WED 13 AUG 2014
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Trades & Services Tra Need help at your place this weekend? p.19-22
Newcastle’s shame Tim Owen the latest to admit to receiving developer donations Pete Murray Back by popular demand
Bathers Way progress p.6
NRL season 2014 Rick Stone returns to top job p.27
ewcastle MP, Tim Owen has told the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) that he knew Nathan Tinkler’s company, Buildev had bankrolled his 2011 election campaign. Appearing before the Commission on Monday, Mr Owen said his campaign manager, Hugh Thomson had told him in December 2010 or early 2011 that Buildev would be contributing funds to his campaign. Mr Owen also admitting to knowing that property developers, Hilton Grugeon and Jeff McCloy had donated funds to the campaign and even told the corruption watchdog of a meeting with Mr McCloy where he was given a $10,000 cash donation in an envelope. He told the inquiry he had taken the cash home before dropping the envelope in Mr McCloy’s letterbox the next day with a note saying, “no thanks”. Mr Owen’s most recent retelling of the events leading up to the 2011 State Election sits in stark contrast with statements he gave earlier this year, claiming he knew nothing of the alleged illegal funding of his campaign. Story continues on » p. 4
Newcastle MP, Tim Owen (above left) and Charlestown MP, Andrew Cornwell (above right) have told the ICAC they received cash donations from Newcastle Lord Mayor, Jeff McCloy (top)
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the newcastle post
19 Pearson St, Charlestown NSW 2290 PO Box 2321 Dangar, NSW 2309 P (02) 4961 0310
The changing face of state politics in our area
Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: email@example.com Printed by: Spotpress Pty Ltd Editor: Paul Monforte • Journalists: Stephen Bisset (TE), Amelia Parrott, Melissah Comber Sales: Glenda Peate, Gary Scott (Trades), Dan Hawkins (TE), Lynne Hardy, Alison Hislop (Hunter), Jo Jones Administration: Lauren Pollard Accounts: Susan Ward
Member for Swansea
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What will the political landscape look like in our region after the state election on March 28 next year? The fallout from the ongoing revelations at the ICAC inquiry give Labor candidates Jodie Harrison (Charlestown) and Tim Crakanthorp (Newcastle) the inside running to reclaim both seats from the Liberals. It will take one hell of a campaign for the Liberals to regain the public’s confidence. Both electorates had been long-term Labor strongholds before changing hands at the 2011 election as part of a huge swing statewide. Andrew Cornwell made the right choice in the end to not stand at the next election. He had vowed to continue serving the people of Charlestown, but it was never going to be a realistic option. The ICAC inquiry certainly makes for fascinating viewing and reading from a journalistic point of view. Unfortunately it puts our city under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons when there are so many positive things going on outside of these incidents. How about those Knights? Their form is up and down like a yo-yo but recent victories over the Roosters and the Storm shows there is plenty of hope for the future.
PAUL MONFORTE Editor
It will take one hell of a campaign from the Liberals
Kurt Gidley said the best part of the last-minute victory against Melbourne was the team embracing each other as the sideline conversion sailed through the posts. Even non-Knights fans must have been happy to see the sheer joy and excitement on the players’ faces after an unbelievably difficult season. Young stars like the Mata’utia brothers and Jake Mamo are starting to filter through to the NRL and certainly haven’t been overawed. It really does make you wonder what might have been this season if even just one of the many dramas and distractions had not occurred this year. The NYC team is four points clear at the top of the ladder. Traditionally the Knights haven’t been all that strong in the under 20s competition but this year’s crop of players have been standouts all year. History shows that not all of them will make the jump to the NRL but if three or four of the best can progress next year, a return to the finals is on the cards. The departure of several players, including Darius Boyd, frees up room to add depth to an already solid roster. The appointment of Rick Stone as coach for at least the next two years is a great move. Full credit to him for staying on at the Knights after being replaced in the head coaching role after the arrival of Wayne Bennett and being such a positive influence around the club.
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Gunman’s daylight robbery Police launch manhunt after cash-in-transit officer confronted at Green Hills MELISSAH COMBER
olice are seeking information from the public after a brazen daylight armed robbery at Stockland Green Hills last week. At around 2pm on Tuesday, August 5, a cash-in-transit officer was making a cash delivery to the Commonwealth Bank at the East Maitland shopping centre when the robbery occurred. “Whilst he was parking the vehicle in the carpark he was approached by a male person,” Central Hunter police duty officer Chief Inspector Greg Lindsell told media last week. “That male person produced what has been described as a pistol and forced entry into the vehicle. He then asked the driver to take him to a location nearby.” The vehicle was stopped at the other end of the carpark where the robber stole a strongbox containing an undisclosed amount of cash and placed it in a trolley before making his escape. He was last seen on Stronach Avenue. Police established a search radius and brought in a dog but were unable to locate the man. Police have also reviewed CCTV footage from the centre. No shots were fired and the cash-in-transit officer was unharmed.
Police surround a vehicle of interest Police are seeking a man who may be able to assist with their enquiries, who has been described as having tan skin
and was wearing a plain black hooded jumper, with the hood raised, and big black glasses.
Police are also urging anyone with information about the man or incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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ICAC Story continues from » p. 1 In May, an emotional Mr Owen announced that he would not re-contest his seat at next year’s state election as allegations of prohibited donations first came to light. “I want to say this clearly to the people of Newcastle; I had no knowledge whatsoever of any funding irregularities in my campaign,” he said at the time. Mr Owen told the ICAC he had trusted then Shadow Police Minister, Mike Gallacher and Mr Thomson to ensure that donations were made legally after they told him, “we will handle the money,” but admitted to being a “naïve” candidate. Mr Gallacher resigned as Police Minister in May after the ICAC linked him to the alleged Central Coast Liberal Party slush fund Eightbyfive. The damning admission from Mr Owen follows a week of explosive revelations at the ICAC, which ended last Friday with the announcement that Charlestown MP, Andrew Cornwell would not re-contest his seat at next year’s state election, after admitting to accepting a prohibited donation from Mr McCloy. The ICAC heard that Mr McCloy gave Dr Cornwell $10,000 cash in a brown paper bag during a clandestine exchange in Mr McCloy’s Bentley outside Dr Cornwell’s Cardiff veterinary practice. The Commission also heard evidence from Mr Owen’s campaign media advisor and former 2HD radio personality, Luke Grant that Mr McCloy and Mr Grugeon had paid his wage with donations made
Newcastle MP, Tim Owen fronts the media in May and claims to know nothing of funding irregularities in his 2011 election campaign
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Calls for McCloy for step down
Charlestown MP, Andrew Cornwell announced on Friday that he will not re-contest his seat at the next state election in March after admitting to accepting a donation from a prohibited donor via sham invoices for marketing consultancy services. Mr Grant said he was asked by his boss, Mr Thomson, to make up draft invoices, each totalling around $10,000, for the companies, charging them for services that were never performed. Dr Cornwell and Mr Owen both stood aside from the parliamentary Liberal Party last Wednesday and will serve out the rest of their term as cross benchers. Neither will re-contest their
seat at the next state election in March and the Liberal Party is yet to announce its candidates for the seats. The ICAC’s inquiry into prohibited donations continues this week with Hunter developer Hilton Grugeon scheduled to front the inquiry today (Wednesday). Mr McCloy is due to appear on Thursday before prominent Newcastle architect, Keith Stronach, Saddingtons Building Supplies, managing director, Bill
Saddington, Daracon founder, David Mingay and ex Newcastle Knights chairman, Michael Tyler give evidence. Friday will feature Maitland MP, Robyn Parker, hotelier, Rolly de With, Churchills Carpet Court owner, Paul Murphy, solicitor and Newcastle Knights Members Club chairman, Nick Dan and Eclipse Media and Events managing director, Tracy McKelligott. The ICAC has not uncovered any wrongdoing by Ms Parker.
Six Newcastle councillors are calling for Newcastle Lord Mayor, Jeff McCloy to stand aside while the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigates allegations that he illegally gave donations to the Liberal Party in the lead up to the 2011 state election. Greens councillors Michael Osborne and Therese Doyle and Labor councillors Tim Crakanthorp, Stephanie Posniak, Jason Dunn and Nuatali Nelmes have all called for the Lord Mayor to step down from the leadership role for the good of the city and Council. “Cr McCloy stood down the art gallery director amid various allegations saying that Council had a responsibility to ‘act ethically and properly’ in respect of the allegations,” Cr Posniak said. “He should do the same.” Cr Osborne has launched a campaign on his Facebook
page, which is followed by more than 7,000 users, calling for Cr McCloy to stand aside. The series of social media posts have been shared more than 130 times. The Labor councillors have also called on the Electoral Funding Commission to investigate electoral donations by Cr McCloy during the 2012 local government campaign. It is alleged that donations from Cr McCloy’s business, McCloy Administration helped pay the wage of Newcastle MP, Tim Owen’s media advisor, Luke Grant, during the 2011 state election campaign. The Commission also heard evidence from Charlestown MP, Andrew Cornwell last week that Cr McCloy had given him a $10,000 cash donation towards his campaign, adding that he should have been giving the money to the Salvation Army. Mr Owen and Dr Cornwell have since stood aside from the parliamentary Liberal Party and neither will re-contest their seat at next year’s state election.
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Esplanade upgrade underway Northbound traffic restricted as part of Bathers Way shared pathway project
hortland Esplanade will become a one-way street as part of planned upgrades to the coastline between Nobbys and Newcastle Beach. The popular tourist drive will soon be closed to northbound traffic to make way for construction of the next section of the Bathers Way shared pathway. Work on the latest phase of the project began last week and will ultimately see viewing platforms, picnic areas and a cycleway introduced along the roadway. Newcastle Lord Mayor, Jeff McCloy said the upgrades would create greater opportunities for tourists and locals to enjoy the city’s coastline, while improving safety and accessibility. “This project will activate new spaces in the area that will increase tourism and bring more people to Newcastle and the CBD for recreation, eating and shopping,” he said. “The works that have just been completed at Merewether Beach are a shining example of what coastal revitalisation and investment can do for our community.” $5.6 million of funding for the project has come through the State Government’s
Northbound traffic travels along Shortland Esplanade Resources for Regions grants scheme. Newcastle City Council has contributed an additional $4.4 million. The first stage of the project will involve implementing the one-way traffic restric-
tion, before work begins on constructing the Bathers Way from Nobbys Breakwater to Newcastle Ocean Baths. This work is expected to be completed by March next year.
Work will then begin on extending Bathers Way to Zaara Street, near Newcastle Beach, and stabilising the surrounding cliffs. The whole project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2015.
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Caves Beach public forum
Serene spot for locals
The site of the proposed Telstra mobile tower in Caves Beach AMELIA PARROTT
transformation is taking place on the corner of Darby and Bull Streets in Cooks Hill. Work has begun to convert a vacant block of land into an urban oasis, a community garden where local residents and visitors to Darby Street can enjoy a spot in the sun, read a book or sip a coffee. The garden will also act as a natural kitchen where the community can learn about sustainable food practices and permaculture. Kevin Coffey, a representative of the Darby Street Traders Group, which is developing the site in collaboration with Newcastle Now, said the garden came
about as a way of injecting a bit of community spirit into the neighbourhood. “After we did the upgrade of the laneway that runs along Goldbergs [Coffee House], we were surprised with the reaction we got from the community,” he said. “We were like, wow, is this all it takes? “I don’t like to use the word placemaking but it’s really about giving something to the community that they can own.” Mr Coffey said around 70 traders and residents had already got behind the project and he encouraged others to keep a close eye on the site as the project progresses. “We’re going to build this thing but it can’t survive without the community,” he said. The project is expected to be complete by early October.
elstra will hold a public forum on Thursday, August 21 to inform residents and local businesses about a proposed 35-metre mobile tower planned for 5 Scenic Drive, Caves Beach. A Telstra spokesperson said it was company policy to consult the community prior to lodging a development application for mobile towers. A Caves Beach resident, who did not wish to be identified, told the Post there was concern in the community over the site chosen for the tower. “People understand the need for good mobile phone reception
and fast internet, but the site is only 200 metres from a pre-school and nursing home, and 300 metres from the primary school and high school,” the resident said. A letter to residents from Telstra said a development application would be lodged before the end of the year with the forum to contain a panel of experts from Telstra as well as external consultants who would answer questions on topics including electromagnetic emissions. The correspondence said the proposed facility was designed to improve mobile coverage and capacity, especially indoor coverage to Caves Beach and the immediate surrounding area. The public forum will be held at Caves Beachside Hotel, 7 Mawson Close from 7pm-9pm.
An artist’s impression of the community garden in Cooks Hill
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