NSW Government invests $83.1 million to improve job security for TAFE NSW teachers

The NSW Government is committing $83.1 million over the next 4 years to retain expert TAFE NSW teachers, crucial to train the state’s skilled workforce.

The Minns Labor Government is delivering on a key election commitment to rebuild TAFE NSW.

This includes recruiting and retaining teachers who are pivotal to building the pipeline of skilled workers NSW needs.

An estimated 48% of TAFE NSW’s teaching workforce does not have permanent employment, making it difficult to keep great teachers in the job.

The 2024 to 2025 Budget includes $83.1 million to support the conversion of teachers to permanent employment. This significant investment will provide job security for Australia’s largest vocational education and training workforce.

This commitment, along with the removal of the public sector wages cap and the large pay increase, demonstrates the Minns Labor Government’s recognition of the value of TAFE NSW teachers.

Attracting the best from industry means TAFE NSW students get the very best guidance from teachers with hands-on experience and connections with prospective employers.

NSW needs skilled professionals across construction, healthcare, hospitality and burgeoning sectors like renewable energy. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to invest in our TAFE NSW teachers, to forge the strong foundation required to train the workforce of the future.

Minister for Skills, TAFE, and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan said:

“I know, from my conversations with TAFE NSW teachers, that job security is one of the most pressing issues they face. This significant investment will ensure our TAFE NSW teachers have greater peace of mind.

“The investment will provide greater job security for our dedicated TAFE NSW teachers, who are the backbone of our vocational education system.

“That’s why we’re committed to the conversion of casual teachers to more permanent employment.

“This investment, combined with the largest pay increase for TAFE NSW teachers since we were last in government, ensures the longevity of the vocational education and training sector in NSW.

“This budget demonstrates the NSW Government’s unwavering commitment to TAFE NSW and allows TAFE NSW to position itself at the heart of the state’s vocational education system.”’

NSW Teachers Federation President, Henry Rajendra said:

“We welcome the Government’s announcement to provide certainty and security for our TAFE NSW teachers, their students, and communities.

“This is a significant and positive step to reversing the loss of 8000 TAFE NSW teachers under the previous Government’s deliberate destruction of TAFE NSW and ensuring a brighter future to meet the chronic skills shortage through public education at TAFE NSW.”

Minns Government invests in worker safety with greater protections from deadly silicosis

The Minns Labor Government is putting more SafeWork NSW inspectors on the ground to enforce the engineered stone ban coming into force next month.

A 2024-25 NSW Budget boost of $2.5 million will help ensure compliance with the July 1 ban on the use, supply, and manufacture of engineered stone. In addition to the ban, there will be stronger regulation of all other materials containing crystalline silica.

The boost to compliance inspections in the engineered stone industry will see more inspectors carrying out site visits and issuing penalties to any non-compliant operators.

SafeWork recently completed a six-month Silica in Construction workplace visit program. During the state-wide visit program construction team inspectors conducted 176 visits to relevant businesses and issued 142 notices.

The additional investment in this Budget will also protect workers from the dangers of exposure to silica by delivering:

  • Additional program staff to provide education tools and programs to support impacted industries.
  • The development of new notification systems for businesses doing processing work on existing engineered stone in homes and workplaces.

Silicosis, caused by breathing in small particles of silica dust, has devasting effects on the lungs and has become more prevalent in the engineered stone industry.

It is preventable and this funding for more inspectors and monitoring systems will support the implementation of the national ban to remove dangerous exposure to silica dust from engineered stone, saving lives in the process.

It is in addition to $5 million in critical funding already delivered by the government for silicosis research and a patient support program for individuals and their families who are navigating the health risks associated with exposure to silica dust, via a grant from icare and the Dust Diseases Board.

Additionally, a Silica Worker Register to track at-risk workers is also being established from the Workers Compensation Operational Fund.

Minister for Work Health and Safety Sophie Cotsis said:

“The previous government was far too slow to act on this deadly threat.

“The Minns Government will not only ban this dangerous product but the funding in this Budget ensures the ban and new compliance regime actually works at saving lives.”

“Silicosis is preventable and all workers who are at risk of silicosis will now be registered so that their health is tracked for their lifetime.

“The Minns Government is investing in worker safety as a priority because it is a fundamental right of every worker to go to work and come home safely to their loved ones at the end of the day.”

Increasing vaccination coverage across NSW

The NSW Government is boosting awareness of and access to vaccinations for priority populations to build healthier communities across the state.

This includes people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities and people with chronic illnesses who are more likely to develop severe disease.  

The $15 million vaccination initiative will focus on improving vaccination rates for target groups which have been identified as having low vaccination coverage or facing barriers to vaccination.

Evidence of differences in vaccination rates across community groups was obtained from the Australian Immunisation Register and the Australian Bureau of Statistics Multi-Agency Data Integration Project.

The program will aim to improve uptake of a range of vaccines, including influenza, shingles and pneumococcal vaccination for eligible cohorts.

The investment will fund more NSW Health staff to administer vaccines, and training for existing NSW Health clinical services staff, as well as health promotion, education and community engagement activities.

A community grants program will engage local community leaders and champions to raise awareness of the importance and effectiveness of vaccination, and identify barriers to accessing vaccination.  

The vaccine champions will work closely with local health districts to increase knowledge and understanding of vaccination and how to access immunisation services.

This investment delivers on the NSW Government’s plan to rebuild essential services that people of NSW rely on.

NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park

“Funding to increase vaccination access and uptake across the state will support better health and wellbeing outcomes for some of our priority population groups, including high risk and hard to reach cohorts.

“The NSW Government is committed to improving vaccination rates and equity in knowledge, access, and uptake across the state to maximise the benefits of vaccination for everyone.

“Vaccination is safe and effective. It is the best way to protect ourselves and the broader community from serious illness and hospitalisation from a range of diseases.”

New homes, closer to jobs and services for essential workers in Sydney

The Minns Labor Government is investing $450 million to build new apartments for essential workers including nurses, paramedics, teachers, allied health care workers, police officers and fire fighters to rent at a subsidised rate in areas closer to the city, their jobs and services.

Up to 4 new sites will be acquired by the NSW Government’s residential development arm, Landcom, to build more than 400 new build-to-rent dwellings in the next 3 years.

Landcom will select sites with a preference for surplus government land identified as being suitable for housing with the specific locations to be determined.

The homes will be offered to essential workers at a discount to market rent, through a separate subsidy program.

This injection of funds to Landcom expands on their current Build to Rent programs on the north and south coasts.

The current housing market is making it increasingly difficult for our essential workers to be able to afford to live near their jobs.

This means young people are leaving Sydney to live in more affordable areas where they can live and work in the same community.

Today’s announcement will increase the supply of well-built, well-located, secure and accessible rental accommodation for the essential workers who keep Sydney running but are being priced out of the market.

A portion of this funding will go towards land acquisitions and then the remainder will see through the construction of up to 4 sites.

These sites will be located in metro Sydney, meaning our essential workers have the opportunity to work and live in the same communities.

The Government will retain ownership of the housing, with rental income available to help fund a potential future additional expansion of the Government’s key worker housing program.

Landcom will now commence detailed planning work, and subject to planning approvals, it is anticipated construction on the first site will begin in early 2026, with key workers able to move in from late 2027.

Eligibility criteria, details on how to apply and the rental subsidy will be available closer to the completion of the first project, expected in 2027.

This program will also support the Minns Labor Government’s election commitment to recruit and retain essential workers.

This is all part of the Minns Labor Government’s plan to build better, well-connected communities for NSW, to ensure we’re building infrastructure close to jobs and essential services.

A plan to build a better NSW.

Premier of New South Wales Chris Minns said:

“Housing affordability and availability is the biggest single pressure facing the people of NSW, with mortgage payments or rent the largest expense for most households, particularly for essential workers.

“NSW would grind to a halt without nurses, paramedics, teachers, police officers and firefighters, but many can’t afford a place to live in Sydney, close to where they work. This has to change.

“We’re pulling every leaver we have to tackle the housing crisis and one of the best ways to make rentals more affordable is to build more homes.”

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said:

“In the grip of a housing crisis, this is a must-have policy. 

“This investment will give hospital staff on nightshift, police patrolling until late and so many other essential workers the chance to live near where they work. 

“We can afford to build this housing. By cutting the state’s debt, we have cut the state’s interest bill. It means we can use those savings to make a difference to the lives of many essential workers.” 

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said:

“Key workers are particularly feeling the impact of the housing crisis which is why the NSW Government is investing in the delivery of secure housing assets to boost supply and provide them with a place to live near where they work.

“These homes will give key workers a choice, so they can live close to their jobs in the type of housing they want.

“This represents a significant investment to bolster housing supply for key workers, to make sure that those that look after us have a place to call home.”

New Mandagery Creek bridge now open to two-way traffic

Motorists in the NSW Central West are enjoying full access to a stronger, safer and wider Mandagery Creek Bridge for the first time.

Both lanes of the new $12 million bridge at Manildra opened to two-way traffic for the first time last night, following 21 months of construction.

About 2000 vehicles a day are expected to use the bridge and one-quarter of those are heavy vehicles.

The new bridge has been built with wider lanes and higher mass limits to boost transport efficiency in Western NSW.

Work started in September 2022 to replace the original bridge on Henry Parkes Way that had provided access to the Manildra town centre and been a key link between Orange and Parkes for almost 100 years.

The project included the innovative staged demolition of the original bridge in conjunction with the simultaneous half-half construction of a new bridge on the same alignment, allowing one lane of traffic to be maintained across Mandagery Creek for most of the construction period.

While both lanes of the new bridge are now open some other finishing work will be completed in coming weeks including:

  • line-marking and sign installation
  • reinstating kerbs around temporary site accesses
  • site decommissioning including the removal of walkways, cabins and construction materials
  • and the completion of a heritage interpretation area to remain in place as a local landmark.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said:

“I am so pleased that after nearly two years, the Manildra and broader Central West communities can finally use the new Mandagery Creek Bridge.

“The decision to build the new bridge on the same alignment as the original bridge meant that up to 10 full weekend closures were scheduled to carry out the work, meaning 30-minute detours through Cudal to get from one side to the other.

“With the help of a new vibration monitoring technique – using sensors to measure traffic vibration along the length of the completed upstream half of the bridge – the number of full bridge closures was reduced to just four in a win for the local community, tourists and freight operators.

“I was so impressed when I visited last year to see first-hand the way this innovative vibration monitoring allowed for a number of critical bridge construction activities to be carried out under traffic.

“The new bridge will be far more resilient and provide better productivity for freight operators which will help local companies gain efficiencies in their freight costs.”

Independent Member for Orange Phil Donato said:

“The original Mandagery Creek Bridge was built in 1930 but its narrow lanes no longer met modern design standards and a durability assessment identified extensive carbonation, low concrete strength and cracking in the original structure.

“The new Mandagery Creek Bridge is an important investment in this area that delivers a longer lasting, stronger bridge providing a smoother ride for all motorists.

“In addition, the increased mass limits will provide a welcome boost for freight operators travelling around and through the region, while also supporting the regional economy through improved links to the Parkes Special Activation Precinct.”

Labor’s spokesperson for Orange, Stephen Lawrence MLC said:

“This is a wonderful milestone for the people of Manildra and surrounding areas.

“The community has enjoyed watching the bridge take shape over the past 21 months and they have now been rewarded with a vital piece of local and regional infrastructure that will serve many generations to come.”

Largest ever NSW investment into care for children with juvenile arthritis

The 2024-25 NSW Budget will invest $6.9 million over four years to boost statewide paediatric rheumatology services, the largest ever investment in NSW history.

This investment will fund an additional six senior clinicians to deliver improved access to highly specialised care and ongoing monitoring for children with juvenile arthritis in NSW.

This includes two paediatric rheumatologists, a highly specialised allied health team for a statewide service and a paediatric rheumatology advanced trainee position.

Juvenile arthritis is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, estimated to affect up to 10,000 children under the age of 16 in Australia, or one to two children per thousand.

It is a serious and painful autoimmune disease with the potential to cause joint deformities and loss of vision if not diagnosed early and treated effectively. Children with juvenile arthiritis require assessment, treatment and regular review and monitoring which is best provided by a multidisciplinary peadiatric rheumatology team.

The expansion of the multidisciplinary paediatric rheumatology team will help provide faster access to the highly specialised and comprehensive care that children with juvenile arthritis need and support them with acute episodes of the disease. This can include:

  • Early diagnosis and treatment which may prevent permanent joint and eye damage
  • Prescription of medications that reduce joint and eye inflammation and damage
  • Therapy to prevent joint and eye damage, reduce and/or prevent pain, and optimise mobility
  • Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, pain management, and psychological adjustment, and self-care education.

The investment will support the expansion of the existing Sydney Children’s Hospital Network team. Recruitment to the new roles is expected to commence in the coming months.

The Minns Labor Government’s second Budget will prioritise building better communities  – ensuring that families have access to the medical care and support services they need.

This investment delivers on the Government’s plan to rebuild the essential services the people of NSW rely on.

NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park

“Juvenile arthritis can be debilitating for people who are living with it, and this investment means more children will be able to access the specialist care they need through the statewide paediatric rheumatology service.

“Eighty per cent of children with juvenile arthritis experience pain on a daily basis, which can directly negatively impact their education and participation in physical activities.

“This is a critical investment, the earlier we can diagnose and treat juvenile arthritis the better the outcome for the patients, and reduced risk of permanent disability.”

Penrith Beach ready to return next summer with $2.5m investment for Western Sydney

The NSW State Government will invest $2.5m to make sure Penrith Beach can return for the 2024-25 summer swim season.

Affectionately known as ‘Pondi’, the venue made a huge splash when it opened for the first-time last year after being locked up for years under the former government.

More than 200,000 people visited from the period of 19 December 2023 to Anzac Day 2024.

Western Sydney residents previously needed to travel 40km to swim in Lake Parramatta, 63km to get to Bondi Beach, or 75km to get to either Cronulla or Manly.

Research from the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure shows that residents from the Penrith and Blacktown LGAs were the most frequent visitors to the site last summer.

Data shows that these beach enthusiasts were from Castlereagh, Cranebrook, Glenmore Park, Marsden Park, Mount Druitt, Penrith, St Marys, Werrington and Willmot.

Safety and accessibility will be top priorities at Penrith Beach next summer with the continuation of trained lifeguards from Royal Life Saving Society NSW who will patrol every day, monitoring and providing first aid services to visitors. 

Further details on next summer’s opening will be released in coming months, following discussions with Western Sydney Lakes.

This is all part of the Minns Labor Government’s plan to build better communities for NSW with access to key infrastructure and public amenities.

A plan to build a better NSW.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Western Sydney Prue Car said:

“When we opened Penrith Beach last season for the first time, I said it was an issue of equity for the people of Western Sydney because they deserve to have swimming facilities without driving for hours.

“I could not be more thrilled to announce we have put money aside to fund it for next summer season.

‘More than 200,000 people made Penrith beach their location of choice when it came to cooling off last summer, and we want to make that possible again.

“Your postcode shouldn’t matter when it comes to accessing great places to cool down and have fun on or near the water, and the Minns Labor Government has made it a priority to unlock this fantastic site for public use.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said:

“This commitment shows we have listened to the community on the important role outdoor recreation plays in their lives.

“Reopening Penrith Beach is a big win for those who cooled off when we opened it last year. ,We look forward to welcoming even more people for our next summer period later this year.”

Member for Penrith Karen McKeown said:

“Penrith beach is the size of Bondi but much more vital to our long-suffering locals and visitors who really need somewhere to cool down during the hotter summer months.

“It’s not a stretch to say we are the envy of the rest of Sydney with our stunning natural setting providing one of the most unique swimming outlooks in all of NSW.”

$200.1 million boost to rural health worker accommodation

The NSW Government has committed an additional $200.1 million to increase key health worker accommodation across rural and regional areas of the state as part of the 2024-25 NSW Budget.

The funding is intended to support the recruitment and retention of over 500 health workers and their families in regional NSW by providing a range of new worker accommodation.

Housing is the single largest cost of living issue people are facing. The NSW Government will continue to address the housing crisis so additional accommodation will be made available for people who require it, including key health workers.

Early assessment has identified a number of possible future locations such as Lismore, Lake Cargelligo, Tweed Heads and the Eurobodalla. The Government will prioritise providing housing options in areas that most need to attract workers and deliver healthcare accessibility.

The Government will secure approximately 120 dwellings which may include the building of new accommodation, refurbishment of existing living quarters, and possible purchase of suitable properties such as motels.

NSW Health will work with local health districts, NSW Ambulance, Homes NSW, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to understand key health worker accommodation requirements.

The extensive planning and design process of the units will be developed in close consultation with health workers to ensure comfort and suitability to their needs, allowing them to securely establish themselves in the area and connect with the community. The accommodation will be delivered over the next four years.

This investment builds on the $45.3 million in accommodation for key healthcare workers in the Murrumbidgee, Southern NSW and Far West Local Health Districts, which commenced in 2024 and will continue to be rolled out through 2025.

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said:

“This is a must-have investment in the state’s regional and rural health workforce.

“This additional $200.1 million investment will build on the NSW Government’s commitment to recruit and retain health workers in regional and remote parts of the state.

“We can afford to do this because cutting the state’s debt means we’ve cut the state’s interest bill. And we’re using those savings to make a difference for health workers and the communities they live in.”

Minister for Health Ryan Park said:

“Investing in affordable and accessible accommodation is a key factor in attracting and retaining health workers and ultimately enhancing the delivery of care across rural and regional hospitals.

“Our Budget is focused on strengthening and supporting our highly skilled health workforce to ensure NSW’s regional and rural communities have access to high quality healthcare close to home.

“Based on early mapping and surveying of key worker accommodation requirements, we know that it is ‘not a one-size-fits-all’ approach. There will be a variety of solutions for each selected location. This is about tailoring solutions to the needs of the specific communities.”

A budget investment in a fairer and more modern rental market

The 2024-25 NSW Budget will establish a NSW Rental Taskforce to help deliver the Minns Labor Government’s plan to build better communities and a fairer rental market.

An $8.4 million investment into the work of the Rental Commissioner will deliver investigators, inspectors and support teams to engage with renters, target dodgy agents and act on serious breaches of rental laws.

The Taskforce in Fair Trading, led by the Rental Commissioner, will be given a mandate to crack down on poor quality rental homes and bad behaviour from dodgy agents and owners.

The Rental Taskforce will be one of the biggest teams within NSW Fair Trading, cementing protections for renters as a key priority for the state’s consumer affairs regulator.

The Taskforce will conduct targeted inspections and work with Fair Trading to act on breaches. It will use intelligence and market analysis to inform its work.

NSW has the largest rental market in Australia, with more than two million renters. The state has more than one million rented properties owned by around 620,000 landlords.

The Minns Labor Government has laid the groundwork for a fairer rental market by appointing the first ever NSW Rental Commissioner and starting the process to deliver carefully balanced reforms.

The 2024-25 Budget ensures this priority can be delivered.

This is part of the Minns Labor Government’s plan to build better, safer communities for NSW.

A plan to protect renters and reform the market.

A plan to build a better NSW.

Minister for Better Regulation and Fair Trading Anoulack Chanthivong said:

“The last 12 months has laid the foundation for future reform, and the NSW Budget paves the way to implementing change.

“We’re in a housing crisis in NSW and bad players can make things even worse for renters.

“This investment means renters in NSW can be confident we’re moving forward with fairer rules that can be enforced.”

NSW Rental Commissioner Trina Jones said:

“The Rental Taskforce is an essential part of the work towards achieving a fair, quality and affordable rental market.

“We are listening to the needs and concerns of renters, landlords and industry, and working together to create a better renting experience in NSW.

“The Taskforce made up of specialists will support our work across Fair Trading to better enforce rental laws and bolster public confidence in the state’s rental protections.”

Agreements with China reflect renewed dialogue

Today Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hosted Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Canberra for their Annual Leaders’ Meeting.

Following the meeting, the leaders witnessed the signature of a range of bilateral arrangements that will renew dialogue and strengthen cooperation between Australia and China.

Australia’s goods and services exports to China have more than doubled since China-Australia Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 2015. Ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen its implementation.

A Memorandum of Understanding on our Strategic Economic Dialogue will take forward discussions on economic policy issues and our bilateral economic cooperation.

Leaders welcomed the resumption of cooperation on climate change through an updated Memorandum of Understanding, which provides a framework to deepen dialogue on this vital issue. Australia will host the next Australia-China Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Change later this year.

Education remains our largest services export to China, and China has been our largest source country for international students since 2002.

Leaders oversaw the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding on Education and Research Cooperation, which will encourage further cooperation in areas such as quality assurance, online education, and qualification recognition.

Australian and China also strengthened collaboration between our arts and cultural sectors through the 15th Implementation Program under the 1981 Agreement on Cultural Cooperation. The program will encourage collaboration, visits and skills exchanges between creative and cultural professionals and institutions.

Prime Minister Albanese

“I was pleased to host Premier Li today for the Annual Leaders’ Meeting, which built on the progress made since my visit to China last November.

“The agreements reached today are a result of the Government’s steady and deliberate approach to our relationship with China.

“They also reflect the broad range of areas where we can cooperate and work to mutual benefit.

“Bilateral trade has brought significant benefits to both our countries. China remains our largest trading partner and trade supports one in four Australian jobs.

“Australia and China recognise the need to work together to tackle climate change—a global issue that requires a global response.”