Appeal to find man missing from Hunter Valley

Police are appealing for public assistance to locate a man missing from the Hunter Valley region.

Alexander Moore, aged 22, was last seen at Rothbury about 8.30pm on Sunday 24 September 2023.

When he could not be located or contacted, officers from Hunter Valley Police District were notified and commenced inquiries to locate him.

Police and family hold concerns for Alexander’s welfare as he has a number of medical conditions.

Alexander is described as being of Caucasian appearance, 165cm tall, with a slim build, blond hair, green eyes, and is bearded. It’s not known what he was wearing when he left the premises.

Alexander may be driving a 2012-model silver Holden Commodore with NSW registration, CV14LA.

Anyone who has seen Alexander since 24 September, or has information of his whereabouts or has any further information is urged to contact Cessnock Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

Consultation process announced for ANZAC Day trading hours

The NSW Government will undertake a review of retail trading laws on Anzac Day, to consider whether retail stores should remain closed for more of the public holiday.

Currently, traders such as supermarkets and fashion retailers are required to stay closed until 1pm on Anzac Day under the Retail Trading Act 2008.

Certain businesses are automatically exempt from the rule, such as pharmacies, petrol stations, markets, cafes and takeaway restaurants.

There has been debate in recent times about whether Anzac Day is being appropriately recognised and what, if anything, should be done to ensure all Australians have the opportunity to take part in commemorations.

Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War, landing in Gallipoli in 1915, and is one of Australia’s most important occasions.

The day is marked by a number of traditions, including dawn and sunset services, veteran marches, and wreath laying ceremonies.

Trading restrictions allow workers and business operators the opportunity to participate in commemorative and community events and pay their own respects.

Restrictions currently differ amongst Australian jurisdictions, with retail outlets open from early afternoon in some states (including NSW), closed all day in other states, while no restrictions are enforced in both territories.

The Government invites interested parties to share their views on the changes to trading hours on Anzac Day. This will help inform the government’s decision.

People and groups can upload a written submission through the NSW Government Have Your Say websitelaunch or via email to

The closing date for submissions is 5pm, 20 October 2023. 

Minister for Industrial Relations, Sophie Cotsis said:

“I am looking forward to hearing from business groups, unions, RSLs and other stakeholders about how they feel about this potential change.

“We want to hear whether retail workers and other parties would appreciate a greater opportunity to commemorate Anzac Day in NSW.”

$9 million investment to keep young mums and bubs safely together

Hundreds of young women and their children in South Western Sydney will benefit from a $9 million investment aimed at improving their long term safety, resilience and wellbeing.

The NSW Government has partnered with the not-for-profit and private sector on a collaboration to provide early intervention services to support pregnant women and mothers under 25 and their children.

Minister for Families and Communities Kate Washington launched the service, Village Connect – A hub for parents, with partner agencies including health and wellbeing provider Sonder, Karitane and Uniting NSW.ACT.

The service integrates three key elements including Sonder’s 24/7 support app which is an easily accessible digital platform for information, as well as personal guidance via chat or phone.

The app diverts young parents from crisis situations, with trained professionals available 24/7.

Karitane and Uniting NSW.ACT will match clients with more complex needs to more intensive and tailored supports to address challenges faced by young parents.

Together, these services provide a holistic approach to meet a family’s needs when they arise and as their circumstances change.

The model, known as the Investment Approach for Social Impact Strategy (IAFSIS), is aimed at improving the lifetime outcomes for young parents and their children.

The Department of Communities and Justice will work closely with the Department of Education and NSW Health to deliver program outcomes and ensure sufficient wraparound supports are available.

A successful evaluation of the IAFSIS model may see it replicated across NSW.

Minister for Families and Communities, and Minister for Disability Inclusion, Kate Washington, said:

“It takes a village to raise a child and this initiative is bringing the village together to deliver support to young mums when they need it most.

“This innovative collaboration between the NSW Government, Sonder, Karitane and Uniting is designed to help young mums be the parent they want to be.

“We are collaborating to empower families by giving them the support they need during the difficult early days, so they stay strong, healthy and safely together.”

Advocate for Children and Young People, Zoe Robinson, said:

“This investment is a welcome step forward in supporting young parents and their children to thrive.

“The benefits of wrap around supports for these young families, will be evident for years to come.”

$5 million towards safe haven for children

The NSW Government is investing $5 million over four years to support children and young people who have lost loved ones through homicide.

Grace’s Place is the world’s first residential trauma recovery centre providing tailored support for children impacted by violent crime.

It was named in honour of the late Grace Lynch, who became a strong voice for victims of crime following the murder of her daughter Anita Cobby.

Based in Doonside in western Sydney, Grace’s Place provides accommodation, counselling, and support for up to 12 children and their carers from NSW and across Australia.

Grace’s Place is managed by the Homicide Victims Support Group (HVSG), a critical service providing information and training to the public, police and professional bodies about what is required to support the needs of family members affected by homicide.

Minister for Families and Communities, and Minister for Disability Inclusion Kate Washington said:

“Grace’s Place is leading the nation, caring for children and young people who’ve seen the worst of humanity.

“Children who’ve lost a parent in the most horrific circumstances need intensive, holistic support and care.

“The NSW Government is backing Grace’s Place so traumatised children and young people get the support they need to heal and have hope for a brighter future.”

Homicide Victims Support Group Executive Director Martha Jabour said:

“Grace’s Place will be available for family members and their children 24/7.  No longer will police from the NSW Police Force have to find a place of respite and security for children at a crime scene. A phone call will allow us to look after the children left behind after these horrific crimes to get assistance in a safe and caring environment.

“Grace’s Place will be a beacon of hope for children confronting the horrors of homicide.

“Children who come to Grace’s Place will get help in dealing with the violence they have seen, heard, and felt. We will be able to help them process the death of someone they love in a domestic homicide surrounded by counsellors, support staff and their families.

“We are so pleased that the Government is helping us to make such a difference to the survival of children from a very young age.  We will have specific programs, therapy strategies and counselling programs to help children from the ages of 3 to 18 years of age.

 “NSW leads the way in helping children impacted by the horror of homicide, children from all over Australia are welcomed to come to Grace’s Place for assistance.”

MP for Blacktown, Stephen Bali said:

“Children impacted by the loss of a parent in tragic circumstances need a trauma focused approach to support and care.”

“Grace’s Place, through the dedication and vision of Martha Jabour, provide innovative and valuable care and support.”

“I applaud the Minister and the NSW Government for their investment and for supporting these children and young people.”

All hands on deck for a safer boating season

Water rescue first responders are preparing for a hot and busy summer ahead, as they mark the commencement of the 2023/24 boating season this Labour Day long weekend.

NSW Maritime, Marine Rescue NSW, NSW Police Marine Area Command, and Surf Life Saving NSW have converged on Botany Bay near Sans Souci to highlight the inter-agency cooperation needed to keep waterways safe.

This coincides with a NSW Maritime statewide operation over the long weekend to educate boaters about safety, ensure they meet licencing requirements and check they are appropriately equipped for a safe day on the water.

Predictions of a hot and dry summer have been confirmed with the declaration of an El Nino climate driver, putting water rescue groups on alert for another busy season on the state’s coastal and inland waterways.

Last year, there were 11 boating-related fatalities on NSW waterways and 48 drownings along the state’s coastline.

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring our emergency services and first responders have all the tools they need to keep the marine community safe, including specialised training and the latest technology.

To help lift the capability of rescue services, three new Marine Rescue NSW rescue watercraft (jet skis) will soon be operational on Sydney waterways, with two of these to be used on Botany Bay and Port Hacking. These small and maneuverable watercraft will allow for rescues in areas larger vessels cannot reach, such as those close to the coastline.

The boating season launch coincides with the conclusion of National Safe Boating Week, which this year highlighted the importance of wearing the right type of lifejacket and knowing how to maintain it.

For the latest water safety informationlaunch

More information on boating in NSW

Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said:

“This long weekend marks the start of what we expect to be a very busy season for our personnel and volunteers. We urge people to act responsibly and look out for each other in and around our waterways so we can all enjoy and make the most of a safe boating season.”

“Seeing Marine Rescue NSW, NSW Maritime, NSW Police Marine Area Command and Surf Life Saving NSW join forces on Botany Bay today provides an opportunity to recognise the people working tirelessly to keep us all safe on the water, and we ask the community to also prioritise safety while having fun this summer.”

“Each team has different strengths, capabilities and areas of focus, but we are all united when it comes to safety on NSW waterways.”

Minister for Police Yasmin Catley said:

“There’s nothing better than a hot summer day out on the water but it’s important that we stay safe while having fun.”

“I know the NSW Police Force Marine Area Command will be working around the clock this summer to help keep our waterways safe and I thank them for the important work they do.”

NSW Maritime Executive Director Mark Hutchings said:

“We’re calling on all skippers to check their vessels and safety equipment. Lots of boats will have been sitting idle over winter, so it’s crucial to give them a proper once over before heading out on the water.”

“We still see too many boaters without a lifejacket. Sadly, all five boating deaths this financial year were people not wearing a lifejacket. Our message is simple – service your lifejacket, take your lifejacket, and wear your lifejacket – it can only save you if you wear it.”

NSW Police Force Marine Area Commander Acting Superintendent Siobhan Munro said:

“We know that when the temperatures rise, the community flocks to our waterways so we are putting people on notice that police will be patrolling all the state’s waterways including dams and rivers and any dangerous and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.”

“We will be conducting drug and alcohol testing as well as compliance checks – so make sure that your vessel is in good working order, know your vessel’s capabilities and don’t go beyond its limits. Our goal is to get you home safely.”

Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Darren Schott said:

“Marine Rescue NSW is coming off its busiest year on record with volunteers completing more than 4,500 rescue missions across the state.”

“Always wear a lifejacket and log on with Marine Rescue NSW, if you don’t return as planned, we will initiate a search.”

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steve Pearce said:

“We are headed for an extremely hot and dry summer and are expecting a major surge in numbers on beaches and waterways this season.”

“Swim between the flags, make sure you supervise your children, wear a lifejacket where it’s necessary, and if you do that, we’ll have a great summer and keep everyone safe.”

Richard Shields appointed as NSW Liberal Party State Director

Experienced corporate executive, councillor and former NSW Deputy State Director, Richard Shields, has been appointed as the NSW Division’s State Director.

Party Member for almost three decades, Richard brings extensive political and corporate experience to building successful state and federal Liberal campaigns. He has worked as an advisor for former federal Ministers Andrew Thomson and Senator Helen Coonan in the Howard Government, and headed up government relations for the Insurance Council of Australia and the Westpac Group.

Richard is also an experienced campaigner, working on numerous successful local, state and federal election campaigns.

“Since my first taste of political and campaign success as the President of the UNSW Liberal Club, I have been committed to the success of the Liberal Party,” said Mr Shields. “It is an honour and a privilege to lead the professional wing of our Party.”

“I bring to the role decades of political and campaign experience, and I look forward to using this experience to assist our Party in winning the next federal and state elections.”

“Labor’s failure to develop a plan addressing cost of living crisis and deal with the significant economic challenges facing NSW and Australia make the next federal and state elections winnable.”

“I look forward to working with the President, Jason Falinski to continue building our Party, and with the help of our members identifying future political candidates that best represent our diverse community.”

Chris Stone thanked the NSW Liberal Party Members and MPs for their support and encouragement over his years with the NSW Division.

“My years working for the NSW Liberal Party have been some of the most satisfying in my career,” Mr Stone said. “I am grateful for the incredible opportunities that I’ve had and the relationships that have been forged in the heat of campaigns.”

“As State Director I have had the honour of contributing to the victories of governments that have changed our state and our nation for the better. I’ve also had the opportunity to serve and support our Party Members, which is a particularly treasured part of my role.”

NSW Liberal Party President Jason Falinski said Richard Shields is an experienced and incredibly capable campaigner who will be able to take the organisation in a positive direction.
“The Party is in great hands with someone of Richard’s calibre, someone who has both the political experience and the ability to successfully deal with organisational challenges that face all large political parties.”
Mr Falinski also offered deep thanks to the outgoing State Director Chris Stone for his outstanding and dedicated service.
“On behalf of all Members of the NSW Division, I cannot thank Chris enough for the magnificent job he’s done in often challenging circumstances. He has been a devoted servant of the Liberal Party, and we continue to value his sage advice and look forward to his continuing involvement with the Party.”
NSW Opposition Leader Mark Speakman congratulated Richard Shields on his appointment as the NSW State Director.

“I have known Richard for many years,” Mr Speakman said. “As the Parliamentary Party holds the Minns Labor Government to account over its numerous broken promises, I look to Richard’s strong effort leading the Party secretariat to support this work.”

“I would also like to thank Chris for his tremendous work over the years for our Party. His multiple state and federal campaign victories for our Party will not be easily equalled.”
Federal Opposition Leader Peter Duttton welcomed Richard’s appointment and thanked our out going State Director.
“We need a strong Party organisation in the lead up to the next federal election; with Richard leading our team in NSW, we will be ready to campaign on our vision for a better Australia under a Liberal government.”
“He has big shoes to fill, and I thank Chris Stone for all of his work for the Liberal Party as an adviser, campaigner and indeed State Director.”


Today is a historic day, the release of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. 

This moment is a testament to the leadership, advocacy and sheer determination of disabled people dedication of disabled people across Australia who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.  

The Greens are calling on the Albanese Government to commit to chart and fund a clear action plan to achieving disability justice in Australia. 

There are three immediate actions the government must take now:

  1. The establishment of a Federal Minister for Disability. The community must have someone focused solely on disability issues, and accountable to the disability community at the ballot box.
  2. The establishment of a dedicated, ongoing mechanism through which disabled people can continue to report their experiences of abuse and neglect and one that can undertake investigations and have consequences. 
  3. Prioritise collective liberation and an end to segregation including immediately raising the disability support pension, and ending segregation in all settings. 

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

“The conclusion of the Disability Royal Commission marks a significant milestone for disabled people in this country. Reflecting on how far we’ve come together, I’m deeply proud of what we’ve achieved – for disabled people, by disabled people.

“The disability community has done our bit, now it’s time for Federal and State Governments to do theirs.

“While the Royal Commission has finished its work, the violence and abuse continues daily. This is why we are calling for urgent action. We will not let abled-bodied politicians put this report and its recommendations on a shelf to collect dust. The violence and abuse continue, the job for the government is just beginning, and the community are united in our call for urgent reform. 

“The only acceptable response to the profound injustices uncovered by the Royal Commission is action. 

“We need the Government to commit funding for the radical transformation that is needed across this country to end ableism and discrimination. We need a Minister for Disability whose job it is to ensure this reform happens. We need collective liberation; immediately raise the DSP, and put an end to segregation in our workplaces, our schools and our homes.

“Disabled people will no longer accept being kept out of view; we will not accept being restrained to our beds, we will not accept being locked in institutions and we will not accept abelism and segregation at the hands of government policies any longer. 

On Segregated Schooling
“The report recommends waiting until 2051 to end segregated schooling. This is widely inadequate. We can not as a society allow children, for another 30 years, to be separated from their peers. This is beyond shameful.

On Segregated Employment
“I am pleased there is agreement that Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE’s) must end. Now we have that agreement, I want to see the government lead this transition, immediately.

“I am deeply disappointed in the recommendation relating to equal pay. The report recommends a transition to the full minimum wage for disabled people by 2034. Our community deserve better, we deserve at the very least to receive the minimum wage for our work. If the Labor government was serious about addressing discrimination that would ensure all workers in this country are paid the minimum wage.”

On the Recommendation of an Establishment of National Disability Commission and a Disability Rights Act
“We support the establishment of a new complaints mechanism for disabled people to report their experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. This must be a broad, independent commission and we must ensure that those who continue to exploit and abuse disabled people will face the consequences. 

“The Disability Rights Act needs to apply to both public and private sectors from its commencement, with no caveats and no delays. It must uphold the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).”

Appointment of Australian Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consuls-General

Today I announce new appointments of heads of mission and consuls-general, who will reinforce our diplomatic capability, build influence and advance Australia’s national interests around the globe.

I am pleased to appoint highly qualified individuals to lead Australia’s posts in Bali, China, Colombia, Estonia, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Russia and Sweden.

I thank the outgoing heads of mission and consuls-general for their contributions to advancing Australia’s interests.

Disability royal commission findings handed down

The Coalition acknowledges the tabling of Report of the Disability Royal Commission in response to community concern about widespread reports of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.

The Royal Commission was established by the Coalition in April 2019, and began to accept public submissions from 30 July that same year.

The Coalition will closely examine the Royal Commission’s report and scrutinise the Albanese Government’s response to the findings and the 222 recommendations to improve the health, housing, education, employment and legal systems for people with disabilities.

Having commenced the Royal Commission, we expect the Albanese Government to meaningfully and thoroughly respond to the report in a timely manner.

It has been a long road leading to the release of the Royal Commission’s findings, with 7,944 submissions received, 17,824 phone enquiries, 14 issues papers published and 1,785 private sessions held.

During this process the former Coalition government also agreed to Commissioner Sackville’s request to extend the Royal Commission for a further 17 months to September 2023.

The former Coalition government committed a total of $527.9 million, over five years, for the operation of the Royal Commission, including $148.8 million over three years to the Department of Social Services, the National Disability Insurance Agency and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission to provide counselling services and other support to people with disability in connection with their participation in the Royal Commission.

The Opposition notes the Royal Commission’s report and acknowledges the Commission’s work.

Statement on Taipan end of Army service

The Opposition welcomes the Government’s decision to end early the service of the grounded MRH-90 Taipan helicopter fleet.

It was the former Coalition Government, under Minister of Defence Peter Dutton, which recognised and responded to the long documented problems with the Taipans.

Peter Dutton took the important decision to buy Black Hawks for the ADF as the better, more reliable helicopter.

Grounding the Taipan after the tragic loss of life in the Talisman Sabre crash was the right thing to do, and today’s decision to end service ahead of next year is welcome given the long held concerns with Taipan’s performance.

The Opposition acknowledges that several investigations relating to the crash and the performance of the Taipan remain ongoing and also calls on the Government to expedite and provide its findings.

Labor has not implemented the decision to replace the Taipans fast enough and the Army may be critically without sufficient replacement Black Hawks to transition away from the grounded Taipans.

This seriously impairs our combat readiness as the Army will not have enough helicopters to perform missions, including training and exercises with international partners.

It’s now imperative on the Government to complete the acquisition and entry into service of the Black Hawk replacement program without further delay.