Rein in banks say vic­tims

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - SU­SAN OONG

THE cur­tains have closed tem­po­rar­ily on Ho­bart’s his­toric The­atre Royal, as the build­ing pre­pares for an up­grade and to al­low works to con­tinue on the ad­ja­cent Hed­berg site.

Last night’s per­for­mance by the Im­pe­rial Rus­sian Bal­let Com­pany was the fi­nal show be­fore the six-month shut­down, which will in­volve the box of­fice mov­ing from the the­atre’s cramped ground-floor foyer into a pur- pose-built space within the Hed­berg com­plex.

This new space — which will also house cloak­rooms and more bath­rooms — will later con­nect the ex­ist­ing The­atre Royal to the new $96 mil­lion Hed­berg cen­tre, due to open in Novem­ber 2019.

While the the­atre won’t be pre­sent­ing works in other venues dur­ing the clo­sure, the shut­down has come af­ter a bumper 2018 sea­son, with nine months’ worth of pro­gram­ming con­densed into six, in­clud­ing the suc­cess­ful We Will Rock You shows. “Late in Novem­ber we’ll be launch­ing our new sea­son, as we al­ways do,” said The­atre Royal chief ex­ec­u­tive Tim Munro.

“We will have a full sea­son with 20-some­thing works, so once we re­open in May, in time for the Uni Re­vue, it’s full steam ahead.”

The Hed­berg per­form­ing arts precinct will have three per­for­mance spa­ces, re­built back-of-house ar­eas — in­clud­ing bet­ter dress­ing rooms and load­ing fa­cil­i­ties — and lifts. “It’s such an ex­cit­ing project for Ho­bart,” Mr Munro said.

“With the new stu­dio stage and the recital space, along with the cur­rent the­atre, we’ll have mul­ti­ple stages where we can sched­ule events at the same time so works don’t miss out.

“We can present con­tem­po­rary work that re­quires a more in­ti­mate, smaller set­ting, and we’ll have a plat­form we can more vi­ably tell, make and ex­port Tas­ma­nian work from.”

Ac­tor and pro­ducer John X said with Ho­bart’s ac­cel­er­at­ing arts scene a mod­ern arts hub was needed.

“There’s no rea­son why a whole fes­ti­val, like the Fes­ti­val of Voices, wouldn’t be in there for a fort­night and take over the whole place. You could have stuff in the foy­ers, you could have stuff out­side and have the The­atre Royal and the three other spa­ces to use. I think it will have a lot of ap­peal.” The The­atre Royal is Aus­tralia’s old­est, con­tin­u­ously op­er­at­ing the­atre. VIC­TIMS of bad bank­ing prac­tises have backed the royal com­mis­sion’s call to im­ple­ment tighter checks on bor­row­ers.

In the in­terim re­port, Com­mis­sioner Ken­neth Hayne, QC, called out lenders for fail­ing to probe their cus­tomers’ liv­ing ex­penses be­fore hand­ing out cash.

Bank­ing ex­perts ex­pect lend­ing stan­dards to be tight­ened, mak­ing it harder for Aus­tralians to get a mort­gage, credit card or loan.

Rien Low, whose fam­ily’s case was pre­sented to the royal com­mis­sion in May, said banks were “lend­ing money willynilly”. The Fi­nan­cial Om­buds­man Ser­vice, ruled that one of his late fa­ther’s five loans — worth $240,000 — was ir­re­spon­si­ble.

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