Hunter Breakfast | Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hunter roads: All Hunter roads are clear this morning.

Hunter trains: There is a good service on the Central Coast and Newcastle line and a good service on the Hunter line.

Hunter weather: Cloudy and a very high chance of showers in Newcastle (25 degrees), Raymond Terrace is in for a cloudy day with showers (24 degrees), cloudy day for Maitland with showers (26 degrees) and a cloudy day with a high chance of showers in Scone (30 degrees).

Hunter beachwatch: Once again it’ll be cloudy  with onshore winds and the chance of a storm. The wind will be east to North-east with the swell from the east around 1 to 1.3 metres. Wave conditions at most beaches will be Sloppy to choppy with the northern corners the breaks to check. In the city try Newcastle, South Bar and Redhead. Further south try North Catho and Soldiers and at Port Stephens try Samurai and Birubi. Most beaches will have some tricky shorebreaks and sweeps to the South so only swim in the flagged areas if you do go in. The water temperature is 20 degrees.

► A DOCTOR whose invention is at the centre of a global medical scandal told a court in 2004 that women could experience “very frightening” symptoms after a pelvic surgical procedure he developed, but that was “how the operation works”. More here.

► A man accused of terrorising a string of female partners told a little girl she needed to hurt her mother by stabbing her in the head with a fork "harder, harder", a Sydney court has heard. More here.

► Playing football again was the last thing on Sophie Stapleford's mind when the Cessnock teacher's aide was diagnosed with a brain tumour nearly two years ago. More here.

►  The Hunter’s economy is officially booming – The latest economic snapshot shows the region is outperforming many other parts of the state and the nation in terms growth, confidence and investment. More here.

► SO YOU think you can dance? Thirteen Hunter personalities, all self-confessed dance amateurs, including the Newcastle Herald’s Brodie Owen, have stepped up for Stars of Newcastle, which officially launched at Sydney Junction Hotel on Tuesday. More here.

► For about half a century, the Wangi RSL Club jetty has been jutting into Lake Macquarie, providing support to the boating community, and bringing income to shore for local businesses. More here.

► Inner-city residents woke on Tuesday to find flyers for a Supercars home-stay service on their doorsteps, but by the close of business the company had apparently shut down. More here.

► DISABILITY Services Minister Ray Williams avoided a small group of anti-privatisation protesters before speaking at a Newcastle Business Club lunch on the NDIS in Newcastle on Wednesday. More here.

► DANE Gagai could see what Knights coach Nathan Brown was aiming to achieve. It was the reason the Queensland Origin star resisted overtures to rejoin the Broncos and their all-star cast and stick with Newcastle. More here.

► HUNTER students with a disability are not receiving adequate funding matched to the complexity of their individual needs, due to concerns about the reliability of a nation-wide audit. More here.

► THE owners of Warabrook’s Cargo Espresso Bar have dismantled their shipping container cafe after their development application to Newcastle City Council exposed a “grey area” for relocatable structures. More here.

► AN Australian motorcycling magazine has come out strongly against the Newcastle Supercars race and described the Supercars franchise as “a constant drain on the public purse”. More here.

► The spirit of Kurri Kurri’s own wildlife warrior Ian Hill has been immortalised in an artwork in the centre of the town’s CBD. A mural of the man affectionately known as “Beat” can now be enjoyed by all who stroll past Kurri Workers Club. More here.

► Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison said she was “hopeful but wary” after the new health minister put all options back on the table for Maitland’s new hospital. More here.

►  Maitland mayoral hopeful Philip Penfold has been accused of dirty politics for “pinching” a fellow councillor’s idea for a bulky goods waste collection. More here.

►  The state government decided it wasn’t necessary to flood-proof Testers Hollow three months before the April super storm, documents show. More here.

► The only animal that was left after the RSPCA sale in February has finally found her forever home. More here.

► CONSTRUCTION of retirement living units in Toronto is likely to be postponed until 2019 as Anglican Care prepares a revised development application for a larger project on its Brighton Avenue site. More here.

► TWO local mums are excited to be going back to primary school as volunteer ethics class hosts. More here.

►  Past commodore of Port Stephens Sailing Club, Peter Chappelow, hopes court action scheduled for next week will protect the Fame Cove ecosystem for years to come. More here.

► GET your rods ready, the Twin Rivers Fishing Classic is back for another year. The fishing competition, hosted annually by the Junction Inn Fishing Club, will be held between March 24 and 26. More here.

State of the nation

Need a national news snapshot first thing - well, we have you covered. 

Premier Jay Weatherill. Picture: Getty Images

Premier Jay Weatherill. Picture: Getty Images

SA: A $550 million energy plan unveiled by the South Australian government will aim to improve the reliability of statewide power.

Premier Jay Weatherill released details of the plan on Tuesday, March 14, saying the goal was delivering “reliable, affordable and clean” power.

The state government expects the plan to create 630 new jobs in South Australia. Read more

ILAWARRA: A shortfall of at least 50 paramedics in the region is putting lives at risk according to an Illawarra-based paramedic.

NSW assistant secretary for the Australian Paramedics Association Glenn Congram said lack of front-line staff had led to a ‘’blow-out’’ in emergency response times.

Ageing communications equipment – including a failing GPS system – was also hampering paramedics’ efforts to get to patients as quickly as possible. Read more

►TAS: A bloom of bright blue bioluminescent algae has blistered beaches near Penguin. 

Bioluminescent phytoplankton or ‘sea sparkle’ thrives in calm and warm sea conditions.

It was spotted at Preservation Bay on Saturday night. Read on

NSW: One of Australia’s leading obstetricians and gynaecologists landed a damning indictment on his own profession and the health system in 2013 in a paper titled “The Transvaginal Mesh Decade”.

Associate Professor Chris Maher blamed regulators in America and Australia for clearing transvaginal mesh devices for use in women without original clinical evidence supporting safety and efficacy.

The devices are used where women experience prolapse and incontinence problems after childbirth, and are implanted via the vagina. Read more

QLD: Rates in the North-West Queensland are not going to jump by a large amount, despite big land valuation increases.

Property in the Carpentaria and Croydon Shire Councils received the largest percentage increases in the state when new valuations were released by Queensland’s Valuer-General last week. Read more

VIC: A three-year-old Golden Square boy has been rescued after being caught in a drain on Tuesday.

Tobias was outside with his mother when his foot became stuck in a small drain opening.

The worried mother called emergency services, with CFA and SES crews working to free the boy. Read more

National news

Tasmanian parliment

Tasmanian parliment

►In a rare display of tripartisan support, the Tasmanian government’s family violence reform legislation passed through the Lower House unimpeded on Tuesday.

Premier Will Hodgman acknowledged the cross-party cooperation that enabled the Family Violence Reforms Bill 2016’s passage through the House of Assembly.

“There’s been a very collaborative effort, and a lot of good will,” he said. Read more

►The minister charged with pulling together the Turnbull government's looming housing affordability package has suggested Australians could be allowed to use superannuation when buying their first home but that such a change would have to be a part of broader reforms.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, who is spruiking housing affordability as a key platform of the May budget, said any changes on the "demand side" such as superannuation reform could work if supply in the housing market was also increased. Read more

National weather radar

What’s coming you way …

International news

►BALI: A former West Australian bricklayer who was busted with hashish at his Sanur home has been sentenced to seven months' jail for possessing an illegal narcotic for personal use.

Guiseppe "Joe" Serafino, who had lived in Bali for five years and managed the On-On Billiard Bar in Sanur, was arrested by police on October 8 with 7.32 grams of hashish. Read more

Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Getty Images

Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Getty Images

►SCOTLAND: Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon has launched a fresh push for independence, complaining she hit a brick wall trying to avoid her country being dragged down a "hard Brexit" path.

However she will face stiff opposition from the UK government, with Prime Minister Theresa May accusing Ms Sturgeon of setting the country on a path for more "uncertainty and division". Read more

On this day

The faces of Australia: Kate Griffiths

Owner Kate Griffiths with Eliza Rae. Picture: supplied

Owner Kate Griffiths with Eliza Rae. Picture: supplied

Opening a new business can be daunting, but NSW entrepreneur Kate Griffiths is encouraging residents to take the leap into self-employment.

The former Narromine local, who left the region five years ago to study at Sydney’s Whitehouse Institute of Design, had always dreamed of opening a store in Dubbo.

On Thursday she launched her boutique Lazy Sunday Lifestyle – a mix of homewares, fashion and gifts as well as art and furniture.

Ms Griffiths has been overwhelmed by the response so far, and said now was the perfect time for Dubbo residents to open their own business. Read more