Man charged following alleged break-in at registered club – Muswellbrook

Police have arrested a man following an alleged break-in at a registered club in the Hunter Valley this morning.

About 2am (Thursday 18 July 2019), a man allegedly gained access into the Sydney Street club and entered the office area, where he removed an amount of cash, before leaving the club.

Police from Hunter Valley Police District attended and established a crime scene.

About 1.30pm, officers attended Scott Street, Muswellbrook and arrested a 34-year-old man.

He was taken to Muswellbrook Police Station where he was charged with break, enter and steal.

He was refused bail to appear at Muswellbrook Local Court tomorrow (Friday 19 July 2019).

MAJOR UPGRADE FOR SYDNEY’S CRUISE TERMINAL

Two new giant gangways have arrived at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

The custom-built walkways have been designed to better support visits from larger cruise ships, some which carry over 5,000 passengers.

Arriving fully assembled, the gangways were unloaded by crane and installed on the wharf over two days.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the two new gangways will improve the terminal’s efficiency.

“These new passenger bridges will move over 1,200 people every 30 minutes. The great thing is they increase capacity and speed up boarding and disembarking, making it a much more enjoyable experience for the hundreds of thousands of passengers welcomed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal every year,” Mr Constance said.

Following a period of testing and commissioning, the new gangways will be operational in time for the 2019/20 cruise season.

The installation of the new gangways builds on the NSW Government’s significant investments in Sydney’s cruise terminal facilities to ensure the city is the leading cruise tourism destination in Australia.

Over 1.6 million cruise passengers transit through Sydney’s two cruise terminals: the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Cruise Terminal, making New South Wales the home of cruise in Australia.

The 300-plus cruise ships visiting New South Wales each year generate $2.75 billion for the state’s economy, support almost 10,000 jobs and generate $800 million in wages.

Business areas to get boost from events funding

Businesses, not-for-profit organisations and community groups are invited to apply for around $900,000 in funding as part of a program designed to attract more people into the City’s business areas.

Funding will be provided through an Expression of Interest process for projects or events in or surrounding the City Centre, Hamilton, Wallsend and New Lambton.

Funding of up to $500,000 for a single project or event in the Newcastle CBD is possible under the new program, with smaller grants of up to $15,000 available for events that are staged in Hamilton, Wallsend and New Lambton.

“It’s going to be very exciting to see what the new funding program generates in terms of ideas for new projects and events in the City CBD and some of our smaller commercial areas,” City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said.

“Newcastle has long been considered the creative capital of Australia, and now we are putting money on the table to turn these ideas into events that activate local business areas.

“The funding is drawn from a special levy that commercial ratepayers in the city and parts of Hamilton, Wallsend and New Lambton pay. For the past decade the community had limited visibility of how the money was being spent.

“Now, instead of money being frittered away on administration and employee costs, it will be invested directly into events and projects that will attract people to local business districts.”

From 2011 to last month, the City provided more than $8 million funded via the special levy to three Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) and two local chambers of commerce.

A review last year revealed major problems with the model, resulting in one BIA voluntarily suspending itself and City of Newcastle terminating the funding agreements of Newcastle Now and Hamilton Chamber of Commerce due to significant governance breaches.

A new model was adopted by Council in May after it decided that BIAs in Newcastle, Mayfield, Hamilton and Wallsend should receive no more than $100,000 annually.

The City is now working with local businesses in Mayfield, Hamilton and the City Centre to form new BIAs, with the aim of entering into 12-month service agreements.

The Wallsend BIA will continue to operate without change.

Council also voted in May to ban special rates from being used by BIAs on employee and administration costs, stipulating that funds should go towards events and projects that activate and promote the business areas.

A new shared resource to manage the administration responsibilities will be appointed in July to ensure previous governance issues within BIAs won’t re-occur.

Expressions of Interest applications for the new funding are open now and close on Friday 9 August 2019.

Great Australian Bight must be protected

The government must rule out drilling in the Great Australian Bight rather than passing the buck to the regulator, Greens say.

“Pressure from the overwhelming majority of South Australian’s to protect the Bight must be acted on by the government,” Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“South Australians and increasing numbers of Australians around the country want a ban on drilling in the Bight.

“The Morrison government is grossly mistaken if they think a tick and flick ‘audit of the regulator’ will satisfy community concerns. It is the role of the government to represent the people and the people have made their wishes clear.

“This ‘audit is nothing more than a box ticking exercise. The terms of reference are so narrow that it makes a mockery of the real concerns of tens of thousands of South Australians who remain opposed to drilling in the Bight.

“All MPs have the opportunity to protect the Bight by supporting my Bill to ban drilling in the Great Australian Bight. They should think long and hard about what their constituents expect of them.

“The Bight is home to many threatened species, and responsible for thousands and thousands of fishing and tourism jobs. It must be protected, not exploited for more dangerous fossil fuels. Anything less is not good enough.”

Two women charged after Strike Force Raptor seize drugs and cash – New Lambton

Strike Force Raptor have charged two women with alleged drug supply offences following a vehicle stop near Newcastle yesterday.

About 1pm (Tuesday 16 July 2019), officers from the Criminal Groups Squad’s Strike Force Raptor North, with assistance from Newcastle City Target Action Group, stopped a Holden Astra on Monash Road, New Lambton, and spoke with the driver, a 35-year-old woman, and her 24-year-old passenger.

Officers conducted a search of the vehicle and allegedly located 8.66g of methylamphetamine, a prescribed restricted substance, several goods suspected of being stolen and cash.

Both women were arrested and taken to Waratah Police Station.

The 35-year-old Adamstown woman was charged with driving while disqualified- second offence, possess prohibited drug (x3), and supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity).

She was refused bail to appear before Newcastle Local Court today (Wednesday 17 July 2019).

The 24-year-old Lambton woman was charged with supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), possess prohibited drug (x4), deal with property proceeds of crime, goods in custody (x3) and possess prescribed restricted substance.

She was granted conditional bail to appear before Newcastle Local Court on Thursday 15 August 2019.

Strike Force Raptor was established in 2009 and conducts proactive investigations and intelligence-based, high-impact policing operations to prevent and disrupt conflicts, and dismantle any network engaged in serious organised criminal activity.

MAJOR UPGRADE FOR SYDNEY’S CRUISE TERMINAL

Two new giant gangways have arrived at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

The custom-built walkways have been designed to better support visits from larger cruise ships, some which carry over 5,000 passengers.

Arriving fully assembled, the gangways were unloaded by crane and installed on the wharf over two days.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the two new gangways will improve the terminal’s efficiency.

“These new passenger bridges will move over 1,200 people every 30 minutes. The great thing is they increase capacity and speed up boarding and disembarking, making it a much more enjoyable experience for the hundreds of thousands of passengers welcomed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal every year,” Mr Constance said.

Following a period of testing and commissioning, the new gangways will be operational in time for the 2019/20 cruise season.

The installation of the new gangways builds on the NSW Government’s significant investments in Sydney’s cruise terminal facilities to ensure the city is the leading cruise tourism destination in Australia.

Over 1.6 million cruise passengers transit through Sydney’s two cruise terminals: the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Cruise Terminal, making New South Wales the home of cruise in Australia.

The 300-plus cruise ships visiting New South Wales each year generate $2.75 billion for the state’s economy, support almost 10,000 jobs and generate $800 million in wages.

Breakthrough in finding a car park in the CBD

In an Australian first, motorists can now access new digital parking technology that guides them to available parking spaces within the Newcastle CBD.

The Find & Park function is the latest addition to City of Newcastle’s popular EasyPark app, which allows users to pay for parking and top up any additional time needed, remotely, using just their smart phone.

Find & Park has helped revolutionise parking in several European cities, and now Newcastle has been selected as the first city in Australia.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said Find & Park was a game changer for parking in the city and would build on the success of the EasyPark app, which has now surpassed cash payments as the second most popular way to pay for parking behind credit card transactions.

“Find & Park takes the stress out of driving by providing motorists with clear, concise information on where best to find a park,” he said.

“It is an incredibly intelligent form of technology that has been adopted by some of the world’s smartest and most technologically savvy cities, such as Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Rome, Milan and Barcelona.”

Find-Park.jpgTo use Find & Park, motorists just need to open the EasyPark app and click ‘Find’, then enter their destination.

An in-built map then guides them to the best parking area which is closest to their destination.

The Find & Park map provides motorists with colour-coded ‘easy’, ‘moderate’ or ‘difficult’ options for on-street parking closest to their destination.

Data collected from a survey of parking spaces available in the city across a six-week period will initially inform the app, which will be refined and improved with the parking data generated by users.

Cr Clausen said the new Park and Find function would play a major role in easing congestion caused by motorists searching for parks.

“Information provided by EasyPark shows about 30 per cent of traffic in congested European cities, where the technology originates, is caused by people searching for parking,” he said.

“The technology will allow motorists to make better informed parking decisions, just like red and green parking indicators have done for drivers accessing car parks at major shopping centres in Newcastle and elsewhere.”

Currently, the Find & Park service is only available within the Newcastle CBD. City of Newcastle is currently working on expanding the footprint to other parts of the LGA.

Last month, City of Newcastle recorded 45,517 EasyPark transactions, close to 8,000 more than the 37,528 transactions recorded for cash payments.

The popularity of digital payments has been attributed to the City’s 25 per cent discount on parking rates introduced in January and extended to the end of 2019.

Separately, free parking at the mall parking station on Saturdays has also been extended until the end of 2019 to help free up on-street parking in the CBD.

The EasyPark app can be downloaded via the Apple app store by typing EasyPark or at Google Play for Android users. Just look for the bright pink square with the white ‘e’ in it

Motorists can also call EasyPark on 1300 734 070 for assistance with the app.

Drivers are reminded to adhere to NSW laws governing correct phone use while driving, such as using a fixed phone cradle only to make and take calls. For further information on this, visit https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/mobilephones/know-the-rules.html

Greens call for urgent Australian Government action in the face of cultural genocide of Uighur people

Following Four Corners last night, which showed families being torn apart by the Chinese Government’s mass incarceration of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, leader of the Australian Greens Richard Di Natale called for the Australian Government to take urgent action.

Di Natale said: “We are seeing the Chinese Government commit cultural genocide against the Uighur people.  More than one million people have been rounded up and put in massive internment camps.  The mass surveillance in Xinjiang is frightening, as is the forced labour and restrictions on free movement.

“The Australian Government must call this out for what it is, and impose targeted sanctions such as travel bans against Chinese Government officials and entities credibly alleged to be responsible for these serious human rights violations.”

“It’s devastating to hear the stories of Australians and their families, like Sadam Abudusalamu, who have been victims of these human rights abuses. Those who spoke out on Four Corners last night showed incredible bravery. The Australian Government must demand the release of Australian citizens, and any relatives of Australian citizens, who are in arbitrary detention.”

“The Greens welcome the fact that last week Australia added its name to a joint statement urging China to end its mass arbitrary detentions in Xinjiang and allow access for UN and independent international observers, but more must be done.”

STAR WARS COMES TO SYDNEY AS ILM COMMITS TO PERMANENT STUDIO

More than 500 local jobs will be created when Disney-owned visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) sets up a new studio in Sydney, establishing NSW as a global destination for post, digital and visual effects (PDV).

Premier Gladys Berejiklian joined Executive Creative Director and Head of ILM Rob Bredow and ILM Executive Luke Hetherington at Fox Studios Australia today to make the announcement.

Ms Berejiklian said ILM’s decision to choose NSW as its Australian base is a big win for the State.

“ILM is responsible for the visual effects of more than 350 feature films, including Star Wars, Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Avengers,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Having the world’s leading visual effects company now agreeing to set up here permanently and commit to teaching invaluable skills to hundreds of people in NSW is a big coup for our State. This is only the third studio ILM has opened outside of North America.

“The digital skills taught by the best in the world will also benefit many other industries in NSW, including software development, robotics, engineering and defence.”

Mr Bredow and Mr Hetherington confirmed that recruitment will begin immediately to complete post, digital and visual effects for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Mr Bredow said Sydney is an ideal location for ILM’s fifth studio.

“There is abundant artistic and technical talent in the region which are both keys to ILM’s culture of innovation. It’s particularly exciting that the first film our new studio will contribute to will be Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” Mr Bredow said.

The announcement follows the NSW Government’s recent move to offer a 10 per cent tax incentive for PDV firms investing over $500,000 in NSW. This is on top of Federal incentives, making NSW an even more attractive location for film production.

The new incentive brings NSW in line with global locations such as the US, UK and Canada, in addition to competing States.

As part of today’s announcement, the NSW Government will also provide a $6 million contribution which will be matched by ILM to establish training programs to build specialised PDV skills for local workers.

Minister for Jobs and Investment Stuart Ayres said PDV is a $15 billion global industry and one that offers highly skilled jobs for NSW.

“We have a shortage of skilled PDV workers in NSW and today’s announcement will help us attract crew who have relocated, as well as drive new teams that will go through ILM’s exciting JEDI Academy program amongst other learning opportunities,” Mr Ayres said.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin welcomed ILM to Sydney and said he was excited about all of the opportunities that this will open up for NSW.

“Securing ILM’s setup in Sydney will deliver an estimated $333 million in post-production business in the first five years and an expected $100 million each year after,” Mr Harwin said. “We are thrilled to be the home of their new studio.”

Mr Hetherington will see his role expand to include the new ILM studio, which will set up initially at Fox Studios Australia as the company researches options for their permanent Sydney studio.

Cuts to deeming rates a cash boost for about 1 million Australians

About 1 million Australians will benefit from a $600 million boost across the next four years following the Morrison Government’s decision to cut deeming rates.

Minister for Families and Social Services Senator Anne Ruston said the changes would benefit about 630,000 age pensioners and almost 350,000 people receiving other payments.

“The lower deeming rate will decrease from 1.75 per cent to 1.0 per cent for financial investments up to $51,800 for single pensioners and $86,200 for pensioner couples. The upper deeming rate will be cut from 3.25 per cent to 3.0 per cent for balances over these amounts,” Minister Ruston said.

“It will mean more money in the pockets of older Australians. Under the new rates age pensioners whose income is assessed using deeming will receive up to $40.50 a fortnight for couples, $1053 extra a year, and $31 a fortnight for singles, $804 a year.”

The extra money will start flowing through into peoples bank accounts from the end of September in line with the regular indexation of the pension and will be backdated to July 1.

“The decision shows the Morrison Government has listened to and acted on the concerns expressed by older Australians who receive a part pension,” Minister Ruston said.

“While 75 per cent of aged pensioners are not affected by deeming this decision recognises that it is an important issue for those who are.”

“Changes to the deeming rate will also benefit people receiving other income tested payments including the Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment, and income support allowances and supplements such as the Parenting Payment and Newstart.”

“As Minister I made it a priority to be thoroughly informed on this issue to make sure that any decision made on deeming rates was appropriate and reflected the current returns on financial investments.”