Monthly Archives: June 2019

Back to the big smoke: RFS headquarters to stay in Sydney

Parkes and a host of other regional centres in the state have been ruled out of the running to become the new home of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS).
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NSW Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott has said a new, state-of-the-art headquarters for the RFS is likely to be situated within 40 minutes of Sydney’s CBD.

The announcement comes as a blow to areas like Orange, Parkes, Dubbo and Armidale which had, to differing extents, thrown their hats into the ring as potential hosts of the facility and its hundreds of staff.

Orange City Councillor Reg Kidd first made moves to highlight the city’s suitability in 2012.

Armed with a unanimous vote from his fellow councillors to campaign for the relocation and knowing the Baird Governemnt’s “platform of decentralisation”, Cr Kidd in February met with Mr Elliott to push the city’s cause.

The topic led discussions at the VolunteerFirefighters Association(VFFA) annual general meeting, which this year was held in Parkes in August.

But the minister’s announcement has put paid to anyhopes of housing the planned$14.2 million facility in the Central West.

Mr Elliott said being close to Sydney was “essential” so“key stakeholders”, including NSW Police and National Parks and media outlets “have efficient access” to RFS headquarters.

“It is … essential to have an inbuilt capability to enable media to easily transition to … headquarters and conduct live broadcasts, with travel time an important consideration,” he said.

Former Dubbo deputy mayor Ben Shields said moving the facility to the region would have made good political sense for a government smarting from the dramatic swing in the Orange byelection.

“The Nationalsgot a bloody nose on the weekend of November 12 and they need to look seriously at decentralisation and this is staring them right in the eye,” Mr Shields said.

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Cordeaux Heights nurse confesses to $47k welfare fraud

Centrelink fraudA Cordeaux Heights woman has admitted rorting Centrelink of almost $50,000 by claiming welfare while working as a part-timenurse.
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Michelle Jane Honesspleaded guilty in Wollongong Local Court on Thursday to two counts of engaging in conduct to obtain a financial advantage from a Commonwealth entity, amid revelations she deliberately lied about herincomeover a period of more than four years.

Court documents said Honess worked on a casual basis as an nursing assistant at three healthcare facilities, including South Coast Private Hospital, between December 2009 and March 2015, earning a total of $155,737.

However, Honessdisclosed just a fraction of that income to Centrelink, claiming she had only earned $7,015during the same period.

On each occasion Honess either under-declaredher pay or reportedto Centrelink that she had received no income in that reporting fortnight.

Unaware of the deceit and believing Honnes was entitled to receive full welfare benefits,Centrelink authorised $55,900in parenting paymentsbetweenbetween September 2010 and January 2014, and $17,600in Newstartpayments from March 2014 to February 2015.

In total, Honess received approximately $73,000 during the four and a half year period.

However, when her income was factored in, it was revealed she was only eligible to receive $26,000 in welfare assistance, representing an over payment of more than $47,000.

The 41-year-old’songoing scam was uncovered in a data-match investigation between Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office.

In court on Thursday, defence lawyerKaitlin Isabellasought the preparation of a background report from Community Corrections and asked for the case to be adjourned so Honess could attend a financial literacy program.

Magistrate Michael Stoddart agreed to list the matter for sentencing on January 12.

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King’s donation to Skinner questioned

Health Minister Jillian Skinner reads Illawarra-Shoalhaven Local Health District board chairman Professor Denis King’s letter in the NSW Legislative Assembly on Thursday.Health Minister Jillian Skinner has dodged questions in the NSW Parliament about a $3000 donation she received fromIllawarra Shoalhavenhealth district boardchairmanDenis King.
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The 2014 donation surfacedin the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, amid Labor questioning about the Baird government’s planned part-privatisation of Shellharbour Hospital.

Ms Skinner wasasked by Opposition Leader Luke Foley if she would “listen to the27 doctors across the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, who’ve written an open letter published today [Thursday] inthe Illawarra Mercury,stating their opposition to your plan to privatise services at Shellharbour Hospital”.

As she got to her feet to respond, theminister was handed adocument.

“It happens to be a letter to the editor, written to the editor of the Illawarra Mercury, written by Clinical Professor Denis King, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local HealthDistrict boardchair,” Ms Skinner told the Parliament.

“Where he answers every single one of those concerns raised by the doctors. I’m am very pleased to have the opportunity to read some of this letter onto the record.”

Ms Skinner read part of the letter aloud in her allocated five minutes and didn’t respondpersonally to the question. Dissatisfied with the response, Mr Foley questioned the health minister further a few minutes later.

“I refer to your answer to my earlier question, where you quoted Denis King in defence of your hospital privatisation plan. Would that be the same Denis King who personally donated $3000 to your election campaign?” he asked.

Mr Foley was referring to adisclosure of political donations for the year ending June 30, 2014.

The disclosure – which is publicly available on the NSW Electoral Commission website – listed Professor King as a major political donor and outlined he provided a monetary gift of $3000 to “Jillian Skinner” on June 6, 2014.

Ms Skinner told the Parliament that Professor King was “engaged by the Labor government when they were in office”.

The minister went on to quote Mr Foley’s budget reply speech from 2015, in whichMs Skinner said the Opposition Leader stated: “I do not believe that public is always good and private is always bad. For me, what matters is what works”.

Ms Skinner only used half of her allocated five-minute response time. Her question-dodging riled Labor MPs.

– Health chief responds to 27 doctors

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In-form Short looking to continue hot patch

Former East Ballarat cricketer and promising youngster Matt Short is enjoying a golden run of form as he looks to put himself on the cricketing map with a strong summer.
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Short backed up his Cricket Australia Futures League century with a maiden ton for Northcote in the Victorian Premier Cricket League. The stunning knock of 176was a welcome birthday present for Short who turned 21 four days earlier.

In what is quickly becoming common knowledge, Short’s aggressive batting style combined with hispatience to wait for the right ball has led to a great run of form.

Short credits a strong preseason, in which he spent time in Queensland playing over winter, for his consistent form.

“The last week especially has been huge, it’s always good to score a few runs and boost the confidence,” Short said.

“I’m definitely feeling pretty confident now. I had a pretty good preseason so to bring that into the start of the season has been really good. Batting out in the middle now I feel a lot more confident and in control.”

Like all cricketers, Short’s dream is to wear the baggy green, but he prefers to take a more short-term approach to his cricket.

Short, who captained the Cricket Australia XI against South Africa aheadto the first test, is hoping to continue his consistent run-scoring form in order to catch the eyes of selectors and is aiming to break into the Victorian side at Sheffield Shield level.

“Performance consistency is massive to try and crack into a team. I think that’s what I need to do to crack into the main Victorian team, so it was good to back up my Futures League hundred with a grade century.”

Short is also set to play in the upcoming Big Bash League which he feels will continue to develop his all-round game.

The right-hand batsmen is also working on his bowling craft. He feels in the modern game you can no longer simply get by on one facet of the game. Therefore, Short, while placing his batting at the top of the list,believesit is extremely important to improve his off-spin and ability in the field.

“I think cricket nowadays has evolutionised.You can’t just have one string to your bow. To have batting and a little bit of bowling and fielding I think really helps to be selected in teams.”

Short returned to his home club to help out at training on Thursday night alongside fellow localand Victorian Bushranger Blake Thomson while Hobart Hurricanes’ Jake Reed also took part.

BACK HOME: East Ballarat boy Matt Short gets involved at Thursday night’s training. He was also joined by fellow local Blake Thomson.

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Fyfe back in business for derby clash

IAIN Fyfe is set to play his first A-League game in more than three years when the Jets host Central Coast in Sunday’s derby showdown at McDonald Jones Stadium.
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BEST FOOT FORWARD: Veteran defender Iain Fyfe appears set to play for Newcastle against the Mariners on Sunday. Picture: Marina Neil

After injuries to centre backs Nigel Boogaard (ankle), Daniel Mullen (knee), Lachlan Jackson (ankle) and Daniel Alessi (knee), Newcastle officials threw an A-League lifeline toFyfe, the 34-year-old former Sydney and Adelaide defender.

He has been training with the Jets all week and it is expected the club will rubber-stamp an injury-waiver contract on Friday, allowing him to play some role against the Mariners.

Jets coach Mark Jones will then have to weigh up whether to rush Fyfe, who has played for the past two years with Campbelltown City in the South Australian Premier League, straight into his starting side.

Fyfe’s last A-League game was for Adelaide in a 2-1 play-off loss to Brisbane onApril 7, 2013.

Jones’ other option will be to partner versatile Ben Kantarovski, who hopes to return from a knee injury, with rookie Johnny Koutroumbis.

AAP reports:Tim Cahill will play a club match in his home town for the first time in two decades at when Western Sydney host Melbourne Cityon Friday.

Cahill’s exclusion from the Australian squad that drew with Thailand midweek raised eyebrows.

But City coach John van’t Schip has been the biggest beneficiary.

“It’s important that Tim got a good few weeks of training and playing,” van’t Schip said.

“He’s 100 per cent …

“He was struggling a bit with his Achilles but that’s all good now.

“Everyone will write and say things but we know what Tim is doing every day here. We’re very happy and we know also that we as a team are going to get better.”

Meanwhile,Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold says he doesn’t care what colour kit Brisbane wear at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

The Roar will wear maroon against the Sky Blues at Suncorp Stadium – the spiritual home of Queensland’s State of Origin team – in agame billed as “State vs State”.

“It’s not rugby league, it’s football. It doesn’t matter what colour jerseys they’re in,” Arnold said.

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