Charges laid over alleged break-ins of storage units – Whitebridge near Newcastle

A man appeared in court today after several storage units were allegedly broken into at Whitebridge near Newcastle last month.

On Thursday 23 May 2019, several storage units on Bulls Garden Road, Whitebridge, were allegedly broken into. As a result, seven vintage motorcycles were stolen.

Officers from Lake Macquarie Police District were notified and commenced investigations.

Following investigations, a 28-year-old Charlestown man was arrested and taken to Belmont Police Station today (Wednesday 12 June 2019).

He was charged with 9 offences including break and enter house etc steal value more than $60,000, break and enter dwelling house with intent to steal, drive motor vehicle during disqualification period (x2), motor bike rider not wear/secure fit approved helmet, use unregistered registrable class A motor vehicle on road, possess housebreaking implements, custody of knife in a public place, and possess prohibited drug.

The man was refused bail and appeared at Newcastle Local Court today (Wednesday 12 June 2019), he was refused bail again to reappear at Belmont Local Court on Wednesday 7 August 2019.

NSW BUDGET: MORE SUPPORT FOR FARMERS, ECONOMIC STIMULUS FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES

The NSW Government is continuing to support regional communities, businesses and workers experiencing the flow-on effects of the drought through a new regional economic stimulus package.

During a visit to Coolamon in the State’s southwest today, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the upcoming State Budget would include $355 million to extend emergency drought support for farmers and funding to fast track investment in regional infrastructure.

The funding brings the NSW Government’s investment in drought support to more than $1.8 billion.

Ms Berejiklian said the package will fund many critical town water projects as well as other shovel-ready infrastructure projects that will stimulate local economies.

“The impact of this drought has spread quickly off farm and is now being felt by businesses and households in towns and cities across regional NSW,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“When farmers can’t contract tradies and other workers, there is a flow on effect felt throughout local businesses such as cafes and local stores. This funding package will support these rural communities in their time of need.”

Examples of shovel ready projects that could be funded by the stimulus package include regional airport upgrades, activation of industrial lands and CBD revitalisation projects.

Ms Berejiklian was joined in Coolamon by Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall.

Mr Barilaro said the NSW Government was continuing to stand shoulder to shoulder with farmers and their communities battling the drought.

“The lack of rain on farm is having a devastating flow on effect in regional businesses,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Every dollar spent by farmers at their local store helps keep someone employed in that business and a family in town. We recognise that in order to keep businesses open and jobs in town, the Government needs to fast track our investment in local infrastructure.”

Mr Perrottet said the package would boost water security for local communities and provide support for farmers and their local communities.

“The best drought package for regional NSW is rain, but until the skies open we will stand by communities that are doing it tough,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We will always back our farmers and rural communities as they continue to deal with this terrible drought.”

Mr Marshall said the assistance would allow farmers to cut the cost of farming fees and charges, continue to use transport subsidies and would provide funding for emergency water carting.

“Our farmers are doing it incredibly tough and that’s why we’re directing additional funds to help reduce cost of living pressures, drought-proof properties and transport stock and fodder,” Mr Marshall said.

“While what is needed most is simply more rainfall I’m confident this package will help alleviate the burden associated with one of the worst droughts in living memory.”

Under today’s announcement, $170 million has been reserved for a special purpose Drought Infrastructure Package, including:

  • Up to $120 million to fast track identified major infrastructure projects;
  • $30 million on new groundwater supply for Dubbo;
  • $8.2 million construction of second water storage at Nyngan
  • $2.2 million to augment bore water supply at Coonabarabran;
  • $2 million for Albert Priest Channel critical maintenance (Nyngan and Cobar); and
  • $1.97 million towards the Coolamon Industrial Estate development.

An additional $185 million in Budget funding will go towards on-farm drought support measures, including:

  • $70 million for transport subsidies (stock, fodder and water);
  • $50 million to waive Local Land Services rates;
  • $30 million to waive fixed charges for NSW Water Licences;
  • $15 million for emergency water carting; and
  • $10 million to waive interest charges for Farm Innovation Fund loans.

For further information about NSW Government drought support measures, visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au

Free Wi-Fi now live across the City

Newcastle’s vision to be a globally connected smart city is another step closer with the launch of a free public Wi-Fi network in Newcastle’s East End.

The City Wi-Fi network is one initiative of CN’s Smart City program designed to increase connectivity and information sharing between the community, business and the digital world.

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L-R: Nick Brown from Countrytell*, Brett Woods from CSA, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Rick Fancourt from Countrytell

From today, people can connect to 60 of the City’s 150 smart poles on their smart devices when they log on along Wharf Road, Watt Street and Shortland Esplanade. Plans are in the pipeline to install more poles across the City, as well as Beresfield and Wallsend, soon.

Speaking at today’s launch on Market Street Lawn, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the roll-out would extend to the new CBD in the West End and parts of Wickham.
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“Whether it be for business or leisure, cities the world over are now embracing the ability to offer affordable and accessible internet to residents and visitors so that they can be connected anytime, anywhere,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This is one of the many actions contained within our Smart City Strategy that we’ve invested in, alongside energy-efficient solar projects, electric-vehicle charging stations, driverless vehicle technology and bike-sharing initiatives.

“This is the first step in our staged roll-out of free Wi-Fi, which will eventually see the whole City connected as well as Beresfield and Wallsend local centres. Today it’s Newcastle East, but we’re working hard to make sure our new CBD in the West End and areas around Wickham quickly follow. Plans are well and truly advanced for these areas and we hope to make more announcements soon.”

The free high-speed Wi-Fi will play a major role in supporting the roll-out of current and future technology, such as the City’s smartphone app EasyPark, which will soon be able to direct motorists to available car parks in the City’s CBD.

Interactive smart screens around the CBD are also planned to help visitors and residents find out about activities and events.

To log on to the free Wi-Fi network, look for ‘City of Newcastle free Wi-Fi’ in your network settings. No password is required.

Left: Smart City coordinator Nathaniel Bavinton and Nuatali Nelmes

Greens say Senior Libs must pull Pasin into line

Senior South Australian Liberals must clarify whether Tony Pasin’s push to underwrite coal-fired power is part of the Liberals’ plan for our renewables state.

“Liberal Barker MP Tony Pasin went on radio this morning calling for taxpayer money to be spent on new coal-fired power stations. Senior South Australian Liberals must clarify whether this is their new position,” Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“Senior South Australian Liberals, Steven Marshall and Simon Birmingham, must face this head on. South Australians deserve to know where they stand. This move by Tony Pasin undermines our renewable energy industry and puts our economy at risk.

“South Australia is proudly coal-free. We have one of the highest uptakes of solar in the country. South Australians expect their MPs to embrace the future, not revert to the dirty days of coal.

“Opening up new coal-fired power stations in this era of climate change is backward and destructive. Our environment cannot afford more coal pollution if we are to stave off the worst of climate change.

“The Greens will fight any move to spend public money propping up coal-fired power stations. Coal must be phased out, our environment and climate depend on it.”

Greens statement on Hong Kong

The Australian Greens are deeply concerned at the Hong Kong Government’s proposed new extradition agreement with China.  The proposal will undermine Hong Kong’s independent legal system, and it will expose people to China’s unjust system, Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale said.

“We all know that China’s judicial system is deeply politicised.  The right to a fair trial is chronically denied and defendants often face ill-treatment and torture – despite policies prohibiting such treatment. People unjustly mired in China’s judicial system have little to no hope of redress.

“The Chinese Government still hasn’t aligned its key criminal laws and policies with international human rights standards.  It does not always allow criminal suspects access to lawyers.  It fails to investigate allegations of police torture and to hold police to account.  It imprisons human rights lawyers, artists and academics.

The Greens urge the Australian Government to speak out strongly against this new proposal in the hope that it doesn’t become law.”

Senior State Title Champions crowned for 2019

The 2019 HART Senior State Titles drew to a close after three fantastic days of action at the Campbelltown and Camden & District Netball Associations for Saturday to Monday, 8-10 June .

Formerly known as the Netball NSW State Championships, the Senior State Titles saw 180 teams from 89 Associations take part over the long weekend.

Three sets of State Champions were crowned with the Division 1 winners in each respective age-group (Opens, 17/U and 15/U) taking the titles – Newcastle, Penrith and Liverpool.

Campbelltown Netball Association hosted Divisions 1 and 2 of the Opens, 17s, and 15s age-groups, while the Camden & District Netball Association staged games in Divisions 3 and 4 of the 17s and 15s categories.

There was further success for Newcastle, who won the Weston OAM Country Championship Trophy, awarded to the highest ranked regional team in the top Opens division.

Netball NSW would like to congratulate all the winners and runners up listed below, as well at everyone who participated in another wonderful advertisement for the strength of grassroots netball.

Opens Division 1
Winners: Newcastle
Runners up: Manly Warringah

Opens Division 2
Winners: Ulladulla & Districts
Runners up: Maitland

Pat Weston OAM Country Championship Trophy
Winners: Newcastle

17/U Division 1
Winners: Penrith District
Runners up: Ku-ring-gai

17/U Division 2
Winners: Barellan & District
Runners up: Inner Western Suburbs

17/U Division 3
Winners: Brunswick Byron
Runners up: Coffs Harbour

17/U Division 4
Winners: West Wyalong
Runners up: Narranderra

15/U Division 1
Winners: Liverpool City
Runners up: Penrith District

15/U Division 2
Winners: Ballina
Runners up: Illawarra District

15/U Division 3
Winners: Shoalhaven
Runners up: Nelson Bay

15/U Division 4
Winners: West Wyalong
Runners up: Kurri Kurri

Suspected thief leads police on pursuit…to a prison – Hunter Valley

A man, allegedly on the run from police after a crime spree in the Hunter Valley, has been arrested after trying to escape through a prison farm.

On Monday 10 June 2019, police pursued a stolen tipper truck around the Gloucester area.

Officers later discovered the vehicle, stolen from Surry Hills in Sydney, hidden on a local property.

Around 10am today (Tuesday 11 June), a grey Toyota Hilux, stolen from the area and fitted with stolen number plates, was used in a service station drive-off at Scone.

The stolen vehicle was spotted and pursued by Muswellbrook police.

The chase ended two minutes later when the alleged thief crashed the vehicle through a farm fence near Halcombe Hill.

Officers, from the Hunter Valley Police District, chased the driver on foot as he ran across an adjacent rail line into farm paddocks, the suspect unaware he had entered the grounds of St Helier’s Prison Farm.

The 46-year-old man was arrested and taken to the Muswellbrook Police Station where he was charged with 15 offences including stealing, steal motor vehicle, Police pursuit (Skye’s Law), fraud, drive manner dangerous, unlicensed driver, trespass, resist police, goods in custody and custody of knife.

He was refused bail and ordered to appear in the Muswellbrook Local Court tomorrow, Wednesday 12 June 2019.

NSW BUDGET: $19 MILLION TO ENHANCE GREEN SPACE

Residents across Sydney will soon have access to new playgrounds, walking trails, and cycleways as part of a $19 million transformation of government-owned land.

The upgrades are the next phase of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s $50 million commitment in the 2019-20 Budget to create new and improved open spaces.

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said communities in Beaumont Hills, Kogarah and Frenchs Forest are next in line to benefit from the investment.

“We want everyone in Greater Sydney to have better access to high-quality open space, given the significant benefits it brings to health and wellbeing,” Mr Stokes said.

Improvements will include $9 million for walking tracks and bike trails in Frenchs Forest; $6 million for a new running track or playground at Kempt Field in Kogarah; and $4 million to add nature trails to open space at Withers Road in Beaumont Hills, as well as pathways between Smalls Creek and Caddies Creek.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the remaining $31 million will be used to upgrade open space in Appin, Ermington, Hurstville, Leppington and Penrith.

“We are also investing $100 million to buy land across the State that will be transformed into parks and playgrounds for communities to enjoy,” Mr Perrottet said.

The announcement of park upgrades coincides with the release of the Greater Sydney Outdoor Survey, which found residents want open spaces that are free, inclusive, and able to be used for activities including walking, picnics, and barbeques.

Mr Stokes said the findings of the survey would help inform how money under the Strategic Open Spaces program will be spent.

“Sydneysiders love the outdoors – whether it be running, hiking, cycling or relaxing at the park with family and friends, so this funding will go a long way to maintaining and improving that lifestyle,” Mr Stokes said.

Final Farewell to HMAS Newcastle

Novocastrians are invited to farewell HMAS Newcastle when our namesake ship makes her final homecoming next week with a local woman at the helm.

A quarter of a century after her maiden call, HMAS Newcastle will arrive next Wednesday 12 June and set sail for the very last time on Tuesday 18 June, with Newcastle born-and-raised Naval Officer Anita Sellick in command.
HMASNewcastleinside.jpgHMASNewcastleinside1.jpgHMAS Newcastle 

Commander Sellick joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1994 after graduating from the Australian Defence Force Academy. She assumed command of HMAS Newcastle early last year, completing the INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019, and will have the honour of decommissioning the ship later this month.

Both Commander Sellick and the ship’s arrival and departure will be marked by a seven-gun salute from the historic guns at Fort Scratchley followed by return volley from the ship.

To celebrate our association, the ship will exercise its Right of Freedom of Entry to the city of Newcastle at a ceremony and march through the streets on Saturday 15 June. The Right of Freedom of Entry was granted to the ship in 1995 and is the highest honour that a city can bestow on a ship or military unit.

“The association with HMAS Newcastle has been a long and significant one for our city,” Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

Below: Naval Officer Anita Sellick 
“She was officially commissioned here in 1993 and her Launching Lady was Mrs Margaret McNaughton AM, the Lady Mayoress of Newcastle and wife of then-Lord Mayor John McNaughton.

“We’re proud of our history with HMAS Newcastle and proud to host an event to give her a fitting send off.”

Everyone is invited to view the march, which will form up in Laman Street from 9.40am before heading off around Civic Park to City Hall. The Royal Australian Navy band will be attending to provide a fitting escort to the ship’s company. Newcastle was the first major Australian fleet vessel to bear the name of a non-capital city.

The ship also maintains close links with us through active support of her adopted charity organisation, Newcastle Senior School, formerly known as the Hunter Orthopaedic School.

“HMAS Newcastle and her amazing crew have worked tirelessly throughout their association to support the school community with both financial contributions and experiences,” Newcastle Senior School’s relieving Principal Deone Bennett said.

“The ship’s company have raised substantial funds, providing the school with a bus, undertaking working bees and joining in sporting activities. And for this we sincerely thank member of the ship’s company past and present.”

Their final fundraising campaign, ‘The Great Race’, aims to raise $20,000 and is still live at gofundme.com/thegreatrace

HMAS Newcastle is one of four Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigates (FFG) in service with the Royal Australian Navy. In recent years she has been deployed in support of peacekeeping operations in East Timor, the Solomon Islands and Operation CATALYST in the Persian Gulf.
After more than 25 years of service, she will finally be decommissioned at the Garden Island Naval base in Sydney.

Schedule of events

Wednesday 12 June – HMAS Newcastle arrives*

Saturday 15 June – Freedom of Entry March. All welcome.

March commences at 10am. The best vantage points to see the action will be Civic Park.

Tuesday 18 June – HMAS Newcastle departs*

*A seven-gun salute to fire from Fort Scratchley on arrival and departure.

Union welcomes layout of City’s new admin HQ

United Services Union Organiser Luke Hutchinson has hailed office floorplans finalised by City of Newcastle to meet the city’s increasingly diverse needs from its future administrative base.

Space for all admin staff and ample meeting rooms will feature in levels 2-5 in the new West End office block, with additional training rooms slated for the sixth floor and a temporary customer service centre set to swing into operation in October.

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“We welcome a number of features included in the finalised floorplans,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“These include increased space for collaboration, sit/stand workstations for all workers, informal chat areas to increase interaction between staff, and adequate space for internal and external meetings, which has long been identified by our members as problem.

“The union strongly welcomes big improvements to dedicated staff training spaces at the new headquarters.”

Mr Hutchinson said the move would improve workplace conditions and overall staff wellbeing after a strong engagement process.

“Following consultation with our members, and representations made to the Lord Mayor, the USU was able to engage directly with CEO Jeremy Bath to work through some of the concerns and issues raised staff,” he said.

“We’re pleased to say that this was a really positive engagement and that several improvements have been made, including a USU Delegate’s appointment to the City’s internal consultative group.

“The USU will continue to work both proactively and collaboratively with City of Newcastle management and Lord Mayor Nelmes to ensure our members’ best interests are at the forefront of the move westward over the coming months.”

The 12 Stewart Avenue premises will accommodate all of the City’s 425 administrators, offering capacity for growth, and provide meeting-room flexibility previously unavailable in the City Administration Centre, City Hall and Fred Ash buildings.

Levels 2-5 have an identical layout, except for one corner tailored to support individual service units, and each comprises a 28-person meeting room that can also be expanded into a larger training facility.

Each floor from 2-5 will provide staff with:

  • 80 ergonomic electric sit/stand work points with privacy screens, dual monitors, keyboard, mouse and task chair
  • Three booths that each seat five people
  • An agile collaboration space with screen and whiteboard and informal chat area
  • Large breakout collaboration space with kitchenette, storage and informal seating for 12
  • Large team workshop space to accommodate 12 staff or large-team meetings and stand-ups for 30-plus people
  • Around 150 lockers for staff to store their caddy and personal items
  • Five 1-2 seat quiet spaces for focused task work and discussions
  • Utility area housing printers, bins and stationery.

City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said fit-out work would begin mid-June on the new offices that would conservatively benefit rate payers to the tune of $13.1 million over the next 25 years.

“Instead of three buildings and 13 floors in the Civic Precinct, all our administrative staff will be housed under one roof in the city’s new CBD, offering them several ideal places to meet with our myriad stakeholders,” Mr Bath said. “This will improve communication and decision making, which will in turn lead to better services for the community.

“This move is about increasing productivity and the capacity of staff through greater flexibility to provide even better services from modern offices. Twelve Stewart Avenue will also offer employees booths, quiet sections and team spaces to select in order to work better together and with hundreds of community members who are also integral to the city’s continued growth and success.

“Our new base utilises the best of modern design principles to improve our workplace culture and also offers easier access for people with mobility challenges just a stone’s throw from the Newcastle Interchange.”