Weekly Update - Ausgrid Science and Engineering Challenge, Education Week, Local Government Week

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Weekly Update - Ausgrid Science and Engineering Challenge, Education Week, Local Government Week

Monday, 05 August 2013
Good afternoon and thanks for stopping by! This past week I've spent a lot of time attending events and meetings that involve building in some form or another. Building usually signifies growth so I think that means it's been a good week!
 
On Tuesday I had to put my thinking cap on when I attended the Ausgrid Science and Engineering Challenge at ANSTO. Schools from around Sydney were invited to send teams to represent them in various science challenges. These included things like building a bridge that could take weight, creating a hovercraft, running circuitboards to power a small city, creating a satellite radar to pick up frequencies and even navigating the surface of Mars. At the end of the day, the team with the highest score was Woollooware High and they will now go on to represent at the Regional event. My favourite part was judging the bridge building and watching very differently constructed bridges be test by a trolley loaded with increasing weight until it collapsed. Some bridges survived only the lightest weight, but a few were strong enough to hold the bridge-busting 9kg trolley - much to the cheers of the audience! The Science and Engineering Challenge is designed to encourage junior students to continue with the science students into the senior years and hopefully pursue a career in the sector when they finish. It was great to see so many young analytical minds being put to the test and I hope that it has sparked something inside of them for the future.
 
Did you know that last week was both Education Week and Local Government Week? Well, I was lucky enough to have both the Education Minister and the Local Government Minister in the Menai Electorate on Wednesday. I had the pleasure of welcoming the Education Minister, the Hon. Adrian Piccoli MP to Holsworthy High School to celebrate the news of funding for the school's hospitality department. After much lobbying from the School, the P&C and other parents, we were able to get the attention of the Minister to see the classroom kitchens upgraded. The money will be used to install new stainless benchtops and will enable the school to continue to offer commercial cookery classes. Miss Tracy Cook, Head Teacher TAS had her students put on a massive feast for the Minister and the other guests to enjoy. The Minister also presented the school with some books as part of Education Week. A big thank you to the School for being such wonderful hosts.
 
That afternoon, I met the Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Don Page MP and Liverpool Mayor, Clr Ned Mannoun at Chipping Norton Marketplace to inspect the location of last year's Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme funding. The Scheme is designed to help Council's address infrastructure project backlogs and enable projects to be undertaken. Last year Council received funding to repair Barry Road, between Governor Macquarie Drive and Ernest Avenue, a section notorious for pot holes and uneven edges. They also received funding for air-conditioning upgrades and other road upgrades in the local government area. In addition, they have just been successful in Round 2 of the Scheme to enable Council to build a new public car park in Liverpool to address the parking issues in the CBD. I look forward to seeing their plans progress.

On Friday I attended a ceremony to lay the foundations of the future Macedonian Orthodox Church's Gateway Temple at Woronora Cemetery. It is always interesting to learn about particular traditions and customs and this ceremony was quite educational. Luckily the weather behaved and we were able to enjoy the afternoon, in the bushy surrounds of the Woronora Cemetery. I learnt that in addition to the stones that were laid, a time capsule was also being placed in the foundations that day which included my name inside. While it may seem a little unusual to spend so much time at a cemetery, Woronora has been busy developing and creating various new sections to suit the changing needs of today. A lot of care is put into each section of the grounds and this Gateway Temple will be no exception.
 
Now that the Federal Election has been called for September 7, it is the perfect time to make sure your electoral roll details are up to date. Simply visit http://www.aec.gov.au/ to find out. And if you aren't currently enrolled, you have until August 12 to do so. 
 
Have a great week.
 
Here's what's been happening around the State:
 

NEW ERA IN CUSTOMER SERVICE BEGINS

  • Sydney’s first one stop shop Service Centre has opened in Haymarket making it easier to carry out government transactions.
  • Customers will be able to undertake a range of transactions such as those available at Roads and Maritime, Fair Trading and Births, Deaths & Marriages at the 18 centres in the initial rollout, including Parramatta, Chatswood, Gosford, Queanbeyan, Newcastle, Wollongong, Penrith, Kiama, Dubbo, Tamworth and Port Macquarie.
  • The service centre will open during extended hours, 7am-7pm weekdays; 9am-3pm Saturdays, and customers are able to make appointments. 
  • A new phone service - 13 77 88 – and new website www.service.nsw.gov.au provide around-the-clock access to customers.
 

SEATBELTS TO BE INSTALLED ON DEDICATED REGIONAL SCHOOL BUSES

  • More than $200 million is being invested into installing seatbelts on buses dedicated to school runs throughout rural and regional NSW. 
  • The recommendation has been adopted following an inquiry into school bus safety in rural and regional NSW.
  • For the first time in NSW, seatbelts will be installed and standing will be phased out on almost 1,700 dedicated school services over the next 10 years.
  • More than 60,000 students across regional and rural NSW travel on these dedicated school buses each day.
 

ALL NSW NURSING HOMES TO HAVE FIRE SPRINKLERS

  • The aged care industry is working with the NSW Government to ensure all nursing homes in NSW are fitted with fire sprinkler systems within three years.
  • The tragic events at Quakers Hill highlighted the need for better fire protection in aged care facilities, and pleasingly almost half of all of them now have sprinklers.
  • The NSW Government continues to work with the aged care industry to establish programs for installation of the sprinkler systems.
  • With the cooperation of industry, NSW is on track to have all facilities fitted out by March 2016, giving residents and families greater assurance.
 

NEW SOLAR PROJECTS IN WESTERN NSW 

  • The NSW Government is investing almost $65 million into two large-scale solar projects in Western NSW as part of the Commonwealth Government’s Solar Flagship Program.  
  • Solar power plants will be constructed in Broken Hill and Nyngan as part of AGL’s $450 million large-scale project.
  • When complete the solar power plants are expected to produce enough power to meet the needs of about 50,000 homes.
  • This project will grow renewable energy generation in NSW and help us to meet our target of producing 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.
 

IMPROVING CERTAINTY FOR COMMUNITY AND INVESTORS IN MINE PROPOSALS 

  • The NSW Government is working to improve investor confidence in the processes governing resource development through proposed changes to the regulations governing mining proposals.  
  • While the assessment of major projects has always been about balancing their economic and employment significance against any potentially adverse impacts, there have been no clear guidelines as to how these issues should be balanced. 
  • The proposed amendments will provide clear direction to both the industry and the community in respect of the approvals process for mining projects.
  • The proposed amendments are on public exhibition until 12 August and can be viewed at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/proposals. 
 

NSW MISSING PERSONS WEEK 2013 

  • NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Barrie launched this year’s NSW Missing Persons Week, it’s 25th anniversary.
  • Each year about 35,000 people are reported missing in Australia - about one person every 15 minutes. 
  • This year the focus is on people living with a mental illness as a key group in the community most at risk of going missing. 
  • A new resource has also been launched called In the Loop to help young people who are dealing with the disappearance of a loved one which is available at www.nsw.gov.au.
 

OPAL CARD ROLL-OUT CONTINUES 

  • The Opal card will soon be available to customers on all Sydney Ferries services east of the Harbour Bridge. 
  • The new ticketing system is transforming the way customers use public transport and is already reducing frustrating queues for so many people. 
  • The Opal card has been a great success on the Neutral Bay and the Manly Sydney Ferries services and the rollout is now expanding to the remaining 10 easterly wharves. 
  • The new card was first rolled out on ferries in December last year and the Opal card is now in use at 10 train stations. About 12,200 customers have made more than 200,000 trips since the rollout started. 
 

TIDE RISES FOR BOATERS 

  • NSW boaters will benefit from a huge funding boost for safety, access and infrastructure programs across the state.
  • The extra $20 million in funding for safety and access is available largely from savings made by the restructure of agencies, as part of the formation of Roads and Maritime Services – we said back-office savings would boost frontline services and here’s the evidence we are delivering.
  • The boating sector and the 1.8 million people who go boating each year will now benefit from programs including new safety initiatives to improve the wearing of lifejackets and the service of inflatable lifejackets.
  • Last year, 27 lives were lost in boating incidents so it’s important to continue our work to promote safe and responsible boating.
 

BOLLYWOOD SUPERSTAR TO TAKE WESTERN SYDNEY BY STORM

  • One of the most popular and influential Bollywood actors will visit Western Sydney in October as part of the fourth annual Parramasala Festival.
  • Parramasala is a key arts and cultural event on the NSW Events Calendar and brings some of the world’s best artists to Western Sydney.
  • Shahrukh Khan, known as SRK and dubbed the King of Bollywood, will headline an Indian variety show - Temptation Reloaded as part of the festival in Parramatta.
  • The Parramasala Festival 2013 will be held from Friday 4 – Monday 7 October, and the show will be held at Allphones Arena Homebush on Monday 7 October.
 

CRICKET’S WORLD CUP COMING TO NSW IN 2015

  • The NSW Government has successfully reached an agreement with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Local Organising Committee which will provide NSW fans with many opportunities to see the world’s best cricketers in action.
  • The ICC Cricket World Cup will be the biggest sporting event in the world in 2015 and will provide another bonanza for sports fans and businesses in NSW.
  • More than one billion people are expected to watch the series on television, and the NSW Government has secured not only a number of major pool games, but also a quarter-final, and a semi-final.  
  • In the lead-up to the tournament proper, NSW will also host a series of warm up matches at other venues including in Western Sydney.