MORE BENEFITS EXTENDED TO MORE NSW SENIORS

For the first time all NSW residents over the age of 60 will be eligible to receive discounts on products and services offered by businesses through the NSW Seniors Card program.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Ageing Tanya Davies today announced the new Senior Savers Cardwould be available from July 1, for senior residents who are not yet eligible for the existing Seniors Card.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals have worked hard to deliver more savings than ever before to our Seniors Card members and this new card will mean no one is left out,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Seniors give so much to our communities and every single senior across NSW deserves some relief from the growing costs of everyday living.”

The NSW Seniors Card will continue to provide existing benefits to its 1.6 million members on anything from mechanics, to hairdressers, to phone bills, while Senior Savers Card holders will have access to the same discounts and deals with the exclusion of NSW Government rebates and transport concessions.

Mrs Davies said that welcoming seniors into the program who still work more than 20 hours a week made sense.

“We understand a lot of people are working longer and retiring later. The introduction of the Senior Savers Card is a way for the NSW Government to give back to these individuals for their tireless contribution,” Mrs Davies said.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to reducing the cost of living for seniors through the Seniors Card program.”

In the past 12 months, members have enjoyed increased benefits from an additional 1800 businesses and a major supermarket deal. More than 7300 businesses currently offer savings to members statewide, a 32 per cent increase on this time last year.

Ms Berejiklian also announced those with a Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card will not face any fare cap increases under the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.

“The current Gold Opal card cap will stay the same across the Opal network, meaning customers can enjoy unlimited travel across Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and Southern Highlands for just $2.50 a day,” she said.

For more information about the NSW Seniors Card program, visit www.seniorscard.nsw.gov.au.

DALEY IGNORES THE EXPERTS AND SYDNEY COMMUTERS SUFFER

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance condemned Labor’s plan to cancel the Sydenham to Bankstown Metro upgrade following revelations today that Infrastructure Australia has ranked the project as a “high priority” for NSW.

Labor’s cancellation plan will stop rail improvements across the Sydney Trains network, affecting hundreds of thousands of people on seven different lines.

“This is yet more evidence that Labor’s plan to axe infrastructure projects will take NSW backwards.

“Labor’s only infrastructure plan is to cancel projects. Under Labor there would be no F6 Extension, no Western Harbour Tunnel and no Sydenham to Bankstown Metro rail upgrade,” Mr Constance said.

“Labor’s reckless decision to axe Sydney Metro Southwest will deny hundreds of thousands of commuters from Sydney’s South, Southwest, South Coast and Southern Highlands faster and more frequent services.

The desperately needed upgrade, which the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will deliver, removes the bottleneck that prevents increases in services on the T1 Western Line, the T2 Inner West & Leppington Line, T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line and T8 Airport and South Line.

“We have seen a huge uplift in the number of train services across the train network under the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government, with record levels of investment in service numbers and new trains to deliver them,” Mr Constance said.

“Labor’s recent metro announcement on Monday said they would make all investment decisions based on the advice of Infrastructure NSW and Infrastructure Australia. Yet Labor is already ignoring the experts by pushing ahead with their commitment to cancelling the Sydenham to Bankstown Metro upgrade.

“Our rail network is over 100 years old and it needs continued investment to meet the needs of the people of NSW.

“That is why the Metro City and Southwest project is a critical investment allowing us to upgrade services across the network. By cancelling this project, Labor is ruling out service upgrades for decades to come.

“The critical need for this project is further justified in Infrastructure Australia’s latest report released today, which lists Sydney Metro City and Southwest in the top three high priority projects.

“Michael Daley is a L-plate leader of a L-plate party which isn’t listening to the needs of the state or its people.”

Labor’s plan to cancel the Metro City and Southwest project would see:

  • T8 Airport & South Line: up to 48 fewer services across the peaks;
  • T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line and South Coast Line: up to 108 fewer services across the peaks;
  • T2 Inner West & Leppington Line: up to 72 fewer services across the peaks;
  • T3 Bankstown Line: up to 72 fewer services across the peaks; and
  • T1 Western Line and Blue Mountains Line: up to 72 fewer services across the peaks

NSW TO HALVE HOMELESSNESS BY 2025

The NSW Government has signed a global agreement to halve street homelessness across the State by 2025.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward, together with service providers and the City of Sydney, signed the agreement today at NSW Parliament, making Sydney the tenth city to join the fight against street homelessness.

“We are working hard to break the cycle of homelessness with the latest street count showing a significant reduction in the number of rough sleepers in Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We have already invested $1 billion in funding for homelessness services over four years to break the cycle of homelessness, but we cannot become complacent and by signing this agreement we are pushing ourselves to do even more.

“We know that homelessness is not just a city issue, which is why we have set this target to halve street homelessness across the entire State by 2025.

“Homelessness is a complex social issue that cannot be solved by government alone – that’s why we will be inviting the best and brightest from the frontline and from the community to collaborate with us to find new ways of tackling street homelessness.”

The ‘A Place to Call Home’ initiative – founded by the Institute of Global Homelessness – will support homelessness services in Sydney to set goals and strategies to reduce rough sleeping numbers and to measure and track their progress.

Chair of the Institute Dame Louise Casey said ‘A Place to Call Home’ gives cities a focused way to share knowledge among leaders who might not otherwise learn about each other’s work.

“There is an emerging global movement to end homelessness and NSW is leading by example and will help other cities around the world set ambitious, achievable goals to end street homelessness,” Ms Casey said.

The City of Sydney last year recorded the lowest number of people sleeping rough in five years – evidence that the NSW Government’s record spending and intensive outreach efforts are helping more people facing homelessness to find housing and support.

The NSW Government’s assertive street outreach program in Sydney has already housed nearly 300 rough sleepers since May 2017 and 94 per cent have successfully maintained their tenancies for more than 12 months.

Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward said the drastic drop in people sleeping rough in Sydney in 2018 showed the Government’s focus on prevention and early intervention was working.

“Homelessness is not a simple issue to solve – you cannot simply put a person who has been sleeping on the streets for years into a home and expect it to work – you need to give them the right wraparound support,” Ms Goward said.

“Complex mental health and substance abuse issues are often the underlying causes of homelessness which is why we are focusing on early intervention.”

The NSW Homelessness Strategy sets the direction for the next five years, focusing on prevention responses that address the root causes of homelessness and early intervention responses that will reduce the longer-term impact of homelessness.

Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich said: “The issue of homelessness in NSW needs urgent attention and the setting of this target and signing of this agreement kick starts this vital action.”

The following parties have signed the agreement:

  • NSW Government
  • City of Sydney
  • Institute of Global Homelessness
  • St Vincent de Paul, St Vincent’s Health, Mission Australia, Salvation Army, Wesley Mission, Neami National, Yfoundations.

NSW LIBERALS & NATIONALS BOOST DROUGHT SUPPORT TO $1.5 BILLION

The NSW Government today boosted the State’s Farm Innovation Fund from $650 million to $1 billion – giving farming communities affected by the drought a long-term guarantee that they have a strong future in NSW.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the additional funding brings the NSW Liberals & Nationals investment in drought support to almost $1.5 billion.

“We know that our farmers and drought-affected communities are doing it tough, which is why we are doing everything we can to make sure they have every support they need,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The Farm Innovation Fund has already helped more than 1700 farmers across the State drought-proof their properties, providing low-interest loans to fund capital works such as new cattle yards, solar power systems, silos or bore water systems.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the NSW Government is also giving farmers the opportunity to invest in infrastructure that will last for generations by increasing the value of low interest loans available through the Fund from $250,000 up to $1 million.

“The additional $350 million we have added to the Farm Innovation Fund is another signal to our farmers that no matter what conditions you face we will continue to stand side-by-side with you, now and into the future,” Mr Barilaro said.

“We want farmers to approach this fund as a low interest resource they can draw on to make sure they are in a stronger position today to face whatever challenges are coming in the future.

“Every dollar our farmers spend gets circulated through regional towns and cities making this billion dollars an investment in our regional communities.

“The NSW Government will continue to back our farmers who make a living under some of the toughest conditions in the world, growing the food and fibre we all rely on.”

NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the NSW Government will further strengthen its Drought Relief Package to provide urgent support for those who need it most.

“When we announced our drought package last year we said we would continually respond to changing conditions and adjust our assistance measures accordingly.  Today’s announcement is a reflection of this commitment,” Mr Blair said.

“We know NSW farmers are among the best in the world and that’s why we will continue to stand with them. This fund will back farmers to be even more resilient and better placed when these conditions arise again.”
Key changes include:

  • providing an additional $5 million for emergency water supplies to ensure towns have access to safe and reliable water;
  • increasing the amount farmers can claim on Drought Transport Subsidies from $30,000 to $40,000; and
  • providing an additional $2 million to connect people to support services through the Rural Resilience Program.

For more information on the Farm Innovation Fund, visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/assistance/farm-innovation-fund..

NSW TO HALVE HOMELESSNESS BY 2025

The NSW Government has signed a global agreement to halve street homelessness across the State by 2025.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward, together with service providers and the City of Sydney, signed the agreement today at NSW Parliament, making Sydney the tenth city to join the fight against street homelessness.

“We are working hard to break the cycle of homelessness with the latest street count showing a significant reduction in the number of rough sleepers in Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We have already invested $1 billion in funding for homelessness services over four years to break the cycle of homelessness, but we cannot become complacent and by signing this agreement we are pushing ourselves to do even more.

“We know that homelessness is not just a city issue, which is why we have set this target to halve street homelessness across the entire State by 2025.

“Homelessness is a complex social issue that cannot be solved by government alone – that’s why we will be inviting the best and brightest from the frontline and from the community to collaborate with us to find new ways of tackling street homelessness.”

The ‘A Place to Call Home’ initiative – founded by the Institute of Global Homelessness – will support homelessness services in Sydney to set goals and strategies to reduce rough sleeping numbers and to measure and track their progress.

Chair of the Institute Dame Louise Casey said ‘A Place to Call Home’ gives cities a focused way to share knowledge among leaders who might not otherwise learn about each other’s work.

“There is an emerging global movement to end homelessness and NSW is leading by example and will help other cities around the world set ambitious, achievable goals to end street homelessness,” Ms Casey said.

The City of Sydney last year recorded the lowest number of people sleeping rough in five years – evidence that the NSW Government’s record spending and intensive outreach efforts are helping more people facing homelessness to find housing and support.

The NSW Government’s assertive street outreach program in Sydney has already housed nearly 300 rough sleepers since May 2017 and 94 per cent have successfully maintained their tenancies for more than 12 months.

Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward said the drastic drop in people sleeping rough in Sydney in 2018 showed the Government’s focus on prevention and early intervention was working.

“Homelessness is not a simple issue to solve – you cannot simply put a person who has been sleeping on the streets for years into a home and expect it to work – you need to give them the right wraparound support,” Ms Goward said.

“Complex mental health and substance abuse issues are often the underlying causes of homelessness which is why we are focusing on early intervention.”

The NSW Homelessness Strategy sets the direction for the next five years, focusing on prevention responses that address the root causes of homelessness and early intervention responses that will reduce the longer-term impact of homelessness.

Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich said: “The issue of homelessness in NSW needs urgent attention and the setting of this target and signing of this agreement kick starts this vital action.”

The following parties have signed the agreement:

  • NSW Government
  • City of Sydney
  • Institute of Global Homelessness
  • St Vincent de Paul, St Vincent’s Health, Mission Australia, Salvation Army, Wesley Mission, Neami National, Yfoundations.

SERVICE NSW TO TURBOCHARGE CUSTOMER SERVICES

Service NSW will expand its footprint across Sydney with the rollout of 10 new Service Centres, and more than 150,000 people in regional and remote NSW will have easier access to NSW Government services, with four one-stop shop Service NSW buses hitting the road.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will add the new centres in Sydney’s growth suburbs to ensure everyone has access to a conveniently located Service NSW outlet.

The new buses will be on the road for up to 46 weeks a year and reach 14 Local Government Areas where Service NSW has no existing physical presence.

“These buses will take Service NSW to people’s front steps, saving them not only time, but also money,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“These buses will also massively expand Service NSW’s reach across the State and make it even easier for our customers to complete Government transactions and access our cost of living support.

“Service NSW already reaches more than 98 per cent of NSW residents but we’re determined to reach every corner of the State.”

Service NSW was introduced in 2013 by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government as a one-stop shop for vital services such as getting a birth certificate, Seniors Card, driver licence and renewing vehicle registration.

It is also a gateway to household savings and can help people access important cost of living programs, such as Free Rego, Energy Switch and $100 Active Kids and Creative vouchers.

Mr Dominello said: “Labor puts middle managers first while the Liberals & Nationals always puts the customer at the heart of everything we do.

“The bad old days of waiting hours to complete a simple Government transaction, such as renewing your driver licence, are over. These new Service NSW buses will be able to provide all the services currently available at most centres, including appointments with cost of living specialists and Driver Knowledge Tests.

“They’ll roll through towns with advanced notice, so locals will know when to expect a visit and what documentation is required to perform their transaction. They will also be called out in times of emergency such as natural disasters.”

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

  • More than 460,000 people have downloaded the real-time FuelCheck app, which could save drivers $500 a year;
  • 1 million Active Kids vouchers (worth $100 million) have been issued; and
  • Around 60,000 drivers have claimed $25 million in free car rego.

Each vehicle will have its own regular route, with exact routes to be determined. Further information on Service NSW is available at www.service.nsw.gov.au

Locations of the new Service NSW Centres are:
•    Merrylands
•    Randwick
•    Revesby
•    Northmead
•    Engadine
•    Glenmore Park
•    Prestons/Edmondson Park
•    Roselands
•    North Sydney
•    Schofields

NEW HELP WITH POWER BILLS FOR SELF-FUNDED RETIREES

For the first time, around 130,000 self-funded retirees will be able to claim $200 a year to help with their power bills, thanks to a new initiative from the NSW Government aimed at taking cost of living pressure off our seniors.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new rebate has been made possible because of the strong economic management of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.

The rebates will be available to customers who hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card through Service NSW centres and online from 1 July 2019.

This rebate is in addition to our current range of energy rebates, which includes the $285 Low Income Household Rebate and the $110 Gas Rebate, which help pensioners and veterans with their electricity and gas bills.

“We understand that energy costs are putting pressure on those with fixed incomes and this new policy will ensure that self-funded retirees receive the support they deserve,” Ms Berejilklian said. “We have worked hard to get the economy and the Budget back on track after years of mismanagement by Labor. As a result, we are able to give back to the community to help take the pressure off households, particularly our seniors.”

“The Government will deliver this new rebate for eligible self-funded retirees across NSW in addition to the help we already provide to families, pensioners and other low income households.”

Minister for Energy Don Harwin said downward pressure on energy bills is the absolute priority for the Government.

“We’ve increased rebates across the board by 20 per cent, taken $7 billion in costs out of the electricity networks and now we are driving down prices with our solar and battery package – we are taking action to bring down bills,” Mr Harwin said.

“The NSW Government invests $300 million each year on energy rebates, with almost one third of all electricity customers receiving a rebate.”

The NSW Government has also provided discounts on energy efficiency upgrades for thousands of families and small businesses, and introduced the Energy Switch service to help households get a better electricity deal and increase competition in the retail energy sector.

The NSW Government’s household appliance replacement program, for household vulnerable to bill stress, has already helped 17,600 households cut their bills by up to $200 a year.

Minister for Ageing Tanya Davies said: “This program will extend NSW’s generous energy rebates to self-funded retirees for the first time.

“Pensioners and veterans already benefit from rebates under our $285 Low Income Household Rebate, this new program will ensure seniors across NSW who have worked hard for their retirement will have much-needed hip-pocket relief now too.”

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card applies to Australians aged 65 and over, with an income of up to $54,929 a year for singles and $87,884 a year for couples.

AJAX COLTS HOCKEY CLUB KEEPER EQUIPMENT FUNDED

Member for Goulburn Pru Goward last week joined Ajax Colts Hockey Club President, Lauren Whalan and Liberal Candidate for Goulburn, Wendy Tuckerman to announce $3,310 of funding for the clubs littlest goal keepers.

The grant comes from NSW Government’s 2018/19 Local Sport Program, which has allowed seven Goulburn electorate clubs to purchase new equipment, uniforms and improve their facilities.

Ms Whalan welcomed the funding to assist increase participation in the sport.

“It can be hard to get kids to play goalie, especially if they are uncomfortable or have to wear old equipment – it doesn’t make for much fun.

“The new goal keeping equipment will hopefully make it a bit less of a chore for kids to have their go as goalie,” Ms Whalan said.

“The main aim of this program is to increase regular and on-going participation opportunities in sport and active recreation in NSW,” Ms Goward said.   “Hockey has a proud tradition in our region – this grant will help keep it going,” Ms Goward added.

“Sport is a huge part of our way of life and the NSW Government recognises how important it is to our communities, for both social and health reasons,” Ms Tuckerman said.

“The NSW Government is committed to delivering the best infrastructure to the people of NSW and I look forward to seeing the benefits of this upgrade for the community,” Ms Tuckerman added.

FUNDING FOR GOULBURN MASONIC CENTRE

The Goulburn Masonic Centre has secured $12,500 in funding for new carpet and  seating through the NSW Government’s 2018 Community Building Partnership (CBP) Program.

Member for Goulburn, Pru Goward joined Liberal Candidate for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman and Masonic Centre Public Officer Geoff Smith on Tuesday at the Goulburn Masonic Centre to inspect the refurbishment.

Ms Goward said the State Government funds have provided much-needed improvements to the Masonic Centre with replacement of carpet and delivery of new chairs for meetings and events.

“The CBP program is fantastic for the Goulburn electorate – the grassroots funding means the Masonic Centre can help create a more vibrant and inclusive local community in Goulburn,” Ms Goward said.

Ms Tuckerman said the NSW Government’s strong economic management ensures we are in a position to invest in these important local projects like the Masonic Centre.

“I congratulate Geoff Smith from the Goulburn Masonic Centre and all of the organisations that were successful in their Community Building Partnership applications – I look forward to seeing how these projects make a real difference for community groups in the area,” Ms Tuckerman said.

Mr Smith thanked the NSW Government for providing the funding.

“The new carpet has made an incredible difference to the Centre, it used to be very dilapidated and all sorts of colours. Our chairs were a mix of plastic garden chairs and salvaged railway seats – it was not comfortable to be here or welcoming for potential new members,” Mr Smith said.

The Community Building Partnership program has funded some 13,800 community projects since it commenced nearly a decade ago.

For more information about the NSW Government’s 2018 Community Building Partnership Program, visit www.nsw.gov.au/cbp

IT’S PLAY TIME AT YASS CORONATION PARK

Families across Yass will benefit from an upgrade of the Coronation Park Playground, thanks to a $130,000 contribution from the NSW Liberals Government.

Liberal for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said the project, funded in partnership with Yass Valley Council, would install new play equipment to create a safe and engaging space for children to learn and play.

“The playground provides the community with a wide range of play opportunities accommodating children through all stages of physical development and of all abilities,” Ms Tuckerman said.

“It will also be a place where friends and families can meet, while providing entertainment for children.”
Yass Valley Council Mayor Rowena Abbey welcomed the funding.

“On behalf of Council and the community I would like to thank the NSW Government for this investment in our region,” Cr Abbey said.

Minister for Racing Paul Toole said the grant was funded through the ClubGrants Category 3 Infrastructure Grants program.

“More than $50 million in funding is being provided during this current term of government for projects across sport and recreation, emergency preparedness, and arts and culture,” Mr Toole said.

These grants are funded by a contribution from the state’s registered clubs to reinvest profits from gaming machines back into community projects. More information may be found via this link: https://www.responsiblegambling.nsw.gov.au/infrastructure-grants/infrastructure-grants