CLIMATE STRIKE ACTION WELCOMED

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has supported national action on climate change by students, which includes a protest outside her Newcastle office today.

Ms Claydon said she “absolutely supports the right of students to engage in peaceful protest”.

“These kids are an inspiration. They’re not sitting back and accepting what adults are doing – they’re making their voices heard,” Ms Claydon said.

“If more young people got engaged in the political process, the Liberals mightn’t be so cavalier in selling out their future and the future of our planet.”

Ms Claydon said she was disappointed that she wasn’t able to be around to meet students at the end of a Parliamentary sitting week, but had held a meeting with a group of concerned students from Newcastle East Public School earlier in the month.

“I met with around 30 concerned students aged between 5 and 13 who told me how they are concerned about the future and the impacts of climate change on the environment and our oceans,” Ms Claydon said.

“It’s a sad state of affairs when primary school students are more informed than many members of the government about the dire implications of climate change, but that’s the grim reality of where we are on this issue.

“The time for climate denialism in our Federal Government is over. The time for an end to the war on renewables is here. And the time for real action on climate change is now.”

Ms Claydon said the Government had ‘betrayed’ future generations by actively stifling any real action on climate change.

“In the last five years, not only has the government failed to deliver any energy policy, they’ve also tried to dismantle every mechanism Australia has to reduce emissions to stem the impacts of climate change,” Ms Claydon said.

“Under the former Labor Government, emissions reduced by more than 10 per cent, but since the Liberals took government, they’ve risen year on year.

“The government’s own data shows that under its policy void, carbon pollution will keep rising all the way to 2030, which is the furthest date of projections.”

Ms Claydon said it had become clear that the only way to get action on climate change would be to change the Government.

“As long as the dinosaurs on the hard right of the Liberal party calls the shots, the Government will never be permitted to act on climate change.

“Only a Shorten Labor Government will take real action on climate change, and reduce carbon pollution in line with our plan for a minimum of 50 per cent renewables by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. We will also invest $10 billion in renewable energy projects and deliver rebates of $2000 for households to buy energy saving battery systems.

“Labor’s plan will drive Australia into a new age of renewable energy which will lower power prices and create tens of thousands of new jobs.”

Community invited to Bathers Way – Newcastle Beach sessions

Novocastrians are invited to a series of drop-in sessions to view the City’s exciting plans for Newcastle Beach and provide feedback on the proposed public domain upgrades.

The latest stage of the ambitious Bathers Way project includes an overhaul of the stretch between the Newcastle Surf Life Saving Club and King Edward Park.

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Key features include a new, wider shared pathway, new stairs and seating, kiosk, exercise equipment and improved public amenities. Plans also include a new intermediate level skate bowl and a renewed skate park to cater for all ages and abilities.

The community drop-in sessions will offer a chance to learn more about this priority project – and give feedback on the proposal at four locations across the city.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the City’s long-term vision included the revitalisation of Newcastle’s coastline to provide improved facilities to attract more people to live, work, relax and invest in the City.

“A big part of achieving this vision is the work we are undertaking on our iconic Bathers Way walk, a shared pathway from Nobbys to Merewether that is now more than half complete,” the Lord Mayor said.

“In a recent community survey, nine out of 10 respondents felt these upgraded coastal facilities had enhanced our beaches and coastal areas.

“Over this next phase we’re hosting drop-in sessions, across the city, to give everyone a say before we breathe new life into the area after decades of dormancy.

“The Bathers Way – Newcastle Beach is the largest and most complex stage of the Bathers Way project, which will transform an underutilised section of our coastline into a vibrant and attractive space for both visitors and the wider community.­”

The drop-in sessions will be held from 5.30pm -7.30pm at:

  • Mayfield Seniors Centre, Tuesday 4 December
  • City Hall, Thursday 6 December
  • Wallsend Library, Tuesday 11 December
  • Adamstown Bowling Club, Wednesday 12 December

LABOR WILL TURN THE VOLUME UP ON AUSTRALIAN MUSIC

A Shorten Labor Government will introduce the most comprehensive contemporary music policy by an Australian government.

From encouraging more Australian children to learn and play music, to assisting young bands reach overseas markets, to more support for live music and ensuring fans aren’t being ripped off when they buy tickets – Labor wants to see more Australians making music, listening to music, and seeing music live.

The music industry contributes nearly $6 billion to the Australian economy each year. According to ARIA, the Australian music industry will be worth $100 billion globally within a decade. Live music alone supports around 64,000 jobs in Australia. More Australians attend live music than sport.

Labor wants to make sure the live music industry continues to grow, and to see more Australians with stable jobs in a thriving local industry.

Labor’s music policy all comes back to one single objective: We want to inspire the next generation of Australian artists and to see more international success stories.

Labor wants to make sure Australian kids have the chance to learn music, regardless of where they live. While many Australian kids are lucky enough to have parents who encourage them to learn an instrument at a young age, more and more kids now rely on their school to learn to play an instrument. To help schools facilitate learning, a Shorten Labor Government will provide $7 million in extra support for music education and music teachers. The funding will go towards expanding school programs such as SongMakers which brings musicians into schools, and Song Room, dedicated to providing music and art lessons to disadvantaged kids.

One of the biggest barriers for younger musicians is having a space to practice together. Labor will provide $5 million in grant funding to establish and grow music hubs around the country. This funding will provide support to councils, schools, neighborhood centres or community spaces to set up a music hub where students and musicians in the local area can come, learn, collaborate and practice. Funding could be used for soundproofing, equipment, instruments, acoustic assessments or refurbishments.

Labor wants more emerging artists to have the opportunity to record an album for public release and to play at live music venues. Labor will commit over $10m to the “new Sounds Australia” to deliver the functions of the office of live music to help them work with local governments to remove barriers for live music venues around the country. This means more places for young musicians to play, but also more venues for music lovers to see live performances locally. Labor will also double the funding to the New Recordings program to help a further ten new Australian artists record an EP. The current program allows for ten albums to be recorded a year, and has helped artists such Courtney Barnett and Alex the Astronaut gain an audience.

One of the key foundations of Sounds Australia is to showcase Australian music overseas. Labor’s commitment to the new Sounds Australia will expand its reach and build on the 1500 Australian groups that have been showcased at international events in over 23 countries. This means more musicians have a pathway to staying in the industry and more Australian music is heard here and around the world. Part of showcasing our music overseas will be small grants that are made available to help promote emerging Australian bands around the world, particularly in new markets such as Asia. Sounds Australia and the Association of Artists Managers will work together and, when needed, provide modest grants to assist with practical measures to help bands get a foothold including costs of airfares, local management and connections and assistance with booking venues. These grants could mean the difference between a new band making it in a new market or not.

Labor’s music policy will also include measures such as:

  • cracking down on ticket scalping websites such as Viagogo
  • increased funding for music and mental health programs.

The policies we are announcing today are aimed at boosting every aspect of Australian music. We want Australian music to be heard, Australian artists to stay in the industry and the next generation to be inspired. And we want to make it easier for music fans to buy tickets to the bands they love.

We believe in what our songwriters, musicians, performers and music industry do. We think it matters. Our Australian soundtrack matters. Let’s turn up the volume.

More information on Labor’s policy can be found here.

ENDING THE RIP OFF – LABOR WILL CRACK DOWN ON TICKET GOUGING

Labor will give Aussie sports and music fans a fair go, cracking down on ticket gouging which locks fans out of major events.

Labor will introduce a national ban on the use of ticket-buying bot software, which flood ticket websites to purchase the most tickets possible, causing ordinary consumers to miss out.

It is estimated bots account for as much as 30 per cent of the traffic to primary ticketing sites in the moments after a major event goes on sale.

We will also introduce a national cap on the resale price of tickets at 110 per cent of the initial face value.

This will mean fans will get a fair go on accessing tickets to sporting blockbusters, as well as concerts, musicals and theatres.

Ticket scalping is a growing scourge – instead of the sales going to our footy clubs and local businesses, artists and the music industry, fraudsters are building profit models and forcing consumers to pay exorbitant prices for tickets, or missing out completely.

Labor will act. A Shorten Labor Government will introduce a cap of 110 per cent of initial face value price for any resold tickets and make sure laws are consistent across all states and territories through federal legislation.

This crackdown will aim to cut the business model for websites like ViaGogo, which relies on selling tickets to music and sports fans at exorbitant, inflated prices and can often leave consumers stranded with useless tickets that have been sold multiple times.

Labor will also ban the use of ticket-buying bot software, which prevents ordinary consumers from accessing popular concerts and major events.

This will ensure genuine fans get fair access to tickets, and won’t have to compete with sophisticated software designed to buy as many tickets as possible when popular events go on sale online.

A Labor Government will also boost consumer protection by:

  • Strengthening disclosure requirements for all ticket sellers; and
  • Allowing for the fair resale of tickets, preventing primary ticket sellers cancelling legitimately purchased on-sold tickets
  • A national ban on speculative ticket listing

The ACCC will conduct a review of these measures after twelve months of operation, with a view to further strong action if required.

We understand that consumers need the ability to easily on-sell tickets if they need to, and others may want to purchase tickets at the last minute. These reforms won’t prevent that – they will simply mean that ticket sellers can’t significantly profit from desperate fans.

The Liberals have been too paralysed by their own instability to take action on this issue, only introducing disclosure requirements for resellers last month and failing to act on ticket gouging at all.

Labor will prioritise Australian sports and music fans to make sure consumers get an overdue fair go.

Greens back young people striking for climate action

South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young stands in solidarity with the young people striking for climate action in Adelaide today.

“The young people striking today give me great hope that the planet will be in good hands in the future, but we need to pass on something worth fighting for,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“Queensland is on fire, Sydney is under water and farmers are facing extreme drought. Young people are showing more leadership on climate change than the Morrison Government.

“While young people strike, the WWF has concluded that Australia has the worst biodiversity management record out of 100 nations. We have a responsibility to future generations, to our unique flora and fauna, and to the rest of the world to lead the charge on saving this planet.

“Our nation is experiencing the effects of climate change here and now. If we want the young people protesting in Adelaide to have a bright future on a liveable planet, politicians need to do their jobs now.”

Greens announce $10m per year for HIV prevention and $1m per year for stigma

The Australian Greens have announced $10 million per year of funding into ending HIV in Australia, with a further $1 million for national campaigns that break down HIV discrimination and stigma, ahead of World AIDS Day on Saturday 1 December.

“We have the chance to end HIV in Australia. The Greens will invest $10 million a year into organisations that do the incredibly important work of combating and preventing HIV,” said Senator Richard Di Natale, leader of the Australian Greens and a doctor.

“We welcome the government’s announcement of HIV self-testing on the Therapeutic Goods Administration – a move that will go some way towards reducing the harm that stigma causes, but it doesn’t yet go far enough.”

“While Australia has had some success in reducing the transmission of HIV, we need to plan a process that will result in ending HIV.”

“We’re also committing an additional $1 million per year into national campaigns that break down HIV stigma and discrimination, encourage safer sex and encourage regular testing,” said Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson.

“We know that reducing stigma and discrimination will lead to more people getting tested which is essential to eliminating HIV.”

Critical incident investigation launched following single-vehicle crash – Cessnock

A critical incident investigation has been launched following a single-vehicle crash in Cessnock.

During Thursday 29 November 2018, officers from Hunter Valley Police District were making inquiries to locate a 60-year-old man.

About midday, it’s believed the man driving a Nissan Navara, saw police on Richmond Vale Road, Cessnock, and drove off at speed, before hitting a tree.

Officers commenced CPR on the driver – and sole-occupant of the vehicle – until the arrival of NSW Ambulance paramedics, but he died at the scene.

A crime scene was established and will be forensically examined by Crash Investigation Unit officers.

Newcastle City Police District officers will investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

That investigation will be subject to an independent review and will be monitored by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.

Anyone that has information that may assist is urged to come forward.

A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

Sixth Comanchero OMCG member charged over alleged extortion

Strike Force Raptor have charged another member of the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) following an investigation into an alleged extortion attempt in the state’s west.

In August, the Criminal Groups Squad’s Strike Force Raptor North commenced an investigation following reports a 51-year-old man had been seriously assaulted and his house set on fire as part of an alleged extortion.

Following inquiries, Raptor North, with the assistance of officers from Orana Mid-Western Police District, Western Region Operational Support Group, and Hunter Valley Police District, executed 10 search warrants at properties across Mudgee, Dubbo, Gulgong, Yarrawonga, and Muswellbrook, just after 7am yesterday (Wednesday 28 November 2018).

Investigators seized several items from these locations, including 14 firearms, of which three were allegedly stolen from a home in Ruse in December 2017, ammunition, prohibited drugs, mobile phones, and OMCG paraphernalia.

Five men were charged during the operation and remain before the courts.

Following further inquiries, a 50-year-old Mudgee man was arrested at Mudgee Police Station today (Thursday 29 November 2018).

He was charged with demand money with menaces with intent to steal, assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company, and participate in criminal group contribute criminal activity.

Police will allege in court the man, who is a member of the Comanchero OMCG, assaulted the 51-year-old man and demanded a large amount of cash in July 2018.

He was granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Mudgee Local Court on Wednesday 9 January 2019.

Investigations are continuing.

Strike Force Raptor was established in 2009 and conducts proactive investigations and intelligence-based, high-impact policing operations to prevent and disrupt conflicts, and dismantle any network engaged in serious organised criminal activity.

PAUL KEATING AND LUCY TURNBULL HEAD LANDMARK REVIEW OF MACQUARIE STREET EAST PRECINCT

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet today announced two of NSW’s most prominent Sydneysiders will work together to develop a long-term vision for the historic Macquarie Street East Precinct on the eastern fringe of the CBD.

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating will join forces with the Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, and former Lord Mayor of Sydney, Lucy Turnbull to work on the landmark project.

The review will look at ways to improve the amenity and public usage of one of Sydney’s most historic precincts, which includes Hyde Park Barracks, State Library, Sydney Hospital and NSW Parliament.

“I am delighted two of the most passionate advocates for Sydney have agreed to work together on ways to enhance what is already one of the jewels in this city’s glittering crown,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Our aim is to make this area, with its historic buildings and beautiful gardens, an even more vibrant place for locals and tourists to enjoy.”

Mr Perrottet said Mr Keating and Mrs Turnbull were both strong advocates for Sydney, with a keen desire to improve the city and make it more welcoming and accessible for everybody.

“The Macquarie Street East Precinct is home to some of Sydney’s most important public buildings and iconic open spaces,” Mr Perrottet said.

“With two such passionate people working together on this project I am sure we will be able to make the area even better, unlock potential for new ways to connect the precinct to the rest of the CBD, and improve the public’s experience and usage.”

Mr Keating and Mrs Turnbull both welcomed the opportunity to provide ideas and direction for the Macquarie Street East Precinct.

“This precinct is of central importance to the city and there is scope for rationalisation in the further dedication of public space,” Mr Keating said.
Mrs Turnbull said as Sydney continued to grow it was important to ensure the use of open space evolved and adapted.

“I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to help create a long term vision for a precinct that encapsulates so much history, beauty and cultural relevance dating back tens of thousands of years,” Mrs Turnbull said.

“It has long deserved better connections and access, so that more Sydneysiders and visitors can enjoy this precious precinct.”

An initial report from Mr Keating and Mrs Turnbull is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

NSW CREATIVE KIDS PROGRAM A STEP CLOSER

NSW families will soon be able to access the new $100 Creative Kids voucher unlocking the creative abilities of a new generation across the State from 1 January 2019 when the program takes effect.

Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet today called on relevant providers to register with Service NSW so they can participate in the program.

Parents will be able to use one voucher for every school-age child per year to help meet the cost of structured creative and cultural activities, such as music lessons, languages, coding, drama and theatre, photography and graphic design.

“The NSW Government has returned more than $200 million to households this calendar year through various cost of living incentives. Creative Kids will provide parents with even more hip pocket relief,” Mr Dominello said.

“There are thousands of organisations out there who could be eligible for the program. We are calling on them to register with Service NSW so that parents can claim their $100 vouchers with them in the New Year.”

Mr Perrottet said: “This is a fantastic initiative that is only made possible because of our strong economic management.”

“We can afford to deliver real savings that help the working families of NSW and reduce barriers to healthy activity.

“This program compliments the hugely popular Active Kids voucher and for a family with two children, Creative and Active Kids combined will save you $400 a year.”

Creative Kids is one of a raft of NSW Government initiatives helping to ease cost of living pressure for households. Others include cheaper Green Slips and refunds, free car registration for regular toll users and the FuelCheck app.

Further information including guidelines for providers is available at www.service.nsw.gov.au/creativekids