Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Road to improvement for Frame Drive, Abermain

BY LAUREN FREEMANTLE

It has today been confirmed that Cessnock City Council will receive $4.45 million in funding as part of the state government's 'Fixing Country Roads' program. 

Cessnock councillors today attended state parliament to talk with Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, where the Minister confirmed the $4.45 million figure. 

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, has welcomed the news, saying the funding will be used to upgrade Frame Drive at Abermain into an 11-metre carriageway stretching from the intersection of Gingers Lane to Orange Street. 

The work, part of a larger plan eventually connecting Cessnock directly to the Hunter Expressway,
will complement the new concrete bridge which replaced the former single-lane timber construction on Frame Drive. 

It is understood that Cessnock Council has been lobbying for the improvements for two years. 

"You can probably say [residents have been waiting for these improvements] since the Hunter Expressway was completed a few years ago," Scot MacDonald says, "people have been using the Expressway to get to and from work and school, it's been very busy...

"I've first had representation from Cessnock City Council about two years ago, but they have put together a good plan and a good design; they've been working with RMS...So I'm very pleased they've been able to find the money under 'Fixing Country Roads.'" 

So far, the state government has awarded $90 million worth of funding towards 138 road projects across regional NSW under the scheme. 

Scot MacDonald believes the upgrade to Frame Drive will begin almost immediately. 

Parliamentary Secretary, Scot MacDonald. 

Cessnock East Public School Students Create Hunter Valley Tourism Guide

BY SARAH JAMES

Cessnock East Public School students, in conjunction with local community partners, have developed a special tourism guide for the Hunter Valley.

The 35-page book titled 'Are we there yet? A trip around the Hunter' aims to help families make the most of the range of activities on offer in the Hunter Valley.

Hunter Valley Visitor Centre Coordinator, Melissa George, said the students received an information session from the Centre's staff, and then researched the attractions which are now in the guide.

It is hoped the guide will encourage people from the region to connect with the region's local culture.



Service NSW Centre Personal Data Privatisation

BY LAUREN KEMPE

The state government has announced new regulation allowing Service NSW Centres to be privatised in the Wallsend electorate.

Employees are currently bound by the Privacy and Personal Information Act 1998, but seven private companies have now been granted access to personal data.

Wallsend MP, Sonia Hornery believes the privatisation and recent 25% cut to operating hours in the Service NSW Centres are a concern amongst local employees and the wider community.

"[Wallsend] is concerned that [the NSW government] is privatising a facility that's working very well, and personal information is being given to private companies. This information should be kept sensitive, private and within government hands," said Sonia Hornery.

Ms Hornery believes the government's outsourcing could also threaten the job security of numerous Service NSW employees.

"The motivation of the government is to outsource parts of Service NSW. Private organisations have different operational methods to the government alternative in terms of pulling staff. There would be job cuts to people with local knowledge within New South Wales within local offices."

The data includes Births, Deaths and Marriages, Driver Licence information, Vehicle ownership and registration details.
Image Credit: http://www.zdnet.com/article/service-nsw-takes-infringement-payments-mobile/



Pair arrested after break-ins at Wallsend

BY JESSICA ROUSE

Two people face court today after being charged with break, enter and steal in Lake Macquarie this morning.

At about 1am, the 43-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman were seen driving down Royalty Street in West Wallsend with their car headlights off.

They broke into three new homes and took items from the properties which they were seen putting in their car.

Police stopped the maroon Toyota Corolla and searched it, also finding house breaking tools and a knife in their possession.

They were taken to Toronto Police Station and charged with aggravated break and enter, goods in custody, possess house breaking implements and custody of a knife.

They were refused bail.

Centenary of the death of Maitland's Les Darcy

BY JARROD MELMETH and JESSICA ROUSE

Maitland will come together today to celebrate the centenary of the death of legendary boxer Les Darcy.

There will be a number of events today throughout the city where "Maitland's favourite son" lived and worked, and fell in love with sport of boxing which started his incredible career.

Les Darcy was one of the best middleweight fighters in the world and his career record finished at 50 fights with 46 wins before his tragic death at the age of 22 from blood poisoning.

Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore says 100 years ago the people of Maitland all saw the boxer as someone to look up to and aspired to be him.

"People as I say were looking for somebody that they could support, they could follow, they could cheer on and I come back to the fact that just look at the 22 year olds nowadays. Could they have done what Les Darcy did in that time? 100 plus years ago? It was a sad loss, Maitland's favourite son, Les Darcy."

A service will be held at East Maitland Park at 12.30 today, while a plaque paying tribute to Les Darcy will be unveiled at the site where he used to work as a blacksmith.

"We have two schools that are sending about 60 children each to come along, and think of the impact that will have on those children that in sixty years time they can say I was there for the centenary of the death of Les Darcy, Maitland's favourite son. And it promises to be a spectacle," said Mayor Peter Blackmore.

Image maitland.nsw.gov.au

Another man arrested over violent East Maitland home invasion

BY JESSICA ROUSE

A second man has been arrested over a violent home invasion in East Maitland on Monday night.

Central Hunter Police arrested a 17-year-old boy at Seaham yesterday - he's since been granted bail and will face the Children's Court next month.

The boy is allegedly one of three people who forced their way into a home in Curtain Street earlier this week, punching and kicking a 20-year-old man to the ground.

19-year-old Jordan Hillier who was arrested by police on Molly Morgan Drive shortly after the home invasion, fronted Maitland Local Court yesterday.

He was granted strict conditional bail and the matter was adjourned to Newcastle Local Court on May 31.

Hunter suburbs at risk of rising sea levels

BY JARROD MELMETH and JESSICA ROUSE

Newcastle has been featured as a high risk zone on a new map by Coastal Risk Australia, showing sea level rise patterns over the next 100 years.

The new map incorporates research from the US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and shows if the sea level rises by just 2.7 metres by 2100 many of the Hunter's coastal towns will be under water including much of Carrington.


The worst case scenario for 2100 in previous maps now looks to be three times worse.

The interactive map also shows that along with Carrington, Wickham, Koorangang, Fletcher, Shortland and Hexham are among the worst effected by rising sea levels.

Greens MP Justin Field says, the new data must be taken seriously by the NSW Government.

"We've got a budget coming out next month from the Berejiklian government and we need more money put towards climate mitigation. We need a phase out strategy for coal and I know that is sometimes a difficult conversation to have in the Hunter community and unless we want to see the communities under water in the next fifty to one hundred years. We need to take that seriously."

The rising sea levels are set to completely change the landscape of coastal communities, and in places like Carrington there's billions of dollars of public and private infrastructure at risk.

Not only that, MP Justin Field says the housing market will also be affected as the weather patterns change.

"This is already happening, we saw last year major storm events impact the coastline and saw houses washed into the ocean. I know that property prices are still high along the coastline but I think insurance companies are starting to look at this data and ask whether or not these properties are insurable and when you see those questions asked you'll see those prices start to fall," said Justin Field.