TOP OF THE CLASS FOR SCHOOL CROSSING SAFETY

School crossings across NSW will be made even safer with 300 more lollipop supervisors to be provided by the Liberals & Nationals Government.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Education Rob Stokes said the initiative, an investment of $18.5 million over four years, would offer more protection for children and improved visibility for motorists.

“Keeping kids safe is our number one priority and every child in NSW should be able to get to and from school safely,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Lollipop men and women are such an important part of the community effort to making our roads safer for children.”

Mr Stokes said under the previous requirements, a crossing had to be used by 300 cars per hour in the morning or afternoon as well as at least 50 students to be eligible for a supervisor. Under the change, they will only need to meet one of the criteria.

“This initiative means more schools will be eligible for a lollipop supervisor, including 69 schools that had applied in the last two years and were found ineligible,” Mr Stokes said.

“School zones are some of the safest parts of our road network and since 2013 we haven’t lost a single child in an operating school zone.”

The School Crossing Supervisor Program currently funds up to 1200 supervisors at around 800 crossings across the State.

School zone safety has always been a priority for the Liberals & Nationals Government. There is now at least one set of school zone flashing lights for every school in NSW. More than 5500 school flashing lights have been installed.

Private Schools Continue to be Showered in Cash Under Liberals and Labor

Australian Greens Senator for NSW and Spokesperson for Education, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has said that Catholic and private schools will continue to be showered in taxpayer dollars under both the Liberals and Labor Parties. Analysis released today shows Catholic schools will receive a $4.1 billion bonus from recent changes made by the Liberal-National Government, supported by the Labor opposition.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Public school pupils went back to school this week to schools that are underfunded, with aging classrooms and infrastructure. We know that ninety-three per cent of teachers dip into their own pocket to buy supplies for their students and their school. This is completely unacceptable.

“Both the Labor and Liberal parties live in this fantasy world where they claim that excessive funding for private schools isn’t detrimental to public schools. This is simply not true. Billions going to already overfunded private schools is billions not going to the public sector.

“We must also reverse the special deals that the Liberals struck with private schools,which Labor sadly doesn’t have the guts to cancel. It’s simple: with public money, the 2.5 million children in public schools have to come first.

“Only the Greens have a plan to fully fund our public schools and provide the capital funds they need to upgrade and expand their infrastructure” she concluded.

Our plan to fully fund public schools is available here: https://mehreen-faruqi.greensmps.org.au/articles/fully-funded-public-schools-australian-greens-launch-package-public-education

Electric vehicle Senate inquiry recommendations leave Australia in the slow lane: Greens

The release today of the final report of the Select Committee on Electric Vehicles shows Australia is at risk of being left behind in the electric vehicle revolution, say the Australian Greens.

“The weak recommendations of this report demonstrate just how feeble Labor and Liberal are when it comes to electric vehicle policy. Both major parties say the right words about electric vehicles when it suits them, but when it comes to actually getting behind policies and incentives that will support electric vehicle uptake they are missing in action,” said Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens transport spokesperson, and member of the Committee.

“The world is experiencing an electric vehicle revolution that is transforming how we move people and goods.”

“But Australia is a global laggard when it comes to policy ambition and certainty. The government has a choice to get Australia in the fast lane, but that means hitting the accelerator with ambitious targets and incentives to drive the uptake of electric vehicles.”

“We have the opportunity now to get on board and benefit from this technology, such as the economic boost and jobs in vehicle assembly, battery and component manufacturing, and EV infrastructure installation, all while improving Australia’s fuel security, reducing carbon pollution and improving public health from cleaner air.”

“But the window of opportunity for Australia to be a global electric vehicle powerhouse is closing as other countries speed past us. Countries like Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark are already miles ahead in the race to transition to electric vehicles.”

“The Greens are the only party with a real plan to get Australia in the fast lane so that we can reap the rewards that will come from electric vehicles.”

The Greens plan includes: setting a target of 100% of new passenger vehicles being electric by 2030, strong vehicle emissions standards; removing import tariffs and other taxes such as GST, stamp duty and registration, and rolling out fast charging infrastructure.

RECORD TEACHERS FOR NSW: 4600 EXTRA

The NSW Government will hire an additional 4600 teachers to join the ranks of the public school system – delivering the highest number of teachers in the State’s history, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Rob Stokes announced today.

“We are investing record amounts into NSW schools and teachers, and this $2 billion investment has only been made possible due to the strong economic position created by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“It is so important to invest in our children to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the jobs of the future.”

This commitment will bring the total number of full-time positions funded by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government to nearly 11,000 new teachers since we came to Government.

By comparison, Labor hired just over 1000 new teachers in their last five years in office. They closed more than 90 schools, with a secret plan to close 100 more and axe 7500 teachers.

This record-breaking teacher recruitment drive over four years will help staff the 170-plus new and upgraded schools being delivered as part of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s record $6 billion investment in school infrastructure.

Mr Stokes said he was thrilled to be growing NSW’s world-class teacher workforce.

“We have some of the best teachers in the world who have the incredibly rewarding career of shaping the lives of the next generation,” Mr Stokes said.

“It is my priority to ensure NSW continues to have the best schools and best teachers in the country.”

Last year, the NSW Government committed an additional $6.4 billion for public schools to 2027 as part of the Gonski deal with the Commonwealth, bringing the State’s total investment to $148 billion for government and non-government schools.

NSW was also the only State to provide extra money to public schools to complement the Commonwealth’s $1.2 billion Choice and Affordability Fund.

Murray Darling Basin management is sacrificing the environment

The Murray Darling Basin Plan’s compromised legal status must be taken seriously by the SA and Federal governments following the delivery of the SA Royal Commissioner’s report, the Greens say.

“Reports that the plan designed to save the River is failing to meet its environmental objectives and may be unlawful are deeply concerning. It becomes clearer as each day goes by that the Murray Darling Basin has been mismanaged and corrupted, by political and corporate interests,” Greens environment and water spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“The South Australian Royal Commissioner has raised a red flag on the legality of the management of our river system and there are serious questions to answer.

“Both evidence to the Royal Commission, and the Federal Government’s own Productivity Commission report into the Murray Darling Basin Plan have shown the environment has been undermined by vested interests, and the science ignored. Well, it is no surprise that it is dying right before our eyes.

“The South Australian Liberal Government must release the Commissioner’s final report immediately and explain to the public what they are doing to stand up for our River and for South Australia.

“Australian taxpayers are spending $13 billion on a Plan to save the River system. But the River has been sacrificed to prop up big corporate irrigators and do favours for political donors.  We need to lift the freeze on buybacks, place an embargo on corporate cotton irrigators taking water from the river and harvesting overland flows, and launch a federal Royal Commission.”

NSW A FIRST CLASS STATE: INDEPENDENT REPORT PRAISES OUR ECONOMIC STRENGTH

CommSec’s State of the States report has highlighted the rock solid fundamentals of the NSW economy which is continuing to power Australia’s growth and job creation.

The overall economic performance of NSW across all indicators saw the state ranked first, with our near-record unemployment level of 4.3 per cent a key highlight.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the report highlighted the state’s strong economic performance across all key economic indicators.

“We are a first class state with a very strong economy,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Some states are strong in a handful of areas, we rate highly right across the board.

“Our solid surpluses and record low net debt have allowed us to embark on an unprecedented $89.7 billion infrastructure investment.

“Our record investment is not just building better schools, roads, hospitals and public transport, it is helping power the economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

The CommSec report states: “NSW is consistently strong across the eight economic indicators.”

“Spending in NSW was 17.5 per cent above decade-average levels, once again supported by home building, infrastructure building and firm employment.

“In NSW the trend unemployment rate of 4.3 per cent hasn’t been bettered in monthly records going back to 1978.”

NSW placed equal first in the latest edition of the quarterly report, which ranks each state and territory’s economy by using decade averages across a range of key economic indicators including: retail spending, equipment investing, construction work and unemployment.

“Our fantastic growth would be in jeopardy under Labor,” Mr Perrottet said.
“They want to cancel a swathe of projects such as the F6 and South West Metro and this would kill growth and destroy jobs.

“Cancelling things is Labor’s default position. Doing nothing is their failed former Finance Minister’s happy place. Only the Liberals & Nationals have a plan for NSW and will continue to get the job done for NSW.”

MAJOR CENTRAL STATION UPGRADE UNDERWAY IN PREPERATION FOR SYDNEY METRO

Major construction work has started to deliver the biggest upgrade to Central Station in decades, including new Sydney Metro platforms deep underground and the landmark Central Walk.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the $955 million investment in the iconic station will improve public transport services and is only possible because of the strong economic management of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.

“This work underway at Central Station will form a key part of Australia’s first turn-up-and-go Metro network which will move an extra 100,000 customers an hour across the CBD,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Once complete in 2024 Metro trains will be pulling up at Central Station at least every four minutes in the peak. Ultimately the Metro will allow us to boost the number of rail services travelling through the CBD from 120 an hour to 200.

“By fixing the Bankstown Line bottleneck, the new Metro also allows us to add extra trains for Illawarra Line and South Coast customers, Western Line customers, Airport and South Line customers, and Inner West and Leppington Line customers.”

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said over the holiday period major construction work took place at both Central and Martin Place stations.

“We are seeing state-of-the-art construction techniques being used to keep customers moving around two of Sydney’s busiest railway stations,” Mr Constance said.

“At Central a military style-operation took place to build a temporary railway station platform in just three weeks.

“The temporary platform means Sydney Metro can be built 27 metres underground without disrupting normal train operations above.”

Crews were also busy in the heart of the city at the Martin Place Metro site.

A block of Martin Place was excavated 10 metres below street level and a two-level pre-fabricated steel pedestrian bridge was lifted into place, reassembled and re-opened to pedestrians.

Work was completed in time to reopen for the New Year and didn’t affect pre-existing sub surface infrastructure including old brick tunnels, pedestrian underpasses and utilities.

At the same time train testing is continuing on the Sydney Metro Northwest rail line from Rouse Hill to Chatswood which is due to open in the coming months. Metro rail services between Bankstown and Chatswood will open in 2024.

SAFER SEAS FOR THE STATE’S BOATERS

Boaters on NSW waterways will be even safer under the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government thanks to an extra $37.6 million pledged for Marine Rescue NSW over the next four years.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said this major funding boost would help save lives on the water by delivering new purpose-built rescue vessels, upgraded operational centres and improvements to the marine radio network.

The funding will more than double Marine Rescue NSW’s annual budget and make a major difference to the support it can provide to boaters across the state.

“Community safety is our top priority and this major investment will deliver an extra layer of security and reassurance for anglers, divers and everybody who gets out on our amazing waterways,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Whether it is our schools, hospitals or emergency services, we are delivering record investments to make a real difference for communities across NSW, and today’s announcement continues our commitment to world-class frontline services.

“This funding is only possible thanks to the strong economic management of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.”

Mr Grant said, “The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will establish a new rescue unit on Lord Howe Island, as well as new or upgraded bases and boat buildings at Tweed Heads, Ballina, Narooma, Lake Macquarie, Middle Harbour, Newcastle and the Central Coast.”

Mr Grant said the extra funding would also deliver 38 brand new vessels to 28 rescue units, providing volunteers with better boats much sooner.

The vessels will go to the Alpine Lakes, Batemans Bay, Botany Port Hacking (Botany Bay and Port Hacking), Broken Bay, Central Coast, Cronulla, Crowdy Harrington, Eden, Evans Head, Hawkesbury, Jervis Bay, Kioloa, Lemon Tree Passage, Lord Howe Island, Merimbula, Moama, Nambucca, Narooma, Newcastle, Point Danger, Port Jackson, Port Kembla, Port Macquarie, Port Stephens, Sussex Inlet, Tuross, Woolgoolga and Tuggerah Lakes (The Entrance and Toukley).

“This new investment will also allow Marine Rescue NSW to upgrade the marine radio network, which Marine Rescue NSW maintains and operates,” Mr Grant said.

“This includes eliminating black spots along the south coast and on the Hawkesbury, making it much safer for boaters and the dedicated volunteers dispatched to support them in times of trouble.”

This new investment of $37.6 million over the next four years will boost the annual Marine Rescue NSW budget to more than $17 million.

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos welcomed the announcement and said it will improve safety for boaters right across the State, and better equip the volunteers sent to support them in emergencies.

“For the first time we’ll be able to invest in a major capital works program to provide our units with efficient, safe and modern operating facilities,” Commissioner Tannos said.

Marine Rescue NSW operates a network of 44 rescue units along the NSW coastline, and at two priority inland waterways on the Alpine Lakes and Murray River.

In 2017-18, crews performed 2,802 rescue missions, including 840 missions in response to life-threatening emergencies, saving more than 6,800 lives.

More fish deaths, still no action

The Australian Greens have called on the Prime Minister Scott Morrison to visit the Lower Darling and see the environmental disaster for himself following another mass fish kill in Menindee.

“Where the bloody hell is the Prime Minister? Why hasn’t he or his Water Minister been to the River to see the environmental crisis at all in the last month?,” Greens environment and water spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“Thousands more fish have died and yet not one member of the Prime Minister’s team has bothered to see the ecological disaster unfolding on the River themselves. It’s time Scott Morrison stopped pretending nothing is wrong and get himself to Menindee. He needs to explain how his Government’s mismanagement of the River could let this happen.

“It’s almost a month on since the last mass fish kill in Menindee and the Water Minister David Littleproud has been missing in action. It’s clear he’s not up to the job.

“People are sick of seeing fish die right before their eyes and yet the Government is doing nothing.

“The Morrison Government has done everything to cover-up their mismanagement of the Murray Darling Basin. Last week they tried to bury the damning assessment by the Productivity Commission, which said in no uncertain terms that the environment has been undermined and forgotten under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

“Hiding reports, covering up mismanagement and turning a blind-eye to corruption is inexcusable. It is clear that the Liberal National Parties are looking after their greedy corporate mates that are taking and harvesting water at the expense of river communities, small farmers and ultimately, the environment.

“We need a Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin. We’ve heard of water theft, meter tampering, corruption, fraud and water too toxic to drink or bathe in – and now a third fish kill is unfolding in the Lower Darling.

“It’s time for the Government to take some real action to set this right. We need more environmental flows, an embargo on corporate cotton harvesting all the water it can, and a Royal Commission.

“Our river system is our nation’s food bowl and it is dying. The time to hide behind reports and hope it will all sort itself out is over. This environmental emergency must be remedied.”

Further charges laid over supermarket break-ins across the Hunter region

Detectives have laid an additional four charges against a man as they continue to investigate aggravated break and enters at supermarkets across the Hunter region.

In April 2018, detectives from the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad established Strike Force Tilyard to investigate six aggravated break-ins at supermarkets in the Hunter region between March 2017 and April 2018.

During the course of the investigation, detectives have charged two men, aged 28 and 20. They remain before the courts.

Following further inquiries, detectives laid an additional three counts of aggravated break, enter and steal, and one count of aggravated break, enter and damage property against a 28-year-old man on Friday (25 January 2019).

Police will allege in court that the man was part of a group, armed with sledge hammers, block splitters and jemmy bars, who broke into supermarkets in Tanilba Bay, Fletcher and Kurri before stealing cash.

He was granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Raymond Terrace Local Court today (Tuesday 29 January 2019).

Investigations under Strike Force Tilyard are ongoing.