Time to get your flu vaccine

World Immunisation Week (24 – 30 April) is a timely reminder for everyone in Australia to book their annual flu vaccination.

Free vaccines are now available for people most at risk of complications through the Australian Government’s National Immunisation Program. For those not eligible, you can purchase a vaccine through your immunisation provider.

People can get their vaccine at general practices, pharmacies, and immunisation clinics – and in many cases, at their workplace.

Although we can’t predict the 2024 flu season, we can look at, and learn from, key outcomes from the 2023 season.

Last year, the highest notification rates for flu were in children under 14 years. But concerningly, the vaccine uptake was very low in this population group.

In good news, the 2023 vaccine was very effective at protecting people from needing to go to hospital or visit their GP.

Children under 5 years of age are at increased risk of getting severely ill or dying from the flu.

In Australia, 39 people died from the flu last year – and of these, 9 were children younger than 16 years. This was higher than the number of flu-associated deaths in children in 2022 and in many pre-COVID-19 pandemic years.

This is a tragic reminder that the flu is not the common cold, which people often mistake it for. It is a serious virus that can cause severe illness, hospitalisation and death among otherwise healthy children and adults.

I encourage everyone 6 months of age or over to get vaccinated against the flu. It could save your life!

People eligible for free flu vaccine doses include children aged 6 months to under 5 years, pregnant people, First Nations Australians, people aged 65 years or older and people with certain medical conditions that put them at greater risk.

For convenience and if recommended, COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time.

City of Newcastle issues call to arms for more green thumbs

City of Newcastle (CN) is inviting Novocastrians to spend time enjoying Newcastle’s natural areas and help improve treasured green spaces by joining forces with Landcare groups and school students to plant more than 15,000 native grasses, shrubs and trees.

Starting at Northcott Park in Shortland, locals today had the chance to connect with nature and become stewards of their environment by planting native species and conducting a survey of Crawchie Creek alongside Landcare volunteers and CN scientists.

Over the next three months, CN and Landcare will host similar events across Newcastle’s western suburbs as part of the Natural Connection program, which aims to improve and expand our urban forest and vegetated creeks.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Cr Elizabeth Adamczyk join City of Newcastle staff, Landcare volunteers and residents to plant native species at Northcott Park in Shortland.Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Cr Elizabeth Adamczyk join City of Newcastle staff, Landcare volunteers and residents to plant native species at Northcott Park in Shortland.Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said one of the goals of this year’s program is to celebrate the work of Landcare volunteers and boost group numbers. 

“City of Newcastle currently supports 15 Landcare groups and we’re looking to expand the program across the city,” Cr Nelmes said. 

“Volunteering can create connections between residents of all ages, fostering a genuine sense of social cohesion and community, by sharing the role of protecting our local environment.

“Planting more than 15,000 plants will extend and improve habitat for threatened species such as the Squirrel Glider, Powerful Owl, and the Freckled Duck.

“Improving our urban forest helps to cool our city, increase the resilience of wildlife corridors, improve soil and water quality, and protect creek banks during major storms. 

“The Natural Connection program aligns with the 10-year Newcastle Environment Strategy, helping to increase community connection with local natural areas and expand our urban forest.”

Following today’s event at Shortland, residents of Wallsend will get an opportunity to make a difference by joining CN staff on 26 May to plant native species and conduct a waterway health survey at Birchgrove Drive Reserve.

On 26 July, primary school students will play their part on Schools National Tree Day by planting native species at Tarro Reserve, as well as learning about bush craft, making cultural connections, and studying waterbugs alongside CN scientists.

Two days later, Novocastrians are invited to Tarro Reserve for a major community event to celebrate National Tree Day. 

Residents will get the chance to plant grasses, shrubs and trees and experience a wetland tour with CN staff, where they’ll learn about the importance of our urban wetlands, their protection, and rehabilitation. 

The day will also feature nature-based play, craft stations and face painting for kids, as well as food and coffee.

Ordinary Council Meeting Tuesday 23 April 2024

Council update: Ordinary Council Meeting Tuesday 23 April 2024 

Following is a summary of resolutions from the Ordinary Council Meeting of Tuesday 23 April 2024. NB: it is not a full record of resolutions.

Lord Mayoral Minutes  

Hunter Community Alliance Founding Assembly

A Lord Mayoral Minute was unanimously supported that notes the Hunter Community Alliance (HCA) held its Founding Assembly on 10 April 2024. City of Newcastle commits to working collaboratively with the HCA, particularly regarding climate change adaptation and risk mitigation at a local level, as well as the housing crisis which is being acutely felt in our region. 

Acknowledging and celebrating IDAHOBIT Day

A Lord Mayoral Minute was unanimously supported that acknowledges and celebrates the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT Day), recognising the importance of promoting inclusivity, respect, and equality for all individuals within our community.

City of Newcastle commits to officially recognising and acknowledging IDAHOBIT Day each year as an important event in our city calendar and showing our support for Newcastle’s LGBTQI+ community. 

Support for the protection of coastal waters from offshore drilling and mining

A Lord Mayoral Minute was supported that noted with concern the ongoing threat of offshore drilling and mining off the coast of Newcastle as part of the PEP-11 proposal. City of Newcastle commits to writing to NSW Premier, Minister for Planning and Minister for the Environment in support of the Government’s advocacy and action in respect of this issue. 

IPART’S decision on Port of Newcastle and bypassing freight from residential Newcastle 

A Lord Mayoral Minute was unanimously supported that welcomed the recent decision of IPART that the current maximum value of a one-off compensation payment of $13 million can be made by the Port of Newcastle to the State of NSW under the Port of Newcastle Extinguishment of Liability Act 2022. City of Newcastle notes that IPART’s determination finally brings clarification and a pathway towards a potential deep water container terminal at the Port of Newcastle. CN also notes the release of the NSW Government’s Freight Policy Reform Program Consultation Paper and reiterates CN’s previous advocacy in relation to the Lower Hunter Freight Corridor, aimed at establishing a future dedicated freight rail line between Fassifern and Hexham, bypassing residential Newcastle.

Ordinary business 

Public exhibition of Draft Delivering Newcastle 2040

Council unanimously voted to place the draft 2024 -2025 Delivering Newcastle 2040, and draft 2024-2025 Fees and Charges, on public exhibition for a period of 28 days prior to the final consideration by Council. 

Adoption of the Georgetown Public Domain and Traffic Plan

Council unanimously voted to adopt the Georgetown Local Centre Public Domain and Traffic Plan. 

Endorsement of motions to the 2024 National General Assembly of Local Government

Council voted to endorse 10 motions for submission to the 2024 Australian Local Government Association’s National General Assembly. 

Advisory Committee Annual Reports

Council received the Advisory Committee Annual Reports for the 2023 calendar year from the Access Inclusion Advisory Committee, Asset Advisory Committee, Community and Culture Advisory Committee, Guraki Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Infrastructure Advisory Committee, Liveable Cities Advisory Committee, Strategy and Innovation Advisory Committee and Newcastle Youth Council Advisory Committee.

Urban Design Review Panel Annual Report 

Council received the Urban Design Review Panel Annual Report 2023.

Supplementary report – Newcastle City Centre Heritage Conservation Areas Review

Council unanimously voted to adopt the amended Newcastle City Centre Heritage Conservations Areas Review Final Report and resolved to commence the planning process to investigate further the findings within the report.

Upper Hunter Shire Council – Memorandum of Understanding

Council unanimously voted to endorse a Memorandum of Understanding with Upper Hunter Shire Council and delegate authority to the Lord Mayor to sign document on its behalf.

Muswellbrook Shire Council – Memorandum of Understanding

Council unanimously voted to endorse a Memorandum of Understanding with Muswellbrook Shire Council and delegate authority to the Lord Mayor to sign document on its behalf.

Minister’s consent application for leasing City of Newcastle managed land 

Council unanimously voted to make applications to the Minister for Local Government seeking consent to grant proposes leases over community land at Shepherds Hill Cottage  and part of the community facility at Townson Oval.

Affixing council seal to deeds of indemnity for Newcastle Airport companies 

Council unanimously voted to enter into and affix Council’s seal to Deeds of Indemnity for recent Directors of Newcastle Airport Pty Limited and Greater Newcastle Aerotropolis Pty Ltd as listed in the report. Council voted to obtain a standing resolution to enter into and affix Council’s seal to any future Deeds between Newcastle City Council, Port Stephens Council and officers of Newcastle Airport Pty Limited and Greater Newcastle Aerotropolis Pty Ltd on the grounds that they relate to the business of Newcastle City Council.

Executive Monthly Performance Report 

Council received the Executive Monthly Performance Report for March 2024.

Tender report – Foreshore Park amenities building contract number 2024/043T

Council unanimously voted to accept a tender for the construction of the Foreshore Park Amenities Building.

Notices of Motion 

Creating a community garden in Beresfield

Council unanimously supported a notice of motion to investigate a suitable location for a community garden in Beresfield, in consultation with the Beresfield community and in accordance with CN’s community garden policy.

The 25th anniversary of the State Finals of the Science and Engineering Challenge held at the University of Newcastle

Council unanimously supported an amended notice of motion to write to the organisers of the Science and Engineering Challenge to confirm if they are seeking a sponsorship from the City of Newcastle, and to direct them to the Sponsorship Guidelines, adopted by the current Council in 2023, for further information.

Improving amenity and safety in Hamilton for businesses, employees, residents and visitors to Awaba Park 

Council unanimously supported an amended notice of motion to coordinate a multi-cross agency meeting to confirm how agencies can better work together to address homelessness, mental health and alcohol and drug issues in Awaba Park, as well as reduce anti-social behaviour occurring in some parts of Hamilton. 

Council will investigate the cost of signage in Awaba Park to prevent illegal dumping from donations that are not suitable due to inclement weather and do not meet best practice high quality food standards. 

Council will write to the NSW Government and relevant local MPs seeking funding to source additional urgent crises accommodation, as well as an increase in police resourcing in Newcastle, and additional CCTV cameras that are facing onto Awaba Park.

Fossil Fuel Non-proliferation Treaty endorsement

Council supported an amended notice of motion to endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and call on the Federal Government to also endorse the Treaty.

Establishing a permanent pathway for work experience 

Council unanimously supported an amended notice of motion to create a page on the corporate website that documents the many learning opportunities provided for young people at CN including work experience and how they can make an application. 

City of Newcastle moves forward with multimillion-dollar upgrade plans for Georgetown

City of Newcastle plans to deliver a significant upgrade to improve pedestrian and cycling accessibility, create a safer environment, provide green space and improve amenity for residents and businesses in Georgetown.

Councillors voted tonight to unanimously approve the proposed public domain plan, which will see millions invested into Georgetown’s neighbourhood shopping precinct. 

An artist's impression of the revitalised Georgetown Local Centre.An artist’s impression of the revitalised Georgetown Local Centre.

Traffic calming and safety improvement works will kick off in the coming months, with the remainder of the project to provide a new landscaped pedestrian plaza, improved footpaths, upgraded street furniture and lighting, as well as more street trees and landscaping.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it’s a great outcome for Georgetown, with the plan delivering outcomes highlighted during the recent community feedback.

“Georgetown is rapidly growing with new residential developments that include ground floor commercial opportunities, which will attract more families and business to the area,” Cr Nelmes said.

“It’s important we get the right mix of growth and local amenity for our residents and implement a design that has increased accessibility and encourages pedestrian usage and cyclist safety.

“Feedback from the community during the public exhibition of these plans indicated a strong desire to improve the look and feel of the area, enhance pedestrian safety and connectivity, and increase the number of street trees in the area.

“This upgrade project will meet the needs of the Georgetown community to create a safer, more accessible and attractive environment to visit and enjoy.

“A major component of our Local Centres program includes drainage improvements. We will also look to partner with businesses to beautify local shop fronts through a future Façade Improvement Scheme.”

The early works will support the existing 40km/h zone, with new pedestrian refuges to be installed to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to safely navigate the area along the busy Georgetown Road.

The major works include a new public plaza at the intersection of Moate Street and Georgetown Road, which will create an attractive destination to support the shopping precinct while also facilitating safer cycle access between Asher Street and Parkview Street.

Ward 3 Councillor and Chair of the Infrastructure Advisory Committee, Peta Winney-Baartz said the Local Centre program is a great way to improve popular neighbourhood shopping precincts for the local community and visitors.  

“A refreshed space will encourage residents to support local Georgetown businesses, providing improved spaces to shop, dine, and meet with friends,” Cr Winney-Baartz said.

“Our team have worked hard to design and plan improvements to the look and feel of the area that also support a busy suburb, with safer vehicle movements alongside improvements to pedestrian safety.

“There will be community updates provided to businesses and the community to keep them informed as we progress through the upgrades. We’ll also invite local residents and businesses to let us know their ideas for the best use and activation ideas for the new public space later in the year.” 

The Georgetown Local Centre upgrade is part of City of Newcastle’s commitment to developing vibrant, safe and active public places. 

Visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au/yoursay to read more about the project.

Snow season covered with extra transport and new SMS service rolled out

The NSW Labor Government is making it easier than ever for snow lovers to make the most of the ski season this year with an expansion of the Snowy Mountains bus service and roll out of a new SMS alert service.

Tickets are now on sale for the popular Snowy Mountains bus service, which is being expanded this year to include a Cooma via Berridale to Jindabyne service. 

The service, which continues to grow in popularity and carried out more than 80,000 passenger journeys completed in 2023, will this year run from 8 June to 6 October. Extra services will also be available during school holidays.

As part of the NSW Labor Government’s efforts to improve the ski season experience for all road users, Transport for NSW has also introduced a subscription-based SMS service that will send alerts when Kosciuszko Road or Alpine Way need to close due to parking at the ski fields reaching capacity. 

Customers who subscribe to the service will receive three text messages to alert them of road closures, before, during and after the closures are in place. 

Find out more information or subscribe to the SMS alert service. 

For more information on the bus service and ticketing options.

Minister for Skills. TAFE and Tertiary Education and Member for Monaro Steve Whan said:

“The Snowy Mountains bus service is as a safe and affordable alternative to driving, and has steadily grown in popularity, with 95 per cent of passengers surveyed last year saying they would use the service again. 

“This year we are excited expand the reach of this popular service and add a new initiative that will deliver important real-time messaging directly to customers when they need it most.

“Locals and regular snow visitors will know the frustration of arriving at the Kosciusko Road and Alpine Way intersection, only to be turned around. This new SMS alert system will now allow them to make more informed travel decisions before departure.”

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said:

“The Snowy Mountains Bus allows a stress-free journey to the snow fields for snow goers. The service allows motorists, who might not be experienced in driving in alpine conditions, an alternative to ensure their families make it safely to the snow fields.  

“Increased services in 2023 led to improved safety, reliability and social and economic outcomes, and contributed to fewer journeys by car on roads impacted by ice and snow, a reduction in road incidents and reduction in vehicle recoveries performed in the alpine area.

“The NSW Labor Government is proud to invest in this new SMS alert service that gives motorists another tool they can use to better plan their journeys and avoid being inconvenienced this snow season. 

“Importantly, this service has been developed in response to feedback from motorists who told Transport for NSW they needed more notice of closures. I’m pleased we’re acting on that feedback and delivering an improved service that will benefit all road users.”

Protect yourself and your community this flu season

People across NSW are being urged to protect themselves against serious illness by booking in for their influenza vaccine ahead of the 2024 flu season.

The latest respiratory surveillance report shows more than 4700 people in NSW were diagnosed with influenza in the last 4 weeks, a 16% increase compared with the previous year.

NSW hospitals received 480 influenza-like illness admissions between the 6 January and 14 April 2024. This is compared with 284 during the same period in 2023.

The NSW Government is encouraging people to book in for the influenza vaccine through a local GP or pharmacist ahead of winter.

People who are considered to be at higher risk of severe illness from influenza are eligible for a free flu vaccine. Priority groups include:

  • children aged 6 months to under 5 years
  • people aged 65 and over
  • Aboriginal people from 6 months of age
  • pregnant women
  • those with serious health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, obesity,
  • severe asthma, kidney, heart, lung or liver disease.

NSW Health also recommends considering getting a COVID-19 booster at the same time as the flu vaccination.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation’s latest COVID-19 vaccine advice recommends:

  • a COVID-19 vaccination every 6 months for all adults aged 75 years and over
  • a COVID-19 vaccination every 12 months for adults aged 65 to 74 years, and adults aged 18 to 64 with severe immunocompromise; these people can consider a vaccination every 6 months
  • a COVID-19 vaccination every 12 months can be considered for all other adults aged 18 to 64 years those aged 5 to18 years with severe immunocompromise.

Some steps to help protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19 and flu include:

  • stay up to date with recommended influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations
  • stay home if you have cold or flu symptoms and wear a mask if you need to leave home
  • gather outdoors or in well-ventilated indoor spaces
  • talk with your doctor now if you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or influenza to make a plan about what to do if you get sick, including what test to take, and discussing if you are eligible for antiviral medicines
  • don’t visit people who are at higher risk of severe illness if you have cold or flu symptoms or have tested positive to COVID-19 or influenza
  • consider taking a rapid antigen test before visiting vulnerable loved ones, particularly when COVID-19 transmission is moderate or high in the community.

More information on influenza and the COVID-19 booster vaccines can be found on the NSW Government website.

Premier Chris Minns said:

“Influenza is highly contagious, and it can be life-threatening, especially for vulnerable groups such as young children, pregnant women, older adults and people who have chronic medical conditions.

“Getting the flu jab is the best way to protect yourself and the wider community.”

Minister for Health Ryan Park said:

“Influenza has started to increase in some parts of Australia, and it’s expected to start to increase across NSW soon, so it is very important you get vaccinated to protect yourself and others as you don’t want to end up in hospital or put vulnerable community members at risk.

“Everyone 6 months and older is recommended to get a flu vaccine and these are available through GPs for any age group, as well as through pharmacies for everyone aged 5 years and over.”

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said:

“Last year, we saw an increase in ED presentations among young children with some being admitted to intensive care with life-threatening complications from the flu. We don’t want to see a repeat this year, so we are reminding families to book their children aged under 5 years in for their free flu vaccine now.

“It is a very quick and easy process to book in with your local doctor or pharmacist who can also administer your COVID-19 vaccine at the same time if recommended. This simple act can help you and your family stay healthy this winter.”

New government workplace hub opens up in the Hunter

The NSW Government has revitalised one of its key regional workplaces, following the completion of a $13.8 million workplace hub that consolidates three government agencies under one roof.

Employees from the Department of Regional NSW (DRNSW), Department of Customer Service (DCS) and Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) have moved into the freshly fitted out Maitland Workplace Hub in High Street.

The new hub is the base for up to 650 regional workers and provides flexible and agile workspace for all government employees visiting the Hunter region for work. The project has supported 40 construction jobs for local tradespeople and subcontractors.

The NSW Government’s central property agency, Property and Development NSW (PDNSW) has delivered the Maitland CBD Workplace Hub as part of its ongoing work to consolidate agencies into modern, sustainable hubs.

By consolidating three agencies under one roof, the NSW Government has reduced the rent and associated costs from having multiple leases, while creating a modern working environment that will support enhanced collaboration and improve service delivery to communities in regional NSW.

Work is also underway to upgrade the building’s environmental credentials to achieve a 5-star NABERS energy rating and a 4-star NABERS water rating, which will support the NSW Government’s net zero emissions targets as it works to reduce its environmental footprint.

Find out more about the Maitland Workplace Hub

Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper said:

“This fantastic new hub provides high quality facilities for government employees who call this region home, and a place to work for visiting employees when they are in town for the day.”

“We have other regional hubs on the way in Dubbo and Coffs Harbour to continue to attract, support and retain talented employees from regional NSW.”

Minister for Finance Courtney Houssos said:

“Quality workplaces like this ultimately lead to better service delivery and outcomes for the wider community.

“Reducing the number of commercial leases is part of our government’s work to address the state’s budget challenge.”

Minister for the Hunter Yasmin Catley said:

“The opening of the new government workplace hub is a win for the Hunter region. It means more jobs, more opportunities, and a brighter future for our community, helping lay down the groundwork for sustainable growth and prosperity.”

“We recognise the immense talent and potential of our rural workers, and the opening of the hub highlights our commitment to preserving local jobs and fostering economic growth in rural areas.”

“We strive to bridge the gap between urban and rural employment and this commitment will help decentralise opportunities and spread economic success beyond the metropolitan areas.”

Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison said:

“This is a great boost for the Maitland community, as it keeps jobs in this area and will deliver economic benefits.

“The new fit-out provides 5,500 square metres of work space across two floors, and more than 250 underground and street level car parking spaces to support government workers based in Maitland.”

Hunter Mason Founder and Managing Director Matthew Callender said:

“We are delighted that along with leading the construction of the new Maitland Workplace Hub, we have supported 11 apprentices, 20 local tradespeople, and committed $850,000 towards Aboriginal participation in construction, which is an important driver for Hunter Mason.”

Experience tourism at the centre of visitor economy growth strategy

NSW is leading Australia’s post-pandemic visitor economy rebound, surpassing $50 billion in visitor expenditure for the first time in history in the year ending December 2023. This record-breaking contribution from both domestic and international visitors positions NSW as a leader in Australia’s post-pandemic visitor economy rebound.

Despite the devastating impacts of COVID-19, visitor expenditure had a compound annual growth rate of 6.4% over the last ten years.

The NSW Government has ambitious plans to drive that economic growth to even greater heights. To unlock our state’s full potential, the Visitor Economy Strategy 2030 is being reviewed and evolving to showcase the best of NSW to the world by focussing on the diverse experiences on offer for visitors.

The Governments new tourism strategy seeks to improve cultural experiences for tourists while also expanding visitation to western Sydney and Regional NSW. The impending opening of Western Sydney International and Newcastle International Airports represents further potential for growth in the sector. The review of the NSW Visitor Economy Strategy 2030 presents a pivotal opportunity to shape the future of the visitor economy in NSW.

The strategy review will seek to formalise the NSW Government’s focus on experience tourism and ensure that the state’s approach to tourism, the NSW Government’s Arts, Culture and Creative Industries Policy (Creative Communities), the night-time economy agenda and the regulatory environments that underpin them, are in lockstep.

Destination NSW is inviting visitor economy stakeholders from across the state to contribute their insights and expertise.

Individuals and organisations are invited to join the conversation and share their perspectives by submitting written submissions online via Have Your Say which will be available in late April.

The NSW Visitor Economy Strategy 2030 was launched in 2021 and included a commitment to review it after three years.

Minister for Jobs and Tourism John Graham said:

“NSW has recently achieved a historic milestone, surpassing $50 billion in visitor expenditure for the first time ever. The visitor economy is going from strength to strength. With the looming opening of the Western Sydney International and Newcastle International Airports, it is a perfect time to reassess the opportunities in the sector.

“Three years on from the development of the strategy, not only does the tourism context in NSW look different, so does the policy direction of the new government.

“An experience tourism focus means thinking about not just bringing people here, but about what they do when they arrive and encouraging them to come back over and over again. Culturally-rich and vibrant communities are what keep people in NSW but they’re also what bring people here.”

Stop the budget blame game

NSW Premier Chris Minns and Treasurer Daniel Mookhey have to take responsibility for the state of the New South Wales Budget, stop blaming everyone else for their budget blowouts and rule out further cuts.
Leader of the Opposition Mark Speakman said that before the election Chris Minns’ promises to union bosses weren’t going to cost anything – after the election they turned out to cost billions, and Labor chose to cut cost of living supports, funding for schools, palliative care, and infrastructure to pay for their union promises.
“Chris Minns must now rule out any further cuts to our schools, hospitals, infrastructure or services,” Mr Speakman said.
“The Liberals and Nationals Government had to deal with the GST redistribution, a once in a century COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters and numerous global headwinds, but we still managed to maintain a strong Budget and the AAA credit rating.”
“Chris Minns keeps agreeing to Canberra’s demands – from housing targets to NDIS – without properly considering the implications, and then he refuses to pick up the phone to Canberra. He failed to do it on immigration, on infrastructure cuts and on GST.”
Shadow Treasurer Damien Tudehope called on the Treasurer to take responsibility for the NSW Budget and stop playing the blame game.
“Daniel Mookhey is addicted to the blame game. He’s blamed WestInvest, the debt servicing arising from natural disasters and COVID-19, and now the GST system for losing NSW’s AAA credit rating,” Mr Tudehope said.
“However, the Treasurer fails to mention the $9.5 billion blow out in unfunded public sector wage rises so far, with more to come as numerous other unions seek significant wage increases.”
“All the factors that led to the lower GST determination were known to the Treasurer – coal royalties, higher land prices and 2021 census data. His optimistic predictions of Budget surpluses were based on pretending not to be aware of these factors,” Mr Tudehope said.
“The Minns Labor Government is more focused on finding excuses than making the right Budget decisions for NSW.”

Woman charged with drug supply – Muswellbrook

A woman will face court tomorrow charged with drug supply in the state’s north.

In February 2024, Hunter Valley Police District detectives established Strike Force Smollett to investigate the alleged supply of prohibited drugs in Muswellbrook.

About 11:30am today (Tuesday 23 April 2024), police searched a home on Virginia Street, Denman, suspected of being used in drug supply.

Police allegedly located a quantity of drugs and mobile phones in the home and arrested a 36-year-old woman.

She was taken to Muswellbrook Police Station where he was charged with:

  • Supply prohibited drug > indictable and < commercial quantity;
  • Supply prohibited drug > = large commercial quantity
  • Possess prohibited drug

She was refused bail to appear before Singleton Local Court tomorrow (Wednesday 24 April 2024).