Daily News Roundup

May 23, 2018

Adelaide Archbishop to stand down after abuse cover-up conviction

THE highest ranking official in South Australia’s Catholic Church will stand aside from his duties after being found guilty of landmark charges that he covered up a priest’s sexual abuse of altar boys.

The Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Edward Wilson, 67, was convicted yesterday in a Newcastle Local Court for the cover up of child sex abuse during the 1970s in NSW Hunter region.

Magistrate Robert Stone handed down the verdict following a magistrate-only trial, finding him guilty of concealing a serious indictable offence of another person.

In a statement issued by the Catholic Church on Wednesday, Wilson said it was appropriate for him to stand aside in light of Magistrate Stone’s findings against him.

“If at any point in time it becomes necessary or appropriate for me to take more formal steps, including by resigning as Archbishop, then I will do so,” he said.

He now faces a maximum two years in jail with sentencing to occur on June 19.

Optus fined $1.5 million for misleading NBN customers

The Federal Court has ordered Optus to pay a penalty of $1.5 million for misleading customers about its National Broadband Network transition process.

Optus only gained a $750,000 benefit from its conduct, half the penalty imposed by the court, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

From October 2015 to March 2017, Optus told 14,000 of its customers that their internet services would be cut off in as little as 30 days unless they transitioned to an NBN plan.

However, the terms of Optus’ contract did not permit disconnections in such a short timeframe.

The telco also misled customers by saying they could only sign up with Optus NBN when they, in fact, they had the option to consider competing networks like Telstra, TPG, iiNet and many others.

Optus had a financial incentive as it receives migration payments from NBN Co for each customer it moves to an NBN-based service.

Receiving these payments was important for Optus, which even went as far as calling them “bounty” — and formed part of their annual financial targets.

“Businesses should not make false representations which distort customers’ decision making,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

“This is particularly important when many Australians are moving to the NBN for the first time.

Since the ACCC began investigating Optus, the telco has paid $833,000 to compensate customers who had their services disconnected.

Hobart now Australia’s most unaffordable city for tenants, new report finds

Hobart has pipped Sydney to claim the unenviable title of Australia’s most unaffordable capital for tenants with the gap widening between incomes and the amount needed for rent, a new report has found.

The Rental Affordability Index (RAI) is an indicator of the price of rents nationwide relative to household incomes based on new rental agreements.

The biannual study is published by National Shelter Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics and Planning.

From being seen a budget alternative to the mainland cities, Hobart’s unprecedented real estate sales boom combined with low incomes, a tourism burst and a surge in former rental properties being offered as short-term accommodation, has catapulted it to the top of the RAI.

The latest report showed tenants in Hobart were spending 29 per cent of their wages on rent with Sydney renters close behind with 27 per cent, followed by Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth.

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