Billionaire takes stake in Bindaree Beef

Australian beef processor Bindaree Beef Group (BBG) has had another crack at securing a Chinese investment partner – this time successful.


Bindaree Beef has sold a 51 per cent stake in the company to the Hong Kong-based Hui family and the Hui-backed Archstone Investment Co in return for a “significant” investment in Bindaree Beef.

The amount of the investment has not been disclosed but is believed to be between $100 million and $150 million.

The deal, which has been approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board, was settled by both parties on Thursday.

The Hui family is the controlling shareholder in the Hong Kong-listed property developer Shimao Group which has projects in Hong Kong, Asia and Australia.

The Shimao Group was founded by Australian billionaire Hui Wing Mau, who was ranked eighth on the Financial Review’s 2017 Rich List, with a fortune of $5.96 billion.

Mr Hui lives in Hong Kong.

The transaction comes after an agreement in October, 2015, with Chinese meat processor Shandong Delisi Food Co to take a 45 per cent stake in Bindaree for $140 million failed to settle.

Bindaree Beef founder JR McDonald said the partnership with Archstone and the Hui family will enable Bindaree to expand its operations to have a greater domestic and international reach.

“Our joint vision for BBG is to create a more competitive company that can cater for both local and international markets,” Mr McDonald said in a statement on Friday.

“We will rapidly expand our reach while also upgrading our facilities, supply chain and distribution.”

Bindaree operates a processing plant at Inverell in northern NSW, which has a capacity of 300,000 cattle a year, and the Myola feedlot at North Star in northern NSW.

Archstone Investment is headquartered in Beijing, and has interests in the food, agriculture, technology and medical sectors in China, Hong Kong and Australia.

Archstone has agriculture-related interests in Western Australia.

Children the ‘true victims’ in Ebert case

The distraught mother of suspected outback murder victim Tanja Ebert says her daughter’s two orphaned children “are the true victims in this tragedy”.


Andrea Ebert arrived from Germany as the search continued for the 23-year-old.

Ms Ebert says it’s hard not knowing what happened to Tanja but the family still has hopes she will be found alive.

“We worry about Tanja and Michael’s two young sons, who are the true victims in this tragedy,” she said in a statement read by police on Friday.

“Their well-being is our utmost priority, with Michael’s family we share in their future.”

Michael Burdon, father of the two boys aged one and three, killed himself last month as police began to investigate his wife’s disappearance.

He remains the only suspect in her likely murder.

But Ms Ebert’s family described the 41-year-old as a “wonderful” father.

“We do not feel hopeless,” they said in the statement.

“It’s our hope to find Tanja alive and well. We also grieve for Michael Burdon.

“We knew Michael as a wonderful father, a good friend and a sociable person.”

On Friday, mounted police joined other officers at the family’s 410 square kilometre sheep station near Mannahill, northeast of Adelaide.

But police said it was difficult to predict the result of the search given the remoteness and enormity of the property.

They have been searching old mine sites and other areas of interest on the property since Wednesday with the help of mining experts and specialist camera equipment.

The last time Ms Ebert was seen by people other than her family was on August 8 when she visited the SA Museum in Adelaide with her husband and sons.

As the family drove back to Mannahill, Mr Burdon told police she became agitated and got out of the car near Roseworthy, north of the city, and walked off.

But he did not report her missing. Another family member contacted authorities two days later.

Ms Ebert arrived in Australia from Germany several years ago and married Mr Burdon in February.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Dual UK-Aust citizen denies coin smuggling

A man with dual British-Australian citizenship whose new wife mysteriously vanished as they sailed off the Cuban coast will deny smuggling stolen gold and silver coins worth up to $US100,000 ($A125,770), his lawyer says.


Lewis Bennett, 40, sent an SOS call saying Isabella Hellmann was missing and his catamaran was taking on water, prompting an FBI investigation.

He was rescued alone in his life raft, where investigators say they later found a stash of silver coins.

A haul of golden coins was also found in a search of the couple’s home in the US state of Florida.

Bennett will appear in court for a bail hearing on Friday after his arrest over the coins.

His lawyer, Marc Shiner, says he will deny a charge of transporting the coins while knowing that they have been stolen.

The search for 41-year-old Hellmann was called off days after she was reported missing in the early hours of May 15, but the investigation into her disappearance is continuing.

During his rescue, Bennett took a suitcase and two backpacks into his life raft but left with just one “unusually heavy” backpack, according to a coast guard.

Special Agent James Kelley alleges that 158 British Year of the Horse silver coins and 77 Canadian Maple Leaf coins were found in Bennett’s raft.

After a visit to the UK, Bennett went back to his Florida home later in May and the FBI returned the coins.

But later that day they realised Bennett had reported to police in May 2016 that coins had been burgled from a sailing boat, Kitty R, that he had been working on in St Maarten, according to court documents.

Investigators returned to his home to discover 162 gold coins stashed in a pair of boat shoes in a bedroom cupboard, it is alleged.

The FBI says Kitty R’s owner confirmed that all the coins discovered were the ones taken from the vessel.

PM calls cashless welfare cards an exercise in love

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the Western Australian town of Kalgoorlie on Friday to announce the expansion of the mandatory welfare trial will begin there next year.


The card is compulsory for working-age welfare recipients and will affect approximately 3,000 people in the region.

It quarantines 80 per cent of welfare payments to the debit card so it can’t be spent on alcohol, drugs or gambling. The remaining 20 per cent can be used as cash.

“If you love somebody and they are spending all their money on booze and drugs, what are you going to do” Mr Turnbull asked after a meeting with community leaders in Kalgoorlie.

“You are going to try to stop it and get them to spend it on foods and clothes and necessities of life.”

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An independent evaluation of the scheme in the towns of Ceduna and Kununurra found it had led to significant decreases in harmful behaviour among the current 2,100 trial participants.

“Almost 41 per cent of people are saying that they are now drinking less as a result of this card, 48 per cent of people are saying they are taking fewer drugs, 48 per cent of people are saying they are gambling less,” Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said.

“This trial has gone better than we could possibly have hoped for.”

Mr Tudge says the government will roll out the next trial around Kalgoorlie because there is a demonstrable need in the community, particularly given the harm caused by drugs.

“And secondly because there’s community leadership support here for it,” he told the ABC earlier.

But Greens community spokeswoman Rachel Siewert is disappointed about the expected announcement.

“I am concerned about the impacts this will have on people in the Goldfields community, particularly those on a working age-payment who are on a shoestring budget and cannot afford to have their income quarantined against their will,” she said.

Initial figures from the 300-page report show the program has led to falls in alcohol abuse and family violence, The Australian reported.

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Storm focused on keeping momentum: Bellamy

With a minor premiership presentation, milestones and farewells all a part of Melbourne’s last-round clash with Canberra, Storm coach Craig Bellamy says it’s important his team keep focus on the NRL finals.


Melbourne host the Raiders at AAMI Park on Saturday night and are using the match as veteran halfback Cooper Cronk’s home and away farewell, while their skipper Cameron Smith will draw level with Darren Lockyer for the most-ever NRL games played at 355.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona is playing his 50th NRL match while Billy Slater needs just one try to match ex-Sea Eagles forward Steve Menzies for the second most tries ever scored, with the pair trailing former Norths and Manly flyer Ken Irvine.

And Smith will be presented with the JJ Giltinan Shield for winning the NRL minor premiership which they secured two weeks ago.

Despite all of the approaching fanfare, Bellamy said it was vital his team still focused on performing.

“It’s really important that we keep our momentum going,” Bellamy said on Friday.

“It’s a big occasion and all those things are important to us as a club but I don’t think it will be hard because there’s some important things ahead.

“If you go into a game not caring about the result or your performance, well that’s not what we’re about.”

Although the Raiders will miss the finals, Bellamy expected them to be a good warm-up for the play-offs and test his team’s defensive structures.

Despite being 10th on the ladder Canberra rank third in terms of points scored.

“Even though we’re playing a team that’s not in the eight this year they’re a real good footy team so I’m sure they will be keen to go out on a good note,” Bellamy said.

“They’ve got some real dangerous individuals and guys who can carry the ball really well; they’re a big, mobile side.”

Meanwhile, Melbourne confirmed they had signed North Queensland prop Patrick Kaufusi, the younger brother of current Storm forward Felice and ex-Melbourne player Antonio.

Patrick, 23, will replace Cowboys-bound prop Jordan McLean.