Racing to a better future

Increased prizemoney, improved job prospects, and infrastructure upgrades to bolster the racing industry will flow from renewed investment by the NSW Government.   
Minister for Racing Kevin Anderson said approximately $260 million in additional funding over the next four years is being committed to the NSW racing industry as part of the 2022-23 State Budget.
“Today’s announcement is yet another example of how the NSW Government is growing the economy. There are more than 30,000 people employed in the NSW thoroughbred racing industry, and this announcement will benefit every single one of them through the flow-on effects of increased prizemoney and infrastructure upgrades,” Mr Anderson said.
“From Australia’s leading tracks like Royal Randwick and Rosehill through to regional racing centres like Muswellbrook and the Braidwood Picnic Races, every trainer, strapper, owner and connection will reap the rewards of this funding.
“This is particularly good news for our hardworking regional trainers as increased prizemoney and infrastructure upgrades means more funding to grow the industry in regional NSW.
In July 2012 Racing NSW introduced the 1.5 per cent strappers’ bonus, being the first State in Australia to do so. This bonus provides a significant reward for the industry’s lowest paid workers, letting them share in the success of their stables.
As part of today’s announcement, Racing NSW will be increasing the strappers’ bonus from 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent of prizemoney. This will see a total of $7 million in  prizemoney allocated to  strappers  each year, providing a further incentive for trainers when recruiting staff.
The Equine Welfare Fund share of prizemoney will also increase to 1.5 per cent, totalling $5.3 million per annum to care for, retrain and rehome NSW thoroughbred racehorses.
“The benefits of this announcement will be felt right through the industry. In an Australian first, an additional share of prizemoney will be allocated for equine safety, strappers and stable staff,” Mr Anderson said.
“This is a win for the industry, a win for the animals, a win for punters, and a win for racegoers.”
Racing NSW Chairman Russell Balding AO said Racing NSW is committed to seeing the sector grow right across NSW.
“NSW country racing is the bedrock of our industry. It is important therefore that we ensure the ongoing viability of country racing and the sustainability of our country trainers,” Mr Balding AO said.
“Total prizemoney for Everest Day will now be a staggering $21.8 million dollars which far exceeds any other race meeting in Australia and cements Everest Day’s place on the International Stage of premier racing.”
The funding will be made available after increasing the point of consumption tax (POCT) to 15 per cent for all corporate betting service providers as part of the 2022-23 State Budget.
Prizemoney increases and changes in the distribution of prizemoney will come into effect from 1 September 2022.

$20 million funding boost to help victim-survivors of domestic and sexual violence

More victim-survivors of domestic and sexual violence will receive critical support thanks to a $20 million funding boost announced by the NSW Government today.

The package announced today is part of the joint $140 million commitment from the NSW Government and Commonwealth under the National Partnership on Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Responses 2021-23.

Minister for Women’s Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Natalie Ward said this new funding will provide additional support to specialist front-line services across NSW, as well as trialling some innovative new programs.

“Over half of the funding is for services that directly assist victim-survivors, giving them the help they need to recover from their traumatic experiences and start a new chapter in their lives,” Mrs Ward said.

“One of the projects being funded is a trial to provide women with support and services so that they feel safe during court proceedings, which will ensure that more domestic and family violence matters proceed.

“A number of projects are focused on improving outcomes for Aboriginal women, either through expanding existing programs and ensuring these communities have a seat at the table in the development of future policy.”

Federal Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth thanked service providers for the work they do in supporting victim-survivors and said more will be done to boost the frontline workforce and improve access to family, domestic and sexual violence services.

“In addition to the National Partnership with states and territories, the  Australian Government will generate 500 new jobs for frontline and community sector organisations to address staffing shortages in shelters and crisis support services,” Minister Rishworth said.

“This will mean better access to critical support services for victim-survivors, including in regional, rural and remote areas.

“One woman dies every ten days at the hands of her former or current partner. This is unacceptable and I’m committed to working with states and territories to end violence against women and children.”

Minister for Families and Communities Natasha Maclaren-Jones said the funding will support a range of services to help those who need it most.

“This funding will not only support providers, it will enhance early intervention programs, provide access to vital services and improve workplace training,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.

The NSW Government has a strong record of supporting victim-survivors of domestic violence, committing $687 million in the 2021/22 Budget and a further $100 million in the 2022/23 Budget, towards the prevention of domestic, sexual and family violence and improving women’s safety across the community.

The initiatives funded under tranche two of the National Partnership Agreement are available here.

Rental payments and Back Home grants now open

Residents impacted by the June-July floods can now apply for rental support payments to help meet the cost of temporary accommodation, and Back Home grants to help with household repair costs.
Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello said the support payments can be accessed by residents in 17 local government areas (LGAs) across Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, the Hunter and the Illawarra.
“For some residents this is the fourth flood in 18 months and as a Government we have moved quickly to put these additional financial assistance programs in place,” Mr Dominello said.
“From today, impacted residents can apply on the Service NSW website or via the app, over the phone on 13 77 88 or in-person at a Recovery Centre.”
The Rental Support Scheme provides flood-impacted households with payments which cover up to 16 weeks’ rent.
The Back Home grants provide one-off payments of up to $20,000 for owner-occupiers, $15,000 for landlords and $5,000 for renters towards the cost of replacing appliances, reconnecting utilities, fixing roofs, connecting electricity and making other necessary repairs.
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the support will help people get back to their homes as quickly as possible.
“It’s vital people have a roof over their head as they recover from this devastating flooding,” Ms Cooke said.
“The June-July flood event caused damage to more than 10,700 homes across the State, with more than 1,500 assessed as uninhabitable.”
Rental support payments and Back Home grants are available in the 17 severely flood-impacted LGAs of Blacktown, Camden, Canterbury-Bankstown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Liverpool, Maitland, Mid Coast, Penrith, Port Stephens, Singleton, Sutherland, The Hills and Wollongong.
The Rental Support Scheme and Back Home grants are in addition to a series of clean-up and funding programs underway, jointly funded by the NSW and Commonwealth governments.
For eligibility information and to apply, visit:

More affordable housing for the Illawarra

More than 50 new affordable housing units for the Illawarra are a big step closer to being constructed with the concrete pour taking place in Dapto this week.
Dapto’s housing project is funded through the NSW Government’s $1.1 billion Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF).
In a partnership with Anglicare, the new development provides both affordable housing and  wraparound supports for residents.
Minister for Families and Communities and Disability Services Natasha Maclaren-Jones said integrating new affordable housing with services ensures residents will be supported both financially and sustainably.
“Not only is the Illawarra getting a needed injection of affordable housing, we are focused on ensuring that the services are there at the same time.  That means tenancies are more sustainable and people are receiving support where and when they need it,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.
Minister for Finance and Employee Relations Damien Tudehope said delivering affordable housing is central to  the NSW Government’s commitment to securing a brighter future for the people of NSW.
“We will continue to prioritise investment in the delivery of safe and affordable housing for people across the state,” Mr Tudehope said.
51 of the 60 single-bed units under construction will be specifically set aside for social and affordable housing.
“This new development in Dapto will ensure those who need it most will have a safe and stable place to call home,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.
“This project is the perfect example of the NSW Government working hand-in-hand with a non-government organisation to deliver real outcomes for the people of our state.”
Anglicare CEO Simon Miller said the project would be integrated into an existing retirement village and support people aged over 55, and 45 for Aboriginal people.
“We all know there is a housing crisis and projects like this will help us solve it,” Mr Miller said.
“This is exactly what communities like Dapto need and we are grateful to the Government for helping us to deliver it.”
The development, due for completion in June 2023, will comprise two residential buildings along with a community building that includes a café and hairdresser. 
The SAHF is a key initiative of Future Directions of Social Housing in NSW and is on track to deliver 3,486 homes across NSW.

$40 million to Get NSW Active

A greenway from Iron Cove to the Cooks River, designs for the Pippita Rail Trail connecting Lidcombe to Sydney Olympic Park and a key section of Wollongong’s 60km coastal Grand Pacific Walk are among $40 million of new projects funded though the State Government’s Get NSW Active program.
Minister for Active Transport Rob Stokes said Tranches 1 and 2 of the $110m Get NSW Active Program would deliver 55 projects right across the six cities.
“From designs to convert an unused abattoir’s rail line from 1911 into an active transport link, through to a new bike link between Randwick and Coogee Beach, the Get NSW Active program is all about funding a strong pipeline of active transport infrastructure for all of the community to enjoy,” Mr Stokes said.
“More than $40 million in funding for projects right across NSW will provide families with choice on how they’re going to get to school or work, their local park or shops or even the beach, giving them the chance to leave the car at home and leave more money in hip-pockets.
“The evidence is clear that investing in Active Transport infrastructure makes local communities happier, healthier and more productive.”
Key projects to be delivered across the six cities include:

  • $600,000 to build a 2.5m wide pedestrian pathway in Clifton, delivering a key missing link of the 60km Grand Pacific walk that will increase tourism and economic growth in the Illawarra region.
  • $1.14 million to construct of a new shared path along the western side of Cawdor Road between Sheathers Lane and Camden High School supporting kids to ride or walk to school safely.
  • $770,000 for detailed designs of the Pippita Rail Trail project to convert an unused freight link into a 2km share cycling and walking route connecting Lidcombe Station to Sydney Olympic Park.
  • $3.1 million for George Street East Pedestrian and Cyclist paths, connecting to the $19 million Alfred Street pedestrian and cyclist to the Parramatta CBD.
  • $9.8 million to deliver the southern portion of the Cooks River to Iron Cove Greenway that will connect communities in Canterbury, through the inner west to the Bay Run.

From Camden to Canterbury and Hawkesbury to Haberfield, communities right across the six cities will all benefit from new pathways, cycleways and connections that encourage active transport.
Get NSW Active received 474 applications from councils across the state with the first and second of four tranches allocating funding for 55 Greater Sydney projects and a range of regional projects which will be announced in the coming weeks.
More than $200 million has already been allocated to more than 400 projects over the past five years, including Parramatta Escarpment Boardwalk, Inner West Greenway and Newcastle Light Rail Shared Path Stages 2 & 3.
A full list of the successful metropolitan applicants is available here.

NSW Labor’s $225 million Western Sydney flood resilience plan to minimise future flood events

A Minns Labor Government will commit $225 million for a Western Sydney Floods Resilience Plan to commence immediate work on projects including evacuation roads, levees and critical communications infrastructure that will help improve and bolster flood prevention and evacuation infrastructure across Western Sydney.
We have all seen the devastating floods in Western Sydney where roads have been cut off, homes evacuated, businesses destroyed – some for the fourth time this year.
Unfortunately, we have to expect and plan for more flooding emergencies in NSW like we have seen this year.
The financial and personal cost of these tragic events outweighs any other factor. During the February and March floods earlier this year across the state, four people tragically lost their lives ,169,000 people were forced to evacuate, and 4000 buildings rendered uninhabitable. The cost to state and federal governments for support and rebuild will be over $8 billion.

This funding package is a commitment from Labor to help reduce the impacts of flooding in communities situated in flood prone areas.
We welcome the Federal Government’s initial commitment of $300 million in roads in the North West corridor.
If elected, NSW Labor will also seek to partner with the Federal Government in matching today’s roads funding announcement.
Importantly – the $225 million in funding commitments will be required to be spent within two years. While the current NSW Government wants to spend the next five years in the planning phase, Labor wants to see planning and work commence far quicker. Communities at risk of flooding have waited long enough for action.
Road Upgrades
NSW Labor will commit $200 million to identify, plan, and commence work on critical evacuation roads and bridges across Western Sydney.
Selection of road upgrades will be done in consultation with local councils, businesses, community groups and other key stakeholders to ensure this funding goes to the roads that can have the most immediate and significant impact.
Funding will need to be spent within two years – ensuring immediate action to protect communities.
NSW Labor will also invest in installing live traffic cameras on local roads and bridges to assist residents when they attempt to evacuate.
NSW Labor will commit $24 million to protect communities around Hawkesbury and Nepean River and Camden and Picton from large scale flooding by building new levees at Peachtree Creek levee, McGraths Hill levee and Pitt Town levee.
Peachtree Creek levee:
Estimated to cost $1.3 million, the Peachtree Creek levee will help protect properties between the Nepean River and Penrith CBD from backwater flooding with an earthen levee, a retaining wall and floodgates.

It would include Peachtree Creek main levee, including floodgates over Boundary Creek; Old Ferry Road levee; and Tennis Court levee.
McGraths Hill levee:
Estimated to cost $8 million, the McGraths Hill levee will help protect residential properties in against flooding up to the 1 in 50 chance per year event. It would block flows that enter the suburb through low lying areas to the south and east.
Pitt Town levee:
Estimated to cost $9.6 million, the Pitt Town levee will help protect residential areas within the town by blocking flows that enter through low lying areas to the south and east.
Communications infrastructure
Telecommunications are critical infrastructure but are susceptible to failure in the event of natural disaster such as fire and flood.
That’s why NSW Labor will purchase four Cells on Wheels stations for deployment in emergencies at a cost of $1 million.
These are a self-powered, trailer mounted, cell towers that can be deployed to disaster areas to replace damaged or destroyed mobile phone towers.
NSW Labor will also increase access to Department of Primary Industries water gauges on rivers and creeks to help residents monitor rising flood levels and make the real time data easier to access and use.   

These projects – along with a balanced approach to lowering the maximum capacity of Warragamba Dam while ensuring the replacement of any lost capacity in drinking water – can all be actioned far quicker than any mooted plan by the NSW Government.

Importantly, this also recognises that 45 per cent of flood waters in the area come from rivers other than Warragamba.
Communities facing continual flood risk – and who have faced floods several times in the last year alone – need urgent action and solutions that can be delivered right now, not in another decade.
Chris Minns, NSW Labor Leader said:

This is only the beginning of Labor’s flood mitigation plan.
“I’ve visited these communities and inspected the flood damage. It’s heartbreaking talking to families who have lost homes, businesses who have to start from scratch.
“The fact of the matter is these communities will face continual flood risk – and we need urgent action and solutions that can be delivered right now, not in another decade.
“These are sensible actions we can take right now to help improve the flood resilience and emergency response across these communities.”

Shadow Minister for Emergency Management, Jihad Dib said:
“This is a very sensible approach that seeks to address some of the challenges we have seen during recent flooding events. By having better mitigation, communication and evacuation strategies, we are working to provide the best possible response to flooding events to communities at their time of vulnerability.
“We have all seen the problems people and emergency service personnel have faced when communications are lost during natural disasters.  These Cells on Wheels are easily moved and will play a very important and practical role in ensuring communication can be established and maintained at times when they are needed most.
“Far too often, impractical evacuation routes have served to isolate communities and placed them at further risk. This is something that needs to be fixed.”
Shadow Minister for Roads John Graham said:
“Ensuring communities have adequate flood evacuation routes is common sense and yet we have seen these roads and the people living in these areas neglected through poor planning for rapidly growing populations.”

NSW Labor will abolish Liberal’s senior trade commissioner roles

A Minns Labor Government will abolish the Liberals’ and Nationals’ senior trade and investment commissioner roles.
The Liberal and National Government announced in November 2020 that it would spend millions on six overseas senior trade and investment commissioner roles, who will receive salaries of up to $500,000 per year.
Labor’s announcement comes after a series of embarrassing revelations surrounding the Government’s touted Global NSW Strategy.
Serious questions have been raised about whether the multimillion dollar scheme has delivered taxpayers value for money.
These contracts will not be renewed, and after two failed processes to fill their $500,000 position in New York – which has been mired in scandal and secrecy – now is the time to stop.
Labor will work with the business community and industry groups about a suitable replacement program that deliver meaningful investment and growth for NSW industries, and work with Austrade to align our investment activities.
The role of Agent-General for NSW in London was axed in 1993 after an expenses scandal, used to fund an extravagant lifestyle.
The late former-premier John Fahey described the position as a sham, saying the position was a throwback to colonial days when it was important to have “garden parties and participate in ceremonies.”
Chris Minns, NSW Labor Leader, said:

With our hospitals overstretched and teachers under-resourced, the Government has failed dismally to demonstrate value for money of its senior trade commissioners.
“Labor will prioritise rebuilding NSW’s domestic manufacturing capacity and delivering local job opportunities.”

Anoulack Chanthivong, NSW Shadow Minister for Industry and Trade, said:
“The Government is unable to establish how much trade or investment can be directly attributed to its grandiose senior trade roles.
“The Government’s senior trade roles have been mired in scandal – not only about who is being appointed to these roles and how, but also the overseas activities at taxpayers’ expense.”

Training for the tech jobs of tomorrow

Budding Information and Technology (IT) professionals are honing the latest industry techniques as part of an innovative program that will equip them with the skills they need for the rapidly changing technology landscape.
Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology and Minister for Skills and Training Alister Henskens said more than 50 young people are participating in the NSW Government’s IT traineeship program through TAFE NSW.
“This program will ensure we develop a strong and robust IT workforce, which will help grow the economy and secure a brighter future for NSW,” Mr Henskens said.
“The NSW Government is delivering more opportunities than ever before to help people get the skills they need for the jobs they want, and this program is another great example of that.”
The two-year IT traineeship has been designed for Year 12 school leavers seeking to commence a career in the high-growth and in-demand tech industry, which combines a formal qualification with employment and on-the-job training at a NSW Government agency.
Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello said IT skills can take you anywhere and this program is preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow.
“The pandemic has seen a rapid increase in the adoption of emerging technologies and there is a growing need to improve our digital readiness to ensure NSW remains at the forefront of a booming industry,” Mr Dominello said.
“By giving young people a foot-in-the-door, they are gaining real-world experience and building industry connections, which in turn will support their ongoing education and employment pathways.” 
More information about the program can be found online

400 new fire trucks since Black Summer

The 400th new fire truck has rolled off the production line and been handed over to the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) as part of the NSW Government’s $830 million investment in response to the Bushfire Inquiry.
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said $105.6 million in this year’s Budget has been allocated to the Tanker Replacement Program, delivering on one of Inquiry’s key recommendations.
“The Black Summer bush fires had a devastating effect on communities across our State and pushed the RFS to the limit,” Ms Cooke said.
“Two years on from that horror fire season, we are committed to implementing the recommendations of the Bushfire Inquiry. Making sure our RFS volunteers are better equipped to handle bush fires will help keep communities across NSW safer into the future.
“With the next bush fire danger period fast approaching, I am pleased we have now 400 new tankers deployed to Brigades in every corner of the State so that they’re more prepared than ever to handle the oncoming threats.”
The new trucks have been assembled at four factories across NSW.
RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said the increased funding has greatly benefited Brigades members along with the communities they protect.
“While the existing trucks have served our Brigades well, it’s important that the latest and safest equipment is provided to our members to keep themselves safe and best serve communities,” Commissioner Rogers said.
“The 400th fire truck has been handed over to the Yanco Rural Fire Brigade. The new vehicle is a Category 1 bush fire tanker which is worth $380,000 and will be greatly welcomed by the local Brigade and their community.”
Yanco Rural Fire Brigade is located in the Leeton Shire in south-western NSW.

Construction for new Tweed Valley Hospital reaches highest point

The new seven-storey $723.3 million Tweed Valley Hospital development has reached a major milestone, hitting its highest point of construction.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the new hospital campus is the state’s largest regional hospital project. 
“This is about delivering world-class health facilities and services closer to home to transform healthcare for communities in the Tweed Valley region,” Mr Toole said.
“Today’s ‘topping out’ ceremony is a significant milestone for this incredible new health facility which will double capacity of the existing hospital to better meet the current and future healthcare needs of this community which has grown by 6,000 people since this project was first announced.”
Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor said the hospital will feature two new major services, including an interventional cardiology service and an integrated cancer care service with radiotherapy and PET-CT.
“These services will be a game-changer for the local community, providing treatment locally to ensure up to 5,000 people no longer have to travel outside of the region to access life-saving treatments,” Mrs Taylor said.
“Once complete next year, the new hospital will boast almost 200 more beds and an extra 16 new Emergency Department treatment spaces.”
Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said in addition to the world-class health facility, construction for the hospital has provided a boost to the local economy, supporting hundreds of jobs since work began.
“As the project moves into the internal fit-out stage, work is ramping up with around 400 people on-site each day,” Mr Provest said.
“Importantly, many of the workers contributing to this project are from the local community.”
The hospital has been designed in close collaboration with staff and the community and will include:

  • More than 400 overnight and day only beds to address future demand for health services
  • Expanded emergency department with 42 treatment spaces
  • Expanded outpatient services with more clinics
  • 12 operating theatres, an increase of five from the existing Tweed Hospital
  • New interventional cardiology service
  • New radiotherapy service as part of integrated cancer care, including a PET-CT suite
  • Outdoor green spaces
  • Campus roads and car park.

With the hospital reaching its full structural height, construction teams will continue the internal fit-out of the building, services installation and the hospital’s facade.
Construction of the new hospital is on track for completion in 2023.
A new $50 million multi-storey car park will also be delivered as part of the project, providing staff, patients and visitors with access to over 1,200 car park spaces at the new hospital campus when complete. Construction is underway and on-track to open in 2023.
The Tweed Valley Hospital development is part of the NSW Government’s record $10.8 billion investment in health infrastructure over four years to 2024-25, with nearly a third of the spend in this financial year earmarked for regional and rural health facilities.
Since 2011, the government has delivered more than 170 hospitals and health facilities across NSW, with more than 110 currently underway – of those, more than 70 are in rural and regional areas.