NSW election: Baird pledges $18 million to John Hunter Children’s Hospital

$50 million for Hunter hospitals Health pledge: Mike Baird and his Liberal candidates on the election trail in the Hunter. Picture: Darren Pateman
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Health pledge: Mike Baird and his Liberal candidates on the election trail in the Hunter. Picture: Darren Pateman

Health pledge: Mike Baird and Jillian Skinner on the election trail in the Hunter. Picture: Darren Pateman

Health pledge: Mike Baird and Jillian Skinner on the election trail in the Hunter. Picture: Darren Pateman

Health pledge: Mike Baird and Jillian Skinner on the election trail in the Hunter. Picture: Darren Pateman

Health pledge: Mike Baird and Jillian Skinner on the election trail in the Hunter. Picture: Darren Pateman

Health pledge: Mike Baird and Jillian Skinner on the election trail in the Hunter. Picture: Darren Pateman

Health pledge: Mike Baird and Jillian Skinner on the election trail in the Hunter. Picture: Darren Pateman

TweetFacebookHe said voters had a choice between the Coalition’s “positive” plans for light rail in Newcastle and infrastructure that would befunded from the proposed lease of the poles and wires, compared to Labor’s “negativity”.

“We’ve learnt our lessons, we’ve got great candidates in the field who are fighting every day for every vote with positive plans,” he said.

“Look at the difference you’re seeing up here in the Hunter versus what we saw here for 16 years. Labor, whatever spin you put on it, took the Hunter for granted.

“We haven’t. We believe in it, we are delivering the infrastructure that is needed to make this region even greater.”

Mrs Skinner said the completion of the neonatal unit would benefit children in need of care from Wyong to the Queensland border.

“If you look there right now, it’s very crowded, there’s hardly room for parents to cluster around the cots of these very, very sick babies,” she said.

“When it’s completed this will be a superb service.”

Tenders have gone out for stage one, with works to start soon.

Stages two and the would then be rolled out to increase special care and neonatal intensive care cots from 42 to 53, although the work could be slow going.

“I’m told even in the early works, the preparatory works, they have to go very carefully because drilling upsets these very little, very delicate babies,” Mrs Skinner said.

Mr Baird confirmed the construction of a new Lower Hunter hospital at Metford was not contingent on the lease of the poles and wires, although it may yet be a public-private project with a decision to be made by mid year.

“Work will be underway on the hospital by next term, this is a green light,” he said.

“…The hospital boom is coming to a corner near you and that is because we are doing everything possible to build the hospitals that we need for today and tomorrow.”

Labor has called on the government to say whether the hospital would be operated by the private sector.

Are meal delivery services actually good for you?

If you are juggling work, family, study, commuting and a busy social life, chances are that you have pondered how much easier life could be if someone was preparing your meals.
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Indeed, the growth of meal delivery services in capital cities suggests the demand for healthy, pre-prepared food is set to increase. So, here are some of the options to organise a week’s worth of healthy meals, delivered to your door at the click of a button.

Lite n’ Easy

One of the original calorie-controlled meal services, Lite n’ Easy,delivers meals based on a range of calorie options. With meal plans developed by a dietitian and more than 100 meals on offer, Lite n’ Easy is an affordable way to have all your meals and snacks delivered for the week.

Nutritionally, Lite n’ Easy sticks to a low fat, high carbohydrate approach to calorie control. It offers relatively small portionsizes and relatively high proportions of carbohydrates compared to vegetables and lean proteins. While this supports a traditional low fat, high carbohydrate model of eating, this may not be the ideal dietary prescription for individuals with metabolic issues such as type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, and for whom weight loss is the primary goal.

Pros: Delivers to all major capital cities; relatively cheap for a week’s worth of meals.

Cons: High carbohydrate meals; appears quite processed with small portion sizes.


A more recent addition to the market is HelloFresh, which, unlike meal delivery options, is designed to make healthy cooking easier for busy people. Rather than meals being delivered, HelloFresh provides the raw ingredients for family friendly meals to help take the time out of shopping and meal preparation while still experiencing the joy of cooking. While the meals are not diet specific or calorie controlled, the focus is on fresh, locally sourced ingredients with recipes that are not time-consuming.

The choice of boxes you can order is flexible, as is the number of meals. Boxes are delivered to cities along the eastern seaboard on different days each week.

Pros: Allows you to cook at home so the meals remain fresh; relatively inexpensive with meals working out at about $10 each.

Cons: Not calorie or diet specific; portions of raw ingredients may be excessive.

Eat Fit Food

The brainchild of health and fitness entrepreneur Bianca Monley, who had a vision of selling healthy, calorie-controlled meals to her clients, Eat Fit Food delivers meals daily in Sydney and Melbourne. With much of the produce coming from the Eat Fit Food Farm, a range of calorie-controlled individual meals or programs are available to suit most dietary requirements.

With a commitment to using wholefoods, Eat Fit Food is arguably the meal delivery service that offers the freshest options, although you do pay for this with the average meal costing close to $20 once delivery costs are considered. The bonus of spending a little more is the higher protein and vegetable content of these meals compared with traditional frozen meals, which is of major nutritional benefit.

Pros: Daily food delivery; a range of calorie-controlled options available.

Cons: Relatively expensive as good quality food including fresh vegetables and lean proteins are expensive.


For the past five years, the team at Dietlicious has been offering a calorie-controlled meal delivery service that caters for a range of dietary preferences: from wheat and gluten-free to pre/diabetic meals, along with a specialty men’s range, and all food sourced from Australia.

The Dietlicious dietary approach is flexible and the range of programs and individual meal choices suit most dietary regimes and budgets. Programs are popular (with both the “kick start” and “cleanse” options) but individual meals can be purchased. Dietlicious meals are delivered two to three times each week, which may mean that some need to be frozen and that may not suit those who prefer fresh food daily. Customers can also order extras such as vegetables and snacks, which can be a handy addition to bulk up the nutritional content of any diet for busy people.

Pros: Large range of programs and caters for a range of dietary preferences; flexible program to suit your needs.

Cons: Deliveries are made only a couple of times each week, meaning some meals may need to be frozen.

Follow Life&Style on TwitterSusie Burrell is an accredited practising dietitian

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

Easts out to prove they’re back from the brink in John I Dent Cup

Representatives of the seven clubs Tom Gilmore (Uni-Norths), Dan Penca (Queanbeyan), Andrew Barrell (Gungahlin), Joseph Shirley (Easts), Gareth Clouston (Tuggeranong), Tim Johnston (Royals) and Peter Raines (Wests). Photo: Graham TidyThieves ransacked Easts’ training facilities and caused more than $15,000 worth of damage, but the foundation John I Dent club is determined to rebuild their reputation on and off the field this year.
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Less than a year after Easts forfeited a match and there were fears for the club’s first-grade future, president Greg Dennis said they are determined to win back respect by rebuilding from the bottom up.

Thieves broke into their Griffith Oval storage shed three times, slashing tackling pads, spray painting equipment and destroying two sets of jerseys to inflict more pain on the battling team.

There was also a squatter living in the storage shed for two weeks, but Dennis hopes new coach John Ross can create a fresh environment and a new culture to get Easts back on their feet.

Rival clubs questioned the sustainability of Easts’ future last year when they lost 92-0 to the Tuggeranong Vikings and then forfeited a game just four days later.

“Clubs had every right to feel that way, at an administration level we were a shambles, the player strength was inadequate and there was a culture of defeat,” Dennis said.

“It’s a credit to the people that have stuck strong with the club … if we didn’t make the changes last year, we may have lost the club.

“We’ve shaken up the place, bringing in key contributors for the direction of the club whereas in the past it was young kids trying to do their best for the club. It’s now or never. Success breeds success.”

The Canberra premier division begins this weekend, with Easts lining up against the Uni-Norths Owls for a chance to get their season off to a winning start.

Easts have shifted their base from Jerrabomberra Oval to Griffith Oval, but still have to make sure they complete the right booking protocols with the ACT government to ensure they’ve got a place to train and play.

Ross has put the foundations in place for Easts to have success, targeting key juniors from Canberra’s top rugby schools and adding a hard edge to the squad’s approach to games.

Dennis is also hopeful the club’s former players will answer a call to arms and help give Easts the extra support it needs to stay in the first grade competition.

“Forfeiting … I don’t know if shame is the right word, but it hurt. It’s not easy going out there and getting smacked, you take it personally,” said lock Joe Shirley.

“One thing I’m looking forward to is being competitive again and restoring some pride back in the Easts name. Easts traditionally have been known as the ragtag group that can have fun off the field, but isn’t very good on it.

“But we want to turn that around. It seems what can go wrong will go wrong [with the thieves] … they should call us the Murphy’s Law at Easts. But it can only make us stronger and when we do turn it around, it will be an amazing feeling.”


Saturday: Queanbeyan Whites v Gungahlin Eagles at Campese field, Uni-Norths Owls v Easts at RMC, Wests v Royals at Radford College. All games at 3.05pm. Tuggeranong Vikings – bye.

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

Ausgrid workers give notice for industrial action

A UNION representing Ausgrid workers has notified the company on Wednesday that staff will undertake a series of work stoppages and other industrial action in the coming weeks.
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Workers in depots and offices including Wallsend, Charlestown and Belmont will stop work for four hours on March 31, while a second stoppage on April 1 will include staff inGosford, Ourimbah, Somersby, Tuggerah and Singleton.

Muswellbrook, Merriwa, Maitland, Cessnock, Salt Ash and Thornton staff will stop work on April 8.

Minimum staff will be available during the stoppages for the public’s sake, the union said in a statement, while call centre workers will read a short statement at the end of non-emergency calls explaining why workers are taking industrial action.

United Services Union energy manager Scott McNamara said job security was the primary concern for workers ahead of the March 28 election, specifically the Baird government’s plans to privatise the energy network to fund infrastructure.

“Mike Baird has previously claimed that privatisation won’t see jobs and services slashed at the electricity network companies, but the NSW Government’s refusal to provide workers with a written guarantee that no forced redundancies will occur undermines that claim,” Mr McNamara said.

“Our members have tried everything in their power to resolve this issue, including agreeing to a reduced pay offer, but unfortunately they’ve been left with no option but to escalate the matter in light of management’s refusal to budge.”

An Ausgrid spokeswoman said the company respected employees’ right to industrial action but maintained it was unnecessary in this case.

The spokeswoman said the company was unable to reach a final agreement until the Australian Energy Regulator decided on the company’s revenue in late April.

“The unions’ decision to take industrial action before the AER’s decision is pointless and premature,” she said.

“We do note the union’s statement that they will commit to minimum safe staffing arrangements, however a proper risk assessment willneed to be carried out to assess whether the stoppage could threaten the safe operation of the electricity network,” she said.

Class prevails as Laser Hawk breaks drought at Newmarket

Laser Hawk wins the Newmarket at Broadmeadow on Wednesday and, inset, winning jockey Hugh Bowman. Picture: Ryan OslandTHERE is no substitute for class, and Hugh Bowman and Laser Hawk once again proved the old racing adage correct in combining to win the Newmarket Handicap at Broadmeadow on Wednesday.
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Laser Hawk’s last win the Rosehill Guineas in 2012 in what seems another life when trained by Gai Waterhouse.

The injury-ravaged six-year-old finally saluted again despite a couple of poor barrier trials and a wide passage throughout the group 3 Newmarket. There could be no excuse for those behind Laser Hawk ($9.50) as he gave all seven of his rivals five kilograms and a beating.

He ran within 0.02 seconds of the track record as he raced away to score by a length from Scorpio Queen ($26.00), with Mighty Lucky ($4 fav)a long neck away in third.

New trainer Joe Pride admitted Laser Hawk relied on class for the win.

He will look at the Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 4 with Laser Hawk, which he inherited after the horse broke down with knee chips.

“I have a bit of luck with horses from Gooree,’’ he said of the horse stud that owns Laser Hawk. ‘‘I keep getting their tried horses and theyall seem to win races for me.

‘‘He is a group1 horse, so he deserved to have a bit of weight in a race like that but to be honest I was just hoping to see him go all right.

“He had three trials to get ready for this, but that was because he needed them.’’

Laser Hawk gave Bowman a beautiful feel after missing the start and although he was trapped wide the champion jockey was happy in running.

“I thought there wasn’t that much pressure in the race and when he was slow away I gave him a dig and thought I would get to the front,” Bowman said. “I was three wide and they were getting along, and I could see there was no use pushing on.

“I just decided to let him be comfortable and once he had a couple in front he just dropped his head. He got into a rhythm and travelled well and then was able to show his class in the straight.

“He was going to be a genuine weight-for-age horse before he got the injury and he still has that sort of ability on his day.”

It was a convincing win and trainer Kris Lees, who prepared the runner-up, was full of praise.

“The winner has gone super – he did all the work and beat them,” Lees said. “Looking at the time they went I’m very happy with my mare.

‘‘She has come back well and will get better again from run.

“There is a race during the carnival for her and I just have to work out which way I will go.”

Sleep the secret to sexual success: study

Women who slept an hour longer were 14 per cent more likely to have sex with their partner the next day. Photo: [email protected]整形美容医院m.au Women who slept an hour longer were 14 per cent more likely to have sex with their partner the next day. Photo: [email protected]整形美容医院m.au
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Women who slept an hour longer were 14 per cent more likely to have sex with their partner the next day. Photo: [email protected]整形美容医院m.au

Women who slept an hour longer were 14 per cent more likely to have sex with their partner the next day. Photo: [email protected]整形美容医院m.au

For a better time in the sack, hit the sack. That’s the implication of a new study which found young women were more likely to desire sex – and have it – if they slept longer the previous night.

Women who got an extra hour of sleep were 14 per cent more likely to have sex with their partner the next day, according to findings published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sexual Medicine on Monday.

And women who usually slept for longer reported better genital arousal than those whose average nightly shut-eye was shorter, the study reported.

This did not necessarily mean “the more sleep the better”, lead author David Kalmbach said. Rather, maintaining a healthy amount of nightly rest was important to sexual health.

“These findings indicate that insufficient sleep can decrease sexual desire and arousal for women,” Dr Kalmbach said.

“I think the take-home message should not be that more sleep is better, but that it is important to allow ourselves to obtain the sleep that our mind and body needs.”

The study asked 171 female college students to complete a daily, web-based questionnaire on their sexual mood, sexual function and sleeping patterns, over a 14 days. The authors said they controlled for other factors that can influence sexual desire, such as wellbeing, menstruation and use of oral contraceptives.

The average age of the participants was 20, and 50 per cent had a “significant other”. The average nightly sleep duration among the participants was seven hours and 22 minutes, while almost 20 per cent of the surveyed women reported clinically significant levels of “sexual distress”.

In a quirk that surprised researchers, women experienced better vaginal lubrication and arousal the day after a shorter night’s sleep. And yet, women with longer average sleep duration reported better genital arousal than those with shorter average sleep duration.

The authors said these findings were not mutually exclusive – it was likely, they suggested, that a single night of short sleep could boost libido whereas chronic sleep deprivation would have the opposite effect.

“Women with chronically insufficient sleep may be at greater risk for genital arousal difficulties, though one night of sleep loss appears to lead to short-term improvement in genital arousal the following day,” the paper concluded.

The authors also noted the limitations of the participants’ subjective reporting and recommended further research. But the study echoes previous findings – such as a 2011 paper which found men with poor and interrupted sleep patterns had lower levels of testosterone, resulting in decreased libido.

The better news for men is that watching pornography may actually aid sexual arousal. In a separate new study, researchers at Concordia College and the University of California found that men who watched porn regularly were more responsive when exposed to sexual stimuli. They also found no evidence that viewing porn led to erectile dysfunction, as has been argued by some commentators and doctors.

“Many clinicians claim that watching erotica makes men unable to respond sexually to ‘normal’ sexual situations with a partner. That was not the case in our sample,” said Nicole Prause, who co-conducted the study, published in the online peer-reviewed journal Sexual Medicine this month.

Regular porn viewers responded “more strongly” to the “very vanilla erotica” shown to the study’s participants than those who did not watch porn, Ms Prause said.

The data was collected from 280 male volunteers, 127 of whom had a steady partner.

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

Tunisia terrorist attack: ‘I couldn’t see anything except blood and the dead’

Tourists and visitors from the Bardo Museum are evacuated. Photo: Hassene DridiA tourist bus had just pulled up outside Tunisia’s national museum and its passengers were piling out of the vehicle ready for a day of sightseeing when militants, armed with assault rifles and grenades, opened fire on the tourists.
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It was just after midday on Wednesday, local time, and the area surrounding the Bardo National Museum was bustling with people making their way into the attraction in downtown Tunis, the country’s capital. The large museum is to many Tunisians what the Louvre is to Paris: a major tourist destination, according to the BBC.

The building is located adjacent to the national Parliament, and some reports suggest that legislators were discussing an anti-terrorism law as at least two gunmen, who were dressed in military uniforms, took aim at those stepping off the bus.

“I couldn’t see anything except blood and the dead,” the driver of one tourist bus told Reuters. “They just started opening fire on the tourists as they were getting out of the buses.”

A museum employee told Reuters that two gunmen “opened fire on the tourists as they were getting off the buses, before fleeing into the museum”.

Initial reports suggest eight people were killed as they got off the bus, an Interior Ministry spokesman said. Several more of those tourists were taken hostage and then killed, The New York Times reported, citing the Interior Ministry spokesman.

By late on Wednesday, local time, at least 19 people were dead, including 17 foreign tourists. Forty-two people were wounded,Interior Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui said.

Italian, Polish, South African, French and Japanese tourists were among the injured and killed, Mosaique FM radio in Tunisia reported.

Yasmine Ryan, who was at the museum at the time of the attack, told the BBC that she saw “helicopters flying overhead” and “tanks rolling in” as the security situation unfolded.

Inside the museum, a French tourist identified asGeraldine said she was on a guided tour when she heard shots fired outside.

“We thought it was a party, but in fact it wasn’t – there were men on the floor,”she told French news network iTele as she was still holed up in the building.

“Then there was a movement of panic as there are lots of people in the building. There are around 40 of us holed up in a room. We are rather panic-stricken, there was lots of noise.

“Then there were no gunshots outside, then we heard things outside. We were all inside sitting on the floor in the room. We could hear ‘Allahu Akbar’ and lots of firing.

“We can’t see outside. There is a group of attackers. There have been lots of volleys of gunfire. I would say there are a lot of them or else I am mistaken because I don’t know about this kind of thing.”

A large cruise ship, the Costa Fascinosa, was docked in Tunis on Wednesday morning. The ship, carrying 3161 passengers, was on a seven-day trip of the western Mediterranean and some of the Italian passengers caught in the museum ambush were believed to have been passengers on the ship.

Ship owner Costa Crociere confirmed that some of its passengers were visiting Tunis on Wednesday and that a Bardo National Museum tour was on the itinerary. The company could not confirm how many passengers were in the museum at the time.

The cruise ship recalled all of its passengers to the ship and was in touch with local authorities and the Italian Foreign Ministry.

Piero Fassino, the mayor of Turin, told Italian television that six City Hall workers were there, but that only two had been heard from.

“We are waiting for news with a certain anguish,” he said, according to The New York Times.

Security forces entered the museum, a former palace, about two hours after the initial attack and killed two militants and freed the captives, a government spokesman said. A police officer died in the operation.

Prime Minister Habib Essid said:”It is a critical moment in our history, and a defining moment for our future.

“We have not established the identity of the two terrorists … Reports are not final, these two terrorists could have been assisted by two or three other operatives.”

Mr Essid saidan Australian was also killed.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted for confirmation.

– with Reuters

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.

Research infrastructure funding needs greater certainty for scientists to feel secure

Questacon director Professor Graham Durant, ANU vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young, and parliamentary secretary for industry and science Karen Andrews at the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Shell Questacon Science Circus touring outreach program. Photo: Jamila ToderasMillions of dollars of research infrastructure funding and 1700 research jobs at risk of cuts may be safe for now but, without a long-term commitment, Australia will struggle to retain scientists and attract world-class researchers to the sector.
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Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s decision to split the future funding of the $150 million National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) from the government’s university deregulation bill was welcomed by Nobel laureate Professor Brian Schmidt and ANU vice-chancellor Ian Young.

But both believe the government needs to engage with all sides of politics to reform the university sector and hope the one-year of NCRIS funding will bridge the scheme until a review of research infrastructure funding being conducted by chief scientist Ian Chubb and Phillip Clarke will establish a new system.

Professor Schmidt said the threat to NCRIS – a body which funds 27 research facilities rather than individual projects – had the sector in “panic mode”.

“Most of the damage has been avoided but we do have an issue coming up in a year from now when this whole cycle will repeat, so we need to bridge to this Phillip Clarke review which will look at infrastructure funding long term.”

Speaking after the 30-year anniversary celebrations of Questacon’s travelling outreach show the Science Circus, Mrs Andrews said she hoped researchers and scientists felt more confident about their futures after the “good outcome” for NCRIS funding.

But she said the way research funding was organised in Australia had to be reformed with scientists telling her they had to spend too long writing grant proposals many of which had a low success rate.

“Why are we having our top research scientists spending their time writing grant applications when they should be out there doing research?” she said.

But Professor Young said scientists were their “own worst enemies” feeling compelled to go into a great level of detail.

“The real problem is the [research grant] success rate is so low… the level of funding for research isn’t sufficient in this country,” he said.

Professor Schmidt said both sides of politics while in government have attempted to offset all research funding within the one portfolio of education, when the research cut across many different portfolios.

“To just slug it out of the universities, which is what I fear is going to happen, is not doing the problem justice and is causing even more pain to a university system under incredible duress due to the uncertainty to these higher education reforms,” he said.

Professor Young said the ANU would have lost $15 million if the NCRIS funding had not been secured.

“If you’re trying to attract world-class people to come and work in those environments they want more than a year of certainty about their future,” he said.

Beyond the deregulation of fees, Professor Young said broader discussion was needed about how to sustain major research universities.

Both Professor Schmidt and Professor Young believe the “super profits tax” style suggestion from HECS’ architect Bruce Chapman – allowing universities to set their own fees but face a levy if they raise fees over a set amount – could be a way forward for the reforms, but only if all sides of politics were engaged.

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

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.