‘Why have I been chosen?’: Tears as Target sacks 260 in Geelong

Devastated Target staff pack up and leave. Mary Ramia (right) is one of 260 Target employees made redundant at the head office in Geelong. Photo: Jason South
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Sacked Target staff leave the company’s Geelong headquarters. Photo: Jason South

Staff at Target headquarters in Geelong are already walking out the door with boxes of their possessions after being made redundant this morning.

A total of 260 staff have been made redundant after management earlier told the more than 1000 Geelong staff to be at work this morning for an announcement on expected job cuts.

Staff areas where there have been sackings over the course of the morning include contract procurement, marketing, corporate affairs and store design.

Staff know they are to be terminated when they get a meeting request in their inbox.

Among the staff to find out they would be sacked are homewares analyst Mary Ramia, who left the head office in tears this morning with some of her work possessions.

The single mother of two from Geelong said it would be hard to find another position of a similar level in her city, because there were so many others with similar skills sets.

She had worked at Target for two years, and was not sure how she would now support her two children, aged 15 and 20.

“I’ve got a mortgage to pay,” she said, crying. “They don’t care. It’s terrible in there today.”

“At 9.30am I got an email with an appointment for 10.30am, (so I knew) I wasn’t going to have a job after that,” she said. “It was a very long hour.”

She said there were a lot of other people in the office who would lose their jobs today.

Ms Ramia said she had been given the option of staying at work until the end of the month.

“They’ve done all the things they’ve had to do. I understand businesses are in a tough way,” she said, but she still wondered, “why have I been chosen”.

Target managing director Stuart Machin emailed staff on Wednesday morning, telling them the redundancies being announced would mean many people would no longer have roles in the business.

“These changes mean that a number of people here no longer have roles in our business,” the email said.

He said the changes would not be easy for staff, but would put “the business back on a sustainable path to growth”.

He implored staff to “please continue to run the business as usual” in coming days.

There was increased security at the Geelong office early on Wednesday morning as management prepared to deal with media outside the building in the wake of the job cuts announcement.

BusinessDay last week broke the news that Target would sack hundreds of staff at the Geelong corporate support office.

The cuts will add to the southern city’s employment woes; it follows Ford announcing last month that in 2016 it would end production at its Geelong assembly line, which employs more than 500 people.

Shell is also likely to close its Geelong oil refinery, and turn it into a terminal, resulting in hundreds more jobs going.

The Australian Services Union, which represents some staff in the head office, met for several hours with management on Tuesday to discuss redundancy conditions for employees.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the union said it would support members through the process “to ensure that Target complies with the redundancy requirements in the collective agreement”.

“This news will affect every one of our members at Target, not just those who lose their jobs. Staff here are strong, united members who have always looked out for each other. We know the whole Victorian community will feel for these workers today.”

Employees at the Geelong offices on Tuesday night told of the company’s human resources department being “in lockdown”, with workers being told Wednesday was likely to be an upsetting day.

Staff were also told that there was likely to be another briefing for all staff at the nearby Geelong Arena on Friday morning.

The job losses are part of a sweeping review and restructure of the retail chain’s business by Mr Machin, Target’s third boss in two years.

The restructure comes in the wake of a sharp downturn in Target’s sales and profitability.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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GALLERY: FIFA World Cup qualifier – Australia v Jordan

Australians celebrate after Lucas Neill scored a goal. PICTURE: MICHAEL DODGE, GETTY IMAGES The Socceroos pose before the start of the match. PICTURE: QUINN ROONEY, GETTY IMAGES
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Tim Cahill celebrates a goal. PICTURE: MICHAEL DODGE, GETTY IMAGES

Lucas Neill of the Socceroos scores a goal. PICTURE: VINCE CALIGIURI, GETTY IMAGES

Tim Cahill (top) and the Australians celebrate after Lucas Neill scored a goal. PICTURE: VINCE CALIGIURI, GETTY IMAGES

Lucas Neill of the Socceroos celebrates after scoring a goal. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Lucas Neill of the Socceroos celebrates after scoring a goal. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Mark Bresciano bows to the crowd after scoring a goal. PICTURE: VINCE CALIGIURI, GETTY IMAGES

Lucas Neill of the Socceroos celebrates after scoring a goal. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Lucas Neill of the Socceroos celebrates after scoring a goal. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Socceroos fans celebrate after Australia scored a goal. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Luke Wilkshire kicks the ball. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Socceroos fans show their support. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Socceroos fans celebrate after Australia scored a goal. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Socceroos fans celebrate after Australia scored a goal. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Socceroos fans celebrate after Australia scored a goal. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Socceroos fans celebrate after Australia scored a goal. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Socceroos fans celebrate after Australia scored a goal. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Socceroos fans celebrate after Australia scored a goal. PICTURE: SCOTT BARBOUR, GETTY IMAGES

Archie Thompson runs with the ball. PICTURE: MICHAEL DODGE, GETTY IMAGES

Archie Thompson runs with the ball. PICTURE: MICHAEL DODGE, GETTY IMAGES

Archie Thompson runs with the ball. PICTURE: MICHAEL DODGE, GETTY IMAGES

Brett Holman controls the ball. PICTURE: MICHAEL DODGE, GETTY IMAGES

Brett Holman controls the ball. PICTURE: MICHAEL DODGE, GETTY IMAGES

Tim Cahill runs with the ball. PICTURE: MICHAEL DODGE, GETTY IMAGES

Tim Cahill runs with the ball. PICTURE: MICHAEL DODGE, GETTY IMAGES

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Is Apple’s MacBook Pro on death row?

Denied a Haswell update, will the MacBook Pro be the next victim of Apple’s war on the optical drive?
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Apple unveiled a lot of new stuff yesterday, but the notebook announcements caught my attention because I’ve been thinking about upgrading to a new 15-inch MacBook Pro. It’s been a full year since Apple has updated the MacBook Pro range, if you don’t count the launch of the expensive Retina display models with a sharper screen.

On average Apple has refreshed the MacBook Pro range every nine months for the last few years, so there was a fair chance that we might see a new MacBook Pro this week sporting Intel’s new Haswell chips. Instead we saw new Haswell-equipped MacBook Airs and even a new odd-looking Mac Pro for the desktop, but no new MacBook Pro. This means the MacBook Pro also misses out on the 802.11ac wi-fi update.

Apple’s decision to neglect the MacBook Pro shouldn’t really come as a surprise, as it’s been pruning its notebook range for the last few years. It killed off the standard white 13-inch MacBook in 2011 with little fanfare, making the 11-inch MacBook Air the new entry-level notebook. Then last year it killed off the top-of-the-line 17-inch MacBook Pro, leaving Apple users the choice of a 13/15-inch MacBook Pro or 11/13-inch MacBook Air.

This week’s new MacBook Airs will get a significant power boost and extended battery life from Intel’s new Haswell processors, but MacBook Pro has been left out in the cold. Not even the high-end MacBook Pro with Retina display will get any Haswell love. It seems Apple is doing its best to wean people off the MacBook Pro by keeping prices high and holding back the latest hardware while making the MacBook Airs more attractive than ever. We’re yet to see a MacBook Air with Retina display, but it’s surely on the drawing board.

There are lots of little differences between the Pros and the Airs, but the list mostly revolves around what the Air is missing. Of course the biggest difference is that the Airs lack a Superdrive — Apple’s fancy name for an optical drive. Driving more Apple users to MacBook Airs would certainly help speed up the demise of the optical drive — something which suits Apple because it wants people to source all their software and content from the iTunes store.

Even the new Mac Pro desktop also seems to lack a Superdrive, although it might be possible to add one as an optional extra. Last year Apple ditched the Superdrive in the new generation of iMacs, while the year before it ditched the Superdrive in the Mac mini. This week’s announcements leaves the MacBook Pro and current Mac Pro as the only Macs which ship by default with a built-in Superdrive. Surely the MacBook Pro is next on Apple’s hit list.

If Apple decides to scrap the Superdrive, is there any reason for Cupertino to even keep the MacBook Pro in the lineup? Mac users would lose the option of a 15-inch notebook, unless Apple decided to unveil a 15-inch MacBook Air — which would seem an oxymoron. It’s likely Apple will start to phase out the 15-inch models. The next move from Apple will probably be to scrap the MacBook Pro and just leave the expensive MacBook Pro with Retina display, perhaps with the Haswell update. This would then become the only 15-inch Mac option, starting at at hefty $2499. At that point it really would be living on borrowed time. When Apple eventually scrapped it completely, the justification would be that shoppers clearly favour the smaller models (because the other options were taken away from them).

So if like me you’ve got your eye on a 15-inch MacBook Pro, you need to decide whether you’ll take the plunge now before End Of Financial Year. Alternatively you might hold out for the slim chance of a Haswell update in the next few months. The MacBook Pro might get one more roll of the dice, or with the Haswell update Apple might scrap the MacBook Pros entirely in favour of the more expensive MacBook Pros with Retina displays. Of course you could just go with the flow and move to the MacBook Air, because Apple knows best.

Do you suspect the MacBook Pro is on death row? Will you miss it if it gets the chop?

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Mosaic passion

Source: Barossa Herald
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Walking into Heather Gordon’s backyard it is easy to see that she has a passion and a skill for creating mosaics.

Dating her passion for art back to when she was a child, Heather’s creative thinking has resulted in some fantastic one-off pieces that cannot help but catch the eye of people passing by.

From mermaids to birds, ants to bees and flowers to cherries, Heather’s backyard is an amazing record of fiction and non-fiction nature.

“I have always being intrigued by mosaics,” Heather said.

“It looks so simple on the outside but it is a complex process.

“I tried different art media when I was seeking a creative way of managing chronic pain, that is, using art as therapy.

“When I participated in Irene Stone Pearce’s mosaic workshop at ‘Tickletank’, Mt Barker, South Australia, I knew immediately that mosaic was what I wanted to do.”

Having lived and worked in regional South Australia for most of her life, Heather draws a lot of her inspiration from nature.

She has even created a children’s counting book to complement her Bushland Mosaic that she designed across a section her back wall.

However, not all of her inspiration is drawn from organic material.

A few years ago Heather travelled to Elliston to attend the Sculpture on the Cliffs event.

While she was there she came across a mosaic table that Siv Grava and John Turpie had created as a memorial for Jevan Wright who disappeared while surfing during 2000.

“I admire the community aspect of the design of the mosaic table and the functionality of it while giving a permanent memorial to Jevan,” Heather said.

“I am also incredibly impressed with the fine detail achieved in the mosaic and the ensuing reflections of Jevan’s life.”

Currently Heather is working on her 10-year plan to have every external wall of her home covered in mosaic art.

Only three years into her plan and she has already completed an eight metre by two metre mermaid wall and a nine metre by two metre bushland theme wall.

“My goal is to have a home based business activity whereby groups visit my garden (by prior arrangement) and view the mosaics while having a cup of tea,” Heather said.

“My ‘tester’ for this is an Open Studio during the South Australian Living Artists Festival on August 10 and 11, 2013.

“The mosaics are accessible for those using wheel chairs or ‘wheelie-walkers’ and there is some seating for reflection.”

Mosaic is not all about art for Heather. A lot of it is also about recycling. Many of the tiles and plates that make up her mosaic wall were all destined for land fill.

“I am enormously grateful to my amazing friends, family and neighbours who help me out in various ways to achieve my dream of transforming the external walls of an ordinary cream brick house into an extraordinary home wrapped in glittering mosaic,” Heather said.

“It has been very beneficial for me to volunteer as a gallery attendant at Salon Rouge Gallery during the past four years.

“I’ve learned a vast amount, met some great people as well as being artistically nurtured by the gallery owner and director, Jacqueline Coates.”

Heather Gordon (left) with her Alice Springs friend Joy Taylor

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Put pen to paper

Source: Barossa Herald
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She might only be 17-years-old but Meg Eichmann from country SAis already a published author.

Publishing her first novel last year in June, the year 12 student from Willaston is a force to be reckoned with.

A sci-fi action drama her new book, The Order’s Experiments, follows two teenagers as they are taken from their dangerous lives on the streets to even darker, harder and more dangerous lives in the folds of the Order, a secret underground organisation.

Once in the Order characters Kyra and Fallen are trained to be warriors but as memories start to return to Fallen he slowly starts to find his humanity, and Kyra’s desperateness for human contact starts to destroy her as both try to find themselves in their new difficult world.

Undoubtedly over the moon to have her first novel published Meg said her next goal is to turn her winning state selection fiction long story Space Bird into a novel.

“Space Bird will be another sci-fi, but very different from The Order’s Experiments as it is based on both earth and an alien planet,” Meg said.

“The story follows the transformation of a recluse as she makes peace with herself, her past, her identity and her place in the universe.”

Always a bit of a daydreamer Meg’s passion for writing began when she in year six and started writing longer pieces.

“I get into a greater passion with my ideas, and became more absorbed in the stories I had come up with and getting them down on paper just seemed like a way to make them last longer,” she said.

“My inspiration for The Order’s Experiments came from my fascination with the underground.

“Several books and shows about it interested me, the idea of having a completely different set of rules to live by and the strange freedom and entrapment of the lifestyle was interesting to me.

“However I also really just wanted to question things.

“I wanted to see how much of our morality I could question and warp from putting my characters in unusual circumstances.

“I wanted a world where it almost became selfish to be moral, to challenge all the ideas constantly thrown at us in literature and film today.

“In a sense I think I also channelled my teenage rebellion into this book, I was able to use it to question parts of society and popular belief I wasn’t sure about.”

After graduating from high school Meg intends on attending university before going off to travel and write.

Meg Eichmann.

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