Massive rise in racism concerns must impel action

Australian Greens Anti-racism spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said the findings of the latest Mapping Social Cohesion report, which highlight a substantial increase in Australians’ concerns about racism, should drive government action. 60% of people now say racism is a big problem, up from 40% just last year.
Senator Faruqi said:
“People are more and more worried about rising racism in the community.
“Increasing community awareness has aligned with the continued growth of far-right, racist movements. The impacts of racist hatred on minority communities can no longer be denied.
“Meanwhile, the Morrison government’s head is firmly planted in the sand. The government hasn’t funded a national anti-racism strategy since 2015.
“Just because a conservative government full of white men doesn’t feel the brunt of racism doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
“ASIO is now saying up to 50 per cent of its domestic counter-terrorism caseload is taken up by ideologically-motivated extremism, which has been driven by a rise in right-wing extremism.
“We urgently need federal government investment in a national anti-racism strategy and a coordinated plan to tackle the far-right.”

National emissions data shows pollution rising

Today’s quarterly emissions data reveals that emissions have risen by almost 2% this quarter and that the temporary decrease in carbon pollution during COVID-19 is wearing off.
Even more concerningly, June quarter emissions were 128 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, the highest number since December 2019 and the beginning of the pandemic.
Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt MP said this proves the only way to take genuine action on climate change is to kick the Liberals out, and put the Greens into balance of power.
Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP said:
“We’re in a climate emergency, but emissions are increasing.
“Our pollution needs to be rapidly falling but instead it’s increasing.
“Emissions are at their highest level since December 2019.
“A pandemic is not a climate plan.
“Scott Morrison has been relying on lockdowns to deliver his measly emissions cuts, but across Australia, Labor and Liberal Federal, State and Territory governments are opening more coal and gas projects, and now we’re starting to see the effect of it.
“We need to get out of fossil fuels, but Liberal and Labor are opening up more coal and gas, and now our emissions are rising instead of falling.
“What part of ‘no more coal and gas’ don’t Liberal and Labor understand? This week’s approval of $50 million to frack the Beetaloo Basin will increase Australia’s emission even further.
“We need to take genuine climate action, and we can’t take another three years of the Liberals’ lies and fudged figures. We need to kick the Liberals out and put the Greens into balance of power, where we’ll push the next government to phase out coal and gas and reduce emissions 75% by 2030.”

$37.2 million for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder support and awareness

The Morrison Government is investing more than $37 million for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnostic services to increase access and reduce waiting times, as well as launching a new National Awareness Campaign for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Women.
FASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder resulting from prenatal exposure to alcohol. It is a preventable disorder which can have a terrible, lifelong impact on mothers, their babies and families.
FASD babies suffer increased risk of premature birth, as well as permanent damage to their brain and other critical organs. More than 2 per cent of Australian babies may be born with some form of FASD.
From November 30, in an Australian first, a new awareness campaign to increase awareness of the risks associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The campaign aims to support and inform women to make healthy choices while planning and during a pregnancy to reduce the risk and the incidence of FASD.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the Morrison Government was providing $27.4 million to the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), who will deliver the campaign.
“The campaign will feature messages for the general public, priority groups such as women at higher risk of alcohol exposed pregnancies, health professionals, and Indigenous populations,” Minister Hunt said.
“It also builds on our ongoing commitment to support women and families to stop drinking when trying for a baby and during their pregnancy, to prevent babies from being born with FASD, and help babies born with this condition.”
The Morrison Government is also supporting children with FASD and their families by investing $9 million to expand diagnostic services in New South Wales (including regional locations), regional Victoria and Southern and Central Queensland.
Minister for Regional Health, Dr David Gillespie, said it’s important that all families and children that need these support services can access them when and where they need them, regardless of where they live.
“The University of Sydney will receive more than $4 million to boost FASD services through the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network in multiple rural and regional communities in NSW, as well as Sydney,” Minister Gillespie said.
“The funding will also support Patches Assessment Services (NSW), the University of Queensland and the Victorian Foetal Alcohol Service (Monash Health) to deliver new services and treatment to Australians who need it.”
This funding brings total Government investment in the fight against FASD to more than
$78 million since 2014.
The funding to expand FASD diagnostic services was announced in the 2020–21 Budget as part of FASD diagnostic and support services to support the National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Strategic Action Plan 2018–2028.
For more information visit the Department of Health website for the National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan 2018–2028.

Results of FASD grant opportunity

Grant Recipient Project Description Funding Amount (ex GST)
University of Sydney
The FASD diagnostic service will operate as a hub-and-spoke model based out of the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network with sites in multiple rural and regional communities across New South Wales. $4,846,976.67
Patches Assessment Services
FASD diagnostic services will be provided within the youth justice system in Newcastle, with outreach services to Port Macquarie, Lismore and Ballina. This project recognises the over-representation of people with FASD in the criminal justice system. $2,148,163.44
University of Queensland
Funding will allow for expansion of the existing University of Queensland and Children’s Health Queensland Neurodevelopmental Clinic to reduce the current 3-year waitlist for access to services. Services will be delivered in locations across southern and central Queensland via a tiered model including telehealth support and upskilling of regional practitioners. $1,566,640.00
Victorian Fetal Alcohol Service (Monash Health)
Funding will allow expansion of the existing Commonwealth-funded Victorian Fetal Alcohol Service into more regional communities across Victoria.  Services will be delivered through a tiered model including upskilling of regional practitioners to diagnose FASD independently. $1,249,218.41


New guidelines to help GPs care for patients impacted by violence and abuse

Australian health practitioners will be better able to care for patients and their children experiencing violence and abuse under new guidelines being released today.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has released the 5th edition of The White Book, which contains updated, evidence-based guidelines designed to help health practitioners identify and respond in clinical practice to patients impacted by family and domestic violence and abuse.
To ensure the continued release of The White Book, the Morrison Government invested $300,000 over two years through the Improving Health System Response to Family and Domestic Violence – National Training for Primary Care Workforce initiative.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the initiative supports the Fourth Action Plan (2019-2022) of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2021-2022).
“We know family violence and abuse is sadly part of the lives of many Australians across the country. We also know victims and survivors often turn to their GP for support, and that their GPs response can make all the difference,” Minister Hunt said.
“The update of this key resource for GPs will ensure our nation’s doctors have best practice guidance on how to recognise and respond to people experiencing family and domestic violence.”
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the impacts of violence in the community cannot be ignored and often present in a health context.
“GPs are highly respected and trusted members of the community which means they are often the first person to which a victim-survivor will make a disclosure,” Minister Ruston said.
“This is an important update to The White Book which will equip GPs and other health practitioners with the latest evidence-based knowledge and make a real difference for patients who have made the courageous decision to disclose details of violence, assault or abuse.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey 2016, an estimated 1 in 6 (17%, or 1.6 million) women and 1 in 16 (6.1%, or 0.5 million) men had experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or previous cohabiting partner since the age of 15.
The White Book will be published on the RACGP website.

War on graffiti expands through youth community partnership

Young people convicted of vandalising local properties will now be required to remove graffiti from shop fronts, as well as the walls of homes and businesses thanks to a partnership between the City of Newcastle and the NSW Government.
Traditionally, young offenders have removed graffiti from Council owned properties as part of their community service order. From January, private property owners will be able to request via the City of Newcastle to have graffiti removed from their home or business at no cost, as part of a 12-month trial.
City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said the benefits of the program go far beyond cleaning vandalised property.
“Few people would be aware that for the past 20 years City of Newcastle has been supporting youth offenders through various community-based programs, with participants working side-by-side with our outdoor cleaning teams to learn new skills, including removing graffiti,” Mr Bath said.
“It’s a wonderful program that teaches young offenders that community owned buildings are often home to important community services that deserve to be respected and protected.
“Almost 1,500 young people have worked with our staff over the past two decades improving the look and cleanliness of the city CBD, and in the process learning new skills that encourage them to respect public property.
“The time is now right to expand the program so that home and business owners whose properties have been tagged can ask to have the graffiti removed at no cost to them.
“Should a resident or property owner discover graffiti, all they will need to do is complete an online form on the City of Newcastle website and a crew from the Youth Justice NSW Community Service Order Program will be in touch to confirm when they will come to remove the graffiti.”
Newcastle Youth Justice Office Area Manager Damian Baker said the graffiti removal program provides participants with an opportunity to give back to the community while developing new skills.
“Funding provided by City of Newcastle has assisted program participants with work readiness, pathways to employment and training through TAFE NSW and other job network providers,” Mr Baker said.
“Our focus is to introduce young participants to fundamental and transferrable skills required to assist in gaining an edge in a competitive job market for low skilled employment.
“Newcastle Youth Justice Community Office has received numerous commendations from both City of Newcastle and the Department of Communities and Justice in support for the continued commitment to provide reparation work and beautification to the city.”
Plans to recommence the current graffiti removal program and the added private sector service will commence from January 2022.
City of Newcastle supports Youth Justice NSW and its rehabilitation program with funding to assist with the procurement of equipment, materials and Personal Protective Equipment for participants.
For more information, visit City of Newcastle’s Graffiti Removal Program webpage

One giant step for CBD with plans afoot to create iconic Sydney Great Walk

The NSW Government is developing plans to create Australia’s greatest urban walking trail stretching along the Harbour foreshore from Lady Macquarie’s Chair, past the Opera House and Bridge, through Barangaroo and returning via the CBD.
Dubbed the Sydney Great Walk it will connect major tourism locations and attractions and feature at least two loops with the first designed to be completed in half a day and a longer full-day walk extending into Darling Harbour and back past the Chinese Garden of Friendship and Hyde Park.
The Government will conduct feasibility studies into the project, including developing routes, exploring physical wayfinding options such as signs, maps and information and undertaking consultation with key stakeholders such as the City of Sydney.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said it was imperative to find new and innovative ways to improve what was sometimes simply taken for granted.
“This route has the potential to become the greatest and most iconic urban walk in the country,” Mr Perrottet said.
“It will be something all Australians should do, and the one walk every visitor must do, when they are able to return safely to our shores.”
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, and Minister for Trade and Investment Stuart Ayres, said creating an iconic walk around the Harbour front and through the middle of the CBD would build on existing initiatives designed to encourage people to enjoy NSW.
“We recently launched our Renew advertising campaign to encourage people to reconnect with our great state and developing projects such as the Sydney Great Walk fit well alongside other initiatives such as Sydney’s Longest Lunch and the six-day ELEVATE Sydney celebration to be staged on the Cahill Expressway,” Mr Ayres said.
“We want people to get out and enjoy the best NSW has to offer and if this encourages more people to visit and enjoy the city in a healthy way it’s a win-win outcome.”
The Government will also investigate utilising digital platforms as wayfinders to allow people to plan their journey and access key information on the walk about key places, facilities, sights and businesses.
Other ideas include incorporating QR codes at locations which would provide information along the route when scanned and even integrating the recently launched heritage Blue Plaques program.
Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the walk would provide the opportunity to not just showcase the Harbour and some of our most iconic locations, but to incorporate art installations, soundscapes and enhanced infrastructure.
“This walk will help draw people back into the CBD and at the same time connect what are individually some of the most beautiful and recognisable places in Australia,” Mr Stokes said.
“Our aim is to enhance the liveability of our city, promote more people actively exploring the city and develop a drawcard which is on everybody’s bucket-list.”
“We will also look at developing special sections of the walk so that people may do a history component in The Rocks or a dining and eating component through the CBD.”
“It could also connect with the great work already underway on the existing Yananurala walk, a project led by the City of Sydney in collaboration with First Nation’s representatives that highlights Aboriginal history and culture at places along the Sydney harbour foreshore”.

$479 Million Ryde Hospital Forges Ahead

The existing Ryde Hospital campus will be transformed into a state-of-the-art facility with expanded and improved emergency care, critical care, community and outpatient services.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Member for Ryde Victor Dominello announced the existing site as most suitable after extensive consultation with hospital staff and the local community.
“We’ve listened to our doctors, nurses and allied health professionals and the community on both options of the current site or Macquarie University. Overwhelmingly, they all wanted to remain in Ryde and we are confident that this is the best way forward,” Mr Dominello said.
“With the site now chosen, the local community is set to receive a huge boost to health services and we can now move forward in bringing first-class health services to the area.
“This will preserve the historic Denistone House, retain the significant investment in rehabilitation services at Graythwaite and make best use of the current services already available at Ryde.”
Mr Hazzard said that ties to Macquarie University will also be strengthened on campus.
“The new Ryde Hospital and Macquarie University will work together in creating teaching and research opportunities alongside clinical placements,” Mr Hazzard said.
Northern Sydney Local Health District in partnership with Health Infrastructure will now begin the next phase of consultation with clinicians, staff, patients, carers, consumers and the local community on the design of the new hospital.
The team is calling for community members to join a Consumer Reference Group to help shape the direction of the redevelopment.
To register your interest please visit: and complete the form by Friday 10 December 2021.
Hospital planning is a complex process that involves extensive consultation with staff, patients, consumers and the community to ensure the right clinical needs are met. To find out more visit
The NSW Government is investing a record $10.8 billion in health infrastructure over the next four years to 2024-25.

Australia’s first critical minerals hub to make NSW a global leader

The NSW Government’s drive to become a major global supplier of critical minerals and high-tech metals will be realised with the establishment of Australia’s first Critical Minerals Hub in the State’s Central West.
Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Resources Paul Toole announced the hub near Dubbo today, while launching NSW’s first Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy.
Mr Toole said critical minerals and high-tech metals such as cobalt, nickel and copper will play a vital role in making NSW the number one investment destination for mining and advanced manufacturing.
“Critical minerals are just that – minerals that are critical to the manufacture of everything from electric vehicles to solar technologies and for which there are no ready substitutes,” Mr Toole said.
“This Strategy delivers a clear vision to provide a key source of economic growth, diversify the NSW royalty base and create the advanced manufacturing jobs of the future in regional NSW.
“There is a global race on to locate, develop and establish secure supply chains of these minerals and metals. This Strategy will ensure NSW is in the box-seat to meet this demand.”
Mr Toole said the Critical Minerals Hub was an Australian-first and would set NSW apart as a premier destination for investment in antimony, cobalt, copper, titanium, rare earths and zirconium projects as demand for critical minerals increases exponentially in the next 40 years.
“The Hub in the Central West will be a focal point for the development of this industry, including value-added processing, located close to existing, approved and potential mining developments,” Mr Toole said.
“The hub could accommodate domestic e-waste recycling for eastern Australia, as well as the importation of e-waste from the Indo-Pacific region, so we can recover and recycle critical minerals alongside the exploration and mining of new resources.
“It will build on existing investments at the Parkes Special Activation Precinct as well as the $3 billion investment in Australia’s first Renewable Energy Zone, which is centred around the Dubbo, Wellington and Mudgee regions.
“This demonstrates the commitment by the NSW Government to support mining and advanced manufacturing as we diversify the State’s economy towards a lower carbon future.”
Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said the strategy is a significant step forward for many key sites across regional NSW.
“This is a really important part of securing future jobs and prosperity in the Dubbo area, as we look towards new types of industry and manufacturing in the Central West,” Mr Saunders said.
“Dubbo itself is the centre of the critical minerals activity in the region, and is the natural hub to provide many of the ongoing services which will be needed.”
The Strategy includes further geological surveys to deliver more quality pre-competitive data for explorers, investigating the potential for copper production and other downstream processing opportunities for critical minerals, and providing assistance to mining projects to navigate planning and approval processes.

Second man charged with murder following Stockton shooting

Strike Force Backhouse detectives have charged a second man with murder following investigations into the fatal shooting of a woman in Stockton earlier this year.
Just after 8pm on Wednesday 9 June 2021, emergency services were called to a home on Queen Street, Stockton, following reports of a shooting.
A 61-year-old woman answered her front door before being shot. She died at the scene and was later identified as Stacey Klimovitch.
Officers from Newcastle City Police District established Strike Force Backhouse to investigate the circumstances surrounding Stacey’s murder.
Last week, detectives arrested a 29-year-old man at Honeysuckle. He was charged over his alleged involvement in the shooting and remains before the courts.
With assistance from ACT Policing, officers arrested a 46-year-old man on an NSW warrant at a home in Chisholm, ACT, about 6.45pm last Friday (26 November 2021).
He was taken to a local police station where the NSW warrant was executed.
On Monday (29 November 2021), strike force detectives applied for, and were granted, the man’s extradition to NSW.
He was escorted to Queanbeyan Police Station and charged with murder.
The man was refused bail and is due to appear at Queanbeyan Local Court today (Tuesday 30 November 2021).

Pair charged with more than 30 drug and firearm offences – East Maitland

Police have charged a man and woman with more than 30 drug and firearm offences following investigations into the ongoing drug supply in the Port Stephens and Hunter areas.
Strike Force Callard was established by Port Stephens Hunter Police District detectives to investigate the ongoing supply of prohibited drugs in the area.
Following investigations, on Thursday 25 November 2021 detectives arrested a 42-year-old East Maitland woman and a 48-year-old Campbelltown man on Devonshire Street, East Maitland.
Police searched two vehicles at the location where they located 300g of methylamphetamine and over $55,000 in cash.
Further inquiries led police to execute a search warrant at a unit on Thompson Street, East Maitland, where police located further items including:
– more than $12,000 in cash,
– a money counting machine,
– an electronic stun device,
– three replica firearms,
– illicit drugs including LSD and methylamphetamine, and
– two vehicles – a Holden Commodore and Jaguar XF.
All items have been seized for forensic examination.
The pair was taken to Maitland Police Station, where the woman was charged with 33 offences including supply prohibited drug (24 counts), supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis, possess prohibited drug (two counts), knowingly deal with proceeds of crime (two counts), possess unauthorised prohibited firearm (three counts), and possess prohibited weapon without permit.
The woman was refused bail and appeared at Maitland Local Court today, where she was formally refused bail, to re-appear at Maitland Local Court on Tuesday 21 December 2021.
The man was charged with supply prohibited drug, knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, and possess prohibited drug.
He was refused bail and appeared at Maitland Local Court on Friday 26 November 2021, where he was formally refused bail and will re-appear at the same court on Wednesday 19 January 2022.