Labor Supports Bushfire Efforts in QLD and NSW

Federal Labor expresses its deep concern for residents affected by serious bushfires across much of Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

We have been in touch with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and State and Federal Emergency Services Ministers to offer our support in this time of need.

We commend the efforts of fire and emergency service personnel and the many volunteers who have assisted to fight fires in these dangerous conditions.

We also commend the residents of bushfire affected regions for their cooperation with bushfire authorities

We join with our state counterparts in encouraging all residents to follow the directions of authorities.

We express our sincere sympathies to those who have lost their properties and will do what we can to support recovery efforts.

Visit to New Zealand

Today I will make my first visit to New Zealand as Leader of the Australian Labor Party.

I am determined to strengthen relations with our nearest neighbours across the many interests we share.

These relationships are crucial, not just in the interests of regional cooperation, but also economic development.

New Zealand is more than a close friend of Australia, it is family.

Our trade relationship with New Zealand is a special one, with two way trade in merchandise and services totalling almost $30 billion.

Australia’s relationship with New Zealand is a crucial part of our engagement with the Pacific.

As the Pacific faces the impacts of climate change it is more important than ever that Australia takes a leadership role in supporting our neighbours.

While in New Zealand I will meet with Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party Jacinda Ardern, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters and address the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum.

I will be accompanied by Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong.

Anthony Albanese

Prime Minister Needs to get his Facts Right

The Prime Minister has questions to answer about the language he today denied having used today to describe a former Australian senator.

In a press conference today Mr Morrison was asked:

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister why was it racist to question Gladys Liu’s connections to China but it wasn’t racist to call Sam Dastyari “Shanghai Sam”?

PRIME MINISTER: I didn’t use either of those phrases.

Mr Morrison has used the term “Shanghai Sam’’ at least 17 times on 11 occasions, including on the floor of the House of Representatives and in multiple media interviews.

The only person linking concerns about Ms Liu to the entire Chinese-Australian population is Mr Morrison. He should stop.

Multimillion-dollar investment for a smarter, safer Beresfield

Beresfield has received the first free Wi-Fi outside of the Newcastle city centre as part of a $3 million investment to revitalise and beautify the area.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Beresfield upgrades, which include pedestrian-friendly footpaths, outdoor dining spaces, free public Wi-Fi and a more appealing streetscape, were driven by feedback from residents and businesses.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes cuts the ribbon at the official opening of the Beresfield Local Centre works.
“We’re listening to our residents across the City of Newcastle and investing in projects that are important to local communities,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Our local centres program is delivering key infrastructure upgrades that respond to the needs and concerns of the community. In Beresfield, this has included a strong focus on both safety and beautification works by realigning and renewing roads, reducing speed limits, relocating and installing new pedestrian crossings and upgrading street lighting.

“We have also installed a series of smart poles in the Beresfield local centre, providing the first free public Wi-Fi from the City of Newcastle to any area outside of the CBD.

“Extensive tree and ground cover planting and raised garden planters have beautified the local centre while also having a cooling effect on the area in the warmer months.

“We have received positive feedback about the changes to date, with local residents and businesses now looking forward to the next stage of the project, which will include a new community public open space at the intersection of Beresford Avenue and Lawson Avenue.”

Extensive landscaping, new furniture and smart poles delivering free Wi-Fi were among the improvements made in the $3 million renewal project.
A community placemaking project is developing concepts for creative and heat-reducing elements for the space, with the public given the chance to vote for their favourite design later this year.

The work is part of City of Newcastle’s local centres program, which is investing millions of dollars in new and improved public infrastructure across the local government area.

Infrastructure improvements completed to date at the Beresfield local centre include:

  • A 40km/hr zone and pedestrian-friendly street design
  • Road and pedestrian lighting upgrade, with additional lighting to the railway station
  • Drainage renewal and installation of a rain garden, which will improve the quality of water run-off that enters Hexham Wetlands
  • Street trees
  • Seating, bike racks and bins
  • New kerbs, gutters and footpaths
  • Upgraded road pavement
  • Free Wi-Fi via the installation of smart poles.

NEW FISH MARKETS A STEP CLOSER

Visitor numbers to the new Sydney Fish Market are set to more than double to over five million a year, cementing the markets as one of Australia’s leading tourist attractions, and also as a driver of job creation and reinvigoration of the Pyrmont area.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian, and Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes, today announced Government approval of a $750 million investment in the project.

“One in five international tourists to Sydney visit the existing Fish Markets and it’s the second-most visited attraction in Sydney behind the Opera House,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“In addition to the clear benefits for Pyrmont, the new market will be a boon for regional communities as a showcase for the very best seafood from along the NSW coast.”

The building was designed by Danish architects 3XN, in association with Sydney based BVN and Aspect Studios to meet the unique needs of market operations, and represents a substantial step beyond an indicative concept launched in 2016.

The building will have a 6-star green star rating, including advanced water efficiency to cut use of the precious resource by half, and solar electricity generation.

Mr Stokes said the project will include public promenades, a ferry wharf and more than 30,000 square metres of new public open space across the precinct for the community.

“Relocating the fish market to the head of Blackwattle Bay will improve pedestrian and cycling links and connect more of Glebe and Pyrmont to the water as part of the long-awaited revitalisation of the area,” Mr Stokes said.

Two State Significant Development Applications, one for the demolition of the existing wharves and site preparation, the other for main works including the construction of the new fish market facility, will soon be placed on public exhibition.

A two-stage procurement process for demolition and construction will also commence shortly. Subject to planning approval and award of a contract, early works will begin in late-2020 and the new Sydney Fish Market will open for operations in 2024.

Master-planning for the current fish market site will be subject to community consultation which will commence once the Greater Sydney Commission’s Pyrmont Planning Review is complete.

Man charged after shots allegedly fired near Cessnock

A man has been charged after shots were allegedly fired in the Hunter Valley earlier this week.

Just before 3pm (Tuesday 17 September 2019), emergency services were called to Scott Street at Weston, following reports shots had been fired.

Police have been told that a 27-year-old man – accompanied by an 18-year-old man – attended a business on Scott Street, where he was allegedly threatened by three men, armed with a firearm, a tomahawk, and a hammer.

The pair fled the location in a Toyota Land Cruiser after the 27-year-old man was struck through the driver’s side window with a tomahawk, and shots were fired into the driver’s side door.

Officers attached to Hunter Valley Police District attended and commenced inquiries.

The 27-year-old man suffered minor injuries and did not require hospitalisation.

Following inquiries, a 33-year-old man attended Kurri Kurri Police Station about 4.10pm today (Friday 20 September 2019), where he was arrested and charged with discharge firearm with intent cause grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company of others.

The Kurri Kurri man was refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court tomorrow (Saturday 21 September 2019).

Investigations are continuing.

Man charged with array of offences following pursuits ending near Singleton

A man has been charged with multiple offences after police pursuits ending near Singleton last night.

Just after 6pm (Friday 20 September 2019), officers attached to the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command were conducting stationary speed enforcement on Putty Road at Mellong, when they attempted to stop a Mitsubishi Outlander which was allegedly travelling at 125km/h in a 100km/h zone.

A pursuit was initiated when the Mitsubishi failed to stop, during which time it allegedly reached high speeds and crossed to the incorrect side of the road multiple times.

The pursuit was terminated due to safety concerns, before another pursuit was initiated on Putty Road at Howes Valley.

Road spikes were deployed on Broke Road near the intersection of Putty Road which caused the vehicle to leave the road and collide with a tree before coming to a stop.

The driver – a 34-year-old man – was arrested and taken to John Hunter Hospital under police guard for treatment to minor injuries.

The passenger – a 37-year-old woman – was also taken to John Hunter Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

The man has been charged by virtue of two outstanding warrants, police pursuit – not stop – drive dangerously (x2), exceed speed limit over 20km/h, drive whilst licence suspended, goods in custody, possess prohibited drug, and other traffic-related offences.

He was refused bail to appear via AVL at Newcastle Bail Court today (Saturday 21 September 2019).

Police arrest driver who fled crash scene – Newcastle

Police have arrested a man following a crash in the state’s mid north coast last night.

Emergency services were called to the Pacific Highway near Tomago Road, Tomago about 11.50pm (Thursday 19 September 2019), after reports of a two-vehicle crash.

Police have been told that a Subaru Impreza and Toyota Camry were travelling in a south-bound direction, when the Toyota collided with the rear of the Subaru, causing the Subaru to lose control before coming to rest, overturned in a culvert.

The Toyota came to a stop a short distance from the Subaru, with the driver getting out and running in a southerly direction along the Hexham Bridge.

Officers attached to Port Stephens-Hunter Police District and the Dog Unit arrived and located the driver of the Toyota, a 47-year-old man, hiding within the grounds of a nearby business.

He was arrested and taken to John Hunter Hospital for treatment to minor injuries and mandatory testing.

With assistance from Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW Ambulance paramedics, the driver of the Subaru, a 59-year-old man, was extricated and taken to John Hunter Hospital for treatment for hip and leg injuries.

Officers attached to the Crash Investigation Unit have established a crime scene and will conduct inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the crash.

The 47-year-old is expected to be charged once he is released from hospital.

Man charged with almost $2-million worth of alleged fraud – Kurri Kurri

A man will face court next month after allegedly defrauding a Hunter Valley business of close to $2-million over a seven year period.

In August 2017, detectives from Hunter Valley Police District launched an investigation into several alleged fraudulent transactions at a licenced premises in Kurri Kurri between 2010 and 2017.

Following extensive inquiries, about 2.45pm yesterday (Thursday 19 September 2019), a 52-year-old man was arrested and taken to Dubbo Police Station.

Police will allege the man, who was an employee at the time, fraudulently obtained approximately $1.9-million.

He was charged with dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception. He was granted conditional bail to appear at Kurri Kurri Local Court on Tuesday 15 October 2019.

Budget back to balance for the first time since 2007-08

As a result of the Morrison Government’s economic plan and responsible budget management the Budget has returned to balance for the first time in 11 years.

The underlying cash balance in the Final Budget Outcome for the 2018-19 financial year is $13.8 billion better than estimated at the time of the 2018-19 Budget.

The deficit of $690 million represents 0.0 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

A growing economy with more jobs and stronger terms of trade than anticipated at the time of the 2018-19 Budget have driven total receipts $11.5 billion higher, with payments $6.6 billion lower than expected at the time of the 2018-19 Budget.

Employment growth far exceeded expectations at the time of delivering the 2018-19 Budget in May 2018.

With about 300,000 additional jobs created in 2018-19, employment grew by 2.6 per cent, well above the 1½ per cent growth forecast in the 2018-19 Budget.

More than eight out of ten jobs created in the last year were in full time employment with the proportion of those of working age in welfare now at its lowest level in 30 years.

More jobs drive increases in revenue as well as lower payments, with individual tax receipts up by $5.7 billion compared to the 2018-19 Budget forecast.

Our strong fiscal management has put the Budget on a sustainable trajectory, ensuring that we can guarantee the essential services that Australian’s rely on.

The 2018-19 Final Budget Outcome shows that we have kept spending as a share of GDP in 2018-19 at 24.6 per cent of GDP, below the long-run average of 24.7 per cent for the second consecutive year, while also providing record levels of investment in essential services like hospitals, schools and aged care.

In 2018-19, our total funding for Health reached a record $80.2 billion, $4.2 billion more than we provided in 2017-18 and around $19.0 billion more than was provided in 2012-13, before we came into Government. There is also record investment of around $20 billion in Australian schools, $1.7 billion more than we provided in 2017-18 and around $7.0 billion more than 2012-13. There is record investment in aged care $19.8 billion, $2.0 billion more than we provided in 2017-18 and increasing from $12.8 billion that was provided in 2012-13. Spending on the NDIS more than doubled in 2018-19 compared to the previous year, going from $4 billion in 2017-18 to $8.5 billion in 2018-19.

These outcomes demonstrate that the Government’s economic plan is working and confirm that the Budget will be back in the black and back on track for the 2019-20 year.

Importantly Australia has completed its 28th consecutive year of economic growth and maintained its AAA credit rating. With more than 1.4 million jobs having been created since the Coalition Government was first elected in 2013, today’s outcome reflects the record number of people in jobs and an economy which is benefiting from the free trade agreements (FTAs) negotiated by the Coalition over the last six years. Our FTAs combined with strong prices for our key commodities exports has seen the current account move into surplus for the first time since 1975.

Nominal GDP grew by 5.3 per cent in 2018-19, which was significantly stronger than the 2018-19 Budget forecast of 3 ¾ per cent. This was the result of stronger than-expected employment growth and higher-than-assumed prices for key commodities.

The Final Budget Outcome for 2018-19 further demonstrates that the Government’s economic plan is working to create more jobs, and to ensure Australia can continue to afford the essential services Australians rely on.

In the year ahead the economy will continue to be supported by the Government’s economic plan as outlined in the 2019-20 Budget, including the largest tax cuts in two decades, and our $100 billion pipeline of infrastructure investment.

The Final Budget Outcome 2018-19 can be found at www.budget.gov.au.