Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platforms are opening new government service delivery channels.
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Government CIO need to quickly determine the role of these channels, adjust their digital service delivery strategies and extend their digital government platform to exploit these new opportunities. Many are already taking notice. Governments are prioritising the implementation of virtual assistants more than many other industry vertical. A recent Gartner survey indicates that 60 percent of government organisations undertaking artificial intelligence and machine learning projects identify virtual assistants as a project goal. This is in line with growing expectation from citizens of being able to access government services via conversational applications. The Australian Taxation Office recently introduced virtual assistant Alex on its website to help support general taxation enquiries from Australian citizens. Platforms like these consist of multiple related AI technologies that support an interactive and intuitive style of communication. Conversational applications aim to increase customer satisfaction by reducing customers' need to navigate a complex website or transactional portal. At the same time, they reduce the wait time and resources required to respond to basic government inquiries. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 25 percent of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant technology across engagement channels. Service provider and government-to-government interactions can also be delivered through conversational applications. Large departments and agencies can use virtual employee assistants to offer more consistent and efficient delivery of internally facing services such as IT help desk, legal, HR and financial services. Most government services, however, particularly those that involve care or case management, will require human involvement for the foreseeable future. Virtual customer assistants or chatbots can be offered as an alternative or supporting channel to many direct citizen and business-facing services. Where to start 1. Educate IT and customer experience leaders Conversational applications suffer from negative customer experience perceptions based on older technologies and involvement with poor implementations. Customer experience leaders need to comfortable with, and have confidence in, the quality and consistency of the service delivered by the conversational applications. This will require effort to dispel historical misconceptions. Confidence will grow as understanding and experience of the quality and potential for the service grow. It's equally important to set expectations with the business regarding the take-up of these alternate channels. Though conversational applications should form part of a multichannel service delivery strategy, accept that these channels won't be accepted by all citizens or staff in the short term. Educate customer experience leaders on the potential for conversational applications and establish vendor showcases or workshops to offer firsthand experience. Then implement an internal pilot of a virtual employee assistant to develop technical skills and create an example to help guide decisions and future strategy. 2. Identify and prioritise opportunities Many uses for conversational applications exist throughout government. They deliver the best results when the right style or combination of applications is implemented to support the right type of service. Implementing a conversational application is a significant investment and should only be considered for services that are used frequently. Given conversational applications won't be accepted by all citizens, it's important to understand the service consumer. When targeting citizens, consider factors such as demographics, including language background. When targeting businesses, assess the nature of the business digital maturity of the industry. When targeting government-to-government services, consider the digital maturity of other agencies. When targeting staff, consider the digital maturity of your own agency. Start by preparing a list of conversational application opportunities based on potential uses and the services delivered by your agency. Work in partnership with your customer experience leaders to refine and prioritise this list based on the complexity of the responses, the demand for the services and the demographics of the targeted audience, including language background. 3. Revise your digital government strategy Citizens already engage governments across different channels, and their expectation is to receive the same quality of service across all channels. Unfortunately, many agencies struggle to see service delivery channels beyond traditional digital channels like websites and portals. A digital government strategy should embed multichannel citizen engagement as a foundation of service delivery. The strategy should reinforce the importance of consistency across channels and seamless transition between channels. Multichannel service delivery should apply equally to services aimed at government staff, forming part of the digital workplace strategy. A strategic focus on multichannel service delivery will influence the architecture of your citizen/customer experience platform to support conversational applications. Develop a business case to secure funding for further AI research and projects. Dean Lacheca is a public sector research director at Gartner, helping government CIO and technology leaders with their transition to digital government. He will speak about digital government trends at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Australia, 30 October-2 November 2017. [post_title] => Conversational AI in government [post_excerpt] => Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platforms are opening new government service delivery channels. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => conversational-ai-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-17 20:22:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-17 10:22:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27852 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27828 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-14 14:43:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-14 04:43:08 [post_content] => The Federal Government announced in the 2017-18 Budget context a number of initiatives to encourage the continued development of the SII market in Australia, including funding of $30 million. By pure coincidence, the Government also gifted $30m to Foxtel. The difference between this and Foxtel’s $30m is that Foxtel will get it over two years, while SII will have to wait ten years - Ed. The government’s package includes funding of $30 million over ten years, the release of a set of principles to guide the Australian government’s involvement in the SII market, and notes that the government will continue to separately consider ways to reduce regulatory barriers inhibiting the growth of the SII market. Social Impact Investing, the government says, is an emerging, outcomes‑based approach that brings together governments, service providers, investors and communities to tackle a range of policy (social and environmental) issues. It provides governments with an alternative mechanism to address social and environmental issues whilst also leveraging government and private sector capital, building a stronger culture of robust evaluation and evidenced-based decision making, and creating a heightened focus on outcomes. It is important to note that social impact investing is not suitable for funding every type of Australian government outcome. Rather, it provides an alternative opportunity to address problems where existing policy interventions and service delivery are not achieving the desired outcomes. Determining whether these opportunities exist is a key step in deciding whether social impact investing might be suitable for delivering better outcomes for the government and community. Government agencies involved in social impact investments should also ensure they have the capability (e.g. contract and relationship management skills, and access to data and analytic capability) to manage that investment. The principles The principles (available in full here) acknowledge that social impact investing can take many forms, including but not limited to, Payment by Results contracts, outcomes-focused grants, and debt and equity financing. The principles reflect the role of the Australian Government as an enabler and developer of this nascent market. They acknowledge that as a new approach, adjustments may be needed. They also acknowledge and encourage the continued involvement of the community and private sector in developing this market, with the aim of ensuring that the market can become sustainable into the future. Finally, the principles are not limited by geographical or sectoral boundaries. They can be considered in any circumstance where the Australian Government seeks to increase and leverage stakeholder interest in achieving improved social and environmental outcomes (where those outcomes can be financial, but are also non‑financial). Accordingly, where the Australian Government is involved in social impact investments, it should take into account the following principles:
[caption id="attachment_27829" align="alignnone" width="216"] The Australian Government's six principles for social impact investing.[/caption] [post_title] => Social Impact Investing to get $30m [post_excerpt] => The Federal Government has announced a number of initiatives to encourage Social Impact Investing. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27828 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-14 14:46:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-14 04:46:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27828 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27757 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-03 19:42:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-03 09:42:31 [post_content] => The popular idea that the economic divide between Australia’s cities and regions is getting bigger is a misconception, according to new Grattan Institute research. The working paper Regional patterns of Australia’s economy and population shows that beneath the oft-told ‘tale of two Australias’ is a more nuanced story. Income growth and employment rates are not obviously worse in regional areas. Cities and regions both have pockets of disadvantage, as well as areas with healthy income growth and low unemployment. And while cities have higher average incomes, the gap in incomes between the cities and the regions is not getting wider. Grattan Institute CEO John Daley said the research casts doubt on the idea that regional Australians are increasingly voting for minor parties because the regions are getting a raw deal compared to the cities. “Given that people in regions have generally fared as well as those in cities over the past decade, major parties may need to look beyond income and employment to discover why dissatisfaction among regional voters is increasing,” he says. The paper shows that the highest taxable incomes in Australia are in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, followed by Cottesloe in Perth and Stonnington in eastern Melbourne. The lowest taxable incomes are in Tasmania and the regions of the east-coast states, especially the far north coast of NSW, central Victoria and southern Queensland. But income growth in the regions has kept pace with income growth in the cities over the past decade. The lowest income growth was typically in suburban areas of major cities. While unemployment varies between regions, it is not noticeably worse in the regions overall. Some of the biggest increases in unemployment over the past five years were along transport ‘spines’ in cities, such as the Ipswich to Carole Park corridor in Brisbane and the Dandenong to Pakenham corridor in Melbourne. The biggest difference between regions and cities is that inland regional populations are generally growing slower – particularly in non-mining states. Cities are attracting many more migrants, particularly from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The east coast ‘sea change’ towns are also getting larger, but unemployment is relatively high. The research will contribute to a forthcoming Grattan Institute report examining why the vote for minor parties has risen rapidly over the past decade, particularly in regional electorates. Read the full report here. [post_title] => City-country divide: not as wide as you may think [post_excerpt] => That the economic divide between Australia’s cities and regions is getting bigger is a misconception. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => city-country-divide-not-wide-may-think [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-03 19:47:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-03 09:47:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27757 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27748 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-03 17:02:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-03 07:02:40 [post_content] => As the council amalgamations fiasco rolls on, it is becoming apparent that for some of the administrators, being lavished millions of dollars of government funds to spend at their discretion is becoming too strong an attraction to say goodbye to at the coming elections. Standing for elections So far at least two administrators have declared their intention to stand for office at the coming council elections. Queanbeyan-Palerang administrator Tim Overall and Armidale regional administrator Ian Tiley have both confirmed they will be standing for election, despite what many believe is an obvious conflict of interest in their current positions as administrators. The Greens believe the Premier must immediately direct these administrators to withdraw their nominations. Greens MP and local government spokesperson David Shoebridge said: “It’s not unlawful, but there is no doubt that it is deeply inappropriate for administrators to be running for council elections. “These administrators have been given an enormous platform in their local communities over the last 18 months, not to mention access to millions of dollars in council funds and community grants. “There is an obvious conflict of interest if administrators are now putting their hand up to run at the upcoming local government elections, after being given the role of a cashed-up local despot for 18 months. “These individuals have had well over a year to implement their agenda and build on their existing local profile, they should not be able to run at the upcoming elections. “The Liberal National government’s forced amalgamation mess continues to be plagued with dysfunction, and as always they treat residents and ratepayers like mugs. “Any competent government would have outlawed this practice; instead we have the Liberal Nationals in charge. “If the Premier had any respect for local communities, she would immediately direct these administrators to withdraw their nominations for council.” Mr Shoebridge said. In the meantime in Sydney, a NSW Government-appointed administrator is seeking to sell off commercial waste services on the eve of council elections United Services Union general secretary Graeme Kelly said a forcibly-merged council in Sydney’s west has come under fire after it was revealed that it will no longer be able to provide waste services to more than 1,000 commercial and trade customers, following a decision to outsource domestic waste services and sell off its fleet of garbage trucks. Cumberland Council, which was formed following the forced merger of Holroyd Council with Auburn and parts of Parramatta, has admitted in council business papers that as a result of the controversial decision by NSW Government-appointed administrator Viv May to outsource domestic waste services, the council would no longer be able to provide services to commercial clients, either. In June, Mr May awarded a $68 million contract to United Resource Management to run domestic waste services for ten years, Mr Kelly said. “The sale of Council’s fleet means Council will not be able to service its trade and commercial waste customers in the future,” the council document states. Mr May is expected to use the next council meeting — the final one before democracy is restored with the election of new councillors next month — to approve a plan to seek expressions of interest from private waste operators to also take over Cumberland Council’s commercial waste operations. Mr Kelly, whose union represents more than 30,000 local government workers across the state, said the NSW Government needed to urgently intervene to prevent the loss of further services ahead of new councillors being elected. “Just a week after Premier Gladys Berejiklian publicly abandoned the NSW Government’s failed policy of forcibly amalgamating councils, one of her government’s administrators is making a last-ditch effort to sell off community services before council elections can take place next month,” Mr Kelly said. “During the past month, this unelected and unaccountable administrator has locked ratepayers into a costly outsourcing arrangement for the next decade, decided to sell the fleet of garbage collection vehicles, and now intends to do the same with commercial waste services. “There are more than 1,000 businesses that will be impacted by this decision, yet there has been no consultation with them, the broader community, or workers. “Having an appointed administrator making major decisions on the eve of elections, including the awarding of multi-million dollar contracts and the sale of council assets, is completely unacceptable and is one of the reasons communities across the state fought so hard against these forced mergers. “Premier Berejiklian and Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton need to urgently intervene to stop the unelected administrator of Cumberland Council from selling assets, cutting services, or entering contracts, with all decisions instead held over until a democratically elected council retakes the reins,” Mr Kelly said. … and Woollahra wants its money back Waverley Councillor John Wakefield believes the administrator has engaged in building a castle-in-the-air and is keen to seek state government re-imbursement for the costs of the merger. “With the merger called off, we have certainty about the future of the eastern suburbs councils,” Cr Wakefield said. “Let’s now consider what the ratepayers of Waverley have paid to jump through the hoops of the State Government’s mega-merger fantasy.” While Woollahra Council and its Mayor led the opposition against the merger, Waverley Council and its Mayor went about setting up Waverley for the merger with Randwick and an unwilling Woollahra. According to Cr Wakefield, a team of Waverley staff has been working for two years on the merger. Consultants were hired to prepare detailed reports on management and staffing structures under a merged council, facilities and office accommodation requirements, vehicle and truck fleet management issues, maintenance contracts, IT systems integration, and numerous other complex issues requiring detailed plans. “We estimate that well over $500,000 was spent by Waverley Council in direct costs to consultants, while hundreds and hundreds of hours of senior council staff time was occupied in meetings, preparing reports, workshopping the incredible complexity of merging three large organisations together whilst attempting to maintain work levels and resident expectations of service delivery. “Simultaneously and additional to this, Waverley Council under Mayor Betts also hired consultants and allocated a significant amount of staff time on a proposal to re-develop Council’s Library and adjacent buildings. This has been marketed as the ‘Civic Heart’ precinct. It was actually a feasibility study to house a merged council’s town hall. “Mayor Betts was preparing to spend a significant amount of ratepayers money to house a now abandoned merged Eastern Suburbs Council,” he said. This Civic Heart project has an allocation of $80 million in Waverley Council’s forward budget but would have in reality cost in the order of $120 million. Combined with Mayor Betts’ grand project for the Bondi Pavilion with a budget of $40 million, this would have exhausted Waverley’s $130 million capital works reserve totally. “We will now be seeking re-imbursement from the State Government of all expenditure related to the merger proposal. “If our motion is successful, a more precise figure will be calculated by Council’s General Manager, but we estimate the total cost to ratepayers of over $2 million wasted in the last two years.” [post_title] => Council administrators: caretakers or career builders? [post_excerpt] => Standing for election, selling off assets... council administrators are in the firing line. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => council-administrators-caretakers-career-builders [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-04 11:09:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-04 01:09:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27748 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27617 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-17 22:40:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-17 12:40:11 [post_content] => Deloitte Access Economics’ Chris Richardson sees a few worrying trends and signs on the horizon for Australian governments. The world is motoring. Growth in the US, Europe and Japan is near 2%, with China and India doing the heavy lifting to raise overall global growth above 3.5%. But China has been tightening the screws, which will see its growth slow during 2018, with flow-on effects for the wider world. And there are structural headwinds for the medium term: the developed world is ageing, with its potential growth sapped by rising retirements. That’s true of China, too. And, at the same time, the business world has been reluctant to invest for a decade, spooked by rising political and economic uncertainty, as well as fears of regulatory and technological developments – creating an additional headwind. Both the world and the Reserve Bank have been doing Australia favours, with China throwing red meat at those bits of its economy that buy big from the Lucky Country, and with the RBA’s 2016 interest rate cuts revving up housing prices. Despite that, production growth has been weak, as big gas projects finish construction, as the big home building boom of recent years starts to peter out, and as Cyclone Debbie took a toll. Yet our stuttering pace of production was still enough – thanks to higher commodity prices – to see national income chalk up a gain of near $100 billion in 2016-17. That brought an emphatic end to five years of ‘income recession’, though to date it has been profits rather than wages that have benefited, while the pace of home building is set to shrink further amid increasing evidence that gravity may soon start to catch up with stupidity in housing markets. And the gargantuan Chinese credit surge is finally easing back, suggesting the global economy won’t be doing Australia quite as many favours from 2018 onwards. Yet those are merely caveats on an otherwise solid outlook. Relative to the rest of the rich world, Australia’s economic outlook may not be quite as impressive as it once was, but we are still kicking goals. Consumer price inflation remains a dog that isn’t barking, both locally and globally. And although global and local leading indicators of inflation are stirring in their sleep, they don’t look like getting out of bed any time soon. We see wage growth set to climb from 2018, as inflation lifts a tad, as retirement among boomers restrains growth in potential workers, and as the ‘income recession’ of the post-2011 period gives way to more settled gains in national income (and workers get their share of that). Even so, the pick-up in inflation and wage gains is likely to be both modest and slow. The past decade saw a growing global gap between economies and interest rates, but the US Fed is continuing a slow grind towards closing the gap. The rest of the world will eventually follow, with Australia’s turn starting during 2018. Yet as J. Paul Getty so neatly put it: “If you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem – if you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.” Australia’s heavily indebted families are now the Reserve Bank’s problem, which is why, although interest rates will indeed rise in the next few years, they won’t rise sharply. On the currency front, Australia will sit more towards the back of the queue for global interest rates normalisation, and there’s the risk of further price pain on commodities. That combination will weigh on the Australian dollar, but not by much. Australia is within a hair’s breadth of a current account surplus for the first time since bell-bottomed jeans were all the rage. However, just like bell-bottoms, Australia’s dash for cash looks set to be very short-lived. We got close courtesy of spikes in coal and iron ore prices, but those same global commodity prices are once again curled up into a ball and rocking. That will increasingly show up as lower export earnings over the next year or so, cementing a return towards our customary deficits. Job growth in the next couple of years will be solid: not as good as 2017 to date, but not as bad as 2016, either. There’s good news in the better gains in national income of late, but overall macro trends aren’t really giving a strong signal either way on job prospects. And while the bugaboos of the moment (disruptive technologies and new business models) grab the headlines, they do more by way of generating churn at the level of individual businesses than they do to ruffle the surface of overall job numbers. The Federal Budget saw the Coalition abandon Plan A (a return to sustainable fiscal finances via spending cuts) to Plan B (tax and spend, amid increases to the Medicare levy, a bank tax, and Gonski2.0). Given Plan A spent years going nowhere, we see great sense in Plan B. But it’s a real worry that a conscious shift to the centre still didn’t unleash much bipartisanship in Canberra. That says official figures (which assume stuff passes the Senate) remain at risk. And, speaking of risks, commodity prices could yet spell trouble for the Federal, WA and Queensland Budgets, while – a little further out in time – housing markets may yet do the same for the NSW and Victorian Budgets. The tussle at the top Among industries, it’s still a tussle for the top of the growth leader board, as mining output rides the crest of earlier investment decisions, while health care rides a demographic dividend topped with technological treats. Both sectors look set to keep growing rapidly, with mining seeing huge gas projects ramp up their production levels (to meet export contracts, and to keep the home fires of domestic markets ticking over), and with health demands marching ever-upwards. But the prospects for both also come with caveats, as mining’s fortunes remain chained to China’s, and health to Canberra’s. Like Manny Pacquiao, the reign at the top of the pops for finance has been long and gloried, but it’s looking a little long in the tooth as the cost of credit finally gets back off the canvas. That said, there’s a long tail of growth still left in finance, and its return to the growth pack may take a few years. Challenges loom for property services too, where a slowdown has already commenced. Similarly, the $A -fuelled rise of fast growth in recreation (thanks to more tourists) and education (thanks to more students) may soon start to moderate from here – the $A’s fall was a while ago, and its benefits are starting to fade. But at least the education sector has the lift in the birth rate over the last decade or so to provide better base demand via extra kidlet numbers. Construction and manufacturing are both bumping along the bottom, but for construction it may be a relatively brief spell in the doldrums, whereas manufacturing’s challenges look rather more structural. Question marks lie over the utilities, where balancing divergent aims (power that’s clean, reliable and cheap) is hard, but becomes even harder now that Hazelwood has closed and with the nation’s onion-eaters arguing the toss on Finkel. That suggests investors may stay sidelined, which is where they’ve already been for an awfully long time. Add in rising prices, and this sector – a pathway to growth for many other industries – is left reliant on population gains to generate much by way of growth. It’s just a jump to the south and east On the State and Territory front, the jump from a China boom to a housing price boom sent the nation’s money and momentum from its north and west towards its south and east. Yet although the ‘sunbelt’ – WA, Queensland and the Top End – is feeling pain as a result of that, much of the drama for those regions already lies in the rear view vision mirror. Their next phase will be one of recovery, albeit not quite yet. And don’t forget that today’s heroes – NSW and Victoria – have clay feet. A house price boom borrows growth from the future, and both NSW and Victoria will have to pay back some of that in the years ahead as today’s housing prices gradually reconnect with reality. Luck’s a fortune, and NSW has it in spades amid the shift to lower interest and exchange rates since 2012. But storm clouds are building, as the housing price boom has artificially supported retail and home building. There’ll be an eventual butcher’s bill to pay as those supports reverse. Victoria has benefited as key cyclical drivers – exchange and interest rates – moved in a ‘Victoria- friendly’ direction in recent years. And this State is experiencing its strongest population gains for many a decade. Yet, relative to other States, its population and housing cycles may be near their peaks. The key headwind to Queensland’s economy for some years now has been falling engineering construction, but that pain is increasingly history. While Cyclone Debbie and slowing housing construction are current negatives, Debbie’s impact will be temporary and gas exports are lifting. South Australia has benefited from favourable shifts in interest rates and exchange rates. In fact, and despite popular opinion, the State economy’s growth actually picked up of late. Even so, some big challenges remain, given both demographics and an unfavourable industry structure. The construction cliff is still weighing on Western Australia. This state saw a virtuous circle of reinforcing growth drivers during the boom, but it has been seeing a vicious bust for a while now. But there has been better news recently out of China, and even vicious cycles run out of steam. Tasmania has been one of the bigger beneficiaries of the lower Australian dollar and lower interest rates, and the state economy’s growth is currently looking pretty good. But structural negatives on the longer-term outlook remain entrenched, suggesting caveats on current conditions. The Northern Territory’s economy isn’t a one-hit wonder, but recent years saw a Gangnam-style blockbuster hit the charts. As construction on the Ichthys project increasingly winds down and its export phase ramps up, the Territory’s challenging conditions won’t disappear for a while yet. The good news for the ACT is that, after the cutbacks and public sector hiring freezes of recent years, the Feds are returning to more of what might be considered business as usual. On top of that, the impact of lower interest rates on the ACT’s economy remains a powerful positive. [post_title] => Gravity is starting to catch up with stupidity [post_excerpt] => There are a few worrying trends and signs on the horizon for Australian governments. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => gravity-starts-catch-stupidity [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-18 07:21:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-17 21:21:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27617 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27586 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-11 12:25:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-11 02:25:26 [post_content] => Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet have named NSW Customer Service Commissioner Michael Pratt AM as the new Secretary of the Treasury of NSW and Secretary of NSW Industrial Relations. Ms Berejiklian said Mr Pratt’s experience in senior public sector roles, as well as in the banking and finance sector, made him the right candidate to lead the Treasury. "Michael has the perfect mix of private sector and public service expertise, and he will bring the best of both worlds in leading the Treasury at this exciting and important time for our state,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Michael’s focus as Customer Service Commissioner has been on putting people at the heart of service delivery – one of the NSW Government’s key priorities and something he will be bringing to his new job at Treasury. “I look forward to working with him and the Treasurer on making Treasury an even more outcomes and customer focused agency.” Mr Perrottet said Mr Pratt would continue the important work of reforming the way public finances are managed, ensuring taxpayer funds are spent in ways that make a real difference to people’s lives. “I have worked closely with Michael over recent years, and I know he is passionate about reforming Government so that it works harder than ever for the people of NSW,” Mr Perrottet said. “As Customer Service Commissioner, Michael has revolutionised the way the Government delivers services to citizens, and his widely respected financial acumen and capacity to think outside the box are huge assets to the people of NSW. “The task ahead is formidable – continuing to keep NSW finances in excellent shape and laying the fiscal and economic foundations for the future – and I look forward to working with Michael as we face those challenges.” Mr Pratt’s career in banking and wealth management throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia includes roles as CEO of Consumer and SME Banking, North East Asia, with Standard Chartered Bank, Group Executive of Westpac Consumer & Business Banking, CEO of National Australia Bank in Australia, CEO of Bank of New Zealand and CEO of Bank of Melbourne. Mr Pratt will commence in the role from 1 August. He succeeds outgoing Secretary Rob Whitfield, who announced his resignation in late June. A new Customer Service Commissioner will be announced in the coming months. [post_title] => New NSW Treasury and Industrial Relations Secretary announced [post_excerpt] => Michael Pratt AM is the new NSW Secretary of the Treasury and of Industrial Relations. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-nsw-treasury-industrial-relations-secretary-announced [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-11 12:33:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-11 02:33:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27586 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27581 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-10 15:38:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-10 05:38:55 [post_content] => While South Australia extends a program to boost exports of the state’s making, Queensland’s coffers have been boosted by the post-cyclone recovery of its coal exports. Queensland: coal rules The value of Queensland merchandise exports surged 32.2% - or an increase $15.5 billion - in the past year to be $63.4 billion in the 12 months to May 2017, boosted by the recommencement of coal exports following the cyclone. In the 12-month period until May 2015, total Queensland merchandise exports was $46.5 billion. “Queensland posted a record calendar for exports in 2016 with $52 billion. We are well on track to post another record this year,” she said. “Overseas trade supports thousands of local jobs in key industries across Queensland.” The Premier said growth had been across key markets including Queensland’s top three trading partners - China ($16.5 billion total exports, at an increase of 46%), Japan ($10 billion up 26%) and India ($8.5 billion up 61%). Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt said a significant rise in the value of coal exports was the primary driver behind Queensland setting another record export total but exports of some agricultural commodities also rose in value. “The significant rise was driven largely by an increase in the value of coal exports, primarily hard-coking coal, and to a lesser extent LNG exports. “This was despite the impacts of TC Debbie which caused significant disruption to coal exports in the May quarter. “While the volume of coal exports was down by an estimated 13.4 million tonnes compared to a year earlier, the nominal values were supported by a surge in coal prices.” Mr Pitt said a number of agricultural exports rose in the May quarter compared with the same period last year. “Crops exports increased $180 million over the year to May quarter 2017 to $474 million, driven largely by an increase in chickpea exports and to a lesser extent wheat,” he said. “Cotton exports rose $61 million over the year to $188 million in the May quarter. “The latest data also showed an increase of $385 million in mineral exports over the year to May quarter 2017, rising to $2.3 billion. “There was a $172 million increase in the value of aluminium exports, particularly alumina,” Mr Pitt said. South Australia’s Export Partnership Program (EPP) The Export Partnership Program provides funding assistance for small and medium-sized businesses to access new global markets through marketing and export development opportunities, and has now been opened up to associations as well as individual businesses. It can help local businesses to:
- Government as market enabler and developer.
- Value for money.
- Robust outcomes-based measurement and evaluation.
- Fair sharing of risk and return.
- Outcomes that align with the Australian Government’s policy priorities.
- research feasible overseas markets,
- develop marketing material for distribution overseas,
- participate in international trade shows, trade missions and overseas business programs,
- adapt websites for specific international markets,
- access cultural and export training, mentoring and coaching services, and
- support incoming buyers.
- Eligible applicants must export goods or services that are grown or ‘Made in South Australia’.
- If goods or services are not made in South Australia, then businesses must prepare a detailed submission outlining the net benefits that the product or service will bring to the state.
- Goods are considered ‘Made in South Australia’ if the manufacturing process for a business meets those requirements.
- A biorefinery in another Queensland sugarcane region by US biotechnology company Amyris that would create 70 operational jobs. The company aims to produce 23,000 tonnes a year of a sugar cane-based ingredient called farnesene used in products including cosmetic emollients, fragrances, fuels, solvents, lubricants and nutraceuticals.
- A planned $26 million expansion of United Ethanol’s Dalby Biorefinery facility by 24ML to 100ML, creating 50 jobs. The company also plans to conduct detailed scientific studies to improve the marketability of its high-value and high-protein animal feed product called ‘dry distillers grain’ later this year.
|Don’t know/Not sure||18.5%||25.8%||18.1%||16.7%||18.4%||29.7%||15.4%|
"The reality is that the bank levy will have no real impact on ordinary South Australians and its design means that it will not disadvantage South Australia compared to any other state or territory."The bank levy is not a new idea and has been implemented in many other countries around the world, particularly in Europe. This, along with the size of the levy, means it will have no material impact on sovereign risk. The bank levy also represents a good opportunity for the federal government to encourage state governments to raise more of their own revenue. The federal government has recently complained that the states are too reliant on it for their revenue. When the states want more revenue they have in past suggested the federal government increase the GST. This means the states get all the revenue and the federal government suffers all the political pain of increasing a tax. The federal government should take this opportunity to encourage the state governments to follow South Australia’s lead and implement their own bank levies. This means state governments would be more reliant and responsible for their own taxes. The federal government should use the COAG process to encourage this to happen. The banks are as unhappy with the announced South Australian levy as they were unhappy with the federal government’s bank levy. This is not unexpected as it opens up an additional tax on the banks and if the South Australian government is successful, it could see other states follow suit. The South Australian bank levy is only tiny in size but the ferocious reaction of the banks is in part because they are concerned that other states will follow South Australia’s lead. As is increasingly the case in Australia, the reaction has been over blown with exaggerated claims of sovereign risk and lost investment opportunities for the South Australian economy. Such exaggeration needs a closer examination. Matt Grudnoff is The Australia Institute’s senior economist. This article is a summary of the discussion paper Bank levy in South Australia: Doing as the Treasurer says, doing as the Treasurer does. [post_title] => The impact of the South Australian bank levy [post_excerpt] => The federal govt should encourage the states to implement their own bank levies. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => impact-south-australian-bank-levy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-05 16:10:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-05 06:10:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27549 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27527 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-03 22:19:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-03 12:19:40 [post_content] => Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have launched a program designed for young people entering the retail workforce with the assistance of the Government’s Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) program. The ARA said its aim is growing employment in the retail sector and has been working with the Federal Government to assist internships to young Australians looking to get into retail through the Youth Jobs PaTH program, run by Employment Minister Michaelia Cash. Russell Zimmerman said retail is transforming from a stepping-stone industry into a long-term and professionally fulfilling career, with some of Australia’s most successful business people starting on the shop floor. “We are very excited to be a part of the PaTH program. Our retailers are already major employers of young people and these PaTH internships will now provide another way that employers can give young people a fair go,” Mr Zimmerman said. “With the diverse range of careers in the retail industry, we need our young staff to not only have basic vocational skills but also have a wide range of qualifications before they can start on the job.” The churning danger The Greens and Labor believe the internships are just another way for employers to not have to pay award wages to staff and that the internships will replace full-time, full-wage jobs. “Although I’m sure the Australian Retailers Association was well-intentioned in brokering this deal with the government, I do have questions about why these young people can’t just be offered work under the usual conditions rather than internships where they can be potentially exploited,” Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said. “Under the PaTH process, people are not paid the same as their colleagues. Overseas we have seen examples where businesses use government-funded internship programs to churn through workers, offering them no long-term prospects. “I also have questions about working conditions – it must be ensured that protections that you would see in other employment contracts are available to young people entering these internships, “This rollout must be closely monitored so that young jobseekers aren’t being churned through and viewed as an opportunity for cheap labour by businesses.” The Labor opposition was equally denigrating. “The day after the Turnbull Government supported cutting penalty rates for nearly 700,000 workers, it’s bragging about a program that forces young people to work for less than the minimum wage,” Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Brendan O’Connor said. “The Turnbull Government can’t explain how the Youth PaTh program won’t displace jobs that could go to full-paid employees. “The government has not outlined how its agreement with retailers will stop subsidised workers from being used by some retailers to avoid paying penalty rates - by engaging subsidised, so-called ‘interns’ in penalty shifts that would normally be staffed by employees,” he said. The government responds In launching the program, Mr Turnbull said: “Now we have in Australia at the moment about 12.7 per cent of young people between 15 and 24 who are looking for work in the workforce or are unable to get a job. “Now that’s far too high. If we reduce that by 20,000, that is a full percentage point. So you can see that the 120,000 over four years, if that sets tens of thousands of young people onto the pathway to employment, as it will, who would otherwise not have done that, it makes a very big material difference. Not just to their lives, to give them the chance to get ahead, but to the nation as a whole.” When asked by a journalist “How likely is this to create churn in the workforce?”, the Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash said: “These are new jobs and … the employer has to certify that there is a job available or there is a high likelihood of a job available. This is about getting our young people off welfare and into work and the government has worked very closely with employers in particular to ensure that there are the appropriate processes in place. “We’ve also been very, very clear - if at the end of the internship a job is not offered, there will be an investigation as to why. So very much when this government says we are getting our youth off welfare and into work, I can assure you we are putting in place the programs that are going to do that.” Brendan O’Connor wasn’t convinced, however. “Instead of coming up with a serious jobs plan to help bring down Australia's high rate of youth unemployment, the Turnbull Government is rolling out programs that are replacing properly-paid, entry level jobs,” he said. [post_title] => Retail internships: PaTH to jobs or poverty? [post_excerpt] => Retailers and the Prime Minister have launched a retail internship program for young people. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => retail-internships-path-jobs-poverty [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-04 11:12:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-04 01:12:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27527 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27504 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-29 15:22:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-29 05:22:26 [post_content] => The Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement has released its final report into the Australian Government’s procurement rules, including a range of recommendations for improving the rules on how the government spends its money. The committee’s recommendations include:
- Amending the rules to require all goods purchased by the Australian Government to comply with national standards.
- The introduction of policies to promote environmentally sustainable procurement and best practice terms and conditions for subcontractors.
- The appointment of an independent Industry Advocate to provide support for businesses to access Commonwealth contracts, to provide advice to government agencies, and to evaluate and monitor the economic benefit associated with government procurement.
- The publication of comprehensive guidelines to inform officials’ application of the rules in a consistent, transparent and equitable manner.
The Federal Government has announced a number of initiatives to encourage Social Impact Investing.
That the economic divide between Australia’s cities and regions is getting bigger is a misconception.
Standing for election, selling off assets… council administrators are in the firing line.
There are a few worrying trends and signs on the horizon for Australian governments.
Michael Pratt AM is the new NSW Secretary of the Treasury and of Industrial Relations.
While SA extends a program to boost exports, Qld’s coffers are boosted by the recovery of its coal exports.
More action needed to protect vital infrastructure corridors.
$60M FNQ biorefinery to create 130 jobs, but support for Adani hits new lows.
Business owners must prepare for the ban on excessive payment surcharges.
The federal govt should encourage the states to implement their own bank levies.
Retailers and the Prime Minister have launched a retail internship program for young people.
The Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement has released its recommendations for improving how the government spends its money.