IN BRIEF

Day celebrates babies

Federal MP Michelle Rowland will host the inaugural Greenway Welcoming the Babies ceremony at Blacktown Leisure Centre, Stanhope Gardens, on August 22, 10am.

"The ceremony is a wonderful opportunity to welcome the littlest members of our community and to recognise the significant contribution of parents," Ms Rowland said.

Families with children between aged 0-2 are encouraged to register and attend.

All babies will be presented with a certificate, native shrub and show bag.

There will be face-painting and activities for the kids as well as information stalls for the parents.

Registrations: 9671 4780 or email Michelle.Rowland.MP@aph.gov.au.

EPA gains stronger powers

Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly welcomed the NSW government's announcement of a range of measures that will strengthen the Environment Protection Authority, including a proposed 10-fold increase in penalties for companies that breach environment protection licenses.

Mr Conolly said the Environment Protection Authority would now have the toughest regulatory powers in Australia, in order to protect communities and the environment.

"Our message to business is if you do the right thing, you'll pay less, but if you pollute or damage the environment it's time to clean up your act or face higher penalties and licence fees," he said.

The proposed changes include:

■Increasing fines for the 10 most serious environmental offences from $1500 to $15,000 for a corporation and from $750 up to $7500 for an individual;

■The introduction of risk-based licensing from July 1, 2015; and

■Giving the Land and Environment Court alternative approaches to sentences, including the ability to set restorative justice actions.

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