Mural at Kurri Workers Club pays tribute to Beating Around the Bush star Ian “Beat” Hillphotos

Honouring a Hunter television icon | PHOTOS Artist Daniel Joyce in front of the mural.
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The mural on the side of Kurri Workers Club

Beat Hill filming Beating Around The Bush. Photo courtesy of Phil Lomas

Beat Hill and team filming Beating Around The Bush. Photo courtesy of Phil Lomas

Beat capturing a critter in close-up. Photo courtesy of Phil Lomas

Phil Lomas films Beat wrangling a snake. Photo courtesy of Phil Lomas

The Beating Around The Bush crew filming. Photo courtesy of Phil Lomas

Ian Hill in his element in the Watagans. Photo courtesy of Phil Lomas

The crew setting up for a shot in the scrub. Photo courtesy of Phil Lomas

Outstanding: Beat accepts the Logie award with Lomas, who cherishes their days filming the series in the Watagans. “Beat and I were in heaven,” he said.

Wrangling a reptile for the show. Photo courtesy of Phil Lomas

Self-taught herpetologist: Ian “Beat” Hill wrangles a snake for his wildlife documentary series Beating Around The Bush, which was shot in the Cessnock area and in the Watagan Mountains. Photo courtesy of Phil Lomas.

With Jake the cockatoo in the opening credits.

Rough-cut diamond: “Beat was Steve Irwin before Steve Irwin,” says Beating Around The Bush director Phil “Sandy” Lomas. Photos courtesy of Phil Lomas.

The Beating Around The Bush crew on location. Photo courtesy of Phil Lomas

TweetFacebookBeating Around The Bush lost his battle with cancer in September, aged 65.

Having grown up in the small Coalfields town, Hillwas well known around Kurri Kurri.

In a touching tribute to their late friend, a group of Hill’s mates approached Kurri Towns With Heart about coordinating a mural in his hometown.

Towns With Heartcommunity projects managerLesley Morris said the murals sprawled around the town recognised thehistory andpeople of Kurri Kurri.

So she said they thought it was a great addition to the program and a fantastic way to honour thewell-known man.

A crowd-funding page was set up to fund the initiative, and the response was immediate.

“It just went crazy,” Ms Morris said.

“Within two months enough funds were raised.”

Along with money, the crowd-funding also brought a lot of fond memoriesof Hill.

“He was so well-respected and well-loved in the wider Hunter that people wanted to see it happen,” she said.

“Everyone who donated money had a story.

“There was a lot of love that came out of that.”

Newcastle artist Daniel Joyce was called on to bring the idea to life, and Ms Morris said he went “way beyond the brief”.

Mr Joyce incorporated several iconic shots of Hill to create the final work.

He said he wanted to capture the former TV presenter’s passion and concern for animals and the environment.

And luckily the artist had a lot of material to work with between the countless videos andphotos of Hill over the years.

“He was a pretty photogenic bloke,” Mr Joyce said.

“And a lot of his photos just told the story.”

Mr Joyce had met Beat once 20 years ago, but said he really got to know him over the past few months.

“I had to become one with the fella there for a while,” he said.

“It was definitely an honour to paint his portrait.”

Related contentWild tales pay tribute to Beating Around The Bush star

Mural tribute to Beat Hill

Casey Donovan ‘did not expect’ to take home I’m A Celebrity crown

Casey Donovan says she never expected to be named the winner of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and even considered dropping out of the show several times.
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However, the singer and television personality – who won n Idol when she was just 16 years old – is glad she persisted. After spending a gruelling 46 days in the South African wilderness, Donovan was crowned I’m A Celebrity’s first ever queen of the jungle.

Her win means $100,000 in prize money will be donated to the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a charity that helps seriously ill children. Former AFL footballer and Brownlow medalist Dane Swan was awarded runner-up, while singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte came third.

Speaking to Fairfax Media shortly after her win, Donovan said she also hoped her time on the reality TV series inspired people living with anxiety to move outside their comfort zone – whether that means challenging yourself physically or simply reaching out to a friend to talk.

“Making the decision to come into the jungle was a tough one,” she said. “Looking back at the experience now, it has been such a great time and I have really tested myself and my abilities. My anxiety was trying to talk me out of it and say you’ve stuffed up, Donovan, it’s time to go home.

“But I told my anxiety to shut the f— up for once and let me try to get through this.”

Donovan said while she expects to continue “fighting” her anxiety, sleeping it rough in South Africa and competing in terrifying challenges means she is ready to face the world with a “different view and outlook on life”. Our new jungle Queen @CaseyDonovan has a very special message to everyone who voted for her #ImACelebrityAUpic.twitter苏州夜网/wGDcMmNYdM??? #ImACelebrityAU (@ImACelebrityAU) March 13, 2017

Streaker still on the run, Weston building and Valentine import impresses

RD 2: Saturday: Jaffas v Edgeworth (2.30pm), Adamstown v Hamilton (6pm), Magic v Weston (6pm). Sunday (2.30pm): Lakes v Valentine, Charlestown v Maitland.The streaker who stole the spotlight in the 1-1 season opener between Magic and Edgeworth on Friday night is proving elusive.
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The man ran through Jack McLaughlan Oval late in the game,evading security and scaling a fence before coming back into the ground fully clothed and crashing BarTV’s post-game wrap.

He now appears likely to escape penalty from Northern NSW Football because it isunderstood he is not registered with any club.Duty officers beware.

** Weston coach Steve Piggott hopes to add a striker to his roster as soon as this week and a quality recruit in the first transfer windowafter finding a goalkeeper.

Kane Runge has joined the 2016 wooden spooners from the Mariners NPL youth and will be available for Saturday night’s away clash with Magic.Weston had keeping coach Andrew Goldman in goals for a 2-2 draw with Lake Macquarie on Sunday. Piggott was pleased to get a result but believed his side should have capitalsed after creating more chances late.

** Charlestown coach Shane Pryce came away super impressed with Valentine’s US striker, Jalon Brown, after a 2-1 loss to Phoenix on Saturday night.

“He’s sharp,” Pryce said. “He should score 10 plus goals this year. He’s a great pick up and if he stays fit, he’ll cause some problems.”

** In Northern League One, Nick Pepper scored twice as New Lambton debuted with a 6-2 win over West Wallsend.

Belswans downed Singleton 3-0, Nathan McAllister scored three as Thornton defeated Cessnock 5-1, South Cardiff edged Wallsend 3-2 and Cooks Hill thumped Toronto-Awaba 5-0.

‘We’re under water on the third floor’: 10-metre waves hit cruise ship

A cruise ship passenger has uploaded footage showing the terrifying moment rough seas sent 10-metre waves crashing into their cabin window during a disastrous cruise.
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The footage, filmed on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas in February 2016, shows water leaking through the lift shaft and huge waves battering a window on the third floor.

“Jesus Christ man! We’re under water on the third floor,” one of the passenger says, as choppy, foamy seas surround them.

“We’re not even moving,” he says.

“We’re just standing in one place trying not to die,” his fellow passenger says

Royal Caribbean were later forced to apologise to passengers for sailing into a storm in the Atlantic Ocean during the seven-day cruise from New Jersey to the Bahamas and back.

The cruise had to end early after 4500 passengers and 1600 crew members endured three days of wild seas.

“It was horrendous. At one point I thought I wasn’t going to see my family again,” one passenger, Maureen Peters, told CNN at the time. “I held on to the mattress so I wouldn’t fall off the bed.”

Photos showed broken banana chairs, smashed crockery and tables strewn around the ship following the storm.

For about four hours, the ship was listing at a 45-degree angle.

In the latest footage, an American man jokes about seeing passengers walking around at an angle.

“That gangster lean,” he says.

“I don’t like this listing thing. It’s like being on top of a building and looking down,” his fellow passenger says.

Winds of 193km/hr can be heard howling outside and the passenger says the water looks black.

“It might be safer to jump on a whale and ride our way out of it,” he jokes. just a little bit of the damage so far. boat is still rocking. #anthemoftheseas#overthis#150mphwinds#rocktheboatpic.twitter苏州夜网/veRMtGzBbE??? Leanna Nicole (@LeannaPetrone) February 8, [email protected] How far was the ship leaning? This far! Someone get out your protractor. #anthemoftheseaspic.twitter苏州夜网/o4t4TgAcug??? Greg (@flatgreg) February 8, 2016

Prepare for ‘worst thunderstorms of the season’, NSW

GOOD START: Monday looked so beautiful across many NSW centres, such as here in Port Macquarie, but it isn’t likely to last.Waves of “ferocious” thunderstorms are expected to lash NSW on Monday, with flash flooding, heavy downpours and “giant hail” likely to hit large parts of central and northern New South Wales.
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The storms are expected to move south, hitting Sydney on Monday afternoon.

Thunderstorms are tipped to last until Tuesday evening with up to 70mm of rain forecast to drench Sydney.

Scattered showers are expected across the city for the rest of the week.

A line of storms stretching from Broken Hill, Echuca and the Victorian town of Port Albert will be joined by storms that are moving along a low and upper-pressure trough across the eastern parts of southern .

When combined, the dynamic conditions could trigger “some of the worst thunderstorms of the season”, Weatherzone meteorologist Rob Sharpe said.

“The worst storms will be spread across the North West and Central West Slopes and Plains districts in NSW,” he said.

A line of storms stretching from Broken Hill, Echuca and the Victorian town of Port Albert will be joined by storms that are moving along a low and upper-pressure trough across the eastern parts of southern . Photo: Nick Moir.

“Storms in these districts are likely to see large hail and have a significant risk of producing damaging wind gusts above 90km/h and giant hail greater than five centimetres in diameter.

“The most at-risk area is near a line from Parkes to Moree.”

More than 100mm of rain is due to hit Inverell.

The Bureau of Meteorology on Mondayissued a severe thunderstorm warningfor heavy rain, large hailstones and damaging winds for a region stretching from Griffiths in the Riverina all the way up to the Queensland border.

Among locations affected include Mudgee, Tamworth, Gunnedah, Moree, Narrabri, Dubbo, Parkes, Condobolin, Coonamble, Nyngan andWest Wyalong.

NSW SES spokesman Phil Campbell said on Monday that emergency services were “quite concerned” about the “supercell thunderstorms”.

“We’re asking people up in that north-east part of the state and also inland around Tamworth and Moree just to make sure they’re well prepared,” he said.

“At the moment, we’ve not had any calls for assistance, which is good news.

“We do have a number of weather models, according to the bureau, that are forecasting very heavy rain from the middle to late part of the week. We’re just keeping an eye on that.”

Powerful surf conditions will continue to batter most of the NSW coast, potentially creating hazardous conditions for rock fishers, surfers and swimmers.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

Wangi RSL jetty falling apart

Wangi jetty in ruins PATCHY: Wangi RSL Club’s treasurer Ross Ahrens on the jetty that he says is in a poor state of repair and is in dire need of replacing for the benefit of the broader community. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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BLOCKED OFF: Part of the Wangi RSL Club jetty that can no longer be used because of damaged and decaying decking. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

BROKEN: A floating concrete finger wharf at the Wangi RSL Club jetty that has been taped off because it is damaged. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Wangi RSL Club treasurer Ross Ahrens on the damaged and decaying jetty. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

Part of the damaged Wangi RSL Club jetty. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

A gap in the decking on the Wangi RSL Club jetty.

Wangi RSL Club treasurer Ross Ahrens on the damaged and decaying jetty. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

TweetFacebookHerald along the jetty, he pointed out it was a walk through damage and decay. Wooden sheets covered gaps in the deck. A walker recently had a plank give way beneath him, Mr Ahrens said. Cleats had been torn from kick rails, and most of thefinger wharves had been blocked off, because they were too dangerous to use. Only a fewboats remained in berths that were deemed usable.

“It’s sad, totally sad, Mr Ahrens said as he surveyed the jetty.

The club has had plans into Lake Macquarie City Councilto extend and upgrade the jetty. The council has given approval for work on the existing jetty, but Mr Ahrens said “it’s gone beyond repair”.

“You’ve got to rip the whole thing out and do it again,” he said.

Wangi RSL is grappling with how to pay for a new jetty. MrAhrens estimatedit would cost between $1 million and$1.2million to build it.Theclub has had some lean years, and it doesn’t have the moneyto replace it, so it has been looking at other funding options. It has considered the possibility of an external developer and manager to lease the facility. Anotheroptionis government funding through the NSWBoating Now program, which the club is applying for.

But Ross Ahrens said under that funding arrangement, the club would have to come up with 25 per cent, or about $250,000. Which is why he has proposed an accompanying option: to sell the land the sailing club occupies.

The sailing club, which has been abase of Olympic gold medallistsNathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen and the venue for many national regattas, has a 99-year ‘peppercorn’ lease with the RSL, with about 73 years to run.Mr Borgert said the sailing club would like to further secure its future by buying the block, if it became available.

“We’d be looking at it favourably,” he said. “We are in a position [to buy], subject to the price.”

The sailing club is also keen to see the RSL’s jetty replaced. The club’s coaching and rescue boat is berthed there, and the jetty’s finger wharf is heavily used during regattas.

“If the RSL didn’t have a jetty, we’d have to put in temporary berthing,” Mr Borgert said.

Although it was the club’s responsibility to maintain the jetty, it was a community asset, Mr Ahrens said. Boats from all over the lake frequently used it to access the nearby shopping area. However, the income from the jetty, by leasing overnight berths, brought in only about $15,000 annually for the club.

“Is there an equivalent for a single club standing alone and doing it all for a community wharf?,” Mr Ahrens asked.

He said the club had asked Lake Macquarie City Council for financial support, “but the answer was they could not justify three wharves in the one area”. There is a jetty on thesouthern shore, at Dobell Park, and another in front ofWangi Workers Club, at the head of the bay.

A spokeswoman for the council said it did not provide funding for the improvement of assets it did not own. However, she said the council had advised Wangi RSL on potential funding opportunitiesand would assist by providing a letter of support for the club’s application to the NSWgovernment.

Julian Borgert argued the council should be more supportive, given how much the general public usedthe RSL jetty.

“They [the council] can sit back and say it’s an asset of the RSL, but it’s not a private marina with security gate access to it,” he said.“We struggle big time to get anything funded [by the council] down here.”

Ross Ahrens said the club would most likely have to close off the main part of the jetty by the end of March.It would also have to spend about $20,000 to repair an adjoining wharf, so that the boating community still had some access to the shore.

“I think it’s a detriment now, more than an asset,” Mr Ahrens said.

Please explain: ABC says Pauline Hanson’s One Nation election night lockout threatens democracy

An ABC journalist is locked out of the One Nation after party tonight and is forced to file his stories from the bowling green.Pic:Tony McDonough . Saturday 11th March 2017 Photo: Tony McDonoughThe ABC has demanded an explanation from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party after its reporters were blocked from attending election celebrations on Saturday, describing the move as an attack on independent media.
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ABC reporters were locked out of a West n election night event in Perth, as a controversial preference deal with the Liberal Party and Senator Hanson’s comments on vaccinations and praise for Russian president Vladimir Putin saw One Nation’s message all but drowned out.

Other journalists, including a reporter from Fairfax Media, were allowed to attend the event, prompting ABC editorial director Alan Sunderland to ask why his staff had been singled out.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Sunderland said party officials had claimed all media had been treated appropriately, with a pool camera arrangement for TV crews in place inside the function.

“Other media representatives from a range of organisations attended on the night without any prior arrangements or permission being required,” Mr Sunderland said.

“Those other media representatives, who included broadcasters, agencies and newspaper reporters from inside and outside Western , were granted immediate access to the event.

“The ABC was denied access, and was treated differently to all other media.”

One Nation officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr Sunderland defended the ABC’s coverage during the election campaign, describing it as “accurate, impartial and independent”.

“If the ABC has been denied normal access to political events for simply doing its job, then that is an attack not just on the public broadcaster but on the fundamental role of the media in a democracy,” he said.

“We will continue, as we always have, to report without fear or favour.”

One Nation’s projected vote in the state reached just 4.8 per cent in the lower house, well short of earlier predictions of a 13 per cent vote. Despite the disappointment, Senator Hanson declared the result to be “fantastic” on Monday.

She blamed Labor for spooking voters over the Liberal preference deal.

Labor recorded a landslide win over Colin Barnett’s Liberals, with new premier Mark McGowan expected to be sworn in this week.

On Twitter, One Nation Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts said the ABC’s coverage was unbalanced.

“ABC refuses our party right of reply so we refuse your right of entry,” he said.

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive officer Paul Murphy said in a statement denying the ABC normal access to political events was an attack on the public broadcaster and the role of the media.

“There has been understandable outrage at the Trump administration’s vendetta against CNN, The New York Times and several other outlets in the US, and what happened in Perth on Saturday night shows we must be just as vigilant about press freedom here in .”

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Celebrity Solstice cruises into Newcastle harbourphotos

Celebrity Solstice cruises into the harbour | photos, video INSTA @princesskim88 @celebritycruises arriving into Newcastle Harbour this morning. #celebritysolstice #celebritycruises #cruiseship #newcastlensw
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Celebrity Solstice from 2000 feet, sailing out of storm into port. Picture: Tim Bohlsen

Picture: Gordon Laffan

Picture: Gordon Laffan

INSTA @princesskim88 The #celebritysolstice coming to Newcastle past #nobbyslighthouse this morning. @celebritycruises @nobbyslighthouse @newcastlenowbia #newcastlensw #cruiseship #celebritycruises #celebritysolstice #visitnewcastle #newcastlensw #newcastlenow

INSTA @illshootya Celebrity Solstice cruising into Newcastle as dawn breaks #celebritysolstice #newcastlensw #myabcphoto #newcastlelive #newcastlemirage #smartartistpromotions #cruise #cruiseship #nikon #dawn #surfboat #rowing #mynewcastle #australia

INSTA @oceansoulsanctum Harbour view 🚢⚓️ #newcastlensw

INSTA @kmackayphotography The amazing Celebrity Solstice coming into Newcastle this morning! #CelebritySolstice #Newcastle #NewcastleNSW #Newcastlelifestyle #Queenswharfhotel #Cathedral

Ruth and David Johnson of Redhead watch cruise ship The World arrive in Newcastle. Picture by Peter Stoop

Radiance of the Seas in Newcastle on January 14 2015. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Shortland ferry passes Rhapsody of the Seas in Newcastle on February 18 2015. Picture by Phil Hearne

Celebrity Solstice entering the port of Newcastle on March 9 2014: Picture by Darren Pateman

Celebrity Solstice visiting Newcastle in March 2014. Picture by Darren Pateman

The view from inside Celebrity Solstice, which was the biggest cruise ship to visit Newcastle when it arrived in March 2014. Picture by Simone De Peak

The Celebrity Solstice’s main dining hall. Picture by Simone De Peak

Staff water the Lawn Club atop Celebrity Solstice in March 2014. Picture by Simone De Peak

An adults-only solarium aboard the Celebrity Solstice. Picture by Simone De Peak

Onlookers farewell Celebrity Solstice as it leaves Newcastle on March 9 2014. Picture by Eddie O’Reilly

Coal ship Ocean Dragon enters Newcastle harbour, where Radiance of the Seas (top left) is docked on January 14 2015. Picture by Peter Stoop

Celebrity Solstice in Newcastle harbour on its second visit to the city on March 13 2015. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Pacific Sun docked in Carrington in February 2012. Picture by Darren Pateman

Spirit of Adventure leaves Newcastle in December 2011. Picture by Phil Hearne

Spirit of Adventure off Nobbys in December 2011. Picture by Phil Hearne

Pacific Sun leaving Newcastle on October 28 2010. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Arcadia Vale’s Tony Armstrong and Tighes Hill’s Sharon Oakley watch Crystal Serenity coast out of Newcastle in February 2012. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Dawn Princess passes Stockton on March 7 2010. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Lani and Sasha Holz and Gabrielle and Amelie Bourke, all of Merewether, farewell the Seven Seas Mariner on March 27 2009. Picture by Natalie Grono

Onlookers at a cafe outside the cruise terminal on September 8 2010. Picture by Stuart Quinn.

Sun Princess leaves Nobbys on October 18 2009. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

The Pacific Sun off Nobbys in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

Silver Shadow in Port Stephens in 2006. Picture by Kitty Hill

Pacific Sun at Dyke Point shortly before dawn on September 8 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

Kurri Kurri’s Ji Forbes, 7, fishes as the cruise ship Millennium departs in 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Silver Whisper laves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Darren Pateman

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

The Pacific Sun leaves Newcastle harbour on September 8 2010. Picture: Stuart Quinn

Pacific Star passes Nobbys on November 27 2007. Picture by David Wicks

Millennium leaves Newcastle harbour in January 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Sun Princess, as seen from Carrington on October 18 2009. Picture by Kitty Hill

Millennium leaves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

Onlookers watch The World arrive in Newcastle harbour. Picture by Peter Stoop

Cruise ship Mercury arrives. Picture by David Wicks

Pacific Star visits Newcastle in 2007. Picture by David Wicks

Cruise ship The World enters Newcastle on September 13 2006. Picture by David Wicks

The World’s captain Daj Saevic on the bridge as The World visits Newcastle in March 2003. Picture by Peter Stoop

Volendam in Newcastle harbour in March 2010. Picture by Anita Jones

The Silver Whisper leaves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Darren Pateman

Silver Shadow in Newcastle harbour on February 19 2004. Picture by Ryan Osland

Rhapsody of the Seas in February 2013. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Pacific Sun sneaks into Newcastle Harbour at dawn in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

The Pacific Sun arrives in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

The Radiance of the Seas leaves Newcastle in October 2013. Picture by Simone De Peak

TweetFacebook Cruising in the harbourThe cruise ship season is well and truly underway in Newcastle harbour.

Everyone’s eyes were on the Celebrity Solstice on Tuesday morning as she cruised in at 8am.

The ship, with nearly 3000 on board, will depart the city at 5pm.

Have a photo of the Celebrity Solstice? Share it with us on Instagram or email [email protected]苏州夜网.au.

Radio ratings: Em Rusciano delivers flat debut for 2DayFM

2Day FM breakfast hosts Em Rusciano and Harley BreenEm Rusciano’s much-hyped take over at 2DayFM from booted hosts Rove McManus and Sam Frost hasn’t delivered the immediate boost expected.
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The Breakfast show scored a 0.2 per cent increase to claim a 4.0 per cent share in the first ratings survey of the year.

The result keeps 2DayFM well behind the morning competition in Sydney, a position they’ve been in ever since Kyle & Jackie O announced they were leaving the network in 2013.

Rusciano, who hosts the show with comedian Harley Breen, faced criticism in January after announcing she’d remain in Melbourne to host the Sydney show. Despite early positive reviews, the pair have failed to bring new ears to the slot.

“There were no expectations, so we’re really happy with how it’s started,” Gemma Fordham, Hit Network’s Head of Content, countered.

“It’s always really hard with a new show because you’ve got so much audience churn: you don’t know how much audience you’re losing or gaining.

“Anyone in radio understands how long it takes to get results; we’re realistic about it. We have a show that sounds outstanding, the feedback has been outstanding… We’re going to be in a different position twelve months from now,” she added.

Kyle & Jackie O reclaimed the top spot in the FM Breakfast slot for KIIS 106.5 with 10.5 per cent of the total share, steady on December’s ratings.

Their biggest competition came from Triple M’s The Grill Team, featuring Gus Worland and former NRL stars Matty Johns and Mark Geyer, who grabbed a hefty 2.2 per cent share to see their numbers rise to 7.8 per cent for the period, enough to leapfrog them into second place.

Meanwhile, 2GB’s stranglehold on the Sydney Breakfast slot has weakened again in the wake of Alan Jones’ lengthy absence.

The AM juggernaut maintained its overall top position, but suffered a 1.6 per cent drop to see its overall share fall from 14.5 per cent in December to 12.9 per cent.

The station had also suffered a 2 per cent share drop in December’s survey.

Jones, who has been off-air since November 21 dealing with ill health and major back and neck surgeries, missed the entire ratings period, which ran from January 22 to March 4. The shift has been taken over by Ray Hadley since February.

Jones’ 2GB teammate Ben Fordham also saw a slight 0.3 per cent drop in the Drive slot to 8.9 per cent, but easily claimed the top spot in the AM band following a 2.1 per cent fall for Richard Glover on ABC 702.

In the FM afternoon Drive slot, Nova’s Kate, Tim and Marty were massive winners, with a 1.2 per cent jump shooting them to a slot-topping 10.3 per cent. Their KISS 106.5 rivals Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek dropped to second spot following a 0.4 per cent loss.

“They will be ecstatic with that, to achieve that is magnificent,” said Paul Jackson, Nova Entertainment Group Programme Director.

“The pure strength of the team and the love listeners have for Kate, Tim and Marty… It’s just a great, great number.”

The ongoing oldies war was reignited too, with WSFM earning a 1.2 per cent jump in the Drive slot, helping it claim third place with an 8.2 percent share. SmoothFM’s former unlikely chart-topper Byron Webb copped another slide of 1.2 per cent to drop to 7.9 per cent.

“We put our strategic focus onto WSFM and that’s really impacted Drive,” ARN National Content Director Duncan Campbell said.

“The thing for us is how this Smooth/WSFM battle plays out. Last year, there was a significant gap to be honest, but now it’s much tighter; that’s one to watch throughout the year.”

Government resists rock fishing change after deaths

The state government is resisting calls to make life jackets mandatory for all rock fishermen after another two fishermen drowned and says people must take responsibility for their own actions.
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Two years ago a coronial inquiry into nine deaths recommended NSW bring in laws requiring a lifejacket to be worn while rock fishing.

But so far life jackets are only legally required in only one council, Randwick, where the law has been trialled since January. Fishermen in that council have been given a year’s grace before they must pay a $100 fine if caught without a life jacket.

Surf Life Saving NSW is calling for those laws to be extended across the state.

On Monday a 27-year-old man who had been fishing from the rocks died after jumping into the water at Gymea in southern Sydney.

Three others were pulled from the water in the northern beaches on Sunday. They had jumped in to retrieve a 23-year-old Thai national, the only one who was not wearing a life jacket and died near Blue Fish Point at Manly.

“We can’t be on every beach, on every rock, at every pool,” said emergency services minister Troy Grant. “Individuals need to be responsible for their own actions.”

More than 150 people died over a two-decade period rock fishing in NSW.

Ten people died in the last financial year; none were wearing a life jacket, according to state government estimates.

Mr Grant said that the state government would consider expanding the trial of the law in Randwick to other high-risk areas.

Randwick was chosen for the trial because its beaches have been the site of 17 deaths from rock fishing over the past decade. Last month the council’s mayor estimated that only about half of people fishing on the rocks were complying with the new laws but noted a sharp increase in those wearing life jackets.

Legislation was brought into parliament last year bringing in the Randwick trial for compulsory life jackets. No new laws would need to be passed to extend that law to other council areas.

Surf Life Saving NSW argues the law should extend across the state.

“In the vast majority of successful rescues involving our lifesavers the fisher is wearing a lifejacket,” said NSW Operations Manager Andy Kent. “It is incredibly disappointing that there are those within the fishing community who continue to be vocal in their opposition to mandatory lifejackets”.

Mr Grant said the state government would spend $11 million over three years on safety programs.

Safety programs in place include buoys that can be thrown to fishermen swept off the rocks and a program offering cheap exchanges of old life jackets for new ones.

Fatalities fall disproportionately upon new migrants to and speakers of languages other than English, presenting a challenge to many past information campaign about safety while fishing.

Past research has showed 40 per cent of fatalities were people from China, South Korea and Vietnam.