Newcastle and Lake Macquarie residents urged to go easy on the roads at Easter

AS the Easter long weekend approaches, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie residents are reminded to take note of changed operating hours and heftier penalties for traffic offences during the four-day period.

Double demerit points for speeding and traffic offences will apply from midnight tonight, Wednesday, April 16, to midnight Tuesday, April 21.

This includes not wearing a seatbelt or helmet, and not using a child restraint.

Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services will be closed from Friday, April 18, to Monday, April 20.

Self-service options for reporting income via phone, internet and smartphone apps will still be available, but payments will not be processed until Tuesday, April 22.

Lake Macquarie City Council's Speers Point administrative centre will be closed from Friday to Monday, as will the city's libraries. However, Lake Macquarie council's bin collection and beach patrol services will run as normal.

Newcastle City Council's offices will also be closed from Friday to Monday.

Bin collection services, pools and beach patrol will run as normal in Newcastle.

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