Higher costs dent James Hardie’s profit

Higher production costs have contributed to a 34 per cent fall in quarterly profit for building products maker James Hardie.

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The company’s sales in the three months to June 30 were up six per cent from a year ago, but its net operating profit of $US57.4 million dropped from the prior year’s $US87.1 million.

James Hardie said its earnings margins were pressured by manufacturing inefficiencies and higher production costs.

It said it expects to make an operating profit of between $US240 million and $US280 million in its 2017/18 fiscal year, excluding asbestos payments, which is weaker than analysts’ forecasts of $US248 to $US297 million.

James Hardie shares dropped 5.8 per cent to $17.78.

Chief executive Louis Gries said almost all of the company’s input costs in north America, where the majority of its earnings are generated, were higher than a year ago.

Sales of the company’s fibre cement products in north America were up six per cent on the previous first quarter, as capacity constraints dampened demand, Mr Gries said.

Earnings in Australia rose 31 per cent, as stable market conditions and price increases lifted sales.

Mr Gries said the company’s earnings from its Asia Pacific operations rose 10 per cent due to the strong performance of its businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

James Hardie received 146 asbestos claims in the quarter, down five per cent on the same period a year ago, and the average claim settlement of $A228,000 was up two per cent on a year ago.

James Hardie also made a $A135.1 million payment to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund, its annual contribution, at the start of July.

JAMES HARDIE HIT BY PRODUCTION COSTS

* First quarter net profit down 34pct to $US57.4 million

* Sales up 6pct to $US507.7m

New documents reportedly show Senator Roberts was a British citizen

Documents have emerged showing One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts once was a British citizen.

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The Queensland senator has denied on several occasions he ever held British citizenship.

“I have never held any citizenship other than Australian,” Senator Roberts tweeted on October 25 last year.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson told The Australian newspaper last week there was “no evidence” her party colleague was ever British.

But Buzzfeed has obtained an immigration department document signed by Senator Roberts and dated May 8, 1974, on which the then 19-year-old notes he is a “British UK and Cols (Colonies)” citizen.

New official documents show that when Malcolm Roberts was 19-years-old he personally signed he was a British citizen 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/e9vF5dycOw pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/2WngichyKJ

— Mark Di Stefano 🤙🏻 (@MarkDiStef) August 8, 2017

Senator Roberts was born in Disergarh in India in 1955 and his family arrived in Australia in October 1962.

In another document, Senator Roberts’ father Leuan, who was born in Wales, signs consent for his son to apply for Australian citizenship.

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts.AAP

While the documents confirm the Roberts family’s notifications to become citizens were approved by the immigration department, there is no mention of whether the British citizenship was extinguished.

0:00 Senator Malcolm Roberts confirms British renunciation letter received after election (July 28, 2017) Share Senator Malcolm Roberts confirms British renunciation letter received after election (July 28, 2017)

Malcolm Roberts citizenship saga

Activist Yami Lester farewelled

Indigenous rights activist and anti-nuclear campaigner Yami Lester was a man who overcame personal tragedy to serve his community and who opened Australia’s eyes to injustice, Australia’s political leaders say.

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Best known for his fight to clean-up the site of the 1950s British nuclear testing at Maralinga in South Australia’s north, Mr Lester was farewelled at a state funeral on Tuesday, with a large group of mourners gathering on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands.

“He will be revered for rising from personal tragedy to serve his community and to lead his people to ensure that they were recognised and their wrongs addressed,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told federal parliament.

The activist – who died late last month at the age of 75 – was left blind as a young man by the atomic testing, an episode of Australian history Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called a “bleak chapter” in the history of wrongs perpetrated against Aboriginal people.

“In the years that followed there were many who would have preferred to flip past those pages and averted their gaze,” Mr Shorten said.

“It was he, blinded by black mist, who opened Australian eyes to the injustice that had been done.”

Mr Lester was awarded an Order of Australia medal for his services to Indigenous affairs and worked on land rights issues across South Australia and the Northern Territory.

His work to have the Maralinga bomb sites cleaned up helped establish the McClelland Royal Commission and subsequent compensation for those impacted.

His daughter Karina said people travelled from across the country for the funeral at Walatina, with South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and Opposition Leader Steven Marshall among those to attend.

“Today really is a sad day but a day to celebrate this wonderful man,” Ms Lester told ABC radio.

Mr Weatherill said Mr Lester was a man of immense standing and dignity.

“Stockman and statesman, advocate and activist, husband, father and grandfather – Yami Lester was all these things and more,” the premier said.

“We’ll miss his storytelling, his generosity of spirit, his kindness, his warmth.”

NSW government proposes legislation to dismantle Sydney homeless tent city

The NSW government is proposing legislation that will permit police to dismantle the tent city.

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Gladys Berejiklian is speaking to her Liberal and National Party colleagues about “a plan” to clear the camp in Martin Place outside the Reserve Bank of Australia.

“Last night I heard the mayor say that the tent city would be gone overnight and that hasn’t happened, and I said we would give council until last night, it has not happened, so we’ll be taking action today,” she told reporters on Tuesday in Sydney.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Lanz Priestley, dubbed the Mayor of Martin Place, agreed that council would help pack up the camp and transfer about 70 homeless people to a “communal safe space” until temporary or permanent accommodation was found.

“The Government has already committed to creating a safe space – all they need to do to resolve this situation peacefully is work with us on an interim solution,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“Instead the Premier is moving to change the law, potentially setting up the risk of violent conflicts between police and vulnerable homeless people as we saw in Melbourne.

“The City does not have the power to move people on. The police do have these powers.”

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But with no designated “safe place” the tent city remained pegged down on Tuesday morning.

Three council trucks arrived at the site in the early hours of Tuesday to move some of the inhabitants’ belongings to storage, but Mr Priestley said the group wouldn’t move until the safe space was identified.

“I have no address for it. I have no sense of where it is, or anything,” he said at 5am.

Mr Priestley, 72, has since said he was very disappointed by the NSW premier’s threats to take action against the Martin Place site.

“If they act on it today, it’s a clear demonstration by the Berejiklian government, in the middle of Homelessness Week, what the attitudes are to homeless people.”

The site, he says, is about safety for homeless people seeking shelter, many of whom he says don’t qualify for housing and laid the blame at the government’s feet if anyone ended up hurt when forced alone back onto the streets.

“Is it the intention that those people are out there free for anyone to give a kicking, to be robbed, to be raped,” he told AAP on Tuesday.

Ms Moore told ABC Radio on Tuesday that she didn’t want a repeat of the violent scenes that occurred in Melbourne in January when a homeless camp was moved on, but admitted a safe space hadn’t been designated.

“It’s still a work in progress,” she told ABC radio at 7am.

The NSW Department of Family and Community Services and the council were expected to chip in $100,000 each to help set up the space, it was announced on Monday night.

On Monday, Ms Berejiklian warned the City of Sydney that the issue needed to be resolved.

“If they don’t act … we’re going to have to, but I want to stress, they’re powers that are very, very rarely used by the state government,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters in western Sydney.

She warned the powers are “quite direct and quite heavy-handed”.

0:00 Sydney tent city to move after mayor deal Share Sydney tent city to move after mayor deal

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Lost fisherman sheltered in Tasmanian cave

A man lost on a fishing trip has survived a freezing Tasmanian night by huddling in a small cave and eating raw trout he’d caught earlier in the day.

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The relieved angler was picked up by a rescue helicopter on Tuesday morning after a longer-than-expected stay in the state’s central highlands.

Inspector George Cretu said the 21-year-old, known just as Lawrence, got separated from his two mates on Monday morning and became disorientated.

He tried to find them but spent the afternoon and evening walking in the wrong direction, eventually taking refuge in a cave for the night and eating raw fish.

“He said he tried to bite into it Bear Grylls style, found the scales and skin a bit tough so he filleted it with a knife,” Mr Cretu said.

“It probably kept him from being hungry.

“It was 12 hours he got through and it probably helped him sleep with a bit of food in his belly.”

A Victorian-native and student at Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College, Lawrence was only wearing hiking gear as the mercury dropped to zero overnight.

He had set off with two friends at Lake Ada on Monday morning.

But the pair lost sight of him when he went over a hill and they went around.

When they didn’t rendezvous, his friends went back to their car and raised the alarm at 7.30pm.

A rescue helicopter was sent out immediately but turned back because it was too cloudy.

Searching resumed at first light on Tuesday, before the helicopter crew spotted him around 10am.

“He was a bit overwhelmed by all the attention,” Mr Cretu said.

“I gave him a mobile phone to talk to his mother in Victoria who berated him about not having a map.”

Mr Cretu said it was a reminder to plan ahead and take enough resources for the “what-if”.

“This group was out to have a good time and made a mistake.”