I am, you are, we are Australian: celebrating the Aussie spirit

Blacktown Hospital registered nurses Emily, Hans, Annika, Luke and Henry are getting into the Australia Day spirit.

Western Sydney Local Health District acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Australians are known for their generosity and mateship, especially when fellow Aussies are doing it tough.

In the face of the bushfire crisis, some Western Sydney Local Health District staff have volunteered their time in bushfire affected areas and others have donated funds to support victims, such as Westmead Hospital’s pharmacy department.

The department decorated their reception area with Australian flags, ran a raffle, hosted quizzes and sold iconic Aussie foods such as Vegemite, lamingtons, ANZAC biscuits, fairy bread and meat pies, raising funds for the bushfire crisis.

Westmead Hospital emergency department pharmacist Chris Hidayat said the team has raised from than $1,000 for the Red Cross so far.

Westmead Hospital pharmacy technicians Emily Do, Dianne Weaver and Chris Hidayat.

“We all wanted to help and do something and contribute to those communities who are affected by the fires and doing it tough,” Chris said.

“Australia Day reminds us of who we are as a multicultural country and the acceptance of all individuals no matter what race, colour, or gender.

“It also represents how we accept everyone as a community and make friendships. It’s a great place to be a citizen.

“On Australia Day I will enjoy a typical Aussie BBQ with my friends and have a snag or two.”

NSW Police has today issued a reminder about staying safe.

Operation Commander, Assistant Commissioner Karen Webb APM, said large crowds are expected to join in events throughout the state and police will be there to ensure their safety.

“Over the past few months, the community of New South Wales and of our neighbouring states have shown how resilient and united we can be during times of crisis and hardship,” Assistant Commissioner Webb said.

Blacktown Hospital registered nurses Henry, Luke, Annika and Hans.

“Australia Day is more than just a public holiday – it is about appreciating everything that’s great about being Australian, and this year that the Aussie spirit of solidarity and incredible mateship should be recognised and celebrated.

“As with any major event, police will have a presence in the community with uniformed and plain-clothed officers patrolling the streets, targeting alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour,” Assistant Commissioner Webb said.

“We are asking the public to mark the day in an appropriate manner by taking responsibility for your actions, looking after your mates and drinking in moderation.

“Alcohol can impair your judgement and you can find yourself a victim of crime or before the courts – we don’t want either of these for you or your friends.

“There will be additional police resources deployed on the ground, in the air, and on the water to ensure crowd movements are managed safely,” Assistant Commissioner Webb said.

Westmead Hospital pharmacy technician Zerrin Celik loves Australia.

Officers from the Marine Area Command will be conducting drug and alcohol testing on the water, so remember, the same rule applies to as if you were driving a vehicle, it is a 0.05 alcohol limit.

For anyone heading out on the water, check the weather conditions prior to your departure, exclusion zones and movement times apply. Please visit www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/ for further details.

There will be road closures in place – particularly within the Sydney CBD – throughout the day, so members of the public are asked to leave the car at home and utilise public transport.

A reminder for people who insist on driving to plan your trip via www.livetraffic.com, and allow extra time and expect delays.

If you are planning to attend an event, remember to check the conditions of entry, especially relating to alcohol-free zones. Glass bottles are prohibited in some of the event areas.

The community is urged to monitor weather reports and follow health and safety advice, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting hot weather over the Australia Day long weekend.

A comprehensive Australia Day transport guide – with information for travel to and from events from 7am – is available by visiting www.transportnsw.info.

For details about what’s happening in your area and further event-related information, visit the official Australia Day website: http://www.australiaday.com.au/