Governments are committing millions to connect the Port of Melbourne to major freight hubs, but operators are warning of more work needed.
WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [category_name] => sector/state-government ) [query_vars] => Array ( [category_name] => state-government [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [name] => [static] => [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [tag] => [cat] => 25 [tag_id] => [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( ) [category__not_in] => Array (  => 22371 ) [category__and] => Array ( ) [post__in] => Array ( ) [post__not_in] => Array ( ) [post_name__in] => Array ( ) [tag__in] => Array ( ) [tag__not_in] => Array ( ) [tag__and] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__in] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__and] => Array ( ) [post_parent__in] => Array ( ) [post_parent__not_in] => Array ( ) [author__in] => Array ( ) [author__not_in] => Array ( ) [ignore_sticky_posts] => [suppress_filters] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [post_type] => [posts_per_page] => 14 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => [order] => DESC ) [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object ( [queries] => Array (  => Array ( [taxonomy] => category [terms] => Array (  => state-government ) [field] => slug [operator] => IN [include_children] => 1 )  => Array ( [taxonomy] => category [terms] => Array (  => 22371 ) [field] => term_id [operator] => NOT IN [include_children] => ) ) [relation] => AND [table_aliases:protected] => Array (  => wp_term_relationships ) [queried_terms] => Array ( [category] => Array ( [terms] => Array (  => state-government ) [field] => slug ) ) [primary_table] => wp_posts [primary_id_column] => ID ) [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [clauses:protected] => Array ( ) [has_or_relation:protected] => ) [date_query] => [queried_object] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 25 [name] => State [slug] => state-government [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 25 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 8229 [count] => 1504 [filter] => raw [cat_ID] => 25 [category_count] => 1504 [category_description] => [cat_name] => State [category_nicename] => state-government [category_parent] => 8229 ) [queried_object_id] => 25 [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1 AND ( wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (25) AND wp_posts.ID NOT IN ( SELECT object_id FROM wp_term_relationships WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (22364) ) ) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 14 [posts] => Array (  => 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. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => melbournes-port-shuttle-go-ahead-will-work [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-22 10:22:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-22 00:22:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27883 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27873 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-21 14:53:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 04:53:05 [post_content] => Whilst a number of licences are already available in electronic (digital) versions in NSW, the drivers’ licence is set to become digital in 2019. Digital drivers’ licence trial to begin in November The NSW Government is preparing to launch testing of the digital drivers’ licence technology in Dubbo in November. Dubbo residents who participate in the trial will be able to use their digital driver licence, accessible on a mobile phone, for proof of identity and proof of age to gain entry into pubs and clubs as well for roadside Police checks. NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said: “This trial is the first of its kind in Australia and will allow Dubbo motorists to use their digital driver licence in everyday scenarios with Police and selected licenced establishments. “The trial will draw on the learnings from the successful roll-out of digital RSA/RCG, boat and fishing licences over the past two years. Today we are a step closer to fulfilling an election commitment of delivering a digital driver licence by 2019.” Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said: “A person’s driver licence is an important proof of identity document. This trial is an opportunity to demonstrate the additional levels of identity security and increased protection against identity fraud that a digital licence provides compared to a physical one,” Mrs Pavey said. The digital licence requires motorists to install the trial app, register a MyServiceNSW account, and add their NSW driver licence details. Other licences now available in digital form The recent launch of the digital licence platform means residents can now access three NSW government licences and permits digitally using their mobile phone or tablet. The first licences to become available were:
- Recreational Fishing Fee.
- Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Competency Card.
- Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) Competency Card.
- Multiple disjointed information systems and manual data collection.
- Not universally using a program that collects data on patient outcomes for benchmarking and quality improvement.
- [That the Minister for Education] Amend Ministerial Order 625 to ensure that a principal cannot expel a student aged eight years old or less from any government school without the approval of the Secretary or her delegate and consider any additional changes to the Order necessary to give effect to the recommendations that follow.
- [That the Department of Education] Embed the principle and expectation in policy or guidance that no student of compulsory school age will be excluded from the government school system (even if expelled from an individual government school).
- The community member, to be selected by the council, will represent the geographical area within the LGA of the proposed development, to provide local perspective.
- IHAP members, who will be chosen by councils from a pool managed by the Department of Planning and Environment, will have to be expert in one or more of the following fields: planning, architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism, or government and public administration.
- The chairperson must also have expertise in law or government and public administration.
- The panel members themselves will be subject to statutory rules such as a compulsory code of conduct and operational procedures for the panels.
At least developers have been excluded: LaborThe NSW Labor Opposition says it has secured vital amendments to the new law, ensuring developers and real estate agents are unable to sit on new planning panels that will determine major development proposals. Labor’s amendments, which it says were unanimously agreed to by the government and the crossbench, ensure that developers, real estate agents, and serving councillors cannot sit on any local planning panel. Decisions will also be made publicly available. They also guarantee that members of the local planning panels will be scrutinised by ICAC, much like MPs and councillors are. Labor has been calling for developers and real estate agents to be banned altogether from sitting on councils. Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Michael Daley said: “It begs the question: if the Government is happy to admit that developers should not sit on local planning panels, why should they be allowed on councils? “Labor calls on the Government to immediately rectify this issue – before September’s council elections.”
The Council is not happy…Liverpool City Council has expressed its frustration at the decision by the NSW Planning Minister to strip Sydney and Wollongong councils of powers to determine developments over $5 million. “This is a naked power grab by the NSW Government – taking the decision-making authority to shape how our communities grow and develop away from elected representatives,” Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller said. Mayor Waller said Liverpool was one of the first of 15 councils in the Sydney basin to establish an IHAP. Council has used this independent expert advice to improve decision-making on major planning proposals for 20 years. “We have long understood the importance of independent assessment when it comes to planning, but Council always had the option to bring matters of significant public interest back into the hands of elected representatives,” Mayor Waller said. “We had the checks and balances in place and they were working well. “The only thing this power grab by the State Government achieves is that it takes decisions further away from the community at the very time when Liverpool is growing fast and residents need to have a stake in this rapid expansion.
… but developers areThe announcement by the NSW Government that independent planning panels will determine all development applications with a value of between more than $5 million but less than $30 million in value in Sydney and Wollongong will streamline planning in metropolitan Sydney, said the developers’ union the Urban Taskforce. “The announcement that all local councils in Sydney and Wollongong must establish independent planning panels will make the planning process much more efficient,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson “The role of the elected councillors is in setting the strategic planning framework and the assessment of compliance with the framework is best undertaken by experts in the field.” “The Urban Taskforce agrees with the Minister that mandating the Independent Planning and Assessment Panels (IHAP) will ensure a level playing field for everyone. Having a central pool of experts will also ensure effective use of resources and that all panel members have up to date knowledge of the planning rules.” “The quality of panel members will be important to ensure they are assessing against the rules rather than becoming arbitrators trying to balance community concerns with the viability of the applicant’s proposal. Panel members must be supportive of growth that complies with the strategic plans approved by council or the state government. Having one member of the 4-person panel from the local area ensures an understanding of local issues.” [post_title] => Councils lose development control [post_excerpt] => IHAP are now mandatory for all councils in Greater Sydney and Wollongong. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => councils-lose-development-control [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 12:55:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 02:55:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27800 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27798 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-10 15:36:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-10 05:36:04 [post_content] => The NSW Government has voted down Labor legislation that would decriminalise cannabis possession. The proposed legislation was to ensure that sufferers of terminal and serious medical conditions who rely on medicinal cannabis to ease their pain, would no longer be treated as criminals. The legislation would also create the mechanism to create a safe and lawful supply chain of product, to make access a practical reality for sufferers. The legislation sought to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of cannabis (up to 15 grams) for treatment of chronic and serious medical conditions for medically certified sufferers and their carers, requiring them to receive photo identification and medical certification from NSW Health in order to possess medicinal cannabis. These amounts could be adjusted by regulation, according to medical treatment need. Currently, people who purchase cannabis to alleviate the pain and distress associated with chronic and terminal illnesses face criminal penalties under the Crimes Act (1900). The proposed legislation adopted the key recommendations from a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, which received unanimous support from five political parties including NSW Labor, Liberal Party, National Party, the Greens and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. "The unanimous recommendations of the Parliamentary inquiry were delivered in 2013,” said Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council Adam Searle. “Labor has always been ready, willing and able to work with the NSW Government to make access to medicinal cannabis a reality.” “Those who are suffering from terminal and serious medical conditions deserve sympathy and support- and they should not be treated like a criminal for seeking respite from relentless and unwavering illness,” said Opposition Leader Luke Foley. “It is deeply disappointing that the Government has denied legislation that will restore dignity to those people seeking temporary relief from the pain and suffering of their affliction.” A number of other states have already legalised medicinal cannabis use (including Victoria and the ACT), and at one point NSW was expected to overtake Victoria with the legislation. Illnesses that would be taken to be terminal or serious medical conditions:
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV);
- motor neurone disease;
- multiple sclerosis;
- the neurological disorder known as stiff person syndrome;
- severe and treatment-resistant nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy;
- pain associated with cancer;
- neuropathic pain;
- an illness or condition declared by the regulations to be a terminal or serious medical condition.
"… the criminalisation of homelessness is deeply concerning and violates international human rights law."As the special rapporteur highlighted, homelessness is already “a gross violation of the right to adequate housing”. To further discriminate against people rendered homeless by systemic injustice is prohibited under international human rights law.
Further reading: Ban on sleeping rough does nothing to fix the problems of homelessness
Real problem is lack of affordable housingIn contrast to her Melbourne counterpart, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore had been adopting a more human-rights-based approach to resolving the challenges presented by the Martin Place camp. After negotiating with camp organisers, Moore made it clear her council would not disperse the camp until permanent housing was found for all of the residents. As she pointed out:
"You can’t solve homelessness without housing — what we urgently need is more affordable housing and we urgently need the New South Wales government to step up and do their bit."It’s no secret that housing affordability in both Sydney and Melbourne has reached crisis point. And homelessness is an inevitable consequence of this. But we have seen little real action from government to resolve these issues. The NSW government has been offering people temporary crisis accommodation or accommodation on the outskirts of the city. This leaves them isolated from community and without access to services. In contrast, these inner-city camps don’t just provide shelter, food, safety and community; they also send a powerful political message to government that it must act to resolve the housing affordability crisis. Having established well-defined rules of conduct, a pool of shared resources and access to free shelter and food, the Martin Place camp can be seen as part of the commons movement. This movement seeks to create alternative models of social organisation to challenge the prevailing market-centric approaches imposed by neoliberalism and to reclaim the Right to the City.
Further reading: Suburbanising the centre: the government’s anti-urban agenda for Sydney
We should be uncomfortableIt is not surprising that right-wing pundits have described these camps as “eyesores” or that they make NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian “completely uncomfortable”. The breach of human rights these camps represent, and the challenge they pose to the current system, should make people uncomfortable. Unlike most comparable nations, Australia has very limited legal protections for human rights. In this context, actions like the Martin Place and Flinders Street camps are one of the few options available to victims of systemic injustice to exercise their democratic right to hold government to account. In seeking to sweep this issue under the carpet, both the City of Melbourne and the NSW government are not only further breaching the right to adequate housing, they are also trying to silence political protest. It is clear from Moore’s demands, and the NSW government’s own actions, that the Martin Place camp is working to create pressure for action. What will motivate the government to resolve this crisis once the camps have been dispersed? As Nelson Mandela argued in 1991 at the ANC’s Bill of Rights Conference:
"A simple vote, without food, shelter and health care, is to use first-generation rights as a smokescreen to obscure the deep underlying forces which dehumanise people. It is to create an appearance of equality and justice, while by implication socioeconomic inequality is entrenched. "We do not want freedom without bread, nor do we want bread without freedom. We must provide for all the fundamental rights and freedoms associated with a democratic society."Mandela’s words were hugely relevant to apartheid South Africa, where a ruling elite had established a deeply racist and unjust system that linked political disenfranchisement and material deprivation. But they also resonate today in Australia where inequality is on the rise – driven in large part by disparities in property ownership. Homelessness is a deeply dehumanising force that strips people of access to fundamental rights. The policies that are creating this crisis must be seen as unacceptable breaches of human rights. We need to start asking whether our current economic system is compatible with a truly democratic society. Cristy Clark, Lecturer in Law, Southern Cross University This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Clearing homeless camps will make the problem worse [post_excerpt] => "You can’t solve homelessness without housing." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => clearing-homeless-camps-will-make-problem-worse [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 12:22:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 02:22:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27804 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27784 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-07 13:13:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-07 03:13:10 [post_content] => Parents need a fair and informed choice, writes incoming CEO of Primary Ethics Evan Hannah. Allowing parents to make an informed choice when enrolling their children in NSW public schools is simply a matter of fairness. But in NSW, you cannot enrol your child in ethics classes on the enrolment form, as you can for religious instruction. The burden is on parents to work through the current confusing process before they finally get the chance to access ethics classes for their child. I became involved with ethics education as a volunteer ethics coordinator three years ago at my son’s school in Sydney’s inner west. As an ethics coordinator, I’ve seen that the unfair approach to enrolment into ethics classes continues to frustrate parents and school staff alike. The government has made it as difficult as possible for parents to access ethics classes for their children. It rejected recommendations from an independent report for parents to be provided with better access to information and enrolment opportunities, and it cannot explain why that is fair or reasonable. Quite simply, we just seek equal treatment for all parents. We’ll continue to work with the Department of Education to streamline the enrolment process for both parents and school staff. Who is Primary Ethics? Primary Ethics was established in 2010 at the request of the NSW Government to provide ethics education for children in NSW public schools. From 1,530 students in the first year of classes, Primary Ethics is now taught to more than 36,000 students by 2,500 volunteers in weekly classes at 450 schools across NSW. An ethics program is launched at a new school approximately every 10 days, but the government enrolment policy is a huge impediment to fulfilling the Primary Ethics goal of offering the program to the rest of the estimated 70,000 students who are currently spending one lesson a week in the holding pattern of ‘non-scripture’. The continuing confusion about enrolments obviously affects our growth. We know when one school decides to start Primary Ethics classes, and we train volunteers who then begin teaching, it has a domino effect on nearby schools as awareness grows. Removing the ridiculous block on informed choice would give more NSW children a chance to learn skills to make better decisions. Public support for an ethics-based complement to Special Religious Education (SRE), began in the early 2000s and culminated in an amendment to the NSW Education Act in 2010 to enable Special Education in Ethics (SEE) classes to be delivered alongside religious instruction during the designated timeslot. This was significant, because it was the first time since 1866 that children who did not take scripture could instead take part in an activity of benefit to the child, instead of effectively doing nothing. Until 2010, the Education Act mandated that children who did not attend scripture could not undertake any learning during this timeslot to ensure that children receiving religious instruction did not miss out. Discussion-based ethics classes are facilitated by trained local volunteers using a curriculum written by specialist in philosophy and education, Dr Sue Knight, and reviewed by both an internal committee and the Department of Education. The stage 3 (years 5 & 6) lesson materials were completed in 2011, the first year that the ethics program was rolled out. A new stage-based curriculum was developed each year, and from 2015, the program has been available for delivery across all primary-school stages, from kindergarten to year 6. We now have an excellent, world-first ethics curriculum available free for communities to use to educate their children. And thanks to donations, we are also able to provide recruitment, screening, and free training and support for volunteers willing to be involved in delivering those lessons. Primary Ethics is the sole provider of ethics classes in NSW. The free program is taught by trained volunteers following a curriculum written for various primary school stages, covering years K-6. The curriculum is approved as age-appropriate by the Department of Education. Evan Hannah is a former journalist and news media manager who became CEO of the not-for-profit organisation in July. [post_title] => Schools: we need clarity around the ethics option [post_excerpt] => Parents need a fair and informed choice, writes Evan Hannah. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => schools-need-clarity-around-ethics-option [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-07 20:18:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-07 10:18:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27784 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27766 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-07 11:50:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-07 01:50:50 [post_content] => [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 valueLarge, 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.
Read More: Human embryo CRISPR advances science but let’s focus on ethics, not world firsts
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. Healthcare 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 )  => 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] => 27734 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-01 11:17:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-01 01:17:12 [post_content] => The NSW Government has once again announced that the Powerhouse Museum will be moved from its current Harris Street, Ultimo location to a riverside site in Parramatta, next to the Riverside Theatre, which will undergo unspecified redevelopment and become 50 per cent state-owned. The government has remained stum on what it will do with the current Ultimo site, but it is widely expected to be sold off for unit development. What we know The NSW Government has reached an agreement with Parramatta Council for a massive investment in new cultural infrastructure in Parramatta, which is the first major step in the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Sydney’s west. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “the $140 million agreement laid the foundations for a vibrant arts and cultural precinct in Parramatta and secured the best site for the new Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta. “Today is a major step forward in the NSW Government’s commitment to relocating the Powerhouse Museum to Western Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The relocated Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta will be the anchor for arts and culture for the region, and now the site for the museum is locked in. “The Powerhouse at Parramatta will include the best exhibits currently at Ultimo, and will build on them. The new Powerhouse in Parramatta will be bigger and better than anything this State has seen and will be a drawcard for domestic and international visitors.” The $140 million in-principle agreement will see:
- The NSW Government purchasing the riverfront site for the Powerhouse Museum (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences).
- The City of Parramatta committing $40 million to fund and grow arts and culture in the community over the next 20 years.
- A partnership between the NSW Government and the Council for a $100 million redevelopment of the Riverside Theatre with the State taking a 50 per cent interest in the project.
- Every human life has equal value.
- A person’s autonomy should be respected.
- A person has the right to be supported in making informed decisions about their medical treatment and should be given, in a manner that they understand, information about medical treatment options, including comfort and palliative care.
- Every person approaching the end of life should have access to quality care to minimise their suffering and maximise their quality of life.
- The therapeutic relationship between a person and their health practitioner should, wherever possible, be supported and maintained.
- Open discussions about death and dying and peoples’ preferences and values should be encouraged and promoted.
- Conversations about treatment and care preferences between the health practitioner, a person and their family, carers and community should be supported.
- Providing people with genuine choice must be balanced with the need to safeguard people who might be subject to abuse.
- All people, including health practitioners, have the right to be shown respect for their culture, beliefs, values and personal characteristics.
- be an adult, 18 years and over; and
- be ordinarily resident in Victoria and an Australian citizen or permanent resident; and
- have decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying; and
- be diagnosed with an incurable disease, illness or medical condition, that:
- is advanced, progressive and will cause death; and
- is expected to cause death within weeks or months, but not longer than 12 months; and
- is causing suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner the person deems tolerable.
The NSW drivers’ licence is set to become electronic in 2019, joining three others already available in digital form.
NSW Health has a limited understanding of the quantity and quality of palliative care services across the state.
Expulsion is not the answer, says the Victorian Ombudsman.
The waste fiasco exposed in the Four Corners report will have wide-ranging implications for local governments.
IHAP are now mandatory for all councils in Greater Sydney and Wollongong.
The NSW Government has voted down legislation that would decriminalise cannabis possession.
The Outback Telegraph proposes to switch on public Wi-Fi in many of Queensland’s remote areas.
“You can’t solve homelessness without housing.”
Parents need a fair and informed choice, writes Evan Hannah.
Our healthcare records outlive us. It’s time to decide what happens to the data once we’re gone.
Standing for election, selling off assets… council administrators are in the firing line.
The NSW Government will move the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta.