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                    [post_date] => 2017-08-18 09:53:31
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-17 23:53:31
                    [post_content] => 

The Auditor-General for New South Wales Margaret Crawford has released her report, in which she finds that NSW Health’s approach to planning and evaluating palliative care is not effectively coordinated. There is no overall policy framework for palliative and end-of-life care, nor is there comprehensive monitoring and reporting on services and outcomes.

“NSW Health has a limited understanding of the quantity and quality of palliative care services across the state, which reduces its ability to plan for future demand and the workforce needed to deliver it,” said the Auditor-General. “At the district level, planning is sometimes ad hoc and accountability for performance is unclear.”

Local Health Districts’ ability to plan, deliver and improve their services is hindered by:
  • Multiple disjointed information systems and manual data collection.
  • Not universally using a program that collects data on patient outcomes for benchmarking and quality improvement.
NSW Health should create an integrated policy framework that clearly defines interfaces between palliative and end-of-life care, articulates priorities and objectives and is supported by a performance and reporting framework. NSW Health should improve the collection and use of outcomes data and improve information systems to support palliative care services and provide comprehensive data for service planning. The  Auditor-General made four recommendations that called for the development of an integrated palliative and end-of-life care policy framework; proper data collection on patient outcomes; a state-wide review of systems and reporting for end of life management; and improved stakeholder engagement. Some improvements evident Over the last two years, NSW Health has taken steps to improve its planning and support for Local Health Districts. The NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation has produced an online resource that will assist districts to construct their own, localised models of care. And eHealth, which coordinates information communication technology for the state’s healthcare, aims to integrate and improve information systems. These initiatives should help to address many of the issues now inhibiting integrated service delivery, reporting on activity and outcomes, and planning for the future. NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord welcomed the report, saying it provided a roadmap for the State Government to improve end-of-life care in NSW. “As a prosperous nation, Australia and NSW have the means to ensure that the final years, months and days of elderly people and those with terminal diseases are lived in dignity,” Mr Secord said. “In my view our prosperity brings an obligation to do no less. “We have to recognise that palliative care is a field that will only grow as Australians now have the longest life expectancy in the English-speaking world. “Accordingly, we need a government response that embraces helping people to remain independent in their homes by finding ways to expand home and community care,” Mr Secord said. A full copy of the report is on the Audit Office website.   [post_title] => Palliative care: NSW Health must improve [post_excerpt] => NSW Health has a limited understanding of the quantity and quality of palliative care services across the state. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => palliative-care-nsw-health-must-improve [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-18 10:28:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-18 00:28:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27860 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => 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 ) [2] => 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.
The NSW Government said it will retain an arts and cultural presence at the current Ultimo site following the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta, and is undertaking a business case to determine the future of the site. More info needed The NSW Labor Opposition said the Berejiklian Government has bungled the Powerhouse Museum move from Ultimo to Parramatta at every step of the process – “continually chopping and changing” and providing no detail on the fate of the Ultimo site. Originally, the then Premier Mike Baird said it would cost “$10 million to relocate the Powerhouse” but it has spiralled to a minimum of more than $1 billion. Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Arts Minister Don Harwin have provided no answers for what was going to happen to the Ultimo site and were unable to state the final costs. “Today’s announcement only related to buying the Parramatta land. This also gave rise to even more questions, putting further doubt into the community’s mind on the Government’s ultimate plans for the Ultimo site,” Labor said. “NSW Labor is calling on them to release the business case and detail the scale of the development plans at the Ultimo site.” And Parramatta is stuck with the decision The NSW Government's decision comes just a month before popular council elections are held, which means that councillors elected in September will have to honour the agreement. And the decision to commit to the sale of council assets so close to an election was criticised by at least one community group. "We are highly suspicious of a state government-appointed administrator selling major Parramatta council assets one week short of caretaker mode and six weeks before council elections," Suzette Meade, president of the North Parramatta Residents Action Group told The Sydney Morning Herald.   [post_title] => What will go into the blig black hole in Ultimo? [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government will move the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => will-go-blig-black-hole-ultimo [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-01 11:19:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-01 01:19:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27734 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27724 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-28 12:16:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-28 02:16:20 [post_content] => It has now been a full 24 hours since the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that proposed council mergers before the courts will not proceed, and the original rejoicing and merriment in the streets is being replaced by anger and – well, more uncertainty. “Due to the protracted nature of current legal challenges and the uncertainty this is causing ratepayers, those council amalgamations currently before the courts will not proceed,” the announcement said. “We want to see councils focusing on delivering the best possible services and local infrastructure to their residents. That is why we are drawing a line under this issue today and ending the uncertainty,” the Premier said. The following proposed mergers will not proceed:
  • Burwood, City of Canada Bay and Strathfield Municipal councils
  • Hornsby Shire and Ku-ring-gai councils
  • Hunter’s Hill, Lane Cove and City of Ryde councils
  • Mosman Municipal, North Sydney and Willoughby City councils
  • Randwick City, Waverley and Woollahra Municipal councils
Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton said it was important for local communities to have certainty in the lead up to the September local government elections. “The Government remains committed to reducing duplication, mismanagement and waste by councils so communities benefit from every dollar spent,” Ms Upton said. Naturally, most of the merged councils now want to explore de-merging, and the once who had put up a fight, want to recover their legal costs. And of course the Premier did not, and refuses to, guarantee that the mergers will not be attempted again past the elections. Shadow Minister for Local Government Peter Primrose MLC said: “The justification for forced mergers has been a political fix from day one. The Government must release the KPMG report and stop avoiding scrutiny. “Premier Gladys Berejiklian has failed to rule out forced council amalgamations beyond 2019. As well, the Government must release the secret $400,000 KPMG report used by the former Premier to justify the forced mergers.” NSW Labor is now demanding Premier Berejiklian allow communities in forcibly merged councils to hold referendums to choose whether or not to demerge. Not our fault: developers Whilst developer lobby group Urban Taskforce was keen on the amalgamations, it distanced itself from the NSW Government’s version. “The Urban Taskforce originally proposed a council reform that had a district structure for planning decisions and left local matters to local councils,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson. “The NSW Government’s back down on their version of council reform means the scale of thinking about growth will now be local not regional. The value of larger councils was to move management and planning to a less local and more regional level but it seems the government’s processes were not legally tight and appeals have delayed the process leading to uncertainty for all. “The Urban Taskforce believes that the NSW Government must now play a much stronger role in driving housing supply with councils only focussing on local issues.” “The Urban Taskforce is concerned that today’s back down indicates a less reformist approach by the NSW Government than its previous position. This more cautious approach a year and a half before the next state election could put many important initiatives on hold.” Let’s have some stability The association of Local Government Professionals Australia, NSW welcomed the government’s announcement on council amalgamations, bringing sector stability before September elections. “The uncertainty the amalgamations agenda have brought to the sector have been a huge resource drain on local councils and have distracted the sector from much needed reform to address sector innovation, misconduct in local government, cost shifting, rate pegging and professional development,” said general manager of Hunter’s Hill Council and president of Local Government Professionals Australia, NSW Barry Smith. “We were engaged from the start of the reform process back in late 2011 where the entire local government sector came together to develop real solutions. Regrettably, the focus shifted toward amalgamations, and it is a shame it has taken six years for the State Government to allow all councils to get on with the job of delivering for their community.” The Independent Local Government Review Panel, which first proposed amalgamations, included 64 other recommendations to improve council performance. “Despite sector uncertainty, we have been committed to providing sector wide professional development opportunities, significant council improvement programs and support for councils going through amalgamations. “With this change in policy, we would welcome Minister Upton proactively re-engaging with the sector to ensure that real reform issues raised during the Destination 2036 discussions are dealt with. We must all refocus on supporting innovative council practices and solutions to improve performance, and address critical workforce shortfalls,” chief executive officer Annalisa Haskell said. Back to the courts Without exception, the councils that fought the merger are expected to put in a claim to recover their legal expenses. Additionally, many of the 20 merged councils will seek to de-merge or at least hold plebiscites. And the ones that wanted to merge? Hornsby Shire Council welcomed its proposed merger with Ku-ring-gai, which involved it ceding lucrative rate areas in Epping to Parramatta Council. Parramatta Council happily took these areas while Ku-ring-gai decided to fight, leaving Hornsby in the lurch. [post_title] => Councils: first the clarity, now for the confusion [post_excerpt] => While most councils are rejoicing, the future is still uncertain. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => councils-first-clarity-now-confusion [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-28 12:16:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-28 02:16:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27724 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27608 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-13 22:10:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-13 12:10:05 [post_content] => Hornsby Shire Council has voted to submit a proposal to the NSW Government seeking the return of territory that was lost last year. In May 2016, the NSW Government removed the land south of the M2 Motorway from Hornsby Shire and gave it to the City of Parramatta Council. “We didn’t agree with the loss of that territory,” Hornsby Shire Mayor Steve Russell said. “The government’s declared purpose of its local government reform was to create larger and more financially secure councils, a proposition we agree with in the 21st Century with increasing need for bigger and better facilities." The loss of Epping and other suburbs south of the M2 Motorway has had a severe negative impact on council’s budget, with a reduction of more than $9 million in the recurrent budget surplus. “This is very frustrating, particularly when Hornsby Shire Council was one of the most efficient councils in NSW and an active supporter of the government’s plans for reform. “With Ku-ring-gai Council’s win in court, it is not clear what the government’s position is in regard to continuing with the amalgamation of Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai councils. “We are asking the government to return our lost territory if the amalgamation does not proceed.” An olive branch At this week’s meeting, council also resolved to prepare a second submission that would see a redrawing of the Shire’s southern boundary. It is a compromise proposal that would allow Carlingford to remain in the City of Parramatta and consolidate the Epping town centre in Hornsby Shire. “This proposal would give council added financial security, whilst it would also avoid returning to the situation of having significant town centres managed by multiple councils,” Mayor Russell said. A rebuke of major proportions The Greens, who have been fighting council amalgamations from the outset, see the Liberal-dominated Hornsby Council’s frustrations as the final nail in the coffin of the merger idea. The coalition has lost its last ally in local government, as Hornsby Council delivers a 'stinging rebuke' to the Berejiklian forced amalgamation mess, the Greens said. Liberal-dominated Hornsby Council is the last remaining elected council that supported the Coalition's forced amalgamations. Greens MP and local government spokesperson David Shoebridge said: "Every rat is leaving the Coalition's forced council amalgamations ship and it's well and truly time that Captain Berejiklian scuttled the whole affair. "The Liberal-dominated Hornsby Council had been one of the few elected councils that supported the Coalition's forced amalgamations because they thought they would gobble up Ku-ring-gai. "Now its planned take-over of Ku-ring-gai Council has fallen over, Hornsby Council has turned against the Berejiklian government and is demanding its high-rating land back. "The decision to hand over parts of Epping and Carlingford to Parramatta Council was never about the best interests of those residents, it was designed to deliver money and Liberal votes for a super-sized Parramatta Council. "Treating residents as pawns in the Coalition's politicised boundary changes and forced amalgamations is a very low form of politics that the Greens fundamentally reject. "While there are good democratic and financial reasons to see Hornsby Council restored, it is deeply troubling that the Liberal Council says it wants the decision reversed to get back 'developable assets in the Epping area worth between $50 million to $100 million'" "No Council should be eying off public land solely as a development opportunity. The Greens support restoring Hornsby Council to its former boundaries, but it must be with a promise to keep scarce public land in public hands," Mr Shoebridge said. The council report states: "Council's view is that our ratepayers are likely to judge both the council and the government harshly if council seeks a rate variation to recover a significant portion of the lost revenue.  "The NSW Government's execution of its local government reform agenda has to date comprehensively failed the residents and ratepayers of Hornsby Shire.  "The matter has been made worse by the NSW Government's subsequent inaction and apparent indecisions.  "The council is not even able to carry out something as fundamental as the appointment of a permanent general manager, and has now appointed it's third acting general manager since August 2015.  "No other council in NSW has been subjected to such a significant loss of territory, on top of an amalgamation. The situation is worsened by the fact that the NSW Government never signalled its intention to transfer the area south of the M2 Motorway to Parramatta.  "Since the areas south of the M2 Motorway were removed from Hornsby Shire Council, there have been no formal surveys or other research into the opinions among the local community.  "By the government's action and inaction, it's strongest supporter of local government reform has been left weaker with less scale and capacity than before. And it is the only local government where this has occurred." [post_title] => Give us our land back [post_excerpt] => Hornsby Council resolves to seek the return of its lost territory. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => give-us-land-back [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-13 22:19:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-13 12:19:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27608 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27598 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-12 20:51:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-12 10:51:30 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27599" align="alignnone" width="300"] The grey area shows the area to be relinquished by Shenhua (NSW Government).[/caption] The NSW Government has reached an agreement to protect (some of) the Liverpool Plains by scaling back the section of the Shenhua Watermark Coal exploration licence that encroached on the flat fertile agricultural land of the plains. Minister for Resources Don Harwin said the agreement will see the government refunding around $262 million in exchange for 51.4 per cent of the company’s exploration licence being handed back, originally sold to Shenhua by the previous Labor government. “Any future mining activity will now be restricted to the ridge lands, with a commencement still subject to further management plans and the ongoing monitoring of strict conditions already in place.” Labor is questioning the money NSW Labor is calling on the government to cancel the Shenhua Watermark project altogether, criticising the decision to compensate the company $262 million for 51.4 per cent of their exploration licence, which expired in October 2016. According to the NSW Labor statement, a clause in the exploration license states: “If the licence holder fails to commence substantial development of a mine within eight years of the awarding of the original exploration license… the Minister may cancel any title in place.” NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley said the decision by the Government will inevitably see mining on the fertile Liverpool Plains, and the payment was unnecessary.  “It is outrageous that this government will hand back hundreds of millions of dollars for Shenhua Watermark to continue exploration in Liverpool Plains, after it was already given eight years. The exploration licence needs to be cancelled. “The license holder has not commenced substantial development of a mine, despite receiving an exploration licence almost nine years ago. “Labor is calling on the NSW Government to shut Shenhua Watermark down because the potential impact to the environment is unacceptable.” Shadow Minister for Resources Adam Searle added: “While Shenhua Watermark is free to pursue a new lease, even on a smaller parcel of land, the NSW Government is under no obligation to pay them any money and should not do so – but especially after their exploration license has already expired… This is grotesque corporate welfare when they should be investing in new classrooms and hospitals.” Farmers are not happy, either Liverpool Plains farmers have reacted angrily to the NSW Government’s announcement that it has bought back only half of the coal exploration licence over the Liverpool Plains owned by Shenhua, allowing the company to go ahead with an open-cut coal mine in the midst of NSW’s food bowl. Breeza farmer Andrew Pursehouse, whose property adjoins the proposed Shenhua coal mine, said: “We’ve been betrayed by the NSW Government. If it was serious about protecting farmland, it would have cancelled the coal licence outright and stopped this coal mine. "Carving out areas that Shenhua wasn't going to mine won't change a thing. Anything less than the full cancellation of the Watermark Project will fail to protect the farming systems of the Liverpool Plains. "The community is fully committed to fight this coal mine going ahead no matter what this government decides." National campaigner for Lock the Gate Alliance Phil Laird said: “The NSW Government could have cancelled this licence and banned coal mining on our agricultural land. Instead, they are handing tax-payers’ money to a foreign-owned company and waving them through to mine our food bowl. It beggars belief. “We will support the farming community of the Liverpool Plains to keep this mine out of one of the best agricultural regions in this country. [post_title] => Did the NSW Government have to pay for the coal licence? [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government spent $262m, but did it need to pay even a cent? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-pay-coal-licence [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-12 20:51:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-12 10:51:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27598 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27586 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-11 12:25:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-11 02:25:26 [post_content] => Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet have named NSW Customer Service Commissioner Michael Pratt AM as the new Secretary of the Treasury of NSW and Secretary of NSW Industrial Relations. Ms Berejiklian said Mr Pratt’s experience in senior public sector roles, as well as in the banking and finance sector, made him the right candidate to lead the Treasury. "Michael has the perfect mix of private sector and public service expertise, and he will bring the best of both worlds in leading the Treasury at this exciting and important time for our state,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Michael’s focus as Customer Service Commissioner has been on putting people at the heart of service delivery – one of the NSW Government’s key priorities and something he will be bringing to his new job at Treasury. “I look forward to working with him and the Treasurer on making Treasury an even more outcomes and customer focused agency.” Mr Perrottet said Mr Pratt would continue the important work of reforming the way public finances are managed, ensuring taxpayer funds are spent in ways that make a real difference to people’s lives. “I have worked closely with Michael over recent years, and I know he is passionate about reforming Government so that it works harder than ever for the people of NSW,” Mr Perrottet said. “As Customer Service Commissioner, Michael has revolutionised the way the Government delivers services to citizens, and his widely respected financial acumen and capacity to think outside the box are huge assets to the people of NSW. “The task ahead is formidable – continuing to keep NSW finances in excellent shape and laying the fiscal and economic foundations for the future – and I look forward to working with Michael as we face those challenges.” Mr Pratt’s career in banking and wealth management throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia includes roles as CEO of Consumer and SME Banking, North East Asia, with Standard Chartered Bank, Group Executive of Westpac Consumer & Business Banking, CEO of National Australia Bank in Australia, CEO of Bank of New Zealand and CEO of Bank of Melbourne. Mr Pratt will commence in the role from 1 August. He succeeds outgoing Secretary Rob Whitfield, who announced his resignation in late June. A new Customer Service Commissioner will be announced in the coming months. [post_title] => New NSW Treasury and Industrial Relations Secretary announced [post_excerpt] => Michael Pratt AM is the new NSW Secretary of the Treasury and of Industrial Relations. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-nsw-treasury-industrial-relations-secretary-announced [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-11 12:33:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-11 02:33:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27586 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27546 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-05 15:24:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-05 05:24:04 [post_content] => On 15 May 2017, the NSW Government announced it will open the Inner West and Southwestern suburbs of Sydney public bus services to tender. These services are currently operated by the government-owned State Transit Authority of NSW (STA) under contract to Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and include approximately 223 routes servicing Lidcombe, Strathfield, Burwood, Five Dock, Ashfield, Marrickville, Kogarah, Leichhardt, Newtown, Balmain, Glebe, Pyrmont and the CBD. The government will make existing assets available to the new operator, including depots at Burwood, Kingsgrove, Tempe and Leichardt. The government will also continue to set fares and regulate safety and operational standards. The contracts may go up to ten years before re-tendering is required.  Travelling public not happy: Commuter Day of Action collects hundreds of signatures Bus drivers and campaign volunteers hit bus stops across Sydney, distributing flyers and talking to commuters as part of the ‘Don’t Sell Our Buses Campaign - Day of Action’ in protest of Transport Minister Constance’s plans to privatise Sydney’s buses. RTBU Bus and Tram Secretary Chris Preston said the ‘Commuter Day of Action’ was organised to inform the public about what is about to happen to their bus services and how they can do something about it. “Bus drivers and campaign volunteers hit the busiest bus stops right across the city to let people know that Andrew Constance is selling off their buses. “The ‘Don’t Sell Our Buses’ campaign has had excellent community support at the events we’ve held in Marrickville, Leichhardt and in the city of Sydney. Many of the volunteers out today had attended those meetings.” 120 rail replacement buses promised for North Shore In the meantime, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance promised to spend $49 on more than 120 new buses, extra routes and thousands of added bus services to keep commuters moving during the upgrading of the Epping to Chatswood line in late 2018 ahead of the start of Sydney Metro. During the upgrade, travellers will have access to seven new bus routes that will connect customers to impacted stations every six minutes at peak times, including a dedicated shuttle service to Macquarie University. Whether the new services (and the rest of the Sydney bus network) may later be offered up for private tender is an issue that has not been addressed by the government. [post_title] => NSW Government opens bus privatisation tender [post_excerpt] => Bus drivers continue their campaign against the privatisation of 223 bus services in Sydney. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-opens-bus-privatisation-tender [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-05 15:24:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-05 05:24:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27546 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27524 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-03 20:17:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-03 10:17:02 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27525" align="alignnone" width="300"] Sydney Metro is expected to take a large number of the new apprentices. Barangaroo Station shown.[/caption] The Australian and NSW Governments are to open what they say are Australia’s first one-stop-shop training centres for infrastructure jobs and skills training to meet the demands of Sydney’s infrastructure program, including Sydney Metro and the Western Sydney Airport (Badgery’s Creek). In a joint project between the Australian Government, the NSW Government’s Sydney Metro project, and TAFE NSW’s three infrastructure skills centres in Annandale, Nirimba and Ingleburn, these colleges will engage “industry experienced teachers to train apprentices, trainees and a new generation of workers”. The NSW Government is providing $4.97 million of the total cost of approximately $6 million through TAFE NSW, with a capital grant from the Australian Government of $950,000. This funding will enable a dedicated services provider to operate on-site, as well as secure equipment to support pre-employment training courses. It is not known whether the “dedicated services provider” will be TAFE NSW itself or an outside contractor/s leasing premises from TAFE. NSW Assistant Minister for Skills Adam Marshall said the network of three TAFE NSW campuses delivering specialist training centres would be Australia’s first one-stop infrastructure-focused skills centres. “The three infrastructure skills centres will extend TAFE NSW’s training services to other infrastructure projects and large construction projects such as Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Parramatta Square and the Western Sydney Stadium,” Mr Marshall said. The NSW Infrastructure Skills Centre at Annandale was designed in conjunction with Sydney Metro to address skills and jobs requirements across the project. A majority of Sydney Metro’s workforce will undertake accredited pre-commencement training at the centre, addressing critical skills gaps and support the transferability of skills to workers as well as encourage them to pursue further learning. Tailored pre-employment training will be available to a range of special groups including young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse individuals, and women working in non-traditional roles. Fourteen Indigenous job seekers have already graduated from the centre’s first pre-employment training course, with the majority having been interviewed for jobs on the Sydney Metro project. Many of the successful candidates will also commence training for a Certificate II in Civil Construction to further develop their skills. Sydney Metro anticipates more than 500 entry-level employees will undertake training through the Infrastructure Skills Centre over five years. TAFE NSW will also deliver training to more than 20,000 workers over the next five years through the Infrastructure Skills Centres supporting major construction projects, including Sydney Metro.   [post_title] => TAFE back in favour: governments set up building centres [post_excerpt] => TAFE NSW is to open three dedicated infrastructure skills centres. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => tafe-back-favour-governments-set-building-centres [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-03 20:17:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-03 10:17:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27524 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27520 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-03 13:35:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-03 03:35:18 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27521" align="alignnone" width="300"] Photo: supplied / NSW Government.[/caption] The New South Wales Government has committed to investing $207 million over four years to encourage children to be more active outside school, by offering a $100 rebate for sporting and fitness related costs. NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet announced as part of the budget that the ‘Active Kids Rebate’ will be available for every family with children in school from early next year.  Families will be able to claim the rebate on items such as sport registration and membership costs, as well as swimming lessons. From 2018, parents in NSW will be able to claim up to $100 per school-aged child, per year, as a voucher to reduce the cost of after-school and weekend sport, and active recreation activities. The program is aimed at helping to reduce overweight and obesity rates of children by five per cent over 10 years. These activities could include sports such as:
  • netball,
  • football,
  • basketball,
  • swimming classes or lessons,
  • gymnastics,
  • athletics and others.
Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said the annual rebate would be available for every school child wanting to get involved in community sport and fitness. “We would love to see more young people participating in sport, we know promoting active habits early is a key factor for ensuring a generation of healthy kids and tackling rising obesity rates,” Mr Ayres said. Parents will be able to register online and can take a sports voucher to a registered sports club or provider to receive the rebate. Mr Ayres was especially keen for parents of girls to take up the offer, and called on parents and sporting codes to use the introduction of the Active Kids Rebate to spark a major increase in the participation rate of girls in sport. “Only a third of girls aged between 5-8 years participate in organised sport or fitness outside of school hours, and for females aged between 15-17 years the participation rate is 8% less than the state average.” Further detail about the Active Kids voucher is available on the NSW Office of Sport website https://sport.nsw.gov.au/activekids Active Kids Rebate: join the discussion This Active Kids Rebate will reach approximately 500,000 children annually. The $207 million investment is a great start, but what other options do Government and Local Council have to activate their young community? The National Sports Convention taking place in Melbourne from 20-21 July will be exploring this challenge by bringing together global leaders and Australia-wide case studies.  With over 85 speakers at the convention, a key focus will be on young people and participation. There are international speakers advising strategy such as:
  • Jennie Price, Chief Executive - Sport England. England: Growing Participation in Local Settings.
  • Kate Palmer, Chief Executive Officer - Australian Sports Commission. Australia: Reimagining Sports Policy to Position Australia as the World’s Most Successful Sporting Nation.
  • Peter Miskimmin, Chief Executive Officer - Sport New Zealand. New Zealand: Locally Led Planning and Delivery.
  • Cathy Jo Noble, Executive Director - Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. Canada: A Framework for Recreation.
The program also includes a number of presentations and case studies from city councils including Auckland, Blacktown, Brimbank, Logan and Maribyrnong. More information is available at the convention website: www.nationalsportsconvention.com.au. [post_title] => How will you spend your $100 Active Kids Rebate? [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government's Active Kids Rebate is set to stimulate discussion on sports participation. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => will-spend-100-active-kids-rebate [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-04 11:42:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-04 01:42:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27520 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27302 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-06 05:00:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-05 19:00:58 [post_content] => Who is going to rush to the rescue of renters?   I am a single parent with two school-aged children earning a decent income but around 60 per cent of my pay every month goes on rent; childcare takes a good chunk of the rest. I pay $650 per week for a small two-bedroom flat in an apartment complex in Petersham in Sydney’s Inner West. Ten years’ ago the same apartment was leased for $390 per week. In that time the flat’s value has more than doubled and it is now estimated to be worth around $885,000.   This puts me squarely in the category of Sydney renters paying ‘extremely unaffordable rents’, according to the Rental Affordability Index (RAI), produced by National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics, and well above the definition of households in housing stress, defined as being a household paying more than 30 per cent of income in rent. May figures from the RAI showed that pensioners and working parents have been priced out of the rental market in all metropolitan areas across Australia and that rental affordability dropped over the last quarter in all metropolitan areas, except Perth. For me, it is an unsustainable situation and part of the reason I’m moving back to the UK and to my family this month after 12 years in Australia. But there are thousands of other Sydney and regional NSW renters who are also paying a fair whack of their wages in rent and it appears that there is little help in sight for them. Census 2011 figures show that just over one-quarter of NSW households rent privately and a further 5 per cent rent in social housing. In NSW, 76 per cent of lower-income renter households, that’s those in the bottom 40 per cent of income distribution, were considered to be in rental stress in 2013- 14. National Shelter's and Choice's report Unsettled: Life in Australia's private rental market says that 49 per cent of  renters in metro areas personally pay more than $301 a week rent versus roughly a quarter in regional areas and 42 per cent of renters overall. This rises to 55 per cent for renters in Sydney and Melbourne.  The house price boom has not only hurt first home buyers it has also hurt renters. As more and more middle income earners are priced out of home ownership they swell the ranks of renters and they can often afford to pay higher rents, effectively pushing lower income households further out of the rental market as landlords charge what they can get away with. While the most vulnerable groups are pensioners, single parents, people with disabilities, students and anyone on benefits, single people and couples on low wages or where one partner doesn’t work are also in the firing line. That's a lot of people (and a lot of voters). But the situation is unlikely to be eased by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s housing affordability reforms announced last week, which focused mainly on expanding stamp duty concessions for first home buyers and slugging foreign property investors with higher duties and taxes. Tenants NSW says the NSW government needs to remember renters  Tenants NSW Senior Policy Officer Ned Cutcher is underwhelmed by the NSW measures. "It’s not an increasing affordable housing package, that’s an access to debt package," Mr Cutcher says. “It is disappointing. Clearly there are a lot more people for whom home ownership is more of a dream than an aspiration and they’re doing it tough."  “We would have liked to have seen something more direct tackling the issue of rental affordability [although] the government has left it open to have a look at housing affordability targets.” The government needs to look at what’s driving rising rents and pay more attention to renters, he adds.   Indeed, the new reforms could aggravate the situation for renters as the government steers first home buyers towards new apartments and shifts investors away from them. Instead, he suggests there needs to be a raft of reforms and at least some of these should address negative gearing and capital gains tax discount, perhaps limiting negative gearing to new properties (as the Opposition has suggested) and reducing capital gains tax discounts, hoping to encourage long-term investment. “The combination of negative gearing and capital gains discount encourages investment churn: buying and selling properties because they’re interested in gains rather than yields,” Mr Cutcher says. Changes to negative gearing and capital gains discount would be significant because they could ‘change the way investors consider how and why they’re borrowing large amounts of money and investing in property’. But he cautions: “People [investors] aren’t going to give this up lightly but it isn’t sustainable.” Changing these price signals would enable landlords to continue to make money out of leasing property but could shift their attitudes to viewing rentals less as bricks and mortar that goes up in value and more like somebody’s long-term home. “It’s all about keeping things going the way they [have]been going - helping a few people out on the margins - but if you’re not actually looking at the systems in place, we’re going to be here in another three or four years’ time having the same conversation about stamp duty concessions and first home buyers’ grants. It’s not a very imaginative solution.” He also backs affordable housing targets for new developments to help increase supply and introducing a broad-based land tax to encourage investors to make the most effective use of their land, reducing vacant blocks and ensuring density and development where land is more valuable, for example in employment hubs. He is an advocate for new social housing being built and the government offering more Commonwealth Rental Assistance for those on benefits, especially where it has not kept pace with the private rental market. At a federal level, Mr Cutcher says Treasurer Scott Morrison’s idea of a bond aggregator model has legs. This is where investors - companies or super funds for example - buy government bonds and the government loans the money cheaply to community housing associations to create relatively affordable rental housing. He says renters would also benefit from having stronger legal rights in NSW because at the moment landlords can put up rents and terminate tenancies fairly easily. Ultimately, he believes that the growing army of renters will force the government’s hand, at state and federal level and prove the catalyst to more decisive action. “We need to be hearing from people raising families who have been renting for ten or 15 years but who don’t know where they’re going to be living next year. Increasing the visibility of people who rent, that’s going to drive these decisions." Economist and Mosman Mayor Peter Abelson says low income households under rental stress and first home buyers struggling to scrape together a deposit are the two critical housing problems in NSW. “People at the lower end are really suffering from high rents. There are real problems.” Long waiting lists for social housing, for example there are 40,000 households on the list in Sydney, and the widening gap between Commonwealth Rent Assistance and rental levels make the situation worse. He suggests developers pay an affordable housing levy of 1.5 per cent of house sale value on new units. This is preferable to rent controls, Abelson says, which can be an administrative headache (for example, if tenants’ incomes change or they sublet) and reduce capital values with minimal impact on the affordable housing available. The centrally-controlled fund could then subsidise rents for low income households.   [post_title] => OPINION: Renters left behind in NSW housing reforms [post_excerpt] => Tenant body urges action. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => opinion-renters-left-behind-in-nsw-housing-reforms [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-06 09:36:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-05 23:36:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27302 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27268 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-31 13:04:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-31 03:04:03 [post_content] => NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has put the brakes on the controversial Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL), which could now be scrapped. The FESL was supposed to come in on July 1 to replace the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) but it sparked consternation from several quarters, including from local councils, property owners and unions. The government is now in the awkward position of having to reverse FESL legislation, which went through in March, to stall the scheme while it works out what to do next. The new levy would have meant several changes: first, it would be collected by local councils on the state government’s behalf alongside council rates, rather than by insurance companies; second, all property owners would pay the levy, including those whose property is uninsured. The government has repeatedly said that the ‘vast majority’ of property owners would be better off under the new levy, saving on average $47 per year, and that it would encourage more people to insure their properties. It said the levy was revenue neutral and fairer. But this figure has been disputed by the firefighters’ union, the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union of NSW (FBEU), using figures from the NSW Valuer-General and formulae contained in the FESL Bill. The union argued that property owners in some parts of Sydney, such as North Sydney, Mosman and the northern beaches, could end up paying more than double: up to $471 a year, compared with an annual average of $233 under the previous levy. The FBEU argued too that the proposal shifted the burden from businesses to homeowners with people living in low-risk homes subsidising those in bushfire-prone areas and high risk industries while halving the state’s contribution by around $70 million annually. Government News understands that some businesses had used the government’s online calculator and been shocked at how much extra they would have to pay under the new levy. Yesterday [Tuesday] Ms Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet blamed the government’s deferral on the negative impact it could have on small and medium-sized businesses and made no mention of homeowners. “While the new system produces fairer outcomes in the majority of cases, some people – particularly in the commercial and industrial sectors – are worse off by too much under the current model, and that is not what we intended,” Ms Berejiklian said. Mr Perrottet said the FESL was a complex reform and there would be challenges during the transition phase. “It’s not enough for this reform to work on paper – its real-life implementation has real life consequences for families and businesses, and we need to make sure they are not placed under unfair strain,” Mr Perrottet said. The government would not be drawn on whether the scheme would be scrapped or deferred. Ms Berejiklian said during a media conference yesterday: “If we don’t get a fairer system, we won’t introduce it. But our intent is to defer until we get a fairer system.” The government has said it will work with local government, fire and emergency services, the insurance industry and others to find a better and fairer path forward. Reaction News of the back down took many by surprise yesterday, cheering the firefighters’ union and local councils and aggravating insurance companies. The FBEU took it as proof the tax was ‘hopelessly wrong’ from the start. “They had six years, an inquiry and interstate precedent to get this right, and yet they completely stuffed it,” FBEU Secretary Leighton Drury said. “The FESL is a bad tax, and the wrong way to go. It doesn’t need further review and tinkering, it needs to be scrapped.” Mr Drury said there should be no levy and fire services to be funded from consolidated revenue, the same as police and other core public services. The Local Government NSW (LGNSW), the peak body for the state’s local councils, also welcomed the policy rethink. “Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement that the government will not impose the FESL from July 1 provides an opportunity to pursue a true broad-based levy that replaces both the insurance and existing ratepayer contributions,” LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said. LGNSW said the FESL was based on the value of unimproved land value of property in NSW and recent land valuations would have meant ‘significant increases’ for many property owners. “Councils have already done a lot of work to comply with the government’s FESL legislation, and there will now be a need to undo this work – not to mention the associated costs. While this is regrettable, the chance to get the levy right should be our focus,” he said. Meanwhile the insurance industry reacted angrily to the news and said it would increase policy premiums for property owners. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) said insurance companies were ‘shocked and disappointed’ by the decision to delay the FESL, especially as no deadline had been set for a final decision. “This has significant legal and commercial implications for the industry. It is a logistical and technical challenge that will cause confusion and increase premiums for policyholders,” ICA spokesperson Campbell Fuller said. “The resumption of ESL collection will come with significant additional costs that the industry will be forced to pass on in full to policyholders.” He complained that ‘every other mainland state has abolished emergency services levies on insurance with little fuss’. Mr Fuller said insurers had already spent more than a year and tens of millions of dollars on consultants and IT changes to prepare for the new levy. The Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor, headed by Professor Allan Fels and his deputy David Cousins, had previously been tasked with being the ‘cop on the beat’ to ensure insurance companies removed the levy from policies and passed this on in full to homeowners and businesses.   The government has said it will now oversee ‘a smooth continuation of the existing system and ensure insurance companies collect only the amounts necessary to meet fire and emergency services funding requirements’. Penalties for any insurance company that does not heed this are steep: up to $10 million for corporations and $500,000 for individuals. Both men had similar roles when Victoria did the same thing, following the 2009 Bushfires Royal Commission recommendations. [post_title] => Berejiklian could scrap new Fire and Emergency Services Levy [post_excerpt] => Councils and union happy, insurance companies not. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27268 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-02 11:33:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-02 01:33:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27268 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27129 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-16 11:09:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-16 01:09:20 [post_content] => The Sydney bus war rages on.    Bus services in Sydney’s Inner West will be snatched away from State Transit and given to the private sector to run. NSW Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance said inner-west bus services had attracted the highest number of complaints in the Sydney metro area, “well above” complaints about buses operated by the private sector in adjoining areas. They also had some of the worst on-time running results, he said. “There have been improvements in recent years, but State Transit still lags a long way behind its industry competitors in measures like on-time running and reliability,” Mr Constance said. “If the bus industry can provide quality in western Sydney, the Inner West deserves the same, especially as Sydney grows.” The services that will go out to competitive tender are in Bus Region 6, which services suburbs from the city west to Strathfield and Olympic Park with the tender beginning in July 2017 and likely to be completed by July 2018. The government will retain ownership of the region’s buses and assets, including depots, continue to set Opal fares and timetables and regulate safety and operational standards. But while Mr Constance was talking up his prediction that the “world’s best operators” would compete for the tender, which will come up for renewal every five to ten years, and deliver better services for customers the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) of NSW is predicting disaster. RTBU Bus Division Secretary Chris Preston said the government’s decision to privatise bus services would slash routes, close bus stops and cost 1,200 public transport workers their jobs. He called the privatisation “a complete betrayal” of Sydney commuters and bus drivers. “We oppose privatisation because we know at the end of the day, it’s the commuters who’ll pay,” Mr Preston said. “Less popular, less profitable bus routes get the chop and commuters are left stranded. “Private bus operators put profits before the public. To make money they’ll slash services and cut back on maintenance. We’ve seen it happen before.” He said the State Transit Authority told bus drivers their jobs were safe for five years in December last year but they would now “get the chop”, something Mr Constance appeared to deny when he said the government would be “growing transport jobs because we want to grow and improve services”. Mr Preston said the government’s intention was to privatise all public transport across NSW. “Every Sydney commuter needs to be asking, ‘is my bus next on the chopping block?’ “. Sydney Buses will continue to operate regions seven, eight and nine, which includes the inner metropolitan areas of the eastern, and southern and northern suburbs, including the CBD. Meanwhile the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) waded into the debate and backed the minister.   Chief Executive of TTF, Margy Osmond, said competitive contracting would deliver “enormous financial and service benefits to both commuters and government”. “The management of bus networks is an area of transport policy in which the private sector has proven time and time again it can deliver quality services at best value for taxpayers’ money,” Ms Osmond said. “Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin already have bus networks that are completely managed by private operators, not government, and their experience is that franchising has delivered significantly better results across their networks.” TTF’s 2016 report, On the Buses: The Benefits of Private Sector Involvement in the Delivery of Bus Services, claimed the government would save up to half a billion dollars over five years if Sydney Buses were run by a private operator. The report also said privatisation would improve customer experience, increase operational efficiency and save taxpayers money that could be reinvested into public transport. “Franchising also keeps the infrastructure, including the buses and depots, in public hands but contracts out the operation of these assets to experienced private operators for the period of the contract,” Ms Osmond said. “Today’s [Monday] announcement the NSW Government will franchise the Inner West STA region is a very good start that hopefully signals a shift towards franchising more and more regions in due course.” [post_title] => NSW Transport Minister throws State Transit under a bus [post_excerpt] => Sydney’s inner-west services to go private. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bjus [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-17 13:40:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-17 03:40:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27129 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26302 [post_author] => 667 [post_date] => 2017-02-21 09:57:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-20 22:57:32 [post_content] =>     By Anthony Wallace New research from the Institution of Surveyors NSW Inc  (ISNSW) has revealed the unpopularity of the NSW Government’s move to privatise the land titles registry. The exclusive poll of 1,000 homeowners aged between 25 to 65 years and above, revealed that over 70 per cent were unaware of the NSW Government’s intentions to sell off the NSW Land and Property Information (LPI). Over 80 per cent of respondents have called upon the NSW Government to scrap its decision to handover the self-funded world-class registry which made $130 million in profit in 2015-16, to the hands of private corporations. A resoundingly minute 6 per cent of respondents back the controversial move.   Read more here. this story first appeared in Spatial Source.  [post_title] => Home owners oblivious to NSW land titles privatisation [post_excerpt] => House price pressure possible. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26302 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-21 09:57:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-20 22:57:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26302 [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] => 27860 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-18 09:53:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-17 23:53:31 [post_content] => The Auditor-General for New South Wales Margaret Crawford has released her report, in which she finds that NSW Health’s approach to planning and evaluating palliative care is not effectively coordinated. There is no overall policy framework for palliative and end-of-life care, nor is there comprehensive monitoring and reporting on services and outcomes. “NSW Health has a limited understanding of the quantity and quality of palliative care services across the state, which reduces its ability to plan for future demand and the workforce needed to deliver it,” said the Auditor-General. “At the district level, planning is sometimes ad hoc and accountability for performance is unclear.” Local Health Districts’ ability to plan, deliver and improve their services is hindered by:
  • Multiple disjointed information systems and manual data collection.
  • Not universally using a program that collects data on patient outcomes for benchmarking and quality improvement.
NSW Health should create an integrated policy framework that clearly defines interfaces between palliative and end-of-life care, articulates priorities and objectives and is supported by a performance and reporting framework. NSW Health should improve the collection and use of outcomes data and improve information systems to support palliative care services and provide comprehensive data for service planning. The  Auditor-General made four recommendations that called for the development of an integrated palliative and end-of-life care policy framework; proper data collection on patient outcomes; a state-wide review of systems and reporting for end of life management; and improved stakeholder engagement. Some improvements evident Over the last two years, NSW Health has taken steps to improve its planning and support for Local Health Districts. The NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation has produced an online resource that will assist districts to construct their own, localised models of care. And eHealth, which coordinates information communication technology for the state’s healthcare, aims to integrate and improve information systems. These initiatives should help to address many of the issues now inhibiting integrated service delivery, reporting on activity and outcomes, and planning for the future. NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord welcomed the report, saying it provided a roadmap for the State Government to improve end-of-life care in NSW. “As a prosperous nation, Australia and NSW have the means to ensure that the final years, months and days of elderly people and those with terminal diseases are lived in dignity,” Mr Secord said. “In my view our prosperity brings an obligation to do no less. “We have to recognise that palliative care is a field that will only grow as Australians now have the longest life expectancy in the English-speaking world. “Accordingly, we need a government response that embraces helping people to remain independent in their homes by finding ways to expand home and community care,” Mr Secord said. A full copy of the report is on the Audit Office website.   [post_title] => Palliative care: NSW Health must improve [post_excerpt] => NSW Health has a limited understanding of the quantity and quality of palliative care services across the state. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => palliative-care-nsw-health-must-improve [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-18 10:28:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-18 00:28:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27860 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 107 [max_num_pages] => 8 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 91d72d4d4f3962d47ccb2dc4cea47f72 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

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