News (36)

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Saturday, 16 April 2016 15:16 Written by

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Saturday, 16 April 2016 15:00 Written by

With the start of the academic year, NSW Fair Trading and the Australian Tutoring Association (ATA) are warning consumers to exercise caution when buying tutoring services.

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said the agency had received 14 complaints and 36 enquiries about tutoring services in 2015.

“The majority of complaints related to the quality of services, with others related to services not provided and refunds for payments paid in advance when the tutoring services were cancelled,” he said. “One consumer faced an $88 charge after cancelling an appointment for an initial consultation and only received a refund after Fair Trading intervention.”

ATA CEO Mohan Dhall said consumers should be aware of their rights with respect to tutoring services. There are things to look for – for example be very wary of businesses offering assignment or essay 'help' online.

“Such help encourages plagiarism and academic dishonesty,” he said. “This is a growing industry and parents and their children need to be careful of businesses offering such a service.

“A business was disendorsed by the ATA for offering such a service. All students must do their own work, whether it is homework support in primary school or assistance with assessment tasks in high school or university. Tutors must not do the work for students.

“Universities, schools and the NSW Board of Studies (BOSTES) encourage parents to be aware of unscrupulous businesses that prey on vulnerable parents and students. Accredited tutors with ATA membership are accountable and adhere to the ATA Code of Conduct with membership able to be checked on the ATA website.”

Mr Stowe said the right tutor could complement the excellent education provided by schools, but parents should exercise care in their selection of a suitable tutor.

“Read any contract carefully before signing and be aware of any cancellation conditions,” he said. “Ask how ‘guarantees’ of success can be substantiated and be careful of companies that rely on web-based communication and don’t offer telephone numbers or office locations.

“Be careful with overseas or interstate institutions promoting their services on the internet. Ask questions about the total cost of services as well as refund and cancellation policies. Ask for full disclosure about the qualifications and experience of tutors prior to engaging them. Check that any computer-based learning program software is consistent with the local curriculum and is compatible with your computer including an internet connection fast enough for online tutoring.

“I recommend families considering the engagement of a tutoring service read Fair Trading’s Tutoring Tips for Parents fact sheet which is available on our website with translations in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean and Vietnamese.”


Saturday, 16 April 2016 14:58 Written by


The NSW Government will double capacity on a number of Central Coast and Newcastle train services, delivering 3,000 extra seats for customers during the week.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said select services between Hamilton, Gosford, Wyong and Central will be boosted from four to eight-carriage Oscars.

“This is great news for Central Coast and Newcastle customers, who will now have a more comfortable trip to and from Sydney,” Mr Constance said.

“By doubling the amount of carriages on select services, there’ll be 3,000 extra seats for customers during the week.”

Member for Terrigal Adam Crouch said the announcement demonstrates the NSW Government’s commitment to delivering better services for the Central Coast.

“We know how frustrating it can be to miss out on a seat, especially for those with lengthy commutes, so today’s announcement will certainly provide some welcome relief,” Mr Crouch said.

“There’s also more good news on the way for locals, with work underway to deliver a brand-new world-class intercity train fleet for customers from 2019.”

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter and Central Coast Scot Macdonald said it’s a great outcome for locals.

“We have listened to the people of the Hunter and the Central Coast and have identified the services where extra capacity is needed to support customers,” Mr Macdonald said.

The following Central Coast and Newcastle Line services will have increased capacity:

Weekday changes (effective from Monday 25 January 2016)

Trains towards Sydney

Time from origin Origin Destination Time at destination
05:37 Hamilton Gosford 07:00
07:54 Wyong Central 09:42
15:36 Hamilton Central 18:26
21:35 Hamilton Central 00:29

Trains towards Hamilton

Time from origin Origin Destination Time at destination
11:45 Central Hamilton 14:46
18:45 Central Wyong 20:33
01:45Fx Central Hamilton 04:41Fx

Weekend changes

Trains towards Hamilton

Time from origin Origin Destination Time at destination
01:45iY Central Hamilton 04:41Y

(Fx)    Except Friday

(Y)      Operates early hours of Monday morning



Saturday, 16 April 2016 14:48 Written by

Major construction will ramp up on Sydney’s CBD and South East Light Rail project, with three new CBD construction zones to begin in the next three months, and greater activity in the two construction zones already underway in the city centre following the completion of vital utility investigations.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance and CBD Coordinator General Marg Prendergast announced the start dates for those zones today, as well as an update to the project’s construction schedule, keeping businesses and residents informed on when to expect building work near them.

“We have now significantly progressed vital utility investigations along George Street, which has helped refine the detailed design for the project, including determining the exact track location and where the most complex work will need to be done,” Mr Constance said.

“With that greater knowledge, contractor ALTRAC Light Rail has been able to refine the dates for some zones to ensure work is carried out most efficiently and effectively while minimising intrusion.”

Dates to note for the CBD are:

(Zone Location Starts Ends)
George St (between Alfred and Grosvenor Sts) Sydney CBD
March 2016
December 2016
George St (between Bridge and Margaret Sts) Sydney CBD
April 2016
December 2016
George St (between Hunter and King Sts) Sydney CBD
July 2016
July 2017
George St (between Park and Bathurst Sts) Sydney CBD
April 2016
January 2017

CBD Coordinator General Marg Prendergast praised crews for the enormous effort in preparing George Street for this major project.

“A massive amount of what we achieved on George Street last year was in identifying and commencing the relocation or modification of underground utilities and we cannot thank Ausgrid enough, for the work it has done to get building on track,” Ms Prendergast said.

“We are working very hard to release areas of George Street back to residents, workers and businesses before Christmas 2016 and we will seek to minimise impacts in any zones that are occupied in the lead up to Christmas.

“Of course George Street between King and Park streets will be a fantastic pedestrian mall with major construction complete before Christmas – giving Sydney its first taste of what we are creating.

“A minor change we have made is that contractors will enter Zone 4 – George Street between Hunter and King Streets – in July rather than April. The work will not take any longer, it will simply run from July 2016 to July 2017 rather than April to April.

“Between Grosvenor and Hunter streets, we are entering about two weeks earlier than we initially advised, while up on Chalmers Street, outside Central, construction has been brought forward several months.

“As each zone’s start date approaches, we will ensure businesses, residents and the broader community have all the information they need to make sure they can still get around the local area.

“Those who were around town over the holidays would have seen we got some work done in the northern part of the Sydney CBD that reduces the future construction needs in those zones 2 and 3, allowing us to now be more flexible,” Ms Prendergast said.

Major construction is due to for completion by mid-2018, followed by system and vehicle commissioning before light rail vehicles begin carrying customers along the new line early in 2019.

“As we move through the next two-and-a-half years of construction, contractors will continue to refine work schedules, with some zones expected to start major construction earlier and some later than first earmarked, depending on construction requirements,” Ms Prendergast said.

Currently there are about 90 separate construction projects – both private and government – taking place in the CBD. Residents and business along the route will continue to be notified well in advance of major construction.

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Saturday, 16 April 2016 14:45 Written by


Early childhood teachers will be accredited alongside their peers in NSW schools, further recognising them as professionals who are making an important contribution to the education of our children.

Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli and Minister for Early Childhood Education Leslie Williams have today announced that from this year all NSW teachers will meet the same high standards.

"The NSW Government is recognising that early childhood teachers are professionals - they are university trained, passionate about children and dedicated to educational development," Mr Piccoli said.

"Accrediting all teachers, from early childhood through to high school, is a key factor in our efforts to build on the expertise in the profession.

"NSW accredited teachers not only have the recognised qualifications, they also agree to ongoing training to improve their teaching and, as a result, outcomes for their students."

The policy to accredit early childhood teachers has been developed in close consultation with the early childhood sector.

"I regularly meet early childhood teachers and see firsthand the vital role they play in the beginning stages of learning," Mrs Williams said.

"Accreditation of early childhood teachers will ensure that teachers maintain high standards of teaching practice and as a result young receptive minds will benefit."

To be eligible for accreditation an early childhood teacher will need to provide evidence of approved qualifications, two forms of identification and a current Working with Children Check clearance.

The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards will distribute information kits to early childhood teachers and services with details on the accreditation process.


Saturday, 16 April 2016 14:41 Written by

NSW Attorney General Gabrielle Upton and Minister for Multiculturalism John Ajaka today acknowledged the service of the outgoing President of the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW Dr Stepan Kerkyasharian AO.
Ms Upton paid tribute to Dr Kerkyasharian for his dedicated advocacy as President of the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW since 2003.
“Dr Kerkyasharian has made an indelible contribution to the character of New South Wales as President of the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW, right across the business, government and charitable sectors,” Ms Upton said.
“He has been a strong advocate for eliminating discrimination, particularly in the workplace and in the delivery of goods and services.
“He’s worked closely with multicultural, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to ensure they are aware of their right to lodge a complaint under the protections of the Anti-Discrimination Act.”
Mr Ajaka thanked Dr Kerkyasharian for his work in fostering community harmony, which included more than 25 years as Chair of Community Relations Commission.
“Dr Kerkyasharian has been an incredible servant to the people of NSW. As a result of his tireless efforts, NSW is undoubtedly a richer, more diverse and more inclusive community,” Mr Ajaka said.
Elizabeth Wing will act as President of the Anti-Discrimination Board on an interim basis while a recruitment process is carried out by the NSW Department of Justice.

Ms Wing has been the Anti-Discrimination Board’s Manager of Enquiries and Conciliation since 2003. During this period she has served as Acting President of the Anti-Discrimination Board when required.

Ms Wing began her career as a solicitor in 1985. Prior to joining the Anti-Discrimination Board, Ms Wing held senior roles at the Health Care Complaints Commission, the Women’s Legal Resources Centre and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission.