COST OF LIVING SUPPORT: TOLL RELIEF BOOSTED

More than 300,000 drivers will benefit from hip pocket relief as the NSW Government expands its successful Toll Relief program, with major winners expected in Sydney’s west and northwest.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian today announced that from July 1, 2019, drivers who spend $15 or more a week on tolls will be eligible for half-priced vehicle registration. Drivers who spend $25 or more a week on tolls will continue to receive Free Rego. This more than doubles the number of people who can access the scheme.

“We know meeting cost of living pressures are a big challenge for many households and we are committed to doing everything we can to ease those burdens,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“In this year alone, we have given back more than $200 million to people in NSW in cost of living relief and we are always looking for more opportunities to ease pressures for households.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals’ responsible management of the budget and economy has allowed us to put money back into the pockets of hard working people.”

Currently, more than 140,000 motorists are eligible to receive Free Rego. Under today’s announcement, this will increase to a total of more than 300,000 drivers who will be eligible for either half-priced or free registration.

Eligibility will also change to allow multiple tags on the one account to count towards Toll Relief, making it a more generous scheme. For example, families with more than one vehicle registered to an account can pool their total spend to qualify for one half-price or free registration.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government was delivering savings for all motorists while also building the road and rail lines to ensure people can get to and from work more quickly.

“Labor’s cynical program will only benefit drivers on one road and cost taxpayers more than $2.2 billion over 10 years,” Mr Perrottet said. “Our program offers relief to drivers across all toll roads, no matter where they live.”

Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey said the program would be backdated, so eligible motorists will be able to count their toll spend from from July 1, 2018.

“This is about putting money back into the pockets of hardworking motorists,” Mrs Pavey said. “We’re delivering real cost of living savings, unlike Labor and the Opposition Leader who increased the toll on the Harbour Bridge by 33 per cent when he was Roads Minister.”

The program is available for all standard privately registered cars, utes, 4 wheel-drives and motorcycles. Drivers who are not aware that they are eligible will not miss out, as they will be informed when they renew online.

Since Toll Relief took effect on July 1, more than 46,000 drivers have saved about $20 million in Free Rego. The top 10 suburbs are:

  • Castle Hill
  • Baulkham Hills
  • Kellyville
  • Blacktown
  • Mosman
  • Quakers Hill
  • West Pennant Hills
  • Glenwood
  • Cherrybrook
  • Glenmore Park

The NSW Government has given back more than $200 million to people in NSW this year alone through its various cost of living rebates and incentives. Highlights include:

  • 400,000 people have downloaded the real-time FuelCheck app, which could save drivers $500 a year.
  • 665,000 Active Kids vouchers have been issued this year.
  • CTP reform is saving motorists around $120 per year on their Green Slips. The average premium is expected to drop to $500 from January 2019.

A RECORD $847 MILLION TO BE INVESTED IN SCHOOL MAINTENANCE

The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will invest an additional $100 million in school maintenance this year, taking its total investment to an unprecedented $847 million over four years.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the extra funding today with Minister for Education Rob Stokes, ensuring that schools across NSW are maintained to the best standards.

The additional money is being allocated to schools with the highest maintenance needs and $260 million of the funding will be invested this financial year.

“This investment will ensure that every student, in every school, has an equal opportunity to achieve excellence,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“When the NSW Liberals & Nationals came to Government we inherited a large maintenance liability from Labor. Once again we are fixing the mess that Labor left for NSW.

“Boosting the school maintenance fund by another $100 million is only possible due to the strong economic management of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.”

Mr Stokes said that managing school maintenance is an ongoing challenge that the NSW Government is confronting head on.

“Just like any other buildings, schools need constant maintenance. We’re getting on with the job of ensuring our schools remain in tip-top condition because that is what our teachers and students deserve,” Mr Stokes said.

Ms Berejiklian and Mr Stokes made the announcement today on the NSW Central Coast.

Brian Perrem, Liberal Candidate for The Entrance added: “The additional funding announced today is a huge boost for the Central Coast. It will ensure that students and teachers can work in the best possible conditions. Only the NSW Liberals & Nationals can deliver this sort of major investment.”

Schools will take advantage of the long school summer break, with jobs such roof works to be completed at Bradbury Public School near Campbelltown.

Other examples of schools receiving roof repairs include Mayfield East and Woodland Road Public Schools, along with Singleton and Newcastle High Schools.

There will also be painting carried out at Glebe Public School, Binya Public School in Cootamundra and Seaforth Public School on the Northern Beaches.

Other jobs to be completed, among many others, include a new retaining wall at Austinmer Public School in Keira and new carpeting and flooring at Lindfield, Beecroft and Malabar Public Schools.

“Our public schools are some of the most important tools in building a bright future for NSW. We want communities to have pride in their schools, just like we have pride in their hard-working students and teachers,” Mr Stokes said.

In addition to prioritising maintenance in NSW schools, the Government has also announced the first 900 schools that will receive air conditioning under its record $500 million Cooler Classrooms program.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is also undertaking a record $6 billion school building program over the next four years, which will deliver more than 170 new and upgraded schools to support communities throughout NSW. This is the largest investment into public school infrastructure by any State government in Australian history.

An additional 900 full-time teachers will also be hired this financial year, building on the 5340 teachers that the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has added to the public school system since 2011.

B-LINE SUCCESS – 5.9 MILLION PASSENGER TRIPS IN FIRST YEAR

The NSW Government’s B-Line bus service has carried more people in its first year of operation than the population of Greater Sydney.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance revealed more than 5.9 million passenger trips have been made on the ground-breaking turn-up-and-go service between the Northern Beaches and the Sydney CBD since it launched in November 2017.

“The B-Line has been a tremendous success since the first buses started travelling between Mona Vale and the Sydney CBD one year ago. Customer satisfaction is above 90 per cent – it’s certainly been a happy first birthday,” Mr Constance said.

B-Line services are turn-up-and-go, meaning customers travelling between Mona Vale and Wynyard have been able to throw away their timetable.

Member for Manly James Griffin said customers can catch a bus every five minutes during peak times in the peak direction, and every 10 minutes at other times of the day.

“The B-Line is the centrepiece of a rejuvenated Northern Beaches bus network which was designed to make it easier for customers to travel to-and-from the Sydney CBD, as well as around the local area,” Mr Griffin said.

State Transit CEO Steffen Faurby said patronage across the entire Northern Beaches has increased by around 11 per cent over the last 12 months.

“We’ve added around 4,200 extra weekly services to the network, including around 2,000 B-Line services and around 1,000 new weekly services to help customers get to the new Northern Beaches Hospital and growing Frenchs Forest area,” Mr Faurby said.

In another milestone for the project, the new commuter carpark at Manly Vale will open to the public later this month.

“Manly Vale is the last of six commuter carparks to be completed as part of this project. It will provide up to 150 spaces, bringing the total number of spaces available along the B-Line route to around 900,” Mr Constance said.

“The Manly Vale car park is also the first to feature the rotating ‘Breathing Wall’ technology developed by one of Australia’s leading living infrastructure specialists, Junglefy. This unique system incorporates around 9,000 plants which have been scientifically proven to remove harmful air pollutants and to provide a habitat for biodiversity and a beautiful looking façade.”

The B-Line project has included a number of road improvements in the Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore designed to ease traffic congestion and improve bus reliability.

“The road changes delivered by the B-Line team include new bus lanes, tidal flow systems and indented bus bays which have helped to reduce the journey time between Mona Vale and Wynyard by around nine minutes,” Mr Griffin said

FAST RAIL NETWORK TO TRANSFORM NSW

The NSW Government will start work on a fast rail network in the next term of government, linking regional centres to each other and Sydney, significantly slashing travel times across the State.

Four potential routes have already been identified and High Speed Rail expert Professor Andrew McNaughton has now been appointed to confirm the most appropriate routes, train speeds and station locations.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said a fast rail network will give people greater choice about where they live and how they commute to work.

“We know a fast rail network will transform NSW unlike any other project and we will make it a reality,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We need to make it easier for people to consider moving to regional NSW and there is no better way to do that than building a fast rail network.”

The four routes identified by the Government are within 300 kilometres from Sydney:

  • Northern Route including the Central Coast and Newcastle.
  • Southern Inland Route including Goulburn and Canberra.
  • Western Route including Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange / Parkes.
  • Southern Coastal Route including Wollongong and Nowra.

“The expert will provide advice to Government on what is possible and what would be involved,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The delivery of fast rail on those routes has the potential to slash travel times by up to 75 per cent. Approximate travel times could be:

Journey Current Rail Time Faster Rail
<200km/h
High Speed Rail
>250km/h
Sydney to Canberra 4:07 3:00 1:00
Sydney to Goulburn 2:31 1:45 0:30
Sydney to Newcastle 2:35 2:00 0:45
Sydney to Gosford 1:19 1:00 0:30
Sydney to Wollongong 1:25 1:00 0:30
Sydney to Nowra 2:39 2:00 0:45

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said a $4.6 million allocation from Snowy Hydro Fund to develop fast rail will further boost confidence in regional NSW.

“We need to do the work to gauge what is possible and when,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Making regional travel faster, safer and easier brings huge economic potential to NSW regional towns and cities by making it easier to invest, do business, build a lifestyle and visit our regional towns.

“We are delivering better water security, digital connectivity and freight connections from the Snowy Hydro fund and now developing game changing infrastructure to access regional NSW.”

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the NSW Government has a proven track record of delivering infrastructure.

“We are delivering rail to North West Sydney, a second Sydney Harbour Rail Crossing, completing the M4 and finishing the duplication of the Pacific Highway – all projects the previous Labor Government promised, but failed to deliver,” Mr Constance said.

“A fast rail network is another project which will only happen under the NSW Liberals & Nationals.”

The advice from Professor McNaughton will pave the way for the NSW Government to take a new approach to the delivery of fast rail by identifying immediate improvements to existing rail corridors, while undertaking long-term visionary planning.

This approach allows for significant improvements in travel times for customers in the coming years, while at the same time delivering the building blocks for a high speed dedicated rail network.

“In the immediate future, faster rail would see upgrades along existing rail alignments and provide services of at least 200km/h, slashing travel times by one third,” Mr Constance said.

“Ultimately, in the long term, high speed rail would see the development of new alignments and lines, providing speeds of over 250km/h, with examples overseas travelling up to 350km/h and higher – giving the potential to cut travel times by up to 75 per cent.”

For more information visit: www.nsw.gov.au/fastrail

Woman to be charged after leaving kids in hot car – Liverpool

A woman will be charged after allegedly leaving her children in a hot vehicle for over an hour in Sydney’s south west today.

About 12.45pm (Saturday 8 December 2018), a 36-year-old woman parked a Toyota Kluger in direct sunlight in a carpark on Viscount Place, Liverpool.

The woman left two boys, aged eight and five, inside the car while she went shopping.

About an hour later, the children were discovered by passers-by, who contacted police.

About 1.50pm, police from Liverpool Police Area Command attended as the woman returned to the vehicle.

The children were found to be dehydrated and were provided water. Ambulance Paramedics attended to assess the children.

The woman was spoken to at the scene and will be issued a Future Court Attendance Notice for leave child/young person in motor vehicle.

Her court date is yet to be determined.

NSW Police Force Attestation Parade

The NSW Police Force will welcome 257 new probationary constables to its ranks at the Police Academy in Goulburn on Friday (7 December 2018).

‘Class 335’ includes 168 policemen and 89 policewomen who will complete 12 months on-the-job training and study of the Associate Degree in Policing Practice by distance education with Charles Sturt University before being confirmed to the rank of constable.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller APM will be joined by the Governor of NSW, His Excellency General, The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) and Minister for Police and Emergency Services, The Honourable Troy Grant MP, to inspect the new recruits on the parade ground. Member for Goulburn, The Honourable Pru Goward MP, and will also be in attendance.

The ceremony will also see retiring officers Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis APM, Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Hoffman, Chief Inspector Trent Le-Merton and Detective Senior Sergeant Stephen Horn, farewelled after 161 years combined service with the NSW Police Force.

PAUL KEATING AND LUCY TURNBULL HEAD LANDMARK REVIEW OF MACQUARIE STREET EAST PRECINCT

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet today announced two of NSW’s most prominent Sydneysiders will work together to develop a long-term vision for the historic Macquarie Street East Precinct on the eastern fringe of the CBD.

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating will join forces with the Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, and former Lord Mayor of Sydney, Lucy Turnbull to work on the landmark project.

The review will look at ways to improve the amenity and public usage of one of Sydney’s most historic precincts, which includes Hyde Park Barracks, State Library, Sydney Hospital and NSW Parliament.

“I am delighted two of the most passionate advocates for Sydney have agreed to work together on ways to enhance what is already one of the jewels in this city’s glittering crown,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Our aim is to make this area, with its historic buildings and beautiful gardens, an even more vibrant place for locals and tourists to enjoy.”

Mr Perrottet said Mr Keating and Mrs Turnbull were both strong advocates for Sydney, with a keen desire to improve the city and make it more welcoming and accessible for everybody.

“The Macquarie Street East Precinct is home to some of Sydney’s most important public buildings and iconic open spaces,” Mr Perrottet said.

“With two such passionate people working together on this project I am sure we will be able to make the area even better, unlock potential for new ways to connect the precinct to the rest of the CBD, and improve the public’s experience and usage.”

Mr Keating and Mrs Turnbull both welcomed the opportunity to provide ideas and direction for the Macquarie Street East Precinct.

“This precinct is of central importance to the city and there is scope for rationalisation in the further dedication of public space,” Mr Keating said.
Mrs Turnbull said as Sydney continued to grow it was important to ensure the use of open space evolved and adapted.

“I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to help create a long term vision for a precinct that encapsulates so much history, beauty and cultural relevance dating back tens of thousands of years,” Mrs Turnbull said.

“It has long deserved better connections and access, so that more Sydneysiders and visitors can enjoy this precious precinct.”

An initial report from Mr Keating and Mrs Turnbull is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

NSW CREATIVE KIDS PROGRAM A STEP CLOSER

NSW families will soon be able to access the new $100 Creative Kids voucher unlocking the creative abilities of a new generation across the State from 1 January 2019 when the program takes effect.

Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet today called on relevant providers to register with Service NSW so they can participate in the program.

Parents will be able to use one voucher for every school-age child per year to help meet the cost of structured creative and cultural activities, such as music lessons, languages, coding, drama and theatre, photography and graphic design.

“The NSW Government has returned more than $200 million to households this calendar year through various cost of living incentives. Creative Kids will provide parents with even more hip pocket relief,” Mr Dominello said.

“There are thousands of organisations out there who could be eligible for the program. We are calling on them to register with Service NSW so that parents can claim their $100 vouchers with them in the New Year.”

Mr Perrottet said: “This is a fantastic initiative that is only made possible because of our strong economic management.”

“We can afford to deliver real savings that help the working families of NSW and reduce barriers to healthy activity.

“This program compliments the hugely popular Active Kids voucher and for a family with two children, Creative and Active Kids combined will save you $400 a year.”

Creative Kids is one of a raft of NSW Government initiatives helping to ease cost of living pressure for households. Others include cheaper Green Slips and refunds, free car registration for regular toll users and the FuelCheck app.

Further information including guidelines for providers is available at www.service.nsw.gov.au/creativekids

NEARLY 1000 EXTRA NSW SCHOOLS TO BE AIR CONDITIONED

Tens of thousands of students will have new air conditioning systems installed in their classrooms and libraries, with the NSW Government today announcing the first schools to benefit from the Cooler Classrooms Fund.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Rob Stokes today announced more than 900 schools would be the first to receive funding under the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s record $500 million program – the largest investment of its kind in NSW history.

“We’re thrilled to be delivering on our commitment to provide healthy learning environments in which our students and teachers can thrive, no matter the weather,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“From Tumbarumba to Mullumbimby, Bathurst South to Cecil Hills, students and teachers around NSW will benefit from new air conditioning in their school.

“Delivering air-conditioning to more schools than ever before is only possible due to the strong economic management of the Liberals & Nationals Government.”

Schools in areas like Penrith, Camden, and Dubbo – that have an average maximum January temperature of 30 degrees or more – will now automatically receive air conditioning in their classrooms and libraries, while all other schools can apply for funding under the Cooler Classrooms Fund on a needs basis. Previously only schools with an average maximum January temperature of 33 degrees or more were air conditioned.

The first round of applications took place throughout Term 3 this year. A second round will open in the new year.

Mr Stokes said, unlike Labor’s plans, the NSW Liberals & Nationals’ Cooler Classrooms program was both economically and environmentally sustainable.

“We’re installing solar panels and ‘smart systems’ alongside the air conditioning units, so schools can offset their additional energy use and efficiently heat and cool their schools,” he said.

In addition to the hundreds of schools benefiting under the Cooler Classrooms program, air conditioning will be delivered in all new and upgraded schools under the Government’s record $6 billion school building program over the next four years.

“Every one of our 170 new and upgraded schools, including more than 2000 new classrooms, will also receive the new sustainable air conditioning systems,” Mr Stokes said.

Schools that will have their classrooms and libraries air-conditioned under round 1 are attached, including:

Regional

  • Mullumbimby High School
  • Batemans Bay High School
  • Moss Vale Public School
  • Albion Park High School
  • Tomaree Public School
  • Glenroy Public School
  • South Wagga Public School
  • Kelso Public School
  • Narrabri High School
  • Anson Street School

Metro

  • Randwick Public School
  • Picnic Point High School
  • Engadine West Public School
  • Hurstville South Public School
  • Cecil Hills High School
  • Parramatta East Public School
  • Mount Druitt Public School
  • Blaxland High School
  • Canterbury Girls High School
  • Georges River College: Penshurst Girls and Oatley Senior Campus

School principals are encouraged to apply to the second round of the Fund, which will open on Day 1 of Term 1 next year. More information can be found at www.schoolinfrastructure.nsw.gov.au.

TAP AND GO YOUR TRAIN JOURNEY FROM TODAY

In an Australian-first innovation, customers catching a train on the Opal network can now choose to tap on and off with their credit or debit card, in a new way to pay for their fare.

Following a successful trial on light rail and ferries, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance announced that from today contactless transport payments will be available to customers across the entire Sydney Trains network and on any NSW Train Link Opal service.

“Integrating contactless transport payments into the Opal ticketing system is about choice and convenience, giving customers another option for accessing public transport and the ability to pay as you go without ever having to wait in a queue at the station,” Mr Constance said.

Fares purchased with credit cards will be the same cost as the standard Opal distance-based fare, which is a win for regular commuters, especially those who have simply forgotten their Opal card but want to get straight on a train.

“Contactless payments will also make purchasing higher one-off fares a thing of the past for occasional train customers and visitors to NSW,” Mr Constance said.

Mobile wallets on smartphones, tablets and wearable devices linked to an American Express, Mastercard or Visa card, can also be used to tap on at train station Opal readers.

Mr Constance reaffrimed the introduction of contactless payments is not in any way about replacing the Opal card, which remains the foundation of digital payments.

“Opal is not going anywhere and is still the most affordable way to pay for your fares, this is the NSW Government providing greater flexibility and convenience.”

Opal, which is used to complete almost 14 million trips a week, will continue to be the product that provides frequent users the most savings, as well as serving students, concession holders and senior Opal Gold card holders.

Contactless customers will also be entitled to daily, weekly and Sunday travel caps but the weekly travel discount, concessions and the transfer discount will still only be available through Opal.

The contactless transport payment trial will continue to run through 2018 with the expansion to the bus network earmarked for mid-2019. Transport for NSW is also working with EFTPOS to consider how they can be included in the trial.

For more information about the contactless transport payments visit transportnsw.info