Monday, 13 November 2017
FIRST HOME BUYERS BACK IN THE GAME
- Thousands of first home buyers have rallied to take advantage of stamp duty exemptions available since the introduction of the NSW Government’s new relief package.
- New figures from Revenue NSW show 10,496 individuals and families have secured the keys to their first home with the help of the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme since July, representing a 239 per cent increase compared to the 3,094 over the same period last year.
- Under the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme, stamp duty is eliminated altogether for properties up to $650,000 while concessions are also available for between $650,000 and $800,000.
- The changes enable first home buyers to access stamp duty relief for both new and existing homes.
MASSIVE SAVINGS ON NEW GREEN SLIP PRICES
- Prices for the new, lower cost CTP Green Slip scheme have gone live, with a brand new price comparison website launched to help drivers find the best deal.
- NSW drivers will save up to $172 a year from 1 December, while Sydney taxi drivers will be more than $3,000 better off.
- In the new scheme, there will be a new safety net allowing all injured road users to access benefits for loss of income and medical expenses for up to six months, with lump sum compensation retained for those with long-term injuries.
- The average Green Slip price for Sydney drivers would be $543 and $414 for country motorists. The average premium for Sydney taxi owners would fall from $8,836 to $5,007 and for country taxis, the average cost will decrease from $5,203 to $2,923.
LOWER FEES FOR PRESCHOOLS IN NSW
- The NSW Government has delivered on its commitment to make early childhood education more affordable for families, with fees already dropping by an average of 25 per cent thanks to the Start Strong Reforms.
- The Start Strong reforms were introduced last year to ensure more children had access to 600 hours of quality early childhood education in the year before school.
- Under Start Strong, community preschools must use at least 75 per cent of the funding increase to reduce fees for eligible children, with priority given to children from Aboriginal and low-income families.
NSW GOVERNMENT OPENS FIRST MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR TAFE NSW CONNECTED LEARNING CENTRE
- Transformed vocational education and training delivery in NSW will now be a reality with the first multi-million dollar TAFE NSW Connected Learning Centre (CLC) opened in Quirindi.
- The NSW Government is investing heavily in the future of TAFE NSW and this can be seen with a $2.1 million brand new, modern, state of the art facility which will significantly improve the experience of teachers and students who utilise it.
A NEW STANDARD FOR INCLUSIVE KIDS’ PLAY SPACES
- Playgrounds and play spaces across NSW will need to meet a new standard of design by catering for all people, including disabled and able-bodied children and their carers.
- A retrospective review of the existing playgrounds across NSW will determine what work needs to be done to ensure people of all abilities have the same level of accessibility to play and will identify opportunities for improvements to play spaces.
- The NSW Government’s initial contribution of $750,000 will kick-start the initiative in regional NSW and Western Sydney as part of inclusive play spaces currently in the development stages, by the ‘Touched by Olivia Foundation’.
VOLUNTEERING JUST GOT EASIER
- A one-stop volunteering recruitment website has been launched making volunteering more accessible by linking volunteers with the right organisation and opportunity for them.
- There is something for everyone to get involved with just under 3,000 opportunities available for people who want to volunteer in NSW.
- To find out more about a local volunteering opportunity or to post a vacancy visit: volunteering.nsw.gov.au
GRANTS OPEN FOR LIFE SAVING DEFRIBRILLATORS
- Spectators and players from community sporting clubs will benefit from a state wide rollout of the Local Sport Defibrillator Program.
- Early access to CPR and defibrillation can influence survival rates by up to 75 percent and this $4 million program will enable more than 2,500 Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) to be installed at grass roots sporting facilities over the next four years.
- The program will fund up to 50 per cent of the defibrillator cost, along with training and maintenance support.
- Applications close 20 December 2017. For more information visit: nsw.gov.au/clubs/grants
$500,000 TO ACCELERATE MURRAY DARLING BUSINESSES INTO NEW MARKETS
- The NSW Government has announced a new $500,000 Murray Darling Regional Business Accelerator Program fund to support businesses in the Murray Darling Basin to undertake new marketing or technology projects.
- The program will offer matched funding up to $10,000 for activities including website development, digital media campaigns, or new product packaging.
- The Murray Darling Basin Regional Business Accelerator Program is open to eligible businesses based in the Murray Darling Basin that can demonstrate growth potential beyond local markets and which are not solely reliant on local markets for sales.
MORE BEDS, MORE SERVICES FOR ST GEORGE HOSPITAL
- St George Hospital’s state-of-the-art Acute Services Building has opened under budget and ahead of schedule as works continue on the $277 million campus upgrade.
- The new Acute Services Building features:
- A 52-bed intensive care and high dependency unit
- Cardiac catheterisation unit
- 128 inpatient beds
- A sterilising services department
- An atrium linking to ED, Tower Ward Block and the Clinical Services Building
- 8 additional digital and interventional operating theatres.
NANCY BIRD TAKES FLIGHT TO FIGHT FIRES
- The waterbombing DC-10 Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) tasked with protecting lives and property from bush fires this summer has been named “Nancy Bird”, in honour of renowned Australian aviator Nancy Bird Walton AO OBE.
- Nancy Bird Walton was the first woman in Australia to obtain a commercial pilot’s licence and founded an outback air ambulance service.
- As part of a $38 million investment over four years, the NSW Government is investing in 140 new firefighting vehicles and almost 100 projects that will see new or upgraded RFS infrastructure built across NSW this financial year.
UNIVERSITY NETWORK TO DRIVE NSW DEFENCE
- The NSW Government will invest $1.25 million in a new university-led network to bolster defence-related research and development activity across the state.
- The new Defence Innovation Network will bring together leading scientists and engineers from seven of the state’s public universities to focus on areas crucial to Australia’s defence needs.
- The University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, the University of Sydney, the University of Newcastle, the University of Wollongong, Western Sydney University and UNSW Sydney are the founding universities involved in the network.
new city metro stations to shape sydney
- New metro stations in the CBD and North Sydney are set to be the city’s newest landmarks in their own right, offering retail, community, residential and commercial opportunities.
- Victoria Cross and Pitt Street stations have been chosen as locations where Sydney could replicate mass-transit-oriented developments such as Hudson Yards in New York and Paddington Station on London’s Crossrail.
- Planning for integrated station design at Crows Nest will start next year. The new metro station at Martin Place will also be integrated into the area around it and the NSW Government is currently assessing an unsolicited proposal.
- This is an opportunity to build on the revitalisation which Sydney Metro brings, creating truly landmark places and developments that showcases world’s best practise for transit orientated developments.
NORTHCONNEX TAKING SHAPE WITH OPENING OF NEW M1 BRIDGE
- The game-changing NorthConnex project has taken another step toward completion with a new 50-metre-long bridge opening to motorists travelling southbound on the M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga.
- When complete, NorthConnex will take around 5,000 trucks off Pennant Hills Road every day and return Pennant Hills Road to local traffic, while motorists using the tunnel will save up to 15 minutes travel time by bypassing up to 21 traffic lights along Pennant Hills Road.
- Already, thousands of commuters from the Central Coast can observe the significant work being carried out at the end of the M1 Motorway in the knowledge that improved travel times into Sydney are on the horizon.
STEPPING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF PIONEERS TO RESTORE CENTURY OLD TRACK
- One of Australia’s oldest bushwalking tracks has officially reopened after an almost decade long restoration worth $4.8 million.
- The Blue Mountain’s Grand Canyon Track, which is more than a century old, has undergone a 4.5 kilometre restoration across some of the most challenging terrain for walking track construction in Australia.
- More than 90,000 people use the Track every year, more than triple its use since the project began in 2008. It’s expected that more than a million visitors will use it from now until 2030.
POPPIES POPPING IN NSW
- A new industry worth up to $100 million over the next ten years is flowering in NSW, with the state’s first opiate poppy crop now in bloom.
- The NSW Government changed the law in 2016 because it saw the potential here for producers and for patients in need.
- The Act now enables opiate poppies to be safely and securely grown in our state, an essential first step in the production of medicines that are vitally important for the quality of life of many people.
- Over 400 hectares of opiate poppies have been planted in the Central West and the Riverina and are on track to be harvested this season. The success of these first crops has seen strong interest from other producers across the state hoping to join the program next year.
NSW COURT TRIALS PAPERLESS HEARINGS
- The Land and Environment Court is conducting a trial of paperless hearings aiming to make justice faster, cheaper and greener.
- Paperless hearings utilise simple and inexpensive technology to make it easier for parties to follow the proceedings.
- The evidence is projected onto a wall, which means everyone in court is simultaneously looking at the same thing – regardless of whether you are at the bench, bar table or in the public gallery. As all material is stored electronically, it’s easier and faster to move from one exhibit to another, with parties using a laser pointer to highlight the relevant sections.
NSW HOUSING APPROVALS EXCEED TARGET
- NSW has experienced it 45th consecutive month of record housing approvals – far exceeding the Premier’s Priority Target of 50,000 approvals, the latest data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows.
- NSW leads the nation in housing approvals with 68,945 new homes approved in the past 12 months to September 2017.
- NSW housing approvals in the 12 months to September 2017 are up by 96 per cent compared to 5 years ago (35,260) and the state has led the country in housing approvals for more than two years.
NSW FAIR TRADING COMMISSIONER ANNOUNCED
- The NSW Government has announced the appointment of Rose Webb as the new Commissioner for NSW Fair Trading.
- Ms Webb has been working as Senior Executive Director and then Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong’s Competition Commission. She has also served in leadership roles at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission; the then Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.