Millions of dollars will be stripped from the operating budgets of NSW’s government-owned transport agencies, Fairfax Media is reporting. Quoting ‘a briefing note to staff obtained by Fairfax Media’ from Transport for NSW secretary Tim Reardon, the department’s deputy secretaries have been told that operating budgets for all the state’s transport divisions have been cut […]
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Quoting ‘a briefing note to staff obtained by Fairfax Media’ from Transport for NSW secretary Tim Reardon, the department’s deputy secretaries have been told that operating budgets for all the state’s transport divisions have been cut by 15 percent for this financial year. "Over the last six years in Transport for NSW we have made savings to meet our requirements, however our [operating expenditure] costs have increased," the note is quoted as saying. One result of this is an immediate freeze on hiring casual staff or creating any new permanent positions. Transport for NSW would seem to be a victim of its own success. Sydney Trains have reported a 15 percent increase in patronage over the last 12 months, leading to severe overcrowding on some lines. Buses and ferries also have more passengers. The state’s transport budget is under strain with the cost of Sydney’s new Metro line and upgrades to existing train and bus services. Predictably, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) is not happy. The union’s NSW Secretary, Alex Claassens, issued an immediate statement that said the cuts will result in a serious decline in services. “Revelations today that the NSW Government is stripping hundreds of millions from transport agencies prove the NSW Government has no interest at all in improving public transport in the state,” Claassens said. “This is just another example of Transport Minister, Andrew Constance’s complete incompetence. On top of all of the horrendous transport decisions he’s made lately, now he’s shown that he can’t manage his budget either. “The people of NSW deserve a world-class transport system. They’re not going to get it while this Minister is in charge. How the Minister thinks you can strip millions of dollars out of an operation and expect it to continue working as usual is beyond me.” There has been no official announcement of the cuts from the NSW Government. [post_title] => NSW transport 'hiring freeze' [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-transport-hiring-freeze [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-06 19:29:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-06 08:29:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28194 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27986 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 07:46:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-07 21:46:59 [post_content] => Brian Halstead The NSW Government has spent $360 million on grants to fund its council amalgamation program and $200 million more for communities in an aim to hide the fact that forced council mergers are financially failing. These figures are contained in government documents on local government reform and the new $200 million ‘Stronger Communities’ payouts in country and regional NSW. We believe these grants are political sweeteners to soften an electoral backlash against the state Coalition because of forced mergers. Following a ten-week study and research in response to savings being voiced by the Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton and publicity issued by the state Coalition, there appear to be serious unexplained shortfalls in most amalgamated council figures. As justification for NSW council amalgamations, the State Government promised surpluses for the first year (2017/18) of $82.3 million in metro councils and 20-year savings for regional and rural councils of $232million. We studied seven metro and 13 regional and country amalgamated councils. In metro councils, based on the councils’ 2017/18 proposed plans, deficits are forecast in total to be $1.3 million rather than the $82.5 million surplus the government promised in its proposals. The shortfalls on a comparable basis vary from $19 million in the new Inner West Council and $17.4 million in Cumberland, with many more councils in large shortfall territory. In the country and regions, Central Coast has a 20-year proposed savings figure of $115 million. In the council’s own 2017/18 forecast, the Central Coast has a deficit forecast of $8 million. In the 2017/18 general fund, Mid Coast Council will have a $15.4 million deficit, Queanbeyan $17.3 million, Snowy Monaro $4.4m, and Cootamundra nearly $2.5 million. The list of deficits goes on. One of the key benefits of amalgamated councils as claimed by the Baird/Berejiklian government was the expected improved financial performance compared with the previous stand-alone pre-amalgamated councils. The figures show the councils have failed miserably to deliver the surpluses promised by the State Government in the amalgamation proposals. The councils also fail in most cases to deliver the surpluses, that in total the individual councils committed to make standing alone or actually made three years earlier. Unless the amalgamated councils produce reconciliations with the government proposals, the overall amalgamated proposals will be seen to be a smoke and mirrors spin process supported by a secret KPMG Report. The amalgamations clearly appear not to be delivering the financial benefits promised. While we welcome the fact that the court proceedings in Sydney and in country and regional NSW have been withdrawn, we are still very concerned that many NSW councils are unable to deny amalgamations through legal proceedings. The communities must be given a say on whether the amalgamations that have taken place should be reversed as they are failing to deliver. Brian Halstead is an accountant, the author of the study and president of the Save Our Councils Coalition. [post_title] => Are merged councils financially secure? [post_excerpt] => A ten-week study and research has shown up shortfalls in some amalgamated council figures. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => merged-councils-financially-secure [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:53:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:53:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27986 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27873 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-21 14:53:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 04:53:05 [post_content] => Whilst a number of licences are already available in electronic (digital) versions in NSW, the drivers’ licence is set to become digital in 2019. Digital drivers’ licence trial to begin in November The NSW Government is preparing to launch testing of the digital drivers’ licence technology in Dubbo in November. Dubbo residents who participate in the trial will be able to use their digital driver licence, accessible on a mobile phone, for proof of identity and proof of age to gain entry into pubs and clubs as well for roadside Police checks. NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said: “This trial is the first of its kind in Australia and will allow Dubbo motorists to use their digital driver licence in everyday scenarios with Police and selected licenced establishments. “The trial will draw on the learnings from the successful roll-out of digital RSA/RCG, boat and fishing licences over the past two years. Today we are a step closer to fulfilling an election commitment of delivering a digital driver licence by 2019.” Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said: “A person’s driver licence is an important proof of identity document. This trial is an opportunity to demonstrate the additional levels of identity security and increased protection against identity fraud that a digital licence provides compared to a physical one,” Mrs Pavey said. The digital licence requires motorists to install the trial app, register a MyServiceNSW account, and add their NSW driver licence details. Other licences now available in digital form The recent launch of the digital licence platform means residents can now access three NSW government licences and permits digitally using their mobile phone or tablet. The first licences to become available were:
- Recreational Fishing Fee.
- Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Competency Card.
- Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) Competency Card.
- Multiple disjointed information systems and manual data collection.
- Not universally using a program that collects data on patient outcomes for benchmarking and quality improvement.
- The NSW Government purchasing the riverfront site for the Powerhouse Museum (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences).
- The City of Parramatta committing $40 million to fund and grow arts and culture in the community over the next 20 years.
- A partnership between the NSW Government and the Council for a $100 million redevelopment of the Riverside Theatre with the State taking a 50 per cent interest in the project.
- Burwood, City of Canada Bay and Strathfield Municipal councils
- Hornsby Shire and Ku-ring-gai councils
- Hunter’s Hill, Lane Cove and City of Ryde councils
- Mosman Municipal, North Sydney and Willoughby City councils
- Randwick City, Waverley and Woollahra Municipal councils
- swimming classes or lessons,
- athletics and others.
- Jennie Price, Chief Executive - Sport England. England: Growing Participation in Local Settings.
- Kate Palmer, Chief Executive Officer - Australian Sports Commission. Australia: Reimagining Sports Policy to Position Australia as the World’s Most Successful Sporting Nation.
- Peter Miskimmin, Chief Executive Officer - Sport New Zealand. New Zealand: Locally Led Planning and Delivery.
- Cathy Jo Noble, Executive Director - Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. Canada: A Framework for Recreation.
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