Top 10 news stories

A lot has happened this year across the Highlands. Here's a list of the top 10 stories of 2017:

- Bowral Hospital set to receive full satellite dialysis unit

The Highlands community is set to receive a full satellite dialysis unit at Bowral and District Hospital. 

On November 2, it was announced by Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell that a renal service would be implemented at the hospital. 

On November 3, South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) CEO Amanda Larkin confirmed more details about the service at the district’s annual public meeting. 

- PPP scrapped

A proposed Public-Private Partnership at Bowral and District Hospital will not go ahead, health minister Brad Hazzard has announced.

With privatisation off the cards, redevelopment works planned for the hospital can now begin. Mr Hazzard said the $50 million upgrade project for the hospital would start this year.

Mr Hazzard told the Southern Highland News he was confident the decision was in the community’s best interest.

- Bowral firies at risk of burnout

In an unprecedented move, the Bowral Fire Station team has taken itself offline amid claims of "burn out" due to low staffing levels.

This Easter, Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Bowral crew members have taken informal action to provide themselves with rest and family time.

As of April 13, Bowral crew members either took leave or reduced their on-call hours to the minimum number required by their industrial agreement.

This action meant if there was a fire call, Bowral staff were not available to respond.

- Emergency: ambulance staffing concerns

NSW Ambulance has defended its resourcing of the Southern Highlands amid concerns from ambulance officers about understaffing and shift requirements.

The Southern Highland News understands Highlands-based ambulance officers are increasingly concerned about their ability to meet needs.

At times there is only one ambulance available in the area, the News has been told, Bowral intensive care paramedics were sent "nearly every shift" to work in Sydney, and there was no ambulance officer on call after 11am each day.

- Help bring Kathleen home

Kathleen Lidden is a mother of five. She loves cooking, growing vegetables and making art.

But the last time she was seen was on Tuesday, June 13.

After almost a week of searching her family has appealed to the community to help bring her home. 

- Hume Coal EIS lodged

Hume Coal has lodged its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with the NSW Department of Planning.

Development Applications for the Hume Coal Project and the Berrima Rail Project have also been submitted to the state government. 

Hume Coal will now wait for further direction from the Department of Planning and Environment on the application and exhibition period.

- Berrima Colliery pollution claims

A Highlands action group has weighed in on claims that Berrima Colliery is one of the worst polluting mines in Australia.

The Boral owned colliery ceased operation in 2013.

Dr Ian Wright from Western Sydney University said Berrima Colliery had been polluting the Wingecarribee River for years in a submission on the Hume Coal proposal.

- Safety a priority on the Hume

So far this year there have been four fatal crashes on the Hume Highway. 

In the 10 years to 2016 there were 325 casualty crashes recorded on the Hume Highway south of the Avon Dam Road overpass, Bargo and north of George Street overpass, Marulan.

These crashes resulted in 17 fatalities.

- Speeding hotspot: top 10 in the state

SPEEDING charges in Mittagong were among the highest in the state in the last financial year.

The town was named number two in a report by traffic and highway patrol, with 2256 offences.

Mittagong was topped by Hume Highway neighbour Wilton with 3066 offences.

Chief Inspector Brendan Bernie said police were disappointed with the result.

- Australia says yes to same-sex marriage

Australians have emphatically voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, saying "yes" to the historic social change by a substantial margin of 61.6 per cent to 38.4 per cent.

After years of political stagnation, the public has now tasked the Turnbull government with changing the law before Christmas to allow same-sex couples to marry.


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