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Forensic hubs will be up and running by April say police

View the original article here

The new hub, which is being built next door to the Ballarat West Police Station at Delacombe will see 11 forensics experts be based in the region.

It will act as a stop-off point for police throughout the western district, saving hours of resources where officers currently are forced to drive to and from Melbourne to drop off evidence.

The hub, which will open in April, is part of an $11 million state government commitment to build new sites in Ballarat and Morwell.

The construction site was inspected by Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford on Friday.

Director of Forensic Services of Victoria Police Rebecca Kogios said the 11 new positions had already been filled.

“They are in the process of undergoing a very rigorous training program to make sure, when we open the facility here next year, we will hit the ground running from day one,” Dr Kogios said.

“It’s important that the standards of forensic services delivered here will be consistent with the facility we currently operate in Macleod.

“We’ve been fortunate to be able to staff the facility with a mixture of internal experts and also attract interest from interstate as well.”

Ballarat Acting Superintendent Trevor Cornwill said it would make an enormous difference in the turnaround time for cases to be finalised.

“For us it will be hundreds of hours saved where we can concentrate on policing. Certainly for outlying areas it will make a huge difference in travel time,” he said.

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Fourth generation Ballarat builder to construct GovHub

The Wendouree-based Nicholson Construction will team up with Kane Constructions for the two-year build which will see the tearing down of the lower hall and the building of a new multi-storey office block, with 200 car spaces at its base.

Construction will start in January next year and is expected to be completed by December 2020 with the first staff to move into the hub the following January.

Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford said it was a major transformation in the city hall site which had not been filling its potential.

“We will have a total of 1000 public servants and the total cost of the project will be in the vicinity of $100 million, projects in this community do not get any bigger than this,” she said.

“Nicholson Construction has very deep roots in this community and indeed have a beautiful multi-generational family history with this site and this type of work.

“Kane Construction is an award winning company and this will be a wonderful partnership. We’ve had a long and detailed procurement process who the successful companies are.”

Ms Pulford said as well as construction jobs, a further nine apprenticeships will be offered. She said during peak construction phase, 250 people would be on site and another 250 involved in the supply chain.

Nicholson Construction, director Richard Nicholson said it was a major project in Ballarat that his company was thrilled to be a part of.

The Bendigo Soldiers Memorial Institute

The building’s new look is part of a $4.5 million revitalisation project currently being undertaken. Exterior works have also included a total roof replacement and new sky lights.

Source: The Bendigo Advertiser see original article here

The Bendigo Soldiers Memorial Institute is shedding its scaffolding to reveal a new, yet original, colour in all its glory.

The warm sandstone render is what experts believe to be the original colour, which time and regular patch jobs had worn away.

The building’s new look is part of a $4.5 million revitalisation project currently being undertaken. Exterior works have also included a total roof replacement and new sky lights. More work is being undertaking inside.

The project is being funded by the state and federal governments, the City of Greater Bendigo, the Bendigo RSL and community contributions.

Employers who understand her endometriosis pain

Endometriosis, which affects one in 10 women, occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, causing inflammation, pain and in some cases infertility.

Source: The Courier see original article here

Tansyn Dennett estimates that endometriosis has cost her a dozen jobs over the years, not to mention the agony the condition causes her.

Endometriosis, which affects one in 10 women, occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, causing inflammation, pain and in some cases infertility.

Some days the period pain is so great she cannot get out of bed and her husband must come home from work to carry her to the bathroom. It also affects her immune system. But because endometriosis is an invisible disease, it is often misunderstood.

Ms Dennett began suffering symptoms in high school but was not diagnosed until she was 25, a common story among sufferers with diagnosis taking an average of eight to nine years. “I’ve lost jobs in the past for having too many sick days,” Ms Dennett said.

While she thought female co-workers would support her, often it was not the case. “Women are the worst because if they don’t understand they dismiss it as ‘just a period’, when the reality is far different,” she said. “And you don’t discuss your period with men full stop, which makes endometriosis a hidden disease that few people understand.”

That lack of understanding led to Ms Dennett developing depression and anxiety. But in her current job as project administrator at Nicholson Construction, Ms Dennett has found the support and understanding that has been missing in other workplaces.

She made her managers aware of her condition in her first job interview and they have supported her ever since. “I really struggle to put it in to words because for the first time in my life I have that support. Just to know someone has got my back, someone finally understands it’s not in my head and not made up. If I’m sick, I’m sick … whereas in the past I’ve taken myself to work and been a mess.”

Ms Dennett’s employers and co-workers are hosting an afternoon tea and wearing yellow on Friday as part of Worldwide EndoMarch, a campaign to raise money and awareness of endometriosis around the world.

“There’s no cure, but we can try to cure ignorance – that’s my war cry,” Ms Dennett said. Ms Dennett has also helped establish a local support group Ballarat Endo Sisters on Facebook for local women suffering endometriosis.

Finally, earth moves for stadium after 10+ years

Earthworks are already well underway on the eastern side of Ballarat Sports and Events Centre but an official construction launch on Tuesday morning allowed key parties a chance to celebrate together in what was finally unfolding.

Source: The Courier see original article here

FOUNDATIONS are being laid on a project more than 10 years in the making.

Earthworks are already well underway on the eastern side of Ballarat Sports and Events Centre but an official construction launch on Tuesday morning allowed key parties a chance to celebrate together in what was finally unfolding. Indoor sports groups, led by Basketball Ballarat, first entered talks to address a critical court shortage in 2006.

The final $10 million federal grant to complete the full $24 million vision for the stadium was secured last year after three failed bids under the now-defunct National Stronger Regions Fund. The full stadium will feature six new courts, including a 3000-seat show court, added to the existing Norman Street site with new community multi-purpose class rooms and sports medicine facilities.

Basketball Ballarat chief executive Peter Eddy said it felt a pretty emotional moment to formally get works underway. “This was about belief in the message we had, but also about making sure we took people on a journey with us,” Mr Eddy said. “I’m just so proud really understand the value, not just for the elite athlete but the grassroots participant. It’s the kid who hasn’t started playing yet who will use these facilities.”

Ballarat patron senator Jane Hume, on-site for construction launch, said persistence had paid off. But she said the key that finally got the project over the line was a sustained united passion from a wide cross-section of sporting and communities groups across the city. Nicholson Construction director Richard Nicholson confirmed BSEC was scheduled for completion by June next year. Work on laying the slab on the eastern wing is expected to begin next month.

There will be minimal disruption to basketball and netball matches on existing facilities amid construction. Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh said the city already drew a lot of sporting participants from across the city and across western Victoria. This stadium would offer far greater opportunities to promote an active community. “If we’ve got healthy people, fit young people and families, who are active in the community and involved, we know they can make a great contribution to Ballarat in the long term,” Cr McIntosh said.

Major steps on path to upgrade

  • 2004-05: Minerdome upgrades to host basketball for Commonwealth Games in March 2006.
  • 2006-10: Ballarat Basketball investigates options to expand. Other indoor sports groups enter talks in September 2010 to address critical court shortage.
  • 2011: Community groups like University of the Third Age and sporting bodies like Basketball Victoria Country explore chance for shared bases and community use.
  • March 2012: Plans for new six-court facility in Wendouree made public.
  • May 2013: Council commits to deliver major new indoor sports facility in five-year plan. Elite basketball, netball needs training base. Courts overflowing.
  • November 2014: Labor state government delivers $9 million to project with $5 million from council.
  • 2015-October 2016: Project narrowly misses funding three times under National Stronger Regions Fund.
  • July 31, 2017: Federal government announces $10 million for project under new Building Better Regions Fund.

New residential mental health care facility opens

Source: The Standard.  See original article here.

THE name of Warrnambool’s new residential mental health care facility pays homage to the region’s indigenous heritage.

Member for Western Victoria and state government minister Gayle Tierney officially opened the Moore Street facility, which has been named Ngootyoong, on Saturday.

Ngootyoong is a local Aboriginal word meaning new, fresh, healthy, good and strong.

The ceremony included a welcome to country ceremony by Peek Wurrung elder Uncle Locky Eccles.

Ms Tierney said the new Prevention and Recovery Centre (PARC) facility was symbolic of how Warrnambool has come of age.

“This is a facility for the most vulnerable in our community,” Ms Tierney said.

“This new mental health support service will boost and improve treatments and ease pressure on other local health services. It’s a new community-based model to support people in Warrnambool with a mental illness on their journey of recovery. PARC units deliver a unique, home-like setting where people with a mental illness can get the support they need to get their lives back on track.”

Ms Tierney said the new facility is one of two that have opened in regional Victoria this year, the other being in Mildura. The total cost of building the two facilities was $8.6 million with Ngootyoong costing $4.8million. The facility has 10 beds with the average stay expected to be 14 to 21 days.

Ngootyoong will be staffed by 12 new full-time equivalent positions and will be ran on behalf of South West Healthcare (SHW) by Mind Australia.

SWH CEO Craig Fraser said it was fantastic to see the hard work of many come to fruition. He praised the state government for its funding of the program and its ongoing support of SWH.

Mental health services director at SWH Karyn Cook said the facility will provide mental health care in the least restrictive environment.

The facility will be open for the public to view on Wednesday, February 28 from 3-6pm.

Ballarat Tech School opens for business

The high-tech future is now for Ballarat students who will explore technology-based solutions to real world problems at the new Ballarat Tech School.

Source: The Courier see original article here

The high-tech future is now for Ballarat students who will explore technology-based solutions to real world problems at the new Ballarat Tech School.

Premier Daniel Andrews and education minister James Merlino yesterday officially opened the Ballarat Tech School, the third of 10 tech schools to be built across the state.

About 10,000 students from 15 Ballarat secondary schools will visit Ballarat Tech School each year to take part in specialised learning.

The new school includes an IT and virtual reality lab and project spaces dedicated to regional industry areas including health science, new energy technologies, food and fibre, advanced manufacturing and IT.

Mr Merlino said yesterday the school had received additional funding to open a space on the top floor to allow the general community to engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning and to run adult education.

He also said the government was in the final stages of negotiations over land for a state primary school in Lucas, with a conclusion likely in the next month or so.

Mercedes-Benz move creates impact on Main Road

SITE works have cleared the path for luxury car dealer Mercedes-Benz Ballarat to pull into its new Main Road space.

Source: The Courier see original article here

Demolition began three weeks ago on the former Ballarat Building Supplies site and by mid this week, most had gone except for the shell of an old shed.

Mercedes-Benz Ballarat dealer principal Justin Mitchell said plans included about one third of the site to be a brand new showroom, one third to be refurbished and the rest to be left untouched with potential for future growth.

The dealership will remain operating at its Mair Street base, formerly SF Motors, until the move which is scheduled for mid-next year. Mr Mitchell said a make-over was well-overdue.

“Our (Mair Street) showroom was built in 1955 and state-of-the-art for the day…With the changes happening in Mair Street it seemed a good time to find a bigger space and amenities to grow,” Mr Mitchell said.

“We’ll still be in central Ballarat and close to shops and transport when people are getting their cars serviced. The future is looking bright.”

Ballarat Tech School at Fed Uni – on track to open

Ballarat Tech School is on track to open for the start of the new school year in 2018. A glowing atrium will change the facade of the Albert St building and welcome up to 200 students at a time through its doors.

Source: The Courier see original article here

Ballarat Tech School is on track to open for the start of the new school year in 2018.

A glowing atrium will change the facade of the Albert St building and welcome up to 200 students at a time through its doors.

A sneak peek at construction progress has revealed construction is well underway on the project with builders confident the building will be delivered on its scheduled December 20 handover date.

Nicholson Construction project manager Stephen Allen said refurbishment works on the Albert St building were progressing well.

“All the services are in, walls are plastered, window frames are in, glass being installed, and painting and joining will start in two weeks,” he said.

“It’s a tight timeline on the project but we are in a good position at the moment.”

The Ballarat Tech School development is part of a $128 million state government initiative to create 10 tech schools across Victoria.

?A large steel learning tree fitted with LED lights branches through the two storeys of learning spaces with seating around its base and breakout areas surrounding its limbs upstairs.

Walls and classroom partitions are in, ceiling treatments ready for installation, and builders have replaced half of the roof sheeting and are installing solar panels to cover the entire roof.

“The amount of power those solar panels will produce will most likely see this building put power back in to the grid as well as power the building so will probably be an ongoing cost benefit,” Mr Allen said.

The high-tech building also has an audio-visual system and technology fit-out that Mr Allen said would rival any other building in the city.

Demolition work on the interior of the existing building began in June.

Ballarat Tech School associate director Sofia Fiusco said the school could cater for 200 students at any one time and would work with all 15 secondary colleges in the region.

Large classrooms will cater for teaching programs across five industry areas: food and fibre, health science, IT, advanced manufacturing and new energy.

“A big part of looking at the spaces is making sure they are multi-purpose so as the needs of industry adapt and change we can factor that in to what we do,” Ms Fiusco said.

Schools will elect the programs they want to be part of and bring students in to the tech school for the day.

“The focus will be on learning in a very visual way in terms of what they can see and be inspired by, who they are working with, and learning from each other. It will be very open and transparent and reflect what workplaces look like and how they function.”