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February 5, 2019

Comments Off on HUNTER HEALTH KICK: Week 5 hitting the halfway mark

HUNTER HEALTH KICK: Week 5 hitting the halfway mark

HOP TO IT: Skipping is a great way to get a cardio workout and firm your legs and thighs. Picture: Marina NeilSO, here we are, week five of the Hunter Health Kick with the halfway point of the 10-week challenge looming.
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It would be great to hear or see how our Health Kick participants and community members have made changes to their health and what impact that is having on their day-to-day lives.

You can share your progress on the Herald website or the HunterHealthKick2015 Facebook page.

Hearing what others have done, or are doing, to get results where their health is concerned is always inspiring to me and, I am sure, many others.

The halfway point of this year’s Health Kick is the perfect time to reflect on the short and long-term goals you set for yourself at the start. If you have already made great progress then you might reassess your long-term goals. Or if you feel things are progressing slower than you had hoped, then maybe you can adjust your short-term goals to stay motivated.

Events are one of the ways I keep myself motivated. Sometimes you can feel inspired at the start of a campaign but then a few weeks in motivation begins to wane. I would suggest that you stick with it, see the 10weeks out. If you have an off week then don’t beat yourself up about it, just look upon it as a minor hurdle in your journey to a healthier you.

I set my own health and fitness goals for this year’s campaign after welcoming a third baby into our lives in November.

After taking part in and completing, albeit not without some pain, a small triathlon recently I have started thinking about what challenges are next. I’m planning the Hill2Harbour 10km on April 19 then maybe the City2Surf in August, depending on how the body holds up with some added training between now and then.

I like to write down all of my training sessions so I can look back and see how I have progressed over time.

I also like to convince friends to do events with me so we can train together.

Training with others has numerous benefits, such as socialisation while getting fitter; building positive workplace relations (if you can convince some colleagues to train with you); and even improving your times if you are training with faster or fitter people than yourself. Some might shy away from this last one but sometimes training out of your comfort zone can be both challenging and rewarding.

If you haven’t got someone else to train with there are plenty of groups out there ranging from the pretty serious to the pretty casual. I heard a lady talking on the radio the other day about her cycling group – Eat, Ride, Laugh – a social group that meets up on the weekends for a casual bike ride.

Health and fitness can come in many forms – the main thing is to find what will keep you motivated in the long term.

It doesn’t have to be an event, it might just be a challenge you have set yourself in training. It might be to be able to run from A to B without stopping or being able to perform one push-up.

The main thing is to stay motivated, stay accountable and don’t get disheartened if these things take longer than you thought to achieve. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

The feeling when you do reach those goals will be worth it when you get there.

30 skips with rope

20-second squat hold

Work your legs, butt and thighs during leg week in the daily 2-minute challenge this week

Renee Valentine is a qualified personal fitness trainer and mother of three. Email [email protected]上海龙凤419m


February 5, 2019

Comments Off on Woman dies after reports of attack in western Sydney

Woman dies after reports of attack in western Sydney

Prabha Arun, believed to be the woman stabbed while walking home form work. Photo: Channel NineA woman was found lying in a pool of blood after being stabbed while walking home from work near Parramatta, police say.
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Police were called to a walkway in Amos Street, Westmead, about 9.30pm on Saturday, after reports of an attack, and a woman was found suffering a “serious wound”.

The woman, who the Nine Network identified as Prabha Arun, in her 40s, was treated by paramedics, before she was taken to Westmead Hospital, where she later died.

Nine Network also said local man, Arvand Amirian, found Ms Arun, an IT consultant at technology firm, MindTree, in a pool of blood.

Superintendent Wayne Cox said police believe she walked from Parramatta station, up Argyle Street, then into the walkway near Parramatta Park.

“During the course of her journey she was attacked by a person or unknown persons, and she consequently suffered a life-threatening injury,” Superintendent Cox told reporters.

“It’s a horrific attack without any stretch of the imagination and certainly my heartfelt condolences go out to the family at this point in time.

“There was a large amount of blood so she obviously suffered a significant wound.”

Police believe Ms Arun was attacked with a sharp weapon, but they do not yet know whether the attack was random or targeted.

Nine Network said Ms Arun had been on the phone to her husband, who lives in India with their 10-year-old daughter, when she was attacked. Her husband is flying to Sydney and is expected to arrive on Sunday evening.

The gumtree-lined walkway where the woman was attacked is close to Parramatta Golf Club and connects a leafy residential area to Parramatta’s CBD.

Strike Force Marcoala, made up of local officers and homicide detectives, has been set up to investigate the woman’s death, and police have urged anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


February 5, 2019

Comments Off on Tony Abbott and Mike Baird turn first sods for WestConnex

Tony Abbott and Mike Baird turn first sods for WestConnex

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Premier Mike Baird at Granville on Sunday. Photo: Edwina PicklesPrime Minister Tony Abbott says NSW motorists will soon be “singing in their cars” as he appeared alongside NSW Premier Mike Baird for the first time in the state election campaign to tout the imminent start of construction on the WestConnex motorway.
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Mr Abbott, along with Mr Baird, federal Treasurer Joe Hockey and NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay, gathered with motorway executives and local MPs at Granville on Sunday morning to promote the infrastructure projects a re-elected state coalition says it would build.

“Every day motorists will be rejoicing,” Mr Abbott said at the event.

“They will be rejoicing, they will be singing in their cars, frankly, because their cars will be moving,” he said.

At the event, Mr Abbott and Mr Baird used shovels to “turn sods” for the motorway, though construction proper is not scheduled to start on the first stage of WestConnex – a widened M4 between Parramatta and Homebush – until May.

The first stage, a $500 million project, will be built by 2017 and involves widening the existing M4 to four lanes in each direction for 7.5km.

The project is being part-funded by both state and federal governments, as well as new tolls for motorists, which is why Mr Abbott said it was important Mr Baird was re-elected.

“An infrastructure prime minister needs an infrastructure premier as his partner,” Mr Abbott said.

The Prime Minister, who kept clear of the campaign in last month’s Queensland election, said he would do whatever he could to assist Mr Baird, though Mr Baird could also assist him.

“I am always happy to benefit by association,” he said of the premier’s popularity.

Mr Hockey, meanwhile, was promoting the $2 billion the federal government will hand to NSW under a deal to encourage privatising existing assets to pay for new infrastructure.

The projects NSW has agreed to part-fund with the $2 billion include another harbour rail crossing, an upgrade to train lines in western Sydney, light rail around Parramatta, spending on road pinch points, clearways and smart motorways, road funding in southern Sydney, and regional road freight.

“The only way you are going to get jobs created is if you start to invest more in infrastructure and of course governments haven’t got an endless supply of money, so we need to redeploy the value in existing assets into new assets to create new jobs,” Mr Hockey said.

When the M4 is widened, as the government promises to do by 2017, a toll of between $3 and $4 will be re-imposed on the road, though Mr Abbott said motorists who did want to pay the toll could use other roads.

The Roads Minister, Mr Gay, said Sunday marked “day one of building better roads in Sydney.”

“This is day one of thousands of people cheering in their cars, giving us the high five, saying good on you you’re finally into it, you’re finally doing something,” Mr Gay said.

“It’s not lefty trendies in the inner suburbs saying ‘No, we don’t want something that will actually help them,” he said of the WestConnex, which has drawn fierce criticism in parts of Sydney’s inner west.

The shadow roads minister, Michael Daley, criticised the delay in starting work on the project after the WestConnex was first announced in October 2012.

“It is the widening of an existing road – not the construction of a brand new one,” Mr Daley said.

He also criticised Mr Abbott and Mr Baird for scheduling the “sod-turning” before construction was due to start.

“I’m not sure what they were doing there … because the sods they turned will be sitting there for another two months.

Your seat-by-seat guide to the NSW election:

<a href="/interactive/2015/nsw-election/electorates/electorates.html?el=Granville" _rte_href="/interactive/2015/nsw-election/electorates/electorates.html?el=Granville">Key facts on NSW electorates</a>  


February 5, 2019

Comments Off on TOM FARRELL INSTITUTE: Innovation the Australian way

TOM FARRELL INSTITUTE: Innovation the Australian way

OUR goal at the Tom Farrell Institute is to seek regional solutions for a sustainable future for ourselves and our grandchildren.
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This means sustainable levels of jobs, sitting in a sustainable society that must be necessarily equitable and fair, sitting in a natural environment that is one we would wish for our great-grandchildren to be able to enjoy as we have.

The answer to creating the jobs is, of course, through innovation. For example, a group of UNSW students in 1985 set the world record for solar efficiency.

Today, even though still self-proclaimed geeks, each of these students is now a senior executive of some of the largest solar manufacturing companies in the world.

The solar industry is now a global multibillion-dollar industry. Their research and then its commercialisation is why more than a million Australian households have solar on their roof.

The recent drop in commodity prices has highlighted the danger to nations relying on commodity exports as an only source of income. Developed nations around the world are looking at new types of commodities to export – soft commodities.

These are the commodities of intellectual property, knowledge and know-how.

These new types of commodities are mined via innovation and are only limited by the minds of their creators. Innovation is all about finding better ways to do things and deliver better outcomes economically, socially and environmentally

Innovation is the Aussie way. Just look at the iconic invention the Hills hoist, while the Aussie invention of Wi-Fi has defined modem life. Imagine a world where you had to run a cable to your smartphone just to post a selfie. Thank God for innovation.

The scale of innovation needed to create sustainable societies won’t just happen. It takes the right mix of geeks, entrepreneurs and a community that will not only embrace change but lead it.

For this, Newcastle is well placed. At the university, Newcastle Innovation assists mightily to transform new ideas into the market, and the newly formed Tech Hunter offers a workspace for smart, city-themed start-ups. The opportunity to become Australia’s first smart city is in our hands.

Professor Tim Roberts is director of the University of Newcastle’s Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment.


February 5, 2019

Comments Off on LESS IS MORE: Bunya nut bounty

LESS IS MORE: Bunya nut bounty

DELICIOUS: Shelled bunya nuts. The Sunshine Coast Bunya Dreaming festival is now an annual event. Pictures: Tricia Hogbin BUNYA nuts would have to be one of the most under-appreciated Australian bush foods. I’ve been enjoying an abundance of bunya nuts and have been surprised by how delicious and versatile they are. I’ve eaten bunya nuts every day for more than a week and thanks to a stash in the fridge will continue feasting for a few more weeks.
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Feasting on the fruit of the majestic bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii) is nothing new. Thousands of Australian Aboriginal people would gather in the mountains of south-east Queensland during bumper bunya nut seasons. Tribes came together from afar to feast on the nutritious nuts, exchange stories, trade, socialise, and resolve issues. Tribes would leave nourished and connected after feasting for many weeks.

The last great bunya gathering was in 1887. The tradition was revitalised in 2007 and the Sunshine Coast Bunya Dreaming festival is now an annual event. I love the idea of feasts being used to build community and revitalise culture.

Twenty-five years ago, Jorge Tlaskal planted a couple of bunya pines in his garden at Bulga in the Hunter Valley. He waited 24years for his trees to produce nuts. I was fortunate to help Jorge collect and process the last of this season’s cones.

WORTH THE WAIT: Jorge Tlaskal shelling bunya nuts from a tree he planted 25 years ago.

In late summer bunya trees drop huge cones the size of a bowling ball – and almost as heavy. So it’s best not to loiter under trees when gathering cones.

To get at the nuts you need to pull the cone apart and peel the tough husk away from the seed. It’s best to do this as soon as you can as the husk becomes harder to remove as it dries. The nut is encased in a super-hard shell. Nuts within intact shells can be stored in the fridge for weeks. The longer you store, the sweeter they become. Aboriginal people would store them in dilly bags placed in running water and would also ferment or sprout them by burying them in holes covered in mud or dirt.

Opening the hard shell is a challenge. You can gently crack the shell with a hammer or rock and roast in the oven or on coals until the shell splits in two. Or you can boil in water until the shell softens and splits. Or there’s Jorge’s ingenious method. Jorge quickly and easily cuts the shells in half using a pair of garden loppers held in place using a vice. Within minutes we cut through a bucket of nuts. The nut can then be easily removed from the shell with a teaspoon.

The nuts are safe to eat raw but are much tastier cooked. They have a unique flavour and texture, similar to white sweet potato or chestnut. There’s a myriad of ways to prepare bunya nuts. I like eating them simply with a sprinkling of salt, dollop of butter, or stir-fried in olive oil with loads of garlic. They can be baked in pancakes, biscuits, breads and cakes. Snacked on as pesto or with dips. Or used in pasta sauce, casseroles, soups and stir-fries.

The bunya nut is so versatile I’m considering planting a row of bunya pines along our back fence. I can imagine the family feast 24years from now.

Bunya pines can live for an amazing 500years. I like the idea of my descendants 17generations from now – enjoying fruit from a tree I planted. My great great-great-(you get the picture)-grandchild could collect nuts from my tree. That’s a dream worth having.

Tricia shares tips for living better with less at littleecofootprints上海龙凤419m and on Instagram (TriciaEco)


January 5, 2019

Comments Off on PARENTING: Enjoy the cute baby phase

PARENTING: Enjoy the cute baby phase

THERE is a biological reason babies are cute. Their heavenly little features, button noses, chubby fingers and cheeky smiles are essential for their survival. They have to be. Many a blunder is forgiven when you look like a cherub.
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If I threw my food on the floor one piece of cheese/toast/fruit/vegetable at a time – and paused to watch each item land – I am sure I would get more than an exasperated ‘‘tsk, tsk’’ in response.

If I attempted to eat the dead bug I found under the lounge instead, I might be left to it. If I arched my back and squealed and thrashed about while someone helped me into my car seat, Iam certain I’d cop a karate chop to the solar plexus.

And if I waited until I was sitting in said car seat and the driver started reversing out of the driveway before I put a concentrated, grunting effort into pushing out a pungent mess that leached into my clothes, I am positive I’d just be left behind with a hose and a curious labrador sniffing at my rear.

Thanks to an unsettled baby, the first night of a recent ‘‘relaxing’’ mini-break yielded about two to three hours’ sleep in total.

Cue the bickering parents. I wished for an ‘‘opt out’’ button. I wanted to unsubscribe from the relentless responsibility of parenting. I understood why some animals eat their young. Completely.

But then I woke up to giggles, and that feeling of being watched.

Opening my eyes to see my little one standing in his port-a-cot sporting an ecstatic dimpled grin at our proximity eased the fury I was clinging to from the night before. With a cuddle, the red mist of rage dissipated.

I tell you, kids, it’s lucky you are cute. Enjoy it while it lasts. Because once you are of a certain age, farting when someone holds you close is no longer considered so adorable.


January 5, 2019

Comments Off on Aussie snapper’s $25.5m Hawaiian paradise for sale

Aussie snapper’s $25.5m Hawaiian paradise for sale

Peter Lik’s Maui island retreat. Photo: Dino Tassara. Aussie snapper Peter Lik. Photo: Bagima at wikipedia
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Peter Lik’s record-breaking image, “Phantom” which sold for US$6.5 million last year. Photo: Peter Lik

Aussie photographer Peter Lik has listed his Hawaiian estate for $US19.8 million ($25.5 million).

The Melbourne-born 55-year-old bought the idyllic 2.6-hectare site in 2013 for $US9.7 million from tech-industry entrepreneur Bill Nguyen.

On a west Maui island promontory in the Kapalua Resort, the sprawling 370-square-metre home is laid out in three pavilions. It overlooks Mokuleia Bay and the surf break at Honolua Bay.

Mr Lik has since spent about $US3 million in updating the Olson Kundig Architects-designed home which features sliding cedar and rammed earth walls and cedar ceilings.

It has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Living areas feature hydraulically operated glass panels designed to allow easy indoor-outdoor living.

Mr Lik moved from Australia to Las Vegas in 1994. He bought in the Kapalua Resort as a getaway, for its access to golf courses and its serenity but has decided to sell, citing frequent travel commitments.

According to his Sotheby’s International listing agents, Mr Lik will miss the privacy, natural ambience and the sound of whales breaching the water.

“You [just] want to have a glass of wine with your mate,” on the property, he said.

Last year the acclaimed landscape photographer made news when his black and white photograph, Phantom, sold for $US6.5 million – a world record for photography. The image was taken in a subterranean canyon in Arizona, one of his favourite sites.

Mr Lik took his first photograph in 1967 using a Kodak Brownie box camera – a birthday present from his Czech-born parents. He travelled across America during 1984 and developed his passion for panoramic landscape photography.

He opened his first gallery in Cairns in 1997 and his first US gallery in Hawaii in 2003. He now has galleries across the US, including ones in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, and the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.

His business has developed to include coffee-table photography books, postcards and calendars.

In 2010, Mr Lik made news when he sold one of his works, One, for $US1 million.

It comes as no surprise that Mr Lik provided most of the images of his house for the real estate marketing.


January 5, 2019

Comments Off on HUNTER HERO: Stephanie Bortkevich, netball volunteer

HUNTER HERO: Stephanie Bortkevich, netball volunteer

VOLUNTEER: Stephanie Bortkevitch is the secretary of the Wests Netball Club. Picture: Phil HearneMANY might assume that playing netball is as simple as rocking up to the courts, popping a bib on, and getting on with the game.
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And for some, it is.

But it is the people behind the scenes – volunteers like Stephanie Bortkevitch – who really make it all happen. They are the ones who organise all of the paperwork. The ones who put the teams together. The ones who sacrifice their own time to make sure the players can just get on with the business of having fun on the court.

Ms Bortkevitch became involved with Wests Netball Club when her children started playing 35 years ago.

‘‘I played netball when I was younger myself, in the Newcastle competition,’’ the club secretary said.

‘‘I have grandchildren playing now. You go along with the children for so many years, and you just end up involved.

‘‘All of our clubs are run on a volunteer basis, so we need parents to help out.’’

March is typically a very busy time of year for people like Ms Bortkevitch. If you have ever attended a sport registration day, you might appreciate how hectic it can be.

They are the calm among the chaos.

‘‘At this time of the year we have a really big, big job because we have all of the registrations to organise,’’ she said.

‘‘There are two full days of registrations, and then it’s all about compiling the teams.

‘‘We usually have about 60 teams, with about 10 people in a team, so we cater for about 600 people playing in the Lambton and New Lambton area.’’

Many people probably don’t realise how much work goes on behind the scenes to get the teams on the court.

‘‘All the paperwork takes a lot of time,’’ she said.

‘‘You have to be so careful these days. You have to have all of your members insured. It gets harder. Itshould get easier, but it doesn’t. But I do really enjoy doing it all.

‘‘I was raised in a very sporty family, so it’s just something I’ve always been happy to be involved in.’’

Ms Bortkevitch is also on the committee for Newcastle Netball Association. Of a Saturday afternoon, she also coaches a People With Disabilities (PWD) team for Wests.

‘‘We have one PWD team and they play in the Newcastle competition, and there are about six teams involved in that,’’ she said.

‘‘I am their coach, but we don’t really train – they are very busy and always out and about. But it is a very rewarding job.

‘‘I’ve probably had this same team for about 15 years now. They don’t really worry too much if they miss a goal or a pass because they are just playing and having a good time.’’

Ms Bortkevitch attends the Wests Netball clubhouse at least four nights a week. She makes sure the clubhouse and the toilets are open, answers questions, and provides any first aid if it is needed.

‘‘It is a lot of work, but after all the hours you put in you can see what you’ve achieved, that you have done something towards helping these girls all play netball.’’

VOLUNTEER: Stephanie Bortkevitch is the secretary of the Wests Netball Club. Picture: Phil Hearne


January 5, 2019

Comments Off on OBITUARY: TerryFearnley, rugby league coach, player

OBITUARY: TerryFearnley, rugby league coach, player

QUIET RESOLVE: Terry Fearnley helped drag rugby league into the modern era. TERRY FEARNLEY,
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TERRY Fearnley’s calm exterior masked a steely resolve within, and his quiet and gentlemanly nature determined he would never receive the full acclaim he deserved on his sporting arena of choice – rugby league. He spent many seasons in the company of this fiercest of games, as player, ground-breaking coach, wise thinker and mentor, although never nailing the ‘‘great and elusive dream’’ of winning a first-grade premiership.

In rugby league memory this quiet, bespectacled man warrants a high historical ranking, having been a change agent in unearthing a ‘‘new way’’ – one that effectively dragged an old suburban weekend game into its modern, professional era.

It was one of many accomplishments, which included being the first coach to lead NSW to a series victory over Queensland in State of Origin football (1985) after taking Parramatta to its first premiership grand final (1976) – and repeating the achievement the following year (against St George). The Eels came away narrow losers both times, but with new respect. The battle against Saints produced the game’s first grand final draw.

Fearnley also coached Australia to series victories at his two attempts: the World Cup tournament of 1977 and a Test campaign against New Zealand (1985), in which, handed a poisoned chalice as Australian coach in the midst of a bitter Origin series, he infuriated the entire State of Queensland (it seemed) by dropping four Maroon players for the final Test.

It was Fearnley’s quality of genuineness that convinced reluctant bush champions such asPeter Sterling (Wagga) and Michael Cronin (Gerringong) to come to the ‘‘big smoke’’ – to everlasting fame and, perhaps, ahint of fortune. In his 1989 autobiography Sterling wrote: ‘‘Icame to Sydney and the Parramatta club because of Terry Fearnley. It’s as simple as that.’’

Terence Colin Fearnley was born in Sydney on July 21, 1933, one of three children of Jack and Edith Fearnley. Jack had come to Australia from Yorkshire aged 15 in 1924 with his brother, emigrating under the Dreadnought Scheme, and they were assigned to work at the historic property Coombing Park, at Carcoar. The little town and its beautiful surrounds captured the young Terry’s heart from the first time he travelled there on the overnight steam train as a four or five-year old. It never loosened its grip.

Fearnley would recall those ‘‘some of the most enjoyable experiences of my life’’, and went back time and again to enjoy the countryside and to mix with Fearnley relatives. Among them in more recent years was his second cousin, Kurt Fearnley, Australia’s greatest male Paralympian.

Terry, elder brother Ron and younger sister Judith grew up in turn at Earlwood, Marrickville and then the Eastern Suburbs as Jack worked in the wool mills in Marrickville.

Fearnley’s first connection with rugby league came in pick-up games after school.

‘‘My brother was one of the leaders … and I was just skinny little Terry,’’ he remembered.

‘‘I’d be last one picked every time … and they’d never pass me the ball. It made me a bit more aggressive, and in the end I guess I did show ’em!’’

His education was largely of the ‘‘university of common-sense and life’’ variety. His memoirs note: ‘‘My parents Jack and Edith came through the Depression and strongly believed that I should get a position with the Public Service. I could then start paying board.’’

There was no encouragement for him to press on at Sydney Tech High and get his Leaving Certificate.

He went instead, at 15, to a job of some drudgery, as a $6.20-a-week clerk with the Department of Motor Transport. In a diverse working life he would graduate to senior positions – inthe car industry and in professional rugby league – and tokey advertising roles with Australian Consolidated Press, particularly so at Rugby League Week magazine, where ‘‘The Coach’’ was a popular guiding hand and companion to all. Later, he worked as a legal registration clerk.

In 1957, Fearnley married Betty Rogers and they had four children. In December 2001 he married Patricia Stemp and with working days (and football) largely behind him, his life-long curiosity intensified, leading him to new and diverse interests – to gardening, movies, bird watching, writing his memoirs and extensive travels.

Family always ranked highly, with 11 grandchildren to keep him on the hop. He became a regular attendee at State Library lectures, on a rich variety of subjects. Active sport sustained its place through his life, with skiing, tennis and golf high on the list, until fading health dictated otherwise. In such a ‘‘sporting life’’, two weeks as a member of the AOC-media team at the Sydney Olympics of 2000 remained a cherished memory.

Terry Fearnley is survived by Pat, and his children with Betty: Karen, Kim, Tracey and Scott, and their families.


January 5, 2019

Comments Off on OPINION: Public funds not handouts for developers

OPINION: Public funds not handouts for developers

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MINE subsidence is a major constraint to Newcastle’s revitalisation, but the state government should not be undermining our public infrastructure fund by giving handouts to private developers, as they have recently announced.

We need a sustainable, equitable and long-term solution, which addresses the size of the problem and the cost to fill the ‘‘honeycomb’’ of mines under our city.

Grouting the mine workings is expensive and usually extends well beyond the footprint of individual sites, under public space and adjacent sites.

There is no grouting cost sharing mechanism that incentivises development in Newcastle.

The financial viability of commercial and residential redevelopments in the city is constrained by this market failure.

But the proposal by the Liberal government to take money from the infrastructure fund and give it to developers is depleting money that should be spent on much-needed public infrastructure like public schools and health facilities.

The Liberal government has missed the opportunity to provide a sustainable long-term solution for mine subsidence in Newcastle.

They have missed the principle that public funds should only be used for public purposes and not channelled to a select few developers.

And they have missed the point by ignoring the inequity between adjacent landowners and the public space. In 2009, I pushed successfully for Newcastle Council to establish a Mine Subsidence Working Group, which would investigate, among other things, funding arrangements for a sustainable long-term solution.

During the 2011 election campaign, the then Labor government announced they would take over the working party under the Department of Premier and Cabinet, where it languished until the recent announcement during this election.

The only sustainable, equitable and long-term solution is to establish a Mine Subsidence Revolving Fund, so that the grouting of each city block can be done in one hit, with the state government recovering its investment equitably from the landowners.

The fund would be topped up by the private beneficiaries as developments are approved and Newcastle would not have to rely on half-baked promises, made during elections.

Real estate valuers will say that the Newcastle mine subsidence disincentive has already been factored into the price of the city’s development sites.

However, the Sydney-centric government needs to recognise that their failure to recoup money from the coal companies who caused the problem and their inaction over the years to develop a sustainable solution has compounded the problem. Newcastle needs a sustainable, equitable solution to the ‘‘honeycomb’’ of mines under our city, not half-baked promises made during elections.

Michael Osborne is a civil engineer, a Greens councillor on Newcastle City Council and a Greens candidate in the upcoming state election