VOLUNTEER PROTECTION DECLARED ACROSS NSW

Premier Gladys Berejiklian today thanked the NSW Rural Fire Service, emergency services personnel and volunteers right across the State for their tireless efforts fighting more than 200 bush fires over the weekend. Ms Berejiklian has announced the activation of employment provisions ensuring emergency volunteers are protected from employer victimisation. “Our volunteers worked selflessly to protect lives and property in some of the worst conditions NSW has ever seen, and they continue to do so,” Ms Berejiklian said. “We thank our volunteers for their courage and commitment – without their efforts, we would be looking at a very different outcome today. Continue reading

DELIVERING A BETTER FUTURE FOR NSW STUDENTS

More high quality schools will be delivered under draft planning reforms to address the increasing enrolments caused by the state’s strong population growth. Education Minister Rob Stokes, Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Early Childhood Education Minister Sarah Mitchell released the draft State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) Educational Establishments and Child Care Facilities for community consultation. The draft SEPP will streamline approvals processes for delivery of new and improved schools as well as childcare facilities, universities and TAFEs. A draft design guide for schools created by the Government Architect and a draft planning guideline for child care facilities are also included in the draft planning reforms package. Continue reading

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH PUBLIC TRANSPORT

The booming North-West region will get an unprecedented boost of 1000 extra bus services ahead of new Metro trains arriving every four minutes. Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance announced the surge in extra buses while inspecting construction progress at Cudgegong Road Station, the first station on Sydney Metro – Australia’s biggest public transport project. The new services are a part of more than 1,700 extra weekly bus trips that are coming online across Sydney, the Illawarra, the Central Coast and the Hunter. The services will begin in February and will be delivered under the NSW Government’s Growth Services Program, which provides more bus services for customers when and where they are needed. Ms Berejiklian said the Hills District is growing to twice the size of Canberra in the coming decades and will be home to more than 600,000 people, and demand is rising. Continue reading

FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY PROJECTS TO COMBAT LOCAL CRIME

Communities across NSW are being encouraged to come forward to the NSW Government with solutions to stamp down on local crime and anti-social behaviour. Liberal Member of the New South Wales Upper House Shayne Mallard, urged community groups, council, businesses and organisations to apply for a grant up to $250,000 for ideas to boost local safety and pride. "As a local councillor for 12 years before entering parliament I appreciate how local communities have great ideas to improve safety. "It might be a Rotary club graffiti clean up day or security lighting around public transport hubs. "I encourage local community organisations and councils to apply for a grant." Mr Mallard said. Continue reading

NEW ERA OF HEALTHCARE FOR NEPEAN HOSPITAL

A $550 million redevelopment will transform Nepean Hospital and bring a state-of-the-art healthcare facility to the region, NSW Premier Mike Baird and Health Minister Jillian Skinner announced today.  Mr Baird and Mrs Skinner said the redevelopment will provide more services, beds and staff to serve the growing Nepean population and is in addition to a new $26 million car park. “We are delivering the biggest hospital rebuilding program in the State’s history, with $5 billion worth of hospital infrastructure in the past six years and 10 new or upgraded health facilities opened this year alone,” Mr Baird said. “The population of Western Sydney is due to rise significantly in the next 20 years and our major investment will ensure we meet the healthcare needs of the region.” Immediate works will commence to upgrade the Emergency Department, with a paediatric assessment and treatment area, establishment of a safe assessment room and the upgrade of the mobile duress systems and CCTV. Continue reading

$500 MILLION FOR NSW’S ENVIRONMENTAL FUTURE

NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman today announced a nation-leading $500 million environmental funding package that will support a range of innovative environmental programs with a focus on job creation and consumer savings.Mr Speakman released two draft plans today, the NSW Government’s draft strategic plan for the $500 million investment package and the draft plan to Save NSW Energy and Money, plus accompanying policy framework. The policy framework sets out an aspirational goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, consistent with the Australian Government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, and complementing Australia’s existing national targets. “The two draft plans set out significant new measures. The first sets out possible investment actions to stimulate investment in advanced energy in NSW, to build climate resilience and to help households and businesses use energy more efficiently,” Mr Speakman said. Continue reading

OUTSTANDING RESULT ACHIEVED IN $16.189 BILLION AUSGRID LEASE

The NSW Government has achieved another outstanding result in its infrastructure program, entering into a binding agreement with an all-Australian consortium for the partial lease of Ausgrid. Premier Mike Baird said the transaction will deliver gross proceeds of $16.189 billion to the State and will help fund critical infrastructure projects as part of the Government’s $20 billion Rebuilding NSW plan. “This is another excellent result for the people of NSW after our successful $10.258 billion lease of TransGrid,” Mr Baird said. Continue reading

MAKING IT EASIER TO BUILD TERRACE HOMES

  A new design guide will help make it easier to build well-designed low rise, medium density homes across NSW, following the release of a draft Medium Density Design Guide by the NSW Government. The majority of homes currently under construction in NSW are freestanding houses and apartments, however a third of homeowners surveyed by the Department of Planning said they would consider downsizing to terraces – preferences which are being driven by changing lifestyles and demographics. Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the draft policy is intended to encourage more and better designed terraces, townhouses and dual occupancies (two houses on one block) in response to demand for this versatile housing type. Continue reading

A NEW VISION FOR SYDNEY OLYMPIC PARK

  Plans for the biggest revitalisation of Sydney Olympic Park in its history were released today with the precinct overhaul set to provide homes for 23,500 residents, businesses, new transport links, parklands and retail. Sports Minister Stuart Ayres and Planning Minister Rob Stokes today unveiled the Sydney Olympic Park Masterplan 2030 which combines the best of world class sporting and entertainment infrastructure with new homes, jobs and parklands. Continue reading

NEW STRATEGY TO PROMOTE GOOD DESIGN

Around this time last year I gave notice of a Private Member’s Motion in support of the 2015 Sydney Architecture Festival. It was a good opportunity for all sides of politics to get involved in a considered debate about the role of architecture and design in our state more generally and it sparked interesting discussion about how we might want our city to look in the future. Continue reading