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                    [post_date] => 2017-07-17 14:30:11
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27632" align="alignnone" width="296"] ALGA President Mayor David O'Loughlin.[/caption]

Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) president Mayor David O’Loughlin writes that while the corridor protection measures put forward by Infrastructure Australia are important and worthwhile, the Federal Government must also address first- and last-mile issues.

Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) recent paper, Corridor Protection: Planning and investing for the long term, outlines the case for securing and protecting land corridors for future infrastructure projects. They stress that a relatively modest investment today can pay substantial dividends tomorrow.

ALGA has always strongly advocated for more integrated transport planning and so we support the report. However, it doesn't stress enough the importance of first and last mile issues we know enable freight to get to its destination, people to get to work, and raw materials to get to on-shore and off-shore markets.

According to the National Transport Commission (NTC), road freight grew six-fold over the period 1971 to 2007. The freight task is projected to double by 2030 and treble by 2050. This growth is an indicator of the economic activity that we must begin to plan for today. We must ask ourselves:
  • What are the transport goals and what services are required to foster growth, jobs and prosperity?
  • Where are the investments required to achieve these goals?
Many councils are already answering these tough questions by investing in regional transport plans that identify key transport routes and linkages, and investment opportunities at the local and regional level. However, for this work, to have the impact required, to make productivity gains across the country, local government needs additional support from the Commonwealth. ALGA continues to call for a federal investment of $200 million per annum over five years to establish a Local Freight Productivity Investment Plan to partner with local councils and ensure that first mile/last mile and freight connectivity issues are addressed to improve national productivity. As well as road reform and additional funding requirements, road managers need to work in partnership with transport operators and other levels of government to provide roads and road services that are fit for purpose. A business-as-usual approach will not address this issue. As emphasised by IA, we must make the right infrastructure decisions today to accommodate and meet our growing freight task, increase productivity, create jobs and help create the transport infrastructure for the future prosperity of our nation. These are some of the key messages ALGA will include in its submission to the National Freight and Supply Chain Inquiry currently being undertaken by the federal government. Submissions are due by 28 July 2017 and I encourage all councils to join us and independently make a submission identifying their first and last mile freight priorities. The seven strategic corridors singled out by IA are: East Coast High Speed Rail, Outer Sydney Orbital, Outer Melbourne Ring, Western Sydney Airport Rail Line, Western Sydney Freight Line, Hunter Valley Freight Line, and Port of Brisbane Freight Line. Further information, including the full report, is available on the Infrastructure Australia website. More information about the inquiry and how to make a submission is available on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website. The email address for submissions is freightstrategy@infrastructure.gov.au.   [post_title] => More action needed to protect vital infrastructure corridors [post_excerpt] => Mayor David O’Loughlin writes that first- and last-mile issues in freight must also be addressed. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => action-needed-protect-vital-infrastructure-corridors [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-17 22:20:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-17 12:20:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27626 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 21329 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2015-09-09 12:14:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-09 02:14:38 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_21414" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Awesome Awesome - or not? Human Services asks customers to rate its digital support products.[/caption] The Department of Human Services (DHS) has asked customers who access Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support payments online or with the Express Plus mobile apps to rate its digital support products. The Department wants customers to use online forum Speechbubble to rate its video guides and screen shots that provide step-by-step advice on tasks such as how to update their assets and income and relationship status or applying for benefits. Customers are encouraged to suggest ways to improve the Department's digital support and to suggest other products or features that would make it easier to deal with DHS online. It is a bold move, considering the flack DHS has copped about its digital offerings in the past, particularly from customers struggling with being locked out from their MyGov accounts and battling with crashing smartphone apps. Feedback is divided into four categories: product awareness, user experience, improvements and further support. One of the key issues to emerge from the survey so far is that how-to guides aren't always easy to find. People were dismayed that they were redirected to YouTube or they had to search for guides, rather than having them available as they completed forms online. One said: “When I go to complete a task online and don’t know how to complete it - that’s where I want a tutorial on what I’m about to do. The tutorials are great, and having them accessible when you are completing something would be really useful.” Another said: “I just had a look at your step by step guide – it is great, but do you know that it CANNOT BE FOUND by users on the website? From the request a document screen there is a help link but it doesn’t lead to the step-by-step guide you have just linked to. There is no point having this guide if people can’t find it on the website.” Some customers wanted user guides to pop up before they started a claim so they knew what to expect before they began. Customers using the Express Plus mobile app also want these guides to be more accessible. One said: “It’s annoying to have to go to YouTube or the website on your phone to learn how to use that app. I want to be able to stay in there and do what I need to do all in one go." Other suggestions have included using podcasts, infographics and other types of visualisation to convey instructions, and a new brochure to encourage people to download the Express Plus app. You can find the list of DHS online account guides and video demonstrations here. The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday September 11 and the Department has pledged to publish comments as they are received. Many people were keen to contribute to the survey and praised the Department for seeking their feedback, but it will be what the department does with their feedback that is important. During a 2012 DHS Speechbubble exercise customers were clear about wanting a Live Chat function, which would enable them to speak directly to a staff member in an online text-based discussion. The DHS said at the time: “We received lots of valuable feedback and suggestions about how we could use Live Chat. “You told us you would be keen to use this function if it was quick and easy to log in to, and it would be beneficial to be able to quickly receive answers to general enquiries and assistance with online services. You told us that it would be important for you to be able to use this in the evenings and from mobile devices. We expect to begin trialling this feature with some users in late 2012.” The result? There never was a trial and the function is still not available. DHS has said it is committed to introducing it but no date has been set. However, DHS said it took notice of other feedback from the 2012 Speechbubble by improving the look and feel of its homepage, making services mobile friendly and designing apps. [post_title] => Rate us: says Human Services [post_excerpt] => Centrelink and Medicare customers asked to rate digital support products. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => human-services-asks-customers-to-rate-its-digital-support-products [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-09-15 12:42:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-15 02:42:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=21329 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18389 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-03-03 19:56:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-03 08:56:39 [post_content] => Australia post #dailyshoot #Adelaide Thousands of Posties across Australia face an anxious wait to find out if they will keep their jobs after Cabinet approved a radical overhaul of prices and delivery frequency in an attempt to stave off predicted losses of up to $1 billion a year at Australia Post. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann and Post on Tuesday announced that the key changes that the mail service’s management has been lobbying for more than a year to put into place now had the formal backing of the government, clearing the way for key regulatory changes. Australia Post and its boss Ahmed Fahour are betting heavily that the combination of a steep hike in stamp prices, from 70 cents to $1.00 coupled the introduction of a slower standard mail service that adds two days to delivery times standard will be enough to staunch the torrent of red ink from its letters business. It will also make Post ultimately more saleable in the medium term should this or a future government look to a sell-off or a float of the business. The official line on the reset is that the big price hike and slower standard services will allow the letters business to break even and put it on a sustainable long term footing. Or at least as long as people keep sending letters. “Australia Post is facing significant structural decline as people choose to communicate over the Internet. Australians are now sending one billion fewer letters a year than they were in 2008, with letters losses rising to more than $300 million a year,” the joint ministerial statement said. “These measures will also help Australia Post maintain its extensive post office network, particularly Licensed Post Offices (LPOs) in regional and remote communities.” That may be true, but the elephant in the room remains job shedding and how many posties and other staff will be handed letters of redundancy to nail down costs. Post remains one of the public sector’s true mega-employers where big savings on labour costs, a major cost input, stand to be made over time. “There are 32,500 employees in Australia Post. Obviously there are implications for jobs in these changes,” Mr Turnbull told the Parliament during Question Time on Tuesday afternoon. “However, I note that the company has a post people first program; and over the last few years, as jobs have gone from the letters business, 61 per cent of those people have been successfully redeployed elsewhere in the company,” the Communications Minister said. He said Australia Post had “a three 'R's policy—retrained, redeploy and then redundancy as a last resort” adding that the mail monopoly “is working very, very closely with the union, whom I met only yesterday with the shadow minister, and is very focused on looking after its employees.” The big question now is how much cost efficiency Mr Fahour can squeeze out of the price hike and service slowdown minimize the need for electorally damaging retrenchments in favour of job shedding through natural attrition. Unions, especially the Communications Workers Union and the Community and Public Sector Union have a vested interest in making the big reset work, not least because Post remains highly unionised and labour shedding jobs translates to fewer members and fewer dues. Mr Turnbull said Australia Post had assured him that the changes would also “put about $75 million of extra revenue” Licenced Post Offices (LPOs), which are essentially franchised and privately run concessions that now number 2900. He said the changes equated to about $20,000 a year extra for LPOs that had been “doing it tough during this period.” Some of the efficiency savings Post is likely to be able to generate by slowing down its service are in optimising its logistics, especially the mix of line-haul (trucks) to air freight between capital cities and the region. A clear advantage of a wider delivery window is that the extra time will allow Post to utilise more trucks and divert mail from more expensive planes. At the same time bigger trucks running less frequently with fuller loads also have the potential to cut costs. “There will be a regular service, which will be the regulated service, which will arrive generally two days later than it currently does. This will result in a very significant reduction in costs over time,” Mr Turnbull said. Unions are expected to meet on Wednesday to assess the changes, which do not require legislative change but fall into the category of a ‘disallowable instrument’ that can be knocked out by the Senate. [post_title] => Australia Post’s big restructure stamped by Cabinet [post_excerpt] => Slower, dearer mail to keep jobs and regional services. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australia-posts-big-restructure-stamped-by-cabinet [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-03-06 00:22:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-03-05 13:22:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=18389 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 17076 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2014-11-11 11:22:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-11-11 00:22:06 [post_content] => Megaphon You might not realise it, but Government News has now been continuously publishing for more than 33 years. To achieve that kind of longevity, we’re asking you   our readers   for ways to improve and strengthen our publication and its coverage and remain a quality, independent and relevant publication. To help compile and distil your feedback, we’re inviting you to participate in a short survey that should take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. Importantly, you don’t have to work directly for government for your views to be heard. You might work for an NGO, a stakeholder group or company that does provides services to, or does business with, the public sector – your views are still important to us. The results from this research will provide our team with information to help us keep delivering a quality publication across online and print channels and highlight any issues that we may not be aware of. And just so we’re up-front, by completing this survey, you’ll be opting-in to agree to the terms and conditions set by The Intermedia Group. For more information on those, please visit: http://www.intermedia.com.au/privacy-copyright Your opinion matters to us and we thank you in advance for taking the time to share your views by participating in this survey. Kind regards, Julian Bajkowski Editor Government News [post_title] => We want to know what you think! [post_excerpt] => Give us your ideas and feedback on how to improve Government News. 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Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) recent paper, Corridor Protection: Planning and investing for the long term, outlines the case for securing and protecting land corridors for future infrastructure projects. They stress that a relatively modest investment today can pay substantial dividends tomorrow. ALGA has always strongly advocated for more integrated transport planning and so we support the report. However, it doesn't stress enough the importance of first and last mile issues we know enable freight to get to its destination, people to get to work, and raw materials to get to on-shore and off-shore markets. According to the National Transport Commission (NTC), road freight grew six-fold over the period 1971 to 2007. The freight task is projected to double by 2030 and treble by 2050. This growth is an indicator of the economic activity that we must begin to plan for today. We must ask ourselves:
  • What are the transport goals and what services are required to foster growth, jobs and prosperity?
  • Where are the investments required to achieve these goals?
Many councils are already answering these tough questions by investing in regional transport plans that identify key transport routes and linkages, and investment opportunities at the local and regional level. However, for this work, to have the impact required, to make productivity gains across the country, local government needs additional support from the Commonwealth. ALGA continues to call for a federal investment of $200 million per annum over five years to establish a Local Freight Productivity Investment Plan to partner with local councils and ensure that first mile/last mile and freight connectivity issues are addressed to improve national productivity. As well as road reform and additional funding requirements, road managers need to work in partnership with transport operators and other levels of government to provide roads and road services that are fit for purpose. A business-as-usual approach will not address this issue. As emphasised by IA, we must make the right infrastructure decisions today to accommodate and meet our growing freight task, increase productivity, create jobs and help create the transport infrastructure for the future prosperity of our nation. These are some of the key messages ALGA will include in its submission to the National Freight and Supply Chain Inquiry currently being undertaken by the federal government. Submissions are due by 28 July 2017 and I encourage all councils to join us and independently make a submission identifying their first and last mile freight priorities. The seven strategic corridors singled out by IA are: East Coast High Speed Rail, Outer Sydney Orbital, Outer Melbourne Ring, Western Sydney Airport Rail Line, Western Sydney Freight Line, Hunter Valley Freight Line, and Port of Brisbane Freight Line. Further information, including the full report, is available on the Infrastructure Australia website. More information about the inquiry and how to make a submission is available on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website. The email address for submissions is freightstrategy@infrastructure.gov.au.   [post_title] => More action needed to protect vital infrastructure corridors [post_excerpt] => Mayor David O’Loughlin writes that first- and last-mile issues in freight must also be addressed. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => action-needed-protect-vital-infrastructure-corridors [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-17 22:20:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-17 12:20:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27626 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 4 [max_num_pages] => 1 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => 1 [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => a9435d75d6e92748ca09174b111a9a3b [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

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