NSW TO DRIVE CLEAN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

NSW is set to become a world leader in low emission industries thanks to an unparalleled $750 million NSW Government program.

Energy Minister Matt Kean said the Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program is about co-investing with industry to reduce our carbon emissions and develop low emissions technologies for the future.

“NSW was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to set a net zero objective, but we must get there in a way that grows the economy, makes our businesses and industry more competitive and puts us ahead of the pack in the low carbon global economy,” Mr Kean said.

“This $750 million program will support the development of new clean technologies, create world-leading centres of research and development and help existing industries future-proof their operations.”
Funding will focus on three key areas:

  • $380 million to support existing industries to re-tool with low emissions alternatives and future proof their businesses;
  • $175 million to set up low carbon industries such as green hydrogen to create the jobs of the future; and,
  • $195 million to research and develop new clean technologies so we decarbonise in ways that grow the economy.

“Almost 30 per cent of our State’s carbon emissions are created by our top 55 industrial facilities, which are critical contributors to the NSW economy,” Mr Kean said.

“Supporting their move to cleaner equipment, technology and processes will significantly reduce emissions, while helping to protect jobs and maintain a resilient economy.

“Our landmark Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap will give NSW some of the cheapest, cleanest most reliable energy in the world.

“This program will build on that to help create the jobs of the future and drive a clean industrial revolution.”

The program is a cornerstone element of the NSW Government’s Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030 and leverages existing NSW Government initiatives including Renewable Energy Zones, and Special Activation Precincts.

Expressions of interest for the program will open in April, with businesses and industry encouraged to jump online and register. For more information visit www.energysaver.com.au/netzeroindustry

CELEBRATING NSW WOMEN’S WEEK 2021

Financial independence, more opportunities for rural and regional women and entrepreneurship are among the topics promoting gender equality during NSW Women’s Week, under the theme #ChooseToChallenge.

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor urged people in NSW to embrace the week’s educational opportunities and recognition of the achievements of women and girls.

“When the status of women is advanced, everyone benefits because healthy, actively involved and heard women boost prosperity and innovation in NSW,” Mrs Taylor said.

“Women deserve to be celebrated for the outstanding contributions they make across our state in social, economic, cultural and political spheres.”

“There are still barriers women face, so we need to use this time to develop practical steps, foster resilience and spearhead change.”

Events during NSW Women’s Week include an intergenerational forum tackling work-family balance, an entrepreneurship panel on championing change and a networking event for rural and regional women.

The $100,000 Women’s Week Grants also enable 27 organisations to host programs – many regionally – including a cultural craft group, university tax clinic and mountain bike club.

“We want to empower women to make their own decisions, to move forward with confidence and know they can proactively create the future they want. Knowledge is power.”

The week starts with International Women’s Day on 8 March and the NSW Women of the Year Awards are announced on 10 March and for the first time includes two new categories.

‘The One to Watch Award’ recognises an outstanding girl aged 7 to 17, while the ‘NSW Woman of Excellence Award’ will go to a role model excelling in her field.

The NSW Government is committed to supporting women’s economic opportunity and advancement; health and wellbeing; and participation and empowerment.

For more information, visit https://www.women.nsw.gov.au/news-and-events/nsw-womens-week

North Haven man charged over alleged bushfire fraud – Strike Force Roche

Detectives have charged a man over an alleged fraud relating to bushfire support recovery grants.

In April 2020, Strike Force Roche was established by several police districts within the Northern Region to investigate alleged fraudulent claims for bushfire disaster relief and small business grants through government agencies.

Following extensive inquiries, a 31-year-old man was issued a Court Attendance Notice at Kempsey Police Station about 10am today (Saturday 6 March 2021), for two counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception.

Police will allege in court that the man fraudulently obtained two NSW Government grants, receiving a total of $20,000 in April 2020.

The North Haven man was granted conditional bail to appear at Port Macquarie Local Court on Wednesday 21 April 2021.

Investigations under Strike Force Roche continue.

ROADMAP TO REFORM ROLLED OUT FOR INFRASTRUCTURE CONTRIBUTIONS

The NSW Government will undertake major reforms to the infrastructure contributions system, unlocking up to $12 billion in productivity benefits through changes to how public facilities and services are funded through the planning system.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes today announced the Government had accepted the NSW Productivity Commission’s 29 recommendations for legislative, policy and operational reform of infrastructure charges.

“These important reforms will ensure communities across the State will have the services and facilities they need and is an example of the type of microeconomic reform that will boost productivity and make NSW an even more attractive place to live and invest,” Mr Perrottet said.

“These changes will help drive our economic recovery from the pandemic by providing local jobs on smaller-scale infrastructure projects by encouraging investment in new housing supply and in the end will create better connected communities.”

The NSW Government will publish its blueprint to implement the recommendations and how it will be delivered in the next 18 months.

“This is the biggest shake-up of the system in three decades and could deliver billions of dollars of benefits over the next 20 years through better services, savings for business and better public spaces,” Mr Stokes said.

“Solving the uncertainty of infrastructure contributions was one of four pillars of our Planning Reform Action Plan. That’s why we’re adopting the Productivity Commission’s recommendations in full to build a more timely, transparent and certain planning system.

“New and growing communities need new roads, parks, schools and hospitals, and it is imperative industry and communities have a clear understanding of how these services get delivered.

Alongside changes to the local government rate peg methodology, we’re getting the settings right for local communities to proactively plan for growth. Digital tools will also help create certainty for investors, communities and local government.

The NSW Government will introduce amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 to the Parliament in coming months to facilitate the recommendations.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will establish consultation groups to work with local government, industry and the community on the implementation process.

For more information visit www.planning.nsw.gov.au/infrastructure-contributions-reform.

COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS TO EASE AT SCHOOLS

Restrictions in NSW schools will be eased to allow parents back on to school grounds, dancing activities to proceed and singing groups to recommence in a COVID-safe way, the NSW Government announced today.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell announced the following restrictions will be eased on Monday, 8 March 2021:

  • Parents and caretakers are able to enter school grounds but should continue to follow COVID-safe practices, including physical distancing.
  • Parents and caretakers can attend school sporting events. School sporting should align with requirements for community sporting competitions and training activities in NSW.
  • There are no recommended limits on singing groups in schools, including for in-class educational activities such as group repetition, chanting, recitation, or singing activities. Five metres is recommended between a group of performing singers and the audience, where practicable.
  • Dancing activities, including dance classes, balls, formals and social events, can proceed, but organisers should select venues with adequate floor space to comply with any venue restrictions.
  • Gathering of parents and community members for school events, such as P&C meetings, can continue in a COVID-safe way.

Ms Mitchell thanked NSW school communities for their patience and innovative thinking during the pandemic.

“We are grateful to parents, teachers and principals who have worked tirelessly to keep school communities safe during the pandemic and ensure students continue to receive a high-quality education,” Ms Mitchell said.

“I am pleased parents are now allowed to return to school grounds, watch school sports and be involved again in school activities.

“Schools will continue to operate in a COVID-safe way with less restrictions in place. Hand sanitiser and enhanced cleaning will remain in place in all schools.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard thanked school communities for following the health advice.

“NSW started its vaccine rollout and we have been able to ease restrictions, including in schools, which is a terrific achievement,” Mr Hazzard said.

“However, the pandemic is not over yet. We still need principals, teachers, parents and students to continue to follow the health advice while at the same time enabling parents to support their children’s studies.”

Teachers, students or parents who have COVID-19 symptoms should not attend school until a negative test has been received.

Detailed guidance for schools has been updated to reflect these changes and principals are pleased to welcome parents and carers back to school.

Schools will continue to have COVID-19 Safety Plans and record keeping procedures in place. Visitors to NSW public schools must still use of the Service NSW QR Code system at the school’s reception.

WOMEN’S SPORT FUNDING BOOST

Sports can apply for up to $650,000 in grants to assist women’s sport following the opening of the NSW Government’s Her Sport Her Way Grant Program.

The Her Sport Her Way Grant Program provides more than $2.5 million over four years to State Sporting Organisations and State Sporting Organisations for People with Disability to help increase participation, promote leadership and encourage inclusivity.

Minister for Sport Geoff Lee said the NSW Government is committed to improving the participation of women in sport as players and leaders.

“With International Women’s Day next week it is the perfect time for sports to consider innovative ways to get more women and girls involved in sport, both on and off the field,” Mr Lee said.

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the program will be a great way to bring communities together and promote leadership.

“We’re committed to building a safer, stronger NSW, and this means enabling women by increasing opportunities to participate and making sure every woman and girl can enjoy their sport to the fullest and feel at ease before and after they hit the field.”

The Her Sport Her Way Grants Program is part of the NSW Government’s strategy to deliver positive change for women’s sport in NSW.

Grants of $10,000 – $50,000 are available with Sports able to seek grants for multiple projects across various locations.

In 2019, 23 sporting organisations shared $635,000 in grants for 27 projects, including triathlon, water polo and wheelchair sports.

Triathlon NSW delivered a series of women-only triathlons across eleven locations with a focus on 12-25 year old females who had never participated in the sport before under the theme ‘finish lines, not finish times’.

“The Her Sport Her Way Grant Program enabled 11 of our clubs across NSW to run very successful and beginner-friendly multisport events for women of all ages,” Triathlon NSW lead staff on the ‘Her Sport Her Way’ program, Alana Leabeater said.

“We received wonderful feedback from first-time triathletes who thrived in the welcoming and supportive atmosphere at these events, and who are looking forward to continuing their triathlon journey with their local club this season.”

Water Polo NSW used its grant to deliver the ‘Girls Making Waves’ program which introduces girls to basic water polo skills and team building in a fun environment.

“Girls Making Waves provides girls in regional and metro NSW with the opportunity to try water polo, splash around in inflatable tubes and quite simply have fun,” Vice President Water Polo NSW Suzanne Ramke said.

Wheelchair Sports NSW created the Roll Model series to increase the visibility of female role models in disability sport which included the How I Roll anthem featuring ARIA nominated vocalist Casey Donovan.

“Our Her Sport Her Way Grant allowed us to reach girls and women with disabilities through the passion point of music. The ‘How I Roll’ campaign will have a lasting legacy for female participation in wheelchair sport,” CEO of Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT Mick Garnett said.

The Her Sport Her Way Grants Program is open until 12 April 2021. For further information visit:www.sport.nsw.gov.au/clubs/grants/her-sport-her-way

CHANGES IN COVID-19 RESIDENTIAL TENANCY SUPPORT

With the NSW economy on a path to recovery, the NSW Government has announced new plans to help the residential tenancy market transition back to pre COVID-19 conditions.

In April 2020, the NSW Government introduced temporary measures to support landlords and tenants adversely impacted by the pandemic, stabilise the housing market and limit unnecessary social movement.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, said the NSW Government will now make changes to these measures to allow the rental market to adjust to new circumstances and the current economic climate.

“NSW responded quickly to the challenges of COVID-19, providing support and assistance to tenants and landlords across the state. The measures we introduced kept a roof over people’s heads during an incredibly uncertain time,” Mr Anderson said.

In February 2021, Fair Trading reported an 85 per cent drop in requests for assistance and complaints relating to COVID-19 rent negotiations, compared to June last year.

“With the economy rebounding and the unemployment rate stabilising, the time is right to transition back to normal tenancy laws,” Mr Anderson said.

“That’s why I will introduce legislation in the next fortnight to start a six-month transition from 27 March, when the eviction moratorium and requirement for tenants and landlords to renegotiate rental payments will expire.

“We want to ensure tenants with COVID-induced rental arrears are protected from being evicted at the end of the month. So for six months from 27 March, tenants and landlords will be assisted to enter a repayment plan for any COVID-induced arrears and tenants can only be evicted if they fail to meet the terms of that plan.

“Our number one priority has always been to keep people safe and in accommodation, and introducing a transition process instead of bringing this support to an abrupt halt is by far the most fair way to ensure this happens.”

These protections are especially important in regional NSW, where rental markets are tightening and alternative housing isn’t always readily available.

“We are creating a stronger and safer regional NSW and these protections will go a long way to ensuring tenants aren’t left in the lurch due to things outside of their control,” Mr Anderson said.

From 27 March;

  • Current COVID-19 residential tenancy measures will be repealed;
  • The NSW Government will introduce amendments to legislation to prevent tenants from being automatically evicted due to COVID-19 induced rental arrears;
  • Landlords and tenants will be supported to draw up rental repayment plans that enable landlords to recoup COVID-induced arrears, while keeping tenants in their properties; and
  • OVID-19 impacted tenants will be protected from being blacklisted on tenancy databases for arrears.

To find out more about the transitional residential tenancy measures, visit Fair Trading.

4 MILLION CITIZENS USING SERVICE NSW APP

The State Government’s Service NSW app has been downloaded more than four million times, approximately 75 per cent of NSW’s adult population.

The app has been used by patrons across the State for more than 117 million COVID Safe check-ins.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the technology has been a game changer for businesses and customers during the pandemic, while keeping the community safe.

“I want to thank the people of NSW for downloading the Service NSW app more than four million times, accounting for around half the State’s population, which continues to keep our community safe from COVID-19,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We are using technology to enhance the user experience and prioritise public safety, and these figures show that citizens have embraced our digital solutions.

“The app has not only provided an easy solution for businesses and customers for checking in, it importantly assists NSW Health and the contact tracing team in the event of an outbreak.”

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said more than 80,000 businesses are actively using the check-in feature, with 94 per cent giving it the thumbs up.

“We want the customer to be at the centre of everything we do, which is why we are constantly bolstering the app in response to feedback,” Mr Dominello said.

“We have recently updated the app to enable customers to save the details of their dependents and soon the check-out will be easier for customers, with a new reminder notification around the corner.
“You can also use the app to download a Digital Driver Licence, renew registrations and find out the latest COVID advice.”

Further information on Service NSW is available at www.service.nsw.gov.au

NEW NSW LIBERAL PARTY CODE OF CONDUCT

The NSW Liberal Party Executive has unanimously adopted a new Code of Conduct that will govern the behaviour of members, and will help create a positive environment for Members and volunteers.

For some time, the NSW Liberal Party has been developing a new Code of Conduct that reflects our commitment to high standards of behaviour.

The NSW Liberal Party President, the Hon Philip Ruddock AO, said that a lot of work had gone into the development of the new Code.

“This Code compliments the work done at a national level by former State and Federal President, Chris McDiven AO, and former Federal Director, Brian Loughnane AO, by implementing a robust framework governing behaviour and a complaints resolution process to ensure that behaviour that falls short of the standards set out in the Code is dealt with appropriately.”

“There is no doubt that harassment and assault are completely unacceptable in any circumstances. Everyone is entitled to feel safe and no-one should have to be subjected to inappropriate behaviour of any kind,” said Mr Ruddock.

“The new Code reflects a common sense approach in the way members should interact. It is a direct result of detailed input and contribution of many – the State Director, Chris Stone, and his team, the Party’s Audit & Governance Committee, the State Executive, and the Code of Conduct sub-committee,” said Female Vice-President and Chair of the Code of Conduct sub-committee, Mary-Lou Jarvis.

As part of the reforms, the Party will be establishing an autonomous Conduct Review Committee to ensure that complaints can be dealt with promptly and confidentially, while providing procedural fairness for all involved.

AIRPORT METRO ONE STEP CLOSER

Construction of the new Metro railway line, which will service Greater Western Sydney and the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport, is one step closer.

The NSW Government has shortlisted three consortia to deliver the mega project’s tunnelling works. They are:

  • Bouygues Construction Australia Pty Ltd
  • John Holland Gamuda Joint Venture
  • Acciona Construction Australia Pty Ltd

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the successful tunnel builder will deliver 10 kilometres of twin Metro railway tunnels and the associated excavations of station boxes.

“The station box and tunnelling contract is expected to be awarded by the end of this year, with the first of four mega tunnel boring machines expected to be in the ground by the middle of 2023,” Mr Constance said.

“The Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project will support 14,000 jobs, including 250 apprentices, and will inject billions into the NSW and national economies.”

The Australian and NSW governments are jointly delivering the 23km Metro railway and six stations between St Marys and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, including two stations at the airport.