NSW Government announces new Helensburgh Police Station, fulfilling an election commitment

The NSW Government is today announcing the plans and design for the new $3 million Helensburgh Police Station, fulfilling an election commitment support our frontline workers and invest in essential services.

The new Helensburgh Police Station will replace the existing demountable site on Waratah Street and will accommodate up to eight officers on any shift. Previously, just three officers could be accommodated.

The modular design will manage and hold all the required operational policing equipment, provide secure parking for police vehicles and stand as a modern and permanent facility to replace the previous building that is no longer fit for purpose.

A first response police vehicle will be stationed at the new site, providing 24/7 coverage of the area and a dedicated, highly visible resource. The region is also supported by specialist resources.

The new station will increase Wollongong Police District’s ability to maintain a visible presence and support community safety in the northern sector of the Command.

It will also see officers return to the area as the current demountable is not operational due to not meeting work health and safety standards. Currently, officers are deployed from Wollongong to the northern suburbs.

The NSW Labor Government promised to upgrade the existing Helensburgh Police Station during its first term, if elected to form government in 2023. Today, the Government is delivering on that important commitment.

The demolition of the current police station is set to begin next month.

The NSW Government is committed to the long-term plan of reinvesting in our essential services with both physical infrastructure as well as the people who run the services the people of NSW need.

It builds on our commitment to attract more people to the force to address the chronic shortage of officers left by the former government by:

  • abolishing the wages cap;
  • setting up a new scheme to pay students to study to become an officer; and
  • two recently announced programs specifically aimed at attracting both experienced officers and regional recruits.

Premier Chris Minns said:

“Our government is reinvesting in our essential workers and our frontline services.

“Policing is a very difficult job. It’s not an easy profession, and this government is committed to ensuring our police officers have the facilities they need to keep people safe.”

Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley said:

“After more than a decade of empty promises and inaction from the previous Liberal Government, this Labor Government is finally ending the talk and starting construction.

“For too long, the Helensburgh community has been served a forever promise. The new Helensburgh Police Station shows this Government’s commitment to supporting community safety and ensuring our hardworking police have the facilities and resources they need.

“Our police work tirelessly to serve and protect their community and I am determined to support them in every way I can. That’s why we’ve announced a suite of recruitment measures, including paid study, to get more boots on the ground and help prevent crime.”

Member for Heathcote Maryanne Stuart said:

“I am delighted that after 12 years of inaction by the former government that Helensburgh will now have an upgraded police station and room for officers and vehicles based there to serve the Northern Illawarra.

“I thank the people of Helensburgh and the Northern Illawarra for your belief in me when committing to deliver an upgraded Police Station for this wonderful community at the 2023 election.

“I’m proud to be part of a government that is getting on with the job of providing a police presence in the Northern Illawarra that is effective for the community and the police officers serving in the area.

“The government, community and police are looking forward to this upgrade and we are looking forward to its completion, with Police staffed locally in this station.  The people of Helensburgh and Northern Illawarra deserve nothing less.”

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb APM said:

“This new station will provide a much-needed presence in the northern suburbs of Wollongong, allowing officers to respond to the growing needs of residents.

“Up to eight officers can work from the purpose-built station, which will provide modern facilities for police to operate from.

“The people of the Illawarra will now have greater access to policing and the new station will service their needs providing a high visibility presence in the community.”

One Nation: Labor’s dud budget jacks up interest rates

The sad news from Labor’s weak and poorly-received Budget is that economists have all broadly predicted that inflation will only get worse because of federal government policies.

The primary problem with the Budget is that it hands out subsidies to cover to the cost of rising household and business costs – subsides needed because government policy is increasing the price of everything.

Economist Chris Richardson said: “You can’t subsidise your way to low inflation”. 

As Senator Malcolm Roberts said on Sky News’ panel during budget night: “Subsidies add to inflation because sellers know the subsidies exists and just raise their prices to eat that subsidy up.” 

The Reserve Bank has stated that rent subsidies add a serious component to the rate of housing inflation. 

At every turn, every Labor government policy setting is adding to the cost of living, the cost of housing and the cost of doing business. This Budget just kicks inflation down the road for a few months. 

As one analogy goes, an attempt to spend your way out of a recession is like standing in a bucket and trying to lift yourself up. Subsidies is one way the government is trying to mask the fact Australia is in a ‘per capita’ recession. 

Like everything that Labor touches, people’s lives are suffering, and Labor only makes things worse.

Two girls missing from Dungog found

Two girls missing from state’s north have been located safe and well.

The two girls – both aged 13 – were last seen together at a school on Eloiza Street, Dungog, about 9am on Tuesday (7 May 2024).

When they could not be contacted or located, officers attached to Port Stephens-Hunter Police District were notified and commenced inquiries into their whereabouts.

Following inquiries and an appeal for assistance, the girls were located in East Maitland about 3.30pm today (Thursday 9 May 2024).

Police would like to thank the media and the community for their assistance.

Generational investment in Australia’s resources to deliver a Future Made in Australia

The Albanese Government will deliver a generational investment to find new deposits of minerals and sources of energy to help build a Future Made in Australia, as part of a big focus on resources in next week’s Budget.

The Budget will show that the Government will invest $566.1 million over ten years from 2024-25 to deliver data, maps and other tools for use by the resources industry that will point the way to new discoveries, power our economy and commit to the full mapping of Australia over the next generation.

We’ll deploy Australia’s top geoscientists to fully map Australian resources that will power our future, help us make more here at home, and create good secure jobs now and for the next generation.

The landmark long-term investment, led by Geoscience Australia, underscores the Government’s plan to put the resources industry at the heart of its Future Made in Australia policy.

Through this program, regional communities, farmers and First Nations peoples will be supported to manage their land and water resources, and be more fully informed about potential mining projects.

The funding means Resourcing Australia’s Prosperity (RAP) will be fully funded for 35 years – setting our resources industry up for decades of exploration and future economy-making discoveries.

For the first time RAP will map offshore areas of Australia as well, pointing the way for sites for carbon capture and storage, as well as possible sites for clean hydrogen projects.

It will provide a deeper understanding of the resource potential of our regions by mapping out all of Australia’s groundwater systems, supporting climate resilience, our agricultural sector, and water security for communities and the environment.

Geoscience Australia’s precompetitive data program has already led to major discoveries – including deposits of the critical minerals and rare earths needed to build clean energy technologies to get to net zero.

Precompetitive geoscience is the key to the strength of Australia’s resources sector, with Deloitte Access Economics finding that existing public precompetitive geoscience was estimated to have supported $76 billion of value added to the Australian economy and 80,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2021-2022 alone.

Australian precompetitive geoscience has helped stimulate an unprecedented level of exploration activity, with 65 companies exploring across 569 tenements, covering over 290,000 square kilometres of Australia.

Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese 

“There is no nation on earth better placed than Australia to achieve our goal of moving toward a clean energy future.

“This investment highlights my Government’s commitment to building a secure and sustainable future for all Australians. By investing significantly in geoscience, we can boost our progress towards net zero.”

Minister for Resources, Madeleine King 

“The road to net zero runs through Australia’s resources sector.

“This funding will ensure we can draw the map for our resources companies to find the minerals we need to drive our economy and build the technology we need to reduce emissions.

“The Albanese Government has put the resources industry at the heart of its policy making because it knows a strong resources sector means a strong Australia.

“Geoscience Australia is a world-leading scientific institution that all Australians should be proud of, and this funding will be an unprecedented investment in our geoscience capability.”

Investing in a better future for WA

The Albanese Government is making critical investments in Western Australian infrastructure, cementing the state’s future growth.

In the 2024–25 Budget, we are committing $33.5 million towards planning works to support the development of Westport.

The Westport project is the linchpin for future trade growth in Western Australia.

It includes planning a new port and the connected road, rail and logistics operations required to move container trade from Fremantle to Kwinana. 

The Commonwealth’s commitment to the Westport project as part of the 2024-25 Budget will progress planning that is critical to facilitate construction of Westport, including:

  • Upgrading Anketell Road West
  • Kwinana Freeway widening
  • Roe Highway widening
  • Freight rail duplication and level crossing removal.

We have been working closely with the Cook Government to deliver a port that meets the latest global standards of technology, sustainability and efficiency while building in the capacity for change and innovation.

The Albanese Government’s $33.5 million investment will match the state’s contribution, taking the total investment for this planning phase to $67 million.

This project builds on what we and the Cook Government are already delivering in Western Australia including METRONET, the Tonkin Highway corridor and the Outback Way.

Where the previous Morrison Government had a deluge of press releases with a drought of delivery, the Albanese Government is ensuring that projects are properly scoped, designed and costed so they can actually be completed.

We are getting on with delivering a better future for all Australians, one made in Australia that builds economic opportunity and thriving communities.

We will have more to say about infrastructure spending in Western Australia at Budget time.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:

“We are committed to building a Future Made in Australia and this project is an example of how we are doing that.

“Western Australia is the economic engine room of Australia, and this Port will be a critical hub.

“We are pleased to work with the Cook Government to deliver this project.”

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King:

“We are working for all Australians to deliver significant infrastructure that increases opportunities and connections, builds communities and improves safety.

“The hard work we undertook to clean up the mess in the infrastructure pipeline means there is room to deal with ongoing cost pressures and plan for future projects.”

Community invited to help update shared vision for Newcastle

City of Newcastle is inviting the community to have a say on its ambitious long-term vision for Newcastle.

The Community Strategic Plan, Newcastle 2040, was adopted by Council in 2022 following extensive community consultation, providing a vision to guide and inform City of Newcastle’s strategies and projects for the next 10 years and beyond.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle was reviewing the plan as part of its commitment to providing meaningful opportunities for locals to have their say on the future of the city.

“Our Community Strategic Plan, Newcastle 2040, was developed thanks to feedback from more than 5,400 Novocastrians who shared their thoughts on what we need to do to make Newcastle a liveable, sustainable, inclusive global city,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Since adopting Newcastle 2040 in April 2022, we’ve been working to deliver our strategies and projects in alignment with the aspirations of the Newcastle community.

“We’re helping to create a more liveable city through local centre upgrades, enhanced safety and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as investment in sporting infrastructure, playgrounds, roads, and stormwater drainage.

“Newcastle is also becoming more sustainable thanks to our efforts to act on climate change to achieve net zero emissions.

“Now we want to again hear from our community as we review our Community Strategic Plan, to ensure that we are on track towards achieving our vision and have a clear plan for how we will get there.”

Residents and interested stakeholders can provide feedback before 5 July by completing a community survey online or by speaking to City of Newcastle staff at a range of pop-up events to be held across the city throughout May and June.

For more information including pop-up event dates and locations visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au/yoursay.

NSW Government levelling the playing field for women’s sport

Women’s sport has received a major injection with 26 projects receiving funding through the NSW Government’s $30 million Level the Playing Field Program.

The program, which was inspired by the success of the Matildas at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, will fund the construction of new and upgraded sports facilities, including amenities and lighting improvements across NSW.

Recipients have received grants between $200,000 – $2 million, including the new Shell Cove Sport and Recreation Facility at Shellharbour, upgrades to Bathurst Indoor Sport Stadium and upgrades to Don Waring Oval at Port Stephens.

Minister for Sport Steve Kamper joined female futsal players at Football NSW’s Indoor Futsal Stadium today after the organisation received $600,000 for upgrades to the Stadium and two fields at Valentine Sports Park in Glenwood.

Find out more about the Level the Playing Field Program, including the list of funding recipients

Minister for Sport Steve Kamper said:

“The NSW Government is levelling the playing field for women’s sport.

“By transforming and expanding sports facilities across NSW we are enabling more women and girls to participate in sport.

“But most importantly, we are providing safer, more comfortable and more inclusive facilities, breaking down the barriers that have traditionally prevented many women from participating in sport.”

Minister for Women Jodie Harrison said:

“Sport should be inclusive for people of all ages, genders and abilities.

“But we know women face different barriers to men when participating in sport.

“This program delivers on the NSW Government’s commitment to creating a level playing field for women at all levels of sport.

“Through projects like the ones announced today, we will enable more women and girls to develop a lifelong love of sport.”

Football NSW CEO John Tsatsimas said:

“Female football is bursting at the seams post the FIFA Women’s World Cup, with female participation up 17% year to date.

“The upgrading and improvement of football facilities at Valentine Sports Park will assist in attracting and retaining more females to football as we target 50/50 gender participation in the next 10 years.

“Our two infrastructure projects at Valentine Sports Park will encourage a safe, and accessible facility that significantly enhances our Home of Football, with an emphasis on creating an inclusive space for women and girls.”

Critical minerals exploration gets a boost with largest open survey data ever released in NSW

The NSW Government has taken a major step towards unlocking critical minerals and high-tech metals with a new mapping exercise of the state’s landmass, including investigations up to 50km below the surface.

Critical minerals and high-tech metals – such as copper and nickel – are key components in solar panels, EV batteries, wind turbines and other products. These metals are crucial to the energy transition to help put downwards pressure on both emissions and power prices.

The demand for critical minerals from clean energy technologies alone – including many of those minerals found in NSW – will surpass $400 billion annually by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency.

Geospatial survey data is crucial in assisting minerals explorers to target their searches for potentially rich deposits of critical minerals and high-tech deposits.

The data is free and publicly available and represents a significant milestone in enhancing the understanding of the state’s geology. It will play a key role in unlocking new mining projects for decades into the future.

The geophysical survey campaign covered over one-sixth of the state. The survey data includes data captured across more than 148,000 square kilometres.

More than 8 aircraft over 18 months were used to collect the data.

This included using sound waves to delve up to 50 kilometres beneath the surface.

Minister for Natural Resources Courtney Houssos yesterday launched the data in remarks to the NSW Minerals Council’s Exploration and Tenures Forum.

NSW will play a leading role in the future of natural resources in Australia, with:

  • Deposits of 21 of the 31 nationally identified critical minerals, and
  • Deposits or occurrences of all five minerals on the Commonwealth Government’s Strategic Minerals List.

Currently, there are more than 2,600 people directly employed in critical minerals and high-tech metals mines in the Central West of NSW, and another 1,260 in the Far West. A further 1,600 people are projected to be employed if currently proposed projects begin mining.

It deployed a comprehensive suite of cutting-edge survey methods, including airborne electromagnetic (AEM), airborne magnetic and radiometric (AMR), gravity, and deep crustal reflection seismic surveys to collect the data.

The NSW Government is currently reviewing its Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy to best position the state to take advantage of the opportunities these resources provide to the future of employment, industry and the net zero transition.

The NSW Government has invested $7.7 million in the geophysical acquisition campaign.

Key highlights include:

  • The Forbes to Dubbo AEM Survey will unearth invaluable insights into the geological characteristics of the area.
  • The Cobar to Yathong Seismic Survey used sound waves to delve deep beneath the surface, the Cobar to Yathong area, reached depths of up to 50 kilometres within the Yathong–Ivanhoe Trough and Cobar Basin, from south of Cobar to Nyngan. This seismic survey will unveil crucial information about the geological structures present in the region including data on critical minerals used in advanced manufacturing.
  • The Yathong AEM and AMR Surveys were instrumental in mapping the geology of this area. Essential data is available for mineral exploration and resource assessment.

These surveys map large areas of land with minimal disruption to the environment, to help better understand geology and possibly uncover groundwater aquifers.

Gathering survey data is non-invasive and uses seismic tools and aircraft to gather the data with minimal impact on regional communities.

The surveys were conducted in collaboration with Geoscience Australia and represent a significant milestone in enhancing the understanding of the state’s geological composition and structure.

The data can also be used by water resources scientists to investigate groundwater. While groundwater traditionally comes from river floodplains and springs, researchers have been looking for more water resources in aquifers or reservoirs with the aim of supporting regional communities.

The acquired data is now available in MinView which also contains all available public data in NSW, offering geoscientists, governments, explorers, and farmers a wealth of information to facilitate informed decision-making.

For more information visit the Resource Regulator website.

Minister for Natural Resources Courtney Houssos:

“Critical minerals are crucial to the future of the global pathway to net zero and growing employment in regional NSW.

“The release of this data will help stimulate investment and make sure NSW continues to lead the exploration and development of critical minerals in Australia.

“These surveys are an important piece of the puzzle in developing our understanding of the state’s geological properties, and groundwater supplies. This is crucial information for farmers and regional communities.”

New measures to get knives off the street and boost community safety

The NSW Government is today announcing a package of common-sense reforms to target possession of knives, particularly among young people, reduce knife crime and boost community safety.

The government will:

  • Develop legislation modelled on Queensland’s Jack’s Law which will give police powers to “wand” or “scan” people for knives without a warrant in designated areas, including transport hubs, shopping centres and other crowded places:
    • these powers will be made available in circumstances where a relevant weapons offence/knife crime has occurred within the past 6 months
    • an authority can then be issued by police, enabling them to “wand” or “scan” people, and
    • the authority will last for 12 hours, with an option to extend as required.
  • Make it illegal to sell knives to a child under the age of 18, with provisions for exemptions for retailers selling to young people who need a knife for their work or study.
  • Increase penalties for people selling knives to young people under the age of 18.

The package of reforms will help address knife-related crime, get knives off streets and keep the community safer.

The new “wanding” laws will be based on Jack’s Law and adapted for the NSW context with details being finalised ahead of legislation to be introduced to parliament.

Their aim will be to keep the community safe, targeting areas where there have been increasing issues related to knife crime or knife possession offences, which could be on public transport or in nightlife, entertainment, or shopping precincts.

The reforms build upon responsible action taken by the NSW Government including:

  • doubling of the maximum penalties for various knife related offences in 2023
  • the review by the NSW Sentencing Council into of sentencing for firearms, knives, and other weapons offences
  • ongoing high impact NSW Police operations such as “Operation Foil” – an ongoing, targeted operation which last ran from 11 to 13 April 2024. It targets knife crime and anti-social behaviour with 51 knives/weapons seized and 145 people charged with weapon-related offences. In the last year alone almost 4000 knives were seized in public places.

The reforms send a strong message about the seriousness of knife related violence and the NSW Government’s commitment to take immediate proactive steps to prevent future tragedies, while also addressing longer term challenges such as serious mental health issues and the broader incidence of violent crime.

Premier Chris Minns said:

“In recent weeks and months, we have all borne witness to the devastating outcomes of knife related violence.

“I know that many in our community have followed the devastating media coverage and heard the stories of victims and families – tragically there have been so many recent examples.

“Our communities are still in mourning, but it’s essential that we step up to take immediate action to send a clear message that NSW will simply not accept these kinds of crimes.

“Today we are announcing reform including legislation modelled on new powers for police to search and detect knives in public spaces, based on Queensland’s Jack’s Law, and a common-sense increase to the age limit for purchasing knives from 16 to 18 to make it harder for children to get access to these deadly weapons.”

Minister for the Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley said:

“This sends a strong signal that we are committed to tackling violent knife crime in our community.

“These reforms send a strong warning to would-be perpetrators.

“I want to thank Mr and Mrs Beasley and our colleagues in the Queensland Government for working with us to share their experiences and their knowledge in regard to Jack’s Law.

“No parent should go through what the Beasleys and many other families have gone through. No life should be cut short by violent crime.

“We’ll be looking at how these strategies work in a NSW context. Strategies that we know are making a difference in Queensland.

“These reforms will give police improved tools to quickly detect concealed knives and take action before a potential perpetrator has the chance to use them.

“These reforms are about keeping people safe. I want the community to have the confidence that this government is committed to giving the NSW Police Force all the tools required to combat violent crime.”

Attorney General Michael Daley said:

“These changes increase police powers, toughen penalties and send a clear signal that it is not okay to carry a knife.

“There are too many young people who think it is okay to put a knife into their pocket to carry out their daily business. The worrying thing is that, if they are open to carrying it, then they are probably open to using it. We want people to stop carrying knives, to leave them at home and to stop using them.”

New flight route between Australia and Palau

Australia and Palau are partnering together to expand connectivity in the Pacific with a new non-stop flight service between Brisbane, Australia and Koror, Palau.

The Palau Paradise Express, operated by Nauru Airlines, will be a direct flight between Australia and Palau and will help create new opportunities for regional tourism and trade.

This year Australia and Palau celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, building on decades of cooperation in the Blue Pacific.

This initiative will help deepen the warm bonds between our countries and peoples.

Together we are committed to achieving a stronger, more connected Pacific region through sustainable tourism, trade, and business links.

The new route provides yet another avenue for people and businesses to move between Australia and the North Pacific – complementing the ‘Island Hopper’ flight between Brisbane, Nauru, Tarawa, Majuro, Pohnpei and Koror.

The first Palau Paradise Express flight departs in May.

Nauru Airlines will operate the flight until 31 October 2024. Eligible Australian, Pacific, and Asian airlines will be invited to participate in a limited tender to operate the route through October 2025.

President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. President of the Republic of Palau:

“We are grateful for Australia’s strong partnership and efforts to promote tourism and trade, and to capitalize on government, business, and community linkages.

“The Australia-Pacific Partnerships for Aviation Program (P4A) has opened a new level of cooperation between Palau and Australia. Our combined efforts up to this point have laid the groundwork to realize new opportunities.

“This next phase with Nauru Airlines connects us to other nations within the South Pacific and Micronesia. We appreciate the chance to work with our Pacific family to find ways to ensure we prosper together.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong:

“Australia and Palau share common values and together we are delivering on our commitment to strengthening the Pacific.

“Thanks to President Whipps’ strong support, we can take this important step towards strengthening economic growth in the region.

“Australia has heard the calls from Pacific leaders for deeper connections and easier movement around the region, and is working to improve access, mobility, and migration opportunities.

“Through the P4A program, we are partnering with countries in the Pacific for a safer, more resilient and sustainable aviation sector.”