Media Centre

Statement From The Premier

Over the past two weeks, we’ve tested more than 160,000 Victorians for coronavirus. I want to thank each and every one of them for playing their part in protecting our state. The job isn’t done yet – and that size and scale of testing will continue to be a big part of our response in the weeks and months to come. But because of that initial data, we’ve been able to get a better understanding of the way the virus is moving through our community. And with it, greater insight into how we can respond. Today – thanks to the efforts of Victorians – I can announce our cautious next steps. As we have worked to flatten the curve, we’ve been telling Victorians there’s only four reasons to be out: shopping for food and supplies, care and caregiving, exercise, and study or work – if you can’t do it from home. From 11:59pm this Tuesday night, there’s now a fifth reason to leave home: visiting friends and family – with a maximum gathering of up to ten outdoors and having up to five visitors in your home. I know this will come as a welcome relief, but I need to be clear. Although these are our first steps back towards normalcy – they are not an invitation to host a dinner party every night of the week. It’s not about having a rotating roster of acquaintances and associates – or your third best friend from primary school – over for a visit. This is about seeing those you need to – if you need to. We’re asking Victorians to limit their circle to just family and friends. That means that when we do have outbreaks and positive cases – and we will – we can test and trace and effectively contain the spread. I want to be clear: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. For our family, that means I won’t see my Mum for a little while. She’s in her 70s – and she has a number of conditions that would put her at risk. So, for now, we’re going to have to stay connected in different ways, with FaceTime calls, gifts in the mail or an old-fashioned letter. As hard as that is, no visit is worth putting her safety at risk. I’m asking all Victorians to think about these things when you’re making your own plans with the people you love. We’re also able to make some changes to rules for some of the most significant gatherings in any of our lives: weddings will now be able to have ten guests and up to 20 people will be able to attend funerals held indoors and up to 30 if they’re outdoors. More of the outdoor recreational activities that so many Victorians have been missing will also be allowed: walking groups, fishing, hiking – and yes, even a game of golf. These activities will be subject to physical distancing to help keep people safe. These new restrictions and a renewed State of Emergency will be in place until 11:59pm on Sunday 31 May. As we go through this month, we’ll keep reviewing the situation and our case numbers – and hopefully, we’ll be able to make further announcements then. But with more freedom comes more responsibility. I’m asking Victorians to use common sense – you should only spend time together if it’s safe. And you should only be undertaking these activities if you really need to. If it’s integral to your health and wellbeing. Use your judgement. And think about the health of your fellow Victorians. Because right now, staying apart is what’s keeping us together. And none of us want to squander everything we’ve achieved. None of us want to have to take a backwards step. And none of us want to be responsible for the loss of someone we love – or someone we’ve never met. That means it’s up to all of us to make this work. And it’s why our message has not changed: if you can stay at home – you must stay at home.

Statement From The Premier

Over the past two weeks, we’ve tested more than 160,000 Victorians for coronavirus. I want to thank each and every one of them for playing their part in protecting our state. The job isn’t done yet – and that size and scale of testing will continue to be a big part of our response in the weeks and months to come. But because of that initial data, we’ve been able to get a better understanding of the way the virus is moving through our community. And with it, greater insight into how we can respond. Today – thanks to the efforts of Victorians – I can announce our cautious next steps. As we have worked to flatten the curve, we’ve been telling Victorians there’s only four reasons to be out: shopping for food and supplies, care and caregiving, exercise, and study or work – if you can’t do it from home. From 11:59pm this Tuesday night, there’s now a fifth reason to leave home: visiting friends and family – with a maximum gathering of up to ten outdoors and having up to five visitors in your home. I know this will come as a welcome relief, but I need to be clear. Although these are our first steps back towards normalcy – they are not an invitation to host a dinner party every night of the week. It’s not about having a rotating roster of acquaintances and associates – or your third best friend from primary school – over for a visit. This is about seeing those you need to – if you need to. We’re asking Victorians to limit their circle to just family and friends. That means that when we do have outbreaks and positive cases – and we will – we can test and trace and effectively contain the spread. I want to be clear: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. For our family, that means I won’t see my Mum for a little while. She’s in her 70s – and she has a number of conditions that would put her at risk. So, for now, we’re going to have to stay connected in different ways, with FaceTime calls, gifts in the mail or an old-fashioned letter. As hard as that is, no visit is worth putting her safety at risk. I’m asking all Victorians to think about these things when you’re making your own plans with the people you love. We’re also able to make some changes to rules for some of the most significant gatherings in any of our lives: weddings will now be able to have ten guests and up to 20 people will be able to attend funerals held indoors and up to 30 if they’re outdoors. More of the outdoor recreational activities that so many Victorians have been missing will also be allowed: walking groups, fishing, hiking – and yes, even a game of golf. These activities will be subject to physical distancing to help keep people safe. These new restrictions and a renewed State of Emergency will be in place until 11:59pm on Sunday 31 May. As we go through this month, we’ll keep reviewing the situation and our case numbers – and hopefully, we’ll be able to make further announcements then. But with more freedom comes more responsibility. I’m asking Victorians to use common sense – you should only spend time together if it’s safe. And you should only be undertaking these activities if you really need to. If it’s integral to your health and wellbeing. Use your judgement. And think about the health of your fellow Victorians. Because right now, staying apart is what’s keeping us together. And none of us want to squander everything we’ve achieved. None of us want to have to take a backwards step. And none of us want to be responsible for the loss of someone we love – or someone we’ve never met. That means it’s up to all of us to make this work. And it’s why our message has not changed: if you can stay at home – you must stay at home.

Calling Out Family Violence During Coronavirus

Victorians are being urged to be alert and call out any early warning signs of family violence during the coronavirus pandemic in a new ad campaign from the Victorian Government and Respect Victoria. Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams today launched Respect Each Other: ‘Call It Out’. The campaign reminds families, friends, neighbours and communities that we need to work together to prevent family violence during this challenging time – and call it out when we see it. While physical distancing is vital to slowing the spread of coronavirus, we know it can difficult for people, especially those who may already be experiencing or at risk of family violence. With more Victorians staying at home than ever before, it’s important for family, friends and neighbours to stay educated about the early warning signs of family violence and to reject the idea that there’s ever an excuse for it. The campaign is also a timely reminder to Victorians that support is out there if you need it – all our services are open and are there to help. Respect Each Other: Call It Out will launch across metropolitan, regional and rural television, radio and Spotify, as well as major digital and social media channels in the coming week. The campaign will also run in Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Italian, and Vietnamese in some of these key channels. The Victorian Government recently announced a $40.2 million investment for crisis accommodation and specialist services for people suffering or at risk of family violence. It includes $20 million in short-term accommodation for family violence victim survivors who do not feel safe isolating or recovering from coronavirus at home and another $20.2 million to help Victorian family violence services meet the expected increase in demand during the coronavirus pandemic. For help and support, visit safesteps.org.au or call safesteps 24/7 on 1800 015 188. To find out more visit respectvictoria.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams “We understand social isolation and physical distancing is extremely difficult but there’s never an excuse for family violence – as community we need to call it out and take care of each other during this difficult period.” “We want Victorians to know that help is there if you need it – if you’re experiencing, at risk of, or witness any kind of family violence – please out for reach out for help and support.” Quote attributable to Respect Victoria CEO Tracey Gaudry “The way we support our family, friends, neighbours and community during this time matters. Together, while we’re flattening the curve we can educate ourselves about the warning signs of violence and call it out when we see it.”

Calling Out Family Violence During Coronavirus

Victorians are being urged to be alert and call out any early warning signs of family violence during the coronavirus pandemic in a new ad campaign from the Victorian Government and Respect Victoria. Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams today launched Respect Each Other: ‘Call It Out’. The campaign reminds families, friends, neighbours and communities that we need to work together to prevent family violence during this challenging time – and call it out when we see it. While physical distancing is vital to slowing the spread of coronavirus, we know it can difficult for people, especially those who may already be experiencing or at risk of family violence. With more Victorians staying at home than ever before, it’s important for family, friends and neighbours to stay educated about the early warning signs of family violence and to reject the idea that there’s ever an excuse for it. The campaign is also a timely reminder to Victorians that support is out there if you need it – all our services are open and are there to help. Respect Each Other: Call It Out will launch across metropolitan, regional and rural television, radio and Spotify, as well as major digital and social media channels in the coming week. The campaign will also run in Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Italian, and Vietnamese in some of these key channels. The Victorian Government recently announced a $40.2 million investment for crisis accommodation and specialist services for people suffering or at risk of family violence. It includes $20 million in short-term accommodation for family violence victim survivors who do not feel safe isolating or recovering from coronavirus at home and another $20.2 million to help Victorian family violence services meet the expected increase in demand during the coronavirus pandemic. For help and support, visit safesteps.org.au or call safesteps 24/7 on 1800 015 188. To find out more visit respectvictoria.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams “We understand social isolation and physical distancing is extremely difficult but there’s never an excuse for family violence – as community we need to call it out and take care of each other during this difficult period.” “We want Victorians to know that help is there if you need it – if you’re experiencing, at risk of, or witness any kind of family violence – please out for reach out for help and support.” Quote attributable to Respect Victoria CEO Tracey Gaudry “The way we support our family, friends, neighbours and community during this time matters. Together, while we’re flattening the curve we can educate ourselves about the warning signs of violence and call it out when we see it.”

Major Coronavirus Testing Blitz Targets 100,000

Up to 100,000 Victorians will be tested for coronavirus over the next two weeks as part of a major testing blitz across the State, to better understand how the virus is spreading in the community and set us up for the potential easing of restrictions. Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today announced the massive expansion of testing, which will help inform decisions about slowly lifting restrictions, ahead of the State of Emergency being reviewed on 11 May. The testing blitz will be carried out through a combination of drive-through and walk-up clinics, as well as new mobile screening clinics to visit homes and workplaces. There are already 43 specialist sites across Victoria where testing can be undertaken, with more testing clinics to be opened during the week, including in the Gippsland and Northern Loddon areas, to allow for more testing in regional and rural areas. Victorians have done a remarkable job in sticking to the coronavirus restrictions, and by staying home we have saved lives. We are now asking Victorians to again play their part by getting tested because the more testing we do, the more data we have about the prevalence of coronavirus in our community. Common symptoms of coronavirus are fever, breathing difficulties, breathlessness, cough, sore throat, fatigue or tiredness. Anyone who has any symptoms, no matter how mild, such as a runny nose or scratchy throat, is encouraged to get a test. Certain industries that are still operating at full capacity will be targeted for testing, including healthcare and aged care workers, construction workers, supermarket workers and agricultural workers. Major employers and unions will be supported to actively promote testing to all staff and nurses will provide outreach support and advice around symptoms and help staff to access testing. In addition, workers without symptoms in hospitals and other facilities with vulnerable residents will also be asked to voluntarily participate in sample testing as part of new research in line with the pre-requisites set out by the National Cabinet. The widespread testing of individuals will be used alongside wastewater testing, where the levels of coronavirus in sewage will be tracked to help anticipate or rapidly respond to local outbreaks. Ramping up coronavirus testing is in-line with the pre-requisites set out by the National Cabinet for a potential easing of restrictions. More than 104,000 Victorians have been tested to date. Any decision to ease restrictions after the current State of Emergency will be informed by public health experts and modelling, combined with international experience. Quotes attributable to Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews “We’ve asked a lot of Victorians, but the plan we put in place to slow the spread of this virus is working. And if we keep working together and keep doing the right thing, we will get to the other side of this crisis.” “By increasing the testing for coronavirus and widening the testing criteria, it gives us more evidence and therefore more options when it comes to slowly lifting restrictions.” Quote attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos “Victorians have done an amazing job sticking to restrictions to help us to save lives and now we need your help again. The more people we test – the better we can track the spread of this virus and decide what our next steps are.” Quote attributable to Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton “Any decision to ease restrictions needs to be backed and informed by evidence and that’s exactly what these tests help to provide.”

Major Coronavirus Testing Blitz Targets 100,000

Up to 100,000 Victorians will be tested for coronavirus over the next two weeks as part of a major testing blitz across the State, to better understand how the virus is spreading in the community and set us up for the potential easing of restrictions. Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today announced the massive expansion of testing, which will help inform decisions about slowly lifting restrictions, ahead of the State of Emergency being reviewed on 11 May. The testing blitz will be carried out through a combination of drive-through and walk-up clinics, as well as new mobile screening clinics to visit homes and workplaces. There are already 43 specialist sites across Victoria where testing can be undertaken, with more testing clinics to be opened during the week, including in the Gippsland and Northern Loddon areas, to allow for more testing in regional and rural areas. Victorians have done a remarkable job in sticking to the coronavirus restrictions, and by staying home we have saved lives. We are now asking Victorians to again play their part by getting tested because the more testing we do, the more data we have about the prevalence of coronavirus in our community. Common symptoms of coronavirus are fever, breathing difficulties, breathlessness, cough, sore throat, fatigue or tiredness. Anyone who has any symptoms, no matter how mild, such as a runny nose or scratchy throat, is encouraged to get a test. Certain industries that are still operating at full capacity will be targeted for testing, including healthcare and aged care workers, construction workers, supermarket workers and agricultural workers. Major employers and unions will be supported to actively promote testing to all staff and nurses will provide outreach support and advice around symptoms and help staff to access testing. In addition, workers without symptoms in hospitals and other facilities with vulnerable residents will also be asked to voluntarily participate in sample testing as part of new research in line with the pre-requisites set out by the National Cabinet. The widespread testing of individuals will be used alongside wastewater testing, where the levels of coronavirus in sewage will be tracked to help anticipate or rapidly respond to local outbreaks. Ramping up coronavirus testing is in-line with the pre-requisites set out by the National Cabinet for a potential easing of restrictions. More than 104,000 Victorians have been tested to date. Any decision to ease restrictions after the current State of Emergency will be informed by public health experts and modelling, combined with international experience. Quotes attributable to Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews “We’ve asked a lot of Victorians, but the plan we put in place to slow the spread of this virus is working. And if we keep working together and keep doing the right thing, we will get to the other side of this crisis.” “By increasing the testing for coronavirus and widening the testing criteria, it gives us more evidence and therefore more options when it comes to slowly lifting restrictions.” Quote attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos “Victorians have done an amazing job sticking to restrictions to help us to save lives and now we need your help again. The more people we test – the better we can track the spread of this virus and decide what our next steps are.” Quote attributable to Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton “Any decision to ease restrictions needs to be backed and informed by evidence and that’s exactly what these tests help to provide.”

Legislation To Support Jobs, Services And Victorians Passes

Emergency measures to support Victorians, save lives, protect businesses and jobs, and continue delivering vital government services during the coronavirus pandemic have passed Victorian Parliament. The four Bills enable Victoria to respond to the unprecedented challenges created by coronavirus on our healthcare system and our economy. The Appropriation (Interim) Bill 2020 secures $24.5 billion in emergency funding to save lives, support jobs and businesses, and set Victoria up to recover from the pandemic over the next two years. This additional funding is vital to ensuring Victoria can respond swiftly and significantly to this crisis, and is on top of $35.9 billion for the ordinary, ongoing operations of Government – like wages for our vital healthcare workers and other public sector staff. The Appropriation (Parliament) (Interim) Bill 2020 also passed Parliament last night and provides funding for the ongoing operations of parliament and oversight bodies including IBAC. The State Taxation Acts Amendment (Relief Measures) Bill 2020 extends the regional First Home Owners Grant for another year, and gives effect to bushfire tax relief measures announced earlier this year, including immediate payroll tax relief and stamp duty relief in State of Disaster areas. The COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 also passed and implements a range of temporary emergency measures to support Victorians and continue delivering the services we all rely on. It also puts in place the National Cabinet tenancy reforms announced last week – including a ban on rental evictions and rent increases – and a range of other temporary changes to enable critical government functions to continue in line with requirements advised by the Chief Health Officer. This Bill allows common-sense changes to comply with physical distancing measures – allowing planning permits to be displayed and sent electronically, and planning panels to conduct hearings remotely. It also allows for virtual meetings for councils and joint standing committees of the Parliament so they can carry out their work remotely. The Bill gives long-term injured workers due to transition off weekly WorkCover payments, but who can’t return to or find work due to their injury, up to six extra months of weekly WorkCover payments. It also gives hospitals more flexibility with nurse-to-patient ratios where coronavirus places significant demand on services. While the Bill doesn’t relax thresholds for determining bail or sentencing offenders – it does change how courts, corrections and other legal systems work so our justice system continues to operate throughout the crisis. These measures include judge-only trials where the defendant has agreed and the prosecution has been consulted, longer interim extensions for Family Violence and Personal Safety Intervention Final Orders, and electronic filing and execution of affidavits and more use of audio-video links and other technology in proceedings. Most measures in the Omnibus Bill will sunset after six months, and the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee will provide oversight and scrutiny of the measures rolled out. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “These temporary measures will allow us to respond quickly to save lives, protect jobs and rebuild our economy.” “Coronavirus is creating unprecedented challenges, but Victoria is ready – we will get through this together.” Quote attributable to Treasurer Tim Pallas “We know coronavirus will have a significant impact on businesses and jobs – and that it will get worse before it gets better. The emergency funding will support Victorians through this crisis, and help us rebuild afterwards.”

Legislation To Support Jobs, Services And Victorians Passes

Emergency measures to support Victorians, save lives, protect businesses and jobs, and continue delivering vital government services during the coronavirus pandemic have passed Victorian Parliament. The four Bills enable Victoria to respond to the unprecedented challenges created by coronavirus on our healthcare system and our economy. The Appropriation (Interim) Bill 2020 secures $24.5 billion in emergency funding to save lives, support jobs and businesses, and set Victoria up to recover from the pandemic over the next two years. This additional funding is vital to ensuring Victoria can respond swiftly and significantly to this crisis, and is on top of $35.9 billion for the ordinary, ongoing operations of Government – like wages for our vital healthcare workers and other public sector staff. The Appropriation (Parliament) (Interim) Bill 2020 also passed Parliament last night and provides funding for the ongoing operations of parliament and oversight bodies including IBAC. The State Taxation Acts Amendment (Relief Measures) Bill 2020 extends the regional First Home Owners Grant for another year, and gives effect to bushfire tax relief measures announced earlier this year, including immediate payroll tax relief and stamp duty relief in State of Disaster areas. The COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 also passed and implements a range of temporary emergency measures to support Victorians and continue delivering the services we all rely on. It also puts in place the National Cabinet tenancy reforms announced last week – including a ban on rental evictions and rent increases – and a range of other temporary changes to enable critical government functions to continue in line with requirements advised by the Chief Health Officer. This Bill allows common-sense changes to comply with physical distancing measures – allowing planning permits to be displayed and sent electronically, and planning panels to conduct hearings remotely. It also allows for virtual meetings for councils and joint standing committees of the Parliament so they can carry out their work remotely. The Bill gives long-term injured workers due to transition off weekly WorkCover payments, but who can’t return to or find work due to their injury, up to six extra months of weekly WorkCover payments. It also gives hospitals more flexibility with nurse-to-patient ratios where coronavirus places significant demand on services. While the Bill doesn’t relax thresholds for determining bail or sentencing offenders – it does change how courts, corrections and other legal systems work so our justice system continues to operate throughout the crisis. These measures include judge-only trials where the defendant has agreed and the prosecution has been consulted, longer interim extensions for Family Violence and Personal Safety Intervention Final Orders, and electronic filing and execution of affidavits and more use of audio-video links and other technology in proceedings. Most measures in the Omnibus Bill will sunset after six months, and the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee will provide oversight and scrutiny of the measures rolled out. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “These temporary measures will allow us to respond quickly to save lives, protect jobs and rebuild our economy.” “Coronavirus is creating unprecedented challenges, but Victoria is ready – we will get through this together.” Quote attributable to Treasurer Tim Pallas “We know coronavirus will have a significant impact on businesses and jobs – and that it will get worse before it gets better. The emergency funding will support Victorians through this crisis, and help us rebuild afterwards.”

 

New Beds Open Across Victoria In Pandemic Capacity Boost

New hospital beds are opening across Victoria as the state’s health system gears up to manage increased presentations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and ensure all patients get the care they need. Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said the Victorian Government’s $1.9 billion health funding boost had allowed the state’s hospitals to build more bed capacity and recommission buildings no longer used for healthcare. When complete, the health system’s surge capacity will be boosted by more than 700 beds across Victoria, including at the former Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, the former Geelong Private Hospital, Bendigo Hospital, Shepparton Hospital, the Alfred Hospital, Austin Hospital, Monash Medical Centre Clayton and Casey Hospital. The additional inpatient and ICU capacity will not only help manage increased demand from the coronavirus pandemic, but also ensure hospitals can continue to treat patients with other conditions throughout this time. In Berwick, existing patients have begun moving into Casey Hospital’s new 128-bed inpatient tower to ensure the hospital has capacity to receive coronavirus patients, while also helping take some of the strain off the major tertiary hospitals nearby. The tower’s 12 bed ICU – the first in the area – will open shortly. Monash Medical Centre in Clayton has also started installing a two-storey demountable unit adjacent to the existing emergency department to provide an extra six resuscitation cubicles. The fully-equipped cubicles – which will be ready to be used within weeks – will allow patients to be ventilated, and if needed, prepared for transfer to the ICU. New hospital beds have opened at Bendigo Hospital, with 16 of an additional 45 beds already in use, and the remainder to be made available as needed. The new hospital also has built-in capacity for 20 additional intensive care beds if they are required in emergency situations. The former Geelong Private Hospital has been brought back to life – with the disused building having undergone a rapid renovation to provide a new Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic with 50 new beds and consulting rooms. Level 2 of Baxter House is now open for mild to moderately unwell patients 7 days a week. Since it opened, Baxter House has assessed and treated 147 patients. A further 84 beds will be available at the former Peter MacCallum Cancer, with works already underway to re-establish essential services such as plumbing and power – to get the building ready for patients again. Shepparton Hospital has also taken advantage of their new $229.3 million expansion project and has started turning their new emergency department into a temporary Intensive Care Unit. In addition, construction of the new inpatient tower has been accelerated to make more beds available as demand increases, including two whole wards. A further 300 intensive care unit beds have also begun to be commissioned at the Alfred Hospital, Austin Hospital and Monash Medical Centre in Clayton – as part of a massive boost to establish an extra 4,000 ICU beds across Victoria to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. For the latest information and advice on coronavirus visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus. Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos “Our hospital admissions for coronavirus have remained steady thanks to the actions everyone is taking to slow the spread – but now is not the time to become complacent.” “By bringing hundreds of additional beds online in just a few short weeks we now have additional capacity available to our health system right across the State to help our hospitals deal with this pandemic and so Victorians will get the care they need – no matter their condition.” “The most important thing though is for Victorians to continue to stay home, so we can continue to flatten the curve – and save lives.”

New Beds Open Across Victoria In Pandemic Capacity Boost

New hospital beds are opening across Victoria as the state’s health system gears up to manage increased presentations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and ensure all patients get the care they need. Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said the Victorian Government’s $1.9 billion health funding boost had allowed the state’s hospitals to build more bed capacity and recommission buildings no longer used for healthcare. When complete, the health system’s surge capacity will be boosted by more than 700 beds across Victoria, including at the former Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, the former Geelong Private Hospital, Bendigo Hospital, Shepparton Hospital, the Alfred Hospital, Austin Hospital, Monash Medical Centre Clayton and Casey Hospital. The additional inpatient and ICU capacity will not only help manage increased demand from the coronavirus pandemic, but also ensure hospitals can continue to treat patients with other conditions throughout this time. In Berwick, existing patients have begun moving into Casey Hospital’s new 128-bed inpatient tower to ensure the hospital has capacity to receive coronavirus patients, while also helping take some of the strain off the major tertiary hospitals nearby. The tower’s 12 bed ICU – the first in the area – will open shortly. Monash Medical Centre in Clayton has also started installing a two-storey demountable unit adjacent to the existing emergency department to provide an extra six resuscitation cubicles. The fully-equipped cubicles – which will be ready to be used within weeks – will allow patients to be ventilated, and if needed, prepared for transfer to the ICU. New hospital beds have opened at Bendigo Hospital, with 16 of an additional 45 beds already in use, and the remainder to be made available as needed. The new hospital also has built-in capacity for 20 additional intensive care beds if they are required in emergency situations. The former Geelong Private Hospital has been brought back to life – with the disused building having undergone a rapid renovation to provide a new Acute Respiratory Assessment Clinic with 50 new beds and consulting rooms. Level 2 of Baxter House is now open for mild to moderately unwell patients 7 days a week. Since it opened, Baxter House has assessed and treated 147 patients. A further 84 beds will be available at the former Peter MacCallum Cancer, with works already underway to re-establish essential services such as plumbing and power – to get the building ready for patients again. Shepparton Hospital has also taken advantage of their new $229.3 million expansion project and has started turning their new emergency department into a temporary Intensive Care Unit. In addition, construction of the new inpatient tower has been accelerated to make more beds available as demand increases, including two whole wards. A further 300 intensive care unit beds have also begun to be commissioned at the Alfred Hospital, Austin Hospital and Monash Medical Centre in Clayton – as part of a massive boost to establish an extra 4,000 ICU beds across Victoria to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. For the latest information and advice on coronavirus visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus. Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos “Our hospital admissions for coronavirus have remained steady thanks to the actions everyone is taking to slow the spread – but now is not the time to become complacent.” “By bringing hundreds of additional beds online in just a few short weeks we now have additional capacity available to our health system right across the State to help our hospitals deal with this pandemic and so Victorians will get the care they need – no matter their condition.” “The most important thing though is for Victorians to continue to stay home, so we can continue to flatten the curve – and save lives.”

Stockpile Of Medical Equipment Keeping Health Workers Safe

A massive warehouse in Melbourne’s south-east is stocked with vital medical supplies ready to be distributed to Victorian health care workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said new orders are arriving at the warehouse every day which are then quickly distributed across the state’s health system and quarantine hotels to keep health care workers and staff safe. Supplies include surgical masks, N95 masks, gloves gowns, hand sanitizer and other vital items that are key to the Victorian Government’s coronavirus preparedness response. More than 10 million gloves, 16 million surgical masks, 2 million N95 masks, 5 million isolation gowns and more than 2 million face shields and eye protection are due to arrive at the warehouse in the next two weeks. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, stock in the warehouse has doubled. Every day 1,700 cartons of vital medical equipment and supplies, or the equivalent of four trucks, are delivered to around 60 locations – with 90 per cent of orders delivered within 24 hours. More than 40 full-time employees work in the warehouse and an additional 120 Monash Health workers are employed in finance and administrative roles. The 8,000 m2 warehouse was opened in August last year to help allow for increased stock levels of critical hospital supplies and better value for money through bulk purchases of high-volume goods. In response to the pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Purchasing Victoria and Monash Health have developed a centralised approach to procurement, distribution and management of critical medical equipment and consumables to ensure supplies are distributed to where they are needed most. The Government has also established a PPE taskforce – bringing together key people from the health sector and the department to ensure access and communications around PPE is informed by experts, clear and consistent. The Government’s $1.9 billion health fund has allowed the state’s hospitals to build more bed capacity, secure ICU equipment, staff and space to meet the expected surge in cases and boost the state’s stockpile of PPE. Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos “We’ve been preparing carefully for the peak of the coronavirus pandemic and Victorians can be assured we have PPE and other equipment on hand, and new deliveries coming in every day.” “Our healthcare workers are our heroes on the frontline – and we’re working hard to make sure they have the protective equipment they need to keep saving lives and doing their job safely.”

Stockpile Of Medical Equipment Keeping Health Workers Safe

A massive warehouse in Melbourne’s south-east is stocked with vital medical supplies ready to be distributed to Victorian health care workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said new orders are arriving at the warehouse every day which are then quickly distributed across the state’s health system and quarantine hotels to keep health care workers and staff safe. Supplies include surgical masks, N95 masks, gloves gowns, hand sanitizer and other vital items that are key to the Victorian Government’s coronavirus preparedness response. More than 10 million gloves, 16 million surgical masks, 2 million N95 masks, 5 million isolation gowns and more than 2 million face shields and eye protection are due to arrive at the warehouse in the next two weeks. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, stock in the warehouse has doubled. Every day 1,700 cartons of vital medical equipment and supplies, or the equivalent of four trucks, are delivered to around 60 locations – with 90 per cent of orders delivered within 24 hours. More than 40 full-time employees work in the warehouse and an additional 120 Monash Health workers are employed in finance and administrative roles. The 8,000 m2 warehouse was opened in August last year to help allow for increased stock levels of critical hospital supplies and better value for money through bulk purchases of high-volume goods. In response to the pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Purchasing Victoria and Monash Health have developed a centralised approach to procurement, distribution and management of critical medical equipment and consumables to ensure supplies are distributed to where they are needed most. The Government has also established a PPE taskforce – bringing together key people from the health sector and the department to ensure access and communications around PPE is informed by experts, clear and consistent. The Government’s $1.9 billion health fund has allowed the state’s hospitals to build more bed capacity, secure ICU equipment, staff and space to meet the expected surge in cases and boost the state’s stockpile of PPE. Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos “We’ve been preparing carefully for the peak of the coronavirus pandemic and Victorians can be assured we have PPE and other equipment on hand, and new deliveries coming in every day.” “Our healthcare workers are our heroes on the frontline – and we’re working hard to make sure they have the protective equipment they need to keep saving lives and doing their job safely.”

Building The Metro Tunnel And Supporting Jobs Through The Crisis

The last two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) on the Metro Tunnel Project are now in the ground, helping to build our state’s biggest public transport project and keeping Victorians in work. The third TBM, Millie – named after Victoria’s first female MP Millie Peacock – is digging the first 1.7 kilometre tunnel between Anzac Station and the Metro Tunnel’s eastern entrance at South Yarra. The fourth TBM, Alice, is named after wartime medical hero Alice Appleford and is due to begin work on the second tunnel from the site under St Kilda Road in the coming weeks. Creating some 7000 jobs over the life of the project, the Metro Tunnel is a critical piece of the puzzle in keeping Victorians in work and our state on-track for recovery. The Metro Tunnel Project has strict protocols in place for the safety of workers, allowing these vital works to continue and protecting thousands of jobs. The components of TBMs Millie and Alice began arriving onsite in late 2019. Assembly started in January and both have undergone comprehensive commissioning and testing. Construction on Anzac Station, which will be 300 metres long and sit 22 metres below St Kilda Road, is continuing. The first two TBMs, Joan and Meg, broke through at the western tunnel entrance in February – with the pair travelling 1.2 kilometres to complete the first section of the tunnel. They were then returned to Arden Station by trucking parts back to the site and pulling the gantries through the tunnel, where they began their 1.8km journey to Parkville Station. Lots of progress is happening across all sites, with the excavation of the station box at Parkville completed in April. Three roadheaders are excavating deep under Swanston and Flinders streets to construct the central cavern of Town Hall Station, and tunnelling of the twin tunnels in the CBD – at the site of the new State Library Station – will get underway mid-year. The Victorian Government is working closely with our Big Build workforce, construction partners and unions to ensure works on our vital road and rail projects can continue safely. Quotes attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan “Just as we’re facing an unprecedented health challenge, we’re facing an unprecedented economic challenge too. Our Big Build will be vital as we recover after the pandemic has passed.” “The Metro Tunnel team are doing an amazing job finding practical, safe ways of working, so we can continue building this urgently needed project in challenging circumstances.” “We’ll keep working closely with our workforce, construction partners and unions to protect the safety of workers – and project jobs.”

Building The Metro Tunnel And Supporting Jobs Through The Crisis

The last two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) on the Metro Tunnel Project are now in the ground, helping to build our state’s biggest public transport project and keeping Victorians in work. The third TBM, Millie – named after Victoria’s first female MP Millie Peacock – is digging the first 1.7 kilometre tunnel between Anzac Station and the Metro Tunnel’s eastern entrance at South Yarra. The fourth TBM, Alice, is named after wartime medical hero Alice Appleford and is due to begin work on the second tunnel from the site under St Kilda Road in the coming weeks. Creating some 7000 jobs over the life of the project, the Metro Tunnel is a critical piece of the puzzle in keeping Victorians in work and our state on-track for recovery. The Metro Tunnel Project has strict protocols in place for the safety of workers, allowing these vital works to continue and protecting thousands of jobs. The components of TBMs Millie and Alice began arriving onsite in late 2019. Assembly started in January and both have undergone comprehensive commissioning and testing. Construction on Anzac Station, which will be 300 metres long and sit 22 metres below St Kilda Road, is continuing. The first two TBMs, Joan and Meg, broke through at the western tunnel entrance in February – with the pair travelling 1.2 kilometres to complete the first section of the tunnel. They were then returned to Arden Station by trucking parts back to the site and pulling the gantries through the tunnel, where they began their 1.8km journey to Parkville Station. Lots of progress is happening across all sites, with the excavation of the station box at Parkville completed in April. Three roadheaders are excavating deep under Swanston and Flinders streets to construct the central cavern of Town Hall Station, and tunnelling of the twin tunnels in the CBD – at the site of the new State Library Station – will get underway mid-year. The Victorian Government is working closely with our Big Build workforce, construction partners and unions to ensure works on our vital road and rail projects can continue safely. Quotes attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan “Just as we’re facing an unprecedented health challenge, we’re facing an unprecedented economic challenge too. Our Big Build will be vital as we recover after the pandemic has passed.” “The Metro Tunnel team are doing an amazing job finding practical, safe ways of working, so we can continue building this urgently needed project in challenging circumstances.” “We’ll keep working closely with our workforce, construction partners and unions to protect the safety of workers – and project jobs.”

Supporting Victims As Part Of Victoria Police Reforms

A new independent body will be established to oversee a redress and restorative engagement scheme for victims of workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault at Victoria Police. The Andrews Labor Government’s Police Redress Scheme will be overseen by the Department of Justice and Regulation and will be independent of Victoria Police. It is expected to be in place in the second half of next year. Victoria Police, with support from the Labor Government, accepted all 20 recommendations from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Humans Right Commission 2015 Independent Review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour in Victoria Police. These included the establishment of a redress and restorative engagement scheme. While the details of the scheme will be finalised next year, it will provide: Eligibility for financial redress for Victoria Police employees who have experienced sexual abuse or harassment of a criminal nature, or systemic sexual discrimination or harassment, in the workplace Broad eligibility for Victoria Police employees who have experienced a wide range of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination to receive counselling and support services, access to non-financial redress and the opportunity to participate in a restorative engagement process with Victoria Police. Importantly, the threshold for redress will be based on whether a person’s account is plausible – rather than proven – which means individuals will not be required to produce extensive documentation or evidence to prove their account. A dedicated reference group, including representatives from The Police Association and the Community and Public Sector Union, will now be established to advise on the design and operation of the scheme. The Labor Government undertook extensive consultation with current and former employees of Victoria Police and their families – as well as victims groups – to help guide the development of the scheme and ensure meaningful redress for victims. The new body will be independent of Victoria Police. It has initial funding of approximately $500,000 by the Labor Government to conduct a design and establishment process over the coming months. Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville “We are working to ensure victims of sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination within Victoria Police have meaningful opportunities for redress and restorative engagement.” “While we cannot change the past, the creation of an independent body will provide appropriate support for victims, including opportunities for payments to those who have suffered serious or systematic abuse.” “Any form of abuse or harassment is completely unacceptable. Police have drawn a line in the sand and taken strong steps to stamp out this type of abhorrent behaviour from the police force.”

Supporting Victims As Part Of Victoria Police Reforms

A new independent body will be established to oversee a redress and restorative engagement scheme for victims of workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault at Victoria Police. The Andrews Labor Government’s Police Redress Scheme will be overseen by the Department of Justice and Regulation and will be independent of Victoria Police. It is expected to be in place in the second half of next year. Victoria Police, with support from the Labor Government, accepted all 20 recommendations from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Humans Right Commission 2015 Independent Review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour in Victoria Police. These included the establishment of a redress and restorative engagement scheme. While the details of the scheme will be finalised next year, it will provide: Eligibility for financial redress for Victoria Police employees who have experienced sexual abuse or harassment of a criminal nature, or systemic sexual discrimination or harassment, in the workplace Broad eligibility for Victoria Police employees who have experienced a wide range of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination to receive counselling and support services, access to non-financial redress and the opportunity to participate in a restorative engagement process with Victoria Police. Importantly, the threshold for redress will be based on whether a person’s account is plausible – rather than proven – which means individuals will not be required to produce extensive documentation or evidence to prove their account. A dedicated reference group, including representatives from The Police Association and the Community and Public Sector Union, will now be established to advise on the design and operation of the scheme. The Labor Government undertook extensive consultation with current and former employees of Victoria Police and their families – as well as victims groups – to help guide the development of the scheme and ensure meaningful redress for victims. The new body will be independent of Victoria Police. It has initial funding of approximately $500,000 by the Labor Government to conduct a design and establishment process over the coming months. Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville “We are working to ensure victims of sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination within Victoria Police have meaningful opportunities for redress and restorative engagement.” “While we cannot change the past, the creation of an independent body will provide appropriate support for victims, including opportunities for payments to those who have suffered serious or systematic abuse.” “Any form of abuse or harassment is completely unacceptable. Police have drawn a line in the sand and taken strong steps to stamp out this type of abhorrent behaviour from the police force.”