The Senate inquiry into attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Assessment and support services in Australia will this week convene for its first public hearing.

Held in Canberra on Thursday, June 29, the hearing will invite people with lived experience of ADHD, ADHD peak bodies, NSW and ACT-based disability advocacy organisations, some government departments and a range of healthcare professional representative bodies to present further evidence to the committee. 

It is expected that the ADHD inquiry, initiated by Senator Jordon Steele-John and passed by the Senate in March, will make community-led recommendations to address the common barriers people experience as they seek ADHD assessment and care.

Around a million people in Australia are directly impacted by ADHD, a widely misunderstood neurodevelopmental disability that can cause significant impairment and dysfunction in people’s lives.

Senator Jordon Steele-John, Australian Greens spokesperson on Disability Services, Health and Mental Health said:

“People with ADHD have been left behind in this country for far too long. 

“Over the past year of engaging closely with the ADHD community, I’ve heard countless stories of barriers around cost, wait time and stigma associated with seeking ADHD assessment and support services.

“The ADHD inquiry marked the first time that people with ADHD have had the opportunity to share their lived experience directly with the people who make the decisions that impact their care. 

“Now as we move into the next phase of the inquiry, I’m hopeful these experiences will steer the committee toward the robust and meaningful recommendations needed to improve countless lives.

“We laid the first brick in the road toward that by initiating this inquiry. Now, I look forward to working with the community to lay the many bricks to come, beginning with this first public hearing.”


The first public hearing for the ADHD Assessment and Support Services in Australia inquiry will be held on Thursday 29th June in Canberra 10am – 5:30pm AEDT and will hear from people with lived experience, their representative organisations including ADHD Australia, Disability advocacy organisations, Healthcare Professionals and representatives of the Departments of Education, Health and the NDIS. 

Program is available here: 


Responding to Environment Minister Plibersek’s announcement of an environmental offsets audit, Greens spokesperson for the Environment Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:

“The Government’s Nature Repair Market must be scrapped in light of the Environment Minister’s offset audit and integrity concerns.

“Environmental offsets have been a sham for years. They are wholly designed to allow big developers and miners to destroy the environment and harm wildlife under the false pretense that saving a small piece of nature somewhere else can excuse the damage. 

“Offsets have never been about protecting the environment, they are only ever about greenwashing pollution and harm.

“If the Minister is seriously concerned about the integrity of offsets then the Nature Repair Market Bill currently before the parliament should be binned.

“As it stands, Minister Plibersek’s Nature Repair Market Bill will supercharge the use of these dodgy credits and offsets, meaning more destruction, more logging and more pollution. A ‘Green Wall Street’ is not what nature needs, it needs proper laws that can stop pollution and stop the bulldozers.

“The Greens have previously called for a suspension and investigation of environmental offsets around the country. Any audit must be independent and transparent if it is to have integrity.

“If the Minister is serious about protecting nature, she must stop seeking bandaid solutions to broken schemes and instead work urgently on fixing our environment laws so that they actually stop the destruction and pollution at the source.”


Responding to evidence presented at the hearing into the Government’s Nature Repair Market Bill held today in Canberra, Greens spokesperson for the Environment Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:

“Today the Senate heard that the ‘Nature Repair Market’ bill will not repair nature, but allow for its continued destruction. 

“Minister Plibersek’s ‘Green Wall Street’ bill is greenwashing and it should be binned so we can pass stronger environment laws which protect nature and the climate.

“A range of experts as well as State and Territory officials have shown Minister Plibersek’s nature offset market is undercooked and as it stands would be worse than nothing. It won’t stop logging or pollution but instead greenwash their expansion.

“Evidence in the hearing showed Minister Plibersek’s scheme will allow developers and mining companies to simply pay for the right to destroy nature and wildlife habitat.

“Alarmingly the PwC report that the Minister uses to justify this scheme argues that a market for nature should be an “absolute last resort” when it comes to protecting nature. The economic case for the scheme has also been severely undermined.

“Experts have warned that Green Wall Street will allow “double dipping” on carbon credits and nature credits for the same project, greenwashing the expansion of both. Green Wall Street would be an environmental ponzi scheme.

“Allowing corporations to pay to destroy nature is not nature positive, and will not save our wildlife.”


Independent polling commissioned by the office of Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi shows that most young people are concerned about paying back their student debt, a majority agree indexation should be scrapped & there is significant support for free uni and TAFE.

Key findings:

  • A clear majority of Australians think that University and TAFE should be free and fully funded by the Government (59%).
  • Most Australians think student debts are currently too high (68%).
  • There is resounding support for the proposition that student debts should not rise with inflation (72%).
  • Overall, three quarters (77%) of Australians with student debt are concerned about their student debt, with half of them being very concerned.
  • The younger the Australian the more concerned they are (Gen Z 79%, Millennials 70%, Gen X 60%, Baby Boomers 55%).
  • A majority  (64%) of Australians are concerned about student debt in general.
  • Seven out of ten (71%) Australians believe it is unfair the government is set to make more from rising student debt than they are from changes to their gas tax. 
  • Just under 60% (59%) of Australians believe that the minimum repayment income should be raised to the median wage.
  • Over half (52%) of Australians eligible to vote are more likely to vote for an election candidate with strong policies on tackling student debt. 
  • Younger people  are much more likely to vote for a candidate with strong policies on tackling student debt (Gen Z 69%, Millennials 64%, Gen X 49%, Baby Boomers 38%) – This increases to almost 80% (78%) of all Australians with student debt.

Senator Mehreen Faruqi said:

“Young people are clearly worried about owing an ever expanding student debt. At a time when the cost of living is biting, this polling is a clear message to Labor to act on the student debt crisis.

“These figures prove beyond all doubt that we desperately need to overhaul our cooked student debt system. The community agrees with the Greens that student debts are too high, growing too fast and taking too long to pay off. 

“The verdict on student debt indexation is in and it’s damning. The Government should be wiping all student debt but at the very least, it should get its head out of the sand and abolish indexation now.

“This polling shows Labor is completely out of touch when they sat back and allowed an enormous hike to student debt during a cost of living crisis. People are angry that Labor is more focused on penalising students than making the corporations fueling  inflation pay their fair share. 

“People want a bold, progressive transformation. Labor should listen to the majority of Australians who back the Greens’ vision of free university and TAFE, which is fully funded by the Government.

“Education should open doors and lift people up, not shackle them with a debt sentence that only makes life harder.”

Note- The polling was conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard, and in compliance with the Australian Polling Council Quality Mark standards ( Lonergan Research surveyed 1,005 Australians 18+ between May 31 and June 5 2023. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Inaugural Maitri Cultural Partnerships grants

Today I announce the six recipients of the inaugural Maitri Cultural Partnerships grants.

The Cultural Partnerships are one of a suite of Maitri (meaning friendship) initiatives administered by the Centre for Australia-India Relations.

The Centre is working across government, industry, academia and the community to build greater understanding within the Australia-India relationship and support business to seize the opportunities of our economic partnership.

Each of these projects will support new and exciting collaboration with India and enhance the connections between our creative sectors and India’s thriving cultural industries.

  • Mona Foma, the Tasmanian festival of music and arts, will lead a two-year Australia-India music collaboration with artistic exchanges and music residencies, culminating in a major concert in 2025.
  • Bábbarra Women’s Centre in Maningrida Northern Territory will work with Tharangini Studios in Bengaluru to engage emerging women artists in textiles development.
  • Raghav Handa will lead a joint effort between FORM Dance Projects and Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts to be performed at the 2024 India Biennale in Bengaluru.
  • Western Australia’s Undercurrent Theatre Company will collaborate with the Kerala-based Void Ensemble on a new production to be performed in Perth and Trivandrum.
  • Benjamin Knapton, a leading Australian circus and physical theatre director, will work with performers of traditional Indian physical theatre on a production which will premiere at the Royal Opera House in Mumbai.
  • Melbourne’s Liquid Architecture and Sarai-CSDS in New Delhi will co-host a symposium, workshop, and exhibition on creative practices that utilise new technologies in sound and media.

Further details on the successful grant projects can be found at

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

“The Albanese Government is strengthening creative collaboration between Australia and India to further our cultural understanding and enhance our economic ties.

“The Maitri Cultural Partnerships will deepen our creative sector engagement from major cultural institutions to smaller, community partnerships.”

Tim Thomas, CEO, Centre for Australia-India Relations said:

“The Maitri Cultural Partnerships grants are a key element of the Centre for Australia-India Relations’ work to deepen understanding and connections between Australia and India. Strong cultural ties will increasingly be a feature of our strong relations.

“The Centre is pleased to support these projects to bring fresh and innovative perspectives to the Australia-India relationship and to foster creativity in our own multicultural ecosystem.”

International Diplomatic Corps visit to South Australia

This week Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Trade and Tourism Minister Don Farrell hosted more than 70 Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Chargé d’Affaires in South Australia.

The international diplomatic corps visit has been an opportunity to bring representatives from around the world to Adelaide, to promote trade and investment opportunities, showcase local produce and meet some of our wildlife.

The group met innovative researchers and students at Adelaide University, learned about South Australia’s green hydrogen future, experienced some of the best of the state’s agricultural produce and viewed light show ‘Resonate’ in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

The visit also provided an opportunity for the diplomatic corps to hear from First Nations people and learn about their rich culture, as well as Australia’s modern identity as a multicultural society.

To advance Australia’s interests and values in the world, we need to harness all elements of our national power – strategic, economic, social and diplomatic. This includes shaping how Australia is seen, by projecting modern Australia to the world.

Ministers Wong and Farrell extend their thanks to all of the groups and businesses that supported the visit.

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

“On the three day visit, we have shared some of what Australia, and South Australia has to offer – and discussing Australia’s approach to the world.

“It has also been an opportunity for our guests to learn more about modern Australia’s multicultural communities and First Nations heritage.

“We’ve been highlighting Australia’s world class education system and opportunities to build trade and investment, including in high-quality agriculture and green hydrogen.”

Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell said:

“It was an honour to host over seventy Ambassadors and Heads of Mission from around the world.”

“South Australia has one of the largest agricultural research precincts in the Southern Hemisphere, premier higher education institutions, and huge innovation potential in the energy, health, med-tech and space sectors.

“Australia is full of opportunities with a dynamic and growing economy. We will continue to seek out opportunities to encourage trade and investment, strengthening our economy and contributing to Australian jobs and growth.”

City of Newcastle sets the scene for New Annual festival with launch of 2023 program

Delivering unforgettable experiences in unexpected locations, City of Newcastle’s flagship New Annual festival is set to return this September for 10 days of art, culture, and creativity.

From aerial artists completing feats of physical daring to an epic percussive performance featuring 100 local drummers, New Annual offers a diverse program of dance, circus, visual art, music, and theatre by local and nationally renowned artists.

Cr Carol Duncan and Cr Elizabeth Adamczyk with New Annual Senior Producer and Curator Adrian Burnett and artists representing a number of shows from the 2023 program.

Audiences will discover new performance spaces this year, including Newcastle’s iconic Christ Church Cathedral and a popular inner-city distillery, while familiar landscapes such as Civic Park and Museum Park will be transformed by large-scale installations and pop-up stages.

Now in its third year, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said New Annual was cementing its status as a drawcard event for the city.

“New Annual is the catalyst for Newcastle’s cultural events sector to take centre stage alongside leading national events,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Building on the success of last year’s festival, which attracted almost 40,000 people to more than 140 performances and activities, New Annual will once again surprise, inspire and delight audiences as they discover a new side of Newcastle and its creative community.”

New Annual will kick off on Friday, 22 September with an impressive opening program including ‘What Will Have Been’ by the world-renowned Circa Contemporary Circus, an exhibition by internationally acclaimed, Newcastle-raised South Sudanese photographer Atong Atem and ‘Rhapsody’, a one-of-a-kind cultural experience by Catapult Dance Choreographic Hub.

Civic Park will be a hive of activity as Strut and Fret invite audiences into the Spiegeltent for the extravagant ‘Blanc de Blanc Encore’, while a 700sqm maze of glass, mirrors and moving prisms will transport visitors into another world with artist Keith Courtney’s spectacular and immersive installation ‘Kaleidoscope’. Both Blanc de Blanc Encore and Kaleidoscope will have extended seasons that run beyond the end of New Annual.

A vibrant mix of free, low-cost and family-friendly events will continue throughout the 10-day festival, with highlights including ‘Noise’, a powerful performance by Dancenorth Australia in collaboration with local drummers, ‘This Land’, a musical showcase of acclaimed First Nations performers, and ‘Just Not Australian’, an artistic showcase challenging contemporary Australian nationhood.

Museum Park will come alive with a range of free events and activations including ‘Ngiarrenumba Burrai (Our Country)’, which is a series of First Nations cultural workshops being held throughout the New Annual program. A Community Day will take over the precinct on 30 September, with a vibrant celebration of diverse traditions, food, art forms, and cultural expressions being delivered as part of a two-year grant from Multicultural NSW.

Newcastle’s Civic Theatre will host a dynamic range of performances and events throughout New Annual, including gigs by award-winning pop icon Kate Ceberano accompanied by the George Ellis Orchestra and popular folk rock five-piece Boy and Bear, as well as a moving production of ‘Good Mourning’ by Tantrum Youth Arts, backstage tours and Civic Cinema screenings.

The untold inside story of Newcastle rock royalty Silverchair will also be shared for the first time, with drummer Ben Gillies and bassist Chris Joanou in conversation at the Civic Theatre for the official launch of their new memoir Love & Pain.

Newcastle artists, musicians and creatives will be in the spotlight across the New Annual festival, which was conceived with a vision to celebrate the depth of talent in the city’s thriving cultural and arts sector.

Councillor Carol Duncan said New Annual highlights Newcastle’s identity as a creative hub with a vibrant cultural heritage.

“City of Newcastle is committed to supporting local artists and organisations through flagship events such as New Annual, which provide a high-profile platform to showcase their talents,” Cr Duncan said.

“More than half of the programming during the past two New Annual festivals was delivered by local artists, offering a vital economic boost for Newcastle’s recovering creative arts and live music sectors that were heavily impacted by COVID-19.

“I can’t wait to do it all again this September and look forward to seeing our local artists on the bill alongside some of the best arts and cultural practitioners from across Australia.”

This year’s local programming will include Novocastrian-born award-winning playwright Ang Collins, who was selected as part of the local “Made New” program to premiere her Newcastle-based play, Spewy, at New Annual.

The play will be performed at Earp Distilling Co and follows the romantic journey of two twenty-somethings navigating their place in our vibrant city.

“I’ve been thinking about writing a play like Spewy – a funny, no-frills Newy-centric rom-com – for a number of years and I’ve always wanted to stage it in my hometown, for an audience of locals who will relate to the characters and story first-hand,” Ms Collins said.

“Thanks to New Annual’s Made New initiative, I was finally given the opportunity to write this story for a professional festival platform, and to bring it to life with some of my favourite regional artists.

“I am so excited to see New Annual invigorate my favourite harbour city and show the rest of the country the calibre of new work that we Novocastrians create.”

Fellow Novocastrian Daz Chandler from The Parallel Effect will deliver the NSW premiere of ground-breaking interactive theatre experience ‘Message From Another You’ during New Annual, while local theatre maker Janie Gibson will transform the New Lambton Community Centre with ‘Voices of Joan’, a moving and irreverent solo performance unravelling the history of misogyny through a radical retelling of the story of Joan of Arc.

New Annual will run from 22 September to 1 October. Visit for more details about the program and to secure your tickets. Book by 14 July to receive a 10 per cent early bird discount on most shows.

Cutting red tape to give veterans ongoing access to rego and licence concessions  

NSW Veterans and Wholly Dependent Partners will no longer need to attend a Service NSW centre to re-establish their eligibility for a vehicle registration and licence concession.

For over a decade, veterans under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 had to continually obtain documentation from Department of Veteran Affairs and verify their eligibility for a concession in person. This placed undue burden and stress on them.

From Saturday 1 July 2023, eligible veterans will receive a concession on registration and licence products by simply providing Service NSW their file number. Additionally, as a pensioner their vehicle registration will be automatically renewed, provided their file number is recorded, and green slip and pink slip (if required) are received.

Minister for Roads John Graham said:

“The previous process was inefficient and at times distressing, with NSW Veterans continually attending Service NSW service centres to re-establish their eligibility for a concession.

“This change will see their Department of Veteran Affairs Gold Card validate automatically, with eligible concessions applied to licence and vehicle registration products.”

Minister for Veterans David Harris said:

“This initiative will have significant benefits for our Veterans and Wholly Dependent Partners. We’re going to improve the customer experience for our veterans by automatically validating their Gold Card and remove the burden of visiting a service centre to re-establish their pensioner status, every year.”

Member for Campbelltown Greg Warren said:

“This is a sensible and necessary step forward for veterans, removing the unnecessary red tape and burden from having to continually attend a Service NSW centre, to re-establish their eligibility for concessions.

This is an issue that has been raised regularly with me by fellow veterans. We had a commitment in opposition to address this issue and I am delighted to see this happen now.”

NSW Veterans and eligible concession holders can also now renew their licencelaunch online if they meet the required criteria.

For more information, see Registration concessions and automatic renewal for pensioners.

Toll increases take effect July 1 as Fels Review progresses

Toll increases on some of Sydney’s motorways take effect from Saturday, July 1 as the NSW Government renews its call for the public to take part in the independent Tolling Review underway.

Quarterly toll increases start on Saturday on the M7, M2, M5 South West, NorthConnex, Lane Cove Tunnel, Eastern Distributor and the Cross City Tunnel. Regular toll increases are set in long-term contracts between the NSW Government and motorway owner Transurban.

Tolls on WestConnex M4, M4- M5 Link, M8 and M5 East, will not change on July 1 as they are subject to annual increases each January.

Tolls on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour Tunnel, owned by the NSW Government, have remained unchanged since 2009.

The NSW Government’s independent tolling review, led by Professor Allan Fels AO and Dr David Cousins AM, is engaging with the public in its task to recommend a safer, fairer and more efficient tolling system.

Options include moving all motorways to a common pricing structure, a geographic motorway zone system, and time-of-day pricing.

Public hearings scheduled for July 11 (Sydney CBD), July 12 (Parramatta) and 13 July (Penrith) will hear from members of the public, businesses and industry stakeholders about the impacts of tolls and ideas for reform. 

People are urged to help shape the Government’s future tolling strategy by making a submission to the Tolling Review or signing up to attend public hearings via Have Your Say: Tolling Review.

The NSW Government is set to introduce a $60 a week toll cap for private motorists from January 1, and a reduction in the truck toll multiplier for heavy vehicles on the M5 East and M8 corridors from the start of next year, for 2 years.

Minister for Roads John Graham said: 

“This latest toll price rise arrives at a time when the cost of living continues to bite hard at families and individuals across NSW.

“Currently the details dictating how and when these toll increases are applied are tied up in opaque tolling contracts that we want to share with the public.

“We are committed to creating a better system and a fairer deal with less confusion for Sydney’s motorists and I urge members of the public to take part in the Fels review to help shape a fairer system for all.”

Motorway (Class A)Current MaximumJuly 2023ChangeHow frequent
WCX M4  $9.41$9.410annually
M5 East$7.98$7.980annually
M4 M8 linkFlat rate $5.65$5.650annually
WestConnexCap $11.11$11.110annually
Cross City Tunnel$6.62$6.710.09quarterly
Lane Cove Tunnel$3.84$3.900.06quarterly
NorthConnexFlat rate $9.23$9.350.12quarterly
Eastern DistributorFlat rate $9.09$9.190.10quarterly
M5 South-WestFlat rate $5.41$5.490.08quarterly
Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour Tunnel$2.50–$4$2.50–$40N/A

NSW Chief Veterinary Officer appointment

Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty has today announced the appointment of Dr Joanne Coombe as the NSW Chief Veterinary Officer, within the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

“The NSW Chief Veterinary Officer is a critical part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the protection and prosperity of our livestock industry, our rural and regional economies and our environment,” Ms Moriarty said.

“All 5 of the most significant emergency animal diseases – including foot and mouth disease – have been detected in or near Australia in the past 5 years, meaning the Chief Veterinary Officer role has never been more important than it is right now.

“Dr Coombe brings significant experience and expertise to the role at a critical time.”

Dr Coombe moved to Australia from her country of birth, Wales, in 2001, completed undergraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral studies at Melbourne University and worked for several years as a dairy vet in rural Victoria.

She has held roles within Dairy Australia, has consulted to various universities and animal industries and is an invited member of the Australian Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on antimicrobial resistance.

Dr Coombe said she was looking forward to working with government, industry and the community to strengthen and protect NSW primary industries.

“I am honoured to accept the position of Chief Veterinary Officer for NSW and I’m looking forward to working with the team at NSW DPI and our stakeholders for the benefit of everyone in the state,” she said.

Minister Moriarty also thanked outgoing Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Sarah Britton for her service over the past 5 years.

“Dr Britton has been a strong advocate for animal biosecurity in NSW, having led the state through a number of significant emergency animal disease responses, including outbreaks of salmonella enteritidis, Japanese encephalitis virus and white spot in prawns,” Ms Moriarty said.

“Alongside these responses, Dr Britton has also been instrumental in improving our preparedness for emergency animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease.”

Dr Coombe commenced with NSW DPI on Wednesday 21 June 2023.