Former RDA Hunter and Newcastle Permanent chairman Michael Slater dies

Michael Slater.THE Hunter’s business community is in mourning after the shock passing of Michael Slater.
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Mr Slater, a married father of two sons, is understood to have died on Tuesday morning after a short illness.

He had recently stepped down from his roles as chairman of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation and Regional Development Hunter.

Newcastle Permanent chief executive officer Terry Millett said his staff were“devastated”.

“Mike was Novocastrian to his bootstraps,” Mr Millett said.

“He was so proud of the community and wanted so much to make a contribution.

“He was a person who cared –a lot –and was very hard working and diligent.

“He could be stubborn and hard to move on some things, but you knew his heart was in a great spot.

“Mike was also a great dad, heused to talk to me about his family and how much he cared about them.”

Mr Slater, 71, was the longest servingchairman ofNewcastle Permanent Building Society, a role he held foralmost 10 yearsuntil he stepped down in October 2016.

He was also involved with theNewcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation from its inception to March 2017.

He was still on the board of directors for both the building society and the foundation when he died.

“Mike’s been part of the organisation as a director for more than 15 years and made an incrediblecontribution, so we are devastated,” Mr Millett said.

“When he came to the organisation it was less than one third of its current size, now it’s an $11 billion organisation. We would not have beenin the position to achieve what we achieved without Mike.

“He’s going to be missed for his wisdom, good humour and wise counsel.

“We’re now thinking ‘Wow, we’re not going to have Mike’.

“The grieving process will be intense and long. He was so well loved.”

Mr Millett said he last saw Mr Slater in May and understood his illness had been “quick and severe”.

“The fact he pushed on and was still an active board member tells you about commitment of the guy.”

Newcastle Permanent chair Jeff Eather said he admired Mr Slater’s “knowledge, passion and tenacity in the boardroom as well as when carrying out his many other roles in community organisations”.

“Mike demonstrated an unsurpassed passion for continuous improvement, robust governance and corporate philanthropy,” Mr Eather said.

“His stewardship of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation over the past 10 years further demonstrated his passion for supporting the community and his commitment to making a significant difference to less fortunate people in our community as he helped the foundation to become what we believe is the largest of its kind in regional .

“Mike’s contribution to Newcastle Permanent can’t be overstated, and we know his loss will come as a heavy loss to the Hunter and broader NSW business and not-for-profit communities.”

Mr Slater told the Herald last yearbusiness leaders should not fail to take on a challenge.

“I believe all business leaders, whether they operate a small enterprise or govern a large organisation, have an obligation to represent the interests of the community and give back to it in any capacity they can,” Mr Slater said.

RDA Hunter acting chair John Turner said Mr Slater had been the organisation’s “driving force” throughout his tenure, fromJanuary 2015 to April 2017.

“His vision was very good for RDA because he knew the Hunter so well,” Mr Turner said.

“The implication was he would be the first invited to anything going, because he knew how the Hunter was ticking. He could pinpoint areas where we could be looking to put our attention to.

“Where his leadership came in was in relation to programs like the STEM program, which was looking at developing technology based businesses for employment purposes, and the ME program for getting young kids involved.”

Mr Turner said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull invited Mr Slater to launch the STEM program in Parliament House “as an example of what he would like to see with STEM programs rolled out across ”.

“Without his drive we would not have achieved the runs on board we got for those programs,” Mr Turner said.

“He will be remembered as a leader within the Hunter community.

“He influenced many spheres and organisations and was respected by allof the bodies he touched.

“He was developing RDA Hunter into one of the leading RDAs in .”

Mr Turner saidMr Slater was “very friendly, gregarious and the proverbiallife of the party”.

He said he last saw Mr Slater about three months ago, when they discussed the job handover.

Mr Turner said Mr Slater was planning to travel to Europe.

“He was frail but in good spirits and looking forward to the trip,” he said.

“We’re all shocked to hear of his passing –he’llcertainly be missed in Newcastle, there’s no question of that.”

Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes expressed the chamber’s sympathies to Mr Slater’s family, friends and colleagues.

“He made a significant contribution to the region over a long period of time,” Mr Slater said.

“I personally met Michael back in the 80’s and he was a very impressive man then who kept on growing and kept on giving.

“It is always a tragedy when we lose a significant business person such as Michael who gave a significant contribution to this region.”

Mr Slater, an accountant, graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor Of Commerce in 1972 and Master Of Business Administration in 1985.

Mr Slater was named last yearas the Hunter Business Chamber’sBusiness Leader of the Year.

He also took home the NSW Business Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year 2016.

Mr Slater was a member of Surf Life Saving for 50 years and a patron of the Hunter, North Coast and Mid North Coast branches.

He was also on the Westpac Rescue Helicopter board of directors for more than 19 years.

Government pays $262 million to buy half Watermark exploration licence as coal plans firm

SHENHUA has taken a massive step forward in its plans for the Watermark coal project at Breeza, on the Liverpool Plains.
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NSW Government announced this morning it had reached a deal with the Chinese miner to excise half of the area covered by Shenhua’s exploration licence, reclaiming high value cropping country, includingblack soil floodplains.

Despite the move to protect farmland, it willstir fears the remaining tenement will be extended into an underground mine.

Map shows Shenhua’s reduced exploration area.

In return Shenhua gets a $262 million refund from the original $300m exploration fee paid to government by the company in 2008.

Shenhua has previously received development approval for the Watermark mine, but the project has languished for years

Shenhua still requires Commonwealth approval of management plans for water, biodiversity and environment.

NSW must also issue a mining licence, which is largely a legal formality now development consent has been granted.

Excising the strategic agricultural leaves in play the area planned for Watermark’s westernmost of three open-cut coal pits, which have been approved under the planning process to remain an open void when mining stops.

Shenhua may be able to tap about just one third of the coal resource available under the initial exploration area.A large amount of coal left in the project boundary is too deep for open cut mining.

Earlier this year, speculating on a potential licence excise, local farmer Andrew Pursehouse said Shenhua would have a “backdoor” to pursue an underground mine.

“Reducing Shenhua’s footprintleaves potential for an extensioninto anunderground longwall mine,” Mr Pursehouse said at the time.

Last year, NSW bought back BHP’s exploration licence for the Caroona coal mine for $220m.

Caroona was planned as an underground operation underneath black soil plains, and then premier Mike Baird said potential damage to valuable farmland justified the buyback.

Said the exploration licence buyback will not protect the unique water resource that makes the region unique among farmland, and able to produce two crops a year.

Chairwoman of the Caroona Coal Action Group Susan Lyle said the exploration area buyback does not remove the risks that the mine poses to farmland and the underlying water table.

“It makes no difference to the effect the mine will have on the surrounding agricultural area. There will still be a mine in the middle of the Liverpool Plains. This hasn’t protected the water,” she said.

“The mine, even in the remaining area, will dig below the aquifer, it could even puncture the aquifer.

“NSW Resources Minister Don Harwin said mining would now be restricted to ridge lands.”

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Water, Niall Blair, said future mining operations must abide by strict water management conditions Shenhua’s plans have been “exhaustively assessed” by the NSW Aquifer Interference Policy, and will be subject to continual monitoring.

“Today’s agreement unlocks prime agricultural land for farming, helping to maintain the region’s reputation as one of the great food bowls of .”

Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said the agreement strikes “the right balance” between farming and creating up to 600 new jobs and investment in the region.

Mrs Lyle said government consultation had fallen short.

“We’ve been kept out of the loop almost forever,” she said.

“We have written to the Premier and minister, but we’ve only heard that government is negotiating to excise land. We have not seen a minister or departmental person here.

“To throw it back at us like, here’s the decision and here’s a map, if nothing more it’s bad manners.

“Seeing we’re the ones who will be affected it would’ve been good if government had at least told us ‘this is what we’re considering’”.

Shenhua major approval document, the Environmental Impact Statement has been approved by government. It says the mine will no damage farmland.

Shenhua has missed several key deadline on its development approval process, which has been held up by state and federal assessments and community opposition.

Shenhua’s exploration licence, set by the NSW Labor Mining Minister Ian Macdonald, expired in March this year. The eight year deadline to start development has also long expired

Shenhua iseight months overdue with water and biodiversity management plans that are required by federal government for assessment by its independent expert science panel.

The companyhas been contacted for comment.

FarmOnline

State of Origin 2017: Remembering the last NSW win over Queensland

The last time the Blues won | PHOTOS Jarryd Hayne on the fly. Pic: Getty Images
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A “balletic” Billy Slater. Pic: Getty Images

NSW fullback Jarryd Hayne grits his teeth. Pic: Getty Images

NSW Blue Greg Bird gets the leg drive into overdrive. Pic: Getty Images

Three, almost, on one at Suncorp Stadium during Origin III. Pic: Getty Images

Billy Slater holds on tight to the ball as NSW Blue Ryan Hoffman is sandwiched. Pic: Getty Images

Queensland skipper Cameron Smith scores. Pic: Getty Images

Cer-unch. Pic: Getty Images

Greg Inglis spots a familiar face in the crowd after Cameron Smith’s try. Pic: Getty Images

Daly Cherry-Evans chips ahead. Pic: Getty Images

The wrestling continues over the line at Suncorp Stadium. Pic: Getty Images

Greg Inglis attracts some attention from the NSW defenders near the stripe. Pic: Getty Images

The Maroons huddle up after skipper Cameron Smith’s try. Pic: Getty Images

Queenslander Justin Hodges does his best to shrug off NSW defenders. Pic: Getty Images

Paul Gallen stops referee Ben Cummins to ask a question in 2014’s third State of Origin match. Pic: Getty Images

Maroon Billy Slater has his sights set on scoring at Suncorp Stadium in the third State of Origin clash of 2014. Pic: Getty Images

Queensland players celebrate one of their five tries in the third State of Origin clash of 2014. Pic: Getty Images

Legs a-go-go. The NSW defence swarms. Pic: Getty Images

Aaron Woods celebrates with his Blues teammates after Josh Dugan’s try. Pic: Getty Images

The Maroons celebrate Aidan Guerra’s four-pointer. Pic: Getty Images

Dave Taylor feels the love as the Blues defence closes in. Pic: Getty Images

Beau Scott takes on the Queensland defence during game three of the 2014 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

NSW Blues skipper Paul Gallen holds the State of Origin Shield aloft at Suncorp Stadium.

The State of Origin-winning NSW Blues camp. Pic: Getty Images

The Queenslanders celebrate a strong win in game three at Brisbane. Pic: Getty Images

Darius Boyd celebrates scoring a try with Queensland team mates Greg Inglis and Billy Slater. Pic: Getty Images

Darius Boyd celebrates his try. Pic: Getty Images

Darius Boyd evades Jarryd Haynes’ clutches to score. Pic: Getty Images

Queenslander? Pic: Getty Images

Nate Myles is put on his back. Pic: Getty Images

NSW skipper Paul Gallen knows one way – forward. Pic: Getty Images

Excuse me, says Billy Slater as he leaves Josh Dugan on his hands and knees. Pic: Getty Images

Greg Inglis motors upfield. Pic: Getty Images

Greg Inglis of the Maroons palms off Josh Reynolds. Pic: Getty Images

Josh Dugan celebrates scoring the Blues try with a quick pogo dance. Pic: Getty Images

TweetFacebookThere would be no “bluewash” or fairytale finish to the 2014 State of Origin series as Queensland gatecrashed the NSW party.

But the title still came south as the Blues held the shieldfor the first time in eight years, a feat they hope to repeat at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.

Do you remember how the 2014 series win felt? Here’s a reminder.

Maitland Pickers miss out on playing final three home games on No.1 Sportsground

A request from Maitland Rugby League for the Pickers to play their last three home games on the new No1. Sportsground has been knocked back by Maitland City Council.
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The Pickers have been playing home games at Coronation Oval,Telarah throughout the season while their home base underwent a major refurbishment.

With therecent unveiling of the new $8.6 millioncomplex, the club thought playersmay be able to finish the season on a high note and playon new turf.

Unfortunately the request was denied at a Maitland City Council meeting on Tuesday night, a decision that has upset not only players but also president Frank Lawler.

Mr Lawler said the move to Coronation Oval has hurt the club financially resulting ina 30 per cent drop in game day takings.

“I reckon we’ve lost about $30,000 so far this year,” Mr Lawler said.

“It’s a bit of an honesty system at Coronation with someone manning the gate but it’s easy enough for people to access the ground from South Street cemetery or the area near the railway line,” he said.

“They drive their cars up to the fence line, bring their own beers and watch the game. How are we supposed to police that,” he said.

A report to this week’s council meeting by council’s Infrastructure and Works Manager Chris James said the playing surface at No.1 Sportsground required further preparation works.

Mr James said this was to ensure the maximum benefit is realised during the critical spring regrowth period. It is recommended that the ground is not used until next year.

“Although the playing surface appears complete it still requires a program of work to ensure its viability for the long term,” Mr James said.

“Council is in the process of finalising operational procedures for the facility and establishing the playing surface and grassed spectator areas,” he said.

The new turf at No.1 Sportsground has had limited time to establish as it was laid at the end of the growing season.

“The period between nowand spring is needed to undertake surface preparation works to ensure the maximum benefit is realised during the critical spring regrowth period.

“The work put in at this time will have a significant impact on the quality of the surface for the 2018 winter season,” Mr James said.

The works include:

. Installation of sand drains which should only be undertaken with an established turf cover. The drains are programmed to be installed in August/September followed by two top dressings of the field.

. A program of weed control, slow release fertiliser, pesticide and root development improvements over the next six months.

BoatingSportsfishing boat a prize catchMark Rothfield

SPORTSFISHING BOAT: Whittley’s new 1950 delivers plenty of comfort and is built to tackle rough conditions.IF you’re looking for a sportsfishing boat that doesn’t skimp on comforts or break the budget, and is light enough to be towed by a family sedan, then your ship has come in.
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Actually, it’s a runabout – the Clearwater CW1950 built by Whittley Marine in Victoria.

SEA LEGEND BABY: Fishos will appreciate that the SL20 includes plenty of big-boat attributes.

The hull is unashamedly based on the evergreen Savage Mako hull, which won Boat of the Year honours in its day. Sometimes you can’t improve on tradition in the boating world, and it’s a smart way to keep development costs down.

Atop this goes a new deck and modern layout, including walk-through access for both the transom door and bowsprit with lazy anchor system.

“Our R&D team have enhanced the styling with a slick new dash that can accommodate a massive 16-inch screen, a flat transom, folding engine well and folding door,” Whittley Marine director of sales and marketing Alan Whittley says.

“They’ve also given the hull more aggressive chines and moulded boarding platforms, adding to the hull’s already impressive bluewater credentials.”

The roomy cabin has a vee-berth large enough for a snooze.

Aft is one of the largest fishing cockpits in the 1950’s class, boasting ample storage and fishing-friendly featuressuch as an underfloor fish box and full-length shelves.

Deadrise is a moderate 19 degrees with a fine entry, allowing the hull to slice reasonably well through chop while delivering good stability and planing performance from outboards ranging upwards from 115 horsepower.

The 1950 slots in neatly between its Clearwater sisterships, a 1650 and 2150, and old-fashioned family value is a big part of the equation.

Pricing starts at $56,990 (excluding delivery charges) when packaged with a four-stroke Yamaha 115, Mackay dual-axle trailer, and the standard bimini top, bow rails, side windows, two-tone hull and bunk cushions.

Whittley has also extended its Sea Legend family with a SL 20 and SL 25 HT.

At 6.37 metres in overall length, the 20 is the baby of the SL fleet but has all the big-boat attributes that fishos look for. For starters, its hull has a relatively deep-vee of 23 degrees to improve the offshore ride.

Alan Whittley adds: “The deep-vee SL hull is a proven performer on the water but the market was crying out for a 6-metre version at an affordable price.”

It looks as good as it performs with a new-look cabin entry sitting in front of the most comfortable seats in the class. The full-length double vee-berth has identical dimensions to the SL 22.

Whittley has packaged the SL20 with a Mackay dual axle trailer and Volvo Penta’s V6 200 G SX engine, priced from just under $80,000.

The SL 25 HT sports a hardtop, if you hadn’t guessed from its title. Having evolved from the SL 24, it’s a high-performance tourer with inbuilt creature comforts such as a slide-out fridge.

Buyers can choose from a range of Volvo sterndrive engines in petrol or diesel, with optional Duoprop drive. Packages start from $129,990.Contact dealer Terrace Boating on 4983 5600.

What’s on this weekend in Newcastle & the HunterJuly 15-16 2017

SATURDAYThe Human Whale Registrations open at 10am at Fingal Beach in preparation for everyone taking their place on the whale outline by 11.45am to have the feat captured by a drone. After, enjoy a barbecue lunch thanks to Fingal Beach Surf Club, with live entertainment andeducational displays.This year, Port Stephens Coaches will provide a free shuttle from D’Albora Marina, Nelson Bay CBD and ShoalBay. Shuttles depart every 30 minutes 9am to 11am.
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The Human Whale marks the end of Port Stephens’ annual NatureFest which celebrates the region’s many spectacular natural assets.

Grease – The Arena Spectacular Saturday and Sunday, Newcastle Entertainment Centre. Starssome of ’s biggest names alongside an amateur mass ensemble of more than 800 performers from across the Hunter.

Orchestra Nova presents An Afternoon with Fred and George2pm, Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle. A program of French and English composersfeaturing Elise Kearney playing Borne’s famous tour de force flute solo from Carmen’s Fantasia. $20 adults, $15 concession.

Snow Time in the Garden Final weekend, 10am to 9pm, Hunter Valley Gardens, Pokolbin.

NRLNewcastle Knights vs Brisbane Broncos McDonald Jones Stadium, Broadmeadow. Gates open 1pm, main game kick-off 5.30pm.

150 Years Under Lock & Key Tour 11am, Maitland Gaol, East Maitland.Discover the stories of heroes and villains. Cost $22.

Detonation Nine Boxing6.15pm, Newcastle Exhibition and Convention Centre, 309 King Street, Newcastle West. Features Kyron Dryden, Darkon Drydon, Richard Smith, Blake Minto, Michael Upton, Daniel Ammann and Joel Griffiths. General admission $45.

Park Run Raymond Terrace: 8am,Riverside Park, Hunter Street, Raymond Terrace. Newcastle:8am, starting near 1 Arnold Street, Carrington.

n Invitational Youth Games –SoftballSaturday and Sunday,Stevenson Park, Stevenson Avenue, Mayfield West.

NAIDOC Youth Corroboree 5pm, Belmont Wetlands State Park. Traditional dance workshop. There will be markers/signs to indicate the walking track to the dance circle as well as people giving directions. Parking at the entrance to the wetlands.

SUNDAYVintage Games on The Lawn 11am to 4pm, Market Street Lawn, Newcastle. Anafternoon of vintage games including croquet, quoits and bocce; food and drink; music fromDemi Mitchell andDeanna Rose Music. A selection of decorated rugs and a scattering of tables and chairs will be provided for BYO picnics.

Winery Running Festival 2017 8am to 7pm, The Vintage Golf Resort and Spa, Vintage Drive, Rothbury.Main races are a Winery Marathon, Half Marathon, 11km Vineyard Run, 6km Winery Wander and 2km Kids Marathon.

Escapes Tour at Maitland Gaol 11am, Maitland Gaol, East Maitland.Explores the various stories behind some of the documented escapes from ’s longest continuously operating correctional facility. Cost $22.

Pet Cuddling DayTimezone, Charlestown Square. Cuddle some gorgeous animals thanks to Hunter Animal Rescue.

SplashDance Let’s Bop 1.30pm, Charlestown Bowling Club. Interactive show suitable for children up to age 7.

Honda Race Pace School 9am, Cessnock MX Track. All bike sizes, and riders of all ages, welcome.

Fire & Wine Noon to 5pm, Bimbadgen, 790 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin.Wine, food and live music by the fire.

Metro Muso Muster 2pm, Metropolitan Hotel, Maitland. Jam session for musicians of all ages and abilities.

MARKETSHandmade in the Hunter Markets Saturday, 9am to 3pm, Kevin Sobels Wines, cornerof Broke and Halls roads, Pokolbin.

Tea Gardens Village Market Saturday, 9am to 1pm,Myall Quays Shopping Centre, Tea Gardens.

Hunter Street Organic Food MarketSaturday, 9am to 3pm, Hunter Street Mall, Newcastle.

Hamilton Clocktower MarketsSaturday, 8am to 2pm, James Street Plaza, Hamilton.

Hunter Wine Country MarketsSaturday, 9am to 3pm, De Bortoli Wines, 532 Wine Country Drive, Pokolbin.

Adamstown Lions MarketSunday,8am to noon,corner Glebe and Brunker roads, Adamstown.

Newcastle City Farmers Market Sunday, 7am to 1pm, Tighes Hill TAFE.

The Sunday Muster Sunday, 9am to 2pm, Mortels, Thornton.

ARTSCessnock Regional Art GalleryNgani Barray This Country: Wonnarua artist Lesley Salem; works by CatholicCare’s Indigenous Art and Culture Program for Teens and Parents of Teens.

Lake Macquarie City Art GalleryDiane Arbus: American Portraits; Artist Focus: Pablo Tapia and Your Collection: Photo i.d.

Maitland Regional Art GalleryDerek Kreckler: Accident and Process. Until September 3.Make A Face; Showcase 4 Exhibition. Until September 10.Lionel’s Place: Lionel Lindsay from the MRAG Collection. Until April 8, 2018. Frank Murri: The Prime Ingredient in a Big Piece of Pi; Colonial Afterlives: A Salamanca Arts Centre Exhibition.Until July 23.

Newcastle MuseumOne Million Stars To End Violence;RAD Exhibition; n of the Year Awards 2017; Shadows of Sacrifice.

Reader’s Cafe and LarderExhibitionby Joanne Conder. Until July 28.

The University GalleryBalnhdhurr: A Lasting Impression. Ends Saturday.

Newcastle Art GalleryAbstraction: Celebrating n Abstract Women Artists. Until July 23. The Phantom Show. Until August 20.

Old Fire Shed GalleryIt’s New Art 2017. Until December 18.

Muswellbrook Regional Arts CentreContemporising the Modern: nmodern and contemporary photography;Travis De Vries: Lost Tales – Walking with Gods. Until August 27.

The Lock-UpStitched Up. Until August 6.

Newcastle Studio Potters & Back to Back GalleriesTerra Obscura:Three Dungog artists explore obscure terrains. Until July 23.

Cooks Hill GalleriesWhat Lies Beneath. Until July 17.

Acrux Art GalleryWarm & Cosy.

Timeless TextilesThe Map Project: Where I Live. Until July 16.

Art Systems Wickham Matchbox Horse by John Turier. Until July 23.

THEATRECats (abridged)Andrew Lloyd Webber’s bright musical about cats meeting and talkingabout their lives as they compete for a special prize.

Young People’s Theatre, at its Hamiltontheatre. Saturday2pm and 7pm.

Disney Is A Wish Your Heart MakesA lively look at Disney musicals, with 28 songs fromfilms including Snow White, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The LionKing and Frozen. Maitland Musical Society, at Soldiers Point Bowling Club. Saturday5pm, and Sunday11am.

GreaseRock’n’rollmusical about two high school students who romance when they meet on aholiday, then find themselves at the same school; professional leads and an ensemble of 800Hunter school students.

Harvest Rain, at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Broadmeadow. Saturday2pm and 7.30pm, and Sunday1pm.

Peter PanThree children fly with the title character to Neverland, where they encounter lostboys, fairies, Viking women warriors and pirates; adapted by Craig Sodaro from J.M.Barrie’s novel. Maitland Repertory Theatre, at its theatre. Saturday at 2pm and 7.30pm.

Rockstar CondabaloozaFund-raising show for Newcastle’s CONDA theatre awardswith performances, many amusing, by Newcastle actors, singers, dancers and comedians, andaudience-involving competitions built around the theme Rockstar. Lizotte’s, New Lambton.Saturday6pm.

The Age of ConsentA teenage boy jailed for a murder and a young mother pushing herdaughter to have a theatre career talk about their lives; gripping comedy-drama by PeterMorris. Two Tall Theatre, at the Civic Playhouse, Newcastle. Nightly at 8pm until July 22.

The SeaA fierce storm hits an English coastal town, affecting the people’s lives in manyways, with one believing aliens were involved; engaging comedy-drama by Edward Bond.Newcastle Theatre Company, at the NTC Theatre, Lambton. Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm.

MUSICAnna Bay TavernSaturday, The Way.

Argyle HouseSaturday, Jay Z 4:44 album party.

Hotel CessnockSaturday, Gaz N Gaz.

Bar PetiteSaturday, Kylie Jane.

Battlesticks BarSaturday,Little Cents.Sunday,Pana,Elisa Kate.

Bay HotelSaturday,Spank n the Monkey.

Belmont 16sSaturday, The Years, Max Jackson. Sunday, Norm Bakker.

Belmont HotelSaturday, The Levymen.

Belmore HotelSaturday, Sun Hill Drive.

Beresfield Bowling ClubSaturday, Defaced. Sunday, Red Dirt Country.

The BradfordSaturday, All Access 80s.

Burwood InnSaturday,DJ Timmy Coffey.

Cambridge HotelSaturday, Just A Gent, Moza (Glasshouse),Rapaport,Mac Da Villain,Talakai,Verbal Mechanics,Hypenotic,Kale (Warehouse). Sunday, Steel City of Origin ft.White Blanks,Vacations,Jacob,Paul Watters.

George TavernSaturday, Dan Runchel Band.

Grain StoreSaturday,LoganMOVIESA Dog’s Purpose(PG) A dog looks to discover his purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes and owners. (Regal)

Baby Driver(MA)A talented, young getaway driver relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. When he meets the girl of his dreams, hesees a chance to ditch his criminal life and make a clean getaway.

Cars 3(G)Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.

Churchill(M)A ticking-clock thriller following Winston Churchill in the 24 hours before D-Day. (Lake Cinema)

Despicable Me 3(PG)Balthazar Bratt, a child star from the 1980s, hatches a scheme for world domination.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul(PG)Greg convinces his family to take a road trip to attend his great grandmother’s 90th birthday, so he canattend a nearby gamer convention.

My Cousin Rachel(PG)A young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. (Regal)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales(M) Capt. Jack Sparrow feels the winds of ill-fortune blowingwhen deadly ghost sailors led by the evil Capt. Salazarescape from the Devil’s Triangle.

Spider-Man: Homecoming(M) Ayoung Peter Parker/Spider-Man begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero.

The House(MA)A dad convinces his friends to start an illegal casino in his basement after he and his wife spend their daughter’s college fund.

The Met Opera: Eugene Onegin(E)Dmitri Hvorostovsky stars as the title character, who rejects Tatiana’s love until it’s too late. (Tower)

The Sense Of An Ending(M) A man becomes haunted by his past and is presented with a mysterious legacy that causes him to re-think his current situation in life. (Regal)

The Zookeeper’s Wife(PG)The account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion. (Regal)

Their Finest(M) A British film crew attempts to boost morale during World War II by making a propaganda film after the London bombings. (Regal)

Transformers: The Last Knight(M)Humans are at war with the Transformers, and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving the future lies buried in the secrets of the past and the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.

Viceroy’s House(PG)Lord Mountbattenis tasked with overseeing the transition of British India to independence. (Lake Cinema)

Welcome To The Sticks(M)A French public servant from Provence is banished to the far North. Strongly prejudiced against this cold and inhospitable place, he leaves his family behind to relocate temporarily there, with the firm intent to quickly come back. (Regal)

Wonder Woman(M)An Amazon princess leaves her island home to explore the world and, in doing so, becomes one of the world’s greatest heroes.

Concern over healthcare workers’ conditions at new Maitland Hospital

Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes.The Health Services Union has accused the state government of“a camouflaged attempt to slash staff conditions and job security” inplans for the new Maitland Hospital.
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It comes after the government announced on Wednesday it had abandoned a public-private partnership in favour of a deal with a not-for-profit organisation. Unions say they have serious concerns about wages, staffing, job security and resource levels at the new hospital.

The government will preserve sick leave, long service leave, redundancyand parental leave entitlements for healthcare workers who take on a role at the new hospital, if they decide to return to a government-run hospital within the first year.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said employeesat the new Maitland Hospital would have their existing conditions carried over for two years–then they would have to negotiate with the new provider.

HSU NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said the union was “deeply concerned that the state government is using the cover of a not-for-profit provider to slash wages, conditions and job security”.

“At this stage there are no guarantees of staffing levels or conditions,” he said.

“We also have no assurance the new provider will maintain the current level of resourcing.”

The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association said the decision was “as bad as what we’d feared from a public-private partnership”.

“There will be no guarantees on staff-to-patient ratios after two years,” NSW general secretary Brett Holmes said.

“Staff wishing to move back into the public system will have to find an available position at Kurri Kurri, Cessnock or John Hunter themselves within the 12 month time-frame.”

New Maitland Hospital not-for-profit plan ‘not good enough’: Health Services Union

Questions: Labor Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison at the existing Maitland Hospital, which will close when the new Maitland Hospital opens. Picture: Simone De PeakEnlisting the not-for-profit sector to build and run the new Maitland Hospitalstill means the Hunterwill lose a public hospital, Labor and healthcare workers’ unions say.
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Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday that the state government hadabandoned its plan for a public-private partnership for the health facility, which will replace the existing Maitland Hospital.

Instead, the governmentwill seek a not-for-profit organisation as a partner.

While the n Medical Association welcomed the news, Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison, the Health Services Union and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association labelledthe decision“privatisation”.

Ms Aitchison said she had several questions aboutgovernance, reporting,decision-making and the capacity for expansion.

“I think it’s important to note that this is stillprivatisation, as not-for-profits take on these hospitals to make a surplus,” she said.

“Calvary Mater [Hospital, Newcastle] is a legacy model. This will be a unique model,so it’s very important to make sure there is enormous clarity around the terms.

“The government still has to go through an expressions of interest process and so we don’t even know which operators will put their hand up.

“Why doesn’t Maitland, and indeed the Lower Hunter, deserve a public hospital when we are the fastest growing local government area outside Sydney at 15.5 per cent, according to the Census?”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said, under the new plan, the hospital would “absolutely” be held to Hunter New England Heath policy and guidelines.

“What is being delivered is a first class hospital delivering public services free to public patients, that is the bottom line,” hesaid.

“Whatever not-for-profit provider joins with the government will be required by their contractual terms to operate within a strict clinical and non-clinical performance regime.

“The history of not-for-profit operators is they generally do an extraordinary job for the public, they have a non-profit motive that is wanting to do good.”

Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said the union viewed the government’s decision with“a very healthy dose of scepticism”.

“While this may be better than a multinational corporation running the hospital, it is not good enough,” he said.

“The state government needs to explain why it’s conducting a not-for-profit privatisation in Maitland while allowing for full public investment at Wyong and Tweed.”

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association said it was concerned the new model would not meet the needs of the community or staff.

Top 10 Chinan junk foods

You’d be forgiven for thinking has been taken over by a bunch of healthy eating food bloggers, with the amount of kale seen on cafe plates all over the country. Which is why we thought we’d balance the scales, and celebrate our best-ever junk foods.
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Vanilla sliceDon’t be fooled, a mille-feuille this ain’t. Proudly less refined than other incarnations, the Aussie version touts a characteristic slab of gelatine-set vanilla custard, sandwiched between two pieces of flaky pastry, and topped with icing that varies in flavour and consistency between states. The slightly tart NSW version, spiked with passionfruit, ticks all boxes. For those keen to take their enthusiasm for vanilla slice to the next level, join thousands of pilgrims as they embark upon on Mildura this August for the annual Great n Vanilla Slice Triumph. Why not hark back to 2015 when Ballarat’sGolden Nugget Bakery won the title?

The great vanilla slice. Photo supplied

Golden GaytimeStreets launched the first Gaytime in 1959 and it wasn’t golden. In fact, Streets flirted with a variety of flavour incarnations including Strawberry Shortcake, Raspberry Rough, Cassata Roma and Turkish Delight, before the golden icon that we know and love today prevailed in 1970. A toffee-vanilla ice cream centre, dipped in chocolate and coated in the signature honeycomb biscuit crumb. Perfect for an Aussie summer’s arvo at the beach or in the ‘burbs.

A Golden Gaytime. Photo supplied.

Sausage sizzleStaple of the family barbecue, the voting booth, the local footy field and the Bunnings carpark, the humble snag sanga is undoubtedly ‘s most iconic lunchtime snack. Simplicity is the key here and fancy flourishes are unwelcome. The sausages should be cheap, plain and made from beef. Comes nto its own during election days when it is known as the “democracy sausage”.They should be served on a single slice of highly processed white bread (no rolls allowed). Acceptable accompaniments include tomato sauce and onion at a pinch. The best part, they’re designed to be consumed with one hand so you can bowl a couple of spinners between bites.

The ubiquitous sausage sizzle always delivers on the satisfying front. Photo: Darren Pateman

ShapesFirst produced in Victoria in the 1950s, over 53 million packets of Shapes are sold in every year. Their popularity is justified. The ideal salty snack for social gatherings or lonely Netflix binge watching sessions. Also, a conveniently boxed, sub-$3 meal for teenagers and University students. Clearly, Arnott’s are on to a good thing. If it isn’t broken, why fix it, right? Alas, in 2016, to widespread public backlash, Arnott’s decided to introduce “new and improved” flavours. Fortunately, this mistake was swiftly rectified.

Don’t mess with the recipe.

Meat PieBizarrely referred to as a ‘hand pie’ in the US, what we ns embrace as a logical attempt to unite one’s meal with a pastry receptacle, still seems somewhat of a novelty in other parts of the world. The classic Aussie pie should be a simple affair with a rich, ground beef and gravy interior, encased in pastry and served with tomato sauce. Despite good intentions, the pastry shell rarely succeeds in living up to its structural duties, resulting in the ubiquitous hot pie juggle, followed by furious steam panting and third degree burns for both mouth and hands. Smarter folk penetrate its pastry lid to inject the tomato sauce – an ingenious way to cool a scolding interior.

A national staple. Photo: iStock

Neenish tartThe ludicrously sweet, two-toned bakery icon. Although colour combinations vary (always riffs on the classic brown, pink and white) and the inclusion of jam might ruffle the feathers of a few purists, a foundation of sweet pastry with a faux cream interior and hardened icing top make these little gems the favourite sweet treat of children and dentists across the country. The Neenish tart’s origins are particularly illusive, enshrouded in the lies and scandal surrounding the fabled Ruby Neenish of Gong Gong, which turned out to be a prank staged by a disgruntled Gong Gong expat. The first known recipe was published in the Sydney Mail in 1901 and was simply credited to “the housewife”.

Neenish tarts. Photo: iStock

MiloMilo first launched at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 1934 as a nutritional (seriously) beverage for children. Enjoyed hot or cold, and always with milk, this choc-malt powder is the teenage after-school snack of choice. The n recipe is charmingly flawed in its inability to dissolve adequately when mixed, resulting in a truly unique sludgy, crunchy, meal/beverage hybrid that necessitates the use of a spoon. The challenge is to push the Milo to milk ratio to its utmost limit of dryness, especially when mum isn’t looking.

Thankfully, the n recipe for Milo will remain unchanged.

PassionaThe familiar favourite most ns have been pronouncing incorrectly for the last 90 years. The recommended pronunciation, “Pash-ona”, was published on a 1927 advertisement which also boasted a flattering testimonial from Lady de Chair, wife of the Governor of NSW. Originally developed by Spencer Cottee in the 1920s as a cordial designed to use up extra passionfruit on his Lismore farm, Passiona became the foundation of the Cottee’s empire.

Those familiar colours …

Chiko RollWith a history as complex and mysterious as its filling, this distant ocker cousin of the spring roll was first sold at the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Show in 1951 and has been gracing the deep fryers of your local fish-n-chipper ever since. Of course, it’s never that simple and “ownership’of the chiko roll’s birthplace is ongoing.It’s innards of cabbage, barley, carrot, beef, fat and other goodies could be described as gluey and comforting – and a possible hard-sell for the uninitiated. The Chiko’s crowning glory is its tough outer crust, making it the kind of no-nonsense, one-handed meal deal ns like best.

“Goodness” in one hand.

CheezlesTwisties or Cheezles? The secret to claiming the title of ‘King of the corn based cheese flavoured mystery crisps’ lies in interactivity. Not only does the mighty Cheezle deliver on the flavour front but their round shape makes them a down-right novelty to consume. Line them up on each finger and don’t forget to lick off all the orange-cheesy powdered goodness. Or, bring a little bit of sophistication to your next social get-together by serving them on twiggy stick skewers. What’s not to like?

Crispy, crunchy, salty…addctive. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

Premier faces howls over Adani mine at town hall meeting

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was interrupted by protesters who chanted and later broke into song. Photo: Tammy LawOpponents of Adani’s vast new Queensland mine have howled at the premier after she told them they would not stop coal mining in the state.
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Protesters interrupted Annastacia Palaszczuk’s town hall meeting in Cairns on Tuesday night, chanting “no, no, no” in opposition to the mine.

But the Premier told them jobs were vital and coal mining would not cease in Queensland: “Coal is going to be a part of our energy mix for many years to come,” she said.

“Rubbish!” the protesters howled in reply.

They later interrupted the meeting by bursting into song.

The Premier’s comments came on the same day her government announced a plan to fight climate change and help protect the Great Barrier Reefby cutting Queensland’s carbon emissions.

The plan includes aims to “de-carbonise” the state’s emissions-intensive energy sector.

But while that plan is being executed in Queensland, Adani will be allowed to mine and export the state’s coal so it can be burned in India’s power stations, with India to account for those emissions.

Mine opponents, climate activists and reef scientists say new coal mines like Adani’s simply could not be allowed to proceed when the dire state of coral reefs worldwide was already well documented.

This week,former US vice-president and climate action campaigner Al Goreimplored not to build the mine, saying there was a choice to make between a huge new coal mine and the Great Barrier Reef.

Last month, former n Institute of Marine Science chief scientist Charlie Veron, credited with discovering 20 per cent of all coral species, said federal approvals for the Adani mine must be overturned.

“Coal mining is the number one danger to coral reefs now in the whole world. If we wipe out coral reefs, we are going to crash the ecologies of the oceans,” he told the ABC.

AAP