Plenty of trains but a bit slow: report

Whenit comes to the number of train services from capital cities, Wollongong is better served than many but the trains are slower, says a report released on Tuesday.

Federal Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss released the report at the Australasian Railway Association’s (ARA) annual conference in Perth.

Called Trainline 2, it provides a “high-level overview” of Australia’s rail industry.

It was compiled by the ARA and the government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.

The reports lists the number of weekly services for a range of “non-urban” passenger routes, which include many that start at a capital city and end in a regional area.

Each week, there are 262 services running from Sydney to Wollongong. Only the Brisbane to Varsity Lakes (on the Sunshine Coast) has more with 398.

The 262 services exceed other popular regional routes like Sydney to Newcastle (218), Melbourne to Geelong (191), Melbourne to Ballarat (112) and Brisbane to Nambour (128).

The report also lists Sydney-Wollongong as “among Australia’s largest inter-city commuter corridors”, along with Sunshine Coast-Brisbane and Newcastle-Sydney, via the Central Coast.

However, the report also shows the Sydney-Wollongong route is one of the slowest for trips of four hours or less.

It lists an average speed of 56km/h, that’s 2km/h slower than Brisbane-Varsity Lakes, 9km/h slower than Sydney-Newcastle and 22km/h slower than Melbourne-Geelong.

This is despite the fact those services also stopped at more stations than the Sydney-Wollongong route.

The report does mention the “mountainous terrain” as a reason for the slower speeds.

In terms of freight, the report does not mention the Maldon-Dombarton line, but does focus on the issues the east coast has with putting freight on rail rather than road.

“Along Australia’s east coast more container freight can and must go by rail with the large majority of freight currently moved by road between Melbourne and Brisbane and an estimated 30 per cent by rail.”

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Merrigong launches 2015 season

Samantha Leigh Dodemaide performing in Sweet Charity, one of the shows scheduled to play at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre next year. Picture: ANDY ZAKELIA bearded bushranger, a gaggle of scheming witches and a sassy New York dancer are just a few of the characters set to take over the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre next year.

Merrigong launched its 2015 season on Tuesday, ushering in a mix of classic Australian stories, plays for the littlies and a smoking-hot musical.

Helpmann Award-winning show Sweet Charity is set to be the company’s hot ticket item next year, coming straight from aseason at the Sydney Opera House.

The Queensland Theatre Company’s production of Kelly, a play about Ned Kelly, along with Storm Boy and the return of Circus Oz are also set to be popular with theatregoers.

Children will look forward to an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches and a production of The 26-Storey Treehouse, based on the book written by Australian author Andy Griffiths.

Merrigong artistic director Simon Hinton said the season focused on storytelling, promising “big” shows that would challenge – and entertain.

“I think this is the biggest season we’ve done, definitely in the 10 years I’ve been here,” he said.

“You have to find a balance – our job is to give people what they want to see but also to find shows that will challenge them.

“I think coming to the theatre needs to have a level of discovery – if you get exactly what you think you’re going to get, you may as well watch TV.

“Theatre is fantastic because it does allow people to discover – we like bringing people new things, developing works and presenting things that take people a little outside their comfort zone.”

The company is embarking on a new challenge of its own, taking several productions on the road.

Mr Hinton said season ticket holders outside the Illawarra wanted shows closer to home.

“We’ve always had a lot of ticket holders in the Southern Highlands and along the South Coast so we wanted to take some shows to them,” he said.

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Changes to Shellharbour Hospital mental health ward after alleged murder

NSW chief psychiatrist Dr Murray Wright has visited Shellharbour Hospital’s Eloura West mental health facility in the wake of a damning report into its operations.

The alleged murder of a patient in July sparked a NSW Health investigation, with a subsequent report highlighting “gaps in service delivery” at the facility.

In just his second week on the job, Dr Wright – a psychiatrist of 25 years – toured the facility and met Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District’s senior mental health staff.

“I’ve worked in senior management roles in the health system in rural and metropolitan Sydney for 10 years so I understand the different types of mental health services available,” Dr Wright said.

“What I would say about Eloura West, which was built in the ’80s, is that it’s not unlike what I would expect from a facility of that era.

“There’s been a lot of changes in mental health inpatient unit design in the last 20 or so years, and a lot of innovation in terms of safety precautions and processes put in place.

“It’s often a challenge in some of the older units to implement those because of design limitations.”

Paul Hindmarsh, 31, of Gerringong, is in jail accused of killing fellow patient, 47-year-old Joseph Gumley, with an electric guitar at the Eloura West facility on July 31.

The NSW Health report found that the pair had not been checked for hours, with investigators told staff regularly signed observation sheets without actually seeing patients.

There were also a number of failed attempts to have the accused patient transferred to another facility.

The report made a number of recommendations including better management of observation practices.

Dr Wright said after Monday’s visit, he was confident the local health district had developed an appropriate action plan to address the report’s recommendations.

“These incidents are rare but are a massive tragedy for all involved – for victims and families, for patients and staff,” he said.

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City Memorial clinches clean sweep over rival Warrnambool

Port Fairy Gold’s Linda Creek, who had the biggest win against Timboon Gold, has her bowl.CROSS-TOWN bragging rights are with City Memorial bowlers after their Tuesday pennant clean sweep against Warrnambool yesterday.

The Western District Bowls Division (WDBD) traditional rivals went head-to-head in two top-grade fixtures with City emerging victorious in both.

City Gold knocked off previously-unbeaten Warrnambool Gold 84-69 at Cramer Street to keep in touch with the top four.

Denise Hillier defeated Bev Hayes 28-19 and Catherine Hoy outlasted Brenda Hawker 26-17, while Dorothy Gleeson went down to Kellie Bowles 33-30.

The result meant City Green could take top spot provided it beat Warrnambool Blue, which it did in a thriller 68-66 at Timor Street.

Karina Ellery and Helen Kelly enjoyed one-shot victories on their rinks. Ellery edged out Maree Lynch 18-17 and Kelly beat Shirley Kosch 26-25.

The other rink was even tighter with Trina Dyer and Helen Lock playing a 24-all draw.

“We were up by 15 overall at dinner time and Warrnambool came back out and they really pulled that lead back,” Ellery said. “They were coming back at us, coming back at us. They never got in front overall but it was close.

“The conditions got more difficult this afternoon, a bit more wind. It was a really hard-fought win.”

Ellery said City Green — traditionally the second-ranked side in the club — was not getting ahead of itself despite being on top of the ladder.

“We’re certainly not singing from the rafters. We’ll keep our heads down and take it week by week,” she said.

In other matches, Terang endured some nervous moments en route to a 63-57 win against Lawn Tennis at Terang.

Lawn Tennis held a narrow lead late in the match before Carol Cardwell’s rink picked up seven shots on its second-last end to turn the tables.

Cardwell finished 25-17 up against Marian Treweek and Gwen Lock beat Sandra Suridge 23-19. But Margaret Sumner lost 21-15 to Marj Fisher.

Terang third Jenny Meade said winless Lawn Tennis could consider itself unlucky not to emerge with more points from the match.

“A few times during the game we were down. Lawn Tennis, they’re on the bottom but they played really well. They don’t warrant being where they are,” she said.

Port Fairy Gold held onto third spot with a 79-61 win against Timboon Gold at Port Fairy.

Linda Creek enjoyed the biggest win, 31-14 against Andrea Swayn. Gill Phillips beat Noelene Richards 27-22 but Patti Murray lost to Corrie Dixon 25-21.

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‘Future traffic black spot’ approved

PORT Stephens councillors have been forced to approve “a future traffic black spot”.

A reluctant majority – all but two in the end – felt they had no choice but to approve a development application for a pharmacy on a “chaotic” and “scary” stretch of Clarence Town road in Seaham, because of fears of a legal battle if it was refused.

Deputy Mayor Steve Tucker said he had “great trepidation” in voting to approve the pharmacy, making the glib observation that it could possibly “attract some black spot funding in the future” if it caused enough accidents.

However, he said he “couldn’t see how we could refuse it” because the development complied with the council’s planning rules.

He said he didn’t want to cost ratepayers money on “another case in the Land and Environment Court that I don’t think we’d win”.

A report by the council’s traffic engineer had noted the development could “potentially impact pedestrian safety and traffic safety” if it caused cars to park on the road, but that there was sufficient parking on site to reduce that risk.

However, a number of councillors said they believed the road was more dangerous than had been advertised due to speeding.

The development was deferred two weeks ago after the owner of Seaham General Store, Janine Lasham, had objected because it was a “spot development”. She also has plans to open a pharmacy pending approval from the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority, and approval of the other pharmacy means her plans will be quashed.

■ NELSON Bay will have parking by Christmas, if the confidence of councillors is anything to go by.

Councillors have approved leasing two parcels of land in the town’s CBD as a stopgap after its multistorey car park had to be closed as a safety risk last week.

The closure meant the loss of 114 parking spaces.

A timeline is not finalised but on Tuesday councillors were confident of a Christmas opening date.

‘‘Most people thought finding a solution before Christmas was impossible but the staff have pulled all the stops out and got a result,’’ deputy mayor Steve Tucker said.

Cr Geoff Dingle criticised the staff for closing the car park, however, saying more engineering tests should have been done.

Australians expect answers from Russia on MH17 demise

Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the national memorial service for victims of MH17 at St Paul’s Cathedral on August 7.TONY Abbott wanted to shirtfront Vladimir Putin, but when the Prime Minister met the Russian President at APEC in Beijing what Australians really wanted was answers.

Australians want an explanation as to why Russia has shirked its responsibilities in regard to the demise of Malaysia Airways MH17.

They also want the truth about the actions, which led to the attack on the commercial flight that killed 298 people on board including 38 Australians.

In the outrage that has followed the attack, Mr Abbott has spoken in demanding tones of the need for Russia, and Mr Putin, to explain their involvement.

Given how forthright Mr Abbott has been – some would say too forthright, indicative of the “shirtfront” analogy – Australians would expect some resolution from APEC.

It’s a diplomatic nightmare in many respects, with no suitable response coming from Russia despite worldwide pleas in recent months. The eternally frosty meeting of leaders at APEC precedes one of the most important and high profile meetings of world powers in Australia this weekend at the G20 summit.

While security will be at all time high levels, one senses Mr Putin won’t be saved entirely from a frosty reception.

It is clear that as much as Mr Abbott impresses the need for closure and an acceptance of responsibility for the loss of lives on MH17, anything less will pervade the ongoing grief felt by family and friends of those on the flight.

Ballarat right for AFLThe AFL seems hellbent on returning football to its grassroots in 2015.

Kick to kick after the game on the MCG, a more family-friendly fixture and curtain raiser VFL games are all back on the agenda.

New AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan is certainly talking the talk. Whether the AFL is prepared to go the next step in bringing the game back to regional Victoria is seemingly still up for discussion.

The AFL has been much more reluctant to throw its public support behind the Western Bulldogs push to establish a regional base in Ballarat.

There’s no reason not too. Ballarat is AFL heartland. We have an opportunity to create a sporting and entertainment precinct to easily cater for lower-drawing AFL fixtures and the community is broadly supportive.

It’s a perfect time for the AFL to come good on its new mantra in favour of Ballarat.

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Benaud’s plight a warning to us all

THE whole of Australia will be wishing legendary cricket doyen Richie Benaud the best as he battles skin cancer.

The 84-year-old former Australian cricket star and the country’s favourite commentator has been undergoing treatment, including laser and chemotherapy procedures, as part of what is hoped will be a full recovery.

The Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria has been saying it for years with some success but it will mean a great deal more to a lot more people to have someone of Benaud’s stature in the community come out and warn people that the sun is a killer.

Yesterday, after news of Benaud’s condition broke, he wasted no time in laying it on the line urging everyone to protect their skin.

Benaud blames years of playing cricket without a hat for the skin cancers he is suffering now.

The message is the same for every sportsman or woman who plays outdoors, every tradie who works long hours in the sun and for anyone else who spends extended periods of time outdoors in the summer — cover up or face the consequences.

While some great work has been done around driving the sun-smart message home there are still many Australians who think that getting a tan is cool, or even healthy.

There is nothing cool about cancer and there is nothing in the least bit healthy about laying out in the burning sun letting your skin fry. It is one of the stupidest and most dangerous things you can do whether you are young or old.

Benaud demonstrated some Aussie fighting spirit yesterday when he showed up for Channel Nine’s Summer of Cricket launch at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He hadn’t been seen in public for more than a year before yesterday’s event. As he pointed out, he has the best of care and medical professionals can and do work wonders these days.

Benaud is confident that he will recover and even left open the door for more cricket commentary.

Fighting spirit is one thing but prevention is another and Richie Benaud would be the first to agree that when it comes to Australia’s biggest killer — skin cancer — the latter of the two is by far the most important.

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Toby Price bounces back from spinal injury

E3 SUCCESS: Toby Price on track in Argentina this week. It has been a year to remember for Toby Price after coming back from a year to forget.

Less than 19 months after suffering a career-threatening injury Price added a world title to his name in Argentina this week, which follows an Australian desert double during the winter and a fourth national off-road crown.

The 27-year-old endurance moto rider from Aberglasslyn damagedvertebrae and required surgery after a race fall in April 2013 but it has done little to stop his rise back to the top.

For the third time in an already decorated career Price took out the Finke and Hattah desert races in the same calendar year, picked up the Australian Off-Road Championships again and capped off a remarkable 2014 this week with success representing Australia at the International Six Day Enduro in Argentina – taking out the E3 class and finishing second overall.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Price told the Mercury yesterday.

“To do all this in around 18 months after my injury is pretty crazy.

“I never thought it would be a quick recovery and turn around but I wanted it to be and worked hard at it.

“I’m really stoked on how it’s all going though and the injury is definitely behind me now.”

Price said the efforts at his third ISDE would be some of the best in his career, which has also included four Hattah titles, three Finke crowns, a quartet of Australian Off-Road Championships and twice Australian Four-Day Enduro winner.

“It would be up there for a career highlight,” he said.

“To win a world title in the E3 class at ISDE is awesome, but every race and every championship means a lot indifferent ways.”

This result was his best at ISDE following previous trips to Finland (2011) and Germany (2012) and Price was already sizing up next year’s campaign.

“I’m really happy with the result,” he said.

“It’s been the best result I’ve had at the ISDE and I’m glad I could get it for myself and team Australia.

“I’m looking forward to next year’s six day already.”

2014 – a year to remember1st – Finke Desert Race (2010, 2012, 2014)1st – Hattah Desert Race (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014)1st – Australian Off-Road Championship (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014)1st – ISDE 3E class (2014)2nd – ISDE overall (2014)This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

To remember and to respect

The director of the Australian War Memorial and a former defence minister Dr Brendan Nelson yesterday provided a stark statistical focus to the poignancy of the social history of Remembrance Day and of the Great War.

Australia was a population offour-and-a-half million people in 1914. We had one million men who were of an age that could volunteer – 417,000 did.

We sent 330,000 overseas and four years later almost 62,000 were dead. Another 60,000 died within 10 years of returning to Australia from the 155,000 that were wounded.

The depth of the wounds inflicted on our society was enormous and beyond our modern comprehension. But there was great pride.

The carnage of World War I included not just the deaths of those mown down on the shores of Gallipoli or above the trenches of Lone Pine, but also the horror of the Western Front, where for example, at Fromelles, in one single day, there were 5500 Australian casualties.

Around Tamworth and all over this region, there are numerous memorials to the war. Some grand and magnificent, some small and almost invisible or unknown.

Our Anzac Park gates are among those we can see every day. Erected in 1927, they record 194 names of those who sacrificed their lives for ours.

There have been many eloquent and excellent words over the years to record their history and the campaigns writ long in our consciences.

Lately, Ron McLean’s In the Line of Fire, a focus on the role of those from Gunnedah and district who served, and Sandra Lambkin’s Not Just Names in Stone, which traces the stories of those inscribed on Anzac Memorial Gates in Tamworth are testament to our collective memory bank.

McLean writes that some 500 Gunnedah men answered the call – more than 150 of them never came home.

Australia effectively declared war on August 4, 1914, and the first convoy of troops set sail from Albany in WA on November 1 exactly 100 years ago.

The first men to enlist out of Tamworth – about 40 of them – fronted up to a drill hall on the site of the Guy Kable building in Marius St less than two weeks after the declaration.

All over the country the centenary commemorations of the Great War have begun this year.

Our focus is also on the stories of those we sent or surrendered from this region. It is our duty to remember them. To revere. To respect.

To not forget.


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Shared trophy would be Cup let-down

It has been billed as the biggest event on Australian soil since the Sydney Olympics, but at the end of seven weeks and 49 games of cricket, in the  event that the World Cup final is a tie there will be no single winner at the MCG on March 29.

According to a hero of Australia’s famous 1999 semi-final tie against South Africa, it has the potential to be a major let-down.

The ICC has opted to scrap the “super over”, the one-over eliminator that has come into vogue in the Twenty20 era, from the knockout phase of the 50-over event to be staged in Australia and New Zealand next year.

Instead, if the final is a tie, both captains will get their hands on the trophy. For the quarter-finals and semis, the ICC has reverted to the pre-2007 system where the team with the superior group position advances to the next stage if the match is tied, thus emphasising the importance of the group games.

The announcement prompted ICC officials in Dubai to go through the playing conditions for previous world cups and clarify that up until 2003, before the birth of Twenty20, the trophy would have been shared in the unlikely event of a tied final.

“It would take a fair bit of the gloss off. [A shared trophy] would be a real anti-climax,” said Australian bowler Damien Fleming, whose dramatic final over to Lance Klusener, and slow underarm throw to Adam Gilchrist to run out Allan Donald, has featured prominently in his after-dinner speeches in the 15 years since.

The ICC wanted to remove Twenty20 playing conditions from the traditional 50-over event, but Fleming suggested if one sudden-death over was unsatisfactory, each team could face five overs to decide the title.

“I’d love to hear people’s alternatives. Maybe because it’s a 50-over game you could have two lots of five overs. That would probably add another 50 minutes, but it is a World Cup final and I would prefer to see a winner,” he said.

“You’d feel sorry for the losing team, but you want to see some celebrations.”

In 1999, Steve Waugh’s Australians went through to play Pakistan in the final because of a superior group position on net run rate, having also defeated South Africa in the last Super Six match when Herschelle Gibbs is famously said to have dropped the World Cup. At the 2011 World Cup, there was a provision for a super over in knockout games.

Soccer has used extra-time, golden goal and penalty shootouts to decide World Cup finals. When Australia hosted the rugby World Cup in 2003 the home team was heartbroken when Jonny Wilkinson kicked a drop-goal in the dying seconds of extra time to win the trophy for England. A tied AFL grand final is replayed the following week, and the AFL decided not to change the rules after Collingwood drew with St Kilda and won the premiership the next week.  The replay was a logistical nightmare but is thought to have been lucrative for the AFL, while at the time Magpies captain Nick Maxwell said the inability to declare a winner on grand final day was “an absolute joke”.

But in the absence of a super over, which has never been used to decide an ODI at a major ICC event, cricket has no way of resolving a tie on the biggest day of what Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland recently said would be the biggest event staged in this country since the 2000 Olympic Games.

There are, however, reserve days available from the quarter-finals onwards in case of washouts.

If the final is rained out, the MCG has Monday, March 30, in reserve, leaving barely three days to rip out the pitches and put in the goal posts for the first game of football.

A shared trophy is perhaps less ridiculous than resolving a tie with the toss of a coin, which happened in the semi-finals of soccer’s 1968 European Championships. Having drawn 0-0 with the Soviet Union, Italy progressed to the final after winning a coin-toss.

While sharing the World Cup trophy with, say, AB de Villiers or MS Dhoni might have limited appeal for Michael Clarke, there is extra financial motivation for Australia to win the trophy outright. The winning team will pocket $US3,750,000, or $US4,020,000 if it goes through the tournament undefeated.

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