Blacktown mayor’s 90-storey tower plan to block Badgerys Creek airport ‘stupid’

Determined: Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali wants to build towers to sabotage the second airport at Badgerys Creek. Photo: Fairfax-Media-Australia Anti-airport: Stephen Bali has invited developers to build 90-storey towers in the heart of Blacktown. Photo: Phyllis Macgraw
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A western Sydney mayor’s scheme to sabotage the building of the new airport at Badgerys Creek by advocating building new apartment buildings up to 90 storeys high to block planes’ routes has outraged neighbouring councils.

“The only real way 90-storey buildings would stop planes would be if you built them actually on the runway,” said Penrith mayor Ross Fowler. “And, in any case, if you were against the airport, it would be better to put up logical, sensible arguments rather than this stupidity.”

Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said on Tuesday he was inviting property developers into his area to build massive towers in the hope of scuppering the airport. He feels the planes will be too noisy and will disturb locals at night.

On Wednesday Mr Bali told Domain: “If that’s what it takes to make people think again about the airport, then I’d welcome any developers contacting me.”

“I’ve already had a number come to me since then about proposing 20 storeys or more, but if anyone comes up with a 90-storey building, we’re happy to go through all the planning processes,” he said.

“We don’t want four million people living around the airport being subjected to 24-7 noise.”

But his words have brought condemnation from fellow mayors in western Sydney. Mr Fowler said: “Everyone recognises the benefits of the airport in terms of the investment and job opportunities and the chance for people to work closer to home.”

Liverpool mayor Ned Mannoun said Mr Bali’s comments show why such decisions “should be left to the experts, rather than politicians”.

“Our council is 100 per cent in favour of the airport because of the investment and jobs it will bring,” Mr Mannoun said.

“At the moment, 70 per cent of the workforce have to travel outside the local government area to go to work, which is unsustainable.

“This airport will bring us a lot of economic benefits.”

Such massive towers would be equally unwelcome in Campbelltown, says its mayor, Paul Lake.

While he feels the airport at Badgerys Creek should have a night curfew, like Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport, and there should be a trial of flights 24-7 in Sydney before allowing them in western Sydney, he said the airport is already decided.

“It’s going to happen but we want to safeguard the quality of life of the residents,” he said. “And as for 90-storey towers … I’d be buried alive if we were to agree to that!”

Even where such lofty towers are actually being proposed and debated – in  Parramatta – the mayor Scott Lloyd is unsympathetic. By the time the plans actually got through anywhere else, the airport could be operational, he said.

“It’s ludicrous to say that,” he said. “There’s already legislation in place stopping new developments in the flight path anyway. And we are looking forward to Western Sydney Airport. We’ll benefit with jobs, infrastructure, satellite industries, services transport, logistics …”

Mr Bali’s remarks have, however, drawn attention to local reservations about possible noise problems for western Sydney, believes Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone. “If people in Blacktown, 20km away, are going to be so impacted, then what about the noise levels for those closer to the airport?” he said.

“I’m in favour of the airport, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions, like the noise, infrastructure, grants to improve the acoustics for people’s homes, and the need for better community consultation. But I’m not supportive of 90-storey buildings that, in my view, will bring the slums of the future.”

That’s not to say developers would be so eager to build 90-storey blocks in Blacktown, either. Developer Theo Groutsis of Better Buildings, which has already developed apartments in the area, such as the 20-level Centralis tower, is unmoved by Mr Bali’s comments.

“We don’t make decisions based on stopping things going ahead,” he said. “We make them on economic viability and whether a lot of factors stack up.”

Tony Hadchiti, the president of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, also says such towers should be built only when they’re needed.

“We should be planning our cities based on what our cities cater for, not saying we want buildings to stop airports,” he said. “Both sides of government have committed to this airport and we should allow the process to take place. This is set to be the biggest game-changer for western Sydney.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

$25m kick-start for new Lower Hunter hospital

An artist’s impression of the proposed new hospital.EDITORIAL: Money for Maitland hospital
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CONSTRUCTION of the Lower Hunter’s new hospital will start in the next term of a re-elected Baird government, with $25million pledged to kick-start the project worth more than $400million.

In the Liberal Party’s strongest pitch yet to hang on to the seat of Maitland, Health Minister Jillian Skinner will join candidate Steve Thomson to announce on Thursday that $25million has been set aside from the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund to start ground works at the Metford site for the new hospital.

It will also spend $3.8million on a new ambulance station in the area, which could be built either near the new hospital or as a major upgrade of the existing Rutherford station.

Ms Skinner said residents would soon be able to see work start on the project.

It is needed because of the mounting pressure the region’s growing population is putting on the existing Maitland Hospital, and to reduce the need for Lower Hunter residents to go to the John Hunter Hospital, freeing up capacity there, she said.

‘‘To say the [new] Maitland Hospital will be a game changer for this region doesn’t even scratch the surface of how important this project is,’’ Mrs Skinner said.

‘‘It will transform healthcare for this rapidly growing region.’’

The new hospital’s location on the former PGH bricks site will include an emergency department, cancer services, more inpatient beds, and other services. Exactly when work will start depends on the company CSR finishing the site’s remediation.

But unlike a number of government infrastructure promises, the hospital is not contingent on the leasing of the state’s poles and wires.

However, the government says it is yet to determine whether it will be a wholly government-built project, a public-private partnership or privately built and managed, leaving voters in the dark before they cast their vote.

Mrs Skinner said the decision would be made after the final business case is handed to NSW Treasury mid year.

Its planners have also been considering whether to sell the existing hospital site and Morisset hospital to help fund the project.

But the minister said the new hospital would cater for public patients regardless of the procurement model, and only the government could be trusted to deliver the project.

‘‘The Baird government has made its commitment to delivering a new hospital for Maitland clear – we chose the site, started the remediation, progressed the master planning and have worked with the clinicians and the community to determine the clinical services needs,’’ she said.

Mr Thomson said it would ensure residents were able to receive more complex clinical care closer to home.

Premier Mike Baird will be campaigning in Newcastle on Thursday.

Herald Breakfast – March 19 2015

Morning Shot: Instagram’s @mickloxleyphotography shared this sunrise on Thursday. Weather:Mostly sunny in Newcastle (27 degrees) and Maitland (33 degrees) with sunshine in Scone (35 degrees).
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Trains:Passengers travelling on the 5:45am Central to Hamilton train were advised to allow an additional 20 minutes travel time due to the train requiring mechanical repairs at Thornleigh earlier.

Traffic: No major incidents reported on Hunter roads.

Beachwatch:It’s going to be warm and partly cloudy today so another goodpretty day beachside. The wind will be south-west to south-east with the swell from the east around half to one metre. Mostopen beaches will be feeling the effects of the wind with thesouthern ends being the better value.

Morning Shot:Instagram’s @mickloxleyphotography shared this sunrise on Thursday.

Ten penalised in widespreaduni cheating scandal:THE University of Newcastle has expelled two students and suspended a further eight after its investigation into a widespread cheating scandal centred onan online essay writing company.

Massive medical costs in the Hunter:THE Hunter is home to some of the biggest medical bills for people who visit their family doctor 12 or more times per year in Australia.

Crakanthorp cranky over snapshot, voter claims: A HEATED exchange involving Newcastle Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp on one side and Liberal booth workers and a retired “swinging voter” on the other has been investigated by the police and the NSW Electoral Commission.

Kade Snowden’s push for pack leadership:His role is uncomplicated and unglamorous but should never be underestimated.

Thurston shocked at Newcastle tackle: The Queensland playmakerfeared he might have suffered a neck injury after a dangerous tackle by Newcastle players and believes they should have known better considering the injury suffered by Alex McKinnon.

Herald Half-Time: Do the Jets have anything left to play for?ONLINE SHOWJoin the panel as theydiscuss the 4-0 thumping against Melbourne City and where the Jets go from here.

Uni cheats kicked out

THE University of Newcastle has expelled two students and suspended a further eight after its investigation into a widespread cheating scandal centred on an online essay writing company.
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About 70 other students from four other NSW universities are also facing severe penalties, including expulsion, after being identified in connection with the Sydney-based My Master company.

The students were identified using data provided by Fairfax Media, following an investigation last year that revealed up to 1000 students from 16 universities had hired the Sydney-based My Master company to ghost-write their assignments and sit online tests.

The data, which was insecurely stored on the now-defunct My Master website, included copies of the purchased assignments, bank receipts showing proof of payment, and in some instances suspected names and student numbers of those involved. The website was written in Chinese and was marketed to international students studying at universities in NSW.

The University of Newcastle – the only institution to have mostly finalised its internal investigation into the scandal – confirmed it had expelled two students and suspended a further eight for using the My Master service.

A total of 31 students were found to have breached the university’s academic misconduct protocol, deputy vice-chancellor Andrew Parfitt said.

All of them were international students based at the University of Newcastle’s Sydney campus.

When the cheating allegations were put to them, ‘‘the vast majority of students’’ admitted to buying their assignments and ‘‘expressed regret,’’ Professor Parfitt said.

Among them, 24 students received a fail grade for courses completed in 2014 – a penalty which was applied 51 times, indicating some students had bought their assignments for multiple courses.

Those students were suspended or expelled.

The two expelled students had used the My Master service four or five times, or had previous misconduct breaches on their record, he said.

‘‘I think we’ve always known there are various forms students use for cheating. But we have a very strong process in place here.’’

Professor Parfitt said the university was still pursuing a number of former students who had not responded to the cheating allegations.

Those who graduated last year risked having their degrees revoked.

Four months after the cheating scandal was uncovered, the four other worst-affected universities – Macquarie University, University of Technology Sydney, University of Sydney, University of NSW – have told Fairfax Media that their internal investigations are still under way, but a number of students had been identified.

All universities, except UNSW, listed expulsion as the maximum possible penalty for students found to have breached academic protocol in their dealings with My Master.

At UNSW, the maximum penalty is 18 months’ suspension from the university. All universities contacted by Fairfax Media said no penalties would be imposed until all appeal processes had been exhausted.

Macquarie University – the worst-affected university with students logging 128 requests for work in 2014 – confirmed 43 ‘‘current and former students’’ had been asked to attend disciplinary committee hearings to explain how their names were among the files held on the My Master website.

Professor John Simons, deputy Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University, said the university had commissioned an independent investigation to audit the data provided by Fairfax Media and would ‘‘leave no stone unturned in establishing whether or not cheating had occurred’’.

‘‘Some of these students may be completely innocently mentioned [in the Fairfax data]. This is for the disciplinary process to uncover,’’ he said.

A spokeswoman for the University of NSW said 19 students had been issued with ‘‘notices of allegation’’ in relation to 18 assignments, after plagiarism detection software had matched copies of the purchased assignments with those handed in by the students last year.

A further 11 students are under investigation at the University of Technology, Sydney, deputy vice-chancellor Shirley Alexander confirmed.

Attempts were also being made to identify students in connection with 53 assignment that had been purchased using fake names.

Three students at the University of Sydney are also being investigated.

During the course of Fairfax Media’s investigation, it was revealed that the My Master company had received more than 700 requests for work from NSW university students and turned over more than $160,000 in 2014, with some students paying up to $1000 for an assignment.

Entertainment from when radio was king

Film stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were also popular radio performers in the 1950s.Radio has been around for almost 200 years but podcasting is a relatively recent form of communication. The Boxcars711 Old Time Radio Pod combines media, taking recordings of radio programs created between 1930 and 1970 and making them available as podcasts.
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The podcast originates from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is hosted by veteran radio DJ Bob Camardella, although his recorded input here is mostly limited to occasional episode introductions. According to hosting site Podomatic, Boxcars711 pushes out more than 4.2 million downloads a year.

It’s amazing that so many shows have been preserved, and for the most part sound quality is good to excellent. At worst, some programs sound as if you’re listening to a scratchy old phonograph record. Several shows are released each day; I’ve been listening for several years and am still hearing new material. The Old Time Radio Radio Researchers Group database lists more than 212,000 individual episodes of about 2250 series that were produced.

If you’re old enough to remember a time before television, when radio was a vital part of the average family’s home entertainment, you’ll enjoy renewing the experience. For children of the 1950s and early ’60s, it’s fun discovering the roots of many of popular TV shows of the time. But if you just want to listen to some great stories, without being tied to a screen, and let your imagination run, you’ll love these podcasts. Most were recorded in studios and distributed to affiliated stations for rebroadcast, but many – especially comedy programs – were performed and recorded in front of audiences and you can hear their reactions and even, occasionally, actors flubbing their lines.

They were broadcast on commercial radio networks and most of the preserved recordings have had the advertising content removed. But when the ads have been left in, it’s a real eye-opener for how attitudes have changed. Children’s shows such as the western Wild Bill Hickok were sponsored by breakfast cereals whose claim to fame was the huge amount of sugar they contained, and children were encouraged to snack on them all day long (childhood obesity, anyone?). Cigarette companies were also big sponsors (doctors attest that one brand is less irritating to your throat).

Most of the programs are about 30 minutes long and they include drama, western, comedy, crime, horror, medical and science fiction. There are even programs in which the main characters are newspaper journalists. By far the most popular genre was detective and police stories. The best-known of those making the transition from books to radio include Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes, but there were others such as The Falcon, The Whisperer, The Blue Beetle, The Shadow and Boston Blackie. Westerns were also popular, and familiar titles include Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, and Have Gun, Will Travel. As for comedy, shows by Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, George Burns and Milton Berle are as funny today as they were 60 years ago.

Radio had its very own star performers, many of whom, such as Jack Webb, were able to move over to television as the little screen gradually consumed the home audience, but several film stars also worked in radio. Frank Sinatra featured as an adventurer named Rocky Fortune, James Stewart played a cowboy known as The Six Shooter, and Vincent Price was The Saint. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall starred in a show called Bold Venture that lasted for more than 50 episodes.

Most of the shows originated on American radio networks but the collection includes series from Britain, South Africa and, from Australia, the Caltex Theatre.

Boxcars711 is available via iTunes or from http://boxcars711.podomatic上海龙凤419m/

Old Time Radio Radio Researchers Group: http://www.otrr上海龙凤419/pg02_otrdb.htm

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.