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Sydney news: NSW Police target increasing knife crime among young people

NSW Police carried out a statewide blitz on knife crime last week. (Supplied: NSW Police)

Here's what you need to know this morning.

Statewide knife crackdown

Police have noted rising knife crime in NSW. (Supplied: NSW Police)

Police have seized more than 110 knives, 21 firearms and charged 232 people as part of a statewide crackdown on knife-related crime.

Operation Foil II took place from June 14 to June 18 to reduce the number of young people carrying knives in public, and prevent violent incidents that cause significant harm.

The statewide operation involved highly-visible police patrols in high-risk locations, as well as Youth Command Officers visiting high schools to warn teens about the risks of carrying weapons. It follows an increase in the number of young people becoming both perpetrators and victims of knife-related offences in the past five years.

Commissioner Karen Webb said the force was reminding young people about the impacts of having a dangerous weapon.

"Our intelligence shows that some young people are increasingly carrying sharp instruments for self-defence, but they don't fully understand the potentially fatal consequences that this can have," she said.

"When someone has a dangerous weapon in their possession, there is a much greater likelihood of a small-scale incident escalating into a fatal one."

Fatal house fire in Blue Mountains

One person has died in a fierce house fire that erupted this morning in the Blue Mountains.

Superintendent Adam Newberry, from Fire and Rescue NSW, said crews were called to Regent Street, Katoomba about 5am after reports of a large blaze.

Firefighters were told a person residing in the home was unaccounted-for but crews were unable to enter the property due to intense flames.

It took an hour-and-a-half to control the fire, before a body was discovered on the second floor.

Four trucks and 16 firefighters attended the scene this morning.

Police and fire investigators are still establishing the cause of the blaze.

Integrity agencies to get funding injection 

ICAC is one of the agencies set to receive extra resources. (ABC )

NSW's five major integrity agencies, including the Independent Commission Against Corruption, are set to receive $440 million in extra funding in today's state budget.

A government official said the money had been allocated after requests for more support.

Other agencies to see increased funding in the next financial year are the NSW Electoral Commission, the Ombudsman, the Audit Office and the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.

Non-government sector's plea for 'adequate' grants

Joanna Quilty says money should be allocated to the sector in today's Budget. (Supplied: NSW Council of Social Services)

The non-government sector is calling for the state government to index grants given to charities and other community groups that rely on funding to pay wages.

From July 1, the national minimum wage will increase by $40 a week, which amounts to an increase of 5.2 per cent.

NSW Council of Social Service chief executive Joanna Quilty said that, while the decision was most welcome, most sector organisations relied on grants from the state government to pay their workers.

She said the money should be allocated in today's Budget so that there is certainty.

"It's a guessing game. We are never quite sure how much will flow through and it's absolutely vital that, this time around, it's adequate so services are able to meet that 5.2 per cent minimum wage increase," Ms Quilty said. 

Deadline extended for Western Sydney infrastructure grants

Stuart Ayres (left) said the funding extension announced by Treasurer Matt Kean (right) would ensure "transformational" projects were funded. (AAP: Joel Carrett, Dean Lewins)

A deadline extension has been granted for Western Sydney organisations applying for millions in government funding to create or improve local infrastructure.

Applications for the WestInvest grants program has been extended until 5pm on July 25, 2022, with successful projects to be awarded in December 2022. 

So far, 15 councils and more than 1,000 organisations who submitted a registration of interest are eligible to apply for funding. 

Treasurer Matt Kean said some applicants had asked for more time to complete their applications for the "once-in-a-generation opportunity".

Western Sydney Minister Stuart Ayres welcomed the extension.

"Allowing applicants more time will result in better applications and ensure that we are funding truly transformational projects for communities in Western Sydney," Mr Ayres said.

White Bay could be Sydney's 'Tate Modern'

The old White Bay Power Station site in Sydney's inner west has been in limbo for decades. (ABC News: Sarah Gerathy)

A renewed White Bay Power Station could be the Harbour City's answer to London's Tate Modern — the UK's national arts collection — says NSW Cities Minister Rob Stokes.

The 105-year-old site, located in Sydney's bays precinct, would be the centrepiece for a state government plan to redevelop the precinct.

Treasurer Matt Kean says $49 million has been allocated to fund remediation work for the power station in today's state budget.

"This will allow government to restore and transform this important piece of NSW history on Sydney's harbour foreshore, removing lead and asbestos and making the building safe for future use," he said.

Mr Stokes said remediation would take about two years.

Place Management NSW has been tasked with examining feedback from a draft master plan exhibition and determining a process for the future use of the power station. 

"The White Bay Power Station could be Sydney's answer to London's Tate Modern, only we have a much nicer harbour," Mr Stokes said. 

"The restoration of this former [coal-fired] power station will power Sydney's most-anticipated urban renewal project in generations and spark enormous investment."

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