Multiple charges after M1 crash – Lake Macquarie PD 

A man is facing 13 offences in Newcastle court tomorrow after a stolen car was involved in a high-speed crash on the M1 overnight.

Emergency services were called to the Motorway at Cooranbong shortly before 11pm (Friday 29 April 2022), after a southbound Toyota RAV4 allegedly hit the rear of Mitsubishi Triton ute at high speed.

This forced the ute into trees on the median strip, trapping the driver, a 31-year-old man.

Members of the public and officers from Lake Macquarie Police District released the driver, who was examined by NSW Ambulance paramedics; however, did not need further treatment.

The driver of the SUV – which had been reported stolen from Warriewood earlier that day – allegedly left the scene and was unable to be found despite a search by a Police Dog Unit.

Southbound traffic on the Motorway was disrupted for more than two hours while the vehicles were recovered, with the stolen SUV towed for forensic examination.

A search for the driver was unsuccessful until about 7am today (Saturday 30 April 2022), when the driver of a Mazda2 reported she’d been stopped down by a man standing on the roadway not far from crash scene. He then allegedly used a metal pole to smash her windscreen.

The 52-year-old female driver accelerated away before alerting police; she and her 17-year-old daughter were shaken but uninjured.

Officers from Lake Macquarie Police District attended the scene and arrested a 31-year-old man nearby a short time later. The man was taken to Toronto Police Station where he was charged with 13 offences,

  • Destroy or damage property (two counts)
  • Armed with intent to commit indictable offence (two counts)
  • Stalk/intimidate intend fear physical etc harm (two counts)
  • Negligent driving
  • Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (DV)
  • Contravene prohibition/restriction in AVO (DV)
  • Common assault (DV)
  • Take and drive conveyance without consent of owner
  • Steal property in dwelling-house
  • Not give particulars to other driver.

The domestic-violence-related charges relate to the alleged assault of a 30-year-old woman at Warriewood yesterday morning. She was taken to Northern Beaches Hospital for treatment and has since been released.

The man, who is from Umina Beach, has been refused bail to appear in Newcastle Bail Court tomorrow (Sunday 1 May 2022).

ASC tribute to AOC leaders, AIS doctor earns top honour

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has paid tribute to John Coates AC for his leadership of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) over the past 32 years, while welcoming the opportunity to work with incoming AOC President Ian Chesterman AM during an exciting era for Australian sport.The ASC also praised the outstanding work of Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Chief Medical Officer Dr David Hughes, who was today awarded the AOC’s highest honour, the AOC Order of Merit. Mr Coates stood down as AOC President at its Annual General Meeting today and ASC Chair Josephine Sukkar AM commended the incredible legacy he had established.”For more than three decades as AOC President, John has devoted himself to the advancement of Australian sport, especially the Olympic sports that inspire and unite our nation,” Mrs Sukkar said. “His staunch dedication to Australian sport extends far beyond his role as AOC President, indeed he provided strong service to the Australian Sports Commission and Australian Institute of Sport as a Commissioner during our formative years in the 1980s and 90s. John’s influence on Australian and international sport has been profound and we know his leadership will long continue, including in roles with the AOC and International Olympic Committee Boards.”ASC CEO Kieren Perkins OAM was an athlete on three of the six Olympic teams where Mr Coates was Chef de Mission and was also part of the Sydney 2000 bid team alongside him. “When you consider it took 60 years for Australia to first host the modern Olympics, at Melbourne in 1956, it is incredible to think that John played such a prominent role in securing both the 2000 Sydney Games and the 2032 Brisbane Games during his stewardship as AOC President,” Mr Perkins said. “The platform is set for an exciting decade ahead.”Mrs Sukkar welcomed the appointment of Ian Chesterman AM as new AOC President.”The recent Tokyo and Beijing Games were a triumph and in the next decade we have a wonderful opportunity to build on this momentum,” Mrs Sukkar said. “Australian sport is working closer together as part of the National High Performance Sport Strategy. We look forward to continuing to work with the AOC as we drive a collective vision for sport in Australia and build sustainable success on the road to the 2032 Brisbane Games and beyond.”AIS Chief Medical Officer Dr David Hughes was honoured today by the AOC with an Order of Merit Award, having led the Australian Olympic medical team for the past two Summer Olympics in Rio and Tokyo.”Tokyo was an unprecedented Olympic experience, first postponed and then staged in the midst of a global pandemic,” Mr Perkins said. “For the Australian team to thrive as they did in Tokyo, without incident, is testament to the professionalism, diligence and leadership of Dr Hughes and his medical team.”We may never see another Games like Tokyo but we, at the ASC are lucky to see every day the significant contribution Dr Hughes makes to Australian sport. His work impacts Australian sport at every level, from community participation to our Australian representative athletes. He has trained, mentored and influenced a vast network of medical staff and Chief Medical Officers throughout Australia’s sporting industry. “David was a key driver in world-leading protocols that helped Australians return to community and high performance sport when COVID-19 first struck in 2020. He continues to lead work on vital areas such as sport-related concussion and the National Sport Injury Database project. It’s wonderful to see the AOC recognise David with this deserved award.”

Liberal, Labor coal and gas addiction driving up power prices

Greens Leader, Adam Bandt, has laid the blame for rising power prices on the government’s failure to make progress on the transition to renewable energy with storage and Labor’s pledge that coal-fired power stations will remain in the system just as long under Labor as under Liberal.

AEMO was very explicit that the cause of the price rise was primarily coal power station breakdowns and rising coal prices.

Adam Bandt MP said:

“Coal is driving up the cost of electricity. We need a plan to switch from coal to renewables, but Liberal and Labor are both pledging to keep coal in the system for longer. 

“So long as Liberal and Labor governments keep running a protection racket for coal and gas, Australians will pay the price in their power bills.”

“With the Liberals propping up ageing, unreliable coal and Labor vowing that no coal fired power station will close early, the only way to get Australia out of coal is to put the Greens into balance of power.

“The Greens plan is for an orderly closure of coal-fired power stations by 2030, large scale investment in publicly-owned renewables and storage, and an end to subsidies for coal and gas.

“The Greens also have a plan that will help people get batteries for their homes and switch from gas to renewables, cutting power bills and cutting pollution. Government support has helped bring down the cost of solar panels, and the Greens want to do the same with batteries.”

Robodebt Royal Commission

An Albanese Labor Government will expose the truth of the Morrison Government’s illegal Robodebt scheme, return integrity to the public service, and ensure a disaster like this never happens again. 
If elected, Labor will establish a Royal Commission into Robodebt by the end of this year. Our consultation will begin after the election.
An Albanese Labor Government would ask a Royal Commission to examine and report on the Robodebt scheme, consistent with these key objectives which will be reflected in the Terms of Reference:

  1. To establish who was responsible for establishing Robodebt scheme.
  2. To establish what advice, and what process or processes, informed the design and implementation of the Robodebt scheme.
  3. To investigate the handling of complaints about the Robodebt scheme – including in relation to the scheme’s legality –by Services Australia, the Department of Human Services, other relevant Commonwealth agencies and Ministers. 
  4. To determine how much the implementation, suspension and wind-back of the Robodebt scheme cost taxpayers.
  5. To investigate the harm caused to law-abiding Australians by the Robodebt scheme
  6. To investigate the use of third-party debt collectors under the Robodebt scheme.

Our consultation after the election will inform the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission.
The Morrison Government has consistently denied, obstructed and covered-up the origins of the Robodebt scandal and refused to take responsibility. 
It is only when Labor organised a class action that a $1.8 billion settlement was made to repay victims and keep ministers out of the witness box. 
It is vital that Robodebt victims and the broader Australian public know the truth of the Robodebt disaster. 
We need to learn the truth of Robodebt’s origins so that such an atrocity can never again be perpetrated by an Australian Government against its citizens. 
The illegal and immoral Robodebt scheme caused untold carnage in the Australian community – stress, anxiety, financial destitution and even suicide. 

Anthony Albanese said: 
“Robodebt was a human tragedy, wrought by this government. Against all evidence, and all the outcry, the government insisted on using algorithms instead of people to pursue debt recovery against Australians who in many cases had no debt to pay. It caused untold misery. Only an Albanese Labor Government will find out the truth.” 

Bill Shorten said:
“We still do not know how this reckless scheme was unleashed. We do not know whether poor legal advice was given or whether legal advice was simply never sought. We do not know if public servants were inappropriately heavied and politicised. And without knowing the true origins we do not know what safeguards could be put in place to prevent a repeat.” 

User Audit to Improve myGov

An Albanese Labor Government will launch a user audit of the myGov government services digital portal.

The user audit will take a fresh look at how well myGov is performing for its most important stakeholders – the Australian public – when it comes to reliability and functionality for a user-friendly experience. 

While MyGov has improved over the years there have been blindspots and disappointments. 
There have, for instance, been too many crashes and outages. Notoriously when myGov crashed in March 2020 then-Minister Stuart Robert initially blamed hackers before conceding that was untrue and his Government had simply failed to foresee the lockdown-related surge in welfare needs.

The user audit will help identify what changes and improvements are needed and assist an Albanese Government in strengthening the portal.

Labor will also guarantee myGov user data is retained within Australia.

These moves signal a return to professional, competent and humane delivery of customer services under an Albanese Labor Government.

Anthony Albanese said:

 “Millions of Australians interact with myGov everyday and rely on it to provide essential services. It’s not up to scratch, and Australians deserve better. That’s why we will review myGov, and make improvements where necessary.”

Bill Shorten said: 

“Our MyGov pledge will help revitalise government service delivery alongside Labor’s existing commitments to stop closing Centrelink shopfronts around the nation and hire an additional 200 new Services Australia workers. This Government has a terrible record on service delivery – Labor will change that.”

Building Electric Buses Here

An Albanese Labor Government will create more jobs for West Australians and build a better future for Perth’s public transport by partnering with the McGowan Labor Government to deliver a local electric bus manufacturing facility and more than 130 new, locally manufactured electric buses. 

Our $250 million combined investment will also ensure that depots are future ready, providing essential upgrades and delivering charging infrastructure at key depots. 
The first round of locally manufactured buses will be used in the Perth CBD, with the remainder of the buses to service the Perth metropolitan region.  

Today’s announcement means that the next generation of Perth’s public transport will be built by local workers. Over 100 new jobs will be created by this initiative, with over 300 existing workers transitioning to jobs in cleaner technology. 

Labor’s commitment recognises WA’s strong local manufacturing industry and position as a global leader in battery material and is part of our future made in Australia plan. 

Electric buses will also make a significant contribution as Western Australia progresses to net zero emissions. 

Australia must be a country that makes things.

An Albanese Labor Government will rebuild our proud manufacturing industry. We’ll create jobs, boost vital skills by investing in education and training, bring industry expertise back onshore and supercharge national productivity. 

Anthony Albanese, Leader of the Australian Labor Party said:

“Skilled Australian workers are missing out on job opportunities because Scott Morrison has sent manufacturing offshore.  

“Offshoring manufacturing leads to fewer local jobs and less reliable supply chains for Australians. 

“That’s why Labor will build buses right here in Perth, creating a new generation of secure local jobs.”

Mark McGowan, Premier of Western Australia said:

“This investment is a big win for WA jobs, building on my Government’s work to bring train manufacturing back to Western Australia. 

“Our State has the skills, capability and local businesses here to deliver quality, state-of-the-art buses – built by Western Australians, for Western Australians.

“My Government will work together with an Albanese Labor Government to deliver this landmark project, creating more secure manufacturing jobs for Western Australians.”

Catherine King, Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development said:

“Australian trains and Australian buses should be made by Australian workers.

“Only an Albanese Labor Government will work with the States to ensure that the full benefit of our infrastructure investments are felt by Australian workers.”

Rita Saffioti, WA Minister for Transport said:

“Western Australian workers are already building the new METRONET trains and now they will be building our new electric buses.

“This will create secure local jobs for workers and will ensure that Western Australia maintains essential manufacturing skills”.

PBS medicines prices to be slashed saving patients hundreds of dollars a year

Millions of Australians taking common medications for blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain relief, depression, diabetes and more will save $10 on scripts with an Australian first reduction in the price of Government subsidised medications.

A re-elected Morrison Government will cut the price of medications listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from January 1 next year, as part of an annual $150 million hip-pocket saving for Australians.

The $10 cut per script means the maximum price Australians will pay for PBS medicines drops from $42.50 down to $32.50, a 24 per cent saving.

The Prime Minister said this was the first time the PBS General Co-payment had been reduced by any Government and it could benefit the more than 19 million Australians without a concession card each year.

“Our economic plan is delivering cost of living relief to millions of Australians who will save hundreds of dollars every year on the cost of essential and life saving medications,” the Prime Minister said.

“This is the single most significant change to the cost of and access to medications since the PBS was introduced more than 70 years ago.

“Millions of Australians will soon save $10 per script for common medications, which means those taking one medication a month could save $120 a year, or those taking two medications a month could save $240 a year.

“Because of our strong economic management, the Coalition is winding the clock back on the cost of medications, reducing the cost per script to 2008 prices. This will put more than $150 million back into the pockets of Australians every year.

“There is a clear choice at this election. Australians can vote for a stronger economy under the Coalition, who always delivers affordable medication and cost of living relief, or a weak economy under Labor, who stopped listing medicines on the PBS in 2011 because they could not manage the economy.”

Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said only the Coalition had a strong record of delivering affordable, life saving medications for all Australians.

“Since 2013, the Coalition Government has approved more than 2,900 new or amended listings on the PBS at an overall investment of around $16.5 billion,” Minister Hunt said.

“By listing these medications on the PBS we are ensuring Australians can have access to affordable, life saving medications that would otherwise cost thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, without subsidy.

“In contrast, Labor stopped listing medicines on the PBS in 2011, including medicines for severe asthma, chronic pain, schizophrenia, blood clots, IVF, endometriosis and prostate conditions.”

All scripts currently counting towards a patient’s safety net will continue to do so.

In the 2022-23 Budget, the Coalition invested a further $2.4 billion for new and amended PBS listings including treatments for breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, severe eczema, asthma, spinal muscular atrophy, HIV infection and heart failure.

Recent medicines funded through the PBS:

  • From 1 May 2022, Zolgensma® for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy. This would cost patients over $2.5 million per treatment without subsidy by the Government.
  • From 1 May 2022, Trodelvy® for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer. This would cost patients over $80,000 per course without subsidy by the Government.
  • From 1 April 2022, Trikafta® for cystic fibrosis. This would cost patients over $250,000 per year without subsidy by the Government.

A re-elected Morrison Government will continue our policy to list all medicines on the PBS that are recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).

In the recent budget the Coalition invested over $525 million to make medicines more affordable for 2.4 million Australians by lowering the PBS Safety Net threshold from 1 July 2022, benefiting concession card holders and general patients.

Under the changes, concessional patients will reach the PBS Safety Net with 12 fewer filled scripts. For general patients, it’s two fewer scripts – saving over $80 a year before they are eligible to receive free or further subsidised PBS medicines.

Based on fully subsidised prescription volumes in 2021-22, patients across Australia are set to save approximately $150 million per year going forward.

Man charged over shooting – Hunter

A man will face court today charged after shots were allegedly fired following a neighbour dispute in the Hunter region overnight.

About 7.30pm (Friday 29 April 2022), police were called to a rural property home on Durridgerie Road, Turill, about 125km west of Scone, following reports of a shooting.

Police have been told the occupants of neighbouring properties, who are known to each other, were involved in an argument before one allegedly produced and discharged a firearm while the other ran into nearby bushland.

The 42-year-old man was not physically injured.

Officers attached to Hunter Valley and Orana-Mid Western Police Districts responded and a Nissan Navara was stopped on Durridgerie Road

The driver, a 56-year-old man, was arrested and taken to Mudgee Police Station.

He was charged with fire firearm manner likely injure persons/property, possess unauthorised firearm, contravene prohibition/restriction in AVO (Personal), possess prohibited drug, and possess prohibited lant.

The man was refused bail to appear at Dubbo Local Court today (Saturday 30 April 2022).

Inquiries continue.

Man charged with more than 25 property and traffic offences – Hunter region

A man will face court today charged following investigations into numerous property and traffic offences in the Hunter and Central Coast areas.

Officers from Lake Macquarie Police District have been conducting inquiries into a number of offences relating to break and enters, stolen motor vehicles, the theft of petrol and pursuits with police.

Following inquiries, police attempted to stop a Lexus – reportedly stolen from a Merewether home – at Charlestown about 3.30pm on Tuesday (26 April 2022); however, the vehicle failed to stop, and a pursuit was initiated before being terminated due to safety concerns.

Police monitored the Lexus as it travelled through Lambton, Broadmeadow, Waratah and surrounding suburbs until about 5pm when it was found abandoned at a shopping centre on Blue Gum Road at Jesmond.

The Lexus was seized and forensically examined.

Following inquiries, officers attached to Lake Macquarie, Newcastle City, Port Stephens-Hunter Police Districts and specialist resources attended a Morpeth café about 11am yesterday (Thursday 28 April 2022) and arrested a 21-year-old man.

He was charged with 26 property and traffic offences, and breach of bail.

The Wallsend man was refused bail to appear at Maitland Local Court today (Friday 29 April 2022).

WA and Queensland hardest hit by wage decline under Coalition: new report 

The key election battleground states of Western Australia and Queensland are the states experiencing the sharpest decline in real wages, according to new analysis released today by the McKell Institute.

The new report, ‘Stuck in Neutral: The Policy Architecture Driving Slow Wage Growth in Australia,’ finds that in 2021 Australia experienced a fall in real wages of 1.2 per cent.

However there is a high degree of variability between the states, with wages falling by 1.9 per cent in Queensland and a massive 3.7 per cent in WA.

The analysis also finds the average worker would be earning an additional $307 per week if the rate of wage growth in the period 2007-2013 had been sustained through 2014-2021.

The McKell Institute’s executive director Michael Buckland said the situation was likely to get worse if current policy settings persisted.

“Slow wage growth is an economic problem created in part by deliberate government policy. As the Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann, said in 2091 low wage growth is a deliberate design feature of the Coalition’s economic architecture,” Mr Buckland said.

“Our report finds there have been a range of policies that have contributed to low wage growth including a reduction in penalty rates, a surge in temporary work visas, and inaction on wage theft. Opposition to increases in minimum wages, public sector wage freezes, and allowing the exemption of the unregulated gig economy have also been identified as contributors.

“Remedying sustained low wage growth requires substantial change in Federal Government policy.

“The situation is now particularly acute in WA and Queensland, which have been, interestingly, identified as key battleground states in this current federal election.”