Greens Senator Calls for Boycott of Melbourne Cup

Greens Animal Welfare Spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has said that she will be saying ‘Nup to the Cup’ and called on others to boycott the Melbourne Cup.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Year after year we see the needless painful deaths of horses, including five in the last six Melbourne Cups.

“Cruel practices like whipping and tongue tying happen every day in the horse racing industry, and we even see horses subjected to electric shocks to get them to run faster – all for the sake of a bet.

“Even after all the evidence of animal cruelty and racehorses being sent to slaughterhouses in appalling conditions, Racing Victoria clearly isn’t serious about animal welfare. They are only committing a paltry ten percent of ticket sales to ‘equine wellbeing’. I reckon they will spend more on champagne than horses’ welfare at the Cup this year.

“We need a Royal Commission into cruelty in horse racing to hold the industry to account and protect horses.

“I know many people feel uncomfortable about participating in Melbourne Cup events because of the way horses are treated. It isn’t an easy position to take, with the Melbourne Cup promoted so heavily, but it is important we give a voice to the voiceless. I encourage people to make their views known and say ‘Nup to the Cup’.

“Every year more and more people recognise animals never win when gambling profits are at stake. That’s why I’m saying nup to the cup. People really should ask themselves if the Melbourne Cup party is really worth it?” she concluded.

Time to nominate the passionate, inspirational and courageous

Jill Emberson counts being named 2019 Newcastle’s Citizen of the year as one of her greatest achievements and said it’s something she never imagined would happen in her life.

“To get an accolade like this gives me a spring in my step and makes my days here happier. There is a pride and joy that it has given me,” she said when reflecting on the honour.
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Jill was recognised for her contribution to journalism and advocacy in the fight against Ovarian Cancer, a disease she has lived with since 2016. In the lead up to and after receiving her prestigious award Jill has shown she truly embodies the very spirit of the Citizen of the Year Award.

As unique and outstanding as Jill is, Newcastle is fortunate to be home to many other likeminded courageous, passionate and inspirational citizens who strive to improve the lives of others and make our community a better place.

City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said now is the time to put their names forward for recognition.

“Nominations are open for Newcastle’s 2020 Citizen of the Year Awards, Young Citizen of the Year and Community Group of the Year which will be presented on Australia Day,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Recipients don’t necessarily need to be high profile individuals. We’re looking for people who are motivated and passionate about improving the lives of others and are role models in our community.”

“Nominating someone is simple, so we want to see as many worthy people as possible nominated and considered for these annual awards.” Previous winners include, Mark Hughes, whose Foundation has raised more than $1.75 million for brain cancer research, Newcastle refugee advocate Sister Diana Santleben and legendary wheelchair athlete Kurt Fearnley.

Junior John Hunter Hospital doctor Bhavi Ravindran was named 2019 Young Citizen of the Year while Luisa Amosa, Charlotte Boulus and Mae Anagnostis were recognised for starting The Y Project, which hosts safe space events for young people, and raises awareness about social justice and environmental issues.

Nominees must be residents of the Newcastle local government area, except for Community Group of the Year which can be from outside the LGA in exceptional circumstances.

They must also be Australian citizens and must be turning at least 16 years of age in 2019.

Hard-copy nomination forms can be downloaded from City of Newcastle’s website and can also be completed and lodged online. A panel of judges will consider each nomination on its merits, with the awards presented at a ceremony on Australia Day, 2020. Nominations close on Sunday 8 December.

THIRD SERVICE NSW BUS HITS THE ROAD

Communities in southern NSW will have easier access to hundreds of NSW Government services and more than 70 cost of living savings, with the third one-stop shop Service NSW bus hitting the road.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the new bus delivers on a promise and will have a dedicated southern NSW route, with 25 towns – including Bundanoon, Braidwood, Boorowa, Gundegai and Batlow – to be visited around every eight weeks.

“Having Service NSW available on wheels will provide added convenience and hip pocket relief to southern NSW families, many of whom are devastated by drought,” Mr Dominello said.

“This bus will take Service NSW to the people, saving them not only time, but also money. It will perform the same transactions available at most centres, such as getting a birth certificate, Seniors Card, and renewing vehicle registration, as well as Driver Knowledge Tests and on the spot cost of living appointments.

“The two existing buses have covered almost 40,000 kilometres and completed around 2,500 transactions, saving customers in regional and remote areas a combined 150 hours in travel time. About 300 customers have collectively saved $132,000, with an average saving of $540.”

The bus will roll through towns with advanced notice, so locals will know when to expect a visit and what documentation is required to perform their transaction. They will also be called out in times of emergency such as natural disasters.

The fourth Service NSW bus is expected to be rolled out before the end of the year.

Further information on the bus route is available at www.service.nsw.gov.au/service-centre/mobile-service-centre-southern-nsw-locations

TOUGH NEW LAWS ON ILLEGAL FIREARM MANUFACTURING

The NSW Government will introduce laws to crack down on illegal firearm manufacturers, including those who supply the firearm parts or allow their premises to be used to manufacture weapons.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the new offences will apply to anyone who ‘takes part’ in the illegal manufacture of firearms, similar to laws in place for taking part in the supply or manufacture of illicit drugs.

“There is a gap in the law where people that are involved in the process of manufacturing an illegal firearm are not captured under present laws, and this is something that must be rectified,” Mr Elliott said.

“As far as I am concerned, if someone plays any part in producing an illegal firearm then they should face the full force of the law. We know that our enhancements to Firearms Prohibition Orders have been extremely successful, but we also need to stay ahead of the curve in ensuring we combat illegal firearm manufacturing.”

The legislation will target:

  • Assemblage of parts in the illegal manufacture of firearms;
  • The acquisition, possession, use or supply of equipment, electronics (including digital blueprints or plans) components or materials;
  • Financing the illegal manufacture of firearms;
  • Participating in the illegal manufacture of firearms;
  • Providing premises used in the illegal manufacturing process; and
  • The manufacture of other prohibited weapons such as flick knives, zombie knives, flame throwers, kung fu sticks, knuckle-dusters, slingshots and mines.

It will also ensure the maximum penalty for illegal manufacturing will be 20 years. The legislation would not apply to law abiding firearm dealers or authorised commercial enterprises that are permitted to manufacture firearms.

The NSW Government will introduce a bill to Parliament early next year.

Pair charged over alleged importation of MDMA – Hunter region

A man and a woman will face court today charged with allegedly importing MDMA into the Hunter region.

In September 2019, an international package was intercepted which allegedly contained 500gm of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-benzylcathinone, commonly known as MDMA.

Detectives from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District then commenced an investigation into the importation and supply of MDMA in the area.

Following extensive inquiries, yesterday (Wednesday 30 October 2019), a search warrant was executed at a home on Tarrango Street, Cliftleigh where a 32-year-old woman was arrested.

Later that day, a 30-year-old man returned to the home and he was subsequently arrested.

Both were taken to Maitland Police Station and charged with attempt possess commercial quantities of unlawfully imported border controlled drug and supply prohibited drug.

They were refused bail to face Maitland Local Court today (Thursday 31 October 2019).

Greens Back Calls for National Animal Cruelty Laws

Greens Animal Welfare Spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has backed the RSPCA’s calls for national animal protection laws following a horror month of animal cruelty.

The Greens have a policy of introducing national animal cruelty laws.

Senator Faruqi said:

“The RSPCA is absolutely right to say that cruelty is cruelty, no matter where it happens in Australia. The existing patchwork of state laws that cover animal cruelty are out of date and the penalties pale in comparison to the crime.

“The community expects zero tolerance for animal cruelty and sadly the states continue to fail to protect animals.

“Animal welfare laws are wildly inconsistent across the country. For example, aggravated animal cruelty, where an animal is killed or seriously injured by cruelty, has a maximum penalty of seven years jail in Queensland, but just two years in New South Wales. Some of these laws were drafted up to forty years ago and are completely out of sync with community expectations and animal welfare needs.

“Just this week we have seen a person literally rip the head of a kookaburra in Western Australia and they could get off scot free.

“Whether it be in the greyhound and horse racing industries, factory farms or intensive breeding of cats and dogs, animals continue to suffer because they fall through the cracks,” she concluded.

$1 billion boost for power reliability

Power reliability will get a $1 billion boost as part of the Liberal National Government’s plan to ensure Australian households, businesses and industries get a fair deal on energy.

The Liberal National Government will establish a $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund to support Government investment in new energy generation, storage and transmission infrastructure, including eligible projects shortlisted under the Underwriting New Generation Investments (UNGI) program.

The new $1 billion fund will be administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), drawing on the energy and financial markets expertise that has seen the CEFC invest more than $7 billion in clean energy since its establishment in 2012. The Fund represents the first new capital provided to the CEFC since it began.

The Prime Minister said the Fund would also help unlock private sector investment for projects that would secure the grid and put downward pressure on prices.

“This is a yet another initiative by our Government taking more action to bring power prices down and keep the lights on,” the Prime Minister said.

“We’re delivering immediate relief through our new price safety net and banning sneaky late payment fees but we’ve also got our eye to the future with the projects this new Fund will back.

“Our work to date and this new initiative will help deliver an energy system that isn’t a roadblock to businesses growing and employing more people and that isn’t stinging family hip-pockets.”

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the fund would ensure sufficient reliable generation capacity is available to meet periods of high demand.

“The Grid Reliability Fund builds on our strong action to stabilise the grid and get the energy generation balance right, to deliver affordable, 24/7 reliable power,” said Minister Taylor.

“It is no secret that the National Electricity Market is under pressure – this fund is designed to tackle that and is part of a suite of initiatives that the Government is delivering to ensure when people flick the switch, the lights come on and stay on.”

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the Government would update the CEFC enabling legislation to ensure the Grid Reliability Fund could support suitable projects.

“The Grid Reliability Fund will provide the Clean Energy Finance Corporation with additional capacity to support affordability, reliability and security of supply, which ultimately puts downward pressure on energy prices,” Minister Cormann said.

The Fund will prioritise investments in jurisdictions where state and territory governments are working with the Commonwealth towards an agreed reliability goal and to ensure sufficient reliable generation capacity is available to meet periods of high demand.

Eligible investments will include:

  • Energy storage projects including pumped hydro and batteries,
  • Transmission and distribution infrastructure, and
  • Grid stabilising technologies.

Further announcements on individual projects, including shortlisted UNGI projects, will be made as the Commonwealth reaches agreements with individual project proponents.

The Government will only refer UNGI projects that reflect the CEFC’s legislative mandate for consideration under the Fund.

The Grid Reliability Fund is an important initiative in the Government’s A Fair Deal on Energy policy and will contribute to meeting our $70 per MWh price target and maintaining and increasing supply of reliable electricity.

View the energy policy blueprint here: https://www.energy.gov.au/energy-policy-blueprint-fair-deal-energy.

First Look at Western Sydney International Terminal

Australia has been given its first look at Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport with today’s release of the first design images.

The design is the next step in Western Sydney International taking shape, with major earthworks set to commence next year that will lead to the construction of runways, roads, rail and the terminal.

The innovative design of the country’s biggest aviation project in decades follows the appointment of the architects who will design the terminal precinct.

Successful architectural team Zaha Hadid Architects, and Australian architects, Cox Architecture won the honour to design the terminal precinct following a competitive process which generated more than 40 design entrants.

The winning design focuses on the customer journey while paying tribute to the Western Sydney region and natural landscape. It passed a range of value-for-money and technical reviews.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the designs showed the once-in-a-generation infrastructure project coming to life.

“This is set to be the largest gateway to Australia and these designs are another step to making it a reality,” the Prime Minister said.

“Designed alongside locals and built by local workers the airport will deliver massive economic benefits to the region.”

The appointment of the architectural design team and the first look at the terminal design is a major milestone in the delivery of the federally funded, $5.3 billion Western Sydney International.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said designing and constructing a terminal capable of catering for 10 million passengers annually was a significant challenge.

“To meet the challenge the terminal will be designed for modular expansion, to accommodate the long term capacity of up to 80 million passengers anticipated every year by the early 2060s,” Minister Cormann said.

To be considered for the design project, interested firms were required to have experience designing an airport of similar size and complexity to Western Sydney International in the past five years. The final decision on the winning design was made by a panel of some of Australia’s most renowned architects.

Liberal Senator for Western Sydney Marise Payne said the competitive process undertaken for the terminal precinct design led to the very best outcome for Western Sydney.

“The iconic final design ensures that air travel will be accessible for locals, as well as locking in new opportunities for people who want to work, shop and meet at the terminal precinct,” Senator Payne said.

The airport has committed to delivering 30 per cent of direct job opportunities to Western Sydney residents and is currently exceeding that target.

Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said Western Sydney would be the big winner as the airport continues to take shape.

“The construction phase alone will support 11,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Western Sydney region,” Minister Tudge said.

“Within the first five years of the airport opening it is expected to support 28,000 full time jobs for the people of Western Sydney.”

The design process encouraged the demonstration on how local university students would be included on the design team.

Member for Lindsay Melissa McIntosh said designing an airport and working through concepts with local students is important.

“I am pleased to see that Zaha Hadid Architects and Australian architects Cox Architecture will work with Western Sydney University students, local Aboriginal groups and other stakeholders to further refine and enhance the concepts to arrive at the final design,” Ms McIntosh said.

“This is the first step in preparing our local kids for the jobs of the future by playing such an integral role through the design of the Airport. We know that post construction over 28,000 jobs will be created and we want our kids to take those opportunities.”

Plenty to enjoy in Newcastle this Supercars weekend

Families will be able to enjoy free activities including circus workshops in Civic Park and pushcart races in Hunter Street Mall over the Supercars Newcastle 500 weekend as activity from the race precinct spreads across the city.

City of Newcastle today launched ‘Enjoy Newcastle’, a program of events and activities to create a festival atmosphere in the city centre over the Newcastle 500 event.
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Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the 2019 Supercars finale is set to bring thousands of visitors to Newcastle, giving us the perfect opportunity to share all that we enjoy about our growing destination city.

“Now in its third year, the Newcastle 500 has firmly cemented its place as the city’s most anticipated sporting event,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The inaugural race in 2017 attracted a crowd of more than 190,000, with visitors spending over $12.5 million in the region. In 2018, Newcastle Airport announced a record number of passengers arriving on the first day of the event and Supercars set a record-breaking year in viewing audiences across television and digital platforms for the Newcastle 500.

“As thousands of event goers arrive for this year’s big race weekend, we’re poised to show-off our spectacular natural coastline and fabulous eateries. There will be plenty of fun for the family with opportunities for visitors and locals to soak up the atmosphere on and off the racetrack.

“Enjoy Newcastle will kick off on Thursday 21 November at Civic Park, with all 26 Supercars drivers on hand for a signing event, and a live broadcast of “Trackside” on Fox Sports.

“Over the weekend, Hunter Street Mall, next to the race precinct, will be abuzz with billy cart challenges, pop-up shops, family-friendly activities and live entertainment. It’s all free, action-packed fun. This is a great opportunity for locals to see what’s on offer in the Mall and for event goers to step outside the precinct and get a taste of local life.

“The entertainment will continue at Civic Park throughout the weekend with a super-sized Newcastle-themed monopoly board, monster truck slide, jumping castles, obstacle course and an auto-race simulator. There’s also a dedicated under-six play area and an adrenalin-rush obstacle course suited to both big kids and adults.

“Enjoy the race on Saturday and then make your way to Newcastle West to see international superstars KISS at No.1 Sportsground. Local rockers The Screaming Jets, led by original front man Dave Gleeson, will be special guests.

“Enjoy Newcastle is just one way the City will help businesses take advantage of the influx of visitors here to attend the Newcastle 500.
“It’s about highlighting all the great things to do in our city and encouraging visitors to venture beyond the race precinct to discover more of our City.”

Super-duper Karts is the brainchild of local business owner Lucy Glover. Over the weekend Lucy and other mall traders will deliver a fantastic range of free activities in the mall for the whole family while raising money for local charities.

“We want to showcase what Hunter Street Mall and our businesses have to offer by bringing the place alive and community together. I’m excited to watch the Super-duper Karts – Pushcart Challenge head-to-head races and take part to see if I can win any of the ‘Mall Money’ prizes,” Lucy said.

The Enjoy Newcastle line up includes:

Super Signing Session – free
Thursday 21 November
From 4.30pm in Civic Park
Meet all 26 Newcastle 500 Supercar champions and get their autograph. Plus watch a live broadcast of “Trackside” as it goes to air on Fox Sports.

Superkids Pitstop – free
Saturday and Sunday
From 10am – 4pm in Civic Park
Play Newcastle’s version of Monopoly on an oversized board. Kids can also enjoy a monster truck slide, obstacle course, circus workshops and there’s a dedicated under 6 zone.

Super-duper Karts
Saturday and Sunday
Hunter Street Mall
Take a spin down the Mall in the pushcart challenge for a shot at some great prizes. Live entertainment, pop-up shops, and delicious local food.

KISS
Saturday
From 5.30pm at No. 1 Sportsground
Enjoy the race on Saturday and rock and roll all night. Don’t miss global superstars KISS and hometown heroes The Screaming Jets at the Newcastle 500 concert.

Delays expected on M1 following heavy vehicle crash – Central Coast

Emergency services are currently at the scene of a truck crash on the M1 on the Central Coast this morning.

About 2.10am (Wednesday 30 October 2019), a B-Double was travelling through a roadworks zone heading north on the M1 at Halloran, just past the Sparks Road overpass, when it crashed into three work trucks that were stopped at the location.

The B-double has caught alight, the fire quickly spreading to the three heavy vehicles involved in the crash.

Fortunately, there are no reports of injuries.

The northbound lanes of the M1 at Halloran will remain closed for some time as the fire is extinguished and inquiries into the cause of the crash continue.

Motorists are advised to visit www.livetraffic.com for the latest traffic information.