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Tips and rumours

Jun 13, 2014

Tips and rumours

Ausgrid already saving costs ... Moving the boundaries in Manly ... And missing the mark in Brazil ...

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Ausgrid selling cars as well as poles and wires. After the NSW government announced this week that the state’s electricity assets would be privatised, one tipster has asked if Ausgrid (the state-owned electricity company) could find savings elsewhere. Our tipster thought savings could be found in Ausgrid’s vehicle fleet, telling us that the company owned 63 cars for every 100 employees. Turns out Ausgrid is already onto it, telling Crikey that it has “roughly” 60 cars for every 100 employees, including vans, utes, sedans and “heavy vehicles such as borer-erectors used to stand poles or elevated work platforms for working at heights”. A spokesperson told us that they are one step ahead:

“Ausgrid has conducted a substantial review of our fleet allocation policy to make it as efficient as possible and fairer from our customers’ perspective. This is being implemented and will mean the total number of our fleet will be reduced to a ratio of about 45 vehicles for every 100 staff by 2017.”

South Australian Liberals looking a touch green. Perennially jilted South Australian opposition leader Steven Marshall has just announced his new shadow cabinet, and it’s a little, well, depressing. Marshall hasn’t been in Parliament long himself, and his frontbench also hosts plenty of newbies, such as Channel Ten presenter Corey Wingard, just elected, who takes on the transport and road safety portfolio. In fact, only one member of the Liberal shadow cabinet has ever served in government — veteran Rob Lucas, given the plum and challenging Treasury portfolio. It’s been tough few months for Marshall — he’s lost former Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith to the government, and another former Liberal leader, Iain Evans, announced his retirement last week. Guess Marshall’s trying to hold onto Lucas though …

Moving the boundaries. We hear that a meeting between parents and the Department of Education and Training at Manly Village Public School was abruptly cancelled last month, and parents are pointing the finger at their local member (and NSW Premier) Mike Baird. According to our tipsters, the school is struggling to cope with ballooning enrolments, and DET had planned on redefining the boundaries of the upper-class suburban intake to fix it. That is, our tipsters say, until Baird stepped in to stop the move — he doesn’t want to upset constituents who want to enrol in the popular school. A demountable classroom will now be installed to deal with the extra students, but the move may have backfired, as one parent says “the school area is already too small for the existing 720 pupils, with no grass to play on, and which already demands split recess and lunches — unfortunately the only place for a demountable is in the playground”. We contacted the Premier’s office for comment and were told:

“For several months the Department of Education & Training have been discussing capacity issues with all the local primary schools in the Manly electorate identifying that enrolments are increasing across all schools in the Manly electorate over the next few years. Those discussions are ongoing, and boundary changes is one solution that has been discussed. The discussions are ongoing.”

Take it from me, kid… Former singer and Australian Idol judge — and now barrister — Mark Holden was a judge at the Law Council of Australia’s Golden Gavel competition, a comedic public speaking competition for young lawyers, last night. We hear he used almost the entirety of his feedback to one contestant to shamelessly publicise another music event he’s running in the near future. It drew some raised eyebrows from other senior legal figures in attendance, who seemed to think it wasn’t particularly fair to that contestant.

The pay’s all right at the Mail Online… Tuesday’s Australian carried the claim, made by the Guardian UK’s Roy Greenslade, that young journalists at the Mail Online are paid as little as $35,900 a year. We don’t know the story in the UK, but can confirm starting pay at the Australian operation is higher than that — an industry-standard $45,000 a year. Among reporters at the operation, the average pay is between $65,000 to $75,000, Crikey understands.

… but not in Hollywood. Some days Ms Tips wonders what it would be like to be a movie star, jetting around the world and rolling in money, so we found this particular tidbit in Anne Summers’ profile of Cate Blanchett very interesting. In her Oscar-winning turn in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, Blanchett was paid the actors’ minimum wage — just US$700 a week. So next time you’re wondering if you should have chased the Hollywood dream, be glad you’re not working for Woody Allen, or Rupert Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox…

“Her own industry is one where myths abound, including on questions of pay. Blanchett was paid US$700 a week while working on Blue Jasmine. Woody Allen is notorious for being able to get the world’s top stars to work ‘for scale’, which is the Screen Actors Guild’s (the movie stars’ union) minimum rate of pay. When it comes to working for other directors, Blanchett says none of the women get anything like the men. Cameron Diaz is one of Hollywood’s top earners today, she tells me, and she gets just US$1 million a movie. Blanchett says that actor earnings have been forced down in recent years, principally by Rupert Murdoch’s Twentieth Century Fox, and the only way many stars can earn big bucks these days is to have a producer credit and get ‘points’, a share in a film’s earnings. She says reports of her own wealth and her appearances on various ‘rich lists’ are sheer fabrication.”

Own goal abuse misses the net. It’s not often that we feel sorry for both actresses and male models all in one day, but spare a thought for British model Marcello Ferri today. The buff Brit shares a name (although a different spelling) with Brazilian soccer player Marcelo Vieira, who kicked an own goal in Brazil’s World Cup opener against Croatia this morning. Brazilians took to Twitter to vent their frustration, but many misfired just like the player they were attempting to abuse, aiming their tweets at the wrong Marcello/Marcelo. Some fans noticed that the account was tweeting during the match, but still didn’t suspect that they weren’t tweeting the Brazilian footballer.

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to[email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form

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