Police Force swears-in 200 officers and nine police dogs

Eight police dogs and their handlers will graduate alongside 200 new probationary constables at today’s Police Attestation ceremony in Goulburn.

Acting Police Commissioner David Hudson will swear-in the 200 new probationary constables, four detection police dogs and four general purpose police dogs who will be accompanied by their instructors.

The police dogs completed the NSW Police Detection and General Purpose Novice Courses in 2019 and 2021, but have not been able to graduate until now due to COVID restrictions.

The 200 probationary constables will be deployed to police stations across the state from next week (Monday 27 June 2022) where they will complete their year of onthe-job training. Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said every Attestation ceremony was a significant occasion for the Police Force and the community.“I congratulate our newest probationary constables, who will be deployed to areas where they are needed the most,” Mr Toole said.

In 2019 the NSW Government announced a record investment in police, with an additional 1500 officers over four years and committed $60 million to upgrade the Goulburn Police Academy.

“We are proud to offer our continued support to the NSW Police Force to ensure it has the very best people, training facilities, and technology to keep our communities safe,” Mr Toole said.

Acting Police Commissioner David Hudson said the ceremony was an important opportunity to recognise the commitment of Class 353, as well as their families and friends.

“Behind every police officer and every probationary constable is a family and a network that plays a critical role in supporting our people,” Acting Commissioner Hudson said.

“It’s more important than ever that we ensure our police have our utmost support so that they can enjoy long and successful careers.

“It’s also a unique and special occasion when we see new police dogs enter the Force. The value police dogs bring to policing – including criminal investigations and critical incident response is significant and should be recognised.”

Acting Assistant Commissioner Toby Lindsay said a career in policing was exciting and rewarding.

“As a probationary constable engaged in general duties policing you can expect to be working with and helping the community,” Acting AC Lindsay said. “You will also undertake a wide range of investigations including motor vehicle accidents, stealing offense, assaults and more.

“In addition to general duties policing, there are more than 100 specialist roles in support of our frontline police and community.”

Agriculture and animal emergency flood hotline reactivated

Landholders impacted by the current flood event across NSW can now access immediate support through the reactivated Agriculture and Animal Emergency Services hotline on 1800 814 647.
 
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said significant work has already been undertaken as part of the flood emergency response to provide support to communities as quickly as possible.
                                                    
“The NSW Government put plans and processes in place in anticipation of this flood emergency to ensure we were ready to respond and provide immediate support to primary producers, landholders and the broader community,” Mr Saunders said.
 
“Although the full extent of the damage across the State is varied and yet to be realised, we are providing emergency support to landholders, including providing emergency fodder, animal assessments and welfare checks, and emergency safe places for livestock and domestic animals.
 
“As the flooding continues to unfold in the coming days, the staff on the ground and in the response centres will adapt as required to provide the necessary support for local landholders and community members.
 
“The Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services are working together to assist landholders and communities with animal welfare and agriculture related issues arising from the current flood event devastating NSW.”
 
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said an animal-safe space at Castle Hill is now open to temporarily house livestock and domestic animals, with the potential for more sites to operate in the coming days.
 
“With further heavy rainfall forecast, landholders and community members are urged to move their livestock and domestic animals to higher ground and consider evacuating animals, where safe to do so,” Ms Cooke.
 
“With many properties impacted by flooding this hotline will help landholders manage their livestock and animals and keep them safe as this flooding continues.”
 
To keep up to date with the latest information, visit www.nsw.gov.au/floodsdpi.nsw.gov.au/floods or www.lls.nsw.gov.au/help-and-advice/emergency-and-biosecurity/floods.
 

Agriculture and animal emergency flood hotline reactivated

Landholders impacted by the current flood event across NSW can now access immediate support through the reactivated Agriculture and Animal Emergency Services hotline on 1800 814 647.
 
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said significant work has already been undertaken as part of the flood emergency response to provide support to communities as quickly as possible.
                                                    
“The NSW Government put plans and processes in place in anticipation of this flood emergency to ensure we were ready to respond and provide immediate support to primary producers, landholders and the broader community,” Mr Saunders said.
 
“Although the full extent of the damage across the State is varied and yet to be realised, we are providing emergency support to landholders, including providing emergency fodder, animal assessments and welfare checks, and emergency safe places for livestock and domestic animals.
 
“As the flooding continues to unfold in the coming days, the staff on the ground and in the response centres will adapt as required to provide the necessary support for local landholders and community members.
 
“The Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services are working together to assist landholders and communities with animal welfare and agriculture related issues arising from the current flood event devastating NSW.”
 
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said an animal-safe space at Castle Hill is now open to temporarily house livestock and domestic animals, with the potential for more sites to operate in the coming days.
 
“With further heavy rainfall forecast, landholders and community members are urged to move their livestock and domestic animals to higher ground and consider evacuating animals, where safe to do so,” Ms Cooke.
 
“With many properties impacted by flooding this hotline will help landholders manage their livestock and animals and keep them safe as this flooding continues.”
 
To keep up to date with the latest information, visit www.nsw.gov.au/floodsdpi.nsw.gov.au/floods or www.lls.nsw.gov.au/help-and-advice/emergency-and-biosecurity/floods.
 

Funding available to natural disaster declared communities

Disaster assistance is now available in 23 local government areas (LGAs) following severe storms and flooding from 27 June 2022, which continue to impact large areas of Sydney and the New South Wales coast.
 
The LGAs are Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Canterbury Bankstown, Campbelltown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Kiama, Lithgow, Liverpool, Northern Beaches, Penrith, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Sutherland, The Hills, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly and Wollongong.
 
Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
 
Minister for Emergency Management, Senator the Hon Murray Watt, said the flooding has led to a large number of evacuations throughout Metropolitan Sydney, the Hawkesbury and the Central Coast, with major flood operations still ongoing.
 
“We have seen some of these impacted communities being hit by floods for a third and fourth time in 18 months, which is extremely distressing to the residents of these communities,” Minister Watt said.
 
“The Australian and New South Wales governments have worked very cooperatively through this latest flood emergency, to ensure defence and other resources were deployed early and fast.
 
“Similarly, we’re now working hard together to make sure that impacted communities get the financial and other assistance they need as soon as possible.”
 
New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery, Steph Cooke, said significant recovery support would be required to help support communities once the major weather event passes.
 
“Today’s announcement will ensure immediate assistance is available to impacted communities, including assistance for people who have lost or had damage to their homes,” Ms Cooke said.
 
“While we are still very much in the emergency response phase of this developing weather event, as waters recede we will work with communities to assess longer term recovery needs and ensure appropriate long-term support is provided.”
 
Assistance available under the DRFA may include:

  • Help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged (eligibility criteria apply);
  • Support for affected local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged road and essential public assets;
  • Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations; and
  • Freight subsidies for primary producers.

 
For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.
 
To apply for a concessional loan or primary producer grant, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.
 
Information on disaster assistance can be found on the National Recovery and Resilience Agency’s website at www.recovery.gov.au.

School holiday skills to boost hospitality

Young people across NSW are set to benefit from fee-free hospitality training during the winter school holidays to help them get the skills they need for the jobs they want.
 
Minister for Skills and Training Alister Henskens said 1,000 free training places are up for grabs for students aged 16 and above as part of a new NSW Government initiative. 
 
“We want to provide more opportunities for young people to get the skills they need for a first job, a new job or a better job, and this program is another great example of that,” Mr Henskens said.
 
“By giving students a foot-in-the-door, they’ll gain practical experience and build industry connections, which in turn supports their ongoing education and employment pathways.”
 
Courses available include Statement of Attainment in Hospitality Skills, Statement of Attainment in Espresso Coffee and Food Safety Supervisor.
 
Since February, the NSW Government has delivered 10,000 fee-free Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) courses.
 
Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson said the hospitality sector supports more than 300,000 jobs across the State and now is the perfect time for students to gain their free qualification and enter the industry.
 
“These free courses will help young people get jobs at local cafes and restaurants, which will support hospitality businesses who are in need of staff,” Mr Anderson said.
 
ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis said the hospitality industry offers incredible opportunities for professional growth and development and this initiative will give students a great head start in the industry.
 
“Local clubs are fantastic places for young people to begin their careers and develop their professional skills,” Mr Landis said. 
 
“The club industry employs more than 53,000 people across the state and there are plenty of jobs available at the moment. This is a great initiative from the NSW Government that will help ease the strain of the current hospitality worker shortage.”
 
Training will be delivered during the July and September school holiday periods (4-15 July 2022 and 26 September–7 October 2022) and are available through TAFE NSW and other registered training organisations.
 
For more information, visit skills.education.nsw.gov.au/initiatives/school-holidays-hospitality-skills.
 

NSW faces latest COVID-19 wave

Everyone in NSW is being asked to ensure they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations and to practise COVID-safe behaviours as the current wave of infections, driven by the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, continues to grow.
 
There are fears the number of serious illnesses and death toll will increase significantly unless more people immediately get boosted and practise COVID-safe behaviours.
 
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said figures show 56 per cent (1,232) of COVID-related deaths this year were in people who have had two or fewer doses.
 
“We are at the beginning of the third wave of Omicron which is likely to peak in late July or early August. This increase in community transmission brings with it greatly increased risks for those not up to date with their vaccines,” Mr Hazzard said.
 
“The best way you can protect yourself from serious illness or worse is to get every vaccination that is available to you.”
 
If you are fully vaccinated you have 65 per cent greater protection against hospitalisation or death from Omicron than two vaccine doses alone affords, according to data from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.
 
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said in addition to booking in for a booster, people should exercise common sense and wear a face mask in public indoor spaces, where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
 
“Face masks, hand hygiene, staying home when ill, testing yourself when symptoms present, physically distancing, all these measures are not new to us,” Dr Chant said.
 
“Unless we pull together as one again, this new wave will hit schools and businesses hard, just like BA.1 did, which saw thousands of workers absent.”
 
Elderly people and those with underlying health conditions are reminded to speak to their GP or health professional about antiviral medications if they contract COVID-19. Antivirals work best when taken within five days from when symptoms onset.
 
COVID-19 booster doses are recommended for anyone 16 years and older who had their last dose of a primary course at least three months ago.
 
To find your nearest vaccination clinic, visit nsw.gov.au.

NSW road workers to strike for the first time in decades 

Road workers, construction crews and other Transport for NSW workers will walk off the job for the first time in decades on Thursday, as frustrations over the NSW Government’s effective pay cut boil over.

Workers are outraged their important contributions are being rewarded by the NSW Government with a pay offer that would represent a significant step backward in living standards.

Transport for NSW workers will down tools at 6am Thursday and not resume work again until 6am Friday. The workers, spread across 69 depots throughout the state, will gather outside the front gates of major depots at 9am, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge depot and Civic Park in Newcastle.

The Australian Workers’ Union, which represents the striking workers, has committed to supporting ongoing industrial action until change is achieved.

“These men and women worked tirelessly to keep our state moving during recent bushfires and flood catastrophes,” AWU NSW Branch Organiser Cameron Wright said.

“During the pandemic they put on their work gear and went out into an uncertain world while the rest of us were locked down.

“And now Dom Perrottet wants to tell them all to cop a pay cut. It’s just not going to fly.

“The Premier likes to talk about his ‘three per cent’ wage increase offer, but in reality it’s 2.5, because he’s counting the mandated increase in superannuation.

“So with inflation running at over five per cent, the average road worker is being told to feed their family with significantly less.

“These workers don’t take industrial action lightly – in fact they haven’t been on strike in a generation. But you can only be pushed so far and this state government has done that pushing.

“If Dom Perrottet and his government doesn’t return to the negotiating table in a more reasonable state of mind there’s going to be a lot more days like today.”

Unions have given TfNSW management a commitment members will make themselves available to respond to genuine emergency situations to keep the general public safe given recent weather events.

Bushfire survivors’ legal challenge to massive Narrabri coal mine extension 

Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action (BSCA) is proud to be launching another climate legal case today, this time against the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) over its approval of the extension of Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri Mine extension.

Represented by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), BSCA argues that the IPC’s approval of the mine extension in April was unreasonable, irrational and illogical and not in the public interest because of the project’s impacts in driving further climate change-fuelled extreme weather events such as the Black Summer bushfires and Sydney’s current flooding events. 

The IPC’s April decision allows Whitehaven Coal to extend operations up to 10km south of its existing mine with a 500m-wide coal seam and extract an additional 82 million tonnes of coal to 2044.   

The project will generate at least 479.57 Mt CO2-e in emissions (roughly equal to Australia’s current annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2021, which were 488 MtCO2-e) at a time when greenhouse gas emissions must be rapidly reduced to limit the devastating impacts of global warming. 

After successfully suing the NSW EPA last year to force it to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, BSCA is taking action in the NSW land and Environment Court to have the IPC’s approval overturned. 

“Today, thousands of people across NSW are battling record floodwaters for the third time in only a few months. Homes, businesses, farms, infrastructure are being destroyed and lives are being lost and imperilled.

“As bushfire survivors we stand shoulder to shoulder with all climate survivors, determined to fight for safer communities. We know what it is to lose everything in a climate-fuelled event. We have felt the weight of lives turned upside down as we rebuild only to see the next disaster roll towards us,” stated spokesperson for Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action Fiona Lee, who lost her home in the Black Summer fires. 

The Bureau of Meteorology State of the Climate Report 2021 revealed the number of extreme fire danger days in Australia had increased tenfold since the 1960s, with 143 extreme fire danger days in the decade of the 2010s compared to 14 in the decade of the 1960s.

If Australia continues to emit climate damaging greenhouse gases, extreme weather events will only increase in number and severity. In this court action, Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action will argue that in the face of indisputable evidence on the climate impacts, no reasonable person could conclude that this mine was in the public interest. 

Instead of approving new mines and expansions, Australia should be investing in clean, renewable energy sources that will provide jobs and reliable, cheap power. 

EDO Director of Legal Strategy Elaine Johnson said: 

“This case marks a line in the sand. The IPC has a duty to make legally reasonable and justifiable decisions. Our client says that it cannot be reasonable, rational, logical or in the public interest to approve a mine which will be a major new source of climate pollution in 2022.

“The IPC had before it indisputable scientific evidence on the impact emissions from this mine extension would have on our climate.  This mine produces not just thermal coal, but significant amounts of fugitive methane as well.

“Decision makers can no longer ignore the huge body of undisputed scientific evidence that says we must rapidly reduce emissions and leave coal and gas in the ground if we are to have a liveable planet.”

Dine & Discover NSW dishes up a billion dollar boost

The State Government’s popular Dine & Discover NSW program has closed with almost $1 billion in direct spend injected into the economy during the 16-month lifespan of the program, which ended with a record-breaking final week.

Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello said about 23,642,000 vouchers had been redeemed by customers since March 2021, with more than 1.1 million redemptions on the final day.

“The program has been a phenomenal success, with close to 72 per cent of vouchers redeemed across 16,736 NSW businesses,” Mr Dominello said.

“The vouchers have provided many businesses with a financial lifeline so they could survive and transition to a post-covid economy that is going from strength to strength every day.

“More than 5.5 million adults, which is about nine out of ten eligible adults, registered for the program, with the average customer spending almost $42 per voucher.

“I would like to thank all participating businesses for their support of the program.”

Redemption uptake was strong with 95.2 per cent of users cashing in at least one voucher, 67.3 per cent redeeming at least four and 38.9 per cent scanning all six.

Mr Dominello said there are still more than 70 ways for households to save and boost their budgets, with information available via Service NSW.

“Families will continue to receive hip pocket relief with Parents NSW Vouchers and Stay NSW Vouchers available until 9 October 2022,” Mr Dominello said.

For more information visit Savings Finder at https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/savings-finder

Aboriginal Cultural Space

A dedicated Aboriginal Cultural Space will be established at the Museum of Sydney, the site of First Government House in NSW. 

The cultural space will feature voices, significant stories, truths and histories of Aboriginal culture and people.   

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the initiative is part of the NSW Government’s broader commitment to delivering symbolic and practical outcomes for Aboriginal people and the wider community across the state. 

“The Aboriginal Cultural Space will be a place where the community can talk openly and constructively about history and culture,” Mr Perrottet said. 

“The decisions made and actions taken at the first Government House had profound and long-lasting impacts on Aboriginal people across this country and region. 

“This site will create a place for these stories and perspectives to be shared, while celebrating the enduring living culture of Aboriginal people.”    

The Aboriginal Cultural Space will be established progressively by Sydney Living Museums in partnership with the Aboriginal Languages Trust.   The development of the space will be informed by extensive consultation with the Aboriginal community, and a series of exhibitions, public programs and workshops that will take place on site.  

The site’s existing collection will be reinterpreted and contextualised to represent Aboriginal stories and perspectives until the entire space is dedicated to the culture and history of Aboriginal people. 

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Arts Ben Franklin said Australia should be a society that remembers, talks about and reconciles with its past.  

“Our history matters and it is filled with moments both dark and delightful. To acknowledge our past effectively, we need spaces where difficult truths and uncomfortable perspectives are free to be expressed,” Mr Franklin said. 

“History is happening now and we will work tirelessly with partners and community to bring into being a place that will engage with the past with a mind for the future.” 

Sydney Living Museums Head of First Nations Cultural Engagement Peter White said the space is a new model for cultural institutions, where Aboriginal people, places and perspectives are included. 

“Sydney Living Museums cares for 12 of the most historically significant places in the country, including a world-heritage site, and NSW State Archives has one of the world’s best archival collections, with a cultural worth beyond measure,” Mr White said. 

“Together, we hold unparalleled documentation of our past; what happened, where it happened, how it happened and why it happened. 

“There’s an expectation from community to bridge the gap between institutions and community and we want to do as much as we can to make what we have as accessible, honest and relevant as we can.” 

Aboriginal Languages Trust Chair Jason Behrendt said the partnership between the Aboriginal Languages Trust and Sydney Living Museums and State Archives and Records Authority is an important first step in building an enduring relationship based on mutual respect and understanding of our shared history. 

“For Aboriginal people, languages are part of our living culture. It is a fundamental part of identity – a physical, intellectual and spiritual connection to culture, country and community,” Mr Behrendt said. 

“This partnership will shine a spotlight on languages as living culture through expanding First Nations content, programming and services at First Government House in line with our statutory roles and strategic objectives.” 

Today’s announcement coincides with the start of NAIDOC Week – reflecting the theme ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’.