METRO TUNNELLING TO CREATE THOUSANDS OF JOBS

Minister for Transport Andrew Constance today announced the start of the tender process to build almost 50km of new metro railway tunnels between Greater Parramatta and the Sydney CBD on the Sydney Metro West project.

The NSW Government has called for expressions of interest for the mega project’s first two major infrastructure packages – the delivery of twin tunnels between Westmead and The Bays.

“Now more than ever, infrastructure projects like Sydney Metro West support jobs, communities and the economy – Sydney Metro West will create more than 10,000 direct new jobs and 70,000 indirect jobs, with thousands of these jobs being generated by these new tunnelling contracts,” Mr Constance said.

“These contracts will require tunnellers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, concrete workers, truck drivers, labourers and security guards.”

The first of four mega tunnel boring machines are expected to be in the ground before the end of 2022.

Expressions of interest have been called for the first two tunnelling contracts from Westmead to Sydney Olympic Park and from Sydney Olympic Park to The Bays.

“Sydney Metro West is a truly once-in-a-century city shaping project that will forever change how we get around Sydney,” Mr Constance said.

“Just as importantly, the construction of this mega project will create many thousands of new jobs and support families across Sydney.”

The Sydney Metro West project will deliver a new underground driverless metro railway from Westmead to the city, doubling the rail capacity of this corridor and cutting travel times to around 20 minutes between Parramatta and the city.

BOOST TO AERIAL CAPABILITY FOR FIRE AND RESCUE

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is now better equipped to respond to emergencies and calls for assistance from the community following the rollout of a fleet of new next generation response vehicles.

As part of a $28 million aerial replacement program funded by the NSW Government, fire stations like Parramatta and Hornsby will put to good use one of 13 new Bronto Skylift Ladder Platforms and the EGI Klubb Aerial Pumpers.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the new vehicles would serve to improve emergency response in NSW at a time when it is needed most.

“FRNSW do an incredible job in responding to countless emergencies across NSW, which was on display to the community during the horrible bushfire season we experienced over the summer. It’s only fitting that the NSW Government continues to back our frontline emergency services workers through an investment in vehicles to improve emergency response,” Mr Elliott said.

“The communities in and around Parramatta and Hornsby will be the first to benefit from these state-of-the-art fire trucks, with the remaining vehicles to be deployed by the Commissioner over the next few months”.

“While the NSW Government is rightly focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and saving lives, it’s important we still work to ensure all our fire agencies have the equipment and resources they need ahead of the next fire season.”

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said the new vehicles would add to the already high emergency response capabilities of the organisation.

“Along with their compact boom design and realtime image capture ability, the Bronto Skylift will enable us to reach a working height of 45 metres, compared to our current 37 metre vehicles, making it the highest reaching vehicle of any fire service in Australia,” Commissioner Baxter said.

“Just like the Bronto Skylift, the new EGI Klubb Aerial Pumpers are equipped with rescue cages with breathable air and the ability to send realtime imagery. It is a more compact unit than our current design operating at an increased working height from 15 metres to 24 metres due to its unique articulating boom.

$100M SUPPORT FOR HEALTH WORKERS TO FIGHT COVID-19

NSW frontline healthcare workers will be provided with free accommodation to protect their loved ones as part of $100 million in extra measures to support frontline staff battling COVID-19.

The NSW Government is allocating almost $60 million to provide doctors, nurses, paramedics and other hospital and ambulance staff with the option of staying in out-of-home accommodation during the pandemic.

The package will also support medical research and vaccine trials to beat COVID-19, as well as commercialise research products and boost domestic supply chains.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said this funding would not only provide support for healthcare workers now but would also give them the resources to tackle COVID-19 head-on in the coming months.

“Nobody should go to work and worry that it will put their families at risk especially when they are working so hard to protect us. This funding is the least we can do to keep healthcare workers and their families safe,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Our health professionals are among the best in the world and we must do everything we can to help them not just now but also in the weeks and months ahead as we battle this virus.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said providing free accommodation to hospital staff was a crucial plank in the health support package.

“The last thing the brave men and women in our health system should have to worry about is that their jobs will result in their loved ones being exposed to this virus,” Mr Perrottet said.

“As was the case during the bushfires our health system will have all the resources it needs so our frontline health workers can save lives and look after themselves.”

Local health districts will work with staff to make sure accommodation is close to work or their families, depending on individual needs.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said no stone would be left unturned when it came to supporting the health system. Mr Hazzard said the vital health package will also include $25 million in funding for medical research and vaccine trials to help develop a cure to beat COVID-19 as well as $11 million to quickly get work from NSW’s world class universities and partner research institutions to market.

“Frontline health staff who have the community’s back now know that the community and the government have their back. This funding gives them options on accommodation when they’re doing battle with COVID-19,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Options to protect their family and to protect themselves are critical, and now they can choose what’s best in their own circumstances without worrying about a drain on their budget.”

The package also includes $10 million to work with NSW engineering, electrical and manufacturing businesses to urgently undertake pilot projects to produce ventilators and other critical medical equipment locally.

Key elements of the support package include:

  • $58 million for health worker accommodation
  • $25 million for medical research and vaccine trials
  • $11 million for commercialisation of research products
  • $10 million Funding to partner with industry to boost domestic supply chains.

The NSW Government has already committed $700 million extra funding for NSW Health as part of a $2.3 billion health boost and economic stimulus package announced on March 17.

This funding boost is helping double ICU capacity, preparing for additional COVID-19 testing, purchasing additional ventilators and medical equipment and establishing acute respiratory clinics.

Strike Force Bast underway to investigate actions surrounding Ruby Princess

The NSW Police Force investigation is underway to examine the circumstances surrounding the docking and disembarking of the Ruby Princess last month.

Earlier this week, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller announced the commencement of a criminal investigation into the communications, actions, and other circumstances that led to the docking and disembarking of the vessel at Sydney Harbour on Thursday 19 March 2020.

A team of 30 detectives from across State Crime, Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics and Marine Area Commands have been seconded to Strike Force Bast, who will be assisted by intelligence analysts and other specialist officers.

The first investigations briefing was conducted this morning (Wednesday 8 April 2020), and taskings have since commenced.

Strike force investigators will interview high-priority witnesses in coming days, but they are still urging those with relevant information to contact Crime Stoppers as soon as possible.

Anyone who has information relevant to the investigation, including details of symptoms, illness, or medical advice during the voyage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

The community is reminded that their information is treated in strict confidence.

Breakdown of latest Public Health Act charges and Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs)

Police have charged one person with offences under the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) and issued 15 COVID-19 related Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) since the last update.

Charges:

  • About 8.40pm yesterday (Tuesday 7 April 2020), police from Tuggerah Lakes Police District were patrolling Yarramalong Rd, Wyong Creek, when they stopped the driver of a Hyundai for a random breath test, which returned a positive reading. The 27-year-old man was arrested and taken to Wyong Police Station, where a breath analysis returned a reading of 0.200. When asked about his reason for being out, it’s alleged the man was uncooperative and could not provide a reasonable excuse. While in custody, it’s further alleged the man urinated throughout the cell. He was charged with drive with high range PCA, destroy/damage property, and not comply with notice direction. The man is due to appear in Wyong Local Court on 29 April 2020.

PINs include:

  • About 12pm yesterday (Tuesday 7 April 2020) officers attached to Mt Druitt Police Area Command were conducting a proactive patrol at a shopping mall in Mt Druitt when they located a man sitting at a picnic table. Police spoke with the 20-year-old man and established he had been warned on three separate occasions the day before (Monday 6 April 2020) after being sighted at the same location. He was issued with a $1000 PIN.
  • During the same proactive patrol, at 12.20pm, officers spoke with a 37-year-old man in the vicinity of the shopping mall. He advised police he had left his home as he had to get out and see his friends. Officers issued him with a warning. About two hours later, at 2.30pm, the same male was seen sleeping on a bench nearby. He was issued with a $1000 PIN.
  • About 2.15pm yesterday, officers from Lake Macquarie Police District attended a home at Edgeworth after receiving information a number of people were at the location in breach of a ministerial direction. On arrival, police spoke with two female residents of the property and two male visitors. Further inquiries established there had been previous calls to police for social gatherings at the location. The 25-year-old and 21-year-old men were each issued with a $1000 PIN.
  • About 11.45am yesterday, officers from Inner West Police Area Command were conducting a proactive patrol when they observed two males sitting on a ledge. The men were not able to give a reasonable excuse for being there, and further inquiries established they had been given formal warnings for breaching a ministerial direction the previous evening. They were issued a move on direction and given a second warning. About 2.45pm, police were made aware of a group of four males congregating at a park nearby. Officers established two of the men (a 43-year-old man and a 58-year-old man) had been involved in the earlier interaction and they were issued with $1000 PINs. The remaining two men were given a warning and move on direction.
  • About 8am yesterday, officers from Chifley Police District were patrolling the Bathurst township when they sighted a man walking along the footpath. Police spoke with the 41-year-old man, who gave several different reasons for being out of his home. He was issued with a $1000 PIN.
  • About 8.45pm yesterday, officers from Newcastle City Police District stopped a vehicle on Russel Road, New Lambton, as part of inquiries of into an unrelated incident. Police spoke with the female driver and 27-year-old male passenger. Subsequent checks revealed the man had previous been given two warnings under the Public Health Act in the previous two days. He was issued a $1000 PIN after being unable to provide a reasonable excuse for being out, while the woman was given a warning, and both were directed to return home.
  • Just after 6.30pm yesterday, officers from Traffic and Highway Patrol Command stopped a vehicle on Campbell Parade, Bondi, and spoke with the 30-year-old male driver, who advised he was going to visit a friend. Checks revealed the man’s vehicle was unregistered and didn’t have his licence on him. The Tamarama man was issued with Traffic Infringement Notices totalling $2172 for driving unregistered and uninsured and not carrying a licence, as well as a $1000 PIN under the Public Health Act.
  • Police have issued three PINs after responding to a noise complaint in Forster last night. About 7.30pm, officers attached to Manning Great Lakes Police District attended a unit on South Street. As officers approached the door, the occupants were allegedly heard referring to “police” and the need for “social distancing.” Officers entered the unit and spoke with four people, one of whom resided at the address. The others, a 20-year-old woman and two men aged 29 and 25 were unable to provide a valid reason for not being home and were issued with $1000 fines.
  • Three juveniles have been issued PINs after ignoring warnings to return to their homes. About 10.15pm on Monday (6 April 2020), officers attached to Wollongong Police District attended a unit on Carrington Street, Woonona, and spoke with four young people. One of them lived at the address, but the remaining three did not and had received warnings earlier that day regarding their failure to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. The three boys, aged 15, 16 and 17, have been issued with PINs for failing to be home without a reasonable excuse.

Since 17 March 2020, police have issued 11 Court Attendance Notices, and 136 PINs for breaches of the Public Health Act.

Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Woman to face court after supermarket employee spat on – Vincentia

A woman has been charged with assault after she allegedly spat on a supermarket worker in the South Coast today.

About 2pm (Wednesday 8 April 2020), a woman attended a supermarket on Burton Street, Vincentia, and was asked to follow new social distancing procedures while shopping due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The woman, aged 35, became verbally abusive to one staff member before being denied entry into the store by a second staff member.

Upon being refused entry, the 35-year-old allegedly became aggressive and when she was asked to leave by the staff member, a 49-year-old woman, she allegedly spat in her face.

A further physical struggle followed, with the 35-year-old allegedly pulling the 49-year-old woman’s hair, gouging her eyes and causing jewellery to be damaged, before she left the scene.

Both women suffered minor injuries.

Officers attached to South Coast Police District were alerted to the incident.

Following inquiries, police attended a home on Walmer Ave, Sanctuary Point, and arrested a 35-year-old woman.

She was issued a Future Court Attendance Notice to appear at Nowra Local Court on Monday 15 June 2020, for the offences of common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and destroy or damage property.

Hunter police launch Operation Tortoise for 2020 Easter break

Northern Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell APM, will address Hunter media this afternoon as Operation Tortoise is launched state-wide over the Easter long weekend.

NSW Police is reminding the community that, while travelling for holidays is not considered ‘essential’ travel, officers will continue to be out in force over the Easter long weekend. Operation Tortoise, a state-wide road safety operation over the Easter long weekend, will see officers targeting speeding, mobile phone, seatbelt and motorcycle helmet offences; all of which will attract double demerit points.

Double demerit points which will be in place from midnight tomorrow (Thursday 9 April 2020) until 11.59pm on Monday 13 April 2020 across NSW.

NSW Police joined by ADF to monitor quarantine compliance at NSW Ports

The NSW Police Force has been joined by the Australian Defence Force to assist in quarantine compliance at selected NSW Ports.

As part of arrangements with Australian Border Force relating to the management of shipping in NSW, the Marine Area Command has coordinated the deployment of police to the ports of Newcastle, Port Kembla, Port Botany and White Bay.

To assist with deployments, ADF personnel will be stationed at selected ports to monitor compliance under the Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order 2020.

NSW Police Force officers from Eastern Beaches Police Area Command and Lake Illawarra and Wollongong Police Districts, supported by ADF personnel commenced deployments at Port Botany and Port Kembla yesterday (Tuesday 7 April 2020).

Deployments to other ports – including Newcastle and Eden – are expected to roll out later this week.

The ADF personnel are in supporting roles and are not authorised as law enforcement officers.

Update on Coronavirus Measures

Australian governments met today as the National Cabinet to take further action to slow the spread of coronavirus to save lives, and to save livelihoods.

We will be living with this virus for at least six months, so social distancing measures to slow the spread of this virus must be sustainable for at least that long to protect Australian lives.

We need to ensure Australia keeps functioning, to keep Australians in jobs.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Brendan Murphy provided an update on the measures underway on the latest data and medical advice in relation to coronavirus.

There are more than 5,800 confirmed cases in Australia, and more than 2,400 people have recovered from the virus. Sadly 44 people have died.

Testing keeps Australians safe. Australia has one of the most rigorous coronavirus testing systems in the world with more than 304,000 tests completed.

It is clear the epidemiology curve is beginning to flatten. But it is still too early to determine whether such movements will be significant or sustained. That’s why it’s important that all Australians continue to adhere to the social distancing measures.

Many Australians have been looking forward to an Easter holiday. National Cabinet reiterated previous advice that social distancing must continue and that Australians should stay at home and not undertake unnecessary holiday travel.

Leaders thanked all Australians who have acted responsibly and have been undertaking social distancing and isolation measures.

National Cabinet reiterated that social distancing is slowing the spread of the virus in Australia. These measures are saving lives and livelihoods. National Cabinet reminded Australians that social distancing must continue at Easter and agreed that Australians should stay at home this Easter and not undertake unnecessary holiday travel.

National Cabinet will meet again on Thursday 9 April 2020.

Commercial Tenancies

The National Cabinet agreed that states and territories would implement the attached mandatory Code of Conduct (the Code), including via legislation or regulation as appropriate, to implement the principles agreed on Friday 3 April. The Code builds on the draft codes submitted by landlord and tenant representative bodies in the commercial property sector.

The purpose of the Code is to impose a set of good faith leasing principles for application to commercial tenancies (including retail, office and industrial) between owners/operators/other landlords and tenants, in circumstances where the tenant is a small-medium sized business (annual turnover of up to $50 million) and is an eligible business for the purpose of the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper programme.

National Cabinet agreed that there would be a proportionality to rent reductions based on the tenant’s decline in turnover to ensure that the burden is shared between landlords and tenants. The Code provides a proportionate and measured burden share between the two parties while still allowing tenants and landlords to agree to tailored, bespoke and appropriate temporary arrangements that take account of their particular circumstances.

National Cabinet again noted that it expects Australian and foreign banks along with other financial institutions operating in Australia, to support landlords and tenants with appropriate flexibility as they work to implement the mandatory Code.

The Commonwealth Government is also acting as a model landlord by waiving rents for all its small and medium enterprises and not-for-profit tenants within its owned and leased property across Australia.

The Rent Relief Policy will include a mutual obligation requirement on the small and medium sized enterprises and not-for-profit tenants to continue to engage their employees through the JobKeeper initiative where eligible, and if applicable, provide rent relief to their subtenants.

Impact of coronavirus – Theoretical modelling of how the health system can respond

Australia has a world class health system, including an Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus Management Plan. The Plan includes modelling of possible scenarios of coronavirus spreading through Australia. This informs the actions taken to slow the spread and prepare the health system.

Today National Cabinet released the first set of theoretical scenario modelling undertaken to inform how Australia is preparing our health system, including our Intensive Care Units (ICUs), for coronavirus. A summary of the modelling is attached, and the modellers will release a technical paper on the data today.

National Cabinet noted that the hypothetical scenarios were commissioned in early February, when the outbreak began and prior to National Cabinet implementing measures to reduce transmission and flatten the curve including through travel restrictions and social isolation.

National Cabinet noted that the modelling is a useful tool but it does not predict the future. In the real world, we can adjust restrictions as the outbreak evolves to manage the length of the outbreak.

What the modelling has done and continues to do, is to inform Australian governments and medical experts so we can take actions to slow the spread of coronavirus and ensure our health system is prepared under a range of scenarios.

National Cabinet noted that early data suggests the existing measures in Australia are flattening the curve to a point where the health system can meet expected demand. So far only 8 percent of cases in Australia have required hospitalisation and ICU.

While the modelling does not show how the virus will move through our community, it tells us some important things including that we would have been overwhelmed if we had not reduced the number of travellers and introduced public health measures.

The modelling does not reflect the actual recent evidence of the spread of the virus in Australia and measures that the National Cabinet has announced to slow the spread of the virus.

National Cabinet will commission a next phase of the modelling that will put Australian data into the model and see how it aligns to our actual experience. This has not been an option to date given the relatively small amount of data available on community transmission of the virus in Australia. As more ‘real’ data is put into the model its accuracy improves. National Cabinet has requested the first results of this modelling include state and territory breakdowns to reflect the different stages of coronavirus transmission by jurisdiction.

The theoretical scenario modelling by the University of Melbourne (Doherty Institute) Pandemic Modelling Team finds an uncontrolled coronavirus pandemic would overwhelm our health system for many weeks. Around 89 per cent of people would catch the virus, with 38 percent requiring some medical care. ICUs would be well beyond capacity for a prolonged period.

Quarantine and isolation slow the rate of transmission. This flattens the epidemiological curve. It reduces the proportion of people who would catch the virus to 68 percent, and those needing medical care to 29 percent. While this reduces the peak demand on ICUs, the modelled expanded ICU capacity would not be enough for several weeks.

Social distancing makes it harder for the virus to spread and reduces the proportion of people infected. The modellers have looked at two levels of social distancing. With a 25 percent reduction in transmission due to social distancing, the proportion of people infected would be 38 percent with 16 percent requiring some medical care.

With a 33 per cent reduction in transmission due to social distancing, the proportion of people infected is 12 percent and only 5 percent require some medical care.

The modelling confirms that with social distancing and an expansion in ICU capacity, everyone who needs an ICU bed over the course of the pandemic could access one.

The modelling parameters further show the severity of coronavirus on different age groups based on hospitalisation and ICU admission. The results for aged groups vary significantly with the rate of hospitalisation for cases under 20 years at 0.62 percent and negligible ICU needs. For older people, coronavirus has more severe impacts with 35.8 percent of cases requiring hospitalisation for those between 70 and 79 year olds and 65.9 percent of cases for over 80 year olds.

Unlike many countries, we have an opportunity in Australia to choose how to respond from a position of relative control. We can tailor our interventions to gain the most benefit and minimise the cost to society.

AHPPC Advice

National Cabinet noted the AHPPC advice on the use of Off-label Medicines for Treatment and Prophylaxis of coronavirus; Healthcare Worker Use of PPE When Caring for Suspected or Confirmed coronavirus Patients; Home Isolation; Organ Donation and Transplantation during the coronavirus Pandemic; and Rapid Point of Care Lateral Flow Devices to Detect Antibodies to SARS-COV-2.

$100M SUPPORT FOR HEALTH WORKERS TO FIGHT COVID-19

NSW frontline healthcare workers will be provided with free accommodation to protect their loved ones as part of $100 million in extra measures to support frontline staff battling COVID-19.

The NSW Government is allocating almost $60 million to provide doctors, nurses, paramedics and other hospital and ambulance staff with the option of staying in out-of-home accommodation during the pandemic.

The package will also support medical research and vaccine trials to beat COVID-19, as well as commercialise research products and boost domestic supply chains.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said this funding would not only provide support for healthcare workers now but would also give them the resources to tackle COVID-19 head-on in the coming months.

“Nobody should go to work and worry that it will put their families at risk especially when they are working so hard to protect us. This funding is the least we can do to keep healthcare workers and their families safe,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Our health professionals are among the best in the world and we must do everything we can to help them not just now but also in the weeks and months ahead as we battle this virus.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said providing free accommodation to hospital staff was a crucial plank in the health support package.

“The last thing the brave men and women in our health system should have to worry about is that their jobs will result in their loved ones being exposed to this virus,” Mr Perrottet said.

“As was the case during the bushfires our health system will have all the resources it needs so our frontline health workers can save lives and look after themselves.”

Local health districts will work with staff to make sure accommodation is close to work or their families, depending on individual needs.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said no stone would be left unturned when it came to supporting the health system. Mr Hazzard said the vital health package will also include $25 million in funding for medical research and vaccine trials to help develop a cure to beat COVID-19 as well as $11 million to quickly get work from NSW’s world class universities and partner research institutions to market.

“Frontline health staff who have the community’s back now know that the community and the government have their back. This funding gives them options on accommodation when they’re doing battle with COVID-19,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Options to protect their family and to protect themselves are critical, and now they can choose what’s best in their own circumstances without worrying about a drain on their budget.”

The package also includes $10 million to work with NSW engineering, electrical and manufacturing businesses to urgently undertake pilot projects to produce ventilators and other critical medical equipment locally.

Key elements of the support package include:

  • $58 million for health worker accommodation
  • $25 million for medical research and vaccine trials
  • $11 million for commercialisation of research products
  • $10 million Funding to partner with industry to boost domestic supply chains.

The NSW Government has already committed $700 million extra funding for NSW Health as part of a $2.3 billion health boost and economic stimulus package announced on March 17.

This funding boost is helping double ICU capacity, preparing for additional COVID-19 testing, purchasing additional ventilators and medical equipment and establishing acute respiratory clinics.