Natasha loses top ranking

SETBACK: Natasha Scott playing for Australia at the World Bowls Series last year in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture: Getty ImagesRaymond Terrace’s Natasha Scott has lost her No.1 Australian women’s ranking after losing a thrilling match 21-20 to Sue Brady in round of 16 of the Australian Open on the Gold Coast.
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Scott, the defending Open champion and reigning national female Bowler of the Year, beat her closest rival inthis year’s ranking race, Victoria’s Carla Krizanic, 21-9 in the round of 32.But her loss to Queenslander Brady means she gained only a four-point advantage over Krizanic in the final event of the rankings season, not enough to keep her title.

Scott and Krizanic are playing together in the pairs and are into the quarter-finals. Maddison Fennell andMolly Wilton (Raymond Terrace) lost in the round of 16.

Shannon Gittoes (Nelson Bay) qualified for the quarter-finals of the blue-ribbon men’s singles with a nail biting 21-19 win against Glenn Scott (Victoria). He was due to meet Aaron Teyes (Warilla) on Tuesday evening.

Sam Laguzza (Kahibah) is in the men’s fours quarter-finals on Wednesday morning playing lead for Sean Baker (Queensland) against Aaron Wilson (NSW).

**Newcastle District State Senior Singles champion Michael Beesley (Beresfield) begins his title defence on Saturday with a tough first-tound match against Richard Garvey (Edgeworth) at Windale-Gateshead.

**Only two previous winners are contesting the Newcastle District State President’s Singles from Saturday. Titleholder Lance Jackson (Raymond Terrace) meets Danny Moore (Wangi) at Kotara and 2013 champion Paul Delforce (Kahibah) plays Harold Ellercamp (Swansea Workers) at Belmont.

**Newcastle travel to Gulgong this weekend for the annual representative fixtures against Western NSW, Central Coast and Illawarra.

Soldiers Point’s Alvin Gardiner will make his Newcastle debut as third for clubmate Terry Antram, with Warren Shipley (Beresfield) as lead and Jason Pietraszek (Soldiers Point) as second.

Bruce Bull (Windale-Gateshead) returns to the side after an absence of 10 years as third for Lennon Scott (Raymond Terrace), with Raymond Terrace’s Haydn Bojkowski and Jason Stokes as lead and second.

Richard Girvan (Nelson Bay) will skipper the rink of Brian Bateman (Soldiers Point), Jarrod Duncan (Alder Park) and Shannon Gittoes (Nelson Bay).AMatt Baus (Raymond Terrace) will be in charge of Shaun Richards (Raymond Terrace), Jakob Graham (Nelson Bay) and David Govan (Valentine).

**Entries close on Wednesday at the association office for the Newcastle District Major Singles and on Friday for all events in the 2017 Mattara carnival.

The Major Singles starts on July 8 and Mattara on August 14.

Knights to weigh up SKD offer

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Shaun Kenny-Dowall (left) leaves Downing Centre Court complex on Tuesday. Picture: Daniel Munoz
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SHOULD the Newcastle Knights sign a player who has pleaded guilty to the possession of cocaine?

That is the dilemma the club is now pondering after Shaun Kenny-Dowall admitted to having 0.29 grams of the drug and was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond but escaped a conviction at Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday.

Kenny-Dowall’s management werein talks with the Knights when the 29-year-old was busted by police with the drug at Ivy nightclub in May.The Kiwi international has since been released by the Roosters and is available to join Newcastlebefore the June 30 cut-off date.

Knights chief executiveMatt Gidley was non-committal when asked if they would reopen talks with the centre after reportedly withdrawing a four-year $1.2 million in the wake of his arrest.

“We are looking at a number of players who may be available prior to June 30,” Gidley said.

Football-wisea player of Kenny-Dowall’s pedigree and experience –he played 234 games for the Roosters, including the 2013 grand-final victory, and has 20 caps for New Zealand–would bolster a developing backline.

Coach Nathan Brown said the outcome of the court case was “favourable for Shaun as a player” and “good news for him”.However, he said a decision on the pursuitof Kenny-Dowall waslargely out of his control.

“I have always said that when something like this occurs it always heads to people above me,” Brown said.

Coach Nathan Brown says a decision on whether Shaun Kenny-Dowall joins @NRLKnights will be made by board. @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/JISvH3RZar

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) June 20, 2017Heraldhas been told that the Knights board of directors have been instructed to discuss any big decisions with the Wests Group in the likelihood of a takeover later in theyear.Kenny-Dowall may beasked to appear before the Knights board.

Gidley said, as was the case with all significant signings,the Knights board would bekept“informed”of developments.

“They will certainly be aware of it, andthey will certainly be able to put their views forward, but at this stage we haven’t entered into any discussions,” he said.“We are purelyspeculating at this stage.”

Kenny-Dowall’ssolicitor Bryan Wrench told the court his client underwent urine and hair testing soonafter he was caught with a resealable bag of cocaineon May 5, provinghe did not take the drug, and had not used drugs in previous weeks.

“It still doesn’t excuse what he did, but this is a case where we can say it’s a one-off,” Wrench said.

Magistrate Greg Groginnoted Kenny-Dowall had lost his contract with the Roosters as a result of the charges, as well as his registration with the NRL.

“The collateral damage is huge,” Grogin said.”There’s no evidence of drug use by you either at the time of the incident … or in the many weeks prior.”

Grogin said he consideredKenny-Dowall’s early guilty plea, and the fact that it was his first offence when discharging him, and placing him on a year-long good behaviour bond.

It is not the first time the former centre has appeared in court.

The Kiwi national was last year acquitted of domestic violenceafter he was accused of headbutting, pushing and putting his former girlfriend Jessica Peris in a headlock.

TheHeraldunderstands that the Knights are also in talks withRoosters backline utility Connor Watson and Brisbane duo, centre Tatau Monga and propHerman Ese’ese.

It is unclear if any would be available this season.

“There are lots of players who may be available and things will probably heat up post Origin II (Wednesday),” Gidley said. “In the early stages of next week there will probably be various opportunities.As I have said all along, we are well positioned to bring players in and we will see what eventuates between now and next Friday (June 30).”

Gidley also confirmed that talks had begin with extending the contracts of captain Sione Mata’utia, fellow young guns Daniel and Jacob Saifiti and crowd favourite Nathan Ross.

“Thereare two aspects to our roster management –recruitment and retention,” Gidley said.“There are a number of the young players who are currently under contract that we are looking to extend.”

Meanwhile, the Knights have named an unchanged 17 to take on St George Illawarra at Jubilee Oval on Sunday.

Big spending NSW budget snubs the Hunter

At his press conference on Tuesday, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet was asked whether the days of asset recycling –read: privatisations – were over now the government had completed the sale of its electricity network businesses.
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The implication seemed to be; after raising some $29.8 billion through privatisation, there’s not much left to sell, and when it’s all gonewhat will the government prop up its revenue base with? Mr Perrottet’s answer wasthat they’re not done yet.

The government still plans to sell its $16.8 billion Westconnexmotorway project, and is in talks with the Commonwealth about the so-called Snowy Hydro 2.0 scheme.

Since coming to power in 2011 the government has used privatisation – like the $1.5 billion lease of the Newcastle Port – as a base on which to fund its ambitious infrastructure budget.

But how long can it keep it going?

With stamp duties expected to begin falling in coming years, debt from infrastructure rising, and GST receipts about to fall off a cliff, the governmenthas a looming revenue problem. Mr Perrottet says the government’sdealing with it by controlling expenditure growth through wage caps and efficiency dividends – read: budget cuts –in the public service.

In 2014 when the government was in the process of privatising the Port of Newcastle for $1.5 billion, the Hunter was briefly at the centre of the state’s politics.

Since then, following the commitment to build a 2.7 kilometre light rail track down Hunter Street, we’re often told how lucky we are that the government is investing half a billion dollars into the region. But what of Lake Macquarie? Of Maitland? Of Port Stephens, Cessnock and the Upper Hunter?

Sydney infrastructure projectswinbillions in this budget, with a bottom lineMr Perrottet boasted was the “envy of the western world”.The Hunter’s most significant newfunding announcement? A$1.7 million business case for a project that has been on the government’s radar for years.

This for a region which, as always, has donemore than it’s share of heavy lifting. Coal royalties will deliver $1.5 billion to the budget –up $300 million on what was expected.

Schools, hospitals, roads and, yes, art galleries for Sydney, Sydney and you guessed it, Sydney.

Envy? Some might call it greed.

Issue: 38,524

Young song and dance

CLASSIC: William Parker rehearsing the title song in Singin’ in the Rain JR. Photo by Jo Roberts.THE list of popular musicals adapted for performance by young entertainers is growing, with two of the latest, Singin’ in the Rain JR and Legally Blonde:The Musical JR, being staged by Newcastle theatre groups in the July school holidays.
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Singin’ in the Rain JR will be presented by Hunter Drama at St. Phillip’s Christian College Theatre and Legally Blonde: The Musical JR by Pantseat Productions at the Civic Playhouse.

The shortening of the musicals tests the performers, aged 18 and under, as they have to get the story across to audiences through acting, song and dance in running times of 60 to 70 minutes.

Singin’ in the Rain, adapted from a classic film musical, is set in Hollywood in the 1920s, when the success of the first film with recorded sound, The Jazz Singer, led studios to include dialogue in movies they were making. In the musical, officials at one studio decide to dub the squeaky voice of attractive Lina Lamont with that of would-be actor Kathy Selden. Kathy finds herself working with leading man, Don Lockwood, who had offended her in a street encounter.

Sophie Carmody, who plays Kathy, said she is a strong person, but one who also can show a soft spot. The musical’s Don, William Parker, said the character’s dancing delivery of the title number while using an umbrella to shelter Kathy from rain is challenging but fun.

Singin’ in the Rain JR, directed by Drew Holmes, has performances at St. Phillip’s Christian College Theatre, Waratah, nightly at 7.30pm from Wednesday, July 5, to Saturday, July 8, plus 2pm Friday and Saturday matinees. Tickets: $33, concession $25. Bookings: tickets.spcc.nsw.edu.au.

Legally Blonde shows the challenges faced by a young woman, Elle Woods, when she talks her way into a legal studies course at Harvard University after her boyfriend, who is enrolling in the course, leaves her, asserting she’s not “serious’ enough”. Elle befriends a fellow classmate, Emmett, who worked hard to get into the course, and in her final year amusingly demonstrates her legal skills as a lawyer’s assistant in a trial.

Jordan Warner, who plays Elle, said she believes in herself and gets ahead by doing the right things. And the numbers, including the amusing Bend and Snap, will have audiences with smiles on their faces. Theo Williams, the show’s Emmett, said he’s a loving and tender character who, like Elle, is very different to most of the other students.

Legally Blonde: The Musical JR, directed by Kimberley Dingle, has performances at the Civic Playhouse on Thursday and Friday, July 6 and 7, at 12pm and 7pm, and on Saturday, July 8, at 2pm and 7pm.

Tickets: $26.55. Bookings: 4929 1977.

Will North Melbourne relocate to Tasmania?

North Melbourne relocating to Tasmania has been put back on the football agenda thanks to Footy Classified co-host Craig Hutchison, with the AFL on Tuesday saying “everything is a possibility”.
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Hutchisonused the Channel Nine football program on Monday night to express his view on the Kangaroos calling Tasmania their permanent football home in the wake of the low crowd for their Friday night home game against St Kilda.

Kangaroo Jack Ziebell with the fans North Melbourne defeated the Adelaide Crows at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena on May 6, 2017. Photo: Quinn Rooney, Getty Images

Just26,107 people were at Etihad Stadium in what was also a celebration night for retired great Brent Harvey.

“It is time North Melbourne to have a deeper and serious look at Tasmania, because that for me is the greater opportunity for their footy club without actually compromising their supporter base,’’ Hutchinson said.

“I think they are in an unbelievable position if you leave emotion out to get the best of both worlds.”

Hutchison proposed that the club has a permanent training base in Hobart and playnine games in Tasmania [five at Blundstone Arena and four at UTas Stadium], nine in Melbourne andfour interstate.

He also believed the club’s women’s team should bepermanently basedin Tasmania.

Hutchisonsaid the current set-up in the state, which sees Hawthorn play four games in Launceston and North three in Hobart was “flawed”.

Those deals expire in 2021.

AFL general manager of football operations Simon Lethleanresponded to the calls on SEN Radio on Tuesday saying it wasn’t something that was on the immediate agenda for the league.

“[But] everything is a possibility,” he said.

“Our preferred model probably is one team in Tassie, but we’ve also been pretty clear too that there are two clubs there at the moment with five-year deals to play matches and that’s not changing any time soon.

“It’s one for three, four, five years time to discuss and see where clubs are situated.”

TASSIE HOME: North Melbourne and Adelaide clash at Bellerive Oval in round 7. Picture: Getty Images

AFL Tasmania chief executive Rob Auld said: “Craig Hutchison’s creativity and innovation is well known but my reaction to his recentthinking isthat we have a commitmentto the AFLclubs playing football in Tasmania, and the current deals that are inplaceuntil 2021.

“It isabsolutely not our place to comment on matters specific to AFL clubs.

“However, as demonstrated by the recent AFLW submissions we will continue to work to getting the best outcomes for Tasmania, bringingTasmania closer to the national competition.

“It is pleasing how Tasmaniacontinues to be a part of the national conversation.”

But the state government has knocked the idea on the head.

“The AFL will never be a truly national competition until Tasmania has its own team,’’ acting premier Jeremy Rockliff said.

“Tasmania is a proud football state and the government continues to believe that the AFL won’t be a truly national competition until we have our team.”

North Melbourne declined to comment on the matter.

The Advocate

Manager gets jail time over NRMA fraud

THE former manager of NRMA’s Salamander Bay branch has been jailed for a maximum of 16 months after she admitted tostealing nearly $50,000 to fund her poker machine addiction.
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Maree Ann Preece, 48, of Corlette, appeared in Raymond Terrace Local Court on Friday where she wassentenced to a non-parole period of 10 months and ordered to repay $49,305.05 to the franchisee of the BagnallBeach Road branch.

Preece began working as the manager at the NRMA’s Salamander Bay branch in early 2016 and was tasked with depositing takings atthe nearby National Australia Bank each day, according to a statement of police facts.

But on January 30 this year, Preece went off sick.

On February 22, an NRMA Hunter Valley representative called the franchisee to report a discrepancy in the banking for his branch.

A subsequent audit revealed that between January 4 and January 25none of the cash deposits had been taken to the bank and a total of $49,305.05 was outstanding.

The franchisee then completed a physical audit of the records at the Salamander Bay branch and found there were 16 banking deposit slips missing.

When spoken to by police, Preece admitted she had stolen money for about 10 months and used it to gamble on poker machines.

She said sheused the takings from subsequent days to pay back earlier thefts in a bid to balance the books but went off sick when the thefts became too large to cover up.

Preece pleaded guilty in April to a charge ofstealing property as a clerk or servant greater than $15,000and the matter was adjourned so she could undergo an assessment for an intensive corrections order, a form of custodial sentence served in the community.

But Magistrate Caleb Franklin had warned Preece their was no guarantee she would avoid a full-time jail sentence.

And on Friday, Mr Franklin ordered she serve at least 10 months in jail for the large-scale and long-running fraud.

Preece will not be eligible for parole until April 15 next year.

First-of-its kind UOW centre to shed light on our history

TEAM: The CABAH team includes Thomas Sutikna, Tim Cohen, Richard (Bert) Roberts, Zenobia Jacobs and Nathan Jankowski. Picture: Paul JonesOn Thursday an international research team headquartered at the University of Wollongong (UOW) beginsa seven-year, $45.7 million quest to shed light on Australia’s iconic biodiversity and Indigenous heritage.
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That’s when Federal Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, officially launches the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) at Parliament House.

CABAH will be led by Distinguished Professor Richard (Bert) Roberts, an ARC Laureate Fellow and Director of UOW’s Centre for Archaeological Science.

Professor Roberts said the first continental-scale project of its kind in the world will pioneer a new understanding of the natural and human history of Australia, Papua New Guinea and eastern Indonesia from 130,000 years ago until European arrival.

That’s why CABAH has enlisted ‘’world-leading’’ researchers from science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines (spanning the natural sciences) together with scholars from the humanities and social sciences, such as archaeology and Indigenous studies.

‘’One of the reasons we’ve got the Indonesians in there is because for most of that last 130,000 years we’ve actually been joined by dry land to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. You could just walk to East Indonesia,’’ Prof Roberts said.

‘’Really the whole continent of Australia was about 50 per cent larger than it is now.They are all part of that big geographical area…the same fauna and the same kind of flaura.’’

TEAM LEADER: Distinguished Professor Richard (Bert) Roberts, an ARC Laureate Fellow and Director of UOW’s Centre for Archaeological Science will lead CABAH.

While gaining greater knowledge of Australia’s history is important in its own right, CABAH is as much about the future as it is about the past.

Prof Roberts said abetter understanding of the effects of previous periods of climate change on the distribution of Australia’s natural resources will help the nation adapt more successfully to future environmental challenges.

‘’Australia boasts an array of fauna and flora that exists nowhere else on Earth,’’ he said.

‘’It has some of the world’s most ancient landscapes and deeply weathered and depleted soils, and is home to Indigenous peoples whose genetic and cultural history extends back many tens of millennia.

‘’But we still do not have answers to some of the most fundamental questions about this continent or its people, such as the timing and routes of their dispersal around the continent, the timing and extent of major changes in climate and fire regimes, or how landscapes, plants and animals responded to the altered conditions.’’

The centre is based at UOW but researchers from James Cook University, the University of New South Wales, the Australian National University, the University of Adelaide, Flinders University of South Australia, Monash University and the University of Tasmania are also involved in the project.

Distinguished Professor Richard (Bert) RobertsThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

City to host urban ideas conference

OPEN TO IDEAS: Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Revitalising Newcastle director Michael Cassel and UrbanGrowth’s Nicole Campbell. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNEWCASTLE’S transformation and its “smart city” credentials will be in the spotlight later this year when it hosts an urban ideas and innovation conference.
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The annual Next City Vanguard conference, to be held in Newcastle from November 6 to 10, will feature 50 of the “brightest and best” young urban thinkers from the Americas, New Zealand and Australia.

Newcastle is the first city outside the United States to host the event, following on from Washington, Philadelphia, St Louis and Cleveland.

A host committee includingUrbanGrowth NSW, Newcastle council, the University of Newcastle, the Hunter Development Corporation and Transport for NSW has designed the conference.

A spokesman for UrbanGrowth, which led the Newcastle bid, said the committee’s representatives were sharing the “financial and in-kind” contributions for the conference but declined to put a dollar figure on its cost.

Novocastrians are encouraged to apply to be among the 50 participants, 25 of who will be from Australia and New Zealand.

OPEN TO IDEAS: Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Revitalising Newcastle director Michael Cassel and UrbanGrowth’s Nicole Campbell. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

UrbanGrowth’s actingchief executive Barry Mann said he hoped Newcastle would learn from the experiences of other cities.

“This Vanguard Australia conference is a celebration of Newcastle’s unique identity, dynamic change, innovation, heritage, culture and of course the Newcastle community,” he said.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the conference offered Newcastle the opportunity to“to showcase our city as an emerging tech innovation centre in the health, education, aerospace, defence and reneweable energy sectors”.

University of Newcastle was delighted to be a partner in the conference, vice-chancellor Caroline McMillen said.

“Universities are ideally positioned to play a critical role in the economic and social transformation of their cities and regions and we look forward to contributing to this exciting opportunity to shape the future of Newcastle,” she said.

Revitalising Newcastle program director and Hunter Development Corporation CEO Michael Cassel said the city was in the midst of a great transformation.

“The Revitalising Newcastle program is ushering in a new era of economic growth and prosperity for the Newcastle city centre,” he said.

Next City president Tom Dallessio said the conference was thrilled to be coming to Newcastle.

“This historic, regenerating city has so much to teach us about building the cities of the future. We look forward to bringing 50 of the best and brightest urban leaders from around the world together in Newcastle to share ideas for strengthening legacy cities across the globe,” he said.

Bikie not guilty of baseball bat attack

Newcastle courthouse. A HIGH-RANKING Finks bikie has been found not guilty of attacking rival outlaw motorcycle gang members with a baseball bat during a wild brawl at a Wallsend service station.
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Adam Luke Gould, 32, was acquitted of affray, using an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence and having custody of an implement in a public place in Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday after Magistrate Les Brennan found he could not be certain the person he saw on CCTV footage wielding a baseball bat was the heavily tattooed Mr Gould.

The brawl between the Finks and Nomads erupted about 8.10pm on December 9 last year when the gangs coincidentally arrived at service stations across the road from one another.

CCTV footage played during the hearing showed one of the Finks leading a group across the road towards the Nomads, while another member of the Finksremoves a baseball bat from the backseat of his car and puts it down his pants.

Then CCTV footage from the service station on the eastbound lanes of Thomas Street showed the Finks bikie wrestling with a Nomads bikie over the baseball bat.

The Finks bikie gains control and two Nomads back away, one of them arming himself with asqueegee mop.

Then the Finkswings the bat and hits the Nomad in the left side of the head, causing a cut to his head.

When spoken to by police, the Nomad, 26, said: “I fell over and hit my head.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Nomad did not cooperate with the police investigation.

In fact, none of the witnesses agreed to give evidence, leaving the prosecution to rely on only the CCTV footage of the brawl to prove their case.

Nonetheless, they said the Finks member who crossed the road first, wrestled with the Nomad and swung the bat was Mr Gould, submitting he was identifiable by the numerous tattoos on his face.

But Mr Brennan wasn’t so sure.

“I have seen the accused before, probably in court, I don’t know,” Mr Brennan said.

“Other than that I don’t know him.

“What he has done to his face is fairly unforgettable, with tattoos.

“He is not alone in having done that to himself.

“The person I saw on the screen appeared to have some markings on his face and head.

“On my part I couldn’t say it was the accused.”

After the decision, Mr Gould’s solicitor,Zemarai Khatiz, applied for professional costs, claiming the police had failed to investigate the matter properly.

“The case against the defendant was doomed to fail, due to the lack of evidence and lack of investigation,” Mr Khatiz said.

“There was no way that the prosecution was going to get a conviction on that CCTV by itself.”

Mr Brennan agreed, awarding $5720 in costs to Mr Gould.

Mr Gould had spent some time in custody before he was granted bail.

He was charged in January, around the time a Hunter anti-bikie squad began to crackdown on the region’s outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Since then there have been a number of tit-for-tat attacks between the two gangs, drive-by shootings, numerous police raids and arrests.

A number of Nomads bikies remain before the courts in relation to a weekend of violence in March, which culminated in the gang’s clubhouse at Islington being hit with a hail of gunfire.

Riding into the future on two wheels

In the 1970s, Bob Hudson wrote a hitsong about how ‘All the young men of Newcastle drive down Hunter Street’. A generation on, the lyrics to The Newcastle Songmayhave to be changed to accommodate bicycles.
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“I think conditions are making us a cycling city,” says Bernard Hockings, the owner of Metro Cycles. “There’s a transition from the citybeing car-centric to one where many have lost their car parking, and people realise the only way they canget around is by bike.”

A national cycling participation survey just released indicates a decline in pedalling amongNSW residentssince the last study two years ago. However, in regional NSW, the participation rate is higher than the national average, with 16.3% of respondents sayingthey had cycled in the past week.

While the survey doesn’t talk specifically about Newcastle, Mr Hockings believes there has been “exponential growth” in cycling in the CBD and inner city suburbs, while other areas that are suitable for bicycles are languishing. The main reason, he says, is infrastructure.

“If people can get to a cycleway, they will ride,” says Mr Hockings, who sells about 12 bicycles a week. His customers have included “politicians from every party”.

Yet Peter Lee, the president of Newcastle Cycleways Movement, says there needsto be greater political willto encourage people to ride.

“Instead of treatingcycling as playing in a park on council paths, they [governments] should be funding cycling infrastructure as transport infrastructure,” Mr Lee says. “They are not seeing the broad community-wide benefits of active transport.”

Newcastle City Council has a cycling strategy plan to encourage residents to pedalmore often. A spokesman says there are about90 kilometres ofshared off-road pathways in the council’sarea.On an average weekday, almost 40 per cent of trips in Newcastle are less than 2 kilometres.

PEDAL POWER: Bicycle shop owner Bernard Hockings is putting two wheels under more people, often so they can get around the city. Picture: Simone De Peak

Dave Bedwell, ofStockton, is about to buya new bicycle, for recreation andto movearound the city.“It’s just not necessary to get your car out and drive 150 metres to the shop,” Mr Bedwell says.“This is the way of the future.”