Report endorses value of new face-to-face aged care navigation services

Face-to-face support to access and navigate aged care will be the centrepiece of new services to help senior Australians.

The Morrison Government has committed in the Budget to provide face-to-face aged care support in 325 Services Australia centres, aged care specialists in 70 additional service centres and $93.7 million to introduce a network of up to 500 local “Community Care Finders” – staff in local organisations specifically charged with helping vulnerable senior Australians who need specialist support.

It marks another significant step forward as the Government responds to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The Australian Government has today released the final report of the evaluation of the Aged Care System Navigator trials, which found local, face-to-face support is highly valuable to senior Australians accessing aged care.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, thanked the Council of the Ageing Australia (COTA) and its 30 partner organisations, as well as Services Australia for staging the trials, funded in the 2018–19 Budget.

“The trials involved COTA Australia and its partners delivering different ways of providing navigation support between October 2018 and June 2020 as well as Services Australia trialling specialist aged care financial information support,” Minister Hunt said.

“The COTA-led trials have been extended to June 2021 due to disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the Royal Commission’s  investigation into issues, including navigating aged care, was ongoing.”

Minister Hunt said key findings in the report show users of the navigator service were satisfied with the experience, and reported improved knowledge and confidence in accessing aged care services.

“There are also positive findings around improved experience for senior Australians who may be hard to reach or part of vulnerable population groups.”

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck said the Morrison Government was committed to making access to aged care services easier.

“We understand the difficulties senior Australians, their families and carers have faced as they make the transition to care,” Minister Colbeck said. “This face-to-face support will ensure those seeking information will be able to tap into the knowledge of local experts.”

“The Royal Commission found that aged care required a much greater face-to-face presence to support access and utilisation, and now the Aged Care System Navigator trials evaluation supports that finding, it’s a clear indicator of the way forward.”

“The report also found  navigator services work best when they can be locally tailored, ensuring the appropriate level of local knowledge and flexibility to meet the needs of local seniors,” Minister Colbeck said.

In this year’s Budget the Government announced a further extension to the trials to continue support until the longer-term Connecting senior Australians to aged care services and navigation support within Reforms to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people  are implemented.

World No Tobacco Day 2021 – helping more Australians quit smoking

With approximately 20,000 Australians dying each year from tobacco-related illness, the Australian Government is investing $3 million through Cancer Council Victoria towards a new national best practice support service for nicotine cessation to ensure these health professional have up-to-date evidence-based resources.

Additional initiatives in the 2021–22 Budget aimed at encouraging people to quit smoking include the expansion of telehealth and face-to-face services to support patients’ access to general practitioner consultations.

Research shows having the support of a health professional greatly improves a smoker’s chances of successfully quitting.

There has never been a better time to quit smoking. The World Health Organisation notes that smokers face a 40-50% higher risk of developing severe disease and death from COVID-19. Quitting smoking now could reduce the severity of disease for anyone who contracts COVID-19.

There is also strong evidence that quitting smoking improves mental health, reducing depression, anxiety and stress.

We know from the Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys that 13.8% of Australian adults smoke tobacco daily. However, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people this rate is more than double, 37%, making it the leading contributor to disease.

Smoking causes half of all deaths among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults 45 years or older. Reducing tobacco use in this population continues to be a public health priority.

The Tackling Indigenous Smoking program commenced in 2010, and has contributed to cutting the daily smoking rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from around 50% to 37%.

The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, a service provider for the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program, is the winner of a World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day 2021 award for the Deadly Choices program, recognising its achievements in tobacco control.

Quitting is not always easy, but assistance is available and the benefits are significant. It is never too late to stop smoking. The younger you are, and the sooner you stop, the better. It is also best never to start.

For help to quit smoking:

  • talk to your trusted health professional
  • call Quitline – 13 78 48
  • visit www.quit.org.au, and
  • download the free My Quitbuddy app.

World No Tobacco Day is an initiative of the World Health Organization and has been celebrated on 31 May since 1988.

Safety upgrades on the way for Shortland local centre

A safer, more attractive local centre is on its way for Shortland, with City of Newcastle endorsing the Shortland Local Centre Public Domain and Traffic Plan at the Ordinary Council meeting this week.

The upgrade will improve safety on Sandgate Road with a new pedestrian refuge and reduced driver speeds via the installation of road cushions and implementation of a 40km/hr High Pedestrian Activity Area.

Heavy vehicle traffic will also be reduced in the area, with vehicles weighing over 10 tonnes being redirected to the Newcastle Inner City Bypass. Buses and heavy vehicles with business destinations within Shortland suburb will be unaffected.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that pedestrian safety in Shortland is a key priority.

“During our earlier rounds of engagement with the community we heard that pedestrian safety at Sandgate Road was a significant concern,” Cr Nelmes said.

“These upgrades are designed to address the community’s concerns and also improve the experience for shoppers and visitors with new footpaths and street furniture also being delivered.”

Ward Four Councillor Jason Dunn affirmed the importance of these upgrades to the local community.

“It was pleasing to see so many community members have their say on the proposed changes, and I’m looking forward to seeing the upgrade be delivered as a result of the community’s feedback,” Councillor Dunn said.

Owner of Shortland’s My Community Pharmacy John Jones said the upgrade is fantastic for Shortland locals.

“It’s great to see Shortland being included in the upgrades being delivered across Newcastle,” Mr Jones said.

“The people of Shortland love supporting their local businesses so it’s a positive that it will be safer to get here with improved accessibility, making it a space we can all be really proud of.

Construction of the upgrades is scheduled to commence in the coming months.

The City has engaged a local artist to work with the community to develop a theme for a new mural installation. The mural project will be delivered in conjunction with construction and the subsequent opening of the upgraded local centre.

Free training for veterans

Veterans and their partners will have access to free training to broaden their career opportunities and help transition to civilian life after service.

As part of the landmark Veterans Skills Program, eligible learners can study any course offered under the Government’s Smart and Skilled program from a Certificate II to Advanced Diplomas, including all apprenticeships and selected traineeships.

Veterans and their partners can choose between more than 450 Registered Training Organisations including NSW TAFE.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the free training was part of the NSW Government’s Veterans Strategy to support more than 200,000 former Australian Defence Force personnel across the State.

“The NSW Government understands it can be hard for some former Defence Force Personnel to navigate life and find work after their service,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We want to ensure our veterans enjoy a smooth transition from military service to civilian life, with opportunities to continue developing their skills and participate fully in society.”

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said Skills NSW was working with employers, industry and veterans groups to provide targeted training to assist veterans into jobs.

“A key area of the Veterans Strategy is Education and Employment, which aims to ensure our veterans find the right job or training post-service.

“In addition to our fee-free training for veterans, our NSW Veterans Employment Program has helped 1,094 veterans find new and meaningful roles in the public sector 18 months ahead of our target date.

“With fee-free training, we can now help even more veterans reskill in order to take advantage of jobs available in the market including in industries experiencing skills shortages.”

For more information on Veteran Skills, visit: https://education.nsw.gov.au/skills-nsw/veterans

NSW Government Weekly Update – 28 May 2021

MASS VACCINATION CENTRE NOW ADMINISTERING ASTRAZENECA VACCINE

  • The mass vaccination centre at Sydney Olympic Park has started to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine, providing a major boost to the vaccine rollout in NSW as the state surges past a million people protected.
  • The mass vaccination centre joins the other 26 NSW Health hubs that are giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to over 50s, including 17 in regional and rural NSW.
  • There are also more than 100 outreach locations that NSW Health vaccination clinics visit, primarily in rural and regional communities, to ensure people in these locations have access to a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • To book a vaccine and for more information go to: nsw.gov.au/

RELIGIOUS AND MULTICULTURAL LEADERS RECEIVE COVID-19 VACCINE

  • More than 30 NSW religious and community leaders have come together to encourage all eligible individuals from diverse faith and cultural communities to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The leaders met with Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Minister for Health Brad Hazzard and Minister for Multiculturalism Geoff Lee at the mass vaccination centre at Sydney Olympic Park.
  • More than 1.1 million COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered across the state, including more than 360,000 by NSW Health and more than 760,000 by GPs and related providers.

STATE FUNERAL FOR BOB FULTON AM

  • The family of Australian rugby league immortal Bob Fulton AM will be offered a State Funeral by the NSW Government.

CONSENT LAW REFORM

  • Sexual consent laws will be strengthened and simplified under NSW Government reforms designed to protect victim-survivors and educate the community.
  • Attorney General Mark Speakman acknowledged the growing calls across the community for reforms to respond more effectively to the scourge of sexual violence in this country.

***A fact sheet outlining the proposed reforms in greater detail is also attached. ***
VIVID SYDNEY 2021 PROGRAM TO TRANSFORM HARBOUR CITY

  • Vivid Sydney 2021 will invigorate the Harbour City this August, with an innovative floating light walk, widespread celebration of Aboriginal culture and themes of resilience and diversity throughout.
  • Sydneysiders and visitors are invited to join the celebration of creativity, innovation and technology as one COVID-safe community from 6 to 28 August.
  • The 2021 program features more than 50 dazzling light installations and 3D projection artworks, over 50 eclectic music events and 90+ thought-provoking ideas talks and workshops across Barangaroo, Sydney CBD, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Luna Park and The Rocks.
  • For information about the event and to see the full program, go to vividsydney.com.

MICE PLAGUE REBATES BACKDATED

  • Households and small businesses impacted by high numbers of mice across regional NSW will be able to claim rebates for purchasing mouse bait from 1 February 2021, with the NSW Government announcing the rebate program will be backdated.
  • Deputy Premier John Barilaro said backdating the program will help regional families that were impacted by mice earlier this year and will ease the financial pressure farmers and small businesses are currently facing due to the mice plague.
  • For further details about the mouse rebate program, including eligiblity and the claims process, go to: www.nsw.gov.au/mice

RECONCILIATION WEEK 2021

  • Reconciliation Week marks a significant period of the year where we come together as a nation to learn about our shared histories and the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for all Australians.
  • Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Don Harwin said that Reconciliation Week 2021 marked twenty years since the 2001 Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk, and importantly recognises the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum on 27 June and Mabo Day on 3 June.

HALF OF DRIVERS USING A DIGITAL DRIVER LICENCE

  • NSW Drivers have voted with their smartphones and embraced the Digital Driver Licence (DDL), with new data showing three million drivers have downloaded the technology.
  • Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the figure represents 53 per cent of all licence holders, with almost 95 per cent giving the DDL the thumbs up.

BIG BATTERY TO HELP POWER NSW SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS

  • A 100-megawatt battery will help to power schools, hospitals and Government buildings across NSW under the state’s new electricity supply contract.
  • As part of the $3.2 billion 10 year contract, awarded to Shell Energy and Edify, a 100-megawatt battery will be built alongside the Darlington Point Solar Farm in the Riverina, providing critical dispatchable electricity prior to the closure of the Liddell Power Station.
  • The new contract will commence from July 2022, when existing contracts expire.

162 MUSIC VENUES TO RECEIVE BOOST THROUGH $24 MILLION LIVE MUSIC SUPPORT PACKAGE

  • New South Wales remains the home of live music with 162 live music venues in Sydney and NSW receiving an injection of funds through the NSW Government’s $24 million Live Music Support Package.
  • The program will help assist 85 Sydney venues and 77 regional NSW venues that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions over the past year to survive through the pandemic.
  • For more information, go to www.nsw.gov.au/living-nsw/tourism-support-package.

100 DAYS TO GO UNTIL VOTERS HAVE A SAY ON THEIR LOCAL COUNCIL

  • The power to change their local community will be in the hands of the state’s voters when they head to the polls in just 100 days to vote for their council representatives in the NSW Local Government Elections.
  • Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the council elections, held on Saturday 4 September, give both residents and candidates an opportunity to shape their local community for the next three years.

NSW a leading force in Defence industry

The NSW local defence industry will connect with potential customers as 24 co-exhibitors prepare to shine at the 2021 LAND FORCES International Land Defence Exposition with the support of the NSW Government.

The fourth biennial international industry expo will showcase equipment, technology, and services for the defence forces of Australia and the Indo-Asia-Pacific next week, between 1 – 3 June at the Brisbane Convention Centre.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said creating new defence industry opportunities which enhance the State’s contribution to national security was a key priority of Investment NSW.

“Our job as a government is to support the defence industry to develop and enhance its partnerships across the sector, between the Australian Defence Force, SMEs, Australian primes and research institutions,” Mr Ayres said.

“We are home to the largest number of defence bases of any state or territory in Australia. NSW also boasts the largest number of workers, with defence industry skills and world-leading universities and research institutions ready to support the development of defence technology and innovation.

“LAND FORCES is an opportunity for NSW-based defence businesses to pitch to supply chain managers, meet Commonwealth officials, partner with Austrade to create international opportunities and connect with Australian primes.”

Winslow Tam, Defence Program Manager for radio frequency communications business GME, said the business was looking forward to showcasing its manufacturing and radio frequency engineering capability.

“We’re excited to participate in LAND FORCES and take advantage of the opportunity to prove our ability to collaborate with SMEs to manufacture MANET mesh radios in-house and establish a robust Australian supply chain so we can scale our capacity to meet the requirements of the Australian Army,” Mr Tam said.

“GME is also working on developing of a narrow band portable very high frequency radio which is designed and manufactured in NSW.”

The NSW Government will showcase these defence industry innovators and demonstrate the leading edge and talent within NSW to the Australian Defence Force and primes. Growing the entirety of defence industry across NSW will enhance and build upon our already strong contribution to National security interests.

The co-exhibitors on the NSW Government stand are:

  • Adroita
  • Advanced Navigation
  • Air Affairs Australia
  • Austest
  • Australian Aerospace Engineering
  • Bisalloy Steels
  • Burwell Technologies
  • Carbonix
  • Defence Innovation Network
  • DroneShield Corporation
  • EnerSys Australia
  • Global Defence Solutions
  • GME
  • Hunter Defence & Hunter Net
  • Invest Wollongong
  • Jenkins Engineering Defence Systems
  • Mellori Solutions
  • Nupress Tools
  • Phoenx PLM
  • Rojone
  • Shoalhaven Defence Industry Group
  • The Whiskey Project
  • Thomas Global Systems

Further details about Defence NSW are available at www.defence.nsw.gov.au

NSW far north coast benefitting from record school infrastructure investment

NSW Far North Coast public school students are benefitting from more new and upgraded schools than ever before.

More than $409 million is finding its way to local students, with new and upgraded classrooms, playgrounds, canteens, roofing and lights.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell visited the recently upgraded Byron Bay Public School, one of the latest schools to benefit from this record investment.

“Schools across this region are benefitting from an ongoing multi-million dollar investment in education by the NSW Government,” Ms Mitchell said

“Byron Bay Public School is the latest to benefit from our history-making $7 billion school building program, and I’m delighted to be officially opening the $10 million upgrade today.”

“It’s great to meet students and teachers at Byron Bay Public School, and it’s fantastic to be here to see the wonderful new two storey building.

“This is one of the 11 new or upgraded schools being delivered in the region, bringing a total investment of more than $398 million.”

The Byron Bay Public School upgrade delivered a two storey building creating ten additional learning spaces taking the total number of permanent learning spaces to 28 and accommodating up to 650 students.

North Coast based MLC Ben Franklin said it’s great to see the school community benefitting from modern facilities and additional teaching spaces.

“The new facilities and learning spaces, like these at Byron Bay Public School, are putting local students at the forefront of technology and education, as well as allowing teachers to offer more learning opportunities to students,” Mr Franklin said.

“On top of these new and upgraded schools, we are also investing in our existing schools through improvement projects nominated by the school, ranging from playgrounds to canteens, along with a roof and lights program.

“Over 100 schools in the area have benefitted from this $11 million investment which also uses local tradies, helping to stimulate the economy.

“The NSW Government is creating a safer and stronger regional NSW by investing record amounts of funding to help support local jobs, and the wonderful schools in the Far North Coast.”

The NSW Government is investing $7 billion in four years to deliver more than 200 new and upgraded schools to support communities across NSW. This is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of NSW.

Lake Macquarie PD raises first Aboriginal flag at Belmont Police Station

Belmont Police Station will become the first station within the Lake Macquarie Police District to raise the Aboriginal Flag on site today (Monday 31 May 2021).

A ceremony will commemorate the inaugural raising of the Aboriginal Flag and highlight the NSWPF ongoing commitment to foster positive relationships between police and the Aboriginal community.

The local police and community will mark the occasion with a traditional Welcome to Country and saltwater blessing, as well as performances from local school choir and dance groups in the forecourt of Belmont police station.

NSW Police has set a target to fly the Aboriginal flag in all regional NSW Police Districts. There are currently 18 police stations across NSW that permanently fly the Aboriginal flag including Armidale, Albury, Batemans Bay, Broken Hill, Condobolin, Deniliquin, Dubbo, Gosford, Griffith, Gunnedah, Moree, Nowra, Oak Flats, Tweed Heads, Wilcannia, Raymond Terrace, Maitland and Nelson Bay.

Funding boost to heat up Darling Harbour and the Rocks this winter

Sydney’s most-loved CBD entertainment precincts will come to life with dedicated alfresco dining, fireworks, live music and an outdoor cinema to ensure the CBD is this winter season’s hottest spot.

The NSW Government has committed almost $850,000 to support a range of activities in The Rocks and Darling Harbour as part of the CBD Revitalisation Program – which received a $20 million boost as part of the second successful CBD Summit.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said revamping these initiatives for the winter months was vital to build on the success of the September CBD Summit and would ensure the economic recovery continues.

“I said at the second CBD summit in April that we would pull out all the stops to bring crowds into the city – and we’re making it happen,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Sydney has the best restaurants, shopping, cultural institutions and lifestyle in the country and this exciting series of initiatives will encourage people to spend more time in Australia’s best CBD, with more events and activities than ever before.

“This program we’re rolling out will give both The Rocks and Darling Harbour much needed boosts over the cooler months, keeping more businesses in business and people in jobs.”

The Rocks Hidden in Plain Sight program includes a new pop-up speakeasy, art installations, weekend street games and a dinner series which showcases the best of The Rocks dining.

In Darling Harbour, people can enjoy socially distanced lunchtime picnics with live music and $10 lunch deals right through until July, with evening fireworks and light shows from 8 June as part of the Sydney Solstice celebrations.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said as The Rocks was NSW Government land, new agency Placemaking NSW was embarking on a program to revitalise hidden courtyards and laneways that have been forgotten for decades.

“Thanks to the pandemic, The Rocks is ripe for reinvention,” Mr Stokes said.

“It’s been really encouraging to see foot traffic at The Rocks hit 75 per cent of pre[1]pandemic numbers but we’re keen to draw more people back to this part of Sydney which is one of the most historic and beautiful parts of the CBD.”

“We have started a program to upgrade all courtyards and laneways in The Rocks, such as the Nurses Walk, Unwins Courtyard, Well Courtyard and the La Renaissance courtyard.

“While Melbourne has already done their laneways, we will do ours better.” For more details on The Rocks Hidden In Plain Sight program and the Darling Harbour picnic and fireworks events visit www.therocks.com and www.darlingharbour.com

More communities take up the fight against drugs and alcohol

Another 47 communities will take up the challenge of fighting drugs and alcohol in their midst, after being accepted for inclusion in the Australian Government’s innovative Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) program.

The 47 new LDATs bring the total number of active community teams across the nation to a record 280.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) operates the program for the Government.

The LDAT program emphasises building protective factors in the community. Many of the teams are focused on working with vulnerable groups in their communities to prevent alcohol and drugs misuse, including crystal methamphetamine or ice.

The new community LDATs will each receive $10,000 upfront to help them through the initial phase. During this phase, a member of the ADF will assist them with setting up, undertaking community consultation, and developing a Community Action Plan tailored to their local alcohol and other drug issues.

When this phase is completed, the LDATs can apply for further funding to support delivery of their action plans.

The LDAT Program recognises that every community is different. Its expansion is very positive news, as more communities are joining together to give their people the resources to reduce the misuse of alcohol and other drugs in their communities.

The Government has committed more than $29 million to the LDAT program since it began in 2016-17, as part of the $450 million National Ice Action Strategy.

As part of the 2021/22 Budget, the Government also committed $ 5.9 million to continue the Good Sports Program, which complements LDAT activities.

Good Sports helps community sporting clubs to develop policies on alcohol and other drugs, to reduce their impact on club members and the wider community.

This funding will expand Good Sports to another 400 clubs and support the new consolidated digital delivery platform to improve its efficiency and availability. More than 10,000 clubs are already engaged in the Good Sports program.

LDATs deliver evidence-based information, education and mentoring programs to prevent and minimise the risk of harms related to alcohol and other drugs. A wide range of other grassroots activities may be undertaken to allow people to connect, engage, empower and support each other.

This approach has proven to be successful in heading off the harm that drugs and alcohol misuse bring to individuals, families and across the community.

LDATs are formed from partnerships that can include local government, community groups, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander organisations, business associations, police, schools, local Primary Health Networks, and other interested not-for-profit organisations.

Organisations that have not been accepted into the LDAT program can deliver alcohol and other drug prevention initiatives in their local area using free resources available on the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website at https://community.adf.org.au/.