Greens say there is a Humanitarian crisis on Nauru

Medecins Sans Frontiers’ revelations about the conditions of the people Australia is detaining on Nauru have laid bare the truly despearte situation, Greens Immigration spokesperson Nick McKim says.

“MSF have made it clear that they have never seen such traumatised people and that every refugee presented with suicidal symptoms,” Senator McKim said.

“These are stomach turning revelations which confirm yet again that offshore detention is destroying innocent lives.”

“No longer can Morrison and Shorten ignore the humanitarian calamity caused by their bipartisan policy of cruelty.”

“Every single person Australia is detaining on Manus Island and Nauru must be evacuated to Australia immediately.”

Greens Say Leigh Creek UCG project must be stopped

The Australian Greens are calling on urgent Federal Government intervention into the Leigh Creek Energy underground coal gasification project, after today’s announcement the company has produced its first syngas.

“The Federal Environment Minister must intervene and put a stop to this project before any irreversible damage is caused. It is a disgrace it was ever given the go-ahead by the South Australian Liberal Government,” Greens environment spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“The Greens will move in the Parliament to stop the Leigh Creek project and ban this absurd and harmful practice.

“This toxic practice poisons the water table and contaminates soil and air. It does immeasurable damage to the environment, and the climate. It has been linked to an increase in cancers, including lung and breast cancers. UCG is banned in Queensland and across the world, for good reason, because of the demonstrated harm it causes to people and the environment.

“The Greens stand in solidarity with Traditional Owners and community members who have been fighting this going ahead. South Australian lives must be protected, like Queenslanders finally are. We must stop the government putting us at risk for the sake of a company making a profit for shareholders offshore.”

Greens express deep concern over Baha’i persecution in Yemen

Greens Leader Senator Richard Di Natale expressed his deep concern at news that 24 Yemenis of the Baha’i faith, including a child, continue to face serious charges for nothing more than their expressing beliefs and for conducting peaceful activities. Some of the charges may result in the death penalty.

“A recent court date was an opportunity for justice to prevail – but Houthi authorities seem content to threaten peaceful people with execution just for expressing their religious beliefs.  The world will be closely watching the next hearing, currently scheduled for mid-November.

“This mass trial is another disturbing sign of persecution of Yemenis of the Baha’i faith in Houthi-controlled Yemen.  I urge the Houthi authorities to immediately drop these bogus charges and release those who are detained.”


A Shorten Labor Government will introduce a new two year National Preschool and Kindy Program, guaranteeing around 700,000 Australian children a year will be able to access subsidised preschool.

This is the biggest ever investment in early childhood education in Australia.

For the first time, every three year old in Australia will be able to access 15 hours of subsidised early childhood education, so they can get the best start to learning.

Labor will also extend the current arrangement for four year olds accessing preschool – creating a quality, two-year program to support the most important years of a child’s development, an investment of an additional $1.75 billion into early education.

90% of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years of life – an investment in early education is one of the smartest investments our country can make.

Labor’s plan is good for children, good for parents, and good for the economy:

  •       Children – Studies have shown that children who access quality early education achieve better results in tests throughout their schooling. Early education is particularly vital in closing the disadvantage gap before a child starts school. Labor’s plan will see around 340,000 three year olds and a similar number of four year olds able to access preschool every year.
  •        Parents – One of the biggest barriers to accessing early education is finance – expanding access will help with the cost of living, help parents balance work and family and help reduce the child care bill for families with children already in early education.
  •       Economy – evidence shows that the return on investment in early childhood education is significant. A recent study from the EU showed that for every dollar spent on early childhood education for 3 year olds, $4 was returned to the economy.

Labor’s universal access to preschool scheme for four year olds has laid the groundwork for this announcement – since the first agreement was signed by Labor in 2008, preschool enrolment for four year olds has increased from 77% to between 93-97%.
But more needs to be done. Our global competitors have recognised the value of a two-year early childhood education program, and it’s time Australia gets on board, before we fall further behind.

The United Kingdom, New Zealand, France, Ireland and China have all expanded their early childhood education programs to include three year olds.

Currently, Scott Morrison has failed to extend preschool funding for four year olds beyond next school year – after his child care changes cut early education from some of Australia’s most vulnerable children.

The Liberals see education as a cost – that’s why they’ve cut $14 billion from public schools and left preschool funding in limbo. Labor sees it as an investment in our collective future.

Labor will work in partnership with the states and territories to deliver this important reform, including in setting enrolment and attendance targets, particularly for Indigenous and vulnerable children.

We’ve made tough and overdue decisions to rein in unfair tax concessions that predominantly benefit the wealthy – including negative gearing reform and dividend imputation reform – so we can fund the priorities that will make a fairer and more successful nation.

Only Labor will give every child the early education opportunities they need for the best start in life.

Vice-Chancellor honoured by City

Outgoing University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen has been honoured with the Key to the City.


Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, who has worked in lock step with the Vice-Chancellor on Newcastle’s transformation over the past seven years, presented her with the Key to the City in a celebratory breakfast at City Hall this morning.

Lord-Mayor-and-Mcmillen-inside.jpgLord Mayor presenting the Key to the City to Caroline McMillen.

Professor McMillen leaves for Adelaide later today and a new career as South Australia’s Chief Scientist but was honoured beforehand at this morning’s ceremony.


“It’s an honour to the present the Key to the City to Professor McMillen in recognition of her services to Newcastle,” the Lord Mayor said.


“Caroline has been instrumental in Newcastle’s growing status as a smart, liveable and sustainable global cityand has been a formidable ally in our quest to transform Newcastle into a magnet city.


“She has overseen the expansion of the university into the Newcastle CBD and helped the university gain a rank in the top one per cent of global universities in a prestigious global survey.

“As she departs, I extend to her a profound vote of thanks on behalf of the people of Newcastle and say to her that I will personally miss her wonderful company and counsel.”


Professor McMillen and the Lord Mayor have represented Newcastle at UN and smart city forums around the world and were standing shoulder to shoulder in Civic Park in 2016 when the global body’s training arm anointed Newcastle a UN City, as host of an International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders in Australasia.


VC-Caroline-McMillen-main.jpgProfessor McMillen

Professor McMillen joined the University of Newcastle as Vice-Chancellor and President in 2011.


Over 30-plus years in the education sector, she has held leadership roles across research, innovation and teaching.


Her Australian career began in 1983 as a Monash University lecturer; she was appointed Professor, Chair and Head of the Department of Physiology at the University of Adelaide around 10 years later.


Professor McMillen has a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University and completed her medical training at the University of Cambridge.


From 2005 she served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President: Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia until her move to Newcastle.


As a biomedical researcher, Professor McMillen is internationally recognised for her work on the nutritional environment before birth on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and obesity in adult life.


She is the current Chair of the Endocrinology, Reproduction and Development Commission of the International Union of Physiological Societies and has served on various state government groups and the Prime Minister’s group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders focusing on maternal and peri-natal health.


She has also served as Chair of the Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council’s grant review panels.

Matildas role models emblazoned across city

The City of Newcastle and McDonald Jones Stadium have teamed up to promote the Matildas national women’s soccer team across the city ahead of their match with Chile next month.

Twelve banners bearing images of the players were unveiled today by Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Emily van Egmond, the team’s Newcastle-raised vice-captain, to help raise the profiles of our national stars and promote the 13 November fixture.

Inside-1.jpgEmily van Egmond and the Lord Mayor with the flag bearing Emily’s image.

Images of the footballers, who at seventh in the world rankings fare much better than our men’s national team, will be emblazoned across city on the 1.2m x 50cm banners or flags.

“From today action shots of them will fly in prime positions along Turton Rd at the entrance to McDonald Jones Stadium, Merewether St next to the City’s Newcastle Museum and in Break Block Park at Honeysuckle until just after the match,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“These banners will serve as a beacon to young local girls that they too can make the big time and is yet another example of how Newcastle is getting behind women’s sport.

“I’m thrilled to welcome the Matildas back to Australia’s hottest sporting city because Novocastrians are still talking about last year’s win against Brazil when Sam Kerr celebrated a goal with a back-flip.

Natalie-Van-Egmond.JPG“Newcastle is now hailed for hosting both national and international sporting events including the Asian Cup Football tournament, The Newcastle 500 Supercars, and most recently the A-League Grand Final, plus rugby and rugby league Test Matches.”

Newcastle was selected by Football Federation Australia after a bid put together by Venues NSW with financial support from City.

“Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres said the Matildas are one of our greatest success stories in terms of record-breaking home game crowds and international achievements.

“Novocastrians love their sport and no team is more inspirational than the mighty Matildas,” Mr Ayres said.

“These fantastic banners will serve as a beacon to young local girls that they too can make the big time and is yet another example of how Newcastle is getting behind women’s sport.”

The night time Test will be the second of a two-match series, following the first in Penrith on Saturday 10 November.

After wowing Novocastrian football fans with a 3-2 win over Brazil almost 12 months ago, the Westfield Matildas will take on their sister World Cup qualifiers from South America on Tuesday 13 November.

Sam Kerr, the most popular current footballer among Aussie fans, including players of both sexes from the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-league, will return with the team.

Matildas-5.JPGThe two-time Football Media Association International Player of the Year and 2018 Young Australian of the Year bagged a brace and set up a third goal in the comeback win over Brazil in September 2017 to clean sweep the two-match series.

Hunter residents will also get to see Newcastle-raised van Egmond turn out in the midfield.

Van Egmond’s father, Gary, a former Socceroo and Jets coach, is the team’s assistant coach

City of Newcastle actively promotes Women’s Sport and is a proud sponsoring partner of the Newcastle Jets Westfield W-League team

Newcastle: Let me entertain you

A Supercars drivers’ signing session with a cruise down Beaumont Street, an early Christmas on Darby Street and Disney the Pixar Cars Truck Tour in Civic Park will spread the excitement of this year’s Newcastle 500.

Residents are invited to enjoy four days of festivities across the inner city as Newcastle again proudly hosts its biggest event of the year, the Supercars Newcastle 500 series finale.


Seven exciting activities have been planned across six locations as part of the “Entertain Newcastle” festival.

The festival aims to stretch the high-octane atmosphere beyond the race precinct, activating Cooks Hill, Hamilton, Hunter Street Mall and Civic Park.

Entertain Newcastle is for all residents and visitors to the city, not just race-goers, and will appeal to foodies, families, and funsters.

The festival starts Thursday 22 November with all 26 Supercars drivers visiting Hamilton and continues to Sunday 25 November with a family fun zone featuring Disney Pixar Cars Mack The Transporter in Civic Park.

“I want everyone to come into the city to be part of these great events and enjoy the atmosphere as we proudly host tens of thousands of visitors to our region,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We want everyone to share in the fun of the event through these activations and for businesses across the city to benefit from the Newcastle 500.

“Last year’s event served as an unprecedented advertisement for the city and this year’s will showcase a newly revitalised city centre.”

LM-with-UON-robotics-staff-inside.jpgThe Lord Mayor with Alexander Biddulph (L) and Taylor Young from UON’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computing.

Executive Manager Newcastle Now Richard Christian said the business association was excited to be partnering with the City to make the most of the world-class event.

“We are pleased that this year we’ll have a number of exciting events that will encourage Novocastrians and visitors to eat, shop, and explore their city,” he said.

Hamilton Chamber President Nathan Errington said the business community was thrilled to host the Hamilton Supercars Start-Up.

“Last year, many visitors to the city enjoyed the convenience and diversity on offer at Hamilton,” he said.  “We are now thrilled to offer our suburb as a place to get the event started.”

The line-up for the Entertain Newcastle festival includes:

Thursday 22 November 2018 

Hamilton Super Start-Up

From 4.30pm: Head to Gregson Park, Hamilton to take part in a signing session with your favourite Newcastle 500 Supercars drivers, then watch them cruise down Beaumont Street and enjoy everything this eat street has to offer.

Friday 23 November 2018 – Darby Street Turns It On

From 5pm: Embrace the festive season when the Christmas lights come on early and enjoy a night of live music, great food and late night trading.

Saturday 24 November 2018 – Newcastle 500 Concert

International megastars Simple Minds headline alongside Australian rock legends Birds of Tokyo at No 1 Sportsground.  Make the easy 2km walk through the City to eat, drink, and enjoy everything Newcastle has to offer before finishing off your night with some amazing live entertainment.

Sunday 25 November 2018 – Super Sunday Session

Finish off a big the weekend in Newcastle’s City East pubs and restaurants with a range of Sunday Session Super deals.

Additional events Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 

Newy Super Breakfast

From 7.00am: fuel up each day with a delicious breakfast prepared by local cafes in Market and Hunter Streets.

Newcastle Innovation Showcase

From 8am: check out the latest electric vehicles, prototype race cars, a race simulator, and a dynamic game of robotic soccer.  See an Augmented Reality art exhibition and don’t miss the chance to learn more about what City of Newcastle’s Smart City team are doing to help create a smarter and more innovative Newcastle. On Saturday, there will be Sprung Stilt walking and juggling from 10.00am to 1.00pm.

Newcastle Now Family Fun Zone

From 8am – 4pm: Fun is centre stage at Civic Park as the Disney Pixar Cars Truck Tour rolls in. Strike a victory pose on the Champions podium.

National apology to screen at City Hall

The City of Newcastle will screen the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse on Monday week and invites the public to attend this significant event for our nation.

The apology by the Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, in the House of Representatives will be screened in the Banquet Room of City Hall at 11am on Monday 22 October.

The sombre event will acknowledge and apologise for the appalling abuse endured by vulnerable children, by the very people that were supposed to care for them, leaving immeasurable and lasting damage.

“City of Newcastle recognises the significance of this National Apology and will screen the Prime Minister’s address at City Hall,” Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“The National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse will mark an important milestone in addressing an abhorrent chapter in our nation’s history.

“Importantly, the National Apology will recognise the bravery of those who survived child sexual abuse, and those who fought to expose it.”

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said the local screening of the National Apology was a specific request from survivors who took part in face-to-face Apology consultations in Newcastle.

“Survivors in Newcastle made it clear they wanted the option to attend a local Apology event where they could be in a supportive environment with friends and family,” Ms Claydon.

“The National Apology will provide an historic opportunity for the Parliament of Australia to acknowledge the wrongs of the past, and, on behalf of the nation, say sorry.”

The National Apology Information Line – 1800 604 604 – enables survivors and their supporters to seek further information about all aspects of the Apology and the arrangements for its delivery.

Members of the public are invited to attend the screening in the Banquet Room of City Hall from 10.30am on Monday 22 October. Entry is from Christie Street.

City proud to play host to Newcastle 500 gig

The City of Newcastle has welcomed the announcement of Simple Minds as the headline act for the Newcastle 500 concert.

The Glasgow rockers responsible for hits like Don’t You (forget about me) and Alive and Kicking will be joined by Australian rock legends Birds of Tokyo at the Saturday night 24 November gig.

This year’s event will be staged at No.1 Sportsground, offering local businesses a chance to capitalise on throngs of people.

“We’re excited that this year’s Newcastle 500 concert will be held at our premiere regional-level sporting facility,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“With many concert goers making their way from the Supercars precinct to No.1, there’s a real opportunity for businesses along the route to benefit.

“Activating the city over the Newcastle 500 event weekend is a priority, and having the concert located at No.1 will promote dining and shopping in Cooks Hill and at Marketown.

“As a city with a growing reputation for hosting major events, this concert location provides us with an opportunity to showcase another beautiful part of our city to visitors and locals alike.”

The Saturday night concert is free with any same day event ticket.

Beresfield local centre reaches first milestone

A large-scale renewal project to support the Beresfield community by revitalising the local centre has reached the half-way point.

The work requires the complete reconstruction of infrastructure above and below ground, with a large component of the work on utilities beneath the surface now complete.

The Lord Mayor met with local businesses and City of Newcastle works crew to mark the milestone last week.

Bero-crew-inside.jpgThe Lord Mayor with the City of Newcastle crew delivering the Beresfield local centre project.

“The majority of businesses have been great to work with, understand the time frames required for this work and have been very supportive of the project and our work crews, who began in March and are expected to be finished in March 2019,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The project has now reached the half-way point and remains on schedule. It’s wonderful to see our suburban renewal project at Beresfield taking shape – we have had very positive feedback on the City’s works crews from the local community and businesses.

“Our construction manager and the civil construction team work tirelessly to accommodate the needs of residents and business owners and have formed great relationships with many locals who regularly stop by for an update.”

James-Henry-real-estatse-staff-and-LM-inside.jpgStaff from James Henry Real Estate with the Lord Mayor.

A project page on our website contains current information about the project and upcoming works –

The fly-through video in the above link shows the future streets of Beresfield, including smart lighting and Wi-Fi as the first of City Of Newcastle’s local centre upgrades takes shape.

Businesses and residents can take a virtual trip along the streets to see how they’ll look after completion of the $2.4million project.

The video showcases changes to Addison Street, Lawson Avenue and Beresford Avenue.

“It’s exciting to see this virtual view of how Beresfield local centre will look when this significant project is completed,” added the Lord Mayor.

“You immediately notice the smart poles, which will provide smart lighting and access to Wi-Fi, making Beresfield the first local centre in Newcastle to have smart poles installed.

“You also can clearly see the renewed road surface, wider pedestrian pathways, more public spaces in Beresford Ave, and new street trees, seating, bike racks and bins, with many of these above-ground upgrades being delivered right now.”

Befor the revitalisation project began, a public domain plan was developed involving community consultation to identify issues and possible solutions to ensure the community’s priorities were addressed.

The renewal project includes:

  • A 40km/hr zone and pedestrian friendly street design
  • Road and pedestrian lighting upgrade
  • Lighting to the railway station
  • Drainage renewal
  • Water sensitive urban design with a rain garden
  • New site appropriate street trees
  • New public space in Beresford Avenue
  • New seating, bike racks and bins
  • New kerb, gutter and footpath
  • Renewed road pavement
  • Retention of on street parking
  • Free WiFi.