Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum

This week, we will travel to Papua New Guinea to attend the 30th Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum.

As neighbours, friends and equals, the relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea is more important than ever.

The Ministerial Forum is an opportunity for Ministers from a range of key policy areas to advance our partnership and our shared priorities. This includes our economic relationship, strategic cooperation for security and stability, and development.

The Forum will be co-chaired by Minister Wong and Papua New Guinea Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Justin Tkatchenko BEM OL – also representing Australia will be:

  • The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP, Attorney-General, Cabinet Secretary
  • Senator the Hon Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Minister for Emergency Management
  • The Hon Clare O’Neil MP, Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Cyber Security
  • Senator the Hon Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Trade, Assistant Minister for Manufacturing.

The delegation will also engage with Australian and Papua New Guinea businesses through the Annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Dialogue.

The Ministerial Forum builds on the commitments from the Annual Leaders’ Dialogue between Prime Minister Albanese and Prime Minister Marape in February, and the signing of the landmark Bilateral Security Agreement in December 2023.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles MP:

“Papua New Guinea is one of our closest and most important defence partners, and is home to our largest Defence Cooperation Program.

“Australia and Papua New Guinea’s defence partnership reflects 50 years of our defence personnel training, exercising and working side by side.

“I am delighted to return to Papua New Guinea to discuss how we can work even more closely together to address the security and defence challenges facing our region.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong:

“Australia and Papua New Guinea’s relationship is based on our common history, our close geography and our shared values.

“I look forward to meeting again with my counterpart Minister Tkatchenko and other Ministers as we work to ensure a peaceful, stable and prosperous Pacific.

“We are supporting Papua New Guinea in its response to the landslide in Enga Province, just as Papua New Guinea has supported Australia in times of need.”

Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy MP:

“Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea is profoundly important and built on a strong foundation of friendship and respect.

“We are part of a Pacific family, and as the collective response to the tragedy in Enga has shown, in times of trouble Australia will be there just as PNG was there for us during the Black Summer bushfires.

“As our past unites us, so too does our future, built on deep economic and security cooperation. These connections matter – the more we relate to each other, the more safe, stable and prosperous our region will be.”

GREENS CALL ON GOVERNMENT TO LISTEN TO GROWING CALLS TO DUMP DISASTROUS INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CAP POLICY

Deputy Greens Leader and Higher Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has responded to the Group of Eight’s scathing criticism of the Government’s plan to cap international students, stating that Labor should listen to the sector and dump the bill.

Senator Faruqi:

“It’s good to see the Group of Eight join the growing list of critics slamming the Government for making policy decisions based on an entirely false and divisive conflation of international students and the housing crisis.

“Labor’s international student cap bill is an audacious attack on fundamental principles of student choice and university independence, and it’s no wonder the plan is attracting so much opposition within the higher education sector. 

“The bill is a blatant power grab, giving the Education Minister an unprecedented, dangerous level of ministerial discretion over universities.

“Governments should not be micromanaging students or universities.

“This politically driven approach to higher education compromises the study needs of international students and will be terrible for Australia’s reputation as a place to study.

“After years of sustained underfunding of universities by both Labor and Coalition Governments, the bill will make things worse and risk thousands of jobs during a cost of living crisis.

“Capping international student numbers under the guise of easing pressure on the rental market is not just a dishonest, dog whistling conflation, it is bad policy that will do nothing to fix our broken housing system or higher education system”. 

Community invited to have their say on final stage of upgraded Newcastle Ocean Baths

City of Newcastle has unveiled a vision for the final stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade, which preserves the heritage of the facility while ensuring it is fit-for-purpose for future generations.

The concept plan incorporates the revitalisation of the pavilion buildings including the Art Deco façade, while also enhancing the upper promenade and surrounding areas.

A render for the Concept Plan for the final stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade.A render for the Concept Plan for the final stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle is inviting the community to have their say as it continues to progress this important revitalisation project.

“City of Newcastle is committed to this once-in-a-generation undertaking to restore the much-loved Newcastle icon,” Cr Nelmes said.

“The upgraded pool and promenade have been overwhelmingly embraced by the community since being reopened last summer.

“I’m thrilled to now share designs for the final stage of the project, which celebrate the unique character of the Newcastle Ocean Baths while ensuring the building and surrounds get a much needed upgrade to ensure they can live on for another 100 years.”

The concept plan includes upgraded pedestrian access from Shortland Esplanade to the front of the building, where visitors can appreciate its historic Art Deco façade before making their way through to the upper promenade.

An expanded kiosk and new community spaces will be incorporated into the southern wing of the building, while the northern end will feature inclusive changerooms that cater for all members of the community, including accessible amenities and a ‘Changing Places’ facility. 

New shade structures and seating will be installed overlooking the adjoining Canoe Pool, with informal terraces offering additional spaces for people to sit and relax. 

A render for the Concept Plan for the final stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade.A render for the Concept Plan for the final stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade.

Prepared by highly regarded Principal Design Consultant Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, the concept plan was informed by community feedback earlier this year and industry leading heritage expertise, with input from environment, engineering and architecture professionals.

Executive Manager Project Management Office, Robert Dudgeon said City of Newcastle will continue to engage with the community as planning progresses for the future of this much-loved public facility.

“The intention is to deliver a facility that welcomes all visitors in an accessible and inclusive way, is sensitive to the site’s heritage, and resilient to coastal inundation and predicted sea level rise,” Mr Dudgeon said.

“The concept has been designed and informed by community feedback, combined with best practice, and has culminated in a collaborative outcome that ensures the character and usage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths is enhanced.  

“On Monday we shared with the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group the concept plan, which is the final step before the development of the detailed design.”

City of Newcastle is also working with Heritage NSW as it continues its assessment of the historic site for potential inclusion on the State Heritage Register.

“We remain committed to respecting and celebrating the cultural heritage of this much-loved facility and are working with Heritage NSW throughout this nomination process,” Mr Dudgeon said.

Community members can learn more about the concept plan and provide feedback online until 5 August 2024.

In-person ‘We Love Our Coast’ information sessions will also be held throughout the consultation period, which will provide an opportunity for people to learn more about a range of coastal projects being delivered by City of Newcastle. 

“We know the community loves Newcastle’s coastline, and given the range of projects and strategies we are delivering along the city’s coastline we’re taking the opportunity to open up the conversation with all members of the community,” Cr Nelmes said.

“The ‘We Love Our Coast’ program brings these conversations together and we really encourage the community to come and speak with us during this time.”

Visit City of Newcastle’s We Love Our Coast Have Your Say page for more details.

NSW Budget: Support for community mental health

The Minns Labor Government is delivering a suite of initiatives to support community mental health and wellbeing by increasing the essential help available to the people of NSW during times of distress.

Over 2 in 5 Australians aged 16 to 85 are estimated to have experienced a mental disorder at some point in their life and we know we need to provide better support so they can live healthy and happy lives.

The 2024-2025 NSW Budget invests in building better, more accessible mental health services for the people of NSW.

Building a Better Community Mental Health System

The NSW Government is investing $30.4 million to expand Community Mental Health Teams across targeted areas, including in regional NSW.

These teams work within Local Health Districts and specialty health networks caring for those who experience persistent and complex mental illness.

This funding will provide a workforce boost of approximately 35 additional mental health positions, which will support community outreach, allow for extended hours of service, and enable more comprehensive case management.

The 35 additional mental health professionals will include five outreach mental health housing liaison positions who will work with the Department of Communities and Justice to link people at risk of, or experiencing homelessness, who are accessing mental health services to housing and help them sustain tenancies.

The St Vincent’s Health network will also be allocated five workers to establish a new assertive adult community mental health team.

This will allow them to increase their support for those facing complex needs, including those experiencing homelessness, substance misuse issues, and those at risk of engagement with the criminal justice system.

Building Better Pathways to Community Living

This Budget also delivers $40 million for the Pathways to Community Living Initiative, which is focused on supporting alternatives to long-term hospital care for people with complex needs, who have persistent mental illness.

This will fund a complex care clinical workforce of over 25 professionals who will support patients through this program.

Building a Single Front Door for Better Mental Health Support

The NSW Government is investing an additional $39 million to strengthen mental health services by establishing a new Mental Health Single Front Door.

The NSW Single Front Door, delivered through Healthdirect, currently provides virtual GP, virtual KIDS, and Urgent Care Services.

Following this investment, this service will expand to include mental health support, allowing those in need to call Healthdirect to receive assessment advice from specialist clinicians and be connected with the appropriate services.

This initiative has been developed in consultation with carers, mental health professionals, a range of service providers, and those who may use the service.

By providing callers with information on alternative care pathways, the establishment of a Mental Health Single Front Door will also reduce avoidable Emergency Department presentations and improve patient flow across hospitals.

Providing Critical Support for the Mental Health Review Tribunal

The Mental Health Review Tribunal will receive an additional $2.4 million to enable a long-overdue digitisation of records, an upgrade to IT systems, and an investment in a new case management system.

These system improvements will support the Tribunal to meet the continued growth in patients and hearings.

Our Plan to Build a Better NSW

Since being elected, the Minns Labor Government has been working on a comprehensive plan to strengthen our mental health system.

We know it faces significant challenges, but we are making the responsible decisions to ensure the people of NSW have the care and services they deserve and need.

We want a fully staffed mental health care system that is responsive, well-resourced, and properly supports our community.

It is part of our plan to build a better NSW.

NSW Budget: Social Housing and Homelessness Investment

Record $6.6 Billion Social Housing and Homelessness Investment as Part of Building Homes for NSW Program.

The Minns Labor Government is taking an historic step to build more homes and set the state on a path to end homelessness with significant investment in new social homes and increased support for people in crisis.

Housing affordability and availability is the biggest single pressure facing the people of NSW.

Confronting the housing crisis requires a comprehensive plan. By funding new social homes and homelessness support services, we are assisting some of our most vulnerable, whilst alleviating pressure on the private market.

The Building Homes Program includes the largest state-based investment in social housing in NSW history.

This once in a generation program will directly build thousands of homes across our state to confront the housing crisis and rebuild our public housing system after a decade of neglect.

Building New Homes

Building new homes is a core focus for the NSW Labor Government. In addition, we are renewing an ageing social housing portfolio to ensure that it meets the needs of our community. Committed to raising the standard, we are elevating the maintenance program for homes to provide streamlined support for seniors, people with a disability, young people without family support, and women and families escaping domestic violence.

Having a safe home is foundational to a person’s wellbeing, and the 2024 to 2025 NSW Budget is a blueprint to build the housing the people of NSW need.

The Single Biggest Ever Investment in Building Homes for New South Wales

The NSW Government will deliver a $6.6 billion investment in social housing and homelessness services and will prioritize at least half of the new homes built for victim-survivors of family and domestic violence.

18,255 people or 38% of those seeking specialist homelessness services in 2022 to 2023 reported family and domestic violence as the main reason they were seeking assistance – higher than any other category – but tragically close to half of those were turned away because of a lack of accommodation support.

This program will build 8,400 social homes across the state. 6,200 will be new homes and 2200 are replacement homes.

In a major step to help those escaping family and domestic violence, the Government will prioritize over 50% of new homes built for women and children fleeing family and domestic violence.

This means at least 3100 vulnerable people leaving abusive relationships will have access to a new home under this program.

Fixing Homes in Urgent Need of Repair

The Building Homes for NSW program will restore and fix over 33,500 social homes to make them safe and liveable – the biggest investment in maintenance ever – providing people with dignity and respect.

The $810 million repair and maintenance investment will upgrade 33,500 homes and kick start the new Maintenance Hub launching on July 1, 2024.

Committed to raising the standard, our new maintenance system will focus on quality, accountability, better outcomes for tenants and better value for taxpayers.

Addressing Homelessness

The face of homelessness is changing, with an increasing number of people across NSW facing housing insecurity. We’re investing in homelessness services and properly funding crisis accommodation so if you’re struggling, we can find you a safe place to sleep while building homes to tackle long-term homelessness.

This budget includes a $527 million investment in frontline homelessness services, which will help:

  • increased funding for crisis accommodation so people experiencing homelessness and families can access safe shelter
  • supporting frontline services to meet operational and wage funding gaps so they can continue to deliver critical services to clients, as well as funding to grow Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to support culturally safe responses for Aboriginal people experiencing homelessness
  • establishing the Homelessness Innovation Fund to provide funding to support the sector to deliver innovative responses to the current crisis, with a focus on homelessness being rare, brief, and non-recurring.

Action to Help Close the Gap

The Minns Labor Government knows that housing plays a vital role in social and economic outcomes for Aboriginal communities.

This Budget includes $202.6 million to fund a critical maintenance program for Aboriginal Housing to repair and upgrade homes as part of genuine action to Close the Gap.

Investing in Our Tenants to Build a Better Housing Sector

The NSW Government recognizes that firsthand experience leads to better outcomes.

This Budget delivers a $15 million extension of the partnership with the Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA) to continue the Cadetship Program.

This Cadetship Program offers paid placements, providing social housing tenants with opportunities to develop new skills in the sector.

This Budget delivers on the Minns Labor Government’s plan to build better homes for NSW, so that everyone has a place to call home.

A plan to build better communities, and a better NSW.

A plan to build a better health system for NSW communities

The Minns Labor Government will deliver a record $35.1 billion in health funding across NSW.

This major investment to build a better health system will ensure we meet the growing needs of our community by:

  • relieving pressure on our emergency departments
  • investing in our frontline health workers
  • delivering the hospital infrastructure our communities deserve
  • supporting primary health care through GP practices
  • improving access to care for families.

Relieving pressure on our emergency departments

The 2024-25 NSW Budget will invest around half a billion dollars to alleviate pressure on our busy emergency departments, including:

  • $171.4 million to establish a ‘Single Front Door’ – a single point of advice, assessment, triage and referral for people in NSW with urgent non-life threatening conditions, backed with the introduction of three additional virtual care services and helping 180,000 people avoid a trip to the ED
  • $100.0 million to back in urgent care services, a key instrument of the health system that will provide a pathway to care outside of hospitals for an estimated 114,000 patients
  • $70.1 million to expand emergency department short stay units to improve patient flow and reduce ED wait times by nearly 80,000 hours
  • $15.1 million for an Ambulance Matrix that enables paramedics to transport patients to emergency departments with greater capacity and reduces wait times by providing real time hospital data
  • $31.4 million to increase Hospital in the Home across the State allowing over 3,500 additional patients each year to be cared for in their home rather than a hospital bed
  • $53.9 million to improve patient flow and support discharge planning by identifying patients early on that are suitable to be discharged home with the appropriate supports in place.

Supporting primary healthcare through GPs

The Minns Labor Government will invest an estimated $188.8 million as part of the Bulk-Billing Support Initiative to ensure that primary health care services remain accessible to families and households.

This will protect the cost of seeing a GP for families and households, reduce the strain on emergency departments and save hundreds of clinics from closure.

Investing in our frontline health workers

When we boost our health workers, we improve patient outcomes. The 2024-25 NSW Budget will deliver more frontline health workers to communities that need them most, including:

  • $274.7 million to boost staffing at newly built and upgraded hospitals across the state as part of the Essential Health Services Fund
  • This will enable an additional 250 healthcare workers across the state including at Prince of Wales Hospital, Tweed Hospital, Bowral, Sutherland, Wentworth, Cowra, Cooma, Glen Innes, and Griffith
  • $200.1 million to deliver accommodation to house health workers in regional NSW to better enable us to recruit and retain essential health workers right across the state.

This investment will further our initiatives to build an engaged, capable and supported workforce through:

  • beginning to implement safe staffing levels
  • making 1,112 temporary nurses permanent
  • delivering an extra 500 regional paramedics
  • abolishing the wages cap and delivering the highest wage increases for health workers in over a decade
  • introducing health worker study subsidies
  • doubling rural health incentives
  • boosting doctors in our regional GP surgeries as well as hospitals through the single employer model.

Delivering the hospital infrastructure our communities deserve

The 2024-25 NSW Budget will boost investment in hospital infrastructure with $3.4 billion in 2024-25 to upgrade hospitals and health facilities across the State. Additional funding under the NSW Government’s Building Better Health initiative will ensure the delivery of upgraded hospitals and health facilities in communities that need it most, including:

  • $395.3 million of additional funding to deliver ongoing hospital redevelopments at Eurobodalla, Ryde, Temora, Liverpool, Integrated Mental Health Complex at Westmead, Moree, Nepean, Cessnock and Shellharbour Hospital
  • An investment of $265.0 million in a critical Port Macquarie Hospital upgrade
  • Continued investment in the Lower Mid North Coast (Manning and Forster-Tuncurry).

In addition, further investment in the 2024-25 NSW Budget will deliver:

  • $250.0 million for a Critical Asset Maintenance Program ensuring much-needed maintenance across hospitals and health facilities state-wide
  • Funding for the Single Digital Patient Record, a next generation system which will consolidate and make it easier for clinicians to access patient information.

In 2024-25 this major health infrastructure investment includes over half a billion in Western Sydney and around one billion dollars in rural and regional NSW.

Improving access to care for families

The 2024-25 NSW Budget will invest $130.9 million to improve access to health care services that families need through our Family Start Package, including:

  • $52.2 million to help low and middle income families undergoing fertility treatment by extending the fertility treatment rebate
  • $40.0 million to enhance essential services for vulnerable children with specific investments in rural and regional allied health, juvenile arthritis and Karitane and Tresillian services.

A plan to build a better health system for NSW

The Minns Labor Government has a plan to deliver better healthcare in NSW, improving access to care; boosting staff; delivering the infrastructure our communities need; and sustaining health families.

A Budget to deliver more houses and better homes

The 2024-25 NSW Budget delivers a plan to build quality homes and ease the pressure on renters, home builders and those living in strata communities with a $55.2 million investment.

The NSW Government has already established Building Commission NSW and created the 
Strata and Property Services Commissioner and the NSW Rental Commissioner. The 2024-
25 Budget sees them grow so they can continue to deliver better outcomes for the people 
of NSW.

Better quality homes

The Minns Labor Government is continuing to crack down on dodgy builders with a $35 
million boost to Building Commission NSW, for enhanced digital capabilities as it continues 
lifting building standards statewide.

A fair deal for renters

The 2024-25 NSW Budget will deliver better conditions for renters with $8.4 million for
frontline rental inspectors and engagement officers to help the Rental Commissioner 
enforce quality standards.

Better higher density communities

The Minns Labor Government is increasing support for people living in higher density 
communities with $11.8 million to allow the Strata and Property Services Commissioner to 
educate owners’ corporations and hold strata agents to account, including $3.5 million over 
2 years towards the Strata Hub online platform to centralise information for those who 
live in or own a property in a strata scheme.

The Minns Labor Government is continuing to deliver the systems needed to build better 
homes and better communities for the people of NSW.

This is a Budget that recognises that everyone in NSW needs a place they can call home, 
whether they’re building, they’re renting or they’re living in a strata community.

Bulk billing support to ease cost-of-living pressure

The Minns Labor Government will invest an estimated $189 million in a bulk billing initiative to ensure the cost of seeing a GP remains accessible for people across NSW.

The Bulk-Billing Support Initiative will legislate to provide:

  • a new ongoing payroll tax rebate for contractor GPs at clinics that meet bulk-billing thresholds
  • a waiver for past unpaid payroll tax liability for contractor GP wages to 4 September 2024.

This initiative will protect bulk billing rates by reducing financial pressures on GP practices so they don’t pass on additional costs to patients and will save clinics from closure.

This will also reduce the strain on the state’s busy hospital emergency departments. NSW Health estimates that a 1% decrease in bulk-billing equates to around 3000 additional emergency presentations.

Once enacted, the NSW Government will give an ongoing payroll tax rebate for contractor GP wages to be provided to clinics with bulk-billing rates above 80% in metropolitan Sydney, and above 70% in the rest of the state.

The Bulk-Billing Support Initiative will help address the significant cost-of-living pressures felt by families and households across NSW. A recent survey revealed that:

  • 72% are quite concerned or extremely concerned about the cost of healthcare
  • 48% of adults are cutting back on healthcare appointments due to affordability
  • 37% of parents are cutting back on appointments for their children due to affordability.

For the last 5 years, medical peak bodies have been warning that failure to address the issue could see GPs charge patients as much as an additional $20 per appointment.

This resolves uncertainty around the applicability of payroll tax on contractor GPs, which first arose in 2018 under the previous Liberal-National state government.

The initiative also addresses the unique and unprecedented cost pressures GPs are under after the former Liberal-National Commonwealth Government froze bulk-billing indexation for a decade.

To relieve pressure on GPs, in September 2023, the Minns Labor Government legislated a 12-month pause on payroll tax audits for GP practices and tax penalties and interest accrued on outstanding debts.

Since the pause was enacted, the government worked closely with Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and Australian Medical Association (AMA) to develop the support initiative.

NSW will be the first state to legislate a full retrospective waiver for past unpaid payroll tax liabilities for contractor GP wages. This will save local clinics.

The former Liberal-National Government’s failure on this issue particularly impacted regional and rural GP clinics. In providing a targeted rebate for those clinics, we can protect primary care for families and households in those communities.

Maintaining a consistent approach to payroll tax is an important objective of the NSW Government. The introduction of this support initiative recognises the overriding public interest in GPs delivering care for families and households.

This is part of a budget that will prioritise rebuilding essential services – ensuring we have the essential services the people of NSW rely on and that keeps our communities safe.

Statement from AMA’s Dr Michael Bonning:

“AMA NSW welcomes the decision by the NSW Minns Government to legislate to guarantee no retrospective payroll tax liability for general practice. The Minns Government will be the first state to offer this guarantee in legislation.

“Minister Park and Minister Houssos have been responsive to the concerns of general practice from the moment they took their portfolios. Minister Park has shown his commitment to the important role of general practice in the NSW Health system.

“Legislating ‘no retrospectivity’ will provide certainty for practices and will minimise the risk of more closures of general practices in NSW.

“Unfortunately, general practice continues to struggle with decades of underfunding from the previous Commonwealth Government.”

Statement from RACGP NSW & ACT Chair Dr Rebekah Hoffman:

“The RACGP applauds the NSW Government exempting GPs from retrospective payroll tax. This gives GPs across NSW certainty that they can continue to operate and keep their doors open for patients, without fear of being hit with a huge tax bill that will shut them down.

“The RACGP thanks Ministers Houssos and Park for negotiating with the college in good faith and for understanding the devastating impact retrospective tax would have on NSW practices, patients, and our state’s health system. We appreciate the very tight budgetary constraints the NSW Government is under and know this decision wasn’t taken lightly.

“The tax arrangements going forward will reduce future liabilities and will go a long way to ensuring NSW practices remain viable and open for patients, and those that are bulk-billing may continue.”

Speeding on the Hume Highway targeted as part of cross border road safety blitz – Operation Furious

Speeding will be the focus of one of the largest cross-border high visibility road safety operations in recent times, by NSW Police and Victoria Police this week.

Operation Furious, started yesterday (Monday 17 June 2024) and running until Thursday 20 June, and will be targeting speeding and dangerous driving on the Hume Highway from Haberfield, in the inner-city suburbs of Sydney, to Albury on the New South Wales/Victorian border.

In conjunction with NSW Police, Operation Hamilton will be conducted by Victoria Police from Wodonga on the New South Wales/Victorian border to Melbourne.

The high-visibility operation will involve NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Command officers, with assistance from inspectors from the National Heavy vehicle Regulator to ensure heavy vehicle drivers are compliant with vehicle regulations.

More than 180 NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol officers will be deployed over the four days in marked and unmarked vehicles, conducting stationary and random speed enforcements.

Results for the first 24 hours of Operation Furious include, 104 drivers detected speeding, 349 random breath tests conducted, 79 random drug tests conducted, 1 positive breath test, 5 positive drug tests and 61 other traffic infringement notices issued.

Notable incidents include;

  • About 7am yesterday (Monday 17 June 2024), officers attached to Highway Patrol Hume sector were conducting speed enforcement on the Hume Highway, Mittagong when they allegedly detected a Volkswagen sedan driven by a P-plater travelling north at 191km/hr in a 110km/hr. The 21-year-old driver was issued with a traffic infringement notice for P2 driver exceed speed limit – over 45km/hr. He was issued with a $2794 fine and his license suspended for 6 months.
  • About 10.35pm yesterday (Monday 17 June 2024), officers attached to Campbelltown Highway Patrol were conducting speed enforcement on the Hume Motorway, Woodbine, when they allegedly detected a BMW sedan and a Mitsubishi sedan travelling at 212km/hr in a 110km/hr speed zone. Officers pulled over a 23-year-old male driver and 24-year-old male driver. Both drivers were issued with future court attendance notices for, organise/promote etc race between vehicles, drive recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous and class A motor vehicle exceed speed over 45 km/h. The older male had his license suspended. The 23-year-old QLD license holder has his driving privileges suspended in NSW.

Traffic and Highway Patrol South West Commander, Superintendent Rob Toynton, said the Hume Highway is a busy stretch of road and the sight of too many serious crashes.

“We know more than 21 thousand motorists use this stretch of road every day. Since June 2023, there has been more than 350 major collisions on the Hume Highway resulting in 7 people losing their lives. We make no apologies for targeting drivers driving dangerously and putting themselves – and more importantly – other road users at risk,” said Superintendent Toynton.

“This joint operation involving NSW Police and Victoria Police, means drivers who do the wrong thing have nowhere to hide. You can expect to see Police officers on the Hume Highway from Sydney to Melbourne, with our main focus on driving down the road toll and reducing the number of serious crashes, which we know have lifelong consequences for those involved.”

South West Commander, Superintendent Rob Toynton said motorists need to heed the warnings from NSW Police but also take personal responsibility for their actions.

“We are reminding motorists to drive to the conditions, have a plan B if you’re drinking, stick to the speed limit, wear a seatbelt and don’t take unnecessary risks because everyone deserves to arrive at their destination safely,” Superintendent Toynton said.

Further operations are planned, focusing on reducing serious crashes and fatalities on the Hume Highway.

Building a stronger Fire and Rescue NSW

The Minns Labor Government is investing an additional $189.5 million over 4 years to provide job security for hundreds of firefighters statewide.

The 2024-25 NSW Budget preserves the jobs of almost 300 firefighters and delivers funding for a key new fire station.

This must-have investment is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to rebuild essential services and help communities prepare for emergencies.

The government is delivering on its long-term plan to rebuild our essential services by investing in physical infrastructure and in the frontline workers who deliver the services the people of NSW need.

This is part of the Minns Labor Government’s plan to build stronger, safer communities across the state.

A plan to rebuild Fire and Rescue NSW.

A plan to build a better NSW.

Guaranteeing firefighter jobs

The Labor Government’s 2024-25 Budget will guarantee the positions of the 286 existing firefighters whose roles did not previously have ongoing funding, including those at Oran Park station.

This will ensure FRNSW’s critical service delivery and comes as 20 extra firefighters, recruited this year, prepare to graduate later this month.

New fire station

The Minns Labor Government is also planning for the future needs of Western Sydney and the new airport.

This Budget invests $15.4 million to buy land and build a new 24-hour fire station at Badgerys Creek equipped with 3 new appliances.

The strategically located facility will boost emergency services coverage across south-west Sydney alongside the soon-to-be-opened Busby Station.

Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said:

“We have set about rebuilding frontline emergency services for the long term, so they are in a stronger and more sustainable position to protect the people of NSW.

“We always knew the former government failed to adequately prepare for population growth, but the extent to which it neglected to fund existing resources is truly alarming, with the salaries of almost 300 active permanent firefighters never budgeted for.

“These firefighters are needed on the frontline and are on the job keeping the community safe, but the former government forced Fire and Rescue NSW to put their salaries on the credit card and never paid the bill.

“By prioritising investment in firefighters and new stations, we will be better prepared for emergencies and able to confront the evolving challenges posed by natural disasters.

“These investments through the 2024-25 NSW Budget underscore our focus on safeguarding the wellbeing of NSW residents and communities in times of crisis, while continuing to manage the state’s finances responsibly.”