The NSW Government’s new learn to swim voucher program will be expanded from preschool-aged children to include kindergarten kids who missed out on lessons due to COVID restrictions.

Under the ‘First Lap’ program, eligible children from the Goulburn electorate can access a $100 voucher for swimming lessons with an approved provider, with businesses able to register for it from next month.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the program, which starts on December 1, would be extended to cover children in kindergarten this year, or who are starting kindergarten in 2022.

“Because of COVID restrictions, our kindy kids have missed a crucial window of being able to develop the skills they need to stay safe in the water,” Mr Perrottet said.

Minister for Sport Natalie Ward said the NSW Government will invest $54 million over two years in the program, which will also ease cost of living pressures for families.

“Summer in Australia is all about swimming, at your local pool, beach or river. We know families have been doing it tough during the COVID lockdown and the First Lap program will also ensure family budgets aren’t stretched so our kids have these crucial skills,” Mrs Ward said. 

Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said families could download the vouchers from Service NSW soon.

“We know the families have been doing it tough during the pandemic, and it’s really important they don’t miss out on swimming lessons.

“That’s why we’re making sure they can also access the First Lap voucher program now that our pools are back open for lessons.”” Mrs Tuckerman said.

Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello said the program was one of more than 70 NSW Government savings helping to ease cost-of-living pressures for households, including the Active Kids and Creative Kids programs.

“This is in addition to a host of other savings including energy rebates, free car registration and lower green slip costs,” Mr Dominello said.

Active Kids vouchers can be used by school-enrolled children, including those in kindergarten,  for sport and recreation activities such as swimming lessons. Families can apply for the First Lap vouchers from 1 December, through Service NSW. For more information, visit: www.sport.nsw.gov.au/firstlap

Letter to the Editor – Kenmore

Dear Editor,

Let me start by expressing my concern and devastation at the news of the fire at Kenmore.  Last year I inspected the site in the company of Leonie Morgan and the caretaker.  I was appalled at the lack of maintenance and care of the site and complete disregard for the conservation and preservation of such iconic buildings. 

As a result, I made representations to the Minister responsible for Heritage.  Heritage NSW immediately acted to contact the owner Australia China International Pty regarding their requirements to maintain the extensive property as required under the Act. 

Due to the lack of response and imperfect consultations with the owner, Heritage NSW provided the owner with a series of actions to be immediately undertaken to improve the security and condition of the site.  Those actions were clearly not taken.

The Heritage Council again measured the situation and decided that the ongoing issues appear unlikely to be resolved satisfactorily or the minimum standards met to satisfy the Heritage regulations 2012.  The Heritage Council are now exploring their legal options.

In my most recent conversations with the Minister, I have repeated my exasperation and the clear inadequacies in the Act to rectify the issues expediently.  While, I am pleased to hear that the Act is currently being reviewed, I anticipate recommendations to Cabinet regarding amendments to be imminent.  I have also made it clear that I and the community expect a strong response from the State Government, and for the matters to be dealt with expediently.  I strongly encourage the owner to contact Heritage NSW and expedite negotiations to resolve this terrible situation.  

I am saddened that Kenmore Hospital can be so wilfully ignored by distant owners who appear to hold no regard or respect to the community, likewise the wilful contempt of our Heritage by those in our community who have seen fit to trespass, damage and, destroy it.

Wendy Tuckerman

Member for Goulburn


Families, individuals and businesses across NSW will benefit from a targeted $2.8 billion package developed to accelerate recovery following the three month lockdown due to the Delta COVID-19 outbreak.

The NSW Government’s Economic Recovery Strategy includes funding to stimulate economic activity in cities and regions with a strong focus on rebuilding and supporting businesses, helping the hip pocket and boosting jobs.

Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman, welcomed the package which includes $250 in vouchers to households of school-aged children in 2021 to help stimulate spending and economic activity.

“As life returns to normal the State Government is looking to encourage people to get out and support our local businesses – many of which did it tough throughout the lockdown,” Mrs Tuckerman said.

“This package ensures that NSW can bounce back better than before.”

The NSW Government’s Economic Recovery Strategy also includes:

  • $500 million to restore consumer and business confidence, including the expansion of Dine & Discover and Stay & Rediscover accommodation vouchers;
  • $250 million to support jobs and skills, including help for job seekers to retrain or upskill;
  • $212.2 million to boost vital sectors, including additional funding for the performing arts sector, an Alfresco Restart Package, and support to bring our cities back to life;
  • $200 million to boost regional NSW, including support for events, facilities and local infrastructure, and housing; and
  • $75 million to boost communities across the state, including support for tourism, events, sport and recreation

The strategy also assists those most impacted during lockdown including:

  • $739.3 million in household and social support, including housing support for vulnerable Aboriginal communities, expansion of solar rebates, support measures for victims of domestic and family violence, and vouchers to parents who have facilitated home learning for their children;     
  • $495 million in education support to address learning gaps for children in need and to help schools adapt to future possible learning disruptions; and
  • $130 million for a mental health recovery package to provide immediate access to help for anyone whose mental health has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 24 Hour Economy Commissioner will take on the additional role of NSW COVID-19 Recovery Commissioner to oversee the implementation of the Economic Recovery Strategy. For more information and to view the full strategy visit:



Small businesses across NSW now have access to free training and an informative guide to help them become “tender ready” and win NSW Government contracts, thanks to a new tender support program.

The NSW Small Business Commission has collaborated with TAFE NSW to deliver four online courses as well as a written guide to help small businesses understand the tendering and contract processes involved in working with the NSW Government. 

The launch is the first major milestone in the four-year $5 million tender support program being delivered by the Commission and announced in the  November 2020 NSW Budget.

The program is a key driver of the NSW Government’s commitment to sourcing more goods and services from NSW small businesses.

Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said the NSW Government spends around $40 billion each year on procurement of goods, services and construction, with nearly half of that amount going to small and medium businesses.

“Small businesses make up more than 98 per cent of businesses in NSW. If we can generate more work for them through existing Government spending, we will support jobs, families and communities,” Mrs Tuckerman said. 

“These new resources will help small businesses to bridge that gap and be more successful in not only winning government work but also in tendering for private sector contracts, which requires similar knowledge and skills.”

The training courses, Selling to the NSW Government, comprise four modules that help small businesses prepare for and navigate these major stages of the tendering and contract processes:

•           Getting Business Ready

•           Finding Opportunities

•           Selling to Government

•           Successful Supplying

It is complemented by the new Selling to the NSW Government: A Guide for Small Business, which includes templates for key tendering documents. The training modules and the guide can be accessed via the NSW Small Business Commission website


The streets of the Goulburn electorate will come alive post-lockdown, thanks to a raft of initiatives and $66 million in funding that will see alfresco dining, outdoor activations and events return.

Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said the local hospitality industry had borne the brunt of the recent lockdown and the NSW Government was committed to supporting them.

“We’re ripping up red tape and getting Government out of the way to let businesses do what they do best,” Mrs Tuckerman said.

“We want to give our restaurants, bars, cafes and venues the ability to open up more than they have before and welcome more customers to enjoy a plentiful summer.

“Alfresco dining is not only a great way to dine, it’s a safer way to socialise as we open up. After a long winter, it’s time for the community to enjoy a meal or drink in the sunshine and the NSW Government is committed to helping businesses do that in time for summer.”

Mrs Tuckerman said the Government’s Alfresco Restart Package will help businesses get back on their feet after a long winter in lockdown.

“After many months in lockdown, the community is ready to enjoy themselves, so we’ve thrown out the rule book with new temporary alfresco measures, while also making last year’s trials permanent,” Mrs Tuckerman said.

“In addition to the permanent easing of rules for dining on footpaths and public spaces, we’re temporarily allowing outdoor dining on privately-owned bowling greens and carparks, meaning businesses can expand outdoors on almost any piece of land they own to welcome more customers.”

The Alfresco Restart initiatives being rolled out from November include:

  • Emergency temporary alfresco measures for outdoor dining in parks or on private land with the owner’s consent; and
  • $5,000 grants for hospitality businesses to establish new alfresco settings;
  • Permanent outdoor dining as an exempt development for pubs and small bars state-wide.

This package is part of the NSW Government’s efforts to slash red tape and support businesses and communities to recover from the pandemic.