Monday, 28 May 2018

Emergency Services Called To Single Car Crash Near Karuah

BY IAN CROUCH

The Hunter's Westpac Rescue Helicopter has been called to a bad crash just north of Karuah.

It's understood a car crashed into a barrier and overturned on the Pacific Highway at the Tarean Road off-ramp just after 8 o'clock.

NSW Ambulance says two people have been injured - one has head and neck injuries.

Southbound traffic on the highway is affected.




Pair To Face Court Over Lengthy Pursuit Through The Hunter Valley

BY IAN CROUCH

Police have charged a man and woman over a 16 kilometre pursuit through the Hunter Valley.

Officers were patrolling Aberdare Road at Cessnock at about 2 o'clock on Sunday morning when they tried to pull over a stolen Yamaha motorbike.

The couple took off, with the pursuit ending in Campbell Street at  Ellalong where the 24-year-old driver fled, leaving behind his 20-year-old female passenger.

He was found hiding on a rural property about an hour later.

It's alleged the pair had a large amount of cash and drugs on them.

They were both taken to Cessnock Police Station where the man was charged with drive stolen conveyance, police pursuit - second offence, disqualified driver/rider, deal with proceeds of crime, supply and possess prohibited drug and enter enclosed lands.

He was refused bail to appear at Maitland Local Court today.

The woman was charged with supply and possess prohibited drug, deal with proceeds of crime, and carry cutting weapon on apprehension.

She was granted conditional bail to appear at Cessnock Local Court on Wednesday 27 June 2018.


Swimmers Rescued From Sea Cave At Caves Beach

BY IAN CROUCH

Four young men have been rescued from a sea cave near Caves Beach.

The group entered the water at Pinnys Beach at about midday on Sunday and swam to the cave but got stuck.

As high tide and darkness approached around 4pm, a 5th member of the group, a 30-year-old man, used a boogie board to make it out of the cave.

He climbed to the top of a cliff and called emergency services.

Surf lifesavers used a jet ski and an inflatable boat to rescue the group, who were treated by paramedics on Caves Beach.



Police Investigate Attempted Abduction At Adamstown

BY IAN CROUCH

A teenage girl has managed to escape an attempted abduction at Adamstown overnight.

The 17-year-old girl was walking to a house on Glebe Road at about 7.30pm on Sunday when a man in a dark grey Holden Commodore stopped next to her.

He spoke to her briefly before grabbing her arm and attempted to pull her into the car, but she broke free and ran to a nearby home.

The vehicle was last seen travelling east along Glebe Road.

The man has been described as being of Caucasian in appearance, about 183cm tall, with a thin build, and wearing a light blue hooded jumper.

Inquiries into the matter are continuing and police are urging anyone with information that could assist in the investigation to come forward.

Police would like to speak to anyone who may have been driving along Glebe Road Street at the time of the incident.




Friday, 25 May 2018

Cessnock Hope to Land the QANTAS Pilot Academy

BY XANTHE GREGORY

Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon is calling on the NSW Government to back Cessnock City Council's bid to host the proposed Qantas Pilot Academy.

He wants to bring additional infrastructure to the area and gain government support for Cessnock in securing the placement.

"We'd be talking about literally hundreds of trainees each year going through the school...that would be a significant economic boost for any township or local community," Mr Fitzgibbon said in Federal Parliament.

He told Parliament Cessnock meets the criteria for Qantas, including being close to Sydney and having appropriate infrastructure for the project.

After speaking with airline CEO, Alan Joyce yesterday, the MP said, "it is clear we are in the running but what I learned is that NSW Government support for our bid will be crucial."

The pilot academy will have the capacity to train up to 500 pilots a year within one of the most rapidly growing industries.

In order to help meet the increasing need for skilled aviators Qantas want the Pilot Academy to be in action by 2019.






$25 Million Neonatal Care Upgrade Finished for John Hunter Children's Hospital

BY XANTHE GREGORY

Today Premier Gladys Berejiklian opened the NSW Government's $25 million upgrade of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at John Hunter Children's Hospital.

The NICU is now double in size and with more than 1100 premature and sick newborns requiring care at the unit each year, the upgrade provides state-of-the-art healthcare for newborns.

"This world-class facility...will enable our wonderful NICU staff to continue care for the region's youngest patients well into the future," Ms Berejiklian said.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the completion of the unit, along with last year's $14 million upgrade of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, the region has wholesome critical care services for babies and young people.

"Staff have told me today how wonderful it is to work in such a well-planned and fitted out unit, while parents have talked about how the comfortable, supportive environment has made a harrowing experience just that bit easier," said Scot MacDonald.

The NICU now has the capacity for 32 special care spaces and 22 intensive care spaces as well as a palliative care room.

The expansion is a part of the NSW Government's $7.7 billion commitment to upgrading and building hospitals and health services over four years in NSW.


Constance Grilled Over Bus Dealings

BY OLIVIA WILSON-WHEELER

Charlestown MP, Jodie Harrison is accusing Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance, of concealing incentive payments to Keolis Downer.

Ms Harrison found the per-passenger payment deep in the 10-year contract between the privately owned Keolis Downer and the state government and says the incentive may be encouraging bad bus routes.

"It’s actually a per-passenger incentive payment so if there is an increase in passengers - which can be created by chopping the routes up into multiple routes - then there are increased payments to Keolis Downer," said Ms Harrison. 

"I’m not saying it’s the direct catalyst for Keolis Downer to have done that, however I want the government to come clean on whether that is the case, whether there have been increased payments made to Keolis Downer because the bus routes have been chopped up."

This is not the first controversy over the privatisation of Newcastle's public transport; since the new network's implementation in January, there have been two public rallies and a multitude of complaints to the state government because of unreliable and indirect bus routes.

More direct services have been promised in the coming month following public outcry, however, Keolis Downer have said the changes will have a minor knock-on effect on other services.

Mr Constance has responded, stating the intentions of the incentive were innocent and just to attract people to public transport. 

The MP has not accepted his response.

"The minister displayed his arrogance for the people of the Hunter by making no apology for incentivising chopping up Newcastle’s bus routes." 

"The patronage incentive payment is hidden on page 239 of the contract with Keolis Downer and that contract has been heavily redacted so the general public don’t know the details of the contract," said Ms Harrison,

"Where is the openness and transparency in that?"



Transport Minister Andrew Constance. Image: Courier Mail.