Premier Daniel Andrews has officially opened the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation’s new Victorian Branch headquarters – 535 Elizabeth Street, in Melbourne on Wednesday 16 May.
The new 10-storey headquarters was built to meet the growing needs of the Branch’s membership which includes more than 82,000 nurses, midwives and personal care workers across Victoria, while also championing environmental sustainability in the building’s design, construction and use.
The $74 million construction has achieved a 5-star Green Star rating for energy efficiency and are tracking to reach 5.2 for environmental performance from National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS).
535 Elizabeth Street accommodates an increased number of ANMF staff (155) to provide industrial, workplace health and safety, professional and legal services to members, as well as offering improved facilities for students and members undertaking further education or continuing professional development.
At the official opening of the building in front of 250 special guests including the Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley MP, Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings and ACTU president Sally McManus, Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary Luke Hilikari and ANMF Job Reps and HSRs.
The Premier, Mr Andrews, said it was an honour to be invited to officially open the ANMF (Vic Branch) headquarters.
‘I know as a son, as a parent, as a partner how important the love, the care, the skill of every member of this union is, how much it matters – to save lives, to change lives, to provide dignity where it seems there is none, to provide hope when there seems like there is none.’
Mr Andrews said he would not give a long list of what his government had done since being elected in November 2014 but looked forward to building on the reforms achieved in partnership with the ANMF (Vic Branch), including legislating nurse/midwife patient ratios.
The Premier was speaking in the 430 seat Carson Conference Centre, named in honour of former ANMF (Victorian Branch) Secretary Barbara Carson (1980-1986) who was responsible for the removal of the ‘no strike’ clause from then Royal Australian Nursing Federation’s national rules. Ms Carson led the first Victorian nurses’ strike in 1985.
At the centre of the building is a four-storey void with a dramatic staircase, to enhance the openness of space which incorporates a modern Student Hub and library with numerous break-out spaces and classrooms as well as a state-of-the-art, simulation nursing laboratory to facilitate integrated practical, clinical and theoretical learning.
The open design and inviting environment represents the ANMF’s core philosophy of supporting and nurturing and reinforces engagement with the surrounding streetscapes, education precinct and city laneways.
The Carson Conference Centre, named to honour former Secretary Barbara Carson, seats over 400 people and can be used for members’ activities and events and is available for hire. The space also splits into two discreet spaces for smaller seminars and presentations.
The building designed by award winning Crone Architects also reinvigorates the previously under-used O’Connell Street at the back of the block with a dual entrance creating a public laneway through the building’s ground floor.
There are also bike storage facilities which are open to the public during business hours and a street-level café has recently opened on the ground floor adding to the activity and ambiance.
All through the building, there are hints that allude to nursing and midwifery work, including the curve of the fins on the building’s façade that represent the nurturing nature of the professions. The shape of the fins were designed around an image of a hand holding a baby superimposed on to the metal.
As well as softening the building, those fins also provide solar shading and reduce glare to boost the environmental performance.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said she was pleased with the way the building has delivered on its design to support the membership now and into the future.
“535 Elizabeth Street is a wonderful place to work, collaborate and learn,” she said.
“We’ve significantly increased our ability to provide quality education and professional development for nurses, midwives and personal care workers which are valuable membership benefits, as well as future proofing our capacity to grow along with our increasing membership.
“It is also part of our strategic plan to build on existing services and make education, training and events more accessible to our regional members by developing affordable accommodation on an adjacent site we have recently purchased.”
Environmentally sustainable features of the building include 120 roof solar panels, water tanks, smart lifts, improved waste and recycle sorting and an in-house compost system. Additionally, all staff and tenants are educated on the environmental features of the building to ensure they are complying with the Branch’s environmental sustainability systems and processes.
Intelligent light systems monitor the amount of natural daylight and adjust lighting accordingly and a 49kWh solar power generation system on the roof generates approximately 177kWh per day to reduce the building’s carbon footprint.
In addition, ANMF (Vic Branch) has a dedicated environment officer, runs an annual Health and Environmental Sustainability Conference and has introduced CPD focusing on how nurses and midwives can establish sustainability programs at work.
ANMF also won a CitySwitch Award for leadership in improving environmental sustainability and was named the CitySwitch ‘Victorian Signatory of the Year’ in November 2017 for demonstrating ‘significant environmental performance improvements and energy savings’.
The building site was purchased in 2012 and became operational in August 2017.
An invitation will be going out next week to Job Reps and Health and Safety Reps to view and tour the building on 16 June between 10.30am and 12.30pm.