Boost to support flood affected residents in Hawkesbury region

THE NSW Government is delivering flood roads and emergency service upgrades to bolster the Hawkesbury community against the devastating effect of floods.

The government announced details of a $94.7M investment in the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) to strengthen flood preparedness and response across the state and at key flood risk areas, including the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley and the Northern Rivers.

This new injection of funding is a significant operational uplift for the agency over four years that will:

  • Improve flood planning to better prepare for and respond to floods.
  • Fund critical fleet maintenance and new equipment.
  • Support training and volunteer recruitment activity.
  • Enhance public information, warnings and community engagement through channels like the SES website and the Hazards Near Me App.

A further $18M will be invested over the first 12 months to improve flood planning, intelligence and rescue response capability, coordination, operational systems, training, exercising and support for NSW SES volunteers.

The new funding builds on a $14.9M statewide fleet investment which is already underway, providing additional vehicles and vessels which have bolstered the NSW SES’s flood rescue response during recent severe weather events. 

By the end of July, the SES will have rolled out 164 new assets across the state, including 40 vessels, 75 ark angel rafts, 45 command vehicles, two heavy rescue vehicles and two trailers. Many of these assets have already played a significant role in response to severe weather events.

NSW SES units in the Northern Rivers, Central West and Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley have all received equipment, delivering on recommendations from the independent 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry to improve flood rescue capabilities.

In addition, planning for more than 100 infrastructure improvements are underway as part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Evacuation Road Resilience program.

The construction industry can submit proposals to build the crucial bypass of Pitt Town. The bypass will improve congestion by taking traffic out of Pitt Town, helping residents of Hawkesbury evacuate faster during floods. Transport for NSW expects to award the major construction contract to build the bypass in 2025.

The Driftway and Londonderry Road intersection upgrade has been brought forward as part of an election commitment by the NSW Government, providing a new roundabout and an additional lane to improve road capacity during evacuations. Construction on this upgrade is expected to start in 2025, with early investigation and development work already underway.

Transport for NSW will also begin engaging with industry to build the New Richmond Bridge and Traffic Improvements Project – a $500M joint initiative with the Australian Government. The new bridge will be around 10 metres higher than the existing crossing of Hawkesbury and will be able to withstand a one in 20-year flood.

These flood road upgrades are part of a $200M commitment by the NSW Government to deliver major evacuation routes in the flood-prone Hawkesbury-Nepean.

Hospital designs revealed – Better healthcare for locals


THE community has its first look at the $700M Rouse Hill Hospital, the first major adult hospital built in Western Sydney in over 40 years.

The NSW Labor Government will deliver the 300-bed hospital set to deliver much needed contemporary health care facilities for the growing Northwest community.

Thousands of families are moving into the North-West growth area, with the Blacktown Local Government Area (LGA) population expected to grow to almost 500,000 by 2041.

The new hospital will bring healthcare closer to communities around Rouse Hill, Tallawong, Schofields, The Ponds, North Kellyville, Riverstone and Marsden Park.

Rouse Hill Hospital is expected to include:

  • An Emergency and Urgent Care Department.
  • In-patient beds and a day surgery unit.
  • Short stay medical assessment services.
  • Pathology, pharmacy, and medical imaging services.
  • Outpatient and Ambulatory Care services including paediatrics, renal, maternity services and women’s health.
  • A health hub for virtual care and hospital in the home services.
  • Prehabilitation, rehabilitation, and lifestyle medicine.

Artist’s impressions of the new Rouse Hill Hospital show wards with views to the mountains and a multi-storey car park, all near public transport.

The new hospital will be one of the first sites to adopt the NSW Labor Government’s full campus model which incorporates health worker accommodation and childcare services.

Planning and design is underway with community feedback being considered ahead of further consultation with health professionals and the community planned for this year.

Construction of the hospital will support an estimated 1,200 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs throughout the life of the project.

The new Rouse Hill Hospital is part of the NSW Government’s $3B investment for new and upgraded hospitals and health services across greater western Sydney, one of the largest investments in the region’s health infrastructure in recent years.

Other investments include:

  • $1.3 billion to build the Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital on a new site, the first major investment since the two hospitals merged in 1997.
  • $550 million for Fairfield Hospital, in its first major redevelopment since it opened in 1989
  • $350 million in the Canterbury Hospital Redevelopment
  • $120 million investment to expand bed capacity at Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals

Premier Chris Minns said everyone deserves world class healthcare no matter where they live.

Member for Riverstone Warren Kirby said: “Rouse Hill and northwest Sydney is home to a growing number of young families and the new Rouse Hill Hospital will provide world-class care and great job opportunities right on their doorstep.

“The new Rouse Hill Hospital will provide a significant boost to the economy during and after construction.”

WSLHD Chief Executive Graeme Loy said: “The new Rouse Hill Hospital will demonstrate new ways of integrating hospital services with urgent care and preventative services to keep people well and preferabley out of hospital, thereby reducing the amount of time patients need to spend in hospital when they require care.

“We’re so proud to be developing this new project, and to be involving our nurses, doctors, allied health and support staff in the planning for the new facilities.

“Meeting with members of the western Sydney community for feedback has shown the great interest in this new facility and we look forward to ongoing collaboration as we build this hospital of the future.”

New purpose built 4WD ambulances reach patients in challenging terrain

The NSW Government has rolled out 80 new four-wheel drive ambulances across the state, which will allow paramedics to access patients in challenging terrain, the NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park announced today.

These purpose built 4WD ambulance vehicles are used to access patients in situations where standard ambulances would not be able to, particularly in regional and remote areas.

The new vehicles give paramedics greater ability to reach patients in the bush, on sand, through water, mud, and snow.

This enables paramedics to provide lifesaving treatment and stabilisation, while organising a suitable method of moving the patient.

The new Toyota Landcruiser 200 series was modified to a 3-seater to allow for the inclusion of a stretcher and medical equipment.

The 4WDs will not be used in place of standard patient transport ambulances, but will complement the standard stretchered ambulance fleet.

In some cases, the vehicles will also be used to retrieve the patient and deliver them to standard stretchered ambulance for further transport.

If paramedics identify that a location cannot be reached due to road conditions or difficult terrain, they can advise the Control Centre and a specialist resource such as these 4WDs can be deployed from nearby ambulance stations.

“I want our paramedics and first responders to have the most modern and up to date equipment, to help them deliver the highest quality care,” said Health Minister Ryan Park.

“This announcement means that our paramedics will be better placed to reach patients in the most challenging and harshest of environments.

“These special purpose built ambulances will enhance health care in our regional and rural communities.”

NSW Ambulance Chief Executive Dr Dominic Morgan welcomed the new additions to the fleet.

“The new Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series vehicles replace an aging fleet of Toyota Landcruiser Troop Carriers, which were sturdy work horses but no longer fit for purpose.

“These new vehicles will make it easier and safer for our paramedics to continue carrying out difficult rescue missions while delivering the best possible pre-hospital care.”


The historic Zig Zag Railway returned to life this weekend as passenger services resumed following a joint volunteer and NSW Government effort to restore the Blue Mountains icon from fire and flood damage. For years, volunteers have toiled to restore the railway and the NSW Government provided more than $5.9 million through Crown Lands and the Department of Regional NSW to rebuild the locomotive workshop, construct a car park, pedestrian crossing and amenities block.

Contract awarded for Sydney Metro West tunnelling

THE NSW Government has awarded a $2.16B contract to deliver the next stage of tunnelling on the mega Sydney Metro West project. 

The Gamuda Australia and Laing O’Rourke Consortium has been awarded the Western Tunnelling contract to deliver nine kilometres of twin metro rail tunnels between Sydney Olympic Park and Westmead.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said this once in a century infrastructure investment will link new communities to rail services, slash travel times across the network and support employment growth.

 “These tunnels mean you’ll be able to get from Parramatta to the Sydney CBD in around 20 minutes on a fast, safe and reliable driverless metro train, forever changing how we move around Sydney,” Premier Perrottet said.

“Sydney Metro West will double rail capacity between Greater Parramatta and the Sydney CBD, transforming Sydney for generations to come,” he said.

This is the second major tunnelling package awarded on the city-shaping project, with work already underway to deliver twin tunnels between The Bays and Sydney Olympic Park following the contract awarded to Acciona Ferrovial Joint Venture last year. 

Minister for Transport and Veterans David Elliott said major civil works have now commenced at the Bays, with tunnelling set to commence later this year towards Sydney Olympic Park. 

“Work is well underway to get the site ready for tunnel boring machines to be in the ground at The Bays by the end of the year. Huge piling rigs have already started work to prepare the site for the excavation needed to launch the mega machines,” Minister Elliott said. 

“Sydney Metro West will create more than 10,000 direct new jobs and 70,000 indirect jobs – many of those jobs generated by this major contract.”

“To build these tunnels a broad range of skills will be required including tunnellers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, concrete workers, truck drivers, labourers and security guards,” Minister Elliott said.

The Western Tunnelling contract includes:

  • Twin 9km tunnels from Sydney Olympic Park to Westmead;
  • A Tunnel Boring Machine launch site at Rosehill, tunnelling toward Sydney Olympic Park and relaunched toward Westmead;
  • A services facility and crossover structure at Rosehill to allow provision for fresh air ventilation and emergency egress;
  • Tunnel portal and dive excavation at Clyde Services and Maintenance Facility;
  • Earthworks, retaining structures, drainage and utilities corridor for the Clyde Maintenance Facility;
  • Excavation and civil works for Parramatta and Westmead Stations; and
  • A segment manufacturing facility at Eastern Creek constructing over 60,000 segments.

Completion of the contract is expected by the end of 2025.


Calling all MEN: be part of The solution to end violence against women

IN Australia, one woman a week is murdered by an intimate partner, with 247 lives lost to violence in the four years from 2017–2020 and a further 38 as of 8 November,2021*. It’s a national tragedy and it needs to stop now.

On White Ribbon Day, November 19, White Ribbon Australia is asking men to think about the changes they can make in their communities and workplaces to be part of the solution, not just on one day, but every day.

White Ribbon Australia Executive Director Brad Chilcott said turning this national tragedy around would require real, long-term social and cultural transformation. “And it will need men to stand up and be willing to reflect on their role in making this essential change a reality,” Mr Chilcott said.

“White Ribbon Day events aren’t the cure-all solution, but people, communities and workplaces who take what they learn and put it into practice in the days, months and years ahead can transform the future we share,” he added.

The theme this year is “How Can Men Make Change?”, calling on communities to “Learn, Give, Take Action”.

The call to action will also be front and centre at events across NSW, including a joint activation with White Lady Funerals to raise awareness of the impact of family domestic violence as witnessed by those dealing with the aftermath of these tragic deaths.

As dawn breaks over Martin Place on White Ribbon Day, 52 white chairs, a white rose placed on each–will be arranged in rows, with each empty chair representing the heartbreaking average number of women killed by domestic violence in Australia each year.

On the morning of White Ribbon Day, Rosie Batty, 2015 Australian of the Year and Co-Chair of the White Ribbon Australia Advisory Council, will also be appearing live on Channel Seven’s Sunrise. Seven West Media is an official Media Partner of White Ribbon Day 2021.

Major landmarks across the country will also be lighting up in white, or sharing our messages, in solidarity with our campaign’s focus on the action men can take to end violence against women.

“White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for you to tell us about your community-led approaches to changing the attitudes and social norms that excuse or condone disrespect, sexual harassment and abuse-to put in place the actions needed to bring about that change, with our support,” Mr Chilcott said.

“We have the resources to help you understand the drivers of men’s violence, harassment and abuse, along with the tools you need to stand up and be part of the change. We’ve just launched our new

Resource Dashboard, ‘Learn: How Can Men Make Change’, so that all Australians can be equipped for meaningful action in our communities and workplaces.”

To find out more about hosting a White Ribbon Day event, making a donation to support community-led change initiatives, or to access the comprehensive resource library, visit

Council moves forward with plan to transform Parramatta CBD

CITY of Parramatta’s bold vision to grow the shape and size of its CBD is closer to becoming a reality after Council endorsed an ambitious plan to revitalise the Central River City.

First proposed in 2013, the Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal will see the boundaries of the Parramatta CBD expanded and the heights of buildings soar to cater for the estimated 46,000 new jobs and 14,000 new dwellings over the next 40 years.

“Parramatta is going through a period of unprecedented change and growth, and this plan will help bring our aspirations for our City to life,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer said.

“As the centre of global Sydney and beating heart of Western Sydney, Parramatta must continue to evolve into a world-class metropolis while maintaining its unique identity and preserving all-important cultural and public spaces for generations to come.”

By increasing building heights in the CBD, the proposal maximises opportunities for commercial and high-density residential development through changes to planning controls. It also seeks to protect key elements that make the City liveable, such as natural light and accessible public spaces, and encourages sustainable design and revitalised streets.

“We are building a Smart City, and part of that includes considered design that will meet the needs of our community for years to come,” Cr Dwyer said.

“To ensure we are setting our City up for a promising future, the proposal features higher building performance requirements, which encourage developers to incorporate simple but important environmentally sustainable elements to reduce water and energy use in new buildings.”

The Planning Proposal will support the NSW Government’s investment in new infrastructure, including Parramatta Light Rail and Metro.

The CBD Planning Proposal also aims to:

  • Protect key public spaces, including the river foreshore, from overshadowing.
  • Introduce new controls that ensure a development demonstrates an appropriate relationship to the City’s heritage; and
  • Include new parking provisions to facilitate improved traffic management and active transport.

The CBD Planning Proposal, which incorporated feedback received during public consultation in 2020, will now be sent to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for final approval.

New Tech Making Train Travel Easier


A new Google Maps feature will make train travel easier, with more than 130 stations in Sydney added to Street View imagery.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the new technology is especially important in assisting customers navigate unfamiliar or complex journeys, and for those with accessibility needs.

“This new Google Maps tool provides commuters with an interactive, panoramic, indoor tour of the stations, helping people plan their journeys and familiarise themselves with station layouts across most of the Sydney Trains and Sydney Metro network ahead of their commute.”

Google has also developed detailed navigation instructions for accessible routes across 70 complex train and metro stations across Sydney.

“This initiative is fantastic news for commuters. Finding your way around a busy station can be stressful, especially when you are pressed for time. It is great to see Google rolling out these helpful navigation tools today to help commuters plan and navigate their journeys – both in advance and when they are inside the station,” Mr Constance said.

“These tools allow commuters to find accessible entrances, exits, signage and paths within the station and better anticipate in-transit travel times along these accessible routes.”

Mr Ramesh Nagarajan, The Director of Product Management at Google Australia, said; “whether you’re traveling with a wheelchair, pram, and luggage or navigating an unfamiliar or complex journey, we hope these rich, accessible navigation tools help people plan and travel with more ease and confidence.”

In an Australian/world first, Google has shared the data with Transport for NSW to make available for the transport industry and app developers to access via the Open Data Portal.

Westmead to Sydney CBD to 20 minutes: Sydney’s newest metro stations confirmed

TWO new metro stations have been confirmed at Pyrmont and Hunter Street for the Sydney Metro West project, which will connect Parramatta to the CBD in around 20 minutes.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the Hunter Street station will have one entrance on the corner of Hunter and George Streets, and another on the corner of Bligh and O’Connell Streets, connecting customers to suburban rail lines as well as light rail.

“The city-shaping Sydney Metro West project will revitalise the western gateway to the Sydney CBD, while creating 10,000 direct and 70,000 indirect jobs,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The new Hunter Street station is strategically located in the heart of Sydney, allowing commuters to easily connect to Sydney Trains at Wynyard and Martin Place, and Sydney Metro at Martin Place.

“Commuters at Martin Place will be able to connect to the new Hunter Street station via proposed underground walkways, making it easier and quicker for people to change lines and travel right across our city.”

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the future Pyrmont Station will be located between Pyrmont Bridge Road and Union Street, providing easy access to Pyrmont Bridge.

“From Pyrmont, commuters will be able to travel to Hunter Street in just two minutes – giving them back valuable time with their families and doing things they enjoy, while also encouraging investment in the Pyrmont area,” Mr Constance said.

Hunter Street will become the fourth metro station in the Sydney CBD, with the Transport Minister today inspecting the progress at the new Martin Place station on the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project.

“Construction is moving quickly at Martin Place station with work underway to install the platforms, the new pedestrian tunnel 60 per cent excavated and the final design of the station recently approved,” Mr Constance said.

Sydney Metro Chief Executive Peter Regan said Sydney Metro West will double rail capacity between Greater Parramatta and the Sydney CBD.

“There will be massive and game-changing travel time savings across Sydney. For example, sports fans will be able to get from Bondi Junction to the new metro station at Sydney Olympic Park in just 27 minutes (interchanging at Martin Place) compared to 56 minutes now,” Mr Regan said.

Other faster journeys include:

  • 12 minutes faster from Burwood North to North Sydney (Victoria Cross metro station) return – about 20 minutes (with interchange) using Sydney Metro, compared to about 32 minutes now (with interchange);
  • Save 32 minutes a day from Castle Hill to Pyrmont – about 42 minutes (with interchange) using Sydney Metro compared to about 58 minutes now (with interchange);
  •  14 minutes faster from Blacktown to Sydney Olympic Park – about 20 minutes (with interchange) using Sydney Trains and Sydney Metro compared to about 34 minutes now (with interchange).

Sydney Metro is liaising with the impacted owners and tenants of 11 commercial buildings in the CBD and another two commercial buildings in Pyrmont.

Pyrmont and Hunter Street now join the other station locations which have been confirmed for Sydney Metro West – Westmead, Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park, North Strathfield, Burwood North, Five Dock and The Bays.

Sydney Metro expects to award the first major tunnelling contract for the Sydney Metro West project in the middle of this year, ensuring that tunnel boring machines can be in the ground by the end of next year.

Lights Shine On Penrith Opportunity

THE inaugural Lights on Penrith 2021 Growth Summit, held in March at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith, was a huge success, gathering delegates from business, government, and the local community together to discuss the significant growth and development planned for the region in the next few years.

Kate Rafton, President of the Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce and the driving force behind the Summit was delighted with the outcome.

“We had some amazing feedback from participants on the day. This was our first event under the Lights on Penrith banner and we are planning to run a series, each one focusing on a different aspect of growth and opportunity in our region. What really struck me, was how much the participants appreciated the chance to come together and focus on some of the most important issues relevant to Western Sydney and in particular, the Penrith region,” she said.

The key focus of the Summit was to highlight business growth opportunities and how major infrastructure and development projects, such as the Western Sydney Airport, Nepean Business Park, St Mary’s Freight Hub and Sydney Science Park, will create more local jobs and improve sustainability in the Nepean.

Bruce Baudinet, Chairman of Precinct Capital – the developers behind Nepean Business Park and Flagship Sponsors of the Summit – enjoyed the chance to contribute to the discussion on the day.

“We love the concept of the “30-minute city”. Providing opportunities for people to work within an easy 30-minute commute is critical when building sustainable communities. The Summit allowed us to meet with local businesses, share our vision of the 30-minute city, and demonstrate how an enlightened planning framework can support small businesses and thereby improve local employment opportunities. his will allow facilities like the Nepean Business Park to attract and retain small to medium enterprises in the region and create local jobs for local people,” he said.

According to Andrew Grima, Principal of Coleman Greig Lawyers and Flagship Sponsor of Lights on Penrith:

“The Lights on Penrith Growth Summit was exactly what the Penrith community needed. It was a fantastic opportunity to not only showcase future development in the region, but also to connect key stakeholders, and give businesses solid ideas on how they can leverage the growth opportunities. “

Sponsors and supporters of the event included Nepean Business Park (NBP) and Coleman Greig Lawyers, Penrith City Council, Celestino (developers of the Sydney Science Park), KPMG, NAB, Macquarie Commercial, Hix Group, Optus Business Centre Western Sydney, St Mary’s Freight Hub, Complete Recruitment Solutions, Raine & Horne Commercial Penrith, Uphire Equipment Specialists and Business Western Sydney.

Western Sydney Business Access was the regional media partner for the event.

With planning already underway, the next Lights on Penrith event will have a focus on tourism and hospitality in the region and take place in July.

By Stacey Randell – Engagement Manager at Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce. Contact her on 0435 457 849


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