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                    [post_date] => 2017-06-27 10:23:02
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                    [post_content] => 

The Board of Australia Post has selected Christine Holgate as the corporation's next managing director and group CEO, to succeed Ahmed Fahour, who is leaving in July after seven-and-a-half years in the role, following the outcry over his multi-million dollar salary package.

Ms Holgate will officially start in the position mid-to-late October 2017. She joins Australia Post after a successful nine-year tenure as CEO of Blackmores and previous executive roles with Telstra, JP Morgan and Cable & Wireless.

Ms Holgate, who is the inaugural Chair of the Board of the Australia-ASEAN Council, supporting the development of trade and cultural relations between Australia and the 10 member countries of the ASEAN region, joined Blackmores in 2008 and took the company some wild and turbulent years, including an aggressive expansion into China.

Australia Post chairman John Stanhope said Ms Holgate’s Asian and eCommerce experience were important factors.

"The Board was impressed by her experience of working very successfully in a range of different industries that are highly regulated. And, on top of that, she has a proven ability to implement strategy – and successfully grow a business in Asia.

"Her knowledge of global eCommerce will be invaluable as we pursue our Asian Strategy, which is all about offering logistics support to Australian businesses that are either selling in Asia, or sourcing their products there.

"Ms Holgate has a demonstrated track-record of delivering results in large, complex organisations, both here in Australia and internationally.

" Ms Holgate's business philosophy is also a perfect fit for Australia Post. She is a firm believer that businesses must perform commercially, but also serve the community. And that's entirely consistent with our objectives as a community-based business that has both commercial objectives and community service standards to uphold."

Ms Holgate said: "Australia Post has proven itself to be one of the most resilient and successful postal businesses anywhere in the world.  I feel fortunate to be joining at a time when we can really strengthen Post's leading position in the eCommerce market – both here, in Australia, and in Asia.

"I'm a passionate advocate for Australian business seizing the opportunity that's on our doorstep in Asia and that creates opportunities for everyone – our workforce, our shareholder, the community, as well as businesses across Australia.

What about the pay?

Ms Holgate's remuneration has been set at $1.375 million fixed annual total remuneration and the potential to earn incentive payments of up to $1.375 million, in accordance with the parameters set by the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal.

In the meantime, current Australia Post Group chief customer officer Christine Corbett will lead the business through the CEO transition period, between Ahmed Fahour's departure on 28 July and Ms Holgate's arrival in October.
                    [post_title] => Blackmores CEO to head up Australia Post
                    [post_excerpt] => Blackmores' Christine Holgate has been named Australia Post's new MD and Group CEO.
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                    [post_content] => 

The mobile phone industry’s product stewardship program MobileMuster has commended the efforts of local councils who have dramatically increased their collections and helped make recycling more accessible to the community.

Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP Minister for Environment and Energy said eight councils from across Australia were recognised as Australia’s top recyclers.

“Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste issues in Australia and it’s great to see MobileMuster bringing industry and local government together to make it easy to recycle and deliver important environmental benefits to our communities.”

The top achievers

The following councils took out top honours in the awards:
  • National Top Collector per Capita – District Council of Orroroo – Carrieton (SA).
  • NSW Top Collector – New South Wales – Hornsby Shire Council.
  • Territory Top Collector – Northern Territory – Alice Springs Town Council.
  • QLD Top Collector – Queensland – Brisbane City Council.
  • WA Top Collector – Western Australia – City of Stirling.
  • SA Top Collector – South Australia – City of Onkaparinga.
  • TAS Top Collector – Tasmania – Burnie City Council.
  • VIC Top Collector – Victoria – Moonee Valley City Council.
Recycling manager for MobileMuster Spyro Kalos said: “While council collections have been steadily growing in the last couple of years, it’s great to see an even higher lift this year with councils helping inform and educate their residents about recycling.” “In the last year, councils have increased their collections by a huge 25% and recycled over 4.5 tonnes of mobiles phone and components through the program. “Over the last decade, local government partners have collected 35 tonnes of mobiles phone components for recycling, including approximately 420,000 handsets and batteries. “However, with an estimated 23 million old mobile phones sitting in drawers waiting to be recycled, including five million that are broken and no longer working, MobileMuster will continue to work with councils to encourage residents to recycle responsibly,” Mr Kalos said. The top Mobile Muster councils in each state were: New South Wales
  1. Hornsby Shire Council
  2. City of Sydney
  3. Randwick City Council
  4. Lake Macquarie City Council
  5. Burwood Council
Northern Territory
  1. Alice Springs Town Council
  2. East Arnhem Shire Council
  3. West Arnhem Regional Council
Queensland
  1. Brisbane City Council
  2. Redland City Council
  3. Townsville City Council
  4. Scenic Rim Regional Council
  5. Cairns Regional Council
South Australia
  1. City of Onkaparinga
  2. City of Charles Sturt
  3. City of Tea Tree Gully
  4. City of Mitcham
  5. City of Port Adelaide Enfield
Tasmania
  1. Burnie City Council
  2. Launceston City Council
  3. Glenorchy City Council
  4. Break O’Day Council
  5. Kingborough Council
Victoria
  1. Moonee Valley City Council
  2. Nillumbik Shire Council
  3. City of Monash
  4. Latrobe City Council
  5. City of Greater Geelong
Western Australia
  1. City of Stirling
  2. City of South Perth
  3. City of Fremantle
  4. City of Cockburn
  5. City of Vincent
[post_title] => Council recycling up 25% [post_excerpt] => Recycling of old mobile phones by councils is up 25%, to 4.5 tonnes. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => council-recycling-25 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-27 11:23:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-27 01:23:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27487 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27309 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-06 11:07:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-06 01:07:45 [post_content] => Inner West Council meeting. Pic: Facebook. A NSW council has defended itself over criticism that it did not put a $9.4 million IT contract out to tender, saying it followed local government procurement rules and needs to urgently integrate its IT systems post-amalgamation. Inner West Council in Sydney has hired TechnologyOne to consolidate its IT systems following the forced amalgamation between Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils in May last year. Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils already used TechnologyOne but Ashfield used Civica International, TechnologyOne’s main industry rival. A council spokesperson said the decision not to go to open tender complied with Section 55(3)(i) of the Local Government Act 1993, which states “… because of extenuating circumstances, remoteness of locality or the unavailability of competitive or reliable tenderers, a council decides by resolution (which states the reasons for the decision) that a satisfactory result would not be achieved by inviting tenders”. Contracts over $150,000 normally go out to tender but the council is pleading ‘extenuating circumstances’, which it says includes: the council merger; the fact there are only two main industry service providers; the long-term benefits to the council and community and the urgency of integrating IT services across the new council after the merger, arguing that the tender process would ‘add a significant and unreasonable time delay’. The spokesperson said: “Two out of the three former councils already have Technology One licenses and use TechnologyOne products so we are simply continuing an existing relationship with this supplier. This decision was in the best financial and other interests of our residents. “TechnologyOne is an Australian based company and their superior technology will allow council to take a quantum leap forward in how we do business.” But Greens MP and Local Government spokesperson David Shoebridge isn’t buying it. “They’ve rushed headlong into a five-year contract on the basis that there was a desperate urgency,” Mr Shoebridge said. “It is remarkable that what started as a quick patch job has ended up with this almost permanent service provider.” He said Civica provided similar solutions to local government around Australia and would have been ready to respond quickly to an invite to tender to ensure the council got the best IT solution. “These assumptions are best tested through competitive tender process, that’s how you get value for money," Mr Shoebridge said. Meanwhile, Civica has asked why merged councils would sidestep the tender process without testing alternatives. A Civica spokesperson said the company disputed that a single supplier was the best path for councils to go down and said this could push out other vendors.  "We believe that councils want best-in-class solutions and sometimes that can be a mix of suppliers," the spokesperson said. "What was the harm in them going out to tender? We believe that they could have generated a better commercial outcome, even if they continued to go with that provider." Inner West Council’s $5 million IT contract includes integrating its IT and telephone network, external website and intranet and one-time ‘building costs’. A further $4.4 million will cover annual software licencing fees of $1.6 million over five years. TechnologyOne licencing fees will replace existing annual fees. [post_title] => Merged council says it followed procurement rules over $9m IT contract [post_excerpt] => Pleads ‘extenuating circumstances’ [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => merged-council-says-followed-procurement-rules-9m-contract [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-06 11:28:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-06 01:28:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27309 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27237 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-25 16:20:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-25 06:20:57 [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.  [post_title] => Parkes Shire Council pitches to Amazon with Elvis video [post_excerpt] => Regional development, Elvis style. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => parkes-pitches-amazon-elvis-video [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-25 16:22:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-25 06:22:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27237 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27192 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-23 12:20:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-23 02:20:08 [post_content] =>   The federal government’s troubled myGov website has had a digital makeover to make it more intuitive to navigate, nicer to look at and easier to access using mobile phones or tablets. The overhaul was made more pressing by the large jump in traffic to the government services portal over the last two years. The federal government said that myGov had 10 million users and dealt with more than 242,000 logins every day: twice the number of logins from just two years’ ago. It is a pivotal website that millions of Australian must interact with daily, dealing as it does with a huge range of services. MyGov was launched in 2013 to provide a single access point for ten different agencies providing services including Medicare, tax, Centrelink, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and My Health Record. The government has recognised that any failure of myGov or rising customer frustration with the system can be a very public and vocal affair. Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said in March this year: “The public will ultimately judge us when they go on to the myGov website, when they pay their tax or ask for a refund, when they come through immigration, when they are engaging with the industry portfolio as a small business, they will judge us on how that goes. “They’ll accept that there are speed humps along the way. But they will be unforgiving if that experience doesn’t continually improve.” The changes were in response to ‘hundreds of hours of user research’ which revealed common complaints about the website, including the difficult language used, confusing instructions and dumping large swathes of information on users.   People also complained about how often they were locked out of their accounts and the difficulty in getting these unlocked. The joint statement by Mr Taylor and Human Services Minister Alan Tudge about the myGov revamp said this problem had been addressed to make signing in easier and to allow users to unlock their own accounts once they had been suspended.  They claimed the changes had resulted in incorrect logins being reduced by 37 per cent. Mr Taylor said: “We listened and we got it. The new look myGov also demonstrates how the DTA can partner with other agencies and departments to transfer skills and transform delivery.” The sign-in process had already been tinkered with over the past year to show users passwords as they typed them (to cut down on login failures and account suspensions) and allowing people to use email or mobile numbers instead of just alphanumeric usernames. Mr Tudge said the government had incorporated user feedback and collaborated with other departments to fast-tracked changes. “Our investment in myGov is transforming the way people do business with government - making life easier for 10 million Australians,” Mr Tudge said. “In response to user feedback, we’ve also made it easier for users to find and access the services they need.” The rollout, which occurred over the weekend, was a joint project between the Department of Human Services and the Digital Transformation Agency and the Australian Tax Office. The government said the Discovery and Alpha phases were completed by the Digital Transformation Agency while the prototype stage and the beta product were a partnership between the ATO and DHS. [post_title] => MyGov: “we listened and we got it” says minister after digital makeover [post_excerpt] => Users double over two years. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => mygov-listened-got-says-minister-digital-makeover [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-25 09:45:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-24 23:45:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27192 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27117 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-15 17:25:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-15 07:25:03 [post_content] =>     NSW government can learn from other governments internationally about how to develop and promote a culture of open data and data sharing, says a report commissioned by the Information and Privacy Commission of NSW and the NSW Open Data Advocate. The UNSW Law report, Conditions Enabling Open Data and Promoting a Data Sharing Culture 2017, released yesterday (Monday) looks at the progress of five other countries – the UK, France, Canada, the US and New Zealand – towards recognising the importance of open data and doing something about it. All five are considered to be leading the way globally. Open data is data that can be freely used, shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose and offered free or at minimal cost. The data can come from a wide range of sources, including government departments and agencies; universities; corporations; charities; NGOs; groups and individuals and it can encompass statistics, maps, scientific research, reports, and weather amongst other things.   To qualify as open, data should be available in bulk and able to be processed by a computer. The UNSW Law report identified six main drivers for achieving open data and went on to show how the NSW government could use international best practice and put more emphasis on open data. These drivers included:
  • Leadership and public support by government, ministers and agency heads to create processes and a culture that encourage the release and sharing of data
  • Legislation that sets out the rights and responsibilities governing access, sharing and protection of data for those who want the data and those who keep it. For example, the UK, US and France have mandated that data be open by default and be machine-readable and in in a standardised format
  • Policies to guide agency and staff decisions and priorities around open data and privacy, data security and collaboration
  • Regulations to provide certainty and to set expectations and obligations, as well as providing oversight and punishing non-compliance. These should balance rights to data with concerns over privacy and anticipating risk
  • Promoting culture and collaboration that supports open data within government and with the public, for example co-operation between agencies and between international, national and sub-national levels of government
  • Developing strategies to make data open, including funding open data, sharing success stories and engaging communities and individuals, for example the UKAuthority.
NSW Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Tydd said the independent research report was the first of its kind in Australia. “The research demonstrates how open data is being achieved internationally through an examination of leading jurisdictions,” Ms Tydd said. “The research acknowledges NSW’s progress and, importantly, offers new and significant insights to inform our approach to opening up valuable NSW data resources.”   She said opening data was “an impactful, contemporary approach to opening government” that promoted “effective and accountable government and enables meaningful public participation”. A recent IPC community attitudes survey found strong support for Open Data in NSW with 83 per cent of people agreeing that de-identified information should inform government service planning and delivery. The report provides suggestions on how NSW can move further towards open government and open data. These include recommendations to:
  • Publish a complete catalogue of all datasets, including restricted datasets
  • Moving from a legislative framework authorising data release to one that proactively encourages it
  • Mandating departments to open specific datasets and set quotas for datasets to force collaboration
  • Identify which datasets are important economic drivers for growth in regional areas and prioritise these
  • Mandate departments to create machine-readable standardised formats for datasets to allow analytics and linked data applications
  • Explicitly fund departments opening up high-value datasets in machine-readable format
  • Adopt an anticipatory regulatory approach that promotes open data but ensures ongoing evaluation and assessment of security and privacy risks
  • Develop in-depth guidelines on anonymisation and de-identification
  • Identify workforce skills/knowledge gaps and opportunities to work with local government and other government agencies
  • Adopt an incubator model where an open data company is embedded with an agency to co-develop ideas and applications on models, or engage with entities such as Code for Australia to bring in ideas and expertise
The research underpinning the report was guided by a steering committee comprising NSW agencies and experts, including the Data Analytics Centre, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Data61, the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation and the Department of Justice.  [post_title] => Global open data leaders give NSW lessons in data sharing [post_excerpt] => Promoting a culture of open data and data sharing. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27117 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-16 11:54:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-16 01:54:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27117 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => 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 ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27082 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-09 11:16:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-09 01:16:39 [post_content] =>     Labor’s most recent televisual forays have landed Opposition Bill Mr Shorten and renegade senator Sam Mr Dastyari in hot water with some voters. A shiny-suited Mr Shorten fronted a television ad previewed on 9NEWS on Sunday night, shown only in Queensland and appearing to pander to Pauline Hanson’s support base or persuade swinging voters. It featured the Trumpian slogan “Australia First” and attacked 457 visas and overseas workers. But trouble erupted after viewers noticed that of the twelve people in the ad supposed to represent Australian workers and variously decked out as tradies, admin staff and medics, only one was not white: an Asian women. Mr Shorten says in the ad: “A Shorten Labor government will build Australian first, buy Australian first and employ Australians first”, echoing the ads rather sinister undertones of the White Australia policy from the 1950s and 60s. Labor copped it on on social media yesterday with many people levelling accusations of racism, which Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen conceded was “appalling” but underlined it was a “rare misstep” for the Opposition leader on Lateline last night. One Facebook commentator said: “In this increasingly divisive "us & them" world, political campaigns like this peddle peoples' prejudices when they should be challenging them.” Another added:  “Is he trying Trump’s strategy? Attempting to appeal to the overwhelming number of redneck Australian voters that deep down really believe they are 'owed' something for having lighter skin.” However, others waded in to defend the Labor leader on social media. One person said: “Everyone tries their best to be offended these days, they call anyone who disagrees with them 'racist' so the word has lost all credibility now, and when something is genuinely 'racist' everyone ignores it, it doesn't take much to cause a race storm in a teacup these days, you can thank political correctness for that.” Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese called the ad “a shocker” and said “it should never have been produced and it should never have been shown”, intensifying speculation that he was jostling for the party leadership, a ballot he lost against Mr Shorten in 2013. It later emerged that it was highly probable that Mr Shorten’s office had seen and approved the ad before it aired. Mr Shorten himself would not confirm or deny this but called criticisms of the ad “a fair cop”. Meanwhile, Senator Sam Mr Dastyari caused his own social media storm after he hopped on board a Bill Shorten campaign bus to travel to three of Sydney’s outer suburbs and bemoan what $1 million buys in the city’s overheated real estate market. In the short film, which went viral, Mr Dastyari holds up examples of seemingly undesirable homes or locations which nevertheless attract a million buck price tag. He says: “Everyone loves talking about house prices but what does a million dollars in Sydney actually buy you? Not much.” In the northwest suburb of Ryde he stands outside a house and says:  “Immaculately kept, as it’s been told, and on one of the busiest roads in Sydney, to boot. “And you know if it’s got security shutters you’re onto a good thing”. The three-bed home on Lane Cove Road sold at auction for $1.3 million last weekend. The film then cuts to a vacant block in Toongabbie. “People like to talk about how a generation of young people are being picky. We are an hour and 20 away in peak-hour traffic from the CBD of Sydney and all a million bucks will buy you is essentially a block of land across the road from not only a power station but also the train line.” A scene filmed in Northmead is just as bleak, as Mr Dastyari sits atop a pile of furniture left out for kerbside collection to deliver his next tirade. "This is what a million dollars will buy you in Northmead but it's ok because it's described as having a functional kitchen. For a f---ing million dollars you'd like to think the kitchen would work," he says, before piling old furniture into the campaign bus. "If you gotta save a million bucks, you gotta be prepared to be a little bit frugal.” He goes on to calculate that a $1 million mortgage for a modest Sydney home would mean $1050 a week in repayments at today’s interest rates and if these went up by one per cent repayments would increase to $1200. But the video led to some viewers accusing him of snobbery and of ridiculing people’s houses while others criticised him for not offering a solution to the problem. “Seriously, imagine if that was your house and some halfwit stood outside it critiquing what you'd worked your whole life for,” said one. “This is offensive. Running around disrespecting peoples’ homes. And who hasn't salvaged furniture from the street? @samMr Dastyari is a snob” said another. However, others praised him for highlighting the affordable housing problem. “Sam, it's about time someone said the truth, the real estate agents have not only auctioned our homes to get higher prices, but they've auctioned our dignity away, and you're bloody right, a million dollar house should have a fully functioning … EVERYTHING… you said what we've all thought.” Mr Dastyari said that it was never his attention to upset anyone but to shine a spotlight on housing affordability. “If it takes me swearing on Facebook to draw attention to housing affordability, then I welcome it,” he told news.com.au. “It was never my intention to offend anyone,” he said. “It was only my intention to highlight how obscene house prices in Sydney have become.” Mr Bowen made reference to Mr Dastyari’s “edgy communication style” on Lateline last night but did not criticise the video. [post_title] => Labor’s adventures in TV land: Shorten’s 'white Australia', Dastyari’s $1m house hunt [post_excerpt] => Accusations of racism and snobbery. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => labors-adventures-tvland-shortens-white-australia-ad-dastyaris-1m-house-hunt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-09 14:42:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-09 04:42:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27082 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27053 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-05 11:52:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-05 01:52:29 [post_content] =>   Talking data: Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor. Pic: YouTube.      The federal government’s Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, put data at the heart of transforming how Australians deal with the government in a speech to public servants this week but he did avoided any talk of how matching datasets can cause mayhem, as it did in the recent Centrelink robo-debt debacle.   Mr Taylor said data was essential to ensuring “efficient payments or preventative compliance” when he spoke at the Chief Data Analytics Officer Public Sector Forum earlier this week (Wednesday). The government’s online compliance intervention (OCI), which began in June last year, caused an avalanche of complaints from distressed Centrelink clients, many of whom found it difficult to get through to a Human Services human being to help them resolve the issue. At one point, up to 20,000 people a week were receiving debt notices. The notices were automatically generated if a discrepancy was found between Tax Office data and benefits paid. Mr Taylor told the forum: “Now when we mention compliance people immediately think of debt collecting but what I'm talking about is making sure the payment that goes out the door is right. “It's a fundamentally important service delivery tool for the citizen and for many years and across both sides of government beneficiaries of payments have been incurring debts which often are unintended.” He called it “a big problem for citizens and a big problem for government” because every dollar paid out incorrectly to claimants cost more to recoup. But he steered clear of name checking the Centrelink robo-debt crisis, which blew up before Christmas last year, after thousands of benefit claimants, past and present, received letters asking them to explain a discrepancy between ATO data and their Centrelink benefits or pay back a chunk of money. A Commonwealth Ombudsman report later criticised the Department of Human Services for placing “unreasonable” expectations on claimants and communicating poorly with them but did not condemn the data matching process itself or question its accuracy. Mr Taylor extolled the virtues of the government’s Geocoded-National Address File as he spoke, adding that the file enabled correct payments and tackled fraud. “There can be zero error or fraud from either the beneficiary or the public servant processing the claim. But because of an inaccurate dataset we could make the wrong payment,” he said. “So improving the quality of our information has immediate and substantial benefit to both.” After the Ombudsman’s inquiry, DHS agreed to use registered post to contact customers, as some letters never reached their recipients. Despite the problems caused by robo debt and the online Census meltdown in August, which he said had taught the government ‘real lessons’, Mr Taylor did not resile from putting technology and data front and centre of the government’s service improvements. One of his top priorities, he said, was “a smooth easy log on experience and the ability to streamline your identities with government”, citing GovPass and my Gov 2 as good examples of achieving this.  “The way I think about technology transforming customer service is broad. It's not just portals and services, although those things are important,”Mr Taylor told the forum. “The delivery of a high quality application programming interface has just as much potential to serve the needs of a customer as any other project.” Mr Taylor praised data.gov.au, the national open data portal containing over 20,000 datasets, and the NationalMap’s geospatial datasets. “We firmly believe it is time to build on our initial success and transform how government uses data - from what remains a cottage industry - into a central plank of how government works.” “To do that we must focus on three main areas: analytics, policy problems and efficient payments.” He placed ‘smaller agile projects’ over ‘big traditional waterfall projects’ and said that research of 50,000 projects internationally showed that only 3 per cent of large projects were untroubled, compared with 58 per cent of smaller agile projects. Mr Taylor said the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) had more powers to review and monitor projects than the federal government had ever done before. “This is a critical point – no government of either stripe has had the strategic overview that this government is now conducting into the Australian people's multi-billion-dollar investment.” [post_title] => Digital Transformation Minister talks data, avoids Centrelink robo debt [post_excerpt] => Says DTA's powers at their height. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-transformation-minister-talks-data-avoids-centrelink-robo-debt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-05 12:12:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-05 02:12:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27053 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26963 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-21 11:03:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:03:16 [post_content] => UNSW-EC0, built by UNSW’s Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research and one of the three Australian satellites launched overnight.     By Anthony Wallace Australia is back in the space race, following the launch of three miniature satellites. At 1am Sydney time on Tuesday 19 April 2017, three Australian research cubesats blasted off for space as part of a NASA mission to resupply the International Space Station. The event marked the first launch of an Australian-built satellite for 15 years. It is also the nation’s first foray into cubesats for a host of new applications, from scientific discovery to remote sensing and satellite navigation.

The Atlas 5 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Tuesday night.  Photo: NASA

The trio of Australian cubesats is part of the international QB50 mission, consisting of 36 small satellites known as ‘cubesats’. Each instrument weighs about 1.3 kg each and is about the size of a shoebox. The combined effort will carry out the most extensive measurements ever undertaken of the little-understood thermosphere, a region between 200-380 km above Earth. This usually inaccessible zone helps shield Earth from cosmic rays and solar radiation, and is vital for communications and weather formation. Twenty-eight of the QB50 satellites, including the three Australian cubesats, were aboard the Atlas 5 rocket when it launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida overnight. The three Australian cubesats are UNSW-EC0, built by UNSW’s Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER); INSPIRE-2, by the University of Sydney, UNSW and the Australian National University; and SuSAT, by the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia. Read more here. This story first appeared in Spatial Source.  [post_title] => Launched: first Australian satellites in 15 years [post_excerpt] => Oz is back in the space race. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => satellite [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-21 13:41:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-21 03:41:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26963 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26748 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-04 10:47:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-04 00:47:01 [post_content] =>     NSW largest council has rebranded itself with the help of more than 2,000 ratepayers and hit back at perceptions that it is boring. Canterbury-Bankstown Council, which was created in May last year from a merger between Canterbury City and Bankstown City Councils, launched its new logo and slogan: ‘where interesting happens’ yesterday (Monday) and released a video to accompany it. The south-western Sydney council is the state’s largest council area and has around 350,000 residents. The council’s administrator, Richard Colley, said that residents, community and sports groups and business leaders had all chipped in their thoughts on the rebranding and so had visitors, through workshops, interviews, surveys and roundtables. Mr Colley said the council involved the community from the outset so that they could 'own and be proud of' the rebranding, which reportedly cost $375,000. “It’s not every day you get to stop and think about what defines you as a place and community – we know we are multiculturally diverse, and that’s very important, but what really defines us and sets us apart from other areas and the pack,” Mr Colley said.  “It’s based on the idea “Where Interesting Happens” and will allow us to promote our fascinating stories, unique experiences and much more.” The council’s survey of ratepayers found they wanted the area to become a destination where people stopped, rather than drove through; they were proud of diversity and wanted to project a more confident image. Mr Colley said residents would see the new brand popping up in the area from this week on signs, council vehicles and PR material and that various related events would follow. “Our new city brand is about sharing what makes us special and uniting the two great cities of Canterbury and Bankstown.  It’s much more than just a logo, it’s a whole new destination marketing approach for everyone to join in, including residents, businesses, community groups, cultural institutions, sporting groups and visitors.” But the rebranding was not just about what people who live or work in the area thought.   Mr Colley said: “We also wanted to understand what people outside Canterbury-Bankstown think of us, so we can attract them to our many businesses, places and activities, and help grow our local economy.” Focus groups and online surveys of around 500 Sydneysiders from outside the Canterbury Bankstown area found that some of them had negative perceptions that there was not enough to do there. “The research showed some Sydneysiders don’t visit Canterbury-Bankstown because they think there’s not much to do here.  Well, that’s about to change! “Interestingly, we also heard, some people living in our City believe other Sydneysiders think Canterbury-Bankstown is unsafe.  We found this is not the case at all,” he said.  It’s early days but the reaction on social media have been mostly positive so far, apart from one or two digs at the council’s slogan and social media hashtag. One Facebook wag said the hashtag should be #whereoverdevelopmenthappens or #whereinfrastructureisneeded, while another criticised the slogan: “ ‘Where Interesting Happens’ isn't even a grammatically correct sentence! But then neither is ‘Think Different’ and that worked for Apple. Good luck with the new initiative.” CEO of Chess Engineering Steve Facer, who was involved in the consultation, said the process had “captured an honest and real feel of locals and non-residents”.  “They were unafraid to face whatever realities may present themselves and then have the courage to address them in an open-faced and positive way,” Mr Facer said.  “The new direction seems highly inclusive. It already has, and will continue to generate energy for a ‘can do’ area that may now start to evolve at an ever increasing rate.  I loved the bold simplicity of the package.”   What do you think of the rebranding? Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter. [post_title] => Merged Sydney council rebrands itself as the place "where interesting happens” [post_excerpt] => Hits back at critics it’s boring. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26748 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-04 13:15:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-04 03:15:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26748 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26730 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-03-31 17:18:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-31 06:18:58 [post_content] =>     Australians are still enthusiastic about e-voting, despite the disruption caused when the online Census system crashed last August. A survey conducted by Australia Post in August 2016 and carried out after Census night on August 9 asked 1000 adults about their voting experiences in the July federal election and found 73 per cent of them wanted and expected to vote online at the next one in 2019. Voters surveyed were flexible about where they would vote and what technology to use. People did not mind whether they used a touchscreen in a voting booth or their own device. While many people preferred to vote at home they also agreed that using a touchscreen in a booth could be quicker and speed up election results. Almost half of those who voted in person during last year's election moaned that they were stuck in queues to vote, with 20 per cent waiting more than 20 minutes and nearly 50 per cent of voters said it took too long to declare an election result. It took eight days to find out some results in 2016. But eVoting in a federal election long way from the current reality. NSW elections have allowed people with disabilities and those living in remote areas to vote online or over the phone. ACT voters have been able to vote electronically in polling booths since 2001. The report said: “Our survey results indicate that the Census issue has not negatively impacted the attitude of Australian voters towards eVoting,” the Australia Post survey said. “Australians are clearly ready to consider eVoting. They believe it will make it quicker to vote, quicker to declare a result and will save the government money.” Australians also raised concerns about eVoting, principally about the risk of cyber attacks on their own device (23 per cent); the privacy of personal data (17 per cent) or the risk of fraud (16 per cent). Some people were also concerned about their vote being traced back to them.  Despite this enthusiasm for eVoting, almost three-quarters of those surveyed said it was still important to give people a choice and offer other methods of casting a vote. The survey also backed up voters’ penchant for voting early in elections. In the last election, one-third of Australians voted early, compared with 14 per cent in 2010. The Australia Post survey found that 17 per cent of people voted in person at an early voting centre, while 14 per cent lodged a postal vote. But the report cautioned that any framework for e-voting should pay attention to the parable of CensusFail’s ICT meltdown and the furore surrounding data privacy in the lead up to the night, which led to some politicians like Nick Xenophon refusing to put their names on Census forms. [post_title] => Not even CensusFail turns Australians off e-voting [post_excerpt] => Australia Post election survey. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => not-even-censusfail-turns-australians-off-e-voting [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-04 11:19:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-04 01:19:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26730 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26582 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-03-21 09:34:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-20 22:34:33 [post_content] =>   By Andy Young Wine producers are being encouraged to take part in key consultations for the Government’s $50m Export and Regional Wine Support package and the $10m Wine Tourism and Cellar Door Grant program. Although two separate processes, both of these have come about as part of the reforms to the WET Rebate announced by the Government in December last year. The Winemakers Federation of Australia is conducting a series of regional consultations over the coming weeks as it looks to submit a formal business plan to the Government regarding the Export package by 28 April. Tony Battaglene the WFA’s Chief Executive, told TheShout: “We want everyone to get their say, that is absolutely what this process is all about. We can’t guarantee that everyone will get the outcomes that they want, but we want everyone to have the opportunity to input into the process, so we can get an informed decision, that is our objective.   Read more here.   This story first appeared in The Shout.  [post_title] => Federal government visits cellar door for wine export chat [post_excerpt] => Export and regional wine support package. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26582 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-21 11:20:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-21 00:20:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26582 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26360 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-02-28 11:26:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-28 00:26:00 [post_content] =>     The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will be more closely involved in making the 2021 eCensus bulletproof before it is conducted, which will involve cyber security experts from the Australian Signals Directorate independently assessing ICT security and risk, the federal government has pledged.  The Bureau will also and do a better job of talking to the public about any changes it wants to make to data collection, use and retention for future Censuses. The government published its response to the Senate Economic References Committee’s report, 2016 Census: issues of trust, yesterday (Monday) and agreed to all but one of the Committee’s recommendations. The Committee report, coupled with the MacGibbon Review, was triggered after the Census website was taken down on Census night (August 9) last year, following a series of Denial of Service attacks which blocked thousands of Australians from completing their Census forms online. The shutdown proved an international embarrassment for the government, trending globally on social media as #CensusFail, as well as denting public confidence in the government’s ability to deliver digitally. Besides the ICT meltdown on Census night, there had also been complaints from civil liberties groups and politicians ahead of the 2016 Census, concerned that the Bureau’s changes to data collection had not been properly publicised or consulted on and represented a privacy and security risk. These changes included matching Census data with other data sets to glean richer statistical data and keeping it for up to four years. The government has now agreed that the ABS will publish a final report on all future Privacy Impact Statements on the ABS website at least one year ahead of the Census. But it appeared to fudge any solid dollar commitment or specify any funding level for future Censuses in its 2017-18 Budget, saying only “the Government is committed to funding the Census and its associated activities” and that any decision would be “considered as appropriate during the annual budget cycle”. Other recommendations the government agreed to included: an open tender process for future censuses; ABS to manage ICT contractors and their work more closely and that the ABS would communicate clearly with the public on the repercussions of not completing a Census, including guidelines on fines, prosecutions and appeals. But the government did not accept the Committee’s recommendation that it intervene in filling vacant senior roles at the ABS, saying it was outside its remit, except when appointing the Australian Statistician. It also refused to take on board recommendations from the Nick Xenophon and Stirling Griff (also NXT), who wanted to make it optional for people to provide their names. Some Greens and independent politicians refused to write their names on last year’s Census forms. The government knocked back the request: “Mandatory provision of a person’s name in the Census is necessary for a high quality Census and consistent with international practice,” adding that it would hamper accurate population estimates and dilute information quality and range. The government also rebuffed the two senators’ request for making parliamentary approval necessary for any future plans to link Census data with other data sets, saying there were already strong protections around the use of Census data. Greens Leader Senator Richard Di Natale had also pushed for a new independent Privacy Impact Assessment for the next Census to be carried out within the next six months. This would include assessing the acceptability of data collection and retention changes made for the 2016 Census. The government denied his request and said “the ABS has already been subject to considerable external scrutiny about the management of personal information from the 2016 Census”. It said that the Bureau had already responded to community concerns by altering its policies and procedures. The MacGibbon Review, led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ICT supremo Alastair MacGibbon, stressed the importance of renewing public confidence in the government’s digital transformation mission and highlighted why the 2016 Census failed. Criticisms included: inadequate preparation against predictable cyber security breaches; poor crisis planning; poor communication, particularly around security and privacy concerns; procurement bungles and an insular ABS culture with an overreliance on past strategies. The Review concluded: “The public’s confidence in the ability of government to deliver took a serious blow, more so than any previous IT failure.” [post_title] => Government answers #CensusFail recommendations [post_excerpt] => Australian Signals Directorate to assess 2021 eCensus cyber security. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-answers-censusfail-recommendations [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-28 13:36:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-28 02:36:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26360 [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] => 27484 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-27 10:23:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-27 00:23:02 [post_content] => The Board of Australia Post has selected Christine Holgate as the corporation's next managing director and group CEO, to succeed Ahmed Fahour, who is leaving in July after seven-and-a-half years in the role, following the outcry over his multi-million dollar salary package. Ms Holgate will officially start in the position mid-to-late October 2017. She joins Australia Post after a successful nine-year tenure as CEO of Blackmores and previous executive roles with Telstra, JP Morgan and Cable & Wireless. Ms Holgate, who is the inaugural Chair of the Board of the Australia-ASEAN Council, supporting the development of trade and cultural relations between Australia and the 10 member countries of the ASEAN region, joined Blackmores in 2008 and took the company some wild and turbulent years, including an aggressive expansion into China. Australia Post chairman John Stanhope said Ms Holgate’s Asian and eCommerce experience were important factors. "The Board was impressed by her experience of working very successfully in a range of different industries that are highly regulated. And, on top of that, she has a proven ability to implement strategy – and successfully grow a business in Asia. "Her knowledge of global eCommerce will be invaluable as we pursue our Asian Strategy, which is all about offering logistics support to Australian businesses that are either selling in Asia, or sourcing their products there. "Ms Holgate has a demonstrated track-record of delivering results in large, complex organisations, both here in Australia and internationally. " Ms Holgate's business philosophy is also a perfect fit for Australia Post. She is a firm believer that businesses must perform commercially, but also serve the community. And that's entirely consistent with our objectives as a community-based business that has both commercial objectives and community service standards to uphold." Ms Holgate said: "Australia Post has proven itself to be one of the most resilient and successful postal businesses anywhere in the world.  I feel fortunate to be joining at a time when we can really strengthen Post's leading position in the eCommerce market – both here, in Australia, and in Asia. "I'm a passionate advocate for Australian business seizing the opportunity that's on our doorstep in Asia and that creates opportunities for everyone – our workforce, our shareholder, the community, as well as businesses across Australia. What about the pay? Ms Holgate's remuneration has been set at $1.375 million fixed annual total remuneration and the potential to earn incentive payments of up to $1.375 million, in accordance with the parameters set by the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal. In the meantime, current Australia Post Group chief customer officer Christine Corbett will lead the business through the CEO transition period, between Ahmed Fahour's departure on 28 July and Ms Holgate's arrival in October. [post_title] => Blackmores CEO to head up Australia Post [post_excerpt] => Blackmores' Christine Holgate has been named Australia Post's new MD and Group CEO. 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