Archive for: ‘December 2018’

Dr Jeremy Coleman to face a six month trial on 130 charges

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

ACCUSED: Dr Jeremy Coleman leaving Newcastle courthouse after an earlier appearance. He has been charged with 130 indecent and sexual assault offences against more than 80 alleged victims. Picture: Sam Rigney
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LEGAL representatives for accused serial sex offender andNewcastle immunologist Dr Jeremy Coleman have abandoned their application to have his estimated six-month trial moved to Sydney.

BarristerPauline David had previously told Judge Roy Ellis that, due to the number of patients Dr Coleman had seen during his career, combined with similar patient numbers for each of the medical experts slated to give evidence in the trial,itwould be “impossible” tofind a jury that is not “personally associated” with the case.

“[Dr Coleman]has seen some 40,000 patientsover a period of 30 years,” Ms David said. “But so have all the doctors that have referred the more than 81 complainants in this matter.

“So there is a huge number of people who are directly involved with the actual case.”

But on Thursday, Ms David withdrew the change of venue application, citing the delays in the district court in Sydney and Dr Coleman’s desire to have the matter finalised.

The development means Dr Coleman –who has been charged with 130 indecent and sexual assault offences against more than 80 alleged victims, including many who were patients at his Watt Street practice– will face an estimatedsix-month trial in Newcastle starting in May this year.“We are unable unfortunately to obtain a date in Sydney,” Ms David said. “Effectively, we couldn’t have a trial start until January, 2018.

“On that basis, we are not pressing for our application for change of venue.

“It is purely on the basis that my client clearly wishes to have this matter resolved sooner rather than later.

“It’s having a significant impact professionally.”

Judge Ellis repeated his wish that the parties sort out whether Dr Coleman’s matter will be heard in front of a jury, pointing out the obvious logistically problems associated with a six-month trial featuring more than 80 alleged victims.

While most potential jury panels feature 100 people, Dr Coleman’s would need 500 or more and could take more than a day to finalise, Judge Ellis said.

“I don’t think the court room is going to be big enough,” Judge Ellis said.

“I don’t know if we’re going to end up having to set up something down in the jury muster room, which is a significantly bigger location.

“I was also going to suggest that it would be sensibleif the Crown prepares a DVD that can be played that will have the image of each of the complainants, with their name, which can be shown to the potential jury panel.”

The issue in the trial is whetheror not there was a medical purpose for the examinations, or whether they occurred at all.

Hunter residents feed $423 million into poker machines per year and gambling reform is needed

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

Blow up the pokies: Rev Tim Costello speaking against a proposed poker machine pub in the suburb of Huntlee. Picture: Simone De PeakHUNTER residents fed $423 million into poker machines in the 12 months to August, 2016, and the State government must consider urgent reform before communities are ripped apart.
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The stark message came from Reverend Tim Costello, in Newcastle on Thursday with the Alliance for Gambling Reform to voice its opposition to a controversial DA for a pub with pokies at the Huntlee development.

Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing figures for the 12 months toAugust, 2016, show that the turnover from pokies was $230,386,377 inCessnock;$21,108,143in Dungog and Gloucester;$1,066,309,150in Gosford; $828,547,040 in Lake Macquarie;$258,977,526in Maitland;$195,964,301in Muswellbrook and Singleton; $1,258,381,429 in Newcastle; and$45,067,995 in the Upper Hunter.

Mr Costello said the nationhad 20 per cent of the world’s pokies and NSW had 10 per cent, and Newcastle was “in some ways the belly of the beast”, withone poker machine for every 47 adults.

“That should shock you,” he said, “because what we now know is that [pokie] machines are built for addiction’.

“When [gamblers] anticipate playing the dopamine that is released hits the pleasure centre of the brain with the same impact as ice or cocaine.”

The Alliance supports Productivity Commission recommendations including slowing down the spin-rate of machines and $1 bets.

Mr Costello slammed a memorandum of understanding between clubs and the NSW government which he said did not require developers who were lodging an application for a club to state how many pokie machines would be installed, nor cite any potential damage to communities.

“That is wrong and it’s immoral [and] the extraordinary thing of this deal, when you say ‘how can the government do this’, ispolitics has been run since the Rum Rebellion by gambling and alcohol …the community has no say,” he said.

Danny Murphy, managing director of Huntlee developer LWP Property, said government processes dealt with “social behaviour issues around [pub] applications”.

Community advocate Tony Browncalled for the introduction ofmodest harm mitigation measures for the use of pokies, which he likened to vampires:“they prey on the most vulnerable in the community, sap the lives and souls from people”.

ClubsNSW state councillor Scott Williams said the problem gambling prevalence rate was 0.5per cent in the Hunter compared to 1per cent in NSW.

The “industry supported evidence-based, cost-effective measures”towards reform but there was no evidence to support it.

Central Coast Council to record $10.3 million operating surplus this financial year

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

ADMINISTRATOR: Ian Reynolds. Picture: Supplied.CENTRAL Coast Council is on track to achieve an operating surplus of $10.3 million, excluding capital income, this financial year.
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The council also released details of its revised capital works program featuring$197.5 million in key infrastructure projects.

The council said the surplus and capital works were further examples of the benefits being achieved for ratepayers through the merging of the former Wyong and Gosford councils.

Council administrator Ian Reynolds said the merger program was transforming the organisation.

“Our priority is to build a solid foundation in preparation for the newly elected council in September, 2017, and I believe we are in great shape to achieve that,” Mr Reynolds said.

“We have established new legislative and governance requirements so we can operate as a single council, implemented a new brand, and aligned customer service processes so that residents can do business with us at whichever office they want to. As a unified council we have hugely increased buying power which is already paying off – we have saved $750,000 a year by consolidating supplier contracts, $700,000 in insurance costs, and by removing merchant fees at our Wyong office [we made] an estimated saving of $240,000 for ratepayers.

“These savings are just the tip of the iceberg – we have done our homework and modelled the expected benefits and costs of the merger and forecast a net benefit of around $70 million over a 10-year period.”

Mr Reynolds said the savings would be put “straight into better services and infrastructure” for the community.

The state government has given the council the $20 million promised for all councils that agreed to merge.

So far, $10 million has been allocated from the Stronger Communities Fund (SCF) for a range of local projects and infrastructure.A further $10 million has been provided under the New Council Implementation Fund (NCIF) to help fund the costs associated with merging the two councils.

OpinionWhere is Destination NSW driving us?

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

The NSW parliament is in the process of handing over the administration of Newcastle East to Destination NSW, the lead government tourist agency in NSW.
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This act will give them the power to make any changes to Newcastle East deemed necessary to build a motor racing circuit for Supercars . The only boxes left to tick are ‘consultation with residents’ and ‘heritage concerns’.

DESTINATION UNKNOWN: The construction and cost needed to turn Newcastle East into a racing circuit will be huge, the author says.

What is so astonishing about this hand over of power, is that very few people yet realise how extensive the construction work will be, or just how much public parkland we stand to lose.

Unlike any other development, there has been absolutely no public display of the detailed construction work needed, and no opportunity for the citizens of Newcastle to comment on these plans before approval is given.

How many people realise that in the Foreshore Park a massive concrete slab will replace parkland, going back at least to the frog pond and eliminating the children’s playground?

How many realise a bitumen road is to built through Nobby’s Reserve and Camp Shortland, which will be impossible to ‘re-grass’ every year?

How many know that the only way for Supercars to avoid noise regulations is to widen Parnell Place and Nobbys Road by cutting into the park below Fort Scratchley and eliminating that playground. Will the coal monument in Parnell Place also have to be shifted?

We know now that Newcastle East will be a construction zone from April until the end of December. How many events will have to be moved or cancelled, how many tourists turned away, by the lack of parking and access problems. Never mind the big hotels and motels and short-term accommodation. No doubt they will score well – at least for the three-day event.

But what about the small businesses on the circuit, with patrons and clients unable to park or get ready access through construction going on at both ends of Hunter Street? Certainly many of the 114 small businesses on the circuit will be unable to function at all during the event, and will lose customers and clients during the construction phase.

So many questions remain unanswered, including access to popular beaches and tourist destinations, parking problems, traffic disruption, noise monitoring, small business concerns and public health and safety monitoring.

If this was any other development, all these boxes would have had to be ticked before the event was even approved. Yet for this development we simply have to trust that Destination NSW will look after our interests, even though they have avoided best practise themselves to stage this event.

The construction needed to turn Newcastle East into a racing circuit will be huge, and the cost astronomical.

The circuit will not even be spectator friendly, with no clear vision of cars coming into and out of corners and cars having difficulty passing in these narrow streets.

It will be picturesque. Even behind concrete barricades Newcastle East is stunning. But what will Newcastle be left with when Supercars packs up and goes?

A very depleted Foreshore Park and an inevitable cost blow out.

Let’s hope taxpayers and ratepayers don’t have to pick up this bill.

Dr Christine Everingham is a sociologist and long term resident of Newcastle East

China v Sr Lankaphotos

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

v Sr Lanka | photos Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images
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Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the International Twenty20 match between and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on February 22, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

TweetFacebook have won the dead rubber T20 against Sri Lanka by 41 runs. Sri Lanka won the series which featured Gunaratne’s two half centuries in previous games.

Interclub foes fire up

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

FISH OF THE WEEK: David Varley wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 46cm bream hooked in Lake Macquarie recently.
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The 54th edition of the NSW Game Fishing Association Interclub tournament gets underway at Port Stephens today.

Long hailed the biggest game fishing tournament in the southern hemisphere, the event draws teams from game fishing clubs around NSW to contest the state titles in a range of categories.

Numbers are up, as they have been across all game fishing tournaments this year, withupwards of 140 boats and over 500 anglers hitting the bay.

Along with the action on the water, Interclub isa big money spinner for the local economy with the attendant spend of all those visitors boosting local business coffers.

“We’re ecstatic about hosting Interclub out of Port Stephens,” Newcastle and Port Stephens Game Fishing Club president Paul Simpson said.

“It has a long and proud tradition in the game-fishing community, and it brings significant economic value to the area.”

For the first time in recent history, the event will be run over one extended weekend, rather than two, with three consecutive days of fishing, Friday to Sunday, plus the Lyndy Grieves Memorial Ladies Day tournament to be held on the Monday.

“We’re hoping it takes the fishing to the next level,” NSWGFA president Gary Chenoworth said of the change.

“People don’t have to take so much time off work this way and by having three days back-to-back fishing, anglers will be able to orientate themselves to conditions, get a feel for the fishing and really get cranking.”

The condensed but intensified nature of the event will certainly sort out the stayers.

Last year Sydney won the glamour tag and release team category and Lake Macquarie took capture honoursbut don’t write off the locals who will be looking to restore home-town pride.

The tournament focus is 90 per centtag and release. Of the small percentage offish weighed, beneficial samples will be taken to advance research into crucial areas of marine science.

“Representatives from CSIRO, and a number of universities will be on hand to take samples for studies being conducted in micro plastics, blue green algae and shark research,” Mr Chenoworth said.

Fishing kicks off each day at 7am and concludes at 7.15pm. The weigh station will be open from 4.30pm and the public are encouraged to get down to have a look and listen.

A presentation will be held at Diggers Leagues club onMonday night following the Lyndy Grieves Memorial Ladies Day tournament.

“Conditions are looking favourable for the three days,” Mr Simpson said. “There were marlin caught during the Billfish event last weekend, so we’re hoping for a very successful 2017 Interclub.”

Lumpy’s daySpeaking of the Garmin Billfish Shootout, Lake Macquarie Game Fish Club boat Lumpygot lucky indeed, claiming the $12,500 prize for heaviest marlin over 150kg, a blue that tested the scales at 214.5kg on 37kg line.

It was probably skill more than luck, but either way you look at it, $12.5k is a handy return on investment.

Sydney team Ambition bagged another $12,500 for top spot in the tag and release division while Central Coast boat Finfish took the $5000 for champion tag and release boat under 8 metres.

Over 137 boats and 600 anglers took to the water.

“Storms made conditions a bit tough,” Gary said. “There were good numbers of blues tagged, blacks were patchy and stripes next to non-existent. The prize for heaviest shark over 350kg didn’t go off either.”

All eyes will be on the current to slow up this weekend.

Hopefully the southerly turns the water over and the drift south drops below the six knots competitors dealt with last weekend.

Estuary reignCraig Oaten took out the estuary event of the Newcastle District Anglers Associations held last weekend in Hunter Waters.

“It’s been a long time,” said Oaten who cracked it with 10 tailor over a kilo inside Lake Macquarie.

“I got them on the run-in tide using big pilchards and garfish through the night.”

Oaten ran out winner by 103 points from Shannon “Mr Consistency” Denning, who’s been runner-up in all three NDAA events run this year. Shannon’s posseof Nick Pryce, Leigh Stephenson and John Balcombe took out the team event. Melissa Oaten, wife of Craig, made it a double when she claimed the ladies crown.

“She got seven tailor, a couple of bream and some whiting. All good size,” Craig sai.

Bob Hodges, back fishing again after a hiatus, took veteran honours and Mason Thorougood was sub-junior champ.

Notable catches included Matthew Small’s 19.15kg jew, Josh Brewer’s 3.125kg flathead and Melissa’s Oaten’s 0.4168g whiting.

The next NDAA event will be the beach comp in late March. Meanwhile, the NSW 12-man team divisional titles will be held on Lake Macquarie next weekend.

Surgery robots enter Lingard Private Hospital for minimally invasive procedures.

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

Rise of the surgical robots Robot revolution: Lingard Private Hospital surgeons, such as Dr Peter Chong, Dr Terry Doyle, Dr Nick McLeod, Dr Albert Tiu, Dr Anil Koshy, and Dr Mark Gately, have embraced robot-assisted surgery. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.
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Rise of the robots: Lingard Private Hospital has a da Vinci surgery robot. Picture shows theatre NUM Ian Jones setting up the robot in the operating theatre. Picture: MAX MASON-HUBERS.

Rise of the robots: Lingard Private Hospital has installed a da Vinci surgery robot, worth almost $4 million. Picture: MAX MASON-HUBERS.

Rise of the robots: Lingard Private Hospital has a da Vinci surgery robot. Surgeons operate the robot from a console. Picture: MAX MASON-HUBERS.

Rise of the robots: Lingard Private Hospital has a da Vinci surgery robot. Picture shows theatre NUM Ian Jones setting up the robot in the operating theatre. Picture: MAX MASON-HUBERS.

Rise of the robots: Lingard Private Hospital has a da Vinci surgery robot. Surgeons operate the precise robotic arms from a console. Picture: MAX MASON-HUBERS.

TweetFacebookThe da Vinci robot in action“This system is intuitive, it’s like the surgeon has four little hands in the patient, and it provides them with more autonomy,” he said.

A camera,held via a robotic arm, offereda“dead still”, high definition 3D image for the surgeon. There were no tremors, or relying on an assistant’s movements, and the robotic instrumentshadmechanical wrists that could bend and rotate to mimic the movements of the human wrist – albeitwith a better range of motion–toallow the surgeon to make small, precise movements.

He said while laparoscopic–or keyhole–surgeries werevery taxing on surgeons, this system allowed them toconcentrate for long periods in a comfortable position.

“All these things potentially assist the surgeon in performing a better procedure,” Mr Dyason said.

“But the skill and the training of the surgeonis still the most important thing.”

Mr Dyason said robot-assisted surgery shouldmean less pain, a shorter recovery, and less time in hospital for patients due to the accuracy and minimally invasive nature of the procedures.

Ms Gallagher said the uptake from surgeons using the da Vinci system at Lingardhadbeen strong, particularly forurology, colorectal,bariatric and general surgeries.

They had interestfrom the ear, nose and throatand gynaecology fields too.

The da Vinci XI system“It’sa big investment to be made in the one facility, butHealthe Care hasinvested quite a lot of money into expanding and developing all of their facilities,” Ms Gallagher said.

Healthe Care hadinvested more than $50 million into Lingard to meet the community’s changing needs, she said.The sixth stage of the hospital’s redevelopment is due to begin.

Urologist Dr Paul Ainsworth said having the latest technology available in Newcastle would save patients, their families and their carers from having to travel to Sydney if they wanted robotic surgery.

Marine Rescue heroes redefine brave

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

SIMON WALKER: That’s Life Archives
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Personal accounts of the rescue and official presentation pics

Marine Rescue members routinely put their lives on the line to assist people in need, often in life-threatening conditions.

A fact I was reminded of during a chat with Port Stephens deputy unit commander Neil Hansford this week as he put out a call for more volunteers.

Last month, 21 RMPS members were recognised for a series of remarkable rescues conducted in abominable weatherduring the January 2016 east coast low.

The only Marine Rescue NSW Medal of Valour ever awarded –the highest recognition of bravery the organisation can bestow – went to Laurie Nolan for saving two crewmates that dire night.

A brief recount of what went down gives an insight into the kind of ticker displayed.

Five Mayday calls were broadcast on January 6 and 7 last year.

A number of yachts travelling through the area were caught in the maelstrom, with the wild conditions claiming the life of sailor Mal Lennon, washed overboard from Amante off Broughton Island as the vessel returned south from the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race.

Another yacht, the M3, was disabled assisting in the search for Lennon and was blown north up the coastline with no power or sails in 50 knot winds and 5-6 metre seas on a certain path to destruction at the aptly named Treachery beach near Seal Rocks.

Despite having been on the water for 12 hours already that day, the crew of the PS40 volunteered to go out again, at night, in cyclonic seas and attempt a rescue. This crew was replaced by a fresh crew due to fatigue but the danger remained palpable.

It took them five hours battling through a mire “darker than the inside of a cow” as Neil recalled, just to catch up with the M3 just the break at Treachery. Never a good place to be in a cyclone.

Mr Nolan was one of seven crew members on the PS40 when it endured a triple knockdown after midnight during that “extended operation”.

A “knockdown’’ refersto what happens when a 32-tonne bull terrier of a vessel is hit sidewards byupwards of four metres of whitewater and tips over.

The crew on the stricken M3 reported seeingthe propellors of the PS40 out of the water. Truly sphincter-tightening conditions, Mr Hansford quipped.

That happened three times in a row, rag-dolling the crew, who were tethered to the boat by safety lines and sheer hope.

One man suffered a dislocated shoulder, another a serious head gash and all were trapped by safety lines and debri as the tempest raged.

The M3 was gone (washed up on Treachery beach, as the crew scrambled ashore in a life raft), the PS40’s engines were gone and the crewwere stuck in limbo contemplating oblivion. Things were grim.

Nolan’s instinctive reactions to save two of his matesin the face of extreme peril earned him the Valour award. But it was a team effort that saved the PS40.

As the boat righted, the battered crew got the engines restarted, cleared rope away from the propsand then began the arduous five-hour journey back to Port Stephens battling cyclonic waves, headwinds, injuries and severe sea sickness.

Survival was not a given that night and the fact thatgrown men were in tears listening to recordings of the MRPS radio contacts at a later address to the Cruising Yacht Club of underlines how traumatic the experience was.

For the RMPS is was just another day at the office, and not without precedent. Of the seven bravery award incidents ever bestowed by Marine Rescue NSW, four have been to Port Stephens members.

Marine Rescue is a volunteer non-government Emergency Service that is a not-for-profit charity.

The Radio Room is a fully accredited Search & Rescue Co-ordination Centre that never closes.

Since 2005 MRPS has saved 4200 lives, done 1956 rescue and assists, brought into port $222million worth of boats, racked up 20,000 volunteer crew hours, 253,000 volunteer radio hours, taken 261,000 radio calls and 233,000 phone calls.

As if that’s not enough on the plate, Marine Rescue Port Stephens also serves as the Communications Centre for the Rural Fire Services outside of normal office hours covering the Shires of Port Stephens, Dungog, Cessnock and Maitland, maintains the grounds of Nelson Bay headland and operates the gift shop daily.

The classic conundrum is that despite the Herculean efforts, only 20 per cent of operations isgovernment funded, the rest coming from fundraising and donations.

And that’s why Mr Hansford is putting out a call for more volunteers.

“Volunteers are critical and you don’t have to necessarily be on the boats; you can do radio training, help run our gift shop or maintain the areas. We have 200 members, 35 per cent female, and it takes that many, and then some, to get the work done. Rest assured, thereis a job for everyone.”

For more information ring 0437 584 383.

Port Stephens Council wants ‘design excellence’ for Nelson Bay

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

Narrow buildings that have been the mainstay of Nelson Bay development in recent years could become a trend of the past.
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Port Stephens Council strategic planners have outlined their preference for wider buildings with greater setbacks between them to enhance these multi-storey projects.

“We want to facilitate better designs,” strategic planning coordinator Jeffrey Bretag said.

“Because the lots are so narrow with a lot of these developments you’re losing half the frontage to a driveway.”

TEXTURE: The Ascent apartments planned for Donald Street, Nelson Bay. Developer Rod Salmon says more height means more budget for design excellence.

It’s measures like this that contribute to design excellence, the council said, along with wider balconies to give the buildings “more texture”.

Combined with a coherent plan for how streets in the CBD should be paved, signposted and landscaped, Mr Bretag said there was great potential to enhance the look and feel of Nelson Bay.

These are under discussion as part of theProgress of the Nelson Bay Town Centre andForeshore Strategy.

“When development occurs there’s capacity for the developer to contribute to the streetscape directly outside their building,” Mr Bretag said.

“There’s potential for residents and tourists to see an immediate benefit.”

For wider developments to occur the developers would need to consolidate several lots.

Sydney hotelier Rod Salmon, who’s behind the eight-storey Ascent apartments (pictured), said he was already trying to consolidate more sites.

First he’s after final planning approval for Ascent.

“As it is the DA [development application] for Church Street is two five storey apartments on top of each other,” he said.

“There’s nowhere for pools or people, which is consistent with what Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay have seen.

“If you keep it at five storeys –what we call low rise –you’re going to end up with Blacktown by the sea.”

Mr Salmon said the only way is up.

“Going up gives you the budget to improve the amenity and livability, which iswhat we call design excellence.”

The discussion paper is on exhibition untilMarch 13.

FUTURE PLANNING: Port Stephens Council is seek feedback on its Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy.

Penalty rates for Sunday, holiday work to be slashed after landmark decision by Fair Work Commission

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

The penalty rates decision will anger ‘s union movement, which has invested heavily in a massive campaign to safeguard weekend penalty rates across the country. Photo: Jessica ShapiroHundreds of thousands of ns who work on Sundays will have their take-home pay slashed after a landmark ruling by the national workplace umpire.
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The Fair Work Commission on Thursday morning announced existing levels of Sunday penalty rates paid in retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy industries will be reduced from the existing levels, which, in some cases, are as much as “double time”.

Changes to penalty rates have long been protested and debated. This is where it currently sits, and what might change.

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.

The pay cuts take effect from July.

The controversial decision hasangered ‘s union movement, which has invested heavily in a massive campaign to safeguard weekend penalty rates across the country.

‘Bad day for working ns'”This is a bad day for working ns,”saidn Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney.Struggling workers “won’t be able to survive on a 25 or 30 per cent pay cut”,

“We are on the way to seeing a whole class of working poor in this country,” she said. “We are talking about people who do not earn a fortune. The retail industry made a very healthy operating profit last year. They can afford to pay people decently.”

Ms Kearney said unions would “not accept any pay cut”.

Emmanuelle-Rose Everett works on a casual basis for Gregory’s Bread bakery at the fish markets and would prefer to have a full time position rather than the penalty rates that a casual position attracts. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Union leaders have argued that Sunday loadings of up to 200 per cent were crucial compensation for low-paid employees who sacrifice weekends and work unsociable hours.

Employer groups have been pushing for years for a reduction to penalty rates on Sundays, which they say are too high, no longer reflect community standards and are forcing businesses to close their doors on weekends and public holidays.

They claim a higher wage for Sunday staff is no longer justified in a 24/7, seven-day-a-week economy, where workers see no difference in working Sundays compared to Saturdays.

The Fair Work Commission has spent almost two years weighing evidence from more than 140 witnesses and 6000 written submissions.

‘No worse time’Pressure for a reduction to penalty rates has increased since’s Productivity Commission in 2015 recommended cutting Sunday rates in line with Saturdays.

Although Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has previously referred to Sunday penalty rates as an outdated concept, the federal government has left reform on the issue to the independent umpire, the Fair Work Commission.

Labor leader Bill Shorten has indicated he would act to protect workers’ take-home pay in the event of any reduction. Earlier this week, Mr Shorten said his party would “never support a decision that sees workers worse off”.

“With wages growth at record lows and underemployment at record highs, there could not be a worse time to cut penalty rates,” he said.

“Millions of n families rely on penalty rates to put food on the table – Labor will fight for these people and their penalty rates.”

Mr Shorten said Labor was “greatly concerned” that the ruling could set a precedent that could eventually cut weekend penalty rates for other occupations, too, such as nurses or paramedics.

With reporting by Tom McIlroy