A2 profit surges on China demand for infant formula

A2 Milk recorded buoyant sales in China during ‘Singles day’.Unlike some key local competitors, A2 Milk has boasted of “strong growth in demand” for its infant milk formula in China as it posted a 290 per cent surge in interim earnings. Its result also benefited from buoyant demand for its milk products as it pushes into new markets in the US and UK.

Net profit surged to $NZ39.38 million ($36.8 million) in the December half, from $NZ10.1 million a year earlier, the dairy products maker said in a statement to the ASX today.

The company pointed to rising sales in China in the December quarter, indicating strong sales during so-called ‘singles day’ when online Chinese retailer Alibaba fosters a popular sales event.

“Whilst the growth in demand was evident across the half-year, there was a marked increase in infant formula sales in the second quarter corresponding with the phasing of key sales events in China and an increase in market share in both Australia and China,” A2 Milk’s managing director Geoffrey Babidge said.

“This was achieved whilst maintaining a prudent approach to the management of production and inventory in recognition of foreshadowed changes in regulations for infant formula sold in China.”

Revenues for A2’s infant formula product increased by 62 per cent and 348 per cent in Australia and China, respectively, and with the operating EBITDA doubling and soaring by 1021 per cent, respectively. Investors though were not impressed chipping 2.5 per cent off the company’s share price which closed at $2.36.

The rate of growth in part reflects inventory shortages experienced during the year-earlier period, it said.

Total sales from infant milk formula in the half reached $NZ184.5 million, compared with full-year sales of $NZ214.4 million in the year to June 2016.

Discussing the results, Mr Babidge re-iterated the close monitoring of sales channels in China to ensure inventory levels are held in check.

“We have been conservative in our approach to infant milk formula inventory.”

A concern in the future is the evolving regulatory climate in China, which could hurt the flow of product from China, Mr Babidge said.

“We are growing the business (in China) but in a very measured way and not just monitoring our business, but also the supply chain. We continue to develop the daigou channel. What we are doing is working.”

Daigou – pronounced dye-goo – are shopping agents who buy things for residents on mainland China that are unavailable or hard to find there – often students who are studying overseas, or people who have migrated from China to another country who want to help friends and family, or earn extra money.

A2 Milk chief executive Peter Nathan said there was a view in some parts of the market that “all you needed was to have a product” to win sales in China.

“We are by far the exception, not the norm. You need a significant investment in the business to succeed. We always knew it was a challenging market; only a few succeed,” he said.

The company said it has also had some success in expanding its footprint in the US, where its product is now carried in around 1800 outlets, mostly in the south west. It’s also won access to an estimated 1100 outlets in the south east of the US.

Analysts with Citi warned that risks continue to be skewed to the downside for A2 Milk, due to the risky transition period in China ahead of the new regulatory regime from 2018, rising dairy costs and potential adverse effects from Bellamy’s woes.

CEOs divided on civic impact of globalisation as trade war fears rise

Their businesses may rely on it, and most support it, but one in two Australian chief executives surveyed by PwC reject the assertion that globalisation has helped reduce income inequality.

The findings come from PwC’s CEO survey, which polls 1379 CEOs globally about their thinking once a year. The Australian results, to be released on Thursday, show local bosses grappling with the impact of globalisation at a time of rising protectionist rhetoric from the United States and Europe.

On the question of whether globalisation had helped close the gap between rich and poor, 49 per cent choose the “not at all” option. Almost all CEOs agreed globalisation had, to at least some extent, fostered global connectivity. And a majority (57 per cent) agreed their global ambitions were becoming trickier to balance with rising protectionist trends.

By bringing jobs from first-world corporations to third-world nations, globalisation has lifted the incomes of millions of people. But PwC Asia practice leader Andrew Parker said he wasn’t surprised to see CEOs highly divided when it came to globalisation’s impact on inequality.

“While it’s very true that the opening up of trade and investment is responsible for lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in emerging markets … the gap between rich and poor in those countries is pretty significant. In China, hundreds of millions of people are still living on one or two dollars a day,” he said.

Discussion in Western countries has recently focused on the impact of globalisation on Western workers. Mr Parker said in China and many other developing nations, the discussion has been happening for a long time.

“I think Australian CEOs are very aware of the issues and risks that this presents,” he said. “While they’re generally positive about the environment, they do have concerns about how governments and society more broadly will address the gap between rich and poor.”

“The data says that Australian CEOs are still positive on globalisation,” said PwC Australia CEO Luke Sayers, adding that the results were similar to those of other country cohorts in the survey.

“But they’re also very cognisant of the wealth divide, and how do they also drive inclusive growth. Each CEO and business is very much looking at that … how do you drive inclusive growth and make sure everyone benefits?”

Australia’s open economy is highly reliant on trade, making it particularly vulnerable to protectionism. In the United States, President Donald Trump has made higher tariffs a key part of his economic agenda, while in Europe, Britain’s coming departure from the EU and the strong support of nationalist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen have made many economists fearful of the possibility of global trade wars.

Despite the risks posted by rising protectionism, the 81 Australian CEOs surveyed – most of whom worked for listed companies and a clear majority (70 per cent) of whom had previously worked outside Australia – were unusually bullish by global standards, with 42 per cent saying they were “very confident” of seeing revenue growth in the next 12 months. This is above the global average of 38 per cent. A majority were planning both M&A activity and nearly one in two said they planned to increase their organisation’s headcount this year.

When it came to international outlook, for the first time since PwC began asking the question seven years ago, the United States and China were tied when CEOs were asked to nominate the top offshore market for growth. “There’s obviously some turbulence at the moment in China as it transitions from very high levels of growth to more sustainable levels,” Mr Sayers said. “There are also some organisations that haven’t been overly successful in China, which spreads wide and far with corporate Australia.”

A majority of Australian CEOs surveyed nominated one of the three Western markets of the United States, Britain or New Zealand as the country where they saw the most potential for oversees growth. Such markets have far lower GDP growth than many others in our region, but they are viewed as “safe”, Mr Parker said.

Vicinity Centres remix tenants for success

Chadstone shopping centre renovations will include the new Legoland Discovery Centre. Photo: Joe Armao John Gandel, Chris Kearney, Rob Smith and Angus McNaughton at the launch of Legoland at Chadstone Shopping Centre on October 25, 2016. Photo: Eddie Jim

Keeping new tenants moving through its mega shopping centres and a large development platform helped Vicinity Centres report a statutory net profit of $908.8 million for the half year to December 30.

After the extensive asset sale and reinvestment program over the past year, the underlying earnings were $376 million or 9.5¢ on a per security basis, down 0.4 per cent.

Vicinity’s chief executive Angus McNaughton said while there have been many retailers facing troubles – 16 in the past few months – it has given the group the opportunity to change the tenants across the portfolio, which includes the mammoth Chadstone in Melbourne’s south-east and Chatswood in Sydney’s upper north shore.

The opening of the first LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in the southern hemisphere in April would also add to the visitor numbers at Chadstone.

He added the changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which aim to save the federal government $835 million over four four years, have hit local chemists leading to some store closures.

“Some of the closures of retailers in the past few months has helped our team look at opportunities to rework the tenancy mix, such as at Emporium Melbourne, which has proved successful,” Mr McNaughton said.

“Since January 2016, including Dick Smith, we have had a total of 138 stores go into administration across our directly owned portfolio of 7900 tenancies, representing just over 1 per cent of gross lettable area.

“To date, 88 stores have been handed back and we have successfully re-leased over 80 per cent of these, which includes stores handed back within the past few weeks. For the remaining stores expected to be handed back, a number have already been re-leased.”

Over the course of the past six months, total moving annual turnover (MAT) growth was 1.3 per cent, at the end of December, compared to 2.1 per cent at June 30, 2016. Specialty store MAT growth was 2.2 per cent, compared to 3 per cent at June 30 2016. Excluding the impact of Dick Smith store closures in early 2016, specialty store MAT growth was 2.7 per cent.

Vicinity said department stores and discount department stores category sales were down marginally in the period, while at mini majors such as Cotton On and larger H&M stores sales remained robust with 3.3 per cent MAT growth despite the Dick Smith impact.

The expansion of the DFO malls has also proved a bonanza with some stores selling over $430,000 of goods on Boxing Day alone last year. The group recently bought the remaining 25 per cent it did not own of the DFO South Wharf Melbourne.

International retailers remain the strongest performers, taking over space in new centres and are fast replacing department stores as the anchors for a mall.

Expanded food courts and retail services such as beauty and cosmetic retailers and mobile device outlets are also gaining traction as the key tenants in a shopping centre.

After the sale of about $1.4 billion worth of assets, the group bought five new malls and is also working on its $1.4 billion development pipeline which includes completing the Chadstone project, significantly progressing the Mandurah Forum and DFO Perth Airport projects, and commencing $490 million The Glen, Melbourne redevelopment.

For the half year, the group’s distribution was 8.7¢ per security and the full-year guidance for underlying earnings remains unchanged at 18.6 to 18.8¢ per security.

The Marly Pub Newtown on the market

Investors and other pub operators are likely to take an interest in the property.One of Sydney’s well-known watering holes, The Marlborough Hotel in King Street, Newtown, is on the market as owners and good mates Geoff Dixon and John Singleton look to reshape their pub portfolio.

Owned by Riversdale Group, which was founded by Paddy Coughlan and is managed by Mr Dixon, Mr Singleton and another partner, Mark Carnegie, the Marly, as called by the locals, is expected to reap as much as $35 million.

It is being sold by Ray White Asia Pacific director Andrew Jolliffe, who said with upside in all departments, none more apparent than operational improvements in the gaming room, and the activation of the development-approved rooftop terrace, investors and other pub operators would be taking an interest in the property.

The potential sale comes as the pub sector is having a golden year of high demand.

In the past year up to $500 million of pubs have changed hands including 16 from the Lantern Group, the Clovelly in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, and three by Mr Dixon and Mr Singleton’s Australian Pub Fund, part of Riversdale Group.

Mr Dixon, the former chief executive of Qantas, confirmed the sales, saying it was the “right time” in the cycle to sell the two pubs.

Riversdale’s Australian Pub Fund bought the Marlborough for $12.17 million in 2012.

Mr Dixon told Fairfax Media last year when he started the sale process, that the time was right to take advantage of the strong pub market.

He said it was the group’s decision to focus on other pubs and divest the well-known hotels to keen buyers.

“However, we are not liquidating, as we are also keen buyers, as always, at the right price. These pubs are big gaming pubs which are well patronised for a certain demographic,” Mr Dixon said last year.

Pub operators that don’t have a presence in Newtown, which is outside the lockout drinking zones and so can open until late, include Justin Hemmes of Merivale, Mauricio Terzini, Patrick Gallagher, Andrew Lazarus and the Ryan family.

“The Marlborough is the most significant freehold hotel currently on the market nationally in Australia, and not surprisingly following over 20 A-grade freehold hotel sales in the most recent six months, we’ve been commensurately inundated by high-quality domestic and international inquiry,” Mr Jolliffe said.

“Fundamentally, this is a landmark hotel, and for generations has drawn robust patronage from the local residents, proximate Sydney University campus constituents as well as the large shift-worker base at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital just down the road.”

Mr Jolliffe said that during the past few years the hotel had also benefited noticeably from the increased popularity of Newtown as an entertaining and dining precinct, given it was beyond Sydney’s lockout zone.

“We’ve sold a number of Newtown Hotels before, and many to tier 1 and particularly well-known hospitality operators, but not all such operators are currently represented in Newtown; and that’s been the exciting revelation for us in terms of the commencement of the campaign, with strong interest from key parties representing hugely successful hospitality and property-based businesses,” he said.

“Apart from the sheer size of the corner block, of about 1000 square metres and over multiple levels, is the potential for huge upside in the form of the DA-approved rooftop area.

“Several examples of which, including the Republic Hotel in Pitt St and The Glenmore Hotel in Sydney’s Rocks precinct, are illustrative of the potency of evocative al fresco spaces in densely populated suburbs; a phenomenon originating from New York’s progressive boroughs such as Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.”

Police arrest alleged drugs ‘queenpin’ linked to Assyrian crime gang

Alina Antal, 29, was arrested in Cabramatta in Sydney’s west on Wednesday. Photo: Facebook Ms Antal is accused of being involved in a cannabis supply syndicate. Photo: Facebook

A woman argues with police as her home is raided in Fairfield Heights. Photo: Nick Moir

A raid in Fairfield on Wednesday morning. Photo: Nick Moir

Oleen Merza, the sister of Oliver Merza, who was charged after police raids. Photo: Nick Moir

With her sleek black blazer, long blonde hair and inner-city office job, Alina Antal did not fit the stereotype of a drug ring director.

But, from within her humble brick home in Sydney’s western suburbs, that is exactly what police allege she was, alongside her on-again-off-again boyfriend, an accused Assyrian gang associate.

While alleged DLASTHR gang figure Oliver Merza, 26, was doing his bit from within Silverwater prison, Ms Antal is accused of directing the operations of a cannabis syndicate.

Among those under her direction were youths, including a 15-year-old boy, police will allege.

On Wednesday morning Ms Antal became one of 10 people arrested in a Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad-led crackdown on Assyrian organised crime in the greater Fairfield area.

Police believe a fierce battle over drug turf in the area has fuelled a string of violent incidents, including shootings, fire-bombings and standover tactics. While tit-for-tat violence between such groups has been largely confined to the south-west area, police suspect it may have crept into other parts of the city.

A luxury Audi Q7 linked to one Assyrian gang target was thought to have been used in the fatal shooting of former bikie Adrian Buxton in Colyton in the north-west suburbs last May.

Police suspect that Audi was in the possession of Antonio Hermiz, 20, who may have been hiding it, before he was killed in a shooting in Wetherill Park last December.

Wednesday’s operation was primarily focused on those allegedly involved in cannabis supply, but was also aimed at disrupting the activities of the organised crime groups that have survived in Sydney for decades.

Just before 7am Ms Antal was handcuffed and walked out of her Cabramatta home while several officers waited to search the property.

The 29-year-old, who is understood to work for a telemarketing firm in the city, was charged with directing a criminal group, recruiting a child to carry out criminal activity, drug supply and other offences.

Police will allege she and Mr Merza directed the group involved in cannabis supply and recruited youths, aged 15 and 17, to help.

Appearing in Liverpool Local Court briefly on Wednesday afternoon, Ms Antal initially indicated she wanted to represent herself in a bail application.

“Your honour, I have no choice,” she said from the dock.

However, after getting advice from Legal Aid Ms Antal opted against applying for bail. She is expected to make an application next week in Campbelltown Local Court.

Mr Merza was charged with similar offences and issued a court attendance notice in prison on Wednesday.

His parents’ house at Fairfield Heights was also raided, with his mother visibly upset at the presence of police in their home.

Despite police alleging Mr Merza has strong ties to DLASTHR, his family deny it, stating the group no longer operates.

“That hasn’t existed since the ’90s,” Mr Merza’s sister, Oleen, told Fairfax Media while police searched her parents’ home on Wednesday. “The members are all doing time in jail or they are out in their 40s, married and with kids. They [police] keep associating these kids with groups like that.

“Our family got here in 1995 and the group died out in 1998. We were in primary school when the group separated.”

She said her brother – who was charged with firearm offences after police found guns at a home he was at last year – had no gang tattoos.

“We understand they [police] are doing their job, but we need someone to turn to as well, and we feel like they are the enemy and we can’t turn to them,” she said.

Ronaldo Odisho, 18, who was shot but survived the shooting in Wetherill Park, was also charged on Wednesday with drug and criminal group offences.

New integrity body set to oversee NSW greyhound racing

Greyhound racing in NSW is set to be overseen by a new integrity body.A powerful new integrity body is set to be created to oversee greyhound racing in NSW following the recommendation of a panel established to advise the government on how to reform the industry.

The panel was announced last year by then premier Mike Baird as part of his sensational backdown on a push to ban greyhound racing in NSW.

The report of the panel, chaired by former premier Morris Iemma, is due to be released on Thursday.

Creation of a new Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission that separates the sport’s regulatory and commercial arms is understood to be one of its key recommendations.

At present, Greyhound Racing NSW undertakes the sport’s commercial and regulatory functions.

The panel was required to develop a new regime for the sport including “an independent regulator with strong new powers to ensure transparency and accountability”.

The government said the regime should also include mandatory life bans as well as increased jail terms for live baiting, registration of greyhounds for their entire lives, and more resources for enforcement, prosecution and animal welfare.

Fairfax Media revealed just days after Mr Baird’s announcement that a dispute had erupted over the reform plan in relation to an industry offer to cap breeding of greyhounds for racing at 2000 a year.

The chief executive of the NSW Greyhound Industry Racing Alliance, Brenton Scott, told the panel at its first meeting that he had reached agreement with the government that the 2000 figure be scrapped.

However, the government insisted there was no agreement reached and that the cap would remain in place under any reform plan.

Mr Baird announced the plan to close the greyhound racing industry after a special commission of inquiry report found 68,000 greyhounds had been euthanised in the past 12 years because they could not race, or were too slow.

He backed down in the face of immense pressure from the opposition, media outlets and the industry.

Wilson chasing fairytale WNBL championship finale

Spot the real Carly Wilson ahead of her final game in Canberra for the Capitals. They’re turning the game pink for her favourite colour. Photo: Karleen MinneyCarly Wilson is hoping her 15-year-old lucky charm can keep Canberra’s season alive on Thursday night as the WNBL veteran prepares for her final home-and-away game in the capital.

Win, lose or draw there will be tears from Wilson as a final appearance at Tuggeranong Stadium looms, with the guard sure to don her trademark pink socks against Adelaide Lightning.

After a poor performance while playing for Dandenong in 2002, a superstitious Wilson has worn the eye-catching socks in every WNBL game since.

Canberra are still in the race to host a semi-final, but only if they win their final two games of the season and Dandenong fall to Perth on Saturday.

“In the back of my head I know this could my last home game but either way I think I’m going to be a blubbering mess,” Wilson said.

A fairytale championship ending is still alive for the 361-game veteran after a superb win against Bendigo on Sunday.

“We’ve had a few lean years at the Caps so it’s really exciting to still be fighting in my final season with a really good chance to host a home final, which we haven’t done since 2010,” she said.

“The fans deserve it because the crowds this year have been phenomenal. I’ve played a lot of seasons in the WNBL and the Tuggeranong crowd this season has been really special. We feed off them.

“I’m hanging out for another championship, we won in such convincing fashion last Saturday and played so well, it brought back the belief that we can win the whole thing.”

The first 300 fans through the door at Tuggeranong Stadium on Thursday night will receive a Wilson face mask, with the club intent on sending the champion out in style.

“I’m a bit nervous to have 300 of my faces looking back at me but it’ll be a laugh and lots of fun,” Wilson said.

“In some ways I think, God it’s just basketball, and I’ve been running around all these years because I love it, but to see everyone put in so much effort is such an honour and really humbling.

“Being a Cap means everything to me, I’ve been here for so long, ridden the highs winning a championship and been bottom of the ladder, so I’ve been through everything here and it’s just made me a stronger person. I’m just so proud to wear the uniform, it’s just a privilege to be a part of.”

Wilson, 34, said it was simply the right time to leave the game and is looking forward to enjoying a basketball-free summer for the first time in 20 years.

“I must admit when we were up by 30 points on Saturday and the crowd was cheering, I was having the time of my life and thought ‘you know what, I could do this for the next 20 years, this feels great’,” she said.

“But that ended pretty quickly after the game and at no point have I had any second thoughts.

“I’ll miss the relationships, that’s why you play, the bonds, all the really important people in my life I’ve met as a result of basketball. I could give back to the sport for the rest of my life but I’ll never be able to repay it.”

Wilson believes she is leaving the WNBL in a strong strong position as the women’s sport juggernaut continues to grow across Australia, but added the job isn’t finished yet.

“You look at how popular the AFLW has been and as a female athlete I couldn’t be prouder, but in reflection you look at it and think ‘we’ve been doing that for a number of years’,” Wilson said.

“We were the leader for women’s sport for so many years and now it’s probably time to ramp it up again and that starts with getting basketball back on TV.

“There’s still a ways to go in women’s sport, that’s just the way it is at the moment and it’s silly to say we’re equal with men because we’re not. We’ve just got to keep pushing and getting it out there.

“But we’ve done it for so many years without much money and without much coverage because that’s not why we do it, we do it because we love the sport, so we’ll keep going regardless.”


Thursday: Canberra Capitals v Adelaide Lightning, Tuggeranong Stadium, 7pm. Tickets at the door.

Saturday: Canberra Capitals v Townsville Fire at Townsville Stadium, 8pm.

Battling demons of hoarding disorder

RAY OF HOPE: Newcastle psychologists Barb Noonan and Michael Bazaley run programs that help sufferers lift the weight of hoarding disorder.How would you feel if you were unable to have friends over for coffee, because you felt ashamed of the state of your home.

Perhaps it had become so cluttered with acquisitions and project materials for future hobbies that you reached a point where your friends, and those of your family were kept away with excuse after excuse, theisolation leading to genuine fear that come the next real estate inspection, you might be evicted.

Welcome to hoarding disorder,added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in 2013 and recognised asan official mental illness.

It is estimated thatupwards of 5 per centof the population are affected.

According to the manual, sufferers experience “persistent difficulty discarding or parting with processions, regardless of value”, “distress associated with discarding items”, “the accumulation of possessions that contest and cluttered living areas” or and that “hoarding causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social or occupational areas of functioning”.

It’s prevalence increases with age and its origins are often rooted in adolescence.

Research suggests HD has a genetic and environmental component andthe total number of traumatic life events often correlates with the severity of HD.

Brain scans indicate people with HD making decisions about their own possessions have over-activity in areas related to judging importance and relevance.

Emotional attachment and unhelpful beliefs about possessions, and problems processing information related to such things asmemory, decision-making andsustaining attention are believed to be factors that maintain hoarding disorder.

Late last year Newcastle psychologists Michael Bazaley andBarb Donnandelivered the first hoarding disorder therapeutic treatment program in Newcastle with funding from Hunter Primary Care.

Bazaley saysindividuals who exhibit symptoms of hoarding disorder may find that they also have a tendency to continually acquire items which eventually clutter the home.

“This constant acquiring may in turn lead to conflict with family and partners adding to the severity of their problem,” Bazaley said. “Many hoarders may resist attempts by others to intervene in their lives or collections which in turn may lead to isolation and possibly other mental health concerns such as depression.”

Indeed, sinceits recognition as a mental illness, hoarding has featured on talkback shows, reality TV and therapeutic interventionist TV.

“Many of these programs actually traumatise and place fear into the minds of present day hoarders, making them believe that any type of intervention or treatment will involve dramatic forced eviction of their most prized processions and collections,” Bazaley explains.

“Our programfocuses on the individual management of the many complex aspects of hoarding. The 13-week course based on a US program called Buried in Treasures, developed by US expert Randy O Frostoffers a judgment-free environment for people ready to make a change in their life.

“By the end of our program, many of our group members achieved their specific goals.”

Bazaley and Donnan are facilitating the Buried In Treasures program again in late February.

For information email [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训 or phone 4910 4005.

Keren Parnell pleads guilty to manslaughter over mum’s stabbing death

The Redhead house where Gail Parnell, 73, was stabbed to death. Picture: Sam RigneyKEREN Parnell was angry that her parents were pandering to her brother and jealous that they loved him more than her when she stabbed her elderly mother, Gail Parnell, in the chest and stomach in a mobile home at Redhead in October, 2015, court documents state.

But despite pleas from her father, John Parnell, to call an ambulance to treat the badly injured 73-year-old, Keren Parnell locked the doors, hid the cordless and mobile phones and provided only a band aid and a bandage for her mother’s wounds, according to a statement of police facts, which defence barrister Peter Krisenthal said on Wednesday had not been agreed upon.

Gail Parnell, an advocate and volunteer for mental health services in the Hunter, was stabbed about 2am on October 10, 2015.

At about 6.26pm the same day, she appeared to have stopped breathing and Mr Parnell finally convinced his daughter to let him contact the emergency services.

By 6.57pm, Gail Parnell was pronounced dead.

Parnell, 37, of North Lambton, appeared in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday from Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre where she pleaded guilty to manslaughter over her mother’s death and a charge of detaining a person with intent to obtain an advantage and cause assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to her father.

A charge of murder, laid by detectives in October, 2015, was withdrawn by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on Wednesday.

According to court documents, Parnell caused the death of her mother “in circumstances amounting to manslaughter, by wounding her mother and depriving her of medical assistance”.

The stabbing occurred after Keren Parnell’s brother arrived at his parents mobile home at ‘The Sanctuary’ on Kalaroo Road to borrow money about 2am on October 10, 2015.

Keren Parnell was angry he was there and became enraged when her father gave him $50, court documents state.

Parnell was committed for sentence on Wednesday and the matter was adjourned to Newcastle District Court on February 23.

National Disability Insurance Scheme becomes latest victim of partisan politics

Inaugural chair of the National Disability Insurance Agency Bruce Bonyhady. Photo: Andrew MearesA unity ticket which had placed the National Disability Insurance Scheme beyond politics has been shredded, with the Turnbull government accused of “holding the disabled to ransom” and Labor refusing to admit the $22 billion scheme lacks $4 billion in funding.

The landmark social scheme became a political football this week after Treasurer Scott Morrison linked its funding to a range of controversial welfare cuts. A brawl then broke out on Wednesday over Coalition claims that Labor left a multi-billion dollar black hole in the NDIS budget.

The inaugural chair of the National Disability Insurance Agency, Bruce Bonyhady, told Fairfax Media the dispute was “deeply cruel”.

“I think this is very cruel treatment of people with disabilities and their family and carers – for the spectre of how the NDIS will be funded to be raised at this time,” he said.

“We are talking about the central support for one of the most disadvantaged groups in the community and I think for this sort of political game to occur now is deeply cruel. It is unfair.”

Mr Bonyhady said the government had raised questions about NDIS funding at a time when it was talking-up expensive defence projects, and company tax cuts worth $50 billion.

“All governments and all political parties have known since 2013 what the full costs of the NDIS are,” he said.

“They have known that the increase in the Medicare surcharge that they all agreed to would not meet the full costs and they all committed to it, and with that came a commitment to ensure that it would be funded sustainably. What I think the government needs to do is simply confirm that it will meet its obligations to fund the NDIS in full and not engage in the kind of scaremongering which is deeply worrying for people with disabilities at this time.”

Melbourne mother Tanya Humphrey, whose five-year-old son Lachlan was diagnosed with autism last year, said she felt politicians were point-scoring off people’s lives.

“It feels like they are holding the NDIS to ransom – that unless you are willing to take a budget cut, we won’t help fund therapy,” she said.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter has insisted the NDIS will be “completely funded” and the government was committed to it.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday said the scheme was “vitally important”.

“Your commitment to the NDIS is not measured in words, it is measured in deeds, and what we are doing is taking the steps, making the decisions to ensure we’ve got the money to pay for it,” he said.

Jo Briskey, the executive director of lobby group The Parenthood, said she had not been concerned about the scheme’s future prior to this week.

“Now obviously it has come into question,” she said.

“I hope that the Turnbull government sees that they have made a mistake here, they have made a misjudgment, that the NDIS should be above party politics, should be above the petty politics that is happening at the moment and every politician in Canberra should be getting behind the future of the NDIS.”

The chair of Deaf Services Queensland, former LNP MP David Gibson, said fighting “put at risk” public support for the scheme.

“As a former conservative MP I understand the mantra of the need to balance the budget and I fully agree that for too long governments of all political persuasions have spent up big with very little to show for it, but the NDIS is different.”

Ms Humphrey, whose son’s future depends on the therapy he receives in the next few years, said both parties should put people above politics.

“I look at it as the future,” she said. “I know the NDIS covers the elderly as well, but for me, they need to stop playing with the futures of children and help them, not hinder them.”