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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-22 09:40:49
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                    [post_content] => 

The Western Australian Government has moved to reduce large compensation payouts for senior bureaucrats when a contract is brought to an early end.

The Public Sector Commissioner has decided to apply a new approach when determining compensation payments.

Currently, senior members of the public service may seek a compensation payment of up to 12 months' remuneration, which includes salary, motor vehicle allowances and superannuation.

Under the new policy, in operation from 1 September 2017, compensation payments will be applied on the basis of four months' remuneration for each full year of the contract remaining, up to a maximum of 12 months.

Further legislative changes will also limit the maximum compensation payment when officers' contracts are brought to an early end, to 12 months' salary rather than remuneration.

If this approach had been applied to Senior Executive Service officers since March 2017, the total compensation costs would have been reduced by about 41 per cent.

As part of the government's workforce reform, legislation will be introduced to also remove the existing 'right of return' provision available to Senior Executive Service officers appointed under the Public Sector Management Act 1994 and health executives appointed under the Health Services Act 2016.

Following the enactment of the legislation, a six-month transition period will be in place, enabling officers to exercise their right to return to a permanent tenure if they wish to do so.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said: “A number of people leave the public service for various reasons. While there is an initial cost that the state government is trying to reduce, there is also long-term savings.”

 
                    [post_title] => WA to cut back SES payouts, benefits
                    [post_excerpt] => New approach to reduce large compensation payments to WA's most senior bureaucrats.
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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-22 09:00:40
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                    [post_content] => 

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released guidance for public companies and crowd-funding platform operators to support them in using the new crowd-sourced funding (CSF) regime, which commences on 29 September 2017.

ASIC Commissioner John Price said: “Crowd-sourced funding provides an opportunity for small to medium-sized businesses to access an alternate source of capital, without the regulatory burden of traditional fundraising. ASIC's new guidance will help public companies and crowd-funding platform operators comply with their obligations under the CSF regime, while supporting investor confidence.”

Regulatory Guide 261 Crowd-sourced funding: Guide for public companies (RG 261) will assist companies seeking to raise funds through CSF to understand and comply with their obligations in the new regime, particularly as many of these companies will not have experience in making public offers of their shares. ASIC has also published a template CSF offer document to help companies prepare their CSF offers.

Regulatory Guide 262 Crowd-sourced funding: Guide for intermediaries (RG 262) will assist crowd funding platform operators ('intermediaries') seeking to provide a crowd-funding service, particularly as this is a new type of financial service and there are unique gatekeeper obligations for operating platforms for CSF offers.

ASIC has also:

ASIC consulted on its guidance and relief in June 2017 and has now published Report 544 Response to submissions on CP 288 and CP 289 on crowd-sourced funding (REP 544), detailing ASIC’s response to that consultation (refer: 17-195MR).

See the ASIC website for further information on crowd-sourced funding, including information on applications:
  • By intermediaries for an AFS licence with an authorisation to provide CSF services (refer: 17-312MR).
  • To register new public companies or convert existing proprietary companies to public companies, to be eligible to raise funds using CSF and to access the corporate governance concessions.
See ASIC's Moneysmart page on crowd-sourced funding for further information on how to invest through crowd-sourced funding. The following information is available on ASIC’s website:   [post_title] => Seeking crowd-sourced funding? Talk to ASIC [post_excerpt] => ASIC has released guidance to support the new crowd-sourced funding (CSF) regime. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => seeking-crowd-sourced-funding-talk-asic [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-22 09:52:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-21 23:52:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28094 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28084 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-21 21:12:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-21 11:12:04 [post_content] => Peter Tran Whether citizens realise it or not, most cities are on the cusp of becoming smart cities through the use of connected information systems that have the ability to ‘learn’, interact and scale across multiple domains and critical services. These include healthcare, transportation, public safety, supply chains, water and energy/grid. Add another layer to this with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s clear that many communities will have smart capabilities in the next few years. With the rise of smart cities, however, comes the associated danger of bad actors seizing control of critical systems through IoT or other vulnerabilities. The cities of tomorrow are here today and hacking isn’t a futuristic, science fiction idea, it’s a reality that governments and its citizens need to consider as part of their day-to-day living. Just over two years ago hackers seized control of the power systems in several cities in Estonia, knocking out the electricity for over 100,000 residents. Compounding the problem was that the hackers were able to remotely trip circuit breakers forcing power plant workers to visit substations and manually flip a switch to restore energy services. It’s with the rise of IoT that we will see cities move from simple interconnection to being ‘smart’. Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be in excess of 20 billion internet connected devices around the globe, and that number will only grow. Where the danger lies is in the nature of IoT devices, which are defined by function and connectivity, not security. IoT devices are designed to be inexpensive, ubiquitous, fast and highly connected, but little thought has gone into making them ‘security aware’, to monitor and detect for threats from bad actors. So where is the problem? With the rise of smart cities, IoT devices are being used as sensors for traffic monitoring, to keep track of pedestrian numbers, air quality, urban congestion and flag when public garbage bins are reaching capacity. Street lamps are linked into the public information system to turn themselves on when pedestrians are around. Traffic lights report back on road congestion, and the list goes on. Put simply, if there’s a function that can be made smarter, then it probably will be. As we’ve discovered, however, these sensors are designed to be cheap, fast and interconnected. Not secure. So a traffic system could have a critical integration point to a power system. A garbage monitor could provide a sensor pathway into water treatment, while air quality monitors could eventually provide an insecure path back into a city’s core ERP and financials. Gaps in security could allow hackers to take control of financials, effectively shutting down the city because workers can’t be paid and taxes can’t be remitted. Good security means good practices The way to monitor and defend against risks and threats is to apply good security practices to IoT. Just because an air quality sensor isn’t a core system, doesn’t mean that it is exempt from the very information security practices that keep a city’s ERP, financials and disaster recovery safe. Where progress needs to be made is in adapting current effective security protocols and practices at scale to federate to the massively growing world of IoT. This means examining where security blind spots could be, designing smart cities by function, monitoring functional relationships between IoT sensors, moving to IoT specific device and data authentication, access, authorisation relationships and detecting for and responding to behavioural anomalies across sensors from core information systems in a centrally controlled manner… the IoT ‘map of the earth’. Legislation is also an important tool in protecting cities against IoT vulnerabilities. Recent laws proposed in the United States have called for baseline IoT security for equipment being sold to the US federal government. These laws would stipulate that there are no hard-coded universal passwords, and that IoT devices are standardised to meet certain security requirements such as being patch capable against flaws discovered in the future. In Australia, where the Australian Government has declared that the nation should become a leader in smart cities via its 2016 Smart Cities program, laws about the security aspects of IoT haven’t been contemplated. The closest Australia has come is with a study from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner looking at the privacy aspects of IoT devices, which was conducted during 2016. This review of privacy could provide the basis for IoT laws governing security, however that remains something that hasn’t yet been proposed domestically. In essence, Australia is slip-streaming global moves on IoT security, and hoping that moves like the proposed legislation in the US will also provide protection for devices being sold and installed in the domestic market. Looking for the upside It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to smart cities and IoT. Security aside – and we can’t forget security is a major issue – smart cities have the potential to radically improve the quality of life of its citizens. This could come through the better and timelier provision of current and new connected living services and more efficient provision of government and private sector services. The IoT could, for example, be a literal life-saver when it comes to natural disasters in Australia and around the globe. Sensors installed in communities could pinpoint areas that are no-go zones, conduct audits of the movement of traffic and streamline evacuations, as well as identify areas of damage due to wind, water or fire as well as geolocation of citizens in need of emergency rescue. What’s clear is that the door has opened onto smart cities and IoT. The proliferation of IoT devices and their interconnection with city systems means that, with little planning, communities will become smart by default. The key to making this transition work is twofold. First and top of mind, security considerations needs to be addressed. This is something that can happen using existing security best-practice and protocols. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to IoT security. Instead, what needs to happen is that security must become part of the design of smart cities, and security needs to be an ongoing life cycle of IoT, not something that is a ‘one hit wonder’. The second aspect and equally important of becoming a smart city is data integrity. Sensors generate masses of data, and smart cities need to have technology and processes put in place to analyse data in the context of smart city critical function, in order to directly align to the connected lives of its citizens and determine in real time if there are indications of compromise and/or risk. With those two aspects in place, smart cities are achievable, quality life enhancing, safe and cyber secure. Peter Tran is GM and Sr. Director of Worldwide Advance Cyber Defence Practice, RSA. [post_title] => The rise and risks of smart cities [post_excerpt] => Smart cities are possible and, indeed, inevitable with smart management from governments. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rise-risks-smart-cities [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-21 21:12:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-21 11:12:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28084 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28078 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-21 20:49:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-21 10:49:44 [post_content] => The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has released the findings of a national survey on Australians’ attitudes towards technology and its impact on future employment opportunities. While nearly all Australians believe that innovation is important to Australia’s future prosperity (99%) and feel positive about future work and job opportunities (97%), only one in four attribute their positive outlook to the belief that government will develop the right policies in areas such as education and training. Instead, people were more likely to attribute their positive attitude about the future to the fact that technological revolutions throughout history have always resulted in the emergence of new industries and jobs (54%), Australia is a strong, stable country that will be able to adapt to change (52%), and because Australian entrepreneurs will take advantage of emerging opportunities in new industries (45%). The survey on Australians’ attitude towards innovation, jobs and future employment was conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of AIIA*. “There is widespread commentary that technological disruption will cause job loss without job replacement. However, our poll indicates the majority of Australians are actually positive about the future, despite fear mongering about loss of jobs as technology develops,” said Rob Fitzpatrick, CEO of AIIA. “The survey also found that the majority of Australians believe they will need to take charge of their own careers and reskilling as jobs evolve due to technology advancements, irrespective of the industry in which they are working.” To adapt to technological change, Australians say workers need to stay up to date with changing technology in their industry (76%), undertake self-learning/further education (55%), access professional development through their workplace (53%), and be prepared to change careers or jobs as new roles emerge (51%).  “History has demonstrated that technology and automation have increased productivity, improved the quality of goods and services, reduced prices and led to improved standards of living. It’s great that people are prepared to manage their own careers, however, it’s crucial that industry and government also respond appropriately to ensure Australians are well positioned to take advantage of new jobs and industries that will emerge on the back of new technologies,” said Mr Fitzpatrick. The survey indicated many Australians believe it is vitally important to support young people so they are prepared for the jobs of the future. The most popular approach is to improve education standards and the curriculum in STEM subjects (68%), while large numbers also said Australia should provide more workplace training opportunities for university and high school students (64%), develop more relevant vocational and education training programs (59%), and develop programs that promote resilience and confidence in young people (53%). Areas respondents would like to see embracing innovation and technology include medical research and development to deliver cures and better health management (72%), helping disadvantaged people gain better access to appropriate support services (65%), and investing in technological change in existing Australian industries such as manufacturing and agriculture (58%). The survey results coincide with the release of AIIA's Skills for Today, Jobs for Tomorrow whitepaper, which focuses on the urgent need for a practical strategy and action plan for the future of jobs. “ICT and digital leaders must work proactively with governments and communities to develop practical strategies to build Australia’s digital literacy capabilities to prevent social and economic dislocation,” said Mr Fitzpatrick. “While history shows technology will ultimately add productivity and economic growth, our whitepaper is the start of what needs to be an ongoing conversation about developing an action plan to ensure Australians are adequately prepared for the jobs of the future,” he said. * The Galaxy Poll was conducted online among a nationally representative sample of 1,004 Australians 18 years and older. [post_title] => Technology, jobs, and government input [post_excerpt] => What impact will new technologies have on future employment, and what's the government's role? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => future-jobs-technology-government-input [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-21 20:52:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-21 10:52:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28078 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28071 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-19 09:28:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:28:31 [post_content] => New Zealand leads the world in zero emission renewable grid electricity now at 85%. With a nice balance between geothermal, hydroelectric, unusually continuous wind power and some solar, the country has less intermittency of green power than most. Transpower NZ, the government-owned power company, made NZD 208.4m profit in 2016-17 (AUD 190m) and has investigated grid-scale battery systems for near-term investment. Battery storage under investigation Building energy storage systems across New Zealand would represent an economic ‘game-changer’ for the country within the next few years, according to new research by national grid owner-operator Transpower. The company said its research findings show distribution-connected or community-scale batteries are expected to be economic for homes and business from 2020— promising “real potential and benefits from batteries for New Zealand consumers”. Now Transpower is preparing to conduct trials of battery storage systems, while working with industry leaders to push for market and pricing reforms the company said will be needed to “unlock the value of battery systems to maximise their value”. Transpower’s general manager for grid development Stephen Jay said: “We are actively evaluating opportunities for using new technologies throughout our network. We are preparing for what that future looks like and this battery research is the first of a number of reports we will release looking at technologies that could possibly have an impact on our business. “Battery projects at lower voltage distribution substations and at a consumer level are forecast to be economic in the next few years, due to the declining cost of battery systems,” Mr Jay said. “Over time, we believe they will also become economic for the high voltage transmission grid and this will then provide battery resilience across the whole supply chain.” Mr Jay said Transpower is not planning large-scale high voltage trials with batteries “in the near term— but we will seek opportunities to work with and learn from others in joint projects where appropriate.” According to Transpower’s study, the functionality of a battery as both a load and a generator at various times “will need to be examined, and regulatory and technical barriers to entry addressed”. In the long-term, the study said battery storage at any location in the supply chain is expected to delay or replace the need to build additional thermal peaking plant and should over time reduce the cost of electricity to consumers. Container-based battery storage systems in the order of 1-2MW “have the advantage that they can be implemented relatively quickly to target specific grid constraints in a controlled manner”, the report said. They can be ‘right sized’ for the first year of need, “with the possibility of increasing the storage capacity over time if load growth occurs”. This would “optimise initial capital expenditure and leverage the declining cost curve of future expansion”, the report said. In addition, the report said ramping up battery storage projects would support national plans to boost the take-up of electric vehicles. According to Transpower, there are currently around 3,000 electric vehicles in the country, but government policy is targeting 64,000 vehicles by 2021-22. “In future, we expect that electric vehicle batteries could have the capability to be part of a battery network, providing services when the vehicle is plugged in to charge overnight,” Transpower said. With IDTechEx. You can download the Transpower report here. [post_title] => NZ hits 85% renewables, profitably [post_excerpt] => NZ Government makes $190m from electricity, focuses on renewables and grid battery storage. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nz-hits-85-renewable-electricity-profitably [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-19 09:48:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:48:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28071 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28068 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-18 16:17:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 06:17:32 [post_content] => Alan IvoryWith more and more government departments looking at ways they can digitally transform their practices, many are looking at software as a service (SaaS) providers as a core part of that strategy. Previously only consistent in their disparate approaches, a clear set of procurement practices are now emerging to ensure the successful integration of SaaS and maximise ROI. Working with the biggest brands in the world, I have spent thousands of hours with both government and enterprise procurement teams. Over the last year, this has involved facing over 20 different procurement departments in Asia Pacific and globally across the finance, technology, telecommunications, retail, government and travel sectors. Based on that experience, below are my top tips for a smooth procurement process.
  1. Implementation first
SaaS procurement has changed the very nature of procurement teams and their core skillsets. Today’s best teams are no longer just looking at contract value or the software as a platform – they are looking at how the software will be adopted more widely by the organisation or department. This is so relevant in government where teams are often large and diversely skilled, getting the whole team on board early is essential. The success of a project depends upon the integrity of the implementation, hence executing this phase flawlessly can prevent issues from creeping up further down the line.
  1. End to end ownership
SaaS will inevitably impact multiple teams and departments. Staying involved and engaged throughout all the stakeholder reviews is the only way procurement can meaningfully understand the requirements unique to each unit. Where we used to see procurement collecting opinions, this deeper level of understanding provides a more balanced overview of the suppliers competing for the contract, so you are comparing apples with apples. For our business, this generally starts with the event team, then moves through marketing, finance and IT.
  1. The skill set
The single truth of a SaaS is it should improve your efficiency, ideally reducing the number of vendors you use. This, in turn, reduces risk, contracts, manual processes and overheads. To drive a more efficient procurement timeline, with stakeholder engagement still high at the critical onboarding phase, government organisations need to invest in personnel with a unique skillset. They will need to repeatedly bring multiple stakeholders across numerous teams together and extract the complex ways SaaS will impact, improve or challenge them. It’s a common mistake to have a ‘techy’ run this process. While they may understand the technical implications, we frequently see the engagement efforts derail due to the lack of experience in meeting facilitation.
  1. Operationally centric
Procurement based on contract terms and price is setting itself up for failure. Conversely, striving for operational excellence hallmarks the most successful outcomes. We are seeing the best procurement teams asking to complete pilots. Most SaaS providers will have a testing platform alongside their production platform.
  1. Don’t just test the software, test the integrations too
Integrations are a critical part of the SaaS procurement process. Look at how the software works within your own software climate - often something difficult to change within government. Determine the short term and long term goals and ask how the platform can fit into that. How will the data flow? What are the advantages and the costs to deploy? Leaders in this field are testing the integrations in pilot phases, ensuring they work with existing software, CRM, MA, financials, membership software, etc. Integration teams from the vendor and client agree on the integration piece and test with dummy data for a full end to end review. It’s also important to ask: what is the ROI of those integrations and what are the cost savings? Cost of implementation is no longer the primary focus, as organisations instead look to cost reductions of replacing manual processes and headcount reductions. The value inherent in provision of real-time analytics and big data enable further cost savings or revenue generation.
  1. Work in partnership
If you want the SaaS vendor to provide a project team to assist in the deployment, meet the team – not just the sales team. Make sure the team is local, has the resources, and will be dedicated to your organisation during the process. Ask who is running the project. If utilising the vendor’s professional services team, make sure there is an alignment between procurement so the expectations are unambiguous.
  1. Contract transparency
Make sure all of your internal stakeholders understand the contract. Previously a tightly-held document, we are seeing an evolution into contract transparency from the top tier procurement teams. The best implementations occur when significant time is invested in multi-team consultation and onboarding after the contract is signed, with positive uptake and a sense of ownership driving optimal engagement. Conversely, where stakeholders are given no sense of ownership or empowerment we are seeing poor adoption rates, departmental stand-offs and resentment from lack of buy-in.
  1. Own the onboarding
Most successful procurement teams have KPI linked to the successful outcome of the project implementation, not the contract value. There has never been better reason for procurement to have a part of the onboarding process, involving multi-team training of all stakeholders and any third-party agencies that may have interactions with the SaaS. If this process is not driven powerfully internally, then the project will stall here, no matter how motivated the vendor is. Disenfranchised stakeholders, under-skilled users, and lack of internal project management will quickly derail any SaaS uptake into your business.
  1. RFP
Surprisingly, software RFP have not evolved well with the digital era. Often they are a technically focused generic checklist of features, as opposed to focusing on organisational objectives. Make sure your RFP is up to date, has had input from the various departments and stakeholders, and is aligned with the its overall needs. Here are some of the more important, but often omitted, questions from RFP:
  • Security and compliance
Many organisations have multiple procurement teams. Australian banks and some government departments, for example, often have a security procurement team who review the security aspects of the platform and contract. Procurement teams must be aware of the compliance regulations, specifically when it comes to sensitive information. Being an informed consumer is key to success here; things to consider when developing your checklist are:
  • Where is the data stored?
  • What level of data security standards have you reached?
  • What level of encryption do you hold your data to?
  • Support
How will the platform be supported? How will the team be supported? Where is the support service located? Is this inclusive to the contract value or at an additional cost? Support can be very difficult to measure, so it is an extremely variable cost unless it is inclusive.
  • Team location
The beauty of a SaaS is that you are not bound by the location of a team of people – until you want specialised support or a professional services team to implement your projects for you. If there is any possibility this will be the case with your organisation, then it is important you know where the team will be located, how responsive they can be, and if they have the resources to dedicate time to you during the implementation process. Not surprisingly, it is the big consultancies, insurance companies, banks, technology companies and leading associations that are doing these things best. However, with accessible technology there is plenty of opportunity for government agencies and organisations to join the best-practice leaders for SaaS procurement. In a world of increasing scrutiny around data security and compliance, efficiency, and the importance of emotional intelligence, there is exciting scope for procurement professionals to step into this void and powerfully impact the return on investment which a well planned and executed SaaS procurement affords. Alan Ivory is the vice president- global professional services for event management SaaS provider etouches. [post_title] => SaaS procurement in government [post_excerpt] => The procurement practices that lead to successful integration. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => saas-procurement-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-18 16:17:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 06:17:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28068 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28061 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-18 15:20:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 05:20:00 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28064" align="alignnone" width="300"] ALGA President Mayor David O'Loughlin.[/caption] Mayor David O'Loughlin Warnings in the Victorian Parliament this week about the financial struggles facing small rural councils should trouble us all. Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) President Mary Lalios gave a gloomy but accurate assessment of smaller councils’ inability to deal with lower levels of Commonwealth funding and a 2 per cent cap on rate increases. Similar concerns have arisen in my home state of South Australia, where the Liberal Opposition Party has said it will peg council rates if it wins government at the state election due next March. NSW councils have laboured under rate capping since 1978, and last November were told by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (which sets the allowable rate increase) that they could increase their rates for the next financial year by no more than 1.5 per cent. IPART said the 1.5 per cent figure was fair given low inflation and slow wage growth. But as my colleague Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said at the time, IPART’s conclusions ignored the 1.8 per cent increase in CPI, the equivalent increase in employment benefits and non-residential building costs greater than 1.5 per cent. And he pointed out, rightly in my view, that the rage peg was “a financial noose which continued to tighten” around councils and local communities. Yet surely it would be a brave observer who concluded that the Sydney market would be overly sensitive to rate rises when the same market is still growing despite the largest increase in property costs and rents in Australia in recent years. Yet there's no sign of an IPART equivalent seeking to intervene on rents or property prices. Consider this: Sydney councils have been rate-pegged for the longest duration in the nation, and many of them now impose the highest developer charges in the nation for new homes. The Sydney market has the longest running housing supply shortfall and, as a direct consequence, the highest average rents in the nation. Perhaps it's just me, but in my mind, these factors are intrinsically linked. What is wrong with Councils determining their own level of rates? After all, as the recent NSW council elections demonstrated, we are ultimately accountable to our voters, and if we get the balance wrong we risk being thrown out of office. It's a proven mechanism – it's called democracy. Meanwhile, the well-intentioned but unelected IPART need never worry about facing the voters about the short and long-term impacts of rate pegging. This week Cr Lalios told the Victorian Parliament that capital spending in small rural shires would decline by 30 per cent from 2016-20, with the three-year freeze in Financial Assistance Grants, the cancellation of the Country Roads and Bridges Program in 2105, and  the two per cent rate cap contributing substantially to that reduction. The immediate consequences of rate capping, particularly for councils with limited access to other revenue like parking fees, fines and charges, are an increase in debt levels, a drop in service levels, or a combination of both. Over the longer term, however, that’s unsustainable. The Commonwealth’s “efficiency dividends’’ show year-on-year budget cuts imposed on departments and agencies inevitably lead to reduced or cancelled public services. Why would Local Government be any different? Councils have the narrowest revenue base of the three levels of government, yet the heaviest roads and infrastructure burden. Rate caps are the financial equivalent of a ball and chain. And it is ratepayers and local businesses who are hit hardest by truncated services, deteriorating infrastructure, and a lack of capacity to innovate and respond to emerging community needs. Councils are already attempting to offset the double whammy of rate caps and lower Commonwealth funding by using collaborative procurement, improved asset management, and by developing cost-sharing partnerships and other options – but this may not be enough to change the fundamentals. As I advocate for a return to sustainable federal funding, I am drawing a clear link to the call for an end to rates caps in favour of local decision-making. I make it clear that for every dollar councils are unable to raise locally, they will be looking for it elsewhere – with the Commonwealth a primary target. Mayor David O’Loughlin is the president of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).   [post_title] => Small councils to go hungry [post_excerpt] => Warnings about the financial struggles facing small rural councils should trouble us all. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => small-councils-go-hungry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-19 09:33:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:33:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28061 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28052 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-18 13:21:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 03:21:00 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28053" align="alignnone" width="300"] Cameron Offices on the corner of College Street and Chandler Way, Belconnen, ACT. Source: Wikipedia user Adz.[/caption] With the aim of driving greater efficiency in the management of the Commonwealth’s property portfolio, three property service providers have been appointed. The providers are Broadspectrum Property Pty Ltd (Broadspectrum), Evolve FM Pty Ltd (Evolve FM), and Jones Lang LaSalle (ACT) Pty Ltd (JLL). They will provide leasing and facilities management services to over 90 Commonwealth entities. These appointments are part of the Government’s plan to realise further savings in excess of $100 million in property-related expenditure over the four years of the contracts, including through consolidating the Commonwealth’s buying power. The new property service provider arrangements complement other efficiency measures already in place, including Operation Tetris (see below), which had a goal of realising savings of $300 million over 10 years through reductions in surplus leased property holdings. The appointment of the providers followed an open tender process and represents strong outcomes for Indigenous business and small to medium enterprises (SME). Each Property Service Provider has committed to exceed the Indigenous Procurement Policy targets of 3 per cent for levels of Indigenous employment and/or engagement of downstream contractors. The Property Service Providers are also required to meet or exceed the Government’s SME targets of 10 per cent of downstream contract value. Broadspectrum and JLL are large, established global providers. Evolve FM is an Australian-based, Indigenous-owned company. The appointments are for an initial term until 30 June 2021, with possible extensions of up to a further four years. Operation Tetris squeezes more in The Department of Finance’s property efficiency program consists of:
  • Absorbing entities’ lease requirements, where feasible, into existing vacant office accommodation (Operation Tetris) undertaken in the ACT in 2015-16 and rolled out nationally from 2016-17.
  • Ensuring that leases and other property services are delivered through coordinated procurements that will maximise the Commonwealth’s substantial purchasing power.
In support of Operation Tetris, the government established a ‘Whole-of-Australian-Government’ coordinated procurement system for property-related services. This arrangement covers leasing services and property and facilities management for domestic office accommodation and shopfronts. The coordinated approach for property-related services is designed to improve the efficiency of property services across the Commonwealth and maximise the value for money that can be achieved by consolidating the Commonwealth’s purchasing power. All non-corporate commonwealth entities (NCCE) will be required to commence using the arrangements for their outsourced property needs once their existing contracts expire. NCCE will, however, be able to enter into new contracts, including any extensions or expansions to existing property-related arrangements (excluding leases), as long as those contracts expire before 30 June 2018. Lease arrangements will remain subject to Resource Management Guide 504 (RMG 504) in respect of endorsement by the Minister for Finance. Since the national roll-out, the government claims Operation Tetris has successfully filled over 60,000 square metres of vacant and surplus office space in the ACT and a further 7,000 square metres in other capital cities, including:
  • A reduction in the median work point vacancy rate from 20.9 per cent (2015) to 13.8 per cent (2016).
  • A reduction in net lettable area leased by the Commonwealth from 3.13 million square metres in 2015 to 2.89 million square metres in 2016.
  [post_title] => Govt outsources office management [post_excerpt] => The Commonwealth has appointed three service providers to manage its property portfolio. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => commonwealth-outsources-office-management [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-18 13:30:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 03:30:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28052 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28045 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-15 12:29:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-15 02:29:39 [post_content] => Representatives from the rail industry came together to meet with Commonwealth ministers to discuss the need for a National Rail Industry Plan for the Benefit of Australia. “Today is a significant day for the rail industry as we build momentum for a National Rail Industry Plan and meeting with Commonwealth ministers is our first step,” said Danny Broad, chief executive officer of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA). “The rail industry makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy. Investment in rail by Australian governments will be in the order of $100 billion through to 2030. We are meeting with Commonwealth ministers today to say: we need a plan to coordinate this effort and we need your support. “Through better coordination and long-term certainty, we can ensure the industry is well positioned to take advantage of all the lessons from the past and position ourselves for the future. “The Commonwealth Government will be investing $89 billion in naval shipbuilding through to 2055. This investment will be supported by a Naval Shipbuilding Plan. Rail’s contribution to Australia is no less than shipbuilding. “Next we will be meeting with state and territory governments, as well as opposition representatives to discuss our plan, seeking their support. “To get this right we really need a combined effort by Commonwealth, state and territory governments, as well as industry support.” The emphasis of any National Rail Industry Plan will need to include five key areas of focus, Mr Broad said:
  1. Recognising the importance of rail for Australia’s infrastructure development, urban planning and freight movements
  2. Harmonising standards, minimising regulations and maximising economies of scale
  3. Growing the capabilities of individuals and companies
  4. Maximising opportunities for rail companies
  5. Fostering innovation, research and development.”
Federal Government happy to help Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, together with the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator Arthur Sinodinos and the Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, met with key rail stakeholders in Canberra to canvas ideas for growing Australia's rail industry. Mr Chester said engagement with stakeholders, including business and industry groups, was essential for securing a strong national transport system that meets the needs of our freight and passenger rail task in the future. “Rail plays a significant role in the productivity of our nation, and I am always keen to hear the views of industry on how we can ensure rail continues to meet the needs of both commuters and industry,” Mr Chester said. Mr Chester said rail was a core component of the Australian Government $75 billion infrastructure investment program, including a $20 million commitment to examine faster rail. “Through the 2017-18 Budget, the Australian Government committed $20 billion toward the delivery of rail projects, including the $10 billion National Rail Program, and the $8.4 billion Inland Rail,” he said. “This significant investment will not only support freight operators and commuters, but also directly invest in the rail industry by providing high-quality — and road-competitive — rail links. “Industry engagement will continue to play an important role in ensuring we get the policy and investment settings right.” Mr Chester said supporting the rail industry—including investing in major projects—had the potential to boost national prosperity. “The Inland Rail will deliver 16,000 direct and indirect jobs at the peak of construction,” he said. “It will stimulate complementary private sector investments, such as fleet upgrades, new metropolitan and regional terminals and integrated freight precincts. “I am looking forward to seeing the roll-out of the National Rail Program and projects like Inland Rail, Perth Metronet and the Victorian Regional Rail Package.”   [post_title] => Rail: $20 billion spending, 16,000+ jobs [post_excerpt] => The rail industry met with Commonwealth ministers to discuss a National Rail Industry Plan. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rail-20-billion-spending-16000-jobs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 12:30:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 02:30:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28045 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28024 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-15 10:58:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-15 00:58:57 [post_content] => Lake Macquarie City Council is moving to a new consolidated tender to maintain its facilities, which will streamline and improve the process while promising to give service providers clearer guidelines and increased contract security. The council owns and manages about 400 buildings, facilities and natural assets, many of which are cleaned, maintained, and in some cases operated, by commercial contractors. The services provided include electrical and other trades, building maintenance, minor construction, data cabling, vegetation and pest management, waste management, cleaning and other specialist services. Under the new system, opportunities to provide these services will be advertised under a single tender, Facilities Management Services (T1009), comprising 52 separate services within eight Service Supply Panels. Providers will be able to register online through Tenderlink to submit a tender. “Council has a diverse range of contractors, and opportunities will continue to exist for suitably qualified and experienced service providers at all levels, from sole traders to large companies,” works coordinator Daron Kerr said. “Service providers will be able to tender for one, multiple or all services, and some services may be awarded to more than a single tenderer. “Lake Macquarie City Council is committed to supporting business across our City and region, and we encourage local businesses to consider participating in this tender process.” Successful tenderers will be awarded contracts of three years, with two one-year options. This will offer the council’s service providers greater security and assist with their business planning. The centralised tender will bring consistency to the council’s arrangements with contractors and improve safety, compliance and efficiency through the introduction of a performance management system. All services currently provided by commercial suppliers will be included within the new tender. Services provided by council staff will continue to be delivered within the organisation.   [post_title] => LMCC introduces consolidated tender [post_excerpt] => Lake Macquarie City Council is moving to a new consolidated tender to maintain its facilities. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => lmcc-introduces-consolidated-tender [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 11:33:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 01:33:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28024 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28033 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-15 10:55:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-15 00:55:13 [post_content] => The Western Australian State Government is to spend $5 million on a state-of-the-art robotic system that will be used to treat prostate cancer. Known as the da Vinci system, the robot will be the first of its kind in a WA public hospital and will bring the state in line with other health jurisdictions that have a similar metropolitan population. Set to be established at Fiona Stanley Hospital, the da Vinci system will provide urological procedures, focused on robotic-assisted prostatectomies, partial nephrectomies and radical nephrectomies. It will also allow for 3D vision, magnification capabilities, and enhanced dexterity, so surgeons are able to manipulate and dissect areas where access is challenging or limited with the human hand. Compared to traditional techniques, the da Vinci system will result in patients having faster recovery, reduced length of stay in hospital, and faster return to normal day activities. It is also expected to deliver greater efficiencies due to improved surgical outcomes, and a lower likelihood of subsequent treatments. While the new robotic surgical service will initially provide for patients within the South Metropolitan Health Service catchment, it is expected that the technology will be available for other WA patients where appropriate. WA Health Minister Roger Cook said: "We are committed to building a sustainable, world-class health system, and will drive innovation, integration and culture change, and establish 'Centres of Excellence' in robotic surgery and clinical innovation to ensure the WA health system will be able to attract and train expert clinicians. "Our Future Health Research and Innovation Fund commits the government to establishing a $1 billion fund to drive medical research and innovation, including a cancer research plan for the next decade, an innovation hub at Royal Perth Hospital, and incentives for corporate and philanthropic contributions for health and medical research. "Fiona Stanley Hospital has already employed a urology specialist who has undertaken additional national and international training to lead the robotic surgery program.”   [post_title] => WA’s public hospital to get robotic surgical system [post_excerpt] => State-of-the-art robotic system to revolutionise prostate treatment service to be established at Fiona Stanley Hospital. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => public-hospitals-get-robotic-surgical-system [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 11:17:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 01:17:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28033 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28019 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-14 16:28:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-14 06:28:43 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28020" align="alignnone" width="300"] Lismore City Council ranger Craig Devonshire with the new body cameras worn by compliance staff.[/caption] Lismore City Council compliance staff will permanently wear body cameras following a successful six-month trial of the surveillance equipment. Lismore has been trialling the technology among compliance staff including rangers and environmental health compliance officers. The cameras are used whenever a staff member is engaged to undertake an activity – from picking up a dangerous dog to issuing a parking fine – and the footage is then stored in an off-site location to prevent tampering. Each of the high-definition cameras can record 21 hours of video and audio, and compliance coordinator Matt Kelly said often simply having the cameras switched on can de-escalate potentially volatile scenarios. “Everyone tends to act more reasonably when they know they are being recorded – the cameras can often take the heat out of a situation because people are more conscious and aware of their actions,” he said. “From both a staff perspective and for members of the public, it provides transparency and ensures everyone is 100% accountable for their behaviour.” Matt said neighbouring councils had shown interest in the technology and he was pleased to report the trial had already been met with approval by the community and staff. “The feedback we have had so far has been very positive,” Matt said. “We want our community members to feel protected and we also want our staff to feel secure in performing their duties. The body cameras are a simple and effective way to provide peace of mind for everyone.”   [post_title] => Body cameras the new normal for compliance staff [post_excerpt] => Lismore City Council compliance staff will permanently wear body cameras. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => body-cameras-new-normal-compliance-staff-lismore [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 11:34:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 01:34:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28019 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28007 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-12 10:13:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-12 00:13:13 [post_content] => Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) and Veolia Australia and New Zealand have opened the Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility at Woodlawn Eco-precinct in the town of Tarago, located 240 kilometres from Sydney, NSW. Previously, the town of Tarago was home to the adjoining Woodlawn Mine site drilling for zinc, copper, lead, gold and silver. For SSROC and its member councils this has been an almost 10-year journey from the initial concept to the delivery of a $100 million state-of-the-art MBT facility that in this financial year alone will save the six councils more than $9.5 million collectively. President of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) Inc., Cr Sally Betts said: “For SSROC and our councils, reducing the impact of our household waste is a priority, with Sydney-siders responsible for generating around 2,000 kg of waste per person. The new MBT facility is a cost effective and sustainable way of reducing the quantity of waste that ends up in landfill.” The Woodlawn MBT facility will use cutting-edge resource recovery technology to produce compost to rehabilitate an on-site mine. Household municipal waste will be rotated in large drums along with air and water to separate compostable material from inorganic, recovering recyclables such as metals along the way. This process will divert 55% of household waste from landfill, transforming residual waste into clean heat for the on-site barramundi farm and green energy for the grid. General manager of SSROC Namoi Dougall recognised the dedication of SSROC member councils to delivering value for money and sustainable solutions to their residents: “In NSW, our councils are paying a levy of $138 per tonne of municipal waste, so by diverting more than half of our waste from landfill we are estimating that the six participating councils will be saving ratepayers $9.5 million in the first year alone. It is a sign of the dedication and foresight of our councils, that we have worked to establish this project for nearly 10 years. This is a positive step in the way we process waste, and I look forward to the MBTs evolution over the coming years.” The SSROC region is host to a newly established Veolia waste transfer terminal at Banksmeadow, which will transport containerised waste by rail to the new Woodlawn MBT facility. The use of rail, including the existing Clyde site, to transfer the waste will result in a reduction by around 30,000 heavy truck movements on Sydney’s already congested roads. Veolia’s executive general manager - Eastern Region Danny Conlon said: “The facility will process 144,000T of waste per annum and will divert more than half of participating councils’ general waste tonnes away from landfill. Ten years of collaboration amongst a number of stakeholders, inclusive of SSROC, NSROC, state government and community members have led us to this end-result, and this partnership will enable Veolia to make a positive impact on the NSW Government’s diversion target of 70 per cent by 2021. This project will also save millions of dollars in waste levy charges for Sydney’s ratepayers and will additionally produce an organic compost to be used to rehabilitate Australian mining land, ultimately allowing us to give back to the nation’s people and communities.” The collaboration with Veolia has generated over 50 jobs have between the Banksmeadow and Woodlawn facilities. [post_title] => Sydney councils adopt new waste management technology [post_excerpt] => SSROC and Veolia ANZ have opened an advanced Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sydney-councils-adopt-new-waste-management-technology [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 11:35:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 01:35:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28007 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28003 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-11 14:47:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:47:14 [post_content] =>   Australia should start work immediately on a new way to ensure reliable electricity supplies, according to a new Grattan Institute report. Next Generation: the long-term future of the National Electricity Market calls for preparatory work on a ‘capacity mechanism’ to encourage investment in new electricity generation and reduce the threat of shortages and blackouts. The report warns, however, that the costs of such peace of mind would ultimately fall on consumers through higher electricity prices. So a capacity mechanism should be introduced only if all other market reforms have been exhausted and supply is still under threat. Through a capacity mechanism, generators would be paid not only for the electricity they produce to meet current demand, but for committing to provide power for years into the future. The market operator or retailers could contract for sufficient electricity to meet future demand, to ensure new generation and storage is built in time. “Australians have endured a decade of toxic political debates about climate change policy, South Australians suffered a state-wide blackout last year, consumers across the country are screaming about skyrocketing electricity bills, and energy companies are shutting down big coal-fired power stations,” said Grattan Institute Energy program director Tony Wood. “It is understandable that governments feel the need to ‘do something’. But the danger is they will rush in and make things worse. What Australia needs now is perspective, not panic.” The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) last week called for a ‘longer-term approach’ to ensure electricity supplies. The Grattan report identifies a capacity obligation on retailers as the most effective and lowest-cost approach. The report calls for a three-step policy. First, the Federal Government should implement all recommendations of the June 2017 Finkel Review, including a Clean Energy Target or a similar mechanism to price greenhouse gas emissions. Second, alongside the Australian Energy Market Commission’s work on the market’s reliability framework, AEMO’s annual assessment of future supply and demand should be extended to include a more comprehensive assessment of the future adequacy of generation supply. And third, if the newly created Energy Security Board concludes that projected shortfalls are unlikely to be met under the current market design, AEMO should introduce a capacity mechanism. “This pragmatic, planned approach offers the best prospect of affordable, reliable, secure and sustainable power for Australians,” Mr Wood said. [post_title] => Grattan report calls for a capacity mechanism in electricity [post_excerpt] => How to make sure Australia has enough electricity in the future: Grattan Institute report. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => grattan-report-calls-capacity-mechanism-electricity [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-11 14:47:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:47:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28003 [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] => 28087 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-22 09:40:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-21 23:40:49 [post_content] => The Western Australian Government has moved to reduce large compensation payouts for senior bureaucrats when a contract is brought to an early end. The Public Sector Commissioner has decided to apply a new approach when determining compensation payments. Currently, senior members of the public service may seek a compensation payment of up to 12 months' remuneration, which includes salary, motor vehicle allowances and superannuation. Under the new policy, in operation from 1 September 2017, compensation payments will be applied on the basis of four months' remuneration for each full year of the contract remaining, up to a maximum of 12 months. Further legislative changes will also limit the maximum compensation payment when officers' contracts are brought to an early end, to 12 months' salary rather than remuneration. If this approach had been applied to Senior Executive Service officers since March 2017, the total compensation costs would have been reduced by about 41 per cent. As part of the government's workforce reform, legislation will be introduced to also remove the existing 'right of return' provision available to Senior Executive Service officers appointed under the Public Sector Management Act 1994 and health executives appointed under the Health Services Act 2016. Following the enactment of the legislation, a six-month transition period will be in place, enabling officers to exercise their right to return to a permanent tenure if they wish to do so. WA Premier Mark McGowan said: “A number of people leave the public service for various reasons. While there is an initial cost that the state government is trying to reduce, there is also long-term savings.”   [post_title] => WA to cut back SES payouts, benefits [post_excerpt] => New approach to reduce large compensation payments to WA's most senior bureaucrats. 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