Woman charged with drug offences after being rescued from drifting boat – Port Stephens

A woman has been charged with drug-related offences after being rescued from a drifting boat near Port Stephens yesterday.

About 3.45pm on Saturday (27 November 2021), Marine Rescue notified Port Stephens Water Police that a small boat was suffering mechanical issues and drifting a short distance off Tomaree Headland at Shoal Bay.

Water Police attended, navigating heavy rain and 25 knots south-westerly winds, and located a three-metre tinny with a 35-year-old woman on board.

The woman was given a life jacket by police, before being towed to the Shoal Bay Boat Ramp.

In a subsequent search of the vessel and woman’s belongings, officers seized methylamphetamine (ice) and cannabis.

Further inquiries identified that the boat was unregistered and without mandatory emergency equipment.

The Nelson Bay woman was issued a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) for two counts of possess prohibited drug.

She is due to appear at Raymond Terrace Local Court on Monday 10 January 2022.

The woman was also issued three infringements for master unregistered vessel, not wear PFD when boating along vessel less than 4.8 metres, and not carry specified safety equipment.

Better Infrastructure Connections for Armstrong Creek and the Bellarine

Families in Armstrong Creek, Barwon Heads and all across the Bellarine will have quicker and safer commutes to work, school and weekend sport under an Albanese Labor Government, thanks to a $125 million commitment to help build stage 2 of the Barwon Heads Road duplication.

By 2031, Barwon Heads Road is projected to carry up to 44,000 cars and trucks every day and Armstrong Creek is one of Victoria’s fastest growing suburbs. It consists of 2,500 hectares of developable land, which makes it one of the largest growth fronts in the country.

This growth area will provide for 22,000 lots and a population of around 60,000 people.

If we don’t build for that growth now, locals will be trapped in ever-growing gridlock.

That’s why an Albanese Labor Government will partner with the Victorian Government to duplicate Barwon Heads Road from Reserve Road, past Armstrong Creek, to Lower Duneed Road.

This project will link up with stage 1 of the duplication, between Belmont and Reserve Road, which the Victorian Government is already busy constructing.

This project will future-proof infrastructure across this growing region, creating local jobs in the construction phase and ensuring that working families can spend less time in the car and more time at home.

And, unlike so many of the Morrison-Joyce Government’s commitments, an Albanese Labor Government will actually deliver it.

$500m rural health boost

Regional and rural communities across NSW will benefit from a more than $500 million investment in health that will deliver enhanced health services and more jobs closer to home.

Premier Dominic Perrottet, Deputy Premier Paul Toole and Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the additional funding will help deliver more health services and infrastructure needed in the bush.

“We have delivered more than 110 health projects in regional NSW since 2011 with another 70 currently underway and we are continuing to get the job done,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Our focus has always been ensuring rural communities get their share of health upgrades so staff and communities have access to enhanced services on their doorstep.”

The investment includes additional funds for a number of projects, including:

  • $111.5 million for Cessnock Hospital redevelopment;
  • $60 million towards the new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital, bringing the total investment to $260 million;
  • $25 million for Finley Hospital;
  • $6.4 million to expand Wyong Hospital’s Cancer Day Unit to deliver specialist cancer ambulatory treatment services, to complement the recently opened $200 million expanded Wyong Hospital;
  • $6 million for biomedical equipment upgrades across the Western NSW Local Health District;
  • $1 million for planning for a Wagga Wagga Health and Knowledge precinct.

Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the funding is on top of the $900 million rural infrastructure spend in 2021-22.

“We’re rolling out record investment for new and upgraded regional and rural health facilities to build on our vision to make regional communities the best place to live,” Mr Toole said.

“We are also backing in this infrastructure spend with new initiatives that help ensure we have the workforce needed in the regions to deliver the quality of care our communities deserve.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the NSW Government is making sure the millions of patients who access the health system each year have the health facilities that match their needs.

“We are building better health services across the state and we know we need to get the right health infrastructure in place so our medical professionals can provide the care and support people in the regions need,” Mr Hazzard said.

Disaster assistance extended following severe weather and flooding in NSW

Disaster assistance is now available in thirteen additional local government areas of Blayney, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Cabonne, Cobar, Gilgandra, Gunnedah, Gwydir, Narrabri, Port Macquarie Hastings, Upper Hunter, Warrumbungle and Weddin following severe storms and flooding from Tuesday 9 November 2021.

These areas are now included in addition to the initial declaration for the local government areas of Tenterfield, Forbes, Bathurst, Blue Mountains, Cowra, Lachlan and Moree.

Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said the severe weather event caused significant widespread damage across NSW.

“Severe weather from early November has continued to impact a number of communities across NSW, including further flooding and storm damage across the State,” Minister McKenzie said.

“Significant rainfall and flooding in a number of areas has resulted in damage to major roads and residential properties.”

New South Wales Minister for Police and Emergency Services the Hon David Elliott said the event had required a significant response from the NSW State Emergency Services, including a number of flood rescues.

“The assistance being announced today will help ensure councils and individuals impacted by this event have the support they need to get back on their feet.”

Assistance available under the DRFA may include:

  • Help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged (eligibility criteria apply)
  • Support for affected local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets
  • Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations
  • Freight subsidies for primary producers, and
  • Grants to eligible non-profit organisations.

For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.

To apply for a concessional loan or grant, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au

Man charged; second man arrested as investigations into Stockton shooting murder continue

Strike Force Backhouse detectives have charged a man with murder and are seeking the extradition of a second man from the ACT as part of an ongoing investigation into the fatal shooting of a woman in Stockton earlier this year.

Just after 8pm on Wednesday 9 June 2021, emergency services were called to a home on Queen Street, Stockton, following reports of a shooting.

A 61-year-old woman answered her front door before she was shot; she died at the scene and was later identified as Stacey Klimovitch.

Officers from Newcastle City Police District established Strike Force Backhouse to investigate the circumstances surrounding Stacey’s murder.

Following extensive inquiries, detectives arrested a 29-year-old man on Wharf Road, Honeysuckle, about 11am yesterday (Friday 26 November 2021).

The 29-year-old man was taken to Newcastle Police Station where he was charged with murder.

Police will allege in court that the man orchestrated the murder.

He was bail refused to appear at Newcastle Bail Court today (Saturday 27 November 2021).

With assistance from Australian Federal Police (AFP), a 46-year-old man was arrested on a NSW warrant at a home in Chisholm, ACT, about 6.45pm.

He was taken to a local police station where the NSW warrant was executed.

The man will appear at court, and strike force detectives will apply for his extradition to NSW in the coming days, where he will be charged with murder.

Police will allege in court that the man discharged the firearm that killed Stacey Klimovitch.

Investigations are ongoing.

Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act

The Morrison Government welcomes the release of the Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act (1997) – a vital overview of Australia’s age care system.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, and the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said the report offered important insight into the sector’s operations during the 2020-21 financial year.

Importantly, it details the challenges faced by senior Australians and the aged care sector in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the critical interventions made by Government as it responded to those challenges.

It includes an overview of systems and resources, service provision from community care through to permanent residential care, services delivered to people with diverse needs, and the provision of regulatory and prudential frameworks to ensure consumers receive high quality services.

“The past year has been extraordinarily difficult for all Australians as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to consume our day to day lives,” Minister Hunt said.

“The impact of the virus has been especially felt by people separated from loved ones living in residential aged care facilities because of visitor restrictions necessary to save lives and protect lives.

“The Morrison Government has worked to support the sector through the pandemic to protect the most vulnerable.”

Minister Hunt said more than $2.1 billion in aged care specific measures had been provided to support residential aged care providers and staff and ensure quality of care.

“This support was wide-ranging and included improved infection-control management and training, workforce support and extra funding to cover the increased costs of caring for older Australians during the pandemic.

“We invested additional funding for better communication with older Australians and their families, as well as improved support for their mental health and wellbeing,” Minister Hunt said.

Minister Colbeck said while managing the immediate threat from COVID-19, the Government has also responded swiftly and decisively to the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, with a comprehensive $17.7 billion package.

“Underpinning this reform are the principles of genuine two-way engagement with all involved parties, combined with a commitment to absolute transparency in reporting from providers, in order to strengthen the financial oversight of the aged care sector,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Strong, independent oversight of the system is essential for good governance and transparency.

“Progress has already been made across the five pillars of reform, including the release of an average of 3000 home care packages each week, resulting in a significant reduction in waiting times for high care packages.

“New legislation, which will deliver risk-based assurance reviews of 500 home care providers every 12 months, will also improve the safety and quality of services provided to older Australians.”

Minister Colbeck said an Engagement Hub has been established to make it easier for consumers, their families and carers, the workforce, and the sector more broadly, can more easily access information on progress.

The Government has also committed $262.5 million to ensure the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is well equipped to safeguard the quality, safety and integrity of aged care services, and can effectively address any failures in care.

“Our commitment to the wellbeing of senior Australians and the integrity of the aged care system is absolute,” Minister Colbeck said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the sector to implement reforms that will ensure Australia’s aged care system leads the world now and in the future.”

The full report can be found on the GEN Aged Care Data website, here.

GEN is Australia’s only central, independent repository of national aged care data and is managed and regularly updated by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.


New Year’s Eve celebration to welcome in the Newcastle new year

Newcastle-New-Year-s-Eve.jpgLord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes at Foreshore Park with representatives from New Year’s Eve celebrations entertainment providers Bliss Cavanagh (Happy Senses), Luke Russel (indigenous arts group Wylaa Buuranliyn) and Tom Pahlow (Fabulist Umbra Puppetry)

Newcastle will farewell 2021 with a spectacular return of New Year’s Eve celebrations to the Foreshore, with the much-loved family-friendly event to be capped off with a dazzling 9pm fireworks display.

DJ sets, roving entertainers and amusement rides will deliver a fun, festive atmosphere throughout the harbourside precinct, which will come alive with a range of activities spread along Wharf Road.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said after a COVID-enforced hiatus in 2020, she was looking forward to the safe return of the Foreshore celebrations and fireworks display, which is the most popular community event on the city’s calendar.

“Our city has just been through one of the most trying periods in recent history and after a difficult two years we’re ready to come together as a community to welcome 2022,” Cr Nelmes said.

“The wellbeing of our community is City of Newcastle’s key priority, which is why we’ve been planning the celebration in close consultation with lead agencies to ensure all necessary COVID-19 safety measures are in place and that social distancing can be maintained.

“It will be fantastic to celebrate the new year and bid farewell to 2021 with family-friendly activities and the return of the 9pm fireworks display to Newcastle Foreshore.

“By holding our much-loved New Year’s celebrations we’ll be supporting local performers, entertainers and vendors who have been hit hard by the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions and the recent lockdowns.”

Cr Nelmes said there would be a range of activities, amusement rides, food vendors and market stalls on offer for those heading to the Foreshore on New Year’s Eve, allowing people to spread themselves throughout the precinct from Lynch’s Hub through to The Station.

“The hallmark of City of Newcastle’s New Year’s Eve events is free entertainment and activities,” Cr Nelmes said.

“People heading to the Foreshore can take a picnic blanket and set up in front of their choice of DJ, take the kids to a variety of activities including Indigenous art workshops, or visit the popular VIP sensory area designed specifically for people with disabilities before settling in to see the sky come alive with colour during the 9pm fireworks display.

“With a recent survey telling us the Foreshore New Year’s Event generates the most interest among residents, we can’t wait to bring our community together and bid goodbye to 2021 and welcome 2022 with hope and optimism.”

The decision to proceed with New Year’s Eve celebrations at the Foreshore was made in consultation with NSW Health and with the support of NSW Police. Preparations are underway in line with advice from the NSW Government and local authorities to ensure the safety of all attendees, contractors and employees.

To ensure attendees can adhere to social distancing requirements, the traditional New Year’s Eve main stage concert will not take place this year.

Surf clubs ride $16 million funding wave

Applications are now open for a multi-million dollar funding boost for the state’s Surf Life Saving Clubs to ensure our iconic volunteers continue their vital work keeping people safe at the beach.

Minister for Sport Natalie Ward said the Surf Club Facility Program, worth $16 million over four years, will build, upgrade and restore surf life saving facilities.

“We have nearly 130 Surf Life Saving Clubs here in NSW which are the hub of our coastal communities,” Mrs Ward said.

“This support will allow significant upgrades, so the 75,000 club members across the state who do such important work volunteering at our beaches can focus on saving lives.”

The NSW Government has extended the Program to ensure volunteer lifesavers continue their world-class service with up to $4 million available in this round for projects including first aid rooms, education rooms and gyms.

Twenty-nine Surf Life Saving Clubs shared in $3.5 million funding in 2020/21.

They included Redhead Surf Life Saving Club at Lake Macquarie which received $302,400 for upgrades to its observation area, radio room and first aid room. Elouera Surf Life Saving Club also received $302,500 and Thirroul Surf Life Saving club was the recipient of $285,000.

Surf Life Saving NSW President George Shales OAM said safe, accessible and secure rescue facilities across NSW remain a top priority.

“Last year our volunteer surf lifesavers performed over 3,000 rescues, 143,000 preventative actions and 7,000 first aid treatments. The Surf Club Facility Program will improve the ongoing important community service our lifesavers deliver,” Mr Shales said.

Applications for this round of grants close on 21 January 2022. Up to $500,000 is available for each project. For more details, see: https://sport.nsw.gov.au/clubs/grants/SCFP.

Time to Elevate Sydney

A spectacular week of live entertainment has been set for the world’s most scenic stage as the Cahill Expressway is transformed for the ELEVATE Sydney festival.

Thirty thousand free tickets are being made available for the six-day event, set to take place from New Year’s Day overlooking Sydney Harbour and Circular Quay.

Today the NSW Government announced a stellar line-up of more than 180 artists including Dance Monkey star Tones And I, Tim Minchin, Baker Boy, Electric Fields, Marcia Hines and The Wiggles.

It will transform the harbourside expressway, day and night for people of all ages. The event will also feature the biggest drone show in the Southern Hemisphere.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said ELEVATE Sydney will help revive the spirit of the city, reminding the world why tourists travel from across the world to experience our lifestyle.

“The day after the fireworks, this event will begin the new year with a celebration of what makes our city great,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Nowhere else could you hold this kind of event, nowhere has our harbour, our setting or our weather – this is part of our ongoing vision for taking our city from good to great.

“This has been a tough time for hospitality and tourism, we’re committed to doing everything we can to get these industries back on their feet and ensuring that our people have the chance to enjoy the city again.”

Part of the NSW Government’s efforts to turbocharge the CBD’s recovery, ELEVATE Sydney will offer Sydneysiders and visitors the chance to experience entertainment spanning pop, disco, musical theatre, youth, family, sport and First Nations genres.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney and Minister for Industry and Trade Stuart Ayres said ELEVATE Sydney was part of the NSW Government’s plan to support recovery and showcase the state and Harbour City to the world.

“Getting more visitors to Sydney and regional NSW, giving them high quality experiences and offering a smorgasbord of events will propel us toward our goal of being the premier visitor economy and events capital of the Asia Pacific by 2030,” Mr Ayres said.

“We know visitors and locals alike are looking for unforgettable experiences to Feel New – and what could be better than immersing yourself in an event that brings together the power of wellbeing, dance, culture, art and community, set against one of the world’s most spectacular backdrops, Sydney’s magnificent harbour.

“This is a very special and exciting event which will not only elevate Sydney and NSW to a global audience but elevate our homegrown talent, economy and community spirit,” Mr Ayres said.

In an Australian first, the Skyshow will feature 500 choreographed drones over Sydney Cove as a natural amphitheater, creating a dazzling light display.  A boomerang, a waratah and a series of animations will tell a powerful story of Sydney’s past, present and hopes for 2022.

Specialists from Finland, Germany and the USA have travelled to Australia to train local operators in the drone technology.

The Cahill Expressway will be closed to traffic and pedestrians during ELEVATE Sydney, with public transport and alternate routes available for visitors and residents.

For further information on the program and to reserve free tickets from 2 December, visit www.elevatesydney.com.

Two $25 Dine & Discover Vouchers Land in Time for Summer

The summer holidays just got even better for New South Wales residents, with two additional $25 Dine & Discover vouchers rolling out for eligible customers from today.

Treasurer Matt Kean said new applicants will receive three Dine NSW and three Discover NSW vouchers, while existing customers will receive one of each.

“The NSW Government’s $250 million expansion of Dine & Discover, announced as part of our $2.8 million economic recovery package, will help our local businesses grow and thrive this summer,” Mr Kean said.

“More than 15,000 businesses and 4.8 million customers have already registered for the Dine & Discover NSW program, with almost $276 million vouchers used so far.

“The two $25 vouchers will ensure we end 2021 with a bang and provide a much needed boost for businesses right across NSW as we head into a revitalised 2022.”

Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello said accessing the new vouchers would be simple and available in the palm of your hand.

“We have made receiving vouchers for individuals even easier, with the additional vouchers appearing automatically in the Service NSW app, via SMS or email for existing digital customers,” Mr Dominello said.

“Dine & Discover NSW vouchers will start appearing from today in the Service NSW app with all delivered by early December. Current digital customers do not need to reapply to receive the extra vouchers.

“Whether it’s going out for dinner, catching a live show or visiting a wildlife park, we’re helping more and more people explore our great backyard while supporting businesses who have done it tough this year.”

Customers who don’t have access to digital vouchers can opt into a new call and collect delivery method. All customers need to do is to call Service NSW on 13 77 88 from 3 December, nominate their nearest Service Centre and in three business days they can collect their paper vouchers.

Participating registered businesses do not need to re-register, while those who want to join the program are encouraged to sign up now, download the Service NSW for Business app and get ready to redeem.

NSW residents aged 18 years and older who are yet to apply will be able to do so until the program ends and will receive all six $25 vouchers.

Dine & Discover NSW vouchers can be used seven days a week, including public holidays, and are valid to 30 June 2022.

More information: nsw.gov.au/covid-19/business/financial-support/dine-discover-nsw