Is The Australian set for a major overhaul? The word is out that there will be big changes soon, not a redesign but a new direction. Could the only broadsheet daily in the global News Corp empire be heading for a change in size or structure? There is a lot going on behind the scenes.

Foster’s Group is getting ready to outsource its IT department to Indian company. Estimated 70 Australian IT jobs to go off shore. 25th August is the key date.

Australian Country Spinners (ACS), manufacturers of iconic Australian wool brands such as Patons, Cleckheaton, Panda and New Zealand’s Shepard brand yesterday retrenched 30 staff from their head office in Melbourne and their woollen mill in Wangaratta. Chairman and interim CEO, Brian van Rooyen was forced to cut staff after a disastrous year that included the loss of PacBrands as a key customer when they relocated their manufacturing operations offshore earlier this year, as well as a cash flow problem when Spotlight, one of their biggest retailer customers, were unable to pay for stock for an extended period. Shareholders Guiness Peat Group and the Lieberman family are reported to have had a falling out over the management and performance of ACS in recent months.

Re. the problems with the online ATO system and previous tips about problems of availability, all I can say is that I completed my return online without a hitch over the weekend that it was supposedly having problems and received my refund on Monday (less than 10 days). True — it could not pre-fill the info on bank interest and dividends, but I had that info in any case and entered it myself. Have to say that after years of paying accountants ridiculous amounts to do it for me, I found it easy and painless and recommend it highly to anyone.

I worked for a time recently in the ATO and had some involvement in the need to upgrade their internet based services. The reality is that is on the verge of collapse. ATO management is almost in panic mode trying to prop it up until a completely new website is designed and built. One of the problems is that the government wants to rationalise their websites and only have one site, a portal that takes you to every federal agency. Not surprisingly, individual agencies and departments want to keep their own, separate identities on the net.

Oh no! Crazy ant strike at JCU, Townsville! According to this flier, these little tackers aimlessly meander around in a “crazy” manner! They cannot sting or bite, but rather spray mildly irritating formic acid! They are known to constantly harass children and pets! Quelle horreur.

From: pgstudents-boun[email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of Student Bulletins
Sent: Thursday, 13 August 2009 3:08 PM
To: [email protected]; [email protected]
Subject: TOWNSVILLE CAMPUS: outbreak of “Crazy Ants”


Queensland Primary Industries & Fisheries (QPIF) has identified an outbreak of “Crazy Ants” on the Douglas campus. This ant is considered a pest in Queensland and as a result the Douglas campus has been placed under Emergency Quarantine restrictions for at least the next three months. The Quarantine Restrictions currently cover all of the University campus including the Halls of Residence and Affiliated Colleges.

The full impact of the Quarantine Order is in the process of being analysed however the main implication is likely to be that no building rubble or green waste is to be removed from site and vehicles working on building sites and then leaving the University may be required to be inspected and possibly washed down prior to exit. FMO is currently working with contractors and QPIF to determine procedures.

Advice will be provided if there will be any further impact for staff and students.

Please also find attached a fact sheet on the Crazy Ants. FMO is requesting the University community to be on the lookout for the ants and report any sightings to the Security Control Room X 6000.

Robyn Fallon
Deputy Director
Facilities Management Office
James Cook University

From the Crikey Sightings desk:

Spotted. Sitting on the front veranda of a house in Melbourne’s South Yarra this afternoon, gazing out across the road, two faded megastars in armchairs — former senator Robert Ray and Kim Beazley.

Peter Fray

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