Breakdown of latest Public Health Act charges and Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs)

Police have charged three people under the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) and issued 15 COVID-19-related Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) for offences within the past 24 hours.

Yesterday’s charges:

  • Just before 3.30pm yesterday (Wednesday 29 April 2020), police stopped a Honda CRV on Valentine Avenue, Parramatta, for the purpose of a random breath test. Police will allege the driver gave a false name, before officers located the man’s wallet which identified him. The 21-year-old man was discovered to be a disqualified driver from Newcastle. During a subsequent search of the vehicle, police located and seized a large bag containing cannabis. He was arrested and taken to Parramatta Police Station where he was charged with multiple offences, including not comply with noticed direction re section 7/8/9 – COVID-19, drive whilst disqualified, and supply prohibited drug. He was granted conditional bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday 15 July 2020.
  • About 8.15pm yesterday (Wednesday 29 April 2020), officers attached to Sydney City Police Area Command were conducting patrols in Pyrmont when they spoke with a 45-year-old man, who was unable to provide officers with a reasonable excuse for why he was there. Checks revealed the man had previously been warned for breaching the Ministerial Directions. During a subsequent search, police located and seized an amount of methylamphetamine and a knife. He was arrested and taken to Day Street Police Station where he was charged with possess prohibited drug, custody of knife in public place, goods in custody suspected of being stolen, and not comply with noticed direction re section 7/8/9 – COVID-19. He was refused bail to appear at Central Local Court today (Thursday 30 April 2020).

The third person charged has been addressed in a separate media release.

Yesterday’s PINs include:

  • About 1.30pm, officers from Kings Cross Police Area Command were patrolling Roslyn Street, Kings Cross, when a member of the public advised them about a physical altercation nearby. Police approached a man and a woman who were involved in verbal argument and it’s alleged they could not provide a reasonable excuse for being away from home. The 36-year-old man had previously been issued a warning and was issued a $1000 PIN. The woman was issued with a warning.
  • About 12.45pm, officers from Central West Police District spoke to a 32-year-old man at Lake Cargelligo about the current Ministerial Directions. About 4pm the same day, police noticed the same man walking in Lake Cargelligo and had failed to return home as directed. Checks revealed the Murrin Bridge man had previously been given warnings for non-essential travel three times earlier in the month. He was issued a $1000 PIN.
  • About 2.45am, officers from Central North Police District attempted to stop a vehicle on Mission Road, Walgett, however when it failed to stop a pursuit commenced. It was terminated and a short time later, two men – both aged 28 – were arrested nearby. The men told police they had been at a friend’s house drinking alcohol and were unable to provide a reasonable excuse for being away from home and were each issued a $1000 PIN. Investigations into the pursuit are ongoing.
  • About 2.45pm, officers from Sydney City Police Area Command noticed a man sitting at the bottom of an escalator in Pitt Street, Sydney, that was cordoned off to the public. The 46-year-old man was unable to provide a reasonable excuse for being in the area and checks revealed he had been issued with a warning on Sunday 19 April 2020. He was subsequently issued a $1000 PIN.

Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

PINs issued by Nepean Police Area Command

Police have issued PINs to five women after photos and videos were shared on social media allegedly showing a group not complying with social distancing earlier this week.

Officers from Nepean Police Area Command initiated an investigation after photos and videos were shared on social media concerning an incident at a home in Penrith on Saturday 25 April 2020.

Following further inquiries, police this afternoon (Thursday 30 April 2020), issued PINs to five women – aged in their late teens to early 20s – for failing to comply with a Ministerial Direction.

A 22-year-old man, who was filmed in the videos, was spoken to by police. No offence relating to him has been detected; however, he was issued a warning regarding social distancing.

Anglicare Report Reveals Depth of Housing Affordability crisis

Australian Greens Housing spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi and Family, Ageing & Community Services spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert have said that today’s 2020 Rental Affordability Snapshot, released by Anglicare Australia, has highlighted the dire state of housing affordability in Australia, as well as the need for a permanent increase to the JobSeeker Payment (which has been temporarily increased for six months).

Senator Mehreen Faruqi said:

“The near-complete lack of rental homes affordable for people even on the increased JobSeeker payment underlies the need for sweeping changes to boost social and affordable housing in Australia.

“There needs to be an urgent increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance combined with an expansion of social housing.

“Renters have really suffered during this pandemic. While facing unemployment, wage losses and enormous instability, many have had to fight to keep a roof over their heads in a housing market that structurally favours property owners and landlords.

“The system is completely rigged, especially against people on low incomes. It’s time for a complete overhaul of neoliberal housing policies that have led us here and to recognise housing as a human right.

“We need a massive increase in social housing by building 500,000 new publicly-owned homes and a reversal of unfair tax incentives that have contributed to the marketisation of housing over decades,” she said.

Senator Rachel Siewert said:

“This report highlights how important a permanent increase to the JobSeeker payment is in ensuring that no one is living in poverty.

“Even with the temporary JobSeeker increase there are still very few affordable properties to rent for people on income support.

“This needs to be a wake up call to the Government, everyone in our community should have safe, affordable housing and an income to ensure this,” she said.

Bridget McKenzie must appear before sports rorts senate inquiry, say Greens

Greens Senators Janet Rice and Larissa Waters have called for Bridget McKenzie to appear before the sports rorts senate committee following unanswered questions in the Senator’s submission to the inquiry late yesterday.

The Prime Minister should bring to a vote the Greens’ National Integrity Commission Bill when parliament resumes in May to ensure fair allocation of future funding.

Senator Janet Rice, Greens spokesperson for Sport said:

“Senator McKenzie’s submission raises more questions than it answers.

“Senator McKenzie’s defense seems to be that the ANAO report is based on an email from an advisor in her office, one that she claims to have never seen.

“If Senator McKenzie wants to hang her case on this email, she must authorise its release to the senate inquiry.

“Senator McKenzie’s claim that the colour-coding of the spreadsheet was to ensure a geographical spread in funding is laughable. If that’s the case, she needs to explain exactly how the colours matched geographic regions rather than political leanings.

“Though we’ve seen an avalanche of evidence revealing the direct involvement of the Prime Minister’s office, Senator McKenzie’s submission omits an explanation of the Prime Minister’s involvement.

Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Senate Leader and spokesperson on democracy said:

“The constant blame shifting in this scandal does nothing to address underlying integrity issues with the Morrison government.

“As plans are made for allocating funds for recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, it’s critical public confidence is restored in how recipients are chosen.

“The process must be fair and transparent, and Ministers should be held accountable for decisions.

“This is why an independent federal corruption watchdog, with real power, is vital.

“The Prime Minister should bring on the vote for my National Integrity Commission Bill when parliament resumes in May”.

No Cash Bribes For Cashed-Up Private Schools

Australian Greens Senator and Education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has rejected the government’s bizarre cash incentives for private schools to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Faruqi said:

“This is yet another special deal for private schools. Ninety-nine percent of public schools are underfunded as they work to support kids and families through this pandemic. Their students need urgent investment, not the 99% of private schools that are overfunded.

“What the Minister proposes is a bizarre approach to both school funding and public health.

“School re-openings should be based on considerations of the health and wellbeing of students and teachers, as well as careful discussions with school communities, not on whether private school boards are willing to accept bribes from the Minister in the form of advance funding.

“It is despicable of the government to try and put pressure on public schools in this way.

“We know the combination of economic conditions and exorbitant fees at private schools is very likely to cause student withdrawals. An advance for next year based on current enrolments will inevitably include money for students that won’t be there.

“This comes only weeks after the Liberals and Labor pushed $3.4 billion in additional private school funding through parliament during an emergency COVID-19 sitting.

“Days after indicating that Newstart payments would return to below the poverty line, the government has found money in its back pocket to pay out billions of dollars to private schools ahead of schedule,” she said.

Greens call on PM to push to end global trade of wildlife

The Greens have called on the Federal Government to push to end the global trade of wildlife, backing the calls of conservation and animal protection groups including Humane Society International and World Animal Protection, who want the commercial trade and sale in markets of wild animals to be banned.

Greens Environment Spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:

“If the Australian Government wants to really lead from the front on this issue it will call for an end to the global trade of wildlife, not just an investigation into wildlife markets.

“The science is well established on the link between wildlife consumption and the transfer of zoonotic diseases to humans.

“There cannot just be an investigation of wildlife markets in China or other countries like Indonesia as the Prime Minister seemed to be suggesting today. Ultimately the trade of wildlife for consumption and other purposes, which is a global issue including in Australia, must end.

“A push to end wildlife markets is welcome but it must be accompanied by a push to end the trade of wild animals, otherwise very little will have been achieved in the battle to prevent future pandemics like Covid19.

“The Prime Minister also needs to commit to looking at wildlife trade in his own backyard. The Federal Government needs to close the loopholes in our laws that allow our rare and endangered native animals to be traded for profit and ensure they are protected here where they belong.

“Ending the trade of wildlife would not only help keep the global community safe from future pandemics but also help protect the world’s precious wildlife for future generations.

“Wildlife trade impacts biodiversity, can cause diseases to be transferred between other wildlife species putting them at risk, drives poaching and trafficking and ultimately fuels the extinction crisis around the world.

“We cannot go back to the way things were before COVID-19, we must change our ways for the sake of our own health and the planet’s.”

 

Minister Taylor must come clean on source of dodgy document

The Greens have called on the Prime Minister to stand down Minister Angus Taylor until he can provide a full account of a doctored document used in a media attack by his office on the Sydney Lord Mayor.

“The Prime Minister has asked Australians for their trust in recent days but he has thrown integrity overboard by his failure to act on the ongoing, multiple sagas involving Minister Taylor,” said Greens Senate Leader and spokesperson on Democracy, Senator Larissa Waters.

“Despite promising to cooperate with the police investigation, the Minister declined to be interviewed directly about where the documents originated. What does the Minister have to hide?

“The PM was quick to stand down Senator Bridget McKenzie over her role in the Sports Rorts saga, but appears unwilling to act against Minister Taylor.

“From this document saga to allegations the Minister intervened to help out his family farm and failed to properly declare his interests, there have been serious questions around Minister Taylor’s conduct for many months.

“It’s high time he was stood down as a minister until these serious allegations can be resolved.

“Australia urgently needs an independent federal corruption watchdog with teeth that can investigate integrity issues.

“No more mucking about, the Prime Minister must bring on a vote on my National Integrity Commission Bill when parliament resumes in May,” she said.

Vision for Fern Bay and North Stockton adopted

A pedestrian-friendly town centre in North Stockton and a drawcard coastal walk from Stockton to Tomaree Headland are part of an ambitious planning strategy adopted by Port Stephens and Newcastle councils.

The Fern Bay and North Stockton Strategy, which was guided by early engagement with the Fern Bay community and a workshop with Councillors from both Newcastle and Port Stephens, is a 20-year blueprint for the rapidly growing area between the Hunter River and Stockton Beach.

The strategy identifies North Stockton as the site of a future town centre and calls for new accommodation developments to support local tourism.

A neighbourhood centre to allow a smaller supermarket in the Fern Bay-Fullerton Cove area has also been included as a direct result of community consultation and will be facilitated by Port Stephens Council with a planning proposal.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Fern Bay and North Stockton Strategy identifies opportunities to create a pedestrian-friendly town centre and mixed-use planning provisions that cater for diverse housing, connected open spaces and community amenities.

“Developed by both Newcastle and Port Stephens councils, the joint strategy is a fantastic outcome after a great deal of work and forms a strategic planning basis to follow along with landowners and the broader Stockton community,” Councillor Nelmes said.

“There are multiple large land holdings in the area that have potential to create positive outcomes for the community and we will work hand in hand with Port Stephens to plan for them in the years ahead.”

Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said the decision marked the beginning of an exciting time for the residents of Fern Bay and North Stockton.

“This is a great outcome for these communities,” Mayor Palmer said.

“The creation of more housing, access to better facilities and more transport options will ensure this town truly thrives.

“It’s been a wonderfully successful collaboration between our Port Stephens Council and City of Newcastle teams, and we’ll continue to work together on the best outcomes for the Fern Bay North Stockton communities into the future.”

The strategy also recommends a ferry terminal at North Stockton, duplication of Nelson Bay Road with traffic lights at the intersection of Vardon Road, as well as other upgrades to paths, bus stops and transport.

Also key to the strategy are:

  • Attracting heritage and nature-based tourism including a coastal walk – featuring boardwalks and observation decks – from Tomaree Headland to Stockton
  • Improving access to useable open spaces and well-designed community facilities
  • Prioritising safe and convenient travel by walking, cycling and public transport
  • Growing a resilient coastal community with access to liveable and diverse housing

Last November, planning staff from both councils attended the Fern Bay Fiesta at Fern Bay community hall to provide information on the strategy.

City of Newcastle and Port Stephens Council adopted the Fern Bay and North Stockton Strategy at their Council meetings in March and April 2020 respectively. The Strategy will now be implemented in a coordinated effort between both councils, to achieve positive outcomes for the Fern Bay and North Stockton community spanning LGA boundaries.

Community invited to update cycling strategy

City of Newcastle is inviting Hunter residents to help shape the future of cycling in the city by taking part in an update of the 2012 Newcastle Cycling Strategy and Action Plan (NCSAP).

Anyone can have their say until 14 May by completing a cycling survey at www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/YourSay before the updated NCSAP goes on public exhibition for further feedback later in 2020.

“We want to hear from cyclists to find out what’s great about riding around Newcastle, what could be improved and how more locals might be encouraged to get out and enjoy the city under pedal power,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“We also want to hear from people who don’t ride, about what we could do to encourage them to start riding.

“We’ve delivered fantastic cycleway projects over recent years, such as the off-road path from Samdon Street, Hamilton, to Selma Street, Newcastle West; a shared path in Brickworks Park, Wallsend; and around Lambton Park to name just a few.  We know that the perception of lack of safety is a key barrier to more cycling so have also been trying to address several difficult crossings on cycle routes around the city.

“We are currently planning new routes for Hunter Street, Newcastle West, and from Merewether to the Junction as part of a perpetual program of development.

“We’re lucky to have a relatively flat city conducive to cycling, so we look forward to hearing from the community and updating our overarching strategy.”

The City is taking part in the phone-based Local Government Cycling Participation Survey in conjunction with the current engagement program to obtain additional data, particularly from non-cyclists.

In addition to infrastructure projects, much has been done to encourage greater participation in cycling by updating maps, running bicycle skills workshops and promoting gracious behaviour by path and road users.

City awards contract for cutting-edge recycling facility

City of Newcastle has awarded a contract for an advanced organics recycling facility as part of a 25-year commitment to revolutionise food and garden waste treatment.

The project at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre by Barpa Pty Ltd, in partnership with a company that has designed 120 composting facilities worldwide, will over 25 years:

  • Divert about 900,000 tonnes of food and garden organics from landfill
  • Slash greenhouse emissions by 900,000 tonnes, equal to eliminating 250,000 cars
  • Save ratepayers $24 million in operational costs
  • Reduce the section 88 levy paid to the NSW Government by $32.5 million

Onsite recycling of garden organics will begin at Summerhill in a fully enclosed facility in 2022 before food organics are added four years later, following comprehensive community consultation.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the project would generate major environmental and financial benefits for the city and community.

“With food and garden organics accounting for around 30 per cent of waste streams, we are embarking on the largest waste commitment ever made by the City: to divert almost a million tonnes of organic material from landfill,” the Lord Mayor said.

“When properly processed into compost, recycled organics can be sold as fertiliser that improves soil quality and productivity, displacing artificial chemical-based fertilisers on crops, sporting fields and in public and household gardens.

“Initially diverting around 20,000 tonnes of garden organics from landfill each year, the Summerhill facility will grow in capacity to process around 50,000 tonnes annually.
“It will see us begin processing all food organics material instead of continuing to landfill them at a prohibitive cost. After paying more than $230 million in waste levies over the past 12 years, the organics recycling facility will save ratepayers $32.5 million over the next 25 years.
“We intend to start processing food organics in 2026 following extensive planning and community engagement. In the meantime, work is continuing on the development of a program to roll out subsidised worm farms and community compost bins across the city.”

Barpa’s proposal for a fully enclosed recycling facility, which will be the first of its kind in the Hunter, was recommended in favour of three rival bids.

Elimination of odours through longer composting times and superior ventilation technology and systems, together with bid partnerWaste Treatment Technologies’ expertise in breaking down biodegradable material and converting waste to compliant, marketable compost, gave Barpa the edge.

The organics recycling facility will lower carbon emissions by ending the costly transfer of garden organics to the Upper Hunter in up to 45 return truck journeys of 173km a week.

Manager of the City’s Waste Services Troy Uren said higher regulatory standards loomed large over such traditional waste practices and that the project also stood to save ratepayers many millions of dollars more in deferred landfill expansion, in addition to $24 million in operational costs, over a quarter of a century.

“Garden organics are currently trucked from Summerhill to a Ravensworth site that can’t process food organics, and at significant cost to the ratepayer in what was only ever intended to be a temporary solution,” he said.

Background:

  • While the $120 million operating costs of the facility amount to $26.5 million more than continuing to just recycle garden waste offsite at Ravensworth, $32.5 million will be saved from no longer paying a levy for food organics. This creates an overall saving of $6 million
  • This $6 million saving grows to $24 million with projected compost sales of up to $18 million, with scope to divert more waste from neighbouring councils and other commercial sources
  • Processing food organics will also defer the need to develop landfill ‘air space’ equal to 840 Olympic swimming pools, which would cost up to $18 million to excavate and prepare
  • The City of Newcastle received a $1.5 million grant from the NSW Government in 2017 for early planning and is confident of sourcing additional grant funding from both the state and federal governments
  • Even with construction costs, the organics recycling facility remains cheaper than landfill by more than $50 a tonne
  • The contract with Barpa has been divided into two stages – design and approvals and construction and commissioning