Rates on hold but $A a concern for RBA

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 佛山桑拿

Interest rates look set to stay put while the Reserve Bank waits to see what effect the stubbornly high currency will have on Australia’s economic growth.

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The minutes of the RBA’s April meeting, released on Tuesday, show it believes the most prudent course is for “a period of stability in interest rates”, after leaving the cash rate at a record low 2.5 per cent.

“The board’s judgment was that monetary policy was appropriately configured to foster sustainable growth in demand and inflation outcomes consistent with the two to three per cent inflation target,” the RBA said.

“The board had judged that it was prudent to leave the cash rate unchanged and members noted that the cash rate could remain at its current level for some time if the economy was to evolve broadly as expected.”

HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said a rate hike was likely to be on the cards in 2014, as the central bank was seeing early signs of a rebalancing in economic growth.

“With the rebalancing of growth away from mining investment on track in Australia, we continue to expect that the RBA’s easing phase is done,” Mr Bloxham said.

“Given that the labour market appears to be improving faster than the RBA had expected, we think rates could also have to rise a little earlier than current market pricing, with a hike before year end our central case.”

The RBA said falling mining investment and weak public demand would constrain growth for some time, but there were “early promising signs” in other parts of the economy.

“A strong pick-up in dwelling investment was in prospect and there was some evidence that consumer demand had strengthened a little,” the RBA said.

“Indicators for exports remained strong, while those for business conditions were generally higher than they had been in 2013.”

However, the stubbornly high Australian dollar would dampen economic growth, it said.

“While the decline in the exchange rate from its highs a year earlier would assist in achieving balanced growth in the economy, this would be less so than previously expected given the rise in the exchange rate over the past few months,” the RBA said.

JP Morgan chief economist Stephen Walters said the RBA’s reluctance to jawbone the Australian dollar was “somewhat puzzling”.

“The Australian dollar at these levels is creating problems for policymakers and firms alike,” Mr Walters said.

“The Australian dollar merely is described today as `high by historical standards’.

“As jawboning goes, this is pretty lame, particularly as the divergence between the Australian dollar and commodity prices is widening.”

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Man City stay ready to pounce in EPL

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Manchester City know they must keep themselves in a position to pounce if English Premier League title favourites Liverpool slip up.

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City, who have two games in hand, will play Sunderland on Wednesday night.

Liverpool’s 3-2 victory at Anfield on Sunday allowed the Reds to stay clear at the top of the table and extend their advantage over third-placed City to seven points.

That will be an unbridgeable gap if Liverpool win their remaining four games to lift their first top-flight championship since 1990.

But Brendan Rodgers’s side still have to face title rivals Chelsea, giving a glimmer of hope to City who would finish top if Liverpool fail to win just one of their games and City take a maximum 18 points.

Four of City’s remaining fixtures are at home, starting against a Sunderland side which has failed to win in their last nine games and who were beaten by City in the final of the League Cup at the start of March.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini has vowed to fight to the end and defender Martin Demichelis believes City still have time to overhaul Liverpool after pushing the leaders all the way in Sunday’s epic encounter on Merseyside.

“We showed real fight until the end. No-one left the stadium feeling like they were champions. We have plenty of matches left,” said Demichelis.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t get a more positive result but we can still bring something positive before the end of the league.

“We have seen in football that they can make mistakes. Hopefully we can win the rest of our matches and expect some mistakes from Liverpool.”

City captain Vincent Kompany, whose error led to Liverpool’s winning goal from Philippe Coutinho, re-iterated the “never give up” message and is expected to be fit to face Sunderland after an injury scare prior to the Anfield game.

Midfielder Yaya Toure looks unlikely to play after limping off at Liverpool with a groin injury but City should still have enough to beat a Sunderland team which is in freefall and heading towards the Championship at an alarming pace.

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Learning Moore to defend world surf title

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By her own admission, Hawaiian Carissa Moore did not do a particularly good job of defending her first world surfing championship two years ago.

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But lessons have been learnt and she’s off to a much better start this time around.

Moore and Australian Stephanie Gilmore are tied for the lead in the world title race coming into the third event of the season, the Rip Curl Pro at iconic Bells Beach.

Gilmore jumped out of the blocks by winning the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast and Moore hit back straight away with victory earlier this month at the Margaret River Pro.

“I’ve never thought of Steph as a rival, but I really respect her as a competitor,” the 21-year-old Moore told AAP on Tuesday.

“She’s won five world titles and she really knows how to do the whole thing.

“It’s not just about surfing heats. It’s about handling life on the road, ignoring the distractions, being mentally there at every event and being consistent.

“That’s a really hard thing to do so I have a lot of respect for her.”

Moore did not win any events in her first title defence in 2012, although her consistency was still good enough for third place overall behind Gilmore and another Australian, Sally Fitzgibbons.

But the Hawaiian bounced back to reclaim the crown last year, winning four of eight events, including a first-ever victory at Bells Beach.

“You go from the position of hunting to being hunted,” said Moore, who became the youngest-ever women’s surfing world champion when she lifted the title in 2011 at the age of 18.

“I’m learning how to deal with that and more than anything it’s dealing with pressure from yourself.

“At the end of the day it’s not about winning the contest, it’s about performing at my best and doing what I love and hopefully inspiring people.

“If I look at the bigger picture I can take some of the pressure off.”

The Rip Curl Pro is scheduled to start on Wednesday, with Moore to take on Australians Dimity Stoyle and Zoe Clarke in the opening round.

Gilmore is pitted against countrywoman Laura Enever and Frenchwoman Johanne Defay in her first-round heat.

Conditions are expected to peak over the Easter long weekend – and Moore can’t wait.

“This wave definitely reminds me a lot of some of our waves back home in Hawaii,” she said.

“I love the Bells bowl and hopefully we will get the waves to perform on.”

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Samsung durable, but iPhone wins: survey

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Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 smartphone is more durable than last year’s model and other leading Android phones, but the iPhone 5s outperformed all of them in part because of its smaller size, a new survey finds.

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The S5 scored well given its water resistance and a sturdy back panel made of plastic, according to SquareTrade, a provider of extended protection plans.

The iPhone 5s won points for being just 10 centimetres diagonally, compared with about 13cm for the Android phones. That makes the iPhone easier to grip.

Nonetheless, all the smartphones tested had a medium risk of breakage, and differences between the various phones weren’t major.

SquareTrade evaluated the phones based on such criteria as size, weight, grip and the quality of the front and back panels. The company measured how far the phones slide when pushed across a table on their backs and how well they withstand drops from four feet and being dunked in water for 10 seconds. Robots were used to ensure consistency.

The S5 scored a six on a 10-point durability scale, with 10 having the highest risk. The new HTC One phone scored a 6.5, while Google’s Nexus 5 had a seven. The iPhone 5s was at 5.5.

None of those phones is as durable as last year’s Moto X from Motorola. It had a 4.5 rating, thanks to a rounded back moulded to the shape of a user’s hand, making it easier to grip. Last year’s HTC One model also had a 4.5.

The S5 and the One were the hardest to grip, while the One and the Nexus had poor marks for water resistance – the phones still worked, but had no sound.

Both the S5 and the iPhone survived the dunk test, even though only the S5 is officially marketed as water resistant – for up to 30 minutes.

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MP ‘left on dock’ by live exporters

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Federal MP Andrew Wilkie had intended travelling cattle class to Indonesia as part of a fact-finding mission on live animal exports.

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Instead he’s been left at the dock.

The independent MP was invited by the live export industry to travel on a ship bound for Indonesia where it was intended he visit feedlots and abattoirs.

But Mr Wilkie says the industry withdrew the invitation on Tuesday.

The vocal live trade critic has accused exporter groups of trying to prevent him from making the journey.

“Today’s meeting proved the industry had got cold feet and was searching for an excuse to call the whole thing off so it could continue business as usual,” he said in a statement.

The industry had “come up with every excuse under the sun” to delay his trip since the January invitation.

The decision to withdraw the invitation comes as one exporter called in police to investigate allegations documents were falsified to deliver suspected diseased sheep to Pakistan.

Wellard Rural Exports has alerted police of possible paperwork discrepancies, inconsistent with export requirements, for a 2012 shipment out of Fremantle.

About 21,000 sheep, the subject of the documentation, from on board Wellard’s ship were culled in Pakistan on suspicion they had scabby mouth.

Tests later confirmed the sheep were not infected.

Mr Wilkie has private legislation before parliament that makes a fourth attempt at banning live exports.

The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council insists the offer to take Mr Wilkie on a live export voyage remains on the table.

But the MP, by introducing his bill, had shown little sign of goodwill for industry efforts to enable him to experience the livestock export trade first hand, it said.

Exporters had wanted to explain livestock arrangements prior to and during the voyage.

They offered Mr Wilkie the opportunity to witness the loading of livestock and see conditions, facilities and processes on board.

The MP rejected this “genuine effort” to engage him, council president Peter Kane said.

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We won’t drop Nic Naitanui: Eagles

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West Coast coach Adam Simpson has ruled out the prospect of dropping Nic Naitanui for poor form, claiming the star ruckman will play in Saturday night’s AFL clash with Port Adelaide if fit.

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Naitanui has struggled this season after being plagued by groin issues for the past 18 months.

The 23-year-old tallied just six possessions in Saturday’s 75-point loss to Geelong before being subbed off with soreness.

Brownlow Medallist Brad Hardie has called on the Eagles to consider dropping Naitanui, but Simpson said it wasn’t on the cards.

“If he’s available to play, he’ll play seniors,” Simpson told Perth radio station 6PR.

“The question is, is he fit enough to play?

“He’s coming off a limited pre-season. And not just one pre-season, it’s two or three.

“We’re trying our best to manage his time. Of course we’d like an improvement with what he can do. But at the moment it’s a bit of a battle.”

The Eagles (3-1) are set to be bolstered by the return of four key players against the Power.

Midfielder Luke Shuey is free to play after serving his one-match suspension, while skipper Darren Glass (hip), on-baller Chris Masten (hamstring) and wingman Matt Rosa (illness) are also set to return.

Naitanui was still sore on Monday, and will be assessed later in the week.

Port Adelaide are flying at 3-1 following their 113-point demolition of Brisbane over the weekend, and are set to be boosted by the return of All-Australian Chad Wingard, who has overcome an ankle injury.

West Coast failed to kick a goal after quarter-time against Geelong, with Simpson conceding his team’s midfield got “destroyed”.

But with Shuey, Masten and Rosa all set to return, Simpson is confident of a far better display against the Power.

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Stem-cell blood ready for human trials

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Red blood cells grown from stem cells are set to be trialled in human patients within the next three years.

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If the study is successful it could mean the mass production of human blood cells.

Marc Turner, researcher at the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and leader of the multi-million dollar project, said it was the first time anybody had manufactured blood cells fit for human transfusion.

“Although similar research has been conducted elsewhere, this is the first time anybody has manufactured blood to the appropriate quality and safety standards for transfusion into a human being,” he told The Telegraph.

“Producing a cellular therapy which is of the scale, quality and safety required for human clinical trials is a very significant challenge,” he said in a press release.

“If we can achieve success with this first-in-man clinical study it will be an important step forward to enable populations all over the world to benefit from blood transfusions.”

It’s believed the trial will involve the treatment of patients with Thalassaemia, a blood disorder that is treated with regular blood transfusions.

While there is hope the trials will lead to the mass production of disease free, universal blood cells, researchers say people should still continue to donate blood.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service estimates one in three people will need a blood transfusion but currently only one in 30 Australians give blood.

The cost of a unit of whole red blood cells in Australia is around $345.

The team, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust, has been working on this program for four years.

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India’s Infosys profit up 25 per cent

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Indian outsourcing giant Infosys has reported a better-than expected 25 per cent jump in quarterly net profit, after winning new contracts in Europe and the US.

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The company, India’s second-largest exporter of IT services, also forecast revenues to climb 7 to 9 per cent in US dollar terms for the full year that started in April, driving up shares to as much as 4 per cent.

Consolidated net profit for the Nasdaq-listed firm climbed to 29.92 billion rupees ($A528.42 million) in the January-March quarter compared to 23.9 billion rupees in the same period a year earlier.

Analysts had expected Infosys to report a profit of 28.1 billion rupees.

Consolidated revenue jumped 23 per cent to 128.75 billion rupees in the fourth financial quarter from 104.54 billion rupees in the year-ago period, the company based in the southern city of Bangalore said on Tuesday.

Infosys also said it had signed 50 new clients in the quarter, including Chinese-owned Swedish carmaker Volvo.

“We have guided for a revenue growth of 7 per cent – 9 per cent next year and remain firmly focused on building the growth momentum by making all the necessary investments in our business,” Infosys chief executive S.D. Shibulal said in the statement.

Shares were up 3.21 per cent at 3,339.70 rupees on the Bombay Stock Exchange after climbing as much as 4.20 per cent to 3,371.80 rupees earlier on Tuesday.

The company said its attrition rate for the quarter rose 18.7 per cent from 16.3 per cent a year ago.

Infosys has been undergoing major changes with a string of departures by some of its senior staff since co-founder and business icon N.R. Narayana Murthy returned last June in a bid to reboot the company’s fortunes.

Infosys – created three decades ago by Murthy and six others as they sat around a kitchen table – has been losing market share to rivals such as Tata Consultancy Services and HCL.

Last October, Infosys said it would pay $US34 million ($A36.22 million) to the US government to settle an investigation into alleged visa fraud by the company.

Many of India’s IT outsourcing firms have reported subdued growth in recent years as a result of a sharp global economic slowdown.

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Nothing bolder than Badgerys

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After decades of inaction by Labor and coalition governments it took Tony Abbott to do some plane talking.

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The prime minister put the second Sydney airport decision in a nutshell when he told reporters: “There has been too much studying and too little deciding.”

When the NSW government began thinking about a second Sydney airport in 1964, the Beatles had eight number one singles, EH Holden cars were the rage and Tony Abbott was in short pants at St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point.

The federal government first took a look at it in 1969.

The host site, Badgerys Creek, is not without its political problems but they will be manageable.

The key will be how Labor decides to roll with it.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten previously has signalled agreement with the site, but he will face pressure from western Sydney MPs to put conditions with that support.

They could include pushing for a curfew and guarantees that traffic congestion will be properly addressed.

Labor MP Ed Husic was quick to tweet that Abbott promised from opposition in January 2013: “The coalition has absolutely no plans for a second airport at Badgerys Creek.”

Given the long lead-up time before any aircraft will take off, bipartisan support is crucial for the airport’s success.

Western Sydney Liberal MPs also will be making a beeline for Abbott’s office, seeking assurances about local jobs, roads and rail lines.

Just how the project is planned, funded and managed could cause some political heartache.

Abbott says the private sector will fund the lion’s share and operate it. As well, he has no problem with foreign investment if that’s what it takes.

But as yet there is no indication how much taxpayers will have to fork out, or how the money will be raised.

Public-private partnerships have not all gone smoothly in recent years, as Brisbane’s Airport Link and Clem7 and Sydney’s Lane Cove and Cross City tunnels attest.

But unlike roads, airports have a broader range of revenues on which to draw, from passenger landing charges to commercial rents and parking fees.

It used to be said that “if you build it, they will come”, but poor planning around the airport could lead to extra congestion and poor linkages to existing freight networks, which could make it a white elephant.

Abbott has laid the tarmac with the decision to back Badgerys Creek.

But getting to take-off will be the tricky part.

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Go north to Alaska, even in winter

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The thought of visiting Alaska in the winter may fill you with shivers and a longing to hibernate, but for adventure-seekers, it is prime playtime.

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Mesmerising mountains laden with snow create stunning backdrops, and the outdoor options are limitless. You can strap on snowshoes, grab a snowboard or skis, get a taste of dog mushing or cruise the backcountry on a snowmobile (stubbornly called a snowmachine by locals).

I visited in late January and early February and was smitten. I declared myself a future Alaskan. I vowed to buy Alaskan slippers, which are actually heavy-duty boots – XtraTufs – worn by many in the Last Frontier. I scoffed at the biting cold even as I slipped along icy streets in downtown Anchorage and wished for a thicker jacket.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I’m accustomed to the cold and congratulated myself on braving Alaska’s winter temperatures. What I didn’t know at the time was that my trip coincided with the fourth warmest January ever recorded in the city.

I was simultaneously relieved and disappointed.

I may have escaped the worst of winter, but the warmer weather (we’re talking temperatures of about -2C to -6C) dashed my hopes of ice-climbing or checking out Alyeska Resort, which shut down because piles of fresh powder were in short order on its ski runs.

Winter in Alaska may be downright cold, but I was enraptured with winter skies that were crisp and blue rather than bleak and grey.

This brings me to my one grievance with taking a winter break in Alaska: longer hours of darkness. The sun did not come out until 9am, which ruled out early alpine starts.

Then again, it’s a rare chance to sleep in.

Here are some of the places I visited:

BIRD RIDGE OVERLOOK

Where: Chugach State Park, about 40km south of Anchorage along Seward Highway.

This hike has it all: steepness, breathtaking views and wild weather. It offers sweeping views of a waterway and countless snow-capped peaks with only a swivel of the head.

We started in a cool mist at sea level, peeking out over Turnagain Arm as we wound upward through a forest to an exposed ridge. That’s where the wind picked up and repeatedly knocked me over, forcing me to tromp through the snow just below the ridge.

As we scuttled up a rocky point to Bird Ridge, the mist turned to snow, even though the sun was still peeking through.

Many people stop there, which clocks in at 8km and 1036 metres of elevation gain. Others push on for the overlook, which is 19km and 1676 metres gain.

PANORAMA PEAK

Where: On the threshold of the Alaska Range north of Cantwell.

Couloir routes are an exhilarating way to dress up a climb. Getting into a couloir in Washington state usually requires a long drive and a long approach, but in Alaska you apparently just pull over on the side of the highway and get going. It was another reminder of how accessible and limitless the possibilities are.

The gully didn’t look intimidating from the bottom, but the steepness of the 60-degree couloir became apparent as we moved higher. It was a tedious process to kick our crampons into the mix of ice and snow and then plunge in our ice axes before moving up. A quarter or so of the way up the 1066-metre couloir, we crossed a rocky area and paused momentarily to scarf down lunch. It was the only place on the route where it was safe enough to sit down.

A trio of mountain goats kept an eye on us but kept their distance as we kept climbing up, up, up. We were treated to some stunning views of some of the biggest mountains in the state.

TALKEETNA

Where: About 193km north of Anchorage, in the shadow of Denali.

History buffs and climbers should carve out time to visit this tiny, spunky town off the beaten path. It has evolved from a gold-mining town at the turn of the 20th century to the place where mountaineers ascending Denali catch an air taxi to the 2194-metre Kahiltna Glacier.

Its charm is said to have been the inspiration behind the community of Cicely on the TV show Northern Exposure.

The downtown area is a National Historic Site, with buildings dating back to the early 1900s, including the Talkeetna Roadhouse and Nagley’s General Store. Wander into the funky shops or skip rocks down on the river. Talkeetna is at the confluence of the Susitna, Chulitna and Talkeetna rivers and draws salmon fishermen in the summer.

We arrived after dinnertime, hungry from a climb, and found our pub of choice was no longer serving grub. The friendly bartender, however, invited us to partake of the town potluck and hang out as long as we wished.

FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN

Where: Chugach State Park, about 24km from downtown Anchorage.

I couldn’t pass up a chance to sit atop the “most often climbed peak in Alaska” – or so says the state Department of Natural Resources.

It’s a relatively easy hike through some hemlocks and above timberline to a talus field. Scramble up to the aptly named flat summit, which is about the size of a football field.

The trail climbs 396 metres in 2.7km. In typical Alaska style, it offers gorgeous 360-degree views of Cook Inlet, Anchorage and the Alaska Range, where Denali dominates the distant landscape.

TURNAGAIN PASS

Where: Highest point of Seward Highway (274 metres) at the gateway to the Kenai Peninsula, 48km south of Girdwood.

This is a free-for-all winter recreation area where you can do just about any snow activity you can dream up. It’s known for its endless snow because it collects powder blown over the ridgelines but manages to avoid the winds.

We strapped on snowshoes and tied on sleds before we ventured into a back bowl between Tincan and Sunburst mountains to set up camp and properly enjoy a wintry Alaskan evening. There was a hot meal, cold feet and a quiet stillness you can’t find anywhere but the outdoors.

Snow camping in Alaska is a great way to really engage in the elements.

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SA hails late night lock-out laws

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South Australia has hailed the success of its late night lock-out laws for getting “drunken, aggressive louts” off Adelaide’s streets.

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The laws allow for a 3am lock-out, preventing patrons who leave a pub or club after that time from entering another.

They also restrict the use of glassware, allow for the use of metal detectors and increased closed circuit video.

The new measures have been in place for six months and police have reported a 20 per cent fall in late night offences in the centre of the city.

Emergency admissions to hospitals for alcohol-related issues have also fallen by 29 per cent.

Attorney-General John Rau says the changes have proved a great success for public safety in Adelaide.

“What these figures show is that our crackdown on alcohol-fuelled violence and related harm is working as intended,” Mr Rau said on Tuesday.

“A safer city is a good result for police and volunteers as they are dealing with fewer drunken, aggressive louts who put their safety at risk.”

Mr Rau has also rejected suggestions the tougher laws work against government efforts to boost the city’s nightlife through its vibrant Adelaide program and concerns the changes have prompted some venues to close, costing jobs.

He said there was nothing vibrant or attractive about a street full of drunks and claims of hundreds of businesses closing and workers heading to Melbourne were “just rubbish”.

“There’s no evidence to support that,” he said.

“What there has been is one or two particular traders whose business models have been built around an unsafe and unhealthy culture.”

Mr Rau said the government would review the new laws later this year and would take advice from key interest groups, including police and venue owners, on whether any further changes were required.

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