Celebrating 11 billion returns

RETURN and Earn in NSW has celebrated recycling 11 billion bottles, cans, and cartons since its 2017 inception. The scheme has returned $1.1B in refunds to the public and raised $54M for charities and community groups. It has helped alleviate cost-of-living pressures and supported organizations like Little Wings. The initiative, partnered with TOMRA Cleanaway and funded by the beverage industry, contributes significantly to Australia’s circular economy.

Surgical wait list reduced

The NSW Government is reducing the surgical wait list by embracing short stay and same-day surgeries. The Same Day and Short Stay Joint Replacement Program allows patients to go home the day after surgery when appropriate. Based on research, this program supports home recovery with prehabilitation and post-operative care. Early results show promising increases in same-day surgeries, improving patient experience and hospital capacity. The pilot aims for faster recovery and reduced hospital pressure.

Urgent care services deliver

SINCE mid-2023, NSW’s Urgent Care Services have had over 55,000 visits, reducing emergency department pressure. By April 2024, there were 10,628 visits to GP-led services and 44,555 to Local Health District-led services. The NSW Government has opened 16 Urgent Care Services, with plans for 25 by mid-2025. Gregory Hills Urgent Care Service, open since February 2024, has had 580 visits, offering non-emergency treatment daily.

Pay rise for ATFE teachers
TAFE NSW teachers will receive their largest pay increase in two decades with a 4% salary and allowance rise, following the NSW Labor Government’s removal of the public sector wages cap. Starting salaries will increase from $88,842 to $92,396, and top-scale salaries from $105,362 to $109,576. This one-year agreement begins February 2024 and aims to address the skilled worker shortage and enhance TAFE NSW’s attractiveness for industry professionals.

Call for review of hardship

THE Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) supports ASIC’s call for lenders to better assist customers facing financial hardship. ASIC’s report highlights lenders’ shortcomings in providing adequate hardship support. AFCA’s data shows a 25% increase in financial difficulty complaints in 2023, with a third related to home loans. AFCA urges lenders to offer individualized assistance and avoid “cookie cutter” responses. AFCA continues to monitor these trends to address systemic issues.

Seatbelt rules camera enforced
STARTING July 1, 2024, Transport for NSW will enforce seatbelt rules using mobile phone detection cameras. A new advertising campaign launching Sunday will remind drivers of this change. Secretary Josh Murray emphasizes the serious consequences of not wearing seatbelts, citing 150 fatalities between 2019 and 2023 due to improper restraint. The campaign will highlight correct seatbelt use and the importance of driver responsibility for passenger safety.

Pizza Hut fined $2,502,500

PIZZA Pan Group Pty Ltd, trading as Pizza Hut Australia, was fined $2,502,500 for breaching Australian spam laws by sending over 10 million unauthorized marketing messages from January to May 2023. An ACMA investigation found that Pizza Hut sent 5.9 million messages to customers who had not consented or had withdrawn consent and 4.4 million without an unsubscribe option. Pizza Hut has committed to a three-year compliance review and regular reporting to ACMA.

Coles top ranked for inclusion
COLES Group has been ranked number one in the Access and Inclusion Index 2023 by the Australian Disability Network for its commitment to closing the disability inclusion gap. Coles’ initiatives include expanding Quiet Hour, implementing Disability Confidence Training, and launching an Autism Support Hub. With 7.6% of its 120,000 employees identifying as disabled, Coles continues to enhance workplace inclusivity and accessibility for customers and employees with disabilities.

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