Weekly Update - Liverpool Wellness Centre, Starry Sari Night Bollywood Film Festival, South West Wanderers FC Presentation

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Weekly Update - Liverpool Wellness Centre, Starry Sari Night Bollywood Film Festival, South West Wanderers FC Presentation

Monday, 02 September 2013
On Friday afternoon, while others were winding down to the weekend, I was helping to open the new repurposed space for cancer treatment patients, The Wellness Centre at Liverpool Hospital. The Centre is a space for patients to come and be pampered, made to feel beautiful again, or simply to relax and read a book. Other features like a kitchen and counselling sessions will help complete this project. The Centre compliments the work of the Hospital's Cancer Treatment Centre and will help support those going through treatment with the non-medical, but still incredibly important needs they have. The project was made possible by funds from the Dry July Challenge, where participants give up the booze for the month of July and ask family and friends to donate in support of their efforts. The funds raised by Dry July go towards cancer treatment programs throughout Australia, but this is the first time it has been used to create a Wellness Centre. It was extra special to have last year's top fundraiser Australia-wide ($21,000) and this year's top fundraiser for NSW ($28,000), Peter Durrington there to help cut the cake. It was a great way to end the working week.
Liverpool came alive with colour and dance at the Starry Sari Night Bollywood Film Festival on Saturday night. The weather couldn't have been more perfect to watch a movie under the stars and soak up the culture. It's always nice to see free events like this open to the community and with the full support of the Council. 
The energy and the enthusiasm continued at the South West Wanderers Football Club Presentation night, also in Liverpool. After a long season, it is always nice to finish with some well-earned awards for their efforts throughout the year. Congratulations again to all the players and coaches!
Remember, if you aren't around on Saturday to vote, you can do so this week, just visit www.aec.gov.au for all the information.
Have a great week! Here's the update from around the State:


  • NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has vowed to fight the Federal Government’s plans to close the Garden Island Naval Base, which threatens up to 6,700 jobs and would cost the NSW economy over $600 million.
  • Prime Minister Kevin Rudd flagged plans to move the base to Brisbane – overturning the Federal Government’s announcement in May that the base would remain in Sydney – when the Defence Minister said it was “difficult, if not impossible, to imagine [the Garden Island facility] being replicated elsewhere.”.
  • The Australian Defence Association described it as a “very dumb move” and a former high ranking naval admiral opposed the decision.
  • The NSW Government has consistently pushed for greater shared use of Garden Island to allow the booming cruise industry more access to facilities.


  • The number of new homes being built in Sydney has jumped by more than a third in a year - hitting a ten year high, and indicating the NSW Government’s policies to boost the housing sector are working.
  • New figures from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure show outstanding completions with 21,097 homes built in Sydney during the last financial year.
  • The result is an outstanding 35% increase on the previous year; 53% higher than in the last two full years of the former Labor government; and the highest figure since 2003/04.
  • All indications are there’s more good news to come with housing approvals also on the rise – up 17% year on year to 28,557.


  • Bus customers will have access to more than 60 new buses, and improved customer service after the second round of metropolitan bus service contracts were awarded.
  • Under the former government, contracts were simply rolled over but the competitive tender process has saved taxpayers $20 million a year.
  • The new contracts will put 63 brand new buses on the road from the first day these operators take over their regions from mid-2014.
  • The NSW Government has delivered an extra 2800 weekly bus services compared to Labor and invested in more than 400 new buses over two years.


  • The Opal electronic ticketing card is now available for use on all Sydney Ferries services marking an historic milestone for public transport in NSW.
  • It’s also now ready for use at train stations from the CBD north to Chatswood, in addition to the City Circle, and east to Bondi Junction.
  • The NSW Government has delivered this important electronic ticketing project to all Sydney Ferries customers four months early.
  • Under Opal, we are offering cheaper fares for customers across the ferry and train networks, plus rewards for frequent travel.


  • The NSW Government is providing over $12 million in funding to support vulnerable young people who are at risk of becoming entrenched in the criminal justice system.
  • The funding will be provided over three years to a range of community organisations under the Juvenile Justice Joint Support Program
  • The program will provide casework management, employment placement and support, crisis and long term accommodation as well as family intervention services. 
  • Casework allows intervention to be tailored to each young person’s needs. It may include referral to accommodation, education, as well as job search and living skills, budgeting or pre-vocational training. 


  • Changes to the NSW Government’s Regional Relocation Grant Scheme are expected to entice renters and workers in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong to relocate to regional areas.
  • The revised incentives are part of the Government’s response to the final report of the NSW Decentralisation Taskforce, and will be implemented from 1 January 2014.
  • Under the changes, eligibility for the $7,000 Regional Relocation Grant will be expanded to include long-term renters in metropolitan areas of NSW.
  • A new Skilled Relocation Grant Incentive – worth $10,000 – is aimed at encouraging people to relocate to fill vacant regional jobs, and both grants will be subject to a new minimum relocation distance requirement of 100 kilometres.


  • A new buddy program promoting community inclusion for people with disability has been announced and will be rolled out across the state by 1 July 2014. 
  • The Ability Links program will ensure families in NSW have access to a co-ordinator - known as a linker - who will work with people with a disability, their families and carers to help them plan their future.
  • The NSW Government has committed $28.7 million per year for a total of 248 co-ordinators across the state, including 27 Aboriginal identified positions. 
  • For more information about Ability Links visit www.adhc.nsw.gov.au/abilitylinksnsw


  • TAFE NSW is a key component of the NSW Government’s strategy to strengthen the skills base of the NSW economy and support economic growth for NSW communities.
  • The Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli has released of the TAFE NSW Statement of Owner Expectations to clarify the Government’s expectations for TAFE in an increasingly competitive environment.
  • Mr Piccoli said extensive community consultation had shown there is no doubt TAFE is seen as providing quality training and is central to communities across the state particularly in regional and rural areas but there was also wide recognition that TAFE must adapt to remain relevant and competitive in a changing environment
  • The full Statement of Owner Expectations is available at www.tafensw.edu.au/about/soe.htm 


  • The NSW Government has launched the NSW Water Safety Strategy 2013-2015 which aims to reduce the rate of drowning in NSW.   
  • The Strategy aims to meet the challenges of reducing the rate of drowning deaths in NSW and the building of stronger partnerships and outcomes with the multitude of stakeholders across water safety.
  • Improving water safety culture is first and foremost about education, skills improvement and increasing participation. 
  • Part of the strategy includes an $8 million Water Safety Black Spots Fund.


  • State of the art training facilities at the New England Institute of TAFE Armidale Campus were officially opened by NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli.
  • The $7.9 million upgrade began in 2006 and was jointly funded by the State and Commonwealth Governments. 
  • The new facilities have enabled the TAFE Armidale Campus to expand the range of courses offered, and for the first time, offer training for commercial cookery apprentices in the New England region.
  • The upgrade also provided new classrooms, e-Learning rooms, teacher accommodation, a gym, film screen area, home skills room, massage therapy area, and car park.


  • Minister for Health Jillian Skinner today announced the preferred site for a new hospital in the Maitland region in a major step forward for healthcare in the Hunter.
  • The 40 hectare Crown land site at Metford is on the eastern side of Metford Road and forms part of the old brickworks site.
  • The NSW Government has committed $20 million toward planning for improved health services, including site selection, for Maitland and the lower Hunter region.
  • Additional services anticipated for the new hospital include an intensive care unit, an emergency short-stay unit (for patients requiring observation and monitoring less than 24 hours) and cancer services.


  • A landmark study into the nutrition, physical activity and alcohol consumption trends of NSW high school students has found students are drinking less alcohol overall, but those who are drinking are often younger and are drinking to get drunk.
  • Based on a questionnaire completed by close to 8,000 students aged between 12-17 years of age, the 2011 NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey provides the only snapshot of health behaviour patterns of secondary students in NSW.
  • Among the key findings is that there has been a substantial reduction between 1987 and 2011 of the number of students aged 12-17 who have ever consumed an alcoholic drink (90.2 per cent to 68.8 per cent), and those who have consumed alcohol in the last 12 months (72.4 per cent to 47 per cent).
  • The  survey also revealed that overweight and obesity rates are not increasing and that 70.7 per cent of students are a healthy weight.


  • The slopes of Thredbo will soon see two new Fire & Rescue NSW skidoos in action helping to boost fire fighting and rescue capability in the alpine region.
  • The new skidoos will enable firefighters to move around easily and undertake operational activities across the alpine region.
  • Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher said the Skidoos provide another option for FRNSW in the alpine areas of NSW.
  • These new skidoos will provide fire, rescue and HAZMAT services from fire stations at Perisher Valley, Thredbo and Jindabyne.