41 found with drugs at music festival – Port Macquarie

More than 40 people have been caught with drugs during a music festival at Port Macquarie over the past two days.

The ‘Festival of the Sun’ event was conducted within a holiday park at Port Macquarie between 13-16 December 2018. About 3000 people were in attendance.

Officers from Mid North Coast Police District conducted an operation to police the event, including a drug dog operation.

During the operation, 41 people were detected with drugs, including cannabis, MDMA, cocaine and LSD.

One man, aged 27, was allegedly found to be in possession of 55 MDMA capsules. He was charged with supply prohibited drug and possess prohibited drug.

He was conditionally bailed to appear at Port Macquarie Local Court on Wednesday 9 January 2019.

Other alleged offenders were issued field court attendance notices, infringement notices, cannabis cautions and warnings.

On-site medical services treated about 40 persons at the event for various issues.

Man assaulted; charges laid – Hamilton

A man has been charged following an alleged assault near Newcastle today.

About 2am (Saturday 15 December 2018), emergency services were called to Beaumont Street, Hamilton, following reports of an assault.

Police have been told a 25-year-old man and a 43-year-old man were allegedly involved in an altercation.

Officers from Newcastle City Police District attended and arrested the 25-year-old man.

He was taken to Newcastle City Police Station where he was charged with affray and behave in offensive manner in/near public place.

He was granted conditional bail to appear in Newcastle Local Court on Thursday 17 January 2019.

NSW Ambulance paramedics attended the scene, however the 43-year-old man declined treatment.

Man charged over firearms possession – – Lake Haven

Police have charged a man after he was allegedly found to be in possession of drugs and a firearm in a carpark at Lake Haven on the state’s Central Coast yesterday.

About 11pm (Friday 14 December 2018) officers from Morisset Police Transport Command were patrolling Lake Haven when they came across a Toyota Corolla parked across three car spaces at a fast food restaurant in Lake Haven.

The window of the car was open, and the engine was running as police took a closer look.

A man sitting in the driver’s seat was woken by officers who then searched his car.

Police allegedly located a loaded .22 pistol with ammunition, a sling shot, black handled spike/shiv, a small quantity of drugs believed to be cannabis, methamphetamine and pills, two mobile phones and drug paraphernalia.

The 30-year-old man was arrested and taken to Wyong Police Station where he was charged with firearm and drug possession and having custody of an offensive implement.

He was refused bail and will appear in Wyong Local Court today (Saturday 15 December 2018).

CENTRELINK CUTS HURTING NOVOCASTRIANS

Novocastrians are bearing the brunt of ongoing cuts at Centrelink, with many being forced to wait for up to six months for applications for pensions or income support to be processed.

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said the number of Novocastrians contacting her for help after going months without income was distressing.

“My office takes too many calls from desperate constituents forced to live on nothing and navigate a system that seems rigged to demoralise and delay,” Ms Claydon said.

“With well over 35,000 Novocastrians on income support or pensions, the impact of these cuts has been felt widely across our community.

“Staff morale is also an all-time low with department jobs being cut and outsourced to labour hire firms.”

Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Linda Burney said the Federal Government had cut and outsourced 2,500 Centrelink jobs in the past three years.

“Centrelink is in crisis under the Liberals. It’s under-staffed and under-resourced,” Ms Burney said.

“We have heard shocking stories of people waiting hours to speak to someone on the phone, or waiting months for their allowances or pensions.”

“The only winners of the cuts are labour hire firms who charge the taxpayer more, but pay their staff less.”

Labor has committed to invest in Centrelink’s workforce with 1,200 permanent, full-time, properly trained staff, who are best able to deal with the complex issues facing income support recipients.

Colourful family-fun on offer for NYE

Novocastrian families are invited to roll up their sleeves and unleash their DIY home renovation skills this New Year’s Eve on a pop-up Funhouse on Market Street Lawn provided by the City of Newcastle and presenting partner Port of Newcastle.

The giant cardboard Funhouse will form the centrepiece of a fun family-friendly evening inspired by a colourful cast of roving characters and local makers, while Foreshore revellers also enjoy a free outdoor concert headlined by legendary rockers Dragon.

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An epic 15-minute fireworks display will follow and be bigger and better than ever, with an explosion of colour launched from Stockton’s Griffiths Park offering uninterrupted views from the harbour’s southern shore.

A line up of live music, including Bowie Unzipped, will drive the party beat across the foreshore as market stalls and food vans round out the list of attractions.

“Our New Year’s Eve event will see families celebrate with a hands-on creative collaboration for the whole community and a fantastic line-up of entertainment throughout the evening – before enjoying our fireworks display,” Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“I want to thank Port of Newcastle for partnering with the City to provide this safe and fun activation to celebrate the New Year.”

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CEO Craig Carmody said the Port was proud to be part of the celebration.

“Since our first shipment in 1799, the Port and the City have grown and prospered together,” he said. “We are proud to partner with the City of Newcastle to deliver a celebration for the community that will mark the beginning of our 220th year of commercial shipping in the Port.”

In keeping with the night’s DIY vibe, event goers can let their creativity run wild across a number of maker stations, designing and decorating their own colourful cardboard costumes before taking part in a giant musical parade led by professional performers.

Working with a team of experienced local makers and artists, all comers will be provided with fun materials to decorate the multi-roomed Funhouse.

Inflatable slides and jumping castles will be on offer in the family-friendly zone, while local artist Bliss Cavanagh of Happy Senses creates a safe and magical sensory experience harbour side for people with disabilities and their families.

Cr Nelmes said New Year’s Eve is one of the most exciting nights of the year and it’s important to ensure that celebrations can be enjoyed by every member of the community.

“This is a night designed to be welcoming, accessible and inclusive of everyone, with a wide range of entertainment for all ages,” she said.

“Following positive feedback from last year’s event, we’re repeating the VIP Sensory Area, which provides a safe base from where registered participants can explore the whole event or simply relax and enjoy the music and fireworks.”

For more information, visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au or follow us on Twitter (@CityNewcastle), Facebook (@CityNewcastle.au) and Instagram (CityNewcastle).

EVENT SPECIFICS

ENTERTAINMENT
NYE Concert Stage, in the car park east of Queens Wharf

ARTIST SCHEDULE
5:00 – 5:30pm: Ultraviolet
5:50 – 6:35PM: GW Freebird Blues
6:55 – 7:40PM: Bowie Unzipped
8:00 – 9:00PM: Dragon
9:00 – 9:15PM: Fireworks Finale
MC: Grant Walmsley

Family Fun Zone, Market Street Lawn
Join in the DIY fun at the giant cardboard Funhouse or make and decorate a costume to take part in the hourly parades along the event precinct. Work off some energy on the safe and accessible inflatable slides and jumping castles and enjoy the free family-friendly entertainment.

Food Alley, Market Street Lawn and along Wharf Road
Discover the range of mouth-watering treats on offer from a wide range of food vans, located in the New Year’s Eve food alley at either end of the event precinct. From burgers to desserts and everything in between, the vendors will have something to suit every taste.

Best Seats in the House Competition
Keep an eye out on City of Newcastle’s social media channels for the chance to win the Best Seats in the House for your family or friends. You could win seats in a comfy space with the best view of the fireworks, including a gourmet hamper with nibbles and drinks for the group.

VIP Sensory Area, west of Queens Wharf
Following the success of last year’s pilot, local artist Bliss Cavanagh will once again create a very special VIP Sensory Area to help make the event more accessible, safe and fun for people with disabilities. Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity, as spaces are limited! Register now via our online form at www.studiobliss.com/nye2018.

For more information about our VIP Sensory Area contact Bliss Cavanagh on 0415 701188 or https://www.studiobliss.com/nye2018

Foreshore Precinct
Find the perfect place to sit back and relax along the harbour side precinct, stretching from Honeysuckle to Foreshore Park, and get ready to be amazed by the colourful pyrotechnic display on show during the 9pm fireworks.

TRANSPORT INFORMATION

Public Transport
Newcastle buses and ferries will be in service throughout the event, with a range of set down areas throughout the CBD. For timetables, travel plans, ticket and fare information call the Transport Infoline on 131 500 between 6pm and 10pm seven days a week.

Trains will also be running to the Newcastle Interchange on their normal schedules.

Parking
We’re offering free parking in our King Street Parking Station from 5pm to 10.30pm. Parking is also available in designated areas throughout the CBD. Off-street paid parking is available at Care Park Lee Wharf, Mall Parking Station, Wilson Parking, Civic Park West carpark and East End Beach and Nobbys Beach parking areas.

Ride your Bike
A bike valet service will be available next to Lynch’s Hub. Ride your bikes into the hub, have your bike valeted there (BYO bike locks) and pick it up at the end of the night. Places are limited. You can also pre-order a gourmet picnic hamper online at Lynch’s Hub to be ready for pick-up when you drop off your bike.

Road Closures 
The following streets will be closed from Monday 31 December to Tuesday 1 January.

  • Wharf Road (Watt Street to Argyle Street) from 6am – 3am
  • Wharf Road eastbound (Merewether Street to Argyle Street) from 6am – 3am
  • Scott Street, eastbound (Darby Street to Watt Street) from 3pm – 9.30pm (NYE)

M1 truck crash – Brooklyn

A truck driver has been taken to hospital following a crash north of Sydney early this morning.

The crash happened just after 1am (Friday 14 December 2018), when a B-double truck travelling northbound on the M1, south of the Hawkesbury River Bridge, Brooklyn, hit the dividing rock wall rapturing the fuel tank.

The truck driver, a 46-year-old man was taken to Gosford Hospital in a stable condition.

An operation is now underway to unload the truck before it can be removed.

Significant traffic delays are expected with lane three northbound of the M1 remaining closed.

For the latest traffic information visit www.livetraffic.com.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

City hails first five-star hotel

A landmark deal inked this morning will see the City’s current administrative headquarters transformed into a stunning five-star hotel to be known as the Kingsley.

Overlooking Civic Park, the harbour and Merewether from its upper floors, the Kingsley marks a historic moment in the City’s revitalisation, providing the heartbeat that has always been missing from the local tourism industry.

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Purchased by the hospitality group Crystalbrook Collection, the five-star hotel will feature 136 luxury rooms, lobby bar, café with outdoor terrace and a new roof top with restaurant, swimming pool and gymnasium.

Construction and fit out of the new hotel will begin as soon as City of Newcastle staff relocate to their new office on the corner of Hunter Street and Stewart Avenue in the new CBD that is Newcastle West. Crystalbrook Collection expect the Kingsley to be operating by November 2020, in time for the Newcastle 500 and the tens of thousands of visitors it will attract to the city.

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Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes hailed the landmark deal as a turning point in Newcastle’s history.

“Great cities around the world provide truly great accommodation. And the mark of a great hotel is one done to a five-star standard. Crystalbrook’s decision to invest in Newcastle, when they could have invested anywhere in Australia, says so much about our city and how we are viewed by those living interstate and overseas.

“The location of the Kingsley will overnight reinvent the Civic Precinct. Guest staying in the luxury hotel will now be within just 100 metres walk of the Civic Theatre, The Newcastle Art Gallery, The Newcastle Museum and the Civic Playhouse. The existence of a five-star hotel complete with a light rail station immediately across from it, will finally create the thriving cultural precinct our city has longed for,” the Lord Mayor said.

“I applaud Crystalbrook’s vision in re-imagining the CAC’s brutalist architecture. Reviewing their plans and renders, their vision for the building is an ideal adaptive reuse. In the space of less than two years, Newcastle will have a building that is both iconic and luxurious.

“Today’s sale is also a win for tourism, the University’s inner-city expansion plans, and the neighboring justice precinct and nearby Darby Street businesses,” the Lord mayor said.

City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said the sale would generate new investment momentum.

“Following the expression of interest process that involved two separate rounds, we have delivered for ratepayers an exceptional result. Indeed, we have delivered the best of both worlds, a financial sale well beyond our valuation of the building which will also generate a significant number of jobs,” Mr Bath said.

“Just as the hotel will boost the Civic and Honeysuckle, the exodus of bureaucrats to the West End in August will lend impetus to plans to make it the new CBD, next to the Newcastle Interchange.

“As part of associated plans, Birdwood Park and Parry Street West will be overhauled as Newcastle’s new civic centre and Wickham will be overhauled as part of a detailed Masterplan by the City,” he said.

Crystalbrook Collection CEO Mark Davie said he was thrilled to partner with the City on the historic project.

“There’s really nothing like this building, it has a strong identity and connection to the city of Newcastle. I see a lot of potential,” Mr Davie said.

“We think the location, with the City Hall, the Civic Theatre, the Art Gallery and the War Memorial Cultural Centre right on the doorstep, makes it a perfect location for a five-star hotel.”

Mr Davie said he had been watching Newcastle’s growth in recent years and felt strongly that Crystalbrook Collection should become a contributor to its future economic success.

The name Kingsley follows a naming convention by which Crystalbrook gives each of its hotels a gender-neutral name and its own unique personality.

Kingsley is also an historical allusion to the City’s early name of ‘Kingstown’, which dates back to 1804.

Funding competition to create more vibrant city

The City of Newcastle resolved last night to make business improvement associations (BIAs) compete in a free market of ideas to generate more events and initiatives of a higher standard throughout the city.

An annual contestable process for a yet-to-be determined percentage of the $1.345 million in commercial ratepayer funding will replace existing agreements with four BIAs and New Lambton Village following the decision to end the current funding model, which was recommended by consultants AECOM.

Newcastle Business Improvement Association (Newcastle Now), Hamilton Business Improvement Association, and Mayfield Business Improvement Association, Wallsend Business Improvement Association will compete with other organisations under the new model for some of the funding currently exclusively available to them.

The new framework will ensure funding is directed to events, local projects and small infrastructure such as parks improvements from 1 July 2019 and not spent on consultants, employees and administration costs.

“Under the new model, BIAs will not be able to request funds from the City of Newcastle for administrative costs and staff salaries. It’s clear from a review of the BIAs that many millions of dollars have been spent on administration that should have gone into the delivery of on-the -ground events,” City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said.

“Four of the five BIAs have this year requested Council funding and collectively propose to spend 46 per cent of their ratepayer funds on administration and salaries.

“From July next year, BIAs will compete for a percentage of the funds with any number of other groups who have compelling ideas for events and initiatives. These events will need to benefit the local business area that is paying the special rate. This change will improve the quality of events and projects that commercial ratepayers’ money is spent on. It will encourage fresh, dynamic ideas for how we drive better visitation and spend in our local business areas.

“The City needs more events, and more focus on tourism and economic development. BIAs can play a critical role in achieving this. Wallsend and Hamilton BIAs have done an outstanding job cultivating events that draw large numbers and, going forward, successful events like the Wallsend Winter Fair, Hamilton Carnivale and China Week will be able to apply for funding in three-year blocks to give them certainty.”

In August, CN engaged independent firm Centium to investigate compliance with the Deed of Agreement with Newcastle Now following serious governance concerns.

The report found payments made by the City had not been supported by business plans submitted by Newcastle Now, that it had failed to meet standards of acquittal for projects since 2016 and inappropriately used the special rate levy funds for projects.

The Centium report was prompted by the discovery that around $7 million had been paid since 2012 to Newcastle Now without an approved business plan, a requirement stipulated in the association’s funding agreement signed by its then and current Chair Edward Duc in November 2011.

The AECOM report found that the governance arrangements for BIAs required significant improvement after Newcastle Now spent at least 43 per cent of its funding on administrative costs and salaries every year over the past five years.

“In 2016, this figure exceeded $600,000 out of total funding of $1,161,596,” Mr Bath said.
“In 2017, 56 per cent of Newcastle Now’s funding was diverted to administration and salaries, a record percentage.

“It should be noted that this spending occurred before their current Executive Manager commenced in May this year.

“Every dollar that is spent on administration and salaries is a dollar that isn’t going towards on-the-ground delivery of events and programs that attract people to local shops and businesses.

“AECOM recommends that administration expenses instead be managed by a single independent third party on behalf of all five BIAs. Through economies of scale, this will ensure an estimated half a million dollars more is invested into local business areas in the form of events and programs rather than in red tape and bureaucracy”, Mr Bath said.

Collected by the City, BIA funding is made available from a special rate paid by commercial ratepayers to fund additional promotion and marketing of their local business area.

CENTRELINK CUTS HURTING NOVOCASTRIANS

Novocastrians are bearing the brunt of ongoing cuts at Centrelink, with many being forced to wait for up to six months for applications for pensions or income support to be processed.

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said the number of Novocastrians contacting her for help after going months without income was distressing.

“My office takes too many calls from desperate constituents forced to live on nothing and navigate a system that seems rigged to demoralise and delay,” Ms Claydon said.

“With well over 35,000 Novocastrians on income support or pensions, the impact of these cuts has been felt widely across our community.

“Staff morale is also an all-time low with department jobs being cut and outsourced to labour hire firms.”

Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Linda Burney said the Federal Government had cut and outsourced 2,500 Centrelink jobs in the past three years.

“Centrelink is in crisis under the Liberals. It’s under-staffed and under-resourced,” Ms Burney said.

“We have heard shocking stories of people waiting hours to speak to someone on the phone, or waiting months for their allowances or pensions.”

“The only winners of the cuts are labour hire firms who charge the taxpayer more, but pay their staff less.”

Labor has committed to invest in Centrelink’s workforce with 1,200 permanent, full-time, properly trained staff, who are best able to deal with the complex issues facing income support recipients.

Council update: Tuesday 11 December 2018

Following is a summary of the Ordinary Council meeting for Tuesday 11 December 2018.
NB: it is not a full record of resolutions.

Lord Mayoral Minute – City of Newcastle ‘Buy Local’ Procurement Policy
This supported LMM will see the City examine the benefits of purchasing goods, services and works from suppliers/contractors within the Greater Newcastle region and develop a draft policy for Council’s consideration.

Lord Mayoral Minute – Richmond Vale Rail Trail Working Party
A LMM was supported to establish a Richmond Vale Rail Trail Working Party comprising Councillors, Council officers and community members from Newcastle, Cessnock and Lake Macquarie.

Code of Conduct complaints statistics report
The report was received and noted.

Adoption of revised Privacy Management Plan
Council adopted the revised plan.

Adoption of Effective Communication between Councillors and Staff Policy
The policy was adopted.

Report on Review of Advisory Committees and Adoption of Advisory Committee Charters
Council adopted a new advisory committee structure and appointed Councillor members to strategic advisory committees for Infrastructure, Strategy and Innovation, Community and Culture, and Liveable Cities.

Determination of PAYG taxation for Councillors
The motion was carried, however it was required to be unanimous in order for Councillors to be eligible for PAYG tax withholding and superannuation. A substantive foreshadowed motion was instead carried that the City write to Federal and State Ministers and Shadow Ministers for Local Government in support of legislation requiring councillors to be paid compulsory superannuation.

Sanctuary Estate, Fletcher – Adoption of Amendment to Newcastle LEP 2012
Council endorsed the Planning Proposal for forwarding to the Department of Planning and Environment.

Cooks Hill, The Hill and Hamilton South Heritage Conservation Areas boundary adjustments – Endorsement of Amendment to Newcastle LEP 2012
Council endorsed the Planning Proposal for forwarding to the Minister for Planning for gateway determination.

Adoption of Hamilton Residential Precinct Heritage Conservation Area – Amendment to Newcastle LEP 2012
Council endorsed the Planning Proposal to create a Heritage Conservation Area for the Hamilton residential precinct and to forward the proposal to the Department of Planning and Environment.

Temporary suspension of alcohol-free zones for upcoming events 2019
The temporary suspension of alcohol-free zones was approved.

Management of parking within the Local Government Area
Council resolved to authorise the Chief Executive Officer to establish and operate or remove parking schemes as provided under the Road Transport (General) Regulation 2013 within the Newcastle Local Government Area.

Land acquisition – Part 12 Albert Street, Wickham – Roundabout and associated works
Council authorised the acquisition of part of the property at 12 Albert St, Wickham to enable the City to complete a shared pathway and roundabout works on the corner of Railway and Albert Streets.

Notices of Motion (NOM) 

Minimising disruption
A NOM was supported to note the temporary inconvenience caused to residents by the continued unprecedented construction boom underway in the City and to consider opportunities for Newcastle to replicate and build upon reforms for road construction works that have been introduced by the Victorian Government.

Health burden of coal-fired electricity generation in NSW
A NOM was supported to note a report investigating serious health damage caused by NSW’s five coal-fired power stations and to write to the Environment Minister and Shadow Environment Minister to seek commitments for air quality monitoring.

Paris Climate Agreement
A NOM was supported for City of Newcastle to commit formally to the principles and targets of the Paris Climate Agreement and develop a pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the update of the Newcastle 2020 Carbon and Water Management Action Plan.