NSW Energy Deal to Reduce Power Prices and Emissions

The Morrison and Berejiklian governments have reached a landmark agreement to lower power prices for consumers, reduce emissions and strengthen grid reliability.

Through this partnership, both governments have committed to deliver a number of initiatives that will:

  • increase gas and electricity supply in NSW by encouraging investment;
  • improve grid security by supporting transmission interconnection and network access; and
  • support emissions reduction projects that deliver genuine abatement.

The more than $2 billion deal includes:

  • NSW-based emissions reductions initiatives utilising $960 million in federal funding, (with a minimum $450 million grants and the remaining $510 million a mix of grants and loans) matched by $1.01 billion in direct funding from NSW.
  • Jointly underwriting the delivery of HumeLink and the Queensland-NSW interconnectors to strength grid reliability.
  • Commitments from the NSW Government to facilitate investment opportunities to inject an additional 70 petajoules of gas per year into the east coast market.
  • An undertaking from the NSW Government to remove barriers to coal supply to the Mount Piper Power Station.
  • Supporting new generation projects in NSW through the Federal Government’s $1 billion Underwriting New Generation Investment program.
  • Financial support for the establishment of a pilot renewable energy zone in the Central West to help large-scale renewable generators pump as much as energy as possible into the grid.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the NSW energy deal was the first of many he hoped to sign with state and territory governments across Australia.

“I want households and businesses paying less for their electricity and I want to continue to get emissions down – this deal does both,” the Prime Minister said.

“There is no credible plan to lower emissions and keep electricity price down that does not involve the greater use of gas as an important transition fuel.

“This plan is about getting greater access to that gas, as a vital accompaniment to our record investment in renewables.

“Our agreement also outlines a responsible transition of the NSW electricity sector to lower emissions technologies, while recognising the critical contribution that energy dependent manufacturing jobs make to the economy.

“Energy security is an important issue for all states and territories and we are committed to continuing our investment in supporting the security of the National Electricity Market so all Australians have access to reliable power,” the Prime Minister said.

“NSW already has a pipeline of around $26 billion of large scale renewable and non-renewable energy projects and the NSW Government has introduced a range of rebates to help keep prices down as well as a five-year $1.4 billion Climate Change Fund,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

“Our agreement with the Commonwealth today will ensure we continue to strengthen and diversify our energy sector here in New South Wales – securing traditional energy sources whilst growing renewable energy investment across the state.

This is the first of a series of state bilateral energy agreements between the Federal Government and state and territory governments.

Assisted departure and strict quarantine for Australians from Wuhan/Hubei

The Australian Government is working across agencies to assist the departure of isolated and vulnerable Australians from Wuhan and to put strict quarantine arrangements in place.

Australian diplomatic and consular staff have been working very closely with the Chinese authorities and with other partner countries to develop options for the departure of Australians in Wuhan and Hubei Province, in what continues to be a difficult and complex situation.

The Australian Embassy in Beijing is now seeking formal approval from the Chinese Government to send a plane to Wuhan to assist the departure of Australians from Hubei Province.

We thank the Chinese Government for the cooperative way they have dealt with Australian counterparts and those of other countries who have citizens in Wuhan and Hubei province.

Australians departing on any flight arranged by the Australian Government will be flown to Christmas Island to undertake a period of quarantine of up to 14 days based on current medical advice, as a condition of their assisted departure.

They will also be required to commit to making a contribution to the cost, consistent with normal arrangements in these circumstances.

This will ensure we are also prioritising public health in Australia.

A consular team is positioned to support an assisted departure. A temporary Consular office is being set up in Wuhan to work with local authorities to help give effect to this plan. We do not have a permanent consular presence in Wuhan.

An Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) will provide medical support and expert advice to returning Australians upon arrival at Christmas Island.

There are just over 600 Australian citizens currently registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We will seek to speak with each of them in relation to the Government’s announcement. Our focus and priority is on vulnerable and isolated citizens.

We are endeavouring to make further contact with those people who have provided us their details. Contact can be difficult due to high demand on phone lines in China. We request that those who have registered their details contact DFAT again if they have not spoken to Australian consular officials in the past 24 hours. The DFAT emergency number is +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas or 1300 555 135 if you are calling from Australia on behalf of a family member.

We also thank Qantas, which has offered to support Australians out of Wuhan if the authority to proceed is provided.

We understand this is a very stressful time for those impacted. We encourage people to make contact with family and friends, stay in touch with travel providers and contact your insurers. Australians should continue to follow all health precautions which are available on the Smart Traveller website – www.smartraveller.gov.au.

We advise that Australians do not travel to Hubei Province and reconsider their need to travel to China overall.

There is still significant work to do but we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that we can help Australians to leave Wuhan as soon as possible.

$1 million in funding open to activate city

More than $1 million in funding will be made available to attract people to the City’s business precincts this year under City of Newcastle’s Special Business Rate Expenditure policy.

Businesses, not-for-profits and community groups in Hamilton, New Lambton and Wallsend are invited to apply for funding for events and activations under the first round, which is open until Sunday 8 March.

Funds will range from $4,000 to $15,000 for successful applicants in these precincts and be followed by two additional rounds later in the year, with the second focused on the inner city and the third open to Wallsend, New Lambton, Hamilton and city centre.

“The City of Newcastle welcomes all creative and innovative ideas to activate local business precincts,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“We know that competition among applicants results in the best possible outcomes for our businesses and commercial centres.  Last year, the Special Business Rate program dispersed more than $820,000 for a bumper schedule of 15 events, activations and promotional initiatives.

“We’ve already seen a three-on-three street basketball competition bring hundreds of kids, open and veteran players to Wheeler Place, a City Sparkles activation for retailers held across the CBD in the lead up to Christmas, and Hamilton created some fantastic street art.

“This year, I’m delighted that more than $1 million will be available.”

3x3-Street-Hustle-Wheeler-Place-inside.jpg3×3 Street Hustle in Wheeler Place

The City Sparkles event drew hundreds of evening shoppers into the CBD to enjoy the wares and offerings of a range of creative businesses in December.

“It was wonderful to have over 25 businesses play together as part of the newly formed Makers and Traders group,” Makers and Traders spokesperson Anne Kempton said.

“The funding helped us to market the event and provide musical entertainment.

“The vast majority of these businesses do not open in the evenings so it was a major change and a huge success.”

Information sessions on the latest funding round will be held in each of the local business precincts at Duke of Wellington Hotel, New Lambton, on Tuesday 11 February at 12 noon; at the Olive Branch Café in Hamilton on Wednesday 12 February at 7.30am; and Wallsend Library on Thursday 13 February at 6pm.

All sessions will be open to representatives from all the precincts. Register your interest online at the City’s website:

 

 

Special Business Rates are collected for the promotion, beautification and development of the SBR precincts of City Centre/Darby Street, Hamilton, Mayfield, New Lambton and Wallsend.

Novel Coronavirus

City of Newcastle is following advise from the NSW Government on the recent outbreak of Novo Coronavirus.

The NSW Government has requested that:

  • Children and staff who have visited China in the last two weeks not attend school or childcare services until 14 days have lapsed from their date of departure from China
  • People who have visited Hubei Province in China in the last two weeks should isolate themselves at home for 14 days after leaving the Province

Council is committed to our community’s safety and whilst the risk is currently very low, we ask residents to take precautions.

Residents can access up to date information on the NSW Health website.

FIRST SOD TURNED FOR PARRAMATTA LIGHT RAIL

The first sod has been turned for major construction today for the Parramatta Light Rail project, which will transform the Greater Parramatta region.

Acting Minister for Transport and Roads Paul Toole said it was an exciting time for Greater Parramatta as works ramp up for the new high-frequency light rail.

“Today marks a significant step on a project that will transform transport connectivity in a growing part of Sydney,” Mr Toole said.

“The new 12-kilometre light rail project will connect Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia, and is set to open in 2023.

“We’ve already hit the ground running with the decommissioning works along the closed Carlingford rail line, in preparation for its conversion to light rail.”

Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee said the project was a major win for the region, as it would support the creation of new communities.

“This Parramatta Light Rail will bring people living in Greater Parramatta together with a safe and efficient public transport network,” Mr Lee said.

“It will improve connections to popular key destinations across the region, while also linking into Sydney’s greater public transport networks.

Mr Toole said Transport for NSW was working hard to minimise the impacts of construction on businesses and the local community.

“Some disruption is unavoidable, which is why we will continue working with businesses to ensure they have the information and support they need,” Mr Toole said.

“Transport for NSW will also pause construction from 1 November until 31 January each year along ‘Eat Street’ to allow businesses to take advantage of the holiday trading period.

“During this time, events and activities will be put on to support local businesses and encourage families and friends to continue to enjoy all that is on offer.”

From this Saturday, 1 February, Church Street between Macquarie and Market Streets will be closed to traffic, with diversions in place. Motorists will be encouraged to use Marsden and Smith Streets. The free 900 shuttle bus service will also run on a new route along George Street in the Parramatta CBD.

For more information, visit parramattalightrail.nsw.gov.au.

Axes, baton, firearms seized; man charged – Lake Macquarie

A man has been refused bail after several prohibited weapons were located at two Lake Macquarie homes.

About 7am yesterday (Thursday 30 January 2020), officers attached to the Lake Macquarie Police District Target Action Group attended a home on Newport Road, Cooranbong, and spoke with a 55-year-old man.

During a search of the home, police located and seized a pistol, ammunition and methylamphetamine.

The search was suspended, and police applied for and executed a search warrant later in the day, where officers located and seized a vehicle, a motorbike, NSW Police insignia, knuckle dusters, a baton and homemade weapons.

Later in the morning, officers executed a second search warrant at a home on Bushells Ridge Road, Wyee, where police located and seized further prohibited weapons, ammunition, drug paraphernalia and vehicles believed to be stolen.

The man was arrested and taken to Toronto Police Station and charged with nine offences, including possess prohibited weapon, supply prohibited drug, unauthorised handle explosives, possess ammunition without permit and breach weapons prohibited order.

He was refused bail to face Toronto Local Court yesterday (Thursday 30 January 2020), where he was refused bail again to face the same court on Tuesday 4 February 2020.

Further charges are expected to be laid.

Two arrested after public place shooting – Cessnock

Two men will face court today charged following an investigation into a public place shooting in the Hunter Valley earlier this week.

About 3am (Wednesday 29 January 2020), police were called to Mills Crescent, Cessnock, following reports of shots fired.

Following inquiries, officers attached to Hunter Valley Police District stopped a Holden Commodore sedan on Doyle Street, Cessnock, a short time later.

Four men exited from the vehicle, with two allegedly fleeing the scene by foot.

The two remaining men were arrested and taken to Cessnock Police Station.

They were released later that day, pending further inquiries.

Following further inquiries, two men – aged 27 and 21 – were arrested in Cessnock and taken to Cessnock Police Station about 12pm yesterday (Thursday 30 January 2020).

Both men were charged with fire firearm at dwelling with disregard for safety, fire firearm in a manner likely to injure persons/property, possess loaded firearm in a public place and destroy/damage property.

They were both refused bail to face Cessnock Local Court today (Friday 31 January 2020).

Greens condemn Trump’s efforts to further entrench injustice and conflict in the Middle East

The Australian Greens today condemned US President Donald Trump’s blatantly unfair “peace” proposal for Israel and Palestine, which would instead further entrench injustice and conflict in the Middle East.

“This proposal is not worth the paper it’s written on. It fails to provide the minimum requirement for a Palestinian State and rewards breaches of international law like the Israeli Government’s flagrant settlement building,” said Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale.

“This is very clearly a political document drafted by men who are desperate to distract from the corruption allegations that surround them. The Palestinian people have been excluded from this process and will be forced to reject this deal, because it compels them to effectively live on scraps of territory.

“The Australian Greens call on the Coalition and the Labor Party to condemn this terrible proposal, and clearly communicate to the US and Israeli Governments that it will further entrench conflict and division. It is critical that Australian voices speak out before we see emboldened ultranationalists illegally annexing even more territory.”

Assisted departure and strict quarantine for Australians from Wuhan/Hubei

The Australian Government is working across agencies to assist the departure of isolated and vulnerable Australians from Wuhan and to put strict quarantine arrangements in place.

Australian diplomatic and consular staff have been working very closely with the Chinese authorities and with other partner countries to develop options for the departure of Australians in Wuhan and Hubei Province, in what continues to be a difficult and complex situation.

The Australian Embassy in Beijing is now seeking formal approval from the Chinese Government to send a plane to Wuhan to assist the departure of Australians from Hubei Province.

We thank the Chinese Government for the cooperative way they have dealt with Australian counterparts and those of other countries who have citizens in Wuhan and Hubei province.

Australians departing on any flight arranged by the Australian Government will be flown to Christmas Island to undertake a period of quarantine of up to 14 days based on current medical advice, as a condition of their assisted departure.

They will also be required to commit to making a contribution to the cost, consistent with normal arrangements in these circumstances.

This will ensure we are also prioritising public health in Australia.

A consular team is positioned to support an assisted departure. A temporary Consular office is being set up in Wuhan to work with local authorities to help give effect to this plan. We do not have a permanent consular presence in Wuhan.

An Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) will provide medical support and expert advice to returning Australians upon arrival at Christmas Island.

There are just over 600 Australian citizens currently registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We will seek to speak with each of them in relation to the Government’s announcement. Our focus and priority is on vulnerable and isolated citizens.

We are endeavouring to make further contact with those people who have provided us their details. Contact can be difficult due to high demand on phone lines in China. We request that those who have registered their details contact DFAT again if they have not spoken to Australian consular officials in the past 24 hours. The DFAT emergency number is +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas or 1300 555 135 if you are calling from Australia on behalf of a family member.

We also thank Qantas, which has offered to support Australians out of Wuhan if the authority to proceed is provided.

We understand this is a very stressful time for those impacted. We encourage people to make contact with family and friends, stay in touch with travel providers and contact your insurers. Australians should continue to follow all health precautions which are available on the Smart Traveller website – www.smartraveller.gov.au.

We advise that Australians do not travel to Hubei Province and reconsider their need to travel to China overall.

There is still significant work to do but we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that we can help Australians to leave Wuhan as soon as possible.

PREMIER ANNOUNCES NSW INDEPENDENT BUSHFIRE INQUIRY

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has today announced an independent expert inquiry into the 2019-20 bushfire season to provide input to NSW ahead of the next bushfire season.

Dave Owens, former Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police, and Professor Mary O’Kane AC, Independent Planning Commission Chair and former NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, will lead the six-month inquiry, which will review the causes of, preparation for and response to the 2019-20 bushfires.

“Professor O’Kane and Mr Owens have an extraordinary breadth and depth of experience into the matters they will be examining. I am confident their inquiry will be comprehensive and robust,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“NSW is incredibly proud of the efforts of all our emergency services personnel and volunteers throughout this ongoing bushfire season, but the scale of these fires has been unprecedented and we must leave no stone unturned.

“This inquiry will allow NSW to learn from this season and the catastrophic conditions we’ve faced, and apply these learnings for the future.”

Ms Berejiklian said recovery efforts are ongoing and remain the NSW Government’s focus, as we work to ensure communities are supported as they begin to rebuild.

“Unfortunately the fire season is not over. Whilst we are focussed on the rebuilding process we are mindful of the remaining fire threats,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The inquiry will commence within days and accept submissions from the public.

A report will be submitted to the Premier at its conclusion.