In estimates last night the Government revealed that funding to end violence against women and children is less than half the amount the women’s safety sector says is needed.

Labor continues to ignore the women’s safety sector’s sustained calls for $1 billion in funding, leaving frontline family and domestic violence services with no choice but to turn away victim-survivors.

Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on Women, Larissa Waters said:

“The Government has said it wants to end violence against women within a generation but it’s not stumping up the funds to deliver that. The total commitment over the next five years is $2.23 billion, less than half the $5 billion the sector needs to ensure no one is turned away.

“The government has spoken often about difficult choices in the lead up to the budget, but right now they are choosing to spend $313 billion on tax cuts for billionaires and baulking at $1 billion a year for women escaping violence. It’s worse than disappointing, it’s a betrayal.

“Violence against women and children has not reduced since the first National Plan to end it  12 years ago. Labor must provide the funds required for the National Plan to succeed, or they risk squandering another 10 years, and more women’s lives.

“While the Labor Government continues to underfund frontline family and domestic violence services, victim-survivors are turned away from crisis accommodation and one woman is murdered every 10 days in this country.

“Labor are saying one thing about a ‘women-centred’ budget but doing another by shortchanging women in need. They’re choosing to put tax cuts for our highest income earners – of which two thirds are men – above women’s safety.

“What more does the sector need to do to convince the government to stump up the funds they need to meet demand and keep women and children safe?”

Have your say on the revitalisation of Newcastle Ocean Baths

The final stage of the upgrade to the Newcastle Ocean Baths is underway with City of Newcastle calling for community input into preliminary options for the pavilion buildings.

Substantial progress has been made on stage one of the renewal, the pool and promenade areas, ahead of re-opening the facility for swimmers by this coming summer.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it was great to see the progress of the project and encouraged the community to share their thoughts on potential options for the pavilion buildings ahead of design commencing for the final stage of the project.

“It’s exciting to see the pool area take shape because this is such an important facility for Novocastrians and the broader region,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Before design of the pavilion buildings starts, it’s important to understand what the community needs from the facility, and how that could be achieved given the location and constraints of the site.”

City of Newcastle Executive Director City Infrastructure Joanne Rigby said City of Newcastle was committed to creating an inclusive community space, while also recognising the site’s unique character and heritage features.

“Different building configuration options present different experiences for users, and it’s essential we consider the needs of the broader community now and for decades to come during the renewal of the pavilion buildings,” Ms Rigby said.

“A User Needs Analysis is underway to examine requirements like community space that welcomes all visitors in an accessible and inclusive way and is sensitive to the site’s heritage, as well as being resilient to coastal inundation and predicted sea level rise.

“We have developed different layout options and are looking for feedback from the community given the broad range of people’s individual opinions and needs.”

The feedback will inform the concept design of the renewed pavilion buildings, which will commence in the coming months.

City of Newcastle worked closely with the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group during the planning and design phases of the stage one upgrade, and this group met again last week to discuss the progression of stage two and the options that have been developed.

Themes raised during the Community Reference Group meeting included accessibility, options for a café and kiosk to operate alongside community spaces, and change facilities.

The upgrade of the pavilion buildings presents an opportunity to deliver an expanded community space by adding a second storey to the northern pavilion, an option that the Community Reference Group discussed at last week’s meeting.

City of Newcastle Executive Manager Project Management Robert Dudgeon said that construction of the pool itself is nearing completion, and precast concrete panels have been installed in the wet well area to support the new pumps, which have arrived and will be installed over the winter period.

“We are continuing work to restore the historic bleachers, and foundations are in place for the return of the historic art-deco curved stairs leading from the pool up to the pavilion area,” Mr Dudgeon said.

“As we near completion of the pool, we are constructing the new pool deck, which will provide a safer surface for walking around the pool edge.

“Once construction is completed there will be a period of commissioning and testing the new pumps and systems, with a re-opening of the pools and return to swimming anticipated by summer this year.”

The $9.5 million recovered from the sale of City of Newcastle’s Fred Ash building is helping fund the Newcastle Ocean Baths stage one upgrade along with $3 million in funding from the NSW Government’s Public Spaces Legacy Program. The NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program is an investment in high quality public open space and delivers vital infrastructure for communities to love the place they live.

From today, community members are encouraged to visit to learn more about the project, view the preliminary options, and provide feedback by 12 June.

Newcastle crowned NSW’s ‘Top Tourism Town’

Newcastle has been hailed NSW’s ‘Top Tourism Town’ by Business NSW at the Local Government NSW Destination & Visitor Economy Conference in Manly.

City of Newcastle (CN) was presented with the award by NSW Tourism Industry Council Executive Director, Paula Martin, in recognition of its strategic initiatives to increase visitation and support tourism development for local operators and hospitality businesses.

Top-Tourism-Town.jpgNewcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the award was recognition of CN’s collaboration with industry, government, and tourism operators to boost the local visitor economy.

“This accolade acknowledges City of Newcastle’s leadership in growing our city as a must-see destination,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Cementing our city’s status as a premier tourism and major events destination, we partnered with Venues NSW to secure Newcastle as the first stop on Sir Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in Australia under a strategic Major Events Partnership and has since secured a coveted spot on the upcoming world tour of American pop powerhouse Pink in February 2024.

“Attracting headline acts of this calibre is a testament to Newcastle’s growth as a world-class events and cultural city and indicative of a thriving local economy.

“Major events are a key part of our Destination Management Plan as a primary driver of the local tourism visitor economy, delivering both an immediate and ongoing benefit for the community and economy, with greater visitation, investment and liveability outcomes.

“We are committed to ongoing investment in major events and tourism through event sponsorship, industry development, our recent tourism brand refresh ‘Seek Off Beat’ and targeted marketing campaigns which are integral to building a thriving, diverse and robust visitor economy.”

From 2024, the expansion of Newcastle Airport will pave the way to attract more international events, while international hotel brands like Crystalbrook and QT have already recognised Newcastle’s expanding tourism appeal, investing millions of dollars to open five-star hotels in the city.

“To help attract more leisure visitors, a key action in Newcastle’s Destination Management Plan has been to work with the business sector to increase the number of bookable visitor experiences on offer,” Cr Nelmes said.

“By continuing to leverage our city’s unique offering in a way that appeals to visitors from outside the region and abroad, Newcastle’s future as an international tourism and major events destination is bright.”

Newcastle will now vie for Australia’s Top Tourism Town title at an event later this year.

Watch City of Newcastle’s winning-award submission video.

$1 million in grants and sponsorships on offer from City of Newcastle

Projects that attract people to public places, enhance community well-being and strengthen the city’s reputation as a tourism, business and events destination are set to share in almost $1 million from City of Newcastle (CN).

Applications are now open across 12 grants and sponsorship funding categories to support social, cultural, environmental and economic initiatives.

Initiatives ranging from a learn to swim program for refugee women, and an indigenous and disability sports clinic, through to workshops teaching Auslan to the community using popular songs are just some of the programs delivered under CN’s community support grant funding last year.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said grants and sponsorship funding is vital to enhancing community well-being and contributing to building a welcoming, liveable and inclusive city.

“City of Newcastle’s annual grants and sponsorships program has seen amazing initiatives come to life, from programs that help engage our culturally and linguistically diverse communities in local sport to major events like SailFest, which welcomed thousands of people to our harbour city,” Cr Nelmes said.

“We provide funding to a wide variety of activities, projects and events annually, including recreation facilities, community initiatives, arts, culture and heritage, as well as environmental and social inclusion projects.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said social inclusion, recreation participation and economic development were at the heart of CN’s grants and sponsorships program.

“Last year, City of Newcastle funded upgrade projects for local clubs who use our sporting and recreation facilities right across the city, whilst event sponsorship provided a great way to increase visitation to the city,” Cr Clausen said

“We’re looking forward to seeing a range of new applications come through this year for projects and initiatives that benefit the community and create a vibrant city for all.”

Grants that target minor infrastructure improvements for recreational facilities and sustainability upgrades are also available under the infrastructure grants category.

Event sponsorship grants are available for events that promote active and vibrant spaces, attract local and out of region visitation and enhance Newcastle’s profile as an events city, while economic development sponsorships will be provided for activities that enable skills and innovation, and are considered city-shaping initiatives.

Applications for grants and sponsorship funding are open from tomorrow until 30 June 2023. Further details can be viewed on City of Newcastle’s website by visiting


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will travel to Singapore from 1 to 2 June to deliver the keynote address at the 20th Shangri-La Dialogue, and to meet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for annual bilateral discussions.

Through his keynote address to the Shangri-La Dialogue, the Prime Minister will outline Australia’s vision for the Indo-Pacific region. Convened by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Dialogue is the premier regional forum for senior government and thought leaders to discuss regional security dynamics and challenges.

Meetings with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will focus on strengthening our bilateral cooperation, implementing the Singapore-Australia Green Economy Agreement, signed in October 2022, as well as strengthening mutual food and energy security, defence cooperation and trade and investment ties.

The Prime Minister will travel to Vietnam from 3 to 4 June to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

In Vietnam the Prime Minister will hold meetings with Vietnam’s senior leaders and promote Australian business and education ties. Leaders will discuss ways to boost trade, investment and education links and expand cooperation on climate, energy and the environment.

Vietnam is an increasingly important economic and strategic partner for Australia in Southeast Asia, an area of focus for the Albanese Government. 

This is the Prime Minister’s first official visit to both Singapore and Vietnam.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said:

“At the Shangri-La Dialogue I will outline Australia’s vision for a stable, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

“Australia is committed to expanding and deepening ties with our partners in Southeast Asia to address shared challenges and ambitions.

“I look forward to the Annual Leaders’ Meeting in Singapore, where Prime Minister Lee and I will discuss the broad range of work underway as part of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“My first official visit to Vietnam is an opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and agree on new areas of economic, trade and other cooperation to deliver a stronger relationship into the future.”

Hunter, Central Coast and Central West studentsawarded for excellence in Public Education 

Students from across the Hunter, Central Coast and Central West received scholarships at the 2023 Proudly Public! Awards night at Sydney Town Hall on Monday.

They are among over 700 public school students and educators from across Australia to receive scholarships administered by the Public Education Foundation in 2023.

Since the launch of PEF’s scholarships program in 2009 over 3,000 students and more than 120 educators have been supported with greater than $8.5 million in life-changing scholarships administered by the Foundation.

A list of Hunter, Central Coast and Central West student and teacher recipients is attached below, with full details in the link.

Department of Education Acting Secretary Murat Dizdar thanked the Public Education Foundation for its ongoing support of public education in NSW.

He said the scholarships helped to remove barriers to achievement created by social and economic disadvantage.

“These scholarships are about recognising student excellence, potential and ability and rewarding students so they can continue to reach their potential,” Mr Dizdar said. 

“Behind many of these awards are extraordinary stories of resilience and a commitment to learning against the odds, especially during the pandemic, bushfires and floods. 

“I am proud of our students, teachers and leaders who have attained scholarships. It is their efforts that combine to create the extraordinary public education system we have in NSW, one that believes in the individual no matter your postcode and as part of its DNA is determined that every individual connects, succeeds and thrives in public schools.”

Public Education Foundation CEO David Riordan said the awards celebrate the enduring values of Australian public education. 

“Every student deserves the opportunity to achieve their full potential, and these scholarships will help make that possible,” Mr Riordan said.

The Public Education Foundation is a charity dedicated to enhancing the value and reputation of public education by providing life-changing scholarships to its students, teachers and principals. 

For a full list of scholarship recipients visit:

Walter and Eliza Hall Trust Opportunity Scholarship

Isla Farr                                   Oxley High School

NSW Teachers Federation Primary Scholarship

Charlie Palmer                        Gwandalan Public School

Kua Swan                               Glendore Public School

Public Education Foundation Primary Scholarship

Levi Nicholson                        Scone Public School

Felicity Samuel                       Wadalba Community School

Levi Nicholson                        Scone Public School

Felicity Samuel                       Wadalba Community School

Niyahla Wright                        Glendore Public School

Waratah Education Foundation Primary Scholarship

Dhakota Hodges                     Glendore Public School

Kaitlyn Mulligan                       Woodberry Public School

Alana Newland                        Glendore Public School

Lily Nguyen                             Glendore Public School

Waratah Education Foundation Secondary Transition Scholarship

Eliza French                            Glendore Public School

Jakeisha-Lee McBride            Glendore Public School

Aboriginal Education Council Scholarship

Hannah Baillie-Angeles          Bulahdelah Central School

Kailee Good                            West Wallsend High School

Jie Matthews                           West Wallsend High School

Nakiesha Vickery                    Northlakes High School

Andrew Casey Indigenous Scholarship

Charlie Deacon                       West Wallsend High School

Connected Communities Scholarship

Destyni Bight                           Coonamble High School

Jordan Briar                            Coonamble High School

Braydon Dodd                         Coonamble High School

Madie Hodgson                       Coonamble High School

Rihanna McBride                    Coonamble High School

Public Education Foundation Indigenous Scholarship

Beau Hinton                            Coonabarabran High School

Yooralla Samuel                     Wadalba Community School

Una May Smith Scholarship

Ashlee Dawson                       West Wallsend High School

Tae-Lani Gordon                     Glendore Public School

NSW Teachers Federation Refugee Scholarship

Maryam Hossein Zadeh         Callaghan College Waratah Campus

Friends of Zainab Senior Secondary Scholarship

Maryam Hossein Zadeh         Callaghan College Waratah Campus

Narges Eftekhari                     Callaghan College Jesmond Campus

Madina Khanzada                   Callaghan Collage Waratah Campus

Unions NSW Jeff Shaw Memorial Scholarship

Caitlin Blanch                          Peel High School

VET in Schools Scholarship

Chloe Lund                              Denison College of Secondary Education, Kelso High Campus

Woodcock Family Scholarship

Harry Brown                            Singleton High School

Katie King                               Singleton High School

Hunter Mcloughlin                   Scone High School

Koby Newman                        Singleton High School

NSW Teachers Federation Award for HSC Excellence

Rebecca Oewns                     Gosford High School

Lara White                              Newcastle High School

NSW Cookery Teachers Association Scholarship

Emilie Coe                              Dunedoo Central School

Rilee Perry                              Whitebridge High School

Nurses and Midwives Health Scholarship

Anastasia Walsh                     Nyngan High School

Public Education Foundation Tertiary Scholarship

Dinara Jayarathna                  Taree High School

Alishea Rankin                        Coonabarabran High School

Hugh Shadwell                       Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School

Teachers Health Early Career Scholarship

Jessica Burg                           Oxley High School

Ad campaign backs Same Job Same Pay laws to close labour hire loopholes 

The Mining and Energy Union is today launching an advertising campaign to support the Albanese Government’s proposed Same Job Same Pay laws for labour hire workers and challenge mining company scare campaigns. 

The print, television and social media campaign will continue until the new laws pass Parliament. 

MEU General Secretary Grahame Kelly said that despite mining company fear-mongering, Same Job Same Pay laws would be good for the industry. 

“Mining companies are notorious for throwing their weight around when governments propose changes requiring them to act in the community’s best interests. 

“But Same Job Same Pay will be a positive for mining because it will end a rort affecting the workers and regional communities that sustain the industry. 

“Same Job Same Pay will improve wages and conditions for labour hire workers and prevent them being treated as second class citizens. It will strengthen collective bargaining by ensuring companies stick to their end of the bargain. And it will be great for regional communities who lose out when big employers cut wages for half the workforce.”

Mr Kelly said that over the past decade, big mining companies have replaced thousands of good, permanent mining jobs with insecure, lower-paid labour hire jobs, cutting wages while their profits have grown. 

He said Same Job Same Pay laws would close the loophole that allows companies to avoid paying the wages and conditions negotiated under site Enterprise Agreements by outsourcing jobs to labour hire companies paying barely above the legal minimum. 

The practice means that on many mine sites, labour hire workers are paid from $30,000 to $50,000 a year less than permanent workers for doing the same job. Workers in other industries including transport and manufacturing are also affected. 

“We know that workers in industries apart from mining are also the victim of labour hire loopholes, being paid less than permanent employees performing the same job. 

“We encourage all workers who want to end this rort to get on board and help make sure Same Job Same Pay becomes a reality.” 

The ads have started airing today and the campaign is being officially launched at Parliament House in Canberra, where a delegation of MEU coal mineworkers has been briefing MPs about the misuse of labour hire and the need for Same Job Same Pay laws. The campaign will include events in regional areas in the months ahead.

Humanitarian assistance to Middle East and Africa

The Australian Government will provide an additional $29 million to humanitarian partners to respond to the growing food security crisis and to assist vulnerable people in the Middle East and Africa.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of people at risk of acute food insecurity, increasing to 350 million people globally.

Australia is deeply concerned for those impacted by conflict, those experiencing extreme hunger and the consequences of crises on global stability and security.

As part of our ongoing response, Australia will contribute $29 million from the Humanitarian Emergency Fund to partners in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, including:

  • $15 million to address increased humanitarian, displacement and protection needs of people in drought-affected areas in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
  • $4 million to provide food and nutrition support to the most vulnerable in Yemen.
  • $10 million for food and monetary assistance to refugees and vulnerable populations in Lebanon and Jordan.

This package builds on humanitarian support already delivered, including $25 million in emergency assistance announced in February to respond to growing global food insecurity and humanitarian crises affecting Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.

Australia’s ongoing response is part of broader efforts to address the underlying causes of crises and food insecurity globally, which includes long-term financial and technical support to build resilient communities and food systems.

We continue to advocate for open, transparent and predictable agricultural trade to reduce the export restrictions which raise prices and worsen food insecurity.

Australia has also committed $6 million to support those affected by the conflict in Sudan. The Government is concerned about active conflict and widespread food insecurity across the region and is monitoring the impacts closely.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong said:

“Conflict and climate change are driving unprecedented levels of humanitarian need, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.

“Australia is using all elements of our national power to shape the world for the better, including by providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable.”

Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy MP said:

“We are seeing the largest global food crisis in modern history, with 350 million people going hungry.

“Australia is making an important contribution to the humanitarian response in partnership with other countries and international organisations.”

the Assistant Minister Foreign Affairs, the Hon Tim Watts MP said:

“Our $29 million package for immediate life-saving assistance is part of a broader effort to address the underlying causes of food insecurity and displacement globally.

“We are acting now to fight global hunger, help the most vulnerable, and build the conditions for stability.”

Cooked: Red Rooster Franchise Faces Charges for Employing Minors


In a recent development, the Red Rooster franchise located in Wodonga has come under scrutiny as it faces a staggering 355 charges from Victoria’s Child Employment Watchdog.

The allegations suggest the franchise employed ten children under 15 without the necessary permits. This incident is just one among several cases that have led to increased discussions around the employment of teenagers and the need to reassess current laws. One Nation Victoria MP, Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell, acknowledges the importance of safeguarding children but emphasizes the potential benefits of early part-time employment for teenagers. Let’s delve into the topic, exploring the advantages, safeguards, and the possibility of allowing younger people to work. 

The Importance of Part-Time Jobs for Teenagers: 

Mrs Tyrrell recognises the value of teenagers having their first part-time job, citing its invaluable benefits. Beyond monetary compensation, such employment instils essential work ethics and a sense of purpose and encourages the development of professional relationships. Moreover, it provides teenagers with a basic understanding of business and economics through financial incentives, and skill sets that may not be adequately covered in the school curriculum alone. 

Calls for Reassessment: 

While acknowledging the necessity of safeguarding children in the workforce, Tyrrell suggests evaluating existing teenage employment laws. Not all young individuals can work as she did on a family farm or in a family business. By imposing restrictions on maximum working hours to prevent exploitation and ensuring appropriate measures such as working with children checks and training, lowering the age bracket to 13 years old could provide numerous benefits. 

Safeguards to Protect Teenagers: 

Mrs Tyrrell emphasises the importance of implementing safeguards to protect the well-being and rights of teenagers. Restricting working hours can prevent potential abuse and ensure teenagers balance work and other commitments like education. Additionally, enforcing thorough working with children checks and providing training programs will help create a safer and more secure working environment for young employees. 

Win-Win Situation: 

Lowering the minimum age for employment can be seen as a win-win situation. Teenagers eager to earn a few extra dollars can gain valuable work experience and financial independence. Simultaneously, employers can tap into this talent pool to meet their labour needs, benefitting from the enthusiasm, energy, and fresh perspectives that young employees often bring. 


The recent charges brought against the Red Rooster franchise in Wodonga highlight the need to reassess current teenage employment laws. While protecting children in the workforce is essential, the potential benefits of part-time employment for teenagers should not be overlooked. By implementing appropriate safeguards, such as restrictions on working hours, thorough background checks, and training programs, it is possible to create a safe and enriching environment for young employees. With proper regulations, lowering the age bracket to 13 years old can provide teenagers with valuable life skills and offer employers access to a motivated and capable workforce. As the discussion continues, it is crucial to balance safeguarding young individuals and empowering them through suitable employment opportunities. 


I spoke to Mark McGowan earlier today to congratulate him on his retirement and all he has achieved through his time in public life. Mark leaves office as he led, on his own terms and as his own man. He has been a great Premier of his proud state, an extraordinary leader for WA Labor and a trusted friend. Above all, Mark will be remembered for seeing the people of Western Australian safely through one of the most challenging crises in our nation’s history. In unprecedented times, Mark always held to his convictions and always sought to do the right thing by his state.

While it’s true the sheer scale of his final election victory earned him a place in Australian political history, I know Mark’s definition of success has always been about delivering for people, improving lives and creating progress that endures. He has done all this in spades. I wish Mark, Sarah and their family all the very best for the next chapter of their lives.