Western Sydney Airport Audit Report Reveals A Rotten Mess

The Greens have said that a report of the Australian National Audit Office on a land purchase for Western Sydney Airport is damning and demands explanations by senior Commonwealth ministers.
Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Greens Senator for NSW, said:
“This report is damning. On top of enormous incompetence, it reveals instances of completely inappropriate and unethical decision-making.
“The Prime Minister and his ministers must explain this rotten mess. The buck stops with them.
“The federal government is spending billions of dollars on this airport which doesn’t stack up. How much more public money has been paid out improperly?
“I’ve long said that the Western Sydney Airport is a scam being foisted on the people of Western Sydney by the federal and state governments.
“The airport will jeopardise the World Heritage listing of the unique Greater Blue Mountains area. It will have a massive impact on the local community and the environment. The government has totally ignored these very significant impacts while planning and developing the Western Sydney Airport,” she said.
Senator Janet Rice, Greens transport and infrastructure spokesperson, said:
“The Morrison government has form in ignoring proper processes and doling out hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to their mates.
“It’s no wonder the majority of Australians don’t trust politicians when this is what happens under the watch of their elected representatives.
“The Prime Minister, Minister McCormack and Minister Tudge need to explain how this happened and why Australian taxpayers are more than $26 million out of pocket.
“We have the sports rorts inquiry still going, but it seems every other week there is new evidence of the Coalition mishandling taxpayers money. We need an inquiry into all the Morrison government’s rorts to investigate these kinds of reports, and a federal anti-corruption commission.”

Energy roadmap steers us off a cliff

Following reports of the government’s energy roadmap, Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt MP has slammed the plan, declaring it as a cover for an expansion of major fossil fuel projects. While reports indicate the roadmap includes references to green hydrogen, it places a focus on blue hydrogen made with fossil fuels and failed carbon capture technology, it locks in coal and gas, and has no science-based binding targets to reduce carbon emissions over the next decade.
“This roadmap will take us off a cliff,” Mr Bandt said. “The Morrison government is accelerating towards climate collapse.”
“This technology list is a fig leaf for the continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry. “This roadmap contains no plan to phase out coal and gas. In fact, the roadmap bakes in coal and gas for years to come, subsidising the coal and gas cartels from the public purse.
“Carbon capture and storage is unicorn technology that has already had millions of dollars of public money poured into it.
“This is corporate capture and profit as the coal and gas cartels get access to billions of dollars meant for renewables.
“We already have the technology we need to move to a clean energy economy that exports hydrogen to our neighbours.
“People across the country are demanding a rapid transition to renewable energy, not just putting solar panels next to new gas wells. This approach doubles down on last century’s technology, all to suit the coal and gas corporations whose fingerprints are all over this roadmap.
“Across the country, people are crying out for a transformative shift to clean energy, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it will create.
“If you don’t have a plan to phase out coal and gas in the next decade you don’t have a real plan for climate action.”

1000 dnata workers are out of a job because of Scott Morrison

Following dnata’s announcement today that 1000 workers will be made redundant, Greens Senator Janet Rice has condemned the Prime Minister for locking these workers out of JobKeeper and called on him to produce a plan for the aviation industry.
Senator Janet Rice, Greens Transport spokesperson said:
“This is devastating news for dnata workers and their families. My thoughts are with them as they face stress, uncertainty and some tough decisions ahead.
“Though devastating, this move was not unexpected. The Prime Minister was warned this would happen back in May when the government decided to exclude these Australians from getting JobKeeper.
“It’s an absolute disgrace that Scott Morrison has left these workers in the lurch.
“This is not the first time the Morrison government has abandoned aviation workers. Government inaction has seen one of our two major airlines collapse and thousands of jobs lost from both Virgin and Qantas.
“The government still doesn’t have a plan for the aviation sector – even though it’s clear we desperately need one. The Prime Minister needs to explain his actions to all aviation workers who have had their jobs axed, and present a strategy for the aviation industry before things get even worse.”

Ordinary Council Meeting Tuesday 22 September 2020

Following is a summary of resolutions from the Ordinary Council meeting of Tuesday 22 September 2020. NB: it is not a full record of resolutions, please see the Council Meeting Minutes and/or webcast archive for more information.

Lord Mayoral Minutes

Ensuring COVID-safe beaches for Newcastle
A Lord Mayoral Minute was supported to join with Local Government NSW in calling on the NSW Government to provide support to the Newcastle Local Government Area, including the development of a COVID Communications Strategy and Campaign and funding to support COVID-Safe marshals at our beaches, to ensure Newcastle’s beaches and open spaces remain safe throughout summer.
The minute further committed to writing to the Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, calling on the NSW Government to fund COVID-safe marshals at our City beaches.

Ordinary business

Adoption of Code of Conduct and associated procedures
Council resolved to adopt an amended Code of Conduct for Councillors, staff, Council committee members, delegates of Council and Council advisors respectively and procedures for the administration of the Code of Conduct.
Endorsement of motions for submission to the 2020 Local Government NSW Annual Conference
Council resolved to endorse motions for submission to the 2020 Local Government NSW Annual Conference.
The Junction to Merewether cycleway
Council voted to approve five of the proposed traffic changes associated with The Junction to Merewether cycleway project and request that community consultation is undertaken as part of the Transport for NSW process for the proposed reduction in speed limit.
Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund
Council endorsed, in principle, an inclusive playspace and waterplay area at Foreshore Park to be City of Newcastle’s nominated project for the Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund for 2020.
Night-time Economy Trial – DPIE public exhibition
Council voted to support a controlled trial of amended late-night trading hours of operation conditions on specific and targeted low-impact and low-risk venues in the Newcastle City Centre to promote the activation and recovery of the Newcastle night-time economy. Council endorsed a temporary amendment to the Newcastle Local Environment Plan to facilitate the trial.
Council also endorsed extending the trial to 12 months, to provide certainty to participants and the community, noting the gradual return of business as part of the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adoption of the Blackbutt Village, Orchardtown Road, New Lambton, Local Centre Public Domain and Traffic Plan
Council voted to adopt the Blackbutt Village Orchardtown Road, New Lambton, Public Domain and Traffic Plan.
Public exhibition of draft Planning Agreement – 73-79 Railway Lane, Wickham
Council voted to place the draft Planning Agreement for 73 – 79 Railway Lane, Wickham on public exhibition for 28 days and consider a report back to Council following the public exhibition period.
Executive monthly performance report
Council received the Executive Monthly Performance Report for August 2020.
Organisational change
Council resolved to approve an organisational change to relocate the Customer Experience Service Unit from the City Wide Services Directorate to the Strategy and Engagement Directorate.
Sale of part 63 Wallsend Road, Sandgate
Council voted to sell part of 63 Wallsend Road, Sandgate to the adjoining landowner and grant authority to the Chief Executive Officer or his delegate to execute all relevant documentation to effect the transaction. Proceeds from the sale be allocated to City of Newcastle’s ‘Works Program: Specific Projects’.
Tender report – South Newcastle Beach skatepark
Council voted to accept a tender for the construction of a skate park at South Newcastle Beach.

Notices of Motion

City of Newcastle and Ube City Sister City 40th anniversary
Council adopted a notice of motion to recognise that 21 November 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of City of Newcastle’s Sister City Sister City Affiliation with Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. The motion called for an appropriate civic gift such as a commemorative booklet to be prepared and sent to Ube City Mayor Kimiko Kubota, Newcastle schools and be available at our Libraries, the Newcastle Museum and Newcastle Visitor Information Centre to recognise the importance of the ongoing relationship.
Wickham School of Arts – State Heritage listing
Council adopted a notice of motion to call on the NSW Government to list the former Wickham School of Arts Building on the State Heritage Register to protect this significant historical asset, following Hunter & Central Coast Development Corporation’s (HCCDC) public declaration that they have no intention of demolishing the building.
Council also endorsed seeking written assurances from HCCDC that it has no plans to demolish the building and working with the NSW Government to develop a plan for the building and the surrounding site, which would see the structure repaired and refurbished for a future adaptive reuse and the adjacent land preserved as green space for public recreation and for enhancing the city’s connections with the harbour.
Making parking easy
Council adopted a notice of motion to amend the surcharge on the EasyPark App so that the total cost is no greater than paying via credit card at a physical parking meter, ensuring equity across the contactless payment methods.
Fort Scratchley and Fort Scratchley Historical Society
Council supported a notice of motion to recognise and acknowledge the historical and cultural importance of Fort Scratchley; as well as the work undertaken by the Fort Scratchley Historical Society (FSHS). A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between City of Newcastle and FSHS will be drafted to recognise the importance of Fort Scratchley to the people of Newcastle and commit to the ongoing support of the historical society. The MOU will be brought back to Council for endorsement.
One-hour free parking trial on Hunter Street
A notice of motion that called for a trial of one-hour free parking in Hunter Street in response to a petition signed by more than 658 residents was not supported by Council.
An amended motion that promoted an evidence-based discussion about parking via City of Newcastle’s upcoming Parking Plan and engagement was supported by Council.
Management of ammonium nitrate stockpiles
A notice of motion to request a briefing from Orica, Crawfords and the regulatory authorities (the NSW EPA and Safe Work NSW) on current and proposed safety and risk management measures associated with the production, storage and transport of ammonium nitrate was supported by Council.
The motion also supported writing to the Minister responsible for SafeWork NSW, Minister Anderson, and the Minister responsible for the EPA, Minister Kean, seeking assurances that the regulation of Orica and Crawfords meets world’s best practice.
Update on smart drumline trials in Newcastle
Council supported a notice of motion to request a briefing from the NSW Department of Primary Industries on the outcomes of the trials of Shark Management Alert in Real Time (SMART) drumlines undertaken across Newcastle beaches in 2019.

Community signals strong support for Night-time Economy Trial

More than 70 per cent of community submissions received as part of a recent public exhibition have indicated strong support for a controlled trial to extend trading hours for select restaurants and small bars in Newcastle.
Council voted unanimously last month to support a trial to extend the trading hours of restaurants in the city until midnight and to 2am for small bars, as first proposed in the City of Newcastle’s After Dark Strategy, also unanimously adopted in 2018.
At tonight’s Council meeting, Councillors voted to endorse the extension of the trial from six months to 12 months.
The community was given the opportunity during September to comment on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s proposed amendment to the Newcastle Local Environment Plan to facilitate the easing of restrictions.  A total of 142 submissions were received, with 72%in support of the trial.
Twenty-four small bars and restaurants have opted into the trial as part of efforts to grow the night-time economy and support the hospitality industry’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said community feedback is an important component of the Night Time Economy trial and that the weight of the positive submissions reflects majority community support for the trial.
“This strong feedback demonstrates there is an appetite for more diverse offerings in Newcastle when the sun goes down. Our City’s night time economy has enormous potential to grow.
“Our community values the benefits of thriving nightlife, and that is a more vibrant city with increased access to businesses, jobs, services and entertainment.
“Research has also shown that encouraging a range of experiences with a wider cohort of visitors, makes for a safer city at night.
“The intention of this trial is to revitalise the City’s economy and support a local industry that employs 13,280 people and generates more than $1.5 billion each year in economic activity.
“City of Newcastle’s After Dark Strategy guides the development of a safe, diverse and vibrant night-time economy and the trial is one of its recommendations.”
Examples of low impact venues identified in the Newcastle After Dark – Night Time Economy Strategy include small bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, galleries, microbreweries and comedy clubs.
A summary statement prepared by CN addressing the key issues raised in the Department of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure exhibition period was received by Council tonight.

Repair of Shepherds Hill Cottage back underway

The restoration of the 1890s-built Shepherds Hill Cottage is expected to be completed early 2021, with final work back underway and ahead of an expression of interest process to identify potential operators.
The cottage was originally used a mess hall for colonial military officers and sustained severe damage in the 2015 Super Storm that caused tens of millions of dollars to the city and black outs for up to five days.
Extensive repairs and restoration work to the outside of the Cottage were completed last year as part of a $730,000 project, which included a new roof and plumbing, repair of wooden windows and renewal of cladding, posts and beams.
The current works include an internal fit out, followed by construction of new outdoor toilets, a storeroom, driveway and parking area, which were allocated $285,000 in this year’s budget.
The restoration project is part of City of Newcastle’s record $116 million 2020/21 capital works program and will complement the landmark Bathers Way coastal pathway, which is currently under construction at South Newcastle Beach.
“With final approval from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment now secured, we are completing the work required to open this incredible, historic site for public use,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
“A heritage architect is overseeing all work on the 182sqm building, which sits on one of the most spectacular pieces of real estate in Newcastle at the top of King Edward Park, offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Port Stephens and the Newcastle coastline through to Dudley.
“With its prime position on the Bathers Way coastal pathway it will become a major community asset once restored and I look forward to seeing what options for use are proposed during the expression of interest process.”
Shepherds Hill Cottage forms part of Shepherds Hill Defence Group site, which sits on Crown Land managed by the City.
A Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the site was endorsed by the NSW Heritage Council midway through 2019 after a revised CMP was placed on public exhibition in late 2018.
Once the restoration works are completed early next year, City of Newcastle will run an EOI process for a prospective tenant. The successful tenderer will need to comply with the Shepherds Hill CMP and obtain Heritage NSW and development application approval of their proposal.
The cottage, battery observation post and gun emplacement were originally designed to defend Newcastle’s burgeoning coal port after the 1878 Royal Commission into Colonial Defences.
More recently, Shepherd’s Hill Cottage was being partially utilised as the headquarters for Marine Rescue Newcastle prior to the building being damaged in 2015. The organisation has been without a permanent home since that time but will now be moving to a Crown Land site managed by City of Newcastle on the Stockton foreshore. Marine Rescue has accepted a 21-year peppercorn lease for the parcel of land, which will allow the group to construct a new purpose-built command post.
Marine Rescue’s communications tower, which is still on the Shepherd’s Hill site, is expected to be removed by the end of October.


The NSW Government can today reveal it has allocated another $400m of its $3 billion Jobs and Infrastructure Acceleration Fund to regional projects.
Last week, the government announced $2.4 billion in funding, which included $1.4 billion in accelerated funding for regional projects. This brings the total spend so far to almost $1.8 billion for regional projects.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said more than 80 infrastructure and local community projects would be funded in the regions over the next two years as part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan.
“We’re turbocharging the regions as we set our state up for a dynamic recovery,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“By investing almost $1.8 billion to accelerate new and existing projects in priority sectors in the regions we are helping to get people, businesses and communities back on their feet following COVID-19.”
Acting Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the NSW Government was supporting the regions by creating thousands of jobs at a time when they are needed most.
“We’re laying down the path to employment by accelerating new and existing projects and investing heavily in every corner of the State,” Mr Toole said.
“The Fund will inject millions into health, education, transport and roads right across regional NSW, providing jobs and helping our regions recover after battling years of drought and last summer’s bushfires.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said this investment would keep people in jobs and businesses in business, supporting and creating up to 12,000 regional jobs.
“The NSW economy is the engine room of the nation, and our regions will need to be firing on all cylinders as we reignite our economy and get jobs flowing again,” Mr Perrottet said.
“These projects will not only help our regional communities recover from the impacts of drought, bushfires and the pandemic but will also set them up for long-term success.”


Drivers across NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and ACT now have a one-stop shop for road disruption information on Transport for NSW’s www.livetraffic.com website.
Minister for Roads Andrew Constance said from today the Live Traffic NSW website will help drivers to avoid congestion by showing the impact of fire, flood, snow, roadworks, crashes and more on roads across five jurisdictions.
“During the unprecedented summer bushfires Live Traffic usage was up 25 per cent, with about 195,000 customers accessing the website, and a further 170,000 using the mobile apps,” Mr Constance said.
“We’re very proud that Transport for NSW has brought together different government agencies to provide more information to communities during an emergency situation and road users travelling interstate.”
The website is optimised for mobile, tablet and desktop, and users are able explore a map and list of incidents or input a journey to discover incidents on their route which may impact their travel.
Acting Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Roads Paul Toole said this was the first time a transport agency had been able to consolidate multiple data feeds into one government platform, with about 1500 incidents across five jurisdictions taking place on any given day
“In the last year alone, regional NSW has been hit by unprecedented challenges of drought, bushfires, flood and now COVID-19. This new service will allow locals, as well as tourists, to better plan how they move around the regions,” Mr Toole said.
“This will become particularly important when we see travel restrictions start to ease, so we can more safely explore our own backyard and help regenerate regional economies.”
The Transport Management Centre and interstate counterparts publish information first-hand from emergency services and our front line staff making Live Traffic more accurate, timely and reliable than information published by third party services.
Transport for NSW is continuing to improve the coverage of incidents by working with data providers across the country.
The Live Traffic NSW mobile apps are being updated for iOS and Android for release later this year.

Police issue $1000 PIN to man attempting to travel to Wagga Wagga from Victoria

A Victorian man has been issued a Penalty Infringement Notice after crossing the border with intent to travel beyond the border bubble.
About 5pm yesterday (Monday 21 September 2020), officers from Griffith Highway Patrol stopped a Subaru in a carpark on Leonard Street, Hay, after checks revealed the vehicle had a warning about previously attempting to cross the border last Wednesday (16 September 2020).
Police spoke with the driver, a 26-year-old man, who stated he resided in Irymple, Victoria, and was travelling to Wagga Wagga for work, but intended to move to Burwood, Sydney.
The man produced a permit and was advised by officers it was only valid to enter the border region.
He was issued with a $1000 PIN for fail to comply with noticed direction in relation to s7, 8, 9 – COVID-19 and directed to return to the border region.
Police continue to appeal to the community to report suspected breaches of any ministerial direction or behaviour which may impact on the health and safety of the community.
Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Man charged after allegedly assaulting officers – Lake Macquarie

A man will face court today charged after allegedly assaulting two police officers in the Lake Macquarie district yesterday.
About 11.40pm on Monday (21 September 2020), officers from Lake Macquarie Police District were called to a hotel on Pacific Highway, Charlestown following reports a man was acting aggressively.
Officers spoke to the 35-year-old man before he allegedly became confrontational towards the police officers.
It is alleged the man punched and kicked the two constables several times while they were attempting to arrest him.
During the altercation, officers deployed OC spray and a taser, however the man was unable to be restrained.
Further police arrived and the man was detained after threatening to stab officers with a syringe. He was taken John Hunter Hospital for treatment, before being transferred to Belmont Police Station.
The two officers were treated by NSW Ambulance Paramedics before being taken to John Hunter Hospital for treatment. Both officers sustained injures to the face, one requiring sutures.
The Carrington man was charged with assault officer in execution of duty cause actual bodily harm (x2), resist officer in execution of duty (x2), and use offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention.
He was refused bail and appeared at Newcastle Local Court today, (Tuesday 22 September 2020), where he was again refused bail to appear at Belmont Local Court on Wednesday 30 September 2020.