Items filtered by date: Monday, 15 July 2019


From Monday, NSW residents will be able to vote for community projects to benefit their local areas through the NSW Government’s My Community Project (MCP) program.

With voting to open online on 15 July, Acting Treasurer Damien Tudehope encouraged communities to get involved to support their favourite submissions.

“My Community Project is an innovative program that puts decision-making in the hands of community members,” Mr Tudehope said.

“We asked people to think about what their community needs, develop those ideas with a sponsor and then tell us how funding could turn that concept into reality.

“People have put a lot of work into their applications, so I’d encourage everyone to have their say and pick their preferences from the list of projects in their area.”

Mr Tudehope said more than 1,500 project ideas have been submitted across 93 electorates and residents can view the projects in their local electorate

“From Camden to Clarence and Cootamundra, communities have shown overwhelming support for the program and I have no doubt they will now also want to have a say about which projects go ahead,” Mr Tudehope said.

“Voting is easy to do. All you need is your Medicare card and a free MyServiceNSW account, which also provides quick and easy access to a wide range of NSW Government services, such as the CTP Green Slip refund for eligible policyholders.

“If you prefer face to face support, you can also pop down to the local Service NSW centre, where staff can help you cast your vote at digital kiosks.”

Grants of between $20,000 and $200,000 are available in each electorate.

Voting closes on 15 August 2019, with successful projects to be announced from September 2019. My Community Project is made possible by the NSW Generations Fund.

Published in Latest News

Economic modelling undertaken by CEDA in its latest research report has found that immigration to Australia has not harmed the jobs and earnings of local workers.

CEDA’s report, Effects of temporary migration, examines the impact of immigration and recent trends in temporary migration including temporary skilled migration, CEDA CEO, Melinda Cilento said.

“There are currently around two million people in Australia on temporary visas including students, working holiday makers, skilled workers and New Zealand citizens. This is a significant number that should be well understood, transparently managed and appropriately factored into community planning,” she said.

“CEDA’s report has found that migration to Australia in recent decades has been positive for the labour market, and the outcomes from temporary skill migration were particularly positive,” Ms Cilento said.

“CEDA’s analysis shows that temporary skilled migration is critical in delivering benefits to business, the economy more broadly and to the existing workforce.

“However, concerns about the impacts of temporary skilled migration have been raised consistently resulting in frequent changes to the scheme, including most recently the abolition of the 457 visa class.

“Our research has found that key concerns around temporary skilled migration, such as impacts on local workers as a result of visas such as the 482 and its predecessor the 457, are unfounded.

“The average base salary for a skilled temporary visa holder is quite high at $95,000, meaning these workers are unlikely to undercut local employment terms and conditions.

“In addition, they are a small group, with temporary skilled migrants of working age accounting for less than one per cent of Australia’s labour force.

“However, often unpredictable change to this visa category has come at the cost of undermining the ability of business to undertake workforce planning with certainty.

“At a time when more businesses are finding it difficult to source the skills they need, strengthening and providing greater transparency and certainty around temporary skilled migration would support business investment and productivity.

“Temporary migrants also contribute to the economy by paying taxes and spending in the communities in which they live, increasing demand for goods and services and supporting local economic activity and jobs.”

Ms Cilento said while CEDA’s research confirms the positive impact of temporary skilled migration it was important to ensure that the broader community had confidence in the system and that the training levies paid by businesses recruiting skilled migrants were being effectively used to build in demand skills locally.

“CEDA’s report recommends changes to improve transparency and efficiency in the temporary skilled migration system to deliver the dual benefits of improving community confidence in the system and ensuring business can access the skills they need,” she said.

“Skilled migration supports business investment and productivity which are vital for keeping our economy strong.

“Incomes in Australia have been stagnant and lifting productivity can help lift incomes across the community.”

Ms Cilento said there are actions that can be taken immediately to improve the system and make it easier for businesses to get the skills they need now and in the future:
Increasing transparency of data and methods used in determining professions for the skilled occupation list;
Ensuring occupation codes used to assess skill shortages align with evolving labour trends to ensure temporary skilled migration is responsive to emerging skill needs;
Introducing a dedicated path for intra-company transfer of employees to Australia; and
Better aligning the Skilling Australia Fund Levy to alleviate the skill shortages driving the need for skilled migration.
“If CEDA’s recommendations are implemented, the system will be more responsive to the needs of the economy. It will also reduce reliance on low quality instruments like labour market testing to ensure that genuine skills shortages are being filled,” she said.

Ms Cilento said as a mid-sized economy far away from global markets, the importance to our economic success of free movement of goods, services, investment and skills can’t be understated.

“Australia will continue to need temporary skilled migration to fill periodic and emerging skill shortages,” she said.

“We need to make it easier for business to import the best global talent and expertise, and Australia’s temporary skilled migration system is our gateway for global talent.

“Temporary migration also lifts the skills of the broader workforce through the transfer of knowledge and expertise and by introducing new skills, in some instances enabling Australia to build critical new workforces, for example the growing cyber security industry in Australia.”

Additional recommendations in CEDA’s report include:
Establishing an independent committee to undertake analysis and consultation on the formulation of skilled occupation lists, mirroring the model used in the UK.
Tasking the Productivity Commission with a review of the temporary skilled visa program on a regular cycle every three or five years.
Moving the point of levy collection to the visa approval stage rather than visa nomination.
“Improving predictability of the scheme and increasing understanding among the wider community of the benefits to all Australians, will help deliver a fair and efficient system,” she said.

Ms Cilento said other key findings of the report include that only 16 per cent of those on student visas stay permanently, while temporary skilled visas have provided a de facto path to permanent residency for a significant proportion of those migrants.

“This ‘try before you buy’ approach to permanent residency is a positive for the individual and Australia,” she said.

“Both the individual and the employer have the opportunity to see if the ‘fit’ is right before making a longer term decision.

“Recent changes to the 482 visa, previously the 457 visa, may have disrupted this de facto pipeline and it will be worth monitoring the impact this has on the quality of temporary skilled visa holders over coming years.”

The launch of this report will be followed by events across Australia on the following dates:
Sydney 23 July | Melbourne 24 July | Adelaide 26 July | Brisbane 31 July | Perth 31 July

Published in Incoming


Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia – it’s estimated that more than 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year taking the overall number of diagnoses to 1.7 million.

As we mark the start of National Diabetes Week on July 14, Flannerys Organic & Wholefood Market naturopath Caroline Robertson says it’s a good time to assess whether you’re choosing foods that nourish and protect you against the preventable disease.

“Foods with a high GI, such as white bread, are broken down quickly during digestion and release glucose into the blood faster than low GI foods. This may lead to the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of sugar crashes, appetite fluctuations and moodiness,” says Ms Roberston.

“Aiming for low GI foods means your body gets slow release energy that can help you stay full for longer with more stable blood glucose levels,” she says.

“Prevention is key. Taking care of your health through choosing wholesome foods and regular activity provides long-term benefits and reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

Ms Robertson suggests eating a diet rich in wholegrains, such as oats, quinoa (gf), wholemeal and wholegrain bread, brown rice; fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, cinnamon and apple cider vinegar.

“Aim to limit highly processed foods, sugar-laden desserts, soft drinks and foods high in saturated fat, such as fried foods.”

Diabetic-friendly food and drinks stocked in Flannerys Organic & Wholefood Market include:

SOL Bread Megagrain Sourdough: low GI to sustain you throughout the day. Create a healthy sandwich for the kids, or enjoy toasted with a protein-rich spread, like nut butter.
Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar: the acetic acid in vinegar may have favourable benefits on blood sugar levels. Add a dash to your smoothie, fresh juice or with warm/cold water. Note: it’s a good idea to dilute vinegar first, rather than drinking by itself, as it may contribute towards erosion of teeth enamel.
Beanitos Chips: if you love savoury snacks, bean chips are a great low-saturated fat chip alternative. Made from legumes, these chips are filling, high in fibre and protein to help keep you full for longer. Unlike many other chips, they’re free of MSG, gluten, added sugar, artificial colours, trans fats, GMOs and more.
2 Die 4 Activated Organic Almonds: being certified organic, you can rest assured these almonds are free of synthetic chemicals. Almonds may help keep blood sugar levels stable, so enjoy a handful as a healthy snack or add to your morning muesli for a bit of extra crunch.
Barambah Organics All Natural Yoghurt: Low in sugar and saturated fat, yoghurt is a healthy addition to smoothies and muesli and is a filling snack with fresh fruit. Its probiotics help boost gut health, leaving your digestive system feeling happy and nourished.
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Rolled Oats: a satisfying and healthy way to start the day. Low GI, full of fibre and beta glucans to help keep blood sugar levels stable. Add cinnamon to your porridge, it may play a role in stabilising blood glucose levels.
“Remember, prevention is key for lifestyle-related diseases, like type 2 diabetes,” adds Caroline. “Try adopting a healthy lifestyle with nourishing foods and regular activity. You can come in to any Flannerys Organic & Wholefood Market and speak with our in-store naturopaths and nutritionists for complimentary advice.”

For more information and easy to follow recipes, visit

About Flannerys Organic & Wholefood Market

Flannerys Organic & Wholefood Market offers a huge range of fresh, healthy and organic produce, including unpackaged bulk wholefoods, no added hormone organic and free-range meat, gluten-free products galore and plenty of healthy snacks. Pop in for free naturopathic advice, vegan-friendly and paraben-free cosmetics, plus all the regular health food supplies.

Published in Health
Monday, 15 July 2019 15:04

July in the City of Parramatta

July is set to be a huge month in the City of Parramatta with a wealth of activities and events for residents to enjoy.
One of Sydney’s biggest winter events has arrived in Parramatta – Winterlight 2019. Whether you’re showing off your moves on the 7News open-air ice rink, having fun on the rides or enjoying a meal in the Alpine Food Village, there’s something for everyone at Winterlight 2019.
On Sunday 14 July, you are invited to celebrate Burramatta NAIDOC at Parramatta Park, an exciting day for all residents featuring workshops, live performances, market stalls and more.

Winterlight 2019
Friday 5 July - Sunday 21 July
Sunday - Thursday 11am - 10pm
Friday - Saturday 10am - 11pm
Prince Alfred Square, Parramatta
It’s here! Get your skates on and glide into a magical winter wonderland at the heritage-listed Prince Alfred Square for Winterlight 2019. Enjoy 17 fun-filled days at one of Sydney’s biggest winter festivals, complete with a range of family-friendly activities, live music and roving performers.
Test your moves on the 7News Ice Rink, the largest open-air rink in Sydney, or take your little ones on a winter adventure during dedicated kids’ skating sessions. Make your way down an elevated ice slide, soar to new heights on the illuminated Ferris wheel, or enjoy Winterlight’s many amusement rides.
You can also sample a range of comforting winter fare at the Alpine Food Village – perfect for a social lunch under the winter sun or a cosy family dinner with live music beats.
With so much on offer, Winterlight is the place to be these July school holidays. Book your tickets here or purchase on site.

Published in Events

Nearly 40,000 small businesses in NSW are now up to $8,175 better off per year following a second cut to payroll tax in 12 months.

The payroll tax bracket was lifted from $850,000 to $900,000 on July 1, as the NSW Government progressively raises the threshold from $750,000 to $1 million by 2021-22.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said businesses would receive a boost to their bottom line in coming months with the latest change meaning businesses paying payroll tax could save up to $2,725.

“The savings benefit thousands of businesses across NSW and will mean total savings of around $880 million by the time the full effect of the changes come in to effect in 2021-22,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Not only are tens of thousands of businesses paying less payroll tax, around 3,000 businesses no longer have any payroll tax liabilities following the changes, this means they also avoid the cost associated with bookkeeping.

“This number will increase to about 5,000 by 2021-22 as more businesses fall out of the payroll tax bracket completely.”

Minister for Small Business Damien Tudehope said the NSW Government was always looking for ways to support small business owners.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the NSW economy, employing about 50 per cent of the total NSW workforce and generating close to $51 billion in annual wages,” Mr Tudehope said.

“We want small businesses to grow and thrive, hire more people and invest in their staff.”

Since 2016-17, the Government has delivered over $5 billion in tax cuts to NSW households and businesses, and is continually examining ways to improving the tax framework to better support job creation and give local businesses more freedom to grow.

“The Government is committed to ensuring that NSW taxes are as low, as fair, and as simple as possible,” Mr Tudehope said.

“The Liberals & Nationals Government is making it easier to do business in NSW, and coupled with the Federal Government’s recent income tax cuts announcement, this will continue to power the NSW economy.

“During the election campaign we saw Labor had no plan on how to help business and actually promised not to follow through with further payroll tax cuts, as well as cancelling projects and introducing new taxes,” he said.

Other initiatives introduced by the Government to help business in NSW include:

$300 million in workers compensation insurance premium discounts over three years for 280,000 employers, delivering an average discount of 8 per cent, and maximum of 12.5 per cent, for employers with the safest workplaces.
Ensuring 760,000 small businesses can utilise the NSW Government’s popular Energy Switch program and potentially save thousands off their bill.
· Giving small businesses and tradies a head start in procurement by requiring NSW Government agencies to consider small business suppliers for everything they buy.
· Funding to support the work of the NSW Productivity Commissioner Peter Achterstraat. The Commission’s work programme for 2019-20 will continue to look for opportunities to cut red tape and reduce costs to small businesses.

Published in Business
Monday, 15 July 2019 14:57


Seniors across the Mulgoa electorate will benefit from a cash boost to the 2020 NSW Seniors Festival, encouraging them to get active, socialise, learn new skills and connect with services.


Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies announced a total of $200,000 is available for local organisations helping them to deliver events that celebrate seniors.


“The NSW Seniors Festival is growing from strength to strength and celebrates the vital contributions seniors make to the community.” Tanya Davies said.


“Festival events are designed to get our seniors involved in art courses, active sports, playing music, tapping into technology, and travel.”


“We are always looking to support events that offer unique and engaging activities. We love bringing younger and older generations together with these innovative projects that promote healthy ageing.”


Minister for Seniors John Sidoti said the NSW Seniors Festival is the largest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere and has been running for more than 61 years.


“The grants program ensures seniors from areas right across the state have the opportunity to participate in the festival,” Mr Sidoti said.


“Providing funding to a range of organisations means we can reach a broad range of individuals, including those from regional and remote areas, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and Aboriginal communities.”


The 2020 NSW Seniors Festival wall take place from Wednesday, 12 February – Sunday, 23 February 2020.


Applications are now open and close on Friday, 9 August 2019. For more information or to apply visit:

Published in Incoming