MORE MONEY BACK IN YOUR POCKET

An average family can now save up to $2000 with three new cost of living measures being introduced on 1 July, including doubling of Active Kids vouchers, half-priced rego and the $200 Seniors Energy Rebate.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian joined Treasurer Dominic Perrottet at the Transport Management Centre in Eveleigh today to launch the new initiatives.

Ms Berejiklian said that over the next year the NSW Government expects to deliver more than $1 billion in savings back to households across NSW through more than 70 measures in the Cost of Living program.

“Households will now be eligible for up to $2000 in savings. This is thanks to a number of measures including Toll Relief, the Family Energy Rebate, Active Kids, Creative Kids, CTP refunds and Energy Switch,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Putting downward pressure on cost of living pressures is a key priority for the NSW Government and from tomorrow, households will be able to save even more.

“Service NSW’s Cost of Living program has had 1.2 million transactions so far, helping thousands of people across the State.”

Mr Perrottet said the average saving from Service NSW’s cost of living appointment per customer is $550.

“Over the last year more than $800 million in savings has been delivered to people across NSW through the Cost of Living program. I encourage every person in NSW to go visit a Service NSW Centre or use the Savings Finder online to see what they are eligible for,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We have made it easier than ever before for people to save money on their bills.”

Across NSW, we estimate the three new initiatives will see each year:

  • More than 123,000 drivers receive half price rego under the expanded Toll Relief program and save up to $357.50
  • Thousands of households benefit from the doubling of Active Kids Vouchers, saving up to $200 per eligible child
  • Around 130,000 seniors benefit from the $200 Seniors Energy Rebate.

The NSW Government has reduced the cost of living and cut taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars in the past year through popular programs such as Active and Creative Kids, CTP savings, energy rebates, the Baby Bundle, Stamp Duty concessions, Caravan Registration rebate, Payroll Tax cuts and the Opal Fare cap.

For more information on Cost of Living measures in NSW, check the Savings Finder: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/cost-living

Australian Greens express solidarity with Sudanese in the face of grave human rights abuses

The Australian Greens express solidarity with Sudanese people, both in Sudan and in the Sudanese-Australian community, in the lead-up to their global protest on 30 June.

Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Richard Di Natale said: “I am gravely concerned by the appalling human rights abuses that are occurring in Sudan right now.  Hundreds of protestors holding non-violent sit-ins have been killed, and many more injured.  These people were bravely calling for a civilian-led Government and an end to the violent crushing of dissent that they have known for so long.”

“Members of Australia’s Sudanese community have told me how worried they are about their friends and relatives back in Sudan.  The Transitional Military Council has blocked access to the internet so Sudanese people can’t get their stories out to the world.”

“The Sudanese endured almost three decades of dictatorship under the appalling human rights abuser Omar al-Bashir.  Now is the chance for Sudan to have a democratic, civilian-led Government. I urge the Australian Government condemn the recent massacre in Sudan and the ongoing human rights abuses, and request that the military regime hand over power to a civilian government.”

AMBITIOUS TARGETS AT THE HEART OF NEW PREMIER’S PRIORITIES

The Premier has set new social Priorities that will tackle tough community challenges, lift the quality of life for all citizens and put people at the heart of everything the NSW Government does.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said her 14 new Premier’s Priorities will allow the Government to measure and deliver in areas where we need to do better.

“I’ve chosen to focus on some of the most challenging emerging social issues of our generation,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“I look forward to working across all areas of Government to put in place the programs to achieve these ambitious targets.

“I am a firm believer that what gets measured, gets done and I will be watching closely how we track against these new Priorities.”

Lifting education standards

  1. Bumping up education results for children

Increase the proportion of public school students in the top two NAPLAN bands (or equivalent) for literacy and numeracy by 15 per cent by 2023, including through a state-wide rollout of Bump it Up.

  1. Increase the number of Aboriginal young people reaching their learning potential

Increase the proportion of Aboriginal students attaining Year 12 by 50 per cent by 2023, while maintaining their cultural identity.

Keeping children safe

  1. Protecting our most vulnerable children

Decrease the proportion of children and young people re-reported at risk of significant harm by 20 per cent by 2023.

  1. Increasing permanency for children in out-of-home care

Double the number of children in safe and permanent homes by 2023 for children in, or at risk of entering, out-of-home care.

Breaking the cycle

  1. Reducing domestic violence reoffending

Reduce the number of domestic violence reoffenders by 25 per cent by 2023.

  1. Reducing recidivism in the prison population

Reduce adult reoffending following release from prison by 5 per cent by 2023.

  1. Reducing homelessness

Reduce street homelessness across NSW by 50 per cent by 2025.

Improving the health system

  1. Improving service levels in hospitals

100 per cent of all triage category 1, 95 per cent of triage category 2 and 85 per cent of triage category 3 patients commencing treatment on time by 2023.

  1. Improving outpatient and community care

Reduce preventable hospital visits by 5 per cent through to 2023 by caring for people in the community.

  1. Towards zero suicides

Reduce the rate of suicide deaths in NSW by 20 per cent by 2023.

Better environment

  1.  Greener public spaces

Increase the proportion of homes in urban areas within 10 minutes’ walk of quality green, open and public space by 10 per cent by 2023.

  1. Greening our city

Increase the tree canopy and green cover across Greater Sydney by planting 1 million trees by 2022.

Better customer service

  1. Government made easy

Increase the number of government services where the citizens of NSW only need to “Tell Us Once” by 2023.

  1. World class public service

Implement best practice productivity and digital capability in the NSW public sector; and drive public sector diversity through:

  • 50 per cent of senior leadership roles held by women;
  • Increase the number of Aboriginal people in senior leadership roles; and
  • 5.6 per cent of government sector roles held by people with a disability by 2025.

City makes pact with local artist for NAIDOC Week

City of Newcastle is counting down the days to NAIDOC week 2019 after drawing on the inspiration of a talented local Aboriginal artist to help celebrate First Nations people.

In celebration of the week-long event from 7-14 July, the City has commissioned local artist Jasmine Craciun to bring this year’s theme – Voice, Treaty and Truth – to life in a colorful display of paintings to be draped on flagpoles across the City.

Banners-(1).JPGVoice, Treaty, Truth:  The three images which will feature on City banners to promote NAIDOC week in July

Craciun, a proud Barkindji and Malyangapa woman, says intense pride lies behind each of her three images and their connection to the words of this year’s theme.

“When I think of the word ‘Voice’ I think of protest and change, I think loud and proud,” said the 21-year-old (pictured below) said.

JasmineCraciun.jpg

“The red was used as the base colour in this work as, to me, red is the colour that speaks and represents being unapologetically proud and loud. “A treaty is a coming together of peoples, a sign of solidarity, and within this work you can see the many symbols for waterhole or meeting place.

“This work uses blue and purple tones to instill a sense of peace and calmness that could ensue in a country where the First Nations people not only have a treaty but support and understanding from all non-indigenous Australians.”

Craciun says her third image speaks to the need for transparency in the education of Australian indigenous history.

“I’ve tried to portray the bridges of history trying to break through into the upper level of the painting where Australia’s ‘comfortable’ history lives,” she said. “You can see the upper level is smooth lines and clean shapes representing the smoothing of Australia’s early history, compared to the chaotic ‘hard-to-swallow’ truth boiling below.”

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the artworks, both in their design and meaning, would play an instrumental role in supporting this year’s NAIDOC week celebrations.

“These works are important as they provide a real representation of our First Nations People’s history told through the lens of a local artist,” the Lord Mayor said.

“NAIDOC week is an important event on the City’s calendar and it’s fantastic that we have been able to bring Jasmine on board to help with the promotion of this special occasion.”

Local activities during NAIDOC week will be announced closer to the event. For more information on NAIDOC week, visit https://www.naidoc.org.au/.

Greens say Time to go, Equinor

Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young is calling on all South Australian MPs to add their names to a Bill to ban drilling in the Great Australian Bight following the knock-back of foreign oil giant Equinor’s plan to turn the Bight into an oilfield.

“The fight for the Bight is on. I am standing up for the countless South Australians who don’t want our Bight turned into an oilfield. It is time for all South Australian MPs to act. We need to work together to stand up for our state and stop Big Oil,” Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“Equinor and the offshore oil and gas regulator should heed the advice of South Australians, coastal communities, surfers and beach lovers who want our Bight protected. Equinor should use this setback to go the way of BP and Chevron and get out of the Bight.

“The Labor and Liberal parties, desperate to hold their seats in the dying days of the election campaign, need to show South Australians their promises on the Bight weren’t just a stunt. Next week, I’ll be introducing a Bill to ban drilling in the Bight. All South Australian MPs should stand up for our state and sign onto the Bill.

“South Australians voted to keep our beautiful beaches pristine. We don’t want to risk critical habitat of the internationally-recognised endangered Australian sea lion. We don’t want to see our southern right whale nursery turned into an oilfield.

“Chevron and Equinor have just walked away from drilling off the coast of New Zealand. Equinor must do the same here.

“The Greens are standing up for our tourism and fishing jobs, our unique marine life, beautiful beaches and all South Australians who voted to stop drilling in the Bight.”

Elderly pedestrian dies – Mayfield

An elderly man has died in hospital after being hit by a car in Newcastle overnight.

About 5.30pm yesterday (Thursday 27 June 2019), an 89-year-old man was attempting to cross Maitland Road, Mayfield when he was struck by a vehicle.

The man was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to John Hunter Hospital, where he later died.

The driver of the vehicle, a 50-year-old man, stopped after the crash. A roadside breath test returned a negative result. Inquiries are continuing.

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

Investigations continuing following death of a man – Birmingham Gardens, near Newcastle

A man has died following an altercation near Newcastle overnight.

Shortly after 11pm (Thursday 27 June 2019), police were called to a home on Wilkinson Avenue, Birmingham Gardens, following reports of a domestic related incident involving two men, aged 52 and 68.

Officers from Newcastle City Police District attended and found a 68-year-old man unconscious.

Both men were taken to John Hunter Hospital, where the older man later died.

A crime scene was established; inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are continuing.

 

Woman charged with high-range PCA after crash near Wallsend school

A woman has been charged with high range drink-driving after a crash near a Wallsend school this afternoon.

About 3.10pm (Thursday 27 June 2019), police were called to Boscowen Street, after reports a Mazda 2 had crashed into a parked and unoccupied vehicle while driving through a 40km school zone.

Officers attached to Newcastle City Highway Patrol attended and spoke with the female driver and sole occupant of the Mazda, who was subjected to a roadside breath test which returned a positive result.

The 40-year-old woman was arrested and taken to Waratah Police Station where she returned an alleged reading of 0.296.

Her licence was suspended, and she was charged with drive with drive with high range PCA. She has been granted conditional bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court on Thursday 18 July 2019.

NEWCASTLE VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD NOMINATIONS OPEN

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon MP is calling on Novocastrians to nominate a local volunteer for recognition at the 2019 Newcastle Volunteer Service Awards.

Ms Claydon said that when it comes to volunteering, Newcastle punches above its weight.

“The rate of volunteering in Newcastle was above the state average and higher than other metropolitan cities,” Ms Claydon said.

“I’m constantly in awe of the time and effort people devote to helping others and building better communities, not asking a thing in return.

“Whether they’re helping coach the local sporting team, supporting vulnerable people or patrolling our beaches, volunteers enrich our community every single day.”

Ms Claydon said that the nominated volunteers would be recognised at a special awards event.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community, but too often they don’t get the recognition they deserve,” Ms Claydon said.

“These awards are a great reminder of what an amazing city we live in, and what fantastic community spirit there is.

“I’d encourage everyone to consider nominating one of the exceptional volunteers who make such a difference to our city each and every day.”

Award nominations are open until Friday 2 August. Nomination forms are available at www.sharonclaydon.com.

PREMIER’S PRIORITY TO INCLUDE IMPROVING OUTCOMES FOR ABORIGINAL STUDENTS

The first Premier’s Priority developed in partnership with the Aboriginal community has been announced – an ambitious target to significantly increase the proportion of Aboriginal students completing year 12, while maintaining their cultural identity.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the Priority would work towards increasing the proportion of Aboriginal students attaining year 12 by 50 per cent by 2023. This would mean an additional 1200 additional Aboriginal students in NSW attaining year 12.

“Education is the great enabler and that’s why finishing school is so important. Recent studies show a clear link between completion of Year 12 and future outcomes, whether it be employment or further education,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Currently, around 70 per cent of Aboriginal young people do not finish year 12 in NSW. With the announcement of this ambitious new Priority, we are signalling our clear intent to do better.”

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Don Harwin said engaging with families and communities was critical to improving Aboriginal educational outcomes.

“Helping young Aboriginal people reach their full education potential means they will be better equipped to fully participate in the cultural, social and economic life of their community,” Mr Harwin said.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the new target would build on a number of existing programs that had delivered successful outcomes.

“It is crucial that as a Government, we continue to focus on ensuring Aboriginal students are supported in the education system. Giving Aboriginal students the confidence to aspire to be the best they can be is so important, and I look forward to watching more children thrive as part of this priority,” Ms Mitchell said.

Cindy Berwick, co-chair of the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations and President of the NSW Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group, welcomed the focus on Aboriginal education brought by the new Premier’s Priority.

“This is a significant occasion. It is the first time there has been such a strong partnership between the NSW Government and the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations,” Ms Berwick said.

The new target complements the NSW Government’s strong record of supporting indigenous communities, and initiatives include:

  • Language – established Australia’s first Aboriginal Languages Trust, under the Aboriginal Languages Act 2017.
  • Procurement – implemented an Aboriginal Procurement Policy, to award at least three per cent of domestic contracts for goods and services issued by NSW Government agencies to Aboriginal-owned businesses by 2021.
  • OCHRE – the NSW plan for Aboriginal Affairs, which commits the NSW Government to working with Aboriginal communities by building strong working partnerships.
  • Stolen Generations Reparations – reparations payments have been delivered to survivors in addition to Funeral Assistance Fund payments.
  • Tertiary students – Invested $10 million in Australia’s first Indigenous residential college at UTS to encourage more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students into tertiary education.

The new Premier’s Priorities comes after the release this week of new priorities targeting literacy and numeracy across State schools, open spaces, recidivism, suicide and homelessness. The full list of Premier’s Priorities will be released later this week.