27 September 2023

News in Brief

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Temporary care beds expand

Federal funding and local support have joined together to see up to 35 temporary aged care beds across the Illawarra Shoalhaven region, helping free up beds in local public hospitals.

Health Minister Ryan Park said the extra beds will make it possible for more patients to be safely discharged from hospital to another care facility.

“This is an exceptional result for the local community,” Mr Park said.

“We will also jointly fund an additional 15 transitional beds in the Shoalhaven, with 4 already in place in Nowra.”

The additional aged care beds will open over the next months.

APS Academy Campus in NSW

The first Academy Campus of the Australian Public Service’s (APS) Academy has been opened at the University of Newcastle.

Welcoming 22 new entry-level data and digital participants, the group demonstrated the APS’s commitment to reach talent outside Canberra.

The APS Academy Campus program is part of the Australian Government’s plan to address data and digital skill shortages in the APS.

One Stop Shop for clinics open

The new National One Stop Shop for Clinical Trials and Health-related Human Research is now available.

The national health-related human research ICT platform is to provide a coordinated system of approval and reporting processes for human research, including clinical trials in Australia, the National One Stop Shop will transform the ability of patients to access clinical trials and therapeutic interventions.

It will also make it easier for industry, sponsors and researchers, to find, invest and conduct research in Australia.

The consultation report sets out the process to develop a national health-related human research Information and Communication Technology (ICT) platform.

56 new sheriffs after SORT Course

Three classes of new probationary sheriff’s officers have successfully completed the Sheriff Office Recruitment Training Course with 56 new sheriffs to embark on a career serving their community.

After training at a 10-week intensive the officers learn how to anticipate and respond to risks and de-escalate tense situations.

The new graduates bring the number of sheriff’s officers in NSW to more than 300 who are 170 locations, including the metropolitan centres of Parramatta and Newcastle as well as regional NSW, including Lismore, Orange, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga.

$310,000 for NAIDOC

The NSW Government is supporting this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations by providing $310,000 to support Aboriginal participation in celebratory events across NSW.

The funding provided under the Aboriginal Affairs NSW NAIDOC Grants Program attracted 206 submissions across the state, up by 77 from last year.

Some of the grants issued include funding towards the popular Souths Cares NAIDOC Festival in Maroubra, flag-raising ceremonies, a Community Day at the Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place and a traditional food day hosted by Jubullum Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Trees for Western tunnel

Transport for NSW has released its updated Tree Replacement Strategy for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade projects following community feedback.

After more than 100 public submissions considered a strong support for increased tree canopy quality and coverage with tree replacement 2:1.

“We thank the community for their submissions, which helped refine Transport’s Tree Replacement Strategy, including having a say on locations for replacement trees, tree types, tree sizes, and native species,” Transport for NSW said.

“We will progressively be replanting native trees throughout the life of the project,” it said.

Flu jab for over 65

NSW Health is urging people 65 and over to book in for their free influenza (flu) vaccine through their GP or local pharmacy, amid concerns of moderate levels of influenza transmission in the community.

More than 9,000 people in NSW were diagnosed with influenza during the past fortnight to 17 June, with the latest data showing an increase in the number of people presenting to NSW emergency departments in June.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said while everyone aged six months or older is recommended to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible, people aged 65 and over should nsure they are vaccinated against influenza this winter.

“We’re currently seeing an increase in the number of people presenting to NSW emergency departments with influenza-like illness, with some requiring admission to hospital,” Dr Chant said.

“Older people are at higher risk of suffering severe illness from influenza,” she said.

More information can be found on this PS News link.

Western buses open for comment

Western NSW bus passengers can have their say on how well local services are meeting their needs as Transport for NSW launches a series of transport surveys for the area.

Transport for NSW Regional Director West Alistair Lunn called for feedback from bus users in Menindee, Wentworth, Wilcannia and Bourke in an online survey or attending a face-to-face community engagement session to be held later this month in Wentworth and Bourke.

Mr Lunn said the online surveys had all been launched and will remain open until Friday 7 July.

The online surveys can be accessed at these websites: Wilcannia to Broken Hill; Wentworth to Mildura; Menindee to Broken Hill; and Bourke’s shared, flexible Wilba.

Trout fishing out

Recreational fishers have been reminded trout fishing is closed.

The Deputy Director of General Fisheries in the Department of Primary Industries, Sean Sloan said fishing was now prohibited in trout rivers and streams until the start of the October long weekend.

Mr Sloan said however that during the annual closure, popular trout dams such as Lake Jindabyne and Eucumbene Dam in the Snowy Mountains, Oberon Dam near Bathurst, Tantangara and Talbingo Dams near Tumut and Malpas Dam near Armidale were still open.

He said fishers could also fish Macquarie River (excluding tributaries including, Lewis Ponds Creek) and the Turon River and tributaries below the Upper Turon Road crossing, which were now open during the annual trout closure.

NSW fights Canadian wildfire

A second deployment of 49 firefighting specialists from NSW have joined an additional Australian and New Zealand contingent of 158 in Canada as wildfires continue to burn across the country.

Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib said this second deployment included 28 firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service, 10 from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, six from Forestry Corporation NSW, four from Fire and Rescue NSW and one member from the NSW State Emergency Service.

“I thank these men and women who are leaving their loved ones and daily lives behind to support their international colleagues battle a huge number of fires in Canada,” Mr Dib said.

State water to stay in public hands

Sydney Water and Hunter Water have been protected from privatisation following an amendment to NSW’s Constitution Act.

Celebrating the milestone, Premier Chris Minns said the change meant the two corporations, and their main undertakings, would remain in public ownership by ensuring the entities could not be sold or disposed of.

“The new provisions of the act prevent governments from selling off Sydney Water and Hunter Water,” Mr Minns said.

“Only an Act of Parliament will be able to undo the privatisation protections.”

Information on the move can be accessed in this PS News article.

RFS Air Tanker off for USA

For a third year in a row the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has sent its 737 Large Air Tanker (LAT), the ‘Marie Bashir’, to the United States of America to assist U.S. agencies during the country’s wildfire season.

RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said the RFS 737 LAT would be on an initial deployment of just over three months, and available to return at short notice if need arose in NSW.

“While we wish our crew a safe journey and all the best for the work they will be doing, we also wish US agencies and firefighters all the best and our thoughts are with those communities impacted,” Commissioner Rogers said.

Opera House’s hidden tours

The Sydney Opera House is launching a new intimate tour in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

Chief Customer Officer at the House, Jade McKellar said the Hidden House tour had been specially curated to open up more of the Opera House to locals and visitors, exploring never-before-seen areas of Australia’s most recognised building.

Ms McKellar said the tour, running from June to October, would journey into back-of-house spaces including the Concert Hall’s world-famous organ, its follow-spot lighting room and the Joan Sutherland Theatre’s backstage lift.

Information on the tours can be accessed at this PS News link.

NPWS buys up koala habitat

Thousands of hectares of bushland containing koala-preferred habitat near Port Macquarie is to be protected forever following its purchase by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

Celebrating the purchase, Minister for Environment and Heritage, Penny Sharpe said the 4,500-hectare property occupied a critical position between four existing NPWS reserves and between two known koala populations at Comboyne and South Kempsey.

“Connecting these reserves will safeguard the health and resilience of the habitat and secure safe corridors for koalas to move through the landscape,” Ms Sharpe said

“The property is already home to between 30 and 60 koalas.”

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