TOPICS: Cardiff siblings in Opal card ads

SPOTTED: Ellia and Xavier Bertoncello, front, of Cardiff Heights, in an ad for the Opal Card.SPEAKING of the Opal Card (Topics, September 23), if you’ve hopped on a train, bus or ferry recently there’s a good chance you’ll recognise Ellia and Xavier Bertoncello.

The Cardiff Heights siblings are all over the advertising for the Opal, appearing on posters from Newcastle to the Illawarra.

‘‘We’ve spotted them at Broadmeadow station, and at Circular Quay on the ferries,’’ their proud mum, Emma, tells Topics.

‘‘They’ve been recognised quite a bit.’’

Eleven-year-old Ellia and Xavier, 9, who appear in the advertising with actors playing their ‘‘fake parents’’, have been in kids’ catalogues and ads for Charlestown Square and the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Xavier was in Vogue last November, and is part of the under-9 Emerging Jets program, while we hear Ellia is a bit of a gun at ballet.

HEIGHT OF INNOVATION: Car stackers, increasingly common overseas, can now be found in Newcastle.

YOU know how everyone’s been a bit glum the past 25 years because – despite them appearing in Back to the Future Part II – you can’t go to the shops and buy a hoverboard?

Well, this nearly makes up for it. The future might actually be here. Newcastle, allow us to present what we think is Newcastle’s first car stacker.

A space inside a stacking system comes with a flat in the new development at 44-46 Watt Street, a perk designed to counter the nightmare of inner-city parking.

The $3.7million restoration of the building includes a four-storey, 27-space stacker backing on to the old Steels Garage.

Stackers that allow cars to be parked one on top of the other have been common in Japan and Europe since the early 2000s, but are only now appearing in the Hunter.

The Watt Street stacker is a Hercules Life and Slide model which, according to the brochure, ‘‘allows parking of two to six cars in one space’’.

Which makes a nice change from the Newcastle custom of parking one car across two spaces.

YOU’VE got to be multi-skilled in any job these days, laments Bob of Tingira Heights.

Bob was flicking through the ads in yesterday’s Herald when he found a Wanted for a chef in a nursery cafe.

The employer wanted applicants with the usual qualities; communication skills, leadership, able to start immediately.

Then it got to the matter of experience.

‘‘Must be experienced in all areas of hospitality including front of house and barrister.’’

Bob reckons it’s rough that a chef needs a law degree.

‘‘Perhaps they are installing a bar or think they might need legal advice,’’ he says.

‘‘Maybe a barista would be more suited.’’

Joel Fitzgibbon in parliament (with Clive Palmer). On Tuesday Joel became Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s No 200 ejection from parliament. Go Joel.

AND there it was. In Parliament yesterday, Speaker Bronwyn Bishop kicked out her 200th MP – and it was the Member for the Hunter.

Amid opposition protests, Joel Fitzgibbon was marched for ‘‘disorderly behaviour’’ to bring up the Speaker’s double-ton.

‘‘Were you aware that you’ve now sent 200 people out in this Parliament?’’ Mr Fitzgibbon’s party colleague, Mark Dreyfus, asked Ms Bishop.

‘‘Indeed I am,’’ she replied, ‘‘and you are one of the worst offenders.’’ ‘‘Are you aware that 98 per cent are from this side of the House?’’ he pressed.

‘‘Indeed … and can I say, two-thirds of them are recurrent offenders.’’

Topics congratulates Mr Fitzgibbon on cementing his place in history.

​Email Tim [email protected]老域名.au or tweet @TimConnell or phone 4979 5944

The tip of the argument

RESIDENTS on the rural fringe of Armidale have accused council of “double-dipping” by forcing them to pay an annual levy to use the tip and then slugging them again at the tip gate.

The Armidale Dumaresq Ratepayers Association (ADRA) has launched a campaign to have the charges quashed, urging members to inundate the council with protest letters.

ADRA chairman Maria Hitchcock said it was “ridiculous” residents in villages like Ebor and Hillgrove were being hit with a $114-a-year waste management charge and then being asked to pay $10 each time they visit the tip.

They are among a clutch of homes in villages and towns which do not receive a council garbage service.

“I’ve got no idea who made the decision but somebody agreed that rural people with no garbage service should have to pay for the maintenance of tips,” Mrs Hitchcock said.

“They have to pay $10 for a normal household load at their local tip, when the same load costs just $3.50 at Armidale tip.

“We just find the whole thing terribly inequitable.”

She conceded the waste management charge, which started as $70, had been in for a number of years but residents had only recently established a ratepayers’ association to help fight it.

The group has fired in a submission to Armidale Dumaresq Council and has vowed to take it to ministerial level if they don’t receive an adequate response.

“They need to eliminate the charge altogether or ensure that every ratepayer shares the burden,” Mrs Hitchcock said.

She said regulations banning landholders from burning or burying rubbish were exacerbating the problem.

But Armidale mayor Laurie Bishop has strongly refuted the “double-dipping” claims, questioning some of the figures used by ADRA.

“This charge is levied in accordance with the Local Government Act for the operation of rural waste transfer stations … operation of the Armidale landfill and waste services overheads,” Cr Bishop said.

“This fee is only applied to rural residents that have an occupied dwelling.

Both rural and urban residents that receive a waste collection service currently pay $298 per annum.

“The $3.50 gate charge at the Armidale waste management facility stated by the Armidale Dumaresq Ratepayers Association is incorrect.

“The actual gate charge is $7.”

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Change sought for Kiama council mayor vote

Cr Neil Reilly was stripped of his deputy mayor title less than 24 hours after being elected.There are calls for a change to how Kiama Municipal Council elects its mayor and deputy mayor after a recount led to Cr Neil Reilly being stripped of his deputy mayor title, less than 24 hours after being elected.

Some Kiama councillors have called on the mayor and deputy to be elected by ratepayers at the council elections every four years, rather than have Kiama’s nine councillors vote on the positions annually.

Cr Reilly was declared Kiama’s deputy mayor for the next 12 months last Tuesday night and spent Wednesday representing Kiama council at a Southern Councils Group meeting at Parliament House.

On his return to Kiama, Cr Reilly was called to witness a recount by the general manager and returning officer Michael Forsyth along with two other candidates, councillors Warren Steel and Mark Way.

It was revealed Cr Reilly had received four primary votes, Cr Steel three and Cr Way two.

However, the second preferences of Cr Way’s votes both flowed to Cr Steel, giving the veteran councillor a 5-4 victory.

A disappointed Cr Reilly said the council’s decision on the night to use a preferential ballot system contributed to the outcome.

Cr Dennis Seage, who voted for Cr Reilly, said in hindsight he would have challenged the method of voting, rarely used by Kiama council, and opted for the usual show of hands.

Cr Seage said the annual vote introduced ‘‘personality politics’’ to the council.

‘‘I think it would be better to have a popularly elected mayor…let the councillors who are elected get on with the job they are elected to do, rather than worry about looking after their mates at an annual election.’’

Cr Way, whose second preference helped Cr Steel over the line, said he thought the majority of councillors were caught unaware on Tuesday night.

‘‘At the end of the day, the correct count was made, but I think that at each council election, people should get to vote for mayor – and deputy mayor – at the same time.’’

Wrong count leaves Neil Reilly disappointed

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Lisa’s assertiveness, question leads to cancer diagnosis

Survivor: Lisa Hayden will host her first Cancer Council Victoria Girls’ Night In event in October. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE IT WAS a question that changed Lisa Hayden’s life.

Ten years ago she was told a lump in her breast was not cancerous.

“The first test came back clear and I was thrilled,” Ms Hayden said.

“The doctor said he was 99 per cent sure I would be OK.”

But Ms Hayden wasn’t satisfied.

“Do you think we should get to 100 per cent sure?” she asked.

Three tests later and Ms Hayden received a positive result. She was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.

“They found the cancer was 7cm long,” she said.

A decade and six months have passed since March 12, 2004.

It has also been 10 years since the first Cancer Council Victoria Girls’ Night In event.

Ms Hayden will host her first event in October.

Money raised from the night will go towards breast and gynaecological cancer research.

About 71 Girls’ Night In events were held in Ballarat last year, with $22,556 raised.

“It is a good opportunity to raise awareness and money,” Ms Hayden said.

“It’s also a good opportunity to get together with people who (may be) going through cancer.”

Ms Hayden said people had become more aware of breast cancer in the past decade.

“Survival rates have improved and treatments have subtly changed,” she said.

“People are much more aware.”

My Hayden will have annual check-ups every year for the rest of her life.

“There was no family history and they don’t know why I was diagnosed,” she said.

Ms Hayden also believes Ballarat is on par with metropolitan areas when it comes to treatment facilities.

“We have the Ballarat Austin Radiation Oncology Centre, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre and the Fiona Elsey Research Centre,” Ms Hayden said.

More than 5000 Victorian women are diagnosed with breast and gynaecological cancers every year.

Register to host a Girls’ Night In at: www.girlsnightin老域名.au.

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