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                    [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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                    [post_author] => 670
                    [post_date] => 2017-09-22 09:00:40
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-21 23:00:40
                    [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] => 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 ) [3] => 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 ) [4] => 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 ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27986 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 07:46:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-07 21:46:59 [post_content] => Brian Halstead The NSW Government has spent $360 million on grants to fund its council amalgamation program and $200 million more for communities in an aim to hide the fact that forced council mergers are financially failing. These figures are contained in government documents on local government reform and the new $200 million ‘Stronger Communities’ payouts in country and regional NSW. We believe these grants are political sweeteners to soften an electoral backlash against the state Coalition because of forced mergers. Following a ten-week study and research in response to savings being voiced by the Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton and publicity issued by the state Coalition, there appear to be serious unexplained shortfalls in most amalgamated council figures. As justification for NSW council amalgamations, the State Government promised surpluses for the first year (2017/18) of $82.3 million in metro councils and 20-year savings for regional and rural councils of $232million. We studied seven metro and 13 regional and country amalgamated councils. In metro councils, based on the councils’ 2017/18 proposed plans, deficits are forecast in total to be $1.3 million rather than the $82.5 million surplus the government promised in its proposals. The shortfalls on a comparable basis vary from $19 million in the new Inner West Council and $17.4 million in Cumberland, with many more councils in large shortfall territory. In the country and regions, Central Coast has a 20-year proposed savings figure of $115 million. In the council’s own 2017/18 forecast, the Central Coast has a deficit forecast of $8 million. In the 2017/18 general fund, Mid Coast Council will have a $15.4 million deficit, Queanbeyan $17.3 million, Snowy Monaro $4.4m, and Cootamundra nearly $2.5 million. The list of deficits goes on. One of the key benefits of amalgamated councils as claimed by the Baird/Berejiklian government was the expected improved financial performance compared with the previous stand-alone pre-amalgamated councils. The figures show the councils have failed miserably to deliver the surpluses promised by the State Government in the amalgamation proposals. The councils also fail in most cases to deliver the surpluses, that in total the individual councils committed to make standing alone or actually made three years earlier. Unless the amalgamated councils produce reconciliations with the government proposals, the overall amalgamated proposals will be seen to be a smoke and mirrors spin process supported by a secret KPMG Report. The amalgamations clearly appear not to be delivering the financial benefits promised. While we welcome the fact that the court proceedings in Sydney and in country and regional NSW have been withdrawn, we are still very concerned that many NSW councils are unable to deny amalgamations through legal proceedings. The communities must be given a say on whether the amalgamations that have taken place should be reversed as they are failing to deliver. Brian Halstead is an accountant, the author of the study and president of the Save Our Councils Coalition. [post_title] => Are merged councils financially secure? [post_excerpt] => A ten-week study and research has shown up shortfalls in some amalgamated council figures. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => merged-councils-financially-secure [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:53:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:53:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27986 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27959 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-04 21:22:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-04 11:22:43 [post_content] =>   Joshua Healy, University of Melbourne and Daniel Nicholson, University of Melbourne Workers aren’t being compensated as much as they should be for precarious work in casual positions. One in four Australian employees today is a casual worker. Among younger workers (15-24 year olds) the numbers are higher still: more than half of them are casuals. These jobs come without some of the benefits of permanent employment, such as paid annual holiday leave and sick leave. In exchange for giving up these entitlements, casual workers are supposed to receive a higher hourly rate of pay – known as a casual 'loading'. But the costs of casual work are now outweighing the benefits in wages.

Costs and benefits of casual work

Casual jobs offer flexibility, but also come with costs. For workers, apart from missing out on paid leave, there are other compromises: less predictable working hours and earnings, and the prospect of dismissal without notice. Uncertainty about their future employment can hinder casual workers in other ways, such as making family arrangements, getting a mortgage, and juggling education with work. Not surprisingly, casual workers have lower expectations about keeping their current job. For example the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found 19% expect to leave their job within 12 months, compared to 7% of other workers. Casuals are also much less likely to get work-related training, which limits their opportunities for skills development. The employers of casual workers also face higher costs. High staff turnover adds to recruitment costs. But perhaps the main cost is the “loading” that casual workers are supposed to be paid on top of their ordinary hourly wage. Australia’s system of minimum wage awards specifies a casual loading of 25%. So, a casual worker paid under an award should get 25% more for each hour than another worker doing the same job on a permanent basis. In enterprise agreements, the casual loading varies by sector, but tends to be between 15 and 25%. The practice of paying a casual loading developed for two reasons. One was to provide some compensation for workers missing out on paid leave. The other, quite different, motivation was to make casual employment more expensive and discourage excessive use of it. However this disincentive has not prevented the casual sector of the workforce from growing substantially.

Casual jobs aren’t much better paid

One approach in determining whether casual workers are paid more is simply to compare the hourly wages of casual and “non-casual” (permanent and fixed-term) employees in the same occupations. This can be done using data from the 2016 ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours. We compared median hourly wages for adult non-managerial employees, based on their ordinary earnings and hours of work (i.e. excluding overtime payments). If the median wage for casuals is higher than for non-casuals, there is a casual premium. If the median casual wage is lower, there is a penalty. The 10 occupations below accounted for over half of all adult casual workers in 2016. In most of these occupations, there is a modest casual wage premium - in the order of 4-5%. The size of the typical casual wage premium is much smaller, in most cases, than the loadings written into awards and agreements. Only one occupation (school teachers) has a premium (22%) in line with what might be expected. Three of the 10 largest casual occupations actually penalise this sort of work. And overall for these 10 occupations there is a casual wage penalty of 5%. This method of analysis suggests that few casual workers enjoy substantially higher wages as a trade-off for paid leave. Taking a closer look involves controlling for a wider range of differences between casual and non-casual workers. One major Australian study in 2005 compared wages after taking account of many factors other than occupation, including age, education, job location, and employer size. All else equal, it found that part-time, casual workers do receive an hourly wage premium over full-time, permanent workers. The premium is worth around 10%, on average, for men and between 4 and 7% for women. These results imply that most casual workers (who are in part-time positions) can expect to receive higher hourly wages than comparable employees in full-time, permanent positions. However, the value of the benefit is again found to be less than would be expected, given the larger casual loadings mentioned in awards and agreements. It seems that while there is some short-term financial benefit to being a casual worker, this advantage is worth less in practice than on paper. A recent study, using 14 years of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA), finds no evidence of any long-term pay benefit for casual workers. The study’s authors estimate that, among men, there is an average casual wage penalty of 10% - the opposite of what we should see if casual loadings fully offset the foregone leave and insecurity of casual jobs. Among female casual workers, there is also a wage penalty, but this is smaller, at around 4%. This study also finds that the size of the negative casual wage effect tends to reduce over time for individual workers, bringing them closer to equality with permanent workers. But very few casual workers out-earn permanent workers in the long-term.

Inferior jobs, but fewer alternatives

The evidence on hourly wage differences leads us to conclude that casual workers are not being adequately compensated for the lack of paid leave, or for other forms of insecurity they face. This makes casual jobs a less appealing option for workers. This does not mean that all casual workers dislike their jobs – indeed, many are satisfied. But a clear-eyed look at what these jobs pay suggests their benefits are skewed in favour of employers. Despite this, the choice for many workers - especially young jobseekers - is increasingly between a casual job or no job at all. Half of employed 15-24 year olds are in casual jobs. The ConversationIn a labour market characterised by high underemployment and intensifying job competition, young people with little or no work experience are understandably willing to make some sacrifices to get a start in the workforce. The option of 'holding out' for a permanent job looks increasingly risky as these opportunities dwindle. Joshua Healy, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Workplace Leadership, University of Melbourne and Daniel Nicholson, Research Assistant, Industrial Relations, University of Melbourne. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => The costs of a casual job [post_excerpt] => The costs of a casual job are now outweighing any pay benefits. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => costs-casual-job [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-04 21:25:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-04 11:25:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27959 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27956 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-04 16:05:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-04 06:05:10 [post_content] => Each year on Equal Pay Day, politicians boast about (or denigrate, depending on their political persuasion and position in parliament) the progress made towards bridging the gender pay gap and undertake to continue efforts to ensure women are equal in the workforce. This year, the Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said it was encouraging that the gender pay gap narrowed further over the last twelve months, with latest figures showing it has fallen from 16.3 per cent to 15.3 per cent. “The further reduction in the gender pay gap demonstrates the Turnbull Government’s policies to assist women breakdown barriers in the workforce are delivering results, yet, I remain acutely aware that more work needs to be done,” Minister Cash said. Senator Cash then proceeded to list the government’s programs, for example that in July 2017 the Turnbull Government launched Towards 2025, an Australian Government strategy to boost women’s workforce participation that outlined the government’s roadmap to reduce the gender participation gap by 25 per cent by 2025. The strategy detailed actions the government was planning to take to address some of the drivers of pay inequity in Australia, including for flexible work, childcare costs and early education. “By boosting workforce participation of women we can further close the gender pay gap, raise living standards across the board and secure Australia’s future prosperity,” Minister Cash said. The programs include:
  • Funding new child care and early learning reforms, which are estimated to encourage more than 230,000 families increase their workforce participation.
  • Expanding the ParentsNext pre-employment program, which helps parents of young children plan and prepare for work by connecting them with services in their local community.
  • Implementing the Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy, which requires every agency to set targets for gender equality in leadership positions and boost gender equality more broadly.
  • Investing $13 million over five years in getting more women into science, technology, engineering and maths under the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
  • Setting a target of women holding 50 per cent of government board positions overall and strengthening the BoardLink program.
  • Partnering with businesses to support women into leadership positions through scholarships provided by the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
  • Continuing funding the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
The opposition disagrees Labor said today’s Equal Pay Day marks the 66th extra day since the end of the financial year that women must work to earn the same as men. Shadow Minister For Education and Shadow Minister For Women The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP said in a statement: “For 20 years, there has been no real progress reducing gender pay inequity in Australia. And earlier this year, a Federal Government agency told Parliament that Australia is 50 years away from closing the pay gap. “A recent Senate Inquiry, led by Labor Senator Jenny McAllister, found Australia needed a national policy framework to achieve gender pay equity. “Instead, the government has thrown his full support behind cuts to penalty rates, which have been proven to have a disproportionate impact on women.” (Such as childcare workers, earning on average $21 per hour.)     [post_title] => How far have we come on Equal Pay? [post_excerpt] => Equal Pay Day was on Monday - what have we achieved? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => far-come-equal-pay [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-04 16:11:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-04 06:11:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27956 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27895 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 20:15:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 10:15:53 [post_content] => The Commonwealth Government has announced significant reforms to the way businesses can sell IT services to the government. Starting immediately, government IT contracts will be capped at a maximum value of $100 million or three years’ duration. This is to allow small- and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to bid for smaller components of larger projects. Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the Government was aiming to inject an additional $650 million annually into small Australian tech companies. “Government is targeting an increase of 10% of its annual $6.5 billion IT spending to smaller operators,” Assistant Minister Taylor said. “A cap is now in place to limit the term and value of government IT contracts. We are reducing the number of IT panels to make it easier for small players to supply services. We are actively encouraging small innovators to sell us their ideas.” The reforms were recommendations from the ICT Procurement Taskforce report. The taskforce found “a culture of risk-aversion in government procurement had undermined the freedom to innovate and experiment”. The ten recommendations from the taskforce cover issues such as developing ICT-specific procurement principles, building strategic partnerships, data-driven reporting, enhancing the Australian Public Service’s procurement skills, and new procurement methods. Work will continue over the next 12 months to deliver more pathways to improve coordination and reduce duplication of ICT procurement across government. The DTA’s increased oversight of the government’s IT investment portfolio and its work to build digital capability will address the calls for a more strategic IT procurement approach and a stronger technical workforce. The ICT procurement taskforce was established within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in October 2016 and became the responsibility of the Digital Transformation Agency in February 2017, the Minister said. Industry welcomes the move Rob Fitzpatrick, chief executive officer of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) said the changes were an important step forward to make it easier and less expensive for smaller Australian ICT companies to bid for components of larger projects and have the opportunity to do business with the Government. “We welcome the government’s commitment to build improved procurement capabilities and introduce new ICT procurement options aimed to streamline and speed up processes for both government and vendors. “These changes are in line with recommendations made by AIIA to provide a more level playing field. “We are particularly pleased to hear the Minister’s strong commitment to cloud services across government and to reforming existing panel arrangements. “To succeed, it will be important to implement the spirit of these changes effectively, and industry looks forward to working with the government to ensure an effective rollout.” [post_title] => Federal Govt restructures IT procurement worth $6.5bn [post_excerpt] => The Commonwealth has made significant changes to the way businesses can sell IT services to the government. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-govt-restructure-procurement-worth-6-5bn [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 21:55:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:55:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27895 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27890 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 16:05:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 06:05:29 [post_content] =>
Last week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull summoned the major electricity retailers to Canberra, to eyeball them and to tell them that everyone needs to do better. Putting aside the awkward staring contest, the parties did manage to agree on some small but important measures. Under the deal, the information available to consumers should improve, enabling them to more easily compare electricity offers and switch to a better offer. But does this deal really go far enough for consumers?
Power prices jumped on July 1 after three major retailers announced increases of up to 20 per cent. Picture: Anthony Hevron/Flickr.
A review of energy retail markets in Victoria, released on Sunday, goes a whole lot further. Led by former deputy premier of Victoria, John Thwaites, it calls for a new ‘Basic Service Offer’ – a regulated price for electricity. Until now, Victoria has led the way in opening up the retail electricity sector to competition; re-regulation would represent a major U-turn. During the 1990s, Australian governments began to break up the government-owned businesses responsible for electricity supply in each state, and introduced competition to the retail and wholesale links in the supply chain. The idea was that competition would deliver lower prices and encourage retailers to offer better and more innovative products and services. Anyone who pays an electricity bill knows that the reality hasn’t matched the promise. Now, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is reviewing the competitiveness of the retail electricity sector and prices nationally. A preliminary report is due by the end of September, but we may not know until the final report next June whether the ACCC recommends more transparency, re-regulation, or something in between. For retailers in Victoria, the Thwaites review is the second reproach after we at the Grattan Institute raised concerns in a report called Price Shock in March. The two independent analyses suggest that the retail component of electricity bills is way too high. However, Victoria would be wise to await the findings of the ACCC because it will be able to review retailers’ actual data. In Price Shock, we recommended market reforms to improve transparency, and protections for vulnerable customers, with a regulated price being a last resort if the benefits of competition failed to emerge after initial reforms were implemented. The Thwaites review jumps straight to a regulated price.

What re-regulation would mean

If Victoria heads down this path, all retailers would have to offer customers a basic electricity service, at or below a price set by the regulator. But whether this reduces electricity bills, especially for those struggling to pay, will depend on the extent to which consumers take up the offer. There is a real risk that vulnerable but disengaged consumers will not make the switch and so will not get the benefits. Shopping around is not easy, so many consumers don’t know when or where better offers are available.
Market reforms would improve transparency, and protections for vulnerable customers. Picture: Pixabay
Alternatively, if all consumers switch to the basic offer, electricity prices would actually increase for some consumers. This is because current offers vary widely; some consumers are on very good deals while others are paying far too much. A new regulated price is unlikely to be as cheap as the best offers currently available. The best approach would be for the regulated basic price to be available on an ‘opt-out’ basis for vulnerable customers, while everyone else would have the option to ‘opt-in’. About a third of Victoria’s residential consumers are concession customers. They should all automatically be placed on the retailer’s cheapest offer – with the option to switch to a more expensive premium product if they choose. Other consumers could choose to switch to the cheapest offer, but they would have to take the initiative to make the switch. This would ensure that vulnerable consumers are protected, while helping to keep the price of the basic offer as low as possible.

Re-regulation is no panacea

Setting a regulated price isn’t easy. Too low, and retailers will topple over. Too high, and consumers will pay more. Another risk with re-regulation is that it will quash innovation. Product innovation is particularly important now because the electricity system is changing and consumer choice can help to drive that change. The basic offer need not be the only product that retailers make available to their customers. Some consumers would be willing to pay a premium for add-ons or alternative products - such as ‘green choice’ deals that support renewable energy, packages for solar households, and fixed cost ‘all you can eat’ electricity plans. Products that help consumers manage their electricity use could help to reduce system costs for everyone. For example, retailers could offer risk and reward options that consumers sign-up for, that reward consumers for reducing their electricity use during peak times and for making valuable contributions to the grid via solar panels and battery storage. Retailers will produce such innovative products if enough consumers show that they want more than a basic electricity service. Ultimately, reducing electricity prices will require a range of reforms that extend beyond the retail market to electricity generation and networks. In the meantime though, the onus is on retailers to prove the benefits of competition through lower prices and innovative offers.
Any reform of the electricity prices will need to beyond the retail market to electricity generation and networks. Picture: Wikimedia
Retailers will report back to the Prime Minister and the ACCC on Friday with their plans to improve affordability for their customers. The test will be: are these plans good enough to dissuade the Government from stepping in and re-regulating electricity prices? This article was first published on Pursuit. Read the original article.   [post_title] => Is re-regulation the solution to Australia’s electricity price shock? [post_excerpt] => The ACCC is reviewing the competitiveness of the retail electricity sector and prices nationally. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => re-regulation-solution-australias-electricity-price-shock [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 16:25:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 06:25:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27890 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27852 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-17 20:00:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-17 10:00:35 [post_content] => Dean Lacheca Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platforms - chatbots, virtual assistants and messaging-based applications - are opening new government service delivery channels. Government CIO need to quickly determine the role of these channels, adjust their digital service delivery strategies and extend their digital government platform to exploit these new opportunities. Many are already taking notice. Governments are prioritising the implementation of virtual assistants more than many other industry vertical. A recent Gartner survey indicates that 60 percent of government organisations undertaking artificial intelligence and machine learning projects identify virtual assistants as a project goal. This is in line with growing expectation from citizens of being able to access government services via conversational applications. The Australian Taxation Office recently introduced virtual assistant Alex on its website to help support general taxation enquiries from Australian citizens. Platforms like these consist of multiple related AI technologies that support an interactive and intuitive style of communication. Conversational applications aim to increase customer satisfaction by reducing customers' need to navigate a complex website or transactional portal. At the same time, they reduce the wait time and resources required to respond to basic government inquiries. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 25 percent of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant technology across engagement channels. Service provider and government-to-government interactions can also be delivered through conversational applications. Large departments and agencies can use virtual employee assistants to offer more consistent and efficient delivery of internally facing services such as IT help desk, legal, HR and financial services. Most government services, however, particularly those that involve care or case management, will require human involvement for the foreseeable future. Virtual customer assistants or chatbots can be offered as an alternative or supporting channel to many direct citizen and business-facing services. Where to start 1. Educate IT and customer experience leaders Conversational applications suffer from negative customer experience perceptions based on older technologies and involvement with poor implementations. Customer experience leaders need to comfortable with, and have confidence in, the quality and consistency of the service delivered by the conversational applications. This will require effort to dispel historical misconceptions. Confidence will grow as understanding and experience of the quality and potential for the service grow. It's equally important to set expectations with the business regarding the take-up of these alternate channels. Though conversational applications should form part of a multichannel service delivery strategy, accept that these channels won't be accepted by all citizens or staff in the short term. Educate customer experience leaders on the potential for conversational applications and establish vendor showcases or workshops to offer firsthand experience. Then implement an internal pilot of a virtual employee assistant to develop technical skills and create an example to help guide decisions and future strategy. 2. Identify and prioritise opportunities Many uses for conversational applications exist throughout government. They deliver the best results when the right style or combination of applications is implemented to support the right type of service. Implementing a conversational application is a significant investment and should only be considered for services that are used frequently. Given conversational applications won't be accepted by all citizens, it's important to understand the service consumer. When targeting citizens, consider factors such as demographics, including language background. When targeting businesses, assess the nature of the business digital maturity of the industry. When targeting government-to-government services, consider the digital maturity of other agencies. When targeting staff, consider the digital maturity of your own agency. Start by preparing a list of conversational application opportunities based on potential uses and the services delivered by your agency. Work in partnership with your customer experience leaders to refine and prioritise this list based on the complexity of the responses, the demand for the services and the demographics of the targeted audience, including language background. 3. Revise your digital government strategy Citizens already engage governments across different channels, and their expectation is to receive the same quality of service across all channels. Unfortunately, many agencies struggle to see service delivery channels beyond traditional digital channels like websites and portals. A digital government strategy should embed multichannel citizen engagement as a foundation of service delivery. The strategy should reinforce the importance of consistency across channels and seamless transition between channels. Multichannel service delivery should apply equally to services aimed at government staff, forming part of the digital workplace strategy. A strategic focus on multichannel service delivery will influence the architecture of your citizen/customer experience platform to support conversational applications. Develop a business case to secure funding for further AI research and projects. Dean Lacheca is a public sector research director at Gartner, helping government CIO and technology leaders with their transition to digital government. He will speak about digital government trends at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Australia, 30 October-2 November 2017.   [post_title] => Conversational AI in government [post_excerpt] => Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platforms are opening new government service delivery channels. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => conversational-ai-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-17 20:22:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-17 10:22:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27852 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27828 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-14 14:43:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-14 04:43:08 [post_content] => The Federal Government announced in the 2017-18 Budget context a number of initiatives to encourage the continued development of the SII market in Australia, including funding of $30 million. By pure coincidence, the Government also gifted $30m to Foxtel. The difference between this and Foxtel’s $30m is that Foxtel will get it over two years, while SII will have to wait ten years - Ed. The government’s package includes funding of $30 million over ten years, the release of a set of principles to guide the Australian government’s involvement in the SII market, and notes that the government will continue to separately consider ways to reduce regulatory barriers inhibiting the growth of the SII market. Social Impact Investing, the government says, is an emerging, outcomes‑based approach that brings together governments, service providers, investors and communities to tackle a range of policy (social and environmental) issues. It provides governments with an alternative mechanism to address social and environmental issues whilst also leveraging government and private sector capital, building a stronger culture of robust evaluation and evidenced-based decision making, and creating a heightened focus on outcomes. It is important to note that social impact investing is not suitable for funding every type of Australian government outcome. Rather, it provides an alternative opportunity to address problems where existing policy interventions and service delivery are not achieving the desired outcomes. Determining whether these opportunities exist is a key step in deciding whether social impact investing might be suitable for delivering better outcomes for the government and community. Government agencies involved in social impact investments should also ensure they have the capability (e.g. contract and relationship management skills, and access to data and analytic capability) to manage that investment. The principles The principles (available in full here) acknowledge that social impact investing can take many forms, including but not limited to, Payment by Results contracts, outcomes-focused grants, and debt and equity financing. The principles reflect the role of the Australian Government as an enabler and developer of this nascent market. They acknowledge that as a new approach, adjustments may be needed. They also acknowledge and encourage the continued involvement of the community and private sector in developing this market, with the aim of ensuring that the market can become sustainable into the future. Finally, the principles are not limited by geographical or sectoral boundaries. They can be considered in any circumstance where the Australian Government seeks to increase and leverage stakeholder interest in achieving improved social and environmental outcomes (where those outcomes can be financial, but are also non‑financial). Accordingly, where the Australian Government is involved in social impact investments, it should take into account the following principles:
  1. Government as market enabler and developer.
  2. Value for money.
  3. Robust outcomes-based measurement and evaluation.
  4. Fair sharing of risk and return.
  5. Outcomes that align with the Australian Government’s policy priorities.
  6. Co-design.
[caption id="attachment_27829" align="alignnone" width="216"] The Australian Government's six principles for social impact investing.[/caption]   [post_title] => Social Impact Investing to get $30m [post_excerpt] => The Federal Government has announced a number of initiatives to encourage Social Impact Investing. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27828 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-14 14:46:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-14 04:46:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27828 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27757 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-03 19:42:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-03 09:42:31 [post_content] => The popular idea that the economic divide between Australia’s cities and regions is getting bigger is a misconception, according to new Grattan Institute research. The working paper Regional patterns of Australia’s economy and population shows that beneath the oft-told ‘tale of two Australias’ is a more nuanced story. Income growth and employment rates are not obviously worse in regional areas. Cities and regions both have pockets of disadvantage, as well as areas with healthy income growth and low unemployment. And while cities have higher average incomes, the gap in incomes between the cities and the regions is not getting wider. Grattan Institute CEO John Daley said the research casts doubt on the idea that regional Australians are increasingly voting for minor parties because the regions are getting a raw deal compared to the cities. “Given that people in regions have generally fared as well as those in cities over the past decade, major parties may need to look beyond income and employment to discover why dissatisfaction among regional voters is increasing,” he says. The paper shows that the highest taxable incomes in Australia are in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, followed by Cottesloe in Perth and Stonnington in eastern Melbourne. The lowest taxable incomes are in Tasmania and the regions of the east-coast states, especially the far north coast of NSW, central Victoria and southern Queensland. But income growth in the regions has kept pace with income growth in the cities over the past decade. The lowest income growth was typically in suburban areas of major cities. While unemployment varies between regions, it is not noticeably worse in the regions overall. Some of the biggest increases in unemployment over the past five years were along transport ‘spines’ in cities, such as the Ipswich to Carole Park corridor in Brisbane and the Dandenong to Pakenham corridor in Melbourne. The biggest difference between regions and cities is that inland regional populations are generally growing slower – particularly in non-mining states. Cities are attracting many more migrants, particularly from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The east coast ‘sea change’ towns are also getting larger, but unemployment is relatively high. The research will contribute to a forthcoming Grattan Institute report examining why the vote for minor parties has risen rapidly over the past decade, particularly in regional electorates. Read the full report here.   [post_title] => City-country divide: not as wide as you may think [post_excerpt] => That the economic divide between Australia’s cities and regions is getting bigger is a misconception. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => city-country-divide-not-wide-may-think [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-03 19:47:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-03 09:47:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27757 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27748 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-03 17:02:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-03 07:02:40 [post_content] => As the council amalgamations fiasco rolls on, it is becoming apparent that for some of the administrators, being lavished millions of dollars of government funds to spend at their discretion is becoming too strong an attraction to say goodbye to at the coming elections. Standing for elections So far at least two administrators have declared their intention to stand for office at the coming council elections. Queanbeyan-Palerang administrator Tim Overall and Armidale regional administrator Ian Tiley have both confirmed they will be standing for election, despite what many believe is an obvious conflict of interest in their current positions as administrators. The Greens believe the Premier must immediately direct these administrators to withdraw their nominations. Greens MP and local government spokesperson David Shoebridge said: “It’s not unlawful, but there is no doubt that it is deeply inappropriate for administrators to be running for council elections. “These administrators have been given an enormous platform in their local communities over the last 18 months, not to mention access to millions of dollars in council funds and community grants. “There is an obvious conflict of interest if administrators are now putting their hand up to run at the upcoming local government elections, after being given the role of a cashed-up local despot for 18 months. “These individuals have had well over a year to implement their agenda and build on their existing local profile, they should not be able to run at the upcoming elections. “The Liberal National government’s forced amalgamation mess continues to be plagued with dysfunction, and as always they treat residents and ratepayers like mugs. “Any competent government would have outlawed this practice; instead we have the Liberal Nationals in charge. “If the Premier had any respect for local communities, she would immediately direct these administrators to withdraw their nominations for council.” Mr Shoebridge said. In the meantime in Sydney, a NSW Government-appointed administrator is seeking to sell off commercial waste services on the eve of council elections United Services Union general secretary Graeme Kelly said a forcibly-merged council in Sydney’s west has come under fire after it was revealed that it will no longer be able to provide waste services to more than 1,000 commercial and trade customers, following a decision to outsource domestic waste services and sell off its fleet of garbage trucks. Cumberland Council, which was formed following the forced merger of Holroyd Council with Auburn and parts of Parramatta, has admitted in council business papers that as a result of the controversial decision by NSW Government-appointed administrator Viv May to outsource domestic waste services, the council would no longer be able to provide services to commercial clients, either. In June, Mr May awarded a $68 million contract to United Resource Management to run domestic waste services for ten years, Mr Kelly said. “The sale of Council’s fleet means Council will not be able to service its trade and commercial waste customers in the future,” the council document states. Mr May is expected to use the next council meeting — the final one before democracy is restored with the election of new councillors next month — to approve a plan to seek expressions of interest from private waste operators to also take over Cumberland Council’s commercial waste operations. Mr Kelly, whose union represents more than 30,000 local government workers across the state, said the NSW Government needed to urgently intervene to prevent the loss of further services ahead of new councillors being elected. “Just a week after Premier Gladys Berejiklian publicly abandoned the NSW Government’s failed policy of forcibly amalgamating councils, one of her government’s administrators is making a last-ditch effort to sell off community services before council elections can take place next month,” Mr Kelly said. “During the past month, this unelected and unaccountable administrator has locked ratepayers into a costly outsourcing arrangement for the next decade, decided to sell the fleet of garbage collection vehicles, and now intends to do the same with commercial waste services. “There are more than 1,000 businesses that will be impacted by this decision, yet there has been no consultation with them, the broader community, or workers. “Having an appointed administrator making major decisions on the eve of elections, including the awarding of multi-million dollar contracts and the sale of council assets, is completely unacceptable and is one of the reasons communities across the state fought so hard against these forced mergers. “Premier Berejiklian and Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton need to urgently intervene to stop the unelected administrator of Cumberland Council from selling assets, cutting services, or entering contracts, with all decisions instead held over until a democratically elected council retakes the reins,” Mr Kelly said. … and Woollahra wants its money back Waverley Councillor John Wakefield believes the administrator has engaged in building a castle-in-the-air and is keen to seek state government re-imbursement for the costs of the merger. “With the merger called off, we have certainty about the future of the eastern suburbs councils,” Cr Wakefield said. “Let’s now consider what the ratepayers of Waverley have paid to jump through the hoops of the State Government’s mega-merger fantasy.” While Woollahra Council and its Mayor led the opposition against the merger, Waverley Council and its Mayor went about setting up Waverley for the merger with Randwick and an unwilling Woollahra. According to Cr Wakefield, a team of Waverley staff has been working for two years on the merger. Consultants were hired to prepare detailed reports on management and staffing structures under a merged council, facilities and office accommodation requirements, vehicle and truck fleet management issues, maintenance contracts, IT systems integration, and numerous other complex issues requiring detailed plans. “We estimate that well over $500,000 was spent by Waverley Council in direct costs to consultants, while hundreds and hundreds of hours of senior council staff time was occupied in meetings, preparing reports, workshopping the incredible complexity of merging three large organisations together whilst attempting to maintain work levels and resident expectations of service delivery. “Simultaneously and additional to this, Waverley Council under Mayor Betts also hired consultants and allocated a significant amount of staff time on a proposal to re-develop Council’s Library and adjacent buildings. This has been marketed as the ‘Civic Heart’ precinct. It was actually a feasibility study to house a merged council’s town hall. “Mayor Betts was preparing to spend a significant amount of ratepayers money to house a now abandoned merged Eastern Suburbs Council,” he said. This Civic Heart project has an allocation of $80 million in Waverley Council’s forward budget but would have in reality cost in the order of $120 million. Combined with Mayor Betts’ grand project for the Bondi Pavilion with a budget of $40 million, this would have exhausted Waverley’s $130 million capital works reserve totally. “We will now be seeking re-imbursement from the State Government of all expenditure related to the merger proposal. “If our motion is successful, a more precise figure will be calculated by Council’s General Manager, but we estimate the total cost to ratepayers of over $2 million wasted in the last two years.” [post_title] => Council administrators: caretakers or career builders? [post_excerpt] => Standing for election, selling off assets... council administrators are in the firing line. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => council-administrators-caretakers-career-builders [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-04 11:09:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-04 01:09:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27748 [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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