Minister for Skills John Barilaro is calling on the next generation to consider an apprentice or traineeship as a long-term career option and take advantage of this unprecedented period of investment in NSW.

  Mr Barilaro said the NSW Government is delivering the certainty and business confidence that has produced over 250,000 jobs since 2011 and slashed red tape by over $815 million.

  “What industry employers need now are more skilled workers placed in jobs to meet their high levels of business confidence,” Mr Barilaro said.

  “The students today are not just the tradespeople of tomorrow - they are our future entrepreneurs and our future business leaders.

  “Electricians, carpenters and business services are the trades and traineeships the next generation should be thinking about as a career or business venture, as these are the jobs that industry needs to place skilled workers in,” Mr Barilaro said.

  Initiatives to encourage more apprentices and trainees include:

*         Investing $2.3 billion in vocation education and training, including a $122 million increase for TAFE compared to last year;

*         Delivering over 450,000 places for students to become mechanics, electricians, bricklayers;

*         Providing the $25 million Jobs of Tomorrow Scholarship fund to deliver 25,000 scholarships for students to complete qualifications in technology;

*         Investing $48 million to create 200, 000 fee free scholarships over 4 years; and,

*         Giving employers greater flexibility to choose the training organisation they want to deliver apprentices and trainees to support over 47,000 training places.

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    The NSW Government has proposed tough new Code of Conduct requirements for local NSW councils.

    Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton said the updated Model Code of Conduct for Councils in NSW – which would apply to 1,500 councillors and almost 50,000 council staff across NSW – was now on public exhibition for comment.

    “While most councillors do the right thing for a small minority it is all about them instead of what is in the community’s best interests. We are determined to weed out councillors misusing their public office,” Ms Upton said.

    “Breaches of the new Code of Conduct by councillors can result in suspension and even disqualification from office and these new proposed requirements will put an even greater onus on councillors to behave appropriately or face the consequences if they don’t serve their ratepayers.”

    The new Model Code of Conduct proposes a range of new rules for all councillors and staff, including:

    • Banning accepting gifts or benefits greater than $50 and introducing mandatory reporting of all gifts or benefits regardless of value;
    • Disclosing records of meetings and other communications with applicants and objectors to planning applications;
    • Banning access to council information when councillors have a pecuniary or a significant non-pecuniary conflict of interest;
    • Requiring the declaration of new interests by councillors and staff more regularly in official returns of interest;
    • Declaring being a property developer or a close associate of a property developer more regularly in official returns of interest;
    • Publishing information in councillor and general manager official returns of interest on council’s website;
    • Tough new standards against bullying, discrimination and harassment, work health and safety, on behaviour at meetings and use of social media;
    • Clarifying that councillors must not use council information for personal purposes or undertake personal dealings with council during work time.

    The draft Model Code of Conduct is on public exhibition for six weeks.


    All merged councils across NSW will remain in place as communities continue to enjoy the benefits of savings and improvements to services, Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton announced today.

    “Since becoming Premier, the Deputy Premier and I have been travelling across NSW, listening to the views and considering the evidence,” Ms Berejiklian said.

    “In addition to maintaining all existing mergers, we will push ahead with those councils in Sydney that are before the courts.

    “Local government reform is particularly important in Sydney if we are to deliver on our commitments to increase housing supply, improve planning and deliver local infrastructure and amenity to communities. These are strong justifications for proceeding with mergers.

    “Before the mergers last year, Sydney had 41 councils compared to 1 in Brisbane.

    “We have also listened to concerns about local character in Sydney and will continue to ensure individual wards of merged councils will have a say in strategic planning processes so that local residents get an even stronger say in the planning of their neighbourhoods.”

    Ms Berejiklian and Mr Barilaro also announced that the NSW Government would not be proceeding with regional councils that have yet to be merged.

    “Whilst there have been a number of significant improvements in merged regional councils, we accept that a one size fits all model does not always apply outside Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The financial benefits over the next 20 years will be 6 times greater in the Sydney councils than those in regional areas.”

    Mr Barilaro said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to listening, and delivering, for the communities across regional NSW.

    “Local councils in the bush have done their fair share to contribute to stronger local government in NSW, and today we draw a line under local government amalgamations in the regions,” Mr Barilaro said.

    “This decision has been made to ensure that we put an end to the confusion and uncertainty for those councils locked in drawn-out legal battles. I am looking forward to the local government elections in September to restore local decision-making to our regions.”

    Ms Upton said three rounds of mergers in regional NSW over recent decades had seen significant consolidation of councils, while metropolitan council numbers had remained largely unchanged since the 1940s, with some boundaries unchanged for more than 100 years.

    “The reform process was particularly designed to weed out the duplication, mismanagement and waste of Sydney’s councils, an issue far less prevalent in regional NSW,” Ms Upton said.

    “With more than 1.74 million people set to make Sydney home over the next 20 years, metropolitan councils need to keep up with housing and local infrastructure demands.

    “The five remaining metropolitan mergers are expected to generate $530 million in benefits over 20 years. Communities deserve to see these benefits.”

    The Premier said new councils created last year will continue to serve their communities.

    “New councils across NSW have been working hard to deliver better services for their communities,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Residents and ratepayers would be worse off if this was undone.”


    Regional NSW and outer Sydney residents and businesses will be better connected with work now underway to eliminate up to 795 mobile black spots across the State.

    Minister for Regional Development John Barilaro said the NSW Government has worked closely with the Federal Government and mobile phone carriers to maximise the funding and the subsequent benefits of the program.

    The Mobile Blackspot Program fulfils the NSW Government’s election commitment to invest $24 million to fix some of the worst mobile phone black spots across the State,” Mr Barilaro said.

    “We will deliver 144 new or upgraded mobile base stations will be rolled out in NSW over the next three years.

    “The new or upgraded towers contribute to more than 14,000 square kilometres of new coverage in NSW, an area larger than the Sydney metropolitan area.”

    Mr Barilaro said the initiative is a great example of the NSW and Commonwealth Governments working together with the industry to drive a better future for the people of NSW.

    “Whether it’s new highways, hospitals, education facilities and now mobile phone towers, we are providing the infrastructure that regional NSW needs to grow and prosper,” Mr Barilaro said.

    The NSW Government has contributed over $24 million to improving mobile coverage in regional areas and outer Sydney as part of the $92 million total investment.

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