Month: February 2019

Newcastle New Years Eve plans leave traders anxious

CELEBRATION: New Years Eve fireworks at Honeysuckle in 2015. PICTURE: Marina NeilNEWCASTLE’S New Year’s Eve celebrations have been slammedby Honeysuckle traders who say the biggest event on their calendar has been treated as an “afterthought” by the city’s council.
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Just days out from the event, theNewcastle Heraldhas seen correspondencefrom the Honeysuckle Community Group –made up of residents and retailers in the precinct –to Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmesexpressing “dismay” that planning for the city’s new year’s celebrations “had only been initiated some three weeks ago”.

TheHeraldunderstands it was sent in response to a briefing from a council officer earlier in December which prompted concerns from traders that planning for the event –including roadblocks on Honeysuckle Drive, and the location of the fireworks–had been left to the last minute.

“Icouldn’t imagine being a retailer in Sydney and havingsomeone from Sydney City Council come along and say we’re just hurriedly putting together the planning now in December,”Josh Hodges, the manager of Hog’s Breath Cafe in Honeysuckle said.

“It’s the biggest night of the year for us and we obviously put a lot of time and effort into the timingand planning of it.”

But the council has dismissed the concerns,saying planning for the event started as early as April.

“I can assure you, planning for New Year’s Eve celebrations did not begin three weeks ago,” the council’s acting head of planning Andrew Baxter wrote in response to the group’s letter last week.

Atthe heart of the dispute appears to be the role –or lack thereof –of the Hunter Development Corporation in organisingthe event.

For the past two years the HDC hassponsoredthe city’s new year celebrations –as well as a number of other Honeysuckle events –but theHeraldunderstands it wasn’t approached by the councilthis time.

In its letter to Cr Nelmes, the Honeysuckle Community Group expressed concern at the lack of“corporate sponsorship” for the New Year’s Eve event,including the loss of “significant funding support” from the HDC.

Figures from the HDC’s last twoannual reportsrevealit spent$152,000on “community activation projects”, which included New Year’s Eve, the Asian Cup, Day and Surfest.

“The Corporation and the City of Newcastle teamed up to deliver a program of events in the city centre, centred on Honeysuckle, levering off the 2015 Asian Cup,” the annual report from 2014-15 states.

“A professional event management company was appointed to deliver a diverse program of events in Newcastle between New Year’s Eve and February 2015.

“The initiative was designed to leverage the enormous boost the Asian Cup brought to the Newcastle visitor economy.”

The program was repeated in 2015-16–with events like the successful Winter Heat festival –but was not continued this financial year.

In his response to the group, Mr Baxter wrote that HDC “unfortunately no longer provide sponsorship” to the New Year’s Eve event, but remained “involved in the planning”.

Tim Lees, the director of the Honeysuckle Community Group, said he washappy with the response from the council.

“The understanding we were given initiallywas that the event hadn’t been planned for too long, [however]the council didput a bit more information on the table,” he said.

“They’ve insisted there has beenmany, many months of planning and are quite confident event willbe good.”

However traders including Mr Hodges –a former Port Stephens Councillor and Liberal Party staffer –also raised concernabout a lack of road blocks on Honeysuckle Drive, and the council’s decision to move the fireworks launching area from Dyke Point in Carrington to a barge on the harbour.

But the council has also defended itself on that front.

It said that rather than introduce road blocks it will use“traffic calming measures” in the area, and that “provision has been made for a road closure to be activated only in the event of unanticipated crowd numbers or if directed to by NSW Police”.

And while the fireworks have been moved, a spokeswoman from the Port of Newcastle confirmed Dyke Point was “currently in use for project cargo storage” and so couldn’t be used.

“Port of Newcastle has assisted Council in planning the New Year’s Eve fireworks by coordinating communication with the owner of the barge and providing access to the wharf where the barge is moored,” she said.


Manus detainee Faysal Ahmed told there was no bed for him at clinic days before he died

Faysal Ishak Ahmed (in green T-shirt), who died on Christmas Eve after being flown from the Manus Island detention centre. Photo: suppliedFaysal Ishak Ahmed was told there was no bed for him at Manus Island detention centre’s medical clinic just five days before he died after collapsing, hitting his head and suffering a seizure.
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The company contracted to provide health services, International Health and Medical Services, told Mr Ahmed firmly that the clinic was not an “accommodation area” and, as such, a bed in the clinic would not be provided.

In correspondence obtained by Fairfax Media, the IHMS health services manager told Mr Ahmed that if he wished to request a room in the area for those suffering mental health issues, he could contact another contractor.

More than 200 detainees at the centre have signed an open letter calling for a royal commission to investigate the circumstances of Mr Ahmed’s death on Christmas Eve.

Released on Wednesday, the letter asserts that Mr Ahmed had heart and other health problems for more that six months before his death, but that IHMS “did not care about him and did not provide any treatment for him”.

The letter from IHMS sent to Faysal Ahmed. Photo: Supplied

The company has emphatically rejected Mr Ahmed was denied access to medical care, and released a statement on Wednesday saying it was “very concerned with the inaccuracies and misinformation” surrounding the reporting of Mr Ahmed’s death.

“He was seen by clinicians and other allied health professionals at the clinic on numerous occasions in the three months preceding his death for multiple issues and his presenting medical issues were assessed, investigated and managed,” the statement said.

“The facts and circumstances surrounding his death will be referred to the Queensland Coroner. However, currently available information indicates that Mr Ahmed died from severe head injuries sustained in a fall at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre on 23 December.”

IHMS was extremely proud of the work of its “highly qualified and professional clinicians”, whose efforts to stabilise Mr Ahmed and transfer him to were “exemplary”.

Fairfax Media has obtained a raft of documents in which Mr Ahmed repeatedly seeks treatment for a range of conditions including chest pains, difficulty in breathing, swollen hands and stomach pains.

In a formal complaint lodged four days before he was told he would not be given a bed at the clinic, he demanded to know why more than 20 visits to the centre’s clinic had not produced a diagnosis of his ailments, let alone a treatment plan.

Detainees have asserted that Mr Ahmed went to the clinic two days after his request for a bed was rejected and was told there was nothing wrong with him.

The documents include formal responses from IHMS that suggest the provider considered his problems were more mental than physical. In October, he was told a primary health nurse and doctor had discussed his problems at length and “ways to resolve these issues”.

“You were offered to see mental health regarding your sleeplessness, which you refused,” the letter said. “We note that you have been attending medication rounds and we advise that you continue to do so.”

This is a reference to what detainees regard as a nightly ritual, where they line up to be given medicine to help them sleep.

The letter calling for a royal commission says the detainees believe Mr Ahmed was already dead when he was flown to on Christmas Eve.

“About two years ago another refugee, Hamid Khazaie, died in similar circumstances to Faysal. Also we lost Reza Barati and Hossein Kamil in this prison in a system made and run by the n government.

“We are writing this letter to you to request [a] royal commission to fully investigate IHMS, the provider of medical services and its control by Border Force.”

The letter asserts that more than 400 of the almost 900 detainees at the centre require emergency medical treatment.

“We wrote that letter under fear and sadness,” one of the signatories, Behrouz Boochani, told Fairfax Media. “The people in Manus are really worried about their health, and there is a big question here that who will be next?”

In what may have been the final response to Mr Ahmed’s pleas for medical attention, the IHMS health services manager wrote to him on December 19 informing that his request, presumably for a bed in the clinic, had been received.

“We advise that IHMS is not an accommodation area and as such as bed in the clinic will not be provided,” the correspondence says.

“If you wish to request a room in the VSRA you need to contact Wilsons Whisky team and they will assist you with this.”

Mr Boochani said VSRA is a small room close to the IHMS clinic where people with mental problems are kept for a few days a time. He said the Wilson Whisky team is a section of the security provider that deals with those with mental health issues.

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Man dies in Condell Park hit-and-run

A man has died after being struck by a van in Sydney’s south-west on Wednesday afternoon.
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Emergency services were called to Clarence Street, Condell Park, before 4pm where they found an unconscious man understood to be aged in his 70s.

The man had left his family home and crossed the street to get to his parked vehicle, neighbours said.

The man opened the vehicle’s door to get in when a white van travelling north along the same street struck the man and continued to drive from the scene.

The injured man was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics. However, he died on the way to hospital.

Witness Muhammad Kassem told Nine News he was standing in his front yard with his family when he saw the van speed down the street.

“‘Bang!’ Someone smacked him and you see the guy on the floor – about 10 metres, he flew. And he just drove off,” Mr Kassem said. PLEASE SHARE: Police are appealing for urgent assistance to locate a van and the driver following fatal hit-and-run in Condell Park. #9Newspic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/7ecLkHDHn8— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) December 28, 2016

The man was “leaning over his car to get stuff out of it” when he was struck by the van, another witness told Seven News.

A section of Clarence Street taped off by police included a damaged white ute on the side of the road. Objects were strewn across the road in front of the ute including a pair of black boots, clothing and a children’s soft toy.

Police arrived at the scene and began an investigation into the incident. 

The van is described as white, similar to a mini-van, and may have been damaged on the front passenger side of the vehicle. */]]>


Sydney FC braced to become victims of their A-League success as Asian clubs loom

 Since the first days of pre-season, Graham Arnold has remained firm that the biggest test Sydney FC will face this season will be against themselves. As of January 1, that may no longer be the case.
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Arnold’s statements have so far been true, as no side has tarnished the Sky Blues’ undefeated start to the season that has put them seven points clear at the top of the A-League table.

However, the club is now braced to become the victim of their own success once the Asian transfer windows begin to reopen at the start of 2017.

Few have been able to match Sydney FC in the A-League this season, but the Sky Blues are no contest for the riches of Asia and are expecting a flurry of offers to come in for some of their star players. Already, defender Matt Jurman has attracted interest from South Korea and is in the final months of his contract with Sydney. The Sky Blues have targeted Perth Glory’s Rhys Williams as a potential replacement as they prepare for a number of other players to become transfer targets of foreign clubs.

The Thai and UAE windows have already opened, China and Qatar will follow on New Year’s Day and soon the Asian transfer market will be in full operation when Japan and Korea begin their dealings on January 7 – and Arnold believes retaining his in-form squad could be the biggest hurdle he’s faced thus far.

“You’ve got Asian agents knocking on the door for some of our players,” Arnold said. “It’s about getting through this next period but also managing that, the transfer window is coming up on January 1 and there’s no transfers in but we can’t compete with transfers outside of .”

No club has started an A-League season better than Sydney FC this campaign but a squad with so many key players in the last year of their contracts makes them more enticing and affordable for Asian clubs.

It’s the third time Arnold has overseen a league leader during the January transfer window following his time with Central Coast Mariners and his past experience in managing players wanted by foreign clubs.

Arnold’s bid to convince his best players to stay with the club is a challenge to finish the season as champions and set a new record for points amassed in a single season.

“Make history, be the best A-League team ever and win. It’s been six years, going on to seven that this club hasn’t won a trophy and that’s what we’ve tried to drive since day one,” Arnold said.

Sydney are already on track to do so having claimed 30 points before the halfway mark of this season. They are on course to not only break the record of 57 points in a 10 team, 27 game format, but also break the all-time A-League record of 65 points set by Brisbane Roar in 2010-11.

“Players don’t want to leave a good environment, here in especially we give the players everything here that they need to become top footballers,” Arnold said.


Nick Olive has his Single Gaze on Doncaster Mile or Coolmore Classic

Canberra trainer Nick Olive is considering the Doncaster Mile for Single Gaze. Photo: Jamila ToderasCanberra trainer Nick Olive is considering the $3 million Doncaster Mile and the Coolmore Classic as he chases Single Gaze’s second group 1 win.
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His stable star missed the spring due to a ligament problem after she claimed her maiden group 1 when she saluted in the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000 metres) last autumn.

But she’s back to “100 per cent” fitness, although Olive is planning a long, slow preparation towards her spring targets after returning to work.

He was unsure what exactly those targets would be, but said both the Doncaster (1600m) and the Coolmore  (1500m) were options.

What her other plans were would depend on her form, but Olive was again hoping to extend her out beyond 2000m again.

Olive said she’d “really matured”, “strengthened up” and “filled out” during her time in the paddock.

“I haven’t finalised plans yet mate. We are bringing her up quite slowly. I’m just going to keep taking that tact,” he said.

“There’s a myriad of races on the agenda, but I just haven’t finalised a program. I just want to see how she’s coming up.

“Something like the Doncaster’s on the schedule, the Coolmore Classic, those sort of races … and then hoping to step her up after that.”

Olive is on the NSW Trainers Association board and was behind Canberra horses being allowed to compete in the NSW Country Championships.

He said he was “neutral” on Racing NSW’s decision to switch Canberra horses and trainers to the Provincial Champs for 2017.

“I’m sort of neutral on the idea. It’s obviously going to be harder to win the Provincials, but the thing is we get more chances at it [and] that’s inviting,” Olive said.

“There’s only two horses that can qualify from each Country district whereas from the Provincial it’s three from every race.”

Olive has four runners and one emergency running at Canberra’s Thoroughbred Park on Thursday.

While he said he had several strong chances, he thought Turbo Bundy in the benchmark handicap (1000m) was his best hope after his strong win at Wagga Wagga last start.

“They’re all going well, nearly all of them are chances tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it. I think Unyielding will go well, Turbo Bundy will go well,” Olive said.

“[Rhomlo’s] going fantastic, he should’ve won last start.

“[But] probably Turbo Bundy [is my best chance]. He just won well the other day and has held his form.

“He’s drawn the outside gate, which is a bit of a concern, but we think he’ll run another great race.”