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Cosmetic retailers are the sought-after tenants

It has been dubbed lipstick wars in the past, but now the retail landlords are embracing the cosmetics sector as one of the most favoured tenant in their malls.
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While beauty and cosmetics are sought-after online, the stores, such as Sephora and Mecca Cosmetica, have successfully breached the barriers between the internet and bricks and mortar as their shops offer an experience.

In the latest results for the retail landlords, cosmetics was one of the best performers in terms of sales. As a result, as apparel brands close or look for smaller premises, the cosmetic retailers are moving in.

Sephora will open its 11th n store in Westfield Bondi Junction, which adds to Sydney’s five stores in Pitt Street Mall, Broadway, Macquarie, Warringah, Macarthur Square and the soon to open Charlestown in the Hunter Valley location. It launched in in 2014 and is owned by LVMH.

Libby Amelia, the Sephora country manager, said it’s been a big year for Sephora , and there’s no sign of the brand slowing down.

“On August 21 we launched a new Wellness category on Sephora苏州夜总会招聘.au, and Westfield Bondi Junction will be one of our first retail locations to house the new in-store hub, really completing the loop on our omnichannel offering,” Ms Amelia said.

“With brands like KORA Organics, The Beauty Chef and WelleCo, alongside luxe haircare brand Ouai and natural efficacious skincare like Peter Thomas Roth and Ole Henriksen, we are bringing Bondi the best in beauty, from the inside out.”

Westfield regional manager, Scott Moore, said Bondi Junction customers seek the best of international and n brands and “we’re thrilled to welcome Sephora to Westfield Bondi Junction”.

Susan MacDonald, head of retail at Mirvac, said while food and beverage were one of the best performers for the group, “the category such as general retail and particularly cosmetics” has been strong. “We are seeing food and cosmetics becoming the new fashion,” Ms MacDonald said.

This comes as Craig James, the chief economist at CommSec, said the perception is that n consumers are gloomy.

But in reality the latest reading of consumer sentiment is broadly in line with short and longer-term averages.

“Consumers are not exuberant, but neither are they significantly downbeat. Simply there are a lot of issues at present so it is probably better to describe consumers as reflective,” Mr James said .

“And clearly if consumers were very pessimistic, they wouldn’t be spending the way they are at present. Annual growth of real retail spending is 2.5 per cent – in line with the decade average. And the 1.5 per cent real lift in retail spending for the June quarter hasn’t been bettered in eight years.”

He said the measure of whether it was a good time to buy a major household item has generally held above the long-term average since May, confirming that consumers are open to spending if the price is right.

Hume sale highlights industrial investment interest

Demand for quality industrial properties has seen a 10,000-square metre Hume site sold pre-auction to a Sydney-based institutional investor for $4.45 million.
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The sale of 78 Sawmill Circuit, negotiated by Colliers International, continues the competition for industrial assets in the ACT.

Director Tim Mutton says there had been strong enquiries from local and interstate investors.

“The vendor indicated an interest in receiving offers before the auction,” he says.

“It’s not surprising we received a strong offer given the demand and competition for the asset.”

The property comprises a hard stand yard of 7541 square metres, plus a warehouse building and a covered work area. It is leased to Ausco Modular until June 2024 with options until 2034.

Just a month earlier, a 5000-square metre site at 4 Sawmill Circuit sold for $4.31 million. It is leased to tyre specialist Bridgestone for 15 years with options until 2042.

Hume has emerged as Canberra’s premier industrial precinct in the last five to 10 years and Mutton highlights key factors in its success.

“The area has benefited from significant capital investment in upgrades to the Monaro Highway and Majura Road,” he says.

“Changing land use has also increased rents and land values in Fyshwick, pushing large warehouse users to Hume.”

Colliers was also active in Fyshwick with the sale of the AXS Business Centre to the Hadley Green Investment Group for $17 million.

The centre comprises five office buildings on 10,102 square metres with 136 car spaces. The centre is occupied by seven tenants, anchored by the federal government.

Other industrial areas are also benefiting from an upswing in activity.

Mitchell is enjoying a buoyant year with its relative proximity to the Hume Highway also making it a popular choice for warehousing and logistics.

Some 20 properties are advertised on All Homes ranging from 90-square-metre office suites to warehouse complexes on nearly 10,000 square metres.

Across the border, George Miller, director of Ian McNamee & Partners, has seen a new level of confidence return to the Queanbeyan market in small industrial properties.

“We’re seeing a lot more activity in factory-style units in the 200 to 600-square-metre range,” he says.

“It’s hard to say what’s driving that pick-up, but it’s likely to be a combination of factors – low interest rates, proximity to Canberra and even people moving into Googong who want to establish or relocate businesses closer to home.”

Latest Abbott essay reveals his reactionary footing

You can’t stop progress, the saying goes. But former prime minister Tony Abbott has turned that on its head this weekend, arguing that, “You can’t stop regress.”
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He argues should build a new coal-fired power station to “keep the lights on”.

He also called for the abolition of the Human Rights Commission because it is “a kind of politically-correct thought police” and supported a nuclear-powered submarine which would “strike fear into the hearts of any potential enemy”.

Abbott argues these are all commonsense proposals so they are inevitable.

Wrong. They are neither commonsense nor inevitable.

As the Western n Liberal Party holds its conference this weekend at which Abbott and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will attend, Abbott has written in the party’s magazine Contributor with his delusional three policies and will distribute hard copies at the conference.

I say delusional because in arguing for these policies he says that the “challenge is not to fall silent, because a majority that stays silent does not remain a majority”.

But majorities in opinion polls reject coal-fired power stations and support same-sex marriage. I have not seen any polls on a nuclear submarine or abolition of the Human Rights Commission, but my guess is that they would not have majority support.

The delusion is that a majority think the same way he does on a range of questions.

He did mention reducing immigration. Immigration has had a fair amount of support in the past, but on this Abbott is striking an increasingly supported position, but not for the dog-whistling reasons he has. (The right deed for the wrong reasons.) To the contrary, people seeking reduced immigration are worried as much about the environment as house prices or being “swamped”.

More delusion. Abbott vowed to remain “as a vocal MP for as long as Liberal-conservative values need a strong advocate”.

But a new coal-fired power station is not a conservative proposition. It is a reactionary one. Much of Abbott’s agenda is reactionary not conservative. It seeks to go back to an earlier world which is no longer sustainable – cheap coal-generated electricity. Conservatives, on the other hand, want to conserve and sustain their societies. To do that you have to move with them, albeit slowly.

The latest Abbott essay is viewed as another swipe at Turnbull. But I don’t think it is primarily so. Abbott wants to fight for the rearguard reactionary program against what Turnbull might do if the pressure from the reactionary wing is off.

In that respect Abbott is lucky, because so many people were wrong about Turnbull. They thought he would push for the things he believes in and move his party to the majority position on a lot of questions. Instead, he has turned out to be the man who wants to be Prime Minister for the sake of being Prime Minister, not someone who wants to be Prime Minister to do something.

It means that Abbott has not had to work very hard to ensure that the nation does not move (at least for now) to where he does not want it to go.

Abbott does not understand “valve” changes – ones in which a change goes through a valve and there is no going back, scream and kick as he might.

Conservatives will agree or even actively promote “valve” changes if they feel there is widespread support for them. That is what conservatives do.

Good examples are the New Zealand National Party and the British Conservative Party legislating for marriage equality and John Howard legislating for strong gun control in defiance of reactionaries who rejected new majority opinion.

A example of “valve” change, with attendant legislation, in in the past decade or more, has been the unacceptability of discrimination or being offensive against minorities.

Earlier it was slavery, male-only suffrage, child labour. No-one would argue that these are commonsense therefore inevitable, to use Abbott’s words. Their abolition were valve changes.

Similarly, once becomes a republic, has marriage equality and abolishes Christian prayers at the beginning of parliamentary sessions, there will be no going back. No-one will wake up afterwards and say, “Let’s ask Britain if we can borrow their monarch,” or “Let’s restrict marriage,” or “Let’s have prayers.” The reason is that the previous position was exposed as untenable and seen that way by an increasing number of people until it became the majority position. That is the time conservatives take it on, as they have taken on the n national anthem while reactionaries would prefer God Save the Queen.

The previous position was only tenable because it was an unquestioned status quo.

The only exceptions have been prime minister’s “captain’s calls”, which rather proves the valve-change rule. The reactionary restoration of knights and dames, for example, was made by one captain and did not need (and most certainly would not have got) approval by Cabinet, the party room or the Parliament, let alone the people.

The fact that the madly out-of-tune decision could and was made by just one person without reference to anyone else puts it in a category of its own, where what would normally be a valve decision is reversed. But one-person calls can be just as easily cancelled, and are.

Leaving aside “captain’s picks”, with its hopelessly inappropriate team-sport analogy in a disparate society like ours whose members do not cheer at the same time, Abbott’s conduct invites a brief reflection on n leadership.

Active, let’s-get-on-with-it leadership (Gough Whitlam and John Hewson) has its scary moments, but it beats reaction or do-nothing stagnation.

has had far too much do-nothing stagnation. From the vibrant days of the 1993 election when both Keating and Hewson presented direction and vision (whichever one you preferred), we have had quarter of a century of small targets; same-song-sheet; risk-averse leadership with a brief interlude of Howard’s courageous gun control and GST ventures and the Rudd-Swan response to the global financial crisis.

The lack of direction and vision these days means that Hewson is now vying with Kim Beazley as the best prime minister we never had. At least he had a program. On social issues he would have progressed rather than dug in and the hard edges of his economic policies would have been rounded out and the most workable been adopted. His publications since joining the Crawford School at ANU show this.

After the GST, the Howard-Costello government lapsed into buying votes on the back of the mining boom and little else. And the Rudd government abdicated leadership after it dropped its “greatest moral issue of our time” climate-change policy when the Greens allowed perfection to get in the way of the doable and blocked it in the Senate. Since then, leadership has wallowed with few exceptions (like the national disability scheme).

What or who can bring courageous leadership back? Certainly not Tony Abbott and his reactionary slogans and one-liners.

Semi’s hat-trick helps nervy Eels seal top-four spot

Brad Arthur reckons the Eels have a “free throw at the stumps” in their daunting week-one finals clash against the Storm juggernaut, claiming his side are a chance of shocking the runaway minor premiers “if we’re allowed to play football”.
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Frustrated with a stalled ruck during Parramatta’s nervy top four-sealing win against the patched-up Rabbitohs on Friday night, Arthur already staked a marker for next week’s clash with the ruthlessly efficient Melbourne and cheekily railed for a speedy play-the-ball at AAMI Park.

“We’re playing Melbourne and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Arthur said after Semi Radradra’s hat-trick inspired an unconvincing 22-16 win over the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium. “No one’s going to give us a chance and it’s a free throw at the stumps. If we’re allowed to play a bit of football we’re a chance.

“They’re the masters at [slowing the ruck], they tackle well and they’ve got great systems. They’re not going to beat themselves. We’ve got to complete and be positive with our ball movement. If you give them opportunities they make you pay.”

Perhaps the gulf between the Storm and Eels can be measured by the plucky Rabbitohs, who copped a 64-6 caning at the hands of the Melbourne before a weakened side pushed the Eels all the way just a week later.

Asked about the Eels’ chances in Melbourne, Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire quipped: “After last week … good luck. They’re running red hot at the moment and unfortunately last week we were on the end of it.

“I think when you come into a finals series it starts next week for the teams. It’s really up to the team that turns up ready to go. It’s a really, really tight competition. If Parramatta turn up they’ll give themselves a chance.”

Maguire made a head-spinning seven positional or personnel changes to Souths’ starting line-up due to illness and injury with captain Sam Burgess, Adam Reynolds, Angus Crichton and Aaron Gray all dropping out of the starting 13 named on Tuesday.

But for large parts the Robbie Farah-led Rabbitohs looked on the brink of one of the upsets of the season, potentially robbing the Eels of their anticipated second chance saloon.

The result condemns premiers Cronulla to either fifth or sixth spot and the prospect of winning four straight games throughout the finals to defend their title.

The indifferent Eels effort will be dissected in detail, one which hardly had the feel of a side ready to go deep into the play-offs. But Arthur will be relieved the NRL’s feel-good story can at least plan to be playing over the next fortnight.

“We’re happy with where we finished,” Arthur said. “As I said to the boys, ‘You don’t win 16 games by fluke’. The performance was patchy tonight, but Souths came out and had a red-hot crack and played for their coach. It was probably exactly what we needed. Two years ago we might have thrown that away in the last three minutes.”

Brothers Michael and Robert Jennings traded tries on opposite sides of the ruck and on the same side of the field in an enthralling opening 15 minutes where it looked anything like a top-four team playing against one who could be holidaying in the Top End next week.

Michael sliced through and stood up fill-in fullback Damien Cook to start what many thought would be an Eels procession, but Robert’s sharp response for the Rabbitohs indicated anything but the one-way traffic it was supposed to have been.

Kyle Turner slid over after some neat work by Cameron Murray and Farah on the first set after Corey Norman’s careless behind-the-back flick pass surrendered possession.

If not for Radradra darting over in the shadows of half-time – giving them a lead they scarcely deserved – the red-faced Eels may have been able to compare notes with the red-cheeked Arthur after a half-time rev-up.

If his side didn’t hear the half-time message properly, they would have heard it loud and clear during the second stanza – Arthur anxiously balancing on the edge of his sideline seat and bouncing out of it for the most part.

Radradra’s second – this time a simple scurry on the end of an inch-perfect Corey Norman floater – couldn’t even calm the coach.

He knew why. Jennings Jnr outdid Jennings Snr when burrowing over in the corner for his second, albeit off a blatant forward pass to keep the rookie Rabbitohs within touching distance.

But Radradra’s late intervention was enough. It usually always is. But will it be enough to stop the Storm?

Parramatta Eels 22 (Semi Radradra 3, Michael Jennings tries; Mitchell Moses 3 goals) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 16 (Robert Jennings 2, Kyle Turner tries; Bryson Goodwin 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Referees: Gavin Badger, Chris Butler. Crowd: 21,533.

Getting economic messaging right requires courage

The Liberal government wants you to imagine how high taxes will be if Labor is elected at the next election. A couple weeks ago, Treasurer Scott Morrison was spruiking independent modelling that showed Labor would increase taxes by $167 billion over the next 10 years. Last week, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was talking about $150 billion plus additional tax burden.
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It is no longer surprising that these messages got little or no traction. None of the senior figures in either the Abbott or Turnbull governments have handled economic messaging well. They have been unable or unwilling to do the hard work necessary to hammer home the problems to an electorate made complacent by 26 years of uninterrupted growth.

The messages have changed too often, and been repeated too infrequently, for people to believe they are real. There is a genuine possibility it is now too late for this government ??? after four years and four budgets, they have made little progress on cutting taxation or eliminating the deficit.

In many respects it is more important for the Liberals to figure out why these messages are failing than to continue to pretend the current tactics are working when they’re not. At least then they could develop an alternative approach that, if it doesn’t work for this government, might give them something to work with in opposition.

It goes beyond the salesperson, even though there have been clear mistakes made by Joe Hockey, Scott Morrison and others. For example, the Parliamentary Budget Office disclaiming Morrison’s figures almost immediately was an embarrassing (and predictable) blunder.

Events have also often conspired to overtake the economic message. Recent tensions between North Korea and the US, exacerbated by the unpredictability of President Donald Trump, would swamp economic concerns anyway.

However, some of these events have their genesis within the government. Leadership tensions have never been allowed to settle, giving any spending cut “losers” from a rallying point for opposition. Same-sex marriage too has been continually forced to the front of political debate by its proponents, to the point where the momentum has overtaken the party leadership.

Moreover, the same kind of self-inflicted bad luck that haunted the Gillard minority government seems to be plaguing the Turnbull bare majority. These citizenship issues could have arisen at any time in the past decade, when they would have had little impact on the validity of the government, but they are here now, at the time when they could be a massive problem for the Prime Minister.

But there are two things specifically undermining the Liberal government’s case for economic reform.

First, they simply have not been consistent in their policy prescriptions. It is hard for the government to convince the electorate that increasing taxation is a problem when the Coalition themselves have been increasing tax rates and forecasting increasing revenue in every budget.

They introduced a temporary deficit levy. They raised fees and charges on foreign investors in property. Taxation on superannuation was also increased, and the complexity of the super regime grew substantially.

Indeed, Morrison had to stop pitching his message on Bill Shorten’s tax hike because two days later the government introduced legislation to push up the Medicare levy. The electorate aren’t fools: either tax rises are a problem or they are a solution. They can’t be both.

And there isn’t enough space to talk about all the new and expanded spending initiatives in the past four budgets. When the Coalition is raising income tax through the Medicare levy to pay for Gonski and the NDIS, it can hardly complain about other parties’ tax and spend tendencies.

But what is perhaps of greater concern is that across the western world the economic inclinations of voters seem to be shifting. At the last election, Labor ran on a platform of bigger deficits, higher taxes and more unfunded spending ??? something Rudd, Hawke and Keating all eschewed. The Democrats in the US and Jeremy Corbyn’s UK Labour all proposed huge new spending while only mouthing vague platitudes on how it would be paid for.

On the right too, hard-line conservatives and populists are zeroing in on limiting immigration as the key to reducing government spending. Pride in your ability to support yourself no matter what has been replaced with expectation of getting “your tax dollars back” and not spending them on “free-riders”.

Neither unfairness nor immigrants are causing these budgetary problems. People sense the truth ??? that the average person receives too much government support for what they pay in tax ??? but they don’t want to believe it. Unfortunately it takes little courage to front an ill-informed populist mob; but telling the truth is deemed very “courageous” indeed.

Simon Cowan is Research Manager at the Centre for Independent Studies.

Energy pirates are pillaging the Chinan people

Someone on the Prime Minister’s extensive communications staff has decided that it’s energy week.
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That’s likely a good political decision – same sex marriage week and citizenship week were not kind to the PM. But his insistence on dragging the heads of energy retailers to his office for a school principal-grade talking-to is wearing thin, and it’s unlikely to change much.

There is a lot wrong with the way electricity is sold at a retail level to households in . In many states – but not the ACT – there are no restrictions on the amount of profit a retailer can add to the power bill. Retailers in these states take a margin of more than 12 per cent, against a retail sector average of less than 6 per cent.

Regulation of ACT retailers by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission bucks the insidious trend that has spread across government thinking over recent decades, and it’s a testament to past and present ACT governments that they have placed the interests of territory electricity users ahead of the profits of power retailers in this area. But retail is just part of the equation, and ACT power users have not been spared.

The reality is that, in conducting an optics-heavy attack on retailers, our Prime Minister is spot-treating the most obvious symptoms of a broken system while the disease itself progresses unchecked. He is doing nothing to treat the root cause of the problems, which lies at the other end of the supply chain with power generators.

Since the introduction of the National Electricity Market in 1996 the wholesale price of energy has risen dramatically. The rules of the game allow energy generators to manipulate the spot price of power to extract maximum profit by withholding supply from the grid until the price spikes.

Last Tuesday, consultants at Schneider revealed that opportunistic and aggressive practices at power stations owned by AGL and Origin had added between $30 and $35 per megawatt hour to the wholesale price of electricity in NSW. Between them, these companies reported an underlying profit of more than $1.3 billion last year.

Researchers from the Melbourne Energy Institute found in August 2016 that generators engage in both physical and economic withholding of generation to take advantage of “quirks of the market settlement process” to increase what they’re paid for energy.

The ACT is usually a net importer of power from generators in other states, and this behaviour drives up the underlying wholesale price of energy, making bills higher despite regulation of the premiums that retailers charge.

Decades of piecemeal privatisation has failed to deliver real competition or lower prices. They have also hamstrung government efforts to control prices or secure supply as lawmakers have relinquished control of the mechanisms that would enable this.

The nation has handed control of our power system to a cartel of energy pirates who are pillaging the n people because a broken set of rules not only allow but encourage it. Generators call this good business. I think it’s deplorable and unacceptable.

The consequences of it go beyond high prices – the failure of Pelican Point to spin up when South blacked out early this year meant a longer blackout across the state, because generators are allowed under our current system to put money ahead of people’s needs.

The PM’s proposed solutions have been woefully mild. The latest – that retailers will write to one million customers by Christmas – is typical of his movements thus far. It’s non-binding and ineffective, but due to the inclusion of a large number in the headline announcement, it sounds like he’s doing something.

The final piece of the puzzle – and a vital one – is a clean energy target. Both home and large-scale generation lessen the load on networks, which means less is spent on network upgrades. Renewables also reduce our exposure to rising gas prices, and the large-scale battery projects associated with them mean that the peaks and troughs generators rely on to price-gouge can be smoothed out, especially when renewable projects are state-owned.

Renewables also have handy side benefit of helping us to avoid the immense human suffering associated with climate change.

ns used to have an electricity system that belonged to everyone and was run in the interests of people, delivering the most affordable power in the world. We can have it again if our leaders are willing to tackle difficult policy questions and treat energy as more than a cosmetic distraction from the problems of the day.

Allen Hicks is the secretary of the Electrical Trades Union

Myer Spring Racing Launch: celebrities gear up for the cup carnival

Jennifer Hawkins at the Myer Spring Racing 2017 Collection Launch at Au79 restaurant in Melbourne, Friday, September 1, 2017. The first of the group one turf races start tomorrow at Caulfield Racecourse. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING
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Myer spring racing launch. September 1, 2017. Christie Nicolaides. Photo: Lucas Dawson

Myer Spring racing launch. September 1, 2017. Nerida Winter. Photo: Lucas Dawson

Myer spring racing launch. September 1, 2017. Emma Hawkins. Photo: Lucas Dawson

Myer spring racing launch. September 1, 2017. Nadia Bartel. Photo: Lucas Dawson

Rebecca Harding poses for a photo at the Myer Spring Racing 17 Collection Launch at Au79 in Melbourne, Friday, September 1, 2017. The first of the group one turf races starts tomorrow at Caulfield racecourse. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

Melbourne Demons footballer Nat Jones (left) and his wife Jerri pose for a photo at the Myer Spring Racing 17 Collection Launch at Au79 in Melbourne, Friday, September 1, 2017. The first of the group one turf races starts tomorrow at Caulfield racecourse. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

Natalie Bassingthwaighte poses for a photo at the Myer Spring Racing 17 Collection Launch at Au79 in Melbourne, Friday, September 1, 2017. The first of the group one turf races starts tomorrow at Caulfield racecourse. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

Brit Davis poses for a photo at the Myer Spring Racing 17 Collection Launch at Au79 in Melbourne, Friday, September 1, 2017. The first of the group one turf races starts tomorrow at Caulfield racecourse. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

Natalie Roser is seen at the Myer Spring Racing 2017 Collection Launch at Au79 restaurant in Melbourne, Friday, September 1, 2017. The first of the group one turf races start tomorrow at Caulfield Racecourse. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

Rachael Finch poses for a photos at the Myer Spring Racing 2017 Collection Launch at Au79 restaurant in Melbourne, Friday, September 1, 2017. The first of the group one turf races start tomorrow at Caulfield Racecourse. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

Jessie Habermann poses for a photo at the Myer Spring Racing 2017 Collection Launch at Au79 restaurant in Melbourne, Friday, September 1, 2017. The first of the group one turf races start tomorrow at Caulfield Racecourse. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

​Myer kicked off spring racing with an intimate lunch in Melbourne on Friday attended by the face of Myer, Jennifer Hawkins, as well as several high-profile designers.

The George rebirth brings shine to Melbourne landmark

Georges Department Store in Collins Street was once a mecca for shoppers in the post-war period.
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Decades later it was reborn as the New Georges. Now it’s not much more than a throughway to Little Collins Street.

While the gloss of the centre has disappeared, Hecker Guthrie has reinvented the basement, previously called the Long Room.

Now ‘The George’ is a beautifully crafted bar/caf?? and restaurant bringing back some of the shine to this important Melbourne landmark.

The owners of The George, Greg Kahan and Simon Jones, who also operated The Long Room for 12 years, felt the previous arrangement was more targeted at the nighttime crowd.

“We wanted to still appeal to those clients, but we wanted to also cater for those looking for breakfast and lunch,” says Kahan.

While the design brief given to Hecker Guthrie was fairly open, Kahan and Jones wanted unimpeded sight lines across the basement.

“It was also important that people felt comfortable, whether they were coming in as part of a group or on their own,” he adds.

Tom Brockband, The George’s head chef, puts it succinctly.

“The dishes are simple and crisp and not pretentious so it seems appropriate the interior responds to this,” he says, holding up one of the earthy ceramic plates.

For interior designers Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie, words such as ‘honesty’ and ‘lack of pretention’ were at the forefront of their minds.

Hecker, who came to Melbourne from Adelaide in 1987, still fondly recalls stumbling across Rosati’s in Flinders Lane, designed by Piero Gesualdi in the form of a cafe one would find at an Italian railway station.

“When I saw it for the first time, I literally wept. It changed my world.”

While Rosati’s is no longer, Hecker Guthrie was keen to treat The George as deserving of its heritage, both architecturally and historically.

So rather than simply gutting the basement and creating something ‘fashionable’, the duo worked like curators.

The basement’s original brick walls were uncovered and simply painted white.

Recycled brick walls, forming the new insertions, are clearly identified.

Some ceilings were also removed to create voids above the eating nooks on the podium level.

“Everything here is original, whether it’s the furniture we’ve selected or the lighting and artifacts,” says Hecker.

Table lamps by designers such as Henry Wilson are as considered as ceramic wall sculptures and tabletops by architect/ceramicist Bruce Rowe.

“There are no copies here,” adds Hecker.

Although the central bar, fully clad in bluestone, is the anchor point to Hecker Guthrie’s design, there are numerous ‘moments’ at The George that are equally inviting.

The breakfast nooks, located at front of house, framing the original staircase, have a more casual ambience.

In contrast, the function room, located at the rear of The George, is considerably more moody and intense.

Again, one-off designs, some local and others imported, add a quirky touch.

A rope chair by the Campana Brothers, is as personal as the unusual timber stools from Italian company Riva 1921, taking the forms of Lego blocks, bottle tops or thimbles.

Even the chairs lining the brick walls are from Cark Hansen & Son, each one numbered.

For Hecker Guthrie, the pleasure comes from seeing The George work for large groups as well as for individuals, coming into the place for breakfast.

The broad variety of seating options, from high benches to casual lounges, also allows it to be used from morning until night.

“There’s a sense of intimacy that still allows you to enjoy the experience of looking across the entire place,” adds Hecker.

The Cockerill columns that defined a football era in China

In over 30 years of covering football for the Herald, Mike Cockerill filed hundreds of columns encompassing the full spectrum from NSW state league to World Cups. Below are extracts from five of the most memorable pieces Cockerill wrote over his distinguished career.2001: Horror Video
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After the Socceroos’ heartbreaking defeat to Uruguay in the 2002 World Cup play-off, Cockerill was the only journalist to travel out of Montevideo with the team. He filed this piece on the dejection among the players.

When Tony Vidmar saw a laptop image of himself sobbing as he left the field in Montevideo, he wept all over again.

In the cafe of the city’s international airport, some Socceroos took the loss harder than others. And Vidmar, a veteran of three failed World Cup campaigns, took it harder than most.

Such are the time constraints of ‘s soccer-playing elite that they were at the airport waiting to catch a connecting flight to Buenos Aires within two hours of the final whistle.

Paul Okon wore a glazed expression, barely able to talk above a whisper. Mark Viduka chatted amiably to just about anyone who would listen. Josip Skoko sported a blackened right eye and a bruised heart. Vidmar was struggling to contain his tears.

In the baggage hall, coach Frank Farina went around, one by one, to the players who would be spending the night in Argentina before returning to their clubs in Europe. “Thanks for the last two years,” was his message.

Seven players, among them skipper Paul Okon, have followed Farina back to to snatch a couple of days with their families. That contingent headed off in the Buenos Aires night to the city’s second airport, at Ezeiza, and will arrive in Sydney early this morning. Those who remained behind, among them Viduka and Harry Kewell, wound down with a few beers in their hotel. It was no more than they deserved. 2005: This one’s for you, Johnny

Four years later, on a November night in Homebush, there was only joy as the Socceroos gained revenge on Uruguay with a penalty shoot-out victory to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1974. It was a night that would go down in n football history.

It’s a lot more fun witnessing history than reliving it. Step by painful step, the past 31 years of unfulfilled expectation have defined football in this country. Last night at Homebush Bay, the decades of hurt were finally washed away ??? soothed by a Socceroos performance as good as it gets.

are into the World Cup finals at long last, and 23 squad members and a coaching and support staff led by Dutch master Guus Hiddink and Graham Arnold are writ forever into folklore.

Landmark moment: The Socceroos defeat Uruguay to break their World Cup drought. Photo: AAP

The Socceroos class of 2005 is going to Germany ??? and the class of 1974 can finally rest in peace.

There have been many seminal moments in n sport, but not many as profound as this.

This was an achievement that will not only change the lives of those who delivered it, but the sport itself.

Football in has been played competitively since 1880, but so much of it has been in the shadows. Going to the World Cup, and going as an Asian team, is the past and the future rolled into one. It has taken 125 years, but football has finally stepped into the light.

Many of the players from the 1974 team ??? until last night the only n team to reach the World Cup finals ??? were also in the stands. The late, great Johnny Warren ??? who played in the 1965 and 1974 teams and cried on national television when we lost to Iran on the Socceroos’ darkest night ??? wasn’t there, of course. But we all cried for him.

Woven into the fabric of this victory were the cumulative defeats of two generations. Grief has been the constant theme.

Four years ago, Tony Vidmar had to be helped off the pitch in Montevideo as a torrent of tears rolled down his cheeks. Last night, the oldest player in the squad whooped with unbridled joy, savouring his decision to postpone his retirement.

In a multicultural nation in a fractured world, the Socceroos can bring together the sum of their parts: Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican. German, Lebanese, Polynesian, Croatian, Italian, Melanesian, Greek. It is a rich tapestry but last night they ??? and we ??? were one thing only. n. 2006: Bling FC is born

Only four short months after the Socceroos’ landmark achievement, Sydney FC made their own piece of history when they beat Central Coast Mariners 1-0 in the grand final to win the inaugural A-League title.

Glamour may be only skin deep, but Sydney FC proved last night that a heart lies beneath the hype amid euphoric scenes at Aussie Stadium.

In front of a flag-waving, fist-pumping, roaring full house of mostly Sydney fans, FC achieved something which eluded the Swans, the Waratahs, and the Kings ??? they won a championship at their first attempt. In a city with an unrelenting appetite for success, claiming the inaugural grand final gives Sydney FC a massive leg-up in the most competitive sports market in the nation.

Bold new start: Sydney FC s Dwight Yorke raises the A-league trophy. Photo: Phil Hearne

The old NSL had bigger crowds, and perhaps better games, for grand finals, but rarely was there this type of atmosphere. And the players fed off that energy to deliver something history can never take away from them ??? the first-ever A-League championship.

But this should not signal the start of a dynasty. Salary caps are designed to prevent that. Next season will kick off in August with all eight clubs believing they can win the title. And at the end of season two, there is the added incentive of a place in the Asian Champions League. So much to look forward to, so much to savour. But for now, the kudos and the joy belong to Sydney FC. They have earned their respect the hard way. 2010: Here I am, Harry

At a press conference during the 2010 World Cup, Harry Kewell attempted to call out Cockerill over a critical article written the previous week. “Where’s Mike Cockerill?” Kewell demanded of the assembled reporters. Cockerill was not in the room, but filed this response to Kewell within two hours.

Here I am Harry, where I was always going to be and where I’ll be for the next few weeks. Covering the World Cup.

Not covering you, exclusively, I must admit. I like to get around. On Wednesday afternoon, when you seemed to be rather upset that I wasn’t squeezed among the press pack at Ruimsig, tape recorder in hand, I was actually in Pretoria. Months ago I applied, and received, accreditation to report on South Africa’s game against Uruguay. You can check if you like.

‘Where’s Mike Cockerill?’: Harry Kewell fronts the press pack asking for Cockerill at the 2010 World Cup. Photo: Steve Christo

Perhaps if I’d known you were going to front the cameras, I would have changed my plans. Come to think of it, no I wouldn’t have.

You see, Harry, I spent a lot of years, a lot of energy and a lot of effort chasing you for quotes around the world. I was there when it all began for you in 1996 ??? in fact, I was there a long time before that ??? and I’m still here now.

Ninety per cent of that time, you’ve blanked me. The last time, four years ago in Yokohama, I made a decision there wasn’t much point in the charade any more. Something I conveyed, quite clearly, to your manager, Bernie Mandic. So you got on with your life and I got on with mine. That’s fair enough.

What’s also true in this business is that if you dish it out, you’ve got to take it. I’ve dished it out to you in the past week and I’m happy to take it. But I stand by every word I’ve written. Every single one. You’ve had a dream run in terms of scrutiny, real scrutiny, regarding your performances. You know it, Bernie knows it.

Now you’ve got the chance to show you’re not a myth. That there’s still something in the tank. Go out against Ghana, when our World Cup is on the line, when your own international career is on the line, and do something. Actually DO something. Prove something. And if you do, I’ll be the first to praise you. As for the rest of it, I’m still here, still writing about football and hope to be for a long time to come. 2017: Ground control to major Tom

In his penultimate Herald column, published in June this year, Cockerill anointed young star Tom Rogic as the future of the Socceroos, and took a final swipe at an old sparring partner: the AFL.

Apparently you still need a Sherrin to sell the Socceroos to Victorians. In 2017. Yes, really. Fresh from the critical World Cup win over Saudi Arabia, Ange Postecoglou takes his pumped-up players to the MCG next Tuesday night to face Brazil in a prestige friendly that doubles as the warm-up match for this month’s FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

Somewhere along the line, the promoters felt it necessary to sell Aussie Rules in order to sell tickets with the Socceroos due in town. So a Sherrin was dispatched to Rio de Janeiro a few months ago to film an advertisement featuring the slogan: “We know the Brazilians have mastered the round ball … but how will they fare with the oval ball?”

Umm, who cares?

Anointed for stardom: Cockerill had high hopes for Tom Rogic. Photo: AP

For all that, it’s been a struggle to move tickets for a game that deserves a decent crowd. Fact is, the Socceroos haven’t sold out any major venues since the 2015 Asian Cup. There’s been plenty of introspection, but perhaps it comes down to something as obvious, and simple, as this: the time has come to create a new star.

The challenge is to choose the right player, then to properly promote him. On the latter, FFA’s unwillingness to put money and resources into marketing has to stop. On the former, who? Three candidates stand out. Mat Ryan, Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic. Ryan has credible claims but rarely do goalkeepers become poster boys. Mooy has the talent, but not the personality.

Which leaves Rogic. He ticks all the boxes to become the next Socceroos star. He had a taste of stardom as a teenager when he won the Nike talent quest, and didn’t particularly enjoy it. But time has moved on, he’s become more accustomed to the limelight since emerging at Celtic, and the word is he’s matured as much as a person as a footballer. The Socceroos need a new Harry Kewell, or Tim Cahill, or Mark Viduka. Badly. Much as Postecoglou is an outstanding public presence, he’s not a player. Rogic is, and an exceptional one at that. The man to get the turnstiles moving again? Why not?

Historic CBD building slated for demolition

Tower projects proposed by developers Fridcorp and Piccolo have been knocked back by the state planning tribunal on the grounds of size, while an historic 19th century industrial building on the CBD-fringe is ready for the wreckers.
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The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has granted a permit for Spacious Property Development to build a 17-storey tower at 488 La Trobe Street, rejecting claims that the 130-year-old Spinks Tinsmiths factory would be eligible for protection under the City of Melbourne’s proposed new heritage scheme.

The City of Melbourne is working on a new structure plan for West Melbourne and a new heritage regime but neither have been completed and a request to grant 488 La Trobe Street protection was not forthcoming.

The VCAT decision noted that, “because the minister for planning has declined to apply interim heritage controls over the review site, no permit is required to demolish the existing building on the site”.

City of Melbourne councillor Rohan Leppert slammed the planning minister, Richard Wynne.

“Council asked the planning minister for an interim protection order but it wasn’t granted. Now we’ve lost a very important building in that part of town and a piece of Melbourne’s history,” Cr Leppert said.

Lobby group Melbourne Heritage Action was yet more incensed. A number of historic buildings in the CBD are slated for demolition, including the 1850s-era Great Western Hotel, raising concerns that Melbourne’s urban fabric will be replaced by a series of generic high-rise towers.

MHA president Tristan Davies said: “It’s outrageous the planning minister has allowed this important part of our industrial heritage to be demolished.

“The front part of this building could have easily been retained while allowing a development above. But instead of this best-of-both-worlds outcome, his decision means yet another generic high-rise will replace a part of our heritage.”

A spokesman for Mr Wynne said the council had an opportunity to protect the building in the past but had failed.

Among a slew of VCAT decisions, Fridcorp’s proposal for a 12-storey project at 3-15 Shiel Street, North Melbourne, was rejected on the grounds it was too large and did not provide the appropriate graduated link between larger developments on nearby Haines Street and the low-rise Victorian streetscapes that have dominated the North Melbourne neighbourhood.

“Ultimately, we cannot find that all of the criteria for exceeding the preferred height limit are achieved, primarily as a number of the objectives are not met, where they specifically seek that the height and setback of new development respond to the context with low-scale residential neighbourhoods,” the decision noted.

North Melbourne architect Peter Hogg welcomed the VCAT decision but slammed the Arden-McAuley scheme which had allowed a strip of large bulky projects to overshadow Gardiner’s Reserve, the only public children’s playground in North Melbourne.

“I think it’s a very poor piece of urban planning – it’s the sort of thing you’d expect from the 1960s urban planning period,” Mr Hogg said.

Piccolo’s 10-storey project at 341-347 Queensberry Street, around the corner from the Victoria Market, was rejected on the grounds that there were not enough setbacks in the building’s design.

And at 164-184 Roden Street, West Melbourne, Oliver Hume’s plans to demolish and add to existing buildings also were rejected, partly on the grounds that a series of proposed warehouse shells “may not receive acceptable levels of daylight”.