Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Announcing the funding arrangements with Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt, Health Minister John Day said it would help free up 75 metropolitan hospital beds.
"The provision of an extra 75 Transition Care Program places in quality, community aged care centres means many elderly patients who don't need high-level care can be moved out of our hospitals before winter," Mr Day said.
"This is a win-win for the community, ensuring we have more beds available while delivering extra value for Western Australian taxpayers. It is fundamental to our strategy to streamline care and increase health system throughput, in preparation for the busiest time of year."
The Minister said the Transition Care Program initiative would dovetail with the implementation of comprehensive new efficiency plans by local health service providers across major hospitals.
"These are well underway and, thanks to the strategic approach of our dedicated staff, are already showing promising results in emergency departments, including reduced ambulance ramping," he said.
"I congratulate emergency department staff on their commitment and back-to-basics approach, which is streamlining processes."
Allocation of the new aged care places is scheduled to start in April, following assessment of a rigorous tender process for suitably accredited service providers.
"WA has the lowest number of operational residential aged care beds per person aged 70 years and over in Australia, and these new places will have a significant impact on addressing shortages across the sector," Mr Day said.
"I am pleased the Australian Government has recognised our concerns and is helping us to ensure that older people have access to appropriate care and support."
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Health Minister John Day said the regulations would give force to the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014, bringing Western Australia into line with other States and Territories, reducing duplication and making it easier for national operators to comply with the rules.
"For example, one of the changes means a pharmacist will no longer need to obtain a licence from the Department of Health in addition to meeting the assessment and regulation criteria of the Pharmacy Registration Board of WA," Mr Day said.
"The new legislation also establishes the legal framework for the transfer of information about the prescribing and dispensing of controlled drugs such as morphine and dexamphetamine, through the use of real-time reporting systems.
"It has enhanced powers to deal with 'doctor shoppers' and the ability to better assist doctors manage patients with addiction issues.
"However, the legislation also includes strict safeguards over the use and sharing of this sensitive data and maintains controls around high-risk medications."
Other changes include the removal of the requirement for wholesalers to hold a licence for Schedule 6 poisons, such as agricultural pesticides and domestic chemicals such as oven cleaners. This change aligns Western Australia with similar legislation in other States and Territories.
The new laws were developed following consultation with key stakeholder groups to ensure that they reflect contemporary industry needs, capturing new technologies and medicines as well as changing consumer behaviours, particularly in relation to drugs of dependence.
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Page ContentMinister for Justice Michael Keenan and Western Australian Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis today announced disaster assistance in response to flooding that affected the Shire of East Pilbara on 26 December 2016.
Minister Keenan said the assistance is being provided through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).
"The Australian and Western Australian governments recognise the need for effective action to help communities recover from the effects of the recent flooding," Mr Keenan said.
Mr Francis said a significant amount of damage was caused to the road network in the region.
"This assistance will help ensure the Shire of East Pilbara has the support they need to restore damaged essential public assets," Mr Francis said.
Assistance available under the NDRRA includes:
The Australian and Western Australian governments will continue to work together to ensure that communities have access to the assistance they need.
Information on disaster assistance available for this natural disaster can be found on the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and the Western Australian Office of Emergency Management website at www.oem.wa.gov.au.
Monday, 30 January 2017
Community Services Minister Paul Miles said the investment was the second stage of the Regional Community Child Care Development Fund, aimed at improving the long-term viability and quality of services.
"Families in the regions need the same level of access to quality childcare as those in metropolitan areas, if communities are to thrive," he said.
"They also face unique challenges in comparison to their metropolitan counterparts due to issues such as distance, isolation and a lack of resources."
Mr Miles said the funding would go towards implementing the Education and Care Services Plan for Regional Western Australia, which would set out strategies to address the unique challenges faced by communities and service providers across regional WA.
"Funding will also go towards two new models for governance and service delivery in the Wheatbelt and the South-West - these models reflect the diversity and configuration of services in the specific regions," he said.
"Feasibility studies will also be undertaken in other regions in recognition of the unique operating environments that services operate under."
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said Royalties for Regions was continuing to enhance services and make life easier for parents in regional WA.
"We know that quality childcare options enable parents to participate in the workforce and help make our regions a more attractive place to live for young families," Mr Redman said.
"Royalties for Regions is helping to improve the quality of life in our regions through the provision of quality services."
Monday, 30 January 2017
Deputy Premier and Women's Interests Minister Liza Harvey said the grant would support a suite of initiatives to encourage more women and girls to pursue education and careers in the traditionally male dominated science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields.
"The fastest growing occupations are in STEM fields. They are no longer the jobs of the future, they are the jobs of today," Ms Harvey said.
"Yet women remain under-represented in training and careers for many STEM related fields for reasons ranging from stereotyping, gender bias and a need for flexible and inclusive workplaces.
"Our economy cannot thrive with a significant percentage of the population left behind. Supporting women's participation in these fields will not only improve their economic independence, it will benefit us all."
The funding would support four WiTWA initiatives:
Monday, 30 January 2017
Community Services Minister Paul Miles announced that more than $100,000 in funding would be provided this year under the Community Gardens Grants program.
"The response to the program continues to be overwhelming, which shows the importance of supporting what is a vital hub for the local community," Mr Miles said.
"To date, 47 grants totalling $573,920 have been provided to community garden projects in four rounds of funding throughout WA since the program's introduction in 2013, which includes 31 regional and 16 metropolitan projects.
"Community gardens are a fantastic way for people of all ages to get together and actively participate in community life. They give locals a chance to learn and share practical ideas about gardening, nutrition, the environment and life in general."
The latest round of funding will help with the purchasing and improvement of infrastructure, creation of more sustainable gardens and the promotion of workshops and events.
Among the recipients, Brunswick Junction Community Resource Centre will use grant funds to make the gardens openly accessible for community members to grow vegetables, fruits and flowers. A rainwater tank will also be installed and tools and equipment purchased.
ArtsHouse Community Garden - $9,682
ArtsHouse Community Garden Inc will use grant funds to focus on the development of an orchard, southern food garden, and a work/storage space. This will provide incentive for current and new members to grow and harvest food.
The garden has also secured a regular spot at the Bassendean markets and other costs will go towards providing information about the garden and to sell plants, seeds and art activities to supplement the project.
Kwinana Community Sharing - $10,000
Kwinana Community Sharing Inc will use grant funds to create a 'fruit forest' of indigenous trees to form a canopy, with a mixture of indigenous and introduced food plants below.
Brother Wright Community Garden - $20,000
The Gnowangerup Baptist Church will use grant funds to repurpose a former tennis club into a community garden. The space will include a pathway to connect the residential areas to the town centre and a Noongar garden with a yarning circle.
A formal plan will be devised for the garden. Landscaping, and the installation of garden beds, reticulation, plants and fencing will be undertaken.
Ngurin Community Garden - $18,550
The Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Ltd will use grant funds to create a community garden consisting of local, native flora. The project will engage the younger generation and the community to educate about bush tucker, bush medicine and traditional local plants.
Space will be provided for a fire area for traditional cooking and for a Yatha, which is a traditional housing structure with seating. A trail and signage, produced by the local school students, will be implemented to teach about the plant names and their properties.
Brunswick Junction Community Garden - $13,445
The Brunswick Junction Community Resource Centre Inc will use grant funds to make the gardens openly accessible for community members to grow vegetables, fruits and flowers.
A committee will be elected to oversee the garden's operations and also establish a number of growing spaces for community use, which will be allocated to specific community groups.
The organisation wishes to incorporate art into the design of the garden and host activities and workshops that will complement this aspect of the project. A rainwater tank will be installed and additional seating will be provided for members during meetings. Tools and equipment will also be purchased to enhance the sustainability of the garden.
Bunbury Community Garden - $4,424
The City of Bunbury will use the grant to erect fencing to secure a drop-off area at the rear of the library where the Bunbury Community Garden is located. Other funds will go towards weed matting, seating, a high-pressure cleaner, and a whiteboard to use for communication between the groups and committees that access the garden.
Manjimup Community Garden - $8,000
The Manjimup Community Resource Centre Inc will use the grant to expand the community garden to include a garden shed with a concrete floor. The need for the shed is increasing, as the garden membership grows, for storage of equipment.
Dumbleyung Community Garden - $9,833
The Shire of Dumbleyung and community volunteers will use the grant for an expansion to the garden that will connect the caravan park and recreational zones to integrate with tourism.
The expansion will include installing garden beds, plants and trees, signage, seating, lighting and purchasing new equipment and consumables.
Gnarojin Community Garden - $9,333
The Gnarojin Community Garden Inc will use the grant to install a pathway to act as both an edge to control the threatening couch grass, and provide access for more visitors to enter the garden. The pathway will follow disability and dementia access guidelines and will have seating and shelter along the way to encourage people to venture further into the garden.
Shire of Kondinin - $5,800
The Shire of Kondinin, in collaboration with the Kondinin Community Garden Working Group, will use grant funds to install a reticulation system at the Kondinin Community Garden.
Other funds will go towards a pergola to provide shade for the vines and the visitors to the garden.
Monday, 30 January 2017
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the funding, made possible by the Liberal National Government's Royalties for Regions, would extend the scheme for a further three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
"The scheme was established to help regional pensioners who don't have access to public transport, cover the costs of getting around and accessing services that are often a long way from their homes," Mr Redman said.
"Eligible pensioners are provided with a fuel card to the value of $575 to purchase fuel or taxi fares in 2016-17.
"The scheme helps more than 52,000 regional pensioners who need to travel to see a doctor, participate in community groups and recreational activities or just catch up with family and friends."
Transport Minister Bill Marmion said the popular scheme helped regional pensioners to be more connected to their communities.
"Affordable transport options for regional pensioners help reduce isolation by enabling residents to travel to social services and interact with their community, which has a positive impact for the individual and the whole community," Mr Marmion said.
As at June 30, 2016, there were more than 52,000 active fuel cards in regional Western Australia with more than $24.7 million expended on fuel and taxis by cardholders in 2015-16.
The scheme is administered by the Department of Transport and delivered through WEX Australia Ltd.
Sunday, 29 January 2017
Health Minister John Day said the campaign was in response to a concerning increase in the number of meningococcal W cases in Western Australia and other States and Territories.
"The incidence of the W strain has been rising since 2013 but jumped from four in 2015 to 14 last year," Mr Day said.
"This compares with just three cases of meningococcal W in WA during the four-year period to 2014.
"Experience in the United Kingdom and elsewhere suggests that, without effective intervention now, W infection rates will escalate.
"While we continue to work with the Commonwealth and other States on a national approach, in the face of the tripling of meningococcal W cases seen across Australia last year, the WA Government has decided it is time to act."
The Minister said research showed vaccinating 15-19 year olds was the most effective way to prevent the spread of meningococcal.
"Teenagers in this age group are not only among the most susceptible, they are the biggest carriers of the meningococcal bacteria in the community," he said.
"More than 150,000 WA students and young adults are expected to be vaccinated over the three-year program, with the cost covered by the State Government, making it free to the target group."
This year, the program will provide immunisations in school to Year 10, 11, and 12 students, with additional vaccinations conducted at community health clinics to capture 18-19 year olds and other age-eligible persons not attending high school.
In 2018 and 2019, the program will target incoming Year 10 students only.
"The school-based vaccination program is expected to begin when sufficient vaccine supplies have been delivered, starting in school Term 2, with the majority of vaccinations planned for Term 3," Mr Day said.
"Parents can expect to receive meningococcal W vaccination consent materials through their child's school."
The Minister warned that vigilance was still vital in countering the impact of the disease.
"This program is an important tool in the continual fight against meningococcal but it is not the single solution," he said.
"While meningococcal remains relatively uncommon, it can progress rapidly, with potentially deadly results so it is crucial that people are aware of the early signs and symptoms of the disease."
Symptoms may include high fever, chills, headache, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, and severe muscle and joint pains. Young children may not complain of symptoms, so fever, pale or blotchy complexion, vomiting, lethargy (blank staring, floppiness, inactivity, being hard to wake, or poor feeding) and rash are important signs.
Sometimes - but not always - symptoms may be accompanied by the appearance of a spotty red-purple rash that looks like small bleeding points beneath the skin or bruises.
Sunday, 29 January 2017
Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said the $644,000 expansion would help more people from one of the most at-risk groups in Western Australia manage their mental health.
"People are most vulnerable in the three months immediately following a suicide attempt, and this is when it is most important to give them support," Ms Mitchell said.
"This service reduces the likelihood of self-harm and suicide by providing a safety net of health and community follow-up for each person."
ALIVE provides a comprehensive, safe and non-judgemental support program through which clients are provided with a free counselling service.
The additional funding will enable new services to begin in Armadale, Fremantle and Rockingham early this year and the Joondalup service to be expanded to five days a week.
The Minister said having a supportive community and network was also critically important to people struggling with suicidal thoughts.
"Friends and family can help people at risk of suicide by asking about their thoughts, listening and encouraging them to get appropriate help," she said.
Referrals to the ALIVE program are accepted from people self-referring, or from family members, GPs, hospitals and other health professionals.
The evaluation of the ALIVE service has demonstrated a successful reduction in levels of distress and suicidal thoughts among this vulnerable population group.
The project allows greater continuity of care, decreasing the likelihood of future hospitalisation and linking individuals with the most appropriate ongoing support. It also enables clients to learn techniques to successfully manage their mental health beyond the life of the intervention.