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Trent Hodkinson from the Newcastle Knights is a ‘top gun’ both on and off the field

Posted on 04/25/2020

FLASHBACK: Trent Hodkinson arrived in Newcastle with high hopes and as the incumbent NSW Origin halfback. He was expected to form a dynamic combination with Jarrod Mullen. Picture: Simone De PeakIT doesn’t seem that long ago Trent Hodkinson was posing for aNewcastle Heraldphotographerat Fort Scratchley, with a cannon labelled “No.1 gun” as the backdrop.
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Hodkinson hadrecently arrived in Newcastle and the mood was overwhelmingly optimistic.

Having collectedthe 2015 wooden spoon, the Knights needed a playmakerto provide on-field direction and leadership, and the incumbent NSW Origin halfback seemed as good a candidate as any.

The former Manly and Canterbury halfback did not come cheap.

The three-year deal he signed with Newcastle made him one of the highest-paid players in the club’s history, and that’s without including the $200,000 the Knights were reported to have forked out as a sweetener for Tyrone Roberts to join Gold Coast.

Hodkinson arrived too late to save the man who recruited him, Rick Stone.

Stone was sacked six rounds before the end of the 2015 season and never got to realise his vision of partnering enigmatic Jarrod Mullen alongside Hodkinson at Newcastle’s scrumbase.

RELATED:It was the night Hannah never wanted to end

On paper, at least, the Mullen-Hodkinson combination appeareda match made in heaven.

Mullen was a left-foot kicker, whose strength was his running game, rather than his organising.

At times the pressure of steering Newcastle around the field seemed to overwhelm him.

Hodko heads south with a point to prove MILESTONE: Newcastle Knights halfback Trent Hodkinson with students at Morpeth Public School. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

OPTIONS: Trent Hodkinson

Knights halfback Trent Hodkinson is on the move. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

HAPPY: Newcastle Knights player Trent Hodkinson with Hannah Rye at the Kurri Kurri High School formal. Picture: Sarah Blanch Photography

HAPPY: Newcastle Knights player Trent Hodkinson with Hannah Rye at the Kurri Kurri High School formal.

HAPPY: Newcastle Knights player Trent Hodkinson with Hannah Rye at the Kurri Kurri High School formal.

Trent Hodkinson.

TweetFacebook The community manHodkinson’s greatest attributes were his reliable distribution, his goalkicking, and above all his cool head in big games –best evidenced by his matchwinning try against Queensland in game two, 2014, which clinched NSW’s only series win in the past decade.

Together Mullen and Hodkinson,with their contrasting but complementary skill sets, apparentlyhad the potential to become Newcastle’s best halves pairing since the legendary Johns brothers.

As it panned out, they played just 14 games together, for one win.

RELATED:Hodko seals deal with Sharks

Plagued by hamstring injuries in 2016, Mullen tested positive to a banned steroid late that year and received a four-year suspension.

Hodkinson, meanwhile, endured his own unexpected challenges.

Having played in four separate play-off campaigns and Canterbury’s 2014grand final loss to South Sydney before joining the Knights, he now found himself in a team trapped in the competition cellar.

Even worse, after being named Newcastle’s lone captain at the start of 2017, midway through the season he suffered the indignity of being dropped to to reserve grade.

That he was able to regain his NRL spot, and help the Knights to consecutive wins against St George Illawarra, the Warriors and Parramatta, says much about Hodkinson’s character.

A lesser clubman may have whinged and become a negative influence. He took his medicine like a man, mentored his young teammates in NSW Cup, and emerged with his reputation enhanced.

Off the field, there has been no better role model or ambassador in Newcastle’s history. As well as visiting children in hospital on an almost weekly basis, Hodkinson attracted national attention last year when he chaperonedterminally ill 15-year-old Hannah Rye to her Kurri Kurri High School formal, a story that was as sad as it was uplifting.

It is hard to imagine anyone having a bad word to say about Hodkinson, yet the bottom line is that rugby league is big business these days, and there was little future for himonce Knights coach Nathan Brown signed both Connor Watson and Mitchell Pearce from the Roosters.

Achronic knee injury that limits Hodkinson’s ability to train with his teammates has not helped his cause. Yet the 29-year-old has strung together 104 NRL games, and six Origins, in the past five seasons. In his time at the Knights, he missed only one game through injury.

His decision to sign with Cronulla, after a large portion of his salary was reportedly pre-paid by theKnights, is a commonsense outcome.

Diplomatic as he has been, Hodkinson clearly believes he still has something to offer.

At the Sharks, maybe he will get that opportunity. As was the case at Canterbury, he will be surrounded by a strong, experienced team, allowing himto concentrate on doing his job, without being the main man.

In his own, understated way, he has a point to prove. Nobody should begrudge it if he succeeds in doing so.

Ex-China paceman Bollinger retires

Posted on 04/25/2020

Former NSW and paceman Doug Bollinger has retired.Left-arm paceman Doug Bollinger has called time on a successful cricketing career in which he represented across all three formats and developed into one of the game’s great characters.
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NSW quick Bollinger, 36, played 12 Tests, 39 one-day internationals and nine T20s in an international career spanning 2009-2014.

He bagged 50 Test wickets at an average of 25.92, 62 ODI wickets at an average of 23.9 and nine T20 scalps at 27,66.

Capable of generating significant pace, Bollinger took five-wicket hauls against New Zealand in Wellington and West Indies in Perth and his Test scalps came at a very good strike rate of every 48 balls.

Cricket CEO James Sutherland described Bollinger’s career as fantastic.

“He was a fierce competitor on the field who gave his all every time he represented his country,” Sutherland said.

“He was a skilful bowler who claimed more than 100 international wickets and enjoyed success against the best in the world.”

Bollinger made his first-class class debut back in 2002-03.

“My first captain for NSW was Steve Waugh, which was unbelievable,” Bollinger said.

“I played under some great captains and players for NSW and including Steve, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting.

“To play for 15 or 16 seasons with the SCG as my home ground has been amazing.”

Bollinger will also be remembered for his personality and his changing hairlines.

After losing his hair as a young man he was christened Doug the Rug after undergoing hair replacement work, but in the latter stages of his career he proudly reverted to a clean dome.

“Doug was a larger than life presence on and off the field,” Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones said.

“Finishing his career as ninth on the list of NSW first-class wicket takers and playing all three forms of the game for is a remarkable achievement given he did not play cricket until he was 15.”

Bollinger played for NSW in Sheffield Shield and one-day games this season and had his last hitout in interstate cricket for the Sydney Sixers in a BBL match just before Christmas last year.

He was a genuine batting bunny, averaging 8,82 across 124 first-class matches with a top score of 41 not out.

Five other fast bowlers were named on Monday in the Blues squad for the Shield match against WA starting in Perth on Thursday.

n representatives Trent Copeland and Gurinder Sandhu were listed, along with Harry Conway and uncapped duo Mickey Edwards and Charlie Stobo.

One in nine suffer a hospital complication

Posted on 04/25/2020

One in every nine patients who go to hospital in end up suffering a complication.One in every nine patients who go to hospital in end up suffering a complication, a new report has found.
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That figure rises to one in four for those who stay in hospital overnight – about 725,000 each year.

Those who suffer a complication after a procedure end up staying in hospital for an extra five days, the report by the Grattan Institute shows.

The institute recommends all states and territories establish goals for reducing the overall rate of complications in public and private hospitals.

It also suggests hospitals and clinicians are given the ability to look into data to see how they compare against others, and private health insurers give their members information on complication rates.

The report found if all hospitals lifted their safety performance to the level of the best 10 per cent of hospitals across the country, the complication rate would fall by more than a quarter.

They estimate it would mean an extra 250,000 patients would leave hospital each year free of complications.

Author Stephen Duckett believes a veil of secrecy nowadays hangs over which hospitals and clinicians have higher rates.

“Patients should have access to the information on complication rates in different hospitals and for different procedures, so they – and their GPs – can make better-informed decisions about how and where they are treated,” he said on Monday.

The Consumers Health Forum believes it’s time for a change in attitude about how hospital patient data is used.

“If hospitals have something to hide, the public should know about it. If hospitals are doing well then they have nothing to hide,” chief executive Leanne Wells said in a statement.

Ms Wells said while many complications were not major, and could be fixed quickly, they can point to ways in which hospital care can be improved for patients.

Juniors: Hunter medals at BMX NSW State Series opener in Maitland

Posted on 04/25/2020

PLACINGS: Hunter BMX riders Isha Monkley, Lachlan Moore, Porschea Longbottom and Kane Halson all featured at the opening round of the 2018 state series in Maitland on the weekend. Picture: Marina NeilHUNTER riders Isha Monkley, Lachlan Moore, Porschea Longbottom and Kane Halson all featured on the podium at the BMX NSWState Series opener at Maitland on the weekend.
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The quartet of Maitland-Tenambit BMX Club members used home track advantage for maximum impact across the two days of competition.

Moore and Longbottom made the toptwice, both undefeated. Moore clinchedthe 14-year boys and was second in the 13-14-years cruiser. Longbottom claimed victory in the 11-year girlsbefore backing up forbronzein the 11-12-years cruiser.

Halson won the 8-10 years cruiser boys while Monkley was third behind Longbottom in the 11-year girls.

There were another 12placings by Hunter riders racing in age groups.

Lake Macquarie BMX Club’s Miller Ruks triumphed unbeaten in the 11-year boys.

Multiple medals went to Maitland’s Zahlia Monkley and Lake Macquarie’s Ella Fairhall –second and third respectively in the 10-year girls and 8-10-year cruiser.

The six-round state series continues at Macarthur on April 8 before stop offs at Bathurst (April 29),Southlake (July 1), Sawtell (July 14) and Terrigal (August 12).

In the meantime round one of the national series takes place in Penrith on February 17 and 18 followed by the ACT Championships (March 3-4) and the National Championships in Bunbury (March 22-25).

* DOYALSON Dragons were crowned club champions at the Peter Wilson Memorial Championships at Tomaree Sporting Complex on the weekend.

The Dragons edged out the Central Coast Dolphins, Peninsula,Orange and hosts Nelson Bay for the coveted Hunter Western Hornets regionaljunior touch football prize.

Running for Bums set to raise awareness and money for bowel cancer

Posted on 04/25/2020

Jenna Brook will be running 4500 kilometres from the bottom of Tasmania to the top of Queensland for bowel cancer awareness. Photo: Jess O’DeaThe internal workings of your bowels is generally not discussed in polite company.Add the word ‘cancer’ to the sentence and silence reigns.
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Well, not for much longer ifJenna Brook has her way.

On February 17 she is going to set off on a huge 4500trek, Running for Bums –from the bottom of Tasmaniato Cape York at the top of Queensland –to raise awareness ofbowel cancer and money for Bowel Cancer .

It’s a subject that’s close to her heart with her grandfather surviving bowel cancer. Then at age 25, Jenna had eight bowel polyps removed, and another three were removed just two years later.

Last year at age 30, while training for the Running for Bums challenge, she had another three removed.

“I really just want people to start talking about bowels and bowel cancer. It kills me that so many people die each year due to embarrassment,” Jenna said.

She has made it her mission to “get people comfortable with talking about bowels and poo”.

She wants to raise $50,000 along the way and, just as importantly, spreadthe message for people to get checked, no matter their age–as“you are never too young”.

With early detection90 per cent of casescould be treated.

However, only 40 per centwere caught early enough.

“We all have bowels and we need to get over the embarrassment and talk about it.

“More people need to know symptoms and get checked.”

The 4500 kilometre Running for Bums route will take Jenna through Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

It’s a journey 18 months in the planning –and training.

She’s been up at 3am or 4am each day to beat the Birdsville heat and get training in.

“I’m generally a morning person but 3am is pushing me.But it’s been a necessary evil.”

The upside of living in hot Birdsville is that whatever temperatures the 4500 kilometrerun throws at her –she should be prepared.

“It’s 32 degrees at 4am so everything will seem cool (after that),” she said.

Jenna Brook is hoping to raise $50,000 as well as spreading the message for people to get checked, no matter their age. Photo: Jess O’Dea

A few niggling injuries have hampered Jenna in the lead up to the run, but nothing will stop her from making the journey.

She said she’s planned to walk the early stages to get her body into the swing of things and pick up the pace as she goes.

“Thebody is adjustable, it will adjust to whatever I put it through.”

The mind, however,will be where the toughest battle will be held.

“I find if I can keep myself in a neutral frame of mind it helps a lot,” Jenna said.

“Everybody likes feeling the highs, but with that comes really low, lows and that’s really hard, so if I manage to stay neutral, if I can keep my excitement in check –because if I can do it for the highs then I can do it for the lows, which I have no doubt I’ll have at times.”

Jenna admits she’s no runner. She has completed marathon walks but never a run.

She started working with a running coach just 18 months ago.

“I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone,” she said.

“I have full confidence I will finish it and I need to do it and back myself.

“In the back of my mind I knew I could definitely walk it, and so I thought why not run most of it?

“I run cause it’s a challenge and at the end I can look back and say I did something I haven’t done before.”

She is aiming to coverbetween 20km and 60km a day.

A solid support crew of family and friends will join her on the route to provide logistical help and much-needed emotional support. But the plan is to welcome all-comers.

“People are more than welcome to join in for half an hour or four days or whatever,” she said.

Jenna is encouraging the towns she’s coming through to organise barbecues and said she’ll work to tee up talks with local groups or schools to help spread the message.

She finds having these talks helps people share their bowel cancer stories –a story they might not otherwise tell –and gives people the motivation and encouragement they need to go and get that colonoscopy they’ve been putting off.

Find out more about Running for Bums here, including how you can help or make a donation.

Nikorima shapes up as Broncos’ NRL No.7

Posted on 04/25/2020

Kodi Nikorima will be the Broncos’ chief playmaker when the 2018 NRL season begins.Kodi Nikorima will pick the brain of Kevin Walters as he aims to fill the void left by Ben Hunt’s Brisbane Broncos NRL exit.
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The 23-year-old has been given first crack at making the No.7 jersey his own by Broncos coach Wayne Bennett after a casual occupation of the halves last season and has identified his kicking game and on-field communication as areas that need work.

Nikorima was not able to quell debate around his position last season despite Brisbane winning 11 of 13 games when he started at halfback.

But Bennett chose not to go to market, instead entrusting the New Zealand international with the role in 2018.

Nikorima says the addition of Queensland coach Walters as a Broncos assistant will help him nail down the spot after Hunt’s big-money move to St George Illawarra.

“Kev is a prankster, has a bit of fun but has a serious side too and has been good for me and the others halves going through here,” he said.

“Hopefully that shows going forward this year.

“It’s great for my preparation to train in the one position, compared to the last couple of years filling in at half, hooker, fullback, wing.”

Walters was vocal while taking charge of Monday’s opposed session, with Nikorima pulling the strings on the right side of attack.

But the playmaker was noticeably chirpy too, something he says he has tried to add to his game this season.

“I started last year on tour (with New Zealand during the World Cup), thinking about my role in the side and what I can do,” Nikorima said.

“Obviously Benny Hunt’s left a big hole in the this team and what he brought was his talk and his kicking game.

“That’s one thing I’ve been working very hard on throughout the preseason … for some reason I can’t shut up now.”

Nikorima won’t play in Saturday’s trial game against Queensland Cup side Central Queensland Capras in Theodore, but plans to play against the Gold Coast Titans and PNG Hunters later this month.

Broncos captain Darius Boyd completed some skills work and fitness drills away from the main group on Monday, while Andrew McCullough (knee) and Anthony Milford (shoulder) were with the main group as they continued their recovery from respective surgeries.

Hitler book in suspected shooter’s home

Posted on 04/25/2020

A copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf has been found in the home of Italian shooting suspect Luca Traini.A right-wing extremist suspected in the shooting rampage that wounded six Africans in central Italy was “lucid and determined, aware of what he had done” and exhibited no remorse for his actions, an Italian law enforcement official says.
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Luca Traini, 28, remains in jail as police investigate him on multiple counts of attempted murder with the aggravating circumstance of “racial hatred” for the Saturday attacks in the Italian city of Macerata.

The five men and one woman were wounded in the two-hour drive-by shooting spree were from Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia and Mali, according to RAI state television.

Italian authorities said they seized Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, other publications linked to Nazism and a flag with a Celtic cross, a symbol commonly used by white supremacists, from Traini’s home Sunday.

Traini, who is Italian, was an unsuccessful candidate last year in a local election for the anti-migrant Northern League political party. Italy’s ANSA news agency quoted acquaintances saying he previously had ties with the neo-fascist Forza Nuova and CasaPound parties.

Photographs released by police showed Traini with a neo-Nazi tattoo prominently on his forehead and an Italian flag tied around his neck.

Col. Michele Roberti, the Carabineri commander in Macerata, told Sky TG24 that Traini demonstrated no remorse for the two-hour rampage and “it’s likely that he carried out this crazy gesture as a sort of retaliation, a sort of vendetta” for the gruesome slaying of a teenager a few days earlier.

A Nigerian man has been arrested in the death of Pamela Mastropietro, 18. Mastropietro’s dismembered remains of were found in two suitcases days after she walked away from a drug rehab community.

The shooting spree also came amid a heated electoral campaign in Italy where anti-foreigner sentiment has become a key theme. Italy has struggled with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants in the last few years coming across the Mediterranean Sea in smugglers’ boats.

Italy has a general election scheduled for March 4.

Return and earn scheme proving popular in the Hunter despite lack of collection points

Posted on 04/25/2020

Hunter recyclershave taken to the NSW Government’s container deposit scheme collecting over $750,000 in the firsttwo months.
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POPULAR: The Mayfield return and earn collection point had a line of people wanting to redeem their 10c refunds on Friday, including Steven Sewell (left) and Nathan Robinson (far right). Picture: Simone De Peak.

Over 7.5million containers have been returned in the Hunter since the introduction of the scheme on December 1 –part of the 71millioncollected in NSW.

The Mount Hutton collection point has shot past first-month leaders, Medowie and Mayfield, as the leading point of return with over 1.24million containers.

Butwhile the return and earn concept appears to be proving popular, two major problems are hampering its operation,according to those who are using it.

The first, available collection points, has drawn criticism from the state opposition; while the second, out-of-order reverse vending machines (RVM), is irkingusers trying to play their part.

“They’re very limited,” 44-year-old Nathan Robinson said of the Hunter’s available redemptionpoints whenreturning containers at Mayfield on Friday.

“They’ve put the cart before the horse, in terms of the scheme and not making sure the infrastructure was in place before they started it.”

Mr Robinson travelled from The Hill in Newcastle to theclosest RVM at Mayfield, where he faced a half-hour wait to use the machine.He had gone to the collection point before, but found it either full or out of order.

Mayfield @NSWGovCDS proving popular, a line up with a variety of return quantities. #NSW#[email protected]#returnandearnpic.twitter老域名购买/V9OLMPAE5J

— Max McKinney (@MaxMckinney) February 2, 2018It’s a great concept, but there’s just not enough locations.

Return and earn user Steven SewellHerald, despite suggesting to a radio station last week Maitland would receive aRVMin February.

“There are more than 365 collection points across NSW, with more to be rolled out in the weeks to come,” an EPA spokesperson said. “The CDS network operator, TOMRA Cleanaway, is deploying teams daily across NSW to review potential Return and Earn sites.”

A new RVM arrived atNewcastle International Hockey Centre in Broadmeadow over the weekend,but is yet to be made operational.

Domestic violence victims face catch-22

Posted on 04/25/2020

Greens MP Adam Bandt says workers should be able to take paid domestic violence leave.Domestic violence victims should be entitled to paid time off work so they can leave their abusers, federal Greens MP Adam Bandt says.
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The Member for Melbourne is seeking parliamentary support for his private member’s bill giving workers 10 days of paid domestic violence leave each year.

Women shouldn’t be forced to take unpaid leave, Mr Bandt told the lower house on Monday.

“This impossible choice is a false choice – there is another option for these women if this place has the courage to choose it,” Mr Bandt told parliament on Monday.

Passing his bill could give every worker the right to safety, he said.

In December, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten committed a future Labor government to introducing the 10 days of domestic violence leave for workers.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said domestic violence “should not be a partisan issue”, but ruled out matching Labor’s pledge.

Labor MP Emma Husar said 75 per cent of domestic violence survivors – like herself – have jobs, busting the myth that domestic violence only happens in disadvantaged households.

“The inclusion of 10 days paid domestic violence leave is the exact kind of courage that we need for those people who find themselves in a situation outside of their control,” she said.

“It will save lives and change the story for people for whom saying ‘I love you’ was their only mistake.”

She backed a motion by her party colleague Sharon Claydon calling on the government to include domestic and family violence leave as a universal workplace right in the National Employment Standards.

But Liberal MP Sarah Henderson said ns already had the right to request flexible working arrangements if they’re experiencing family violence, and to access to up to 10 days paid personal leave while they or a family member deals with the effects of family violence.

“Frankly, these are some of the most generous provisions of any country in the world,” she said.

Domestic violence leave is already available to employees at some organisations, including Medicare, CUB, Telstra, NAB, Virgin , IKEA and Qantas.

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.

OpinionNational rail plan would boost Hunter growth

Posted on 04/25/2020

GET WHEELS MOVING: Investing in rail not only moves people and freight, it addresses some of the nation’s broader economic and human challenges.Great challenges always bring greater opportunities.In the next few decades, has a golden opportunity to use a planned increase in rail industry investment to reinvent our advanced manufacturing sector.At least $49 billion in rail investment is planned in the next decade, with state governments moving forward with projects like the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail and Perth METRONET.Then there are projects under development, like Western Sydney Rail, the Inland Rail Link between Brisbane and Melbourne and, in the longer term, High Speed Rail between Brisbane and Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra.
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must position itself to not only supply the steel for these railways, but to produce the rolling stock, rather than sourcing it offshore.

If we get the industry policy approach right, we can create jobs while lifting economic growth.We can also boost apprenticeships and improve the skills base that will propel n manufacturing forward for decades.This approach would be of particular benefit for regional , with companies like Downer Rail and Lovell Springs both operating in the Hunter.

To take advantage of the potential to increase opportunities in rail, needs intense collaboration between industry, governments, training providers and trade unions.

needs a National Rail Industry Plan – a framework to ensure we extract maximum national dividends from growth in the rail sector.States must co-ordinate procurement strategies and all levels of government must invest in research and innovation.

In the 21st century, there are two sure-fire ways to generate economic growth – investing in infrastructure to lift capacity and boost productivity, and investing in people through education and training.A National Rail Industry Plan can address both.

Too often, debates about training become bogged down in arguments about whether it is the public sector or the private sector that is best placed to deliver skills.The more important question is whether training meets the needs of industry.

In places such as the Hunter, it is crucial that our training providers deliver exactly what is required by industry to ensure the jobs created in the region are filled by locals.Developing advanced manufacturing also requires genuine bipartisan political commitment over the long term.

The easy option for governments expanding rail is to buy the rolling stock overseas, particularly if it is cheaper than building it here. But we need to understand that investing time and money to build the capacity of local manufacturing will not only produce trains, but is an investment in our nation, in our people and in our future.

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics has reported that traffic congestion in our cities cost the n economy $16.5 billion in 2015. Freight rail takes trucks off the road.Passenger rail takes cars off the road.As the Australasian Railway Association notes, every passenger train service reduces the cost of congestion to the economy by up to $8500.

needs a National Rail Plan – one that not only addresses manufacturing industry policy, but promotes rail investment in the full context of all of its economic benefits.

Anthony Albanese is the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport