Construction has begun on the new hi-tech Coroner’s facility which will bring together the top scientists in NSW and revolutionise the way deaths and disasters are investigated.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the $91.5 million Forensic Pathology and Coroner’s Court at Lidcombe will be a world-class facility with the best coronial set-up in Australia.
“This new purpose-built complex will not only provide the most advanced forensic and coronial services in the country but arguably in the world,” said Mr Hazzard.
“It will be the biggest of its kind in Australia, providing a better and more collaborative work space for staff and a much better space for grieving families.”
The State Coroner’s Court and morgue at Glebe are being closed down after nearly 50 years and moved to the old Lidcombe Hospital site where services will be supersized.
Attorney General Mark Speakman said the Coroner’s Court will double in size and include additional courtrooms, capable of hosting large inquests.
“Some of the nation’s most high-profile inquests have unfolded in Glebe including the Grafton and Kempsey bus crashes, the Newcastle earthquake, the Thredbo landslide, the murder of nurse Anita Cobby and the backpacker murders,” said Mr Speakman.
“The facility has served NSW well but it no longer has the capacity to keep up with the demands placed upon it, with hundreds of coronial cases being received each month.”
About 6,000 deaths are reported to the Coroner annually, almost half of those in the Sydney region. The new centre will be expanded, which will help services cope with the increasing population in NSW.
Other enhancements include: additional viewing and counselling rooms with dedicated facilities to support large family groups; an area for smoking ceremonies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families; a multi faith room; autopsy rooms for biological cases; and MRI technology capacity to help determine cause of death in the least invasive manner.
The state-of-the-art facility which will bring ‘an army’ of pathologists and forensic scientists and coronial staff under the one roof is expected to be operational by 2019.