Secret tours will be held across the Sydney CBD this weekend with $10,000 worth of vouchers up for grabs for the first people to solve the riddles and unlock the clues.
The Secret City Trails Sydney website is part of the City Revitalisation Innovation Challenge, supported by Transport for NSW, to encourage people back into the CBD.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the Sydney CBD was the economic engine room of the State and this exciting initiative would help people rediscover everything it has to offer and give it a much-needed jump-start.
“The pandemic has seen working patterns shift and we have to look at new and innovative ways to entice people back to into the city,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Nothing beats a day out in Sydney and this new and creative project will help more people rediscover the hidden gems of our city to support businesses and jobs in the CBD.”
Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the challenge is about giving people exciting new reasons to head into the city.
“We are seeing more people returning to the CBD and we want that trend to continue. These unique experiences give people that extra reason to venture out of their suburb and into the CBD to explore all this wonderful city has to offer,” Mr Constance said.
“We are proud to provide more than $400, 000 in funding to encourage business to innovate new ways to help revitalise the city as we continue a strong economic recovery through COVID.”
The Secret City Trails Sydney will see participants discover the city through self-guided walks and by solving riddles to unlock curious stories about local landmarks. The first 2,000 people to complete a trail will receive $5 to spend at the final destination, on a coffee, ice cream or as a discount off the total bill.
The CBD will also play host to an outdoor art gallery called, ‘I Came to See’, a joint initiative with City of Sydney featuring work from Australian artists.
The Director of the Council’s city life program, Emma Rigney, said art plays an important role in Sydney’s cultural life.
“A thriving arts scene is a critical element of our vision for Sydney as a liveable, sustainable and dynamic global city, and is an aspect of our city that we are keen to promote to both Sydneysiders and visitors,” Ms Rigney said.
Explore Sydney’s Secret City Trails at:
The ‘I Came to See’ Outdoor Art Gallery will be in the Sydney CBD on:
Saturday 1 May – Friday 7 May at Martin Place
Saturday 8 May – Tuesday 18 May at Customs House Square
Wednesday 19 May – Sunday 30 May at Exchange Place, Barangaroo


Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee today announced TAFE NSW has signed a partnership with the Australian Institute of Sport to encourage more elite athletes to pursue vocational education and training pathways.
Under the memorandum of understanding, athletes will be given personalised support to balance their sporting commitments and vocational training.
The number of athletes seeking professional career advice through the AIS Career Practitioner Referral Network more than doubled in 2020 with around 20 per cent of these athletes going on to enrol at TAFE or university to support their post-sport career aspirations.
Mr Lee said TAFE NSW will join the Elite Athlete Education Network, firming its reputation as a world-class vocational education and training provider.
“This partnership cements TAFE NSW as a provider of choice for elite athletes who want flexibility and personalised support to gain employment skills while they compete at the elite level,” Mr Lee said.
“We’re proud to be partnering with the Australian Institute of Sport to help deliver the skilled workforce Australia needs now and into the future.”
Elite athletes enrolled at TAFE NSW will receive a nominated point of contact to provide advice and guidance on academic planning, course management and timetabling.
Australian Institute of Sport CEO Peter Conde said the agreement will support elite athletes who may have missed the opportunity to obtain formal skills.
“This is great news for elite athletes who can take advantage of the wide range of courses and flexible study options offered by TAFE NSW,” Mr Conde said.
“Education and training enable Australian athletes to learn, thrive and contribute to the community during their time in high-performance sport and life afterwards.”

Australia must back vaccine patent waiver: Greens

The Greens have reiterated their calls for Australia to support a global vaccine patent waiver, supported by more than 100 countries, ahead of a critical World Trade Organization council meeting on Friday.
Senator Mehreen Faruqi, International Aid and Development spokesperson, said:
“This is a matter of global justice and responsibility. It is morally bankrupt for Australia to give anything other than full-throated support for the patent waiver.
“Rich, western countries banding together to hoard vaccines and deny them to poorer countries where thousands are dying daily is white supremacy, plain and simple.”
“It’s well overdue for the government to come out with a clear position in support of the waiver.
“The lives and health of billions of people matter far more than the profits of big pharmaceutical companies.
“The Greens stand with the hundreds of Australian health professionals who have this week come out in support of the patent waiver.”
Senator Rachel Siewert, Health spokesperson, said:
“The Australian Government is enabling vaccine apartheid in not supporting a proposal to the World Trade Organisation to waive intellectual property rights to allow Covid-19 vaccine production to be rolled out and made accessible and affordable to everyone in the global community.
“The Australian Government has to act immediately on this issue, they have been dragging their feet far too long on it.
“The Government needs to play a role in ensuring big pharma moves to temporarily waive intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines to facilitate universal access.
“Covid-19 vaccines should be seen as a public good, not a commodity.
“Australia has a global responsibility to ensure lower GDP nations get adequate and timely access to vaccines.
“It’s very clear that none of us are safe, until we are all safe.”

Major investment in Northern Territory defence bases

The Morrison Government will invest $747 million to upgrade four key training areas and ranges in the Northern Territory to enable the Australian Defence Force to conduct simulated training exercises and remain battle ready.
Essential upgrades will be made to four key military training areas and weapon ranges in the Northern Territory, including: Robertson Barracks, Kangaroo Flats, Mount Bundey and Bradshaw.
These Defence training areas and facilities will support greater engagement with our Indo-Pacific neighbours and our allies, and to conduct small and large scale military exercises across a number of different scenarios.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the investment was part of almost $8 billion in defence capital infrastructure works over the next decade in the Northern Territory.
“This investment will deliver a jobs boom for the Northern Territory,” the Prime Minister said.
“We continue to invest more than $270 billion in defence capability across Australia over the next decade, ensuring we have a capable defence force to meet a changing global environment, while backing thousands of ADF men and women with the newest technology and training,” the Prime Minister said.
“Working with the United States and Indo-Pacific neighbours, we will continue to advance Australia’s interests by investing in the Australian Defence Force, particularly across Northern Australia.”
“Our focus is on pursuing peace, stability and a free and open Indo-Pacific, with a world order that favours freedom.
“This investment will also maximise local jobs through a targeted industry plan to contract local businesses throughout the entire supply chain. My commitment is keeping Australians safe and keeping Australians in jobs.”
Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said this significant investment would ensure the Australian Defence Force continues to deliver world class training and our engagement with allies and other nations through the conduct of joint training exercises, including with the US Marine Rotational Force – Darwin.
“This investment is critical to ensuring that our ADF land combat capability is equipped with the cutting edge technology it will require to maintain our competitive advantage,” Minister Dutton said.
“These works will provide a strong economic benefit to the region, with significant opportunities for the local construction industry and local tradies over a five-year delivery phase program.
“Significant opportunities will exist for local Australian industry to bid for almost all of the construction works, planned to be delivered through numerous local sub-contractor packages by Defence’s local Darwin-based Managing Contractor, Sitzler.”
Subject to Parliamentary approvals, construction is expected to commence in the second half of 2021, with completion expected by mid-2026.

City’s East End upgrades to start next month

The first stage of City of Newcastle’s revitalisation of the Hunter Street Mall will start in May after Councillors voted to award Statewide Civil the construction contract last night.
The $5 million project is part of the East End Public Domain Plan which will see new paving, landscaping and public amenity improvements in and around the Hunter Street Mall.
East-End-upgrade-1.jpgWork will start on the block bound by Hunter Street, Wolfe Street, King Street and Perkins Street, and is part of a broader plan to reinvent the city’s former commercial centre as a tourism, residential and hospitality hub.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle is committed to delivering well planned infrastructure for a growing city.
“The vision of the East End Public Domain Plan looks to reinstate Hunter Street as a traditional high street and an attractive destination for locals and visitors, with outdoor dining and boutique retail opportunities,” Cr Nelmes said.
“The project will increase accessibility and public amenity and will be complemented by trees and plants to create a greener city centre.
“With its central location close to Newcastle Beach, the Harbour and bars and restaurants, this upgrade will provide a boost for nearby businesses and create a high street in keeping with our status as an emerging global city.
“The project complements other improvements in the precinct including Iris Capital’s $750 million East End development which will see the former David Jones building become a five-star QT Hotel, and the planned refurbishment of the Victoria Theatre on Perkins Street.”
The first sub-stage of work will include stormwater upgrades, reinstating a kerbed road on Hunter Street, paths for pedestrians and cyclists, and will incorporate smart lighting, public Wi-Fi and electric vehicle charging points.
Iris Capital Development Manager Jamie Boswell said the upgrade strengthens the Mall’s appeal to visitors.
“Like so many Novocastrians, we’re thrilled to see Newcastle’s historic mall come back to life with new development, residents, retail options and now improved public space,” Mr Boswell said.
“The improvements City of Newcastle is making in the area means the transformation we’re seeing through new high-quality development will be complemented by attractive and active public space for residents and visitors to enjoy.”
A tender for the demolition of the Mall Carpark is currently open following structural assessments that showed it was no longer safe for use. Demolition is expected to commence mid year.

Permanent telehealth must be funded in May Budget

The Greens are calling on the Federal Government to make telehealth a permanent feature of our Medicare system.
“Telehealth has been lifesaving for Australians, especially for people living in regional and remote areas and for disabled people, people with kids and older Australians.
“We know that people living in regional and remote areas suffer worse health outcomes. Telehealth helps to bridge that gap.
“Patients and health practitioners need certainty about the future of telehealth in Australia.
“Peak bodies have been working with the government for months now on making telehealth permanent. We don’t need more ad-hoc 3 month extensions. We need certainty.
“We are in a global health pandemic and we need innovation and forward planning, not adhoc decision making that leaves people in limbo.
“It’s 2021 and it well past time we had telehealth embedded into our Medicare system.”

JobSeeker ‘lifestyle’ is one of poverty and $44 a day

The Greens say Employment Minister Mr Robert’s cruel comments on the ‘lifestyle’ of people on JobSeeker are not based in any realm of reality in which Australians are living.
“It’s just nonsensical to tell people to get a job when in March there were 238, 700 jobs available and there are 1.5 million people on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments”, Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“This Government is more than happy to fund the “lifestyles” of corporations with access to the JobKeeper payment to companies like Harvey Norman who have managed to make record profits in the midst of a recession and just today there are reports that the exclusive men’s club, the Australia Club has pocketed $2m of government money – and managed to more than double its annual surplus – by keeping JobKeeper payments.
“While we remain in a pandemic and a recession and jobs are not there the Government should be supporting people, not blaming them for being in circumstances outside of their control.
“Not only did the Government abandon 1.5 million people to live on $44 a day, research from ACOSS shows that  the community sector is now under extreme stress and unable to support the influx of people seeking assistance.
“But instead of investing in people the Government is putting resources into punishing people looking for work, and which is set up to be open for abuses of power.
“The Job Provider system (Jobactive) is already rife with bullying, harassment, of people being ignored or treated very poorly by their job providers and now the Government is empowering employers with the means to intimidate and bully Jobseekers.
“I’m extremely worried about the potential for young people to be coerced into situations where they may be harassed or taken advantage of with little recourse because their employer will “dob” them in.
“The Government should stop blaming people who can’t find work that doesn’t exist and provide meaningful training and support to help people find real work opportunities.”


The Greens say an investigation is needed into the offsets for the Western Sydney Airport, after revelations that consortiums including advisors to the NSW government made millions from the development.
An investigation by Lisa Cox at The Guardian revealed that over a quarter of all offsets sold in the NSW scheme were collected by the consortiums.
Greens Leader, Adam Bandt said:
“Public trust is paramount for major projects and the revelations published in the Guardian this morning puts a massive question mark over the environmental value of offsets for the Western Sydney Airport.
“There needs to be an investigation into any conflicts of interests and possible insider trading.
“This is happening on the Morrison government’s watch. Our national environment laws are too weak.
Greens Environment spokesperson, Sarah Hanson-Young said:
“The offsets system is an utter rort. Just another scam for the Morrison Government to give their big developer and mining mates a green light for the environment wrecking projects.
“This is just more proof the Morrison Government and their state counterparts can’t be trusted to protect the environment and our wildlife. We need stronger laws, not weaker ones.
“Next week the Senate will be reviewing the Morrison’s Government’s moves to scrap environment laws. I will pursue this scandal with the Government officials. The Government must be held to account.
Greens Co-Deputy Leader, Larissa Waters said:
“Even the rorts are stuffed with rorts! This isn’t the first time serious questions have been raised about who’s profiting from the Western Sydney airport project.
“Last year we discovered that the federal government had paid a Liberal Party donor 10 times the fair value of a parcel of land earmarked for a second runway, handing over $29.8 million of taxpayer money for property valued at $3.1 million.
“And now we learn that a consultant has made a motza by advising governments to purchase environmental offset properties he had a financial stake in.
“Clearly there are problems with the governance of this project and both the NSW and federal governments have a lot of questions to answer. It’s yet another reminder why the Greens continue to call for a strong and independent national corruption watchdog.”

Renewables driving lower prices mean we must drive transition further, not prop up coal

Latest power price reports, showing again how renewables are driving down wholesale prices across the National Electricity Market after wholesale prices doubled following the Liberals’ repeal of the carbon price, should encourage the government to drive the transition faster and not prop up coal and gas, Greens Leader Adam Bandt said today.
The Greens fears that the Morrison government – which brags about lower wholesale prices despite driving them up after the carbon price repeal and opposing renewables at every step – is now getting ready to increase prices and pollution by propping up coal and gas generation.
Labor, who has already propped up Australia’s dirtiest power station by handing over undisclosed amounts to Energy Australia, owned by Hong Kong billionaire Michael Kadoorie, must now join the Greens in fighting the latest coal push from the Morrison government.
“Instead of bragging about power prices coming down because of renewable energy, Angus Taylor should be red-faced after doubling wholesale power prices by repealing the carbon price and then opposing renewables every step of the way,” Mr Bandt said.
“After doubling power prices and doing everything they could to block renewables, the Liberals now expect a pat on the back when solar and wind start driving prices down again.
“Even worse, the government talks up lower prices from renewables while simultaneously getting ready to prop up dirty coal generation by handing public money to the billionaire coal and gas corporations.”
“We don’t need payments to coal generators, we need the government to lead more investment in renewables and storage. As today’s prices have shown, renewables are cheaper, cleaner and the future for Australia. More renewables means lower prices.”
“We should be driving the transition further and faster, not trying to block it. We are in a climate emergency.”
“Labor must oppose the latest coal push. Labor already has form propping up Australia’s dirtiest power station in Victoria and they must stop supporting Scott Morrison on coal and gas.”
The Government – with Labor’s support – is passing legislation to allow public money to go to fossil fuel projects. The Energy Security Board is also due to release its report on post-2025 market design for the National Electricity Market in the coming days, with reports today  suggesting the government may be concerned about so-called ‘early’ closure of coal-fired power stations.
Wholesale power prices doubled after the Liberals repealed the carbon price.

Australia’s Olympic athletes granted access to COVID-19 vaccines

National Cabinet has today agreed to vaccinate athletes and support staff headed to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games under priority group 1b.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services and Minister for Sport, Richard Colbeck said it offers an assurance to athletes preparing to represent Australia on the world stage.
Supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine will be made available to approximately 2050 Australians identified by the AOC and Paralympics Australia.
“We want to see our athletes head to Tokyo to compete and then return to Australia safely,” Minister Hunt said.
The vaccinations will comprise both Pfizer and AstraZeneca (for team members aged over 50 years).
Minister Colbeck said it marked an important step as Olympians readied for their campaigns.
“While vulnerable Australians remain an absolute priority as the vaccine rollout continues, National Cabinet understands the pressure our high-performance athletes have been facing as the Tokyo Games draw closer,” Minister Colbeck said.
“This will be a very different Olympics and Paralympics, but our athletes deserve the opportunity to compete.”