$500 MILLION TO GROW LOCAL ECONOMIES

Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, today announced the opening of the Growing Local Economies Fund, which will use a new funding model to invest half a billion dollars in business-boosting infrastructure in regional NSW.

Mr Fraser said consulting with local government, businesses, and industry and community groups will be an important first step towards submitting a strong application.

Mr Fraser said the $500 million Growing Local Economies Fund, which is part of the $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund announced in the 2017-18 NSW Budget, will ensure regional NSW has the infrastructure it needed to allow local businesses to grow and thrive.

The fund will identify the economic strengths of individual regions across NSW and invest in supporting infrastructure that best suits the needs of each region’s local industries.

“From sole trader tradies to multinational corporations, businesses in the Coffs Harbour electorate rely on roads to deliver goods, rail to transport freight and electricity to power factories,” Mr Fraser said.

“Improving our roads means less vehicle wear and tear, better transport links means freight moves more efficiently and upgraded power means manufacturers can boost production, which will allow businesses to expand and create new jobs.

“As your local MP, I will work with you to develop and submit applications. I encourage local councils, businesses, industry and community groups and non-government organisations to identify potential projects and share them with me so we can turn these into a reality,” Mr Fraser said.

Of the six funds that make up the Regional Growth Fund, the Growing Local Economies Fund is the biggest, and will remain open for submissions for the next four years.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the Growing Local Economies Fund represents a new approach to funding projects in regional and rural areas.

“This fund will identify the competitive advantages, or the potential strong suits of each of the individual regions across NSW, and then invest in those sectors, whether it be in tourism, agriculture or manufacturing,” Mr Barilaro said

“As a Government we are viewing each of these local economies as unique places which present different opportunities for investment.

“Rather than having regions competing on an uneven playing field, the NSW Government has worked very hard to ensure the fund will be shared fairly across the different regions.

“We will be working with individual towns to help them identify the right projects that will help their local businesses grow.”

“In the coming months, I will be travelling around regional NSW to further explain how the Regional Growth Fund can benefit the Coffs Harbour electorate, and more importantly, to listen to your ideas,” he said.

For more information on how to apply visit www.nsw.gov.au/growinglocaleconomies

 

17 August 2017

Ends

For media comment contact Andrew Fraser on 6652 6500 or 0427 241 5

 

FUNDING BOOST FOR RESERVE TRUSTS IN THE COFFS HARBOUR ELECTORATE

The NSW Government is calling on councils and residents in the Coffs Harbour electorate to nominate community infrastructure projects for funding as the first round of applications for the Stronger Country Communities Fund open August 16.

“The Stronger Country Communities Fund will drive investment in local infrastructure projects for rural and regional communities, making them even more vibrant places to live and work,” Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said today.

“This funding will realise projects that the community needs and wants – this is your chance to build or refurbish school facilities, libraries, parks, walking or cycle paths, health centres, country halls and playgrounds.

“Although councils will submit all applications to the fund, community groups are strongly encouraged to identify proposals that meet local aspirations and ensure their local councils submit proposals on behalf of the community.”

Mr Fraser said the fund will support projects between $100,000 and $1 million, or higher with financial co-contribution. Community groups are encouraged to speak to their local MP about potential projects that will strengthen the regional communities of NSW.

The Stronger Country Communities Fund is a once-in-a-generation investment in the infrastructure that makes our towns and regional cities the kinds of places in which people can happily envisage spending their lives.”

The Stronger Country Communities Fund is part of the NSW Government’s $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund, designed to improve economic growth and productivity with investment in regional communities.

Constituents in the Coffs Harbour electorate are encouraged to visit  www.nsw.gov.au/strongercountrycommunities for more information.

16 August 2017

Ends

For media comment contact Andrew Fraser on 6652 6500 or 0427 241 522

NOMINATE NOW FOR COMMUNITY FUNDS

The NSW Government is calling on councils and residents in the Coffs Harbour electorate to nominate community infrastructure projects for funding as the first round of applications for the Stronger Country Communities Fund open August 16.

“The Stronger Country Communities Fund will drive investment in local infrastructure projects for rural and regional communities, making them even more vibrant places to live and work,” Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said today.

“This funding will realise projects that the community needs and wants – this is your chance to build or refurbish school facilities, libraries, parks, walking or cycle paths, health centres, country halls and playgrounds.

“Although councils will submit all applications to the fund, community groups are strongly encouraged to identify proposals that meet local aspirations and ensure their local councils submit proposals on behalf of the community.”

Mr Fraser said the fund will support projects between $100,000 and $1 million, or higher with financial co-contribution. Community groups are encouraged to speak to their local MP about potential projects that will strengthen the regional communities of NSW.

“The Stronger Country Communities Fund is a once-in-a-generation investment in the infrastructure that makes our towns and regional cities the kinds of places in which people can happily envisage spending their lives.”

The Stronger Country Communities Fund is part of the NSW Government’s $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund, designed to improve economic growth and productivity with investment in regional communities.

Constituents in the Coffs Harbour electorate are encouraged to visit  www.nsw.gov.au/strongercountrycommunities for more information.

 

16 August 2017

Ends

For media comment contact Andrew Fraser on 6652 6500 or 0427 241 522

Melbourne archbishop says he would rather go to jail than report child sex abuse heard in confessional

Denis Hart says ‘communication with God is of a higher order’ after child sex abuse inquiry calls for failure to report to become a criminal offence

Denis Hart
 Archbishop Denis Hart says Catholic priests would rather be jailed than violate the sacramental seal. Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/AAP

The archbishop of the archdiocese of Melbourne, Denis Hart, said he would risk going to jail rather than report allegations of child sexual abuse raised during confession, and that the sacredness of communication with God during confession should be above the law.

He was responding to a report from the child sex abuse royal commission calling for reforms that, if adopted by governments, would see failure to report child sex abuse in institutions become a criminal offence, extending to information given in religious confessions.

Speaking to ABC radio 774 in Melbourne, Hart said he stood by comments he made in 2011 that priests would rather be jailed than violate the sacramental seal.

“I believe [confession] is an absolute sacrosanct communication of a higher order that priests by nature respect,” Hart said on Tuesday morning.

“We are admitting a communication with God is of a higher order,” he said. “It is a sacred trust. It’s something those who are not Catholics find hard to understand but we believe it is most, most sacred and it’s very much part of us.”

He said much of the abuse that occurred was historical and awareness of abuse was greater now, and he believed it was unlikely “anything would ever happen” today.

But if someone were to confess they had been sexually abused or they knew of someone who had been, Hart said it would be adequate to encourage them to tell someone else outside of confession. For example, he would encourage a child to tell a teacher, who are already mandated under law to report.

Confession, he added, was “perhaps the only opportunity where a person who has offended or a child who has been hurt can have the opportunity for broader advice,” he said.

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Meanwhile, the attorney general, George Brandis, responded to the commission’s recommendations by saying there were “important issues of religious freedom” to consider.

Speaking to ABC’s Radio National program on Tuesday morning, Brandis said he was yet to read the recommendations from the child sex abuse royal commission’s report, released on Monday, due to “other ambient political events of the day”, presumably questions around the deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce’s citizenship.

But he said: “The law does and always has protected certain categories of intimate professional relationships.”

In its report the commission said it understood the significance of religious confession, “in particular, the inviolability of the confessional seal to people of some faiths, particularly the Catholic faith”.

“However, we heard evidence of a number of instances where disclosures of child sexual abuse were made in religious confession, by both victims and perpetrators. We are satisfied that confession is a forum where Catholic children have disclosed their sexual abuse and where clergy have disclosed their abusive behaviour in order to deal with their own guilt,” the report said.

“We heard evidence that perpetrators who confessed to sexually abusing children went on to reoffend and seek forgiveness again.”

Father Frank Brennan, a Jesuit priest and professor of law at the Australian Catholic University, joined Hart in saying he would not adhere to any legislative changes.

“And if there is a law that says that I have to disclose it, then yes, I will conscientiously refuse to comply with the law,’’ Brennan told the Australian.

‘‘All I can say is that in 32 years no one has ever come near me and confessed anything like that. And instituting such a law, I say, simply reduces rather than increases the prospect that anyone ever will come and confess that to me.’’

The CEO of the Australian Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan, who has previously expressed frustration at the church’s lack of action in addressing child sexual abuse, said the seal of confession was one of the universal laws of the church.

He said should Australia change the law, priests would be expected to obey the law, like everybody else, or suffer the consequences.
“If they do not this will be a personal, conscience decision on the part of the priest that will have to be dealt with by the authorities in accordance with the new law as best they can,” he said.

Brisbane’s Catholic archbishop, Mark Coleridge, said the relationship between priest and penitent in the sacrament of penance is unlike any other relationship, because the penitent speaks not to the priest but to God, with the priest only a mediator.

“That needs to be kept in mind when making legal decisions about the seal of the confessional,” he told his diocesan newspaper the Catholic Leader.

“So too does the need to protect the young and vulnerable in every way possible.”

NEW TRAINS COMING TO THE COFFS HARBOUR ELECTORATE

The Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, announced today that the next generation of regional trains will be coming to the Coffs Harbour electorate, replacing the ageing XPT’s.

The NSW Government has begun the procurement process for a new type of train to replace the decades-old XPT, XPLORER and Endeavour-class sets.

“Passenger trains have long provided links between regions and the cities,” Mr Fraser said.

“Whether it is to do business, get specialist medical treatment, or to visit far-away loved ones, train travel has always played a critical role in our country communities.  The older trains have served us well, but they are nearing the end of their days.

“Those of us who are old enough remember the excitement that came with the introduction of the XPTs, which really transformed regional train travel. A decade later, we added Endeavors and Explorers, giving us an unrivaled country train network.

“Now, 40 years later, we have the opportunity to deliver train sets that will surpass all of those. We are delivering the trains of the 21st Century that are more comfortable, more accessible and packed with more features.”

The Government will soon issue an Expression of Interest for the design, construction and maintenance of the new fleet.

Under the Expression of Interest and subsequent tender process, the NSW Government will seek to deliver innovation, increased customer comfort, and greater energy efficiency for regional customers. A thorough tender evaluation process will be conducted next year, ahead of the contract being awarded in early 2019.

The new trains will be operated by NSW Train Link, the NSW Government owned regional rail and coach service provider.

In Dubbo, Deputy Premier John Barilaro also announced the construction of a brand new rail maintenance facility, with Dubbo identified as the preferred location.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce this entire new regional fleet will be serviced not in Sydney, but in regional NSW,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Dubbo has been identified as our preferred location for a brand new maintenance facility to support the new fleet.

“This will be a game-changer for the people of regional NSW, delivering more convenient timetabling and reduced congestion for regional and rural passengers.

“Importantly, the new maintenance facility will also deliver long-term skilled jobs, including apprentices and traineeships for the Orana region.

“This announcement signals the depth of our commitment to rural and regional communities by ensuring that services that deliver for country areas are supported by long-term skilled jobs, including apprentices and traineeships, in country areas.”

CAN WE TRUST COFFS HARBOUR CITY COUNCIL?

By the Contrarian  July  31   2017     

The former chairperson of Coffs Harbour CBD Masterplan Committer, representing those CBD Business ratepayers who agreed to pay a special rate variation (SRV)  to the Coffs Harbour City Council (CHCC), resigned recently because he believed the CHCC was reneging on an agreement that was outlined and written up in Council Minutes, associated Terms of Reference and other supporting paperwork.

Rod McKelvey, a former councillor and deputy Mayor makes it clear in his resignation letter to the CHCC he believes the Council has got in the way of the CBD Masterplan Committee, re-written agreed Terms of Reference and believes it can “do whatever it wants with the SRV money.” In his resignation letter he cites a CHCC employee at a CBD Masterplan Committee meeting in late 2016 saying, “It’s our money (Council’s) and we can spend it on whatever we want, we don’t need your permission.”

In  essence, and I am paraphrasing here, Mr McKelvey resigned because he had serious doubts about whether the CHCC can be trusted ‘to honour it’s word’ and to act with probity at least in relation to the SRV and Council’s agreement with the CBD Masterplan Committee.

Let that sink in for a minute.

It doesn’t get much more problematic than that at a local government level really other than corruption , which is not being alleged in this article. Complaints from other SRV payers and some CBD Masterplan Committee members lead to the Member of Coffs Harbour, Mr Andrew Fraser, making a statement in the NSW Parliament on the matter. Mr Fraser’s statement on 17th March last, direct from a link to Hansard, was published here in Coffs Outlook on 22nd May last wherein he mentions issues raised by John Rafferty, the CEO of C-ex about the CHCC and dissatisfaction  with Council’s actions, attitude and responses to the CBD Masterplan Committee and also their overall management of the SRV. Mr Fraser cites a letter from Mr  Rafferty whereby Mr  Rafferty says: “Clearly what’s happening now is not what they (the SRV ratepayers} agreed to. Central to the investigation of an extension to the SRV was that CBD landowners (the special ratepayers) would have a majority of votes on the Committee so that no expenditure could be made without their explicit minuted approval. That was the deal maker. All of the discussion about establishing an extension to the special rate focused on that critical point. They did not want a situation where Council controlled the decision-making (my emphasis}.

Those paying the SRV are very disappointed that the agreed Terms of Reference can also be re-written at any time. And I think that goes to the heart of the issue, in that Council has assumed control of the Master funds.

 

Trump Just Helped Prove How Fake His Twitter Following Is

This is what happens when your biggest fans are bots.

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The face of a Twitter bot.

Like pretty much everything else about his presidency, Donald Trump’s Twitter following is a lie. His social media fan base is mostly made of fake accounts; his legion of followers overwhelmingly comprised of automated bots. This weekend, Trump inadvertently reminded us how phony his social media popularity is when he shined a light on what he erroneously believed was an adoring supporter. That Trump booster turned out be a Twitter bot—just one of the millions of fake accounts that exist solely to bolster the popularity of the most unpopular president in American history. On the heels of the president basically catfishing himself, Twitter has since suspended the fake account and a slew of others just like it.

Here’s how we got here: On Saturday, a Twitter account with the handle @ProTrump45 tweeted a meme declaring that “Trump fights for us,” along with the message, “Trump working hard for the American people….thanks to Trump.” In response, Trump sent a thank-you message to the account, which was attached to a profile attributing ownership to a woman named “Nicole Mincey.” It didn’t take long for the hivemind internet to discover that Nicole Mincey ran a virtual store also named ProTrump45 that sells Trump-branded merchandise.

As Twitter user @Rschooley pointed out in a lengthy but brilliant thread, Nicole Mincey is not a real person. The image of her supposed face actually belongs to a model who appeared on PlaceIt, a site that will put anything you want on the front of a T-shirt. Nicole Mincey was just one of countless PlaceIt models whose images had somehow been transformed into a legion of Trump Twitterbots.

But that’s not all. Numerous members of the conservative mediasphere have been duped by these fake bots, and by @ProTrump45 in particular. Because the image associated with “Nicole Mincey”—again, not a real person but a case of online identity theft gone viral—is African-American, right-wing websites fell over themselves to feature her (totally fake) story of a formerly liberal, Obama-supporting black woman who now couldn’t post enough about how much she loves Trump.

Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller published a piece by someone using the name “ProTrump45” which fabricates a background for “Nicole Mincey” filled with black stereotypes and white conservati

2018 FLAGSHIP EVENT FUND NOW OPEN FOR EVENTS IN COFFS HARBOUR ELECTORATE

Event organisers in the Coffs Harbour electorate are being encouraged to apply for grants under the NSW Government’s 2018 Flagship Event Fund, with expressions of interest open from today.

Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser said the Fund will offer successful applicants a one-off annual grant of $20,000 or a triennial grant of $27,500 per year for three years.

“I am delighted to announce that expressions of interest for the 2018 Flagship Event Fund are now open, providing events that have been running for more than two years with funding support for marketing activities aimed at driving overnight visitation,” Mr Fraser said.

“Our communities have so many wonderful stories to tell and events not only help boost our local economies but take visitors on an incredible journey, whether it’s showcasing our fantastic producers, artists, craftspeople, sportspeople or musicians.”

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the Fund, which is managed by the State’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, is part of the Government’s record spend in rural and regional tourism.

“The NSW Government has committed $43 million over four years to attract more visitors to experience our wonderful rural and regional destinations and events,” Mr Marshall said.

“This Fund is part of our record investment in growing tourism across the State and represents rural and regional NSW at its best with local communities coming together to stage events, which are often a great reflection of the region’s unique character and culture.”

Expressions of Interest for the 2018 Flagship Event Fund are open until COB Friday 1 September 2017 and applicants whose expressions of interest sufficiently meet the criteria will be invited to submit a full application in October.

For further information on the 2018 Flagship Event Fund and to lodge an expression of interest visit http://www.destinationnsw.com.au/rfep

2018 FLAGSHIP EVENT FUND NOW OPEN FOR EVENTS IN THE COFFS HARBOUR ELECTORATE

Event organisers in the Coffs Harbour electorate are being encouraged to apply for grants under the NSW Government’s 2018 Flagship Event Fund, with expressions of interest open from today.

Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser said the Fund will offer successful applicants a one-off annual grant of $20,000 or a triennial grant of $27,500 per year for three years.

“I am delighted to announce that expressions of interest for the 2018 Flagship Event Fund are now open, providing events that have been running for more than two years with funding support for marketing activities aimed at driving overnight visitation,” Mr Fraser said.

“Our communities have so many wonderful stories to tell and events not only help boost our local economies but take visitors on an incredible journey, whether it’s showcasing our fantastic producers, artists, craftspeople, sportspeople or musicians.”

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the Fund, which is managed by the State’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, is part of the Government’s record spend in rural and regional tourism.

“The NSW Government has committed $43 million over four years to attract more visitors to experience our wonderful rural and regional destinations and events,” Mr Marshall said.

“This Fund is part of our record investment in growing tourism across the State and represents rural and regional NSW at its best with local communities coming together to stage events, which are often a great reflection of the region’s unique character and culture.”

Expressions of Interest for the 2018 Flagship Event Fund are open until COB Friday 1 September 2017 and applicants whose expressions of interest sufficiently meet the criteria will be invited to submit a full application in October.

For further information on the 2018 Flagship Event Fund and to lodge an expression of interest visit http://www.destinationnsw.com.au/rfep

 

 

COFFS HARBOUR MOORINGS UPGRADE COMPLETE

Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser today announced the completion of the $2.7 million upgrade of Coffs Harbour’s Fishermen’s Mooring.

Mr Fraser said commercial and recreational fishermen now have improved and safer access to boat moorings.

“This upgrade means the mooring can now accommodate larger commercial fishing vessels while also ensuring recreational boats the same level of access,” Mr Fraser said.

“Coffs Harbour’s commercial fishing fleet currently supplies restaurants and retail shops right along the NSW coast and it’s the second largest supplier to the Sydney market.

“The $2.7 million upgrade of the mooring facilities will make sure this vital industry can continue to grow and contribute to the region’s economy.”

The NSW Government worked closely with the Fishermen’s Co-op to design a solution that supports the existing and future needs of the commercial fleet and recreational boat users in the area.

The upgrade included widening the South Western Breakwater to create an additional 13 parking spaces and safer access for vehicles.

Minister for Lands Paul Toole said the NSW Government’s $2.7 million investment in the Coffs Harbour Moorings upgrade demonstrates a strong commitment to maintaining and improving maritime facilities for coastal towns.

“Since 2011 this Government has invested around $62 million for over 50 projects through its Coastal Infrastructure Program, which supports local and regional economies by ensuring port and river entrance infrastructure is maintained for both commercial and recreational use,” Mr Toole said.