Breaking Bread: Jeremy Bath, Newcastle City Council CEO

LEADER: Newcastle City Council CEO Jeremy Bath at lunch on Watt Street, the scene of controversy over Supercars roadworks. Picture: Simone De PeakBY the look of his face, Jeremy Bath has had a relaxing summer holiday. The Newcastle City Council chief executive officer has grown a beard. But he explains the beard is an exercise in time management.
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It takes him up to 20 minutes to shave, Bath says, “so this saves me 20 minutes in the morning”.

Every minute counts to Jeremy Bath. For in his role as the council boss in a city transforming itself, Bath believes he has so much to do in so little time.

“I want to get through a decade’s work in five years, and to do that, I need to work at double speed,” he says in a flurry of words. Bath often speaks quickly, which highlights his no-time-to-waste attitude.

Jeremy Bath has made time for lunch. He chooses the venue: Oma’s Kitchen in Watt Street. I figure he enjoys German food, or that perhaps he wishes to rub shoulders with local celebrities. The restaurant’s owners, the Fren family, are stars of Channel Nine’s reality program, Travel Guides.

But the prime reason we’re dining at Oma’s Kitchen is because this was one of the businessesdisrupted by the roadworks for the Supercars circuit.

When Bath began as the council’s interim CEO in May, the Supercars juggernaut was already reshapingthe city, in preparation for the November event.The issuetook upa lotof Bath’stime, as public works programs carved up streets and cut deep into the patience ofthose who didn’t want the car race outside their homes and businesses.

So Bath wants to return the scene of so much controversy to “owndecisions” made by the council, and to eat not humble pie, but schnitzel and potato salad.

“I go to bed, in terms of Watt Street, knowing Idid everything and more that we could do to minimise disruption,” he says, adding that “‘minimise’ doesn’t mean ‘eradicate’”.

Bath recalls when Watt Street was a construction zone, he would sometimes walk into Oma’s Kitchen and see “one, two, sometimes no customers; that is very, very hard to see when you know your organisation ultimately made the decision to enact the civil works that are causing that”.

In its handling of the racepreparations, Bath gives the council a “pass mark”. But, he adds, with eight years’ worth of work undertaken in just five months, “I don’t know if we were going to do much better than a pass mark”. The event itself, he says, was “an outstanding success”, and “you look at Watt Street now. We’ve got Watt Street back”.

Newcastle City Council CEO Jeremy Bath. Picture: Simone De Peak

Jeremy Bath seems to be a glass-half-full kind of person. That is evident throughout our conversation, as he trampolines off any subject to talk enthusiasticallyabout his career,and what he wants to achieve now.

Even the decision to drink only water with lunch hashimlaunchinginto a monologue. He talks about how local water is superb quality and cheap, about his previous job at Hunter Water, and the therapeutic qualities of water.

“If you’ve got a headache at work, it’s almost certainly because you’re dehydrated,” he explains.

“Are you sure you don’t get headaches at work from politics?,” I ask him.

Bath laughs, before replying, “Look, you do get a couple of headaches. But I got into this job with eyes wide open.”

Even before he got the job, Bath was tossed into City Hall politics. A furore swirled around therecruitment process for the CEO’s position, particularly in December 2016, when Cr Allan Robinson allegedthat a mystery man in Belmont had told him Bath had already been given the job.

Bath was working in Sydney as a government relations specialist for corporate strategy firm Crosby Textor at the time.

“And I get a phone call from Mum saying, ‘Have you applied to work for Newcastle City Council?’,” he recalls. “And I say, ‘Why do you ask?’. Well, Robbo just told [Radio 2HD presenter] Richard King you’re the guy they’ve all been walking out in protest against. Why would you want to work at Newcastle City Council?! It’s a madhouse!’. They were her words, ‘It’s a madhouse!’.”

An Office of Local Government investigationfound nothing improper or unethical in the recruitment process. Bath was offered the interim CEO role. Then, in December, he was appointed CEO. Given what his mother had to say, and that he had beenplonked into local politics during the recruitment stage, I ask Bath why he took the job.

“I can’t say one reason,” he replies. I’m a Novocastrian by birth, I’ve grown up always with a close eye on Newcastle City Council, not for any aspiration purposes, but just in terms of someone who has had an interest in how the city is governed, how the city is managed.”

Jeremy Bath in Watt Street. Picture: Simone De Peak

IN 1976, Newcastle City Council released a report titled Looking Ahead. It considered how the city should develop and what role the CBD would play inthe future. In the same year, Jeremy Bath was born in Royal Newcastle Hospital.

He grew up in Belmont North. His father, Robert, was rising through the ranks inthe David Jones retail empire, and his mother, Gay, worked in banking. To help make ends meet and afford a private school education for Jeremy and his younger sister, Melinda, Robert also drove a taxi at night on weekends.

Bath still remembers observing the physical toll those hours took onhis father. And he remembers when, as a teenager, he was told his Dadno longer had to drive taxis. He knew that meant the family was doing OK financially,and he was “getting our Dad back full-time”.

Now that the son has become a father of two young children, Bath is keenly aware the effect working long hours is having on his home life.

“The one negative of the job that I’m in is that I don’t really see my kids Monday to Friday,” he says. “A little bit, I feel likeit’s history repeating.”

On balancing work and life, Bathconcedes, “I guess I need to get better”, but says on weekends, he does whatever his six-year-old daughter Maddie and three-year-old son AJ want to do, and he tries to be “ultra-casual” in that timewith his kids and wife Ruth.

“Anyone who sees me in Woolworths at Charlestown Square on a Saturday would shudder to think that’s the CEO of Newcastle City Council,” he says.

Jeremy Bath at lunch with Scott Bevan at Oma’s Kitchen. Picture: Simone De Peak

The work ethic he learnt from his parents is not only imprinted on Bath’s soul. On his left arm is tattooed the word, “Karma”, and on his right wrist, “The deepest cuts are healed by faith”.

“It’s not a religious faith,” he explains. “It’s a faith that good things happen to good people, and if you work hard long enough, things will eventually go your way.”

Bath spent a year studyingeconomicsat the University of Newcastle, “and I loathed almost every day of it”. So he switched tostudy what had interested himsince he was a small child: communications.

“I was the only six-year-old who voluntarily sat through an hour of NBN news every single night,” he chuckles.

While finishingaCommunications degree, Bath worked in the newsroom for radio stations KOFM and NXFM but hated the breakfast shifts. He tried to have himself taken off the early starts, while proving “the newsroom will cease to function without me”, by heading to Japan for a month. He was replaced while he was gone.

“It was probably the best life lesson I’ve ever had, that no one is ever irreplaceable.”

Bath stayed on in Japan for about three years, teaching and doing some journalism, before returning home and marrying his interest in communications with politics.

He worked as a press officer for Liberal senatorJohn Tierney, before joining the Labor-dominated Fairfield City Council. He then moved on to Clubs NSW and Clubs as their media relations manager, dealing with the state government reforms to the poker machine tax.

That experience, along with working on both sides of the partisan fence, taught Jeremy Bath a valuable lesson: that even in the most intense of political battlegrounds, there’s always somewhere in the middle where agreement can be found.

“From the moment I walked in the doors at Clubs NSW, I said ‘What’s your middle ground?’ And they initially said, ‘We don’t have a middle ground’,” he recalls. “And I said, ‘There’s your problem. That’s why you’re not getting anywhere with the NSW Government. You’re going to have find a middle position’.” It took three years of “bitter campaigning”, but both sides found their middle ground, he says.

“There’s always the middle ground. Even in politics. Politics is full of compromises. Politics is all about compromise.”

“Compromise is always treated as a negative. Compromise, I believe, is a very good thing, because if I’ve got two differing opinions, black and white, … you find the middle ground, that grey, and that’s where I try to operate.”

Jeremy Bath at a 2017 media conference with Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.

Jeremy Bath believes that approach was a key reasonwhy he landed the counciljob. While he had already accrued some executive experience at Hunter Water, including a year as its interim CEO, Bath realised that was not going to be his selling point.

Instead, he pitched that he could work with anyone,regardless of their politics,and he had the ability to find a way for people to work together. In a Labor city that has had a notoriously fractious relationship with the state government, particularly when theCoalitionhas been in power, he saw that attribute as a plus.More than ever, he argues, there has to be clear dialogue between City Hall and Macquarie Street, as the NSW Government pours about$650 million into the Revitalising Newcastle project.

“They [the NSW Government] are not doing that out of the generosity of their heart,” he adds. “They’re doing it because the NSW Government has woken up to the fact that this is a city that offers immense potential, that is already making an immense contribution to our state and to our country. But the potential is almost unlimited.”

Jeremy Bath says he is still in the phase of building trust in his new workplace, with his staff of about 1300, the councillors, and Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.

I ask what Cr Nelmes is like to work with.

“She’s very pragmatic,” he replies. “She’s evidence-based. Like all politicians, you sometimes haveto go to them twice. You’ve got to pick your moment. You’ve got to make sure you get her on the right day. If she’s being criticised on the front page of theNewcastle Herald, that’s probably not the right day to speak to her, ‘I want to do this, I want to do that’.

“I’ll give you an example,” he says, not for the first time during our interview. Bath believed a section of theSupercars trackshould not be turfed over, as promised, butturned into a recreationalactivity area. The Lord Mayor said “no”. He raised it again with her, proposing a community survey. She agreed.The survey was held, and the community said it wanted an activityarea.

“The more I can have those experiences and those public wins with the Lord Mayor, the easier it becomes to build up that trust,” he says. “There are some things where I’ve said ‘I want to put this to the council, how do you feel about that?’ and she says, ‘Absolutely no way I would support that’, and I’ve gone back a second time, and I’ve got, ‘Jeremy, didn’t you hear me the first time?’‘I did Lord Mayor, I thought I’d try one more time’. And to be truthful, if I believe it’s right, I’ll go back a third and fourth time.

Isn’t he worried he’s revealing to the Lord Mayor what he’s up to, I ask.

“I think she sees my approach. I don’t think she’ll read this and go, ‘Is that what he’s doing?’. But I take that same approach for the council. We’re on a journey of building trust with each other.”

Council leaders Nuatali Nelmes and Jeremy Bath in Newcastle West.

Newcastle is on its own extraordinary journey, Jeremy Bath believes. Physically, the city will be unrecognisable in 10 years’ time. The light rail network will extend beyond the initial 2.7 kilometres, reaching into the suburbs, and new areas of development will sprout along the line.

Jeremy Bath wants to be part of that future. It’s why he and Ruth made the “conscious decision” to leave Sydney and return to his hometown in 2013.

“Sydney is full,” he says, adding “fixing” that is very difficult. “Fortunately, I think for here, we’ve caught Newcastle in time.”

As for his own future, Jeremy Bath insists he has no desire to become a politician.

“The life of a politician doesn’t interest me,” he explains. “I’m seeing it in this role, and I’ve seen it over the last couple of years, you are able to do far more, and in a far more condensed period of time, as a bureaucrat fairly high up in the tree.”

Jeremy Bath. Picture: Simone De Peak

FOR a few hours each month, Jeremy Bath takes time out to pursue his sporting passion: mixed martial arts. He has practised it, but these days he only watches bouts, mostly on television at the pub with friends.Bath doesn’t leave work entirely behind when watching the fights: “I’m the bloke who walks into the hotel with an iPad and a stack of council papers.”

To me, it doesn’t seem like much of a break from the rough and tumble of politics to be watching a brutal human contact sport.Bath counters that, just like mixed martial arts, local politics is notnearly as brutal as itlooks fromthe outside.

“If I only saw what the public see, I’d have a very different, and incorrect view or perception,” he says.“It’s far from a madhouse, and it’s far from a dysfunctional council.

“People just don’t get to see all the good that happens, because it happens behind closed doors.Behind closed doors, they know they’re all in it for the same reason, and that is to make our city better. Which is the same reason I’m in it.”

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No plans for defence exports to China

CHRISTOPHER PYNE VISITThe Turnbull government insists China is not a military threat to ‘s national security, but there are no plans to sell defence exports to Beijing.
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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne were both busy separately spruiking on Tuesday their ambitious plan to ramp up military exports and push from 20th into the top 10 of global rankings for defence exports.

Mr Pyne inspected Electro Optic Systems’ remote weapons systems, a Canberra-based company that has just been awarded a $410 million overseas contract.

He reiterated the intelligence alliance of “five eyes” countries – Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States – were the main priority markets along with Europe.

The government was also exploring opportunities in India, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.

“We obviously don’t see China as a military threat,” Mr Pyne said.

“We would not at this stage be exploring military sales to China, that isn’t a priority market.”

He said China had its own sophisticated domestic defence industry and Beijing was unlikely to even look to .

Mr Pyne defended the n subsidiaries of international defence companies potentially being able to access taxpayer dollars in loans for overseas contract negotiations.

“If they are part of a consortium, trying to win an overseas tender, then obviously we look at … whether it fulfilled the requirement,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Turnbull inspected defence electronics at Thomas Global Systems in Sydney, saying he wants to encourage more n family-owned businesses to compete globally.

“Let me tell you – ns can win anything. ns can do anything. They can compete with anybody,” he told reporters.

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The ‘s Shayne Baird celebrates a 40 year labour of love

Read all about it: The Herald’s Shayne Baird is a fire warden, first aid officer and on the occupational health and safety committee. “I’ve felt good here for so long that I want to look after other people.” Picture: Marina NeilSHAYNE Baird was a teenager who had just completed a secretarial course when a friend mentioned a job going at the Newcastle Herald.
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Fastforward 40 years and Mrs Baird has celebrated her 18thand 21stbirthdays, met and married her former compositor husband Jim andbecome a mother to two and a grandmother to one, all while working at the masthead.

“It’s not just a job to me,” Mrs Baird said.

“I’venever worked anywhere else and I hope I’llbe here for another 20 years. It’s been exciting –you’re somewhere where news breaks and you’re part of major events.

“I might not be writing the story, but I’m a cog in the wheel.

“I feel part of something bigger than me. It’s prestigious being part of something that’s so community minded.

“The Herald is here for everybody, for the good times and the bad.”

Mrs Baird’s first official day at theHerald’s former Bolton Street offices wasJanuary 31, 1978.

“It feels like it was yesterday,” she said.

“I don’t know where the time has gone.

“I used to do the pays at times and we used to have up to five members of the same family comingup – sons followedfathers or people met here and got married.

“It had a real family atmosphere and that really hasnot changed.”

Mrs Baird started as a junior administration officer in accounting and has served in almost every department since, including circulation, production, editorial, advertising and pre-production.

“One of my first jobs was mailing invoices,” she said.

“I used to fill the envelopes and lick the back.

“I thought peel and seal was technology overload –40 years later and we’re emailing!”

Mrs Baird said she remembered looking from the office into deserted city streets shortlyafter the December 1989 earthquake.

“It felt very eerie, but we had to be there to get the news out.”

Mrs Baird has worked for the past two yearsin pre-production and is responsible for placing advertisements on pages, as well as the commercial insets inside the paper.

Her colleagues spanall ages, which she said helped keep her “young at heart”.

“The best part is I getup at 5.30am, get the paper offthe lawn andfeel fulfilled and a sense of accomplishment seeing the product,” she said.

“When you open up the paper it’s different every day, soI neverfeel like I’m doing the same thing.”

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No apologies for boat policy: Turnbull

SCOTT MORRISON US TAX LEGISLATION PRESSERMalcolm Turnbull says the coalition makes no apologies for taking a tough approach to people smugglers.
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Cabinet documents obtained by the ABC show former immigration minister Scott Morrison requested ASIO in 2013 to delay security checks so asylum seekers would miss a deadline to obtain permanent protection visas.

It is unclear whether ASIO complied with the written request.

But Mr Morrison said in a statement on Tuesday, “As minister for immigration and border protection, it was my policy and practice to put ‘s national security interests first”.

The prime minister backed up his cabinet colleague, saying Mr Morrison had “stopped the boats”.

“We make no apologies for sending the clearest message to the people smugglers and to their would-be customers: if you think you can come to on a people smuggler’s boat, you’re wrong. You won’t. You won’t get here, you will not become a permanent resident,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Sydney.

“Keeping our borders secure is a critical obligation and responsibility of government.”

Asked about two days of cabinet leaks from the Abbott era, Defence Industry Ministry Christopher Pyne said he didn’t look in the rear vision mirror.

“Four-year-old stories are four-year-old stories,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he would examine the cabinet documents, but was concerned the government continued to mischaracterise Labor’s position on people smuggling.

“We want to stop the people smugglers,” he told the National Press Club in Canberra.

“When the government says Labor won’t do that, they are giving a signal to the people smugglers to test our system – I wish for once they would think about the national interest and people’s safety rather than trying to turn it into a partisan issue.”

Labor senator Kimberley Kitching says the cabinet leaks appear to be aimed at making Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s leadership rivals Mr Morrison and Tony Abbott look bad.

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WineMudgee’s great bunchJohn Lewis

SUCCESS: Veteran vigneron Malcolm Roth, whose Westcourt 2016 Riesling was champion wine of the 2017 Mudgee Wine Show, with Mudgee Winemaker of the Year award-winner Jacob Stein of Robert Stein Wines.MUDGEEhas had more than its share of booms and busts since the first wine grapes were planted 160 years ago, but today there’s a spirit of optimism, excitement and innovation abroad.
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That spirit evidenced in the wake of the 2017 Mudgee Wine Show, as Mudgee Wine Association showed great initiative by sending wine writers samples of the trophy winners.

In tasting the wines and I’ve been impressed how makers large and small are pushing boundaries. Boutique brands are adding panache and they won seven of the 17 show trophies – with the Westcourt 2016 Mudgee Riesling being crowned show champion, best white and best other than chardonnay and semillon white.

Westcourt is owned by 79-year-old Malcolm Roth, the great grandson of Mudgee winemaking founder Adam Roth and the triple-trophy riesling sells for $25 onvisitmudgeeregion苏州夜总会招聘.au/wineries-cellardoors.

Another fine boutique wine is the Naked Lady 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, judged the best cabernet sauvignon and reviewed below. The vineyard at Bylong Valley Way, Rylstone, gets its name from the naked lady lily, the South African-origin amaryllis belladonna bulb, that grows abundantly on the land.

The vineyard was planted in 2000 and bought in 2013 by wine enthusiasts and former Sydney optical business owners Mike and Diane Quaife.

A lone oak tree and plans for a relaxing country lifestyle led Paula Hanson and David Riley to pick the name Lazy Oak for the 10-hectare Sills Lane, Eurunderee, vineyard they bought in 2015.The pair, a Mudgee diesel mechanical supervisor and a former grief education officer, shed ideas of lazy days in the face of a growing fascination with winegrowing, now rewarded by the bestrosétrophy to the$24Lazy Oak 2017 MerlotRosé, selling onlazyoak苏州夜总会招聘.au.

With ace young winemaker Jacob Stein at the helm, the Stein label has become an area flagship – a status bolstered at Mudgee judging when Jacob was declared winemaker of the year and the company won trophies for most successful exhibitor, best semillon and best museum white. The semillon was the Robert Stein 2017 Aged Release Semillon, reviewed below, and limited stocks of the best museum white 2009 Riesling ($80) are atrobertstein苏州夜总会招聘.authe Mudgee cellar door.

Bunnamagoo Estate, owned by the Paspaley family of pearling fame, won the best museum red trophy with its 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot and the best sweet white trophy with the $25 2016 Autumn Semillon.

The latter is atbunnamagoowines苏州夜总会招聘.auand the Henry Lawson Drive, Mudgee, cellar.

Bunnamagoo has vineyards at Mudgee and at the historic 2000-hectare spread at the Central Tablelands village of Rockley.

Wine reviewsTOP MUDGEE SEMILLONTHISRobert Stein 2017 Aqed Release Semillonwon’t be officially released until 2019, but is available now on requestatrobertstein苏州夜总会招聘.auand the Pipeclay Lane, Mudgee, winery.It is pale straw and has honeysuckle scents and crisp lemon front-palate flavour. The middle palate has green apple, sherbet and gunmetal and a slatey acid finish. PRICE: $30. DRINK WITH: oysters. AGEING: 10 years.

RATING: 5 stars

A SPICY NAKED LADYWITH 14% alcohol, theNaked Lady 2015 Cabernet Sauvignonshines bright garnet in the glass, has bouquet garni scents and spicy blackberry front-palate flavour. Maraschino cherry, licorice, mint and mocha oak marry on the middle palate and chalky tannins play at the finish. Get it onnakedladywines苏州夜总会招聘.auand the Rylstone cellar door.PRICE: $45. DRINK WITH: lamb koftas. AGEING: six years.

RATING: 4.5 stars

OATLEY DOUBLE ACTFITTINGLY this Oatley group’sMontrose 2015 Stony Creek Chardonnaywon the Bob Oatley trophy as Mudgee’s top chardonnay.It’s green-tinted straw and has almond scents and ripe peach on the front palate. The middle palate has fig, citrus, mineral and cashew oak and a flinty acid finish. Atrobertoatley苏州夜总会招聘.au, shops and Craigmoor winery.PRICE: $22.95. DRINK WITH: paella. AGEING: five years.

RATING: 4.5 stars

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Darryl McLellan back in winners’ circle after track fall setback

COMEBACK: Darryl McLellan at Newcastle Racecourse in November during his recovery from hip replacement surgery. Picture: Jonathan CarrollGroup 1-winning Newcastle jockey Darryl “Digger” McLellan is aiming to build his fitness after a successful but delayed second comeback on the weekend.
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McLellan, 47, rode Givem Hell to victory for former Scone trainer Toby Edmonds in the first at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

It was the now Queensland-based hoop’sfirst race ride since November 4 last year, after which he returned to Newcastle to have hip replacement surgery.

McLellan hadreturned to racing in August, after almost six years on the sidelines, and startedwith eight winners in 49 rides. A shoulder injury and surgeriesfrom a race fall onBoxing Day2011 at Newcastle had derailed his career.

Before his 2011 fall, McLellanrode more than 1000 winners, including group 1s on Magic Of Money in the 1995 The Galaxy and the 2002 Sydney Cup on Henderson Bay.He also took Lonhro to victory in the 2001Warwick Stakes.

The popular jockey was glad to finally return tothe races after a frightening track work accident in his first week back on the job postponed his comeback.

“It’s fine,” McLellan said of his hip.

“It was good, getting a winin my first ride back, so it was brilliant.

“I got put back a bit because I had a track work incident and it put meback three or four weeks.

“A horse flipped over on me and landed right on that hip. I couldn’t believe it.

“I s–t myself.I thought, ‘No, this can’t be happening’, but it’s all right.I tore the groin muscle and the hip flexor a bit.”

He had four rides last Saturday and was focused now on getting back into shape. McLellan was down to 51.5 kilograms before his hip surgery.

“When the horse landed on me, it put my fitness program back a bit as well,” he said.

“I’m 55 kilos and I need to get my weight down and get a bit more fitness. I did kind of struggle a bit there on Saturday.”

McLellan moved to the Gold Coast to revive his career after being denied a jockey’s licence by Racing NSW.

AAP reports: Jockey Kerrin McEvoy has been cleared to ride after recovering from a broken hand.

McEvoy needed surgery on his right hand after breaking his third metacarpal in a pre-race incident at Randwick on December 16.

He was taking Sugar Bella, trained at Newcastle by Kris Lees, to the barriers when she made a sudden sideways move and he twisted his fingers.

McEvoy was given the all-clear on Monday and hopes to be back riding competitively on Friday.

“Got the all clear from the doctor re. the injured hand so looking fwd to doing a few gallops in the morning, possibly races Friday at Canterbury” McEvoy tweeted.

He is the regular rider of Redzel whichis set to have his first start for 2018 in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington on February 17, ruling McEvoy out of the ride on Winx in Sydney if Hugh Bowman fails to have a careless riding ban reduced.

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Parole increase halts NSW prison growth

SILVERWATER JAIL STOCKThe rapidly growing and overcrowded NSW prison population has finally plateaued but only because many more criminals are being paroled, a government report has found.
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The data comes the same day a new 400-bed prison, designed to ease pressure on the overcrowded corrections system, opens in the Hunter Valley.

The NSW prison population increased 33 per cent between December 2011 and December 2016, but in the 12 months that followed it only increased by a further 0.7 per cent, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research announced on Tuesday.

The prison population would have continued to increase, BOCSAR executive director Don Weatherburn said, but for a large increase in the number of offenders released on parole.

“Between 2014 and 2017, the average monthly number of offenders released on parole increased by 35 per cent, from 504 to 682 offenders,” he said in a statement.

The paroles offset the new intakes, BOCSAR found.

The Public Service Association last year referred to the state’s prison system as being “grossly overcrowded” and said it was housing 13,000 inmates despite being designed to accommodate 11,000.

The NSW government hopes to relieve pressure on the system with the Hunter Correctional Centre, which was opened by Corrections Minister David Elliott in Cessnock on Tuesday.

The minimum and maximum security rapid-build prison was ordered as part of the state government’s $3.8 billion prison infrastructure program.

But the state opposition says “pop-up” prisons – including the one that opened in Wellington last year – are plagued with problems, including security issues.

“Band-aid solutions won’t work. Minister Elliott has lost control of the corrections portfolio, leaving him scrambling to fix all the problems that have happened under his leadership,” opposition corrections spokesman Guy Zangari said.

The NSW government is investing $237 million in programs to reduce reoffending with a focus on persistent domestic violence offenders and other high-risk offenders, Mr Elliott’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.

BOCSAR data predicts little growth in the prison population over the next 12 months, which is expected to reach 13,244 by December 2018.

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Pink lashes Grammy Chief Neil Portnow

60th Annual Grammy Awards Arrivals – NYCThe backlash from Grammy chief Neil Portnow’s comment after the show that female artists and executives need to “step up” has met with a furious reaction online that was picked up by Pink, a frequent Grammy performer who sang on the show.
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In a handwritten post on her social media accounts, she wrote:

“Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’ – women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also steppin aside. Women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this. When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women STEP UP every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair.”

Earlier in the day, Charli XCX tweeted: “ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face.. women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about ?????”

There was a striking absence of female nominees and winners, even though it featured two #MeToo-related segments via Janelle Monae’s powerful “Time’s Up” speech and Kesha’s moving performance of Praying.

But the #GrammysSoMale situation was exacerbated the day before the show when Variety reported that New Zealand singer Lorde – the only female Best Album nominee – was also the only such nominee who hadn’t been offered a solo performance on the show (sources say she was offered a spot in the Tom Petty tribute and declined).

Lorde posted on Twitter on Monday, writing: “IF YOU’RE DEBATING WHETHER OR NOT I CAN MURDER A STAGE… COME SEE IT FOR URSELF,” a reference to her upcoming tour.

That narrative was thrown into stark relief by the perhaps hasty and definitely unfortunate post-show comments from Grammy chief Neil Portnow – who said female artists and executives “need to step up”.

When asked whether a Lorde performance should have been included in the show, Ehrlich said “we’ve got a lot of spots to cover”.

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Maitland store Hyde & Silk specialises in clothing and giftware made in an ethical and fair trade environment

GOOD BUY: “I love the story behind every product and like sharing that with customers,” says Amanda Hyde, in her store. Picture: Marina Neil GROWING up on the Hunter River, lending a hand in her family’s commercial fishing business, Amanda Hyde was quickly immersed in all things environmental.
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“I was a deckhand on the prawn trawler and we just had smaller and smaller catches year after year and it led me to think about what’s happening in the environment and the impacts we have locally andglobally,” says Ms Hyde.

After completing an environmental science degree at the University of Newcastle, Ms Hyde worked in natural resource management for the Department of Fisheries and then in emergency management.

A chance conversation with a friend, however, led her to take leave toresearch and recently launch her first retail business, Hyde & Silk.

Located in High Street, Maitland, the shop stocks only fair trade and ethically sourced products from local and global suppliers.

“It follows on from my ethos of ethical and fair trade and having a minimal impact on the environment is important to me,” she says.

The business pursuit was developed when Ms Hyde was asked by a friend where she shopped “locally”.

“I replied, ‘I don’t’, because I like to always buy something a bit different when I travel,” she recalls. “I then thought if I open a shop with clothes that I like and want to wear then surely others have the same interests.”

Hyde & Silk –the silk is a reference to the fact all customers are given a silk bag with a purchase –stocks accessories, homewares and clothing in retro, boho and casual styles, including popular local brands that are made in ethical workshops in India, Thailand and Nepal.

“I am passionate about fair trade and ethically producted fashion as opposed to the recent increase in ‘fast fashion’ –cheap, mass produced and poor quality clothing that only lasts a season at most,” she says.

“The term ‘fast fashion’ implies that it is ok to throw away the item after wearing it only a few times but it is not ok and I hope to inspire shoppers to make responsible purchases that help others less fortunate while reducing waste.”

One of the brands she stocks is Happy Trunks harem pants, with each purchase of a pair assistingthe Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai Province in Northern Thailand.

“People can often not realise the impact of their purchase, but I call it ethical consumerism –it’s value adding when you can help a community through buying your everyday items,” she says.“I wantpeople to know that by purchasing anything here it really does value add to thecommunity it came from, they are not big companies I support, they are very small communities.”

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Mystery Weston couple win over half a million dollars in Saturday Lotto bonanza

A Weston couplewho originally bought alotto ticket in the hope of purchasing a cattle truck are planning on retiring and paying off their mortgage after winning over half a million dollars.
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The division one prize of$500,446.24 was won inSaturday Lotto the day after Day.

One of eight division one winners from around the country, the couple were said to be overjoyed with emotion when told of the win.

The wife, who was running on a treadmill whenLotto officials rang, declared she was going to retire.

“$500,446.24! That’s us! Whoa! Wow! Oh my god,” she said.

“I can’t believe that! I’ve never won anything.

“I don’t think I’m going to finish my walk on my treadmill now, I’m going to have a beer!

“We’ll pay off the mortgage and I might be able to retire.”

Her husband added: “I told you it was our time to win.”

The lucky pair, who wish to remain anonymous, purchased their 24 game marked entry online atthelott苏州夜总会招聘.

Asked how they came up with their numbers, the woman revealed the quirky nickname for their entry.

“We have a property and we were trying to buy a cattle truck at the time so we picked all of our favourite numbers and nicknamed the entry ‘Cattle Truck’,” she said.

“We ended up buying a second hand cattle truck anyway, but have just kept the same numbers and kept playing them.

“The numbers were just dates of special occasions, special people’s birthdays and they are truly special to us now.”

The winning numbers were 4, 7, 11, 32, 40 and 1, while the supplementary numberswere 26 and 29.

The win continues a lucky string of lotto bonanzas across the Hunter in the past six months.

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