Stockton Holiday cabins relocated, Lexie’s café closed ahead of severe weather

City of Newcastle will relocate up to 16 beachfront cabins at Stockton Holiday Park and has made the difficult decision to immediately close Lexie’s Café ahead of the second east coast low to batter Newcastle in a week.

The cabins will be moved indefinitely to Crown Land managed by the City under reserve trust on the eastern side of the Stockton Swimming Centre, south of the Skate Park.

City of Newcastle Infrastructure and Property Director Ken Liddell said the actions are necessary to protect public assets and safety with heavy swells expected to hit the coast over the next few days, as Cyclone Uesi tracks south.

“While we welcome the State Government declaring a natural disaster for Stockton this week, we are taking immediate action to protect important public assets.

“The cabins, previously protected by about 10 metres of dune vegetation, are now at imminent risk from the swells.

“So we’ve taken the decision to move them to community land next to the swimming pool, where they will be safely tucked away behind King Street carpark and the Stockton breakwater.

“By moving the remainder of the cabins, we will avoid sacrificing more sites for caravans and tents within the existing footprint of the park.”

The City will look to re-open the cabins on the new site after following due process, including site investigation, community consultation and planning approval.

“Once we’ve secured the remainder of the holiday park and this weekend’s threat has passed, we will look at the planning requirements for the site and lodge a DA as soon as possible to begin leasing them out again.”

For the same reasons, City of Newcastle has closed the city-owned building held by Lexie’s Café until it is again safe for the public to enter.

“The impact of the recent wild weather which the State Government has now recognised as a natural disaster, combined with forecast huge swells this weekend, mean we can no longer guarantee public safety at Lexie’s Café,” Liddell said.

“Given this, we have had to make the extremely difficult decision to immediately close and barricade the building. We understand that Lexie’s has become a much-loved part of the Stockton community and this decision was only made after examining computer modelling of the likely impact of the forecast huge swells this weekend.

“It is for the same reason that we have had to relocate several of the most eastern cabins at the caravan park. We are losing sand at a record rate, and with the impact of tropical Cyclone Uesi likely to be felt at Stockton as soon as this weekend, we had to close the building held by Lexie’s Café.

“We again call upon the NSW Government to recognise that mandated processes for long term solutions to coastal erosion at Stockton should no longer apply given the natural disaster that is now much of the eastern coast of Stockton.”

Man charged over alleged possession of child abuse material – Lake Macquarie

A man will appear in court today charged over the alleged possession of child abuse material at Lake Macquarie.

Following an investigation, detectives from Lake Macquarie Police District executed a search warrant at a Wangi Wangi home yesterday (Thursday 13 February 2020).

During the search, officers allegedly seized a number of electronic devices containing child abuse material. These items will be forensically examined.

A 46-year-old man was arrested at the home and taken to Toronto Police Station.

He was charged with use carriage service to access child abuse material, possess child abuse material using carriage service, and possess child abuse material.

The man has been refused bail to appear at Toronto Local Court today (Friday 14 February 2020).

Man charged over alleged animal cruelty – Hunter Valle

A man has been charged following an investigation into an alleged act of animal cruelty in the state’s Hunter region.

On Monday 23 December 2019, police will allege that a 37-year-old man became aware of heifers grazing on his property that were not his.

It’s alleged he got into his vehicle and deliberately drove into one of the heifers – breaking its leg – before slitting its throat and releasing his dogs.

The heifer’s owner discovered the injured animal and was forced to euthanise it. He then reported the matter to officers from Hunter Valley Police District.

Investigations commenced by Hunter Valley Rural Crime Investigators, with the assistance of Dungog police and local government authorities.

About 2pm yesterday (Thursday 13 February 2020), the 37-year-old man attended Gosford Police Station, where he was arrested and charged with:

• torture, beat and seriously injure animal,

• torture, beat and cause prolonged suffering to animal,

• dog attack animal due to owner’s reckless act, and

• two counts of fail to prevent dog from escaping.

He was given strict conditional bail and is due to appear in Dungog Local Court on Wednesday 11 March 2020.

State Rural Crime Coordinator, Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside, said this investigation highlighted the teamwork and coordination that is ever present between police, the Rural Crime Prevention Team, RSPCA, local government and Local Land Services.

“This is just one example of a great team coming together, sharing expertise and tackling animal cruelty head-on,” Det Insp Whiteside said.

“I would also like to remind the community they can report matters of animal cruelty to their local police, Crime Stoppers, the RSPCA or the Animal Welfare League.”

‘Climate Trigger’ laws introduced to Senate to stop making climate crisis worse

New laws that would require climate impacts and carbon emissions to be assessed before large-scale projects are given environmental approval have been introduced into the Senate today.

The ‘Climate Trigger’ Bill would ensure mining, drilling and large-scale land clearing projects would need to be assessed on whether they make climate change worse.

Greens Environment Spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young who introduced the Bill said a federal climate trigger was long overdue.

“We know a lot needs to be done to reduce pollution and put Australia and the globe on a transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy,” she said.

“While we work to reduce carbon emissions, we must stop making pollution worse.

“The PM and Energy Minister keep claiming Australia will meet its emissions targets ‘in a canter’, but the reality is this Government is burying its head in the sand by ignoring the clear link between burning fossil fuels, carbon emissions, and worsening climate change.

“We are in fact galloping towards environmental collapse and climate change is at the heart of it – the bushfires, the flooding rains, and other catastrophic weather events.

“There is no time to waste if we are going to prevent further global warming. Assessing the emissions of fossil fuel projects and tree-destroying developments is one of the easiest steps this Parliament could take to save the planet.”

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Climate Trigger) Bill 2020, Explanatory Memorandum and Second Reading speech can be found here.

City welcomes funding support as natural disaster declared at Stockton beach

Work to fight against severe erosion at Stockton beach exacerbated by extreme weather over the weekend has received desperately needed support, with the NSW Government declaring Newcastle a natural disaster area.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes has welcomed the news that the NSW Government listened to City of Newcastle’s urgent request to declare a Natural Disaster at Stockton.

“This declaration means that City of Newcastle is eligible for assistance through the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Fund to assist with the cost of cleaning up and restoring our damaged essential public assets at Stockton.

“An enormous thank you goes to our amazing City of Newcastle staff who have been undertaking emergency works to protect the Stockton community and our public assets from this erosion catastrophe.

“We’re pleased that this declaration enables us to deal with the short-term impact, but we will continue to call for urgent support from the Premier, Deputy Premier, Environment and Local Government Ministers to deliver a viable long-term solution.

The support offered through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements assists local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets.

“Our immediate priorities are to ensure public safety along the coastal area and to protect public and private assets and property,” Councillor Nelmes said.

Meanwhile, emergency works will continue today at Stockton following significant beach erosion as the City prepares for another storm front and large swells in coming days.

City of Newcastle has completed the relocation of 3 cabins, and we continue the relocation of all ocean edge cabins at Stockton Holiday Park at risk of collapse into the ocean in the face of a low-pressure system predicted to batter the coast in the coming days. To facilitate emergency works, traffic management is in place.

In the interest of public safety, all accessways along Stockton Beach have been closed until further notice and the community is advised to keep away from the top and bottom of sand cliffs as they may be unstable and collapse without warning.

Erosion has exposed significant amounts of historic material and debris which poses public safety risks. Please avoid the beach and this debris. Arrangements are being made to clean up the debris as weather conditions permit.

City of Newcastle requests all residents and visitors be aware of changed conditions and follow directional signage, warnings notices and instructions of City of Newcastle staff and other authorities.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR AT THE NSW SENIORS FESTIVAL

‘Love to Celebrate’ is the theme which hundreds of thousands of NSW seniors will embrace for the 2020 NSW Seniors Festival.

Acting Minister for Seniors Geoff Lee helped officially launch the state-wide festival today with the first of four Premier’s Gala Concerts at the ICC Sydney.

“Our seniors are the heart and soul of our communities and we love putting on these free concerts to see their smiles and hear them sing along with some of Australia’s greatest talent,” Mr Lee said.

“The theme ‘Love to Celebrate’ captures the spirit of our older generation perfectly because they can all celebrate the wonderful contributions they have made to help NSW become what it is today.”

Australian music legend John Paul Young is joining a star-studded line up of talent including Vanessa Amorosi and Paulini at the Premier’s Gala Concerts, which are a highlight of the 12-day festival.

“The Premier’s Gala Concerts enjoy packed houses every year with free world class entertainment and this year the ultimate headline act is John Paul Young, singing ‘Love is in the Air’ on Valentine’s Day,” Mr Lee added.

After tapping their feet to the tunes at the concerts, seniors can learn from dozens of exhibitors at the NSW Seniors Festival Expo, at the ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre.

“The Expo is bigger and better than ever with seniors getting the chance to practice chair yoga, strengthen and tone with Curves gym Balance classes, try out speed friendship sessions,  or sharpen up on their gardening skills with Bunnings.”

More than 500,000 seniors are expected to take part in events across the state over the course of the festival from 12-23 February.

For more information on events in greater Sydney and regional NSW go to: https://www.seniorsfestival.nsw.gov.au

Man charged with fraud offences – Gateshead

A man will face court later this month charged with alleged fraud offences in Lake Macquarie.

About 10am yesterday (Wednesday 12 February 2020), officers attached to the Lake Macquarie Target Action Group executed a search warrant at a home on Cassia Crescent, Gateshead, where they spoke with a 25-year-old man.

During the search warrant, police located and seized a number of items believed to be purchased with fraudulent funds, including batteries, spray paints and household goods.

The 25-year-old was arrested at the scene; a short time later, the man suffered a medical episode and NSW Ambulance paramedics were called for an assessment.

He was treated at the scene before being taken to Belmont Police Station where he was charged with five counts of dishonestly obtain property by deception and two counts of receive stolen property.

Police will allege he purchased goods from several Newcastle and Lake Macquarie building supplies stores using stolen purchase cards attached to a Charlestown business.

He was granted conditional bail to appear at Belmont Local Court on Wednesday 26 February 2020.

Respite carer charged over alleged indecent assaults of two girls near Newcastle

A respite carer has been charged following an investigation into the alleged indecent assaults of two children near Newcastle.

In October 2018, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad commenced an investigation following reports two young girls had been indecently assaulted by a man while they were in his care.

Following extensive investigations, detectives arrested a 69-year-old man at a home in Newcastle just before 1pm yesterday (Wednesday 12 February 2020).

He was taken to Waratah Police Station and charged with six counts of indecent assault person under 16 years of age.

Police will allege in court that the man indecently assaulted the girls – then aged six and 11 – on several occasions while they were in his care in October 2018.

The man has been refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court today (Thursday 13 February 2020).

 

Two charged with total of 38 offences over alleged supply of MDMA and cocaine across Newcastle

Two men have been charged over the alleged supply of MDMA and cocaine across Newcastle.

In October 2019, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad, established Strike Force Pallamana to investigate the supply of prohibited drugs, including MDMA and cocaine, in the Newcastle and Hunter region.

Following extensive investigations, strike force detectives, with assistance from Strike Force Raptor North, executed two search warrants at homes in Elermore Vale and Macquarie Hills from 7.30am today (Thursday 13 February 2020).

During the searches, officers seized 28g of MDMA, steroids, $15,000 cash, mobile phones, documents and other items relevant to the investigation.

Two men – aged 24 and 28 – were arrested during the operation and taken to Waratah Police Station.

The 24-year-old Macquarie Hills man was charged with 32 offences, including supply prohibited drug (between indictable and commercial quantity x9), supply prohibited drug (between small and indictable quantity x20), supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis (x2) and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.

The 28-year-old Elermore Vale man was charged with supply prohibited drug (between indictable and commercial quantity x2), supply prohibited drug (between small and indictable quantity x3), and supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis.

Police will allege in court that the younger man was involved in the supply of 37g of MDMA and 35.5g of cocaine on several occasions between November 2019 and January 2020.

It will be further alleged that the older man was involved in the supply of 27.5g of cocaine between November 2019 and January 2020.

Both men were refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court tomorrow (Friday 14 February 2020).

Investigations under Strike Force Pallamana are continuing.

NSW moratorium on floodplain harvesting must be reinstated

The NSW Government is again putting the Murray-Darling river system in jeopardy by lifting the moratorium on floodplain harvesting before water from recent rains has made it down the river, and they should urgently reinstate it, the Greens say.

“When parts of the Darling are still dry, it defies logic that corporate upstream irrigators would be permitted to pump water and harvest floodplains, preventing precious flows from making it downstream,” Greens Water Spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“There are towns still without drinking water, dry catchments and storages, and there are fish facing species collapse being pulled out of the river to save their DNA, yet corporate irrigators are being allowed to cash in on the recent rainfall.

“The River belongs to all of us. We cannot have upstream Basin states making decisions that only benefit them and their corporate mates, at the expense of everyone else who relies on a healthy river system.

“Just last week we had NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey criticising Qld for allowing irrigators north of the border to access flows – it seems what’s good for the goose is good for the gander but only when it suits them.

“The moratorium on floodplain harvesting should be reinstated and if the states won’t do it themselves then the Federal Water Minister needs to.

“At a time when the river is on the verge of collapse, family farms, river communities and the environment need leadership in government, not another National Party fizzer doing the bidding of the big corporates.”