$790 MILLION NEW LIVERPOOL HOSPITAL UNVEILED

The $790 million redevelopment of Liverpool Hospital is one step closer with the unveiling of the designs for the world-class medical, research and education precinct.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard thanked the hospital staff and community who contributed to the extensive consultation that has helped shape the project.

“This is a major milestone in delivering a medical, research and education hub of excellence to the communities of South Western Sydney,” Mr Hazzard said.

“The Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct will deliver significantly expanded and improved health services, with about 200 more beds than previously, an almost doubling of chemotherapy treatment spaces and a doubling of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit capacity.

“The NSW Government is continuing its record health infrastructure program, with $10.1 billion in the pipeline over this term, on top of $10 billion already spent, boosting jobs and local economies across the state.”

The planning applications have now been lodged for the $740 million hospital upgrade and expansion,  as well as the new $50 million carpark.

It follows a comprehensive process of planning and consultation involving Health Infrastructure, South Western Sydney Local Health District, hospital staff, local medical and emergency personnel, community groups and patients.

Multiplex has also been announced as the successful tenderer for the next stage of early works, joining contractors Roberts Pizzarotti.

Melanie Gibbons, Member for Holsworthy said the Liverpool Hospital redevelopment will boost the local economy and meet growing health care needs.

“This next stage includes reconfiguration of car parks, a new kitchen facility, retail spaces, a new mortuary, helipad upgrades and a temporary education facility and will enable hospital operations to continue when the main phase begins early next year.”

The Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct includes:

  • About 900 beds (an increase of more than 20 per cent)
  • Significant expansion in ambulatory services with almost double the number of treatment spaces for chemotherapy (from 35 to 67), as well as an increase to over 330 spaces to provide expanded clinics, treatment rooms and assessment services
  • Expanded services for women and children, with 16 new birthing suites, 50 beds across the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Nursery (including a doubling of NICU capacity to 24 beds)
  • Larger emergency department, intensive care unit and more theatres
  • New multi-storey car park with improved pick-up and drop-off points

Driver detected travelling 100km/h over speed limit near Holbrook

A driver allegedly travelling at more than 100km/h over the marked speed limit has had his licence suspended after being detected in the state’s south yesterday.

About 9.40am (Saturday 30 May 2020), officers from Murray River Police District Highway Patrol were conducting speed enforcement duties on the Hume Highway at Little Billabong, approximately 30km north of Holbrook.

Officers detected a BMW sedan allegedly travelling at 210km/h in a marked 110km/h zone.

The vehicle was subsequently stopped and officers spoke with driver.

Police issued the driver, a 29-year-old man from Lidcombe, an infringement notice for exceeding the speed limit by more than 45km/h and suspended his driver’s licence on the spot for six months.

The penalty for exceeding the speed limit is $2482 and six demerit points.

Woman charged over Lake Macquarie crash

A woman has been charged with driving offences following inquiries by Crash Investigators into a collision in Lake Macquarie earlier this year.

Two women were critically injured when the cars they were driving collided at the intersection of Ntaba Road and the Pacific Highway, Jewells, about 10.20am on Wednesday 25 March 2020.

A 73-year-old woman, from Jewells, and a 60-year-old woman, from Chain Valley Bay, were taken to John Hunter Hospital.

A crime scene was established by officers from Lake Macquarie Police District, with officers from the Hunter Crash Investigation Unit (CIU) undertaking inquiries.

The younger woman has since been released from hospital and was yesterday (Saturday 30 May 2020), arrested when she attended Newcastle Police Station.

She has now been charged with five offences;

* Dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm – drive manner dangerous

* Negligent driving (occasions grievous bodily harm)

* Driver use mobile phone when not permitted

* Drive vehicle, illicit drug present in blood, and

* Not stop at stop line at red light.

She has been granted conditional bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court on Thursday 30 July 2020.

The older woman remains in hospital in a serious condition, where she continues to be treated for spinal fractures, head and internal injuries.

Update Following National Cabinet Meeting

The National Cabinet met today to further discuss Australia’s current COVID-19 response, easing restrictions in the coming months, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-Safe environment and getting the economy moving again.

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, provided an update on the measures underway, the latest data and medical advice in relation to COVID-19.

There have been over 7,100 confirmed cases in Australia and sadly 103 people have died. There are now less than 500 active cases in Australia, and over the past week, daily infection rates have remained low. Testing remains high, with more than 1.37 million tests undertaken in Australia.

We need to continue to have the right controls in place to test more people, trace those who test positive and respond to local outbreaks when they occur. These are precedent conditions to enable Australia to relax baseline restrictions and enable Australians to live and work in a COVID-19 safe economy.

National Cabinet again encouraged Australians to download the COVIDSafe app to ensure that we can protect Australians and continue to ease baseline restrictions.

More than 6.1 million Australians have already downloaded the COVIDSafe app. This is an enormous achievement but more is needed.

National Cabinet will meet again on Friday 12 June 2020.

Review of Restrictions

On 8 May 2020, National Cabinet approved the 3-Step Framework for a COVIDSafe Australia and agreed to a minimum of three weeks between implementation of each step of the framework. Movement into subsequent steps will be informed by monitoring for any evidence of increases in transmission or outbreaks, increased pressure on the health system, testing or personal protective equipment demand, demands on the public health response to cases and community adherence and acceptance of these measures.

The number of new cases has remained low, and we have responded effectively to localised outbreaks. We’ve made economic and social gains – with businesses starting to open back up, people getting back to work, and friends and families getting back together.

The AHPPC has advised that there has been continued progress on meeting the majority of precedent conditions under the Pandemic Health Intelligence Plan to enable restrictions to be removed under the 3 Step COVID-Safe Australia. The precedent conditions include access to PPE, testing rates, use of the COVIDSafe App.

While it is still too early to determine the success of our measures – but the initial signs are very positive.

All states and territories have reduced transmission, enabling Step 1 conditions to be established. Some jurisdictions have been able to move further than Step 1 due to their local conditions. Successfully removing restrictions under Step 1 is estimated to return 250,000 jobs and increase economic activity by $3.1 billion.

Given the success of the health system in reducing transmission, states and territories now have plans in place to move to Step 2 conditions under a COVIDSafe Australia 3 Step Framework in June 2020. This will allow most businesses to reopen with physical distancing, hygiene and COVID Safe work plans. It is estimated that Step 2 will return an additional $3 billion in economic activity and 275,000 jobs to the workforce.

National Cabinet noted further updated AHPPC advice – including updated modelling, the Australian National Disease Surveillance Plan for COVID-19 and advice on use of masks.

National Health Reform Agreement

National Cabinet has finalised the 2020-2025 National Health Reform Agreement.

Under the Agreement the Commonwealth will invest an estimated $131.4 billion in demand driven public hospital funding to improve health outcomes for all Australians and ensure the sustainability of our health system now and into the future.

The new Agreement also includes a commitment by all Australian governments to a shared long-term vision for health reform, at a time when shared investment and coordination in health has never been more important.

Principles for Public Transport operations

National Cabinet agreed that public transport services are the responsibility of the states and territories, and that it was important to continue to work together to ensure services can continue to run as safely as possible for both the workforce and passengers.

To support this effort, National Cabinet endorsed principles approved by the AHPPC which will help manage the health and safety of workers and passengers on public transport networks.

The principles outline the responsibility passengers must take when traveling on public transport including not travelling when feeling unwell, maintaining physical distance from drivers and other passengers, and avoiding handling cash.

Under the principles, public transport users are not required to wear masks but may do so on a voluntary basis.

The principles should be considered alongside Work Health and Safety requirements, public health advice and other advice jurisdictions provide in relation to mass gatherings, including on public transport.

National Cabinet agreed that the principles will be reviewed as governments progress through the three-step plan to take into account any emerging challenges or innovative solutions, or as interactions with international travel start to be considered.

The principles can be found at: https://www.health.gov.au/committees-and-groups/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc

National Cabinet

National Cabinet has agreed to the formation of the National Federation Reform Council and the cessation of the COAG model.

National Cabinet has worked effectively to respond to COVID-19. The new National Federation Reform Council agreed to by Premiers, Chief Ministers and the Prime Minister, will change the way the Commonwealth and states and territories effectively and productively work together to address new areas of reform.

The National Cabinet will be driven by an initial single agenda – to create jobs. A job making agenda.

By any measure, National Cabinet has proven to be a much more effective body for taking decisions in the national interest than the COAG structure.

At the centre of the National Federation Reform Council will be National Cabinet.

National Cabinet will continue to meet regularly and will be briefed directly by experts such as the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

Initial reform areas will be agreed by National Cabinet.

During the COVID-19 period, National Cabinet will continue to meet every two weeks. In the future, these meetings will take place once a month.

The Council on Federal Financial Relations (CFFR), which is essentially a meeting of all Treasurers, will report to National Cabinet. CFFR will take responsibility for all funding agreements including National Partnership Agreements.

Important taskforces will continue in areas that are critical to our National Agenda. The taskforce on women’s safety and domestic violence will continue their critical work, as will the Indigenous affairs taskforce with a particular focus on Closing the Gap.

Once a year, National Cabinet, CFFR and the Australian Local Government Association will meet in person as the National Federation Reform Council with a focus on priority national federation issues such as Closing the Gap and Women’s Safety.

This new model will streamline processes and avoid endless meetings that do not result in action. This is a congestion busting process that will get things done with a single focus on creating jobs.

This is an exciting new agenda for our federation and is about rebuilding confidence to get Australians back into work.

Further details of the National Federation Reform Council and consolidation and reset of the Ministerial Forums and Ministerial Regulatory Councils will be reviewed by National Cabinet.

Commonwealth and States Sign $131 Billion Five Year Hospitals Agreement

Public hospitals across the country will have record funding for the next five years after all states and territories signed onto the Morrison Government’s new health reform agreement.

This record funding agreement will deliver more doctors, more nurses and more services across public hospitals in every state and territory.

This commitment ensures the Australian health system remains stable and nationally coordinated, particularly throughout this unprecedented time.

Overall, the Commonwealth will invest an estimated $131.4 billion in demand driven public hospital funding to improve health outcomes for all Australians and ensure the sustainability of our health system now and into the future.

The new 2020‑25 National Health Reform Agreement provides an estimated $31.4 billion in additional funding to public hospitals over five years from 2020–21. This is in addition to the over $8 billion health investment by the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 response.

As part of the new Agreement, the Morrison Government has provided a funding guarantee to all states and territories to ensure no jurisdiction is left worse off as a result of the COVID‑19 pandemic, and guarantees the Commonwealth’s funding contribution for public hospitals over the next five years.

This guarantee is critical to ensuring state and territory governments can continue to deliver safe and effective public hospital services for all Australians, especially when all Australian governments are working to respond to the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Under this Agreement, a small number of very sick children across Australia will receive lifesaving, high cost therapies such as immunotherapy, to reduce and rid cancer from their body, free of charge.

Commonwealth and states have agreed to jointly fund this cancer treatment. Without this support patients could pay around $500,000 per treatment for cancer immunotherapy.

States are also funded to deliver more flexible care, including hospital care in the home, to give patients care where and when they need it.

This will include rehabilitation after a stroke in the home. This provides better long term outcomes for patients. It will help many Australians with approximately 50,000 strokes occurring per year.

This agreement also builds on the collaboration between the Commonwealth and the states in responding to COVID-19.

New funding arrangements under the Agreement mean people with some of the rarest conditions will have better access to new innovative life-saving high-cost therapies in public hospitals around the country.

Importantly, the Agreement strengthens all governments’ commitment to ensuring equitable access to public hospitals for all Australians by removing incentives that can lead to the preferential treatment of private patients.

The new Agreement also includes a commitment by all Australian governments to a shared long-term vision for health reform, at a time when shared investment and coordination in health has never been more important.

The reforms aim to make it easier to provide flexible, high-quality care that meets the needs and preferences of Australians, and reduces pressure on hospitals.

Through this Agreement, we will ensure Australia’s health system continues to be one of the best in the world, delivering the best possible health outcomes for Australians.

State and territory funding breakdown

  • The Australian Government funding contribution for public hospital services in New South Wales is estimated to grow substantially to an estimated $40.1 billion over the next five years, delivering an additional $9.3 billion in funding.
  • The Australian Government funding contribution for public hospital services in Victoria is estimated to grow substantially to an estimated $32.4 billion over the next five years, delivering an additional $7.3 billion in funding.
  • The Australian Government funding contribution for public hospital services in Queensland is estimated to grow substantially to an estimated $30.1 billion under the new agreement, delivering an additional $8.4 billion in funding.
  • The Australian Government funding contribution for public hospital services in Western Australia is estimated to grow substantially to an estimated $14.1 billion over the next five years, delivering an additional $3.4 billion in funding.
  • The Australian Government funding contribution for public hospital services in South Australia is estimated to grow substantially to an estimated $7.8 billion, delivering an additional $1.3 billion in funding.
  • The Australian Government funding contribution for public hospital services in Tasmania is estimated to grow substantially to an estimated $2.4 billion under the new agreement, delivering an additional $400 million in funding.
  • The Australian Government funding contribution for public hospital services in the Northern Territory is estimated to grow substantially to an estimated $2.0 billion over five years to 2024-25, delivering an additional $707 million in funding.

The Australian Government funding contribution for public hospital services in the Australian Capital Territory is estimated to grow substantially to $2.5 billion in funding, delivering an additional $598 million in funding.

Libraries resume outreach services next week

Newcastle Libraries will resume its home library outreach and begin inviting members to pick up items reserved before COVID-19 restrictions limited operations to digital services.

Resumption of the home library service will help vulnerable members access library items once again, while those who reserved collection items prior to the March closure of branches will be able to collect them after being notified by the library.

Staff will first contact those members awaiting reserved items to advise of the collection point and time.

“Starting with our outreach services only, we are taking a cautious, phased approach to re-opening our libraries to ensure we are able to meet the Public Health Order requirements, which include changes to service delivery and preparing our spaces with additional measures to keep everyone safe,” Manager Libraries and Learning Suzie Gately said.

“We will resume our home library service on Monday for existing members while adhering to public health orders that require returned books to be quarantined for 24 hours.”

Libraries staff have made and received more than 6,500 support phone calls over the past two months, produced a host of online programming podcasts and activities and welcomed more than 1,000 new members on the back of a $60,000 e-library expansion.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the public back to our branches very soon, which we hope to announce in the next couple of weeks,” Ms Gately added.

Newcastle Museum remains temporarily closed to the public while a plan for its safe re-opening, mindful of the facility’s interactive attractions and popularity with children, is developed.

Art Gallery to re-open next week

Newcastle Art Gallery will re-open Tuesday following the NSW Premier’s announcement that cultural institutions can re-open from 1 June amid easing COVID-19 restrictions.

The Gallery will re-open to visitors with separate, two-hour daily sessions from Tuesday 2 June – 10am to noon and 2pm to 4pm.

After first booking their attendance online, up to 40 people per session will be able to view HOMEWARD BOUND: the art and life of Tom Gleghorn and REPEATER: from the collection, an exhibition exploring repetition drawn from the Gallery’s collection.

Visitor numbers will be monitored through a ticketing system and extra cleaning and touch-free hand sanitisers will be provided as part of our focus on keeping our guests and staff safe. Signage and floor decal markers will help ensure social distancing.

“We are delighted to re-open Newcastle Art Gallery in a way that’s safe to the public,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“With regional tourism permitted from 1 June we’re looking forward to safely welcoming visitors back to our Gallery while giving some of the 1,000 people who have viewed our current exhibition online the chance to see Tom Gleghorn’s works of art in person.

“Thanks to our staff who over the past two months have delivered a range of quality online programs, such as virtual exhibition tours, a collection recreation challenge, weekly Art Cart activities, Youth Week programming as well as a collaborative online exhibition with regional Galleries across NSW.”

While public programs remain suspended, the Gallery will continue to share the collection and digital experiences via its website and social media.

Newcastle Museum remains temporarily closed to the public while a plan for its safe re-opening, mindful of the facility’s interactive attractions, is developed.

CHANGES FOR WORSHIP, WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS

More people can attend religious services, weddings and funerals from 1 June but worshippers will be asked to maintain social distancing and changes to communal practices will be required.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said from Monday, up to 20 people can attend weddings, 50 at funerals and 50 at places of worship, subject to the four square metre rule.

“We know how important these services are to individuals and families but as we ease restrictions further, we must remember to keep one another safe,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“It is crucial that worshippers remember to follow health advice. This is particularly important for people with co-morbidities aged over 50 and people aged over 70.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said extensive COVID-19 outbreaks in places of worship and amongst choirs’ overseas highlights why the NSW Government has been cautious in easing restrictions.

“Sadly, we have seen many congregations of different faiths and denominations affected by COVID-19 overseas,” Mr Hazzard said.

“NSW Health has developed a checklist to help places of worship create a tailored COVID-19 Safety Plan to ensure they can keep participants as safe as possible.

“These safety plans cover topics such as physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and extensive cleaning measures, it is also vital that people who are unwell stay at home.”

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said while people would be familiar with many general measures in the plan, others are more specific to places of worship.

“Places of worship will be asked to find alternatives to practices that might spread the virus like singing, sharing books and even passing around the collection plate to reduce infection risks,” Dr Chant said.

“Communal singing and chanting should not occur because of the high risk of transmission of the virus. Instead, measures such as one singer standing at least three metres away from others would be safer.”

Further information is available at nsw.gov.au/covid-19

NSW SHOWGROUNDS GET $12.5 MILLION KICKSTART

Hundreds of shovel-ready projects can get underway to repair and renew showgrounds across the State thanks to $12.5 million in funding from the NSW Government.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey today announced the first tranche of successful projects that would benefit from the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Stimulus Package.

“$12.5 million is being allocated immediately to get 393 projects underway to improve and repair 137 showground sites right across the State this financial year while creating local jobs and supporting the local economy,” Mrs Pavey said.

“A further $12.5 million will be allocated next financial year to keep the ball rolling during the coronavirus economic recovery phase.

“Showgrounds are at the heart of communities right across NSW and are multi-use facilities used by a wide range of groups for a wide range of activities.

“This investment will provide a much-needed boost for communities and their economies by supporting trades and suppliers with work and strengthening showground infrastructure for the future.”

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said these projects will be a big win for communities across the State who rely on their local showgrounds for everything from agricultural shows to sports events and farmers markets.

“Hundreds of repairs and upgrades, including new solar lighting, upgraded equipment and new paving will revive our showgrounds while providing support to local tradies and suppliers,” Mr Stokes said.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the work would quickly create jobs at a critical time.

“At time when more than 200,000 people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 getting shovel ready projects like these up and running is vital to help keep businesses in business and people employed,” Mr Perrottet said.

Teen arrested following stabbing – East Maitland

A teenage boy has been arrested following the alleged stabbing of a 16-year-old boy while travelling on a train in East Maitland yesterday.

About 7.20pm (Thursday 28 May 2020), two boys aged 16, were travelling on a train between Beresfield and Maitland Railway Station.

The pair, who are known to each other, became involved in a verbal argument that quickly escalated to one of the boys producing a knife and stabbing the other in the abdomen.

The injured boy alighted from the train at Victoria Street Railway Station where he approached a train guard for assistance.

The train doors were locked as the train left the station, and police were called.

Officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District arrived at Maitland Railway Station where they entered the train carriage and arrested the youth.

He was taken to Maitland Police Station where he is assisting with inquiries.

The injured boy was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to John Hunter Hospital for further treatment.

Inquiries continue.