New approach to reduce large compensation payments to WA’s most senior bureaucrats.
WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [category_name] => sector/state-government ) [query_vars] => Array ( [category_name] => state-government [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [name] => [static] => [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [tag] => [cat] => 25 [tag_id] => [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( ) [category__not_in] => Array (  => 22371 ) [category__and] => Array ( ) [post__in] => Array ( ) [post__not_in] => Array ( ) [post_name__in] => Array ( ) [tag__in] => Array ( ) [tag__not_in] => Array ( ) [tag__and] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__in] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__and] => Array ( ) [post_parent__in] => Array ( ) [post_parent__not_in] => Array ( ) [author__in] => Array ( ) [author__not_in] => Array ( ) [ignore_sticky_posts] => [suppress_filters] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [post_type] => [posts_per_page] => 14 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => [order] => DESC ) [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object ( [queries] => Array (  => Array ( [taxonomy] => category [terms] => Array (  => state-government ) [field] => slug [operator] => IN [include_children] => 1 )  => Array ( [taxonomy] => category [terms] => Array (  => 22371 ) [field] => term_id [operator] => NOT IN [include_children] => ) ) [relation] => AND [table_aliases:protected] => Array (  => wp_term_relationships ) [queried_terms] => Array ( [category] => Array ( [terms] => Array (  => state-government ) [field] => slug ) ) [primary_table] => wp_posts [primary_id_column] => ID ) [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [clauses:protected] => Array ( ) [has_or_relation:protected] => ) [date_query] => [queried_object] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 25 [name] => State [slug] => state-government [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 25 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 8229 [count] => 1514 [filter] => raw [cat_ID] => 25 [category_count] => 1514 [category_description] => [cat_name] => State [category_nicename] => state-government [category_parent] => 8229 ) [queried_object_id] => 25 [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1 AND ( wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (25) AND wp_posts.ID NOT IN ( SELECT object_id FROM wp_term_relationships WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (22364) ) ) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 14 [posts] => Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 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. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => wa-cut-back-payouts-benefits-senior-bureaucrats [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-22 09:42:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-21 23:42:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28087 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => 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 )  => 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 )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27964 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-03 12:54:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-03 02:54:52 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27965" align="alignnone" width="300"] Dr Ian McPhee.[/caption] Dr Ian McPhee is a medical specialist with a career that began more than 35 years ago in Anaesthesia. Three years ago, at the age of 59, he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive T-cell lymphoma. In spite of extensive treatment, including chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, his cancer has spread to several sites, and is now in an advanced stage. Dr McPhee is a strong supporter of palliative care, and considers it a vital part of the medical system. He believes that for many, it is the difference between extreme suffering, and achieving some respite at the last stage of life. However, for himself, he is seeking an alternative option. Dr McPhee has arranged to access a drug that will enable him to end his life. He has discussed this with his family, and they are fully supportive. He has agreed to speak publicly about his situation in the hope that it will provide a better understanding of why some terminally ill individuals want the option of an assisted death. In the time he has left, Dr McPhee is urging MPs to support the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill when it is debated in Parliament next month. To this end, he has participated in a video made by Dying with Dignity NSW, promoting end of life choices. Dr Sarah Edelman, president of Dying with Dignity NSW, said that Dr McPhee has the personal contacts that will enable him to access medication to ensure a peaceful death. “This option is only available to those who have resources and connections, or those who have an advocate who is prepared to break the law on their behalf. The vast majority of Australians also want this choice”. An Essential opinion poll conducted during August found that 73% of Australians support voluntary assisted dying, with 81% support amongst those over 55 years. In the video, Dr McPhee says that his pain is likely to become unbearable and despite having access to every type of medication, none of it is capable of eliminating pain completely. “It will be nothing less than a form of torture,” he said. Dr McPhee says knowing that he will have control over the final stage of his life provides enormous reassurance. Dr Edelman, a clinical psychologist, points out that “one of the greatest benefits of voluntary assisted dying is the reduction in anxiety that comes with the knowledge that the option of a peaceful death will be always be available.” You can view the video here. Another article on medically assisted dying can be read here. [post_title] => Why can’t we die with dignity? [post_excerpt] => Intensive care specialist says: “It will be nothing less than a form of torture.” [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cant-die-dignity [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:50:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:50:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27964 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27939 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-31 15:12:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-31 05:12:30 [post_content] => Shannon Gillespie Today, everyone knows that an idea isn’t a good one until it ‘trends’. Last year, the City of Sydney’s Zero Waste marketing campaign featured the creation of an outdoor vinyl sticker campaign that made use of clever situational placement and optical illusions to highlight the problem of dumping household waste throughout the city. Designed for city dwellers to interact with, each piece was customised to its environment to amuse and educate people about the city’s free pickup service. One of the installations was a giant stack of household waste on the side of a building that increased in size every week for three weeks. As a by-product, the hashtag #freepickup and bookafreepickup.com site shot to stardom as people snapped and shared photos of themselves with old fridges, washing machines and the like in odd, but memorable, locations such as the middle of a cycle path. The result, the City claims, was “a virtual doubling of the number of calls to the free pickup service within a week of installation”. Imagine if we took the principles of this social marketing campaign and applied it to our engineering problems. How often do we spend megabucks on infrastructure projects, but do relatively little, if anything, to educate people about the right way to operate infrastructure or to change their behaviours when using it? The 2000 Sydney Olympics was hailed as “the best organised Olympic Games ever” and was the epitome of how an effective marketing and communications plan can solve complex problems. With a population of four million people and an expected influx of half a million visitors to Sydney for the Olympic Games, drastic measures were required to cope with the pressure on infrastructure. But instead of focusing on developing new transport infrastructure, a major public communications plan was executed to modify the travel behaviour of visitors and spectators. The message was simple – Olympic transport will be different but will work well. And it did! The Sydney Olympic Games achieved the first-ever 100 per cent spectator accessibility by public transport. As engineers, our natural response is to design highly sophisticated and intelligent infrastructure that automatically adapts itself to meet the demand. We design complex and expensive control systems to control infrastructures performance and operation. The infrastructure is designed to modulate in response to the variables which, in most cases, are people. But are we looking at society’s complex challenges through the wrong lens? The recent heatwave in South Australia put pressure on the state’s electricity network due to people turning on their air conditioning. As a consequence, 90 000 properties suffered a blackout during load shedding at the end of a 42 degrees Celsius day. While the problem appears to have been a technical one, could we not have modified the behaviour of the people? Experts say that in order to conserve energy in a heatwave, people should not lower their air conditioning below 26 degrees Celsius – this has nothing to do with the comfort of individuals but everything to do with avoiding a catastrophic power outage. Whilst it may not be a long-term solution, an effective marketing campaign would help solve the problem in the interim. We are living in a world where more than ever before, we need our facilities to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible ̶ not only from an environmental perspective but also from optimising the use of capital. According to the World Economic Forum, global spending on basic infrastructure – transport, water and communications – currently totals USD 2.7 trillion a year, USD 1 trillion short of what is needed. The difference is nearly as large as South Korea’s GDP. As pressure on our natural and economic resources increases, so too does our ability to design effective infrastructure projects. If engineers treated marketing as another tool in their toolkit, how many of our complex infrastructure problems could be solved? How many millions of dollars could be saved on new infrastructure projects simply through marketing campaigns targeted at changing user behaviour? More and more, engineers should be telling their clients that a well-designed behavioural campaign should go hand in hand with a well-designed infrastructure project. In future, we might see Marketing Fundamentals become a standard feature of the Bachelor of Engineering curriculum. Shannon Gillespie is with Aurecon. [post_title] => Facebook and infrastructure [post_excerpt] => What does Facebook have to do with infrastructure? Everything, it would seem! [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => facebook-and-infrastructure [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-31 20:02:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-31 10:02:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27939 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27943 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-30 20:00:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-30 10:00:31 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27944" align="alignnone" width="300"] Vicki OHalloran AM.[/caption] Vicki O'Halloran AM, chief executive officer of Somerville Community Services has been appointed as the Northern Territory's 22nd Administrator by the Governor-General, His Excellency the Hon Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd). Mrs O'Halloran's two-year appointment comes as the term of the current Administrator, the Hon John Hardy AO comes to a close on October 30 this year. Federal Minister for Local Government and Territories Senator the Hon Fiona Nash said Mrs Halloran is a long-term Territorian who had done great things in the disability and family services sector. “Mrs O'Halloran is a leader and advocate for the disability sector and is involved in a number of organisations locally and nationally. “She is a chairwoman and member of a number of boards and committees that do great things in the Territory, including National Disability Services, NT Government Ministerial Advisory Committees on Disability Reform, Red Tape Reduction Strategy, Council of Social Services, National Disability Insurance Scheme and Housing Innovation Working group. “She has devoted her entire career and many volunteer hours to welfare services throughout the Northern Territory and in 2014 was made a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for her significant service to people with a disability.” In 2015 Mrs O'Halloran was a state finalist for the Australian of the Year. Mrs O'Halloran, a Tasmanian by birth, took up an opportunity to relocate to Darwin in 1989 and has been the chief executive officer of Somerville Community Services for nearly 20 years. “Like many Territorians, Mrs O'Halloran never expected to stay longer than a couple of years and after 28 years is firmly entrenched in the Territory lifestyle and community,” chief minister Michael Gunner said. “Her tireless advocacy work in the family services and disability sector is known across the community, as is her reputation as a strategic and forward thinking leader. “I congratulate Mrs O'Halloran on her position and look forward to working with her over the next two years.” Ms O'Halloran will be officially sworn in by the Governor-General at a ceremony held in Parliament House on October 31. [post_title] => New administrator for NT [post_excerpt] => Vicki O'Halloran AM has been appointed as the Northern Territory's 22nd Administrator. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-administrator-nt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-31 20:03:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-31 10:03:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27943 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27921 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-28 16:12:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-28 06:12:30 [post_content] => The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), the Internet of Things Alliance Australia (IOTAA) and the Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) have announced they will collaborate to build the street of the future in Sydney’s CBD. The installation - The Future Street - is to be part of AILA’s national Festival of Landscape Architecture, a four-day event on conceiving, reimagining and transforming the outside world from streetscapes to parks and playgrounds, transport solutions to tourism strategies, to new suburbs and even cities. AILA CEO Shahana McKenzie said: “The Future Street is the culmination of numerous converging ideas around landscape, infrastructure and technology, that have resulted in a unique collaboration to help imagine the important role our streets can play in the future.” SCCANZ executive director Adam Beck described the event as a project that “provides us with the opportunity to show government, industry and the community the exciting outcomes from weaving the digital, natural and built environments together in this important public space: the street.” The idea behind The Future Street originated from an event run by AILA and SCCANZ in late 2016, where a number of planning and design professionals gathered to reimagine the role of streets under a range of disruptions, such as climate change, autonomous vehicles, and rapid technological change. The third partner of The Future Street, IOTAA, has joined AILA and SCCANZ to help deliver a showcase of the Internet of Things (IoT). IOTAA CEO Frank Zeichner said of the installation: “This project provides the opportunity to showcase the benefit of IoT to our cities, economy, and the community. IOT provides the opportunity to grow Australia’s competitiveness, innovation landscape and liveability, by connecting data, devices, people, processes and things to the internet. It helps people make better and more informed decisions to get the best possible outcomes.” The Future Street will be open for public viewing during the Festival of Landscape Architecture, from 12-15 October 2017, and showcase a range of landscape, IoT, utilities, transport and urban design and place-making features. The installation will be supported by a program of topical discussions and case studies. It is also planned that the installation will gather and report on real-time data, highlighting the capabilities of technology and the effectiveness of various deployed strategies. If you are interested in being part of the installation contact Shelley Kemp at firstname.lastname@example.org. [post_title] => Industry and government collaborate on streets of the future [post_excerpt] => The Future Street is the culmination of numerous converging ideas around landscape, infrastructure and technology. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => industry-government-collaborate-design-streets-future [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-28 16:14:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-28 06:14:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27921 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27904 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 21:20:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:20:52 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27905" align="alignnone" width="300"] Artist's impression of Sydney Metro Waterloo station.[/caption] Alok Patel Everyone’s talking about smart cities. Local councils are in the enviable position to make them a reality. Local government is the level of administration closest to the people, and councils are best placed to know what technologies are going to improve the lives of their constituents. In addition, local government areas can be mobilised far more quickly than they can be through the federal or state government to facilitate change. Now, here’s the rub. Councils are also among the worst to pitch to. They are mired in complex bureaucracy and often have outdated procurement processes that are no longer fit for purpose. We recently held a series of roundtables to examine the challenges and opportunities that smart cities present. Participants included experts in start-ups, communications, business, construction and local government. These experts, who were able to offer different perspectives on dealing with all levels of government, named local councils as the great hope of smart cities innovation. But they also pointed to reforms that are needed to realise them. To begin with procurement, current processes favour project delivery by big corporates (purely due to their ﬁnancial ability to weather the cost of onerous government compliance and processes), typically resulting in a less innovative approach. Visionary start-ups may not even reach tender stage after being dissuaded by the abovementioned onerous procurement compliance burden. Dump the thin, bureaucratic straw In addition to this bottleneck, cutting-edge technology is not being deployed because there is still a central planning mentality rather than an iterative start-up mentality that could more eﬀectively deliver solutions. Local council hierarchy and procurement processes can slow or even stymie progress. As one participant said, “the current council structure is one CEO, ﬁve departments and 2,000 staﬀ, using procurement processes that go back 40 to 50 years”. While there is investment being made by the private sector in speculative technology, there is little hope of any of this cash making it through what ends up being a very thin bureaucratic straw. The way forward is for councils to partner with private enterprise to develop cheap, small, proof-of-concept innovations that can be quickly altered or dumped with little cost in much the same way that John Maxwell recommends that you “fail fast, but forward” – or learn from your mistakes and use what you’ve learned in your next cunning plan. In this way the private sector can take the risk – meaning the lion’s share of the expense – while councils reap the benefits and no small kudos for improving the lives of their residents; and, importantly, saving them time and money. Councils already showing the way One way government could move more quickly would be to embrace the iterative approach discussed above, where technology is proven on a small scale, then picked up in other areas. This type of approach in turn lends itself to creative ﬁnancing options: investments are no longer so massive that only large corporations can propose a solution. Instead, smaller players can bid for projects using models that break investments into funding parcels over a 12 to 24-month period, with returns coming within ﬁve years. Already, there are self-contained precincts already being built in New York City, The Hudson Yards, and Yeerongpilly Green in Brisbane, and on a smaller scale, the green space of the Finery in Waterloo, Sydney. None of these projects would have been possible without the blessing of far-sighted local council pioneers. All are built on top of or near railway stations - the new Waterloo Metro station for Sydney’s Finery and New York City Hall extending the 7-line train in Manhattan to service The Yards. These are just some examples of how the private sector is teaming up with local governments to create a prototype smart precinct for citizens – or in the case of The Yards, a city within a city with its own microgrid – with green spaces, pools or water features, and high levels of walkability. While the private sector is coming to the party and acknowledging the way forward to smart cities, it is up to government give a ‘big-picture’ commitment to ensuring quality of life and happiness of its citizens. Roundtable participants were also excited by the opportunity for smart cities to go beyond social cohesion and improve citizens’ connectedness to the government. Improving people’s lives today This call for a vision for the smart city and a commitment to the happiness of the people is a crucial element to come from our roundtables. This is achievable now. While we should not be daunted by undertaking tasks that will take years to complete, what matters is wellbeing, now. And the financing options outlined above show the way forward. With the technology we have available, Australia has the ability and the opportunity to build smart cities and improve people’s lives today. Our goal must be an improved urban space where people can be their best as they live, work, trade and play in comfort and safety. The avantgarde councils that will pave the way will reap rewards beyond savings, awards, recognition, swank and the glory of seeing scaled-up versions of their advances implemented around the world. They will improve the lives of their citizens. Alok Patel is the CEO of Azcende, a venture capital firm in the smart cities space. He is also the author of Habitats for Humans, a white paper that came out of a recent series of roundtables held in Sydney and Melbourne, which is available to download here. [post_title] => Local councils can be the vanguards of smart city reform [post_excerpt] => Everyone’s talking about smart cities. Local councils are in the enviable position to make them a reality. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => local-councils-can-vanguards-smart-city-reform [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 21:27:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:27:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27904 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27899 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 17:44:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 07:44:41 [post_content] => The Cross River Rail business case released by the Queensland Government “demonstrates it will create jobs, bust congestion and be the catalyst for a world-class turn up and go public transport system”. Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure Jackie Trad said the Cross River Rail Business Case 2017 details the challenges and opportunities facing South East Queensland’s (SEQ) rail network. “[We] have fully funded Cross River Rail and we are getting on with the job of building it,” Ms Trad said. “The business case demonstrates what we have already known for a decade – we need another rail crossing to increase rail services in the South East and the solution is Cross River Rail. “Our rail network has a key choke point at its core preventing extra train services being brought into regions like the Gold Coast, Logan, Caboolture and the Redlands. “Nearly 2 million people will move into SEQ over the next two decades and with some lines, like the Gold Coast, already operating at 100 per cent capacity during peak periods, we need to build Cross River Rail before we reach a crisis point. “It will unlock smarter integration of rail and bus networks, providing quick turn up and go services and positioning SEQ for a more sustainable and competitive future “The business case specifically states the full benefits of both Cross River Rail and the Brisbane Metro can only be completely realised once both projects are constructed and are operational. Ms Trad said the business case incorporated the latest information on the impact of policy and demographic changes over the last 12 months. “The BCR for the project is now 1.41, up from 1.21 in the 2016 Business Case. This means that for every $1 invested in the Cross River Rail project, $1.41 is returned to the people of Queensland,” Ms Trad said. CRR business case key findings include:
- For every $1 invested in the project, it returns $1.41 to the people of Queensland.
- The project will generate an average of 1,500 jobs each year over the construction period, with a peak of 3,000 in the most intensive year.
- CRR will provide capacity for ‘turn-up-and-go’ services.
- CRR will help reduce pressure on the region’s roads, freeing them up for commercial vehicles and commuter buses.
- It will enable greater integration of bus and rail services, which will help to maximise the state government’s rail network investments and Brisbane City Council’s investment in Brisbane Metro and improved bus services.
- Total daily public transport trips (bus & rail) will climb from around 510,000 to more than 880,000 in 2026 and to more than 1.1 million by 2036.
What re-regulation would meanIf 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. 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 panaceaSetting 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. 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 )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27883 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-22 08:13:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 22:13:46 [post_content] => The Australian and Victorian Governments are committing significant funds to connect the Port of Melbourne to major freight hubs using the existing rail network, but container operators are warning that the success or otherwise of the concept is in the detail. Governments come up with the money Expressions of interest will soon to be sought to deliver a series of rail freight ‘shuttle’ initiatives on the existing rail network by connecting the port to major freight hubs and businesses. Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the proposal would take advantage of rail’s ability to shift larger volumes of freight than trucks. “[We] are seeing a boom in exports, which has led to trucks taking more produce and freight to the ports. This project will provide the ability to shift larger volumes of freight via rail compared to trucks, and reduce congestion on our roads,” Mr Chester said. “The freight and logistics industry had identified rail’s potential to reduce transport costs by about 10 per cent, with the proposal potentially improving Australia’s competitiveness.” Victorian Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Ports Luke Donnellan said the initiative will take trucks off local roads in Melbourne’s inner west. “The Port of Melbourne will remain our primary freight hub for a generation. With container numbers expected to double over the next two decades we need to act now to share the load between road and rail. “Alongside the West Gate Tunnel, 24-hour truck bans in the inner west and the Port’s rail access plans, this project will help shift containers from residential streets onto dedicated routes to the port.” The Australian Government has committed $38 million and the Victorian Government will provide $20 million to the initiative. Funding will be available to upgrade rail connections and improve terminal access. The devil’s in the detail The largest conglomeration of container transporters in Victoria the Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) has welcomed the recommitment of $58 million in funding by the State and Federal Governments towards port rail shuttle services in the Port of Melbourne, but has warned that there is ‘much to do’ to make metropolitan rail freight services commercially viable. “There is no doubt that moving more containerised freight to and from the Port of Melbourne and metropolitan intermodal terminals must be part of the future for Australia’s largest container freight port,” CTAA director Neil Chambers said. “To date, however, next to no containers move to and from metropolitan areas and the port due to the lack of adequate rail infrastructure and the added costs of using rail for intermodal movements. “The optimal landside movement of an import container once discharged from a ship involves around six “lifts” if delivered direct from wharf to customer then direct to the empty container depot for de-hire by road.” “This number of ‘lifts’ rises with the current situation where many containers are ‘staged’ through transport yards to take account of the mismatch of operating hours and other logistics management reasons, both the full container as well as the empty. This can increase the number of ‘lifts’ to as many as ten. “However, unless we can achieve true ‘on-dock’ rail operations to remove the need for the last-mile movement of the containers within the Port to be undertaken by truck or some other form of transfer vehicle, the number of ‘lifts’ for a typical intermodal operation would be twelve or more. “Every time you touch the container it costs money, and the current lack of rail integration is the killer from a competition point of view. “Truly viable intermodal terminals in Australia and overseas also provide the value-added services in situ that reduce local freight journeys and strip out costs for the cargo owner. This is what we need to aspire to through strategically located intermodal terminals in Melbourne’s west, north and south-east. “It’s important, therefore, that the Port of Melbourne complete its rail strategy development in a timely manner, that the state’s overall freight strategy is refreshed, and the national freight strategy finalised, to ensure that intermodal rail operations are considered as a complete system, not just a series of disjointed nodes with no adequate integrated port connections and infrastructure “I think we need to be cautious that the community isn’t given the impression that rail intermodal operations will be a panacea to the removal of trucks from our roads,” Mr Chambers said. “That won’t be the case, because even if we get this right, which we all hope we will, the future still involves thousands of truck movements to and from the port, as well as to and from intermodal terminals for final delivery to the end user. “We need integrated planning that enhances and protects the future viability of road and rail freight, reduces community amenity impacts where possible, but doesn’t harm freight productivity and cost competitiveness.” [post_title] => Will Melbourne’s port shuttle work? [post_excerpt] => Governments are committing millions to connect the Port of Melbourne to major freight hubs, but operators are warning of more work needed. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => melbournes-port-shuttle-go-ahead-will-work [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-22 10:22:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-22 00:22:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27883 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27873 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-21 14:53:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 04:53:05 [post_content] => Whilst a number of licences are already available in electronic (digital) versions in NSW, the drivers’ licence is set to become digital in 2019. Digital drivers’ licence trial to begin in November The NSW Government is preparing to launch testing of the digital drivers’ licence technology in Dubbo in November. Dubbo residents who participate in the trial will be able to use their digital driver licence, accessible on a mobile phone, for proof of identity and proof of age to gain entry into pubs and clubs as well for roadside Police checks. NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said: “This trial is the first of its kind in Australia and will allow Dubbo motorists to use their digital driver licence in everyday scenarios with Police and selected licenced establishments. “The trial will draw on the learnings from the successful roll-out of digital RSA/RCG, boat and fishing licences over the past two years. Today we are a step closer to fulfilling an election commitment of delivering a digital driver licence by 2019.” Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said: “A person’s driver licence is an important proof of identity document. This trial is an opportunity to demonstrate the additional levels of identity security and increased protection against identity fraud that a digital licence provides compared to a physical one,” Mrs Pavey said. The digital licence requires motorists to install the trial app, register a MyServiceNSW account, and add their NSW driver licence details. Other licences now available in digital form The recent launch of the digital licence platform means residents can now access three NSW government licences and permits digitally using their mobile phone or tablet. The first licences to become available were:
- Recreational Fishing Fee.
- Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Competency Card.
- Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) Competency Card.
- Multiple disjointed information systems and manual data collection.
- Not universally using a program that collects data on patient outcomes for benchmarking and quality improvement.
- [That the Minister for Education] Amend Ministerial Order 625 to ensure that a principal cannot expel a student aged eight years old or less from any government school without the approval of the Secretary or her delegate and consider any additional changes to the Order necessary to give effect to the recommendations that follow.
- [That the Department of Education] Embed the principle and expectation in policy or guidance that no student of compulsory school age will be excluded from the government school system (even if expelled from an individual government school).
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Vicki O’Halloran AM has been appointed as the Northern Territory’s 22nd Administrator.
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Everyone’s talking about smart cities. Local councils are in the enviable position to make them a reality.
The CRR business case demonstrates it will create jobs, bust congestion and must be built, said the IAQ.
The ACCC is reviewing the competitiveness of the retail electricity sector and prices nationally.
Governments are committing millions to connect the Port of Melbourne to major freight hubs, but operators are warning of more work needed.
The NSW drivers’ licence is set to become electronic in 2019, joining three others already available in digital form.
NSW Health has a limited understanding of the quantity and quality of palliative care services across the state.