Key to the City for proud Novocastrian Naval Officer

HMAS Newcastle Commander Anita Sellick has been honoured with the Key to the City at a ceremony today to farewell the ship before it’s decommissioned later this month.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes presented the born-and-bred Novocastrian the ceremonial honour following HMAS Newcastle’s Freedom of Entry March, which gave the public a chance to farewell the vessel and her company for the final time.

Commander-Sellick-receiving-Key-to-the-City-inside.jpgLord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes honouring HMAS Newcastle Commander Anita Sellick with Federal Senator Arthur Sinodinis

The Lord Mayor said the gesture was a tribute to commander Sellick’s Newcastle roots and her formidable achievement, as a woman, rising through the ranks of one of Australia’s most respected, traditionally male-dominated institutions.

“It’s an honour to present the Key to the City to Commander Sellick in recognition of her services to Newcastle and the Royal Australian Navy,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Commander Sellick assumed command of HMAS Newcastle in January last year and will embark on her final voyage in control of the ship when she sails out of the heads for the final time on Tuesday.

“We’re proud of our history with the vessel and we’re even prouder that Commander Sellick is at the helm.”

Freedom-of-Entry-1-courtesy-inside.jpgCommander Sellick leading her company as they Exercised their Right of Freedom of Entry to the City.

Commander Anita Sellick joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1994 after graduating from the Australian Defence Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science.

For meritorious service, she was awarded a Conspicuous Medal in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours; and holds a Chief of Joint Operations Group Commendation for a past command.

She also holds a Baceholor of Science (Oceanography/Computer Science) from the University of NSW and is studying her Master of Business Administration.

Since it was commissioned in 1993,  the ship has maintained close links with Newcastle through active support of her adopted charity organisation, Newcastle Senior School, formerly known as the Hunter Orthopaedic School.

Freedom-of-Entry-2-courtesy-CN-inside.jpgThe ship’s company at today’s march.

The ship’s company has raised substantial funds over the years, providing the school with a bus, undertaking working bees and joining in sporting activities.

The final fundraising campaign, ‘The Great Race’, aims to raise $20,000 and is still live at

Both Commander Sellick and the ship’s departure on Tuesday will be marked by a seven-gun salute from the historic guns at Fort Scratchley followed by return volley from the ship.

After more than 25 years of service, she will finally be decommissioned at the Garden Island Naval base in Sydney.

For more ore details, visit


The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is turbocharging the customer experience, with the 100th Service NSW Centre officially opening in Nyngan today.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello joined staff and stakeholders at the Centre to announce the milestone.

“Service NSW has transformed how the customer interacts with Government, by creating a one-stop shop for registrations, licences and cost of living savings,” Mr Dominello said.

“Gone are the bad old days of waiting in long queues and rushing all over town to get things done. The customer is now front and centre of service delivery and we have more to do. Watch this space.

“Today we’ve hit a century, and there are more centres on the way across NSW.”

Hundreds of government services are accessible through Service NSW, including driver’s licences, NSW Seniors Cards and birth certificates.

Customers can also make an appointment with a Cost of Living specialist and potentially save hundreds of dollars. Two Service NSW buses (with two more to come) also service remote areas that don’t have access to a centre.

Since the first centre opened in 2013, Service NSW has assisted more than 174 million customers in store, by phone and online and there have been 4.3 million MyServiceNSW Accounts created. The following table highlights how Service NSW is making life easier for people.

Before After
900+ websites One website
180 Motor Registry transactions Hundreds of transactions under the one roof in partnership with almost 40 NSW Government agencies, 70+ per cent of which can be accessed online
Customer satisfaction was 69 per cent Customer satisfaction is 97 per cent

Further information on Service NSW is available at

Building demo makes way for West End cycling link

A long-envisioned pathway connecting King and Hunter Streets is set to be revealed when City of Newcastle demolishes two vacant buildings on Monday.

The cycling and pedestrian link requires demolition of two vacant properties at 679A and 681 Hunter Street with developers of the Verve apartments on King Street to deliver the first stage of the shared pathway along Cottage Creek, which will eventually connect The Junction to the Harbour.

Below: ​An artist’s impression of how Cottage Creek could look 
Verve.jpg“Newcastle’s West End is quickly emerging as the City’s new CBD with integrated transport, new residential development on King Street and at Honeysuckle and the upcoming relocation of government agencies to the under-construction Store redevelopment,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“These are all signs of the exciting times ahead for this part of the city and, and our plans to improve cycling and pedestrian connections are integral to helping people enjoy living, working and shopping in the West End and elsewhere across the city.

“As the Verve Residences on King Street near completion, we’re about to proceed with this vision via a planning agreement with the developer to build the first stage of the shared pathway.

“Ultimately, a corridor linking King Street and Hunter Street through to Honeysuckle and potentially through to The Junction will be of great benefit for the West End by linking key precincts and creating a vibrant public space.”

Council purchased the buildings from Hunter Water for $550,000 in 2017 as part of its strategic plans.

Approval for demolition was obtained in April 2018 following a development application process that included a heritage assessment which identified low levels of significance of the buildings, which are not listed heritage items.

Demolition is scheduled to commence on Monday 17 June 2019 and is expected to take seven weeks to complete.

City opens new grandstand at Merewether

A stunning new grandstand pavilion for Merewether sporting clubs to celebrate victories past and present has been unveiled at Mitchell Park Oval.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes was joined by representatives of Merewether Carlton Rugby Club, South Newcastle Rugby League Club and Merewether District Cricket Club to celebrate the completion of the new $2 million Clarke Grandstand ahead of its official opening tomorrow.

Clarkegrandstandinside.jpgCity staff Lynn Duffy and Tony Ayling, John Davis, Greens rugby player Eddie Clifton, Nuatali Nelmes, and Merewether
District Cricket Club reps Nick Stanebridge, Daryl Daniels and Bec Lawrence

Greenroominside1.jpgEddie Clifton and Nick Stanebridge overlooking Mitchell Park from inside the new Green Room

The impressive glass-pavilion that opens to the sea breeze sits above a new gym and refurbished change rooms in the existing Clarke Grandstand following a joint delivery project between City of Newcastle and Local sporting clubs and a community gardening project.

The Lord Mayor said the new pavilion-style structure was the result of a great partnership that hopefully will inspire other sporting clubs and community groups to follow.

“The City worked together with the Clubs to help them achieve their vision for the stand, through a combination of design, planning and approval factors that led to the speedy delivery of this wonderful community asset,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This a fantastic asset for both Souths Rugby league, Merewether Carlton, cricket and cycling groups who use Mitchell Park or Townson Oval.

“This project also provides a good example for other sporting clubs to explore similar ideas for future projects, collaborating to share both facilities that realises their vision that also meet a wider community interest.”

Greenroominside.jpgSeeing Green: Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Eddie Clifton

Greenroominside2.jpgPast and present: Eddie Clifton with John Davis 
Greenroominside4.jpgDaryl Daniels with Nick Stanebridge

Lift access is also part of the upgrade set to draw more players and spectators.

Timber, signage and other paraphernalia from the old recently demolished Green Room, on the eastern side of the ground, have been recycled and repurposed in the new spiritual home high in the Clarke Grandstand.

Timber supports, honors boards and the Merewether Municipal Pavilion sign on the front of 1927 weatherboard structure were all salvaged from the demolition and relocated to the new facility.

Merewether Carlton Rugby Club Green Room Project Manager John Davis said the new Green Room and stand will be a wonderful asset to the club and wider community.

“This project not only delivers a new home for our Club but also rejuvenates a 50-year-old Council asset to provide first rate for facilities for other users and the wider community,” Mr Davis said.

“In some respects, it is a return home for us as the Clarke Stand is named after two of the founding fathers of our Club, Ted and Roy Clarke.”

Greens Speech to Rally on Press Freedom

Thanks for coming together this morning to stand up for democracy, to uphold truth and to protect public interest.

We are outside the office of Paul Fletcher. The Communications Minister who has shamefully remained largely silent through this chilling saga.

The AFP raids we have seen on the home of Annika Smethurst and the ABC offices last week are a blatant, brazen attack on democracy, press freedom and the community.

We should all be very concerned by this. The AFP – the Government’s law enforcement arm – is getting extremely broad warrants to disrupt the vital work of journalists. They rifled through a reporter’s home and personal belongings and scoured through emails of the national broadcaster – our ABC. And once they’ve seized emails and documents, national security laws mean they are able to alter them – completely legally.

If these unprecedented raids don’t ring alarm bells for us, nothing will. These are dangerous and scary tactics on so many levels. Whether or not they were designed to do so, their result is the intimidation of whistleblowers, journalists and news organisations. For whistleblowers in particular, these raids are a clear and chilling message that if you dare to speak to a journalist in public interest — if you dare to reveal information the public has a right to know – the AFP is going to come after you.

This will stop citizens from divulging what they know, this will stop ordinary people from coming forward with information they know should be in the public domain. This intimidation fits neatly into the Government’s efforts to hide themselves from public scrutiny. I can’t tell you how many times my Freedom of Information requests have been fobbed off, delayed, and complicated by demands for additional and often meaningless details. They are needlessly costly, time-consuming and a confusing process that hampers the release of information that should already have been in the public domain.

The only avenue left for transparency is through information provided by the good citizens of our country. Now this is in real jeopardy. I know that journalists have become fearful of being raided and arrested for stories that they might be chasing and thinking of writing.

We know the AFP has not ruled out arresting journalists and the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has no qualms about journalists going to jail for revealing secrets in the public interest.. Let’s not forget that this is the same Peter Dutton who lashed out at his critics in the media last year, declaring the ABC and The Guardian are “dead to me” over their reporting of his views on South African refugees. Let’s also not forget the selective dropping of the investigation of the ‘medevac’ leak which served the political interests of the government. This should raise serious questions about the politicization of law enforcement in our country.

Even if they didn’t order them directly, the government is responsible for these raids. It is the minister who sets the direction of the agencies and it is the government that have vastly expanded the reach of the AFP and intelligence agencies. This is a government that wants to do its dirty work without any scrutiny whatsoever. This is a government so emboldened and uninhibited by their recent election victory that they reject any form of accountability and transparency.

The Greens have always stood strong on freedom of speech and press freedom. We have refused to support laws that expanded the powers of intelligence agencies and created new offences for journalists and whistleblowers for disclosing information about their operations. We have warned of the consequences of opening the door to building a surveillance state. And we will continue to stand up for a democratic state where freedom of speech and freedom of the press debates are not hijacked by those who only want the freedom to be a bigot or the community’s right to know is not curtailed under the guise of national security.

Journalism is not a crime. We will not stand by while journalists are attacked for doing their job. We cannot allow them or their sources to be silenced by undemocratic laws, threats and intimidation. We must speak up with outrage and without fear. We must fight for legislative protections for journalists and whistleblowers.

Police reappeal for information following gravestone damage – Hunter Valley

Police are reappealing for public assistance following a malicious damage incident at a Hunter Valley cemetery.

Police have been told between 7pm and 7.15pm on Friday 31 May 2019, a vehicle was seen parked in Sedgefield cemetery, near Singleton, and unknown persons have damaged a number of gravestones.

In all, 36 gravestones were damaged during the incident; having been pushed over with a number of those being smashed.

Officers attached to Hunter Valley Police District attended and established a crime scene.

Hunter Valley detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident, or who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area at the time, to contact police.

Hunter Valley Police District Commander, Superintendent Chad Gillies said he hopes people will come forward with the information police need to find those responsible.

“We want to find answers for the families affected by this. They have already experienced immeasurable grief, and this sort of incident stirs up those emotions all over again,

“Someone knows something, and we urge anyone with any information to speak up,” Superintendent Gillies said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Singleton Police Station on 02 6578 7499 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.


Sydney Metro’s third mega tunnel boring machine (TBM) has broken through a wall of rock at the new Crows Nest Station, marking a major milestone in the project which will link the North West Metro to the CBD and onto Bankstown.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet today joined workers at Crows Nest to welcome the arrival of Wendy, less than five months after the TBM was launched from Chatswood.

“TBM Wendy only started digging in January and has now arrived at Crows Nest after completing three kilometres of tunnelling,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This is incredible progress on the next stage of Sydney Metro, which will take the recently opened North West Metro from Chatswood, under the Harbour, through the CBD and onto Bankstown.

“Once the next stage of this gamechanging project opens there will be turn-up-and-go Metro train services to 31 stations along a new 66 kilometre railway.”

Mr Perrottet said the NSW Government strong economic management has made mega infrastructure projects like Sydney Metro possible.

“A strong budget allows us to get on with the job and deliver our record infrastructure program, building a better future for everyone in NSW no matter where they live,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Sydney’s North West is already seeing the benefits of a turn-up-and-go Metro service and now we are a step closer to taking the service to more NSW communities and families.”

TBM Wendy will now spend several weeks undergoing maintenance before being re-launched at Crows Nest and tunnelling towards the next future Sydney Metro station at North Sydney.

So far four TBMs are in the ground tunnelling the 15.5 kilometre twin railway tunnels from Chatswood and Marrickville.

Albanese Unveils Strong Labor Team

I have today appointed a Labor frontbench with the talent and experience to hold the Morrison Government to account and develop a policy platform worthy of the support of Australians at the next election.

My team includes a blend of experienced former Government Ministers, as well as talented newcomers whose enthusiasm and fresh ideas will reinvigorate Labor over the next three years.

My Shadow Ministry includes members from all parts of the nation. It reflects society, with half men and half women including the Shadow Cabinet Secretary.

As I made clear in the days after the May 18 election, I made no deals with colleagues to secure the unanimous support of the Labor Party to become Leader.

I am confident my team will be more than a match for the Morrison Government’s frontbench.

The Shadow Ministry will meet for the first time on Tuesday in Brisbane.

In the days and weeks that follow that meeting, Shadow Ministers will disperse into communities across the nation to listen to Australians about why only one in three voters gave Labor their first preference at the election on May 18.

Labor’s May 18 election result was a wake-up call. The first step to success next time is honest discussion with the Australian people.


Shadow Cabinet

Hon Anthony Albanese MP
Leader of the Opposition
Hon Richard Marles MP
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Defence
Senator the Hon Penny Wong
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs
Senator the Hon Kristina Keneally
Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
Shadow Minister for Home Affairs
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
Hon Tony Burke MP
Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations
Shadow Minister for the Arts
Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives
Hon Bill Shorten MP
Shadow Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Shadow Minister for Government Services
Hon Tanya Plibersek MP
Shadow Minister for Education and Training
Dr Jim Chalmers MP
Shadow Treasurer
Hon Mark Butler MP
Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy
Deputy Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives
Hon Chris Bowen MP
Shadow Minister for Health
Hon Catherine King MP
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development
Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP
Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources
Senator the Hon Don Farrell
Shadow Special Minister of State
Shadow Minister for Sport
Shadow Minister for Tourism
Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader of the Opposition
Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP
Shadow Attorney-General
Shadow Minister for Constitutional Reform
Michelle Rowland MP
Shadow Minister for Communications
Senator Katy Gallagher
Shadow Minister for Finance
Shadow Minister for the Public Service
Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate
Hon Linda Burney MP
Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians
Hon Julie Collins MP
Shadow Minister for Ageing and Seniors
Shadow Minister for Women
Hon Brendan O’Connor MP
Shadow Minister for Employment and Industry
Shadow Minister for Science
Shadow Minister for Small and Family Business
Hon Jason Clare MP
Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government
Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness
Hon Amanda Rishworth MP
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education
Shadow Minister for Youth
Terri Butler MP
Shadow Minister for the Environment and Water
Madeleine King MP
Shadow Minister for Trade


Outer Shadow Ministry


Stephen Jones MP
Shadow Assistant Treasurer
Shadow Minister for Financial Services
Hon Shayne Neumann MP
Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel
Clare O’Neil MP
Shadow Minister for Innovation, Technology and the Future of Work
Pat Conroy MP
Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific
Shadow Minister Assisting for Climate Change
Shadow Minister Assisting for Defence
Andrew Giles MP
Shadow Minister for Cities and Urban Infrastructure
Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs
Shadow Minister Assisting for Immigration and Citizenship
Matt Keogh MP
Shadow Minister for Defence Industry
Shadow Minister for Western Australian Resources
Shadow Minister Assisting for Small and Family Business
Senator Murray Watt
Shadow Minister for Northern Australia
Shadow Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management


Assistant Ministers


Senator Jenny McAllister
Shadow Cabinet Secretary
Shadow Assistant Minister to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
Senator Carol Brown
Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Tourism
Shadow Assistant Minister for Tasmania
Senator Patrick Dodson
Shadow Assistant Minister for Reconciliation
Shadow Assistant Minister for Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians
Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP
Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury
Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities
Hon Warren Snowdon MP
Shadow Assistant Minister for Northern Australia
Shadow Assistant Minister for External Territories
Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians
Graham Perrett MP
Shadow Assistant Minister for Education and Training
Emma McBride MP
Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health
Shadow Assistant Minister for Carers
Senator Glenn Sterle
Shadow Assistant Minister for Road Safety
Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM MP
Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence
Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP
Shadow Assistant Minister for Financial Services
Shadow Assistant Minister for the Republic
Ged Kearney MP
Shadow Assistant Minister for Skills
Shadow Assistant Minister for Aged Care
Josh Wilson MP
Shadow Assistant Minister for the Environment
Sen Kimberley Kitching
Shadow Assistant Minister for Government Accountability
Deputy Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate
Senator Louise Pratt
Shadow Assistant Minister for Manufacturing
Tim Watts MP
Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications
Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security

Greens say Adani fight is ‘far from over’

The decision by Queensland’s Labor Government to grant approval for the Adani Carmichael coal mine’s groundwater management plan is deeply disappointing to anyone who understands the danger posed by climate change, but the fight to stop this mine being built is far from over, the Australian Greens said.

“This fight is far from over. The Adani mine cannot go ahead if we are going to have any chance of slowing rising global greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the worst impacts of dangerous climate change,” said Leader of the Australian greens Dr Richard Di Natale.

“The Greens stand with communities right across the country against this reckless decision by the Queensland Labor Government, which will contribute to the destruction of thousands more jobs in Queensland and across the country than it will ever create for the people of Central Queensland.”

“It’s time for politicians like Annastacia Palaszczuk to come clean with coal communities, admit that there are no long term jobs in digging up and burning coal and work with the Greens on a plan to support these communities transition away from coal and towards sustainable, long-term jobs in the renewable energy sector,” he said.

Senator for Queensland and Greens spokesperson for mining and resources, Larissa Waters, who looks to have been re-elected to represent Queensland with more than 3% swing, said “Adani still doesn’t have all its legal licences, and it’s never had a social licence.”

“Queenslanders want a safe climate, cheap clean power and real, lasting jobs for coal communities as we transition to a clean economy. People will rally in force to stop Adani – and the Greens will be right there with them,” Senator Waters said.

“The big parties might have caved in to their coal donors, but the Greens stand with the people, demanding a safe future and a clean jobs plan for central Queensland communities.

“Community campaigns have won against big polluters and big corporate interests before, and we will again.

“The Greens will use every lever we have available in our parliament, our courts and on the streets. Our movement for a safe climate and jobs justice for workers will triumph.”
Greens environment spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said: “From fudging jobs figures and rushing final approvals, and ignoring scientific advice from the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia, this mega coal mine has been given every liberty by Adani’s mates in the Parliament”.

“The Adani cheer squad are trying to revive a dying industry, risking thousands of jobs and our environment in the process by politicising the debate,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“If we had stronger environmental laws that required climate change to be considered, projects like Adani would never get off the ground. That’s why the Greens will continue to push in parliament for a climate trigger in our environmental laws. We have no more time to lose to arrest climate change.”

New provider for the National Relay Service

The NRS is a vital service that allows people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment to make and receive phone calls.

Concentrix will deliver the NRS for 3 years from 1 October 2019 and brings substantial experience in call centre operations. The new contract maintains the current funding levels for the NRS at $22 million per year, ensuring this important service continues to be delivered for those who need it.

A range of new improvements will be delivered as part of the new contract including a world-leading Text and listen option for SMS Relay to assist users with a speech impairment. Concentrix will also investigate how the Video Relay service for Auslan users can be improved. The helpdesk will continue to support NRS users.

All relay call options will remain the same with the exception of access to Captioned Relay options through the proprietary CapTel handset, which will not be supported under the new arrangements from 1 February 2020.

CapTel users are encouraged to contact the NRS Helpdesk for support in transitioning to a range of other suitable communication options, including a new Internet Relay call function.

All other users do not need to take any action and will be switched to the new provider automatically in stages from 1 October 2019.