Man charged following police operation – Lower Hunter

A man will face court today charged with multiple offences after being arrested in the state’s Hunter region yesterday.

About 11.00am (Thursday 20 February 2020), officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District were patrolling the Maitland area, when they attempted to stop a Holden Commodore on Streeton Drive, Metford.

The Holden allegedly sped off and collided with a Toyota Corolla at the intersection of Chelmsford Drive, before the driver fled on foot.

The Toyota driver of the other car escaped injury.

Officers commenced an operation to locate the man assisted by the Dog Unit, and following a foot pursuit, the man was found on the roof of a house in nearby Ferraby Drive.

The 31-year-old man was arrested after a struggle with officers and taken to Maitland Hospital under police guard and treated for minor injuries.

He was later discharged and taken to Maitland Police Station where he was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm (DV), two counts of goods in personal custody suspected being stolen (not motor vehicle), armed with intent to commit indictable offence, resist officer in execution of duty, two counts of destroy or damage property, two counts drive motor vehicle during disqualification period, fail to stop and assist after impact cause injury, use offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention, and two counts of enter inclosed land without lawful excuse.

An outstanding revocation of parole warrant was also executed.

Police will allege in court that the man was involved in a domestic-related incident with a 27-year-old woman on Wednesday (19 February 2020),

The man was refused bail to appear at Maitland Local Court today (Friday 21 February 2020).

Escapee located – Newcastle

A prison inmate who escaped from a hospital in Newcastle has been arrested by officers in Kotara.

Earlier today (Thursday 20 February 2020), police launched an extensive search after the 35-year-old man, who was being treated under guard by officers from Corrective Services NSW, absconded from John Hunter Hospital.

The search involved Newcastle City Police District, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, the Dog Unit and PolAir.

Just after 3pm, the man was arrested at a shopping centre on Northcott Drive, Kotara.

The man has been taken to Newcastle Police Station where he is expected to be charged.

Search underway for escapee near Newcastle

A search is underway after a prisoner under the supervision of correctives absconded from a hospital in Newcastle.

Earlier today (Thursday 20 February 2020), police responded following reports a prisoner, who was being treated under guard by officers from Corrective Services NSW, absconded from John Hunter Hospital.

A large-scale search involving local police, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, the Dog Unit and PolAir, is now underway for 35-year-old, James Tozer.

He was last seen running on Lookout Road near Bushlands Close, New Lambton. Members of the community are urged to avoid the area at this time.

James Tozer is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 172cm tall, of slim build with ginger hair. He has bruising around his eyes and was last seen wearing prison greens.

Police are urging the community not to approach him if sighted, instead they should contact Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Greens to introduce Media Freedom Act

A Media Freedom Act to protect the public’s right to know and whistleblowers who speak truth to power, will be introduced into the Senate, Greens Media Spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young announced today.

Senator Hanson-Young who is Chair of the Senate Inquiry into Press Freedoms, said there had been a serious erosion of press freedoms in Australia which was deeply concerning and needing fixing.

“The court ruling on the ABC raids on Monday, which comes after the ABC Ultimo headquarters raid and the raid on the home of a NewsCorp journalist, shows our laws are broken,” she said.

“Journalism is not a crime. We must enshrine media freedoms in legislation which is why I will introduce a Media Freedom Act.

“It’s clear current laws have encroached on journalists’ freedom, not just their ability to write sensitive stories but also to receive information from sensitive sources.”

The Media Freedom Act that Senator Hanson-Young will introduce will:

  • Ensure a contested warrants process, where law enforcement would need to apply to a judge to search a media outlet or access a journalist’s metadata;
  • Protect whistleblowers by introducing a public interest defence;
  • Put the onus on prosecutors to disprove public interest rather than journalists to prove it;
  • Overall, enacts shield laws to protect journalists from being forced to reveal their sources.

“We need contested warrants and protection of journalist’s sources. These are two key reforms witnesses have called for through the Senate Inquiry into Press Freedoms,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“A contested warrants process would mean police can’t just raid a news outlets premises or the home of a journalist like we saw with the ABC and News Corp raids. There would be checks and balance and consideration of what is in the public interest.

“In just two years there’s been about 22 pieces of legislation the Federal Government has rammed through the Parliament that increase secrecy in our democracy, under a guise of ‘national security’.

“The truth is, those in power don’t want the public to know what they’re up to and are shutting down transparency and accountability to serve their own interests.

“The campaign by the Right to Know coalition and evidence given at the Senate Inquiry has provided many examples of wrongdoing and misconduct that would never have had a spotlight on them without whistleblowers and the protection of journalists’ sources and media freedoms.

“What’s really at stake here is one of the pillars of our democracy. From the Afghan Files to Sports Rorts, the Morrison Government is more worried about covering its backside than national security.

“When trust in politics is already so low, a bill to protect public interest journalism is like an insurance policy for our democracy.”

Space Agency Touches Down at Adelaide Home Base

The Australian Space Agency has officially opened its headquarters in the centre of Adelaide today, reaching an exciting milestone in its mission to grow the economy and create new jobs.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Space Agency had made outstanding progress since being established by the Coalition in July 2018 and was now ready to settle into its permanent home in the heart of the Lot Fourteen precinct in Adelaide.

“The Australian Space Agency is central to my Government’s vision to secure more jobs and a larger share of the growing space economy – forecast to be over $1 trillion in size around the globe by 2040,” the Prime Minister said.

“Space captures the imagination and inspires us all. It develops new technologies that improve life on Earth and it offers huge economic and job opportunities.

“That’s why we’re investing almost $700 million into the space sector, including $150 million into Australian businesses so they can pick up more work and support more jobs by partnering with NASA’s Moon to Mars initiative.”

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said South Australia was now at the forefront of the nation’s space endeavours.

“We are now, without a doubt, the space capital of the nation,” said the Premier.

“Young people from across the state have the opportunity to seize incredible jobs across the sector, right here in South Australia.

“We’ve secured the headquarters of the Australian Space Agency, SmartSat CRC, Mission Control and the Space Discovery Centre.

“There’s an ambition to triple the size of Australia’s space economy by 2030, and Adelaide is going to be right at the heart of this monumental project.

“Young South Australians can look up at the stars and genuinely find opportunities right here in this state to pursue their dreams.”

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the opening was another chance to highlight the great opportunities space presents to everyday Australians.

“Australia’s space sector has gone from strength to strength since we established the Agency and I’m confident we will continue to build on that momentum,” Minister Andrews said.

“Space is inspirational but it’s also big business. The Morrison Government is investing heavily in providing opportunity to Australians. We’ve set the goal of tripling the size of the sector in Australia to $12 billion and adding an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.

“But beyond that space will create opportunities for core industries — from manufacturing to mining — to tap into new supply chains.”

Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark AC said our national headquarters is a strong base for the Agency to grow and transform the Australian space industry.

“We’re delighted to have a new home in the centre of Adelaide, and we look forward to developing the Australian Space Discovery Centre and Mission Control, which will open next year,” said Dr Clark.

“I want to thank our team for all the hard work to establish our new facility, on time, and on budget.”

Lot Fourteen also houses other space industry participants including the SmartSat CRC and CSIRO.

AGRIBUSINESS PRECINCT TO BE A GLOBAL LEADER

The production of fresh food in climate controlled greenhouses in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis Agribusiness Precinct has the potential to transform food production in Australia and take produce from Western Sydney to the world.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said a new report has found the Agribusiness Precinct, announced by the NSW Government in March last year, could enable producers to deliver locally grown fresh produce at prices competitive on a global scale.

“The Agribusiness Precinct provides Western Sydney growers with the unique opportunity to export produce from their farms and have it on a plate on the other side of the globe in just 36 hours,” Mr Ayres said.

“With more than 50 per cent of the world’s population within a 12 hour flight from the Western Parkland City, the Agribusiness Precinct will create endless opportunities for families and businesses in Western Sydney.”

The report, commissioned by the Western City & Aerotropolis Authority, compared the cost of producing tomatoes in a greenhouse in Australia to the global market leader, the Netherlands.

The analysis shows it currently costs 52 per cent more to produce a kilogram of greenhouse tomatoes in Australia, but the creation of a large scale precinct for intensive integrated fresh food production in the Western Parkland City would reduce the difference to just eight per cent.

Australia’s proximity to Asia provides an additional benefit due to lower transport costs when compared to European producers.

“We have had a look at how the best greenhouse producers in the world operate and with the creation of the Agribusiness Precinct on the doorstep of a new international airport we have the chance to compete on an international stage,” Mr Ayres said.

“Western Sydney can be the next global leader in high-tech farming and smart climate controlled glasshouses, providing jobs for Western Sydney and fresh and value-added food for both domestic and international markets.”

Large scale greenhouse production, or an Integrated Intensive Production Hub, over 500 hectares has the potential to create 2,500 direct jobs, 12,000 indirect jobs and the capacity to produce 96,000 tonnes of fresh food. This could generate $2.8 billion in additional revenue over a 10 year period.

Planning of the Agribusiness Precinct is underway, with the first businesses expected to be operating ahead of the opening of the Western Sydney Airport.

STATE OF THE ART PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL OPENS ITS DOORS TO STUDENTS

More than 1,100 students at Arthur Phillip High School are settling into their new innovative and state of the art school in Parramatta following its official opening.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell and Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee visited students today at the modern and progressive school.

Ms Berejiklian said that this school is unique and a benchmark globally for schools in dense urban areas.

“Arthur Phillip High School is an example of NSW’s world class education system, and I’m pleased it will serve the community for many generations,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This is not a traditional high school, it is at the forefront of education delivering outstanding learning spaces, and specialist Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics levels to ensure all students receive the best education.”

The school has a capacity for 2,000 students and is connected with nearby educational facilities such as Western Sydney University.

Ms Mitchell said she was thrilled to be with the students to see the new Arthur Phillip High School.

“This is a truly unique school building the NSW Government has delivered in the heart of the Parramatta CBD,” Ms Mitchell said.

“The school has been cleverly designed to deliver extraordinary indoor and outdoor landscaped spaces.”

Dr Lee said Parramatta is steeped in history and during construction over 13,000 Aboriginal and European artefacts were discovered and will be incorporated into the school curriculum in history and science.

“I’m proud that the NSW Government has delivered this landmark project for the Parramatta community,” Dr Lee said.

The NSW Government is investing $6.7 billion over four years to deliver more than 190 new and upgraded schools to support communities across NSW. In addition, a record $1.3 billion is being spent on school maintenance over five years, along with a record $500 million for the sustainable Cooler Classrooms program to provide air conditioning to schools. This is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of NSW.

SPACE STRATEGY PROVIDES LIFT OFF FOR NSW BUSINESSES

NSW will be at the forefront of the rapidly growing billion-dollar space industry under a new Space Strategy announced today.

The NSW Space Industry Development Strategy will maximise opportunities for NSW businesses to take advantage of the growing demand for space technologies estimated to be worth $420 billion globally.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said industries from the cities and regions would have the support of the NSW Government to ensure the state leads the innovative sector.

“Nearly every industry is looking to increase its output and improve its efficiency through space-enabled technologies,” Mr Ayres said.

“Space is not just about what’s up there, it’s also about what’s down here. These technologies are used in robotics, agriculture, energy, communications, transportation, aviation, advanced manufacturing, information technology and construction. They are in the technology we all use in our daily lives.”

The $5 million Space Strategy will include the delivery of a National Space Industry Hub, located in the Sydney Innovation and Technology Precinct, with expressions of interest (EOI) to run the Hub now open.

The EOI process will also include searching for a delivery partner to facilitate access to space for start-ups and researchers looking to commercialise their technologies through a space qualification mission.

The strategy will also support the NSW Government’s commitment to develop a space manufacturing and testing facility at the Aerotropolis. The Western Sydney Aerotropolis will include world-class space, aviation, defence and advanced manufacturing industries and training and research institutions.

NSW currently accounts for 41 per cent of all Australian space businesses and 35 per cent of Australia’s university space research and development.

To download the full NSW space industry development strategy, click here. To submit an EOI for the National Space Hub or space qualification mission, go to the NSW Government eTendering website. Submissions close 22 March 2020.

PRISON OFFICERS TO WEAR BODY-WORN CAMERAS

Frontline officers working in Corrective Services NSW are being rolled out with new cutting-edge body-worn camera technology to improve officer safety and operational transparency.

Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections Anthony Roberts said Immediate Action Teams across the State have begun to use the cameras.

“Our Corrections Officers do a great job under challenging circumstances so it’s vital we provide them with the latest technology to enable them to do that job safely and effectively,” Mr Roberts said.

“Our Immediate Action Teams are the first responders to critical incidents in the correctional environment. This technology will allow them to respond to situations quickly and confidently.”

Officers will primarily use the technology to gather audio and visual evidence in the event of an officer assault, use of force or contraband raid.

The camera is attached to the front of an officer’s uniform in stand-by mode until the officer activates the camera’s record function. Once activated, the camera retains the 30 seconds of video prior to activation and continues recording.

Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said the use of body-worn cameras can help de-escalate incidents and resolve investigations more swiftly.

“These body-worn cameras enable our officers to record high-quality digital video evidence of a contraband raid or use of force with the press of a button,” Mr Severin said.

“Offenders will be on notice. If they try to assault, intimidate or threaten harm to an officer with a body-worn camera, it will be recorded. Our aim is to not only ensure the appropriate documentation of uses of force, but to provide greater protection and assurance to staff.”

The roll-out follows a nine-month trial of body-worn camera technology at several maximum-security centres.

Police target unregistered trail bikes – Lake Macquarie

Officers from Lake Macquarie Police District have taken action against a number of people during an operation targeting the illegal use of unregistered trail bikes.

The pro-active operation was conducted yesterday (Wednesday 19 February 2020), focusing on the areas of Windale, Glendale and Cameron Park.

During the operation, a rider was seen travelling on Main Road, Cameron Park before the 28-year-old man was arrested on Nancy Close about 3pm.

He was taken to Toronto Police Station and charged with drive recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous, display misleading plates, use unregistered and uninsured vehicle, possess prohibited drugs and drive whilst disqualified.

The Teralba man has been refused bail to appear at Toronto Local Court today (Thursday 20 February 2020).

A second rider, a 33-year-old man, was arrested about 4.20pm after being seen travelling from Windale to Dudley.

He was taken to Belmont Police Station and charged with drive recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous, use unregistered and uninsured vehicle, rider not wear helmet, unlicensed rider and trespass.

The Gateshead man has been granted conditional bail to appear at Belmont Local Court on Monday 24 February 2020

During the operation, police also issued three infringements for negligent driving, two youth cautions for ride unregistered bike, and seized four unregistered trail bikes.

Lake Macquarie Police District Commander, Superintendent Daniel Sullivan said police will continue to detect and deter illegal trail bike offences throughout the Lake Macquarie area through these operations.

“The behaviour of trail bike riders is a major concern for police. Their reckless behaviour not only places their lives at risk but more importantly, those of innocent people,” Supt Sullivan said

“When riders are detected breaking the law, police will take appropriate action by issuing infringements, charges, suspending licences and seizing bikes,” he said.