ASX appoints Dominic Stevens as new chief executive officer

ASX appoints Dominic Stevens as new chief executive officer

James Eyers

Former Challenger chief executive Dominic Stevens has been appointed the new managing director and chief executive of the ASX. He starts in the position today. 

Mr Stevens moves to leadership of the ASX executive team from the boardroom: he has been a non-executive director of the ASX since December 2013. He is also a director of peer-to-peer lender SocietyOne. 

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ASX boss quits amid Tabcorp scandal

Find out why the head of Australia’s stock exchange Elmer Funke Kupper resigned unexpectedly. (Video courtesy ABC News 24)

He was CEO of Challenger from 2008 to 2012 and before that was at Bankers Trust Australia.

In a statement to the ASX on Monday morning announcing the appointment, Mr Stevens said ASX “is in a strong position, has an enviable reputation and is well positioned for future opportunities”. 

New ASX boss Dominic Stevens' fixed remuneration will be $2 million, with a short-term incentive of between $2 million ... New ASX boss Dominic Stevens’ fixed remuneration will be $2 million, with a short-term incentive of between $2 million and $3 million.  

“The financial markets are dynamic and ASX will continue to adapt to the changing conditions and needs of its customers. I am looking forward to working more closely with the talented people at ASX, and taking the company’s competitiveness and strong commitments to innovation and customer service to the next level.”

The ASX released a summary of key terms of Mr Stevens’ employment contract. His fixed remuneration will be $2 million, with a short-term incentive of between $2 million and $3 million. 

Mr Stevens’ appointment comes after former ASX CEO Elmer Funke Kupper resigned in March in the wake of corruption allegations dating back to when Mr Funke Kupper ran Tabcorp.

ASX said Melinda Conrad would replace Mr Stevens on the the ASX board as a non-executive director. 

One of Mr Stevens’ big initial strategic decisions will be whether to adopt blockchain technology for the ASX’s clearing and settlement systems. ASX owns 8.5 per cent of Digital Asset Holdings, the blockchain start-up run by former JPMorgan executive Blythe Masters, which is investigating whether a real-time distributed ledger system can be built for the ASX to replace CHESS. A decision on whether to proceed with the technology is expected next year. 

Investors have also been pushing ASX to pursue growth by developing strategic partnerships with other exchanges in the region and globally.

ASX reported underlying profit after tax of $317 million for the nine months to March 31, which was up 5.9 per cent on revenue that was 7 per cent higher. The ASX makes 35 per cent of its revenue from derivatives and OTC markets, 26 per cent from listings services, 25 per cent from trading services and 14 per cent from clearing and settlement. 

The ASX’s only competition comes from trading exchange Chi-X Australia, which is now owned by US private equity firm JC Flowers. 

In March, the federal government said it will end the ASX’s monopoly over clearing share trades mid next year – which analysts said could make it a target from overseas suitors. The ASX’s 15 per cent foreign ownership restriction can now be waived by the Treasurer. 

Mr Stevens’ appointment to CEO of ASX was predicted by The Australian Financial Review‘s Rear Window column

ASX chairman Rick Holliday-Smith said in the announcement Mr Stevens’ “long involvement in financial markets, his experience as a CEO and his time as a director means the ASX board is delighted and confident in making this appointment. He is popular and highly regarded by ASX’s board, staff and major stakeholders. Dom is ideally qualified to lead the company and build on ASX’s achievements”. 

Ms Conrad, who will stand for election to the board at the ASX annual general meeting on September 28, is a non-executive director of OzForex Group and the Reject Shop, and was previously on the boards of David Jones and APN News & Media.

Lithium, Super Pit hot topics at Diggers

Lithium, Super Pit hot topics at Diggers

Lithium and the sale of half of Kalgoorlie’s aptly-named Super Pit gold mine are expected to be hot topics at this year’s Diggers and Dealers mining conference.

Speaking on the eve of the three-day talkfest in Western Australia’s Goldfields region, Deloitte clients and markets partner Tim Richards said gold and silver had confirmed their status as safe-haven assets in what proved to be another volatile year for global commodities.

The sale of the Super Pit In Kalgoorlie is a hot topic. The sale of the Super Pit In Kalgoorlie is a hot topic. 

Investors flocked to the precious metals amid heightened economic and political uncertainty from Brexit and the forthcoming US election.

“Depending on what happens with the US election, we might even see higher prices,” Mr Richards said.

“If Donald Trump does get in, then people will want to go further into safer assets.”

Lithium will be a key talking point amid soaring prices as investors bet on rising demand for electric car batteries and general power storage devices.

Crowning Deloitte’s list of movers in its WA Index top 20 is lithium miner Galaxy Resources, which increased its market capitalisation by 1567 per cent from $40 million to $662 million in the year to June 30.

Galaxy’s merger target, General Mining Corporation, topped the list of movers in Deloitte’s WA Index top 100, with its market capitalisation skyrocketing by 3513 per cent from $7 million to $253 million.

Despite such spectacular figures, the collective value of all WA-based listed companies grew by a mere 1.8 per cent in 2015/16, although that’s a big turnaround from an 11.6 per cent fall in the previous financial year.

“Last year was really, really bad and that was despite South32 listing,” Mr Richards said.

“To even get back to positive territory this year was pretty good.

“We’re still lower than where we were prior to this recent period of commodity price volatility, so there’s still some work to do.”

Mr Richards said stand-out performers among the major mining companies in the index included Northern Star Resources and Fortescue Metals, which has dramatically reduced its iron ore production costs to $US14.31 per wet metric tonne.

Gold miner Northern Star Resources last week posted a 65 per cent jump in full-year net profit to a record $151.4 million.

Mr Richards said he expected to hear much talk at Diggers and Dealers about Barrick Gold’s recently revealed plans to sell its 50 per cent stake in the Super Pit gold mine, which abuts Kalgoorlie and is a whopping 1.5km wide.

Newmont Mining, which owns the other half, is considered the obvious buyer but the strong gold price could attract other bidders.



Tabcorp buys gaming systems group INTECQ for $115m

Tabcorp buys gaming systems group INTECQ for $115m

James Thomson

Tabcorp will acquire ASX-listed gaming technology group INTECQ for $115 million in deal that will Tabcorp says will strengthen its gaming services division and at $20 million to underlying earnings. 

The Melbourne-based gaming giant, which owns the TAB wagering networks in Victoria and New South Wales, will pay $7.15 a share for INTECQ, which closed at $5.44 on Friday. 

INTECQ provides gaming technology services including gaming machine monitoring to 1200 licensed venues and a network of ... INTECQ provides gaming technology services including gaming machine monitoring to 1200 licensed venues and a network of more than 70,000 gaming machines across Australia.  Photo: Brendan Esposito

INTECQ, formerly known as eBET, provides gaming technology services including gaming machine monitoring to 1200 licensed venues and a network of more than 70,000 gaming machines across Australia. 

The INTECQ board has backed the Tabcorp bid. 

Tabcorp’s Gaming Services division provides pubs and clubs with a range of services, including supplying gaming machines, marketing and loyalty programs and even financing for venue refurbishment. 

Sydney-based INTECQ, which is chaired by former chief executive Aristocrat Leisure, has two businesses. eBET provides loyalty and rewards programs, cashless gaming systems and back-office productivity tools for pubs, clubs and casinos. Odyssey Gaming is a licensed monitoring operator that has provided monitoring and compliance services to the Queensland gaming since 1998. 

The company said in May that its net profit for the 2016 financial year would be 27-35 per cent up on last year ato $7.7-8.2 million. 

Tabcorp chief executive David Attenborough would provided “increased scale and diversification of earnings” for the group. 

“INTECQ has a track record of innovation. We look forward to combining capabilities to strengthen our market-leading gaming and venue services offering.”

INTECQ’s deputy executive chairman Tony Toohey and its acting chief executive Pater Watford wil stay with the business after the deal is complete. 

Tabcorp said hte deal would generate earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and ammortisation of about $20 million in the year following completion of the deal. 

London fairground nightmare as 19 rescued after ride stuck 20m above ground

London fairground nightmare as 19 rescued after ride stuck 20m above ground

Nineteen people, including six children, have been safely rescued from a fairground ride that became stuck 20 metres above the ground in central London.

Firefighters spent more than three hours rescuing 13 adults and six children from the attraction on the South Bank in central London on Sunday night.

The London Fire Brigade uses cherry-pickers to save 19 people stuck on a fairground ride on the South Bank in central ... The London Fire Brigade uses cherry-pickers to save 19 people stuck on a fairground ride on the South Bank in central London on Sunday. Photo: London Fire Brigade via AP

There were no reported injuries and it was not yet known what caused the ride – which has capsules that swing around a central pillar – to stop working.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) used two cherry-picker-style aerial platforms to bring people down from their seats, while engineers worked to manually release the ride’s friction brake so it could be turned to align with the aerial ladder.

LFB station manager Clive Robinson said all those on board waited patiently to be rescued and there were no injuries.

“It was slow work as we need to access each cage on the ride individually and ensure they were secure before we move them from the ride on to our platform and bring them back down to the ground.

Police cordoned off an area around the ride to ensure the fire brigade could rescue the occupants away from the crowd.

The cause of the incident remains unknown.


I started thinking I wasn't going to live: Shannen Doherty opens up about cancer diagnosis

I started thinking I wasn't going to live: Shannen Doherty opens up about cancer diagnosis

Shannen Doherty has broken down while discussing her cancer diagnosis in an upcoming television interview, saying she “started thinking [she] wasn’t going to live”.

In the promo for her exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight, which airs on Monday in the US, the former Beverly Hills 90210 actress is shown shedding tears as she reflects on her diagnosis last year.

Shannen Doherty has broken down while discussing her cancer diagnosis. Shannen Doherty has broken down while discussing her cancer diagnosis. Photo: theshando/Instagram

“It’s hard,” the 45-year-old says in the video. “I started thinking that I wasn’t going to live… I don’t look past today.”

Doherty revealed she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in August last year, after it was discovered she had invasive breast cancer metastatic to at least one lymph node four months earlier.

The actress had kept the diagnosis a secret, but was forced to disclose her condition after she decided to sue the company formerly in charge of her business affairs after they failed to pay her medical insurance

She made headlines last month when she shared raw images of her breast cancer treatment to her Instagram account.

The black and white pictures show Doherty being supported by her mother, Rosa, and friend, model Anne Marie Korkright, as she shaves her head.

Step 6

A photo posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on Jul 19, 2016 at 9:05pm PDT

Step 3

A photo posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on Jul 19, 2016 at 9:07pm PDT

“I don’t know if I’ll ever look like me again,” Doherty says in the Entertainment Tonight promo.

In another clip, the actress says: “I want to believe that if I fight, I’m gonna be okay.”

Speaking to Fairfax Media in June, Doherty declined to give an update on how her treatment was progressing, although she said she was grateful for the support she had received from fans.

“The love and the prayers have been absolutely wonderful and supportive and so encouraging. I really do appreciate it.”

Fairfax Media

The hidden high costs of a contingent workforce

The hidden high costs of a contingent workforce

  • Warren Frehse

Working as a short-term contractor, casual employee, or freelancer is taking its toll on Australian workers.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the journal Social Indicators Research, since 1984 casual employment in Australia has grown from 15 per cent of the workforce to 25 per cent.

Casual workers are constantly on the lookout for more opportunities. Casual workers are constantly on the lookout for more opportunities. Photo: Mayu Kanamori

Working on fixed-term contracts is also on the increase. The explosion in independent contractors, who now make up more than 10 per cent of workers, and the number of people in non-permanent jobs, is about 40 per cent of the workforce.

A report by CSIRO, Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce, says that our workforce participation has declined for almost a decade. Job seekers are discouraged by work casualisation, and the increasing potential for technological unemployment.

Nearly two-thirds of Australian employees reported moderate to high stress levels, a level which has been consistently growing since 2004. Workplace issues are now a major cause of stress for two in five Australians.

The report shows a difficult work environment contributes to the emergence of mental disorders. Freelance workers have very different bargaining powers with employers when compared with traditional employees. They have limited leverage in collecting unpaid fees.

While freedom of choice is considered an advantage of contingent work, studies have shown that increased choice can be detrimental.

The author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, Barry Schwartz, refers to this as “the tyranny of choice”.  

According to the Australian Psychological Society’s psychologically healthy workplace program, “Stress and psychological distress are becoming increasingly important to employers because they can be so prohibitive to optimal performance.”

What employers may be saving in costs hiring contingent workers, may equally result in the hidden costs of poor motivation, lack of loyalty and poor performance.

Management guru Charles Handy first coined the term “portfolio worker” as part of a “shamrock organisation”, in which professional core workers, freelance and part-time/temporary workers each form one leaf of the shamrock.

“The idea that an organisation can provide a job inside for everyone is no longer possible,” he says. “Two-thirds of the workforce is outside the organisation, being self-employed or working part-time for temporary periods.”

But organisation psychologist Dr Simon Moss says being hasty to hire from outside and overlooking internal talent also has its costs.

“When CEOs are recruited from outside the organisation, performance is more likely to decline,” he says. “They tend to initiate more changes compared to those groomed to lead from within the company. A CEO appointed from outside will more likely dump existing practices and programs, even if they are actually effective.”

Stresses on existing employees who find an ever-rotating change of staff around them, can also take its toll. The interpersonal small-talk that once provided a deeper connection to the team is no longer present when there is a rapidly revolving door of staff.

Building good workplace relationships is a key component of well-being, according to the author of Flourish, Dr Martin Seligman. “The upshot of this is that well-being cannot exist just in your own head,” he says. “Well-being is a combination of feeling good, as well as actually having meaning, good relationships, and accomplishment.”

How well we adopt and adapt to the changing workforce composition will determine how well we can keep a productive, supportive and diverse workplace. With many of these contingent workers being in the service sector, how well leaders look after the psychological needs of these employees will correspond to the quality of the interactions with their customers.

Warren Frehse is a career transition coach and workplace behavioural consultant. He is author of Manage Your Own Career: Reinvent Your Job; Reinvent Yourself and professional member of the Career Development Association of Australia, and Australian Human Resources Institute.

UFC 201: Underdogs have their day in Atlanta

UFC 201: Underdogs have their day in Atlanta

Liam Ducey

If you are the heavy favourite in a UFC title fight in 2016, you have every right to be nervous – 2016 has officially become the year of the massive upsets.

Underdog Tyron Woodley has made it almost official, defeating welterweight champion Robbie Lawler just over two minutes into their title bout at UFC 201 in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday.

Robbie Lawler (right) squares off with Tyron Woodley in their welterweight championship bout at UFC 201. Robbie Lawler (right) squares off with Tyron Woodley in their welterweight championship bout at UFC 201. Photo: Zuffa

Woodley knocked the reigning champion down with a lightning fast right hand and finished him off with a series of right hands against the cage to become the sixth new UFC champion crowned in 2016.

Incredibly, all but one of the new champions have been moderate to massive underdogs, with only bantamweight champion Dominic Cruz considered a decent chance to unseat the reigning champion.

Eddie Alvarez, Miesha Tate, Michael Bisping, Amanda Nunes and Woodley were all given little chance, but the circumstances surrounding Woodley make him an even more unlikely champion.

The 34-year-old former Strikeforce championship challenger spent 16 months on the sidelines waiting for his title shot, with his last fight a controversial split decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum on January 31, 2015.

His only win over a top five opponent was a victory over Carlos Condit after the former title challenger ruptured his ACL in the second round of their three round fight.

Many had suggested Woodley didn’t deserve the shot, with the surging Stephen Thompson seen as the most deserving challenger. Most certainly didn’t think he would be the one to de-throne the king.

After winning razor thin decisions against Condit and Johny Hendricks and a fifth-round stoppage of Rory McDonald in a fight he was losing on the scorecards, Lawler developed a reputation as a fighter who would find a way to win, no matter how tough things got.

Woodley, a powerful wrestler with speed and athleticism to spare, never let Lawler turn the fight into a war of attrition.

He now joins Nick Diaz – a man he called out later in the Fox Sports broadcast – as the only two men to have knocked out Lawler. 

In the co-main event, fellow underdog Karolina Kowalkiewicz set up an all-Polish straw-weight title fight, defeating the heavily favoured Rose Namajunas to book a date with champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Namajunas came out of the blocks strong, landing effective counterpunches on Kowalkiewicz, who struggled to maintain a rhythm.

The tide turned in the second round, as Kowalkiewicz began battering Namajunas with knees and elbows in the clinch.

A dominant third round handed Kowalkiewicz a split decision victory, with one cage-side judge inexplicably awarding victory to Namajunas.   

No decision was required for Jake Ellenberger as he reversed his recent form to score the biggest upset win of his career, dropping Matt Brown with a brutal liver kick.

Ellenberger, formerly one of the most feared fighters in the division, was 1-5 from his last six fights and on the verge of being cut from the company.

He was expected to struggle against Brown, one of the most durable fighters on the UFC roster, but he turned the tide with his first punch, an absolute haymaker of an overhand right that left Brown on the canvas.

However as is so often the case with Ellenberger, he couldn’t end the fight and Brown recovered and began to pick up the pace against his now-breathless opponent.

Then, against the tide, Ellenberger threw a perfect kick to the midsection of Brown, dropping him like a sack and allowing Ellenberger to keep his job in a stand-out performance.

In March, Townsville fighter Damien Brown was called up to the UFC on just a week’s notice and despite being soundly beaten at UFC Brisbane, he showed enough grit to make fans think he might just hang around for the long haul.

On Sunday, on the other side of a planet, Brown confirmed that thought with two thundering right hands to claim victory at UFC 201 and secure his immediate future in the UFC.

Brown knocked down Paraguay Muay Thai champion César Arzamendia with a straight right early in the first round, but in chasing his opponent down to the ground ended up trapped in a heel hook.

Although clearly in pain, he managed to break free and stand up but was clearly in discomfort.

Luckily, he wouldn’t have to stay standing long.

Brown once again landed not one, but two picture perfect straight right hands to remove Arzamendia from his senses, winning via knockout in the first round.

After the fight, he thanked his coaches and gave Joe Rogan a message.

“I just want to say, for all the veterans out there,” he said.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Indeed there is.


Bundaberg rail death: Teen electrocuted in train yard

Bundaberg rail death: Teen electrocuted in train yard

Jorge Branco

Rail authorities have issued a “terrible reminder” after a teenager was electrocuted by overhead power lines at a central Queensland rail yard.

The tragedy came on the same day the dog squad had to be called to track down two teenagers placing rocks on a railway line in Ipswich.

Trains were halted on the Ipswich line while two teenage boys were tracked down. Trains were halted on the Ipswich line while two teenage boys were tracked down. Photo: Jorge Branco

The 19-year-old died while trespassing in the rail yard at McLean Street, Bundaberg, a Queensland Rail spokesman said in a statement.

“This tragedy is a terrible reminder of the dangers of overhead power lines,” he said, extending sympathy to the man’s family and friends..

“Safety is our number one priority and we are pleading with people to ensure they stay safe and not trespass on the rail network.

“A freight train was delayed by just under three hours as a result of this incident, but no further impact to rail traffic is anticipated.”

Later on Sunday in Ipswich, two boys, 14 and 15, were kicked off a train at Booval station about 8pm before one threw a can of soft drink at rail workers, , a police spokeswoman said.

Queensland Rail had to halt all trains on the Ipswich line as the boy allegedly walked along the railway line, placing large rocks on the tracks.

The dog squad tracked the boys down and they were arrested at Booval, where police charged them with assault and endangering the safety of a person in a vehicle, to be dealt with under the youth justice act.

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The untold story of the sacking of the Parramatta Eels board

The untold story of the sacking of the Parramatta Eels board

  • Tanya Gadiel

Standing up for myself and other former Parramatta board members might not be popular. My efforts so far have been met with appalling vilification on social media.

I’ve been called a whore mouth, brothel keeper and it has been suggested that condoms with my face on them be sold at Pirtek stadium on one website.

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NRL: Eels Board sacked

Temporary administrators have been appointed to manage the Parramatta Eels. Courtesy ABC News24

The NRL claims to want more female board directors, and I wish them luck.

I have been dragged into NRL and NSW government investigations and, to my knowledge, I have not been found guilty of anything. I was also asked to stand aside from an area health board I served for five years.

Caught in the crossfire: Former Parramatta director Tanya Gadiel. Caught in the crossfire: Former Parramatta director Tanya Gadiel. Photo: Adam Hollingworth

All of this happened despite there being no findings against me and no suggestion of any impropriety at all.

Indeed, I am yet to face an allegation of any kind.

Yet here we are – elected board members effectively sacked, though we have not breached rules or been subjected to any negative findings.

It seems mine is guilt by association with the so called “gang of five”. Five men who were determined guilty and pilloried publicly before being able to answer the charges against them.

Changes made: The Parramatta Eels administrator has inherited a financially sound club with a blueprint for reform ... Changes made: The Parramatta Eels administrator has inherited a financially sound club with a blueprint for reform that’s already under way. Photo: Getty Images

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg occupies a powerful position: he is judge, jury, executioner, media commentator and now it seems a political lobbyist who can take out boards he is not happy with. He was also a personal referee for former Eels employee Scott Seward, whose as-yet untested statement was the prime evidence used against his former employers.

The untold story is that of a potentially unreliable witness, less than due process, a decision to ignore all of the governance reform work undertaken by the board and a public flogging.

Punished: NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has come down hard on the Parramatta Eels for their salary cap dealings. Punished: NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has come down hard on the Parramatta Eels for their salary cap dealings. Photo: Getty Images

There is a truckload of evidence to support this proposition.

Full evidence of the extent of the alleged fraud at the Eels was not revealed to the board until the NRL preliminary breach notice was issued and access granted to some of the incriminating statements and transcripts gathered by the NRL.

It was upon seeing this that the board itself duly referred the matter to the NSW Police.

There was a text message provided to the Eels in which a senior staff member of the NRL suggested the NRL integrity unit had breached confidentiality, resulting in a leak to the media while the investigation was under way.

This revelation wrecked the relationship between the club and the NRL.

The club continually asked for procedural fairness and was denied.

Worse still, directors who hadn’t breached the rules were subject to a scathing public commentary from Green­berg. 

So what, some may say. It’s a tough game and that’s the way the world works. I disagree. People’s reputations and livelihoods are at stake. So is the great Parramatta brand. And who’s to say who the NRL will next decide to take aim at?

The Eels board was also not given any credit for implementing more than 100 recommendations for improving governance from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Nor for the fact that the administrator has inherited a financially sound club with a blueprint for reform that’s already under way.

The board also hired Australia’s foremost salary cap expert Ian Schubert, who told the board that the breaches in the cap were nowhere near the scale suggested by the NRL.

Engaging independent auditors and experts and making referrals to police are hardly the acts of people not committed to good governance. 

These efforts were ignored. Instead, people who were reforming the club were given the option of resigning or being sacked.

The board is still to see all of the evidence the NRL had gathered in its investigation into the club. There are several transcripts from former Eels employees which the NRL refused to provide. It is not known why that is.

The state government, in responding to the shrill cries of some media and the NRL, has taken the unprecedented step of appointing an administrator to a financially secure club.

In the final week of the board’s existence numerous indirect approaches were made about dropping the appeal. 

Surely now, the right thing to do is allow the NRL appeals committee chairman Ian Callinan to review the Greenberg decision.

Allow the former High Court justice to investigate the concerns about Greenberg’s relationship with Seward and his choice not to recuse himself from the investigation.

Allow the NRL’s own process to take its course.

There should also be a formal independent review of the NRL’s decision

The administrator must support this to demonstrate that he has the club’s best interests at heart.

Since the great game is built on fairness and respect, the administration of the game and the clubs within it must have the very same foundation.

My experience indicates the NRL has a very long way to go in achieving this.

Tanya Gadiel was a short-term Parramatta Eels board member and a former state MP and deputy speaker. 


Gas leak in Australian Olympic Village room after Rio repairs: gymnast Larrissa Miller

Gas leak in Australian Olympic Village room after Rio repairs: gymnast Larrissa Miller

Artistic gymnast Larrissa Miller says she smelled gas when she first arrived in her Olympic village room, even after emergency repairs were carried out to let the Australian team move in.

A week ago Australia’s chef de mission Kitty Chiller deemed the apartment tower uninhabitable and sent athletes arriving in Rio to hotels while issues with exposed wiring, leaking pipes and blocked toilets were resolved.

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Rio 2016: Australian athletes robbed

Two laptops and team clothes were stolen from Australian athletes during a fire evacuation of the Olympic village in Rio on Friday. Vision: Seven News

When Miller finally moved into her official digs, there was still a gas leak in her room.

“But they were onto it straight away. They came and fixed it,” she told AAP.

The 2012 London Olympian was out shopping with her coach when a fire later forced the Australians to evacuate their building, which team hierarchy believe was started by a cigarette tossed into piles of rubbish by a local worker.

During that time laptops and clothing were stolen, but the Queensland-born athlete insists she feels safe in the village.

The 24-year-old says she’s grateful to have other athletes around her for now, as she’ll be alone once competition starts – Australia having failed to qualify a women’s Olympic gymnastics team for the first time in almost 30 years.

“I’m definitely disappointed not to have my teammates here,” Miller said.

Australian gymnast Larrissa Miller. Australian gymnast Larrissa Miller. Photo: Getty Images

“But I forgot what the Aussie team spirit is like at events like this. So I’m ready for the challenge now.”

Women’s gymnastics took another blow on the eve of the Olympics when the Western Australian Institute of Sport announced it would axe its elite gymnast centre.

Rio Olympics: Athletes’ village ‘unliveable’

The Australian Olympic Committee’s chef de mission Kitty Chiller has deemed Rio’s athletes’ village ‘uninhabitable’ in the short term due to significant plumbing and electrical concerns.

The need to direct funds towards athletes and sports more likely to contribute to Australia’s international sporting success were cited by the WAIS as a reason for the decision.

“Obviously it’s devastating, I trained with the WAIS girls and I can’t imagine how hard it is for them,” Miller said.

“But I’ve got something to prepare for right now. I’m trying to stay in the zone and not get distracted.”

Miller is hoping to make the floor finals, but in her way stands the mighty US team, spearheaded by Simone Biles.

The 19-year-old has won the past three world titles in the all-around and the floor, and the past two on the beam.

That doesn’t faze Miller.

“I just want to do the best I can do and whatever result that gets me I’ll be happy,” she said.