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From Australia News in Brief

Coalition maintains new super policy will have ‘immaterial impact’ on housing prices while Labor claims it will ‘blow up’ market

Major milestone for fee-free training in NSW

Housing supply boost with greater financial choice for empty nesters and pensioners

Parramatta welcomes 2,400 new Australian citizens in two days

Queen Elizabeth II attends Platinum Jubilee celebration finale, joined by Tom Cruise, Helen Mirren

NSW Police announces Strike Force Erebus to combat Western Sydney gang violence

NSW & Denmark join forces on road to net zero

Landmarks light up for National Road Safety Week

Sydenham Station transformed for Metro services

A message from the Hon. Mark Coure - National Volunteer Week

Accelerating top teacher numbers across NSW

Coalition maintains new super policy will have ‘immaterial impact’ on housing prices while Labor claims it will ‘blow up’ market


(See translation in Arabic section)

Sydney – M E TIMES Int’l: Labor has condemned the Coalition’s new home buyers scheme arguing it will “put a skyrocket under house prices”, but Housing Minister Michael Sukkar has defended the policy and attacked the Opposition and the major superfunds.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the Coalition’s flagship housing affordability plan at the Liberal Party campaign launch on Sunday which would allow first home buyers to access up to 40 per cent or $50,000 from their superannuation to put towards a deposit.

The scheme was immediately attacked by Labor and the superannuation funds who argued that it would drive up housing prices by creating more demand whilst not addressing supply side concerns.

But Mr Sukkar said the new scheme was an “evolution and a natural step” in the government’s housing plan which already includes the first home guarantee and home builder policies.

The Housing Minister also said the proposal would have no tangible effect on housing prices.

“It will have an immaterial impact on prices. Why? Because we’ve targeted it to first home buyers,” Mr Sukkar told Pete Stefanovic.

“If the Labor Party is saying their policy is to have less first home buyers and somehow that puts less pressure on the market, I find that a very perplexing position to be in.

“I’m very comfortable being on the side of the first home buyer helping them get the deposit together.”

Mr Sukkar said the government’s decision to only target first home buyers and cap the amount withdrawn would not put greater inflationary pressure on house prices as he argued the Coalition was “unashamedly levelling the playing field”.

Election 2022: Is Liberal or Labor's first home buyers home loan scheme  better?

“If the Labor Party don’t want to stand with the first home buyers that’s their decision but we are very happy to be levelling the playing field,” he continued.

“I think if superfunds are happy to invest your money into foreign real estate then I’m surprised they’d have any objection to people investing in their own home.”

Labor is warning the Coalition's proposal to allow first home buyers to use some of their super to buy a home will inflate the property market, with housing spokesman Jason Clare saying many won't have much super anyway.

Labor’s superannuation spokesman, Stephen Jones, slammed the policy and argued it would only add to the already record housing prices in Australia.

“This is a dumb policy that’s going to put a skyrocket under house prices in Australia,”  Mr Jones told media.

“It’s dumb policy, dumb economics, and it shouldn’t happen – something that might sound like a good idea to win a few votes is actually going to have the opposite impact.

“It will blow the housing market up in Australia making housing prices even less affordable for young Australians and people trying to get into the housing market.”

Super minister defends 'kill switch' plan, despite mounting opposition

Government minister admits first home buyer policy would push up house prices

Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume has conceded the Coalition's recently announced first home buyer policy would increase house prices "temporarily".

The campaign promise to allow first home buyers to dip into their super to help pay for a home deposit has been criticised by economists and the opposition as a policy that would only drive up house prices further.

Under the plan, people who have saved a 5 per cent deposit will be able to access up to 40 per cent of their superannuation, capped at $50,000, but must return the amount taken out, plus capital gains, if they sell the house.

Fee Free Apprenticeships 

Major milestone for fee-free training in NSW

NSW is enjoying a fee-free training boom with more than 200,000 enrolments recorded under JobTrainer, a program helping people get skilled for in-demand jobs.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government’s strong economic management means we can deliver programs such as JobTrainer to equip people with the skills they need to get their first job, a new job or a better job.

 “The NSW Government is turbocharging the take-up of vocational education and training to create a strong pipeline of skilled and qualified workers, which is helping secure a brighter future for NSW families,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Our record infrastructure program is creating enormous demand for jobs and our investment in fee-free training is helping meet that demand so we can continue to build what matters to make daily life better.

 “The success of the JobTrainer program is helping strengthen our economy, which means more money for services, community amenity and less pressure on households.”

Training under the program is fee-free and fully funded for eligible people wanting to upskill or reskill.

The NSW Government has expanded the eligibility criteria for the program to target more in-demand industries, including construction, manufacturing, transport, logistics, aged care, disability care, childcare and digital skills.

JobTrainer has also supported more than 5,000 women into construction-related courses through the Built for Women initiative.

Minister for Skills and Training Alister Henskens said the number of people commencing apprenticeships and traineeships in NSW has sky-rocketed since the launch of the program.

More information about eligibility and training courses on offer is available online.

 Housing supply boost with greater financial choice for empty nesters and  pensioners | Liberal Party of Australia

Housing supply boost with greater financial choice for empty nesters and pensioners

Up to 1.3 million empty nesters and pensioners will be able to access incentives to downsize their house, under a re-elected Morrison Government plan to help more families get a home.

Australians over the age of 55 will now be able to downsize their property and invest up to $300,000, per person, in their superannuation fund outside of the existing contribution caps, from the proceeds of a sale.

Pensioners who downsize their home will also be given greater flexibility by exempting the proceeds of the sale of the property from the assets test for longer.

This change means pensioners will now have two years to structure their assets following the sale of their home – without impacting their pension.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said helping more Australians and families into homes was a key objective of a re-elected Morrison Government.

“We are now giving Australians more choice to decide how they want to live the next stage of their life by removing financial barriers for people wanting to downsize their home,” the Prime Minister said.

“By removing barriers for Australians downsizing to residences that better suit their needs and lifestyle, we are helping to free up larger homes for younger families.

Parramatta's Citizens of the Year announced - Parra News 

Parramatta welcomes 2,400 new Australian citizens in two days

Parramatta local Zyon Langford is just one of the 2,400 residents to be conferred as a new Australian citizen in a series of Citizenship Ceremonies held by the City of Parramatta this week.

Mr Langford, who is originally from Hubei Province in China, first came to Australia in 2015 to complete a Master’s degree in accounting.

“I love the lifestyle in Australia. The people are so friendly and there is a great work-life balance here,” Mr Langford said.

“Australian citizenship is the final piece in the puzzle for me – it means I’m really part of this country. I believe in a democratic society, and now I will have the chance to have my say and influence the decisions that affect the country I live in.”

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Donna Davis will welcome residents from 90 countries across six Citizenship Ceremonies at Riversides Theatres on 17 and 18 May. These new citizens come from Afghanistan, Brazil, China, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and beyond.

“Becoming an Australia Citizen is such a special occasion and I know some people in our community have been waiting a while for this much-anticipated day to come. That’s why Council has been working hard to deliver as many ceremonies we can, as quickly as possible,” Cr Davis said.

Once this week’s ceremonies are complete, more than 3,000 people will have received their Australian Citizenship in the City of Parramatta so far this year.

“We are an extremely proud multicultural City, with more than 120 nationalities and 84 languages represented across our community. This rich mix of cultural backgrounds and life experiences is what makes our community so unique and special,” Cr Davis said.

“Congratulations to all of our newest Citizens – we thank you for the contributions you’ve made thus far and will continue to make to our City.”

 Queen Elizabeth II attends Platinum Jubilee celebration finale, joined by Tom  Cruise, Helen Mirren - ABC News

Queen Elizabeth II attends Platinum Jubilee celebration finale, joined by Tom Cruise, Helen Mirren

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has attended the finale of the four-day Royal Windsor Horse Show, celebrating her 70 years on the throne and drawing a star-studded crowd, including Hollywood actor Tom Cruise and British actor Helen Mirren.

The 96-year-old monarch, wearing a grey shawl, was driven to the outdoor spectacle in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

She was welcomed by two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, who helped her from her Range Rover to cheers from crowds.

Singers, including Gregory Porter, were due to perform in the show.

"She's just a woman that I greatly admire," Cruise said before the event.

"I think she's someone who has tremendous dignity and I admire her devotion. What she's accomplished has been historic."

The Queen has attended every Royal Windsor Horse Show since its inception 79 years ago, reflecting her keen interest in horse racing and breeding.

In a photograph marking her 96th birthday in April, she was pictured with two fell ponies.

The Queen has been seen in public on only a few occasions after she spent a night in hospital last October for an unspecified illness, after which she was told to rest by her doctors.

She has since carried out duties either remotely or in person at her Windsor Castle home and did not attend last week's state opening of parliament.

At Sunday's event, she used a small lift to help her get from her car to her seat, according to a reporter for ITV television, which broadcast the event.

The horse show kicked off celebrations to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, which will culminate in four days of national events from June 2

Taskforce Erebus: Seven arrests made in first 24 hours of police taskforce  tackling gangland crime 

NSW Police announces Strike Force Erebus to combat Western Sydney gang violence

New South Wales Police has announced it will set up a new task force to coordinate efforts to arrest those behind several recent gang shootings in Western Sydney.

It comes as Rami Iskander was shot outside his Belmore home just before 4am on Saturday.

At least 11 people have been killed in gang-related crime in the state in less than two years.

Strike Force Erebus will manage resources of gang-fighting squads like Raptor and draw on the expertise of others in law enforcement, such as intelligence analysts, to examine the links between recent killings and the importation of illegal drugs, illicit firearms supply and vehicle theft, a police statement said.

The task force will be given a further 60 full-time officers to investigate the recent killings, including the death of Omar Zahed, who was shot at an Auburn gym last week, and the suspected murder of Salim Hamze and his father Toufik who were killed on their way to work at Guildford last October.

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Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Fitzgerald said the crackdown aimed to protect innocent people.

“These public acts of violence are dangerous and while they are targeted, it will not be tolerated, "Assistant Commissioner Fitzgerald said.

"It only takes one stray bullet to injure or kill an innocent person.

“As such, police will not back down. We will continue to target anyone who shows a blatant disregard for community safety.”

Assistant Commissioner Fitzgerald said the shootings were directly related to the sale, distribution and importation of drugs into Australia, including heroin, ice and cocaine.

"What you have to understand is two tonnes in the last month has been seized. There will be repercussions to the person who organised those importations...there are people owed money," he said.

"People are threatening people in that criminal milieu on a daily basis."

 This Earth Day we can all go net zero in Australia, together - Salesforce  Australia & NZ Blog

NSW & Denmark join forces on road to net zero

NSW is teaming up with Denmark on ways to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean and the Danish Ambassador to Australia, Her Excellency Ms Pernille Dahler Kardel, today announced a Memorandum of Understanding to share their expertise and research on decarbonising the economy.

Mr Kean said the agreement will support collaboration between the governments of NSW and Denmark on innovation, policy and program design and trade, investment and technology transfer.

“By sharing our knowledge we can accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050 and set ourselves up to prosper in the global economy of the future,” Mr Kean said.

 “Denmark is a world leader in clean energy, with wind and solar supplying 50 per cent of Denmark’s electricity. Danish companies are also at the forefront of global clean energy technology development. 

“This MOU provides a framework not only for NSW to learn from Denmark, but for Denmark to benefit from our experiences developing Renewable Energy Zones, the Peak Demand Reduction Scheme and the Energy Security Safeguard.”

Ms Kardel said collaboration on energy exports is another priority for the two governments, as well as integrating renewables and deploying transmission infrastructure and energy storage.

National Road Safety Week 

Landmarks light up for National Road Safety Week

The Sydney Harbour Bridge will be among landmarks around the state lit up in yellow from tonight to mark National Road Safety Week.

Minister for Metropolitan Roads Natalie Ward said the iconic Bridge will be among the structures illuminated until Sunday, 22 May to support the initiative by SARAH – Safer Australian Roads and Highways.

“This year’s theme is ‘Everyone has a right to get home safe, every day – no exceptions’. It’s a critical message and one we want all road users in NSW to focus on,” Mrs Ward said.

“Every year around 1200 people are killed on roads across Australia. Although last year NSW achieved its lowest road toll in almost a century, I’m urging all road users to help make sure everyone gets home safe - not just during National Road Safety Week but every time they get behind the wheel.”

National Road Safety Week

SARAH Group was set up by Peter Frazer OAM following the death of his daughter Sarah in a road crash south of Sydney in 2012. National Road Safety Week is now in its tenth year, with Sarah’s favourite colour yellow featuring prominently.

Other locations to light up in Sydney include the Central Station Grand Concourse, WestConnex St Peters Interchange, Light Horse Interchange in Eastern Creek, Macquarie Street Mall in Liverpool and CommBank Stadium in Parramatta.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the message is particularly important in regional NSW where several landmarks will also be lit up, including the Big Merino in Goulburn, the Kiama Lighthouse and the Strzelecki Monument in Jindabyne.


Sydenham Station transformed for Metro services

Sydenham Station’s multi-million-dollar transformation marks a significant milestone in the delivery of the Sydney Metro City & Southwest section of Australia’s biggest public transport infrastructure project.

Minister for Transport and Veterans David Elliott said the $301 million program of works delivered a modern first-class railway station which is ready to be integrated into the Sydney Metro system once services are running.

 “The completion of works at Sydenham highlights the progress that is being made on this once in a generation public transport project and the commitment of this government to deliver transformative infrastructure projects,” Mr Elliott said.

“The Sydney Metro is a visionary project which will revolutionise the public transport network with commuters able to catch an air-conditioned metro service every four minutes.

“These large-scale projects connect people and places, communities and businesses, while supporting future employment and population growth. They also provide a boost to the construction industry with more than 6,500 workers inducted onto the Sydenham site and more than 2.5 million total hours worked since the project started,” Mr Elliott said.

The Hon. Mark Joseph COURE, MP 

A message from the Hon. Mark Coure - National Volunteer Week

With this week being National Volunteer Week, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the millions of people that volunteer across our state.

To the volunteers in NSW, whether it be in emergency services, community groups, or religious organisations, I sincerely appreciate the time you freely give to serve our communities. It is truly noble pursuit to put the needs of others ahead of your own.

That is one of the universal qualities of being an Australian living in NSW. A quality that is shared by everyone, irrespective of our culture, the language we speak or our religious beliefs—we extend a helping hand to those in need.

Over the past two years especially, we have experienced devastating bushfires, a global pandemic, and unprecedented floods. Despite such adversity, volunteers have stayed their course and continued to help their fellow Australians.

I know, as volunteers, you do not do what you do for rewards or recognition. Instead, you do it because you believe in something bigger than yourselves—a want to make NSW a better place. But I believe such noble pursuits deserve recognition, and deserve our thanks.

To all our state’s volunteers, thank you.

The Hon. Mark Coure MP

Minister for Multiculturalism

Minister for Seniors

Multiple pathways boosting teacher numbers in the bush 

Accelerating top teacher numbers across NSW

The NSW Government has set an ambitious target to recognise at least 2,500 of the most talented teachers across the state at the highest levels of national accreditation. 

Minister for Education and Early Learning, Sarah Mitchell, today announced a streamlined process to apply for Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher accreditation in NSW, along with a target to increase the number of teachers accredited at these levels ten-fold.

“The updated process will minimise the administrative burden and better support teachers applying for nationally recognised Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher (HALT) levels of accreditation,” Ms Mitchell said. 

“The quality of teachers across NSW is world class, but we haven’t seen that reflected in the number of teachers putting their hand up for higher levels of accreditation, which also attract a higher pay rate.

“This is something I want to see more of – teachers being recognised and renumerated for their impact – and I hope to see the number of HALT teachers grow to at least 2,500 by 2025.

“Just this week I heard directly from highly accomplished teachers at the Best in School Roundtable at NSW Parliament that the previous process took up too much time, discouraging many of their colleagues from applying,” Ms Mitchell said. 


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