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                    [post_date] => 2017-08-22 08:13:46
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 22:13:46
                    [post_content] => 

The Australian and Victorian Governments are committing significant funds to connect the Port of Melbourne to major freight hubs using the existing rail network, but container operators are warning that the success or otherwise of the concept is in the detail.

Governments come up with the money

Expressions of interest will soon to be sought to deliver a series of rail freight ‘shuttle’ initiatives on the existing rail network by connecting the port to major freight hubs and businesses.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the proposal would take advantage of rail’s ability to shift larger volumes of freight than trucks.

“[We] are seeing a boom in exports, which has led to trucks taking more produce and freight to the ports. This project will provide the ability to shift larger volumes of freight via rail compared to trucks, and reduce congestion on our roads,” Mr Chester said.

“The freight and logistics industry had identified rail’s potential to reduce transport costs by about 10 per cent, with the proposal potentially improving Australia’s competitiveness.”

Victorian Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Ports Luke Donnellan said the initiative will take trucks off local roads in Melbourne’s inner west.

“The Port of Melbourne will remain our primary freight hub for a generation. With container numbers expected to double over the next two decades we need to act now to share the load between road and rail.

“Alongside the West Gate Tunnel, 24-hour truck bans in the inner west and the Port’s rail access plans, this project will help shift containers from residential streets onto dedicated routes to the port.”

The Australian Government has committed $38 million and the Victorian Government will provide $20 million to the initiative. Funding will be available to upgrade rail connections and improve terminal access.

The devil’s in the detail

The largest conglomeration of container transporters in Victoria the Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) has welcomed the recommitment of $58 million in funding by the State and Federal Governments towards port rail shuttle services in the Port of Melbourne, but has warned that there is ‘much to do’ to make metropolitan rail freight services commercially viable.

“There is no doubt that moving more containerised freight to and from the Port of Melbourne and metropolitan intermodal terminals must be part of the future for Australia’s largest container freight port,” CTAA director Neil Chambers said.

“To date, however, next to no containers move to and from metropolitan areas and the port due to the lack of adequate rail infrastructure and the added costs of using rail for intermodal movements.

“The optimal landside movement of an import container once discharged from a ship involves around six “lifts” if delivered direct from wharf to customer then direct to the empty container depot for de-hire by road.”

“This number of ‘lifts’ rises with the current situation where many containers are ‘staged’ through transport yards to take account of the mismatch of operating hours and other logistics management reasons, both the full container as well as the empty. This can increase the number of ‘lifts’ to as many as ten.

“However, unless we can achieve true ‘on-dock’ rail operations to remove the need for the last-mile movement of the containers within the Port to be undertaken by truck or some other form of transfer vehicle, the number of ‘lifts’ for a typical intermodal operation would be twelve or more.

“Every time you touch the container it costs money, and the current lack of rail integration is the killer from a competition point of view.

“Truly viable intermodal terminals in Australia and overseas also provide the value-added services in situ that reduce local freight journeys and strip out costs for the cargo owner. This is what we need to aspire to through strategically located intermodal terminals in Melbourne’s west, north and south-east.

“It’s important, therefore, that the Port of Melbourne complete its rail strategy development in a timely manner, that the state’s overall freight strategy is refreshed, and the national freight strategy finalised, to ensure that intermodal rail operations are considered as a complete system, not just a series of disjointed nodes with no adequate integrated port connections and infrastructure

“I think we need to be cautious that the community isn’t given the impression that rail intermodal operations will be a panacea to the removal of trucks from our roads,” Mr Chambers said.

“That won’t be the case, because even if we get this right, which we all hope we will, the future still involves thousands of truck movements to and from the port, as well as to and from intermodal terminals for final delivery to the end user.

“We need integrated planning that enhances and protects the future viability of road and rail freight, reduces community amenity impacts where possible, but doesn’t harm freight productivity and cost competitiveness.”

 
                    [post_title] => Will Melbourne’s port shuttle work?
                    [post_excerpt] => Governments are committing millions to connect the Port of Melbourne to major freight hubs, but operators are warning of more work needed.
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                    [post_date] => 2017-08-21 11:45:30
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                    [post_content] =>  



The Australian Border Force (ABF) has identified a number of labour hire intermediaries sourcing illegal labour and sending money derived from this exploitation overseas.

Following an Australia-wide operation codenamed Bonasus, more than 225 people working in breach of their visa conditions were also located during the operation. Video footage of the operation can be viewed here.

ABF officers inspected 48 properties, including businesses and residential premises, as part of the operation targeting organised visa fraud, illegal work and the exploitation of foreign nationals.

The illegal workers were from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam Tunisia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They were located working in industries ranging from agriculture to retail and hospitality.

In addition, more than 300 individuals were refused entry into Australia as part of the operation.

ABF Commander Field and Removal Operations Robyn Miller said the operation should act as a warning to both employers of illegal workers and non-citizens who are, or are intending to, work illegally in Australia.

"The facilitation of, and engagement in, illegal work can have lasting negative impact on Australian communities and individuals," Commander Miller said.

"This includes significant underpayment and substandard living conditions for foreign workers, and reputational damage for rural and metropolitan industry sectors.

"Small and medium businesses are also disadvantaged due to the unfair competitive advantage gained by those who do not adhere to the law."

Investigations into these labour hire intermediaries are continuing. Penalties for businesses organising illegal work range up to ten years imprisonment and/or fines of up to $210,000.

Individuals caught working illegally may be detained and removed. Individuals also face being banned from re-entering Australia for three years and may be liable for the costs of their removal.

A majority of the unlawful non-citizens and foreign nationals caught working illegally have been removed to their country of origin. A small number of the group are assisting the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to resolve their immigration status.

Anyone who is aware of an individual, business or employer who may be facilitating visa fraud or illegal work is urged to contact Border Watch on 1800 009 623 or visit www.border.gov.au/report. Information can be provided anonymously.
State/Territory Number of warrants Illegal workers located Locations
Victoria/Tasmania 14 More than 50 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Melbourne, Mildura, Shepparton, and Sunbury.
NSW/ACT 16 More than 110 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Mittagong and Griffith.
Queensland 4 More than 25 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Brisbane, Bundaberg and Mareeba.
Western Australia 12 Almost 40 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Perth.
South Australia/Northern Territory 2 Fewer than 5 Warrants occurred in Golden Heights and Whyalla Stuart.   
Total 48 More than 225  
The Department does not report on cohorts fewer than five for privacy reasons.   [post_title] => Customs targets employers of illegal workers [post_excerpt] => ABF officers have inspected businesses and residential premises targeting organised visa fraud and illegal work. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => customs-targets-employers-illegal-workers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-21 13:31:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-21 03:31:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27867 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27847 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-17 16:27:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-17 06:27:31 [post_content] => The Federal Government has released a consultation paper that outlines the government’s proposal to create a Modern Slavery in Supply Chains Reporting Requirement. This will require large corporations and other entities operating in Australia to publish annual statements outlining their actions to address slavery. Responding to exploitation in supply chains is a key focus of Australia’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery 2015-19. Consistent with this focus, the National Roundtable established an expert Supply Chains Working Group to bring together relevant stakeholders from business, civil society and government agencies. This working group subsequently recommended that government introduce a modern slavery in supply chains reporting requirement. The proposed reporting requirement will support the business community to respond more effectively to modern slavery. It will raise business awareness of this issue, create a level playing field for businesses to share information about what they are doing to eliminate modern slavery, and encourage businesses to use their market influence to improve workplace standards and practices. The proposed reporting requirement will also improve information available to consumers and investors about modern slavery. The Attorney-General’s Department will lead a national consultation process to refine the Government’s proposed model. This consultation process will provide an important opportunity for the business community and civil society to help design a reporting requirement that is simple, sensible and as effective as possible. It will also ensure that the proposed reporting requirement reflects community expectations. Consultation paper available now The consultation paper outlines the Australian government’s proposed model for a Modern Slavery in Supply Chains Reporting Requirement. The proposed reporting requirement will require large corporations and other entities operating in Australia to publish annual statements outlining their actions to address modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. Key elements of the Government’s proposal include the following:
  • The introduction of a requirement to produce an annual Modern Slavery Statement.
  • The reporting requirement would be applicable to a range of entities:
    • with a proposed revenue threshold no lower than $100 million total annual revenue, and
    • headquartered in Australia or that have any part of their operations in Australia.
  • Entities will be required to report on their actions to address modern slavery in both their operations and supply chains (including beyond first tier suppliers).
  • Entities will be required to report, at a minimum, against four criteria (which cover the optional criteria set out in the UK Modern Slavery Act):
    • the entity’s structure, its operations and its supply chains;
    • the modern slavery risks present in the entity’s operations and supply chains;
    • the entity’s policies and processes to address modern slavery in its operations and supply chains and their effectiveness (such as codes of conduct, supplier contract terms and training for staff), and
    • the entity’s due diligence processes relating to modern slavery in its operations and supply chains and their effectiveness.
  • Modern Slavery Statements would need to be approved at board level and be signed by a director.
  • Entities would be required to publish their Modern Slavery Statement within five months after the end of the Australian financial year.
  • Entities would be required to publish their Modern Slavery Statement on their websites, with the Government also proposing a publicly accessible central repository.
  • Punitive penalties for non-compliance are not proposed but options for oversight are being considered.
  • The Government will provide guidance and awareness-raising materials for business.
The Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department will lead a national consultation process with business and civil society to refine the Government’s proposed model over August – December 2017. Submissions for the consultation will close on 20 October 2017. [post_title] => Federal Government to target modern slavery [post_excerpt] => A consultation paper outlines the government’s Modern Slavery in Supply Chains Reporting Requirement. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-government-target-modern-slavery [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-17 19:12:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-17 09:12:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27847 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => 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:
  1. Government as market enabler and developer.
  2. Value for money.
  3. Robust outcomes-based measurement and evaluation.
  4. Fair sharing of risk and return.
  5. Outcomes that align with the Australian Government’s policy priorities.
  6. Co-design.
[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 ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27814 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-14 13:24:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-14 03:24:12 [post_content] => New research released by The Australia Institute identifies significant gaps in federal anti-corruption measures, as calls grow for a federal ICAC ahead of a major national conference on the issue. The report finds that:
  • There are significant gaps in the jurisdiction and investigative powers of the federal agencies responsible for scrutinising the public sector and government.
  • No agency has the power to investigate corrupt conduct as defined by state-based commissions.
  • No agency can investigate misconduct of MPs, ministers or the judiciary.
  • The only agencies that have strong investigative powers can only use them when investigating criminal charges.
  • No agency holds regular public hearings, meaning that corruption and misconduct is not properly exposed to the public.
  • To fill these gaps, a federal anti-corruption commission will need strong investigative powers and broad jurisdiction similar to NSW ICAC and other successful state-based commissions.
“We already know that 80% of people want a federal ICAC, and our research shows that in fact this is critical to filling the gaps in our integrity system,” executive director of The Australia Institute Ben Oquist said. “The types of corruption being revealed in NSW ICAC are currently falling through the gaps of our federal anti-corruption measures. Corruption doesn’t stop at the border, and a federal ICAC is needed to make sure it is investigated and exposed. “A federal ICAC must have strong powers and broad jurisdiction to make sure it can expose corruption in the highest levels of government. This means it needs to be able to investigate politicians, and it must have the ability to call public hearings. “At a time of growing electoral disillusionment, a federal ICAC would be good not just for accountability but could help restore some faith in politics overall,” Mr Oquist said. [caption id="attachment_27825" align="alignnone" width="620"] Table 1: Comparison of jurisdiction of integrity bodies. Sources: Law Enforcement Integrity Act 2006, Auditor General Act 1997, ACC Act 2002, AFP Act 1979, Public Service Act 1999, Auditor General Act 1997, Ombudsman Act 1976.[/caption] On Wednesday August 17, experts from across legal and academic fields will gather at Parliament House for the Accountability & the Law Conference to discuss the weaknesses in the current federal accountability system and suggest mechanisms for reform, including the establishment of a federal anti-corruption commission.   [post_title] => Federal corruption a dog’s breakfast: TAI [post_excerpt] => There are significant gaps in federal anti-corruption measures, a Federal ICAC is needed to fill the gaps. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-corruption-dogs-breakfast-tai [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-14 21:39:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-14 11:39:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27814 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27775 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-07 14:08:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-07 04:08:42 [post_content] =>   The Australian Public Service Commission has released its updated guide to social media use by Federal public servants. The guide, Making public comment on social media: A guide for employees, leaves absolutely no room for employees to make critical comments of any of their ministers, superiors, or departments. Furthermore, it suggests public servants are liable to be disciplined even if they don’t promptly delete a critical post on their social media account by an outsider. First brought to light by a critical article in The Australian newspaper, the nine-page, 3,000+ word guide goes into some detail as to what is and what is not acceptable. Now listen up! “As members of the Australian community, Australian Public Service (APS) employees have the right to participate in public and political debate,” the document begins. “But this is not an unlimited right. APS employees have particular responsibilities under the Public Service Act 1999 that come with being employed as a public servant by the Commonwealth of Australia. In some cases, these responsibilities limit their ability to participate fully in public discussions, including on social media.” Criticism is a definite no-no. Whether it is the employee’s current agency, Minister, previous agency, or observations of a person, the guide is clear to begin with: “Criticising the work, or the administration, of your agency is almost always going to be seen as a breach of the Code. The closer your criticism is to your area of work, the more likely this will be.” The guide then goes on to warn that critical posts are not allowed after hours or in a declared private capacity, or even anonymously: “Even if you don’t identify yourself you can still be identified by someone else.” And just in case you’re wondering, your right to freedom of speech is, well, worthless: “The common law recognises an individual right to freedom of expression. This right is subject to limitations such as those imposed by the Public Service Act. In effect, the Code of Conduct operates to limit this right.” The commissioner responds The Australian Public Service Commissioner The Hon John Lloyd has responded to the detailed article published by The Australian newspaper, declaring it to be misrepresentative: “The use of social media by employees requires discretion and judgement,” he writes. “For this reason it is important that all employers, including those in the APS, ensure their employees clearly understand the expectations of their behaviour when they use social media. “The APSC consulted extensively with APS agencies and employees in late 2016. This consultation indicated that the policy settings did not need to change, but that current obligations were not well understood by employees. The CPSU encouraged its members to participate, and made a submission. “It is not more restrictive than previous guidance. Rather, it clarifies the parameters around what public servants can and cannot say, and should give greater confidence to APS employees when they are participating online activity. Submissions to the review indicated that aspects of the previous guidance was unclear and ambiguous, and that revised guidance should be simpler and easy to understand.” Straight from the Trump playbook: The Greens Greens employment spokesperson Adam Bandt MP slammed reports in The Australian that the Turnbull government will impose restrictions on public servants criticising his government on social media. "There must have been a few paragraphs missing from the leaked Trump/Turnbull transcript, because this latest crackdown on the public service is straight from the Trump playbook," said Mr Bandt. "If anyone challenges Trump, they get fired. Malcolm Turnbull, in his desperation to hang onto power, is trying to do the same. "Holding public servants responsible for what others post on their page is the stuff of the thought police. Your job shouldn't be in danger because someone shares a post on your page about marriage equality or action on climate change and you don't delete it. "This is a ruthless assault on freedom of speech that would make any demagogue proud.” The guide, Making public comment on social media: A guide for employees, is available here. [post_title] => Though shalt not criticise [post_excerpt] => The updated guide to social media use by Federal public servants has been released. 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[caption id="attachment_27770" align="alignnone" width="300"] You create a lot of healthcare data during your life. What happens after it? Tewan Banditrukkanka/Shutterstock[/caption] Jon Cornwall, Victoria University of Wellington Death is inevitable. The creation of healthcare records about every complaint and ailment we seek treatment for is also a near-certainty. Data about patients is a vital cog in the provision of efficient health services. Our study explores what happens to those healthcare records after you die. We focus on New Zealand’s legal situation and practices, but the issue is truly a global one.
Read More: Decades on from Henrietta Lacks, we’re still struggling to find an adequate consent model
Previously, healthcare records were held in paper form and stored in an archive. Next came the advent of digital storage in on-site databases. When you died, your records were either shredded or erased, depending on the technology. But it is now increasingly common for healthcare records to be digitised and held in a central repository. They can potentially be held for an indefinite period after someone dies, depending on the jurisdiction. Should we be worried?

A question of value

Large, population-based healthcare data sets have immense value. This is particularly true of records that include genomic information alongside other healthcare data – a phenomenon that will only increase as information about a person’s genes is more widely used in clinical treatment. These posthumous healthcare data sets, which will grow in size and detail over the coming decades, could tell us a great deal about diseases and heritability. Data sets from generations of families and communities may well be available for research, and able to be analysed. Information on this scale is worth a lot, especially for data storage companies and those with a financial interest in these data sets, such as pharmaceutical companies. Imagine, for instance, if a company could quickly analyse millions of genomes to isolate a disease that could be cured by an engineered pharmaceutical, and the commercial value this would create. So how will this affect the individual whose data is held and their surviving family? Many people would be willing to donate medical records if the downstream result was beneficial for their community and country. Yet the lines become easily blurred. Would it be acceptable if data sets were sent to foreign companies? What if they provided a cure free of charge to the families of citizens whose data they used? How about if the cure was half price, or full price, but the other option was having no cure at all? Would it be all right for companies to make millions of dollars out of this information? There is no easy answer. [caption id="attachment_27771" align="alignnone" width="300"] Every time you visit a doctor’s office, you create data. Keith Bell/Shutterstock[/caption]

What’s the legal situation?

It’s impossible to talk about the long term fate of healthcare data without considering privacy and consent. As part of medical research, for example, participants are required to provide informed consent and often the gathered data are anonymised. Access to posthumous medical records, on the other hand, is not highly regulated or protected in most countries, and the laws surrounding access are incredibly unclear. In New Zealand, a deceased person has no privacy rights under the Privacy Act. And while healthcare data has to be held for a minimum of 10 years after death, the regulatory body which is then custodian of that data may decide - broadly - what purposes it may be used for. Given that the custodian can be anyone from a health board or local doctor to a commercial institution that stores health records, the situation is exceedingly vague.
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It is often argued that use of anonymous data sets do not require consent from an individual – in our case, a deceased person cannot provide this anyway. However the lines of true “anonymity” are becoming more blurred, particularly thanks to genomics. Your own genome is partly that of your family and relatives. They may also have an emotional stake, and possibly a legal stake, in any action or research where the genome of a deceased family member is involved. The medical profession has not always dealt well with consent and ethics issues. In one infamous case, the cancer cells of Henrietta Lacks – a 31-year-old American woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951 – have been used thousands of times in research projects. She unwittingly made an invaluable contribution to global health, yet she never consented and her family was not consulted. Then there is the fact that if large data bases are readily available, the possibility of data linkage increases – matching data sets that may belong to the same person – potentially undermining the ability to maintain true anonymity for the individual and their family.

What happens now?

The New Zealand and Australian governments have signalled that healthcare data are a widely underused resource. Commercialisation of such data is a possibility. At some point, large posthumous healthcare data sets from these countries could potentially be accessed by researchers and private institutions around the world. It is time for the public to decide what they think is reasonable. If the use of posthumous healthcare data is not aligned with the wishes of society, especially its desire for anonymity, the trust between our healthcare providers and patients may become compromised. The ConversationHealthcare data sets have immense value, but the public must be consulted about their use. Only then can the potential of posthumous healthcare data sets be properly realised. Jon Cornwall, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health, Victoria University of Wellington This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Healthcare records: take them to the grave? [post_excerpt] => Our healthcare records outlive us. It's time to decide what happens to the data once we're gone. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27766 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-07 15:08:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-07 05:08:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27766 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27781 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-07 09:03:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-06 23:03:28 [post_content] => Andrew Ferrington The third series of 'Utopia', the fan favourite for all who have worked in an office, premiered last month. The series — created by the prolific Working Dog team — tells of the National Building Authority's coexisting contrary tensions of bureaucracy and ‘blue sky’ ambitions. At the outset, let me disclose that I spent more than 15 years in a variety of roles in public service and am now back in the private world. The show is great — the ministerial adviser tries to highlight the positives of the NBA's ambitions, while the authority itself grapples with its commission to be ambitious in its outlook. The show makes its mark by illustrating the tensions between the government, its ministers and the institutions that oversee it, all while the NBA attempts to complete public brief it has to envision the future. The thing that concerns me is not the laughs at the bureaucracy's expense, it’s what it points out about the private sector. The big-picture thinking that always gets a laugh, is now nowhere to be seen. Because it can't be. Only government is able to take the risk to lead such big change. The private sector not only can't – but won't. It doesn't have the mandate, the appetite or the ability to dream large with these projects. The trope that "we don't need the government" as Rob Sitch's character says in episode one, becomes simply wrong. No entity but the government can make a decision or show the leadership that is needed to execute projects that bring about fundamental changes to society. Further, the contemporary discussion about ‘small’ government and that it should get out of the way of business is also a nonsense. If we didn't have government imagining these large projects, taking risks that the private sector can't even conceive of, and spending the money (yes, our money), society would be nothing like it is today. We do well to understand the context in which government works, because it is important. This leadership trickles down: while the government mandates that women, people with a disability or indigenous peoples have a significant contribution to play in society, the private sector is far behind. As a former bureaucrat, 'Utopia' makes me laugh. Yes, I've seen these behaviours: where the tyranny and vanity of politics overrules all. But it also makes me sad, because it mocks the leadership role that government plays, and the vision and ideas that the private sector can't possibly imagine. Next time you leave home (which is standing solidly, because government regulations mandated it should be built to a certain standard), think about the water, electricity and other services you use, the roads you drive on, footpaths you walk on, and trains you might catch. While they may be delivered by the private sector, they were planned and imagined by governments. And without them, we would be significantly worse off. Andrew Ferrington is the national tenders manager at Findex Group.   [post_title] => There is no private ‘Utopia’ [post_excerpt] => Government is the only one working to create a 'Utopia'. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => no-private-utopia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-07 15:04:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-07 05:04:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27781 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27743 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-02 14:33:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:33:30 [post_content] => Andrew Hudson The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton used his opening address at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) Industry Summit on Monday morning (31 July 2017) to assure those in the private supply chain and their clients that the current work agenda would be maintained under the proposed Home Affairs department. Along with the Acting Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Minister Dutton reiterated that the ABF would continue in its traditional ‘Customs’ role and the ABF, as part of the DIBP, would also continue its vital engagement with industry and development of trade facilitation measures to assist in the legitimate trade in goods and movement in people. At the time of the announcement of the creation of the new Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the focus of the commentary was on national and border security issues with no comment on the traditional ‘Customs’ role of the ABF or its ongoing engagement with industry and the facilitation of international trade at the border. Naturally, there were some concerns that the failure to address these important roles could mean that the importance of those roles was being downgraded and that momentum on various initiatives here and overseas could be lost with an increased focus on security and intervention in trade. Both speakers made the point that the involvement of the ABF with the DHA would allow the ABF to have access to additional information at an earlier stage than is presently the case, which would actually enhance the ability of the ABF to carry out its roles. These outcomes were all consistent with the theme of the industry summit being “Border Innovation: strengthening our nation’s economy, security and society.” In terms of the work of the DIBP and the ABF in the engagement with industry in relation to the movement of goods, there was reference to recent achievements and future commitments with such initiatives as:
  • The creation of a ‘single window’ for trade such as in Singapore and New Zealand.
  • The expansion of the Australian Trusted Trader Program (ATTP).
  • The recent completion of four Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with other customs services for those in the ATTP.
  • The promise of more MRA with customs services in other trading partners.
  • The development and implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) to improve the use of those current and future FTAs by the adoption of robust Rules of Origin, enhanced border clearance facilitation.
  • The increased use of more advance technology and reporting systems.
There were similar references to commitments in the migration space as relating to the movement of persons. The comments provide a degree of assurance to industry that the current work agenda would be maintained and developed and that the engagement with industry remained a priority. While the reference to the achievements and initiative represents only a reiteration of those developments currently known to industry, their clear support from the Federal Government filled in a gap in the story that arose with the announcements relating to the DHA. Industry looks forward to continued engagement on these projects and its ongoing collaborative work with government, whether the DIBP, the ABF or other agencies that have a role at the border. Andrew Hudson is Partner with Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Litigation Team, specialising in all areas of trade including international trade conventions, dispute resolution and arbitration, trade financing options, commodity and freight contracts as well as dealing with regulation of the movement of goods at the border by all Government agencies. He is also a member of many of the consultative bodies established by Government in the trade space, including the National Committee on Trade Facilitation convened by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the International Trade Remedies Forum convened by the Anti - Dumping Commission (ADC) as well as associated sub-committees. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Export Council of Australia (ECA) and the Food and Beverage Importers Association (FBIA) and works closely with other industry associations representing those in the supply chain. [post_title] => When all things change, Customs stays the same [post_excerpt] => Minister Dutton has assured those in the supply chain that the current work agenda would be maintained under the Home Affairs department. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => things-change-customs-stays [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-02 14:36:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:36:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27743 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27728 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-31 12:32:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-31 02:32:42 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27729" align="alignnone" width="300"] The ACT Government was the winner of the Innovative Solutions award.[/caption] “A successful public service is one that can find new and better ways of doing things, and that can solve problems in new ways. It is one where new ideas are tried and tested, and where old approaches are phased out and replaced with new, more suitable and effective methods. It is one that is innovative.” And so the Public Sector Innovation Awards were created to better recognise and celebrate the innovative work that occurs within the public service and provide a platform to share and showcase innovative approaches across the Commonwealth and ACT Governments. A goal of the awards is to encourage others to adopt more innovative approaches to public administration. The annual award is celebrating the innovation taking place in the Commonwealth and ACT public services at the 2017 Public Sector Innovation Awards. Government must act as an exemplar of innovation and back the public service to innovate and experiment. The 2017 Champions The winners of the awards announced in Canberra were selected from 68 nominations, showing a widespread commitment to innovation. A panel of judges selected the five award winners: Category 1: Innovative Solutions – Renewable Energy Reverse Auctions ACT Government The ACT became the first jurisdiction to use a reverse auction process to provide guaranteed revenue and certainty for generators. The process provides financial security to renewable electricity generators to ensure projects are bankable and delivery risks are managed. Category 2: Culture and Practice – ‘ON’ CSIRO ‘ON’, powered by CSIRO’ is the only national accelerator custom designed for publicly-funded research teams with a laser focus on helping them to develop the entrepreneurial skills and capacity to convert their great science and technology research into real-world outcomes – at pace. Category 3: Digital and Data – Maritime Arrivals Reporting System, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources MARS is the first fully online system for ensuring in-coming vessels meet biosecurity regulations to minimise the risk of pests and diseases entering Australia. This innovative system has been widely embraced by the international shipping industry. Judges’ Award – Digital First Capability, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet The development of an innovative online briefing system has transformed the way the Department briefs the Prime Minister, breaking down barriers to collaboration by allowing the Prime Minister and his advisors to get information, ask questions and receive answers in real-time. Judges’ Award – Finance Transformation Program, Department of Finance Working towards becoming a truly transformative agency, Finance has embarked on an exciting journey. Staff have been challenged to think differently and allowed to build, test and refine new processes and products. By leveraging capability, mobility, new technology and design thinking every day, the department is changing – inside and out. The winners were chosen from a shortlist of 12 finalists selected from the 68 nominations from across the Commonwealth and ACT public services. The high calibre of entries reflects the great innovation taking place in the public service and will encourage others to adopt more innovative approaches to public administration. The Australian Government, through the National Innovation and Science Agenda, is committed to being an exemplar on innovation for the broader community. This reflects our continuing role to facilitate change in a way which maximises the benefits for our economy and our fellow Australians. [post_title] => Public sector innovation: who are the champions? [post_excerpt] => The awards recognise the innovative work that occurs in the public service. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => public-sector-innovation-champions [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-31 12:46:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-31 02:46:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27728 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27721 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-28 09:58:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-27 23:58:49 [post_content] => While the headlines are (rightly) awash with the shady dealings surrounding the Murray-Darling Basin, new research released by The Australia Institute examines the economic and employment effects of the Ord River irrigation schemes – and it’s not pretty. Expansion of Ord irrigation is part of the Federal Government’s vision for developing northern Australia, but faces opposition from indigenous groups, the Northern Territory government and is dogged by decades of economic failure. The new report finds that over $2 billion has been spent on the Ord irrigation scheme, yet it supports only around 260 jobs. The last expansion of irrigation cost taxpayers $334 million, a budget overrun of $114 million, but resulted in just 61 jobs in 2016. “The last expansion of the Ord scheme cost taxpayers $5.5 million for every job created. Clearly this isn’t an economically viable way to bring development to northern Australia,” said lead author Rod Campbell. “Cost benefit analysis shows that for every dollar taxpayers have invested in the Ord scheme since inception, they’ve been returned around 17 cents. “The lesson here is that large-scale irrigated agriculture is not the way to increase prosperity and populations in the north of Australia. Even if the economic losses were much smaller, irrigated agriculture is capital intensive – it uses lots of machines and pumps lots of water but employs very few people. “The Ord region has around 260 agricultural jobs, but at least 60 were in non-irrigated agriculture. This shows that northern regions do have viable agricultural enterprises and agriculture can be a part of northern development, but that large scale irrigation isn’t the way to do it. “There is scope for further development of agriculture in northern Australia, but efforts should be directed towards enterprises that are commercially viable, sustainable and generate employment and other benefits for northern Australian communities. “Irrigation enterprises working with existing infrastructure can be viable and worth supporting now that the infrastructure is already built – in economics jargon the costs are ‘sunk’. The key message to come out of decades of losses on Ord infrastructure is that new irrigation infrastructure in northern Australia is unlikely to be viable or provide significant community benefits. The money can be far better spent. “Investment in services and infrastructure that directly benefit communities will be vital if these communities are to retain existing populations and attract new people and businesses. Transport, communications, health and education are all likely to bring greater benefits. “Another industry that is labour intensive and has strong potential in northern Western Australia is the tourism industry. According to Tourism Western Australia, in the year ending September 2016 there were 1.4 million visitors to the north west of WA, who spent $1.2 billion. Tourism and transport infrastructure will also play a major role in developing the north. “Investing in the indigenous community should also be a focus for northern development. Programs such as the Indigenous Protected Area and Indigenous Rangers schemes provide training and employment for indigenous people in environmental management. Cost benefit analyses of indigenous social programs consistently show that they provide large net economic benefits. “In short, there is no shortage of industries, infrastructure and community projects that can help develop northern Australia in an way that is economically viable, community-oriented and sustainable. Long experience with the Ord River Irrigation Area shows that government spending on irrigated agriculture is financially dubious and not likely to lead to development that benefits the wider community of northern Australia.”   [post_title] => Money down the river [post_excerpt] => Dam the expense: new research on Ord River irrigation shows how not to develop northern Australia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => money-down-the-river [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-28 09:58:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-27 23:58:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27721 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27716 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-28 09:30:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-27 23:30:30 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27719" align="alignnone" width="275"] Left to right: David Quilty, Brad Butt, Thanh Le, and Tim Kelsey.[/caption] The Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) and Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild) have signed an agreement to work together to help build the digital health capabilities of community pharmacies and advance the efficiency, quality and delivery of healthcare. Both strong advocates for the widespread adoption and use of the My Health Record system by community pharmacists to better the health of the public, the Agency and the Guild have now entered into a collaborative partnership aimed at driving adoption and use of the My Health Record system by community pharmacies (supported by education and training) and maximising the medicines safety benefits. The role of community pharmacists in delivering proper use of medicines is more important than ever, with an aging population and the growing prevalence of complex, chronic disease. All medicines have the potential for side effects and can interact with other medicines. Each year 230,000 people are admitted to hospital, and many more people experience reduced quality of life, as a result of unintended side effects of their medicines. This comes at a cost to the system of more than $1.2 billion. “The Agency and the Guild have a mutual interest in continuing to develop and deliver community pharmacy digital health that will lead to significant improvements in the quality and delivery of care to consumers. Specifically, the Agency and Guild will be working on optimising connectivity to the My Health Record system through dedicated community pharmacy support, including continuing professional development and shared care planning, transitional care, telehealth and interoperability with pharmacy clinical service IT platforms,” said agency chief executive Tim Kelsey. “The Guild welcomes this collaboration with the Agency as a step towards optimised integration of community pharmacies in the My Health Record system. Community pharmacists have long been early adopters and innovators in digital health, and this will spur the sector on to make an even bigger contribution,” guild executive director David Quilty said. Digital records pilot for hospital patients On the hospital front, patients requiring urgent medical care will benefit from a hospital emergency department pilot that gives clinicians fast, secure access to health information such as allergies and medicines that may not otherwise be available in hospital information systems. The pilot will help drive the uptake of My Health Record, a digital system that enables healthcare providers to share secure health data and improves the safety and quality of patient care. To date, over 5 million people have a My Health Record and over 10,143 healthcare providers are connected. “Where My Health Record is being utilised, we are seeing reductions in duplicated testing and lower hospital re-admission rates. “However, we need to identify potential barriers to the uptake of My Health Record in hospitals, and enable better integration with primary and secondary healthcare providers,” Mr Kelsey said. The pilot was announced by the Agency in partnership with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Commission CEO Adjunct Professor Debora Picone AM said that when a patient presents to an emergency department, hospitals can have limited information about the patient and a limited window to provide lifesaving treatment. “It is time-consuming for hospital staff to gain information on the patient’s medicines, what their GP has been doing to manage the condition, and the procedures provided by other hospitals. This time could be better used treating the patient,” Professor Picone said. The pilot is based on the successful My Health Record participation trials conducted by the Nepean Blue Mountains and the Northern Queensland Primary Health Networks. These trials demonstrated that clinicians working in hospital emergency departments were able to obtain valuable additional information by accessing My Health Record in real time. The pilot is expected to take two years with an interim report due to the Agency in June 2018.   [post_title] => Pharmacies, emergency departments to go digital [post_excerpt] => Pharmacy Guild, emergency departments to trial with Digital Health Agency. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pharmacies-emergency-departments-go-digital [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-28 09:30:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-27 23:30:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27716 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27711 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-27 18:26:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-27 08:26:35 [post_content] => Opinion - Everald Compton Bill Shorten has recommended to Malcolm Turnbull that they join together in a bi-partisan attempt to hold a Referendum on Constitutional Change which will enable the Australian Parliament to have four year fixed terms. To his credit, Turnbull has left the door open for further discussions. This is a good initiative that I will strongly support and I hope that you will too. It will enable governments to spend at least their first year of office implementing difficult policies before they inevitably become obsessed with their pressing need to hold on to power at the next election. In addition, fixed terms will cause Prime Ministers to cease their appallingly undemocratic practice of calling elections on a political whim, treating us all as fools in the process, just as Campbell Newman did so disastrously in Queensland and Theresa May did so arrogantly in Britain. However, a referendum will succeed only if other constitutional changes are made at the same time. The first is that changes are needed in the Senate which is the most undemocratic institution on the planet, filled with people who have an enormously distorted vision of their unintended power and enjoy languishing there for six unaccountable years. If the current practice of Senators serving double terms continues to be tolerated, they will have eight years before they face the voters again, which will be an absolute abuse of privilege, appalling by any democratic standards. So, the Constitution must be changed so they serve one four year term only, exactly the same as the Members of the House of Representatives, with their elections being held at exactly the same time. The Constitution currently does not provide for this. And the number of Senators must be drastically reduced. Australia does not need a Parliament that elects 12 Senators from each State, most of whom do not have a clue as to how to fill their days. Five from each State is plenty and the financial savings will be enormous. This will mean that there will also be a lesser number of crossbenchers who can stop a Government from carrying out the mandates on which they were elected. At the same time, the Constitution must be changed to say that the House of Representatives can never have more than 100 electorates. We have far too many Members of Parliament, over 150 in fact, despite the fact that we live in a world where most voters are disgusted with politics and want the least number of politicians possible. Along with this, we must also abolish preferential voting which is massively manipulated by politicians and creates situations in which it can takes months to decide who won. Whoever is first past the post must always win and we can know on Election night who our next government will be. If we can achieve this in one referendum, that will be an enormous achievement by comparison with the fate of previous referendums, but it can be done. Indeed, the vote to reduce the number of Members and Senators will get a 99% positive vote. I have allowed 1% for the votes of politicians and their families and friends. After giving the voters a few years rest, we must then have another referendum to totally abolish the Senate. Quite simply, it is not needed. When drafting the Constitution in the 1890’s, our Founding Fathers created a Senate for one purpose only, to protect the small States against the big ones. But, in one and a quarter centuries, there has never been an occasion when Senators from one State have ever banded together to vote to protect their State. They have always voted by direction of their political parties. Nor do we need a Senate as a House of Review. When we elect a Government, we must let them govern and not have one hand constantly tied behind their backs. Democracy allows us to toss them out at the next election if they betray their mandate. After waiting for a few more years of voter respite, we can then have another go and force all six States to scrap Local Governments and break their States up into smaller States. We will need about 50 of them nation wide, who will assume the current powers of both State and Local Governments. The Constitution already gives States the power to break up into smaller States while, strangely, that same Constitution does not mention Local Governments at all. This significant change will cause enormous rural and regional development to occur, utterly decentralising Australia, as the needs of our existing capital cities are absolutely different from those of the rest of Australia. State Governors will be no longer needed. All fifty States will have an Administrator who is responsible to the Governor General for ensuring that responsible government prevails. Whilst I am a staunch Republican and want to see that happen quickly, I also can see all of the above changes as being equally necessary to the final removal of the remnants of unsatisfactory government by Colonial England. Clearly, it is long overdue to reform Australian politics and voters are now in a mood to take a huge hit at a complacent Establishment which is serving us badly. Let’s start right now. Yours at Large Everald Compton [post_title] => Political reformation [post_excerpt] => A referendum on fixed terms will succeed only if other constitutional changes are made. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => political-reformation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-27 18:29:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-27 08:29:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27711 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27681 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-24 18:00:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-24 08:00:17 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23593" align="alignnone" width="300"] Centrelink is using the services of spyware company, Cellebrite.[/caption] Monique Mann, Queensland University of Technology; Adam Molnar, Deakin University, and Ian Warren, Deakin University An Australian Tax Office (ATO) staffer recently leaked on LinkedIn a step-by-step guide to hacking a smartphone. The documents, which have since been removed, indicate that the ATO has access to Universal Forensic Extraction software made by the Israeli company Cellebrite. This technology is part of a commercial industry that profits from bypassing the security features of devices to gain access to private data. The ATO later stated that while it does use these methods to aid criminal investigations, it “does not monitor taxpayers’ mobile phones or remotely access their mobile devices”. Nevertheless, the distribution of commercial spyware to government agencies appears to be common practice in Australia. This is generally considered to be lawful surveillance. But without proper oversight, there are serious risks to the proliferation of these tools, here and around the world. The dangers of the spyware market The spyware market is estimated to be worth millions of dollars globally. And as Canadian privacy research group Citizen Lab has noted, spyware vendors have been willing to sell their wares to autocratic governments. There are numerous examples of spyware being used by states with dubious human-rights records. These include the surveillance of journalists, political opponents and human rights advocates, including more recently by the Mexican government and in the United Arab Emirates. In Bahrain, the tools have reportedly been used to silence political dissent. Commercial spyware often steps in when mainstream technology companies resist cooperating with law enforcement because of security concerns. In 2016, for example, Apple refused to assist the FBI in circumventing the security features of an iPhone. Apple claimed that being forced to redesign their products could undermine the security and privacy of all iPhone users. The FBI eventually dropped its case against Apple, and it was later reported the FBI paid almost US$1.3 million to a spyware company, reportedly Cellebrite, for technology to hack the device instead. This has never been officially confirmed. For its part, Cellebrite claims on its website to provide technologies allowing “investigators to quickly extract, decode, analyse and share evidence from mobile devices”. Its services are “widely used by federal government customers”, it adds. Spyware merchants and the Australian Government The Australian government has shown considerable appetite for spyware. Tender records show Cellebrite currently holds Australian government contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the specific details of these contracts remain unclear. Fairfax Media has reported that the ATO, Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Department of Employment , Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Department of Defence all have contracts with Cellebrite. The Department of Human Services has had a contract with Cellebrite, and Centrelink apparently uses spyware to hack the phones of suspected welfare frauds. In 2015 WikiLeaks released emails from Hacking Team, an Italian spyware company. These documents revealed negotiations with the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the AFP and other law enforcement agencies.

Laws and licensing

In Australia, the legality of spyware use varies according to government agency. Digital forensics tools are used with a warrant by the ATO to conduct federal criminal investigations. A warrant is typically required before Australian police agencies can use spyware. ASIO, on the other hand, has its own powers, and those under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979, that enable spyware use when authorised by the attorney-general. ASIO also has expanded powers to hack phones and computer networks. These powers raise concerns about the adequacy of independent oversight. International control of these tools is also being considered. The Wassenaar Arrangement, of which Australia is participant, is an international export control regime that aims to limit the movement of goods and technologies that can be used for both military and civilian purposes. But there are questions about whether this agreement can be enforced. Security experts also question whether it could criminalise some forms of cybersecurity research and limit the exchange of important encryption technology. Australia has export control laws that apply to intrusion software, but the process lacks transparency about the domestic export of spyware technologies to overseas governments. Currently, there are few import controls. There are also moves to regulate spyware through licensing schemes. For example, Singapore is considering a license for ethical hackers. This could potentially improve transparency and control of the sale of intrusion software. It’s also concerning that “off-the-shelf” spyware is readily accessible to the public.

‘War on math’ and government hacking

The use of spyware in Australia should be viewed alongside the recent announcement of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s so-called war on maths. The prime minister has announced laws will be introduced obliging technology companies to intercept encrypted communications to fight terrorism and other crimes. This is part of a general appetite to undermine security features that are designed to provide the public at large with privacy and safety when using smartphones and other devices. Despite the prime minister’s statements to the contrary, these policies can’t help but force technology companies to build backdoors into, or otherwise weaken or undermine, encrypted messaging services and the security of the hardware itself. While the government tries to bypass encryption, spyware technologies already rely on the inherent weaknesses of our digital ecosystem. This is a secretive, lucrative and unregulated industry with serious potential for abuse. The ConversationThere needs to be more transparency, oversight and strong steps toward developing a robust framework of accountability for both the government and private spyware companies. Monique Mann, Lecturer, School of Justice, Researcher at the Crime and Justice Research Centre and Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Group, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology; Adam Molnar, Lecturer in Criminology, Deakin University; and Ian Warren, Senior Lecturer, Criminology, Deakin University. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Spyware merchants: the risks of outsourcing government hacking [post_excerpt] => The distribution of commercial spyware to government agencies appears to be common practice in Australia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => spyware-merchants-risks-outsourcing-government-hacking [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-25 12:20:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-25 02:20:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27681 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27883 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-22 08:13:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 22:13:46 [post_content] => The Australian and Victorian Governments are committing significant funds to connect the Port of Melbourne to major freight hubs using the existing rail network, but container operators are warning that the success or otherwise of the concept is in the detail. Governments come up with the money Expressions of interest will soon to be sought to deliver a series of rail freight ‘shuttle’ initiatives on the existing rail network by connecting the port to major freight hubs and businesses. Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the proposal would take advantage of rail’s ability to shift larger volumes of freight than trucks. “[We] are seeing a boom in exports, which has led to trucks taking more produce and freight to the ports. This project will provide the ability to shift larger volumes of freight via rail compared to trucks, and reduce congestion on our roads,” Mr Chester said. “The freight and logistics industry had identified rail’s potential to reduce transport costs by about 10 per cent, with the proposal potentially improving Australia’s competitiveness.” Victorian Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Ports Luke Donnellan said the initiative will take trucks off local roads in Melbourne’s inner west. “The Port of Melbourne will remain our primary freight hub for a generation. With container numbers expected to double over the next two decades we need to act now to share the load between road and rail. “Alongside the West Gate Tunnel, 24-hour truck bans in the inner west and the Port’s rail access plans, this project will help shift containers from residential streets onto dedicated routes to the port.” The Australian Government has committed $38 million and the Victorian Government will provide $20 million to the initiative. Funding will be available to upgrade rail connections and improve terminal access. The devil’s in the detail The largest conglomeration of container transporters in Victoria the Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) has welcomed the recommitment of $58 million in funding by the State and Federal Governments towards port rail shuttle services in the Port of Melbourne, but has warned that there is ‘much to do’ to make metropolitan rail freight services commercially viable. “There is no doubt that moving more containerised freight to and from the Port of Melbourne and metropolitan intermodal terminals must be part of the future for Australia’s largest container freight port,” CTAA director Neil Chambers said. “To date, however, next to no containers move to and from metropolitan areas and the port due to the lack of adequate rail infrastructure and the added costs of using rail for intermodal movements. “The optimal landside movement of an import container once discharged from a ship involves around six “lifts” if delivered direct from wharf to customer then direct to the empty container depot for de-hire by road.” “This number of ‘lifts’ rises with the current situation where many containers are ‘staged’ through transport yards to take account of the mismatch of operating hours and other logistics management reasons, both the full container as well as the empty. This can increase the number of ‘lifts’ to as many as ten. “However, unless we can achieve true ‘on-dock’ rail operations to remove the need for the last-mile movement of the containers within the Port to be undertaken by truck or some other form of transfer vehicle, the number of ‘lifts’ for a typical intermodal operation would be twelve or more. “Every time you touch the container it costs money, and the current lack of rail integration is the killer from a competition point of view. “Truly viable intermodal terminals in Australia and overseas also provide the value-added services in situ that reduce local freight journeys and strip out costs for the cargo owner. This is what we need to aspire to through strategically located intermodal terminals in Melbourne’s west, north and south-east. “It’s important, therefore, that the Port of Melbourne complete its rail strategy development in a timely manner, that the state’s overall freight strategy is refreshed, and the national freight strategy finalised, to ensure that intermodal rail operations are considered as a complete system, not just a series of disjointed nodes with no adequate integrated port connections and infrastructure “I think we need to be cautious that the community isn’t given the impression that rail intermodal operations will be a panacea to the removal of trucks from our roads,” Mr Chambers said. “That won’t be the case, because even if we get this right, which we all hope we will, the future still involves thousands of truck movements to and from the port, as well as to and from intermodal terminals for final delivery to the end user. “We need integrated planning that enhances and protects the future viability of road and rail freight, reduces community amenity impacts where possible, but doesn’t harm freight productivity and cost competitiveness.”   [post_title] => Will Melbourne’s port shuttle work? [post_excerpt] => Governments are committing millions to connect the Port of Melbourne to major freight hubs, but operators are warning of more work needed. 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