Monthly Archives: May 2019

Who will be mayor?

INDUCTION: Councillors Liz Seckold, Tony Allen, Mitchell Nadin, Sharon Tapscott, Cathy Griff, Kristy McBain, Russell Fitzpatrick and Robyn Bain.Local government will be back in full swing on Wednesday, with the shire’s next mayor to serve an inaugural two-year term.
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Council’s general managerLeanne Barneswas looking forward to collaborating with the new councillors.

“I have contacted the newly-elected councillors by phone and am writing to all councillors on behalf of council staff to congratulate them on their election, and I know we will all work closely together to achieve outcomes for the community,” Ms Barnes said.

This year’s election saw previous councillors, Tony Allen, Kristy McBain, Sharon Tapscott, Russell FitzpatrickandLizSeckoldreturnedtotheirpositions.

Joining them in the shire’snew-looklocalgovernmentare JoDodds,Robyn Bain, Mitchell Nadin and Cathy Griff.

Many councillors remained tight-lipped during their induction onMonday when asked who would be putting their hand up for the role of mayor, but Ms Bain and Ms Griff confirmedthey would not be running.

The electioncomes at a time when the state government has pushed for a greater focus on councils forging partnerships with government agencies, other service providers, business and community groups.

While the media has focused on the state government’s controversial council amalgamations, theincrease to a two-year mayoral term and other amendments are also part of the Fit for the Future package.

Annual elections were seen to“create unnecessary instability and the risk that councillors will simply ‘take turns’ rather than taking the role seriously”.

The reforms aimto “improve the performance, transparency, governance and accountability of local councils in NSW”,with advancing“community cohesion” becoming a primary part of the amended role of mayor.

Council has invited the public to attend tomorrow’s meeting at 2pm at theBega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre,which will be the first time councillors are required to take an oath or affirmation of officer prior to taking up their role.

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‘Celebrate’ Newcastle, Baird urges

NEWCASTLE is on the cusp of something great, and NSW Premier Mike Baird is determined that we recognise it.
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On the back of his government’s announcement that it will spend $9.8 million on a Hunter Innovation Project providing free public Wi-Fi and a “digital precinct” in the city centre, Mr Baird gave a speech at the University of Newcastle on Monday night in which he urged the city’s residents to “celebrate” its growth and expressed personal “frustration” that not everyone does.

“I think Newcastle is not just a smart city, it’s not just a beautiful city, I genuinely think Newcastle is a city on the move like no other city in this great country and indeed the Asia Pacific region,” he said on Monday.

“Part of my frustration is I’m not sure everyone in Newcastle believes that and actually sees that.

“Because it is. And in the next couple of days I want to remind everyone that this is an incredible place.

“What is going to happen here in the next 20 to 25 years is unlike many other cities not just here but around the world [and] I think that’s something to celebrate.”

Mr Baird – who will make two major announcements in Newcastle on Tuesday – said the innovation funding, which is a joint $17.8 million project between the government, the University of Newcastle and Newcastle City Council, would help put the city at the centre of one of the fastest growing industries in Australia.

“This is all about believing in one of the major cities in the world,” he said.

“What we can’t forget is the next generation of jobs.”

Mr Baird said the digital economy would grow “exponentially” in the next 25 years, predicted to rise from five per cent of the state’s total economy to 22 per cent.

He said the “massive shift” could create 540,000 jobs in that period, and that while Sydney had become the “start-up city”, with about two-thirds of the nations start-ups based there, “it shouldn’t just be Sydney”.

“Newcastle is our largest regional city so my encouragement is how do we ensure that Newcastle is the centre of this push to the digital economy,” he said.

“How is it going to participate in innovation and the opportunities that come from that?

“So that’s why I think this announcement is so important. Newcastle, I think, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It has so much potential.

“You can talk about beauty and the renewal but at the same time if we push the new jobs through innovation I think we are onto an absolute winner.”

The speech was billed as the Premier’s vision for the Hunter to 2036, and while admitting that the Hunter was not without challenges – he pointed to the region’s youth unemployment, currently stuck at about 19 per cent, or nearly twice the state average – Mr Baird was determined to pitch a positive vision.

He said his government had created 16,000 jobs since its election in 2011, and pointed to investments in health through the John Hunter Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, and a new hospital at Maitland, and infrastructure investments like the Newcastle Light Rail project.

“Bringing people back into the CBD is key [and] obviously obviously boosting economic activity,” he said.

He pointed to Property Council modelling that states the private investment in Newcastle coming alongside the government’s infrastructure commitments is at about $2 billion.

“Particularly the revitalisation project, something that we are quite proud of,” he said.

On Tuesday Mr Baird, together with Planning Minister Rob Stokes and Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald who are also in Newcastle, will make two funding announcements in Newcastle. One is being billed as “a major regional infrastructure and tourism announcement”, while the second is “a major sporting announcement”.

Mr Baird did not reveal details of the announcements on Monday, other than to say he wanted to “show this city off”.

“There are major events we want to bring here [and] tourists we want to bring here,” he said.

“A walk from the city down to Merewether Beach is one of the great walks in the world … one of the most beautiful coastlines”

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Netball ACT pushing for GWS Giants games in Canberra

Taylah Davies, Kristina Brice, Toni Anderson, Kimberlee Green, Susan Pettitt, Sam Poolman and Kristiana Manu’a will represent Giants Netball next year. Photo: Narelle SpangherGreater Western Sydney Giants’ new National Netball League club is likely to play games in Canberra in 2017.
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Netball ACT general manager Adam Horner said discussions had started with their New South Wales counterpart to establish a connection with the newly-formed Giants team to play select games in Canberra.

The draw is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks and Horner said he was focused on bringing games to Canberra.

“We’ve been very up front about the fact that we would love to have a presence of the league here in Canberra and there is no question that we’ve put our best foot forward,” he said.

“We’ve worked closely with a number of partners to try and make that a reality.”

The NNL replaces the trans-Tasman ANZ Championship and comprises Australian teams only, with the formation of three new clubs (GWS, Collingwood and Sunshine Coast) rounding out an eight-team league.

“Obviously it’s pretty exciting times for everyone involved in netball and it’s just going to be a matter of keeping a very close eye on all the bits and pieces that are happening to make the most out of this new league,” Horner said.

The Giants’ AFL team has experienced considerable success establishing Canberra as their second home by playing three games a season at Manuka Oval.

These games are regularly sold-out and Horner said this had provided a good example for the NNL franchise to follow.

“They’ve been very successful in establishing the Giants as Canberra’s team and we’ve been speaking with Netball NSW about trying to do something similar. We hope it can work in the same way,” Horner said.

Former NSW Swifts stars Kim Green and Susan Pettitt will join the Giants for their inaugural season, alongside English internationals Jo Harten and Serena Guthrie, as well as recent Australian Diamond debutant Kristiana Manu’a. Julie Fitzgerald will coach the team.

No Canberra players were selected in the initial team but Horner said it was a “long-term vision” to eventually do so.

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Letters to the editor

PIC OF THE WEEK: Kristy Boller captured this amazing shot of a Mollymook rainbow. Submit entries via email, Facebook or Instagram for your chance to be featured. Battle of the GateWindward Way Milton is a nice walk along a country lane.Well it use to be. Until the gates arrived.
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The no entry pedestrian signs on the padlocked gates have been there for more than five months or more. Council states “The no entry signs will be removed after rehabilitation.”The definition of Land rehabilitation is the process of returning the land in a given area to some degree of its former state.Which was a rough public track. Not a padlocked grass paddock 300 meters long and three lanes wide.

In a letter from Council in May this year it stated Wynyard Way is not a “Private Road”.In fact the track is not even a track but “unused road reserve”.The gate at Warden Street lies in the grass.The gate at the other end is regularly demolished by someone. Then rebuilt only to be demolished again.

The sign which states Council doesn’t maintain this track is still there.As 300 meters of the track no longer exists who will maintain the planted grass. Council sheep.

R.Croft, MiltonDogs on NarrawalleeI am writingtoexpress my alarm atthechanges that have happened on my local beach, Narrawallee.

I have watchedthepro dog movement(who are very media savvy) push their agenda further and further so that now there are very few times when we do not have dogs onthebeach.

I have just returned from a walk on Narrawallee where I passed sevendogs and owners atthenorth end ofthebeach where, supposedly, dogs are not permitted.Thesand was covered in paw prints from previous walkers.I then walked outtotheinlet,where supposedly again,dogs are not allowed (and let’s hopethe incredible bird life there will be protected).Ipassed three dog owners and fivedogs, all of whom had walked straight passedthesigns declaring it a no dog area.

Walking on One Track For All earlier this week, I noticed that someone has sprayed allthedog faeces with a fluro pink powder, pointing outthefact that dog owners are not cleaning up after their pets.It is everywhere on both sides ofthetrack.

If council has implemented these changes, it is vital that they enforcetherules. If a ranger was patrolling these areas frequently, council would be well ableto pay ranger wages with fines that aretheconsequence of taking your dog into no dog areas.

Iamnotatallantidog,buthavewatchedinhorrorasNarrawalleehasbeenturnedintoatotal“dogsocialisation” area, asthepro dog movement takes more and more space anddisregardstheboundaries they were given,with little thoughttothemajority of other beach users.

Can we please have more patrolling and very clear signage in this area, astheboundaries of where dogs can and cannot go are being totally disregarded.

Narrawallee residentSharia Law in AustraliaISIL and other extremists group claimSharia Law is supreme and Islam demands that it be the only law of the land. Their ultimate goal is to establish it forcibly everywhere in the world. Such an ideology is impractical, non-sense and totally contrary to the teachings of Islam.

The Koran clearly states‘there should be no compulsion in the religion’. Coercion was never an instrument in the religion, neither in the past, nor will be in future. The very essence of secularism is absolute justice be practiced regardless of the differences of faith, religion, color, creed or group.

Islam also pleads for a secular type of government as Koran states‘Allah (God) orders you to always practice justice’and ‘let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice’.Prophet Muhammad never imposed Islamic law on the Jewish or other communities of Medina who accepted him not as their religious leader, but as a political leader.

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