NSW Labor pledges $1 billion fund to upgrade train stations

Today, NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley announced a $1 billion fund to upgrade train stations, including providing lift access and commuter carparks.

Right now, stations in need of upgrades have been ignored under the Berejiklian Government.

In 2013, a list of 100 priority projects was created. Since then, only five have had lifts installed.

Yet, in June, the Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean was caught on video confessing to constituents that “skullduggery and manoeuvring” led to Hawkesbury River Station being bumped as many as 150 places up the priority list.

Our announcement comes as new documents have revealed that 14 of the top 30 stations in need of a disability upgrade have been deferred by the Liberal Government.

We understand that public transport should be accessible to all NSW residents.

That’s why Labor will commit $1 billion to complete these vital upgrades and allow access for all train commuters.

LABOR SAYS IT WILL GET MELBOURNE’S SUBURBAN RAIL LOOP ON A FASTER TRACK

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $300 million in the Suburban Rail Loop – getting the project going faster and creating jobs sooner.

Labor’s investment will support the development of a business case and get the planning work done quicker, enabling the construction to commence in 2022. The project will provide a major boost to the economy, creating 20,000 jobs in the construction phase alone and employing 2000 apprentices.

This is the sort of vision Melbourne needs – to keep up with the demands of Australia’s fastest growing capital city, investment in world-class, modern transport network is critical.

Melbourne is a great place to live and work. But between now and 2046, the city’s population is projected to grow to 7.3 million residents. Without proper planning and investment in the city’s roads and public transport infrastructure, the annual cost of traffic congestion will more than triple to $9 billion by 2030.

Labor understands how important it is to invest in decent public transport that will take the pressure off our cities, ease traffic congestion, and connect the suburbs and the regions – bringing jobs and apprenticeships along the way.

On completion, the Suburban Rail Loop will comprise of a 90 kilometre rail line through Melbourne’s northern and eastern suburbs via the airport, linking all of the city’s major train lines. It will connect the suburbs directly to major employment hubs, universities, TAFE and hospitals outside the city, making it much easier for Victorians to get around for work and recreation.

Labor’s investment will help finalise exact station locations, route alignments, rolling stock and staging, and get construction underway faster.

Expected to be used by 400,000 passengers a day, the project will take pressure off existing lines, as well as an estimated 200,000 cars off the city’s road network. Fewer cars on the road mean less congestion and shorter travel times.

Federal Labor’s investment follows expert analysis showing the project will slash travel times across the city. When complete, commuters will be able to travel from Box Hill to the airport in 25 minutes and to Monash Clayton in around 15 minutes. Travel from Broadmeadows to Deakin Burwood will be less than 25 minutes – connecting Victorians to education and work opportunities quicker and easier.

This commitment to the Suburban Rail Loop builds on Labor’s strong track record of delivering job-creating infrastructure that eases congestion for Victorians, and will match the funding commitment announced by the Andrews Labor Government in August this year.

Labor has made hard budget decisions to ensure our priorities are fully paid for – we will make multinationals pay their fair share and close unsustainable tax loopholes, because we want to build the cities and society that will give the next generation a better deal.

Woman dies in hospital after Charlestown stolen car crash

A woman has died in hospital after a crash involving a stolen car at Charlestown in September.

Just before 2am on Friday 21 September 2018, a stolen Subaru WRX was travelling north along the Pacific Highway when it lost control near the intersection of Frederick Street and crashed into a service station and an unattended parked car.

Emergency services attended and the three occupants of the car were taken to John Hunter Hospital.

The driver, a 24-year-old man from Taree and his rear-seat passenger, a 32-year-old woman from Gateshead, were both in a serious but stable condition at the time they were taken to hospital.

The woman was pregnant at the time of the crash.

The front-seat passenger, a 22-year-old man, also from Gateshead, had suffered minor injuries and was released a short time later.

On Friday (12 October 2018), the 32-year-old woman, died in John Hunter Hospital.

The 24-year-old man remains in hospital in a stable condition.

Police from Newcastle Crash Investigation Unit continue with inquiries into the incident.

A report will be prepared for the Coroner.

One way or the other, this Government is lying about Ruddock Review: Greens

Following the leak of the Ruddock Review into Religious Freedom, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told journalists this morning that “this has not been through cabinet at this point. It hasn’t been considered by cabinet, so we will take it through that orderly process, and we will come out with our response to the Ruddock review.” However, last month Sen. Mathias Cormann refused to comply with an order from the Senate to produce the review, citing ongoing confidential cabinet deliberations.

“Either Scott Morrison is lying to the Australian people, or Mathias Cormann is lying to the Australian Senate. Either way, it’s absolutely unacceptable and they need to come clean,” said the Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale.

“Twice the Senate has ordered the Government to produce these documents and twice Sen. Cormann refused on the basis of Cabinet confidentiality. Was Cormann lying to the Senate when he said the review was being considered by Cabinet or was the Prime Minister lying when he claimed it never had been? They can’t have it both ways.”

“This is just one more example of a Liberal Party at war with itself, willing to do or say whatever it takes to hide its complete dysfunction from the public,” he said.

“LGBTIQ+ communities have been left in the lurch for months awaiting the release of this report. Our human rights and lives are at stake and we’re being kept in the dark. The government must release this report in full immediately,” said Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson Senator Janet Rice.

“The Liberal candidate in the upcoming Wentworth by-election, Dave Sharma, said he personally doesn’t support any new discrimination. The government must come clean with its plans to enshrine new discrimination before the by-election.”

Sen. Cormann’s letter is attached here.

According to the Senate’s published grounds for claims of public interest immunity, only revealing the deliberations (ie minutes of who said what and why they came to their decision) is treated as beyond the power of the Senate:

      (5)    Disclosure of Executive Council or cabinet deliberations

                It is accepted that deliberations of the Executive Council and of the cabinet should be able to be conducted in secrecy so as to preserve the freedom of deliberation of those bodies. This ground, however, relates only to disclosure of deliberations. There has been a tendency for governments to claim that anything with a connection to cabinet is confidential. According to a famous story about a state government, trolley loads of documents were wheeled through the cabinet room so that it could be claimed that they were all “cabinet-in-confidence”, a story which serves to illustrate the abuse of this ground. A claim that a document is a cabinet document should not be accepted; it has to be established that disclosure of the document would reveal cabinet deliberations. The claim cannot be made simply because a document has the word “cabinet” in or on it.

                Neither legislatures nor courts have conceded that internal deliberations of government departments and agencies are entitled to the same protection.

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.”

LABOR WILL EXTEND PRESCHOOL ACCESS TO 3 YEAR OLDS

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