Monday, 24 October 2016

BREAKING! Waterfront Home At Belmont Destroyed By Fire


Fire has guttered a waterfront home at Belmont this morning.

7 fire trucks were called to the 2 storey weatherboard home in Walter Street just after 4.00am to find the house engulfed in flames.

It's taken about half an hour to knock down the flames

It's understood the house has been unoccupied for some time.

4 crews are still at the scene mopping up.

Forensic investigators will comb through the rubble once the scene been declared safe.

Also this morning, fire has destroyed a double garage at the front of a home on Ocean Street Dudley.

No-one was injured in either blaze.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Rally to Save Maitland Hospital


Hundreds of health workers, unionists and community members are expected to join together at Maitland Park this Sunday to protest the privatisation of Maitland Hospital.

The "Keep Our Hospitals Public" rally will be held from 12 noon to 2pm with the hopes of bringing the community together on this issue.
NSW Health Services Union Secretary, Gerard Hayes. [Image:Image:

NSW Health Services Union Secretary, Gerard Hayes says it is important for people to band together. 

"No individual can win this, this is a community issue," he said. "They own that hospital. It's not for the government to give away but the only way we can fight this is by coming together as a community.

"We need to ensure that services at Maitland hospital are maintained and extended, not moved to John Hunter hospital and that profits don't come before services that the community need."

According to Mr. Hayes, this decision has not been made in the interest of the wider community.

"This is an attack on regional NSW," he said. "The private sector is about making money.

"We cannot get to a point that if you're wealthy, you can access services and if you don't then you either have to go on a waiting list or maybe go to Newcastle."

He says a hospital is not for the government to profit from and asks for a change in direction.

"The fact of the matter is what goes on in the hospital is the responsibility of Health," he said.

"It is not the responsibility or to be abdicated to the private sector."

The rally will continue to be advertised over the next couple of days and Gerard Hayes encourages people to come along.

Next Step in Maitland Hospital Construction


The State Government have moved to the next step in the construction of the new Maitland hospital, announcing a health partnership proposal for prospective developers.

Jillian Skinner
Developers will now bid on the construction, arguing why they’re the best one for the job.

The one who meets the Government’s brief the best will be awarded the contract.

Health Minister Gillian Skinner says it can only do good for regional communities.

“These partnerships are about building bigger and better hospitals for our local communities,” she said.

It comes after the Government ended its expression of interest period on the hospital last week, which they had running since mid-September.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald says nothing will change for public health users.

Scot MacDonald
“Public access is exactly the same.  If you’re used to going to the emergency department, you’ll be treated exactly the same,” he said.

Ensure the hospital remains viable for the future of Maitland – a town which grows every day – has been on the Government’s agenda, and it will need to be the same for private developers.

“This has to be future proof.  This hospital will have to meet the future needs for decades ahead,” Scot MacDonald said.

“That is our brief to the planners and the designers and the non-Government operators.

“It’s not about bed numbers today or tomorrow, it’s about what the services and the facilities that we need in the years and decades ahead.

“If they [private developers] can’t do that that won’t be accepted by the State Government.”

Disqualified Driver Allegedly Caught Drunk Behind The Wheel With Young Son In Car


 A man's been caught drink driving on a disqualified licence with his young son in the car at Raymond Terrace.

Officers pulled over a Holden Commodore utility being driven by a 42-year-old man on Wahroonga Street just before 5.00pm yesterday - his 7-year-old son was sitting beside him in the front passenger seat.

The man was arrested after failing a roadside breath test - police also determined he was disqualified from driving until October 2018.

He was taken to Raymond Terrace Police Station where it's alleged he returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.087.

He's been charged with mid-range drink driving and disqualified driving and has been granted bail to face Raymond Terrace Local Court on 14 November 2016.

Suspicious Substance Seized At Rutherford


 Police have uncovered what's believed to be methamphetamine in a car at Rutherford.

Officers allegedly found a bag on the back seat of the vehicle with 53 grams of a substance, which is now being tested, after spotting a driver acting suspiciously near the New England Highway yesterday afternoon.

Police say if the tests confirm that the substance is methamphetamine, it could have a street value of between $15,000 and $20,000.

A 38-year-old woman and a 53-year-old man inside the car have been questioned, but no charges have been laid at this stage.

Caravan Destroyed In Hay Bale Fire At Louth Park


 Police and firefighters believe a large hay bale fire at Louth Park last night was the result of spontaneous combustion.

At least 20 NSW firefighters and several RFS crews took around 3 hours to extinguish and black out the massive blaze in Ross Lane.

A caravan parked next to the hay stack caught alight and was destroyed in the fire.

Newcastle Fire Command says no-one was injured.

Hay Bale Fire - file photo

Thursday, 20 October 2016

State Government Not Prioritising Bypass


Wallsend MP, Sonia Hornery is calling on the State Government to speed up the planning and construction process for the Newcastle Inner-City Bypass.

The Bypass now in its fifth and final stage of planning, has still not had its final plan out on public exhibition.

The Government revealed the concept design and environmental impact assessment in 2014, and is now lacking the gusto to finish for this year.

The Bypass project set to run over a 3.4km section of road near Jesmond and Wallsend, will cost around $280 million.

The Government had promised that construction would begin in early 2017, however there are fears in the Wallsend electorate that the State Government are not prioritising key infrastructure projects that need attention.

“There has been delay after delay on this project with the Government showing more interest in the CBD of Newcastle than the Western suburbs”, says Sonia.

She also says, “The Government needs to prioritise this important missing link in the Hunter’s road network”.

Newcastle Inner City Bypass - click for a larger version of the map
                              [Image sourced:]