Weekly Update - Woronora Cemetery, Supporting local business, Menai Matters, a visitor from Bougainville

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Weekly Update - Woronora Cemetery, Supporting local business, Menai Matters, a visitor from Bougainville

Monday, 01 July 2013
It makes complete sense that our weekend was wet and grey, but our Monday is a perfect winter's day, right? Not only that, we are now halfway through 2013. I even saw someone had a countdown to Christmas going! But let's not get too carried away; it is only Monday after all.
 
Last week's soggy offering didn't dampen the spirits at the opening of Woronora Cemetery's modern burial system. I joined the Minister for Primary Industries, the Hon. Katrina Hodgkinson MP to see the new section opened and learn more about some of the innovations being introduced at the Cemetery. You can read more about the new technology in the media release here.

Then last Thursday, I attended the official opening of Deb Group's brand new manufacturing site in Moorebank. The Premier also came to do the officiating and plaque unveiling. Deb, who are best known for their hand hygiene products, were previously operating out of a smaller factory in Chipping Norton. When the time came to upgrade their facilities, instead of moving elsewhere and potentially losing their staff, they chose to relocate nearby and invest in the local area. In an industry that is all too often moving their processing offshore, it is nice to see companies bucking the trend and supporting the industry in Australia.  The new facilities was quite impressive and I'm sure the staff will enjoy their new offices and warehousing facilities.
 
I ended my week returning the favour to a special visitor from Bougainville's Parliament, the Speaker, the Hon. Andrew Miriki. After my own visit to see Bougainville's Parliament and their picturesque island home, I was grateful to have the opportunity to show one of their members my own electorate. It was a bit of whirlwind tour of the Menai Electorate, but I managed to show him both Western and Eastern sides of the electorate, before he had to return to NSW Parliament. I hope he will have similar fond memories of his visit to Sydney as I do with Bougainville.
 
You may have noticed that there is another edition of the Menai Matters newsletter in your letterboxes. I know it hasn't been a long gap between newsletters this time, but I wanted to make sure we got out another update post-State Budget. I hope you enjoy this edition too.
 
Here is the update from around the State:
 

POINT OF NO RETURN FOR NORTH WEST RAIL LINK

  • The North West Rail Link has reached the point of no return with the contract awarded for the boring machines which will dig the 15 kilometre twin tunnels.
  • The Thiess John Holland Dragados joint venture has been awarded the contract, with work starting this week to get the first tunnel boring machine in the ground by the end of next year. 
  • The community can have full confidence that this rail link will now become a reality – with the first major contract awarded and a price tag and opening date of 2019 all revealed.
  • This heralds the beginning of a new high capacity rapid transit network for Sydney which will eventually include a new line through the CBD and beyond.
 

NEWCASTLE RENEWAL A STEP CLOSER AS LONG-TERM PORT LEASE SECURED 

  • Newcastle’s time has come after legislation passed the state’s Upper House supporting the 99-year lease of the Port of Newcastle.
  • The transaction will enable what will effectively be the re-invention of our second-largest city, finally reuniting the CBD with its beautiful waterfront. 
  • The NSW Government is committing $340 million from a successful Port of Newcastle transaction to the revitalisation of Newcastle, including a light rail service between Wickham and Newcastle.
  • Despite Labor’s best attempts to block key infrastructure in the state, the NSW Parliament made the right decision and the NSW Liberals & Nationals are now a step closer to making this vital project a reality.
 

FUNDING AGREEMENT FOR F3-M2 SIGNED

  • The NSW and Australian Governments this week signed an Intergovernmental Agreement on behalf of their respective governments locking in potential funding contributions required to bring forward delivery of the “missing” link between the F3 and M2.
  • After being on the drawing board for more than five decades, this is a major step towards cutting travel times along the F3 and reducing congestion through Sydney’s northern suburbs.
  • As well as removing up to 7,000 trucks a day off Pennant Hills Road, this new link will allow motorists to bypass 22 sets of traffic lights and take as much as 15 minutes off the time it takes to get from the M2 Interchange to the start of the F3.
  • The project is at the third and final stage of the unsolicited proposal process, with negotiations around a final binding offer underway with a final decision on the project expected by mid-next year.
 

‘IT STOPS HERE’: UNITED EFFORT TO END DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE

  • The NSW Government has announced new reforms to improve the response to domestic and family violence - It Stops Here: Standing together to end domestic and family violence.
  • Domestic and family violence affects far too many people in our community. Police recorded more than 30,000 domestic and family violence assaults in NSW between September 2011 and September 2012.
  • Collectively we must do everything we can to stop the violence from occurring in the first place, which is why we worked with experts to develop these on-the-ground initiatives, and committed $9.8 million for preventative domestic and family violence work.
  • The proposed reforms can be viewed at www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au
 

NEW INCENTIVES TO HOUSE MORE FAMILIES

  • Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward announced new incentives so more needy families can access public housing. 
  • There are more than 17,000 large public housing homes in NSW with three or more bedrooms which are only occupied by singles or couples. This means there are over 35,000 vacant bedrooms that could be used to house needy families on the waiting list. 
  • The NSW Government’s new initiatives will free up public housing for those who need it most by giving priority to transferring tenants who are not using all bedrooms, so they can move into a more suitably sized home more quickly.
  • We are also placing a new vacant bedroom charge on heavily subsidised public housing tenants if they choose to continue to live in a property with a number of vacant bedrooms.
 

RECORD NUMBERS GIVING THE GIFT OF LIFE IN NSW

  • More people in NSW are making the life-saving choice to become an organ donor and as a result more people are receiving this life-changing surgery.
  • Latest figures reveal the total number of organ donations in NSW from January to June this year sits at 58 - the state’s highest ever level of donation at this time of year. Consent rates have also increased.
  • As of 30 April this year, 2,350,478 people from NSW had registered their wishes to donate their organs and/or tissue on the Australian Organ Donation Register – an increase of 5,349 people since 31 December 2012.
  • Minister for Health Jillian Skinner this week officially opened the Lions NSW Eye Bank and the NSW Bone Bank, which will complement the state’s improved rates of eye and bone tissue donation
  • For more information on current organ and tissue donation rates in NSW visit http://www.seslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/NSW_Organ_Donation/may2013.asp 
 

DELIVERING BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE IN NSW

  • It will soon be much easier for residents and businesses to complete a range of NSW Government transactions – with the first of the 18 new Service NSW ‘One Stop Shops’ set to open next month.
  • The first centre will open at Kiama early next month, followed by Tweed Heads and Haymarket in Sydney. The remaining centres are due to open before the end of the year. 
  • Whether you want to renew a driver licence, apply for a fishing licence, register your boat, apply for a birth certificate or owner builder permit, you'll be able to do it at a Service NSW centre. 
  • The new centres will be open from 7am until 7pm during the week and from 9am to 3pm on Saturday – making it easier for people to do their business with Government at a time that suits them. Customers will also be able to make appointments.
 

NEW ERA OF MENTAL HEALTH CARE AT HORNSBY

  • Mental health services at Hornsby will be significantly enhanced after the opening of the $33.5 million Mental Health Unit at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital. 
  • The state-of-the-art facility comprises a 35-bed adult unit and 12-bed child and youth unit – it will deliver major improvements to mental health services for residents of Northern Sydney.
  • In a first for children and adolescents with a mental illness living in Northern Sydney and the Central Coast, the unit offers a dedicated inpatient facility of 12 beds.
  • The new unit will also not only provide specialist mental health services to the people of the Northern Sydney Local Health Districts, it will also provide vital assistance and support to their families and carers.
 

IT’S ON IN REGIONAL NSW

  • Regional tourism will receive a shot in the arm with a new campaign, entitled ‘IT’S ON! in Regional NSW’’, a comprehensive 36-page colour newspaper insert, appearing from 30 June. 
  • It features 14 areas of Regional NSW, focusing on places to visit, nature, dining, family, driving and adventure experiences, as well as the natural beauty of the regions and their unique events.
  • The insert called ‘Your Guide to Regional NSW July – December 2013’ – is appearing in Sydney and Regional NSW titles, Melbourne, North East Victoria, South East Queensland, Perth and New Zealand.  
  • The importance of tourism in Regional NSW should not be underestimated.  With visitor expenditure in Regional NSW worth more than $12.8 billion in 2012, and overnight visitation increasing to 73 million visitor nights, it is vital to our economy.