FUNDING FOR DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AND PARTICIPATION PROGRAMS

More than 45 NSW-based organisations will receive a share in $10 million to boost job opportunities and social and community participation for people with disability.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grants are about creating a more inclusive and accessible community.

“We want to empower people with disability to live happy and healthy lives where they can exercise choice and control over the supports they receive,” Mr Ward said.

“These grants enable organisations to deliver life-changing initiatives that benefit people with disability, their families and carers.

“This program is about creating connections between people with disability and the communities they live in, so that they can thrive and reach their goals.”

The grants include support for programs focusing on creating job opportunities for young people leaving school, accessible arts initiatives and tailored support for people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Multiple national organisations have also received funding to roll out programs that will benefit NSW residents.
ILC grants support both NDIS participants and people with disability who are not eligible for the Scheme.

People with disabilities in NSW have benefitted from more than $135 million in ILC funding since the introduction of the NDIS in 2015.

This financial year NSW will contribute almost $3.5 billion towards the NDIS.

The list of successful applicants is available online.

FLAGSHIP STRATEGY TO SUPPORT NSW VETERANS

The service and sacrifices of veterans and their transition from military to civilian life are in focus with the NSW Government launching the State’s first whole-of-government strategy, developed using insights and expertise from ex-serving personnel and their families.

Minister for Veterans Geoff Lee said the NSW Government Veterans Strategy aims to improve existing support services and identify new initiatives.

“We worked with the veteran community to develop programs that reflect their interests, eliminate barriers and support a fulfilling life post-service,” Mr Lee said.

“NSW is home to more than 200,000 former Australian Defence Force personnel; a diverse group of men and women who served our country.

“Their experiences are at the core of this flagship strategy, thanks to the valuable input provided by the veteran community and their families.”

In addition to focus groups, more than 2,000 individual veterans, reservists, family members and supporters gave their input via an online survey.

By harnessing a whole-of-government approach, four key areas were identified to help achieve veteran wellbeing: recognition and commemoration, education and employment, community and volunteering, and support.

Parliamentary Secretary for Veterans James Griffin said the Strategy will help veterans to continue developing their skills and participate fully in society.

“The Strategy will guide education and employment outcomes, create social connections, and target services in health, wellbeing and housing,” Mr Griffin said.

The landmark strategy – endorsed by RSL NSW, Legacy NSW and the Australian War Widows NSW – includes initiatives such as the Premier’s Anzac Memorial Scholarship, the National Centre for Veterans’ Healthcare and funding for Veteran Sports Australia.

Read the NSW Government Veterans Strategy here.

Read the NSW Veterans Action Plan here.

SMALL BUSINESS REBATE SCHEME KICKS OFF

Small businesses are encouraged to sign up for a new $1500 rebate scheme to help cover the cost of NSW and local government fees and charges.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate was designed to benefit tens of thousands of small businesses across the state as NSW continues its post-pandemic recovery.

“Our November Budget committed nearly $500 million to this rebate, which will leave more money in the pockets of eligible small businesses, sole traders and non-profit organisations,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and supporting them equals supporting jobs. I encourage all eligible operators to register for the $1500 credit with Service NSW.”

Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said claiming the rebate would be simple and could be done online.

“Liquor licences, food authority licences, council rates and outdoor seating fees are just a few examples of the fees and charges that can be claimed back through this rebate scheme,” Mr Dominello said.

“Small businesses who have total wages below the new 2020-21 $1.2 million payroll tax threshold, and have a turnover of at least $75,000 per year, will be able to register through their MyServiceNSW account and claim back eligible state and local government fees and changes.”

Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said the launch of the rebate scheme coincided with a number of licence waivers coming to an end.

“It’s so important that we continue to support the small businesses of NSW,” Mr Tudehope said.

“Small businesses are the backbone of their communities and we want to make it easier for them to run a business and get ahead.”

The rebate will be available until 30 June 2022. To apply and for more information, including the program guidelines, visit www.service.nsw.gov.au/small-business-fees-and-charges-rebate

SMALL BUSINESS REBATE SCHEME KICKS OFF

Small businesses are encouraged to sign up for a new $1500 rebate scheme to help cover the cost of NSW and local government fees and charges.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate was designed to benefit tens of thousands of small businesses across the state as NSW continues its post-pandemic recovery.

“Our November Budget committed nearly $500 million to this rebate, which will leave more money in the pockets of eligible small businesses, sole traders and non-profit organisations,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and supporting them equals supporting jobs. I encourage all eligible operators to register for the $1500 credit with Service NSW.”

Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said claiming the rebate would be simple and could be done online.

“Liquor licences, food authority licences, council rates and outdoor seating fees are just a few examples of the fees and charges that can be claimed back through this rebate scheme,” Mr Dominello said.

“Small businesses who have total wages below the new 2020-21 $1.2 million payroll tax threshold, and have a turnover of at least $75,000 per year, will be able to register through their MyServiceNSW account and claim back eligible state and local government fees and changes.”

Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said the launch of the rebate scheme coincided with a number of licence waivers coming to an end.

“It’s so important that we continue to support the small businesses of NSW,” Mr Tudehope said.

“Small businesses are the backbone of their communities and we want to make it easier for them to run a business and get ahead.”

The rebate will be available until 30 June 2022. To apply and for more information, including the program guidelines, visit www.service.nsw.gov.au/small-business-fees-and-charges-rebate

WORLD’S SMARTEST COMPUTER RECRUITED FOR FUTURE TRANSPORT

The world’s smartest computer could be used to tackle Sydney’s complex transport problems, including updating schedules in real time if there is crowding on the network.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said a new partnership between the NSW Government and Australian company Q-CTRL will look at how quantum computing technology can create and manage a more resilient transport network.

“This is a rare opportunity for some of our leading transport innovators and quantum computing experts to come together to tackle complex transport network management and congestion problems,” Mr Constance said.

“Future applications of the technology could include mapping all transport modes and crowd movements simultaneously in real time, and automatically updating the schedule to solve disruption issues.

“We could see all trains, busses, ferries, trams and motorways essentially ‘talking to each other’ to find out where customers are and deploy resources where needed. It could be used for massive public events, like New Year’s Eve or Vivid Festival.”

Q-CTRL Founder and CEO Professor Michael Biercuk said Quantum computers are an emerging technology that replaces the traditional ‘binary’ computing concepts used in most computers today, and instead uses quantum physics to tackle tough computational challenges in a fraction of the time.

“This technology could completely transform the computing tools available to Transport for NSW in the next few years. The possibilities are endless,” Professor Biercuk said.

The quantum computing research project is one of several initiatives being launched as part of the Future Transport Technology Roadmap.

NEW LIGHT RAIL BRIDGE TAKING SHAPE

Construction is underway on the state’s second longest steel arch bridge, which will connect light rail users, cyclists and pedestrians when the Parramatta Light Rail opens in 2023.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the biggest of the six bridges being constructed for the project will stretch across six lanes of traffic on James Ruse Drive in Rosehill, and accommodate the new light rail and walking and bike-riding path.

“The giant bronze arches will be an amazing sight for locals and anyone travelling through the area. The new bridge has the second longest steel arch bridge span in the state, behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge,” Mr Constance said.

“This bridge is currently on a construction site next to James Ruse Drive, where the fabricated steelwork, each piece weighing up to 60 tonnes, has been assembled to build the 15-metre-high steel arch.”

The Australian-made steelwork for the bridge was fabricated by Western Sydney based company, S&L Steel, before it was transported to Rosehill for assembly.

Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee said the project is committed to using Australian resources wherever possible and supporting local jobs.

“The Australian steel was fabricated in a workshop at Rooty Hill, creating around 50 jobs for Western Sydney,” Dr Lee said.

“The bridge will be a great asset for the local community as it will not only support the new light rail, but it will make it much safer for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the very busy James Ruse Drive.”

Over the coming weeks, the temporary support frames will be removed, and the arch will be fitted out with precast concrete, concrete deck, precast concrete barriers, and temporary steel railing and protection screens, before it is lifted into place.

The 1425-tonne steel and concrete structure will be moved into position during a weekend closure of James Ruse Drive in the coming months. Once in place, the bridge will be fitted out for light rail and pedestrian and cyclist use.

The Parramatta Light Rail will connect Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia, and is expected to commence services in 2023.

LAST PIECE OF THE LINK IN SCENIC HARBOUR FORESHORE WALK

Today marks the opening of the 300-metre-long final piece of the 11 kilometre Barangaroo foreshore walk from Woolloomooloo to the Anzac Bridge.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said opening up the last piece of the 11 kilometre walk is a fundamental part of Barangaroo’s transformation from a once neglected and inaccessible area into a world-class cultural, residential, business and retail hub.

“I am excited to open this stunning new foreshore walk in Barangaroo, which not only connects the natural surroundings of Barangaroo Reserve with the business district of Barangaroo South, but also completes the scenic walk along Sydney Harbour from Woolloomooloo to the Anzac Bridge,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The walk is a beautiful 15-metre-wide, tree-lined boulevard on Sydney’s waterfront and will be used by cyclists, commuters and visitors every day. It is designed by award-winning landscape architect Peter Walker, who also designed the Barangaroo Reserve.

“This new public space demonstrates our commitment to ensure more than half of Barangaroo is public open space and opens up this once neglected and inaccessible area for the community to enjoy.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the opening of the final part of the Barangaroo foreshore demonstrated the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to creating more public space throughout Sydney.

“In October last year, we opened Waterman’s Cove and today we make available another 300 metres of public space which runs alongside our world-famous harbour,” Mr Stokes said.

“The pandemic has showed us how vital public space is and with more people coming back into the CBD, we need more spaces like this one at Barangaroo.

“More than 100 trees were planted in this section of the foreshore walk which contributes to our goal to plant one million trees by 2022.”

Childcare teacher charged over alleged assault of boy – Castle Hill

A childcare teacher has been charged over the alleged assault of a child in Sydney’s north west.

Between Thursday 11 March 2021 and Wednesday 17 March 2021, police will allege a two-year-old boy was assaulted on multiple occasions by his educator at a day care centre in Castle Hill.

The matter was reported to police and officers from The Hills Police Area Command commenced an investigation.

Following inquiries, detectives attended a home in The Ponds about 1.30pm today (Friday 9 April 2021), and arrested a 26-year-old woman.

The woman was taken to Castle Hill Police Station where she was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm; and seven counts of common assault.

She was given bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court on 27 April 2021.

HALFWAY FOR ROZELLE INTERCHANGE TUNNELLING

Construction of Australia’s biggest road infrastructure project has reached another major milestone, with Rozelle Interchange tunnelling passing the half way mark.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said more than 9,000 workers have worked on this stage of the WestConnex project, which also includes the Iron Cove Link.

“The NSW Government is committed to investing in major road infrastructure projects because we know improving our road network makes a real difference to people’s lives, while also providing much needed local jobs at a time when we need them most,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The Rozelle Interchange is the missing link in the WestConnex Project and, along with the M4-M5 tunnels, will provide connections to the City West Link and the future Western Harbour Tunnel, while also bypassing Victoria Road.”

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said while tunnelling continues underground, plans to transform the old Rozelle Rail Yards into a park are coming to life.

“We know construction of the Rozelle Interchange is having a big impact on local residents and we thank them for their patience,” Mr Constance said.

“When the project is finished, the new Rozelle Parklands will have green fields for leisure activities, a boardwalk, picnic areas, play equipment, and new pedestrian and cycling paths.

“The 10 hectares of public parkland and open space will transform life in the Inner West, and will be a great legacy for Rozelle locals and the wider Sydney community.”

Other project facts:

  • 24 kilometres of tunnelling, including three levels of tunnels in some parts.
  • 12 kilometres of tunnelling has been dug out so far.
  • Expected to use 640,000 cubic metres of concrete and 32,000 tonnes of Australian steel.
  • The Rozelle Parklands’ Urban Design Landscape Plan was on public display last year. Submissions have been collated and the UDLP is currently with DPIE.
  • The Rozelle Parklands Working Group has started meeting formally to determine the optimal uses for the park.

The Rozelle Interchange is on schedule to be completed by late 2023.

HOTEL QUARANTINE COSTS HALVED FOR OVERSEAS AGRICULTURAL WORKERS

With the State’s primary industries sector hard-hit by COVID-induced workforce shortages, the NSW Government has today announced a significant boost for farmers by subsidising half the quarantine costs for overseas agricultural workers.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced the subsidy at the iconic Sydney Royal Easter Show today, saying labour shortages in the agricultural sector remained at critical levels.

“We know that our primary producers rely on seasonal and foreign workers, but we have heard loud and clear that the cost of mandatory quarantine is a significant barrier for farming businesses wanting to employ overseas workers,” Mr Marshall said.

“As a result of today’s announcement, we expect to see an increase in applications through the Pacific Labour Scheme and or Seasonal Worker Program as the proposition for farmers becomes a lot more viable.”

Mr Perrottet said overseas agricultural workers entering the country under the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) or Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) will be eligible for a 50 per cent subsidy of the cost of mandatory quarantine to reduce the cost to industry from $3,000 per person to $1,500 per person for 2020-21.

“COVID-19 has thrown up all sorts of challenges, and this will help our vital agricultural sector which is worth almost $16 billion to the NSW economy each year,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Assisting Australians who want to return home will continue to be our number one priority, but we can’t ignore the importance of our agricultural sector and its critical need for workers.”

Mandatory hotel quarantine remains a critical part of the State’s COVID defence and any international arrivals are required to enter hotel quarantine in accordance with the Public Health Orders.

Mr Marshall said the NSW Government had already implemented a range of measures to overcome the shortage, but today’s announcement was the most significant.

“Since international borders shut, we have worked with industry to find a solution that is cost-effective and today’s announcement allows industry and government to share the costs of mandatory quarantine,” Mr Marshall said.

“We spearheaded the Ag Workers’ Code, approved almost 1,200 overseas seasonal workers and successfully launched the ‘Help Harvest NSW’ website to connect ag employers with out of work Australians.

“Now, by subsidising half the quarantine costs for overseas agricultural workers, we have made it more commercially viable for the farmers to get the workforce they need.”

All seasonal workers approved to quarantine in NSW during the 2020/21 financial year will be eligible for the subsidy, provided the majority of their work is undertaken in NSW.