Cooking up quite a scheme ... Barry McDonald, Bill Wavish and David Baffsky stir things up. Illustration: John Shakespeare
Transurban provided some unconvincing reasons yesterday for the write-down in the value of one of its US toll-road concessions to zero.
''Based on revised traffic forecasts, Transurban now believes Pocahontas's future cash flows will be significantly impaired relative to the original forecasts,'' said the company's outgoing chief executive, Chris Lynch, about the Virginia Pocahontas Parkway.
Lynch blamed the write-down on the ''difficult macro-economic environment'' and the housing downturn in the US.
The Transurban chief stunned some Pocahontas Parkway watchers by not mentioning one key factor that could have scared some motorists from the road.
''Drive down Pocahontas Parkway on haunted route 895, and you might just see the ghosts of native Americans going about their lives as if the freeway is still their camp and hunting grounds,'' one website notes.
CBD found this first-hand account from a ghost-hunter.
''The Indians must have understood my attempt to communicate with them in their ancient language and thought I was here on their behalf to challenge the parkway's right to disturb their eternal rest.''
Yesterday's announcement inspired CBD to resurrect a six-year-old statement by Transurban's former chief executive, Kim Edwards.
''Transurban has acquired an asset with a solid growth outlook at the right time in its life cycle,'' Edwards said about the 99-year-old road concession that was originally purchased with a $255 million equity contribution by Transurban.
''This is a value accretive deal that protects and will later enhance Transurban's distribution profile,'' said Edwards, who left the company with a $15 million golden parachute in 2008.
The former Woolies executive Bill Wavish, his good chum and Fratelli Fresh founder Barry McDonald and the tourism industry veteran David Baffsky have been central in the formation of a new institute that plans to place 18 indigenous trainee chefs (half of them female) in several highbrow eateries across Sydney.
The National Indigenous Culinary Institute officially opened itself up to applications yesterday for a one-week selection process that will pick trainee chefs to work under some of Sydney's top chefs including Rockpool's Neil Perry, Catalina's Michael McMahon, Aria's Matt Moran and Bennelong's Guillaume Brahimi.
''We have iconic indigenous sports people in the community to look up to. Let's try to and do the same thing [in the restaurant sector],'' McDonald told CBD.
The Fratelli Fresh owner thought up the idea of the culinary institute with Wavish and Baffsky when he paid a visit to the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern. The institute's other three directors are the former Labor politician turned Consolidated Press Holdings operative Mark Arbib, the chairman of Grant Samuel, Ross Grant, and Bill Sweeney.
The three-year traineeship will be run in partnership with the William Angliss Institute and with the assistance of the Indigenous Land Corporation (of which Baffsky is a director).
The institute, which has secured some funding from the federal government through the Indigenous Employment Program, is still looking for more corporate sponsors.
If you are an investor who was burnt by the collapse of Trio Capital, Storm Financial or one of the dozens of mortgage funds to implode in recent years, be careful the next time you board an airline flight.
Apparently there are a lot of similarities between pilots and financial planners. Well, that is according to some recent advertisements being run by the Financial Planning Association of Australia.
''What do a pilot and a financial planner have in common?'' the ad asks. And the answer?
''Both have years of training and experience.''
The television advert also suggests people getting some prescription medication, going to court or getting a scan should be equally cautious.
Pharmacists, judges and medical specialists have also been roped into the advertisement.
The advert does not spell out what training financial planners get. But it says FPA members ''should work to the highest professional standards to give financial advice''.
Sounds a bit like the suburban lawyer character Dennis Denuto in the film The Castle, whose main legal tactic is to go with ''the vibe''.
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