Archive for: ‘December 2018’

Player claims Muswellbrook’s $1.3m Saturday Lotto prize

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

AFTER five days, a NSW Lotteries player has come forward to claim the $1.3m prize from Saturday Lotto $20 Million Superdraw that was won with an entry bought from Muswellbrook’s Southside Newsagency.

The 36-game QuickPick entry won Muswellbrook’s newest millionaire a division one prize of $1,333,333.34.

But, just who exactly landed the windfall will remain a mystery, as the winner has spoken to NSW Lotteries in secret to claim their cash bonanza.

NSW Lotteries spokesperson Matt Hart said while all Saturday Lotto customers dreamt of becoming an overnight millionaire, the winning Muswellbrook ticket had made that dream a reality for another player this week.

“We speak with winners every day and while most winners dream of winning big, many don’t ever expect it will happen to them,” he said.

“In fact since July 1 this year, there have already been 77 division one winning entries purchased by NSW Lotteries customers – that’s a lot of winning smiles on the faces of players.”

The division one winning entry was purchased from Southside Newsagency in Maitland Road.

Southside Newsagency owner Pankaj Monga said the store was excited that it had sold a division one winning ticket.

“Congratulations to the winner! It’s great that our missing millionaire has come forward to claim their prize,” he said.

“We’ve been really busy this week with a lot of people coming into the store to check their tickets because they had heard that we’d sold a division one winning entry.”

NSW Lotteries reminds players of the importance of registering their tickets to a Players Club Card so all of their prizes are secure and they can be contacted directly with the good news of a big win.

Ninja Warriors get a grip in Newcastlevideos, photos

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

Ninja Warriors get a grip in Newcastle | videos, photos NEW CHALLENGE: Snowboarder Stephanie Magiros, who competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, races at Ninja Parc Cooks Hill on Thursday night. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

BALANCING ACT: Elite competitor Josh O’Sullivan warms up before Thursday night’s race.

HANGING TOUGH: Newcastle teenager Xanthea Vazey.

Stephanie Magiros

Tommy Leung

April Mutton

Xanthea Vazey

Gemma Rolfe

Elite competitors warm up.

Ryan Phillips

Ben Sillay

Josh O’Sullivan

Elite winner Josh Gray on the podium.

Michael Gleeson

Michael Gleeson

TweetFacebookAmerican Ninja Warrior.

Some of the competitors from that series, including former army fitness instructor Michael Gleeson, flexed their muscles at Ninja Park Cooks Hill, formerly known as Howzat, on Thursday.

14-year-old Xanthea Vazey shows how it’s doneAlso competing was Olympic snowboarder and former gymnast Stephanie Magiros, of Sydney, and Newcastle bouldering youth national titleholder Ben Abel.

But 24-year-old Josh Gray upstaged them all, completing the Ninja Parc in three minutes and 22 seconds.

Also on the podium in the elite category were two bolters from Cardiff, 30-year-old rigger and vegetarian Reuban Keeley and 26-year-old gymnastics and fitness instructor Ryan Phillips.

Kotara High student Xanthea Vazey, 14, who trains six times a week at Pulse Climbing, was second against a field of adult men and women in the open category.

Ninja Parc regular April Mutton was third, behind winner Matt Turner.

Stephanie Magiros conquers an obstacle.“I’ve pushed myself as a snowboarder,I’ve pushed myself as a gymnast, and now I get to push myself as a ninja,” Magiros said.

Gray took home a cheque for $1000 in what Ninja Parc managing director John Pirlo said would be the first of many races at the venue.

Burrumbuttock Hay Run 2017your photos

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

Burrumbuttock Hay Run 2017 INSTA @visionwrangler Sunrise over Burrumbuttock Hay Runners. . . . #illfracombe #burrumbuttockhayrunners #hayrunners #australia #qld #sunrise🌅

INSTA @jarrodkeithausburn What a weekend! Geez there’s some good people in this country! #burrumbuttockhayrunners #bhr2017 #keepingthedreamalive

@visionwrangler: Early Morn. . . . #hayrunners #burrumbuttockhayrunners #australia #illfracombe #sunrise🌅

@ree368: Early morning! #burrumbuttockhayrunners #hayrunners2017 #trucks #sunriseinthewest

@jarrodkeithausburn: Well done fellas! Keeping the dream alive! #burrumbuttockhayrunners #bhr2017 #cheersfellas @burrumbuttockhayrunners

@max_the_wanderer: I wanted to go on the #burrumbuttockhayrun but Dad wouldn’t take me with him… #dog #dogsofinsta #seeaustralia #outbackqueensland #burrumbuttockhayrunners #australianoutback

@bimma_01: #burrumbuttockhayrunners

@prince.oliverharvey: Day 2 of ‘Daddy is away’ “You are my hero and I am so proud of you Daddy. Another Hay Run for you to participate and control the logistics. So glad it is all going smoothly. Mummy and I absolutely loved your message on Facebook at the end of Brendan’s speech. We miss you and are writing you tonnes of messages and taking lot’s of photo’s and video’s for you so you don’t miss a thing!” #oliverharvey #bhr #burrumbuttockhayrunners #babybumpkins #daddyhero #hero #daddy #donatehay #charity #life

@chookieheaton: How much recognition these guys deserve would never be enough for what they do… @burrumbuttockhayrunners #burrumbuttockhayrunners you guys are amazing…1 cup of coffee a week is all it takes to help our own struggling farmers. Stole the pic from their Facebook page from todays run..i urge you all to donate 😃😃😃 #burrumbuttockhayrunner #hayrunners #hat #aussieaussieaussie #oiyoiyoiy #australianpride #australiapride #straya #strayapride #drought #droughtrelief #droughttolerant #farm #farming #cattle #queensland #queenslander #qld #qlder #nsw #truck #trucks

@ree368: Convoy of hay runners. #hayrunners2017 #trucks #convoy #burrumbuttockhayrunners

@kimmic64: Burrumbuttock Hay Runners arriving at ilfracombe #congratulations #longreach

@bimma_01: #burrumbuttockhayrunners

@visionwrangler: Hay Hauling. #burrumbuttockhayrunners #hayrunners #nsw #australia #cobar

@@sallyQCL: #Burrumbuttockhayrunners sucking in the juice at #Tambo #nottoofar to #Ilfracombe and tonight’s stop

@sallyQCL: #Burrumbuttockhayrunners passing Augathella, Aussie flags are waving!

@eviemarie78: Made it to Queensland ✌ #burrumbuttockhayrunners #autoelec #no7

@ourlittleoutbackfam: Our little Junior Policeman and our op shop queen doing a bit of traffic control while the @burrumbuttockhayrunners passed through town!

@anastasiaemily: So much hay for the hungry heifers! #hayrunners

@burrumbuttockhayrunners: Big thumbs up from little Darcy Gersekowski as the boys load up to join the hay run today! Future hay runner! 🚚🇦🇺#burrumbuttockhayrunners #bhr2017


@embardesigns: BHR ARE TRUCKIN’ LEGENDS 🇦🇺🚚 Waved to the 80-odd convoy of @burrumbuttockhayrunners as they went past today with my quick little sign to show my support

@burrumbuttockhayrunners: Thanks for coming out Korbin to cheer off the BHR convoy. We appreciate you & mum making the trip over from Adelaide to see us off!! #burrumbuttockhayrunners

@visionwrangler: Kenworth Hood Ornament. . . . #hayrunners #burrumbuttockhayrunners #nsw #australia #kenworth #truck

@megan_grigg: safe trip ya legends! 💞 #hayrun2016 #legends


@nickyisles: Watching the Hay runners arrive in Darlington Point for the 12th Burrumbuttock Hay run to Muttaburra. #burrumbuttockhayrunners

@burrumbuttockhayrunners: Convoy is coming through Bourke!! #burrumbuttockhayrunners #bhr2017

@miss_hallie_jane: This photo makes me so proud to be a part of this incredible country!!!! This truck was just one in a convoy that passed through our town today, people were lining the footpaths as these incredible humans thundered through, horns blaring, arms waving, positivity all around.

@burrumbuttockhayrunners: The awesome convoy lead car ready to lead them out in Darlington Point. #burrumbuttockhayrunners #bhr2017

INSTA @jaynedenham And we are off to the show at Muttaburra! #burrumbuttockhayrunners #tourlife #outbackqld

TweetFacebook#Burrumbuttockhayrunners (and a random boat?!) doing the country proud for people in drought yet again @qclnews. @FairfaxRegionalpic.twitter苏州夜网/TcQIeJ3Lrr

— Sally Cripps (@sallyQCL) February 24, 2017NEED TO CATCH UP ON MOREBurrumbuttock Hay Runners making good time on third trip to western QueenslandOne Nation Senator Pauline Hanson joins Hay RunnersCyclone ‘Burrumbuttock’ ready to deliver hay reliefCity’s hay, dog food, joinsBurrumbuttock hay run

Man jailed for 11 months after bashing a kangaroo to death in Bunbury

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

A man was jailed for 11 months after bashing a kangaroo in near Bunbury. Photo: ABC NewsA man who brutally bashed a kangaroo to death with a crowbar with another man near Bunbury will spend almost a year behind bars.

Craig Jamie House and Vance Geoffrey Jarvis, who represented themselves in court, both pleaded guilty in the Bunbury Magistrates Court on Tuesday to ill-treatment of an animal, according to the ABC.

Mr House was jailed for 11 months’ while Jarvis was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

It’s believed to be the first ever jail sentence for someone charged with animal cruelty in WA.

The court was shown confronting video footage of the kangaroos’ death in June 2015, which police found on a computer after raiding a home on an unrelated matter.

The video showed the two men and a dog collaring the kangaroo into a dam before House strikes the roo with a crowbar before dragging the animal’s lifeless body from the dam.

Magistrate Evan Shackleton said House struck the first blow to the kangaroo and instructed Jarvis to join in, according to the ABC.

“Sneak out to it man, as soon as it lunges ‘boosh’, take ya thongs off,” House can be heard yelling to Jarvis.

House told the court he killed the kangaroo for food because he had fallen on hard times and used the metal bar because his gun license was confiscated two years earlier.

“I tried to put out the roo in the most humanely way I could,” House told the court.

The magistrate disagreed with House claiming there were “large elements of animal cruelty”.

“In my view, you were having fun tormenting that kangaroo,” he said.

RSPCA WA chief executive David van Ooran told the ABC it was it was “incredibly rare” for someone to be given a jail term for animal cruelty.

“I can’t think of a time in recent years and decades where this has occurred,” Mr van Ooran said.

“This is a very strong penalty and a very appropriate penalty … it was clearly a horrific and sickening act against a defenceless animal, behaviour like this is completely unacceptable.

“It’s excellent to see that the magistrate in this case has awarded a prison term.”


Senate inquiry told governments needed to plan for power station closures years ago

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

Questions: Liddell power station near Muswellbrook. A transition team to look at the consequences of its closure in 2022 is needed, an inquiry heard. Picture: Simone De Peak.

A TRANSITION team to help the Hunter deal with the consequences of its coal-fired power station closures should have been established years ago, a Senate inquiry has been told.

Lawyers group Environmental Justice (EJA) said the Federal Government needed to initiate, resourceand steermechanisms to assist the region after AGL confirmed Liddell power station would close in 2022, and Bayswater in 2035.

The Liddell closure raises serious issues about electricity availability for Tomago Aluminium and its 1000 workers, a Senate inquiry looking into retirement of coal-fired power stations was told this week.

The EJA said the Federal Government needed to act because state governments had “neglected this important work” because of conflicts of interest as owners of power plants, and because corporate power generators had political influence.

“Detailed transition plans would already have been developed and stakeholders would be in broad agreement about the timeline for closure and mechanisms to minimise upheaval” if governments had recognised the potential for significant consequences fromthe closures and a world moving towards putting a price on carbon, the EJA said.

“Deliberative processes to minimise social disruption need to be set in place as far as possible in advance of changes such as coal plant closures,” the EJA told the inquiry in Sydney.

The Hunter had paid a high price for its coal-based industries, the EJA said.

“The annual costs of associated health damages from the five coal-fired power stations in the Hunter have been estimated at around $600 million per year,” the EJA said.

“People that live within 50 kilometres of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away.”

EJAwas instrumental in calling for a judicial inquiry into the Hazelwood mine fire in Victoria.

The Senate inquiry is considering the case for planned closure of coal-fired power stations and policy mechanisms to help workers and communities.

Penalty rate cuts: Who gains, and who will be hit the hardest

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

The changes do not extend to restaurants and cafes as industry representatives did not provide enough evidence to convince the workplace umpire of their case. Photo: Jessica ShapiroRELATED: Fair Work slashes penalty rates

Who will gain the most from the changes, and who will be the hardest hit? The penalty rates decision in a nutshell.Why were penalty rates reviewed?Hospitality and retail sectors made applications to vary penalty rate provisions aspart of the Fair Work Commission’sfour-yearly review ofawards.

Which awards were reviewed?Fast food, retail, hospitality, pharmacy, clubs and restaurants.

What did the Fair Work Commission base its decision on?

The full bench spent 39 days hearingevidence from 143 witnesses. It also received 5900 submissions.

Which weekend penalty rates have changed?Saturday rates in the fast food, hospitality, restaurant and retail sectors will not change and were found to be fair. Sunday rates for retail, fast food and some hospitality industries will be reduced by 25 to 50 per cent. The Fair Work Commission said Sunday rates should generally be more than Saturday rates, but not as high as they were in the past.

Who will gain the mostfrom thechanges?Business groups have welcomed the cuts saying they will help keep businesses open on Sundays and help employ more staff.Big retailers including JB Hi-Fi and Myer will be among those to benefit most from the changes.

The Federal Government will be under less pressure from industry groups to intervene.

Unions, the ALP and Greens, on the other hand, will now push for cuts to penalty rates to be overruled by legislation.

Who will be hardest hit by changes to Sunday penalty rates?Retail workers will take the biggest hit, whilecasual workers in hospitality will keep their existing penalty rates.

Retail workers (full-time and part-time) will see their Sunday penalty rates cut from 200 per cent (double time) to 150 per cent (time and a half). The rates for casuals will fall from 200 per cent to 175 per cent.

Fast food outlets will cutSunday penalty rates cut from 150 per cent to 125 per cent for full-time and part-time workers.

Hospitality workers will see their Sunday penalty rates reduced from 175 per cent to 150 per cent, but there will be no change in rates for casuals.

Sunday penalty rates for workers in restaurants and licensedclubs will not change.

Workers in pharmacies will see their Sunday penalty rates cutbetween the hours of 7am to 9pm from 200 per cent to 150 per cent. Rates for casual employees will fall from 200 per cent to 175 per cent.

Chinan Bowl Riding Championships: Newcastle juniors Poppy Olsen, Jedd McKenzie and Max Owens to compete at Bar Beach bowl

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

Young skateboarding stars take to the skies | PHOTOS PRODIGIOUS: Poppy Olsen, Max Owens and Jedd McKenzie get a few runs in at Bar Beach bowl ahead of the n Bowl Riding Championships over the weekend. Pictures: Marina Neil

TALENT: Poppy Olsen, Max Owens and Jedd McKenzie at Bar Beach bowl ahead of the n Bowl Riding Championships over the weekend. Picture: Marina Neil

PRODIGIOUS: Poppy Olsen, Max Owens and Jedd McKenzie get a few runs in at Bar Beach bowl ahead of the n Bowl Riding Championships over the weekend. Pictures: Marina Neil

PRODIGIOUS: Poppy Olsen, Max Owens and Jedd McKenzie get a few runs in at Bar Beach bowl ahead of the n Bowl Riding Championships over the weekend. Pictures: Marina Neil

PRODIGIOUS: Poppy Olsen, Max Owens and Jedd McKenzie get a few runs in at Bar Beach bowl ahead of the n Bowl Riding Championships over the weekend. Pictures: Marina Neil

PRODIGIOUS: Poppy Olsen, Max Owens and Jedd McKenzie get a few runs in at Bar Beach bowl ahead of the n Bowl Riding Championships over the weekend. Pictures: Marina Neil

PRODIGIOUS: Poppy Olsen, Max Owens and Jedd McKenzie get a few runs in at Bar Beach bowl ahead of the n Bowl Riding Championships over the weekend. Pictures: Marina Neil

TweetFacebook PRODIGIOUS: Poppy Olsen, Max Owens and Jedd McKenzie get a few runs in at Bar Beach bowl ahead of the n Bowl Riding Championships over the weekend. Pictures: Marina Neil FRESH from breaking new ground at the Bondi Bowl-A-Rama, Newcastle skaters Poppy Starr Olsen and Jedd McKenzie have their sights set on dominating their home bowl against some of the world’s best this weekend.After earning a wildcard, McKenzie, 15, stepped up to the pro division for the first time at Bondi and made the most of the opportunity, qualifying for the semi-finals and eventually finishing 13thin a field that featured some of his skateboarding idols.

“It was pretty crazy,” McKenzie, of Merewether, said on Thursday.

“I was the youngest competitor in the pro division and I qualified last for the semis, so I just made it.

“It was pretty sick competing against some of my favourite skaters.”

While, Olsen, 16, was invited to competein the first women’s division in Bowl-A-Rama history, finishing third behind AmericansJordyn Barratt andBrighton Zeuner.

The finish essentially means Olsen is in the top three female skaters in the world.

Now the pair, and a host of other hungry Newcastle juniors, including 10-year-old Merewether lad Max Owens, will turn their attention to the n Bowl Riding Championships in front of a big crowd at Bar Beach bowl on Saturday and Sunday.

And thecompetition is set to be bigger than ever, with international skateboarding stars like Cory Juneau, Tom Schaar, Jonathan Schwan and Alex Sorgente making the trip up from Sydney between the prestigious Bondi event and the Vans Park Series at Manly next weekend.

Meanwhile there are plenty of subplots, including 13-year-old skateboarding prodigy Keegan Palmer, who will contest his first pro event at Bar Beach after dominating on the junior circuit.

McKenzie wasn’t intimidated by the prospect of stepping up to the pro division against skaters twice his age. “Skateboarding is an inclusive community and Jedd earns the respect of the older riders by letting his skating do the talking,” McKenzie’s mum, Amanda, said.

While the focus this week is on completing their runs at Bar Beach, the long-term goal for Olsen and McKenzie is the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, which, after several failed bids,will feature skateboarding for the first time.

Newcastle City Council announced this week that the Bar Beach skate bowl had been repaired and would be re-opened in time for the n Bowl Riding Championships.

The popular skate spot had been damaged after someone lit a fire in a plastic bin in the centre of the bowl, rendering it unusable.

The competition will feature a pro-amateur division, as well aswomen’s, masters and under-16’s.

China Post boss Ahmed Fahour resigns

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

Post CEO Ahmed Fahour. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images) Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour- who was criticised by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for his $5.6 million salary – has resigned from the job after seven years.

Mr Fahour, who began the job in 2010, tendered his resignation to the Post board on Wednesday.

Speaking at the company’s half year results at a press conference in Melbourne, Mr Fahour said: “With the business now poised to start a new transformation, Ibelieve that it is appropriate and time to hand over the reigns as the head of Post.

“This has been a difficult and emotional decision for me and my family, but I have come to the conclusion that the timing is right.”

Mr Fahour said: “I have been in this job for seven and a half years; it’s time.

“CEOs have to know when to go.

“My job is done – I’ve achieved everything I needed to achieve.”

Mr Fahour said that he had taken the recent controversy about his salary into “consideration” but that he began planning to step down at the end of last year.

It was “completely not true” to say he had resigned because of the salary issue, he said.

He said he had only planned to serve as chief executive for around five years when he began the job and that he was looking forward to a break after the “unrelenting” demands of the role.

He took a shot at One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, who had criticised his salary, by saying that running Post isa “little bit more complicated than running a fish and chip shop”.

Mr Fahour said there were doomsday predictions about the future of Post but the company has successfully transformed itself from a letter and stamps business into a parcels and e-commerce giant.

Post chief executive John Stanhope said in a statement: “By any measure, Ahmed has done an astounding job in transforming the business.

“When he started, he was set the challenge to ‘write the next chapter in the history of Post’ – and he certainly rose to that challenge.”

In the six months to December 31, Post reported a net profit of $131 million, up from $16 million last year. Strong parcel growth and increased revenue from higher stamp prices helped offset an 11 per cent fall in letter volumes.

“This is one of the strongest first half results in recent history and it demonstrates that we are on the right path to ensuring the future of Post for our people, the community and our important stakeholders,” Mr Fahour said in a statement.

When Mr Fahour’scontroversial salary was revealed earlier this month, Mr Turnbull said he had spoken to Mr Stanhope to say it was “too high”.

Liberal Senator James Paterson, who chairs the committee that forced Post to reveal Mr Fahour’s salary, said: “Ahmed Fahour’s resignation gives Post the opportunity to reset its executive remuneration policies and adopt a new approach to transparency.

“They should do so bearing in mind that Post is owned by taxpayers, who expect it to be well run and don’t mind the executive team being generously remunerated, but not beyond community expectations.

“They are also entitled to the absolute best standards of transparency, not the bare minimum required by law.”

The Age

A Chiko Roll high-rise tower is on the drawing board in Nelson Bay

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

The 21-storey Chiko Roll at Nelson Bay High Rise: An iconic Chiko Roll Tower is being planned for Nelson Bay.

Artwork of the Nelson Bay skyline, if a 21-storey development went ahead.

Eden Hasson,10, surfing at Samurai Beach, narrowly missing a Chiko Roll.

Eden Hasson,10, surfing at Samurai Beach, narrowly missing a great white shark.

TweetFacebookMuriel’s Wedding.

The movie features a character called Bill (he’s a bit of a mover and shaker) who brings in resorts and high rises.

“You can’t stop progress,” Bill famously says.

Those who like to keep an eye on the news may recall a Sam Norris story in the Herald a couple of weeks ago.

It was about Port Stephens Council considering proposals for a high-rise tower on a site it owns on Donald Street in Nelson Bay.

“I’m not set on the 21 storeys, but it’s got togo up to be viable,” mayor MacKenzie was quoted as saying.

“We’ve got to go up more than eight or 10 storeys – it will be the making of the CBD. A handful of people have held us back too long.”

As for the high-rise Chiko Roll plan, we passed it on to the council for assessment.

The mayor said he quite liked Chiko Rolls.

“It would be a great tourist attraction for the town,” the mayor said. (DISCLAIMER: The mayor didn’t really say this last bit).

Timor Peter?The affable reverend Tim Costello wasin town on Thursday to givea speech on the evils of poker machines. Those one-armed bandits reportedly collect about$6 billiona yearfrom the Hunter.

One-armed bandits have been ransacking billions from the Hunter for years.

There’s already about 9000 pokies in the region.Tim spoke against a contentious plan to add more –this time at a pub in a newtown centreat Huntlee.

A lighter moment came when our favourite man about town, Tony Brown, went to ask a question.

Tony: “Peter…”

Tim: “It’s Tim…”

Tony: “Sorry…”

Tim: “I answer to anything.”

Tim, who Heraldjourno Penny Green said wasa lovely bloke, entertained the small local media contingent with many a tale, including that his wife manages his Twitter account.

He was leaping around the lounge room onenight, watching the ABC’s Q&A andyelling about something. A few minutes later, his precise words flashedon the screen.

“I didn’t think she’d do that,” Tim said,of his tweet-happy missus.

Dad JokesTopics likes dad jokes. So we’re pleased to reportthat comedian Mark Swivel will perform his show “Dad. Joke”at the Royal Exchange theatre in Newcastle at 7pm tonight. Mark’sshow is a “rousing, ridiculous, how-not-to guide on parenting andpolitics”. He discusses preparing a speech for his son’s 21st birthday,slippery dips, Molly Meldrum, Gough Whitlam,choc-tops,unsafe sex in the sand dunes andcaper-capitalism in a post-truth, Trumped-up world.

Mark Swivel likes a good dad joke. He performs in Newcastle tonight.

Penalty rate cut: Hunter unions slam decision as ‘going backwards’ but business lobby sees opportunities

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

GOING RATE: Peppi Burrows, left, worries about a penalty rate cut but James Conway sees the opportunities for business. Picture: Jonathon Carroll HUNTER unions haveslammed a shock Fair Work Commission ruling to slash Sunday penalty rates as “going backwards”, and urgedworkers who fear they will be taken advantage of by their employer to speak out.

But as the union movement was decrying Thursday’s decision to scale back Sunday rates as “the biggest rate cut since the Great Depression”, the Hunter’s business community was more optimistic, describing the landmark ruling as an opportunityfor small business to employ more people and kick-start fledgling economies.

Much of Thursday’s ruling will be felt in June, when full-time and part-time workers in the retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy industries will take home less pay for working on Sundays than they do now.

Full-time and part-time workers in retail will have their Sunday penalty rates dropped from 200 per cent to 150 per cent of their standard hourly rate, while casuals will go from 200 per cent to 175 per cent. Hospitality employees will face a reduction in Sunday pay from 175 per cent to 150 per cent, while casual hospitality workers’ pay will remain unchanged. Fast-food employees’ Sunday rates will go from 150 per cent to 125 per cent for full-time and part-time staff, and casuals will go from 200 per cent to 175 per cent.

Hunter Workers secretaryDaniel Wallace feared the changes would lead to reduced quality of service. He pointed out that theruling exempted the more experienced level two and three workers from the rate cut.

“It’s always cheaper to hire someone with no skills …and, as we have seen elsewhere, the level of service comes down,” Mr Wallace said. “With this, we’re going backwards.”

Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Bob Hawes said he respected “all manner of views” on penalty rates, but refuted “diabolical predictions”.

Mr Hawes instead forecast that many small businesses would use the savings to hire more staff.

“Whether it’spenalty rates, an electricity bill or any other input – it all makes a difference, and that leads to more employment opportunities, which is good, particularlyfor regional areas where youth unemployment is an issue,” he said.

The decision spared cafes and restaurants, which are on a different award to hospitality, but many of the young workers on Darby Street in Cooks Hill on Thursday still feared they were sitting ducks.

Peppi Burrows, a barista at Haywire on Darby coffee shop, said workers deserved compensation for working Sundays.

“That was the whole idea of penalty rates in the first place,” he said.

“I’m thinking of the people who are going to be really affected by this; the people who relied on it just to get by.”

His boss, James Conway, saw the opportunities.

“It might mean more staff on Sundays than usual,” he said.