‘Scrooge’ sledge over Cessnock Council sausage sizzle

ALISON DAVEYThe move has angered Cr Jeff Maybury so much that he told Cr Davey she was a ‘‘miserable woman’’ and described her yesterday as a ‘‘scrooge’’.
Nanjing Night Net

He said he and councillors Bob Pynsent, James Hawkins, Allan McCudden, Neil Gorman and Graham Smith would boycott the sausage sizzle and pay for their own get-together at Hope Estate.

Cr Maybury said the end-of-year event was not just for councillors and council officers, but also for their partners who ‘‘put up with a lot’’ during the year.

The venue change comes after a rift between the council’s management and its outdoor staff over funding for their Christmas show, which ended up in the Industrial Relations Commission last week.

At an extraordinary council meeting last Wednesday the issue flared up again with councillors arguing that the council’s indoor staff party should also be funded.

Cr Davey said it was decided that the council should opt for a more modest function.

She said the council would not lose the deposit at the Crowne Plaza and it would be held for a future event next year.

‘‘The replacement of the Christmas function will now be held at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre for a substantially lesser amount,’’ Cr Davey said. ‘‘It does upset me that some councillors are suggesting they will hold their own function given that all councillors were provided with an opportunity to vote on two options for an alternative function.’’

She said she had taken offence at Cr Maybury’s remarks.

Cr Maybury said the mayor appeared to be concerned about the ratepayers’ perception of the executive event being held at the Crowne Plaza with a $6000 credit already with the venue.

The money was a deposit to secure a date for a River of Black Gold Festival event, which was also cancelled.

While the executive party was not going to cost $6000, councillors were told that other community groups may like to make use of the balance of funds and reimburse the council.

‘‘This is an insult, especially to councillors’ partners who put up with a lot during the year, take the abusive phone calls and complaints,’’ Cr Maybury said.

‘‘Cr Davey said there had been a vote and that I had received a fax about it, but I did not. I told her she was a miserable woman and that she didn’t want to see anyone enjoying themselves,’’ he said.

‘‘She is a scrooge.’’

Read More

Hosking heats up pay debate

GEELONG – Chloe Hosking is the latest international cyclist to savage the sport’s boss for his assessment that women’s road racing does not warrant a minimum wage.
Nanjing Night Net

Hosking had a dig at UCI president Pat McQuaid after she won race one of the Bay Classic criterium series in Geelong yesterday.

McQuaid generated plenty of criticism at last September’s world road championships in Copenhagen when he said women’s racing had “not progressed enough” for a minimum wage.

Hosking praised the standard of the women’s race yesterday and added she made a point of making sure there was plenty of action.

She was in a seven-rider group that established a lead of seven seconds until a crash with five laps left neutralised the race.

Trudy Van Der Straaten, from the Pitcher Partners team, was taken to hospital with a suspected broken collarbone.

When the race resumed, Hosking broke clear with less than three laps to go and won on her own, ahead of GreenEDGE rider Melissa Hoskins and defending series champion Rochelle Gilmore (Bike Exchange).

“I love racing like that, I don’t like really like sitting in and then sprinting,” she said after her first Bay Classic win.

“I don’t think it’s great for Australian racing.

“For me, it was really exciting to go out there and show what women’s racing can be like.”

Asked later to expand on her comments about women’s racing, Hosking made it clear that comments in the media lately had angered her.

“There’s just been some really negative things said in the press lately about how women’s racing is boring and how we don’t deserve a minimum salary, that sort of thing,” she said.

“To me, (this) was one of the most exciting races I’ve done.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read More

High levels of fun found at Low Head on New Year’s Day

Ethan Lucas, 6, with cousins Ella Jacobs, 3, and Nicholas Jacobs, 5, and brother Tyler Lucas, 3, all of George Town, play in the sand at She Oak Point.SOME spent the New Year’s Day public holiday at Cataract Gorge and others at Launceston’s parks, but many headed towards Low Head and the sea.
Nanjing Night Net

The barbecue shelters near She Oak Point proved popular as did the sand at the point, where children from George Town’s Lucas and Jacobs families showed their architectural skill as sand castles appeared as if by magic.

Further around, at the Low Head boat ramp, Lefroy’s Ray Slinger was able to see the positive side of a fruitless day of fishing.

”At least I had nothing to clean when I got back,” he said.

A group of George Town friends amused themselves jumping into the water near the boat ramp.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read More

Clarke ready to bowl them over

Australian skipper Michael Clarke is ready to help Nathan Lyon in the spinning duties against India.SYDNEY – Australia captain Michael Clarke is convinced that spin will play a big factor in the second Test and is prepared to inject himself into the bowling and relive Indian nightmares if things get tight.
Nanjing Night Net

When Australia last played India in Sydney in 2008, Clarke was thrown into the attack in the dying overs of the match and took three wickets in five balls to clinch a remarkable win for Ricky Ponting’s team.

Despite his pesky left-arm orthodox deliveries yielding 23 wickets at 37.47, making him a more than adequate part-timer, Clarke rolled the arm over just three times in 2011.

The skipper has suffered from chronic back problems throughout his career and bowled a combined total of just 15 overs last year.

But after backing full-time turner Nathan Lyon to play a huge role in the second Test starting today at the SCG, Clarke declared he was ready to chip in on the final days.

“We’ll wait and see how the wicket deteriorates as well . . . if required I’d be more than happy to bowl – I’ve always enjoyed bowling,” Clarke said.

“I haven’t done much of it in recent times but that’s because our bowlers have done their job, so if required and if the wicket does spin Nathan Lyon will play a big part and I can bowl a few overs for sure.”

Clarke made no changes to personnel after the convincing win in Melbourne, declining to call up recovered pace weapon Ryan Harris as he puts his faith in spin being vital as the match goes on.

Lyon has made a brilliant start to his Test career but struggled in Melbourne, taking just one wicket in the second innings.

“This series is a tough challenge for Lyono because India are such good players of spin bowling,” Clarke said.

“I thought he did a pretty good job without getting as many wickets as he would have liked in the last Test.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on (him). I love the way he goes about his work.”

Clarke said he was privileged to be leading out the Australian side on his home ground as the SCG joins the MCG and Lord’s as the only venues in world cricket to host 100 Test matches.

Australia has been plagued by inconsistency over the past 12 months and Clarke said the team was focused on putting together strong back-to-back performances.

“We’ve played some really positive cricket at times and some cricket we’d like to forget, and I guess this is another test of our character, to be able to back up after such an impressive win in Melbourne,” he said.

SCG curator Tom Parker denied accusations from the Indian media that the pitch had been tailored to suit Australia’s in-form pace attack.

Parker believes spin will still play a part and said the wicket was no different from the one rolled out for the Ashes Test last January.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read More

Body found floating in Lake Macquarie

DETECTIVES are scouring fingerprint databases and boat ramp car parks for any clues to the identity of a man found dead at Swansea yesterday.
Nanjing Night Net

They are awaiting results from an autopsy due to be performed today although there was nothing to suggest the man’s death was suspicious.

Some small abrasions on the man’s head and body were probably suffered after he had died.

His body was found floating between moorings in Black Ned’s Bay about 1.30pm.

Police quickly identified and accounted for all the owners of boats and moorings in the bay.

A sweep of the southern area of Lake Macquarie failed to find any unattended boats.

Detectives are now collating registration numbers from all cars parked at nearby boat ramps and have asked anyone who may have seen a vehicle parked in the same area for more than 24 hours to contact them.

The man is believed to be aged in his 60s and had fair hair, with shades of ginger and was slightly receding.

He was wearing a long-sleeve grey sloppy-joe, long brown pants and white joggers.

It appears he was in the water for less than 12 hours.

He had a silver watch on his left hand and two gold rings on fingers on his right hand.

Information should be forwarded to Lake Macquarie detectives on 4942 9999 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Read More

Government poised to rip up Newcastle inner-city rail

CLOSING?: The Hannell Street gates in Newcastle WestTHE state government is poised to make one of the biggest political statements in the Hunter’s history by ripping up the inner-city rail line between Hamilton and Newcastle.
Nanjing Night Net

At least that’s been the talk of the town all week.

Woodville Junction at Hamilton is understood to be the preferred terminus, with a green corridor left, allowing for a future light rail service, into the CBD.

Premier Barry O’Farrell and Minister for the Hunter Mike Gallacher will not make an announcement until next year but there is a meeting on December 19 to examine the proposal.

Various business sources have told the Newcastle Herald they have been consulted about the plan.

Newcastle state MP Tim Owen was tight-lipped about the topic yesterday, leaving it for the Premier’s office to issue this statement: ‘‘We are having ongoing discussions with stakeholders to examine the options for transport in Newcastle and the Hunter.’’

Woodville Junction was identified by lord mayor John Tate as the perfect site for the city’s rail interchange in 2002.

Several other options have been explored since then, including cutting the rail line at Wickham and also at Broadmeadow station where the northern line splits from the inner-city line.

Former state Labor minister Jodi McKay was under pressure from Fix Our City advocates to cut the passenger line to the city to open it for future investors.

The GPT Group blamed the state Labor government’s inaction over the rail line as the main reason for withdrawing its $600million Hunter Street Mall development in August last year.

Mr O’Farrell said he was willing to work with development companies to deliver key infrastructure aimed at revitalising Newcastle’s CBD.

‘‘The future of the Newcastle rail line and CBD will be a matter for the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund,” Mr O’Farrell said in April this year.

The Hunter infrastructure investment board, announced last month, is working on the issue.

Read More

Depth of character in telling the truth

”Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth” -Buddha
Nanjing Night Net

NATALIA Dmitruk is a hero. She hasn’t rescued a child from the jaws of a crocodile, won consecutive gold for her country at the Olympics or raised millions for cancer research.

Natalia is a hero simply because she told the truth.

Perhaps for that reason her story is little-known.

Rewind to 2004, Ukraine, the presidential election.

Let’s just say democracy was new to the Ukraine.

As bogus vote counts were reported on the country’s state-run television station, our Natalia – a 47-year-old sign language interpreter – told the truth from her discreet corner of the screen.

”Don’t believe the results from the Central Election Commission. They are not true. Our president is Viktor Yushchenko,” she articulated in a flurry of hand gestures.

Yushchenko, the opposition leader, was poisoned with dioxin during the campaign, and it is believed that more than 2.8 million fake ballots were cast for his rival,

the government candidate, Viktor Yanukovych.

Natalia’s brave act of defiance was applauded by journalists who found the courage to start reporting the truth rather than the convenient lies fed to them by the government.

All this despite lethal ramifications.

”More than a dozen journalists investigating alleged business and government corruption have died mysteriously. One was found decapitated,” the Journalism Review reported soon afterwards.

Natalia’s stand, together with others weary of the government’s deceit, started what is known as the Orange Revolution, with hundreds of thousands flooding Kiev to demand a new election.

The government gave in and

Yushchenko was elected fair and square.

Cool story, huh?

Thanks to one woman who believed the truth to be more important than her job, even her life.

She was an Ephesians 4:25 gal: ”Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body.”

The truth is often difficult, ugly, inconvenient, painful and altogether less glamorous.

As Winston Churchill once said, ”a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on”.

It’s the juicy lies that make the headlines, not the humble truth.

We’ve all seen the snowball effect that deceit can have.

Lies can spiral out of control in the blink of an eye, but as the adage goes, ”the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).

Sure, there may be some uncomfortable ramifications, but ultimately the ability to remain truthful in difficult circumstances displays real depth of character.

I hesitate to use the term ”new year’s resolution” but I can think of worse things to aim for as we begin 2012.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read More

Hurricanes blow away Thunder

Owais Shah of the Hurricanes in action during the T20 Big Bash League match against the Sydney Thunder.THE Hobart Hurricanes have stayed undefeated and top of the Big Bash League with a comprehensive five-wicket victory over the Sydney Thunder at Bellerive.
Nanjing Night Net

Set a modest 139 to win, the Hurricanes made it four from four with their first chase of the series last night.

Englishman Owais Shah struck 41 off 32 as his side reached the target with eight balls to spare in front of 12,238 fans.

Unfancied when the new competition began, the Hurricanes are now the runaway leaders on eight points, four clear of the Thunder, Perth and the Sydney Sixers.

First and second drops Travis Birt and Shah were in scintillating form for the Tasmanians, Birt making a quick-fire 35 from 18 balls before Matt Johnston hit the winning runs with a six.

The Thunder is fast starting to resemble a one-man batting show in the absence of captain Dave Warner on Test duty, with West Indies star Chris Gayle smashing yet another half-century.

Gayle clobbered 53 off 33 balls, including five sixes, as the Thunder made a below-par 8-138 after winning the toss.

He also chimed in with a brilliant one-handed catch to remove Tom Triffitt.

The competition’s leading run-scorer had pleaded for his teammates to support him after Friday night’s loss to the Melbourne Renegades, but only a run-a-ball innings of 39 from No. 3 Sean Abbott stood out for the visitors.

Gayle took his series tally to 232 and, with Warner having made a first-up century, the pair have scored 334 of the side’s 582 runs. He started slowly by his standards yesterday but still regularly cleared the boundary.

Gayle hoisted Jason Krejza (2-29) on to the Southern Stand roof and hit Xavier Doherty (1-45) for consecutive sixes to bring up his half-century before holing out at deep cover off the bowling of Krejza.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read More

Police identify man’s body found in Lake Macquarie

POLICE have confirmed that the body found floating in Lake Macquarie yesterday was that of a 67-year-old Swansea local.
Nanjing Night Net

There does not appear to be any suspicious circumstances.

However, how the man became caught up on moorings in Black Ned’s Bay after he was last seen going for a walk about 6.30am is yet to be determined.

His body was found about 1.30pm.

A friend of the man, who lived alone, alerted police to his disappearance this afternoon.

The identification came after detectives were forced to go through boat and car registrations after struggling to identify the man.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

Read More

Huntlee and its baggage

THE ‘‘new town’’ of Huntlee, near Branxton in the Hunter, may some day prove to be the regional asset its promoters claim.
Nanjing Night Net

Indeed, the advent of the Hunter Expressway could be seen to negate one of the main early criticisms of the development project – that it was remote from effective transport corridors.

It was chiefly this shortcoming that was believed to have led to the proposal originally being ranked by the planning department at the bottom of a long list of potential Hunter residential areas.

When it bobbed up, along with other bottom-of-the-list proposals, on the former Labor government’s Lower Hunter Regional Strategy, as an officially favoured site, many critics accused the government of pandering to its development industry friends and donors.

From that inauspicious beginning, Huntlee has worked its way through various court cases. Opponents scored some early victories, but Labor dragged the proposal under its controversial 3A planning legislation – a move that the latest court hearing has found ensures the legality of the land’s rezoning from low-value rural to high-value residential.

That’s not likely to be the end of the fight, with opponents of the proposal still seeking legal chinks in the project’s armour and threatening new challenges on environmental grounds.

But it is a major win for the developer, Perth-based LWP Property Group.

LWP will now seek approval for the first stage of the development, comprising about 2000 residential lots and 68 ha of ‘‘employment lands’’. Ultimately, the developer expects the $1.5 billion project to provide up to 7500 homes, 3000 jobs and 200 ha of employment lands.

Unfortunately for LWP it has a controversial legacy to live down with Huntlee, at least as far as public perception is concerned. The fingerprints of the old Labor administration, with all the negatives that entails, will remain with the project for some time to come.

The developer, and the O’Farrell government, should be at pains to ensure that every step taken on this project from now on is handled with the greatest care and sensitivity so that whatever may eventually be approved will have legitimacy in the eyes of the public.

Hunter training

A SHORTAGE of skilled labour has been identified as a potential constraint on growth, particularly in Australia’s booming mining industry.

The federal government has responded by setting up a new committee to help streamline and improve the national apprenticeship system. The government is talking, for example, about making apprenticeships portable between states.

This committee could do worse than spend some time visiting the Hunter to learn about practical innovation in workplace training.

For decades the region has been a quiet pioneer in this area, thanks to a co-operative approach between key Hunter employers, educational institutions and organisations like the Hunter Valley Training Company.

Read More