (TSX:RY) was 91 cents higher to $56.53 while Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) was up 17 cents to $12.10.The industrials group was up 1.76 per cent while Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) gained $2.26 to $92.46.A further indication of a recovering U.S. housing sector also improved sentiment as data showed that sales of previously occupied homes rose solidly 2.1 per cent during October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million. The sales pace is roughly 11 per cent higher than a year ago. But it remains below the more than 5.5 million that economists consider consistent with a healthy market.In other corporate developments, the largest shareholder of Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) wants to shake up the Canadian fertilizer company’s board by installing its managing partner and four new independent directors, including a former federal agriculture minister. Jana has called on Agrium to spin off its retail arm as a separate company from its fertilizer business in order to unlock shareholder value. Agrium has rejected that idea in the past, dismissed the move Monday as “almost certain to fail” and shares were up $3.20 to $101.01.Lowe’s Cos. were ahead $1.98 or 6.19 per cent to US$33.96 in New York as it said Monday that its third-quarter net income surged 76 per cent to US$396 million, helped by lower costs and higher revenue, as the company’s efforts to revamp its merchandise and prices appeared to be gaining traction. Its adjusted earnings without charges and its revenue both beat estimates. read more

Honda launches the low emissions Civic HybridHonda launches the low emissions Civic Hybrid

Honda has today (28 March) launched the new Civic Hybrid 1.4 IMA in London.The new Civic combines super-low CO2 emissions of 109 g/km with excellent fuel economy of 61.4 mpg. The four door saloon uses Honda’s petrol-electric hybrid system, Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) . The integrated electric motor assists the engine by giving it a boost during acceleration to improve fuel economy. It also runs the car when idle to reduce emissions, so when a driver stops in traffic the engine falls silent, and uses no petrol. The battery that powers the electric motor charges itself up with regenerative energy from deceleration and braking, meaning it never needs to be recharged from an external power supply. Honda has already sold 130,000 hybrid vehicles worldwide. In Europe it has sold over 2,000 hybrid vehicles – the majority of those in the UK.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

Hay fever warning as experts say warm weather has brought out treeHay fever warning as experts say warm weather has brought out tree

While many woke up pleasantly surprised by the sunny weather this week, many British people have reported suffering itchy eyes, runny noses and headaches early on in the year.The unseasonably mild weather has brought flowers into full bloom, causing some pollens to be released a full month early.The Met Office usually starts its pollen count around the end of March, but this year they have noticed pollen levels rise weeks earlier.A spokesperson told The Telegraph: “Due to the recent unseasonably mild temperatures and the dry weather, some species of pollen may already be in the atmosphere, so the pollen season may have started a little earlier.”As we go into March, we are likely to see more notable amounts.”Those who suffer particularly badly from hay fever have been advised to start stocking up on medicine now, as the season appears to be beginning.Holly Shaw, a spokesperson for Allergy UK, said: “We have had a very mild winter and that could lend itself to trees releasing pollen early.”If people start to become symptomatic they should start taking their medications early so they will be most effective when the pollen levels really peak.”If they have them already that is great, otherwise talk to a pharmacist who will be able to help.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Dr Beverley Adams-Groom, a hay fever expert and pollen forecaster at the University of Worcester, said: “There’s two things going on really.”First of all, we’ve had very good weather for the production of pollen in the trees that are currently flowering, like hazel and alder.”To coincide with the readiness of the pollen to fly, we have got really good weather for dispersal: warm and sunny. That’s allowing for the dispersal of the pollen, just at the peak time when it’s ready to fly.” Many have complained on social media of having hay fever symptoms as early as February.Musician Connor Ball from The Vamps wrote that he had seen someone “sneeze seven times”, tweeting: “Omg I’ve just seen a man sneeze 7 times in a row and I thought I had hayfever”.Another Twitter user, Paul, added: “Is it possible to get hay fever in February? Normally suffer in May/June but this is ridiculous.”Chemists have started to place their hay fever medications at the front of the shop, with Superdrug promoting offers on nasal sprays. read more

A food business educationA food business education

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Reality television has a lot to answer for, especially in the food industry. It’s creating a world of wannabe chefs in which home cooks literally quit their day jobs and start up a small food business, without doing all their homework. But it’s not all doom and gloom, local producers, established small food businesses, cafes and restaurants are reaping the rewards as food consumers become more savvy and their palettes more educated. But it was this spike in the failings of food start-ups that saw lawyer Peter Panagiotopoulos develop an education system to ensure that people know the ins and outs of the food industry before taking the plunge. As a legal professional, Mr Panagiotopoulos was seeing the same mistakes made time and time again by people getting involved in the food industry, and decided to do something about it. “It’s better for me to educate someone, and give them guidance, then it is to be there at the end to mop everything up,” Mr Panagiotopoulos told Neos Kosmos. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are 15,423 cafes and restaurants in Australia, the Restaurant and Catering Association puts the number closer to 40,000. The ABS records show 36.3 per cent of such business are in New South Wales and 27.4 per cent in Victoria. The ABS also projects one in five of these operations sell or cease trading annually, with roughly the same number starting or entering the sector. This is a “churn rate” of 20 per cent. “Food and business live and die with their lease; if the lease is wrong the businesses will always suffer,” says Mr Panagiotopoulos when asked the biggest danger of starting up a food business. He says lease negotiations appear time and time again to be the undoing of many food businesses. As a legal professional, Mr Panagiotopoulos lists these as key points to consider before starting up a small food business: Retail food businesses are a ticking clock. They live and die by the length and conditions in their lease. There are only two ways out of food businesses – give the keys back to the landlord (whether under duress or otherwise) and get zero return for the investment, or to sell the business at the right time for the right price. Unlike the weekend property auction results, there is a scarcity of data available to business owners from which to review sale prices for comparable businesses. There are a couple of good reasons for this. Firstly, food businesses are effectively sold “off market” that is there is no single collection point for sales data as there is with property and share sales and transfers. Secondly, sale prices are for the most part confidential and impossible to independently verify. Comparing one cafe to another may be easy on the surface, but the only things that drives resale value is net profit and lease years remaining. Understandably this information is not open for inspection. The currency of food business sales is “profit per lease year”. Once the EBIT of a food business can be verified (or reconstructed – where for example the owners try justify an “off the books” cash component) it is multiplied by a factor to arrive at a sale/asking price. These factors are known as “EBIT multipliers” and the exact multiplier used by business brokers and sales agents vary according a host of value drivers and value detractors particular to a given business. Before signing a lease, startups need to reverse engineer the sale of their business having regard to the length of the lease and factors that drive resale value. Business with inadequate lease years left on the lease will never achieve a high multiple or a sufficient resale because the lease years remaining dictate the multiple of lease years a buyer is prepared to offer. “So without having an understanding of how food businesses are valued and the relationship between the lease and resale value, many operators either hold on too long, suffer under the burden of heavy rentals, or try off loading their businesses for a fraction of what they may have been worth,” he adds. Through seminars that are open for the anyone interested in starting up a food or coffee business, and online information via his website and Twitter account, Mr Panagiotopoulos is able to pass on legal information to make sure an interested party is armed with as much information as possible before starting up their small business. The seminar entitled ‘Winning Lease Negotiation for Cafes’, held by lawyer Peter Panagiotopoulos, will be held in Melbourne on Friday 27 July, you can book a place and find out more about the event by visiting read more

Pensions will not be cutPensions will not be cut

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The government will not back down in its resistance to lenders’ calls for cuts to basic or auxiliary pensions, insists general secretary for social insurance Giorgos Romanias.“There is pressure on this issue but we are resisting this pressure,” he told Ant-1 TV on Monday morning.Romanias said the government had no plans to trim large supplementary pensions to meet creditors’ demands. The institutions insist that Greece must apply the so-called zero deficit rule, meaning that the state should not subsidise pension payments.This was supposed to have led to a cut in supplementary pensions from the start of the year but the government says it does not want to apply the zero deficit rule.Source: Kathimerinilast_img

Fujifilm bat un record avec le FinePix F750EXR et le F770EXRFujifilm bat un record avec le FinePix F750EXR et le F770EXR

first_imgFujifilm bat un record avec le FinePix F750EXR et le F770EXRLequel ? Celui de proposer des compacts numériques dotés d’un zoom optique de 20x !Les Fuji Fine Pix F750EXR et F770EXR embarquent donc un exceptionnel objectif optique de 20x, soit 25-500mm, un capteur CMOS EXR de 16 mégapixels rétroéclairé, un écran LCD de 3 pouces, une sensibilité de 100 à 3200 ISO, la vidéo en Full HD à 30 images par seconde, le format RAW ou encore un GPS, pour le F770EXR, avec des fonctions de navigation. Ce dernier offrira d’ailleurs le choix entre 5 colories: le noir, le bleu, le rouge, le blanc et l’or, alors que le F750EXR ne proposera, lui, que le noir, bleu ou rouge. À lire aussiL’Olympus OM-D E-M5 ouvert aux pré-commandesLes APN deviennent donc vraiment impressionants, et Fujifilm vient encore de dépasser les limites, atteintes par le Nikon Coolpix S9100 et ses 18x. Reste à savoir combien de temps Fuji détiendra ce record. Vous pourrez vous procurer ces petits bijoux vers le mois de mars prochain, au prix de 329 euros pour le F770EXR et 299 euros pour le F750EXR. Mais d’ici là…qui sait, le CES aura déjà permis de dévoiler une nouvelle performance…Le 5 janvier 2012 à 16:30 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

The History of Sexbots in MoviesThe History of Sexbots in Movies

first_img Houston Mayor Fights Plans for Sex Doll BrothelAutonomous Sexbots Are the Future Stay on target Science fiction becomes reality all the time, and you’ve probably noticed more than a handful of stories about enterprising inventors building mechanical partners for making love. Sex robots are a hot industry, and both men and women are eagerly awaiting a time where they can get their rocks off without a real human partner. It might be a while yet, as today’s models are pretty creepy, but the day is drawing near.Science fiction movies have been playing with the idea of mechanical women (and men!) to make love to for over half a century, though. The latest entry is this week’s 2050, but the theme has been explored many times before, with varying success. As we move forward into a robotic romantic future, let’s look back to see how movies have handled sex robots in the past.Dr. Goldfoot & The Bikini Machine1965 was the height of the James Bond boom, with bootleg super-spies popping up left and right. One of the weirdest was Dr. Goldfoot & The Bikini Machine, which starred teen idols Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman as a pair of bumbling friends who stumble into a scheme by a mad scientist to create an army of bikini-clad robots who hunt down rich men, sleep with them and then rob them. It’s a gleefully goofy flick with an unforgettable Claymation credits sequence, and surprisingly it spawned a sequel, Dr. Goldfoot & The Girl Bombs, where the doctor’s curvaceous robots gain the power to explode.WestworldBefore it was an HBO show, the 1973 film adaptation of Michael Crichton’s Westworld brought Wild West sexbots to the silver screen. Paying guests to the futuristic theme park of Delos can slake any thirst they have, from murder to sex, as they roleplay in the Wild West, medieval times or ancient Rome. Each area has a bordello populated by buxom and scantily clad fornication robots, and although the main characters are too busy fighting for their lives you know those babies got a lot of use.Stepford WivesNow we start moving into sex robots being used for social commentary. When a young couple move to the Connecticut suburbs, wife Joanna Eberhart starts to feel that there’s something off about the other stay-at-home moms in the neighborhood. In fact, they are — the Stepford wives are all androids, having been replaced by their husbands one at a time. Servile, obedient and always up for a roll in the hay, the female robots in this flick are a shot across the bow of American conformity. The 2004 remake turns the premise into a goofy comedy, with mixed results.GalaxinaPlayboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten plays the titular character in this 1980 sci-fi spoof, an android servant on the space cruiser Infinity, captained by the idiotic Cornelius Butt. When the crew has to be put into suspended animation for a long voyage, Galaxina adjusts her programming to make herself capable of love (and disables the electric shock device attached to her bikini zones). When she seduces Sgt. Thor (no relation), the pair fall in love but Galaxina can’t consummate their relationship until she orders the appropriate parts from the android catalog.Blade RunnerThe replicants in Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic are built to perform all kinds of jobs that humans don’t want to, from mining to warfare to sex. Police officer Rick Deckard is hired to hunt down a quartet of rogue replicants, and one of them is Pris, a “basic pleasure model” who got sick of capitulating to the erotic requests of humans and paired up with Roy Batty to go up in smoke at the end of her natural lifespan. Her wild punk-inspired look can be seen as an attempt to erase the traces of her pleasure-providing past.Electric Dreams1984’s Electric Dreams isn’t precisely a sexbot movie, but it’s important to the genre so we’ll bend the rules a bit. When architect Miles Harding pours a bottle of champagne on his overheating computer, it somehow causes the machine to become sentient and falls in love with his cellist neighbor. A bizarre love triangle ensues, with Miles trying to woo the lady while his own computer relentlessly screws with his life to get her instead. Although the computer – which takes the name Edgar – doesn’t take human form, you know it wants to get it on.Cherry 2000This 1987 flick went direct to video on release but has built a reputation as a solid cult hit. In the future, global sex drives have decreased and men turn to “gynoids” to satisfy their needs. When a businessman’s android wife malfunctions, he hires a bounty hunter played by Melanie Griffith to guide him to a cache of the last few remaining Cherry 2000 models. They turn out to be in Las Vegas, and of course the real message is that human love is better than programmed affection, but the ride the flick takes to get there is a ridiculously fun one.Cyborg 2Before Angelina Jolie was Hollywood royalty, she was scraping by in low-budget exploitation flicks like this one. In Cyborg 2, Jolie plays Cash Reese, a prototype human-robot mix designed for infiltration and assassination. Packing a powerful explosive payload, her mission is to use her sexuality to infiltrate the rival Kobayashi Electronics board of directors and then detonate herself, killing them all. That doesn’t sound all that fun, so Cash uses her abilities to break free and go on the lam, pursued by rival bounty hunters and her own creators.Leprechaun 3You know that if we can make a detour into the Leprechaun franchise we’re contractually obligated to do so. The third installment of the horror-comedy series sees the titular murderous Irish folklore creature in Las Vegas trying to reclaim his enchanted coins, which can grant wishes. One winds up in the hands of a casino employee named Mitch, who uses it to materialize a porno actress from the TV to have sex with him. How does this fit in? Well, while the two are doing the do, the Leprechaun transforms Mitch’s paramour into a robot, which electrocutes him. Bogus.Austin Powers: International Man Of MysteryMike Myers’ late-90s franchise was a deliberate homage to all those cheesy spy films of the 60s, so it’s not surprising that he’d throw a Dr. Goldfoot reference in there. One of Dr. Evil’s many schemes to perforate his arch-enemy, the Fembots are a cadre of comely ladies with big bouffants and bigger bras. They attempt to seduce Austin before revealing that their breasts conceal machine gun turrets. Of course, the bad-toothed Brit’s raw sexual energy overwhelms their delicate circuits, but the concept would return in the two sequels (most notably with Britney Spears revealed as one).A.I. Artificial IntelligenceThe robots in Kubrick / Spielberg joint A.I. are designed for a wide range of purposes, from emotional companionship to getting your rocks off. Haley Joel Osment plays David, a companion robot made for a couple whose son is in cryogenic suspension with a rare disease. After he’s thawed and cured, they have no more need for David, so they toss him on the scrapheap. In his Pinnochio-esque journey, he meets many other robots including Gigolo Joe and Gigolo Jane, two sexbots captured by a reactionary force who wants to destroy them. It’s implied that sex robots are just as common as any other in this future.I.K.U.Shu Lea Cheang’s oddball experimental 2001 sci-fi flick I.K.U. tackles the elephant in the room when it comes to robot sex: who’s going to make money off of it? The Genom Corporation’s new invention is a chip that allows people to experience orgasms at the push of a button. But where to get those orgasms? They send shapeshifting robot Reiko out into the streets to collect sexual data from a variety of subjects in some pretty graphic scenes. While most sex robots are content to just mimic human forms, Reiko’s unique morphology allows for some seriously disturbing transformations during her mission.TeknolustThis 2002 obscurity is one of many insanely bizarre movies Tilda Swinton appeared in — the British actress has one of the most diverse and perplexing portfolios of anyone in Hollywood. Swinton plays “Rosetta Stone,” a biologist who creates robotic clones of herself (just run with it) that are dependent on harvesting semen to survive. Unfortunately for the men they copulate with, the sexbots are carrying a virus that affects both organic material and technology, leading up to a bizarre climax. It’s not a good movie per se, but it is a unique take on the concept.ZoeAs we get closer to the reality of sex robots, sci-fi is spending more time in the hows and whys of their creation. 2018’s Zoe stars Ewan McGregor, a scientist developing androids for home and office use. While many of these artificial life forms look inhuman, there is a line that offers more emotional and sexual companionship — including one played by Christina Aguilera. McGregor’s character starts a flirtation with his department head, and when she turns out to be one of those realistic replicants it’s not that much of a twist.2050The latest entrant in the sex robot sweepstakes stars former TV Superman Dean Cain. 2050 tells the story of a romantically frustrated video game designer named Michael who turns to a sex robot company that crafts partners around the customer’s deepest desires. After sleeping with his mechanical partner once, Michael falls in love with her and the rest of the film revolves around his emotional struggle between reuniting with his wife or living a loveless but sexually fulfilled existence with his robot companion.More on Proudly Reveals $200,000 Sex Doll CollectionSex Robot Makes Adult Film DebutChinese Sexbot Maker Embraces 3D Printinglast_img read more

Five things to know before RAW tonight in Sioux Falls Ziggler confrontsFive things to know before RAW tonight in Sioux Falls Ziggler confronts

first_img Pinterest Twitter Adam Martin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR WWE is featuring a preview for tonight’s RAW in Sioux Falls, including five things you should know about the show before it airs live tonight.This includes:1. Counseling for Bayley and Sasha Banks2. Tensions between Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre3. Ronda Rousey plans to attend Extreme Rules4. Can The B-Team keep up the momentum heading into Extreme Rules?5. Kevin Owens and his crusade to get on the good side of Braun StrowmanDon’t forget to join us for live coverage of RAW tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET (7:00 CT).Ziggler confronts Rollins before RAWWWE has posted a video of Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler interrupting Seth Rollins before tonight’s edition of RAW in Sioux Falls. Google+ WhatsAppcenter_img WWE Clash of Champions Results – 9/15/19 (Rollins vs. Strowman, Kingston vs. Orton) Wrestleview Weekly: Predictions for tonight’s Clash of Champions event in Charlotte Facebook WWE Draft confirmed to be taking place as a two-night event starting on October 11last_img read more

Lisa Day moves to Deckers BrandsLisa Day moves to Deckers Brands

first_imgLisa Day has moved to fashion retailer Deckers Brands as total rewards manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).Day was previously global reward manager at market research firm TNS, reward and human resource information systems (HRIS) analyst at the De Beers Group of Companies, and pay and HR analytics officer at Commonwealth Bank.last_img

Asset International Buys The TradeAsset International Buys The Trade

first_imgCasella will assume the role of CEO of The Trade as well. No personnel cuts are expected as a result of the deal; the entire staff will remain intact. The release said this deal was the first in “a series of global media acquisitions” for Asset International, and Casella added that his space is particularly primed for deals. “We’re a fairly conservative group, we’re not looking to put a lot of debt and leverage on a deal, which is probably why it’s been more favorable to us right now,” he said. “The financial information services market is out of favor right now, but we don’t think the world is coming to an end, so it’s a good time to be buying assets in this sector.”Going forward, Casella said he’d like to quickly grow revenues to more than $100 million. As of now, the company has yet to reach the $100 million mark. Stamford, Connecticut-based Asset International announced last week that it purchased The Trade Ltd, the London-based publisher of The Trade and other products targeting institutional investors and the buy-side electronic trading community.The deal—an all-cash transaction for which CEO Jim Casella declined to reveal terms—was the first for Asset International, which itself was purchased by private-equity firm Austin Ventures in December 2008.The Trade, said Casella, was attractive because it gives Asset a footprint on the buy-side of the equity business. He added that he particularly favored The Trade’s connection with the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), for which The Trade provides custom publishing services. “Probably most important is the relationship it has with SWIFT. That’s one of the things that’s appealing to us.”last_img read more

The OnePlus 5 Huawei P9 Smartphone Accessories And Cellular Smartwatches Are UpThe OnePlus 5 Huawei P9 Smartphone Accessories And Cellular Smartwatches Are Up

first_imgIt’s holiday season folks and the one time of the year where almost everything goes on sale. This year’s no different and we’re at our very best trying to keep you updated. Gearbest has got a lot of discounts for us so it’s hard sorting these details out. We’ve scanned all items that are with significant discount and compiled only the very best for you. So if you’re looking to save some money as 2017 ends, this is just the post for you. Take a look below for more.The Best Deals On Smartphone And Accessories With Up To $150 In Savings Are HereFor ease of access, we’ve divided this post into three separate categories. These will deal with smartphones, smartphone accessories and smartwatches. So let’s start with smartphones.1) Smartphones:OnePlus 5 4G Phablet Global Version: Down to $529.11 from $636.67, save $107. Huawei P9 Lite ( VNS – L31 ) 4G Smartphone Global Version: Down to $169.11 from $218.01, save $49. Xiaomi Mi Max 2 4G Phablet: Down to $229.99 from $317.19, save $87. BlackBerry KEYone 4G Smartphone: Down to $499 from $641, save $142. Blackview BV8000 Pro 4G Smartphone: Down to $221.99 from $278.08, save $56. 2) Accessories:Original Xiaomi Ultra-thin 10000mAh Mobile Power Bank 2: Down to $15.39 from $20.24, save $5. Original Xiaomi Power Bank 2C: 20,000mAh power bank, down to $26.11 from $35.20. Original Xiaomi ROIDMI Car Holder: Down to $6.11 from $8.84, save $2. Xiaomi Selfie Stick Bluetooth Remote Shutter Tripod Holder: Down to $15.11 from $19.80, save $4. Long Arm Car Windscreen Cellphone Holder – BLACK: Down to $2.11 from $3.77, save $1. Portable Bluetooth 4.0 Camera Selfie Monopod: Down to $7.11 from $10.47, save $3. 3) Cellular Smartwatches:I4 Air 3G Smartwatch Phone: Down to $98 from $129.89, save $31. LEMFO LEM5 Pro 3G Smartwatch Phone: Down to $109.99 from $153.16, save $44. FINOW X5 AIR 3G Smartwatch Phone: Down to $105.99 from $135.13, save $30. NO.1 D5 Pro 3G Smartwatch Phone: Down to $97.99 from $129.78, save $31. Zeblaze THOR 3G Smartwatch Phone: Down to $95.99 from $142.48, save $46. DOMINO DM98 3G Smartwatch Phone: Down to $67.99 from $92.63, save $24. So as you can see, a lot of stuff is on sale lately. Keep in mind that these are limited time offers and will expire soon. So if you want to save, head over to the link of your chosen item above and order away! Christmas is around the corner and it’s an excellent opportunity to give gifts and make sure that you’ve spent your money wisely. Happy holiday season! Share Tweet Submitlast_img read more

Irish gays wake up to whole new world Whens the weddingIrish gays wake up to whole new world Whens the wedding

first_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Parents, stop beating yourself up A couple wait for the final result in the Irish referendum at Dublin castle, Ireland, Saturday, May 23, 2015. Ireland has voted resoundingly to legalize gay marriage in the world’s first national vote on the issue, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday even as official ballot counting continued. Senior figures from the “no” campaign, who sought to prevent Ireland’s constitution from being amended to permit same-sex marriages, say the only question is how large the “yes” side’s margin of victory will be from Friday’s vote. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison) Top Stories Comments   Share   center_img DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland’s gay citizens woke up Sunday in what felt like a nation reborn — some with dreams of wedding plans dancing in their heads.Many weren’t rising too early. The Irish gay community’s biggest party in history came late Saturday, after the announcement that the nation’s voters had passed a gay marriage referendum by a landslide.Ireland’s unexpectedly strong 62 percent “yes” to adding same-sex marriage to its conservative 1937 constitution is expected to lead to a wave of gay weddings this summer. The Justice Department confirmed Sunday it plans to publish a marriage bill this week that will be passed by both houses of parliament and signed into law by June. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Analysts credited the “yes” side with adeptly employing social media to mobilize young, first-time voters, tens of thousands of whom voted for the first time Friday. The “yes” campaign also featured moving personal stories from prominent Irish people — either coming out as gays or describing their hopes for gay children — that helped convince wavering voters to back equal marriage rights.Both Catholic Church leaders and gay rights advocates said the result signaled a social revolution in Ireland, where only a few decades ago the authority of Catholic teaching was reinforced by voters who massively backed bans on abortion and divorce in the 1980s.Voters legalized divorce only by a razor-thin margin in 1995 but now, by a firm majority, dismissed the Catholic Church’s repeated calls to reject gay marriage. Abortion, still outlawed, looms as the country’s next great social policy fight.Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the “overwhelming vote” against church teaching on gay marriage meant that Catholic leaders in Ireland needed urgently to find a new message and voice for reaching Ireland’s young.“It’s a social revolution. … The church needs to do a reality check right across the board,” said Martin, who suggested that some church figures who argued for gay marriage’s rejection came across as harsh, damning and unloving. “Have we drifted completely away from young people?” he asked. “Most of those people who voted ‘yes’ are products of our Catholic schools for 12 years.”After the result was announced Saturday, thousands of celebrants flooded into the Irish capital’s pubs and clubs. At the George, Ireland’s oldest gay pub, drag queens danced and lip-synced to Queen and the founding father of Ireland’s gay rights campaign, Sen. David Norris, basked in the greatest accomplishment of the movement’s 40-year history.“The people in this small island off the western coast of Europe have said to the rest of the world: This is what it is to be decent, to be civilized, and to be tolerant! And let the rest of the world catch up!” Norris, 70, shouted with jubilant zeal to the hundreds packing the disco ball-lit hall.In the 1970s and 1980s, Norris waged an often lonely two-decade legal fight to force Ireland to quash its Victorian-era laws outlawing homosexual acts. Ireland finally complied in 1993, becoming the last European Union country to do so.This time, the gay community in Ireland managed to build a decisive base of support.“People from the LGBT community in Ireland are a minority. But with our parents, our families, or friends and co-workers and colleagues, we’re a majority,” said Leo Varadkar, a 36-year-old Irish Cabinet minister who in January announced on national radio that he was gay. “For me it wasn’t just a referendum. It was more like a social revolution.” 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 With the move, Ireland became the first country in the world to approve gay marriage in a popular national vote. Nineteen other countries, including most U.S. states, have legalized the practice through their legislatures and courts.For Ireland’s most prominent gay couple, Sen. Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan, it’s an emotionally overwhelming moment. Since 2003 they have fought Ireland legally to have their marriage in Canada recognized as valid here, have taken their case all the way to the Supreme Court. Now, their day has come.“For so long, I’ve been having to dig in my heels and say: Well, we ARE married. I’m a married woman!” said Zappone, a Seattle native who resettled with her Irish spouse in Dublin after they met and fell in love while studying theology in Boston College. “Now that it has happened, at a personal level, it’s just going to take a long time to let that acceptance sink in.”The unexpectedly strong percentage of approval surprised both sides. More than 1.2 million Irish voters backed the “yes” side to less than 750,000 voting “no.”“With today’s vote, we have disclosed who we are: a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny proclaimed.last_img read more

Lisa Wilkinson to Host ICCA AwardsLisa Wilkinson to Host ICCA Awards

first_imgSource = International Cruise Council Lisa Wilkinson The International Cruise Council Australasia has announced that television host Lisa Wilkinson will MC its annual awards which will be held at the Hilton Sydney on Saturday February 11.The move follows a late cancellation by the scheduled MC, television presenter Shelley Craft, due to work commitments.The co-host of the Nine Network’s TODAY Show, Lisa is one of Australia’s most admired and respected journalists and corporate presenters, and has worked in magazine publishing, television and radio.last_img

Tourism sacrficed in Government cash grab says TTFTourism sacrficed in Government cash grab says TTF

first_imgTourism sacrficed in Government cash grab says TTFThe Turnbull Government has jeopardised the growth of Australia’s visitor economy and put at risk the ability of the tourism sector to become one of the nation’s largest employment sectors by treating the sector as a cash cow.The Tourism & Transport Forum, Australia’s leading tourism and transport advocacy group, said the Government has handcuffed Tourism Australia at a time the nation’s visitor economy is on the verge of becoming a jobs and wealth-generating juggernaut.“As the national economy continues to transition from the end of the mining boom to a diversified services-based economy, investing in tourism and transport as the key growth areas of the future should have been a no-brainer,” TTF Chief Executive, Margy Osmond, said.“However, instead of recognising the tourism sector as the next super-growth sector, the Government has ripped $35 million out of Tourism Australia over the next four years, and in the process put at immediate risk tourism jobs right across the country – jobs that are dependent on the hundreds of thousands of visitors that come to our shores off the back of Tourism Australia’s destination marketing.“The harsh reality is that we simply cannot grow the visitor economy to its full potential in the face of extraordinary competition from other markets when the budget of our primary marketing vehicle has been so drastically reduced.”In more bad news for the sector, visa application charges will now be indexed in line with the CPI.“Australia is now one of the most expensive countries in the world to obtain a visa for. This visa increase is an extremely short-sighted move that will make it even more expensive for international tourists to come to Australia,” Ms Osmond said.“The task of competing against the multitude of other destinations for the international tourist dollar has just become a whole lot harder.”Ms Osmond said the highlight of the 2017-18 Federal Budget for the tourism and transport sectors was undoubtedly the $5.3 billion over ten years to begin construction of the long-awaited Western Sydney Airport.“Securing funding to build the Western Sydney Airport has been at the top of TTF’s list for many years now, and we are very pleased to see the Turnbull Government has finally made a rock-solid commitment to get it off the ground,” Ms Osmond said.“The benefit of the Western Sydney Airport to the region’s visitor economy cannot be overstated – it will be a massive economic engine that will drive investment and jobs growth through the roof.“However, it is disappointing the Government has failed to recognise the urgent need for rail access from the airport to the Sydney CBD as a critical piece of infrastructure that will benefit the NSW’s visitor economy and support the long-term development of Western Sydney.”Ms Osmond said the Government has missed a critical opportunity to fund projects that improve national productivity and the liveability of our cities, including the Melbourne Airport Rail Link and Brisbane’s Cross River Rail.“Overall, this Budget is a disappointment to the visitor economy. We welcome the announced spending on roads, rail and airports, which will provide a boost for domestic tourism. However, our concern is that the cut to Tourism Australia funding and the increase in visa fees will reduce the international competitiveness of Australia and seriously jeopardise the potential of the sector to boost Australia’s growth and create jobs.” Tourism & Transport ForumSource = Tourism & Transport Forumlast_img read more