Sentencing of Professor Sean Turnell

The Australian Government rejects today’s court ruling in Myanmar against Australian Professor Sean Turnell and calls for his immediate release.

Professor Turnell was tried in a closed court. Australia’s Chargé d’Affaires and consular officials in Myanmar made every effort to attend the verdict but were denied access to the court.

The Australian Government has consistently rejected the charges against Professor Turnell during the more than 19 months he had been unjustly detained by the Myanmar military regime.

We will continue to take every opportunity to advocate strongly for Professor Turnell until he has returned to his family in Australia. We acknowledge the strong international support shown for him, including from our region.

Professor Turnell is internationally respected for his work to support the people of Myanmar and their economic development.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to provide consular assistance to Professor Turnell and his family for as long as required.

We ask that his family’s request for privacy continue to be respected.

Australia condemns violent crackdown in Iran

The Australian Government condemns the deadly and disproportionate use of force against protesters in Iran, following the tragic death of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini.

We have raised concerns into the circumstances surrounding her death in custody with the Iranian Embassy in Canberra.

Australia supports calls led by the Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for a prompt, impartial investigation into Ms Amini’s death by an independent body, which ensures her family has access to truth and justice, with those responsible held to account.

We are alarmed by reports that dozens of people have been killed and many more injured, including teenagers, during heavy-handed measures Iranian authorities have implemented to crack-down on ongoing protests.

Australia supports the right of the Iranian people to protest peacefully and calls on the Iranian authorities to exercise restraint in response to ongoing demonstrations.

Reports of internet restrictions are also deeply troubling and suggest an effort to stifle freedom of expression.

Australia regularly raises Iran’s significant discrimination against women and human rights violations with officials in both Tehran and Canberra, as well as in multilateral fora.

Australia stands with Iranian women and girls in their struggle for equality and empowerment, and we call on Iran to cease its oppression of women.

Australia is committed to promoting gender equality and women’s human rights, empowerment and ending violence against women and girls worldwide.

Loy Yang early closure reinforces need for National Energy Transition Authority

AGL’s announcement today that it will be shutting the Loy Yang A power station in the Latrobe Valley nearly a decade earlier than planned adds to the growing pressure on the government to establish a National Energy Transition Authority, the Greens say.

Greens spokesperson on Industry, Transition and Regional Development, Senator Penny Allman-Payne, introduced the party’s National Energy Transition Authority Bill to parliament on Tuesday. The bill has been referred to the Senate Economics Committee for inquiry with a reporting date of March 14, 2023.

Senator Allman-Payne will meet with stakeholders and hold a community consultation in the Latrobe Valley on Wednesday next week.

Greens spokesperson on Industry, Transition and Regional Development, Senator Penny Allman-Payne said:

“Today’s announcement by AGL that it’s bringing forward the closure of the Loy Yang A power station is great news for the climate and for our chances of keeping global heating below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

“But we can’t afford to let this inevitable transition to a zero emissions economy happen in a haphazard way. Without a national body to plan and coordinate our shift to renewable energy the workers and communities who have for generations relied on the jobs and investment the coal industry has provided will be left behind.

“Decisions to rapidly bring forward the closure of coal fired power plants, however welcome, should not be announced via a company’s media release to the ASX. It should be a planned and coordinated process that allows local workers control.

“The transition to renewables represents a once-in-a-generation nation-building opportunity that can create tens of thousands of green, secure jobs, open up new export markets and reinvigorate regional Australia.

“We know from similar energy transition bodies in Europe that if you plan the transition, workers can move into new well-paid jobs, be redeployed through industry-wide pooling or benefit from early retirement.

“There is wide support among workers, unions and businesses for a transition authority and during the Senate inquiry I look forward to hearing directly from communities and Traditional Owners about what they need to make the transition to a zero emissions economy.

“With Labor’s support we can make a National Energy Transition Authority a reality during the life of this parliament. Let’s get it done.”

Renters $3000 better off under Greens rent freeze plan

Analysis by the Parliamentary Library estimates that renters across Australia would be $7.1 billion better off if rents had been frozen nationwide for the past 12 months. With rents increasing by 14% nationwide, the average renter is paying $3,151 more for their home than last year. 

The Greens recently called on the Federal Government to intervene in the housing crisis by freezing rents nationwide for two years, followed by ongoing rent caps and an end to no grounds evictions, minimum standards for rental properties and tenant rights to make minor improvements to the home.

Over the last 12 months, rents have grown seven times faster than wages in capital cities,  putting millions of Australians into severe rental stress and seeing rents hit record highs in 85% of Australian suburbs.

Max Chandler-Mather MP, Greens spokesperson for Housing and Homelessness said:

“A rent freeze could put an extra $3000 in the pockets of the average Australian renter and provide real and immediate cost of living relief.“

“For families choosing between buying food and paying the rent, $3000 could mean the difference between eviction into homelessness and keeping a roof over their heads.” 

“Rents are out of control, millions of Australians are struggling to pay the rent, and families are facing living in tents and cars because they can’t afford record rent increases.” 

“When Australian renters have paid an extra $7 billion in rent over the last year alone, no wonder so many are struggling.”

“Along with a major and immediate investment in social housing, phasing out negative gearing and capital gains discounts, and a 2 year rent freeze, followed by ongoing rent caps will help stop this housing crisis boiling over into a national disaster.”

“If the government is serious about cost of living relief, if they’re serious about affordable housing, then it’s a no-brainer to freeze rent rises.

Stockton Local Centre receives $5 million upgrade

City of Newcastle has completed a $5 million facelift of Stockton’s Local Centre, delivering new footpaths, increased shade and improved pedestrian and cyclist safety in time for the school holidays.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said upgrading Mitchell Street in Stockton will provide a range of benefits for locals and visitors and continues City of Newcastle’s significant investment in the coastal suburb.

The Local Centre upgrade is one of 26 projects valued at more than $17 million delivered in Stockton during the past five years, including coastal protection works and the hugely popular Active Hub.

“I’m pleased to see the finished work on this important upgrade, which has created a safer, and more vibrant public space for the Stockton community to enjoy,” Cr Nelmes said.

“With the school holidays now underway, this refreshed space encourages residents to support local Stockton businesses, providing improved spaces to shop, dine, and meet with friends.

“The Stockton Local Centre upgrade also includes a significant improvement to the natural environment with the number of trees in the area being increased from three to 40 trees, which is a major boost to the shade canopy along the main street.

“In a nod to Stockton’s character and heritage, sandstone from existing kerbs has been retained and reused to frame garden beds and raingardens at three key intersections along Mitchell Street, while interpretive signage developed in collaboration with the Stockton Historical Society, will be installed along the street as well.

“I am looking froward to celebrating the conclusion of works with the community on Sunday 30 October at our fun, family-friendly event celebrating all things Stockton and featuring lucky-door raffles, face painting and more.”

Lucas Gresham, a local Stockton resident and President of Creative Property, states that the upgrade of infrastructure has been long awaited.

“The Stockton Local Centre upgrade entices new business to the area and as a community, it encourages people to shop local and provides a big economic boost.”

Neighbouring Crown Street will also benefit from further enhancement works to be completed by end of this month.

The Stockton project was completed under City of Newcastle’s Local Centres program, which is delivering upgrades to suburban centres across the local government area. Previous projects have included Beresford Avenue, Beresfield, Young Street, Carrington, James Street Plaza, Hamilton, Llewellyn Street, Merewether, Joslin Street, Kotara, and Sandgate Road, Shortland while construction is underway at Orchardtown Road, New Lambton.

Darby Street outdoor dining transformation begins

Newcastle’s renowned “eat street” precinct on Darby Street in Cooks Hill will come alive as part of a six-month trial with extended outdoor dining facilities, community focused events and improved pedestrian and cycling infrastructure under the Streets as Shared Spaces initiative.

The start of Darby Street’s transformation was officially launched today by Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen.

CN Project Manager Bianco Field-Vo, Autumn Rooms co-owner Taylor Schneider, Three Monkeys Café owner Anthony Strachan, CN Senior Civil Project Officer Clinton O'Meley, CN Senior Project Manager Sarah Horan, CN field worker Peter Moore, and Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen

The trial will calm traffic and bring diners out onto the street as the extended footpath dining areas commence.

Newcastle ord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Darby Street trial is part of the Streets as Shared Spaces initiative and aims to test and build innovative ideas that attract people back into public spaces, in a safer way.

“Novocastrians are changing the way they explore and connect. Residents are walking and cycling more, and this means that we need to have a larger focus on providing spaces that are safe, green, welcoming, and accessible,” Cr Nelmes said.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the temporary nature of the works allowed the City of Newcastle to trial these pilot projects with the support and feedback from the community and local businesses.

“By implementing this trial, we hope to gain valuable insights that will allow us to plan for long-term positive change across the City’s Local Centres Renewal Program which delivers attractive, vibrant, and healthy open spaces.”

A large 120m2 temporary dining platform, built using recycled materials, has been placed over several car parks between the Sanctum and Goldbergs restaurants. The new dining platform allows businesses to more than double their outdoor dining space and frees up the footpath for pedestrians, providing an immediate boost to local cafes and restaurants.

Further along Darby Street, a new pedestrian crossing safely leads visitors to the re-energised Darby Headphones Courtyard. New street furniture, lighting, surfacing, and public art in the courtyard encourages people to visit, stay and connect.

A condition of the NSW Government grant required Darby St speed to be reduced. Transport for NSW have approved a temporary 30km/hr speed reduction for approximately 400 metres of Darby St, between the Newcastle Art Gallery and 188 Darby St.

Co-Owner of Three Monkeys café on Darby Street, Anthony Strachan said he is hopeful the trial will draw more people to the precinct and help showcase all that Darby Street has to offer.

“The last couple of years have been extremely challenging for all small businesses. We are already seeing people come back into the city and we are hoping this trial will lead to more excitement and an enhanced Darby Street experience,” Mr Strachan said.

To assist with availability of short-term free parking in the area, temporary drop off and pick up zones will be installed near to Council Street and car parking spaces to the rear of the Newcastle Library will be converted to 2P free spaces for the duration of the trial, offsetting carparks impacted by the temporary dining platform.

The trial will celebrate Darby Street’s link to culture, art, music and food through a series of events including, temporary pavement murals and a pavement art competition by Chalk the Walk as part of the New Annual Festival and a free day of activities at the Darby Street, Street Party on the corner of Council Street, Saturday 15 October 2022.

More details on the Darby Street, Streets as Shared Spaces trial events can be found at

The trial has been made possible with a $500,000 grant from the NSW Government through the Streets as Shared Spaces program (Round 2) and funding from the City of Newcastle Urban Centres Revitalisation Program.

Staying Home Leaving Violence services expanded to 14 new locations

An innovative program that helps victim-survivors of domestic violence to stay safely in a home of their choice is being expanded to 14 additional local government areas across the state.

Minister for Women’s Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence, Natalie Ward, said the expansion of the Staying Home Leaving Violence program would provide support to more vulnerable women across NSW.

“The Staying Home Leaving Violence program provides support to women and children who have suffered domestic violence by allowing them to stay safely and heal in their own home while the perpetrator is removed,” Mrs Ward said.

“Earlier this year I announced phase one of the expansion, including $20 million for 28 existing Staying Home Leaving Violence service providers to extend their service reach from 33 locations to 70.

“Today we’re announcing $12.5 million to deliver phases two and three, to deliver 11 new locations and trial the program in three additional locations, to help even more victim-survivors.”

Minister for Women, Regional Health and Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the program is another example of the NSW Government expanding comprehensive services to support domestic violence victim-survivors right across the state.

“We know that being surrounded by a strong support network is incredibly important for victim-survivors, but the reality is, many women and children who have suffered domestic violence often find themselves forced to flee their homes, and this means they may also lose touch with their trusted network,” said Mrs Taylor.

“This program will allow more women and children across the state to stay closer to their family, friends, school and employment, while receiving support and the services they need to remain safe while they rebuild their lives.”

The Local Government Areas to have the program for the first time include:

  • Mid-Coast
  • Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter
  • Armidale, Uralla and Walcha
  • Canterbury and Burwood
  • Georges River
  • Sutherland
  • Wagga Wagga and Junee
  • Parkes, Forbes and Cowra
  • Bathurst and Lithgow
  • Mid-Western
  • Queanbeyan-Palerang

Under phase three, the program is being trialled across three Local Government Areas where demand is lower, or where there are geographical barriers to accessing mainstream services, including the Blue Mountains, Lachlan and Weddin, and Snowy Monaro Regional Council.

The trial will include combining technological solutions and outreach services to deliver safety planning and case management support.

Support available to victim-survivors through Staying Home Leaving Violence can include improved home security, intensive case management, legal assistance, and financial advice.

The Staying Home Leaving Violence program has already helped more than 4,500 women and children to stay safe. The expansion of this program will help support an additional 2,100 women and children across the state.

For confidential advice, support and referrals, contact: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), The NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 65 64 63), NSW Rape Crisis (1800 424 017) or Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491). In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000).

Work underway on Bradfield City Centre

Construction has kicked-off on Australia’s newest city, Bradfield City Centre, a visionary undertaking that will create more than 17,000 jobs and accelerate a wave of new advanced manufacturing, research and innovation in Western Sydney.
Work is underway on the first building, a 3,840 square metre multi-purpose building that will house office, exhibition and event spaces, Hitachi’s Kyoso Creation Centre and the first stage of a new Advanced Manufacturing and Research Facility.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the 114-hectare Bradfield City Centre development is backed by a $1 billion investment from the NSW Government and will unlock a further $10 billion in private investment.
“We are building a world-class city centre that will supercharge the creation of jobs and economic opportunities across Western Sydney,” Mr Perrottet said. 
“This first building is the start of a game-changing and job-generating city centre that will transform Bradfield into a hive of economic activity for businesses and offer new services and attractions for residents across Western Sydney.
“With this new high-tech city located close to new airport, businesses will be able to manufacture products in Western Sydney and export to the rest of world, generating even more export dollars for our state.”
Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Alister Henskens said Taylor Construction Group had been awarded the construction tender to build the first building.
“This facility will bring high-skilled jobs and global career opportunities to Western Sydney residents, deliver shared high-tech manufacturing equipment and machinery with local Sydney businesses and fast-track development in areas like defence and space,” Mr Henskens said.
“Beyond this first building, the NSW Government has committed a further $260 million to establish the largest Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility in Australia, right here in Western Sydney.”
Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes Anthony Roberts said Bradfield’s first building was given State Significant Development Application approval.
“Major international companies are turning their eyes to Western Sydney and our work in creating this new city,” Mr Roberts said.
“The first building will deliver 150 construction jobs and 60 new operational jobs once it is up and running.”
Minister for Transport, Veterans and Western Sydney David Elliott said the start of construction marked a monumental moment for the residents of the Western Parkland City who will experience the Bradfield City Centre come to life on their doorstep. 
“Families and communities in Greater Western Sydney are seeing first-hand the benefits of a Government that is building infrastructure to make life easier,” Mr Elliott said.
“Western Sydney residents will soon see this empty paddock grow into a thriving city centre with world-class transport infrastructure.”
Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies said the sod turn on the first building marks the start of what will be an enormous jobs boom for Western Sydney.
“The Bradfield City Centre will grow and evolve in coming decades to become a major hub for jobs in Western Sydney, generating enormous economic benefit for the NSW economy,” Mrs Davies said.
Chair of the Western Parkland Authority Jennifer Westacott AO said the city is being designed for the future with inbuilt digital capabilities, smart technology and targeting net-zero emissions.
“This will be a truly a global city with a 24/7 economy and the beautiful parks, playgrounds and buzzing cultural life Western Sydney deserves,” Ms Westacott said.
“The Bradfield City Centre is being created by harnessing the region’s existing strengths to attract investment in manufacturing, agribusinesses and education and by leveraging the huge decisions the NSW Government has already made.”
The team is working to complete Bradfield’s first building by late 2023.  

Storm season begins with new warning system

The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) is adopting the new Australian Warning System as the official Storm Season begins, with an increased risk of damaging weather in the months ahead.
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said while storms and floods are experienced year-round, the highest period of danger stretches from the beginning of October to the end of March.
“With Storm Season now upon us, there’s no reprieve for New South Wales communities and the SES, which has been engaged in operations in some parts of the State for almost 12 months,” Ms Cooke said.
“The annual increased frequency of storms, strong winds and rain will coincide with a third consecutive La Nina, which means communities right across the State will remain on high alert. 
“News of more rain and wild weather is hard to hear, particularly for our flood-fatigued communities in the Northern Rivers, Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley and Western NSW, but it’s important that we’re not complacent.
“For the first time the SES is rolling out an updated warning system, which will deliver more localised and targeted communication of risks, and clearer warnings about the action people need to take to stay safe.”
The new Australian Warning System includes the following three tiers of warnings:

  1. Advice;
  2. Watch and Act; and
  3. Emergency Warning.

Warnings during storms and flood events will continue to be distributed through text message alerts, the SES website, SES social media channels, ABC radio stations and media outlets.
SES Commissioner Carlene York said volunteers have experienced their busiest year on record, responding to more than 50,000 flood and storm jobs in the 12 months to June 2022.
“It’s been an extraordinarily wet year and SES volunteers have been operational somewhere across the State every single day of 2022,” Commissioner York said. 
“We are heading into a period where there is a greater chance of storms and floods, and it’s essential to take simple steps now like preparing an emergency evacuation kit in case you need to evacuate your home.
“Making safe decisions including evacuating when you are told and not driving through flooded roads and causeways will help protect yourself and your family this Storm Season.”
The NSW Government is supporting the SES with a $132.7 million Budget investment in facilities, hiring new staff, acquiring more resources and restructuring the agency’s operations.

Affordable housing boost for Sydney

A new Potts Point apartment block will provide more affordable housing for people in need in Sydney as part of the NSW Government’s $1.1 billion Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF).
Minister for Families and Communities and Minister for Disability Services Natasha Maclaren-Jones said the 15-unit block will help ease housing pressures for people at risk of homelessness in Inner Sydney.
“Partnering with non-government organisations to deliver social and affordable housing is the key to unlocking a range of services which allow people greater access to secure housing and at the same time helps them live more independently,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.
“We are not just building houses, we are working closely with residents to help them stay in their homes. Greater access to housing and supports pave the way for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to secure a brighter future.”
The 15 new dwellings, delivered in partnership with community housing provdider St George Community Housing (SGCH), consist of five studios, eight one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units.
SGCH Group CEO Scott Langford said these well located homes provide a springboard for opportunity and supports the key workers who keep our city running.
“Too often it’s key workers who are driven further away from where they work and study and out of their communities because they struggle to afford private market rental on low to moderate incomes,” Mr Langford said.  
“SGCH is proud to be working in partnership with the NSW Government, and others, to bring the capital and capability together to deliver more homes to meet the demand for social and affordable housing in Greater Sydney. 
“These new homes are energy efficient and will also help our customers by lowering energy bills and environmental impacts.”
The inner-city development offers close proximity to shops, transport and health services,.
It is a modern energy efficient building with a 7.7-star rating under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, and includes common area space on the ground floor and a bike storage room.
SGCH plans to include some of the dwellings from this site as part of its 561 property pipeline under the NSW Government’s SAHF program, which has already delivered 426 new homes.
The SAHF is a key initiative of Future Directions of Social Housing in NSW and is on track to deliver 3,486 homes across NSW.
More information about SAHF is available at this link: