NSW Govt backflip on cemetery trusts merger welcomed
(See Translation in Arabic Section)
Sydney - M E Times Int'l: Labor has commended the NSW Government for doing the right thing after media reports revealed that cabinet would reconsider its decision to amalgamate all NSW cemetery operators into a single entity.
The Government’s decision to reconsider its controversial reforms to cemeteries comes after religious and faith groups raised serious concerns about the viability of the Government’s plan as well as over its lack of consultation.
Mr Minns said: “I’m glad the Premier has stepped in and done the right thing here. Hopefully, common sense has prevailed.
“It’s crucial that the Government gets this right. I’m more than happy to work with the Premier and Minister Pavey to help reach a solution that has broad based community support.
“What’s important now is that the Government must sit down with faith leaders, religious organisations and the cemetery trust. It’s time for proper consultation so we can get this right”.
AFP-led operation arrests more than 220, seizes drugs and weapons
Canberra: More than 220 members of accused mafia, outlaw bikers and serious criminals have been arrested for serious drug and weapon offences under an historic Australian Federal Police operation.
In a joint statement with Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, Australian PM Scott Morrison said Operation Ironside has so far led to the arrest of 224 people on 526 charges in every mainland state.
“3.7 tonnes of drugs, 104 firearms and weapons, and almost $45 million have been seized under Operation Ironside since 2018,” he said.
As part of the global operation more than 9000 law officers were deployed internationally with more than 4500 members from the AFP and state and territory police helping execute hundreds of warrants.
The Government also introduced bills to bolster Australian agencies including the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020; the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Production Orders) Bill 2020 and the Transport Security Amendment (Serious Crime) Bill 2020.
NSW to open second vaccination centre at Lake Macquarie
Sydney: A former Bunnings warehouse in Lake Macquarie will be transformed into the NSW Government’s second mass vaccination centre.
The mass vaccination centre will be located at 393 Pacific Highway, Belmont with around 150 people to work on converting the site over six weeks.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the centre would have the capacity to administer up to 20,000 vaccines per week and is expected to open in mid-July.
The mass vaccination centre at Sydney Olympic Park has vaccinated more than 5000 people a day she said.
“We are planning to replicate that model in the Hunter region, so we can quickly and safely vaccinate as many people as possible across NSW.”
The centre would employ up to 100 nurses, 25 pharmacists or pharmacy technicians plus around 200 other support staff. It will administer both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine, with bookings required.
Please find vision and stills, including drone footage, of the vaccination site: https://bit.ly/3wZQJvM
Scott Morrison urges Victoria to lift restrictions
Canberra: Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he is “hopeful” the restrictions in Victoria will be lifted as soon as possible.
Speaking on Monday, Mr Morrison said the challenge currently facing Victoria is one which “will be overcome”.
“Kids have lost enough time out of school over the last 18 months, and it’s very important we get those kids back to school,” he said.
“I would be urging that we be moving towards lifting those restrictions as soon as possible.”
NSW Premier calls for ‘fair share’ of vaccines
Sydney: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has called for the state to continue receiving its “fair share” of COVID-19 vaccines after the Victorian Government was allocated extra doses.
Victoria has been allocated extra vaccine doses in order to combat the latest outbreak - which has seen 11 new cases recorded over the last 24 hours.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Ms Berejiklian said she appreciates the “pain and angst” being felt by Victorians at the moment but maintained New South Wales should get its fair share of vaccines.
“I think, as the premier of New South Wales, the PM would expect me to say New South Wales should get its fair share during the course of the pandemic,” she said.
“We’re trying to the do the heavy lifting with bringing back 3,000 Aussies home every single week, we haven’t stopped.
“I can’t tell you the stress that puts on our system to keep everyone safe. “So I think the PM would be disappointed if I didn’t speak up on behalf of my state.”
Funds for new bridge and bypass for Richmond doubles to $500m
Sydney: The federal and NSW governments have doubled their financial commitment to $500 million for a new bridge across the Hawkesbury River and bypass for the town of Richmond.
The preferred route will involve a bypass of North Richmond connecting to a new two-lane bridge north of the existing bridge. A new roadway will bypass Richmond to the south, connecting from Old Kurrajong Road to the Driftway.
The new bridge is proposed to be built 500 metres downstream from the current Richmond Bridge, which presently funnels more than 31,000 vehicles daily through the Richmond and North Richmond town centres.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the infrastructure would alleviate the peak-hour bottleneck created from the existing Richmond Bridge, saving drivers up to about 12 minutes and, by doing so, support the future growth of Western Sydney.
Vision and images available to download: https://bit.ly/3bVFxbq
Albanese lashes out at Morrison's vaccine rollout
Canberra: Prime Minister Scott Morrison is someone who can "roll out the red carpet for himself but hasn't been able to roll out the vaccine," says Labor leader Anthony Albanese.
The opposition leader has been calling out Prime Minister Scott Morrison and said he should be held responsible for Victoria's latest lockdown due to inaction on state and federal-managed isolation.
Mr Morrison had promised to increase intake numbers at the Howard Springs quarantine facility in Darwin by April or May but there's been no rise in incoming travellers.
"This is a government that always crab walks to a 90 degree turn before it goes 180," Mr Albanese said.
"We know that the facilities at the moment, in hotel quarantine, the outbreak in Victoria has come from Adelaide and we know that 21 separate outbreaks have occurred.
"This government had two jobs this year, they had to get hotel quarantine right and they had to roll out the vaccine".
Mr Albanese also said the federal government "makes things up" as it goes and argued Scott Morrison "should have put in place purpose-built quarantine facilities run by the national government last year".
"That was the best time to do this, the next best time is right now," he told media.
"This so-called criteria they've come up with contradicts the government's position that it's nothing to do with them and that hotel quarantine is going fine."
Chris Minns makes first pitch to voters as NSW opposition leader
Sydney: Labor MP Chris Minns has made his first pitch to voters since being elected New South Wales Labor Leader.
Attending Italian Republic Day celebrations in Sydney's south-west today - the opposition leader called for a stop to "toll-mania".
"Tolls are a huge issue for people in Sydney.
Some families are paying more than $5,000 a year in tolls, after tax that's five weeks of work just to pay off your toll bill," Mr Minns said.
"It's a huge impost on working families."
The opposition leader hasn't given his frontbench any thought since being elected unopposed at a Labor caucus meeting.
Prince Charles praised the "courage and sacrifice" of veterans in a video message
A new memorial has been officially opened overlooking the D-Day landing areas where British, Canadian and Commonwealth soldiers fought their way ashore 77 years ago.
Prince Charles praised the "courage and sacrifice" of veterans in a video message as he opened the memorial on the 77th anniversary of the Normandy landings.
The memorial records the names of over 24,442 members of the armed forced who were killed on D-Day and at the Battle of Normandy.