Regional airport plan carries wings: Truss

AMBITION: The site of the proposed regional airport.DEPUTY Prime Minister Warren Truss has backed plans for a regional airport near Lake Macquarie, which Wyong Shire Council aims to build by 2020.
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The support follows the council spending $17million on 230 hectares of land, largely aimed at supporting its airport plan.

‘‘A regional airport would help drive investment in the region, create more local jobs and boost the local economy,’’ a spokeswoman for Mr Truss, federal Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, said.

‘‘The Coalition government will work with local and state governments on the required regulatory and planning issues surrounding the construction of an airport on the Central Coast.’’

Lake Macquarie City Council opposes the plan, which is near a planned new subdivision at Wyee.

Wyong mayor Doug Eaton said his council would invest $10million in about 87 hectares of land at Jilliby, which covers about a third of the airport investigation site.

‘‘Securing this land now shows how serious we are about establishing a regional airport by 2020 to help grow the local economy and boost jobs,’’ Cr Eaton said.

He said the airport would be ‘‘the hub of a business and logistics’ industry precinct’’.

The council said it would not be a second Sydney airport, but ‘‘a smaller regional airport’’ with a single runway up to 2600 metres long, suitable for Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 aircraft.

The airport would ‘‘complement other airport services in the Sydney basin and Newcastle’’.

The council will also purchase for $7million about 144 hectares of land next to the freeway link road at Doyalson for ‘‘future employment and environmental offset lands’’.

The mayor recently met senior political officials in Canberra about the airport.

Mr Truss’s spokeswoman said the meeting was constructive and ‘‘we look forward to hearing more details of the proposal’’.

Cr Eaton said federal support ‘‘will be essential to getting it built and operational by 2020’’.

“They were very supportive of our plans,’’ he said.

The council will seek federal assistance for planning and technical approvals, in line with the Coalition’s election commitment.

“We will be looking at all avenues for public and private funding,” Cr Eaton said.

Gosford City Council chief executive Paul Anderson said establishing an airport was an ‘‘important part of the Central Coast’s future’’.

“There’s no doubt having an airport built and operating here would be a major, long-term boost for the local economy,” Mr Anderson said.

Extra surgeries at LGH in doubt

HEALTH insiders are sceptical that the Launceston General Hospital will be able to deliver additional elective surgeries estimated by Health Minister Michael Ferguson.
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State Health Minister Michael Ferguson outside the LGH.

Mr Ferguson announced last month that the state government would give an additional $1.765 million to Tasmanian Health Organisation North to deliver an extra 349 elective surgeries by October 31, 2014.

Statewide, he said the government would provide $5.3 million, allowing for an estimated 673 additional surgeries.

However, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation state secretary Neroli Ellis said she was not convinced hospitals had the capacity to provide that many extra surgeries in four months, despite the funding boost.

Mrs Ellis said the LGH had limited surgical theatres available while capital works continued, and had lost surgical nurses to budget cuts.

“They will need additional staff because they will have to open up additional beds and open up additional theatre capacity _ on top of business as usual,” Mrs Ellis said. “We know that there’s not hundreds of theatre nurses waiting out there to be employed.”

Health and Community Services Union state secretary Tim Jacobson echoed Mrs Ellis’s comments, saying he did not think hospitals could meet the estimated target.

Mr Jacobson said hospitals could do a lot of low-level surgeries, but knocking over more complex surgeries like hip and knee replacements would have a greater long-term impact.

Australian Medical Association Tasmania state president Tim Greenaway said he always welcomed funding for elective surgery, but it was not yet known how federal budget cuts would affect the ability of hospitals to deliver.

Mr Ferguson said the department would be working with THO North to ensure it could deliver the additional elective surgery.

THO North chief executive John Kirwan said that the hospital did have limited capacity due to capital works, but five new theatres would come online this month. According to earlier news reports, the four older theatres will then be out of use while they’re renovated.

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EDITORIAL: Bennett leaves at low ebb

WAYNE Bennett’s trademark capacity for understatement came to the fore yesterday when he observed that the past three years as coach of the Newcastle Knights had been ‘‘tough’’.
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Supercoach Bennett, who was lured to the Knights by then-owner Nathan Tinkler in 2011, was hailed as a miracle worker who would take the team to the top of the competition.

That was when Tinkler’s seemingly vast fortune was taken at face value, and many believed the combination of the coal deal-maker’s wealth and Bennett’s master touch would prove unbeatable.

But Tinkler’s empire was revealed as largely built on debt, and the former owner now lives in Singapore, appearing now and then to make mysterious announcements about possible asset sales and corporate acquisitions.

And now Bennett is leaving too.

Partly, he says, his decision is based on the club’s poor recent performance.

After coming within a game of a grand final appearance last season, the Knights have struggled this year. That’s something Bennett takes some blame for, whilst also noting that after working for the previous 24 years at ‘‘high-performing clubs’’, he discovered that Newcastle was ‘‘not geared for it’’.

Instead of lifting the Knights to the top, Bennett walks away confessing to being ‘‘embarrassed’’ and ‘‘disappointed’’ at the way things turned out.

The club is now under the stewardship of the NRL, which has described Bennett’s departure as ‘‘a bit of a speed bump’’, and reminded fans that the Knights are in strong financial position. The NRL has promised to recreate ‘‘a board that we’re going to reconnect back to the community’’. That’s an undertaking that will be welcomed in many quarters, following some of the unfortunate experiences of the Tinkler era.

Bennett will be missed, for sure. The charismatic 64-year-old has a star quality all his own, quite apart from his coaching talents. He is a magnet for top players and for sponsors and there is little doubt that life over the past few years would have been even harder for the Knights without his steadying influence.

Bennett won’t have any trouble landing another contract. His reputation, regardless of his self-confessed failure at Newcastle, remains as great as ever.

As for the Knights, Bennett has warned it will take a long time to build something sustainably successful on the foundation he is leaving.

It would take ‘‘a number of years to reach an acceptable position’’, he said, adding that he was in no position to commit himself to such a long process.

‘‘A longer term coach is crucial for future success,’’ Bennett observed. Few will disagree, and now the task will be to find that person and start the rebuilding process in a climate that everybody hopes will be far more stable than the past few years have been.

NBN work called a shambles

THE state’s ICT sector has labelled the NBN rollout a shambles after figures revealed the number of Tasmanian premises passed by fibre plunged by almost 50 per cent between April and June.
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Statistics show the number of homes and businesses passed by fibre had plummeted from 308 a week during the first quarter of the year to 168 a week in the second.

The rollout rate dropped in all states and territories except Victoria during the second quarter, with Tasmania’s slowdown worse than the national average.

TASICT chief executive Dean Winter said the latest statistics were extremely disappointing.

“NBN Co needs to come clean about what is actually happening with the Tasmanian rollout,” Mr Winter said.

“NBN Co should outline why progress has slowed and how they plan to fix it.”

At a Senate hearing in May, NBN Co chief operating officer Greg Adcock said the process for declaring a premises passed by fibre had changed.

He told the committee premises were only considered passed by fibre when 90 per cent of the surrounding area was covered.

But Mr Winter said the new reporting method did not excuse such a significant slowdown in rollout rates.

He said if the rollout continued at the same speed as it had during the second quarter, the project would take more than 18 years to complete.

“The sad thing is, it was supposed to be completed by the end of next year,” he said.

“Tasmanians deserve to know why one of the most significant infrastructure projects in the state’s history isn’t being delivered on time or as promised.”

NBN Co yesterday declined to comment on reasons behind the 46 per cent drop in Tasmanian premises passed.

NBN Co spokeswoman Lalla Mackenzie said the fibre rollout across Tasmania would continue in stages.

She said 20,000 Tasmanian homes and residences were already connected to the NBN, with thousands more in the building, preparation and construction phases.

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Where did they come from?

JAMES RODRIGUEZ (Colombia)
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Is it possible to describe a player whose current club paid €45 million ($65,177 million) to secure his services a break-out star of this World Cup?

Well, those in the football know might have been familiar with James Rodriguez along with those who follow the French and Portugese leagues more closely than most fans and, of course, those supporters who have followed the Colombian national team’s progress these last few years. All would have been familiar with Rodriguez’s work.

But that probably rules out the bulk of football fans around the world, most of whom, probably to their detriment, simply focus on the English Premier League and perhaps the competition in the country where they live.

So in those circumstances it is  justified to nominate the gifted South American attacker as the biggest breakthrough star of this tournament.

The Monaco man – he joined the Principality plutocrats from Porto – simply took the group stages of the World Cup by storm and drove his nation on to the quarter-finals where they were very unfortunate to fall to the hosts in an ugly game where an over physical Brazil targeted Rodriguez to prevent him having the sort of influence he had in previous matches.

It is entirely to the 22-year-old’s credit that he put up with the battering he received and raised his game to galvanise his team-mates throughout. It was he took  the late penalty that gave Colombia a lifeline back into the game, one they could not quite use to scramble an equaliser and take their quarter-final into extra time.

But the memory will linger long of Rodriguez’s sumptuous long-range volleyed goal against Uruguay (the first of two) in the round-of-16 match, and the others he notched in the opening phase as Colombia topped their group with three wins from three.

Skilful and with a terrific eye for goal, Rodriguez can create and bring others into the game as much as he can score. He  has also shown he is also mentally strong and able to carry the hopes of his nation in the most trying circumstances.

At the semi-final stage of the tournament he led the race for the Golden Boot with six goals Only Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Germany’s Thomas Muller with four and The Netherlands pair of Arjen Robben and Robin van Perise (both 3) were realistic chances to overaul him.

Little wonder that he has already been linked with one of the biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid.

KEYLOR NAVAS (Costa Rica)

Talk about a bolt from the blue. A relative unknown outside the Tico camp and the Spanish League before the World Cup, now Navas is a globally-known figure who has strong claims to the title of best keeper in the tournament.

The Costa Rican shot stopper produced a number of outstanding displays throughout the entire tournament to stamp himself right up there with the stars of this World Cup as his country, unconsidered outsiders before the competition began, fought their way to the quarter-finals of the World Cup where they were only beaten in a penalty shootout by The Netherlands.

Along the way Navas kept Uruguay, England and Italy scoreless in open play in the group phase, the only goal he conceded coming from the penalty spot in the opening match against Uruguay when Edison Cavani beat him.

Greece only managed to get past him in stoppage time after the Ticos had held out for 25 minutes with 10 men in the round-of-16 tie, and then he defied them with a terrific save in the penalty shootout to help his side through to the last eight.

Against the Dutch he again produced two hours of heroics as he held Robben, Van Persie and Wesley Sneijder at bay, the tie ending goalless. It was only when he failed to stop any of the Dutch penalties that the Ticos went out. A move to a much bigger club than his current employer, Levante, surely awaits.

DIVOCK ORIGI (Belgium)

Few 19-year-olds get to start in the World Cup, particularly for a country whom many regard as a big chance to make the final.

But Origi, the teenager who burst into the Belgian squad in the lead up to the World Cup, managed not only to start, but keep Romelu Lukaku out of the team.

Now the youngster is being linked with a  move to Premier League giants Liverpool (with a fee variously reported to be anywhere between $15-$20 million), although if he does go to the Merseyside club it is expected that he will return on loan to his current side, Lille, for next season.

Although he was quiet against Argentina in the game that eventually saw Belgium depart at the quarter-final stage, he had scored his country’s winner against Russia. Origi is tall and strong and runs the channels, utilising his pace and athleticism. He is still very raw, but as a young player in a relatively young Belgian side he has a lot of upside.

AHMED MUSA (Nigeria)

At 21 Musa has been in Europe for some time and now plays in Russia for CSKA Moscow, where he has, reportedly, become a target for some big western European clubs.

After his World Cup display against Argentina, when he quickly equalised Lionel Messi’s early opener and then bagged a second at the start of the second half to put the Super Eagles level again, the Nigerian wide man will be the target of even more interest now.

He played wide on the left that day for Nigeria and had the better of Los Albicelestes highly regarded right back Pablo Zabaleta . But Musa can play in any of the forward positions as a support for the main frontman. He is good on the ball and also very quick, as he displayed in that group game against Argentina.

XHEDRAN SHAQIRI (Switzerland)

If you are already on the books of Bayern Munich and an established international at the age of 22 it’s fair to say you have probably made it. But Shaqiri is another of those players whose profile will have surged remarkably after the World Cup.

When you get a hat-trick in the biggest football tournament of them all that tends to focus attention on you, and the Swiss striker with the Kosovar/Albanian background certainly grabbed the headlines with that triple treat against Honduras.

He also caused problems for Argentina when the Swiss went out against the South American powerhouses with his pace, skill and instinct for goal.

Shaqiri is not tall – at 169cm he is one of the smallest players at this tournament – but he makes up for his lack of height with deft ball control and terrific technique. Shaqiri began his professional career at leading Swiss club Basle and moved to Bayern in time for the 2012-13 season.

DALEY BLIND/MEMPHIS DEPAY (Netherlands)

One is an attacker (Depay), the other a defender, but both have been impressive in their different roles for The Netherlands as the Oranje marched on through this World Cup.

Blind’s father, Danny, was a Dutch international and captain of Ajax, with whom he won a Champions League in 1995 as the senior figure in a team made up of bright young talents.

His son is a defensive midfielder with both Holland and the same club, and has been a key figure for The Oranje during the group and knockout stages, providing an anchor in the centre of the park or playing as a left back. In the latter role he has been a useful provider, setting up two of the goals in Holland’s 5-1 group game victory over Spain

Depay only turned 20 earlier this year so he has made a meteoric rise through the ranks to be not just a part of Louis Van Gaal’s World Cup squad but a starter too. Used off the bench against the Socceroos, Depay became The Netherlands youngest ever World Cup scorer when his long-distance effort beat Mat Ryan’s dive to give the Dutch the critical goal in a 3-2 thriller in Porto Alegre. He followed up with a second, again as a substitute, when The Netherlands beat Chile in the final group match.

Quick and skilful, Depay has, not surprisingly, already been linked with moves to the English Premier League. He is contracted at PSV until 2017 but his coach there, former Dutch interantional and Barcelona star Phillip Cocu, has counselled caution and urged the youngster to stay at least another season in the Eredivisie to develop his game.

ISLAM SLIMANI (Algeria)

Key striker for one of the suprise teams of the World Cup, Slimani’s status was surely enhanced by his displays for the Desert Foxes during this tournament.

Tall and mobile, he scored in their barnstorming 4-2 group win over South Korea and got the equaliser for Algeria when they needed a draw to qualify for the second phase fronm their game with Russia.

The Portugese-based striker (he is with Sporting Lisbon) was also to the fore as the North Africans pushed Germany all the way in the round-of-16 match, losing only in extra time. Algeria certainly made a statement in this tournament, and so did Slimani. Like so many players who have announced themselves on a wider stage in this tournament he too is the subject of transfer speculation, with Premier League Stoke, German clubs Schalke Freiburg and Mainz all reportedly interested in his services.

MATTHEW LECKIE (Australia)

He didn’t score and his team didn’t win a game, but the powerful, hard running Leckie did plenty to impress in the Socceroos three defeats. The 22-year-old took the game to his opponents and certainly was not overawed when facing the likes of Chile or The Netherlands. By the time Australia got to play Spain it was already eliminated and running on empty, but the game Leckie kept running and trying even though it was in pursuit of a lost cause.

He needs some more polish to improve his game, but his decision making should improve if he gets the chance to play at a higher level. On what he showed in Brazil, Leckie may get that opportunity sooner rather than later. He has just signed for ambitious second Bundesliga club FC Ingoldstadt.

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Bombers get fired up over alleged remarks

NORTH Launceston coach Zane Littlejohn has declared tomorrow’s State League clash against Western Storm a cross-town “grudge” match after claiming that disparaging remarks have been made about Bombers captain Mitch Van Den Berg.
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Mitch Van Den Berg

“Our boys will be pretty fired up because there’s been some words spoken about our captain in particular by one of the Storm players, which has fired our boys up internally,” Littlejohn said.

“They understand that what has been said is disrespectful and one of the things we want to get back on the footy field is a bit of respect from every club and we feel the Storm is one of those clubs we still need to get that from.

“Absolutely it will be a grudge match – the last time we met we won and it was all about the Storm’s short turnaround.

“You don’t need ammunition to play a cross-town rival but we’ve got a bit of extra through one of their players bagging out our captain.”

The Bombers will have close to a full-strength side available regaining defender Andrew Cox-Goodyer, Jay Lockhart, Will McBride and Mariners Dakota Bannister, Bryton Mullins and Logan Reynolds.

Western Storm is coming off a confidence-boosting win over Clarence and will also field its best side boosted by the return of Mariners captain Tim Jones and with Braden McGee added to an extended interchange bench.

Launceston faces a difficult road trip South to play Glenorchy with plenty of injury concerns.

Chris Reissig will miss with a knee injury, Michael Musicka faced a test on an ankle problem, Nathan O’Donoghue is in doubt with an abdominal strain and Beau Green will miss with work.

Zac Oldenhof is in contention for promotion after good form in the development league along with Brayden Pitcher and Zane Rundle with Corey Sheppard and Joe Krushka also named to return.

Burnie lost Darren Banham to a groin strain but named ruckman Jason Laycock for its game against Hobart City despite leaving the ground last week with a suspected rib injury.

Nick McKenna and Rudy Barrett remained sidelined by suspension and injury respectively.

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Daley wants winners crowned before home fans

Blues coach Laurie Daley has called on the Australian Rugby League Commission to consider presenting the State of Origin shield to the winning team in their home state.
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After Wednesday night’s 32-8 loss to Queensland at Suncorp Stadium, only a handful of dedicated Blues supporters were on deck to watch skipper Paul Gallen lift the Origin shield for the first time in nine years.

Daley said 80,000 NSW fans at ANZ Stadium for game two deserved to feel part of history.

“It might be something they’ll (the ARLC) have to look at if the series is already won,” said Daley. “If we had have won game two in Brisbane (hypothetically), I don’t think you should get the shield there, if you can do it in front of your home crowd that’s the better option.”

Daley and the NSW squad showed off the Origin shield at a special presentation at the Sydney Opera House alongside NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Sport and Recreation Stuart Ayres.

However, fewer than a thousand fans turned out to see Gallen lift the shield for a second time, a far cry from the number of fans who watched NSW’s historic 6-4 win in game two.

“It might be another way to generate ticket sales,” Daley said. “They’ll have a look at it at the end of the year and make a decision I suppose.”

Man of the series Gallen apologised to the “two million fans” he forgot during his victory speech last night when he estimated there were just five million people in NSW.

But for Gallen, he said he didn’t care where the shield was presented just so long as he got his hands on it.

“It doesn’t worry me,” Gallen said. “It would have been nice for the 80,000 people there, but Cameron (Smith) has had to lift the trophy up in front of NSW before so I don’t care and it felt really good.”

“I did take it to my room and slept with it in my room. My little fella wouldn’t let it go either, but I’m sure it’ll go into storage and I hope it stays in NSW for a couple more years yet.”

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‘Meteor’ streaks across night sky

A fireball lit up the sky on Thursday night, with reports of a “massive shooting star” flooding in from Victoria and New South Wales.
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Callers to talkback radio stations reported seeing a bright object travelling east to north about 9.45pm. Some callers said they initially thought it was a burning plane.

Radio station 3AW listener John said he pulled over while driving in Keilor Park to watch the light show.

“It was really impressive,” he said. “It had the flame and the intense burn. Just as it was falling away it broke up. I’d say it was a little asteroid or a comet.”

Professor Brian Schmidt, an astronomer at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University, told excited Twitter users the fireball was likely space junk, pointing to a ‘decay prediction’ map he had sourced.

There were also reports it was visible in Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland.

The fireball was a “very rare and exciting” event, said Dr Nick Lomb, curator of astronomy at Sydney Observatory.

He believes the object was space junk because it was travelling slower than the escape velocity from Earth, which is 11.2km/sec or 40,000km/hour.

“Some people saw it for a 10 seconds or more, which is a very long time for a piece of rock from space, which suggests it could have been space junk,” he said.

He said the bright object most likely plunged into the ocean north of Brisbane, since it was travelling in a north-north-east direction.

The Bureau of Meteorology, which received a report of the light show from Bendigo, 160km north of Melbourne, just before 10pm, said it could be a meteor or a piece of space junk.

“I don’t know if anything was expected to re-enter the atmosphere tonight,” senior forecaster Terry Ryan said.

“Obviously something has happened. Maybe it’s a bit of space junk or it could be a meteor. It was described as fairly bright.”

The Astronomical Society of Victoria said the object could be a meteorite, or it may be a satellite or parts of a satellite reentering the earth’s atmosphere.

President Ken Le Marquand said he received a call from a man at the Queen Victoria Market just before 10pm who reported seeing a meteor going from “horizon to horizon”.

“He said it didn’t get quite as bright as the moon and was mostly white with a bit of red at the end,” Mr Le Marquand said.

“He said it went for 30 seconds, which is an awful long time. Usually the ones we see in the sky are the size of dust and only last a second. But if you get something a bit bigger, like the size of a pea, it can put on a spectacular light show.”

Peter Gibson, of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, said he had received reports from people in Sydney who said they saw a meteor.

Mr Gibson said there had been no reports of aircraft problems.

Twitter lit up with comments about the suspected meteor. 

So our fireball may well have been a piece of space junk. Obj 40077 see http://t.co/cR5pL9ecR7 — Brian Schmidt (@cosmicpinot) July 10, 2014

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Plains V8 deal all but guaranteed

Action from this year’s V8 Supercars at Symmons Plains in March.SYMMONS Plains is all but guaranteed a spot on the V8 Supercars calendar for next year with the motor sport body and state government expected to strike a new deal within a month.
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The V8 Supercars’ three-year contract with the state government expired in March.

In May, V8 Supercars chief executive James Warburton said a new agreement needed to be signed by early this month or Tasmania risked missing out on hosting a championship round.

However, V8 Supercars spokesman Cole Hitchcock said positive discussions were continuing and they were “very, very confident” of striking a new deal.

Discussions are focused on a potential upgrade of the 2.4-kilometre circuit, which is likely to attract government funding to be announced in the lead-up to the state budget.

“We need some improvements made around the track itself so I think we need to agree on those points,” Mr Hitchcock said.

When he attended the event just after the state election, Premier Will Hodgman said he wanted to extend the deal.

Yesterday a government spokesman said talks were ongoing.

Almost 20,000 motor sport fans attended the race in March, making it the state’s biggest event in terms of spectators.

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said renewing the V8s’ contract would show the state was capable of hosting major events, as well as continuing to deliver an annual economic boost to Launceston.

“It fills Launceston up for a weekend,” Mr Martin said.

“For Launceston tourism and hospitality businesses it’s critically important and we want to see the event returned.”

However, he said its value should not be measured by its impact on the tourism industry, given it attracted few interstate visitors.

“There are some diehards, but the reality is people in Victoria have V8s in their backyard three times a year.”

The 2015 championship calendar will be released in early September.

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Surprise aged care approval

AN application to build a large-scale aged care residential facility in Delacombe has been approved by City of Ballarat councillors, but surrounding residents say they were unaware a development for the site was being considered by the council.
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Councillors unanimously approved the application, which includes 144 beds, four separate wings and a specialised dementia care unit at 305 Smythes Road in Delacombe at their meeting on Wednesday night.

The application was not advertised to the public as the agenda states it is “in accords with the Ballarat West Precinct Structure Plan, 2012.”

The 7814-square-metre development includes a kitchen, internet room, laundry, staff room, dining and lounge area for each wing as well as a library, chapel, men’s shed, craft and activities rooms, hairdresser, meeting rooms, office space and medical stations, reception and outdoor courtyard.

Ballarat councillor Des Hudson

It would have 51 car parking spaces, including six disabled car parking spots.

Smythes Road resident Phil Judd, who lives opposite the site, said he was surprised by the application, but did not oppose it.

“I had no idea that there was an application even being considered by the council. We hadn’t received any notification about it,” Mr Judd said.

“We aren’t too fussed by it. It is a big block of land so it would be a suitable place for this type of development and I don’t see traffic increasing considerably due to it.”

Delacombe resident Bevan Bell said he was also unaware of the application.

“I had no idea about it until I heard it on the news on Thursday morning,” Mr Bell said.

“I’m in my 80s and I think there is a need for more aged care facilities in the region and it’s the type of development which I think will actually be benefit to the community.”

City of Ballarat general manager city strategy Natalie Reiter said the facility was exhibited to the public when the Ballarat West Precinct Structure Plan was prepared in 2012.

“Since the inclusion of such a facility was deemed appropriate at that time the application was considered similar enough that the application did not need to be advertised again,” Ms Reiter said.

Ms Reiter said the city had a growing aged population, with the number of people aged 70 years and older expected to increase from more than 10,050 to 18,730 in 2031.

Croft Developments Pty Ltd submitted the application, while the owner of the site is ICL Operations One Pty Ltd.

Croft Developments director Graeme Croft said the development was instigated after the federal government identified the region as an area needing more aged care beds.

He said the proposal was developed with input by Ballarat organisations, including hospitals and aged care assessment teams.

“The important thing is that the new facility brings long-term jobs for the region, plus the provision of care which unblocks hospital beds,” Mr Croft said.

Ballarat councillor Des Hudson said a facility that provided different levels of care for the elderly was needed.

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