Another stirring effort required from Knights

Another stirring effort required from Knights Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop
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Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley tests the Bulldogs defence on Saturday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley tests the Bulldogs defence on Saturday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley crosses the line in his farewell home game. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley celebrates after scoring on Saturday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley is swamped by his Knights teammates. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

August 2015: Kurt Gidley ahead of list game for the Newcastle Knights. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Kurt Gidley, who announced he will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, with his wife Brooke, and daughters Arabella, aged two, and Macy, aged 5 months. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, holds his daughter Arabella an dshakes hands with longtime team mate Danny Buderus, as his wife Brooke and other daughter Macy look on. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

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Knights fall in Gidley farewell

Kurt Gidley ready for emotional farewell

ONCE more, with feeling.

Departing Knights Kurt Gidley, Clint Newton, Beau Scott and Tyrone Roberts will have to climb aboard for another ride on the emotional roller-coaster as they prepare for a final game in the red and blue that Newcastle must win to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Knights were 14th heading into the penultimate round of the season. But their 20-18 loss to Canterbury at Hunter Stadium on Saturday, combined with wins on Sunday by Wests Tigers and Gold Coast against the Warriors and St George Illawarra respectively, has left Newcastle in the competition cellar.

They are equal last with the Panthers, who they play at Penrith Stadium on Saturday, but have an inferior for-and-against record (minus-80 compared to minus-136).

Penrith play Canberra in the national capital on Monday night. If they beat the Raiders, the Knights would be unable to leapfrog them unless they won by a landslide on Saturday.

Newcastle would then need to beat the Panthers and hope the Eels, Canberra, Gold Coast, the Tigers and/or the Warriors lose their last-round games to have any hope of finishing better than last.

There is an unlikely chance that, even if the Knights win, they might still not escape the wooden spoon.

The dire predicament is a sobering postscript to the festive atmosphere at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night, when a season-best crowd of 23,406 turned out to farewell Gidley, Newton, Scott and Roberts.

Gidley is joining Warrington next season, Scott has signed for Parramatta, Roberts for Gold Coast and Newton is retiring.

Between them, they have played more than 500 NRL games for Newcastle.

Gidley was philosophical about the loss to Canterbury, saying he was proud of the team’s performance and his own, regardless of the result.

But the unexpected string of results over the weekend has suddenly raised the stakes, and Gidley has no intention of signing off this week without securing the two competition points that Newcastle need to avoid the spoon.

‘‘I’d love to finish on a great note,’’ Gidley told the Newcastle Herald. ‘‘I want the bus ride home next week to be a feeling of satisfaction of getting the job done in my last game for the club.

‘‘That’ll be a memory that will last forever, for sure.

‘‘It’s my last game, and something I want to remember for all the right reasons.’’

Newton, who like Gidley was born and bred in Newcastle and debuted for the Knights in 2001, said focusing on the game against Canterbury had been a challenge because of the unique emotional build-up.

‘‘It’s difficult,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ll probably have a bit of a comedown in the next couple of days.

‘‘But we’ve still got a job to do next week.’’

Newcastle will be sweating on the match review panel’s interpretation of an incident involving Kade Snowden and Bulldogs forward Greg Eastwood in the second minute of Saturday’s clash.

Snowden was placed on report for high contact and could be facing his second suspension of the season.

He was banned for a week for a careless grade-one high shot on Cronulla’s Matt Prior in March, continuing his unhappy judiciary record over the past few seasons.

‘‘We’ll see where that one goes … I don’t know where Kade’s charge sheet will be or what will happen, but we’ve got one more game to go and we need Kade Snowden playing,’’ Knights coach Danny Buderus said.

Buderus said Snowden’s front-row partner, Korbin Sims, was likely to be available to tackle Penrith despite being carried from the field with an ankle injury in the second half against Canterbury.

Newton said he tried to remain ‘‘in the moment’’ during his 42 minutes of game time but could not help some nostalgic thoughts in his final home game for the Knights.

‘‘You just try and focus on that, but I certainly took a few moments out there to take some mental snapshots of how good it is to play for this football club, and the supporters and my family and stuff like that,’’ he said. ‘‘I had a look around at times and that will stay with me forever.

‘‘But this is an emotional game, and hence you see grown men cry sometimes.’’

The 34-year-old hopes to play a role in Newcastle’s NSW Cup finals campaign but admitted it was hard to comprehend he had played his last game at the ground he first visited as a six-year-old during the Knights’ 1988 foundation season.

‘‘I still feel like there’s going to be more tomorrows, but there’s not,’’ he said.

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TRICIA HOGBIN: Magical memories

Kids need time to play. A cubby and playdough farm that evolved from ‘‘free time’’. Pictures: Tricia HogbinI APPRECIATE the importance of not over-scheduling my daughter’s time. For extracurricular activities we’ve always had the rule of ‘‘swimming plus one’’. But we’ve been cheating. I gave in to my desire to give my daughter as many opportunities as possible.
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We squeezed swimming and gymnastics into one afternoon – and briefly ignored the fact that her schedule included three structured activities. But then my daughter reminded me that what she wants most is ‘‘more time to just play’’.

Time to play is what our children need most. Unstructured play is how they learn to imagine, create, communicate, and resolve problems. It’s how they learn to live a meaningful life.

Two recent moments of free play reminded me how valuable time to simply play is.

I made a batch of play-dough. At eight I thought my daughter might be too old for play-dough. But I was wrong. She and a friend grabbed some animal figures and built a paddock, horse jumps, stables and a farm house. They spent hours in their imaginary world absorbed in meaningful creative play.

On another day they built a cubby with sticks and decorated it with bunting. They proudly told me ‘‘we made it all by ourselves’’ and asked to build a campfire. I appreciate the importance of safe childhood risk-taking as much as free play – so agreed. One of my favourite quotes is from outdoor play advocate Richard Louv: ‘‘Small risks taken early (and the natural world is good place to take those risks) can prepare children to avoid more onerous risks later in life.’’

I wandered back to their cubby with matches, a picnic hamper, pan and a batch of pancake batter. They proudly cooked their own pancakes and after lunch set about adding more rooms to their cubby. Free time, some sticks and an opportunity to create their own world evolved into a magical moment I’m guessing they will remember for a very long time.

A similar childhood play session is one of my favourite memories. The moment was so insignificant that my mum can’t even remember it. It was school holidays and my mum was busy – so she gave me a block of clay to keep me occupied. I can clearly remember the joy I felt in having hours to sit and lose myself in creating with my own hands. It’s moments like this that matter. I had pottery lessons later in my childhood. But that moment instilled in me a love for creating with clay – far more than the structured lessons did.

Childhood is not a race or a competition. Our children don’t need to be drowning in extracurricular activities to become talented and capable. What they need is plenty of empty moments. They need time to be bored. It’s the moments of boredom that force them to learn how to entertain themselves.

We each have a lifetime to discover and nurture interests. We don’t need to do everything we desire immediately. I’m yet to act on my desire to create with clay. I will one day. But there’s no rush. Similarly, my daughter is dropping gymnastics for now. Perhaps she’ll drop guitar lessons one day to take up gymnastics again. Or she may move onto something completely different.

Our children don’t need to excel at everything right now. There’s no sense in rushing their one and only precious childhood.

Tricia shares tips for living better with less at littleecofootprints上海夜网m and on Instagram (TriciaEco).

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Sharon Claydon supports fossil fuel divestment dialogue with community

CSIRO Director Energy Business Unit Peter Mayfield with Kotara High School students Sofia Davey, Stanton and Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon inspecting CSIRO solar research facilities at Newcastle. Photo by PHIL HEARNE NEWCASTLE MP and former Newcastle City councillor Sharon Claydon believes community consultation is essential to any transition away from fossil fuels.
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Ms Claydon declined to say if she supported her Labor colleagues’ controversial motion to preference renewable energy investments over those linked to fossil fuels.

‘‘It’s a long time since I’ve been able to comment on Newcastle City Council but I do know for the federal Labor party, we have a commitment to having a goal of reaching 50 per cent renewables by 2030,’’ she said.

‘‘We will do that in both consultation with the industry and the broader community.’’

Ms Claydon made the comments while visiting CSIRO clean energy centre at Steel River with local high school students late last week.

She said the centre’s research was an essential part of helping to meet the region’s future energy needs.

The other essential element of that transition was consultation, especially for a region with an history steeped in coal.

‘‘Whatever transitions occur need to be in close partnership with with men and women who have real skin in the game in terms of their industry, which is undergoing massive transformation,’’ she said.

Ms Claydon, would not say if she believed Labor councillors should have taken their proposal to the community before it was presented to council.

‘‘I’m unable to comment on their consultation process. As a federal member of parliament I would absolutely involve my community in those discussions,’’ she said.

Kotara High School students Sofia Davey and Sarah Stanton inspecting CSIRO solar research facilities at Newcastle. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Year 11 Kotara High students Sofia Davey and Sarah Stanton were among those who visited the CSIRO clean energy centre.

‘‘I’m really keen to see what sort of work is happening, especially locally, and how researchers are finding ways to benefit society,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m also interested in seeing where we can take subjects like physics, chemistry and biology after school.’’

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Youth unemployment surges in Hunter

One in five youths in the Hunter, outside Newcastle, are out of work, according to new figures.YOUTH unemployment in the Hunter, outside Newcastle, has risen to 20.6per cent and is the highest in NSW, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
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The jobless rate for 15 to 24-year-olds is 15.1per cent in the Newcastle/Lake Macquarie region and 14.9per cent on the Central Coast.

The youth unemployment rate in the Maitland area is about five times the jobless rate for young people living in Sydney’s northern beaches, which is 5.2per cent.

Politicians from the government and opposition have said the situation was unacceptable.

Parliamentary secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said he was unhappy to hear that the youth unemployment rate in the Hunter had broken the 20per cent mark.

‘‘As a government, we have got to do better,’’ he said.

‘‘The Hunter is feeling the cyclic effects of the price crunch in the coal industry, which has flow-on effects.

‘‘It’s a difficult space out there.’’

Mr MacDonald said the government was still working out how its new Jobs For NSW initiative, which is expected to create 150,000 new positions across the state, could help the Hunter.

Jobs For NSW will deliver $190 million over the next four years to boost job creation across the state.

But opposition spokeswoman for the Hunter Jodie Harrison said Premier Mike Baird cut funding for regional jobs programs.

‘‘More than one in five young people in the Hunter cannot find a job,’’ she said.

‘‘It is simply unfair that where a young person has grown up can give such disadvantage.

‘‘How can the Premier cut regional funding and leave Hunter families knowing that their kids are four times more likely to be unemployed than young people in the Premier’s electorate?’’

The youth unemployment rate in the Hunter, outside Newcastle, jumped from 5.8per cent to 16.8per cent between the beginning of 2013 and June, 2014. It was floating around the 15er cent mark at the beginning of this year.

Youth Express CEO Julie Eldridge told Fairfax Media in January that the region’s jobless rate for young people was ‘‘scarily high’’.

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Revitalisation forum discusses city’s future: poll

Sir Bob Parker, mayor of Christchurch, is visiting Newcastle to discuss the city’s revitalisation. Picture by Brock PerksNEWCASTLE’S ‘great bones’ were the key to transforming the former steel city into one of the world’s great regional cities, former Christchurch, New Zealand mayor Sir Bob Parker said on Sunday.
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A veteran of the urban transformation process, Sir Bob told a Revitalising Newcastle forum he had no doubt Newcastle would once again become a thriving urban centre because of the passion that Novocastraians displayed about its future.

‘‘Christchurch had to go through a similar ground-up transformation when we rather would not have,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m very optimistic about Newcastle because I can see plenty of people who are passionate about this place.’’

More than 100 people attended the weekend’s UrbanGrowth NSW community workshops about the city’s future.

Newcastle train station was among the locations that participants visited to discuss urban renewal opportunities.

Sir Bob said the city’s natural beauty, educational resources, such as the university, the port, and rich natural resources of the Hunter were the bones, or building blocks, of a great city.

‘‘You wouldn’t get better bones to build a city around anywhere in the world,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a question of what do you want to do? How do you strengthen it to make it a place that people want to come to.’’

UrbanGrowth NSW program director Michael Cassel said community participation and feedback were essential components of the revitalisation process.

“For example, some people expressed the view that the land in the heavy rail corridor should be mainly parkland, while others wanted it transformed into active recreational and cultural opportunities,’’ he said.

‘‘Others felt that some of the land should be used for enterprises that stimulate the economy and attract investment to the city centre, including educational, jobs and innovation hubs, with a range of housing to support new jobs in the city.’’

Community feedback from last year generally supported:

• Reinstating Hunter Street as a thriving main street where people can shop and enjoy cultural and leisure activities

• Improving connections between the city centre and the waterfront

• Creating a mix of housing types in the city centre

• Introduction of new jobs and educational facilities in the city centre • Restoring and sensitively reusing heritage buildings such as Newcastle Railway Station

• Enhancing active recreation areas along the waterfront.

For more information or to participate in online engagement initiatives, visit www.revitalisingnewcastle上海夜网m.au

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Top magistrate warns of social cost of ‘short-sighted’ cuts

Local Court Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson cautions against “short-sighted” budget cuts. Photo: Louie Douvis Rural justice hit by cuts to magistrate numbers: Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson. Photo: Brendan Esposito
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The chief magistrate of the NSW Local Court has warned against the “short-sighted reduction” in the number of judges, and foreshadowed funding cuts could hit country areas especially hard.

Judge Graeme Henson, who was been chief magistrate of the court for almost a decade, said the state government had cut six magistrate positions since 2013 and another two were expected in the year ahead.

“The Local Court of NSW already has the lowest ratio of magistrates to population in the Commonwealth,” Judge Henson said in a strongly-worded foreword to the Local Court’s 2014 Annual Review.

He warned the court may have “no alternative” than to reduce attendance in some of the smaller courts in country locations.

“Should that come to pass, the social cost in providing a lesser service may well exceed the purported cost savings to government through a short-sighted reduction in judicial numbers,” he said.

Judge Henson’s comments come as the District Court buckles under the pressure of a growing caseload and fewer judges. The NSW Law Reform Commission said in a report released this year that criminal proceedings had “major systemic issues” and were “in, or approaching, a state of crisis”.

The NSW Bar Association has called for more judges to be appointed to the District Court to deal with the backlog.

In the Local Court, Judge Henson said the criminal caseload increased by 14,000 matters in the past year despite a reported drop in the crime rate.

Shadow attorney-general Paul Lynch said: “The strength of the Chief Magistrate’s comments show how very serious the position is in the Local Court.

“Since 2011 the government has consistently starved the Local Courts of resources and caused the closure of courts and the reductions of services in others.”

Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton conceded there were “particular challenges facing parts of the justice system, including in the Local Court” but the government was building or upgrading courts across NSW including in regional areas such as Wagga Wagga.

She said the court “continues to lead the country in several key performance indicates as measured by the Productivity Commission”.

“For example, the commission’s Report on Government Services [in] 2014 shows that NSW is the best performing jurisdiction for Local Court criminal backlogs for the seventh consecutive year.”

Ms Upton said the challenges facing the justice system “have not emerged overnight” and reflected the fact that “the justice system has not kept pace with change over a long period of time”.

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Flood victims still waiting as Dungog council battles insurer over Alison Court

The units of Alison Court assisted living facility were badly damaged in the Dungog superstorm. Image suppliedQuestions remain over flood death
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DUNGOG mayor Harold Johnston has admitted he wouldn’t let his mother live in the low-lying units at Alison Court, fearing the risk of future floods too high.

Dungog council is yet to make a decision about the long-term future of the community housing complex that was inundated with water during April’s super storm.

Resident Colin Webb drowned during the disaster which saw 18 of the 20 units severely damaged by water.

Four months on, Cr Johnston said Alison Court was ‘‘still a huge problem’’ and things had ‘‘not progressed very far’’.

Like several Dungog residents, the council is locked in a battle with its insurer, State Wide Mutual, about whether the damage to the complex was caused by storm water or flood water.

Seventeen residents are still living in temporary accommodation. Resident Jean Robertson organised a meeting with council officers and Cr Johnston on site this week.

‘‘We just want to know what is going on,’’ she said.

Cr Johnston said nothing could be finalised until the insurer made a final decision on the council’s claim and they were waiting for the results of a third hydrologist report.

‘‘Up to now the insurer has been making noises that the decision will not be favourable,’’ he said.

‘‘We have to wait until a final outcome before making a decision that will obviously take into account future risk at the site.’’

Alison Court apartments which were inundated with flood waters from the storm water channel in the middle of the paddock in Dungog. The units in the foreground had water rise up to their ceiling. Photo: Janie Barrett

If the insurance claim is approved, council plans to advertise a tender to repair the buildings. The other option is to seek state and federal government funding to assist with the repairs.

Asked if he thought the site was safe for elderly residents to live, Cr Johnston said the council had not formally discussed the issue.

‘‘My personal opinion is that there are some of the lower-lying units, that if it was my mother I wouldn’t be happy to have her in there,’’ he said.

‘‘Some people are not as mobile as they could be and I don’t think we should put our older, valuable people at risk.’’

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Unsung Socceroos ready for next step towards World Cup

A star team, it is said, will always beat a team of stars.
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Which is just as well for the Socceroos as they prepare to take another couple of steps on their route to the World Cup in Russia in three years.

Once, Australia would select a squad made up of numerous players from the English Premiership, the Bundesliga, La Liga and the Serie A, not to mention a smattering of men from strong second-tier European leagues like Holland’s Eredivisie.

Not now. The bulk of Ange Postecoglou’s squad ply their trade in surroundings which in comparison are distinctly unglamorous, such as the English Championship, the J-League, the Middle East, South Korea and the domestic A-League.

Not that they should need a glittering array of talent playing at the highest level to deal with the likes of Bangladesh and Tajikistan, their next two opponents in Asian World Cup qualifying.

Postecoglou’s men face the Bangladeshis in Perth on Thursday before travelling to Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, for a step into the unknown the following Tuesday.

Two wins in these two encounters would lift them to nine points from their first three games (they beat Kyrgyzstan away from home in June in the first game) and provide them with a perfect platform to ensure they take their place in the final Asian qualifying group phase next year.

Should the lack of big names at high-profile clubs really matter?

It won’t in this phase of qualifying, and may not, despite what some pessimists might fear, should Australia make it to Russia and be pitted against some of the world’s highest-ranked teams packed with players who regularly make the shortlist for global-player-of-the-year awards.

After all, it’s how the team performs together that counts, and there is no doubt that the Socceroos, especially under their home-grown coach, have risen to the occasion several times in the past few years when matched against teams made up of players with far more impressive CVs.

And plenty of countries have shown in the recent past that reputations established at the pinnacle of the club game may count for little at international level.

Algeria took eventual World Cup winners Germany to extra time in a thrilling round-of-16 match in Brazil last year, giving the Germans more trouble than any other opponent bar beaten finalists Argentina, who succumbed to Mario Gotze’s extra-time winner.

Even more impressive off an equally low base of expectation were the Costa Ricans, who only crashed out of the tournament in a penalty shoot-out at the quarter-final stage to the Dutch.

The Ticos were expected to be cannon fodder for Italy, Uruguay and England in the group phase, but they stunned not just those three countries but the football world by topping their group before seeing off Greece in a round-of-16 game.

The Central Americans boasted few big names. Brian Ruiz, whose dysfunctional seasons with Premier League stragglers Fulham had impressed no one, was their star man.

But he grew an arm and a leg, as did his countrymen, when they pulled on the national team shirt and the results of such belief and morale were there to see.

And of course the Socceroos themselves, devoid of headline names in Brazil, provided further evidence of what impact playing for the national team can have with two tremendous performances against the Netherlands and Chile. That form was made to look even better when the latter, 12 months later, won the Copa America to officially stamp themselves as South America’s No.1 team.

Australia’s Asian Cup triumph in January might not quite fall into the same category, but it could be argued that South Korea, the beaten finalists, certainly had a smattering of players with bigger names and profiles than any Australian save the ageing warrior Tim Cahill. The latter’s legend has only grown in the past decade even though it is a couple of years now since he left the Premier League, first for the MLS in America and now China’s Superleague.

For many players, appearing for their country is a huge opportunity to put themselves in the shop window, and galvanises them for that reason as they seek to impress and find a move to a bigger club or league.

For others it is simply a matter of national pride.

The current squad boasts several younger, promising players who may go on to bigger things.

It’s easy to forget that players like Massimo Luongo, Trent Sainsbury, Bailey Wright, Jason Davidson, Aziz Behich, Tommy Oar, Tom Rogic, Jackson Irvine, Chris Ikonomidis and Matthew Leckie are all still in their early to mid-twenties and have plenty of time to make the jump to higher levels. Given that Leckie is playing and scoring in the Bundesliga for a newly promoted club, it could be said he has.

Many Australians have proved themselves to be late bloomers. Cahill was in his mid-twenties before he got the chance to leave lower-level Millwall to play for Everton in the EPL. Lucas Neill spent years in South London with the same club before getting his EPL opportunity with Blackburn. Scott Chipperfield came through the old NSL before getting his move to Basel in Switzerland where he established his reputation and became a regular Socceroo. Richard Garcia plied his trade around the lower leagues in England before getting a Premiership chance with Hull City and making the national team, starting in the 2010 World Cup.

Oar, who burst on to the scene as a teenager with Brisbane Roar and moved to the Netherlands as a youngster, was a national team regular under Holger Osieck. He was a big part of Postecoglou’s plans at first.

But he lost his place during the World Cup and his whole career looked to be in limbo when he left Utrecht, his Dutch club, and had yet to find a new team when the European season kicked off in early August.

Postecoglou has shown faith and persevered with the diminutive winger, who came off the bench to score the decisive second goal in Kyrgyzstan, and he will be delighted to see Oar sealing a new deal at the weekend with English Championship promotion chasers Ipswich Town, where he now has the chance to get his career back on track.

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Adelaide Crows’ first quarter set up big win over West Coast Eaglesphotos, video

Crows’ opening blitz sees them soar over Eagles | photos, video Nic Naitanui of the Eagles win a ruck knock during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.
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Dom Sheed of the Eagles kicks under pressure from Patrick Dangerfield of the Crows during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Taylor Walker of the Adelaide Crows reacts after the finals siren during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Sam Jacobs of the Crows cops a knock during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Rory Sloane of the Crows attempts to tackle Luke Shuey of the Eagles during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Nic Naitanui of the Eagles and Sam Jacobs of the Crows contest possession during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Jack Darling of the Eagles flies for a mark during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Eagles and Crows players compete for a mark during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Matt Crouch of the Crows runs with the ball during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Taylor Walker of the Crows bumps Jeremy McGovern of the Eagles during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Jeremy McGovern of the Eagles and Josh Jenkins of the Crows compete for the ball during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Josh Jenkins and Rory Sloane celebrate a goal during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Josh Jenkins of the Crows marks the ball during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Josh Jenkins celebrates a goal during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Jack Darling kicks for goal during the round 22 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

TweetFacebookAdelaide 8.3 9.6 4.8 19.12 (126)defeatedWest Coast Eagles 0.1 5.4 6.6 10.9 (69)

GOALS – Adelaide:Jenkins 6, Walker 3, Betts, Lynch, Cameron 2, Dangerfield, Sloane, Knight, Atkins.West Coast:Le Cras, Cripps 2, McGinnity, Hutchins, Kennedy, Sheed, Shuey, Sinclair.

BEST – Adelaide:Dangerfield, Jenkins, Talia, Smith, Jacobs, Laird, Sloane.West Coast:Sheed, Shuey, Gaff, Rosa, Priddis, Sheppard.

INJURIES– McGovern (left shoulder).REPORTS– Nil.UMPIRES– Stevic, Chamberlain, Meredith.CROWD53,445 at Adelaide Oval.

The remarkable Phillip Walsh spoke of creating a masterpiece and on Sundaythe team he so sadly left behind painted a brilliant one at Adelaide Oval that overwhelmed everyone,especially the West Coast Eagles.

Never in Adelaide’s 25 years have they produced a more stunning and authoritative opening quarter –8.3 to 0.1 – setting up a terrific 57-point surprise win that has denied the Eagles a chance of claiming top spot going into the finals.

The Crows haveGeelong to play at Simonds Stadiumand perhaps seventh spot in sight. But forget the notion the Crows will be making up the numbers in the finals. This was an astonishing win against a genuine premiership threat.

And with 53,445 fans making big noise – the biggest non-showdown AFL attendance at this ground – sneaking a home-town final now comes into the equation.

The first term was the Eagles’ worst since being scoreless against Footscray in round 23, 1992 – the season they won their first premiership – and it was Adelaide’s best since round 22, 2011.

In key match-ups, Patrick Dangerfield was better than Brownlow medallistMatt Priddis, Daniel Talia outplayed the likely Coleman medallist Josh Kennedyand Sam Jacobs outclassed Nic Naitanui.

Remarkably, in brilliant conditions Adelaide kicked the first nine goals, West Coast the next five to look as if they would make a great recovery, before the Crows kicked the next five. The Eagles were expected to respond to Adelaide’s incredible start, but that the Crows also respond with a steady and disciplined third quarter was admirable.

At one stage of that first term Adelaide had six goals from 10 inside-50 entries. They had 46 more disposals and dominated the uncontested possessions 71-32 which was a reflection of the frenetic pace they moved the ball around.

However, the real big difference compared with most matches this season was Adelaide’s decision-making. They were always prepared to play-onbut at crucial times players, especially Tom Lynch, who has become a vital link-man, waited and attacked with precision. They refused to be rattled by the Eagles and make too many mistakes under pressure.

West Coast got within 24 points in the second term with a lift inmidfield, but the Crows’ defence, led by Talia, Brodie Smith and Rory Laird, stood up remarkably well. The much-talked about Eaglespowerforwardshad a really tough day.

Adelaide lookso dangerous when Josh Jenkins is in the goal-kicking mood like he was on Sunday. He marked powerfully, and perhaps more than Taylor Walker is the key to their scoring power. Jenkins kicked goals when the Eagles threatened to steal this game, and he finished with a career-best six goals.

Another significant key to this win were the performances by newcomers Rory Atkins and Riley Knight. Their enthusiasm was infectious; their decision-making process belied their handful of gamesexperience.

West Coast had won their previous three games herebut were for most part denied the ability to start their forward thrust from defence. The Crows’ forwards held the ball in their 50-metre zone so well, pressuring the Eagles into mistakes and causing turnovers.

Adelaide amassed 78 more disposals, and had a far better efficiency rate. However, the Eagles clearly won the clearances by five including eight more centre clearances. Most other statistics were generally even.

Perhaps the telling factor was Adelaide led the inside-50 marks 19-13, an indication that the Eagles’ shorter defence may prove a concern in the finals. Adelaide’s ability to work the ball forward quickly and find targets like Jenkins and the much shorter Eddie Betts exposed weaknesses.

The Crows have enjoyed some great wins over the years, but this one was special because of the finals structure, and especially because when they last met in the 15th series and lost by 56 points it was full of so much emotion following the death of Walsh.

Walsh would have loved the speed in which the Crows moved into their 50 zone, the unrelenting pressure on the man and the fight for the ball, and particularly the outstanding teamwork. It was a selfless, committed performance. It was pretty as a picture; a masterpiece.

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Medibank and Calvary resolve health insurance dispute at 11th hour

Calvary and Medibank have settled their dispute but neither party will reveal the terms of the new agreement. Photo: Glenn HuntMedibank Private customers will be free to use hospitals run by Calvary Health Care following a last minute resolution to a dispute that would have ended the agreement between Australia’s largest private health fund and the chain on Monday.
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Negotiations between the fund and the Catholic-affiliated hospital chain broke down in July after Medibank declared that it would no longer pay for 165 “highly preventable adverse events” and unplanned hospital readmissions within 28 days saying the crackdown would help eliminate mistakes.

“We had reached an agreement that will deliver enhanced clinical safety, quality care and affordability for members and patients,” both parties said upon signing a new three-year agreement. “It is good for both our organisations and all other stakeholders, be they staff or doctors.”

At the height of the dispute Medibank took out full-page newspaper advertisements to counter what it terms misleading and misinformed statements from Calvary.

“Unfortunately, unlike [other private hospitals] Calvary believes health insurers should pay for mistakes which can be prevented, like falls and pressure sores, even though they happen in their hospitals,” it said in advertisement.

Last week it offered to introduce an independent clinical review process to clarify situations where responsibility for adverse events was unclear.

Although neither party will reveal the terms of the new agreement it is likely to put pressure on other hospitals to adopt the rules Medibank was proposing.

Consumers Health Forum chief executive Leanne Wells said the secrecy was “not good enough”.

“Consumers pay thousands of dollars a year in health insurance premiums and the health fund involved is a publicly listed for-profit company.”

“For all members know, Calvary may have weakened and agreed to 160 or the 165 claims – hardly a big win for consumers because differential costs will still fall to consumers. Basically Medibank private members don’t know what they don’t know.”

Had the agreement not been signed, Medibank would have continued to pay for treatment at Calvary Hospitals, but the hospitals would have been free to charge patients extra where it felt it had not been paid enough.

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