Housing policy failure sets up intergenerational theft

Australian Greens Housing spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has responded to the latest data on median property prices in this week’s Domain House Price Report, with Sydney’s median house price now over $1.4 million and Melbourne over $1.0 million.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Millions of people are being robbed of housing security and housing affordability. This is nothing less than intergenerational theft.

“House prices are out of control while both Liberal and Labor turn a blind eye.

“It’s an absolute outrage that Labor has dumped its commitments to wind back negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount in the same week it was revealed that house prices have reached record highs across the country.

“It’s not good enough to pass the buck on housing to the states and territories. The Commonwealth cannot abrogate its responsibility on this.

“Unfair tax rules like negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount make it easier for someone to buy their fifth investment property than a first home to live in.

“To get the housing crisis under control we need to massively increase public housing supply through record investment and wind back the tax rules that have turned the housing market into a speculator’s game.”

Record infrastructure funding and aged care boost

Senior Australians in regional and remote areas will benefit from the single largest investment in residential aged care infrastructure in Australia’s history.

A total of $150 million in capital grants has been allocated following the conclusion of the competitive 2020 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR).

This substantial investment by the Australian Government has funded 72 infrastructure projects worth, on average, $2.1 million each.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck, said the investment reflects the Morrison Government’s commitment to greater respect, care and dignity for senior Australians no matter where they live.

“Investing in aged care infrastructure means we can improve the quality and safety of residential aged care from the ground up,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Safe, secure and comfortable residential care homes, designed around the needs of residents, provide the foundation for our five-pillar, five-year aged care reform plan.”

The 2020 ACAR also includes the allocation of over 4000 residential care places and more than 1000 short-term restorative care places worth a combined $380 million a year.

Minister Colbeck said most of these new places will take effect immediately or within the next 18 months.

“I’m delighted with the response by providers that demonstrated their capacity to fast-track the delivery of quality care to senior Australians,” Minister Colbeck said.

“As a result, twice as many residential care places have been allocated than were made available for allocation”.

Priority locations were also a focus, with more than half of the new places allocated to areas most in need, including in regional and remote Australia.

Information about the 2020 ACAR outcomes, including details of the successful providers is available on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Grants boost support services for vulnerable members of the community in Hamilton

City of Newcastle is continuing to support a multi-agency approach to community safety in the Hamilton area to ensure people who are vulnerable get access to important services.

More than $30,000 in Rapid Response Grants have been distributed to six community service providers and faith organisations to bolster the support being provided for people experiencing homelessness or food insecurity.

This includes funding for the following initiatives:

  • Hunter Homeless Connect – boost its program offering food and clothing vouchers
  • Grainery Food Bank – make non-perishables and fresh vegetables available at the food bank, increase the quantities of single-serve frozen meals already available, provide one-on-one assistance for those in need to access support services and financial counselling, and extend the opening hours of the service
  • Hamilton Seven Day Adventist Food Pantry and Meal Service – increase the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables and non-perishable products, extend emergency food relief, trial extended operating hours to include Friday mornings, and explore a weekly pop-up at a local community centre
  • Hamilton Uniting Church – provide access to community and emergency food support through the ‘Shoebox Project’, which includes boxes of basic food and sanitary items
  • Reach Homeless Services – implement a ‘breakfast pack’ program for those in need, distributed at the Suspension Café in Beaumont Street Islington.
  • Establish a new partnership with the Hamilton Men’s Shed and the Hamilton BIA to trial a new community pantry service in Hamilton for a period of six months, which is expected to be operating in late 2021.

City of Newcastle is supporting a multi-agency approach along with stakeholders including NSW Police and the Department of Community and Justice Assertive Outreach (AO) regarding vulnerable people and community safety issues at Hamilton Train Station Park.

As part of the multi-agency operation, AO staff have regularly visited the park since Police commenced regular patrols, which has led to four people being housed. NSW Police has increased visibility in the area to prevent and address anti-social behaviour.

CN is responsible for safely managing the use of public land on behalf of our community. CN will continue working with those providing outreach in Hamilton Train Station Park to support the safety of vulnerable people and the broader community.

Hundreds of homeless given accommodation

More than 700 people who were sleeping rough across NSW have been helped into temporary accommodation during the lockdown to keep them safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Alister Henskens said the NSW Government has committed $22.3 million for temporary accommodation to support people sleeping rough during the latest outbreak.

“We’re ramping up assertive outreach patrols across Greater Sydney to engage with people sleeping rough and offer them temporary accommodation,” Mr Henskens said.

“While providing immediate shelter during the lockdown is important, our focus is always to provide a pathway to secure, long-term housing.

“We will be working closely with people who come into temporary accommodation to find them a home, engage them with services and support and help them stay off the streets for good.”

The recently announced expansion of Together Home will support more permanent housing solutions for people currently in temporary accommodation.

Since Together Home was established last year, more than 460 people who were sleeping rough have been helped into housing, after spending time in temporary accommodation.

Together Home involves securing homes from the private rental market and delivers intensive tailored supports to meet the complex needs of the people in the program.

The NSW Government has also committed an additional $10 million for rent assistance packages to help victims of domestic violence and young people secure or maintain housing in the private rental market.

Anyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness can call Link2home on 1800 152 152. Staff are available 24-7 to provide information and referrals to services, including temporary accommodation.

New powers, new fines as police crack down on non-compliance

Enhanced police powers and tighter new rules will spearhead the enforcement response launched against the few people who refuse to do the right thing during a global pandemic.

A new high-visibility policing operation has been launched to assist the state’s health strategy to tackle the further spread of the COVID-19 Delta strain.

Thousands of police officers will be deployed across Greater Sydney from the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Police Transport Command and general duties to enforce the following new rules as well as protect the wider community from the selfish and unauthorised behaviour of a small number of individuals.

  • New powers have been granted to the NSW Police Commissioner to shut down businesses, construction sites and public premises where there is a risk to public health; and
  • The penalty for not wearing a mask where required will be increased from $200 to $500.

From 12.01am on Friday, 30 July 2021, residents of the eight Local Government Areas of concern (BlacktownCampbelltownCanterbury-BankstownCumberlandFairfieldGeorges RiverLiverpool and Parramatta) will be subject to new exercise, mask and shopping rules. These rules will only be applied to any LGA that is determined to be of concern now and into the future:

  • Exercise, outdoor recreation and singles bubble visits must be done within 5kms of the person’s home;
  • Individuals cannot travel more than 5kms from home for shopping, unless the goods or services are not readily available in that area; and
  • Masks must be worn at all times outside the home regardless of proximity to others.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the new restrictions follow a call from the vast majority in the community who are doing the right thing by complying with the Public Health Orders.

“The time for warnings is over. I know 99 per cent of the population are furious with the minority who continue to disregard the health orders and put the safety and livelihoods of families at risk,” Mr Elliott said.

“Crime Stoppers received more than 15,000 calls and reports providing information following last weekend’s illegal protest. Police made it clear from the start, they want to educate – not fine – members of the community but the 15,000 calls to Crime Stoppers is a clear message to the Government that the community expects action.

“If we all work together, these new rules have the potential to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.”

NSW Police Commissioner Michael Fuller APM said police will significantly ramp up compliance activities with officers performing an extra 1000 shifts throughout the next week.

“These officers will be out in force across the Greater Sydney footprint conducting high-visibility proactive patrols and compliance checks, and responding to all Crime Stoppers reports,” Commissioner Fuller said.

“The stronger powers and police presence are about getting us out of lockdown sooner.”

For the latest information visit www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19.

To report individuals or businesses in contravention of a public health order visit http://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au

Charges laid after officer injured during confrontation; police pursuit – Lake Macquarie

A man has been charged after a senior constable was allegedly injured during an attempted arrest and police pursuits in Lake Macquarie.

About 2.45pm on Tuesday (27 July 2021), officers attached to Northern High Visibility Policing Team attended a carpark on the Pacific Highway at Bennetts Green and observed a grey Volkswagen Amarok utility bearing stolen NSW registration plates.

Officers approached the ute where the male driver attempted to drive off.

A male senior constable smashed the driver’s window to remove the keys from the ignition, during which the driver resisted, causing the officer’s arms to be pushed into shattered glass.

The male driver then fled the scene in the utility onto South Street, Windale.

A pursuit was initiated and continued in the surrounding streets but was terminated a short time later.

Numerous patrols were conducted throughout the area; however, the vehicle could not be located.

Following inquiries, police identified that the ute had been stolen from Valentine between 6pm on Sunday 25 July 2021 and 8.50am on Monday 26 July 2021.

The senior constable was taken to John Hunter Hospital with minor injuries to his arms and has since been released.

As part of ongoing inquiries, the Northern HVP Team attempted to stop a grey Amarok ute northbound on the Pacific Highway about 9am today (Wednesday 28 July 2021).

A pursuit was initiated with the Amarok allegedly reaching speeds of approximately 160km/hr in a sign-posted 100km/hr zone.

During the pursuit, additional resources were requested before the utility crashed into bushland off Lakeview Parade, Pelican.

The driver and sole occupant fled the ute on foot where officers from Lake Macquarie Police District, Operation Utah, Traffic and Highway Patrol and the Dog Unit conducted an extensive search and arrested a 35-year-old man in Little Pelican a short time later.

The man was taken to Belmont Police Station and charged with 24 offences including;

  • Break and enter house steal value less than $60,000 (x2),
  • receive property – theft (serious indictable offence x2),
  • dishonestly obtain property by deception (x5),
  • steal motor vehicle,
  • drive conveyance taken without consent of owner,
  • police pursuit – not stop – drive recklessly (x2),
  • drive motor vehicle during disqualification period (x2),
  • use registrable vehicle not display authorised number plates,
  • use offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention,
  • assault police officer in execution of duty cause actual bodily harm (x2),
  • resist or hinder police officer in the execution of duty (x2),
  • goods in personal custody suspected being stolen (not motor vehicle),
  • refuse to submit to taking of blood sample, and,
  • refuse or fail to provide urine sample.

The Caves Beach man was refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court tomorrow (Thursday 29 July 2021).

Man missing from Hunter Region found

A man reported missing from the state’s Hunter Region has been located safe and well.

The 19-year-old was last seen was last seen leaving a home at Greta Street, Kurri Kurri, about 7pm yesterday (Tuesday 27 July 2021).

Officers from Hunter Valley Police District were notified after he failed to return and commenced inquiries into his whereabouts.

Just after 8pm (Wednesday 28 July 2021), a member of the public located the man in Maitland and contacted police.

Police would like to thank the community and media for their assistance.

Charges laid after police pursuit – Lake Macquarie

Nine people, including eight teenagers, have been charged following a police pursuit in the Hunter region today.

About 11.15am (Wednesday 28 July 2021), officers attached to Newcastle-Hunter Traffic and Highway Patrol observed a grey Honda Civic allegedly travelling at speed southbound on the Hunter Expressway.

The vehicle allegedly reached speeds in excess of 200km/h in a sign-posted 110km/h zone. A pursuit was initiated at Church Street, Minmi, before being terminated in Wallsend, due to the manner of driving.

The vehicle was subsequently sighted by several police vehicles across Newcastle City and Lake Macquarie Police Districts, before being abandoned at Arthur Street, Cardiff, shortly after midday.

A perimeter was established by officers from Lake Macquarie, Newcastle City, Port Stephens-Hunter and Hunter Valley Police Districts, assisted by PolAir, the Dog Unit and the Police Transport Command.

Following inquiries, a 19-year-old woman and eight teenagers – aged between 13 and 17 – were arrested and taken to Belmont Police Station.

The woman was charged with being carried in a conveyance without the owner’s consent and breaching bail.

She was refused bail to appear in Newcastle Local Court today (Thursday 29 July 2021).

A 15-year-old teenage boy was charged with police pursuit – drive dangerously, drive recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous, take & drive conveyance without consent of owner and not give particulars to other driver.

He was refused bail to appear in a children’s court today (Thursday 29 July 2021).

A 16-year-old teenage boy was charged with breaching bail and being carried in a conveyance without the owner’s consent.

He was granted conditional bail to appear before a children’s court on Monday 2 August 2021.

The other six teens were released into the care of their respective parents and will be dealt with under the Young Offenders Act.

All nine will be issued with PINs for failing to comply with noticed direction in relation to Section 7/8/9 – COVID 19.

Commissioner confirms formal request for ADF assistance

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has confirmed he has made a formal request to the federal government for Australian Defence Force (ADF) assistance with the ongoing COVID-19 compliance operation.

The NSW Police Force is significantly expanding its enforcement activities in Sydney over the coming days and has requested 300 ADF personnel to boost its operational footprint.

Commissioner Fuller said the NSW Police Force and the ADF had forged a close relationship throughout the pandemic.

“The assistance of the ADF has been essential over the past 18 months – particularly during last year’s border operation, the ongoing hotel quarantine operation and the assistance provided with logistics support in the Police Operations Centre,” Commissioner Fuller said.

“With an increase in enforcement activity over the coming week, I have now made a formal request to the Prime Minister for ADF personnel to assist with that operation.

“I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his ongoing support.”

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott welcomed the request for assistance.

“There is a longstanding and highly-professional relationship between the NSW Police Force and the ADF,” Mr Elliott said.

“As I have said previously, support from the Army will add another line of defence to the NSW Government’s crackdown on COVID-19 compliance.

“The Army’s unique skills and training have combined many times with those of our police officers to serve the people of NSW in times of crisis, such as the floods and severe bushfires we’ve experienced in recent years.

“This will be a functional, effective and dynamic team to fight this pandemic.”

Greens call for Government to mandate vaccines for home care workers

The Greens say that older Australians are at significant risk without mandatory COVID -19 vaccines for all aged care workers, including those working in home care and disability care.

“It’s shocking that workers caring for a very vulnerable population in their homes, moving between many households in a day are not a priority for the vaccine rollout”, Greens spokesperson on Ageing Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“So-called ‘strong encouragement’ is not enough, we urgently need a targeted blitz and the introduction of mandatory vaccines similar to residential aged care to ensure all home care workers are vaccinated.

“This Government’s complacency when it comes to the most vulnerable members of the community is reprehensible and it’s not acceptable.

“The Delta variant is in the community and poses a risk to people receiving home care, we need strong and urgent action now.”