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OPINION: Market closes door on Hunter’s needy

Posted by admin on 20/09/2019
Posted in 南京桑拿网 

Greg Budworth is the chief executive officer of Hunter-based Compass Housing.
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LAST week the Newcastle Herald had a story on the fact that children as young as 11 are among hundreds of homeless youth being turned away from crisis accommodation in the Hunter (‘‘Streets of shame, 6/2’’).

Homelessness of any form is certainly a shame. It is a problem that has been with us on a significant scale for a number of years and the situation is worsening. Homelessness is affecting many more people than just our disadvantaged youth.

The Herald correctly identified that in the case of youth crisis accommodation, there are several contributing reasons for homelessness. A lack of money is not the fundamental reason for the lack of crisis accommodation.

The fundamental reason is a lack of accommodation, more specifically, a lack of housing stock. This applies across all accommodation, crisis or otherwise, for youth as well as for many other citizens. On Friday the Herald reported comments by NSW planning director Andrew Jackson that infrastructure was the main reason behind the Hunter’s housing shortage. We simply have too few new dwellings being created to accommodate the demand for housing.

In our economy the level of housing is mostly driven by supply and demand and partly by government policy and interventions. If demand exceeds supply, prices rise. Rising housing prices means more people opt to rent and so rents rise with the result that working families struggle to make ends meet and more disadvantaged members of our community don’t even get a look in. We have a situation now where working people and families in the Hunter and Central Coast are also living in cars and at friends’ houses. Just build more housing, I hear you say. Higher housing prices should encourage more people to build more houses and then the prices will come down. It is not that simple. The market is constrained by land-release strategies, planning laws and codes, and availability of finance.

Rightly, governments at various levels are intervening in the market, such as directly funding more social and affordable housing, first-home buyers’ schemes, Commonwealth Rental Assistance, as well as tax laws such as negative gearing of investment properties. In the Hunter and Central Coast regions we have benefited from these programs and the situation would be more dire were it not for them.

Last year the state government transferred the title of $150million worth of social housing properties to Compass Housing. This is significant because it is allowing Compass to leverage the equity in those properties to generate a minimum of a further 150 affordable houses over the next 10 years.

Compass also received Commonwealth financial incentives as well as $9.55million in NSW government funding to work with developers to build additional affordable housing in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie under the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

These measures are promising but they are not enough to tackle the severity of the problem. According to the State of Supply Report 2011, produced by the federal government’s National Housing Supply Council, the gap between underlying demand for dwellings and supply was 186,800 as at June 2010. The biggest gap was in NSW (73,700) and over the next 20 years, the gap is expected to widen to 640,000.

Unless there are more radical measures to increase the supply of housing and supply constraints reviewed, disadvantage will be exacerbated with more homelessness, crime, unsafe streets, gated communities, greater impact on health, policing and welfare budgets.

Hardly a week goes by without a media article about homelessness yet housing is never a major priority election issue. The housing supply crisis needs to be one of the highest priorities of governments. With the federal government elections coming up in 2013, this policy area should be one that the community demands from the incumbents or contenders alike.

It is up to us to make housing an election issue. Housing should be fundamental, not a privilege in our wealthy society.

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of over 60 national housing, welfare and community sector organisations, highlighting the problem of housing affordability. To see what you can do to help undo our streets of shame visit housingstressed.org.au.

Jobe Wheelhouse out of Jets clash with Perth

Posted by admin on 20/09/2019
Posted in 南京桑拿网 

INJUIRED: Jobe Wheelhouse.JETS captain Jobe Wheelhouse will miss at least two weeks of action after succumbing to a groin tear and being ruled out of Newcastle’s away clash with Perth Glory on Saturday night.
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Scans revealed yesterday that the hard-nosed midfielder had a grade two adductor tear in his right leg suffered early in the 3-0 win over Melbourne Heart on Saturday night at Hunter Stadium.

‘‘I’ve just been struggling with it for a couple of weeks and getting through it,’’ Wheelhouse said.

‘‘Finally it was probably a bit too much.

‘‘Last week in the first half I felt it go a bit and it got worse and worse through the game.

‘‘Obviously I didn’t want to come off because we were doing well and needed to win.’’

Wheelhouse’s absence further weakens the Jets’ depleted midfield stocks.

Ben Kantarovski is on Olyroos duty in the United Arab Emirates, and former midfield general Kasey Wehrman is out of favour.

The injury is another setback for the 26-year-old, who missed a month of football with a foot infection and has been one of the Jets’ best since returning in a 1-0 loss to Wellington on January 20.

Newcastle have since gone on a four-game unbeaten run, taking 10 out of a possible 12 points.

Wheelhouse will have platelet-rich plasma injections tomorrow to help his recovery and hoped he would miss only the Perth game and the match against Adelaide the following Friday night at Hunter Stadium.

‘‘The blood injection normally speeds the healing process up by half, so hopefully it will only be a fortnight if I’m lucky,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m just hoping the team go to Perth and get the result.’’

Wheelhouse believed his latest injury was a result of his time on the sidelines with a foot infection.

‘‘Missing the month off with the foot, I didn’t really get to do much cardio, because I couldn’t even put a shoe on with it,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m guessing the month off and coming straight back into the team, it’s caught up with me. It’s frustrating and not ideal, but hopefully we can get the results over the next two weeks and I get back and push into the team for the finals.

‘‘It’s the same scenario as the last couple of weeks. They’re three points above us on the table and if we can get the three points we jump into the top four.’’

THE reconstruction of Laman Street will take ‘‘10 to 12 months’’, Newcastle City Council heard last night as the council’s management was grilled about an Anzac Centenary funding submission for the street.
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Concept plans for ‘‘Anzac Centenary Place’’ were submitted to the federal government in September 2010 and have since attracted considerable criticism from supporters of retaining Laman Street’s fig trees.

GALLERY: Laman Street without the figs

Laman Street has been the site of heated protests and the figs have been chopped down. However, the council said it would replace them.

Concerns raised by councillors last night included that the plans had not been endorsed in any way by the elected council, that the RSL had not been properly consulted, and that concept designs appeared to show the relocation of the memorial grove in Civic Park.

Cr Michael Osborne said the council had told the NSW Land and Environment Court in September 2010, during a court case on the fig trees against the Parks and Playgrounds Movement, that it had no proposals for Laman Street.

Cr Osborne also said councillors should have had a say on the plans.

‘‘One of the problems with the submission process was that a submission the council sent in wasn’t endorsed by council,’’ he said.

‘‘In future submissions … really should come to the elected council.’’

Council future city director Judy Jaeger stressed last night that the plans were ‘‘conceptual’’, had not been costed or designed in detail, and would require further design if the federal government indicated it was interested in funding the idea.

Ms Jaegar also said any revamp of Laman Street would need to conform to relevant plans of management for the civic precinct.

General manager Phil Pearce said during the meeting he estimated the reconstruction of the street would take up to a year, and that a report including design for the reconstruction would be discussed on March 20.

Ms Jaegar said the reconstruction and Anzac proposal were based on principles and objectives adopted by the council for Laman Street and the civic precinct.

EPA says “minor” spill at Koppers in Mayfield

Posted by admin on 20/09/2019
Posted in 南京桑拿网 

Keith CraigRESIDENTS and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) are at odds over a napthalene spill from the Koppers Australia Mayfield plant yesterday.
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EPA spokeswoman Liza Cassidy said the incident was ‘‘very minor’’, and Koppers had been given seven days to provide the authority with a ‘‘full incident report’’.

But Stockton activist Keith Craig and his Mayfield colleague John Hayes said the incident was anything but minor.

It was also a test of new post-Orica reporting regulations that mean companies with EPA licences are supposed to tell authorities ‘‘immediately’’ after an incident.

Ms Cassidy said the EPA had sent people to Koppers at Woodstock Street, Mayfield, about 7.30am yesterday but that members of the public, and not Koppers, had alerted the authority.

She said Koppers had told the EPA the leak of napthalene had happened after a pipe was blocked during a cleaning procedure at about 7am yesterday.

But Mr Craig, who rang Koppers after smelling the napthalene fumes from his Stockton property yesterday morning, said a Koppers manager had told him on the phone that the incident had happened at about 5am.

‘‘It would take a while for the fumes to get from Mayfield to Stockton and if it’s so strong where we are that you could hardly go outside, I don’t know how they consider it to be minor,’’ Mr Craig said.

He said napthalene was a carcinogen and the emission was another sign of Hunter industry having trouble operating to acceptable standards.

Newcastle Greens councillor Michael Osborne said that if Koppers had not told the EPA, it was worth asking whether the authority had written to the companies it regulates, telling them of the changes it had made in reporting procedures.

The Koppers plant makes pitch and other carbon-based products using raw materials brought to Newcastle by ship from Whyalla and Port Kembla steelworks.

It had been fed from BHP Newcastle until the steel-making plant shut in 1999.

RULES: John Davies at his property. – Picture by Peter StoopCHANGES to Hunter Water ‘‘customer contracts’’ have shifted potentially expensive repair bills from the authority to property owners.
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The changes, which Hunter Water defends, involve the definition of the ‘‘point of connection’’ between a property owner’s sewage system and the main sewer lines owned and maintained by the authority.

Plumbers say that point was traditionally near the property boundary, and was often marked by a ‘‘boundary trap’’ or ‘‘boundary shaft’’.

Householders were responsible for pipes on their side of the connection point, while Hunter Water was responsible for lines running under streets or neighbouring properties, to the sewer main.

But this is no longer the case.

A Hunter Water spokeswoman said yesterday the organisation had consulted widely on the new contract, which was explained to customers, the media and MPs, and posted on the organisation’s website.

But customer John Davies said he found out the costly way when repairs were needed at a family property at Kotara South.

An old sewer pipe on the property had given way and raw sewage was flowing through soil underground just before Christmas.

‘‘They said the point of connection was on the main under a neighbour’s property, and we – not them – were responsible for the costs of those repairs,’’ Mr Davies said.

‘‘In my opinion, the government realises the Hunter sewage system is an ageing asset that will increasingly need repair and updating and they have quietly shifted their responsibilities onto the individual.’’

He said the new rules raised legal questions about access to neighbouring properties or digging under streets that were better handled by having Hunter Water do the work.

Mr Davies also said it could be a form of double-dipping if Hunter Water had included the likely costs of such work each year in setting its charges but was now passing the costs on to the public.

Toronto plumber Jason Preddle said Hunter Water had written to plumbers in July last year telling them of the new arrangements.

‘‘There’s more work for us because it’s now customers not Hunter Water having to get the work done but it’s bad for consumers,’’ Mr Preddle said.

He said the pipes in question could easily be two or three metres underground and repair jobs could easily cost $10,000 or more.

The Hunter Water spokeswoman said sewer pipe responsibilities had not changed with the new contract. Previously, Hunter Water had ‘‘assisted customers to undertake repairs to the customer’s sewer shaft, which was always the customer’s responsibility’’.

Plumbers have told the Newcastle Herald that repair responsibilities have changed.

And Mr Davies said plumbers seemed to be the only people who had been told about those changes.

Ryan Callinan’s star rises with national boost

Posted by admin on 20/08/2019
Posted in 南京桑拿网 

DRY-DOCKED: Ryan Callinan at the Australian Open of Surfing at Manly yesterday. – Picture by Grant SprouleAS one of the world’s best young aerial surfers, Ryan Callinan rarely needs a lift.
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But after suffering back-to-back leg injuries performing his signature backside air reverse move, the 19-year-old from Merewether was searching for a positive while watching the Australian Open of Surfing this week at Manly.

That came yesterday with news he was one of three finalists for the Rising Star honour at the Australian Surfing Awards to be held in Manly tomorrow night.

He will vie with Davey Cathels and Tyler Wright for the award, but the nomination alone is a boost for Callinan, who is nursing a grade-three ligament tear in his left ankle.

He suffered the injury three weeks ago in the final round of the world junior series at Burleigh Heads, which was his comeback event from a broken right leg sustained while free-surfing after the opening contest of the world titles at Bali.

‘‘I knew the awards were on, but I didn’t really think about being nominated or anything,’’ Callinan said. ‘‘I was pretty stoked. It sucks that I’ve had all these injuries, but it’s good to still get nominated and still get a bit of exposure.

‘‘Hopefully I can win it – that would be cool.’’

The goofy-footer hopes to be surfing in time for Surfest on his home break next month.

The highlight of 2011 competition for Callinan was finishing second in the Australasian junior series after winning the last event at Waitpinga Beach in South Australia.

But Callinan has starred in other ways. His aerial wizardry featured in surf movies Lost Atlas and Blow Up and he appeared on the cover of Surfer, Surfing World and Waves magazines.

‘‘I had a couple of good movie sections and a few covers, so it was a good year for me,’’ he said.

His spectacle manoeuvres and impressive results have turned heads around the world and led to talk of Callinan being the next big thing in Australian men’s surfing.

But the laid-back character is trying to keep a lid on things.

‘‘There’s a bit of pressure, for sure,’’ Callinan said.

‘‘I try to block it out a little bit, but it’s there obviously.

‘‘I don’t know, I just try and have fun and hopefully I can keep doing what I’m doing.’’

As for the backside air reverse, which has brought him undone in recent times but brought him to the attention of the surfing world, he said he would tread carefully.

‘‘The two injuries have basically been from the same thing, so I’ll probably be a bit scared to try them the next time I’m back in the water. Hopefully it’s all good.’’

Fellow Merewether surfers Jake Sylvester and Jesse Adam bowed out in the opening round of the World Qualifying Series event at Manly yesterday.

● One of the superstars of women’s surfing, Lisa Andersen, hopes to make a return to competition in this month’s Women’s World Tour contest on the Gold Coast, the opening event of 2012.

The 42-year-old, who retired in 2003, was given a wildcard in the Gold Coast event the following year but has not donned a competitor’s singlet since.

The four-time world champion will compete in the trials for the event on February 24.

‘‘You couldn’t ask for a better pool of talent [at the moment]; it’s the best in the history of the sport,’’ Andersen said.

POLICE will take over from transit officers and patrol buses, trains and ferries under a new police transport command that the state government will establish.
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Only 150 of the state’s 600 RailCorp transit officers would be retained, and would instead focus on fare evasion and minor offences across all three modes of transport.

The state government announced yesterday it would recruit 309 extra police by 2014, who would combine with the 301 officers attached to the current crime commuter unit to form the new command.

Premier Barry O’Farrell said the changes would improve security, with police trained to patrol in pairs compared to the groups of four or five transit officers needed.

‘‘Passenger safety is the number one concern of many people, particularly those that travel into the evening,’’ Mr O’Farrell said.

‘‘This will address that concern by ensuring that uniformed police officers with all the powers available to them are on our public transport system across all three transport modes.’’

But the NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union said the move was a cost-cutting measure and police may be called away to emergencies elsewhere leaving passengers vulnerable.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the new police would be added to the authorised strength of the force.

He said it was expected the new command officers would operate from three Sydney hubs, and three ‘‘satellite hubs’’ in the Illawarra, Central Coast and Newcastle.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said transit officers would be able to apply for the 150 remaining jobs, apply to become a police officer, request to be redeployed elsewhere in the transport network or apply for a voluntary redundancy.

Ms Berejiklian said the new arrangement would be ‘‘cost neutral’’ to the government.

Union NSW secretary Alex Claassens said previous governments had tried handing over transport security to police but the measure had failed.

Lake council orders end to backyard barbecue

Posted by admin on 20/08/2019
Posted in 南京桑拿网 

Fennell Bay’s Peter Buckley in his barbecue area the council has ordered be taken down.FENNELL Bay’s Peter Buckley loves his barbecue so much he is ready to spend $35,000 to keep it.
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That is the legal bill he is facing to fight Lake Macquarie City Council in the Land and Environment Court over an order to remove his barbecue and surrounding pergola.

‘‘I just love my barbecue,’’ Mr Buckley said.

‘‘It brings people together.’’

Mr Buckley said the council was seeking to ‘‘take away a lifestyle’’.

‘‘Come and watch the council wrecking ball if they come to demolish my barbie because I’ll be tied to it,’’ he said.

The Newcastle Herald reported on Saturday the council had ordered the demolition of a carport built by Matt McKinlay, of Barnsley, because it had been built ‘‘forward of the building line, is out of character with the streetscape and non-compliant with the Building Code of Australia’’.

Mr Buckley’s barbecue came to the council’s attention after Mr Buckley applied to build a new house on his Macquarie Road land.

He spent about $25,000 three years ago to build the stainless steel outdoor barbecue with a pergola, pavers and furniture on his land, which adjoins LT Creek.

A professional builder did the work, but did not gain council approval.

Mr Buckley said council staff asked him to retrospectively apply for a building certificate.

He spent $10,000 on a surveyor, engineer, draftsman and council fees to prepare the necessary documentation, but the council refused his application.

‘‘I got a phone call from council saying I had to pull it down because it was within the foreshore building line,’’ he said.

Mr Buckley said the council refused to supply documents that show the foreshore building line and referred him to the Land and Environment Court.

A council statement said the property was subject to a foreshore building line of 14metres.

A foreshore building line is a line set by planners on land fronting any bay, river, creek, lake, lagoon, harbour or ocean.

‘‘The pergola and a shed extension have been erected within that foreshore building line,’’ the statement said.

‘‘Foreshore development may only be carried out with development consent.’’

Mr Buckley said many other nearby residents had structures within the foreshore building line, including houses and ‘‘20 or so barbecue pergolas closer to the creek than mine’’.

Television engagement for Hunter couple

Posted by admin on 20/08/2019
Posted in 南京桑拿网 

ANSWER IS YES: Martin Speter surprises girlfriend Kayla Leatham with a proposal on The Morning Show yesterday.A PROPOSAL on television and a marriage ceremony were some of the romantic gestures made by Hunter residents on Valentine’s Day.
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Hunter Valley couple Kayla Leatham, 23, and Martin Speter, 24, became engaged on Seven’s The Morning Show.

Mr Speter, who has moved from Darwin to Singleton with the army, surprised his girlfriend of three years with a diamond ring.

Ms Leatham thought they had made the trip to Sydney to take part in a Valentine’s Day segment.

Mr Speter returned from Afghanistan midway through last year and the couple soon began talking about marriage.

‘‘I’ve been planning it for weeks. I had really played down Valentine’s Day this year because I wanted it to be a big surprise,’’ Mr Speter said.

Four couples tied the knot in low-key ceremonies at the NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages at Hamilton.

Michelle Stumpp and Greg Ninness from Port Macquarie have been together six years and were married during their holiday break in Newcastle.

Amendments and marriage officer Kerrie Andrew said special dates such as 12/12/12 as well as Valentine’s Day and February 29 were proving popular for couples this year.

‘‘Some people want the simplicity of a registry wedding while others are trying to save money for a home,’’ she said.

The celebrant married the four couples at the Boulevard On Beaumont Hotel, next door to the registry office.

‘‘The registry goes to extra trouble to hire the Boulevard for couples and provide floral arrangements on Valentine’s Day,’’ she said.

It is estimated more than 100 couples in NSW took the plunge yesterday.

Valentine’s Day weddings in NSW were down on past years when the day had fallen on a weekend. About 286 couples got married on Valentine’s Day in 2010 – a Sunday – while 726 pairs married on February 14, 2009, which fell on a Saturday.

Flexible attraction

Posted by admin on 20/08/2019
Posted in 南京桑拿网 

TOPICS isn’t very handy. You’re on the wrong page for tips on fishing. Or welding. Or stencilling a bird on a greeting card.
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Nope. We don’t know our toolbox whatsit from our safety harness doovalacky. Which is why, when a web commenter weighed in on the Wallsend Presbyterian Church noticeboard, we turned to someone a bit more down-to-earth.

The church noticeboard, in case you missed it, declared, ‘‘Even tradies know you need both male and female joints to make a marriage’’.

The church’s session clerk Doug Smiley confirmed it was a dig at a proposal in Federal Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage.

‘‘God created man and woman to procreate children,’’ Mr Smiley added.

In the comments section in the web coverage, ‘‘Horse’’ hit back.

‘‘You can connect two male ends with a socket or two female ends with a nipple,’’ posted Horse. ‘‘Geez do some research.’’

Male ends. Female ends. Nipples. Who names these things?

We set off in search of a nipple.

It didn’t take long. We were shown a wall of them in a hardware behemoth in Kotara, by an employee who was no-nonsense personified.

(Sigh. We wish we were no-nonsense. We’re pretty much all nonsense.)

A socket, it turns out, can indeed connect two male bits. Likewise, a nipple connects two female bits. We parted with $5.95 and walked out with a nipple, and the knowledge the church noticeboard should technically be changed.

To something like, oh, we don’t know, ‘‘With a $5.95 adaptor, either male and male or female and female bits make a marriage’’.

Even Topics writers know that.

On our way back from the hardware store, we checked the noticeboard of St John’s Anglican Church at Cooks Hill.

The one that’s previously read ‘‘OMG’’ and ‘‘Share a Coke with a Christian’’.

It didn’t have anything about same-sex marriage.

‘‘Playgroup is back, Wednesday 10am.’’