Peterson beats Andrew in Roxy Pro final

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By , 18/07/2019 16:35

Up-and-coming Aussie Keely Andrew will contest her second World Surf League final on the Gold Coast. US surfer Lakey Peterson bested n Keely Andrew to win the Roxy Pro on the Gold Coast.
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American Lakey Peterson has upstaged up-and-coming n surfer Keely Andrew for a commanding win in the Roxy Pro final.

Victory for Peterson never looked in doubt on Thursday as she produced two big scores early in the heat, leaving it all for Andrew to do at Kirra Point.

The 23-year-old Peterson succumbed to Stephanie Gilmore in last year’s Roxy Pro decider but now has her World Surf League season off to the perfect start.

Peterson scored 8.00 and 7.67 in her first two rides, and the best Mooloolaba young gun Andrew could do in response was 3.50 and 2.17.

It is Peterson’s second major title and snaps a long drought, with her last win coming at the US Open of Surfing back in 2012 – her debut year on tour.

The manner of her performance suggests the Santa Barbara product is in line for further honours this season.

“I feel like I’ve been working for seven years to get another win,” Peterson said.

“(Now that it’s) finally happened, it’s super surreal.

“It’s hard. It beats you down if you don’t ever win something and it’s been a while.”

The win also nets Peterson the world No.1 ranking for the first time in a career which has long shown promise but hasn’t reached its fullest potential due to injuries, a lack of consistency and repeated failures deep in other events.

She said she’d learned the key to success, as illogical as it sounded, was to stop worrying about results.

“I feel like I’ve finally come to a point in my life and with my surfing where I just really want to enjoy it,” Peterson said.

“For so long, as funny as it sounds, it was so result-based and I wasn’t winning.

“When I was able to let go and just work on myself and learn from every opportunity… that’s a win for me.

“To have this result follow that speaks volumes and I’m really excited to carry it through the rest of the year.”

Andrew, meanwhile, is still searching for her first WSL title, having also lost last year’s Trestles Pro final in California to Brazil’s Silvana Lima.

However, the 23-year-old will draw confidence from her semi-final victory over Sally Fitzgibbons – her second major scalp in a row, having knocked out Gilmore in the quarters.

Newcastle council’s move discussed at Property Council lunch

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By , 18/07/2019 16:35

Colliers International real estate agent Peter Macadam. Picture: Max Mason HubersNEWCASTLE City Council’s proposed move to the Gateway Two building going up at Newcastle West will be a major topic of discussion at a Property Council lunch at City Hall on Friday.
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Newcastle Lord Mayor NuataliNelmes and property figures including Colliers International agent Peter Macadam will discuss the historic move, which was announced in December.

Mr Macadam said the council’s commitment wascritical to that building going ahead, because it was very difficult for developers to get project finance without having tenants signed up to leases.

On the council’s intention to leave its Civic home, Mr Macadam said it often made sense for businesses“from a cash flow perspective” to get their properties“off their balance sheet and not have to pay for maintenance costs”.

“They would normally sell their property and reinvest the money in the business,” Mr Macadam said.

He doubted the roundhouse would be used for commercial purposes after the council moved out, saying the building was“too inefficient”.

With the city’s older commercial spaces often unsuitable for modern business needs, Mr Macadam said new, high-quality office space was critical to attracting big new businesses to Newcastle.

The lunch will also hear about the state of the CBD office market, witha Property Council survey putting Newcastle’s January vacancy rate at 9 per cent, an improvement on the 10.3 per cent figure recorded six months before.

The all-important A-grade vacancy rate had fallen from 8.6 per cent in July 2017 to 6.8 per cent in January.

Although the Newcastle vacancy rate was effectively twice the Sydney CBD rate of 4.6 per cent, Mr Macadam said Newcastle was competing with non-CBD areas such as Parramatta and the Gold Coast when it came to attracting business tenants.

Office vacancy rates from the Property Council’s latest survey.

He said Newcastle had “a massive advantage” over Parramatta in that rents were lower, and businesses could attract employees by pointing to the city’s obvious urban renewal and the Hunter’s more laid-back lifestyle.

Newcastle was midway in a measure of 15 non-CBD markets, with a higher office vacancy ratethan Parramatta, Chatswood and North Sydney, but a lower ratethan Wollongong, St Leonards, the Brisbane fringe and the Sunshine Coast.

NSW Waratahs pack to stand up to Rebels

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By , 18/07/2019 16:30

Israel Folau says the NSW forwards must match the Rebels’ heavyweight pack.NSW’s smarting pack craves redemption after being challenged to stand up to the Melbourne Rebels in Sunday’s Super Rugby derby in Sydney.
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The Waratahs return to Allianz Stadium with tails between their legs following an insipid loss to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires and draw with the Sharks in Durban.

The game in Argentina was over before quarter-time after the Tahs conceded four tries before the break, prompting attacking trump Israel Folau to throw down the gauntlet to his forwards.

Folau says the NSW forwards must match the Rebels’ heavyweight pack.

“The game has to be won up front,” said ‘s three-time John Eales Medallist.

“They’ve got a big pack so we need go-forward and we need to get over the gain line.”

Lock Tom Staniforth, who will reunite with returning Wallabies second-rower Rob Simmons, knows the heat is on – but insists that’s nothing new.

He’s promising that the likes of Folau, Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley get more front-foot ball against ‘s unbeaten conference leaders.

“There’s always pressure. There’s pressure if you play club footy to deliver to the backs,” Staniforth said.

“There’s pressure if you play Super Rugby. That’s our jobs; to deliver them clean ball.

“If you watched the (last) game, we probably fell short a little bit.

“But it’s round three. We’re trying to improve, we’re trying to bring that 100 per cent sort of perfect to the Tahs and we’ll eventually achieve that.”

Staniforth knows the Rebels will be aggressive, and also expects niggle.

“That’s why we play, isn’t it?. We enjoy that confrontational battle and we’re looking forward to it,” he said.

“Obviously they play like that and that’s what makes rugby so good and that we get to have these contests.”

Despite already trailing the Rebels by nine competition points, the Waratahs are refusing to panic ahead of their first conference clash of the season.

“I think we’re building,” Staniforth said.

“We’re three games into the competition, we’re learning combinations. We’re learning to know each other.

“If you’re peaking for round three, obviously you’re not going to be peaking for the grand final or the finals.”

Judge me on my NRL defence: whiz kid Ponga

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By , 18/07/2019 16:30

Newcastle fullback Kalyn Ponga wants more recognition of his NRL defensive grit.He’s been hailed for his attacking brilliance but Newcastle sensation Kalyn Ponga wants to be recognised just as much for his NRL defensive grit.
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Just like Billy Slater and other great fullbacks, Ponga says he puts more emphasis on saving tries than scoring them.

Many baulked at the Knights’ decision to offer the the livewire Queenslander $700,000 a year and their attempt to rebuild the club around a 19-year-old.

But after one appearance for the Knights, he’s already shaping as a sound investment after prising open the Manly defence numerous times in last week’s season opener.

He finished with one try, one line break, 104 metres and was already being speculated about as a future State of Origin star.

But while he’s happy to do the flashy stuff, he says it’s keeping the opposition out – such as his desperate try-saving tackle on Akuila Uate – which gives him the most satisfaction.

“All the great fullbacks (defence) is the strong point of their games,” Ponga said.

“Guys like Billy Slater – as a fullback, that’s my role. It’s something I really want to work on.

“(Coach Nathan Brown) is into me about it; my old coach (North Queensland’s Paul Green) was into me about it as well.

“It’s something I really want to improve.”

If Ponga is under pressure to deliver at the Knights, he seemed oblivious and shrugged off suggestions he came into his first Knights pre-season being weighed down by expectation.

“People keep saying that, I don’t know why,” Ponga said.

“Pre-season is pre-season. It’s pretty hard. Everyone’s getting themselves fit for round one and that’s what we did.

“A lot of combinations were made, which we’re still working on.”

Brumbies swing Super Rugby axe for Sharks

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By , 18/07/2019 16:25

Blake Enever has a chance to make a statement in the Brumbies’ Super Rugby clash with the Sharks.The Brumbies have swung the axe by making six changes as they look to turn around their Super Rugby season against the Sharks.
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Henry Speight is the only back-three player from the Melbourne Rebels loss to retain his spot for Saturday night’s match, with Andy Muirhead and Tevita Kuridrani coming into the starting XV.

Co-captain Sam Carter (concussion) and veteran Josh Mann-Rea (hamstring) are crucial forced changes through injury.

Two-Test Wallaby Blake Enever comes straight in for Carter at No.5 to partner Rory Arnold, while Tom Cusack replaces Lolo Fakaosilea at openside flanker.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said Enever had the chance to make a statement after being left out of the squads for two of the opening three games.

“I’ve really admired Blake’s attitude during a difficult period for him – after playing at Murrayfield and Twickenham (for the Wallabies) and then having to get a bus to Albury for four hours to play a (Brumbies) Runners game,” McKellar said.

Other notable changes are co-captain Christian Lealiifano moving to inside centre to pair up with Wharenui Hawera, with Kyle Godwin cut from the squad.

Fullback Tom Banks, who has been touted as a future Wallaby, has been moved to the bench with Muirhead starting in the No.15 jersey.

Hooker Connal McInerney is on the bench for his Brumbies debut, while James Dargaville and Nic Mayhew are in for their first games of the season.

“I’ve picked a team this week that is all about the team performance, and not so much on individual performance,” McKellar said.

“It’s what I think will allow us to take the opportunities that we’re creating.

“Are we in trouble? You don’t want to be 1-3, but we’d much rather get a really good result in front of our fans and turn around our record at home, which has been around 50 per cent in recent years.”

BRUMBIES:

Andy Muirhead, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Lausil Taliauli, Wharenui Hawera, Joe Powell, Isi Naisarani, Tom Cusack, Lachlan McCaffrey, Blake Enever, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio.

Res:

Connal McInerney, Nic Mayhew, Leslie Leuluaialli-Makin, Richie Arnold, Lolo Fakaosilea, Matt Lucas, James Dargaville, Tom Banks.

McGovern keen to stay at AFL Eagles

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By , 18/07/2019 13:49

Jeremy McGovern says his next contract might not be finalised until the end of the AFL season.In-demand AFL defender Jeremy McGovern says his preference is to stay at West Coast, but he wants the deal to be a long one.
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McGovern will be a restricted free agent at season’s end, and has reportedly already attracted an offer of more than $7 million over six seasons from a Melbourne-based club.

The two-time All-n is unsure when he will finalise a decision, saying there’s a chance he could leave it towards the end of the season.

McGovern is happy in his home State of WA, and is expecting a baby with his partner in the coming months.

The soon-to-be 26-year-old is acutely aware that his next AFL deal is likely to be his last – and he’ll need a good outcome to secure the financial future of his young family.

“It’s probably that long-term security – I reckon that’s what everyone would be wanting,” McGovern said.

“That’s something we’ve been aiming at with my management group.

“This could be my last contract I guess if it is a long one.

“I’m still in negotiations with the club. We are still chatting and trying to get things sorted. It’s just taking it’s time – like anyone else.”

Earlier this month, player manager Colin Young said a player with the capabilities of Richmond’s Alex Rance or McGovern would be worth between $1 million to $1.5 million.

Young manages McGovern, and claimed several Melbourne-based clubs had been circling his client.

McGovern said he would like to remain with West Coast if he can land a good deal.

“Of course that’s my main objective,” McGovern said.

“I love the club, love my teammates, love the coaching staff. There’s no reason why I wouldn’t be happy here at all.”

McGovern says he has been copping flak from his teammates about the media frenzy surrounding his contract.

But he’s confident the outside speculation won’t affect his on-field form – even if it drags out until the end of the season.

McGovern has established himself as the best intercept defender in the competition, and he led the league in contested marks last year.

The 196cm key position player says he has enjoyed taking on more leadership duties this season to help guide the club’s youngsters.

West Coast kick off their season at Perth’s new $1.5 billion stadium against Sydney on March 25.

McGovern has high hopes the Eagles can defy the odds and snare a finals berth this season.

Brumbies swing Super Rugby axe for Sharks

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By , 18/07/2019 13:43

Blake Enever has a chance to make a statement in the Brumbies’ Super Rugby clash with the Sharks.The Brumbies have swung the axe by making six changes as they look to turn around their Super Rugby season against the Sharks.
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Henry Speight is the only back-three player from the Melbourne Rebels loss to retain his spot for Saturday night’s match, with Andy Muirhead and Tevita Kuridrani coming into the starting XV.

Co-captain Sam Carter (concussion) and veteran Josh Mann-Rea (hamstring) are crucial forced changes through injury.

Two-Test Wallaby Blake Enever comes straight in for Carter at No.5 to partner Rory Arnold, while Tom Cusack replaces Lolo Fakaosilea at openside flanker.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said Enever had the chance to make a statement after being left out of the squads for two of the opening three games.

“I’ve really admired Blake’s attitude during a difficult period for him – after playing at Murrayfield and Twickenham (for the Wallabies) and then having to get a bus to Albury for four hours to play a (Brumbies) Runners game,” McKellar said.

Other notable changes are co-captain Christian Lealiifano moving to inside centre to pair up with Wharenui Hawera, with Kyle Godwin cut from the squad.

Fullback Tom Banks, who has been touted as a future Wallaby, has been moved to the bench with Muirhead starting in the No.15 jersey.

Hooker Connal McInerney is on the bench for his Brumbies debut, while James Dargaville and Nic Mayhew are in for their first games of the season.

“I’ve picked a team this week that is all about the team performance, and not so much on individual performance,” McKellar said.

“It’s what I think will allow us to take the opportunities that we’re creating.

“Are we in trouble? You don’t want to be 1-3, but we’d much rather get a really good result in front of our fans and turn around our record at home, which has been around 50 per cent in recent years.”

BRUMBIES:

Andy Muirhead, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Lausil Taliauli, Wharenui Hawera, Joe Powell, Isi Naisarani, Tom Cusack, Lachlan McCaffrey, Blake Enever, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio.

Res:

Connal McInerney, Nic Mayhew, Leslie Leuluaialli-Makin, Richie Arnold, Lolo Fakaosilea, Matt Lucas, James Dargaville, Tom Banks.

United confident ahead of NBL grand final

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By , 18/07/2019 13:43

Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman says United are confident ahead of their NBL decider with Adelaide.Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman says his side is confident but measured as they prepare to take on Adelaide 36ers in the NBL championship decider.
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The best-of-five grand final series opens in Melbourne on Friday night and shapes as a classic battle between the league’s top-ranked offensive and defensive teams.

Vickerman has steered United into the championship round in his first season at the helm thanks to a defence-first approach that has drawn the best out of a talent-filled roster.

With imports Casper Ware and Josh Boone, Boomers guard Chris Goulding and power forward Tai Wesley leading the way, United blitzed the second half of the season to finish on top the NBL ladder.

Having swept the New Zealand Breakers in the semi-finals, Vickerman has his charges ready for their biggest challenge of the season.

“We’ve got our guys at a point where they are confident but absolutely respectful of their opponent,” Vickerman said on Thursday.

“We know what’s coming at us and the relentlessness of their offence continuing to come at us.”

United won all four encounters with Adelaide in the regular season but Vickerman knows his side must elevate their game if they are to extend that streak.

“Probably the best thing that we’ve been able to do is put the ball in the hole and just slow them down a little bit,” he said.

“Their defence from when we played them last has certainly greatly improved and that challenge will be a little more significant than it has been in the past.”

Adelaide coach Joey Wright has turned the 36ers into the league’s most potent offensive team with leading scorer Daniel Johnson flanked by athletic wings Mitch Creek, Nathan Sobey and import Josh Childress.

“At this point, we are who we are,” Wright said.

“We are going to get out and run, get up and down the court and play our style of basketball.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to our defence trying to slow them up and their defence trying to slow us up.”

While Childress has enjoyed a successful playing career in the NBA and Europe, the American forward has yet to taste championship success and hopes he can add a title with the 36ers to his resume.

“I’ve been to a few finals before but haven’t had a chance to win one and I’m really looking forward to that opportunity here,” Childress said.

‘I can’t fail my son’: fighting to stay in school – and in the country

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By , 18/06/2019 11:16

Sebastian Skrynnik asks his parents most Fridays if he’ll be going to school the next morning.
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“He’s always upset when I tell him no and asks how come he’s not at school,” his mother, Alexandra Pyatetskaya, said.

“It’s such a joy for him – it’s nothing but a pleasure. The holidays are hardest because he’s not learning and achieving and he feels he should be.

“Heloves reading and being with other children and is very protective of the younger kids.”

Butit appeared the cricket-mad six-year-old would never rejoin his year one classmates at Newcastle East Public School.

After a series of misfortunes associated with their visa, Sebastian’s Russian-raised parents have had to apply for a tourist visa, which does not allow them to work. The tourist visa expires in June. Ms Pyatetskaya is sweating on an invitation to apply for the Skilled Independent visa and thena bridging visa.

If that invitation doesn’t come soon, the family may have to return to Russia, a terrifying prospect for them.

“I can’t imagine what his (Sebastian’s)reaction would be like going to Russia and settling in, because it will break him,” Ms Pyatetskaya said.

And although Sebastian was born in , he is not a permanent resident and does not have a right to access public education, leaving his parents facing a school bill of $300 a week.

“I was homeschooling him, but the school realised we were still living in zone and asked us whether we would be bringing him back,” Ms Pyatetskaya said.

“I told them we just can’t pay it, we’re barely surviving. He’s an Aussie kid who has no rights and can’t be protected by society, he’s just on his own.”

At the same time, Ms Pyatetskaya’s husband Yury Skrynnik had run into mothers including Meaghan McGregor and lawyer Kath Fielden and explained the family’s situation.

Within less than three hours of Ms Fielden meeting the family on Friday, February 9, she rallied a small group of parents to provide a loan of $2700 to cover Sebastian’s term one fees. Ms McGregor said the Department of Education’s immigration team worked over the weekend to process the paperwork to allow Sebastian to return school on Monday, February 12.

“There is a strong legacy of helping others at Newcastle East Public School, regardless of where they are from,” she said.

Ms McGregor and Ms Fielden are now turning to the wider school community to raise$4500 which will helpthe small group of parents who provided the initial loan, and pay fees for part of term two and other education costs.

“The day I told him he was going back to school he was running around the house screaming ‘I’m free, I’m going back!’” Ms Pyatetskaya said.“He loves the community, but I never thought he would get that kind of love back.

“I was gobsmacked –I can’t express how appreciative we are.Knowing you’ve got the community behind you is life changing. Not just from a financial perspective but mentally knowing you’re not on your own, after all these years trying to push and nothing happening.

“You reach the point where you’re defeated, but now we feel like we can fight.

“As much as we were trying to float on the surface it felt like we were drowning.

“Now we’ve been lifted back up by the community. They’ve given us wings.”

“was the ultimate dream” for both Ms Pyatetskaya and Mr Skrynnik.

After receiving a scholarship as a 15-year-old to attend a school in the United States, Ms Pyatetskaya said she could “never have considered myself living in Russia full time”.

“If something happens to you, you’re on your own,” she said.

“If you don’t have family or money saved, there is nothing that will back you up.

“People are also not allowed to express opinions – you have to keep quiet if you disagree.”

Mr Skrynnik was a professional athlete who competedat the national level in modern pentathlon before suffering a career-ending injury.

The couple met in 2002, saw Mr Skrynnik survive a car crash in 2004 and married in 2007.

Ms Pyatetskaya, a qualified English, French and English as a Second Language teacher,researched a Skilled Independent visa 189, which allows someone to live and work in as a permanent resident.

She realised further study was one way she could boost her required points score.

She arrived in in February, 2010, on a Higher Education Sector visa 573 and enrolled in a Masters of Applied Linguistics, during which she was told it wouldn’t be hard to find a job.Just two weeks later, the points system changed. Ms Pyatetskaya applied for a Postgraduate Research Sector Visa 574 and enrolled in a second degree to gain points, a Masters of Communication Disorders, which was later discontinued and for which she is pursuing Macquarie University for a refund.

Mr Skrynnik, who had visited twice on a tourist visa, joined her in .

They welcomed Sebastian in May, 2011, but full-time work was hard to find.

“We know we’ve got the skills and knowledge to contribute,” she said.

“We’re happy to go where the work is and both of us want to contribute to the community, to be employed and part of society. We were never thinking of not working, but we don’t know how to get through the system to get employed.”

She said she gained limited work in child care and tutoring and was told once she received a teaching accreditation number she’d be considered for employment.

“I was ready to work in any capacity but could hardly find any work with my degree.

“I was hoping I’d get casual employment somewhere [in the Department of Education] to get a foot in the door but was told I was not needed in NSW, which was very very disheartening.

“The Department of Education, the university and TAFE do not sponsor.”

Meanwhile Mr Skrynnik – who had run businesses in both St Petersburg and Moscow – worked on his English, attended free skill-development courses and searched for jobs in his expertise of sports coaching, massage and aqua aerobics.

But even his applications to stock supermarket shelves went unanswered and he relied on occasional work as a manual labourer in gardening and landscaping.

When Ms Pyatetskaya did find a company to sponsor her Temporary Work (Skilled) 457 visa, it collapsed before it could help her apply for permanent residency.

“We’ve hit rock bottom,” she said. “I did not think permanent residency would be on a silver platter, there are steps and protocol.

“But we’ve followed those – we’ve never had gaps or been here illegally. We were ready mentally and financially but never thought we’d be in a situation where we’re holding on trying to stay, trying not to fall apart.”

She spent the past year studying and sat the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s academic test five times.She passed in October and applied for her Skills Assessment Certificate.She lodged an expression of interest in February to apply for the Skilled Independent visa.

Her temporary work visa ran out in December so she applied for a tourist visa, to June 22. If she receives an invitation to apply for the Skilled Independent visa, she can apply for a bridging visa. But it could take up to two years to receive an invitation.

“If we go offshore and get the invitation to apply you can’t get back in until it’s processed –so you don’t get a bridging visa.”

Ms Pyatetskaya said she is hesitant to bring her son to her native homeland.

“Here he is valued as a person, a learner and a child – it’s unbelievable how people are treating him here because we never got that at home. In Russia if you’re not first at school you’re next to nothing. We are teaching him Russian but he would struggle in school, be picked on and bullied.”

For now, the family is living in two rooms in shared accommodation and have accessed St Vincent de Paul and Grainery Care Centre for assistance with groceries, Soul Cafe for food and op shops for clothing.

Every day they wake hoping for good news.

“I’m pulling my hair out – if in June nothing happens, what do we do?” she asked.

“I’m running low on energy to fight but can’t fail my son. It’s worth trying – I’d never be able to face him and say there was a chance to stay and I never did it. We want him to have the opportunities to succeed and the choices that we never did.”

Donations can be made to ANZ Bank, BSB: 012780 Account: 216425905. Reference “SEB”.

nib appeals to shareholders to grab their share of $2.5 million in unclaimed dividends

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By , 18/06/2019 11:16

Appeal: NIB chief executive officer Mark Fitzgibbon. Picture: Marina Neil
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TIME is running out for NIB shareholders to claim their share of close to $2.5 million in dividends before the health insurer gives the jackpot to charity.

In what it says is an n corporate first, the Hunter-founded private health fund has changed its constitution to allow unclaimed dividends to be transferred to nib foundation, which helps charities to deliver community focused and well-being initiatives.

Unclaimed dividends werepreviously transferred to the Office of State Revenue under The Unclaimed Monies Act 1995, but in late 2017 nib shareholders backed the insurer’s move to transfer them to nib foundation.

There are about 9000 shareholders –more than 1400 of them in the Hunter –who have not claimed dividends totalling almost $2.5 million. The average unclaimed pool is $257 but one western Sydneyshareholderis owed $14,600.

If shareholdersdon’t claim what is theirs before August 31, 2018, the monies will be transferred to the foundation.

NIB managing director Mark Fitzgibbon said thefunds had remained unclaimed for a period of five years or more, despite nib’s best efforts to contact shareholders and pay them.

“We’ve worked hard to reconnect these shareholders with their unclaimed dividends, including by mail, via advertising in national newspapers, social media campaigns, and if they are a nib policyholder, reminding them when they contact us for a claim or query that they have outstanding dividends,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“We don’t want our shareholders to miss out on what’s owing to them, which is why we’re encouraging anyone who has owned NIB shares to contact us to check if they have dividends that can be claimed,” he said.

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