DISCONNECTED: Residents living without essential service

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HUNDREDS of Dubbo residentscan’t afford internet services orcomputers at their homes and it is aserious issue for school studentswho need web-access for theirstudies.

The Smith Family helps at least112 families which don’t live withthe internet or a computer.

The organisation said it was relaunchingthe Tech Packs programwhich provides families with arefurbished computer and 12months web access.

The Macquarie Regional Librarysaid its 16 public access computerswere regularly booked out bypeople without access to the internetfrom opening to closing time.

The Smith Family’s Learning forLife program provides both financialand practical educational support forchildren of disadvantaged families,and Dubbo co-ordinator DawnRedding said she sees first hand theimpact limited computer access hason students.

She said even those who do havecomputers often struggle tocomplete online homework.

“Internet access is an extra costfor the family. Often the computer isso slow it can’t handle the internetanyway or the internet runs out veryquickly,” Ms Redding said.

Ms Redding said the children areunable to complete assignedhomework tasks, but don’t speak upin class about the problem.

“Sometimes they won’t sayanything because they’reembarrassed they can’t do it athome, or they think they’ll bedobbing in their parents for nothaving the money to pay for it.”

Nationally, The Smith Family saidaround one-third of children aged 5to 14 living in the country’s mostdisadvantaged communities didn’thave access to the internet at home,despite 85 per cent of the age groupreporting they use the internet foreducation purposes.

Ms Redding said paying fornecessities like food and electricitywere a much higher priority for thefamilies. The Learning for Lifeafternoon homework centre inDubbo provides access to theinternet through the Smith Family’sthree computers and additionaltablets, but due to a lack ofvolunteers, Ms Redding said therewere only eight local children whocould utilise the technology.

“That means there are 580 kidswho miss out.”

Director John Bayliss said freecomputer and internet servicescould be accessed at theMacquarie Regional Library.

“There are still many peoplewho do not have access to theinternet in their home or peoplewho do not have goodconnectivity if they live out oftown,” Mr Bayliss said.

“Despite the cost of computerscoming down and the access toADSL increasing, the computersare a consistently used service inall of our branches,” he said.

The director said use of thelibrary’s free, two-hour WI-FI forthose with a laptop or smartphone has also increased.

To assist disadvantagedfamilies who could not afford acomputer, Learning for Life coordinatorSonia Strachan said TheSmith Family were re-introducingthe Tech Packs program.

For $50 families in need areprovided with a refurbishedcomputer and 12 months internetaccess.

The computers will besupplied to 27 families in theregion by the end of the year,along with free tech support forthe year and basic computertraining, such as how to use wordprocessing programs and why itis important to put the computerin a place where parents canmonitor their children.

At the end of the 12 months,the family are able to keep thecomputer but are required tofund their own internet.

The program was available toDubbo residents in 2011, but wasstopped because of a lack offunding.

Ms Redding said Tech Packswould have a big impact for thestudents, allowing them tocomplete homework tasks, studyfor assessments and improvetheir overall computer skills athome.

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Council to debate carbon tax rebate

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REDLAND City Council is considering ways to pass on any savings to ratepayers from the July Senate decision to axe the carbon tax.

Redland City mayor Karen Williams said all savings from axing the carbon tax will be passed on.

Redland City mayor Karen Williams said all savings from axing the carbon tax will be passed on.

Redland chief executive Bill Lyon said councillors would consider all options, including refunding the city’s 67,000 ratepayers, at Wednesday’s general meeting.

Mr Lyon said other proposals included cuts to commercial and industrial tip fees.

In July, the Senate voted 39 to 32 to axe the $24.15 tax for each metric ton of carbon dioxide introduced in July 2012.

At the time, mayor Karen Williams said any savings would go to residents or be reinvested in the city.

Since then, council officers have investigated how much the organisation stood to recoup from suppliers who are now required to pass on carbon tax savings.

Cr Williams also wrote to Treasurer Joe Hockey to seek clarification on the details and timeframes for the carbon tax rebates to local authorities.

She said after the tax was introduced in 2012, council calculated it added about $17.50 to each ratepayer’s bill but about $2million to the city’s operating costs.

She defended the council’s stance of not nominating an exact rebate figure, unlike Brisbane council, which promised to refund ratepayers $36 in the October rates notice and keep future rates increases lower.

“The $17.50 figure was one of the costs we could actually measure when the tax was introduced in 2012 but we tried to absorb most of that anyway,” she said.

“There was a direct cost of about $1.2million but further indirect costs brought that up to about $2million.

“But council will pass on savings through budget reviews over the coming year as the repeal of the tax is expected to reduce our costs.”

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Greaves on top of the world after championship event

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Chantell Greaves plays out of a bunker during the World Deaf Golf Championships in America.DUNEDOO’S Chantell Greaves has returned home from the United States after representing Australia at the World Deaf Golf Championships.

Greaves spent an action-packed few days travelling to Traverse City, Michigan and practising before the action got under way.

Staying in luxury at a resort that had three golf courses attached to it, the players were treated like royalty and the fine dining and pampering obviously paid off as Greaves and the Australian team enjoyed great results.

Conditions hindered players on day one of the event, with Greaves firing a score of 91, which she repeated on day two.

A few tips from her caddy helped her improve to shoot an 88 on the third day.

She followed that form through to finish the event with another score of 88 in the final round to finish with a 72-hole total of 358.

“When I left Dunedoo I was hoping to get into the top 10, and I came eighth in the world,” Greaves said via email.

“Our Aussie women’s team came second. It was a great experience for me and I have the people of Dunedoo and the district golfing community to thank for all their donations and words of support that helped me to achieve something that I never dreamed possible.”

After impressing during the event, Chantell even had a warm invitation from one of her fellow competitors.

“I met the champion for 2014, Patty Lopez, and she asked me if I was coming to the World Deaf Golf Championships in 2016 at Denmark,” Greaves said.

“That gives me two years to save, and if I’m invited to.

“As for now I hope to play in a few of the Deaf Golf NSW events and the Australian Championship in April next year.”

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Switched on to detail

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Switched on to detail Project Support Officer for the New Bendigo Hosptial Joey Ryan. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY
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Project Support Officer for the New Bendigo Hosptial Joey Ryan. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

Project Support Officer for the New Bendigo Hosptial Joey Ryan. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

TweetFacebookThe Bendigo Advertiser is continuing to publish a series of profiles on some of the people helping to build the new Bendigo Hospital.

A SHARP eye for detail and excellent organisational skills have held Joey Ryan in good stead for her job as a project support officer for the new Bendigo hospital.

When completed, in 2016, it will be the largest regional hospital in Victoria, with seven storeys and 372 inpatient beds.

Ms Ryan, 25,points to a large swathe of design blueprints.

On any given day she will have to meticulously sort through dozens of them, making sure each gets to the appropriate department and all expected items have arrived.

She will then liaise with hospital staff to ensure the designs meet their expectations and hopes, taking their requests back to the designers if there are any changes they require.

“It’s quite detailed,” Ms Ryan says.

“I like to be organised.”

Indeed, despite having no previous experience in design, Ms Ryan’s job requires her to have an intimate understanding of each nook and cranny, including its functionality and how it will affectworking conditions.

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CSU to lose $127m in governmentfunding, claims Labor senator

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ON CAMPUS: Senator Deborah O’Neill accuses the federal government of now lying about its lies. Picture: Michael FrogleyTHE federal government’s higher education reforms will rip $127 million out of Charles Sturt University (CSU), the opposition claims.
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The secretary of Labor’s education caucus committee, Senator Deborah O’Neill, made the claim while visiting CSU’s Wagga campus to talk to students about the proposed restructure.

“(Federal education minister) Christopher Pyne’s plan is to take that money from the university and (in turn) have it take the money from the students,” Senator O’Neill said.

“It’s a cost-shifting exercise.”

Senator O’Neill said regional universities and their towns would be hit hard by the reforms and she is urging centres such as Wagga to support Labor’s campaign to oppose changes in the Senate.

She said if changes to the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) and higher education loan Program (HELP) that tied the student loan interest rate to the bond rate were passed then students could be “saddled with a debt sentence for decades”.

Country Labor’s candidate for Wagga at the 2015 state election, Daniel Hayes, accompanied Senator O’Neill to CSU.

“We have the state and federal Liberal governments saying you have to earn or learn, but what is happening is they are taking away the opportunity to do either,” Mr Hayes said.

“Unemployment is up and there are cuts to TAFE, and now the unis are in for further cuts.”

Rivcoll student president Brandon Harry said undergraduates were worried about a higher interest rate on loans taken out to obtain degrees and higher course fees.

“We are concerned there will be a money divide, or a class divide, that will stop people going to university regardless of their economic background,” Mr Harry said.

The Member for Riverina Michael McCormack defended the restructure, saying HECS and HELP loans were the best loans anyone would ever get.

“They are getting a loan which they don’t have to pay back until they earn $50,000 and it will give them a much-better paying job than if they don’t go to university,” Mr McCormack said.

Mr McCormack said the restructure would open up opportunities for CSU.

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Tumut stalwart marks milestone

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TUMUT stalwart Jason Back is always one to go the extra mile for the Blues.

Tomorrow, the power-packed front-rower will mark a milestone 100th game by making his 118th first grade appearance for the club against Tumbarumba.

The mountain club is gearing up to acknowledge the well-built prop’s dedication to the Blues tomorrow by celebrating his century – plus 18.

“There was a bit of confusion and somehow we went past the 100th game, so I’m actually playing my 118th game,” he said.

“But the club is going to celebrate the 100th.”

A household name at the club, the 28-year-old played his junior football for Tumut, before progressing through the Blues’ ranks to establish himself as a respected senior player.

“I won premierships with the club in 2007 and 2010, but I did my knee halfway through 2008 so I missed the final that year,” he said.

Back spent a year living and working in the Whitsundays in 2012, but returned to the club in 2013 after finding employment back in the town.

His welcome return to the club came at what has evolved into a tumultuous period for the once dominating Group Nine powerhouse.

“We were used to winning because pretty much we went so long with a really good side that had a lot of good players in it,” he said.

“By the time I got back, a lot of those players had retired or moved away.

“We haven’t been able to attract players like we used to because we don’t have the work to put the boys in jobs.

“We couldn’t get (Michael) Henderson because of the work trouble… We have the three or four mills but they are struggling to put anyone on at the moment.”

Back believes the club’s resurgence will be heavily influenced by the Blues’ ability to foster the talent of rising junior players.

“The young players need the experience but we need to blood them with experienced players around them,” he said.

“We have two young fellas in the halves who will only get better with time, but we definitely will need to buy some players and get some new blokes to the club.

“Tumut is a good club and you can’t win every year; this just isn’t our turn.”

Throughout his career Back has played with some of the club’s best homegrown talent, making it difficult for the popular ball-runner to put any one individual on a pedestal.

“Its impossible to separate Josh Toohey, Adam Pearce, Matty Richards and Matt Free,” he said.

“They are all as good as each other.”

Tumut will take on Tumbarumba at Twickenham tomorrow in the game being hailed as the Blues’ best chance of avoiding a winless season.

“We should get the win up – especially since Tumba are without (Aaron) Sweeney and Nathan Hammond,” Back said.

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LETTER: Letgraduates take honours

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WE are all so tired of this political scandal which is happening in Newcastle.

It is time for some radical thinking. My proposal is let’s find our clever, honest, hardworking and motivated university graduates who have a passion to ‘‘Revitalise Newcastle’’ and ‘‘make a difference’’.

They should be elected as decent members of society on merit of their capabilities and the party should be called ‘‘Bright Young Minds’’.

They would expect to be rewarded with appropriate remuneration for their efforts but would not accept money contained in envelopes.

Respect, trust and renewed faith would be shown to the members of this party by the loyal citizens as they set about their task to ‘‘change the face of Newcastle’’.

Just an idea but in my view it would certainly be an improvement on who we have as our leaders at this point of time.

Lesley Roberts,

Wangi Wangi

Your chance to live in harmony

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Learn to live in harmony with the environment with the appliance of science at the 2014 Dubbo Sustainable City Expo and Science Cafe at the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden from 9am to 2pm Saturday, August 23.
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Take the opportunity to combine a refreshing stroll around the botanic garden while learning how to reduce your environmental foot print and save money.

Numerous experts will be on hand at the ninth annual Dubbo Sustainable City Expo to give free advice on a wide range of topics from composting to state-of-the-art sustainable living technology, appliances and services.

Learn the art of water-wise garden design, growing vegetables, composting and successful worm farming.

Check out the latest solar and renewable energy systems, and electric and hybrid vehicles.

Meanwhile the highly successful Science Cafe now in its second year, will inform, dazzle and amaze under the guidance of highly talented science teacher, successful actor and professional writer James Eddy.

Grab a refreshing beverage and listen to live interviews with some of the region’s most talented scientists, including scientists from the Australian National University and medical students from the University of Sydney. Sit back and enjoy SCINEMA films.

Children will be kept occupied by a wide range of free activities including interactive storytelling, the Stormwater Olympics, nature trails, the mobile zoo and face painting.

With so much to see, learn and do the 2014 Dubbo Sustainable City Expo and Science Cafe at the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden promises to be a wonderful family day out.

Science Cafe is a registered National Science Week event and is funded under the NSW Regional Science Grants program supported by Inspiring Australia and the NSW government. National Science Week runs from August 16-24.

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‘I’m very sorry’: Joe Hockey apologises for comments about poorer people not driving cars

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Treasurer Joe Hockey Photo: Peter RaeTREASURERJoe Hockey has delivered a grovelling apology for suggesting the “poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far” and that the government’s proposed fuel excise increase was a progressive tax measure.

Mr Hockey had initially stood bythe commentshe had made on Brisbane radio on Wednesday, stating he was sorry if they had been callous but insistinghe had statistical evidenceon his side.

But in an embarrassing rebuke for the Treasurer,Prime Minister Tony Abbott saidon Friday that “Well plainly, I wouldn’t say that” before adding the Treasurer had his full support.

[Joe Hockey appears on 2GB on Friday to apologise for his comments.]

Joe Hockey appears on 2GB on Friday to apologise for his comments. Photo: @BenFordham

Senior front bench colleagueChristopher Pyne also said on Fridaythat Mr Hockey had his “full support” six times, but then declined six times to back Mr Hockey’s inflammatory comments.

Mr Hockey told his close friend and 2GB broadcaster Ben Fordham on Friday that: “I am really genuinely sorry that there is any suggestion, any suggestion at all that I or the government do not care for the most disadvantaged in the community.”

“I’m sorry about the interpretation, I am sorry about the words.

“All of my life I have fought for and tried to help the most disadvantaged people in the community.”

Mr Hockey conceded that his government’s message about the need for budget repair had been lost because of his misstep.

“In the case of fuel excise, I am sorry the words came out like they did,” he said.

“I accept responsibility.

“We are about building a more prosperous nation, a more caring nation.

“What has been said can’t be unsaid. I can only apologise for any hurt I have caused … we are trying to do our best for people who are disadvantaged.”

– With SMH

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Bear in hibernation: Cooper’s suspension includes anger management course

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HALTED: Blayney Bears captain-coach Terawhiti Cooper is tackled by the Orange Hawks defence in their round 14 Group 10 premier league clash. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0720sgleague2BLAYNEY Bears captain-coach Terawhiti Cooper has to complete an anger management course as part of his sentence handed down by the Group 10 judiciary this week.

Cooper will sit out at least the opening round of the 2015 Group 10 season following Thursday night’s judiciary hearing where he was given a four-week suspension.

Cooper was charged with serious misconduct and entered an early guilty plea following a bizarre incident during the premier league match between Blayney and Bathurst Panthers on August 3.

The prop was sin binned for backchat during the match at Carrington Park, but as he left the ground he threatened members of the crowd.

The judiciary handed Cooper a four-week sentence, however two weeks of that are suspended on the condition he completes an anger management course.

He must start the course within a month and the Bears have to support him while he completes the course or the club will be fined $1000.

The sentence means Cooper will sit out Sunday’s clash with Cowra, along with the first round of the 2015 season, as Blayney will miss this year’s finals series.

Blayney president Adam Hornby said the club had no hesitation in supporting Cooper while he dealt with his issues.

“He’s going to have to sit down and talk to people. That’s part of the deal,” Hornby said.

FOOTY HQ RUGBY LEAGUE: Stories, galleries, videos, galleries and more

“We’re happy with the sentence and we’ll do whatever we can to help him, but he has to want to help himself too.”

Cooper was stood down by the Bears following the incident and missed last Sunday’s match against Oberon.

Hornby said he had been impressed with the way Cooper had taken responsibility for his actions.

“I really do think justice was done. It didn’t warrant months and months and months. He did the wrong thing and he put his hand up straight away,” Hornby said.

“Last week he wasn’t allowed to coach or even run water. Most blokes wouldn’t come to the ground if that was them. He came to the football and he worked in the canteen all day. He hasn’t hid from it.”

Cooper was given a 50 per cent discount on his sentence for having a five-year clean record. He was given a further 25 per cent discount for his early guilty plea.

Hornby said the club had no plans to dump Cooper.

“He’s a big part of our plans for next season,” Hornby said.

“From the outset, we were going to stand by him. He is a good bloke and he’s shocked a lot of people with his coaching. He’s very knowledgeable. And good front rowers are hard to find.”

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A chilly dragon hunt

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Caught between the cross-hairs, this Weedy Sea Dragon.

On a cold and blustery day in August five volunteers braved the cold to go on an underwater expedition to find a dragon.

Water temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius would not deter these brave souls from their mission. Luck was with them on this day as they were able to not only find a dragon but they found over eight and managed to capture them on camera.

This dragon is none other than the Weedy Sea Dragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus), a beautiful and iconic fish; yes it is a fish, which is endemic to Australian waters. The Sea Dragon is related to the sea horses and lives amongst the weeds in southern Australia. It has appendages on its body that assists it in camouflage amongst sea weed; this is its only form of protection from predators.

It is a protected species in NSW waters; it is listed in the 1997 IUCN Red List in the Data Deficient category. Due to the categorisation of this species as data deficient scientists are now trying to gather data on as many populations in Australia to develop a deeper understanding of population sizes, longevity and breeding habits.

Professor David Booth from the University of Technology in Sydney is leading the research and has enlisted the help of local dive group the Sapphire Coast Underwater Research Group (SCURG) to collect photographic data and DNA samples from local populations of Weedy sea dragons. David Booth will be presenting at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre Marine Science Forum in May, 2015.

The SCURG dive team was able to find, photograph and collect tissue samples of the Twofold Bay Weedy Sea Dragon population that will be sent to David Booth for analysis. The photos are extremely important as they allow researchers to identify individuals within the population. Weedy Sea Dragons have vivid yellow spots on the side of their body in a pattern that is unique to each individual and work like a fingerprint. Scientists are able to use computer software to analyse the photos and recognise individuals. With dive surveys photographing the population over time the scientists will be able to estimate population sizes and longevity of the species in each location.

This dive would not have been possible without the generous contribution from the Merimbula Divers Lodge who has offered ongoing support to local marine research and the SCURG group.

Whilst under the water the SCURG team conducted research for a second project, two birds with one stone. As part of an ongoing Marine Ecology project run by the Atlas of Life and the Sapphire Coast Marine Society the divers set up data loggers to measure water temperature and thirty metre transect lines to record and monitor the sea weed in the area.

These are both ongoing research programs and SCURG will be doing more dives locally to collect more data. If you are interested in being involved please find us on Facebook or email us [email protected]南京夜网.au.

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Nerve damage for Templeton after arm break

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ELI Templeton has revealed he suffered nerve damage after breaking hisleft arm in round 6, an injury thatended his debut AFL season.

The Burnie product, who will turn 19 next week, told the AFL website that he had experienced ‘lazy fingers’ and a weak wrist on his left side since the incident, side effects he has been assured will pass with time.

Templeton broke his left arm just above the elbow tackling Brisbane midfielder Sam Mayes in the early stages of St Kilda’s Anzac Day loss to the Lions in Wellington, with the injury being compared to something out of a car accident by his surgeon.

”I’m back doing full weights and I’ve started doing some contact training last week,” said Templeton, who is preparing to return to full training next week.

“It was a spiral fracture, not really a perfect break, so that set me back a little bit.”

”I did a pretty good job of it and needed a plate and 15 screws.

”One of the main challenges I’ve had so far – and it’s still ongoing – is the nerve damage.

”I went and saw a neurosurgeon the other day just for a check-up and he said it’s all fine, so I’m working around that and training with that as it is.

”I’ll just need time to fix that.”

After failing to be selected in the national draft, St Kilda swooped with the third pick in the rookie draft.

He made his debut in its opening round clash with St Kilda, playing every game up until his injury, averaging eight touches, four marks and one tackle game, adding some spark and energy to the Saints’ forward half.

His moment in the sun came in round 2 against Greater Western, when his two late goals ensured victory for his side.

Eli Templeton.

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BHP shares up after demerger suggestion

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Shares in Australia’s biggest company, BHP Billiton, have risen sharply this afternoon after the resources giant confirmed that a demerger is its preferred way of simplifying its global portfolio.

Reports suggest the demerged business could be valued at $US14 billion.

While no decision has been made to push ahead with a demerger, BHP published a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange confirming a demerger was the preferred way to divest from non-core businesses.

Any demerged entity is likely to include aluminium assets at the very least. Other prime candidates for the demerged entity include manganese and possibly nickel operations.

Those three divisions have numerous assets located within Australia, particularly nickel which has a cluster of mines, a refinery and a smelter located in Western Australia.

There has been speculation some of BHP’s thermal coal assets could be included too, particularly the ones in South Africa.

The Australian Financial Reviewhas reported that the demerged business would be worth approximately $US14 billionand would have its headquarters in Perth.

Perth already hosts the largest number of BHP employees in one building.

In a statement to the ASX, BHP said a company containing just iron ore, coal, petroleum and copper was sufficiently diversified and could generate “stronger growth in cash flow”.

As it has said many times before, BHP said potash remained a possible fifth pillar of the business.

The miner said it had considered many options, but it ultimately preferred bundling its laggard commodities into the single demerged entity.

”The board has continued to study various structural alternatives including at its meeting this week. A demerger of a selection of assets is our preferred option,” the statement says.

“The board expects to consider this, and other matters, when it reconvenes next week. If any material decisions are made they will be announced immediately.”

BHP shares have leapt from $38.35 to $39.09 since the statement was published. The stock was 93 cents higher than Thursday’s closing price shortly before 3pm.

If allowed to focus solely on its most important businesses, BHP said it would be able to “more quickly improve the productivity and performance of our largest businesses”.

The preference for a demerger comes after 25 months of asset sales, during which BHP raked in proceeds of $US6.5 billion.

Many of the assets to be included in a demerger simply could not be sold.

Most of the poorly performing assets came to the company via the merger with Billiton, a fact that emboldened rumours the demerger is effectively an undoing of what happened in 2001.

Operating around the constraints of the dual-listed structure has been a key challenge over the months of deliberation.

Aluminium, manganese and nickel collectively contributed just $US915 million of the $US28.4 billion of EBITDA the company reported for the 12 months to June 30, 2013.

Speaking prior to today’s announcement, Deutsche analyst Paul Young said investors had been more focused on share buybacks in recent months than the prospect of a demerger.

‘‘If they decide to go along the demerger path that will be a step in the right direction, but it may actually not be material to BHP given the value of the assets being talked about’’ he said.

Pengana Capital fund manager Tim Schroeders said the demerger was a worthy exercise, but he said the divestment of a collection of struggling assets won’t do much to ensure the company’s long-term primacy as the China boom evolves away from steel production.

‘‘You still have three divisions contributing circa 90 per cent of the earnings and the commodities for those three divisions have been falling,’’ he said, in reference to iron ore, petroleum and copper.

‘‘It is unclear how are they going to reposition the business for longevity from here on. The spin-out is part of that but it is more of a short-term filip than a long-term strategic decision.”

‘‘It gets you part the way toward the repositioning without truly being transformational.’’

BHP is scheduled to publish its full year financial results on Tuesday.

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