A new "super" ambulance station will be built at the site of Liverpool's old council chambers at 1 Hoxton Park Road.
The construction of the new facility and four other ‘‘super’’ ambulance stations to be built around Sydney was announced as part of today’s state budget.
The Liverpool site was home to the Liverpool Council chambers from 1987 until the building was burnt down in a suspected arson attack in August 2010.
Liverpool mayor Ned Mannoun said the council got a good deal when it sold the block to NSW Health last year, receiving a payment of $7 million.
The NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, said $24.5 million will be used for the construction of new ‘‘hub’’ stations where paramedics will go to start shifts, undergo training and for vehicles to be stored and re-stocked.
‘‘While stations across Sydney have been refurbished or replaced on existing sites, a major new station hasn't been built in Sydney for over 16 years,” said Mrs Skinner, who estimated the total cost of building and buying land for additional sites will be more than $150 million over five years.
The new ‘‘hubs’’ will replace existing stations in the five suburbs.
The chief executive of the NSW Ambulance Service, Ray Creen, said the ‘‘state of the art’’ facilities will "allow for a more fluid response" and will improve emergency response times by at least 30 seconds to one minute.
‘‘We should see much improved cover around the whole of Sydney,’’ he said. ‘‘This will set us up for decades.’’
According to analysis commissioned by the Ambulance Service of NSW, Sydney’s stations have been stretched to the limit for years, struggling to meet the demand of the city’s growing and ageing population.
The analysis recommended $130 million for 20 new stations by 2020 in order to curb the emergency response times which reached 11 minutes for top-priority cases in 2012-13.
The head of the Emergency Medical Services Protection Association, Wayne Flint, said while the the infrastructure upgrade is a ‘‘good start,’’ it will not fix chronic paramedic shortages or ease the burden on overworked staff.
‘‘There are old stations falling apart so this will help, but it still falls far short of the needs of the state,’’ he said. ‘‘The current resources are inadequate.’’
The new hub station at Penrith will accommodate 30 ambulances, and Liverpool, the the largest station, will house about 40 vehicles.
While paramedics are working they will await their next call at smaller, stand-by stations.
Since 2011, the state government has increased the NSW Ambulance budget by $26 million a year and added 205 staff to 3,435 paramedics.