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THE SUN-HERALD SUNDAY, MAY 9, 2010

17

NEWS Skin cancer returns for TV newsreader

Sydney nurses forced to hand over $300,000 EXCLUSIVE Eamonn Duff .................................................................................. MORE than 3500 Sydney nurses are set to have their wages docked after it was discovered they had been overpaid 18 months ago. Staff at Sydney West Area Health Service (SWAHS), Greater Southern Area Health Service (GSAHS) and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead have been told that a one-off payroll processing error gave them an extra 3.9 per cent of their salary for two weeks in December 2008. The overpayments ranged between $40 and $280 and, collectively, the figure is understood to exceed $300,000. The money is to be recouped in a ‘‘repayment plan’’, to be finalised by the end of June. One senior midwife, who was informed she owed $99.74, said the news had been greeted with widespread anger. ‘‘The first question on everyone’s lips is, why has this shortfall only now been discovered? Doesn’t it stand to reason that the error should have stuck out like a sore thumb when payroll figures were finalised at the end of the last financial year?’’

The nurse said staff had been told it was ‘‘a coincidence’’ that the discovery had come at a time when the affected service areas were on the verge of financial collapse. ‘‘We’ve asked for appropriate evidence of the overpayment but, to date, we have received none.’’ In a staff message tagged ‘‘high priority’’, SWAHS, which is $87 million in debt, advised that 1289 hospital nursing staff from Lithgow/ Portland, Blue Mountains, Nepean and Cumberland had been given too much money in 2008. In a later letter to staff, it stated: ‘‘One-off overpayments will be recovered in the next normal pay, except where the employee can demonstrate that undue hardship would result.’’ A spokeswoman for NSW Health Support Services told The SunHerald that apologies had gone out to those affected. ‘‘The issue involved parameters of the payroll computer system that were incorrectly set – measures have since been put in place to ensure errors such as this do not happen again.’’ The service accepted there had been a delay in addressing the error.

VETERAN television newsreader Jim Waley (pictured) has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time. The Sky National News anchor suffered an aggressive form of skin cancer on his left ear in 2003. But doctors performing surgery on his ear canal last week discovered the cancer had returned. ‘‘It is curable so I will be spending the next few months dealing with this nuisance and . . . away from the Sky news desk,’’ said Waley, 62.

Is she Tracy? ... Rosie Waterland waits her turn. Photo: James Brickwood

Bring bouffant and belt out a tune THE nerves and catty competitiveness expected at an audition for a musical were amiss at the open casting call for Hairspray. Bubbly, buxom and boisterous Tracy Turnblad hopefuls giggled and chatted in line at the CarriageWorks at Eveleigh, with stars in their eyes and not a lot of professional experience behind them. Director David Atkins said open casting calls were a chance for those without agents to have a go.

‘‘You really do find some hidden talent out there from off the streets,’’ he said. Student and retail worker Rosie Waterland, 23, said it was the first time she had attended an open audition, but she had experience from studying acting. ‘‘I’ve never seen so many Tracy Turnblads!’’ she said. The musical will open in Melbourne in October. Rebecca Richardson

Truck hits ceiling: tunnel closed A TRUCK loaded with earthmoving equipment caused extensive damage and significant delays when its load came into contact with the ceiling of the M5 East tunnel yesterday. Police said the truck was near the Bexley Road end of the tunnel when its load damaged lights and ventilation along 50 metres of the ceiling. A motorist travelling next to the truck said the noise had been deafening. The truck driver and a female passenger of a car driving near the truck were treated at the scene for minor injuries and shock. The tunnel was closed for at least eight hours, the RTA said.

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