Canberra Costco to open petrol station

Canberra petrol could soon get considerably cheaper with Costco to open a petrol station next to its Majura Park store.

Costco is already a major petrol retailer in the United States, and now has two petrol stations in Sydney and one in Brisbane, selling fuel more heavily discounted than supermarket chains offer with their shopper-docket discounts.

Their interstate stores are known to offer fuel between 10¢ and 20¢ a litre cheaper than rival petrol stations. However the price is available only to Costco members, who pay an annual fee of $60.

The Costco business model uses the very cheap fuel to sell memberships and lure customers to its retail warehouse stores.  If fuel is 20¢ cheaper than rivals, a motorist would pay off the membership after buying just 300 litres of petrol, or around six tanks of fuel for an average small car.

Costco Wholesale Australia managing director Patrick Noone confirmed that the station was under construction and was expected to be pumping by Christmas.

“We have hundreds of gas stations in north America where we sell gasoline so we thought we’d bring the concept to Australia and help our members here save some money,” he said.

Mr Noone confirmed that Canberra would be Costco’s fourth Australian petrol station after Brisbane and Sydney and Liverpool.

But the executive hosed down the excitement around dramatically cheaper fuel, saying the Brisbane station currently offered petrol at 3¢ to 4¢ less  than its competitors and 2¢ to 3¢ cheaper than in Sydney.

The news of even a slight drop surfaces amid rising fuel prices. The average cost of petrol rose 2.8¢ to 147.6¢ per litre in the week to September 21, according to the Australian Institute of Petroleum.

Unleaded petrol was more expensive in Canberra in the last week (154.7¢ per litre) than in all capital cities except Darwin (173.0c/l) and Hobart (158.3c/l).

NRMA’s regional director for the ACT, Alan Evans, said a new petrol retailer would be welcome news, as the Territory is among the country’s most expensive metro locations to buy petrol.

“The [petrol] chains operated and run by the two supermarkets dominate the market and so someone coming in to give them a bit more competition would be very welcome,” he said.

“They’re coming out of a highly competitive US market and I think they’ll push things along here, which will be good.

“It would be fantastic to have some real competition in Canberra; Sydney and Melbourne have a lot of independents giving them competition and what our research shows is where you’ve got independents or someone to compete with the two big chains, you get lower prices, and Costco seem to delight in giving the two big supermarket chains some aggravation.”

A Woolworths-operated Caltex petrol station is just a few hundred metres from the Costco store, but a Woolworths spokesperson wouldn’t comment on the specific store.

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Ten years on, Michael is still willing and able to help at Swinton’s IGA

Michael Kearney has not let an intellectual disability stop him clocking up 10 years’ employment at Swinton’s IGA supermarket, says store manager Brett Maloney (left). Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

MICHAEL Kearney’s 10 years’ work at Swinton’s IGA supermarket has been a learning experience — for himself and his employer.

The Warrnambool supermarket’s manager Brett Maloney said Mr Kearney, 30, had expanded its idea of what people with disabilities were capable of.

Mr Kearney, who has the autism spectrum disorder Asperger syndrome, had exceeded the supermarket’s expectations with his dedication to his work and longevity in the position, Mr Maloney said.

His duties include stacking shelves, cleaning and taking customers’ purchases to their vehicles.

“He has his set jobs and he does them very thoroughly,” Mr Maloney said.

“He responds well to advice.”

Mr Kearney’s helpful nature and outgoing personality had made him “part of the furniture” at the store, Mr Maloney said.

He said staff and regular customers had learnt to be accepting and patient with the enthusiastic and talkative assistant.

Mr Maloney said Mr Kearney’s success had encouraged the store to take on other workers with disabilities for short periods.

Mr Kearney’s employment is managed by Western District Employment Access (WDEA) and a case manager visits him and Swinton’s every fortnight for support.

He works at the Timor Street supermarket three days a week and one day a week at Leahy’s Electrical Services, where he washes vehicles and carries out other cleaning work.

WDEA Warrnambool site manager Chris Quigley said Mr Kearney was a great example of what could be achieved through its disability employment program.

Mr Quigley said WDEA had up to 300 people with disabilities who were looking for work and was always seeking employers willing to offer a supportive work environment, with financial incentives available.

Mr Kearney’s mother, Annmaree Stonehouse, said her son had flourished at Swinton’s, using his prodigious memory to learn new tasks visually rather than through reading.

He loved being among people and had developed good relationships with other staff and regular customers, she said.

He had also progressed to third dan black belt in funakoshi karate with the help of local instructors who had been willing to assess him on a basis that favoured practical demonstrations over written tests.

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Loyalty drives Lewis back to lead Dogs

From when he first pulled on the footy boots for Dennington as a six-year-old, DARCY LEWIS has remained true to the Dogs throughout his career and is now gearing up for another stint as coach, he tells TIM AULD.

Darcy Lewis is gearing up to coach Dennington seniors again next season. 130907RG68 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Darcy, I was wondering whether you could give us an insight into whether your cousin Jordan Lewis will line up for the Hawks in the grand final this Saturday after he copped a corked thigh in the preliminary final against Port Adelaide?

Tim, I think it will take more than a corked thigh to stop Jordan from playing in the grand final. He’s pretty tough. He’s done an amazing job with his career. He’s made a lot of sacrifices to play footy at the highest level. He’s had a great season as can be seen by him polling 15 votes in the Brownlow (Medal) on Monday night. He’s finished the season off in grand style and I hope he can produce another big game on Saturday.

Did you ever play in a senior game with Jordan before he joined the Hawks?

Yes. We played for Warrnambool. The game was against Port Fairy over at the Gardens Oval. Jordan got best on the ground while I was fortunate enough to be selected second best on the ground.

Has Jordan’s achievements on the footy field surprised you?

Not really. When we were growing up I was either at his place or he was at mine and we played a lot of backyard footy together. He was always very competitive. The funny thing is when he was a kid he had a real awkward kicking style but he’s just worked on that and now he’s rated as one of the best kicks in the AFL, but as I said previously, he’s made a lot of sacrifices over the years to get so good. I would say all the sacrifices are worth it now as he’s played in two premiership sides with the Hawks and with fingers crossed it might be three this Saturday. He also made the All-Australian side this year which is another great achievement.

Does Jordan come back home to Warrnambool much?

He comes home occasionally but as you can imagine, not much during the footy season. Jordan came home with his good mate Jarryd Roughead in February. We went out to a mate’s property to do a bit of shooting. We got a few foxes and had a really good time.

Has Jordan organised any tickets for you to the grand final this Saturday?

No. I never asked. I don’t like asking him for favours. He gets asked for lots of favours by lots of people so I just don’t bother. I will be watching the grand final with a few family members and mates on Saturday. We’ll have a few beers and cheer the Hawks on. I have been invited to his wedding in a few weeks. I’ll have to get a dinner suit. It should be a big event. I suppose a lot of his mates from Hawthorn will be there.

Darcy, earlier you said Jordan was a tough footballer. The toughness appears to be in the family as your dad ‘Boofa’ was renowned as one of the toughest players to have played in the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League when he played for Dennington. What memories do you have of Boofa playing for Dennington?

My memories are a bit sketchy. I can remember climbing the trees out at the Dennington Oval when I was five years old while Boofa was playing. My brother Sam is a bit older than me. He can remember more. I often go back to The Standard newspaper clippings which Boofa has kept to read about his career. The clippings make interesting reading. I would say Boofa had a strong presence on the ground. He broke his left wrist and played with a cast on his hand for 10 years. Boofa is the last premiership coach of Dennington that was back in 1988. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since that win. The club is chasing another flag. We hope to achieve that within the next few years.

Was it the desire to win a premiership as playing coach that saw you sign on for the next two seasons?

I had coached the club in 2011, 2012 and 2013. I decided to take over the coaching role again as the club has played such an important part in my life. I enjoyed having the year away from coaching but I’m glad I’m back now. The club and the players indicated they wanted me back so that’s great to have their support. We made the preliminary final in 2012 and made the grand final in 2013. The club is putting structures in place which means it will be in a strong position for many years to come. We’ve got some talented young players in the ranks and they will be given every opportunity to develop their skills. The club is well-placed to end its premiership drought but needs to bolster its key position stocks. We probably need a couple more key players to strengthen the spine up. We have a really good spine but if we get injuries we’re in trouble. I’ve already started having talks with players who played for Dennington this season. I’m confident the bulk of players will play for the club again next season which is really great.

Darcy, did your footy career begin at Dennington?

Yes. I was six years old when I played in the under 13s. We moved into Warrnambool when I was 12 to live so I went and played with St John’s which became Warrnambool’s under 16 side. I was lucky to have played in the under 16 premiership side when we defeated South Warrnambool. The game was a thriller. We were down six goals at half-time but ended up winning in extra time. I played in a reserves premiership with Warrnambool when I was 16 years old but played my first senior game with Dennington when I was on permit from Warrnambool. Gerard Sully was the coach at Dennington at the time. It would have been in 1998. When I was 19 I decided to go on an overseas trip. I sold my ute, fridge, couch and four calves and bought a round-the-world ticket. I had $800 spending money in my pocket. My trip started in Canada and after one week I had run out of money. I got a job on a dairy farm and tried to save a quid before going over to Ireland. I stayed at a place called Trim in Ireland and I worked as a plasterer. I had a stint working in England before I decided to come home.

When you were overseas did you play any sports?

When I was living in Canada I played ice hockey and did some bull riding. I rode in two different bull riding associations on Saturdays and Sundays. It was an amazing experience. When I came back to Warrnambool Butch Smith had a chat to me and my brother Sam out at the Shamrock Hotel and asked if we would play for Dennington again. We were always going to go back and play for them.

During your footy career you’ve showed that you had a fair bit of ability. Have you had any regrets that you didn’t play more games in the Hampden Football Netball League instead of the Warrnambool and District league?

Not really. I’ve enjoyed playing out at Dennington. It’s a great family club. I’ve just loved being involved with my family and friends at the club. I’ve had a few HFNL clubs ring me over the years but I’ve just told them I’m happy where I am out at Dennington.

Darcy, what are some of the highlights from your career?

I would have to rate the effort of Bryan Beinke to kick eight goals in one quarter against us as an amazing highlight. Beinke was playing with Timboon Demons at the time. He was just unstoppable. I think he kicked 12 goals for the game and never played in the last quarter. I used to watch in awe how good a player Simon Jenkins was. He was an excellent player. He was quick, skillful and full of courage. Other good players were Justin Nowell and Luke Duncan. Luke has won four best and fairest trophies at Dennington which is a great effort.

Have you sustained many injuries during your footy career?

When I was young I never had many injuries but when you get a bit older the hamstrings tighten up a bit and I’ve split the webbing in my hands on various occasions.

Away from footy have you been involved in any other sports?

I’ve been involved with greyhounds. I’ve trained a few over the past year and reared some but my days of training greyhounds look like they are over for a while as I go back to coaching at Dennington for the next two seasons.

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Warrnambool mural to combine cultures

A MURAL planned for Warrnambool’s CBD will combine ancient narratives and new technology in an innovative first for the city.

Named for an indigenous word for “welcome”, the Gnatanwarr Mural will aim to depict significant stories from the Gunditjmara people and potentially other indigenous groups from the south-west.

The artwork will also include QR codes, which will allow people to scan sections of the mural with their phones to learn more about the events, locations, stories and ideas shown.

The project is a joint initiative from Leadership Great South Coast, Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative, The F Project, and the WAG.

Artists are being invited to submit an expression of interest for the project by October 10, with three artists to be shortlisted and interviewed before a final decision is made by a selection committee.

The successful artist will work with traditional landowners and local historians to create the mural.

The finished work is planned to be unveiled as part of Close The Gap Day on March 20 next year.

Leadership Great South Coast executive officer Amanda Hennessy said the idea came from participants in the leadership program, with the project aimed at “engaging the local indigenous community” and the “ongoing need for a celebration of indigenous heritage”.

She said that once the artist was selected there “will be a comprehensive community consultation process”.

The location of the mural is yet to be decided.

Among the leadership program participants is Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative chief executive Marcus Clarke, who said the mural could help address something missing in the south-west.

“(You) can’t go anywhere in Warrnambool to learn about Aboriginal culture and the people who come before us,” he said.

“There’s no interpretative centre.

“I think the mural can depict significant events in time, significant people that have done a great deal for the community or significant places.

“It might be a story on the war contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people, or it could be about the mission (at Framlingham).”

What the final imagery and ideas are will be the result of consultation with Gunditjmara people, other indigenous groups in the south-west and the wider community, he said.

Expressions of interest can be obtained by emailing [email protected] or by visiting Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative in Kepler Street, Warrnambool.

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ASX director faces protest vote

Longstanding Australian Securities Exchange director Peter Warne has suffered a very high vote against him of more than 20 per cent after questions were raised over his independence and workload.

The vote at the ASX’s annual general meeting on Tuesday morning follows recommendations against his re-election by global proxy advisers Institutional Shareholder Services because he is “overboarded”. It is understood another large proxy adviser, CGI Glass Lewis, also advised against his re-election for the same reason.

ISS’s former head of research, Ulysses Chioatto, said the no vote of 20.32 per cent and support of 77.47 per cent was “shocking”, but not justified given Mr Warne’s performance.

He said many shareholders just accept proxy adviser recommendations and vote accordingly.

Mr Warne is also chairman of both


and Australian Leisure and Entertainment Property Management, is deputy chairman of listed accountant

Crowe Horwath

and of Woolworths’s

ALE Property

Group, as well as sitting on the

Macquarie Group


Fellow directors up for re-election, Damian Roche and Dominic Stevens were both re-elected with votes above 95 per cent. However, they have been on the board for less than a year.

Before the vote, Australian Shareholders Association director, Bruce Nunn, said after eight years the ASA felt that Mr Warne may have been on the ASX board too long, bringing in to question his independence.

The ASX board backed Mr Warne’s re-appointment, citing the value of his years of experience in financial markets and on company boards.

Mr Warne argued that he treats his role as a non-executive director “as a full time role” and none of his fellow directors had ever questioned his contribution. “I strive for balance and if my workload became too great I would cut it back,” he told shareholders on Tuesday’s ASX AGM.

An ASA representative at the ASX annual general meeting said Mr Warne has very good credentials, but “in normal circumstances would breach the ASA’s normal workload requirements” but accepted their arguments.

Mr Chioatto said the proxy advice against his re-election was not justified as Mr Warne has performed well over many years and has had 100 per cent attendance on all the boards he is a member of in the past three years.

He said US and European investors that had contacted him said ISS was being inconsistent because they had voted in favour of Mr Warne’s re-election to several boards in the past two years, even though he had the same workload as now.

“ISS just in July supported his election as chairman for OzForex,” he said. “They supported him in July, now randomly they go against him for his re-election to the ASX board.”

A spokesman for ISS refused to comment on their recommendation.

Dr Paul Kasian, head of asset management at ASX shareholder Equity Trustees, said “in principle they believe directors shouldn’t not be on too many boards”.

Shareholders strongly endorsed new performance rights for managing director Elmer Funke Kupper and ASX’s management and director remuneration.

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