Monthly Archives: April 2019

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Drowning danger lurking in pools

THE head of Royal Life Saving NSW urged adults to be alert to the dangers of the holiday season yesterday after another Hunter child had to be rescued from a near drowning on New Year’s Eve.
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An 18-month-old boy was recovering in hospital yesterday after he was found unconscious in a Thornton backyard spa.

An Ambulance NSW spokeswoman said paramedics had been called to Woodlands Drive shortly before 7pm after the toddler was discovered.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation began before paramedics arrived, the spokeswoman said. And the child was taken to the John Hunter Hospital in a critical condition.

Police said the boy had been placed in an induced coma but later regained consciousness.

The child was reportedly recovering well and was in a stable condition last night.

The New Year’s Eve incident was at least the fifth near-drowning with a young child in the region last month.

A three-year-old girl was saved at Aberglasslyn on December13, and a Buff Point child was also flown to hospital after nearly drowning in a pool.

A Belmont child, aged 2, was pulled unconscious from a Sydney pool at the start of December.

Last week, a Warnervale two-year-old was revived by her father after she was found floating lifeless in the pool.

Royal Life Saving NSW chief executive David Macallister said he was unfamiliar with the specifics of each incident.

But December and January, with their special holidays and social occasions, loomed as a dangerous period for backyard pools.

Mr Macallister said adults needed to take turns formally watching children in or around pools.

‘‘Otherwise what the adults tend to do is they gather around the barbecue and they’re in their own world,’’ he said.

Even during short sojourns, such as grabbing a drink or answering the door, children should be out of the pool until a supervisor returned, Mr Macallister said.

He said pool alarms and other equipment, though useful, should only be a contingency.

‘‘There’s no substitute for adult supervision,’’ he said.

Central Hunter police duty officer Acting Inspector Joe Krzanic said it was another timely reminder for parents to remain vigilant with their children around pools this summer.

He said police were making inquiries but the incident was not being treated as suspicious.

Royal Life Saving NSW chief executive David Macallister

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Council directors’ suspensions still a mystery

IT’S the curious debacle which has now cost Newcastle ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars and shows no sign of ending.
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It has been six weeks since Newcastle City Council suspended two senior employees on full pay.

This infuriated some, who have called it ‘‘an absolute disgrace’’, ‘‘yet another farce’’, ‘‘a massive waste of ratepayer money’’ and ‘‘an incredible denial of natural justice’’.

Newcastle Art Gallery director Ron Ramsey and his boss, the council future cities director Judy Jaeger, were suspended on full pay on November20 by the council’s general manager, Ken Gouldthorp.

No reason was given for the suspension, and there is no implication from anyone that the pair has done anything wrong.

Mr Gouldthorp is holidaying in Queensland, and the council’s public relations team was maintaining its line yesterday that it would not comment on ‘‘staffing issues’’.

But the Newcastle Herald can confirm the suspensions were extended because of the holiday season, and Mr Ramsey and Ms Jaeger were only interviewed by the council’s external investigator several days before Christmas, four weeks after they were initially stood down.

Given that they have been on full pay for six weeks, their roles have been back-filled and the council has hired a consultant investigator, the cost of the exercise so far has been conservatively put at more than $30,000.

‘‘It’s an absolute disgrace,’’ Cr Tim Crakanthorp said.

‘‘I say that for three reasons. Firstly, their [Ramsey and Jaeger] reputations are being badly damaged, regardless of whether or not they did anything wrong; secondly, because the suspensions and replacements are costing us a lot of money; and thirdly because I wouldn’t be surprised if there were legal ramifications down the track which may cost the council even more.’’

Robert Henderson, chairman of the art gallery foundation, was equally critical.

‘‘It’s an incredible denial of natural justice,’’ he said.

‘‘What’s more disgusting is that mud sticks. No one knows why they have been stood down – they’ve been gagged and essentially put under house arrest because, while they’re suspended [on full pay], they can’t go anywhere in case they get called into work or into a meeting with the investigator.

‘‘I will never understand why the suspensions came before the investigation. Shouldn’t it happen the other way around?’’

Lord mayor Jeff McCloy said that though he agreed the investigation ‘‘had gone on too long’’, councillors ‘‘shouldn’t involve themselves’’ in the matter.

It was a ‘‘staff issue’’, which would be resolved by the current investigation, he said.

The council would not comment further or provide any indication of when the investigation might conclude.

Mr Ramsay and Ms Jaeger have been ordered by Mr Gouldthorp to make no public comment.

Judy Jaeger and Ron Ramsey

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Johnson tells Poms to hold their ground

TEARAWAY quick Mitchell Johnson has accused England of deliberately backing away from fast bowlers as a tactic to unsettle Australia’s pacemen.
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It is not uncommon for batsmen to walk away from a delivery if members of the crowd appear in their line of vision, but Johnson says the regularity with which it has happened during the Ashes indicates England are doing it for other reasons.

And the fiery left-armer says he expects Andy Flower’s men to continue to employ it in the fifth and final Test at the SCG, starting tomorrow.

‘‘That’s how they play the game and have always played the game since I’ve been playing,’’ he said yesterday.

‘‘It’s always happened so I don’t think they’ll change.

‘‘It definitely is frustrating when it happens all the time but that’s part of the game, it’s part of their tactics.’’

The issue came to a head in the Boxing Day Test when Englishman Kevin Pietersen walked away during Johnson’s run-up, causing the series leading wicket-taker to react angrily.

Johnson chucked the ball in Pietersen’s direction and shared words soon after.

But Johnson says he won’t be playing nice if England try it again in Sydney.

‘‘The only thing I regret is throwing the ball,’’ he said.

‘‘I think that was probably a little bit inappropriate, but the rest of it was fine.

‘‘I just let [Pietersen] know that he needed to stop doing it.

‘‘The sight screens are big enough. He should be watching the game. I won’t back down if it happens again.’’

If it is a tactic, it’s not working. Johnson, who has taken 31 wickets at 14.32 this series, said he was spurred on by Pietersen’s hasty retreat in Melbourne, where he claimed 3-25 in the second innings.

‘‘Not long after that I got Bairstow out, so it was probably a tactic that didn’t work on his behalf that time.’’

As Australia chase an astonishing 5-0 clean sweep of England, just four months after losing 3-0 in England, Johnson admitted he felt little sympathy for the old enemy.

Johnson, more than most, has copped flak from a ruthless Barmy Army, whose infamous chants took him to his lowest points on the cricket pitch. But the hurt he felt in the past is simply making his resurrection all the sweeter.

‘‘It’s definitely a lot sweeter to me. I was quite emotional in Perth. I found it difficult to bowl the last two overs,’’ he said. ‘‘Just the emotions were flowing and all the memories of all the bad times were there and I finally had that urn in my hand.

‘‘Just to prove to myself that I was able to come back and to be able to do it.’’

● New Zealand batsman Corey Anderson smashed the fastest one-day international 100, taking just 36 balls to reach a century against the West Indies yesterday.

Left-hander Anderson, 23, hit the 12th six of his innings off spinner Nikita Miller in the 18th over at the small Queenstown ground to reach three figures.

He eclipsed Pakistani Shahid Afridi’s previous record of 37 balls, set against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996.

Anderson finished unbeaten on 131, having smashed 14 sixes as New Zealand posted 4-283 in a match shortened by rain to 21 overs per side. He was supported by Jesse Ryder, whose 104 off 46 balls was itself the sixth-fastest ton in ODIs.

Their main assault started in the 12th over as the pair combined to take 19 off Jason Holder. Anderson smashed four sixes in the next over, off Sunil Narine, then repeated the trick two overs later off Ravi Rampaul. At that stage Anderson had hit 10 sixes in the space of 16 balls. Rampaul took 0-64 off three overs.

IRRITATED: Mitchell Johnson confronts Kevin Pietersen in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images

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Burns fuming over card

PERTH Glory skipper Jacob Burns appears certain to miss Saturday night’s showdown with Newcastle at Hunter Stadium after a bizarre send-off in his team’s 2-1 loss to Central Coast on Tuesday.
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Burns left the pitch in the 90th minute to receive treatment for a gashed head, sustained after an errant elbow from Mile Sterjovski.

Once the veteran was bandaged and had changed shirts, as per the regulations, he was delayed from re-entering the field by the fourth official and voiced his frustration. His outburst earned a yellow card for dissent, which followed an earlier booking for repeated infringements, and he received his marching orders.

At the time, the game was hanging in the balance at 1-1, but the Mariners snatched a 96th-minute winner via Michael McGlinchey against their 10-man opponents.

If that was not enough to infuriate Burns, he now faces the prospect of his second suspension this season.

He will serve a mandatory game on the sidelines and longer if the match-review panels feel it is warranted.

Burns said after the game that he would ask Perth to challenge any suspension.

‘‘Absolutely. I’ll do whatever I can,’’ he said.

But to have Burns’s ban overturned, Glory would need to provide evidence of ‘‘obvious error’’ by match officials.

If they cannot do that, the 35-year-old could be outed for an additional game under the ‘‘frivolous appeal’’ provisions.

Burns and Glory coach Kenny Lowe were livid with the officials after the game.

“Poor refereeing decision. First of all when I copped an elbow got split open, [I had to change] three shirts, wrapped my head up, stopped the blood, still won’t let me on,’’ Burns said. ‘‘The time’s ticking, the team needs you to be on there, the dying moments when you need to be on there and the fourth official does you for dissent so you can’t come back with a minute to go.

‘‘Mate, it’s incredibly poor. I’ve never seen that before.”

Lowe said: ‘‘I haven’t got a clue. It’s the first time I’ve seen a player sent off while he’s off the pitch.’’

Perth’s misfortune could be timely for Newcastle.

The likely loss of Burns will put further strain on a Glory line-up already without senior defenders Scott Jamieson (Achilles) and William Gallas (calf) plus prolific striker Shane Smeltz (ankle).

Newcastle, who drew 0-0 at home with Perth in round two, will be eager to capitalise against a depleted opponent who have won only once in two months.

After Sunday’s 1-0 loss in Adelaide, the Jets have slipped to fifth and will scarcely have a better opportunity to bounce back from what they labelled a ‘‘flat’’ performance.

More A-League, Page 33

SIDELINED: Jacob Burns.

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HSG due to deliver audit on time

THE Newcastle Knights members club has been assured that Hunter Sports Group will deliver on time its annual independent audit, confirming all terms and conditions of Nathan Tinkler’s 2011 takeover are being honoured.
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The audited statement, conducted by Crosbie Warren Sinclair, is due to be completed by January 15.

The members club then has until January 27 to rubber-stamp it or raise objections.

The yearly audit was a stipulation before Tinkler was allowed to buy the Knights, to ensure that certain key commitments were being upheld.

These included providing $10million worth of sponsorship, sufficient working capital for day-to-day football and administrative operations, $2.5million for junior development, and $300,000 to the Newcastle Rugby League.

HSG is also required to have in place a $10.3million bank guarantee by January 21, plus a CPI-adjusted increase.

The audit issue sparked controversy 12 months ago when HSG asked for, and received, an extension from the original due date of December 15, 2012, to January 21, 2013.

Knights officials said the change was necessary so the audit could incorporate the full calendar year.

But given that the deferral coincided with the Australian Taxation Office filing documents in the Federal Court to liquidate eight companies linked to Tinkler, including the Knights, Newcastle Jets and HSG, over $3.19million in unpaid taxes, not surprisingly there was widespread concern.

Eventually the tax debts were settled and the members club were satisfied that the audit complied.

Members club chairman Nick Dan said yesterday that he recently discussed this year’s audit with Tinkler’s former legal adviser, Aimee Hyde, who assured him there would be no problems.

The Herald understands the Newcastle Rugby League was satisfied its funding component was met after it received a large deposit this week.