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..

City launches convenient civil works mapping tool

ity of Newcastle (CN) has today launched a new interactive mapping tool to help residents track the latest civil works projects happening across our LGA.

From large road maintenance activities to major development projects, the interactive map provides a location and overview of the types of activities the City is delivering – all on the one page.

Its intuitive design makes it easier for people to stay informed and in touch with the City’s 2018-19 Civil Works Program.

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“This online mapping tool will streamline communication to residents and fastrack important information about the current projects that have commenced,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“By simply logging on to the City’s Civil Works Update page, users can get an instant snapshot of the various works that are taking shape across the City in real time.”

A number of significant projects which will be delivered before 30 June include a $7.1 million upgrade of local bridges, $8.2 million towards Newcastle’s Smart City program, $8.1 million to renew and upgrade the existing storm water network and $7.9 million on a solar farm to be built at the Summerhill Waste Centre.

Renewing parks, open spaces and sporting facilities ($5.4 million), allocating money to our cultural facilities ($5.1 million) and increasing cycling links around the City ($2.6 million) are also included in the delivery program.

To take a look at the online map, visit http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Council/News/Projects-Works/Civil-works-update

Greens Welcome Cosmetic Animal Testing Ban and Vow to Keep Up Pressure on the Government

Australian Greens Senator for NSW and Spokesperson for Animal Welfare, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has welcomed a ban on animal testing for cosmetics. A full ban is conditional on the Government enacting further measures outside Parliament, and Senator Faruqi has vowed to keep the pressure on the Government. The Greens have been at the forefront of pushing for a ban on cruel cosmetics for years, including introducing the first bill to ban animal tested cosmetics in 2014.

Senator Faruqi said:

“This is a great step forward for animals. Animals shouldn’t suffer and die to test cosmetics or other ingredients. I am proud that the Greens have been at the forefront of this campaign against cruel cosmetics.

“The Government had previously tried to pass a partial ban that would not have come close to ending animal testing. Thanks to the crossbench, the opposition and the Greens standing together, we have been able to extract commitments from the Government for a full ban. The Greens will be pursuing the Government relentlessly to ensure that it follows through with its commitments.

“Australia has lagged behind the world in banning animal testing which is both cruel and completely unnecessary.  People quite rightly expect that animals should not have to suffer significant pain and distress, and in many cases die, for cosmetics.

“I want to pay tribute to former Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon who introduced the first bill to ban animal testing for cosmetics and strongly pushed to protect animals from unnecessary and cruel procedures,” she concluded.

Infrastructure Australia priority list shows Morrison government leaving Australia in the electric vehicle slow lane, say Greens

The Morrison government is leaving Australia in the slow lane when it comes to preparing for the electric vehicle revolution, say the Australian Greens, following Infrastructure Australia’s listing of a rapid rollout of a national electric vehicle fast-charging network as one of its top priorities.

“The Morrison government is sitting by while other countries zip past us when it comes to encouraging EV uptake,” said Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens transport spokesperson.

“The world is experiencing an electric vehicle revolution that is transforming how we move people and goods, but Australian people and businesses need the government to show some leadership.”

“Infrastructure Australia says that electric vehicles are a “game changer” for improving national productivity and environmental benefits. So why isn’t the government doing more to get Australia on track?”

“It’s ludicrous that don’t already have a national charging network nor any plans for one.”

“The Labor party is no better, having endorsed a report of the Select Committee on Electric Vehicles that was short on detail and low on ambition.”

The Greens’ policy to get Australia back in the race is to put $150 million towards a national fast-charging network, as well as ambitious targets and incentives to drive the uptake of electric vehicles.”

Other Infrastructure Australia priorities include large investments in rail network upgrades in Melbourne and preserving a high-speed rail corridor between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

“The Greens would give priority to funding public transport and fast tracking high-speed rail. In contrast, Liberal and Labor are prioritising spending billions on polluting tollways, leaving people packed like sardines on trains, trams and buses.”

“This report is the canary in the coal mine that we must start seriously investing in 21st century public transport for our cities immediately.”

Secret Documents Reveal Government Interfered With Live Export Report

Australian Greens Senator for NSW and Spokesperson for Animal Welfare, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has revealed documents that show the Department of Agriculture had a role in editing and reviewing the review of its own culture. Senator Faruqi obtained the documents through an Order for Production of Documents into all draft versions of the “Review of the Regulatory Capability and Culture of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in the Regulation of Live Animal Exports”, known as the Moss Review.  Fairfax coverage of the issue is available here.

Senator Faruqi said:

“This was a review of the Agriculture Department’s culture and performance and the fact that they had a role in influencing the report is completely unacceptable.

“It is blatantly obvious that the Department did everything in its power to try and weaken the report’s recommendations. That is not a regulator interested in animal welfare, it is a regulator interested in defending the cruel live exports industry.

“Whilst the Moss Review was quite rightly deeply critical of the Department of Agriculture as the regulator of live exports, the level of Agriculture Department involvement, even down to the detail of suggesting track changes of the document is deeply inappropriate.

“Live export is inherently cruel. The reality is that it cannot be regulated to meet community expectations on animal welfare. The only solution is to shut it down,” she concluded.

Greens motion calling on Morrison government to acknowledge harm caused by discriminatory treatment of LGBT defence force members passed by Senate

The Senate today passed a Greens motion calling on parliamentarians to acknowledge the personal and professional harm caused by discriminatory treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Australian Defence Force members.

“Until 1992, gay, lesbian and bisexual people were explicitly banned from serving in our defence forces,” said Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson.

“While the ban was in place, hundreds of defence personnel were investigated and dismissed from their jobs because of their actual or perceived sexuality or gender identity. For many this had profound personal and professional impacts.”

“It wasn’t until 2010 that transgender people were able to openly serve.”

“Last year the Greens wrote to the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister urging the government to provide an apology and implement a redress scheme to those former ADF members who were dismissed from their jobs, but the Defence Minister declined.”

“The Senate passing this motion is an acknowledgement of the harm caused by discriminatory treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender defence force members, but there is still so much more to be done. The Greens will keep pushing for an apology and a redress scheme for those affected. “

 

Motion

 

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that the Senate –

 

1. Notes that:

a.      Until 24 November 1992 gay, lesbian and bisexual people were explicitly banned from serving in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

b.      Between 1953 and 1992 at least 489 men and 165 women in the ADF were investigated for being LGBT. Data provided to parliament in 1992 on discharges between 1987 to 1992 revealed 73 honourable discharges of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and 21 dishonourable discharges of LGB people across Army, Navy and Royal Australian Air Force.

c.       A recent report by ACU Associate Professor Noah Riseman indicates that LGBT personnel were subject to harrowing interviews that probed intimate personal details and surveillance of movements during and outside of service hours. These practices saw LGBT service members humiliated and intimidated, forcing many of them to resign their posts or be dishonourably discharged.

d.      Lifting the ban in 1992 ended the threat of dismissal for lesbians, gays and bisexuals, but it did not grant equal treatment to LGB service members. Many Defence members still kept their same-sex relationships a secret for fear of bullying or other persecution.

e.      Transgender people continued to be subject to policies until September 2010 that required them to discharge if they intended to affirm their gender.

2. Calls on all parliamentarians to:

a.       Acknowledge the personal and professional harm that these policies have caused

b.      Recognise that discriminatory dismissals on account of sexuality or gender identity — suspected or otherwise — continue to impact the mental health and wellbeing of some affected ex-service members.

c.       Celebrates the contribution of the LGBTQ people who bravely served in the ADF despite these discriminatory policies

Greens’ Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission Bill before Senate

Australian Greens environment and water spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has this afternoon introduced a Bill to establish a Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin.

“I introduce this Bill today on behalf of the millions of Australians devastated by the mismanagement of the Murray Darling Basin, for the people without clean water to drink or watching fish die, and for taxpayers who have been continuously ripped off,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“The Government and Labor have an opportunity to be on the right side of history and support this Royal Commission. We know that corporate cotton, corruption and climate change are killing our river and it must be investigated.

“$13 billion and what we have is a dead river, corruption and no one knows where the water is that was meant to save the river. A Royal Commission is the only way to clean out the rot and hold those responsible to account.

“The National Party has overseen the death of the Murray Darling Basin. Their contempt for the environment, their favours for their big corporate irrigator mates, cannot continue unchecked.

“We need to know where the money has gone, where the water is, and why the river is dying. We need to investigate the effects that corporate cotton, corruption and climate change are still having on the river.

“The Greens push for a federal Royal Commission has a groundswell of support across the country, particularly from those on the frontline in affected river communities – people who have no clean water to drink or bathe in.

“We have to hold those who have done wrong by our river to account. There must be consequences for wrong-doing. We need a federal Royal Commission.”

Greens Establish Inquiry into National Horse Register

Australian Greens Senator for NSW and Spokesperson for Animal Welfare, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has successfully established a Senate inquiry into a national horse traceability register. As it stands, very little is known about the fate of the tens of thousands of horses bred each year.

The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee will run the inquiry and submissions will open soon.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

“The feasibility of a National Horse Traceability Register for all horses, with particular reference to:

(a) the existence and adequacy of state or industry-based registers;

(b) the benefits of a national register, including for animal welfare, biosecurity safety (including for the prevention and management of Emergency Animal Diseases, such as equine influenza and African Horse Sickness), backyard breeding and the integrity of trade in horses;

(c) overseas models of national tracking systems for horses;

(d) funding, enforcement and penalty implications; and

(e) any related matters.”

Senator Faruqi said:

“The establishment of this inquiry is a really exciting step forward to developing a system that can finally protect horses from neglect and cruelty as well as to increase safety. I urge everyone to come to the table to investigate what  a national horse register might look like.

“I really hope the racing industry puts their money where their mouth is and engages with this inquiry. If they are committed to lifetime protection for their horses, they should commit to full transparency.

“We have heard too many stories of race horses ending up being killed at knackeries when they are no longer wanted.

“A national register would benefit biosecurity, including for the prevention and management of Emergency Animal Diseases such as equine influenza and African Horse Sickness, improve safety for riders, tackle backyard breeding and combat rural crime,” she concluded.

Teacher charged with grooming Hunter schoolboy

A teacher will be in court today charged over the alleged grooming and indecent assault of a 15-year-old schoolboy at a high school in the Hunter region.

On Wednesday (13 February 2019), officers from Lake Macquarie Police District were told a 26-year-old female teacher had allegedly been sending explicit images of herself to a student at a high school where she was employed.

Following inquiries, the woman was arrested at a home in Wyee at 11pm yesterday (Thursday 14 February 2019), and taken to Toronto Police Station.

She has now been charged with,

• Groom child for unlawful activity

• Aggravated indecent assault – victim under the age of 16

• Aggravated sexually touch another person (three counts).

The woman has been refused bail to appear in Toronto Local Court today (Friday 15 February 2019).