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Dob in a druggie anonymously

DRUG BUSTERS: Far South Coast Local Area Command’s senior constable David Bates and Inspector Mick MacPherson are preparing for Operation Bauds, which will give residents the opportunity to inform police about drug offenders.Ifyou are a user of illegal drugs, November might be a bad month.
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Far South Coast Local Area Command police will launch Operation Bauds, where Eurobodalla and Bega Valley residents can ‘dob in druggie, anonymously’ next Monday. The operation will run until the end of the month.

Acting FSC LAC Inspector and crime manager Mick MacPherson said the operation would target illicit drug offences, whether it be dealing, use, cultivation or manufacturing.

“Drugs have a massive ripple effect on the greater community,” he said.

“People with information can ring our special line on 4478 9937, and leave their report anonymously on an answering machine.

“Any information will be treated with the strictest confidence.”

A police spokesman said drug use caused trauma for families and financial hardship as well as health and social issues.

“There is the tying up of police, ambulance, hospitals and courts and the crimes that people are likely to commit to support their habit and because their behaviour is affected,” he said.

Mr MacPherson said the opportunity to report drug matters anonymously would appeal to many.

“Anonymity is always a good thing, and that is why Crime Stoppers has been so successful,” he said.

He said it did not matter how trivial something seemed; the police want to know about it.

“Anything can be of value, and significant in the long run,” he said.

Drug matters can still be reported directly to police officers and to Crime Stoppers.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Film review: Interstellar

Trailers have given away little about this film, other than “Matthew McConaughey goes to space to save dusty world”.Interstellar
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(M) 3.5 out 5

Director: Christopher Nolan.

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow.

FILM-MAKERS have long tried to predict the future.

One of the most intriguing of these sci-fi predictions is 2001: A Space Odyssey – a film that’s now confusingly set in the past -and it is the obvious reference point for Christopher Nolan’s own attempt at prophetic cinema.

Just as 2001 wanted to explore the possibilities of space and beyond, Interstellar aims to go to the final frontier and further, all the while exploring the nature of humanity and the unknowns of the universe.

Even the structures of the two films are similar, which makes it even harder to avoid these comparisons – it’s impossible not to think of Interstellar as Nolan’s Space Odyssey.

As such,this filmis incredibly ambitious,even for the director who took us into a dream inside a dream inside a dream with relative ease. However, this might bea starbridgetoo far.

As fascinating and scientifically intriguing as it is, Interstellar asks a lot of the viewer in terms of endurance (it’s almost three hours long) and whether you will buy into the plot twists that come with its cosmic destination. And after just one viewing it’snot immediately obvious how successful it is.

The film spends the first hour on Earth sometime in the possibly not-too-distant future, where climate change has wiped out billions of people and ruined most of the world’s crops, leaving the planet a dusty husk of its former self.

Among the farmers struggling to keep the world’s mouths fed is Cooper (McConaughey), a former test pilot who turns to corn farming after the government shuts down non-essential programs, and while he still secretly yearns for the adventures of his youth, Cooper is mostly content to raise his two kids.

That is until some weird happenings in the family home inadvertently lead him into space as part of a mission to find a new home on a new planet in order to save what remains of humanity.

Obviously there are some major plot points removed from this synopsis, but you’re better off not knowing them and just enjoying the surprises. Nolan’s typical secrecy meant the trailers gave away little about this film in the lead up other than “McConaughey goes to space to save dusty world” and that’s one thing of the key things Interstellar has going for it – it’s a journey into the unknown for the characters and audience alike.

But is it an enjoyable one? That’s the question you might find yourself asking as you walk out of the cinema after three bum-numbing hours.

Interstellar is definitely fascinating. It’s filled with amazing ideas, stunning visuals, great performances, and what is apparently a level of scientific theory that’s interesting if you’re so inclined.

But after all this brain fodder and some genuinely awe-inspiring moments we finally reach the third act – and it’s a long time coming – the story takes a turn that will either leave you tearing up your ticket or glued to your seat.

My initial reaction was the former but the more the film went on and the more I think about the film in the hours since watching it, the more I am willing to forgive it. Maybe. To be honest I’m still undecided.

And that’s the general feeling I’m left with after seeing Interstellar – a sensation of indecision.

Large parts of the film are stunning, such as the depictions of blackholes, wormholes and space travel, but other bits are not so great, such as some of the dialogue, the lack of characterisation, and that plot twist. There are questions unanswered – some deliberately so but some seemingly ignored – and while this does make me want to watch it again to dig a little deeper into the film, its length is kind of off-putting. At the same time, the fact that I’m still thinking about it so much is probably a positive.

Interstellar is ambitious, perhaps overly so, and it’s engaging and intriguing, perhaps at the expense of being truly entertaining. For now, the best I can say is that, yeah, it’s pretty cool and particularly impressive on the big screen but not quite the five-star classic that Inception or 2001: A Space Odyssey is.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

What’s On in Grenfell

Wednesday – November 5th
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Weddin Community Nursery (WCN) at Grenfell TAFE – all welcome – 9am

Martial Arts class – rear of IGA – 6.30pm

Playgroup – BLUE DAY – Grenfell Public School Hall Call Emma: 63431717

Royal Far West Meeting – 22 Rose Street 2pm

Local Health Meeting – 6pm Multi Purpose Service (MPS)

Thursday – November 6th

Leisure Group – Uniting Church Hall 10am – 12noon ALL WELCOME

Friday – November 7th

Indoor Bowls – Grenfell Bowling Club – 7pm

Swimming Club – 6pm Grenfell Swimming Pool

Twilight Golf – 5pm Country Club

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse – Cowra Local Support Group at 12:30pm. Open to all survivors in the community. If interested contact Pascale on 6342 1612.

Sunday -November 9th

Social Golf – Country Club – from 8am

Museum Open – Camp St – (between Fire Station and Council Chambers) – 2pm-4pm

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

The Tremolos reunite for free concert

The Tremolos formed in 1964 and were a big hit amongst the Grenfell Community performing at many different functions and events over a period spanning approximately two years.
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The band members consisted of Ronnie Plant lead guitar, Noel Cartwright rhythm guitar, Andrea Ladlow (Virtue) piano and vocals, Robert Farrell bass guitar and Barry Virtue drums.

The Tremolo Band played a good variety of music from The Beatles to Old Time Waltzes.

This November the band will reunite for a single event at the Grenfell Bowling Club on November 15, 2014, entry is free and there will be a Courtesy Bus running with other attractions such as Lucky Door prize and spot dancing, the night is designed to be a fun night for the whole family to enjoy.

There will be a smorgasbord meal with bookings essential by ringing the Club on 02 6343 1656 or you can order a Counter meal from the Rinks restaurant.

The music will kick off at around 8pm, so for a fun, night of music and memories make your booking today, entry to the Club is free and children are most welcome.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Netball coup for the Storm

STAR TEAM: Shellie Davies, Aleisha Langdon, Tracy Wilson, Mali Roberts, Glen Cowling, Sandy Truscott, Jodie Bouwmeester and Zenda McConnell.
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THE Strathfieldsaye Football Netball Club has pulled off a coup, securing the coaching talents of netball identity Zenda McConnell for the 2015 season.

McConnell, a legend of the White Hills Football Netball club, has decided to take up the Storm’s 17-and-under coaching position.

A coach for the past 25 years, McConnell has led the Demons to three A-grade premierships.

She has also been a Northern Central region 15-and-under squad team selector for the past two years.

“Zenda’s appointment is reflective of the importance the club sees on building a strong future and culture within the club,”Strathfieldsaye president Glen Cowling said.

“Appointing experienced coaches is only the first of many initiatives the club is adopting.

“The 17-and-under grade is the future of the club and it requires the same importance as our senior grades.”

Mali Roberts has been reappointed coach of the A-grade team.

This season the Storm’s senior team missed out on finals, finishing with six wins and 12 losses.

The 2015 Bendigo Football Netball League season will be her second year as head coach of the Storm.

Players Shellie Davies and Sarah Hill will step up next season, also taking on coaching roles.

Hill will be an assistant to McConnell with the junior team.

Jodie Bouwmeester will also become a development coach, while the B-grade team will be led by Aleisha Langdon and B-reserve team by Sandy Truscott.

Next season the club will also introduce two development teams.

The club willhost trials for its 17-and-under teams on November 16, 19 and 24 if required.

The sessions will be held at Flight Centre Park on Tannery Lane at 5.30pm.

Expression of interest forms are available on the Strathfieldsaye FNC website.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Crusoe College students eye spot at national track and field titles

Matthew Higgs, Cooper Saunders and Ella Farnell, Picture: CONTRIBUTED
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THREE Crusoe College students will be competing at the All Schools State championships on Saturday.

Cooper Saunders, Ella Farnell and Keely Farnell will be competing in various track and field events.

The trio will be chasing a spot at the national titles, which will be held in Adelaide later this year.

Cooper, Ella and Keely as well as Maddison Hill and Matthew Higgs took part in the State Schools Athletics finals at Lakeside Stadium last month.

The students represented the Loddon Mallee region, with Cooper, Ella and Keely winning the right to compete at the All Schools final.

Crusoe Secondary College teacher Erin McGurk said it was great to have five students involved with such a high level competition.

She said regardless of their outcomes the students should be proud of what they have been able to achieve.

Cooper had a strong meet at the final, winning the under-13 boys triple jump.

He jumped 11.06m and bet the second placegetter Aitken College’s Nathan Andersonby just two centimeters.

Ella came second in the under-13 triple jump with a 10.11m jump.

She was just 12 centimeters short of winner Isabella Phanivong from Frankston High School.

Ellawas a consistent performer throughout the competition, managing to jump the same distance she qualified with.

Maddison came sixth in the 1500m race walk with a time of 8.30.61.

She was less than a minute behind the eventual winner.

Matthew was third in the under-16 javelin with a throw of 45.51m and was eighth in the 16-year-old discus throw.

Keely placed fifth in the under-16 girls triple jump with a jump of 9.21m and seventh in the long jump with a distance of 4.31m.

McGurk said she wished the trio headed to the All Schools finals the very best.

The championships will also be held at Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

CWA day branch news

Our branch held our Annual meeting on October 23rd with a pleasing number of members present.
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President Sonia Groen welcomed the members with a special welcome to our Group President Mrs Jenny Thompson who chaired the meeting for the election of our office bearers for 2015.

Sonia opened the meeting with the Anthems and Motto before giving her report.

Reports were then given by Secretary Judy Mitton, Treasurer Robyn Logan and Mavis Drogemuller for the Craft Shop. The Craft Shop operated with 36 volunteers and is open from Monday till Friday and some weekends if the need arises.

Coral Mitton gave her publicity report and Sonia Groen gave the Agricultural and Environment report.

Kath Smith our cheer-up Secretary gave her report followed by cultural officers Sally Norrie and Edith Taylor’s report.

Mrs Jenny Thompson then chaired the election of office bearers. All of last years office bearers were re-elected unopposed.

Patrons – Kathleen Smith and Lola Madden

President – Sonia Groen

Secretary – Judy Mitton

Treasurer – Robyn Logan

Craft Shop Secretary – Mavis Drogemuller

Craft Shop President – Esma Baker

Craft Shop Treasurer – Robyn Logan

Vice Presidents – Ruth McKellar and Esma Baker

Group Councillors – Sonia Groen and Judy Mitton

Cheer – Up Secretary – Kath Smith

Publicity Officer – Coral Mitton

Agricultural and Environment – Sonia Groen

Cultural – Sally Norrie and Edith Taylor

Ruth McKellar gave a vote of thanks to Jenny and presented her with a lovely posie. Afternoon tea was then enjoyed.

Our next Meeting will be held at 1.30pm on Thursday November 6th at the Uniting Church Hall. All interested Women are Welcome

Coral Mitton

CWA Publicity Officer

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Planning for Newcastle under the spotlight

“This whole city is being controlled by people who are rich”: Joan Dawson. Picture: Ryan Osland4:10: Thanks for joining us. Read tomorrow’s Newcastle Herald for my complete rundownand analysis of today’s proceedings.
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4:05:A bit of a shouting match to end the day between Catherine Cusack and Joan Dawson. No proof that a decision to cut the rail line was in any way corrupted, but some strong opinions on both sides of the debate.

The same strong opinions that we’ve been listening to for more than two decades.

Fred Nile has wrapped up today’s proceedings.

The second hearing will be held in Newcastle in on November 21.

“There is no cost-benefit analysis that supports cutting the rail line”: Kim Cross. Picture: Ryan Osland

3:56:Voltz and Shoebridge steering discussion on the value of the rail line in Newcastle.

Kim Cross says Hazzard and O’Farrell ignored a number of reports. She said the cost-benefit analysis of the closure is “a house of cards”.

“There is no cost-benefit analysis that supports cutting the rail line,” she said. “We’re still waiting and we’re 50 days out from closure.”

3:42:”It’s the process we’re concerned about,” Dawson said. “There has been very inadequate consultation. This whole city is being controlled by people who are rich.”

3:40:Joan Dawson says it’s “not truncation as they call it, it’s a chop, or a cut”. She also referred to the government’s designs for the Wickham interchange resembled a “carport on steroids”. And it’s not an interchange, she said, it’s a terminus.

3:37:Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson tells the inquiry her group is not “anti development, but earnestly believes that a city deserves adequate public transpoort to it”.

3:24: Newcastle council’s handling of the proposed developments on the Lynch’s site was like saying “do as I say and not as I do” to other developers,” Shoebridge said.

Inquiry on the planning process in Newcastle and the broader Hunter region at the Novotel Newcastle – pictured is David Shoebridge. Picture: Ryan Osland

3:14:Labor’s Linda Voltz says the council being the consent authority for a development it planned to undertake itself reminded her of ‘Porpoise Spit’ in the film Muriel’s Wedding. She also wondered why a council pushing to reconnect the city with the harbourfront was itself wanting to build a three-storey building on the harbourfront.

3:10:Residents representing Honeysuckle Residents Association are now addressing the hearing.

Resident Alistaire Christie said the group was concerned with Newcastle council’s “persistent attempts” to develop the old Lynch’s Prawns site on the harbourfront.

It should be noted, though, the council abandoned any development plans for the site several months ago.

Honeysuckle Residents Association Peter Medi, Alistair Christie, Bruce Wade. Picture: Ryan Osland

Mr Christie, though, said the group remained concerned at why the council spent “more than $300,000” in its attempts to build on a site that it was the consent authority for.

2:58:Shoebridge offers an open invitation to the hearing to former Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell. The invitation followed comments from Whitebridge residents who said they “wondered” if the $10,000 donations to his campaign which were aired at the recent ICAC inquiry had interfered with due process in the Whitebridge land deal.

The hearing has taken a 15-minute adjournment.

Liberal Catherine Cusack. Picture: Ryan Osland

2:53:Cusack asks residents that, given no development has been approved at Whitebridge, their concern is more about anxiety than about any evidence of corruption. The comment draws scorn from residents in the public gallery.

2:46:Liberal Catherine Cusack points out there is no development approval for the Whitebridge site, suggesting a lot of the debate and concern is over something that hasn’t happened yet.

2:43:Whitebridge residents raise concerns that the real estate agent who sold the land on behalf of the state government also acted for the land owner at a later stage. They said there should have been some separation.

Whitebridge resident Michelle Burdekin. Picture: Ryan Osland

2:27:Grugeon’s plan “effectively trebled” the number of lots that were originally “signed off on by the Council and department of planning”, resident Michelle Burdekin said.

2:25:Whitebridge residents say they grew concerned about Hilton Grugeon’s “incompatible development” when it was revealed to be much bigger than what the council planning strategies had previously suggested.

2:20:Newcastle residents have stepped down from the hearing. Residents from Whitebridge now getting their opportunity.

2:16: Asked by Donnelly how many members of the inner city residents alliance actually live in the inner city, Mr Evans said “about 40%”. The remaining 60 per cent come from outside of the 2300 postcode, he said.

2:08:Resident Brian Ladd asks why UrbanGrowth was able to buy two-thirds of GPT’s city landholdings “for such a ridiculously low price”. Shoebridge suggests the transaction might have been made to “save GPT”, or was part of a deal which might have made “big returns” to GPT down the track.

Resident Brian Ladd. Picture: Ryan Osland

2:02:Evans attacks Premier Mike Baird for not honouring his promise to “make amends” for the actions of his MPs exposed by ICAC.

Instead, he said the Premier attended a business function where Newcastle business people paid $150 a head to meet with him. “It’s a clear indication of the perversity of insiders getting access to the Premier when the community is shut out,” he said.

1:58:Evans tells the hearing he thinks lobbyists with vested interests have “captured” debate and “shut the community out”. He said the “overwhelming majority of people in this city” do not want high rise in the city’s heart. He said there is “more than enough development” happening in Newcastle to satisfy demand.

1:51:Hearing has resumed. Geoff Evans addressing committee on behalf of Newcastle Inner City Residents Alliance.

Dr Geoff Evans addresses the inquiry. Picture: Ryan Osland

He said NICRA was concerned about the lack of public Consultation and “farcical changes” to inner city planning laws made by the state government.

From inside the inquiry: Picture: Darren Pateman

1:00: Hearing has adjourned for lunch. Council planners have been allowed to step down. Representatives of Newcastle Inner city residents will appear when the hearing resumes at 1.45pm.

12:59: Shoebridge accusing Lake Council of not reading its own planning policies properly. The developer had worked it out, he said, and that’s why he was proposing to build 91 residential lots on his land at Whitebridge at the same time as the Council was saying it could only accommodate 50.

12:48:”How do we go from council’s LEP which proposed 50 dwellings to a development application for 91 dwellings,” Shoebridge asks in relation to land owned by developer Hilton Grugeon.

12:47:Shoebridge raising concerns about the extent to which Lake Council might have failed to properly notify or consult Whitebridge residents about land rezoning.

12:41:Voltz asking about Whitebridge land sold by the government and now subject to an application for a residential subdivision. Shoebridge asking about when council rezoning plan at Whitebridge was put to the state government

12:37:Voltz asking Lake planners about rezoning processes and the power of the council to rezone land that is privately or publicly owned.

12:35:Mr Chrystal and Ms Gaynor have stepped down. Three planners from Lake Macquarie council are now being questioned.

12:31:Shoebridge asks why so many people want to remove “the barrier” between the city and the harbour that is the heavy rail line and then build on the corridor to create “another barrier”. That’s certainly what Honeysuckle is, he said.

The committee has taken a short adjournment.

David Shoebridge and Fred Nile seek answers from Peter Chrystal and Jill Gaynor. Picture: Darren Pateman.

12:29:Nile asks Chrystal if he thinks the decision to run light rail down Hunter Street, or remove the rail line at all, is aimed at creating a land grab for developers to build on the existing heavy rail corridor.

Chrystal says the corridor has not been discussed by the council. He is not aware of any plans and the council has no formal view on it.

12:23:Chrystal also says the urban renewal studies were first discussed by the council in 2006 and 2008. He said the plans were on public exhibition for four months from December in 2012.

Pearce points out the plans have been on the table for a long time, and decisions were not made on a whim at the eleventh hour by the state government.

12:16:Nile asks Chrystal if he thought the citizens of Newcastle, Maitland and Dungog had been consulted sufficiently on plans for the rail line.

Chrystal says the public consultation period was open for three or four months. “That’s a lot longer than normal,” Mr Chrystal said.

12:09:Shoebridge asks Gaynor and Chrystal if they’d ever had conversations with former lord mayor Jeff McCloy about his preferred route for the light rail line.

Jill Gaynor, Manager of Strategic Planning Services at the City of Newcastle. Picture: Darren Pateman.

Ms Gaynor said it had been discussed once and McCloy said he favoured the light rail running down Hunter Street. The council’s submission, however, reflected the decisions made by the council at that time, she said.

12:04:Shoebridge asking again why council GM Ken Gouldthorp didn’t seek the views of the councillors when he got request from parliamentary committee.

Chrystal says the GM understood the request was made of the council and not of the elected council, and he had the delegated authority to respond as he did.

11:59:David Shoebridge says the management of Newcastle council had “shown contempt” for the parliamentary inquiry by not including the elected councillors in discussions about the council’s submission to the inquiry.

11:54:Chrystal responding to questions from Voltz. Says the council was comfortable with the new CBD being pushed towards the west end with the east end becoming “more boutique retail and residential”.

He concedes that the council has issues with the lack of parking included in the proposed university campus.

Peter Chrystal, Planning and Regulatory Director for the City of Newcastle, appears at the inquiry. Picture: Darren Pateman.

11:47:Asked by Voltz about the council’s submission on the rail line, Peter Chrystal says it was council’s preference to extend light rail further east to Parnell Place to provide access to the beaches.

11:37:That’s it from Broad and Hawes. Senior Newcastle council planners Peter Chrystal and Jill Gaynor join the committee at the table housing all the Mentos mints.

11:33:Pearce asks Broad about the original GPT plan for city centre. “Was it a lost opportunity?”

“Absolutely,” Broad replies.”We saw GPT as a once in a lifetime opportunity. The private sector wanting to spend $800 million in the city centre was something we’ve never seen before, but it was lost.”

Greg Pearce asks questions of Bob Hawes and Paul Broad. Picture: Darren Pateman.

11:24:Greg Pearce asking Hawes and Broad about the Newcastle Centre Renewal Report commissioned by the previous Labor government which spells out the cost benefits of removing the rail line.

Also refers to surveys undertaken by Hunter Valley Research Foundation, also commissioned by Labor, which found that 93% of Newcastle wanted action taken to renew the city.

11:21:Nile asking Broad and Hawes about light rail and transport.

“We want something that meets the needs of the future,” Broad says.

“The number of people travelling on public transport is appalling. We should fix it.”

Broad said the plan has been around for decades but under previous governments “we never had any money to do it”.

11:17:Nile asks if the Boxing Day truncation of the rail line could be pushed back or postponed.

“That’s a government decision, chairman, not ours, but we support it [Boxing Day cut].

“The issue has been around for 20 years, chairman, it’s time to move.”

11:13:”This sounds more like a Laurel and Hardy administration or a Bob Askin administration,” Shoebridge says of HDC’s operations.

Shoebridge accused of heading a “disgraceful smear” of Hawes.

11:08:Bob Hawes under fire from Shoebridge over property owned by him at Wickham. Shoebridge calls it a “gross conflict of interest”.

Hunter Development Corporation General Manager Bob Hawes answers questions. Picture: Darren Pateman.

Hawes says the properties are lodged on his pecuniary interest register.Hawes said nothing has been kept from the public, nothing from the HDC board. It’s been on the public record since he began his role with HDC.

Broad says Hawes left HDC board meetings when “anything affecting Bob’s property” was discussed.

11:01:Lynda Voltz asking Hawes about the “500” provided by the university and GPT.

“The 500 what,” Broad asks.

“Residential apartments,” Voltz says.

“There are none proposed in the university project,” Broad points out.

10:56:Well that didn’t take long to heat up! Lynda Voltz drilling Hawes and Broad about why land that was once part of a working harbour was being converted to residential.

It’s not, says Broad, pointing to the commercial head offices of NIB and Sparke Helmore – “white collar jobs that were not there before”.

How many jobs, Voltz asks. “Ask NIB,” Broad snaps back.

10:50:Paul Broad tells the inquiry that HDC first discussed truncating the rail line in 1992 and then again in 2009.

Hunter Development Corporation Chairman Paul Broad makes his way to the inquiry. Picture: Darren Pateman.

Connecting the harbor front with the city was always HDC’s motivation, he said. He tells Lynda Voltz the empty sites at Honeysuckle have always been identified as development sites.

10:42:Fred Nile has opened the inquiry and warned that “this is not a forum for people to make adverse comments about others”. I think he might struggle with maintaining that line!

HDC chairman Paul Broad and general manager Bob Hawes have been sworn in.

10:35:And Fred has let us back inside. Sill no Mentos on my makeshift table though. Hunter Development Corporation chairman Paul Broad will be first to answer questions when we get under way shortly.

Novotel Newcastle, the site of today’s inquiry. Picture: Darren Pateman.

10:25:Only a small crowd here for the first of three public hearings. Some familiar faces in the crowd and plenty of whining about why the bowls of Mentos mints are restricted to the committee’s table and not in the public gallery! Or maybe that was just me whining.

Anyway, the committee has just arrived. Fred Nile has asked for everyone except committee members to be booted out of the room so the committee can have a private conversation

10:16am:Fred Nile and the inquiry members are having a quick drive around Newcastle in their mini bus to familiarise themselves.

Cannot confirm rumours they’ve popped into The Rock Shop on Hunter Street but plenty saying they were spotted in the drive-thru of King Street Maccas.

10:11am:Committee chairman, Christian Democrat Fred Nile, has already raised plenty of eyebrows this morning by saying he wanted to delay the state government’s planned Boxing Day shutdown of the heavy rail line into Newcastle. That’s quite a concession from a supposedly independent chairman who hasn’t yet heard a word from any of the witnesses called before his inquiry.

Fred Nile.

Mr Nile, of course, is chairing the inquiry with Greens MLC DavidShoebridge acting as deputy. Also on the committee are four members of parliament’s upper house – Labor’s Greg Donnelly and Lynda Voltz and Liberals Greg Pearce and Catherine Cusack.

Follow the inquiry with Jason Gordon.

10:00am:Good morning all!

Going to be an interesting day here at the parliamentary inquiry into planning processes in Newcastle and the Hunter at the Novotel.Or let’s just call it the Nile Inquiry.

Today’s public hearing will hear from 17 witnesses, and it’s open to the public if you want to pop your head in. If not, stick with us here and follow all of today’s proceedings as they happen.

And feel free to send us your thoughts.

Wimmera passenger rail lines feasibility study: Councils urge State Government to pay

Horsham chief executive Peter Brown believes passenger rail is a major issue for the region. Picture: PAUL CARRACHERWESTERN Victorian councils have urged the State Government to help pay for a feasibility study into passenger rail lines in the region.
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Ten western Victorian councils, including all Wimmera councils, have agreed to put up a combined $40,000 towards the study.

Horsham Rural City Council chief executive Peter Brown told candidates for the seat of Lowan at a breakfast in Horsham on Thursday that passenger rail was a major issue for the municipality.

Mr Brown said passenger rail would bring many benefits to the entire Wimmera.

“The return of fast and reliable passenger rail to other regional cities like Bendigo and Warrnambool has benefited them a lot economically,” he said.

“Rail is easy to access and it is good for older people or people who have disabilities.”

Mr Brown said many people caught a bus from Horsham to Ararat to go on to Melbourne.

“A shuttle rail service from the Wimmera to Ararat would make it easier to swap services and go on to wherever they need,” he said.

Mr Brown said there was a rail line from Horsham to Ararat that could be used, but it was a different gauge to the line from Ararat to Melbourne.

He said the ideal scenario would be a standard gauge line through the Wimmera to Horsham and then on to Ararat.

From Ararat people could transfer to the broad gauge line to Melbourne.

Mr Brown said the feasibility study would determine whether the project was worth pursuing.

“We don’t quite know the extent of the issues we face or the cost yet,” he said.

Ararat Rural City Mayor Paul Hooper said it was an important issue.

He wrote to candidates for the seat of Ripon on October 20 to ask for their support.

“There is an enormous number of people travelling to Ararat from the north and south to use the train here to get to Melbourne,” he said.

“Consultation with councils north and south of us has revealed that they believe a train service would enhance the liveability of their shires.”

Cr Hooper said the show of money by the councils involved proved they were serious about the issue.

“It is an important issue,” he said.

“We don’t expect it to be resolved overnight.

“We understand a significant study needs to be done and we’re putting it firmly on the agenda.

“We’re hoping to get some funding from the State Government to match ours.”

Greens candidate for Ripon Rod May said he supported the push for passenger rail.

“The Greens have pledged that we will develop the public transport system of Victoria because it is a more sustainable way of moving people and goods across the state,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Library lines

Don’t forget to check out the display of clippings and minute book excerpts relating to the history of the Grenfell Library currently on show in the library to mark the 75th anniversary of the passing of the NSW Library Act.
Nanjing Night Net

There is some fascinating material on the emotive issue of whether or not to join a regional library and some of the statistics of yesteryear are very challenging – in 1970 the library declared a circulation of 49, 530 items (and they only loaned books and magazines at that time – no DVDs, etc!) and a total membership of 2,606 which included 1,203 children spread over six schools.

At the time of writing there were just three new books and one audio book on MP3 available so the New Materials display will be a little sparse this week. But there are a number of orders in the pipeline so the situation should improve in coming weeks.

Have you had a look at the library’s Facebook page or blog of late?

There is a cute photo of three young engineers enjoying the LASY (and the air-conditioning?) in the children’s area on Facebook.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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