Liu scandal shows critical need for donations reform: Greens

The epidemic of scandals involving Liberal parliamentarians continues with Liberal MP Gladys Liu linked to a donor at the centre of a money laundering probe by Australian authorities.

Greens co-deputy leader Larissa Waters said, “It’s time to end cash-for-access and get the influence of big money and dodgy donors out of politics.

“Prime Minister Morrison should stop the protection racket for Ms Liu and his embattled Ministers and stop the rot by capping political donations and election spending.

“Both the Coalition and the Labor Party say they want to tackle undue foreign influence on politics but they won’t clean up political donations, because they are addicted to the money.

“If Australia capped political donations and election spending, we could address all those seeking to interfere in our democracy, whether they are foreign powers, corporate interests or donors with an agenda.

“The Greens want to cap all political donations at $1,000 per year and ban outright political donations from the mining, property development and gambling industries.

“Every member of parliament should act in the best interests of the community, not for their own self-interest and profit.

“It’s time Australia removed the corrupting influence of money in politics and give democracy back to the people,” she said.

Education Department Merger a Huge Mistake

Australian Greens Senator and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called the proposed merger of the Department of Education with Skills and Employment a huge mistake.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Merging the departments of education and employment is a short-sighted decision that highlights the Government’s narrow, neoliberal idea of education. Education is a public good essential to building a socially and economically just society, not just an avenue to employment or profit – it demands a standalone focus.

“Already this year the merger of skills with the employment department has undermined lifelong education and continued the Liberal-Nationals disastrous record on vocational training. This decision takes us further down this path and is a huge mistake.

“Mergers inevitably result in huge amounts of money wasted on consultants and some new letterheads while nothing is done to properly fund public schools or save TAFE,” she concluded.

Shocking Footage of Cruelty Towards Live Export Cattle Show Need for National Animal Cruelty Laws

Australian Greens Senator and Animal Welfare Spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi and The Greens (WA) spokesperson for Animal Welfare Hon. Alison Xamon MLC have responded to the abhorrent allegations of animal abuse on Western Australian cattle farms that were revealed in an investigation by Sentient Media.

The footage was recorded by Israeli Animal Welfare Group ‘Sentient’ on Western Australian cattle stations and broadcast on Israeli TV. It shows  kicking and punching of animals, dehorning with no pain relief and other acts of cruelty. Many of these cattle enter the live export supply chain, including to Israel. The graphic footage and investigation is available here: https://sentientworld.org/investigations/cattle-investigation-australia/

“The animal abuse shown in this investigation is absolutely horrific – these allegations need further investigation immediately. I am deeply disturbed and saddened by the utter disregard for animal welfare shown,” said Ms Xamon.

Ms Xamon said that these allegations demonstrate precisely why WA must prioritise urgent animal welfare legislation that establishes independent, unannounced welfare inspections and provides adequate funding to ensure there are enough inspectors to perform them.

“From the appalling practice of live export to the absence of any regulatory oversight of animal welfare, the culture of animal cruelty we have seen lately is absolutely unacceptable,” Ms Xamon said.

“Western Australians detest animal abuse and need to feel confident that animals are being treated with the highest level of care possible. We need to get serious about animal welfare and prioritize legislation in Parliament that ensures it.”

Senator Faruqi said:

“This horrific footage shows a real breakdown in protecting animals. There must be an urgent investigation and hopefully prosecution by animal welfare authorities.

“Many people would be shocked to know that some of the practices seen in the footage, such as dehorning without pain relief, are entirely legal. It is shameful that as a country, we allow procedures on farm animals that would never be allowed to be carried out on our family cat or dog without pain relief. We need a radical overhaul of animal cruelty laws.

“It is so disturbing that many of the cattle that survive this torture are then exported on ships of misery and death to the Middle East. Live Export of animals is an abomination and must be banned.

“The Greens are listening to the community and pushing for nationally consistent animal welfare laws to protect animals from this cruelty.” she concluded.

Councils raise awareness to prevent car theft this Christmas

Having a car stolen is stressful, inconvenient and costly, particularly during the festive season.

However, it’s the unfortunate reality that many residents across the Lower Hunter will face, with motor vehicle thefts traditionally spiking over summer.
CarTheftPreventionProgram-(1).jpgMayors from the Greater Newcastle Area including Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Port Stephens have joined forces to reduce vehicle thefts in a region-wide initiative that aims to educate people about how to prevent falling victim to thieves.

“One of the biggest factors to motor vehicle theft is home break-ins. It’s common for a home burglar to steal car keys,” City of Newcastle Community Safety Facilitator Lisa Davis said.

“The majority of home burglaries are opportunistic, with burglars targeting houses they perceive as providing the easiest and quickest access points.”

Some simple tips for preventing motor vehicle theft include:

·         Keeping your vehicle keys out of sight when you are at home

·         Never leaving them near doors or windows

·         Do not include your name and address on key ring tags.

In 2017, 50 per cent of stolen motor vehicles had been parked on the street and 37 per cent were taken from residential dwellings in Newcastle.

Getting in the habit of checking your keys are not still in your vehicle after taking the grocery bags inside can also help reduce the risk of your vehicle being stolen.

Historically, televisions and computers were among the items stolen in home burglaries, however vehicles are now the most common target, with keys the sole item stolen in roughly 1-in-4 break and enter cases.

NSW Police has advised this trend for residential addresses is due to a shift in car theft practices, with thieves targeting homes to steal keys of vehicles, rather than pursuing vehicles in public areas as likely to be under surveillance.

City of Newcastle secured $15,000 of funding from the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) to roll out a car theft prevention campaign which is supported by surrounding local councils.

SYDNEY LIGHT RAIL TO OPEN DECEMBER 14

Trams will carry passengers through Sydney’s streets for the first time in nearly 60 years when the CBD and South East Light Rail opens on Saturday, 14 December.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance today announced the start date for the first light rail service to run down George Street since 1961.

“The CBD and South East Light Rail is a big step towards revitalising our city and will transform the way we live, work and go out in Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Trams will be fare-free for the opening weekend so the community can ride the new light rail to celebrate this historic event.

“The new network will move up to 13,500 commuters an hour during peak time in both directions, replacing the conga line of buses which used to sit in traffic on George Street. A coupled tram holds up to 450 customers, the equivalent of up to nine standard buses.”

Minister for Transport Andrew Constance revealed the first passenger services will start at 11am on Saturday and run between Circular Quay and Randwick until 1am.

“This is an exciting time and we expect a huge turnout at Circular Quay of people taking a ride on the new trams before regular services start on Monday,” Mr Constance said.

“With passenger services right around the corner it’s more important than ever for the community to pay attention to safety messages around trams.

“We have launched multiple safety campaigns telling people to stay safe around light rail. We need pedestrians to keep their heads up and drivers to stay out of the tram corridor and not queue across intersections.”

Services on the CBD and South East Light Rail will run from 5am to 1am every day of the week.

BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Work is underway on an innovative 73-unit housing complex in the heart of Sydney that will deliver improved support for young people leaving out-of-home care.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said Foyer Central in Chippendale is a state-of-the-art development that will help tackle youth homelessness by providing stable accommodation and wrap around services.

“Foyer Central will provide safe, affordable housing for young people combined with services that focus on work, study and development,” Mr Ward said.

“This new property is more than just a roof over a young person’s head. It gives them a solid foundation for life by providing the support they need to thrive.”

Foyer Central will support young people aged between 18 and 22 and aims to reduce the number of young people experiencing homelessness, increase completion of education qualifications and increase employment in the young adult population.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the project is an example of innovative Social Impact Investments the NSW Government is making to improve life for vulnerable people.
“These investments bring together the expertise of the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to tackle challenging social problems,” Mr Perrottet said.
“An investment in our youth is an investment in our future and it’s encouraging to see projects like Foyer Central get underway that will give young people an opportunity to get their lives back on track.”
The NSW Government has partnered with SGCH, Uniting, Social Ventures Australia and the City of Sydney to deliver the project, which aligns with the Premier’s priority of halving street sleeping across NSW by 2025.

SGCH Group CEO Scott Langford said Foyer is the culmination of strong collaboration between the Government and non-government organisations.

“Drawing on the capacity and expertise of experienced partners, Foyer will have a positive impact on residents and the local community, bringing much-needed social and affordable housing to Sydney’s inner city,” Mr Langford said.

Foyer Central comprises 53 self-contained units for young people aged 18-22 years who have experienced out-of-home care. The property will also provide 20 affordable units, managed by SGCH, for low-income workers.

The model builds on the internationally recognised youth foyer, designed to help young people break the cycle of disadvantage. The project is due for completion in 2021

RMIT ABC FACT CHECK INVESTIGATION FINDS LABOR’S FIREFIGHTING FUNDING CUT CLAIM “DOESN’T STACK UP”

An RMIT ABC Fact Check investigation has found claims made by Labor leader Jodi McKay, at the height of the bushfire crisis in NSW last month, that the NSW firefighting budget was facing a $40 million budget cut, to be wrong.

The independent analysis found Labor’s claim “doesn’t stack up” and that crucial information such as tens of millions of dollars spent on retrospective reimbursements made in 2018-19 for natural disasters had not been taken in to account.

The report also said changes to legislation that made it easier for firefighters to claim workers compensation for cancers, which caused spikes in funding to cover retrospective claims, had been ignored.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said Jodi McKay had no option but to apologise to emergency services workers and the people of NSW for making a false claim in the midst of a bushfire crisis.

“Playing politics like this in the middle of a bushfire crisis was simply appalling behaviour and the Opposition Leader needs to admit she was wrong,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Hundreds of homes were destroyed, people lost their lives, and we had the Opposition Leader claiming the Government had cut funding.”

‘‘Given her constant claims of integrity this is a damning report, it shows Labor has no idea how funding works unless it comes delivered in an Aldi bag.”

“At a time of crisis the role of people in public office is to bring people together, not undermine public confidence in the work of the thousands of fire fighters and emergency personnel putting their lives on the line.”

“The reality is we are spending more than ever before on emergency services and keeping people safe.

“Labor tried to cook our books this time … and they got caught … again.”

Read the RMIT ABC Fact Check report here: https://ab.co/364yd7U

GOING GLOBAL: PUTTING NSW ON THE WORLD STAGE

Thousands of new jobs will be created across industries of the future including advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and space, as NSW launches the nation’s most ambitious international investment strategy.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian today launched Global NSW – a strategy to unlock international investment into NSW to keep our State as the nation’s economic powerhouse.

“As Premier, I have worked hard to bring international investment into NSW, helping to secure 17 MOUs into our Western Sydney Aerotropolis,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This international investment will translate to high quality local jobs.

“Our new strategy takes this work to the next level. This is about expanding our key markets around the world and ensuring we take advantage of the incredible economic opportunities on our doorstep.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade John Barilaro said under the strategy the number of trade and investment offices located overseas will grow from 11 to 21.

“NSW has successfully marketed itself globally as a ‘bucket list’ tourism destination for decades and it’s time to take that up a notch and highlight our State as this region’s centre of excellence for business, industry and innovation,” Mr Barilaro said.

As part of the strategy, revamping the NSW trade and investment network will include the appointments of an Agent General in London and five Senior NSW Commissioners in Mumbai, New York, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.

The new strategy will focus on key growth industries, including:

  • Health
  • Defence and aerospace
  • Agribusiness and food
  • Resources
  • Infrastructure

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said a key part of ensuring the State’s economic future was making more of expanding markets in China, South-East Asia and India, as well as diversifying our exports in established markets like Japan, the US and Europe.

“NSW has always been a leader, not a follower, and as part of this Strategy we will target growth in sectors such as medtech, cybersecurity, space, advanced manufacturing, quantum computing and blockchain,” Mr Perrottet said.

To view the Global NSW Strategy please visit: global.nsw.gov.au

Police investigate attempted armed robbery – Singleton

Police are investigating an attempted armed robbery at Singleton early this morning.

About 4am today (Thursday 5 December 2019), a 32-year-old male employee was inside a newsagency on John Street, Singleton, when two men entered through the rear door armed with a tomahawk and an iron bar.

The men demanded cash before the 32-year-old became involved in a struggle with the pair and forced them out the door.

Officers attached to Hunter Valley Police District attended a short time later and established a crime scene.

The man was taken to Singleton Hospital for treatment to minor cuts and grazes to his arms and forehead.

Investigations into the incident are continuing.

Police are appealing for anyone who may have noticed any suspicious behaviour in the area at that time or who may have CCTV or dashcam vision to contact Singleton Police on 6578 7499 or to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Proactive policing continues to help drive down crime

NSW Police Commissioner, Michael Fuller APM has welcomed the latest crime figures released by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).

The figures, released yesterday, show the rate of crime across most of NSW has remained stable or fallen over the last two years.

In the 24 months leading up to September 2019, there has been a reduction in the following major crime categories across the state:

– Break and enter – dwelling (down 6.1%)

– Steal from dwelling (down 2.8%)

– Steal from person (down 5.8%)

– Malicious damage to property (down 3.7%)

Of the remaining 13 major crime categories, 12 remained stable.

The only major exception to this was steal from retail store (up 9%). This can largely be attributed to increased proactive work, including specifically targeted operations.

Commissioner Fuller said police will continue to implement measures to stay ahead of crime.

“These figures demonstrate how proactive policing continues to have a positive impact on reducing crime across the state.

“Police have a range of capabilities available to them that are used to stay ahead of criminals planning to commit these crimes.

“Our focus will always be community safety, and we will continue our efforts to disrupt crime before it happens,” Commissioner Fuller said.