Port Stephens Council’s drainage case raises serious questions

NEWLY elected councillors, and probably many already in local government, could do worse than spend an hour or two reading the findings of a public inquiry in 2007 into Port Macquarie Council’s construction of its Glasshouse arts facility.
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The original plan was for the council to provide a site and $2.5 million, with a private company providing $4 million.

It all went pear-shaped. The inquiry, which led to the sacking of the elected representatives the following year, is more than 300 pages of excruciating evidence on how the project blew out to more than $40 million. Inquiry chair Frank Willan documentedhow a business project became an “aspirational project” for the council to build an “icon”.

The inquiry is most relevant to councillors today when it details how the project ran out of control. Lack of transparency, lack of accountability to the public which raised serious concerns almost from day one, and the concentration of decision-making, were key reasons.

The mayor, the deputy mayor and the general manager had early control, Mr Willan found. Councillors accepted, or did not challenge, advice that once a contract was let for the project it became an “operational” issue for council staff to deal with, rather than a responsibility of the council as a whole to keep a tight rein on.

Mr Willan’s report details how councillors remained largely unaware of a budget spiralling out of control and internal communication failures that allowed funding caps to be repeatedly breached. But councillors were sacked because they “failed to demand their right to accurate and complete information” about the Glasshouse and “failed to fulfil their role as elected persons”.

The buck stops with elected councillors, in other words.

A NSW Supreme Court judge on September 8 criticised Port Stephens Council andthe owner of the Nelson Bay Lagoons Estate over the running of a case where the issue is drainage and whether the council complied with a 2006 court decision.

The judge’s comments should be ringing alarm bells for councillors, particularly because it appears a court-appointed expert –agreed to by opposing parties –has produced a report that challenges the council’s case.

Millions of dollars are on the line and the signs aren’t good.

Issue: 38,600.

Free yoga session kicks off Living Smart Festival Speers Point on September 23

SUITED FOR ALL: Jen Parker, of Whole Living, says an outdoor yoga session at Speers Point Park as part of Lake Macquarie City Council’s Living Smart Festival this weekend will cater to allcomers. Picture: SuppliedA little bit of yogais something we could all benefit from, according to Jen Parker.
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Ms Parker is co-creator of Whole Living, a business which focuses on helping others livea life of meaning, purpose, intention and creation.

They will take part in Lake Macquarie City Council’s Living Smart Festival being held at Speers Point Park on September 23 between 8am and 2pm.

“We’ll be opening up with a beautiful yoga session for all ages,” Ms Parker told me.

“It’s just a really nice way to start the day. Anything like that which brings mindfulness to your day and allows you to connect with yourself is really important.”

She has seen the benefit in her own life from doing yoga each day and is keen to share the message with as many people in the community as possible.

The 8am session will cater to all ages and abilities and people can just turn up with or without their own mat.

“The session will go for about and hour and we’ll be hanging around after if anyone has any questions,” Ms Parker said.

“This is something that is suitable for children, elderly people, mums. We really encourage everyone to get involved. It’s going to be very gentle and more focused on your inner journey rather than the physical journey, about connecting with your breath and your body.

“Everyone thinks they’re busy and I definitely think I am too. I started doing yoga because I was busy. It’s really accessible and I just found it made everything seem easier in the day.

“You can do a couple of sun salutations and call it a wrap and really the benefit of that is quite profound.”

Whole Living will also be running some kids specific yoga sessions throughout the day as well as offering nutrition tips for the whole family.

“We’re really excited to be involved,” she said.

“We’re going through a series of different workshops through the day. We’ve got a couple of kids’ yoga sessions where we’ll teach the kids about breath and movement and stillness and how to combine them all, so it will be really interactive and suitable for all ages.

“We’ll also show people how easy it is to make your kids something that’s healthy and also delicious and nutritious. “

JUICE FOR HEALTHNaturopathPeter Mullen, from Mullen Natural Health Centre, is going to be offering some healthy food tips for spring.

This week he shared with me three reasons why juicing is your secret health weapon.

He told me it resets your metabolism, which in turncan kickstart fat loss.

It also reduces your appetite and can help clear your mind.

“Juicing helps to establish better portion control in the long-term and eliminates the pattern of comfort eating,” Mr Mullen said.

“Having a break from food is not just a physical reset, it’s also a mental one. Juicing helps you feel in control and makes the process of changing habits more achievable.”

Stay tuned for more tips through spring.

JUICE UP: Combine fresh fruit and vegetables for some delicious and nutritious juices with benefits for the whole family. Picture: Mullen Natural Health Centre

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother. [email protected]成都夜总会招聘.au.

Toronto Tigers break 69-year baseball droughtphotos

Toronto Tigers break 69-year baseball drought TweetFacebook Toronto 25 Belmont 11, Newcastle Major League baseball grand finalPictures: Jonathan CarrollTORONTO broke their Newcastle Major League title drought in emphatic fashion on Saturday with a 25-11 mauling of Belmont at Waterboard Oval.
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The Tigers needed only seven innings to end Belmont’s run of nine straight titles and secure the club’s first top-grade crown after 69 years of trying.

“That was unbelievable. What a fantastic effort and I’m absolutely proud,” Toronto coach Justin Norman said.

Norman was among the first to rush onto the diamond when relief pitcher Thomas Holland touched first base to secure the final out as players and Tigers fans formed a jubilant pile in the infield.

It was the culmination of a dominant display from the Tigers. Toronto’s nine batters combined for 25 hits, adding to their score each inning to keep the game well out of the Seagulls’ reach.

“I knew our guys had plenty of hits in them, and it was just good that we just put it all together on the one day,” Norman said after the match.

“In grand finals in the past we haven’t put it together on that special day, but today was the day.”

Toronto had a 0-3 grand final record against Belmont, but Norman admitted he could sense in the lead-up to the game that it was going to be a different story this time.

“There was an air of calmness over the guys. They were very relaxed,” Norman said as players and fans celebrated around him.

“We had a good preparation during the week and then today we went about our business and got it done.”

The two sides traded runs early and were level at 7-7 after two digs.

But the Tigers blew the game wide open with seven runs in the bottom of the third, which featured a grand slam home run over right field to grand final MVP Moko Moanaroa.

“I said to the guys after the first two innings we’re doing a good job of keeping with them,but it’s time now to put the accelerator down, get in front and don’t look back,” Norman said.

“Obviously from the score line that’s what happened. We didn’t look back.We just kept rolling on.”

All of the Tigers big guns fired as the top five in the order drove in a collective 22 runs.

Moanaroa, brother Boss and Pat Maat were particularly damaging with five RBIs and four hits apiece.

“We hit well. We hit with runners in scoring position, which was good,” Norman said.

“It’s a big field, and we just didn’t try to keep hitting home runs. We knew that … good hits, one at a time was going to win us the game.”

Belmont coach Duane Harrison was full of praise for his opponents’ batting display and the efforts of Tigers starter Jason McAdam.

McAdam gave up 11 hits and four walks in almost seven innings of work before teenager Holland was brought in for the final out.

“Their pitcher threw very well and their top four or five hitters certainly did the job today,” Harrison said.

“We knew those blokes could hit, and once they started to hit we knew we were in for a bit of a tough afternoon.”

Harrison said the early exit of Belmont ace Tim Cox, who pulled up sore after the second inning and was replaced by Adam Blight in the third, was a decisive moment in the game.

“I think our pitcher coming off in the third inning was a pretty major thing for us,” he said.

“We were looking for him to go six or seven for us today, so for him to come off in the third was a big difference for us.”

The Belmont mentor admitted the weight of Belmont’s remarkable run of recent success, which includes qualifying for 27 straight grand finals, had taken its toll on him this season.

“The pressure for me this year was the 27 … just getting to the grand final,” he said.

“We’ve got a few going this year, so we’re going to have our work cut out for us to get the squad back up there.”

Toronto’s first hosting of grand final day got off to a dream start as the Tigers triumphed 16-0 over Belmont in second grade.

Koala survives 16km trip on underside of car wheel arch

Emergency services attended to the scene to rescue the koala from behind the truck tyre. Photo: SuppliedA koala has been released back into the wild after miraculously surviving a 16 kilometre trip clinging onto the underside of a car wheel arch.
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Jane Brister, a Koala Rescue Specialist at Fauna Rescue SA, was called to a suburb in Adelaide last week after a driver reported hearing “unusual sounds” and “crying” coming from his car.

The driver had driven from his home in the Adelaide Hills district to the city, a trip he estimated to be nearly 16 kilometres, according to Brister.

“Early in his journey, an oncoming driver flashed his lights at him, and so he thought there must be something wrong with his car,” Brister said. “But [when] he pulled over… he couldn’t find anything in the dark.”

Kelly the koala was trapped behind a tyre as the truck made a 15km trip through Adelaide Hills. Photo: Supplied

When he arrived in Adelaide, he heard “crying” coming from the car and soon spotted the small koala stuck under the hood of the wheel.

A local Metropolitan Fire Services crew attended the scene to help remove the wheel, and allow Brister to coax the koala out.

“[At first] I could really only see her face and one paw,” Brister said. “She was pinned behind the wheel, but fortunately not amongst the axle.

“It took a lot time and patience to get her out.”

Kelly the Koala was spotted peeking out from the underside of the truck when the driver reached his destination. Photo: Supplied

Since nearly 80 per cent of koala road trauma incidents are fatal, Brister said she had “expected the worst”.

She was relieved to find the traumatised koala had survived the incident with only some minor abrasions and “singed fur”.

“I just couldn’t imagine that if she had been in there for 16 kilometres she wouldn’t have serious injuries,” she said.

But sadly, examinations of the koala by a veterinarian revealed the koala had lost a joey.

“We continued a search for a couple of days, but haven’t found any evidence of the joey at all,” Brister said.

“It’s a very sad part of the story, as it was in addition to the trauma she must have gone through under the car.”

Kelly the koala miraculously survived a road trip clinging onto a car wheel in South . Photo: Supplied

Brister said it remains “a mystery” how the koala became stuck.

“We don’t know how she got in there,” Brister said.

“Koalas don’t normally crawl up into that spot [under the wheel], and the driver… did not feel he had hit anything.”

The koala, named Kelly – after one of the firefighters on duty on the night – was released on Friday into an area with “lots of eucalyptus trees”, after spending a week recuperating with the Fauna Rescue team.

“At the end of the day it’s just incredibly lucky she survived, and it was great to be able to send her home,” Brister said.

“She’s a very very lucky girl.”

The story,Kelly the koala makes daring 16km trip clinging onto a car’s wheel arch, first appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald.

Discharged from hospital, admitted to aged care: the story of hip fractures

Professor Jaqueline Close and hip fracture patient Rhonda Wilson. Photo: Louise KennerleyHip fracture patients face glaring gaps and huge variations in care that seriously impact their ability to recover and reclaim their independence, a major audit has found.
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Five per cent of patients who break a hip will die in hospital, and up to 25 per cent will die within the year as a direct result of their injury, a major audit of the n and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry (ANZHFR) found.

More than one in 10 patients will be discharged from hospital only to be admitted to an aged care facility as a result of their hip fracture, according to the report released Friday by Neuroscience Research (NeuRA).

Half of hip fracture patients never fully regain their mobility, found the audit of 5178 hip fracture patients over 50 years old at 34 hospitals.

Hip fractures were devastating injuries for most patients orthogeriatrician Professor Jacqueline Close treats at Prince of Wales Hospital.

Professor Ian Harris said the priority for most older patients with hip fractures was to keep their autonomy. Photo: UNSW

“Most people never go back to their previous level of function. It hugely impacts their quality of life,” said Professor Close, an ANZHFR co-chair.

“One of the first things to go is your ability to go outdoors, for for physical but also psychological reasons,” she said.

Patients are more frail than they were prior to the fracture, and the fear for falling was a powerful deterrent.

Of the almost 3000 patients followed up 120 days after going to hospital, roughly one in five had gained back the mobility they had before their hip fracture.

Hip fractures are the most serious and costly injuries for falls among ns over 50, with the cost set to rise in step with the ageing population.

Professor Jaqueline Close, Professor Ian Harris and hip fracture patient Rhonda Wilson at Prince of Wales Hospital. Photo: Louise Kennerley

The number of hip fractures is expected to rise from 22,000 to more than 30,000 by 2022, costing an estimated $1126 million per year, according to a recentOsteoporosis burden of diseasereport.

The audit found wide variations in care between hospitals, from pain management strategies to how long patients waited for surgery and how quickly they were able to regain their mobility.

Roughly 50 per cent of hip fracture patients who came into hospital had already sustained a low-trauma fracture, yet only 20 per cent had been offered osteoporosis treatment, the audit found.

It was a monumental missed opportunity, Professor Close said.

“If we managed people who already had low-trauma fracture more efficiently we would make significant reduction to the rate of hip fracture in “, cutting fracture risk in the order of 30-60 per cent, Professor Close said.

” hasn’t woken up to this yet,” she said.

Just 16 per cent of hip fracture patients in receive osteoporosis treatment compared to 60 per cent in the United Kingdom, a recent UK audit showed.

The priority for most older patients with hip fractures was to keep their autonomy, said Sydney orthopaedic surgeon and registry co-chair Professor Ian Harris.

“They want to be in their own homes and they don’t want to be a burden to their families,” he said.

Improving all aspects of care, including access to a multidisciplinary team, appropriate treatment, timely surgery and rehabilitation and follow-up were integral to cutting the risk of loss of mobility and death, according to the report.

More than one in four patients were waiting longer than the recommended 48-hour window for surgery after fracture, and many were still waiting three days later, the audit found.

There were marked variations between operating room availability, Professor Harris said.

Sydney orthopaedic surgeon and registry co-chair Professor Ian Harris

And while the majority of hospitals now aimed to get patients out of bed and weight-bearing the day after surgery, a significant proportion of patients were still not given the opportunity to do so, Professor Harris said.

“It varies a lot between hospitals,” Professor Harris said; from two-thirds to 100 per cent of patients weight-bearing on their affected leg the day after surgery.

“The problem is patients aren’t always getting access to physiotherapy services.”

He hoped clinicians and hospitals would use the registry’s real-time data that benchmarked their performance to improve the way they managed patients with hip fractures.

“We’re also trying to create a voice for hip fracture patients. They have been neglected and not seen as a priority for a long time,” he said.

The story,Discharged from hospital, admitted to aged care:how hip fractures strip ns of independence, first appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald.