Monthly Archives: June 2019

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Light rail tracks appear in Newcastle’s old heavy rail corridor

On track: The light rail network is scheduled to begin running in early 2019, from the Newcastle Interchange into the city.Light rail tracks have started to appear in Newcastle’s former heavy rail corridor, as progress continues on construction of the city’s new transport infrastructure.

Revitalising Newcastle’s work on the light rail network, which is expected to be up and running early next year, is“proceeding as planned”, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Read more:Light rail taking shape in Hunter Street

The project is particularly taking shape between Newcastle Interchange and Worth Place, where the track slab and track form–in which the rail lines will be placed–have been put down.

“Significant progress is being made on light rail construction between the Newcastle Interchange and Worth Place,” theRevitalising Newcastlespokesperson said.

Track work in old corridor as city’s light rail build continues The light rail track goes down on the former heavy rail corridor. Picture: Revitalising Newcastle

The light rail track goes down on the former heavy rail corridor. Picture: Revitalising Newcastle

The light rail track goes down on the former heavy rail corridor. Picture: Revitalising Newcastle

The light rail track goes down on the former heavy rail corridor. Picture: Revitalising Newcastle

The light rail track goes down on the former heavy rail corridor.

The light rail track goes down on the former heavy rail corridor.

The light rail track goes down on the former heavy rail corridor.

The light rail track goes down on the former heavy rail corridor.

TweetFacebook Light rail track goes downWork has started on construction of the light rail track on the former heavy rail corridor. Read more:3D renderings show finished light rail

Meanwhile, various works are continuing across all 10 construction zones between the interchange at Wickham and Telford Street in the city’s east end.

Construction ofthe Honeysuckle light rail stop and the stabling facility near Steel Street will also start this month, according to the March work schedule.

NSW government pokie cap affects Hunter, Lake Macquarie suburbs

No additional gaming machines will be allowed inpubs and clubs atseveral locationsacross the Hunter and Lake Macquarie as part of aNSW government crack-down on problem gambling.

NSW racing minister Paul Toole announced the pokie cap on Tuesday, which meansthe government willnot allow the number ofgaming machines to increase in “higher-risk” communities across the state.

Belmont South/Blacksmiths, Beresfield/Hexham, Cessnock, Kurri Kurri/Abermain, Maitland, Mayfield/Warabrook, Mt Hutton/Windale and Raymond Terrace areclassified as “band three” communities that would be subject to the cap, according to Liquor and Gaming NSW data.

Read more:Hunter gamblers put $44 billion through pokies

The cap was one of the results of a review ofgambling regulation, witha package of reforms introduced to NSW Parliament this week.

Other measures in the legislation include a tenfold increase in fines for gambling operators who offer illegal inducements, a lease scheme to help small hotels and clubs work towards becoming free of gaming machines and tougher penalties for club directors found to have done the wrong thing.

New measures: Several communities in the Hunter and Lake Macquarie have been deemed high-risk enough for the state government to stop any additional gaming machines being brought in.

“Local community caps are an appropriate response to concerns that some areas have too many gaming machines,” Mr Toole said.

Read more:‘Pokies like vampires, sucking Hunter dry’

“A number of councils and community groups suggested caps and the NSW government agrees this is the right thing to do in higher-risk areas.Local community caps are part of a package of reforms that represent the most significant changes to gambling regulation in NSW for a decade.”

n Hotels Association Hunter branch president Rolly de With said on Tuesday afternoon that he was“still evaluating the impact on Newcastle and Hunter hotel operators”.

n Hotels Association Hunter branch president Rolly de With.

“At first glance, it appears to be a strengthening by the NSW government of the conditions pertaining to gaming in NSW,” he said.

AHA NSWliquor and policing directorJohn Green saidhe expected smallhotels in regional areas would benefit from the introduction ofleasing arrangements.

“Over recent years many country pubs have been forced to sell off their gamingassets when times got tough,” he said.

“Of course, they were only able to do this for as long as they had assets to sell. Afterthe assets were sold, many were forced to close their doors.”

Clubs NSW CEO Anthony Ball said hewas satisfied with the government’s review process.

“Ultimately, it needed to weigh up the interests of the industry against any potential for community harm and on that score the government has got the balance about right,” hesaid.

Liberal women set up fighting fund

Kelly O’Dwyer says the Liberal Party needs to do more to encourage women to run for parliament.Female federal Liberal MPs are putting together a fighting fund to boost their ranks within parliament.

Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer says she will personally cross the country raising money to promote female conservative candidates at the next federal election.

She has acknowledged there is clearly much more work for the Liberal Party to do in encouraging women to put their hand up to run for parliament.

Ms O’Dwyer has regular meetings with female colleagues – “some of our male colleagues refer to it as secret women’s business” – to examine the barriers, including a discussion over the past fortnight about putting their money where their mouths are.

“When women put their hand up, they need to be able to know that they have got the financial firepower behind them to run effective campaigns,” she told the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday.

“And so we are talking about putting together a federal fighting fund for women and I have committed to them that I’m happy to go around the country fundraising for my colleagues for that purpose.”

But she also says the party has to back women in order to lift their representation from its current dismal 21 per cent.

“We need to be pretty frank with the party organisation when we say, you know, the buck stops with you,” she said.

“You need to highlight the fact that we need to get more women into parliament and we need to look at what barriers that are there and how we can eliminate them.”

The Liberal Party recently adopted a non-binding target to increase its female representation to half of its seats in both houses of parliament by 2025.

Labor has had a quota for female representation since 1994 and increased this in 2015 to aiming for half of all MPs to be women by 2025.

It also ensures women are chosen to run for winnable seats and has had the financial backing of Emily’s List for more than two decades.

At the moment, women make up 44 per cent of Labor’s federal ranks.

Lottie Consalvo and her new work on stage at Heide Museum of Modern Art

Newcastle artist Lottie Consalvo gives the art world a huge hug Candid: Newcastle artist Lottie Consalvo in a Hamilton studio working on pieces for her show at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Victoria. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebookI’m so overcome with this work, but also with Lottie emerging as a sculptor.

James Drinkwater, husband and artistRead moreJames Drinkwater’s journey

Titled “Final Remembering”, Consalvo’s show included paintings, videos and sculptures that were precursors to “The Hug”. So she sees that Newcastle exhibition as an important link to her Heide show, which will be called “In The Remembering”.

JUST like a memory, artworks can sometimes come apart.

“The Hug” was toppling off its base, so Consalvo called herfather to help quickly build a new base before the sculpture is sent off to Victoria.

“Generally, whenever I have a disaster in the studio, generally with sculpture, I call my Dad,” Consalvo says. “I think I’ll be doing it forever.

“He’s so busy with his own show coming up, but I was, ‘Please! I need you!’.”

Dino Consalvo grew up in Newcastle. He lived and worked in Melbourne for about 30 years before returning to his hometown, where he has been painting the faces and places of a changing coastal city.

Some of Lottie’s earliest memories are of wandering out to her father’s large studio in country Victoria. The paintings that surrounded her as a child had a major influence on her, as did Dino’s advice and guidance. While she wanted to be an artist, her Dad advised her to first do a business degree.

“It was good advice,” she says. “I think I probably shouldn’t have done a business degree, I should have just travelled. But it bought me time.”

Consalvo finished the degree, even though she spent a lot of lectures sketching instead of taking notes. The lecturer would be talking about “how to make a business that would make millions” but she thought, “That is so uninspiring”.

“It really showed me the kind of person I am,” she says. “I thought, ‘Oh, hang on! Is this how other people think?! Okay’.”

For a time after graduating in Melbourne, Lottie Consalvo was doing little painting. She was making jewellery and working in an office when she met Drinkwater at a concert. He had also drifted away from painting and was playing in a rock band.

After the concert, they showed each other their artworks. Both encouraged theother to return to painting. They found themselvesthrougheach other. If ever there’s a couple who define the term “soulmates”, it’s Consalvo and Drinkwater.

“I always think of that sliding doors moment, if we hadn’t met each other,” she muses. “I could imagine the life I would be living. Maybe I’d have my own business. I think I would have met artists, and I would have gone, ‘I could have been you, but I didn’t’.

“I think because we took the risks together, it didn’t seem like a risk. We never had a back-up plan. And it wasn’t scary, because we did it together.”

The painting pair quickly became a couple. They lived and worked in Germany for three years, sharing a cramped apartment that they had turned into a studio, before returning to and moving to Newcastle.Drinkwater is a Novocastrian, and Consalvo had visited her grandmother in Newcastle each year. But it wasn’t their past they were returning to; Consalvo saw Newcastle as key to their future as artists. The cost of living was cheaper than in Melbourne or Sydney, and being out of major art centres was good for their own work.

“I think it’s afforded me time and space to think, and to be able to spend time focussing on making good work rather than thinking, ‘I better go to that opening, I better meet that person, I better tick those boxes’.

“Time is very important for us right now, we have a young family, so you’ve got to grab it and use it really, really well. So I like living here.”

Just as they have done since meeting, Consalvo and Drinkwater support each other at home and in the studio. Both say there is no creative competition between them.

“When something great happens for her, that’s great to me,” says Drinkwater, adding he is so proud of what she’s creating for the Heide show.

“I’m so overcome with this work, but also with Lottie emerging as a sculptor. These are some of the most stunning forms I’ve seen.”

The importance of family continues to shape Lottie Consalvo’s life and art. Both she and Drinkwater share the jobs at home, as they raise five-year-old Vincenzoand one-year-old Hester.

“You just don’t really stop. I sometimes look atour couch and think, ‘It would be nice to sit on you’,” she laughs.

“But I wouldn’t have it any other way. To have family around, that’s really important. I think it’s actually helpful for your work to have to step back, to keep reassessing, rather than being six days a week in the studio, tenhours a day.”

Family and love will also craftan exhibition planned for Newcastle next year. Consalvo and herfather will be holding their first combined show.

“So looking forward to it,” Lottie enthuses. “I keep thinking about how our works will look side by side. I’d never really imagined that.

“That will be one of the most important things I do in my life. To have a show next to Dad.”

But for now, Lottie Consalvo is embracing her Heide exhibition, which opens on Saturday, and the thought that her work will be seen in such an important place in n art history.

“I’ll feel like I’m a part of that history as an artist,” she says. “We all are in , we’re all just adding to what has come before.”

CFMEU, MUA merger approved but big business opposed

BROTHERS IN ARMS: CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor and MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin, photographed during early merger negotiations in February 2016. Picture: Nick MoirTHE Newcastle branch of the Maritime Workers Union says the new amalgamated “super-union” will not wreak the industrial havoc that employers are predicting.

The MUA and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union are combining, along with the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union, to create a single body known as the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union.

The amalgamation is set to take effect on March 27 after a 71-page decision handed down in the Fair Work Commission on Tuesday by Deputy President Val Gostencnik, who found there was no legal impediment to the three-way merger.

Employer groups led by the Master Builders Association and the n Mines and Metals Association have opposed the merger, saying it will be easier for the union to put industrial pressure on employers and projects, and harder for employersto prove “secondary boycotts”, whenmore than one workplace is dragged into a dispute.

The metals association says a single union will controlmuch of theHunter Valley Coal Chain.

“As one of ’s most important resources regions, this merger represents a very real threat to the Hunter Valley coal region,” association director Amanda Mansini said. “We are highly concerned about the now imminent escalation of unlawful conduct which these unions, on their own public statements, have promised will result from this merger, from pit to port.”

Despite the concerns of employers, MUA Newcastle secretary Glenn Williams said the new combined union was subject to the same industrial relations laws, which were heavily weighted against unions and workers.

“Virtually all of our employers are multi-nationals with plenty of resources,” Mr Williams said. “The merger gives us combined resources when it comes to strategy, research, campaigning and media. As waterside workers, we can’t just jack up in support of miners up the valley. We will work with them as we always have with solidarity, but this thing about holding the whole coal chain to ransom is just ridiculous.”

The new union’s national secretary, Michael O’Connor, said:“Big business has too much power, we have record levels of inequality in our community, and working families are finding it hard to make ends meet. We will be fighting every day to restore the fair go.”

The CFMMEU will have 140,000 members, making it the nation’s second biggest.

UNION POWER: MUA member after a court hearing during the major Patrick Stevedoring dispute of 1998. Employers have opposed the merger, saying it will give the combined union an extra advantage in terms of organising ability. The unions say they are still restricted by the existing industrial relations laws, whether they are one union or two.

The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union is believed to have about 200,000 members, and the n Workers Union about 100,000 members.