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Moody’s credit rating affirms the McGowan Government’s strong Budget management11383Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml29/10/2020 6:41:01 AM2020-10-29T06:15:00Z Moody's expect the Western Australian economy to outperform Australian peers over the next two to three years WA retains second highest Moody's credit rating following assessment of 2020-21 State Budget WA Recovery Plan and record infrastructure investment to drive WA's economic recovery and create local jobs Ratings agency Moody's has today affirmed the McGowan Government's strong Budget management and economic response to COVID-19, with Western Australia retaining its strong credit rating - Aa1 with a 'stable' outlook. The 'Aa1' credit rating from Moody's is the second highest rating available and is one notch below 'Aaa', and follows the assessment of the 2020-21 State Budget released on October 8, 2020. Western Australia's credit rating was upgraded in June 2019 to Aa1, following multiple downgrades under the previous Liberal National Government. Moody's rating assessment is based on the view that Western Australia's 'large economy will remain resilient to coronavirus related disruptions and underpin its capacity to service the State's growing debt burden over the next three to four years'. Moody's has credited WA's 'rapid' economic recovery with the early easing of restrictions in the State, due to the hard border, and a strong mining sector. Moody's expect that the 'State's economy will continue to outperform its Australian peers over the next two to three years, augmented by the solid business investment projections and State Government's stimulus measures'. The credit ratings agency has endorsed the McGowan Government's fiscal policy leading into the pandemic, highlighting that it provided the government with financial capacity to stimulate the economy. The Government's change in fiscal strategy has been redirected from debt reduction to keeping WA safe and strong through the WA Recovery Plan, stimulating the State's economic recovery and creating thousands of local jobs. Moody's note that the additional expenditure and foregone revenue due to the McGowan Government's WA Recovery Plan, will reduce the State's operating surpluses. Despite this, surpluses are projected to average 8.7 per cent of operating revenue over the forward estimates which Moody's expected will 'outperform' other States and Territories. Moody's also notes operating surpluses have been supported by high iron ore prices, partly compensating for lower GST and tax revenue. Moody's assessment further highlights the importance of the McGowan Government's decision to ensure the mining sector remained open throughout COVID restrictions. Moody's note that although the local economy appears relatively shielded, the risk of an outbreak of COVID-19 would present a shock to WA's revenue and expenditure. Comments attributed to Treasurer Ben Wyatt "By keeping WA safe and strong, Western Australia can recover from COVID-19 stronger than ever. "Our fiscal and health strategy has been affirmed by Moody's, which predicts the WA economy will outperform other States and Territories over the next two to three years. "A credit rating of Aa1 during a pandemic, higher than when the previous Liberal National Government left office, is something all Western Australians can be proud of. "The McGowan Government's management of COVID-19 has allowed WA's economy to restart earlier, returned business confidence, and spared the State from the more devastating impacts experienced globally. "Moody's has reiterated that the McGowan Government's hard work to repair the finances has given the State the capacity to respond to COVID-19 and to redirect this to stimulating the Western Australian economy. "The 2020-21 Budget delivers the multi-billion dollar WA Recovery Plan, a record $27 billion infrastructure investment, and support for businesses and households to drive our economic recovery." Treasurer's office - 6552 5900
Bullsbrook Intermodal Container Terminal project reaches next stage11382Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml29/10/2020 6:21:23 AM2020-10-29T06:00:00Z McGowan Government progressing Market-led Proposal for Bullsbrook Intermodal Container Terminal to Stage 2 Stage 2 requires a detailed business case to be developed by the proponent Proposal is aimed at moving more freight onto rail A Market-led Proposal for the development of a new Bullsbrook Intermodal Container Terminal is being considered by the McGowan Government, with the proposal progressing to Stage 2. The proposal, by Harvis Capital Pty Ltd, for an intermodal terminal at Bullsbrook could unlock future development in Perth's north-eastern corridor, facilitating economic activity and attracting job opportunities to the area. Moving metropolitan freight from road to rail helps reduce road congestion and improve efficiency, safety and productivity of the freight network, ensuring Western Australia is competitive in domestic and international markets. It also supports job creation in the north-east corridor. An intermodal terminal would bring containerised freight from Fremantle Port to unload in the Bullsbrook industrial area, where it would be transferred from rail to the regional road network. Stage 2 of the project assessment process will further investigate the feasibility of the proposal, with the proponent to now submit a detailed business case on the project. Market-led Proposals are a streamlined way for businesses and government to work together to create a stronger economy and jobs for Western Australians. More information is available at https// Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti "One of our key election commitments was to move more freight onto rail to help ease road congestion and improve safety. "An intermodal terminal at Bullsbrook has the potential to boost the efficiency and capacity of the rail freight system, reduce truck movements on metropolitan roads and to increase job creation and economic development in Perth's north-eastern corridor. "We will continue to work closely with industry to encourage and support more freight on rail, to make our freight supply chains as efficient and cost effective as possible." Minister's office - 6552 5500
State funds pilot of new COVID screening test11381Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml29/10/2020 4:01:11 AM2020-10-29T04:00:00Z $500,000 innovation funding to pilot new COVID screening technology Potential to provide rapid, large-scale testing Local start-up company behind new technology, working in partnership with leading WA research institutions A local start-up company's bid to develop a platform that supports rapid, low-cost and large-scale COVID-19 screening has been given a boost thanks to newly announced State Government funding. The platform combines a range of existing technologies with locally developed custom hardware and system control software to deliver enhanced COVID-19 testing throughput. Unlike the PCR-based regime that is currently used around Australia to screen for active COVID cases, the new platform relies on advanced genome-based technology known as LAMP. Western Australian start-up Avicena Systems is behind the venture which uses saliva samples and promises to deliver a more efficient alternative to the current COVID screening system. The platform is designed to provide portable, scalable screening, with rapid throughput that would enable the processing of up to 5,000 samples per hour. Its ability to be deployed to remote locations, provide in situ results within the hour and authenticate the identity of screened individuals and track their results are among other advantages. With lower labour and consumable requirements, it is expected Avicena Systems' platform would be significantly cheaper and more user friendly than the system currently used. The system could be used to provide 'population-scale' background screening in COVID-19 outbreak zones and rapid, high-throughput testing for major sporting events and high traffic zones such as airport terminals. Avicena Systems will receive innovation funding of $500,000 to pilot the new technology which will operate alongside existing systems, enabling effective comparison between these. Avicena Systems is undertaking the assessment as part of a consortium involving Genomics WA (a partnership between the Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia and Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research) and the Perron Institute. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "Western Australia's ability to screen large groups of people quickly and accurately will be key to our success at managing future COVID-19 outbreaks. "Should this new system live up to its promise we will be in a better position to mobilise screening for - and at - large-scale events such as concerts and sporting fixtures, whilst also monitoring the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable populations such as remote Aboriginal communities and crews of ships. "The testing would be particularly valuable for screening people without symptoms. "The State Government's support of this project is in line with its commitment to back local innovation that has the potential to improve the health, wellbeing and prosperity of the WA community." Minister's office - 6552 6500
Construction begins at new urban village for Shenton Park11380Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml29/10/2020 1:30:30 AM2020-10-29T01:30:00Z Construction set to begin at Iris Residential and Primewest lot at DevelopmentWA's Montario Quarter Shenton Quarter to be constructed by WA-based builder BGC, creating 600 local jobs Development to feature one, two and three-bedroom apartments and 4,500sqm of retail space Construction has begun on a major new residential and retail project at DevelopmentWA's Shenton Park's Montario Quarter precinct. Western Australian builder BGC has been appointed to deliver Shenton Quarter, which will offer a range of new housing options and create 600 local jobs. A joint venture between Iris Residential and Primewest, Shenton Quarter will feature one, two and three-bedroom apartments and 4,500sqm of retail space - including a Coles supermarket - for residents and the wider community. The project is expected to be completed in mid-2022. The mixed-use development was one of the first projects to be endorsed by the State Design Review Panel and was commended for its best-practice sustainability features, which have been designed to achieve the equivalent of a 4-star Green Star rating. Located close to the Shenton Park train station, Shenton College, Perth Children's Hospital and QEII Medical Campus, the one-hectare mixed-use Shenton Quarter site is ideally situated near transport and local employment hubs. The 15.8-hectare Montario Quarter is taking shape on the former site of the Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital. It is being transformed by DevelopmentWA into a modern and vibrant residential community, which will ultimately accommodate more than 1,100 new apartments and townhouses. Comments attributed to Lands Minister Ben Wyatt "The McGowan Government is committed to creating connected precincts, increasing housing diversity and vibrancy in established suburbs for the benefit of Western Australians. "Through developments such as Montario Quarter, we continue to support the Western Australian construction industry, creating local jobs and supporting the State's COVID-19 economic recovery. "I look forward to seeing the completion of such a fantastic addition to Montario Quarter." Minister's office - 6552 5900
All aboard: first stage of METRONET Trade Training Centre completed11379Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml29/10/2020 1:00:12 AM2020-10-29T01:00:00Z Stage one of specialist METRONET Trade Training Centre at North Metropolitan TAFE's Midland campus now complete Industry involved in development of facility and new training programs to assist job creation McGowan Government returning railcar manufacturing to WA with the Bellevue railcar facility taking shape Key McGowan Government election commitment delivered Seven METRONET projects under construction in 2020 with another four in procurement For the first time, Western Australia will have a dedicated public facility to support training for jobs in the rail industry with the first stage of the McGowan Government's METRONET Trade Training Centre now complete. Stage one of the METRONET Trade Training Centre included the creation of rail signalling workshops and the introduction of electrical rail signalling qualifications to complement the range of engineering qualifications supporting METRONET manufacturing and maintenance. A pilot group of employees from Rio Tinto, John Holland Group and Hitachi will commence the Certificate IV in Electrical Rail Signalling in Semester 1, 2021. From Semester 2, 2021, people with a WA electrical licence can undertake Certificate IV in Electrical Rail Signalling. Rail signalling has been identified by industry as a skills shortage area, with industry seeking technicians to fill jobs in installing and maintaining rail signalling equipment as METRONET progresses. Industry partnerships have provided specialised equipment to customise the new workshops so students can learn on real equipment and graduate with hands-on experience. The new facility is critical to ensuring local content on METRONET projects which are creating job opportunities for local workers, pre-apprentices and apprentices. The new facilities will also cater to the increased demand for training thanks to the expansion of Lower fees, local skills - many of which are essential to METRONET including Certificate II and III in Automotive Electrical Technology; Certificate II and III in Electrotechnology; Certificate II in Engineering (Heavy Fabrication; Light Fabrication; Mechanical Fitter and Machinist); Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade (Heavy/Welding YH; Light YC; Fitter and Machinist ZB; Mechanical Fitter ZA); Certificate II in Engineering Pathways; Certificate IV in Engineering; Certificate IV in Electrical - Instrumentation; and Diploma of Engineering - Advanced Trade. Under the Lower fees, local skills initiative, the McGowan Government has slashed fees by up to 72 per cent for 180 courses, to make training more affordable for Western Australians. People under 25 or eligible people of all ages looking for work will pay no more than $400 in annual course fees. Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery "North Metropolitan TAFE's Midland campus is well placed to train WA workers for futures in rail manufacturing and operations, with courses available to meet the diverse METRONET training needs, including engineering, metal fabrication, instrumentation, electrotechnology and electronics. "Our reduction in course fees for important METRONET courses will make TAFE much more affordable for students in these high priority areas and, in turn, make it easier for them to get a meaningful job. "As a Government, we are doing everything we can to make TAFE more accessible to young Western Australians so they can get the skills they need to enter the workforce." Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti "This year alone we have seven METRONET projects under construction and a further four projects in procurement phase, with the Morley-Ellenbrook Line to move into major construction early next year. "We are spending almost $12 billion on building transport infrastructure over the next four years, creating thousands of local jobs and opportunities for local businesses. "We want to make sure Western Australians have the skills they need to capitalise on this huge investment and ensure there is a pipeline of workers available to fill these roles." Education and Training Minister's office - 6552 5700 Transport Minister's office - 6552 5500
Goldfields breast cancer support increased11378Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml29/10/2020 12:51:11 AM2020-10-28T23:00:00Z WA Country Health Service digitally enabled service expands to Kalgoorlie Goldfields breast cancer patients with lymphoedema to receive specialist support closer to home The collaborative WA Country Health Service (WACHS) and Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) TeleLymphoedema service has expanded to Kalgoorlie Health Campus to further support local treatment for breast cancer-related lymphoedema. Lymphoedema is a common and lifelong side effect of some cancer treatments causing swelling and pain in the limbs, requiring ongoing management. Expansion of the trial service to Kalgoorlie Health Campus will enable Goldfields locals to receive local lymphoedema support from a WACHS physiotherapist or occupational therapist, with a FSH specialist providing supervision and education via telehealth. The TeleLymphoedema service launched as a pilot in 2019 at Katanning and Esperance health campuses, and has been successful in reducing patients' need to travel for care. Results of the new Kalgoorlie Health Campus service will be used to inform expansion to other WA Country Health Service hospitals. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "Around 20 per cent of patients treated for common cancers, such as breast cancer, will be impacted for life by lymphoedema, making expansion of the TeleLymphoedema service so beneficial for country communities. "Cancer patients and their families have enough to manage without the extra burden of travel for lymphoedema treatment, which is why this Government is pleased the innovative service is being implemented in more regional locations. "Patients receiving lymphoedema care via telehealth at Katanning and Esperance health campuses have had to travel less and have said they are very satisfied with the service. "The McGowan Government expects the same result will be achieved at Kalgoorlie Health Campus and commends the WA Country Health Service for their ongoing work in harnessing technology for a more equitable health system." Comments attributed to Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Kyle McGinn "Using telehealth to bring lymphoedema services to patients in Kalgoorlie is fantastic. "Many cancer patients go on to develop lymphoedema - which results in uncomfortable and painful swelling in their arms and legs - so being able to access treatment locally to help reduce the swelling without having to go to Perth is a great outcome. "Everyone involved in delivering this initiative to Kal deserves a pat on the back." Minister's office - 6552 6500
Historic native title settlement agreement reached with the traditional owners of the Gibson Desert Nature Reserve11377Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml29/10/2020 12:46:59 AM2020-10-28T21:00:00Z McGowan Government reaches historic settlement with Gibson Desert Nature Reserve traditional owners Settlement to provide economic, social and cultural benefits for Aboriginal people in the Gibson Desert region Gibson Desert Nature Reserve to be renamed Pila Nature Reserve Reserve to be jointly managed by traditional owners and State Government $7.5 million allocated for joint management activities of the reserve The McGowan Government has today executed a historic native title settlement agreement with the traditional owners of the Gibson Desert Nature Reserve that will provide economic, social and cultural benefits for Aboriginal communities in the area. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt and Environment Minister Stephen Dawson met with traditional owners today to sign the agreement at Mina Mina, near Patjarr, in the Gibson Desert. The Gibson Desert Nature Reserve Compensation and Lurrtjurrlulu Palakitjalu Settlement Agreement covers an area of approximately 18,900 square kilometres. Lurrtjurrlulu Palakitjalu translated into English means 'we will do it together', reflecting the intention of the State Government and traditional owners to jointly manage the country covered by the reserve. Under the Agreement, the Gibson Desert Nature Reserve will be renamed to a traditional Aboriginal name - the Pila Nature Reserve. 'Pila' describes the prevailing geography of the reserve area, which when translated to English means plains/flat country. Pila Nature Reserve will be jointly vested with the Warnpurru Aboriginal Corporation and Conservation and Parks Commission, and will be jointly managed for both conservation and cultural values under a joint management agreement. The settlement package sets aside $7.5 million over 10 years to support the joint management activities over the reserve, providing meaningful work and training opportunities for the traditional owners at Patjarr, Warburton and surrounding communities. In addition, the settlement package will provide funding to improve infrastructure within Patjarr Community to support joint management activities. Acknowledging the importance of recognition of their traditional rights and cultural responsibility for the reserve, the agreement includes a commitment to work with the traditional owners to achieve recognition of native title over the area of the reserve. The Agreement resolves the State Government's liability arising from the extinguishment of native title by the creation of the reserve in 1977. The Agreement represents a significant achievement for both parties, particularly the traditional owners who have strived over a very long period to achieve recognition of their traditional ownership of the country covered by the reserve. Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt "All those who have worked so hard to get to this day appreciate the significance of signing this agreement to jointly manage the Pila Nature Reserve. "It will not only deliver positive economic and social benefits for the traditional owners but is also a just outcome that all Western Australians should feel proud about." Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson "Today is a historic day for the Warnpurru Aboriginal Corporation and the State Government, who will work together to jointly manage the reserve. "I am pleased that the rights and interests of the traditional owners are now being recognised by the reserve being jointly vested with the Warnpurru Aboriginal Corporation, and that the area will be renamed Pila Nature Reserve, to reflect traditional language and its cultural significance. "The McGowan Government is listening to traditional owners across WA and is working hard to build stronger and better partnerships through agreement-making and joint management arrangements, underpinned by initiatives such as our Aboriginal Ranger Program and Plan for Our Parks." Aboriginal Affairs Minister's office - 6552 5900 Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800
COVID-19 wastewater testing program on track11376Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements13920html28/10/2020 7:40:39 AM2020-10-28T07:40:00Z Wastewater testing program for COVID-19 virus begins this week Additional measure to complement WA's COVID-19 preparedness The McGowan Government confirmed today that the COVID-19 wastewater program is on track, with testing to start this week. The first samples will be tested by government laboratory, PathWest. An evaluation program to expand PCR testing to the State's sewerage network was announced last month. The program has been underway since then. The Department of Health formed an expert steering committee to lead the Wastewater Pilot Program. The steering committee is made up of experts in public health, environmental health, laboratory methods and wastewater from the Department of Health, PathWest and Water Corporation. The first samples being tested have been collected by the Water Corporation from metropolitan wastewater treatment plants since April this year. PathWest has validated the testing methods in readiness for testing to begin. The pilot program will consist of two distinct projects, the first of which will be to test the historical samples collected by the Water Corporation. The second project is to test prospective samples from quarantine hotels, in which the sampling can be matched to the times when known cases have been staying in the hotels. The steering committee has also commenced working with the various quarantine hotels to discuss site selection and the sampling methodology. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "The wastewater project team has done excellent work to get the testing program underway in the past month. "It has always been on schedule, with testing starting this week. "This start date is completely in line with what was expected when I announced the new initiative last month. "Nothing has changed at all. "Any suggestion that there has been a delay is plainly wrong and mischievous. "It is a waste of everyone's time to make such claims. "As I explained when announcing the initiative last month, wastewater testing is another layer of reassurance. "We have been well prepared for potential COVID outbreaks for many months now. "It is why WA has been the safest place in Australia with no community transmission for more than six months. "It is also why our expertise has been used extensively interstate, particularly in Victoria during the height of their crisis there, from top-level strategy to contact tracing and caring for COVID-19 positive residents in nursing homes." Minister's office - 6552 6500
McGowan Government delivering critical road upgrades for the Mid-West11375Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements6630html28/10/2020 6:15:37 AM2020-10-28T06:05:00Z McGowan Government delivering more than $20 million in road upgrades for Mid-West region Key projects include upgrades to Brand Highway and Indian Ocean Drive, funded through the Regional Road Safety Improvement Program and supporting local jobs Community encouraged to have their say on Dongara-Geraldton-Northampton proposed route McGowan Government continuing to deliver for regional Western Australia More than $20 million has been allocated by the McGowan Government to fund critical road upgrades throughout the Mid-West region. Upgrades already underway or due to be completed before the middle of 2021 are $4.8 million worth of upgrades to Brand Highway between Cooljarloo and Badgingarra - works include 30 kilometres of widening and installation of audible edge lines. Work will start in November 2020 and is expected to be completed by April 2021; $2 million to upgrade the intersection of Brand Highway and Barrett Drive - preliminary safety works to commence next month with major works to start in January 2021; $10.1 million of upgrades to Great Northern Highway - 75 kilometres of widening and installation of audible edge lines in the Shire of Meekatharra. Work to commence in January 2021 and is expected to be completed by June 2021; $3.8 million to upgrade Indian Ocean Drive - includes 30 kilometres of widening and installation of audible edge lines in the shires of Gingin and Dandaragan. Work started in September and is expected to be completed in December 2020; $1.83 million - to install a roundabout at Durlacher and Maitland streets, in conjunction with the City of Greater Geraldton, due to be completed early next year; and $120,000 for North West Coastal Highway - This includes installing street lighting from Johnston Street to Utakarra Road. Works to start in December 2020 and are expected to be completed by June 2021. Given the expected traffic increases during the upcoming Christmas holiday period, Main Roads will put in place a temporary restriction of right turn movements into and out of Barrett Drive by November 2020. Major work will commence in early 2021 and will include installation of a separate southbound left turn lane from Brand Highway into Barrett Drive, allowing clearer visibility for turning traffic; widening of the intersection of Brand Highway and Barrett Drive to improve safety of truck movements from Barrett Drive onto Brand Highway; extending the dual southbound lanes on Brand Highway past Lockyer Road, moving the merge point past the Lockyer intersection; intersection improvements at Lockyer Road/Brand Highway; and new median and island treatments. As part of the visit to Geraldton today, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti met with local government representatives to discuss the Dongara-Geraldton-Northampton Planning study. The preferred route was defined by a Main Roads alignment selection study which was undertaken to identify a road corridor that could provide a long-term solution for freight, safely accommodate heavy vehicle combinations and remove heavy vehicles from town sites. Following extensive community feedback and investigations, the preferred single corridor between Dongara, Geraldton and Northampton has been proposed. Community consultation on the preferred corridor commenced in late September and anyone interested is encouraged to visit http// before January 29, 2021 to have their say on the route. Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti "The Mid-West region is a beautiful place to visit and very popular with tourists and locals alike. "We have allocated more than $20 million to upgrade key roads across the region to improve safety and support local jobs. "I am also looking forward to hearing from the community about the Dongara-Geraldton-Northampton route planning study. "There is plenty of time for everyone to have their say and I would encourage all interested community members to provide their feedback." Comments attributed to Agricultural Region MLC Darren West "The McGowan Government continues to deliver for regional WA. "Upgrades to the Barrett Drive and Brand Highway intersection will make a huge difference for motorists. "I'm proud to be a part of a State Government that delivers on their promises for regional Western Australia." Comments attributed to Agricultural Region MLC Laurie Graham "Geraldton is a beautiful spot to visit and live - it's become even more popular as West Aussies 'Wander out Yonder.' "It's important that our infrastructure keeps up with demand - that's why it's important all community members have their say on the proposed Dongara-Geraldton-Northampton route. "We want to hear from locals and landowners to ensure we get this project right." Minister's office - 6552 5500
Supporting the workforce to build capacity in mental health, alcohol and other drugs11374Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements12360html28/10/2020 6:00:23 AM2020-10-28T06:00:00Z $1.2 million funding to deliver targeted workforce development programs Focus on the peer workforce; Aboriginal culturally secure services; trauma-informed care; and employment pathways The McGowan Government has allocated an immediate additional $1.2 million to deliver workforce development in the mental health, alcohol and other drug community sector. This initial suite of programs will support workforce development in key areas identified by peak bodies, service providers, stakeholders and consumers and carers. They cover key focus areas of need including building the peer workforce; Aboriginal culturally secure services; building capacity in trauma-informed care; and providing employment pathways. The programs follow today's release of the Government's Western Australian Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Workforce Strategic Framework 2020-2025, which outlines priority areas and principles to guide the growth and development of the mental health, alcohol and other drug workforce in Western Australia. The workforce development program will include future phases and will support peer workers, the Aboriginal workforce, clinicians, counsellors, social workers and more who assist and care for people with mental health, alcohol and other drug issues. Earlier this month, the Government announced a record $1 billion for mental health, alcohol and other drug services in the 2020 State Budget. Programs underway to boost the sector include Expanded suicide prevention services totalling $49.6 million over four years; Alternatives to emergency departments being established including Mental Health Observation Areas and Safe Haven Cafés; Initiatives being delivered in response to the Methamphetamine Action Plan Taskforce Report, including those addressing alcohol and other drug crisis intervention; Western Australia's State-wide Recovery College for mental health, alcohol and other drugs, launched last month; 84 alcohol and other drug community beds delivered since 2016 and 10 more to be established, including an alcohol and other drug intervention service; and 110 inpatient mental health beds and 68 community mental health beds being established over the next four years. In a crisis call Lifeline on 13 11 14, for alcohol and drug support call the Alcohol and Drug Support Line, and to find local mental health, alcohol or drug services, visit http// Comments attributed to Mental Health Minister Roger Cook "There are thousands of amazing workers who care for and support those of us who are struggling with their mental health, alcohol or other drugs every day. "More than 450,000 people are supported by government-funded mental health, alcohol and other drug services across WA each year. "By supporting those who care for others, we will be building the capacity we need in our community to enable all Western Australians to live fulfilling lives. "We have many projects in the works across the State to deliver better and improved support and care to Western Australians - and we need to ensure we have appropriately skilled staff ready to deliver them." Comments attributed to Mental Health Network Clinical Co-Lead Dr Helen McGowan "The quality of mental health care for vulnerable people depends on the skills and values of the people who care for them and so it is critical that our system ensures that our staff are trained, resourced and supported to provide high-quality, responsive and collaborative care. "Workforce development requires a plan that ensures there are opportunities for training and professional development for peer workers, novices, generalists, experts and specialists across the various disciplines, professions and parts of the mental health sector. "It is hoped that this framework supports the development of specific workforce plans that can address key gaps in our system." Comments attributed to WA Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies CEO Jill Rundle "Congratulations to the WA Government for recognising the importance of a Workforce Strategic Framework for the mental health and alcohol and other drug sectors. It is pleasing to see so many relevant strategies and actions incorporated. "This strategic framework establishes a solid partnership approach that supports the foundation of sector quality and sustainability." Comments attributed to WA Association for Mental Health CEO Taryn Harvey "The WA Association for Mental Health was pleased to work with the Mental Health Commission in the development of this framework. "The framework is a clear acknowledgement that well supported workers who have access to targeted and responsive professional development opportunities are a crucial component in delivering high-quality, contemporary community mental health supports. "This paves the way for continuing to build a robust workforce of skilled people that can deliver our vital community mental health services." Minister's office - 6552 6500