Rows and rows of white boxes line underneath windmills.

Live: NSW Now: Households promised cheaper and cleaner power in state budget

Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Renewable energy spending promise

The state government pledges $1.2 billion for renewable energy transmission in the upcoming NSW budget.

The funding will accelerate transmission infrastructure over the next 10 years by establishing the Transmission Acceleration Facility, a fund designed to kick-start investment in new transmission projects.

Treasurer Matt Kean said there are about 50 large-scale renewable energy projects in development, but they are unlikely to go ahead unless supported by new transmission infrastructure.

He hoped the new fund could generate up to $14 billion in new developments.

Mr Kean said a transmission acceleration facility would accelerate renewable energy zones.

“Renewable Energy Zones are modern power plants that provide cheap and clean power to the homes and businesses of NSW,” said Mr Kean.

“This is the state’s largest-ever investment in renewable energy infrastructure and is expected to help create 2,700 direct construction jobs across the state.”

The first investment will be in the Waratah Super Battery, the largest standby network battery in the Southern Hemisphere.

Travel delays expected

Long queues and ramping traffic are confronting travelers at Sydney Airport as the long weekend kicks off in NSW.ABC News: Kamin Gock

Travelers departing before the weekend are warned to take enough time if long queues build up at Sydney Airport.

Traffic has piled up outside the airport and there are queues in the terminal as thousands of people make the long weekend flight.

Sydney Airport currently has a staff shortage of 5,000 people and is looking for staff in the next three weeks before the school holidays.

Anyone going to the airport should allow two hours for domestic flights and three hours for international flights.

Return to work program for women continues

Two women in work clothes walk past the offices of the Reserve Bank of Australia in Sydney.
Women can apply for grants to cover the costs of common financial barriers to returning to work.AAP: Dan Himbrechts

Women seeking employment can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to fund a new work wardrobe, technology and training thanks to a $32 million investment in the upcoming state budget.

The ‘Return to Work’ program was initially announced as part of the NSW 2020-21 budget in response to the number of women who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.

However, the government says the program was so successful that it will continue.

“The program has already helped thousands of women achieve their employment and education goals. I want this program to support as many women as possible in finding permanent work,” Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said.

“This is an opportunity to build confidence and financial independence for women who need it most.”

Treasurer Matt Kean said women who experience barriers to re-entering the workforce can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to cover the costs of common financial obstacles such as work clothes or an Internet connection.

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the more than 1,500 women had already completed the program.

“Sixty-five percent of the women found work, 73 percent applied or entered education and training, while a whopping 98.5 percent found the program useful,” she said.

Press NSW to lift the age of legal responsibility

A woman with long brown hair against a peach background.
Karly Warner, CEO of Aboriginal Legal Service, says lifting the minimum age would be a step forward in closing the gap.ABC News: Patrick Begley

The Aboriginal Legal Service has welcomed the Tasmanian government’s decision to end detention of children under 14 and calls on the NSW government to commit to raising the legal age of responsibility to at least 14.

While Tasmania has announced measures to raise the minimum age for detention, children under 14 must also be protected from arrest, handcuffs and dragged into court, CEO Karly Warner said.

In March, a hearing of NSW budget estimates found that 293 children between the ages of 11 and 13 had been behind bars by 2021. More than half of these children were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

“The NSW government has made a commitment through Closing the Gap to reduce the number of Aboriginal children and young people in detention,” said Ms Warner.

“Raising the age of legal responsibility is an evidence-based path to fulfilling this commitment. Experts from the Australian Medical Association to the Law Society of NSW have supported raising the age.”

Specialized services for menopausal women

Woman with gray hair deadlift 50 pounds in a gym.
The clinics will provide advice to women and address associated health risks, such as fractures, strokes and heart disease.ABC Far North: Shannie Kim

Women struggling with menopause in NSW will soon have access to a network of specialist health services.

A $40 million allocation in the state budget for 2022-23 will fund a state-wide clinical network to address the health issues that may affect women in the menopause, including bone thinning, weight gain and an increased risk of heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the state government would also launch an education and awareness campaign for GPs and employers targeting perimenopause and menopausal symptoms.

“Women often experience very difficult symptoms of perimenopause and menopause in silence. I want them to know that they don’t have to keep calm anymore and keep going,” said Ms. Taylor.

“The four new hubs and 16 services across NSW will support approximately 5,500 women each year, including virtual consultations for women unable to attend a service in person.”

Extra money for palliative care

The state opposition welcomes a decision to increase funding for palliative care and hospital wards in New South Wales.

It includes $743 million for end-of-life care and an additional $93 million for special palliative care units.

State opposition leader Chris Minns has backed the move.

“Something had to change. I thought the prime minister’s honesty was welcome on that point, but both sides of politics have to put time, effort and energy into the underutilized part of the health budget.”

Double Penalty Warning

A skier in a yellow jacket skis down a steep slope
NSW ski resorts are expecting big crowds this weekend ahead of the start of the season. Facebook: Perisher Resort

NSW Police are warning drivers that there will be double demerits across the state until midnight Monday.

They also warn motorists of slippery conditions near snowfields as the official snow season begins tomorrow.

Some country roads have been damaged by recent flooding.

Ski resorts anticipate large crowds after heavy early snowfall.

Deputy Prime Minister Paul Toole urged drivers to take extra care and warned that a statewide traffic operation would take place over the Queen’s Day long weekend.

“The recent cold spell has provided a great start to the season and we know it’s going to be a busy time on the roads,” said Mr Toole.

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