Right now, it is a one-horse race but anything, or something, might happen; unlikely though.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has designated Brisbane’s bid for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games “Preferred Bid Status” meaning it is the only one of numerous bid cities that has progressed to the next phase called “targeted dialogue”.
It will be followed by “final negotiations”, and then the rubber-stamping exercise of declaring Brisbane the winner will happen at an IOC session as early as the Tokyo Olympics in July, although with COVID restrictions it may be later in the year.
IOC president Thomas Bach said discussions, in the early hours of the morning Australian time, were “intensive”.
In the end though, there was no doubt.
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China is still far ahead and 1.9 million EVs are expected to be sold in China this year
Nordic countries still prove to be fast adopters of electric cars
Some Chinese carmakers are already looking for growth opportunities in other parts of the world, especially Europe
Last year was a tough year for almost every industry globally due to the difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic and the automotive industry was no exception. The onslaught of Covid-19 saw automakers suffer a difficult 2020, as global shutdowns halted production and supply chains were disrupted. Yet, despite it all, data shows that electric cars had a stellar year and it is about to get better in 2021.
IHS Markit revealed its forecast for 2021 and beyond and the firm believes the electric cars will take a market share of 3.5%, just about double from 2020’s number. Fast forward to 2025 and the company forecasts EVs will make up 10% of all new cars sold. That would be a massive shift in buying trends as the firm believes consumer acceptance of EVs will simply continue to grow as more companies continue throwing their weight behind the zero-emissions powertrain movement.
In fact, the number of electric cars, buses, and even trucks on the world’s roads hit a new high last year, and analysts at JP Morgan believe we just passed the point of no return on the global journey to zero-emission motoring.
According to estimates from industry tracker EV-Volumes, plug-in electric vehicles accounted for 4.2% of global light vehicle sales last year, up from 2.5% in 2019. While just eight countries reported an EV share of 5% or higher in 2019, 13 countries managed to push electric vehicles past 10% of new light-vehicle sales in 2020.
Who’d tops the chart with electric cars in 2021?
Like in prior years, Norway was a positive outlier with a 75% share of plug-in electric vehicles, while Iceland, Sweden, and Finland also featured in the top five– a testament to the quick adoption of electric cars in Nordic countries.
China, which is by far the largest market for electric cars in terms of unit sales, fell out of the top 10 with electric vehicles accounting for 6.2% of passenger car sales in the country. Meanwhile, the United States fell further behind with an EV share of just 2.3%.
Separate new research from Canalys shows that a record 1.3 million electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in China in 2020 although year-on-year growth was modest at only 8%. “The Chinese government has been supportive of the transition to EVs, but several changes to EV-related policies and consumer subsidies in recent years disrupted the market and carmakers struggled to build sales momentum,” the report reads.
The 1.3 million EVs sold in China in 2020 represented 41% of global EV sales, just behind Europe with 42% of global EV sales. China is still far ahead of the US for EV share – in the US, EV sales represented just 2.4% of sales in 2020.
The research firm said the Chinese EV market in 2020 was all about two vehicles: the made-in-China Tesla Model 3, the market leader in the first half of 2020, and the Hongguang Mini EV from the SGMW joint venture (SAIC, General Motors and Wuling). Chief analyst for automotive Chris Jones said if it had not been for the huge success of these two very different EVs, the Chinese EV market would have declined in 2020. Between them, the two models represented one in five of all EVs sold in China.
“Prospects are very good for China’s EV market in 2021. There is already an excellent network of standardized public EV chargers in China, good government support, and now a return to strong consumer demand,” he added. Tesla has already started deliveries of the made-in-China Model Y. Production of the Hongguang Mini EV has been increased to keep up with demand, particularly from young Chinese urbanites.
Other small, more affordable city cars, such as the Baojun E-Series from SGMW and the Ora R1 from Great Wall Motors (GWM), are also proving very popular, Jones said. Meanwhile, the Ora R1, touted as the world’s cheapest EV, will also soon go on sale in India, where the EV share was less than 0.5% of all cars sold in 2020.
Canalys forecasts 1.9 million EVs will be sold in China in 2021, growth of 51% and a 9% share of all cars sold in China. “With a share of just 6.3% of all passenger cars sold in China in 2020, EVs have many years of growth ahead,” VP Sandy Fitzpatrick said, adding that with Tesla expanding its portfolio in China, it will be hard for competitors offering premium EVs to gain market share. With that in mind, Fitzpatrick reckons some Chinese carmakers are already looking for growth opportunities in other parts of the world, especially Europe.
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Rapidly rising house prices and a fear of missing out is driving up demand for guarantor home loans and help from the bank of mum and dad, with growing concern among first-home buyers and their parents that the “great Australian dream” is slipping out of reach.
Interest in guarantor loans, which enable first-home buyers to avoid lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) when buying with less than a 20 per cent deposit, has been climbing since September, says mortgage broker broker James Algar, of Mortgage Choice.
Interestingly, it’s a trend being driven more by parents rather than adult children looking to buy, he said.
“There’s definitely been a substantial uptick from parents looking to support kids,” Mr Algar said. “I’ve had parents come in with clients for their first meeting and say ‘what do we need to do to get them in the market now, is it giving a gift or is it going guarantor’. Really, parents are the driving force, and I’ve only seen that in the last few months.”
Concern that first-home buyers could miss their chance to buy if they do not get onto the property ladder soon was a key motivating factor, Mr Algar said.
However, increased confidence in the market and greater awareness of guarantor loans off the back of the federal government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS) had also made more parents comfortable to go guarantor.
“With prices running away, the parents’ equity in property is a safer bet from their point of view,” Mr Algar said. “Parents are pretty confident that the market is not going backwards anytime soon, so they would rather see their kids buys now than be completely priced out of the area.”
Rising prices and a rush to get in have also seen the sums parents are guaranteeing rise, Mr Algar added, with some well off first-home buyers, helped by low interest rates, able to meet sizeable repayments after bypassing the hurdle of a 20 per cent deposit.
He noted some clients had guarantees in excess of $300,000.
“Parents were typically guaranteeing about $60,000 to $100,000 and it’s now well above that,” he said.
While first-home buyers had been quick to snap up spots in the FHLDS, Mr Algar said his clients on Sydney’s northern beaches had typically been looking at homes priced above the $700,000 price cap.
Though there are still positions available for new dwellings, he said, many first-home buyers were not prepared to pay the premium required to buy a brand new home.
Mortgage broker Rebecca Jarret Dalton, founder of Two Red Shoes, said a huge number of first-home buyers was trying to get into the market before further price rises.
She had also seen increased financial support from the bank of mum and dad, via guarantor loans, lending and cash gifts for home deposits – again driven by parents, rather than first-home buyers.
“I’m seeing a lot more first-home buyers say they want to do it by themselves and struggle, and then mum and dad come in and say why don’t we just help you,” she said.
“Right now, parents are really keen because they know the market is moving, so it’s harder for their kids to save and keep up with it,” she said. “When the market is more plateaued, they understand that kids have got more time.”
More than one in five of Ms Dalton’s first-home buyer clients over the past year got into the market with a government scheme spot or a guarantee or money from their parents. More clients had also been able to buy after moving back home with their parents to save.
She said hesitancy from either party involved in a guarantee was usually resolved when they understood it was for a limited proportion of the loan, which would be lifted when home-owners had enough equity in their property – working faster in a market with rising property prices and low rates.
About a quarter of parents feel obligated to help children buy their first home, according to research by financial comparison website Canstar.
But more parents were willing to help, said Steve Mickenbecker, Canstar’s group executive of financial services.
“The fear of missing out is alive and well both with first-home buyers, but also with the parents,” Mr Mickenbecker said.
“Parents are obviously nervous about prices going up and their kids missing the boat, just as young adults are concerned about missing out. They don’t want to see them forever chasing their tail,” he said.
He warned parents looking to provide support to make sure they could truly afford to do so, and consider how it would affect them long term. Beyond that, any loans should be documented and given a time frame, and parents should ensure they only guaranteed a proportion of a loan they were confident their child could repay.
He noted clear expectations should also be set for children returning to the family home to save for a deposit.
Mr Mickenbecker said many first-home buyers were not in a position to receive parental assistance, but could look towards government support measures or bank offers covering the cost of LMI.
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Vision of Manly star Tom Trbojevic racing a fan through The Corso nightspot on Saturday night has emerged just hours after he claimed to have suffered a hamstring injury during a bathroom slip.
The injury-cursed fullback on Monday apologised to fans for the off-field injury which will see him miss at least the first three rounds of the 2021 NRL season.
The 24-year-old on Monday repeatedly denied he suffered the injury during a night out with teammates where players were reportedly spotted at several Manly bars and night clubs.
According to The Australian’s Brent Read, Trbojevic admitted it is a bad look.
“I was having a few drinks and I was being an idiot on The Corso,” Trbojevic said.
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“I know how it is going to look but I swear, I didn’t hurt it then.”
Vision of his run through The Corso emerged almost immediately after his Monday press conference with reports claiming he was seen “racing a fan”.
According to reports, Trbojevic and the football club are still insisting the Saturday night frolic is not related to the injury he suffered inside his bathroom on Sunday morning.
According to a spectator seen in the video, Trbojevic lost the race to the other man.
A Manly media release announced the injury was the result of an “innocuous accident”.
Sea Eagles chief executive Stephen Humphries has told The Daily Telegraph the club has not attempted to cover up Trbojevic’s Saturday night antics and is satisfied with the “full explanation” Trbojevic provided to the club.
The NSW State of Origin star first told reporters the injury is not the same hamstring that has plagued him in recent years.
Trbojevic only played seven games in 2020 after injuring his hamstring in June before a shoulder injury in Round 19 ended his year, including the 2020 State of Origin series.
“I’m devastated by what’s happened,” Trbojevic said.
“I will be working hard with the rehab team to get the hamstring right.”
He then repeated the injury was suffered slipping over in the shower.
“It’s obviously not ideal. I’ve been working really hard this off-season and to now find out you’re going to miss a few weeks of footy, it’s disappointing,” he said.
“It’s pretty embarrassing to actually say, but I’ve woken up yesterday morning and I’ve slipped over in the bathroom and just felt it go. It’s pretty hard to take.”
He then apologised to fans for “not playing enough footy” in recent seasons.
“I do apologise to Manly… and to the members that I won’t be playing footy early this year,” he said.
It is a particularly crushing blow for the Sea Eagles, who enter the 2021 season without a recognised fullback option to replace Trbojevic.
Winger Tevita Funa replaced Trbojevic at fullback in 2020.
The club has rolled the dice with injury-plagued stars this season under coach Des Hasler with the club also gambling on five-eighth Kieran Foran’s fitness.
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Two-time Sydney to Hobart yacht race winner Ichi Ban has taken line honours in this year’s Adelaide to Port Lincoln race, making the challenging 156-nautical-mile journey in almost exactly 12 hours.
Ichi Ban handles “tough” conditions to cross the line in almost exactly 12 hours
The win is due reward for the NSW crew, the only team to risk a border shutdown
Some regard the race as the next most challenging after the Sydney to Hobart
Ichi Ban’s 3:00am Saturday finish in testing conditions is also likely to deliver the overall title when race times are tallied tomorrow.
That adds up to a rewarding outing for Ichi Ban’s NSW crew, who were unable to defend their 2019 Sydney to Hobart handicap title when Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak led to the cancellation of the world famous event.
Skipper Matt Allen said COVID worries made for a tricky lead-up to the South Australian race. Ichi Ban was the only interstate entrant after the crew took a calculated risk to make the trip from interstate.
Fight down to the wire
South Australian rivals Hooligan and Secret Men’s Business came in half-an-hour later in a pre-dawn tussle for the line, with Hooligan snatching second place just seconds ahead.
Hooligan crew member Jacob Keough said conditions were still and slow in Adelaide but the winds picked up to 30 knots as the yachts passed Yorke Peninsula.
“We just managed to sneak in around the jetty there in Port Lincoln.
“We have some locals on board and they know the secrets of Port Lincoln, so the whole team worked together and we got the boat across the line.”
Conditions ‘like a washing machine’
Game On 2 skipper Julian Christopher Newton said it was a sleepless night for the Adelaide crew on a potentially treacherous run between the two cities.
“We took plenty of water on the boat and across the deck. There was substantial swell. It was a tough race,” Newton said.
Race numbers were dramatically down on the usual 70 yachts, with Victorians unable to enter South Australia and border uncertainty for other potential starters. Twenty one yachts started.
Four yachts turned back to Adelaide on Friday afternoon, after damage sustained from the sea conditions.
Some regard the race as the most challenging after the Sydney to Hobart and Fresh crew member Shelley Fiegert said more eyes were on the South Australian event.
“I think it’s great we want to bring more people here to Port Lincoln, so hopefully — COVID pending next year — we can bring more competitors from interstate,” she said.
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Daniel Ricciardo has already got McLaren fans excited about the forthcoming season after testing the new MCL35M for the first time.
The Aussie got behind the wheel for the first time on Wednesday in wet conditions at Silverstone and was immediately impressed with what he saw and felt.
McLaren will be powered by Mercedes engines again for the first time since 2014 having been powered by Honda and then Renault since.
Their last world championship was powered by a Mercedes and there a high hopes that their next one will be too.
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Ricciardo wants a fast start at McLaren
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And Ricciardo appeared to share that optimism on his first day in the cockpit as raced around the home of the British Grand Prix.
“Feels fast,” he said. “Been a while.”
He was speaking as he was driving around Silverstone in the rain, adding “pretty good stuff” before muttering “that was fun” as he returned to the pit lane.
It was a more positive experience than the first time he went to sit in his new car, when his hips were too wide for him to get into the more tightly-spaced 2021 chassis.
“It’s pretty normal,” Ricciardo said. “I do have wide hips. I’m pretty thick-boned, I guess – but I got in!
“It was the first mock-up of a seat, and with the dimensions they had, and assumed what would be okay for me, wasn’t quite okay.
“Fortunately, it was just the seat. It wasn’t the actual keel itself which is too narrow. So since then I have been able to get in a seat, and I do fit.”
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Daniel Ricciardo is eyeing an even bigger bet with his new boss than the tattoo wager he had at Renault as he helped launch the new McLaren ahead of the 2021 season.
Ricciardo famously made a podium bet with his former Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul, which would see the Frenchman get a tattoo of his driver’s choosing.
Abiteboul, who has since left his role too, is yet to come through with his end of the promise but Ricciardo has his eyes on a much more expensive prize from his new boss Zak Brown.
“You will definitely know when I get it done with Cyril, unfortunately it hasn’t happened yet, but it will. We certainly left on the terms that there was some unfinished business and that business being the tattoo,” Ricciardo said. “I hope it does happen, sooner rather than later, but it will.
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“Actually, we were only a couple of hours ago having some lunch with Zak and he mentioned something about him hating needles, so I can’t see the tattoo thing happening with Zak but we’ll think of something else.
“I know he has got a pretty good car collection so maybe we can just bet one of those cars or something.”
Ricciardo is now part of the fifth Formula One team of his career and his third in four years as he continues his so far elusive hunt for a world championship.
McLaren are not expected to mount a serious challenge this season despite switching to Mercedes power units, but when the new rule changes arrive in 12 months Ricciardo believes they will be in the best position to take advantage of them at the front of the field.
“We don’t have a crystal ball, leaving Red Bull and leaving Renault, it’s what I feel is right. Do I know 100 per cent how it is going to turn out? No, I don’t,” Ricciardo said.
“But I certainly feel like McLaren have done the right things, particularly the last few years to set themselves up for these rules changes coming up in 2022.
“The next era of F1 has the ability to turn the field around a little bit and everything I have seen … up until now really excites me about where McLaren is heading.
“They are doing what it takes to now be a real contender in the championship.
“I see (Ayrton) Senna’s car downstairs and it’s wild, it’s wild to see it and be a part of it.”
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Mercedes has hinted that F1’s longest-serving teammates could be split up at the end of the season after Toto Wolff admitted “young drivers are the future”.
Lewis Hamilton’s new contract was finally announced this week to bring an end to the long, drawn-out negotiations over his new deal, although it only covered the upcoming season.
That thrust the seven-time champion’s future in doubt, not only with Mercedes but in F1 in general, with new wide-sweeping changes to the sport set to come into effect in 2022.
But Wolff insisted that the team and Hamilton wanted to start negotiations for 2022 much earlier than they did for 2021, having only begun them just before Christmas.
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Australian GP postponed until November
Asked when they could start this year, the Wolff stated: “Definitely earlier than the 2021 deal!
“It’s always tricky to find some time whilst racing but we have learnt the lesson that external factors can delay discussions and we don’t want to end up in January again, so we are probably going to pick up checking about 2022 much earlier.
“We agreed jointly that we didn’t want it dragging on as much or as long as we did this time around and we are trying to find some time together during the season.”
Hamilton can become Formula 1’s outright most successful driver this season with a record-breaking eighth world championship to eclipse Michael Schumacher’s total of seven, which the Brit equalled last year.
That has prompted speculation that Hamilton could call it a day after achieving his ultimate goal, with Valtteri Bottas’ deal also up at the end of the season and Williams driver George Russell chomping at the bit for a permanent move up to Mercedes, Wolff will have a big decision to make.
“Our first discussions are going to be with Valtteri and Lewis in respecting our values, integrity and loyalty – but on the other side the young drivers are the future,” said Wolff.
“Therefore we need to consider how we want to set ourselves up for the years beyond.”
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Another candidate, the deputy OECD secretary-general Ulrik V. Knudsen who hails from Denmark, withdrew from the race after struggling to find momentum.
That leaves Cormann, Malmström, Hammond and Greek candidate Anna Diamantopoulou as the remaining four of 10 initial candidates.
“Further consultations will take place in February, with a view to identifying collectively the candidate around whom consensus can be built,” the OECD said in a statement.
The OECD emerged from the post-war Marshall Plan and plays a key role in shaping the economic agenda. Its 38 members represent more than 60 per cent of global GDP.
A Cormann victory would be the first time the OECD has been led by someone from the increasingly important Asia-Pacific region.
Cormann, who was born in Belgium and is fluent in German, French and Flemish, is pitching himself as a bridge between Europe’s traditional economies and Asia-Pacific markets.
A European has not held the post since 1996 and Malmström would be hard to beat if Europe’s member countries unite behind her.
However, the Australian campaign team thinks it will have support from some European governments following an in-person lobbying blitz by Cormann last year.
Labor – which has offered backing to Cormann’s bid – criticised the government for letting the ex-senator use a Royal Australian Air Force jet to fly around Europe and South America in November and December and rally support.
Headquartered in a sprawling compound in central Paris, the OECD has an annual budget of €386 million ($606 million), staff of more than 3500 and a seat at G20 meetings.
Supporters of Malmström are arguing that the OECD must be led by a woman for the first time.
The dean of ambassadors to the OECD, the UK’s Christopher Sharrock, is responsible for guiding the selection process by consulting member countries about which candidates have the best support.
In an apparent nod to some member countries who believe Cormann has an advantage because the British government supports Australia’s candidacy, the committee noted in its statement on Wednesday that a member is present in each cull to “witness and validate the conclusions being drawn” by Sharrock.
Cormann, who served as finance minister under prime ministers Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison, has ramped up his rhetoric on global warming since the OECD campaign began.
Environment groups have claimed the Coalition’s record on climate change would make Cormann an unlikely choice to lead the economic body.
In a recent LinkedIn post, Cormann said it was “essential” that the OECD provide global leadership on climate change.
“Achieving global net-zero emissions by 2050 requires an urgent and major international effort,” he said.
“In this regard, the decision by the Biden administration to ensure the US re-joins the Paris Agreement is crucial.
“Paris Agreement targets are a foundation to build upon and not a limit on our ambition to do more sooner.
“As secretary-general of the OECD I would work with member countries and partner organisations to deploy every policy and analytical capability available through the OECD to help economies around the world achieve global net-zero emissions by 2050.”
Bevan Shields is the Europe correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
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