Europe carbon links potentially a boon for local traders

The government’s decision to link Australia’s future carbon price with Europe’s could be a boon for carbon-trading services in Australia, particularly as the market for the nascent commodity expands in the Asia-Pacific region.
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The connection to Europe’s established emissions pricing market will break down barriers between the two regions. Australian businesses competing in such a market will have an advantage as more Asian nations begin pricing greenhouse-gas emissions, industry representatives said.

The government’s move to hitch Australia’s future carbon price to the world’s biggest emissions trading market came as it decided to ditch its previous plan to set a minimum $15 price per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted once the fixed rate – currently at $23 a tonne – ends in 2015. The carbon tax kicked in on July 1 with the aim of prodding the biggest emitters to reduce emissions of the gas which is contributing to warming global temperatures.

Andrew Grant, managing director of CO2 Group, said the effort to connect emission trading links between Australia and Europe by 2018 “the most profound” aspect of yesterday’s announcement.

“If schemes aren’t linked, we can’t trade internationally so this is so much more beneficial,” Mr Graham said.

Regional push

The change will also give an edge to Australian clean energy firms in Southeast Asia, a region where Europe had dominated until the financial crisis had forced them to scale back their efforts, he said.

Australia had been “a Johnny-come-lately” into that region, but now that it was effectively in the same market, more business could flow, said Mr Grant.

CO2 Group, which provides carbon advisory and other related services, already has business in Singapore and New Zealand. Additional international links give the group an “ability to optimise our assets,” said Mr Grant.

Clean Energy Council deputy chief executive Kane Thornton said short-term price fluctuation around carbon pricing will give way to longer term consistency as Europe’s market is opened up.

“Even though removing the carbon price floor potentially opens us to greater volatility in the market, the link to a larger market covering some 530 million people will help to protect our emissions trading scheme from sudden changes in the price of carbon,” said Mr Thornton.

He sees a potential inflow of $20 billion in investment in low- or carbon-free energy projects that could generate 30,000 jobs over the next decade as a result of the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

Political risk

The chief risk for the renewable energy sector, he believes, is any watering down of the 20 per cent cut in carbon emissions to be achieved by 2020 through the government’s RET review.

“Any perceived benefits from tinkering with the scheme would be undermined by the signals that it sends to investors,” said Mr Thornton. The review concludes at the end of the year.

“We still have the political risk around government and a drastic change of policy,” he said.

Many large companies in Australia want an established market for their carbon exposure said Rob Fowler, who represents the International Emissions Trading Association in Australia and New Zealand.

Links with Europe will expand options for Australian companies to hedge their carbon pricing positions, Mr Fowler said. Further, it will expand opportunities for Australian carbon trading and carbon-offset businesses.

“If Australia can establish and maintain a European link and start to create relationships around carbon that reflect our trade relationships in Asia Pacific, we act as a real interesting pivot in the international carbon environment,” he said.

“Australia as a service provider in these sorts of professional areas has a good history,” said Mr Fowler. “It’s likely we’re going to create a useful financial services industry around that.”

Mr Fowler said Australia also benefited from having a well-regulated financial sector in the eyes of the global investors.

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Buckley overjoyed by Krakouer’s return

COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley says Andrew Krakouer’s return to the AFL this Saturday night will give his side a “massive fillip’.
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The Pies will be fighting to stay in the top four when they take on Essendon at the MCG after having lost their past two matches.

Buckley said Krakouer’s return from a knee reconstruction he underwent six months ago was remarkable.

“It’s a fantastic story,” Buckley said this morning. “Krak’s application to his recovery has been excellent and he has been through a fairly rollercoaster football career. Very public, the ups and downs of him coming in the best part of 10 years ago to where he is at this point.

“His form in the VFL has been excellent and really, despite anything that has happened during the year, he has just demanded selection. It’s a great position to be in as a match committee because there’s a bloke there through his own merits and performance needs to play. And he should come in confident from what he has been able to do.

“This club, this group, as every team has, has been through a fair few ups and downs through the course of the year and you’ve got to celebrate your mini-wins and successes. And seeing Krak back is a massive fillip for the boys.”

Krakouer served 16 months in prison for assault before his release in late 2009. He had a breakout year last season, playing 23 of 25 games for the Pies and kicking 35 goals, including three in the grand final. He also won the AFL Mark of the Year award.

But in February this year the club announced it had given Krakouer at least a month off, reportedly to deal with some personal issues.

He returned two weeks later to play in a VFL practice match, where he hurt his knee and afterwards had a full reconstruction.

“It’s a huge story,” Buckley said. “Even for him to come back and do what he did last year after his personal trials, it’s just any absolute credit to him with the adversity that he has faced and his ability to handle that, not perfectly.

“You’re not human if you can just handle it without emotion, without feeling, and just plough on. He has had his ups and downs and it has probably been more documented than a normal person should have to endure or handle.

“But that’s the strength of a football environment. We believe we’ve given fantastic support to Krak since he walked in the doors of the footy club at the beginning of last year and we’ve had fantastic service from him in return. And we’re really excited what the next period of time is for him and us.”

Buckley said Krakouer would most likely return to the forward line with time in the midfield.

Midfielder Sharrod Wellingham is in doubt to play after he left training early this morning. He didn’t try to handle the ball during the session, wearing bandages on his left hand after he split webbing.

Buckley said it was too early to rule Wellingham out. “It’s still mid-week and he has plenty of time to get over it.

“Clearly, ball handling is very important and he has stitches in at the moment and he’ll carry them into the game and it’s something he’s going to have to get used to.”

Buckley said captain Nick Maxwell and ruckman Darren Jolly were likely to play, having recovered from respective hip and elbow injuries.

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Wells, Grima unlikely for Giants clash

IT IS looking increasingly unlikely that Daniel Wells and Nathan Grima will play in North Melbourne’s final home-and-away game against bottom-placed Greater Western Sydney on Saturday.
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Roos coach Brad Scott said the Roos will take a strict “no-risk” policy with the key duo, and neither would play unless they can convince the coaching and medical staff they are “absolutely 100 per cent”.

Considering Wells was only scheduled to do “little bits and pieces” of today’s main training session at Aegis Park, it seems he would have to improve significantly to risk his injured calf on an interstate trip to Skoda Stadium.

“He is one that we would bring in if he is fit. He will train little bits and pieces today and then train fully with us on Friday and then we’ll probably make a decision later in the week,” Scott said of his reigning joint best-and-fairest winner.

“But there will be an absolute no-risk policy with him. He is either absolutely 100 per cent and ready to train or he won’t play.”

Important key defender Grima is in a similar situation, recovering from hamstring tendonitis.

“They have both made rapid improvement over the past three days. Ideally, we would like to play them so we won’t be holding them back if they are 100 per cent right to go,” he said.

“But we would be silly to take a risk if we weren’t convinced they didn’t have enough training under their belt.”

Scott said Wells and Grima would be the only potential changes, with the club’s match committee believing the players who lost to Fremantle last weekend deserved a chance to redeem themselves and build confidence ahead of next week’s first final.

“I doubt we will make any changes and if we do, there will only be minimal changes to the side this week,” the coach said.

“We’ll give the side another chance to go out and fix a few things that we need to fix and get some real momentum going into the finals series.”

Scott said the Roos could potentially attempt to manage the game time of some players with a view to finals.

“But you can’t plan that,” he said. “The only time we have ever contemplated using our sub to manage game time we got an injury in the first part of the game and it backfired straight away.”

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Australia ready to strike a deal with Nauru and PNG: Gillard

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has declared herself “on the same page” as Nauru and Papua New Guinea, despite concerns Labor’s new Pacific solution could see asylum seekers held indefinitely.
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Ms Gillard arrived this afternoon for the Pacific Island Forum in the Cook Islands.

She told reporters soon after landing she will meet the leaders of Nauru and PNG to hammer out agreements on reopening processing centres.

But she denied any difference had emerged with either country over the length of time people might be held.

“Our policy push here is to make sure people do not get any advantage from having got in a boat,” Ms Gillard said.

But she did not say how long people would typically wait for resettlement without attempting a voyage to Australia.

Nauru’s Foreign Minister Keiran Keke said he did not want to see people held indefinitely on Nauru, and joined PNG’s Prime Minister in saying Australia would be expected to settle people found to have genuine asylum claims.

Asylum seekers are far from the only issue on the agenda.

Ms Gillard said the forum would be discussing protecting the Pacific Ocean and building skills for people in the region — and she will also bring a personal focus on gender issues.

“As the only woman attending the forum – the only female leader – I will be focusing on gender equality,” Ms Gillard said.

The Pacific ranks worst in the world on representation of women in politics. When Australia and New Zealand are excluded, only 3.5 per cent of roles in the region are held by women.

Ms Gillard said gender issues mattered not just because men and women should be equal but the participation of women helped development.

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Grocon and unionists to meet on construction dispute

Union leaders and Grocon are set to meet tomorrow, as construction workers continue to block workers’ access to the Emporium construction site in Melbourne.
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Members of the Construction, Foresty, Mining and Energy Union have been at the Grocon site for a week, with violent scenes erupting yesterday in the city’s CBD between protesters – who have workplace safety concerns – and police.

Today, Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten announced he has ”brokered” private discussions between the warring parties.

He said Grocon head Daniel Grollo and the CFMEU Construction Division’s Dave Noonan had agreed to ”make themselves available” to meet on Thursday.

”The government is concerned about the dispute between Grocon and the CFMEU and the ugly scenes witnessed in recent days,” the Workplace Relations Minister said.

Yesterday, the Victorian Supreme Court extended an injunction restraining the CFMEU from blocking access to Grocon sites – which it has ignored. Mr Shorten has refused to pick a side in the debate, but has strongly condemned any violent activity.

”There can be no excuse for intimidation, violence and thuggery,” he said.

”I would expect the CFMEU to respect and comply with orders of the Victorian Supreme Court.”

Mr Shorten said that he believed the workplace safety matters underlying the Grocon and CFMEU dispute would be best resolved by conciliation.

”That is why I brokered private discussions between the parties on Monday this week,” Mr Shorten said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also weighed in on the dispute, warning violence should never be tolerated.

“Violence is always wrong in whatever setting,” Ms Gillard told reporters shortly after touching down in Cook Islands for a meeting of Pacific leaders.

But she warned Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s promise to bring back the building commission would be a backwards step.

“As a result of that people would see penalty rates end,” she said, also warning about the re-introduction of individual contracts.

with AAP, Daniel Flitton

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Teen a victim of targeted shooting: police

A bullet hole in the window of a family home in Auburn across the road from where the boy was shot. Heavily fortified … the home of the boy who was shot and his father, who was shot two weeks ago, in Auburn.
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Chalk graffiti on the Auburn apartment block where the boy was shot yesterday. Brothers 4 Life is the gang founded by Bassam Hamzy.

A teenage boy is fighting for his life after being gunned down in the driveway of an apartment block in Sydney’s west.

The 16 year-old boy was the victim of a targeted shooting in Auburn Road, Auburn, last night and police say his family, who are known to police, are refusing to co-operate with them.

The Herald understands the boy’s father, Hakan Goktas, was shot in his car in Auburn two weeks ago, one of more than 100 drive-by shootings in Sydney this year.

He was injured but had only a short stay in hospital.

Detective Superintendent Philip Rogerson said police were investigating whether the boy was shot as part of an ongoing dispute involving his father.

Mr Goktas took his son to hospital yesterday evening but dropped him at the door and then left.

The boy was moved to Westmead Hospital and underwent emergency surgery. He is in an induced coma and is listed as critical but stable.

Superintendent Rogerson said “anyone could have been injured or killed” by the shooting, which occurred in front of a large group of children.

A car with bullet holes was later found outside the Park Road home of the boy, two streets away from where he was shot.

The boy’s home is heavily fortified with concrete walls.

The apartment block where the shooting occurred backs on to Civic Park, a popular hang-out spot for teenagers.

Superintendent Rogerson said his team of detectives were “working around the clock” to solve a string of public-place shootings in Auburn in recent months.

Mr Goktas is with detectives but is giving away little information, he said.

Assistant Commissioner Frank Menilli said this month that shooting victims were continually refusing to co-operate with police because they wanted to protect their own criminality.

A stray bullet hit a resident’s balcony across the road. “It’s a disgraceful act,” Superintendent Rogerson said.

The newly built home is that of a mother and her two children.

She said the bullet hit the balcony just outside the bedroom of her 21-year-old son.

He had to leave the home because he was scared, she said.

“I’m shaking, I’m very scared,” she said.

The apartment block where the boy was shot is covered in chalk messages about gangs and the police.

Several messages say “Brothers 4 Life B4L”, referring to the gang founded by Bassam Hamzy, the convicted murderer, drug dealer and kidnapper serving a life sentence in Goulburn Supermax.

Other scrawled messages say “criminal mind” and “down for brothers, f— da cops”.

One resident said groups of teenagers often hang out in the driveway where there is a couch and a basketball ring.

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Footy betting tipped to soar to $3.3b

Sports betting is booming. DIGITAL IMAGE: JUDY GREENBetting on Australia’s two largest football codes is set to double over the next five years to $3.3 billion, driven by strong growth in online gambling on sports, a Deloitte report says.
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The report, commissioned by online bookmaker Sportsbet南京夜网.au, found annual betting on the AFL had reached $900 million, with $750 million wagered on the NRL. This is forecast to rise to $1.8 billion (AFL) and $1.5 billion (NRL) in five years.

Deloitte found total turnover on sports betting has grown more than 13 per cent a year, driven by strong growth in online sports wagering of 28 per cent.

But overall sports betting remained significantly smaller than racing; $3.3 billion at present compared to $20 billion.

Australia’s two favourite football codes accounted for about half of all sports betting and 7 per cent of all betting in Australia.

Australian bookmakers generated an estimated $81.5 million in revenue from NRL and AFL wagering in 2011, with bookies also contributing about $45 million a year to football-related products through sponsorship and advertising expenditure.

Individual bookies have product-fee agreements with sporting bodies, but most are based on a gross-win model in which a percentage of profit is paid to the code.

There are reports the NRL is considering changing its model to a 1.5 per cent take of overall turnover, which Deloitte says will drive down the value of bookies’ profits and revenue to the code.

The report says that if this model is adopted, it would significantly reduce the profitability of NRL wagering products.

This would force betting agencies to take action to preserve profitability, including significantly reducing or reallocating marketing expenditure, and reducing odds offered to consumers, it says.

Sportsbet chief executive Cormac Barry said the report showed “the importance of our industry as a financial contributor to sport and racing”.

Mr Barry said if the NRL did change its model, punters would turn off local sites in search of better odds on “unregulated” overseas sites.

“This increases the risk to the integrity of sport and is likely to result in reduced returns to sport from product fees over the long-term. Unregulated foreign sites do not pay product fees, while in the past five years, Sportsbet alone has paid more than $50 million in product fees,” he said.

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Iron ore’s fall threatens Australian incomes

In the land of commodity research, various research houses are scrambling to catch up to the reality of a falling iron ore price.
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Until this recent price collapse (down 30% in a couple of months to $US95) iron ore prices were widely considered to have a “price floor at $US120”.

The price-floor notion was based upon the idea that Chinese iron ore producers have a marginal cost of $US120 and so would close down if the price fell below that level, removing supply and supporting prices.

However, the “price floor” argument had a fatal flaw.

It assumed seamless growth of demand in China and what has caught everyone by surprise is that is no longer the case.

Indeed, Chinese steel prices are still falling after a year-long correction:

And thus, so are iron ore prices:

It is very difficult to know where the bottom is for the iron ore price. We have clearly entered some kind of capitulation phase in the correction and the technical retracement chart that suggested a $US75 target is no longer looking at all fanciful:

Terms of trade shock

But what we can say for sure is that every time iron ore and coking coal falls 1%, the terms of trade – the ratio of export prices to import prices – falls about one third of that.

If we add in the recent thermal coal price correction then we are looking a terms of trade shock approaching 13% in the last couple of months alone.

With a high dollar, the real shock is worse still.

It is widely known that Australia’s income growth has become dependent upon high terms of trade, instead of other sources, such as productivity growth. In effect over the past decade we’ve enjoyed a huge pay rise owing to the high price of commodities.

Now we’re taking the equivalent of a big pay cut as a national income recession looms.

The last two occasions we experienced significant income falls as a nation were both difficult economic periods:

This time around we have some insurance in an ongoing and wider boom in liquefied natural gas investment that is not so far affected by the commodity price falls.

But we’ve already seen big mining projects getting shelved. There will be more.

Income recessions usually involve rising unemployment and some hit to consumption.

Whether this buffeting becomes something worse will depend upon the response to the official interest rate cuts that will come if these price falls continue or do not reverse.

David Llewellyn-Smith is the editor of Macro Investor, Australia’s independent newsletter covering stocks, trades, property and fixed interest. Macro Investor is running series of specials on how to profit from the end of the mining boom. A free 21-day trial is available at the site.

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Wanderers the sum of their parts, not the past

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic directs traffic at training.Western Sydney Wanderers fingered as Sydney United in disguise? You have to be kidding. Sadly, people who should know better, among them former Socceroo Ray Richards, seem all too ready to peddle the myth. Normally it wouldn’t matter too much. This, after all, is a game built on conspiracy theories. And there have been no more enduring conspiracy theories than those mired in Balkan politics. For more than three decades, this has been the hotspot for the game.
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So here’s the rub. The Wanderers are taking their first tentative steps as the A-League’s newest team. Their selling point is to become the sum of the parts of the entire Western Sydney region. That includes all sides of the Balkan divide. Being put only in the Croatian corner isn’t just wrong, it hurts. Hurts the Wanderers, hurts the A-League. Those pushing that barrow need to take a long, hard, look in the mirror. In this case, the idle gossip is doing far more damage than it’s worth.

So what’s brought it about? The coaching appointments, fundamentally. Head coach Tony Popovic and his assistant, brother-in-law Ante Milicic, played for Sydney United, and have Croatian heritage. Does it matter they were born here, and played for the Socceroos? It does, and it should. The same goes for goalkeeper Ante Covic – another fall guy for the Chinese whisperers.

True enough, the first two imports signed by the Wanderers (Dino Kresinger and Mateo Poljak) came from Croatia. So what? Does the fact that John van’t Schip once signed Rutger Worm make Melbourne Heart a Dutch club? Was Rini Coolen guilty of the same charge because he signed Andy Slory for Adelaide United? Are Perth Glory a Scottish club because Ian Ferguson signed countrymen Steve McGarry and Liam Miller? What about Sydney FC, when former Czech coach Vitezslav Lavicka signed Karol Kisel not once, but on two occasions? Popovic went to Croatia for his first two foreigners because he knows the league, and the players were available at the right price. His judgment should stand or fall on their performance, not their passport.

Sadly, just as the steam was going out of the rumour mill, the Wanderers turned up to play at Sydney United, and there was trouble. Not the level of trouble portrayed by the usual couple of media outlets, but enough to put some heat back into the discussion. Starting off the back foot, Wanderers boss Lyall Gorman has since been telling everyone that by the time his operation is bedded down, there will be just five employees from about 80 who have a Croatian background. It’s a telling fact, but the hard part is to get people to listen.

Why all this matters is because sooner rather than later, the game needs to leave this baggage behind. There was a time when nationalists used clubs like Sydney United, like Footscray, like Preston, like Sydney Olympic, as a forum for their grievances. It is a part of the game’s history, and can’t, and shouldn’t, be whitewashed. But where it counts – on the ground in the old Yugoslavia – things have moved on.

Just recently, I was in Montenegro. Every second car had a Croatian number plate. The owner of my hotel in Kotor, a Serb, crosses the border to have lunch in Dubrovnik at least once a week. You can have adult conversations about culture, religion and politics, and nobody pulls a knife, or a gun. You can even talk about the war if you want to, but everyone would rather leave that at the door. I’ve also been to Slovenia, and to Croatia, and I’ve seen this level of maturity evolve as the conflict becomes more distant. And yet in a corner of south-western Sydney, there are still some morons – and I only use that term because this is a family newspaper – who prefer to hold a grudge, and ambush football matches to make their point.

That is manna from heaven for hair-trigger police and flash-happy photographers, as we’ve seen, once again. True enough, Sydney United should have got rid of their hooligan fringe a long time ago. That apathy has come at an enormous cost. And it is a sad fact that even in the NSW Premier League, games between Sydney United and Serbian-backed Bonnyrigg White Eagles still have to be held behind closed doors. Not that long ago, Mark Rudan, a former Sydney United player, was abused by supporters when he ventured to Bonnyrigg as coach of the visiting team. It wasn’t Sydney United, but Rockdale City. Some people just don’t want to let go.

Eventually they will, given time, and space. Which is why resurrecting old prejudices by pointing the finger at the Wanderers needs to stop. The club doesn’t need it, or deserve it. In the meantime, I’ll give the final word to Alex Kennedy, who sent me this email in the wake of the so-called “riot” at Edensor Park. It makes more sense than I ever could.

“Dear Michael,

I read with great interest your article on Sydney United mainly because I have had the honour to be associated over the last year with many of the real members of this club. Prior to this year I have been pretty much a rugby union supporter and had not taken much interest in the round ball game…there is a good deal of very talented, well-behaved young men coming through the ranks of Sydney soccer and in particular Sydney United. The players from under 13 and up clearly demonstrate high respect for their coaches, managers, the patrons and the club itself. Therefore it is such a shame to see the ill disciplined, non-membered rabble attend games for the sole purpose of creating upset. The behaviour of the rabble is so divorced from that of the true membership. I have come to know many of the Croatian and other nationality members of this club and can attest to their wonderful character and behaviour. Many residents of greater Sydney could learn a lot from them. Every code has or has had this problem so the soccer officials could learn from the experiences of the other codes. The ball is now at the feet of the clubs and the association to fix this problem, so I wish them the very best to ensure the world game is as appreciated in Australia as it is in the rest of the world.”

Hear, hear.

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Dudley shark attack victim recovering in WA

THE Dudley surfer attacked by a shark at a remote Western Australian beach has undergone surgery.
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Jon Hines, 34, was bitten on the torso and right arm by the unidentified species of shark at Red Bluff, a renowned surfing spot about 150 kilometres north of Carnarvon, yesterday afternoon.

Newcastle man treated after shark attack

A Royal Perth hospital spokeswoman said the man was undergoing surgery this morning for his injuries.

The WA Today website is reporting that Margaret River-based surfing legend Jeff Goulden, who goes by the name of “Camel”, was being hailed a hero after pulling Mr Hines out of the water after the attack.

Margaret River Surfrider Foundation president, Gene Hardy said it sounded like something Camel would do.

“He’s a big-wave surfer, he has no fear, for sure he’d put him on his big board and take him in,” Mr Hardy said.

Mr Hardy said Camel was an eccentric character who had been part of the Margaret River surf scene for years.

Mr Hines was initially bitten around the abdomen but suffered a savage arm injury as he attempted to fight off a second attack.

He was pulled from the water, conscious and in good spirits, and driven in a private car to Carnarvon Hospital, a two-hour drive on unsealed roads, from the remote beach.

He was flown to Perth overnight for emergency surgery.

His wife, Bridget, has flown from Newcastle to be by his side.

Witnesses told of bloodied water and Mr Hines who was in ‘‘good spirits’’ as he was pulled to safety.

Rebecca Caldwell said her children, who were in the water at the time of the attack, noticed an injured surfer but did not see the shark.

‘‘The water was full of blood,’’ she said.

‘‘He was conscious the whole way back, though he was OK, he was good.

‘‘He’s in good spirits, as well as he could be.’’

Mr Hines had been staying with former Novocastrians at popular beachside camping location Three Mile Camp in Gnaraloo after arriving in the area six days ago.

He had flown into Exmouth via Perth from Newcastle last week.

The attack comes after reports that a four-metre shark had been seen in the same area last week by a recreational fisherman.

VICTIM: Dudley’s Jon Hines is flown to hospital for surgery.

Beaches in the area were closed for 24 hours following the attack.