Lions facing an uphill battle against St Pat’s

Craig Johnson and the Dubbo Lions will be hoping for an improved showing at Bathurst on Saturday. Photo: CHERYL BURKE Andrew Murrell and the Dubbo Lions will be determined to turn their seasona round at Bathurst on Saturday. Photo: CHERYL BURKE

THE Dubbo Lions have had little to cheer about so far in 2016 and on Saturday they face another challenge when they make the trip to Bathurst.

Following last week’s 5-2 loss to the Orange Wanderers the Lions meet second-placed St Pat’s.

The Bathurst side have been in fine form this season, losing just two of eight matches so far, and the only thing keeping them from the top of the ladder is the fact they lost four points due to playing an unregistered player.

The Lions were also dealt that punishment and it put them on the bottom of the ladder, somewhere they remain.

Despite being winless, their one win in the opening round was stripped as punishment, there have been positive signs for the Dubbo side.

On Saturday they will be desperate to show improvement again as they look to make up for the embarrassment of last time they met St Pat’s.

The Bathurst side dominated that match back in mid-April, winning 12-0 and coach Graeme Waters will be determined to avoid that kind of score this time out.

Matt Waters and Stuart McKenzie will again be key after finding themselves on the scoresheet numerous times this season.

The action at Bathurst gets underway at 1.35pm.

Elsewhere, Orange Wanderers are looking to build on last week’s win over the Lions when they take on Lithgow Zig Zag.

The Wanderers won comfortably last week and now face two crunch games.

Player-coach Matt Johnson said wins in the next two matches will keep them within reach of the top two on the ladder.

Despite dominating the game against Dubbo, Johnson wants to see his side still play better against Zig Zag.

“They’ve been flying under the radar a bit,” Johnson said of the Lithgow team.

“We’re going back to our basics. Our passing and trapping probably wasn’t up to scratch against Dubbo, if we can execute our basics the rest should take of itself.”

In the women’s PLH, the Dubbo Blue Jays enjoy the bye.

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Christmas rose great for winter

The Christmas rose, helleborus niger, is so called because in the northern hemisphere where it originated it blooms over Christmas.

Comfrey is great for the compost heap.

It is not a rose but its white flowers resemble a single rose.

DELICATE: The helleborus niger is not a rose but its white flowers resemble a single rose.

It grows best in a shaded place where the soil is deep and contains much humus and moisture.

Plant it where you might grow ferns and protect it from strong winter winds.

The best time to plant a Christmas rose is in autumn. A common mistake is to plant it too late in spring.

Unless planted well before this, it will not build up enough reserve energy to enable it to bloom the following winter.

Christmas roses must not be planted too deep and special care must be taken that the roots are not damaged.

Plant them so that the crown is no more than two or three centimetres below the soil surface.

A plant will last for many decades so the soil must be well prepared with humus. Leaf mould and peat moss can be dug in too. Only very old and well-rotted manure should be used.

The soil should be about neutral rather than acid.

Christmas roses here can bloom any time from May to August, depending on weather conditions.


Comfrey is a very tenacious plant. Once you have it in your garden you will have much trouble in getting rid of it.

It is rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and trace minerals and in vitamins A and C.

Comfrey has long been used medicinally for all sorts of ailments, both internally and externally.

But medical experts now believe that excessive internal use can cause irreversible liver damage and say it should be taken very sparingly, or better still not at all.

But there’s one good thing about comfrey. It’s great for the compost heap.


Conifers, as we all know, come in all shapes, sizes and many colours.

The most familiar ones range from shrubs to gigantic trees.

Not so well known is the fact that there are many which are low growing ground covers, and these can give you year-round colour.

Most ornamental conifers belong to two families, juniper and cypress.

You’ll be bewildered by the botanical names on conifer plants in garden centres.

If you’re looking for ground covers watch out for junipers with the names horizontalis, depressa or prostrata.

Juniperus communis depressa aurea is a good example.

It spreads outward with curved branches drooping at the tip. It changes colour charmingly throughout the season. It starts with bright gold in spring, fades to green and gold for summer and then takes on beautiful silver purplish hues, flecked with bronze, for winter. It will thrive in poor soil.

For a fast grower try juniperus horizontalis douglasii. It is steel blue in summer, purple in winter and has stiffish, spreading branches.

Even more attractive is juniperus horizontalis glauca, which grows closer to the ground and has blue berries. It is blue-green.

All of these plants are not fussy about soil or even about rainfall.

Jobs to do

Many areas can expect frost from now on. Any pumpkins that are still outdoors should be brought in and stored in a dry place.

Remember not to lift them by their stems and don’t let them touch each other on the shelf.

Perennials such as delphiniums and foxgloves should have their dead stalks cut off and removed. Fork in some dolomite around them and bed them down for winter with a mulch of hay.

You can also dig up perennials now and divide them, unless you are in a very cold area, in which case leave them until spring.

Kitchen herbs can be divided or planted out. Thyme, sage and marjoram can be split up. So can chives.

Conifers come in all shapes and sizes.

Bring in pumpkins and store.

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Natural disaster cash grants sought to help relieve dairy farmer pressures

ADF President Simone Jolliffe and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce in Victoria this week after discussing the federal government’s response to the dairy price cut crisis.

AUSTRALIAN Dairy Farmers are asking government to adjust the eligibility criteria for $20,000 in cash grants that normally aid communities hit by natural disasters like floods and fires, to support embattled dairy farmers impacted by the shock milk price cut crisis.

ADF President Simone Jolliffe welcomed various support measures promoted by different groups to promote support dairy farmers this week including banks easing debt pressures and financial assistance by State governments.

Ms Jolliffe was one of several industry leaders and dairy farmers who met for talks this week with Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce near Shepparton in Victoria, to address a response package.

Ms Jolliffe said support measures from the major banks and State governments had been declared but federal government grants remained a core priority.

She said a verbal request was made to Mr Joyce this week to amend the eligibility criteria for disaster relief assistance to provide $5000 grants for professional business advice for farmers suffering the heaviest impacts of the price cut crisis.

That request also applied to $15,000 cash grants that can be provided to assist immediate recovery efforts for dairy farmers which are normally issued for community support following extreme weather events.

Ms Jolliffe said the support package also needed to be bipartisan and she would speak to Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, and Mr Joyce, in understanding the caretaker conventions of government due to the federal election.

“ADF is extremely welcoming of any support that can assist those dairy farmers who have been impacted by these unplanned price cuts by milk processors,” she said.

“We are using our own resources to assist farmers at this time but we also need more federal government assistance to support those most heavily impacted, including fast-tracking Farm Household Allowance.

“We also need to amend the criteria for concessional loans and to help with access to cash grants that are provided to communities hit unexpectedly by natural disasters like floods and fires that help them with recovery efforts.”

Ms Jolliffe said improving resources to strengthen the delivery of Rural Financial Counselling Services for the dairy industry, was also a priority.

She said about 4000 of the nation’s 6100 dairy farmers were impacted by Murray Goulburn’s retrospective price cuts which were followed by Fonterra and the exact number of businesses needing the cash grants was still being determined.

After this week’s meeting near Shepparton, which included Health Minister Sussan Ley and Regional Development and Health Minister Fiona Nash, Mr Joyce said various measures were being considered, to implement an assistance package.

That included resources to assist effected farmers with managing paperwork on Farm Household Allowance applications.

Mr Joyce said he would also talk to the Finance Minister about changing the criteria for delivering concessional loans, at a cheaper rate.

“We have access to a quarter of $1 billion per year which we got through the White Paper and concessional loans so let’s see if we can make more of that available to people in the dairy industry,” he said.

Mr Joyce said dairy industry members had promised to provide him with a statement on their support requirements after the meeting which Ms Jolliffe said was due early next week.

“There are a couple of other issues that we said we are going off-line with to make sure that we get a result,” he said.

“We are already working towards the solution right now – we will be continuing on with the solution.”

The Nationals leader said the snap milk price reduction would be “more widely felt later on” but was currently concentrated on Fonterra and Murray Goulburn.

However, he stressed there was a strong global outlook for the dairy industry which he said was not suffering a “systemic downturn”.

“It’s got a short-term problem and we will find our way through this and we will continue on,” he said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is also looking into the circumstances underpinning the milk price cuts as is the Australian Securities & Investments Commission.

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Community corner, May 24

Port Lincoln Music SocietyTHE next meeting of the Port Lincoln Music Society will be today (May 24) from 7.30pm in Port Lincoln Senior Citizen’s Hall. The usual brief meeting will be followed with a program of music and all are welcome. Admission is $2 and a plate of supper would be appreciated.

Sing AustraliaSINGAustralia will sing only on Monday,June 27 at 7.30pm at80 Oxford Tce. Look for our sign. Everyone welcome,call0408 750 887.

Neighbourhood WatchNEXT meeting, Monday, June 6 from 7.30pm at Kirton Point Bowling Club. Call 8628 2007. The group will also host a Royal Flying Doctor Service trading table in front of Nautilus Theatre on June 3 from 8.30am to noon. Plants, produce, cooking. Donations also accepted. Enquiries 8682 227.

SA Pensioners AssociationNEXT meeting, Tuesday, May 31. Seminar, Heart Foundation, State Emergency Service (SES). 10am, Lincoln South, Tennant St. All community members welcome. Call 8682 2007.

Shirley Group meetingTHE next meeting on Monday, June 1 will be at Cruiser Cafe at 2pm. Call 8682 4802.

Saturday danceEnjoy dancing on Saturday, May 28May in the Anglican Parish Hall, PortLincoln, starting at 7.30pm. Shared supper. All welcome.

A series of musical events will take place in Port Lincoln over the next month or two.

Grief and Bereavement Support GroupTHISis a social support group for people experiencing grief and the loss of a loved one.

We get together for a coffee on the last Wednesday of the month at theLincoln Hotel (lounge area)from2pm to3.30pm.

This month’s date isWed, May 25.Everyone is most welcome to join us and have a cuppa with

people living with similar experiences, and who may understand.

For information, please callBrian Knott on8682 6050 orIrene Plane on0428 833 430.

Diamond Facets Chronic Pain Support GroupDO you have chronic pain? Then this group is for you. Meeting today (May 24) from 4pm to 6pm,Country andOutback Health Office, 7 Mortlock Terrace, Port Lincoln. Guest presenterDanielle Pearsall. Forinformation callNorah on 0427 711 677.

Zonta meeting Members and Friends of Zonta Port Lincoln are advised that our May meeting will be today (May 24) from6.30pm for 7pm at the Grand Tasman Hotel.Guest speaker will be intrepid traveller and Zonta member Rosii Pedler.

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Myer sacrifices Orange: 50 jobs gone as retail giant plans to close store

BRIGHT FUTURE: Orange Business Chamber president Mark Madigan says a redeveloped Orange City Centre will bring exciting opportunities for Orange in the wake of Myer’s closure.Photo: STEVE GOSCH MYER Holdings Limited’s announcement it would close its Orange store in January was met with sadness on Friday, but business leaders also voiced their enthusiasm for plans to redevelop the building, saying they would inject fresh life into the central business district.

A development application (DA) has been lodged for a mix of specialty stores and a Harris Scarfe department store to replace the departing major.

Myer chief executive officer and managing director Richard Umbers said the company’s strategy was designed to deliver a “sharper and more focused offer”.

“These difficult but important decisions are a necessary step in the delivery of the new Myer strategy, which is designed to return Myer to profitable growth,” he said.

The move is expected to affect 50 jobs, however Myer acting corporate affairs and media general manager Mel Ward said Talent2 Recruitment would work with staff during the next eight months to help them either redeploy within the company or find another job.

“We do reach out to retailers and we actively try and help staff find other employment,” she said.

Orange City Council economic development committee chair and councillor Jeff Whitton said the closure was sad news and Myer had played an economic role in attracting shoppers from Bathurst and Dubbo.

But he said the redevelopment would make a significant improvement to Post Office Lane.

“The people of Orange know Post Office Lane is a place to stay away from and by turning it into a traffic area, it’s going to bring a little bit of life into it,” he said.

Orange Business Chamber president Mark Madigan said the news was not a surprise because of Myer’s decisions nationwide, but the fact a DA had already been lodged proved building owners Alceon and CPRAM Investments were committed to embedding themselves into Orange’s business community.

“We would like to suggest Harris Scarfe look at picking up some of the Myer staff,” he said.

“What it does highlight is a lot of people buy online – it’s just one of those things that’s inevitable but for Orange, [the redevelopment] is an extremely exciting proposition.”

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Diversity on screen: Sofya Gollan and Bridie McKim tackle disability, the last hurdle

Actor Bridie McKim (left), who has cerebral palsy, and writer-director Sofya Gollan, who is deaf. Photo: Jason SouthIt’s one of the great paradoxes of showbiz: we love an able-bodied actor who plays a disabled character, but we’re not so keen on actors with genuine disabilities.

Nowhere is this more evident than at the Academy Awards, where the choices in the acting categories have earned them the dubious nickname of the “gimp awards”.

“Oh man, if you are an actor and you have a role that has a disability you are guaranteed to win an award somewhere,” says Sofya Gollan, the chronically deaf writer-director of Gimpsey, a terrific short film screening at St Kilda Film Festival that is both about disability and stars an actor with a disability, 19-year-old Bridie McKim.

“Audiences find it deeply comforting when an actor they know and love plays a role with a disability, then they get up [at the end of it], shake off the role and become a normal person,” says Gollan, who graduated as an actor from NIDA in 1992 but found work in the mainstream not easy to come by.

“It’s a completely different dynamic when you have an actor with a disability actually playing a role with a disability. That’s not to say it can’t happen – they just haven’t been given the opportunity.”

Since the Oscars began in 1927, about 16 per cent of all the acting awards have gone to actors playing characters with a disability. And since 1989, the trend has become even more pronounced, with more than half of the best actor awards going to able-bodied men playing a disabled character.

Some of the recent examples of able-bodied actors playing disabled characters and winning big are Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump (intellectual disability); Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot (cerebral palsy); Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man (autism); Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July (paraplegic); Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman (blind); Jamie Foxx in Ray (blind); Julieanne Moore in Still Alice (Alzheimer’s); and Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything (ALS).

Precisely two have gone to actors who actually have a disability: the deaf Marlee Matlin for Children of a Lesser God; and Linda Hunt, who has a form of dwarfism, for The Year of Living Dangerously (a role in which she played a man).

Gollan’s 11-minute Gimpsey is a simple but moving tale of a young woman (McKim) who realises her best friend is actually not such a great friend after all.

“I’ve had a few toxic friendships [like that] because I thought that’s what I had to put up with in order to be liked,” says Gollan, who has been a presenter on Play School since 1991. “I think everyone goes through that but there’s a layer of complexity with it when you have a disability because you’re not sure you can measure up to the ideal – especially if the other person is wildly popular and beautiful and everything you think you’re not. But one day you wake up and you go, ‘You know what? I am enough’.”

McKim has a mild form of cerebral palsy, the most obvious sign of which is a pronounced limp. She is a triplet, born 10 weeks premature; her siblings are able bodied, and, she says, growing up “I knew I was different but I was never given any excuses”.

“Disability affects you socially much more than it does as a person,” she says. “I know how to live my life with CP but it’s tough when people don’t know how to respond to you – they can be a bit insecure and they can sometimes belittle you, or they can be so in awe of you that you’re the token child, this incredible person.”

McKim had done youth theatre in Brisbane but Gimpsey is her first film role. She is now studying at NIDA, and Gollan has cast her as the lead in a feature, Melt, that she hopes to make soon.

Given her own experiences and the continuing dearth of opportunities, does Gollan think an acting career is a wise move for someone with a disability?

“All actors have to do other jobs, so actors with a disability will have to do other jobs as well,” she says. “You have to follow your heart – so go for it.”

Gollan is about to start a job in development at Screen NSW. She’s not there specifically to advocate for stories about or people with disabilities, but she does hope to bring a different viewpoint. “We are here, we are part of the fabric of society, we need to be able to tell stories from our perspective,” she says.

And what of those able-bodied actors and their awards? Does it grate, just a little?

“I don’t see it as them and us, but I think it’s a missed opportunity,” Gollan says. “Eddie Redmayne – I think you did an amazing job, you did the research, kudos to you, but it’s a missed opportunity.

“You could have got someone with a mild disability to do that and digitise them to be normal. Why not: if you’re going to digitise normal people to be disabled, why can’t you go the other way? Radical thought.”

The St Kilda Film Festival runs till May 28. Gimpsey screens on Tuesday. Details: stkildafilmfestival老域名备案老域名

Karl Quinn is on Facebook and on twitter @karlkwin

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Council rate cap decision looming

Ballarat City Council willfind out if it was successful in its request for an exemption from the state government’s controversial rate capping schemein the next week.

The City of Ballarat is one 10 councils to apply an exemption from the cap through the Essential Services Committee (ESC).

The council is looking for an increase rate of 3.7 per cent next financial year instead of 2.5 per cent.

The differencebetween full rate cap budget and the 1.2 per cent variation budget is just over $1 million.

Ballarat mayor Des Hudson said the timing of the ESC decision on the rate capping request meant the council was forced to draw up four alternative budgets.

He anticipated the council would know the outcome of its rate capping appeal by the end of this month or early June at the latest.

“We feel as though we have put forward the best case we could,” Cr Hudson said.

“We’ve presented at every opportunity various degrees of modelling to support our case and it’s nowover to the state government to make those determinations for each individual council.”

The Courier understands all ten council who have made an appeal to be omitted from rate capping scheme will find out at the fate of requests at thesame time.

But as the current financial year draws to a close, councils are now being forced to draw up budgets with no certainty.

Victorian Local Governance Association President, councillor Sebastian Klein, said rate capping would bite first on rural and regional councils and those in high growth areas.

“Those councils have chosen to apply for a variation in response to their community’s needs,” Cr Klein said.

“Things like sporting facilities, civic centres, childcare and libraries are all viewed by communities as critical investments.”

Cr Klein said it was widely accepted that many more councils would require a rate cap variation in coming years or run the risk of being unable to keep up with service demand and community infrastructure needs.

“This is just the beginning of what will be a long and painful road for local government and their communities,” he said. “It will haveserious adverse impact on local communities.”

VictorianLocal Government Minister Natalie Hutchins said theFair Go Rates system will protect ratepayers from uncontrolled rate rises, which have on average risen 6 per cent every year for the past decade.

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Australians urged to check kidney health

THIS year Kidney Health Australia is asking all Australians to join the growing number of peopleacross the country who ‘kidney check’.

‘I Kidney Check’ is the theme for this year’s Kidney Health Week, which will be held from May 22 to May 28.

Kidney Health Australia CEO Anne Wilson said early detection and effective management can haltchronic kidney disease, or slow progression by as much as 50%.

“Chronic kidney disease is known as the silent killer for a reason – an estimated 1.7 millionAustralian adults have signs of it, yet 90% don’t know they have it as, because there are no distinctwarning sings, you can lose up to 90% of kidney function without realising,” said Ms Wilson.

“Thekidneys are vital organs – just like the heart, brain, or lungs – if they shut down, your body shuts down.”

“Prevention and early detection is critical, and it is time for all Australians to say ‘I Kidney Check’ andlearn about the devastating impact that failing kidneys have on the body,” said Ms Wilson.

“It iscrucial to understand the role of the kidneys, and the links between kidney disease and otherchronic conditions, such as high blood pressure – one of the most common causes of kidney

You are at increased risk of developing kidney disease if you:

• Have diabetes

• Have high blood pressure

• Have established heart problems (heart failure or heart attack) or have had a

• Have a family history of kidney failure

• Are obese with a body mass index (BMI) 30 or higher

• Are a smoker

• Are 60 years or older

• Are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin

• Have a history of acute kidney injury

“This Kidney Health Week, I urge all Australians to take control of their kidney health,” added MsWilson, “Find out if you’re at increased risk and, if you are, it’s imperative to get a kidney checkevery year. If caught early, the progression of the disease can be slowed down and, in some cases,even reversed, so talk to your GP or pharmacist to find out more before it’s too late. “

Ms Wilson also encouraged everyone to go to Kidney Health Australia’s website and share theirstory on the ‘I Kidney Check’ gallery page at kidney.org备案老域名/kidney-check.

“There is growing awareness about kidney health and we need to keep this momentum growing, sowe need Australians to head to the gallery, read the profiles, add their own story, and help spreadthe word about why it’s important to check your kidney health.”

Kidney Health Week creates awareness about maintaining good kidney health, as well as kidneydisease and its impact. For more information about Kidney Health Week and kidney disease and itsassociated risk factors, visit kidney.org备案老域名 or find Kidney Health Australia on Facebook, Twitter, orKidney Health Australia, formerly the Australian Kidney Foundation, is a national health care charity witha vision ‘to save and improve the lives of Australians affected by kidney disease’.

As the national peakbody, Kidney Health Australia promotes good kidney health through delivery of programs in education,advocacy, research and support.

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Network mayhem marks Andy Penn’s first year as Telstra’s CEO

Telstra CEO Andy Penn faces more angry customers after yet another outage. Photo: Jesse Marlow Illustration: John Shakespeare

May 1 marked Andy Penn’s first anniversary in the top job at Telstra.

And he was obviously hoping to clean the slate after an unprecedented series of mobile network outages in recent months that has left its 17 million mobile phone customers wondering why they were paying a gold-plated premium for what is proving to be a tinny service.

“Over the past five to six years we have done a lot to improve customer service,” he told a business lunch on Thursday. Thx @AmChamAU and @CEO_AmChamAU for invite to speak on my passion – using tech to transform the customer experience— Andrew Penn (@andy_penn) May 19, 2016

On Friday, Telstra’s broadband services decided to take the baton and disrupt customers across Australia. Where will it end?

Add in a share price that has dropped a few billion dollars of shareholder value from the telco, and it makes you wonder just how the Andy experiment is working out for Telstra.

The raft of network failures raises questions as to whether Telstra is looking at a Vodafail level of catastrophe – a reference to the network failures at Vodafone that led to an exodus of customers and saw the telco become a national punch line.

Penn’s board members, and fellow investors, will be under no illusions that the golden run enjoyed by Penn’s predecessor, David Thodey, is over.

The question is whether he can turn things around. One thing is for certain, the obsessive and driven Penn will not be enjoying this one bit.

“What I do do, I like to do really well, and I spend a fair bit of time thinking hard about it,” he said in an interview just before he stood down from his CEO role at AXA ahead of its $14.6 billion takeover by AMP.

“I wouldn’t enjoy it if you are stuffing it up.”

Despite a $17 million pay out from AXA – making him the highest paid executive in Australia’s financial industry that year – Penn was never going to retire to his garage to polish the beloved Aston Martin, or spend more time fly fishing.

He wanted another CEO role and showed up at Telstra after a short break.

It nearly didn’t happen, of course.

In 2005, APRA nearly stopped Penn’s career in its tracks after it sought to have him disqualified as a trustee director after a dispute over the management of AXA’s staff superannuation fund.

Several trustee directors were involved in the case that centred on changes made to benefits in 2002 and 2003 without the fund’s members being consulted.

Penn stepped aside as CEO of AXA’s Australian operations and was given a strategy job while AXA fought the case through the courts.

The company won out, APRA was admonished and the proposed ban overturned.

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ASX posts sixth week of gains despite US uncertainty

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index managed to close 0.4 per cent higher for the week. Photo: Rob HomerAustralian shares recorded their sixth straight week of gains, even as American shares fell to their lowest since March on growing concerns that the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as early as June.

Although falling short of last week’s highs above 5400, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index nevertheless managed to increase 0.5 per cent on Friday and 0.4 per cent for the week to close at 5351.3. The broader All Ordinaries lifted 0.5 per cent on Friday and 0.3 per cent over the week to close at 5415.2.

It was not, however, a broad-based gain with the four sectors finishing in the red – utilities, industrials, consumer discretionary and telcos. Healthcare, mining, energy, financial, consumer staples and information technology stocks recorded gains.

The blue-chip miners did well over the week, with BHP Billiton putting on 3.6 per cent to $18.85 and Rio Tinto 0.9 per cent to $45.04. That was despite iron ore falling by about $US1 over the period to $53.47, including a sharp 5.8 per cent slump on Thursday night.

The Brent crude oil price gained over the Friday session to climb 2.6 per cent to $US49.05 a barrel for the week.

The banks were mixed over the week: Westpac Banking Corporation rose 1.6 per cent to $30.28; National Australia Bank fell 5.7 per cent to $27.29 as it traded ex-dividend; Commonwealth Bank edged up 0.9 per cent to $78.12; ANZ firmed 4 per cent to $25.09. Telstra, however, sank 0.3 per cent to $5.66.

Two developments this week shored up the case for a US rate rise next month, which weighed on global equity markets.

The first was data showing rising US inflation while the second was minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s April meeting, which suggested markets were may be underestimating the chances of tighter policy in the coming months.

The US money market’s probability of a June hike move is up to 28 per cent from close to zero only a week or so ago.

“The Fed is clearly edging towards another rate hike, with the June meeting “live” for a hike and a move in the summer looking likely,” said AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver. “The minutes from the Fed’s last meeting were far more hawkish than the statement released immediately after the meeting.”

Mr Oliver noted that, with the recent gains, the Australian sharemarket was the best-forming major share market in 2016.

“The Australian share market is the only major global share market to be up this year,” he said.

Friday’s big corporate news was Oil Search has agreed to acquire InterOil in a cash and scrip offer worth $US2.2 billion ($3 billion). Oil Search shares fell 1.2 per cent to $6.83.

Metcash was one the week’s best performer after increased speculation over a deal that will allow its Mitre 10 business to merge with Home Timber & Hardware and form a new hardware competitor to the Bunnings behemoth.

Metcash rocketed 15.5 per cent to $2.01.

​Other top performers were healthcare stocks, in a week where the sector index hit an all-time record after the government flagged plans to control rents for pathology companies.

The fourth-best performer on the S&P/ASX200 index was Primary Health Care, which shot up 9.1 per cent to $3.60. Ninth-best performer was Sonic Healthcare, soaring 6.2 per cent to $21.65.

On the downside, regulatory uncertainty in China forced a courier company to suspend Australian infant formula deliveries from Wednesday in a worrying sign for one of Australia’s fastest growing exports.​

The changes are likely to hurt sales for Bellamy’s Organic, which is popular in China, and Blackmores, which recently launched its own brand of infant formula in partnership with Bega Cheese.

Blackmore’s was the worst performer in the benchmark index, crashing 12.6 per cent to $158.69, while Bellamy’s plummeted 11.3 per cent to $10.36.

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