Brush-off: Hunter One Nation Senator Brian Burston in his new Toronto office after a Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union attack against him over apprenticeships. Picture: Marina Neil.HUNTER One Nation Senator Brian Burston has dismissed a targeted union attack against him over apprenticeshipsas “Labor politics”, and warned of Senate disruption if the federal government does not act on One Nation’s apprenticeship policy.
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Mr Burston said a Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union campaign, that includesfull-page advertisements in the Newcastle Herald,flowed from One Nation’s support for the Turnbull Government’s n Building and Construction Commission legislation, but the timing appeared to be linked to polling showing strong support for the minor party in some areas.

The CFMEU alleges“One Nation Senator Brian Burston voted with Malcolm Turnbull to give us laws that will mean less apprenticeships on government jobs and even less jobs for our kids”, because of provisions in the new legislation allowing companies to employ foreign labour if n workers cannot be found, “includingthrough training”.

Mr Burston said the allegation was “quite insulting but I just laughed when I saw it”, and accused both major parties of greater damage to apprenticeships by gutting ’s traditional trade training colleges through privatisation and other policy changes.

A Federal Government document from 2016, Trends in Apprenticeships and Traineeships, found building trades had been less affectedby a dramatic drop in all forms of trainee arrangements since 2012, with the number of apprentice bricklayers, carpenters and joiners falling by 5 per cent, plumbers by 3 per cent and electricians by 10 per cent.

The only occupation to record a rise in apprenticeships was electronics and telecommunications trade workers, up by 27 per cent.

Mr Burston, a former NSW TAFE teacher for 10 years who started his working career as an apprentice boilermaker, said One Nation had been frustrated by the Turnbull Government’s failure to act on One Nation’sapprenticeship policy and wasconsidering tying support for the policy to support for the government’s Budget measures.

One Nation proposes federal subsidies of 75 per cent of an apprentice’s wage in the first year, 50 per cent in the second year and 25 per cent in the third, paid to employers.

“We would start with 500 places and let it go from there. We’re starting to put a bit of pressure on the government over it. They’ve been saying ‘Yes, yes, yes, we’re looking at it’ for a long time, but Pauline’s starting to get frustrated with them,” Mr Burston said.

”We may need to use our position in the Senate to apply pressure in some way, relating to Budget measures.”

Mr Burston revealed he was the architect of One Nation’s preference deal swap with the Liberal Partyin the Western n election which was criticised as contributing to the party’s significant drop in support during the campaign.

Mr Burston defended the deal as “the right thing” and said “in my view it was a success”.

A blanket preference deal would not be done again, although the Queensland Liberals continue to support seat by seat deals with One Nation.

Mr Burston backed beleaguered One Nation colleague Malcolm Roberts who is facing a strong challenge to his eligibility to stand for Federal Parliament over n citizenship.

“I’m not worried at this stage,” Mr Burston said.

He would not support same sex marriage if moves within the Federal Coalition lead to a conscience vote on the issue.

“I’d vote against same sex marriage. No doubt. I believe there should be a plebiscite but if it comes to a vote I think marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.

“I think the government should just get on with it. Same sex marriage is just a social issue. It’s a distraction, a major distraction.”

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Hands on: Tristan Winner participated in one of the first Deadly Dads workshops before the arrival of baby Tombi. The program aims to empower and educate Aboriginal fathers and fathers-to-be. Picture: Simone De Peak.A HUNTER-based parenting program is using one-day workshops to educate and empower Aboriginal fathers-to-be in a bid to improve the health outcomes of the next generation.
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The Deadly Dads program beganafter survey results showedlower rates of breastfeeding among Aboriginal womenatdischarge from hospital, and that Aboriginal children hadhigher rates of avoidable hospitalisations.

Program facilitator Paul Douglas, one of only three male breastfeeding mentors in ,said Deadly Dads was still in the pilot stage, but they had so far shared practical parenting advice and information with 70 to 80 men.

“The word ‘deadly’ doesn’t mean lethal in this context. We’re not teaching them to kill people,” Mr Douglas laughed. “In the Aboriginal community, we use ‘deadly’ as another word for good.

“There is nothing out there like this course. We try to give useful tips, and teach the fundamentals about what being a father is all about…How to be actively involvedand supportive day-to-day.”

Mr Douglas said the program empowered men to take ownership of parenting issues, andtouched on health, safety and nutrition for both the mother during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as the baby.

“We go into all of those key indicators that are recommended to help close some of the health gaps,” he said.

“Who would have ever thought that a group of men would be sitting around talking about breastfeeding?

“But it’s not just women’s business. It benefits the children, and when the blokes get involved, and they understand better, they can better support their partners.

“Likewith breastfeeding, there is the soreness, the stress that can come with it if the baby doesn’t latch on. If the husband knows too, they can help them out and support them through the tough times.”

Tristan Winner, of The Hill, said while nothing could ever fully prepare a person for parenthood, after participating in the Deadly Dads program, he felt a lot more confident ahead of the arrival of his son, Tombi, almost eight months ago.

“Theantenatal classes had a lot of practical stuff in them as well, but it was probably more geared towards the mums,” he said.

“I walked in to this and it was just blokes. We had a good laugh and a good time. It got a bit deep at times, but I walked out feeling a lot more ready than I had been. It was just one day session, designed for us.”

He would like to see the program continue and expand to other regions.

Mr Winner said he and his wife, Joan, were referred to the program through Birra Li, theAboriginal Maternal and Child Health Services.

Birra Lican be contacted on4016 4900.

“I think blokes need a reason to sit down and have a yarn about this stuff. No one really talks about whatthose first few weeks and months are like, it made me feel a bit more ready,” he said.

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Praise the Lord and pass the Cake Photo: Paul Dear
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Photo: Paul Dear

Photo: Paul Dear

Photo: Paul Dear

Photo: Paul Dear

Photo: Paul Dear

Photo: Paul Dear

Photo: Paul Dear

Photo: Paul Dear

Photo: Paul Dear

Photo: Paul Dear

TweetFacebookThe Revival Meetingis the name of their new album, but My Friend The Chocolate Cake were playing to the converted on Friday night.

If there were any non-believers at a packed Lizotte’s, they were soon swept away by the charisma of this tight outfit, who havebeen playing for 28 years.

Proceedings started low-key with just David Bridie and the band’s string section- Helen Mountfort (cello) and Hope Cstoros(violin) – introducing Poke Along Slowly. The three other Cakemembers –Greg Patten (drums), Andrew Richardson (guitar) and Dean Addison (double bass) –appeared,and things were kicked up a notch, with mostly new material mixed expertly with Cake favourites,I Got A Plan and It’s All In the Way.

The second half really belonged to the ‘Chocolate Cake Girls’,Mountfort and Cstoros, as their gorgeous arrangements set the pace, from oh-so-quiet to break-neck speed.

Bridie also charmed the socks off everyone with his observations on all manner of subjects,including Pauline Hanson, thegeneral populacebeing glued to their mobile phones andthe joys of PNG’s culture. Stori Rabaul,even sparked some righteous dance moves by the lanky frontman. He said later that his bandmates often cautioned him against having a jig, as he was a “shit dancer”.

Let’s say his efforts were akin to ‘dad dancing’, but delivered with such unbridled joy that it made you want to join in.

Unbridled Bridie was adorable.

There was also a hearty singalong to Easter Parade (audience’s line:“Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition”), in which Newcastle’s efforts were judged better than Coffs Harbour’s.

The night ended with the touchingencore,Jim’s Refrain, a tribute to Cake founding member Andrew Carswell, who passed away last year.

The Cake family then joined hands for a final bow,closing what was aninspiring, joyful, touching and deeply satisfying performance.

Hallelujah, all praise The Cake.

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Forward thinking: HunterNet chief executive officer Tony Cade. Picture: Simone de Peak. What was the landscape like in manufacturing when you took the helm of Hunternet in 2013?
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Industry was definitely in decline when I first returned to Newcastle to commence my role with HunterNet. Commodity prices had commenced to ‘free fall’ from September 2012 and mining houses had already commenced aggressive efficiency and cost improvement programs. The region’s ship building had already begun downsizing with the impending ‘valley of death’ arising from a lack of build and sustainment opportunities. Further, infrastructure development had slowed. It was clear one week into the role, the good times of years past had come to a close.

What were the challenges for manufacturers then?

The need to build new capabilities and capacity. Traditional markets had either shrunk or disappeared. The only hope to survive and position for growth for manywas to pursue ‘new’ niche market opportunities or supply chains.

And core challenges for HunterNet?

HunterNet also needed to take a long look at itself. Companies expected more than just networking opportunities. We needed to develop the capacity to directly add value to our member company’s bottom line and provide specialist business support platforms for their respective work forces.

Four years on, what have you done to support to your 200 members?

There have been many initiatives implemented. We have built on the network by facilitating open innovationprograms where several companies have collaborated to enter new markets. Our Project Directors are really niche business development consultants that focus on positioning Hunter and Central Coast companies in four industry focus areas spanning 13 national and global supply chains. They work ‘in’ companies BD departments. We have internationalised and, in partnership with Austrade, executed business development and familiarisation programs in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea. Providing optimal business support and professional development programs have assisted companies in developing their business and teams. Finally, despite many challenges we are further diversifying our Group Training Company and we are in the third year of delivering the Hunter’s Future Leaders Program.

What feedback are you getting from your members on current challenges?

We are receiving qualified feedback on improvements in business confidence. Whilst there are heightened levels of activity in the resources, infrastructure and defence sectors, there is also a recognition that a focus on innovation, efficiencies, and productivity is ‘business as normal’.

Advanced manufacturing is crucial to survival. How is the Hunter faring?

We are ‘batting above the average’. We have a range of companies that have invested in specialised equipment including industrial 3D printers. We have a relatively high number of ‘hidden champions’ that are building their business on the base of ‘world’s best’ technologies.

What are the growth areas and key opportunities for Hunter manufacturers?

Just based on the number of cranes on the skyline, infrastructure development and asset management has seen a huge increase in activity. Also, in the short to medium term we will see more sustainment packages released to support the JSFs (F35s) to be based at Williamtown, which will also contribute to industry attractiveness for the airport precinct. There is an increase in contracts from the resources and energy sector. Finally, we are seeing increased opportunities in some of the regions traditional manufacturing markets (for example, rail).

And the biggest threat?

Global competition. If you are producing ‘widgets’ you are unlikely to be able to compete with low labour cost countries unless you have invested in automation. The other big challenge is accessing the right target customers/companies and their decision makers to develop relationships. If the first contact you have with a prospective customer is in response to a tender/EOI, you have a very low prospect of success. This is a service provided by our Project Directors. Finally, the need to continuously value-add and differentiate product and service offerings.

How is the Group Training Company travelling?

It has had a tough four years. During the downturn, companies simply were not putting apprentices or trainees on. However, we are implementing a business diversification strategy and we have seen numbers more than double since late 2016.

Looking forward, what will challengeindustry?

There are many challenges but the fundamentals still apply. Understand your current capabilities. Be realistic about what markets you can pursue. Understand what is required (capital and time) to develop new capacities. Never underestimate the importance of relationships and collaboration. Understand that product and service improvement and development is a continuous part of business. Innovate and take calculated risks – it’s ok to fail – just fail quick and cheap. Havea meaningful, measurable strategic plan so you can change course if factors out of your control change the landscape. Be nimble.

Tony Cade

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ROLL UP ROLL UP: Club Maitland City’s Sports and Sponsorship Manager DJ Dilworth said preparation for this weekend’s event is huge.Maitland is set to roll out the full house signs as an estimated 600 lawn bowls enthusiasts flock to the city for the Grade 3 State Pennants finals.
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The event will be held over three days at Club Maitland City at Rutherford and at Lorn Park Bowls Sports and Recreation Club.

Club Maitland City’s Sports and Sponsorship Manager DJ Dilworth said the event is huge for the clubs involved and huge for the city from an economic point of view.

The Grade 3 State Pennant Finals will see 16 teams comprising about 250 players compete for the top honour in a round robin event.

Maitland City hosted the event several years ago and according to Dilworth clubs are only allowed to host them once every three years.

While the event is held over three days, Dilworth said visitors have allocated themselves a four-day stay at various locations across the city.

“Both our motels, Maitland City and The Old Maitland Inn, are fully booked and I’d say it’s pretty much the trend right across town,” he said.

Dilworth said the event has been months in the planning with the two clubs working closely together.

“We’ve been flat out for about four months to make sure everything runs smoothly over the weekend.

“We need an army of volunteers, about 20 from each club, to co-ordinate everything.

“We’ve ordered extra kegs, extra meals, extra sausages, extra staff.

“Our green keeping staff have put in a tremendous amount of work on the greens which look fantastic. So it’s a big thanks to them,” Dilworth said.

“This is certainly the biggest event we have held here at Club Maitland City.

“It’s a great wayto promote the club, put Maitland on the map and showcase what we have to people from Waggato Kempsey.”

Maitland City Council’sVisitor and City Economy Co-ordinator Martin Payne saidMaitland is a popular destination for sport events.

He said the city boastsmany facilities of regional and state quality and a range of accommodation options that can cater for over 1380 visitors.

“Events such as this are a perfect opportunity to showcase the city to a large audience, who may also return as a leisure visitor in the future,” Mr Payne said.

“Economic modelling suggests that an event of this size would have a direct economic benefit of $245,000 to the Maitland economy.”

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