Downer EDI wins rail upgrade contract

INTERCITY and suburban railnetworks, including theSydney toNewcastle line, will be upgraded by Downer EDI in preparation forthe arrival of the new train fleet in 2019.
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Transport for NSW handed the company, which has a presence in Newcastle at its Cardiff workshops, the contract to completestation and signal modifications across the rail network.

Thelong distance, intercity trains have been labelled as “state-of-the-art” and will require work to be carried out on platform extensions, overhead wiring adjustments and train location technology.

“Work will get underway early next year and where possible it will be completed as part of the existing rail maintenance schedule and track work weekends so we can minimise the impact on our customers,” said a Transport for NSW spokesperson.

The new trains will be on the rails from 2019 and feature a raft of new features for customers travelling between Sydney and the Central Coast, Newcastle, South Coast and Blue Mountains.

Safety and security will be significantly improved throughbetter on-board services including theimplementation ofCCTV cameras, customer help point alarms and fire detection technology.

Some of the most anticipated additions will be the two-by-two style seating layout,instillation of tray tables and cup holders,and the ability for travellers to charge mobile devices.

Those travelling with more than just a handbag will benefit,as dedicated luggage and bicycle racks, extra space for wheelchairs and prams,and baby changing facilities have also been improved.

All 512 carriages on order will progressively come into service from the anticipated delivery date of 2019.

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Should Newcastle Jockey Club change their controversial dress code?

FRESH LOOK: Racegoers enjoy the public areas at the Newcastle Racecourse over the spring carnival this year. Picture: Jonathan CarrollThe Newcastle Jockey Club will review themembers’ area dress code in the new year after the banning of denim and jeanswas a hot topic at its annual general meeting.
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About 30 members attended the AGM last Wednesday night wherethe NJC’s $1.6 million downturn and controversial dress code change dominated discussions.

The ban on denim clothing and jeans in the members’ area, which takes in the members’ lounge and part of the betting ring, at weekend meetings was brought in at the start of this financial year but not enforced until the spring carnival in September.

It led to heated exchanges between racegoers and staff at a Sunday meeting last month when many were denied access to the members’ area because they were wearing jeans.

NJC chairman Geoff Barnett said there was discussion for and against the change.

“There was quite a robust discussion about ourdress rules in the members’,” Barnett said.

“The board has taken on board what was said and we are going to review the dress rules early in the new year.

“We were trying to lift our dress standards and we believe people enjoy dressing up to come to the races”.

Barnett stressed that “there are a lot of areas at our club, bars etc, where the dress rules are not as stringent. People can wear jeans, shorts.”

Members also grilled the club on their drasticfinancial slide, which coincided with the launch and maintenance of their multi-million dollar track redevelopment.

The NJC posted a loss, on income attributable to members,of $647,169 for 2016-17, which was down from a profit of $966,169 the previous financial year.The loss in underlying performance of the clubwas $1,007,169, compared to a profit of$324,720 in 2015-16.

“There was quite some concern about our finances,” Barnett said.

“There were some members that were quite disappointed, but I explained that what we did was the right time to do it with the opening of the track and theancillary items that we had to purchase to complete it.

”There was good, activediscussion about that and we assured them with the figures that we’re up to already this year that we’ve already bounced back.

“We’re already more than$100,000 ahead of our budget for this year and going well. We’vereally put the brakes on our expenditure for this year and we expect to be back to a strong position.”

“I think they accepted the explanation that we’d overspent.We spent too much, too quick and that caused the problem and when we realised it, we put the brakes on straight away.

Geoff Barnett

“We have recovered beautifully from our spring carnival where we do give away a lot of prizemoney, but I think everyone is quite relaxed about it looking forward.”

AAP reports:The fall in which popular country jockey Darren Jones lost his life has been judged an accident.

Racing NSW stewards have concluded an inquiry into the fall at Warialda in northern NSW on April 8 in which jockeys Leanne Henry and Melanie Bolwell also fell and were injured.

Stewards said Jones’ mount, Montague Clan, was racing keenly approaching the 450m, with the jockey continually restraining him.

Montague Clan then shifted out slightly and struck the heels of another horse, became unbalanced and Jones fell.Bolwell’s mount, True Commitment, was unable to avoid Montague Clan and also fell while Henry’s mount, Achanizo, became unbalanced after being checked.

The stewards’ report said it was determined there was no rider error apparent and the incident was caused by the manner in which Montague Clan was racing at that time.

Stewards said Montague Clan suffered a fractured off side scapula but there there was no evidence of apre-existing condition. Montague Clan and True Commitment were euthanised.

Before the race, stewards and senior riders had inspectedthe track between the 600 and 400 metresand it was determined fit for racing.

Henry, who suffered a collar bone injury, has returned to riding. Bolwell, who suffered bleeding around the brain and fractures in her neck and foot, is still sidelined.

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Award winners

And the CONDA goes to …FIFTEEN shows and 13 groups shared the 22 category wins in the 2017 CONDA Awards, led by St Philip’s Christian College staging of Mary Poppins with five trophies: Musical Production, Ensemble Acting, Director (Musical) – Robert Stuart, Choreographer – Eva-Marie Irwin and Natalie Baker, and Lighting and Audio Visual Design – Lyndon Buckley.
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Newcastle Theatre Company’s Picnic won for Dramatic Production and Female Actor Supporting Role – Alison Cox, with its other wins for New Play or Musical Written for a Newcastle Company – Festive Spirit, by Sally Davies, and Female Actor Leading Role Drama or Comedy – Katy Carruthers, Inherit the Wind.

Pantseat Performing Arts’ Rent collected trophies for Male and Female Actors in a Musical – Liam Bird and Konstanze Koedam, and Maitland Repertory Theatre’s The Diary of Anne Frank was also a double winner: Director (Drama or Comedy) – Guil Noronha and Lesley Coombes, and Set and Props Design – Guil Noronha.

Greg Paterson won trophies for Musical Director or Vocal Director, Les Miserables (Metropolitan Players) and Outstanding Contribution and Achievement in Newcastle Theatre, while Georgia Vaughan and Hamish Pickering were named as the 2018 CONDA Youth Ambassadors.

Other awards were: Special Theatrical Event – Micro Theatre Festival 2017, Male Actor Leading Role Drama or Comedy – Mathew Lee, Grace (Knock and Run Theatre), Male Actor Supporting Role – Tristan Entwhistle, Don Giovanni (Opera Hunter), Male Actor Under 18 – Declan Dowling, Catch Me If You Can (Hunter School of the Performing Arts), Female Actor Under 18 – Alexandra Jensen, The Crucible (Lindsay Street Players), Costume Design – Melanie Hunt, Seussical KIDS (Hunter Drama), Hair, Make-up and Wigs: Claire Thomas, Cats: Abridged (Young People’s Theatre), Sound Design: Huw Jones, Home (Tantrum Youth Arts).

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Short Takes

PANIC stations, butchers of the Hunter: it’s ham-fest time. Free range organic, double smoked, triple smoked, laser guide long range, gluten free, nitrite free, moisture infused, massaged daily, kumba ya …Lord help me I need a beer.
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Steve Barnett,Fingal BayOUR understanding now is such that the quality of future generations depends on how well parents treat their children. If children are not wanted and to avoid sexually-transmitted diseases, condoms should be used for all sexual intercourse.Prospective parents should avoid alcohol and tobacco for the harm transmitted to the baby in the uterus and after birth. Babies from birth should be loved with a lot of physical contact especially in the first two years, their cries should have a response. Leaving them alone does not develop strong characters. They need lots of cuddles at that stage.

John McLennan,CharlestownTHE widespread disgust provoked by the scheme to demolish and rebuild modern Sydney stadia should be an opportunity for Newcastle.Sydney-centric politicians and sport bosses have never regarded the Lower Hunter as being worth a major stadium. There is enough landeast of the Newcastle Interchange for a rectangular stadium within walking distance of pubs and trains.

E B Tierney, EastlakesWEwere struggling to change a punctured tyre on Parry, so we were bowled overby the immediate help of parking officer Donna. With no hesitation she weighed in with a huge smile,a great credit toNewcastle and the council. As we return to UK tomorrow, we’ll carry thatkindness with us right to our return next October.

Geoff and Julia Lawrence,Cooks HillTHE Newcastle Roosters might go alright.

John Keen,GatesheadON behalf of my wife, I would like to thank all nursing staff of the Mater hospital, who (as always)made her stay a little easier. Their24-hourcommitment of care is second to none. Thank you, especially ward 5B

Michael Casey,MerewetherI DON’T know who you have been talking to Colin Geatches (Short Takes, 5/17)but l have only heard positive feedback from knights supporters on the Pearce signing.

Grant Conway,LambtonI WAS surprised to hear from the Liberal Party, care of councillor Mitchell Griffin (Letters, 4/12). Having to dig down to council level to find a single Liberal isn’t surprising to me. Finding one who hasn’t become an independent is.

Colin Fordham,LambtonTHE POLLSSHOULD Mitchell Pearce be considered for Knights captain?

Yes60%, Not yet 35%, Not at all 5%CAN the Jets hold their own against the A-League big guns?

Yes91%, No 9%IF A natural disaster struck, would Newcastle be prepared to handle it?

Yes31%, No 31%, I don’t know 38%

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Union leaders could take fight against blackmail charges to High Court

Blackmail charges against the leaders of Victoria’s biggest building union might never get to trial even if the two accused men lose their next court challenge.
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Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union state secretary John Setka and deputy Shaun Reardon are trying to have the charges against them quashed and will take their fight to the Court of Appeal next year, having already had a magistrate and a Supreme Court judge rule against them and declare the charges legitimate.

With the case close to entering its third year before the courts, Mr Setka and Mr Reardon on Tuesday appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court, which heard the two men and their lawyers would take their fight against the validity of the charges to the High Court if the Court of Appeal ruled against them.

If the matter goes to the High Court, there is a chance Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions might decide the case is not worth prosecuting, the court heard.

“I just don’t know what the director’s position will be,” prosecutor Ray Gibson told the court on Tuesday.

Police allege Mr Setka and Mr Reardon blackmailed Boral executives Paul Dalton and Peter Head in April 2013 by getting building companies to stop using Boral concrete after the company ??refused to meet union demands.

Mr Setka, 53, and Mr Reardon, 49, were charged in December 2015 and last year tried to have a magistrate rule the charges were invalid under consumer laws governing industrial disputes.

But magistrate Kay Robertson found the criminal charges were valid, as did Supreme Court Justice James Elliott this year.

Lawyers for the two union leaders appealed against both rulings.

Mr Setka and Mr Reardon are due to face a committal – the hearing that determines whether they stand trial – in May next year, but must wait for the Court of Appeal ruling beforehand.

They are to go before the Court of Appeal in February.

Defence counsel Robert Richter, QC, said on Tuesday the pair would appeal to the High Court if the appeals court ruled against them.

Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg??? set aside days in September next year for the committal hearing and extended the pair’s bail.

The case will return before a magistrate on March 1 for an update.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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