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  • 06-Apr-2021 12:00 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Millions of pedestrians and cyclists can now enjoy more than 20km of continuous off-road paths along both sides of the Parramatta River with the completion of the new Escarpment Boardwalk.

    The much-anticipated $18 million project was officially opened by City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer and Member for Parramatta Dr Geoff Lee.

    The impressive river-level path is a critical missing link in the Parramatta Valley Cycleway, connecting Parramatta Park to the burgeoning Melrose Park precinct and Sydney Olympic Park. Two new sets of stairs connecting the path to Stewart and Macarthur streets have also been installed.

    “The new Escarpment Boardwalk is going to be a game-changer for the nearly two million people who use our riverside paths through the Parramatta CBD every year,” Cr Dwyer said.

    “Since the pandemic hit, more pedestrians and cyclists than ever are accessing the Parramatta Valley Cycleway, so the opening of this vital link could not have come at a better time.

    “The boardwalk and two new sets of stairs will halve the current travel distance, remove steep inclines, and avoid a number of road crossings – providing much safer access for all users, including students at Macarthur Girls High School.”

    Located opposite the Parramatta Ferry Wharf, the project was co-funded by City of Parramatta Council and the NSW Government, through the Cycling Infrastructure Fund and Transport for NSW’s Active Transport Program.

    Dr Geoff Lee said the State Government and Council have built Sydney’s best continuous pedestrian and cycleway along the Parramatta River, which includes the impressive over-water escarpment boardwalk.

    “Residents will now have the opportunity to walk or ride to work from Parramatta CBD to Melrose Park without going on the road,” Dr Lee said.

    “This will transform the way people move around our City and suburbs, and enable everyone to explore and enjoy our beautiful area safely.”

    The boardwalk is part of the multi-million dollar transformation of Parramatta Quay – the river gateway to Sydney’s Central City. This includes the redevelopment of Charles Street Square, the area adjacent to the wharf, which will have an improved riverfront walk, new garden terrace, and an amphitheatre with views over the Quay by the second half of 2022.

    “We want to turn the picturesque Parramatta riverfront into a true destination,” Cr Dwyer said.

    “Whether you’re travelling by bike, foot or ferry, these projects will make the Parramatta CBD more connected and accessible for the many thousands of locals and visitors to our great City.”

  • 06-Apr-2021 10:22 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    By Matthews Folbigg Lawyers

    The year of 2020 has presented a multitude of challenges to the Family Courts of Australia. We have seen the Family Court respond to these challenges swiftly and boldly to ensure that Australian families are supported through the Family Law system in these difficult times. See below for some insight into some of the Court’s commendable innovations including:

    1. The Virtual courtroom;

    2. The COVID-19 List; and

    3. The Lighthouse project.

    The Virtual Court Room

    In response to the COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing rules, the Family Courts are now operating on a virtual basis and are conducting Court hearings using two main platforms:

    1. Video conferencing via Microsoft Teams; and

    2. Telephone conferencing

    This introduction of the virtual Court room has been bolstered by the implementation of an Online Court file which allows lawyers and litigants to file and access Court documents online.

    Although hearings are now taking place virtually, the formalities of usual Court room etiquette and behaviour remain an expectation.

    COVID-19 List

    Due to the rise in urgent applications being made during COVID-19, the Family Court introduced a fast-tracked Court list known as the COVID-19 List to swiftly deal with urgent applications related to COVID-19. Applications that meet the criteria will come before a Registrar or a Judge within 3 business days of being assessed as urgent. Examples of situations where the COVID-19 List may be appropriate include:

    1. Disputes about a child being vaccinated against COVID-19;

    2. Parenting arrangements for when a parent or child has undergone a COVID-19 test;

    3. Travel arrangements during border closures;

    4. Difficulties relating to contact arrangements and changeovers arising from school or contact centre closures.

    The Lighthouse Project

    Another innovation of the Family Court is the launch of the Lighthouse Project, a $13.5 million Government funded pilot dedicated to improving legal responses to family violence or other risk behaviours including alcohol and drug abuse. Parties who file parenting only applications in certain Registries will now be asked to complete a confidential online questionnaire to assist the Court in identifying high risk cases early on in the proceedings. This will enable the Court to triage matters to an appropriate pathway based on the identified level of risk. Cases with high risk factors will be referred to the Evatt List, a specialised Court List where matters are heard before Judges with specialised experience and training in family violence and other risk. It is anticipated that this new innovative project will help to improve the safety of families and expedite appropriate urgent cases.

  • 30-Mar-2021 13:00 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Construction on Parramatta’s new $88.6 million aquatic and leisure centre is officially underway following the appointment of a builder for the state-of-the-art community facility.

    City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer today joined Dr Geoff Lee, Member for Parramatta, and representatives from construction firm Lipman to turn the first sod at Mays Hill in Parramatta Park, marking an exciting next step of the much-anticipated project.

    “This is a historic moment for the people of Parramatta, as work begins on one of the country’s best public aquatic and leisure centres in Australia’s best city,” Cr Dwyer said.

    “We know the community has been eager to get back into the water, so I’m excited that City of Parramatta Council has teamed up with respected and experienced builder Lipman to ensure we deliver a first-class facility as soon as possible.”

    Dr Geoff Lee, Member for Parramatta, said Parramatta is ready to dive into building the new aquatic centre and that this is also the news that the community has been waiting for.

    “Parramatta deserves a pool which caters for competition, learn-to-swim classes, recreation and relaxation. This aquatic centre will be the envy of communities all over the State. It will be a complex with versatility designed to meet the needs of Parramatta now and in the future for decades to come,” Dr Lee said.

    Lipman CEO Rob MacKee said: "Lipman is thrilled to be delivering the Parramatta aquatic and leisure centre – a flagship project for Western Sydney. We look forward to working closely with City of Parramatta Council to help make it one of Sydney’s most iconic aquatic and leisure facilities, and seeing it thrive for many years to come."

    Expected to be completed in early 2023, the project is being co-funded by Council and the NSW Government, which is investing $38.5 million from the Restart NSW Fund.

    Council, on top of its initial commitment of $38.5 million, is investing an extra $11.6 million to increase the facility’s capacity and future-proof it to accommodate Parramatta's rapid growth.

    The new 40,000 square metre aquatic and leisure centre has been designed to integrate seamlessly with the lush surrounds of Parramatta Park. It will include a 10-lane, 50m outdoor pool; 25m indoor pool; indoor learn-to-swim pool; indoor water playground; spa and sauna facilities; café; fitness centre; multipurpose community rooms; and up to 200 parking spaces.

    Solar panels will also be installed on sections of the centre’s roof, generating approximately 142,000 kilowatts of power annually, while more than 500 trees indigenous to the area will be planted.

    “This is a once-in-a-generation project and we are making sure it goes the distance. We are investing more to meet the growing demands of our City,” Cr Dwyer said.

    “This state-of-the art facility will be a place the people of Parramatta and Greater Sydney can enjoy for many years to come – whether to train, compete or simply to have fun with friends and family.”

  • 16-Mar-2021 13:26 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Australia’s first modern baggage handling system will be a game changer for anyone catching a plane from Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport when it opens in late 2026.

    Western Sydney Airport CEO Simon Hickey said the baggage handling system will help deliver a fast and easy experience for passengers and airlines and make Sydney’s new airport one of the most advanced airports in the world.

    “This innovative, convenient and secure system is the next generation in baggage handling, which will give passengers and airlines the confidence that luggage will arrive safely - at the right place and the right time,” Mr Hickey said.

    “We’re aiming to make lost luggage a thing of the past at Sydney’s new airport.”

    Mr Hickey said Western Sydney International’s system will be a revolutionary leap ahead compared to older airports, using digital technology to track, load and move baggage more efficiently.

    “Everyone knows baggage handling can be a real pain point at airports. Standing around, not knowing if and when your bag will arrive on the decades-old carousel is an anxious moment for any traveller,” he said.

    “Our system will be faster and far more reliable, with potential for bag pick up and automated storage and the ability to track your bag via an app to know exactly when it’s going to arrive at your pick up destination.

    “Comparing our baggage handling system to those at other airports, which are based on technology that’s been around for half a century, is like comparing a go-cart to a Tesla.”

    The cutting-edge ‘tote’ system will also drive efficiency for airlines. Its ‘batch-building’ capability will automatically group luggage for easier delivery to the airside baggage make-up area for loading onto aircraft quickly and easily.

    “This means reduced airline delays at departure gates, lower operating costs and more use out of aircraft”.

    The system will be compatible with advanced robotics that will reduce the manual baggage handling burden on ground staff and create a safer working environment.

    The contract to design, build and maintain the system has been awarded to Vanderlande Industries Australia, a subsidiary of Toyota, following a competitive procurement process.

    Established in 1949, Vanderlande Industries’ baggage handling systems are active in 600 airports worldwide, including 12 of the world’s top 20.

    “A baggage handling system is the heart of any airport passenger terminal. Awarding this contract is further proof our airport will offer passengers and airlines a more positive experience,” Mr Hickey said.

    The baggage handling system design and construction will be integrated into the construction of the airport’s passenger terminal, which is due to begin at the end of 2021. Western Sydney International is on track to open for international, domestic and air cargo flights in late 2026.

  • 19-Feb-2021 15:07 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Canterbury Bankstown is evolving with Bankstown CBD, a strategic central Sydney location being just 30 minutes from Sydney’s other major centres, emerging as ‘The Place of Opportunity’.

    With a strong focus on environmental sustainability, and smart technology, Bankstown is being positioned as a new generation health and education precinct currently being driven by the construction of a world class university, new billion dollar hospital, and key metro connections.

    Join Council for an exclusive preview of what’s planned next for the City, with the soon to be released Draft Bankstown and Campsie Masterplans, our long-term draft Economic Development Strategy, and our draft Night time Economy Action Plan.

    A flythrough video will showcase the vibrant precincts and the multi-million dollar investments that are expected to spring up, in and around our town centres. The amazing transformation is just a small part of what will undoubtedly position Canterbury Bankstown, as the City to live and do business in.

    This event is proudly supported by the City of Canterbury-Bankstown and Bankstown Sports

    Event Details

    Date: Friday, 19 March 2021

    Time: 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm AEDT

    Location: Bankstown Sports, The Ballroom, 8 Greenfield Parade, Bankstown

    Bookings: Click here to book your ticket

  • 19-Feb-2021 14:56 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Liverpool approved more than $1 billion of development applications in 2020 – the fourth consecutive year the total has topped the mark.

    The $1.34 billion in approvals for the city was led by more than $800 million of regionally significant buildings.

    Mayor Wendy Waller said the momentum was being driven by Council’s decision in 2018 to rezone the 25 hectares of its city centre and Liverpool’s projected population growth to 300,000 by 2030.

    “Significantly in 2020, construction of more than $96 million of Affordable Rental Housing was approved, to further contribute to the existing supply of accessible housing for the community,” she said.

    The largest developments approved in 2020 were:

    • $105 million: 35-storey mixed use development on Elizabeth Street in Liverpool CBD;
    • $95.4 million: Multi-storey warehouse complex at Prestons (6km west of Liverpool CBD);
    • $93.5 million: Liverpool Westfield entertainment and leisure precinct and office tower on the CBD’s Macquarie Street; and
    • $100 million: A mixed use development of 14-storey and 20-storey residential towers on Bathurst Street, also in the CBD.

    Work also began in 2020 on the city’s biggest commercial redevelopment, Liverpool Civic Place, a partnership of Council and Built Development.

    Council’s $195 million contribution will deliver it:

    • New Council offices and Council Chambers;
    • A new city library and community hub;
    • A childcare facility;
    • A new civic plaza; and
    • Council and public parking.

    Construction completion is scheduled for late 2022 or early 2023.

  • 18-Feb-2021 17:39 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Vaccine rollout will ease pressure on the Australian and world economies.

    Australia is one of just five nations – Taiwan, China, Vietnam, New Zealand and ourselves – who enter 2021 very well-placed. To be clear, although the damage of 2020 is winding back fast, it definitely hasn’t disappeared, and it will linger. Then again, a bit of perspective is handy. Australia is positioned for recovery provided vaccine rollout begins as announced, outbreaks remain contained and state borders stay mostly open. You’d rather be here than almost anywhere else. Learn more

  • 17-Feb-2021 10:36 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    By Brilliant Digital 

    You’ve no doubt heard that Google is threatening to make its Search Engine unavailable in Australia.

    They are unhappy about a proposed government bill which will control how much Google and other tech giants have to pay for professional news articles shared on their platforms.

    Similarly, Facebook is also vowing to stop Aussie users from posting or sharing news links if the proposed bill becomes law.

    Of course, if Google does disappear from our screens, Aussies will find other ways to search online (Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo etc) and our world will keep turning.

    In turn, this will open the flood gates for other governments to play hardball with the tech giants, probably something Google doesn’t want.

    So, it seems to me unlikely that Australia will find itself without Google.

    But say they do go, what opportunity opens up for us? Click here to find out.

  • 17-Feb-2021 10:15 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    By Blacktown City Council

    The current pandemic has brought into stark relief the exposure of local businesses to the effects of this major public health shock.

    The response by most local councils has been to support local business and help minimise the negative effects of the pandemic on their businesses and move forward.

    This situation has highlighted to many of us in local government the strengths and weaknesses of our local economies. It has also indicated how we may need to learn more about how our local areas function as part of the broader system of the Australian economy.

    The current situation

    At present, Blacktown City Council is served well by different layers of data sets provided by data gathering/data analytic services. This data covers areas such as:

    • economic indicators
    • economic value
    • local employment
    • businesses
    • industry focus
    • journey to work
    • local and resident workers
    • market profile.

    This information creates a good structure to explain the size of the economy and businesses, industry sectors which create local jobs, levels of output, value added activities and local sales.

    The problem

    This is good information. However, it’s historical and based on data generated in some cases 12 months or more ago. We do not know what is currently happening in the economy in sufficient detail.

    This is important, because during the current COVID-19 pandemic, our local businesses have been significantly affected by the changing local economic conditions brought about by random outbreaks of the disease. There have been very few metrics to measure what’s been happening in our local economy during this period. What information has been available has tended to be anecdotal and selective.

    Big data project

    Blacktown City’s preference would be to know what is happening in real time, so that our limited resources can be prioritised. We need to target our activities and maximise the return on our service and optimise the beneficial effects of Council’s engagement with our local business community.

    A solution

    Council wants to know the movements of money around our local economy. We want to find out at any one time:

    • the business cohort which generates revenue
    • where revenue is spent
    • what revenue is spent on, such as wages and investment
    • how much created wealth leaks out of the local economy.

    The concept would be to create a desktop dashboard and use access to financial information to generate data trends. Council would not want access to individual data. We are more interested in the information created by data from the different business cohorts across our City.

    The challenge is to:

    • to create the algorithms which can identify and select financial data in a useable format
    • have legal access to this financial data
    • be able to translate that data into positive actions by local government.

    This project is emerging out of some blue sky thinking.

    We’re beginning to form a project team to understand the technical challenges and conditions of access for gathering such data.

    If you are interested in finding out more, or being part of a solution to the ‘big data’ challenge, please contact David Somerville at

  • 16-Feb-2021 14:22 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

    Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport has revealed it is exceeding its local employment target two years into the project, with 54 percent of the workforce building Sydney’s new airport from the local community.

    Western Sydney Airport Chief Executive Officer Simon Hickey said more than half of the airport team are from Western Sydney, almost double the construction phase target of 30 per cent.

    “Western Sydney International is being built to be a catalyst for jobs and opportunities in Sydney’s west, so we’re proud that just over two years into the seven-year build, more than half of the team are local,” Mr Hickey said.

    Mr Hickey said the project was still in the earthworks phase, moving more than 25 million cubic metres of earth to prepare the site for terminal, runway and other civil infrastructure construction, including internal roads, utilities and supporting buildings.

    “With terminal construction due to begin by the start of 2022 and the runway soon after, in around two years we’ll be at peak construction, with thousands of people working directly on the site,” he said.

    “The flow-on benefits mean that more jobs will be created so that businesses of all sizes, including small to medium local businesses, can service and supply this massive project.

    “Once the airport is operating, it will mean jobs of all kinds from ground crew, customer service and retail, as well as jobs at the myriad of employers in the on-airport business park and cargo facility.

    “It’s an exciting time for Western Sydney and it’s great that the airport will be an important part of its growth.”

    Mr Hickey said on top of jobs at the airport itself, it will be a catalyst for higher quality employment locally in Western Sydney, meaning fewer people will have to sacrifice three hours a day commuting to work in the east.

    “The generational impact Western Sydney International will have on this region is yet to be fully realised,” he said.

    Work to build Western Sydney International is on schedule for the airport to open to international and domestic passenger and air cargo services in late 2026.

    Western Sydney International has been designed to grow and expand with demand, in stages and over decades, eventually catering for 82 million passengers a year in the 2060s – comparable to Dubai, Heathrow or JFK today – it will become the biggest gateway to Australia.

    The design is thoughtful, with consideration to how tomorrow’s technology will come together with great design, intuitive wayfinding and dedicated customer service to create a fast and easy experience for passengers and airlines.

    Western Sydney International will proudly be the beating heart of a thriving and vibrant precinct supporting growth and prosperity, stimulating new business and investment, and enhancing our state’s, and Western Sydney’s offering on a global scale.

    Click here to learn more about Western Sydney Airport. 


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