Friday, 7 December 2018

New Police Recruits Lacking in the Hunter


The NSW Police Force has welcomed 257 new probationary constables to its ranks today, but there are local concerns the Hunter won't be receiving the number of officers it deserves.

'Class 335' will start work at their new stations on Monday, with 83% to be stationed in Sydney and the other 17% to be distributed across the state.

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery was disappointed to learn only 3 of the 257 recruits have been assigned to the Hunter and has called on Police Minister Troy Grant to review how new recruits are allocated.

Port Stephens-Hunter, Newcastle City and Lake Macquarie Polic Districts will each receive one new recruit, totalling just 1% of the latest cohort.

"I have brought the issue of police resources, or lack thereof in the Hunter, up many times in Parliament in the last four years," said Ms Hornery.

"And I was laughed down by the government who told me that we are in fact, for some unbelievable reason, according to them, over-resourced in the Hunter."

NSW Police graduates. Image: NSW Police Force Academy

Hunter Street Cycle-Way


Newcastle council is reviving a 5-year-old cycle plan for Hunter Street, which was deferred when the NSW Government launched its light-rail project.

Greens Councillor, John Mackenzie says the original light-rail planned promised a cycleway but it was never delivered.

"This is an important initiative to address the shortfalls that Newcastle have been left with due to light-rail," he said.

The two-way cycle path would run west from Union Street to Gordon Avenue before joining up with an existing riding route to Hamilton and beyond.

It is hoped it will reduce traffic, which can easily bank up through the major traffic lights.

"This will reduce parking stress, reduce congestion and reduce pollution," he said.

The plan will connect the city for cyclists and the public with electric bikes already available all across the city.

"Not having a separated cycle-way is the number one discouraging factor for people to make the decision to use their bikes as a commuting option.

Council is currently discussing options with cycling communities and traffic experts to finalise plans before revealing the final plan to the public.

Image: Newcastle Herald

Newcastle's Part In The 16 Days Of Activism Campaign


Marking the end of the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, Newcastle will host a public vigil this Sunday at Civic park to remember the 63 women killed form violence so far in 2018.
The 16 Days of Activism is part of the International UNITE Campaign run by the United Nations aiming aims to raise awareness of violence against women and show support for victims and survivors.

Gender research network lead at the University of Newcastle, Trisha Pender says Newcastle's participation in the campaign is crucial.

"It is important that Newcastle is involved with this campaign and that the community attend the vigil on Sunday to remember and commemorate the lives of the horrific number of women killed by violence in Australia."

Along with the vigil, Newcastle has held numerous events over the last two weeks protesting and raising awareness for violence against women including self-defence workshops, a women and children matter rally and turning landmarks throughout Newcastle orange.

"All around the world prominent buildings are being turned orange in support for this campaign and remembrance of the victims of gender-based violence..Newcastle is participating this year with landmarks such as City Hall, Civic Park Fountain and Adamstown United Church all turning orange." 

Pender encourages all Hunter residents to attend the vigil on Sunday beginning at 4pm to support the campaign and ending all violence against women.

"It would be wonderful to get a diverse range of Newcastle residents to attend the vigil and show their support for putting an end to this problem of nationally endemic proportions."

Image Sourced: 16 Days of Activism Facebook Page.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Water Bill Win For Salt Ash Public School


Parents and teachers of Salt Ash Public School are breathing a sigh of relief after the Education Department came to their rescue over a massive water bill.

The school was connected to town water in the wake of the PFAS scandal, and while the Defence Department had agree to pay the water bills of affected residents and businesses, they refused to extend the same offer to Salt Ash Public.

The Education Department has now agreed to reimburse the school for the shock $6,000 bill and has agreed to pay future water bills from state funds.

Port Stephens MP, Kate Washington raised the plight of the school earlier this week, writing to the Defence Department urging them to add the school's water bills to the residential water bills they are already paying.

"While the school getting their local budget reimbursed by the NSW Education Department is a welcome win for local families, the bill should ultimately be paid by the Department of Defence whose contamination of the local bore water has caused this issue," she said

Port Stephens Mp, Kate Washington speaks to parents about the shock water bill. Picture:

Man Charged Over Jacob Saifiti Incident


Police have now charged a man over an alleged assault on Newcastle Knights forward Jacob Saifiti.

Police say the 22-year-old  became involved in an altercation outside a hotel in Tudor Street Hamilton just before 2.30am on Sunday 2 December.

Saifiti was allegedly knocked unconscious, falling awkwardly and breaking his leg.

Following investigations, a 28-year-old man attended Newcastle Police Station yesterday afternoon, where he was arrested and charged with reckless grievous bodily harm.

He's been granted conditional bail to appear in Newcastle Local Court in 10 January 2019.

Jacob Saifiti Picture: Newcastle Knights

Firefighter Injured In Toronto House Fire


A firefighter has been taken to hospital after fire engulfed a garage at Toronto.

Crews were called to Oak Street just after 10.30pm on Wednesday to find the garage well alight.

A retained firefighter, who was wearing protective gloves, suffered a minor burn to his hand - he was treated at the scene before being taken by a private vehicle to the John Hunter Hospital for further treatment and observation.

Firefighters took about an hour to extinguish and mop up the blaze.

Meanwhile, about 40 people were evacuated from the Muswellbrook Workers Club at about 9.10pm on Wednesday after the smell of gas was detected in the basement.

However, no leak was found and fire crews gave the all clear after about 15 minutes.

BREAKING! Residents Evacuated From Cooks Hill Unit Complex


Fire has forced the evacuation of a Cooks Hill unit block.

Firefighters from Newcastle, Merewether, Carrington, Lambton and Mayfield West were called to the six unit complex on Parkway Avenue at about 1.20am on Thursday to find smoke issuing from an apartment on the 2nd floor of the three storey building.

However, Newcastle Fire Command says crews were unable to gain access to the unit because the male resident, who they says was intoxicated, refused to let them in.

Police were called and it's believed the man was arrested.

Crews were then able to extinguish a small fire, which was confined to the unit.

No-one was injured.