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The Block Glasshouse Max and Karstan home in Newcastle

1200k walk: Max and Karstan home at last Max and Karstan reach their destination after 1200 kilometre walk for the Starlight Foundation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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Max and Karstan reach their destination after 1200 kilometre walk for the Starlight Foundation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Max and Karstan reach their destination after 1200 kilometre walk for the Starlight Foundation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Max and Karstan reach their destination after 1200 kilometre walk for the Starlight Foundation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Max and Karstan reach their destination after 1200 kilometre walk for the Starlight Foundation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Max and Karstan reach their destination after 1200 kilometre walk for the Starlight Foundation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Max and Karstan reach their destination after 1200 kilometre walk for the Starlight Foundation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Max and Karstan reach their destination after 1200 kilometre walk for the Starlight Foundation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Max and Karstan reach their destination after 1200 kilometre walk for the Starlight Foundation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebookThe Block Glasshouse newlyweds, Max and Karstan, are finally home in Newcastle.

Little nippers lined the entrance to Dixon Parkin aguard of honour as the visibly exhausted but upbeat couple took their finalsteps.

Karstan pretended to fall to the groundto the jubilation of the crowd that had gathered to welcome them home and support their efforts to raise $1200for theStarlight Children’s Foundation.

“We’re feeling good, we’re feeling really good, the support we have received has been incredible,” said Maxine.”We’re glad to be back home – to thebeach, the sand, Newcastle. We’re tired but when we saw the last five kilometres the adrenalin just kicked in.”

Max and Karstan reach their destination after 1200 kilometre walk for the Starlight Foundation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Their journey to Newcastle began onFriday 7 November from the famed Block Glasshouse’s front door with the aim of grantingStarlight Christmas wishes to ill kids.

They trekked through major capital cities, bushland and the outback.

‘‘The hardest part has been just the sleep deprivation – our bodies haven’t really had a rest,’’ said Max, in Terrigal.But people have been stopping us to give donations. A lady just gave us a Powerade.’’

Final day! Swansea to Newcastle 👣 #Door2DoorWalkForStarlight#letsdothis#[email protected]_starpic.twitter杭州龙凤419m/Fmje5kxZKK

— Karstan and Maxine (@KarstanMaxine) December 5, 2014

So far the couple have raised $16,000, but for Max the fundraising efforts “don’t stop here” and she says they willkeep goinguntil they reach their goal.But for now “it will be nice to have a little rest with friends and family.”

A chance to offer ‘elite’ healthcare

Hunter New England’s Director of Clinical Research and Translation Professor Chris Levi.THE Hunter’s health system could undergo a radical restructure that would transform patient care, increase funding opportunities and place the region in the same esteem as Melbourne and Sydney.
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A meeting will take place with the federal government on Monday in which Hunter New England Health District will put forward its case on why it should become one of the most “elite” and “respected” clinical care and medical research hubs in the country.

John Hunter Hospital and Calvary Mater Hospital have been shortlisted to become a National Health and Medical Research Council Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre.

It’s a long title which essentially means the hospitals would lead the country in adopting medical research findings to improve patient care.

The Hunter will be up against centres in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Hunter New England’s Director of Clinical Research and Translation, Professor Chris Levi, said he felt optimistic about their chances.

“This is a big opportunity for the Hunter,” he said.

“If we can be successful and if we can be put up there as one of the nation’s elite healthcare services, this will drive change and better health outcomes for the population,’’ Professor Levi said.

“At the moment when something is published on how to improve patient care it might take 10years to be adopted in a hospital or general practice setting.”

Professor Levi said the restructure would mean a different collaboration model between the University of Newcastle, the health district, Hunter Medicare Local (to become a Primary Health Network) and the Hunter Medical Research Institute.

He said it would also double the number of hospital-based researchers in the region over the next five years.

“One of the big initiatives this will drive is the re-establishment of the clinical academic workforce,” he said.

“We will train them up and also may need to import them.

“So, say you became sick and had to come to hospital or go to see your GP, it would mean you would be in a ward or a GP practice that had a culture of innovation and driving the latest breakthroughs into clinical care,’’ he said.

“There would be many positive spin-offs for the patient.”

Professor Levi noted there would also be an increased chance in gaining funding out of the government’s proposed Medical Research Future Fund.

“They will channel funding where they will get a better return on investment,” he said.

“That’s where they will be seeing the medical research improving the health outcomes of patients as quickly as possible.”

Boom times for cosmetic medicine

Coco Skin and Laser Clinic director Sarah Chatburn. Picture by Marina NeilCOSMETIC medicine is booming according to Coco Skin and Laser Clinic director Sarah Chatburn.
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Cosmetic medicine includes laser treatments, anti-wrinkle injections, cosmetic tattooing and laser tattoo removal.

Ms Chatburn, a registered nurse, said more and more people were turning their back on surgically based treatments and opting for laser treatments and injectables due to the dramatically reduced downtime.

‘‘Clients can have a laser procedure and go straight back to work,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s very important for people because everyone is very busy especially this time of year.’’

Laser technology has also improved and treatments are now less aggressive and offer the same results.

‘‘Ten years ago more ablative laser treatments were very popular,’’ she said.

‘‘Ablative treatments involved layers of skin being removed, this process required a week or more downtime.

‘‘The technology has improved so much within recent years that clients don’t require that level of damage to boost collagen levels and dramatically improve skin tone and texture. Meaning non-ablative laser and injectables are quickly becoming a popular choice among many women and men.

‘‘There is a lot you can do without cutting the skin.’’

Another factor behind the growth of the industry was the normalisation of cosmetic interventions.

‘‘Anti-wrinkle injections are becoming very normal among younger generations,’’ she said.

Cosmetic medicine had also become more affordable due to increased competition.

‘‘The lasers and the products cost the same, so it is the competition which has seen the prices drop,’’ she said. For more information visit cocoskinandlaser杭州龙凤419m.au

‘Big B’ laws aim for fair outcomes

NO one wants to go bankrupt and no one wants their debtors not to pay them. However the ‘‘Big B’’ is something most business people will have to deal with from one side of the fence or the other.
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What do all these famous people have in common: Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Sir Henry Parkes, Abraham Lincoln, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Donald Trump, MC Hammer, Meatloaf, and Mimi McPherson?

They were all bankrupt during their careers.

Bankruptcy is the legal process for people who can’t pay their debts, while liquidation, administrations and receiverships apply to companies.

As trustees, PKF Lawler administers the bankruptcy process in a fair, impartial way so that everyone gets a fair go according to the law.

Collecting debts

Starting bankruptcy action is the biggest stick you can use to force a settlement from debtors that aren’t paying.

You must have a court judgment for a debt of more than $5000, then serve a bankruptcy notice that in effect says pay up by this date or we will ask the court to bankrupt you, and all your assets will go to a trustee.

About 80per cent of bankruptcy notices result in settlement without proceeding to court.

The process costs money so you should only take this approach if there is a good prospect of a return.

An assessment of the debtor’s property and income is a good place to start, and our professionals can help with this. If the debtor or their family owns or controls valuable property or has a high income earning ability then bankruptcy action should be considered.

Consequences of bankruptcy

If someone incurs more debts than they can realistically pay then bankruptcy can be a relief for all involved, ending the financial stress for the debtor and crystallising the position for the creditor.

Bankruptcy laws are designed to be fair and equitable to both sides.

When a debtor is made bankrupt all of their assets and property are assigned to a trustee to sell for their creditors, with some exceptions. They remain bankrupt for three years and during that time:

❏They might pay compulsory income contributions if they earn income of more than $53,280 after tax. Contributions reduce based on the number of dependents they support.

❏If they become entitled to property (say, under a will or win lotto) it goes to the trustee for creditors.

❏They are prohibited from managing a company or trading under a name other than their own.

❏They must obtain their trustee’s written consent to travel overseas.

❏They must disclose that they are bankrupt when incurring credit of more than $5387.

A bankrupt is entitled to retain items of personal necessity including:

❏Clothes and household furniture.

❏A vehicle to a value of $7500.

❏Tools of trade to a value of $3650.

❏Genuine superannuation.

❏Proceeds from personal injury claims.

If, before going bankrupt, a debtor disposes of valuable property to try to defeat creditors, the trustee has powers to claw that property back for creditors.

What are the alternatives?

Debtors facing bankruptcy may offer their creditors a personal insolvency agreement (PIA) to avoid bankruptcy. Also known as a Part10, it is a formal deal between the debtor and all creditors and generally includes an extra benefit over what creditors can expect from bankruptcy.

The extra benefit may be money offered up by family or others, a certain or quicker offer where bankruptcy recovery is uncertain and may take three years or more.

A Part9 debt agreement is a similar process available to insolvent debtors who have few assets and relatively few debts but regular income.

To qualify, debts and assets must be less than $106,561 and income less than $79,920 after tax. They can offer a repayment plan to their creditors.

While neither debtors nor creditors want to be caught up in the bankruptcy process, it is a risk of financial life.

If you need assistance dealing with bankruptcy from either side of the fence, contact PKF Lawler on (02) 49622688.

Labor slams Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme changes

Bill Shorten and Jenny Macklin. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen. Labor has slammed Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s announcement he will restructure his signature paid parental leave scheme, condemning it as “a complete and utter mess.”
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Speaking in Melbourne on Sunday Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the Prime Minister’s backdown showed “a government in damage control mode.”

“The Prime Minister is in deep political trouble with his colleagues,” Mr Shorten said. “No one believes Tony Abbott is making these changes because he believes he’s wrong, everyone knows he’s changing his tactics.”

“This is all politics, no policy and it’s not great for the children and families of Australia,” he said.

Mr Abbott announced on Sunday that he would cut costs to have more money to invest in childcare. It came after widespread criticism of the policy, with those in his own party arguing the $5.5 billion scheme was too expensive.

The Prime Minister will take the new policy to cabinet in the new year, giving the government time to legislate the policy before a July 2015 start date.

The current policy would pay new mothers their full salary plus superannuation for six months, capped at an annual income of $100,000. This was already revised down from an annual income of $150,000 in response to criticisms.

Opposition families spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said Mr Abbott needed to “sort out what he’s going to do.”

“We should have seen the legislation by now, it’s supposed to start in July next year,” Ms Macklin said.

“They have no idea how much women will get paid or what the states’ responsibility would be.”

“This is a complete and utter mess,” she said.

Mr Shorten said the scheme had always been “unfair and unaffordable” and the Prime Minister needed to make it clear if he was offering to replace the $1 billion he had previously cut from childcare.

“This was his signature policy, the fact that he has broken this promise too shows there is no promise he makes which is sacred to him,” he said.