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The Kwinana Freeway extension and Forrest Highway has officially opened three months ahead of schedule.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and Senator for Western Australia, Chris Evans, said the new 70.5 kilometre road was one of the largest road infrastructure projects ever undertaken in Western Australia.

Representing the Federal Government at today’s opening ceremony, Senator Evans said the opening marked the culmination of more than five years of work, including almost three years of construction, to deliver this vital piece of infrastructure.

‘It’s a great day for the south-west,’ Senator Evans said at the opening.

‘In particular, I congratulate the Southern Gateway Alliance, as well as the 3000 workers and more than 1000 local suppliers and subcontractors involved in building this road, on a job well done.

‘I would also like to acknowledge the former Federal and State governments for getting the work started on this vital piece of infrastructure for the people of Western Australia.

‘For the first time ever, motorists will be able to travel on a continuous dual carriageway from Perth to the fast-growing communities in the state’s south-west, bypassing the heavily populated areas of Mandurah and Dawesville.

‘The new road will provide better driving conditions and cut travel times by up to 30 minutes for the 30 000 motorists expected to use it each day. It will also take the pressure off other routes, including the Old Coast Road and South Western Highway.

‘Over the longer term, it will promote economic development across the region – which in turn will create even more job opportunities within local communities.’

The $705 million project was jointly funded by the Federal ($330 million) and Western Australian ($375 million) governments.

The Rudd Labor Government is investing $3.4 billion over six years to modernise and maintain the State’s road and rail infrastructure – an investment that will deliver significant benefits for both the Western Australian and national economies.

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The AMA wants the government cash incentive scheme designed to lure nurses back into the workforce to be extended to include nurses who want to work in general practice.

It was reported this week (The Australian, 27 August 2009) that the Federal Government’s program to bring nurses back into the workforce was failing to meet targets, with only 541 nurses recruited.

AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said nearly $40 million over five years in funding had been set aside for the Bringing Nurses Back Into The Workforce program and it was vital that the money was used effectively.

“The Government’s initiative is too restrictive because it only targets public hospitals, private hospitals and aged care facilities,” Dr Pesce said.

“The Bringing Nurses Back Into The Workforce program ignores the important contribution that nurses can make in other parts of the health sector such as general practice.

“The program’s guidelines should be relaxed so that nurses who want to return to the workforce to take up a position in general practice will be eligible for funding.”

Around 60 per cent of general practices employ practice nurses who work collaboratively with doctors.

“General practice can offer nurses a very rewarding career and a great work/life balance,” Dr Pesce said.

“Getting more nurses into general practice supports multidisciplinary care and will free up GPs to see more patients.”

The AMA also believes general practices should be better supported to employ practice nurses by making practice nurse grants available to all general practices and ensuring that the Medicare Benefits Schedule recognises the full scope of patient care that GP practice nurses can provide.

Source
Australian Medical Association

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