Weekly Update - Clean Up Australia Day, Organ Donation, Liverpool Hospital 200 Years, and the M5 goes cashless.

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Weekly Update - Clean Up Australia Day, Organ Donation, Liverpool Hospital 200 Years, and the M5 goes cashless.

Tuesday, 05 March 2013

So I've cleaned off the gum boots for another year, after a decidedly muddier Clean Up Australia Day on Sunday. I was fortunate to be able to make it to a number of sites around the electorate including Woronora, Illawong, Sandy Point and Holsworthy.  

In Woronora I helped some great locals, including members of the Bushfire Brigade clean up the banks of the Woronora River. In Illawong, I joined the Scouts and the Menai Wildflower Group clean up the wonderful bushlands at Thompsons Bay Reserve, while the strong Sandy Point community rallied together to make sure their neck of the woods was free of rubbish. On the otherside of the electorate, I met up with the Harris Creek Environment Group to do one of their regular clean ups in Holsworthy. Thankfully the weather was kind to us and we were able to fish out a number of items throughout the day including mattresses, a life jacket, a fan, a cupboard, undies and a shoe! Thank you to all the wonderful helpers who spent their Sunday doing their bit to beautify their local area.

Speaking of wonderful community members, last week was DonateLife Week and I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone about the importance of organ and tissue donation. While it isn't the easiest conversation to have, it is important to express your wishes with family and friends. Last year, the NSW Government passed legislation to increase the number of eligible organ and tissue donations. Previously, wishes were simply registered when we renewed our driver's licences and held in a state-based register. To improve the system we have now joined with the nationally run Australian Organ Donor Register, which you can register for online at www.donatelife.gov.au/decide or by calling 1800 777 203. The national database will make it easier to identify donor status in an emergency. Last year, I joined the Minister for Health to sign up for the Organ Donation register and I hope you will too. Your donation could potentially save the life of someone or even a couple of people.
 


Last Friday Liverpool Hospital celebrated 200 years. Not bad for an Australian Hospital considering our youthful age as a nation! To mark the occasion, they have opened a Liverpool Hospital Museum to showcase original uniforms, photos and other memorabilia from the Hospital's lengthy history. If you have something to contribute to their display, please contact the Hospital on 8738 3557.
 


On Monday, the Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced the end of an era with the M5 South West Motorway converting to cashless tolling from 1 July, 2013. The 'Hammondville Toll Plaza' is right near my electorate office and it is hard to believe that it is the last motorway in Australia operating cash booths. The conversion to cashless tolling will bring it in line with the 160 kilometre Sydney Orbital by delivering a system which is more efficient and convenient for Sydney motorists.
 


For the young at heart, we have a pile of NSW Seniors Week Programs available in the lead up to Seniors Week which starts on March 17th. This year's program has a lot of great activities lined up including Morning Tai Chi in Menai and some old favourites screening at the Casula Powerhouse. There really is something for everyone. If you would like a guide sent to you, please let my office know or simply check out the program online at www.nswseniorsweek.com.au



This Friday it is International Women's Day, so remember to be extra nice to the women in your life! Our local NSW Woman of the Year nominee, Kellie Checkley is a deserving recipient of the award. Her passion and commitment for Project Youth and the welfare of young people in the Sutherland Shire is tireless. Congratulations to Kellie!


 


 


And now for the slightly delayed news around the state.


 


NEW POLICE POWERS TO PROTECT WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE


 



  • Police will soon be able to issue provisional apprehended domestic violence orders (ADVOs) to protect victims of domestic violence.

  • Under new legislation to be introduced by the NSW Government, provisional ADVOs can be issued by senior police officers of the rank of sergeant or above - currently only court registrars or other authorised officers can issue ADVOs.

  • Four out of every five ADVO applications are made outside of court hours, causing potential delays in getting an order to protect the victim from the alleged perpetrator.

  • This is a major reform that will offer significantly greater protections to victims and women at risk of domestic violence and has the support of police and victims’ groups.

 


NEW WASTE AND RECYCLING PLAN


 



  • The NSW Government has unveiled a new waste and recycling agenda for the state - which includes a $465.7 million five-year recycling funding initiative and improvements to the waste levy system.

  • In 2010/11, NSW residents and businesses achieved an overall recycling rate of 63 per cent - a significant increase from a recycling rate of just 45 per cent in 2002/03.

  • While this is good news, we can do even better through the new Waste and Resource Recovery Initiative.

  • For more information about the Waste and Resource Recovery Initiative visit www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/wasteless.htm

 


EARLY INTERVENTION TO KEEP YOUTH ON TRACK


 



  • A new early intervention scheme will turn children as young as 10 away from crime and help them get them back on track.

  • Under the Youth on Track scheme police and schools will refer young people considered to be at risk of committing crimes to be assessed and provided with services which address their needs.

  • Youth on Track will first be implemented in three regions in the state which have the largest number of young people who meet the criteria for participating in the scheme: the Mid North Coast Local Area Command, the Hunter and Western Sydney.

  • It is estimated about 300 cases will be referred to Youth on Track in the first 12 months.

 


MAKING CRIMINALS PAY FOR COURT


 



  • The NSW Government are tightening the rules so people convicted of criminal offences are forced to help pay for the cost of their court case.

  • The Attorney General has announced the court costs levy will be made mandatory for most convictions before the Local Court.

  • It will require offenders to pay $83 per conviction which will cover a proportion of the total cost of running courts and the justice system.

  • At the moment, magistrates have discretion to order a convicted offender to pay court costs, but currently court costs are applied inconsistently.

 


RESOURCES FOR REGIONS BROADENS SCOPE


 



  • More local communities affected by mining activity will be eligible to apply for millions of dollars in funding under new arrangements for the NSW Government’s Resources for Regions program in 2013-14.

  • New Local Government Areas eligible for funding this year are Cobar, Narrabri, Lithgow, Mid-Western and Newcastle.

  • Singleton and Muswellbrook are also eligible once again this year.

  • The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government understands communities like these experience unique pressures on their infrastructure and services as a result of mining activity.

 


POLLUTION CRACKDOWN IN M5 EAST


 



  • New fines have now come into effect targeting heavy vehicles emitting excessive smoke in the M5 East tunnel.

  • The Smoky Vehicle Enforcement Project has been rolled out by Roads and Maritime Services and the Environment Protection Authority to encourage truck operators to take greater responsibility for the condition of their vehicles.

  • Operators of smoky vehicles will now face fines of $2,000 for the first two offences - a third offence will attract a $2,000 fine as well as an automatic three month suspension of vehicle registration.

  • For those heavy vehicles that qualify, the NSW Government will pay 50 per cent of costs to assist with engine repairs and the fitting of a diesel retrofit device to the exhaust of the vehicle, up to a maximum of $10,000.

 


NSW GOVERNMENT PUBLICLY THANKS OUR EMERGENCY SERVICE WORKERS


 



  • The Premier and the Minister for Police and Emergency Services have hosted two events to thank the emergency service workers who responded to this summer’s bushfires, storms and floods – the first at Coonabaran and the second at State Parliament House.

  • It is important we publicly thank these brave men and women who placed themselves at risk to protect the lives and property of others.

  • The NSW Government has provided $162,000 to assist BlazeAid and other volunteer groups helping victims of the recent bushfires in the Bookham, Cooma and Coonabarabran regions.

  • BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organisation that works with rural property owners and farmers in disaster-affected areas helping to rebuild fencing and communities.

 


BACKING THE PROFESSIONALS IN OUR HEALTH SYSTEM


 



  • Under the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government there is more funding for health and we now have more doctors, nurses and paramedics than when Labor was in office.

  • We have recruited 3,000 more nurses and close to 1,000 more doctors to the state’s public hospitals.

  • Decision making has been devolved local so clinicians who were crying out for a right to have their say now have the authority to do so.

 


PUBLIC SECTOR MANAGEMENT REFORMED TO FOCUS ON FRONTLINE


 



  • Reforms to public sector and senior management announced this week will better focus government resources on the frontline and deliver improved services for communities across the state.

  • The reforms will reduce multiple layers of management, improve executive accountability and help with better services delivery.
    The NSW Government wants to reward talent, not time, in the public service.

  • Research undertaken by the Public Service Commission has revealed a dramatic increase in the number of Senior Officers - increasing fivefold from 280 in 1999 to more than 1,600 in 2012.

 


NSW BUSINESS EVENTS THRIVE


 



  • NSW has had one of its most successful business events years ever - hosting 91 events worth almost $220 million to the state’s economy.

  • A report from Business Events Sydney shows 60,237 delegates came to Sydney for a total of 244,453 delegate days last year.

  • Good news for regional NSW with a large number of events being held in areas including the Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains and Wollongong.

 


NSW CABINET VISITS THE CENTRAL COAST


 



  • The NSW Government staged the latest in its series of Community Cabinet meetings at the Central Coast.

  • Community Cabinet forums are a fantastic opportunity for residents and business owners to raise issues directly with NSW Government ministers.

  • During the visit the NSW Government pledged its support to the expansion of Camp Breakaway at San Remo - committing $200,000 towards the development of more respite services for people with disability, their families and carers.

  • The Treasurer, the Minister for the Central Coast along with Gosford MP Chris Holstein inspected preparatory work on the $180 million intersection upgrade of the Central Coast Highway at West Gosford.

 


STILL TIME TO NOMINATE FOR MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITY AWARDS


 



  • Nominations are still open for the Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals, awarded to people who have given exemplary service to the multicultural community in NSW.

  • As many as six people will receive the honour at the Premier’s Harmony Dinner in Sydney next month.

  • Nominations close on 8 March. For more information visit the NSW Community Relations Commission website www.crc.nsw.gov.au