Titans News Update

All clear! Kallum Watkins to make Titans debut this weekend

Good news for the Titans, with English Test star Kallum Watkins finally cleared to make his NRL debut this weekend.

The 28-year-old has been in Australia for almost a month since his mid-season transfer to the Titans from Leeds Rhinos, but has been held back from playing his first game while the Club waited on clearance of his visa.

It finally arrived on Tuesday, with Titans Senior Coach Craig Hodges rushing the three-time Super League premiership-winner straight into the centres for the Queensland derby clash.

Watkins has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the Titans and is contracted with the club until the end of 2021.

He will become Titan No.149 when he plays his first game against the Brisbane Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday.

Kevin Proctor has been promoted to co-captain with Tyrone Roberts for this weekend’s clash, while AJ Brimson will shift into the halves with Michael Gordon back at fullback.

In a further boost, Tyrone Peachey will also make his return from a pectoral injury, coming off the interchange bench.

Morrison stands by super rise plan

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australians won’t miss out on a rise in the superannuation guarantee, despite coalition MPs agitating for the already-legislated plan to be axed.

Some Liberal and Nationals MPs are worried increasing the 9.5 per cent compulsory superannuation guarantee will make it harder for employers to keep staff and offer them pay rises.

The guarantee is due to increase to 10 per cent in 2021/22 and then rise by 0.5 per cent in each of the following four years, hitting 12 per cent in 2025/26.

At least seven coalition MPs have spoken against the rise.

Asked about the pressure in his own ranks to change the policy, Mr Morrison told parliament his government would be sticking with it.

“There is no change to the government’s policy,” Mr Morrison said on Monday.

“But … given we are talking about the positions of parties on superannuation, does the Labor party stand by its more than $30 billion in higher superannuation taxes?”

Earlier, former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said he wanted any increase in what employers are paying to go straight into workers’ pockets.

“What we want, once more, is if there is a wage rise to go into the salary earner – the wage earner’s – pocket so they can spend it,” he told reporters in Canberra.

He’s also worried some employers will struggle to keep their staff as the guarantee goes up.

“Super does not just emanate from the ether. It comes from the employer,” he said.

“If the employer can’t make the payment, he’ll make it up by just putting people off.”

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government needed to make its position clear, as it prepared to launch a review into the superannuation system.

“We call on the Liberal party to get their hands off workers’ super, to do something about stagnant wages in this country,” Dr Chalmers said.

“The Liberal party never wants to see the fair distribution of company profits to workers, whether it be in their retirement incomes, whether it be via their wages.”

Industry Super Australia said any possible change in the policy should concern all Australians.

ISA analysis shows the average worker at the cusp of retirement is already nearly $100,000 worse off as a result of continued delays to increases in super since its establishment 25 years ago.

Further analysis shows that freezing the super guarantee at 9.5 per cent will see a 30-year-old earning $80,000 robbed of $90,000 in super by the time they reach retirement.

“Australians would be right to ask why these federal MPs think it’s OK to leave the super guarantee at just 9.5 per cent when they are beneficiaries of contributions of at least 15.4 per cent under the parliamentary super scheme,” ISA’s deputy chief executive Matthew Linden said.

“Winding back the super guarantee would leave Australians worse off at retirement and increase the burden on the age pension. It’s bad policy and the government should rule it out.”

© AAP 2019

Traffic Speed

RACQ reveals list of cheapest and dearest cars to own and run

The RACQ has unveiled its list of the cheapest and most expensive cars to own and run.

For the first time, an electric vehicle has become attainable for environmentally friendly motorists wanting to drive greener and not blow the budget.

The state’s peak motoring body’s 2019 Vehicle Running Costs survey examined 141 popular vehicles, taking into account expenses such as loan interest, fuel, new tyres, servicing, insurance, government charges and depreciation.

The micro Mitsubishi Mirage ES manual hatch took out the cheapest car to own and operate in Queensland for the second year running at just under $6,000 a year.

While the dearest non-electric model was the BMW X5 at $23,000 a year.

RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said the dearest electric vehicle was the Tesla Model X 100D at $25,500 per year, but there was finally a more affordable, energy efficient alternative available for those wanting an EV.

“This year we were able to assess the Hyundai Ioniq which blew Tesla out of the water in terms of affordability costing less than half the price at just under $10,000 a year to keep on the road.

“Drivers need to be aware the Hyundai Ioniq has a higher purchase price than other small cars, so they need to weigh up the depreciation and interest costs with the fact they won’t be paying as much for fuel and will save on servicing before they opt for this vehicle,” Mr Spalding said.

Mr Spalding said the report once again highlighted huge savings could be made each year if motorists either downsized or sought the cheapest in class.

“Drivers can save a lot of money by making informed choices when buying a car.

“If you swap a large vehicle for a small car, you could save thousands of dollars a year. You can also make considerable savings just by swapping from a prestige model to one of a similar class without the prestige badge,” Mr Spalding said.

Find the full RACQ 2019 Vehicle Running Costs report list here.

Creme Brulee

Oh sugar! Don’t miss trying this limited edition dessert

Calling all sweet-tooths…. you need to get to Bam Bam Bakehouse A.S.A.P.

The iconic Gold Coast cafe is warming us up this winter by creating a melt-in-your-mouth Crème Brûlée Tart, but it is only available until this Sunday.

This drool-worthy treat features a golden pastry shell, filled with a deliciously-rich crème brûlée custard and finished off with that classic crème brûlée crunch of caramelised CSR Demerara Sugar.

Bam Bam Bakehouse’s Head Pastry Chef Aurelio Gulino said he loved creating the delectable dessert.

“We’ve been busy in the Bam Bam Bakehouse kitchen developing the delicious dish and experimenting with different CSR specialty sugars to create the perfect Crème Brûlée Tart. We are thrilled to bring the dish to life and can’t wait to have Gold Coast locals test it out!”

The exclusive Crème Brûlée dessert is only available  at Bam Bam Bakehouse until Sunday 21 July….. run, don’t walk!

Happy ending for chlamydia-infected koala rescued from Coomera

A chlamydia-infected koala rescued from Coomera earlier this year is now happy and healthy after receiving two and a half months of treatment at the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.

The fugitive koala, known as “Fugi” after a mammoth month-long rescue operation, was released back into the wild on Tuesday.

According to Wildcare volunteer Angela Blake, it was the “best day of her life” to be able to return Fugi back to his natural habitat of Coomera.

The sick koala was first brought to the attention of volunteers from Wildcare and the Coomera Conservation Group after a resident reported the koala had red eyes and a stained bottom, which are known signs of chlamydia.

However Fugi’s rescue proved to be quite a challenge and it took a month to track the koala down as he was always too high in the trees.

After many attempts, the volunteers held a 24-hour rescue operation and finally managed to rescue Fugie.

He was taken to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, where he spent almost three months receiving treatment, worth approximately $6000.

Dr Michael Pyne, Senior Vet of the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, says he is extremely appreciative of all the volunteers involved in Fugi’s rescue.

“It’s really important we get these koalas in, we were able to save Fugi’s life by treating the disease early”, Dr Pyne said.

The Currumbin Wildlife Hospital treated 475 koalas last year and more than half of them were suffering from disease.