54 MILLION PARK VISITORS TO BENEFIT FROM BUDGET BOOST

Access to the State’s vast network of national parks will be improved as part of a $149.5 million investment over four years in the 2019-20 NSW Budget.

Minister for Environment Matt Kean said $25.2 million has been allocated in this year’s Budget to begin extending, upgrading and improving walking trails and other visitor facilities.

“We want to ensure the 54 million visitors to our national parks each year, including people with restricted mobility, enjoy world-class experiences,” Mr Kean said.

“We are not only improving our park walks, but also expanding safety programs and developing new online and digital tools to enhance the visitor experience.

“This investment will help bolster the $19.5 billion that national parks contribute to the NSW economy through nature-based tourism.”

To protect NSW parks and reserves, $17 million will be spent as part of a $125.9 million commitment over four years to upgrade and maintain the fire trail network, which is vital for fire prevention and control.

Threatened species conservation is being boosted with $32.3 million ($65 million over three years) to secure populations of threatened species in the wild.

This includes $21.1 million for the State’s Saving our Species program and $11.2 million for the NSW Koala Strategy.

Under the third year of the $45 million NSW Koala Strategy, the $11.2 million will be provided for more koala habitat, local community action support, improved koala health and safety, and conservation.

For private land conservation in priority areas, $51.3 million ($212.7 million over four years) is being provided for the Biodiversity Conservation Trust of NSW to build on the 19,000 hectares already conserved in its first year of operation.

Through the ‘Waste Less, Recycle More’ initiative, Australia’s largest waste and recycling program, $143.3 million is being invested in 2019-20. This includes funding to recover and recycle more waste, keeping resources circulating in the economy.

GOULBURN MULWAREE COUNCIL RECOGNISED IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT WOMEN’S AWARDS

Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman has congratulated Goulburn Mulwaree Council for featuring among the winners in the 2019 Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government.

Mrs Tuckerman said the awards recognise the invaluable contributions female councillors and council staff make to improve the lives of the people they represent and serve.

“Local communities around NSW are made better thanks to the many exceptionally talented women in the 128 local councils around the State,” Mrs Tuckerman said.

“Often this work, innovation and mentorship goes largely unnoticed but these awards provide an opportunity for the community to publicly acknowledge these women and all that they do.

“I congratulate Ms Stephanie Mowle from Goulburn Mulwaree Council for winning in the Non-Senior Staff Member – Rural or Regional Council category in the awards.

“Ms Mowle was instrumental in enabling maximum female workforce participation, and in ensuring roles previously consider ‘male-oriented’ are shared across the team, focusing on skills and ability, rather than gender.”

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock presented the awards at an official ceremony at NSW Parliament House on June 6.

“The winners of this year’s awards have broken through barriers, led and encouraged other women and tackled some of the complex issues facing communities through creativity and innovation,” Mrs Hancock said.

“They are a shining light leading the way for other women by breaking down barriers through their service in traditionally male dominated roles.”

Among the talented recipients of awards this year include an apprentice in heavy diesel mechanics, an engineering manager and a chief financial officer.

“We must do more to harness the talent and skills of women to inspire and encourage younger generations to consider a career in local government.”

Established in 2008, the awards recognise the outstanding efforts of women at the grassroots level of government in metropolitan and regional councils.

Winners of the 2019 Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government

Elected Representative from a Metropolitan Council

Winner: Cr Wendy Waller, Liverpool City Council

Winner: Cr Roslyn Harrison, Northern Beaches Council

Highly commended: Cr Reena Jethi, The Hills Shire Council

Elected Representative from a Rural or Regional Council

Winner: Cr Susan Price OAM, Moree Plains Shire Council

Highly commended: Cr Phyllis Miller OAM, Forbes Shire Council

General Manager/Senior Staff Member – Metropolitan Council

Winner: Simone Plummer, Sutherland Shire Council

Highly commended: Therese Manns, Randwick City Council

General Manager/Senior Staff Member – Rural or Regional Council

Winner: Morven Cameron, Lake Macquarie City Council

Highly commended: Melissa Boxall, Shellharbour City Council

Non-Senior Staff Member – Metropolitan Council

Winner: Belinda Koytz, City of Canada Bay Council

Non-Senior Staff Member – Rural or Regional Council

Winner: Stephanie Mowle, Goulburn Mulwaree Council

Highly commended: Deborah McDonald, Singleton Council

Women in a Non-Traditional Role – Metropolitan Council

Winner: Olivia Simons, City of Sydney Council

Highly commended: Alissa Jones, City of Newcastle Council

Highly commended: Margaret Diebert, Liverpool City Council

Women in a Non-Traditional Role – Rural or Regional Council

Winner: Adrienne Pierini, Cobar Shire Council

Highly commended: Tegan Muirhead, Wagga Wagga City Council

Women in Traineeships or Apprenticeships – Metropolitan Council

Winner: Sarah Tracy, Penrith City Council

Women in Traineeships or Apprenticeships – Rural or Regional Council

Winner: Acacia Johnston, Shellharbour City Council

Highly commended: Renee Keir, Lake Macquarie City Council

Highly commended: Sophie Broadbent, Wingecarribee Shire Council.

Special Achievement Award

Winner: Carmel Krogh OAM, Shoalhaven Water.

NSW COMMITTED TO VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING

The NSW Government is following through on its election commitment to help more people get quality jobs by committing $2.3 billion in the 2019-20 NSW Budget towards vocational education and training.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the Government is dedicated to strengthening our VET sector as a means of preparing the most dynamic, qualified and skilled workforce.

“Providing pathways for people to gain the right skills and training is a key priority for this Government,” Dr Lee said.

“We are working to ensure that you can receive the highest quality education and training, no matter where you live or what your circumstances are.

“We remain committed to reforming TAFE NSW to further strengthen its place as the nation’s biggest education and training provider.”

The NSW Government’s investment in TAFE NSW in the Budget is a commitment of $1.85 billion, an increase of 3.1 per cent. Funding for TAFE NSW accounts for 80 per cent of the State’s skills budget.

The NSW government has allocated $71 million over four years for 100,000 free courses, bringing the total number of free TAFE and VET courses we are offering over the period to almost 700,000 places.

The 100,000 additional courses will be made up of 70,000 new fee-free courses for young jobseekers taking on traineeships and 30,000 free TAFE places for mature-aged workers seeking to retrain or re-enter the workforce.

This is in addition to the existing capital works budget that will deliver over $137 million in investment to support 17 major capital works projects at TAFE NSW in 2019-20.

The NSW Government is also committed to delivering an $80 million new TAFE NSW super campus in Western Sydney, eight additional Connected Learning Centres and two vocational high schools to be located in Western Sydney and the North Coast.

“Investment in education and training is critical to the success of our State’s economy, creating a pipeline of skilled workers to keep driving the NSW economy forward,” Dr Lee said.

FARMER SAFETY REACHES NEW HEIGHTS WITH DRONE FUNDING

The NSW Government is encouraging farmers to embrace new technologies in order to do their work safer and better with new funding announced for drone rebates as part of the 2019 -20 NSW Budget.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said the rebate is part of an extra $2.8 million dollars in funding that will also extend the popular Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program.

“On farm safety is extremely important to the agricultural industry and sadly, something that often gets forgotten,” Mr Anderson said.

“We’re serious about helping farmers make better choices when it comes to on farm safety, which is why this significant funding extension is such a critical investment.

Mr Anderson said camera-equipped drone technology is helping farmers carry out a range of activities without the risk of injury or death as a result of a quad bike accident.

“Tragically there have been seven quad bike related fatalities in NSW since 2017, including two children under the age of 16,” Mr Anderson said.

“The good news is we are making a difference with this program – fatalities and incidents are trending downwards.” Since SafeWork’s Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program was introduced, more than 3,000 farmers have accessed it, and about 250 training events have been held around NSW.

The program offers a rebate of up to $500 to purchase drone technology and two rebates worth up to $1,000 each to replace an existing quad bike, or have it fitted with safety equipment like roll bars, as well as a free helmet and training. Each farming ABN is eligible for up to $2000 in rebates.

Farmers can apply for the Quad Bike Safety rebates on the SafeWork website. For more information visit http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50

A STATE-BUILDING BUDGET FOR A BETTER FUTURE

The NSW Government is getting on with the job of building a better NSW by delivering on its election commitments, investing a record $93 billion in infrastructure, supporting drought-affected communities, cutting taxes and boosting cost of living relief to families in the 2019-20 NSW Budget.

A surplus of $802 million is projected for 2018-19, with surpluses averaging $1.7 billion over the four years to 2022-23 continuing the NSW Liberals & Nationals’ strong financial management even in the face of tougher economic conditions.

Net debt is negative for a fourth consecutive year with the Government’s record infrastructure pipeline over two terms boosting economic activity and contributing to the continued growth in the State’s net worth which is set to reach $311 billion by 2023.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is determined to deliver the benefits of a strong Budget to people across NSW.

“This Budget delivers on our promise to provide greater opportunities and quality of life for all citizens across NSW, no matter where they live or their personal circumstances,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Only through a strong Budget are we able to provide cost of living relief to households, invest unprecedented amounts in infrastructure and services, and support the most vulnerable in our community.”

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said: “This is a state building budget that stays the course in the face of economic headwinds, because it is built on the foundation of eight years of strong financial management.”

“Our financial strength means we can do more to help those most in need, while delivering on our commitments and continuing to transform our state.”

A drought relief package now at $1.8 billion will help farmers endure the present crisis and build long term resilience while the $4.2 billion proceeds from the sale of the State’s share of the Snowy Hydro will be invested in major and transformational regional infrastructure, such as projects designed to secure NSW’s long-term water security.

“We’re also investing further funds for mental health support for those in the regions struggling with the current crisis,” said Mr Perrottet.

“This is also Budget for the bush with farmers and regional communities at its heart.”

The Budget is also taking the pressure off family budgets, building on existing measures such as toll relief, transfer duty exemptions and energy rebate.

New measures including the $50 weekly Opal fare cap, interest-free loans for rooftop solar to keep energy bills down and helping fund a second $100 Active Kids Voucher for every school child each year.

Education is front and centre, with funding for 2,300 new early childhood education places, 4,600 more teachers, 190 new and upgraded schools, before and after school care and $500 million for better facilities in non-government schools.

An unprecedented boost to frontline health services will deliver better quality healthcare, funding an historic 8,300 additional nurses, midwives, doctors and medical and support staff, 45 per cent of which will be located in regional NSW.

More than $10 billion will be spent on hospital and health infrastructure to deliver 29 new and upgraded hospitals and health facility projects over the next four years. A new record $55.6 billion budget for road and transport projects propels the state’s overall infrastructure investment to $93 billion, with funding for major projects already underway including WestConnex and Metro City and Southwest and breaking ground on the West Metro next year.

“The scale of transformation is unprecedented and is only possible because our Government has backed our words with action and delivered to cement NSW as the premier state,” Mr Perrottet said.

To help break the cycle of disadvantage, the Budget funds a new Disability and Ageing Commissioner as well as $55 million for new infrastructure in our most disadvantaged remote indigenous communities, $15 million for spinal research and $8 million to partner with Foodbank to provide school breakfasts at an additional 500 schools.

To support the Government’s goal of creating 250,000 more jobs and strengthen our economy, the Budget continues to cut payroll tax allowing businesses to employ more people and increase wages, and 100,000 fee free VET and TAFE courses will build on last year’s 100,000 free apprenticeships, to build the workforce of the future.

“Right now the economic headwinds are picking up, but we are taking steps to keep our economy strong. While other states are raising taxes, we’re cutting them, because we want our workers and businesses to have every opportunity to keep getting ahead,” Mr Perrottet said.

The Budget commits to a new NSW Economic Blueprint to identify the jobs, industries and opportunities where our future prosperity lies. It also kicks off a formal review of Federal Financial Relations, to find ways to make Federation more dynamic, with greater financial autonomy for states like NSW that embrace reform.

“This is a Budget that only the NSW Liberals & Nationals could deliver, because we manage the finances well so we can get the job done,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We are delivering what the people of NSW deserve – world-class services, record infrastructure, and help for those in need, while at the same time laying the foundations for a future filled with opportunity for all.”