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Andy Lobb

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Andy Lobb is Chief of Staff at NBN News.

WIDE LOAD BLOCKS MI OFF RAMP NEWCASTLE

One of two northbound lanes is closed on the M1 Pacific Motorway at Cameron Park as work continues to salvage a truck with a shifted wide load on the off-ramp to Newcastle Link Road. The northbound off-ramp from the motorway to Newcastle Link Road eastbound remains closed and motorists are advised to exit the motorway at George Booth Drive to use Cameron Park Drive instead. Motorists wanting to access the Hunter Expressway westbound can still use the off-ramp. Emergency services, traffic crews, heavy tow trucks and bridge engineers remain on site. Motorists are advised to allow extra travel time and exercise caution. Transport Management Centre

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HISTORIC LIFEBOAT MOVED FROM FORMER MARITIME MUSEUM

The future of Newcastle’s Maritime Museum may still be uncertain, but one of its prized exhibits, the Victoria II lifeboat, has a new home for now. The vessel, which featured in some of the port’s most daring rescues, was loaded onto a semi for a trip to a storage facility. The museum closed last year under a cloud of debt. (VISION ONLY)

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HUON AQUACULTURE WRAPPING UP FISH FARM TRIAL

The company behind an offshore fish farming trial at Port Stephens is wrapping up the project, sooner than expected. Huon Aquaculture has told the state government it’s pulling out, just two years into a five-year program. The operation had been beset with problems, such as damaged pens from big seas, and the escape of thousands of yellowtail kingfish. Huon says it’s learned many valuable lessons, and will explore other sites on the east and west coasts. (VISION ONLY)

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MORE WATER SET TO BE TRUCKED INTO MURRURUNDI

Upper Hunter Council is set to increase water deliveries to Murrurundi. Already four tankers a day are travelling to the town from Glenbawn Dam near Scone – two to three more will be added. The carted water is supplementing Murrurundi’s emergency bore, and Pages River supply. Tenders have been called for the construction of a pipeline between the two towns, it’s expected to be completed next year. (VISION ONLY)

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CLAIMS OF UNPAID FEES FOR HUNTER WORKERS

Sub-contractors say they’re chasing hundreds of thousands of dollars after a Hunter building company went into liquidation. Tradies who worked on the Aqua apartment development, in Lake Street at Warners Bay, picketed the site today… following the collapse of Martin Building Services just before Christmas. Whitehead Property Group, which is behind the project, has since engaged new builders to complete the work, and says it paid all fees owing to Martins before that business went into liquidation. One concreting company alone claims it’s owed $280,000. (AUDIO IN PARTS)

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HUNDREDS FLOCK TO NINE MILE BEACH FOR AUSTRALIA DAY LONG WEEKEND

Nine Mile Beach’s popularity with four-wheel-drive enthusiasts has again been demonstrated over the Australia Day long weekend. Authorities recorded a peak of around 800 vehicles on the stretch of sand between Third Creek at Redhead, and Blacksmiths to the south and say visitors have generally been well-behaved. The Belmont Wetlands State Park Trust issues permits, with annual fees set to double next month. The funds are used to help manage the beach. Aerial vision courtesy of Heliservices Newcastle

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LABOR CANDIDATE FOR UPPER HUNTER MARTIN RUSH WITHDRAWS

Martin Rush has resigned as Labor’s candidate for the state seat of the Upper Hunter. It follows an assault allegation levelled against the Muswellbrook Mayor – which he’s categorically denied. The accusation was made in an anonymous letter, sent to Mr Rush’s political opponent Michael Johnsen. New South Wales police say inquiries were made into the matter, and no further action will be taken. A new Labor candidate is to be selected. (VISION ONLY)

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CROWDS ROLL IN AHEAD OF KING EDWARD PARK CAROLS

There’s been a few nervous eyes skyward ahead of tonight’s Carols by Candlelight at King Edward Park. Heavy storms swept over the city this afternoon, giving organisers a few anxious hours. Crowds are now gathering, with the first of the carols getting underway from 7pm… they’ll finish with a visit from the man in red. The event helps collect toys and donations for the Salvation Army’s Christmas appeal. (VISION ONLY)

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BROADMEADOW BINISHELL TO BE DEMOLISHED

It’s been a landmark at Broadmeadow, but now time’s up for the binishell at the Hunter School of the Performing Arts. A design fad during the 1970s and 80s, binishells were a pop-up answer for school halls and gymnasiums. A little like paper mache, the structures began with an inflatable frame, before being covered with sprayed-on, reinforced cement. The structure will be demolished this weekend. (VISION ONLY)

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‘FOOD AND FRIENDSHIP’ VOLUNTEERS BUSY FILLING HAMPERS

A Lake Macquarie community outreach group is going the extra mile to make sure people who are doing it tough this Christmas don’t go without. Volunteers at Food and Friendship, a low cost supermarket run by the Warners Bay Baptist Church, were busy filling close to 200 hampers for some of their regulars on Tuesday, the rest headed to other support agencies. Organisers say they’ve noticed increased need from middle income families due to employment and mortgage stress. (AUDIO IN PARTS)

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