Archive for August, 2019

Life expectancy for Australian males surges past 80 for first time

By admin | 杭州桑拿

Bronzed and buff: Nick Iliopolous, 83, believes his daily Bronte Beach routine keeps him in shape. Photo: Steven Siewert Bronzed and buff: Nick Iliopolous, 83, believes his daily Bronte Beach routine keeps him in shape. Photo: Steven Siewert
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Bronzed and buff: Nick Iliopolous, 83, believes his daily Bronte Beach routine keeps him in shape. Photo: Steven Siewert

Bronzed and buff: Nick Iliopolous, 83, believes his daily Bronte Beach routine keeps him in shape. Photo: Steven Siewert

For Nick Iliopolous, the key to longevity is salad, sea, sex and sun.

The 83-year-old has been sunning himself in the same spot on the Bronte foreshore for the past 20 years.

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) suggests many more octogenarians will soon be able to join him.

For the first time in history, Australian men can expect to live past 80.

The breakthrough, revealed on Thursday, means that Australia has joined an elite group of countries.

Among them are Switzerland, Japan and Iceland, where both men and women can expect to live past their 80th birthday.

It comes as no surprise to Mr Iliopolous, formerly of Mount Olympus.

His routine has prepared him for what he believes will be his penultimate decade.

“The secret is salad. Only tomatoes and lettuce,” he said. “Walk for one hour a day and then back to the beach.”

Mr Iliopolous said he was well-regarded among beachgoers for his healthy octogenarian physique.

“People always want to photograph me, they say ‘look at my hair, look at my colour’.”

He believes the other secret is getting married.

“A wife will keep you around longer,” he said.

But men took their time to catch up to women, ABS’s director of demography, Denise Carlton, said.

“Australian women pushed past the 80-year mark back in 1990, so it’s taken men nearly a quarter of a century,” Dr Carlton said.

“But having crossed the elusive 80-year threshold in the 1990s, improvements in expected lifespan for women has since slowed down, increasing by around four years over the period; it’s 84.3 now.”


While Mr Iliopolous may have passed the magic number, the latest statistics are even better news for the rest of us.

“It’s worth considering that 80 years is an expectation from birth. Statistically, the older you get, the more likely it is that you’ll live to an even older age,” Dr Carlton said.

“So a man who is now 50 could expect to live to 82, a 65-year-old to 84, and man who is 85 this year could look forward to a 91st birthday.”

Dr Zakia Hossain, a demographer and sociologist at the University of Sydney, is cautious about singing the praises of an ageing population.

“Just because we are living longer doesn’t mean we are living healthier. An ageing population needs to have adequate services,” she said. “These are major issues that need to be looked at.”

Estimates from the Australian Treasury suggest that facilitating services for an ageing population is only going to become a more significant issue.

By 2042, Australia can expect to have 1.1 million people over the age of 85, up from 300,000 over the past decade.

Rockdale Council: Liberals ‘holding ratepayers to ransom’

By admin | 杭州桑拿

Stymied: Rockdale Mayor Shane O’Brien says the money from the car park sale will be used to pay for a $35 million aquatic centre and a $17 million library. Photo: John VeageA mayor has accused his political opponents of holding him to political ransom, after they have repeatedly walked out of meetings in an attempt to stop a $50-million carpark sale.
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Rockdale Council has received an offer of $48 million for its Chapel Street car park, significantly more than its book value of $12 million, mayor Shane O’Brien  said.

But on Wednesday night, council’s six Liberals and one independent did not attend the meeting to approve the sale. It was abandoned due to a lack of quorum.

It is the sixth time that this has happened since September, councillors said – and every time it has coincided with the car park sale being on the agenda.

“I wouldn’t mind if they just voted it down,” Cr O’Brien said. “But for some reason they’re walking out or not showing up. They’re trying to create a sense of crisis and holding ratepayers to ransom.”

The mayor says the money – worth about two-thirds of council’s yearly income – would be used to pay for two major planned pieces of infrastructure: a $35 million aquatic centre and a $17 million library.

Council voted unanimously for the library, construction of which will soon be underway,  and a motion to invite businesses to tender for a new aquatic centre passed without opposition in May.

The old, leaking Bexley pool has been closed.

“I’m a union official, for Christ’s sake,” Cr O’Brien said. “I should be sticking it up business. But they may have spent $60,000 preparing these tenders. This is not how you conduct yourself in negotiations”.

The council is finely politically balanced, with four independents, five ALP members and six Liberals.

No Liberal members of Rockdale council returned calls from Fairfax, including Liberal power broker and soon-to-be candidate for the NSW upper house, Peter Poulos.

Cr Petros Kalligas responded to questions via email and said that members of his party were acting within the rules.

“Mayor O’Brien’s [$40 million pool] plan is being paid for with fire sales and is financially unsound,” he said. Cr Kalligas said the Liberals would prefer a cheaper renovation of the existing pool.

When asked why the party simply did not vote against the proposal, Cr Kalligas said: “The council needs to heal. We have lost confidence in Mayor Shane O’Brien who is determined to act against the interests of the community.”

Allan Wight, the head of the local chamber of commerce condemned the councillors’ tactics: “Residents gave a vote to these people to represent them. It seems they [only] want the dollars spent during their turn [in office]”.

Rules demand only that councillors attend every third meeting. Even when they do attend, they are not required to stay.

The mayor said that the council’s general manager has filed a complaint with the Division of Local Government. It was unable to respond by deadline.

Body found in search for missing teenager Taylor Almond

By admin | 杭州桑拿

Taylor Almond. Photo: NSW PoliceA body has been found in a nature reserve just kilometres from the home of Newcastle teenager Taylor Almond, who has been missing for nearly a month.
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Police said an autopsy would be conducted on Friday to determine whether the body was that of the 16-year-old, who was initially feared to have run away from her home in Dudley, a southern coastal suburb of Newcastle.

The body was discovered about 11am on Wednesday in the Awabakal Nature Reserve, police said.

The 227-hectare reserve is an area of coastal heath land between Dudley and Redhead, and contains a number of hiking tracks. It is not far from the Almond family’s home.

The body was believed to have been located at the bottom of a cliff, and police said it appeared to have been there for some time.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said on Friday morning that the cause of death was not known, but police were not treating it as suspicious. The body had not been formally identified, she said.

In the past month, Lake Macquarie Police have made several public appeals for information about Taylor, who was last seen at her home about 1pm on Sunday, October 12.

She was wearing a white sleeveless shirt and blue denim shorts at the time.

Taylor’s family said her disappearance was out of character, and police feared for her safety because of her young age.

After an initial police appeal, in which a photograph of Taylor was released, detectives received reports from the public suggesting that Taylor may have been in the Kotara or Adamstown areas in Newcastle, or possibly the Newcastle beach area.

Another report suggested she may have travelled as far as Kempsey on the NSW mid north coast.

At the time, Lake Macquarie Local Area Commander Detective Superintendent Brett Greentree said the information given to police suggested Taylor was safe and well.

“Even though we think Taylor is okay, it is crucial that she makes contact with us or her family,” he said at the time.

“A significant amount of local police time and resources has gone into finding Taylor.”

Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 131 114; Mensline 1300 789 978; Beyondblue 1300 224 636.

NSW public school teachers to undergo performance reviews

By admin | 杭州桑拿

“An unrelenting focus on the quality and capacity of our teaching workforce”: Adrian Piccoli. Photo: AFRFor the first time, every public school teacher in NSW will have mandatory performance reviews in a push to lift teaching standards and ensure “the very best teachers get better” while underperforming teachers are removed from classrooms.
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In an unprecedented agreement between the state government and the NSW Teachers Federation, all teachers will have a performance and development plan and teachers will need to do 100 hours of professional development every five years to retain their accreditation.

A new approach for principals to deal with underperforming teachers will also be introduced, which will mean teachers who fail to perform in the classroom can be stood down in 10 weeks, about half the time it currently takes for a principal to tackle poor performance.

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said lifting the standards of teachers was internationally recognised as key to improving student achievement.

“To improve student performances, we need to maintain an unrelenting focus on the quality and capacity of our teaching workforce,” he said.

Mr Piccoli said improving teaching standards, not producing more teaching graduates, was the focus of the state government.

His comments came as the vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, Greg Craven, said on Thursday that an ageing teaching workforce and an increase in school student numbers over the next decade meant more, not fewer, education graduates were needed.

The university is the second-largest educator of teachers in the country.

“According to the Australian Council for Educational Research’s 2013 Staff in Australia’s Schools report, close to one in five Australian teachers  is 56 years of age or older,” Professor Craven said.   “There is also an expectation from the Commonwealth government that Australian schools will face a large influx of students over the next eight years, with an additional 670,000 enrolments over that period.”

But Mr Piccoli said “dumping more teachers in the system was not the answer”.

“There should be high standards of getting into university and then we want to maintain those high standards in schools,” he said.

Mr Piccoli said the government would spend an additional $17 million on teacher professional development; an increase of 50 per cent.

Previously, teachers and principals had annual reviews but they were often informal and there was no statewide consistent approach.

NSW Teachers Federation president Maurie Mulheron said the performance plans would apply to everyone from “principals down to casual teachers”.

“We are hoping people will use these plans as an opportunity to do some serious career planning,” Mr Mulheron said.

Finding Vivian Maier is superb cinematic exposure

By admin | 杭州桑拿

New found fame: Vivian Maier has been dubbed “Mary Poppins with a camera”. Photo: SuppliedFINDING VIVIAN MAIER (PG) ★★★★★ Capitol Manuka
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As documentaries go, you cannot get much better than this. With a highly talented subject and a story that plays like a thriller, it will be jostling for an Academy Award nomination in January. And if you know nothing about Vivian Maier, keep it that way until you see the film – an extraordinary story about a woman who hid her photography talent from the world.

The film opens in 2007 in Chicago, with auction-house junky John Maloof bidding on a few boxes of old negatives in the hope of finding some historical photographs of the city. Later, as he started examining the work he had acquired – just a small portion of what was sold that day from a garage clearout – he realised that they were photographs of a distinctive nature – taken by someone with a great eye for life on the streets.

Maloof decided to investigate more, and traced the people who had purchased other lots from the sale. He bought everything he could get his hands on and ended up with an astonishing treasure trove of more than 100,000 undeveloped images – mostly black and white stills taken with a Rolleiflex – as well as come colour stills and 8mm movies. Together, the collection documented 40 years of American life on the streets from the 1950s onwards.

Of course, what Maloof really wanted to know was more about the person behind the camera. So, along with starting the daunting task of cataloguing and printing the best of the work, he began to trace clues about the identity of the unknown photographer. And, teaming up with film producer Charlie Siskel, he documented the journey of discovery – one that led them to Vivian Maier, a reclusive and enigmatic nanny who never married and who never threw anything away. It’s also a journey that takes Maloof to France and to the dark recesses of human nature.

There have been some questions raised about Maloof’s intention in making the film: criticism that it is exploitative in nature and helps sell images he now owns. Yet without his efforts it is doubtful any of Maier’s work would have reached our attention, and it is the work – beautifully rendered on the big screen – that fascinates.

Like many outsiders who turn to art, Maier captures a truthfulness and an authenticity we either deny or fail to notice: the sad joy and honest simplicity of moments experienced in public life.

It’s a fascinating story of obsession, art and anonymity, and a captivating portrait of an intriguing woman – sometimes referred to as Mary Poppins with a camera. Don’t miss it.