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Nsw Government Weekly Update – 24 May 2013

MORE FUNDS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE: OFFICE SALE RAISES $405 MILLION

  • The Finance Minister Greg Pearce announced the sale of seven NSW Government buildings for more than $405 million – the proceeds will fund essential infrastructure to increase the availability of new housing lots.
  • The sale price exceeded the original target by more than $100 million.
  • The properties were in the Sydney CBD, Penrith, Newcastle, Wollongong and Queanbeyan.
  • They were sold in one lot to the Australian-based company, Cromwell, following a competitive public tender which attracted local and international investors.

SCHOOL ZONE FLASHING LIGHTS ROLLOUT ACCELERATES

  • The NSW Government is getting on with the job of increasing safety in school zones with the installation of the first flashing lights as part of the accelerated installation program.
  • The installation of flashing lights is now occurring at nearly three times the rate of the former Labor Government.
  • This week the schools that received flashing lights are in areas including Oatley, Coogee, Mount Druitt and Blacktown. Next month the roll out will continue in regional NSW with schools in Lismore, Dubbo, Cessnock and the Upper Hunter amongst those to benefit.
  • By the end of June, 280 flashing lights will have been installed at a total of 1,340 schools, making it the largest number ever rolled out in a single financial year.

SYDNEY’S FERRY FUTURE: NEW VESSELS, WHARVES & MORE SERVICES

  • Ferry customers will benefit from brand new vessels, wharves and extra services starting from later this year as part of a program to modernise Sydney’s iconic ferries.
  • We’ll deliver more than 50 new ferry services per week from October and invest in new vessels to replace older ferries and expand the fleet.
  • This builds on progress to date including restoring 140 ferry services scrapped by the former Labor government, introducing 25 new Parramatta River services and introducing Opal electronic ticketing.
  • Full details on Sydney’s Ferry Future are available at www.transport.nsw.gov.au/publications-reports/sydneys-ferry-future

TOUGHER CSG COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT

  • The NSW Government is listening to community concerns by implementing the strongest regulations governing the coal seam gas industry in Australia.
  • New legislation introduced into Parliament includes enforcement powers to ensure on-the-ground compliance with title conditions, introduces new offences and increases existing penalties for breaches of regulations governing exploration and production; and legislates rigorous standards to be met by the industry in its interactions with landholders.
  • The newly created Office of Coal Seam Gas will have the power to issue directions to the industry on environmental and rehabilitation matters and conduct audits to ensure industry complies with legislation.
  • The NSW Government has told the CSG industry it has an obligation to work more effectively with local communities to build confidence.

$1 MILLION A DAY RECOVERED IN OVERDUE FINES

  • Recent reforms to recover overdue fines are working with an average of $1 million being re-paid each business day.
  • Reforms introduced by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government included the formation of a debt recovery unit in the Office of State Revenue and amendments to the Fines Act to give the OSR more power to track down defaulters.
  • In just two years the OSR has reduced overdue fines debt by $231 million – those people who think their debt can be ignored or will be dismissed can expect to hear from the OSR and the longer the debt is outstanding, the more it is going to cost.

30 NEW POSITIONS FOR THE POLICE CHILD ABUSE SQUAD

  • The NSW Government has announced 30 additional positions will be created in theNSW Police Force Child Abuse Squad.
  • The previous Labor Government left shortages in the Child Abuse Squad and the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is now addressing these issues.
  • Since the election we have boosted the overall number of officers in the NSW Police Force by 370 – and the Authorised Strength has risen to an all-time high of 16,176 officers.

NEW PERFORMING ARTS FACILITY OPENS AT NEPEAN

  • The NSW Government has delivered a key election commitment for Western Sydney with the opening of the new $4.9 million performing arts facility at Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School.
  • The state of the art facility will give students and teachers the best possible environment to learn and showcase their skills, instead of operating out of a makeshift classroom.
  • The project was fully-funded by the NSW Government and includes a movement studio with retractable seating and a dance performance workshop.

NEW BAIL ACT PASSES PARLIAMENT

  • The new Bail Act has passed Parliament – putting the safety of the community, victims and witnesses first.
  • The new laws will modernise the complex and inconsistent bail laws currently in place, which too often lead to decisions which confound the community, police and legal practitioners.
  • When considering bail under the new laws, police and the courts will need to decide if the accused poses an unacceptable risk of endangering the safety of victims, witnesses or the community in general; interfering with witnesses or evidence; committing another serious offence; or failing to appear at court.
  • The new Bail Act will commence in a year’s time to allow time to train police and judicial officers who will be applying it.

E10 CAMPAIGN: CHEAPER, CLEANER AND GREENER

  • The Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner announced a campaign to promote the use of biofuels as a cheaper, cleaner and greener alternative.
  • A sustainable biofuels industry will also drive employment and investment in regional NSW, while also helping to reduce cost of living pressures.
  • A strong and sustainable biofuels industry brings a number of benefits, including the potential to decrease fuel prices for motorists, a reduction in emissions, as well as a reduced reliance on foreign fuel imports.
  • Motorists can access information on whether their vehicles can operate on E10 here: http://www.fcai.com.au/publications/all/all/all/3/can-my-vehicle-operate-on-ethanol-blend-petrol

REDUCTION IN SMOKY TRUCKS USING THE M5 EAST TUNNEL

  • The NSW Government is making headway in reducing the level of pollution in the M5 East tunnel.
  • Since enhanced enforcement of smoky vehicles using the tunnel was introduced, there has been a reduction in the number of polluting trucks driving through the tunnel.
  • The fines were increased to $2,000 for the first three breaches with a vehicle’s registration cancelled for three months on the third offence.
  • From December last year to March this year, 187 vehicles were sent warning letters for excessive emissions, while from March to the end of April this year, 32 vehicles were fined for emitting excessive smoke.

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Stuart Ayres - Member for Penrith

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