Benedict XVI’s final farewell to world’s catholics

A frail Benedict XVI made his public farewell to the world’s Catholics on Wednesday morning, hours after one of his closest allies – Sydney Archbishop George Pell – criticised his decision to resign and said the church needed a stronger leader.
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Cardinal Pell, who was close to the Pope when both served on the key Vatican watchdog congregation and played an important role gathering support for him at the 2005 conclave at which Benedict was elected, said the resignation created a precedent and left the church in an even more uncertan position.

Cardinal Pell, Australia’s only voter at the coming papal election, was unexpectedly candid in a television interview. He said: “People who, for example, might disagree with a future pope will mount a campaign to get him to resign.”

He called the Pope a brilliant teacher but said government was not his strongest point. “He’s got to know his theology but I think I prefer somebody who can lead the church and pull it togther a bit,” he said.

Benedict was the first pope to step down voluntarily since 1294, and conservatives fear the precedent will open the church to other possible innovations at a time when it faces profound challenges.

In Rome – doing its best on Wednesday morning, bathed in pale winter sunshine – Benedict made a poignant farewell at his final general audience, threading his way in the popemobile through the thousands gathered in St Peter’s Square for a scheduled audience. Pilgrims and wellwishers gave him an affectionate farewell, waving placards saying “goodbye and thanks”.

But only those already scheduled to attend the audience were allowed in the square, leaving many thousands more pressed up against the barriers and down the street, leaving Benedict the same remote figure he often seemed during his papacy.

For those in the audience, it was a bonus to be part of history – academics from Birmingham, England, and students from Birmingham, Alabama, plus students from Stubenville, Ohio, a Japanese women’s college, and former Anglicans from England.

There were plenty of prelates present, whose minds must have turned partly to the coming few weeks and a conclave lacking any strong favourites. Cardinal Pell said he was unlikely to be promoted, but did not rule it out. “It could happen – I’m Catholic, I’m a bishop, I’m a cardinal,” he said.

But this final public appearance by the introverted Mozart-playing cat-lover was a chance to focus on the present and the past. Benedict has not commanded anything lik te popular appeal of his predecessor, John Paul II, but Catholics have responded to an endearing shy humility that has marked him amid his travails. He concluded with Our Father in Latin and a gently voiced blessing.

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Push for Gillard to reveal her meetings

THE US president, Barack Obama, does it; the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his ministers do it; and the Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, plans to do it.
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Now the Australian Information Commissioner, John McMillan, has recommended that the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, also release a version of her official meeting diary, so people can see who is gaining access to the ear of our most powerful person.

”There is undeniably a strong public interest in knowing what ministers are doing officially and who they are meeting or addressing,” the commissioner said in decision issued in response to a Fairfax Media request under the Freedom of Information Act.

While there was no legal requirement for Ms Gillard to do so, the commissioner said such an approach ”was implicitly encouraged by the FOI Act”, especially since the 2010 amendments.

Professor McMillan noted that Ms Gillard publishes a limited ”public schedule” but said other governments including the British government and that of Mr Newman had gone much further.

A lawyer, Peter Timmins, said the release of information about meetings between leaders and those seeking to influence them was increasingly part of contemporary tools to ensure accountability of government.

”Yet in Australia we have seen resistance to it,” he said.

Mr McMillan ruled against Fairfax on its specific FOI request for one month of the Prime Minister’s diaries on the grounds it would involve too much work for her office. Fairfax made that request in 2010. It asked for all personal entries and meetings with constituents to be excluded because the FOI act covers only information relating to activities as a minister.

Ms Gillard’s office responded that the request covered 40 pages and included about 500 entries, which had to be assessed. They estimated that it would take about 163 hours or more than four weeks to process. The commissioner agreed that this was too time-consuming.

A separate application by a Liberal MP, Paul Fletcher, seeking diary entries relating to meetings between the Prime Minister and the Greens, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, was successful.

A spokesperson for Ms Gillard said she already publishes a detailed diary on her official website ( However the schedule includes only her official public engagements, caucus, question time and cabinet. It does not disclose meetings she has with stakeholders.

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Stadium or bust: venue call halts Smith statue plan

George Smith will train with the Brumbies on Friday.George Smith is returning to Canberra Stadium to make a Super Rugby comeback but the proposed statue of the Brumbies legend is on hold until the ACT government decides whether it will build a new stadium.
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While no statues are being commissioned, there are plans to pay tribute to Canberra’s sporting history with a ”walk of fame” for Brumbies and Raiders greats.

Smith has arrived in the capital after signing a short-term deal with the Brumbies and will train with his old club for the first time on Friday.

He retired from Australian rugby at the end of the 2010 season and his departure prompted then chief minister Jon Stanhope to back the idea of a bronzed statue of Smith which would stand next to Mal Meninga and Laurie Daley at Canberra Stadium.

However, the choice between building a new stadium with a roof at West Basin in the next decade or redeveloping the existing site at Bruce have put statue plans on ice.

ACT sport minister Andrew Barr toured AAMI Park in Melbourne last week and flew to New Zealand last year to inspect the enclosed Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

Redeveloping Manuka Oval and adding lights to the ground was the government’s priority.

But with night-time AFL and cricket now capable of being played in Canberra, the focus will switch to either upgrading the capital’s rectangular facility or building a $280 million venue in Civic with a clear roof.

Smith is near the top of the list of Brumbies to be recognised after playing 110 games for the Wallabies, 122 games for the ACT and winning two Super Rugby titles.

The east stand at Canberra Stadium is named after George Gregan and Stephen Larkham while Joe Roff is also a candidate to be honoured.

Raiders legends Meninga and Daley have their statues but Ricky Stuart, Alan Tongue and Brad Clyde are just a few of the Green Machine’s greats.

The walk of fame is one idea with also the possibility of new stands and entrance gates bearing players’ names.

Territory Venues general manager Neale Guthrie wants to remember Canberra’s sporting history.

”I think they’re all good ideas and I’d love to see something like [a walk of fame] so there’s a bit of interest and history for the teams in the town,” Guthrie said.

”All of the issues will be coming into the mix when [the stadium decisions are made] and it will be great to have history reflected in a new stadium.

”If we had to knock down the Meninga Stand [at Canberra Stadium], part of the design would look at getting things in there to honour players so we don’t forget the past.”

Smith is in line to play his first game for the Brumbies in three years when they take on the NSW Waratahs in the capital on March 9.

The match will also be part of Canberra’s centenary celebrations.

”George is one of a number of Brumbies we’ve had talks with the stadium about recognising in an appropriate way,” Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said.

”But I think it will wait until there is clarity about what’s happening with the stadium before investing the money in statues or tributes.”

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Smith gaffe takes gloss off launch

NRL 2013 Season Launch In a flap … NRL boss Dave Smith at Wednesday night’s season launch.
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That’s Mauboy … Jessica Mauboy shows her delight at receiving her own jersey, complete with name on back, from North Queensland Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston.

HE WAS largely forgiven for not knowing who the Australian captain was, but NRL chief executive Dave Smith will have to put up with more jibes after calling Ben Barba ”Benji” at Wednesday night’s season launch.

Smith’s unfortunate gaffe took the gloss off an otherwise impressive speech to launch the 2013 season, as he offered his support to the player who was to stand beside him.

”It’s why we are attempting to lend a hand to Benji during a difficult time for him and his family,” Smith said. ”Ben remains a key part of our promotion, and so he should be.

”The rugby league family is proud of him, and he has earned that right. If we are to grow the game, we must stand by and help stars like Ben when they need it most. It’s not only the rugby league way – it’s the right way.”

It was nothing more than an honest mistake as he delivered a positive message about the future of the game on and off the field. But the problem for Smith is that the gaffe occurred after his inauguration as the NRL chief executive had been marred by his admission that he did not know who the Australian captain was.

Smith’s slip of the tongue will underline the message that rugby league has deliberately chosen an outsider for his business acumen rather than his knowledge of the game. On top of that, Barba had been due to launch the NRL season alongside Smith, before his much-publicised standing down from the Bulldogs. In front of 450 people at the Star casino on Wednesday night, he was replaced by North Queensland’s Johnathan Thurston.

Barba was everywhere and nowhere as rugby league’s bold new era, powered by a billion-dollar-plus broadcast rights deal, kicked off. Barba did not attend, having previously been chosen as the one player to help cut the ribbon. But there were few who were not discussing the sad plight of the player, whose career has been put on hold as he battles multiple demons.

Thurston could have been talking about Barba without actually naming him.

”On behalf of every player in the game, let me say that you are our inspiration,” Thurston told those assembled. ”There are times when it is not easy, when the scrutiny can be overwhelming. Times when others question your support and question the integrity of the game we love. But

there is no doubt in my mind that rugby league is the greatest game of all.

”I am proud to be a rugby league player. I am proud to play in the toughest competition in the world, where the skills, power and courage of the players amaze fans each and every week. I am proud at the difference rugby league makes to people’s lives, the way it brings families and communities together.”

The code has other problems, of course. Another cloud hangs over the game, and others, in the form of the ongoing investigations into performance-enhancing drugs, as well as links with organised crime – the obvious target for Thurston’s reference to the game’s integrity. Many hope all the suspicion will be forgotten by round one next Thursday night, but it has been made clear that Barba will not be.

While parts of Barba’s involvement in the advertising campaign, fronted by Jessica Mauboy, have been edited out, he is still a focus. NRL officials sought assurances from the Bulldogs that Barba’s battle would not ultimately embarrass the game, and having received it, Smith said the fullback deserved the right to be lauded still.

Mauboy performed the Etta James song Something’s Got a Hold on Me in front of the invited guests, while actors re-enacted portions of the ad on stage.

”But we do more than launch a season tonight,” Smith said. ”We are launching a whole new future for our game. Rugby league is on the verge of something special, a time of growth and a time of growing confidence. By working together across every level of the sport, we can enter a period of boundless opportunity.

”The foundations are already in place and much of the heavy lifting has been done. It is now up to us to believe in the game, to believe in ourselves and to be bold in how we go about things … rugby league is a part of our lives and never has there been so much to look forward to.

”We need to be looking for opportunities – not looking over our shoulder.

”This is a time to think about where we want rugby league to be and about how we want rugby league to be seen.

”Our challenge now is to take the game to a new level.”

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Hasler the man for a crisis as Dogs bunker down

CANTERBURY coach Des Hasler is set to keep the identity of Ben Barba’s replacement secret before the opening-round clash with North Queensland as he builds a siege mentality at the Bulldogs this season.
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Hasler will officially name a team next Tuesday but Canterbury insiders say the player listed in the No.1 jersey may not be the fullback for the March 9 match at ANZ Stadium.

With props James Graham (suspended) and Sam Kasiano (knee) sidelined for the start of the season, the loss of Barba is a massive blow but the Bulldogs are fortunate to have Hasler as coach as he has experience in dealing with similar situations during his time at Manly.

Under Hasler, the Sea Eagles overcame the fallout from star fullback Brett Stewart being charged with sexual assault – for which he was later exonerated – and suspended by the NRL for bringing the game into disrepute at the start of the 2009 season.

While Hasler has been praised for putting Barba’s welfare ahead of the team’s success, Fairfax Media has been told that he will use the absence of last year’s player of the year as added motivation for the Bulldogs.

”I have known Des Hasler for a long time and I have worked with him in crisis situations before, and I know exactly what he will do,” former long-serving Manly official Peter Peters said.

”He is a very caring, very professional mentor. He is not just a great rugby league coach, he has outstanding people skills and he will put Benny and his problems ahead of the football. But he uses crisis situations to bond teams, and he will use this to his advantage. There is a very strong bond around any team he coaches.”

Former Canberra back Drury Low has been training at fullback and deputised for Barba in the Bulldogs preseason trials but Fairfax Media has been told Hasler is considering switching NSW Origin centre Josh Morris to fullback.

However, Hasler will not confirm his intention as he wants to keep the Cowboys guessing. ”Whoever plays fullback is likely to be targeted, so Des wants to protect the guy from that,” a Canterbury source said.

The Bulldogs began building a siege mentality at the club’s season launch on Tuesday night when the team was summoned to a private room with Canterbury directors and told they should still aim to better last year’s grand final loss.

Canterbury chief executive Todd Greenberg told the function the events of this week were a reminder of the need for everyone at the club to stick together.

Bulldogs football manager Alan Thompson said the expectations of the team had not changed.

”Des and Todd have shown me some great leadership in looking after the team, the club and young Ben and I think the leadership of those blokes will hold us all in good stead,” Thompson said. ”We work on the depth of our team and I am sure everyone who steps up and has the opportunity to play will equip themselves very well.”

Peters said he believed Hasler would have prepared the players for the possibility of Barba being sidelined for an extended period.

”Ben Barba couldn’t be in better hands and I think the Bulldogs should be congratulated for the way they’ve handled it,” Peters said. ”Des will keep him out for as long as Ben needs to recover and whoever takes his place will do well and fit into the system.”

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Bulls claim title as Vics fall short

THE Darren Lehmann-led revival of Queensland cricket continues. So too does Victoria’s record of dominating the Ryobi Cup until the biggest match of the season.
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The Bulls’ bad luck in losing the toss in threatening weather conditions on Wednesday at the MCG, and having its innings shortened by a rain delay of almost three hours, was offset by a defiant 47 from inexperienced all-rounder Jason Floros and a mighty four-wicket performance from injury-plagued paceman Ryan Harris.

Queensland’s score of 9-146, heavily inflated by Floros’ late flurry, seemed unlikely to trouble Victoria, until the Bushrangers’ now-notorious habit of not being able to produce their best in the final continued.

A late hitting flurry from Clint Mckay (18 off 13) left the home team needing only five runs from the last seven deliveries of a pulsating match that was deserving of more than the paltry crowd that witnessed it (no doubt partly due to the mid-week scheduling).

The Bulls, however, then took 3-2 to seal a memorable two-run victory, with Ashes aspirant Harris finishing the match on a hat-trick with the wickets of Mckay and Fawad Ahmed from consecutive deliveries.

The result extended the Bushrangers’ recent miserable record in one-day finals: six appearances in the past seven years – including five at home – with only a single title.

With wet-weather rules habitually favouring whichever team bats second, because teams are now so adept at maintaining high run-rates, the toss was crucial.

While there was luck involved in Cameron White winning the toss – and unsurprisingly fielding – the Victorian captain proved his worth with canny leadership beyond that.

White’s decision to rely exclusively on seamers Mckay, Darren Pattinson and John Hastings for the first 21 overs on a surprisingly lively pitch was crucial. The home side’s ability to take 4-71 before rain intervened in the 21st over meant that, when it abated almost three hours’ later, Queensland was not to be compensated – with an inflated target for Victoria – for having its innings reduced from 50 overs to 32.

The Bulls’ hopes of surging end to their innings nosedived when danger hitter Nathan Reardon and captain James Hopes departed within three overs of the resumption.

Despite the greasy conditions not being conducive to spin-bowling White turned to leg-spinner Ahmed. His faith was rewarded as Ahmed had the visitors’ last recognised batsman, Peter Forrest, caught behind for 26. He bowled so economically that White bowled him unchanged until the end of the innings, although the fast-bowlers then struggled.

Floros, a late inclusion for the injured Nathan Hauritz, arrived at 6-82 but saved Queensland from posting a meagre target with his 32-ball cameo.

Victoria slumped to 2-22 in its chase as both openers fell within the first six overs. By the 13th over Queensland had propelled itself into favouritism by snaring David Hussey and in-form Michael Hill cheaply. For each wicket the Bushrangers lost – four by that stage – their par score increased in case rain interrupted the match again.

A 63-run partnership between White (28) and Peter Handscomb (42) dragged Victoria back in front of the par score, only for both to depart within 10 deliveries after the target had been reduced to a run a ball from the last seven overs. Mckay almost got the Bushrangers home but fellow national-team paceman Harris proved more influential.

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VIDEO: Mystery killer escapes 

A surf-lifesaving boat, left, chases away a shark.
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Inspector Shawn Rutene said the man had been swimming alone.

Muriwai Beach, where the man was killed.

AUCKLAND: New Zealand police are unsure what kind of shark is responsible for the death of a man at an Auckland beach yesterday, even though they fired several shots at it.

The victim of the attack was a Muriwai man aged in his 40s.

Inspector Shawn Rutene said the man had been swimming alone from Maori Bay to Muriwai Beach, several hundred metres from the shore, about 1.30pm.

A surf-lifesaving boat chased away what is believed to have been a shark.

Inspector Rutene said the man’s wife and family were distraught. It took police and Muriwai lifeguards about 30minutes to recover the body as two sharks circled.

In a tragic twist, the three lifeguards recovering the body knew the victim.

Inspector Rutene said a police officer fired at the two sharks.

‘‘We don’t know whether he hit it, but it rolled off and disappeared.’’

Police were unable to confirm the species of shark, but the Department of Conservation said great whites had been spotted in the area as recently as the weekend.

Muriwai Surf Lifesaving chairman Tim Jago said the three lifeguards helping police, two in their 20 and one in his 40s, knew the victim.

Lifeguards were shocked by the size of the shark, he said.

‘‘No one has seen anything this big out here ever.’’

Beaches north of Manukau Harbour are closed for two days. Helicopters were to continue patrolling the area until this morning. The risk will be reassessed tomorrow.

The name of the deceased man would not be released until all next of kin were told.

Fisherman Pio Mose said he had seen a man swimming nearby.

‘‘All of a sudden … we saw the shark fin and next minute, boom, attack him then blood everywhere on the water.’’

He called emergency services while his friend ran to get help.

‘‘He was still alive, he put his head up, we called him to swim over the rock to where we were. He raised his hand up, then … we saw another attack pull him in the water.

‘‘He came back up, his head was on the water … then we notice he was already dead.’’

Then he heard the police fire shots from the police helicopter and a few shots from the lifeguard boat.

‘‘I don’t know if they got the shark, killed the shark or not.’’

Wellington student Stef McCallum, 18, said she saw a police officer go out in a surf boat and shoot the shark.

‘‘He fired about 20 shots.’’

Earlier this week, surfer Bourne Nobel Buiski posted on Facebook about a ‘‘massive’’ shark spotted at Piha Beach, 14kilometres south of Muriwai. He said a local man ran out of the water ‘‘white-faced and terrified’’.

‘‘He was saying that a great white, a massive great white had just swum right beside him,’’ Mr Buiski said.

But no one believed him ‘‘as they [great whites] are so rare here’’.

POLL: Five hurt, nobody stops but Trevor

Trevor Smith at the scene of yesterday’s accident at Stanford Merthyr. Picture: Darren Pateman The scene of the crash yesterday.
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The scene of the crash yesterday.

WITH one woman trapped and screaming and another trying to help her two injured children in a three-car accident, Trevor Smith did what he thought any caring person would do.

He pulled over and helped where he could.

But the Cardiff man has been left aghast after dozens of drivers manoeuvred around the scene of the nasty accident near Stanford Merthyr yesterday – some even driving over large pieces of debris to continue on their journey.

‘‘What if that was their daughter or grandchildren?’’ Mr Smith said. ‘‘I believe in karma and I think these people need to stop and have a bloody good look at themselves.

‘‘They know who they are, and they should be ashamed of themselves.’’

Traffic stopped on John Renshaw Drive only when emergency services arrived and began treating five injured people, as members of the Cessnock volunteer rescue squad worked to cut one woman free from the wreckage.

The woman, 55, suffered fractures to a leg and was stabilised by paramedics before being flown by Hunter Westpac rescue helicopter to John Hunter Hospital.

Her Hyundai sedan had been involved in a front-on collision with a utility about 9.50am.

The second car spun into the path of a third car.

Mr Smith said he was about eight cars behind the accident and saw a cloud of dust before realising there had been a significant crash.

He watched as the other cars in front of him drove around the scene and continued on.

More motorists behind him also failed to help out. And he said another female motorist got angry with emergency services when they finally closed the road, stating she was supposed to be picking up some nuts and bolts for her husband.

‘‘I had to stay with the injured woman, she was screaming in agony, and I stood there, I watched on as they just kept driving past,’’ Mr Smith said.

‘‘I thought, ‘Is someone going to bother to stop and help us out or what?’. I just thought, ‘What is going on here?’

‘‘Surely the first reaction should be to stop and help, not driving over the debris and continuing on. I didn’t particularly like [being at the scene] but surely there is no other choice but to help.

‘‘If you saw how distraught this woman was, you couldn’t do anything but help.’’

Inspector Tim Seymour, of Central Hunter police, said although he would encourage people to stop and call for assistance from authorities, it was not uncommon for motorists not to stop at accidents.

‘‘People can be in shock when these things happen; maybe they don’t really understand what is going on and they can have personal reasons why they feel they cannot stop,’’ Inspector Seymour said.

John Renshaw Drive remained closed for two hours as the wreckage was taken away.

The other female driver, in her 20s, along with her two boys, aged 3 and 2, suffered minor injuries and were taken by ambulance to the John Hunter in a stable condition.

The utility driver, a man aged 60, and his 23-year-old male passenger also suffered minor injuries.

‘‘The message is clear. If you are in an accident, don’t expect people to stop and help,’’ Mr Smith said. ‘‘If it is anything like this, you will be lucky to get anyone to help out.’’

McCloy: We need job cuts to move forward

NEWCASTLE lord mayor Jeff McCloy says plans to make 90 council jobs redundant are a ‘‘mass correction’’ to recent years of wastefulness and mismanagement.
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The Newcastle Herald revealed yesterday that cost-cutting proposals shown to councillors included shutting The Loft youth venue, closing swimming pools at Stockton and Beresfield and selling Beresfield Golf Course.

In a statement, acting general manager Martin Coates confirmed that ‘‘almost 90 full-time positions’’ were proposed to be made redundant.

‘‘The administration … has highlighted to councillors the flow-on effect those reductions would have to services provided to the community,’’ Mr Coates said.

‘‘Council now needs to determine whether these potential impacts are acceptable or not.

‘‘The message has been clear from the start that tough decisions need to be made to ensure the organisation survives in the long term and the approach we are taking is not just skirting around the edges.’’

Cr McCloy said yesterday the only alternative to the proposed cuts was a rate rise, ‘‘and people don’t want that’’.

‘‘We need to do the job once so the place can move forward,’’ Cr McCloy said.

United Services Union organiser Robert Potter said union representatives were attempting to secure staffing provisions that would prevent forced redundancies.

Mr Potter said many of the staff were also ratepayers, and they wanted to see a vibrant and efficient council in the future.

‘‘Senior managers past and present have allowed years of going into debt and not balancing the budget,’’ Mr Potter said.

Greens councillor Michael Osborne described the proposals, which were first shown to councillors during a marathon briefing on Tuesday night, as ‘‘very crude’’.

Cr Osborne said more work should have been done to find efficiencies in the bureaucracy ‘‘rather than simply cost cutting’’.

‘‘It hasn’t gone into the detail that I think it needs to look at,’’ Cr Osborne said. ‘‘If these things go ahead the community will be up in arms and rightly so.’’

Councillors have asked for a second workshop on the budget, where they hope to provide more direction to management.

Lord mayor Jeff McCloy says the cuts correct mismanagement, and are needed in the absence of rate rises.

Man on waiting list with injury – again

A MARYLAND man who spent more than 18 months on unofficial waiting lists for shoulder surgery has found himself back in the same situation after sustaining a second injury.
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The Newcastle Herald first spoke to Jason Williams in 2010 after he had waited months for an appointment with a surgeon while in constant agony.

Mr Williams said he waited so long for his first surgery that much of his muscle deteriorated and the injury could not be properly repaired.

The Maryland man was injured again in late 2011 and has yet to see a surgeon, despite at least three referrals from his doctor, including one classed as urgent.

Mr Williams sustained a muscle tear in his right arm that has left his fingers numb and again in constant pain.

Following the latest referral, his case was transferred to Belmont Hospital, where staff told him in January there were people who had been waiting 350 days to see a surgeon.

‘‘I wish I had private health insurance, but I didn’t think the health system was this bad,’’ he said.

Mr Williams said he was prepared to wait for surgery but had not even been able to get in for an initial consultation.

‘‘I can’t really do much because I’m right-handed,’’ he said.

When in opposition, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner described Mr Williams’s situation as a ‘‘waiting list for the waiting list’’, because of the one-year limit to official waiting lists.

The Newcastle Herald reported in October last year there were more than 16,000 people on the region’s outpatient waiting lists and many more on queues to join waiting lists.

Hunter New England Health said the Belmont Hospital referral was regarding Mr Williams’s first injury, which Mr Williams denies.

Following inquiries from the Newcastle Herald, acute networks operations director Todd McEwan said they had offered Mr Williams alternative options for his current injury, including seeing a surgeon as a private patient.

‘‘If surgery was required, [he] could be placed on the public hospital’s waiting list,’’ he said.

Jason Williams has waited for urgent surgery to his shoulder for more than two years.