Glass House Mountains State School held their Run4Fun

This morning, Glass House Mountains State School held their Run4Fun. It was great to be there and watch on as the students and their parents climbed up, over, through and under obstacles, sliding down the hill of foam and water with a little help from the fire brigade to hose them off. It is wonderful to see the $5k contribution go a long way by providing a fun event for the school, students and the local Glasshouse community.

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Steels Creek Estate 2013 Cabernet Franc

Steels Creek CFCabernet Franc is not a style that we often see vinified as a single varietal, but when it’s done well, it can be at least the equal of its better known cousin, Cabernet Sauvignon.  Most frequently, Cabernet Franc is used in the classic Bordeaux blends to provide charm, aromatics and fragrance to what is my all-time favourite red blend.

In Victoria’s Yarra Valley there aren’t a lot of winemakers braving a single varietal of the style, but on a recent field trip we happened upon the Steels Creek Estate 2013 Cabernet Franc.

It’s a remarkably vivacious style in its youth and shows a lively deep cherry colour in the glass with a lighter rufescent edge on the rim.  Whilst it’s only medium in body, there is a vibrance to the blackcurrant and cranberry fruits that emerge from the savoury shadows of your first whiff in the glass. The luscious red fruits evolve and embrace the palate in a generous bear hug before tobacco and cassis undercurrents appear at the back end.  The balance is terrific as oak characters embolden on the finish and allow the seductive Cabernet Franc to fragrantly weave its intoxicating aura, leaving your taste buds yearning for that next sip.

It’s a wine made only in small quantities (one barrique) so economies of scale aren’t able to constrain the cost, but even at $40 a bottle, I reckon it’s a “must” for the discerning cellar.

Our wine reviewer, Travis Schultz, is a practice group leader of Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers, part of the Slater and Gordon group, and lover of fine food and wine

Taylors St Andrews Single Vineyard Clare Valley Shiraz 2009

Taylors St Andrews ShirazThey are the Artisans who created one of my all-time favourite Rieslings and now, the team at Taylors are using fruit from the very same region to craft a Shiraz that arouses my tastebuds in much the same way.

The Taylors St Andrews Shiraz hails from South Australia’s Clare Valley and the 2009 vintage I recently cracked is even more impressive now than when I was first blessed with the experience some three or four years ago.

In the glass, it’s a deep, dark bloodshot colour which is rufescent around the edges.  There are hints of savoury molasses characters on the nose, but once on the front palate, its layer upon layer of delicious (sweet) stewed plums and toffee apple characters with an edge of chocolate, black forest cake and coffee at the back end.  It almost makes me feel like I’m visiting the Shingle Inn!

But the real appeal of the St Andrews is its undeniable richness and the mouth filling, yet voluptuous feel of the premium Shiraz fruit as it transitions across every stage of the palate.

Not surprisingly, it isn’t cheap (the current vintage sells at $65 a bottle), but class costs: and I suspect it will only improve over the next decade or so.

Our wine reviewer, Travis Schultz, is a practice group leader of Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers, part of the Slater and Gordon group, and lover of fine food and wine

Slater and Gordon Group recognise high academic achievement on the Sunshine Coast

(left to right) Bronte Newcombe, Sarah Dennis, Kent Olive

(left to right) Bronte Newcombe, Sarah Dennis, Kent Olive

Slater and Gordon Group have donated $1,500 to the highest achieving law students from University of the Sunshine Coast, recognising their outstanding academic results.

Slater and Gordon Lawyer Sarah Dennis presented the donation at the Sunshine Coast Awards Night and congratulated the students on their outstanding efforts.

“Slater and Gordon Group are proud to provide support to excelling students to reward their high academic achievements,” Ms Dennis said.

“Many students go above and beyond during their studies, going that extra mile to ensure they are getting the most out of the opportunities available to them.

“The time and effort that they put into their studies should be commended and exemplified for future students to aspire to.”

Ms Dennis said the 2016 recipients had exceeded expectation and were sure to have prosperous futures ahead of them.

“The two winners were awarded high distinctions in their respective subjects, one scoring a flawless 100% overall,” Ms Dennis said.

“They have both set extremely high standards for their classmates and on behalf of the Slater and Gordon Group, I would like to wish them all the best through their future study and career.”

Each year the Slater and Gordon Group sponsor the Legal Awards, donating two prizes valued at $750 each to two of the highest achieving students.

Four Important Facts You Need to Know About Settlement

Courtney Barton 1. What is a Property Settlement?

When a marriage or a de facto relationship ends, the parties should always finalise their financial ties with one another.  This may involve the transfer of ownership of real estate, cash, superannuation or other property from one party to another.  For example, if the matrimonial home is in joint names the parties may agree that the house be sold and the proceeds divided. Alternatively, the parties may agree that one party receives the house and makes a cash payment of some nature to the other party to ‘buy out’ their interest.

When you are separating, it is important to obtain legal advice from a Solicitor specialising in family law, in order to determine your entitlements.

2. How do I formalise our property settlement?

Any agreement reached between you and your former partner should always be formalised (recorded legally).

There are two ways of recording a property settlement agreement between two separated parties:

  1. A Consent Order; or a
  2. Binding Financial Agreement.

A Consent Order is an Order which both parties have agreed to and the Family Court approves before making the Order, to ensure it is just and equitable.

A Binding Financial Agreement is an agreement between parties which has not been scrutinised by a Court to ensure it is just and equitable however the parties must consult with a Solicitor to make the agreement valid.

You should talk to your Solicitor about which form of agreement is right for you.

3. Why is it important to formalise your property settlement?

There are several reasons:

  • A Consent Order & Binding Financial Agreement are legally binding. This means that if the other party does not comply with the agreement, you have recourse to the Court to enforce compliance of the agreement.
  •  It finalises your financial relationship with your former partner. This means that your former partner cannot make a further property settlement claim against you.

4. Why is it important to do your property settlement promptly after you separate?

If you do not finalise your property settlement promptly after separation, this means your financial ties with one another have not been severed and you leave yourself open to a property settlement claim being made against you in the future, subject to relevant time limitations.

The value of the asset pool is not the date of separation it is when you make an agreement or when a Judge determines your matter.

This means that if your super interest increases, or you acquire a new asset or you improve the value of an asset post separation, but prior to a property settlement, it forms part of the property pool to be split between you and your former partner.

You should not leave yourself open to your improved superannuation entitlements,  or assets acquired/improved by you post separation,  forming part of your  property settlement.

Alternatively, if your former partner sells an asset or wastes away funds in the property pool, post separation, and applies the income for his/her own benefit, the property pool is reduced therefore reducing your entitlements. This is because the Court cannot deal with assets that no longer exist.

The only caveat to the above is that the Court has discretion to take into account financial contributions of the parties or wastage of matrimonial assets post separation.

It  is in your interests to formalise your property settlement sooner rather than later so that you can re-establish your financial position without a potential property settlement application hanging over your head in the future depending on time limitations.

Slater and Gordon Group Support the Sunshine Coast Surf Season


Coolum Beach Surf Club – Sarah Dennis

Dicky Beach - Liz Catton

Dicky Beach Surf Club – Liz Catton

Mudjimba Surf Club

Mudjimba Surf Club – Michael Callow

Surf clubs across the Sunshine Coast have received a cash bonus to support their nippers as part of the Slater and Gordon Group Surf Cheque initiative.

The initiative which ran throughout the lifesaving season recognized the important contribution surf clubs make to the Sunshine Coast community by awarding $1000 towards their junior nipper program.

The winning surf lifesaving clubs included:

  • Dicky Beach SLSC
  • Alexandra SLSC
  • Mudjimba Beach SLSC
  • Coolum Beach SLSC
  • Sunshine Beach SLSC
  • Metropolitan Caloundra

Principal Lawyer Michael Callow said it is important to support our local surf clubs to ensure our beaches are kept safe.

“The Sunshine Coast surf lifesaving clubs are the heart and soul of our beaches and many members volunteer their time each summer to ensure the safety of beachgoers,” Mr Callow said.

“It is important that we continue to support these clubs and the hard work and dedication their members deliver to the community, especially when it comes to the great training programs they provide to the nippers.”

Senior Associate Liz Catton said Slater and Gordon Group are proud to support surf clubs on the Sunshine Coast.

“Surf Clubs are often run by volunteers and rely heavily on donations from the community,” Ms Catton said.

“The Slater and Gordon Group Surf Cheque initiative recognize the importance of these training programs and are proud to assist in the training of our future lifesavers.”

Mudjimba Beach Surf Club Junior Activities Chairman Adam Amos said the club were extremely grateful for the donation made by the Slater and Gordon Group.

“The $1000 went towards paying for half of the registration fees for our surf sport participants who competed at the branch championships,” Mr Amos said.

“We were also able to pay for half of the registration fees for 12 youth to undertake SLSQ Camp Commando Program.”


The Importance of Engaging a Family Lawyer

Angela Tondelstrand DSC_8770Angela Tondelstrand, Principal Lawyer of STOLaw, part of the Slater and Gordon Group at North Lakes, explains the importance of engaging a lawyer when separating and that not all matters will end up in court if all appropriate avenues and steps are been taken.

Q1. Why is it important to engage a lawyer in the early stages of separation?  So that you can be aware of your rights and responsibilities upon separation, the likely effect of changes in circumstances, and can take steps to protect your rights if there is a risk that time and changing circumstances can have a negative effect.

Q2. How can a lawyer assist someone going through a separation? By advising a party of their options, tailored to the circumstances of the client, whilst also informing of the various opportunities, risks and costs that those options pose.  The lawyer would then follow the client’s instructions to navigate a resolution, usually by negotiation with the other party.

Q3. What is the most important factor/s to consider when separating? Obtaining timely advice from a specialist legal advisor who is not afraid to tell you what you need to know, and not necessarily what you want to hear.

Q4. There is a common misconception that seeing a lawyer will mean you will have to go to court. Is that correct? Absolutely not!  In my experience most matters do not require a court process to resolve, and except in limited circumstances, lawyers should attempt negotiations if reasonably and practically possible, to avoid unnecessary waste of a client’s time and money.

Seville Hill No 8 Shiraz 2012

Seville HillWhat was once a small apple and cherry orchard near Seville in Victoria’s Yarra Valley is now Seville Hill Estate; a six hectare vineyard producing low volumes of high quality Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Shiraz grapes.  Agriculturalists John and Josie D’Alosio removed the fruit trees and planted Cabernet Sauvignon vines in 1991, but have since expanded their range to include graftings of some Italian styles like Nebbiolo, Barbera, Sangiovese and Tempranillo in 2011.

And while their Cabernet is excellent, I reckon their 2012 No 8 Shiraz is the standout from the stable.  It’s a perfect compromise between structure and power as the upfront black cherry and mocha characters robustly drive their way through a mouth-filling mid-palate, before pepper and subtle spices meet French Oak and subdued tannins at the finish.  It’s a wine of great integrity as it flows seamlessly despite layer upon layer of flavours unfolding as it weaves its magic through your mouth.

There’s enough natural acidity to suggest that despite its current drinkability, it will only improve over the next decade or so – not that I can see it laying in my cellar racks for that long!

At $60 a bottle it’s not a quaffer, but undoubtedly one of the best Shiraz from the region that I have ever had the privilege to enjoy.