Wild Oats XI overhauled LDV Comanche in the Derwent River late Wednesday night to claim a thrilling line honours Sydney to Hobart victory, shaving more than four hours off Perpetual Loyal’s race record.
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But second-placed LDV Comanchehas launched a protest against the now nine-time race winner following a near collision between the two yachts just outside Sydney Heads shortly after the start on Boxing Day. Atime penalty may still not be enough to overturn the placings.

Runner-up Comanche, left, and Sydney to Hobart winner Wild Oats, right, on the River Derwent at the finish on Wednesday night. Photo: AAP

Disciplinary action against Wild Oats XI would likely incur a minimum five-minute time penalty. An international jury, which could hear the case as early as Thursday, can impose a penalty stiffer than five minutes but that still may not be enough to reverse the placings such was the shift in fortunes both supermaxis underwent on the Derwent.

Had Wild Oats XI performed a 720-degree penalty turn in the hours following the near collision with LDV Comanche, that would have been taken as adequate punishment.

But navigator Ian Burns confirmed just hours after the incident that his crew had discussed taking the penalty turn, but decided against the action believing there was no infraction.

But navigator Ian Burns confirmed just hours after the incident that his crew had discussed taking the penalty turn, but decided against the action believing there was no infraction.

The wind died down once they entered the Derwent, allowing Wild Oats XI to orchestrate one final fling to the line and she passed LDV Comanche just south of Opossum Bay, finishing more than one nautical mile clear.

It was enough to ensure they won back their race record set in 2012 before Perpetual Loyal’s blistering performance last year. Her unofficial time of one day, eight hours, 48 minutes and 50 seconds took four hours, 42 minutes and 30 seconds off Perpetual Loyal’s 2016 record.

Wild Oats XI has won the Sydney to Hobart for a ninth time. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Peter Harburg’s Black Jack entered Storm Bay a clear third with fellow supermaxi Infotrack narrowly clear of Beau Geste in fourth spot. All five yachts, plus last year’s winner Wizard (nee Giacomo) spent Wednesday camped inside Perpetual Loyal’s record time.

“Last year there was a bit of a transition on the first night, it got a bit soft before it came away from the nor’east or the east while this year they just haven’t stopped, they’ve just been absolutely percolating it, the big boats 20 knots plus all the way through,” veteran ocean sailor Peter Shipway said.

“Twelve hours into the race [last year] they were only doing 11 knots. They slowed down that first night as I’m recalling and about midnight last year Loyal was only doing six knots.

“That’s the difference this year, the breeze was lighter at the start but it’s just gradually freshened all the way through. It kept them moving last night and has certainly kept them moving today.”

Wild Oats XI and Comanche both smashed the record. Photo: AAP

The frantic finish was one of the most exciting the race has ever produced, although it was almost overshadowed when a crew member of Invictus Games 2018 Down Under was thrown overboard at roughly 5pm on Tuesday afternoon.

Fellow clipper Hotelplanner南京夜网 was in the vicinity of the incident and hauled the fallen sailor aboard their boat within 15 minutes of their tumbling into the open ocean.

The victim suffered superficial scratches but was in good enough health to resume sailing after being medically assessed, and was soon transferred back to Invictus Games 2018 Down Under.

Hotelplanner南京夜网 will have six hours upon completion of their Sydney to Hobart to request a redress in accordance with race rules. Should that be granted, the yacht’s race time will be adjusted to factor in the rescue.

Behind the surge of the supermaxis down Australia’s east coast there were three race retirements on Wednesday.

German boat Rockall officially pulled out at 9.26am on Wednesday morning with rudder damage about 60 nautical miles south east of Eden.

A police boat was helping Rockall with their initial plans to sail back to Eden, but the Chris Opielok-owned TP52 then opted to sail west to Victoria instead instead of going headlong into the northeasterly.

Jazz Player pulled out after a failure to their on-board high frequency radio on Wednesday afternoon. The faulty radio was unable to make the mandatory check in with race officials before crossing Bass Strait.

Safety regulations dictate Sydney to Hobart competitors must radio in their position upon arrival at Green Cape on NSW’s south coast before sailing into the Bass Strait. Crew aboard Jazz Player have opted to sail to Hobart anyway, despite having withdrawn.

Sydney boat Wots Next was the third casualty, forced to retire with broken rudder bearings.

Opt2Go Scamp spent most of Wednesday afternoon sailing to Eden for some running repairs, but plans to continue the race.

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Two-thirds of NSW government agencies are failing to properly safeguard their data, increasing the risk of improper access to confidential information about members of the public and identity fraud by cyber criminals.
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The finding has emerged from an audit of dozens of government agencies, including those holding highly sensitive personal information collected from millions of citizens, such as NSW Health, the department of education, NSW Police Force, Roads and Maritime Services and the justice department.

While the report by auditor-general Margaret Crawford does not name the agencies failing to properly manage privileged access to their systems, it highlights the potential consequences.

“Personal information collected by public sector agencies about members of the public is of high value to cyber criminals, as it can be used to create false identities to commit other crimes,” she says in the report.

“Despite these risks, we found that one agency had 37 privileged user accounts, including 33 that were dormant. The agency had no formal process to create, modify or deactivate privileged users.”

Overall, Ms Crawford’s report found 68 per cent of NSW government agencies “do not adequately manage privileged access to their systems”.

In addition, she said, the audit determined that 61 per cent of agencies “do not regularly monitor the account activity of privileged users”.

“This places those agencies at greater risk of not detecting compromised systems, data breaches and misuse,” the report said.

The audit found 31 per cent of agencies “do not limit or restrict privileged access to appropriate personnel”. Of those, just one-third monitor the account activity of privileged users.

It found that almost one-third of agencies breach their own security policies on user access.

The report warns that if agencies fail to implement proper controls “they may also breach NSW laws and policies and the international standards that they reference”.

These include the Public Finance and Audit Act, which says agencies must have effective internal control systems.

Ms Crawford’s report also finds there are different approaches to how agencies record and report cyber attacks, including applying different definitions, which means “the number and nature of cyber attacks is unknown”.

It says that NSW government agencies “should tighten privileged-user access to protect their information systems and reduce the risks of data misuse and fraud”.

A spokesman for finance, services and property minister Victor Dominello said the government “acknowledges the findings”.

“As recommended in the report, a review of the Digital Information Security Policy is currently under way and a new Cyber Security Strategy is due to be completed in 2018,” he said.

The spokesman said the review is being led by the government’s chief information security officer, Dr Maria Milosavljevic, whose position was established in May “to bolster the government’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to cyber threats”.

The findings follow a report in February to the NSW Parliament by then acting NSW Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Coombs.

In it, Dr Coombs noted: “Misuses of personal information and data breaches are not random events; they result from poor organisational governance and practice, and the conduct of employees and contractors.”

Dr Coombs said that “data breach notifications and complaints to my Office are increasing”.

She noted that, last year, the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission “revealed that the misuse of confidential government information was not just one of the most common corruption allegations made, but [was] an increasing percentage, having almost doubled from 2014-15”.

“Members of the public have every right to expect that their personal information is not being placed at risk by poor organisational practices, nor accessed by or disclosed to anyone who does not have legitimate authority to use it,” she said.

Her report highlighted gaps in NSW privacy legislation and recommended changes “to increase the accountability of employees and contractors”.

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Some of the most iconic sights of Kings Cross, including the historic old former Bourbon & Beefsteak and the building that housed Les Girls, would be demolished in a massive redevelopment program poised to change the face of the area.
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Four buildings along Darlinghurst Road between the El Alamein Fountain in Fitzroy Gardens and the landmark Empire Hotel on the corner are proposed to be pulled down in a $47.5 million development application before the City of Sydney.

Already the application, described as “the single most important plan to be considered by council for this area in the last half a century” is provoking alarm from some residents.

“This will completely change the face of Kings Cross and its social structure,” said Andrew Woodhouse, president of the Potts Point and Kings Cross Heritage Society.

“It breaches 40 planning rules and heritage conservation guidelines. We adamantly oppose demolition of the white Bourbon building. This is not a DA; it’s an EA – an Exploitation Application.”

The plan, by developer group Piccadilly Freehold, calls for the demolition of most of the existing structures along the block, apart from parts of the white-arched Bourbon fa??ade.

In its place would be an eight-storey block of 83 apartments with basement parking for 100 cars. There would be new cafes, restaurants and shops on the ground floor, with the units over them.

Developer Sam Arnaout, also the CEO of IRIS Capital, says the 700-page DA is part of a massive revitalisation of a “decaying” part of the city and its transformation into a new food and entertainment complex, with laneways and luxury apartments.

“There’s no doubt that it will really significantly add to, and improve, an area that has long been decaying,” Mr Arnaout said. “Of course, some people will hate the idea of it but others will love the fact we’ll be renewing an area that’s already in a state of transition.

“We’ve been working very closely with the council over the last 12 months to come up with a plan that will integrate into the area very well. It’s going to be an amazing part of the revitalisation of Potts Point that’s been going through a renaissance for a while now and coming back into its own.”

Construction is set to take three to four years, with the shops and cafes opposite already talking about demanding compensation from the city for custom lost through noise and dust and disruption. The Bourbon and Empire bars would return but on a smaller scale.

Local architect and resident Simon Gollon said he was shocked when he examined the small print of the DA, which allows comments only until January 24.

“It’s incredible that this might be allowed to happen in a heritage conservation area,” he says. There are such iconic buildings here, with both Victorian architectural and cultural merit but they’re set to go.

“Places like the Bourbon and the building that housed Les Girls, and where Carlotta started, are such institutions from the past, they should be treasured, rather than knocked down and replaced with such a generic building with a blank wall that could be anywhere in Sydney. It looks as though the developers are trying to maximise the floor space to fit in as many apartments as possible rather than ever considering good architecture.”

The existing buildings exhibit elements of Victorian, Mid Century Modern and Federation detailing, with the Bourbon building dating from the 1880s.

Mr Woodhouse says the Woods Bagot building proposed for the site does nothing to add to the streetscape for which Kings Cross is so well known. “The quality of the design reminds me of Robyn Boyd’s 1960 architectural bible, The Australian Ugliness,” he says.

“It’s a Lego-like, bland building block with no design merit. “To claim this bold behemoth, even allowing for part retention of the fa??ade of a backpackers’ hostel, can add to the fine-grained texture of the area and adds vibrancy to the streetscape is a nonsense on stilts.”

But Mr Arnaout insists that the Kings Cross area of Potts Point is going through a rebirth, and this plan will contribute hugely to that vision. “This will help create much more of a village atmosphere with a boutique lifestyle.

“Where the transition is happening in parts of the area, there’s a huge vacuum left in others. It’s now time to fill that vacuum to contribute to its rejuvenation and to make that commercially viable, we need to build apartments and retail too.

“This area will be a great complement to the city and once people realise how significant and important this development will be, I think they’ll be supportive.”

At an estimated $47 million, the project would be assessed for approval by the City of Sydney Council. The development’s proposed height would exceed the current height limit of 22 metres in places.

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The year 2017 seemed to be the year when property finally overtook pornography as the dirty secret of everyone’s browser history as the entire nation indulged in unrealistic fantasy play regarding their housing situation.
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You could hear the late night guttural moans echoing through the rental belts of the biggest cities, the blue glow of laptops illuminating their twisted reveries: “oh yeah baby, that’s right: three bedrooms, close to public transport, schools and a hospital; local auctions are clearing in the mid-six figures, a mortgage would basically be less than we’re currently paying in rent ??? and only a 40-minute commute to work! YES YES YES OH GOD YES!”

Of course, regular readers would be aware of these dangerous delusions and have more realistic ambitions: we know that if we work hard, apply ourselves and live with the ascetic frugality of a particularly clutter-averse monk, we too can enjoy watching prices skyrocket far beyond our reach until that magical day the landlord informs us we have 60 days to get out before they knock our place down for a block of luxury studios.

But that was only one of the stories of the past year. However, if you listened very, very carefully at the rhythms of 2017 you may have discerned a few common beats that seemed to play out with predictable regularity. So what were the big property story trends this year? 1. Everything is going to be perfect forever, cash register noise!

Every weekend a new auction record was set as some clown paid a Taylor Swift ransom for an unliveable hovel, almost as though they were providing a valuable Aesop’s Fable-style service about how savagely everyone needs to adjust their expectations.

“Can you believe someone paid $2.6 million for a derelict shanty on the Rozelle virus-pits,” readers would scoff, “despite it being undevelopable because of the quicksand and restless ghosts?”

Ka-ching! Photo: Henry Zwartz

However, the message to those already in the housing game was simple: your property was constantly rising in value because of your wisdom and nous. Indeed, we are now a nation of pharaohs sitting within mighty pyramids of pure gold and precious leverage. If anything, you should buy more investment shanties – when it comes to property values, the sky is the limit! 2. The property crash is coming and we’re all doomed!

Of course, then there’d be a weekend where not every auction ended with the exchange of a comically Scrooge McDuck-style vault of riches, at which point the story would abruptly change: clearly this is the inevitable beginning of the inevitable correction, and everyone is dangerously exposed through their profligate borrowing and once interest rates move up a percentage point the rate of defaults will bankrupt our entire financial sector and condemn us to roaming the barren wastelands hunting real estate vendors for food – like Cormack McCarthy’s The Road, but not as toe-tappingly upbeat.

What property crash? Photo: Erin Jonasson

The message to those already in the housing game was simple: you were damned fools to borrow so much cheap credit and now the hubris train is a-coming, as it does for all who attempt to serve their own selfishness and greed by quick-fix get rich schemes.

Why oh why didn’t you sell up and put everything in bitcoin instead? 3. Increased supply is about to fix everything for renters, muffled laugh

As more non-buyers stayed in the rental market, that increased demand made renting in the bigger cities increasingly impossible for those earning wages from lesser professions such as baristas, fast food workers, cleaners, teachers, police officers, dentists and surgeons.

In fact, it got to the point where even federal MPs were priced out of their own inner-city electorates in what would pass for poetic justice if politicians appreciated either justice or poetry.

Supply, supply and more supply. Photo: Eddie Jim

Fortunately other groups of politicians asserted that there was a solution at hand: encourage developers to build more apartments, which would increase supply and therefore drive down prices.

State and local government went out of its way to make this possible for developers, who ensured that they kept prices at a rate that was affordable for those on lowe ??? nah, just kidding: they merrily accepted the perks of making “affordable housing” such as building boarding houses right up until the thing was built, at which point they whacked as high a price on it as the market could bear.

The answer, however, is clear: we haven’t given developers enough incentives and must free up all currently non-developed land to curry their good graces. And what’s all that green space doing at Taronga, anyway? Why should those sweet harbour views be wasted on those uppity giraffes? 4. ‘Sydney’ suburbs still affordable to first-home buyers are hardly even in Sydney

In 2017 it seemed that every month or so there would be a story about the suburbs where a young family can afford to buy their first property, and each time the accompanying graphic would sport a larger and larger ring whose radius began 12 kilometres further from the CBD than the last time around.

The Central Coast ??? is technically Sydney. Photo: Supplied

It’s a trend we probably need to knock on the head since we’re getting closer to the era of think pieces asking “is it realistic for Sydney homebuyers to live and work in the same time zone?”

It’s time that we start acknowledging the unquestionable future of Sydney as a fly-in-fly-out city where workers sleep in gridlocked Ubers around Mascot and whose sole affordable suburb is now Bordertown, SA. 5. Telling us to all move to Hobart

Yes, we get it Tasmanian property stories: Hobart is very nice and also cheap. It has a lovely MONA, bracing Antarctic winds and convenient access to people who claim to have seen thylacines – and in numbers that put Melbourne and Sydney to shame.

Hobart is the new black. Photo: Tourism Tasmania

However, it also has a population of 225,000, which means that a) it can’t possibly cope with an influx of more than a dozen or so people before the infrastructure collapses, and b) it all seems like a cunning way to create forward sizzle for content in 2018 about how Hobart used to be cool before all these mainlanders turned up and ruined its charmingly creepy Twin Peaks ambience.

That said: sorry, how much for a beachside bungalow? And no ghosts, you say? Maybe I’ve been all backwards on this???

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Almost 100,000 Australian homes and businesses will be disconnected from their internet and landlines in January if they haven’t moved over to the national broadband network.
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Next month, premises across the country will be reaching the 18-month NBN cut-off date, with potentially 95,590 homes and businesses affected if they have not yet made the switch.

Usually, when an area is declared “NBN ready” a resident has a year and a half to choose a provider and a plan and to move onto the network before their home or business is disconnected.

Now, 173 suburbs across the country are reaching this crucial cut-off point.

In these areas, Telstra home and landline services, excluding some velocity lines, and home and landlines from any other company utilising Telstra’s copper phone lines will be switched off.

Services from any provider offering ADSL, ADSL2 and ADSL2+, Telstra BigPond cable internet services and Optus cable internet and phone services would also come to an end.

Victoria would be hardest hit by the upcoming cut-off, an analysis by comparison website Finder found. There could be more than 22,000 Victorian premises impacted.

This was followed by Queensland, with up to 19,988 and Western Australia with 17,670.

The most affected suburb in the country is likely to be Melbourne satellite suburb Pakenham, where 15,482 homes are expecting disconnection. !function(e,t,s,i){var n=”InfogramEmbeds”,o=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?”http:”:”https:”;if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement(“script”);a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,”infogram-async”,”https://e.infogram南京夜网/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js”);

Murray Bridge in South Australia, Edmonton in Queensland and New South Wales’ Terrigal and Nelson Bay were also in the top five most affected, Finder spokesman Angus Kidman said.

In these areas, the ‘take up rate’ of the NBN is of critical concern as provided every household has made the move to the network at the end of the 18 months, no one will be left without internet or phone services.

While many in these areas have already made the switch, Mr Kidman said some Australians still think the NBN is optional with survey results showing 44 per cent of those not on the NBN don’t realise they need to connect within the 18 month time period.

“There has been a lot of talk about the NBN in recent months but Australians remain confused about the broadband network,” he said.

“It’s worrying to see almost half of those not on the NBN aren’t even planning on making the switch.” !function(e,t,s,i){var n=”InfogramEmbeds”,o=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?”http:”:”https:”;if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement(“script”);a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,”infogram-async”,”https://e.infogram南京夜网/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js”);

Foxtel Pay TV will not be affected if provided over Telstra Cable or satellite, but anyone accessing it through the internet – such as a smart TV – will need to update their internet connection.

Those using a landline or internet connection over another fibre network may also not be affected, such as a network provided by a private enterprise, building owner or non-Telstra or Optus cable network.

The latest roll out data from the NBN Co shows 3.35 million premises were activated in December, 6.05 million were ready to connected and 7.02 million were in ready for service areas.

An NBN Co spokeswoman said there were around 97,000 premises set to reach the end of their migration window in January.

“The take-up rate across these areas is on track to meet NBN Co’s target of approximately 73 to 75 per cent connected homes and businesses at the end of the 18 month migration window,” the spokeswoman said.

At the moment, the take-up rate is on target with more than 74 per cent of homes and businesses connecting after 18 months of the network becoming available.

“For those yet to make the switch, it’s important to know that accessing services over the NBN network is not automatic,” she said.

It’s understood there is usually a surge of activity within the first six months of the NBN being available to connect to, and then right before the end of the 18 month cut-off period.

The switch to the NBN has seen some providers land themselves in hot water with the regulator over when to turn off customers’ services.

In December, Optus was taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over allegations the provider misled 20,000 customers by telling some they needed to switch to the NBN sooner than was necessary and in some cases switched off their services before it had to do so.

An Optus spokesperson said it made the decision in late-2016 to move customers off its broadband cable network to the NBN as soon as the area was serviceable.

“During this process, we provided some customers with insufficient notice of their options to migrate. As a result, some customers were disconnected before they migrated to the NBN,” the spokesperson said.

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