Weekly Update - Kookaburra Kids and SITA, CUSP Exhibition, St Thomas Orthodox Church

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Weekly Update - Kookaburra Kids and SITA, CUSP Exhibition, St Thomas Orthodox Church

Friday, 05 July 2013
Here we are again. A fresh week in front of us and plenty of work to do.

Last Wednesday I attended the launch of a great new partnership between SITA Waste Services and the Kookaburra Kids Foundation. SITA has signed on to become a corporate partner for three years and their funding will help fund much needed respite camps for children living in families affected by mental illness. They held the launch at their Kemps Creek Landfill and Waste Management Centre, but I know SITA well from their Lucas Heights facility. It was great to support the partnership of two great entities and I look forward to seeing the fruits of this partnership in the coming months.
On Friday night, I represented the Premier at the Official Opening of the CUSP: Designing Into The Next Decade exhibition at the Casula Powerhouse. The evening was a thought-provoking display of interactive and visual arts challenging our ideas of what 'design' means. The exhibition is on now until September until 1 and is a free exhibition. You can check out all the info on their website http://www.casulapowerhouse.com/exhibitions/cusp-designing-into-the-next-decade.aspx
Saturday I joined the Wattle Grove Indian Orthodox community to celebrate St Thomas Day at St Thomas' Orthodox Cathedral, Wattle Grove.  St Thomas is their patron saint and the day is celebrated annually on July 3rd. I was given the opportunity to address the congregation before watching some colourful and entertaining performances. The evening finished with a traditional meal with the Rev. Fr. Thomas Varghese and other members of the Church. It was quite an honour to be invited to attend such an important celebration. Thank you again to those who helped organise it.
This week I'll be standing alongside my fellow Shire MPs while we host a visit from the Health Minister, the Hon. Jillian Skinner MP at the Southern Sydney Community Health Forum tomorrow evening. To find out more, read the article published by the Sutherland Shire Leader
Once again, here is the update from around the State. 
Hope you all have a good week!


  • The NSW Government has conditionally accepted the recommendation of the independent steering committee to progress to Stage 3 Crown Limited’s unsolicited proposal to develop a VIP gaming facility at Barangaroo.
  • The NSW Government received unsolicited proposals from Crown Limited and Echo Entertainment and an independent steering committee, chaired by former chair of the Future Fund David Murray AO, was appointed to assess both proposals, with the assistance of Deloitte Access Economics, to ensure rigorous and comprehensive appraisal of each.  
  • The independent steering committee determined that while both proposals offer value for NSW, the decisive factor was the opportunity to introduce competition into the market, which would deliver increased tourism and broader economic benefits for NSW.
  • The NSW Government reiterated the Crown proposal would not be permitted to include poker machines and no low limit bets on table games. 
  • The process is not complete and an agreement has not been reached. If an agreement is reached, planning, regulatory and legislative approvals will be required, including the usual opportunity for public consultation.


  • This weekend marks the start of a trial of sobering up cells to combat drunken violence on our city streets.
  • From this weekend intoxicated people in the trial areas who refuse police requests to move on may be required to sleep off their intoxication in a sobering up cell.
  • A mandatory sobering up centre in Sydney’s CBD will be operated by Police, while two non-mandatory centres based in Sydney’s Eastern Beaches and Wollongong will be operated by a non-government provider on behalf of the Department of Family and Community Services.
  • Sobering up cells will be in addition to existing police powers and procedures and anyone who has committed an offence involving violence will continue to be detained under existing police procedures.


  • Young drivers can now start signing up for the new Safer Drivers Course, following the appointment of course providers.
  • The Safer Drivers Course involves a three-hour facilitated group discussion with up to 12 learners focusing on risks and safe driving behaviours, as well as a two hour in-vehicle coaching session that helps learner drivers manage risks on the road.
  • The Safer Drivers Course will count as 20 hours in the 120 log book hours required for learner drivers.
  • Interested learner drivers can visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au and http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/geared/index.html to book directly with a course provider.


  • NSW Minister for Disability Services Andrew Constance launched the National Disability Insurance Scheme in the Hunter, marking a new era in disability support which is all about giving full choice and control to people with disability, putting people with disability in charge of the decision making about the supports they need to live the life they want.
  • The launch site will see 10,000 people with disability receive support in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Maitland Local Government Areas over the next three years, with 3,000 people supported in Newcastle in the first year alone.
  • The NSW Government contribution of $585 million to the Hunter launch is more than 60 per cent of funding towards individual supports. 
  • By 2018, 140,000 people with disability will benefit from the full scheme across NSW. For more information about the NDIS and the launch site visit: www.disabilitycareaustralia.gov.au. 


  • NSW is preparing for the banning of solarium tanning units from the end of next year with a new scheme now underway to help businesses transition their operations.
  • Solaria operators can now receive a rebate of $1,000 through the EPA to assist with the safe and responsible removal of tanning units.
  • NSW is the first jurisdiction in Australia and the second in the world to ban commercial tanning units – with many others since following our lead.  
  • There is no such thing as a safe tan and the most effective way to reduce the potential for developing melanoma is banning tanning units. More information about the solaria disposal scheme is available at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/radiation/Solaria.htm. 


  • An innovative trial of new-look Tangara trains is underway with increased capacity and improvements designed to allow customers to move on and off trains faster and increase reliability. 
  • The announcement coincided with the start of Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink, the two new rail operators tasked with bringing in a new era of customer service for commuters and the arrival of new chief executive of Sydney Trains Howard Collins, the highly respected former head of the London Metro.
  • The trial includes new seating configurations on two carriages of the Tangara train, to test if wider aisles and extra standing room will lead to faster boarding and alighting during peak periods at busy CBD stations.
  • The new configurations include the removal of 16 seats from each of the two carriages, increasing capacity by up to 80 people, or around 15 per cent for the two carriages. The two carriages will be placed strategically on the train where customers experience the most congestion.


  • The NSW Government announced the strictest regime of controls in Australia for the introduction of the supplementary pest control program in the state’s national parks following a rigorous risk assessment process and expert advice.
  • The pest control program will continue the environmentally effective scheme currently operating throughout the state under the direction of experienced NPWS staff. The overall direct economic impact of the pest animals has been conservatively estimated at $740 million annually.
  • The measures announced this week ensure volunteer participants are held to an equivalent high standard that currently applies to National Park and Wildlife Service staff and contractors, bans under 18s from taking part, will not occur during school holidays and only when the park is closed. 
  • The program may be made available in up to 75 – less than 10 per cent - of the state’s national parks or reserves. The majority of these parks are in the state’s west, and the program will not occur in any wilderness, world heritage or metropolitan area. Initially only 12 parks or reserves will be part of the program. There will be a review and report back to Cabinet before any further roll-out of the program. 


  • The latest Sensis Business Index highlights the strength of NSW’s jobs growth and continued resilience of the NSW economy.
  • NSW small to medium enterprises SMEs recorded the second highest confidence of all the states (28 per cent) for the second quarter in a row.
  • Despite a fall in business confidence in the past quarter, NSW is well above the national average. 
  • NSW businesses received a boost on July 1 with more generous rebates available for those businesses that take on extra staff and our raising of the payroll tax threshold – it means around 1300 businesses that would have paid payroll tax from 1 July will not be liable for the tax and a saving of more than $3,000 for those that do pay.


  • Air India will offer new daily services to Sydney directly from New Delhi – India’s second largest city - saying it will generate substantial visitor growth to Sydney and NSW 
  • The new route was secured by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, Sydney Airport and Tourism Australia, with a marketing agreement which will see the Air India service to Sydney promoted in India.
  • This new Air India service, commencing on 29 August 2013, will make getting to Sydney and NSW even easier, meaning we can welcome even more visitors from India.
  • The NSW Government is committed to building the tourism sector as a key to growing the economy and providing jobs; it follows recent service improvements from China Southern and China Eastern.


  • The initial results for the NSW Government and Qantas joint marketing campaign promoting NSW through The Ellen DeGeneres Show has delivered immediate benefits.
  • The Qantas and Destination NSW campaign, Dance Your Way Down Under, increased inbound ticket sales from the USA to Sydney by 22 per cent compared with normal levels.
  • The campaign, which includes television commercials in Los Angeles and New York during screening of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has delivered immediate results for NSW and is a great return on investment in promoting our state to North American audiences.
  • Visitors from the United States who booked their travel with Qantas via the Dance Your Way Down Under campaign plan to stay an average of 12 nights and enjoy the best our state has to offer while contributing to the NSW visitor economy.