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NSW GOVERNMENT FORTNIGHTLY UPDATE – 29 NOVEMBER 2017

NSW GOVERNMENT FORTNIGHTLY UPDATE – 29 NOVEMBER 2017

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

TOLL RELIEF: FREE REGO FOR DRIVERS

  • Toll road users will soon be eligible for free car registration as part of the NSW Government’s commitment to tackle cost of living pressures.
  • Drivers will be eligible for free vehicle registration if they spend more than $25 a week, on average, over a 12 month period on tolls.
  • The rego rebate will be available for all standard privately registered cars, utes, 4 wheel-drives and motorcycles from July 1, 2018.
  • The scheme will apply to private drivers who use any existing toll roads and will apply to any new toll roads in the future.

 

BE PREPARED AND PLAN: RAIL, BUS AND FERRY REVOLUTION HAS ARRIVED

  • The single largest uplift in public transport services has arrived, offering commuters an additional 8,600 new weekly train, bus and ferry services and transforming Sydney’s public transport network.
  • Customers will benefit from more than 1,500 extra weekly train services, almost 7,000 new weekly bus services and more than 140 new weekly ferry services – the biggest single increase in Sydney’s history.
  • On top of the rail transformation, places like the Northern Beaches now have a redesigned bus network with 3,200 extra weekly services, including more than 2,000 additional weekly services on the brand new B-Line.

 

NEW APPROACH TO CLASSROOM DELIVERY

  • The construction and design community is being challenged to develop a new high-quality classroom model that can reduce the number of demountable classrooms used in NSW government schools.
  • The NSW Government has called for new designs to develop classrooms that are fast to build, cost effective and meet future learning requirements.
  • The building type must be flexible enough to be customised for individual schools, including school halls and libraries. They could be delivered in multi-storey, multi-classroom blocks.
  • The NSW Government is investing $4.2 billion to deliver more than 120 new and upgraded schools which will deliver 1,500 extra classrooms over the next four years. This is the biggest investment in public education infrastructure in NSW history.

 

NSW ECONOMY OUTPACES THE NATION

  • The NSW economy has grown almost twice as fast as the rest of Australia, according to the latest ABS data.
  • The state’s annual gross state product (GSP) was 2.9 per cent in 2016-17, ahead of its long-run average of 2.6 per cent, and well above the rest of the nation’s 1.5 per cent.
  • The latest figures show that NSW is maintaining its reputation as the engine room of the national

DIGITAL DRIVER LICENCE DEBUTS IN DUBBO

  • Regional motorists can now test-drive their digital driver licence, with the NSW Government launching the trial in Dubbo.
  • This trial is the first of its kind in Australia and employs cutting edge technology that will allow Dubbo motorists to use their digital driver licence in everyday scenarios with Police and selected licensed establishments
  • Once motorists have installed the trial app, registered a MyServiceNSW account and added their NSW driver licence details, they can use their digital driver licence.

 

WORLD-CLASS STADIUMS TO BRING PREMIUM EVENTS TO NSW

  • The NSW Government has announced Allianz and ANZ stadiums will be rebuilt and transformed into world-class facilities, keeping NRL Grand Finals in Sydnneey for at least the next 25 years.
  • The investment will ensure NSW remains the number one destination for major sporting and entertainment events.
  • The investment will fund:
    • A new 45,000-seat stadium to replace Allianz at Moore Park with construction to start in 2018 and open in 2021 (estimated $705 million, subject to tendering process); and
    • A new 75,000-seat rectangular stadium to replace ANZ at Sydney Olympic Park, construction to start in 2019 and open in 2022 (estimated $1.25 billion, subject to tendering process).
  • ANZ and Allianz currently attract a combined 3.5 million visitors per year and contribute more than $1 billion into the economy every year.

MAJOR OVERHAUL FOR NSW PLANNING SYSTEM

  • The changes reflect the Government’s commitment to thriving, safe and well-designed communities with local character and heritage
  • The changes ensure a simpler, faster planning system, and will build community confidence in planning decisions and outcomes.
  • The changes strengthen councils’ focus on strategic planning, which builds on the recent introduction of Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAPs) in Greater Sydney and Wollongong.
  • For the first time, the Act will recognise the role of councils in strategic planning for the local area through their preparation of new local strategic planning statements.

 

PATIENTS TO GET FASTER ACCESS TO MEDICINAL CANNABIS

  • The NSW Government is intent on getting more patients access to medicinal cannabis products for palliative care, under a $6 million statewide advisory service aimed at supporting doctors.
  • The NSW Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Service – the first initiative of its kind in Australia – will start in January 2018.
  • The service, based at Hunter New England Health, will help doctors across the state access onshore medicinal cannabis products for their patients much faster, as well as provide expert clinical advice on prescribing for other patients.
  • A hotline will be set up and doctors anywhere in NSW can ring the service for guidance from leading clinicians in this emerging area of medicine.
  • The service, which will operate for three years, is part of the NSW Government’s $21 million investment in exploring the therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabis, including world-first clinical trials.

 

SKILLSPOINTS TO BUILD TOMORROW’S WORKFORCE

  • New hands-on courses are being developed at TAFE NSW to better equip construction students entering the workforce during a time of record infrastructure investment across the State.
  • By directly aligning TAFE NSW curriculum development and course delivery with industry needs through SkillsPoints we can ensure people can access the training they need.
  • Located at the heart of the State’s infrastructure boom in Western Sydney, the TAFE NSW Mount Druitt SkillsPoint will employ a core team of experts who will leverage the organisation’s state wide capabilities and new digital platforms.

$12 MILLION BIOBANK TO REVOLUTIONISE RESEARCH

  • The largest storage bank for human biospecimens in the southern hemisphere opened its doors in Sydney and is set to revolutionise medical research in Australia.
  • The Biobank will house more than three million human samples including DNA, tissue, blood and tumour cells which researchers can use to unlock the puzzle of disease.
  • The first and largest facility of its kind in Australia, the Biobank is part of the NSW Government’s record $1.25 billion investment over four years in medical research across the state.

ON DEMAND TRANSPORT FOR REGIONAL NSW

  • On Demand transport is coming to the regions as the NSW Government launches expressions of interest for the first set of public transport trials to bring transport directly to you.
  • While the NSW Government is trialling On Demand services across Sydney, this call for expressions of interest is focused specifically on rural and regional NSW.
  • Expressions of interest for the rural and regional On Demand transport trial will be released on the NSW e-tendering website shortly, with responses from industry due in February 2018.

$100 MILLION FOR OUT-OF-HOSPITAL CARE

  • The NSW Government is building eight new one-stop shop health facilities as part of a $100 million investment in out of hospital care in NSW.
  • The one-stop shops will make seeing doctors and other health professionals easier by bringing services closer to home and will greatly improve health outcomes in vulnerable communities, particularly in regional and remote areas.
  • Up to $5 million will also be spent on upgrading information and communications technology and software in Far West NSW, the Mid North Coast, Nepean Blue Mountains, Northern NSW and South West Sydney local health districts.

NATIONAL PROTECTION FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS

  • New domestic violence orders will be automatically enforceable across State and Territory borders to increase victim protection.
  • Police will be able to prosecute offenders for breaches of domestic violence orders – even if they occur in a different state.
  • The scheme makes it easier for victims and their families to start a new life free from violence.

ACTIVE KIDS REBATE LAUNCHES IN JANUARY 2018

  • Parents of school children across New South Wales are encouraged to take advantage of the  $100 ‘Active Kids’ rebate for sporting and fitness related costs launching early next year.
  • From 31 January 2018 parents will be able to log into the Service NSW Active Kids account to find registered providers for their preferred activity and those operating in their local area.
  • From 31 January 2018, parents/guardians/carers of an eligible child resident in NSW will be able to download vouchers from the online platform or at any Service NSW Centre.
  • Guidelines are available to view at sport.nsw.gov.au/activekids.

MORE PEER WORKERS TO HELP MENTAL HEALTH CONSUMERS BACK INTO THE COMMUNITY

  • Around 30 new Peer Workers will be recruited across the state to help mental health consumers transition from hospital, back into their communities.
  • Peer Workers are experienced, qualified mental health staff who themselves have personal experience with recovery from mental health issues
  • The NSW Government investment will reach each and every Local Health District and speciality network, and see greater follow-up and support for mental health consumers during and after a hospital visit.

SECOND SHARK NET TRIAL STARTS ON NSW NORTH COAST

  • Beachgoers on the NSW north coast will have an extra line of defence this summer as shark nets are deployed for a second time.
  • The results from the first trial showed the community felt safer, however they remain concerned about the levels of by-catch.
  • The beaches are Seven Mile Beach (Lennox Head), Lighthouse, Sharpes and Shelly beaches (Ballina) and Evans Head and the trial will be undertaken in accordance with State and Commonwealth approvals.

WORLD’S BEST TO BUILD AND OPERATE PARRAMATTA LIGHT RAIL

  • Five consortia consisting of the world’s best light rail builders and operators have been shortlisted for two contracts to deliver Stage 1 of the Parramatta Light Rail project.
  • This project will create thousands of jobs for the local community, and light rail will revolutionise the way people move around the Parramatta region.
  • Stage 1 of Parramatta Light Rail will connect Westmead to Carlingford via Parramatta CBD with a two-way track spanning 12 kilometres.

NEW LEGISLATION TO SHAKE UP NSW WATER COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT

  • The legislation establishes an independent Natural Resources Access Regulator to oversee water compliance and enforcement across the State.
  • Ken Matthews’ interim report recommended a suite of reforms to improve the administration of water compliance and enforcement in NSW and the legislation delivers on a major component of those recommendations.

FIRST RETURN AND EARN CHARITY PARTNERS

  • The NSW Government has announced the first four Return and Earn donation partners to feature on the state’s reverse vending machines.
  • People returning eligible containers will be able to donate their refunds to the Cancer Council, St Vincent de Paul, Surf Life Saving NSW and Planet Ark at reverse vending machines from 1 December.
  • Charities, community and sporting groups, schools, and other not-for-profit organisations can also register their interest to become a donation partner under the rotation system.
  • To donate a refund to a donation partner people will need to insert an eligible drink container into a reverse vending machine and select the ‘donate’ option and choose a group. Where relevant donations of $2 or more are made, customers will be issued with a receipt to claim a tax deduction.

NSW HITS RECORD HIGH AS NO 1 BUSINESS STATE

  • Business conditions in NSW have reached a record high as the nation’s best state in which to build and run a business, the latest NAB Monthly Business Survey shows.
  • The state’s reading of 31 index points, its highest ever, is nearly twice as high as the second-highest state Victoria, with a reading of 16, and well above the national reading of 21.

VETERANS EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM HITS 500 JOBS

  • More than 500 veterans have found jobs in the NSW public sector with the assistance of the Veterans Employment Program (VEP), exceeding the Government’s target by 162 per cent and 18 months ahead of schedule.
  • 523 veterans had successfully transitioned their military skills into a variety of civilian roles in the public service.
  • The program had assisted employers to understand what skills veterans bring to the workplace. All managers who employed a veteran had rated it as a positive experience.

NSW CONTINUES RECORD LOW UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

  • NSW continues to lead the nation with a 4.6 per cent unemployment rate, the lowest in Australia for the 29th consecutive month, the latest ABS data shows.
  • NSW has added 218,900 jobs since the last election, far exceeding the government’s election commitment of 150,000 new jobs.
  • The ABS data also showed NSW continues to have the lowest youth unemployment rate of all the states.

FINAL DESIGNS FOR SYDNEY MODERN REVEALED

  • The NSW Government has revealed the final designs for the expansion of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
  • The proposed project will include the repurposing of former WWII naval oil tanks, as well as the creation of an outdoor public art garden providing access between Woolloomooloo and the CBD.
  • Key features will include no artificial light directed into the night sky, rainwater harvesting, solar roof panels, minimal car-parking and low-energy air-conditioning.

WORK STARTS ON WESTERN SYDNEY JOBS HUB

  • Construction work has started on a new $2 billion state-of-the-art office development in the heart of Parramatta that will accommodate NSW’s biggest ever government agency leasing commitment outside the Sydney CBD.
  • The new building will accommodate public sector roles from the departments of Planning and Environment; Finance, Services and Innovation; and Industry. More than 1,600 of these roles will be relocating from the Sydney CBD.
  • The development forms part of Parramatta Square, one of the largest urban renewal projects in the country.