Community input needed to make Newcastle a more walkable city

City of Newcastle is inviting Novocastrians to share their thoughts on the safety and accessibility of pedestrian crossings to help guide future installations and upgrades across the city.

Residents will provide feedback on the different types of crossings, as well as recently completed raised pedestrian crossings in suburbs including New Lambton, Waratah, Birmingham Gardens, Broadmeadow, and Merewether.

Cr Adamczyk and Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen use the pedestrian crossing at New LambtonCr Adamczyk and Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen use the pedestrian crossing at New LambtonDeputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said encouraging more people to walk is important for the wellbeing of our community and the liveability of our city.

“We’re preparing a more strategic approach to how we plan and deliver pedestrian crossings across Newcastle by addressing barriers to walking,” Cr Clausen said.

“With a better understanding of how different crossing types improve the experience of pedestrians, we’ll be able to implement appropriate crossings that prioritise safety and accessibility.

“We want to ensure our pedestrian crossings reflect the diversity of our community and cater to the needs of all Novocastrians including older residents, people with mobility or vision impairments, parents with prams, school children and tourists.”

Councillor Elizabeth Adamczyk, Chair of the Walking and Mobility Working Party said the survey would help shed light on community experiences and perceptions of the safety benefits of different pedestrian crossing types.

“Community feedback will help to improve safety and accessibility of walking in our city,” Cr Adamczyk said.

“By reducing the barriers related to crossing the road, we aim to improve safe continuous pathways of travel and enhance the experience for pedestrians of all mobilities and abilities.”

To take part in the survey visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au/yoursay

Feedback closes at 5pm on 10 June 2024.

Broadmeadow’s future mapped for the next 30 years

The NSW Government welcomes the City of Newcastle releasing a bold vision for Broadmeadow to outline how housing, employment opportunities and public spaces are developed over the next 30 years.

Council’s draft Broadmeadow Place Strategy envisages the revitalisation of a 313-hectare precinct, 3km west of Newcastle’s CBD, with up to 20,000 new homes and 15,000 jobs while retaining Broadmeadow as the region’s premier sport and entertainment destination.  

To support the supply of new housing, the NSW Government will shortly release rezoning plans for consultation that proposes the development of new homes on identified government-owned land as part of the first stage.

Together, NSW Government and the City of Newcastle are preparing for major urban renewal given Broadmeadow’s central location, public transport, government-owned land and large industrial sites. The plans will outline how government-owned land can be utilised so that more housing, including affordable and diverse housing, is available for the people of the Hunter region.

Broadmeadow is well known as a leisure destination and this project builds on significant sport, entertainment, leisure and recreation opportunities that will attract major events to Newcastle with high-quality public transport so the people that live and visit can move around safely and easily.

NSW is the midst of a housing crisis and the draft Broadmeadow Place Strategy provides a great opportunity to plan for more homes.

The draft Broadmeadow Place Strategy will go to a vote of councillors at the next council meeting and if approved, will go on public exhibition.

For more information visit the Broadmeadow Place Strategy.

The NSW Government’s rezoning plan will go on exhibition for the community to have their say in coming weeks.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said:

“This collaborative approach to create a vision for the Broadmeadow precinct from different levels of government is about securing more housing and a better future for Newcastle.

“We have been working with council on these complementary plans and I encourage the community to have its say when they go on exhibition.”

Minister for the Hunter Yasmin Catley said:

“Broadmeadow has unparalleled potential to deliver tens of thousands of new homes and jobs for the Hunter.

“The place strategy proposes a liveable and growing community which will stimulate development, encourage population growth and provide new investment opportunities.”

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said:

“Broadmeadow offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver vital affordable housing, jobs and infrastructure to support our housing strategy, as well as access to quality public open spaces and improved leisure facilities right in the heart of Newcastle.”

Community input needed to make Newcastle a more walkable city

City of Newcastle is inviting Novocastrians to share their thoughts on the safety and accessibility of pedestrian crossings to help guide future installations and upgrades across the city.

Residents will provide feedback on the different types of crossings, as well as recently completed raised pedestrian crossings in suburbs including New Lambton, Waratah, Birmingham Gardens, Broadmeadow, and Merewether.

Cr Adamczyk and Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen use the pedestrian crossing at New LambtonCr Adamczyk and Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen use the pedestrian crossing at New LambtonDeputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said encouraging more people to walk is important for the wellbeing of our community and the liveability of our city.

“We’re preparing a more strategic approach to how we plan and deliver pedestrian crossings across Newcastle by addressing barriers to walking,” Cr Clausen said.

“With a better understanding of how different crossing types improve the experience of pedestrians, we’ll be able to implement appropriate crossings that prioritise safety and accessibility.

“We want to ensure our pedestrian crossings reflect the diversity of our community and cater to the needs of all Novocastrians including older residents, people with mobility or vision impairments, parents with prams, school children and tourists.”

Councillor Elizabeth Adamczyk, Chair of the Walking and Mobility Working Party said the survey would help shed light on community experiences and perceptions of the safety benefits of different pedestrian crossing types.

“Community feedback will help to improve safety and accessibility of walking in our city,” Cr Adamczyk said.

“By reducing the barriers related to crossing the road, we aim to improve safe continuous pathways of travel and enhance the experience for pedestrians of all mobilities and abilities.”

To take part in the survey visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au/yoursay

Feedback closes at 5pm on 10 June 2024.

Swansea surf clubs share in $5 million

Surf life saving clubs in the Swansea have shared in more than $5 million in funding under the NSW Government’s Surf Club Facility Program. 

Swansea Belmont, and The Lakes Surf Life Saving Clubs were among 32 clubs to be awarded grants for the upgrade, restoration and construction of facilities under the Program. 

Swansea Belmont Surf Life Saving Club was awarded $38,462 to upgrade its CCTV system as part of an overall clubhouse security upgrade. 

The Lakes Surf Life Saving Club was awarded $31,511 for the installation of solar panels, lighting upgrades and a replacement garage door. 

The Surf Club Facility Program helps surf life saving clubs develop facilities that encourage increased participation and facility usage as well as improve community safety. 

The NSW Government has allocated $16 million to the Program over four years. This was boosted an additional $5 million in the 2023/24 NSW State Budget as part of a $23 million funding increase to Surf Life Saving NSW to better protect beachgoers and reduce drownings. 

For further information on the Surf Club Facility Program, including the recipients in the 2023/24 Program, visit: https://www.sport.nsw.gov.au/grants/surf-club-facility-program 

Member for Swansea, Yasmin Catley said: 

“Swansea surf life saving volunteers are the unsung heroes of our community, protecting locals and visitors in the water. 

“These grants will contribute towards the development of modern, fit for purpose facilities that enables surf life savers to better protect the community and continue to deliver a world-class service. 

Minister for Sport Steve Kamper said: 

“NSW Surf Life Saving Clubs deliver a world-class service, protecting swimmers in the water and keeping people safe at the beach. 

“Rain, hail or shine, surf lifesavers never waver in their commitment to protecting the community and likewise, the NSW Government will not waver in its support of these incredible volunteers. 

“That’s why we are providing $21 million over four years to ensure our surf life saving clubs have modern, inclusive and accessible facilities.” 

Surf Life Saving NSW President, Peter Agnew said: 

“The volunteer patrol season has only just finished, with our more than 20,000 active surf lifesavers performing over 4,600 rescues, 1 million preventative actions and almost 20,000 first aid treatments. It has been one of our busiest patrol seasons in years. 

“The Surf Club Facility Program has always contributed greatly to the ongoing important community service our lifesavers deliver, through enhanced facilities to ensure our lifesavers are rescue ready, trained and equipped appropriately, and it’s excellent to see 32 clubs benefitting from the latest round of funding. 

“Our surf clubs also act as key community hubs, promoting inclusivity and social cohesion, so this investment benefits all the community. 

“We have 129 clubs across the state, with 78,000 members, and this program allows those members, who do such important work volunteering at our beaches, to focus on saving lives.” 

Appeal to locate missing man – Newcastle

Police are appealing for public assistance to locate a man missing from Newcastle.

Benjamin Newton, age 35, was last seen leaving a hospital on Church Street, Newcastle about 4.40pm yesterday (Sunday 19 May 2024).

When he could not be located or contacted, he was reported missing to Newcastle City Police District on Sunday (13 May 2024), with officers commencing inquiries to locate him.

Police and family hold concerns for Benjamin’s welfare.

He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, of medium build, about 180cm tall, with brown hair, brown eyes and a beard.

Benjamin was last seen wearing a black jumper and black tracksuit pants.

Police believe he could be in the Sydney area.

Anyone with information into Benjamin’s whereabouts is urged to contact Newcastle City Police District or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Appeal to locate man wanted on outstanding warrants – Newcastle

Police are appealing for public assistance to locate a wanted man last seen in the Cardiff area.

Hughie Buckley, aged 21, is wanted on an outstanding warrant over pursuit-related offences.

Hughie is also wanted by Victoria Police in relation to an aggravated home invasion.

Officers attached to Lake Macquarie Police District have been conducting inquiries into his whereabouts.

Hughie is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 175cm tall with a slim build, brown hair, and a distinctive Irish accent.

Anyone with information into his whereabouts is urged not to approach him but to call Triple Zero (000) immediately

City of Newcastle progresses dual-lane road upgrades in Wallsend

City of Newcastle is moving forward with plans to ease congestion in the growing western corridor, seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from contractors to deliver two dual-lane road upgrades.

Detailed designs are progressing to widen and upgrade Minmi Road (between Maryland Drive and the Summerhill Road roundabout) and Longworth Avenue.

The projects will create two lanes of traffic in each direction to reduce traffic congestion and bottlenecks, as well as remove difficult right turns and add in separate, dedicated turning lanes where possible. 

Following the EOI process, a shortlisted group of contractors will be invited to submit a tender for a combined construction package later this year, with works planned to commence in early 2025.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes reiterated the importance of these upgrades to the community.

“This project will play a critical role in easing congestion and improving the flow of traffic and therefore safety in this growing part of our city,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Feedback received from the community on the concept designs indicated strong support for the prioritisation of these works, and a desire to see travel times reduced and safety improved.

“Calling for expressions of interest now, followed by a selective tender process, will ensure that we have a contractor in place to commence work early next year.”

Executive Manager Project Management Office Robert Dudgeon acknowledged the need to plan ahead for construction.

“We recognise that construction of this scale can have an impact on the day-to-day journey for commuters in the area, and that our upgrade will be delivered in parallel with a number of other major road upgrades including the nearby Inner City Bypass,” Mr Dudgeon said.

“We have looked ahead to determine strategies for alleviating congestion and minimising delays to commuters during the construction phase.”

To improve traffic flow both ahead of and during construction of these upgrades, a series of smaller traffic changes are being considered and will be shared with the community for feedback in the coming weeks.

“Making adjustments to the flow of traffic in neighbouring areas will help reduce bottlenecks that result from the changes required to deliver these much-needed upgrades,” Mr Dudgeon said. 

The community can provide feedback on the proposed traffic changes from 31 May until 1 July by visiting City of Newcastle’s Have Your Say website. 

A Lord Mayoral Minute in 2022 allocated $26 million to the Minmi Road and Longworth Avenue projects.

City of Newcastle also secured $7.61 million from the NSW Government’s Accelerated Infrastructure Fund to contribute towards the projects.

Man charged after $1m cannabis seized in hydro house raid – Muswellbrook

A man is due to appear in Singleton Local Court today charged after more a hydroponic cannabis house was found in Muswellbrook yesterday.

Officers attached to Hunter Valley Police District commenced an investigation into the alleged cultivation of illegal drugs after information was provided to police in March this year.

Following inquiries, officers executed a search warrant on a home in Madringa Avenue about 10am (Wednesday 15 May 2024).

Police discovered a sophisticated enhanced hydroponic set up inside the home incorporating artificial lighting and watering systems. A total of 188 plants were identified within the house, along with 18.4kg of dried cannabis in vacuum-sealed bags.

Police will allege the plants have an estimated potential street value of $550,000 while the leaf has an estimated potential street value of $460,000.

A 55-year-old man was arrested at the scene and was taken to Muswellbrook Police Station where he was charged with knowingly take part in the cultivation of cannabis, and take part in the supply of cannabis.

He has been refused bail to appear in Singleton Local Court later today (Thursday 16 May 2024).

What the 2024 Budget means for Newcastle

TAX CUTS
Newcastle’s 78,000 taxpayers will receive a tax cut from 1 July – 13,000 more than would have benefitted from Scott Morrison’s plan from five years ago. On average, Newcastle taxpayers will have an extra $1,642 in their pocket.

ENERGY BILL RELIEF
From 1 July 2024, every household will receive a $300 energy rebate, and there’s a $325 rebate for about 1 million eligible small businesses.

HECS-HELP RELIEF FOR STUDENTS
We’re making HECS simpler and fairer. The Government will cut $3 billion in student debt for more than 3 million Australians backdated to 1 June 2023. This change will support 25,398 people with a HELP debt in Newcastle.

PAID PLACEMENTS
The Commonwealth Prac Payment will support students undertaking mandatory work placements with $319.50 per week during their clinical and professional placements. This will help up to 5,200 students who are enrolled in teaching, nursing, midwifery and social work at the University of Newcastle.

CHEAPER MEDICINES
Pensioners and other commonwealth concession card holders in Newcastle won’t pay more than $7.70 for their PBS medications for the next 5 years, thanks to the Albanese Government’s commitment to delivering cheaper medicines. Everyone else with a medicare card will pay no more than $31.60 per script for PBS medicines.

COMMONWEALTH RENT ASSISTANCE
We’re increasing the maximum rates of Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 10 per cent. This will benefit 7,810 households in Newcastle. This builds on the Government’s 15 per cent increase, which commenced in September 2023.

SUPERANNUATION ON PAID PARENTAL LEAVE
Eligible parents with babies born or adopted on or after 1 July 2025 will receive a superannuation payment of 12 per cent, as a contribution to their nominated superannuation fund. This will make the super system fairer, and benefit 180,000 families a year.

A DEDICATED WOMEN’S HEALTH PACKAGE
The health and care of women will be better met, with over $160 million to tailor services, tackle bias and improve access. This includes investing $49.1 million to introduce longer consultation items for patients with complex gynaecological conditions (such as suspected endometriosis, pelvic pain and PCOS) and $7 million over four years to support women and their families who have suffered miscarriage and pregnancy loss.

INFRASTRUCTURE
The Albanese Government is providing funding for infrastructure in Newcastle including:
$10 million of Australian Government funding for Critical Renewable Energy Zones Road Infrastructure (Port of Newcastle to Renewable Energy Zone)
An additional $30.6 million of Australian Government funding for Newcastle Inner City Bypass, Rankin Park to Jesmond
An additional $112 million of Australian Government funding for M1 Pacific Motorway Extension to Raymond Terrace
This Budget also locks in progressive increases to local roads funding. This brings the total five year investment in Roads to Recovery funding for the Newcastle electorate to more than $25 million.

The Regional Airports Program will be extended with an additional $40 million in competitive grant funding over three years from 2024-25.

We will invest $100 million in a new Active Transport Fund open to states and territories to fund new bicycle and walking paths across the country.

The Albanese Government’s election commitment for an Australian-flagged and crewed maritime strategic fleet has been advanced in this Budget. The strategic fleet will be established through a pilot program with three vessels.

We are providing $10.8 million in 2024-25 for a one-year National Road Safety Education and awareness campaign, and $21.1 million over four years from 2024-28 to improve the reporting of national road safety data via the National Road Safety Data Hub.

A FUTURE MADE IN NEWCASTLE
The Albanese Labor Government is building an economy that will position regions like ours to benefit from the opportunities in the decades ahead, bringing new jobs and opportunities to Newcastle.
We’re investing $3.2 billion over the next decade through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to support the commercialisation of technologies that are critical to net zero, including through a new $1.7 billion Future Made in Australia Innovation Fund for the deployment of innovative technologies and facilities linked to priority sectors, including green metals, batteries and low carbon liquid fuel.

BUILDING A RENEWABLE ENERGY FUTURE IN NEWCASTLE
We’re investing $1.3 billion over the next decade in the Hydrogen Headstart program to provide additional support to early-movers investing in the industry’s development;
We’re implementing a Hydrogen Production Tax Incentive to provide a $2 incentive per kilogram of renewable hydrogen produced between 2027-28 to 2039-40, for up to ten years per project, at an estimated cost to the Budget of $6.7 billion over the medium term;
We’re investing $17.1 million to implement our National Hydrogen Strategy which will help Australia become a global hydrogen leader by 2030;
$27.7 million to better integrate consumer energy resources (like rooftop solar and household batteries) into the grid;
Unlocking $65 billion of renewable energy capacity through the continued roll out of the Capacity Investment Scheme.
$1.5 billion to strengthen battery and solar panel supply chains via the Solar Sunshot Program and Battery Breakthrough Initiative;
HOMES FOR MORE AUSTRALIANS
The Albanese Government is supporting the construction of more homes for home buyers and renters by:
$1 billion to get homes built sooner, with funding for states including to provide roads, services and parks, essential for additional housing supply.
Providing $88.8 million for 20,000 new fee-free TAFE places, including increased access to pre-apprenticeship programs, in courses relevant to the construction sector.
Doubling Commonwealth funding for homelessness support and building more social housing through offering a new $9.3 billion National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness with $423.1 million in additional funding.
Building more social and affordable rental housing with a $2.5 billion increase in the liability cap of Housing Australia, and an additional $3 billion in loans to Housing Australia to support ongoing delivery of the program.
Unlocking up to $1 billion for more homes through the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to be directed towards housing that supports women and children fleeing domestic and family violence and young Australians.

This Budget builds on the cost of living measures Federal Labor has already put in place, like cheaper childcare for families, as well as creating jobs and getting wages moving again. We know there’s more to do, and we’ll keep working every day to deliver for all Australians.

Teen charged after police vehicle allegedly rammed – Lake Macquarie

A teen has been charged and will face Court after a police car was allegedly rammed at Lake Macquarie earlier this morning.

About 2.30am (Monday 13 May 2024), a fully marked police vehicle was parked and unattended on Oxford Street, Gateshead, when an unknown vehicle collided with the front offside of the police vehicle, rendering the police vehicle inoperable and drove away from the scene without stopping.

There were no reports of any injuries.

Officers from Lake Macquarie Police District Proactive Crime Team commenced an investigation into the incident.

Following inquiries, about 12.00pm today, police located a silver Jeep Cherokee 4WD abandoned in Eino Place, Ellebana. Investigations revealed the vehicle had earlier been reported stolen from Salamander Bay on Thursday 9 May 2024 and was believed to being involved in the collision with the police vehicle.

A short time later, police attended Jonathan Street, Ellebana, and spoke with a15-year-old-boy.

The boy was arrested and taken to Belmont Police Station where he was charged with seven offences – larceny, face blackened/disguised with intent to commit an indictable offence, drive conveyance taken without consent of owner, not give particulars to other driver, drive manner dangerous, commit Section 154A offence and disseminate (post and boast) and goods in custody.

The boy was refused bail and will appear before a Children’s Court tomorrow (Tuesday 14 May 2024).