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                    [post_content] => 

 

By Andy Young

The Liquor Stores Association NSW (LSA NSW) has welcomed the proposed changes to the state’s Three Strikes Disciplinary Scheme, which are currently before Parliament as part of the Liquor Amendment (Reviews) Bill 2017.

The Bill is the State Government’s response to the comprehensive review undertaken by the Hon Ian Callinan AC QC last year, which recommended a range of reforms to NSW’s liquor laws, including changes to the Three Strikes Scheme.

LSA NSW Executive Director Michael Waters has welcomed the proposed changes, calling them “sensible and pragmatic”.

“The proposed changes to the Three Strikes Scheme as part of the Liquor Amendment (Reviews) Bill 2017 are sensible, pragmatic, and have been long-awaited by industry," Waters said.

“Having provision for a proper appeals process, and strikes for serious breaches of liquor laws to be incurred by individual licensees, rather than being attached to the actual licence, are important and common sense improvements that reinforces the importance of making servers directly accountable for their actions.  

 

Read more here. 

This story first appeared in The Shout. 
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                    [post_excerpt] => Breaches attached to licensees, not licenses.
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                    [post_content] => 

 

By Charles Pauka 

Parkes Shire Council has appealed to Amazon to site one its distribution centres (Amazon calls the large warehouses 'fulfilment centres') in the Central NSW town, by making a quirky video showing a fan buying an Elvis outfit online from Amazon.

When the retail disruption giant recently put the word out that they were looking to establish an Australian arm, full of optimism (one of its best traits) the town of Parkes in Central NSW responded with why its strategic location would be advantageous to the Amazon business model.



With freight volumes set to double by 2030 and triple by 2050, Parkes will form an integral part of the intermodal freight network.

Parkes acts as a national transport node, as it is strategically located at the intersection of the Newell Highway and major railways linking Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth as well as Adelaide and Darwin. Parkes’ position has been further enhanced by the recent announcement as a critical node on the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project, which has received one of the largest investments ever seen in regional Australia of $8.4 billion. The project will connect the region to global markets via the major ports of Australia, placing the Central West region into an economically advantageous position once the project comes into fruition.

In addition to employment and investment opportunities, the National Logistics Hub in Parkes offers cheaper, faster and more efficient modal choices, and offers a centralised storage and distribution point for a range of commodities.

Read more here.

This story first appeared in Transport & Logistics & News. 
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The Health Star Rating System has been slammed as unhelpful and misleading. 
By Lucy Marrett
Championed to make packaged food choices simpler, the HSRS was launched three years ago but of late has been receiving criticism suggesting there is a fundamental flaw in the system. The federal government’s Heath Star Rating System (HSRS) has been referred to as flawed and in urgent need of review. What exactly is the HSRS? According to the official HSRS website it is: “a front-of-pack labelling system that rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from ½ a star to 5 stars. It provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare similar packaged foods. The more stars, the healthier the choice.” It was designed as a way to make choosing healthy options simple and quick, taking the hassle out of reading nutrition labels, and instead provide a clear visual guide.   Read more here. This story first appeared in C&I Week.
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By Linda Cheng This story first appeared in ArchitectureAu and appears here by kind permission of the author. In its 2017–18 budget, the federal government released what it called “comprehensive plan to address housing affordability.” While promising “no silver bullet,” the government claimed its plan was “designed to improve outcomes across the housing spectrum.” The plan includes measures such as a $1 billion National Housing and Infrastructure Facility (NHIF), releasing surplus Commonwealth land for housing, a Western Sydney City Deal that will provide opportunities for planning and zoning reform, as well as a range of financial incentives to assist first-home buyers, downsizing for older Australians and to encourage private-sector investment in affordable housing. The Australian Institute of Architects and the Planning Institute of Australian have cautiously welcomed the measures. Ken Maher, outgoing president of the Australian Institute of Architects characterized the government’s housing affordability plan as having “good intentions,” but said there were a number of “missed opportunities” on “critical” issues such as density, climate change and public transport. “There’s a real absence of mention in the budget of climate change,” Maher said. “In the built environment area, there’s quite a lot that can be done to reduce carbon emissions.” He pointed to the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council’s (ASBEC) Low Carbon, High Performance report released in May 2016, which outlined “the potential for the Australian built environment sector to make a major contribution to” reaching a zero-net emissions goal by 2050. The report called on policy makers to adopt a nation plan that includes minimum standards for buildings and targeted incentives. Read more here
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  • 118 deaths from 104 crashes involving articulated trucks, 87 deaths from 77 crashes involving heavy rigid trucks and 25 deaths from 24 crashes involving buses.
  • Fatal crashes involving articulated trucks: increased by 7.2 per cent compared with the corresponding period one year earlier and increased by an average of 0.9 per cent per year over the three years to March 2017.
  • Fatal crashes involving heavy rigid trucks: increased by 4.1 per cent compared with the corresponding period one year earlier and increased by an average of 2.5 per cent per year over the three years to March 2017.
  Read more here.  This story first appeared in Transport & Logistics & News. [post_title] => Truckies over-represented in fatal crash stats, Bureau confirms union claims [post_excerpt] => Statistics worsening for truck driver deaths. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27177 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 11:10:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 01:10:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27177 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27165 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-18 15:50:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-18 05:50:21 [post_content] =>   By Allen Koehn, Associate VP and GM – Public Sector at Infosys We are entering a new phase of human evolution. However, it is not one comprising new limbs or larger eyes. Rather, it involves the pursuit of ultimate control, despite human error, through technological innovation. The robotic automation of society alluded to in the science fiction of our past is finally becoming a reality - one technological advancement at a time. Human involvement, paper-heavy administration and room for error are exponentially decreasing as technologies like blockchain digitise and automate entire processes and interactions. What started as a platform for the transaction of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies now has the potential to span industries and verticals across the globe. There has been much hype about blockchain, with banks reporting annual savings of US$8-12 billion after its implementation1, but seemingly little understanding about what exactly it is and how it can be put to valuable use in different sectors. What is blockchain? Transactions - financial or otherwise - occur across networks every second. With blockchain, each time a transaction occurs, a network of computers carry out a series of algorithms, identifying the originating device and its user, and validating the transaction. This transaction is then added to a digital ledger (public or private) and attached to an irreversible chain of transactional “blocks”. Verified transactions are permanently recorded, traceable and updated across the entire network every 10 minutes. Blockchain is decentralised – it does not have a central server or administrator, but rather exists on and is managed by the network itself. Unimaginable computational processing power is needed to override the network. There are no singular points of vulnerability and the corruption of any one bit of data results in its network-wide corruption. Ultimate visibility and control makes unauthorised actions impossible. Consequently, blockchain is almost entirely secure in the face of human-led threats.  It’s not just about security Blockchain’s automation makes paper trails redundant, exponentially decreasing lost documents or delayed payments. Imagine a future where financial transactions within governments are automatically and irreversibly recorded, or citizens can transact confidentially without physical presence at a government office. Costs are reduced, efficiency is improved and the way for ultimate transparency is paved. Governments and organizations alike can achieve a true competitive advantage with blockchain (and its accompanying applications and digital technologies). So, for those working in government, scratching your head about how to leverage this new technology, here’s five ways that I see blockchain being used in the public sector:
  1.  Identification
Gone are the days of a 100 point ID checks. With digitised birth certificates and ID documents, blockchain enables a single personal identifier. It is an entirely new and reliable way of identifying members of an ecosystem – from citizens to government agencies – enabling everything from digital voting (which is in the works for Australia’s 2017 elections) to confidential legal disputes.
  1. Registries
Blockchain enables the digitization of property titles, car registrations, medical records and more. Once recorded, documents become digital proof, available – for example – for trusted use in legal battles. Printing and tracking costs decrease and smart contracts can automate actions when conditions are met. For example, a digital driver’s license can notify its owner of expiration, or simply auto-renew by triggering a debit off the owner’s account.
  1. Payments
There is room for (and talk of) the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in place of existing financial institutions. But blockchain technologies also have immense potential to eliminate fraud and tax avoidance, thanks to built-in transparency and trust protocols. Social benefits, grants, compensation, tax returns and inter-government payments can be automated, recorded and possibly even accessed by the public.
  1. Accountability
On that note, blockchain makes ultimate accountability in all spheres possible. Financial movements can be permanently recorded and traced, or voting results can be updated on a public network, keeping voters in the loop. Each time a change is made to a law recorded on the ledger, the public has full visibility. Public services can be delivered with ease to a trusting population, thanks to this layer of transparency.
  1. Automation
The processes of filing applications, making and receiving payments or benefits, getting visas and transferring permissions or titles can all be streamlined beyond what was previously possible – making blockchain particularly beneficial to developing markets whose existing infrastructure cannot otherwise accommodate such radical change. As with most innovations, the possible use cases of technological advancements like Blockchain are often only discovered much later in their lifecycle. Preconceived notions should not hinder the exploration of evolutionary innovations in new and unique contexts. The true power of technology is only truly realised when it evolves outside its original borders. Only when we colour outside our existing lines can we truly evolve. We believe that Blockchain has the potential to truly evolve the way our governments, organisations and society functions. [post_title] => Five ways blockchain will transform the public sector [post_excerpt] => Making paper trails redundant. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27165 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 10:50:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 00:50:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27165 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27126 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-16 10:15:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-16 00:15:57 [post_content] =>

 
By Andy Young The NSW RSL is set to face an independent inquiry, which will look into allegations of financial misconduct which have plagued the organisation. The NSW State Government will reveal the details of the inquiry later today, but it will be headed by former NSW Supreme Court justice Patricia Bergin SC. It is expected the inquiry will have royal commission-like powers to compel witnesses to appear and be able to seize evidence. The inquiry comes after a series of allegations of financial rorting by the RSL's NSW branch, which have already seen an inquiry by Australia's charities watchdog. In December former NSW RSL president Don Rowe was referred to NSW Police over claims he used his corporate credit card to withdraw $200,000 in cash. NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean today told the ABC, that enough was enough and it was time to be clear on what was happening at the RSL. "We will get to the bottom of these allegations once and for all," Kean said. "These are serious complaints and the fact that they've allegedly been committed in the name of one of our oldest and most respected institutions is totally unacceptable. "We want to clean up the mess and make sure it never happens again." Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott told Fairfax Media that he was "completely fed up". "Based on the emails, letters and conversations I have with veterans around NSW, as well as their sub-branches, there is overwhelming support for the government to intervene," Elliott said. "It is heartbreaking to see the NSW RSL trashed in such a way and this is an opportunity to restore public confidence in this iconic organisation." Ministers Elliott and Kean will address media this afternoon to announce the full details of the inquiry.   This story first appeared in The Shout. 
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  By Mark Say, Managing Editor UKAuthority.com This story first appeared in UKAuthority.com and appears here by kind permission of the author.    Rob Whiteman, chief executive of the UK's Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy talks about the financial challenge in spending on digital transformation – along with the integration of health and social care Pic: CIPFA Rob Whiteman spends a lot of time thinking about the financial dilemmas facing local government, and there is a major one around digital transformation. Almost everyone agrees it is a necessity, but it comes with a big price tag, and with councils’ budgets already cut to the bone it is a tough call to make a case for heavy investment on which the return is likely to be years away. As chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA), Whiteman has a day-to-day preoccupation with local authorities’ bottom line. It is not a direct responsibility, but as the professional body for officials at the sharp end it plays a significant part in honing the thinking. He recites the basics of local government’s current difficulties: spending down by approximately 40% since 2010, demands on social care that have led to a 5% increase for children’s services and a 10% limit on the cuts for adults, and much sharper reductions in areas such as regulatory services and running libraries.

Creating space

“The problem is that creating the space and investment for digital transformation is difficult when you don’t have the money to keep the show on the road today,” he says. “Everybody can see that, particularly with Generations X and Y, people want to access services in a different way. They want 24/7 services and want to be able to transact on the web. “That needs investment, and local government has many strengths, but it’s hard for it to make system investment when it’s more than 400 organisations. You need an organisation like DCLG (the Department for Communities and Local Government) to be able to pump prime. “If local government were not 400 institutions it could probably not have borne the cuts it has, but if you want to invest in something different, while the bigger authorities can find the space to do this, it’s very difficult for a small council with big budget constraints. Ideally it should mean working with other authorities to invest in it together.” The joint investment is not happening on any large scale and, since the Government Spending Review of 2015 provided nothing to support local digital efforts, there is no pump priming from the centre. There are organisations such as CIPFA, the Local Government Association and public sector IT association Socitm to support some coordination and shared effort. Whiteman says they can provide help, not just in arguing the case for local authorities but in challenging how they do things, pressing for more economies of scale and to avoid duplication. But councils still have to spend on investment, and Whiteman provides some advice on how they can make the process more manageable.

Look for good practice

“Number one, somebody has almost certainly already done it,” he says. “Actively go out and look for good practice and find councils that have already done something you’re thinking of doing. “Secondly, if you’re going to do it, do it well, and make sure you have the right capability. The best business cases are those that may cost a bit more than people are comfortable with but give greater assurance they will be delivered because you have the capability and capacity to deliver them well. “And try to do it with other people. Find other councils to work with, or partners that have already done something like this.” He emphasises the importance of being very clear over the expected benefits – “the more work on benefits realisation the better” – and the linking of digital and service strategies. But he suggests that councils will struggle if they do not take a more collective approach. “I think local government is good at implementation; it has been able to make 40% cuts because it has implementation skills. The weakness is that implementation tends to be for individual organisations rather than at scale, and if it were done at scale the benefits realisation probably could have been ever greater.”

STP ups and downs

Things get even more demanding when you look at the need for integrating services. The Government has made this a big issue for health and social care with the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) for England, a move for which he sees up and down sides. On the one hand, he describes them as “a really difficult brand”, not helped by many having been drawn up with little or no public consultation; on the other, they could foster a better working relationship between councils and the NHS. They have different skills sets and financial settlements, with councils being accountable to local electorates while NHS bodies report to the secretary of state for health. This fosters different outlooks, but “these are so different that if they work well with each other the prize can be enormous”. He says the test will be in whether they develop the right attitude to working together: “I think STPS should be organisations where they want to work with each other and don’t feel they are being strong armed. They are an organisational development exercise to build trust for people to get used to transacting with each other. “The test of the good ones will be that, after they are abolished, people will want to carry on working that way because they have been successful.”

Sense of place

This will depend partly on how strongly the participants feel a sense of common purpose based on their communities – a “sense of place” as Whiteman puts it – and a willingness to break out of their organisational silos. This is not easy to achieve, as the breakdown of the Total Place policy in the late 2000s demonstrates. But he is hopeful that the move to city devolution, with Manchester at the vanguard, will provide momentum. “My experience is that a sense of place can act as the biggest drive for collaboration of anything that I’ve seen. What I admire about Manchester is that there’s a sense of place, in that people think they are not supporting the public interest as they should if they stick by the present organisational boundaries and siloes. “A sense of understanding the issues of a community and feeling a passion to do something about it is the most powerful.” His other big hope in the technology field is that government makes more of data analytics. He says it could be valuable to local government in plenty of activities, especially social care and public health. “That type of capability has incredible opportunity in other policy areas - identifying children likely to be at risk, people who are likely to be vulnerable, people who are likely to have poor health. There are very real information management and ethical issues about the degree to which the state makes use of data, and we are going to have to work that through with other policy areas, but data analytics could inform on a whole range of policy issues.” Through all this Whiteman conveys a combination of acknowledging the starkness of the financial situation facing local government, and an optimism that it has the qualities to find some long term solutions. There is no doubt that digital is going to play a big part.  
[post_title] => Facing local government’s digital dilemma [post_excerpt] => Tough spending choices for UK local councils. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27122 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-16 10:00:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-16 00:00:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27122 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27112 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-12 11:41:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-12 01:41:48 [post_content] => By Charles Pauka   While Scott Morrison’s 2017 Federal Budget has been praised for some of its big announcements for freight and infrastructure, the shortage of immediate commitment has earned it the moniker of the “planning to plan budget”. The positive The Australian Logistics Council’s Michael Kilgariff heaped praise on the budget. “The Government should be commended for making clear commitments to two significant infrastructure projects crucial to the freight and logistics industry,” said the ALC managing director. “The transformative potential of the Inland Rail project has been talked about for decades, with incremental progress being made over the past several years, including a positive assessment of the business case by Infrastructure Australia. The $8.4 billion commitment announced in the Treasurer’s speech will finally allow its construction. At long last, we can stop merely talking about this project’s potential, and instead begin to witness it. “Establishing a safe, reliable port-to-port rail link for freight between Melbourne and Brisbane is the only way we can simultaneously meet Australia’s burgeoning freight task, alleviate congestion on existing freight networks, create regional jobs and boost growth,” he said. “To fully unleash the benefits of this project, the line must run to the ports of Melbourne and Brisbane, and comprise efficient rail linkages to the ports of Botany, Kembla and Newcastle in NSW. We must also support the development of intermodal freight hubs at appropriate intervals along the route.”   Read more here. This story first appeared in Transport and Logistics and News.  [post_title] => Budget 2017: wishful thinking [post_excerpt] => Infrastructure and freight announcements. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27112 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-12 11:44:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-12 01:44:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27112 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27102 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-12 10:52:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-12 00:52:13 [post_content] =>   By Associate Director, Business Intelligence & Analytics, University of Western Australia Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is under real pressure for the first time since the 2016 election, as the government attempts to wedge Labor with a circuit-breaker budget. Shorten used his budget-in-reply speech to appeal to middle Australia, putting forward an argument that Labor is the only party that can be trusted to deliver a fair go. He argued the government’s so-called “Labor-lite budget” is unfair, bringing benefits only to rich. Since the election, it seems everything – including the polls – has gone Labor’s way. The Turnbull government has been plagued by infighting and its messages have failed to resonate with the electorate. However, over the last few weeks – starting with changes to 457 visas and the expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme – the Coalition has begun a new conversation with the electorate.

Shorten’s pitch

The 2017 budget positioned the government as more centrist. It contained several policy positions ordinarily associated with Labor. The government’s three-word slogan for the budget was “fairness, opportunity and security”. It has tried to position itself as a “doing government”, taking on good debt to invest in infrastructure, funding the NDIS into the future, and adopting measures from the Gonski schools funding plan. Shorten’s speech was framed around modern class politics. He claimed Labor is the only party that can be trusted to protect low-income workers, and look after the interests of the middle class in terms of Medicare, universities and schools. Shorten refuted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s claim that the budget is a fair one:
This prime minister of many words has learned a new one – fairness – and he’s saying it as often as he can. But repetition is no substitute for conviction … This isn’t a Labor budget – and it’s not a fair budget … Fairness isn’t measured by what you say – it’s revealed by what you do.
It is highly unlikely that this budget will be viewed as negatively as the 2014 budget. But Labor needs to convincingly discredit it to the point that the government cannot use it to help restore its standing in the eyes of voters. Labor will need to attack on two fronts. The first will be scare tactics. Voters will need to be convinced they are unnecessarily worse off under this budget. Shorten claimed:
There’s nothing fair about making middle-class and working-class Australians pay more, while millionaires and multinationals pay less.
He highlighted higher tax rates for low-income workers, as a result of the increase in the Medicare levy, as well as the traditional Liberal threat to Medicare. Shorten also posited schools would be much worse off due to the gap in promised funding between Labor and the government. The second line of attack will be providing an alternative set of policy options that voters view as more attractive than those put forward by the government.

What is Labor offering voters?

In his speech, Shorten promised a Labor government would remove the Medicare rebate freeze, rather than wait for indexation to begin in July 2020 – thereby reducing the cost of health care. Labor will also restore A$22 billion to the schools sector. As an alternative to the measures to assist first home buyers through a savings scheme, Shorten said Labor had a plan for affordable housing that would include the construction of 55,000 new homes over three years, and create 25,000 new jobs every year. He also noted Labor’s commitment to developing more public housing. In what is likely to prove a popular idea, Labor will seek to close the loopholes allowing multinational companies avoiding tax in Australia. Likewise, in an effort to halt tax avoidance by wealthy individuals, Labor plans to limit the amount an individual can deduct for the management of their tax affairs to A$3,000 per year. Shorten claimed that less than 1% of taxpayers would be affected, and that measure would save the budget A$1.3 billion over the medium term. Shorten continued to argue that a royal commission into the banking industry is required.

Where does Labor stand on individual budget items?

Labor needs time to review the proposed legislation resulting from the budget in order to determine what it is willing to support. But Shorten outlined Labor’s position on several measures.
  • It supports the additional Medicare levy to fund the NDIS. However, it wants to limit the levy to the top two tax brackets, so that only those earning more than $87,000 per year will be impacted.
  • It supports the bank levy – but simultaneously put pressure on the government, claiming it is responsible for stopping the banks from passing the cost onto customers.
  • It does not support the cuts to universities or the proposed increase in university fees for students.
  • It does not support the plan to allow first home buyers to use up to $30,000 in voluntary superannuation contributions. Shorten described the policy as “microscopic assistance”.

In this game, it’s the message that matters

This is a political budget, and so we should expect in the coming weeks that both parties will attempt to appeal to voters’ base instincts, rather than presenting considered arguments for or against policies. Thus, the government is focusing on forcing greedy banks to “pay their fair share”, secure in the knowledge that former Queensland premier Anna Bligh, as head of the Australian Bankers’ Association, is unlikely to be able to cut through the bank-bashing mentality of the average Australian voter. Likewise, Shorten will campaign hard on the natural end of the temporary budget repair levy, which was introduced in the 2014 budget. He is claiming this is a tax cut for the rich at the same time as the government is making everyday Australians pay more tax through a higher Medicare levy.

Interesting times ahead

Shorten is right: this budget is about trust. The government and the opposition both need to convince average working and middle class voters that their policies will provide Australians with the best outcome. In some ways, this is politics as usual. But, with the polls leaning to Labor and voters’ faith in the government’s ability to deliver low, the stakes seem higher than normal – especially as voters are presented with two positions not as divergent as they have been in recent years.   This story first appeared in The Conversation.  [post_title] => Shorten fights on fairness in budget reply, but will it be enough? [post_excerpt] => Labor's lines of attack. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => shorten-fights-fairness-budget-reply-will-enough [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-12 11:54:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-12 01:54:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27102 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27090 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-09 11:46:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-09 01:46:02 [post_content] =>   By Professor Gabriele Suder, University of Melbourne Democracy has won. On Sunday 7 May 2017, France elected its new President - pro-EU political outsider Emmanuel Macron defeated anti-EU, xenophobic extremist Marine Le Pen. President-elect Macron beat his far-right competition easily, with roughly 65 per cent of the vote, to become the country’s youngest president. The election of Mr Macron is bad news for populist authoritarianism – at least for the moment. The looming dangers of extremism will remain in the background of Mr Macron’s presidency, at least until the French economy moves to growth and recovery. These elections have told us much about the current state of France and tell us even more about people’s attitudes towards the future of the EU. The majority of the French electorate has expressed its belief in democracy and with it, in the European project, and have rejected Marine Le Pen’s promise to hold a referendum on exiting the EU. President-elect Mr Macron is a leader who can play a constructive role in reform of the French and EU systems, they hope. The liberal centrist, 39-year-old President-elect, founder and leader of the recently created En Marche! (On the Move) movement, proclaimed his intentions to work on “the place of our country in globalisation”, and help solve the dysfunctions of the EU so it has a more positive impact on its member states and their economies. FULFILLING ELECTION PROMISES MAY BE CHALLENGING A major challenge will be a constitutional crisis that will come from the elections of the French parliament in June. Under the current system, Mr Macron will not have a majority in the lower or upper house, which will severely constrain his capacity for reform. It is likely we could see the emergence of a coalition of the type that functions in the rather different German system, but that has not been used in the same manner in France. Also, voters have expressed great concern about the economy and security, so they will very closely watch what their new President delivers, with no excuses accepted for that systemic challenge that he will face. Mr Macron’s promises include importantly, public investments worth €50 billion spread over five years for environmental measures, apprenticeships, digital innovation and public infrastructure budget savings of €60 billion so that France respects the EU deficit limit of 3 per cent of GDP (total output), and a reduction of the French corporate tax to 25 per cent (from 33.3 per cent) to stimulate private sector activity, and much more. In addition, he plans a boost of purchasing power by cutting social security contributions. Pro-Europeanism, that is, the willingness to work with and reform the EU, will also supports business through the exceptional cross-border trade and investment conditions that the EU provides to European business. President–elect Macron also endeavours to lead reform of the EU by giving the Eurozone a separate budget, finance minister and parliamentary group of the MEPs from the 19 countries that use the Euro. In addition, his plan is to promote the creation of a 5,000-strong force of EU border guards, but to continue freedom of movement of goods and labour across the EU because it boosts cross border revenue. This will disappoint rural and former industrial area voters who want their government to retake control of France’s borders from the EU, slash immigration, and who have little interest in mobility across borders. The President–elect will need to demonstrate that his plans will deliver solutions for unemployment caused by industry automation, and demonstrate that it is not necessarily caused by free trade and economic integration. GERMAN ELECTIONS AND GEOPOLITICAL TURMOIL MAY BRING HURDLES Since last year’s Brexit vote, the remaining 27 EU member states have found a new sense of solidarity and a new impetus to analyse and discuss new models of cooperation. This will influence the Brexit negotiations and the ongoing negotiation of free trade deals, with the UK and other partners. It will also influence the stance that will be taken on Greece’s debt. We can expect that President–elect Macron will oppose any further significant financial support to Greece. The Greece issue is also one of the main differentiating factors between the two most likely candidates in the German elections of November; and thus part of the issues of how far EU interdependence should go and how immigration issues are dealt with. Centre-right Christian Democrat Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Social Democratic challenger Martin Schulz, who enjoyed a steep career progress through his role at the EU, are both pro-EU so there is no doubt on that front of Germany’s future with a focus on ongoing integration. What form this will take will be the centre of discussion and their manifestos. Mr Schulz argues that austerity requirements on Greece should be relaxed and more funds may need to be granted. This is unlikely to be supported by France unless conditions change, and some discords are likely if he were to become the new Chancellor. In particular, the southern EU members are also known to be more protectionist in the internal EU negotiations. This may hinder some, though not all, reforms that the EU needs to undertake – institutional and political reforms to allow for deeper integration of all or a part of the member states, or alternatively, adjustments so that some EU competences that were given by member states to Brussels in the past years, may even get repatriated back home to reinforce national sovereignty. It may therefore also hinder President-elect Macron’s plans. Consider also the vastly unpredictable geopolitical context, here to stay for several years through the current US Presidency; Russia’s increasing expansionism; China’s moves; and tension with North Korea – and we need more than ever a strong Europe that provides a level playing field for recovery and stability. Not an easy time to start one’s presidency in a country of France’s importance, and a great responsibility. Democratic values have won, but proving the electorate made the right choice is absolutely vital. This article has been co-published with the University of Melbourne’s Election Watch This story first appeared on Melbourne University's Pursuit website.  [post_title] => The new French President's role in saving Europe [post_excerpt] => Can Macron help shore up the EU? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-french-presidents-role-saving-europe [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-09 11:46:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-09 01:46:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27090 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27086 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-09 11:31:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-09 01:31:40 [post_content] =>   By Anthony Wallace Australia and New Zealand have been named among the top nations in providing open government data. The latest results of an global open data index reveal that Australia is ranked equal first out of 94 countries. Tying equal first with Australia was the nation of Taiwan. New Zealand also had a strong result, beating the Unites States and Brazil to take out number seven on the index. The Global Open Data Index (GODI) aims to provide the most comprehensive snapshot available of the state of open government data publication. Published by The Open Knowledge Institute annually, GODI ranks how well nations publish open government data against 14 key categories. Australia scored full marks in three of the spatial categories including, “Administration Boundaries,” “National Maps,” and “Locations.” The datasets where Australia did not perform well include “Land Ownership,” “Government Spending” and “Water Quality.” Australia’s Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, said the GODI results confirmed the Australian Government was on track with its commitment to making data more openly available. Read more here.   This story first appeared in Spatial Source.  [post_title] => Australia leads the world in open govt data [post_excerpt] => Ties with Taiwan. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27086 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-09 11:31:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-09 01:31:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27086 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27069 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-05 15:44:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-05 05:44:58 [post_content] => Aldi WA store wins appeal to sell alcohol, provided it doesn't chill it.      By James Wells  The WA Premier Mark McGown said he is “uncomfortable” that Aldi has successfully won an appeal to sell liquor in its Harrisdale store after an appeal. The Premier made the comments after the Aldi store at Harrisdale won an appeal to sell liquor – making it the third store within the German supermarket chain’s stores in Western Australia. "The Liquor Commission and the Director of Liquor Licensing are independent and make these decisions, but personally I'm uncomfortable with it," Mr McGowan was reported to have said. "The Director of Liquor Licensing takes into account all the community feedback and the like before making these decisions, but personally as I said I don't like alcohol been sold in supermarkets but it's something outside my control,” McGowan said. The Aldi Harrisdale store, located in a suburb in south-eastern Perth with a population of 3807 people, initially had its proposal to sell wine as low as $2.79 across three different SKUs, even though a licence in the same area was granted to Woolworths.   Read more here. This story first appeared in The Shout.  [post_title] => WA premier ‘uncomfortable’ with Aldi liquor win [post_excerpt] => But beer can't be cold. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => wa-premier-uncomfortable-aldi-liquor-win [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-05 15:44:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-05 05:44:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27069 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27064 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-05 15:27:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-05 05:27:36 [post_content] =>
[caption id="attachment_27066" align="alignnone" width="700"] The World Trade Organisation has reportedly rejected a case against Australia’s plain packaging laws.[/caption]
  By Lucy Marrett The ABC has reported on a rumour that the Australian Government has won a dispute regarding international tobacco plain packaging.
The rumoured ruling in Australia’s favour is set to give the green light to other countries to roll out similar laws. A British American Tobacco (BAT) spokesperson said the news regarding the ruling was “speculation”. “However, we can say that there is still no proof to show that plain packaging is meeting the objectives set out by the government,” he said. Cancer Council Victoria said it welcomed recent findings by an independent study released in April which they said found that plain packaged tobacco products “may” reduce the prevalence of smoking.   Read more here.
  This story first appeared on C&I Week. [post_title] => WTO to rule on Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws [post_excerpt] => Other countries likely to follow suit. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => wto-rule-australias-tobacco-plain-packaging-laws [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-05 15:27:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-05 05:27:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27064 [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] => 27233 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-26 05:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-25 19:00:00 [post_content] =>   By Andy Young The Liquor Stores Association NSW (LSA NSW) has welcomed the proposed changes to the state’s Three Strikes Disciplinary Scheme, which are currently before Parliament as part of the Liquor Amendment (Reviews) Bill 2017. The Bill is the State Government’s response to the comprehensive review undertaken by the Hon Ian Callinan AC QC last year, which recommended a range of reforms to NSW’s liquor laws, including changes to the Three Strikes Scheme. LSA NSW Executive Director Michael Waters has welcomed the proposed changes, calling them “sensible and pragmatic”. “The proposed changes to the Three Strikes Scheme as part of the Liquor Amendment (Reviews) Bill 2017 are sensible, pragmatic, and have been long-awaited by industry," Waters said. “Having provision for a proper appeals process, and strikes for serious breaches of liquor laws to be incurred by individual licensees, rather than being attached to the actual licence, are important and common sense improvements that reinforces the importance of making servers directly accountable for their actions.     Read more here.  This story first appeared in The Shout.  [post_title] => Changes to NSW Three Strikes Scheme welcomed [post_excerpt] => Breaches attached to licensees, not licenses. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => changes-nsw-three-strikes-scheme-welcomed [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-25 16:01:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-25 06:01:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27233 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 165 [max_num_pages] => 12 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => 1 [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 4e56da8b7dcff5e884af27e0b7ae1306 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )