Friday, 28 October 2016

Hunter Jobs To Go At Pacific National


 The Rail Tram and Bus Union is accusing Pacific National of casualising it's Hunter workforce by stealth.

The rail company has confirmed dozens of full time coal train drivers are being made redundant, with 40 jobs to go in the Hunter at the company's Port Waratah and Greta depots, with more than 120 job cuts statewide.

The union has slammed the move saying the company is advertising for casual staff while cutting full time workers.

The company says the job cuts are necessary to cope with the peaks and troughs in demand for staff.

Pacific National Jobs On The Line

Another Life Lost On Hunter Roads


 There's been two fatal crashes within 12 hours this week on Hunter roads.

A 59-year-old man from Mayfield died yesterday morning when his Toyota Camry crossed to the wrong side of Lake Road, Glendale, hitting a fence and sign post.

He was taken to the John Hunter Hospital but couldn't be revived.

Investigations are continuing.

Meanwhile, the teenage learner rider killed in a motorcycle accident at Medowie on Wednesday night has now been named as 17-year-old Corey Pethebridge.

The budding sportsman represented Irrawang High School in lawn bowls and recently trialed with the Sydney Roosters junior rugby league side.

The latest fatalities have taken the Hunter's road toll for 2016 to 50.

Corey Pethebridge Photo courtesy Port Stephens Examiner

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Newcastle Doctor on Probation after Injecting Consenting Patients with Cannabis OIl


Newcastle doctor Andrew Katelaris has had another stoush with the Health Care Complaints Commission, after he injected two ovarian cancer patients with black market cannabis oil.

The patients had consented to the experimental treatment.

Andrew Katelaris [Image: Getty Images]
The HCCC have prohibited Dr Katelaris from injecting, supplying and administering cannabis for medicinal use.

The decision was made after the HCCC found the injections “resulted in serious adverse reactions and their [the patients] prolonged hospitalisation”.

“[Dr Katelaris] devised a hasty, ill-conceived and unsafe clinical trial of injected cannabis oil as a treatment for malignant ascites,” the HCCC said in a statement.

Dr Katelaris has been a long-time advocate for the use of medicinal cannabis, and was deregistered more than a decade ago for supplying cannabis to patients.

He was also charged with growing more than 50-thousand cannabis plants near Dungog.

He said the use of cannabis oil was the best treatment for the patients.

“They [the two patients] were both suffering severe peritoneal carcinomatosis, with bowel obstructions – so it can’t really get much worse than that,” he said.

“It was a desperate situation, which called for desperate action.”

He also said the treatment was a partial success.

“One of the ladies – the one that we documented – actually had a 50 percent reduction in her cancer markers,” he said.

“They [the HCCC] … ignored that in their, sort of, rushed approach to prosecute the nasty, maverick Dr Katelaris, rather than actually looking at what may have been achieved during these brief trials.”

The Turnbull Government have begun plans to introduce medicinal cannabis for patients who need it, but Dr Katelaris said it’s all talk.

“There’s been a lot of rhetoric both from Turnbull and Baird, and others about how much they’re doing to facilitate medical cannabis,” he said.

“But at this stage, not single child or adult in this state, or country, has received legal medical cannabis so it’s simply up to the activists to fill that yawning hole.”

Despite the new restrictions put him, Dr Katelaris is going to keep promoting medical cannabis’ benefits.

“The HCCC does what the HCCC does, and that’s retard progress,” he said.

“We see this as another small step in a very, very long march to have rational health therapy available for the population.

“The move to have medical cannabis widely accepted and applied across a range of serious and currently intractable diseases is unstoppable overseas.

“All that the establishment can do in this country is slow it down.”

Teen Dies In Motorcycle Crash At Medowie


A report will be prepared for the Coroner after a teenager died in a motor bike crash at Medowie last night.

Police say the 17-year-old from Raymond Terrace was riding his Yamaha motorcycle along Abundance Road just after 10pm when he slammed into the back of a parked utility.

He died at the scene.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Breaking the Ice forum hits Maitland


Crystalline methamphetamine or 'ice' will be the topic of tonights' 'Breaking the Ice' forum in Maitland.

Local community members, health experts and government will be on hand to help attendees understand the issues and misconceptions surrounding 'ice' and give some practical tools to deal with the issue.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare the number of Australians who have used methamphetamine has increased to 1.3 million people. In the regional areas of the Hunter, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reveal a 60 per cent increase in reports of amphetamine use and possession. Much larger than the 18 per cent increase in population centres of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation NSW Programs Manager Annie Bleeker says, the forum will aim to inform the community about the drug, break the stigma attached to its use and promote social inclusion.

"We need to start seeing the person rather than just the drug and to encourage people to seek help early, rather than hide the problem."

According to Ms Bleeker this is a community problem with a community solution.

"The solution is very much in the community's hands around this issue and that means working effectively with police as well as education and community groups."

The forum will be held tonight at East Maitland Bowling Club at 6:30pm.

Pictured: the drug 'ice'. Photo Courtesy of the ABC.

SES flood workshops on the way for Maitland


Businesses in Maitland have been invited to get involved in a new workshop on flood management.

The workshop is the latest in a series of local responses to last year's April superstorm, when the State Emergency Service received upwards of 2800 requests for help in the Maitland region alone.

SES Community Engagement Officer, Alexandra Varley, said businesses simply weren't prepared for the level of damage and this workshop will get them back on track.

"Businesses will actually receive their own business continuity plan," she said. "It's a step-by-step guide so that when a disaster does strike, they know the steps to take before, during and after the event."

The workshop kicks off on Friday, 11th November at Town Hall.

To register their interest, business owners can call the Maitland City Unit on 0417 549 292.

Public Appeal After Girl Approached At Morpeth


 Police are appealing for help from the public after a young girl was approached at Morpeth earlier this week.

Two men spoke to the 13-year-old at the Morpeth Boat Ramp at about 5.30 on Monday afternoon, asking her to come over to their silver utility.

The girl ignored them and walked away towards Swan Street but the pair got into the car and drove ahead of her before approaching her again, however she asked a passer-by for help and the pair drove off.

Police have released descriptions of the two men.

The passenger is Caucasian, about 20 with short brown hair and had his left ear pierced with a spacer. he was last seen wearing a black T-shirt.

The driver is also Caucasian. about 20 with short blonde hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a brown shirt.

Anyone who can assist police with their inquiries is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.