Australian statement on Russian cyber targeting of democratic processes

The Australian Government joins the United Kingdom and other international partners in expressing serious concerns about attempts to use cyber operations to interfere with democratic processes.

The UK has disclosed that a unit within Russia’s Federal Security Service’s (FSB) Centre 18, known as Star Blizzard, has been responsible for cyber operations targeting a range of political entities and democratic institutions with the intent to interfere with democratic processes in the UK.

The UK assesses that this is part of a broader pattern of malicious cyber activity conducted by Russian Intelligence Services attempting to interfere in democratic processes in the UK and beyond.

Attempts to use cyber to interfere in democratic processes are unacceptable and must stop.

Australia calls on all countries – including Russia – to act responsibly in cyberspace.

The Australian Government is investing in protecting our public institutions and strengthening our national cyber security defences, including through the 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy.

We will continue to work with international partners to promote international law and the norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace and hold states to account if they act contrary to these international obligations and expectations.

Fifteen projects to boost vibrancy across the city in 2024

The hugely popular Big Picture Fest will extend its artistic legacy across Newcastle in 2024 as one of 15 projects awarded a share of almost $1 million in funding by City of Newcastle (CN).

Buildings in the city CBD will become blank canvasses waiting to be transformed during the large-scale street art event, which will be held in Newcastle for the third time as part of CN’s City Centre and Darby Street Special Business Rate (SBR) program.

The latest round of funding from the SBR program will also see the return of the popular Chalk the Walk pavement 3D art event, as well as the third instalment of the successful West Best Bloc Fest music showcase.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said successful initiatives like City of Newcastle’s SBR funding program provided invaluable support for the city’s CBD business precincts and created vibrant, activated spaces for the community and visitors to enjoy.

“SBR initiatives such as West Best Bloc Fest, which will see more than 100 local musicians perform in venues across the city, are proven to not only attract an influx of visitors but also drive new and expanded economic opportunities for our local hospitality venues, arts and cultural sector,” Cr Clausen said.

“Big Picture Fest is a great example of how Special Business Rate funding can be used to help beautify and activate our local business precincts, which not only provide a boost to the economy but supports local jobs.”

Big Picture Fest Newcastle Director Katerina Skoumbas said the popular international street art festival would return to Newcastle in 2024 thanks to continued SBR support from City of Newcastle.

“We are excited to be extending the Big Picture Fest program into the East End in 2024 with some vibrant and eclectic street art planned for our third edition of the event, “Ms Skoumbas said.

“The SBR funding received for Big Picture Fest benefits many local businesses in the city centre. This roaming event increases the vibrancy of the City Centre by engaging visitors in an interesting way, which leads to increased visitation in the area and spending in many of our city’s hospitality venues.”

Special Business Rates are collected from businesses in Newcastle City Centre / Darby Street, Hamilton, Mayfield, New Lambton and Wallsend for the promotion, beautification and development of those precincts.

Other successful projects under this round of City Centre and Darby Street funding include the mouth-watering return of Newcastle Food Month, Shakespeare Under the Stars, Sculptures @ Scratchley and the Devonshire St Laneway Activation Project.

Successful City Centre / Darby Street SBR projects include:

West Best Bloc Fest – an annual block festival curated to showcase 80 plus emerging and established local musicians spread across supporting venues around the local West End block.

Kindle Winter Wellbeing Festival – this festival will unite the community via a calendar of bespoke events co-designed by businesses, artists and wellbeing practitioners to connect the community during winter. From music, kids’ discos, light activations, comedy and digital sensory spaces, this all-age event promotes community well-being and supports local businesses.

Chalk the Walk, Newcastle 2024 – 3D artwork trail in key City Centre and Darby Street outdoor locations.

Newcastle Food Month – returning in April 2024, this month-long project promotes what makes Newcastle and the surrounding precincts a gastronomic playground.

Stories – Women of the Hunter in Photography will share the stories of over 30 local storytellers during a six week curated exhibition, coinciding with International Women’s Day 2023, with public art installations, talks and practical workshops.

Newcastle ALIVE! Winter Festival – a multi-event program featuring 100 per cent local creatives to attract more trade to precinct businesses.

Devonshire St Laneway Activation Project – three events will be activated in Devonshire Street Laneway, to link into and support events and celebrations important to Newcastle and LGBTQIA+ communities. Each activation will run for three to four days and include visual art light projection displays, plus activities unique to each event such as pantomime theatre productions, markets, art exhibitions, and outdoor dining experiences.

Sculptures @ Scratchley – a free public outdoors sculpture exhibition at Fort Scratchley open to all artists.

Procession of Giants – Curious Legends will deliver two large scale events, Luminous Creatures and Whale Song to engage the community in a series of fun and inspiring activities.

Shakespeare Under The Stars – Whale Chorus will deliver a third season of Shakespeare Under The Stars with the beloved comedy ‘Twelfth Night’ in Pacific Park and will bring an estimated 3,600 visitors into the city centre during the summer months.

Big Picture Fest 2024 – locals and visitors are invited to watch local and international artists paint large-scale murals in real time over three days. In its third edition, this free festival program will extend into the East End through an outdoor exhibition in partnership with Iris Capital, a mentor program with The Lock Up gallery and projections on the University’s Q building.

Newcastle Bar Awards – in recognition and celebration of bartenders, mixologists, and brewers who are moving Newcastle’s drink culture forward. The awards will run in conjunction with a program of consumer events, hosted by Newcastle venues in its lead up, together with a People’s Choice Award that will ask the community to vote for their favourite local bar.

Reasons to visit Hunter Street Mall and Eastend Village – Ka fey café will boost local businesses in Hunter Street Mall by incentivising patrons through coordinating discounts, loyalty offers and events.

City of Newcastle Activation Project – this project will be delivered by Newcastle Tourism Industry Group to leverage significant major events that come to the city ensuring the economic benefit is spread beyond the event itself. The funding will activate and showcase local businesses creating an excitement and energy that ensures locals and visitors alike have an enhanced experience that involves preshow specials, after party drinks, theming and branding that builds hype and showcases the City of Newcastle as a cohesive major event destination.

Reactivation of ‘Live Spots 2023 / 2024’ – activating spaces other than live music venues and pubs.

Community support for dual-lane road upgrades in Wallsend

Community feedback has confirmed City of Newcastle is heading in the right direction with two planned road upgrade projects that will reduce traffic congestion in the western corridor.

More than 80 per cent of community submissions received as part of recent public exhibitions have indicated support to create two lanes of traffic in each direction along Longworth Avenue and Minmi Road.

Councillor Elizabeth Adamczyk at Longworth Avenue Wallsend

Councillors will vote next week on the concept plans, which are designed to reduce traffic congestion and bottlenecks by widening and upgrading the roads, as well as remove unsafe right turns and add in separate, dedicated turning lanes where possible.

If the concept plans are supported by Council on Tuesday evening, the two projects will progress to detailed design, with construction of the multi-year project anticipated to start late 2024.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes welcomed the community’s feedback on the much-needed upgrades, which are expected to improve traffic flow and reduce travel times.

“We heard from over 750 residents and commuters during the consultation process, with 80% supporting the plan,” Cr Nelmes said.

Ward Four councillor and Wallsend resident Elizabeth Adamczyk added, “The strong response from the community affirms the need to prioritise the upgrades and ease congestion for the western corridor, improving safety for all road users.”

The concept plan for the upgrade to Longworth Avenue provides dual-lane traffic in each direction and replaces right-hand turns into Braddon Street, Maitland Street, Bean Street and Cameron Street with alternative approaches to alleviate congestion caused by turning motorists.

Plans for Minmi Road include widening the road to provide two lanes in each direction from Summerhill Road to Maryland Drive, and a central median and separated turning lanes at Anna Place, McNaughton Avenue and the service station to help remove bottlenecks and improve safety.

While both projects will deliver safer, enhanced cycling and pedestrian connections, additional improvements for pedestrians are coming soon with construction of a new shared path along the stretch of Minmi Road between Kurraka Drive and Britannia Boulevard planned for construction early next year.

Future planned work within the western corridor includes investigation into providing two lanes of traffic east bound between Fletcher and Maryland and intersection improvements including at the Bunnings roundabout and Maryland Drive (east) and Minmi Road.

A Lord Mayoral Minute in 2022 allocated $26 million to the Longworth Avenue and Minmi Road projects.

The upgrade of Longworth Avenue and Minmi Road is proudly funded by the NSW Government in association with City of Newcastle.

The former NSW Government contributed a grant of $7.61 million.

A Shared Responsibility: The plan to begin addressing the housing crisis in NSW

The Minns Labor Government is delivering on its commitment to address the housing crisis by rebalancing housing growth across the state with a focus on well-located homes close to transport, jobs and existing infrastructure.

The Housing Crisis

Housing is the biggest single cost of living pressure people are dealing with right now, with mortgage payments or rent the largest expense for most households.

But housing supply isn’t keeping up with demand.

 Last year NSW recorded fewer overall completions than Victoria – despite NSW’s higher population, producing about 6 homes for every 1000 people each year, compared to 8 in Victoria and 9 in Queensland.

Despite NSW having the largest population, the largest expected increase in population, the highest rents and the highest medium house prices, NSW is last on the east coast when it comes to housing completions.

NSW completed 48,000 new buildings in 2022. This was behind Victoria with 59,000 completions – despite our state’s higher population.

The NSW Labor Government also inherited development application processing times that had slowed to an average of 116 days in March 2023.

The housing supply shortfall is behind Sydney unit rents increasing by 24% over the year to the end of September 2023, along with house rents lifting by 11%.

Back in the early 1980s, the average house in Sydney cost $78,900, or about 5 times a full-time average wage. Now, the price of a typical Sydney house is 17 times more expensive and is 14 times the average income.

The NSW Government believes if we are going to tackle this crisis, to create more housing supply that will drive down the cost of renting or make buying a home more affordable, we need more homes, our city will have to change.

Transport Orientated Development Program

Tier One – Accelerated Precincts

The Minns Labor Government has identified eight Sydney transport hubs for accelerated rezoning for the delivery of up to 47,800 new, well located, high and mid-rise homes over the next 15 years.

Bankstown, Bays West, Bella Vista, Crows Nest, Homebush, Hornsby, Kellyville and Macquarie Park will all undergo rezoning by November 2024 to provide significant uplift and support new homes within 1200m of these Metro and rail stations.

To speed up the delivery of homes over the next 5 years, developers will be able to access a new State Significant Development pathway for proposals of $60m or more, and construction will be required to start within two years of approval.

Affordable housing held in perpetuity will make up to 15% of homes in these locations to make sure essential workers like health workers, teachers and hospitality workers can live closer to work.

Tier Two – Rezonings

The Minns Labor Government is also announcing it will snap rezone 31 locations across NSW allowing for 138,000 new homes to be created within 400m of Metro or suburban rail stations and town centres to make residential flat building permissible in all residential zonings.

The stations are: Adamstown, Ashfield, Banksia, Berala, Booragul, Canterbury, Corrimal, Croydon, Dapto, Dulwich Hill, Gordon, Gosford, Hamilton, Killara, Kogarah, Kotara, Lidcombe, Lindfield, Marrickville, Morisset, Newcastle Interchange, North Strathfield Metro, North Wollongong, Rockdale, Roseville, St Marys Metro, Teralba, Tuggerah, Turrella, Wiley Park and Wyong.

These locations have been identified as being capable of accommodating new homes within existing enabling infrastructure.

Low and Mid Rise Reforms

Today’s announcements build on the changes the government announced last week that will also allow for different housing types like residential flat buildings, manor houses, terraces, and duplexes in these locations.

Currently, each local council has its own rules for what kind of homes can be built in their area.

Mostly, these rules don’t allow the types of homes that can add density to local town centres and transport hubs.

As a result, the State government is setting the expectation for councils so that more homes of different types are built in areas close to transport.

This will also mean that councils can’t say no to certain types of buildings, like terraces, residential flat buildings, manor houses, duplexes, and semi-detached houses in locations that are zoned for them.

If a council changes its rules to match the new state rules, then the state government’s rules won’t apply to them anymore. 

But if a council doesn’t change its rules, then the State government’s rules will continue to apply to confront the housing crisis.

These changes are in addition to the recently announced pattern book approach which will provide planning certainty through agreed housing designs.

Pre-approved designs, selected through the pattern book will access an accelerated pathway allowing for faster delivery of much needed housing and greater certainty for developers.

Building well connected communities

The NSW Government knows that growing communities deserve well-designed suburbs close to schools, healthcare, shops, transport, parks and jobs.

To make sure that homes are built in places where people want to live, the NSW Government is providing $520 million within the Tier One Accelerated Precincts for community infrastructure, such as critical road upgrades, active transport links and good quality public open spaces.

Developing new entertainment hubs including restaurants and cafes, including outdoor dining, and live entertainment venues will also help create vibrant and active precincts with great amenity.

The Government will use the already legislated Housing and Productivity Contributions system to ensure some of the value created by Government investments will fund future infrastructure.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said:

“When I was young and graduating from high school, the key question my friends and I asked each other upon graduation was: “Will we ever be able to afford to buy a house in Sydney?

“The question for many these days is ‘Will I even be able to afford to rent a place here?’

“The simple truth is we don’t have enough well-located homes for the people who make up our city – and that has to change if we want our kids to be able to afford a home in Sydney and not leave for other states.

“But to do this, we need to reset our planning system so we can bring forward and scale up housing delivery.

“I want NSW to be a state that is affordable for the next generation of kids with great transport options to make work and life easier.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said:

“The housing crisis means all levels of government and industry need to step up to our shared responsibility to get more people into homes faster and meet our collective National Housing Accord commitment.

“These sites have been selected because they have infrastructure to build on and for that reason they will access a State Significant Development pathway that speed their approval.

“Today’s announcement works together with recently announced reforms to create more low and midrise housing, as well as our budget commitments of $520m and the infrastructure contribution reforms.  They are critical pieces of our plan to create more well located homes and to do it faster.

“We can’t continue to turn our back on the next generation of young people who are undoubtedly being hit hardest by the housing crisis.

“These homes will also create choice, so essential workers can live close to their jobs in the type of housing they want.

“Housing choice means not everything is high-rise. We’re focused on building well designed communities, rich with diverse housing types.”

Secretary appointed to lead the charge on climate change, energy, the environment and water

Anthony Lean, a highly experienced public sector leader with more than 15 years of senior executive experience, has been appointed Secretary of the new NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

The appointment process was led by the Secretary of the Premier’s Department, Simon Draper, in consultation with the Minister for Climate Change, Energy and Environment Penny Sharpe.

As announced in August 2023, the Department of Planning and Environment will be split into two new dedicated entities: the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, and the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure. The changes will take effect from 1 January 2024.

These changes have been made following a detailed review and analysis of services and programs with the aim of delivering on the NSW Government’s commitment to taking serious action climate change, keeping the lights on for households, leading the essential transition to clean renewable energy, and securing the future of water and our natural environment.

Mr Lean is currently Deputy Chief Executive at The Law Society of NSW. Prior to his current role, Mr Lean had an extensive career in leadership and legal positions within the NSW public sector, including at the Office of Environment and Heritage, State Insurance Regulatory Authority and the former NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation.

Mr Lean will commence as Secretary on 22 January 2024.

Kiersten Fishburn was appointed as Secretary of Department of Planning and Environment in July 2023 and will remain as Secretary of the new Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure.

Minister for Climate Change, Energy and the Environment Penny Sharpe said:

“I’m delighted to announce Anthony Lean as the Secretary for the new Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

“We’re focused on shifting the dial on climate change and the environment while also transforming our energy system, and Anthony will lead the Department into this exciting new era.

“Communities will take reassurance that under our government there will be a fit for purpose Department with a respected leader at the helm dedicated to delivering on our ambitious aims.”

Minister for Water Rose Jackson said:

“Anthony Lean will bring a renewed focus and deep expertise to help us take action on important Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water reform.

“We want to create a government for the future not just right now. Part of that work means pulling together the right teams.

“Anthony will lead the dedicated Department and drive our vision to create a stronger, innovative and more sustainable environment for generations to come.”

Incoming Secretary Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water Anthony Lean said:

“I’m honoured to be appointed the role of Secretary, which gives me the opportunity to return and make further contributions to the public sector.

“The future of our environment and our economy relies on us successfully navigating the climate and energy challenges of today.

“I look forward to working with the dedicated and talented staff of the new Department to deliver on the Government’s climate and energy agenda and make a positive difference for communities.”

Increase in class time for executive teachers to deliver the equivalent of 500 additional teachers for our classrooms

Up to 2500 executive teachers will spend more time in the classroom under a plan by the Minns Labor government to address the teacher shortage and the proliferation of cancelled and merged classes – a move that could add the equivalent of more than 500 full-time teaching roles.

With a survey revealing in October that more than 10,000 merged and cancelled classes were occurring in NSW public schools every day, the government has moved swiftly to review the hours of existing school leaders spend teaching to maximise class coverage for students in public schools. 

The Department of Education review into executive teachers found almost two thirds of the 2500 teachers were not teaching timetabled classes at all, while the remainder were teaching fewer hours than the proposed minimum hours needed.

More than half of the deputy principals in NSW public schools are not currently teaching timetabled classes.

To plug the teacher shortage, from next term executive teachers in an average school will be expected to teach at least 1 day a week, rising to 2-and-a-half days a week for deputy principals and 4 days a week for head teachers and assistant principals, as allowed under the existing industrial agreement.

The addition of minimum teaching hours for teachers in executive roles across the state is expected to add the equivalent of more than 500 full-time teaching roles from the cohort of experienced and effective teachers.

The review found many were teaching below industrial agreements, a legacy of the Local Schools, Local Decisions policy.

The policy allowed schools to use their flexible funding to release teachers from face-to-face teaching with little oversight. While many schools can justify this on a case-by-case basis, seen overall, the system lost many experienced teachers from the classroom and it created too many vacancies.

To free up some of the most experienced teachers, the Department of Education will help schools redeploy work to skilled school staff members in administrative and other support roles.

With timetables already being written for next year, principals have been asked to apply the new minimum teaching hours initially where possible. The department will consult with the NSW Teachers Federation, the Public Service Association, principals and staff from Term 1, 2024, with full implementation expected by early 2025.

The review also recommended that a freeze on new additional executive positions funded by schools remain in place until the review, which will also examine the proliferation of other executive teacher positions, concludes in mid-2024.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said:

“Executive teachers have a vital role to play in our schools – their experience, leadership and support for students is unquestioned.

“At a time when we have 10,000 lessons a day without a casual teacher, freeing up our leading teachers to do the work only they can do by taking more classes is vital to improving student outcomes.

“We’ve acknowledged the incredible work our teachers do through the most significant salary increase in almost 3 decades and by implementing strategies to decrease the burden of administration.

“We’re confident that refining executive teaching positions – which were always a mixed role – and relieving them of administrative tasks will lead to better student outcomes through more teaching time across the state.”

Next steps to fixing our Crown cemeteries

The Minns Government has taken the next step towards fixing the cemeteries mess created by the indecision and infighting of the former Coalition Government. The appointment of a new professional board will help lead the delivery of new burial supply in Sydney and address the challenges the cemeteries sector currently faces.

The appointment of the board brings an end to two-and-a-half-years of Administrator management of the now merged organisation and is part of the Government’s strategy to ensure Sydney has well run operators and the ability to focus on sufficient supplies of burial space and the challenges of the future.

Through the work of Administrator Ken Morrison, it has been established that Metropolitan Memorial Parks (MMP) is now able to be self-sufficient. Through increased investments in perpetual care funds, managing expenses (including through streamlining the executive leadership team), and re-assessing future needs, the long-term future of MMP has been secured, resulting in operating finances now $3 million ahead of budget and a fully-funded perpetual maintenance fund, reversing a shortfall estimated to be $241 million in 2019.

Over the past six months the NSW Government and MMP, led by Administrator Ken Morrison, have been undertaking a significant change process to prepare for the establishment of the new board. This includes:

  • Successfully merging the three former cemetery land managers into a single new entity under a new brand of MMP
  • Strengthening and streamlining the executive leadership team
  • Completing further analysis on the issue of limited burial space and options to bring new supply online.
  • Developing a transitional business plan to guide operations pending the board’s commencement.
  • Establishing new contemporary risk, compliance and probity frameworks and governance processes, addressing previous weaknesses identified by an independent health check.

An extensive open recruitment process was undertaken to source qualified candidates for the board of MMP.

The board, initially consisting of six members including a chair, has been appointed for three-years to control the affairs and govern the strategic direction and financial management of MMP, which provides a vital service to the community and manages eight Crown cemetery sites in Sydney and Newcastle.

The skills-based board brings a diverse mix of experienced directors from various backgrounds including in financial management, governance and risk management, organisational performance, stakeholder management, commercial strategy, and legal skills.

One of the new board’s first items will be to consider potential CEO candidates to run MMP. A shortlist of candidates has been prepared on the basis of an extensive market search process, with a view to finalising the appointment as the first act of the inaugural board before the end of the year.

Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper said:

“The appointment of this new board is part of the NSW Government’s ongoing work to fix Sydney’s Crown cemetery sector, including ensuring we have enough burial space for future needs and that respectful and affordable burial and cremation services are available for all.”

“After the March election, the Minns Government moved quickly to address the mess left behind by the Coalition. In the first 8 months, the NSW Government has provided certainty on the structure and leadership of the Crown cemetery sector and promoted transparency by releasing an independent report into the previous government’s OneCrown arrangements.”

“Metropolitan Memorial Parks has an exciting future. I look forward to working with the new Chair and board and the future CEO on new supply options to ensure it can deliver on its mandate into the future.”

Board members of the Metropolitan Memorial Parks

  • Ken Morrison (Chairperson) – Mr Morrison has shown exceptional leadership and in-depth knowledge as the appointed Administrator for Metropolitan Memorial Parks. He is an experienced chief executive with key strengths in leadership, property development, stakeholder engagement and governance. Ken was previously the Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.
  • Kathy Jones – Ms Jones is a highly experienced senior executive with strengths in business, commercial enterprise, property, stakeholder engagement, risk management and human resources. Her current board memberships include Karitane, the Women’s Advisory Committee of the NUW Alliance in Western Sydney and the Property Council of NSW’s Precincts Committee.
  • Alice Spizzo – Ms Spizzo has an impressive legal and professional services background with experience across the property, planning, environment, and housing sectors with strong technical skills in legal, governance and risk frameworks. She is currently a board member for Homes Tasmania Board, Sydney Regional Planning Panel and Women’s Housing Company.
  • Professor Roberta Ryan – Professor Ryan has a strong social planning background and experience as a board member and chair providing strategic input on social and community outcomes. She also has experience with NSW government committees. Roberta is a Professor of Local and Regional Governance, Executive Director of Institute for Regional Futures and Director of Hunter Research Foundation Centre at the University of Newcastle.
  • Arthur Diakos PSM – Mr Diakos has extensive finance and governance experience. His commercial and business acumen has contributed to financial outcomes, growth, and success through strategic financial planning in previous executive and board roles. Arthur has held senior executive roles across several government agencies including the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), NSW Department of Justice and Transport for NSW. 
  • Mark Bloom – Mr Bloom has a strong financial services background and has demonstrated financial and commercial expertise to deliver positive results, growth, and revenue uplift as a board director. Mark has held senior executive roles at organisations including Westfield and Scentre Group. He is currently a board member for ASX listed companies AGL Energy, Pacific Smiles Group, EBOS Group and Abacus Storage King.

179 new police officers to start across NSW

179 new probationary constables have been sworn into the NSW Police Force today and will start at their new home stations next week.

Class 360 attested at the Goulburn Police Academy following 8 months of training in the Constable Education Program (CEP). Four months by distance, 4 months at the academy. 
They will now have 12 months on the job training as a probationary constable.
Communities across NSW will see the new boots on the ground on Monday:

  • Central Metropolitan Region – 53
  • Northwest Metropolitan Region – 39
  • Southwest Metropolitan Region – 33
  • Northern Region – 24
  • Southern Region – 17
  • Western Region – 13.

Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley welcomed the new officers to the force and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to rebuild and support our frontline services.
Minister Catley and NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb officially opened 3 new accommodation blocks which provide modern, clean and comfortable facilities for the student police officers. 
In October, the Minns Labor Government made the historic announcement that student police officers will be paid to study at the Goulburn Police Academy. 
Class 360 is the first cohort to receive a one-off payment, the amount of which was pro-rated to the date of the announcement. 
From March 2024, student police officers will be employed as clerk grade 1/2 administrative employees on a temporary fixed term contact. 
They’ll receive a total salary of approximately $30,984 over the 16-week study period, including super and award-based allowances. 
Apply online to become a police officerlaunch
NSW Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley said:
“I wish every one of the 179 Attesting Officers a long, rich and rewarding career in the NSW Police Force – the best Police Force in the world.”
“Each of these officers have displayed an unwavering commitment to make a difference to the people of NSW. Our state and the policing family is all the richer for it.”
“Paid study is now a reality thanks to the Minns Labor Government. There’s never been a better time to join the best police force in the world.”
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said:
“These officers have today embarked on a career that is unique and like no other.”
“This is not just a job; it’s a calling. A calling to serve and protect, to uphold the values of justice and to make a positive impact on all of our communities.”
“To the newest members of our organisation, I wish you all the best in your future endeavours with the NSW Police Force.” 

Chris Minns must address housing demand

The NSW Opposition has renewed calls for the Minns Labor Government to work with Federal Labor and Anthony Albanese to reduce the state’s record high immigration rates in order to alleviate pressure on the housing market in the coming years.
Leader of the Opposition Mark Speakman said the Government has made a series of announcements to address Sydney’s housing supply, but very little new housing stock will be delivered in this term of government, and some of the projects have a timeframe of up to 10-15 years.
“Chris Minns continues to ignore one of the biggest contributing factors to our housing supply shortage, which is unsustainable rates of immigration. His announcements will have no short term impact on rental stress and high house prices,” Mr Speakman said.
“Once again, I repeat my offer to work with Chris Minns on the need to push for a better targeted and more sustainable immigration program for NSW. This will help to take the pressure off renters and help improve access to home ownership in the medium term.”
New South Wales is expected to receive more than its population share of Australia’s net overseas migrants over the coming years. Net overseas migration will contribute almost 500,000 people to the State’s total expected population growth of 580,000 in the five years to 2026-27.
The Opposition has also raised a number of questions regarding today’s announcement of an MOU with the Australian Turf Club.
“Chris Minns isn’t able to provide any detail on the cost of this proposal, timeframes for the delivery of the 25,000 houses or when the project will get underway,” Mr Speakman said.
“We now know the Government intends on including a new Sydney Metro West station at Rosehill, but this is at least eight years away – what does that mean for the delivery of these 25,000 new homes and their connectivity to Sydney and Parramatta?” 
Shadow Minister for Planning, Public Spaces and Housing Scott Farlow warned that the Government’s plans risk undermining efforts currently underway by local governments to increase housing supply.
“Many local councils along transport corridors are undertaking work to increase density and increasing housing supply. The risk here is that the Minns Labor Government comes in over the top and takes these plans back to the drawing board,” Mr Farlow said.
“Seven of the eight tier 1 sites are already captured by planning as priority growth areas and precincts with extensive planning already underway and the other, Hornsby, adopted a town centre masterplan delivering 4,900 new dwellings and facilitating 4,500 jobs only last week.”
“The Government needs to explain how their affordable housing requirements will be applied to existing projects in the pipeline and how their plans will take into consideration heritage constraints as nearly half the stations in Sydney they have selected are impacted by heritage conservation.” 
“Delays to the Sydney Metro will mean a gap between housing and infrastructure delivery in The Bays Precinct and North Strathfield Metro.”
“The Government still hasn’t provided detail of their ‘snap rezoning’ around 31 train stations – Chris Minns is very good at delivering headlines but poor on detail and how these plans will deliver additional housing.”

Netball NSW 17U and 19U Teams for 2024 Nationals named

Netball NSW has unveiled the athletes which will represent the State at the 2024 National Netball Championships.

The Nationals have provided an opportunity for developing athletes, coaches, umpires and officials to prosper since their inception in 1985, with an array of Australian Diamonds having participated in the pathway event.

In 2024, the 39th edition of the Championship will see two teams (17U and 19U) from each State and Territory compete across six days to be crowned respective age-group national champions at the end of the week.

NSW has a long tradition of success at Nationals with the likes of Liz Ellis, Kim Green, Paige Hadley and Amy Parmenter all coming through the competition.

The NSW 17U Team will be coached by former ex-captain Abbey McCulloch, while another former Swift – Nardia Macdonald – will be assistant coach with Gima Crowdy travelling as an apprentice.

Amber Cross, who has previously led NSW to Nationals success, will lead the 19U team with Stephanie Harrison as her assistant and another former Swift – Samantha May – joining as an apprentice coach.

Mardi Aplin, Netball NSW General Manager of Performance & Pathways, said the selection process was very difficult due to the high calibre of athletes who trialled for selection.

“The skills on display were outstanding and that is thanks to the efforts of our pathway coaches within the Regional Academies of Sport and Netball NSW competitions,” she said.

“For example, the 17U selection process had extensive reach over the past few months with trials being held in Newcastle, Queanbeyan, Orange and Sydney across three phases.

“We are also really proud to have five regional athletes in our 17s and two in our 19s, which demonstrates that the pathway is showcasing players from all areas of NSW.

“In the 19s it is really pleasing to be able to select 10 athletes who recently undertook netball camps at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra after they were Nationally Identified this year.”

The venue and dates for the 2024 Nationals will be announced by Netball Australia in the coming months.

2024 NSW 17U Team

Acacia Elers (Newcastle)
Ellie Hart (Campbelltown District)
Ellie Stacey (Maitland)
Emily McPherson (Wagga Wagga)
Evie Economou (Sutherland Shire)
Grace Tracey (Illawarra District)
Harlym Jennings (Liverpool City)
Kelis Ogle (Liverpool City)
Matilda Percival (Newcastle)
Monique Johnson (Sutherland Shire)
Siulolo Richter (Liverpool City)
Skye Thompson (Sutherland Shire)
2024 NSW 19U Team

Charlie Hawkins (Randwick)
Eugenie Little (Manly Warringah)
Freddie Schneideman (Randwick)
Grace Whyte (Tumut)
Hope White (Newcastle)
Isabella Degei (Penrith District)
Katarina Sincek (Penrith District)
Monika ‘Otai (St George District)
Nevaeh Matenga (Liverpool City)
Nicola Barge (Sutherland Shire)
Olivia Harris (Penrith District)
Yasmeen Janschek (Randwick)