Woman missing from state's Hunter Region located safe and well

A woman missing from the state’s Hunter Region has been located safe and well.
The 74-year-old was last seen at a home at Raymond Terrace Road, Millers Forest, about 11am (Monday 27 December 2021).
She was reported missing to officers attached to Port Stephens Hunter Police District after she failed to return.
Following inquiries, the woman was located safe and well today (Wednesday 29 December 2021).
Police would like to thank the community and media for their assistance.

Appeal for man wanted on an outstanding warrant – Maitland

Police are appealing for public assistance to locate a man wanted on an outstanding warrant in the state’s north.
Daniel Truswell – aged 36 – is wanted on an outstanding warrant for break and enter offences.
Officers from Newcastle City Police District have commenced inquiries to locate the man.
He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 180cm tall, of solid build, with brown hair and blue/grey eyes.
He is known to frequent the Newcastle, Maitland, and Singleton areas.
Anyone with information relating to his whereabouts is urged not to approach him but to contact Triple Zero (000).

Police appeal to locate missing elderly woman – Hunter Region

Police are appealing for public information to locate an elderly woman missing from the state’s Hunter region.
Lynette Robson – aged 74 – was last seen at a home at Raymond Terrace Road, Millers Forest, about 11am yesterday (Monday 27 December 2021).
She was reported missing to officers attached to Port Stephens Hunter Police District after she failed to return.
Police and family hold serious concerns for Lynette as she lives with a medical condition that requires medication.
Lynette is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 160cm tall, of slim build, with a tanned complexion and short grey hair.
She was last seen wearing a red and white sleeveless dress and sandals.
Lynette may be driving a 2018 silver Suzuki Vitara with NSW registration plates – LR 445.
Anyone with information about Lynette’s whereabouts, or who sights Lynette, is urged to contact Raymond Terrace police on 4983 7599immediately.

Keeping our kids safe over the holidays

City of Newcastle has again teamed up with Little Blue Dinosaur to promote safety and reduce child pedestrian injuries and fatalities across the city.
Over the coming weeks, road users will start to notice unique signage at local beaches, parks and other popular spots which urge people to slow down and take care during the holiday season.
The ‘Holiday Time; Slow Down, Kids Around’ signage has been installed along Wharf Road, at Newcastle Harbour, and at key locations along the Bathers Way.
Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz visited the locations of the sign and spoke about the importance of keeping our kids safe when they are out and about.
Founders of Little Blue Dinosaur Michelle and David McLaughlin tragically lost their son Tom at age four to a roadside accident on the Central Coast, and now work tirelessly with organisations like City of Newcastle to prevent further tragedies from occurring on our roads.
The signs are colourful and highly visible, and incorporate simple messaging reminding drivers to slow down, and children and families to take care as pedestrians. It is crucial we work together to ensure we have an incident-free Christmas period.
The Holiday Time; Slow Down, Kids Around campaign is supported by many councils across four states in Australia.
To read more about Michelle and David’s story, or the Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation, visit http://www.littlebluedinosaur.org

Record investment celebrated as challenging year comes to a close

City of Newcastle (CN) staff are being congratulated for their achievements during a challenging 12 months after delivering another record capital works program, uninterrupted community services and a targeted response to the pandemic.
More than $103 million was invested in infrastructure across the Newcastle local government area during the 2020-2021 financial year, surpassing the previous year’s record investment by more than 10%.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said CN stepped up in the face of adversity to deliver these important community projects and provide support for those in need.
“While it’s been another year of COVID disruption, it’s also been a time of triumph in the face of adversity, challenging us to do things differently, come together as a community and support each other during this difficult period,” Cr Nelmes said.
“I’m proud of the proactive response City of Newcastle adopted in 2020 and 2021 to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and forge ahead with a record $103 million in new and renewed community facilities and infrastructure.
“The projects are fundamental to enhancing the way our communities work and live, as well as ensuring we continue to be an attractive destination for visitors and investment.
“Delivering in 2021 has required an immense effort from City of Newcastle staff and members of the community who play an active role in our projects throughout the public consultation process. In light of the challenges presented by the pandemic, this is an achievement to be celebrated more so than ever before.”
In the past 12 months CN has renewed local centres at Joslin Street in Kotara, Llewellyn Street in Merewether and Hamilton’s James Street, invested more than $1.3 million in playground upgrades at Novocastrian Park and Dangar Park, started work on the $1.5 million Wallsend Active Hub recreational space and playground, continued work on the Bathers Way upgrade at South Newcastle Beach, completed the first stage of the Merewether to City Centre cycleway, and completed planning for stage one of the long-awaited upgrade to the Newcastle Ocean Baths.
CN also expanded its Community and Economic Resilience Package to help combat the ongoing economic and social impacts of COVID-19, delivering a targeted program with hardship measures for ratepayers, support for small businesses and impacted sectors, assistance for local charities and families in need, and job saving investment into local infrastructure projects.
Environmental and sustainability issues remained in focus, with CN continuing to implement its Climate Action Plan, which has a net zero commitment for its operations by 2025. CN invested more than $1.1 million into planting street and park trees and continued its roll-out of rooftop solar systems at key facilities.
Newcastle strengthened its reputation as a major events city attracting a host of international events including the World Surfing League championship tour event, while CN celebrated the success of its inaugural flagship cultural event, New Annual, which delivered an economic and confidence boost to the local arts sector and community while also cementing the city’s status as a hub of creativity and culture.
CN launched its Destination Management Plan, which is a collaborative, whole of industry approach designed to reposition Newcastle as a premier tourism destination, while the new Economic Development Strategy will strengthen existing and create new economic opportunities by investing in people, their skills, network and investments, in order to position Newcastle as a global city recognised for its innovation and creativity.
The delivery of The Count Us In Festival and the launch of CN’s draft Disability and Inclusion Action Plan placed the focus on enhancing inclusion and accessibility across Newcastle, while CN’s commitment to celebrating and sharing its rich indigenous culture was expressed through a range of programs including the award-winning NAIDOC Week podcast series, Newcastle’s First Storytellers, and the landmark Newcastle Art Gallery exhibition WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait, which coincided with the flying of the Torres Strait Island flag above City Hall for the first time.
“While I think we’re all looking forward to the end of this year and spending some time with our loved ones over the festive season, it’s important to take stock and recognise just how much we delivered this year,” Cr Nelmes said.
“This is just a small sample of what we have achieved during the past 12 months, but it provides a valuable snapshot of what can be done by working together and supporting each other.
“I thank everyone involved for the milestones we have reached this year and look forward to continuing this journey together in 2022.”

Child dies after being found unconscious in Lake Macquarie

A child has died after being found unresponsive in Lake Macquarie yesterday.
About 6.30pm (Saturday 25 December 2021), emergency services were called to Fishing Point Road, Rathmines, after a three-year-old boy had been pulled from the water unconscious.
Bystanders rendered first aid until NSW Ambulance paramedics arrived but the child could not be revived and died at the scene.
Officers attached to Lake Macquarie Police District attended and have commenced inquiries.
A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

Man charged with breach of bail; drugs located – Newcastle

A man will face court today charged over an alleged breach of bail in the Newcastle area.
About 1.20am today (Sunday 26 December 2021), police stopped a silver Mercedes on Dennison Street, Hamilton, and spoke to the driver – a 35-year-old man.
Following inquiries, it was revealed the man was allegedly in breach of current bail conditions.
Police searched the vehicle and allegedly located a shopping bag containing a 401grams methylamphetamine.
The bag was seized and will be forensically examined.
The estimated street value of the drugs seized is more than $360,000.
The Windale man was arrested and taken to Newcastle Police Station where he was charged with breach of bail.
He was refused bail and is due to appear in Newcastle Local Court today (Sunday 26 December 2021).
Inquiries continue.

Lived experience, diverse backgrounds, strong expertise: Council of Elders on aged care announced

Senior Australians now have a strong, formal voice to government on ageing and aged care matters, with the 14 members of the new Council of Elders – a specific recommendation coming out of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety – announced today.
The Council of Elders will be led by inaugural Chair Ian Yates AM, who will also sit on the new National Aged Care Advisory Council.
Mr Yates will ensure the voice of senior Australians is heard and that advice is provided to the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, and the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, and the Department of Health.
The Council of Elders will engage widely on many aspects of aged care from the perspective of the quality and safety of care and the rights and dignity of older people.
Members include 2021 Senior Australian of the Year Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM, dementia advocate Gwenda Darling, writer and carer Danijela Hlis, Age Discrimination Commissioner Kay Patterson AO, and indigenous campaigner Professor Tom Calma AO.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said Council members have strong expertise, diverse backgrounds and lived experience that would help ensure aged care meets the needs and expectations of senior Australians, their families and carers, and the Australian community.
“Council members, all appointed for two-year terms, will provide advice to government, coordinate feedback from senior Australians and their families and communities, and help to build community awareness of ageing and aged care matters,” Minister Hunt said.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck said over 130 high calibre senior Australians had nominated to be part of the council.
“We carefully reviewed every nomination, and each person would have made a positive difference as a council member,” Minister Colbeck said.
“I thank every person for their nomination and have invited them to contribute their diverse experience and expertise in other ways.”
Mr Yates, CEO of Council of the Ageing, said it was an honour and privilege to serve alongside such experienced members.
“This is an exciting initiative that we have not had before,” Mr Yates said.  “Having a voice of senior Australians direct to Government will be key to ensure the reforms from the royal commission continue to have the voice of those that experience the system at their centre.”
The first Council of Elders has an appropriately diverse range of experience, background, location and opinions and I look forward to working with the members of the Council to provide this important voice to Ministers and the National Aged Care Advisory Council.”
Minister Colbeck said the new National Aged Care Advisory Council and the Council of Elders were part of the government’s $18.3 billion reform package being delivered over the next five years.
“These reforms will help all Australians feel confident about accessing high quality aged care when they need it – offering greater choice and control, and helping people maintain independence as they age,” Minister Colbeck said.
“So far, thousands of people have engaged with us on the design of reforms such as quality standards and support at home, and over 13,000 people have participated in 8 webinars about the reforms.”
Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) Chief Executive Officer Craig Gear welcomed the appointment of the council.
“We are excited by the announcement of the inaugural members of Australia’s first Council of Elders,” Mr Gear said.  “Older people have been telling us for a long time that there should be ‘nothing about us without us’ and the Council of Elders is a good step along this journey which will help inform aged care reform from their perspective.
“Importantly, we are pleased with the inclusion of a number of older people with lived experience of aged care to guide the transformation of aged care for themselves and the people they care for”
Visit the Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub to read about the reforms and to participate in engagement activities, here.
For more information on the Council of Elders and its members see here.
Council of Elders members:

Name Background
Mr Ian Yates AM – Chair CEO of Council of the Ageing Australia, and senior Australians and aged care advocate
Dr Michael Barbato OAM Rural doctor and palliative care specialist
Professor Tom Calma AO Health, mental health and Indigenous affairs academic
Ms Gwenda Darling Dementia advocate
Ms Val Fell Aged care and dementia advocate
Ms Gillian Groom AO Occupational therapist and elder law expert
Ms Danijela Hlis Author and dementia carer
Mr Bill Jolley Advisor on disability issues and vision loss
Professor Gill Lewin Health, ageing and aged care researcher
Professor John McCallum CEO of National Seniors Australia, ageing policy researcher and activist
Ms Sue McCann Aged care leader of end to end facility management
Dr Kay Patterson AO Age Discrimination Commissioner
Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM 2021 Senior Australian of the Year, activist, education leader and artist
Ms Margaret Walsh OAM Nurse and manager of a disability organisation and an aged care organisation.

Interval between primary course of COVID-19 vaccination and booster dose further reduced

Australians who have completed their primary course of COVID-19 vaccination no less than four months ago, will now be able to receive a booster dose from 4 January 2022, providing further protection and peace of mind.
In making these changes to further bring forward eligibility, the Australian Government has acted on the expert medical advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
The move to reduce the interval between a person’s primary course of vaccination and their booster dose from five months to four months will see approximately 7.5 million Australians eligible for their booster dose as of 4 January.
The Government will also further bring forward, as of 31 January, the interval for eligibility to three months, which will mean that more than 16 million people will be eligible for their booster at this time. This decision is based on the expert medical advice from ATAGI and operational planning from the National COVID-19 Vaccines Taskforce.
Australia was one of the first countries in the world to commence a whole of population COVID-19 booster program, and so far approximately two million Australians have received a booster dose over recent weeks.
ATAGI made its recommendation to reduce the interval after closely monitoring the epidemiology and characteristics of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant. It also considered the emerging data on the need, potential benefits, and optimal timing of a vaccine booster dose to prevent COVID-19 due to this variant.
Advice to the Government from ATAGI indicates that further bringing forward booster doses is likely to increase protection against infection with the Omicron variant based on international and Australian data observed over recent weeks.
Whilst early data suggests the risk of hospitalisation, ICU admission and death due to the Omicron variant is far less than Delta or other variants, bringing forward boosters doses and increased public health and social measures such as mask wearing indoors, social distancing where appropriate and ongoing hand hygiene will have an important effect on slowing the spread and impact of Omicron.
As was the case with rolling out doses for people’s primary course of vaccination, these changes continue to allow for a staged approach to the booster rollout going forward, with a clear focus on ensuring our most vulnerable cohorts continue to be prioritised.
Australia has more than enough supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to roll out booster doses to the newly eligible cohort from 4 January – through more than 10,000 vaccination sites including GPs, community pharmacies, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, and state and territory clinics. There are currently over 20 million doses in Australia of which over five million have already been placed with States and Primary Care teams on the basis of their forward orders.
Where jurisdictions believe they have sufficient capacity to bring forward the commencement of delivery of booster doses sooner, without displacing people with higher priority eligibility in accordance with the ATAGI recommendations, they will have the flexibility to do so.
ATAGI has maintained its advice that booster doses only be given to people aged 18 years and over.
Immunocompromised people who have received three primary doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to receive a booster dose in line with the timing for the general population.
ATAGI has also highlighted the importance of boosters for pregnant women.
People who have completed their primary course of vaccination against COVID-19 four or more months prior to 4 January are encouraged to contact their vaccine provider early in the new year to make a booking.
Australia is already one of the most vaccinated, and recently vaccinated, countries in the world.
Ninety-one per cent of Australians aged 16 and over have completed their primary course of vaccination. And more than 72 per cent of adolescents aged 12 to 15 have done so.
Arrangements are in place to start rolling out vaccines to children aged five to 11 years from 10 January 2022 with specialised children’s doses arriving in Australia over recent days and now undergoing batch testing by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
All Australians who are currently eligible for their primary course of vaccination, or for their booster dose, and who have not yet acted are urged to make a booking as soon as possible to get vaccinated.
The Australian Government has secured over 151 million booster doses for delivery over the coming year and is well placed to continue to achieve world leading vaccination rates against COVID-19.

NSW JCTT arrest man following investigation into suspected terrorism offences

A man has been arrested by the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) as part of an investigation into suspected terrorism offences.
Earlier this month, the NSW JCTT commenced an investigation into the online activities of a man, who was reportedly expressing extremist views in conversations across a number of platforms and sharing pro-Islamic State material.
Following extensive inquiries, a 34-year-old man was arrested by the Tactical Operations Unit at Caringbah just before 8am today (Friday 24 December 2021).
He was taken to Sutherland Police Station, where he will be charged.
A short time later, NSW JCTT investigators executed a search warrant at a nearby home, where searches are continuing.
There is no ongoing threat to the community relating to this investigation.