Archive for February, 2019

Broadmeadow upgrade wins community group backing


Hunter Concerned Citizens spokesman David Blyth.HUNTER Concerned Citizens spokesman David Blyth has backed the state government’s upgrades at Broadmeadow Station, describing them as ‘‘exciting’’.
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Mr Blyth, who has lived in Broadmeadow for 13 years, said that while the upgrades were ‘‘overdue’’ it was ‘‘nice to see it happening now’’.

‘‘I’ve always thought it was a shabby little do, it’s awful presentation coming into Newcastle, it probably should have been done 50 years ago,’’ he said.

Mr Blyth, a vocal opponent of the heavy rail line truncation, said he was still pleased the Broadmeadow upgrade was happening.

Meanwhile, debate swirled about how many people had attended the Hunter Concerned Citizens’ public meeting at City Hall on Wednesday.

NBN Newcastle put the figure at ‘‘about 200’’ while the ABC went from ‘‘more than 400’’ on Twitter to ‘‘hundreds’’ in its online copy. The Newcastle Herald initially put the figure at about 150 in the main room but didn’t account for those in an overflow room set up with a video link.

A later count of faces in Herald photographs of the main room almost reached 170 but not everyone in attendance was visible.

Members of the Hunter Concerned Citizens group put the overall number across both rooms somewhere between 350 and 400.

A council spokeswoman confirmed that the main room used for the meeting had been set up with 190 chairs. Another overflow room was set up with 60 chairs, putting the seated figure at 250 if every chair was occupied.

There were also people standing in each room.

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Fears for koalas as subdivision gets OK


NOT SUITABLE: Simone Aurino says koalas will be at ‘‘catastrophic’’ risk from the development. Picture: Marina Neil
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THE Joint Regional Planning Panel has approved a 106-lot residential subdivision in Port Stephens, despite concerns from residents that development would put the area’s koala population at risk.

The four-person panel, chaired by town planner Garry Fielding, voted unanimously on Thursday night to allow UrbanGrowth to push ahead with the initial subdivision plan after it was previously backed by Port Stephens Council staff.

Mr Fielding said the zoning of the land, which has allowed residential developments since 1991, held ‘‘considerable determinative weight’’ and, despite being ‘‘irked’’ by the idea of the bushland being ‘‘effectively clear felled’’, he felt he had no option but to vote to approve the development.

Before the decision more than a dozen residents, backed by a crowded gallery, spoke against the proposal, raising concerns about whether the area could handle the influx of residents it would cause – pointing to traffic stress and a lack of health services in the area.

But the major concern is the koala population that locals like Hunter Koala Preservation Society member and Fishermans Bay resident Simone Aurino say will be put at ‘‘catastrophic’’ risk by the 23-hectare development.

Council staff say the area to be developed is ‘‘unlikely to support a permanent koala habitat’’, but Ms Aurino said development at the site was ‘‘just not suitable’’.

‘‘It is essential to the habitat and life of koalas in this area to maintain that habitat,’’ she said.

‘‘Shrinking habitats cause instances of road deaths, dog attacks, severe disease, misplacement of animals and effect our economy,’’ she said.

Labor’s candidate for the state seat of Port Stephens, Kate Washington, said the council’s recommendation ‘‘flies in the face’’ of the ‘‘lived experience’’ of residents.

She said Port Stephens Council had a ‘‘history of oversight’’ and questioned the ‘‘impartiality’’ of mayor Bruce MacKenzie, who sits on the panel, given his pro-development stance.

‘‘In my view this development should not be allowed to proceed,’’ she said.

Cr MacKenzie responded angrily to those comments at the end of the meeting, saying that after 45 years in local government he was ‘‘beyond criticism’’.

Because the subdivision is a Crown project, the panel had no weight to reject it outright and could only have recommended that the relevant minister not approve it.

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My Kitchen Rules 2015 episode 8 recap: Eva and Debra fail to ‘smash it with spice’


Wonton earth will Eva and Debra dish up? Photo: Seven Network Clearly an Asian theme is expected of this WA pair. Photo: Seven Network
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Will there be smiles from Pete and Manu at the end? Photo: Seven Network

View the latest MKR news and recaps

With two giggling Gerties from Queensland having kicked off the competition with a none-too-shoddy score of 63, last night was a chance for another two giggling Gerties, this time from Western Australia, to demonstrate that giggling, hugging and high-fiving in the kitchen are essential ingredients to a winning three-course meal.

Knocking Queenslanders Sheri and Emilie off the top rung wasn’t going to be as easy as workmates Eva and Debra first imagined. Having set up a Singaporean spice market-themed “instant restaurant” in their Perth home, promising to cook the best Asian food the series has seen, their enthusiasm and proud heritage just wasn’t enough to impress the judges or their sneering dinner party guests.

The trouble with Eva and Debra, apart from their apparent lack of technique when it comes to creme brulee, and overindulgence in ginger, when it comes to wonton broth, is that they are just too darn nice for this vicious food fight. Their cheer, “We’re gonna smash it with spice”, is somewhat undermined by their admission early on that, “We really want to be friends with [the other contestants], but it’s a competition!”

There’s zero tension between them. On the way to the Asian grocery, they make a pathetic attempt to create some drama by running out of petrol and – gasp! – having to fill up on the way! Then there are heavy shopping bags to contend with, which of course send them into more fits of giggles. Finally they make it to the kitchen where they can start fretting over their menu: pork and spinach wontons in ginger broth for entree, nasi lemak with fried chicken for main, and pandan creme brulee for dessert.

Everything seems to be going well, until Debra recalls how her late grandmother taught her to make wontons, and Eva is concerned she might ruin her eye make-up before the guests arrive. They pick themselves up, as they are particularly good at doing, and carry on, squealing with delight when the doorbell rings.

Everyone agrees that the decorations are cute, and Emilie, with a completely straight face, whispers to Sheri: “Do you think there are going to be mean people here tonight?”

All the guests are excited about the exotic menu, although only 18-year-old foodie prodigy Josh and half-Japanese Carol claim to have the vaguest idea about Asian dishes. Victorian oyster farmers Matt and Rob go out on a limb and predict that they’re “gonna get some spice and heat tonight”.

To fill in time before the entree arrives, resident comedian Celine does her imitation of Manu, and then her grandfather, at which point a disturbed-looking Sheri says, “We love old people”. Everyone has a go at mimicking Matt’s “Eddie Murphy” laugh, and Matt keeps reminding everyone he used to be a minor tennis star.


When the entrees arrive, there is much murmured approval, until spoons connect with mouths. It turns out there’s way too much ginger in the wontons and the broth. Debra cries again for her grandmother.

While waiting for the main, everyone is forced to admit they have no idea what nasi lemak is, so Manu explains it’s a coconut rice dish with things around the edge. Emilie, who is MKR’s first partially deaf contestant, has trouble following the conversation and cracks a self-deprecating joke (“I’ve been deaf, dumb and blonde my whole life!”), which makes everyone fall into an uncomfortable silence. Thankfully the mysterious mains arrive and the attention is diverted to a weird-looking plate apparently overloaded with anchovies which almost everyone loathes. Celine goes so far as to mime throwing up on the table: “What the hell? There’s an egg, there’s cucumber. Is that anchovies? I’m gonna vomit.”

Manu is disappointed by the size of his chicken and both he and Pete are generally underwhelmed by the promising dish, declaring the Asian greens “frivolous”. Luckily, the coconut rice is perfect. Celine comments that, “the egg was good”.

With only the desserts left to save their so-far disastrous dinner, Eva and Debra are pinning everything on their unjiggly pandan creme brulee, which, sadly for them and for Emilie, who claims to have eaten 8000 creme brulees in her life, is a dud, with Manu cruelly spooning the sloppy green mess into the ramekin from a great height.

With a final score of 46, the girls put their chins firmly up and pledge to do better if they get another shot at it. Everyone else smirks.

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

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Tottenham Hotspur near deal to play Australian friendly in Sydney


One to watch: Fans will be excited to see striker Harry Kane. Photo: Getty Images One to watch: Fans will be excited to see striker Harry Kane. Photo: Getty Images
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One to watch: Fans will be excited to see striker Harry Kane. Photo: Getty Images

One to watch: Fans will be excited to see striker Harry Kane. Photo: Getty Images

English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur are set to become the next high-profile European team to tour Australia this year, but they must beat bids from Bayern Munich and Chelsea to play a lucrative friendly in Sydney.

Fairfax Media understands A-League clubs have been told Tottenham are on the cusp of bringing their full squad to Australia.

Under the proposed agreement, Spurs is set to travel immediately after their league finishes on May 24 for a one-off exhibition match against a yet-to-be-named opponent.

The friendly would allow Australian fans to watch the likes of Erik Lamela, Hugo Lloris and the rising star of English football Harry Kane, who has already scored 23 goals in all competitions this season and pledged his future to the north London club.

Tottenham have not won the league since 1961 but remain one of the most popular clubs among Australian supporters, and they will likely attract significant interest with a potential tour with a full-strength squad.

Sydney’s ANZ Stadium will host the event, which will likely be contested by Spurs and one of the city’s two A-League clubs, Western Sydney Wanderers or Sydney FC.

The timing of the tournament – after the A-League season and before pre-season begins – makes it near impossible for an A-League all-stars team to be assembled, forcing the match to be contested by two club sides.

With key stakeholders in advanced negotiations to sign a guest match deal with Tottenham, it will be the first time the club has visited Australia in 30 years.

Spurs took part in the 1985 world series tournament involving the Socceroos, Vasco Da Gama and Udinese, while their first trip to Australia was in 1976 when they played the national team and representative sides from NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

Largely due to funding, only one friendly match involving a European giant will be held in Sydney, with Spurs the most likely. However, there is also interest from German champions Bayern Munich and EPL leaders Chelsea in coming to Australia for a friendly match at the 83,000-capacity stadium.

Sources suggest Bayern Munich were close to finalising a deal to play during their pre-season before negotiations stalled.

Despite interest from other venues and cities in securing a deal with Tottenham, organisers are eager to ensure Australia’s largest city does not miss out on a visit from one of the big European clubs, in what is already a packed winter of exhibition matches.

Melbourne will host perhaps the largest friendly football tournament in Australia when Real Madrid, Manchester City and Roma take part in the International Champions Cup at the MCG in July.

English giants Liverpool play Brisbane Roar in the Queensland capital plus a match against Adelaide United at Adelaide Oval in a pre-season tour in July.

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Under pressure: water woes may lead to injuries, deaths, fire brigade warns


Low water pressure in parts of Sydney is hindering fire crews trying to fight blazes,increasing the chance of deaths, injuries or property damage, fire authorities warn.
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In some cases, fire crews have been forced to pump water long distances and Sydney residents and businesses have installed their own emergency water supplies at great cost.

But Sydney Water said the upgrades that Fire and Rescue NSW says are needed to ensure public safety would cost more than $1 billion and drive up water bills.

Sydney Water reduced water pressure in parts of its network two years ago to help prevent leaks and breaks.

But Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said the new water pressure and flows “do not appropriately support” firefighting activities, potentially threatening the protection of life and property.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal is reviewing Sydney Water’s operating licence to 2020.

In a letter to IPART, Mr Mullins said fire crews are “almost entirely dependent” on the Sydney Water network, and recent changes had left areas where “insufficient pressures and flows are provided” by fire hydrants.

“The implications for the community include possible delays in fire brigade intervention resulting in increased property loss and perhaps injuries and deaths,” Mr Mullins wrote.

He said the new operating licence should include “an ongoing community safety obligation” to provide minimum pressure and flows, adding water agencies such as Canberra’s ACTEW provide flows recommended by the fire brigade.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Whybro told Fairfax Media that in some cases, crews have been forced to pump water from distant mains or use dams, on-site water tanks and rivers.

He cited examples in the eastern suburbs and northern beaches where residents, developers and businesses have installed expensive on-site water tanks and pumps to provide a firefighting water supply.

“[If] Sydney Water’s operating licence does not consider the provision of adequate water for firefighting … in the future, corporatised or privatised agencies may seek to avoid such responsibilities,” he said.

A Sydney Water spokesman said the water pressure program affects about 22 per cent of the network and “only reduced pressure in areas where it was exceptionally high”.

He said an initial assessment showed around 90 per cent of Sydney Water’s network met FRNSW’s requirements, and water was moved around the network during major incidents to ensure adequate supply.

The spokesman said Sydney Water was not solely responsible for fire safety, which also involves “planning controls, building codes, water supply networks, on-site fire systems and response capabilities”.

Meeting FRNSW’s request would cost more than $1 billion, “increasing customer bills while focusing on just one aspect of fire safety,” he said.

IPART says the two organisations should enter a deal that includes arrangements for Sydney Water to consult with fire authorities. A spokeswoman said the issues raised are “potentially significant, but further investigation is required”.

The draft licence has been released for comment before final recommendations are made to the NSW government.

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