City of Newcastle takes next step in revitalisation of Harbour Foreshore precinct

Work will begin next month on the delivery of a new kiosk and accessible public toilets in Newcastle’s popular Harbour Foreshore precinct.

Councillors voted unanimously last night to accept a tender for the project, which is valued at more than $3 million and will include unisex ambulant toilets, a parent’s change room, and a changing places facility that provides suitable facilities for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.

An artist's impression of the accessible amenities building and kiosk to be built at Foreshore Park.An artist’s impression of the accessible amenities building and kiosk to be built at Foreshore Park.

The project also includes space for a future kiosk and will commence in May with the removal of the existing playground to pave the way for the construction of the amenities.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the new amenities building is an essential step in delivering the adopted Harbour Foreshore Masterplan.

“The accessible amenities and future kiosk will complement other elements of the Harbour Foreshore Masterplan and enrich the park that Novocastrians and visitors know and love,” Cr Nelmes said.

“These early works will help realise the full potential of our adopted Masterplan for our premier city park and major event space, creating a drawcard destination for locals and visitors from across the region to enjoy whilst connecting our city with our harbour’s edge.”

The centrepiece of the Masterplan will be Livvi’s Place, an inclusive regional playground and waterplay area, designed in consultation with the community and Touched by Olivia, a charity dedicated to the delivery of inclusive playspaces across Australia.

Once completed, the playground area will have a distinctly Newcastle character and pay tribute to the city’s Aboriginal heritage. The precinct will also have a waterplay area unique to Newcastle.

Extensive tree planting and landscaping will be carried out throughout the precinct as part of the broader masterplan to significantly increase shade canopy and create greener public spaces.

The amenities project is supported by the Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund.

Commit to driving safely this Anzac Day period

Motorists are being asked to drive safely over the Anzac Day period so that everyone can get home safely to their families and loved ones.

Roads across the state are expected to be busy from today as people move around to Anzac Day events or take Wednesday and Friday off to make the most of an extended long weekend.

The break also coincides with the end of school holidays, creating extra traffic around major centres like Sydney.

NSW Police will be out in force and double demerits apply from today until 11:59pm on Sunday 28 April.

The NSW Government is asking motorists to slow down and drive to the conditions so everyone can make it home safely.

As of midnight Tuesday, 111 lives have been lost on NSW roads in 2024 – 11 higher than at the same time in 2023.

The NSW Government has introduced a number of measures to counter the rising number of fatalities on our roads, including:

  • doubling roadside enforcement sites used for mobile speed cameras, with the addition of 2700 new locations where a camera can be deployed. Enforcement hours will remain the same
  • removing a loophole to force all motorists driving on a foreign licence to convert to a NSW licence within 6 months
  • the introduction of seatbelt enforcement by existing mobile phone detection cameras from Monday 1 July
  • the demerit point trial to encourage motorists to maintain a spotless record over 12 months to have a demerit point removed from their record
  • hosting the state’s first Road Safety Forum of international and local experts.

Acting Minister for Roads Jo Haylen said:

“Road safety is a shared responsibility, and we are asking everyone to have that front of mind over the Anzac Day period.

“There are simple steps to help keep all road users safe: Make sure you are well rested before heading out, stick to the speed limit, wear a seatbelt or helmet, put the phone away and never get behind the wheel if affected by drugs or alcohol.”

Minister for Police Yasmin Catley said: 

“Police will be out on the roads across the state in a high-visibility operation that will target high-risk behaviours such as excessive speed, alcohol and drug driving, illegal use of mobile phones and not wearing seatbelts.

“During the double demerit period for Anzac Day last year, which also fell over 5 days, we tragically lost 4 people on NSW roads. That is 4 too many and I don’t want to see a repeat of this again in 2024.”

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said:

“Regional NSW represents a third of the state’s population and two-thirds of the state’s road fatalities. For this reason, it is even more important that motorists in regional areas comply with the speed limit and drive to the conditions.

“If you’re a local please don’t be complacent – even if you drive these roads every day and think you know them like the back of your hand – mistakes can happen, and tragedy can result.

“Make sure you’re sticking to the speed limit, and if you start to notice signs of fatigue, pull over and have a rest. It’s better to arrive late than to risk the alternative of a serious crash or worse.”

Expanded urgent care services for older people in south-west Sydney

Elderly residents across south-western Sydney have access to more tailored, timely healthcare in the comfort of their own homes via the Community Older Persons Intervention and Liaison Outreach Team (COPILOT).

This community-based integrated geriatric urgent care service eases pressure on emergency departments by responding urgently to the medical and physical health needs of older people in the community for non-life threatening conditions.

Care is provided in the patient’s own home by a multidisciplinary team of geriatricians, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, dietitians and occupational therapists.

Patients are referred to the geriatric urgent care service through a number of channels including local GPs, NSW Ambulance, and emergency department aged care teams.

The service has been in operation in Liverpool and Campbelltown since late 2023 and was officially launched today at Fairfield Hospital as part of the NSW government’s commitment to delivery of 25 Urgent Care Services by June 2025.

It operates 8am-4.30pm seven days a week, with phone consultations between 4.30pm-8pm.

Minister for Health Ryan Park said:

“Our government is rolling out Urgent Care Services like this one across the state, to increase access to healthcare within the community, and reduce the immense pressure on our hospital system.

“Data has shown thousands of patients have been treated by Urgent Care Service and Clinics, allowing people to receive the care they need quicker, without the stress of visiting ED”.

“Improving access to healthcare is a ministerial priority of mine, and I am really pleased with the results we have seen with other Urgent Care Services across NSW.

Member for Prospect, Hugh McDermott said:

“As our population grows, our community will get older. COPILOT will become even more essential, and important service to ensuring their success in an ever-changing society.

“Our community is growing, and by 2031 there will be more than 155,000 Fairfield residents over the age of 70. It’s important we invest in their success early.”

Member for Fairfield, David Saliba said:

“It’s essential as the number of older residents in our community grows, we have the right services in place to meet their needs. COPILOT is an important part of ensuring we achieve this.

“The COPILOT team – which consists of geriatricians, nurses, allied health staff as well as administrative support – is designed to help meet this growing local need.”

Member for Cabramatta, Tri Vo said:

“Delighted to be part of this important announcement which will make a huge difference to everyone in our community, delivering care to older people while easing pressure on wait times in ED.

“COPILOT is one of many exciting new initiatives the NSW Government is investing in to benefit communities all over southwestern Sydney.”

South Western Sydney Local Health District Chief Executive, Sonia Marshall said:

“We all have times in our lives when we need care quickly, but don’t need the full suite of care available at a hospital.

“COPILOT ensures older people have access to multidisciplinary teams that can provide expert care wherever they are.”

NSW Government supports establishment of Commercial Fishing peak industry body

The NSW Government is delivering on its election commitment by supporting a peak body for the commercial fishing sector.

Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty announced the NSW Commercial Fishing Industry Association (CFIA) at the Sydney Fish Market Seafood Excellence Awards on Tuesday evening (23 April 2024) and the CFIA appointed inaugural chair, Mr John Wilson.

The newly formed CFIA will provide an opportunity for the NSW commercial fishing industry to be represented to Government, key stakeholders and the wider community, through a united voice.

Mr Wilson, from the Southern Tablelands of NSW, comes to the position with a diverse background including as the Company Secretary of the Seafood Co-operative Centre Company, Director at the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, General Manger Business and Chief Financial Officer at the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

The CFIA has been developed through an industry-facilitated process involving stakeholder-wide consultation to establish an allied peak industry body to provide advocacy to Government.

The annual total value of NSW wild harvest commercial fisheries is in the order of $90 million at first point of sale, and contributes $170 million to the states production each year, employing more than 1,661 people directly.

The NSW commercial fisheries are carefully managed as the resource is shared amongst over 1,000 commercial fishers who catch fish for the whole community to enjoy.

The NSW Government also continues to push ahead with establishing a peak body to represent the NSW recreational fishing sector.

Minister for Agriculture Minister Moriarty said:

“The CFIA will help ensure commercial NSW seafood continues to be viable, profitable, and sustainable.

“This peak body for commercial fishing will focus on industry representation, advocacy, building the industry’s capacity to participate in shared decision-making as well as consultation and communication with commercial fishers.

“The NSW Government recognises the challenges in making commercial fisheries sustainable and has worked closely with the industry to lead many of the changes to improve environmental performance.

“I also congratulate the winners at last night’s Sydney Fish Market Seafood Excellence Awards. NSW has some of the best seafood in the world and all entrants are great examples of the excellence happening across the industry.”

Sydney Fish Market Seafood Excellence Awards winners & highly commended 2024:

Primary Producer Award (NSW)

  • Winner: Troy Billin (Yamba Fisheries)
  • Highly Commended: The Byrnes Family

Primary Producer Award (Interstate/Overseas)

  • Winner: 4 Seas

Seafood Business Award

  • Winner: Coffs Harbour Fishermen’s Cooperative
  • Highly Commended: Fish in the Family

Restaurant Award

  • Winner: The Poyer’s Restaurant
  • Highly Commended: Besuto Omakase

Promotion Award

  • Winner: Narooma Oyster Festival
  • Highly Commended: Professional Fishers Association (Taste of Seafood Festivals)

People Development Award

  • Winner: Professional Fishers Association (Fishers Business Skills Program)

Safety Award

  • Winner: Tuna Australia (Research to improve worker safety and reduce bycatch)

Environment Award

  • Winner: OceanWatch Australia
  • Highly Commended: Mitch Sanders

Research Development and Extension Award

  • Winner: OceanWatch Australia (East Coast Whale Entanglement Program)

Snowy Mountains Highway safety improvements on the way at Pine Valley

Motorists using the Snowy Mountains Highway at Pine Valley will benefit from a series of upgrades, as part of the Albanese and NSW Labor Governments’ commitment to improving the safety and reliability of regional road networks across the state.

With $400,000 from the Australian Government’s Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, and $900,000 from the NSW Government’s Network Efficiency Program, the safety works will involve widening multiple sections of the Highway to provide more space for light and heavy vehicles to co-exist.

This includes widening the left-turn lane eastbound at Kosciuszko Road and installing safety barriers as part of the jointly funded works.

As an access route for the Snowy 2.0, there has been a noticeable increase in traffic along this section of the Snowy Mountains Highway, including frequent heavy vehicle movements.

Work is already underway to widen and seal one kilometre of southbound shoulders, which is expected to take around six weeks.

Work on the intersection upgrade is due to commence soon and is expected to be completed by the end of May, weather permitting.

All works will be carried out weekdays between 7am and 6pm and Saturdays between 8am and 1pm.

Federal Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain said:

“The Snowy Mountains Highway is busier than ever, as more people flock to enjoy everything we have to offer across this part of the mighty Eden-Monaro.

“That’s why I’ve worked hard to secure $400,000 in federal funding towards these important safety upgrades, which we’ll deliver in partnership with the Minns Labor Government.

“We know during our peak snow seasons the highway really is bumper to bumper – which is why widening multiple sections of the road will make it safer for motorists to pass turning vehicles.”

Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education and Member for Monaro Steve Whan said:

“As the gateway to the Snowy Mountains Region, this Highway is the key arterial route between Cooma and Jindabyne or Tumut, servicing high volumes of tourist and visitor traffic during winter, providing access to the Selwyn Snowy Resort from the southeast.

“These upgrades will go a long way to providing a much safer journey for all motorists and improving the travel experience for everyone in our beautiful region.”

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said:

“The NSW and Australian Labor Governments are working together and getting on with the job of improving road safety in our regional communities.

“The investments we are making will reduce the likelihood of rear end crashes and reduce congestion on this busy Highway.

“I thank Ministers McBain and Whan for their ongoing advocacy and efforts on behalf of their communities, to secure vital road safety investments like this.”

Opposition urgently calls for wanding powers

Recent events in NSW warrant tougher powers for law enforcement to combat knife crime.
 
The NSW Opposition is calling for legislation to grant the NSW Police Force powers to use metal-detecting wands to enhance community safety.
 
Given the recent tragedy at Bondi Junction Westfield and the alleged terrorist event at Wakeley, the powers should be designed in the interests of public safety and to protect people who are lawfully going about their everyday lives. There are many circumstances where these powers would enhance public safety.
 
We already have a large range of public activities that are routinely accompanied by non-invasive searches of the kind that the NSW Opposition supports. 
 
The activities where searches currently take place go beyond airport or transport facilities and include sporting events, concerts and even the Royal Easter Show.
 
The legislation proposed by the Opposition is a natural extension of the contemporary trend towards non-invasive searches to support public safety.
 
Our proposal would go further than legislation that began operating in Queensland in March of 2023, which allows police to conduct non-invasive metal detector searches of people without a warrant in transport and safe night precincts. In the first nine months of its operation, the Queensland law saw 400 weapons seized by the police. 
 
The NSW Opposition offers to work with the NSW Government in a bi-partisan manner to urgently legislate broad wanding measures to support public safety.
 
The NSW Opposition notes that there is widespread support for these powers from a range of organisations, including the Police Association and a range of public service trade unions, which support an expansion of police search powers to include the use of metal detecting wands.

Aussies urged to support veteran businesses this Anzac Day

Veteran business incubator Frontline Labs is encouraging Australians to give back by supporting veteran-owned and operated businesses.

This Anzac Day, veteran business incubator Frontline Labs, is calling on all Australians to rally behind veteran-owned and operated businesses.

The Support Veteran Business campaign encourages business and the public alike to support the veteran economy. By choosing to engage with a veteran business, or supporting veteran products in the supply chain, everyone can make a meaningful difference to this valuable community – made up of more than 30,000 veteran innovators.

Mark Leatham, veteran and Frontline Labs co-founder, says supporting veteran-owned businesses is one of the best ways Australians can show their support for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) community.

“Every Anzac Day we see hundreds of thousands of people rally behind veterans at ceremonies and dawn services, which always means so much to the veteran community,” he says.

“This year, we’re encouraging Australians to take that support one step further by directly engaging with a veteran-owned business, helping to improve the livelihoods of servicemen and women who typically face various challenges when transitioning outside of military life.”

In their transition back to civilian life, veterans disproportionately face severe health and social issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, unemployment, suicide, and homelessness, with a 2023 report finding that veterans are overrepresented in Australia’s homeless population.

Michael Handley, an army veteran with seven years of army experience and two overseas deployments under his belt, faced these challenges first-hand during his own transition back to civilian life in 2022.

Michael says that his personal experience with mental health challenges – including PTSD and suicidal thoughts – inspired him to create REDSIX, a revolutionary veteran support app that helps veterans and ADF servicemen and women seek help when they need it.

“REDSIX was designed and developed from lived experience in one of the highest suicide risk demographics globally – the military. This is due to the rising rate of modern-day veterans losing the battle after returning home from operation demands,” says Michael.

Each year, approximately six thousand individuals depart from the ADF to reintegrate into civilian life. For many veterans, this transition can present numerous challenges, including difficulties in adjusting to new lifestyles and environments.

During his transition out of the ADF, Michael participated in one of Frontline Labs’ Veteran Entrepreneurship program, an experience he says was essential to helping him navigate such a challenging time.

“I think for me personally, having REDSIX has helped with my transition into civilian life by allowing me to look at my service history as part of my make-up – part of my DNA – but not my only identity,” he says.

Understanding the importance of self-employment in the transition process, Frontline Labs supports Australia’s defence community with fully funded programs. It’s here they can be encouraged with new opportunities to seek cohort and purpose in the growing veteran economy.

This Anzac Day, Frontline Labs is asking all Australians to do their part to support the servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much for our country. By choosing to engage with veteran business, or supporting veteran products in the supply chain, everyone can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who have served their country.

To learn more about the ‘Support Veteran Business’ campaign or to contribute, please visit supportveteranbusiness.com.au.

Come walk or jog with us in the Hunter! We are in this together! 

The 2024 Hunter region Memory Walk & Jog is nearly here with the event taking place on Sunday 12 May at Speers Point Park, Speers Point.

Dementia Australia’s largest fundraising event hopes to attract thousands of people across Australia to help raise more than $2 million in support of people living with dementia. Funds raised at our upcoming event in the Hunter will help advance the work of Dementia Australia which delivers invaluable support, education and resources for people living with dementia, their families and carers. 

Memory Walk & Jog is about being part of the community and feeling supported. We are in this together, which is why participants can walk, jog or run and select from a 2km walk, an 8km walk or jog, or the 8km timed run.

Registrations for the Hunter Memory Walk & Jog are still open and we’d love to see as many people as possible walking, jogging, or running at Speers Point Park. It’s a great day out, raising money and awareness for such an important cause.

Appointment of Ambassadors, High Commissioner and Consuls-General

Today I announce diplomatic appointments to lead Australian posts in Chengdu, Guangzhou, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Tonga, Phuket and the Republic of Chile.

These appointments strengthen Australia’s diplomatic capability and its prosecution of our national interests around the globe.

I am pleased to announce the following appointments:

I thank the outgoing ambassadors, high commissioner and consuls-general for their contributions to advancing Australia’s interests in these countries during their respective tenures.

GREENS WON’T LET LABOR PULL A SWIFTY ON SCHOOL FUNDING

Ahead of the Education Ministers Meeting this week the Greens say they will use their numbers in the Senate to push Labor to end systemic underfunding and save our public schools.

Federal Labor has doubled down on its refusal to increase its share of public school funding to 25%, despite calls from the states, teachers unions and the Greens to do so.

With Labor saying it will introduce legislation to lock in new funding deals, and the Coalition ideologically opposed to public education, the Greens are likely to be in balance of power on any future bills.

The Greens will use their numbers to fight for 100% SRS funding to all public schools by January 2025, an end to the public overfunding of wealthy private schools and ongoing capital funding from the Commonwealth.

Greens spokesperson on Primary and Secondary Education Senator Penny Allman-Payne:

“Labor can easily find another $50 billion to spend on war but are crying poor when it comes to providing an extra $3 billion a year to invest in the education of our kids.

“The Greens already have a bill before the Senate that would axe the so-called 20% cap on Commonwealth funding of schools and replace it with a floor of 25%. This is what the states and the unions are calling for and it’s what Labor could deliver if it backed our bill.

“But even if we get to 100% of the SRS, we need to be very clear that this is not full funding by any measure. It’s not even the bare minimum.

“The SRS is based on the funding a school needs to get 80% of students above the minimum NAPLAN standard. Calling that ‘full funding’ isn’t just misleading, it’s an out-and-out lie.

“We need to end overfunding of privileged private schools and ensure that our public system is fully funded, fully staffed and inclusive for all students.”