Letters to the editor Friday March 16 2018

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By , 18/03/2019 15:07

ON THE RAILS: Kahibah’s Peter Sansom argues governments are overdue in looking to speed up the rail trip between Sydney and Newcastle. He blames hostility towards rail.
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WHY has it taken so long for governments to see the need for straightening the railway between Sydney and Newcastle (“State case for quicker commutes”, Herald 10/3)? People have been screaming out for the straightening out of our railways for years, yet governments of both political persuasions have been deaf to these calls.

For a long time, both parties seemed to have been openly hostile to rail transport. The closure of the railway into Newcastle and the pathetic excuses for its closure bore witness to that. What’s interesting is that the access to the harbor, which was one of the pathetic excuses, has not helped businesses in Hunter Street.

I digress. When I was an engineman driving freight trains between Broadmeadow and Sydney, I became very frustrated at having to endure steam age alignments while many millions of dollars were spent on new roads and freeways that very quickly became clogged up with traffic. I really hope we see something happen soon.

Mind you, the north coast line needs to be straightened as well. The north coast line is worse the line between Sydney and Newcastle. It’s about time our governments got their priorities right. Rail transport is between three and nine times more fuel efficientthan road. Considering the looming energy shortage – peak oil is still a major issue that the media seems to have forgotten about -and green house gas issues, I’m at a loss to understand why more has not been done before now.

Closing the rail to Newcastle hasbeen of no benefit to the city, and the traffic has only become worse.

Peter Sansom,KahibahCOAL FAR FROM FLAWLESSI NOTE that Matt Howell (“Tomago boss wary of AGL Liddell plan”, Herald 13/3) is worried about renewable energy power supply. If I were him I would be more worried about the 44 fossil fuelled power generation breakdowns since summer began, especially when two coal-fired generators broke down together and took 1000 megawatts of generation out of the grid in an instant.

The Portland smelter mentionedlost its supply due to a fault on transmission lines, nothing to do with generation of electricity.

Since the n Energy Market Operator learnt how to integrate renewables in the South n grid over the past year, more than 50 per centof South ’s power has successfully come from renewables.I also note that the new owner of the South n steel works is planning on using renewable energy to power the steel works since cheap renewable power will make the steel works profitable.

Agner Sorensen,TeralbaRELATED: Today’s Short TakesA KNIGHT TO REMEMBERJARROD Mullen was hung out to dry. Explain this to me again: against the background of Matt Lodge returning to football or Ben Barba testing positive to cocaine not once, but twice, Mullen incurred no assault charges, no bubbler displays, no betting on the game or placing the game in disrepute. Basically, as I understand it he was making a last-ditch attempt to play the game he loves and represented so well. He was held in high regard,then crucified.

Why? For trying all he could do to recover from an injury that had plagued his otherwise exemplary career for years. His career ended not due to a chemical enhancer, or a rape, or anassault, or any of the other apparently minor misdemeanours that get a slap on the wrist.Can someone please explain how this can be?

Greig Hardman,MerewetherCOURTING A BAD REACTIONI KNOW they’re doing their job but I’ve seen it that often, and it annoys me that much, that I feel the need to say no thanks.

Almost every night on the television news there’s a report about a court case.As the accused walks from the courthouse, clearly demonstrating by their body language that they have no wish to say anything to the assembled media, our intrepid reporter feels obliged to shove a microphone in their face and throw a leading question in their direction:“what would you like to say to your victim?”, or“do you feel any remorse for your actions?”, or “would you like to apologise to … ?”.If they choose to run from the cameras, all the better. We will all view the chase. If they lose their temper and push a cameraman or woman, it will probably be replayed multiple times.I hope I’m not the only one but frankly, I think it’s sensationalism masquerading as news reporting and I choose to say no thanks.

John Buckley,FloravilleWHY BRAKE SO SUDDENLYHOW wonderfully efficient the Roads and Maritime Services are with this fiasco (“Speed stoush in Parliament”, Herald 14/3). Firstly we see illuminated signs informing everyone that the speed limit will change on March 11, for some obscure mystical reason, and then, with the illuminated signs still in place, we see that the old 70km/h speed limit signs are still in place on March 12. This begs two important questions: what is the obscure reason behind the speed limit change, and how can people be so inefficient asto carry it out with mass confusion?Oh, I forgot – a state government entity was possibly trying to get our local government to carry out the physical replacement of signs. The result doesn’t surprise me.

Peter Hickey,ShortlandTWO DECADES OF DISCOVERYI WOULD like to congratulate the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) on their 20thanniversary.

In their two decades, they have achieved tremendous accolades and results that have promoted Newcastle as a city that is leading the way in medical research.I always put the HMRI at the top of my list when visiting dignitaries ask what they need to know about Newcastle and where they should visit.

As a father of two children with asthma, I am particularly proud of the work that they are doing in this field. Dr Peter Gibson and his team at the HMRI are now considered an international centre of excellence for asthma and lung research.I would like to congratulate current and past HMRI Directors, Michael Nilsson, Emeritus Professor Maree Gleeson OAM and Emeritus Professor John Rostas on their work over the past 20 years, as well as the Board and its past and present directors.I look forward to the work that will be produced over the next 20 years and beyond.Thank you to all the hard working researchers, students and staff at the HMRI. You are an asset to Newcastle and the greater international community.

Tim Crakanthorp, Newcastle MP

Reds’ Kurz talks down Sydney FC job link

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By , 18/03/2019 15:07

Marco Kurz has talked down speculation of replacing Graham Arnold as Sydney FC A-League coach.Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz has flat-batted links to the soon-to-be vacant Sydney FC job, pointing out that he’s still on contract for another A-League season.
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Kurz has been named as a potential replacement for Graham Arnold when the title-winning mentor leaves to take over the Socceroos at campaign’s end.

Speaking for the first time since Sydney publicly confirmed they were hunting a new coach, the German carefully talked down speculation he was in the running.

“I’ve heard about the rumours from Sydney; maybe it’s not too bad to be named for a club like Sydney FC,” Kurz said.

“But I am concentrated on our next game and I am contracted for the next season.

“It’s only speculation, not more. My focus is for the boys for our goal and nothing else.”

The coach’s future isn’t the only distraction threatening to disrupt the Reds’ finals run, with half a dozen players off contract, including Danish winger Johan Absalonsen and defenders Tarek Elrich and Ersan Gulum.

“It’s normal that players, whose contracts finish after this season, speak with other clubs and find a new way,” Kurz said.

“But I am 100 per cent sure that all players contracted for Adelaide United are focused on the last game.”

Less of an interruption to the squad will be last week’s change of ownership.

Piet van der Pol, the head of the European-based consortium that had bought out all previous stakeholders, has addressed the playing group and attended two training sessions, including on Friday.

He will also be watching on Friday night when his new club host Melbourne City as they try to consolidate their top-six spot.

The Reds haven’t won in five games since January’s 1-0 defeat of Wellington.

That was one week after suffering a 5-0 thrashing by third-placed City. They also have everything to play for on Friday with Melbourne Victory only one point adrift.

With Taylor Regan and Dzengis Cavusevic returning from suspension, Kurz said everyone was available except Baba Diawara (quad).

City, also coming off a two-week break, are again missing Osama Malik (quad) but regain Bart Schenkeveld from suspension.

“Melbourne City is a strong team, very disciplined, very compact,” Kurz said.

“And we have the experience in the last game that they need only one or two chances to score a goal.

“That means we must use every single chance to score and not make simple mistakes like in the last games.”

STATS THAT MATTER:

* City have won their past three games against Adelaide, keeping three clean sheets and scoring a total eight goals

* But City have lost their past three consecutive games

* The Reds have a league-high 321 shots on goal

Campese backs Chinan Comm Games double

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By , 18/03/2019 15:07

Captain Lewis Holland is confident of men’s rugby sevens gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.Rugby great David Campese believes can pull off a historic double and land gold medals in the men’s and women’s sevens at next month’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
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Campese expects the tournament hosts to grow an extra leg, performing in front of family and friends on home soil, just as they did with twin successes in January at the Sydney Sevens.

“If the players want it, they can achieve what they want to achieve,” Campese told AAP on Thursday after ‘s two Games squads were announced.

“Especially maybe some of the players who live in Queensland, their parents haven’t really had the chance to travel and now they can actually sit and watch their son and daughter play.

“Some people do love that. They thrive. That’s what they play for.”

Sydney Sevens stand-out Maurice Longbottom has recovered from an ankle injury that had sidelined him for six weeks and been named to spearhead the n men’s assault.

The former South Sydney NRL junior, who joined the n sevens team in late 2017, missed the past two world tour legs.

Captain Lewis Holland, who strained his hamstring in the most-recent leg in Canada, was also selected for the April 13-15 showpiece.

Both the men’s and women’s teams are hunting ‘s first gold medal at a Commonwealth Games.

With the women competing for the first time, next month provides a historic opportunity for Commonwealth nations to win gold medals in both events.

Nine members of the Glasgow bronze medal-winning men’s side will be backing up, including veterans Tom Lucas, Sam Myers, Jesse Parahi and James Stannard.

“A gold medal and the No.1 spot is always the goal. We’re not going there to compete. We’re always hungry,” Holland said.

Eight members of the triumphant women’s team from the 2016 Rio Olympics have been picked, including co-captains Shannon Parry and Sharni Williams.

Embracing the pressure of favouritism, coach Tim Walsh said his side were hell bent on adding Commonwealth Games gold to their growing trophy cabinet.

“Every time we’ve put the players under pressure, they’ve thrived under it,” Walsh said.

“If we turn up in our best physical state and mental state, then we’re every chance.”

‘s men have been drawn in Pool B alongside Samoa, England and Jamaica, while the women are in Pool B with Fiji, Wales and England.

‘s men’s sevens team: Lachlan Anderson, Timothy Anstee, Thomas Connor, Lewis Holland (capt), Boyd Killingworth, Maurice Longbottom, Thomas Lucas, Samuel Myers, Benjamin O’Donnell, Jesse Parahi, John Porch, James Stannard, Charlie Taylor.

‘s women’s sevens team: Charlotte Caslick, Emilee Cherry, Dominique Du Toit, Georgina Friedrichs, Ellia Green, Demi Hayes, Shannon Parry (co-capt), Evania Pelite, Alicia Quirk, Cassandra Staples, Emma Sykes, Emma Tonegato, Sharni Williams (co-capt).

Newcastle Permanent defends branch closure after criticism in NSW Parliament

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By , 18/03/2019 15:07

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millet says there has been a significant shift in the way people do their banking, with the rise of digital platforms.Newcastle Permanent has dismissed a claim that it’s abandoningthe western suburbs, after Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery took aim at the financial institution in NSW Parliament this week.
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The Labor MP criticised Newcastle Permanent for the recent closure of its Lambton branch, which came on the heels ofshut-downs at John Hunter Hospital and the University of Newcastle.

“Lambton residents and business owners have been left aghast by this decision by the Newcastle Permanent,” she said.

Read more:Newcastle Permanent marks 115 years in business

“Despite being some of the most profitable companies in , financial institutions have abandoned the people in the western suburbs by closing vital services like this one in Lambton.”

But Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett said the institution had seven branches within 5km of the former Lambton office on Elder Street andhad30 across the Hunter.

He said the decisions to close the Lambton, John Hunteranduniversity branches weremotivated by the need to“invest ourmembers’ funds efficiently and responsibly”.

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett.

Read more:New chairman for Newcastle Permanent

“Over the past few years the Lambton, John Hunter Hospital, and University of Newcastle branches have experienced a significant decline in over-the-counter transactions and local customer visits,” Mr Millett said.

“While we value our loyal customers at these branches, many of our customers preferred the convenience of being able to manage their everyday banking onlineand be supported by our local customer contact centre.”

Mr Millett said the organisationwas“committed to the people of the Hunter”, buttechnological advances had shifted the way people did their banking.

State Labor MP for Wallsend Sonia Hornery.

He said the ATM would be retained at Lambton.

“Keeping this branch open is no longer sustainable when we have to invest in providing services to customersthat prefer digital channels,” he said.

Ms Hornery wrote to Newcastle Permanent to ask for the closureto be reviewed.

“These institutions love to spruik their credentials as being local and friendly but don’t back it up when they close local branches and advise customers to stay loyal and just get online,” she said.

Dad thanks supporters over son’s Vic death

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By , 18/03/2019 15:07

The father of Brodie Moran has thanked people for the sympathy they have shown.The father of an eight-year-old boy allegedly murdered by his mother in Victoria says he never felt his son was in danger and not being there to prevent his death is his “biggest regret”.
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Brodie Moran’s body was found at a Tootgarook house on the Mornington Peninsula last week, following a call to Ambulance Victoria.

His mother, Joanne Finch, 42, is in custody after being charged with murdering the Tootgarook Primary School student.

In a statement on Thursday, the boy’s father Lee Finch says he never stopped “loving, caring and supporting” Brodie, whom he described as a “very loved, kind, considerate and caring boy”.

“Brodie’s passing has touched so many people,” he said.

“If I could be half the person my son was I would be proud.

“He lived a life in his eight short years that many others may not live in a lifetime.

“When remembering Brodie it is with happiness of his warm cheeky smile and loving caring nature, and this is a gift he has left us all.”

Mr Moran said not being there to prevent his boy’s death is his “deepest regret”.

“Although Joanne and I had separated in July 2015, I never stopped loving, caring and supporting my son both emotionally and financially,” he said.

“Brodie and I had a weekly FaceTime session together when he would share with great enthusiasm all that he had done that week.

“At no point did I, or anyone around Brodie and Joanne, feel that he was in danger.”

Mr Finch said he was touched by the warmth and support people, including from strangers from the other side of the world, had shown him.

He also thanked police and medical services and requested people allow him, his family and friends grieve in private.

Joanne Finch appeared in court last week and did not apply for bail. She was remanded to next appear in court on June 29.

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