Man charged as investigations into armed robbery of Hunter hotel continue – Robbery and Serious Crime Squad

Robbery and Serious Crime Squad detectives have charged a man as part of ongoing investigations into the armed robbery of a hotel in the state’s Hunter region.

About 12.20am yesterday (Tuesday 25 January 2022), two masked men – one armed with a handgun and the other with a meat clever – entered a licensed premise on Main Road at Cardiff and threatened two employees, a man and woman aged 52 and 25, before taking a cash register and fleeing.

Police were told the duo left the location in a blue coloured Ford Falcon sedan, last seen heading east on Main Street.

Although shaken, the employees were not injured and contacted police.

Initial inquiries were conducted by officers attached to Lake Macquarie Police District, before the matter was referred to detectives from the State Crime Command’s Robbery and Serious Crime Squad under Strike Force Hawksview.

As part on ongoing investigations, strike force detectives – assisted by local police attached to Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Police Districts – executed three search warrants in Wallsend, Maryland and a New Lambton hotel room from 9pm last night (Tuesday 25 January 2022).

During subsequent searches, investigators seized a blue Ford Falcon, a motorcycle, ammunition, clothing, a firearm part, a small quantity of methylamphetamine, and other items relevant to the investigation.

All items seized will undergo forensic examination.

Following extensive inquiries, a 32-year-old man was arrested at the Wallsend address and taken to Newcastle Police Station.

He was charged with five offences, including robbery while armed with dangerous weapon, possess prohibited drug, acquire firearm part without authority to do so, drive motor vehicle during disqualification period, and possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit.

Police will allege in court that the man was one of two responsible for the armed robbery of the hotel in Cardiff.

He was refused bail and appeared at Newcastle Local Court earlier today (Wednesday 26 January 2022), where he was formally refused bail to appear at Toronto Local Court on Tuesday 1 February 2022.

Further arrests under Strike Force Hawksview are expected.

Paralympian Lauren Parker takes out top gong in Newcastle’s Citizen of the Year Awards

An all-female line-up has taken out City of Newcastle’s 2022 Citizen of the Year Awards, with a Paralympian, a law undergraduate and a passionate community advocate among this year’s recipients.

Announced at an intimate award ceremony at the City Administration Centre on Monday, the awards formally recognised the outstanding contributions of extraordinary Novocastrians over the past year.

L-R: Lauren Parker, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Jan Chamberlain, Ashley Harrison, Diane Barrack, Lynda Forbes, Judy Morley, Beth Moran.

Silver Paralympic medallist and three-time world paratriathlon champion Lauren Parker was crowned Citizen of the Year following remarkable results in Tokyo and on the world series circuit in Abu Dhabi. It came less than five years after Lauren was told she would never walk again after a horrific cycling accident whilst training for an Ironman event left her paralysed from the waist down.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Lauren had proudly represented the green and gold and her hometown on the world stage, overcoming many challenges and obstacles along the way.

“Lauren epitomises the Citizen of the Year title; her never-give-up attitude inspiring countless Novocastrians as she achieves anything she sets her mind to,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Her strength and resilience is admirable, always giving 110 per cent despite the daily battles we don’t see, managing ongoing pain from her injuries.”

Newcastle’s youngest Citizen of the Year in recent history, Lauren said she was honoured to receive the award.

“Every day since the accident has been a physical and mental battle but training and representing Newcastle helps me channel the pain into a positive outlet and show others that they too can achieve their dreams no matter what life throws at them,” Lauren said.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my journey, including and especially my friend Brad Fernley who has been by my side every step of the way before and after my accident. Thank you.”

University of Newcastle law and business student Ashley Harrison was named Young Citizen of the Year 2022 in recognition of her advocacy for victims of revenge porn, phishing, and impersonation, helping young women avoid exploitation through her start-up social enterprise, Verified Associates.

Jan Chamberlain is Newcastle’s Senior Citizen of the Year 2022, leading Hamilton South Community Solutions, a dedicated group that works to improve the amenity of the area and reduce the stigma surrounding social housing in addition to supporting residents through information, activities and workshops.

Taking out the Community Group of the Year award was Hunter Peace Group, recognised for its advocacy in re-affirming the City of Newcastle as a Nuclear Free Zone, a declaration first made by the late Lord Mayor Joy Cummings AM on 29 June 1982.

Represented by Secretary Lynda Forbes, Hunter Peace Group is working with City of Newcastle to establish a dedicated Hunter Peace Park in Tighes Hill opposite the TAFE Campus, cementing the city’s long and proud history of peace activism.

City of Newcastle drives towards electric future

City of Newcastle’s transition to a zero emissions fleet is powering forward with the unveiling of its first electric truck.

The medium rigid Hino truck is the only one of its kind in Newcastle and will replace a diesel vehicle currently being used by City of Newcastle’s (CN) Parks and Recreation team, reducing CN’s carbon emissions by more than 20 tonnes each year.

: (L-R) City of Newcastle Senior Field Worker Andrew Parkinson, City of Newcastle Manager Community Strategy & Innovation Ashlee Abbott, Cr Callum Pull, Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen, City of Newcastle Fleet Coordinator Ian Lorenz and City of Newcastle Sustainability Manager Steele Adams with the new electric truck.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the launch of the electric truck was part of a broader sustainability strategy that will deliver a 100% reduction in carbon emissions from CN vehicles during the next decade.

“City of Newcastle was the first council in NSW to shift to 100% renewable energy in our operations, with our own solar farm at Summerhill and a power purchase agreement with the Sapphire Wind Farm,” Cr Clausen said.

“Fossil-based liquid fuels such as diesel and unleaded petrol in CN cars, trucks, waste fleet, plant and equipment account for more than 90% of our remaining operational carbon emissions.

“This is produced from more than 1.6 million litres of fuel used annually across CN’s operations.

“City of Newcastle is working to deliver the adopted Climate Action Plan 2021-2025, which sets out a roadmap for achieving emission reduction within CN operations. This includes the development of a Fleet Transition Plan to target zero emissions from vehicles for 100% of the fleet by 2030.

The launch of the electric truck follows previous trials of electric vehicles within CN’s fleet, including the replacement of four pool cars with equivalent full electric passenger vehicles.

City of Newcastle will be participating in the NSW Government’s recently announced Drive Electric NSW EV fleets incentive, which will help support the transition of its passenger fleet.

City of Newcastle is helping to support the community’s transition to electric vehicles as well with the development of a council-owned public electric vehicle charging network. This currently includes seven chargers installed across four sites, which provide 11 charging bays, with additional sites planned to be built this year.

CCTV images released as shooting investigation continues – Hunter region

Strike force detectives have released CCTV images of a man they wish to speak to as inquiries continue into the shooting of another man in the state’s Hunter Region early last year.

About 10.45pm on Tuesday 9 March 2021, emergency services were called to a property on Golden Whistler Avenue at Aberglasslyn, following reports a man had been shot in the abdomen.

Police were told the injured man – aged 34 – was assaulted by two men, before being shot in the stomach by a third.

The injured man was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics, before being airlifted to hospital. He has since been released.

Detectives attached to Port Stephens-Hunter Police District established Strike Force Pedvin to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Investigators have since charged two men – aged 26 and 34 – in relation to the shooting; both men remain before the courts.

As inquiries continue, police have released CCTV images of a man they wish to speak to as part of ongoing investigations.

The man is described as being of Caucasian appearance, between 175cm to 180cm tall, of medium build, with short dark cropped hair and distinctive tattoos on his neck, left arm, left leg and right hand.

He was wearing a black t-shirt with printed logo on the front, green shorts, joggers and sunglasses.

Anyone who may recognise this man, or who may have additional information which could assist strike force detectives, is urged to contact Raymond Terrace Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Community invited to comment on ambitious shared vision for Newcastle

Newcastle will be a liveable, sustainable and inclusive global city in 2040 under an ambitious long-term vision developed with the community.

City of Newcastle engaged with more than 5000 people during the development of the draft Community Strategic Plan, Newcastle 2040.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it was important to understand the community’s vision for the future of Newcastle and how it relates to the policies and projects being delivered during the next decade and beyond.

“Newcastle 2040 has been developed in consultation with the community over a period of 12 months and represents the collaboration of thousands of interactions, including face-to-face conversations, workshops, surveys, online feedback, advisory committees and stakeholder engagement,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Through this extensive community consultation, we have developed four key themes that reflect the aspirations and values of our community, which are underpinned by our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“The priorities and objectives contained within this plan will enable us to celebrate our unique city, protect our natural assets, optimise opportunities, build resilience, champion inclusion and encourage innovation and creativity.

“The next decade is set to be an exciting and rewarding time for all of us as Newcastle grows from a great regional city to an emerging global city.

Newcastle 2040 represents the highest level of strategic planning carried out by Local Government. It will guide our project delivery plans and annual budgets over the next decade and beyond as we work together to help make Newcastle a better place to live, work and enjoy.”

The draft plan’s four key themes are: Liveable Newcastle, Sustainable Newcastle, Creative Newcastle and Achieving Together – each of which have been expanded to include a range of priorities and objectives.

Cr Nelmes said the delivery of Newcastle 2040 will require shared decision-making and collaborative partnerships with government agencies, non-government organisations, business and the local community.

The community are being invited to provide feedback on the draft plan from today, after Councillors voted on Tuesday to place it on public exhibition for 28 days.

Visit to comment on the draft plan.

A Community Strategic Plan is required to be prepared every four years and must be adopted by June 30 of the year following a local government election.

Man critically injured following stabbing; man arrested – Muswellbrook

A man remains under police guard after another man was seriously injured following a domestic-related stabbing incident in the state’s Hunter Region overnight.

About 9.20pm (Tuesday 18 January 2022), emergency services were called to Brooke Street, Muswellbrook, following reports a 47-year-old man had been stabbed to the neck.

The injured man drove himself to Muswellbrook Hospital, before being taken to John Hunter Hospital where he remains in a critical but stable condition.

Officers attached to Hunter Valley Police District attended and established a crime scene, as detectives commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Following inquiries, investigators attended Hunter Terrace, Muswellbrook, about 2am (Wednesday 19 January 2022), and arrested a 53-year-old man.

He was taken to Muswellbrook Police Station before being transferred to John Hunter Hospital for treatment, under police guard.

Inquiries are continuing.

Ordinary Council Meeting Tuesday 18 January 2022

Following is a summary of resolutions from the Ordinary Council meeting of Tuesday 18 January 2022. NB: it is not a full record of resolutions.

Lord Mayoral Minutes

Congratulating new and returning Councillors

A Lord Mayoral Minute (LMM) congratulated all successful candidates from the 4 December Local Government election and welcomed them to the Chamber as City of Newcastle Councillors. Councillors were also given an opportunity to address the Chamber.

COVID-19 Omicron Variant

An amended Lord Mayoral Minute was passed that noted the significant public health and economic consequences to Newcastle of the current national outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. It expressed deep concern that NSW Health is no longer publishing daily COVID statistics for the Hunter-New England region, including the Newcastle LGA and called for Council to write to the NSW Premier and Minister for Health urging the reinstatement of reporting of daily case numbers for Newcastle. It also called for an assessment of the specific public health risks of the upcoming Newcastle 500 Supercars event, and a review of the Supercars COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Ordinary business

Appointment of Deputy Lord Mayor

Councillors voted to elect Cr Declan Clausen as Deputy Lord Mayor for the duration of current the Council term.

Countback election

Council determined that casual vacancies occurring in the office of a councillor within 18 months of the election on 4 December 2021 are to be filled by a countback of votes cast at that election.

Appointment of Councillor representatives to external committees and City of Newcastle committees

Council resolved to appoint Councillors as members of various external committees for the current Council term. This includes the Fort Scratchley Historical Society Incorporated, the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel, Hunter Sports Centre Incorporated, the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation Board, the Newcastle City Traffic Committee and the NSW Public Libraries Association. Council also resolved to appoint Councillors to a number of City of Newcastle committees for the current Council term.

Appointment of a Councillor representative to the Hunter Water Customer and Community Advisory Group

Council resolved to appoint a Councillor representative and an alternative to the Hunter Water Customer and Community Advisory Group for the current Council term.

Endorsement of motions for submission to the 2022 Local Government NSW Special Conference

Council voted to endorse three motions to be submitted to the 2022 Local Government NSW Special Conference, which will be held in Sydney from Monday 28 February to Wednesday 2 March 2022. This included a motion to amend the Local Government Act to prohibit property developers and real estate agents from running for elected local government positions; a motion to advocate for the removal of universal rate pegging in NSW, allowing elected Councils to set rates in consultation with their communities; and a motion to re-establish a fixed four-year term for Council, with the next Council elections to be held in September 2025.

Public exhibition of draft Community Strategic Plan

Council unanimously voted to publicly exhibit the draft Community Strategic Plan (Newcastle 2040) for 28 days. The Plan provides the basis for ongoing alignment of CN’s decision-making processes, strategies and activities with the vision of the Newcastle community and has been informed by extensive community and stakeholder engagement.

Motorcycle rider dies in crash – Hunter Valley

An investigation is underway after a motorcyclist died in a two-vehicle crash in the Hunter Valley region yesterday.

About 3.15pm (Friday 14 January 2022), emergency services were called to Richmond Vale Road, Mulbring, about 20km east of Cessnock, after a Suzuki GSX motorcycle and Toyota Camry sedan collided.

Both the car and motorcycle caught alight.

Despite the efforts of emergency services, the rider – a 39-year-old man – died at the scene

The male driver of the Camry, and his female passenger – both aged 66 – sustained minor injuries and were taken to John Hunter Hospital. The woman suffered a suspected broken hand.

The NSW Rural Fire Service attended and extinguished the blaze.

A crime scene was established by officers from Hunter Valley Police District, who are making inquiries into the cause of the collision.

Fatal pedestrian crash – Thornton

A pedestrian has died after being hit by a car at Thornton this morning.

Just after 2.30am (Friday 14 January 2022), emergency services were called to the New England Highway near Weakleys Drive, Thornton, following reports a pedestrian had been hit by a Ford Falcon sedan.

Despite efforts to revive the man, he died at the scene. He is yet to be formally identified.

The driver of the Ford – a 30-year-old man – was uninjured and taken to hospital for mandatory testing.

Officers attached to Port Stephens-Hunter Police District established a crime scene and commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash.

Local traffic diversions are in place and motorists are urged to avoid the area.

As inquiries continue, police are urging anyone with information, or dashcam vision from the area, to come forward.

Officer charged – Northern Region

An officer has been charged with further offences following an investigation in the state’s north.

In November last year, an off-duty probationary constable attached to the Northern Region was charged following an alleged traffic-related incident.

Following further inquiries, the 39-year-old man was charged today (Wednesday 12 January 2022) with not keep firearm safely–not pistol/prohibited firearm and handle/use firearm under the influence of alcohol/drug.

He is due to appear before Toronto Local Court on Tuesday 18 January 2022.

The officer’s duty status is currently under review.