New South Wales remains the jobs capital of Australia with ABS figures released today showing we have the lowest unemployment rate of any state at just 4.4 per cent.

NSW added 12,963 jobs in July with the participation rate in NSW at 65.9 per cent, while the NSW unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points.

NSW remains well below the national unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent and is lower than our neighbour states of Victoria 4.8 per cent, Queensland 6.4 per cent, and South Australia 6.9 per cent.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the figures reflected the Government’s commitment to boosting employment and opportunity.

“The Government’s record $93 billion infrastructure program is doing the heavy lifting, with total public investment expected to contribute around ½ a percentage point to the State’s growth and support around 100,000 jobs in 2019-20 and 2020-21,” Mr Perrottet said.

“NSW has a strong economy and the latest jobs figures continue to reflect the benefits to our willingness to recycle assets and build the schools, hospitals, roads and new rail lines the state needs.”

Mr Perrottet said Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe had recently commented on the benefits to the economy of increased spending on infrastructure.

“NSW is the clear leader in Australia on building infrastructure, we are billions of dollars ahead of other states, and the benefits are clear when you look at how we are performing even in a time when there are economic challenges right across the world,” Mr Perrottet said.

“NSW has a reputation for being a world leader in asset recycling – we are ensuring the State’s balance sheet is working for the people of NSW in the most productive and beneficial ways possible.

“In contrast as we saw during both the NSW and Federal election campaigns earlier this year Labor’s only plan was to cancel projects and raise taxes.”


Western Sydney will be the centre of 3D printing in Australia thanks to a new joint initiative between the NSW Government and industry leader GE Additive.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian was in Munich today to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with GE Additive to develop industrial-scale 3D printing at the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

“3D printing is on the cutting edge of manufacturing globally and this deal will help make Western Sydney the nation’s leader,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Our partnership with GE Additive will create many hi-tech jobs across the aerospace, medical and automotive sectors.”

GE Additive is at the forefront of metal additive manufacturing, which is disrupting manufacturing industries and accelerating the way products are designed and made.

Ms Berejiklian visited the GE Additive Customer Experience Centre in Munich, which provides access to 3D printing experts and specialised training for companies of all sizes.

“We are extremely honoured to welcome Premier Berejiklian and the NSW delegation to Munich and equally so to be part of this wider vision for Western Sydney and especially the Aerotropolis precinct,” Jason Oliver, President and CEO of GE Additive, said.

“Adopting an ecosystem approach to additive manufacturing will drive the adoption of this new technology and the development of new businesses and skilled jobs,” Mr Oliver said.

“Given NSW’s rich seam of talent and ambition for the future, we are particularly excited at the impact our work together could have, not just in NSW, but nation-wide and more broadly across the APAC region.”

Ms Berejiklian said enhanced 3D printing capabilities will be a key component of a new space industry hub at the Aerotropolis.

“We are aiming to triple the size of Australia’s space sector to $12 billion by 2030, creating up to 20,000 new jobs in this industry alone,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This agreement demonstrates our commitment to look globally to bring the best opportunities to NSW.”

Today’s announcement follows an agreement signed in December between the NSW Government and 18 NSW space companies, research and education institutions, as well as the CSIRO, to establish a new Space Industry Hub at the Aerotropolis.

Ms Berejiklian and Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres are on a trade mission to the UK and Germany from August 11 to 16.

Woman charged with high-range PCA with child in car – Maitland

A woman has been charged with high-range drink driving while a child was in the car in the state’s Hunter region today.

About 11.55am (Thursday 15 August 2019), officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District were conducting a stationary RBT operation on the New England Highway, Maitland when a red Ford Falcon was stopped.

The driver, a 34-year-old woman, underwent a roadside breath test and allegedly returned a positive result.

Upon inspection of her vehicle, police found a seven-year-old boy in the rear passenger seat.

The woman was arrested and taken to Maitland Police Station, where she underwent a breath analysis and returned an alleged reading of 0.227.

The young child was also taken to the station and cared for by police until a family member arrived.

The woman’s license was suspended immediately, and she was issued with a Field Court Attendance Notice for the offence of drive with high range prescribed concentration of alcohol.

She’s due to appear at Maitland Local Court on Wednesday 25 September 2019.

Port Stephens-Hunter Police District’s Acting Inspector Kristin Marshall said officers are continually dumbfounded by those who choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with children in the car.

“With Operation Merret and Operation Chrome both underway in the Northern Region, we are committed to having every road user reach their destination safely,” Insp Marshall said.

“It’s these kind of selfish decisions that could have fatal and harmful consequences. If you are too intoxicated to drive, you need to find alternative travel arrangements.

“We continue to implore the community to slow down, wear your seatbelt, avoid handling mobile phones and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.”


House destroyed by fire – Pokolbin

A house was destroyed by fire in the state’s Hunter Valley today.

About 5.20pm (Thursday 15 August 2019), emergency services were called to Gillards Road, Pokolbin, following reports of a house fire.

Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW Rural Fire Service attended and found the home to be entirely engulfed. The fire was controlled, and emergency services continue to extinguish the fire completely.

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

The occupants of the home, a 68-year-old man and a 69-year-old woman, escaped the blaze uninjured.

The premises and its contents appear to be completely destroyed and the structure has been deemed unstable.

Investigations continue however, it is believed the fire started in a circuit board in the laundry and it is not being treated as suspicious.


Appeal for information following reported assault and sexual touching of teenager near Maitland

Detectives are appealing to the community for information following reports a teenager was assaulted and sexually touched by a group of males near Maitland last month.

Officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District were contacted after a 13-year-old girl disclosed she had been assaulted while she was walking on Thomas Coke Drive, Thornton, about 4.45pm on Thursday 4 July 2019.

Earlier this month, the matter was referred to detectives from the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad for further investigation.

After speaking with the girl further, detectives were told she was followed by about six males and pushed to the ground near the intersection of Thomas Coke Drive and John Arthur Avenue.

The girl further disclosed one of the males sexually touched her, before she was able to run away.

Investigators are now appealing to the community for assistance to identify the six males, who may be able to assist with the investigation.

They are all described as being in their late teens, wearing baggy jeans and riding BMX push bikes.

Detectives are also urging anyone who was in the area at the time who may have seen the incident, specifically a man who was walking his dog near the Alan & Don Lawrence Oval, to come forward.

The man is described as having an olive complexion, aged between 40 and 50, with dark hair and a long well-kept beard. He was walking a brown Border Collie cross German Sheppard.


Library of the future planned for Newcastle West

Dedicated podcasting and virtual reality equipment, 3D holograms of planned developments and interactive wall-mounted screens featuring key City attractions will feature among a suite of new offerings within the ground floor of the City’s future Central Administration Centre (CAC).

The digital library concept, which will be co-located with the customer service centre and Council Chamber in the City’s new CAC, will be the region’s first ‘library of the future’.


Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the space would be one of the stand-out features of the 12 Stewart Avenue building, which is just months away from occupation.

“When complete, this concept will put the City at the forefront of bridging the digital divide and deliver an advanced digital library focussed on digital literacy and inclusive access for our community,” the Lord Mayor said.

“It will redefine the library experience for people of all ages and create opportunities to experience emerging technologies and spark future innovation across our services.

“As part of the City’s 2019-2029 Library Strategy, which promotes new ways of thinking when it comes to library and customer services, it will help meet Smart City and sustainability commitments to foster digital inclusion and education equality, and inform the roll-out of future technology across other branches.”

As part of the plans, the Digital Library will offer coding classes to tech-minded students, novices or industry professionals eager to upskill their digital knowledge.

A multipurpose meeting room will also be available to the community. The space will also double as a podcasting studio, with library staff conducting regular classes demonstrating how to podcast.

The Digital Library will feature elements of a more traditional library including books, magazines and newspapers, which can be borrowed or read on comfortable lounge chairs. eBook download kiosks and a digital PressReader newspaper and magazine table will also feature in the new library.

Other features of the digital library concept include:

  • A digital ‘Magic Box’ that replicates pages from the City’s Rare Book collection. These can be read and navigated using the swipe of a finger from the outside of the glass;
  • Programming activities for all ages focussed on science and technology, such as coding activities for a robot, which can improve digital literacy skills
  • A focus on intergenerational digital inclusion activities to make it easier to access online information and services such as eGov services;
  • Interactive story walls that tell stories of our heritage and display vision from key city attractions such as Blackbutt Reserve and the Bathers Way Coastal Walk;
  • A cashless payment system which allows members to pay for printing, copying, fines and services online or in branches by using credit on their library cards.

While the library will initially operate within regular business hours, it is envisaged that in time an area on the ground floor complex will be configured to allow 24-hour opening hours for borrowing and computer access.

Libraries Manager Suzie Gately said the digital library project would take the best of traditional libraries and enhance the experience with modern technology.

“Libraries have, through history, been places for people to learn, relax and collaborate, and this project will take that experience to the next level by blending traditional book lending with curated digital content and a strong customer service focus,” she said.


A Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) import terminal at Newcastle that could supply up to 80 per cent of NSW’s gas needs will today be declared Critical State Significant Infrastructure.

Acting Premier John Barilaro said the proposal for the new $589 million gas import terminal at Kooragang Island in the Port of Newcastle would include a connecting pipeline to the existing NSW gas supply network.

“The terminal could be operational by 2022-23 and provide supply for gas-fired power stations, helping to manage energy security during the period in which the Liddell power station is scheduled to close,” Mr Barilaro said.

“This LNG terminal would significantly address this risk and help secure a reliable and affordable future for NSW’s gas supply.”

The project will be declared critical by Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes who said the terminal, if approved, would significantly increase local gas supply, promote competition between suppliers and put downward pressure on the State’s gas prices.

“NSW currently relies on interstate sources for 95 per cent of our gas supply and experts predict a shortfall in supply from existing sources in the coming years,” Mr Stokes said.

The import terminal would expand the locally available gas supply in NSW by 110 petajoules.

Despite being declared ‘critical’, the terminal will still be subject to detailed community consultation and a full and thorough environmental assessment.

The proponent, Newcastle GasDock Company (NGDC), will now need to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the project, which will go on public exhibition for community feedback.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will then assess the merits of the project, before making a recommendation to Minister Stokes for a final decision.


Global defence powerhouse BAE Systems will help deliver a new cutting edge space research and development facility as part of a university and advanced manufacturing precinct being delivered at the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian was at BAE Systems headquarters in London to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the company, which will ensure NSW leads the nation in developing tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians.

“The Aerotropolis we are building around the Western Sydney Airport is a great opportunity for firms around the world to invest in NSW,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“BAE Systems Australia’s interest in NSW as a destination for this research facility is a huge vote of confidence in our economy and our plans for the new airport city.

“This partnership will allow us to create the high tech jobs we need to keep NSW as the number one jobs market in the nation.”

BAE Systems Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Gabby Costigan said the MOU will allow the company to explore the advantages of becoming a part of the innovation precinct at the new airport city.

“Australia has a long history of innovation in the defence industry, and the Aerotropolis in Western Sydney presents a great opportunity to build on that history,” Ms Costigan said.

BAE Systems has a long track record of supporting the Australian Defence Force to maintain a capability edge and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis will be the home of Australia’s future aerospace industry.

Today’s announcement forms part of the NSW Government’s commitment to creating 200,000 jobs in and around the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

The Aerotropolis will be adjacent to the new 24-hour international (Nancy-Bird Walton) airport at Badgerys Creek. The new R&D facility will be located within a university being developed through a partnership between the University of Newcastle, University of NSW and University of Wollongong (the NUW Alliance), Western Sydney University and the NSW Government.

The Premier and the Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres are on a trade mission to the UK and Germany from August 11 to 16.

Child dies in single-vehicle crash – New Lambton

A child has died following a single-vehicle crash in Newcastle this afternoon.

Shortly before 1pm, emergency services were called to McCaffrey Drive, New Lambton Heights, following reports a Holden statesman had lost control and collided with a power pole.

A girl was treated on the scene by an off-duty nurse and NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to John Hunter Children’s Hospital, where she died a short time later.

A woman was trapped in the vehicle before being freed and taken to John Hunter Hospital; her condition is unknown.

The male driver has been taken to the Mater Hospital for mandatory testing.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash has been launched.


Recent developments in Kashmir are deeply concerning: Australian Greens

In the last few days, the Indian Government has shut down phone and internet connections, arbitrarily detained political leaders, evacuated tourists and restricted freedom of movement.  It is disturbing to think of the human rights abuses that could be occurring under the cover of this communications blackout, particularly with an influx of tens of thousands of additional troops.

The Indian Government’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status and its relative autonomy under India’s constitution will further erode Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.  It risks a dangerous escalation of violence in the world’s most militarised region.

The Greens urge the Australian Government to speak out and call on the Indian Government to respect the human rights of the people in Kashmir and their right to self-determination.