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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 ) [1] => 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 ) [2] => 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 ) [3] => 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 ) [4] => 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 ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26345 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-02-28 05:00:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-27 18:00:31 [post_content] =>   Australia Post’s parcel business raked in $189 million profit last year, driven by online shopping and offsetting losses from the continuing decline in letters, but customers claim the service is failing them and that it desperately needs a shake-up. Australia Post’s Facebook page is a near constant storm of customers complaining about missed or lost parcel deliveries, aggravated by the recent uproar over departing CEO Ahmed Fahour’s $5.6 million pay packet and the company’s parcel profits, which are up by 16 per cent. Last week, Australia Post posted a profit before tax of $197 million for the six months up to December 31, 2016. "Today over 70 per cent of our revenue and 100 per cent of our profit is derived from commercial activities in parcels and ecommerce,” Mr Fahour said, when the result was announced. "We are delivering more parcels than ever before, with domestic parcel volumes up 5 per cent in the first half, market share increasing and at the same time we're trialling new delivery innovations like evening and weekend deliveries to give our customers an even better experience.” However, some commentators, such as Adam Schwab at Crikey, have pointed out that the company has an obvious advantage over competitors like DHL and Toll because it has the distribution network. AusPost also bought StarTrack (with help from the Australian taxpayer) for about $800 million in 2012. StarTrack makes up a major part of its parcel business. Australia Post offering evening and weekend deliveries might help address one of the most common gripes from irritated customers: that the postie often fails to ring or knock, opting instead to automatically leave an ‘attempt to deliver’ card. One customer said: “Maybe your delivery drivers could actually knock on my door to see if I am home instead of just leaving the card so I have to go and collect it myself the next day. “So, even though I've paid for delivery I had to go to the post office the next day to get it. I don't mind when I'm not home but when I know for a fact I was: that pisses me off.” Another disappointed customer said: “I had a delivery driver slip the card under my door, open, with me clearly in view.” One lady got her delivery but was not happy with the result: “They never ring the bell just throw (one broken china delivery) or dump the box on the porch in full view of the street. Takes too much time to ring/knock and get a signature.”   Australia Post contractor apparently not checking the customer was home. Pic: YouTube.    Failed deliveries are especially galling if the recipient has taken time off work to wait for a parcel delivery and the postie does not bothering knocking or ringing. One frustrated customer said: “I’ll get off work and sit home all day waiting for my parcel, and they never bother to knock or ring or call in any way. And I won't get the card until three days later.”  A businessman was ticked off after Australia Post failed to deliver a product a client had ordered then bungled the investigation into what happened. “I sent something nine months ago and it still hasn't arrived at its destination. You started an investigation and last month you asked me if the organic olives and baby oil had arrived with the recipient. I actually sent a pair of pliers!” Another customer said she though posties were paid to take parcels back to the post office as well as being paid for the initial delivery, which she said gave them an incentive not to ring the doorbell. “If they paid their delivery workers a decent wage or even a decent commission, less parcels would be lost, thrown or otherwise undelivered because the driver can't see the point in spending the time to check if somebody is actually home for 85c,” said one customer. But an Australia Post spokesperson said that posties were paid only once for a delivery, although the amount was confidential. He said that drivers were regularly reminded of the rules and the system usually worked well. "The national “knock and call out” process was implemented in 2014 and requires drivers to knock at the door three times and call out before leaving a card. We have received very positive customer feedback on this process since it was launched," the spokesperson said. "We welcome feedback from our customers and encourage them to contact us and let us know if our delivery drivers are not attempting delivery to the door. That way we can follow up with our drivers in that area to ensure they do follow our national policy of 'knocking and calling out to the door' before leaving a card behind." Lazy or careless posties have been the subject of some of the most common complaints received by the Commonwealth Ombudsman, which has also been the Postal Industry Ombudsman since 2006. The Ombudsman’s 2015-16 annual report says that the most common complaints include: Delivery issues (mainly about the failure to attempt delivery of parcels); incorrect safe drop procedures and not getting a signature on delivery when required. Delivery issues accounted for almost 30 per cent of all the complaints received by the PIO. Australia Post has been in the limelight of late after Mr Fahour’s shock resignation on Wednesday last week, following heat over his bulging pay packet. Mr Fahour, who insisted he was not quitting because of the furore surrounding his pay, will be out the door in July leaving Post to source a new CEO with its hands tied over what pay it can offer. The government ruled last week that the new CEO’s pay packet will in future be decided by the Renumeration Tribunal - not the Australia Post board - making it likely the next person to take the job will cop a multi-million dollar pay cut. [post_title] => The postman never rings once: Australia Post parcel complaints keep coming [post_excerpt] => Parcel profits up but customers feeling let down. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => postman-never-rings-australia-post-parcel-complaints-keep-coming [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-28 15:59:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-28 04:59:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26345 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26170 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-02-07 10:14:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-06 23:14:20 [post_content] =>   Australia Post has got in deeper with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to give small and medium-sized Australian companies access to millions of South-East Asian customers via online storefronts. Post, which has been forced to make herculean efforts to find new ways of making money since the letters side of its business went into freefall, will extend its branded online storefronts in South East Asia and beyond China to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia with Lazada, Alibaba’s South East Asian online sales platform. The deal gives Australian retailers access to more than 560 million potential customers across six countries and covers a wide range of products, including consumer electronics; pet supplies; fashion; health and beauty; and toys and games. Australia Post Executive General Manager Parcels and StarTrack CEO, Bob Black said the arrangement, which will eventually see the company open further online storefronts on Lazada's other sites in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, was a positive one for Australian businesses. "International expansion can be daunting for many businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises,” Mr Black said. “That's why we are proud to have partnered with Alibaba to help give Australian businesses access to the booming eCommerce sector in China and now the lucrative South-East Asian market." "We are committed to supporting local Australian businesses and delivering eCommerce solutions that make it easier to grow their businesses whether that be across Australia or overseas," he said. But while the partnership with the world’s largest online retailer opens up new marketplaces for Australian companies, it also gives Asian companies a direct supply route into Australian markets, with Australia Post delivering the products. Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association Russell Zimmerman has voiced fears the expansion could harm Australian businesses, who he said already copped higher wages and rent and suffered under GST loopholes when customers bought imports online. Alibaba, which is worth more than $200 billion, bought a controlling interest in Singaporean firm Lazada back in April last year and set up its first regional office in Melbourne last weekend. Alibaba founder Jack Ma, one of the richest tech billionaires in the world and worth $22.7 billion according to Forbes, is known to be keen to expand the group’s influence in Australian and New Zealand, making the most of the appetite of the Chinese middle class for clean and eco-friendly products at premium prices.   Alibaba mastermind, Jack Ma.    Australia Post has been busy trying to pull itself up by the bootstraps after posting a $222 million loss in 2015. The company managed to scrape into the black reporting $36 million after-tax profit in August last year, after hiking stamp prices and introducing a two-speed letter system, which appeared to pay off. Parcel deliveries from the boom in online shopping also drove its recovery.   Australia Post’s relationship with Alibaba and its platforms Tmall Global, Global TaoBao and 1688.com began in 2014. [post_title] => Australia Post extends reach in South-East Asia with more branded online storefronts [post_excerpt] => Partnership with Alibaba and Lazada. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australia-post-extends-reach-south-east-asia-branded-online-storefronts [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-07 10:55:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-06 23:55:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26170 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22764 [post_author] => 664 [post_date] => 2016-12-20 16:29:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 05:29:00 [post_content] => Yea Post Office   In the wake of Australia Post's new two-speed letter deliveries, announced earlier this month, we revisit what went wrong. All is not well with Australia Post. It is losing money with the death of the stamped letter. It is making money from parcels, but the numbers don’t add up. Australia Post recently announced a full-year loss of $222 million in 2014-15. It is the first time the organisation has been in the red since it was corporatised in 1989. The reason is clear. Hardly anybody sends letters any more. Personal mail hardly exists in the Internet era, except for Christmas cards, and even they are in serious decline. Business mail has been the mainstay of the postal system in recent years, but is also declining quickly with the move to online invoicing and statements. The decline has been obvious for years, but it has been accelerating, not declining. Last year alone addressed letter volumes fell by 7.3 per cent, with ordinary stamped letters falling by 10.3 per cent, off bases that had already declined sharply. Australians now send a billion fewer letters a year than they did in 2008, when mail was already in serious decline. Australia Post would have got out of this loss-making business years ago if it weren’t for its Community Service Obligation (CSO), a statutory requirement to deliver mail and keep post offices open. For many years the big money has been in its parcel division, now separately branded as StarTrack (Australia Post bought out Qantas’s half share in 2012). The parcels business is booming, in large part because of Australia’s love affair with Internet shopping, which is growing as quickly as ordinary mail is declining. Products can be ordered on the Internet, but someone still has to deliver the things, and Australia Post is doing well in a very competitive market against the likes of FedEx, UPS and Toll (recently acquired by Japan Post). Australia Post is led by Ahmed Fahour, Australia’s highest paid public servant. He was brought in to restructure the organosation, but he is having to balance this against the Community Service Obligation. No Australian government wants to be seen to be cutting postal services. It is a continuing battle, one which will eventually have to confront commercial reality. The numbers are stark. Australia Post’s loss of $222 million last year was an enormous turnaround from its $116 million profit the previous year. Revenue was constant at $6.37 billion, with the parcel business comprising more than half for the first time, up 3.6 per cent to $3.21 billion. Last month Australia Post asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to allow it to increase the price of a stamp by more than 40 per cent, from 70 cents to $1, to “better reflect the cost of the regulated letters service.” The government supports the application, which also. includes keeping the concession stamp price at 60 cents for 5.7 million concession cardholders, and the price of Christmas cards at 65 cents. Concession and season greeting (Christmas) mail comprise nearly half of all mail sent by consumers. The great majority (97 per cent) of regular mail now comes from business and government, with very few personal letters. Last week the Senate approved the reforms, which also include reducing the number of post boxes nationally from over 15,000 to the 10,000 specified by the CSO, and cutting 1900 jobs (from 32,000 current full-time and part-time employees). Regular post will still be delivered every day, but it will be slowed down by up to two days to allow for savings on air freight. It is not certain the changes will be enough to cut the losses. Mr Fahour’s enormous $4.6 million salary will remain, though there may be some cuts to the 400 Australia post managers who earn more than $195,000 a year (a figure from last year’s annual report). Mr Fahour has, unsurprisingly, defended his salary as consistent with that paid to his private sector counterparts. He was formerly CEO of National Australia Bank. “We continue to make headway with reforming our letters business and we are investing in the infrastructure and digital capabilities – vital to servicing the changing needs of our customers,” said Mr Fahour last week. “We are confident we have the resources, infrastructure and support in place to manage the ongoing transition of our letters business as we become a more e-commerce-centric organisation.” Last month Mr Fahour announced the establishment of an industry working group to consider regulatory reform of the letters business and “other strategic issues facing the postal sector.” It follows a Senate Inquiry into the Licensed Post Office network, which recommended the establishment of the group. It will be chaired by former Victorian Liberal Senator Helen Kroger, and will include representatives from the printing industry, mail houses, post office licensees and unions (the Communications Workers Union is the main union covering Australia Post workers). Ms Kroger, married to Victorian Liberal Party powerbroker Michael Kroger, lost her Senate seat at the last federal election to Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party senator Ricky Muir. The Communications Workers Union recognises the need for change, but says reforms should be done “sensibly” and without forced job losses. “It is abundantly clear that the letter side of the business cannot be profitable in its current form,” said CWU National Secretary Greg Rayner after the losses were announced. “The very encouraging part is the parcel side of the business, which is a huge growth area and will see substantial jobs growth in coming years. “The digital disruption to letter volumes we are seeing now is nothing new to Australia Post. The company, its hardworking loyal staff and the CWU have adapted before and will adapt again. “This union was working with Australia Post when it was horses and carts. Our members have transformed it from a network of telegraph wires to one of fibre optics and modern precision logistics. “We are committed to partnering with Australia Post to transform the business again because that’s the only way to guarantee secure, quality jobs for our members and a reliable, useful service for all Australia.” Mr Rayner said with the right approach, these results and the reform they demand lay a path to more jobs, better conditions and greater job security for postal workers. “We have been at the table with Australia Post at the highest level for months now preparing a long term response to reform. In the coming weeks we hope to unveil an Accord to support our members and all Australia Post employees through reform and help guide Australia Post into the future,” Mr Rayner said. Good luck to him, to Mr Fahour, and to the government. It is something of a race against time, and one that Australia Post has been losing thus far. The postal business continues to decline faster than the parcels business is growing – if losses continue expect Mr Fahour to depart (with his millions) and his successor to initiate a new round of restructuring. This story first appeared in Government News magazine in October/November 2015. In January 2016, Australia Post announced it would create a two-speed letter delivery system. Priority letters would cost $1.50 and arrive within one to four business days (depending on the destination), while Regular mail - which increased from 70 cents to $1 - could now arrive up to two business days afterwards, potentially taking more than one week to reach the recipient’s letterbox.   [post_title] => Best of 2016: Where to now for Australia Post? [post_excerpt] => Going postal: what went wrong. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => where-to-now-for-australia-post [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-20 16:31:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-20 05:31:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22764 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 6 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23243 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-20 15:22:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 04:22:01 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23264" align="alignnone" width="400"]Freeze2 Navigating recruitment freezes.[/caption]   External recruitment freezes have become a harsh reality of life for Australian public servants as governments seek to contain wages and make savings, but is it possible to turn a no-hire zone into something positive? The usual rules are that when a freeze is on, jobs can only be filled internally, although there are often exemptions such as some frontline staff, fixed-term positions linked to specific projects and critical or revenue-raising positions that cannot be filled internally. Responses to the hiring ban can include staff acting up or people being transferred or seconded, or the dreaded: hiring contractors. The painful Australian Public Service hiring freeze began late in 2013 and lasted until mid-2015, after more than 10,000 jobs were shed. Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett announced a six-month halt to external recruitment in December last year, after forecasting a $3.1 billion hole in the state’s finances by the end of June 2016. Karen Evans, Managing Director of talent management company Acendre, which has many public service clients, spoke to Government News about how to survive and thrive when non-essential hiring shuts down. On paper a hiring freeze might appear grim and morale sapping but it can give also managers a chance to take stock of the people and range of skills that they have and to concentrate on training, developing and promoting them. It can also force people to think more strategically and critically about how efficiently they are working and to streamline processes. Of course, it may also leave staff feeling overworked or fearful about losing their jobs in the future. Ms Evans said human resources had an “absolutely critical role” to play - even in the short term - to support staff, explain the changes and manage them through it. “HR needs to get itself geared up to support their organisation, particularly initially,” she said. “A lot of managers will be wanting to fill critical roles where they may not be able to. How does HR support them? “There are changes but there are also huge opportunities with something like this. It’s a chance to think outside the box,” Ms Evans said. “Personally, I would be saying don’t try to sit tight and just wait it out.” She suggested managers looked at the roles and skills of the staff that they do have and list the skills and roles needed within the organisation. “Put development plans in place to revise or change roles that you actually need.” The focus should then be on upskilling staff and giving them opportunities to take on different responsibilities, perform new tasks or accept leadership roles in order to drive their enthusiasm. “People can get a lot of up and cross-skilling and their engagement really lifts. Put development plans in place for individuals. [Ask] can you merge or upskill roles?” There is also the chance to work more closely with other departments and agencies and collaborate on projects or even share staff. For example, the federal government's hiring freeze, it set up a business centre made up of part-time staff and underused staff and funnelled excess work from various teams. Ms Evans said it was also important to look at staff ready to redeploy and think about how to get them working in another department or agency. It can also be useful to seek advice from other departments or the same department at a different level of government that have already been through a hiring freeze. Brisbane City Council reduced the number of contracts it had and moved functions in-house. “It was a huge saving and it really drove engagement from people within the organisation, being able to do different things and increase their capabilities. It also helped teams work together in a more effective way,” she said. Despite the opportunities available, there is no point pretending that everyone will be happy about the freeze. It could lower morale, hit productivity or lead to employees walking out the door. The key to preventing this situation is to engage staff early on, explain what the changes might mean to them and come up with a plan to mitigate the more harmful effects, said Ms Evans. "Use this as an opportunity because I do think it is one.” [post_title] => Best of 2016: How to survive and thrive under a public sector hiring freeze [post_excerpt] => Upskill, collaborate, communicate. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-survive-and-thrive-under-a-public-sector-hiring-freeze [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-20 15:39:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-20 04:39:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=23243 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25848 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-15 11:41:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-15 00:41:05 [post_content] => woman getting a fight lesson in mud Allegations of corruption against candidates running for local council election in Queensland should be kept under wraps while being investigated, Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has said. The CCC has recommended that the Queensland government make it an offence for anyone to publicise corruption allegations against a councillor or candidate in the run-up to elections, in an effort to deter mudslinging and smear campaigns designed to influence election outcomes. The penalty could involve a fine or imprisonment. In its final report, Publicising Allegations of Corrupt Conduct: is it in the public interest? the Commission said: “In this area in particular, CCC data indicates that a large number of allegations received by the CCC are baseless and merely designed to effect electoral damage on political opponents.” The CCC noted that the supremacy of the 24-news cycle and social media, meant that “untested allegations of corrupt conduct – almost instantly reaches a mass audience and remains on the public record in perpetuity”. During its inquiry, the Commission found that the number of corruption allegations aimed at councillors or mayors more than doubled during local council elections in Queensland. There was an average of 27 allegations per month during election periods in 2008, 2012 and 2016, compared with an average of 12 per month where there was no election on. Of these allegations, 69 per cent could not be classed as a criminal offence or disciplinary breach. Instead, the Commission said it should be given three months to investigate allegations to test if they had substance. The CCC said this did not mean that crooked public officials would not get their comeuppance. “The CCC will continue to prioritise, in the public interest, the assessment and investigation of allegations against councillors, mayors and candidates. “While there may be a delay while the allegation is investigated and progresses through the court, councillors and mayors who are convicted of a criminal offence may be removed from office.” But the CCC admitted that balancing freedom of speech with the rights of the individual was a complex act and not all the submissions to the inquiry back its approach but it stuck to its guns.  “The inquiry heard that publicising allegations of corrupt conduct can damage reputations, marriages and careers, and that it can be impossible to escape from that damage. “The institution of local government, and by extension democratic government, is being damaged by the high number of baseless allegations being made against councillors and individuals seeking election.” The CCC noted that the impact of reputational damage in rural and remote communities could be more severe because people were often easy to identify and target. It also argued that it was a bad idea to alert the person who was the subject of the allegations, in case they destroyed evidence, interfered with witnesses or absconded. The Commissio said it could also make it harder to carry out surveillance. CCC Chairperson Alan MacSporran QC said there were competing views from a cross-section of the community and the four-person panel had carefully considered all the viewpoints. “Whilst we acknowledge the very important right to the freedom of speech and the need for open and accountable government, based on all the material examined by the CCC we are of the view limiting the publicising of allegations during local government election periods will allow this agency to complete its statutory functions, especially investigating corrupt conduct, in a more robust manner,” Mr MacSporran said. “Consideration was given to all options including not changing the current framework through to a total prohibition similar to other jurisdictions. However, based on the evidence and material considered, the CCC did not determine there was justification for any change except in the local government election context.” Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Greg Hallam backed the Commission’s recommendation to make it illegal to publicise allegations of corruption against candidates during local government elections, saying it would help eliminate smear campaigns during elections. He said the CCC had recognised that allegations against candidates should not be manipulated for electoral gain. “The recommendations of the report balance the need for an open and transparent election process with ensuring that false or misleading accusations about political opponents are not publicised to the detriment of the community and the council,” Mr Hallam said. “We commend the CCC for taking into consideration the reputation of councils and the public’s trust in their institutions of government in their balanced recommendations.” The recommendation does not apply to allegations about Members of Parliament, the Queensland Police Service, public servants, other holders of public office or local government councillors outside an election period. There were 82 submissions to the inquiry and two public forums.

Parliament will now consider the CCC’s recommendation.

­­­­   [post_title] => Stop the mudslinging: Black out corruption allegations during council elections [post_excerpt] => QLD Crime and Corruption Commission speaks out. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 25848 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-16 11:39:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-16 00:39:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25848 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25739 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-12-05 14:12:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-05 03:12:35 [post_content] =>

shetler-in-group_opt

After 16 months of leading Australia's digital transformation, I wanted to reflect on what we've learned and achieved to date.

The DTO made the case for digital transformation in the Australian government

All across government, public servants are starting to think differently about digital service delivery, putting the user first, thinking big, starting small and iterating quickly. My team and I worked with departments, agencies and state governments to deliver six exemplar services - demonstrating what was possible. Like making it easier to book an appointment for your newborn baby's immunisations. Making it easier for businesses to import goods that need a permit. Most of these teams had co-located with the DTO in our own delivery hubs, so we were all learning from each other, sharing our progress and research along the way. I’ve been criticised on more than one occasion on the choice of problems we chose for the exemplars. The bottom line is, the problems chose us. Our criteria were simple: find a problem that could be clearly defined and leadership that was willing to work with us collaboratively.
Now that we’ve demonstrated the method, agencies can tackle any problem.
The DTO also worked to introduce common platforms to government, because platform design is essential to creating 21st century digital services for citizenry. Sharing common platforms allows government agencies to stand on the shoulders of others, inside government and elsewhere.  By identifying common features across myriad government services, they can be extracted out and opened up along with the user interface, the back office tools, infrastructure and data. Adopting platforms means that the rest of government can make use of these commoditised  “building blocks” for other services. This reduces duplication and cost, makes services more efficient, easier to update and refine and far quicker to build. It frees up the people building the services to focus far more on how citizens’ needs can be best met.

Our Common Platforms to date

We released the Digital Marketplace (which now has 42 opportunities, 252 approved sellers and 241 registered buyers) to begin transforming government ICT procurement. We created a Performance Dashboard, to make it easier to see how well government services are performing - with six services reporting so far - and we created cloud.gov.au,a platform to make it easy for government to take advantage of the cloud to operate digital services. On top of this, we also built alpha prototypes of GOV.AU - a single website for government - and a digital identity platform. We developed these to demonstrate how such platforms could work, letting us test out the concepts with real users to find out if they could make people's lives easier. For a small agency - and one as new as the DTO - it was a tremendous achievement to have delivered so much and in so little time.
I’m very proud of the team and am grateful for the support of the departments and agencies that we partnered with.
All of this work helped prove to government that it really can deliver simple, clear, fast services that meet users' actual needs, which, once we remove all the jargon, is really what “digital transformation” means.

We identified blockers to achieving transformation

The blockers to positive transformation are structural, cultural and skills-based. During the last 16 months at DTO and now at the brand-new DTA, we've also seen just how painful it can be for government to get on with delivering good digital services.   For services to be truly transformed, we need to go beyond the front end, and transform the back office IT too. If we don't rethink the underlying IT systems and business processes, we're constrained to do little more than make cosmetic changes. After all the service doesn’t stop at the user interface, it includes  an ensemble of people, systems and processes that support it. Unfortunately, across most governments worldwide - and Australia is no exception - too many public servants working in back offices are often reduced to human APIs - retyping information from one system to another, and stuck processing the repetitive common cases that shouldn't need any human intervention at all. This is a waste of their talent and initiative.
"Whitehall fetishises the complex" - Mike Bracken, former GDS Executive Director, UK Government
All of their work  is made more difficult by the astonishing complexity across government. I've sat in meetings where senior public servants search out the exceptions and the edge cases - at the expense of simplifying the common case, because they’re focused on the process rather than a better outcome. The complexity is structural too. From the end user’s perspective - say, someone who wants to start a business - the set of interactions required to be compliant with government is often delivered by an assembly of different branches, agencies and tiers of government, and it's very rare that any cog in the wheel sees the bigger picture. Users get chucked from one to another as they move through a process. It is irritating and demoralising for people starting a business and it makes it so easy for them to fall through the cracks. No government wants to make it harder for people to start new businesses. It is heartening to see the Department of Industry Innovation and Science actively working towards improving the experience. When dealing with government is too difficult and confusing for users to navigate online, it drives people to phone lines or forces them to visit a to visit a shopfront - both more expensive options. Too often, people are forced to pay professionals to deal with government for them. When government is restructured by well-meaning politicians - and this happens often - IT systems often end up being passed from agency to agency. Over the last 40 years in Australia, this has created complex webs of systems that cost a lot to operate, and take a long time to change. This creates a vicious cycle because, whenever a new policy needs to be implemented, it's often easier to build a new system on the side, than it is to change the existing legacy system. So you end up with what we have now, unworkable and inefficient systems that meet outdated needs and are expensive and slow to change.

It’s just not that complex

When it comes to service delivery, the transaction volumes of government services are small compared to the wider world.
Government might think it's huge, but its daily transaction volume is equivalent to just a few minutes of Twitter - or even less on the NASDAQ.
And still, government spends more than $16bn a year on IT. Our procurement and funding processes encourage big IT programmes, with bigger contracts. They drive a culture of blame aversion which creates the perverse outcomes and actually increases risk. The history of the past several years of government IT failure is testimony to that. This is further complicated and exacerbated by the lack of technical and contract management expertise in government. (Too frequently, we actually ask vendors to tell us what they think we should buy.) Government is one of the last industries that thinks it can outsource wholesale. Banks, brokerages and the insurance industry all made the shift twenty years ago, and have been able to transform their IT in the period since. You don't build digital services in the same way that you build bridges. How can you test with users, deliver a lean solution quickly, and iterate with what you learn, if you are forced to specify all your requirements upfront? When you’re locked in a big IT contract, changing what you're building comes at a huge expense - in both cost and time. We found that government has little visibility over the IT programmes that are already in flight. Without a single view of what's going on, it's hard to avoid duplication of effort, hard to see which programmes are going to deliver on time, and hard to intervene if something's not working out.  

We must build digital capability  

One thing that's been very clear from the last 16 months has been how dedicated Australian public servants are to doing their very best to serve their fellow citizens. I have met so many public servants here who are deeply committed to helping out those who need to get things done with government. There is enthusiasm for digital. Transforming services makes it possible to free up the time of public servants so they can focus on dealing with the exceptional cases - where they can make the greatest impact. With technology that's easier to modify and adapt, public servants on the front line can draw on their day-to-day experiences to design, test and deliver improvements to the services they operate. There's also a fear of digital. Over the last 40 years, as we've outsourced technology, there's been a progressive deskilling of the public service. The reliance on consultants is remarkable and the amount spent on them is eye watering. That’s just not necessary if we re-skill the public service, which was one of the Prime Minister’s goals on establishing the DTO. Digital transformation can seem daunting. It means challenging the status quo. It means getting closer to your users, being rigorous at measuring performance, and being honest about the things that aren't working. Government's biggest challenge in the digital age is to completely upskill the public service so that it is well equipped to deliver the change that's needed.
Marc Andreessen once said that "software is eating the world".
In the age of Uber, Airbnb and Netflix upending traditional industries like taxis, travel agents and video, it's an ever poignant reminder that not even government is immune to being transformed. If people are embracing new services in the private sector, they will be increasingly intolerant of clunky 20th century service delivery by governments. After 16 months, the Australian Government has recognised this new reality – the idea that government services must be transformed to be simple, easy and effective. While recognising an idea is an essential start to transformation, it is only the start. Implementation, execution and a willingness to monitor, refine and iterate depends on developing the “digital savvy”, the skills within and across all agencies and among agency leaders. It’s a general law of sociology that every large bureaucracy seeks to maintain itself in its current form. And that means the institutional inertia against transformation is enormous. Changing government to operate at Internet speed and quality also requires strong will and expenditure of political capital from the nation’s leadership. Without that mandate to change, it’s naive to expect an organisation that is very comfortable with its way of working to decide to spontaneously transform itself. This is the challenge in the next 16 months - to double down on building the capability to deliver on the vision, and eliminating the blockers getting in the way.

Special thanks

The DTO and later the DTA attracted the very best talent the nation had to offer. People who were committed to the cause. They made great personal sacrifices of their time and talent and in some cases took substantial cuts in pay to join the team. To each and every member of the team, I offer my sincere thanks. You have much to be proud of. I also want to thank the many public servants who opened their minds to the possibility of change and came on the journey. You have taken the very important step of beginning to transform the way services are delivered. I encourage you to continue to do just one thing - put users first, always. My thanks also go to Mark Brudenell, Phil Thurbon, David Hazlehurst and the interim CEO of the DTA Nerida O'Loughlin for their valuable advice and encouragement. And finally, I want to thank the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, for his unwavering support of our work. Without his vision and commitment to transforming public services, none of this would have been possible. Paul   Paul Shetler was the CEO of the Digital Transformation Office and the Chief Digital Officer of the Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Agency.
[post_title] => My 16 months of digital transformation in Australia: Shetler [post_excerpt] => Think big, start small. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 16-months-digital-transformation-australia-shetler [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-07 12:24:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-07 01:24:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25739 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25726 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-12-02 10:37:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-01 23:37:06 [post_content] => australia-post-parcel-lockers   By Emily Bencic   In partnership with Australia Post, Woolworths will install over 500 parcel lockers in supermarkets across Australia to provide consumers with 24/7 parcel collection and returns. Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said the lockers will extend the existing Woolworths click&collect service for customers. “We know our customers are busier than ever and are looking for greater convenience in everything they do,” Banducci said. Read more here.  This story first appeared in Appliance Retailer.    [post_title] => Australia Post and Woolworths join forces [post_excerpt] => Supermarket parcel lockers. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australia-post-woolworths-join-forces [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-02 10:38:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-01 23:38:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25726 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25699 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-30 14:11:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-30 03:11:13 [post_content] => paul-shetler-and-malcolm-turnbull Paul Shetler and Malcolm Turnbull. Pic: YouTube     The charismatic former leader of the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), Paul Shetler, has quit after being sidelined in a leadership shake up in mid-October. Mr Shetler, who spend much of his career working in the UK’s Government Digital Service, was poached from the UK’s Government Digital Agency in mid-2015 after a global talent search by then Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull. He spent nearly 18 months in the job before the Digital Transformation Office was rebadged to become the DTA and its role expanded to encompass the Department of Finance’s ICT functions. Mr Shetler was later moved sideways to become government chief digital officer while Department of Communications deputy secretary Nerida O’Loughlin was appointed as interim CEO of the DTA, in a nod to Canberra culture and perhaps a retreat from the maverick disruption some felt Mr Shetler embodied. In a tribute to his skill and popularity, social media has been alive with this resignation (mostly media tweets) since this morning, with nobody so far welcoming his resignation.   shetler1 Will Shetler return home to help Trump make America great again? Pic: Facebook.    Ms O’Loughlin said her counterpart had “played an instrumental role in establishing the Australian Government’s agenda to transform its digital presence and service delivery". “Paul’s wealth of knowledge and international experience in the field of digital services has been invaluable to the government’s digital ambitions,” Ms O’Loughlin said. “His creativity and vision have been a great inspiration and have been crucial in helping the government to deliver the first phase of its digital transformation agenda. This has included the delivery of six transformed ‘exemplar’ services and the establishment of the highly successful Digital Marketplace. The agency expects to fill the Chief Digital Officer role in the new year. Meanwhile, Mr Shetler’s next move is unknown, though he does possess dual UK/US citizenship so a trip across the pond may be on the cards. [post_title] => Shetler quits the DTA [post_excerpt] => Next phase of the agency. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => shetler-quits-dta [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-02 10:29:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-01 23:29:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25699 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25620 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-21 16:33:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-21 05:33:37 [post_content] =>  digital-licence-fishing-nsw_opt   NSW bar tenders, croupiers and amateur anglers can now carry their digital licences on their smartphones or tablets, paving the way for digital driving licences within three years. From yesterday (Sunday) three licences were available in the My Licences digital wallet with the latest version of the Service NSW app: the Recreational Fishing Fee (fishing licence), Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) and Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) Competency Cards. They represent the first government-issued digital licences in Australia.  Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet called the launch a “quantum leap” in government technology and said it smoothed the passage for introducing digital driver licences by 2019, a slight slippage from his original target of the end of 2018. The government has also said that driver health checks would also get easier once the digital licence comes in, although this change is slated to come some six months after digital licences themselves. Some drivers are required to renew their licences annually, such as those over 75 and people with certain medical conditions that could affect their driving, such as epilepsy. Changes would mean that people would be able to send their medical certificates electronically, for example using integrated GP software, rather than having to present them in person or post them, making it quicker to renew driving licences. Mr Perrottet said: “If you carry a smartphone in your pocket and you’re looking forward to a wallet-free future, digital licences make so much sense – they’re easily accessible, safe and secure, and it’s one less thing to stuff in your wallet. “You can renew your licence and update your details with the click of a button, and there’s no need to visit a Service NSW centre or wait for something in the post. It’s all about saving time and making life easier, and these three licences are just the beginning.” While the upside of a digital licence is a lighter purse or wallet - digital licences can be checked using a purpose-built checker app - the downside is that you must keep your device charged and nearby so the licence can be checked, although Mr Perrottet said it can be checked using another smartphone or tablet by signing into the Service NSW app. He said the digital licence platform was secure and used “multi-tiered security features” similar to those used by phone banking apps. Licences were securely stored in the user’s MyServiceNSW account and housed in the NSW Government’s data centre, GovDC. Customers can use the digital platform to view their licence, update their account and find out when their licence was checked. Physical licences will remain for all licence holders with their digital versions being optional. For more information or to download the Service NSW app, visit www.service.nsw.gov.au. [post_title] => Digital NSW driving licences by 2019, says minister       [post_excerpt] => A wallet-free future? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-nsw-driving-licences-2019-says-minister [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-22 11:02:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-22 00:02:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25620 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => 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 ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 105 [max_num_pages] => 8 [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] => [is_category] => 1 [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] => 7951f07fb19653fef30e8c0ef76ba0da [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 ) )

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