It’s snowing at Perisher…in November

A surprise dump of snow at Perisher has social media users flipping for joy.
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No, you’re not dreaming, it really is snowing in November.

A spokesperson from Weatherzone said the snowfall was not unusual for this time of year and said the unexpected fall can even happen in December.

The late dump came about 7am on Monday, just 24 days out from summer, after it dropped to zero degrees overnight.

Melisha Liegl from Perisher said about 7cm of snow had fallen across the resort.

“It’s a real winter wonderland here in Perisher today and we can’t believe how much snow has fallen for this time of year, it’s amazing,” Ms Liegl said.

“The weather does change quickly in the mountains and it can snow at any time of the year as these cold fronts pass through.”

At lunchtime it was 1.6 degrees.

A video posted by Perisher Resort on Facebook has attracted more than 3500 reactions and 1300 comments.

The snowfall came as Canberra received 39.4mm of rain between midnight and 7.30pm on Monday, more than half the November rainfall average, as heavy rain and hail lashed the south coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a warning on Monday, saying that severe thunderstorms in the Illawarra and Sutherland areas could lead to flash flooding, with areas near West Wyalong, Young, Yass and Goulburn also affected.

A weak low pressure system off the southern New South Wales coast deepened and was expected to intensify further in the evening before rapidly moving away towards New Zealand on Tuesday.

It was forecast to be a chilly minus 2 degrees in Perisher on Monday night and the snowfall was expected to continue.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media.

Mark Stocco to appeal 40-year sentence for murder, shootings

Special Operations Group officers gather in Yea in a massive manhunt for the elusive father and son Gino and Mark Stocco in bush north of Melbournein October 2015. Picture: Jason SouthMark Stocco and his father Gino are notorious for spending years on the run. Now, Mark is making another dash for freedom.
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The younger Stocco will appeal his 40-year prison term on November 24 in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

He and his father were dubbed modern day bushrangers when they shot and sped their way to infamy in 2015.

Mark Stocco was sentenced to a minimum 30-year term for murder, recklessly destroy property by fire, and two charges of discharging a firearm to avoid apprehension.

Gino Stocco was also sentenced to 40 years, but is eligible for parole two years before his son.

The pair were charged in NSW in 2015, but have since been questioned by Victorian and Queensland detectives about crimes in those states, and have made full admissions.

Those states are expected to charge them – mostly with property-related offending – once the pair complete their NSW sentences.

In sentencing the men in March, Justice David Davies said Gino Stocco had been given a shorter non-parole term because of his age: he is 59, Mark is 38.

Gino Stocco will be 85 before he is due for release.

“It is likely he will spend his eighties in prison,” Justice Davies said.

“It may be accepted that imprisonment is more onerous for an older or elderly person and I find special circumstances in that regard. I do not accept that there are special circumstances in respect of Mark Stocco.

“The time he will spend on parole will be adequate for further rehabilitation and re-integration into the community.”

The pair pleaded guilty at an early stage, and were accordingly given a 25 per cent discount on their sentence.

But Detective Chief Inspector Michael Sheehy of NSW Police still described it as “exceptional”.

“Both Gino and Mark Stocco are callous, violent criminals who today have been held accountable for their actions,” Detective Chief Inspector Sheehy said.

“These individuals chose a path of crime.”

The Stoccos became itinerant farm workers in 2007 after being jailed in Victoria for robbing the Port Fairy Yacht Club, among other offences.

For the next eight years, they irrationally lashed out at farmers, stole without thought, and conducted vengeful acts of destruction under cover of darkness, but their bizarre crimes were relatively unknown until Gino was listed as one of ‘s most wanted.

Days later, the pairs shot at police near Wagga Wagga, sparking a 12-day manhunt and thrusting them further into the national spotlight.

When police found the Stoccos hunkered down at an isolated property east of Dubbo, they also uncovered the body of caretaker Rosario Cimone.

The pair had shot Cimone dead after a squabble about their work on the property.

Explosive reaction to Orica announcement

Gas prices are among the damaging conditions that have dragged down the profits of ‘s largest explosives manufacturer and led to a sharp fall in its share price.
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Shares in Orica tumbled more than 11 per cent on Monday morning, after the company revealed its revenue and underlying profits had been hit by the higher cost of raw materials – including gas and ammonia – and the rising n dollar.

The company’s underlying profit slid 1 per cent from the previous year and fell short of analysts’ expectations.

Orica chief executive Alberto Calderon told investors the company had delivered an encouraging result in the face of “substantial headwinds”.

“Despite these challenges, our continued focus on core disciplines and a program of business improvement initiatives enabled us to deliver a sound financial result,” he said.

“The market may disagree right now and seems to interpret it as bad news. … time will tell. We are quite excited about the future.”

At 11.25, Orica shares had plunged $2.55, or 11.93 per cent.

Orica is one of the world’s largest suppliers of explosives to the mining industry. The company on Tuesday said the mining industry had suffered a severe downturn in recent years, which was now improving.

Mr Calderon said the improvement would continue in 2018, but warned there would be a lag before it made a “material difference to the services sector”.

Orica is an energy-intensive business and is among a number of large n manufacturers who are suffering from the country’s soaring energy prices.

The company said a range of business-improvement initiatives had delivered net benefits of $127 million to offset the higher raw material costs that could not be recovered from existing contracts.

“The business improvement program is focused on embedding new ways of working that make Orica a better business by buying better, producing more efficiently, and bringing more value to our customers,” Mr Calderon said.

“This is starting to deliver material results, with initiatives across every part of Orica that generate revenue, reduce costs, and make us a more effective and efficient organisation.”

Mr Calderon said volumes across the Pacific and Indonesia regions had soared 10 per cent thanks to increased demand from n coal and iron ore miners.

Orica will pay shareholders an unfranked final dividend of 28?? a share.

Mad Max actor cashes in on $1.3 million Botany sale

If Joy Smithers ever wants to quit her official job as an actor or as a ceramicist she should take up property flipping, judging from the windfall on the sale of her Botany home.
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The three-bedroom house she renovated with her partner, former INXS manager Gary Grant, sold on the weekend for more than $1.3 million, well above the $1 million guide set ahead of this weekend’s planned auction.

The bullish purchase price returned a 72 per cent capital gain to Smithers from the $752,000 she paid for it in late 2013, although she has undertaken a renovation since then.

George Faris, of The Sydney Property Agency, was unable to disclose the exact sale price but said it sold to a young couple from Vaucluse who are hoping to live in the home.

The house, on 304 square metres, includes a rear studio with rear lane access where Smithers’ Batch ceramics were created.

Smithers, who is best known for her roles in Home and Away, All Saints and most recently in Mad Max:Fury Road as part of the The Vuvalini, has increasingly put her efforts in recent years into her ceramics.

But it is her love of renovating that is also getting plenty of creative expression of late. Records show the Smithers and Grant have bought another house in Botany marketed with “redevelopment potential” for $1.54 million.

And like the family home they just sold, the three-bedroom house on 447 square metres also comes with a separate rear studio space, although she says she plans to move her ceramics studio out of the family home.

“The thing I love about Botany is it hasn’t been gentrified yet,” she told Domain when she listed the family home last month. “There are so many gems.” Related: Joy Smithers goes from Mad Max to renovation warriorRelated: Steven Lowy expands beachfront holding by $14.2 millionRelated: Andrew Potter trades one Point Piper waterfront for another

Jackie Mary Hays in court over alleged child grooming at Hunter school

ACCUSED: Jackie Hays leaving Raymond Terrace courthouse on Monday. Picture: Sam Rigney A FORMER female employee of a Hunter school allegedly groomed a male student for sex over a period of 14 months, according to court documents.
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Jackie Mary Hays, 50,appeared in Raymond Terrace Local Court on Monday charged with groom child for unlawful sexual activity, two counts of using acarriage service to groom a person under 16 years for sexual activityand two counts ofusing a carriage service to menace, harass or offend.

Ms Hays, who was represented by barrister Philip Massey, did not enter any pleas and the matter was adjourned to Newcastle Local Court on January 24, where it will be prosecuted by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The charge ofusing acarriage service to groom a person under 16 years for sexual activity carries a maximum of 10 years in jail.

Police say they established Strike Force Minnamorra in June this year to investigate allegations an employee at a Hunter school had been grooming two male students for sexual activity.

Detectives allege a number of explicit text messages and phone calls were sent between Ms Hays and a male student.

Investigations allegedly revealed a second student was also involved in sending and receiving messages and phone calls from Ms Hays, who the school’s principalsaid was a former member of the support staff.

Ms Hays is accused of trying to groom one of the malestudents for sexual activity between April, 2015, and June, 2016, according to court documents.

She is also accused of using a mobile phone to groom that student between 3.11pm and 8pm on September 21, 2016, and using a carriage service to menace or harass the second student between November and December, 2015.

In a statement addressed to parents after Ms Hays’s arrest, the principal said the school instigated the police investigation by reporting the allegations to the authorities.

“The school has been advised by police that a former member of our support staff has been charged with grooming and improper use of a telecommunications device in relation to two former students,” the statement says.

“The school first became aware of the allegations last year and immediately reported them to the police, Family and Community Services and the NSW Ombudsman.

“While we were not involved in the investigation or privy to the details, we understand that the charges are the result of investigations triggered by our reports.”

GolfBlake Windred wins his third WE Alexander Open title by three shots.

CHAMPION: WE Alexander winner Blake Windred lines up a putt at Waratah on Sunday. Windred has now won the tournament three times. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.BLAKE Windred dreams of a career as a professional golfer.
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ACE: Justin Ely celebrates after nailing a hole-in-one on the 14th on Sunday.

If and when that becomes a reality, he will reflect on the WE Alexander Open at Waratah as his launchpad.

The 19-year-old Charlestown amateur won the tournament for the third time on Sunday, posting rounds of 68 and 69 to finish three under par, and three ahead of runner-up Clayton Small (Long Reef).

DRIVING AMBITION: Luke Ferrier won Merewether’s A-grade title.

Charlestown’s Brayden Petersenand Justin Ely (Waratah) –who had a hole-in-one on the par-three 14th–finished two shots further back in equal third.

Windred first won the WE Alexander as a 15-year-old and took it out again last year.

“I look at it as a really good stepping stone,” Windred said. “Obviously I’m looking to move on to professional golf, and I suppose bigger and better things.

“But winning this tournament is definitely going to help me achieve what I want to achieve in the future …I have so much respect for the tournament and the people who have won it, so to get my name on the board for a third time is just awesome.”

Small held a two-shot lead after the first round and gained a shot with 12 holes to play.

“It was nice to make a few putts around the turn and slowly get into the lead, especially in the conditions,” Windred said.

“It was pretty tough, rainy and windy, but it felt good to take advantage of that.”

* ANOTHER promising youngster to win a tournament for the third time was Luke Ferrier, who finished three shots ahead of Scott Telfer in Merewether’s A-grade club championships.

Ferrier, whose family homeoverlooks Merewether’s fifth green, won the title for the first time2014, as a 15-year-old.

He was runner-up a year later and won it again last year.As if he didn’t have enough cause to celebrate, this year’s victory coincided with his 18th birthday.

B grade was won by Kyle Anderson, and C grade by Louis Silberberg.

*JACK Newton Junior Golf is expanding its boundaries next year to welcome in even younger players.

For the first time since it was founded 30 years ago, the JNJG Tour is adding 11-years and under-10s divisions to its calendar of events.

The newcomers will play a shortened course and will have a caddy to help them cope with 18 holes.

* CHARLETOWN’S Jake Higginbottom finished 21st last week in the Indonesian Open, played at Pondok Indah Golf Course, Jakarta.

Higginbottom shot rounds of73, 69, 71, 68, to finish at seven-under, 16 behind winnerPanuphol Pittayarat, of Thailand. He collected $US3045 ($3980) for his efforts.

​* ENTRIESclose on Wednesday for the 2017 Newcastle Cup, which will be held at Newcastle Golf Club on Sunday.

Awabakal land council begins restoration work on old post office building in Newcastle CBD

WORK has begun to secure the verandah of Newcastle’s oldpost office, in what has been hailed as the “first step in a long journey” to restore the iconic buildingto its former glory.
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As part of stage one of the project, homeless people who sheltered underneath the building have been moved on and a fence has been erected around the site.

“We’ve been assisted greatly by the Matthew Talbot homelessness service,” Awabakal Aboriginal Local Land Council chief executive Robert Russell said, adding that alternate accommodation had now been found for those affected.

“We’ve cleaned the verandah and taken the remnants from the fire in August, plus the old mattresses and rubbish that had accumulated there. Our contractors are now going to build a more secure box to deny access to the verandah.”

The next stage of the work, being carried out by consultants RPS Group, will help protect the site from further weather damage and deterioration.

“The next stage will involve going in to try and repair the roof as best we can,” Mr Russell said.

“We will be putting up netting to prevent further pigeon infestations and generally start to clean up … some of the vermin and mess that’s been left behind, to put the post office in a more presentable state for people who may be interested in a development or some other arrangement.”

The work is being funded by a $150,000 funding grant from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, being matcheddollar-for-dollar by the land council.

Awabakal has listed the post office for sale through Colliers International, with expressions of interest closing later this month.

It has received 70 inquiries from prospective buyers, with suggesteduses for the building include a hotel, an art gallery or a fine-dining restaurant.

“There’s a long way to go but it’s really good to get the first step in this long journey under our belt, and move forward in trying to finally work towards the ultimate restoration of the post office,” Mr Russell said.

Parking woes plague staff

FRUSTRATED: Hospital staff say the battle to find a parking space is getting harder, with one member saying she drove around for an hour searching for a spot.STAFF members at John Hunter Hospital say they are no longer guaranteed a parking spot on site, despite having parking fees deducted from their wages.
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Hospital staff say they are becoming “increasingly frustrated” that the number of people versus the number of available car spaces had gone “beyond parity,” renewing calls for Hunter New England Health to reinstate the park and ride shuttle service.

One staff member, who spoke to the Newcastle Herald on condition of anonymity, said she drove around for an hour looking for a car space before a shift.

“I normally swipe into the staff car park, but it was chock-a-block full. So I tried another one, and I had no luck there either, so then I went to the multi-storey car park there,” she said.

The parking attendant saidshe would have to pay the full day parking rate, despite already having a parking fee deducted from her wage each week.

“The other option was to park along Lookout Road, or up near the water tower, but by that stage, all of those parks were taken too.

“After an hour, it crossed my mind to actually just go home. It’s not good.”

Sonia Hornery,member for Wallsend, said she receivescalls from hospital staff about “inadequate” staff parking “almost weekly.”

An email from hospital management to a staff member in September confirmed they were no longer guaranteed a spot, and would becharged twice if they parked in the public spaces.

Ms Hornery is calling for Hunter New England Health to re-instate the shuttle bus service.

“Staff are under enough stress without thefrustration of having to circle around the number of staff car parks trying to find a spot,” she said. “The added insult of being charged twice to park in the public car park is a disgrace.

“When the shuttle bus from Hunter Stadium was operating, staff parking was never an issue. It was a stress-free option.”

Brett Evans, manager of capital works for the hospital, said parkingfees for staff at John Hunter Hospital varieddepending on their salary, but ranged from$7.40 to $17.49 per week.

He said there were2150 staff carparkingspaces at John Hunter Hospital, and there were no plans to reinstate the shuttle service.

“Staff who pay forparkingon the hospital campus but are unable to find a park should present to the carparkingattendant’s office. The attendant can assist with finding a park in designated staffparkingor elsewhere onthe campus,” he said.

“Parkingfees will be refunded via the employee’s salary in circumstances where they cannot find a park in a designated area and are required to park elsewhere under the advice of the attendant.”

One year since his disappearance, Zac Barnes’ family are still searching for answers

Search for answers: Zac Barnes’ mother Karen Gudelj and step father Michael Gudelj at a search earlier this year and (inset) missing teenager Zac. It’s a milestone Karen and Michael Gudeljhoped would never be reached.
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November 13, 2017will mark one year sincetheir son Zac Barnes was last seen, dashing from a friend’s car into bushnear Thornton.

It’s been a difficult 12 months for the 18-year-old’s family.

Zac’s younger sisters still wake in the middle of the night when it rains, scared their beloved older brotheris somewhere outside,getting wet.

The family’s concern for their missing boy hasn’t eased for a second of the last year, leading to their latest attempt to find out what happened that night on November 13.

Related content:

The pain of not knowing‘I know he would have not just run off’Help us find ZacThey’re calling for volunteers this weekend for a search of the bushland whereZac is suspected of disappearing. Karenhopes it will shed some light on a question that pains their family every day.

“We just want to know if he’s in there or not,” she said of the stretch of bush along Haussman Drive.

If Zac isn’t located there, they can at least focuson different areas and possibilities, Karen reasoned.

The most recent search comes almost a year after Zac was last seen.

The apprentice bricklayerwas at a friend’s house before he suddenly wanted to leave to get a train at Thornton railway station, according to his friends.On the wayZac asked his friend to stop the car, thengot out and ran off into the bush off of Haussman Drive.

Zac’s family’s anguish: the search for answers a year on TweetFacebook

Six Hunter women, three youngsters named in NSW Sevens national championship squads

OLD HANDS: Brydie Parker, Hannah Southwell and Layne Morgan already have representative experience in spades for rugby sevens. Sarah Halvorsen, Mel Howard and Cheech Baker also named. Picture: Marina NeilSIX Newcastle Hunter players have been named in the NSW Sevens representative squads for the Women’s Opens at the National Championshipsin November and December.
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Sarah Halvorsen, Mel Howard and Cheech Baker have been included as part of the 32 player squad that was announced by NSW Rugby Union on October 29.

The local contingent slated to represent NSW is also boosted by Commonwealth Games representativesBrydie Parker, Hannah Southwell and Layne Morgan.

Layne Morgan.

The Newcastle Hunter area also has two representatives in the 33 player team list for the Under 17s Youth Girls, with Emma Bradford named at 4 and Jorja Holden named at 17. Jessie Southwell was named as a development player.

Although the region has no entries in the Men’s Open division at the championship, they also have players named in the Under 17s Youth Men’s team –Caleb Hopping has been selected fromMerewether High School, and Jacob Rabai has been selected fromIrrawang High School.

Central Coast also has anUnder 17 selection in Lachlan Shelley from Green Point Christian College.

Hopping, Rabai and Shelley will be eager to prove their merits in the squad, with the Under 17s team preparing for their title defence after winning the Youth Cup in 2016.

Jacob Rabai and Caleb Hopping with the State Championship Sevens trophy.

NSW Rugby Coach Education and Pathways Manager, Matt Evrard, was impressed with the talent pool that the rep squads could draw after seeingthe NSW State Championships and the Central Coast Sevens competitions.

“These are the first selected squads for the 2017 National Championships for youth and senior age groups,” he said. “These teams have been selected from a number of identified selection tournaments all around the state, with the Central Coast being the last one.”

“Over the coming weeks, these squads will prepare to win as many national titles across the different divisions but more importantly, get as many players identified for Youth Commonwealth Games and National Senior team selection.”

The final opens squad –to benamed before the event – will travel to Bendigo for the Senior National Championships from November 25.

The youth national competition, which will also have its squads reduced, will be held in Ballymore, Brisbane from December 9.

STEP: Mel Howard, named in the extended squad, puts on the after-burners at the n Uni Games.

The next ASX ‘market darlings’

Signage is displayed outside the Macquarie Group Ltd. headquarters in Sydney, , on Monday, Oct. 25, 2010. Three of ‘s four largest banks are set to post second-half profits that match or exceed earnings before the global financial crisis as bad debts ease in an economy benefiting from the biggest mining boom in a century. Photographer: Sergio Dionisio/Bloomberg .
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There’s a long way to fall when you’ve reached the dizzy heights of market darling. Just ask Domino’s Pizza.

In 2015, the pizza chain operator was riding high, generating shareholder returns of more than 200 per cent in the previous two years (relative to the ASX 200 accumulation index) and was one of the celebrity stocks of the ASX.

It was a similar story for vitamins maker Blackmores, which generated more than 650 per cent above the market for its investors and was one of the companies everyone wanted to own.

“Every equity market has its favourites,” Credit Suisse equity strategists said, calling them the “glamour stocks” of the ASX.

“These stocks have provided great returns, they have saved shareholders big drawdowns and they trade on high price-to-earnings ratios,” the strategists said.

“They tend to be stocks operating on large profit margins. They have strong balance sheets. They are already enjoying solid sales and profits momentum.”

Current market darlings, according to the broker, include a2 Milk, Cochlear, ASX, Corporate travel, InvoCare, REA Group, Steadfast, Costa Group, Altium and Aristocrat.

n investors are firm believers in investing in this type of stock, with market darlings trading on 29 times earnings.

Still, preference for this style of investing isn’t as strong as it was 12 months ago when a market darling basket of stocks commanded a premium of 38 times, the strategists said.

“The relationship between Aussie investors and their market darlings has faded, but still remains strong,” the strategists added.

But, as Domino’s Pizza experience dramatically shows, timing is everything when it comes to investing in the stocks that the market loves the most. Downside to ‘darlinghood’

“The message is clear. Stocks that have already reached ‘darlinghood’ – those that many like to brag about owning at dinner parties – often have their best returns behind them,” said the Credit Suisse team.

They examined the performance of ASX stocks that fit into the market darling category and came to the conclusion that the best time to own these stocks is, unsurprisingly, in the period before they become overwhelmingly popular.

The strategists said that on their calculations, stocks that achieve darlinghood – defined by their share price momentum and valuation premium against their history and the market – outperform by around 20 per cent in the two-year lead-up to achieving that status, and from that point on outperform by only around 1 per cent a year.

Given this relatively short window for maximum outperformance, the strategists are always on the lookout for stocks that are the next potential market hot stocks – those that have large profit margins, little debt on their balance sheet, and solid sales and earnings momentum.

The Credit Suisse strategists suggest that the market darlings of the future could include Computershare, Eclipx, Macquarie Group, Qantas and Webjet.

Their model portfolio of 12 stocks already included long positions in Qantas, Computershare, Eclipx, and they add Webjet.

More broadly, the strategists are keeping the faith with equities, market darling or not.

“We think stock indices will be buoyed by rising profits,” they said.

“While we are at the stage of the market cycle when ‘value’ tends to outperform ‘growth’ we can’t resist the temptation of adding a few growth stocks to our long portfolio. “

‘Unacceptable:’ Government admits more housing needed for Sydney’s key workers

New rental homes for nurses, police officers, childcare workers and all critical services staff are to become a priority in the slew of new developments under way around Sydney, it was announced on Monday.
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The NSW government and the state’s land and development agency, Landcom, have outlined a new commitment to improving the supply, and diversity, of affordable rental housing for key workers.

“We have a situation where a nurse travels an hour down from the Central Coast to work in Sydney every day, and where a police officer travels an hour-and-a-half from the Illawarra because they can’t afford to live in Sydney,” the Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts said. “That’s unacceptable.

“The government recognises the need to increase the supply of affordable housing to provide homes for key workers.”

The pledge was made at the traditional topping out ceremony for the tallest building in the new $8 billion Green Square Town Centre development, the 28-storey, 224-apartment building Ovo, which will be completed next year, with settlements anticipated to start in April.

Private developer Mirvac, which paired with Landcom to deliver the tower, has already contributed $6.39 million in affordable housing levies for Ovo. But still more needs to be done, said Mirvac CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz.

“We are still working with governments and the Property Council around how to build to rent but it’s very important that we all work together to improve outcomes,” she said. “A solution is still some way off.

“We all want to increase the affordable rental supply but we need a range of measures to improve the sector, like giving renters better security of tenure, so they can move when they want to rather than when their landlord wants them to, and improving amenity for them with issues like pet ownership. We are involved in collaborative discussions.” Related: Buyers pay $350 million for InfinityRelated: Green Square penthouse sets neighbourhood recordRelated: 400 ‘tree houses’ for Alexandria

Landcom CEO John Brogden also said it was vital for key workers to be adequately supplied with quality rental homes.

“It’s important to provide those workers with affordable rental homes so they can afford to live in places like this and they can then save for a deposit and gradually transition from the rental market to home ownership,” Mr Brogden said.

“This needs to be in areas like this, close to transport, and here there’s already heavy usage of the rail and bus services. There’s also lots of amenity, and if you look here there’s going to be a brand new library, parklands, an aquatic centre, the old South Sydney Hospital will be completely refurbished as a community facility and there’ll be opportunities for schools and education.”

The new Ovo tower, which had a tree craned onto its roof to show it has reached its highest point, is close to the new $8 billion town centre and the Green Square train station, and is set to be the new gateway to the area.

Designed by architect Richard Francis Jones, director of practice Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, it’s a striking ellipsoid shape, clad in 1794 panels of 134 different shapes and 17 colours reflecting the natural landscape and the colours of the other buildings in the area. It sits on a street-level retail podium precinct.

“One of the most important things about architecture is its ability to define public places and occasionally there’s a site where a building needs to be a landmark – and this is one,” he said. “All around it, this neighbourhood is now coming to life.

“As an architect, the thing you like the most really is when the building is finished and turned over to the community and, you hope, embraced by the community. This will be an urban landmark and a beautiful place to live.”

All but three of the apartments in Ovo were bought off the plan in the first two days of sale in 2015, with buyers paying $5000 for a half-hour sales appointment. Prices started from the mid $500,000s.

It will be the tallest tower permissible within the Green Square Town Centre which itself covers 14 hectares as part of the total 278-hectare urban renewal area. Eventually the partnership of Mirvac and Landcom will deliver 1668 apartments, 14,000 square metres of retail space and nearly 44,000sq m of commercial office space at the heart of Green Square.

When fully completed after 2030, Green Square’s total population could reach around 53,000.

Severe thunderstorm warning for the HunterRADAR

STORM SEASON: A severe storm warning has been issued for parts of the Hunter.The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Hunter.
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Thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds and large hailstones in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Newcastle, Gosford, Cessnock, Maitland and surrounding areas.

NSW Ambulance is urging pedestrians and motorists to take extra care in the wet, with paramedics having attended almost 50 motor vehicle-related incidents between midnight and 2.30pm on Monday.

A two-vehicle collision at Minmi Road, Wallsend, was among the eight incidents that paramedics across the state were called to in the 90 minutes to 2.15pm.

Paramedics are calling on motorists to slow down and adjust their driving behaviour to suit the conditions.

STORM SEASON: A severe storm warning has been issued for parts of the Hunter.

Related:Hunter hit with thunderstorms, ‘huge’ hail and30,000 lightning strikes

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:

* Move your car under cover or away from trees.

* Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.

* Keep clear of fallen power lines.

* Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.

* Don’t walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water.

* If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.

* Unplug computers and appliances.

* Avoid using the phone during the storm.

* Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well.

* For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES (NSW and ACT) on 132 500.