NSW Waratahs latest major sporting team coming to Newcastle

City of Newcastle has secured the NSW Waratahs first ever official Super Rugby match at McDonald Jones Stadium in March next year.

The announcement breaks new ground for both the 2014 Super Rugby champions and City of Newcastle, with Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes confirming next year’s fixture would be the first time the State team has taken a home game to a destination outside of Sydney.

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NSW Waratahs Assistant Coach Chris Whitaker and CEO Andrew Hore with Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes at McDonald Jones Stadium

“This is a major coup for Newcastle so to be standing here at McDonald Jones Stadium today to welcome this foundation State team to our city is just incredible,” the Lord Mayor said after the City secured the NSW Waratahs’ historic game as part of a joint bid with Venues NSW.

“We’re proud to be the inaugural beneficiaries of the NSW Waratahs’ first foray outside of Sydney, particularly for a competition which has now achieved true international status with the addition of Japanese and Argentinean teams.”
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The NSW Waratahs have played pre-season matches outside of Sydney, but the 29 March fixture against the Japan Sunwolves will be the first home game ever staged outside of the harbour city during the regular season.

“Securing the NSW Waratahs is just the latest major sporting team or event Newcastle has secured over the past year,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We’ve just had the Australian netball team play a test against England. The Matildas game vs Chile is early next month, and of course final preparations are under way for November’s Supercars race. Next month we will learn if Newcastle will be the 2021 host city for the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

“Our ability to continually attract some of the country’s best live sporting and entertainment events shows just how committed we are to making our city the best it can possibly be.

“We look forward to working with the NSW Waratahs, Venues NSW and McDonald Jones Stadium to host this event next year in the hope that it will become a permanent fixture from 2020 onwards.”

NSW Waratahs prop Harry Johnson-Holmes at McDonald Jones Stadium

Smart City events to attract start-up businesses to Newcastle

Budding innovators and entrepreneurs can upload their own forward-thinking into Newcastle’s future economy through a series of upcoming Smart City engagement activities.

Part of Smart Move Newcastle and a collaboration between Eighteen04 and the City of Newcastle, a series of events aim to encourage local innovation and nurture future industries.

City of Newcastle is encouraging start-ups and tech innovators to:

  • Come and hang out in the City for three days and join our Urban Internet of Things* (IoT) Hackathon, between 25-27 October to help develop solutions to common safety, waste and amenity concerns in urban environments; and
  • Be a part of our Online Mobility Challenge – 27 September to 27 November – to generate new ideas around using data to encourage electric vehicle usage and other transport options.

“Scores of start-ups, emerging businesses and student ventures in Newcastle will take part in and benefit from a variety of competitive innovation challenges,” Chair of Eighteen04 Gunilla Burrowes said.

“The events will also provide a great opportunity to showcase Newcastle’s excellent smart city infrastructure and platforms to a national and international audience.”

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the start-up engagement program would further confirm Newcastle as a smart city leader.

“Our vision is to be a smart, liveable and sustainable global city by 2030,” the Lord Mayor said.

“While we talk a lot about smart technology and infrastructure, smart cities are first and foremost about people.

“These fantastic hands-on engagement challenges will nurture innovation locally and show how innovation and technology can help solve urban problems and make life easier.”

“With integrated smart poles, sensor networks and data analytics platforms coming on line, we have an exceptional environment for entrepreneurial businesses large and small,” the Lord Mayor added.

“We have the capacity and are attracting the talent to develop the next generation of Smart City solutions right here in Newcastle to address challenges that many cities are facing.”

The program is part of the $13m Smart Moves Newcastle project, which received $5m through the Federal Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs program last year.

Through Smart Moves Newcastle, the City is partnering with a consortium of technology businesses to provide an integrated network for transport, energy and digital infrastructure to transform the city into a ‘living lab’.

An Energy Demonstration Project in December will also showcase emerging energy-saving and monitoring technologies in the retail market, with more details to come.

LNP Say we will now Get A Fair Deal on Energy

Australian families and businesses will save hundreds of dollars a year off their power bills, thanks to action being taken today by the Morrison Government.

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) will start work on a “price safety net” today.

This will stop big power companies ripping off loyal customers who don’t have time to shop around for a better deal.

However it will still allow retailers to offer more competitively-priced market offers.

The price safety net is consistent with the recommendations of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry.

The Australian Energy Market Commission found that customers on standing offers could be paying up to $832 per year more than the cheapest market offer in some regions. Small businesses could be paying up to $3,457 per year in higher electricity costs.

The AER has been tasked with introducing default prices by 30 April 2019 with savings being passed through to families and small businesses by 1 July 2019.

Other measures announced today by the Morrison Government that will bring prices down and increase reliability are:

  • Stopping price gouging by the big energy companies. This includes banning sneaky late payment penalties and making energy retailers pass on savings in wholesale prices to customers. It will increase regulator’s power to crack down on dodgy, anti-competitive practices – through fines, penalties, enforceable undertakings, structural separation and divestiture. We have already seen prices come down in Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales on 1 July 2018, and we have directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to monitor electricity prices until 2025 to ensure prices are fairer for consumers.
  • Backing investment in new power generators to improve competition. Underwriting new electricity generation will attract investment in the electricity market, increasing supply and reducing wholesale electricity prices. The Government will consult on the Underwriting New Generation Investments program, with submissions open until 9 November 2018. Based on feedback from the consultation, the Government will release initial program guidelines and invite proponents to nominate projects through an expression of interest process open from December 2018 to January 2019.
  • Supporting reliable power by requiring energy companies to sign contracts guaranteeing enough energy to meet demand. We will work with state and territory governments through the COAG Energy Council to ensure these contracts are signed.

The package of measures announced today builds on the ACCC’s July report, Restoring electricity affordability and Australia’s competitive advantage.

The report found that the National Energy Market is not operating in the best interests of consumers and needs reform, in particular around competition and affordability.

Our plan will lower power prices, supporting Australians struggling with the cost of living, and back small businesses so they can take advantage of new opportunities and employ more people.

The Government is also developing legislation to implement a strong regime to monitor electricity prices including:

  • empowering the ACCC to recommend a range of enforcement remedies;
  • empowering the Treasurer to order the divestiture of assets on advice from the ACCC; and
  • supporting the COAG Energy Council agenda through Commonwealth legislation if required.

We will also propose an ambitious agenda for the COAG Energy Council including:

  • introducing a market cap on generation ownership;
  • increasing transparency in the wholesale contract market;
  • introducing higher penalties for breaches of the National Electricity Law and related laws, of up to $10 million; and
  • increasing the AER’s powers to investigate market manipulation and impose appropriate remedies.

SINGLETON’S CODY HEFFERNAN NABS PBR DUBBO INVITATIONAL TITLE WITH ROUSING FINAL RIDE OF THE NIGHT

Saturday evening’s Professional Bull Riders ( PBR) Monster Energy Tour: Dubbo Invitational, concluded in dramatic fashion, coming down to the wire as current Australian #4 Cody Heffernan clinched victory with a rousing 89-point ride on the final buck off of the night.

Taking place at Dubbo Showgrounds in PBR’s new state-of-the-art mobile stadium before a capacity crowd, the event attracted 22 of the nation’s top riders, including the top five riders on the current Australian Standings.

Heffernan’s picture perfect final ride upon TNR’s Call Me Joe saw him narrowly pip current Australian #1 Aaron Kleier to the Dubbo Invitational title – solidifying Heffernan as a serious 2018  title contender with only one event left until the PBR Australia Grand Finals in Townsville on November 23 & 24.

The Dubbo Invitational also attracted some of the best bulls in the sport, with superstar bovines wowing local audiences including the likes of TnR’s ‘Call Me Joe’, John Gill and Sons’ ‘High Flying Akubra’, Hempenstall’s ‘Doorman’ and Kasper’s ‘Villain’.

With the win, Singleton (NSW)-born Heffernan sent this year’s title race into overdrive. The slimmest of margins now separates Heffernan and Rankings #3 Fraser Babbington, with both riders also within striking distance of #1 Aaron Kleier  and #2 Cliff Richardson.

The PBRA now heads to Tamworth for the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Monster Energy Tour: Iron Cowboy on November 17, before the PBR Grand Finals in Townsville on November 23-24.

Nineteen years after the PBR began staging events in Townsville, the Grand Finals will bring twenty-two of the country’s best bull riders, along with international stars and champion bulls, to Townsville for a head-to-head battle that will decide the National Champion and Stock Contractor of the Year titles.

“As with previous years, we’re expecting the 2018 title battle to attract diehard PBR fans from all over Australia.It is anybody’s title this year, and with four more events to go, and the bonus points on offer at the Grand Finals, fans can expect a very tight battle,” says PBR Australia General Manager, Glen Young.

 

Investigators confirm sexual assault of child as false report

Detectives investigating a report a teenage girl was sexually assaulted in the Hunter region last week have confirmed the incident did not occur.

Police were told a 14-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by an unknown man in bushland after getting off a bus on the Pacific Highway near South Street, Windale, about 3.30pm last Wednesday (17 October 2018).

The matter was reported to officers from Lake Macquarie Police District, who launched an investigation with the assistance of detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad.

Following extensive investigations, including forensic examinations and speaking with a number of people, detectives have confirmed that the report was false.

The girl has been spoken to by police and offered support services.

Police would like to thank the community and media for their assistance with this matter.

Adam Bandt says Wentworth is a lesson—plan for coal exit or get punished

Greens Co-Deputy Leader and spokesperson for climate change and energy Adam Bandt MP today said that the Wentworth by-election result makes it clear that if you’re a government without a plan to tackle climate change, you need to plan for your inevitable demise. On Monday, Bandt re-iterated that an election is required as soon as possible so action can finally be taken on climate change and to end the torture on Nauru.

“The Wentworth result is the canary in the coal mindset. If you don’t have a plan to get off coal and onto renewables, voters will punish you,” said Mr Bandt.

“Even Australia’s richest electorate knows that you can’t make money if the planet is cooked.

“Voters have heard the scientists’ message that we need to shut two thirds of coal-fired power stations by 2030.

“I won’t be offering support to the Morrison Government. It’s time to go to an election.

“It’s clear that people have had enough of this rotten government’s agenda.

“We’re also one step closer to getting kids and their families off Nauru.

“If Labor got behind the crossbench bill in Parliament today, we could bring kids and their families here to receive the medical attention they need before Christmas.

Greens call to Reduce conflict between water used in coal/gas mining, and the environment and agriculture: Senate Committee

The final report of a Senate Inquiry into water use by mining operations has recommended expanding Commonwealth control over water use, and dramatically improving understanding of water use by mining industries to help reduce the conflict between water use by mining operations, and agriculture and the environment.

“Australia is at a crossroads – large parts of our country are facing extreme drought, yet the fossil fuel mining industry is taking billions of litres of water which would otherwise be available for our regional communities and the environment,” said Chair of the Committee, Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice.

A key recommendation of the Inquiry is to expand the application of the ‘water trigger’. Currently only coal and coal-seam gas projects projects need to be assessed by the Commonwealth. The Senate Committee recommends that the use of the water trigger be expanded to include all unconventional gas projects.

Other recommendations include prioritising a better knowledge of the cumulative impacts of projects, more funding for the Department of Energy and Environment to monitor and ensure compliance by the fossil fuel industry, and publishing real time data so the community knows just how much water is actually being used by mining.

“This report demonstrates that massive and poorly regulated mining projects using billions of litres of water each year are in direct conflict with a healthy environment and agricultural production.”

“I’m pleased that Labor supported many of the recommendations in the report. But the recommendations don’t go far enough. We need a phase-out of coal and unconventional gas to better protect our water resources.”

“And we absolutely must stop projects like the Adani coal mine, which has recently been granted an unlimited water licence to extract 12.5 billion litres of water per year from the drought-stricken Suttor River, on top of its licence to use unlimited amounts of groundwater. This is just obscene and untenable.”

“Both major parties have taken millions from the fossil fuel industry. In return the major parties are continuing to prop up polluting and dying industries like coal. This must stop.”

“For the health of our agriculture industry and environment, the major parties need to get their hands out of the pockets of fossil fuel corporations.”

Museum solar roof wins Climate Council award

City of Newcastle has taken out top honours for its work on the climate change frontline, at the inaugural Cities Power Partner Summit Awards.

The City took home the Cities Power Partnership Energy Efficiency Achievement award for the Newcastle Museum Energy Upgrade Project, which upgraded lighting in several sections of the building to maximise energy efficiency, saving thousands on power bills, in addition to a installing a 100kW solar panel.

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The awards, held Thursday 18 October in Kiama NSW as part of the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership National Summit, recognised the unsung work of climate heroes in local governments across the country, who are quietly transforming Australia’s energy landscape.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the city was thrilled to be recognised as energy efficiency leaders within Australia.

“This project is one that continues to build on our long track record of acting to reduce electricity consumption and carbon emissions,” the Lord Mayor said. “We have undertaken energy-efficiency upgrades at social, cultural and recreational facilities that Newcastle residents use every day, as well as council operational buildings.

“Newcastle Museum, as a key cultural facility and tourist attraction, was a prime site for an energy efficient upgrade, which is helping the council save money on electricity bills, reducing ongoing operational costs for this heritage site. We’re also undertaking significant street lighting upgrades for energy savings powering towards council’s goal to have 30% of its electricity generated from low-carbon sources by 2020.”

Alix Pearce, director of the Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s largest local government climate alliance, said that the range of climate solutions coming out of Australia’s councils was staggering.

“The local climate solutions on display at these awards are tangible proof that Australian communities are rising up to meet the challenges of climate change,” she said.

“From supporting local schools to save thousands on their power bills through solar energy through to developing Australia’s largest floating solar farm, Cities Power Partnership councils are leading the way with practical local climate solutions.”

“These local heroes are stepping up and getting the job done, in the face of continuing Federal climate inaction. It’s time to celebrate these quiet achievers, who are working at the climate frontline and helping their communities to drive down local greenhouse gas pollution.”

The Cities Power Partnership Awards celebrated outstanding work from local governments in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and community advocacy, as well as individual climate champion awards.

FULL LIST OF AWARD WINNERS

Renewable Energy Achievement Award
Winner: Solar my School – Three Council Program from Randwick, Waverley & Woollahra Councils (New South Wales)

Energy Efficiency Achievement
Winner: Newcastle Museum Energy upgrade – City of Newcastle (New South Wales)

Sustainable Transport Achievement Award
Winner: Transition to Zero Emissions Vehicles Action Plan 2018-21 – ACT Government

Community Engagement Achievement Award
Winner: Floating solar farm – Lismore City Council (New South Wales)

Knowledge Sharing Award
Winner: South East NSW Councils buddy group (New South Wales)

CPP Ambassador Award
Winner: Clr Ken Keith, Mayor, Parkes Shire Council (New South Wales)

The Cities Power Partnership is a free national program created by the Climate Council that
celebrates and accelerates the pollution reduction and clean energy successes of Australia in
towns and cities.

Decision to withdraw terrorism charges – Operation Moorsel

The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) has informed the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions that it supports the withdrawal of the terrorism charge laid on a 25-year-old Sri Lankan citizen (Mr Nizamdeen) on 31 August 2018.

The decision to lay the charge was informed by an investigation of one of Mr Nizamdeen’s notebooks found in a desk he used at the University of NSW.

A subsequent expert forensic examination of the notebook indicated irregularities between examples of Mr Nizamdeen’s handwriting and the handwriting in the notebook that specified terrorist threats.

The JCTT yesterday received definitive advice on the handwriting that has resulted in the action to discontinue the prosecution.

The JCTT investigation has shifted to focus on the possibility that the content of the notebook has been created by other people.

The JCTT acted in good faith on the evidence available at all stages of the investigation. The very nature of terrorism matter often means that police need to intervene earlier than they would in normal criminal matters.

As more evidence was gathered that contradicted the initial material, the JCTT acted appropriately to inform the CDPP and inform the courts.

The investigation into the circumstances of this matter remains ongoing, but there is no information to indicate that there is a current threat to community safety.

The JCTT has committed significant resources to this investigation and is determined to discover those responsible for these criminal actions.

NSW GOVERNMENT BUILDS THOUSANDS MORE SOCIAL HOUSING HOMES

Under the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government the total number of social housing homes has increased by 11,480 since Labor’s time in power, according to the Australian Productivity Commission and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward today toured a new development in Westmead, which will provide 67 new units to people currently on the social housing waiting list and others in need of affordable housing.

A number of properties on the site are being managed by St George Community Housing under the NSW Government’s $1.1 billion Social and Affordable Housing Fund, which will provide 3400 additional homes across NSW for vulnerable families.

“The Labor Government reduced the total number of social housing dwellings by more than 600 a year in its last term in office. Since then, the number of social housing homes has increased by more than 1600 a year,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The Labor Government sold off social housing without a comprehensive strategy to re-invest the funds into new, fit-for-purpose housing. Our Future Directions social housing program will continue to increase the number of homes, build better communities and improve the quality of social housing in NSW.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is embarking on the biggest social housing construction program in Australia, building almost 27,000 social and affordable homes over ten years.”

Ms Goward said the proceeds of the Millers Point sales has already added new social housing properties in locations such as Penrith, Blacktown, Parramatta, Ryde, Canada Bay, Lane Cove, Bankstown and Sutherland, with hundreds more under construction.

“Each sale has resulted in almost five new and fit-for-purpose homes being built, which helps many of our most vulnerable families on the social housing waiting list find safe and secure housing,” Ms Goward said.

“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring the most vulnerable people in our community have a place to live and are supported to break the cycle of disadvantage.”