The Outback Telegraph proposes to switch on public Wi-Fi in many of Queensland’s remote areas.
WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [category_name] => tourism ) [query_vars] => Array ( [category_name] => tourism [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] => 19457 [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 (  => tourism ) [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 (  => tourism ) [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] => 19457 [name] => Tourism [slug] => tourism [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 19452 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 57 [filter] => raw [cat_ID] => 19457 [category_count] => 57 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Tourism [category_nicename] => tourism [category_parent] => 0 ) [queried_object_id] => 19457 [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 (19452) 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] => 27795 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-10 14:06:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-10 04:06:18 [post_content] => The Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) in July produced the Smart Central Western Queensland: A Digitally Enabled Community Strategic Plan. As part of that plan, the councils proposed an Outback Telegraph, which involves the mayors of seven Central West Queensland councils, the RAPAD members. Outback Telegraph proposes to switch on public Wi-Fi in these remote areas. The plan is to roll-out free Wi-Fi by this group of councils - covering one-fifth of the state - to boost visitor numbers and business through technology. The first stage of the Outback Telegraph has been switched on by Winton Shire Council, with the smart tourism pilot a first for Queensland. When the network gets up and running it will be – in total council area – the biggest single public Wi-Fi network in Australia. The Queensland Government contributed $15,000 to jumpstart the pilot, and Winton Shire Council is also pitching in. RAPAD will fund the extension of the Outback Telegraph smart tourism platform to all key centres in the region, reaching some of the most remote communities in the state. Queensland Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said: “This is about driving opportunities and using the power of digital connectivity to tell the world about outback Queensland. “Providing more opportunities to go online and do research on-the-go and share pictures and stories will be good for tourists and trade in small rural towns. I congratulate Winton Shire Council for taking the ground-breaking steps to provide free public Wi-Fi in the outback, and government officers in Rockhampton and Brisbane who worked with councils to make it happen.” RAPAD board member and Mayor of Barcoo Shire Council, Bruce Scott said the next stage of the regional Wi-Fi network will add more locations, including Longreach, Barcaldine and Windorah. “A single sign-on for the Central West means visitors won’t have to re-enter their details as they move around, making it much more convenient to stay connected during their travels,” he said. “This is the first step towards making the Central West a smart region, where technology supports important local industries like tourism, and makes our communities better connected and more liveable.” Winton Mayor Cr Butch Lenton acknowledged the pulling power of public Wi-Fi. “It will be a magnet to people with mobile devices who are a long way from their family and friends and travelling around the countryside,” he said. “Connectivity is essential to running businesses in rural Queensland, and for travellers, and I’m proud our council is pioneering a terrific project that is crossing new boundaries.” Visitors will be able to connect to the network through the Outback Telegraph app, which will be available from Google and Apple in coming days. The mobile app can also interact with smart beacons placed around town, allowing the user to access additional information about local businesses, receive a coupon or special offer; and guide them on discovery walks. Mayor Lenton said Winton Shire Council is collecting tourism statistics from the free Wi-Fi to show how visitors are moving through the region and where they are and are not stopping. “We can build stronger businesses with this data. Winton has a rich history that includes the Great Shearers’ Strike, Banjo Patterson’s Waltzing Matilda, Qantas, and a dinosaur stampede, and also opal fields and a wide variety of animals and bird life in the area," he said. “Free Wi-Fi can help us share our stories, history and visitor experiences on social channels to entice more tourists and encourage them to stay longer once they’re here,” he said. The Outback Telegraph will be showcased at this week’s Bush Councils Convention in Charters Towers, with RAPAD also hoping to hold an upcoming ‘hacking’ event for the Central West to come up with ideas leveraging the regional Wi-Fi, app and beacons. [post_title] => RAPAD to deliver WiFi to outback councils [post_excerpt] => The Outback Telegraph proposes to switch on public Wi-Fi in many of Queensland's remote areas. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rapad-deliver-wifi-outback-councils [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 12:05:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 02:05:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27795 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27757 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-03 19:42:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-03 09:42:31 [post_content] => The popular idea that the economic divide between Australia’s cities and regions is getting bigger is a misconception, according to new Grattan Institute research. The working paper Regional patterns of Australia’s economy and population shows that beneath the oft-told ‘tale of two Australias’ is a more nuanced story. Income growth and employment rates are not obviously worse in regional areas. Cities and regions both have pockets of disadvantage, as well as areas with healthy income growth and low unemployment. And while cities have higher average incomes, the gap in incomes between the cities and the regions is not getting wider. Grattan Institute CEO John Daley said the research casts doubt on the idea that regional Australians are increasingly voting for minor parties because the regions are getting a raw deal compared to the cities. “Given that people in regions have generally fared as well as those in cities over the past decade, major parties may need to look beyond income and employment to discover why dissatisfaction among regional voters is increasing,” he says. The paper shows that the highest taxable incomes in Australia are in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, followed by Cottesloe in Perth and Stonnington in eastern Melbourne. The lowest taxable incomes are in Tasmania and the regions of the east-coast states, especially the far north coast of NSW, central Victoria and southern Queensland. But income growth in the regions has kept pace with income growth in the cities over the past decade. The lowest income growth was typically in suburban areas of major cities. While unemployment varies between regions, it is not noticeably worse in the regions overall. Some of the biggest increases in unemployment over the past five years were along transport ‘spines’ in cities, such as the Ipswich to Carole Park corridor in Brisbane and the Dandenong to Pakenham corridor in Melbourne. The biggest difference between regions and cities is that inland regional populations are generally growing slower – particularly in non-mining states. Cities are attracting many more migrants, particularly from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The east coast ‘sea change’ towns are also getting larger, but unemployment is relatively high. The research will contribute to a forthcoming Grattan Institute report examining why the vote for minor parties has risen rapidly over the past decade, particularly in regional electorates. Read the full report here. [post_title] => City-country divide: not as wide as you may think [post_excerpt] => That the economic divide between Australia’s cities and regions is getting bigger is a misconception. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => city-country-divide-not-wide-may-think [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-03 19:47:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-03 09:47:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27757 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 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.
- 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.
Build on individual strengthsThe Regional Australia Institute’s latest work confirms that city population size does not determine economic performance. There is no significant statistical difference between the economic performance of Australia’s big five metro cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide) and its 31 regional cities in historical output, productivity and participation rates. So, regional cities are as well positioned to create investment returns as their big five metro cousins. The same rules apply – investment that builds on existing city strengths and capabilities will produce returns. No two cities have the same strengths and capabilities. However, regional cities do fall into four economic performance groups – gaining, expanding, slipping, and slow and steady. This helps define the investment focus they might require. For example, the report finds Fraser Coast (Hervey Bay), Sunshine Coast-Noosa and Gold Coast are gaining cities. Their progress is fuelled by high population growth rates (around 2.7% annually from 2001 to 2013). But stimulating local businesses will deliver big job growth opportunities. Similarly, the expanding cities of Cairns, Central Coast and Toowoomba are forecast to have annual output growth of 3.2% to 3.9% until 2031, building on strong foundations of business entries. But they need to create more high-income jobs. Geelong and Ballarat have low annual population growth rates of around 1.2% to 1.5%. They are classified as slow and steady cities. But their relatively high creative industries scores, coupled with robust rates of business entries, means they have great foundations for growth. They need to stimulate local businesses to deliver city growth.
Get ready to dealRegional cities remain great places to live. They often score more highly than larger cities on measures of wellbeing and social connection. But if there’s no shared vision, or local leaders can’t get along well enough to back a shared set of priorities, or debate is dominated by opinion in spite of evidence, local politics may win the day. Negotiations to secure substantial city investment will then likely fail. The federal government’s Smart Cities Plan has identified City Deals as the vehicle for investment in regional cities. This collaborative, cross-portfolio, cross-jurisdictional investment mechanism needs all players working together (federal, state and local government), along with community, university and private sector partners. This leaves no place for dominant single interests at the table. Clearly, the most organised regional cities ready to deal are those capable of getting collaborative regional leadership and strategic planning. For example, the G21 region in Victoria (including Greater Geelong, Queenscliffe, Surf Coast, Colac Otway and Golden Plains) has well-established credentials in this area. This has enabled the region to move quickly on City Deal negotiations.
Moving past talk to be investment-readyThere’s $378 billion on the table, but Australia’s capacity to harness it will depend on achieving two key goals.
- First, shifting the entrenched view that the smart money invests only in our big metro cities. This is wrong. Regional cities are just as well positioned to create investment returns as the big five metro centres.
- Second, regions need to get “investment-ready” for success. This means they need to be able to collaborate well enough to develop an informed set of shared priorities for investment, supported by evidence and linked to a clear growth strategy that builds on existing economic strengths and capabilities. They need to demonstrate their capacity to deliver.
You can explore the data and compare the 31 regional cities using the RAI’s interactive data visualisation tool. Leonie Pearson, Adjunct Associate, University of Canberra This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Bust the regional city myths and look beyond the 'big 5' for a $378b return [post_excerpt] => Investing in regional cities’ economic performance makes good sense, writes Leonie Pearson. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27533 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-04 11:08:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-04 01:08:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27533 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27492 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-28 17:04:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-28 07:04:46 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27493" align="alignnone" width="215"] Image courtesy of the Australian Marine Conservation Society.[/caption] Comment - Charles Pauka Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles was chuffed to welcome a Deloitte Access Economics report identifying the social, economic and iconic asset value of the Great Barrier Reef at $56 billion. “This highly anticipated report confirms the outstanding value of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Miles said. “But it could be even higher as the research did not seek to place a financial value on the tremendous biodiversity and the natural wonder value on a global scale. “It also confirms the Palaszczuk Government’s record investment in improving Great Barrier Reef water quality is justified, with two-thirds of people surveyed willing to pay for its continued existence and protection.” Which is where the problem lies: the Palaszczuk Government is also dead-keen on the Adani Carmichael mega-coalmine going ahead, which is widely predicted to further wreck the reef. [caption id="attachment_27494" align="alignnone" width="300"] Is this the handshake that will kill the reef?[/caption] Steven Miles continued: “The Great Barrier Reef is incredibly precious to all Australians, and the international community - and this report confirms that. “We have committed $175 million over five years, plus a boost of an additional $100 million for improved reef water quality outcomes. “This means we are investing more than $63 million in 2017-2018, which is almost double the annual funding provided by previous governments.” The Minister said the research showed the Great Barrier Reef contributed $6.4 billion in terms of the value added to the economy and over 64,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2015-2016. 64,000 vs. 1,400 So how many jobs would Adani’s supposedly $16.5bn mine contribute? The most optimistic estimates so far have topped out at 10,000 jobs, but more likely in the 1,400-range. “The government promised to focus on job creation and this report demonstrates the Great Barrier Reef is critical to supporting jobs in Australia. “The report also rightly identifies an opportunity and need for action on a universal level to protect the reef. “As the report clearly recognises, protecting the Great Barrier Reef is not only an Australian or international priority – it is a human one.” I just wonder if Mr Miles has spoken to his Premier about that? Because the two – a healthy coral reef and a mega-coalmine – may not be able to co-exist. “The Great Barrier Reef and other World Heritage reefs are in grave danger from climate change, mainly driven by the burning of coal. Incredibly, almost half of all shallow water corals in the Great Barrier Reef died in the last two years due to a massive underwater heatwave,” said Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) spokesperson Imogen Zethoven. “Yet the Australian [and Queensland] governments appear hell-bent on making the problem worse by pushing ahead with Adani’s monstrous coal mine, talking up a coal-fired power station next to the Great Barrier Reef. “The [two governments are] not only placing our Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on it at grave risk: [they are] endangering the future of World Heritage coral reefs around the world. These places are the crown jewels of our global ocean. They belong to the world community. “In the face of so much loss of coral over the last three years, it defies belief that [they are] ignoring this global tragedy," Ms Zethoven said. [caption id="attachment_27495" align="alignnone" width="300"] Sediment-laden water flowed from Adani's Abbot Point facility into the Caley Valley wetland recently.[/caption] [post_title] => Coal or coral? The Queensland Government seems undecided [post_excerpt] => The Great Barrier Reef is worth $56bn, according to Deloitte Access Economics. How does Adani's Carmichael coalmine fit into it? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => coal-coral-queensland-government-undecided [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-30 11:39:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-30 01:39:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27492 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26941 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-19 13:25:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-19 03:25:40 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_26943" align="alignnone" width="522"] Will the NSW government wind back recommendations allowing Airbnb?[/caption] NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean is gearing up to present the state government’s response to the hot button issue of short-term holiday letting on online platforms like Airbnb and Stayz. Mr Kean’s announcement, with some details expected by 5pm today (Wednesday), will form the government’s response to a NSW Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment and Planning report into short-term holiday letting, released in October 2016. The report recommended the NSW government adopt a light regulatory touch to short-term rentals and said restrictions should be eased so that home owners could rent out a room – or their entire house – without being fined by local councils for failing to lodge a development application for change of use. The report, which examined how the sector should be legally regulated, split home owners and renters, cheered retailers and restaurateurs and horrified hoteliers, owner corporations and strata residents. Local councils will also be closely scrutinising the NSW government’s position and hoping for clarity and guidance on how they should regulate the sharing economy through the planning policies they apply in their own backyards. This came up in last year’s committee report, which recommended a concrete definition of short-term rental accommodation (STRA) to help local government, for example specifying the number of bedrooms that could be occupied or the number of days a property was rented in one year. The committee also recommended giving NSW councils more detail around planning regulations and how to apply these to STRA. Another suggestion was that the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) on exempt and complying development be amended to permit STRA and make the process quicker and easier. Local councils has responded quite differently to Airbnb depending on their location. Some NSW coastal councils, such as Gosford, Pittwater, Shoalhaven and Kiama have welcomed Airbnb but others like Byron Shire Council have battled with an onslaught of partygoers, while rising house prices lock locals out of the market. Meanwhile, many metropolitan Sydney councils, such as City of Sydney and Randwick have demanded planning permission for short-term accommodation as complaints from residents grow. Although the inquiry recommended greenlighting Airbnb and sweeping away penalties, Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), the peak body for the hotel industry, is tentatively predicting that the Minister will be more circumspect. A TAA spokesman said that while the NSW government was unlikely to follow the lead of cities like New York, Berlin or San Francisco and ban Airbnb lets that were not owner-occupied, it was hopeful that some safeguards would be in place to protect residents from city apartment blocks being turned into 'quasi hotels'. “It has been hard to ignore the millions of dollars that Airbnb has poured into ads and MP’s ‘advocacy’ over the past few months but we are confident the NSW government will be able to differentiate between genuine 'sharing' and the commercial exploitation of the new online platforms,” he said. There is a possibility that the government will establish a committee to examine the more contentious aspects of short-term rentals. TAA CEO Carol Giuseppi said in her response to the original inquiry that TAA did not oppose genuine sharing, where the owner was present during the stay, but that figures from Inside Airbnb had shown this was not the majority of cases. Inside Airbnb reported that 61 per cent of Sydney listings were for whole houses or apartments and that 39 per cent of these were available for 365 days a year, a sign they were effectively functioning as commercial businesses. Almost one-third were listings for multiple properties. “Our biggest concern is that city apartments will be turned into quasi-hotels, which has already taken place though in a number of cases residents have gone to court to force commercial operators out,” said the spokesman. “The concern is the NSW government could make it harder for residents to keep Airbnb out, thereby wrecking their community and going against all the rules that were originally in place to keep the apartments for residents only.” Instead, the TAA wants to outlaw those short-term lets that are obviously commercial and for councils to be given stringent powers to enforce the rules. It is also hoping that the state government will limit the number of days accommodation can be let out in a year. The TAA believes that operators like Airbnb should be accountable for properties being compliant, in order to protect the safety of renters and other residents from nuisance. [post_title] => NSW government’s response to Airbnb report imminent [post_excerpt] => Tourism accommodation body predicts a climb down. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26941 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-21 11:16:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:16:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26941 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26196 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-02-08 16:44:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-08 05:44:30 [post_content] => Melbourne Crown Casino The Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) released a report today (Tuesday) slamming the state’s alcohol and gambling regulator for being too weak, divided and disorganised to address problem drinking and gambling and for being too soft on Melbourne's Crown Casino. Auditor-General Andrew Greaves gave the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) an emphatic thumbs down across a number of key issues in his report and said a big shake up of the organisation and its work was needed. What emerges is a picture of an agency which has dropped the ball on problem alcohol and gambling in Victoria; one which has put quotas, convenience and box ticking ahead of genuinely trying to head off high risk situations. He criticised the agency for failing to clamp down on rogue venues that supplied alcohol to minors and drunk people and venues that allowed both groups to gamble. The report said the Commission’s management approach and culture meant it employed “superficial inspection activities” and focused on meeting quotas rather than pursuing harm minimisation. There are signs too that criminal elements have been given too much freedom inside Melbourne Casino, the only Victorian venue that provides gambling and alcohol round-the-clock and the holder of 13 liquor licenses. Mr Greaves said the Commission’s compliance division had “not applied a level of focus on the casino that reflects its status and risk as the largest gaming venue in the state” and its approach had been patchy, at best. He said the Commission had “not paid sufficient attention’ to problem areas like barring people who had been excluded by police or keeping an eye on money laundering and problem gambling. Melbourne's Crown Casino was the subject of court judgements on Chinese money laundering at the end of last year, activities which involved regular large buy-ins and cash-outs of chips. Players lost more than $1.8 billion at the casino in 2015–16. Other criticisms of the VCGLR included:
- Licensing applications not thoroughly assessed before being approved. In some cases licenses were granted where applicants had hidden the truth about their past criminal convictions and associates
- Allocating resources to compliance activities inflexibly and based on factors other than risk
- Inadequate guidance and training for inspectors
- Unreliable data about liquor and gambling inspections
- Building VCGLR's leadership capacity
- Having a specialist team to monitor the Melbourne Crown Casino
- Addressing serious systemic gaps in the compliance division
- Seeking additional budget to establish a presence in regional Victoria
- Reviewing and updating people and culture policies and practices
- Working better with other regulatory and enforcement bodies such as Victoria Police.
That the economic divide between Australia’s cities and regions is getting bigger is a misconception.
Minister Dutton has assured those in the supply chain that the current work agenda would be maintained under the Home Affairs department.
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Business owners must prepare for the ban on excessive payment surcharges.
Investing in regional cities’ economic performance makes good sense, writes Leonie Pearson.
The Great Barrier Reef is worth $56bn, according to Deloitte Access Economics. How does Adani’s Carmichael coalmine fit into it?
Tourism accommodation body predicts a climb down.
Attorney-General speaks out.
New galleries, children’s learning centre.
Fair Work Commission decides.