Monthly Archives: August 2018

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Telstra cements 4G supremacy

Telstra has added 600,000 new 4G customers since it announced its half-yearly profits in early February, further cementing its position as the leading player in the crucial 4G market.

The company had grown its 4G customers base from 1.5 million to 2.1 million in less than three months, said Mark Hall, deputy chief financial officer at Macquarie’s Australia Equities Conference.

“Our 4G network supremacy is delivering mobile market share to Telstra,” said Mr Hall. “Since launch in September 2011, we have grown our 4G customer base to 2.1 million customers, and this includes 1.4 million handsets, 150,000 tablets, 370,000 dongles and 225,000 wifi hotspots.”

Telcos count each device as a “customer” and do not take into account the fact people may own multiple devices. Carriers such as Telstra are reluctant to change the way they count customer numbers because it is one of the key matrix that equity analysts use to assess a company’s performance.

Deustche Bank estimates Telstra’s 4G coverage is likely to result in a 2 per cent increase in “average revenue per user” (ARUP) for financial years 2015 and 2016. Vikas Gour, a telco analyst, says it is likely to result in a net impact of 44 cents per share on Telstra’s valuation.

Telstra seeks to capitalise on its leading position in the 4G market, investing more money in its wireless network. The company will have 4G coverage to two thirds of the population by June this year.

“Our customers associate Telstra with a superior wireless network,” he said, “To maintain this network supremacy we are investing $1.2 billion into our wireless network this fiscal year.”

Telstra’s rivals are also scrambling to roll out their 4G networks across the country in anticipation of an explosive growth in data traffic.

Optus, the nation’s second-largest carrier, has extended its 4G coverage to Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Newcastle and Adelaide. The company plans to spend $2 billion over the next two years on its 4G network to broadly match Telstra’s coverage in major urban centres.

“We see the market over the next two to three years as being a battleground in 4G. So we will absolutely go hard to roll out our network and have a strong 4G customer proposition in the market,” Optus chief executive Kevin Russell said recently following the release of its quarterly results.

Vodafone is due to launch its 4G network in June this year and its chief Bill Morrow promised its network would be the “fastest network” in the country – at least for a while.

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Incomes soar in Sydney’s best-paid postcode

Wealthy suburb: Darling Point.Incomes in Australia’s best-paid postcode – Sydney’s Darling Point area – rose by more than $21,000 in 2010-11, the latest Tax Office figures show.

Those living in the harbourside postcode of 2027, which takes in Darling Point, Edgecliff, Rushcutters Bay and Point Piper, took home an average of $203,270 each in 2010-11, up 12 per cent compared with the previous year.

The average taxable income in that postcode area was nearly four times higher than the national average of $51,342. The average male taxable income during 2011-12 was $63,000. The average female income was $42,150.

The Hunters Hill-Woolwich area (postcode 2110) was Sydney’s second highest earning neighbourhood with an average taxable income of $172,530 in 2010-11, up 5 per cent in the year. Close behind was the Mosman (postcode 2088) with an average of $169,220, up 10 per cent.

Six of Australia’s 10 highest earning postcode areas were in Sydney. Two were in Perth and two were in Melbourne.

Australia’s second and third-highest earning postcodes are 3944 and 3142 taking in the town of Portsea on Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay and Toorak and Melbourne. The average income for each was around $180,000. Perth’s Cottesloe- Pepermint Grove area (postcode 6011) was had Australia’s seventh highest average taxable income of $157,226.


Average taxable income by postcode 2010-11

1. Darling Point-Point Piper- Edgecliff (Postcode 2027): $203,270, up 12% from 2009-10

2. Hunters Hill-Woolwich (Postcode 2110): $172,530, up 5%

3. Mosman – Spit Junction (Postcode 2088): $169,220, up 10%

4. Vaucluse-Watsons Bay-Dover Heights- Rose Bay North (Postcode 2030): $166,400, up 7%

5. Bellevue Hill (Postcode 2023): $157,171, up 10%

6. Northbridge (Postcode 2063): $154,062, down 1%

7. Palm Beach, Mackerel Beach (Postcode 2108): $151,125, up 14%

8. Woollahra (Postcode 2025): $147,958, up 3%

9. Killara (Postcode 2071): $135,365, up 8%

10. Double Bay (Postcode 2028): $132,834, up 12%

Source: ATO


Average taxable income by postcode 2010-11

1. Darling Point-Point Piper- Edgecliff, NSW (postcode 2027): $203,270, up 12% from 2009-10.

2. Portsea, Vic (postcode 3944): $180,001, up 19 %

3. Toorak- Hawksburn, Vic (postcode 3142): 179,037, up 8%

4. Hunters Hill-Woolwich, NSW (postcode 2110): $172,530, up 5%

5. Mosman – Spit Junction, NSW (postcode 2088): $169,220, up 10%

6. Vaucluse-Watsons Bay-Dover Heights- Rose Bay North, NSW (Postcode 2030): $166,400, up 7%

7. Cottesloe-Peppermint Grove, WA (postcode 6011): $162,134, up 3%

8. Bellevue Hill, NSW (postcode 2023) $157,171, up 10%

9. Nedlands-Crawley-Dalkeith, WA (postcode 6009): $154,285, up 9%

10. Northbridge, NSW (postcode 2063) $154,062, down 1%

Source: ATO

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Newman backs NDIS levy

Julia Gillard has an unlikely supporter for her Medicare levy plan to fund the National Disability and Insurance Scheme; Campbell Newman.

The Queensland Premier said he was remaining “consistent” in his views that a levy was appropriate to fund the reforms and would not join his federal LNP counterparts in questioning the plan.

Mr Newman said he was told during a morning phone call to discuss details of the plan that Queensland’s share of the levy would by $200 million, which would make up the state’s NDIS funding shortfall

He said if the federal government’s numbers were correct, “it means we [Queensland] can now move to a full implementation of the NDIS in 2018-19”.

“And I can’t say strongly enough how delighted I am with that position,” Mr Newman said.

But when asked if Ms Gillard had missed an opportunity to get NDIS across the line seven months ago, when Mr Newman first suggested the idea at a Lodge dinner, Mr Newman demurred.

“This is too an important a day to reflect on that sort of commentary, Mr Newman said.

“My position has been consistent for the last year; NDIS is something that has never been undertaken in Australia. This is a bold, new important social initiative that brings a level of care and protection for people with disabilities and their families that has never been provided before in Australia’s history.

“If you are going to do something like that, you either have to find new money through a tax or a levy and savings or a combination, so I did support a levy last year and I am going to support the prime minister on this today.”

Mr Newman admitted he had suggested the idea of a levy, “to get this scheme across the line” at a dinner with other state premiers ahead of a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in July last year.

“My words were, ‘Prime Minister, we’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with you. You want this to happen, we want it to happen’.”

At the time Mr Newman said he believed Ms Gillard had taken a “cowardly” approach in not taking up the idea.

He now says the federal opposition’s stance is “a matter for them” but he remained “cautious” but “pleased” about the Commonwealth’s position, linking it back to his own government’s fiscal plans.

“This important new initiative comes about because of an increase in tax to raise some funds for a brand new scheme and that is quite appropriate,” Mr Newman said.

“But also because this government is making necessary decisions and reforms to find money – if it wasn’t for the things in the Commission of Audit report and the other fiscal repair action we have taken, we could not afford to do what we are now proposing to do.”

Mr Newman said he hoped to soon complete negotiations with the federal government and was considering the possibility of having Queensland trial NDIS sites.

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Mother ordered pizza while son held student hostage

It was while her only son was holding a terrified international student hostage in a vacant house that Pamela Saltmarsh ordered a pizza for him.

Supreme Court judge Betty King on Wednesday said Saltmarsh had always tended to indulge her son a little too much.

Saltmarsh, 60, had the pizza delivered the night before her son went out and dug a grave in the backyard. He had pushed the young student into the grave when police jumped the fence and arrested him.

Saltmarsh, a grandmother who suffers from multiple sclerosis, pleaded guilty to one count of handling stolen goods, one count of theft and one count of perjury. She was sentenced to a suspended five-week jail term.

Justice King stressed it was not alleged at any stage that Saltmarsh had known her son was keeping the young student prisoner in the house when she ordered the pizza, or when she used the student’s credit card to withdraw $800 from an ATM, giving son Darren Saltmarsh half and keeping the rest.

”You have been a little too indulgent towards Darren and that in the long-run has not been good for you or him,” the judge told Saltmarsh.

Justice King said Darren Saltmarsh had borrowed money from his mother in the past and not been made to repay what he owed.

”He is the only son and has been clearly indulged by you, his mother, and also by his sisters. That is what ultimately brings you before the court, your indulgence of him, as you, with no questions asked, withdrew money from an account that you knew was not his, and with the expectation that it was illegally obtained, you placed half of that money into his account and half you kept for yourself, as part of what he owed you.”

Darren Saltmarsh, 35 – who was found guilty by a jury in March of kidnapping the young student and attempting to murder her after trying to extort $20,000 from her family to pay gambling debts – is due to be sentenced on Friday.

He kidnapped the woman after she rejected his offer to pay him to arrange a contract marriage. The student, 29, who cannot be identified, told the jury she thought she would never see her family again.

”I was really scared,” she said. ”I had fear in my mind, in my heart.”

The student told how, by the morning of October 20, 2011, she had been held hostage with her hands and feet tied with tape for more than two days.

When Darren Saltmarsh left a room in the vacant house he had taken her to on the outskirts of Melbourne, she tried to walk.

When he returned, the student said he told her: ”I will give you some fresh air.” She asked where they were going and what he was doing as he led her to the backyard.

Darren Saltmarsh did not answer and put an old woollen beanie over her face.

Peering through gaps in the beanie, the student said she could see the hole dug in the backyard. Darren Saltmarsh took her to the hole and pushed her in.

Thinking she was never going to see her family again, she followed Darren Saltmarsh’s orders to sit down in the hole, before police arrived. The makeshift grave was 1.4 metres long, 45 centimetres wide and 55 centimetres deep.

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