February 18 - 24, 2024: Issue 614
Spotlight shone on NSW homelessness crisis
February 13, 2024
Sobering analysis that has been released today by Homelessness NSW lays bare the extent of the rising homelessness crisis.
This data further underscores the importance of immediate interventions to increase the supply of more homes across NSW, including an uplift of social and affordable housing. Both key priorities of the NSW Government.
The analysis reveals that the top council areas that have seen increases in homelessness numbers are Inner West and Canterbury-Bankstown Council areas. These are also key areas that the NSW Government is focussed on in supporting increased access to housing.
The top council areas that have seen an increase include:
In the wake of these statistics the NSW Government reaffirms its commitment to drive down homelessness numbers by delivering more and better social housing and increasing access to comprehensive support services.
Action already taken by the NSW Government has included:
- The creation of Homes NSW, merging the housing and homelessness functions of the Department of Communities and Justice with the Land, Housing Corporation and the Aboriginal Housing Office to streamline support for residents and delivery pathway for more homes;
- Committed to 30 per cent social and affordable housing in all developments on government surplus public land;
- Undertaking a statewide land audit to identify state owned land to deliver more housing;
- Fast tracking the delivery of more social and affordable homes through the $610 Million Federal Government’s Social Housing Accelerator payment and Housing Australia Future Fund;
- Implemented planning reforms to expedite the delivery of more housing across the state;
- Investigating innovative solutions to deliver more homes with $10 million allocated to Modular Housing Trial to deliver faster quality social housing;
- The 2023-24 NSW Budget included a $224 million Essential Housing Package which allocated $70 million to accelerate the delivery of social, affordable homes in regional NSW;
- Extended temporary accommodation from an initial period of two days to seven days;
- Removed the 28-day cap ensuring vulnerable people are able to access support when they need it most;
- Increased the cash assets limit from $1,000 to $5,000 when assessing eligibility for Temporary Accommodation;
- Removed the cash asset limit assessment entirely for people escaping domestic and family violence;
- Extended Specialist Homelessness Services contracts for two years, to 30 June 2026;
- Deploying more assertive outreach services to engage people sleeping rough and support them into long term, stable accommodation;
- Appointed a Rental Commissioner to work with us in designing and implementing changes that rebalance the rental market, making it fairer and more modern; and
- Put a 12-month freeze on the requirement for people in temporary accommodation to complete a Rental Diary, while the scheme is reviewed.
The NSW Government is also undertaking once in a generation reforms to address this housing crisis and calls on the NSW Opposition and Councils across NSW to join them in tackling this crisis head on.
Minister for Housing and Homelessness Rose Jackson said:
“This report from Homelessness NSW highlights the very real housing crisis that is playing out in our suburbs and cities across NSW.
“The NSW Government, from the very beginning, has acknowledged this crisis is real and we must do everything we can to end homelessness.
“The report paints a harrowing picture of women and children being forced to live in cars, working families living in tent's and increasing rates of people sleeping rough especially in Western Sydney.
“The NSW Government is determined to confront this challenge. We know you can’t solve homelessness if you don’t have affordable homes for people to live in - that is the core work we are doing and we ask local councils and the community to walk with us on this journey.”
Australia’s oldest hospital recognised with Nightingale Award
Australia's oldest hospital has been presented with the prestigious Nightingale Badge, a worldwide symbol of nursing excellence, awarded to individuals and institutions who have made an exceptional contribution to the nursing profession.
NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce AM said the Nightingale Fellowship of London Badge was presented to Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital (SSEH) in celebration of all Nightingale-trained nurses in Australia.
“Our nurses are some of the best in the world, and it is great to see Sydney Eye Hospital and the Lucy Osburn Nightingale Museum receive international recognition as the founders of Nightingale nursing in Australia," Ms Pearce said.
“Steeped in history, the Hospital is Australia's oldest and has been providing high quality healthcare for more than 200 years."
The Museum, located in the historic Nightingale Wing on Macquarie Street, commemorates two very important women in the history of nursing; social reformer and founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, and Lucy Osburn, an English nurse who in 1897, was sent by Nightingale at the request of the colonial government to Sydney, to establish the first Nightingale Training school in Australia.
SSEH Director of Nursing and Support Services Natalie Maier said it was a proud day for the Hospital.
“We feel extremely privileged to have been recognised by our international colleagues, in acknowledgement of the significant history of nursing first championed here by Lucy Osburn over 100 years ago," Ms Maier said.
“I thank the museum for preserving the legacy of Lucy Osburn, who very early on, set the standard for nursing in Australia. This high standard lives on today, as our nurses continue to provide world-class patient care."
President of the Nightingale Fellowship of London Christine Taylor said she was delighted to recognise Lucy Osburn's pioneering work.
“We are extremely proud and delighted to present this framed badge in recognition of Ms Osburn's pioneering work in establishing a Nightingale Training School at Sydney Hospital; and in recognition of all those nurses who have trained there and (UK) Nightingales who have come to Australia to work," Ms Taylor said.
The Lucy Osburn Nightingale Museum is home to a unique collection of medical equipment, records, implements and pathology that portrays the history of nursing and medicine in Australia since the arrival of the first fleet in 1788.
Visitors to the museum can walk back in time into original refurbished rooms, view photos, artefacts, surgical instruments, costumes and the oldest morbid anatomy specimens in Australia.
Visits to the Lucy Osburn Nightingale Museum, which is open by appointment only, can be organised by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lucy Osburn was born in Leeds, England in 1835 and was trained by the social reformer and founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. In 1867, Nightingale sent Osburn and five other nurses to Sydney at the request of Henry Parkes to establish nursing methods and training at the Sydney Infirmary and Dispensary on Macquarie Street, now known as Sydney Hospital.
Lucy Osburn had only been in Sydney for a week when she faced one of her first challenges. Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son, had been shot in an assassination attempt during his visit to Sydney and she supervised his nursing. She also faced challenges with the poor conditions of the hospital wards and infighting among her British nurses. Her main achievement was to reform nursing practice and establish training methods. At the Sydney Infirmary and Dispensary she dismissed the male nurses, replaced them with female nurses, and introduced training on and off the wards.
As the first Lady Superintendent of the Sydney Hospital, she also enforced a strict hierarchical and regimented system that reflected the class system of the time. Plagued by illness and criticisms regarding her management style, Osburn was forced to resign in 1884 and returned to England where she died in 1891. Osburn has since been recognised as the founder of Nightingale nursing in Australia.
Lucy Osburn 1856, courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW (MIN 283)
Nightingale Wing, Sydney Infirmary, Macquarie Street c1869-74 courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW ( SPF/178)
Safely embracing AI in healthcare
February 12, 2023
NSW Health has established a new taskforce to inform and guide the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the public health system.
The taskforce, whose membership comprises of senior leaders and subject matter experts from across NSW Health, held its first meeting on Thursday.
Several AI initiatives are already in place throughout NSW Health, including integrated electronic medical records, wound care management, data engineering for complex data analysis, coding automation support, and storeroom stocking and detailing.
The taskforce will play an important role in overseeing the creation of an AI Framework that ensures the safe and successful use of AI within NSW Health.
The framework will aim to embrace the potential of AI to have a significant impact on healthcare and drive transformative change in how we provide and manage healthcare and in further accelerating many aspects of clinical research.
It will also balance the opportunities and benefits presented by AI with consideration and management of potential risks around safety, ethics, privacy, security, and regulation.
The creation of the taskforce will build on the work of the Department of Customer Service, translating the whole of government approach into the healthcare context, as well as aligning with Australian Governments interim response to the Safe and Responsible AI consultation.
NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park said:
“NSW Health is demonstrating its innovative approach by establishing a taskforce to drive this change safely and effectively for patients and clinicians.
“Establishing a framework for NSW Health around AI is an important step towards meeting the future needs of our patients, community and workforce.
“The framework will enable us to look for more innovative ways to complement and support the capabilities of our highly skilled workforce, while addressing the risks and challenges that come with the use of AI in health.”
New sustainable water technology to be on ‘tap’ at NSW hospitals
A new environmentally friendly and clinically safe replacement for cleaning chemicals has been introduced in kitchens at public hospitals as part of NSW Health’s ongoing commitment to improving sustainability within the health system.
A free-flowing supply of biodegradable electrolysed water will replace synthetic chemical-based cleaning and sanitising products in more than 160 public hospitals across NSW over the next three years, providing a more sustainable and efficient cleaning alternative.
Medical Director of NSW Health’s Climate and Risk Net Zero Unit, Dr Kate Charlesworth, said the technology is a meaningful change that will replace the need to rely on cleaning chemicals that can be harmful to the environment.
“This change demonstrates our commitment to NSW Health’s Future Health Framework, to deliver an environmentally sustainable footprint for future health care,” Dr Charlesworth said.
In an Australian first, NSW Health’s shared services provider Healthshare NSW has formed a partnership with eWater Systems to supply onsite generators in kitchens that produce sanitising and cleaning solutions using electrolysed water technology.
The onsite generation technology uses just salt, water and electricity to produce sustainable cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting solutions that are suitable for many purposes.
HealthShare NSW Chief Executive Carmen Rechbauer said the organisation has been working hard to find new and innovative ways to further reduce their environmental footprint, while adhering to the stringent cleaning activities that are necessary for staff and patient safety.
“By using eWater Systems’ technology, we can reduce the risk of adverse environmental impacts of using chemicals, take better care of hospital infrastructure and equipment, and create a more efficient service,” Ms Rechbauer said.
The disinfectant is the only one of its kind registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) as a hospital grade disinfectant and the sanitiser is HACCP certified as food safe. Both products are Organic Certified.
eWater Systems founder Phil Gregory said the partnership with Healthshare NSW is a giant step toward realising a future where toxic chemicals are replaced with safer, more sustainable alternatives.
“It is anticipated when fully implemented the new technology will result in the annual replacement of over 2 million litres of chemicals and a reduction of hundreds of thousands of single use plastic packs across NSW Health. The impact on our waterways and marine life and reduced landfill will be significant, now, and for generations to come.”
Contract awarded to transform the Cutaway at Barangaroo
Barangaroo has reached a major milestone with a contract awarded to FDC Construction and Fitout to deliver a bespoke fit-out of the Cutaway, with work expected to start shortly.
The fit-out is set to transform the Cutaway from concrete shell, exposed to the elements, into one of Sydney’s premier cultural facilities and an outstanding venue.
The Cutaway is positioned under Barangaroo Reserve and within steps of the new Barangaroo Metro Station set to open this year. It will be easy to travel to and from the Cutaway and enjoy its natural surrounds.
The final design by FJC Studio was selected due to its practical, iconic design and its relationship to traditional custodians and the surrounding environment.
Key features of the new design, which spans 3 levels include:
- new event and gallery spaces
- enclosure of the open ceiling voids with soundproof, glass skylights
- improved acoustics
- improved entry and forecourt
- on site-amenities
- back of house facilities (including commercial kitchen).
To find out more visit the Barangaroo website.
Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper said:
“The Cutaway offers a unique opportunity for a major cultural destination for Sydney due to its accessible location and large dynamic space to host cultural events, festivals and exhibitions.
“The new and improved venue will accommodate multiple spaces for events, exhibitions, festivals, and installations for use, and there is no other venue that looks like this anywhere in NSW.”
“This design enhances the character and identity of the space, while incorporating a strong response to Connecting with Country.
Minister for the Arts, Minister for Jobs and Tourism and Minister for Music and Night-time Economy John Graham said:
“The fit out at the Cutaway will maximise the potential of the space and create a globally attractive venue.
“The NSW Government is committed to providing new cultural infrastructure in the heart of Sydney that attracts more visitors to the city from far and wide, and at the same time stimulating the local economy.
“The fit out displays architectural design excellence while embedding sustainability initiatives that are consistent with Barangaroo’s climate positive principles.”
FDC is an Australian owned leading building delivery partner with over 34 years of experience.
They pride themselves on delivering best-in-class construction, fit out, refurbishment and building services across a diverse range of sectors.
Artists Impression image: NSW Government
Disclaimer: These articles are not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Pittwater Online News or its staff.